Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (NLT)
Consider the process of carbon being turned into diamonds. Scientists tell us that diamonds are formed from carbon, much like coal, that has undergone a process requiring great time, great heat, and great pressure. In fact, these same scientists tell us there is a limited amount of space, 90 miles beneath the surface of the earth, where this process can take place. Further, they tell us that the process of the formation of diamonds requires a temperature of at least 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. They also tell us that it takes several million years for diamonds to form. (I don’t agree with them on this point because I do not believe the world is nearly that old.) What I want us to see through all this is the fact that a diamond, that valuable stone that some consider to be a woman's best friend, comes to us through a process. Notice it takes a GREAT length of time. It takes GREAT heat. And it takes GREAT pressure ... all of this in a LIMITED amount of space HIDDEN deeply beneath the surface of the earth.
Life Principle: In fact, I would like for us to realize that every good thing comes by means of a process. And the process, while often painful and time-consuming, and many times cramped and hidden, is a necessary part in the production of anything of true value.
Rest assured, as far as God's Kingdom is concerned, you are valuable. And God wants to take you through the process
And in this matter, consider the Biblical Patriarch, Abraham. God took Abraham through the process. The Bible tells us that Abraham stepped out in faith … not knowing what he was to face or where he even was going.
Genesis 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father's family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you." 4 So Abram departed as the LORD had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. (Gen 12:1 NLT)
Notice these things about Abraham’s adventure: 1) God said, “(Abram, you) go!” 2) God said, “I will show!” 3) God said, “I will bless!” And 4) God said, “You (Abram) will be a blessing to others!”
Life Principle: God’s process requires faith. Faith to begin ... faith to stay in the process ... and faith to complete the process. Trust the process. It will bless you … and others.
Notice, too, that Abraham began his adventure at about 75 years of age. Why is that an important statement? Because there is not a “too young” or “too old” age to begin your adventure. There is not a “too anything” in order to start being used by God. The limits we place on being used by God are limits that are artificial or at least merely conceived in our own minds; they are not God-imposed limitations. Notice, too, that when God spoke to Abram to begin the process of becoming a great nation, he (Abram) had no children and Sarai was barren. But God’s process doesn’t recognize our human limitations; eventually, Abraham fathered his chosen son when he was 100 years old (and his wife was 90.)
Life Principle: The process has NOTHING to do with age or any human set limitations. It is all about preparing us ... maturing us ... completing us. Trust the process.
As in each process that all God’s servants go through, Abraham’s faith was tested by the sacrifice of his son, Isaac. Notice that this was part of the process. Because ALL processes always contain pressures of some kind. At least we call these pressures ... pressures, tests, trials, and all sorts of other things. And these pressures are painful … but necessary for God’s work to be completed in us … and I assure you, God’s “begun” work will be brought to be a “completed” work. Philippians 1:6 reminds us, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (NLT)
Be reminded of thee things: The process ALWAYS requires obedience and sacrifice. The process always requires testing. And The process will be painful ... but the end result always will be worth it ... for the Kingdom of God ... and for you and me.
Life Principle: The process may require us to sacrifice the very thing we believe to be the answer ... the way to the blessing. Trust the process.
Abraham completed the process and walked out his purpose and was blessed by God. He truly did become the father of many peoples. And he was a very financially (and otherwise) prosperous man. And he did become a blessing to the world. In fact, his blessing continue reach the entire world. Did you know that more inventions and achievements per capita that have been for the good of the world have come out of Abraham’s descendants, Israel?
And know this as well: You, too, will be better because of God' process. And you, too, will be used of God to bless the world.
Life Principle: Stay in the process, obedient and faithful. You will see how God used the process to prepare you and use you and mature you and complete you. Trust the process.
Through God’s process in Abram/Abraham, His plan prospered in that process. And God's plan for you will prosper in the process ... both His Kingdom plan and His personal plan for you.
Life Principle: The diamond is a very beautiful stone. It required much time, intense heat, and great pressure. And its worth is valued by all ... Not just those who shop at Jared's or similar jewelers. As a small stone is valued only after it has passed through the long time, the extreme pressure, and the intense heat, so our true value is revealed only after the time, the pressure, and the heat of the process. Trust the process.
So a Biblical truth is now revealed: God takes His children through the process. In fact, there a multitude of Biblical illustrations I could state here.
One is of Daniel’s three Hebrew friends who faced the process. We know them as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Let’s look at what the Bible tells us about them:
Daniel 1:6- Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah.
Daniel 1:19- 20- “The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.” (NLT)
Yet their lives were extremely uncomfortable.
Daniel 3:12- “But there are some Jews-- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego-- whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up."
Daniel 3:14- “Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up?”” Daniel 3:16-17- “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.” (NLT)
And we just need to notice that sometimes the process is uncomfortable. Trust the process.
But let’s move on: these young men were willing to die in the process.
Daniel 3:18- “But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up." (NLT)
So you see, dying to self is part of the process. We must trust the process ...even as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did. In in their lives, God’s plan prospered in the end
Daniel 3:24-25- “But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, "Didn't we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?" "Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did," they replied. "Look!" Nebuchadnezzar shouted. "I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!" Daniel 3:28-29- “Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king's command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!" (NLT)
The three Hebrew children prospered in the end ... as did God’s entire plan and Kingdom.
Daniel 3:30- “Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon. (NLT)
The Biblical character Job also faced the process.
Job 1:8- “Then the LORD asked Satan, "Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless-- a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil." (NLT)
Job’s process was a particularly uncomfortable one.
Job 1:12- "All right, you may test him," the LORD said to Satan. "Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don't harm him physically." So Satan left the LORD's presence.” (NLT)
And Job was so intent on serving God that he was willing even to die in the process.
Job 13:15- “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.” (NIV)
But the again, as did Abraham and the three Hebrew children, the Kingdom of God prospered in the end, Job prospered in the end, and you, too, can prosper when the process is over.
Job 42:10- “When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before!” (NLT)
Or consider for a moment one of Jesus’ closest followers, the one called the Beloved: John the disciple also faced the process. It, too, was an uncomfortable process. Historians tell us that he was boiled in oil. He was later exiled to a prison island called Patmos. And through the process, God’s Word, written by the hand of this “man in process” went out to the Kingdom of God. And it’s still enlarging the Kingdom of God. Have you ever heard of the Gospel according to John or the Book of Revelation? Some reliable theologians and historians say this same John wrote 1, 2, and 3 John as well. The important fact is that through this John, this “man in process,” the Kingdom of God was extended and is still being extended.
Life Principle: The process is uncomfortable. Some kind of dying will go on in the process. Choose to stay in the process. But it is working in you something great.
So truly, the process is always for His good … and for our good as well. Again, I like to remember that passage in Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (NLT)
We, too, either are facing the process or right in the middle of it. And it will, in all probability, be an uncomfortable process. There may even be a sense of “death” in the process. But we should remember those famous words of Job 13:15- “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.” (NIV) And we will prosper in the end ... as will His Kingdom.
Romans 8:28- “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT)
Life Principle: The process is preparing you ... Maturing you ... Completing you. You see yourself as that piece of coal. God sees the diamond He created you to be ... and He is after that diamond. Trust the process.
Pastors Jim & Cheri Garrett
Polished Arrow Ministries’ MissionTo Equip, Encourage, and Restore
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