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Friday, August 8, 2008

Into the Fire With God

King Nebuchadnezzar thought highly of himself. God exalted him and it went to his head just like it did to Lucifer's. (Isa 14, Eze 28). He made this huge golden image of himself, and commanded the people to bow. But God had 3 children, three young people, that knew the Word, that knew their God for themselves. They were captives in a strange land, they had been taken and educated in this strange land's idolatry and education system. But they did not eat the king's meat, they turned to God who was their Provision. He kept them in this land, and they remained pure. They saw and understood for themselves how vile it was to bow to man's image of himself, rather than the Creator who alone was worthy. They understood something that strengthened their resolve in the face of certain death. The Bible doesn't say this, but I think it was simply, they knew God for themselves and they loved Him more than their own lives.

Dan 3:15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

His taunts and threats did not shake these boys. They were determined to be faithful to God, knowing He was able to deliver them, but regardless of whether He did or not. They knew their had been martyrs. They were fully prepared to die. They completely put their lives in the hands of God, faced with a roaring fiery furnace. Saints, you can't have that kind of faith unless you get it at His feet, alone with Him. You have got to know Him intimately to have that kind of faith. You have to be sure of Him and your position in His sight with Him, to successfully face this. Remember, Paul said if you give your body to be burned and don't have love it's not an acceptable sacrifice.

Dan 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
Dan 3:17 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 thine hand, O king.
Dan 3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

This king was infuriated at their response. But the Lord was already on the scene. They bound these boys, and threw them in this fiery furnace, and they fell down, bound. The fire slew the men who threw them in because it was so hot. I imagine the king, not caring for his own servants, just like the devil, sat back with smug satisfaction, sure he showed them who was the boss. But then his eyes widened with astonishment. They were up walking around. And they weren't alone.

Dan 3:24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spoke, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
Dan 3:25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

The only thing that burnt up was the cords that bound them. The fire of the furnace had no power over them. The Lord kept them. The Lord preserved them. He walked in the fire with them. And even their enemy had to praise them.

Dan 3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spoke, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

They didn't yield and we don't have to either. When God shows us the image we have of ourselves, the things we think we must have, the way we think we must look, or be, it has to come down. He wants to conform us the image of HIS SON. No matter what the problem or trial is, we have to trust Him. We have to draw closer to Him and know Him for ourselves. We can't make it on what we think we know about Him. We have to KNOW HIM. Praise God for the opportunity. Know up front, the devil will conspire with and even use your own carnal mind to keep you from this. He will seek to manipulate your thoughts, and flesh to keep you away from entering into the presence of the Almighty. To really pray through to where He is. When I first got saved, at one point during those first few months, I was lying on my side in bed one night, in prayer, and I don't remember what I was saying, but I was just loving Him, longing for more, and all of a sudden, though the room I was in was dark, and my eyes were closed, and my prayer was inward, silent, I saw a vision. Everything began to light up and I saw this cloud that reminded me of the smoke off dry ice. I saw these two arm rests like of a chair, and there were hands on them, coming out of the smoke. I saw that someone was sitting there on this chair and realized it was God's throne. I remember seeing a ring on His finger, and feeling this amazing sense of 'where am I?' and I looked and suddenly realized if that's God's throne, those hands must be His, and fear gripped me and before I could stop myself I retreated, I opened my eyes, and the contact was broken. I regret letting that fear get the best of me. It hindered me from something I needed. In my spirit, I feel God drawing me to come. To go into the fire with Him. He's already there waiting. He wants to burn up the chaff, and take my life completely over. He wants yours, too. I keep getting a vision of a cup. A cup is a vessel. It's clean, and empty. Only the Master can fill it. And only the Master can distribute the contents of the vessel. It can't do anything but contain what the Master pours in. The cup has to have the Master pick it up and pour it out and refill it. It's like the lamp that must have oil in it to burn. But the lamp is not the source of the Light, the oil is. The oil is the Holy Spirit burning in us. We need Him. We can't do this for ourselves. He commanded us to be filled with the Spirit. It's not an option. It's a command. (Eph 5:18), not an option and we can't fill ourselves.

Heb 12:18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
Heb 12:19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
Heb 12:20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
Heb 12:21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Heb 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

We haven't come to a physical mountain. If we are here, and if there is a witness in our spirit that He is drawing us to come out from among them and come up, be separated unto HIM, first and foremost, God give us grace and courage to go into the cloud, and face the fire of the refiner. He will temper us and prepare us to face whatever comes and we will not break or be shattered by what goes on around us.

Heb 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
Heb 12:26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
Heb 12:27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Heb 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Can you feel the shaking? It's already started. It will get worse. We have to have joy in our heart because we know in Whom we have believed, and are persuaded He is able to perform what He has promised. We have to have reverence, and serve God because we love Him and want Him more than anything, and serve Him with caution, to keep His Word, and ways closely hidden in our heart so we don't sin against Him or grow cold on Him or stray from Him.

Heb 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

It really boils down to this: Do we want Him badly enough to go into the fire? Do we dare go in knowing we-our self will be consumed? In comparison with HIM what do we have that would be worth hanging on to? Nothing. We cannot save or keep ourselves or change or fill ourselves with the Spirit of God. He is the only One, and He is worth going into the fire for. But it will take complete trust in His love for us and His faithfulness to His Word. Just imagine.....stepping into the fire and seeing God. We will never be the same again. Remember, He told Moses no man can see His face and live...but oh, through the eyes of faith we can see and know Him and be dead to this world, ourselves, our old “live for myself” life, and new and resurrected in, through and by HIM. In my heart, and I may be wrong, but in my heart I truly believe that when we get that revelation of God that we can only get in the fire, in the hard place, when we begin to know Him like ths, nothing of this earth will satisfy us any longer. Neither will be be able to strive in our flesh to be holy. Seeing God, knowing God like this will kill the flesh. How could it not? I've heard Him preached. I've read about Him in the Word. I want to live with and in the reality of Him. Nothing else will satisfy. I am so dissatisfied with myself and where I am now. But to look to HIM and away from me-to trust HIM to do what He said He would...oh, Father, glorify thyself in me and my puny little life...just to know HIM, to be fully possessed by Him, filled with His fullness...that's what I was created for, wasn't it? So were you all. His grace is sufficient and His strength will carry us if we allow Him to, into the fire.

Dan 11:32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

Isa 24:15 Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.

When we begin to understand that giving in to our flesh and saying yes to self is saying no to God, will that change our behavior? Will it strengthen our resolve to yield fully to Him? Will love for Him drive us to our knees before Him seeking His strength and His promise to perfect us? Self can't be perfected-it's the life of His Son, the image of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who is to be perfected in us. Oh, Holy Spirit, breathe on us, strengthen us and draw us to Yourself...only You can do this. Bring us to the end of ourselves, and guide us to the Door of Heaven where our High Priest can slay the sacrifice and make it holy and acceptable to the Father...and then the fire will fall. Then we go into the fire. Pastor BH Clendennen says the fire of God never falls on an empty altar. Amen. Grant us dying grace, oh, Most High. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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