My sister – by marriage – is studying Beth Moore’s updated version of “Breaking Free.” I did the study years ago, but decided to pick it up and look through it again. I love how fresh God’s word is no matter what the season of our lives might look like.
As many of my blog readers know, our house burned on December 23 (Christmas Eve Eve) of 1998. That year, my sister – by birth – gave me a picture she had made with these words on it:
When sorrow seems to surround you,
and when suffering hangs heavy over your head,
know that tomorrow brings wholeness and healing.
God knows your need – just believe what He said.
He gives beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning, peace for despair.
Thumbing through the pages of Beth’s study this morning, I came across the lesson she entitled “Beauty from Ashes.” She wrote this study more than 13 years ago, and yet the impact of it even today should not be underestimated. I was thinking about how it is being used in the lives of women right now … this day. And as I read through it again, it speaks to my own heart and the words are fresh and encourage me again. Following is her outline…
1. God never allows or appoints a fire, unless He can bring beauty from the ashes.
2. We cannot avoid fiery trials.
3. Whatever the reason, the purpose of refinement is always to make us objects of beauty.
4. One primary purpose of fiery trials is to surface the dross.
5. We cannot often refuse the fire, but we can refuse to be refined by it.
6. Sometimes fiery trials are absolutely necessary to fulfill our callings.
7. The ultimate goal of the Refiner is to see His reflection in the precious metal.
Thank You, LORD, that Your truths are timeless!
Indeed … “the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. And He Who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the saints according to God’s will. And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.
What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”