Tag: fire

Preaching ‘Good News’

Scripture reading for March 15th: Numbers 30-33, Psalm 35, Luke 3

Luke 3:15-18 “As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but He Who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of Whose sandal I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire, to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.”

John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin, born slightly before Him. John was called by God to be a prophet and to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. In doing so, He confronted the sins of the people and called them to repentance and to baptism as an act of cleansing. This preparation was not the end, but the entrance into a new relationship with God. Jesus Christ would complete the work necessary for the cleansing of all mankind from sin and its power on the cross through offering His body and blood. He would take the keys of death and hell from Satan and open the curtain for all who would believe to be in God’s presence. He would baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Father, and fire to deeply cleanse and empower them. This all was amazing ‘good news!’

Numbers 31:21-23 “Then Eleazar the priest said to the men in the army who had gone to battle: “This is the statute of the law that the Lord has commanded Moses: only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, and everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean.”

Prayer: Father God, I thank You for preparing the way for Your Son to bring salvation to me and all mankind. I know that my faith through Your grace has brought salvation. Repentance too is a gift of grace received humbly by faith. Help me to share the ‘good news’ with those headed for the fire of Your judgment, that they might receive the gift of eternal life and be filled with the Holy Spirit and holy fire.

Psalm 35:27-28 “Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the Lord, Who delights in the welfare of His servant!” Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.”

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The Cloud of Glory and Fire!

Scripture reading for March 7th: Numbers 8-11, Colossians 1

Colossians 1: 9-13 “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”

When you love someone, you want to please them. Pleasing the one you love requires that you get to know them. When the One you love is God, getting to know Him Who is infinite, is a daunting task and knowing how to please Him is challenging. Paul’s way to help the believers at Colossae, was to pray for them to be filled with a knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. This kind of understanding can only come by revelation through the Holy Spirit. This is the light of God’s Truth. This is the only path to pleasing God and bearing fruit in good works. God supplies the knowledge of His will and then empowers us through the Holy Spirit to grow and produce fruit. This is the fire of God’s glory in us. To God be all glory for qualifying us to share the inheritance of the saints in light!

Colossians 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Prayer: Father God, as Your child, I want to please You! Fill me today with a deeper knowledge of Your will and give me spiritual wisdom and understanding to bear fruit for Your glory. Strengthen me with power in my inner man so that I might have patience and endurance as I run this race of faith. In You all things were created and they all hold together. Lead me with Light and Fire!

Numbers 9:15-17 “On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped.”

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Taming the tongue!

Scripture reading for October 7th: James 3

Key Scriptures: James 3:5-8 “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

James understood the power of the tongue. He instructed the church in helping to bring the tongue under God’s control. Just as a bit is placed in the horse’s mouth to bring the beast under control of the rider, so we need a bridle on our tongues. A ship is a large vessel but it is guided through the waters by a small rudder. Our tongues can only successfully guide us if they are under the control of the Holy Spirit. But the untamed tongue is like a fire that can quickly spread to set on fire a whole forest or a deadly poison that poisons all it touches. Behind this untamed tongue is the fire of hell itself, says James. The deadly poison is hatred, envy, jealousy, partiality, cursing and strife. Human effort has tamed every bird and beast, but not this small entity called the tongue. Only God can bring it under control and use it to bless others and guide us through life.

James 3:9-10 “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, forgive me for the fires I have ignited by speaking unadvisedly and hastily. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and use me to be a blessing in my worship of You and my ministry of teaching Your Word to others. I realize the great responsibility and stricter judgment that comes from teaching Your Word.

James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”

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Fire will test our works!

Scripture reading for August 27th: 1st Corinthians 3

Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 3:11-15 “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid–which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw–each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

The Corinthians were very spiritually minded in some ways, but were carnally minded in others. Paul pointed out the divisions in the church body around certain teachers. He pointed out that this was worldly thinking for each person has an assignment from God and works to do. God is looking for those who are faithful in obedience. The Church is like a house with one foundation and cornerstone–Jesus Christ! Each person must be careful to follow Christ alone, and not idolize church leaders or any man. Our works will all be judged one day–on the Day of Christ at the judgment seat of Christ, where each person will receive reward (or suffer loss) for the deeds done in the body. This is not to determine salvation, but eternal reward in God’s Presence.

1st Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, forgive me for any division or harm I may have caused Your Body by exalting men or criticizing those in leadership. Give me grace each day to accomplish Your prepared works in a spirit of humility and grace. Help me to build with gold, silver or precious stones!

2nd Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

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This beast is not tamed!

