No Longer An Ember - A Heart Ablaze
Updated: Aug 30, 2019
There are so many Christians who have lost their passion for God. If you are one of these people, and you are seeking God to ignite your passion for Him again, this is a great book to give you direction on how you can ignite your passion for God once again, and live in relationship with Him in a way He has made you.
The journey has to be founded in truth. Sadly, many long for the truth, but when confronted with it they reject, ignore or twist it for their own benefit. Deception is a major problem because those who are caught up in deception actually believe they are walking in the truth. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 talks about the time people will not hear sound doctrine but be led by their own desires. They will turn from truth and be turned aside to fables or falsehood. John 3:20 tells us that those who does the truth comes to the light that his deeds may be clearly seen and they have been done in God.
So to have a passion for God we need to seek the truth. The fear of remaining the same greatly outweighs the pain when we encounter the truth. When we encounter the truth we are in a position where can have Him truly glorified in our lives. Over this review of John Bevere's book I will outline the things that will cause you to be able to step out and re-ignite your passion for God.
Chapter 1: An Unforgettable Evening
God will ignite His people with an intense burning passion like we have never known before.
When John visited a city, God showed him something that was hindering the people from moving forward. He called the people to fast from things that were keeping them from seeking God and freeing them to seek HIm without distraction. The church sought to seek God as one. As they were obedient, all parts of their lives were changed. Joel 2:15-16 happened. God poured His Spirit on all flesh and the people were never the same.
When seeking God, obedience is the most important thing. We need to die to the flesh and what we have done in the past and wholeheartedly seek and obey Him. We want to walk with the heart of God not the form. God's move of His Spirit will yield the fruit of God and will ignite HIs people with an intense burning passion unlike it has ever been seen before. In Revelation 19:7 we read about the marriage of the Lamb. It is time for the bride to get ready so when Jesus returns we as the church are spotless and ready for Him. He is returning for a church whose heart is ablaze with true holiness.
Chapter 2: The Purpose Of Salvation
God who created the universe and everything within it, expresses His interest to dwell in us and among us.
God is not interested in visitation. His desire is habitation. God wants to dwell among and even in us! The condition is that we as His bride need to come out of the world's system. Darkness cannot abide where God's light or holiness exists. James 4:4 talks about those who are friend of the world actually becomes an enemy of God. If we do not separate ourselves from the world then God cannot dwell in us! There is no other option. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says that we need to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. James 4:8 tells us that we must choose to draw near to God first and then He draws near to us and reveals himself.
An interesting mistake we have made in the church is to chase the blessings. When we read of the journey of the Israelite's, we speak about their journey being from Egypt to the promise land. If you read the text carefully in Exodus 7:16, 8:1 you will read that their journey was actually to meet the Promiser and through relationship He would bless them. We as the church have emphasised God's promises and provisions rather than His character and nature to draw people to Him. The message has been for a comfortable life in the world NOT to know God and follow and obey Him and to live a life in relationship with Him.
Good leadership then calls people into an intimate relationship with Him. Not all ministry is good ministry if it is against His character and nature. Only in an intimate relationship with Him can we know really what is good. For example, Moses had a goal of leading the people out of Egypt which was "good". Leading them into an intimate relationship with God is actually His heart! Subtle but massive difference in emphasis.
So what is the goal of Christianity? It is to know God intimately. In Philippians 3:10 Paul says that he counts all things as rubbish that he may know Him. Then out of an intimate relationship then comes true ministry. The people who know God will be strong and carry out great exploits (Daniel 11:32) Paul prays that the eyes of our hearts will be enlightened in the knowledge of Him. (Eph 1:18). Without a revelation of Him we are blind. Moses was transformed through an intimate relationship with Him. We can as well.
Chapter 3: Getting Egypt Out
Our responsibility as a church has been to consecrate ourselves for the past two thousand years in preparation for His coming.
God's purpose for delivering the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage was to bring them to Himself so He might dwell among them. (Exodus 29:46). God did not want to visit but to live among them. We have been called to be priests and stand in His holy presence. We are called to believe, which when translated means to obey. The evidence of not believing is a disobedient lifestyle. Matthew 7:21 says that many believe on HIm and call Him Lord and even do miracles in His name. Yet they will be denied entrance into the Kingdom of God because they did not do or obey the will of God. It is time to consecrate which means to be set apart. Jesus has come the deliver us from the world; we are to get the world out of us. Paul tells us to cleanse the garments of our flesh and spirits. To live a holy life we need to cleanse ourselves through the power of His grace and be in the world and not of the world.
Will you be ready for the return of Jesus?
Chapter 4: The Glory Of The Lord
The glory of the Lord is everything that makes God, God. All His characteristics, authority, power and wisdom - literally, the immeasurable weight and magnitude of God.
The glory of the Lord is everything that makes God, God. All His characteristics, authority, power and wisdom - literally the immeasurable weights and magnitude of God.
