What has Robbed your Passion?

images-26When the new wears off and normal comes into play many lose their passion and fire. As most of us have experienced over the years in our own lives, our passion for different things comes in and out almost as often as the Sun rises and then sets hours later. I remember my siblings and I having thoughts of making big money shoveling driveways every first snow. Yet, halfway through with a mountain of snow still in my shovel the enthusiasm and passion quickly faded and before long we gave up and were all back in our warm home.

In reading the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18 -19, we see his passion and zeal for the God he worshipped and served. He had just been used by God to turn the hearts of Israel back to Him. Through his obedience and faith, God had showed His power


Don’t run from God into what you think is a cave or safe place, when the enemy means it to become your tomb.     (tweet)


and might on Mount Carmel in front of Baal‘s prophets and Jezebel’s chaplains, as well as the nation of Israel. Elijah’s boldness and eradication of the prophets and chaplains after God worked a great victory through him demonstrated his fire for God.

But then there is a drastic shift in the story as we see in 1 Kings 19:4 where Elijah is asking God to let him die. He says, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” He compares his life with those that had turned from God even after seeing God work mightily in there midst. This mighty prophet of God goes from a mountain top experience to the valley of discouragement. One moment he has a fiery passion for the things of God and the next he is nothing more than a smoking wick of a lamp. The fire had gone out in his life and there was only a faint stench of smoke. Elijah even sinks to the depth of despair by running into the wilderness and hiding in a cave. What happened to this bigger than life passionate prophet? What made him lose the fire of God? What made Him hide in the pit of life? A cave is nothing more than a tomb waiting to be shut!

What has robbed you of your passion for the things of God! Remember back when you had your first encounter with God? It was just like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus when Jesus joined them and talked with them. (Lk 24:13-32) They said “did not our hearts burn within us?” God starts His fire with in us! But then as we go through life we allow things to quench that fire! We lose our passion for the things of God!

Elijah allowed fear to come in when the evil queen Jezebel threatened his life. He began to isolated himself and have a pity party. He believed the lie that he was the only one serving God. He forgot what God had done in his life already. (1 Kings 19:1-10) Therefore, he ran from God to a desert place, into what he thought was a cave or safe place, but the enemy meant for it to become his tomb. God never left Elijah even when he was running but sustained him, empowered him, spoke to him and guided him all the way to victory!

As Matt 12:20 says, God isn’t going to let your fire go completely out even if its just smoking. He will intervene and draw near to you. But will you respond to His whisper? Letting Him rekindle your fire?

 

 

 

Can You say, Burn Baby Burn?

images-22The early summer morning smelled with the fragrance of mowed grass and wild flowers as we entered the ally behind our house. The cartoons had just gotten over and now it was time to begin living out the adventures of the super heroes we had just watched. Like most young boys my brother and I had adventure oozing out of every thought and opportunity that lay before us. This day it was a stroll through the alley full of imaginary villains. As we cautiously moved forward we saw the open door of a neighbors garage wooing us as if with a magical pull. Moments into this spontaneous-crafted adventure, jumps from behind a pile of cardboard boxes a bigger than life “German Shepard” with three inch teeth barking and snarling at our intrusion.

This gigantic dog that was tied up behind the boxes was now barking as to sound the alarm of the trespassers. Being scared out of our wits and committed to


Jesus is not only the Lord of the Harvest but comes as a fire to purge us and make us better. (tweet)


defend our 8 year old heroic honor as seen on TV, we grabbed the box of wooden matches that seemed to be divinely placed on a counter in hands reach. It was a natural response to begin striking and throwing these perfect weapons at the man-eating dog to seal our victory.

Well… as if in seconds the smoke and flames began to dance from the pile of boxes between the dog and us. The increased barking signaled the owner to come running and rescue the ferocious pet and yes you guessed it, the two juvenile neighborhood super heroes from the burning garage. As the crowd assembled and the fire trucks roared down the alley I knew our season of becoming the cities next super heroes seemed to fade as our father sternly walked us away to our house, which was to become a dungeon of torture for two little rambunctious boys who were grounded with what seemed to be a life sentence. But with skilled parents who knew how to pray we were saved from becoming arsonists.

Let me say up front, there is never a time that Arson is O.K. Yet, God often in His word describes Himself and His acts with fire. John the Baptist, who was a prophetic voice and a forerunner to Jesus, says concerning Jesus in Matt 3:11-12 “…


God’s fire in our lives isn’t bad, but is for clearing junk out so He can restore and rebuild us better for His work.      (tweet)


He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire… He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” In other words John is letting us know that Jesus is coming for and committed to a harvest that will be purged from any hindering thing. Christ is coming for a unblemished bride. (Eph. 5:27) Jesus is not only the Lord of the Harvest but comes as a fire to purge us and make us better.

