Dance in the Fire!

IMG_1025I love the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3 of the Bible. These three men made a decision that had enormous consequences.

They were ordered by King Nebuchadnezzar to worship a golden statue he had set up. If they refused to bow and worship his idol, they would die for their disobedience.

They chose to disobey the king.  The backlash to their decision was that they were immediately ordered by King Nebuchadnezzar to be thrown into a fiery furnace. The king was so angry that he even instructed the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual.

When they were thrown into the flames, the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego saved them.  The King jumped to his feet because he could clearly see four men walking around in the fire. That was as I would say, “Unreal!”. How could there be four men walking around in the fire when only three tied up men were thrown into it?

Can you imagine what it would have been like to be in that fire! To be thrown into the fire, to be alive and not burning, to have your chains fall off, and then for God to join you – that would make any person dance for joy in the fire!  I would look at my hands and feet and laugh and dance! Even more incredible would be that my God joined me in the fire!

Here is what the Bible said King Nebuchadnezzar’s response was:

Then Nebuchadnezzar went to the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, come out!  Servants of the Most High God, come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. When they came out, the governors, assistant governors, captains of the soldiers, and royal advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies. Their hair was not burned, their robes were not burned, and they didn’t even smell like smoke!

Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their God has sent his angel and saved his servants from the fire!  These three men trusted their God and refused to obey my command. They were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god other than their own.

So I now give this command: Anyone from any nation or language who says anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be torn apart and have his house turned into a pile of stones.  NO OTHER GOD CAN SAVE HIS PEOPLE LIKE THIS.”  (Daniel 3: 26-29 NCV)

The God of the Bible has not changed.  He is the still the same God.  No matter what fire you are thrown into God will immediately free you and join you in the fire – you can dance in the fire!  You will dance in the fire!

There is always a battle in our minds – fear, doubt, and uncertainties try and rule us. Those thoughts are lies!  The truth is God’s Word! The real truth is that God will join you in any fire you are thrown in and you will dance in the fire!

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I Want You Back!

i-want-you-back-godEveryone has had situations in their life that have deeply wounded and hurt them. 

I am not talking about situations where someone hurt your feelings, and in two or three days you are over it.

The situations I am talking about are those moments in time when trauma happens in your life that causes you such emotional pain you don’t know how to breath. Sharp stabs of pain pierce your heart, and you don’t know how you will be able to survive the next moment let alone the next hour, day or years of life you have left on planet earth.  Your life will never be the same.  It seems like every cell in your body screams out, “No!”

The cause of those gut wrenching moments are different in everyone’s lives.  For some, it is the passing of a loved one.  For others it may be divorce, separation or abandonment.   Other times, it may be a sudden illness or accident that leaves a person’s life changed for ever.

In my life, I have lived time after time after time with the pain stabbing me because of rejection. 

Rejection happens when you love someone, and you want them in your life forever.  You care about them, you love them, and you want to forever be with that person to love them and care for them and live life with them. 

However, for some reason that person chooses to reject and spurn your love and walk away.  They are not interested in being with you.  They may even tell you how much they dislike you or hate you; they walk away and you are left with a heart that is stabbed with pain.

Usually a sermon, devotional or story on this topic would share advice on how to survive through the pain.  It is true that I can tell you the answer is going to God – He does carry us through every pain. 

However, what I want us to do is instead of looking at our own pain; I want us to think about how deep that pain is when it happens to another person.  I want us to focus on one person – the person who has been the most rejected in history.  There is one person who stands out as the most rejected ever!  That person is God.

God has lived every moment of every day since He created His children with millions and millions and millions of His children rejecting Him.  God’s heart has screamed in pain as continually His children reject Him.

In the book of Hosea, God was rejected by His children; the children of Israel.  God chose a prophet, Hosea, to re-enact the story of what the children of Israel were doing.  He wanted them to see in front of their own eyes the story of how He loved them and how they turned and walked away from Him.

Israel had forsaken God and played the harlot with other gods.  Israel murdered, stole, worshipped other gods — in fact, the Bible says the more Israel multiplied the more they sinned.

God had to punish Israel; He is holy and righteous.  A good dad must correct his children.  A good dad cannot allow his children to keep running out into the street in front of cars because he sees that they will get hurt or killed.  He loves them too much to leave them to do whatever they want.

When people reject us, we don’t want to feel the pain so we often then choose to in turn reject the person who walked away from us.  We say, “They don’t want me so I will just put up a wall and not think about them again.  I will forget them and get on with my life.”  That is not what God wants.

Jesus asked us to live differently.  He said in the Kingdom of God life is different.  We are to turn the other cheek when someone hits us.  We are to love those who hate us. 

God is and always will be the same.  The Bible says He never changes.  His character is pure true love.  God in the Old Testament, in the book of Hosea, did punish His children; however, the story does not end there.  God then began to share His heart for His children.

First of all, He remembered.  He remembered the good times with His children.  He remembered how He loved them, cared for them, delivered them from Egypt, and led them.  God had blessed His children. 

“And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.” (Hosea 2:8)

Then after remembering, in Chapter 11 of Hosea, it says that God yearned over His people.  The rejected heart of the Father had those piercing pains that would never leave as long as His children rejected Him.  Here is what God said . . .

“How can I give you up . . . How can I surrender you . . . My heart is turned over within Me and all My compassions are kindled.” (Hosea 11:8)

Doesn’t that sound like us when we love someone and they totally reject us or leave us?  If you have a child that has rejected you or anyone you deeply love reject you, the pain hits you and you cry out, “How can I give you up?  How can I surrender you?  How can I live day after day without you?  Please come home!”

God felt that pain for Israel when they rejected Him. Deep gut wrenching cries from a heart of love.  

