"I have come to bring fire to the earth.  And I wish my task were already completed.....Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to bring strife and division."  Luke 12:49, 51......"If you and I are going to be men and women of the Spirit, we are not going to have an easy time.  Hell will see to that.  At once the clash arises and it is true that the more the Holy Spirit is able to have His way in us and to lead us in all the will of God, the more we find this opposition, this antagonism.  And it not only comes between us and the world, it sometimes comes in the circle of the Lord's own people......this thing.....the Lord's doing....will not allow for neutrality....it will be the one thing, or the other."  T. Austin-Sparks

Mark Jesus' words in Luke 12 as among those we don't really care to hear these days.  A Jesus that walks along the shore, or along the dusty road doing good works, loving everyone He comes into contact with is very acceptable to us.  A Christ who brings fire, fire that is determined to burn away all the power of hell and the world, not only around us, but in us, that Christ is markedly less acceptable.  To not only the world, but much of the professing church as well.  The first aspect of His character is real, but it's where too many want to stop.  We will embrace the Jesus who is easy to get along with.  We don't much care for the Jesus that author Mark Galli calls, "mean and wild."  He most certainly is a Savior comprised of love, but it is a ruthless love.  A love that "will not let me go" as Wesley wrote, but also a love that will not leave me as I am or am content to be.  It is a love that, as Sparks said, "will undeceive us" and there is a great deal that we in the church have been deceived about in these times.

Many are praying for the fire of revival and spiritual awakening, but I often think that in our prayers, we think more in terms of that being a corporate awakening, one that lays hold of the church, but not necessarily us.  It changes what's going on around us, but leaves what's going on within us alone.  I've a friend who says we always think of "lust of the flesh" being that of sexual sin, but that we rarely think in terms of how we can lust after recognition, affirmation, position, possessions, and even blessing.  When the fire of Christ is burning, these things cannot stand, but they are things, attitudes, desires, that we cling to, even fight to keep.  When His Holy Fire starts burning in our, their direction, we can be sure that the enemy, through that flesh, will rise up against it.  When Christ the Lamb becomes Christ the Lion towards us, as Sparks said, hell will see to that.

Anyone who has ever seen the effects of a wildfire upon a field knows that this fire exposes all that had been hidden in that field, unseen by all who may have walked there.  The wildfire of Christ not only exposes what even we may not have known was in our hearts, but burns it up as well.  Do we desire that such fire come our way, to our lives, our homes, our fellowships?  If it does, we will not, as Sparks says, have an easy time of it.  The ruthless love of Jesus, mean and wild, will love us to death.  The death of all that is not of Him in our lives.  Most certainly the worlds idea of peace and unity will be shattered, but it will be replaced by the true peace and unity of the Kingdom.  He has brought the holy wildfire of the Kingdom.  Has He brought it to us, and all that is "us?"

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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