Amos

Uprooted


Amos 5:1-9:15

“uprooted” Amos 9:15

I’ve talked about it a lot lately, all the changes in my life; working outside the home again, my son graduating from elementary school, finishing a two and a half year project, remodeling our house, changing churches, the list goes on and on. Life feels like it’s been turned upside down and I’ve been left trying to figure out where everything is again. And it seems like just when I’ve figured something out, I discover that I haven’t after all. Most of the changes have been good changes, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been difficult changes none-the-less. For instance, for the last seven years I have had my feet firmly planted in my home or in a church. I spent those seven years tending to my beloved children, writing to you all my friends and teaching Bible Studies where I’ve nurtured deep relationships with some gals that I love from the bottom of my heart. Now, for the last two months I’ve been leaving my children to go to Dollar General where my feet tend to stay planted behind a cash register and the only time I get to see my friends is if they come into the store to buy something.

I smile and greet customers, enter into surface level conversation with them, hand them their change and they’re out the door. And while I know in my heart of hearts it’s where God wants me to be, I’m having a very difficult time with the tremendous paradigm shift. I’ve been transplanted to a completely different environment and it’s taking a lot of getting used to! Not only am I surrounded with a different building, I’m surrounded by different people who use very… colorful language and reek of cigarette smoke that turns my stomach. There are some whose hands shake like leaves in the wind and take forever to write their checks. There are some who come and you have to hold your breath because if you don’t you may vomit from the intense urine odor. There are some who come who’s tempers are very short and conversation is clipped because they’ve just had “one of those days” and they want to get home and be done. There are some who come and they’re done with their children asking for things and begging for candy and not taking, “no” for an answer. There are some who come to buy wine or beer in the hopes that it will drown their sorrows, if just for a night. There are some who steal; some because they need it, others just for the thrill. And there are some who treat me like less than dirt just because I’m standing behind that counter serving them, they have no idea how highly educated I am, how many newspaper articles I’ve written or how many books I’ve published, nor do they care. I work at Dollar General and that means I’m less than they are because they have some high paying “important” job and I work at the dollar store. They’ve never considered the fact that if I wasn’t there doing my job, they wouldn’t have toilet paper tonight. Now whose job is more “important”?

I’ve been uprooted from my homey little insulated house with my little yard and my dusting rags to go and be transplanted with the salt of the earth. I see it all in there, all kinds of people with all kinds of problems all needing the One True God who sent His One True Son to be the savior of the world. They may have no clue who I am, but I know who they are. They’re orphaned children searching for a Father who loves and cares for them, a Father I KNOW personally. I know that they’re looking for something to heal and to help them, and I know that some of them are looking in all the wrong places. I pray for them constantly, without ceasing my heart goes out to them because I love them. I love the urine stained, palsied, smoke scented faces that come in and smile through tears. I love them, and I touch them. Even if for only the briefest of seconds, I’m given the honor of talking to them and I try to make them smile before they leave. A laugh can be amazingly powerful you know, so I try to make them laugh with me (or at me). I complement their shoes or their jewelry; I talk to their kids and remind the moms how adorable they are (when they’re not begging for things they don’t need). But most of all, I simply share my smile with them. Sometimes that’s what you need the most, for someone to smile a smile that says, “I love you because Jesus loves you. I do this because He cares for YOU.”

Is life playing out exactly how I hoped that it would, not really. I still haven’t gotten that call from the publisher who wants to PAY me to write for them. To be completely honest, I never wanted to work at Dollar General. I thought it was way beneath me. I wanted to spend my days searching scriptures and writing about them and then stepping onto stages and teaching people about them. Instead I’m searching aisles looking for places to put things and writing notes about how to get to that place down the street that someone is looking for and then stepping back behind the counter to ring up someone’s breakfast on their way to work. Is it my dream job? Not really. But I know God has His plans for me and that they’re good plans for me. And I know that this is part of that plan so it must be good for me no matter how hard or painful it may be. And I’m determined to bloom where I’ve been planted and to make that Dollar General bloom because I’m there. I carry with me, inside me, the blessing of Abraham. I have been blessed in order to be a blessing and by golly I’m GOING to bless that store while I’m there! From the toothbrushes, to the cigarettes, to the suppositories when someone buys something from that store they’re going to be buying something that has had a blessing of health and healing and conquering addictions spoken over it in Jesus’ name! They don’t know it, but I do and so does Satan. And there’s nothing he can do to stop it.

