Refined Like Gold

refiners-fire

Reading: Job 22-27

“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” (Job 23:8-10)

Life often runs like a busy and noisy workshop. When unguarded, it is easy to fall into the trap of going through the motions. If we keep ourselves busy at a steadily increasing pace, we should not be surprised when, one day, we find out that our hearts have already strayed from the Lord.

God may be invisible, but he is not detached from us. In fact, our Creator longs to be in close fellowship with his created beings. Though unseen, he is never indifferent. Though silent, he always cares. Yet similar to the adverse effects of a hurried life, our troubles have a way of numbing our senses from perceiving God’s movement in our lives.

We must then shift our focus from the tension towards God’s intention. When we go through our faith-stretching moments, I believe it is wise for us to pause, reflect and prayerfully wrestle with these questions:

  1. Where is God is my situation? What is He doing?
  2. What is God teaching me? What does He want me to learn and do?
  3. Considering my answers to the previous questions, how must I respond?

Like gold refined through a furnace, God also refines us through the circumstances we face every single day. But admittedly, this is never an easy task. We must be quick to come to prayer, to seek God and his Word, and to be with people who are willing to carry the burden with us.

May we all become more sensitive to God as we meditate on Scripture today.

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Daniel = Uncompromising

About four days ago, I was given the privilege to preach at our youth worship service in Greenhills Christian Fellowship South Metro. As you read this, you’d perceive this entry as more of a “post-preaching” reflection of Daniel 6:1-23. If you have a bible near you, I seriously encourage you to open it to the said passages.

Don’t worry, I won’t preach here like what I did last Sunday. All I want to focus on is a particular segment of the said text, because it’s been running in my head for the past couple of days. I sensed God’s leading to write something about it.  In verse 10b of Daniel 6, it says:

He (Daniel) got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.”

The context? Simply put, all the officials (except Darius) were against Daniel. In fact, an immediate injunction was signed and was announced that anyone who prays to any god or man other the king would be thrown to the den of lions! This order was effective for thirty days.  Hence, Daniel was limited to choose between two options.

A.  Live, by compromising. Besides, it will only take a month, right?

B.  Die, because of standing firm for the God he loves.

What did he choose? Despite the impending danger, he still chose letter B. Moreover, he was on his knees and prayed three times a day! Here, the modifier “previously”, in its original Hebrew text, means “from antiquity”. Meaning, it’s been a life-long habit! It’s his passion, and nothing changed despite the circumstances!

Daniel remained faithful to his daily discipline of praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  And what puzzles me further was his attitude of thankfulness even if things were not going in his favor.

I wonder, was there really something to be thankful for? Hmm… I’m not so sure. Why?

A.  All one hundred and twenty satraps (or governors) and two fellow presidents were after Daniel’s fall.

B.  He’s bound to be fed to the starving lions.

In short, he’s dead.

Yet God delivered Daniel in the most amazing way.

Oh, indeed, “…the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (2 Ch. 16:9a)

My prayer today is that we’d all have a “Daniel-like” discipline, a “Daniel-like” faith, and a “Daniel-like” attitude of thankfulness.

May we desire for a disciplined lifestyle of prayer fueled by faith. May we have that rock-solid faith produced out of knowing, believing in, and embracing the God revealed in Scriptures. And may we put on a kind of attitude that exclaims “thank You, Lord” even if we’re at wit’s end and things don’t go the way we want them to happen.

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*For your reference, here’s the link to the Scripture text I was referring to. I hope this helps, guys.


Hello… Hurricane.

I’m just done listening to Switchfoot’s “Hello Hurricane” .  Admittedly, it’s my first time to hear it and I quite liked it.  Almost simultaneously, I just saw the news, reporting Philippine Azkals’ loss against Kuwait.  Something dawned moments after, and I apologize for my randomness in this.  The thoughts written here are not directly based on the contexts of the song nor the game itself.  But bear with me for just a little longer, and I’ll see how I can put all my ideas together.

So, let’s give it a try.

Coming from the hype of victory and glory, the Azkals met a “hurricane” in the form of a formidable team such as Kuwait.  I’m not a player of the sport, but I could empathize for their defeat.  With supporters being disappointed and players running back to the dugout in dismay, the situation was heart-breaking. That’s guaranteed.

Now, putting this in a more personal perspective, we all meet our own versions of “hurricanes” in this lifetime.  Some may seem trivial, others tragic. They simply clothe themselves in different ways, don’t they?  But the fact is, life’s hurricanes can potentially shatter the core of our being — this may involve your values, ambitions, expectations, etc.  They also arrive any time and at any day.  They come at different paces, places, and gravity.  After its direct hit on us, we end up broken and unable to pull ourselves up.  But in my heart of hearts, I pray we won’t let go of hope that easily.

Faith-stretching,  nerve-wracking hurricanes are part of life.  I guess, that’s a given.  I, myself, am a victim and is not exempted.  Ergo, we should not be surprised at all when one comes.  It may sound like an oxymoron, but hurricanes should be welcomed.  We should learn to say “hello” to them for even if potential negative effects are attached to them, potential positive (and life-transforming) outputs can be brought about as well.  And it has much to do with one’s character.  A person of character, tested by life’s calamities, cause so much impact to broken people.  People of brokenness, restored by the hope found in Christ, brings tons of stories that are worth telling.

Contemplating further, Scriptures say that we should not be shocked by life’s “hurricanes” for they are merely inevitable.  Jesus, prior to His arrest, made it clear that in this world we will have trouble!  Yet He didn’t just end there.  With His acknowledgment of the arrival of life’s problems follows His assurance of peace to His disciples and to those who would believe.  And He reminded us that in Him, we have a sovereign and an overcoming God (cf. John 16:33).  We may stumble for a while, but He asks of us to be still and press on in our journey.  He provides hope.  And it is a kind of hope that does not disappoint, even if matters may result in ways we do not see nor comprehend.

So my friend, if you are currently in a “state of calamity”, please hang in there.  May the Lord sustain you with His grace and mercy.

If you are traversing in the calm, that is good.  But don’t be complacent, and be prepared to say “hello” to any “hurricane” that may come your way.  This time, however, I guess you’re more prepared because of the confidence we have in Christ, who gives strength to the weak and who gives hope to the hopeless.