Tag Archives: fire

Keep The Fire Burning

Ever since I was young, I have loved building fires. I remember when I was taught how to build one. They taught me that there are three things needed: fuel, oxygen and heat. To start it, you have to have some tinder, which is tiny sticks. As they get consumed by the fire, you have to add in pieces that are a little bit bigger called kindling. When the fire gets large, you add in the big pieces of firewood referred to as fuel. Before starting a fire though, you need to make sure you have plenty to get it going and to keep it going. If you start it and have to run around looking for any of these, it will burn out. A fire has to be constantly fed if you want to keep it burning.

Fire has been used in the Bible as a symbol of God’s presence. He’s known as an all consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). When Elijah called the people back to repentance, he called fire down from heaven and it consumed the sacrifice (1 Kings 18). When Israel left Egypt, the Shekinah Glory of God led them through the desert as a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21). In the New Testament, God sent His Holy Spirit to live inside of those who believe on Jesus. In the Upper Room, to signify this, there was a flame above each believer (Acts 2:3) telling them that the presence of God now lived in them. You and I have that same fiery presence of God living in us, consuming us. Just like a real fire, there is fuel we can add to keep it burning strong in us.

1 John 2:24 says, “So you must be sure to keep the message burning in your hearts; that is, the message of life you heard from the beginning. If you do, you will always be living in close fellowship with the Son and with the Father” (TPT). In Revelation 2, Jesus was upset with the Church at Ephesus because they left their first love, and He threatened to remove their fire from its place of influence unless they repented. We need to keep the flame burning in our hearts by keeping God’s Word fresh in our lives and keeping our love for Him strong. In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to fan the flame within you (2 Timothy 1:6). Return to the message of God that ignited your love for Him and keep it burning strong. We are called to be light in this dark world (Matthew 5:16) and it needs us the light of God in our lives to see.

Photo by Colter Olmstead on Unsplash

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The Green Urn


Windsor Castle, the winter home of the Queen of England, was partially destroyed by a fire in 1992. As I walked through the rooms that had been restored, I couldn’t help but marvel at what great work they did to make it better than before. In one such room, there was a green urn. It weighed over two tons and the firemen couldn’t move it. The urn had also filled with water making it even more heavy. They were upset they wouldn’t be able to save it, but had to move on to things they could.

What they didn’t expect was that the water in the urn would preserve it. The water turned to steam and heated the urn. The malachite that covered the urn simply peeled off and dropped to the floor. After the fire was put out, they found all of the pieces of malachite laying there. They picked them up, cleaned them, and the restoration crew was able to painstakingly put them back on the urn piece by piece. It was one of the longest restoration projects from the fire.

In Mark 9:49-50, Jesus said, “Everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you’ll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames” (MSG). Each one of us are going to go through fires in this life. Jesus made that clear. It can destroy us or we can rebuild from it. He promised us that we would be like that urn if we have Him inside of us. The flames may scorch and mar our outsides, but what’s in us will keep us from being destroyed.

I’m living proof that you can be rebuilt after the fire. When I looked at the pieces of my life laying on the floor after the fire, I thought things were hopeless, but God saw it differently. He took those pieces and painstakingly put my life back together piece by piece. Because of the restoration He did in my life, I’m closer to Him now than ever. If you’re going through the fire now, remember it’s not the end, but the beginning of a beautiful restoration to make your faith stronger and more refined. 

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Putting Out The Fire Of Anger


One of my favorite activities is camping, and one of the first things you have to know when camping is how to build a fire. Equally important is how to put out a fire. There are two ways to do that: quit putting logs on it or add water. By not putting logs on it, you let the fire burn to a slow death. Ive learned that even though there’s not a fire present, there are still embers below the ashes that can easily be ignited into a fire. To prove it, I like to go out in the morning, grab some small wood pieces, and start a fire with no matches. The “don’t feed the fire any logs” method isn’t the best way to put it out.

The best way is to apply water. Even though you add water and the flames die down, the same thing happens here as when you withhold logs. There are still embers beneath the surface that can be ignited. You must pour some water, stir the ashes, and pour more water until the fire is out. Putting out fires is a skill that we should learn. If you don’t do it right, you run the risk of starting a new fire and creating a lot of damage. Many of the most damaging forest fires were started by a small ember campers thought were put out.

The same way you put out a fire is the same way you help get rid of anger. You can choose to hide from the person who’s angry or you can calm the anger with words. Avoiding a person who is angry simply lets their anger boil under the surface. It can easily be reignited with the smallest things. All may look well on the surface, but underneath the ashes of the aftermath are embers waiting to be given fuel to grow. Yes, you may need to step away from the situation to allow both sides to cool down, but I don’t recommend this method for resolving situations.

