428: Fiery Furnace Faith.

428: Fiery Furnace Faith.

 

Fiery Furnace Faith
Fiery Furnace Faith
Daily Spirit & Word, 428: Fiery Furnace Faith.

Good moring my friends, it nice and warm outside today, amazing after such a cold snap, but it’s like a summer’s morning. Today, we’re going to see that for the young Jewish boys in Exile their faith and trust in God is going to be tested to the limit. Read through Daniel Chapter 3 today and we’ll reflect tomorrow.
Daniel 3:1-30. 
1 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.
2  He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up.
3  So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.
4  Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language:
5  As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.
6  Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
7  Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshipped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8  At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews.
9  They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live for ever!
10  You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold,
11  and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace.
12  But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”
13  Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king,
14  and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?
15  Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.
17  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.
18  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.”
19  Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude towards them changed. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual
20  and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.
21  So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.
22  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,
23  and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24  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.”
25  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.”
26  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,
27  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.
28  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.
29  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.”
30  Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
They ARE proving to be faithful witnesses of the true faith in the LORD whilst they are in exile in Babylon. Praise the Lord!
You may face trials of many kinds as a Christian in the world, but be assured the LORD is able to rescue you from the all.
I’d be interested to know how the LORD has proven to be faithful when you’ve been tested in the Fiery Furnace????
How’s your Fiery Furnace Faith?
Have an awesome Monday my friends,
Don.
P.S. Please pray for the family of a young man called Jimmy. He was a resident at the British Home where I serve as Chaplain. He died whilst in Hospital on Saturday. He’d been taken ill last Sunday and was not responding to treatment. Jimmy was an awesome witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. He was increasingly incapacitated and could only just move his head a little, the rest of his body had been slowly shutting down for the last six years. He’d been in the home for many years suffering with MS. But what a faith in Jesus Jimmy enjoyed. Everyone who went to visit him came away as if they were walking on air. I’ll never forget singing with Jimmy, he loved all the old favourite hymns and some of the modern ones too. He had a fantastic memory, Jimmy knew the names of people even before they spoke, he remembered their children’s names and prayed for them often. He remembered all my grandchildren, and was overjoyed when he finally met Aminata after hearing about her for over five years. Oh yes my friends, we’re definitely going to miss Jimmy, but we’re so glad that he got his desire of his heart, to be at Home with the LORD. He had had enough of not being able to praise and sing properly. His favourite hymns were “What a friend we have in Jesus” and “The Lord’s my Shepherd” He really loved the modern version too.
P.P.S. Can also be read at St Luke’s Facebook Page

 

422: God Sends Helpers.

