This week residents of East Jefferson Parish received news that a "Boil Water Advisory" is in effect. That's because of a water main break outside the East Bank Water Treatment Plant on Jefferson Highway that occurred on Tuesday. Thankfully, that water main break was repaired in less than 24 hours so that people in East Jefferson could have running water in their homes. But for several days residents of East Jefferson Parish have been instructed to use boiled or purified water for drinking and brushing their teeth. They also aren't able to safely wash dishes until the Boil Water Advisory is lifted.
While the "Boil Water Advisory" is certainly an inconvenience, it reminds me of a Biblical principle. Writing to Christians in the 1st century, the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:6-7: "So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold - though your faith is far more precious than mere gold."
Peter was writing those words to Christians who were dealing with much persecution and many troubles. They were literally "in the fire" because of their faith in and commitment to Jesus Christ. Some were being harassed. Some were being ridiculed. Some were being placed in prison. Some were having their possessions taken away. Some had worse things happening to them. But Peter wanted them to know that there was joy and hope for them in their future, even though they were having to endure many trials for a short while. Then he used the illustration of how trials purify a Christian's faith like fire tests and purifies gold.
"That's exactly what God is doing in our lives
when we're going through intense trials"
Peter gives us a picture of an ancient goldsmith who is at work purifying and refining gold. The goldsmith would take the gold and put it into a smelting furnace. Then he would heat the fire, making it hotter and hotter. In that intense heat the gold metal would become so hot it would turn into a liquid. And when that happened the pure gold would settle at the bottom and the impurities within the gold would rise to the top. Then the goldsmith would take a skimmer and skim off all of the impurities, and what remained was pure gold. And Peter says, that's exactly what God is doing in our lives when we're going through intense trials. He's using those "fiery trials" to bring our impurities to the surface (our tendencies to be angry, bitter, critical, demanding, envious, frustrated, prideful, self-centered, etc) so that the Lord's Spirit and People can "skim" them from our lives. In other words, the Lord uses the "fiery trials" of life to purge impurities from our lives and to purify our faith, just like the Water Board uses different chemicals to purify the drinking and bathing waters that we utilize regularly in our region.
So, the next time you're dealing with some trials, don't be overwhelmed or overcome by them. Realize that the Lord who loves you is allowing those trials to come into your life to purge you of any impurities that you may still be struggling with. And He will use what you're going through to purify you and make you even better and more valuable in the days ahead.
The Lord is doing some great things in people's lives, circumstances and relationships through our recent Fasting and Prayer Emphasis and through our IT'S TIME TO CHANGE worship services and Life Group gatherings. Here are some testimonies that I've heard.
- "The presence of God's Spirit has been so powerful in these January services."
- "When I came to Church in my heart was hurting so much, but when I left I felt so much peace and joy in my heart."
- "I had given up hope of really seeing changes in my life, circumstances and relationships, but after last Sunday's service I'm beginning to believe again."
We want you to experience what others are experiencing - encouragement, refreshing, healing and transformation. So be sure to join us at Celebration in the coming weeks as we continue IT'S TIME TO CHANGE.
This past Sunday 408 new people signed up to become a part of a Life Group. Life Groups are small Bible study groups that meet in homes, coffee shops, workplaces, schools and in other places as well. They typically meet together weekly to study God's work (in a discussion format), encourage one another, pray for and with one another, and help one another become stronger in their relationship with the Lord. Great friendships and ministry engagement result from people being involved in a Life Group. If you're not in a Life Group, I encourage you to get connected with one as soon as possible. You can also find out more about Life Groups by going to www.celebrationchurch.org/lifegroups. Becoming a part of a Life Group will be one of the best steps you can take to make 2024 a year of strong spiritual growth.
This coming Sunday at Celebration we're going to be continuing IT'S TIME TO CHANGE and participating in Communion together. Our message this coming Sunday is titled, The Choice To Rejoice.
Be sure to join us in-person if you can, or join us online HERE if you can't make it to one of our worship services. And encourage your friends and family members to come with you or watch the service with you.
We love you at Celebration, and we're here to encourage and help you in so many ways.
Jesus Changes Everything!