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A Weekly Devotional

In the Furnace of Affliction by Jennifer Alden

Posted on April 25, 2018 at 1:00 PM

"The furnace of affliction is a good place for you, Christian; it benefits you; it helps you to become more like Christ, and it is fitting you for heaven." - C. H. Spurgeon

In the beginning of Lenten season, I made a personal decision to take a semi-sabbatical from social media. This is one of my favorite times of year to go deeper with the Lord. It is a time of reflection. It is a personal choice to take this time-out, and in being ever-aware of what He's needing to teach me.

I have learned that no matter what age we are, there will always be hard lessons in life to learn. It's all part of the process, and rather than fight it, I receive it, hopefully learning from it, in order to properly receive my training.

There has been what seems to be a bombardment of circumstances in my life the last seven years. It's often that I'm reminded of the affliction that Paul went through. These thorns in our side, can take on a feeling of almost permanency. I know that without mine, I wouldn't be who I am today. It's always comforting to rest in a place of knowing that this too shall pass. Where the affliction does feel like it's never going to end, we can rest assured that it will never be in vain. God uses all of what we give Him. He is refining us, as silver in the fire. The purpose is always to bring us more near to Him, carefully and wonderfully explained in the story of the Bell Sheep, shared in a previous message.

George MacDonald stated, "When God is about to make pre-eminent use of a person, He puts them in the fire."

In order to gain more wisdom in the midst of the trial, it is necessary for me to reflect. If it is a conflict with a friend or a disputation with a colleague, I will take this time to consider their perspective. I am a firm believer in communication. Talk your heart out, if that's what it requires, and I'm pretty good at writing my heart out, too.

When you make the time you need to communicate, you're less likely to carry a burden of offense. Many misunderstandings have created disputations in the body of Christ. To avoid this, and if you truly want to make peace, you'll be willing to invest this time for it. It's like looking from the outside in, seeing the bigger picture, versus our own individual perspective. What's amazing to me is the conflict that we cause ourselves, when we refuse to do this. We must be willing to admit when we're wrong, allowing Him to correct us, and then trusting Him for any type of vindication that may be necessary. His strong arm is mighty and fully capable. It has taken me many years to learn this. 

My heart is for all ministry. My heart is to see a body of people coming together, no matter who you are, where you are, or what political party, denomination, or color of your skin. I pray everyday for unity and peace on earth. I pray that my eyes will forever be wide-open to helping others, no matter what.

I pray that my heart's desire will only be like His.

One Spirit. One mind. One body. This is my heart, and only Jesus can get credit for this and for this change that has taken place in me.

Are we allowing the fruit of the Holy Spirit to be revealed in our lives? Are we making a difference for better and not for worse? 

If the fruit of our life is unhealthy, then we must question, "Are we truly planting the right seeds?"

Many of us are in a season of plowing and replanting, and in order to be effective, there has to be a shift, a change. Just remember, as seasons do change, the body of Christ remains the same.

No matter your furnace of affliction, we are one body, fitted and purposed, divinely equipped to work together.

"He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2).

Let us be patient in this affliction, as we do grow to be more like Him.

Let us praise Him in continuing to refine us, and in the purifying of us, like gold.

Categories: Devotions by Jennifer Alden

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