I read the following saying this week, “A painted fire throws off no heat.” It caused me to think, for it accurately describes the perilous state of today’s Christian. What is a painted fire? A painted fire is: Ethics without enthusiasm, principles without passion, and desires without denial of wrong; all these are painted fires throwing off no heat.
Our land, our families, our churches are filled with painted fires; those who attend the right church, sing the hip hymns, and don’t speak his name in vain, but find the whole thing boring and lame. There is no passion, no heat, no flame, for they have come so far and see it all as no gain.
The Christian today has no fire, no force, no light, and no song in their heart; they have become just painted flames. A poem by G. Campbell Morgan’s accurately states what the Christian has become, “Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null.”
Acquire the fire,
I saw one of those electronic billboards along the freeway. It is sponsored by a local church and the ad’s tag line reads, “Win at life.” I don’t know the context of their tag, so it may be on point, but at 65 mph I felt it was not.
I well imagine many people drive past the sign, read it and say in their hearts, “I just lost everything, my wife died of cancer, my son is ill, my husband was murdered, I’m addicted, I’m dying, or I can’t live with my pain anymore.” The farthest thing from their mind is playing another game, for to win implies one might lose, and they have already lost too much to play another game.
I thought of a Bible verse, “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him, if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut 4:29). Here is God’s word to those I imagined; “If from there.” If from just where you are you will seek God, closer is He then breathing, and nearer than hands and feet. If from there you will seek God, you will find life.
Sought, and found,
Throwing clay is a profession unchanged, for today, as centuries ago, it consists of just three parts: the potter, the wheel and the clay. A metaphor arises out of the image: The potter is God’s authority, the wheel is the circumstances in which we live, and the clay is our nature being molded by God.
God, my circumstances, and my life is an interesting metaphor. God has a thought of me, the circumstances of my life are turning and fashioning what God plans for me to be. However, I can rebel and take the clay out of the Potter’s hands, but to do so is to render my life useless. Think of the wrecks in the potter’s field; half formed, marred, and broken. Lives that might have been forms of beauty, but they did not yield.
“So they used the money to buy the potter’s field” (Matt 27:7), and they called it the field of blood (Cf. 8). We are all wrecks in the potter’s field that was bought with the blood money. “But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping as it seemed best to him” (Jer. 18:4).
Due to computer problems, the regular “Thinking About” will be delayed, hopefully to return on time next week.
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This morning after my Bible reading, prayer, and a cup-of-Joe I found myself whistling, “I love you lord, and I lift my voice…” I remembered a Bible verse, “A shout of joy comes in the morning” (Ps 30:5).
Joy has gone AWOL from our nation, work, families, and lives. I wondered, “Where did our joy go?” One would think with all of our advantages, opportunities, and prosperity that joy would be found on every street corner. But our joy is gone, and it’s absent has left a vacuum and vacuums must be filled. We are replacing our joy with tension, frustration, anger, and depression. I’ll stop there because you certainly don’t need a bunch of ugly adjectives bouncing around in your mind, but do ponder the thought.
There is a keen sense of delight in our worship service each Sunday. That may be archaic to say in a cynical world, but I say it because you may be wondering what it is that you are experiencing when you shake your neighbors hand, hug the person from across the room, see light in another’s eyes, and hear laughter. Well it is joy, and
God wants you to experience it.
Happy you’re here!