God’s Fire Starters

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This compact, 137-page volume delivers a powerful punch.Firestarters

“God’s Firestarters” is about ordinary people who were ignited with passion for the Lord, and in turn, they set scores—and in some cases millions of others—on fire with the love and power of the gospel message.

The book is a compilation of twenty short biographies of Christian leaders who had an extraordinary impact on their generation and the world. Each chapter is about five pages long, and covers the highs, lows, and transformative moments of these world-changing pastors, leaders and thinkers.

The book is chronologically organized as it moves through history beginning with Katharina Luther (1499-1552) and ending with the theologian J.I. Packer (1926-2020). Between those dates we find the stories of eighteen other remarkable men and women who overcame enormous obstacles as they lived lives that powerfully impacted the church and the world.

Authors Ed and Janice Hird have done their homework. Each biography is well-written and thoroughly researched with dozens of endnotes.

These are stories that will build your faith and stoke your courage. I highly recommend this book. It’s a real fire-starter in the best way imaginable.

Before the Mountains Were Born

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I will praise the LORD!

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Through the open window — Mackenzie King Estate, Gatineau Park — photo by David Kitz

Reading: Psalm 90:1-6

A prayer of Moses the man of God.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn people back to dust,
    saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
    are like a day that has just gone by,
    or like a watch in the night.
Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
    they are like the new grass of the morning:
In the morning it springs up new,
    but by evening it is dry and withered.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award and for those who love God’s word it’s an ideal way to start the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

Walk in the Light

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I will praise the LORD!

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The radiant path forward — photo by David Kitz

Reading: Psalm 89:14-18

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    love and faithfulness go before you.
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
    who walk in the light of your presence, LORD.
They rejoice in your name all day long;
    they celebrate your righteousness.
For you are their glory and strength,
    and by your favor you exalt our horn.
Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD,
    our king to the Holy One of Israel.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award and for those who love God’s word it’s an ideal way to start the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

According to Your Unfailing Love

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 51_1
Reading: Psalm 51:1-9

LORD God,
I want to be like David—
quick to acknowledge my sin and repent.
Grant me a soft heart—
a sensitive heart—
a repentant heart in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

A Repentant Heart

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Reading: Psalm 51:1-9
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity
(NIV).*

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January cold — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
Psalm 51 is the great repentance psalm. Nothing matches the deep contrition expressed here by David. There can be little doubt David was truly remorseful for what he had done. He says it with words, but according to the Scriptures, his actions which followed also revealed a repentant heart. There is no blame shifting here; David takes full responsibility for his actions. Hear his humble plea: For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

When Saul and Jonathan were slain in battle by the Philistines, David composed this lament. “Your glory, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places! How the mighty have fallen!” (2 Samuel 1:19 NRSV). David might well have sung this lament for himself. Here he was the vaunted King of Israel, the LORD’s anointed, and he had a fellow soldier murdered to cover up the adulterous affair he was having with this loyal soldier’s wife. This was the conduct of David—the man of God! Yes. “How the mighty have fallen!”

The amazing part of this story is not David’s sin or the depths of his depravity. The amazing part is that he repented—earnestly repented. In our day leader after leader has been caught red-handed in unscrupulous practices. But do they repent? Do they come clean and change their ways? Not likely. Most often they continue in denial. Those with absolute power continue to govern ruthlessly. Nathan, the prophet, was fortunate King David heard the voice of God speaking through a human vessel. David was quick to humble himself and repent. How do you respond when confronted with your sin?

