Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Somewhat Controlled Burn

I was already in my pj's and the Wonder Dogs and I were surrounded by a stack of pillows on my bed, working on my presentation for Saturday, when their heads came up and they started to bark. I shushed them several times before I realized they might not be barking for fun. 

We went to the door and I found that The Hired Hand and His Son had returned to check on a burning brush pile.

The two men pulled the rest of the brush into the pile and The Hired Hand commented on the sage grass around the lake.

"I hate weedeating that sage grass. It gets all tangled up in my Weedeater," I complained.

He stuck both hands in the pockets of his overalls and looked at me with a bland expression. "We could burn it off. Wouldn't take long."

"Okay. When do you want to do it?" 

The Hired Hand sighed, looked at His Son, and shook his head. "It's better to do it when the dew is on the ground. Go get your matches."

I have to admit that I didn't think this idea through. Not even for a second. I just ran to the house, got the matches, and hurried back.

Box in hand, I asked him, "Now what?"

"Strike a match and light the sage grass."

I lit the top of the tallest grass and they both rolled their eyes. "Light it from the bottom." He sounded patient but there was a lot of eye rolling between the two of them. In my defense, it was my first time to light a brush fire.

I knelt down, lit the bottom of the grass, and the fire took off. Did I mention how much sage grass there was? The fire happily danced from one bunch of grass to the next, helped by my long fireplace matches. 

I still did not stop to think this through, mainly because I trust The Hired Hand and His Son to be in charge of whatever adventure we undertake.

The Son cleared off a place at the end of the grass so the fire would stop. To be perfectly candid, we expected the fire to burn to the end of the grass, meet the clear place, and stop.

That was not what happened.

Someone mentioned the three old dead tree stumps together in the line of the fire, and someone might have mentioned wishing they'd burn, too. No one expected what happened next. The first stump caught on fire.

The Hired Hand said, "Well, good."

It was burning like a torch in the night and looking lovely when the dead tree on the other end of the line of stumps started smoking.

His Son said, "Hey, Daddy, look at that."

Flames burst from the middle of that dead tree and sparks started flying. It was like the Fourth of July without the sound effects. 

"Well, that is just great. Now we have to stay and watch these things burn." He didn't sound like it was great, but I thought it was pretty cool.

We watched for a long time before the third stump caught fire. Sparks flew up from all three dead trees and it was so beautiful, I could hardly believe it. The smell of wood smoke on a cool spring night was marvelous, and I suggested I get some marshmallows.

The Hired Hand and His Son looked at each other and then at me, but didn't say a word. I left the marshmallows in the house.

The pictures don't do it justice, but I walked back toward the house to survey the scenery. It was stunning and more than a little shocking. The night obscured everything except the fire, which was burning all along the edge of the lake.

In the dark, it looked like fire was everywhere, and I shuddered. The scene before me was sobering, and it wasn't fun anymore.

This is what hell looks like, I thought, only worse, and I'm glad I'm not going there.

In case you've wondered, Scripture tells us that there is a literal hell and we all deserve it. I know it's not popular to talk about hell and damnation, but if we don't know we're in peril, we won't understand we need saving.

We do need a Savior, though, and that's why Jesus came. To SAVE us from the penalty of our sin. (Romans 3:23 - all have sinned. Romans 6:23 - the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus)

The evil one seeks to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Jesus came to save us from his clutches, and he did. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

Death, where is your sting? Gone because of Jesus. 

He gave us a choice. Choose the evil one and his eternal hell fires or choose Jesus, His righteousness, and heaven.

If you'd seen the fire I saw last night, the issue would be crystal clear. 

When the choice is between good and evil, choose GOOD.

When the choice is between Jesus or Satan, choose JESUS.

When the choice is between Heaven or hell, choose HEAVEN.

We have been given a choice, and our eternal destination depends on the choice we make.
Choose well.
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Occupying the Life God Intended
#WednesdayWisdom #hell #heaven #Jesus #Christian #linesfromleanna