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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Counting it all joy

"The result of our being glorious with the glory of God is that in the end God will be glorified by our glorification.

Your people shall all be righteous . . . the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21)

Therefore, do not let your joy or your hope or your theology or your preaching rest finally on what you are or what you will be. Rejoice finally in this: that what you will be is a joyful reflection of the glory of God. And he will be all in all. Be glad that you are not the final point of it all, but a happy pointer."
John Piper from his Desiring God Blog.

Our first meeting of the study of Ligon Duncan's "Does Grace Grow Best in Winter?" took place last evening.  There are actually three groups of ladies meeting each week to study through this book.  I am facilitating the discussion for the Monday night group.

There were eight of us who met together last night for an introduction to the book and study.  Present were ladies of varying ages, stages of life, color, and background.  What we all had in common was the fact that we've all been through trials and suffering in our lives.  Some of us are in the midst of difficulties now.  Our desire is to respond to the suffering we experience in a way that glorifies our God.
We spent last night getting to know each other a little better, introducing the study and praying.  I am so excited about this study.  Why you ask, because it seems as if each lady had some hindrance in getting to Bible study last night.  That lets me know God wants to accomplish a great work through the next four weeks in our lives and the enemy of our souls is out to stop it!  However, greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!!!

By way of introduction, we made mention of Paul in the New Testament and Job in the Old Testament and their examples of suffering.  Particularly we were reminded of Job's response to his suffering.  Remember what Job did in chapter 1 after the last messenger had come:
"At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.
Then he fell to the ground in worship."
He did this because in chapter 19 verse 25 we find Job's assurance:
"I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end 
He will stand on the earth."
We also talked a little about this passage of scripture:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials
of many kinds, because you know
that the testing of your faith develops
Perseverance must finish its work so
that you may be mature and complete
not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4
We want to understand over the next four weeks somewhat of the design that God has for our lives and the role suffering may play in the fulfillment of that design.  Our desire is when trials come our way to look at the opportunity we are presented to glorify God in the midst of our difficulty.

I'll be blogging through our study, so come back each Tuesday for the next four weeks and let me know your thoughts.

I received this email from a friend about four years ago and I closed our time together with it last night.  Be blessed and reminded of what your Heavenly Father desires to accomplish in your life!

Malachi 3:3  "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."
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.
One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.  That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work.  She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiostiy about the process of refining silver.
As she watched the silversmith, he leld a peice of silver over the fire and let it heat up.  He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottet as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot.  She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined and he answered yes.
He said he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but had to keep his eye on the silver the entire time it was in the fire.  If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment.  Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"
He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy...When I see my image in it."

Counting it all joy,