Being a “Christian on Fire”

Daily Devotional: Day 166

“Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19, KJV).

The Spirit given to us at our new birth is meant to be a flame in our hearts; a flame constantly burning, enabling us to radiate the love, beauty and holiness of God. On the Day of Pentecost, one of the manifestations of the Spirit’s outpouring was “tongues as of fire” (Acts 2:3). The Father’s will for us is to be ablaze with the Spirit always. How do we do that? By offering ourselves to God as a holy and living sacrifice (cf. Romans 12:1). Practically, this means obeying the voice of God and letting the Holy Spirit use us as God pleases.

“Christians on fire” is what pleases Jesus. This isn’t about signs and wonders. Unfortunately, in our time, when many Christians speak of “fire,” they’re thinking of charismatic euphoria, speaking in tongues, and signs and wonders. But, that’s not the point of the Spirit’s fire. We can perform signs and wonders and not be on fire; likewise, we can be on fire and not perform signs and wonders. The two things don’t necessarily coincide. The Spirit’s fire is a fire that ignites in us a passion to live a life that pleases Jesus; a life of total surrender and unqualified dedication to Jesus.

Toward the end of his First Letter to the Thessalonians, Paul admonished the believers, “Quench not the Spirit.” This means you can do (or not do) things which will extinguish the fire of the Spirit. You can quench the Spirit through spiritual laziness, lack of prayer, disobedience and a life of sin. The Spirit’s fire doesn’t work automatically. How much work the Spirit will accomplish in your life depends, in part, on your voluntary cooperation. The Spirit is about keeping you holy, setting you apart as a living sacrifice unto God. He can’t do this, if you’re constantly resisting Him. But He will will do great things with you if you yield to Him in obedience, self-denial and humility.

In the Old Testament, regarding the fire of the burnt offering, God commanded, “The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out” (Leviticus 6:13). Just as God didn’t want the fire of the burnt offering to be put out, so now He doesn’t want you to quench the Spirit.

God is looking for “Christians on fire.” Keep your fire burning.

May the Lord bless you and let His face shine upon you. Amen.

For further study: Revelation 3:14-22

When a Christian Husband Says, “I Do”

Daily Devotional: Day 162

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her (Ephesians 5:25).

Christian marriage is no ordinary relationship. Anything directly related to Jesus Christ is not ordinary; it’s sacred. By comparing Christian marriage with the covenant relationship between Jesus and the Church, the Bible is basically saying that Christian marriage is a supernatural union with supernatural implications.

Christian marriage is a divine pairing. The wife is to the husband what the Church is to Christ; and the husband is to the wife what Jesus is to the Church. Yesterday, we looked briefly at what God expects from the wife, which is, submission to her husband. Today, it’s the husband’s turn. Look carefully at today’s Bible passage. It looks like a simple statement – and it is – but the implications of the statement are profound.

God wants husbands to love their wives. We know that a lot of husbands love their wives. That’s commendable. Yet, God isn’t talking about just any form of love, because there are different kinds of love and different ways of loving people. God is speaking to husbands about a specific form of love. He wants husbands to love their wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. This is the standard by which God expects the husband to love his wife. 

When a Christian husband says, “I do,” he is saying, “I will love you the way Jesus loved the Church.” When he says to his wife, “I love you,” he must mean “I love you with the love Jesus has for the Church.” This means the husband must, first of all, be someone who knows Jesus, because you can only mirror someone you know and understand. The same is true for the wife; she can only mirror the Church if she understands the role of the Church toward Jesus. The husband must, therefore, make Jesus his marriage Mentor and Counselor. No amount of marriage counseling, marriage retreats or marriage workshops can replace the husband’s need to imitate Jesus. It is a great honor bestowed on the husband, to be called to be the reflection of Jesus in the marriage.

Just as Jesus is head of the Church, the husband, too, is head of the wife, and consequently. he needs to be an effective and reliable head. Jesus doesn’t lead the Church astray. The husband must not hesitate to lead his wife or be indecisive. It is his God-given role, and he needs to take it seriously. As head of the wife, it is his duty of love and duty of care to watch over the spiritual growth of his wife and indeed of the entire household – if they have children. To do this, the husband will do well to be prayerful, grounded in God’s Word and and able to discern.

Let’s recall the story of Adam and Eve. Adam had the responsibility of watching over his wife. When he realized that Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, his duty was to intervene, intercede for his wife and consult God about what could be done to save her. Instead, he neglected his role of spiritual leadership and shared in his wife’s error. Christian husbands should learn from Adam’s story. It’s important for them to remember that God has made them the spiritual head of their household. Material care is important, but the greatest act of love a husband can show his wife is not the provision of expensive vacation trips, fancy shoes and clothing, expensive rings, etc., but to see to the wife’s spiritual growth through prayer, study of God’s Word and training in godliness

God bless Christian husbands with a spirit of leadership, discernment, courage and prosperity. Amen.

For further study: 1 Samuel 1:1-28

God Provides in a Time of Obedience and Trust

Daily Devotional: Day 133

“And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?” Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest” (Leviticus 25:20-22, NKJV).

