What is God doing in the world? Where is He moving? Where is He dramatically showing Himself?
Where is the harvest?
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.
When you take a stand for the Lord the Lord just might show up in support.
There are many stories where God elected to not do something as dramatic as this. I believe He does what He does to advance the gospel and to glorify Himself. A few come to mind:
*John Hus was a Christian reformer before Luther. He was burned at the stake.
*Jim Elliot was killed by the tribe he tried to preach to.
*Yearly, hundreds of thousands of believers are killed for their faith.
Was Jesus present at each? Sure He was! Did He rescue each of these? Well, yes and no. Not from their circumstances but from their real disease and separation from God. He brought them safely home.
Remember, our lives are to be spent for the will of our creator and redeemer.
So what happened to 3 Jewish teenagers that took a stand against their government because it violated the first commandment? They were rescued by a shiny guy! One that was able to shine brighter than a blazing furnace.
Who is that?
That's Jesus in the OT!
When you take a stand for Christ, Jesus stands with you. Sometimes we are not spared the pain or even death. When Stephen was being stoned for his testimony about Christ he declared that he saw Jesus standing up from His throne and preparing to welcome him home.
But, sometimes it is dramatic and obvious. Jesus changes the situation for the sake of the gospel and His glory.
True story. Recently in India a little girl died. Her father wrapped her in the customary white linens and placed her out front for the night. Traditionally they throw the body into the Ganghes river as some sort of cult practice.
There was a villager that had turned from Hinduism to Christianity a few weeks before this.
In grief, the father decided to bring his daughter to this man to pray for her. 12 hours after this girl had died a new believer was asked to pray that God would raise her from the dead. He didn't know any better. He didn't know that God didn't do stuff like that any more. So he prayed.
God raised that little girl from the dead! Right there, on the spot! As a result of this miracle some 40,000 Hindus have turned to faith in Jesus Christ! There is a huge movement of Jesus in India.
It is pretty clear that God IS moving in South American, Africa, India & China. The stories coming from these countries are alarming ... even if not covered by the media. Some reports indicate more than 20,000,000 coming to faith in Christ in China each year!
Don't be alarmed if you do not see this happening in your life. We are so scientifically oriented that we forget God can do ANYTHING! It is painfully clear that God is NOT moving in Canada, America or Europe. This calls for prayer and repentance. This calls for child-like faith. This calls for a willingness to face the fire of going against the grain. This might call some of us to go to India or China and be a part of what God is up to.
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