Just as torches burn most brightly when swung to and fro; just as the juniper plant smells sweetest when flung into the flames; so the richest qualities of a Christian often come out under the north wind of adversity and suffering. Bruised hearts often emit the fragrance God loves to smell.
Since it [Advent] comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent… If Christ is to come more fully into our lives this Christmas, if God is to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer. Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our souls that can truly change our hearts. Ours is a great responsibility not to waste this Advent time.
The reason the world is not seeing Jesus is that Christian people are not filled with Jesus. They are satisfied with attending meetings weekly, reading the Bible occasionally, and praying sometimes. It is an awful thing for me to see people who profess to be Christians lifeless, powerless, and in a place where their lives are so parallel to unbelievers’ lives that it is difficult to tell which place they are in, whether in the flesh or in the Spirit.
Give me the Love that leads the way
The Faith that nothing can dismay
The Hope no disappointments tire
The Passion that’ll burn like fire
Let me not sink to be a clod
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God
What needs to be guarded is the life of the Spirit within us. Especially we who want to witness to the presence of God’s Spirit in the world need to tend the fire within with utmost care…Our first and foremost task is faithfully to care for the inward fire so that when it is really needed it can offer warmth and light to lost travelers.
Love is kindled in a flame, and ardency is its life. Flame is the air which true Christian experience breathes. It feeds on fire; it can withstand anything rather than a feeble flame; but when the surrounding atmosphere is frigid or lukewarm, it dies, chilled and starved to its vitals. True prayer must be aflame.
The true fire is kindled at the Altar of Sacrifice. The false fire ignores the blood. There is much religious fire today which is merely the so-called “enthusiasm of humanity,” or the emotion stirred by eloquence, art or zeal for some human cause and selfish interest. It is not enough to believe in the Spirit, for spiritism and spiritualism all do this; but the true Spirit always comes in association with the blood.
Coals of fire cannot by concealed beneath the most sumptuous apparel. They will betray themselves as smoke and flames. Neither can pet sins be long hidden beneath the most ostentatious profession of faith. They will sooner or later discover themselves and burn sad holes in the person’s reputation. Sin needs the quenching of the Saviour’s blood, not concealed in our secret closets.
In the beginning, there is struggle and a lot of work for those who come near to God. But after that, there is indescribable joy. It is just like building a fire: at first it’s smoky and your eyes water, but later you get the desired result. Thus we ought to light the divine fire in ourselves with tears and effort.
Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire. A true understanding and experience of the Truth must lead to this…. A man who can speak about these things dispassionately has no right whatsoever to be in a pulpit; and should never be allowed to enter one.