A Refiner’s Fire: Discerning the Work of God

Josephus-Joppa:

…I had heard a story from a man who sat and watched a man working as a refiner purify silver… he asked the refiner, “How do you know when it’s pure?” And the refiner answered, “That’s easy; it’s pure when I can see myself in it…”

Originally posted on Welcome to Joppa Road:

Prime Time With God
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
03-17-2013

A Refiner’s Fire

For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.” – Malachi 3:2b

The Lord has a specific manner of preparing His people for useful service. God desires to turn His children from rough, hard-edged stones into gems of gold and silver.

“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years” (Malachi 3:3-4).

The refiner’s fire can only accomplish its purposes when the heat is turned up to extraordinary temperatures. It breaks down the metal in order for it to become…

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Today God is First: The Place of Tears

Today’s Prayer,

…”Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes” (Revelation 18:4). Oh God, what a wicked world we live in. You created it to be a beautiful place; a place where you would come and fellowship with your beautiful creation, but humans disobeyed and gave in to the deceitful voice of Satan. While I am in this world, please help me to not take place in the sins of the world; to resist temptation; to rebuke the voice of Satan and run to you for shelter. Thank you, God, for loving me. I want to please you and fellowship with you. Protect me, please. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


The Place of Tears
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman

“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death” (Mt 26:38).

Often the place of our greatest pain becomes the place of our greatest triumph. Gethsemane was the place of Jesus’ greatest trial. Three times He asked the Father to let this trial pass. It was not to be. The Father sent His Son to the cross to pay a debt owed by humanity.

Jesus was faced with His own temptation to quit, to not fulfill His destiny, to run from his assignment. It was a personal battle to persevere. Sometimes we face situations that cry out “Quit! I cannot endure anymore!” We want to throw in our towel of what little faith we have left. We conclude that this faith thing simply does not work.

“Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him”(Lk 22:43). After Jesus asked the Father if this cup could pass, an angel was sent to Him to comfort Jesus. The Father’s answer to Jesus’ prayer was “No.” But, His compassion to His Son came in the form of an angel. Some temptations seem they are more than we can bare. However, God tells us: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it”(1 Cor 10:13).

If we persevere we often realize later the place of our greatest battle becomes the place of our greatest victory. It would be here, on the Mount of Olives, near the Garden Gethsemane where Jesus ascended and would return triumphantly, not as a sorrowful soul, but a triumphant Savior. The battle He won in Gethsemane would result in the triumphant entry to be Lord of the universe.

God will use your greatest failure or greatest sorrow to be a powerful force in your life and the lives of others. Your Valley of Baca (weeping) becomes springs for you and others. You will go from strength to strength (Ps 84:6). It is in the dying that the new springs are allowed to come forth and a new strength emerges.

If you find yourself in your Garden of Gethsemane, lay yourself at the feet of the only one who can sustain you. Entrust yourself to your Heavenly Father. Let Him determine your fate. It will ultimately become a place of victory.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

The Way of God

TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
09-09-2014

“If My people would but listen to Me…. Psalm 81:13

God has a specific training ground for leaders. There are three patterns of preparation that have been common among most of God’s leaders. First, there is a time when the leader is separated from his old life. Consider Moses, Joseph, Abraham, and Paul. In order for God to mold and shape them into His nature, it appears that He had to remove them from the life of comfort. A teacher once said, “You cannot go with God and remain where you are.”

Next, there is usually a time of solitude. God often brings leaders into a time of solitude in order to speak to them without other distractions. Hosea 2:14b says, “I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” Paul was sent to Arabia for two years for a time of solitude. Joseph spent years in the solitude of prison. Moses spent 40 years in the desert herding sheep.

The third characteristic of God’s preparation for leaders is discomfort. The setting in which the preparation takes place usually is not a place of comfort. Abraham traveled through the difficult deserts. David lived in caves fleeing Saul. Paul was frequently persecuted.

