A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

He Shall Sit as a Refiner and Purifier of Silver

There was a group of women in a Bible Study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse three, which says: "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" Malachi 3:3. This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, this woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work.

She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse, "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, how do you know when the silver is fully refined? He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it."

Alma the younger asked the people these soul-searching questions: “And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?” Alma 5:14 “I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?” Alma 5:19

How do we receive his image in our countenances?

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

“But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.” Moroni 7:46-48 

Is charity another one of Christ’s titles? Why doesn’t charity ever fail us? Why doesn’t Christ ever fail us? How can we be filled with charity? Does this quest require everything we have to give? Can we hold anything back from our Lord? Who fills us with charity? Is charity our love for others or Christ’s love for us? When charity is bestowed, is this a divine act of mercy, grace, and love?

Why does the Father only bestow this love upon true followers of his Son? Are we purified because of our sinless nature or because of His purity? Is this what he means when he says “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 “Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” Romans 4:7 Does His charity cover our sins?

How does charity purify true followers of Jesus Christ? What is the purpose of the refiner’s fire? What does this purifying and purging fire feel like? Why, in his charity, does he require us to pass through this intense heat?  Is this the baptism of fire? Can those who are impure offer up to God an offering in righteousness? Malachi 3:2-3 

Before I was married, I lived with my sister.  She didn’t have a sprinkler system, and I was in charge of watering the lawn.  It was hard trying to keep the lawn watered evenly. Sometimes I would turn on the sprinkler, forget about it, leave it running, and create a flood.  Other times I would set the sprinkler, and the outer edges didn’t receive enough water.  When I finally had the lawn watered, it was time to start the cycle again.  It was a big job keeping the lawn green all summer.

One hot July day, I looked up at the sun and thought, “What will happen if I don’t water the lawn?” The answer was obvious, “It will dry up and get brown.” Another question came, “What is created when the hot sun shines down upon a well-watered lawn?” Answer: “The lawn becomes green and lush.” 

An analogy came to mind.  The sun in the heavens can be compared to the Son of God.  During the summer when we feel the heat of the sun/Son, we need a lot of water. On a hot July day, we need extra water.  Without continually drinking from the well of living water, we would shrivel and die; but with ample water, we grow and thrive.

It’s interesting that as we approach the Son, the heat intensifies, and our need for living water also increases.  How do we acquire this essential, life-sustaining water?  “But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life” D&C 63:23.

How are the mysteries of God’s kingdom a well of living water? Why is God able to share His mysteries with those who keep the commandments? What are the mysteries of God’s Kingdom? Why are these mysteries essential to our survival? How do we gain everlasting life?

Who is vigilantly watching as we pass through the fire? Do we trust Him with our soul? Do we trust that he will remove us from the fire before we are destroyed? “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10 

“Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen” D&C 121:34. “For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction” 1 Nephi 20:10. Why does He choose his servants in the furnace of affliction?  Are we willing to patiently submit to the refiner’s fire before being chosen?

Who is waiting for us on the other side of the fire?

 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

“For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Revelation 7:13-17  
What are these great tribulations? What are these robes? How do our robes become white in the blood of the Lamb? How does he quench our thirst? How much does he really love us? 

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