Tag Archives: fire

Refined

Father, it seems like everything else but what needs to be passing through my mind keeps crashing in. Help my focus to be on You and Your word. Amen.

1 Peter 1:6-7 (<<click here)

Being a Jewelry Supervisor for several years at Kohl’s has given me a fair amount of experience with gold. One thing I have learned is that there are many women who have allergic reactions if the gold is not pure enough. Just about everyone I have worked with that has this sensitivity is OK with 14kt gold. Kt refers to the gold’s purity. 14kt gold is good, too, because it is blended with other harder metals making it stronger. 24kt gold is the most pure but is too soft by itself to be practical.

I suppose someone could wear a chunk of gold right out of the ground but for it to be most usable it has to be refined. It is placed over intense heat and as it heats up impurities float to the top and are skimmed off. For gold to be most useful it has to be refined.

First of all, Lord, in Your sight I am way more valuable than any amount of gold. But for me to be useful to You I must be refined, as well. No one enjoys trials, myself included, but that is how we are refined. Peter says, “There is wonderful joy ahead” but we must go through trials for trials “will show that our faith is genuine.”

I must be made pure but by myself, I am too soft. I must be blended with You, Lord, for the strength to accomplish what You have for me to do. And in this life that means I must spend time with You daily.

Lord, I know trials are ahead – that’s life. Use them to make me more like You. May their fire bring out the impurities in me. Enable me to continue having the burning desire to be with You, to spend time with You so that I will be strong in You. You know what is best. Amen

Oct 19th, Wed, 7:11 am

A Single Spark

Father, You are the anchor in my life. You are what keeps me grounded. Thank You for Your presence. Thank You for Your patience. Thank You for Your love that is in constant pursuit of me.

James 3:2-12 (<<click here)

Every day is stock full of choices. Some are insignificant “what kind of cereal do I want today?” “Do I pick up that unsolicited phone call or let it go to voicemail?” In the grand scheme of things they don’t have a whole lot of impact.

But, Lord, some of the choices I make today can have far-reaching effects. Today’s passage addresses the tongue and throughout this day and every day I have to decide whether I will use it for good…or for evil.

One of many things that James compares the tongue to is fire. A single spark can set a forest ablaze causing much loss and destruction. But fire in and of itself is not Inherently evil. It just needs to be controlled. It needs to be contained.

A song from my youth comes to mind. “Pass It On” by Kurt Kaiser was written in 1969 and has been sung by many young people around glowing campfires at church camps and retreats.

The first verse is…

It only takes a spark
To get a fire going
And soon all those around
Can warm up to its glowing
That’s how it is with God’s love
Once you’ve experienced it
You spread His love to everyone
You want to pass it on

Fire can be a very good thing – we just have to be in control. Lord, may Your fire fill me. May my tongue be used by You to kindle a fire that will welcome those about me to gather round to feel Your warmth and love. Help me to use my tongue for the good.

Sept 9th, Fri, 6:47 am

Ember on the Hearth

As I’ve already seen one pastor comment, Father, in the midst of the cold (-1°F) we should come to You to warm our souls. I am so grateful that though this world may be a cold, cold place (not temperature wise but how people treat people) that we can come to You for a warm embrace of love and acceptance. Thank You for providing a way for our sins to be forgiven so that we can have a true and deep relationship with You!

Hebrews 2:1 (<<click here)

“…we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.”

Over the millennia many, many souls have blazed brightly for You, Lord. Their lives have served as beacons drawing others to You. They were fervent believers whose every aspect of life was guided by Your hand. And the world was forever charged!

But what is disconcerting is what inevitably happens as the torch is passed from generation to generation; the flame that once burned bright begins to diminish. The Gospel flame has never gone out (nor will it ever do so!) but it must be rekindled afresh in every generation.

If I pull an ember from my wood burning stove and lay it on the hearth it will continue to glow a bit but in a relatively short period of time it will grow cold. On its own, all by itself if cannot maintain its heat. But if I take place the ember back in the stove amongst the coals it will once again begin to glow.

You, Lord, are our only source for the eternal Gospel flame. Your presence in our lives is what keeps the Church aflame, if we “drift away” from You, there will be dire consequences.

First of all, Lord, I pray that I will stay close to You. My heart’s desire is to seek out Your will for my life each and every day. Help me to not grow cold. Help me to burn bright as I interact with You. Help my warmth and light draw others to You. May others be set ablaze because they have been touched by Your fire coursing through me!

Secondly, Lord, I pray for those “embers” who are sitting on the hearth. They may be cooling down or they may be stone cold. May they be reminded of the necessity of ongoing contact with You. May their souls be discontent until they are once again in Your presence. Help them to see that it is of utmost importance to maintain a relationship with You. Help them to make it a top priority in their lives. Draw them to You, Lord.

