The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 7/20

Posted on | July 20, 2015 | 1 Response

Scripture reading: Hebrews 12:18–29

Are You Combustible?

The God who answers by fire, he is God. (I Kings 18:24)

Throughout the Bible, wherever God appears and whenever his work is being done, his signature mark is often fire. Whether in a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch (Genesis 15:17), a burning bush (Exodus 3:2), a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21–22), or a blazing mountain (Exodus 19:18), the God of the Bible is a God of fire! On Mount Carmel in the great contest between Baal and Jehovah, Elijah set the record straight for all time about how to recognize the
true God from the false: The God who answers by fire, he is God (I Kings 18:24).

Lest you think that this fiery reality of the One we worship is true only in Old Testament times, a quick look at the New Testament makes it plain that the God of fire is equally present in and through the ministry of Jesus Christ.

I baptize you with water for repentance (said John the Baptist), but he who is coming after me . . . will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Matthew 3:11)

I came to cast fire on the earth (Jesus said), and would that it were already kindled! (Luke 12:49)

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. And all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. . . . (Acts 2:3–4)

Our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29)

These references cause me to ask myself: Am I combustible? Does God’s indwelling Spirit cause me to ignite with zeal? Is my walk with Christ characterized by fiery passion? Do the words of Jeremiah, There is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones (Jeremiah 20:9), describe my experience?

The Scottish minister George MacDonald (1824–1905), though mostly unknown today, had a tremendous influence on some great writers of the twentieth century such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, W. H. Auden, and others. MacDonald was more than a pastor. He also wrote fairy tales, fantasy novels, and poetry. One poem in particular has become a favorite of mine. It is a fervent prayer that God would set our hearts ablaze. It is entitled simply “Smoke.”

Lord, I have laid my heart upon thy altar but cannot get the wood to burn; It hardly flares ere it begins to falter and to the dark return.

Old sap, or night-fallen dew, makes damp the fuel; in vain my breath would flame provoke; Yet see—at every poor attempt’s renewal to thee ascends the smoke!

’Tis all I have—smoke, failure, foiled endeavor coldness and doubt and palsied lack: Such as I have I send thee!—perfect Giver, send thou thy lightning back.

Human nature, if it is healthy, demands excitement; and if it does not obtain its thrilling excitement in the right way, it will seek it in the wrong.  God never makes bloodless stoics; he makes no passionless saints.  —Oswald Chambers

point to ponder • Are you combustible?

prayer focus • For the fire of Pentecost to fall on the Church once more.

Comments

One Response to “FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 7/20”

  1. Dennis Mehaffie
    July 20th, 2015 @ 11:28 am

    It was good to see you and hear your message at Hollow Rock Camp yesterday. Thanks you for today’s devotional. I first heard MacDonald’s poem “Smoke” at an FAS conference five or ten years ago. It expresses so well my own heart- cry. Thanks for sharing it.

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