GOING THROUGH THE FIRE
by Joan Morrone
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Fire is a fascinating topic. When a fire whistle blows, many will stop what they are doing so they can run to it. The smell of smoke and something burning draws them right to it. It is a bad thing when it burns and house down and claims the lives of people.
On the other hand, there is nothing like a blazing fire in a fireplace on a cold winter night. Somehow the warmth and the dancing flames can relax you after a stressful day. One day I got my face badly burnt when boiling hot water splashed it. The whole outer layer was black and peeled off. I splashed cold water on it. Thank God I had no scars. The pain was terrible for a long time.
I got an inkling of what it would be like "to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched." (Mark 9:43-48) In hell there is no water to give any relief. The screaming and pain goes on and on; never stopping. The unsaved often joke about hell. How all their "friends" will be there and it will be one big party. They don't know what they are joking about. We must pray hard and warn them.
Fire is a natural element. It can be good or bad. Spiritual fire is more awesome. I would have liked to have been among those who went with Moses to stand at the foot of the mountain to meet with God. Exodus 19:17 & 18. "And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke; because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly."
God uses fire to get our attention. Not too many will ignore a fire. Let us go back to Moses in Exodus 3:2 "Then the angel appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. He saw that although the bush was on fire, it did not burn up." His curiosity was aroused. "When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, Moses, Moses. And he said: “here am I."
Could any of us ignore that? All through the Old Testament, the Israelites made burnt offerings to God by His command. God gave the Levite priests, rules and regulations of when and how to offer such. Leviticus 9:24 "And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat; which when all the people saw, they shouted and fell on their faces."
They were excited for God accepted their sacrifices. But there are always those who think they know better than God and want to do it their way. Leviticus 10:1 & 2. "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein in, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord."
Nadab means liberal and Abihu means worshipper. It's like today. Liberals don't pay attention to God. They invent new ways to play church, thinking it is what God would be pleased with. Worshippers of today do outrageous things trying to get God's attention. I can't believe God wants anyone to grovel all over the floor, laughing outrageously or barking like dogs as some do. It seems more like pagan gods worshipping to me.
"Let ALL things be done decently and in order." I Corinthians 14:40 Were those two men a sample of how modern man "worships" God today; anything goes? Anything to draw attention to themselves with dramatics. What are we doing to get God's attention? Even when we are doing something seemingly right, it may not be in His will or His specific way, and we, too, will be consumed by His fire and die.
We have to be careful what we do in the name of the Lord. We can't be people pleasers and do anything that might just entertain them without denouncing sin and offering them salvation, which they don't really want to hear. When we walk with God and obey His commandments, we can walk through the fire the devil builds around us, and not get burnt. We must keep on the armor of God to avoid the enemy's fiery darts.
Just like the three Hebrew children in Daniel, we all have to be tested as to our loyalty to God. Read Daniel 3:1-10. Four young Hebrew children were brought into King Nebuchadnezzar's palace to "teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldean's" . They were given Chaldean names. Belteshazzer was given to Daniel. The other three were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo. These last three were thrown into a fiery furnace because they wouldn't bow down and worship the golden image which the king had set up.
The king said to them: "Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?" (verse 15b) The boys answered "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O King. But if not, be it known unto you, O, King, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up." (verses 17 & 18)
They knew the precept Matthew wrote about in 10:25 about fearing God who can destroy soul and body in hell but not the one who can kill only the body. If someone does kill you and you are walking with God, so what? You will be going to a better place. The enemies may torment and torture you for awhile, yet Jesus can give you the peace that surpasses all understanding. The kind Stephen had when he was stoned to death.
Read Acts 7:54-60, especially verses 55 & 56. "But he being full of the Holy Ghost (and fire) looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."
The man who threw the boys into the hot fire was burnt instead of them. The king was surprised and went to look. "Lo I see four men loose walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt: and the form of the fourth one is like the Son of God." (verse 25) How did the king know he looked like the Son of God? It had to be revealed to him just like it is revealed to us and first of all to Peter. (Matthew 16:16 & 17) Jesus always was from the beginning. It should be no surprise when Jesus was also revealed to the king.
Because of the boys' loyalty to God alone, the king got turned around and believed that our God did have the power the boys said He had. We should never pass up an opportunity to tell others about Jesus no matter how high the heat may be. How much fire have we been through lately? Anything that may irritate, make uncomfortable and even bring pain physically and emotionally, is the fire we may be going through. Remember, Jesus is right there with us.
This is getting too long so just read I Corinthians 3:12-15. And Matthew 3:11-13 where Jesus baptizes with the Holy Ghost and fire (power to witness through the Holy Ghost only, not under our own power---we have none) Also read Matthew 13:24-30. We plant a seed, another waters and God gives the increase I Corinthians 3:6. We must all work together to further God's Kingdom. That is what it is all about; the work (not ours) Jesus has done for us by his death on the cross and his resurrection. God's fire is magnificent. God bless you as you study the scriptures.
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