‘Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “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.”’ Daniel 3: 25-25
I’m not much for listening to the radio, so I tend to be a bit slow on learning about new musical artists and such. Even then I almost never remember their name let alone the name of their songs. So, I’m very appreciative that the church that my husband and I are attending opens their doors for a local Christian organization to set up concerts within it’s sanctuary. We have had so much fun over the last few months and I’ve learned about so many new musicians and bands…well, new to me anyway! LOL.
My husband Fred and I were at one of these concerts last night. The headliner was Michael W. Smith-if you don’t know- he really is a legend in Christian music. And he’s a phenomenal entertainer. But what I’d really like to talk about is what touched my heart from one of the other musicians-Jordan Feliz. The song is saying that you are never ‘too far gone’ for the love of God. That! That right there is the concept of what I want to express to those around me, in my community and in the world…that is exactly what I want to share in my ministry.
There are so many people that feel that they themselves are ‘too far gone’. That Jesus would have nothing to do with them because of how they have or are currently living their lives. That is so very untrue! Just open the Bible. There is example after example of people that seemed they could never be used by God or that He would no longer use them because of things they have done. Just look at those that are within Jesus’ bloodline. Rahab-one of my favorite stories. She was a prostitute. God used her to help save the two spies that Joshua sent into Jericho. Then there is David who slept with another man’s wife while he was out serving in David’s military. Impregnated her and then had the man, Uriah, sent to the front lines so he would be killed. David was an adulterer and a murderer and was still called a man after God’s own heart.
My absolute favorite example of those used from the Bible is Peter, formerly known as Saul. Saul was a Pharisee that absolutely hated those who followed Jesus. At that time those following Jesus (after his death and resurrection) were called ‘The Way’. We know from Scripture (end of Acts 7), that Saul was a witness to the stoning death of Stephen (the first martyr) and was in full agreement of this killing. Saul, as my brother puts it, was a zealot. Yes, yes he was. And that is part of the reason, I believe, that God utilized him. That and his love and passion for God’s Word. Saul had gone out of his way to get letters allowing him to find and persecute Christians. And he was on his way to do exactly that when his ‘But God’ moment happened. Praise God!!
Just as Jesus stopped Saul (then renamed Paul) in his tracks, He can do so for us as well. As embarrassed, sad or even disgusted (speaking for myself at least) of our past or present circumstances, God can and will use us. He just wants us to believe in Him. He’s not likely to work in our lives when we don’t believe He is who He says He is-and can do what He says He can do. I was reminded just this evening that Jesus was unable to perform miracles in His own hometown. And why was that? Because of their unbelief. Not because He couldn’t-for He IS who He says He is. We need to believe it.
God very well may utilize those things that you are embarrassed or sad about to reach others. These could be situations that He could use YOU as a blessing to someone else. I used to keep everything to myself, embarrassed to say anything to anyone…Not anymore. I try not to hide anything. I don’t know if my stumbling ways of now or days gone by can be of use as a blessing to someone else. I hope and pray they can be.
I pray that I could have the faith and courage that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had. Their faith was in God through the good, bad and ugly parts of their lives. And this showed when they did not give in to King Nebuchadnezzar. Instead they got the experience of a lifetime. A few minutes in a fiery hot furnace with another being, whom I believe to have been Jesus.
Jesus will walk through the fire with us. As Isaiah 43: 2 states “…When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
No matter how well someone’s life may seem put together, they too are stumbling along in some aspect of their life. Remember that ‘we all fall short of the glory of God.’ (Romans 3:23)
I know I’m a mess. I try not be but I am. More often than not because I try to live my life my way rather than with God’s help. My prayer today is that you and I learn to lean on God rather than ourselves.
In Jesus’ precious name.