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A Word from Mike

August  2020

Trying times challenge our faith in ways that are not comfortable. Somehow, we, as American Christians have grown accustomed to being ‘comfortable Christians’—and have allowed that mindset to become the normal and certainly preferred expectation. Such thinking directs our minds to what and when, and not Who when it comes to our relationship with God and people. We naturally look for what is going to happen next; and when it is going to get worse or better. Better is preferred and prayed for, even to a point that we can begin to shape our view of God in light of how He responds to my longed-for expectations. When God causes things to improve, my faith is strong, but when He doesn’t seem to move things in the directions I think He should, then my faith can become tentative or weak…even questionable. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it places our hope, peace, and joy on things and circumstances (what and when) rather than on God Himself (Who). Surely by now we are learning afresh that we can’t place our confidence in circumstance; they are unpredictable. Doesn’t it make sense then, both practically and biblically, that we zero in more on God than on our situations? We can’t avoid living in the circumstances, but we can resist letting them drive us into depression and complacency. We may not enjoy what’s going on around us, but we can enjoy the process of allowing God to shape and refine us into what He desires to accomplish in and through us. The Apostle Peter, in describing our faith and all that God has waiting for us one day, said it this way:

 

In this [what is to come] you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:6–9, NASB95).

 

Now, Peter was speaking of much for difficult trials than most of us are facing; he was addressing severe persecutions and hardships that the dispersed believers were facing, but some of the principles still hold for us. God desires to refine us in ways that make us more like Him and less like us! Sometimes that is painful, but, in the long-run always desirable. As one song captured what should be in our hearts: The Refiner’s fire, has now become my soul’s desire; purged and cleansed and purified, that the Lord be glorified. He is consuming my soul, refining me, making me whole. No matter what I may lose, I choose the Refiner’s fire (Lyrics by Jon Mohr, 1989).

 

At face value, none of us welcome challenging and trying times, but they may be just what God wants to use to make us, His people, more useful, and more like Him. Enjoyable or not, let’s embrace the times and the circumstances as times, if not of refreshing, then certainly of refinement!

MM

 

 

 

 

 
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Upcoming Events
AUG

07

FRI
Celebrate Recovery Pine Bluff
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11

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HBA Execiutive Board Fellowship/Sharing
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Pine Bluff First Baptist Church
10:00 Fellowship
out for lunch as group
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14

FRI
Celebrate Recovery Pine Bluff
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Begins at Family Church Pine Bluff Campus-2309 S Poplar St
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