The danger of an Uncontrolled Flame


I was speaking with a friend earlier on the topic of relationships. We talked about how sometimes we have set expectations for a relationship or the person we are in the relationship with and they later find ourselves disappointed. As they were sharing with me it made me reflect on few things.

In 1 Corinthians 7:1, the Apostle Paul wrote “It is good for a man not to touch a woman”. For a long time I thought this was verse was describing a physical touch of a woman but when I looked up the word touch, it meant “to ignite”. When I thought about “ignite”, I immediately correlated it to fire or a match.

In order to ignite a match, it has to make friction with another surface. It is then able to release the phosphate and chlorate chemicals in the match creating a flame. Now I know some of you may be wondering where I am headed with this on, but I’d ask that you at least humor me by reading to the end.  I’m not trying to convert or change your thought process, but rather just give you something to think about.

  •  The fire that the match released was already there, it just needed to be ignited.

Oftentimes, we don’t realize what we are igniting when we are dealing with people. Men we may think we are just talking. Perhaps our motives are not always revealed when we meet a woman. When we begin a relationship, we need to be mindful (men and women) about what we release through our conversations. If we are not ready for the fire –do not light the match. As harmless as a conversation may appear- we never know exactly what is truly transpiring in another’s mind. In times past, when I started a conversation with a woman, I did not necessarily think the interaction all the way through- but more so just for the moment. I never really counted the cost of igniting the flame with my conversation or friendly gestures. I hadn’t considered or took the time to think about what happens when you ignite her emotional connection to you. I’m not trying to say this is all our fault men but I think it deserves credence to ponder the thought of why so many women are frustrated with a relationship or a conversation that has not led anywhere productive after the fire is ignited.

  • If the flame does not connect to another source it will not fulfill purpose.

I listened to my friend talk about how, in the beginning, the relationship made her feel. She described an “immediate connection” from their initial interaction. Interestingly enough, after a few weeks of spending time together the initial high (if you will) began to fade due to something that she allowed to happen.  There was a connection at first but then the reality of their compatibility began to be in question. Instead of having a conversation about the issue with my friend – the brother just began to fall back. So here she is left with feelings that have been ignited. Emotions that have begun to attach themselves from the interaction between the two, as barnacles on a boat.  You see the flame was ignited when he said “I think I want to marry you” and told her other warm and fuzzy statements that are good- but only when they are really true. We have to be careful about what we say to others if we are not sincere, men.  Now my friend is left with emotions that are just burning.  They were ignited (her emotions) but have nothing to attach to. If you have ever been exposed to a match you know after a few seconds it will fade out.  So her emotions are not connected to anything and she is just stuck.

Ladies, if this is true say amen: once a woman has a connection with a man it is hard to just remove those feelings. This is why we see bitterness, hurt or resentment when relationships end and there was no true peace. The flame that was initially ignited never had anywhere to go so it just leaves an empty hole with no purpose to fulfill. We must be careful of how and what we connect to or more importantly we must be sure that our initial connection with the person is truly what we want to ignite because just like a match-once the flame is lit it must go somewhere or it will perish.

  • A match that is controlled brings warmth but one ignited in the wrong place will bring devastation.

It is amazing how one little match can do so much in two different scenarios. Growing up we had a fireplace in the house. I can remember my dad making these, seemingly perfect fires and the house being filled with warmth and contentment. I was fascinated by the fact that a three inch slim stick was able to bring so much warmth to our home.  However, it can also be a source of pain and devastation when not controlled or ignited in the right place.

What do I mean by the right place? Well, if we do not use wisdom in making a decision of whether to pursue a person or leave them alone, there is opportunity for devastation. Only you know if you are sincere with a person and what you are looking for. Oftentimes, feelings can change when one partner feels that the relationship has become one sided or the relationship is overwhelming their ability to be who they are. This is where communication needs to take place. But far too many people don’t say a word and just allow the issues to grow. The flame that once was ignited for good becomes out of control. We now have a full blown 4 alarm fire.

My friend was devastated by her relationship ending as it did- no closure, no explanation, no truth. Even as I am writing this I feel a sense of conviction overshadowing me. I too have been that man- where I opened a woman up to the flame and then let it die without purpose. Family when we take responsibility for our actions and become NAKED to the point where we admit “I was wrong” –this is when FREEDOM is able to reign in our lives. Reflecting on my own mistakes and 4 alarm fires that I have created (yes I said created), it was almost if I was a pyromaniac-setting blazes everywhere and then not taking responsibility for that which I set. The worst part was doing it in secret. This makes me sad and allows me to have compassion for those who have been burned or had their flame ignited and then blown out.

