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PJ
Member



Joined: 2003/7/29
Posts: 76


 Keep the Fire Burning!

page 1

First let me say that it is a rare thing for me to suggest that something I have to say is worth hearing. The fear of appearing prideful or spiritually puffed up would normally prevent me from saying such a thing. Yet I must now take that risk, for I do feel that what I am about to say is worth hearing.

This will possibly be a long post, but if you desire to walk closer and closer to the Lord each and every day, then I believe that it will be worth taking your time to read. Due to the lenght of this post, I will probably divide it into 3 or 4 (maybe more) seperate post. I will do this to avoid losing a large ammount of typing in case the page should expire (this has already happened once, ouch!) or in case I don't have time to finish this all at once. So if your are by chance reading this post, please do not reply until it is obvious that my post is complete (Thanks!).

A while back someone started a thread called, "Defintion of Revival". The poster was asking what a true revival would really mean. Somewhere in that thread I wrote that I didn't know a exact definition of revival, but one thing I did know was that I was currently experiencing my own 'personal revival'. I don't remember everything that I wrote, but I said something along the lines that I was hungrier for the things of God than I had ever been. I wrote that songs of praise couldnt' help but flow from my lips and that I had a renewed desire to reach the lost. I also said that all earthly things had lost their value to me and that the only thing that really mattered was more of Jesus, more of Jesus!

Let me say with great joy that I am still in this state of revival. It is approaching the 4 month mark since the stirring has begun in my soul. This is by far the longest I have ever walked in deep fellowship with my Lord and hence the reason for this post. I hope to share with you one of the greatest keys to maintaining a continuous deep walk with the Lord. But before I get to this paticular key, I hope you wll tolerate a little history of my life....

continued in next post

 2003/8/30 18:34Profile
PJ
Member



Joined: 2003/7/29
Posts: 76


 Re: Keep the Fire Burning!

pg 2

I was born and raised in a Christian home. I don't recall a moment of conversion in my life, it just seems like I have always known about Jesus and have always been trying to live for him. I know I prayed prayers of commitment to him, I just can't remember the first time. Jesus has just always been a part of my life.

In my early years we were pretty much a typical "Christain" family. We went to church 3 times a week and we didn't cuss, drink, steal,etc. However, for the most part, Jesus was a Sunday only experience. We did not give spiritual matters much thought during the week. We did not pursue a deeper relationship with the Lord. However, God was merciful to my family and for some reason he revealed to my family that there was more to him than just Sundays. At about the age of nine (as best as I can remember) my parents started to seek God on a deeper level. It wasn't until I was about 12 that I began to seek a deeper realationship with the Lord.

One of the greatest changes in my family's life came after the discovery of a man named, Smith Wigglesworth. Reading about this man revealed just what was avaiable to those who whole heartedly served the Lord. I was probably around 14 before I got around to reading the book and it had a great impact on my life. I decided that I wanted to be such a mighty man of God as he. At this point in my life I began to have deep seasons with the Lord. I would read my more of my Bible and pray more during these times. I would watch less t.v. and read less secular books. During these seasons I would do whatever I could to draw close to the Lord. However, these seasons were always just that - seasons. Eventually it would seem that the stirring would settle down in my spirit and the season would come to an end. I would be back to the same old me. To be honest 'the same old me' was much hotter that most of my pears at church, but what does that really matter? I only say that to let you know that I never really had a time of rebellion or deep sin. I just had a lot of seasons in which I was not full of zeal for the Lord.

So this could describe the past 15 years of my life. Up and down, up and down, and up and down. The discovery of Leonard Ravenhill's writings brought a whole new depth to my life, however it was still the same ol up and down, up and down.

