INTERNAL COMBUSTION

Scripture Study:

  

Jeremiah is an old prophet in this passage of Scripture.  He had not always been listened to by the former kings, but he was somewhat respected.

In chapter 20. just prior to the collapse of the Nation of Judah to the Babylonian Empire. Jeremiah is persecuted and placed in stocks and ridiculed by the people.  I can understand his frustration that may have festered from within.  All of us go through the problems of life that frustrate us.

In Jeremiah’s situation–nobody would listen to him, not even his best friends.  He was angry.

I can understand his despair.  You know that God has called you into ministry, yet, you feel that you are rejected by those who you’ve been sent to minister to.

Jeremiah wished that he had never been born,

He regrets he has been called to preach.

He vows to himself he will never preach again.

He wants to quit life altogether.

Jeremiah 20:9 a. (NIV)

Jeremiah then said,  “I will not mention His word or speak any more in His name.”

When you read this verse in context with the rest of this passage, you can see and understand his frustration, his complaint before God; however, I looked at this verse in another way.  I believe that this verse more than any other statement made in Scripture summarizes who Jeremiah was.

Jeremiah 20:29 (b)

His word is in my heart like a fire shut up in my bones.  I am weary of holding it in; indeed I cannot!”

One quality that must be present before Internal Combustion can take place in believers is they have completely surrendered everything to God.  Surrender may start with SALVATION, but it certainly doesn’t end there.  Surrender only starts to become complete when we embrace the Cross and fulfill the calling God has for us.

Think about what Jeremiah experienced when he first received his calling from God in Jeremiah 1:4-9.

Then in Luke 9:23,  

Then He said to them all:  “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.”

When Jeremiah answered God’s call, he surrendered everything!  Though he lived hundreds of years before Christ, he certainly knew what it meant to carry the cross!

How God calls us to sacrifice is different for each person.  Many people are eager to embrace the salvation aspect of the Cross but balk at the discipleship end of it.  To embrace the Cross means that we will sometimes have to inconvenience ourselves to answer the calling, but if we didn’t then it wouldn’t be a CROSS.

Sometimes we hesitate at Christian service because we don’t feel that we are gifted enough to serve.  But God doesn’t care about our abilities!  He cares only about our availability!  He only cares if the fire is burning inside of us!

If you are reading this study and feeling that the spiritual fire has dwindled, then ask yourself if there’s any sin in your life.  Sin is like a bucket of water being thrown over the coals.

“Where’s the fire?” 

Jeremiah 1:9 (NKJV)

Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me:  

“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.”

Hebrews 4:12

Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Psalms 37:31 (AMP)

The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

The verses referenced above speaks of God’s Word as like a sword.  I’ve always been drawn to and fascinated with medieval warfare.  Books like Lochinvar, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and many others.  In the middle ages, knights battled it out with long swords.  You needed a long sword to do battle effectively in the middle ages.

How much time you and I spend in the Word determines how long our sword is. 

For some believers, the sword is only a nail file.  For others, their sword is only a pocket knife.  Remember that your enemy, the devil, has a long sword.  Remember that you are daily in a spiritual battle.  Remember that you need to arm yourself daily in order to do effective battle.  Arming yourself with God’s Word keeps you sharp!  It keeps you on fire!

On Fire and Broken

Jeremiah 4:19 (NET)

“Oh, the feeling in the pit of my stomach!  I writhe in anguish.  Oh, the pain in my heart!  My heart pounds within me.  I cannot keep silent.  For I hear the sound of the trumpet; the sound of the battle cry pierces my soul!”

The most anointed ministry is one through BROKENNESS. 

Being broken for the lost means being vulnerable.  This involves evangelism, servanthood, and intercession.  All big words.  We read at the beginning of this verse that Jeremiah is brokenhearted for the lost people of his generation.  Are you willing to be brokenhearted for the lost people you know?

“WHERE HAS THE FIRE GONE TO?”

Although Jeremiah’s spirit was in the dumps and seemed to be broken, he couldn’t stay down.  As soon as he was released from the stocks, he opened his mouth up with another sermon.  He had to get back into the ministry.  He would not be silent.  He had a fire in his bones!

I can completely understand why people get frustrated, angry, and filled with despair in ministry.  I know this because I’ve been there.  What I don’t understand is how a person who calls themselves a Christian can stay down.  Every person who has been born-again in the spirit has a fire in their bones.  It’s the same wind and fire of Pentecost.  It’s the FIRE put there by the Holy Spirit.

The world needs your witness.

