Choose not to be the kindling

Pr. 26:21:  “As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”

My husband has been working on mastering the art of fire making.  He now only technically needs 1 stick to start a fire.  From there we only have to add more wood to turn it into an entire campfire.  If we didn’t douse the fire with water afterwards, it could spread and grow even larger.

Words can be the same.  Sometimes it only takes 1 or 2 words to kindle strife.  That strife then has the potential to grow larger and larger.

As the wood that ignites the fire, we can be contentious, provoking others by arousing and igniting anger and conflict.  Conversely, we can take preventative measures when speaking, possibly even quenching the fires already beginning to catch their lives ablaze, by allowing rivers of living water to flow out of our hearts.

When we believe in Jesus, He fills us with Living Water, and He said those waters will flow from our hearts.  (Luke 7:38)

We certainly have the option of holding that back from others, kindling strife through harshness, unforgiveness, meanness, disdain, indifference, apathy, impatience, intolerance, and blame.            (Sorry, I was on a roll)

Or we could, instead, recognize the thirst in others around us, and choose to pour forth the living water through forgiveness, compassion, empathy, grace, mercy, and understanding.

Remembering that first and foremost, God is love, we can realize that we are all broken and imperfect, and offer His love to those around us.  Those words we speak are either kindling a fire of conflict and strife, or refreshing and encouraging a thirsty soul.

Before speaking, we need to think ahead, and do our part to prevent strife.  Everyone could use a refreshing douse of living water to extinguish the fires and quench their thirsty soul.

Pretty thirsty myself,

jamie

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Campfires and salvation

A couple of years ago we invested in our family time commitment by buying some really good camping gear.  It’s a great time that we cherish, where there are no screens in our faces, no distractions from one another…just us, together, on an adventure.  We hope this investment, throughout our kid’s lives, will pay off in great dividends.  🙂  On our first camping trip this year I had the following thoughts and today seems like the day to share them:

When we woke up this morning Donnie made us a fire.  I was enjoying just sitting by the fire, but there wasn’t much wood left for us.  The fire was slowly going out, but I didn’t want that relaxing time to end.  I wouldn’t have it!  Determined, I got up and was scrounging around for any sticks I could find.  I was gathering up even the tiniest little sticks, twigs…anything that would burn.  I was willing to gather up anything just to keep the fire going for as long as I possibly could.  When Donnie laughed and asked why I was doing that I said, “I’ll get whatever I can to keep that fire going.”  The thought that went through my mind was, “I don’t wish that it should perish.”

Well, where did that thought take me?  2 Peter 3:9:  “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise…but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  As I scrounged around looking for anything, just anything, to keep my fire from dying, from losing that fire time, I thought about The Lord.

Sometimes its hard for us to truly grasp how much The Lord doesn’t want His children to perish.  Satan loves to tell us we’re worthless.  He’s lying.  Just as I desperately searched for anything…anything to help keep my fire alive, The Lord has gathered up and given out everything He could to keep us alive.  Time after time He has given His children provision and opportunity for repentance.  He has been longsuffering from the beginning of creation.  He doesn’t want to lose a single one of us.  Think about my devotion to that one little campfire.  That was Nothing compared to the devotion one has for a child.  God was so determined not to lose us that, after offering every provision He could to try to keep us alive, He even sent His very own Son to die for us.

I will never be able to think on this verse in the same way.  Knowing the effort I put forth for a fire I knew I would eventually abandon, the magnitude of God’s effort for us is simply unfathomable!  How amazing His love for us truly is!  He searches for those who will allow Him to use them to reach all this lost children and bring them to knowledge of salvation and eternal life.  He is not willing that any should perish!  If I can be even a twig for Him to use to keep the fire of eternal life going for all His children, I am willing.

I hope I shared my thoughts clearly enough to make clear the point He revealed to me that morning.  Rewarding camping trip indeed.  🙂

He loves you,

jamie