Wherefore glory ye in the Lord of fires,
even the name of the Lord God of Israel ...
~ Isaiah 24:15
Temperatures here are beginning to dip nightly into the low 40s. Soon the plummet will continue downward into the 30s and 20s. This is snow country, and one can even expect a few bone-chilling days in the teens. The how to of staying warm obviously becomes relevant.
It's been a long while since we owned a wood burning fireplace, but here in rural, cold America they are common fare. From pretty contraptions that match fine decor to pot-bellied stoves and everything in between most folks in this valley put them to good use. Since we are now among them, we plan to do likewise. So I've been preparing for those declining, numbing numbers.
In years gone by my husband and I would trundle to the trees, chainsaw at the ready, to cut our own firewood. We loved the entire process of tramping through the wood, kicking through newly fallen leaves ~ some dry & crispy; others beginning to decay ~ sniffing out the profusion of organic scents, finding the right tree, then cutting & hauling log rounds home. Those forays typically entailed flannel shirts, warm gloves, boots & a dose of hot cocoa. That was long ago when we had a limber lumbar for lumber. Today we pick up the phone and order it instead ~ hot cocoa in hand, of course.
No matter how it arrives, I always enjoy surveying those parts of the yard where cord wood is stacked. It's as if I've given winter the green light to begin in earnest; a sort of neener-neener. It gives me a sense of security. I feel ready.
It has occurred to me that getting & staying warm and raising a fire has linkage to my growth and/or effectiveness as a believer, too. Wood ~ fuel ~ is but one provision for being ready. One cannot get too secure or too complacent too soon, if ever. There's much more to consider, not the least of which is the kindling necessary to spark a fire into a flame.
- "Is is possible that the seemingly dry spells in my life are highly flammable & necessary for a burst of flame?"
- "What sort of tinder in my life am I fanning?"
- "Am I looking for a quick light, an easy fire; or am I willing to submit to the tougher burn?"
- "Once the kindling's caught fire, what fuel have I given it to burn?"
- "Am I in for the slow burn, or do I burn-out, fizzle quickly?"
- "Is the aroma of the burn pleasing & useful to God?"
These & like questions have rolled through my thoughts like waves upon the shore as I ready for winter. They're not intrusive thoughts, just persistent. And I know they're important; which is why I am prayerfully considering each as I consider/gather the right stuff for a blaze: the sort of tinder that's meant to bless as it burns.
But thanks be to God, who always leads
us as captives in Christ's triumphal
procession and uses us to spread the
aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere.
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of
Christ among those who are being saved
and those who are perishing.
To the one we are an aroma that brings death;
to the other, an aroma that brings life.
~ 2 Corinthians 2:14-16
I remind you to fan into flame the
gift of God, which is in you through
the laying on of hands.
~ 1 Timothy 1:6
These (trials, kindling) have come so that the
proven genuineness of your faith
~ of greater worth than gold,
which perishes even though refined by fire ~
may result in praise, glory and honor
when Jesus Christ is revealed.
~ 1 Peter 1:7
Behold, I have refined thee, but not
with silver; I have chosen thee in the
furnace of affliction.
~ Isaiah 48:10