Friday, October 16, 2009

2009 – Day 288.Oct 16 – A Desert Retreat

Passage of the Day: Devotional focus on Acts 9: 20 - 25 … Acts 9 linked for study …

2nd Passage for Study: Devotional focus on Galatians 1: 1 – 11 … Galatians 1 linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
We know that Paul, the converted Apostle, spent about three years in the deserts of Asia-Minor, somewhere around Galatia, being prepared by God for the Ministry unto which he was called. It was there that this converted Jewish zealot really became a changed Christian missionary; and God, the Holy Spirit, along with Paul’s prodigious knowledge of Hebrew Scripture, transformed the theology and spiritual outlook of this man of God, morphing him into a truly Godly man.

Paul had to learn to examine all the theological and traditional teachings of his former teachers, like Gamaliel; and he had to surrender to the teachings of God’s Spirit thru the study of His word on such topics as God’s sovereignty, election, man’s depravity, and above all the divinity of Christ. But this brings up a very salient point. It’s difficult for us to be all we can be as Christians, … called as we are by the Great Commission (see Matt. 28: 19 – 20) or by God’s call to witness in His Name (see Acts 1: 8). Yes, it’s difficult to be these witnesses we are all called to be unless we understand and have a grasp on sound Christian doctrine.

There’s a reason why most young Christians, who have a calling into Christian ministry, go off by tradition/practice (usually to some accredited school) and learn about God’s truth in the way it’s preached and taught in God’s word, even studying the ancient languages of Hebrew and Greek so that these young Christians can become more Godly ministers or missionaries of the Gospel. The question becomes: “How well versed are most of us in God’s truth so that we can be effective witnesses for the Gospel in our lives?”

Personally I think there is much doctrinal and biblical illiteracy in the Christian church today; and many of those who call our selves “Christians” are not as well versed as we should be in the basics of the Bible so that we can effectively be able to witness for our about God’s truth.

Am I saying that all Christians should go off into the desert and get their Christian doctrine straight? Or should we become a monk for a number of years, as did Martin Luther, to understand the intricacies of Scripture? Or does the Christian life demand two or three years of Seminary to get what we need in foundational doctrine to be a witness for Christ? … Absolutely not!

However, I am saying that many of us need more foundation when it comes to Biblical doctrine so that we can stand and be witnesses for our Lord in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to Christianity.

No, I don’t need to become an Apostle Paul or a Martin Luther; but I do need to be a Bill Berry who understands the Bible well enough to make sound, Godly decisions. I do need to be able to know enough scripture to be able to reject heretical teaching, like that put forth by crack-pot televangelists who are teaching a lot of the spiritual garbage found on so-called “christian” TV these days. It’s frightening to think how people like Oprah Winfrey and others are having so much influence over Christians when what they are putting forth are lies from the pit of hell. But Christians are buying in to many of those lies because they simply don’t know enough truth from God’s word to be able to recognize when Oprah is telling them a lie.

Here’s my bottom line today. Paul is an example of how God, the Holy Spirit, can transform the mind and heart of a Christian; but Paul had to do his due diligence to study and learn sound, foundational Christian doctrine; and so do we, my dear Christian friend! We need to be studying the world of God from trustworthy Christians teachers enough so that we can decipher the will of God and walk in the ways of God. I can only pray that we’re doing that.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, God … precious Holy Spirit, teach me in Your ways and make Your will clear from Your word. Amen

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