“On Fire For God”
April 13, 2007
Click here to listen to us read this message on your audio player.
“On Fire For God”
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
Brooksyne and I enjoy a variety of hot peppers. She makes a delicious candied jalapeño jelly that has just the right amount of sweet and hot and cans it for various dishes. She is especially famous (in our small world anyway) for her jalapeño quiche that uses this jelly.
But I recall getting into some extra hot peppers that bring back quite a memory. I was visiting with some men in a produce distribution facility and they gave me a pepper to try. They told me with a twinkle in the eye that it was a rather hot pepper. I figured that was OK because I like hot peppers, so I brought one home to Brooksyne and asked her to cut it up in my salad.
I should have known something was up when I heard her and Ester laughing as they prepared the salad. After sitting down at the dinner table, I took a small bite and my, oh my, was that ever a blistering pepper! I downed several glasses of water trying to quench the hot taste and cool my flushed face. I called one of the fellows who gave me the pepper and he told me the name of the pepper is “habanera”. It’s five times hotter than the jalapeño. My mouth was sure on fire!
“Being on fire” is an expression used to describe a real sold out, committed believer. The daily Scripture texts teach that this is how we ought to be. The underlying Greek word for “fervent” is “zeo”, which means, “to be hot.” It’s used to describe the preaching of Apollos in Acts 18:25 who “spoke with great fervor.”
The challenge in the spiritual life is to “keep your spiritual fervor.” I sure find a tendency for mine to wane and I need to regularly heed Paul’s words to Timothy “to fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6).
We also need to heed that short word of exhortation expressed in the second verse and “not put out the Spirit’s fire.” Many of us are familiar with the way the King James Version words this phrase, “Quench not the Spirit.” The word for “quench” literally means “extinguish” and although I am thankful for fire extinguishers, as well as the extinguishing affect of lots of water after eating a hot pepper, we need to be very careful that we do not extinguish the Spirit’s fire!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, help us to stir up the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives through faithful reading and application of the Scriptures. Though there are daily temptations and experiences that want to extinguish the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we thank You that Your abiding presence in our hearts is greater than the foe that seeks to deter us. May we always be attentive to Your still small voice and the convicting power of Your Holy Spirit as we keep our spiritual fervor in serving You. Amen.
Note from Brooksyne: I’ve learned in recent years that a better cure for extinguishing the heat after eating hot peppers is eating a slice of bread or drinking a glass of milk. I usually can jalapeño jelly in the fall and I’ll prepare about 5# of peppers at a time (that’s about 1 ½ gallons.) As you can imagine the fumes fill the house and most especially the kitchen. I double glove and even wear a medical mask to filter some of the potency of the peppers. My worst memory in working with peppers was when, in spite of the mask and gloves, the fumes got to me and my nose began to run and my tear ducts filled. I was absolutely miserable as I needed to take care of the problem before I could proceed with the canning and I certainly was not going to touch my face with my own hands. It was quite humiliating to call for Stephen to help me blow my nose, but he came to my rescue. I think he felt really good since he made a valuable contribution to my big canning project simply by grabbing some tissues and drying my tears and helping me clear my nose. That’s about as close as he’s ever come to assisting me with canning. I learned a very valuable lesson from that experience that I’ve never forgotten. I thought immediately following that humbling experience of those who are paralyzed and unable to blow their own nose, dry their own tears, wash their own bodies, etc. I was initially frustrated and embarrassed at having someone else (even my husband) assist me with my personal needs, but I found myself very thankful for the experience and for a new perspective in relating to those who deal with this on a regular basis.
Note from Stephen: The sample jar of jalepeño jam was not prepared by Brooksyne. Her jars were just to plain for a good photo since there is no label! But they taste just as good!
Today’s suggested music:
“Shine, Jesus Shine” (listen to audio file)
This song was selected due to a line that states, “Blaze, Spirit, blaze. Set our hearts on fire.” This version is by the original artist, Graham Kendrick and is from his website.
One of the beautiful features of farming in this area is the contour rows of different crops planted beside each other. This photo shows two freshly plowed fields with a cover crop between them.