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But it is a fire, Jesus!

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  (Philippians 4:8 NLT)
In a time with so much negative input through media of all sorts, it is imperative that we not lose our perspective on just exactly who remains in control. It has never ceased to be Jesus - for he holds all things together by his word. It has never once veered from the course of justice - for his reign demands nothing else. We can get caught up in the hype of the moment, distracted by all the violence and protests, or we can redouble our efforts to remember God is able to turn the circumstances of even the worst imaginable conclusion into something no one ever expected. 
Don't believe me? I would only have to remind you of a very hot, fiery furnace of old, where four men were planned for their final fate. The day they stepped into the furnace, the fires were stoked to astronomical proportions. What should have consumed them actually didn't even scorch them! Why? God was in the midst of them and he never forgot that his purpose was something greater than anything they could possibly have imagined!
In terms of "getting through" what seems to not be heading in the right direction, I'd have to point us back to our passage today. In these times of confusion, chaos, and calamity - turn to what is true, honorable, right and pure. Refuse to see only the ugly and look deeply to find the lovely and admirable - it is there - we may just have to look for it in unexpected places! Life is lived well when we refuse to focus on what seems unlikely to change - for all change is a result of someone being willing to focus on what is true, brings honor, stands morally and spiritually right, and is pure through and through!
That chaos and calamity might be what you see around you in our country right now. It could also be what you see in the shambles of broken and disappointing relationships. It might even be the state of your financial condition, or the brokenness of your body as disease ravages it beyond what you believed possible. Regardless of our circumstantial "need", God is the one who brings us to center again. He is the one who restores balance - not through conventional means, but through the unconventional.
You see, God empties us before he fills us - otherwise we'd not have capacity. God opens us up to see what is broken before he shows us the way to our healing. He shows up in the circumstance, not as doubt or fear, but as truth and faith in the midst of the lapping flames of doubt and fear. He is revealed not in the chaos, but standing firm and true in the midst of it! As we walk steadily in the truth he reveals, we might see the flames closer than we'd really desire, but never forget he is in the midst of them - drawing us deeper into them, not away from them! Just sayin!


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