Lord allow us to see ourselves on either end of this perspective, forgive us of our mistakes and then free us so that we can fulfill the purpose that you have for us.

Be encouraged…

“The strength in Scars” John 20:19-20

“That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them!  Peace be with you, “he said” As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side.”


When my oldest son was younger, as most boys, he was into all kinds of mischievous things.  He wanted to become a stuntman as a child so he would attempt all types of dauntless feats to help bring validity to his dream of truly becoming a stuntman, my son was a risk taker. I can recall a time when he was attempting to hold a wheelie for one minute and for a ten year old this is epic. I must admit my skepticism was high not because I doubted he had the attitude but I thought the ability was in question.  I thought as most fathers with there little boys they support their imagination and never want them to feel defeated.  I was nervous but I was proud to see his sense of confidence and courage to attempt to defy odds.  So I was looking with a critical eye of protection but expectation- my expectation was hoping that he would succeed and not hurt himself.

As I am staring with apprehension on my face, with one eye open, he pulls the front of his bike up and as I observe with caution. He looks as if he has it under control but suddenly he begins to veer to the left and loses control. The bike falls to its side as if it just lost momentum and my son has slid out from under the bike about fifteen feet forward.  As I run to his aid, trying not to panic or be boisterous and holding back fear of his head bleeding profusely. He is standing up looking at me saying, “Dad, I’m ok.”  As I do a complete check of his body, as a blood hound looking for a scent, looking for blood or scratches, I notice his shirt is torn and there are some scrapes that are exposed to the deepest level of flesh on his body.  Yes it appeared pretty painful  and all these years after when I see the permanent reminder of what was created out of that life event for my son, it still takes me back to that day.

Now my son is a teenager, and the massive scars back then are now reduced to a few parallel lines on his back that do know justice of what took place those many years ago.  It took us both back to a place in time that happened and we grew from.  The point of sharing this is to really just drive home the point that scars are relevant and I challenge us today to change our perspective on how we view them. There is strength in scars. 

Scars tell a story of where we have come from.  In the text today, we see Jesus Christ has just been crucified and is appearing to the disciples for the first time since his crucifixion. He is challenging them to believe.  He has them evaluate his wounds in his hands and his side. In my own thoughts, I can imagine the disciples (possibly Thomas) looking at the scars which appear to be small – maybe a small, grotesque gash in his hands yet all the way through to the other side of his palm. Then to see his side and see the very spot where anger met peace and appeared to win from a worldy perspective.  These scars are monumental in what they represented in that moment. I can see the disciples looking at Jesus in amazement and the reminders of what happened at Calvary and reminding them of what he endured for them.  Oh yes scars tell a story.

It is not the size of the scar but the testimony it tells. Family, the disciples had no idea of what they were really witnessing.  These scars did not mean the same that they meant to Jesus.  The disciples perspective was they knew it was painful and it was a moment but they did not truly embrace the testimony of what was being told.  But to the Christ it represented suffering and pain from the separation from the Father.  It represented a prominent instance that described an event that altered time, history and changed an outcome.  If this was what was seen in the Son of God’s scars from Calvary- what do your scars reveal?  The scars that you have endured and have formed due to past experience they are relevant and they mean something personal to the individual.  It represents hopefully a moment in time that you have passed through and are freed from. Celebrate your scars do not be afraid to show where you have come from.  These scars may be the result of childhood trauma, emotional disturbance, rejection from a loved one whatever or wherever your scars are celebrate your freedom today. No longer will you be bound to that place where it happened, In Jesus name!

Jesus wanted the disciples to see where He had come from and the price he paid to move forward. Your scars are not a sarcophagus for you to stay bound in but a place where you can rise and be free. Christ understood the purpose and position of His scars- they had to happen.

Thinking back on my son Elijah those many years ago and now that he is a teenager on the verge of adulthood.  How the scars are still there but it is not a reflection of the healing that has taken place.  No it does not look as raw or as distorted as it did back then.  Sometimes scars are just the residue of a wound that has healed and we must accept that the remnant will never go away.  

