Monday, February 13, 2017

All or Nothing

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city” Acts 18:9-10.

I cracked open a new Bible Study that I cannot wait to sink my teeth into with all its relativity in today’s society. It is based upon the timeframe when Paul was trying to encourage the young church at Corinth to stand firm against the presiding attitudes of the culture. The first time Paul visited, he taught in the synagogue to both Jews and Greeks. This is important to understand because Paul was a lifetime follower of the Jewish religion. He was very well respected until he became a Christian at which point many Jews hated him. He found himself very discouraged that the Jews (God’s chosen people) were the ones most insulted by his message. In Acts, it is written that they were even abusive to him along with distancing themselves and ridiculing him. He turned his attention to those who he knew least and many were converted. As this was happening Paul needed God’s encouragement as the loneliness for familiar relationships crept in. This is when our beautiful passage was spoken into the heart of Paul. Sometimes the people with whom we are most familiar wound us the most.

We have also been given ‘many people in this city.’ When we are grieving the loss of a loved one God places people in our path who understand. When our prodigal is still living apart from the grace of God we don’t have to look far to find other parents who have triumphed in receiving their children home. When that medical diagnosis comes, we can have confidence that God is working through the medical team to bring about healing and comfort. However, there will be those who disagree with the path in which we take. There will be those whose judgment and opinions will send death into our hearts instead of peace and comfort. We must not be silent and timid, but share the message of God’s mercy and grace with everyone ‘in the city’ – those people who God has placed in our circle of influence. Our actions and words must testify and exemplify our deepest beliefs. If what we say we believe is not exemplified in our behavior and decisions, then it is really not our belief. We live in a world where everything goes. It is imperative if we wish to make a spiritual significance in this world that we not accept every whim and attitude of our culture. By standing up for everything, we really don’t stand up for anything.

Truth is framed within the contents of the Bible. The Bible speaks the mind and heart of God on every topic. That is why it is essential that we get into the Word and guard our heart and mind with His knowledge and understanding.

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