The Cure for Human Reasoning and Tasteless Seasoning

I. When Human Reason Equates to Tasteless Seasoning

                       (Based on II Kings 7:2)

 

There once was a man whose reasoning

Was like a tasteless seasoning.

Like salt that’s lost its flavor,

It simply would not let him savor

The truths locked up inside God’s Word –

In this case, prophecy he’d heard:

That, “About this time tomorrow”

God would end the city’s sorrow,

And this town by famine torn

Would have good reason not to mourn

Because the “shepherd of the sheep”

Would make the food supply so cheap.

 

But in a town besieged with war,

This reasoning man could not ignore

The bitter strum of endless doubt

Which in his hungry ears did shout,

“On your own strength you must rely.

For it you don’t, you’ll surely die.”

 

II. Human Reasoning Can Lead to Doubt

 

So, when Elisha gave the word,

He chose to question what he heard.

Instead of shouting, “What great news!”

He sort of blew a little fuse,

Recoiling almost instantly.

“You make it sound as if it’s free!”

 

“Who are you – some cute Pollyanna

Trusting God to rain down manna?

How He would do that, I can’t see.

But even so, how could it be?

My human reasoning says no,

It cannot fly, it will not go.”

 

This man on whom the king did lean

Could not accept what he’d not seen.

Nor could this person understand

What his intellect could not command

But let his reasoning replace

The mighty wonders of God’s grace.

 

III.  Jesus Can Cure Tasteless Seasoning Caused by Human Reasoning

 

He had allowed his faith to rust

And so lay trampled in the dust.

But that need not be so with us

If we’ll let Jesus steer our “bus.”

For He is THE true bread from heaven

Whose Word can counteract the leaven

 

Of legalism and deceit,

The tasteless salt we cannot eat.

He adds true flavor to the meat

Of joy that makes our lives so sweet.

His faith enables us to receive

What human reasoning won’t believe.

 

 

 

Digging Wells that Demolish Writers’ Blocks

Digging wells is important, I have discovered, for dispensing living water that refreshes thirsty souls. When I first received the prophecy concerning God’s Word pouring out of me, I experienced a flood of inspiration. It bubbled up in the form of poems, skits, humor, stories, and profound Biblical insights. Drops of truth few others had dug up shone like gems inside my mind. I couldn’t wait to share them.

Then the Philistines came along and sought to plug the writing wells I dug by faith, while I following in the footsteps of Abraham, the man of faith. The Philistines, fathers of giants, used destructive criticism to dump dirt on the golden nuggets that sprang forth from my well. I had barely started digging but they wanted me to stop. Their intimidation tactics made me want to give up.

“After all, why write something nobody cares about?” they whispered in my ears.

“What if no one reads this novel you’ve been working on for years?”

“This isn’t right. You’re too obsessed. This work consumes you.”

“It’s an idol, not a gift.”

Their taunts, though true, hit my ears like clashing gongs. Forget the “diamonds  in the rough” I had unearthed. All they chose to feast their eyes on was the mess. As I listened to their digs, my pile of unpolished gems turned into a mountain of a writer’s block: huge, overwhelming, and impenetrable. With that as my focus, I’d never get anything to drink!

Let’s face it: Digging wells isn’t easy, but it’s the only way to move that writer’s block – because sometimes you have to move more mud out of the way to reach the water. Besides, that mud is packed with gems of inspiration. The more you dig, the more you’ll find.

For example, the first few gems you unearth may contain bits of dialogue. Later on, you may see some characters take take shape. Moreover, despite the fact  that  digging wells can be a years-long process, you’ll eventually hit water – but only if you keep digging.

Inspired by the story in Genesis 26:15-22

Deborah and the Foreshadowing

Deborah was a prophetess looked to for guidance during the oppressive rule of Jabin king of Canaan. The book of Judges chapter 4 tells the story. Jabin was a “jab-bin’” sort of guy.

“Jab, jab, jab. Ow, ow, ow.” “Get your rotten chariot off my foot!” Oh, for a ditch in which to pitch his iron war machines!

The tyrant was mean and well armed. But Deborah was wise. She received strategy straight from God detailing how to beat him. She shared her battle plans with a man named Barak, telling him exactly where to go and what to do.

“God says He’ll hand the jab-bin’ guy’s Army General Sisera over to you. So, go to it and do it!”

Barak hesitated. “That Sisera guy is no sissy,” he must have thought. So, he told Deborah, “I’ll only go if you go with me.” Was Barak acting like a sissy by insisting she support him?

“Sure, I’ll go with you,” Deborah said. “But because you’re being weird about it, it won’t be for your glory. God will hand Sisera over to a woman.”

The men in this story are nothing without the women. But that’s how it has been from the beginning.