Categories: 365 Life, Amos, Season 3 | Leave a comment

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, but God’s Love is Worth MORE!


Amos 1:1-4:13

“From among all the families on the earth, I have been intimate with you alone.” Amos 3:2

Amos 3:2 is such an inspiring verse with such a fantastic message. Jesus longs to be intimate with YOU. And YOU alone! He gave His life to be with you. Hear now the story His words tell of His undying love for YOU:

AMEN!!!!! God bless you my friends! I LOVE YOU!!!!!

Categories: 365 Life, Amos, Season 3 | Leave a comment

“Is That a Siren?” with Guest Writer Dalialah Hepburn


Amos 5:1-9:15

I am so pleased as punch to introduce today’s guest writer, my friend and fellow blogger, Dalialah Hepburn. Click here if you would like to visit her “Transparenme” blog or here if you would like to visit her “Not so Empty Nest” blog.

Let’s give a warm welcome to Dalialah, she fought all day long for this message!

*thunderous round of applause*

Yesterday was very eventful for me! I worked a full day at my new job, my son (20 yrs old) picked me up from work (how crazy is that!) and we had one of the few warm and muggy days on the day of a church block party! Woo! But none of those was even the beginning of the highlight of my night! That came when I entered a small tent with a woman already sitting there. She was another prayer warrior who had volunteered to pray at this event. We met, we had small talk and before we could even pray over our time there, the mad dash was on. We immediately had someone come over for prayer and that is where God began to put the missing pieces of my past and everything I had been through in perspective.

The first lady had a 16 yr old daughter/ granddaughter. I’m doing time with my 16 yr old daughter and all her friends, attitude, rebellion, disrespect, disregard for others, etc. I’m sure some of you can relate to these so called friends I speak of.

As the night went on, I met pieces of me at different times of my life and prayed fervent and warring prayers over these women. Even at the end, I prayed over my new friend, who apparently knew my mom, and her need of healing. I came home semi exhausted but nothing prepared me for what was next.

I woke up the next morning after what appeared to be a long restless sleep (I don’t remember) and felt like a MACK TRUCK had not just ran over me but backed up two or three times to make sure the job was done!! It was only then and through crying out and prayer that I realized exactly what is in this text. We are at war and God is sounding the alarm.

In the beginning chapter, 5, what drew me in was the text, “seek me and live,” at the end of verse 4 and then at the beginning of verse 6 again, “seek the LORD, and live…”. Throughout these chapters that’s what I kept seeing. That’s what I keep hearing. That’s what God keeps on saying to us. How simple is that? “Seek me and live.” No jumping through hoops, no endless working, no sweat and blood to give, just seeking Him.

The other thing God drew my attention to is the alarm that was sounded. All through the text, its like God was saying, “Okay, y’all are not doing as I said. You better get it together because I don’t want to do this but I will to get my glory.” It’s interesting how the times have not really changed. We still have our idols, our false worship, our watered down sermons, our… okay I’m done. What I hear in this text is YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN YOUR FIRST LOVE!!! How soon we forget that we serve a Sovereign God just as much as we serve a jealous One. And at the end of the 9th chapter, haha!

Have you ever had your child act a plum fool in the store? I mean the crying and screaming, the fit on the floor and tearing down things and kicking as if you were a kidnapper trying to abduct this very violent little person? And all the way through the store and to the car you just keep saying, “Oh you are in for it!! Just wait until we get to that car! I am gonna wear your butt out!” And then you get to the car with a much quieter child only to realize that your baby, the one who just morphed into a creature from far away, is smiling and hugging you. They’re calm. That’s God with us. At the end of this text, I love this, He simply says,” ‘I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,’ says the LORD your God.”

