This morning as I was studying the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into the furnace by the order of Nebuchadnezzar, I prayed for a deeper meaning. What came to me was that often when we hear a certain song, smell or fleeting thought, we can be seductively drawn back into an experience of the past. If careless, that experience becomes a god to us and we are worshipping it. Images of the past can flood our consciousness, whether enjoyable or frightening. God is right here with us at all times and there is nothing to fear. There was also no past without Him! Daniel 3:11 states “And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” Do we really think God is saying that to us? The more alert I am to my thoughts, the more I can cast out the ones that are not from God.
Praying daily to see what God sees and hear what He is saying strengthens my spiritual muscles and I can honestly say only spiritual growth is going on.
This morning as I was studying the Bible, the thought came to me about the popularity of all the self help books in production today. As I pondered this, I realized the Christ was not in any of them I had read and they seemed to promote “self-reliance” which I find offensive. The more I recognize my dependence on God, the more I depend upon Him. The more I turn to Him with any and all challenges without human will and human outlining, the more Good I experience in my life.
John 15:5 states “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Today I will be grateful for all lessons, which become blessings as I understand more.
Two days ago, I told my husband I needed an extra gift to give our granddaughters for graduation. He suggested an inspirational book of some kind. Then I thought of a friend who writes poetry and loves books and called her and she promptly recommended the book “Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and it sounded perfect! We ordered several from Amazon and they will be delivered today. Philippians 4:19 reads “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus”.
That entire experience was God-inspired and directed. Once I thought I needed to be in a dire condition to call upon God but now I take everything to Him and gratefully watch things unfold!
This morning as I was thinking about the above commandment, another way of looking at it came to thought. Man’s true identity can never be stolen from him as God’s precious child, whether it comes in the guise of illness, unflattering label or gossip. Man was/is made in the image and likeness of God and that fact never changes. Psalms 86:8 reads “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy O Lord, endureth for me.”
Man shall never experience loss of Good when his mind is on God!
So often when we experience discomfort, whether it be financial, physical or relationship; we think it is punishment. I Kings 17:18 reads, “And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?” Then in John 9:2,3 it reads, ” Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus responds, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
This belief is apparent today as it was in Biblical times, when actually, any challenge we experience is to learn more about God and our relationship to Him. God is not a punishing God, but a loving One. Today, I will practice seeing His Love everywhere!
To me, the kingdom of heaven means peace, harmony and well-being and is here and now and we don’t have to wait until here-after or here later to experience it. Luke 12:32 reads, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” As we live life to the fullest with Love for all of God’s creation, we can experience that joy! Replace all bitterness, envy and revenge with Love which dispels all negativity.
As Christians, we have heard this forever and it is easy to identify that God is Love when we are witnessing good in human experience. What happens when we are a little uncomfortable or things are not as we have outlined? Often times like that have us entertain doubt or lose faith in God. God never changes! God is Love and that means at all times. Psalm 46:1 states, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
Man can never, ever be separated from God, Good. All we ever need to do is to wake up to this Truth. Challenges do not mean punishment but opportunities to learn more of God and our relationship to Him.