Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Have you ever had firewood delivered to your house and wondered if you got what you paid for? Firewood is measured in a funny way, called cords. The dictionary says that a cord is 4x4x8. This is 128 cubic feet. When people deliver firewood they say it is a cord, when in reality it is a face cord. A face cord is a stack of wood 4' high and 8 foot long one row deep maybe 16” or 18” wide. A face cord 4' x8' x 16” is 42.67 cubic feet. This is only 1/3 of a regular cord.

Most people do not set out to cheat you. The problem is that there is confusion on the meaning of the different terms. Another problem with the volume of wood is the way it is stacked. Big chunks stacked on top of each other have a lot of space between the logs. The best way to get more is to put small sticks in-between the logs.

Just as there is confusion about firewood volume so Christians don't realize how much Christ has for us. The Bible is full of promises of how much we have in Christ. “And in Him you have been make complete, . . . “Colosssians 2:10

God has given us everything pertaining to life and Godliness. 2 Peter 1:3

All our sins are forgiven. 1 John 1:9

My God shall supply all you needs in Christ Jesus Philippians 4:19

God will answer all our prayers. John 15:7

We will have all sufficiency in all things. & God of all grace. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Having all sufficiency in all things you will have an abundance for every good deed.

God will never leave us nor forsake us Hebrews 13:5

We can do greater works than Jesus because He went to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit to us. John 14:12

We are more than conquerors in Christ Romans 8

Nothing will separate us from the love of Christ. Romans 8

Don't be sold short. Jesus has all you need to fulfill His will for your life.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Stacking Firewood

Stacking firewood is an art form in some areas of the country. Others just
want to make sure the stack doesn’t fall down. Stacking firewood involves a
lot of walking and carrying. Having help make the job go faster and more

If you have never stacked wood there is a few things to keep in mind. First
you can get more wood in a smaller place if you place small sticks
in-between the large ones. Keeping the stack from falling down is a skill that
you will want to develop fast. At the end of the row at both ends the logs
should be placed in a manner that will hold the whole stack up. I may stack
them cross hatch or I may angle the logs us to the top so that the bottom is
further out than the top. I may put larger logs on the bottom and smaller logs
near the top. It is better to make the stack two layers deep than to stack it to
high. Sometimes I use a metal fence stake to strengthen a stack. Whatever
method you use it should be able to withstand a cat walking on it. Test it by
putting you hand on the top and see if ‘s wobbly.

Just as a firewood stack needs a good foundation so our spiritual life needs a
foundation. The foundation is a saving knowledge of Jesus. The second step is
to read the Bible pray and go to a Bible believing church. As we mature in
Jesus we will develop a love for Him and want to serve Him because of that
love. Our love for Jesus is a sure foundation.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sap Wood & Heart Wood

Trees put on new growth rings each year/. This new growth is a pipeline
moving sap up and down the tree. As successive years growth are added,
the inner part of the tree becomes clogged not allowing sap to move
through the pours. The material clogging the cells makes the wood look
darker. Heartwood is the dark inner part of the log. The heart wood is
stabilizing factor in the tree. I t gives the tree strength in the storms and
winds. The light wood is called sap wood. The sap wood is the part that
continues to pass sap up the tree to the leaves for supplies and
transpiration. After a tree has fallen the chemicals in the heartwood will
resist rot because of the substances within the heartwood.

Christian life can be compared to sap wood and heat wood. Sap wood is
the vitality of the tree. Christians of faith and service have a vitality and
life are like the sap wood of a tree. Their vitality needs a stabilizing force
during the many problems that face Christians in their service. Heart wood
can be likened to retired saints and Christians leaders through history that
have served the Lord before us. They have shown the way by the outcome
of their faith. They give stability, to the basic teaching and doctrines that
are taught in church.

“Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and
considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.’; Hebrews 13:7

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I was in a hurry one day as I set up the firewood in our fireplace insert. When
I lit the fire, it was a disaster. To my dismay the fire started but the smoke
went into our rec. room and not up the chimney.

Our chimney has a down draft of cold air, in certain types of conditions. If we
ignore this situation, we will get the room full of smoke because, it will not
draw the smoke up the chimney. To elevate the problem I light one sheet of
newspaper and hold it up the flue to break the cold air barrier. I can then light
the fire and the smoke goes up the chimney with no smoke problem.

