Tag Archives: Believer

God in the Furnace

It’s often hard to see God, to see his hand, his work in our lives. It’s often hard to sense his presence, but for the believer he’s ever present. In fact, he says he will never leave us, but most of the time we don’t sense his presence, we aren’t aware of his care.For me it’s the busy life I live that makes his voice hard to hear, his face hard to see. I don’t take the time to quiet my mind and heart to listen, to see him ever with me.The times when God is most visible, the times when we see him the most clearly are times of test, times of trial. It’s in those refining moments the ever present one is most clearly seen….with us even in the heat of the trial.As I read Daniel 3 this morning, the story of Daniel’s friends and their trial by fire, the ever present one is unseen until Daniel’s friends are in the midst of the flames. In those refining moments, in the furnaces of our lives, God’s presence is most clearly seen. It’s in those moments when we desperately need to see him. In the midst of the trial our questions abound, in the midst of the heat we need him most. Has he brought us to this trial to destroy us? Is he punishing us for our sins? Why is this happening to us?

And in the midst of the furnace God is with us. He never leaves us. Last night I was with a family in the furnace of a lifetime. It’s a trial by fire to be sure. This is when they most need God’s presence, his care, his love. It’s in their furnace that they will see him. He is always with us, always caring for us….even in the furnace of trials.

But why trials? Why use the furnace to make himself known and seen? It’s because in the furnace no one can help us but God. As the king said to Daniel’s friends, “Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” The king has defined the test- Is there a God who can deliver from the furnace? Is there someone to help when the trials of life overwhelm? The answer from the furnace is “YES! I’m here with you. Don’t worry, I will take care of you.”

The God of glory is always with us working for our good and his glory. In the midst of your furnace God is with you making himself known to you and seen by the world. In the midst of the furnace all other distractions are burned away and we see the ever present God who is always with us.

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The Fragrance of Life

2 Cor. 2:15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16  to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

“We are a fragrance of Christ.”  What an amazing thought.  God has scented us as Christians to be a fragrance of Christ in the world around us.  You don’t have to tell anyone you are a Christian, they can “smell” it.  We have an aroma.  It’s the presence of God, of live in us that gives off a scent to everyone we meet.

I have often been with someone who didn’t know I was a Christian and shortly in the visit they will ask, “You’re a Christian, aren’t you?”  They can “smell” us!  But what is it they smell?  What is the fragrance we give off?  It’s the fragrance of life.  It’s a scent that isn’t common on our planet where everything dies.  The only smell we know is the stench of death, but when the perfume of life shows up it’s a smell everyone knows.  It’s a smell that reveals something the world is missing.

For the Christian, as they “smell” the presence of another believer, they smell the sweet fragrance of life.  Another person who has life living in them, the presence of God. It’s a sweet fragrance and a wonderful reminder of the life we share.

For the world, as they “smell” the presence of a Christian, it highlights the reality to them that they don’t have life, they live in death.  It’s a fearful awaking for their senses.  It’s a smell they don’t like, a realization of their lack.  Often it’s the reason those in the world disdain Christians….we remind them of the truth that they do not have life, but simply await the final death.

Without a word the presence of a Christian communicates that life is available, that we have something the world lacks.  Without a word the world “smells” the presence of life in us.  This witness of the fragrance of life calls us to a Godly lifestyle because the world is watching, their noses know who we are, it’s critical we live to the glory of God because we can’t hide who we are.  The world around us, by the fragrance of life that comes from our very presence, knows we are Christians.

Live your life well, your fragrance precedes you…..the world already knows who you are.  Live in a way that glorifies the one who gave you life. Know that the fragrance of life oozes from your very presence and witnesses to the life you have.  Live as a child of life that the world will be drawn to the one who gave us life.  And never forget…..the fragrance of life precedes you as walk through your days.

 

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On Being A Light

Matthew 5: “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

You are the light of the world. Yes, YOU. It’s part of your job description as a Christian….to be light in dark places. How’s that working for you? How are you doing with the light you have? Honestly, I don’t like the questions this generates at all! If people are looking to me for a little light to find their way I wonder if I’m any help to them at all.

Most of us want illumination for ourselves, for our own lives, but we are described by Jesus as illumination for those around us, light for others. Being the light of the world is a big task. It’s the task of helping those in the dark find their way, helping them find the right path and discover the light that illuminates us. Being the light of the world is a heavy burden and for the most part we do not wear it well. Frankly, at least for me, I think I’m a master at hiding my little light under a basket. I’m not good at helping others see the way with kindness and grace. I wish I was better at this thing called being the light of the world, but I’m still working on it.

And then Jesus goes even further and says this, “let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Part of the illuminating work of the believer is how we live our lives, our good deed. Let your good deeds shine out for all to see….why? So people will praise God. Our lives are meant to direct the world in praise to God for what they see because of us. How often does that happen? I think we have missed something in this job description of being lights in the world. Something has gone horribly wrong in the church! Instead of being lights to illuminate the way we have become spotlights in the eyes to blind the lost as they seek to find their way.

I think the thing we have lost is the very grace we received when we came to Christ. As I read Matthew and see Jesus interact with the world in darkness he doesn’t turn up the wattage to blind them, he gives them just enough light to make them want more. I still have much to learn about being a light in a dark world. I sure don’t know how to do this well, but if I am a light for those around me how is that supposed to work? How should I live so that, like the proverbial moth, those around me are drawn to the light that shines from me? I’m still working on this…..

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.