A bit on the serious side, but my thoughts today are more in keeping with the somber tone of this day in history, perhaps. We did a study in Daniel this summer with the youth staff, and in a recent meeting we were talking about the 3 possible scenarios that can happen when we go through "the fire." (Referencing the fiery furnace, parallelling life's trials.)
Scenario A: We can be delivered FROM the fire and the dividend is that our faith is BUILT. Scenario B: We can be delivered THROUGH the fire and the dividend is that our faith is REFINED.
Scenario C: We can delivered BY the fire straight into His arms, the dividend- our faith is PERFECTED.
I was thinking this morning about 9/11 and the reality of this Babylon that surrounds us- our culture- everything that tries to convince us that we really aren't captive. We're all in the fire at one time or another, and though you and I pray most often for Scenario A (who wants to go through a fire?), ANYof the 3 possible results are desirable outcomes. Remember there was a 4th in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. God doesn't leave us in there alone. And one of my favorite additions- as if coming out of there without being incinerated wasn't enough, it's noted that they didn't even smell like smoke! (3:27). What an idea- to be so focused on the one leading us through life's fires, that no one would even be able to tell we were touched by the Babylon that tries to consume us. Hmm...