​A STRANGE FIRE

It was tragic, but Aaron couldn’t shed a tear. Just some hours before that sorrowful sight, he had started working with his two sons in the Lord’s presence! Everything was okay as they went about  slaughtering, sprinkling and smearing! 

Earlier on in the day, a fire had blazed out from the Lord’s presence to consume the offering upon the altar, and Aaron was awed by that sight! “Indeed, the Lord is a great God!” he thought as they all bowed in reverence to Him. And no one was expecting another fire to come down! No! Nobody was! 

He saw his two sons Nadab and Abihu with their censers in the tabernacle, yet Aaron just assumed that they were going about their priestly duties! He was delighted!

But suddenly, another fire blazed out from the Lord’s presence! A much fiery one which caught everyone’s attention! As swift as a sickle it came and  it consumed his two sons before his very eyes! It was horrifying! He was in shock, but he couldn’t weep! For he later got to know why:

“On that same day Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, took their censers, put hot coals and incense in them, and offered strange fire to God… And fire blazed out from God and consumed them…”Leviticus 10:1, 2

STRANGE FIRE! 

Another version puts it this way: “Then Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu made a mistake. They took their censers and put some fire and incense in them. BUT THEY DID NOT USE THE FIRE THAT WAS ON THE ALTAR- THEY TOOK FIRE FROM SOME OTHER PLACE AND BROUGHT IT TO THE LORD.”

Strange Fire! Many people, especially believers are making the same mistake of Nadad and Abihu: offering ‘Strange fire’ onto God. The fire these two young men should have carried in their censers was the fire upon the altar which had come from God from above. But they offered strange fire. They took fire from some other place. 

As I read this passage some weeks ago, I got to understand that our lives or our hearts are like censers. And the only fire which is authorized to be in our ‘censers’ is the fire from the Lord upon the altar: The Holy Spirit! He is the only fire we need in our lives as believers. 

Yet many of us are carrying ‘strange’ fire in our censers. Like the two sons, we put on nice clothes and go to the Lord’s presence as we go to church, worship and pray. We speak in tongues! We cast out demons! We’re the armor bearers of our prophets and pastors! We know how to do the work of the Lord! We bow down and we lift up our two hands onto the heavens in worship! But we are the only ones who know the kind of fire we carry in our ‘censers’. 

What consumes you? Is it the fire of the Holy Spirit,  or some strange fire? 
Many Christians carry ‘strange’ fires like jealousy, evil desires, anger, bitterness and a whole lot  in their ‘censers’, which compete with the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives and gradually quench His power in our lives . 

But of all these, there is this ‘strange’ fire which seems to burn, lick and consume so much: Lust! Like an evil passion or evil desire, lust burns in the hearts of many believers! 

We hear people say that God in the Old Testament always gave instant justice to those who belittled His holiness. That may be true! You can imagine what happened to Aaron’s sons as they offered ‘strange fire’ happening in our days! I’m sure we all would have been consumed by the Lord’s anger since we all have that little spark of strange fire which wants to take over our hearts. But our God is a God of mercy! And by His mercies we are not consumed! 

Yet as Job said, sin, or uncontrolled passion is a fire which consumes to destruction… It is a fire which burns all the way to hell. (Job 31:12).  

We await the second coming of Jesus Christ! We don’t know when it’s going to be! All we know is that it will be soon! But ask yourself, “Should the Lord Jesus appear in this very instant, will he find His Holy Fire burning in my heart? Or he will find a ‘Strange’ and an ‘Unholy’ fire burning and consuming me with earthly passion and lustful desires?” 

Pause to ponder! 
-Dorothy Budu-Arthur 

UNFAITHFUL 

​Hi friends! 

As the year is coming to an end, I’d like us to reflect on how the year has been regarding our relationship with God. I don’t know what your resolutions for this year were, but assess yourself in relation to your love and devotion to Jesus: have you honored the promise of love you made to the Lover of your soul? 

The Book of Hosea features Hosea and his unfailing love for a woman called Gomer. Gomer however  despised Hosea’s love by being an unfaithful wife and prostituting herself. The Lord used Hosea’s situation as an analogy to how he has loved us as his children wholeheartedly, but his children remained unfaithful to Him. 

