Fire Before the Rain

fire-and-rain-abstract-2-steve-ohlsenElias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. (Jas 5:17-B8)

And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. (1Ki 18:1)

Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. (1Ki 18:38)

And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. (1Ki 18:41)

Let me give you the truth and then the explanation.

The truth

The people’s felt need was rain, but God’s priority was fire!

Although the drought is severe and we think we need rain is our greatest need, God wants us to see and receive the fire BEFORE we get the rain.

The explanation

Fire and rain are common figures used by God in the Bible to accomplish His work and to expresses and represent great spiritual truths.

  • Fire in the Bible is used to represent;
    • God’s punishment –  Sodom and Gomorrah, hell itself, etc.
    • God’s presence – the burning bush, the fire on the mountain at the giving of the law, the pillar of fire to lead and protect Israel in the wilderness, etc
    • God’s purification
  • Rain in Bible is used to represent;
    • Blessings
    • Fruit producing
    • Refreshing
    • Lack of rain as punishment
    • Restoration of rain as blessings-forgiveness – restoration – provision

In the story of Elijah, Ahab, Israel, the drought, and the consuming fire; God shows us that before He would send the needed rain, He wanted the people to experience the fire and turn their hearts to Him.  After the fire and the people’s revival, Elijah prayed and THEN the rain came.

Again, the people’s felt need was rain, but God’s priority was fire!

Practical examples:

  • Repentance before refreshing
  • Revival before restoration
  • Hearts before relief
  • Worship before blessing and refreshment

Conclusion: While waiting for the much-needed rain in our life, seek the fire.  See if there is another precursor God wants us to experience before He sends the rain.

Watch the entire sermon – Fire Before Rain

Visit us online at –



A Father’s Charge to a Wise Son

father 1And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. (1 Chronicles 28:9)

And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. (1Ch 28:20)

As fathers and parents, we have to ask ourselves a couple of questions.

Before we ask ourselves WHAT we are teaching our charges, we must ask ARE we teaching or just correcting.  Below are some simple lessons that David is teaching his son Solomon.

Here might be a good outline for us to set as a model for a primer from which to train our children.

Know God (v9) – the God of thy father 

Know Him – a particular God

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  (Eph 4:6)

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  (1Ti 2:5)

There is only one God. All others are then false!  Let us be careful not to be silenced or soft on the onslaught of the multicultural and “coexist” mentality.  Know THE ONE GOD.  Image result for coexist sticker

Know Hin –  a personal God – know thou the God

Our God, the one true God desires a personal relationship with us.  Not just to be worshiped, but to make us sons and daughters.

Know Him – a parent’s God – the God of thy father

As parents, we need to teach about God by exhortation and example.  Can our children say, “my parents have and know God”?

Serve God (vs9)

With a perfect heart

This means with a whole heart,

This means with a holy heart

This means with a sense and spirit of honor to serve God.

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Col_1:10 

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. 1Th_2:12 

With a willing mind

This teaches us to serve God as a pleasure, willingly and with pleasure.

Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. (2Co 8:11-12)

Seek God (vs9)

Seek His likeness

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1Jn 3:1-3)

Seek His fellowship

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Php 3:8-10)

Seek His will

And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Mat 26:39)

Seek His glory

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. (1Th 2:12)  

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1Co 10:31)

For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (2Co 1:20)

Stay with God (vs9)

And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. (1Ki 11:3-4)

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (Heb 10:35-38)

Depend Upon God (vs20)

For strength (vs20)

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.(2Co 12:9-10)

For Courage (vs20)

And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD. (2Ch 15:8)

For a sound mind – not dismayed (vs20)

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2Ti 1:6-7)

To finish (vs20)  – until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay –

Do not Forget the “First ways”


And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel… (2Ch 17:3-5)

The Lord slips in an interesting point in the record of Jehoshaphat regarding King David.  God notes that there were good “first ways” in the life of David.  That naturally implies that there must have been some not so good “second ways” as well.

