Friday, August 1

Put a refining fire to that which you hear.....

For I have given you this as an example, so that you should do [in your turn] what I have done to you. I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, A servant is not greater than his master, and no one who is sent is superior to the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed and happy and to be envied are you if you practice them [if you act accordingly and really do them]. John 13:15-17 (AMP)

There is none in the Body of Christ that can judge another. Convict of sinful actions, yes; but only with the ultimate goal of restoration to grace and peace, which can only be achieved by the journeying alongside the 'sinner' in their journey of redemption. Too often, though, we isolate the fallen brother or sister and much like Adam did in the Garden, worry about God's ability to bring about restoration in that person's life. We abhor sin, rightfully so, but we also lump the person in the same boat. There are many warriors falling on the battlefield as the enemy's attack get more and more specific to the carnal knowledge he has of each of us.

Theologies, doctrines, and religious movements that pursue a false god and a false hope claim many who aren't willing to look deeper, to seek more, and to 'flex the muscles' of their spiritual Father.

I have been often one of those, who don't realize the abilities that God has developed into my faith muscle and I abhor the false doctrines, laced with some biblical truths in many circumstances, that seem to permeate the Christian Church in these modern times. It seems that the more we become 'technologically savvy', the less we are spirituallly pure.

It is my fear that we've reclaimed Adam and Eve's original outlook; surely there is more to it than this. We can handle being gods!

The prosperity doctrine that Pastor Henry W. Wright preaches, which is being taught in my current church home, is one such doctrine that is laced with biblical truths and form an all too-human desire to remake God into something that we can stomach. He wants NOT to heal us, but to have us never be sick. They point to twenty years of research, biased I believe (with good intentions), as their authority to declare such things. And some of the testimony, even one within the church family I fellowship with, is astonishing and astounding in its' declarations of God's power.

But, in the declaration God Himself made, that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts, it seems that God Himself is making a stance that opposes such theology.

As I've written in a previous blog, God led me to a verse in Ecclesiastes, 7:14 "In the good day enjoy good things, and beware beforehand of the evil day: for God hath made both the one and the other, that man may not find against him any just complaint. (DRB)." The whole context is that God is working our lives in such a manner that we will not have any lack of experiencing this life when our time to go home, or His Son's return, happens.

Which makes sense to me, when you look to the words of Christ, in giving us 'an abundant life'.

Of course, I could be wrong, which is why Christ tells us to test one another, like iron sharpening iron.

Does God heal? Yes, I believe that He does, in a multitude of ways. And, He doesn't heal, also for many reasons. Why? I think Carolyn Baker articulates it well in her prayer for today.

"I look all around me at the people You have placed in my life, and I am astonished at the very real condition of their hearts and souls, where You are consistently placed first in their lives as they refuse to sellout to anyone or anything. These great soldiers in Your army, my brothers and sisters in Christ, are everywhere. I look to my family, they are there. I look to my church, they are there. I look to the everyday “Saddleback Sams” and I see your passion and strength of character. I am so grateful for the glimpse You give us of those with whom we walk this path. I reflect often on how very human and less than perfect we are. Still, we are standing firm in our belief that we can make a difference and acknowledge that we are told by our Heavenly Father to never cease trying to make a difference.........We may fail, we may make wrong choices along the way, we may give in to our own selfish needs, but You still work through us - it astounds me. It is not over when we stumble and fall. I am learning to be grateful for these lessons you teach me because when I am able to stand up again I may be battered and bruised, but I am stronger."

Increasingly, though, in the Body....disagreements over doctrine is becoming a 'deal breaker' and there is no room for a diversity of leadership in what the 'bottom line' is. You either agree or you go somewhere else that is more aligned with your theology. I'm not saying that there aren't truces being made, where one just doesn't speak what they believe, but rather; there is no disagreement between teachers allowed to the degree where those who have opposing views are allowed to teach and the individual of the congregation makes their decision after prayer and study.

"These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judging is not good: Whoever says to the guilty, You are innocent"—peoples will curse him and nations denounce him. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come upon them." Proverbs 24:23-25 (NIV)

We need to test each other, and not only do so in accord, but call a spade a spade and a orange an orange. This half-way doctrine of tolerance isn't tolerance at all, as we Christians are experiencing in the culture of the times.

"In each of our own lives, there are areas that need to be, or are already being burned up -- consumed by the "Refining Fire" of God's Holy Spirit. Yet God has also provided for a renewal in us...a "seed" of something brand new, which can only be birthed by intense heat." George, WorthyNews, writes in his devotional, "This new seed, however it manifests in our lives, represents the resurrection life of Christ, which emerges in the presence of His purifying fire. So the Lodgepole Pine is a picture for us, of resurrection and hope in the midst of fiery trials."

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NLT)

Whether you believe the doctrine of Wright's 'God wants us totally heathly' or otherwise, there are some wisdom and understanding to be gained from such teachings. It must be held against Biblical truth, though, and that is where I find Wright lacking. But, the days of the 'hear it and believe it' are gone, regulated to the memories of times past.

You must, as you should always do, guard what you take in your heart and hold it up to the light of Scripture. Dig deeper, with your eyes upon the One who knows all things, and you will find what you seek......

Just remember; You should first seek God.

Otherwise you fall prey to your own motivations and perspectives.

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