But then, God made this loving call to Israel.  He told them if they would only return to Him … 

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her . . . and she will sing there as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. 

‘It will come about in that day,’ declares the LORD , ‘That you will call Me Ishi (my husband) and will no longer call Me Baali (my master). ”  (Hosea 2:14-16)

God wanted and yearned for restored relationship!

“I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion, and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD .”  (Hosea 2:19-20)

God promised Israel if she would return He would bless her. 

Just like the prodigal in the New Testament when he returned home to his Father, God doesn’t accuse us or punish us if we return, repent and turn to Him.  God opens His arms and runs to us as the Prodigal’s father did when he saw him afar off.  The father then threw a party to celebrate because his son was home – that is what God wants to do!  The Bible says even the angels rejoice when a child comes home.  

Have you rejected God?  Are you in one of the following three categories?

YOU HAVE NEVER HAD A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.  Has God called you to Him or is He calling you now as you read this;  but, you so far in life have rejected Him and walked away.  You have said, “No, I want nothing to do with God.”  Yet, every day you worship other gods.  A god is what is our source of life – what is it that you rely on for fulfilment – that is a god.   Does your god really give you peace and fulfilment?  Can you trust him to give you eternal life when you die? 

YOU ARE A PRODIGAL – YOU ONCE HAD A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD BUT WALKED AWAY.  Did you at one time follow God, like Israel; but your love grew warm and then cold?  Did you walk away like the prodigal?   Did you reject God and no longer have a relationship with Him and traded His love and care for gods that you think bring you more fulfilment?   

YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, BUT IT IS LUKEWARM – HE IS NOT REALLY GOD OF ALL YOUR LIFE.  Are you in a lukewarm relationship with God?  Do you perhaps go to church now and then or maybe every week; however, when He calls you to prayer and to spend time with Him you are too busy?  Has He asked you to do things; but, you have not surrendered and said yes to follow Him?   Do you spend your days in pursuit of wealth, accomplishment, status, success, or whatever else it is that is most important for you to obtain during this life? Where does God fit?  Does God look at you and hurt – does pain rack His being because of His deep love for you but you have rejected Him?

3317397_sOne of the things I have asked God is that when I go to Heaven I want to sit on God’s lap and hear His heartbeat.

Recently, God showed me that He wanted to share some of His heartbeats with me now.  Amazingly, it was not all cuddles and hugs which was what I was wanting and expecting.  Instead, He allowed me to be intimate with Him, and He shared the part of His heart with me that feels such pain and rejection and cries for His children to come home.  The very pain we feel when we are rejected – He feels every moment. 

God allowed me to feel on a very low level through my life what He feels like.  The Bible says that God is love.  He is perfect love.  God showed me that a human being could not handle the pain He feels. 

Perfect love plus rejection is pain beyond what a human can imagine.  God told me all the rejection I have felt (all the stabbing pain) is just a small peek into what it is like to feel His heart beat for His children that have walked away and rejected Him. 

He also asked me to call His children home to Him.  “Be a voice, Esther.  Please call my children home to Me.”

Perfect God Love + Rejection =

PAIN beyond what any human could imagine

Please hear your Heavenly Father’s cry, “Come home! I want my children home.  I love you – please come back to me!  How can I give you up?  I love you!  I want to lavish my love on you!  Turn around, repent and come back to me.”

My prayer for you …

“I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to speak to you and call you to the Father long after you have finished reading this blog.  I pray that this very day you will turn and return to God.

I pray that the angels will rejoice in Heaven as children come home.  They rejoice as they know restored relationships is the Father’s heart.  They know that every child of God that returns to God and puts Him first in their life lessens the pain in God’s heart.

Oh, how You love us, God!  Oh, what a heart You have … a heart full of pain because You have a true perfect love for Your children and You yearn for them to come home and be restored in relationship with You.”

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“Trust in the Lord”

Forest.jpg“Trust in the Lord” is a phrase that appears frequently in the Bible.   

The words, “trust in the Lord”, gives the first impression that this is an easy task to accomplish.  However, the act of trusting in the Lord is a decision (a choice) that is tested, tried, and bombarded by satanic arrows into our thinking that tries to derail us from trusting.

Throughout the Bible, God asked His people to do giant exploits and go on extreme adventures that no one had ever gone on before. 

Would you take years of your life to build an ark because God told you the earth would be entirely flooded?  Would you give up your career to build an ark that would take years to complete without proof that it would even float?

“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household…”  (Hebrews 11:7 NASB)

Would you leave behind everything to go to a land without knowing where it is, how you will get there, or why you even need to go there except that God asks you to go to a “Promised Land”? 

Why would you trust God to such an extreme that you would surrender your whole life (your belongings, friends, family, career, city, dreams, comfort, entertainment — everything) to obey what God asks of you?  

To trust God to the magnitude of where a person is willing to surrender “ALL” (including their will) to obey what He asks requires knowing God intimately.  You cannot trust God to this extent unless you love Him more than any person, influence, personal feeling, potential pain, inconvenience, potential shame or absolutely anything.  To trust God with”ALL” means God is the God of your life.  He is your first love.

“Now faith, is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the men of old gained approval.” (Hebrews 11:1,2 NASB)

It is impossible to please God without faith – without total trust.  To love God requires total obedience. 

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NASB)

If you are reading this and know in your heart that you do not trust God with all of your life, start seeking God.  Spend time with Him every day.

Ask Him to create in you a desire to love Him more than anything.  Ask Him to help you to trust Him with all of your life.   

Ask Him to create in you a clean heart that trusts Him with “ALL” so that from now until your life ends or Jesus returns, you will trust and obey Him no matter the cost. 

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.”  (Psalm 37:3-6 NASB)

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