Sunday Sheep Ponderings – September 25,2016

I know it’s a little late in the day for #Sundaysheepponderings, and I had decided just to wait until some other time to post this. Then I saw a friend had posted on the very same thing I have been pondering about all day and I decided to go ahead and share it in case somebody needed to hear it.
I’ve been pondering on the term “fire” in the Scriptures. In the Bible Belt, where I grew up, “fire” in the Bible has a very negative connotation. That, along with an inadequate translation of the word into English, is the reason why so many people consider “fire” in the Scriptures to be a scarey thing.
But what if we shifted our thinking? What if we looked at the word “fire” from a different point of view? What if we saw the word “fire” in the Scriptures through the lenses of love rather than the lenses wrath? 
What if I told you that the words for “fire” that are used in scriptures to make people fear (burning in a physical place called “hell”), were actually words that mean to purify (puros) or to prune plants in order to produce fruit (kolasis). Here in the south, some people burn their grass so that the grass comes back lusher, fuller and healthier. The grass is restored and made better than it was before. Another example Is when we boil contaminated water with fire in order to remove the impurities. The purified water is clean, healthy and as it was originally created. There are many, many examples of situations in which “fire” is used to bring forth something as it was created to be.
Now, if we read the Scriptures with the mindset that God is angry and needed to take his wrath out on humanity, then we will misinterpret the word “fire” to be destructive, torturous and deadly. But, if your understanding of God is a loving father, who created you in his image and likeness, loves you with an unconditional and perfect love, then you will see “fire” as a tool of love, to purify, clean and RESTORE.
So there is something for you to ponder on today. Do you see the “fire” of God as a retributive and punishing? Or do you see the “fire” of God as refining and RESTORING?
Just like the word “saved” (to restore and make whole and healthy) that we talked about last week, maybe, just maybe you’ve been taught or misinterpreted the meaning of Scripture. If you believe that God is love, then you can be thankful and not fearful of his “fire”. 
“Such love has NO FEAR, because perfect love expels ALL fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not FULLY experienced his PERFECT love.” (1 John 4:18)
Now, that is GOOD news! Happy Pondering! 

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