Response: LORD God, I want to be like David—quick to acknowledge my sin and repent. Grant me a soft heart—a sensitive heart—a repentant heart in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Your Turn: How do respond when confronted with your sin? How can we maintain a repentant heart before God? What hinders repentance?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

The Promise of Your Presence

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 50_23
Reading: Psalm 50:16-23

LORD God,
let me never forget your great love for me.
I want to take you with me today
and every day.
I am thankful for the promise of your presence.
Amen.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

The Forgotten Essential

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Reading: Psalm 50:16-23
But to the wicked person, God says:
“What right have you to recite my laws
or take my covenant on your lips?
You hate my instruction
and cast my words behind you.
When you see a thief, you join with him;
you throw in your lot with adulterers.
You use your mouth for evil
and harness your tongue to deceit.
You sit and testify against your brother
and slander your own mother’s son.
When you did these things and I kept silent,
you thought I was exactly like you.
But I now arraign you
and set my accusations before you.
“Consider this, you who forget God,
or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you:
Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me,
and to the blameless I will show my salvation”
(NIV).*

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Shinkansen (bullet train) photo by David Kitz

Reflection
I have a tendency to be forgetful. As I leave the house, it is not uncommon for me to forget some rather important items such as my wallet or my mobile phone. On our recent trip to Japan, my wife would often help me run through a checklist of essential items as we set out on an excursion. Wallet, rail pass, mobile phone and passport, all were needed. I dare not forget any of these.

But there is something more important than all of these ‘essentials’. In his conclusion to Psalm 50, the psalmist Asaph reminds us not to forget God. How often have you set out on your day only to realize you forgot God at home? Did He even make it home with you? Maybe He’s still at church? Have you had God with you lately? Have you forgotten Him completely as you went about your business?

Forgetting God is no small matter. Here is the LORD’s response to those who forget Him: “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation”

We all want to see the salvation of God, but it starts with not forgetting Him. When we do, we run the risk of becoming objects of His wrath. The wrath of God is not a popular topic these days, but a lack of popularity does not negate its reality. When we choose to ignore God, there are unpleasant consequences. This applies personally and nationally. When we turn our back on the author of our salvation, terrible things happen. When we embrace Him with thanksgiving, joy will be our portion.

Response: LORD God, let me never forget your great love for me. I want to take you with me today and every day. I am thankful for the promise of your presence. Amen.

Your Turn: Do you sometimes forget God as you begin your day? Have you had God with you lately?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

Thank You

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 50_7-15 -365
Reading: Psalm 50:7-15

LORD God,
I owe my life to you.
I have so much to be thankful for.
Every day is a gift from you.
Thank you.
Amen.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

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Reading: Psalm 50:7-15
“Listen, my people, and I will speak;
I will testify against you, Israel:
I am God, your God.
I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices
or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird in the mountains,
and the insects in the fields are mine.
If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
and call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me”
(NIV).*

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Winter Sunset — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
What is humanity’s greatest sin? Think about that for a moment. Is it murder? Hatred? Racism? The desecration of the planet? All of these are serious problems—serious sins. But what is the greatest sin?

Psalm 50 begins with a great summoning of all nations. The LORD is about to enter into judgment. But what charge does He bring against His people? He does not accuse them of heinous crimes, or the desecration of His temple. I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. Instead God calls for thank offerings. The LORD wants His people to have thankful hearts.

There is something rather anticlimactic about this call for thanksgiving. My initial reaction is one of surprise. I thought we had a serious problem here. Why summon the nations to a great gathering unless there is a declaration of some significance. Surely a lack of thanksgiving is an offence of no great significance. Or is it? Apparently in God’s view it is of great importance.

In his epistle to the Romans, St. Paul attributes a lack of thankfulness to the blinding power and deception of sin. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:20-21).

Because of its long term consequences, a failure to offer thanks may be the gravest sin of all.

Response: LORD God, I owe my life to you. I have so much to be thankful for. Every day is a gift from you. Amen.

Your Turn: What are you most thankful for? Why do you think ingratitude has such dire consequences?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

Joyous Preparation

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 50_1
Reading: Psalm 50:1-6

LORD God,
help me to live my life in joyous preparation
for that great summoning
when wrong will be made right.
Help me to be merciful
so I will receive your mercy in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.