Refiner’s Fire

When I was in high school, we used to sing a song called, “Refiner’s Fire”. The lyrics said, “Purify my heart / let me be as gold and precious silver / purify my heart / let me be as gold pure gold / refiner’s fire/ my heart’s one desire is to be holy / set apart for you, Lord / I choose to be holy / set apart for you my master / ready to do your will.” There’s some more to this powerful song, but this is the part I want us to focus on today. It’s a prayer giving God permission to use fire to get the junk that doesn’t belong out.

I’ve seen a couple of shows where they show how they refine gold. The fire gets so hot that the gold melts. When that happens, the impurities come to the surface. The refiner then takes it off the top so when the gold cools, it’s pure. What a great picture of how God works in our lives. Difficulties often bring the worst in us to the surface. We can choose to have these impurities removed from our lives or we can be bitter. I believe God tries to purify each one of us to help us become the person He created us to be. Don’t run from the Refiner’s Fire. God is doing a work in you through it.

Here are some verses on being purified through the refining process.

1. In the same way that gold and silver are refined by fire, the Lord purifies your heart by the tests and trials of life.

Proverbs 17:3 TPT

2. I will take action against you. I will purify you the way metal is refined, and will remove all your impurity.

Isaiah 1:25 GNT

3. I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, “These are my people,” and they will say, “The Lord is our God.”

Zechariah 13:9 NLT

4. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

1 Peter 1:7 NLT

5. Lord, you can scrutinize me. Refine my heart and probe my every thought. Put me to the test and you’ll find it’s true.

Psalms 26:2 TPT

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Waiting For God’s Promise

Waiting on God to fulfill His promise can be like waiting to open a present at Christmas. We see it there with our name on it. It is ours, but we have to wait. Every day you see it there. You’re ready to open it and use it, but the time has not come. There is always a waiting period from the time you are promised something and the time that you get it. How you spend that time matters.

There are 3 lessons we can learn from Abraham and Joseph while waiting on God to fulfill His promise to you.

1. Don’t preempt God

When God spoke to Abraham and promised him a son, he was about 85 years old.He could not see how God would do what he said he would do. He decided to intervene on God’s behalf and make the promise come true. He ruined a relationship and started a feud that goes on to this day.

When God makes a promise, our desire is to see it come to pass immediately. Often we are the ones who are unprepared or ready at the time a promise is given. We think we are, so when it delays, we try to step in. God does not need your help to bring about what He has promised. He needs you to prepare to receive it.

2. Bad things may still happen to you

Joseph received a dream that everyone, including his brothers and parents, would bow down to him. Being young and foolish, he had no problem telling others what God had intended to be just for him at the time. While he waited on God’s promise, he was beaten by his brothers, sold as a slave, taken to a foreign land against his will, worked as a slave, was wrongly accused, thrown in jail and forgotten about.

I’m sure it was difficult to trust God to fulfill His promise in any of those situations. You never read of Joseph complaining or crying out “why me, God”. The bible simply says that in each instance, he worked. In working, he found favor with those around him. God used those situations to prepare him and to get him in place for the promise. You may not like or understand what is happening to you in the waiting, but if you trust God and work for Him, He will fulfill it in His time.

3. Have patience

This is easier said than done. Abraham waited 15 years before God fulfilled his promise of having a son. He just thought he was too old at 85! For Joseph, it was 13 years before he interpreted pharaoh’s dream. It was at least more than 7 years after that before his brothers came and bowed down before him. I’m not saying you will have to wait 15 or 20 years for God to fulfill his promise to you, but it could.

We want God to act in our time. We want Him to fulfill His promise when we think we are ready, not when He thinks we’re ready. Patience is tough. Waiting is hard. God may show you the end result now, but wants you to take one step at a time. He may not show you the step after that until you take this one.

What step has God called you to take right now to move towards the fulfillment of His promise? Are you willing to trust Him and His timing? Take each step one at a time. Don’t preempt God. Understand that things may happen between now and the time of fulfillment. They are there to prepare you and to place you. Above all, have patience as He works to bring it about. He keeps His promises.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Red Light Green Light

A fun game to play with a group of kids is Red Light Green Light. All the kids start out on one side while you’re on the other. You turn away and say, “Green light!” Their job is to run towards you as fast as they can while the light is green. Randomly, you turn and face them and yell, “Red light!” They have to stop immediately. If they move during red light or don’t stop, they get sent back to their starting point. You repeat this process until someone reaches you, then you start all over.

Following where God leads can feel a lot like that game. There’s a series of red lights and green lights along the way. If you’re looking for a pattern, you won’t find one. There are times when green lights seem to on,y last for a short while, and red lights can take years. We love the green lights because they make us feel like God is doing something in us and that we are being productive for Him. When the red lights come, it can feel like we’ve done something wrong. That’s not the case. Red lights come for many reasons. It can be to protect you, to teach you, to grow you, to wait for someone else’s obedience or some other reason.

The important thing is to wait where God has you for as long as He deems necessary. The Israelites went through this in the wilderness. Numbers 9:22 says, “Whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud [of the LORD’S presence] lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the Israelites remained camped and did not set out; but when it was lifted, they set out” (AMP). We don’t want to go where God’s spirit isn’t leading us. If you’re in a red light season, it’s ok. You’re where God wants you and that’s the best place to be. Rest in His presence because your green light will come.