Not justifying our actions as kids by no means, but the end of this story is the Continue reading

I am Not Going To Bow No Matter What!

images-19The trumpeters and the music began to sound causing the people to immediately scurry to the place before the idol and bow in a fearful submission. These Chaldeans and many foreigners that had been taken in war-conquests fell to their faces out of fear of the king’s command. (Dan 3:4-6) The consequences for those who remained standing would be thrown into the fiery furnace.

The scene was much like the game we grew up playing, “Musical Chairs” that when the music stopped everyone franticly grabs a chair and sits down knowing that there aren’t enough chairs for everyone. The penalty for being left standing was you were cast out of the game. In the same manner, in this historical story in Dan 3, which takes place during the seventy years of God’s people being in captivity, when the music started the people had to stop and drop, giving homage to the king’s idol.

We’re introduced to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. These three young Hebrew boys were growing up in a society polar opposite of their families and culture. It was a strategy of the conquering army to take the best specimen from a


The God of Fire met these mighty and obedient Hebrew boys in the midst of the fire! (tweet)


culture and transform them into the beliefs and customs of the new kingdom. But these three young Hebrew boys where so impacted by their belief in their God and the daily rehearsing of the stories that it firmly grounded them to live a devoted life even in the midst of the one they were now being forced to live.

Therefore it was no surprise when they would not bow to the Kings idol. For they knew their God had said, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Ex 20:3) So in spite of the consequences these young boys made a manly decision to not go along with the knee bending music! Their loyalty was to their God even if it cost them their life. Wow! That’s not easy to do.

The king was so outraged to the point of having the furnace turned up seven times, that it even killed the furnace keepers and the guards that threw the Hebrew boys in the furnace.

The weightiness of their decision, to obey God rather than what everyone else was doing, should shake each of us personally as we live our daily lives. With death sneering at them, they boldly and confidently replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, in Dan 3:16-18 saying, “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning


Because three dared to be devoted to God, not bowing to the pressures of the day. God moved on their behalf    (tweet)


fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods…”. And that’s exactly what happened!

The God of Fire met these mighty and obedient Hebrew boys in the midst of the fire! Even with the added heat these three were alive and well in the midst of the Continue reading

Fire isn’t All-Bad; it’s how you look at it.

20150615_131836I love to walk along the famous “magnificent mile” along Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The people are always rushing about in business as well as the many visitors that come to shop and tour the great city. One of the most intriguing sights amongst the beautiful architecture is the nearly150 year old historic water tower on the northern end. Presently it is surrounded with a beautiful park and carriages as well as the hustle and bustle of people. But history has engraved this building as a memorial of one of the greatest tragedies in the nineteenth century. After the Chicago fire burnt for nearly three days and the smoke cleared the devastation that remained was unconceivable. It was estimated that one third of the great city’s valuation was destroyed, miles of buildings, roads and infrastructure was gone. Hundred’s of thousands of people were displace and many became homeless losing everything. Yet, what seemed to be irreplaceable destruction from fire became the catalyst for the re-building of an even greater and economically important international city.

I would say fire is probably one of man-kinds greatest discoveries. It warms, it melts, it brings light, and it produces energy and clears away the old. When we respect and acknowledge fire for what it is and can do, we are better and blessed. Would Chicago or the world be as blessed or as impacted if there wouldn’t have been


Let the God of Fire warm your heart, purify your lifestyle and empower your life’s journey. He definitely loves you and wants to make you better!   (tweet)


any fire? I am definitely not minimizing the great loss by any means, but bringing out the end result of the actual fire. Loss can bring scars but it can also make this better in many cases. Fire isn’t all bad its all how you look at it.

Scripture is full of descriptive language revealing God as fire and His acts with fire. In Heb 12:28-29 we read, “by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”(NKJ) The author quotes from Deut. 4:24 where it also says that He is “a jealous God” The word consuming means to devour, and to burn up. And the description of a jealous God isn’t revealing an insecure psychopath but a Holy loving God that will not allow His people to be anything but whole hearted and committed as He is towards them. He is tenaciously protective towards anything that tries to take our attention and passion away from Him.

Jesus says in Luke 12:49, “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!(NKJ) Jesus came to shake things up… to make us uncomfortable…to bring conviction toward sin. He came to reveal and deal with our sin. He came to make straight our wayward path. He wants things to be better for His people. You can’t be comfortable and passive when the fire of God comes. Yet it will set us on a course of blessing or if we are not willing to follow Him then we might get burned.

In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. (Matt 10:34) To often we think Jesus came and is coming again not to disturb anything but to make everything beautiful. No, that isn’t totally correct. He is truly the Prince of Peace” but is coming to set things right and will come against everything that distracts and puts His people in bondage. Let the God of Fire warm your heart, purify your lifestyle and empower your life’s journey. He definitely loves you and wants to make you better!