VIDEO The Danger of Anger – Shadrach, Meshack & Abednego

Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. Daniel 3:19

During the six-year reign of Queen “Bloody” Mary in England (1553-1558), the Catholic monarch put to death some three hundred Protestant leaders of the breakaway Church of England—most by burning at the stake. Sometimes, sympathetic executioners would tie a bag of gunpowder around the neck of the condemned to hasten their death once the flames reached high enough.

Think about it: to make death excruciatingly painful, you would make it slow, not fast. Yet when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon condemned the three friends of Daniel to a fiery death, he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than normal. They would literally die the moment they were exposed to the horrendous fire; hardly suffering at all! The king was so “full of fury” that he lost touch with reality. That is what anger has the potential to do.

The apostle Paul knew that, which is why he commanded Christians not to let anger fester or to  “give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27). Don’t let anger be the cause of irrational actions.

Whatever begins in anger, ends in shame.  Ben Franklin


Shadrach, Meshack & Abednego – Moody Bible Story

 

Moody Bible Filmstrip from 1955.

Three men from Judah refuse to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar’s idol, as they worship the Lord.

A Place of Belonging

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  Ephesians 3:17

Some years after the tragic loss of their first spouses, Robbie and Sabrina fell in love, married, and combined their two families. They built a new home and named it Havilah (a Hebrew word meaning “writhing in pain” and “to bring forth”). It signifies the making of something beautiful through pain. The couple says they didn’t build the home to forget their past but “to bring life from the ashes, to celebrate hope.” For them, “it is a place of belonging, a place to celebrate life and where we all cling to the promise of a future.”

That’s a beautiful picture of our life in Jesus. He pulls our lives from the ashes and becomes for us a place of belonging. When we receive Him, He makes His home in our hearts (Ephesians 3:17). God adopts us into His family through Jesus so that we belong to Him (1:5–6). Although we’ll go through painful times, He can use even those to bring good purposes in our lives.

Daily we have opportunity to grow in our understanding of God as we enjoy His love and celebrate what He’s given us. In Him, there’s a fullness to life that we couldn’t have without Him (3:19). And we have the promise that this relationship will last forever. Jesus is our place of belonging, our reason to celebrate life, and our hope now and forever.

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

In what ways has Jesus changed your life? What does it mean for you to belong to Jesus?

I’m grateful that I belong to You, Jesus. Thank You for a life of hope for now and forever.

Message in the Storm

Psalm 62:1-8

When we’re in the midst of a difficult life event, our instinct is often to react quickly and change things. But God frequently asks us to wait.

Take a look at today’s passage. The word wait has a different sense here—it means “pause for further instructions.” It’s not passivity; rather, we must choose to stop our actions and listen for God’s directive. Sometimes the Lord is silent for a season, but He has a purpose. He knows the perfect time for us to act, and until that moment, He wants us to wait. More strength and character are required to be still in the midst of a storm than to frantically seek our own solution.

I can tell you that I sometimes wait impatiently, too. There have been times I’ve become nervous and questioned God or complained. But that’s not how Jesus wants us to react. The apostle Paul tells us plainly to “be anxious for nothing” and to pray to the Lord, who offers peace (Phil. 4:6-7). So we are to pause with patience, trusting in God’s wisdom, love, power, and timing.

The key to finding peace in the storm is in waiting for God alone. He hears our every prayer, and we can’t go wrong when we rely on Him. Pray for patience and listen for His reply.

Rough Places Made Plain

“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.” (Isaiah 40:4)

This is an amazing promise. In the primeval “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31), there was nothing “crooked” or “rough.” Even the hills and mountains were apparently gentle in slope and relatively low; the rugged mountain ranges and volcanic peaks of the present world date from the upheavals and residual catastrophism of the great Flood (see especially Psalm 104:5-9). God had instructed men and women to literally “fill” the earth (Genesis 1:28), which would indicate that no part of the lands was uninhabitable.

That is not the way it is now. Vast inaccessible mountain ranges, deserts, glaciers, swamplands, etc., abound, all basically as a result of sin and God’s curse on the ground (Genesis 3:17).

