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With Me In the Fire

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Thursday night my neighborhood was ablaze with fireworks. All up and down the streets people were popping and sizzling, and snapping. Overhead illegal aerials whizzed by. When exiting my neighborhood i went widely around a fountain in the middle of the road that seemed to have been finished and it lit up beside me while I past it, and then an aerial came zooming toward my truck when I hit the street. It was like a combat zone!!!
Add to this the city displayed in the fields next to my neighborhood, and you can imagine the noise and flashing. Then add in the thunderstorms and lightning and it was intense.
Now imagine being a dog!!! Our doodle - Frenchy - when she was about 2 went out in the backyard while a neighbor was releasing thousands of dollars of aerial noise making fireworks. She cowered to the ground and ran around the yard on her belly in fear - a fear that has imprinted ever since.
Thursday night she had on a thunder shirt, essential oils and we were contemplating benadryl. We tried to get her to go to an interior room with lights out and fan on for background noise, but unlike she does when she sleeps at night - she barked with a fearful intensity to be out and just with us. She slept in our bedroom that night beside our bed in stillness until morning when all the ruckus was over.
ALL SHE WANTED in her world where it seemed like the skies were crashing and a battleground was erupting was to be with her masters! The ones who protect and shelter and give a sense of calm in the fire!
There is a story in Scripture where we see the exact same thing happening.
Daniel 3:1–30 NLT
1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. 3 So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! 5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. 6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” 7 So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 8 But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Long live the king! 10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments. 11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.” 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” 19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. 24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. 25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke! 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.
Many of us are so familiar with this story! It is so often used as an amazing example of God’s protection under persecution, and when we choose RIGHTEOUSNESS and GOD’s WAY over the ways of this world - we experience his power, provision, and protection!!!
But there is more!!!
In this historical account, we see a perfect picture of the presence of God in our lives through its most trying, challenging, threatening and discouraging times!!!
Hebrews 13 NLT
1 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! 3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. 4 Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. 5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” 6 So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” 7 Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them. 10 We have an altar from which the priests in the Tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 Under the old system, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, and the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. 12 So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. 13 So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. 14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. 15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. 17 Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit. 18 Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do. 19 And especially pray that I will be able to come back to you soon. 20 Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— 21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. 22 I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation. 23 I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you. 24 Greet all your leaders and all the believers there. The believers from Italy send you their greetings. 25 May God’s grace be with you all.
Hebrews 13 NLT
1 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! 3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. 4 Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. 5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” 6 So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” 7 Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them. 10 We have an altar from which the priests in the Tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 Under the old system, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, and the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. 12 So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. 13 So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. 14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. 15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. 17 Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit. 18 Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do. 19 And especially pray that I will be able to come back to you soon. 20 Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— 21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. 22 I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation. 23 I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you. 24 Greet all your leaders and all the believers there. The believers from Italy send you their greetings. 25 May God’s grace be with you all.
Hebrews 13:5–6 NLT
5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” 6 So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
:5-6
Hebrews 15:5-6
Interesting, we often think if I have enough MONEY I can be safe and control my circumstances in life --- which is so untrue!
God wants us to realize — our ultimate confidence is in HIS PRESENCE in our lives — in all things!

