2003-06-27 - Smoke
I recently placed some veggieburgers in a toaster oven and went into another room to do some work--as I have done probably literally hundreds of times. But after a few minutes, I smelled the odor of smoke, and my eyes began burning. I ran into the kitchen, to find white smoke surging from the top of the oven. I immediately turned off the oven, leaving the door closed, so it would shut off the oxygen - and waited a few seconds, to be sure I didn't need to call the Fire Department. Then I thanked God - again, literally - for the warning sign of smoke.
Sometimes there are smoky warning signs in our spiritual lives, as well. Can you remember the last time you prayed a prayer that didn't start with "God, please give me," or words to that effect? If not, that's a warning sign that you need to focus more on praise and silence before God.
Do you find yourself sitting at home more and more often during the worship time at your church? That's a warning sign that you need to figure out why you aren't eager to go worship, fellowship and serve with your church family - and you may need to talk to your pastor about it.
Do you find that you have more and more conflicts with those around you - family, friends or coworkers? This could signal tiredness, burnout, depression, unresolved hurt or anger - or something else. At the least, it needs prayer - and possibly counseling.
There are smoke warning signals all around us, if we will watch for them. I challenge you to ask God to help you be sure you are interpreting His smoke signals correctly, and also ask for His guidance on what to do about them. I guarantee that if you do, eventually you will be very glad you did.