Burning and Not Burnt Out

My first mission trip was to Southern Thailand 40 years ago. We were young and full of fire. The overnight journey by bus was filled with cigarette smoke and old men regaling their romantic adventures. I had diarrhoea from roadside food on the journey and at night, we heard screams from pigs being slaughtered in the nearby abattoir. 

What I treasured most was the excitement of preaching my first sermon in a village church. 

Since then, by God’s grace and mercies, ministry has taken me to various destinations in Southeast Asia as well as further afield in China and India. Different cultures call for different approaches. Each trip was different, yet much similarities remain. If we opt for the “same old, same old”, then we will run the danger of becoming too familiar and begin to take things for granted. 

In the book of Leviticus, there is an interesting command in chapter 6 verse 13:

“Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out.”

This same command is first found in verse 9 and then again in verse 12. So the verse is emphasised three times in five verses. 

The fire must have been quite a sight. Day and night, the fire burned. There was no getting away from it. It served as a constant reminder of the burnt offerings offered on account of various sins. 

Yet the fire also showed that God was always with them. How many have been comforted and assured when they saw the burning fire. And when they were on the move at night, they followed the presence of God, which led them by a pillar of fire. 

And so it is with us when we travel on our journeys. So often we forget it is God who goes ahead of us and leads us and stays with us. We get on the plane, train or boat. We go on for miles and miles to get to our ministry points and then back again to home base for a good night’s rest. It was the “same old, same old”. 

We enter a foreign country, clear immigration and customs and have with all luggages intact. We have our breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes the food may be strange, but we seldom go hungry. Same old, same old. Going through the programmes, handing out daily necessities, sharing the word, praying with strangers and then getting back. It was the same old, same old.

It happens so often, so smoothly that we may lose sight that His presence, like the fire on the altar, is always with us. He is the God who leads us and goes before us. We must remember that.

May the fire of God burn brightly in your life journey and not go out.


ISAAC LOW  is a businessman and serves as an elder at Church of Singapore (Marine Parade.) He is grateful for 40 years of walking with God and waited 30 years for Liverpool to win the English Premier League.


40 FRiends of SCGM have been invited to take part in our 40-Day Devotional Project to help raise funds for SCGM’s 40th Anniversary. Each day starting 20 November 2020 to 31 December 2020, SCGM will publish one devotion written by our 40 FRiends in our FundRaising effort and celebration of God’s goodness and provision over the last 40 years!

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