The Church needs your help.

There is a Heaven!  There is a Hell!  Wake up!  Come alive again!  Let the Holy Spirit awaken you to righteousness!

On-fire Believers are compelled by the LOVE of Christ

“For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if]  One died for all, then all died;”                                     [2 Corinthians 5:14] – (AMP)

Thinking back to the times when I was dating my wife to be, it seemed like we talked on the phone for hours during the week.  My conversation with my friends was constantly remarking about her qualities as I was consumed with the topic of my beloved.  I was excited about an opportunity to share about her!

What would happen if we as believers fell head over heels in love with Jesus?  What if we chose to make 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 a cornerstone of our lives.

If every Christian did this, we would shake the world!  Love makes us do some amazing things!

Here’s a truth:  What you love the most is what fills your life the most!  It’s also what stands out the most in your life!

Jesus said:  “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”  (Matthew 12:34)

And in Matthew 6:21 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  

What’s coming out of the overflow of your heart?

When you are in LOVE with God, witnessing for Christ no longer seems like an obligation, but like talking about someone you love!  The Bible is no longer a textbook you bring to church on Sundays, but a love letter!  Prayer is no longer a chore, but a daily phone conversation with someone you’re in love with!  Giving to God no longer is like paying taxes, but like buying a gift for your beloved.  In avoiding sin, it is no longer motivated by fear of consequence, but fear of breaking God’s heart!

Talent is never enough!

Your life has to be fueled by a love for Christ.

What controls our life?  What guides our decisions?

In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, Paul writes about how he and those working with him persevere through trials.  Ultimately, it was the LOVE of Christ that empowered them!

When we become passionate, INTERNAL COMBUSTION will become noticed on the outside by others and ask about the HOPE in us [1 Peter 3:15].  

People will be drawn to us because of our LOVE for Jesus!

We become beacons of light in their darkness!

We become radiant with His presence!

Psalm 34

[5]  Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

Those in darkness are seeking someone with light that will guide them to the ultimate Light!

Are you willing to be that light?  Will your life be one that’s ignited by a burning passion for Jesus?  Are you willing to let your passion shine for all to see?

If you have to find a place on the altar of Faith, then to cry out to God.  Get angry with God if you must.  Make out your complaint.  Cry.  Have tears.  Wait…And let the fire grow within you once again!

Ezekiel 36:26 (AMP)

A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

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CREDITS:

Commentary:  Jerry Depoy’s sermon notes; Where’s the Fire?

Photos/Images:  Google image search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); New King James Version (NKJV).

 

Speak Up, I Can’t Hear You!

1Ki19WhatRuDoingHereElijah

The LORD is dealing with the prophet Elijah in this chapter of 1 Kings 19.

Elijah is overwrought and needs some real psychological help.

I do think there are times in some people’s lives that consulting a psychologist is needed.  Most of us, however, could solve our problems if we crawled on the couch of the LORD Jesus and told Him everything that was on our mind.  We wouldn’t have to be running around telling everybody else about our trouble and problems if we would just talk them over with Him.

1 Kings 19:11 (The Message Bible):

[11] Then he was told “Go stand on the mountain at attention before God.  God will pass by.”  A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake.

First of all, there was a great and strong wind that split the mountains and broke rocks.

Oh, did Elijah love a good wind storm!

Then the mountains rolled and shook under his feet!

He loved it–he was that type of man.

And after the EARTHQUAKE, a FIRE; but the LORD was not in the FIRE; and after the FIRE,  “A STILL SMALL VOICE” (1 Kings 19:12).

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After the EARTHQUAKE there was FIRE.  After all, Elijah was the man who brought FIRE down from heaven on Mt. Carmel.  He like that too!

Now wait just one minute.  God wasn’t in the strong wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire.  

It was after the fire that came a “still small voice.”

If there was one thing that Elijah didn’t like, it was a still small voice.  God was TEACHING Elijah an important lesson in life.

The battle wasn’t actually WON on top of Mt. Carmel by FIRE coming down from heaven.

God moves in mysterious and unpretentious ways.

God moves in a quiet way.  God uses little things to accomplish His purposes and not ours.  As someone has said,  “Great doors are swung on little hinges.”

God uses small things to open mighty doors.  That’s what Elijah had to learn.

GOD SOMETIMES WHISPERS –

A young man had lost his job and didn’t know which way to turn.  So he went to see an elderly preacher.  Pacing about the preacher’s study, the young man ranted about his problems.  Finally, he clenched his fist and shouted,  “I’ve begged God to say something to help me and my family.  Tell me, Pastor, why doesn’t God answer?”

