the fire in my bones…

“But if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” (Jeremiah 20:9).

I wish you could see me this morning… all fussed up in the middle of my bed with grandma’s quilt as my covering and with my “parchments and scrolls” littered about—written words about the Word messing with my heart and mind. Some familiar works; some lesser known, but all of them with one thing in common—

Jesus Christ.

He has that effect on people, you know… starts messing with a heart and then doesn’t leave it alone until it is undone before him requiring a response therein. He’s been messing with me for a long season, and after four months of a grueling faith workout, I’m finally finding some rest. I don’t imagine it will be permanent. Every now and again, faith’s progression requires some strengthening, thus the need for a month or two or four of a strenuous heart-stretching in order to reach the next, higher plateau. I think I’ve reached it… at least for now, and with the accomplishment comes a day or two or four of some sweet steps with the Father where his mentoring is tender and his Word serves as the gentle salve to soothe my aching bones.

We’re in this together, God and me. He keeps reminding me of this… keeps returning to the pavement of my real life with his kindness and goodness—a grace that supersedes any menial expectations I might lay at his feet regarding his participation. God makes it his habit to exceed my limited understanding where his character and his Kingship are concerned. Rarely do I get it right, but always is he faithful with his correction. He can’t help himself. He simply and profoundly wants to be known by his children. God longs to reveal his fullness to his people; all too often, though, we’re unprepared and unwilling for his weighty disclosure. Why?

Because to receive God in all of his glory… to know him as he longs to be known, well with that kind of revelation, we make ourselves vulnerable to full, personal disclosure and for most of us, that isn’t a comfortable fit. The closer we draw to the purifying flames of Christ’s candle, the clearer we see our own deficiencies. God’s fire rids the flesh of everything temporal and replaces it with everything holy—a consecrated word or two or four about the Word that, eventually and in God’s timing, must be spoken aloud so as to avoid personal, internal combustion.

When God embeds his branding upon a heart—when God burns his mark upon a soul—one cannot help but show the world. If you’ve no compulsion along these lines… no need to rip wide-open your heart in order to reveal the sacred imprint that God has left behind in the wake of his purifying flames, then may I be so bold as to suggest that you’ve yet to fully come to the furnace in the matter of your sanctification? If there is no burning desire in you to tell others about Jesus and the saving work of the cross, then what’s the point of your salvation… my salvation? Just to make it home to him in isolation? Just to narrowly escape the flames of hell while our brothers and sister, neighbors and strangers are strangled and confined with their eternal punishment all because we’ve put our personal safety above corporate well-being?

I know it’s a heavy word and, perhaps, not in keeping with the message you might imagine arriving from a day or two or four of sweet steps with my Father. But you’d be wrong, friends, because a message like this is sacred sweetness to my soul. The weightiness of my Father’s presence in my life is the kindest, most generous work of grace I have ever known. Accordingly, with God’s fullness, comes God’s mandate—his words about the Word and about the need to rip wide-open my heart so that those around me might be able to see and to smell the scorch of heaven’s branding.

Jesus Christ is like a fire shut up in my bones. Like the prophet Jeremiah, I am weary of holding him in for these past few months; indeed I cannot. Christ’s love compels me to release him… to unleash the hot and fiery passion of the cross so that all who are caught in its wake might be consumed by its truth. I don’t know where this passion will take me in the days to come. My world lives pretty small right now, but even small presents an occasion for the dispensation of God’s flame every now and again.

A trip to Wal-Mart.
A phone conversation.
An e-mail.
A blog post.
A jog around the neighborhood.
A gathering of the saints at Christ UMC.

Indeed, a small extension in this big arena known as our world, but the last time I checked, roaring fires didn’t start out with a roar. Rather, they began with a single flame lit in honor of a single King for the single purpose of igniting a single heart until one by one, singleness morphs into corporate witness.

A roaring fire, flaming with the truth of heaven… shaking the very foundations of hell.

Indeed, I wish you could see me this morning… all fussed up and messed up with the truth of Jesus while sitting on my bed. I cannot think of a better consumption for my soul in the next day or two or four of my life. Thus, I pray…

Come and be my consumption, Lord Jesus. Fuss me up and mess me up with the truth of your weighty presence. Brand me with the cross and burn me brightly on the hill of your choosing so that others might come to know a day or two or four of sweetness in your presence. I put no conditions on my burning fire, Lord. I only ask for your faithfulness to fill me with your kindling and then to light me with the flame of your abiding Holy Spirit. We’re in this together; apart from you, I burn to ashes. With you, I burn for all eternity. Even so, come and set my heart ablaze for the kingdom. Amen.

