RSS

Tag Archives: fire

Devoted to Prayer

12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. (Acts 1:12-14, NRSV)

After Jesus ascended into heaven the disciples and certain women went back to Jerusalem and went to the room upstairs where they were staying, was this the room where they ate the last supper with Jesus, and they devoted themselves there to prayer.

They had communication with God and each other and devoted their lives to this. Prayer is not an individual conversation but is conversation, it is open and honest about life. I wonder at what the prayer conversation was in this upper room, and how inspiring the spirit was moving in this group of people.

How can we have that fire and spark in our lives?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Fiery Furnace, part 2

Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought in; so they brought those men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods and you do not worship the golden statue that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble to fall down and worship the statue that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face was distorted. He ordered the furnace heated up seven times more than was customary, and ordered some of the strongest guards in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. So the men were bound, still wearing their tunics, their trousers, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire. Because the king’s command was urgent and the furnace was so overheated, the raging flames killed the men who lifted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. But the three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up quickly. He said to his counselors, “Was it not three men that we threw bound into the fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” He replied, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the fourth has the appearance of a god.” Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men; the hair of their heads was not singed, their tunics were not harmed, and not even the smell of fire came from them. Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. They disobeyed the king’s command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that utters blasphemy against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins; for there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon. (Daniel 3:13-30, NRSV)

I find it interesting that we know this story about the 3 guys being thrown into the fire and then there were 4 and when they are called out, only three come out. But did you read what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said when Nebuchadnezzar asked them about worshipping his gods and the statue?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were connected to God in a way that nothing else mattered.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said that no matter what happens to them they would not worship any other gods or bow to a statue.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.” If God is able, let Him save us, but even if He isn’t we still will not worship your statue!

Are you that grounded in your faith that no matter what you will always worship God?

Are we ready to place our lives in God’s hands as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Fiery Furnace, part 1

King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden statue whose height was sixty cubits and whose width was six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent for the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to assemble and come to the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. So the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, assembled for the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. When they were standing before the statue that Nebuchadnezzar had set up, the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, you are to fall down and worship the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire.” Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Accordingly, at this time certain Chaldeans came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, shall fall down and worship the golden statue, and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These pay no heed to you, O King. They do not serve your gods and they do not worship the golden statue that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:1-12, NRSV)

King Nebuchadnezzar is just like almost every other king of history and sees himself as a god.

So he created an idol and ordered his kingdom to worship it. And everyone who doesn’t do this will be thrown into a furnace and killed.

All people need to worship their king. Yet as Jews and Christians we are called to worship God alone and not have idols.

So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego should not worship the idol and they don’t and it gets them noticed.

When do we live our faith out loud?

How can we in this season of Advent live our faith in a way that helps people see the real meaning of Christmas and points the world to the love of the coming Savior?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Pillars of Cloud and Fire

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God thought, “If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of the land of Egypt prepared for battle. And Moses took with him the bones of Joseph who had required a solemn oath of the Israelites, saying, “God will surely take notice of you, and then you must carry my bones with you from here.” They set out from Succoth, and camped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. (Exodus 13:17-22, NRSV)

God was always with His people. And Joseph knew God would be with them and would take them from this place.

God led the Israelites in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. So they could always see God and where He was leading them.

How does God lead us today?

 

Tags: , , , ,

Saul Escapes from the Jews

After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. When the believers learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers. (Acts 9:23-31, NRSV)

Saul just went from being the man every follower of Jesus despised and stayed away from, to Saul being the most wanted man by the high council.

That escalated rather quickly I think.

But that is exactly how God works.

You see. God can instantly take your heart and change it and set you on fire with the Holy Spirit and send you out to tell the world about His love.

Making those that despised you still afraid and those that were for you wonder what happened.

God works in mysterious ways. Just hold on and enjoy the ride!

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

God the Creator and Provider

These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. (Psalm 104:27-30, NRSV)

When you send forth your Spirit, they are created and the face of the earth is renewed!

Your Spirit brings us your power and life.

It is our breath!

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Praise for God’s Goodness to Israel

Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs; you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place. (Psalm 66:8-12, NRSV)

God has kept us among the living and has helped us not to lose our footing.

Through everything we have gone, the Lord has always been with us.

Through testing and trials, He has kept us.

He has tested us as silver is tried.

So He knows we are done when He sees His reflection in us.

Do you reflect God?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,