Friday, January 26, 2007

Fiery Trials - Faith Testing

...That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. ... (1 Pet 1:5-9).

I have noted many are going through some trials - if you are asking why? In the July archive there is a message Why does God allow suffering? which may give some answers. I also pray these two messages below will bless you today & remind you that what ever you are going through you are not alone.

Refiners Fire - (Author Unknown)

Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to read the scriptures,and make them the subject of conversation. While reading the third chapterof Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse.

And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. Malachi 3:3

One lady's opinion was that it was intended to convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ. Then she proposed to Visit a silversmith and report to them what he said on the subject.

She went accordingly and without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he fully described to her.

After some thought she said, do you sit while the work of refining is going on?

Oh,yes madam, replied the silversmith; I must sit with my eye steadily fixedon the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured.

The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression, He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace; His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them.

Their trials do not come at random; the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back, and said he had forgotten to mention that he only knows when the process of purifying is complete when he sees his own image reflected in the silver.

Fiery Furnace

Followers of Jesus Christ often end up in the fiery furnace of affliction.

It happens by God's great plan and because of His mercy. To some people the idea of a God who allows us to endure trials seems foreign, but it is infact for our own good.

James 1:2-4 NIV Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Trials teach us how to persevere. Even many non-Christians will acknowledgethat the troubles of life can build character.

With God's help we learn to develop godly character.

We do not walk through the furnace alone. God does not just throw us in, walk away and hope for the best. He sits with us as a refiner and monitors everything.

We see confirmation of that fact in the trials and testing God allowed the nation of Israel to go through. He allowed them to go through the fire, but closely monitored everything.

A refiner must monitor temperature and timing to end up with just the right finished product. If the temperature is too hot or the time is too long he risks loosing his metal. Too cold or not in the fire long enough and too many impurities remain.

Malachi 3:2-4 NIV - But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiners fire or a launderers soap. He will sit as arefiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will beacceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.

When we go into trials it is not an accident. It is at God's appointed time.

He chooses it for our benefit.

Daniel 11:35 NIV Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time

The whole concept is shown fully in the historical account of the three Jewish young men literally cast into a fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar only to come out unscathed.

(Read all of Daniel 3, it is a fascinating story of faith and of God's faithfulness)

Daniel 3:24-25 NIV Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire? They replied, Certainly, O king. He said, Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.

Even the pagan King Nebuchadnezzar could see that there in the midst of the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego walked God's representative. They were never alone. God walked with them before the furnace. God walked with them in the furnace. God walked with them after they came out. He does the same for you and I when we face trials.

Until next time, rejoice in the trials of life. They come in God's timing. They bring us closer to God and we do not walk through them alone.

Used With Permission 2001-2006 K.F. "Kevin" Corbin, Gleanings From The Word Ministries International http:/