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Monday, August 19, 2013

In The Crucible or Your Captivity?

When in moments of intense suffering and uncertainty you are in the crucible with God or a captive of the devil. In the crucible or your captivity, either will impose pain but it's purpose rests in the eyes of the beholder. Both will produce a fate whose product rests in the selection of your master, God or the devil. Pray your choice is accurate for the sake of purification and refinement into something precious.

This past weekend I had the tremendous privilege of speaking to several teenagers and young adults at a couple of juvenile detention centers. What a tremendous day and opportunity. From the start of my week of preparation it was obvious to me there was a battle raging between good and evil. I felt uneasy and restless. The devil surely intends on keeping his captives, while God the father desires to set captives free. My only remedy was to immediately call upon an army of prayer warriors to cover the full week with prayers.

The battle is real and the day of the event only seems to solidify that reality. That morning as I literally began my setup for speaking to the young lives in the detention facility, my computer failed to boot-up. After multiple attempts, we prayed and I spoke without it. My travel to the next location required some extended time and I continually tried to boot-up my computer with no success. Upon my arrival at the next location I was immediately informed most of my audience would not attend due to the lock-down of several resident halls. An incident occurred that morning. The devil is intent on holding his captives.

I asked my host if I could use his computer which was working perfectly fine as we commenced setup. Twenty minutes later, although the computer acknowledges the existence and installation of my external drive we could not locate my files. With the audience in wait, the solution required the use of a third and slightly remote computer in order to access my files. Finally, all of my tools were available as designed. Due to time constraints we could not engage in worship songs to prepare our hearts. With a short intro I began to speak immediately. The end result was approximately 70% of my audience stood to rededicate their lives to Christ and fill a firstborn son role for their family. Each person also committed to build a new personal and family legacy.

The view and perspective of our personal crucible is powerfully critical at every moment we spend within. A crucible is a place or occasion of severe test and trial. A crucible is a place of intense and concentrated heat used to purify and refine precious minerals such as gold and silver. The juveniles had to realize their crucible (confinement) is for purification and refinement, not merely detention for their failures. As such, each person's fate or the product of the crucible is dependent on which master (God or devil) he serves. The same also goes for the legacy (family and personal) each detainee leaves, especially upon departure from detention.

The Apostle Paul gives us an image of the ultimate end goal, the victor's crown in 2 Timothy 4:6-8. Paul also does a masterful job of revealing to us his personal crucible of shipwrecks, imprisonment, robberies, and more in 2 Corinthians 11:21-29. Mature Christians understand the purpose of suffering, while the world is confused about suffering as is revealed by King David's situation in 2 Samuel 12:15-23. David's servants could not understand his behavior of relief following the death of his child for which he had spent days fasting and praying for healing.

We must allow our personal crucible, whatever it may be, to achieve its designed purpose with proper perspective, and in submission to the one true Master, God the Father.

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