When God by his mercy would stir my soul, I would seek him with all my heart. These times of fire as I stated earlier were characterized by times of prayer, Bible reading, and usually less or no television. This would last as long as I could 'feel' the fire in my bones. At some point in these seasons I would reach a point when it seemed the fire had left. It would feel as if God had moved far away. Instead of pressing on despite how I felt, I would instead resort to filling this absence of fire with the entertainment of the world. And in no time and all I would be back to the same ol dead life. A life with little prayer and time for God. However, one thing that I am thankful for is that I was always aware of my cold state of being and was not happy in such a state. So I think that I can safely say that I always retained some form of hunger, just not the fire.

continued in next post...

 2003/8/30 19:20Profile
PJ
Member



Joined: 2003/7/29
Posts: 76


 Re:

page 3

Because I had a belief in the importance eternal things, I chose to devote my life to ministry. From the time I was 20 until now, I have been on church staff (3 different churches as children's pastor). It's kind of strange that this age marks the beginning of some of the longest 'dry' spells of my life. It was during this time in my life that I got married. I married a girl form one of the churches I worked at. Thank you Lord that even though I was cool in my walk, that I still married a girl who has been a great help to me in life and ministry (you can read thread "A Call to Marriage, 4th or 5th reply, for the long version). Since the age of 20, the stirrings have been few and far in between. This was probably due to the position I was in as well as the churches that I worked for. As children's pastor I did not get to hear a lot of preaching, and rarely did the sermons I hear challenge or stir me. I did have a couple of stirrings during those years, but they were the typical short lived up and down seasons. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be hungry for the Lord as I once was when I was younger. Praise the Lord that I was still as least aware that I was even cold. Yes, I knew I was cold, I just didn't know what to do about it. The Bible seemed lifeless, and the books that once stirred me seemed to have litte impact.

Now fast forward to age 28, about a year and a half ago. My merciful God stirred me once again. A verse I was using in a childrens church lesson, for some reason struck me in a powerful way, and BAM!, just like that, a fire was lit. It just so happened that my wife and child were out of town for the week, so I had the whole house to myself for one week to seek the Lord. I kept the t.v off and the praise music on, and I had a wonderful time with the Lord. My Bible was alive again, prayer was real, and some of my old books came back to life. I read about Wigglesworth and was once again stirred by his life. This time somethig really stuck out to me about his life. It was the way he guarded the things of God in his life. He was very protective of his time with God. He would excuse himself at times from the company of others to spend time with the Lord whenever he felt the Spirit drawing him. He kept his mind continually on the Lord. He realized how quickly one could become cold, and so he guarded the things of God. He didn't take vacation from the things of God. He said that he couldn't take vacations because the Devil never takes vacation. He guarded the things of God.

With this new revelation, I decided that I would guard the current move of God with all my heart. I would protect it at all cost. Walking close to the Lord was too great to ever drift away from him again. I must guard this, and so I did. Well for about a month anyway.

I kept the t.v. off. Prayed every day, and consumed the word of God like nothing else. It was one of the deepest seasons of my life. But I let it slip away. I don't recall how it started but as some point I just didn't feel the stirring in my soul. I didn't feel the hunger that I did just days before. So instead of pressing through, despite my feelings, I let up and filled the absence of fire once again with the entertainment of the world (tevevision, books, etc.). As hard as it was for me to believe, I let the greatest move of God I had ever experienced slip away. How, how, how, could I lose such wonderful fellowship?

continued in next post...

 2003/8/30 20:11Profile
PJ
Member



Joined: 2003/7/29
Posts: 76


 Re:

pg 4

During the next year that followed, I was cold, but not as cold as before. I had a new awareness of God, I just was not seeking him as I should have been. I was living with out the 'fire in my bones'.

