When the serpent came to Eve in the Garden of Eden, he asked her: “Did God really say that?” She then doubted God’s words and listened to the rest of his appeal, and it led her to give in to the temptation.

When we know what God says and decide to look for a second opinion, we open our life up to deception and destruction. God is the creator. He knows everything, and He said what He said for our good.

It is to our peril that we do not know the Bible very well. It leaves us open to ideas that lead to deception and spiritual failure. In the church, we can get a crowd for music, entertainment or social things, but the Bible studies are always a small group.

There was a song a few years ago, sung by Doug Oldham, that went like this: “God said it and I believe it and that settles it for me. Though some may doubt that His word is true, I've chosen to believe it – now how about you?

“Do you believe that God created you, just like He told you in His word? Do you believe that every world in space came to place by His own power? Do you believe that God can change your life and give you freedom from your sin? He'll open every door that blocks the way. You can say within...God said it and I believe it, and that settles it for me.”

Francis Chan points out that the whole point of Jesus dying on the cross and being raised from the dead was to have a relationship with you and me. One that is not tainted by our sins because they are forgiven. One that is based on His love for us and our love for Him.

If that is true, God wants to talk to us. You cannot have a relationship without communication.

The Bible uses the phrase “The Lord says” 207 times. Paul says, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” That means God breathed it out through those who wrote it. Unless you think you are smarter than God, or even if you do, don’t argue with His Word. Man’s knowledge is limited; God is unlimited.

“And so the Lord says, They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote. Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites with amazing wonders. The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear” (Isaiah 29:12-14).

Is your Christian experience all about customs, rituals or rules? Do you have a form of religion without the power of God? Or do you experience His presence and power?

When God speaks to you, do you listen, trust and obey Him? When God’s word is clear, do you submit your life to it or look for a second opinion?

I think God will speak clearly to those who want to obey Him.

Rev. Paul McKibben is pastor of Grace Community Church in Osage.