Monday, June 9, 2008

The Fire...Aaaaaagain!

It is a deep belief of mine that the Christian life if characterized by trials, tribulations, and sufferings. Others might think if we serve such a great God why does He let us suffer. It may be a hard concept to grasp but He does BECAUSE He loves us and wants to refine us to HIS image. How wonderful that for a previous post God gave me a scripture that clearly reveals this.

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12

There's so much I enjoy from the book of Daniel. One of which is Daniel 4 and the transformation of King Nebuchadnezzar (Neb as I like to call him). But for this time, I want to reflect on three men, whom I have always loved the sound of their three names together. Tongue twister, maybe, but beauty for sure... Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. King Neb made a huge image of gold and summoned every one to come to the dedication of the image. They were all told that as soon as they heard the sound of the horn and music, they were to fall down and worship the image of gold that King Neb set up. Whoever chose not to do this would immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace. Some astrologers made it a point to inform the King that some Jews in charge of Babylon refused to serve the King's gods nor worship the image of gold. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were summoned by King Neb. He told them again they were to do this or burn by the fire. "Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" Daniel 3:15b (Remember this verse.)

Let's read the rest of it as I cannot do justice by simply paraphrasing. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued 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 except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way." Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon. Daniel 3:16-30

Thrown into the fired, saved from the fire, and promoted as a result of the fire.

What profession of faith and willingness to give up their lives for God. What beauty God provided as a reward of their faith. This is not just a story of faith and what it means to stand up for our faith in God. This is about the fireS (plural) of life that WILL come. In the middle of this fire, SEVEN TIMES HOTTER, they were protected. Notice something else that totally brings me to tears and to my knees. God was with them and right beside them. He walked through the fire with them. He didn't stop the king from throwing them into the fire but rather once in there, God walked with them. And look at the result...the king commanded that anyone who just speaks against their God would be "cut into pieces". (That sounds like a horror flick.) He also promoted the three men.

Let's reflect more on the most pivotal point of this story. GOD WAS WITH THEM. In the worst time of their life, He was with them. Notice He also didn't allow them to be harmed...no singed hair, no scorched robes, no smell of smoke, nothing! Well, you may say you have scares from your fires and trials life. You may have. But in the large realm, did you not come out unharmed? Has He not made you whole again? Has He not made good from your bad? Many women have testimonies of divorce, death of a child, physical ailment, physically abusive spouse, death of spouse. BUT if I took a poll, I would guarantee that through all that something good has happened. I would even bet somethingS (plural) have happened.

Please know the Father IS WITH YOU! In the middle of that ever so hot fire, He is right next to you. He is protecting you from being consumed by the fire. You may say you have deep scars from your fire but have you ever thought about how many things the Lord has protected you from? Don't you think there are many more scars that you could've had but He saved you from them? It could've been worse. Right? Yes. In all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. Romans 8:28

Don't be afraid of the fire. YES, it most definitely is painful, hard, difficult, torturous at times, heartbreaking. No matter how you wound up in the fire, whether out of being obedient to God's call on your life or by walking away from Him, endure the fire with the Father. (Yes, obedience can cause hardships.) He will walk you through it and you will come out better for having been through it and not escaped it. I am a walking testimony of that. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:1-2

So whattaya gonna do? Do you need to reframe your perspective and fear of the fire?

Ponder on this scripture God recently showed me.
"Is not my word like fire," declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?" Jeremiah 23:29

He has things to teach us and show us in the middle of the fire.
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

Meditate on His power and protection.
"Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory." Psalm 97:3-6

Following Him Through the Fire,

31 comments:

Amy said...

Hi Paula,

I am back!:)
What a great post this was to read today.....Although I had the trip of a lifetime....it definitely had its fires......But like you pointed out from this story in the Bible (which is also one of my favorites) God was with me in the fires. Every where we went on our trip, we saw crosses. We had a constant reminder of God's presence, even when the days were difficult.

Thanks for sharing this story today. I needed to be reminded of it.:)
I'll be in touch soon.
God Bless,
Amy:)

Mia said...

If not for the "fires" and God's presence with me I would not know Him the way I do today....thanks Paula for a re-visitation from Daniel for me today : )

Edge of Design said...

With the weather being the way it has been, it sure feels like we're near the fire. It's been hot! Thanks for your post today. I hope you've been doing well.

littlerad said...

Paula,
I love this story, all I can think about is that "they didn't even smell like fire"... This was a great post, and you are right, god chose us to go through the thigs that we are going through. He is getting us ready for something else and we need this knowlegde for it... I pray that you ate having a great day...
Connie
GBU

godlover said...

Another great post, Paula! Amazing what God can bring about by fire and we remember that fire is often given as a sign or symbol of the Holy Spirit!