While He has every right, all the power to discipline us and would if necessary, what He desires is to commune with us and bless us. What a mighty God we serve!!

Categories: 365 Life, Amos, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

“The Lion has Roared!” with Guest Writer Jennifer Adams


Amos 1:1-4:13

Today’s guest writer is my dear friend Jennifer Adams!

*Thunderous applause*

If you would like to learn more about Jennifer and her children’s book (For I AM Always With You: Valerie’s True Fairy Tale) click here to visit her website. I HIGHLY recommend it! And now without further ado, I’ll hand the keyboard over to Jennifer!

 

“Before the Lord God does anything, He tells His servants the prophets. The Lion has roared! Who wouldn’t be afraid? The Lord God has spoken, and I must prophesy.” ~Amos 3:7&8

To be a prophet of God is an awesome responsibility, because you are appointed by God himself. It is a divine honor, but it is also a burden, as identified in Amos’ name which means “burden bearer”.

As for an Old Testament prophet, his name did carry its full weight. He was given the “burden” to declare to Israel the wrath that they were about to receive from God for all their sin and transgressions. Therefore, when we hear the word burden, it takes on a negative connotation.

Through the message God gave to Amos, the Lord was showing Himself as the one attacking Israel, rather than protecting her. Up to this point, He was her shepherd, but three transgressions plus one more equals destruction. Amos listed the sin of Israel’s enemies, then the sins of her allies, and then finally Israel’s list was adding all the sins to herself. God was accusing Israel to be the worst of all the nations. Why would God say this?

Because Israel was the apple of His eye, therefore her disobedience hurt Him the most. ” …to whom much has been given, much will be required.” ~Luke 12:48 God had given the Hebrews the law. They knew that their actions were defiant of the one true God. If only His people would repent. God knew that He could no longer forgive the inequities; His only choice was judgment. He made it clear to them that only a few would be snatched from the Lion’s mouth. God did not want them to mistake His anger as an idle threat.

As human nature would have it, it takes a Lion’s roar to gain our attention. Most of us need to become afraid to reach out for a savior. I believe that is what God has done here. He became the Lion so that he could send the Lamb. He knew that His children would never be able to uphold the law, but rather, He shed the blood of His son to cover all iniquity. Now when Jesus invites us to take His yoke, the burden has been redeemed.

Paul writes to the Galatians, that every man shall bear his own burden, expressing to the individual that each one of us has a specific task that God has assigned only to them.

This is impelling to me! I am awe struck with the knowledge that the Creator of the universe thought of me and what He wants me to be before I was ever born. Not only that, but HE has the confidence in ME to fulfill that purpose to help complete His kingdom. That right there should compel every one of us to fall on our faces and declare to Him we are truly humbled and willing to do anything that He ordains of us.

I admit, I was once afraid that I would be unable to do what He expected. I was like most of us who are scared that He may demand too much, or He may require something that I was not willing to do. However, Jesus reassures us that His burden is light. ~Matthew 11:30

He is not going to ask us to do anything that He has not equipped us to do. But you ask, how does He equip us? Jesus Christ dwells in those who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it is His strength, His abilities that allow us to do what He asks. He is doing the work, yet He allows us to share in the glory! In the Old Testament, the prophets were called servants. With the New Testament Covenant, Jesus has called us friends. We each have the opportunity to be a prophet for the King of the Universe… Will you answer the Roar?

Categories: 365 Life, Amos, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | 3 Comments

Shine

Song of Praise: Free by Dara MacLean

Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your fire so that I can be more like You; help me, I trust You. Father, open my eyes so that I may see You clearly, open my ears so that I may hear You soundly, open my mind so that I may understand you plainly, open my hands so that I may give generously and receive humbly, in Jesus name, Amen.

