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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Fire Scarred

First-Baptist-church-currenPastor Jim Howard

First Baptist Church

233 S. Main, Cedar Springs

 

Some years ago, it was my privilege and joy to vacation in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming. As we traveled and marveled at God’s handiwork around us, I couldn’t help but notice the ravages of the forest fires that plagued the west.

As we moved through South Dakota and Wyoming, we witnessed firsthand two forest fires, one in each state. As we moved northward, away from one of the fires, and stopped in Casper for the night, we could still see the smoke, from fires hundreds of miles away. And then, while we visited Yellowstone National Park, the burned over ground from some years ago was still evidenced by the charred and fallen trees.

These sights were sobering in terms of what fire can do to the countryside.  The more I thought about it, the more it reminded me of the seared condition of the human heart. God tells us that the human heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9). Paul tells us of the “seared conscience” in 1 Timothy 4:2. Sin has a way of disrupting, undermining and destroying relationships, and even ourselves.

God in heaven is very much aware of what sin has done, namely, to separate humanity from Himself. Because of His love for humanity and desire to reconcile man to Himself, God has provided a means of reconciliation. John the Baptist looked up and saw Jesus coming and told those around him, “behold the lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.”  (Jn. 1:29, NKJ) Paul shared with the Roman church, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9, ESV)  And Dr. Luke tells us in Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (ESV)

While I once looked with wonder at the Rockies, I now look at a child of God with Awe!  The miracle of creation is beyond description but the miracle of salvation is out of this world!

The burned over areas of Yellowstone are now growing and teaming with life once again. The scarred trunks of trees stand in mute testimony of the fire that once ravaged the land. A born again child of God will often stand in mute testimony of what our God can do. We may be scarred on the outside, but there is most definitely new life on the inside. Do you need this new life? Have you been ravaged by the sin of this world? Are you looking for something or someone who can and will make a difference in your life? Then, give yourself to Jesus Christ today—don’t delay!

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