How the Holy Spirit and Fire Overcome the Negative Winds in your Life

By Rev. Rob Prince

This Little Light of Mine is a beloved children’s song that is known around the world. The anonymous song is an old negro spiritual that has been sung in Sunday schools and in cathedrals. The lyrics simply sing the truth that while we may only have a little candle light, when we don’t hide it, letting it shine and not allowing Satan to blow it out, then the darkness flees!  I can appreciate that truth. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.

Don’t throw stones at me (or hide me under a bushel? No!), but there’s a problem with little lights. The little candle’s flickering flame is easily blown out. It doesn’t take Satan to “poof” it out.  Any nasty wind will do. I’ve seen enough funniest home videos to know that everyone from grandmas losing their dentures to babies covered in frosting can blow out the little candle lights on a birthday cake. Little candle lights are fragile. They blow out easily.

A booming campfire, on the other hand, the type of campfire that has lots of wood, lots of flames and perfect for s’mores can’t be blown out by grandmas, babies or any other windy happening. In fact, wildfire experts know that forest fires are not reduced by the wind, they actually grow stronger by wind. Wind extinguishes a candle, but it energizes a fire.

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Throughout the Bible, fire represents the power and presence of God. Moses encountered God at the burning bush, and later God appeared in a pillar of fire to lead his people in the wilderness (Exodus 3:2; 13:21). On Pentecost, following the sound of rushing wind, Luke tells that something like tongues of flame rested on each of the disciples gathered. They were immediately filled with the Holy Spirit, and their lives and the world were changed forever. All of this fulfilled John the Baptist’s prophecy that the Messiah would baptize “with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11-12). That’s what we need too—to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire.

When we are empowered by the Holy Spirit and fire, even the hardiest winds can’t blow us out. Winds are going to come to everyone. Winds of discouragement. Winds of negativity. Winds of temptation. Winds of heartbreak. Winds of grief. Those winds are generated in some cases by the stuff of life, but other times those cold gusts come via the blowhards in our way. Difficult circumstances and negative, carnal people can try to extinguish your little light. But people who are consumed with the Holy Spirit and fire aren’t frail and failing like a little candle when the winds are blowing.  Instead blazing Holy Spirit filled believers look at the wind and those people in our life who are full of hot air and quote Paul, “We will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15).

Don’t simply be a fragile, little light in a dark, dark world; instead be empowered by the all-consuming Holy Spirit and fire! Even tornadoes are no match for the Spirit’s fire. Maybe a change of lyrics is in order. “This BIG light of mine is Jesus and “even the wind and waves obey him.” (Matthew 8:27). It’s not a catchy tune, but it’s true!

This article was originally published at: robprinceblog.wordpress.com.

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Our Massive, Incomparable God

By Rev. Rob Prince

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We have no idea how big the Universe is.

The farthest thing we have measured so far with the help of a mighty telescope—actually two telescopes: one in Hawaii and one in outer space—is 13 billion light years away (a light year, by the way, is 5.88 trillion miles). So the farthest thing that we have measured is 5.88 trillion miles times 13 billion. That’s A LOT! 

Somewhere in the middle of this vast universe is a spiral galaxy called the Milky Way—which is made up of hundreds and billions of stars.

One of those stars is our sun—rotating around the center of the Milky Way once every 250 million years.

One of the planets circling our sun is a tiny little ball called planet Earth.

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Our tiny little ball of water and dirt, planet Earth, is only 8,000 miles in diameter and orbiting a tiny star on the outskirts of the Milky Way in this vast, vast universe.

And you and I are just two of the 7.4 billion people on this tiny, tiny planet.

Why the astronomy lesson?

Listen to this:

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,

    their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 

Let all the earth fear the Lord;

    let all the people of the world revere him.

For he spoke, and it came to be;

    he commanded, and it stood firm. (Psalm 33:6, 8-9)

 Let the truth of those words sink in. 

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,

    their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 

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God didn’t even lift a finger—to create this massive, blowing your mind, huge, vast, incredible universe.

He did it without the use of a “how to make a universe kit.”

He had no diagram.

He had no blueprints.

Speaking, speaking, speaking…and it came into existence. 

God is more massive than our wildest imagination.

BIGGER than the biggest words we have to describe Him.

After an eternity of being God…

He shows no sign of wear and tear.

He has NO dilemmas.

No quandaries.

No counselors.

No shortages.

No rivals.

No fears.

No cracks.

No worries.

He is Self-existent.

Self-contained.

Self-perpetuated.

Self-powered and

Self-aware.

He has no needs.

God does whatever God wants.

His purposes are a sure thing.

There’s no stopping Him.

No cutting him off at the pass.

No short-circuiting His agenda.

God is in control.

God knows everything and everyone.

There is not a bird flying on this tiny little planet or perched on a little, little branch that has escaped his vision.

He could start with Adam and name every man, woman, and child who has ever lived and tell you every tiny detail of their lives.

Nothing is hidden from him.

He wrestles no mysteries.

He doesn’t have to wait for a polygraph test to decipher the truth.

He has no equal.

No peer.

No competition.

He is God almighty! (I wish I had some timpani playing after I said that)

But that’s not the end of the story.

Though we are a mist…

Here today, gone tomorrow…

A tiny little speck of dust on this vast enormous universe…

One of 7.4 billion people on this planet…

God created you.

Think about that.

In his image.

God created you.

And he fashioned us with the ability to know him.