The dividing line for the first and second ways must be the incident with Bathsheba and Uriah.  This sinful and treacherous event was certainly a turning point in David’s life.  God mentions it as the key failure in his life.

Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. (1Ki 15:5)

Although forgiven and restored to God after confessing his sins of adultery and murder, David never fully recovered from this fall.  His home was racked by division, immorality, murder, and indecision. This as in stark contrast to the “first ways” of his life when he had walked in innocently and purity.

Let us take a moment and glean from what we know about the life of David to discern two lessons about first and second ways.

LESSON ONE – Sin leaves its marks

It scars.  It makes a lasting impact upon our lives. Avoid it. Guard your life from sin and temptations so there will be no “Uriah” points in our own lives that would mark a “First” and “Second” ways division on our own lives.

LESSON TWO – Do not “throw out the first way baby with the second way bathwater”. 

Do not write off a person’s good “first ways” and influence in your life because they have a “second ways” moment.  If it was a good and godly influence with proper biblical principles that helped you in your walk with God, do not let the devil rob you of those truths and principles.

I hear too many times that when men of influence fall, people that once loved and followed them reject all the great truths and principles that the leader had promoted and taught. They say, “If that is what ?______? really is, I want no part”.  But the truth was truth and the right was right. Those that reject the “first ways” of a person because of an event or his “second ways” are the losers.

This would apply to preachers we have known, parents, spouses, or godly friends and leaders that later let us down.  Always remember the good “first ways” of an individual as you would want your good ways to be remembered.

Visit us at LBCEastBay.Com

Men of Order (pt2)


That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. (Tit 2:2) Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Tit 2:6-8)

1. Men of Order are Stable in Person (vs2)


They are sober 

Sober means being vigilant or careful

Properly, a sober man is a man of sound mind; one who follows sound reason and who is not under the control of his passions.

A man of order is careful is walk, words, and mind.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1Pe 5:8)

They are grave

Grave means honest and serious about a matter.

Work of God is a serious important business. A godly man of order will take his ministry and service for the Lord very seriously.

They are temperate

Temperate means safe in mind and possessing self-control

2. Men of order are Solid in Persuasion sound in faith (vs2)

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; (Tit 1:10-13)

How is your faith?

But without faith it is impossible to please him: … (Heb 11:6)
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Rom 1:17)

Where is your faith?

What are you doing with your faith?

3. Men of order are Seasoned in Passion (vs2)

They possess charity

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (1Co 13:2)

They possess patience

4. Men of order Show a Godly Pattern (vs7-8)

They are good in their doings (vs7)

They are good in their doctrine (God’s word) (vs7)

They are good in their declarations  (vs8)

Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay

Men of Order (Pt 1)


Setting Things in Order

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: (Tit 1:5)
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. (Tit 2:1-2)

What is Sound doctrine?

Here is God speaking through Paul to preacher Titus to set things in order and to speak sound doctrine.  We often think of doctrine simply as theological facts to learn and repeat.  But the Bible shows us that sound doctrine is much more than that.

Sound doctrine is something we must live

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (1Ti 1:9-10)

This means that the Bible’s instructions for how to live, what we are TO DO, what we are NOT TO DO, and teaching us how to live, IS sound doctrine.

Sound doctrine is something we must learn

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: (Isa 28:9-10)

We must be growing in our doctrine and obedience to the Word of God.  Even babies must take their first steps.  TODAY – take a step into learning and living sound doctrine.

Sound doctrine is something we should love

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (Rom 6:16-17)

We should not obey and live sound doctrine because we are forced to, guilted into it, or dragged into it by our hair, but because we love God, love His Word, and want to live for Him and serve Him all the days of our lives.

Next time we will look into the “Sound Doctrine for Godly Men”


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay

A Satisfied Soul – He is My All in All

satisfactionguaranteelogoedit-300x300Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words. (Psa 119:57)

This is Psalm of a satisfied soul!!

The best illustration is expressed by the hymn “Jesus is all the World to Me” by Will Thompson in 1904.