Remember that the wounds of our lives can either stifle or propel us into our destiny.  If Christ had just stayed affixed on the wound-mankind would have never received a savior or salvation because there was never a true healing. That is and was the end result for that which He endured for you and me. We must all examine our scars and see the strength in the scars.  From this moment on, I challenge you to look at your scars different and celebrate them-no longer be bound by them but say look at where I have come from and look to where I am going.  Know that they are relevant and so are you.

Be encouraged…



Pure commitment or Partial devotion?

11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied,14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery


Growing up in the Washington DC area all my life exposed me to a lot of interesting elements. The metropolitan area of Washington is definitely a sports driven town and yes we love football season. We love our Sunday afternoons to be either parked in front of a television or at Fedex stadium at the game or somewhere with access to the game. Yes, the Washington Redskins are my home team and I have been a fan for a long time. (Do not judge me) Now as many of you know , for the past few years, Washington’s record has been subpar to say the least, however I am a true fan. It is interesting how some who say they are true Washington Redskins fans have either left there allegiance behind for another team or have given up hope on our beloved home team.  Yes anyone can say they are a fan when your team is receiving all the accolades and on a sure winning streak but when that is not the story- are you still a fan?

I think it is interesting that there are Washington fans that do not live in Washington. In fact, they may live in another city but they are “down” for the Redskins. You may be asking how or why? Well first we must decide on a definition for a fan? A fan, or fanatic, sometimes also termed aficionado or supporter, is a person who is enthusiastically devoted to something or somebody.  It is interesting to me with this definition no where does it include in the definition of a devoted fan, that things must be favorable or they must reside in a particular demographic.  When we hear the term “fair weather”, it often describes one who only is dedicated when things appear to be ideal.

I am not trying to discuss your allegiance to the Redskins or any other team but to address another issue.  It is so easy to get caught up in whether you are a true football fan (for whomever your team is) or not- but the truth is our commitment to God has been proven similar.  There is commitment as long as we are on the winning team or we are receiving the benefits. But do we ever stop and really examine what we really are committed too? Is there pure commitment or partial devotion?  Just a thought…

We live in an age where accumulating more is considered the norm, wealth and the accumulation of wealth is the status quo, where those that are looking out for self and what they can receive more of are praised. Those that appear to be concerned with their own needs and desires and no more, are the ones that more often than not get ahead. This is a worldly principal that we are seeing more of in the body of Christ (notice I did not say the church). “As long as the church is serving my needs and I feel good, all is well.”  Ever heard that before?  What seems to be the norm is forgetting the Lord and joining that which makes us feel a certain way.

Ephesians 5:27 says “that Christ when He returns is looking for a church without spot nor wrinkle to present”.  This gives evidence to that which Christ is looking for is not the norm. We are living in day and age where many are attempting to treat Christ as one of the home teams. As long as they are on – we want to be associated with them but when things are not as we would like or don’t have time for- we do not put the investment in. In order to grow in body of Christ there must be an investment of our time and submission to His will.  It is easy to give lip service to partial devotion due to the lack of deeper purpose beyond oneself.  I too, raise my hand to partial devotion at times – when I knew better but did not do better.  That is the grace that is bestowed upon us let us not enervate it but learn and evolve into pure committed people.

It saddens me to think, have I gotten so sidetracked with everyday awareness that I have placed Christ in my back pocket and when I am ready to take him out or reconnect with Him, I do. This is how we break his heart- our back and forth as if Washington was playing the Dallas Cowboys tonight (it is actually tomorrow night).  Is our allegiance only when we have momentum and on the winning side?  Christ desires pure commitment not partial devotion.  Are we willing to pursue wholeheartedly the things that please the Father and not do to what we receive?  Christ wants our devotion in plenty or lack.  As with the Redskins, is the likelihood of not winning due to the standard being set of mediocrity with the team. Commitment must be long term not just for a season or two. It must include an ability to see how things are and still be committed, when everything  is not ideal.

The example of the disciples and how they overcame such odds due to their commitment to the cause and not just the person who was Jesus Christ. There belief in the purpose -to set the captives free and in salvation- is what attracted them to Christ and what made them stay was there ability to trust in what they did not see due to His love of them as much as the world.

Pure commitment or partial devotion, ask yourself which do you affiliate with more? Which best describes you?

Be encouraged…