Daily Devotionals

Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

Devotional: September 4th

Where the Flame Doesn't Destroy

How hot is hot? Here in the Bluegrass the days have been steamy ones. The temperatures have been hovering around ninety degrees. With the humidity the heat index has soared to near one hundred fifteen degrees. The days are slightly miserable with the tiniest of movements outdoors resulting in breaking a sweat. People have basically gone indoors. Where before there used to be a flurry of activity in and around our cul-de-sac there is now nothing. Even the kids don't want to be out in it.

Meanwhile, almost two thousand miles away the heat has become more than just a discomfort, it has become a killer. In Phoenix the temperatures have climbed to around 116 degrees. The overnight lows are about what our highs are here. In Bullhead City, Nevada, Yvonne Morales, owner of the local Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Store, accepted the request of a Chicago, Illinois, radio station as she put a scoop of ice cream on the sidewalk to see how long it would take for it to melt. It took eight seconds. The temperature in Bullhead City at the time? 124 degrees.

Phoenix is the city suffering the most. Since their heat wave began June 29, eighteen people have died as a result of the heat. The majority of those who have died were homeless. To put it in polite terms, they didn't have air conditioned homes and offices into which they could retreat from the heat. Phoenix police Sgt. Randy Force said, "Most of us just run from air-conditioned box to air-conditioned box, so it's hard to imagine how omnipresent the heat really is for the homeless here." The problem has not been just the heat but the heat index as unseasonably humid air has increased the heat by another ten to fifteen percent.

It is hard to imagine heat so bad that people would just lay down and die in it. Most of us have witnessed a bonfire into which different things were thrown and the flames swallowed them up and devoured them. Intense heat destroys; that we know. But there was that incident about a bush that burned but was not consumed. Exodus 3:1-3 The flames, the intense heat, did not destroy. God mastered that with a bush; and with hell.

Jesus gave us a glimpse into hell with the story of the rich man and Lazarus. "So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' " Luke 16:22-24 The flames did not destroy. How nice it is to have air conditioning during the heat wave. How much better it will be to spend eternity with God in heaven away from the flames that do not destroy.

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