“Little did I know at the time, that behind the scenes, God was causing all things to work together for good, to those who love Him, those called according to His purpose.”
The Fire really had changed EVERYTHING for me that day, and everyday since. It has taken me four years just to tell you this much. And as you can see, there is “much”. I do apologize for the length. As it is, I’ve revised it numerous times already and I’m probably not finished [sleeping on Him usually provides me a different perspective by morning. And so it was the case, this morning.] If you read this post yesterday or even earlier in this day, you’ll probably find it different, and hopefully “better”, today.
In all honesty, it was the journey from this fire, that has opened my eyes to see God’s wonder working power, and also, how He orchestrated [and still does] all events and people to work together for His good and plan-full purpose. I am still amazed today by it all. Starting within days and continuing to the present, God has brought people into my life or highlighted the ones already in it, that confirmed not only the messages from the fire, but a perspective to where I was to go from there.
Here is a very small remnant of how good our God really is– to those who love Him, those whom He called [even that day]…
A few months after the day of the fire, the volunteer fireman [my school buddy from the first roadblock – see “The Fire Changes EVERYTHING” for a frame of reference], actually made his way through the church one Sunday morning, shortly after the service had ended. [He did not attend there- or anywhere to my knowledge, prior to the fire.] I don’t know his reason for being in the area or at the church that day, but he made it all the way through the sanctuary to speak to me, passed everyone else, and requested that I pray for his sister who now had cancer. What a privilege!
I had just shared with him at a benefit that we both volunteered at [about a month after the fire and for the fallen fireman at the Farm Petting Zoo], of how I saw the Lord working at the fire and where I thought his fireman friend was now. [When I was driving around and praying for the Lord to save him the day of the fire, I felt as if the Lord had done just that– pulled him off, up, and out of the fire- Himself.] My fireman friend then shared with me the details of the fire I had not known.
The fireman that died [who was considered “close family” by all including the owners of the farm, and was also scheduled to be in the family’s wedding party within a few weeks], was one of the first to respond at the scene. Because of his close ties to the family, he personally wanted to go up first and check on the fire status [even at a risk to himself]… out of love & loyalty to the family. Unbeknownst to him or anyone, there was a dangerous sleeper-like fire rekindling and waiting to awaken at an opportune time. [I know an enemy like that!] So when he had reached the top, it exploded.
When my friend told me all these things, I knew what I’d saw was real. The fallen fireman never really fell to his death. The Lord took him in flight… “Jesus saves!” My fireman friend said “I hope you’re right.” [He must have seen something in what I had said, because within a short time, he was asking me to pray for his much loved sister.] “Me too!” I said. And “Thank You Jesus!”
The Fire, continues…
A month after the fire, the first day of the two-day benefit for the fallen fireman, I attended a women’s conference in the morning before heading to the benefit to volunteer. It was called “A day of encouragement”. [I know I needed one at the time. My days since the fire had gotten seemingly worse than better. “Be fully aware of what you ask for– He just may give it to you.”] The details and what occurred at this [sadly misguided] conference will have to be told in its own post or chapter. If the speaker’s plan for this conference, along with her actions, were orchestrated to bring about tongues of fire, the wrong fire was captured.
“Here I was, a nobody in a guest church for ‘a day of encouragement’, with my hands over my ears, and my head bent down between my knees, waiting for ‘the fiery crash’… crying “Oh God, make it stop!” [To me, all that I heard, sounded more like an airplane engine trying unsuccessfully to start, having been fueled with the wrong power source. So when it eventually started moving — it wasn’t “good”.]”
But- “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
And so He did! I had met a woman right after the conference had broke for lunch. [She, as it turned out, happened to work at the farm’s Petting Zoo in the summers. But I did not discover this until after my breakdown.] She was seated near a pastor’s wife that I knew and loved, so when I broke down [rare occurrence] and shared some of my scenes from the fire that were still open wounds to me, this woman shared and comforted me with hers.
I do not remember the details of her story, except for this- she could not get there either, so she had prayed her heart out for Jesus to save them. All of them, because she was their friend, too.
The Fire, continues…
There have been hundreds of events, and even more people, that have blessed me and have testified to God’s omnipotent grace and power over [and from] just one fire, that for me… changed everything. I had met people at that time that I now serve alongside of. So many have blessed me that I would be negligent in trying to name them all. And I could no more attempt, to do or speak justice, to the multitude of testimonies that have come out from the fire.
