| Refining His people|
It could be said that allot of the Lords work regarding His people is to refine them, make them pure, holy, sanctified...
Several of the acts we undergo as we follow commands and receive blessings can easily be seen as a refining process, which is defined as a reduction of impurities or base elements to make a pure and more valuable and useful substance (among other similar definitions).
From water baptism where we so often begin, which itself is a form of refining/reducing or washing away of our past impurities to spirit baptism whereby we are gifted and thereby further refined by the spirit of the Lord. To the drawing of man into the deep things of the Lord by His spirit where we must traverse deserts just as valleys and of course mountain tops in response to His voice. Often we do not understand the big picture of where we are going (like Abraham) but that's why it's called a walk of faith. We hear our shepards voice and we follow. His love for us gets to a place in us where nothing else dares to go and it begins its work of cleansing us from the inside out as we follow His commands. Many times in this process of refinement we may lose sight or even hope but He never does. He saw the potential for purity and called us pure tho we had not yet become completely so. Which is why sanctification is both present and progressive in that He speaks things that aren't as tho they were in hopes of fulfilling the purpose of His coming in us. Sometimes when we lose sight we may feel like we're gonna give up and yet He calls us onward,.. other times we may get distracted by the cares and concerns of this present world yet He comes to find us, forsaking the 99 to save the 1 when needed.
The process by which the Lord refines His people is one of great pain and hardship with many trials, tho it is also at times of great joy and repose with many giftings. These are experienced by both the refiner and those being refined. Just as Jesus experienced many hardships and afflictions to sanctify us, so too will we as we become sanctified as we follow Him. Likewise just as Jesus experienced great joy in pleasing His Father, so too will we as we are led by His spirit. He is not seperate from His refining work and uses holy fire and living water to bring us to a place/state worthy of His name, yet He calls us His own from our first moments with Him.
He carefully engineers circumstances in each of our lives to bring about His will, to purify us of all unbelief. Wether thru the placing of obstacles and closed doors to bridges and opened doors, He carefully attends to each of us as tho we were each His only child, providing exactly what each of us needs. Sometimes so close, so intimate that all we can do is sit at His feet and bask in the radiance of His glory, while other times He hides Himself and all we can do is grope in the dark for Him. But in each case wether it's a fresh revelation or dry season it's exactly what we need to bring us closer to what He wants us to be.
Holiness is (to me) the most beautiful thing on earth. But holiness, just like the refining process, is a messy business. But the results are worth the work and His reward is when He can see His own reflection in His children. Then He knows we are pure and fitted for His table.
But what I find interesting is that while this is true, it is equally true that we will all look different. When we look around and notice these (God given) distinctions we often criticize either ourselves or others thinking we should be more alike. But when we look up and are simply given to the refiners hands we see the distinctions as assets, as the many facets of our Fathers manifold wisdom being manifest and not as mistakes that we must labor in our flesh to overcome. As it is He who is faithfull to complete the good work He began in us and it is ours to simply cooperate and not resist.
On both sides from beginning to end this is a process of faith and it is by faith that we please Him.
Sometimes I catch a glimpse of His faith in us and I marvel, how is it that His faith in us as imperfect is greater than our faith in Him being perfect?
At times this shames me and yet other times is the only hope I have to hold on to.
So wherever I am in my walk, above all else (wether I go to hell at the end or not) I want Him to receive His reward in me, as much as He can possibly squeeze out of my life for His purpose....and this isn't to get something from Him at the end, rather it's because He's already given me what I didn't deserve in that He gave His son for me.
Sorry brother Mark,... this wasn't what I intended to write per your request but it's what came out so I'll just trust the Lord can use it to the good~
| 2016/8/28 1:04||Profile|
| Re: Refining His people|
I was driving my car today and I started to think about the subject of holiness.
My conclusion was that: Men cannot make themselves Holy
No amount of good works, of self-sacrifice or denial, can cleanse the heart, can take out the roots of pride, vanity, temper, impatience, fear and shame of the Cross, lust, hatred, emulation, strife, self-indulgence and the like, and in their stead put unmixed, perfect love, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance."
| 2016/8/28 18:00||Profile|
| Re: brother Colin|
Yes I can whole heartedly agree with you on that.
Sometimes it seems we confuse morality with holiness... not that holiness wouldn't include morality, it does, but morality doesn't necessarily include holiness. It's when we credit holiness by outward appearence rather than inward purity. Just as one could polish an impure gold and it would look great but all the polishing in the world will never make it more pure. Which is what I think you're saying-
Which is why the Lord refines Hos people for they cannot do it apart from Him.
My bride, when she awoke this morning, read over this and brought to my attention that it may read different than I intended it to.. and she had several qualifying questions for me. Which itself is another way the Lord purifies us.