Lastly, I would pray for those who have never known the warmth of Your love – not because it has not been extended – but because they have not known what it was. Draw them to You as well. Use me; use others who are burning with a love and passion for You to touch them for You.

Help us to keep the fire burning and to pass the torch!

Feb 14th, Sun, 6:22 am

Bleed Love

Once more, Father, I give this day over to You. Thank You for being at the helm of my life. Yesterday, I know You were with me. You guided my thoughts, enabling me to live out Your will in my life. You enabled me to be kind when I wanted to be short. You helped me side step temptations. You granted my strength when I was weary. I am truly blessed…

Philemon 1-7 (<<click here)

Before Paul brings up the reason for this piece of correspondence with Philemon, he affirms who Philemon is. He is a good guy. He has a reputation of living out Christ’s love. He’s not just a talker – he’s a doer.

Lord, many of us can talk a good talk but when it comes to living it out…it’s not so easy. There are times in even good people’s lives when our goodness seems to wear thin and it would be so much easier to lash out. And what’s crazy is that it doesn’t have to be some major altercation that tempts us to snap.

Just yesterday, a customer was looking for a silver chain and she said something, that for whatever reason, I took exception to. In my heart and mind anger flared up. In reality it was trivial – so trivial that I can’t even bring what she said to mind less than 24 hours after it was said. But Lord, thanks to You, I quickly doused the fire checked my attitude and served her as she deserved, with love and respect.

In this situation goodness prevailed but I’m sorry to say that although this is the norm, that it is not always my response. If I am weary or if my toes get stepped on enough times in a row or for that matter if certain “buttons” get pushed, I can snap and lash out. I can say things that don’t need said. I do things that don’t need done! And once things are said and done they cannot be unsaid and undone.

Lord, I pray that more and more Your love will prevail in my life. Fill me so full of Your love that if I do get poked or prodded that though it may draw blood that all I will bleed is love… being more like You each and every day.

Feb 9th, Tues, 5:52 am

Thou Shalt Not Quench!

Father, I am sorry it has taken me a while to get here this morning. I do enjoy our time together and I greatly benefit from it. By no means am I in tip-top shape spiritually and I surely need these morning “spiritual” calisthenics. Thank You, Father, for Your patience. Help me to be more disciplined and diligent.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 (<<click here)

The New Living Translation translates this verse to read “Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.” Many other translations use the word “quench” instead of stifle. At least in my mind, Lord, “quench” helps me think further down the line.

Holy Spirit, You often associated with fire in the Bible (i.e. Pentecost) and although You are inextinguishable I can put up barriers that interfere with my perception of Your will. I can (and do) obscure Your light.

Mathew Henry’s concise commentary puts it quite clearly; The Holy Spirit works as fire, “by enlightening, enlivening and purifying the souls of men. As fire is put out by taking away fuel, and as it is quenched by pouring water, or putting a great deal of earth upon it; so we must be careful not to quench the Holy Spirit by indulging carnal lusts and affections, minding only earthly things.”

This short passage and Henry’s commentary in it speaks volumes but Lord help me to see some of the big issues in my life that should be addressed.

“taking away fuel”– if I miss our time together each morning I am missing an opportunity to add more fuel to the fire – good solid “hard wood” that will burn for hours – keeping me focused on You.

“pouring water”“indulging carnal lusts and affections” – I quench Your influence and work in my life by obstructing my contact with You. You are always ready and willing to help me and interact with me. I am the one who does things that separates us. I “pour water” on our relationship when I do other things contrary to your will.

By “minding only earthly things” I am “putting a great deal of earth” upon what you are trying to do in my life – once again quenching You.

“Earthly things”, many out of necessity control my life – work, taking care of home and body, maintaining vehicles. But many things are non-essentials, that are fine in moderation but can take too much time if I’m not careful – TV, games on my phone, Facebook, to name a few.

Lord, help me to fuel the fire. Help me to do the things to expose myself to the things that keep the warmth of Your love radiating into my life. Holy Spirit, purify me with the fire of Your presence. Amen

August 5th, Wed, 6:43 am

Since entering the pastorate in the United Methodist Church I have come to really appreciate the hymn “Nothing Between” – it fits well here. I discovered this rendition on YouTube – Neville Peter does a wonderful job!

♪♫♪ Nothing Between / I Surrender All ♫♪♫

Nothing between my soul and the Savior,
Naught of this world’s or my fondest dream;
I have renounced sin and all of its pleasure;
Jesus is mine, there’s nothing between.

Nothing between my soul and the Savior,
All my habits of life, though harmless they seem;
Must not my heart from Him ever sever;
He is my all, there’s nothing between.

I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Nothing between, not even my trials,
Though this old world against me convene;
Watching with prayer and much self denial,
Triumph at last, with nothing between.

I surrender all…

“Nothing Between” – Words & Music: Charles A. Tindley, 1905
“I Surrender All” – Words: Judson W. Van DeVenter, 1896
 Music: Winfield S. Weeden, 1896