Tuesday, March 19, 2013



  1. With impurities or unwanted elements having been removed by processing.

   This theme comes up in the bible over and over, usually in context to how purified and beautiful the gold and silver had to be in the old testament for the temple, but it also comes up a lot in reference to us going through the refiners fire.
   Psalm 66:10 "For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver."
   Isaiah 48:10 "See, I have refined you, though not as silver, I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."
   Jeremiah 9:7 " Therefore this is what the Lord almighty says: 'See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?'"
   I hear over and over again how hard life is for people, how nothing goes the way they want it to, how could a good God let all of this happen to them when they have believed in Him? 
   Whoever said the fire wasn't one of the best parts of the process? I truly believe that walking through the fire has been the best and worst times of my life. There is no denying how painful refinement can be, your character is tested at every turn and the ugly seems to pour out of you nonstop for a while. In reflection you wonder who are you? When did you become the person focused on so much negative? Take heart, the Lord has BIG things for you- that is why you are being refined and the unwanted elements of your character are being burned out of you! 
   What is the purpose of this life? To glorify God- most believers would say- to tell others about our gracious and loving God. Sometimes we have ideas what that will look like and when it is different than we thought- when it is painful and makes us sour- we start to wonder if maybe we heard God at all, was that Him? Did i make that up and somehow i am now on the wrong path? Most of the time, in my experience, that is the voice of the enemy I have allowed into my heart. It is those times at my darkest, during the hottest part of refinement, that I wonder why did I go this way? 
   Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who willingly chose to obey the Lord and quickly found out it meant they would stand in the middle of the fiery furnace. The Lord protected them, and no doubt they had gone through refinement just as you and I do, before they were brought to this choice. The strength of their character was the prelude to this momentous story of obedience to the one true God. 
   We fight the fire. It's true right? We HATE it. We thought "Yes! I am ready for this God, test my faith and make me strong!" And when He did, we whined. Right? I know I do not only speak for myself. It NEVER looks like we think it will and yet we still assume we know better than God what our "test" should look like! 
   The fire may be every single person in your life disagreeing with the direction you know the Lord has lead you on. It may be that you have the support of those you love but every single thing has gone wrong since the day you decided to walk in obedience. Maybe the Lord told you to have faith and quit your job, or move and now you are looking at your checkbook wondering how you can manage. Maybe the ministry that you serve has changed and you don't see how you fit in anymore and so you wonder if you should leave. 
   I don't know what your fire looks like but I can tell you this: how you choose to walk through it will decide where you come out on the other side. Are you fighting refinement? Do you wish you didn't have to go through it and thus you have dug in your heels and refuse to go forward and only wish to go back? You will stay in that fire longer, until you give up the fight and see that the Lord has good things for YOU and the people you are called to reach on the other side of that fire! Refinement is painfully awful at times, but when it is finished the product is beautifully near flawless and seriously more effective at capturing an audience than the hot product or even before the fire. 
   Stop and think, what does God have for me here? What am i focused on? There are people watching you handle the furnace, they may be little people you are raising each day, they may be people at your job or ministry, or just people on the street. It is easy to see when someone i walking through the fire, but what is absolutely remarkable is watching someone walk through it with grace and love knowing the other side holds for them a beauty beyond imagining. Look around, know that you're in the fire, and willingly surrender what you hold tight to the Lord and know He does not intend evil for you- He wants to refine you in this situation in this time for a reason you and I do not yet understand.

   Daniel 12:10 "Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand but those who are wise will understand."

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