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.
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.…
Just finished my annual retreat, this year with 25 other De La Mennais Brothers at the Benedictine monastery of Landévennec in Finistère, Brittany. A time to recharge the batteries, to read, to pray, to reflect, to write, to enjoy the beautiful coastal countryside... to take stock of the past year and to look forward to the future with hope. Today and tomorrow I've 2 days of meetings with our Provincial Council, after which it's back to Liverpool just in time to get ready for Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Here's a Facebook message from the people at "40 acts" to help us live this Lent in a way that takes the focus away from what we can do for ourselves and towards responding better to the needs of others. "Lent starts this Wednesday! How are you doing it?
We're giving up giving up and giving generously instead. Like & Share if you're joining us and tag in some friends to join the #40acts generosity movement.(Sign up at www.40acts.org.uk to …
The article linked at the bottom of this post was written by the bass player of Switchfoot, Tim Foreman (The band are favourites of mine and there was a Switchfoot song on our Indonesia/Japan tour playlist, "Love Alone Is Worth the Fight”). The band are all mad keen surfers. The article recounts a dramatic experience that Tim had while surfing somewhere that Team Win! now know: Bali, Indonesia! The end of the article is as follows:"... life is meant to be lived. And that means taking risks. We come alive when we step beyond the comforts of what we know. And it’s all too easy to just say “no” to the things that scare us. But who knows what’s waiting for you, beyond the safety of your apartment or your mobile device. Like fire in your veins: rebellion, adventure, the unknown."Congrats to Andy (Rolo), James + Harry for being willing to take a giant step outside of their comfort zones and embrace our Far Eastern adventure with all the encounters and experiences that made i…