Monday, January 19, 2009


Fire is a great subject for photography. Whether a volcanic eruption, or simply a few flames licking at the chilled air, the beauty of fire mesmerizes and stirs the imagination. Burning oak brings me childhood memories of visiting cousins in North Carolina. The sight of uniform flames flanking each other in a propane heater, reminds me of my grandparents old house.

However beautiful captured images are, the practical uses of fiery photos is limited. Pictures, which lack heat and odor, can only burn in memory. Photographs of fire cannot warm a cold night, cook a hot meal, sterilize, smelt, purge, or any number of things the actual stuff can do. Unless you're going to throw them on a real blaze, these representations can do nothing more than provide aesthetics.

God's Fire
In the same way, some have taken portraits of the fire of God. During past outpourings, awakenings, and revivals, some have captured the thoughts, conversations, music and images of the fire, as it baptized those hungry souls who would rather starve than settle for less than God's best. Others have framed such portraits in their thoughts, and nailed them to the present church as reference points.

These past portraits appear as hot as when they were first ignited. But if we were to depend on them for our survival, we would likely freeze. They can no more enliven us than pictures of cars can drive us to work! The past cannot presently provide heat. If we are going to experience passion for God, we have to be filled with the God of passion. The Consuming Fire must saturate our lives.

Images won't do. We must pull down facsimiles and cry out for the authentic. God has no photocopy. His only representation is Jesus, who also turns out to be God, the Son. He desires to give each generation a new encounter with Himself and no substitute. But if we only try to see by the light of past flames, if we settle for these "portraits of fire," we will never know the genuine blaze of the power of God.

"...having a form of godliness but denying its power..." 2Timothy 3:5

Send the Fire, by William Booth (Founder of the Salvation Army):

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