Jesus is all the world to me,
My life, my joy, my all;
He is my strength from day to day,
Without Him I would fall.
When I am sad, to Him I go,
No other one can cheer me so;
When I am sad, He makes me glad,
He’s my Friend.

Note the second line. This line expresses the secret to becoming a “Satisfied soul”.  Make Jesus your “all in all”.  This means that He becomes “our life, our joy, our all”.

Psalm 119:57-64 expresses the process and actions of a man or woman that has made God their all in all.  Let’s take a brief look.

A satisfied soul and one that has made God their all in all – Has God as Their Declared Portion (vs57)

The word for “portion” means inheritance as in God’s giving of the inheritance to the tribes in the Promised Land.  If you remember, every tribe received their “inheritance” (portion) of land.  All but the Levites.  Thiers was a better portion. It was a close relationship and service to God!

The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them. (Deu 18:1-2)

This acceptance and declaration of God being our portion provides several important bits of help.

A foundation for fervent contentment

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Heb 13:5)

A force against fierce covetousness

Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee (Psa 73:25-26)

A focus upon future crowns and not present gain

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2Ti 4:8)

A satisfied soul and one that has made God their all in all – Has God as Their Defining Passion (vs58)

The word intreated means to wear by constant rubbing. So the idea is his intearting for the favor of God is constant and consistent.  David had a case of OCD for God’s presence.

Note that David was not a priest of Levite.  He was a layman.  But you say, God used him mightly.  Yes, and He will use us if we have the same heart and decision to make God our portion and passion!

A satisfied soul and one that has made God their all in all – Has Chosen God as Their Desired Path (vs59-60)

Reflection on God’s Word and a considering our doings, brings repentance, or a turning (or returning) to a new or different path.

This verse also teaches us that repentance seeks no delay to get on the right path.

To delay in sin is an increase in sin.

A satisfied soul and one that has made God their all in all – Has to God Demonstrated Their Persuasion (His trust and faith in Him) (vs61-62)

Though there be many problems or persecutions (bands of robbers), he will not forget God’s laws or ways or promises. These problems will not hinder nor alter his service or walk with God.

A satisfied soul and one that has made God their all in all – Has Gods’ People as His Devoted  Partners (vs63)

Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. (Mal 3:16-17)

He will choose his companions not by their person -all them 

He will choose his companions by their piety – that fear the Lord

He will choose his companions by their practice – that keep thy precepts

A satisfied soul and one that has God as His Desired Pleasure (vs64)

The Psalmist seems to be saying, as I look at all your mercy, grace, power, please teach me more about you.  “My life, my joy, my all”.

Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay

Praying With the End in Mind – Psalm 119:33-40 (pt2)

Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end (Psa 119:33)

It seems that God in this portion of Psalm 119 is speaking to us to pray with the end in mind so that we may finish strong.  Here are the last four of the eight things we should pray for ourselves in light of “The End”

Prayer for Attention to His Word (vs37)

Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.  (Psa 119:37)

The goal is that we focus upon the Word. Focus upon God’s way and will.  Without focus (careful attention to what we should be focused upon) our eyes drift to the vain.

Paul knew how to focus.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  (Php 3:14)

Avoid looking at the wicked 

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.  (Psa 101:3)
I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?  (Job 31:1)

Always be looking into His Word

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.  (Jas 1:25)

Always be looking unto the Word

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;  (1Jn 1:1)
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Heb 12:2)

Prayer for Elevation of His Word (vs38)

Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. (Psa 119:38)
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.  (Job 23:12)
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  (Psa 19:9-10)

Prayer for Protection / Elimination through His Word (vs39)

Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. (Psa 119:39)

Pray we live not to bring reproach upon God and His Word, work, or Person

Prayer for Revival / Revitalization by His Word (vs37, 40)

The marks of revival

Living on His road (vs37) – in the way 

Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. (Psa 119:37)

Living in His righteousness (vs40)

Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. (Psa 119:40)

Let us be in prayer with the end in mind.

Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the Eastbay