Another year went by and I grew very tired of my cold life. I realized that I must have a spiritual breakthrough. Realizing that it would most likely not happen at church, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I decided to go on a 'spiritual adventure'. I set aside 40 days to give to the Lord. I set some guidelines in writing that I had to follow. Such guidlines as morning and evening devotions and some physical guidlines. It was an attempt to restore some discipline in my life and hunger and fire for the Lord. I did not restrict t.v in writing, however, in the back of my mind I knew that I would watch much less. During this time, God kept his promise in his word. He says that if we draw close to him, that he will draw close to us, and he did. Just 2 or 3 days into my "spiritual adventure", God began to move and the fire began to burn. This time it was at even a deeper level that the year previous. Once again the t.v. was off and the praise music filled the air. This time I was committed to guard this move no matter what. I could not stand to return to the dry life I had been living.

I was on top of the world for about 30 days and then towards the end of this time that I had set aside, and for reasons I couldn't understand at the time, the fire and joy that had been present, seemed to be vanishing. Now what do I do? I didn't understand what was happening. Why did the fire seem to be going out? I was praying and reading the word. Why was this happening? I didn't know why this was happening, but one thing I knew for sure was that I would not willingly return to my dead life. This time I made a critical choice...

I decided to press on despite the fact that I didn't feel anything. I decided that I would not fill my mind with the thoughts of this world through any type of secular media. I decided to keep praying and reading the word. I would keep filling my mind with the things of God, whether I felt like it or not. This took some discipline that I had never before employed. My flesh didn't want to pray and read the word, but I did it anyway. My flesh longed to fill my mind with secular entertainment, but I resisted. I spent 2 or 3 weeks in this state of spirit. God, where did you go, I wondered. But praise the Lord, He was there all the time. I believe that this time in which God seemed to disappear was in reality a test. Do I have the faith to seek him even when I don't 'feel' his presence? This time I did. I had no other choice, I could not let go of what God was doing.

Finally God stirred. I was doing a search of Leonard Ravenhill on the web, when I discovered this sight. One of the first things I watched was the Ravenhill video interview. Wow, what an impact it had! The fire immediately returned and with greater intensity than even the previous 30 days. Sometimes I could hardly sleep.

Now here is the best part... The fire is still burning!

continued on next post...

 2003/8/30 20:56Profile
PJ
Member



Joined: 2003/7/29
Posts: 76


 Re:

pg 5

I have guarded this move of God and it has been worth it. I still have days when the burning seems to vanish and days when God seems far away, but thiese are the days that require the most faith and disipline to press on and not give my mind over to the world. And when I do press on, eventually the fire will return with a greater intensity than when it seemed to vanish. This is absolutely the deepest move of God that I have ever experienced in my life. God is reavealing and cleansing ares of my life that have always before remained untouched. He has even chosen to set my wife ablaze so that we can share this revival together. For the first time in my life I am living with an almost 24/7 God consciousness (spelling). Some times I awake in the middle of the night and I am so hungry for God that I can't go back to sleep. I just lay there and pray. This is an incredible time in my life, and yet I am now convinced that it is not just a time or a season, but instead this is my new daily walk. I will guard and protect this fire in my bones at all cost. I mst protect my prayer time and devotions. I must also guard what I allow into my mind. And here is the great key to truly keeping the fire of God in your life, and that is this...

GUARD IT AND PROTECT IT WITH ALL YOUR HEART!!!

If you a currently in a spiritiual state in which prayer comes with ease, you're hungry for the word, and you feel the fire in you bones, rest assured the you will not have that feeling at all times. There will be times ,despite your best efforts in seeking him, in which he will seem far away. You will wonder what happened? Where did the burning in my soul go? This will be the time in which the word of God will seem lifeless and prayer will seem little more than talking to the air. You will be tempted to let up in your quest for God at these times, but this is the time in which you need to do the complete opposite and press in harder than you ever have before. These are the times in which you much employ discipline and faith to see you through. It is also in these quiet times that you will be tempted to replace what seems to be missing with the entertainment of the world. "Just a movie", you say, "to give my mind a break". My friend let me warn you that this will always begin the cooling process in your life. I challenge you to choose to press on and keep your mind pure and focused on him and you will see for yourself that when the fire does return, it will be with greater heat than before.