1. We Are Not Alone in the Fire

Perhaps the greatest picture here is when a fourth man --- what we call a THEOPHANY - It was Jesus, the Son of God - showing up in the fire with these men… Prior to his coming to earth as a baby, the second person of the Trinity made appearances on earth in times of need — Abraham and Melchizedek - Melchizedek being one of them.
Here in these three Young HEbrew Men’s lives --- the SON OF GOD showed up in the midst of the blazing furnace. He did not leave them alone or abandoned, but was there in their moment of need.
a. THE FIRES IN LIFE
For these young men, their fire was literal --- it was a blazing furnace — a furnace soooo HOT that it burned the guards disintegrating them as they threw them in the fire. There is no way any of them should have lived past the point of being in front of the doors of the furnace!
IT was an earthly threat to partake of the idolatry of this world.
We are so challenged these days with simple PEER PRESSURE, SOCIETAL CONFORMITY just like these young men were. We are threatened to lose jobs, relationships, security, and even health and life if we do not comply.
Right now our society is screaming at the church to conform to their immoral choices or suffer a consequence - even to the point of legislation, imprisonment, fine, and again the societal pressure that we will punish you if you don’t do it our way.
BUT THERE ARE MORE FIRES...
There are more fires that burn in life than just societal pressures...
We can have family dynamics
Health issues
GRIEF AND LOSS
Marital trouble
and external and internal THREATS
The reality is when we feel threatened to lose our faith in Christ — which is something the devil wants to hit each of us with all the time… everyone of us has a different trigger point the enemy will use to get us to cave or weaken to worldly pressure...
Even if that is
doubting ourselves
trashing our self esteem
bringing depression
bringing despair or fear
Our fire is personally those things that threaten our existence and trust in GOD!
WE MUST REALIZE ---
b. We are not alone!!!
Just like my dog only wanted to be with us in the midst of the fireworks and thunder storm — she needed comfort and assurance --- we have a HEAVENLY FATHER and HIS SON JESUS CHRIST who will not abandon us!
Romans 8:31–39 NLT
31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:25–35 NLT
25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) 26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. 31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?
Romans 8.
5-39
God has promised to be beside us in our time of need...
Psalm 46:1 NLT
1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

2. Things Get Better After the Fire

Look at what happens when we experience Christ in the fires of life --- when our eyes are fixed on HIM, things improve when we come out!!!
The improvement may be different from our expectations — but they improve
Romans 8:27–28 NLT
27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Roma
God wants to use the fires of your circumstances for good...
Job 23:10–12 NLT
10 “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. 11 For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. 12 I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food.
1 Peter 1:7 NLT
7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
For Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego when they came out of the fire...
1 Peter 1
they did not even smell like smoke - it is as if it never happened
their persecutors were punished and the battle to stand against the societal pressure removed
the King acknowledged and even passed a law honoring their GOD as the true God and above any imitated God
They won a victory for all who were given into the pressure of bowing to idols
God wants to grow you in every circumstance of life, and He wants the other side of the difficulty to be a better place than before the difficulty. He will work things out for good in your life if you keep your eyes fixed on Him!

3. Trust Him for the Distance

The amazing thing we see in this picture is the ultimate TRUST of these Hebrew youth.
Not knowing if God would rescue them, they still had confidence in His plan regardless the outcome...
What did Paul say in Romans --- neither death nor life shall separate me from the love of God!!!
This is the key component - to ultimately trust God knowing the eternal promise is greater than anything in this temporary world.
That is the problem with Christianity today --- we are serving God often for the here and now and not in light of eternity.
Do WE REALIZE that ETERNITY is the MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT TO SERVE GOD… the promise of eternal life in heaven...
That promise is to those who follow Christ and attaining ETERNAL LIFE is more important than any
COMFORT
POSSESSION
PLEASURE
HAPPINESS
OBJECT OR PERSON
...that can be attained in this world!!!
Daniel 3:16–18 NLT
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO STAND ON GOD’s WORD in ANY CIRCUMSTANCE --- knowing that when you apply the WISDOM of SCRIPTURE and our HEAVENLY FATHER’s PLAN --- the end result is in HIS HANDS and not OURS — and God loves us more than we even love ourselves ---
Jeremiah 29:17 NLT
17 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “I will send war, famine, and disease upon them and make them like bad figs, too rotten to eat.
Jeremiah 17:10 NLT
10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
Jeremiah 29:10 NLT
10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
God desires good things for us, He desires our faithfulness so He can justly reward us according to our faith!

CONCLUSION

It is all summed up in this Scripture — my life verse… it stands the test of time...
Proverbs 3:5–6 NLT
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5–7 NLT
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. 7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
When we trust the Lord, we can REST in the fact that
HE WILL BE WITH US IN THE FIRE
HE WILL NOT ABANDON US
HE WILL TAKE US THROUGH TO A BETTER PLACE
HE CAN BE TRUSTED TO DO WHAT IS BEST FOR US
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