Walking Past Danger on a Chain

pilgrim_s_progress__chained_lions_by_douglasramsey-d7i7hot“…There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold…” (1 Pet 1:6,7 NLT).

God is allowing something right now to happen in your life to observe and evaluate your confidence in the truth and promises of scripture. He wants to see if you can face life’s challenges that normally would cause depression, anxiety, fear, loneliness and guilt. The sense of danger always seems to be our reaction to serious problems. Hey, problems are problems and that never changes-but what is the solution? What is the way out? The Teacher knows the answers to the test He is giving and He grades you according to your correct or incorrect response. God knows how we will react, but we do not know.  We think we do, but we really don’t. What we believe is seen in how we react to trials just verbalizing our statement of faith.

As we trust him in the storms of life we will see more of his power and nature, not our achievements. God does not polish our trophies he purifies our being and shows us who He is. We say we know what it is to trust in God, much like knowing the answers to a test. God tests that assertion. God is in total control of the test and as a child of God, he is not out to destroy you but remove the unwanted element of self reliance. tested faith, perseverance in full blossom in the ratification of our faith. It is now faith with some muscle. It is my conviction that the test depends on what level you are, every test is adjusted accordingly-and you will walk past the real danger not realizing until later, it was on a chain.

I have paraphrased a story from the classic book Pilgrims Progress in which the traveler named Christian came to the top of a hill and saw two men running at full speed the wrong way. The name of the one was Mistrust (which means full of fear) and Timorous (which means full of doubt). They were on their way to the Celestial City but they had seen blood thirsty lions and were on their way back to their homes in the City of destruction.

Christian became afraid when he heard this, but there was no where to go. He knew the only place of safety was moving forward towards Celestial City. Mistrust and Timorous ran down the hill, and Christian went ahead. But realized he lost the scroll of God’s promises somewhere earlier that day. After a long search he found them but now it was dark and he still had to face those monsters of which Mistrust and Timorous had warned him.

As he walked he saw on the side of the road he saw a beautiful palace and as he began to walk toward it there was a narrow passage. Then he saw the Lions. They were growling and vicious. He did not know how he would get past them and he was about to turn around when a man named Watchful yelled to him, “Don’t be afraid of these lions for they are chained up and they are left here to test if travelers have genuine faith. If you stay in the middle of the path they cannot touch you.”

He walked right through them and they roared and clawed at him but did not injure him at all. Christian was not only relieved but he started clapping and shouting!

All of your trials and difficulties are chained. There is a divine restraint on your difficulties. That should bring great confidence in God. Oh trials are real, this is not a game, but they are on a leash. No matter how difficult the trial, God has restrained it from destroying you. Already you have seen others run away from something that you faced. You were no better than them, but you knew you had no other choice but to serve God. You thought, “I cannot go back because there is nothing to go back to.”  You kept your eyes on Jesus and walked past the danger on a chain. 

You went on thinking that you might fail but that did not stop you. You kept going and saw God was true to his Word.  You thought you might lose everything and instead you gained more than you could have dreamed. You even thought you might die, and you are still alive. All things are designed by God for his glory in your welfare and nothing that happens to you even though it hurts you will not harm you (Rom. 8:28). All God requires is forward motion. Keep going. Keep believing. Stay on the path. Walk past the danger on a chain. 

© 2015 Soul Health Care-give credit where credit is due. Thou shalt not steal.

FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES

imagesThen I said, ‘I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name.” But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jer. 20:9). 

A fire has been burning deep within the earth and anthracite coal fields of what used to be a small community called Centralia, Pennsylvania since May 27, 1962.  The temperature exceeds 1000°F and emits poisonous gas. There has been no success in extinguishing the fire and eventually the whole town was evacuated in 2012. At this rate the fire will burn in the earth for another 250 years. This is quite a phenomena.

It is like what we see in this passage.  Jeremiah does not want to preach anymore. He feels like a failure and no one is listening. One man said that Jeremiah is suffering, acute “prophetitus” because not only are there no results in his ministry but people are getting worse.  God seems to be giving him no words of encouragement at all.  Jeremiah said that he wanted to forget about preaching God’s words but there underneath the earth of his being there was a fire in his belly, a burning in his bones and he had to speak.

God told Jeremiah early in his ministry, ” I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.” (Jer 5:14). God also describes the characteristic of his word, “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jer 23:29).  The word was like fire and there was not some dichotomy, some separation from what was in his mouth and what was in his heart.  The Word was a fire and He was on fire with the Word. The word in his heart was heaven birthed and nurtured and God deployed it from this man. He was made to do this. The more he held back- the pressure of the divine furnace in his bones began to force its way out of him.  He was worn out from holding back what was in his heart-he had to speak it!

A Christian, especially a preacher should be a person on fire for God. This does not refer to melodramatic public speaking but they are men who have been touched by the Holy Spirit’s fire. A Christian is deeply affected by the permanent work of the Holy Spirit in the new birth and being made right with God by faith alone.  Also, a person is deeply impacted by the baptism of the Holy Spirit as it comes with its life-giving wind and purifying fire.  But there comes a time for some when they realize the call of God to gospel ministry and preaching is God’s will for them.  There is nothing like it in the world. There is no vocation like it. You cannot think about doing anything else.

Those who have the call of God in their life to preach are precious and few. A man of God should be like a burning and shining light (John 5:35). When the Holy Spirit speaks through them after prayer and as they deliver the message their heart burns (Luke 24:32). The scripture is illuminated to them (Ps. 119:130), the anointing comes upon them (Isa. 10:27)  and Christ speaks through them and elevates their words (Luke 21:15). They become soul doctor’s to the needy and weapons against the forces of the devil. Satan and his emissaries will cease at nothing to hinder these agents of the gospel and discouragement and depression are his most powerful tools against them (1 Thess. 2:18). Thus he must use the sword of the Spirit to battle against those forces personally (Eph. 6:17; Heb 4:12).

A gospel preacher is very serious about what he says in the Lord’s name and he expects others to take it serious. If the man behind the pulpit believes that what he says is only a sermon and he does not believe that he should let God speak through him he obviously has not taken his responsibility as a messenger of God seriously (1 Peter 4:11). They need to get on their knees in prayer and ask God for his mercy to reveal his message through them (Dan 2:18). God says, And I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be speechless and unable to rebuke them, for they are rebels. But when I give you a message, I will loosen your tongue and let you speak. Then you will say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!…” (Ezek. 3:26-27NLT).

© 2014 Soul Health Care Ministries. Give credit where credit is due.