Falling Fire

 "Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the ditch. And when the people saw it, they fell on their faces and cried out, 'The Lord is God! The Lord is God!' " I Kings 18:38-39...."Without the altar there will be no heavenly fire. Neither our mental understanding of the cross of Christ or our endless talk about it will give us the power of the Holy Spirit. Only our laying of everything on the altar for our love of Him will do that." Watchman Nee

 

There is a great deal of exhortation that we be a praying church today. This is a good thing, but I have to ask, myself included, what kind of prayers are we offering? What do we offer in our prayers? Does that concept really even enter into our thinking, into our belief system? If we are a praying church, a praying people, then is there evidence that we are a Holy Spirit empowered people? Evidence that goes beyond the witnessing of miracles and wonders, and carries into the lives of the people. A people who manifest the very presence, power, and yes, fire of His Spirit?

Invitations at the end of a sermon used to be a given in the church. While that can become just as much a ritual as anything else, I do remember the line in one of the songs used; the simple question, "Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?" The altar of sacrifice. Is there such in our lives, our homes, our churches? We have altars in our churches, and this is a good thing, but are they altars of sacrifice? Are they a place where we can come, bringing all that is our life, and lay it all upon that altar, His altar, and leave them there? And leaving them there, allowing for His Spirit to consume that sacrifice with His holy fire? 

We come to Him corporately and individually, and we bring many needs, cares, desires and burdens. They concern loved ones, desperate situations, dreams, conflicts, trials, and ministries. In the bringing of these things, can we place all of our interest, self-effort, desired results, in short, all of both the need and ourselves, upon His altar? As an offering? An offering that now passes out of our hands and into His? An offering that He receives with the mark of His holy fire taking it, and fully consuming it. An offering that first begins with our very lives and being.

Could it be that so much of what we see as unanswered prayer is the result of our not being willing to place all of our request along with all of the unknown that goes with it, upon His altar? Could it be that the lack of holy fire in our churches, the lack of truly transformed lives, is the result of our failure to place all upon His altar? Could it be that our reluctance to be consumed by His fire is the reason for our lives and fellowships being far more flesh centered than they have ever been Holy Spirit centered and led? There is much talk of advancing the Kingdom, but we seem intent on doing it without the Spirit fire that is the only means of it coming about. We decry the lethargic state of the church, and the darkness of the world, but we are trying to light that darkness with man-made fire. Only Holy Spirit fire can do that. Leonard Ravenhill said that the world is asleep in the dark, while the Church is asleep in the light. 

 

There's another old hymn that comes to my mind just now. It had the line, "Oh, I never will forget how the fire fell!" Beloved, has the fire of God ever really fallen upon you and me? Upon our churches? I'm not speaking of that which lays hold of our emotions, but that which lays hold of our souls, our minds, our being. The fire of God is always falling. It will only fall upon that which is fully upon His altar. Is our all, your all, and mine as well, on His altar of sacrifice?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

 

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