Heat

Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, we do unplanned things.
At other times heat accumulates, building and building until we make elaborate plans to escape it. Heat can oppress us or it can surprise us, causing us to do things we carefully plan and things we do not plan at all.

In the winter, when heat is hard to come by, we fondly remember the warm winds of spring and even the hot blasts of summer. When it seems the sun takes more than a day to cross the heavens scorching the earth on its way, we fondly remember the refreshing cold of winter and long for the brisk promise of the cool autumn breeze. We are profoundly ambivalent about heat: we want it when it the weather is cold and we seek shade and shelter from it when the weather is hot.

Heat can also be a blessing. We measure the health of the body by a constant heat of about 98.6 F. Less than that or more than that is a sign of illness. God set the inner thermostat to regulate this body heat. We don’t even have to think about it. When it varies up or down, then we notice it.

Of course each of us has a spiritual thermostat in our heart.
God has given to us the responsibility of setting this spiritual instrument. We can willfully turn down our spiritual temperature or we can deliberately turn it up. When we feel our hearts cooling toward the Lord, we are the ones who have decided to let it happen. Most likely there is never a moment when we choose to let the fire within begin to die. It happens in a series of small choices that seem innocent:

  • Missing a daily prayer and Bible time of devotion,
  • Sleeping in on the Lord’s Day,
  • Avoiding potential conflict with a troubled brother or sister in the Lord,
  • Keeping silent when the conversation turns to the things of the Spirit, or even,
  • Telling a small lie to avoid exposure as spiritual things begin to slip away.

These things are far from innocent. They are deadly.

The inner fire of the Spirit of God within us needs fuel.

  • We stoke the fire with the Word of God and with prayer. A single day without these things reduces our passion for God and His Kingdom.
  • When we gather with brothers and sisters in the House of God to worship each week, the sparks fly! The fires of corporate worship burn bright and hot—cleansing each of us from the junk we have accumulated during the week.
  • When conflicts between spiritual family members are resolved, the discarded anger, envy, and strife are fuel for our inner flames.
  • When we speak up for truth and justice the fire within grows white hot and there is no longer any need to pretend to be spiritual—we are spiritual!

The heat of the moment will prove us true and the heat of the season will serve us well.

Scriptures:
Malachi 3:1-4
“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
Luke 3:16-17
John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.
2 Timothy 1:5-7
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, When I gave my heart to You, Your Spirit took up residence in my heart. Today I need a new baptism of the fire of Your Spirit, a new endowment of spiritual power to serve You in every moment of this day. In the heat of the day, in the cool of the evening, empower me, Lord. When the trials come in the guise of unfair demands or unfaithful people, grant me a cool center in the midst of the flames. Like those Old Testament heroes You walked with in the furnace, the flames will not even scorch my clothes! Moreover, in the process, the heat meant to destroy me will actually be a Refiner’s Fire to purify me. How wonderful that You walk with me every day in the cool of the day or in the fires of circumstance. Let my offering today be made in righteousness. Amen.

Song:
Send the Fire

Words: William Booth; Music: Frederick Booth-Tucker

1. Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Thy blood bought gift today we claim,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host,
Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We want another Pentecost,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

2. God of Elijah, hear our cry:
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To make us fit to live or die,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To burn up every trace of sin,
To bring the light and glory in,
The revolution now begin,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

3. ’Tis fire we want, for fire we plead,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
The fire will meet our every need,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
For strength to ever do the right,
For grace to conquer in the fight,
For power to walk the world in white,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

4. To make our weak hearts strong and brave,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To live a dying world to save,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
O see us on Thy altar lay
Our lives, our all, this very day;
To crown the offering now we pray,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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