Sunday, November 9, 2008

Same Fire, Different Result

"Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts. "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. "And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. "Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD, as in the days of old and as in former years.” Malachi 3:1-4 NAS

After the election a friend called to get my reaction. She mentioned that she had asked the Lord where she should read that day and He had guided her to Malachi. I was intrigued and read Malachi after we hung up.

What stood out to me was the different results of the fires He spoke of in Malachi 3 and 4.
Reading this Scripture brought to mind something that happened to me ten months ago. The Lord spoke to me with a mental picture in my mind as I woke up one morning. I saw an incident that had happened many years ago when I left my house forgetting that I had a pan that I was boiling water in to make tea. The pan was very old and gnarly looking on the outside.(Okay, now you know I am not Martha Stewart) When I finally remembered and went rushing home, I found the pan rocking violently on the burner. It was glowing and was the most beautiful color of silver I had ever seen. Even when it cooled down it was beautiful and pristine and looked better than new. As I rose to make my bed that still small voice that I cherish above any other began to speak. He told me that we were going to go through a fire and He would use it to answer my prayers and to accomplish His own purposes. Romans 8:28 came to mind, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It is no longer a cliché or weakened through familiarity, it is the Rock beneath my feet, the shelter in the storm, the Light in darkness.

Malachi 4:1-2 "For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze," says the LORD of hosts, "so that it will leave them neither root nor branch." "But for you who fear My name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. The arrogant and evildoer will be left with neither root nor branch." No longer the chance for redemption which they refused. The fire will not refine but destroy and leave nothing but ashes.

When the soldiers took the three children of God and threw them in the fiery furnace, the fire killed the soldiers. But the only thing that was destroyed in the fire was the bonds of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And in the midst of the fire with them was “one like the son of God.”

The Word of God is so consistent. Old Testament Isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” or New Testament 1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

No matter what fires may be kindled in this world whether political, financial, or relational, we know the One who sits intently over our lives as a purifier of silver. The One who has promised, “When you walk through the fire I will be with you. I will purify you, I will prove you genuine, I will work it together for your good and my purposes!” Can I hear an amen?

What should our response be contemplating these things? No one says it better than Jude in 1:20-25 “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

MY PRAYER: Lord, I want to use every opportunity to grow in my faith and character. Help me to grow in my prayer life and in your love. Help me to encourage those who are doubting and fearful. Help me to extend the offer of salvation to those who are lost. I will remember that I am never alone, You are with me. In Jesus precious name, amen.

MY CONFESSION: I will build myself up by praying in the Holy Spirit, and I will keep myself in Your love. You are able to keep me from stumbling, and to make me stand in the presence of Your glory, blameless with great joy. I stand on Your Word!

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