Pastor’s ponderings

“Forged in Fire.”  Upon reading or hearing these words, the thoughts of some people may immediately recall a television series on the History Channel wherein blacksmiths compete at making a variety of historical weapons.  And to answer your question, yes, I have watched it.  Yet, when I hear these three words, something else came to my mind. Something that the Spirit has been laying upon my heart for several years now – a sermon series with the same title.

            Now, I have to say that I questioned the timing of having such a series right now, especially in the wake of the devastation that has occurred on the Hawaiian island of Maui.  Is this the right time to talk about fire, given the extreme damage and loss of life that has occurred?  I pondered that for a while and have been led to press forward, for while that catastrophe is nearly unprecedented and horrific, fire is not always so.  In fact, fire appears quite often in the Bible.  Sometimes, yes, it is in a terrible context, but more often than not, biblically, fire is symbolic of divine happenings, God’s grace at work.

            So, for the next six weeks, we are going to take a look at several accounts of fire in the Bible and examine how those fires were symbols of God developing the faith of those involved, as well as ours.  This Sunday we will begin with how God led the Israelites out of Egypt, appearing before them as a pillar of fire by night.  Next week, we will examine God’s appearance to Moses in the burning bush.  During week three, we will recall the story of Elijah standing against the prophets of Baal, and how God rained down an all-consuming fire at Elijah’s request.  The following week, we will remember the story of the three men who were thrown into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar, and how God enabled them to walk away unharmed.  Then, how could any series about fire be complete without the story of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit’s presence being seen as tongues of fire anointing the disciples.  Finally, we will discuss, just as we find in the blacksmith’s endeavor, there is always a final quench and test to ensure that the implement stands up to the task without fail.

            I think there is a lot to look forward to.  There is a lot to learn from these stories and how they parallel our own faith development, for there is a lot of love that God has to share – the gift of God’s grace bestowed upon us all as we go on this journey of being a Christian.  One thing we will certainly discover – God is always at work, forging our faith, making us into useable instruments in the Kingdom.  The Bible testifies to this.  So, come and ponder how God is forging your faith here and now.

                                                            Always pondering,

                                                            Pastor Steve

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