As long as people have searched for direction, worshipped their Creator, and looked for language to express their passion and warmth, we have returned again and again to stand by the fire.

The fire was an agent of God’s guidance and an ongoing expression of worship in the days of the tabernacle.  And we kept returning to stand by the fire.

A refiner and cleansing agent of the hearts of men, the fire was a symbol of God’s hatred for sin and an affirmation for the prophets who spoke His truth.  And again and again, we kept returning to stand by the fire.

The fire was a weapon of God’s voice, a light in the darkness, and an expression of hospitality and welcome. And from the dark places and lonely spaces, still we kept coming to stand by the fire.

The fire revealed a passion for God’s word in our bones, the baptism of the believer, the instrument of God’s testing, and the piercing gaze of the risen Christ.  And out of desperation or terror, love or longing, still we kept coming to stand by the fire.

And even today the Spirit and Bride invite you to come.  To be warmed and convicted and cleansed and restored and pure as you stand by the fire.

Come stand by the fire, and feel the sweet warmth of His presence and love as you call on His name.  Good-bye isolation!   No more shame and wandering.  Let go of and run from the dark lie of loneliness – face and embrace the bright truth that wherever you are, there He is.

Come stand by the fire, and enjoy the delight of the simple things in life again – the warmth, and the wood, and the air that converge to make life-changing energy.  The crackle of mystery, nature’s first symphony, beckons you back from a world of complexity.  Be still.  Breathe.  Know He is God.

Come stand by the fire, and experience again the passion that flows from a heart’s first love.  Let your heart come alive with a blazing and jealous desire many waters can’t quench.  Turn away from the blasphemy of apathy and feel again, feel again, feel again what it’s like for your soul to be swept away.

Come stand by the fire, and dare to reveal your lost places to those who can help.  Don’t run when they ask you to come a bit closer so they can see clearer just who you are.  Just remember they’re gazing through fire that’s blazing away your transgressions and revealing those blind spots that all of us have.

Come stand by the fire, and send a loud signal to all who are lost and who need to be found – that this is the truth they are desperate for.  “Light of the world” – that’s what Jesus declared you to be – you’re a city that’s set on a hill.  And just as the lighthouse both serves as a warning and beacon of hope to the ships in the night, so you are the voice to the lost and the rudderless, pointing with boldness that Jesus is light.

Come stand by the fire, and rest in the safety that comes from His watch against the wolves in the dark.  He is the door to the sheep who are helpless (and that’s you, just in case you’ve forgotten your need).  Rest in his care for you.  Trust in his love for you.  Angels are guarding you.  He’s the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the peace and protection of all who are His.

Come stand by the fire and receive the direction that calls to you in the dark nights of the soul.   Sometimes the limits of faith will be tested.  Sometimes the light will seem distant and flickering – just keep on following light you’ve been given.  He’s faithful to know you, so faithful to lead you, so faithful to see you, so faithful to feed you. So follow the light and make darkness the liar – receive and believe and come stand by the fire.

Come stand by the fire, and follow the pull of the spellbinding gravity inside the flame.  Just as we find ourselves lost in the wonder of watching the embers and coals in their burning, we also are yearning to witness His working and worship and fascinate – celebrate, fascinate – celebrate.  Working and worship and fascinate – celebrate, fascinate – celebrate.

Come stand by the fire, and embrace the sweet fellowship, love and support of the friends of the flame.  Though broken in places, we all know what grace is.  And our declaration of faith isn’t based on self-righteousness, self-love or self-anything.  We stand side-by-side because once we had Fallen and Jesus – Redeemer – descended as low as it took to lift all us out of the pit.  And now with a heart set ablaze by His tenderness, we’re reaching out in His name to the weary, the broken, the hopeful, the wandering – Come from the darkness, get free from the danger, be still in His love –

Come stand by the fire.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen Smith-Will February 1, 2012 at 8:44 am

Excellent imagery, Andy. Your post stirred up the thought of the resurrected Jesus by a driftwood fire, roasting fish and bread, inviting the fisherman over…offering fish, faith, forgiveness, a future.
Karen Smith-Will´s last blog post ..Change Management for Mommies

Andy Wood February 1, 2012 at 9:50 am

I love that, Karen! Thanks for your encouragement.

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