When we lived on the outskirts of town, every spring, I would go to our bush at the back of the property, gather up dead branches, and cut down and cut up at least one or two trees. In the fall, when the wood was dry, we would split it and bring a winter's supply into the garage. Then, the great Canadian pastime of trying to keep warm in the winter started in earnest. We had a wood stove in the den, and with an old newspaper, some kindling, and a match in hand, I would start the fire. As soon as I held the match to the paper, I would start to feel the heat. In a few minutes, after the kindling had started to burn, I would feel more heat. Why is that? Have you ever thought about that? What is fire? I have trouble explaining it, so I looked it up in my dictionary. Fire: (n.) the phenomenon of combustion manifested in light, flame, and heat; (v.tr.) to give life or spirit, to inspire, to fill with passion.
During the many years when I led Bible discussions at the local Long Term Care Centre, we looked at the Book of Acts several times. Dr. Luke, the writer of this book, describes so well the events of the beginning of the Christian church and the enthusiasm of the early believers, as well as the hardships that they endured. One of the first significant events was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the amazing time when they saw tongues of fire above those present.
Acts 2:2-3 – And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. (NKJV)
If we continue to read the events of those early days, we will see that the disciples were filled with passion to fulfill the mandate that they had received from Jesus. But I am also sure that at times they were discouraged.
At the time of Jesus' ascension, He had told them that they were to go out and spread the gospel, and they did. But we know that there were times when their teachings were rejected and times when their lives were threatened. From a human point of view at least, there were times when they must have felt that they were failing the Lord. But then as they gathered, as they prayed, they would feel the Spirit moving them, and they were again filled with passion.
After we had lit our wood stove, we would have to look after it continually. When the fire died down, we had to poke the smouldering embers and put in more wood. Then, it would roar back to life again.
That is the way it is with us as well. When our spiritual fires are almost out, then it is time to be replenished with the words of Scripture, the words of the hymns of the church, and with prayer. Then we, too, can get fired up again and carry on with passion.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, when we experience times of inadequacy, we pray that the fire of Your Spirit will enter our hearts and that we will be able to do what You want us to do. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Holy Spirit Truth Divine" (Lyrics)