Monday, August 10, 2015


THE PHOTOGRAPH WAS TERRIFYING. Staring down a long road through a corridor of 100 foot trees and there up ahead was the Rocky Fire. The flames were above the treetops on both sides and there in the middle of the road was what can only be described as a 100 foot tall tornado of fire. It looked like the doorway to hell!

Then I saw another photograph, truly not as frightening, but no less terrifying. In the picture was a small piece of charred ground marked with some little flags and a member of the fire crew seeking to find the cause of the fire. At the time I am writing this, the fire has decimated 62,000 acres and destroyed 24 homes, numerous buildings and threatening thousands of others. That small patch of scorched earth bore the cause of all the destruction. A carelessly tossed cigarette? A spark from a passing vehicle? The deliberate act of some crazed person?  Time will tell.

As I looked at those two photographs my mind almost immediately went to the passage from the New Testament book of James where James is writing about the power of the tongue; the power to heal and destroy. He writes,

“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5-6)

The littlest spark, even the most unintended one, can give birth to a most destructive fire. Thus, it is of critical importance for us to guard with due diligence this instrument that can bring great death. But let us also remember that God is the creator of the tongue and it can be used to build-up and to bring life.

If we are going to ignite anything, let us ignite the love of God in each other’s hearts.

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