God's Refining Process


He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the LORD. –Malachi 3:3 (NLT)


I overheard the Charge Nurse’s phone call to the nearby unit where they housed the inmates with chronic illnesses.

“Just wanna’ inform you deputy that these 2 inmates would start going to your unit to sleep there every night since we got the apnea monitors. They were delivered today for Mr. R and Mr. M…”

When she put the phone down, I asked, “Mr. R? Wasn’t he released just a few days ago? Back already?” 

Not that I was surprised. We knew the fact…Some of them always came back. Perhaps not being able to function in society. To some, incarceration meant having the supplies they needed for their many needs. Things that they had no way of getting from outside the prison walls.

As soon as I got done, an inmate’s footsteps were heard approaching our main door. Accompanied by the deputy, he just arrived from the county hospital for having some surgical procedure there. It was only a minor procedure. And in the doctor’s notes, there were no restrictions with his activities. But it was a different story when he came in. The footsteps were just from the deputy. He was wheeling himself with the wheelchair the deputy must have given him.

“What’s wrong? You can’t walk?” I asked.

All of a sudden, he was just so upset and with a raised tone of voice, he replied, “What are you saying? I’m lying? You see that I can’t walk and I’m still having a lot of pain.”

“Don’t raise your voice! I was only asking so I know what to do and what to tell the doctor here in the jail when they see you for a follow up!” I replied with also a higher tone of voice, that the nearby deputy stood more alert and ready to intervene if he would try anything against me.

“Did I say you are lying?”

He didn’t answer. He just grimaced. And acted like he couldn’t even get up from the wheelchair to try to take a few steps for me as I requested.

 “You know, Sir…You only had a minor procedure. They would not discharge you from the hospital if you are not able to walk on your own because they know that we don’t have a hospital here in the jail.”


More silence…As I flipped the medical notes from the hospital, I saw that he was being given a narcotic for pain which was understandable as he had a procedure done at that time. But by the time I saw him, the surgical wound was closed and well-healed.  I told the Charge Nurse, that was the reason why he got upset. He wanted the narcotic to continue being given to him that he had to fake his symptoms.  He was just like some of those I had dealt with. They wanted all the comfort they could have. When it wasn’t supposed to. Only when medically necessary. After all, it was the prison. They seemed to forget. They were not supposed to be comfortable because it was not meant for them to stay there forever if they had minor crimes. They didn’t want to suffer…Period…   


But who wants to suffer? Even our lives here in this place is full of trials. But as God’s children, we are to go through sufferings. Because during that process, we are being refined by God, the Refiner.  Just like how the  metals are processed, the impurities are removed when heated with the hottest fire. Impurities rise and are skimmed off by the silversmith. What remains is a clear, pure surface where the silversmith’s image is reflected. 

As we are purified, God’s reflection is becoming clearer in our lives. It is a hard process but what outcome! What an honor to reflect the Lord’s image to those around us despite the trials we go through!!!
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Encouragers

The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]


Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.


Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.


All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.


When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.


The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.


When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.


[Source: Life Application Bible]:


We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.


“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14


Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].


Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.


Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.


Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].

Friends