Fire in God’s Hands

21 Nov

Durian fruit pods are inside this cuckleburr-ish shell.

When my wife Cindy and I were in the Philippines, we experienced many new things. Our host delighted in introducing exotic activities and tastes for us to try. Sometimes, perhaps, with a tinge of mischief. Durian fruit is a case in point. He told us the Koreans have a saying: “Smell it, go to hell; eat it, go to heaven.” Standing near it with its odor assaulting our senses (by the way, most of my sense of smell left me long ago, but I could still smell it.), verified the first part of the Korean maxim.

Cindy likened it to a baby’s messy diapers. I say that didn’t give it enough credit. But, wanting to accept the culture we were in, she took a bite…and immediately spit it back out. Our host and those around all laughed. They looked at me and saw that I had finished mine. I had survived my “baptism of fire” from them. They asked if I was part Filipino.

I learned in my experience that IF a person can get past the smell and also get past the sense of chewing a raw oyster or snail, a sweet nut flavor aftertaste almost makes the effort worth taking.

The pleasant aftertaste makes my point. The writer of Hebrews said of Jesus that “for the joy set before him, he endured the cross.” As God, Jesus could look forward to thousands of generations of souls who would be able to share his kingdom and glory because he spent a few hours suffering torture followed by crucifixion and death. He had already declared to his disciples that the angels in heaven rejoice when one sinner repents. Imagine what that celebration multiplied by hundreds of millions over thousands of years must have looked like to him.

But that doesn’t mean he took that baptism he had to go through lightly. As the man Jesus, he suffered such anguish at the thought of it he sweat blood. I’ve gone through some tough times of my own and still in some. I’ve been crushed by the circumstances to the point of nearly walking away from faith in Christ. But I’ve never sweat blood. I can’t imagine the torment he wrestled with but accepted it because of the joy set before him—his aftertaste.

Life’s pressures often get labeled as fiery trials or going through the fire. As we allow Jesus to teach us and perfect us through them, they can become a fire in his hands for us. In other countries Christians are truly going through the fire, being persecuted, tortured and killed. In America we struggle to keep it from happening here. However, I believe a baptism of fire awaits the whole Church. Kindled by Jesus it, will climax with the fire of God’s glory filling the Church (every true believer) as it did the Tabernacle in Moses’s time. For the next few weeks, I will be looking at the use of fire in the Old Testament and how it can be a type of fire we believers are called to go through. With each one I believe we will experience the sweet aftertaste. One that will strengthen us to willingly go through that baptism of fire and ask for more.

2 Responses to “Fire in God’s Hands”

  1. Heather Roberts at 7:39 pm #

    Look forward to what you discover about fire in the Bible there are many great scriptures.

    Like

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  1. America in Bible Prophesy | Boosterclub Blog -

    […] of Fire blogs: Fire in the Church; What did Jesus wish?; A kindled fire, but not burning up; Fire in God’s hands; Fire destroys the bad is a good thing, right?; Baptism of Fire Type 2; Purification adds by taking […]

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