On this one I ask you to think along with me---use your vivid imagination. Let's paint a picture of a Big Ole Fireplace. The fireplace imagined by a lady probably will be tastefully decorated, with knick-knacks and photos lining the mantelpiece. The man's fireplace, most likely, will be hunks of stone and wood. One thing, though, would be common: inside the base will be a place to start a fire. A little pile of fatlighter, some twigs, some sticks, some small logs, a couple large logs on top. Everything ready for a blazing, warm fire---except the SPARK.. Do you feel fuzzy warm already? I do, too. And we'll get back here to the Big Ole Fireplace later.
To provide the SPARK, imagine a GISMO which is labeled "FREE WILL." FREE WILL, a gift from God Himself, enables us to think and ponder in the present, but also about the future or the past. With it, we can weigh circumstances and with it we can evaluate consequences. Ultimately, our GISMO enables us to make decisions: usually YES or NO. Animals do not have FREE WILL, with one exception---my log cabin house cat. She has FREE WILL hehehe. Well, she appears to be pondering.
Now the GISMO is both a BEAUTIFUL creation by God as well as a DANGEROUS creation. With the GISMO we can PRAISE God, we can THANK God, we can OBEY God, we can WORSHIP God. On the other hand the GISMO is used to LAUGH in the face of God, to tell Him we don't want any visual evidence of Him in our public life, to tell Him indeed that prayer should be made illegal in America.
Why the twofold natures of the GISMO? With their GISMO, Eve said "YES" and Adam followed up with another "YES." Sin entered the human race. The SPIRITUAL COMPONENT of human beings, thus DIED. Only the NATURAL, SINFUL COMPONENT remains activated. Now how DEAD is the SPIRITUAL COMPONENT? When I was a kid I used to love to engineer the 'flyswatter.' Smack! I got one--- and it fell to the floor. I would jump near it and holler, "DEADER THAN A DOORNAIL!" Or, a nasty mosquito would land on my left shoulder. Very sloooowly and carefully, I would bring my right hand into position... ZAP! The mosquito was squashed on contact. In triumph. I would yell, "DEADER THAN A DOORNAIL!" And that's how DEAD the SPIRITUAL COMPONENT of the GISMO of mankind became. Spiritually, "DEADER THAN A DOORNAIL!!!"
Almighty, Sovereign God created the universe: the heavens and the earth. Whoa... how do you know that, Leon? Well, He told me so---in His Word. God wrote the BOOK, the BIBLE. And, Leon, how do you know that? He told me so---in His Word. And God intensely and dearly loves the human race, despite its continual shenanigans and outright rebellion. How could anyone know that, Leon? He told me that, too---plainly, right there in His Word. And therefore, God sent the SPARK OF SPIRITUAL LIFE into this very world in which we live.
The Big Ole FIREPLACE is your HEART! Will the fire light? Where is the necessary SPARK to light the fatlighter and kindling?" Almighty, Sovereign God HOLDS that "SPARK OF SPIRITUAL LIFE" out to each human being. God absolutely does not FORCE Himself onto any person. Using one's GISMO to say YES and accept the "SPARK OF SPIRITUAL LIFE" is the only way---God's gracious and loving design.. John 14:6; Acts 4:12; John 3:3-8; 3:17,18. The Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth is that "SPARK OF SPIRITUAL LIFE!"
When God held out the SPARK OF SPIRITUAL LIFE to you personally, how did your GISMO respond? Millions and millions down through history have had their fireplaces lit by the SPARK OF SPIRITUAL LIFE. Are you sorry if you did? If you're GLAD, quietly say Amen.
Now let's take a closer look at the Big Ole Fireplace. The SPARK OF SPIRITUAL LIFE has lit your fireplace. How genuinely happy I am for you... What next, though? Paul proclaimed, "For this reason I remind you to FAN INTO FLAME the gift of God, which is (now) in you..." 2 Tim 1:6a.
I recall doing that down on my hands and knees in front of the fireplace. Blowing on the tiny fire. Oxidizing the small flame. See the fire grow. Getting soot and ashes in my face hehehe. CAPTURE these verses in your FIREPLACE, and experience the HEAT and WARMTH which will DRAW to you those whose GISMO is "DEADER THAN A DOORNAIL"
(1) "...but let the one who has my Word speak it faithfully...
Is not my Word like FIRE, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?" Jeremiah 23:28b,29. People seldom can change other peoples' minds. The Word of God MAJORS in the premise that it can. "Let this MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Phil 2:5. KJV. "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Tim 1:7. KJV.
(2) "His Word is in my heart (my fireplace) like a FIRE, a FIRE shut up in my bones. I am weary of HOLDING IT IN, indeed I cannot." Jeremiah 20:9b. As WARMTH from your fireplace saturates your own special world, sharing the Word of God will be exciting and soul-stirring to you personally.
(3) "But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased, My heart (fireplace) grew HOT within me, and as I meditated, the FIRE burned; then I SPOKE with my tongue." Psalm 39:2,3. MEDITATING upon the Word of God is the FIRE/FUEL that empowers you.
My desire is to leave you with the following picture: Your fireplace is lit, burning---giving off WARMTH. Who will notice? Remember, it's a cold, shivering world out there: A relative, a friend, a co-worker, an acquaintance, a stranger---that he/she will be DRAWN to the WARMTH of your fireplace. What then?
Perhaps a winsome smile
Possibly a kind word
Maybe a suggestion to help in some way
An offer to pray for a need
Sharing a verse from God's Word
Conceivably holding out the SPARK
OF SPIRITUAL LIFE to someone
who is DEADER THAN A DOORNAIL
A new fireplace lit by the
SPIRITUAL SPARK OF LIFE.
Leon, this is really good. I not only enjoyed reading it, but I was blessed in doing so. I can tell the Holy Spirit was filling you with words to write as you sat in front of that fireplace. And I am sure this Spring when you are out there working in that garden of yours, the Holy Spirit will still be filling you with words. Keep on writing for God's glory, my friend. Thomas