Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jesus is in the Furnace

Most of us are familiar with the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, three Jewish men in the service of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.

Neb built a big idol and evil men incited him to set a decree that for 30 days at the sound of a flute every one had to bow down to worship the idol. The evil dudes knew Shad, Mesh and Abed would not submit.

As a result, the three were thrown into a fiery furnace so hot it killed the soldiers who threw time in.

When the king looked into the furnace, I guess it had a window or something? He saw four men instead of three.

Jesus joined his beloved in the midst of their trial and protected them. Clearly this is a picture of Jesus being with us in the midst of trial, crisis or persecution.

But what other furnaces are there in our lives? Furnace of passion for justice, for Jesus to be real in our lives.

I'm hearing a lot about "prayer furnaces" being established around the nation and globe. Would not Jesus appear in these furnaces also?

We have a prayer furnace in our city. A small, weak, limping along gathering called Fire Dweller. For six years we've been meeting, a ministry of multiple churches, in response to a call of God. We wanted to be obedient.

But not many have maintained faithfulness. Some moved away. Some had schedule changes. Some became involved with more dynamic, "active" ministries. Others got bored and figured, "nothing happening here."

Yet, those who have stayed are stoking the fire. I'll be honest, when we started Fire Dweller it was a lot more "hot" than it is now. We had many nights with a tangible presence and fragrance of God, thirty people stuffed into our living room.

While we've lost participation over the years, our prayers are more focused and powerful than ever. Six people and a small worship team can keep two hours of prayer flaming well.

Jesus is in the furnace. I'd love to say we started off hot and only grew hotter. But instead, we've grown steady. A small, steady burn. 

Jesus is in the furnace.

What about our own private prayer lives. Do we get bored and frustrated. I do sometimes. I get busy. 

Jesus is in the furnace.

I have to be willing for the small low burn. Be willing for a flame at all to flicker and allow Jesus to dwell in the midst - when and where He chooses.

Jesus is in the furnace.

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