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Frustrating Faith

The night I proposed to my wife, I had planned it all out and timed it as well. When she opened the card I gave her, it contained a clue to where we were going to have dinner. Once she figured that out, we headed that way. During dinner, I slipped the next clue to the waitress to give to her. On and on it went as we drove back and forth across town. She didn’t know where I was going with the clues or what would happen next. At each place, she only got a clue to her next destination. Finally, after she followed all the clues, we ended up at the spot where I wanted to propose.

Following God’s plan for our lives can feel a lot like that. It seems all we get are clues that don’t really tell us where we’re going. They only tell us enough to have to step out in faith and rake the next step. Many times we aren’t even sure if that’s the right place God is leading us. It can feel frustrating sometimes not knowing for sure what your next step is or even the end game of where He’s taking you. We know He has a plan for each of us, but walking by faith and trusting Him is often difficult.

Moses felt your frustration too. In Exodus 33:13 he expressed what many of us feel when he said, “If I am so special to you, let me in on your plans. That way, I will continue being special to you. Don’t forget, this is your people, your responsibility” (MSG). Like us, he wanted to know more of God’s plan. I love God’s response in verse 14, and I believe it’s for us too. God said, “My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.” You and I don’t need to know the end game, but we can rest in knowing that God’s presence is with us as we go. God will walk with you step by step until He completes what He began in you.

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Everyone Is Doing It

If you were ever a teenager, I’m sure you did something that everyone was doing. While you were getting in trouble for it, I’m sure you let your parents know it as well. It was then that they uttered the phrase, “If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?” I think it’s a right of passage that we have to go through as a kid and then later as a parent. It’s easy to justify my actions when I’m not the only one doing it. It’s like there’s this hope that my punishment will be spared because everyone else was doing it. That when we first learn that just because everyone is doing it, it doesn’t make it right.

Our world has wandered far away from God. It has called things good and acceptable that God has called sin. It has passed laws to make things legal that God has made illegal in His Law. The world, now more than ever, is pressuring the Church to follow along with its ways more than God’s ways. It is calling us to go along with it because everyone is doing it. Your parents were right. Just because everyone is doing it, it doesn’t make it right, and it sure doesn’t mean you have to go along with it. Remember we were called to be salt and light in a dark, godless world.

You might not have known that the advice your parents gave to you when you were younger was from God. In Exodus 23:2, He said, “You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong” (NLT)”. No matter what society does or what the majority agree to, as Christians we must follow God’s laws. Can the created overrule the Creator? God’s ways are not our ways, and I might add they’re not the easiest. I’ve learned that I don’t always have to understand why God made some laws the way He did. What I have to know is that I will be held personally responsible for my actions, even if everyone is doing it.

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Needing A Hero

Have you ever been the hero in a situation? It feels good to be the person who came in at the right time with the right skill set. Aside from being a situational hero, we regard someone as a true hero when they risk their life to save someone else’s. When they see a person that needs to be rescued, they don’t think twice about what they need to do. When they’re asked about it after the fact, they’ll say, “I’m not a hero. I just did what needed to be done.” Stories of rescues captivate us and get our attention. I think God Out that in us because we’re in the middle of a rescue story.

Every one of us, whether we know it or not, need to be rescued from sin. Jesus saw our need and came to earth with the spirit of the rescuer in Him. He not only risked His life to save us, He paid the ultimate price so that you and I could be saved. Even though He gave His life for us, it’s still up to each one of us to decide whether or not we want to be rescued. We were born into a situation where we can’t save our selves. We must be rescued. The Rescuer made a way for us to be rescued, but again, it’s something we must choose. Jesus did what needed to be done, and He’d pay that price if it was only for you. Will you let Him be your hero?

Here are some Bible verses on being rescued by God.

1. God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it!

John 3:17 TPT

2. Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself [as a sacrifice to atone] for our sins [to save and sanctify us] so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, in accordance with the will and purpose and plan of our God and Father– to Him be [ascribed all] the glory through the ages of the ages. Amen.

GALATIANS 1:3-5 AMP

3. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.

2 Corinthians 1:10 NLT

4. He gave himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to him alone and are eager to do good.

Titus 2:14 GNT

5. It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else! God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: “The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.”

Romans 1:16-17 MSG

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The Spiritual Odds

In Deuteronomy 20, Moses gave the Israelites a reminder that is good for us too. In verse 1 he said, “When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you!” (NLT) He knew that there would be battles they would face where they were outnumbered, outgunned, and out resourced. He knew that, as people, we would look at those things and be would allow fear to come into our minds.

When I was a kid, my brothers and I would always want to take things to a vote because we knew we had more votes than our parents. My dad would say, “Ok, but our vote counts as one more than yours.” Without knowing it, he was demonstrating what it’s like to have God on your side. It doesn’t matter how many problems you’re up against, you have one more solution than problems because God is on your side.

God wants to remind you today that with Him on your side, you are never outnumbered, outgunned, or out resourced. You don’t have to be afraid of what you’re up against, no matter what the physical odds are. The spiritual odds are in your favor. In Joshua 1:9, God again reminds us of this promise. He said, “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” So be strong and courageous today. God is with you. There is no need to be afraid. Walk in victory. The spiritual odds are in your favor.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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