Proverbs 15:1 gives us the real answer. It says, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (NLT). Your response to someone’s anger determines whether the situation escalates or is put out. Arguing back is like putting another log on the fire. Offering a gentle response is like adding water to a fire. You’ll have to keep your composure and continue offering soft answers until it is resolved. One answer won’t repair the situation immediately. It requires continued patience, understanding, and gentleness to help calm the anger in others. If you leave it unresolved, you may create a fire that gets out of control and causes irreparable damage. 

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An Uncontrollable Fire

There are some lyrics to a song we sing at church that keep burning inside me. They say, “Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain and I can’t control. I want more of you, God.” We had sang that song at church many times before, but on a balcony in Haiti, it became my prayer. As we were having a time of worship in Gonaives, we sang that song and I started listening to the words. I began to internalize what they meant. I began to sing the song with more of a passion than a compulsion.

What does that look like to have a fire set in your soul? What does that feel like to have it burn without being able to control it? What would happen to me if I truly wanted more of God in my life? Do I really, truly want that and what is the cost? We sing songs and read scriptures a lot without giving much thought to the words we are saying or reading. We rarely dig down deep and plant those words in our heart and mind.

A fire that burns uncontrollably takes out what it wants whereas a controlled burn only takes out what I want. Have I given God real control in my life to take out the things He wants to or do I have protected areas that I’ve not let Him touch because I’ve tried the control burn method? If I truly believe that my life is not my own, why do I try to control what God can and cannot do in my life? Why do I fight to keep the things I want instead of taking the things I need from Him?

It’s a struggle that many of us fight. We want to be used by God. We want to give Him our lives. We want to trust Him. Our actions show differently though. Our mouths say one thing, but our actions show something completely different. I don’t want that. I’m not content with that. I can’t be, not if I’m praying that He will set a fire in my soul. Not if I’m willing to let that fire burn out of my control. Not if I want more of Him. Not if He wants more of me.

God gives Himself to us to the extent that we allow room for Him. Too many Christians are like the inn keeper in Bethlehem. They have no room for Him, but they want Him, so they put Him in the stable of their lives. He doesn’t just want to be in your stable. He wants the entire inn of your life. He wants to come into every room you have locked up. He wants to fill you up, but He will go where you put Him. Are you only offering Him a room in the stable?

For me, I want more of Him than I have today. I want to give Him the keys to my inn. I want to kick out the guests of control, security, lack of faith and fear. I want to give Him those rooms in my life too. I want Him to set a fire in my life to burn the things He wants to burn. I want Him to use that fire to purify me, to cleanse me and to make me who He wants me to be. Will it hurt? Probably. Will it be easy to do? No. Will it be worth it? Absolutely!

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The Purpose in Pain

I had the privilege several years ago of watching a skilled potter work. He took a dark lump of clay and threw it on his spinning wheel. He had to make sure it was centered so it didn’t fly off at high revolutions. As it spun, he dipped his hands in water and began to apply pressure to the spinning lump. It immediately began to change. It grew taller and thinner as he worked with it. Every few minutes, he would stop, pull out a knife and dig into it. He could feel rocks in the clay and needed to cut them out or the vessel would crack later in the fire.

He then took a utensil and placed it in the center of the clay as it was spinning. He began to hollow it out. As he did, he would throw the extra clay in another pot. Once it was hollow, he began to really change the shape. You could now imagine a jar or a flower vase. My mind saw it all painted with gold accents. He then took a pointed utensil and began holding it to the side of the creation. He started making designs on it as it spin. It was really a work of art.

It reminded me of Isaiah 64:8. It says, “We are the clay and you are the potter. We are formed by your hand.” As I think back on my life and the things I’ve endured, I remember that potter with his knife and his utensils. I see times where there were rocks in my life that needed to be cut out. Having a knife stuck in you hurts. Especially when it’s the potters knife. The one you trust. At the time I couldn’t see that He was making sure I wouldn’t crack later.

I think of the times in my life when I was hollowed out. My life felt empty inside. I watched as my life was picked apart and thinned out. My wife left. My friends left. My business left. I had nothing. Now I realize that it’s only when I have been hollowed out that I can truly become a vessel that He can fill up. I was full of myself and things that didn’t matter. He had to empty me so He could fill me. At the time I couldn’t see that He was preparing me to be used by Him for His purpose.

At the end of the demonstration, he held up one of the most beautiful pieces of pottery I had ever seen. I started calculating how much money I had so I could buy this piece. I wanted it so badly. I had picked out the perfect place in my house. I was ready to get into a bidding war until he did something I’ll never forget. He crushed it. My heart sank. He had spent almost an hour meticulously creating such a beautiful vessel. Wasted time, effort and hope. He then said, “Everything I’ve done to this vessel means nothing until it goes through fire. Only then will it really be worth something. Until then, it is easily crushed.”

God allows us to walk through fire in our lives. He allows difficult things to happen because if we don’t, we will easily be crushed when it is time for Him to use us. He made us a promise though in Isaiah 43:1-2. God says to you, “I have called you by name; you are mine… I will be with you… When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up.” There is a purpose to the fires in your life. There is meaning in being hollowed out. There is hope when you’re in the fire. God is at work in you and thinks you are a vessel He can use. Don’t jump off the wheel, dodge the utensils He uses or be afraid of the fire. They’re for your benefit.

