Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
[1Peter 4:12-14 NKJV]
When Glasgow School of Art was destroyed by fire for the second time in 2018, just as it was nearing full restoration after a fire four years earlier, it seemed like it was the death knell for the iconic Charles Rennie Mackintosh building; much to the despair of many in the Art World. Yet, two years on, work is progressing to rebuild and improve the infrastructure of the building; even with a global pandemic halting everything in March.
There are likely to be many obstacles yet to be overcome before it can return to any sort of normal; but the will is there to make it happen. This is an obvious and recent example of the devastation fire brings. It changes the nature of the thing burned; producing lifeless ash and rubble where there once was vitality and purpose. But hope remains; and there are four references in The Bible that give substance to that hope, showing that God is a consuming fire ... He burns up the lifeless remains and in so doing re-animates what seemed lost; but more than that, the life He restores is changed into something altogether new. This is from Deuteronomy...
Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?’
Therefore understand today that the LORD your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has said to you.
[Deuteronomy 9:1-3 NKJV]
In these verses we see the reality of the changes His consuming fire purposes in our fiery trials. Mention is made here of the nations greater and mightier than yourself, meaning those spirits which possess us —like fear, anxiety, pride, selfishness and others — and we will dispossess them, and we will understand why He is as a consuming fire, for He will destroy them; making us anew. It gives a whole new meaning to fighting fire with fire. Fighting a destroying fire with The Lord’s holy fire brings resurrection life instead of loss.
We can see now, surely, that resurrection life is ours to possess now, not just in the hereafter; such is the love and care and mercy of our amazing God.
“Ye are the light of the world.” We have the idea that we are going to shine in heaven, but we are to shine down here, “In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation” (Philippians 2:15). We are to shine as the light of the world in squalid places, and it cannot be done by putting on a brazen smile, the light must be there all the time.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART
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