One of the first threads that I read when I discovered this sight was regarding entertainment. It was submitted by Maria. She relayed in her post how she discovered the benefits of ridding her life from the noise and distraction of television. Though she may have seemed a little legalistic in her approach, I for the most part would have to agree with her main thought. It is just something that you have to 'live for yourself' to understand. My decision to keep it off is easier than most because I do not have cable. However, with or without cable, it's a decision worth making. The closer I get to the Lord, the easier the decision becomes. In fact, the thought of watching some of the things that I used to watch actually sickens me. Don't get me wrong. I still have a tv and will use it to grab some news headlines or maybe even 15 minutes of a cartoon of a sporting event, but that is pretty much it. However, it's not about watching or not watching television, it about being constantly conscious to your spiritual man. And being constantly conscious as to whether something is building up that part of you or if something is tearing him down. Protect you life from anything that cools your affection for the Lord. I belive that it was John Wesley who said... Worldliness is that which cools my affection for the Lord. Separate yourself from anything that is drawing you away from the Lord.

As well guard you devotion time. Let nothing rob you of your time with God. Be careful of putting your self in situations in which time with God will become difficult to have. Consider this before agreeing to any long term trip with friends in which it could be hard to keep your time with God. "God understands", you may say. Maybe, but the devil doesn't. Gaurd you devotions. I now make sure that I take time to read God's word and pray every day whether I feel like it or not. However, most of the time I feel like it because my soul is hungry for it.

Be sure not to just spend all your time reading and talking about prayer, make sure you actually do it. I personally have to guard against the temptation to spend to much time on this sight. Although I enjoy the fellowship and conversation, it can never replace my fellowship with the Lord. Also make sure you don't get so caught up in books tht you neglect the true word of God. Nothing can replace the life giving word.

One other thing... If you are not currently in a state of personal revival, consider doing something like I did. Set aside a certain number of days to fervantly seek the Lord. You will find that he will keep his word and draw close to you as you draw close to him. And when he does...

Cherish it and guard it with all your heart!!!

With sincere hope for you all,
PJ

End Note:
So what do you do with the fire that the Lord places in your life. It is certainly for a purpose, not just your own personal enjoyment. At this time I have no real direction to go with this burning in my soul. I keep sensing the Lord say, "Just hold on and I will show you when it's time". I almost feel like he is allowing me a preperation time for some work that he has in store for me. Please pray for me and my wife as we seek God's direction at this time in our life.

Thank you,
PJ

 2003/8/31 0:18Profile
sdb
Member



Joined: 2003/7/4
Posts: 129
tucson

 Re:

PJ, God bless you, and press on brother, stay inside that inner court as much as you can,I hope to be right behind you......scott

 2003/8/31 3:27Profile
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:

I must first say with all my heart to all of us here.........[b]Read This ![/b] and I am refering to the post that PJ wrote. God bless you for opening up your heart to us all. There is just to much here to respond to, but a few I can't help but comment on

Quote:
Be sure not to just spend all your time reading and talking about prayer, make sure you actually do it. I personally have to guard against the temptation to spend to much time on this sight. Although I enjoy the fellowship and conversation, it can never replace my fellowship with the Lord. Also make sure you don't get so caught up in books that you neglect the true word of God. Nothing can replace the life giving word.

You are like an echo in my own mind here...there is so much that I have have gained from all that contribute, that it is a difficult thing to stay away from at times. To borrow from something Greg had told me recently..."as the Lord leads"
Quote:

So what do you do with the fire that the Lord places in your life. It is certainly for a purpose, not just your own personal enjoyment. At this time I have no real direction to go with this burning in my soul. I keep sensing the Lord say, "Just hold on and I will show you when it's time". I almost feel like he is allowing me a preperation time for some work that he has in store for me. Please pray for me and my wife as we seek God's direction at this time in our life.


