By Nels Angelin
Do you remember Pathfinder campouts around the fire singing songs of joy to God under the canopy of stars? One of those songs has come to my mind as I made a fire at home on a cold winter night. It’s called “Pass It On.” You remember how it goes.
It only takes a spark to get a fire going;
and soon all those around
can warm up to its glowing!
That’s how it is with God’s love
once you’ve experienced it;
It’s fresh like spring, you want to sing,
you want to pass it on!
So, here is my little story, and I think it is like our experience in walking with God, building God’s church with the gospel joy.
To build a good fire, I start out small and pull all the tinder together even before striking the first spark. Interesting, while out camping, yes, you can get a fire going even in the rain if you gather good material for a good base to help the fire to burn.
With my home fire, I surround the tinder with a couple of good dry pieces that are a bit larger that will protect the small fire till it can spread the glow to grow and grow. Add the spark, you must know, the little fire is fragile and must be held tight together to keep the fire going while it is still small. The fire needs a breath of air to get it down at the base, but the sticks must not be spaced too wide that they will only burn for a short time and just go out for lack of support. The little young fire needs fresh pieces added to it little by little to help grow the glowing coal base. You begin to feel the heating stretching out wider and wider. It takes patience to let a little fire burn and grow. When the coals are still bright and hot. While the fire is young, more small pieces help the fire to grow. Larger and larger pieces build the fire till it grows to hold its warmth longer and longer. Now it can sustain the warmth and fill the room with its cheer.
God provided a fire in the Sanctuary service where the priests were instructed to get the fire from off the altar where incense held the aroma that represented the prayers of the people to rise as a sweet-smelling savor. There was a sad, sad story in Israel when priests like Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, chose their own innovation to take the fire of their own choice, but not as God instructed. It was called “common fire.” That was fire from any other source and not what God freely provided. The common fire then became a consuming fire from the presence of God. God could not then be silent when the presumption of men who had been consecrated to a holy purpose turned away from a holy God. When men mix their minds and change their service to what they may have thought was only common sense. No, with a darkened heart they chose the arrogance of raw disobedience.
In my story, fire can be so small and fragile. Easy to snuff out with a blink when its tinder has no base. The opposite is when a spark of fire takes hold in powder dry tinder in a forest brush and quickly becomes a wildfire that cannot be quenched. Fire will destroy everything in its path that seems to go on forever taking many lives and homes in terrible violent, uncontrolled catastrophe.
This world is being consumed today by the violence of sin in which the enemy of God plays his arrogant experiments to make God look bad as though somehow God is responsible for innocent suffering. It is true that in these last days the Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the earth holding the winds of strife. Satan is a master of deception twisting his own actions to cause destruction of many kinds and calling it what men have called an “Act of God.” The act that God will perform will bring about the conclusion to finish the judgment of God in response to Satan marshaling all the wicked to surround the City of God, New Jerusalem, the camp of the saints. That very day, it will be the voice of God that will call for fire, “from God out of heaven and devour them all” (Revelation 20:9). Peter tells us also of that fire, “the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:12). The relief will be that Satan and his followers are reserved for that fire and the promise of God is the curse will be ended. “He will make an utter end it. Affliction will not rise up a second time” (Nahum 1:9).
A storm has been brewing, transforming our country by design today, turned away from what it has been. I heard a comforting message today from President Trump. He said, “Our country is in great trouble and needs a Savior.” “Our country has a Savior and needs a Savior today, right now! And that is not me.” With that kind of humility, I believe the Lord, who is our Savior, can empower and lead us back to prosperity to finish the witness we have been provided of the gospel.
Please note that opinions expressed are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of the McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Photo by Ethan Hoover on Unsplash