“Empowering the abused woman to recover with God's truth"
(Picture taken from: http://www.joy-in-the-am.com/2011/01/beauty-from-ashes.html - The Joy Blog)
“2When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.” (Isaiah 43:2-3 – biblegateway.com – NLT).
“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.” (Isaiah 48:10 – biblegateway.com – NLT).
“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. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (1 Peter 1:7 – biblegateway.com – NLT).
“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” (1 Peter 5:10 – biblegateway.com – NLT).
When we go through our trials and tribulations (the fire), God knows what it will take to bring us out!! He has already prepared the way to bring us out; OUR way of escape – we should not compare our fire to another person’s fire!! BUT sometimes that way is not always an easy way!! Sometimes we have to go THROUGH the fire to escape out of the fire!!
Jonah, in the midst of his storm (fire), was thrown into another problem (2nd fire) (but really, it was a blessing); he got swallowed up by a great fish. Jonah was in the belly of that fish three days and three nights before the fish spewed him up on dry land; before he was delivered out THOSE fires (Jonah 1:17; 2:1-10)!! We see here that Jonah went from one fire to another fire. But God had mercy on Jonah and saved him even though he had disobeyed Him; God is still faithful to us even if we are not faithful to Him!!
Sometimes, we get thrown into the fire by others and other times we jump into the fire our own selves!! Jonah jumped into the fire his own self; first fire, he ran from God by trying to escape on a ship to Tarshish (Jonah 1:16), second fire was a result of trying to escape the first fire!! We just have to do what God says do, when He says do it!! No matter how we ended up in the fire, God will have mercy on us and pull us out; but the way He pulls us out is NOT always how we expects Him to pull us out!! Hahaha, just as we think we’re coming out the fire, it seems as if we are either going back in the fire, or going into a new fire!! Either way, we are never alone God is always with us!!
Don't despise the fire of God; it comes to purify you!! God knows how much fire it will take for each of us to be purified; to burn off ALL impurities and dross!!
How many have ever boiled neck bones (I am from the South:)? Some of you might not know what a neck bone is:)) but that was the only thing I could think of for this example. You cook the neck bones for a longggg time because you have to keep pouring off the water to remove that nasty looking stuff that floats on top as you boil them!! When I did cook them, I would change my water at least 4 times; I made sure they were clean-then put in whatever else I was going to put in them like rice or potatoes!! Spiritually, God keeps putting us through the fire until all that nasty stuff from our soul stop floating on top (stop coming out of our mouth through our heart, from our soul; until we can walk in His love and display His character and not the character of the old man)!!
We are new creatures in Christ once we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and the old man is dead (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:25) (our old character is done away with because we are crucified with Christ and it is no longer us who live but Christ who lives in us)!! We cannot behave like we use to when people hurt us or things happen to us; we cannot clown like we did in the world and tell people off and cuss them out and do all kinds of other things as we used to do (but the soul is screaming with us "DO IT!! Don't let them say that to you!! Tell them off)!!" In essence, we cannot continue to be hellions and profess to be Christians; there MUST be a difference in us once we accept Christ!! So we will go through the fire in whatever way God sees fit until ALL impurities are gone from our soul!! We cannot put off the old man and embrace the new without the fire!!
Ephesians 4:22-24 says:
“22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (biblegateway.com – NLT).
God sees us as being righteous because of His Son but He wants to perfect us in His ways so we can walk in His character and be people of morals and Integrity!! God is perfecting us for that Great Day, the return of His Son Jesus!! The fire refines our faith!! Peter said in 1 Peter 1:5-7 – whole Chapter of 1 Peter 1 (biblegateway.com – NLT):
“5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.
7 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. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
The Holy Spirit is working in us doing everything that needs to be done so when Jesus cracks the sky, we will be caught up with Him!! Salvation alone is NOT enough; you must have that relationship with God where you can put off the deeds and works of the flesh!! What I mean is you cannot go to the altar after the invitation to accept Jesus, say the sinner's prayer and keep doing what you were doing before you accepted Christ!! We have a new life to live once we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior!! Paul tells us this in Romans 6:1-7 (biblegateway.com – NLT):
“1Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.”
In order to go back with Jesus you cannot still be doing what you did before you accepted Him; you cannot just confess Him as your Lord and Savior and keep doing you-not trying to grow in the things of God!! You cannot; salvation does not work like that!! Once you give your life to Jesus, you cannot keep doing your own thing; you must seek the will of God for your life!! See why the fire is necessary? We CANNOT do this by ourselves!! We need God!!
