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Refiners Fire

Some thoughts from one of our church members, Roger Oliver

As we continue to bear with the current restrictions to our normal way of life, we might feel that much has been stripped away or taken away from us. Life is different. Life is empty. We have too much time on our hands. We might even say we have lost our potential idols!! Perhaps we were not thinking that our jobs, hobby, bowls, footie, holidays, cinema, concert going, etc., perhaps even our church work could possibly be what we live for. But they can become that and that may explain why we feel so bereft at this moment.

Have you thought that we may be in a refining time? Sent by God to help us prioritise our focus on Him so that we are more useful in His service, so that we become more holy (set apart)? One of the most precious times each week is meeting with like minded people who want to be together with the express purpose of worshipping God – if only for a short period. Most of our week is spent apart from our Church family. Usually we have much to do, we lead busy lives whether it be in employment, serving in the community in some way, in the home with children, serving in a ministry in the Church  or perhaps being involved with the different groups that the Church provides. Now our normal, daily, weekly routines have been shattered – we might have less to do, or more, but either way it has all changed. We have 24 hour doom and gloom in the media. What should our perspective be? What is God saying through the current events?

Firstly, God is in control. He is sovereign over all events. On a personal level, we may be experiencing a time of being refined or purified. The song starts “Purify my heart , let me be as gold and precious silver” and the chorus says “My heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for you Lord”.

Secondly, how can we apply these thoughts to the present time and current situation which may last for some weeks yet? We could briefly look back on past resolutions or promises or hopes that we set ourselves or more positively, we do a re-set and start over. What is God saying to me through the current furlough time? How can I usefully be spending these extra hours in taking part willingly in this refining process?

You may say that reading and meditating on the Bible is a trite and rather predictable response. Peter the Apostle gives us the reply in John’s gospel – Chapter 6 v 67 to 68 answering Jesus “You do not want to  leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”.

Thirdly, those of you struggling with home schooling which to be honest is a real challenge for anyone, can have precious moments when you could teach your children more about the Bible story. And all of us learn ourselves as we prepare and teach. (Deut 11:11-19).

Whatever you may think about the furlough, lockdown or isolation, do take this opportunity to “redeem the time”  Eph 5:16 (King James Version).

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