Have I been unfaithful to the Lover of my soul? 

As we learn from this Book, resolve to reciprocate the Lord’s love and His faithfulness towards you. Resolve not to make anything an ‘idol’ or ‘god’ in your heart to take His place in your heart as your God. 

********* 

Hosea couldn’t stand it anymore. Gomer was taking his love for granted, and he couldn’t take it anymore. He couldn’t stand seeing her lavish the love meant for him to her lovers who only left her empty and worthless. If only the Lord hadn’t asked him to take for himself such an adulterous wife and prostitute! 

Out of desperation he decided to talk to God about it. 

********* 

“I’m unable to deal with it, Lord! How could  Gomer reciprocate my love for her with such unfaithfulness? How could she not love me back as her husband?”

But Hosea saw the sad expression on the Lord’s face and he knew what that meant.  Sitting next to Him, he heaved a sigh! 
 The Lord was going through a similar situation. And as Hosea’s situation was analogous to His, Hosea could understand his God’s grief.  

God had loved his people wholeheartedly,  making lots of sacrifices for them just to show how much he loved them.  But His people were guilty of adultery in departing from the Lord. Though betrothed to the Lord, they became unfaithful by prostituting themselves with false gods. 
********

The whole theme for the book of Hosea is about how God’s people had been unfaithful to Him though He remained faithful, as the word ‘Unfaithful’ is mentioned several times in this Bible Book. 

How would you feel when the person you’ve loved wholeheartedly doesn’t love you back, but gives his or her love and attention to another lover? I don’t know how Hosea might have felt having to deal with such a situation. 

And as the Lord was experiencing same with the people he wholeheartedly loved, he realized that His people were unfaithful to Him!

************* 

Have I been unfaithful to God? Have you been unfaithful to God? Have we been unfaithful to God? Are we ‘loving’ other things more than we should love Him?

Assess yourself. 

When we break our covenant of love and devotion to Him, we make ourselves unfaithful. When we don’t recognize Him as our Lord and as our husband; when we give our love, time, attention and services meant for Him to things of this world,  we make ourselves unfaithful! When we run after and satisfy our earthly pleasures and sinful desires we make ourselves unfaithful. 

Did you honor your resolutions to love the Lord with your whole being and to devote yourself to Him?

Have we been unfaithful to God who through all the changing scenes of life remained faithful to us? Have we dealt treacherously against the Lord?

Charles Spurgeon shares these words which reveal how subtly we’ve been unfaithful to God:

“Prayer has oftentimes been slurred- it has been short, but not sweet; brief, but not fervent! Communion with Christ has been forgotten… (How faithful have I been in my personal devotion, prayer and Bible study?) And instead of a heavenly mind, there have been carnal cares, worldly vanities and thoughts of evil. Instead of fervency, there has been lukewarmness.” 

If only like the Israelites we’d say, “Let us return to the Lord… He will revive us… He would restore us, that we might live in his presence.” If only we’d ask him to remove the unfaithfulness in our hearts so we can love him and serve Him whom wholeheartedly in the coming year! If only we wouldn’t make the desires for things of the world, money, laziness, relationships and technology idols in our hearts against the Lord, He’d come to us like the winter rains. (Hosea 6:1-3)

Yea! The lord is willing to have a closer walk with us!

Let us then resolve to love Him with all that we are and have!

Let us love him faithfully and wholeheartedly! 

​UNTIL THE STORM IS OVER: EP 29

“Rhoda… I look big in this dress!” Ashley said as she sat on her bed and heaved a sigh. She had a date with Jojo that evening and was having a hard time choosing what to wear.

“Haha! Ashley… Why are you being so hard on yourself? I thought you said you and Jojo were ‘just friends’? Why are you struggling then with choosing what to wear?”

“Of course… We are just friends. But that doesn’t imply that I shouldn’t look good! C’mon Rhoda, help me choose what to wear.” 

“Yes Ma’am! ” Rhoda just smiled as she gave her a helping hand.


