the refiner’s fire, part 2

July 16th, 2016


More records of ill-feeling children.

Alison Brown:

Well all of my kids feel warm. They are all whining like crazy


Oh no!!!!

Alison Brown:

Even the baby.

No vomit or poop yet so I have no idea


Sounds like it’s going to be a snuggle on the couch day!!! 😊

Alison Brown:

I guess so!


Not sure how that ended, health wise.  That was a tough day for Ellie and I when it came to her obedience, from the looks of the messages I sent to my mom. Journal more, Alison.


You’ll notice that there are days that are absent.  Though I could be better about recording the successes and the amazing things, it exposes my perspective.


Surely you know that grocery store visit. You can’t find a parking spot, you have to wait in line seemingly forever, the cashier rings something up wrong, you forget something, somebody crabs at you or you crab at somebody else, and then you break a bag on the way back to the car and kick yourself for forgetting your reusable bags in the car, or have something spoil on the way home. How much more likely would you be to talk to somebody about that grocery trip? Would you find yourself looking for someone to tell your woes?

Would you be as willing to talk to somebody else about a grocery store trip where you got a close parking spot, the line is short and moves quickly, the cashier is efficiently, friendly and helpful, you have coupons for most things that you didn’t forget at home, you remember your reusable, reliable bags, and all of the food you planned to bring home returns, gets put away and you arrive home with a sense of accomplishment.  Who gets the praise for this?  Do you?  Is it you who orchestrated this circumstance?


Can you see the difference?  The difference is not the objectivity of the circumstance, but rather the attitude of your heart.  There’s sin on either side, you see.  On the difficult day, you could be guilty of being impatient, aggravated, irritated, and discontent.  On the other hand, the easy day could tempt you to boast in your own ability, have expectations that this should happen every time, praising yourself for being oh-so-efficient, and feeling as if you deserved this kind of a trip.


Wow, how dirty our hearts can be!  So instead, how would we try to honor Jesus instead of giving into these temptations to sin?

Perhaps, one, by remembering this verse:


Ephesians 2:8-10  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


The work of salvation is done by God alone, and our response is to repent, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, and have faith that He is the righteous judge!  As a result, we were created in Christ Jesus for good works!  How could we not do them?  A dead faith.  Faith and works, though used in contrast to each other dovetail rather beautifully in the book of James.  Good works are a result of healthy faith, and faith is displayed through those works.


Secondly, by committing to walk in those good works. I cannot provide an exhaustive list, but here are some that are comign to mind.  Good works can include:

  • Clothing ourselves in humility
    • 1 Peter 5:,5 “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'”Now, I have to expound on this one for just a minute.  Here is an insight excerpt from Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth, a revered teacher in my life, as she tells about being “clothed” in humility based on this passage. After hearing this message, it really placed a clear picture in my mind of how God views pride and humility.

      Now, I used to pray…, “Clothe me in humility.” That was my original prayer on this original list of petitions. But as I’ve been studying this, I’ve realized that the Scripture teaches that we are to clothe ourselves in humility. Don’t put God in a position of having to humble you. It’s far better to choose to humble ourselves. So that’s why I’ve worded this prayer now, “May I be clothed in humility.” I’m praying now, “Lord, give me the grace to choose to clothe myself in humility.”
      Do you know what that word “opposes” means? It means He “stiff-arms” the proud, He keeps them at a distance. Some Bible dictionaries or scholars would say it means, “God sets Himself in battle array against those who are proud.”

      Do you want God setting Himself against you, opposing you? You exercise pride, you are proud, and God will set Himself against you. He will oppose you. He will set Himself in battle array against you. But what does to those who are humble? He gives grace, He lavishes grace, He pours grace on the humble.

      Humility is what covers our spiritual nakedness with the righteousness of Christ.

      We think if we humble ourselves, we will be nothing. No, you’re nothing until you humble yourself. Humble yourself, be clothed in humility. Colossians 3:12 says something similar: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” Put it on.

      Until we’re humble, we can’t be clothed with His righteousness. Until we acknowledge our need and we say, “Lord, I need you,” we’re not going to be clothed with Christ.

  • Putting others needs before our own
    • Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
  • Using the gifts that God has given us.
    • 1 Peter 4:10-11 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.
  • Serve the saints
    • Hebrews 6:10-12 “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

So those are just a few of those good works.  Two scripture to sum this up and work in tandem to set our focus here:

1 Corinthians 13:3 “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,1 but have not love, I gain nothing.”

Good works without love?  No gain.  Sheerly empty.

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Good works but to your own glory, and without thankfulness?  Not pleasing to the Lord.

David’s perspective in 2 Samuel is one of taking his eyes off of his own circumstance and exalting God!

2 Samuel 22:26-31

“With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
with the purified you deal purely,
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
You save a humble people,
but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down.
For you are my lamp, O LORD,
and my God lightens my darkness.
For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

If anyone knew this to be true, it was David. He had just been delivered by God from his enemies and from the hand of Saul the king.  That was a lot for a person to go through and still trust that the Lord would deliver him.  He must have seen how being haughty did not give him peace, did not bring God pleasure and only worked to futility!


Often times, David is one who I cannot seem to place myself into the same brainspace with, just becuase of the amazing circumstances God placed in his life, and how he came out on the other end as “a man after God’s own heart”.  But being as that is my desire, to be one after God’s own heart, I look at my own life circumstances and say, “Hey, there’s been a lot of good things and a lot of hard things that God has placed in my life.  How am I to respond to this? Will I respond like David and write soaring psalms and hymns of praise to God?  Or will I sulk and pity myself and only use it to my own glory?”  How do you see David’s plight and successes?  Maybe you see it the same way I do. May we be pushed to praise God through the trials and privileges that God places in front of us.


More to come on the health of the children. Major tangent there, but may God be praised.


In Christ,

– Alison


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