Can you see it? Look closer.
Something is in the midst of the flames! What do you really see?
I love to sit by the fire and gaze into its flames and hot coals. I often think about the beauty that comes from such a horrific and intense process of things created from out of the flames! You are in for a treat today as you read about such flames! As I began to write for this week, I was prompted to shift gears. This is not unusual. But, what was really unusual was the email I received during the middle of this week...this blog! When I read it, I knew that someone needed encouragement. So I'll save my thoughts for another day and share with you these timely words.
Todays Monday Musing is shared with us by Judy Ingle. For those of you that are new to reading our blog, Judy is my aunt in Tennessee; who like me, sees God in the most amazing places. Her eyes and ears are ever open to discover God's spiritual truths that dance before us in the most common places at the most uncommon times!
Be Blessed, Sherry
Recently I read a fairy tale to my grandson, Jaedon, who is now 4 years old. I realized it had been a long time since I read this particular story and found myself excited to be refreshed on the details of this unique tale. You will probably recall this one also, it is called Rumplestiltskin. That is a mouthful for a toddler but he managed it well. This folklore is about a deceitful elf and his beautiful daughter. The wee elf was suprisingly summoned to appear before the King...but wait, he was only a poor miller, how could he ever stand in the presence of the King? Immediate fear prompted his quick thinking which led him to contrive an untruth. He hoped it would give him confidence to make him feel worthy to appear in the King's presence. He told the King boldly: "I have a beautiful daughter who can spin straw into gold." What was he thinking? His poor daughter was brought to the kindgom and placed in a room with only mounds of straw and a spinning wheel. What was she to do? As she began to weep, suddently a little man, a manikin, enters and asks her what she could give him in return for his help. Pondering, she offers her only possessions; she offers a necklace and later offers her ring. Suddenly, the manikin began the process of weaving the straw into gold. Straw on one side of the spinning wheel and gold coins on the other side. She was so amazed, yet innocently unaware of his ultimate plan to trick her. He wanted to soon control her and her offspring. Knowing of the abundance of gold, the King became even more greedy and the elf's demands became greater also. His name was Rumplestiltskin. So...luckily the story ends in her favor.
Most everyday we are probably in a quandary about making decisions and wondering how we are going to respond to situations and problems that arise. It's common to become resentful or bitter and full of complaints and unintentionally stockpile a lot of "straw" in our lives. The better way is to "pause" and acknowledge God in our difficulty and realize He is sovereign over all our hardships. The thing to do is give it all to Him, trusting and confident that He knows best. This is how we weave the straw; the wood, hay and stubble accumulated in us into gold, laying up treasures in Heaven.
"Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it because it shall be revealed by fire;
and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is."
1 Corinthians 3:12
Gold and silver when put through the fire both come out purer because the impurities have been burned off. What is left is the valuable and beautiful part. Gold and silver can stand the heat, however; wood, hay and stubble cannot. They simply burn up and become "dross," absolutely good for nothing! Our straw or our "dross" may be wrong attitudes or wrong motives, questionable actions or activities or anything that prevents us from being all God would have us to be. Often our lives get overwhelmed and the "straw" once again begins to mound up. Perhaps that happens when we lose our focus or veer off course. Maybe even presenting to others a facade while we carefully conceal our own insecurities. We can consciously choose to cease the thoughts and actions in life that cause us to be preoccupied with ourselves and "stuff" and accept God's offer to release us from our comfort zone of self-pity and misery. Wow, that was tough to write and I need a scripture for encouragement and strength! Maybe you do too.
"In God is my salvation and my glory:
the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us. Selah."
In Biblical days, a Silversmith would begin his first process of refining by breaking-up hard rock possibly covered with zinc, copper or tin. (Are we not like a hard rock in great need of refining?) Inside the rock he would likely find hidden metals. The precious metals of gold and silver.