Todays reading: Amos 4:6-7:17

For behold, He who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is His thought who makes the morning darkness and treads on the heights of the earth – the LORD, the God of hosts, is His name! Amos 4:13

Well, as you can imagine, after eating funeral comfort food for four days Ive gained a pound or ten over the long weekend our family had. I just keep looking at myself sideways in the mirror and wondering how in the world it could be possible to look like this again. Until finally last night while judging myself in the mirror God asks me, Who made you?

You did Lord.

And did I make a mistake?

No Lord, You dont make mistakes, You make miracles.

So do you think that maybe this is how I want you to look right now?

Apparently! But maybe I dont want to look like this right now!

You used to be happy to look like this, you were comfortable in your skin just the way it was.

Smiling, Yeah, I was. And my husband liked how soft I was. (Meaning not boney) But then I lost thirty pounds, I really liked being skinny Lord.

Over the years I have learned that I have to be happy where I am, no matter where I am simply because, its where I am. God has placed me precisely where I am for His purposes and for His glory. Sometimes Im in a comfortable place and its easy to be happy where I am. But then there are other times when I am in a dark scary place, those places are much harder to be happy in.

All my life, since Kindergarten at least, I have wanted to be a teacher. Ive never wanted to be anything else; Ive never wanted to do anything else, teaching is just in me. Its part of who I am, it always has been, and it probably always will be. During my time in college, I learned something about myself, I was much less excited about teaching the kids about math facts and much more excited about teaching them test taking skills and other life techniques that would last with them throughout their entire lives. After I graduated and we moved back to our hometown I wasnt able to get a job at the Elementary school because A) I was in the hospital having our first child on the day my interview was scheduled and B) by the time I got out all the positions had been filled for the year. It looked like at least for the first school year God had other plans for me. And low and behold, He did! I started working as a daycare teacher in a newly opened daycare. I absolutely fell in love with the kids and I began to ponder if maybe I had perhaps missed my true calling as a pre-school teacher rather than an elementary school teacher. When I got my very first classroom I lit up! My parents actually said that I glowed when I was teaching those little ones. I was teaching them life skills that they would use for the rest of their lives, I had found my calling! At least for that season anyway.

Then God called me back into the dugout for a time to kind of reboot a bit. I became a stay-at-home mom who babysat for a while. During that time I learned more about having an actual relationship with God and spent a lot more time studying His word and getting to know Him more. And thats when He started drawing the gift of writing out of me. I had always had it; just, I had never really used it. The call to write was absolutely insatiable, and still is! Ive gone three days without writing and I feel like Im about ready to explode with all the words that God has bottled up in me ready to burst out onto this page! Through the last few years of being a stay-home-mom/nap-time writer God has helped me define the next phase of my life. For a season He called me to teach children how to function in this crazy world of cups without lids and forks with sharp tips, how to blow their own noses and wipe their own bottoms. But that season is quickly drawing to an end as my youngest is entering her first year of Kindergarten this fall. *Sad forlorn siiiiigh…* And with that transition He has been preparing me to enter a new phase of teaching. A phase where, I will be teaching His children how to function in this crazy world of darkness without light and words with sharp meanings, how to blow their own horns and wipe their own tears. Life is hard, no matter what age you are, no matter what stage youre in, no matter what season it is. But a life without Christ is harder and darker than I can even imagine! And I believe that its about to get even darker.

We each have been called to be the light in the darkness, to be like The Light so that the darkness cannot dwell with us. We each have been called to be who God created us to be. When I was in Kindergarten and dreaming of someday becoming a teacher I have to admit that it NEVER entered my mind that I would someday teach adults. Not once. And yet, thats what God had planned for me all along, I truly believe that. Because when I look back on my life and everything that has happened to me, I can see Gods hand grooming me to become the very thing He is now telling me that He created me to be. Its absolutely amazing!

