Rekindling the Fire

Yesterday, as I was listening to a Christian radio program in the car, the guest speaker made a quote, which fascinated me. He was quoting from a French Commander in World War I named Ferdinand Foch (1851 – 1921). Ferdinand was asked what he believed to be the most powerful weapon in the world. He replied, “The most powerful weapon in the world is a soul on fire.”

This quote made me consider the state of my own soul. I asked myself: is my soul on fire? Does it show? Why or why not?

CampfireYou see fire is not a neutral element. In many ways, it’s alive without it being a living being. Fire can either be used for a person’s benefit (such as warming a home or cooking a meal) or it can become a force of destruction (like burning a house down or large areas of forest).

Fire also spreads when lit. Many of you probably remember the commercial on TV featuring Smokey the Bear, warning young viewers to make sure that they completely put out their campfires. A small smouldering ember, if not extinguished properly, could flare up again into a flame. That small flame would then spread to the surrounding vegetation and it would only be a matter of time before acres of forest are engulfed in an inferno.

Therefore, in a biblical sense, a soul on fire for God is an incredible weapon! A Christian on fire will cause decimation to the enemy’s camp; it will also revive and bring spiritual warmth to other believers, inflaming their souls to live for God with everything they have.

So I ask the question again: is my soul (or yours) on fire for God? If not, what happened to put the spark out?

I have to confess that many times my soul is just smouldering with the remnants of what once was a bright fire for God. I have allowed the muck of this world to encrust the “feet of my soul” and I have not taken the time to clean it off by communicating with my Father in heaven through the reading of the Scriptures and prayer. As time goes by, I lose my love that I had for Jesus.

So what should we do to “re-flame” the soul? Work harder at it? Try to spark the flame by our own efforts? These approaches will be as successful as trying to rub our hands to create a spark.

So what should we do then? We are to return to the source of the fire. Hebrews 12:29 mentions that “our God is a consuming fire.” Therefore, we have to go back to God and warm our soul in His presence through prayer and meditating on His word. Reach out and touch Him and watch our soul burn bright and clear once again! Love Jesus again as when we first believed in the gospel. This rekindling of our soul can only be accomplished through faith in Jesus as instructed in Colossians 2:6-7: “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”

I remember reading an interesting story written by Leonard Ravenhill. He writes about a young maid who worked in a mansion in England many years ago. Her job every morning was to light the fireplaces in each room. This was laborious work because every stately room had fireplaces since central heating was not yet invented. As she did so, she prayed a simple prayer as she lit each fireplace. She prayed that just as she lit every fireplace, may the Lord light her soul on fire for Him. May this be our prayer as well. Let us have souls on fire for Jesus and become a powerful weapon for the cause of the gospel!

 

My Future is Secure in Christ!

Here is an article I wrote at 750words.com in October 2013. This site is for people to practice their writing skills up to 750 words; therefore, this blog may appear to be rambling on and moving in different directions. When I showed it to my wife, she liked it so much that she told me I should post it on the blog. So here it is. Enjoy!

fatherholdingbabieshandRight now, outside the office window, is an interesting sight. Torrey came into my room to tell me that the gas station across the street had a gunman and the police are there to apprehend him. I look outside and sure enough there are a couple of police cars, one unmarked police car, and a fire truck. Wow! Torrey was not kidding when he said that this site across our church building is a common place for altercations and accidents.

While this was going on, my first reaction was one of fear. After all, my window faces the gas station and the last thing I would want is a bullet come through and, well…you get the picture. As humans, we never seem to be aware of our own mortality until it shows up at our door, looks intently into our face and tells us, “are you ready?”

God was right (of course). In Ecclesiastes it says that a person’s death is more important than his or her birth. The text then says that it is better to go into the house of mourning than to a house of partying because death is the end of every man and they will take it to heart. It is at funerals that people are forced to face their mortality and the question as to where they will spend eternity. God has made the heart in such a way that they cannot escape that question. They may deny it, they may quench it and they may use substances or other means to ignore and push it out of their minds; but there is always a day they will have to face that eternal question.

