Tag Archives: fire

Little Red Hen

Father, my heart is heavy this afternoon. A wonderful woman from one of my churches is in the midst of her last days with us. You will be welcoming her home soon. Watch over the family and hold them close. Amen.

Matthew 23:37-39 (<<click to read the passage)

As a child, I remember a series of books that were meant to communicate a theological message to children. They had big full-color pictures which I loved.

One I have thought of off and on over the years was called The Little Red Hen. The story is about a little red hen that, sensing danger from an onrushing prairie fire, gathers her chicks beneath her, losing her own life in the fire, but protects her brood from harm. One little chick that did not come to the mother is lost.

Of course, the lesson that is communicated is that Christ did the same for us, giving His very life that we might be saved.

Reading these verses brought it to mind again. The header over this passage in the New Living Translation is Jesus Grieves over Jerusalem. The Amplified Bible’s header reads Lament over Jerusalem. Lament is defined as a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. Jesus’ heart breaks for us. He longs (can I emphasize that word any more?) to gather us together under His protective wings. He loves us more than we can even begin to comprehend but so, so many refuse to find comfort there. But, truly, who knows us better than He?

Once again Ephesians 1:4 speaks volumes,

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

Lord, help us to be drawn to You. May we understand that the greatest of comfort and protection is found in Your loving embrace. Amen.

Oct 22nd, 2018, Mon, 3:29 pm

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 on 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 separate 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,  2015, 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

Lead Me

Today is a sluggish day, Father. I am weary and none to motivated. Help me to focus and accomplish what You would have me to. May I think clearly and act decisively. I give myself over to You. Amen.

In preparing for this past Sunday’s worship service, Lord, you brought to my mind a hymn that I remember from my childhood. It is entitled, God Leads Us Along, and it was written by George A. Young in 1903. Here are the lyrics,

In shady, green pastures so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along.
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,

God leads His dear children along.

Refrain:
Some thro’ the waters, some through the flood,
Some thro’ the fire, but all through the blood.
Some thro’ great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright,
God leads His dear children along.
Sometimes in the valley in darkest of night,
God leads His dear children along.

Though sorrows befall us and Satan oppose,
God leads His dear children along;
Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes,
God leads His dear children along.

Away from the mire, and away from the clay,
God leads His dear children along;
Away up in glory, eternity’s day,
God leads His dear children along.

(Here’s a nice arrangement by Travis Cottrell if you’d like to listen just click on the title, God Leads Us Along)

When I looked up those lyrics to put them in PowerPoint for worship a little story was attached.

Around 1942, Haldor Lillenas decided to track down George Young’s widow and find out more about this hymn. He got an address in a small town and, driving there, he stopped at a gas station to ask for directions. When the attendant saw the address, he said, “Why sir, that’s the County Poor House, up the road about three miles. And mister, when I say poor house, I really mean poor house!”

Not knowing what to expect, Lillenas made his way there. He found Mrs. Young, a tiny, elderly woman, in surroundings that were far from congenial. However, she radiated the joy of the Lord, and spoke of how He’d guided her and her husband over many years. Then, she exclaimed, “Dr. Lillenas, God led me here! I’m so glad He did, for you know, about every month someone comes into this place to spend the rest of their days…So many of them don’t know my Jesus. I’m having the time of my life introducing them to Jesus! Dr. Lillenas, isn’t it wonderful how God leads!”

Lord, I am grateful that You lead me. Keep me close by Your side. Amen.

July 13th, Thurs, 11:02 am

Cold World

It is a beautiful morning, Father – another gracious gift, one of an incalculable number of gifts, from Your almighty hand! All praise to my God and Creator! Amen!

Regardless of where we live, north or south, or the season in which we find ourselves, we live in a cold, cold world. So much pain and suffering, so much hate and violence, so much selfishness and greed – we are all chilled to the bone. Sin does that. We, in and of ourselves, can do nothing about it. We are condemned to suffer in a meaningless existence, frozen to the core.

I know it is spring – at least where I live – but all of John’s talk of love has brought this cold to mind.

I don’t recall meeting anyone who did not enjoy a crackling fire. In a fireplace inside or a fire ring outside, there is just something about a fire that draws you in. It is inviting. It is comforting. Regardless of gender, race or age, we like to sit and watch it do its thing, we enjoy basking in its warmth.

Love – real genuine love – does the same thing.

Lord, You are the source of all love, for You are love. 1 John 4:8, 16

“This is real love – not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” v16

“We know how much God loves us, and we put our trust in his love.” v16

“We love each other because he loved us first.” v19

Lord, I may live in a cold, cold world but the fire of Your love within me dispels the cold. Cold has no power of its own – it cannot recreate itself. In actuality cold does not exist, it is merely the absence of heat. May I radiate the heat – the love – that you have placed within me. May I be a comfort to those in need, to the lost, the hurting…and the frozen. May they be drawn to You through me. And may they welcome Your fire in themselves so the cold may be banished in their lives, as well. Amen!

May 16th, Tues, 6:26 am

Not Consumed

Father, as I sit here with You this morning I am watching the fire as it dances about in the stove. It has an alluring beauty but as the minutes tick by the wood once whole and solid is consumed. Yes, it is used up, but in doing so it gives heat to the whole house. We prepare the wood by cutting and splitting and stacking and covering it, when these have been done, the wood is ready to serve. We have invested time and energy in getting it ready but until it is set aflame, it accomplishes nothing. If it is not used, over time outside factors, insects, fungus, and moisture will render it useless.

Lord, each of us was created for a purpose. We have been prepared, by Your hand, to serve as You see fit but, unlike the wood, we can choose to not be used. All that You have invested in us comes to naught.

We fear the fire…but unlike wood, we are not consumed, we are refined. The impurities in our lives are burning away as we are exposed to Your holy fire. It does not destroy us but brings us closer to what we were created to be. The sin of the world is purged and wholeness, found only in You, is restored.

Lord, more often than I care to admit, I can say with the Puritan writer, “I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself; I have no green shoot in me nor fruit, but thorns and thistles…” But I also, as he, can proclaim,

“Help me in all my doings to put down sin and to humble pride.
 Save me from the love of the world and the pride of life,
     from everything that is natural to fallen man,
         and let Christ’s nature be seen in me day by day.”

Amen.

Jan 5th, Thurs, 7:10 am