There is a great potential here on SI for that refinement to take place for everyone who comes here but we must not forget our place and in the wrong spirit try to exalt ourselves, rather allow the Lord Himself to use us to the pleasure of His good will:)
Having said that, feel free to challenge or critique this post as I will not be offended~
| 2016/8/28 19:03||Profile|
| Re: Fletcher|
Brother one way that God does refine us is through the fires of persecution. Consider the verses below,
...And not only this but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope...Romans 5:3-4
... Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing...James 1:2-4
Looking at the two verses above it seems that God will use persecution to refine and perfect our character as unto Jesus.
As I'm writing this I'm thinking of the verses in Hebrews
... Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness-- without it no one will see the Lord...Hebrews 12:14
A few weeks ago when I posted that verse I thought the holiness or sanctification was more of a practical walking out a consecrated life in the world. Given more over to morality such as staying away from movies and beer. But now I wonder.
But one thing Hebrews is a book set against the backdrop of persecution of believers. For that matter all of the New Testament can be said to be a book set against the backdrop of persecution of believers.
But chapter 12 speaks of God disciplining his people. One of the ways of God will discipline his saints will be through the fires of persecution. So now I'm rethinking the verses in Hebrews 12:14. Could it be that the holiness that the believer is to pursue is a holiness worked out through the fires is of persecution.
This is going to bear some more fleshing out in my time with the Lord.
However this is simply my thoughts regarding your OP which I agree with.
| 2016/8/28 20:36|
| Re: brother Blaine|
Yes dear brother persecution plays a big part,.. one might even say that persecution is the hottest part of the firing process.
2 Tim 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
There are several verses in the OT from the psalms to the major prophets that utilize this type of refining analogy which a quick search will yield much to chew on.
A question I heard today; "what is our salvation for?"
In a practical way I believe it's for us to give what we've been given....
I mean Jesus gave His life in faith out of love and it would seem that's what we're called to do as well. This I believe is where the refining process really heats up,... when we accept our mission to live as holy people and lay our lives down in love for His namesake.
| 2016/8/28 21:34||Profile|
| Re: Fletcher|
I so agree my brother. The question is will we submit to the refining process. Or will we try to run from it or fight God
Best thing is to be a yielded vessel before the Holy Spirit and let Him do His work as refining us as unto Jesus.
Simply my thoughts dear brother.
| 2016/8/28 23:15|
| Re: Refining His people|
From start to finish our lives are a masterpiece of Gods grace. Only from the perspective of eternity will we ever truly understand how God started, continued and completed our salvation. All of it, all the time is a work of His grace. To think at times though, we are tempted to think we have some part in it...in saving ourselves? We work out our salvation with fear and trembling but it is God who does the saving, while our "work" is to trust Him to do it. It is all HIM, His power, His might, His glory at work in us to accomplish His will in transforming the ashes of our lives into a "thing of beauty". Our part is to believe, surrender, resign to Him - to His refiners fire. Bending our will to His...yielding our all to Him, we live this life now by faith in Christ who loves us and has given His life for us. And many times we do not understand what is going on, what is happening to us and why. We must simply trust Him. Only He knows exactly when, how hot and how long we are to remain in that purifying fire, so that He can mold us and make us into the image of His Son.
| 2016/8/29 2:43|
| Re: To Become Like Him and Have Fellowship in the Body|
*Christ-like Relationship: The type of friendship that Christ declared to His beloved disciples in the Upper Room Discourse in John 15: 15. Pure and full of Loving Wisdom. To the death of not only life, but time, distance, energy, etc. Christ in me AND Christ in you is perfect fellowship / friendship / love.
"To become another's friend in the true sense?is to take the other into such close, living fellowship, that his life and ours are knit together as one. It is far more than a pleasant companionship in bright, sunny hours. A genuine friendship?is entirely unselfish. It seeks no benefit or good of its own. It does not love?for what it may receive?but for what it may give. Its aim is "not to be served?but to serve" (Mark 10:45).
*C. S. Lewis - like Relationship: ?Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ?What! You too? I thought I was the only one.?
?In friendship?we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years? difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another?the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting?any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, ?Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,? can truly say to every group of Christian friends, ?Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.? The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.?
With C. S. Lewis, you could sit in a café and wax theology in love on the beauty of Christ without any regard for the wristwatch. It requires courage to speak of Christ at length. This is my dilemma. The courage is gleaned from a close and intimate relationship and reading of His Word (until it literally oozes from your pores).
