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Rust, Ash and Thieves

Yesterday I wrote about the thunder and lightning we had last week. It started several dozen wildfires across our region and sent crews scrambling.

There was one such fire, or fires, visible along the hillside of the freeway in the Colonial Valley area. It dotted the landscape in a vertical line and has since been extinguished.

I glanced at those fires from time to time as I drove that morning until they were out of sight. It caused me to reflect on our house fire in 1993. July 27, 1993, to be precise. The Grants Pass Fire Chief at the time called it the hottest house fire in recent Grants Pass history.

By the time that fire was out, the entire ceiling had collapsed, and walls had disappeared. Most of our possessions reduced to nothing but ash.

I am sure that is one of many reasons why we are told to not collect treasured items here on earth.

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” Matthew 6:19-21 The Message

As I thought about that day, I sent up a prayer that no one would be injured fighting these fires and that families would not lose their possessions.

Truthfully though, this, all this, will all be ash someday.

Malachi wrote “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1 ESV

In 2 Peter we read, “Waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!” 2 Peter 3:12 ESV

If those two verses alone don’t paint a picture of finality, I don’t know what will. The day is coming, when the former things, the old order of things, will pass away; be done with forever more.

John wrote in Revelation 21 that there will be no more death. Think about that!

How many funerals have you been to in your lifetime? How many recently?

How many times have you received that phone call or had that person at your door, breaking the news that someone you love had died? Perhaps you have been next to someone taking their last breath. That will never happen again when the old order of things has been done away with.

John wrote that there will be no more mourning. No more crying. No more pain. God Himself will wipe every single tear from our eyes. Even tears will be a thing of the past. (Maybe will be can still cry happy tears.)

That would be enough, but there is more. That is not the end; it is not the final chapter. We are told we will reign with Jesus for a thousand years before returning to earth.

“…And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4-6 NKJV

After the thousand years, dare I say, the best is yet to come.

John wrote, “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21:2-3 NIV

Yes, the Bible talks about a cleansing fire; a fire that will completely consume, turning everything to ash. But then Jesus will recreate, and we will have the privilege of living on this planet, in the perfect state Jesus designed for it to be.

John also wrote, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” Revelation 21: 1 ESV

What a wonderful privilege to live forever with Jesus. I want that! I think about that, often.

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:17 NIV

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