Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How I got my name

For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. Psalm 66:10 (NIV)
I was pondering the title of my blog the other day and trying to determine the exact weight it bears on my own life. To be honest, when I initially chose the title -- it was because it was pretty much all that was available on I tried "refined by fire," "God's girl, " "blessed by God" and the like. I remember being so anxious to start this thing called "blogging" that I just started playing with the word "refined" trying to find a suitable, yet catchy name. Well, there you have it -- Refined By Him was born. As with everything in my life, nothing happens by chance. As I look back over my past, especially in light of recent occurrences, I realize that the title truly fits me. After all, my blog is supposed to be about my observations about life around me. I am not sure if you are like me but I always thought of the refining process as something that had to be extreme. Yet, when I think about it -- every little nuance of life is a refining process. This process is God-approved or it wouldn't happen - therefore, we are all in the business of being refined by God. I checked the Bible in reference to the word refine or refined.(always a good place to start) It was mentioned 14 times in the NIV. Upon closer inspection, I found that the references were often talking about precious metals such as silver and gold. Back in those days, gold and silver were used as currency, adornment and were signs of wealth and status. He was speaking in terms that everyone can understand. Even today, gold and silver prices are skyrocketing thus this proves that their value is sustainable. Thus, the metaphor still aptly applies today. (LOVE IT when God does that!! After all, His word was written for us too!) Taking this information, I formulated my own opinion to say that the Lord considers us valuable, precious and sustaining of merit and value in His eyes. Therefore, He will work to continue to refine you and me to make sure our luster does not diminish. In some (if not most) cases that takes some buffing and serious elbow grease from time to time all on the part of the Lord as I it is nearly impossible for precious metals to refine themselves. There is always some other factor that has to come into play. Those are those harsh times we experience in our lives but I have some good news that it is not always so tough to be refined. I thought I would check a secular version to understand how the "world" gives meaning to "refine." The web defines the word refine as an adjective meaning:
  1. Free from coarseness or vulgarity; polite.
  2. Free of impurities; purified.
  3. Precise to a fine degree.
I even saw a thesaurus reference that described it as "so slight as to be difficult to notice or appreciate." Wow!! That one blew me away because, after all shouldn't our lives become less about us and more about Christ the more we get to know Him? I mean, John 3:30 says, "He must become greater, I must become less." That's what the Christian life is all about - becoming more like Christ and dying to self. I also like to use the word refined as a verb....not just any verb but an intense action verb. After all, it is something the Lord does for you and me everyday.-- As mentioned above - sometimes it's intense action and other times it appears downright passive. If we take what we experience and observe, put that together with a dose of healthy (or in some cases unhealthy) choices that we make and add in heaping helping of God's grace, we have ourselves some refinement. Not one of those factors can take place with our the love of our Savior. No matter what we go through, God will shape us even in the mundane and routine functions of life. That's pretty heavy but also very liberating for me. I'm glad to know that not everything that shapes me has to be in the extreme or even emotionally trying. How about you??? Dear Father -- Thank You that nothing happens by accident, even my naming this blog. I thank You for allowing my mind, eyes and ears to be open for what You would have me to learn in this process called life. I pray that I can make a difference for Your Kingdom. I can think of no higher calling. In the Precious Name of Jesus - AMEN Application:
  • Have you been through a period of refinement -- intense or otherwise?
  • Make a list of the "ordinary" things and situations in your life. Ask God to show you how they are impacting and shaping your faith.
  • Pray that the Lord will show you how to find Him in all aspects of Your life.

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