Word on Fire

Paul writes to Timothy

'I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you'
(2Tim 1:6)


so, to help the church with this, we offer this brief word, because

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord'
(Jeremiah 23:29)

Tsunami: an act of God?

It's perhaps the biggest question asked by people today. 'If God is almighty, and if he's good, why doesn't he prevent bad things from happening?' The reasoning goes on. 'For him to allow those tsunami to happen, either he can't be almighty, or he can't be good'. The reasoning either concludes that God is not both mighty and good, or seeks to justify the tragedy as somehow, mysteriously, God's will - an act of God.
I'd like to address briefly the second of these 'reasoned' conclusions, and I'll begin by saying with passion that these tsunami were NOT an act of God. Sure, God is in control. God was in control when a mighty wind swept in from the desert and collapsed the house in which Job's sons and daughters were feasting (Job 1:18-19), but it wasn't God who did it.
God was in control in the parable Jesus told about wise and foolish builders - a parable, not an actual event, but Jesus would never tell a story to illustrate the kingdom of God without God being in control. In that parable (Lk 6:46-49) a flood struck the house of one man and it was destroyed, but it wasn't God that destroyed it! Satan is the destroyer (Jn 10:10, Rev 9:11). God is the creator, and the one who created and sustains this world out of love (e.g. Col 1:16, Jn 3:16).
God made a promise long ago, and confirmed it by a sign and by his word, saying "Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life." (Genesis 9:14-15). In fact, he has revealed to us that the next 'flood' will not be water, but FIRE!
Satan is a coward! A despicable, self-glorifying, chicken. Satan is a loser who pretends to be a winner by attacking the weak, the vulnerable, those whose houses (spiritual or physical) are at risk and not standing firm. Satan, see my shoe? That's where you are, and where you belong - under my feet (Ro 16:20)!
In 2 Peter 3:5-6 Peter refers to the Genesis flood (Noah's flood), saying "[people] deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed." Let's believe and proclaim it together - God has never, and will never, destroy all life by flood water. That's what villages in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India lost - all life, but it wasn't an act of God.
Noah's flood was water. Jesus' flood is fire. Peter goes on (v7)"By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.". He's not just talking about last-day judgement here, friends (although this, obviously, part of what he speaks about). God's word (Jesus), through his servant (Peter) is telling us that THE PRESENT EARTH is RESERVED FOR FIRE! Fire in the hearts, lives, prayers, and faith of all people alive today. It begins in those who believe. I've seen a cyclone turned away by fire-powered intercession. I believe the word of the Lord can still the waves (Mk 4:39). I believe that God answers prayer in the face of the 'waves of death' (2Sam 22:5-7).
People are calling the tsunami a 'natural disaster'. There is NO SUCH THING AS A NATURAL DISASTER. There are natural events (events of God's nature). What makes them a disaster is our action or inaction. The existence of faith, and faith put into action, transforms crisis into comfort and pain into prosperity. Mark my words, friends, over the coming months and years we'll hear stories of God's grace in answering the fervent (which literally means 'on the boil, on the fire') cries of his people. I can already tell of one village I know in India that 'should' have suffered terrible damage but merely suffered some flooding. The reason, I'm sure, is the revival in that village beginning in 2003 when I was the first 'outsider' to preach the gospel there!
The countries that the tsunami hit are countries of great corruption. Places where government support doesn’t reach the poor, even when there is a policy in place for it to do so (and there often isn't). God has been calling for a Christian community on fire with faith and love to minister to these nations for centuries. His voice has been heard by some, now will more of the world hear? He has been calling for the gospel to be preached to these countries, and for the native peoples to hear and receive. The false gods of Hinduism, Islam, Buddism etc have failed them. The Hindu 'goddess' of the sea, 'Gangamma talli' has shown a lack of love for her worshippers. Now God - the true God - will be made known!
2Peter reminds us " the earth was formed out of water and by water ". Already, the affected areas are being re-formed, out of water, and in many cases their infrastructure and their faith will be better than in it was before the waves struck. Already, aid is flooding in to the survivors of Satan's cowardly attacks. In many cases, this aid is being sent to, and distributed by, the servants of God, Christian pastors and agencies. " And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Ro 8:28). Let's make sure the aid gets to the people who are best qualified, by the fire of the Spirit, to distribute it. Let's make sure that the aid is accompanied by the preaching of the gospel of love, empowerment, and victorious salvation in Jesus' name. It's not too late to fan a fire of faith and hope for those people in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia. Do it now, by prayer, by provision, and - if you're able to - by your presence.