Want The Fire Of God To Consume Your Life? Just Add Water!


JUST ADD WATER SIDE BAR1

“I want God to consume my life.”

Is this a familiar phrase to you?  It’s a comment that many of us make.  We want God to send the fire down, set us ablaze with passion and anointing, and use us to make history or at least to change the world around us.  I’ll admit that I’m one of those people.  I want God to use me to do great things – things that I would never imagine for myself – all for His glory.  But no matter how many times I say it, I have also realized that this is not something I can do on my own.  How do I reach that point, become that available, totally emptying myself out for Him to fill?

One of the people I look to in the bible as one who knew how to trust God, how to communicate with God, and how to move God, is Elijah. What a mighty man of God he was! He had such a relationship with God that He knew God would answer when he prayed. He heard from God. And when he heard from God, he obeyed what God told him to do.

My favorite story about Elijah is when he confronted the prophets of Baal and challenged them to a sacrifice duel. They agreed that whomever’s god answered by fire would be the true God. He allowed the 450 prophets of Baal to offer their sacrifice first, and after they sacrificed and prayed to Baal well into the evening with no result, it was Elijah’s turn.  He obediently followed each instruction the Lord gave him.   He rebuilt the altar using 12 large stones, dug a trench around it, laid wood on it and then put the sacrifice on it. After that, he saturated it with water. Finally, he prayed. Not for hours, but a simple, faith-filled prayer. And God answered. He consumed the sacrifice totally. The bull, the wood, the stones, the dirt, and water. Everything. God consumed it.

“Lord, the 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,Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

This testimony of God’s move for Elijah provides some great insight into how we can see the fire of God fall in our own lives.

First, build a strong altar.

The altar to God had been disregarded and torn down. Elijah rebuilt it using 12 stones. He built it solid. Strong. It was a good altar, worthy of the sacrifice before God. In our life we must spend time in prayer creating a strong foundation of faith. If we disregard our prayer life we will not have the close communication with God that we need.  Just like it took effort for Elijah to set those 12 stones, it will take effort to set a strong foundation of prayer in our life but it is well worth it.

Dig a trench.

Everything that God has us do may not initially make sense. But remember, we see the immediate – He sees the infinite. God instructed Elijah to dig a trench around the altar that would soon be filled with water. Elijah wanted God to consume his offering by fire, not by rain!  The trench probably didn’t make sense to many, but Elijah was obedient. Do we trust God enough to obey Him even when things don’t add up?  These “trenches” have a purpose. Just wait!

Pile up the wood.

In our life there are strongholds, hang-ups, weaknesses, and just plain sin that need removed. It needs to be burned away. Elijah placed wood on the altar as kindling for the sacrifice. The wood would be consumed by the fire as the sacrifice was offered. Look into your life and see what kindling needs placed onto the altar and burned away.

Lay the sacrifice on the altar.

This is the most difficult step – preparing the sacrifice and placing it on the altar.  The stones, the trench, the wood were all preparation.  Now comes the real obedience, placing our self on the altar. Everything else can be done perfectly but unless we are willing to take this step it means nothing.

So we do it.  

We climb up onto the altar and lay back against the wood. Can you feel the broken branches poking your back? The uncomfortable position of your head? This is a weird feeling. Total surrender.

Saturated it with water.

As you lay on the altar, your life totally surrendered to God, you still do not quite understand the process. You’re being obedient to God and are expecting the fire to fall but it seems that life just keeps dumping more and more water on you.  You remember the trench around the altar.

“What was it for anyway?” you wonder.

You look over the edge to check it out.  

“What?  Now even the trench seems to be getting full of water!”

Many people question your resolution to be faithful in the face of such uncertainty.  You even entertain thoughts of getting up from the altar but then you refuse.  You have come this far.  God has never failed.  You know the fire will fall.  So you wait.  The hours seem like days, the days like weeks, but you remain faithful.

Then suddenly, with a thunderous sound….

THE FIRE OF GOD FALLS!

Yes Lord, let the fire fall! That all-consuming fire! Not only is our life consumed totally by God, so are the waters of uncertainty, the failures and faults that we laid as kindling on the altar, even the altar itself is consumed by the fire – the amazing power – of God Himself! This what we’ve wanted for so long. The undeniable power of God in our lives! Those who doubted our conviction, even doubted our God, now see that He is the only true God. He is the only one who will answer by fire. The only one who can answer at all!

As we live our life for Christ, I believe many of us share the same desire.  We want the power of God to blaze brightly in our life. We want the world to see Jesus in us through the way we live, the way we handle situations, and the way we lead our family. We want our life to make them hungry for something better than anything the world could give  – a relationship with the Son of God.