But in the coming period of God’s judgments on the rebellious world of mankind, there also will be extensive renovational physical changes accompanying them. For example, there will be such “a great earthquake” that “every mountain and island were moved out of their places” (Revelation 6:12, 14). Then a few years later will follow an even greater global earthquake—“so mighty an earthquake, and so great” that “every island fled away, and the mountains were not found” (Revelation 16:18, 20).

“For thus saith the LORD of hosts; . . . I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come” (Haggai 2:6-7). Finally, indeed, “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:4-5). HMM

Our Spiritual Gifts

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

—1 Corinthians 12:4-6

 

The time is more than ripe for a rethinking of the whole matter of spiritual gifts within the church of Christ. The subject has fallen into the hands of people for the most part extreme and irresponsible and has become associated with fanaticism in its various forms. This is a huge misfortune and is causing tremendous loss to the work of spiritual Christianity in our times.

Prejudices pro and con make the consideration of this subject extremely difficult, but its neglect is costing us more than we should be willing to pay. A revival of true New Testament Christianity must surely bring with it a manifestation of spiritual gifts. Anything short of it will create a just suspicion that the revival is something short of scriptural.   NCA080-081

Thank You, Lord, that since Tozer’s time there has in fact been this rethinking about spiritual gifts. May we continue to see their proper functioning and renewed manifestation. Amen.

 

Getting Alone with God

In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.

—Isaiah 30:15

 

There are some things that you and I will never learn when others are present. I believe in church and I love the fellowship of the assembly. There is much we can learn when we come together on Sundays and sit among the saints. But there are certain things that you and I will never learn in the presence of other people.

Unquestionably, part of our failure today is religious activity that is not preceded by aloneness, by inactivity. I mean getting alone with God and waiting in silence and quietness until we are charged with God’s Spirit. Then, when we act, our activity really amounts to something because we have been prepared by God for it. FBR130

You do not need to seek Him here or there, He is no further off than the door of your heart. There He stands lingering, waiting for whoever is ready to open and let Him in. You do not need to call to Him in the distance. He is waiting much more impatiently than you, for you to open to Him. He is longing for you a thousand times more urgently than you are for Him. It is instantaneous: the opening and the entering. BME034

 

Lent is for Now

Romans 12:2

Has Lent gone the way of rotary telephones and black-and-white television? Is it among the relics of a bygone era? If so, the Church will have lost part of her soul to the intrusion of secular values.

Early Lenten preaching taught mutual forgiveness and forbearance among church members. It encouraged prayer, biblical instruction in giving and strict abstention from food. Lenten disciplines reminded both the careless Christian and the devout: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

Foregoing some pleasure as a voluntary act of self-denial symbolic of repentance was a standard expectation. “What are you giving up for Lent?” became a common conversation starter. It was the same spirit of sacrifice as a spiritual discipline that led the Salvation Army’s Founder William Booth in 1886 to announce his plan to give what he would have spent on plum pudding toward the Army’s mission around the world. Older Salvationists still refer to the now year-round world services effort to raise funds for world missions as “self-denial.”

Is it too late to urge a renewed emphasis upon the spiritual disciplines of Lent? For the Roman Catholic, the ashes on the forehead, like the sackcloth and ashes of old, symbolize sorrow. Sorrow for sin characterizes the penitential nature of Lent. The 40-day period of reflection and repentance recalls the fasts of Moses, Elijah and Jesus. Lent calls us to reflect upon our guilt for which Christ’s sacrifice atoned. The name “Lent,” an Anglo-Saxon word for spring, reminds us of the regenerative nature of the spiritual disciplines encouraged during this season even as spring on the annual calendar is a season of rebirth and fresh growth.

If Christians are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, we must declare the significance of humility, penitence, sacrifice, devotion, righteousness, confession, prayer, reflection, piety, forgiveness and discipline in the face of winds that blow the other way.

More than words alone, that declaration must be a lifestyle of Christlikeness not limited to 40 days every spring. But we should be able to carve out a mere five-and-a-half weeks each year to give special emphasis to these disciplines through which God’s grace flows to conform us to His likeness.

Donald Hostetler, The War Cry