Tag Archives: holy

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

Photo by raquel raclette on Unsplash

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You are a Temple of Grace

I was reading this morning in Scripture where Solomon completed the Temple and held a huge ceremony to dedicate it to God. HIs father David wanted to build the Temple but was unable to. He had prepared everything for Solomon to build and complete it. Once it was done, Solomon had a 7 day celebration and offered sacrifices to God. II Chronicles 7:1 says that when Solomon was finished praying the dedication prayer, the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple.

It got me to thinking about what Paul said about us in the New Testament. In I Corinthians 6:19, he asks, “Don’t you know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you?” Jesus made a way for God to live inside each one of us. Just as the Temple was dedicated to God, so should our bodies.

We don’t have to wait to be completed though before God moves into our lives. Each one of us is a work in progress. There is no one who has attained perfection and has the perfect Temple for God to live in. We can only dedicate ourselves to living for Him by trusting in His grace. Paul said it like this in Philippians 3:12, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection.” Paul is a man who wrote most of the New Testament and yet he still recognized that he had far to go.

I’m in that same boat. I have a long way to go to reach perfection. I don’t ever mean to imply that I have, but I sure want to press towards it. I want to live in the grace of God and live as much like Christ as I can. I will struggle each day to be more like him. The good news is that the grace He gives covers a multitude of sins. It makes up the difference in where I am and where He wants me to be. I heard someone describe God’s grace by asking the question, “On a scale of 1 – 100, how good would you say you were? What God’s grace does is make up the difference between what you are and 100.”

If I was a 5, and asked God for forgiveness, His grace would be 95 in my life. That is the awesome thing about God. He doesn’t care if you are a 1 or a 99. His grace is the great equalizer. It will make up the difference and allow you to be who God wants you to be. You are probably like me and have lots of room between you and 100, but God will continue to work with you to get there. I’m constantly under construction by God so I rely on Philippians 1:6 that says, “I am certain that God who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

I’ll never be perfect until He comes or I go, but I have the hope of a faithful God who will continue to work in me and build me as His Temple. I trust in His grace and His faithfulness. One day I will arrive and be made perfect. As I am, I am a work in progress and all of my short comings are not measured by this world’s standards, they’re measured by His. Thank God for grace that makes up the difference. It keeps me wanting to continue building this Temple for Him.

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Hymns of Glorious Praise

Lately I’ve been thinking back to my childhood and remembering what church was like back then. It wasn’t so long ago that there were pews in churches and they weren’t built for comfort either. Every church had altars at the front that were built for comfort because you would spend time on them praying. On the back of every pew was a hymnal. The name of ours was “Hymns of Glorious Praise”.

I remember being bored out of my mind in church as a child. When I was done counting the ceiling tiles (or knots in the wooden ceiling at my grandfather’s church), I would flip open that hymnal for some reading. Mostly I would flip through to see what the oldest written hymn in there was. I can’t remember the name now, but I do know it was on page 27!

All of this thinking got me to remembering the words I read on those pages and the words of the ones we sung. They were powerful words written by great men of God. I’m not saying that today’s worship songs are not powerful or written by men of God, but there was something about the hymns that made them last so long. Think about it. “Amazing Grace” was written by John Newton in 1779 yet almost everyone knows it. I can barely remember what we were singing in 1979.

So yesterday, I asked on Facebook for people to share their favorite hymn and their favorite line from it. The response I got was overwhelming. It reminded me of songs I had forgotten and brought back lots of memories. I thought I’d share some of the ones with you that were posted on my wall and either bring back some memories for you or at least let you read some powerful lyrics.

One of the favorites that was posted was “How Great Thou Art” was translated from a Swedish poem. There was one verse that stood out though. “Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder consider the worlds thy hands have made; I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder – Thy power throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to Thee, how great Thou art.” When is the last time you looked up into the sky, looked at all of creation and just worshiped God because of the awesome display of His power? We should look at it and cry out in wonder. David did in Psalm 19.

