Even If…

‘Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.’ Leviticus 26:1

The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was brought to my attention with a fresh word today. If you are familiar with the story in Daniel 3, ask God to cultivate new awareness as you read it again. In short, King Nebuchadnezzar, a King of Babylon, made an image of gold that was 90 feet high and 9 feet wide. tower-838540_640He commanded that when the people heard all kinds of music they were to bow down and worship this idol. 3 Jewish men refused and the King’s punishment was to throw them into a blazing furnace. They had earned favour with the King and looked over his affairs but that had no bearing when they would not bow down to the King’s command. ‘They pay no attention to you’ was the tattletale account from the astrologers to the King. Nebuchadnezzar was furious but amazingly still willing to give them another chance. I love their reply. vs 16-18 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”‘smoke-1232654_640

As you can imagine, the King was furious and he threw them all in to the blazing furnace. You will have to read the rest of the story to see the amazing way that God rescued these men.

What God showed me was an incredible faith in these men that EVEN IF God did not rescue them, they were willing to die for their God. They knew Him and nothing came before Him.

I have been challenged in the last few days especially to look at the idols I have placed before my God and sense as I pray for the body of Christ that this is a heart issue in many of us, in fact I would even go so far that this is an ongoing issue we all need to stay aware of and keep in repentance over. My heart’s desire is to love God with all of my heart but to be quite honest, I find some things are layered in front of that.. Areas of my life that I continue to struggle with and not able to relinquish over to God when I do know that He is able to save me from myself. He has done so in many places of my heart.

God placed a book in front of me this past weekend called Idol Lies by Dee Brestin right after a time of prayer when the word idol came to my mind. Then this morning our marriage devotional was, you guessed it, about idols. Coincidence, I think not. Dee says it well, “Being released from the penalty (the guilt) of sin is instantaneous, happening the moment we respond to God’s call and to the payment Christ made for us at the cross. Being released from the power of sin is gradual, for bondage has layers. All of us have hidden idols that need to be revealed, removed and replaced.”

God is in the business of revealing things to us that need to removed and replaced so that He will maintain first place in our hearts. The beautiful thing is, He will not give up on us. One of my favourite promises is Philippians 1:6,’ being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’
I want to be like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and not compromise my faith to God for something less than what He desires for my life. I want to easily be able to give up the things I love to love Him even more if He asks that of me. I want the death grip I have placed on some areas of my life to be removed and ready for him to replace with Himself.

‘Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.’ it says in Psalm 37:4. This Psalm also instructs that we trust, commit, be still and hope in the Lord. It is in these actions toward Him that we will find delight and the fruit will be our true desires. Come along on this continued journey of delight with Him, let Him reveal the things that get in the way of being fully devoted to Him. These sentences in Dee’s book grabbed me to simultaneously want to dig in and to close the book, “Every believer needs to be set free, and it begins with getting past our denial, with seeing what we really idolize and admitting this to God and to others.We may think for example that our deepest desire is for God, but in reality we are running to food, friendship or Facebook to fill up our souls. We may think that our identity is in Christ, but in reality if may be in the success of our ministry, mothering, or marriage.”

You know what my favourite part of the story of the 3 Jewish men is? This… Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire,  and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.’ Daniel 3:26,27. Not one hair singed. Not even the smell of smoke. We have all sat around a campfire I am sure and know how much that smell permeates our skin and clothes. Not even the smell…God can do this. He is a Redeemer that wants to remove any smell of smoke, any idol, anything that keeps us from true intimacy with Him. I do know this and so I will come and be still and listen, and repent and continue to walk out this journey until my stone heart has been replaced by a heart of flesh that is intimate with my God. Will you join me?





Finding Delight

“I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness. As a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

As I am emerging from the fog of too many holiday treats and one too many late nights, I am overwhelmed with gratitude about all of the ‘moments’ that made up our time of celebrating the birth of Jesus with family and friends. One of the highlights was being able to spend 10 days with our daughter and grandson who turned 6 months while he was here. This was punctuated by having the whole family together for a late Christmas at the start of the New Year.

About 3 years ago, our family started a New Year tradition called OneWord. It was a movement through the church to choose a word at the beginning of the year that you felt would represent who you want to be or how you want to live. This was to replace resolutions which is probably a good thing as I just read a statistic that 92% of people do not complete their new years resolutions. OneWord allows you to focus in one place for the whole year and see how God will move in that. We also choose a bible verse that corresponds to the word God has chosen.

This year we all chose one personally and we sought God for a family word, one we could look toward together. Why do I share all of this with you? I encourage you to try it and I am already seeing fruit to why my word is delight.

Delight – as a verb means please (someone) greatly and as a noun means great pleasure or satisfaction

My heart for this word was as it says in the verse above from Isaiah, “I delight greatly in the Lord” I have a fresh hunger for more of God and less of me, to encounter Him and live less in worldly ways and more in His ways. A New Year brings fresh hope, excitement and new possibilities. I had a revelation that as I delighted in our grandson, our children, my husband and our family and friends that I was delighting in the Lord because they are all His creations. When I delight from this perspective it brings great pleasure and all of a sudden Psalm 37:4 came to life in a new way for me. “Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I realize again with delight from this angle He has given me the desires of my heart. It is a full circle thing as my desires are for healthy love, relationship, to walk in His will, to help others and to know Him better which happens through loving Him and the ones around me.

In the last couple of days God expanded my idea of why this word was chosen for me. As I shared it with my friend Lee, she said that is a perfect word for you because you are delightful. That one never occurred to me but I smile at how God speaks to us through others. On the same note, my friend Kari said God delights in you and maybe that is what He wants to show you. Of course! Why wouldn’t He want to show how His heart does that? Another favorite verse came to mind, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you;in his love he will no longer rebuke you,but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Louie Giglio said, “He chose you when you were dead in sin and couldn’t even present yourself to Him as a worthy choice. God chose you because He saw His own image in you, the divine stamp woven into the fabric of your being when He uniquely knitted your frame in secret. And He decided that you were worth a rescue mission of love that would require the death of His own Son.” Now, that is Delight.

My prayer is that 2016 will bring a greater understanding of this truth and His love to your hearts, so that you can move through all circumstances with this perspective and know Him better. May you find delight in surprising places!

Share your word and verse in the comments.

YouVersion – Passion: The Bright Light Of Glory, Louie Giglio