"Let There Be Light!"

Anticipating colder than usual temperatures, I recently had the furnace serviced by a local HVAC company with whom I have had dealings for over twenty-five years. Of course, I had tried to implement a "diy" (do it yourself) strategy to avoid the service call, but noticed while vacuuming the ash from the burners and rechecking my filters that the pilot light was not functioning. It is true that I only have a rudimentary knowledge of the inner workings of a furnace, but I have re-lighted a few pilot lights in my time. So, I thought I would give it a try.

While holding down on the gas control knob for the recommended 30 to 60 seconds and using my handy-dandy long reach butane lighter, I was able to immediately re-light the pilot and admire  the beautiful blue flame it emitted. However, I soon discovered that the flame would not hold after releasing the button. A quick search on the computer gave me some needed information. The problem was likely due to a failure with the "thermocouple" that rests directly next to the flame of the pilot. I love words and this four syllable one is fun to roll around in your mouth as you are speaking it out, "thermocouple!"
When there is a flame, there is heat!

A  "thermocouple" is a simple but very necessary sensor and probe at the end of a small diameter copper tube. it is situated only an inch away from the pilot light. Its function is to measure the temperature of the pilot and gas delivery system to the burners.  When it fails, it adversely affects the ability of the pilot to stay lighted. And as a result, this will leave you without heat when the thermostat calls for it! That is probably more than you wanted to know about my limited knowledge of gas furnaces! I'm happy to report that after the service man replaced the old sensor with a new one, the pilot was re-lighted and "good to go" for the winter season!

Light is one of the most important themes of the Bible. God, at the beginning of creation commanded, "Let there be light!" (Genesis 1:3) Creation obeyed His order and darkness was dispelled by light. The Psalmist declared about God, "You are resplendent with light! (Psalm 76:4). Jesus described Himself as the Light of the World and declared, "Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). Light not only describes God the Father and God the Son, but also is a work of the Holy Spirit. God the Spirit indwells all believers and illumines hearts to understand the truth of God (John 14:26; 16:13).

Years ago, when working with unchurched neighborhood children that were reached through a bus ministry, we used to sing the little song, "This Little Light of Mine" in children's church with all of the appropriate actions. The kids loved this song as it affirmed, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine." They would shout out while singing about this light in two particular stanzas with intense enthusiasm. The first one declared, "Hide it under a bushel, NO! I'm gonna let it shine!" This is directly from the message of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. He taught the disciples gathered that they were to be "Lights to the world!" (Matthew 5:14) and that their light should not be covered under a bowl (a bushel), but instead placed upon a stand for maximum impact (5:15).

The second stanza brought these exuberant little worshipers to their feet as they stubbornly declared, "Won't let Satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine!" Seasoned believers know firsthand how the devil loves the darkness of evil and sin. He works relentlessly to blind those who would believe in the light of the gospel message (2 Corinthians 4:4). Yet, the Holy Spirit works even harder to convict unbelievers of sin,  to convince the lost of the truth of the gospel, and then, after believing, the Spirit lovingly corrects and directs God's children to walk in the light of the Lord (1 John 1:5-7).

I have been taken to the proverbial "woodshed of God's correction" more than a few times in my life. God is light and He won't allow His sons and daughters to "walk in the darkness" very long. He loves us too much to see us stray from His righteous paths. Thank Him for all the ways He lights your way each day! Let's live as children of light!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


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