Thursday, January 31, 2013
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One of the temporary after-effects of my wife's bout with hepatitis years ago was some memory loss. Now, I forget a lot of things and I don't have an excuse. Well, for a while, my wife had a great excuse for forgetting some things, because that memory loss had some real effects. Like the day she left the pot of water on the stove to boil. She promptly moved away from the kitchen and forgot all about it. She told me she even forgot about it after she smelled something burning. So, she went all through the house; checked the dryer, checked the furnace. "What in the world is that burning smell?" Well, when she finally decided to check the kitchen, you can probably guess what the scene was. Oh yeah, there was no more water left in that pot; it had boiled dry. The burner was red hot; the pan had become part of the burner. It was bonded to the burner. It literally had to be broken off. Yeah, she needed some heat to do her job, but not that much heat!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Never in the Oven Too Long."
By the way, lest you be too concerned, that was a temporary memory loss, and she got it all back. Let's look at our word for today from the Word of God. Because it's a promise for people who are in the oven, you might say, who are suffering in some intense heat right now. 1 Corinthians 10:13. Listen to these familiar words: "No temptation (or testing, it could be translated) has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted (or tested) beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted (or tested), He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
Don't you love the promise of those words, "Not beyond what you can bear"? Those are words with your name on them maybe today because of what you're having to bear. God promises He will not take you beyond what you can bear.
I've always found potters to be intriguing. When we go to colonial villages I always enjoy watching them. I saw an interview with a potter, and she talked about how they take this formless lump of clay. And with their skilled hands on that wheel, they're able to make it into something beautiful and useful, and then the oven. They cook that piece of pottery that they've molded. They cook it at temperatures of up to 2,200 degrees to make sure that the shaping will last. It actually takes extreme heat to make the beauty and the usefulness permanent.
The interviewer said, "Well, is it possible to get the oven too hot for the pottery?" She said, "Oh, yeah. For example, if you get it up to say 3,000 degrees it will just melt down." But then she said, "The potter always knows the melting point." So does yours. God's bottom line in Romans 8:29, "He has predestined that you would be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus." He wants you to be like Jesus, so He uses the heat in your life to burn off the junk that might otherwise never come off. And God has been building in you lately a new love, a new patience, new purity, new faith to trust Him, new character. But if it's never tested, it won't last. You have to take that new you into some intense heat for it to become tough and permanent. If the new you can get through this heat, you'll have a powerful new confidence in God's work in you.
Right now, maybe all you know is it's really hot. Well, you have a guarantee from the Master Potter, "not beyond what you can bear." Oh, He might take you to the edge, but He'll never allow you to go over. God will let the heat make you stronger, but He'll never leave His masterpiece in the oven too long.