16. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” 19. Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20. and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. (Daniel 3:16-20 NIV)
It has been said: “If life throws you lemons, make lemonade”. I’ve also heard this other saying: “If someone throws you rocks, build an altar”. What I’ve interpreted from these common sayings, is that it doesn’t matter how the vicissitudes of life or the world treats you, if it’s either sweet or sour, make the best of it. Nonetheless, it is indispensable to understand that life, in its different facets, whether in marriage, work, leadership, ministry, obtaining a degree, building a team, embracing change or transitioning; it’s not just so easy as making lemonade or even building an altar. It requires more than that! Therefore, there are at least three things or qualities perhaps, that I would like to share with you, that you'll need to overcome in any endeavor, task, downturn, challenge or consequence in life; these are Courage, Confidence, and Decision.
This narrative tells us about three distinctive young Hebrews slaves in Babylon, who were far from home and separated from their families and their Jewish customs. While in captivity, the Babylonians changed their names, and they were forced to do many other things. But something they could not change in them or forced them to do, was their hearts and much less their faith in God. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn't adapt to the Babylonian world, although they changed their names, and even dressed like them, and even spoke their language, they didn't adapt in the sense of serving their gods or practicing the customs that offended The Lord. And when they were challenged by Nebuchadnezzar, to deny their faith, these three young men stood up firm and showed courage, confidence in God, and decision for they were determined to overcome no matter what.
1. Courage. (Daniel 3:16) "We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter".
What a courage! Courage to stand firm in their beliefs. They didn't fall and worship the image, those are pants! Courage to respond or reply to the king like this, that was dangerous, they could get killed. They had no right to speak or reply to the king in this manner. But these young men were very brave and courageous to do what they needed to do. In the same way, God needs courageous people, a brave young generation of leaders, overcomers that will not bow down to sin, temptation, the world, problems, circumstances, challenges, etc. And, even putting it in terms of Christianity, the Bible tells us that from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of Heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it. (Matthew 11:12 NVI) In other words, church, ministry, every blessing and anything that has to do with the kingdom of God, if you want it, if you want to become part of it, achieve it, you will need courage.
2. Confidence. (Trust in God, full trust) (Daniel 3:17) "The God we serve".
They knew the God of Israel, the God of their fathers, but not just that, they even served Him. These young men knew that He was a jealous God and that He would not tolerate idolatry. They had experienced the hand of God giving them grace and favor before. They also knew that God honors those who honor Him (1 Sam. 2:30). Therefore, they trusted in the Lord and did not obeyed Nebuchadnezzar’s orders, neither were they intimidated by him. They trusted blindly in the Lord. In life, ministry or whatever endeavor we might be in, when it comes to difficulties, struggles or any hardship, God requires that we also have confidence and trust in Him. In one occasion, Jesus told his disciples: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV). No matter what comes or what happens, no matter the challenge, nothing shall move your faith and trust in God. There will be difficult moments in life, complicated situations where only your faith, trust, and confidence in God will help you overcome.
3. Decision. (Daniel 3:18) "We will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
They were determined! It will not happen this time, nor another time. It was not that they were weird, they were just different, they were determined men of decision. And even when the king ordered the furnace to be seven times hotter than usual. That didn't make their mind change. They were determined and no one would change them. This is just a great example of determination and decision making. The Bible says that they were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. (Daniel 3:28 NIV). Consequently, God honored them for this brave act. They were not consumed, not even their hair singed nor smell of fire in them, their clothing was intact, only the bonds were burned.... God needs determined and decided people. Life is full of a number of decisions, such as: deciding on a boyfriend or girlfriend, job offers, school, career, how to deal with a difficult boss, and even perhaps complicated situations that involve temptation, sinful and lusty offers from friends and peers from school or work. Some of these decisions are and will be difficult and complicated; but in the end, you have to decide and you have to decide well. Because you will end up paying the consequences of any taken decision. You'll have to make a decision and say "no", and risk it. Esther said: “If I perish, I perish”. (Esther 4:16)
Life, ministry, leadership and career are not easy. The fight is real. The struggle is real. And unfortunately, we will have to face the different vicissitudes of life. On the other hand, there’s also a spiritual world, an evil one, where we will encounter sinful currents, immoral acts, and much more. Therefore, if you want to overcome in the different realms of life, you will need to show and reveal at least these three qualities that overcomers model; courage, confidence and decision.
Rev. Ramiro Camero Jr. is an Assemblies of God Ordained Minister. He actually is the Executive Pastor/ Youth Pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Emmanuel, in Laredo, TX. He serves under the leadership of Pastor Jose Luis Renteria and helps in organizing, leading and ministering the congregation. Camero is a graduate of Texas A&M International University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He also holds a bible or theological degree. Ramiro actually is the Assistant District Youth Director of the Texas Gulf Hispanic District of the Assemblies of God. He is also the founder and director of YLA (Young Leaders’ Academy), a mini school on site program designed to equip and mentor actual leaders or all of those interested in leadership. Ramiro has been in ministry and leadership for over a decade and has travel to more than 12 countries preaching the gospel in multiple events. Sporadically, Ramiro travels to speak in different events, as well as to give workshops to train leaders in different ways. He and his wife Daniela and their lovely daughter Daniella, live in Laredo.