Smoke in a room can be like dissension in the church. When it is present,
there is nothing to do but leave.

Usually there is a simple way of preventing church dissension’s . A soft
answer turns away wrath but grievous words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1.
Talk about the goodness of God and how much Jesus has done for us. Many
times those that want to argue will leave.

The reason why we come together is Jesus. From this point of agreement
hearts are softened and then they are willing to listen to your ideas that they
may not agree with.

With the air of contention out of the way issues may be discussed in a
rational manner and prayer can be offered for the will of God.

Even if no agreement can be obtained with Jesus at the head it is easier to
submit to. At least you can agree to disagree graciously.


Sleeping by the fire is a relaxing way to rest. It is good to fall asleep in the
presence of the Lord after a good days work. Jesus gives us more and more
of His presence until we awake to do His will and follow after His calling.

There is peace in the presence of the Lord. he is the God of peace. he has the
solution for all our needs. he knows the way we are going and He leads us
with His steady hand. Don’t try to work up a belief in what God will do for you.
Rest in His presence and receive His strength.

Rest in the Lord feast on the fullness of His word. meditate on what He has
promised. Know that the Lord is all powerful and might. Don’t be anxious, let
God know your needs.

Enjoy what the Lord has given you. Bask in His warmth. Let the soothing fire
remind you how God has brought you to the place our are at. It is soothing ,
knowing that God can do it again. It is He that has made us and not we
ourselves. We are the sheep of His pasture and are kept by His strong arm.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Poker Stick

I like to watch the sparks fly as I stir up the fire with a poker stick. A fire will
burn itself to the point where the logs are too far apart. Without the help of a
poker stick, the fire burns down slowly and comes to a stop. I use the poker
stick to reposition the logs to be the right distance away from the other s which
allows oxygen to get in between the logs to feed the fire.

A similar situation happens with a Christians walk. When we lose the flow of
the Spirit. It is a natural to be content with what we have achieved and not
want to continue growing. When we lose the flow of the spirit it takes work
to grow. God uses the Holy Spirit to prod us to new growth according to His will.

God prompts us by giving us an idea that comes into our thinking. We may not
pay any attention to it but if it keeps coming back pay attention because it
probably is from the Lord. Coincidences are not incidental, but may be the
leading of the Lord. If we ignore this leading a sense of lack of peace comes to
our soul. A lack of peace is a good indication that all is not right with our walk
with Jesus. If ewe ignore the Spirit’s leading enough we will quench our ability to hear Him.

Let us respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit for in obedience comes the fire
of God in our lives.

“And your ears will hear a word behind you,’ This is the way walk in it.’
Whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Starting a fire, I put the usual large log in the back with wadded up paper
and twigs over the paper. Kindling from split logs would be added to the
fire. The fire started successfully and burned fast. Next I placed on a large
log on top that I hoped would last for a couple of hours. The disrupted the
fire and put it out. I had to restart the fire from scratch when the fire
regained its strength, it started giving us warmth.

As the large log was too much for the fire at the time, so Christians sometimes
put too much responsibility on themselves or others. This results in needed
training counseling. As long as the person is willing to work, Christian growth
and maturity will continue.

It is not a disaster to make a mistake. We all make mistakes. Persistence
through mistakes pays dividends. If you are not willing to persist through
mistakes and difficulties you will not get to the desired result.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might.,”
Ecclesiastes 9:10

Monday, January 16, 2006


A crackling fire brings a relaxing mood to any room. The flickering flames and
warmth of the fire delivers peace to ones soul. Fire in the fireplace is a calming
experience that all should enjoy.

The flickering flames provide the right atmosphere for meditation. I enjoy
relaxing by the warmth of the fire as I look at the flames. The smoothing and
flowing flames provide companionship while I am there.

As fire changes our mood for the better, so the Holy Spirit will sooth our soul. He
will refresh us spiritually. The Spirit is a gentle teacher of the Bible. He brings
back to our remembrance all that we have heard. (1 John 14:26). As a guide He
will show us which way to go as we turn to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:21)
The Spirit comforts us as we meditate on the Holy Scriptures.

Get alone with God and meditate on His word. Let His Spirit fill you with His fullness.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Have you ever tried to light a fire with out matches? I have and I never have
been successful. Matches are a necessity in fire starting. A match lights a fire
by heating the material to a certain temperature. Trying to light a log or even a twig will not produce a fire.

