Encouragement (Norman Watson)
 

 

During these times of trials and tribulations, God is encouraging those who are faithful followers of Jesus. He has promised that “No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (AMP)

 

In Daniel 3, we read about the three young men who were faced with a life or death question to bow down and worship the golden image or be cast into a burning fiery furnace. They choose not to compromise but stand on the Word and be obedient to the will of God. Hear what they boldly said in Daniel 3:16-18 “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 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.” I can’t help but believe that being human like you and me had to deal with fear, nervousness and when they got closer to the furnace, their bodies had to feel the heat radiating from the furnace, and yet they walked in faith, ready to meet their Lord and King. They did meet their Lord and King, not in the heavenly kingdom but in the midst of the flames. “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.”

 

I am also reminded of Daniel in the lion’s den, and Daniel was faced with to obey the king and live or stand on the Word and obey God in Daniel 6:12, Daniel chose to stand on the Word and Obey God and be cast into the lion’s den “Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” Daniel 6:16, I believe that Daniel, who was a man of God, was also human with feelings and emotions that he had to deal with. I can’t help but imagen that as he was being led to the lion’s den, he could hear the lions roar, and his enemies were probably saying ugly things to him, but we read in Daniel 6:22  “My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” God met Daniel in the lion’s den!

 

As followers of Jesus, we to will be persecuted and will have our own fiery furnace or lion’s den, but just like those who we have just read about, God will be with us as He has promised. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5, let us “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” and remember that we will be “persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” 2 Corinthians 4:9 because 1 John 4:4 tell’s us “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

 

Be encouraged and walk by faith and not by sight, do not fear what you hear from the enemy but stand firmly on the solid rock of Jesus and fill your heart and mind with the living Word of God. Many are deceived and will try to get you to go on the wide and easy road but don’t be one of the deceived (many even call themselves a “Christian”) because that road leads to hell, instead continue to follow the Great Shepherd on the narrow road that leads to the heavenly Kindom.

 

 

 
Through the Fire (By Jason Crabb)

He never promised that the cross would not get heavy,
and the hill would not be hard to climb.
He never offered victories without fighting, but
He said help would always come in time.
Just remember when you’re standing in the valley of decision
and the adversary says give in, Just hold on.
Our Lord will show up,
and He will take you through the fire again.
So many times I question the certain circumstances,
things I could not understand.
Many times in trials my weakness blurs my vision,
that’s when my frustration seems gets so out of hand.
It’s then I am reminded, I’ve never been forsaken.
I’ve never had to stand one test alone.
That’s when I look at all the victories, the Spirit rising up in me.
And It’s through the fire my weakness is made strong.
He never promised that the cross would not get heavy,
and the hill would not be hard to climb.
He never offered victories without fighting, but
He said help would always come in time.
Just remember when you’re standing in the valley of decision,
and the adversary says give in, Just hold on.
Our Lord will show up,
and He will take you through the fire again.
I know within myself that I would surely perish.
If I trust the hand of God, He’ll shield the flame again, again!
He never promised that the cross would not get heavy,
and the hill would not be hard to climb.
He never offered victories without fighting,
He said help would always come in time.
Just remember when you’re standing in the valley of decision,
and the adversary says give in, Just hold on.
Our Lord will show up,
and He will take you through the fire again.

Just hold on,
Our Lord will show up,
He will take you through the fire again.
Again.

 

 

 
FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS (By Open Door Minstries)
 

 

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3

 

 

 

The letter to the Hebrews was written to first century Jewish background believers who were being severely persecuted. Some were even considering giving up their faith in Jesus. The unknown author pens what many Bible scholars feel was originally a sermon about the superiority of Jesus over anyone else and everything else.

 

He slowly builds his case to culminate in the great faith chapter. In this chapter, he also points out that some great men and women of faith lived to see the fruit of their faith while many others—also men and women of faith—died prematurely because of persecution. Now in chapter twelve, the author makes what I think is his critical statement or main point of the letter.

 

How do we walk by faith? We walk by faith by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus! Not fixed on our problems or difficult environment of opposition. Jesus was the pioneer and perfecter of faith. He endured opposition to the point of crucifixion. So we follow His example and we will also patiently endure because of the joy we know that is yet to come.

 

In a communist country, a Christian girl named Viorica was beaten harshly in school because she had invited her schoolmates to church. She fainted during the beating, and an ambulance had to take her to hospital. Two days passed before she regained consciousness. When she did, the doctor at her bedside said, “You poor girl, at last you’ve opened your eyes. All this time I’ve been thinking of the cruelty of the director who beat you like this. My heart has been bitter with hatred. I wish I could take revenge on him.”

 

Viorica smiled. “There is no need to hate him,” she replied. Jesus taught us to love everyone. Just before I opened my eyes, I saw Him and talked to Him. He asked me whether it still hurts. And He told me that in heaven I will receive a very beautiful crown, which is reserved only for those who have suffered for Him. He told me to pray for those who mistreated me, and to love them, because our influence will help them to give their lives to God and so become His children.”

 

From the mouths of children! Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus!

 

 

 

RESPONSE: Today I will take my eyes off my surroundings, my problems, my fears and my suffering. I will keep them fixed on Jesus my Lord.

 

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me keep my focus on You and in so doing bring glory and honor to You.