Just last night I sat on our back porch step with my husband and shared with him my views of my calling as a teacher through writing. How its just something inside me that I cant deny. I cant push it aside. And I cant help but think about it all the time. Its simply the way that God created me and I cant deny that. God is the one that created my inmost being by knitting me together in my mothers womb. My friend, we have been fearfully and wonderfully made by the One whos works are wonderful. (Psalm 139:13-14) HE is the one who created each and every intricate part of our bodies and our personalities so that we would fit perfectly into His plan for who He has called us each to be… ourselves. He has called us to be who He made us to be, nothing more, and nothing less.

There are things

Only you can do,

And you are alive

to do them.

In the great orchestra

We call life,

You have an instrument

And a song.

– Max Lucado (from the front of my birthday card last year that I just found last night while cleaning! Thank You Lord! Its as if You knew…)

The gifts that God has given you are His light placed within you for the purpose of shining brightly in this very dark world. Those gifts are uniquely yours in the way that you use them as only YOU can. Other people may have the gift to teach like I do, but they wont ever be able to teach exactly like I do, because theyre not me. Others may have gone through many of the same life struggles that I have gone through, but their stories are uniquely their own, just like mine is uniquely mine. We each have a song to sing in this orchestra called life, but although we may each be singing the same song, our individual voices are what make the song special. Sure multitudes of people have sang Somewhere over the Rainbow over the years, but no one has sang it just like Judy Garland, thats her song, and we all know it. We each have our songs to sing, its just making the choice to sing them.


One of the things that Ive noticed in these early morning hours with God alone in my rocking chair is the song the birds sing. They are up and singing long before the sun hits the horizon. They are up singing Gods praises while the darkness of night is still heavy and permeating… but they dont seem to care. They simply sing on, as though the sun were already up. They know its coming, even though none of us can see it yet, in their bones they feel it approaching the edge of the horizon and so they sing. In the fall, they feel the winter approaching and though they can not see it they follow the stirrings in their breast that God placed there through instinct to guide them South where there will be plentiful food and hospitable conditions for them. They leave trusting that God will provide for them when they get to where they are going. And upon arrival they are met with the fruit of their faith, warmer temperatures and food to fill their bellies. God calls the birds South in the winter, and then He gives them the wings with which to get there and the stirrings in their breasts to guide them along their journey.

If God is willing and able to provide for the birds of the air; how much more is He willing and able to do much more for us? God has placed the stirrings of a calling within each of our breasts. He has called each of us out of our comfort zone in order to guide us to where the conditions are much more hospitable for us to live in, but we have to launch ourselves from the safety of our nests, raise our wings and fly in order to get there. When God called Abram to follow Him to the Promised Land Abram never wouldve gotten there if he hadnt packed up and moved out. Sometimes we just have to follow the light in our hearts in order to get to where God is guiding us. Its like the childrens song says:

This little light of mine, Ive gotta let shine. (x3)

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Wont let Satan blow it out, Im gonna let shine . (x3)

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a basket, NO! Im gonna let it shine. (x3)

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Shine it all over this dark world, Im gonna let it shine (x3)

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.


Jesus is the light of this world; the faces of those who look upon Him reflect HIS radiance and shine brightly in this dark world for Him. You reflect His light through your dark circumstances. Dont hide that light, His light, under a bushel and dont let Satan blow it out! Hold it high so that it not only lights your own face, but all the faces of those around you! It may be the only light some people will ever see.

God made you to be YOU, embrace that, be joyful about that and use that. God placed the light of His talents within you so that you would use them for His glory. So use them and shine that little light brightly for Him today… no matter what your circumstances are! Because after all, we serve the God who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning! (Amos 5:8)

Songs of Reflection: Long Way Home by Steven Curtis Chapman

Shine by the David Crowder Band

Shine by Newsboys


 

Categories: Amos, Writing Through the Bible in a Year

Fire of Affliction

Song #1 of the day: Good Morning by Mandisa

Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your fire so that I can be more like You; help me, I trust You. Father, open my eyes so that I may see You clearly, open my ears so that I may hear You soundly, open my mind so that I may understand You more, open my heart so that I may love you completely, open my hands so that I may give generously and receive humbly, in Jesus name, Amen.

