No Smell of Fire

042120Do you feel, like right now, you are in the fire?  You were thrown in, because who, in their right mind, would jump in on their own?  Maybe your finances are being consumed, your influence, the things you once counted on to define you, or sustain you, gone!  Burnt up!  You didn’t ask for this, but have been forced into it, and what scares you the most, is you don’t see your way out.

Some are being forced to be quiet during these isolated times.  They are struggling, because they don’t know how to live without “noise”, people, parties, activities around them all the time.  You see, there are some who don’t want to face what their life really is.  It’s not what they wanted, but they haven’t found yet what they “really” need.  They haven’t identified true happiness comes from having a relationship with God.  Talking to him, hanging out with him.

Here is a beautiful story of three young men, who in the midst of crazy life kept their focus on God.  (If you can’t pronounce their names it’s okay.  Just substitute in some other name.  I do this.)

Daniel 3:26-29 The Message (MSG)

26 Nebuchadnezzar went to the door of the roaring furnace and called in, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the High God, come out here!”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the fire.

27 All the important people, the government leaders and king’s counselors, gathered around to examine them and discovered that the fire hadn’t so much as touched the three men—not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes,

not even the smell of fire on them!

28 Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel and rescued his servants who trusted in him! They ignored the king’s orders and laid their bodies on the line rather than serve or worship any god but their own.

29 “Therefore I issue this decree: Anyone anywhere, of any race, color, or creed, who says anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be ripped to pieces, limb from limb, and their houses torn down. There has never been a god who can pull off a rescue like this.”

There are people who dismiss others, who claimed to know God when life was good, but these days they can’t look away.  They are watching you in the furnace, to see if you will be consumed by the fire of today’s times, if your God will rescue you, or will it be revealed you, are no different than them.

Know God sees you, loves you, and cares so much for you and for those you love.  Another part of the story, above, is this:  they threw in the three young men, but those looking into the fire saw four men walking around.  You may not see God in this moment with you, but He is.  You can be confident of it.  And perhaps on the other side of these days things aren’t exactly what you would have chosen, if you were in control of the pen writing the story of your life, but because you never took your eyes off of God, you’ll know, it will be okay.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Business of Restoration

041020“It’s a 3 alarm fire!” I woke up yelling a week ago, Tuesday morning, at 3:33 AM.  It freaked me out.  I sensed no present danger, so I proceeded to do what one does when they wake up in the middle of the night, while I asked God, “Why did I yell that?”  I got no impressions as to why, and thought perhaps it meant things were really bad with the Corona Virus and I should be praying more.  I did, and then went back to bed.

I was woken up at 9:00 AM to the deep rumble of engines, and to loud voices of men.  It scared me.  It took me a moment, or two, to realize my neighbor’s house was on fire and there were at least 6 fire trucks out front.  Only the man of the house was home at the time, and he had just fallen to sleep when the smoke detector saved his life.  He works the evening shift and gets home late.

When I went outside I learned my neighbors were okay, but the inside of the house had become disguised by blackness, and there was extensive damage to things that make up life, like family photos that once hung on the wall.

This morning it hit me that our lives can be disguised by blackness, evil, as well, but it seems to be subtle, over time, and not in a flash of flames.  In other words, you change from who you used to be, but you don’t see it happening.  I know it has happened to me.

Satan loves being deceitful!

My neighbours have taken a tighter hold of God’s hand today, as He walks with them through this time of restoration.  I have a feeling God will use this opportunity to do some restoration work on their souls as well.  When I was next door examining the damage up close, I saw a bright yellow, butterfly rise up out of the smoldering debris that was once bedroom furniture.  It got my attention, beautiful life rising up out of what looks to be ruin.

Psalms 23:2-3 (The Passion Translation)
He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.
His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.
That’s where he restores and revives my life.
He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure
and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness
so that I can bring honor to his name.

God has had to restore life, real life, to me as well.  Looking back, there have been times when I have drifted from God’s plans, and purposes for me, but God has, in a tender way, restored me, brought life back.  He can, and wants to do this for you as well.  It doesn’t matter what you have done, said, or how far you have gone off track.  God loves you, and if you will ask for it, forgive you as well.  If you took a good, long, honest look in the mirror you might see the years of blackness on you.  God says, “come here, I can wipe that off, and restore you my child to be who I destined you to be.  It’s my business, and I’m good at it.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.