A match only produces a little heat. Place a lighted match near paper or wood
shavings to allow the small flame to heat the material to a burn. matches only
burn for a short time to do the job. Just a s a fire is started with a small flame,
so our salvation comes form a little bit of faith. The Word of hope that the
gospel brings is just the spark needed to start a new life in Christ.

Today is the day of salvation. Don’t deny the Lord when He calls you. we don’t
know how long we have until our time to meet Jesus comes. As a spark of fire
will start a fire so a spark of faith is all that is needed for salvation. Just the right
touch to turn a heart toward s our Master. The right word at the right time works
a miracle.

God provides the answer we are looking for. God has put eternity in our hearts.
We respond as the warmth of the gospel touches us. Those who win souls are
wise. There is no better way to follow the Lord than to walk in the same manner
as He walked. As we walk with Him and obey His voice, He will make us fishers
of men.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Kindle afresh (2 Timothy 1:6) the Word of God in you so that you may do the work that you are called to do. The Bible tells us to kindle afresh the love of God in our hearts so that we can serve in righteousness.

Strengthen the things that were about to die. For your works have not been completed in the sight of God. Rev. 3:2.

Have you ever tried to start a fire by lighting a match to a log? I have, it never works. You have to build up a fire slowly with kindling?

Kindling is the item needed after the newspaper and twigs catch on fire. I like to use wadded up newspaper with twigs on top. I put small sticks on top of newspaper with larger sticks last. After it gets going, I put on bigger logs so that the fire builds slowly but steadily. Start small, because fire is spread by heating up the object until it ignites. It is easier to heat small objects to the burning point. Wadding up the paper is more effective than just throwing it in flat because of wadding it up you create air spaces that will allow oxygen to get near it and feed the fire as it starts to burn. Fire is started by heat and is fueled by oxygen.

I get kindling by splitting logs with straight grain. It is one of the most enjoyable parts of the firewood job. There is not much effort and the straight grained wood splits easily with an ax. One swing is usually all I need. Before I know it there is a pile of kindling of future use.

As a good fire brings warmth, so Christians need to kindle the fire of the Holy Spirit. But how? I don't claim to be an expert in explaining the Holy Spirit fire. One things is clear, there is only one thing on your mind when you are on fire. You have one purpose. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” If our heart is completely His, we have nothing else on our heart. Start small and build day by day on what God has given you. Start with the little things of going to church, reading your Bible and prayer. Then get involved in helping others. By putting God first you love and strength will grow. Being on fire for God, is doing the things that God has called you do do with all your heart and mind, and soul and strength.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Finding Firewood

Finding firewood varies according to where you live. Near metropolitan areas, you can find a lot of firewood near construction sites. It is usually pushed to one side of the site in windrows. It is wise to get permission from a site foreman.

Big cooperate holdings may have permits available in cutting dead wood on their lands. I got a permit from a private college for this activity. You may have to sign some legal form saying that if a plane falls out of the sky and hits you, you won't hold the owner of the land responsible.

When I lived in Oregon, Douglas Fir would wash up along the river banks. You could go in under abandoned piers and cut it. It would take a while for it to dry out from being waterlogged but the price was right.

State and National forests sell permits for firewood cutting for a nominal fee. You can go to a logging site and cut wood to your hearts content at a landing where the slash has been left.

Cutting wood piled by a bulldozer is a little tricky. You have to watch your footing and which way the logs will fall, and cut the log all at the same time.

Sometimes you can find free wood advertised in the newspaper. They want people to cut up as much as they can before they have to pay someone to haul it away.

The saying, “You always get what you pay for,” is not always true with firewood. A lot of people don't want anything to do with the work and hardness of cutting firewood. People don't have the skill or tools to utilize what is there. It is a resource untapped and there for the taking.

This is the way it is in evangelism. People need the Lord but having the unction to present Christ to them is the key. People know they have a need but they don't have a handle on what will meet their need. They usually seek things that give a quick fix. What they need is a savior!

Those who win souls are wise. (Proverbs) Finding those who need a savior and presenting the gospel in a way that they can understand it and accept it is a gift from the Lord. This gift is learned as we follow Jesus. Let us follow Jesus and learn to win souls. “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Have you ever tried to light a fire with matches contaminated by water or humidity? I run across them sometimes and if you try to use them to light a fire they won't work, It is important to keep matches in plastic or sealed in a container so they will stay dry. We usually think of water as being a liquid. Water is also a gas as humidity. This humidity can't be seen or heard. But you can feel it. It goes everywhere and will effect your matches. If you have ever gone camping and found your matches contaminated by humidity you won't forget it.

