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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1 Peter 1:3-7

God will eventually test you in all areas of your life, but He will not let your trials become greater than you can bear. Let God use trails to help you grow. Do not try to measure your progress, your strength, or what God is doing. His work is not less efficient because what He is doing is invisible. God does not transform you on a bed of light, life and grace. His transformation is done on the cross in darkness, poverty and death. Francis Fenelon in 100 days in the secret place

 

I think what strikes me most about this quote by francis fenelon is the call to NOT BE DISCOURAGED that rings behind the words.

Growing as a Christian can sometimes be hard. We think we should be “past” this, and are surprised we still react with anger/fear/insecurity/envy/pride etc.   In a way we’re like an onion… as Shrek would say… with many layers…  and it takes time and experiences to remove those layers as we grow. 

There is no magic click your fingers and you’re perfect switcharoonie when we get saved.  we get saved and then we get transformed.

We can struggle against the work of God to refine us and make as us pure gold.  We can struggle against God’s work in us of transformation.    Sometimes we don’t mean to, i mean we all pray that God would work in our lives, but when we go through life experience and hard times, our soul resists.  our natural default leans towards wanting ease, not character formation in all its process. 

its not fun to suffer and go through difficult times.  its not fun to have relationships strained, or work environments uncomfortable.  its not fun to be ill or to have financial issues.   its not fun to have unexpected pain.   but these are some of the invisible tools of God.   joseph’s time in prison.  jacob’s time serving his uncle laban.  peter’s denial of Christ.   Paul’s beatings and arrests.   Daniel’s exile.  Esther’s predicament.    David in hiding from Saul who wanted to kill him.  Hannah’s barrenness.  mary and Martha’s brother dying….   all painful experiences.  all times of suffering.  all used by God for transformation and glory.  would all those people be who they “are today” without those experiences?  would they have risen to be so used in the kingdom of God without those experiences?  would their character have formed on other easier roads?

 

"God often uses our challenges as stepping stones to the higher purposes of God." – James Robison

Proverbs 17:3 The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold, but God tries the hearts.

The work of God in our hearts is in secret. He uses all types of situations good and bad to shape us. He uses all types of people to give us life experiences that will form the character of His Son Jesus within our hearts. He roots out our secret desires (sins…) and plants good things instead. He forms new habits and new characteristics that resemble Jesus.  as we continue to choose jesus, to choose His ways above our own desires and leanings, as we surrender, we are transformed. 

This all takes time.

We have a lifetime ahead of us.

"If we can know the beauty God is forming in us, we can bear the pain He allows in our lives." – James Robison

Most of us (ME) want it done NOW… we want to be perfect NOW… but experience and life lessons take time to LIVE and learn… I love how Romans 5 in my bible says the word EXPERIENCE instead of perseverance or endurance. Life is lived in experience. If you breathe you are experiencing. If you are experiencing you are been shaped by God.

 

 

And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience, and patience works out experience, and experience works out hope. Romans 5:3-4

 

We can have hope and confidence that God “knows what he is doing”.

He knows us inside and out, how many hairs we have on our head and how many hairs we have on our toes.

We can rest completely in the security that even though we face hard times and are refined in the FIRE that God is with us and working in our lives.

Hard times are NOT in vain, they have a purpose.

Good times are not in vain, they have a purpose.

Trust God in good times and hard times, and pray and let Him have His way.

Surrender and let him work his beauty through your life.

Ask Him to shape and mould.

Do not be discouraged. God is changing you!

He is the Creator of the Universe, God Almighty. His love is everlasting and his mercy stretches our sins from the east to the west, just as the arms of His perfect Son stretched on the cross for our salvation.

Do not be discouraged. Take courage in the knowledge that God is a good God, all the time He is good.

what is the motivating hope that peter talked about – the “In this you greatly rejoice”? – it is salvation and grace, eternity – the reality that we were lost but now are found, that we were far away from God but now are near, innocent, holy, accepted.

 

 

In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  1 Peter 1:3-5  NIV

By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [Born anew] into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay [imperishable], unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, Who are being guarded (garrisoned) by God’s power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time.  AMP

God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on.  God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear.  You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day  CEV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  NKJV

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