In our living in the world we have lost sight of the awesomeness of God. In Isiah 40:21 nothing is His equal, we are like grasshoppers and He not only created everything He maintains it. When we are in awe of who God is, we then get a better perspective on how awesome it is to have a relationship with Him and we even fear losing this relationship. We realise that this is the relationship that we would give everything for. In Isaiah 6:5 we read that God reveals that we are doomed forever without His grace. He is greater than we would ever imagine.
When we bring ourselves into His presence which is light and glory, all our imperfections are both revealed and dealt with. As He cleanses us we can then see Him even more clearly. When Jesus returns His glory will outshine the sun, and all things will appear dark compared to Him.
Chapter 5: The Pass To The Mountain
God is calling us to His mountain to know Him intimately. The pass to that mountain is holiness birthed out of a heart that fears God.
The Israelite's saw God's delivering power but only Moses saw His revealed glory.
In Matthew 7:22-23 we read about the people who called Jesus Lord, cast out demons and prophesied in His name and did many wonders. Jesus told them to depart from Him as He never knew them. As we come into His presence of His glory His light exposes all things. There is nothing covered that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be made known. In essence, if we fear God, we will not sin or if we do we recognise it and deal with it immediately. We sin when we draw away from Him.
For the Israelites, God wanted them to come to His holy mountain to behold Him. God wanted to reveal Himself to them but they lacked what they needed to abide in His presence... holy fear. Sadly they were told to return to their tents (Deut 5:30).
When we look at sin, the issue is not the sin. It is the choice to refuse the invitation of the Lord to lay aside the world and come into the King's chamber. When we do this then sin does not happen. The Israelite's believed that they could not afford to have their hearts exposed by the light of His glory so they retreated to a place where they were safe. When we come into His glory what is revealed He heals. Do we love our current state of our heart or do we earnestly desire to change.
Moses knew God's ways through his mountain top experiences. The people learnt through the miracles He did in their lives. We miss so much because we desire what the world can give us and do not fear the Lord.
"God is calling us to His mountain to know Him intimately. The pass to that mountain is holiness birthed out of a heart that fears God. He clearly tells us, "The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant"" (Ps 25:14).
Chapter 6: A Managed Deity
To be changed we need to go up into the mountain like Moses. If we do not then we will be like Aaron and God's image in us changes.
There are so many who have been delivered from the world, but choose to live satisfied apart from His presence. Aaron had an amazing gift of leadership (Romans 12:8) which drew people together. He sadly chose to carry out the people's desires and not God's. He knew of God through the miracles but did know know God as Moses did. His understanding of God was distorted through his experiences of Egypt and knowing God through experiencing His miracles not through a personal encounter. As a result when he produced the calf image of God, he reduced the glory of God.
At the foot of the mountain the were corrupted or decayed. When we play church at the foot of God's mountain we will eventually decay for everything that is distanced from HIs heart will eventually decay. Aaron's inward image of God was actually shaped by the society He was raised. The calf was what naturally came out of him.
What does our society worship? When we look at movies, watch advertisements and see how people spend their money we see that people worship self, which is corruptible man. So instead of a golden calf, when we worship self, our image of God is formed through what society worships which is corruptible man. We have made Jesus into an image we have made and call Him Lord, acknowledge His saving, healing and delivering power but He is actually in our image.
A key problem that we have is idolatry. We create Jesus in an image that gives its creators what they want, the dictates of their own hearts. This is because the outcomes are in their control because they created it. It satisfies the desire to worship a higher being AND we get what we want! Idolatry is actually rebellion against God. (1 Samuel 15:23). If we desire a worldly lifestyle , which is against the flow of God's authority, we can have it subconsciously by serving "our Jesus" whose will is in accordance with our desires. We filter God's Word and commands through our culturally influenced thinking. Our image of His glory is formed by our limited perceptions rather than by His true image as revealed through His living Word on the mountain.
If you go to the mountains you will be changed. If you stay at the food as Aaron did then God's image in you changes.
The key question for us is "Is the Jesus you serve the One seated at the right hand of Majesty on high or he a different Jesus who has been shaped b y the ways and desires of the society we live in?
Chapter 7: Intentions or Desires?
We must bring our desires under the submission of the cross.
In Romans 12:2 we are instructed to not longer by conformed or shaped by the world. When Aaron made the golden calf what was in him came out. When we lust or desire after the world then this will shape how we view God. When we desire God above all things then we are able to walk as He intends. If we desire to walk away from the influences of the world and press into God BUT do not follow through then we are not in touch with our real desires. James 1:14 says each one of us is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Desire is the path we take no matter how good our intentions are.
God is calling us to bring our desires under submission of the cross. As we are Christ's we have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal 5:24) If we do not fully put away our desires for the world's ways then we can easily slip back to the world as Israel did. Asking God to reveal our true desire will lead us to true repentance and change.
When we preach a soft message of the Cross for people we make concessions and excuse their worldly mannerisms or ways. This is very harmful. The new Christian start off with excitement but gradually gravitate back to the world. They form a Jesus that is totally different to who he really is. They confess salvation and a desire to know Jesus but are not in touch with their real desires.
