Crushed....Again

 

"And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, 'Take, eat, this My body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of Me.' " I Corinthians 11:24...."God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers He uses to crush us with.....If we are ever going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed, you cannot drink grapes."  Oswald Chambers

 

I'm vacationing here in Colorado Springs, but even in a time of refreshment, the hands of the Master Potter continue to shape me. That shaping is always humbling to my flesh, and all praise to Him that it is.  On my first night here, full of expectation of a great week filled with enjoyment, I "suffered" what in the scheme of things was an unexpected but very minor mishap.  It was no big deal, but I was upset about it, and allowed the enemy to steal my peace and joy.  Within a day or so, I was fine, but what was key was that I had allowed him to rob me of nearly 24 hours of the assurance, strength and sense of His presence.  I was humbled by that.  I have always described the consecrated, sanctified life as that of being broken and re-broken, surrendered and re-surrendered.  It is, but my flesh does not at all enjoy the process.  I suspect yours doesn't as well.  Just yesterday, I got His refresher course in this truth.

I was reading an online story of how 11 Syrian believers were first beheaded by ISIS, and then had their bodies hung on display for two days afterwards.  They were part of a ministry team, and one part of the team was a 12 year old boy, the son of one of the members.  The leader of their ministry group had pleaded with them to leave the area as ISIS militants approached their village. They refused, feeling they needed to stay and minister the love of Christ to the panicked residents. The team, comprised of both men and women, were there when the radical ISIS troops arrived.  They were beaten and tortured.  The women were raped. Witnesses to the brutality say that they met it all with prayers on their lips and faces that could only be described as portraying the serenity of His Presence.  All were given the chance to deny Christ, and all, including the 12 year old boy refused to do so.  So they all died.

When I read that, I was once more broken.  As Chambers writes, I was crushed.  Just a few days previously I had allowed my world to be shaken by the trivial, and for a moment, lost sight of my Lord.  These 11 brothers and sisters in Christ, one a mere child, faced the ultimate sacrifice with an assured faith in the One they lived for, and now would die for.  They would not deny Him, yet I, in a time of pressure and stress, did. No, I didn't renounce or turn from Him as a life choice. But for that time, by my allowing the present circumstance to cause me to lose sight of Him, did, in a sense, deny Him.  How many other times have I done so?  How many times have you?  How many more times will there be?

It is often said that we in the west know little of real persecution, though trust me, that is rapidly changing.  Still, in our self-absorbed culture, both secular and church, we view every inconvenience to a good life as devastating.  We're thankful that our Lord Christ gave up His Body as broken bread and poured out wine for us.  We just don't wish to do the same for Him.  We're thankful He was crushed or us, but we've no desire to be crushed for Him.  Such an attitude was unknown to those 11 brethren in that remote village.  Does this crush us, or, do we just go on about the business of securing a good and prosperous life and so are untouched and unbroken by it all?  

 

Broken and re-broken.  Surrendered and re-surrendered.  Do we really want to live such lives?  All who say they are His will be brought to the place of that choice.  When we are, how will we choose?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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