Easter - 2018

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The LONG process of refining and making maple syrup.

Seeking God is an effort of sacrifice and discovery. You probably have heard many sermons on Gideon’s fleece and how he tested God… but the reality the story is about how God was forming Gideon on his journey through seeking.  The pushing over of his father’s idols and the fleece without dew and fleece with dew was God working within the person of Gideon. God is refining his confidence and clarifying the future of having faith while living that faith… isn’t it true of you and me as well. God is working and building within us a new person that emerges from the depths of our heart.

God reveals himself according to our experience and in our experience God reveals himself to the world through you! Now Listen… that is a profound reality on our journey in the same direction of obedience. God is revealing himself in our experience and in our experience God reveals himself to world. Are you seeking God?

God is changing Gideon through his experiences… because if we read on in the text, Judges 7 reveals that Gideon puts together a great army and God rejects the army, and through a series of reductions, God reduces the army to 300 soldiers. Why? So that the world would know that ONLY GOD Could do this…only God could make this happen. God is working and reducing and refining and developing and revealing himself in the world in which you live.

Dr. David Osborn at Denver Seminary says, "Too often we try to use God to change our circumstances, while He is using our circumstances to change us." (Compass, April 2003) You see, God is right now in the process of making us like Christ.

Think of the process of refining maple syrup. Maple trees are tapped with buckets hung under the taps, and out drips a sap, which is thin and clear, like water. On a good day, 50 trees will yield 30-40 gallons of sap, but it is essentially useless at this point with only a hint of sweetness.

Then as the buckets fill, they are emptied into large bins that sit over an open fire. The sap comes to a slow boil; and as it boils, its water content is reduced and its sugars are concentrated. Hours later, it has developed a rich flavor and golden-brown color, but it must be strained several times to remove impurities before being reheated, bottled, and graded for quality. In the end, those 30-40 gallons of sap are reduced to one gallon of pure, delicious maple syrup, which is far better than the cheap, imitation, colored sugar-water that passes for maple syrup in the grocery store.

So it is when we come to faith in Christ. We start like raw, unfinished sap, which could have been tossed aside as worthless. But God knew what he could make of us. He sought and found us, and his skillful hands are transforming us into something precious, sweet and useful. The long and often painful refining process brings forth a pure, genuine disciple easily distinguished from cheap imitations.

Are you seeking ?  Jesus said in Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Don’t expect to open the Kingdom of God unless you are seeking the Kingdom of God.

We are on this journey together ... you know I love ya, Don

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