“Chaplains Blog Book … Firebird Division 1 June 2009 … Part II”
Jim & Linda Jack
My sermon title for the IHBA Division 1 race on Father’s Day, June 21st was “A Burning Heart…in the Heat of the Day.” There are a lot of causes for a burning heart. Heart burn can be caused by food, certain situations, love and or romance (or the lack of), work, stress, bad health, or even that old devil. And providentially there is only one cause for sun burn.
But please don’t give God “heart burn.” There are many ways to give God heart burn. Not accepting His offer; making excuses; not being obedient; blasphemy; missing the mark…as in sin; not reading and studying His Word; doubting Him; being prideful; and not maturing spiritually.
The resurrection of Christ and the Word of God combine to illustrate the reality of the realization of God’s promise. At one end stands the Word revealed and moving towards realization (always to be embraced and believed). On the other end stands the raised Jesus (exercising the many prerogatives the Word attributes to Him). This is why the church has always emphasized that people be taught the Word (for here is found the way and wisdom of God).
On the afternoon of the resurrection day of Jesus Christ, two disciples were walking down the road to Emmaus talking about what had happened during the past three days (when they were approached by an unbeknownst Jesus). Later that day, they asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32 NIV).
I don’t know if it was hot that particular day…but Jesus was the hottest topic of the day for sure. Taking into consideration what transpired that day, it was probably the nicest day in the history of the world: Sin had been defeated and the “Son” was shining the brightest it ever shined.
“Back and forth they talked. Didn't we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?" (Luke 24:32 MSG).
God not only wants to open the Scriptures to us, He wants to open them for us: For our benefit, for our edification, for our maturing process as believers. Why? Didn’t we feel the fire? Didn’t are hearts flutter with excitement? Where was our discernment? Why didn’t we foreknow the Word? Why did we doubt God? We all need to freeze that moment when we first believed, and anticipate more of those special moments.
Have you felt the fire?
“As we walk along the road of life,
We can sense that Jesus is there too;
As we read His Word and hear His voice,
We will find He kindles fire anew.” (Hess)
The “burning heart” is the secret to keeping our spiritual life fresh and fully alive. I have a burning heart to be at the racetrack with you. I know that you have a burning heart to be at the track and race. We all should have burning hearts to be there together.
Walking with Jesus means being in His presence, (hopefully) with minimal outside distractions, as much direct focus on Him as possible, and being open to the Spirit? That is what Christianity is all about.
It’s important to “Focus fully from folly, flamboyantly forever feasting on a fitting filet.” (JJ) Those that have had grace bestowed upon them will be called upon again and again to exercise this grace and then improve upon it. Those that go where God sends them shall have Him with them wherever they go. Let “God’s grub grease your gears of grace.” (JJ)
The importance of fellowship, worship, teaching, music, the spoken Word, and breaking bread together can’t be overstated. Hearts are warmed as we discover purpose, strength and courage in the unity of sharing with others. “Fellowship feverishly flows for friends frequently found favoring and following the Father.” (JJ)
When you are going about your duty for God, you have every reason to be strong and courageous. It is a great comfort to Christians that the same grace which was sufficient for those before us, is now in us for the improvement of our very own lives. Following God is the most important thing in life! “Gracefully grow in God’s grace gingerly giving gateway to gentle gumption.” (JJ)
What Christ did for the two on the road to Emmaus, He’ll do for you today, and tomorrow, by creating a fresh flame for the rest of the year, and for the rest of your life. “A fresh flame frequently finishes the fire’s fulfillment found in a faithful heart.” (JJ)
Christians are only sanctified in part, as our best services toward God will neither please Him nor profit us, if we are not conscientious in our duties toward God and man. God confirms that He will never leave us. “If God be for us…who can be against us?” He would surely see to it that His finished work and His labor would not be in vain. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” (John 10:10).
Centuries ago, the historian Plutarch warned of the danger of living on a purely informational level, saying “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” The abundant life is God’s desire for all mankind.