Scripture reading for October 7th: Jeremiah 25, 35, 36, 45, Psalm 133, James 3

Key Scriptures: James 3:6-10 “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

James knew the power of the small tongue. He likened it to a fire, starting small but soon spreading to cover a whole life. He told how this fire was started in hell and by Satan. This fire is also like a beast that cannot be tamed. All creatures have been put under man’s dominion, but the tongue cannot be tamed. Evidence of this is that we can use our tongue to bless God and then in the same breath curse people made in God’s image. Only yielding our tongues to the Holy Spirit will tame the beast and put out the fire bringing peace and unity.

Psalm 133:1-2 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!”

Faith confession and prayer: I thank You that I can give my tongue to You as an instrument of unity and worship. Fill me with the Holy Spirit to bless Your Name and those made in Your image!

Jeremiah 35:13 “”Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction and listen to My Words? declares the Lord.””

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John’s Prophetic Word!

Scripture reading for July 20th: 2nd Chronicles 19-20, 2nd Kings 1, Psalm 20, Matthew 3

Key Scriptures: Matthew 3:11-12 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, was called by God to a prophetic ministry in Israel similar to that of Elijah. John, dressed in camel’s hair with a leather belt, called all people to repentance in preparation for the coming Messiah. The repentance was acted out through water baptism by all who received his message. But John spoke of the One coming after him, Who would be greater than him. This One would baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire! He would gather His wheat into the barn but burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. The Messiah would be judge of all!

Psalm 20:6 “Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer Him from His holy heaven with the saving might of His right hand.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. Purify my heart and life today and empower me to proclaim Jesus as Messiah and Lord.

1st Kings 1:8 “They answered him, “He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.””

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Wind and Fire!

Scripture reading for May 24th:  Acts 15, Psalm 104, Proverbs 11

Key Scriptures:  Acts 15:7-11 “And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe.  And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us, and He made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.  Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?  But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.””

Jewish believers in Jesus wanted to demand that all Gentiles be circumcised in addition to faith in Jesus.  Peter refuted them with the fact that God shows no favoritism in giving the Holy Spirit to Jew and Gentile who believed by His sovereign grace.  Salvation is by grace through faith for all who believe with no strings attached.

Faith Confession:  Lord, Thank You for Your saving Gospel and the gift of faith and the Holy Spirit.   Empower me with the ‘wind’ and ‘fire’ of Your Holy Spirit to reach out to the lost today.

Psalm 104:4  “. . He makes His messengers winds, and His ministers a flaming fire.”  

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Blow the trumpet!

Scripture reading for December 11th: Hosea 14, Joel 1-2, Revelation 9

Key Scriptures:  Revelation 9:18, 20-21  “By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths”.  . . . “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” 

In John’s vision, the sixth angel blew his trumpet and four bound angels were released near the great Euphrates river.  The fact that they were bound implies that they were under God’s judgment and control.  Their task was to initiate a judgment on earth that would kill a third of earth’s population.  This was done by fire, smoke and sulfur.  After a third were killed, the rest of earth’s inhabitants still did not repent of idolatry or immorality and other terrible sins against God and man.

Joel  2:1-2 “Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!”

Prayer:  Lord Almighty, help me to sound the alarm and share the good news of a way of salvation for all mankind who will repent.  I know that this day is coming, for Your word is true!  Amen.

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Listen before you speak!

Scripture reading for November 2nd:  Jeremiah 34-36, James 3

Key Scriptures:  James 3:6-9  “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.  The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.  For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.”  

James, pastor of the Jerusalem church and half-brother of Jesus Christ, loved to give practical wisdom to God’s people.  He cautioned them concerning the tongue.  Our speech gets us into trouble with God and others.  We cannot tame the tongue ourselves.  Only God by His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit can enable us to speak righteously and obey Him.

Jeremiah 35: 15  “I (God) have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying “Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to you and your fathers.  But you did not incline your ear or listen to Me.”  

Prayer:  Lord, forgive me for using my tongue to do evil and harm others.  Help me to listen to You and live by faith in every Word.  Amen.

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Building an altar

Scripture reading for January 3rd:  Genesis 8-10, Matthew 3

Key Scriptures:  Genesis 8:14-17,20  “In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out.  Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.  Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh–birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”  . . . “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.” 

The Lord gave Noah instructions upon entering and now upon leaving the ark.  God’s Word was critical to success in escaping the destruction of the flood and now in entering a new world, washed from violence by the flood.  Noah and his family built an altar to worship God and offer acceptable sacrifices.  When God smelled the offerings, He was pleased and made a covenant with Noah, promising blessing and no more water judgment!  Baptism is a symbol of water judgment on sins!

Matthew 3:1, 11-12  “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”. . . “I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in His and, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”  

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank You for clear instructions to our forefathers warning of coming judgment and taking them through.  Cleanse my heart, by Your Holy Spirit, and make it an altar where You dwell and we meet each day.   Amen.

 

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