This past weekend, I was praying for a friend, and as I did, I began to speak these words over her, "Father, give her beauty for ashes, just as Your Word promises."
Immediately, the Lord spoke to me and said, "You can't have beauty without ashes, and you can't have ashes without fire."
Ahhh. I realized God was showing me we often want beauty without ashes. That is simply not possible.
Isaiah 61:3 says; "To preserve those who mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified" (Isa. 61:3).
The word "beauty" means that He will beautify us with His glory. He will place His glory upon us. However, that comes after the ashes, not before.
1 John 1:8-9 says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
We all have things in us that need to be purified. There is only one way to remove these things from our life, and that is through God and His fire.
Hebrews 12:29 tells us, "our God is a consuming fire." It is His fire alone that will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Malachi 3:2-3 says; But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
Zechariah 13:8-9 says; "And it will happen in all the land, says the Lord, that two-thirds will be cut off and die, and one-third will be left in the land.
And I will bring this one-third left into the fire, and will refine them as the refinement of silver, and will test them as the testing of gold.
We see from Scripture that it is God who refines.
Silver is refined only one way, by fire.
Purification comes only one way. By being plunged into the heart of fire, the place where the fire is the hottest. And kept there until it is completely purified. Until it loses all resemblance of what it once was. This is what happens when we confess our sins to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse and purify us from that sin.
I want you to notice that the scripture does not say that God is like a forest fire or an incinerator's fire. It says He is like a refiner's fire. There is a difference.
A forest fire destroys everything in its path. An incinerator consumes completely. A refiner's fire does not work that way.
The Bible says in Malachi 3; I the Lord do not change, therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed, you are not destroyed.
Our God is like a refiner's fire. He refines, He purifies. He removes all the impurities. He burns them up and leaves the gold, or silver, intact.
It reminds me of brush fires. I have burned brush in my backyard. I usually have a large fire that takes hours or even overnight to burn. If I put the fire out too early, it leaves debris. However, most times I allow the fire to burn until there is nothing left but ashes. This takes time, normally I leave it burning all day and all night. This is what God does. He wants us to allow His fire to burn in us until it burns everything that is not of Him. Until the only thing left is ashes. Then and only then, He will turn the beauty into ashes. Then we will we walk in His glory.
After God showed me this, I did a lot of soul searching. I ask God to show me anything and everything that was hindering me from walking in His glory. I also asked Him to keep a fire burning in me continually, that all debris would be gone.
Yes, God does give us beauty for ashes...but the beauty, the glorious crowning of His presence only comes after the ashes. The ashes only come after the fire--the consuming fire of God. As for me, I want to be a part of that remnant God spoke of in Zechariah when He said, "they will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people' and each one will say, 'The Lord is my God."
Today I say, burn God burn. May Your refiner's fire burn everything in me that needs to be removed. May I awake in Your likeness, for you are my God and I am your people.
Kim Potter is a writer and founder of A New Thing Ministries, which sends a daily teaching to over ten thousand people all around the world.
Her message is a message of hope. She speaks to the heart of women and men who have become discouraged and disappointed by the circumstances they may face in life, imparting to them the desire and ability to stand against all odds and see themselves as victorious and able to overcome every obstacle through God. She encourages people to press into God and discover that He is who He says He is. For additional information go to: anewthingministries.com.
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