Divine gift, blessed fire of light and heat,
That pillar to lead and shield, with God nearby —
Maker of peace where Lord and people meet —
Idolatrous altar where sons pass through and die.
Nothing on earth is “as hot as hell.” Listening to songs, conversations, TV shows, and other entertainment venues, one may think the earth is burning up, because so many things are described this way: sexual lust, a winning ball team, war zones, clothes fashion, working conditions, etc.! Hell is for lost souls. Jesus said, “fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28 NKJV), because “the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48 NKJV). The “vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7 NKJV) is for those, Jesus said, who choose the wide and broad “way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it” (Matthew 7:13 NKJV). Since “Hell” is for eternity after this life: (1) nothing on earth is “as hot as Hell;” (2) Jesus used the same term, “eternal” to describe “punishment” and “life” in Matthew 25:46; (3) it is profanity to refer to “Hell” so casually.
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
I sit in my office; a comfortable office with a cup of coffee nearby. I lift up my head, making much progress in my Scripture reading today. I look outside and note that there is a film of sorts above the neighbor’s camper. Thought it was strange, but did not otherwise take notice of it more than mentioned. Look down, then up again and notice that a house nearby is on fire. I grab the phone, dial 911, but I no more get that done than a police officer is there and had already called it in (I assume). The trucks come, the house is engulfed, the flames rise, and the smoke billows. It is 6:50 on this Thursday morning and a fireman scaled the house sitting on the roof pitch, another comes up; a chainsaw in hand, a hole in the roof made, and smoke covers the firemen, and now they cannot be seen (from where I sit). With the structure of the house weakened like it is – if there is ever a time to talk about courage it is now. Small town firemen here in Sullivan – it makes you proud.
Proud of the men and women who serve, but heart-sick in that another suffered a loss as great as a home destroyed. A comfortable office just does not seem as comfortable.
(A letter to editor for the local paper)
I recently wrote about our harrowing ordeal with an out of control forest fire that burned 4,035 acres and could have decimated our community. We were saved by the heroic efforts of fire fighters and emergency personnel.
That experience brought to mind two other nights where natural disasters brought death and destruction to our lives.
The first was on February 5, 2008 in Jackson, Tennessee. I arrived in Henderson, Tennessee for the Freed-Hardeman lectureship and enjoyed the day immensely. That evening I drove to my hotel in Jackson to check into my room. The weather grew worse as I got closer. I turned off my audiobook and discovered that there was a tornado warning.
At the hotel, I was unable to check in because the power was out. I was ushered into the laundry room and told to get under a blanket since a category 4 tornado was two miles away. One of my friends, Tony Fitzgerald and his family were there and we all spent the night praying that we would not be killed.
The tornado hit Union University and damaged 31 buildings, doing $40 million in damage. I finally went to my room in the early morning and slept some before waking up and checking in. The staff at the hotel were extraordinary.
“On March 24, 2011, a controlled burn in Ludowici, Georgia spreads on the wings of high winds. Exceedingly dry conditions and the fuel of Georgia Pines accelerate the conflagration. Fire trucks and emergency services swiftly move into action. Smoke billows into the sky sounding the alarm for miles around.”
Last used fire in our fireplace a few weeks back. We don’t use it often due to the inefficiency of our fireplace.
I suppose I use fire in the winter everyday in the furnace; though, as Randal qualified, I don’t “see” that–I just feel the benefit of it.
Speaking of which, a good nudge might be: What’s your ideal room temperature?
The last time I used fire was when I toook the trash out to burn. In the burn barrell all the ash can be used to spread on her garden. Naturally, I am the one who spreads it. She had learned that it is has good qualities for the garden. I don’t understand – I just do what I am told!
Usually when my wife and I get in a heated argument, I’ve found that the best way to deal with anger is to just simply get out of the house and go walking. Not only does it cool the fires of anger between me and my wife, it also allows both of us to think rationally about the situation, instead of using our emotions.
Additionally, walking allows me the time to not only “think” about the situation, but to also take it to the Lord in prayer, relying on His wisdom and understanding, in order to arrive at a solution to the problem.
Article on resolving problems: http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2007/05/22/resolving-problems-in-human-relationships/
My prayer for churches and the Christians inside them is, help us avoid apathy, O Lord!
During and just after the rule of Uzziah, apathy afflicted Israel and Judah. Amos said, ““Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall,” (Amos 6:4 ESV).
Apathy during times of affluence caused Israel and Judah to go into captivity and ultimately caused Judah to be destroyed by the Romans. Apathy is one of the chief consequences of affluence and is more than evident today. Just look what’s happening to this country. It’s almost identical, isn’t it? This country has deleted God from the classroom and all most people say is, “that so?”
The church can become afflicted by apathy. It’s seen in the people who refuse to attend Bible class, thinking that since the Lord’s supper is the most important act of worship, nothing else matters. That’s apathy, isn’t it?
Pray that apathy is avoided in our churches and that we will catch fire for the Lord and his cause.
Belief is truth held in the mind; faith is a fire in the heart.
Joseph Fort Newton