This is just an animated intro to this chapter: For those that are too lazy to read the whole thing ;) …READ IT LAZY BONES!
The Blacksmith of the Bitter Forge.
What is the state of your spirit today? Are you happy? Or are you distressed? Does your soul rejoice or is it filled with bitterness?
Time and time again, people say “Why should I care about being a Christian? God’s never answered my prayers.” Like God is some kind of mystical Santa Clause, who exist only for their personal gratification. Or there are those whom turned to Christianity, thinking that all their problems will go away, once they accept Jesus into their lives, and leave again if they are not satisfied. Though miraculously, for some, they get what they wanted… at first. But often times that is God answering the prayers of the immature and infants-in-the-spirit with the gifts of love and encouragement.
But eventually, as we grow more mature in our faith, we begin to feel those same old familiar feelings of pain in our life, sneaking back in. Only now we don’t have the same old excuse or ways of dealing with them like we did before. Violence or substance abuse are right out of the question, and relying on an invisible, silent God, at times, seems fruitless. So, now you don’t have the same tools you became so accustom to rely on to deal with this stress, like you had before. So now what?
For some of you, what I am about to say may make you reconsider your stance as being a Christian! It may even make you want to throw your hands up and walk away. Why? Because, in our ignorance of before, we could just fight and claw our way through our misery. Even if it meant hurting someone else to get to a point of feeling a little better. But this option is now taken away with your new life and new spirit.
47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
Sounds a bit unfair right? And, No, it doesn’t mean God is gunna’ beat you with a whip! It means simply that “ignorance is bliss”. It is always easier to deal with things if you don’t know they are there. But as you grow in the spirit, it also means that you need to always keep your soul in good shape or you will feel the pains of guilt and consequences, of your own doings. It is like the meaning of the word Karma or the old expression of “Ye shall reap what ye shall sow”
Job 4:8 Even as I have seen, Those who plow iniquity And sow trouble reap the same.
But the troubles we face are not always so cut and dry as; we brought them on ourselves. Sometimes life just seems a little too unfair, because we do sometimes harvest things we never planted. Not always are we deserving of the hand that life has dealt us. BUT, this is what you need to understand. LIFE HAS NEVER EVER BEEN “FAIR”.
How do you like them apples? Seriously, who told you life was “fair”? I know I didn’t and I am pretty sure that God didn’t. I even betcha’ that no one in your life has ever told you “Hey, life is fair”. But somewhere along the way, we all seem to have decided that it should be. In fact, there was this test done, a few years ago; not sure where off hand; but I get a real kick out of it. It was interesting because it shows our sense of “Justice” as human beings.
What they did was, they took a hundred people and split them into groups of two. Now to one person of the pair, the testers gave $100 dollars. But they said in front of both that “You may offer any amount of this $100 dollars to your partner, and if they accept it, you both can keep that money. But if you can’t come to an agreement, neither one of you will get the money”. Now ideally speaking, any amount you get is money you didn’t have before, and by that logic, any amount should be acceptable, right? But not to our human sense of “Justice”. The only ones that kept the money were the ones that agreed with about half as being the “fair” split. HALF!
You see, we all, want to be at least equal with the people around us. And we feel that we all deserve to be treated as equals and therefore normal. Or we feel like that our lives should be at least as good as, we perceive, other’s lives to be. And if not they should experience some of our pain and shame too, or it‘s simply “Not fair!”
In fact, I watched a show last night about children living in cars with their families. These were no lazy families, just they fell on hard times and couldn’t seem to get back up again. But what stood out to me was, what this one little girl said. She said something to the effect of “I see all these other kids that are rude and complain about such little things and they disrespect their parents. And I think, though I am glad they are not in my shoes. What if they were? They wouldn’t act like this if they really knew what it is they have. A home and a place to live and all the luxuries they have. I just wish they could see things like I see them”
WOW! This little girl is now my new hero. She didn’t complain. She lives in a truck with her brother and father. But they love each other though they have so little. And the two kids just write it off as “An adventure”, because they take what they have and see only the good that is learned by the hardships of life. Amazing family, may God help them and keep them.
Psalms 126:5 Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.
The thing is that often times we, as “Christians” rely upon God to make us whole without our efforts thrown in. Reliance upon God is very good… BUT… When do we pray, and when do we act? Prayer alone, is often, an act of cowardice because it is the failure to try to do something that is hard. Bravery is not the act of doing something without knowing it is hard, it is doing something despite the fact that you KNOW it is hard. Not to put to hard a point on this, but…
Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
If you are afraid to act, you often times, only perpetuate your current state of misery, and this divides you from the freedom and love that God is extending to you. Like a person hanging from a cliff and a hand is extended to you, you have to try to reach it, or you will be forever lost, and on your own.
We can not just rely upon God to do it all alone; to heals us and makes us whole. I am quite sure He can, without effort, but the real burden of effort lies with us. We need to put some real effort into this. The whole point of, this life, is to seek the reasons and answers ourselves, and then believe that He will give us the answers we seek. And trust me, He will give them to you when you try.
Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Also, often times people expect God to be more like a butler or waiter and just deliver them their heart’s desire on a silver platter. We, in a way shout “Okay Lord! I took the plunge, now deliver me (The stuff I want)”. It’s like that joke with the guy praying for God to deliver him from the rising waters of a flood. And several boats keep coming by and the guy keeps boldly saying “No” that he is “waiting for God to save him“. And then when he drowns and dies, he asks God in Heaven “Lord, I prayed and believed, so why didn’t you save me?” And God says “Who do you think sent you all those boats?”
