Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On the coming judgment (Jude 1:14) and having a safe place to hide in Christ with a story from the pioneer days in the American West.

SCRIPTURE: Jude 1:14 (NIV)
See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy one to judge everyone.

STORY by H.A. Ironside:
One of the first gospel illustrations that ever made a real impression upon my young heart was a simple story which I heard a preacher tell when I was less than nine years old.
It was of pioneers who were making their way across one of the central states to a distant place that had been opened up for homesteading. They traveled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was necessarily slow. One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie, and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely and coming toward them rapidly. They had crossed a river the day before but it would be impossible to go back to that before the flames would be upon them. One man only seemed to have understanding as to what could be done. He gave the command to set fire to the grass behind them. Then when a space was burned over, the whole company moved back upon it.
As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, "Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?" The leader replied, "My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has been!"
What a picture of the believer, who is safe in Christ!
"On Him Almighty vengeance fell,
… Which would have sunk a world to hell.
… He bore it for a chosen race,
… And thus becomes our Hiding Place."
The fires of God's judgment burned themselves out on Him, and all who are in Christ are safe forever, for they are now standing where the fire has been.
Playing hide-n-seek has become one of our granddaughter’s favorite games. When she is “it” we have to move fast because she “speed” counts before starting to look for us. It is fun and a lot of laughter is shared. Discovering new hiding places becomes the challenge after just a couple of times of playing, but she never tires of the game.

Having a safe hiding place in Christ is a good thing. Realizing that in his presence we are safe from the things that go bump-in-the-night. The “fire’s” of life cannot consume us … the fire of fear, the fire of anger, the fire of low self-esteem, the fire of judgment of others, the fire of prejudice, the fire of an unsure future … well, you get the point.

And when the day comes when judgment shall fall upon the human race and most assuredly it will come, we who are “safe in the arms of Jesus” will be spared the pain of the final judgment and the all consuming fire which will follow.

Thank you for providing us a safe place to hide from the fires of life!

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