So back to the fiasco outside my window. Why am I afraid to die? I do not believe it is the fear to die; my future is secure in Christ. I believe it is the fact that I will leave behind my wife and child. That is well meaning and admirable. But in consideration, isn’t it also an act of fear? Are they not in a better situation being entirely in God’s hands than my own (not that they are never in His care even with me being alive)? Or is there a semblance of fear in dying because I will miss “what’s next” here on earth? Maybe…maybe not. In this, I need to search out my own heart and seek God’s grace.

As I look outside my window, the gas station activity is back to normal. The police are gone and the crowds have dispersed. Things appear as if nothing ever did happen.

In many ways, the end of the age will be similar. The Bible talks about that when the final battle is done (between Satan and the deceived nations against the new world capital, Jerusalem), God will burn up the old earth and heavens, eradicating any reminder of sin and rebellion and replacing it with a new planet and new heavens. It will be, just like the gas station outside, as if nothing had ever happened. The only reminder that there was a broken world with a broken humanity is by looking unto the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. There we will still see the scars on His hands and feet and the pierced side, a forever reminder that it took the death of God the Son to redeem a fallen creation.

How ungrateful I am at times! I take His sacrifice for granted and have become so familiar with the sacred that I have lost the wonder and the heart of worship of it all. Oh how I need to recapture that awe. But how? I need to go back to that hill called Calvary, see the innocent One become the sacrifice for the guilty. I need to see my backpack of sin placed on Him as He receives the just punishment for my load. The load is heavy and extensive. And here I am living the life of peace and righteousness that He exchanged for my sin. I am able to have a relationship with the Saviour and more than that; I can now approach the Almighty God and call Him “Abba.” I can come and hear Him say to me, “Come…enter into my presence, righteous one.” Humbling…frightening…and now I want to cry. Because there is only one word that can describe this act of sacrifice…LOVE.

 

Embracing the “Thorns” in Our Lives…

Here is something I had written in my journal a few months ago. This should give the reader an idea about what my blog posts will be like.

 Thorn

“I know who you are and I don’t like you! Put me through to your CEO ‘cause I don’t feel like talking to you!”

This is how the customer on the other end responded when I answered the phone in the call center at my job. I have dealt with this customer before. Annie (not her real name) has something against me because of something I said (or how I said it) a few years ago. This is not the first time she has responded to me in this manner.

I continued to remain polite and transferred the call. A few minutes later, Annie calls back, infuriated that she was connected to me again, and demanded to speak to someone else. I mentioned that I was the only one on call, which seemed to be the signal for Annie to erupt in making insults and condemnation upon my head. She then slammed the phone down.

I sat at my desk, staring at the phone in disbelief. Even though this is a job, it is tough when you are at the receiving end of harsh verbal barbs – even more so when you’re not quite sure why you deserve it.

Afterwards, anger replaced shock, which later transformed into indignation and hatred. My Adamic predisposition was kicking in again in all its sinful ugliness. But I had to remember who I was in Christ and put the old self back in the grave!

After work, while traveling home, I questioned in my heart as to what purpose God would be using this in my life. I then remembered a small portion from the book “The Calvary Road” by Roy Hession. The author explained how God allows different circumstances and even people into His children’s lives to work out death in the flesh (essentially doing the work of the Cross in our lives). Then, by God’s grace, as we choose to yield to Christ each time, Jesus’ life would shine through our cracked selves. In many ways, it’s Galatians 2:20 coming to life:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (NASB)

So I thanked God for her. I thanked God that in His sovereignty He put Annie in my life to be a thorn in my side for the purpose of preventing me from exalting myself (although unlike Paul, I had no heavenly visions – see 2 Corinthians 12:1-6). Through it all, I am learning to see that God’s grace is more than sufficient. For when I am weak, then I am strong! (2 Corinthians 12:10f)