Another one, as mentioned above, was “Amazing Grace”. If you don’t know, John Newton was a sailor and a slave trader. One day while at sea, his ship sailed into a terrible storm. The ship sprung a leak and began to sink. When he called out to God for help, a piece of cargo drifted and covered the hole in the ship which stopped the leaking. He began to read scripture for the rest of that journey and accepted Jesus as his savior. He later penned the words, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch (a miserable person) like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see.” If you’ve accepted Christ, that’s your story too. That’s why it resonates with all of us.

The last one I’ll share is also one of my favorites. “It is Well With My Soul” was written by Horatio Spafford in 1873. He and his family were going to Europe for a trip, but he was delayed for business purposes. He sent his wife and three daughters ahead of him. On their way, their ship caught fire and sank. His wife survived, but his three daughters died. He got a telegram from his wife that said, “Saved alone.” When he sailed to meet her and passed over the spot, he was overcome emotion and wrote, “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well with my soul.'”

I’m not sure many of us can endure what he did and respond that way. In life’s most difficult circumstances, do you call out to God, rely on God or praise Him? These men did and wrote their prayers down. I think that’s also why we relate so much to these. They are prayers that we can pray and sing from deep within our souls. With that being said, I’d like to know what’s your favorite hymn and line that you relate to?

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Living like Christ

When Michael Jordan was playing in the 90’s, I wanted to be like him…so did every other guy that played basketball! I started wearing baggy shorts, sticking my tongue out and trying crazy moves in the air as I dunked on adjustable height goals. There were even commercials about people wanting to be like Mike. The problem was that none of us could be.

When you become a Christian, it’s very similar. We want to be like Christ, but unfortunately we falls short of His perfection. From the point of conversion, we are to begin living and acting like Christ. We should live in such a way that when others see us, they see Christ in us and call us Christians. We should live a new life.

Paul said in Colossians 3 that there were three things we should do if we were serious about living this new life.

1. See things from above

One of the things I’ve learned in life is that when I change my perspective, it often changes my perception. For example, when I fly from one city to another, if I look out of the window and see things on the ground, what seemed so big before, now seems very small. How I look at things changes my perception of them.

Paul tells us to see things from Heaven’s perspective. In light of eternity, what really matters? Are the problems I’m facing today going to matter 5 years from now? Looking at problems that way often makes them seem smaller than they appear today. If you’re facing something huge today, look at it through Heaven’s eyes and see it for what it really is.

2. Kill off your old ways

Once you receive Christ, your old habits of sin don’t just go away. Many Christians struggle with things from their old life. In this passage, Paul says that we should kill off everything connected with our old life. We should be doing things that please Christ and show that we are set apart.

I looked up the word in this passage in the Greek language that it was written in and one of the meanings besides kill is to destroy the strength of or deprive the power of. We need to find the things that we do in our lives that feed the old nature and change how we live so that we deprive them of their power. Do things that feed your new nature and give them power.

3. Put on your new nature

Putting on a new nature means doing things that are different. The good news is that the Holy Spirit gives us the power to make those changes. Verse 10 tells us that we will be renewed as you learn to know our creator and become like him. The more we know God, the more we will want to be like Him.

Part of that nature of God that we need to embrace is forgiveness. Since we have been forgiven, we need to forgive those who have wronged us. I know how difficult it is to have to forgive others who have seriously wronged us. We don’t really have a choice in the matter though. Jesus said that if we don’t forgive others, God can’t forgive us. When you hold resentment against someone, you allow them to have power over you. Forgiveness releases that power you give them over your mind and actions.

Each of these things that Paul writes about are actions that we need to take. Being a Christian isn’t just saying a prayer. It’s a mindset and lifestyle change that we have to make. The Bible puts the onus on us to do these things. If you’re struggling with any of these, find a friend to be an accountability partner to help you along. Be honest with your shortcomings and work together to be who Christ called you to be.

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