The Sweet Smell of Victory

And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. (Daniel 3:27)

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

The men referred to in this scripture were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—friends of Daniel and servants of the Living God. When they refused to bow and worship King Nebuchadnezzar instead of the One True God, the king was enraged. The penalty for their rebellion was death by fire. King Nebuchadnezzar instructed his men to heat the fire seven times hotter than usual before throwing the three men into the pit. Surely this would quench his prideful rage and satisfy his wrathful vengeance.

The fire was so hot that the men responsible for throwing them into the blazing inferno burned to death as they approached the rim. However, something very different happened to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They fell into the fire, but they were completely untouched by it. They were not alone in the blaze. When King Nebuchadnezzar looked into the fire, he saw another man walking with them, and when they emerged from the fiery flames, the three men were totally unharmed!

shadrach meshach-fiery-furnance-360x513

Even when they were facing death by fire, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego never saw themselves as victims. They saw themselves as victors. They knew beyond any doubt that they were God’s and as such, they would prevail. The fire had no power on them. Even their hair and clothes were untouched. And perhaps most amazing of all, they didn’t even smell like smoke!

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we have a choice in every situation. Will we see ourselves as victims to the circumstances of life and react accordingly, or will we refuse the lie and choose to believe truth instead? As children of God, we have been made victorious through Christ. When we look to Him—the fourth Man in the fire, we will diffuse the sweet fragrance of Him, instead of the stench of smoke.  The fire may get hot, but it has no lasting power on you and me as children of the Living God!

If you find yourself in a difficult, hot mess today, choose to walk as a victor and trust the fourth Man in the fire. Stay in His protective embrace. Victors aren’t victors because they have never walked through a fire. Victors are victors because they choose to walk in Truth!    

– Jill

Jill is an author, writer, speaker, and teacher. In her book, No More Lies, Jill leads others through the same journey of biblical truth that brought her freedom and wholeness. Jill and her husband, Jimmy, are the founders of Transcend Ministries—a ministry dedicated to empowering the body of Christ and making disciples worldwide through teaching, writing, and evangelism. They reside in Colorado and have four amazing children—two daughters, a son, and a son-in-law. For more information or to order her book visit www.transcendministries.org.

Learn more about Jill Tomlinson here.

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I See You

Luke 12:35- “Be dressed in readiness and keep your lamps lit.” (New American Standard Bible)

(This is dedicated to Monica, thanks for your kind words.)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“Keep watch and don’t be caught off guard.” This sentence is one that resonates in my heart and mind each and every day. Why?  Because you never know who is looking to you to stay strong, so they might have a shoulder to lean on. Is this task easy? Not at all, but when we can see a man or woman practicing what they preach, it encourages us. It keeps us secure. It allows us to realize that truth does have a part in this world, and not everything is dimly lit. Why? Because we have the Divine Oil that keeps our lamps burning throughout the night, so others might be able to keep the path in sight. This life now becomes more than one individual—it becomes likened to a community of brothers and sisters who take care of one another. For the task held alone is not easy and the yoke is hard to bear; the reason why encouragement are the sobering words we ought to share.

#Godsway

Herbert writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here

A Sure Testimony

We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life.                   – 1 John 1:1-2 (New Living Translation)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

How many of us believe the current event stories we hear weekly on our radios, read in the papers and watch on television? Do you think the stories are accurate? Do you believe in the reporters? It requires some faith from us to believe in that news story and often times we tend to share it with others wherever our day may take us.

Led by the Holy Spirit, the disciple John (“the one whom Jesus loved”) felt it necessary to write this letter to the Christians living in a Roman empire who desired to exacerbate their faith daily. Many victories were won in the Christians surviving severe persecution but many were beginning to compromise their faith and conform to the world’s standards. False teachers were at an all-time high and the church was on a downward slide away from the Christian faith. The Christians began to grow complacent with the faith and a reminder was needed to encourage the believers to get back on track.

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This testimony from John was a sure testimony. There was no falsehood in his account. For he ate with Jesus, talked with him, heard many of his sermons and saw many of his miracles. John even stayed at the foot of the cross when Jesus was being crucified and never left his side. He wanted to assure true believers that they possessed eternal life and remind them that their faith was genuine so that they could enjoy all the benefits of being God’s children.

However, it would take them to truly live like Christians and not like the world. Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? – 2 Corinthians 6:14 For this kind of fellowship is exactly what weakens the Christian commitment, integrity, or standards.

1 John 2-6 walk as Jesus walked

A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ and “whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”-1 John 2:6  To walk today as Christ did we must obey his teachings and follow his example of complete obedience to God and loving service to people. My friend, I challenge you to remember the testimony that was once given to you that brought you into the family of God when you trusted in Jesus as your Savior. In fact, remember your own testimony that while you were yet still a sinner, Christ died for you. –Romans 5:8

Is that not a good enough reason to tell others of his great love? There’s more work to do and people are starving for the Gospel message that could save their souls. I pray that you will continue to share your faith and strengthen your testimony as you live in a right relationship with Jesus Christ. Amen. Be blessed.

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born in November of 1989 in Brooklyn, N.Y. His family later moved to Philadelphia, Pa., and he now resides in Limerick, Pa. In May of 2014, Jason obtained his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Professionally, Jason counsels persons who are homeless, parents, veterans, and others who suffer from various kinds of abuse. Although Jason’s career is Social Work, his spiritual passion is missions. Jason believes in actively answering the Great Commission call Jesus gave all Christians for the Gospel to be spread from person-to-person and nation-to-nation. Annually, Jason travels primarily to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year, Haiti Christianity, Inc., visits cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothing, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly, evangelization takes place. Jason is currently the organization’s public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively. To learn more about the organization for which Jason volunteers, please visit www.HaitiChristianity.org.