I had never lived in a house with a fireplace before. Neither had my wife. The second home we bought came with one and we both thought that was pretty dang cool. That fireplace has taught us a bunch of things about each other and about life. The first thing it taught me was that my loving wife had no earthly idea how to start a fire the “right way”. The reason I know what the “right way” is, is the fact that although I never had a fireplace while growing up, our house did get heat from a big ol’ wood burning stove in the basement. Besides that, my dad had me camping, hunting, fishing and learning wilderness survival techniques before I could walk. That’s right-I could give Bear Grylls a run for his money by the time I was 8. Although I am not an expert in the flaming sciences, I have dang sure started a bunch of campfires and got the wood stove burning more times than I’d like to recall….not to mention brush piles, bonfires, burn barrels and all the other “amateur type” fires.
After several months of listening to my wife tell me she “wanted a fire” I came home with some firewood. We had just moved to the area and I didn’t know anywhere to go cut any…and I dang sure wasn’t going to buy any. Years of cutting and splitting it ourselves when I was growing up had made me way to prideful to just go out and buy it. But, I had a shoeing customer who had just cut down some live trees and he gave me some to bring home. I explained to my wife that it had to “cure” before we burned it. Fast forward a few weeks later…I made the mistake of explaining to the wife how to get a good fire started. One night I came home after dark and smelled smoke. I figured she must have bought some firewood and had a nice fire going in the living room. Neither was true. I walked in the front door and yelled for my wife….because I couldn’t see her. Because there was so much freakin’ smoke in the living room and the rest of the house. She had decided it would be ok to start a fire and burn the green wood. She was wrong. At least she didn’t need to burn any of those stinkin’ flowery/cinnamon/raspberry/cocoa/lilac candles for awhile after that-the whole house had the lovely aroma of a campfire, which I kinda liked (the candles didn’t help, believe me she tried).
I decided I’d better go get some good firewood, so I did. But, I was in a hurry when I needed to unload it so I just tossed it on the side of the house and figured I’d stack it where it couldn’t get rained on when I got time. I never got around to that before it rained. That was the second time I walked into a house that looked more like Cheech and Chong’s living room than my own. I explained to my sweetheart that it takes awhile for wood to dry out completely after it’s been rained on before it will burn good.
I finally broke down and bought some good, cured hickory. We had us a good ol’ fire and my wife was never happier. It doesn’t take much to please her….and I thank God for that. She just kept telling me, “I’m sorry. I just wanted a fire so bad!” The thing is, no matter how bad she wanted to have a fire in the fireplace it wasn’t going to happen until she went about it the right way.
Getting to spend forever in heaven is a lot like that. No matter how bad you don’t want to spend forever in hell or how bad you want to get to heaven, there’s only one way to do it. You can live the “best” life any human has ever lived-give all of your money to the poor, never have a cross word with anyone, drive the speed limit everyday of your life, help 10,000 old ladies cross the street, coach your kid’s baseball team, be president of the PTA, go to church every day of your life, etc. Unless you believe in Jesus Christ as your savior with everything ya got, you’re wood is still wet.
If you died in the next 5 minutes, where would your soul spend eternity? How do you know?
Just wanting to be forgiven and saved ain’t enough. You can want to have a good fire with everything ya got, but unless you build a good foundation and you’re wood’s cured and dry it just ain’t gonna burn.
Living a “clean life” is a good thing and part of God’s plan for you, but it ain’t gonna get you to heaven. None of us are perfect anyway. Matter of fact, I know some pretty rough fellars whose wood is gonna burn and I know some pretty “clean” church folks whose wood might not even smoke. Your soul being saved is based on your belief in Jesus. If you really believe, you’ll probably feel led to change some things in your life…but that’s between you and Jesus.
Just make sure yer wood ain’t wet. I wanna see ya around that big campfire in the sky someday.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
Jake Hershey 1/6/13