Throw Out The Bones

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you. Don't quench the Spirit. Don't despise prophesies. Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good. Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:16'22 WEB.

While traveling through Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with my pastor, we stopped at an old smokehouse restaurant and ordered some wood-smoked baby back ribs. They cooked the ribs right over a wood fire, and they were amazing. Yet, they had a lot of bones, which we were happy to pick through. It was so worth it. Years later, I still remember eating there. We ate the meat and threw out the bones. Simple enough, right?

In our church experience, I have heard great men of God say things I didn't understand or really even agree with. I tried to make it all fit somehow, but that created a mess in my mind. In the end, I had to start over and only keep the simple things He allowed me to understand. Then, let that slowly build.

Albert Einstein said: "If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself." So when I hear something that doesn't fit now, I just put it on the back shelf and think about it for a while. It may just get thrown out. I don't tell it to others until I understand it myself.

On the other hand, there have been sound biblical truths abused, and now mentioning them is almost considered "taboo." Yet, the truth will always be the truth. Our enemy loves to make our messages out of balance, too much or too little. He works to blacklist the blessings of God and to quietly erase them from our conversation. He will make something that God intended for our good begin to look bad to rob us of the blessing. Then, what could have been a blessing to the Lord's people becomes a curse.

For example, "Give, and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38)" will always work regardless of how many charlatans abused it in the past. Yet, by hiding this truth and removing it from our messages, the enemy essentially hides the key to the cell door of poverty prison and keeps God's people locked inside. Many agree with him and believe, "Hoard it all for yourself, and you will prosper." Yet, that isn't what Jesus Christ told us. The truth becomes reversed, and the blessing becomes a curse (Malachi 3:9). There is no gray area. God is generous, and He loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Another important truth that has been neglected is that we are not to "quench" the Spirit of God. This essentially means "Putting out the fire." The Holy Spirit has brought warmth and light to the Christian life ever since the day He came on the Apostles as "tongues of fire" (Acts 2:3, Matthew 3:11). He is still with us today. When you enter a spiritually dead church, the Holy Spirit has been quenched. What you are left with is a cold, dead, religious experience.

Paul singled out one spiritual gift with "Do not despise prophecies" (1 Thessalonians 5:20). I know the hair on your neck is probably rising, but I am only writing what the New Testament teaches as the truth.

We shouldn't treat the Bible like a buffet and drop the parts our denomination disagrees with or reverse the scripture's meaning. The Holy Spirit is still alive today. The book of Acts is still as relevant as ever, and the gift of prophecy is alive and well.

So be open to new things. Keep what is good. Throw out the bad. None of us are as smart as all of us combined. None of us have the entire truth, only parts of it, but we make up the body of Christ together. Don't try and keep what you don't yet comprehend. God can quicken His word and make us understand it when the time comes.

We are to test all things and keep what is good. We shouldn't ignore the truth because someone abused it in the past. We can't limit God to our own church experience so far, for He knows more than us. Jesus did no mighty works in His hometown because of their unbelief, but He did miracles everywhere else (Matthew 14:57). What if we are like them?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I believe in You! Please help me overcome unbelief. Lord, don't pass me by. Include me in what You are doing today. I want more of You in my life. Teach me what I need to know, and fire me up! Dry up the water that has been thrown on my life, and make me a torch for You. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!

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