Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Keep the Fire

We had small group tonight and decided campfire therapy was needed. The weather was cool with a spritz of rain that kept us just chilled enough while the fire burned. (Yes January in Florida can be warm!) We had glowing coals, green palmetto sticks, soft marshmallows, sweet chocolate and crunchy graham crackers. It was a good night for this.

We talked about everything and nothing, we talked about deep subjects and silly jokes...and we shared our hearts for our family and friends. Our small group is small, but we're big enough to hold each other up through the hard stuff. And that's what a church family does...they do life together and they do it well with Christ.

As I sat there in the glow of the fire light and laughter, I saw the logs on the fire shifting and sending up sparks now and then like shooting stars. The new branches would burn brightly when first tossed on the fire--our faces lit up with the dancing flames. Then as the fire changed to blues and orange, the coals started to emerge...toasty grottoes formed and we deftly roasted a few marshmallows--and flamed a few more than we intended.

I realized as we shared and bolstered each other up, I saw ourselves as those logs on the fire. You see as new Christians, we ignite with the fire of the Holy Spirit...burning brightly with the excitement for Christ. But as time wears on, some days the flames burn hot and our lives seemed to be forever scarred, blackened and broken--this is where some want to escape, until we realize the fire is a crucible. God is purifying our lives. We watch as others come closer to find comfort in that warmth. As those glowing coals render up ash and a few sparks in the sky...we continue to offer our lives as a living sacrifice to the One who burns in our hearts.

As we prayed before our group went home, the sweet taste of burnt marshmallow and the smell of smoke in our hair and jackets lingered in our circle. And I had just a twinkle of an idea of what maybe Daniel experienced in the furnace...because Daniel had his small group who went through the fire together, and so do I.

"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10

for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:29

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