Todays reading: Amos 1:1-4:5

So I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem. Amos 2:5

Thus far in Amos the phrases I will send fire upon _____ & it shall devour the strongholds of _________ has appeared seven times. Now I dont know about you, but when God says something once I do my best to listen, but when God says something more than once, well, I do my best to pay close attention and obey! When I saw this phrase seven times (which is the number of completion) I knew that God was trying to, not just make a point but to send a message. The fire of affliction was coming, HE was the one sending it, and it would destroy all the strongholds of the people who were receiving it.

All too often we think that as Christians our afflictions come only from the Enemy that our pain is all from him. But that just is not the truth. Gods word testifies against that theory over and over again and todays passages are proof of that. Like a spanking from a father who lovingly corrects his child so that their dangerous behavior doesnt happen again, this fire of affliction is from the hand of our Heavenly Father because He wants to destroy our strongholds. He wants to obliterate the things that hold us back from a perfect relationship with Him. Above every instance of the mention of the fire of affliction is the phrase I will not revoke the punishment, the affliction is a punishment. And for Judah, it is a punishment for following the Law of Moses over the Law of the Lord, Love.

Gods Law was given to His people as a commandment to them to love one another more than they loved themselves. That Law hasnt changed one iota from day one! The Law to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Deuteronomy 6:5 & Luke 10:27), that hasnt changed at all since it was first spoken thousands of years ago.

In these passages God explains to us through the prophet Amos what the purpose of the fire of affliction is for, to devour the strongholds of Jerusalem. The Israelites (and us) tended to find themselves depending more on their own strength, their own power, their own might, than on Gods. But God wants us to lean, not on our own understanding (or abilities) but in all our ways to acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3). He wants us to place our faith in HIM and not in ourselves. He wants us to trust His ability to keep us on the straight and narrow and not our own. The fire of affliction is intended to take away the thing that we are trusting more than God. If we are trusting in our savings to keep us from financial ruin, then God will devour those savings so that we are forced to once again place our trust in Him alone to keep us from begging for bread. If we are trusting in the medicine and doctors to heal us of our infirmities then God may take those doctors and that medicine away from us so that we have to remember that HE is the great healer. If we are relying on other people to bring us happiness and fulfillment then He may take those people out of our lives in order to bring our focus back to where it belongs, on Him.

The fire of affliction has its purpose in our lives. It is not sent to torture or to merely bring us pain, if it were then it wouldnt be from the LORD it would be from the Enemy. No, An enemy multiplies kisses, but wounds from a friend can be trusted (Proverbs 27:6). God is our friend, and the wounds from Him are given in love. Does disaster come to a city unless the LORD has done it? (Amos 3:5)

God gave me the most beautiful picture of how He works in our lives through physical pain. My husband gave me a package of Godiva chocolates for Valentine’s Day this year. Each yummy caramel-filled chocolate was wrapped in beautiful gold foil. God had me hold one of those chocolates in my hand and stare at it. He said While the wrapper is beautiful, its not the best part of whats in your hand. If that wrapper gets dirty, or torn, or thrown away, youre not sad as long you still have the chocolate that was inside that wrapper. Its the chocolate that matters the most, not the wrapper. And if the wrapper needs to be sacrificed so that the chocolate survives, then its worth the cost of that beautiful gold wrapper. That wrapper is your body, the chocolate is your soul, and its your soul that matters the most to Me. If our bodies need to endure a Light and momentary affliction (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) in order to save the chocolately goodness of our souls, then He is willing to do that. Its not that He doesnt care about that beautiful gold wrapper that surrounds and protects our souls; He will do everything that He can to keep it from falling into the mud and getting ruined. But sometimes, the wrapper just has to get sacrificed to save the chocolate.