*Dietrich Boenhoeffer (spelling error, I'm sure) - like relationship:
The Cost of Discipleship is akin to the Cost of Christian Friendship:
Christian Friendship (Gladly) Costs:
(1) Personal Convenience
(3) Intimacy (without compromising purity)
This is what I lament over on a daily basis in a quest for pure, authentic, active, authentic Christian friendship.
Please no Numbers 22 "Error of Balaam" Christians. They are so heart breaking. Balaam was a legitimate prophet of God who misused his gifts and his relationship with God for personal use. Their spiritual gifts (I. e., true religion) are used to acquire worldly gain.
| 2016/8/29 6:26|
| Re: So That We May (Finally) Find TRUE LOVE|
Colossians 1: 27
Nihilism is the only alternative to Christian Faith. Nihilism is also the antithetical prime virtue to Nuclear Deterence...(Ahem...). The unity of the virtues (which far surpass Plato's plagiarism of Saint Paul's brilliant revelation of the One, True, yet, Unknown God plastered under the Greek sun of the Areo Pagus on Mars Hill).
True love in any dimension, whether, Eros, Agape, Soror, Fraternal, Maternal, Matrimonial, etc. is an impossible delusion without Christ abiding at the very nucleus of it. You can be head over heels in love with your beloved, but it is a tragic and worthless delusion in the absence of Christ's abiding presence and influence.
All scripture is absolutely indispensable. I absolutely love the Old Testament as much as the New Testament. Currently, I am immersed in II Kings 19. Whoa, so few "Good Kings" whom "did what was right in the sight of the Lord" (I Kings 15:11).
| 2016/8/29 6:29|
| Re: So That Our Flesh May Become Word (By Abiding in His Word)|
Reading Charles H. Spurgeon's sermons ("The Prince of Preachers", indeed). This saint predates me by centuries, yet, I download his sermons and suckle them like spiritual milk. Spurgeon is my nocturnal "pillow talk". His sermons take residence in your personal space and for the next 8 to 13 pages of Biblical exposition, you've got a companion that preaches into your mind and heart. And, moreover, Spurgeon's words stick around months after consumption. They change you. I cannot wait to meet him!
I love his "Morning and Evening" Devotions, yet nothing compares to his "Metropolitan Tabernacle" sermons.
* Reading and Reviewing ancient and modern Philosophy, (esp. metaphysics, epistemology and ethics). Philosophy is the biggest and most inadequate "rip off" of God's Wisdom found in His Word and revealed via His Spirit.
I learned this as a philosophy major during my undergrad degree...Nihilism is the only alternative to Christian Faith and God's Wisdom. And that is what those crazy ancient and modern philosophers were most afraid of...because they lacked both faith and wisdom.. Poor suckers!
The unity of the virtues was pretty impressive, yet ridiculously unoriginal (Paul' epistles far surpass Plato's Divine "Logos" malarkey,) Not to mention that Plato's philosophy was merely plagiarism of Saint Paul's brilliant revelation of the One, True, yet, Unknown God plastered under the Greek sun of the Areo Pagus on Mars Hill). True love in any dimension, whether, Eros, Agape, Soror, Fraternal, Maternal, Matrimonial, etc. is an impossible delusion without Christ abiding at the very nucleus of it. You can be head over heels in love with your beloved, but it is a tragic and worthless delusion in the absence of Christ's abiding presence and influence.
*Reading the Bible (though it often scares me).
What's so neat about I and II Kings is that (even as a woman). I want to be a King before I am qualified to be someone's Queen (or anything for that matter...)
Why? Because what I have learned (or rather, the Spirit revealed in mY CURRENT intimate study of I and II Kings) the following:
The book of 1 / 2 Kings holds the secret of success in reigning over the kingdom of your life. It is the secret of learning to be submissive to the authority and dominion of God in your own life. In other words, man can never exercise dominion over his life unless he first subjects himself to the dominion of God. If you yield to God's dominion, you are given reign over the areas in your own life.
I want to do this very thing. I desire it more than anything. And I am perpetually frustrated because I have not yet placed God's Dominion on the throne of my own "free" will.
I have learned by painful means (and am still struggling with this, right now as I type) that, if you refuse the dominion of God in your own life, you cannot under any circumstances or by any means fulfill your desire to be in authority over your life. It is impossible!
This is what I and II Kings is teaching me. That is why all through this book you will find that the spotlight is on the throne. It is the king that is the important one -- for as the king goes, so goes the nation. In your life your will is king. What your will allows to enter in to control your life, determines how the kingdom of your life goes.
Yet, I am sooooo looking forward to diving into the I and II Chronicles, as it is God's version of this regal history. I love how God makes several references and assurances all throughout I and II Kings that the gaps will be filled in the "Chronicles". I am looking forward to it.
| 2016/8/29 6:33|