October 17

Psalms 66:10-12 (NIV) 10For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. 11You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. 12You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.

Becoming a Christian does not mean that all trials will cease and life suddenly become as smooth as it can be On the contrary, throughout Scripture we see God's people enduring great trials that nearly crush them. Paul the Apostle promised that if we suffer with Him, we will reign with Him.

What is this difficult life we are called to all about? God is refining us. In the Father's eyes, the work is done, but here on earth as we live out our day-to-day life, we find our old nature is trying to reestablish its ways in us. It was our familiar pattern, and one into which we would easily slip. Through the difficult situations we face, God reveals to us the old ways that we are tempted to cling. If we try them again, we find they are contrary to our new life. It is like the refining of a metal. The heat brings up the lighter contaminants so that they can be removed. One old silversmith said that he knew that the silver refining process was finished when he could see his reflection in the silver. God is looking for His reflection in you.

In the end, God brings us out into a place of abundance. For many, that will not be in this life. You may have to wait for eternity, what a place of abundance. Those who died in faith and did not receive the promises in this life will go to a better reward, writes the author of Hebrews. Many wonder about the expression "filling up the sufferings of Christ". As a part of His body, your sufferings in the process of refinement, are a part of that mystical suffering. Jesus suffers with you for you are a part of His body; when one member hurts, all the members suffer, including the head. You are not alone in your suffering. Let the Comforter comfort you.

Consider the eternal great reward and endure by the grace of God. He will bring you out into a place of abundance!

October 17

Colossians 1:27-29 (NIV) 27To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

The prophets gave clues. Their words spoke of time when God would dwell among His people. They wrote of a transformed life. They told of a day when the Spirit of God would be poured out. Jesus clarified those ancient prophecies by saying that He would be back to make His home in those who obeyed Him. The apostles came to realize they were living in that day.

They came to realize the presence of Christ in them was what gave them the power and righteousness to live a life that glorified God. His presence in them was also their hope of glory in heaven. In the past, they had wondered about whether or not they had kept the laws, if they were good enough, if their sacrifices were sufficient, but now they had the assurance of heaven through the presence of Christ in their hearts.

This is the sum of Paul's teaching and doctrine; to know Christ. If you are found in Christ, and He in you, you will be found perfect before God. Paul wanted to see as many as possible know the life transforming presence of Jesus Christ in their hearts. He was the power that motivated and led Paul to reach out to more and more. Christ's love for those for whom He died drove Paul onward.

Is the hope of glory living in you? Do you have that assurance of heaven because of His presence? If so, in what way is His energy at work in you to reach out to others that they might be found perfect in Christ? If not, realize what He has done for you and His plan for your life. Give up your ways and accept Him as your Master today. The wondering will be replaced by His glorious presence in your heart. His energy in you will help you fulfill the purpose for which you were created.

Remember: His energy can work powerfully in you too.