Monday, July 26, 2010

Baptism (Of Fire) Part V

By Odon Bulamba (15 March 2002)

Often people make fires when they are cold but when they are warm they forget that they were cold. In the summer months we forget that our fireplace exists, but when winter approaches there is a mad panic to gather wood and we sacrifice our time and money to have it. We use fire to warm up our houses so that our bodies don’t have to suffer from the cold, which means a fire comes in handy for us humans at certain times of the year. It is like Christians when they go through hard times; they call on God for a solution. When you fall sick you need God’s fire to burn out the disease and the same goes with Pastors and Evangelists before they preach, they seek God’s power so that God’s fire will be felt, however when it is all over, they forget that God’s fire exists.

So let’s think about a wood fire. When we have wood we can make fire, but if we can’t control the fire, it dies out. You need someone to watch over the fire, to control how it burns so there will be a right balance with the wood and fire. When a fire dies you know that it needs refuelling and this is how Christians must live, we must control our spiritual life every minute and the one who controls the fire is our conscience.

How many times in your life does your conscience control your actions? Remember Jesus said that I am the vine and you are the branches. The dry branches are the wood and the fire is God’s Spirit. The person who controls the wood and the fire is your conscience, and if your conscience is not able to control the fire, it will die. When winter comes and the house is cold, the very first thing parents ask their children when they come home from work is, why haven’t you made a fire Peter? And because of this, Peter might have to justify himself by saying he had just come back from rugby practice. So what are our justifications when we don’t have the power of God in us? What would you say if your fire has died out in your life?

Remember the very first day you were saved? What did you think about your future life? Were you keen to read your Bible and pray to get closer to God? How much did you fear sinning when Jesus was your new friend? Compare this day with today in your life and you will see that it was an unforgettable day, a day of joy knowing that you were God’s friend. But after a time our fire dies out and we go back to our old ways. However, our conscience is there to wake us up so that our fire will keep on burning.

So why doesn’t your fire keep on producing heat? Why do you let the cold come in and attack your spirit? If you are called, you must protect yourself, but if you neglect it, you will fall sick. When our spiritual fire has died out, our conscience wants to protect our spirit by telling us to repent, but if we don’t repent we will fall terribly ill. If you know you have stolen or lied and you ask people to pray for you to be transformed, are you really going to take your medicine? In the winter nobody wants to visit a cold house because it makes them feel terrible, so that is why some people just stay home and visit in the summer.

After winter people feel free and this is what we call recreation for those who are non-Christians. But God says blessed are those who gather their wood in the summer because they will need it in the winter. There is a saying in my country; it is good for people to break the bones while they still have teeth because when they are old their teeth are weak. To light a fire in summer is a good time because a lot more heat is generated. I remember when I was cold I drank hot tea without realizing that I had burnt my mouth, but after two days my tongue felt it.

When we are very cold it is difficult to feel the heat, and when the devil has turned us into a block of ice, it is hard for us to feel the eternal fire. When a fire is burning the wood becomes ash that is very hot. So what do people do with it? First of all you must have the right tools in your house to sweep it up. So what tools do you have in your heart to put things right with your God? Do you have a tool called advice from man? Do you have knees to bend down and pray? Do you know how to use the word of God? When you have a problem where do you find a solution?

Every house that has a fireplace has tools and these tools are there to prevent us from getting burnt. As man we go to sorcerers for protection and we forget that they themselves are not protected. Jesus said that Christians must be like pure gold that will go through fire and never be consumed. In New Zealand the government has advisors who you can go and see if you have a problem. One day I visited their office because I needed advice, so I asked him what should I do to solve all my problems? But he told me that he had problems as well that couldn’t be solved. So I went to him for a solution but he also needed a solution, so the only solution for us is to turn our eyes towards God because He is there to help us. He knows all the stages in our lives and He can change things to the way He wants.

I am short but by God’s grace I can be 2 meters tall, you might say this is impossible but with God it is not. When I was young I was tall and at some stage I stopped growing, and if you look at my son now you may think he will be tall when he is older but maybe he will be short. I shared with Peter about Zacchaeus who was 1.42meters tall and his wife was 1.95meters, so imagine the wedding in the church. When the Pastor says to Zacchaeus you may kiss the bride, Zacchaeus will have had to climb on a table to reach her lips, and maybe people will think it’s bizarre, but with God it is good because Zacchaeus was a man and his wife was a woman. What put them together was their conscience, like wood and fire that go together, and this means God’s plan in our lives.

