If You Can’t Stand The Heat…No, Seriously Stand it For Just a Bit Longer…

“…so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” 1 Peter 1:7

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God corrects us.  It may be painful.  It may sting a little…but it is always worthwhile.  I recall being corrected and disciplined as a child.  It wasn’t something I ever looked forward to, nor was it something I would want to do again, yet it provided me direction and it refined me as a human being.  

 

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When we accept Salvation for what it is – God’s grace imparted to us by Jesus Christ, we begin this transformational refinement.  Initial sanctification (what we know of to be accepting Jesus at the moment of Salvation) isn’t the end of our spiritual journey, it is only the beginning. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” At the first infant steps of our salvation we are shucking off our old sinful selves.  For some that transformation occurs quickly while others this gradual refinement of the old to the new takes a little longer.  The Holy Spirit does the prodding in us…the pleading, the yearning for us to recognize the unsurrendered bits and the road to complete submission.  The “new life” is not easy, nor is the transformational process.  Yet, through correction, conviction and purification by fire we can become cleansed and washed clean from our old lives.  

 

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There is pain at the altar of submission.  There is heartache and grief as we allow the prodding of the Holy Spirit to take root within us and allow Him to burn our old decay away.   The refinement of gold and other precious metals is hot work.  The solid must be melted down to its basic elements within the fire.  As the solid becomes liquid metal, piping hot and volcanic, the impurities begin to become visible.  Before these metals were melted down, the impurities were hidden and buried somewhere deep within…but now as the flame alters its state, these impurities can no longer be hidden.  These impurities are plain as day, floating on top of the hot metal ore. The one who has melted down the ore will then gently skim the surface of the precious metal and remove the impurities.  

So too the Holy Spirit longs to this work within us.  It is hot work.  It may burn a little.  We may groan under the heat of the flame, but what a difference it will make!  

 

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Questions:

Where are you right now on your spiritual journey?
Is the Holy Spirit trying to refine you?
Are you allowing Him access to you completely?  Or are you holding back? 
The old cannot be skimmed from your life if you aren’t willing to stand the heat of His Holy Fire. 
You are meant for so much more.  You are meant to be refined and cleansed.  You are God’s precious possession! 
He wants you all to Himself, but that cannot happen unless you are willing to be refined, and to do so requires your complete surrender.  

Stand the heat for just a little bit longer.  Let His flames consume you.  
Our purification within His holy fire will be ongoing, and we may have to surrender time and time again but what a peace it is to discover that we aren’t on this path alone.  

There is real peace in our surrender.  
There is real joy in His Holy fire.  
May His loving arms be on us ever
and complete submission – never tire.  

-Just a something more to ponder. 

“Catching Fire”…at Pentecost

“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.” -Acts 2:3

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The sequel to “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins hits theaters this weekend.  Some, who have already seen it, call it epic and amazing.  I’ve read the books and the tension and suspense within this story is truly heart pounding.  Without including any spoilers for movie goers, just know that Katnis Everdeen and Peeta Mellark  are once again thrust into the famous, yet brutal “hunger games” because President Snow fears that a revolution is at hand if these two champions continue to live.

Readers of the trilogy and critics alike have proclaimed this to be the new standard of fiction literature for young readers.  Though the themes are dark there is an underlying message of hope, resurrection and love.

The first to catch fire:

The disciples were unsure of what to do next, and so they prayed.  They prayed for the Lord to guide them.  They had witnessed His brutal death on the cross.  They had witnessed his marvelous resurrection and frequent appearances after his return.  But they had also been heart broken when they had witnessed his ascension into heaven.  He was no longer physically with them.  At times they felt alone and unsure of what to do next…and so they prayed.  They prayed in earnest.  They prayed out of desperation and uncertainty. But they also prayed with sincere and utter faith.

Then, something remarkable took place.  On the day of Pentecost, a religious holiday which invited religious travelers from all over the world to Jerusalem, fire broke out.  Not a literal fire with flame and smoke and destruction, but an unquenchable fire of the Holy Spirit. The disciples had prayed to God for what would happen next and when it came, it changed the world.

Those who gathered to witness this amazing event were awe struck that simple fishermen and blue collared workers could speak foreign languages that they neither knew or had the resources to learn before.  But the most astounding thing wasn’t the languages but the message that was being preached.  It was a simulcast message declaring this good news of Messiah!

The disciples may have witnessed the Holy Spirit descend upon them like tongues of fire upon their heads, but it hadn’t stopped just at their heads, but it penetrated the very fibers of their hearts and minds!  God was speaking to the world so that the world would finally hear the truth and the life!  Simple men were chosen to be His conduit, his chosen prophets of a new age.  Fire spread that day…and people were catching it!  Jesus may have left them physically, but within their hearts God’s very breath by way of the Holy Spirit, ignited a revolution unparalleled by any other revolution know to humankind.

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We can also catch fire:

This flame has not died.  This fire of the Holy Spirit will not be quenched.  But God is still seeking Soldiers of His army who are willing to step up and fight in this spiritual battle!  Isaiah 54:17 say, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper…” Our God will show up to those who are earnestly seeking!  He will bring the fire to engulf us, purify us and prepare us to declare His divine and holy message!  Are you ready to catch fire?

The World A Flame (Poem)

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I watched the world die today

from my three seasons porch

my comfortable perch, a safe haven

of hope drawn in by

its soft, inviting  light of the day.

It spilled onto my lap, warming my feet

as I sat cross legged on the couch.

The earth was in flames today

and I watched it all burn and smolder

and finally it came crashing

down

to the ground.

I watched with horrified

interest

on the edge of my seat

fascinated and transifixed

as hatred ruled the heart

I drank another

cup of steaming coffee

rich and black

smooth as silk

down to the last bitter

earthen drop.

Bitterness tainted

more than this empty cup

as I watched

it ignited the  hapless soul

as it careened out of control

diving headfirst  into the souls

of others who were also hell bent

on the pathways of selfishness.

As eyes took in the flames

the heat, the spite, the maliced tongue

I wept…for this was

a vision of me

hell bent on my own

accomplishments…

hell bent on my own agendas

on my own devices and self-ladden heart

the man aflame was me…and I could do nothing

but watch it all go crumbling down

how powerless these hands and feet.

How empty all these yearnings and strivings.

How bitter the self-indulgent worries

and the blankets of careless apathy.

I saw the world burn today

as I sat and watched it all crumble to the ground.

Burning the Christmas Tree

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I burned the Christmas tree tonight…

warm summer breeze blew in to join

in the ol lang syne and somber tune

which added its fuel as we danced and sang

one last time.

The yule tree, now more of a yule log

hisses at us now, popping and wheezing

replacing the hohoho’s and the cheer,

blazing now here on the second of June.

This dried up timber with its wafting

scent, merriment and good tidings

cracklin’ gladly, roaring in this silent night.

I burned the Christmas tree tonight

and the boughs were a light once

more, brighter than before

in this final leg of festooning

and holiday mirth…and a lowly ornament,

long forgotten, smolders now glowing

amber, brilliantly mixing the fragrance of

the holly and the ivy with the

smells of barbecues and camping days…

and the freshly  mowed green lawn.

The ornament aglow now…although more inflames,

almost reflecting the gifts now discarded

beneath its canopy, and the wrappings

now too far gone having shuffled off their

mortal coils, after advents and deepening snows

of mid february’s gustings.

So too the tree has never been

so alight tonight.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

How lovely are your burning branches

The fire bright with summer light

the soothing glow of ember’s might

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree

how lovely to behold you

…one last time.

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