Light the fire / In my soul / Fan the flame / Make me whole – Curtis Mathew Kirkwood
I heard someone describe their faith as “a pilot light faith.”
“When I was a kid, we had a gas heater in the basement. If you looked closely, it had a small flame in the bottom of the unit. But when the system called for more heat, there was a mighty ‘Whoosh!’ as all the burners ignited.
He said, “I’m tired of a pilot light faith. I want the ‘Whoosh!’”
How about you?
Could you ever use a little “whoosh”?
In fact, on the scale of fading embers to roaring fire, where are you right now?
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Fire is a key spiritual theme. In fact, it’s important enough that I almost named this study ReIgnite! (See the one-time graphic above.)
Let us hear a few pieces of God’s Word and the Spirit’s fire!
- “The Lord declares … ‘Is not my word like fire?’” Jer 23:29
- The Psalmist said, “My heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned.” Ps 39:3
- The Prophet says, “His word is in my heart like a fire… I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Jer 20:9
- Meeting the resurrected Jesus, his followers said, “Were not our hearts burning with us?” Luke 24:36
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True and living faith burns in a believer’s heart. Sometimes it seems to burn brighter; sometimes smaller. But it’s a flame fanned by the Holy Spirit (whose symbol is, of course, fire).
When John Wesley described the moment of his conversion, he said, “I felt my heart strangely warmed.” (The Spirit was moving!) And, you know, that’s almost a word for word fulfilment of Scripture: “[God] makes … his ministers a flaming fire”! Ps 104:4
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As a child of God, have you ever sung, “Set a fire down in my soul / That I can’t contain, that I can’t control / I want more of you God / I want more of you God.”
Do you know this song?
As we embark on this study, could this be your prayer?! As the Apostle Paul says, “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God.” 2Tim1:6
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Now, no one will start an adventure unless they have a fire … or at least they won’t stick to it.
At the beginning of The Hobbit, quiet, comfortable Bilbo said, “[Hobbits] are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!”
He refused the adventure in front of him … until … “something … woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.”
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I can’t promise we’ll battle fire-breathing dragons through this study, but I can state that we won’t start an adventure unless we have a fire in us … or at least we won’t stick to it.
I have a friend who, years ago, kept trying to read the Bible-in-a-year. He treated it like a duty, a good thing to do, but he didn’t have a fire.
Thus, he’d start out on January 1 with dutiful dedication, but he’d always stall out around mid-February (and mid-Leviticus).
So after about the fifth year of failing, he decided to start praying for a hunger for God’s word. He essentially asked the Spirit to set a fire down in his soul.
It was ten months of prayer. Then starting the next January 1, he started a Spirit-inspired journey and breezed joyfully through the whole Bible. His heart was hungry. Why? Because he took the time to invite the fire of the Spirit!
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As we begin this study, stop for a moment to pray for the fire of the Spirit to fill you in a new way throughout these forty days.
Let me explain how this study is formulated and structured.
- In these Forty Days of ReNewal, we’re going to focus on forty “Re-” words – like ReFresh, ReFocus, and ReFuel.
- “Re-” means “again.” As we said yesterday, as we embark on this journey our goal is to ReTurn as a family of faith to the classic methods of deepening God’s people. Indeed, we’ll be joyfully aiming to ReNew our faith, ReConnect our church, and RePlenish others.
- I (Pastor Ed) have written most of these devotions … but I’ve also invited several of our ministry staff and several of the professional ministers we have at Spirit of Joy (who are not on staff) to join us in our endeavor. (Their unique insights and differing voices will be a ReFreshing and ReFocusing break from me!)
- When I write, I have a plan! I will walk you through the entire New Testament – basically a-book-of-the-New-Testament-a-day. (Actually, I’ll highlight one or two key spiritual themes from each of these books!)
- And you should be glad I’m focusing on Scripture! Why? Because my words are just human words (with hopefully an occasional Spirit-inspired ummph). Yet they’re still just my words. But God’s Word? Well, as “the Lord declares, ‘Is not my word like fire?’”! Jer 23:29
- If we want our spirits to ReKindle, may our hearts sing: “Word of God speak / Would You pour down like rain / Washing my eyes to see Your majesty.”
Each day, I’ll invite you to read a chapter of Scripture. It’s an invitation! Not a requirement! (You may wish to pray for a hunger to encounter God’s Word … which is fire!) We’ll start on the New Testament tomorrow. Today, let’s start with a Psalm. If you’re able, read Psalm 25.
If a verse stirred your heart today, write it in the space below. (Writing a verse is actually a great way to focus more deeply on Scripture.) If you weren’t able to read today’s Psalm (or if you didn’t find a favorite verse), try writing Psalm 25:5.
As we begin our adventure, pray for that Holy Spirit “woosh!”:
Set a fire down in my soul
That I can’t contain, that I can’t control
I want more of you God
I want more of you God.