And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. (Luke 24:30-34)
THE BIBLE SPEAKS A LOT ABOUT FIRE AND HEAT. God settled upon Mount Horeb in the wilderness in the presence of the Jews fresh-brought out of Egypt. He settled upon the mountain in fire and shaking of the mountain. In our day, that mountain (Mount Horeb) is scorched on top with melted stone. Intense heat has worked just on the top of the mountain. God expressed His presence to them through fire so that they understood there is but one true God who has awesome power!
PETER TELLS US: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2Peter 3:9-10) That is the ultimate use of heat.
BUT GOD USES A MUCH MILDER FORM OF HEAT, to grow crops and nourish life on the earth, including the necessary heat for our bodies. It is amazing that God has created human beings and warm-blooded animals with a means of converting food into heat. The mitochondria in the cells of our bodies are like little heating stoves. There are billions of them. Working together, they keep our bodies at about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. David said: I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalm 139:14)
GOD USES THE ABUNDANT PRESENCE OF PHYSICAL HEAT to teach us social and spiritual things. We speak among ourselves as being “cool” or “warm” toward each other, indicating that we don’t or we do want to be sociable. We speak of having “cold hearts” or “warm hearts” toward the Lord, indicating that we do or do not want interchange with Him.
IN THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST THAT GOD GAVE TO HIM, He said to the Laodiceans: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:14-16) “Lukewarm” is a state of double-mindedness. Indecisive.
IN OUR TEXT FOR TODAY, the two disciples that the resurrected Jesus met with on the road to Emmaus realized something about themselves after Jesus had vanished from their sight. Their hearts had warmed, had burned within them because of the presence of Jesus and His opening the Word of God to them. They had heard it all before, many times. They had been “Bible-resistant.” But this time was different. Their hearts “burned within them.”
WE GET A GLIMPSE OF WHAT HAPPENS WHEN OUR HEARTS BURN compared to what we do when our hearts DO NOT burn. Sometimes what we need more than anything else, is a holy heartburn! It isn’t a matter of knowing more, necessarily. It’s a matter of everything we have catching on fire!
FIFTY YEARS AGO, PASTOR TOM MALONE OF PONTIAC, MICHIGAN, was speaking in a Bible conference I was attending. He told what he did to keep his own heart warm. He said that he was so prone to cool off in his relationship to the Lord that for several years he had practiced reading the Bible every morning until his heart began to warm toward the Lord. I had never heard that before. I began church in my mother’s womb, but I had never heard that simple statement made.
AS I SAT IN THE MEETING AND THOUGHT ABOUT IT, I remembered that indeed there are times when it seems like God is a million miles away. And there are times when I read the Bible or read a hymn with Scripture in it, that my heart “warms” toward the Lord. I had never thought about intentionally “causing” it to happen by disciplining myself to read the Bible until my heart begins to warm.
I WENT FORWARD IN THAT MEETING AND TOOK PASTOR MALONE BY THE HAND and said something like: “That’s going to be my practice. I’m going to read the Bible until my heart is warm.” And then, later, I discovered that the reading of Bible-rich hymns or the singing of Bible-rich hymns will do the same thing. That was fifty-plus years ago and it is one of the most valuable things I ever learned in living the Christian life.
BEFORE THOSE TWO DISCIPLES HAD A MELTDOWN, they were sad and defeated. When their hearts began to burn, they got up and walked seven miles back to Jerusalem and told the others they had seen the resurrected Christ. It was the burning heart that moved their feet and moved their tongues. Is that what we need today? Do you need your heart to burn like it hasn’t burned in a while? Plug in to the Word of God and read until your heart burns. It may loosen your tongue. It may move your feet to look for someone to talk to about the Lord.
WHEN MY HEART GROWS COLD, I know what to do to fix it. That makes me responsible, doesn’t it? Yes, that makes me responsible. Now that you know what to do to warm your heart, you, too, are responsible to build a fire in your heart from the Word of God.
I HAVE BUILT AT LEAST A THOUSAND FIRES in stoves, fireplaces and camp sites. I know how to do it. I don’t build a fire every day, but I know what to do to build a fire. I know what will burn and what will not burn. There’s no magic to it. Start with waded up newspaper, add some dry pine cones, add some dry sticks or broken limbs, add two heavier pieces of dry wood. After the fire is burning good, add two heavy pieces of wood to burn. One piece will not do much burning by itself. It takes two pieces of wood against each other to keep a fire burning. One piece will will go out.
ONE VERSE OF SCRIPTURE MAY WARM YOUR HEART, but more than likely, it will take a chapter or two. Be generous with your reading. Don’t go lickety-split through the chapter to get it over with. Read slowly and shut out everything so you can think about it. Mark your Bible. Pay attention to Bible phrases. Build a Bible fire in your heart. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JANUARY 8, 2019 - TUESDAY
A.M. Genesis 20-22 P.M. Matthew 7
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A Good Verse to Memorize:
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (Luke 24:32)
Song for Today:
Spirit of the Living God, Fall Fresh on Me (2:34) (Mixed Choir - Anonymous)
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