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Beauty for Ashes

This is a repost of one of my most popular devotionals last year.

We traveled recently to northeast Texas to property that my sister in law’s family owns. As we drove near the property and even onto the property, we noticed the devastation that the wildfires of 2011 left behind. At first we were saddened as we tried to imagine what it had looked like before. What we saw now were blackened trees standing naked in acres of fields with a grey sky as a backdrop.

As we stood outside and stared at what was compared with our imaginations of what had been, I began to notice all of the green bushes that were growing at the base of the trees. My wife mentioned that in a strange way, it was kind of beautiful. My brother said that periodically, fire is actually good for the forest. It’s just hard when the period you own it coincides with the period of fires.

As I looked at, with my wife’s words echoing in my mind, I remembered the scripture in Isaiah 61:3 that said God will give beauty for ashes. I then thought of my life and others I know whose lives had been burned. I remember standing there in shock after my life burned to the ground. I spent a lot of time remembering the way life was before and often wishing I could go back. I spent almost a year in a daily rut of trying to remember the good old days and trying to forget the pain.

My brother was right. Fire can be a good thing. I remembered seeing a billboard with the web address of goodfires.org once. I looked it up to see how a fire can be good. It said that through controlled burning they can increase healthy habitats in the forest, they can promote a varied population and it provides nutrients to the soil that creates quality increases in plant life. The devastation that fire brings increases life.

I think the same holds true in our lives. You may be where I once was. You may be looking at the charred remains of what was your life wondering why God allowed this to happen. I know the feeling. What I’ve learned is that God will replace those ashes with beauty. He can use the fire that burned you to create new life in you. You can’t see it right away and certainly not while you are looking at the remains of the past. You have to search for it. Find that new life. It’s there. It may be just budding, but it’s there.

I remember someone speaking to me a word that they felt God had given them for me after everything I had was burned. They said, “What seems like an end is only a beginning. I have not left you, nor have I forsaken you. I am here by your side. I’m not in front of you or behind you, but here by your side. Where I am taking you, you will experience joy like you’ve never known. Trust in me.” I believe that holds true today.

You may be looking at what seems to be an end. All might seem lost, but it’s not. The fires burned away what was temporary in your life. God wants to create a new beginning in you. He wants to bring you life. He holds to His promise that He will never leave you or forsake you. He knows and sees the pain you have for now. Hang in there, He will create beauty from the ashes of your life.

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Beauty for Ashes

We traveled recently to northeast Texas to property that my sister in law’s family owns. As we drove near the property and even onto the property, we noticed the devastation that the wildfires of 2011 left behind. At first we were saddened as we tried to imagine what it had looked like before. What we saw now were blackened trees standing naked in acres of fields with a grey sky as a backdrop.

As we stood outside and stared at what was compared with our imaginations of what had been, I began to notice all of the green bushes that were growing at the base of the trees. My wife mentioned that in a strange way, it was kind of beautiful. My brother said that periodically, fire is actually good for the forest. It’s just hard when the period you own it coincides with the period of fires.

As I looked at, with my wife’s words echoing in my mind, I remembered the scripture in Isaiah 61:3 that said God will give beauty for ashes. I then thought of my life and others I know whose lives had been burned. I remember standing there in shock after my life burned to the ground. I spent a lot of time remembering the way life was before and often wishing I could go back. I spent almost a year in a daily rut of trying to remember the good old days and trying to forget the pain.

My brother was right. Fire can be a good thing. I remembered seeing a billboard with the web address of goodfires.org once. I looked it up to see how a fire can be good. It said that through controlled burning they can increase healthy habitats in the forest, they can promote a varied population and it provides nutrients to the soil that creates quality increases in plant life. The devastation that fire brings increases life.

I think the same holds true in our lives. You may be where I once was. You may be looking at the charred remains of what was your life wondering why God allowed this to happen. I know the feeling. What I’ve learned is that God will replace those ashes with beauty. He can use the fire that burned you to create new life in you. You can’t see it right away and certainly not while you are looking at the remains of the past. You have to search for it. Find that new life. It’s there. It may be just budding, but it’s there.

I remember someone speaking to me a word that they felt God had given them for me after everything I had was burned. They said, “What seems like an end is only a beginning. I have not left you, nor have I forsaken you. I am here by your side. I’m not in front of you or behind you, but here by your side. Where I am taking you, you will experience joy like you’ve never known. Trust in me.” I believe that holds true today.

You may be looking at what seems to be an end. All might seem lost, but it’s not. The fires burned away what was temporary in your life. God wants to create a new beginning in you. He wants to bring you life. He holds to His promise that He will never leave you or forsake you. He knows and sees the pain you have for now. Hang in there, He will create beauty from the ashes of your life.

Here is a song by Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenole that came to mind this morning.

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