When a branch is still on the tree it is alive, but when a farmer cuts it off, the branch loses its life. We as Christians don’t know the exact time when God will come into our lives, so accept what your conscience says and put things together to please your God.

1 Kings 18:24. “Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire-he is God. Then all the people said, what you say is good”.

This is Elijah’s story when he was on Mount Carmel arguing with Baal’s prophets. They needed fire to burn the sacrifice because they wanted to know whose God was a God of fire. So Baal’s prophets prepared the sacrifice with the water and wood etc and called on their god to send fire but there was nothing.

Churches today deceive many Christians by using an artificial fire. They gather up everything they need to make a sacrifice thinking that their church has everything, but instead of the Spirit lighting the fire to consume the sacrifice, a man comes with matches. Have you ever been to a Pentecostal church when they pray? Each Christian wants to impress the other by speaking another tongue, and you end up with 1000 tongues speaking at the same time. I am not saying they are wrong but among them there are false tongues, and it is not up to your Pastor to tell you to shut up, but rather your conscience. I believe speaking in tongues is a gift of the Spirit but people mock God without knowing it.

The church today takes out parts of the Bible and adds to it because they don’t believe that some verses or books apply for today’s church. What did Elijah do? Elijah mocked the prophets by asking them to wake their god up, and the Bible says that they took knives to cut themselves to show Baal their faithfulness.

Christians today hang on to their denominations even if the truth is not there because they want to show their Pastors their faithfulness. However, salvation does not come from a denomination.

When evening came Elijah saw that Baal’s god had done nothing so Elijah had his turn. Elijah took 12 stones and we all know that the cornerstone is Jesus Christ and we are the stones to build the church. When Elijah set up the sacrifice he soaked it with water and prayed to his God to send down fire, and the Bible says that fire came within a few seconds. The water is the Word of God, the wood is you and I, and the stones are those who are really in the Lord. To find the eternal fire in your life you must first have the knowledge God’s Word and you must practice it. Secondly you have to accept to be consumed by the fire by changing your behaviour according to God, and then you must pray and the Spirit of God will come down on you.

What happened to the prophets of Baal? The Bible says that they were put to death, and it is the same for the churches today, if they don’t produce anything good, God will put them to death. The Bible says that many will stand before Jesus confessing that they have wonders for Him, but Jesus will say I don’t know you so go to the eternal fire. We must produce a good quality fire to consume the wood, which is our behaviour.

What is it to have our behaviour consumed by fire? It means to die and put God first in your life. Every Christian must ask himself, will I please God by doing this? When you are eating, ask yourself this question, when you go for a walk, ask yourself this question because the answer can only be ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Many people feel in their hearts that the answer is no but they still do it. Remember that stealing a pin is no different to stealing a car because God will call you a thief and you will receive the same reward. To say no to your conscience will mean the eternal fire in you will never be lit. To have eternal fire alive in your life you must know what forgiveness is, if you sin then repent straight away and God will be pleased with you and the fire in you will become bigger.

Many people don’t say sorry to God for their thoughts but only when they steal or kill, and they keep on asking God for His power in their lives. If this is you then you are like the prophets of Baal who prayed all day and night for nothing. Repentance is very important so let your living conscience and not an elastic conscience lead you in the Word of God.

Every day the sun shines but when the earth turns it loses its heat and light. It is the same with us Christians; we must not accept our earth to turn so that it won’t see the sun. Let’s fight against the forces of this world (including our sins) so that it will not shield us from the light. Christians today live like the moon; moon shines only at night and gives off no warmth, we may give off light but there is no power in us. The sun has the power but the moon doesn’t. What will you gain if you show others your good works but you end up in the fire where the devil welcomes you with open arms?

The devil’s joy is just to whip you and torture you, so let’s be careful with the fire and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I hope you have an idea about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

You must now pray for yourself and ask God to give you the eternal fire and to know how to put everything together as Elijah did. Also pray for those who you feel in your heart to pray for. Amen.

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