VIDEO Behind the Hearth – Like Fire and Like a Hammer

Behind the Hearth

Is not My word like a fire? Jeremiah 23:29

In The Pilgrim’s Progress, the character named Interpreter showed Christian a large fire burning against a wall with a roaring flame. A man was throwing water on the fire, trying to quench the flame. Yet the fire blazed all the greater. Christian asked, “What means this?” Interpreter explained that the devil stands in front of us trying to quench our flame for Christ; but then he led Christian behind the wall where a man with a supply of oil was secretly and constantly feeding the fire.

A lot of things can happen today to quench our motivation and morale, but we have a secret fuel constantly being piped into our hearts by the Holy Spirit—the flammable Word of God. In Jeremiah 20, the prophet Jeremiah grew discouraged and said, “I am in derision daily; everyone mocks me” (verse 7). He wanted to give up, but he went on to say, “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not” (verse 9).

Make sure your heart is always blazing with fresh truths from God’s Word.

No word ever spoken by God to His own was ever yet broken; ‘Tis firm as His throne. Leander W. Munhall, hymnist


Like Fire and Like a Hammer – Charles Spurgeon Sermon

Love Changes Us

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.

Acts 9:20

 

Before I met Jesus, I’d been wounded so deeply that I avoided close relationships in fear of being hurt more. My mom remained my closest friend, until I married Alan. Seven years later and on the verge of divorce, I toted our kindergartner, Xavier, into a church service. I sat near the exit door, afraid to trust but desperate for help.

Thankfully, believers reached out, prayed for our family, and taught me how to nurture a relationship with God through prayer and Bible reading. Over time, the love of Christ and His followers changed me.

Two years after that first church service, Alan, Xavier, and I asked to be baptized. Sometime later, during one of our weekly conversations, my mom said, “You’re different. Tell me more about Jesus.” A few months passed and she too accepted Christ as her Savior.

Jesus transforms lives . . . lives like Saul’s, one of the most feared persecutors of the church until his encounter with Christ (Acts 9:1–5). Others helped Saul learn more about Jesus (vv. 17–19). His drastic transformation added to the credibility of his Spirit-empowered teaching (vv. 20–22).

Our first personal encounter with Jesus may not be as dramatic as Saul’s. Our life transformation may not be as quick or drastic. Still, as people notice how Christ’s love is changing us over time, we’ll have opportunities to tell others what He did for us.

By Xochitl Dixon

Biblical Meditation

Joshua 1:1-9

If you’re facing a challenging situation, it may be tempting to immediately consult friends, professionals, or the latest book or article relating to the subject. Although none of these choices are bad in themselves, there is a greater source for guidance and assurance than any of these, and that’s God’s Word.

When Joshua took over the leadership of Israel after Moses’ death, he didn’t form a committee or read up on current leadership strategies. Instead, he relied on the instructions and assurances God gave him: “Be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left” (Josh. 1:7).

Implicit in this command is the obvious truth that we must read the Bible if we want to know what God would have us do. Then we must be careful to obey whatever it says without trying to alter it, soften it, or make excuses for partial obedience.

The Lord also told Joshua not to let God’s Word depart from his mouth but to “meditate on it day and night” (Josh. 1:8). Since our minds are easily distracted and often forgetful, we need more than a quick and perfunctory reading of Scripture. The best approach is to ask God to help us understand what He’s saying in His Word and then take time to think about it.

Biblical meditation isn’t an emptying of our mind but rather a filling of it with God’s Word. As we reflect upon scriptural truths, we gain a greater understanding of our Father’s ways and desires so we’ll know how to proceed according to His will.

Adversary, the Devil

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) 

This grave warning concerning the devil was given not only to young Christians, easily subject to temptations, but also to “the elders which are among you” (v. 1). It often seems, in fact, that Satan’s greatest victories are won when he can cause the fall of a Christian leader, thereby not only destroying that leader’s influence for Christ, but also giving “great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14). The devil is a roaring lion, but he doesn’t come as such. If he did, the intended victim would flee.

