Trials, but Joy   We all have read the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the book of Daniel.  What a reply to Nebuchadnezzar they gave in Daniel 3:16-27.  “We have no need to answer thee in this matter.”  They came out of the furnace without even the smell of smoke. Many ministers are going through “trials of their faith” as spoken of in 1 Peter 1:6-8.  As we go on with the Lord, God purifies our faith by inescapable fire.  The Lord is after the purifying of the faith of His people in this time of transition.  Don’t be overly concerned about the enemy, the circumstances, and the trials.  The Lord is using them to perfect that which concerns Him and us.  The Lord desires the glory of God to be seen in us. My friends, through it all there will be a settled confidence in the heart and a greater integrity in our walk with the Lord.  Our concern is to be our relationship with the Lord, not the fire or trials.  The fire will only consume the bands that restrict us and mar our life and testimony.  The three young men in the furnace came forth in greater fellowship with the Lord.  Their knowledge of God’s ways increased.  The Son of God was with them.  They came out of the fire without being harmed in any way.  Praise the Lord! The enemy wants to consume us in the fire, or at least mar us or put the smell of smoke on us.  That draws attention to us rather than the Lord.  But the Lord desires to bring us forth with “joy unspeakable.”  1 Peter 1:8 says, “Whom having not seen, you love.  Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”  He desires us to say, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me.”  (see Isaiah 61) Don’t let the enemy rob you of the joy by keeping the smell of smoke upon you.  By God’s grace you can come through the hard places with “joy unspeakable and full of glory!” The trial of your faith is precious.  Isn’t it our desire to have a personal pure faith to receive all God has?  Don’t focus on your wavering feelings, but on Jesus.  He will never release His grip on you.     Because of Calvary,     Pastor Jay T. Francis 2/14