The old preacher, who sat at his desk across the room, spoke something in reply–something so hushed, it was indistinguishable.  The young man stepped across the room:  “What did you say?” he asked.  The preacher repeated himself, but again, his tone was as soft as a whisper.  So the young man moved closer until he was leaning on the preacher’s chair.  “Sorry pastor.  I still didn’t hear you.”  With their heads bent together, the old preacher spoke once more.  “God sometimes whispers,” he said, “so we will move closer to hear Him.”

WE ALL WISH THAT GOD WOULD SPEAK TO US LOUDLY AND CLEARLY –

We all want GOD’S VOICE to thunder through the air in the answers to our problems.

We all wish that God would just burst into our private world we live in and give us some concrete answers to the nagging problems of life!

We wish that He would just tell us why:

  • He has not chosen to heal us.
  • He has not chosen to meet the financial need yet.
  • He has not chosen to SAVE our lost loved ones yet.

We just wish there was no guesswork involved.

IF HE WOULD ONLY SHOUT THE ANSWERS OUT, then I would know what to do.

Finding Yourself In A Cave and Feeling Sorry For Yourself –

Now the interesting thing about the story here in the First Book of Kings, is not so much that Elijah was having a pity party, that’s human nature.  What is amazing to me is, he’s having this ‘pity party’ AFTER God had sent FIRE from heaven and destroyed 450 prophets of Baal.  In fact, the very day after the miracle, Jezebel heard of what happened on Mt. Carmel and said,  “Tomorrow you are DEAD, son!” And Elijah runs to the desert and says,  “Oh God, take me now!”  (1 Kings 19:4). 

Elijah had no problem understanding God when:

  • The FIRE was falling!
  • The EARTH was shaking!
  • The WIND was blowing!

But the one place Elijah had never learned to listen to God was in the “STILL SMALL VOICE.”  And it is here that God is about to teach Elijah a LESSON.

And the LESSON for Elijah, and all of us today is:

  • I AM not always going to yell!
  • I AM not always going to send fire.
  • I AM not always going to shake the earth. 

Sometimes I AM going to take you to:

  • A PRISON CELL.
  • A WILDERNESS.
  • A DESERT.
  • A CAVE.
Finding Yourself Spiritually Alone
Finding Yourself Spiritually Alone

But I AM only doing it because I can see you drifting away from Me and I want to get close to you again!

Sometimes in our Christian lives, with all the technology available, we want to program God using an APP; thinking that He has to move in the:

  • SHOUT.
  • HOOP and HOLLER.
  • DANCE.

But, sometimes God WHISPERS so that we will draw closer to Him!

I believe there is a REASON, for nothing draws human focus quite like a WHISPER.

GOD’S WHISPER MEANS…I must stop my ranting and move close to Him, until my Cal hugs head is bent together with His.  And while I’m attentive in my listening, I’ll find my answer.  Better still, I will find myself closer to God.

We live in a society inundated with NOISE, CLUTTER, and CONFUSION.  It is an age of more information but less communication.

Has all the available technology shaped our thinking?

  • We are used to having what we want when we want it.
  • We are used to receiving any piece of information we need when we need it.
  • We want to treat God like the INTERNET, just open a heavenly search engine, type in our question, push the button and get the answer.

Is that what our PRAYERS have become?

But sometimes God doesn’t respond immediately with a wealth of information like the internet does.  

That’s why David said in Psalm 46:10:

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  (NIV Bible)

The apostle Paul makes an interesting appeal to the Thessalonian church;

1 Thessalonians 4:11 (AMP):

“Make it your ambition and definitely endeavor to live quietly and peacefully…”

I’ve never read this bible verse before, in context with 1 Kings 19:12  “…[a sound of gentle stillness] a still, small voice.”

But Paul tells us, we need to STUDY TO BE QUIET!

When we are ranting and raving, shouting, yelling, moving about, lost in a myriad of activity, we can’t HEAR what God is saying to us.

I don’t know why God doesn’t choose to give us the answers we’re seeking through:

  • FIRE.
  • WIND.
  • EARTHQUAKES.

66897-still_small_voice7

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”  C.S. Lewis

If you will but LISTEN CLOSELY, draw near to Him, get very close, I know that you will HEAR what God is saying!

 

 


CREDITS:

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search.

BIBLE TRANSLATIONS:  Amplified Bible (AMP), New International Version (NIV), except where noted.