There is a confidence in knowing that God, our father uses the plots and schemes of the enemy for our good in the furthering of His campaign. This tends to provide assurance especially in difficult times when the answers are not coming to the questions. The promise of "all things working together for our good" can sometimes be all we see on the horizons of our faith and sometimes that’s all it appears to be - just a promise.
No we may not literally find ourselves incarcerated in the dungeons of Pharaoh because we decided to share our intimate dreams with those closest to us, or face the threat of a den filled with hungry lions for choosing to get out of our beds to pray. We may not find ourself comfortably hidden in a cave awaiting the promotion that God promised while all the while fleeing from the present administration. However, there is something very real about the heat of trials that afterwards yield the fruits of God’s increase. The preparation that is before the promise can sometimes cause us to question whether or not it’s worth the wait.
We hear people say things like “ the greater the trial, the greater the anointing.” That all sounds good, but we hesitate in asking God for a greater anointing; it’s almost like asking for more patience especially when you consider that one of the times Jesus was anointed was prior to his burial. In other words, when we think of dying to ourself it’s not something we voluntarily embrace. There is one anointing we seek however, it’s an anointing of fire; that anointing that guarantees the incineration of the ungodly chaff that hinders or blurs the image before us that we pursue.
Making Hot, Hotter
When the Prophet John “the Baptist” testified of the one that was to come after him - Jesus, he stated that “he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with Fire. Mat. 3:11” Indulge me for a moment. I once worked in the Greenhouse of a small Community College where I was taking Ornamental Landscaping. At the time I had dreams of owning my own landscape company; but a few 102 degree Tennessee summer days will change anyone's mind especially a seventeen year old. Anyway there was a technique that we used to make certain that the plants remained hydrated as much as possible. The first thing we would do when we arrived in the mornings was to fill our spray bottles with liquid soap and by doing this we allowed the water to adhere to the already drenched foliage; we simply made the water wetter. It seems that the Holy Spirit as “fuller’s soap”does the same thing; he makes our water wetter. The preparation referred to in Malachi .3:2 literally meaning to trample with the feet, which is the fuller’s process for cleansing.
We use to say all the time that even things that seemed accidental were ordered by God. Question is, can that apply to uncomfortable situations where your life stands in the balance? The answer would be a definite yes.
Change is Necessary
Lukewarmness can be a very dangerous place for a believer and I’ll be the first to say how easily we get locked into patterns of life often because they involve some sense of ease or security. It wasn’t long after moving to Michigan that I found myself out of the nice job that brought me here. My prayer at the time was simply, “Lord, don’t leave me on the street. A new city and not knowing how to get around brought some real challenges. After I landed in a shelter (homeless) I realized just how fragile life could be. God used that trial and I started ministering to many of the men there, then came the distraction - beauty. I remember standing on the bus stop trying to get back across town, after being where I shouldn’t have been in the first place. Unfamiliar with the transit schedules I decided to ask one of the young men in the store what time the next bus arrived; he answered me with a really nasty tone as though I was interrupting something; I had no idea.
When the guys came out of the store and went around the corner I immediately heard a gunshot. One of the guys then came back around the corner no doubt considering me an eye witness to a murder and began to empty the clip of his 9mm automatic. To my amazement and especially considering he was at a point blank range of about 15 feet I was untouched. It would have been easy for me to say he just missed, however the business across the street heard the first shot and wondered how I could be standing there when the bullet holes in the pole behind me were obvious. These type of episodes will definitely get your attention. It was the Prophet Isaiah that described the dangers of an unwillingness to change as “a covenant with death that will not stand.”
As much as we hate the trials of life they can provide a freshness to our walk with God, an anecdote for the lukewarmness that clings to our Christian lifestyle. I believe that God is about to incorporate some individualized, customized fiery days ahead. In short, we (the Church) have become very comfortable in our way of living.
15Because you have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol (the place of the dead) we have an agreement--when the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter.
16Therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a Stone, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone of sure foundation; he who believes (trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone) will not [b]be ashamed or give way or hasten away [in sudden panic].(A)
17I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plummet; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the hiding place (the shelter).
18And your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol (the place of the dead) shall not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, then you will be trodden down by it.
19As often as it passes through, it [the enemy's scourge] will take you; for morning by morning will it pass through, by day and by night. And it will be utter terror merely to hear and comprehend the report and the message of it [but only hard treatment and dispersion will make you understand God's instruction].
20For [they will find that] the bed is too short for a man to stretch himself on and the covering too narrow for him to wrap himself in. [All their sources of confidence will fail them.]
[but only hard treatment and dispersion will make you understand God's instruction]. Isa. 28:19 Amplified
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