For them to see something so great will require great sacrifice.  Our life must become nothing to us so that God becomes everything.

I know it isn’t easy but I know it will be worth it.

 

Thank you to Grégoire Lannoy for today’s photo!

Something Amazing. Something Powerful. Something New!


Think of the greatest thing God has done for you.

What is the biggest miracle you’ve ever experienced?  When was the most powerful time of worship you’ve ever encountered?  How was your biggest stronghold conquered?

What is the greatest thing that God has done in your life?

As you reflect on this awesome experience or encounter you had with God, remember how you felt.  Remember the closeness.  Remember the power.  Remember how real God was right at that moment.  You felt like He was right there with you – you could touch Him.  You felt free, lighter than air.  It was like nothing you had experienced before.

Is God now saying….

“… forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new.”  Isaiah 43:18

I don’t know how you felt as you read those verses but I know I felt the Spirit of God!  It is exciting to know that God has something great just over the horizon – something greater than we’ve experienced ever before!  That thing or that time you were just reflecting on a moment ago will pale in comparison to what God is going to do.  I feel like every sentence in this paragraph should have an explanation point following it because it… is… exciting!  It’s powerful!  It fills me with anticipation! Knowing that a great and limitless God has something far greater than what we’ve already seen is breathtaking.

Breathtaking… and challenging.

It’s challenging because prior to  God doing something greater, bigger, and more powerful than we’ve ever seen before – it may require us to increase our faith.  When thinking back to the previous big thing that God did in your life, what preceded it?  Did it just… happen?  Was everything in life going along fine and God just showed up and added more blessing?  Or were you in the middle of a challenge?  Many times, if not all, a great move of God is preceded by a time of hardship.  Maybe some event impacted your life negatively.  You may have went through a time when you felt your worship was being hindered or your prayers unanswered.  You may have even went through a season of doubt.  But  these things required us to seek, hear, and trust God with all of our heart and, when we did, God showed up!

God has something great in store for us and it’s just around the corner.  It may not come without challenge but it will come if we’re faithful!  Don’t limit Him to the last great thing.  Our God’s power and imagination are limitless and He is going to do great things through His people.  Accept the challenge today and decide that you will seek, follow, and trust God with all of your heart and life.   Then, get ready…

Expect the Unexpected!

Thanks to Ronnie Scotch Finger for today’s photo.

How Retreating Was One Of The Best Things I’ve Ever Done.


Retreating?

In most cases, the thought of retreat seems weak and cowardly. When a group retreats it means the battle is lost and the injured survivors gather together, bandage their wounds, and hope for the best. Well let me tell you, the couple’s retreat we attended this past weekend was anything but weak and cowardly! It was filled with great teaching, powerful worship, and valuable time spent alone with the most important person I know on this earth – my wife!  This past weekend has better equipped my wife and I to go forward as a team into whatever or where ever the Lord leads.

Instead of a Couple’s Retreat, it could be called a Couple’s Challenge!

I mentioned Friday that I would review what I learned this past weekend.  The speaker, Dr. Devon Blanton, has an extensive background in counseling and nutrition and was able to shed light on many areas that affect our marriage.  Things as simple as how a poor diet and the lack of sleep affect our mood, to more detailed things like knowing how our spouse processes information helps us be better communicators.

So here are just ten of the things that I learned or was reminded of this weekend…

  1. Time alone with my wife is not just a nice idea, it’s a mandatory requirement for a strong marriage.
  2. Getting rid of distractions makes time with my wife much more enjoyable.
  3. Having Communion with my wife is an awesome experience!
  4. My wife and I process things differently. The more often I can remember that, the better our marriage can be.
  5. I’m reminded how much fun my wife and I have when we are alone together.
  6. Eating a proper diet and getting enough rest has a huge impact on our marriage.
  7. I’m reminded of how important respecting my spouse is. What her and I do, share, and discuss may very well be no one else’s business. Fortunately, we’ve lived by that standard throughout our marriage and I believe it’s one thing that we’ve done well.
  8. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to have a priceless weekend with your spouse.
  9. I’m reminded how much fun it is to have secret jokes with my wife. Things that only her and I know about.
  10. I’m reminded that no matter how good our marriage is, we can always learn more. More about each other, about being a better partner, and more about what God has to say about our marriage.

Again, this couple’s retreat was not for the weak – it was a challenge! We had about 32 couples attend and now that we are armed with the tools for better, stronger marriages, we are responsible for putting it into action!  I hope that the other couples who attended had as much fun as my wife and I did.

If you have never attended a Christian marriage/couple’s  retreat, find one in your area and put it on your schedule!

Did you attend the 2012 SFWC Couple’s Retreat?  If so, share what you learned!