Encouragement for Today - December 13, 2005
Encouragement for Today
“The Refiner’s Fire”
Micca Campbell, Director of Outreach, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Key Verse: Malachi 3:3, “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.” (NLT)
Experts say that children are naturally curious, therefore they ask a lot of questions. However, I have found that no matter what age you are, life still raises many questions. For example, is God fair? If God is good, loving, and kind, why do bad things happen to good people?
That is a question that has been asked throughout history. I think many believe untruths about God and His character when it comes to adversity. As children of God, we think that nothing bad can ever happen to us. When it does, we suddenly feel betrayed by the God we once trusted. Then, the question becomes, “Will I ever trust God again?”
Trust is regained when we know and believe the truth about God. His Word says there is no evil in Him. God never planned for sickness, death, abuse, war and heartache. They are the results of living in a fallen, sin-sick world. What God can do is reach down into our dark pit, pull us out, and restore all that is broken and damaged.
When things are going well, we don’t need God. However, when our life falls apart, we are driven to the only One who can exchange the bad for good. As God works good into our bad situation, we become stronger, grow in our faith and become more like Christ. In fact, adversity is one of God’s greatest tools for growing us spiritually.
In today’s key verse Malachi 3:3, the refiner represents God, and Levi represents the church. God is refining the church in order to make her pure. Since God compares the refinement of the church to the refinement process of gold and sliver, it would help us to know how gold and sliver are refined in order to understand how God refines you and me.
When gold is taken from the coal mine, it is usually still covered with impurities. Left in this state, the gold is hard and less pliable, just like a hardened heart left alone remains full of pride, anger, and self-will. Therefore, the refiner places the gold into the fire in order to remove the impurities from the gold. This is a delicate process because left alone the gold could be destroyed. So the refiner stays with the gold, carefully watching over it because he does not want to destroy the gold but purify it. When gold is purified it becomes soft and flexible much like a pure heart is soft, tender and pliable too. Knowing this, we can understand why Jesus said, “A pure heart before God is like pure gold, which has been refined.”
God, like the refiner who purifies gold and sliver with fire, purifies the church, me and you, making us holy, blameless, and pure… but not with fire. God refines you and me in the furnace of suffering.
Why do you and I encounter sufferings and hardship at the mercy of the Refiner? Not to be destroyed, but to be recreated in His image. God picks us out of the coal mine of this dirty, sinful world to make that which is hard, soft, pure, useable, and Christ-like.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, help me to understand that when I’m in the fire You are not out to destroy me but to make me better and more beautiful than before. Help me, Lord, to trust You. Help me to see You at work in my situation and help me and others see the results so that You may be glorified. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Exercise your faith by trusting God. Pray continually when you feel afraid. Tell God that you trust Him and your peace will return.
Share your concerns with God and then allow Him to meet your need.
Stop asking yourself, “What am I going to do? And ask God, “What are You doing in this trial to make me more like You?”
Have you believed untruths about God in your situation?
Do you believe that He is out to get you?
Or, do you believe that God is for you, He loves you, and He can bring good out of your circumstances?
Are you trusting God’s hand in this trial or leaning on your own wisdom?
1 Peter 1:7, “That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (NKJ)
James 1:2, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,” (NKJ)
James 1:3-4, “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (NKJ)
Coming Out of the Dark, by Mary Southerland
The Ultimate Makeover, by Sharon Jaynes
Because (Music CD), by Gwen Smith