Bridge Family Devotion (January 18, 2014)

We continue our journey in Acts 22 as Paul was arrested because of the religious people’s accusations and they were trying to kill him. Paul asks to speak to the religious leaders himself and we pick up his testimony, Paul had supernaturally received his sight back and has given his life to the Lord and was baptized.Acts 22:17 “After I returned to Jerusalem, I was praying in the Temple and fell into a trance. 18 I saw a vision of Jesus saying to me, ‘Hurry! Leave Jerusalem, for the people here won’t accept your testimony about me.’

Paul then reminds them of how, after this life changing experience, he came back to Jerusalem but while he was praying in the temple, he had a vision which warned him to leave Jerusalem because the people were not ready to accept what had happened to him. It’s easier for a sinner to hear truth that will set him free than it is for a religious person to hear and receive truth. Religion based on tradition will cause a person to close their ears, close their minds and even close their eyes to the truths of Father God’s Words.

We need true religion based on the Word of Father God not traditions:
• Religious traditions are about doing not being. Many believe the more I do the better off I will be seen in the eyes of Father God which is not true. Only the BLOOD of JESUS can make us RIGHT in HIS SIGHT. We do things in and for His Kingdom because we are part of the Kingdom not trying to get into the Kingdom. Only one way in and it’s not by works but by the blood of Jesus. Once the blood has been applied then we do, then we change, then we live a life which glorifies Jesus.
• Religious traditions are about what was instead of what Father God wants. Ever heard the saying, we never did it that way, if so it probably has become a tradition and all traditions are not bad but if it hinders what the Holy Spirit is trying to do then it’s deadly. Jesus came breaking a lot of traditions and it upset the religious because they had never seen or done it that way. Jesus came and spoke to the wind, spoke to a tree, spoke to dead people and they arose, touched lepers and they were healed and the list is endless. Jesus didn’t break the law, He fulfilled the law. Jesus destroyed religious traditions and opened a door for a real relationships with Father God which Adam had lost.
• Religious traditions are about how it makes me feel instead of Kingdom focused. Church services have been and still are too many times about us. Well does it make me feel good, does it encourage me, and does it make me (un)comfortable; when going to the Lord’s house should be about Him. Let’s learn to be about Kingdom not ourselves, it’s not about what I want but about what He wants. I want to sing songs that invites His presence in, I want to give Him praise that creates a throne for Him to sit upon, I want to pray in a way to honor Him not so others can talk about how elegantly I pray, I want an altar call led by the Holy Spirit where people find real help. Let’s never get bogged down in the past when there is a present. None of us like change but without change there is not growth.

In Mark 7:13, Jesus said this:
New International Version Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
New Living Translation And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”
English Standard Version thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
King James Bible Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
International Standard Version You are destroying the word of God through your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other things like that.”

In every version, it says the same thing, by your traditions you made the Word of God powerless in your life. I don’t want to fall into a religious mindset and keep the Word of God from working in my life. The religious got upset with Jesus in this passage because the disciples didn’t wash their hands before eating which was tradition, how childlike. Jesus said you are more worried about your traditions than you are the lives of men and women. You are more worried about your songs being sung, your name being called, your order of service, than you are about My Kingdom, My Presence, My Will. Let’s desire a relationship with Father God and His Presence above all else.

Prayer Thoughts: Father God help me to decrease so you can increase in my life. Take away any judgmental spirit or critical spirit in my life. Help me to never put my personal wishes and traditions above what you desire to do. Help me to know you in a greater way and learn to hear and follow the voice of the Holy Spirit completely, in Jesus Name!