Buffet

September 18, 2013

Buffet

2 Corinthians 12:7
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

The word buffet means to strike with the fist, give one a blow with the fist, to maltreat or treat with violence. This is one of only two places where this word occurs. In both cases the outward violence is prompted by a spiritual influence. Here Paul speaks of the afflictions in his flesh brought about by a messenger of satan. The implication here is that God permitted satan to afflict or beat up on Paul for the purpose of keeping pride in check.
The other scripture deals with Jesus, when the religious leaders are examining Him. “And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands (Mark 14:65).” We might observe that these buffetings were physical afflictions or attacks brought by satanic influence, but permitted by God.
The question then becomes why does God allow bad things to happen to good people. Why would God allow Jesus or Paul or any of us to be buffeted by satan, especially in light of the fact that he is a defeated foe. Hebrews 5:8-10 tells us of Jesus, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” The one principle we learn here is that in the place of suffering we learn obedience and submission. Paul says this in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” When we desire and press in to rising above our earthly state we are often met with great spiritual resistance. Of course we cry out to God, but God doesn’t always immediately remove our trial and test. Perfection in us is not brought about by our deliverance from every unpleastantry, but by our steadfast fast faith and obedience to overcome in the midst of trial and testing. It is counting God faithful even in the face of failure, defeat or loss.
Why would God be so hard on us? The condition of every precious jewel and precious metal, in it’s raw state, is mostly earth and dross and impurities, that’s us. God is the master jeweler, the great potter and the master craftsman of His creation. What He is working in you and I are nothing short of perfection and stunning beauty in His eyes. What we feel in the process is often rejected, persecuted, abused, afflicted, cast down. We are not so unlike Paul’s description in 2 Corinthians 4:7-8, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” Satan is simply a tool or hammer in the left hand of God. While Satan may have delusions of destroying our faith, God’s intent is to test it, try it and temper it, dealing with it and burning away all of the impurities. He is giving us eyes for only Him, so that no matter our circumstance, rich or poor, sickness or health, success or failure, Christ is all and in all. Like Paul, we cry out for God to deliver us, but often His answer to us is the same that He gave to Paul, “My grace is sufficient.”
You are not enduring this buffeting because God hates you, or despises you, or is mad at you. You have been counted worthy to suffer the cross. You have been called to come into the ranks of the saints who ‘overcome by the word of their testimony and the blood of the Lamb; and they loved not their lives unto death (Revelations 12:11).’ Revelations 12:17 says, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” This is you and I.
If you are buffeted today rejoice in the love of God and that He has counted you worthy to be the ultimate instrument of His victory, glory and praise. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Romans 8:37)”.

Blessings,
kent

Treasure Unearthed

April 18, 2013

2 Corinthians 4:7-12
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Treasure Unearthed

I want you to imagine today the there is this large earthen clay statue of a man and it has been revealed to you that within this earthen clay man is a treasure of untold wealth, power and blessing. You can’t see it because it is hidden in this earthen covering of clay. If you are told you can have that treasure, but all you have to do is reveal it what would you do? Chances are that no matter how lovely the statue is outwardly, you no longer see or are concerned for the outward sculpture. You are intent upon reaching the treasure within. So you go to work on this statue with all of the tools that are at you disposal. You are using picks, shovels, sledge hammers, chisel and whatever else that will give you access to this treasure. While you are intently uncovering the treasure within, what is happening to this clay statue without? It is being put to death, destroyed and decimated. Yet what you discover is that the more the red earth is peeled away from the statue the more a new substance is revealed to take its place. It is a substance of life that cannot be destroyed and contrary to destruction it actually gives life to those who come in contact with it. All of your efforts to unveil and to remove the earthen outer man have left his clay flowing off of him like streams of water. What you have discovered is a new creation man under that earthen exterior that is only revealed more and more as it is attacked and put to death, not so much by those who are intent upon the treasure, but by those who are intent upon discrediting and destroying the treasure. The more others seek to kill and destroy it the more life that is revealed from it. After awhile the clay statue has been changed in its form. The treasure has been unearthed and it is the life of God, the Christ within that is the treasure that is now revealed. While death worked in the outer man of this clay vessel, the life of God was being revealed through the forces that were brought against it. Outwardly the old was dying, but the inner man was coming forth in life.
Such is the case in our own lives. We often see all of the forces of destruction and opposition in our lives as negative things. They bring to us much pain, anxiety, frustration and hurt, but each one of them causes us to reach into the resources of the treasure that we all contain in Christ. It causes us to draw from His strength, His healing, His forgiveness, His provision, His protection and His supply.
Paul goes on this passage in Corinthians 4:16-18 to say, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” What is within us is rock solid and it cannot be destroyed. Though outwardly we are perishing, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Our heart and our eyes are not fixed upon that which temporal and soon fading away. It is fixed upon the eternal, unmovable, unchangeable, unshakable, faithfulness and life of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Blessings,
kent

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