Archive for December, 2014

Out of Control

raging fireFive months have elapsed since the beginning of my garage construction project.  Shortly after the project began, a small debris pile accumulated some distance away from the garage. Each day the pile grew with leftover material from that day’s construction.  The heap has grown exponentially since the end of the project some three months ago. What started out as a small pile now encompassed an area 15 feet by 6 feet by 5 feet tall.  It contained both treated and non-treated lumber, cardboard boxes, felt paper, plastic, sheetrock, sawdust, roofing, etc.  I thought about hauling it off, but dreaded the work, so I determined that on the right day, I would incinerate it to oblivion. I knew this was going to be an intense fire, not only because of its size, but also of its contents! Indeed was I right! This fire at times scared me a little.  At the apex of the conflagration, flames leaped upwards to a height well above 20 feet.  I kept a stream of water around the perimeter and you could actually see the water dry as the intense heat radiated out in waves.  I thought I had picked a day free of wind, but once the fire started, every slight breeze bellowed the flames as if they were being driven by a hurricane.  I prevailed in burning the pile without burning my house or half of Shelby County, but truthfully I should have picked a rainy day and enlisted help. The fire was a raging beast, that by God’s grace, was controlled and eventually quieted.

We often forget that our tongues, likewise, can be this raging inferno! James 3:5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!  Usually too, it’s a fire set ablaze of all the waste and junk that we’ve accumulated over time in our hearts.  We set about to light the fire, not thinking of what is in the pile that will burn or how we will be able to put it out until it’s too late! The fire begins, it consumes and just when we think we can control it, Satan blow his fierce wind across it and souls are scorched. Perhaps we should employ some methods in which to deal with this raging blaze that is our tongues.

                First and foremost, don’t ignite!  Prov.21:23 says, The one who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his life   from troubles. The rule of silence is always best. Often, I’ve thought of saying something, when my conscience said, “Don’t say it!” but my mouth spoke it, and my heart hurt from speaking it.  There are better ways of dealing with the pile of garbage we accumulate. Hauling it off on the dump truck of prayer is best.

                If you must burn, clean and clear the area around your fire.  It takes a great deal of work to tidy up around your pile, but making sure the fire has no escape is prudent. Prov.12:18 There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.  By cleaning and preparing, one has time to reflect and think carefully about next steps.  Before you light the fire, think about the ways the fire will spread. Think about how it might escape. Ask, “What will happen if it gets out of this area? Can it jump from here to there?” 

                Be prepared for the worst!  I learned many years ago, (when I let a brush pile get out of hand), that when I light a fire, I must be able to put it out! I try never to light a fire unless I can run a water hose to it. I never start a fire unless I’ve got fire breaks between it and other flammable material.  Call me overly cautious, but with a fire, even when you’ve taken all the precautions, things can go wrong quickly.  So it is with our speech.  If we are not prepared for the inferno that can rage, we best not play with it at all. Prov.18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.  

                We are exhorted to love our fellow brothers through words of encouragement and at times words of chastisement.  This can be a warm and comforting fire.  It should not be a blast furnace that can melt steel.  Either way, lighting a fire is a serious thing.  Take a lot of precautions before you flick the match.

Darryl Fuller

By who’s Authority

I received the other day a disturbing but eye opening email forwarded from David Thomley, a faithful gospel preacher in the Nashville area.  The information Brother Thomley  shared concerned a young woman who is an “intern preacher”, for the 4th Avenue church of Christ in Franklin, Tennessee.  A link was provided in which a video of this young girl was being introduced to the congregation (posted on Facebook), in which she proclaims her gift of the Holy Spirit and calling to preach the gospel. To watch the video is to take a bath in religious postmodernism.  It shows in 9 minutes the essence of this growing trend toward “direct guidance of the Holy Spirit”, to the abdication of God’s word.  The issue I raise here is not the subjugation of women or teaching or preaching before a congregation of God’s people. Although, God commands that women are to keep silent in the church (1 Cor.14:25, 34; 1 Tim.2:11-12; Eph.5:33; 1 Pet.3:1-6) this does not mean they are inferior! Women play as critical a role in proclaiming the gospel to the world and demonstrating Christ in their lives as do men. Women and men alike however, are both subject to Christ, who is our head. God is not the author of confusion (1Cor.14:33), but rather did everything  in order and with dominions, or rulers.   For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Col.1:16-17. The issue then is not whether women can preach in church, but by what authority can we do or say anything “in church.” The above examples displays an appalling disregard for Christ’s authority.

We currently face an onslaught of Postmodern thinking, with the continual mantra, “Question authority!” If you’ve watched or read the news lately, you know what I mean.  Not just in Ferguson, Missouri or New York City, but in places like Franklin Tennessee and Columbiana, Alabama, people are beginning to question our seats of authority.  Each day more and more  people gripe and complain about our government, leading to an erosion of respect, contributing to disobedience, and ultimately leading to anarchy.  When people lose faith and respect for the rule of law eventually those laws cease to have power to protect, and then it’s every man for himself.  A great example is the semi lawless state we saw in our country after the Civil war.  For 20-30 years, especially out west, the rule of law was in a man’s pistols.  Disillusioned by the war, cynical of the North, discouraged over the destruction of the South, men gave up on the rule of law and made their own laws.  God warns us that in order to have peaceful and prosperous lives, we must have complete confidence in Him and the governments he has so ordained.(Rom.13:1-3)

More perilous than civil disrespect is the lack of respect for God’s authority. If it becomes chic and passé to reject man’s authority, God’s authority is ultimately negated as well. This was seen in the days of the Judges when it was said;   In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25,  and also  in Judges 2:13  They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth.  God provided His word and command in a very clear and concise manner.  Those who say that the Bible is open to interpretation are void of understanding.  They seek to accomplish their will and agenda by questioning God’s.   How hard can it be to see that the Bible teaches that one is to be baptized in order to be saved, or that only those that call on Jesus’ name and not Mohammad’s  shall inherit eternal life? How difficult is it for those to see that, fornication, disrespect for God’s authority and women performing in the roles of authority are abhorrent to God?  To question whether or not a person can do these things and still have fellowship with God is to question God’s authority.  Paul may have penned his letters 2000 years ago and they may not fit with our times, but he was only dictating from Him who is was and is and shall ever be.

Darryl Fuller