He is, above all, the one “which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:9), “transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). As he did with Mother Eve, the “subtle” one will insidiously appeal to our pride, or our aesthetic sense, or our appetite, or our desire for material things.

Peter could speak from bitter experience. Satan had desired to “sift you as wheat,” Jesus had told him, but he foolishly boasted that he would stand true (Luke 22:31-34).

No wonder Peter could warn with such urgency: “Be sober, be vigilant.” Note particularly that, in the context, he is especially warning against greed (1 Peter 5:2) and pride (vv. 5-6). We must not allow Satan to “get an advantage of us,” Paul says, “for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). Though Satan is deceptive and powerful, we need never fall to his tempting if we simply—along with staying sober and vigilant—“submit [ourselves] therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). HMM

Turning the Crank

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

—Zechariah 4:6

It is possible to run a church and all of its activity without the Holy Spirit. You can organize it, get a board together, call a pastor, form a choir, launch a Sunday school and a ladies’ aid society. You get it all organized—and the organization part is not bad. I’m for it. But I’m warning about getting organized, getting a pastor and turning the crank—some people think that’s all there is to it, you know.

The Holy Spirit can be absent and the pastor goes on turning the crank, and nobody finds it out for years and years. What a tragedy, my brethren, what a tragedy that this can happen in a Christian church! But it doesn’t have to be that way! “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:22)….

If you could increase the attendance of your church until there is no more room, if you could provide everything they have in churches that men want and love and value, and yet you didn’t have the Holy Spirit, you might as well have nothing at all. For it is “‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6)…. [I]t is by the Spirit that God works His mighty works.   COU038-039

Oh, Lord, in whatever ministry I am involved, I pray that Your Holy Spirit would be present with His controlling power. Amen.

 

Fear not, and do not tremble

Let not your hearts faint; fear not, and do not tremble.—Deuteronomy 20:3.

 

Thou wilt be near me, Father, when I fail,

For Thou hast called me now to be Thy son,

And when the foe within me may assail,

Help me to say in Christ, “Thy will be done;”

This ever calms, this ever gives me rest;

There is no fight, in which I may not stand,

When Christ doth dwell supreme within my breast,

And Thou uphold’st me with Thy mighty hand.

Jones Very.

 

Thou must begin low, and be glad of a little light to travel with, and be faithful thereunto; and in faithfulness expect additions of light, and so much power as may help thee to rub on. And though thou may be long weak and little, and ready to perish; yet the Father will help thee, and cause His life to shoot up in thee. Thankfully receive the smallest visitation that comes from Him to thy soul; for there is life and peace in it, and death and perplexity in turning from it.

Isaac Penington.

 

All the evil we do not commit, all the temptations to which we do not consent or which never visit us; all our holy thoughts and good intentions, all our longings after that which is right,—are so many witnesses of His loving kindness towards us. How could He help you thus unless He cared for you?

Charles De Condren.

 

Blessing In the City For You

“If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, blessed shalt thou be in the city.” Deut. 28:2, 3

The city is full of care, and he who has to go there from day to day finds it to be a place of great wear and tear. It is full of noise, and stir, and bustle, and sore travail: many are its temptations, losses, and worries. But to go there with the divine blessing takes off the edge of its difficulty; to remain there with that blessing is to find pleasure in its duties, and strength equal to its demands.

A blessing in the city may not make us great, but it will keep us good; it may not make us rich, but it will preserve us honest. Whether we are porters, or clerks, or managers, or merchants, or magistrates, the city will afford us opportunities for usefulness. It is good fishing where there are shoals of fish, and it is hopeful to work for our Lord amid the thronging crowds. We might prefer the quiet of a country life; but if called to town, we may certainly prefer it because there is room for our energies.

Today let us expect good things because of this promise, and let our care be to have an open ear to the voice of the Lord, and a ready hand to execute His bidding. Obedience brings the blessing. “In keeping his commandments there is great reward.”