And here’s the good news…

The really, really Good News…He loves you!

HE. LOVES. YOU!

Yeah… you. 

Maybe you just flunked your first test of your college career and He still loves you.

You… who got so angry for no reason at your spouse last night… and he still loves you too.

You… who just let somebody down… yup, he loves you.

You are one of 7.4 billion people on this tiny little planet on the outskirts of the Milky Way.

But God knows you,

knows everything about you,

knows all your deep dark secrets, and he still loves you!

He healed the sick.

He fed the hungry.

He walked on water.

He calmed the storm.

And here’s the deal:

The ONE who can heal the sick,

FEED the HUNGRY,

Walk on water, and

CALM THE STORM,

The one who created this massive 5.88 trillion times 13 billion mile universe…

Knows you.

Loves you.

And can rescue and redeem and refresh and renew and revitalize you!

Does anybody need that today?

Smoke Went Up

By Rev. Rob Prince

Smoke went up when I said “Yes” to God’s call into full time ministry. It wasn’t a “white-smoke-out-of-the-chimney-like-when-they-elect-a-pope” kind of smoke; it was more like a “too-much-wet-wood-on-the-fire” kind of smoke.

I was sitting beside a campfire on the Church of the Nazarene’s Eastern Michigan District Campgrounds at a teenage “afterglow” following a campmeeting service when I first thought that God was calling me into some kind of Christian service.

I was in the seventh grade. 

I didn’t see any writing on the walls. (We were outside—no walls).

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I didn’t hear an audible voice. (Except for the guy leading at the campfire and trying to get a bunch of musically challenged Jr. Highers to sing, “Do Lord,” no one was talking or singing.)

But I knew deep into my bones that God was calling me.

Why would God call me to ministry?

I had never spoken publicly.

I was a pretty squirrely, 75 pound, weak-hitting little league second baseman.

I really was not skilled at much of anything except collecting baseball cards and annoying my siblings.

I had no clue as to what a pastor really did. (Maybe I was thinking they only worked Sundays and Wednesday nights. I was pretty lazy at the time.)

Still I knew that God was calling me. 

I didn’t know that the calling would lead me to Olivet Nazarene College (University now) and Nazarene Theological Seminary. I would have never guessed I would serve on the pastoral staff of a Presbyterian church while in seminary and Nazarene churches in Alanson, Bad Axe, Roseville, and Otisville, Michigan and now in Lenexa, Kansas. I didn’t know that I would be able to preach not only in the wonderful churches that allowed me to stand behind their pulpits each week—but I have had the privilege of also preaching in Dominica, Russia, El Salvador, Swaziland, Israel, Jordan, and now Cuba. I cannot adequately describe for you how blessed I have been in my life since saying “Yes” to God around that campfire.

There was no smoke that went up in my office at the Metropolitan Church of the Nazarene when God called me to write. Again, I didn’t see any writing on the walls (there were walls there—but no writing on them). I didn’t hear an audible voice.  But once again, I knew deep in my bones that God was calling me.

Why would God call me to write? 

I was not an English major. (I was a psychology major—which kind of explains a few things, doesn’t it?) 

I’m a bad spellar. (Do you see what I did there?)

My grammar ain’t no good. (I did it again, Ha!)

My typing stinks. (If you scratch and sniff your computer screen, you would smell some foul typing techniques.)

Still I knew that God was calling me.

I’ve written a few articles here and there in publications that just about no one reads. In fact, one magazine that published an article of mine is now defunct; and another one, after publishing several of my articles, has gone to an on-line only version. I don’t think I’ve been kind to the publishing world. Mr. Pulitzer has not been recommending me for any writing assignments.

In spite of that history (possibly with fear and trembling), the Nazarene Publishing House has agreed to publish my book, Following Jesus with a Migraine. I will be signing the contract today. I am not sure when the book will be released. I am not sure if anyone will actually read it. Here’s what I know: God called me to write− and this book in many ways is a fulfillment of that call.

I didn’t know that I would experience a brain hemorrhage to give me a topic on which to write.

I didn’t know that it would be fifteen years after sensing that call that an actual book would be written.

I didn’t know a lot of things.

I just knew that God called, and for me to be obedient meant I had to write. 

Maybe God is calling you to something that you are not technically qualified to do.

Maybe it’s something you think there is no way you could do.

Maybe you think you are too young, too old, too uneducated, too busy, too overworked already to accomplish God’s calling.

Maybe it will take some time before the calling comes to fruition. (It was 15 years for me− remember).

Maybe someone will be less than encouraging. (For the efforts of my very first book submitted for publication, I received a “Thanks, but no thanks” form letter.)

Maybe other factors out of your control will happen. (I had a few chapters lost when my computer crashed a while ago).

But if you are called by God to some task and you know it deep in your bones—don’t worry about the reasons why you can’t accomplish God’s plan. Just do it. Follow that calling!

I love what Jeremiah said when he knew God was calling him to speak. He wrote:  But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot (Jeremiah 20:9).

If God is calling you—and you can’t hold it in, you can’t let it go, you can’t do anything but follow the calling— then follow it! Will there be challenges ahead?  Probably. Will you be tempted to quit? Maybe. Will it be easy? Nothing great usually is. Still, God has great things in store. When He calls—He enables and empowers you to realize that calling. If God is calling, He will make a way for you to achieve what He is calling you to do. 

There might not be smoke rising when you say “yes”—but then again maybe there will be.