The Refiner’s Fire

The Refiner’s Fire

The Refiner’s Fire

The Refiner’s Fire is the showing forth of His wisdom being brought to bear upon those whose hearts long to bear fruit unto Him.

“And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them…”
Zechariah 13:9

If our heart’s desire is to be re-created into His likeness, we must seek to walk as Christ walked (1 John 2:6). The purpose of God’s Spirit is to “quicken” us, to transform us “by the renewing of our minds” whereby we are “changed from one glory unto another”. No individual truly called of God has escaped the depths of loneliness, separation, misunderstanding, and rejection. It is the forging of the fire which draws out the impurities of our own selves – the very construct of our wrongness. In God’s wisdom, He uses our circumstances to complete His work in us. If He spared not His own sinless Son, who are we to escape His loving and determined means to “bring many sons to glory”?

For the Jacobs to become Israels, God must use the Labans to bring purity, purpose, and movement. Man left to himself will remain in desert places, and tarry in stagnant situations, even as the sands of time exhaust the brief moments of our life here. It is in the antagonism, the strife, and the pressings of God that men leave the former things only to discover later God was in the exodus from our Egypt.

“As an eagle stirreth up her nest…”
Deuteronomy 32:11

God’s stirrings will press His own to movement; journeys which bring separation from the former things so that the new is readily received. It is in the journey with God where the crucible is known and the renovations of our being are realized. We experience the wrestling with God at our Jabbok where our natural man is crippled and we begin to comprehend Him whose name is “wonderful”. We discover the two-fold meaning of Jabbok*: our “being emptied out” and Christ being “poured in”. The exchange and transactions of God are not without price nor are they without great reward. The sorrow becomes the matrix of a Joy of which only the broken may know.

For the pilgrim of faith, the call to heavenly places propels him on through valleys, deserts, and lonely paths where the pure air of His presence is worth it all. The promise of God stands:

“…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”
Isaiah 61:3

In the dark places, the days of mediocrity, the days where our heart’s fire burns low, we learn “The Lord is thy keeper” (Psalm 121:5) and the restorer of our souls!

“He healeth the broken in heart,
and bindeth up their wounds…
Psalm 147:3

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“Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water, yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance
Psalm 66:7-12

The abundant life is a tested and purified life.

* Jabbok. Hebrew pouring out or emptying. (Bullinger)

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Albert Barnes

Albert Barnes

“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ,
not only to believe on him,
but also to suffer for his sake”
Philippians 1:29

“For unto you it is given … to believe on him”

“It is represented here as a privilege to be permitted to believe on Christ.

(1) It is an honor to a man to believe one who ought to be believed, to trust one who ought to be trusted, to love one who ought to be loved.

(2) It is a privilege to believe on Christ, because it is by such faith that our sins are forgiven; that we become reconciled to God, and have the hope of heaven”

“But also to suffer for his sake”

“Here it is represented as a privilege to suffer in the cause of the Redeemer – a declaration which may sound strange to the world. Yet this sentiment frequently occurs in the New Testament. Thus, it is said of the apostles Act 5:41, that “they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” Col 1:24. “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you” 1Pe 4:13. “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings” compare Jas 1:2; Mar 10:30; see the notes at Act 5:41. It is a privilege thus to suffer in the cause of Christ”
– Albert Barnes

The Crown of Life

The Crucible and the Crown

Part Two

“He shall receive the crown of life…promised”
James 1:22

“The greatest helpers of humanity have been its cross-bearers. The leaders of men have suffered in loneliness; the prophets have learned their lessons in the school of pain. Ease has not produced greatness. Men who have had to struggle with an unfavourable environment, to fight cold, to buffet the storm, to blast the rock or wring a livelihood from a impotent soil, have won character by their pains.

The bird rises against a strong headwind, not only in spite of the wind, but because of it.

The opposing force becomes a lifting force if faced at the right angle.

The storm may buffet ships and rend the rigging, but it makes strong hands and brave hearts. Oh, fellow-voyager amid the storms and calms of life’s wide sea,
“spread thy sails to catch the favouring breezes of adversity.”

If the greatest character of all time, even HE Who was the very touchstone of destiny, could be made perfect only through suffering, is it not probable that you and I must be also?”
– Mrs. Charles E Cowman

“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
Hebrews 2:10

The best things all lie beyond some battle-plain: you must fight your way across the field to get to them!

“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare
1 Timothy 1:18

The promises of God require the warfare of the Spirit and the tenacity of faith to lay hold of their fulfillment.

“To him that overcometh will I give…”

The Crucible and the Crown

Thought for Today

The Crucible and the Crown

“Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ”
Philemon 1:1

Paul though bound in prison by order of the Roman government never saw Himself as such. His life and all that pertained to it had been fully given to God and His purposes therefore the circumstances were seen as attendant to God’s will.

Absolute surrender is the means to Godly Contentment

It is the surrendered life which is the victorious life. Paul could have called on lawyers and had petitions signed on his behalf to extricate himself from his situation; but it was his surrender to God that freed him from the bitterness of the moment. This victory in Christ can only be realized in the validity of our transaction with God. The rest of God comes with the surrender to God.

“For the which cause I also suffer these things:
nevertheless I am not ashamed:
for I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that he is able to keep
that which I have committed unto him against that day
2 Timothy 1:12

God’s keeping power comes from the persuasion that we know in Whom we have placed our trust. It enables His Own to see that the crucible is the means to the crown.

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info