For the Israelites they complained whenever they encountered a situation that they did not like. They kept God's Word when things were good and desired Him. When they were put in a situation that was not pleasing to them they complained "Would it not be better for us..?" were the words they used. Clearly what they said showed what was in their hearts. Their core motivation for living was for themselves and their focus was on their own lives not God's heart.
We need to have a different focus. Moses chose hardship because he was looking ahead to his reward. A key part of the wilderness wandering is found in Exodus 22:1-5. Please read it. God gave him a choice of going to the promise land without Him or staying in the desert with Him. Moses chose God's presence above the blessings. To Moses, the blessings were nothing without God's presence. Moses did not ask for wealth, land or honour. His heart cry was, "Please show me Your glory" (Ex 33:18). If we desire both the world and an intimate knowledge of God, the image of God becomes distorted. We will not truly know him and in fact you will construct your own image of Jesus.
The most exciting thing is that when we know God we will always receive from Him what is best for us for God is perfect love. This will happen even when our natural senses feel otherwise. Moses loved God for who He was. Israel loved God for what He could do for them. We have to make a choice. Are we genuine in professing Jesus as Lord. The cross represents a complete death to our desires and wishes. When we fully embrace the cross we then must trust that God is faithful, loving and just Creator and Master. All life comes through Him.
Finally, Philippians 3:7-8 reminds us that everything is as a loss compared to knowing Christ as our Lord. Everything is as rubbish compared to this.
Chapter 8: Counterculture or Subculture
We are not to imitate the world's patterns or mannerisms or to act like the people of this world.
In the church today God has been offered in a way that people can be living having their desires of the world and have God at the same time. This is the same thing that the Israelites desired when wandering in the desert. Both. God is calling us as His people to forsake the world and instead draw near God's presence. If we do not we will gravitate to the "prince or the power of the air ( Eph 2:2) and the "god of this age" (2 Cor 4:4). If we pursue the world we then start to imitate the world's patterns or mannerisms. The Kingdom of God and the course of this world are running in totally different directions. God wants us to no longer be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:2). As we love Jesus and reject the world the world will no longer love us as we no longer belong to it. Today is the day to choose the no longer strive to belong where we shouldn't fit it.
In the early church they were known by their separated lifestyle. The mannerisms, methods and ways of the world were not in them at all. They lived under a totally different set of principals of values as the Word of God truly shaped their lives. The communities lived in the flesh BUT did not live after the flesh. They had little interest in respectable pleasures, public sporting events and amusements. They loved all men but were persecuted by all. They were dishonoured but in this were glorified. Those who hated them had no reason for their hatred. Sadly the present day church is very different. Many in the church live materialistic lives in the pursuit of pleasures and treasures of the world. Many Christians line up for the same movies, entertainment and amusements that the world pursues. As we live to enjoy the pleasures of this world we are called adulterers. An adulterer is one who has a covenant but seeks a relationship with another. We have a covenant with God as believers so why would we desire to pursue the patterns, mannerisms and ways of the world?
There are two ways of living that it is essential that Christians understand. We can live as a subculture or counterculture as the early church did. Their lifestyles rejected or opposed the dominant values and behavioural patterns of society. A completely different set of guidelines governed their lives. In Acts 2:40 Peter says in the Message "Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture! Instead of being separate, the church has been living as a subculture. A subculture is a distinctive group of people that is still part of the overall existing culture. They are still connected. We have been born again, saved and are linked with the church but are still very much tied with society. People in the church still live lives no differently from conservative unbelievers. Therefore, as the boundary lines of society shift, so do the boundary lines of the church. In contrast, the ways and standards of the Kingdom of God's standards are consistent and do not change.
So how could the people in the early church reject the ungodly attitudes, mannerisms and entertainment of their culture? It was through conforming to the ways of the Kingdom of God through being a hungry church desiring to know their Redeemer more than they desired comfort or pleasure. Their passion for the Lord was greater than the enticements of their culture. This holiness did not come through excessive rules, laws or regulations but through sound doctrine, the genuine leading of the Spirit, godly example and a firm commitment to serve. The key to a a godly lifestyle is a changed heart. The change had to come from the inside.
One of the keys to a godly lifestyle is to live knowing where your reward lies. For Lot, he chose the best fields and area even though it was full of evil people. His focus was his reward on earth which was his won benefit or pleasure. Abram desired the reward that was coming, so this earthly pull did not seduce him into selfish gain.
Finally, why do some believers have to be entertained or seek rest where the mannerisms and patterns of the world are most evident. To rest do we go from God's presence or quieten ourselves so we can enjoy His peaceful presence? God wants to seek His presences by separating ourselves, drawing near and realising the promise of His presence.
Chapter 9: Saving Grace
Grace is depicted as the ability to live free of ungodliness and worldly desires. It is the essence of the power to live a life of holiness before God.
What do you want to hear? Do you want to know the truth and be set free or do you want to just hear what you want to hear? In 1 Timothy 4:16 we read that we need to watch our life and doctrine as this will save both us and those who hear us.