“It’s not good for man to be alone,” the LORD had said when he made Adam, the first man (see Genesis 2:18). “I will make a helper for him.” How was Eve to help him? Well, God had given Adam a job to do, tending to the garden of Eden. He warned Adam not to eat from the knowledge of good and evil, but the serpent deceived Eve, who in turn led Adam into temptation. Could he have resisted the forbidden fruit she offered to him?

Obviously, he should have, but he didn’t. The result was tragic: a life of grueling toil for men; hard child-rearing for women (raising them is ten times harder than giving birth); and a lifetime of slavery to sin. For they had both sinned against God and “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 3:23). However, Adam is the one who passed sin down to all of us  (Romans 5:19). Through his offense, death reigned (Romans 5:17).

Yet God did not look to fallen man to solve this problem, for it is not man but the devil who had the power of death. Adam was simply the one who handed it to him, after he listened to his wife who helped lead him into temptation. Satan had used a serpent to deceive Eve, who gave her husband bad advice. The Apostle John in Revelation 12:9 describes the devil or Satan as the old serpent who deceives the whole world.  

Deborah encouraged Barak to do the right thing and “resist the devil” if you will. The devil in this case was working through Jabin and Sisera to keep God’s people in bondage. Deborah was not deceived but believed what God had spoken to her. She knew that God had called a man to battle this devil. He wasn’t strong enough to do it by himself, however. The job required a woman’s touch.

Jael, a woman Sisera trusted, helped lure this devil to his doom. He was deceived into believing that she had his best at heart. But while her enemy was sleeping, she took a nail and crushed his head, thus bringing deliverance to the people. By way of a metaphor, she parallels the virgin Mary, who helped fulfill God’s promise given in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed (Jesus); he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The Hebrew word for “bruise,” which some translate as “crush,” carries with it the idea of breaking or overwhelming. Satan bruised Jesus’ “heel” upon a cross, but Jesus crushed Satan’s head.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14

 

 

Cessationism and the Charismatic Church

Do you long for revival, to have God’s fire burn in you?

Do you want to do more than sit in a church pew?

It has been my experience that ministry opportunities are often few, especially in churches which don’t allow for spiritual gifts such as tongues, prophecy, or miracles.

I believe that the doctrine of cessationism, which says that so-called “charismatic” or “Pentecostal” gifts aren’t for today, causes more things to cease than tongues. It causes hope to cease and the power of God’s Word to lose its relevance. When there’s no expectation that God will step into the meeting place and do something really awesome, then people start to leave. They start to get bored.

“I didn’t come to church for this lukewarm bath!” I can hear them say.

But oh, we must be careful of the wolves in sheep’s clothing, for what Bible-believing Christian isn’t familiar with Jesus’ warning that not everyone who calls him Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven?

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in they name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 8:22-23)

I Corinthians 8:3 tells us that “if any man love God, the same is known of him.”

In other words, it’s not the use of spiritual gifts such as casting out devils or prophecy that Jesus is against. It’s that they never loved him. They never really got to know him. If they prophesied truth, it was not in love. They might have cast out devils, but welcomed bigger devils into their homes. Judas is a prime example of a disciple who went out with all the rest to heal the sick and cast out devils (see Luke chapter 9, verse 2). He was involved in wonderful works, yet he had no true love for Jesus and in the end betrayed him.

Though there may be many who operate in false gifts or prophesy out of their own minds, that doesn’t mean that spiritual gifts have ceased. Take Ahab for example, the fleshly king who had four hundred false prophets prophesy success for him in God’s name (see I Kings chapter 22). There was one man, Micaiah, who had a true gift of prophecy for Ahab, however. He spoke a truthful word and Ahab had him thrown in jail.

If Jehoshaphat,  the godly king of Judah, had ignored Ahab and heeded that word,  he wouldn’t have gone to battle with Ahab and nearly gotten himself killed. True spiritual gifts – in this case, prophecy – can save lives, yet some people insist on preaching against such things. The number of anti-charismatic sites on the web is  astounding.

Spiritual counterfeits cause people to be disillusioned with spiritual gifts, but think on this: Satan is below God, not above him. He can’t counterfeit anything of God that isn’t real. When he couldn’t stop Jesus from casting out devils, he had men accuse Jesus of doing the devil’s work. Now he uses the doctrine of cessationism to accuse Jesus’ followers of the same thing.

After all, if gifts such as tongues and prophecy have ceased from operating in the church, then God can’t be behind them, can he?

I’m not saying we should accept every tongue or prophecy that comes our way, but we need to use discernment because for every four hundred false prophets there’s liable to be at least one true one. The same goes for tongues, as well as for every other spiritual gift. We shouldn’t let Satan scare us away from spiritual gifts that are still for today.