 422 Helpers
God Sends His Helpers.
When we are determined to live for Him.

Good morning my friends. Oh it’s very cold out this morning, a little peppering of snow on the grass, but lovely to look at. It’s funny how just a little sprinkling of snow changes the whole landscape and reveals things previously unnoticed 😉
Yesterday we finished with a question, “Will the young Jewish boys be able to sustain their faith in an alien culture?” and also applied it to ourselves, “Will we be able to maintain the Christian faith in a culture that’s becoming increasingly intolerant of committed, Bible believing and evangelistic followers of Jesus?” Last night at our prayer meeting, that prayer was somewhat answered, there’s a growing determination and desire to bring about REVIVAL in our people, in our church and in our Land. Praise the LORD!
How did the Jewish boys fare? Well first we read yesterday how the Babylonians changed their names;
Daniel 1:7   The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names:
Daniel was called Belteshazzar.
Hananiah was called Shadrach.
Mishael was called Meshach.
Azariah was called Abednego.
It’s funny to me how we remember the other three boy’s new Babylonian names; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but the best name is Daniel’s; Beltshazzar, yet we still call him Daniel 🙂
Let’s play a game this morning; We’ll have a go at changing the Babylonian name. Let’s break it down; Baby and Lonian… The first part is easy; Baby and the second part brings a smile to my face; Loonies… So we have Baby-Loonies… 🙂 I know, I know, “What a weird sense of humour you have Donald”, but let not forget that they really did change those boys names. They repeatedly called them by their new name and over the years they started calling one another by their new Babylonian names.
Today, we’ll notice that not only were these boys; without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace, they were also determined to preserve their individuality, integrity and faith in the Lord God Jehovah too.
Daniel 1:8-16
 8  But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.
9  Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel.
10  But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.”
11  Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
12  “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said.
13  “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.”
14  The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.
15  At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king.
16  So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.
It was an immense privilege to be given the exact same food as the King of the Babylonian Empire every day. They ate the food from the King’s table… WOWzer.
Reminds me of a time when I was in the Royal Navy and the Queen came aboard my ship, HMS Ark Royal in 1977 during the Silver Jubilee Year. She had a banquet on-board. I was not invited though 🙂 but I was in a position to observe proceedings because I was standing by in case something happened to the Electrics during the event. I could see the queen at her table with hundreds of other people all over the Hanger. I asked one of the Stewards to bring us some food from the Queen’s table, she didn’t eat much, so we had the Queen’s lobsters, they tasted awesome, we had the food the Queen didn’t eat…
Those boys were given the privilege of actually being victualled in, they were expected to eat the King’s food, so the chief steward was frightened when Daniel and his friends refused to eat it. Daniel was very wise though, as stated yesterday, they were wise enough to choose their ‘spiritual’ battles wisely. In verse 12 we read, Daniel said, “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water”. It was a suggestion that seemed reasonable, a period of testing, to see if they fared well without the King’s food.
Why did Daniel refuse to eat the King’s food? Well he probably knew enough about the preparation of the food, that it would have been sacrificed and offered to the Pagan gods of the Babylonians first, by eating it, Daniel believed he’d be contaminating or defiling the temple of his body. He was part of God’s chosen people upon the earth, they Jews had strict dietary prohibitions and Daniel and his friends knew the LORD’S commands regarding unclean food. They were determined to remain pure in this regard.
Notice how God had prepared the way for Daniel and his friends: Verse 9 “Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel.” Respect and Affection: The chief steward had respect for Daniel, that must have included Daniel’s faith and trust in the LORD. Obviously over the long journey from Jerusalem to Babylon, it would have taken many days to travel, he’d built up a relationship and Daniel had earned his respect and affection.
You’ll notice this same thing happens time and again in the Bible, when God’s people are in great need, He’s there for them, He sends his helpers alongside His chosen people: Moses had Aaron to help him speak, Eli was sent Samuel when his own sons didn’t perform for the Lord, David had the respect and admiration of King Saul’s son and 50 fighting men, Elijah had his Elisha, and our Lord’s Disciples were sent out in twos… You ARE NOT ALONE in an Alien Culture my friends.
My friends, don’t be surprised by this, the LORD can prepare the way for you in this alien world, He can give you friends and support from places you’d never choose yourself. People will come to your aid and you’ll be astonished how the LORD moves in your life sometimes. I had that so many times now, that though I’m always overjoyed and thankful, I’m not totally surprised. The LORD has promised good to you, those who love the LORD Jesus Christ and are determined to serve Him with their lives. Be prepared to be looked after, to win the affection and respect of some of the people in the world, who don’t yet belong to the Lord’s family.
Even now the LORD is putting in place in Government people who’ll speak up for Christian rights, He’s bringing people into your life whom He’s prepared many years ago, they are strategically placed and positioned by the LORD to help you in times of need. But don’t trust in them, keep your focus upon the LORD.
For me the moral of today’s focus is this; Though this world may seem like an alien place, God has not left you completely to your own devices, skill or strength. God will prepare the way for you when you determine to live your life for Jesus Christ in the world. He will make provision for you when the time of crisis comes, but all you have to do is trust in Him and live for Him as Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did.
Think back over your Christian walk and you’ll soon see how the LORD has been watching out for you too.
Be filled with God’s Holy Spirit for the walk and work He’s given you today,
Don.

Free At Last

Daily Spirit & Word, 311: Free At Last

Thank God Almighty, I’m Free At Last.

Knowing the Lord Jesus sets us free from; Sin, the Law, the World and the Devil.