************* 

It was lunch time, and Scott together with Lois and the two children were at the table having lunch. 

Since Nana (Darkoaa’s son) was still young and unable to feed himself, Lois gently fed the little one. Kyler however could manage his own plate. 

After a while, the doorbell rang. Scott then went to get it as Ashley was busy feeding Nana. 

************** 

Scott was surprised when he saw the people at the gate… It was Darkoaa, with her mother and a certain gentleman. And their purpose for coming shocked Scott and Lois.

************** 

“I’m sorry Master Scott! I’m sorry Madam Lois! Master Scott is not the father of my son, Nana… This is his real father…” She said remorsefully pointing at the gentleman who came along with them. 

Scott was shocked as he wondered why then she would hold him responsible for the pregnancy. “Why then did you do this? Why did you say that I was responsible for the pregnancy then?”

“Sir… I’m very sorry. But I was only looking at how I’d benefit. I knew that I would get money from you because of the child should I hold you responsible for the pregnancy!”

“We are sorry!” Darkoaa’s mother added. 

Lois and Scott were short of words. Lois realized her husband was trying hard to hold back his anger. Softly she said to him, “Hey… It’s okay… Just forgive her…”

******** 

After some moment of silence Scott then asked, “Alright… So what do you want us to do now?”

“I am coming for my son!” the Darkoaa’s baby’s father said. 

“What?” Lois exclaimed.  C’mon… Nana has become a part of this family… Kyler already sees him as his brother. Nana is like a son to me too. You can’t just come for him like that? My husband and I have made great plans for the little one!”

“Madam… I just want my son… I can take care of him in my village. He’s my son so I want to take him away!” the man responded. 

“Yes Madam… I’m forever thankful for what you have done for my child. But I’m sorry I lied to you all. Now we have to take him back please.” Darkoaa added. 

And so after a long discussion, it was obvious that they didn’t want to leave without the little boy. And though Lois was sad as she had become fond of the child, she went ahead to pack his clothes and toys and handed him over to Scott who then gave him to Darkoaa. Then they left. 

******** 


Ashley realized that she was nervous as she kept rattling. She sat facing Jojo in the cozy restaurant, the reason for her nervousness. 

It wasn’t her first time going out with Jojo on a date. But somehow, that night felt different for her. 
As she went on and on almost repeating the same stories, Jojo who realized that she was nervous gently held her hand, then smiled. 

“Ashley…” He mentioned her name. 

“I know Eddy! I already feel like a chatterbox!” She said feeling embarrassed. 

“No! You aren’t… I just think that you should relax… Maybe we just need to spice up our conversation a little bit now…”

“How do you mean?” Ashley asked him. 

“Well… I enjoy every moment with you, Ashley. I know we talk a lot about work and families and laugh together a lot. Honestly, it’s been an adventure being friends with you.” Ashley smiled as he said that. 

“But… I’d want us to talk about something different tonight… I want us to talk about… us…”

“Us? What about us?” Ashley asked looking a bit surprised. She remembered how Rhoda had teased her with Jojo earlier on in the day.   

“Ash…For some years now I’ve known you. It’s interesting how fate used your court trial as a medium for us to meet. But I guess all things work together for our good huh!” They both laughed at what he said. 

“In this period I’ve seen how you’ve steadily grown loving God with each and every passing day. I’ve seen how you’re learning to trust him and how you’re depending on him to mold you into a great woman. I’ve seen how you care for others, and how you give respect to everyone. 

“Honestly Ash… I’ve been praying and searching for a woman for a while now after my wife passed. And somehow, I just realized that you’ve caught my attention. I just realized that everything I hope and pray for in my woman, I do see in you Ash… And if there’s anyone that I think I’d want to spend the rest of my life with, then… then it’s you, Ashley” 

“Ashley wondered if she was dreaming.  Her heart started beating fast as Jojo held her hand again. 

“I know you may be surprised. I’ve walked with you for a while now as a friend, but now, I’d want to spend the rest of my life with you… Ash…  Will you…”

#UntilTheStormIsOver

©Dorothy Budu-Arthur, 2016

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