Monday, June 19, 2017

Oh To Be On Fire - Take #2

Hey Friend,

In January, I chose a word to be my "watch word" or "guide word" throughout 2017. The word I chose was "Fire" - as in to be on fire for the Lord.  I thought it was fitting since, here we are six months into the year - the halfway point, to take a look to see just how God is working this out in my life.  

First let me share, from my January 2017 post, why I chose "Fire" as my word:

January 8, 2017
So this year, why "Fire"?  Perhaps it was because I was inspired by a quote by the great theologian John Wesley:

"Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn." - John Wesley

It made me think about my I live with a passion - a love for Christ - that is so intense that people would say that I'm on fire for the Lord?  

My greatest desire is that a (wo)man would look at my life, and the passion they saw would point an arrow directly to God.  I want it to be unmistakable just Who is the love of my life. 

Jesus, himself, said that half-hearted, lukewarm, indifferent Christians make Him literally sick to His stomach.  So much so, that He would spit them out of His mouth.  

Is that me?  Do I call myself a Christ follower, but yet have no fruit that would testify to the blood of the Spirit coursing through my veins?

So here we are in June already and I find myself sitting on my butt for six weeks unable to walk.  With a root canal, a fourth surgery recuperation, a bad fall, a case of the shingles, and an incision infection, I now find myself wondering if my foot will bear my weight when I hopefully start walking this week? 

Hmmmm.....doesn't exactly sound like I'm setting the world on fire.  

(Luke 24:32) And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

This down time has allowed me to spend a lot more time in God's Word - in His holy presence.  I have prayed and asked God to open my eyes to His heart through His Word and He has been faithful to do just that.

He has enabled me to read familiar scripture with new insight and fresh understanding. I literally feel His Word burning within me.  I know this would not have happened if I was in my usual rush around mode.  

When you can't go and move about, God can get your undivided attention.

It's kind of sad, on my part, that God has had to sideline me, not one, but four times with surgeries so that together we could stoke the flames of my heart.

Have you ever noticed there are several ways to put out a fire??

You can pour water on it.... (anger, bitterness, resentment)

You can smother it with something else..(idols, other interests, substitutes)

You can remove the fuel....(reading the Bible, practicing the presence of God)

or You can neglect it....(busyness, hurrying around, doing rather than being)

I'm probably guilty of all four at different times, but I know that I was neglecting my fire.  I wasn't poking it - prodding God's Word, digging deeper into what I was reading, questioning and bringing my doubts before Him, asking for answers that went below the surface.

In doing this, God opened my eyes to a new ministry - that of "Ministry born of suffering".  In no other time of my writing have I received more personal emails and notes of encouragement from those who have suffered, who are suffering, and those who are struggling with the isolation born out of suffering.

I look at Jesus, and I realize that so much of His ministry was born out of His suffering.  So how, if I am to grow up into the likeness of Christ, can I avoid suffering?  It just isn't possible.

So, I guess you could say that my passion has been reignited.  God has used this time out to turn up the heat.  

I hope that by drawing into Him, He will cause my flame to burn more brightly and with greater intensity.  I don't know if people will come from miles around to watch me burn, but I know that without this time in God's presence, my flame would have surely burned out.

How is your flame burning?  Would you say you are "on fire" for God?  If not, what's putting out your flames?  What do you think God is calling for you to do or not do?

Dear Heavenly Father,  Forgive me for when I get to scurrying about and I neglect to spend time in Your presence and in Your Word.  Help me to realize that if my flame is to burn brightly for You, I need to be diligent about setting aside time for our relationship.  Thank you that You are a God who cares more about relationship than "Do's" and "Don't's".  Give me a passion to know Your heart more deeply so that I may be a witness to others.  Help me to embrace suffering in my life and to use it to minister to others who are also suffering.  Continue to encourage me to grow and mature and build me up into the likeness of Your holy Son.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed....and be sure to Subscribe to my blog if you want to be certain not to miss my weekly posts.