It is the same in our spiritual life. If we are contaminated by cares of the world we will not be fresh for our Master's use. As we keep ourselves safe from contamination, we are useful to Jesus. Don't let the worries and cares of the world affect your ability to shine as a light in the world. Our heart will be where our treasure is. What we have to offer to the world is light. If we can't shine for Jesus we aren't doing what we have been created to do. Protect yourself from the cares and worries of the world.

Fires lit by a match remind me how God lights our souls in a simple way as we are sensitive to His warm fire. He will burn in our hearts if we will let Him. Do not resist the Spirit but turn to Him and let His small fire grow in you so that you will be a light to the world. Respond to the Spark of God. Flow with the impulse of the Spirit.

There are matches that are water proof. If we get those we have assurance of working matches. Water proof matches are like people that are sold our for Jesus. They are always ready to share Jesus.

In Hebrews 12:1 it says, “Therefore, since have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”


Bask in His presence. Walk in humbleness and repentance. Meditate on His word. Pray to Him always. Obey the leading of the Lord. Live expecting, answers to our prayers and the coming of Jesus.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Hauling Firewood

The truck lumbered up the hill, as the firewood sat precariously on the back. The springs were loaded down which gave a smooth ride. The truck wasn't fast, but it got the job done. An empty truck gives a bumpy ride , but now all is smooth.

Hard work has a way of letting you enjoy the simple things of life. Hauling firewood is some of the sweet work of a wood cutter. The job has been accomplished and the wood is being delivered. It is a time to rest and enjoy the fruit of your labor. Hauling firewood brings a sense of satisfaction. Satisfaction comes from action. “The sleep of the working man is pleasant.” Eccl. 5:12

When we are obedient in doing what God has called us to do then there is a calmness and smoothness.

Delivering the finished product is what the work is all about. God wants us to work for Him but if we don't continue till the end there will be no fruit. We should weigh the cost to see if what we are about to do is worth the work and are we able to finish what we have started? Do we have the knowledge, ability, willingness and resources to finish the job? If we are not going to finish the job why start? Plan your work to consider what is possible. Then go and do it.

When we get to heaven God will say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

Monday, January 09, 2006


Drying firewood is not too difficult, it just takes time and good ventilation. You don't have to cover the wood pile from rain. The wood will dry out from rain in a couple of days with a little bit of wind. Drying means the sap leaves the log. A good indication of this is when the log is splitting at the cut ends. If you are keeping the wood for more than one year, fast rotting may be a problem Cover the firewood stack to preserve the wood longer.

The ends start to split as the sap leaves the log. This is a good indication that the log is ready to split and burn. It is a lot more work to split the log before it is dry. If you have a shortage of dry wood, split it while it is green and it will dry faster. If you try to burn the log before it is dry you will not get efficient heat from the wood. The fire will first have to boil the sap out of the wood before it can burn the log. This will use up some of the fire's energy causing the fire to be cooler.

As time is needed to season firewood. Christians need to spend time meditating on the Word of God. Meditation allows God's word to settle into ones spirit so that it may effect them for good. Meditation allows the concepts of the Bible to move from the head to the heart. Meditation on God's Word is one of the keys to success in life.

Josh 1:8 “ This book of the law shall not depart fro your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written i it; for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success.”

God's word is alive and as we give it time to grow within us we are able to become mature and able to use it for the Masters use. Sometimes it is just time that is involved in making us mature. We grow as we allow God's Word to flow within our spirit.

Let God's word get into you spirit so that you may believe in your spirit that what it says is actually what God wants for us.

Psalm 1:1,2 “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, not sit in the seat of scoffers!

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Jill started the fire and closed the door to the fireplace insert. The fire started fast and was burning good. When she closed the doors the fire struggled to burn. The fire never did burn well.

I had closed the air vents to the wood insert in our rec. room, earlier in the day. Jill, my wife, assumed that they were open. The only draft was getting through the leaks in the stove door. Draft is important because that is the source of oxygen that comes to the fire. Without draft the fire goes out.

There was plenty of wood and plenty of paper and kindling. It all was laid down right. The fire was started and it burned good but could not continue because of the lack of oxygen.

