IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: KEEPING THE FIRE ON OUR FAMILY ALTER BURNING
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“Keep the fire on the Altar burning; it must not go out. Replenish the wood for the fire every morning, arrange the whole-Burnt-Offering on it, and burn the fat of the Peace-Offering on top of it all. Keep the fire burning on the Altar continuously.It must not go out.”
Fire is an important ingredient in the life of any Christian. The ‘fire’ as used in this context is not a literal fire, but the fire of God that burns in the spirit of a believer, which drives to action. Every believer needs it to remain relevant in the Lord’s sight and in the annals of history.
The Lord knew how important this fire is, which was why He instructed the children of Israel in the text above to ensure that the fire burns unquenchably at the altar. The fire was aimed at retaining God’s presence and to also ward off all kinds of evils. In fact, God specifically instructed the priest to regularly ensure the fire was always on at the altar to keep it burning. Although the fire the children of Israel was asked to burn at the altar was a literal fire, but ours is a spiritual fire that is expected to burn ceaselessly. The fire the Lord kindled in us as Christians is gotten through intensive and sustained fasting and prayer.
An altar is a platform where the realm of the spirit make contact with the physical realm on legal ground.
The original meaning of family Altar in the Old Testament, is an elevated small structure made of earth or unwrought (undressed) stone on which sacrifices are offered to atone for sins and honor God.
The altar is so sacred to God that when stones are used to construct it no tool was expected to be used on such stones in order not to defile it. It is a meeting place between God and man. While man comes to worship God through the offering of sacrifices for his sins and thanks offering, God comes to bless man when such offerings are accepted.
An altar always represented a place of consecration. Before God gave His Law to Moses, men made altars wherever they were out of whatever material was available. An altar was often built to commemorate an encounter with God that had a profound impact upon someone. Abram (Genesis 12:7), Isaac (Genesis 26:24–25), Jacob (Genesis 35:3), David (1st Chronicles 21:26), and Gideon (Judges 6:24) all built altars and worshiped after having a unique encounter with God.An altar usually represented a person’s desire to consecrate himself fully to the Lord.
An altar is a system of authorization. It is where covenant are activated and maintained.
An Altar can be physical monuments, institution or people.
All human heart has an invisible altar where the war between the flesh and the spirit rages. When we totally give areas of our lives to the control of the Holy Spirit,we are in effect laying that area on the altar before God.
A living altar is a man carrying the presence of God.
That fire had to roar, lest the sacrificial smoke lazily waft through the camp toward the people. It was supposed to jut upward toward heaven.
For the fire to burn brightly, wood had to be found and cut and laid on the altar. Animals had to be examined and then offered. Ashes had to be removed. And that fire, God said, “shall not go out.”
We, also, must keep that fire burning! We have no literal altar, of course — Praise Jesus! — but we do have a ministry to be God. We pray. We sing. We read his word in anticipation that the voice of heaven wills to break through into our modern minds. And those fires should not lazily burn. They must rage.
Paul told Timothy,
“I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God”
(2 Timothy 1:6).
As we walk through life, we must remember how Jesus gave himself for us. Before he did, we could not even begin to give our bodies to God. Our entire beings — eyes, hands, ears, mouths — were depraved (Romans 3:9-18). Now, however, after the gospel shocked us into resurrection life, we can give our bodies to God as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to him (Romans 12:1-2).
What we could not do while dead in trespasses and sins, we can do now that the life of the immortal Spirit is within us, driving us forward as we walk with God.
And when our fire wanes and the smoke wafts, let us ask the Spirit for the strength to get that fire burning bright once again.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
To keep the fire going, the priests had to be attentive. That required putting wood on it daily and ensuring it did not go out. True to human nature, Israel’s priests did eventually fail in their duty, and the fire went out.
The same kind of constant attention is required to keep the light of God’s Holy Spirit alive in your own heart and mind. A fire left to itself will eventually go out. One of the surest ways to quench the Holy Spirit is through simple neglect! Neglect of prayer and study. Neglect the Holy Spirit, and it will become dormant. Given time, it will simply go out altogether.
To keep God’s Holy Spirit alive and active, you must work at it. Remember King David in Psalm 51:10-12. He realized he was on the verge of losing it all. We must ensure that we do not get into this state spiritually; it could be eternally fatal.
Following are two of the most important keys to keeping the fire of the Holy Spirit on our family alter alive.
The first key is prayer. Often, those who doubt whether they have the Holy Spirit are lacking regular, heartfelt, fervent prayer. Prayer needs to be a daily constant effort. Prayer develops your close personal relationship with God! That gives you His Spirit of power in your life.
It is in daily prayer that we repent before God, and true repentance is a prerequisite to having and maintaining the gift of God’s Spirit (Proverbs 1:23; Psalm 51:2-3, 10-11).
Notice what Paul said in Colossians 4:12: “[A]lways labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Prayer is essential to your spiritual vitality. You cannot retain God’s Spirit without it. Without prayer, it is just a matter of time before you will quench the Holy Spirit.
The second key is study. God’s apostle has continually reminded us of the vital need to pray and to study. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is my attitude toward study of God’s Word?
- How much time do I give to study every week?
- Do I truly love to study, seeking God’s will?
- Am I really a seeker of the truth?
- Has my study improved over the years?
David said that God desires truth in our inward parts (Psalm 51:6). Develop that same desire yourself! We must approach Bible study as a teacher of the truth. Remember, Jesus said that he who seeks shall find (Matthew 7:7-11).
If your family alter “fire” is at a low burn or close to going out, it’s time for you to take Paul’s words to heart “to stir up” the gift of God that is inside you. You cannot depend on someone else to do something so vital for you. So ask the Holy Spirit how to do it — how to open the door to your heart and take an honest look on the inside to assess your need. Then let Him show you how to proceed in fueling your fire and stirring up those embers so that you will once again become a bright blazing inferno for Jesus Christ!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I confess that I need to stir up the gift of God that is in me. There was a time when it seemed the fires burned much brighter, but for one reason or another, I’ve allowed the flame in my spirit to grow colder. I take responsibility for this, as it is my heart, and I ask You to forgive me for letting my condition go this far. Today I am accepting responsibility, and I will look at my heart and determine the truth. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, I will begin to actively and vigorously rekindle that glorious spiritual fire that You intended to burn inside me. Help me, Holy Spirit, to do this not just once, but to continually put spiritual fuel into my heart and stoke the embers.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that my heart is a hearth for the fire of the Holy Spirit. It is God’s will for my heart to be spiritually ablaze, and today I will begin to do what I must do to rekindle the flame to burn as it once did and to blaze even brighter. I will not allow distractions — whether they come from my own busy schedule, from others, or even from myself — to take my attention off my spiritual condition ever again. I recognize my failure to tend to the fire has affected me, and I declare that from this moment onward, I will dutifully stoke the fire and the gifts of God that have been placed inside me. I will find fuel for the fire and I will take responsibility to make certain it is placed on the hearth of my heart regularly so that the fire burns bright continuously.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name! Amen!
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