Grateful In The Fire…

I have not blogged in quite some time- that may be why I am feeling so clogged.  Feeling clogged?  You should blog!

This year has had some difficult times for me.  The untimely death of loved ones, people I have poured into and discipled relapse and die form an overdose. The death of dreams and hopes that feel they are so far out of reach that even the passion has faded. Moments of victory laced with incredible valleys of disappointment.

Trying to find meaning in all of this chaos is daunting. The pain and grief is almost like a task master reminding you to bow down and wretch what emotions you have left.  Every fiber of your being crying out for  some relief!   The questions that flood my mind are often pointed to God as indictments instead of faith filled declarations.  My faith feels small and I wonder how God puts up with me.  In this valley I feel God is speaking to me at this moment Malachi 3:3

“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify “Rick Casto” (Feel free to insert your name here) and REFINE him/her like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have a person who will bring offerings in righteousness…”  my own personalization if you will.

Refining is a skillful task that can only be handled by a journeyman; in other words the MASTER.  All my attempts to refine myself are short lived moments in time.  I have participated in a multitude of deliverance ministries, inner healing, support groups, retreats, encounters and bible studies. All focused on fixing myself or cleaning myself up; to make myself presentable and acceptable to God. Good luck with that!  I am reminded that God purifies. Not me.

Don’t get me wrong I believe in these ministries of the Church. However, I think the  motives of my heart matter when approaching God.  Underneath all of that; in the heat of the fire, this lie comes to the top.  “I need to be better! I need to be whole to be of worth.”  Lies are powerful when hooked up with belief. So I wrestle with the truth- I am doing this for me- not Him.  I let out a big sigh and ask God to help me replace this lie with the truth.  I can do nothing apart from Him.  Nothing…

Now, I can already hear the sermonizing flowing my way. Faith brother! You have to have faith! Encourage yourself in the LORD man! Hey dude, that is the enemy talking right there! That is not God, you need to take that thought captive and place it under the obedience of Christ, in the name of Jesus!  You are not the tail but the head, you are not beneath but above! You are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus!  All my identity scriptures that I have memorized to combat the lies.

Yet- here I am- in the fire, being refined and being remade- again. HE is the potter and I am the not so cooperative clay at times.  I am hoping for this big, deep and fresh revelation and here it is. Submit to God resist the devil and he will flee from from you sometime in the near future; hopefully… Seriously.. It seems, while I am in the fire, I have this habit of placing question marks where God has been placing periods. HELP ME Lord Jesus! I find that I am filling that emptiness with GRATEFULNESS- there is purpose it is just undiscovered.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thess 5:18

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”1 Corinthians 15:57

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.” 2 Corinthians  2:14

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”~Epicurus

Fruit is not grown on mountain tops; rich fruit is grown in the valleys.

Grateful for the valley,



5 thoughts on “Grateful In The Fire…

  1. Bryan Miles says:

    Sounds to me like a great response to such a difficult time. You not only come across as a human being filled with questions, but as a born again Christian believer seeking wisdom to your questions from your Father… After all we should all be able to apply scriptures to whatever we are going through in life… Sometimes those scriptures are tough to find in a very hard time… I admire your honesty reflected through this whole message, and it causes me as a believer to further seek my God. Thank you Rick…….

  2. jamiestahlke says:

    Brother, we are in this fire together!!!!!!!!

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