Wednesday, 27 October 2021

M Michele's Musings

Tested by Fire

Tested Fire

This morning, as I was leaving the house I noticed smoke wafting in the air from, what I thought was, the remains of a fire no longer burning.  Some four days before, my husband, Tim, had worked cleaning up more of our property.  He spent the day cutting more downed trees and limbs, piling them high in an attempt to finish burning out a stump from a mighty fallen tree, another tragic loss of Hurricane Laura.  We thought the fire was extinguished by the next morning, the stump only half gone.    Over this particularly beautiful weekend, we continued to clean up more storm debris, piling more wood, limbs, branches along with grass and weeds pulled out of overgrown gardens on and around the protruding stump.  As we continued to work rebuilding the pile, never once did we notice heat, smoke or burning embers?   Therefore, when I saw the smoke, I could hardly believe my eyes.  In almost stunned disbelief I walked over to the pile.  Sure enough, the grass and weeds atop the pile were blackened and smoldering.  Below were the tell-tale signs of bright orange glowing embers peeking through gaping holes that had opened the ground’s surface. 

This incident reminded me of something that happened to a friend, Debbie.  One winter Deb cleaned out her fireplace from a day-old fire, scooping up the remaining ashes, seemingly absent of left-over pieces of wood and smoldering embers. She dumped the ashes into a paper bag that sat on her living room carpet alongside the fireplace.  Shortly thereafter, still busily cleaning, she began to notice an acrid burning smell permeating the room.  Then she noticed that smoldering embers had burned through the paper bag and had burned a hole through her carpet, all the way to the concrete foundation.  The result could have been tragic but thankfully the fire was put out quickly and the damage was only a small area of the carpet.  She only had to install new flooring; the resulting damages minuscule compared to what they could have been. 

The fact that the two fires seemed to be completely out but then came to life again is amazing to me and ideas started to burn their way into my thoughts.  Fire is a force to be reckoned with, at times still dangerous, even when we don’t suspect the fire continues to burn.  Obviously, for both occasions, the fire was alive and well, though Tim and I didn’t notice for several days and Deb didn’t notice until she had a significant hole burned in her carpet.   

The two instances remind me that God is ALIVE, WELL and ALWAYS working; yet, quietly and unobtrusively, not seen, nor heard by every eye or ear.  He is there even we don’t suspect He is there.  Things are happening even when we don’t realize they are.  Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” John 5:17   It also reminds me that God is powerful, just as fire is powerful.  Fire has the ability to burn its way through almost any obstacle in its path just like it was burning away the stump.  Likewise, God has the same abilities, burning His way into our hearts and lives.  When we allow His work in our lives, it can leave a wonderful lasting effect.  He desires to burn away all things that have sought to harm and hurt us.  God seeks to burn away all the things that don’t belong in a child of God’s life.

We all know that fire can be for good (our fire) and also not so good (Deb’s fire).  However, whether good or bad, when God is involved, He will cause all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28).  God will also use the “fires” (situations/circumstances) of this life to test and try us, “so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 1:7   Even when “the fires of life” appear to be tragic, God is there to turn all situations around and bring blessings out of whatever comes our way.  He gives us His promise that, “When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; Neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”  Isaiah 43:2b   There is always a divine purpose for the fires of life that God may allow to come your way. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 

The Bible tells us that God is an all-consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).  Some say this means He is a cruel God, furious at human creation and ready to consume us with fire.  Anyone who knows the Bible would know this is not true.  When I look at all the Bible has to say about God’s love for his most special creations, I believe, that God’s love for us burns like a consuming fire within Him.  His love cannot be put out and the embers of His love burn for each and every one of us every second of every minute of every hour of every day. “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God!  How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” Psalms 139:18-19   Yes, God LOVES His creation.  Still, because He hates sin, He will discipline and deal with us regarding sin in our lives helping, us to be freed from its ugly clutches.  But, because sin is so destructive and ultimately brings death, He will not leave sin undealt with; He will deal with it as a consuming fire.  Truthfully, all God’s children should welcome His consuming fire to cleanse us from our impurities. 

If we love Him, we should be on fire for Him, shining our little light, working and being a blessing to Him day in and day out.  We should try to reflect His love and character to a lost and dying world that so desperately needs Jesus.  “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16   Like the embers from the fires Deb, Tim and I began that burned long and hot, may we keep God’s fire always burning in our hearts.  May we continually add the fuel of prayer, praise, worship and reading His Word to our lives daily, so that the embers of our love for God, burn bright, steadfast and never die out.  “Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord. When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. Share with God's people who are in need.”  Romans 12:11-13a

Love in Christ, Michele

Columnist: Michele Abshire

 

Michele Abshire is a housewife, mother, grandmother, and full time legal assistant. She has been published in Lake Charles, Louisiana publications, Christian Star Newspaper and Gumbeaux Magazine.  

Michele began writing notes of encouragement to people God put on her heart which led her in the direction of writing short encouraging stories, letters, essays and analogies.  This quickly became a ministry for her.  

Michele's vision is to reach people with encouraging messages that will lift their heart and bring joy for sorrow and hope for discouragement. Michele enjoys your feedback so leave a comment in the form at the bottom of the page or email her at  micheles.musings@gmail.com

 

 

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