Apples of Gold

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If it be of God

''Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.'

Acts 5:38-39.

Our God is still the God of miracles and wonders. Many I am sure believe that because over 2000 years have passed since the miracles which the disciples performed that somehow or other the Lord has lost His power or ability or even desire to perform such wonders in the year 2003. Absolute nonsense!

Our God is alive and all power in Heaven and in Earth belongs to Him alone. He may do as He pleases. He governs all His creatures and all their actions. He it is who gives us our next breath. Try arguing with Him when you fear you may be taking your last breath!

Ananias and Sapphira found out to their cost the wages of their folly. If we all took Peter's statement to heart then the world would be a fitter place to live. 'Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.'

Perhaps we should think on that text the next time the thought of saying something that is not true comes into your mind!

I believe those who serve the Lord in the front line suffer the most. Being about our Master's business will not prevent us from trials or persecution. In many cases it hastens it! Prison is a frightening prospect for us all, especially a spiritual prison.

There are times when our Lord shuts His people away through ill health, infirmity or perhaps having to look after someone else. Confining us to our homes when we would much rather be in the house of prayer. These seasons are for our good. It is not that have done anything wrong. He separates us for the work whereunto He has called us.

It is all part of our training. If we are separated from the world and all its distractions for a while, it is because He wants us to be more attracted to Himself.

Of the times and the seasons when prison doors are shut and then opened are all under His control. It is good if we can bear such without murmuring against the Hand that provides for us. This I know is not easy and I for one fail daily.

A clear command was given to the disciples on their release. 'Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.'

A clear command, carried out to the letter, yet once more it resulted in friction and opposition. Thankfully Gamaliel seems for a moment at least to possess a measure of inspiration. He tells the folk plainly that if what is happening is the work of men then it will come to nothing, but if it is from God, then they cannot fight against it!

When we are perplexed on the subject of guidance, it is good to have this confidence. We may confidently put our case before our God seeking only His will to be done in our lives. If we acknowledge Him in all our ways then He shall direct our paths. Having therefore placed our situation before Him, we may thankfully rest in the sure knowledge of Him working things out favourably for us.

The outcome may not be as we anticipated or even expected, however if it is our sole aim to honour God, then it will be pleasing to our souls. If today we are lacking energy for the fight of faith and the zeal which once we knew has dried up then perhaps it is because we have been fighting against God for too long!

Nothing tires the Christian out like straying from the narrow way. I do not mean that a person is willingly going out of their way to sin, no I mean it in a different manner altogether.

There are many times in our experience when we will make decisions without consulting God first. I should correct that last statement. Many consult God but are not willing to wait for His answer.

It is then that we have the tendency to go our own way so to speak. We unknowingly wander from the narrow path thinking all the time that we are walking 'in the way.' It is only when the way becomes steeper and harder to climb that we wonder whether we have taken the right road or not.

Pride does not wish to own up to making an error of judgement so we persevere on our journey.

Days, weeks, months, even years may go by and we become exhausted. Our zeal has gone, prayer is such an effort, reading the Bible is just that, reading but not taking anything in. Fellowship with the Lord's people becomes tedious because no one really knows what is happening in our life. No one truly knows the hurt and anguish that we are going through. Loneliness is our constant companion.

No one knows what we are going through but ourselves! At times it seems more than we can bear. Nothing seems to go right. Every day is the same. Hope gradually fades and is replaced with despondency.

Life is not life, it is drudgery! It just cannot get worse than this! We become absolutely miserable. Not something that we will readily admit to our fellow man, but the One whom we are fighting against knows! HE is waiting for us!

The dawning of truth in the soul is both bitter and sweet. Bitter in the realisation of having taken the wrong turning in life and sweetness in repenting and turning once more to our God.

We are not to fight against God! We will never win! The relief of acknowledging our failures and turning once more unto God can be an awesome experience for our souls. We will realise the graciousness of our God when we realise that having thought all along that we were waiting patiently for Him, He was in fact waiting patiently for us!

Author - Iain Mackenzie

Edited by - Pastor Al Moak