Posted by: Jo | September 14, 2012

Keeping the Fire Burning

“Is not my word like fire”, declares the Lord…” (Jeremiah 23:29)

imageWhen my husband and I bought a cabin on a lake in the interior of British Columbia, Canada, we had never lived in a place that experienced extreme winter conditions and where temperatures could drop dramatically. We had experienced the reverse when we lived on the island of Nauru in the Central Pacific, which was only five miles from the equator and where we spent the whole year just trying to stay cool, so imagine the learning experience it was for us that first winter. The cabin came equipped with a very efficient and sturdy wood stove which kept the cabin warm and, those inside, alive in the winter. We have all heard the expression, “it only takes a spark to get a fire going”, but we learned a much bigger truth very quickly. It might only take a spark to get the fire going, but a lot of kindling and hard work to keep it burning! We soon realized that we had to have plenty of split firewood close at hand and preferably near the back door so we could access it easily. Our stove was very trustworthy as long as we constantly checked it and fed it with a steady supply of wood and it was very handy to have a couple of husky son-in-laws top up our supply when they came to visit.

I was thinking back on those days and suddenly thought that our experience with our stove is similar to our walk with the Lord. The joy when we first get to know him does light up a spark in our lives. It begins a burning desire to know him more and more, but also we discover that the busyness of life, worries, work, health problems etc. can diminish the glow of our relationship. Just like our stove needed constant re-fueling so do we, to remain vibrant Christians, so that we are constantly on fire for him, and are able to spread his warmth to others.image

We found that our stove was most efficient if it was set properly in the first place. It was not a random throwing of the first log that came to hand. It required careful planning of paper/ kindling/ small pieces of wood to establish a good foundation for the heavier logs to ignite and give off the solid heat we needed to keep warm. It also needed regular removal of the ash that built up so our chimney remained clear of unwanted debris and the air was sucked in to keep the flames burning brightly.

So how can mature Christians keep that fire burning brightly in themselves and others? Firstly we need that strong foundation in the Lord Jesus Christ so we can constantly draw our warmth from him. Then we need to feed that desire and love for him by seeking to walk closely with him every day so that our love never grows cold and lifeless. We can find all the fuel we need in his word and our daily imageprayer time with him will feed the flames all day. Just as one log ignites another we need to stay close to fellow believers so our mutual warmth keeps each other brightly shining. Choosing one friend to be a prayer partner or perhaps a small group to meet with produces wonderful boosts to our faith. Sometimes we have to look closely at our own walk to see if debris and ash may have crept into our lives and have to be removed so the Holy Spirit’s life giving breath can breathe life into a flickering flame and we need to come before our Maker and cry out like David,

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

Our faith is so precious we would never want it to falter in any way and Peter writing to a group of believers gives them this advice;

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5 – 8)

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Responses

  1. Before the age of 10, my mother cooked family meals on a cast wood-burning stove. On cold wintery days, it was the smell of breakfast and the heat generated by this stove that brought comfort to us all, while the Attender of the stove delivered those delicious early morning meals. Thank you for the memory stirred by your lovely story. Thank you also for the important reminder to “keep those home fires burning”.

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  2. Thank you, Ron, I agree

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  3. Good analogy and practical application, Jo. Thanks for sharing it.

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  4. As you say Jo, the fire is wonderful when going fully. But we are like embers, die out when alone but energised to keep going when fired together as parts of Christ’s body.

    Blessings
    Ron

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