In Leviticus chapter 25, God commanded the people of Israel to keep a sabbath for the land they were about to occupy (Canaan). They could sow and reap for six years, but the seventh year was to be a year of rest for the land. During the seventh year, they were prohibited from all farming activities on the land. This commandment was to be observed – as in a cycle – every seven years, for as long as they remained on the land.

Obviously, this commandment presented its own opportunities and challenges. On one hand, it afforded them the opportunity to rest; but on the other hand, they were left with the obvious question: “What shall we eat during the seventh year?” What God was asking them to do required radical trust and obedience. Recall that once every week, on the sabbath day, they did no work. It is one thing not to work once a week; but no farming for an entire year was a completely different story. This brings us to today’s Bible text.

God allayed the fears of the people with the following promise: “I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years.” This blessing ensured that the Israelites had food provision for the sixth year, the seventh year, and the eighth year. What we can learn here is that God is not limited in His ability to bless you. Oftentimes obedience to God requires a sacrifice. Not sowing or reaping, for the Israelites, was a huge sacrifice. But today’s Bible reading assures us that when you do what God requires of you, He will not leave you without provision. Our God is a dependable provider. Dare to trust Him.

May the God of Israel command His blessing upon you and your family today! Amen.

For further study: Genesis 22:1-18

‘This Man’ Is the Difference

Daily Devotional: Day 95

“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God . . . For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:11-12, 14, NKJV).

Jesus didn’t just make a difference. He is the difference. The difference He made has impacted your past, your present and your future. Sin is the reason no one could gain eternal life. But Jesus, and Jesus aloneis the reason everyone who believes in Him will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The priests of the Old Covenant were on their feet every day, offering animal sacrifices for sin. Selected animals (goats, sheep and cows) had to die for the sins of the people. But the Bible says those sacrifices could never take away sins. That’s understandable. Animals, which are inferior beings, cannot pay for the sins committed by superior beings (humans).

 To take away the sin of humans, you will need the blood of someone from the same human race. Additionally, this person, like the sacrificial animals, must be spotless, i.e. sinless. Here is where Jesus entered the scene. Notice that the Bible speaks of ‘This Man,’ not ‘these men.’ This means only one Priest can save you. Jesus is His Name.

What has ‘This Man’ done for you that should make you leap for joy? A lot of things. Let’s focus on just one. The Bible says Jesus has offered one sacrifice for your sins forever. This means Jesus sacrificed His life for you, and in the process, He has forever atoned for all your sins. Wait, it gets even better. The Bible further explains that by dying for you, ‘This Man’ has perfected you forever.

When you become born again, God makes you holy. Yet He continues – through the work of the Holy Spirit – to sanctify you, i.e. to make you holy in the moral, practical sense (cf. 1 Peter 1:1-2). Jesus’ death has perfected you forever. Did you catch that? ‘This Man’ indeed is the difference. Let us fall at His feet and worship.

Prayer:

My God and Father, I bless you for saving me from my sins through the blood of your Son. With all my heart, I worship you. Fill me with the joy of salvation that I may always declare your marvelous love. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Revelation 5:1-14

Rethinking Worship

Daily Devotional: Day 88

‘“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:36-38, NKJV).

Your heart is not yours; it is for the Lord. God wants, not some of your heart, but all of it. He requires, not some of your devotion, but all your devotion. The Lord has no tolerance for half-hearted devotion. Recall that He warned the church in Laodicea that due to their lukewarm attitude, He would vomit them out of His mouth (cf. Revelation 3:16). Love is a two-way street. The Bible says that God first loved us; and His love for us has made it possible for us to love Him (cf. 1 John 4:19).

 In Christ Jesus, God has lavished all His love upon us. Therefore, the only reasonable and acceptable response to this radical love is for us to love Him back with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. This is the definition of worship: total consecration of your life to God, removing all resistance to His will.

Many of us have been raised, unfortunately, to think of worship primarily in terms of the 30-minute or 1-hour slot allocated for singing and dancing during Sunday or Saturday service. Today, when many people hear “worship,” we often associate it with loud music, drums, dazzling lights and intense emotional experience. Making music to God is part of worship, but it is by no means the definition of worship. The Bible truth is, worship is a lifestyleit is a way of beingit is a state of mind.

Worship encompasses a Christian’s whole life. It is not a moment on Sundays or a morning devotion. It is a lifestyle of holy living characterized by around-the-clock devotion to the law of God and submission to His will as expressed in the Bible.

Paul put it so well when he wrote to the Christians in Rome: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Let’s be honest: How many Christians have offered their bodies to God as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable?

The word “service” (from Romans 12:1) is a translation of the Greek word latreia. This word, among other things, means religious or sacred service, i.e. worship. True worship, therefore, means to voluntarily present your entire self to God as a sacrifice for Him to do with you as He pleases. When love for God consumes you, your only desire will be to please Him, not yourself. Let Christians arise and worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. Let’s rethink worship.

Prayer:

Dear Father, I bless you for your tender mercies. Thank you for lavishing all your love upon me. I give you all my heart, all my soul, and all my body as my reasonable worship. Lord, have your way in me. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Deuteronomy 6:1-25