Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“We have an assured confidence that whenever we ask anything in accordance with His will, He listens to us. And since we know that He listens to us, then whatever we ask, we know that we have the things which we have asked from Him.”
1 John 5: 14, 15
“I never prayed sincerely and earnestly for anything but it came, at some time -- no matter how distant the day -- somehow, in some shape, probably the last I should have devised, it came.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice and the wood and the stones and the dust, and also licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!”
1 Kings 18: 38-39
“And Fire Fell From Heaven”
“Perhaps our place is not at the center of the universe. God does not exist to make a big deal out of us. We exist to make a big deal out of Him. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about Him.”
What do I think God intended to demonstrate to His children by the spectacular sight of fire falling from heaven and completely destroying the altar Elijah had rebuilt?
If I had been present on Mount Carmel, what would my reaction have been to such a stunning display of God’s undeniable power?
What does it take for God to get my attention focused on Him?
“Nothing transcends the power of God. Whether our difficulty is from Satan, others, self-inflicted, or experienced in the process of our obedience, it is God’s prerogative to rearrange, reconstruct, reinterpret, and realign the situation to bring glory and praise to His name.”
Through The Fire
“All things are therefore possible to me, if I am united to Him who can do all things.”
The altar had been rebuilt. Elijah had cried out, “O Lord, hear me.” And now, in answer to his plea, in one of the most dramatic displays since the scene at Mount Sinai, the Bible tells us that fire fell from heaven, consuming not only the sacrificial offering of the oxen along with the wood it was laid on, but also the rocks that made the altar and all the water in the trench right down to the dust.
To call this scene a magnificent display would be a very limited description of what occurred. Obviously, from the reaction of all the people who earlier in the day had been totally silent when Elijah directly asked them how long they were going to continue to limp along, wavering between one opinion or another, we find the entire multitude bowing down with their faces to the earth, in unison crying out, “The Lord, He is God!”
The amazing commitment of the host of Israel, in recognition of their Father’s powerful statement, reflects the words penned by Charles Wesley in the 1700’s when he expressed this dramatic vision of his heavenly Father’s fire from above:
“O Thou who camest from above,
The pure celestial fire to impart,
Kindle a flame of sacred love
On the mean altar of my heart.
There let it for Thy glory burn
With inextinguishable blaze,
And trembling to its source return
In humble prayer, and fervent praise.”
“The Lord, He is God,” was the cry now heard, echoing from Mount Carmel’s heights to the valley below. How Elijah must have rejoiced as he heard these words of affirmation ringing through the air, giving glory to the God he had honored with every fiber of his being. A God whom he trusted from Gilead’s rugged mountains to Cherith’s bubbling brook, and even in a humble cottage in Zarephath of Phoenicia. “The Lord, He is God,” was the message Elijah had carried with him every step he took, every place he dwelt and to every person he met. Finally, he could hear for himself, this same message carried by God’s chosen children in a land that had been filled with the false worship of a false god -- Baal.
As I thought about what it would have been like to witness God’s immense power and glory transcend the distance between heaven and earth, I wondered how I would have responded, not just at the moment when heavenly fire consumed the offering brought to God, but indeed, in the coming days and months when the emotion of the moment had worn away and only a lingering remembrance was left to contemplate.
It was this thought that got me to thinking about the words of Jesus in John 20: 29, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (KJV)
For many of us, myself included, there has not been a heavenly vision or a mount illuminated with fire where God’s unmistakable glory silenced all my doubts. As one author notes, “It may be that a vision is given to strengthen a faith that else were weak. It is to the people who can live along the line of what others call the commonplace, and yet trust, that the Master says, ‘Blessed’...Beware of a life of fitful impulse…you must learn to swim and hold your head above the water even when the sense of (God’s) Presence is not with you to hold up your chin.” (Garden of Spices). For me this is where the pedal hits the metal. It is where our faith is stretched as we seek to live our lives everyday, tested by circumstances that call for a faith that stands strong through life’s storms.
As I thought about witnessing the fire from heaven, I began to remember all the times Elijah prayed and trusted when no fire fell. Those moments, that Jesus, Himself referred to as ‘Blessed’ because belief held firm when fire didn’t come. Yet God was at work in Elijah’s life just as certainly in the shade as in the illuminating fire. God was at the brook, even when it appeared to be as dry as a bone.
For all those times in your life and mine when the heat of the fire does not warm our hearts and the brightness of the fire does not illuminate our pathway, may we never falter or waver or be led to believe that our Father’s power is any less in the darkness than in the light. And may our commitment to serving God with an undivided heart be just as fervent.
In the words of Phillips Brooks, “So long as God is in the universe, every soul that’s in the universe must feel His power. No space can be so wide, no time so long as to exhaust His influence.”
Fire from heaven. An all-consuming fire which brought a resounding response from all of God’s children, “The Lord, He is God.”
What I pray for today in my own heart is that I will allow God’s empowering fire, whether by a quiet entrance or a dramatic call, no matter how my Father sends His message to me, to follow Him - be the total commitment of an undivided heart.
Not long ago I read a special prayer, written by Ruth Harms Calkins. I love the message for it is a tremendous example of following God through the thick and thin of life, whether we see God at work or not. We still trust, we follow, and we commit totally.
I heard today of a decrepit native woman who walked mile after mile under the blistering sun to bring a small gift of embroidery to the missionary she deeply loved.
Hour after hour she trudged over rough, rugged roads clutching tightly her small gift. Her weary body sagged, her vision blurred, her bare feet bled from jagged rocks.
Grateful but overwhelmed the missionary wept. The trembling old woman spoke softly: ‘Please understand…the walk is part of the gift.’
My commitment to You is for life. I give myself to You unreservedly to do with me as You please. But may I not forget that the tears, the fears, the strain, and the pain, the sunless days, the starless nights, are all a part of the whole -- In my total commitment I give full consent.
The walk is part of the gift.”
Ruth Harms Calkins
“O blessed fire, when shall I partake of Thy sacred flames? O come and take possession of my heart; consume all these bonds that tie it to the earth; and carry it up with Thee, towards the heavenly furnace, from whence Thou comest. Sweet Jesus, Thou hast said: I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I but that it be kindled? O, Cast this fire into my soul, that it may be kindled there!”
Luke 12: 49
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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