Thursday, February 26, 2009


Recently, I went on a little search to learn more about gold. It is a very popular internet topic. Wanting to learn more about the processes surrounding this element, I watched YouTube videos, read articles and learned several facts I had not known about it.

Gold is considered a precious metal. Sought after since ancient times, it is highly valued in our society; its value one of the most frequently watched predictors of world economic conditions. Gold usually is found mixed in with other metals, but can be reduced to its purest form through a process of refining. The refining process most frequently involves using extreme heat to separate the gold from other metals. There seems to be some debate, even between scientific minds, as to whether or not gold can be heated to the point at which it evaporates. Affected very little by either oxygen or water, it is considered to be one of the most durable of all metals.

So here is the nugget which started my search about gold:

In this you greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold,
which perishes even though refined by fire –
may be proved genuine
and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV

First question: Even scientists seem to debate whether or not gold can be evaporated, so why does the Bible talk about it perishing? I read one article that suggested the passage in 1 Peter chapter 1 is talking about the fact that the Bible tells us eventually everything on earth will perish.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
Matthew 24:35

Jesus talked about the earth perishing. One day, all that we know on this planet will be gone. Even the gold, that scientists now debate its destructibility, will eventually be gone. But the Bible tells us that something will be left behind. Our faith.

Second question: The Bible acknowledges the worth assigned by the world to gold, how does that really compare to intangibles like faith? Gold is a very valuable substance in our world. You may be picturing objects which can be enjoyed, but affect little change in our world such as pretty jewelry, etc. Yet, gold can be used as currency to affect serious change such as feeding the hungry or providing fresh water wells in countries where children die of water borne illnesses. The value of gold we can get our brains around, but sometimes placing a value on our faith is not so easy. So Peter compares a substance we can understand with one we may know little about. Gold, the substance we do understand, is a very valuable one. But the Bible tells us there is something more valuable than gold: Our faith.

Third question: Gold’s refinement occurs in fire – very hot fire. I do not sleep very well if the temperature in our house gets above the mid-seventies. So how do I find peace, or even learn to rest and sleep, in the midst of the fires (trials) that come into my life? What happens when the heat gets turned up in our lives? Refinement occurs in gold under fire. Refinement of our character can also occur under fire. The Bible tells us what is ultimately refined in trials: Our faith.

What is our faith? It is nothing more and nothing less than our living, breathing relationship with the God of the universe. It is our simple acceptance of His son Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for our sins and turning over of our life to Him. All we have to do is ask Him. It is becoming a part of His family. Being adopted. Becoming His princess.

Gold had a lot to teach me this week. Many of the things I now hold valuable are not lasting, but my faith is lasting. More valuable than anything I own or treasure is being a part of God’s family – His princess. My relationship with Him, my faith, will become even stronger when it is refined in the fiery trials that are a real part of life in this world. What today, my friend, is God wanting to teach you?

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Free Cup of Coffee

Ever had one of those mornings? You wake up with the intention of having a positive outlook, reacting to things in a godly fashion, excited about the day, but before you finish blow drying your hair or even have a cup of coffee – things go downhill. Maybe it is an email you receive, maybe the disaster you found in the kitchen, maybe just the smallest thing or the largest, but suddenly, you find yourself in a place that is not happy, to say the least.

I was having one of those mornings. A combination of issues, large and small, starting mushrooming in my brain and by the time we pulled out of the driveway, I was in tears. Rob patiently listened all the way to his office, in spite of having much weightier matters on his own agenda, held my hand and assured me of his support. But I could not shake the cloud.

Often when I feel this way, writing is a way to process my thoughts and feelings. So, in my cloud, I began to think about taking some time to write. Writing is something that is often difficult for me at home. While the keys of the computer pull at my heart, the demands of 21st century life tend to pull at my mind. Distraction being a major issue for me, I have found that getting away somewhere, even if it is crowded or noisy, will often allow my brain the peace to focus on what I am writing.

One of my favorite spots I what I call my “McDonald’s office.” Pull into Mickey D’s and I can find coffee and Wifi, a great combination for getting some writing done. So knowing I had some time before my next destination, I stopped at McDonald’s to find some peace and maybe a little lift for my clouded spirit. I wanted to email a couple of friends to ask them to pray for me and search for some words from God for myself.

That’s when it happened. I went to the counter and saw a beautiful smiling lady named Amber. She greeted me warmly and asked what I wanted. I ordered my usual cup of coffee as I got out my billfold. She smiled and said, “Oh – then you don’t owe anything. Coffee before 9am is free.” Smiling again, she handed me my cup and wished me a nice day. And I heard His voice.

No, it was not audible. No, there were no bolts of lightning or choirs singing. But it was as real to me as any of those things. The voice of my Father said, “I see you. I know you are struggling. Your struggles matter to me. Enjoy your free cup of coffee. I love you.”

Some of you, by now, are definitely snickering. Right – a free cup of McDonald’s coffee is from God? But honestly, when was the last time you were struggling and just needed to know that someone larger than you, someone who was actually in a place to affect change for you and those you love, noticed your struggles? In those moments, what would you give for a real kernel of love and affection, peace and power? Sounds like a tall order, but that is exactly what God gave me in that cup of coffee.

Yes, I now understand that apparently McDonalds has a promotion this month giving away free coffee before 9am. Yes, my cup of coffee did not change one iota of any actual reality in any situation over which I was concerned. But here is my truth. I have a Father who loves me. And He hurts when I hurt. And just as I strive to “make it all better” when I see my children hurting, He reaches out in love to me.

Some will call it rationalization. Some will call it psychosis. Some will brush it off as another blogger sharing too much of the boring details of their daily life. But some will look beyond and see a Father that loves me and how about that – might just love them as much too. Which “some” will you be today?

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress,
I will not be shaken.
Psalm 62:5-6 (NIV)