Daniel 3:18 We are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.
Reign Supreme - Persevere and overcome
I WILL BOW TO NO ONE!!!
Worship on this Sunday was different. Heritage UMC is a small congregation housed on property near Heritage Middle & High schools – I have been there before for a student’s mom’s funeral and for a Stephen’s Ministry training meeting, but today was a first time for Sunday worship service. A familiar friend who attends there greeted me with the words, “Have you been here before? It will be different.” Even for those who are regular attendees there, it must have been “different” today because their pastor, Rev. Louis Carr, had invited a young man from the membership to preach today, Payton Carter.
Casually clothed, fresh and energetic, this young man was engaging in his message to the multi-generational audience. Relating stories from his own short life with simple illustrations about Warheads candies and hover craft boats, he explained the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in terms of today. God will deliver us – sometimes he shows his power in a mighty way – sometimes his deliverance is by saying no to what we think we want – sometimes his deliverance is through people around us that he sends to reach out and help us. How many times have we turned away from God’s answer to our prayers because it came in a form we did not recognize?
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were young men of the Jewish nation living in captivity in Babylon. In their current culture, the habit was that when certain music sounded they were to fall down and worship the golden image of the king. Word got around to the authorities that they were defying this expected behavior. When they were brought before the king and given “one last chance”, they held to their personal convictions to persevere and overcome “the madness” around them. “I will not bow down!” They stated their trust in the one supreme God who had the power to deliver them. And even if He did not deliver them from the fiery furnace, they still refused to worship the statue of the king. We know the rest of this story – God showed up in a mighty way and a fourth being (Jesus?) was seen with them in the blaze. When the king called them out they did not even smell like smoke!
After a wonderful family birthday meal for my sister (the chica) at Anameia’s I came home to put on my loungewear and park myself in front of sports of afternoon TV, computer planted in my lap. Browsing Facebook friends’ posts I found the YouTube posting (above) from a friend (one of Travis’ childhood friends) who is a handsome young man in his twenties. His post caught my attention because the words fit the theme of today’s sermon…when I listened to the song (only part of it – I couldn’t stick with it through the whole thing) my first thought was that the sound of angry, screaming music was far from the message. But wait, maybe not so much! Why are these young singers angry – is it our society that worships images of Hollywood beauty or gives so much power to the gold of the rich elite? Do we go along with the expectations of the masses? Do we get sucked in to pop culture? Do we ignore needs around us while we insulate and protect ourselves?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Please help us to recognize you when you send us guidance. Give us confidence in your power to deliver us from things we fear. Help us to help each other. We will bow down only to you.
P.S. (added later in the night) isn’t it interesting that the U.S. special ops took out Osama bin Laden today – my musings of not bowing down? I’m thankful for the Special Forces and the others who work together to persevere against the forces that would like to destroy us.