[Concerning your comment on my blog:I have a copy of Streams In the Desert that I bought but haven't read. I too think that would make a great daily "morning" devo. I think I'll see if I can round of that book right now.]

Marj
Calaveras Co CA
http://gdlvr.blogspot.com

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

Beautiful Paula-the fire is just His refining of us to be more like Him. It's the perspective that carries me through the toughest of times. My scars are beautiful to Him as I am using them for His glory, not for my pain or shame. You are a blessing sweet friend!!

In His graces~Pamela

Yolanda said...

Paula:

Some of these are the very scriptures I stood on that God so gently spoke to my heart as we went through a trial in our business. He promised me that we would come through and not even smell like smoke.

When I would be come anxious, or allow what others said to cause doubt...I would just go right back to God's promises and stand firm.

I also was in the middle of "Believing God" by Beth Moore...and I would recite over and over...
God is who He says He is.
God can do what He says He can do.
I am who God says I am.
I can do all things through Christ.
God's Word is alive and active in me. I'm Believing God!

Great thoughts and encouragement!

Love to you,
Yolanda

tiggerdaisy said...

Thank you so much for the encouragement! I needed it!

God is always with us in the fires, isn't He? Don't you just love how God does that? I've grown a lot through fires. And I have been blessed beyond belief. Our God is an Amazing God indeed!

Prayers and Blessings,
Rebecca

christi28 said...

as i look back on all the trials i have been through and at the time it seemed that God wasn't there beside me, but as i really look back, he was. he was there always. i might have left Him, but He never left me and He was gracious enough to carry me out of each and every one of them. thank you Jesus for never leaving me and carring me even when i didn't deserve it!

Blessings to you!

HIS Daughter said...

You my girl are hearing HIM! YES, we can come through it! Praise GOD I did and no, I don't want to go through it again, but, YES, it was worth every painful minute.

When The Father broke my heart that had turned to a block of concrete, HE hit it hard. I was sitting listening to my son talk to me about "not having a family anymore". I had heard this many times and we rationalized it fine.

I wish I could tell you what was different...but as he spoke to me (he is not a believer yet)I could feel such a crushing pain in my chest and my stomach that I thought I was going to be sick. I started to cry, which I hadn't been able to in forever, and I couldn't stop.

For days, maybe 5, I cried and ached and couldn't even eat. It was the beginning.

Blessings and Love in HIM!
Teri

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

This reminds me of one of my favorite Steve Green song's that I sometimes sing. "The Refiner's Fire". The chorus sings...

"The Refiner's Fire, has now become my soul desire.

Purged and cleansed and purified, that the Lord be glorified.

He is consuming my soul;
Refining me, making me whole.

No matter what I may lose, I choose the Refiner's fire."

It's a sometimes hard and hot embrace--hard words to mean--but, a walk that leads us each closer to our perfection.

It's what I'm after.

peace~elaine

Lelia Chealey said...

Paula,
I loved what you wrote here: God was with them and right beside them. He walked through the fire with them. He didn't stop the king from throwing them into the fire but rather once in there, God walked with them.

He didn't stop the king from throwing them into the fire...LOVED that truth sister!!!
Great post straight from your heart.
Love ya,
Lelia
Thanks for all the encouragement you leave on my blog. I smile when I see a message from "Paula(sweet pea)" appear :)

Joyfulsister said...

Amen Paula!!! I look back and see how the Lord carried me through all my furnace journeys.To become refined in the fire of my trials has challenged me to become a stronger woman of God, a prayer warrior for my family. To "strive" to live a holy life that is acceptable to the Lord.

Blessings Lorie

swallowingamoose said...

Thanks for coming over and checking me out! The Lord deserves all the glory for my testimony and that i hope to give Him over & over. I enjoyed your post very much! I agree with Mia- The fires keep us needy. An that keeps me ever dependant on the Lord. Praise Him! Have an awesome week!

JnL4God said...

Good morning,
Just wanted tocheck on you looks like you're doing great.
Talk to you later.
Lynn

Tracy said...

Paula,
What a great promise that no matter what fire, even those that are the most difficult, He's right there with us...Praise God!

What an encouragement! Thank you for sharing. = )

Kelley said...

I have always loved this story in Daniel (especially the Veggie Tales version, LOL) but what an awesome way you have presented it. I just love how your heart comes through in what you write, God is REALLY using you!! And thank you for all of your encouragement at my site, I appreciate your comments!

Mary said...

After reading this post I thought about the song, "Refiner's Fire" but couldn't remember the words.
Thanks, Elaine for writing the words.

