Sunday, May 16, 2010

its getting hot in here

I love sitting beside a warm, cozy fire, don't you? You feel the warmth and comfort. It just feels safe and secure, like everything around you is quiet. You can look around you and all you see is comfort under your cozy blanket. You feel wrapped up tight as though all is right, but then a spark from the fire jumps out of no where, and from that one little spark ignites a fire you were not prepared for. The fire begins to burn, and the smoke is filling the house. It seems that just in that one minute all around you is caving in from disaster now.
Ever been there with me? I have been in that place of comfort, that place where is everything is fine, but then out of no where comes a storm of destruction, just from one small spark, that you didn't even see coming.

When adversity hits, there are times we just want to cover our heads, maybe even run, but it is in those times of adversity that our faith can be strengthened as we call out to God. Whether we are sitting cozy by the fire or whether we are in the depths of the heat, God is right there with us.

Remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego? The three friends of Daniel? They stood and honored God by obeying Him. When we do what is right, we think all should be right, right? No, when we follow God, we should expect to have enemies, and an enemy is what they had in King Nebuchadnezzar. As he wanted them to bow down to him, they would not. So, what does he do? He orders his men to throw them in the fiery furnace. The furnace is so hot, those men of King Nebuchadnezzar's died by the blazes of the fire. He had ordered that fire to be seven times hotter than normal, if there is even a normal in this case. What would you do in this case? As I sit before you, I pray I would never bow to another god. I pray I would always honor my God before me. I pray my faith would carry me through. I have come to learn that whether I am sitting next to the fire or in the fire, God is right there beside me. He was with these young men. As King Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to the furnace, he came to see if they were in deed dead, but he did not see three dead men, in fact he saw four men in that furnace. One was God indeed!! God brought those young men out of that furnace, and what happened? The King and his men now believed in the God before them. All it took was four young men, four, to stand and witness to others. In their faith, others came to faith.

We can read about these men in Daniel. This story comes from chapter 3. Do you know what happens to gold in a fire? As that gold is placed in, and heated to the fullest impact, the impurities come out, and what is left is the pure, refined gold. The same is with us when we too go through the fires of this life. As each one comes, more impurities are taken out, and the pureness of God's refined workmanship is created. Before you, beauty abounds for others to see. When trials hit, it our very reactions to those circumstances that others see the strength of our faith.

We come to ask ourselves, is our commitment to God bigger than our commitment to comfort? Really, those young men could have easily bowed down to the King and made their lives easier for the moment right? These young men knew they had a bigger commitment than just a moment of comfort. One choice=one lifetime. Our choices in life will direct our future paths. See, the amazing thing with God is that He will not only be with you at the side of the fire, but through the fire, and when you come out, you will not be covered in smoke, for God is there to protect you. When we trust God, when we give Him all, we allow Him to work in our lives, and in those around us.

With God there is nothing to fear. We must allow our belief in Him to be bigger than our fear. For there is nothing bigger than God.

God saves completely! He is all we need and all we need can be found in Him. I have been there along with you my friend when the fire is hot, and you feel as though you cannot breathe any longer. Although everything around me seemed as though it was going up in smoke, I knew without a doubt God was with me. I felt His presence and I felt His power. When all around us looks charred and ruined, we must not worry. We have a God in the restoration business. What cannot be restored here to its fullest will be restored in heaven. In God we can always find hope, and in that hope is faith to carry us through.

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Philippians 4:19 "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
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