Peace for the journey,

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Copyright © July 2010 – Elaine Olsen

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20 Responses to the fire in my bones…

  1. Quite powerful I'd say. I join you and your blazing fire to witness of Jesus my LORD. Thank You Jesus for using Elaine to shake us up, mess us up and fuss with us for us to see The Truth of Your purpose. Amen.

  2. A heavy word indeed but true nonetheless! I find when Truth weighs heavy on my heart there is some refining (sanctifying) that needs to be done. My life a moment by moment consecration to Him.

    As always, Truth can be found here! Thank you for that Elaine!


    PS: I pray that you are finding sacred soil to lay down new roots in your new home.

  3. Wait til these new women at your church get a sniff of your holy passion for God and His Word! There's gonna be a holy fire that burns down the state of NC from the hearts aflame with JESUS CHRIST.

    Reminds me of the song I learned at my salvation:

    It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
    And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing.
    That's how it is with God's love,
    Once you've experienced it,
    You spread His Love to everyone,
    You want to pass it on!

    You've got a new fire to start there, Elaine, my friend! And I can't wait to hear about the explosion of FAITH that will come from it!

    Choosing JOY, Stephanie

  4. Beautifully penned, Elaine. I see you have written a book – congrats!I have a favor to ask, but my computer isn't set up for Microsoft inbox. Could you please reply with your email address?

    Thank you!
    Debby (Heavenly Humor)

  5. i love the line from c.s. lewis, "he's not
    a tame lion!"

    good word, and yes, i am continually
    messed up. 🙂

  6. Glory to God, Elaine…what a word you have shared…the last few lines of your prayer just about did me in…

    Thank you for your obedience to Him…you are a blessing…

  7. Oh Elaine,
    I can feel such a power in your words…it is truly miraculous…I want to send you an email after I send this post…hope it gets there…
    If not, here is my email address. Please write to me.

  8. Elaine,

    I've missed you and your heart. And your words. I hope to get caught up with you soon.

    In all honesty, I'm going through a hard, hard time. I've stepped back for the month from most online things but here, here tonight I was drawn.

    Love you.

  9. wifeforthejourney:

    Ahh it has been to long since I have been to the well to share with the rest of blog-land for your cool-waters. Like you, I have been so consumed with the business of our move, I am struggling to find a routine again.

    This is indeed a moment where I have struggled to seek the Lord. I am burdened with the newness of our new church and everything that comes with our new life. Maybe I have been resisting God's desire for me to keep close to Him – but your closing prayer is the perscription for my inattentive heart.

    Thank you for your daily committment to give God your best, and how you allow your best to flow freely to the rest of our household.

    Love you,

  10. I love reading what GOd has given you each day! I hope your journey to your new home and new people has been filled with blessings!

  11. Amen, Amen and Amen, Elaine! Ablaze and consumed with His Holy fire! This has special meaning to my heart today! Thank you for sharing your heart!!

    Sweet Blessings!

  12. The other day as I was writing in my journal, along came a thought that captivated my attention for the entire day: Be a fire; don't start one.

    I loved reading your hubby's comments. I can but wonder how & when the Lord is going to unfold His grand purposes for this chapter of your shared lives.

    Beauty from ashes …

  13. He simply and profoundly wants to be known by his children.

    It is a word that keeps coming before me lately–He seeks a relationship with us.

  14. Your words have caused me to pause and consider how serious I am about the commitment of Christ. Too many times I choose comfort and stability over the cross. Now God in His sovereignty has given me no choice but to cling to Him. It's sad that it took Him leaving me "without" to teach me. However, I'm more content than I have been in a long time. Thanks for your powerful words.

  15. This is KILLING me, Elaine:

    … need to rip wide-open your heart in order to reveal the sacred imprint that God has left behind in the wake of his purifying flames …

    This is so powerful. I love this word picture. You are surely coming out shining like gold.

  16. Elaine,
    It's been such a treat to catch up here and get a full dose of truth and the Holy Spirit. Your words touch me deeply in the in-between place I'm in right now.

    I know that God has a plan for you in this place and I pray that He reveals it to you soon. May your love for Jesus overflow to all He puts in your path.

    As always…Thank you for your honest and powerful example of what faith looks like.

    Love and prayers,

  17. I get to this place often. yes, sister. I'm so glad you opened your heart, and I'll be praying. Love you.

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