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Straying

11/29/2010 11:45:00 PM

Came across and interesting piece out of the Bible tonight.

Paul is standing before King Agrippa and giving testimony to his own life and how Jesus intersected it. He is telling the story of Jesus meeting him face to face in a brilliant and blinding light on the road to Damascus. Jesus gave him specifics of what he was to do with this new found truth. We pick up the story in Act 26:18 as Jesus is speaking to Saul (later he becomes Paul) "to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'"

Paul was given specific instructions FROM
Jesus on what he was to be doing.

As we pick up the story in verse 19, we see that Paul followed through with Jesus' plan for him. "Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance."

Paul did not stray from the word that Jesus gave to him. I'm sure he had plenty of opportunity in his ministry to listen to the voices of so many others. Maybe even good voices, maybe even godly voices, but yet he kept fast to the word JESUS gave him!

Staying firm to the word that Jesus gives you can be unpopular, especially when it has to do with preaching repentance, turning to God AND performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. That is evidenced in verse 21 when Paul says, "For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me."

The Church, as well as the world, is full of voices. Good voices and not so good voices. Voices of reason and voices of distraction. As a follower of Jesus you must remember the word (job, mission, purpose, etc.) that Jesus gave to YOU. Not what the voices are wanting you to do.

Before he stood in this position in front of King Agrippa, Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 2:4, " but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts." Not to please man…but to please God. Paul knew, long before his speech in Acts, that pleasing God was his only desire. He knew that the word of Jesus was powerful enough that it was all he needed.

I'm NOT saying that taking in the godly advice of godly people should be dismissed. Not at all. I am saying, however, that straying from the word that JESUS has given you will only lead to disaster and heartache. For a great example of this, please see the story of Jonah.

So how do we guard against falling into this trap?

First, stay in the presence of God. The end of Jonah 1:3 says "So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord." In contrast to that, Acts 9:11, "and
at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying."

Second, never forget the word of God. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 puts it this way, "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." In other words, REMEMBER!

Third, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. When we love someone that much, we could never walk away from what they ask. A great source to study this more is a book by Mark Batterson titled Primal.

What are a few other things you can think of that keep us from falling into this trap?

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Asotin, WA, United States
Follower of Jesus, husband, dad, and called to be His torch bearer to the world.
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