Good morning my friends, I’m a bit late today because we had some bad new yesterday (I’ll share later), but we’ve also been busy with some good things too; Youth Club last night in the Church and our Grandchildren have come to stay for the weekend as well. So I’m a wee bit tired this morning. However, the LORD is so gracious, as I was reading Galatians today new light has been shed abroad in my heart. It’s fantastic they was the Bible opens up to us. I’ve read Galatians countless times since I came to know Jesus, but every day now, there’s something new within it’s pages jumping out at me. Fresh revelations of either God’s heart for His people, the Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for us and how free the Lord wants us to be in this world or some fresh insight into how I’m doing in my walk with Jesus. I was wondering, what LIGHT is the Lord giving to you as you delve into His Word?

Galatians 3:25-27 (NIV) 25  Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. (the Law is no longer our Schoolmaster it’s purpose was to show us Christ the Saviour, once we’ve put our trust in Him we’re free from the Law’s demands.) that because; now read verses 26-27.

26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,
27  for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
First my friends, the Apostle Paul declares God’s Word to us, that we are free from the Law. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law for us. We can now live the Christian life with joy and safety under Christ. We’re safe from the condemnation of the Law. However, there’s TROUBLE, becuase our flesh will not let us believe in Christ with all our heart. You see my friends, the fault is not with Jesus Christ, but with us, those who’ve trusted in Him. You see my friends, we’ve still got Sin clinging to us as long as we live in this body and it can spoil our happiness, freedom, joy and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s because whilst we’re here on earth we are only partly free from; sin, the world, the flesh, the Law and the devil.  Romans 7:25 (NIV) “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” As we read more and more of the Bible you’ll discover that we’ve got a dual personality my friends, a bit like Pinocchio who had a good and bad angel upon his shoulders, we too have within us the Holy Spirit and our Earthly Fleshly Spirit and the Bible tells us they are in constant conflict with one another, the one that we listen to or pay attention to or feed will be the one that we obey.
However, the LIGHT shining in my heart afresh today, the TRUTH that sets us FREE, is that we ARE God’s children when we come to faith in Jesus. More than that, we’re clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ. As soon as we RECEIVE Jesus by faith, we put on the righteousness of Jesus, we’re covered by Him, we’re protected.

So in the battle of the Flesh and Spirit who wins? It’s determined by who we listen to more, if we keep feeding our fleshly nature, it will win this battle and we’ll be drawn further and further away from the Lord, but He’ll never let us go completely because we’ve trust Him, He’s faithful and will complete the work within us that He’s begun. But when I’m following my flesh, when anyone does it, all we get is; guilt, fear, condemnation, lack of peace and joy in life.

The opposite is true when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit and listen to His voice within, He awakens our conscience, he’s shouting and guiding and leading and showing us the way of peace. When we listen to His Holy voice within, we’re set free, there’s JOY, Happiness, Peace, Security, Freedom from Condemnation, Purpose for living every single day. Even if, like Paul, we’re hard-done-by, thrown into prison, beaten, shipwrecked, car-crashed, plane-crashed, loose our job, loose our love in life when relationships crumble, with the Holy Spirit we can still experience real PEACE n JOY through all these things. Hard though life is sometimes, there’s so much power in Jesus He’ll carry us through anything my friends.

Who are you listening to today? The battle also gets much easier the more you listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. You’ll recognise your Flesh creeping in to try and take control more easily. You can identify Satan’s attacks, and the world holds less and less attraction to you. Jesus is setting you free and the freedom grows day by day the more you listen to the voice of God’s Holy Spirit within…

When your faith is growing; sin, the world, the law, the flesh, the devil grow weaker in their ability to influence and control you. So you can shout and answer your flesh and all the others with this cry; “I’m a child of the living God, I belong to Jesus, I’m filled with the Holy Spirit, I’ve been set free from you, I’m not yours anymore, I belong to the family of God and I’m not going to feel guilty any longer”. Take your stand against the devil and his schemes my friends and you’ll discover greater measures of Freedom, Joy and Peace within.

Have an awesome Saturday in Jesus.

We’re going to have a fantastic day with our grandchildren, even though rain and wind are forecast, we’re still going to have so much fun together. Joy in the Lord my friends.

Don.