Once we give our hearts to Jesus (accepts Him as our personal Lord and Savior) our spirit man is renewed but our soul (old man) is not!! That is why we must allow God to purge us with fire and get that stuff out of our soul!! That is why it is such a battle within us once we accept Jesus, the soul wants to keep doing the old things and the spirit man wants to serve God: the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!! That is why Paul said he had to beat his body in subjection to the things of God and we must do the same (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)!!
The unregenerated soul tells the body what to do but we must be led by the Holy Spirit and not by our soul!! We must allow the Holy Spirit to purge our souls so we can be led by Him!! The soul house the mind, will, and emotions so you see, these things are what make us tick: we are made up of three parts, the Spirit, soul, and body!! So we are either being controlled by the Holy Spirit or by our soul whether you realize it or not!!
The fire does not feel good but it is good for us!! When we go through the fire, we are not alone; Jesus is there with us!! Remember the three Hebrew boys? When they were thrown into the fire, God was in there with them protecting them; when they came out, they were not scorched or burned!! There are many different reasons why we must go through the fire but in the end, it helps us to be who God called us to be!!
We each have our own fire (trials and tribulations) that we must go through at times but I want to encourage you today to be of good cheer; Jesus has overcame the world and no weapon that is formed against you will ever prosper!! God is covering you with the Blood of Jesus as you go through the fire; you will not get burned!! Let the Holy Spirit have His perfect way in your life; He is God's Spirit and knows what He is doing!! God is taking EVERYTHING that the devil meant for evil and turning it around for your good because you love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)!!
As James said in James 1:2-4:
“2Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. 3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing” (biblegateway.com - Amplified Bible).
Make up in YOUR mind TODAY, that you are GOING THROUGH THE FIRE; no matter how you got there!! Don't focus on how you got there!! STOP blaming others, the devil, yourself, God, and whoever or whatever for you being in the fire!! Just focus on allowing God to bring you through it; allow the Holy Spirit to do what’s need to be done as God brings you through the fire!!
FORGIVE the ones you blame for putting you in the fire (yourself, God, and people)!! You must forgive to get out the fire!! You must let that stuff GO and allow the fire to burn it up; it is dross and needs to be skimmed from you!! It is not worth it!! LET IT GO!! Release people who have hurt you so you will not get stuck in the fire!! You will stay in the fire until you truly have released EVERYONE who has hurt you!!
Forgiveness is a choice, NOT a feeling; it keeps our hearts soft so we will be able to show others the mercy and love of God – the mercy and love God shows us each and every day – NONE of us are perfect YET!! Therefore, we need to give each other grace; when someone hurt us in anyway, we need to give them the grace card (if you have never seen the movie, “The Grace Card” you really need to, it is a great movie about forgiveness. Christ has covered the person’s sin against us with His Blood over 2000 years ago so let’s not allow the devil to keep bringing up what they did to us!!
Forgiveness is for us; it causes us to obey the Word of God (Jesus) concerning forgiving others so we can be forgiven by God and set free!! Also, forgiveness will keep the root of bitterness from springing up in us!! This is what Hebrews 12:14-15 says:
“14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many” (biblegateway.com – NLT).
Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15:
14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (biblegateway.com - NLT).
Let God deal with the people who hurt you; He is a God of justice and He said vengeance belonged to Him and He would repay!! God does not need our help in repaying people who hurt us!! Release the people who have hurt you; cancel their debts to you as Jesus cancelled YOUR debts to God!! If we do not forgive others their trespasses against us, God will not forgive us of our sins!! Don't be like the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35; the servant was unmerciful (unforgiving) and was turned over to the tormentors - when we do not forgive others, we are not showing them mercy - God shows us mercy so we should show others mercy.
Unforgiveness is a terminal cancer; if you do not get rid of it, you will die – spiritually and naturally!! Chose to forgive so you can move on with your life and get out of THAT fire!!
God bless you all!! Have a great weekend and next week!!
In His Service,
Dr. Dorothy E. Hooks
NOTE: These materials are copyright protected therefore you must request permission to reproduce any part of this material. To request permission, please contact Dr. Dorothy E. Hooks: firstname.lastname@example.org.