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Friday, February 29, 2008

No School Tomorrow

We are just watching an old "Tool Time" and Dave just came up with this, "No School Tomorrow". Yes, Friday night has always been such a wonderful feeling, No School Tomorrow! Now we have lots of "Friday nights" and it is wonderful.
It is actually almost spring time in East Texas- Leaves are starting to appear on the trees, the spring flowers in bloom- tulips, daffodils, hyathins, Magnolia trees..what a fun time of year!Isn't God good the way He romances us with all these beautiful flowers- just growing in the ditches by the sides of the roads here in East Texas...just beautiful! I just visited this web site and saw 107 flowers pictured- probably not even all of the many flowers that line our roads througout the spring and summer. Thank you GOD...I love it!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Refiner's Fire

THE Refiner's Fire
...purifying, sacred flames that conform us to the image of Christ

An Encore Presentation

“If you are just now in the fire, dear soul, be of good cheer – it shows at least that you are silver, and are capable of performing more acceptable service in God’s holy Temple.”

"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." -Malachi 3:3

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 curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained, "in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities."

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."

She asked the silversmith, "is it true that you have to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined?" The man answered “yes…” He not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For 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."

All Things For Good
What a simple yet profound story isn't it beloved? In it is revealed God's sovereign purpose of grace through every one of life's trials that He allows to touch His own children. These are the "good and perfect gifts" of James 1 that fall from above. We usually don't think of our daily pains and struggles as "gifts" do we? But this is part of God's loving sanctifying plan to make us more like Jesus; to conform us to Christlikeness; and to allow us to be placed sometimes in overwhelming circumstances where in our deliverance HE will receive all the glory. As the familiar words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:28 says,

“And He works all things work together for good to those that love God and are called according to His purpose.”
What does this really mean? First of all, Paul is not giving the church a magical mantra that we chant in the very hardest times of life so at the end of the day all things are always cheery, rosy, and resolved for the Christian. Some have unwittingly tried to use it in this fashion which it wasn't designed to be. So then we must rightly ask, "how is it that “all things [truly] work together for good…?” Romans 8:29 gives us the answer:
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (emphasis mine).

THERE is the cause for rejoicing; there is where our great hope lies; there is the reason for victory in the midst of trial; there is the fountain of joy in the midst of scalding tears. Every trial—even when purposed by others for our harm, God will use it for our good in that we have been “predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.”

Not Consumed; Not Destroyed; but Purified
John Piper so powerfully expounds on the refiner’s fire this way:
“He is a refiner's fire, and that makes all the difference. A refiner's fire does not destroy indiscriminately like a forest fire. A refiner's fire does not consume completely like the fire of an incinerator. A refiner's fire refines. It purifies. It melts down the bar of silver or gold, separates out the impurities that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the silver and gold intact. He is like a refiner's fire.

It does say FIRE. And therefore purity and holiness will always be a dreadful thing. There will always be a proper "fear and trembling" in the process of becoming pure. We learn it from the time we are little children: never play with fire! And it's a good lesson! Therefore, Christianity is never a plaything. And the passion for purity is never flippant. He is like fire and fire is serious. You don't fool around with it.

But it does say, he is like a REFINER'S fire. And therefore this is not merely a word of warning, but a tremendous word of hope. The furnace of affliction in the family of God is always for refinement, never for destruction.” (John Piper, November 29, 1987, Desiring God Ministries).

Wisdom from Ages Past

“The beauty of this picture is that the refiner looks into the open furnace, or pot, and knows that the process of purifying is complete, and the dross all burnt away, when he can see his image plainly reflected in the molten metal.” (Baldwin)

“What a comfort it is that He surrenders this work to no other hands than his own. He may give his angels charge concerning us when we are in danger; but he keeps our purification beneath his special superintendence.” (Meyer)

“The sitting posture shows that the refiner may seem indifferent, but He is not. He is carefully working with the silver, burning off and scraping away the dross that that the flames bring to the top. “I think I see in the sitting down of the refiner a settled patience, as if he seemed to say, ‘This is stern work, and I will sit down to it, for it will need care, and time, and constant watchfulness.’” (Spurgeon)

In the Winepress of His Love
Can we say with Peter today from the crucible of grace: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

“Who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). This perhaps will be one of the greatest cordials to a Christian in heaviness: that he is not kept by his own power, but is kept by the power of God, and that he is not left in his own keeping, but is kept by the Most High. “My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psa. 73:26). “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Tim. 1:12).

But take away the doctrine of the Savior’s keeping His people, and where is our hope? What is there in the gospel worth any of our preaching or worth any of our receiving? I know that He has said, “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). "Lord, but suppose they should grow faint—that they should begin to murmur in their affliction. Shall they not perish then? No, they shall never perish. But suppose the pain should grow so hot that their faith should fail. Shall they not perish then? No" says, Spurgeon. “They shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

AH! This is the doctrine, the cheering assurance “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,” (1 Peter 1:6).

So if today you are in the heat of the flame and are in the center of the blaze of His refiner’s fire, remember that God has His eye on you and by His grace will keep purifying you (He will not let it destroy you) until He sees His image reflected in you.

I want to close with the impacting lyric of the song, "The Refiner's Fire," that my friend Steve Green recorded in 1989 for his album called, "The Mission." It is written by Brian Doerksen and perfectly captures the heart and truth of this post.

