January 22nd – The Fire of the Lord

I once heard the famous Scottish divine, Dr. Gossip, speak. I was a student about to begin in the ministry – he a world famous preacher. What impressed me was his humanity, humility and droll sense of humour. He told us (and I’ve no way of knowing how true it was) that when David Livingstone, whom he obviously hero-worshipped, was cutting new trails through Africa’s jungles, his party, each night, would collect masses of dead wood, pile it into a cone shape, and light a camp fire for heat, light, cooking and protection. On tracking back they came across piles of wood, all assembled in cone shapes by, they discovered, monkeys – who here and there sat around them. “But”, he rapped out “There was no fire”. This scrap of memory strikes me now, as I think of the churches in our land at one end of the 20th Century. The jungle is all around, and increasingly taking over.Here and there, there are clearings in which believers assemble the wood in the right order, and sit around them
‘But there is no fire’. Like the jungle monkeys we cannot make this fire: this is the work of God alone. In a similar jungle, thick and tinder dry, in the late 18th Century, John Wesley rode the land dropping lighted matches – and the fires burned and the nation had light and warmth. At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell …..When the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord – he is God! The Lord – he is God!” I Kings 18:36-39
A Prayer of Charles Wesley :”O Thou who camest from above, the pure celestial fire to impart. Kindle a flame of sacred love on the mean altar of my heart. There let it for thy glory burn with …inextinguishable blaze.”
Now read Exodus Chapter 3

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Thought 4 The Day

Praising God does not mean paying Him compliments. It does mean revelling in His company.


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