Thursday, March 11, 2010

Watch that Fire in Your Mouth - It's Dangerous!

Came across the story of Centralia, PA, this past week. It was a vibrant mining town of over 1600 people, and now there are ten! It's destruction started in 1962 when someone thought it would be a good idea to burn trash in a local landfill that was sitting on top of an abandoned coal mine. The fire ignited the coal and spread to underground veins of coal running under the city. The result? Poison gases, ground collapsing under people's feet, and eventually the town was vacated (except for the ten people left.). They estimate it will burn for another 250 years!

Here is a trailer for a recent movie documentary made about Centralia.

Whoever started the fire, they did not intend to destroy their town. They did not know that once the coal was ignited and the fire spread, that they would not be able to put it out easily. That one act (which was compounded by the government's inability to deal with the crisis) destroyed a town.

This fire reminds me of the destructive potential of our careless words to each other. James writes, "Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." (James 3:5,6)

Fiery words (and they don't have to be a full blaze, but just "smoldering" comments) can do irreparable damage. Words destroy families, businesses, friendships and ministries. Please listen to your words. It is so easy to argue, to pick, to be sarcastic, or trivial.

Yet our words also have the power to bless, to encourage, to instruct, to enrich, and, in the hands of God's Spirit, to point someone to Jesus Christ.

So pray for wisdom and guidance in the use of that powerful flame in your mouth. Fire, uncontrolled, can destroy whole towns, but it can also be used to bring warmth and life IF it is controlled! It's too late for Centralia, but not for you!

May you and everyone you meet today enjoy the blessings of your God-given, God-glorifying words!

Note: Read more about Centrailia here:,_PA

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