May it deeply encourage you today in your walk with Jesus. To paraphrase John Piper, "don't waste the flame; embrace it."

In the tears of His sanctifying grace,

The Refiner's Fire

There burns a fire with sacred heat
White hot with holy flame
And all who dare pass through its blaze
Will not emerge the same
Some as bronze, and some as silver
Some as gold, then with great skill
All are hammered by their sufferings
On the anvil of His will

The Refiner's fire
Has now become my souls 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

I'm learning now to trust His touch
To crave the fire's embrace
For though my past with sin was etched
His mercies did erase
Each time His purging cleanses deeper
I'm not sure that I'll survive
Yet the strength in growing weaker
Keeps my hungry soul alive

I received the story above-about the refiner's fire-in an email today so decided to add it to my blog. When looking in Google for a picture I came across this Blog by
SJ Camp. I hope he does not mind my sharing his whole blog- it is so perfect!

Posted by SJ Camp at 10/17/2007 06:41:00 AM

Monday, February 11, 2008

All in a week's time

It has been a week since I posted so I best catch up. We had the JOY of meeting Amy in Rockwall-near Dallas- at Starbucks last Monday. That is about an hour away for each of us. We got to enjoy JUST AMY for about 2 hours- a first in a long time since we usually have to share her with her 8 children and her husband- (whom we love dearly..but this was special.) Then we went next door to AT&T to battle out a new plan with them since it was time for us to get new phones. Dave has been "limping" along with a bum phone we got on E Bay after he jumped in the lake with is in his pocket last summer- so we are excited about new phones! Last week was Jonah's 3rd birthday so since Sam was in New York for a Teen Mania Battlecry- we had Lisa and children out for dinner- which was fun.
On Friday we got to have Jordan all to ourselves for the morning since Kelly is teaching at Teen Mania this semsster. That was so much fun and we got to see a side of Jordan we never see with her parents around- that of her talking non stop! It was so much fun. We get to this every Friday until June.
Starting this week I will be working 3 instead of 2 days a week at Teen Mania so I'm looking forward to that. I LOVE my job...and Dave LOVES being home alone so it works well for both of us! It is almost BASS season here on Lake Fork so Dave is looking forward to lots of fishing.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

A Tribute to My Mom

Bertha Edith Snyder Tessman
February 4, 1910 - December 17, 2005

Mom was born in South Bend, Indiana to Oliver and Carrie Snyder. The picture here is of Grandma and Grandpa Snyder in probably the 50's. I think that was maybe one of Dudley's children that Grandpa is holding. I know it was during my photo carreer with my Brownie Kodak Camera- probably somewhere in the mid to late 50's.
Anyway, When mom was born, they lived in Breman where Grandpa had a dairy farm. She talked very fondly of her Grandma Snyder- where she would go many days from school with a "sick headache" and spend much time on her couch.
It was here that she was confirmed in the Lutheran Church and came to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Later they moved to Fort Wayne where Grandpa delivered milk and eggs. They lived on South Broadway and Grandpa had a little dark room in the garage where he "candeled" eggs. This is the house mom lived in while she attended South Side High School, and later worked at General Electric. She met and married my dad in 1936. They met in Sycamore, Illinois where his Dad was a Lutheran Pastor. They met at a Youth Group meeting and after just a few dates, and after dad's divorce, they were married. He had been in a band and had married a chorus girl but after she had an abortion he ended the marriage in divorce and married mom. Four children were born to them in the first 4 years, one dying in infancy, and with these remaining 3 children, Patty, Jon and Mary Beth, they moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana to a house on 5th Street and dad was employed by Hadley Furniture Company. In 1944, Dad enlisted in the Navy and World War II was in full swing. Dad was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina as a Medical Nurse. He was dry docked due to his poor eye sight. Now the children numbered four with the birth of Carol. Mom boarded the train with all 4 children in tow and headed for Charleston to join Dad there. After the war ended in 1945 we were all loaded in to the 19?? Ford and headed back to Fort Wayne. In 1947 the 5th child, Sandy was born. I think these were probably the happiest days of mom's life...the days when she could take care of her babies and children. She always LOVED babies and I know especially loved her own.
Mom worked in their business which they opened in 1948- A & N Floor Covering, located on South Calhoun in Fort Wayne. They later relocated into Southgate Shopping Center and then to the Rialto Furniture store on the corner of Pontiac and Calhoun.
In 1969 they retired and moved to Florida. This is where mom lived with dad until he died in 1980. This picture of mom shows how "young" she still was in her 70's. No hair dye for her!
Mom continued to live at Top of the World in Florida. Eventually Jon and Carole came to Florida to live with her. Mom had Alzheimer's and was really not able to live alone so it was a blessing for her to have her two children to help her out and keep her company. Jon and Carole both proceeded mom in death.

Mom is here fixing a Fried Chicken Dinner for us...I think it was probably the last time we all visted together in Florida- we were there for Jon's last birthday and mom was so thrilled to cook for us all again.
Mom spent her last days at Peabody Home in North Manchester, Indiana and continued to rock babies until the end.
Mom was a great mom- she introduced us all to Jesus, loved us, cared for us and gave her all. We miss her dearly and are so thankful that she is enjoying eternity with Jesus where we will join her one day.