Sunday, July 29, 2012

We're Having a Heat Wave

Alive in Paradise experiencing 90+ temperatures in the middle of July with clinging humidity. I grew up here and spent much time outdoors and in a home without air-conditioning.......lots of fans....even our schools weren't air conditioned.
As a child the heat didn't bother me much.  It was when I began Jr. High that it became a bother....wilting tresses, damp face and then when make-up became the norm at the hottest part of the summer it tended to "slide off" my face.  Experimenting with eyeliner was tricky; depending on the temp you might end up looking like a raccoon.
What did we do without air conditioning??  Made the best of it.  One of our helps was the construction of  homes in Florida at that time; they were designed for tropical temperatures with jalousie windows, those small glass slats that let air circulate more easily.
Glasses of iced tea and lemonade helped cool us off...remember placing the glass on your forehead or the back of your neck?
We made the best of it.

As I write this I'm reminded that we humans can get exhausted in our daily living when we come upon    "flash fires", which can pop up without a moments notice.  One moment all is quiet and then all hell breaks loose: a telephone call in the middle of the night proclaiming a variety of incidents that can change the course of our lives; a dreaded diagnosis threatens our peace; marriages crumble; families suffer estrangement; financial difficulties overwhelm; these are just a few.
Just "making the best of it" doesn't quite describe how we get through our personal fire storms.

Opening God's word I read in Isaiah, chapter 43:2 a wonderful promise  - 
"When you pass through the waters, 
    I will be with you; 
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, 
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze."
God, Himself will be with us!  We are not alone.  He takes care of His people.

In the book of Daniel the Lord illustrates in two separate incidents how He is able to keep us during these times. 
In chapter 3 we read about the "fiery furnace" of King Nebuchadnessar, reserved for those who do not serve the king's gods or worship the golden calf -

12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego —who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”
13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c]from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 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. 
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace..................21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24 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, Your Majesty.”
25 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.”
26 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, 27 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.

And then there is the familiar story of Daniel in the Lions Den. You can read the account in Daniel 6. 

One night many years ago now I was facing a particularly fiery furnace the middle of the night I awakened to hear "Daniel 6".  Was I startled?  Yes I was and I thought my imagination was playing tricks on me.  I rolled over and again I heard "Daniel 6".  I couldn't be sure it was in my mind or audibly but I believed God wanted me to "go and see".  Quietly I slipped into my study, turned on the light and opened my bible to Daniel, chapter 6.
That night the Lord spoke to my heart through His Word.  I understood that he was confirming to me that He was with me and according to His will and purpose would keep me from succumbing to the fiery furnace I found myself in.  He was leading me out of it.  
When November breezes begin in "paradise",  temperatures  drop and the sweltering of the summer and fall months become a memory.
We made the best of it!

When our personal fire storms are blown away by the power of the Living God, we can be sure He made the fire die and He is making the best of us!  GLORY! 

Til next time,  Judy

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