Friday, October 7, 2016

An Air of Refinement


Isaiah 48:10
See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

A while back, my husband, Danny, decides he needs to spruce up what we affectionately call the Orlando Cafe with white napkins.  It amazes me that something so simple can be so elegant at the same time.  The napkins certainly add an air of refinement to our dinner table.

When we've sufficiently soiled enough of the napkins, it's time to wash and bleach them.  I hang them on our clothesline to dry.



But look what happens!  All those stiff, starchy, pristine napkins are now a wrinkled, disheveled heap of limpness.




Luckily, there is a cure for that.  Starch, a scorching-hot iron, and a firm touch.







It's a long and arduous process (Thank you, Danny!!!), but the results are well worth the effort.




And this reminds me of how God works within us.  He takes us from unkempt, unruly sinners to upright, upstanding citizens of His kingdom.  But it's not a painless transformation.  As Isaiah says above, God will test us in the furnace of affliction.

Just as the cool, rumpled cloth of the napkin must come under enormous heat and pressure in order to be made new, so we, too, as we grow in our faith and trust in God, can expect to experience trials, tribulations and temptations that strive to weaken our faith just as God is attempting to perfect it.

So remember, when troubles surround you, God has your back.  He will stick by you through thick and thin, even when you don't feel His presence.

Trust.

Believe.

God is refining you.  Making you holy.

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. ~Hebrews 10:14

Amen.

19 comments:

  1. Just remember! It's OUR job to add the starch to get that final result!

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    1. Yep! We have to be willing participants in the process, that's for sure, Roy.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  2. Yup, I'm pretty sure that the Lord is *ironing* out a few things in me lately! And though the process involves a lot of hot trials, and I might feel steamed once in a while, I know it's all worth it in the end!

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Sharon, I just love your play on words here! Clever!
      And yes, it is all worth it in the end.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  3. Love it, Martha. It's sometimes hard being hung out to dry and being out in the elements. You never knwo what your future holds but God pulls through -- takes us from wrinkled, dried and hanging on the clothes line to a five star restaurant setting.

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    1. Oh, yes, God can make us crisp and clean when we let Him! Glad you enjoyed the post, Vishnu.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  4. Love it, Martha. It's sometimes hard being hung out to dry and being out in the elements. You never knwo what your future holds but God pulls through -- takes us from wrinkled, dried and hanging on the clothes line to a five star restaurant setting.

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  5. Love the analogy in your post Martha...and I love cloth crisp napkins, they make even a simple table seems neater and refined.
    Oh that iron that it takes to restore them to their crispness may be hot but how glad we will be He refined us here so it won't be wood, hay and stable there.

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    1. Amen, Betty! So glad this analogy appealed to you.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  6. Your message is perfect for me at this moment. Much is going one, needed the reminder. Thank as always for the words.

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    1. You are most welcome, Brenda. So gratified that my words helped you today!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  7. The laundry metaphor made me think of the Psalm 51:10 asking God to create in me a clean heart! (I use cloth napkins, too. Love it!)

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    1. Oh, I love that verse, Galen! Yes! And renew a right spirit within me . . .
      And don't you just love cloth napkins? I ironed a boat load yesterday while watching the GA football game.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. Martha, I love your object lesson. It's the challenges, the "hard" experiences of life where God really works in us to shape us into a person He can really use. Persecution (true persecution) is revealing of the inner character of a person. It seems to me that God uses persecution to grow the church and to grow individuals.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Yes, Kim, you are absolutely right. We all need God to "iron us out." Not a painless process, but necessary for shaping us into Godly men and women.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  9. Hi Martha! I really love this, it's my favorite way to learn about the Lord...through the everyday things we do and see. God really does take us as the 'messes' we are, and try us with fire. Then we are the polished arrows we need to be for his work.
    Great analogy! And Danny, nice addition to the table :)
    Ceil

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    1. Ceil, it is my favorite way to learn about the Lord, too, through the ordinary and mundane. Miracles are everywhere if we pray for the eyes to see them. God is the healer of the messes we make of ourselves and can plant our feet anew on fresh, clean, crisp ground.
      Love and blessing!

      Delete
  10. Great analogy, Martha! I needed a new perspective on ironing. It's something I avoid if at all possible. Now I can remember God's work in me when it becomes necessary to get the wrinkles out of something! Blessings!

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    1. Oh, yes, Deb, I've avoided ironing like the plague in recent years! Although I have the photo of Danny doing the first round, I tackled another last Sunday as we watched some football games. Can I say my shoulders ached the entire next day from pushing that iron? Oh, yes!
      Makes me appreciate anew how God never gives up on us, even when we cause Him pain.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete

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