April 3

“Glorify ye the Lord in the fires.” Isaiah 24:15

Mark the little word “in”! We are to honor Him in the trial–in that which is an affliction indeed and though there have been cases where God did not let His saints feel the fire, yet, ordinarily, fire hurts. But just here we are to glorify Him by our perfect faith in His goodness and love that has permitted all this to come upon us.

And more than that, we are to believe that out of this is coming something more for His praise than could have come but for this fiery trial. We can only go through some fires with a large faith; little faith will fail. We must have the victory in the furnace.

A man has as much religion as he can show in times of trouble. The men who were cast into the fiery furnace came out as they went in–except their bonds.

How often in some furnace of affliction God strikes them off! Their bodies were unhurt–their skin not even blistered. Their hair was unsinged, their garments not scorched, and even the smell of fire had not passed upon them. And that is the way Christians should come out of furnace trials—liberated from their bonds, but untouched by the flames.

Is there not something captivating in the sight of a man or a woman burdened with many tribulations and yet carrying a heart as sound as a bell? Is there not something contagiously valorous in the vision of one who is greatly tempted, but is more than conqueror? Is it not heartening to see some pilgrim who is broken in body, but who retains the splendor of an unbroken patience? What a witness all this offers to the enduement of His grace! (Streams in the Desert)

Faith is most accurately measured when tempted to cower before insurmountable odds and to relinquish hope in the shadow of the paralyzing question, “Why?” Created in the image of the Almighty and recreated by the resurrected King of Kings, how dare I bow beneath the weight of worry and fear? A defeated believer is an oxymoron; Christianity was never intended as a defensive posture. Jesus says as much when he declares that the gates of hell will not prevail against his Church. The better translation of “shall not prevail” in Matthew 16 is “shall not withstand.” The Church marches relentlessly forward, and the forces of evil cannot withstand her onslaught. “Think about the picture here. Jesus says the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. Now tell me, how do gates prevail? When have you ever seen gates on the march? They don’t attack. They fortify. They are there to hold their ground. That’s all. Hell is not on the offensive, brothers and sisters. The church is on the offensive. The church is marching into all the hells in this world, ready to reclaim every square inch for Christ. And when we storm the gates of hell, Christ promises that we cannot fail” (Kevin DeYoung).”

Make no mistake about it, we are at war. “Moral relativity is the enemy we have to overcome before we tackle atheism” (C. S. Lewis). The great news about the Good News is that the battle is the Lord’s and we are on the winning side. Fulfill your birthright; advance under the banner of our victorious King.

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