It can be the same way with us. We can prepare the work that we are doing with good intentions and have a good lesson plan. We can organize people and have all the equipment needed, but if we don not have the life of the Spirit we will fail. Without the Holy Spirit we are ineffective spiritually. Without the Spirit we will lose our fire.

Don't quench the Spirit. We obviously know that sin will quench the Spirit but sometimes don't realize that our attitudes may be part of the problem. If we are not willing to listen we may not get the input that God wants us to have.

Seek the presence of the Lord. Wait for Him and allow His Spirit to fill you.

It is not by might nor by poser but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Dying Coals

I dozed off reading a book by the fire. What once was a blazing fire now had been reduced to hot coals. Flames were gone but the embers glowed. Warmth had been given not only to the room but also to my soul. Sleep was sweet because the work was done. The fire had given warmth and remembrance, contentment and satisfaction, sleep and rest. I awoke to put another log on the fire. A new fire could start from these coals, what was needed was fuel.

With the addition of more fuel on the hot coals, a new fire will break forth. This is a picture of a Christian that has worked and now his job is done. From the skills of his old job is the starter for a new job. God builds on the past. The fire that we used to have can reignite into a new flame. All that is needed is a purpose and direction from the Spirit.

God has work for us to do. As we listen, a fresh voice form God will show us the way. It is in the times of quietness before God that new direction comes. Many times I get direction by reading the Bible in my daily Bible reading. A lot of times God will encourage me with the Scriptures.

Seek the Lord for His direction in your life.

Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while He may be found call upon Him while He is near.”

Friday, January 06, 2006

Cutting Firewood

In the old days men felled trees with a double bit ax and a 2 man saw. A two man bow saw was used to cut up the logs into lengths and then they would split the logs with a sledge and wedges. This took a lot of effort.

Today there still is a lot of effort but modern tools have made the job easier. Now a chain saw is used to cut trees down into lengths as well. In some locations trees are cut with big snippers on the end of heavy equipment. A splitting machine can be used to split the wood and is quite efficient in splitting up knotty wood.

Bible study can be as hard as cutting firewood, but in the end it brings a sweet reward. God has called us all to study, some of course more than others. We grow spiritually by understanding what God is saying to us. As we come into a closer relationship with Jesus a hunger for what He says develops causing us to study more. Seek to be closer to the Lord as you study the Bible.

The proper study of God;s word will benefit in increased faith and equip you for more ministry. Study brings God's approval. There are lots of ways to study the Bible. Reading should come first. Sometimes it is good to read a passage many times. The Holy Spirit teaches us as we become familiar with a passage of Scripture. Prayerful go over the Scriptures to find the will of God. If you want something you have to work for it. It takes time and effort to study. Don't shy away from the work. It is well worth it and God will award you as you continue to seek Him.

One time when I did not feel spiritual I decided to study the Bible to see what God would show me. In the past I would have put it off until I felt more like studying. I learned a lot that day and it was a revelation to me. God can move beyond our feelings.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved of God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth”. 2 Tim 2:15

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Cutting Down Trees

A tree grows as long as it lives. When its cut down, it becomes useful for lumber and firewood.

A tree grows by increasing its girth over the surface area of the tree. From the smallest twig to the base of the tree. Its every effort is to support itself. When it lives, it works to grow and thrive. When it's cut down it dies, and is more useful to others.

We aren't much useful to others. When we live for ourselves. When we give up our rights and submit to the direction of the Lord we become useful for spiritual service.

We are better off if we give up our rights and desires. Why? Because then, God is free to bless us with all the spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ. We are living and seated with Christ in th heavenly places. If we try to fulfill our desires we are not living by faith and won't receive blessings from God. As we let go we receive. When we hang on we lose. Don't hang on to your life, let it go and receive all the blessings that God has for you.

Death brings a change in usefulness. Death bring 100% availability. There are no rights or hurt feelings after death. One of the reasons that we are useful after death is because we are not trying to please ourselves. We can be free to serve and to focus on others if we give up the right to our life.

Consider our Lord's call to carry our cross. Usefulness is closely related to availability.

“If anyone wishes to come after Me let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:23,24

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Cleaning the Flue

If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

A fireplace fire produces a lot of heat. The by product is ash and soot buildup on the flue. If it is not cleaned a fire hazard will result.

