We know God is with us, but I sometimes wonder, “Do we live like we know God is with us?” Oh if we lived in that assurance that whatever we face in life, God is with us, perhaps instead of fretting and stewing, we’d live life differently.
So many things niggle at our thoughts and draw us away from resting in God’s very real presence. It may be your busy schedule, worries about your kids, a disagreement with your spouse or all the unrest in the world. Whatever it is, do you know God is with you? You can face all life brings because God is with you and He hasn’t forgotten you. He will be with you no matter where you are in life too. Even when you are facing sickness or death, God is still with you, yes even at 105 and beyond.
Recently, I’ve been without a car, since March to be exact and I have been having to share with my husband. Now while that is not earth-shattering, it has been inconvenient, not to mention my husband’s vehicle has a lot of miles on it and there is always that thought in the back of my mind, “What if it dies too?” I’m reminding myself that, God knows and no matter what happens, He is with me. Most recently, our heating and cooling system in our house has been acting up. The technician says there is a slow leak somewhere. The cost to fix it is more than I want to pay right now especially since I’m saving for a car, but I remind myself, yet again, God is with me. He knows my struggles and yes, He has this figured out too. Now while my inconveniences and concerns about my finances are small potatoes in light of so many other things happening in our world and perhaps your world, I still find myself easily caught up in trying to figure all of these things out and forgetting that God most definitely is with me. He is with me through all of the bumps, detours and mud pits in life. He is with me in the hard choices and in the joys. He is with me when life is hard and I know He will be with you too.
What about when faced with hard decisions such as the decision to honor God or bow to something else? That’s what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were faced with. They remained true to God even though they knew what they were facing was not going to be easy. I wonder, how is it that they were able to make that decision with so much confidence? Was it their own strength they relied on to help them stand strong? No! It was because they knew who God is. They knew their God could help them, but even if He didn’t rescue them from the fire, I think they knew He would be with them in the flames and He was. When the king looked into the fire, He saw four men in the fire. One of those men was a heavenly being. Was it Jesus or an angel? I don’t know, but I do know God was with them.
The picture above of my great aunt Zola is testimony to God’s faithfulness through the years. Aunt Zola left this world for her final destination due to a fall in 2020 at 107 years old. All her life she lived with faith and faced life bravely. She lived knowing that her God was big and that He was with her. Even when she moved into the assisted living location that was her final home here on earth, she was actively living our her faith. She was lovingly referred to as “Pastor Zola” to many at the assisted living home she was at. When someone needed prayer, it was Zola they called for. She never forgot who God is and she never forgot that God was with her.
What about you? What are you fretting about or concerned over? Yes, life can be extremely hard. Circumstances overwhelm and yes, we must, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, make some hard decisions to stand for what’s right at times, but God is with us. It is His strength not our own that we are depending on. We can go to Him with all our life circumstances and we can go to Him when we need to be brave. Whatever you are facing today, go in His strength and remember He is with you.
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
I think I need this blog today more than my readers. I admit I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed. I have a lot on my plate right now, a lot of things calling for my attention and my problems seem bigger than any solutions I can even begin to come up with. I realize that in light of what is happening elsewhere in the world, my problems are so small. I haven’t lost a child, I have not been displaced from my home and I have plenty to eat. I am not facing a longterm illness which has me immobilized and I haven’t as of yet, had to make a decision to serve you or bow to a gold statue like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Even so, my puny problems have been looming large in my mind. Forgive me Lord, for not turning to you first when faced with problems. I know you are with me. As a parent and grandparent, Lord, I ask you to make my children brave a courageous in your mighty power. I know that in their own strength, many things might threaten to overpower them, but because you are strong and you are faithful. I know that they too can stand strong. May they learn to stand strong whatever comes their way. May they more than ever realize that you are with them. Teach us to always turn to you because you are with us. Amen
STANDING STRONG WHEN SOMEONE WANT US TO DO SOMETHING WRONG
* Applaud your children when they do make good choices and decisions, when they do stand for what they know is right rather than compromise because they are afraid.
* When I was a teenager, my mom used to tell me that if I was ever in a situation where my friends wanted me to do something that I wasn’t comfortable with and I didn’t know how to say, “No!” I could always blame her. I could always get out of it by saying, “My parents said, ‘No!’” Back your kids up and give them an excuse to stand up to others if needed.
* Set standards or values for your kids before uncertain situations arise. Guardrails so that your child knows where the boundary is at.
* Know what you believe and why you believe it. Know what things are truly important – the values you would stake your life on. Sometimes we get it backwards. We fight about trivial matters and we give in when we should stand strong. Ask God to help you know the difference.
* Jesus said that all of the commandments could be summed up in two – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and will all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself.” Stand strong, put God first -put Him above all else and treat others with respect, kindness and grace even if that means standing up to someone who isn’t being kind to others.
* Ask a friend to stand strong with you.
SHARE A STORY: Three Friends Face Fire – Daniel 3
One day King Nebuchadnezzar decided to make a BIG, gold statue. (Make a tower of blocks.) He wanted everyone to bow down and worship the statue. The king said, “When you hear music, you must worship this gold statue (Pretend to play music.) or you will be thrown into a hot fire.” When the music played, (Pretend to play again.) everyone bowed down and worshiped the statue. Everyone that is except for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The three friends knew God wanted them to worship Him not a gold statue! They knew a gold statue was not God! Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego trusted God. They knew God would be with them even if they had to go into the fire.
When the king’s other helpers saw that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t worship the gold statue, they went to tell the king right away. King Nebuchadnezzar was very mad. (Show mad face.) He said, “If you don’t worship the gold statue that I made, you will be thrown into a very hot furnace or fire!”
But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, our God can save us, but even if He doesn’t, we want you to know that we will not worship your gold statue. We will only worship God.” They were brave and trusted God no matter what. They were even ready to go into the fire instead of disobeying God. They knew God was with them.
The king was so mad! He made the fire even hotter. Oh no! That sounds very scary! (Look scared.) Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fire. Guess what happened next? When the king looked into the fire, he saw …. (Blink eyes like you are surprised.) Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego walking around and another man was in the fire with them! An angel! God protected them from the fire because they obeyed and depended on Him. And the king, well he had the three friends come out of the fire and he praised God too. (Say, “Yeah God!”) All because, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were brave and depended on God. They chose to worship God, not bow to a statue.
God will be with you wherever you go too, just like He was with the three friends. God will help you to be brave and do the right thing. He will help you remember to always worship Him and not other things. He will help you because He loves you and He is always with you.
MEMORIZE: Eph. 6:10 NIrV – (Hold hands like holding a book.)
Let the Lord – (Point upwards.)
Make you strong – (Show muscles.)
Depend on – (Clap hands.)
His (God’s) – (Point upwards.)
Mighty power – (Show muscles.)
I’m glad that I can trust you no matter what happens. I know that you love me and will be with me even when I’m afraid. Help me to be brave like the three friends in our story. I want to worship and love you with all my heart. Amen
KNOW: Shadrch, Meshach and Abednego depended on God and did the right thing. They worshiped God and nothing else.
TALK ABOUT: What can you do when you are afraid? What should you do when someone asks you to do something you know is wrong?
ASK: Who is always with you? God is always with me.
DO: Depend on God.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
- Have a picnic, barbecue or build a fire in your fire pit. Use your time outdoors to talk about fire safety with your kids. Encourage your kids to talk to God whenever they need help or are afraid.
- Build a block tower and think of one thing to praise or worship God for every time you add a block.