The Lonely Ember


A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going.

After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. The pastor made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs.

After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet fascination.

As the one lone ember's flame diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and "dead as a doornail."

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.

Just before the pastor was ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said, "Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday."

By: Dr. John MacArthur 















The Belt of truth

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth - Ephesians 6:14 NKJV

The comprehensive description of all the pieces of armour is a very useful aid in discerning and understanding them. The first piece of armour is our belt. A belt made of truth, holding up and keeping in place all the other pieces of armour. Naturally speaking, a belt is used to hold things in place; spiritually the belt of truth does the same thing. Truth keeps us secure in Christ and makes effective all the other pieces of armour.

What does truth mean here?

1 Corinthians 5:8: Therefore let us keep the feast; Not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth. (NKJV)

2 Corinthians 1:12: For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. (NKJV)

Truth is the sincerity of the heart. Sincerity leads us to be open to God. It keeps our motives pure, devoid of malice and wickedness towards our fellow men.  Are we seeking spiritual gifts as an aid to popularity, or a means of serving God better? Keeping our hearts pure is essential if we are to be effective in spiritual warfare. This is the belt of truth.

The belt of truth involves truth in two places; in our hearts and in our minds.

In the heart

1 Corinthians 5:8 and 2 Corinthians 1:12; describes truth and how it relates to our hearts. This kind of truth should influence our whole attitude. Holding malice and bitterness against our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith puts a big dent in our armour. It also leaves us wide open to demonic attack.  Our prayers of faith will be rendered ineffective if we do not wear the belt of truth. Truth is like a watch guard, it keeps us on the straight and narrow.  We should ask ourselves, is our heart right before God?  Truth in our hearts means serving God with the right motives, and loving and serving our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ with sincerity.

In our minds

1 Peter 1:13-18:  Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest [your] hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14, as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, [as] in your ignorance; 15, but as He who called you [is] holy, you also be holy in all [your] conduct,

16; because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy": 17, and if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay [here] in fear; 18, knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, [like] silver or gold, from your aimless conduct [received] by tradition from your fathers, (NKJV)

2 Timothy 2:15:  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (NKJV)

Truth in the mind means having clarity of sound doctrine. What do you believe? Are you aware of what Christ has done for us?  Does the mental knowledge of Christís victory on the cross translate into godly living in our lives?

Truth in our heart makes us sincere and teachable before God. Truth in the mind helps to strengthen our wills to serve the Lord. These two, a sincere heart and a determined will combine to give us a firm girdle that keeps us rooted and grounded in Christ.

Truth in our hearts is sincerity. A heart devoid of sin towards God and bitterness towards man is a heart full of truth. Truth in the mind is exerting our will in serving the Lord. It is acting on what we know is true. Truth is not a mental perception of the truth by rather an embracing and living of the truth.

How to put on the belt of truth

Since the belt of truth involves our hearts and minds we have to make an adjustment in both these places to put it on. Make it a daily habit of checking your armour of truth. Are you right with the Lord? Is there any untruth lingering in your heart? Are you embracing known sin? What about your relationship with men? Is there any bitterness or malice being entertained?

Then make sure your mind is embracing sound doctrine. This will help to equip your will in serving the Lord. Below are seven helpful aids in embracing sound doctrine as given by one of the old-time teachers of the word - William Gurnall, a Puritan who lived in the 17th century in England. These points have been rewritten in modern day English.

  1. Be sincere in seeking the truth. Approach it with a sincere heart. This will make all the difference - 1 Tim 1:5
  2. Receive the ministry of the Word from those God has equipped to serve it. God has given gifts to the body of Christ. A sincere heart will aid you in discerning the truth - Eph 4:11-12
  3. Accommodate the whole body of Christ. Don't restrict yourself to the teachings or doctrines of any one particular group or denomination in your quest for the truth. God has not given the totality of His truth to any one particular group. We must discern the body if we are to grow.
  4. Beware of curiosity 2 Tim 4:3. Strange and sometime obviously wrong doctrine will appear. Witchcraft, New Age and all kinds of teachings will be repackaged as Christian doctrine. Don't let curiosity take you beyond the bounds of your hearts warning.
  5. Be a humble seeker. Never assume perfection in any doctrine or teaching. Watch out for pride. Pride can make you a stranger to the throne of grace and turn humble praying for the truth into ambitious arguments.
  6. Do not be offended at different opinions. It will only allow bitterness and malice to fester.
  7. Know the value of truth in your heart. When you find truth embrace it and keep it. Let nothing tear it away from you. More importantly live it.


WJGT © 2010