Growing up as a young boy, I fondly remember the times, when our family and extended family would go for picnics in the mountains. I was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and there is a mountain range there called Sandia Mountains. There are many wonderful picnic areas all over the place where you can either camp for the night or just have a ‘picenic’ as my Tia would call it. As a young boy I remember that it would get very cold in Santa Fe and even if you were to go to Sandia Mountains to have a ‘picenic’ in the summer, you would often need to wear a jacket during the daytime; for sure at night. If we happened to stay late into the night on our ‘picenics’ with some of our cousins, I loved the great times we had around the campfire, singing in Spanish as my dad played his guitar.
There’s a funny thing about campfires; very few volunteer to gather the wood and get the fire started, but everyone loves to gather around it once the fire gets going. The bigger the fire the more it seems that the people want to come near it. We used to love toasting marshmallows or cooking hot dogs, or ‘weenies’ as we called them, on a stick in the fire; they just tasted better that way. Lots of conversations and laughs took place as we sat by that campfire. Once we stopped talking it seemed that everyone would just sit there in some sort of weird daze; staring into the fire. When the fire began to burn down, someone would throw a big log into the fire to get it going again. Many times we would sit into the wee hours of the morning by the campfire, often not saying much; just looking into the fire.
In Leviticus 6 we read where the Lord gives Moses some regulations concerning the burnt offering. The burnt offering was to stay on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning and the fire must be kept burning on the altar. We read in the morning the priest was to add more firewood, as the fire was never to go out.
We recently had a pastor from Bungoma, Africa speak at our church and he said something that really began to stir my heart. This pastor said if we, as individuals and as a church were to remain on fire for the Lord, we would discover that people would begin to draw near to us to warm their cold hearts by the fire of the Holy Spirit that was burning in us. One of my commentaries says it this way: “To us to be baptized with the Holy Spirit is to be baptized with fire.” We read in the Scriptures that when the people wondered in their hearts if John the Baptist was the Christ, we hear John declare in Luke 3:16 “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 (Christ) will ‘baptize you’ with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
Early on in my Christian life, I remembered the time when I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. It felt like a new sense of power began to flow out of my life. I was more bold, more confident and not fearful to speak the word of the Lord wherever I was. It seems like I remember more miracles taking place in the life of the church during that time than what I see today. As I heard the pastor from Africa speak about being on fire, spiritually speaking, I suddenly realized I had allowed people, situations and many other things to rob me of the power I once felt; not any more. I am now praying for the Lord to baptize me with His fire once again!!
I believe too many Christians today are walking around with a flicker, instead of a blaze, burning in their heart because they have simply chosen to resist the moving of the Holy Spirit in their own lives and the life of the church. These Christians begin to discover that their Christian life has become mundane, they have little if any hope, they wander from church to church in search of some easy fix, they sense no power to overcome anything that may come into their life. and yet they continue to wonder why the miraculous is not taking place in their own lives or the life of their church. The Apostle Paul warns the church in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do ‘not’ put out the ‘Spirit’s’ fire.”
I believe we need to cry out in prayer to the Lord, the words of an old worship song that we used to sing back in 1986, titled Light The Fire. The chorus went like this: “Light the fire, in my soul, fan the flame and make me whole, Lord You know where I’ve been, so light the fire in my heart once again.” The first verse says: “Lord I stand to praise You, but I fall on my knees, My spirit is so hungry, but my flesh is so weak.” The 2nd verse says: “I feel Your warmth around me, as the power of Your healing begins, You breath new life right through me, like a mighty rushing wind.”
So what would you say is burning in you my friend right now; a flicker or a blaze? If you find it is only a flicker, then cry out to the Lord to baptize you with His Holy Spirit and fire. If you find you have a blaze burning, then protect it and don’t get too casual with it for just like a campfire, it needs your constant attention 🙂
Categories: A Pastor's Blog