There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Prov 16:25)~ The enemy blinds the eyes of unbelievers, causing absurd reasonings in matters of religion. Whether men seek happiness in worldly things, or run into unbelief, superstition, or any false system, they feed on ashes…remnants of that which has been “created”, used and reshaped by man. The ideals of people and society have changed the truth of God into a lie, and people have come to worship and serve their own ways more than the Word of God (Rom1:25). They have convinced themselves the Bible is foolish, hopelessly outdated, or written by religious fanatics. They love their own thoughts so much they will not accept correction from God nor His ambassadors!
A heart deceived by pride, love of sin, and departure from God, turns us aside from His holy truth and worship. It’s gotten so that people hold fast to the ‘lie’ as the best treasure. Today’s hearts are set upon the wealth of the world and its pleasures. We must be careful to what we hold dear to our heart and soul! If we trust to outward professions and doings, as if those would save us, we deceive ourselves. He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? (Isa 44:20)
Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated (Dan 3:19); “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God (Dan 3:25)~~ Let Nebuchadnezzar heat his furnace as hot as he can, a few minutes will finish the torment of those cast into it; but hell-fire tortures, and yet does not kill. Those who worshipped the beast and his image, have no rest, no pause, no moment free from pain, (Rev 14:10,11). Now was fulfilled in the letter that great promise, When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned. Leaving it to that God who preserved them in the fire, to bring them out, they walked up and down in the midst, supported and encouraged by the presence of the Son of God. Those who suffer for Christ, have his presence in their sufferings, even in the fiery furnace, and in the valley of the shadow of death (Ps 23:4). Nebuchadnezzar owns them for servants of the most high God; a God able to deliver them out of his hand. It is our God only is the consuming fire, (Heb 12:29). Could we but see into the eternal world, we should behold the persecuted believer safe from the malice of his foes, while they are exposed to the wrath of God, and tormented in unquenchable fires. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you (Isa 43:2) – Brother and Sister – When you walk with God in Faith – NOTHING you encounter in this life shall consume you, overtake you or destroy you. But He will be with you IN it and will see you THROUGH it! Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His (Heb 4:9-10)~~ God has always declared man’s rest to be in Him, and His love to be the only real happiness of the soul; and faith in His promises, through His Son, to be the only way of entering that rest. There is, in Him, a more spiritual and excellent rest remaining than that of the seventh day. This rest is, a rest of grace, and comfort, and holiness, in the gospel state. The rest, is undoubtedly the heavenly rest, which remains to the people of God, and is opposed to a state of labor and trouble in this world. It is the rest they shall obtain when the Lord Jesus shall appear from Heaven. As God finished His work, and then rested from it, so He will cause those who believe, to finish their work, and then to enjoy their rest. But those who do not believe, shall never enter into this spiritual rest, either of grace here or glory hereafter. True Sabbath..that holy rest, the kind that empties us of our works and fills us with the blessings of God’s completed works, depends on complete confidence and trust….rooted in a deep conviction that God is good and God is sovereign. There’s no rest for those who don’t believe that. If God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called to His purposes (Rom 8:28), you can relax. If He doesn’t, you had better start worrying. If God can pick any mess, any mishap, any wastage, any wreckage, any evil meant toward you, any anything, and choreograph beauty and meaning from it (Gen 50:20) then you can rest in Him! If He can’t, you had better get busy. Either God’s always at work, watching the city, building the house, or you need to try harder. Either God is good and in control, or it all depends on you. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28).
And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. (Acts 16:16-18)~ Those who do good by drawing others to God and away from sin, may expect to be reviled as troublers of the world. A person who walks in confidence of God endures taunting and persecution because they are bold enough to say they believe. While they teach men to fear God, to believe in Christ, to forsake sin, and to live godly lives, they will be accused by the world of teaching bad customs. They will be put on the stage of society as strange or eccentric or accused of being some obscure radical. Their validity as a Christian will be put under the microscope and every fiber of their being tested for worldly exposure. It’s as if they must be as pure as Christ Himself to carry any level of trustworthiness. Why is it that a person that outwardly expresses their love for Jesus is viewed as some ‘Jesus freak'; weirdo or strange being? Why is it that when we choose to differ our mindset than the typical man of the world, people are quick to point out that we are different and don’t stand with “the” crowd? Christ warned us of this very thing – that the world would hate us because of Him. We know the ‘world’ is at enmity with God – meaning those who are ‘friendly’ to the worldly way ultimately turn against the Godly way – because these two ‘ways’ are in conflict to each other. Satan is the god of the ‘worldly’ way so it’s guaranteed that your commitment to Christ always comes under persecution in the world. This is a sign that you are doing what God wants you to do. You are a threat to the enemy’s purpose. Here’s what’s most interesting: those that persecute you many times believe what you believe but they are more afraid of looking like they stand with you than with the popular crowd. Their persecution of you is more about them than it is about you. Even Satan, though the father of lies, will declare the most important truths, when they can thereby serve his purposes. You can’t let this deter you. These circumstances are the enemy trying to manipulate and disorient you and make you question the very Word that is in you. If he can disconnect you from your commitment he will even take people that love you and use them against you. Stand your ground…don’t be passive… neither give place to the devil… but rebuke that evil and confront it head on. God will strengthen your commitment even though you’re under persecution! Resist the devil and he will flee from you!