I find it so sad to see that so many people have their image of faith mixed-up into their religious dogmas, that have left them a little blind to the truth. The truth is that God is real, but God is also not their to be treated as a genie. I went to a church once and the pasture said “Brother (So-and-so) just bought a Mercedes. And God wants you too to have a Mercedes to drive…” And my spirit screamed out “WHOA!”… cuz you know, Free Mercedes! Man, was I let down to learn the truth. I showed them, though. I never went back to that church.
Just because your soul is saved, it does NOT mean that suddenly everything will be okay in your life. Our problems simply do not vanish because we have faith or go to church or even pray. Our prayers are important and heard, but they are not always answered like we expect them to be. I will say it again for effect:
Our prayers are not always answered, LIKE WE WANT THEM TO BE.
It’s like praying for your football team to win a game; which is usually pretty pointless, since the other team is probably praying for their team too. God is very likely not going to grant the victory to the team that prays the hardest. The winner of the game is usually determined by factors like; skill, determination, weather, health, luck and other factors. What I am trying to say, is that life happens if you pray or you if you don’t. Things don’t always change your way, just because you want them to. Sometimes (mostly) YOU have to put in the effort into those changes yourself. BUT, do it WITH God’s message and conviction and love in your heart.
It is the state of your soul that our God concerns Himself with most. It is why you experience the life, either easy or difficult, that you live. Your journey is custom made for you and no one else. It is YOUR tribulations and your obstinacy and struggles to over come those obstacles that makes you who you are. It is your troubles and how you deal with them that shapes you.
The Process of Pain:
Isaiah 54:16 “Behold, I have created the blacksmith Who blows the coals in the fire, Who brings forth an instrument for his work; And I have created the spoiler to destroy.
God is often times referred to as the “Blacksmith” who pounds the metal of the soul into submission and He shapes and refines it to His needs.
Zechariah 13:9 I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”
It is the fire of the testing-of-life and then the coolness of the water of the spirit-of-truth that refreshes our soul. This is the process that He uses to forge us into an instrument and weapon of His using.
Romans 6:13 And do not present your members as (weapons) instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as (weapons) instruments of righteousness to God.
Life may have been hard for you at some point. Maybe you have been cheated, beaten, molested or any other unspeakable atrocities that mankind perpetrates one-upon-another. But do you wallow in that self-destructive dark place within, with the “Woe-is-me” attitude? Or do you do something about it? I know this sounds harsh, and I am sorry, but it is, what it is. Life gave you lemons and no amount of sugar will take away the sourness in your stomach.
Job 3:20 “Why is light given to him who is in misery, And life to the bitter of soul,
It is NOT your fault that life has heaped such harsh hot coals upon you. And your suffering is yours alone. It doesn’t matter if it is more or less than someone else’s sufferings. It is not a race or competition. Your pain should not be looked down on just because someone else does not share your pain in your soul. But this fire that has been heaped upon you is for a reason!
Proverbs 25:22 For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the LORD will reward you.
Symbolically, the coals of the head, is the filth of sin that clouds and dirties the mind. But to find the diamond hidden beneath, the embers of suffering need to be stoked to burn away the filth and leave a pure and crystal soul.
Luke 2:35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
You suffer, but this is the pounding of the hammer that rings in your soul. Each day we are tested by life and that is our fire, but the hammer is what shapes you and molds you. Without that SMASHING of your spirit, you would be flimsy and week and soft. And the first time the instrument that you are meant to be is used… you would crumble, or shatter and would be utterly useless.
Malachi 3:2 ” But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap.
But when that fire and pounding stops, we then meet the truth of God. His Spirit is so filled with mercy and love. It cools and soothes your soul like a refreshing drink of water on a hot day. It is like the love of a friend, the touch of a loved one, the affections of a pet. These things take, ALL THAT PAIN, ALL THAT MADNESS and washes the dross away leaving only the refined pure metal of the soul behind. And this water refreshes our spirit and solidifies our character, and prepares our soul for another foray of hammering and heat. And with each blow of that hammer, your soul solidifies into a PERFECT weapon of truth, that in the hands of a master, like our LORD JESUS CHRIST, can cut through anything!
Revelation 2:16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
YOU have become a weapon of pure metal, that can cut through ANYTHING! ANY… THING!
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
PRAISE GOD for your troubles! PRAISE GOD for your tribulations! Because you are being forged into one of the most amazing weapons the world has ever know. A weapon that shines with the light of brilliance that holds back the dark of night.
Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
You are not hated nor despised by God. Rather, you are loved without compare. God will never put you through more than you can take.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
SO WHEN THE FIRES RISE AND THE BILLOWS BLOW AND THE BEATINGS BEGIN, YOU SAY “THANK YOU LORD MAY I HAVE ANOTHER!” Because each blow makes you mighty. It makes you powerful… and God is a craftsman, not a butcher. So I will tell you that without a doubt you will shine with a brilliance of pure artistry and craftsmanship that all would look at with wonder and awe. Because every time I hear a story of someone rising to over-come, I AM IN AWE!
Revelation 1:16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
There was a saying I heard once, long ago, that went:To be cursed by the devil is to be blessed indeed.
That means he sucks, and YOU ROCK!… and God loves ya. Now go gladly and take that beaten of life, Because MY GOD is YOUR GOD and he says “DO WORRY, YOUR TOUGH KID. I KNOW BECAUSE I MADE YA’. YOU CAN TAKE IT!” (1 Corinthians 10:13 )