Furnace People Understand Suffering

converter_furnace“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined.   Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.

Isaiah 48:10

“Once we have come through the ‘furnace of humiliation,’ desperately, fearfully clinging to Christ for all He is worth, then we are fully equipped to march into somebody else’s furnace.”

‘Blessed with Bipolar”

Becoming a real and an authentic person starts with some basic responses that we’ve made in the presence of Jesus. Amazingly, this simple faith becomes the sole prerequisite granting us the right to enter in the promises of the Lord. If you have those promises you may enter in. However without faith in those promises you won’t find anything real or true. You cannot handle the Kingdom of God unless you’re walking out a brokenness and humility.

Furnace people will often recognize those without any real and tangible connection with God’s work. There are furnace promises, but they, without truly understanding them will walk around in a deception. Often ‘they get religion.’ These are those who land on “the rocky soil.” They become ‘quasi-disciples’ will do and say things that they really don’t really understand.

But furnace people have the connection to that which is honest and true. They rarely enter into anything false or manipulative.  Their own hearts are transformed by the fire, and only then are qualified to minister God’s grace. Only furnace people can enter in. You will know them by their scars.

The Church has a tremendous need for those who have withstood the furnace of humiliation. After we endure its ugliness, and its great evil, we’ll discover that we’re in an altogether different place than when we first started. The Church is waiting for those who went in and then come out on the other side.

I was thinking today about Joseph, and his ordeal, as found in the Book of Genesis chapters 37-50.  He was a rare kind of person. Perhaps, one in a billion. You may emulate but never attain his faith. His confidence in the Lord was true and unassailable.

ironworker (1)Furnace people have the ability to function gracefully at this particular stage.

Furnace people are sovereignly brought to a place where they can minister the grace of God into desperate situations. We must convince ourselves, that furnace people have a gift.  They have been through the worst.  They may be battered and bruised.  But they still stand.  We must look to these who are the gracious agents of a loving God.

Our brothers and sisters have carried the Word with wisdom and grace. They come to us, through the fire. Will we recognize them when they come?

My hope is that you would personally grasp what God has worked in you. That really is your true directive.  The things good or bad, that have happened to you are part of how you’ll understand grace. He awaits for you to respond.  Will you come to Him, through the grace you find in the flames? The most gracious people you’ll ever meet are those who endured God’s furnace.

 “He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.”

Malachi 3:3

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More Like a Romantic Kiss

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“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
For your love is better than wine.
3 Because of the fragrance of your good ointments,
Your name is ointment poured forth;
Therefore the virgins love you.
4 Draw me away! “

Song of Solomon 1:2-4

“Dear God, I think about you sometimes even when I am not praying.” 

Elliot, “Children’s Letters to God”

It may seem heretical, but it seems that spiritual growth is being reduced to ‘bullet points’ of a presentation. And that really does scare me.  We are looking to fall into a trap ‘head over heels’ right into a place that has promised so much, and yet delivers so little. We have been reduced to a mindset of which the ‘disciplines’ of the Christian life have become formulaic, and  robotical.  Somehow, we are missing the purpose as our discipleship begins to grow hard and slowly turns to stone.

But a kiss, on the other hand, is undefinable; it can’t be quantified and defies rules.

I fear the formula, and repudiate the rules.  I am disturbed that our discipleship can become self-moving, self-regulating, self-starting.

When will realize that Jesus is looking for lovers?  Somehow we think we can extract romance, diminish intimacy and choose to walk mechanically through life.  We are losing our created and given purpose to be in close fellowship with Him.

There is a monstrous industry in all of this, a callous system. With the absence of an intimacy with Jesus, the following will actually become dangerous.

  • formulas, counselors, life-coaches
  • training programs,
  • media: books, podcasts, TV
  • conferences, prophetic worship
  • magazines, “special” books
  • inspirational speakers, favorite Bible teachers
  • and even websites, (like this one!)

We often turn to them to get what we think we need. The delusion is that we can become moral and true, without an intimacy with Jesus. I guarantee this, without a deep intimacy with Him, these “things” will invariably disappoint us. But truly, we seldom do intimacy well.

Authentic growth will not happen overnight.  Many get so disappointed, and disillusioned that they just quit walking and become hardened aand very unhappy. They may or may not become apostate. The Lord sees them, and loves them at a distance.

We can’t use the above list, but the Holy Spirit can.  He uses these things, but there can never be confusion on who is working. I must relate to Him and strengthened in His strength.  I must be as intimate as I can in His presence.

There can never be an authentic spirituality, without a real romance with Jesus We must be taken up with Him and enthralled.  We must recover the “courtship of the Lord.” Prayer starts to become a passionate tryst, and worship an affair of the heart.  This where we meet begin to meet him directly, and authentically.

For good people, God is a religion. For the saints he is a kiss and an embrace.

Passion, and not principles (even if they are noble ones) will carry the day. It’s about desperation, not obligation.  I will be the first to admit that these maybe these differences seem subtle and trivial, but they’re not.  Romance brings roses to a rendezvous, with a passionate and openly declared ‘first love.’ Yet so often we shuffle in and grovel to bring our list of things we need or want. Few be the lovers, that find true contentment and freedom and real peace when they are alone with their Beloved.

 

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