Friday, September 6, 2013

The Bait of Satan, John Bevere

I am torn in the review of this book. Several years ago I received several copies of books written by John and several penned by his wife. The books were a "gift" from a woman that had motives other than promoting Christian growth in a person. So - maybe - I operated under the spirit of offense when I first read this book. Several years ago - I packed up the entire lot and donated them to the local trash dump. So this being said in all honesty I will say that I came to review this book now because a member of our current church was interested in this book and came to our home to see if we had it in our library. This sparked a conversation over the validity and scriptural depth of Bevere's works. I then logged on to the publisher's site and behold this book was available for review - and so I thought - well here it is I will just reread this book. Bevere's book is based on the vital need of forgiveness in the Christian walk. He explores that Jesus walked in forgiveness toward others and that we too should have this same attitude of forgiveness. However, forgiveness in it's truest state is beyond the scope of our flesh and blood and can only be accomplished in the walking out of ones faith in Christ Jesus - after all he is the author of forgiveness. Many will attack this author stating that all sin can not be forgiven or that Bevere is teaching to overlook sin. However, this is not at all what I think Bevere is trying to promote. He is promoting a deeper truth that transcends religion and causes one to walk in the spirit of Jesus Christ. He is exposing the truth that the Accuser of the Brethren seeks to entangle Christians in the bondage of unforgiveness by blinding them with certain religious beliefs, or by helping them focus on the injustice done to them. As aforementioned - I first received this book from a woman that stated she was a Christian. She was extremely close to me, and had done great harm both emotionally, physically and spiritually over my life time. Now here she stood "preaching" to me about the art of forgiveness while at every turn taking the opportunity to remind me what great wrongs I had done to her since my birth to her. So my reaction was to get rid of the book. Since this time I have forgiven this woman - as stated in this book. And - yes found that I can talk about my experiences with her without any terrible feeling of injustice about the wrongs she has done in my past. Did she ever "repent" of her sins or "turn" from and cease sinning against me - NO. In fact I finally had to stop being around her. However, my attitude did change. Instead of anger there was a deep sympathy. You see I don't over look or justify her sin rather I realized that I must free her to the hands of the one who can change her and this meant that I had to act in forgiveness beyond what I could do in the flesh. It meant that I must release her from my prison of unforgiveness. This I believe is what Bevere is in fact talking about. He is pointing out that when we do not forgive we are in a prison, we become easily offended and actually handicapped in our ability to operate correctly and freely in the Kingdom work we are called to. When I was first handed this book I could not receive the message because I operated under the spirit of offense - "How dare this woman, who can't and hasn't ever forgiven a single person - dare to PREACH forgiveness to me". Now - without that spirit of offense I look at the world and sin differently. By operating in forgiveness we free ourselves to offer the love of Christ to the world. It does not mean we turn a blind eye to sin or to those who sin compulsively. It simply means that we forgive and act in love toward the sinner in the hopes that this extended grace will help them to see their need for forgiveness from the saviour and eventually lead to their repentance of the sins they have committed. Also I believe that Bevere is trying to convey the thought that there are times when a person will never ask for our forgiveness. One example that I can think of is a person who has committed sexual sin against a child - from experience I know that I will most likely never hear or see the sexual predators that tore away my childhood innocence repent and turn from their sin and even less likely will I hear them ask me personally for forgiveness. Bevere encourages the reader to release the person through forgiveness. I can again attest that there is a freedom in this. No longer do I think on these events with a heavy heart, nor do I secretly long for revenge, nor do I keep these memories locked away because they are too terrible to handle. Instead it is quite the opposite. I can think of this people with a great heaviness for their salvation, I pray for these people that at some point they may encounter the God of grace before it is too late. Furthermore, I can with a peace that transcends this world, say with all confidence what these men meant for evil my God has worked for good. This same statement can be used of my mother and others. They operated in the world and under the influence of the spirit of religion and under the influence of the enemy's deception and their works were meant to derail God's plan in my life and to cause me to stand captive in a prison of unforgiveness. However, now through forgiveness, I can see that God used each of these things to accomplish his work and is still using those things to do His work. For without having had to walk through them I would not be able to reach out to others in the same areas and say "Forgiveness is possible". Bevere has indeed written a book that will cause great controversy simply because of the charged topic of forgiveness. So read it in a prayerful attitude and seek the Lord in areas that you may need to operate more in forgiveness. Then act upon what the Lord has told you as an individual.

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