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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Being Refined

There is a cute card out by the famous old lady, Maxine that says: “Don’t believe everything you think!” These are wise words for all of us. Our perception during times of trial is that God is punishing us, or vacated our lives or simply not the loving and attentive God we read about in the scriptures. Here is an analogy that you may have seen before, but I think it is worth remembering and keeping before us in our daily walk with Christ:

Malachi 3:3 “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” Perhaps we don’t believe this or perceive its truthfulness because we haven’t defined the job of a silversmith. A silversmith holds a piece of silver over the fire and lets it heat up. The silver must be held in the middle of the fire where the heat is the hottest and most intense in order to burn away all the impurities.

Furthermore, the silversmith will not leave a piece in the fire and take care of other tasks. He sits as a refiner and purifier of that piece of silver. Not only does he sit there with the silver, but he never takes his eyes off of it. You see, if he leaves it in the fire a moment too long, it would be destroyed and of no use.

How does the silversmith know when the silver is fully refined? When he can see his image in it.

At any time you are feeling the heat of the fire and perceive that God has abandoned you or is punishing, remember that God is holding you, keeping a ready eye on you in order to refine and purify you in His image. How do we know if we are succeeding in our walk with Christ? No matter our struggles or pain, others will see the image of Christ in us. And He has promised that He will not hold us in that fire unto destruction, but only for our good and for increase in our spirit. If we remember this scripture, then perhaps our thinking will be clear and unlike Maxine, we CAN believe what we think!

Seeing His Image in You,
Sharron Drury

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My King, You Are My Perfect Peace

From the book, "Prayers To My King," by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Lord, thank You for the perfect peace I can know in You, a peace that passes all human understanding. I am so blessed to know You personally & to live a life of peace in this world of confusion & chaos.

I love You for all the times You have carried me through troubles that could have overwhelmed me. And I love You for those times when I have cried out to You and You have answered. Thank You for those times that I thought there was no way and You made a way. I praise You for Your amazing peace.

Lord God, the next time my peace is broken by problems that come, remind me that You are always there caring about anything & everything that concerns me. I want to praise You through the painful places I walk through so I can rest in Your perfect peace.

In Jesus' name, amen.

Love,
Your girl who finds rest in You

"You will keep in perfect peace her whose mind is steadfast, because she trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Do I Love Him?

I was recently in a discussion about the Fruit of the Spirit. The apostle Paul lists them in Galatians 5:22 giving us an idea of how we act when the Spirit of God is living in us. In reading over the list….love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control….I began to think, maybe I don’t display these attributes of God very well because I’m doing it for the wrong reason. Maybe I am longing for these traits and working on them in my life so that my relationships with others will be better. Could it be that I want these so that I will be more attractive to others?? That’s when I felt God put on my heart this thought – “aspire to these things for Me, do them for Me.”

What a novel idea! I always thought of this list of attributes as ways to act in relationship with other people. I never thought about God wanting me to show them to Him! I read through the list again. The first one is love….My mind flooded with verses I know about how God feels about me. He is so in love with me….verses like Isaiah 43:4 which say “I am precious in God’s sight; I am honored and loved by Him.”

We all look for love in our lives, even God longs for devoted love. Second Chronicles 16:9 tells us that “the Lord searches all the earth for people who have given themselves completely to Him.”

But, do I love God? Really? It’s a huge commitment when we consider giving our love to another person. How much more should we examine the love we feel and offer to the creator of the Universe? Is it real? Is it deep? Stormie Omartian offers some good guidelines to check our love for God in her book The Power of a Praying Woman. Our love for God is growing deep when:
1 We ask Him what we can do for Him.
2. We find ourselves praying to Him many times a day just because we love to be in His presence.
3. We can praise God no matter what is going on in our lives.
4. We love and reverence God for Who He is, not trying to make Him into something of our own design or loving Him for what He can do for us.
5. We believe that God wants to answer the prayers we pray in line with His will.

God promises to help us with our love and devotion to Him. In Ezekiel 36: 24ff, He promises to give us a new heart that is pliable and give us His Spirit to help us want to love Him and obey Him.

When we are in love with someone, we have pet names that we give that person. Sometimes they reveal to us intimate names that we can call the object of our love. God is no different; in fact He has given us hundreds of names for Him that help us to know Him more intimately. Below is a list of 30 names to call the God you love. We can focus on one a day and read the scripture that accompanies each name. Speak to God all through the day using this name. As you come across other names for God, add them to this list.

As Paul says in Philippians 1:9, “may your love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” I pray that this growing, deepening love will lead to a harvest of fruit in our lives that is offered first to God and then to those around us.

Denise Dunlap