And even when we are going through the fire of affliction, were never alone. Daniel chapter three shares with us the story of Shadrack, Meshack, and A-bed-ne-go. These three men of God were exiled to Babylon where they served King Nebu-chad-nezzar they had been appointed over affairs of the province of Babylon. The king had built a giant golden statue and decreed that when the music played everyone in Babylon was to bow down to the statue and worship it. Shadrack, Meshack, and A-bed-ne-go refused to bow down and worship the statue because they would only worship the LORD. When they were confronted of this the king commanded that they be thrown in to the firey furnace that had been heated to seven times its normal temperature. To this the three men of God replied, If this 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 to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. They declared their faith in Gods ability to save them from their circumstances, but they also pointed out that even if God chose not to save their bodies, they would still be delivered from the kings hands and safe within Gods. They didnt know HOW God would choose to save them, whether He would snatch them from the fire completely or simply use it to burn off their gold wrappers and take home the chocolate, but either way they were trusting God completely to deliver them in His way of choosing.

What happened next is one of the most amazing things in all of history. When they were thrown into the fire, bound with their cloaks, tunics, hats and other garments on, the men doing the throwing died from the heat of the furnace, but Shadrack, Meshack and A-bed-ne-go did not die when they fell into the furnace. However, the cords that bound them burned off immediately allowing them to walk around in the fire. The king saw them walking around and said Did we not cast three men bound into the fire? They answered True, O king.
But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.
In the darkest, most dangerous, terrifying, death-defying moment in these mens lives, someone with the appearance of a Son of God was WITH them in that fire. That fire served its purpose of burning off the cords that bound them from living freely and allowed them to walk with God in a way they had never been able to do before the fire.

King Nebu-chad-nezzar called into the fire Shadrack, Meshack and A-bed-ne-go, servants of the Most High God, come out and come here! and when the men came out of the fire the king and his officials gathered around them in amazement to inspect these men who had survived the deathly fire. They saw that the fire had not had ANY power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. Nebu-chad-nezzar answered and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrack, Meshack and A-bed-ne-go, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants, who trusted in Him, and set aside the kings command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. It was when they were willing to sacrifice their own bodies to glorify God that God chose to save every single hair on their heads and kept even the smell of fire off of the clothes they were wearing. The fire burned off the cords that bound them, but did not TOUCH the clothes that covered them. If they had not been willing to completely sacrifice themselves, if they had held their bodies in higher esteem than Gods glory, then they would have saved their lives, but they would have lost so much more in the process. More than anything, they would have lost the experience of walking with God within a fire that killed the other men who even got close to it let alone IN it! We simply can not be afraid of the fire of affliction, it will not kill us. It can only make us stronger and faster by removing the things that are holding us back from a closer relationship with God.

God wants what is best for us, and what is best for us is HIM. King Nebu-chad-nezzar said it best for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way. Only God is able to save us so completely that the fire of affliction cant harm us. Yes, it brings pain, sadness and hardships that make us uncomfortable – you know that fire still had to feel hot to them – but it did not harm them. We may suffer pain and possibly even lose a physical limb in the process, but we have to believe that that limb was worth the cost of potentially losing our souls!!! God would rather have us enter heaven with limbs missing than into the pit of hell with our bodies completely intact.

So I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem. Amos 2:5

I baptize you with water, but He who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire. Luke 3:16

Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:2-4

When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that He will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:13

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
John 8:31-32

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

Allow Gods Holy all-consuming Spirit of Truth that came in fire come and consume your strongholds today. Take every thought captive. Obey Christ. Love the Lord your God with EVERYTHING you have. He was with you before the fire, He is with you through this fire and He will be with you after its over.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

The fire of affliction has come, God is the one who sent it, and it will destroy all the strongholds of the people who receive it. Praise be to God!


Song #2 of the day: Through the Fire by the Crabb family


Categories: Amos, Writing Through the Bible in a Year

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