Thursday, March 25, 2010

Refiner's Fire

It's after 10......and for me that's like 1 in the morning. These days my body begins to shut down and crave sleep about 7:30. But tonight, I have a lot on my mind....and a lot on my heart. So what better way to end the day than meditation on the Prince of Peace and a quiet moment to blog.
*Warning. All future writings are my musings of things that I just must get out on "paper". They might not make sense...I is late*

I was have been reminded of late how God delivers us from trials. I am facing a major trial in my life right now in the area of self-control. Self-control to eat only what I need and no more and no less.....self-control to stay off facebook and write all the papers looming before me......self-control to keep my mouth shut about things God has not permitted me to speak........I struggle with self-control. Period. Now you all know my deep struggle these days =). I suppose the late hour has made me openly honest....Like Paul, I have begged God to take this "thorn in my flesh" away from me. But, like Paul, I am having to realize that He allows this thorn to remain so that in my weakness He might be shown powerful. "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" (2 Cor. 12:9a) I am praying...but I will confess, sweet reader, that I am still struggling to complete the verse... ".....therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me" (2 Cor 12:9b). Please tell me I am not the only one who hates boasting about a weakness. Paul blows my mind as he continues, "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulites. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:10) When I am weak....then I am strong. Reminds me of God's deliverance. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, I am learning that sometimes God delivers through the fire for the refinement of myself or as a witness for someone else.

~Sometimes He delivers from the fire, and we don't even smell of smoke.

~Sometimes He delivers through the fire, and it's painful. But we will come out "as gold refined"

~Sometimes He delivers us because of the fire straight into His arms.

I'm in the middle. I'm facing the fire of my struggle with self-control in a few areas and God is refining me so that someday I can help others along the way--and be stronger in HIM because of it. If ever you think of me, say a prayer for this refining time please......I want to only serve Him heart, soul, mind, and body. To do so this sin in me must be conquered. Only by His grace....

One of the things God taught me over spring break was the amazing thing about discerning His will. I was listening to Tommy Nelson's sermon series on Ruth with my family as we drove back from Oklahoma. His sermon was on determining the will of God and he made such amazing points that struck me. I'm not to worry about God's will. I am to focus on what He has given me to do today and right here, He will take care of the rest in His time. Ruth was a wise manager of her time and the task God had given her as she gleaned the fields for she and her mother-in-law. She could have worried about SO MANY THINGS. Important things like her dying legacy....the obligation to make sure she and her mother-in-law had food to eat...a strange land where she was an outcast....such worries would have driven me mad. I have been so stressed about finding God's will of late--so obsessed that I had let important things of today slide to the back burner. When God refocused my priorities through a study on the life of one of my favorite women, I found peace in letting His will come to pass in His time. OUCH...that Refiner's fire stings.

God also opened my eyes last night in church. Funny isn't it? We go to church on Sunday mornings.................and get convicted......................and then we forget by mid-week so we go BACK for another dose on Wednesdays. I love it! Thus is the reason I keep going back ;) But that's beside the point.
What God showed me last night was how I slander others without even meaning to. I have a big ole honkin plank in my eye and I stand behind others' backs saying, "ohhhh did you see that huge log they have in their eyes?!" Our college pastor read from James 4:11-12:

"Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks

against his brother or judges him speaks against the

law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping

it, but sitting in judgement on it. There is only one Lawgiver

and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--

who are you to judge your neighbor?"

That stung me. The pastor challenged us saying, "if what you say about someone neither edifies or encourages about them, why are you saying it?" How often do I whisper about someone to their slander? Sadly, not only do I do this out loud on occassion, but I also have the horrible tendency to slander them in my mind. This is just as bad! So there again, God revealed another area to the flame of refinement. Oh, God, make me clean!

I open myself to the refinement of my God, because I know He can be trusted. I struggle when I look into the mirror to see the beauty He sees. All I sometimes see is what I convince myself the world believes of me:
you are fat
you aren't very pretty
you aren't doing anything worthwhile
you can't walk in freedom
you won't ever be loved by a man of God for who you are and the struggles you face....
your life is a joke!

HA! And when I look at that pathetic list of lies Satan tells me every time I look into the mirror, I am made even more aware of all the refining God has to do to make me of purest gold. Oh, that I may boast of my weaknesses to proclaim all the more loudly of the strength of my almighty EL SHADDAI (the All-Sufficient One).

I don't know if you are being refined as I am right now, but I want to encourage you--as one tarnished gold temple to another, hang in there-->it's going to be worth it.

Thus are my musings at 11 o'clock......may He be glorified this night.....
Because He lives,

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