Monday, December 4, 2017

Revisiting "Fire" Again

Hey Friend,

Many of us choose a "watch word" or "guide word" for the year.  In 2017, my word was "FIRE" - as in I wanted to be "on fire" for the Lord.  I was captivated by a quote by 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?  I guess that's up to you to decide...

Lately, however, I have been reading the book of Zechariah and a different mental picture of fire has really stuck with me.  Zechariah shares eight visions that he has in the night.  This is happening during a time in which he has returned to Jerusalem and they are rebuilding the temple and the walls around it.

The temple is not yet finished, nor have the walls around Jerusalem been rebuilt.  Zechariah is calling God's people to re-inhabit the holy city, but I'm sure you can understand their trepidation.  Since the walls had not been rebuilt, Jerusalem was a defenseless city.  The people had every reason to fear their enemies in surrounding regions.  

But, here is what the Lord says that creates such a mental image in my mind in Zechariah 2:5:

"The declaration of the Lord:  'I myself will be a wall of fire around it, and I will be the glory within it.'"

God assures them that He will be their protector.  He will build a wall of fire around the city and His glory will shine within it.

There are many areas in my life where I feel pretty vulnerable.  The enemy knows my Achilles heel and where I am wide open to attack. Like the people in Jerusalem, I feel like a sitting duck. The words of this scripture give me a prayer to pray when I am feeling so vulnerable....

"Lord, be a wall of fire around me today."

Interestingly enough, I started this year wanting to be on fire for the Lord.  I wanted the Holy Spirit to set me ablaze for the glory of God.  Fire brings light in the darkness.  It brings clarity and lights a path for those who can't see where they are going.  I had visions of me being the one on fire.

Fast forward a year and here I'm reading about fire again, only this time, it is the Lord who is the wall of fire.  

Fire also provides protection.  It provides a shield that the enemy cannot penetrate or extinguish.

My vulnerability makes me very aware that I need the fire that the Lord provides more than He needs the fire I provide.  I know that God takes a very personal interest in me.  His love for me is not just's fierce.  His grace and mercy for me are not sappy,, they are furious.  God is continually waging a battle for me in the heavenlies that is nothing short of ferocious. 

He wants me to not just be a conqueror (I am victorious one day, but someone else is victorious the next), but to be MORE THAN A CONQUEROR (I am victorious and no one, no how, no way can take the victory from me).  This means that nothing can take away my prize won in battle.  The prize I have is salvation and the sacrifice in the battle, fought on my behalf, is His Son.  That's intense.

If you ever question just how much God loves you and to what lengths he would go to protect you from your enemies and those who wish to harm you.  Read Psalm 18 where David is crying out to the Lord and read, with what intensity, the Lord responds.....

I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.....

In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.

He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
    the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.[d]
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils....

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.
(Psalm 18: 1-2, 6-15, 16-19)

So what am I thinking after this year of "Fire"??  I'm thinking that ALL things are possible with God and apart from Him I can do nothing.  He chooses to set my heart and soul on fire for Him by the power of the Holy Spirit, but I must choose to continue to fuel and stoke the fire with the reading of, and meditating upon, His Word.  

It's not by my strength and not by my power that the fire burns brightly, but by the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord's fire will always burn more brightly than mine because He is God and I am not.  If there was ever any doubt about just how much God loves me (loves you), read this passage again.  If the enemy so much as touches a hair on my head he will awaken a fire breathing dragon that is jealous of the ones He loves.  He will protect me (you) with a wall of fire so great that our enemies and the enemy of our soul will cower at the sight.  

God will provide a fire so hot that no one will be able to pass through to harm me (you).  That's just how hot the fire of His love is for us.    

Dear Heavenly Father,  Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit that you have given me.  May you continually fan the flames of my heart so that others may see You when they look at me.  Even more than that, thank you for the fierce love you have for me that burns with an all consuming intensity.  Thank you for you grace and mercy that are furious in that nothing can stop them and they will never run out.  Thank you for your protection that is ferocious when anyone attempts to hurt me, your beloved child, in whom you delight.  Lord, work this truth deep into my soul so that I will never doubt for a moment your great, all consuming fire of love for me.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

What about you?  Do you believe that God loves you with this kind of intensity?  What makes you doubt His love for you?  Have you ever thought of His great love, grace, and mercy for you as fierce?  furious?  ferocious? Do you ever pray for God to build a wall of fire around you?  Do you believe He will if you ask?

Be blessed.....

Between recuperating from surgery and then battling pneumonia, I'm kinda tired.  I think I'm going to take a couple of weeks off and prepare my heart for Christ's coming as well as spend some time with family.  I'll be back after Christmas.  In the meantime, I invite you to browse the Archives for some titles that pique your curiosity.  

May you have a blessed Advent season and a joyous Christmas knowing just how much you are loved....