I will say this, that even after all that the owners of this farm had been through [especially my friend who not only lost her 99 babies, her dear fireman friend – who was like a son (she initially had to be hospitalized for the trauma), and her own Mother dying the second day of the benefit]… our God reigned!!! So many people flocked to the Lord from that day forward. “Hallelujah!” It’s like watching a fire ignite and spread– brushed, fanned, and powered, by a totally & amazingly different source. — an ignition by the Holy Spirit. “Wow God!”
I can say hundreds, because on that benefit weekend alone, that’s how many attended, were touched, and where tens of thousands were raised [money too]. 😉
I’d prayed to God [begged actually] for Him to bring people into my life whose hearts “bleed like mine for Jesus”, and He did! It was like watching a tapestry of people, piece by piece, add to a bigger more colorful picture. Yet, we all bled, read, and appeared red. [Kind of like coals when they are on-fire.]
To tie this all together… Just last Sunday, I heard a message that has resonated with me all week. From this Scripture in Romans 12…
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This is what I took with me from the sermon [specifically addressing the parts that pertain to these two posts and the fire]…
Back in His day, and the time in which Paul wrote this, every household would bring what they had or what they could, to the center of town and added their contribution to a massive fire pit [or altar?], to fuel the fire. So everyday, someone from each household would venture to town to give… and receive. They would bring a basket with them that was to be filled with the coals and embers that were created from the cooperative fire, and return home carrying these coal-filled baskets on top of their heads. This basket of fuel would serve to warm their whole house and everyone in it.
So what we are to make and take away from this Scripture is not a curse [“Yah, take that you horrible person. Serves you right for messing with me!” Or… “Be judged all you who didn’t join me for prayer at the fire.”], but instead, how God [even through our pain], can challenge us to rise up and cause all things, including this one- as a heartwarming, self-less, Jesus-focused, “good” witness, and an amazingly grace-full blessing. [[“God Bless every body!”]]
“And from this day forward,
I could not settle for lukewarm
I’m thinking today, that the fire on April 11, 2010 that had changed everything, was more like a baptism by fire, as I stood around the fire, in that beloved Baptist church. Fire, water, and “Holy Spirit reign”… I guess this makes all of them for me now. 😎
I often ask for His baptism– all of them. If it’s the fire that clears away the chaff, the sin, whatever stupidity that exists in me– so be it! I want it GONE! Sure it’s painful, but I have never, even once, walked through the fire alone. He is present in the midst of the flames with me. And although I don’t look as good or unsigned as Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, I do pray I’m getting closer –with Jesus.
16 John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. [Luke 3:16]
I know that I should fear the fire, but I honestly don’t. Matter-of-fact, I’ve been drawn to it. I revere it. I am warmed by it. I am mesmerized by it. I’ve grown to appreciate it. I find power in it. And I can’t keep my eyes off of it [Him].
♪ Come be the fire inside of me. Come be the flame upon my heart.
Come be the fire inside of me… until You and I are one. ♪
“If you make Jesus your everything,
then He’ll be EVERYTHING– for you!”
The Fire, continues…
♪ You won’t relent until You have it all.
My heart is Yours! ♪
♪ I don’t want to talk about You, like You’re not in the room.
I want to look right at You. I want to sing right to You ♪…
Set a fire…
You won’t relent until You have it all. My heart is Yours.
Come like a rushing wind. Come like a fire again.
Come like a burning flame. Have Your way!
Have Your way!
The fire continues…
Lord, I need You!
Break Every Chain
Hands to the Heavens
Forever – Alive Again
Build Your Kingdom Here
And All The People Said Amen
I’ve been singing “Set a Fire down in my soul that I can’t contain that I can’t control- I want more of You God…” for days now & everywhere I go. I have repeatedly asked the Lord, “If there is any wicked way in me ‘take it’, cut it out’, ‘tell me’ [so I’m aware of it], and yes, even apply the coals. Take the coals from Your altar and burn out whatever isn’t Yours [I’m aware now of the pain involved]. Do whatever You must do… better is one day in Your court than a thousand elsewhere”.
Isaiah 6 (NKJV)
Isaiah Called to Be a Prophet
6 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
9 And He said, “Go, and tell this people:
‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
10 “Make the heart of this people dull,
And their ears heavy,
And shut their eyes;
Lest they see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart,
And return and be healed.”
11 Then I said, “Lord, how long?”
And He answered:
“Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant,
The houses are without a man,
The land is utterly desolate,
12 The Lord has removed men far away,
And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
13 But yet a tenth will be in it,
And will return and be for consuming,
As a terebinth tree or as an oak,
Whose stump remains when it is cut down.
So the holy seed shall be its stump.”