Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - Falling Off the Wagon

Daniel 3:28-30 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way." Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

I'll be honest, I'm not a big football fan. Growing up, while my brother and cousins raved about the Cowboys and Steelers - I stood firm with the Dolphins - their helmets were prettier. But the term 'bandwagon' got thrown around more than a few times. Here are the hard facts: In 1969, The Baltimore Colts were fan favorites with only five losses. The New York Jets, however, were part of the AFL and not looked at too kindly. This all changed when the Jets walloped the Colts with a score of 16 - 7 in Superbowl III. Not only did it change peoples minds about the Jets, but the AFL in general became more respected.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had already chosen the team they wanted to be on. They knew the power of God and had no doubts that He would come out on top. When this happened, King Nebuchadnezzar jumped on that bandwagon and told everyone else they had to serve God or be killed.

We, as Americans, are so spoiled. We live in a country that does not require us to serve a God who loves us. We have that option all on our own. Yet, we tend to be one of those 'bandwagon jumpers'. If God is being relevant in our lives, then we will praise Him and honor Him. If we seem to be doing okay on our own - we start to forget that it is because of Him that we are doing okay. Maybe today we can make that commitment to always honor Him and praise Him - even when it's not the popular opinion.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - Silence is Golden!

Daniel 3:26- 27 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.

Rev. Austin W. Mann of Cleveland, devoted his life to missions work. Born in 1841, he grew up like most kids seeking an education and graduating in Indiana at the age of 17. He continued his education and after began teaching at the Michigan School for 8 years. After this time, he continued private study on his own, but his true labor was missions work. He began preaching in the Episcopal Church and traveled quite a bit. He had written over three hundred journals for other bishops but his real calling was the publishing of over a hundred prayer books and getting them into the hands of the deaf and mute population of the world. At the time of his death, he had helped open over ninety schools for the deaf and mute (close to 10,000 people) and minister to these people. The amazing fact in all this? Rev. Mann was deaf and mute himself. He did all this without ever speaking a word.

When King Nebuchadnezzar called Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego out of the furnace, they didn't utter a word. The king was able to look at them and see how truly Almighty was their God. They didn't throw a "we told you so" in his face or a "what now - big king" - they simply let the Glory of God shine through.

I have actually been struggling with this lately myself. I have been bogged down with so many things going on around me, that my Light might seem hard to see. So the question I have to ask myself is this: If I never spoke a word, would people be able to see Jesus standing beside me? Would His glory shine out of me only through my actions?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego - Singing in the Rain

Daniel 3:23-25 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."

I didn't want to go back to work. It had been six years since my last baby was born and I hadn't been in the work force since I'd been pregnant with her. The time had come where, financially, it would be much less stressful if I started working again. It couldn't be a "career" job - my important time would still be with my family. I was still homeschooling and my husband worked full-time, so it couldn't be a day job. Before getting pregnant, I was in management at UPS, the graveyard shift. It looked like, once again, this was the only option for me. I prayed about this and asked God to guide me in this because I really did not enjoy working at UPS - it was physically hard and not a very friendly work environment. Then I saw the ad for FedEx. I reluctantly decided to go in for the 'group' interview. Many people showed up for this job. I thought I'd be hired on the spot - but this was a large group of people. We went through the training videos and paperwork sessions. In the end, they basically told the entire group they were only hiring as needed and they would keep everyone on file as an "on-call" person. I went home a little deflated, it was not what I expected. That evening, I received a call from Fed-Ex. After reading my file, because of my management experience with UPS, they wanted me to start the next evening. Jesus was there, it was all in His hands.

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell into that furnace, they had to be scared. Wondering what it would feel like, to be burned. But once the initial shock wore off, and they stood up, and they realized they weren't burning to death and that there handcuffs had burned off - what an awesome realization - Jesus was with them. It has been said that the reason the king looked back into the furnace, was because he heard singing. These boys were singing praises to God. The king never would've looked back, the reality was, the minute those boys fell into the furnace they would be dead - the king had no reason to continue hanging around - until he heard the singing. It also says that the king could see Jesus, it doesn't say that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego could.

So here's another realization: Jesus is always with us, whether we can see Him or not - we must know that He's always there. BUT, to be truly effective, we must rejoice in having this knowledge so that, like the king, others will look back and be able to see Him standing there with us.

I ended up loving my job at FedEx. They were nice people there and I hope I had an effect on some of them. A year later when I gave my two -weeks notice, they offered me a management position. Hopefully, they were able to see Jesus standing beside me.