Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 17, 2013 … Our Refiner’s Fire

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 76

Passage of the Day: Malachi 3: 2b [in the context of verses 2-4] [NLT] … 
  2 “But who will be able to endure it when He [The Lord] comes? Who will be able to stand and face Him when He appears? For He will be like a blazing fire that refines metal or like a strong soap that whitens clothes. 3 He will sit and judge like a refiner of silver, watching closely as the dross is burned away. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold or silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the LORD. 4 Then once more the LORD will accept the offerings brought to Him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as He did in former times. 
Contextual Study of today’s passage: Malachi, Chapter 3 [NLT] … Go to this link …  ============

Reference Passage #1: Luke 9: 23 : [The shouldering of our cross daily is the refiner’s fire of sanctification.] …[NLT] …  
23 Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow Me. ... "

My Journal for Today: Many Christians don’t want to “hear” (i.e., read) what I have to write today in journaling from Os Hillman’s devotional entry, or more importantly from God’s word in the last book in the Old Testament, written by Malachi, who was prophesying about the coming of our Lord as God’s ultimate messenger.

 And The Lord’s coming, as Malachi prophesied, was to be God’s refining fire in the lives of His children; and that is a process that we Christians don’t want to hear about. Sure, we love to hear about God’s everlasting love and His saving grace; but we’d rather not meditate in God’s word about the process we know of as “sanctification,” where our rough edges are burned off and we are refined by the fires of life into a purer, reformed, more Christlike image of our selves. And when Jesus charged His disciples to “take up our crosses daily” (see Luke 9: 23), He was warning us that we will be going through God’s refining fire to become a more purified or sanctified version of self. And that’s the part of Christianity we just don’t want to contemplate.

It was tough to read this morning; but Hillman writes, … “When God takes you through the refiner's fire, be encouraged because it is His overriding commitment to turn you from a rough, hard-edged stone to a precious metal. And He will do this through certain events in your workplace, your relationships, and other circumstances in your life. Our job is to avoid trying to blow out the fire.”

And how do we, as believers, desiring that our lives become “living sacrifices” (as Paul wrote about in Romans 12: 1) avoid blowing out the fire that purifies our worship and sacrifice into a life offering that is acceptable? Well, we do what Jesus told us to do (again, I repeat from Luke 9: 23), … we deny our self and follow our Savior. And in the process of living out our lives, we will be put through God’s refining fire; and when we surrender to that sanctification process, we will become the purified living sacrifice God desires from us.

I know what dampens God’s refining fire in my life. It is my pride, arrogance, and selfishness; and when I relent to these self-generated desires, trying to satisfy myself over my Savior, the fire is dampened in my life to burn off the rough edges and purify me the way God desires I be rendered for His glory. So, today I’m once again under conviction to relent to God’s refining and perfecting fire in my life, … surrendering to the process where He will purify my soul and allow me to be a more perfect, living sacrifice … for Him.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I know the potential of this prayer; but if it’s necessary turn up the heat and purify me as a living sacrifice, worthy of Your Holiness. … Amen


Anonymous said...

I've prayed that prayer, Bill, and I too realize that I really don't know what I'm praying. It was Patrick Morley's Man in the Mirror devotional which helped me to realize that it's okay to pray for unmet needs, and that in doing so it's likely that God will send an unmet need into my life that will keep me under ... that is, continuing to rely on his strength and power to carry me through whatever need has gone unmet. I get nervous when I pray about that, but do know that God's grace is all-sufficient. Thanks for sharing. -David

Bill said...

Which "David" do I owe this bit of gratitude for taking the time to read/comment on my blog ... and yes, it's always a bit scary to pray for things like humility, patience, or other fruit of the Spirit ... because often it takes God's refining fire to produce what we pray ... wrb