“Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life. The proud have me in great derision, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law. I remembered Your judgments of old, O Lord, And have comforted myself. Indignation has taken hold of me Because of the wicked, who forsake Your law. Your statutes have been my songs In the house of my pilgrimage. I remember Your name in the night, O Lord, And I keep Your law. This has become mine, Because I kept Your precepts. You are my portion, O Lord; I have said that I would keep Your words. I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; Be merciful to me according to Your word. I thought about my ways, And turned my feet to Your testimonies. I made haste, and did not delay To keep Your commandments. The cords of the wicked have bound me, But I have not forgotten Your law.”
Psalms 119:49-61 NKJV
There was a time when I cooked for a living. I was not so well trained as to be a chef, but I knew my way around an institutional kitchen. Periodically, I would find a recipe that required that I clarify the butter, which meant heating it slowly until the butterfat separated from the water and milk. It was a slow process, resulting in a pure oil, clear as liquid gold, and good for a variety of uses.
When I consider my walk of faith, I harken back to my own clarification, as the word of God filled me, and I found myself set apart from the world. The word made me peculiar in the sight of the world, as I was ceasing to be one of the earth dwellers, for my heart had been captured by the Lord of Heaven.
Reading Psalm one hundred nineteen again this morning, I saw how the word of God helped the writer to remain faithful, even as the pressure mounted. The writer, remembered the judgements of old, being reminded that the Lord he knew then was the same one he knew before. Whatever I have faced I am reminded that the Lord is always with me, and that He does not change.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8 NKJV
Sometimes the pressure comes from within the household of faith, as those purporting to be in the faith seek to draw me after teachers who do not rightly divide the word of truth. Sometimes the pressure is political as one is pressured to vote for a give candidate.
In many ways this pressure can be much more intense than that the world brings. But I press on, seeking the Lord, being mindful of His word an d the reality that I alone will stand in the presence of Jesus at the Bema seat.
As I have drawn nearer to God, the enemy has worked hard to increase the pressure upon me to assimilate, creating heat like that of a saucepan. I am the butter in that saucepan, and what the evil one had meant for evil, has worked out for the glory of God. The Holy Spirit was using the heat of affliction to refine me, to clarify me, that I be more useful for His purpose.
“But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food.”
Job 23:10-12 NKJV
Through the testing of the Lord, I have greater confidence in Him, as I am reminded daily of His faithfulness by His word, and by my experience, for I have been in the saucepan for a long time. I know that as the water and milk in my life, the dross is separated from the butter fat, I will come back as golden.
One of the great things about clarification, is that it does not burn under high heat. Unclassified butter burns, ruining all that it touches. That which is clarified and refined stands the heat.
Brothers and sisters, we will experience much heartache in the coming days, weeks, months and perhaps years, and it is on us to use the heat of persecution to bring about the good work of clarification. Persecution is a purifier, that the Lord is using as we the adopted children of God are refined and prepared, and beautified to be the bride of Christ at the end of the millennium.
Let us lean on the stability of the word of God, being sure to be under its guard in the times to come. The Lord has given us His Holy Spirit, the Helper to be with us, and He has given us His word. We have the things we need to stand. Let us be careful to utilize all that we have been given.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”
Ephesians 6:13-18 NKJV
Let’s dwell on all the good things of God in the night hours, rejoicing in times of peace, and being thankful in times of strife. We know the end of the story and we know that we will be victorious.
Dwell on this: there is coming a day when the Lord will remake creation, when day One will come again, and this time there will be no fall, no corruption and the Lord will tabernacle with us forever and ever. Amen.
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