Paula,great post on "The Fire". In my mind I can see Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, giving praise to God for His protection in the fire. And for being with them, "through it all".
I have found that through the "fires" in my life, praise releases God's power to work.

And I thought about Amy Carmichael's poem "No Scars?" in connection of scars in the heat of the battle.

"Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendent star
Hast thou no scar?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the master shall the servant be
And pierced are the feet that follow me:
But thine are whole: can he have followed far
Who has nor wound nor scar.

mary

Jenn at Casa de Castro said...

Studly Man and I just finished an excellent study of Daniel in Precept Upon Precept with Kay Arthur. I LOVE this book and all the life lessons the Lord has for us therein. Daniel's character is a great example, and his unwavering trust in the Lord is inspiring.

I, too, love that SAM (that's the acronym we came up with for Shadrach, Abednego and Meshach even though their names are "out of order" that way) didn't even SMELL like smoke after the furnace! Isn't that just like our God? He allows us to see DETAILS in the most unusual things. The guards who placed SAM in the furnace were KILLED by its heat, yet God's men didn't even smell like smoke. Truly amazing.

Great post, Paula!

GOD'S LADIE said...

Thanks for the comment you left on my post. I replied back to you on there. Love the post. Feel like I am going thru the fire on my job, but I know I shall come forth as gold. The fires have been pretty intense but I am still standing and I rest assured that GOD is with me. Thanks for once again, listening to GOD. I was truly blessed.

Luv ya,
LaTonya

andi said...

Thanks for sharing your heart and encouraging others! I am so glad that you came by my blog! It is so neat to see the hearts of Christian Women all over! What a joy! Thanks for being transparent! I look forward to reading more from SweatPea!
Andi

annette said...

I am working my way back through your posts. This one is so powerful.

Annette

andi said...

Thanks for your comments on the blog! I wish I knew the answer to how to leave fingerprints....perhaps that will be tomorrows blog. Thanks again for your blog! Keep sharing! :)
Andi

Ang baylis said...

I remember about a year ago I didn't know the book of Daniel. After doing the study I LOVE that book... and those three friends! You are such a Blessing to everyone, especially me! Thank you, Thank YOU, THANK YOU!
In His love,
Angie xoxoxoxoxoxox

LynnSC said...

Hi Paula,
I jumped over from someone else's blog... I don't even know who, because I see you everywhere I go. We must travel in the same circles.

I have been thinking a lot about the fires. I am in a fire... but I know that it is to bring me forth as gold. It will prove my faith genuine. And... I will continue to praise Him through the flames.

Thanks so much for this awesome post. Great Word.
Lynn

Mary said...

I read something a couple of days ago that I think fits in very well with "refiners fire" Taken from a sermon of John Piper:

The furnace of affliction in the family of God is always for refinement, never for destruction. . .there is no painless path to heaven. Why? Because Jeus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." And it is no more possible to become pure painlessly than it is to be burned painlessly. Purity comes through the refining fire. And the fire has two forms: one is the fire of affliction and the other is the fire of intentional self-denial.

Pat said...

Paula,
Every visit to "His Ways...are not our ways" is a feast for the eyes and a warm bubble bath for the heart. I read your last 2 post during this visit. I am convicted but blessed. You are an instrument of Gods' love!
Blessings,
Pat

God Chaser said...

Paula a great post, sounds as if you were encouraging yourself-in response to the post you left at my place. I left you one there.
The fires aren't pleasants byt glory to God He goes through with us and you know He also heals all scares. great is out God.

Sharon said...

Paula, Another GREAT post!! Sounds like you got the fire of Jesus Christ going on. We have been talking about the fire at church, and I know the women from the ladies ministry say they see it in me, and I been telling them to join me in my blaze.
keep up the great writings.
Hugsss and blessings your way
Sharon

Kay Martin said...

Yes the trials do burn up what is not of God. I feel pruned,burned and purged. I'm recovering & wouldn't go back to anything the way it was before.

Pain seems to be unthinkable to Amerian Christians. NOw, I never figure that out as a Bible student for many decades. The heroes all have drama, pain and ch

allenges ... why wouldn't we. The book of Acts should be a clue with the beginning of the church. Talk about persecution.

IN the middle of all that is peace and joy and fulfilled living beyond compare. Yes we will have some fire: it is spelled out very clearly in our covenants.

Great dramatic post...love your blog.
Kay Martin

Pam said...

LOL! I am laughing at God and His ways of attaching hearts! I wonder if you've read my e-mail i just sent you! I am laughing at all that parallels!! Daniel/Neb... oh and that this was written on my birthday! Thank you God for confirming in my heart what I just shared with my new friend Paula is truly from you! LOL! Have you done Beth Moore's Study on Daniel? You sound much like her in this post!