I hope you are continuing to be blessed as we spend purposeful time focusing on God more intently during this season. We are challenged everyday to walk, not in a furnace like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but rather on a path that follows the teaching of Jesus. How often do we allow our feet to wonder off that path and be burned in the process? I’m thankful that we have a loving God who offers us love and grace, even when we step off the path He has for us.
Chris Tomlin’s version of Amazing Grace includes a verse that fits well with the message in today’s scripture reading:
My chains are gone,
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace.
If you have a few minutes, it is worth listening to on YouTube – click on the link below.
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)
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, pipes 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 the king, “O 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 save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, 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.
John 8:31-42 – The Children of Abraham
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father. ” 39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the things your own father does.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.
Father of mercy and grace,
hear the prayers of your repentant children
who call on you in love.
Enlighten our minds and purify our hearts.
Help us grow in understanding of the price you paid for our freedom.
May we grow in a sense of repentance and deep sorrow.
May we grow in a desire to celebrate
your glorious Light in the midst of darkness.
Rid yourself of all the offenses you have committed,
and get a new heart and a new spirit. Ezekiel 18:31
Blessed be God, the giver of salvation,
who decreed that mankind should become
a new creation in Himself, when all would be made new.
With great confidence let us ask Him:
Lord, renew us in your Spirit.
Lord, you promised a new heaven and a new earth;
renew us daily through your Spirit,
– that we may enjoy your presence forever.
Free us from our lack of caring and from laziness,
– and give us joy in your gifts of grace.
Deliver us from evil,
– and provide us a way out when we face temptation.
in your great love for me,
examine my heart and see my profound sorrow.
Hear my prayers which are offered with
deeptrust in you.
Help me to understand the depth of your grace
in both my mind and heart,
and renew my life daily.