Inside the Fire
1 Peter 4:12, “My friends, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you.”
We've all seen the devastation a fire can bring. From forest fires to house fires. Fires burn hot and spread quickly when the right material is around to fuel them. Fires rage on with angry fury and usually destroy anything caught in its flaming path.
There was a time in Andilla, Spain one of those raging wildfires broke out. As it spread it scorched nearly 50,000 acres of woodland. So, what makes the story any different than the ones we hear about all the time in the West. Well, in the middle of all the devastation, a group of nearly 1,000 bright green Cypress trees remained standing. What kept those trees safe when the fire raged around them destroying the rest of the acres? It was their ability to retain water which allowed them to endure the flames and stay safe.
This, of course, reminded me of a story we all learned as children in Sabbath school. A story of a hotheaded king and three young boys. We know them as king Nebuchadnezzar and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The story, the king had a dream of a statue and he wanted to be worshipped by everyone so he had a gigantic gold statue made so everyone could bow down and worship him. Our three young boys, Christian men who worshipped only God, refused to bow, and worship the idol. In his hot-tempered fury, the king ordered these boys to be thrown into the furnace and burned to death.
Although, liking the service of the boys, the king gave them a chance to change their minds. When threatened the boys answered, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it.” Daniel 3:17.
This only angered the king more and he ordered the fire to be cranked up seven times hotter than normal. This fire was so hot that the guards who had to throw the boys in immediately died just from the heat it gave out.
The miracle, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who went in bound by ropes, were not turning to ash, but walking around untied. Even more, even though only three were thrown in, everyone saw a fourth man standing with them. Many close enough believed it was God among them.
The king immediately called the boys out of the furnace and to everyone surprise, not a single hair was singed, and their clothes remained unmarked.
A few things come to mind when I read this story. To begin with, when we fully believe in God, trust His promises to keep us safe in His care, He is faithful to us and will keep us safe. No matter what threatens us, when we stand up for Jesus and follow God's law, with confidence we should be able to say, “Do what you must, God will deliver me either now or at salvation.” -Exodus 14:14.
Second, like the raging wildfires destroying things in their path, we will face our own fires (trials) that feel like our path is being destroyed. We will face circumstances that feel like there is no hope or end. But we serve an awesome God and are assured that in the fires, Jesus will be right beside us unbinding the ties that hold us down- 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Lastly, those three stood strong in the midst of the raging fire because they retained water to keep them safe. Jesus says, “I am the living water… the water I give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” When we retain the water of Jesus inside us, we will be able to endure, in the midst of any fires that come our way.
When trials come and we feel pressured to give in or are afraid, we can have the hope that Jesus is with us. We may not always know when and how God will help us, but we can rest assured He is there. Jesus will give us the strength we need through every “fire" we endure. Remember, sometimes God will keep you from the fire. Other times God will make you fireproof and take you through the fire.
I hope you have had a great two weeks since we last talked. It was busy for me but now summer is ending and fall will be setting in soon. When we last had our blog we had begun our study into 2 Corinthians and we read chapters 1 & 2. I hope you found some time to read allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you and maybe you were able to learn some new things along the way. Whenever we open scripture we are sure to find blessings and lessons God has for us to learn. Today let's continue our study with 2 Corinthians chapter 3.
Study 3, 2 Corinthians chapter 3,- https://www.docdroid.net/3LSxbvO/study-3-docx
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