To clean the chimney you need a metal bristle brush that is shaped the same size as the flue. Rods are available that screw into the top of the brush, allowing you to push it down the chimney. They are built to that you can screw one into the next.

The brush is made a little bigger than the flue. Pushing the brush up and down causes the bristles to rub the soot off. Wear a dusk mask when you work, because of a lot of dust will be stirred up.

Christians need to be vigilant tin staying honest and clean before the Lord. The work of forgiveness has been done on the cross. Confess your sins to God and you will be forgiven. Confession is being truthful and honest. If we neglect this we are hindered in our walk with the Lord.

Acts 3:19

"Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Burning Heat

Have you ever had to move because you sat by a fire that was too hot? Fire will consume all that is in its path. If you get too close to the fire it will singe you. To be sure, anything that gets close to a fire will be burned. You must get away from the fire to let it burn down till it is not as hot. To enjoy the fire you have to maintain the proper distance.

Anything by a fire will be changed. It may be too hot if it is not managed right. Wood is consumed and the desired result is to give off heat. All that is left is ash.

If you want to preserve your old life and get close to God it won't work. God wants to change us and the old ways that we have learned will have to be burned off. What makes people willing to be burned by God's purifying fire is the realization that what God offers is much better than what we could have. If we die to our old life we will be able to change easily. If our old desires to live for the lusts of the flesh remain, then there will be pain in our spiritual growth. God won't hurt us life a fire would but He will change us as we get close to Him Be willing to be changed so you won't be burned.

Hebrews 12:29 God is a consuming fire. To be sold out for God is to be consumed by Him.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Bricks and Refining

Fireplace bricks protects the house and radiate heat into the room. Why is brick effective?

Bricks were made from suitable earth, formed into the proper shape and sun-dried. Then the bricks were fired using either wood or charcoal. If 100% clay was used, it would crack in the intense heat. A sandy mixture would fall apart. The proper mixture of earth, clay and sand was critical for the strength of the brick. Before testing, the material had to be thoroughly mixed. In the old days this was accomplished by smashing the mixture with their feet. The only way they knew the brick had the right mixture, was if it passed the fire test.

In the firing process, bricks were laid side by side leaving a space wide enough for charcoal. Mud was smeared over the stack, and vent holes were place on the leeward side. The charcoal was lit and it burned till all was consumed. After a number of days, it would be cool enough to dismantle and remove the finished bricks. The process of burning took a week or more.

The firing process is a good analogy for Christians. We don't learn by doing something we know, we learn by trying to do something we don't know. Just as bricks become effective after they have been treated with fire, so Christians are effective when they are tested with harder and harder tests. We don't know how we have grown in the Spirit until God allows the tests to come. Our reliance on Jesus allows us to overcome the tests set before us. Our growth is not so much knowledge but readiness to turn to God and reliance on Him in the trial.

Just as the bricks need the right mixture of clay, earth and sand so Christians need the right mix of the Bible, prayer and the action for faith. Reading and studying the Scriptures in prayer gives us faith to rely on God in the hard times. God shows us the meaning of the Scripture when we are close to Him. Look to God to lead you in your daily life. Being close to God will enable you to flow according to His will. Let Him direct you to where you should go.

“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like refiners fire and like fullers' soap. And He will sit as smelter and purifier of sliver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like good and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2,3 NASB

The Ash Bed Under a Fire

Ashes keep the fire coals in place near the burning logs. The more that burns, the more build up of ash you get. It is always beneficial to keep some ash for the next fire.

The fire's ash symbolizes staying close to the Lord. Our spiritual life is based on living in obedience to His will. Staying close to the Lord helps us to stay in touch with His directions. If we aren't close to God we miss His directions and leading.

Stay close to the Lord by having a tender heart before Him. Know the Scriptures and meditate on them daily. Prepare for ministry in prayer for the work that you are going to do. There is no substitute for prayer. Many times prayer is where the battle is, and the work is the mop up. If the ash is not ready there is more work that needs to be done to get the fire going. If we're not close to the Lord we will do a lot of work and not accomplish much. If we have not prepared for the work that we are doing we are not able to do the job as well as we might have been able to do.

Look for the closeness of God more than just gaining ideas. As we are close to the heart of God we will learn what He wants us to do. Be like Moses who said if you won't go with me I am not going. Closeness to God will solve many of the problems that are before us.