Aug 18, 2017

Refining process - Trial of Faith Series

Trial of Faith - Refining process
Isa 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried and chosen you in the furnace of affliction
One of the difficult processes of the various trials of faith involve a deep cleansing of the heart of the saint of God. The Psa 17:3 reminds us that there indeed is a God who visits us to test us and to prove us! And His tests involve a refining process.

1 Peter 1:7 says - The trial of our faith is like the purification of precious gold. The refining of gold involves extreme heat which separates the pure gold from the base metals which are united into the matrix of the gold ore. (Jer 9:7says:  I will melt them and try them! Isa 1:25 says he will purge away the dross and take away the tin)  God sees in us the ability to hold the divine substance (nature of God). This is why He created us in His image and likeness. From the day that he saved us through faith in Jesus Christ, He is at work cleansing our heart from all filthiness of flesh. The refining process is designed to separate the base from the holy. That's why Job knew despite his many trials that once he is tested, he shall come forth as pure gold (Job 23:10)

Zec 13:9 reminds us that he will refine us like silver and test us like gold - before he calls us His people and His children. Mal 3:3 says: God shall purify the levites (a picture of the new testament royal priesthood) before His coming (so that the day of His coming will be hope & joy for us and not judgment). Many of our life circumstances are tailor-made to complete the good work that he has started in us.

Indeed most of the saints of God came to know Jesus personally as they went through difficult trials of refining in their life. Isa 48:10 says: behold I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction. Dear friend, take heart. the Lord knows what he is doing. 1 Pet 4:12 is our strong hope in trials - don't be surprised at the trial that you are going through. It's not something strange and unique for you. All saints of God go through it. You will not be tested beyond your ability and along with every trial, he will make a way of escape. If you hold onto Jesus, he will see you through the trial and you will emerge better finer and stronger (and more Christ-like) through it all. God bless!

Aug 3, 2017

When God Delays - Trial of Faith series

Ps 13:1 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

As we are on the topic of the trials of faith, one of the foremost tests for a disciple of Jesus is the trial of waiting. Or what we could call "Divine Delays". If you find yourself waiting, if you think the Lord has passed you by, if you find that the Lord has delayed beyond your expectation, take courage. You are in good company. All the saints of God have gone through this process. Abraham, Moses, David, even in the new testament the saints of God have waited fearfully for a lord who seemed delayed. But remember, the eyes of the Lord are always on those who wait on Him and whose hearts are perfect towards him. A quick search in the Old testament on the words "How Long" yields a rich set of verses of the heart cry of the dear ones who waited for the Lord Ps 6:3Ps 13:1Ps 35:17Ps 79:5Ps 80:4Ps 89:46Ps 90:13Ps 94:3Hab 1:2Zech 1:12

Does God need our advice ?
In the above Psalm, David (one who was after God's own heart - to whom the Lord revealed the greatest truths in that dispensation) goes through a period where he fears that the Lord has forgotten him and where He has seemingly hidden His face from David. In Psalm 40:17, the saint of God cries out that he is poor & needy and to not tarry, but to come to his help fast. You can't speed God up! Isa 40:13-14  says: What man has taught God or been His counselor ? We may yet face even physical anguish as we wait for the lord! (Psa 69:3) Indeed the promise of God says: Psa 25:3 - those who wait on the lord shall not be ashamed. In some of the earlier posts, I've written on this topic. I believe this is one of the most common, Yet most difficult tests of a christian disciple. Read these 2 posts for some thoughts on the same.

A Family that Jesus loved
John 11:5-6  - Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days
Is the Lord cruel to wait when His dear friend is sick unto death? The Lord's love is not an assurance that His loved ones shall not suffer or go through dark nights. But His love is indeed an assurance that He will be with us in those troubles. He will not leave us nor forsake us. While you are waiting, you may think the Lord could have done better (John 11:21). But as Jesus told the grieving family in John 11:40, only Believe and you will see the Glory Of God. The more He is making you wait, the more is the glory that will be manifest.

Be patient
James 5:7 - During the times of delays and waiting, sow the precious seeds patiently. And as a farmer rejoices not at sowing but when the fruit comes, you shall also rejoice surely. Heb 10:36 reminds us that we need to patiently wait and do the will of God before we reap His promises. The light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory. As Job says: (Job 23:10) He knows the way I take. when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold!

We faint not!
2 Cor 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Cor 4:1 - since we have received this ministry by God's mercy, we do not lose heart.
Having these promises, dear friend, don't lose heart. Hold on to the Lord.
David cries in his despair three times - that his soul was downcast. He addresses his soul's disturbance and decides " I will yet praise HIM". Psa 42:5Psa 42:11Psa 43:5 Praise Him, while you are yet to see Him move and surely at the right time, He will move heavens in your favor.

God Bless!

PS: In the days ahead, I hope to write on topics of the various trials of faith - like delays, choices we make, divine silence, suffering, difficult way, making great demands, illogical counsels from God etc. The first post of this series is here.

Aug 1, 2017

Trial of your Faith

Job 7:17-18 What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention, that you examine him every morning and test him every moment?

One of the most unpleasant parts of our Christian journey is the tremendous amounts of tests and trials that we have to endure. In the above word, there is a cry of a man who endured a tremendous testing, probably at a degree more than what we would ever experience or understand. The ways of God mandate that a believer should betested and tried. Faith that is untried and untested cannot be rewarded or recognized. Also, in the process of testing, the believer is made aware of his own weaknesses and, by the grace of God, he can work out his weaknesses to ensure success in the later trials of his life. The Lord also mandates that a believer should pass the tests that he has failed - so we are also aware that the circumstances that tested us to failure may appear again, and if we are diligent in the tests, we will succeed in them surely.

This experience is what makes the apostles write so soberly about the testing of mankind. 1 Pet 1:6-7 comfort us in our various tests.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Read this earlier post where I noted a few thoughts on the same.

The Lord sees our hearts which are in heaviness through 'manifold' temptations. During this weary period, the Lord reminds us to hold on strong, for in His sight, this trial is very precious and this is real Gold in His sight. The Church of Laodiceans are exhorted to buy the 'tested' faith of Gold from the Lord (Rev 3:18) for this makes a Christian 'Rich' spiritually. This is why James writes the cryptic statement to rejoice in trials. James 1:2-3.

Remember dear saint of God - the promises of God are here to comfort us and to stand by us in our journey of Faith. 1 Peter 4:10 talks of the 'manifold' grace of God (Gk: ποικίλος). The very same word is used to describe the'manifold' trials that we face in 1 Pet 1:6. The literal meaning of the word is 'Many colors or hues'. This means that for every color of temptation or trial that we face, God offers to us the very same color of grace that is needed to overcome that trial. How great is our God! 1 cor 10:13 remind us that we will NOT be tested beyond our ability and along with every test, he will make a way of escape!

If you are in a season of continuous testing or trial or temptation, dear saint of God, the Lord has not passed you by! He is constantly monitoring your test and your response to it. He will NOT allow the test to be more than what you can bear. He will give you the right measure and flavor of grace to overcome. In fact, He has faith IN YOU that you will overcome. You will emerge from the faith finer and more precious than before. The success of this trial means an eternal reward for you. Take courage ! God bless.

PS: In the days ahead, I hope to write on topics of the various trials of faith - like delays, choices we make, divine silence, suffering, difficult way, making great demands, illogical counsels from God etc.