By Carl Diener
So here is another potential article for the horizon. I call it “The Hearthstone”:
Some two to three hundred years ago, there was no electricity, no streetlights lighting up the highway once you got out of the town or city. The world was essentially a dark place once the sun went down. The only light a man had was a candle or a torch. The latter lasting only a short while and the former giving out a feeble light at best. There were no furnaces or central heating ether. The primary source of light and heat came from a central fireplace or at the start of things when man built his first domicile, a hearthstone.
This hearthstone or hearth was the center of domestic life. I have a picture on the wall of my shop that shows a very large colonial hearth. This fireplace takes up the better part of one wall of a single room dwelling. Not only does this massive fireplace and hearth provide heat for the home, but it has a few high backed seats or benches, built-in trammels, and hangers for pots to cook over the open fire. It is around this hearth that life took place. They cooked here, and they read the Bible and other books, which there were few of, by the light of the fire. I have a Bible that is over two hundred years old. Within its pages is a bit of paper that has a poem about a mother reading to her children from the Bible by the light of the fire.
By the fire were life and warmth and the sweet smells of cooking food. At night before all crawled under their quilt, bearskin blankets, or buffalo robe. Somebody carefully stoked the fire or banked the coals so that there was the fire to start when fresh wood was added in the morning.
You can imagine riding your horse along the country road, cold and covered with snow and suddenly around the corner out of the starlit darkness, is a warm glow showing through a window of a cabin up ahead. The light of the fire shines into the night, and the joy of being a few hundred yards from home and hearth warms your heart.
Now you see, I have painted the picture of what it was once like. I want to point out the fact that your heart has a hearthstone as well. Upon this hearth, there burns a fire inside all those who are born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a promise in the New Testament that each of us will be baptized with the Holy Ghost and Fire. This fire we carry on the hearthstone of our hearts. Like any fire, it burns bright when you add fuel.
This fire in our hearts is not fueled by wood but by our reflections on the God that made us and sent his Son to die for us. This fire in our hearts is fueled by worship songs sung out loud or in the quiet of our souls. It is fanned to flame by love for Him and others, by adoration and meditation on the words He spoke and by what He has done for us.
If our hearts are full of worship and filled with His love, we give out light and warmth and peace through the windows of our souls that others are drawn to in this spiritually cold world in which we live. Not only is this true for our fellow human beings around us, but for God Himself, who enjoys pulling up a chair to the light and warmth of our fire.
Angels who are at work can stop and warm themselves for a moment next to the hearth, soaking up a bit of the warmth before they take off again about their assignments. There was a time in the life of a man I know when he and his family were full of God. There were weekly meetings where His presence was continually manifest. They always had the fire of intense joy and worship in their hearts. He and his family would experience these flashes of lightning at home that they could not explain.
One day he was sitting in his recliner, and this intense flash of lightning appeared before him right in front of the bookcase. For a millisecond, the intense light was in the shape of a person so intensely bright he could not make out any features, just the shape of the apparition. Like lightning, it vanished just as suddenly as it had appeared. He was sitting there, thinking that he was having a brain aneurysm.
Suddenly his son, who was sitting at the computer, with his back to the bookcase, turned around and said: “what was that bright flash just a second ago.” Suddenly the man knew that what he had seen was real. I am sure it was an angel that saw the fire burning and wanted to take a second to soak up some warmth.Yes, my friends, if your fire is burning brightly, you will have visitors.
May the fire of God always burn brightly on the hearthstone of your heart.