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Archive for April, 2011

Previously we have considered a life on fire as it relates to John the Baptist. But as I close out this little series, we will leave John and take a peek into the Old Testament.

Lev 6:8-13 tells us about the burnt offering. It was the only one of the offerings that was given entirely to God. Every hoof and whisker was burned on that altar. None of it was taken anywhere else and none of it was given to the priest. It was wholly for God. Three times in this passage it says the fire shall always be burning. The priest tended the fire continually to make sure it didn’t go out and once the sacrifice was completely consumed, he removed the ashes. Notice that it doesn’t say that he sweeps or shovels out the ashes, but it says that he “takes them up” and it says the priest puts on the linen garments to do this. The only other place that it is recorded that the priest changes into the linen garments is on the day of atonement. These are the holy garments and this matter of a sacrifice offered wholly to God is a holy matter. He carries the ashes outside the camp to a clean place and there they are poured out.

But this is about something more than an animal; it is about my life. He wants it all for Himself. And He is the priest Who watches over the fire to keep it burning. It is only the totally consumed life that is poured out and when nothing remains of the sacrifice but the ashes that the fire has reduced it to, it is then that Jesus our high priest gathers them up. Do you see the beautiful picture? He is in the holy garments, carefully taking up what we have offered to Him. Do you see that it matters to Him when you offer yourself completely to Him? And He takes these ashes, which are your life, outside the camp and he pours us out into holy moments where our life intersects with the lives of others in what becomes a holy place. A life on fire is a consecrated life.

The word consecrate is an interesting word. When I looked it up I thought it would be defined by words like holy, separated, devoted. But what this word means is “to fill the hand”, as in when you would fill your hand with an offering that you were offering up to God. The definition of the root of this word is fullness. That was utterly shocking to me and a wonderful revelation. I had always thought of consecration as an act of emptying, but God sees it as an act of filling.

Maybe you’ve heard the stories of the men and women who walked with God so closely that their presence in a room changed the atmosphere. Many times I have wondered if these were just special people who were singled out because of the particular calling on their lives….or is this something that all believers can have – this life on fire, walking so closely with God that it is tangible to those around you. I was reminded of the story that Jesus told about those who were invited to the banquet that had been prepared and they wouldn’t come. They were just busy with other things. They missed it. Jesus waits at the banquet table ready to give what we need and what we desire….but there is a requirement. Would we go live out in the wilderness to seek His face? Can we let ourselves, all of ourselves, be put on the altar to be consumed by Him that we may be poured out for Him? Can we turn away from the distractions of this life, and just come to the table? If we could just see what He longs to give we would hunger for it……and we too could receive a life on fire.

Luke 12:49 “I came to send a fire on the earth and how I wish it were already kindled”

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“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  This is He of whom I said “After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.  I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”  John 1:29 – 31

John’s life was about pointing people to Christ.  In verse 31 he states “therefore I came” acknowledging that the whole purpose for everything he was about was that Christ should be revealed. He understood that the purpose of his life was to reveal Christ.

When the Pharisees asked him why he baptized, he didn’t give his pedigree.  He could have pointed out that his father was a priest, that his birth was announced by an angel, that there were prophecies given of his life and ministry.   He defended himself only by stating his purpose (the voice of one crying) and then announced to them  “but there stands one among you”.  He didn’t really need to be validated by those around him.  He just need to do what God  sent him to do.  That was good enough for John.

John even pointed his own disciples to Jesus.  He wasn’t building his own ministry or his own following.  He wasn’t interested in establishing some great work in his own name.  He knew that the bridegroom was coming and it was enough for him to be the friend.

In a day when so many in American Christianity have become seduced by the “destiny teachings” that tend to focus on us, maybe we could find our way back to realizing that the destiny of each believer is simply to reveal Christ.  Oh that ours also may be lives that exalt our Christ!

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