Another DVO reflection on how faith that is tested can become stronger, purer and more authentic.
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold…
1 Peter 1:7 (NLT)
When gold is first pulled from the earth, it's rough, dirty and misshapen. Before it can be fashioned into priceless pieces, it must be refined by fire. Heat detoxes raw gold making it pure and authentic. Once refined, it can be shaped and moulded into whatever the creator desires.
Unless faith meets resistance, or fire, its potential and power stays unrealised, like a dirty hunk of gold covered in earth. Refining always separates what holds us back from what can drive us forward. In fiery trails we learn to let go of fear, hatred, anxiety… things that corrupt our heart, dull our shine and limit our potential, and we learn to embrace the fire and its burn, knowing that it reveals the gold within.
Gold that has been through many refinements becomes soft and supple. Fiery situations can cause us to harden our hearts to God, others and life. But FAITH keeps us soft through trials and pain. It keeps our hearts responsive to the grace and leading of God. Faith connects us to hope, and through hope, softness and vulnerability to the love of God is continually injected into our lives.
Ez 36:26 says "…I will take out your stoney, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart." Don't let challenges dump emotional cement into your soul, stiffening your heart and crippling your journey. But let faith massage out the muscles knotted by fear, let it knead out, like rough dough, offences and hatred. And let the heat of it bubble up the dirt we accumulate through life so that it can be scraped off and thrown away by the soft hands of grace. Afterwards, the gold that remains stands brighter, more confident and full of hope.
When you feel the heat in life, don't be downcast or afraid. Allow faith to rise up within you, lifting your head, filling your heart with the confidence that God will lead you on from this moment and the fire will not consume you. You can keep on going and you will come through the other side of this fire with a stronger back and a softer heart.
Let faith turn your fiery experiences into moments of gold.
Well, any self-respecting Film Studies teacher simply has to go and see those films that are being acclaimed by the critics and are up for awards, if only to better inform his/her students and perhaps encourage them to see the film in question. So, off I went to see what all the fuss was about. "The King's Speech" is full of very British wry, self-deprecating humour, affectionate digs at the royal family and tremendous performances. I never got the sense that Colin Firth was playing his character's handicap to the gallery, nor was he simply baiting the Academy Awards voters with yet another Oscar-friendly performance involving physical handicap. In fact, his handicap was much more an emotional one. I felt there was a real emotional honesty and depth to his portrayal (and the swearing is hilarious!). Both Helena Bonham-Carter and Geoffrey Rush are worthy of awards too. I loved B-C's knowing humour and intelligence as Bertie's wife (who for people of my generati…
I've often wondered how it must feel to be a successful Christian recording and touring artist whilst having to deal with the worldly aspects of that life such as marketing, profit margins, contracts, image, media communications, etc... It must be a really delicate balancing act to not let success go to your head when it comes, to keep the focus on the Lord and yet do your best to get your material out there because you believe that God wants you to touch people's hearts and souls through your songs and performances/recordings.
I know that one of my all-time favourite bands, Switchfoot, constantly struggle with this tension. Just listen to their last 3 or 4 albums for numerous examples. Jon Foreman's - and the other band members' - lyrics seem to be a way of working through for themselves the tensions inherent in their career/ministry, calling on themselves to keep the focus on what is right and true, above all on love... love of God, love of their fellow human beings.…
This morning I re-read Day 1 of a Bible devotional in my YouVersion Bible app by the group Tenth Avenue North on the themes of their album from a couple of years ago "The Struggle", and it really resonated with me. I've found myself thinking along the same lines a fair bit in recent times and I thought I would share it: Don't Stop the MadnessI'm sitting in a small airport in Montana right now, sleep deprived and delayed. I've been gone from my family for what feels like forever and just want to get home. You know that feeling right? When you just want to get home? But as I sit here on the floor and stare red eyed at my computer screen, I have to remember one thing. God seldom works in the easy and comfortable.Can He? Sure.Does He? Sometimes.But more often than not, the times that shape me, the times that make me more loving and more gracious, aren't usually what I look back on as "good times." Isn't that strange? I mean, sure we all want to b…