"Is not my word like as a fire, saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" Jeremiah 23:29
Once exposed the gold and silver were placed in a crucible and put through a fire removing all impurities. All the dross, that which was worthless, was burned away, revealing their greatest value.
A Silversmith was onced asked, "Do you sit while the work of refining is going on? "Oh yes," replied the Silversmith; "I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured."
"How much more God's eye intently watches over us!" Psalm 32:8
In the Old Testament, Malachi 3:3 tells us, "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify..."
God "sits" over us! While we are busy in our everyday lives trying to find a time to fit our Saviour in and making choices apart from God's leading, God sits over us and our problems. He patiently watches and waits until the heat of the hardship or the busyness we have created has burned away all that's impure leaving behind gleaming gold and shimmering silver. The dross is left behind, that worthless junk in our lives. God is not distracted nor does He get side-tracked as we so easily do, He patiently waits; sitting thoughtfully taking care of us while knowing all the cirumstances surrounding our lives. He is purging us and freeing us from all that can harm us while purifying our hearts.
He waits...until the refining process is complete.
He knows it is complete when He looks into the refining crucible and can clearly see His own reflection! A vessel made pure and clean for the Master's use. Proverbs 25:4 tells us, "Take away the dross from the silver and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer." Someone once said: "Silver is a word of great intrinsic value, and so are we in God's hands." Also, Isaiah 1:25 tells us, "And I will turn my hand upon thee and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin." When we find ourselves under pressure and it seems we are being "crushed" by everything and everybody, as silver is crushed in a crucible, remember God is in control. He is sovereign and His grace is sufficient. God's loving refining process will produce a pure vessel radiant with joy, purposely cleansed to magnify Him.
Silver is it's brightest when it is used. We can use the gold and silver of our mind, heart, our hands, and our mouth to fulfill His purpose. As silver, purified pure and clean, our minds are of value when our thoughts are God centered and our wisdom is shared to glorify Him. Our hearts, when pure before God, can give love, enouragement and sympathy to those most needy. When we acknowledge our hands as tools for God's service, we can readily and willfully offer help and kindness to the hurting. Also, a sanctified mouth, will bless others and offer God praise in word and song. We are to be as refined silver, the image of all that is pure and noble. Always reminded through His word to be vigilant and diligent so we never become "dross" - useless and worthless.
I appreciate the quote by William Law:
"Receive every inward and ourtward trouble, every disappointment...darkness and desolation with both your hands, as a blessed occassion of dying to self, and entering into a fuller fellowship with your Saviour. Look at no inward or outward trouble in any other view; reject every other thought about it; and then every kind of trial and distress will become the blessed day of your prosperity. That state is best which exercises the highest faith in and fullest resignation to God."
Matthew Henry wrote these words of encouragement:
"There is power enough in God to help the weakest
and grace enough to help the unworthiest of all that trust Him."
When wrong comes our way we should be open and honest before the Lord asking Him to make an internal search and examination of our lives, therefore, revealing the real condition of our heart. He will refine us. Someone once said, "God only tries the heart and He is both the searcher and the sovereign of the heart."
We can become a Rumplestiltskin. Not the trickster but the weaver with our wood, hay, and stubble - our straw - on the earthly side of the spinning wheel; our gold, silver, and precious stone on the heavenly side. Days can seem a constant weaving of our troubles and aggravations so let us weave, with God's help, priceless treasures of gold. We can learn to respond to adversity with joy and weave by faith to turn the problems into silver. When our faith is purified, it will reveal His strength and sovereignty and all the while, it will be for our unspeakable advantage. After all, we are as the wee elf, the poor miller, absolutely of no consequence. But, because of Christ, His death on the cross, His resurrection and His unconditional love, we can stand before our King, the King of Kings, as silver - clothed in His righteousness and of great consequence to Him. Let's get to work. I have much weaving to do, how about you?
Psalm 66:10, "For thou O God, has proved us; thou hast tried us as silver is tried."
May this be a constant prayer in our hearts...
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139: 23-24
In His Love,
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