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  My Witness

Vol. 13, No. 3, July, 2008

From the Editor
Sr. Jan Nattermann, S.N.C.

Sister Jan Times of trouble, times of testing, as mentioned in the last issue, can help us become Christ-centered rather than self-centered. The fires of testing equip us for the Lord's service, if we allow it.

A brick-maker knows that before he can build a house of brick, the bricks have to go through fire. The Lord knows that before He can build a spiritual house, His building stones, which are human lives, have to go through the fire.

Fire does three things in the Bible. It judges, it refines, and it transforms. Let's look at each. Fire judges. Jeremiah 4:4 says "lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your doings." We have a God of love but we also have a God of judgment. He hates sin, not the sinner, and wants us to repent.

Secondly, fire refines. "And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The Lord is my God'" (Zechariah 13:9). You know what fire does when it purifies a metal--it takes away all the foreign substances so that only pure metal is the result. God wants to remove our impurities so that we are refined to "the best, the purest."

Thirdly, fire transforms. We get this symbol in Leviticus where the offering is laid on the altar and burned. What happens? It becomes smoke that rises up and becomes a pleasing odor to the Lord--a symbol of a transformed life.

Fire does this: it judges, refines and transforms. Until this happens, nothing of lasting worth can come out of our lives. We need to allow this transformation to happen so that we can live forever, as Sr. Brigid brings out in her article in this issue, "How To Live Forever."

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