Saturday, July 2, 2011

Where do you go when you're in the furnace of life?

Where do you go when you feel like your feet are literally being held to the fire? Do you sometimes think you can never make the right decision or say the right thing? Do you ever feel so overwhelmed that it seems like you're right there in the middle of a furnace with the temperature being turned up higher every time you say or do the wrong thing?

We ALL go through difficult times in life. This life is no cake walk, that's for sure.We are all pushed, pulled and stretched way beyond our limits. Of course, the limit is always different for each person, because we all have our own "boiling point," don't we? What doesn't bother one person at all, can send the next person into absolute orbit.

When life seems overwhelming for me, like it has been for these past few months, I always find comfort in the promises and sovereignty of Almighty God. There is such peace when I am surrounded by the arms of Jesus.

Just today, the Lord put the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from 3rd chapter of Daniel, on my heart. So, I spent the afternoon reading the book of Daniel. For those who may not know this story, here's a brief synopsis. The story centers around three regular Jewish buddies and their prophet friend Daniel.

The ruler at that time (around 600 B.C.) was an unsavory character named King Nebuchadnezzar. He had overthrown and defeated Jerusalem. Because of their intelligence and hard work, Daniel and his three friends held prominent positions within the Babylonian government, which was under the king's rule. 

Daniel was especially prized by the king because he had the ability to interpret his many unsettling dreams that perplexed even the most resourceful sorcerers and magicians. Many were killed because they couldn't interpret the dreams, but Daniel, who prayed to the Lord to help him, had the power that was needed to tell the king what his dreams meant, and thus he lived.

While they held prominent positions in the Babylonian government, Daniel and his three friends, S, M and A refused to was bow down to the king, nor worship his gods. Instead they worshiped the God of Abraham. When the king heard this, he sent word to all the provinces that ALL of his servants should worship him and his gold statue gods, no exceptions. He wanted total allegiance. He said, "Bring them to me."

The king told the three men that they would be thrown into a fiery furnace if they didn't do what they were told. They refused, saying that nothing could hurt them because God was going to protect them. They argued that even if He didn't, they still refused to worship the king's false idols. The king was infuriated and had the furnace turned up 7 times. The three men were bound and thrown into the fire. It was so intensely hot, the soldiers who threw them in were themselves burned to death.

When King Nebuchadnezzar looked into the intense inferno, he saw the three Jewish friends and someone else, unbound and walking around in the flames. He ordered that they come out. The fire had not harmed their bodies, their robes were not scorched, nor a hair on their head was burned and they did not smell of fire! The king was amazed!

Then Nebuchadnezzar said " Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel to rescue his servants. They trusted in Him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god expect their own God.

Then the king promoted the three men in the Province of Babylon.

So, what does that Old Testament story have to do with real life today? "When times get tough, the tough get going." Right? Isn't that what the world tells you to think? You could use that wording, but for me, I think it's more like this~~

"The Lord is my light and my salvation--Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?"   Psalm 27:1

I'm fortunate enough to travel through my life without a lot of fear. I know that is a profound blessing from the Lord. But, I was thinking as I was reading through the book of Daniel, "would I have enough faith and enough trust to walk into a furnace for the Lord?" Situation and relationships in life can get difficult and messy. I trust the Lord and always will, but would I actually have enough guts to walk into that fire, believing in God's promises? Fast Forward into this day and age. 

Remember Cassie Bernall? The Columbine Christian martyr from September 1999, that when faced with the question of whether or not she believed in God, she answered yes, just before one of the shooters gunned her down. Now that is faith. And she was a new believer in Jesus Christ, having just recently but her faith in the Lord. WOW - Having the guts to stare into the barrel of a rifle pointed at you and declaring your love of God. Surely, that young lady is sitting at the feet of Jesus right now. I would pray that if I am faced with a do or die situation where I have to trust in God, or little ole me, I would have the courage to choose the one, the only, the true God Almighty.

I have always tried to live my life for Jesus Christ. I haven't always been successful. Lord knows I'm a sinner like we all are, but I've always strived to act the way I think Jesus would want me to act, you know, the what would Jesus do? WWJD? Remember that one? It believe with all my soul that that phrase still applies today and I think that is the way God wants me to live.

So, back to regular, everyday life. God's Promises are still there as they have always been and always will be.

When the pavement gets rough or the furnace gets turned up a few degrees in life, do what I do. Rely on the one you can always depend on....The God of the Universe. He will never let you down. There are examples time and time again in the Bible, of God keeping His promises to those who love Him and have turned their lives over to Him. And it ain't just me folks, it's everyone who loves and trusts Him. Those are His promises, not mine. He is Sovereign and He is Faithful and when all else falls away, you can count on His Word and His Truth. 

                                            "I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God,
                                   the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."  Revelation 22:13

Seek His Face for your answers. Go before Him and pray, open your Bible and ask Him to reveal Himself and His will for your life and the circumstances you face. Whatever they are, He already knows the answers, because He is God Almighty. He made you and He knows everything about you. He wants you to ask Him for help. He's waiting with open arms and He won't let you down. And what a glorious Promise that is.

My verses today are in red above and below:

My prayer for today:

Holy, Holy, Holy God,

God of Power and Might! The God who protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from that fiery furnace so many, many years ago, you are Still on the Throne. You are still the God who can save us from all our difficulties in life. Lord, you know my heart, you know what's on my mind. Surround me with your love, Lord. I know that through you all things can be made good. Your word tell us:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purposes." Romans 8:28 

I am believing in your promises, Lord God. I am standing strong in my faith. I love you Lord.

In Jesus Name I pray,

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