This also struck a chord with me as I have felt that same thing.."preperation time". Some times I wonder if I use it as an excuse..."But Lord, shouldn't I be doing something?" and I still get the same sense of a reply, "not yet, wait".
Some of my recent opinions in the forums have shown that there is still much to be learned as there is to be unlearned. Also PJ, you can bet I will be praying for you and your wife.

Another thing regarding t.v., I am having a real problem here at home with this and my family, trying to get them to understand just exactley what you had stated, I can and do without it, I like my ballgames but they don't have any priority like they use to, besides even they are tainted with the commercials that go along with them. My particular situation is not cut and dry as I am a step-dad of sorts..it gets complicated, I could cause a huge upheavel here by just cutting the stupid thing out...still seeking the Lord and praying for eyes to be opened and just what He wants me to do. Could use some prayer as well.

Lastly, I have a dear, dear 'customer' that I am doing work for, we have become fast friends, she is an elderly lady who truly loves the Lord and we have had many conversations and I have been sharing this site with her (she came bounding out of the house the other day after reading about the Ravenhill comments to "Read 2 Timothy everday for a month" she loved that!) Ironically, it was she that had mentioned that maybe what we all should do is give our testimony and background, schooling or lack of, whatever, so that we can all know where we are coming from. And you have basically done that here. So any other takers out there?

Thank you PJ for sharing this. Much wisdom and experience.... "Guard it and protect it with all your heart!"
Mike


_________________
Mike Balog

 2003/8/31 10:09Profile
todd
Member



Joined: 2003/5/12
Posts: 573
California

 Re:

PJ,
I am grateful that you shared this. I have been very encouraged and stirred.
I have been tracing your line of thinking and experience for awhile and you have managed to put words to it. And you convey such an excellent and beautiful point. That is, to guard the fire with all your heart. And even when it seems to let up, you go after it and remain full of faith and devoted to the Lord no matter what.
What you have conveyed reminds me of another man that GOd used powerfully in the past who also guarded the fire and did what was necessary to maintain it from the first time it came upon him until he died, and that's Charles Finney. I wanted to share this little excerpt with you here.

"To the honor of God alone I will say a little of my own experience in this matter. I was powerfully converted on the morning of the 10th of October. In the evening of the same day, and on the morning of the following day, I received overwhelming baptisms of the Holy Ghost, that went through me, as it seemed to me, body and soul. I immediately found myself endued with such power from on high that a few words dropped here and there to individuals were the means of their immediate conversion. My words seemed to fasten like barbed arrows in the souls of men. They cut like a sword. They broke the heart like a hammer. Multitudes can attest to this. Oftentimes a word dropped, without my remembering it, would fasten conviction, and often result in almost immediate conversion. Sometimes I would find myself, in a great measure, empty of this power. I would go out and visit, and find that I made no saving impression. I would exhort and pray, with the same result. I would then set apart a day for private fasting and prayer, fearing that this power had departed from me, and would inquire anxiously after the reason of this apparent emptiness. After humbling myself, and crying out for help, the power would return upon me with all its freshness. This has been the experience of my life."
- Power From on High (Alethea in Heart version), pp. 95-96

Once the fire comes I must guard it, cultivate it, and maintain it with all diligence.

Thanks brother.

 2003/8/31 16:20Profile
PJ
Member



Joined: 2003/7/29
Posts: 76


 Re:

Quote:

todd wrote:
I wanted to share this little excerpt with you here.




Thanks! That was very interesting, encouraging, and stirring. I'm very familiar with his name and yet I know very few details of this life.

Thanks again,
PJ

 2003/8/31 16:50Profile
Seeker
Member



Joined: 2003/8/30
Posts: 1


 Re:

I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your posts. I agree with you totally and I hope to be able to stay on fire for God too. I know that God is wanting to do somthing in my life and I am just trying to figure what. God bless.
seeker

 2003/9/1 22:18Profile





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