Wednesday, December 28, 2011

God Separates ………..

“Don't become partners with those who reject God.  How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong?  That's not partnership; that's war.  Is light best friends with dark?  Does Christ go strolling with the Devil?  Do trust and mistrust hold hands?  Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God's holy Temple?  But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way:

"I'll live in them, move into them;
I'll be their God and they'll be my people.
So leave the corruption and compromise;
leave it for good," says God.
"Don't link up with those who will pollute you.
I want you all for myself.
I'll be a Father to you;
you'll be sons and daughters to me."
The Word of the Master, God.”   II Cor. 6:14-18 Message Bible

When I first became a Christian I was taught that I must be “separate,” that is, I must cut all ties with sinful ways and worldly associations.   On the strength of Paul’s admonition, that is a necessary thing to do. (II Cor. 6:14-18)

But I soon discovered that God did some “separating” of His own, a separation from my own brothers and sisters in Christ.   Of Joseph it was said that he was “separated from his brethren” (Deut. 33:16).   That separation took place when God determined that Joseph was to be the “prince” of the family, and it was affected when his brothers sold him as a slave into Egypt.   The man separated by God was then separated from his family and all for an important reason.

Joseph’s separation from his family was necessary in order to make possible his rise to the Egyptian throne, which made possible the cradling and growing of the infant nation of Israel.  Unless Joseph had been “separated,” Israel would have been destroyed by powerful enemies.

Immediately after his conversion, Paul “conferred not with flesh and blood” but went into the desert of Arabia, separated from his brothers.   This was another of God’s separations and it rendered Paul unspoiled to be a fresh, open messenger to the Gentiles (Gal. 1:15-17).

I am to separate myself from sin; the responsibility is mine alone.  But only God can separate me from my “brothers,” a separation that is designed to create a special messenger, a special voice, to communicate His message in a given and sometimes crucial situation.  If God separates me, I must accept it without question, knowing that separation from my family, friends and job is a transitory phase of my ministry for God that always results in “good,” both for me and others (Gen. 50:20).

“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left”.  Matt. 25:31-33 NLT

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