The Refiner’s Fire & Reforming Hammer

Is your surrendered-to-God life being heated almost to the melting point, and then being beaten upon seemingly without mercy?

Stay on the anvil of God. Your outcome will be beautiful, powerful, and glorifying to Him! He isn’t punishing you, He is forming you into the greatest person that you can be.

He didn’t say that you would love the sculpting process, but you WILL love the final RESULT of His sculpting process!

#PastorsTip

 

You Are His Joy!

A Daily Thought Provoker
from Heart & Path Journal at HeartPathJournal.net
by David J. Hall

“For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross…”

~ Hebrews 12:2

That joy that was set before Jesus could only be realized if He went through a crucifixion process. What could possibly inspire so much joy as to keep Him fully motivated to endure such pain, suffering, and shame?

You! You are His Joy!

His anticipation of your love for Him today is the joy that kept Jesus motivated through the cross those 2,000 years ago. Now THAT is a powerful Joy!

You are His Joy!

 

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#PastorsTip

A Loving Desperation for God

When is the right time to become desperate for more–for all–of God?  While it certainly is the right time to seek Him with absolute diligence when we face a trial of enormous potential consequence (cancer, divorce, bankruptcy, etc.), the most critical time for becoming desperate for God–for all of God–is when we do not feel like it.

When we have become numb to the things of His Spirit and His Word, this is the most critical moment that requires a self-awakening and a self-discipline to stir up the fire within us before it goes out completely under the burdens of life.

The Psalmist describes for us a beautiful picture of being desperate for God:

“As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?”

( Psalm 42:1b-2 )

Picture with the Psalmist a deer that has spent its day in the heat and maybe even has run from a predator at one point, and nearing the end of the day it is more than ready for a deep drink of refreshing, cool, life-sustaining and life-restoring water from any of the number of brooks or streams available in its territory.  Imagine the joy and the refreshment that the deer enjoys even as it approaches a water source, smelling the aroma of the fresh water even while still a mile away.  Its anticipation begins to refresh it even before the first drink is taken in.

Our lives have their own challenges and predators.  Sometimes we become so engaged in the battles of life that we forget to drink and hydrate our lives frequently throughout the day with the living streams of God.  Without a steady inflow of the waters of His life our lives become parched, thirsty, and eventually even numb to the thirst that our souls so desperately need to have quenched.

In the second verse the Psalmist asks himself when will he “appear before God.”  This reference includes the idea of appearing before God’s Face, a face-to-face meeting which brings to mind the kind of relationship that Moses had with God.  Moses would meet with God face-to-face (so to speak) as a friend meets with a friend.  Their relationship was very special.  This is the kind of relational encounter the Psalmist is asking himself about, when will he drink deep of the waters of God and present himself before God with a loving desperation to know Him more, and for God to know him more in a relational way?

The bottom line is this: out of our love for God, let us all cultivate a loving desperation for God, not only a desperation to know about Him, but to know Him personally.  Through the Cross of Christ we may approach our Heavenly Father with utmost confidence (Hebrews 4:15-16).  As you anticipate approaching Him in the minutes or hours to come, can’t you already smell the aroma of the fresh streams of God’s living water that flows from His Presence?  Like the deer anticipating its water, let us anticipate our time of face-to-face with God.

See you at the altar, my friends.

#PastorsTip

Have You Embraced YOUR Cross?

“… and anyone who does not take his own cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.”

~ Jesus, Matthew 10:38 ~

Have you identified your cross as YOUR CROSS? Jesus had His cross, and He KNEW it was His to bear, endure, and overcome. I have my cross, I have identified it, and I am doing my BEST to bear, endure, and overcome the journey. Other Christians have done, and do, the same!

88828d4e-8da9-47e2-abd8-567e92878f82-2739-0000034bd085ade6_tmpWhat about you? Have you identified your cross and called it YOUR CROSS? Every cross-bearing has its end, but what are you doing between today and the unknown end-date of your cross-bearing?

Let’s examine what Jesus did NOT say in the above passage:

  • He didn’t say, “Rebuke your cross!”
  • He didn’t say, “Blame and curse the people who placed the cross before you!”
  • He didn’t say, “Find your own way with your own cross!”

He DID say, “Take up [YOUR CROSS] and follow ME…”

Its YOUR cross, so pick it up, set it squarely on your shoulders, follow the footsteps of Jesus that have been pre-printed in the dirt by His Own faithful journey!

If I may be so bold, let me say this: Fall in love with YOUR CROSS! Not because it is loveable, but because of the incredible outcome at the END of your journey… your journey of carrying YOUR cross in HIS footsteps!

For, without the bearing of YOUR CROSS (whatever that might be), there is a reward of earthly and heavenly benefits that will never be realized, for those rewards and outcomes are awaiting the person who arrives with their OWN CROSS having been successfully carried in the footsteps of Jesus.

I’ll see you on the path of Jesus. I’ll be one of the others on the trail carrying a uniquely-me cross… like you! Let’s do this, friend!!!

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and the Perfector of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider Him Who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

~ Hebrews 12:2-3 ~

. . .

Post-Script explanation of the photo used in this article:

When I was looking for a piece of artwork to insert into this article for illustrative purposes, I originally was combing through simple drawings of crosses, but then…

My eye was caught by the picture depicting Christ mid-journey with His Own cross.  It is gruesome, bloody, agonizing, nightmarish…

Cross-bearing is not a comfortable nor a pretty looking journey.  I used this GRAPHIC graphic to remind us that cross-bearing is serious business with eternal rewards, or eternal consequences for failure to carry OUR CROSS in the footsteps of Jesus.