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Uncontrolled fire quickly becomes wild fire

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On two separate occasions, traveling back from Texas, we saw two vehicles burned so badly there was nothing left but the metal frame. One was a small car. The other an over-the-road semi. One probably a traveler; the other a truck driver trying to make a living for his family. The car was still ablaze like a big ball of fire and as I watched massive rolls of black smoke lift into the sky my heart was so broken for the sadness it caused for the family.

It made me think of how something as small as a tiny spark, or embers from the tip of a cigarette, can start a forest fire. As you know, fire can quickly get out of control. I read where an unchecked fire doubles in size every minute. It's safe to say, an unchecked fire can quickly become wild fire. It's the same with fiery circumstances in our lives. James, an Apostle and the brother of Jesus, said the words we speak are like a fire with potential to quickly become wild fire.

He compared the words that roll off our tongue to blazing fire with potential to cause tremendous trouble. James said when the tongue sets a fire, it becomes a world of iniquity (lots of trouble). He said it's also like a rudder on a ship that has the power to turn a great ship and even control it in storms. Though small in comparison to the ship, the rudder sets the course. In the same way, the tongue is a tiny portion of our bodies, but it has great influence over our lives. Proverbs 21:23 says "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity."

Can we honestly expect peaceful lives, or a peaceful country, if bitter, envying and strife are in our hearts and pouring out our mouth? It takes a very small fire to set a great forest ablaze. The bitter rhetoric that comes across our televisions day after day after day has the potential to start great fires; many we are beginning to witness.

According to scripture, to have control over our whole body, we must master control over our words. I don't think we can do that without the help of God. James said it defiles all the body and sets on fire the course of nature.

The key is control. Controlled fire does wonderful things and is a great benefit to mankind, but uncontrolled, unchecked fire, is the thing that causes us problems. It's been said that great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people. What do you hear discussed more than anything else? People. And their faults!

Both an uncontrolled fire and an uncontrolled tongue are destructive. The key is control. Control comes only through God and the fruit of the Spirit he gives. As believers in Jesus let's use the power we have been given, by God, to bring good into our lives and our country. With fire, a house can be burned to the ground or you can cook a tasty meal. The only difference is in how controlled the fire is.

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