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Links to news stories mentioned in the podcast:
Gun violence keeps rising in PG-13 movies, study says
The ugly truth Behind Pretty Pictures
Ciara Addresses Her and Russell Wilson’s Decision to Practice Abstinence: “It’s Important to Have Standards”
Survey Shows Youth Sports Specialization Accelerating
In Social Media Age, Young Cops Get Trained For Real-Life Conversation
Heavy alcohol use in adolescence alters brain electrical activity

“Refiner’s Fire” by Denise Gater and her personal reflections:

Refiner’s Fire by Denise Gater

His Golden Girl—Personal Thoughts

After five years of basking in my inner healing and letting it seep deeply into my heart through painting, the trial of lupus entered my life. This trial directly touched several vulnerable areas all at once, reviving deep struggles of the past I thought I had overcome. The effects of the lupus began to reveal things in my heart that disturbed me greatly. I found myself back in a fiery trial that was agonizingly difficult and increasingly intense. It became clear that I had to surrender daily and die to self even more than I had in the past.

Although the race marked out for each of us is different and the trials will vary from person to person, I’m beginning to think the process we must all go through is similar if we want to truly be a disciple of Jesus and follow Him. I described my struggle to my sister, Amy, feeling as though I was in the Refiner’s fire. She had an immediate response. She remembered when our local newspaper had called me the “Golden Girl” after I had won the Pan American Games in diving many years before. She said, “God is bringing what happened in the physical to pass now in the spiritual realm.” He was making me His Golden Girl! It was a beautiful thought, which touched and encouraged me deeply.

After Amy’s words, I immediately recalled a song by Misty Edwards called, “Fling Wide.” I remembered praying that song with all my heart after the Lord completed my inner healing. I wanted the Lord to have His way with me, whatever that looked like. My diagnosis of lupus had come on the heels of that prayer.

In the midst of that fire, I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit and felt a deep resolve within, knowing what I must do. I knew I must fix my eyes and mind on Jesus, cling to Him, trust Him, and fully surrender to Him in the fire. There was no other place to go.

I am still a work in process. Aren’t we all? I still have a tendency to slip back into this struggle on occasion, but my times of weakness are less frequent with each passing day. I want to be His Golden Girl and to have Him say to me when I reach Heaven, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). Don’t you?

Denise is working on publishing her story under the working title Hope for Wounded Hearts.

Other resources and links:
Common Sense Media


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