the LORD will come in fire

Isaiah 66:15-16 (ESV)

15 “For behold, the LORD will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment,
and by his sword, with all flesh;
and those slain by the LORD shall be many.”

I think we often forget that the LORD is a God of judgement as well as mercy.

And that His judgement will be harsh but fair (Romans 2:2).

Fire is considered a means of purification; a way of cleansing and refining. Like the process of melting down gold to separate the good bits from the bad bits and in so doing create a pure metal.

Because God hates sin, because He is angry with man’s ungodliness and unrighteousness (Romans 1:18), He will one day act to destroy those who sin: to ‘slay’ those who turn their back on Him.

In some ways it is a “fire & brimstone” message.

And we should all sit-up and take note of it. Because no one – not one of us – is guilt-free.

We have all – every last one of us – rejected God and “gone our own way” (Isaiah 53:6).

Yet that’s where Jesus comes into the picture …

Kim+

prayer : thank you LORD for your justice and mercy

action : confess my sin before God, repenting, and seeking His forgiveness and mercy

a soft answer turns away wrath

Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)

1 A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

There’s a beautiful contrast here between the soft answer on the one hand and the “harsh word” on the other.

At a very human level we’re often quick to jump to conclusions. Assuming another’s guilt and letting fly with “harsh words” and threats of retribution.

What we need to do is stop. Think. And before we speak take the time to consider all the angles. Weigh up all the arguments. Even put ourselves in their shoes.

Especially since people are generally prone to defensiveness when confronted and accused.

And remember that we too are just as imperfect (John 7:53-8:11).

After all. We are all condemned and thus we all deserve God’s “wrath” (Ephesians 2:3).

Yet, thankfully, Jesus “delivers [believers] from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Kim+

prayer : thank God that I’m not “destined for wrath” but have “obtained salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

action : practice answering softly

You shall not murder

“You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13 (ESV)

Sitting in church last Sunday my mind wandered a little and I wondered to myself which verse in the Bible is chapter 20 verse 13.

20:13

Of course, there are several books with that reference. But I went straight to the Book of Exodus.

I figured God might have something to say to me as He did the Israelites all those years ago.

And so it is I found the verse said “do not murder“.

If we listen to Jesus, we understand that even being “angry” is grounds for judgement (Matthew 5:21).

It’s not enough to obey the letter of the law. We need to obey the spirit of the law too.

Now there’s a great New Year’s resolution: “do not get angry”.

Easier said than done. Hence, the need to pray for it!

Kim+

prayer : please make me slow to anger

action : learn to control my anger and frustration