Are you ready for the classroom of leadership preparation? If God chooses to bring you into this class, you may have one of three reactions to the events. First, you may say, “I don’t need it.” Perhaps you know intellectually that you do need this, but God wants you to know it in your heart. Pride prevents us from entering this classroom. The second reaction may be, “I’m tired of it.” You decide you’ve had enough. If so, this will disqualify you from leadership. Finally, God’s desired response from us in this preparation is, “I accept it.” To accept it with joy is the place of maturity in Christ. God often keeps us in these places until we come to accept and agree that Jesus is enough. Is He all you need?

Like the people of Israel, I think we have something to do with the timetable of our education. “If My people would but listen to Me, if Israel would follow My ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their foes!” (Ps. 81:13-14)

Are you ready for the process required for being a godly leader? Ask for His grace to willingly embrace these times of preparation.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Today God is First: The Necessity of the Desert

…If I haven’t shared enough posts with you all about the desert, here’s another, also done by Os Hillman. – Joppa

Today’s Prayer,
Dear God, Please give me a vision for what You want to do through me, for the role You want me to have in the local ministry of my church, and for the ministry You want to work through me in daily life. Please help me to keep my eyes upon You, not upon other people, things, or circumstances. May Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Necessity of the Desert
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
09-06-2014

…”I have become an alien in a foreign land.” – Exodus 2:22

God’s preparation of a leader involves training, extended times of waiting, pain, rejection, and isolation. Are you ready to sign up?

Moses was brought up in Pharaoh’s court. He had the very best of everything-education, clothing, food, and personal care. But there came a time when the man God would use to free an entire people from slavery was going to have to learn to be the leader God wanted. At age 40, when most of us want to be thinking about winding down instead of beginning a new career, Moses was forced to flee to the desert.

Like Joseph and Abraham, Moses had to endure some difficult years of preparation that first involved removal from his current situation. He went from notoriety to obscurity, from limitless resources to no resources, from activity and action to inactivity and solitude. And, most importantly, waiting. And waiting. And waiting. He probably thought he would die in the land of Midian.

Then one day, a full 40 years from the day he arrived, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. Everything changed. God said, “It is time.” The years had seasoned the vessel to prepare him to accomplish the work.

God is preparing many workplace believers today. The circumstances may be different. The time frames may not be quite as long. But the characteristics of the training are still the same. Do not try to shortcut the desert time of God. It only leads to cul-de-sacs, which force you to revisit the lessons you are meant to learn. Embrace them, so that He can use your life for something extraordinary.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Today God is First: Significance

Significance
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
09-05-2014

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us- yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17

Many of us begin our careers with the goal of achieving success. If we haven’t entered our work as a result of God’s calling, we will eventually face a chasm of deep frustration and emptiness. Success flatters but does not provide a lasting sense of purpose and fulfillment. So often we enter careers with wrong motives-money, prestige, and even pressure from parents or peers. Failing to match our work with our giftedness and calling is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. If that happens over an extended period, a person crashes.

At this time, many make another mistake. Workplace believers think that beginning a new career in “full-time Christian work” will fill the emptiness they feel.

However, this only exacerbates the problem because they are again trying to put another square peg into a round hole. The problem is not whether we should be in “Christian work” or “secular work,” but rather what work is inspired by gifts and calling. If there is one phrase I wish I could remove from the English language it is “full-time Christian work.” If you are a Christian, you are in full-time Christian work, whether you are driving nails or preaching the gospel. The question must be, are you achieving the God-given calling for your life? God has called people into business to fulfill His purposes just as much as He has called people to be pastors or missionaries.

It is time for workplace believers to stop feeling like second-class citizens for being in business. It is time workplace believers stop working toward financial independence so that they can concentrate on their “true spiritual calling.” This is the great deception for those called to business.

Significance comes from fulfilling the God-given purpose for which you were made. Ask Him to confirm this in your own life.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

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