The main reason we come together for these moments is that “Faithful friends fulfill firm foundations fittingly fighting for the finish.” (JJ) You need the presence of God not only when you are beginning your walk and work for God, but also in the progress of it to further you with continual help. Maturity is imperative in a faithful adventure. “I’m off and running and I’m not turning back,” (Philippians 3:13b MSG). “So let’s keep focused on the goal,” (Philippians 3:15 MSG).
While the two on the road were lost in time and place, God was at work in the depths of their hearts through His Word and “The Word.” Non sense (resurrection?) now makes real sense. Jesus reveals that the way and the wisdom of God can be found on all roads of life: Found in Him in the midst of basic, everyday moments of life.
God can enflame your need to draw close to Him as He desires that real life with Jesus is running through your veins. After Jesus’ departure, the two disciples marveled at what they had heard. The things He taught were not just some sterile facts, but a fire that kindled their hearts with devotion for Him. May we likewise trust the Shepherd of our souls to kindle our hearts as we grow in His Word?
“Some people have missed the most important thing in life they don’t know God,” (1Timothy 6:21 TLB). Some people know of Him but really don’t know Him! Others fear acknowledging Him means accountability and responsibility, and some are just blind. Remember, no Christ, no peace; know Christ, know peace!
God has spoken to us through His Son, who is the heir of all things. There is no greater privilege in life than knowing the Son of God. He is known only through the recognition that God raised Him from the dead to become the “centerpiece” of His promise and plan. This is what molds a sinner into a saint.
When you come to understand the Scriptures, you’ll see Jesus as never before. A few small sparks is all it takes to begin the fires of revival. A fire lit inside you will not allow for a settled life.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands,” (2Timothy 1:6). Let’s pray for everyone to light up their environment.
“The mighty man will become tinder and his work a spark; both will burn together, with no one to quench the fire," (Isaiah 1:31). I challenge everyone to burn brightly; let your spiritual light shine.
“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled,” (Luke 12:49). Jesus came to fan the flame of faith in His followers.
Remember, the more God burns me up, the less the world burns me out. Christians are a small piece in a big world that needs to see the flame of God. The only way we can come to terms with reality is by trusting God. Therefore, burn brightly…believe rightly…participate actively…minister lovingly.
Where there is spiritual life there is need of spiritual strength…strength for all the actions of the spiritual life. To be strengthened is to be furnished by the grace of God for every good work, and fortified by that grace against every evil endeavor. The Spirit is the Author of this strength, and He enables us to do our duty, while still holding fast to our integrity.
Like those two disciples, we all need a living Savior, and eternal freedom is ours for the taking. Sometimes a mid-course correction is needed, designed to mentally, physically, or spiritually change your course. And the time comes when we need to return to Jerusalem, and returning to God is always good because He never leaves you.
“Focus on the facts for fiercely fresh faith in the Father.” (JJ) Remember, you cannot start a fire in another’s heart till it is burning in your own! Every Christian should not merely be good, but burn with zeal in doing good! “Heaven bound heartburn happily breeds honest birth-pangs heralding big headlines bringing holy brethren home.” (JJ)
So, it’s time to “prime the injectors,” maybe today is the day to bring you to a point of decision. Is the ignition switch finally turned on in your walk with Christ? Is the spiritual motor finally turning over? Is life with Jesus finally running through your veins?
Instead of hoarding, you need to release yourself. Instead of drifting, you are to give and invest. Instead of doubting, you are to courageously trust His heart! Learn that Jesus is at home in the midst of your everyday activities.
What those two disciples saw was not the end of hope, but its beginning, the light finally came on. Despair became delight. Desert became dessert. They had just experienced the promise of God, a Divine Appointment with Him. They acknowledged how wonderful a simple walk with God can be strolling with dad. “A cold heart can be warmed only by the fire of the living God.” (Chuck Swindoll)