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Supernatural Fire – Fire Makes You Look
1. Fire makes you look
Fire is an intriguing thing to look upon. I recall the days of my youth when our family lived in the country. One year we hosted a family get-together and had all our relatives out to visit us. We country bumpkins didn’t have anything fancy to offer our city-slicker relatives at that time, as we lived in a double-wide mobile home out in the middle of nowhere. Beyond fishing in our little lake and playing ball with all the cousins throughout the day, there wasn’t really anything for us to do at night. My Dad, however, took the initiative to make the night special. To all of our surprise, Dad got together a bunch of wood and had a good old- fashion bon fire.
Though this was new to all of us, Dad was quite accustomed to it as he had been to many bon fires during his high school football days. The Boone High “Braves” apparently had pep rallies to promote school spirit before a big game, during which a bon fire was set ablaze. In our spacious country yard Dad set the bon fire ablaze and we all gathered around to look on with intrigue. Some roasted marsh-mellows. Others sat around the fire laughing and telling stories. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all gazed upon the blazing fire.
Fire arrests and intrigues the soul
Fire has an astounding ability to grip one’s attention. When my younger brother Franklin was just a toddler, he managed to secure some matches with which he single handedly started a fire. All of the sudden I heard my Mom yell for me, saying “Go get Franklin.” Not quite knowing what was going on, I walked outside and found Franklin standing within two feet of a gallon of gasoline. He was proudly watching the plastic container burn, within which was the gasoline we used for our lawnmower. I shall never forget the acute fascination upon his face as he looked at that fire.
That would not be the only time Franklin would be in need of a valiant rescue effort. A few years later he and our cousin Jamie were playing with sparklers one hot summer month. There was a great drought as it had not rained for quite some time. Everything was dry both in our yard and in the vast state park adjacent to our property. Franklin and Jamie were having a good time lighting and playing with their sparklers, but neglected to properly dispose of them. Within minutes the state park adjacent to us had caught on fire. The crackling dry grass suddenly gave way to the flames. Our heroic Dad ran outside, gave us all a few choice words, then leapt through the barbed wire fence with hose in hand to extinguish the blaze.
Jamie’s elder brother, my cousin Corey, gave me my third memorable experience with fire. He and I being both about the same age frequently played ball together in his backyard. Upon discovering an ant bed on our playing field, Corey took the initiative to remove the irritants by pouring some gasoline on the mound of dirt in which they resided and lighting a match. I was indeed impressed by Corey’s initiative and bold display of defiance at such a young age, not to mention his use of fire. Incidentally, that was the last we saw of the ants.
My fourth recollection of fire is one of my Dad’s famous sayings and humorous tricks. I cannot fully express the innocence of my youth which my Dad played upon, as he thoroughly enjoyed being childish right along with me and took great joy in my apparent gullibility. He once asked me, “Have you ever seen a match burn twice?” I couldn’t quite recall ever having seen a match burn twice, so I said “No.” He then proceeded to light a match, blow it out and then apply the match stick to my forearm. As I jolted from the match’s heat, he laughingly replied “That’s how a match burns twice.”
All of these accounts of fire, humorous as they may be, all give various ways of how fire can be looked at. I tend to think God Himself has a bit of a sense of humor. Not to mention that the Bible attests to the fact that our Creator laughs (Ps. 2:4).
Looking Beyond Yourself and Your Background
Moses was one man in whom God was interested. The Lord appeared to Moses “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” (Ex. 3:2). Moses was a bit surprised to say the least. Certainly, this wasn’t a common phenomenon for the man. As the bush burned with fire, it not being consumed, Moses stood still and took another look. The fire of God makes you look.
The fire of God’s Spirit arrests us within and causes us to take another look at the way we live our lives. The fire of the Spirit compels us to look beyond that which is temporal and earthly. Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, as he chose to suffer affliction with the people of God. Instead of enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season, Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt (Heb. 11:24-26).
To look beyond the temporal and fix our eyes upon the eternal requires great concentration and commitment. Looking out, beyond yourself, can be the initial key to experiencing a breakthrough in your life. You must be able to see the forest from the trees. Your perspective must be widened and broadened. Oh, to know the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of God’s love for us (Eph. 3:17-19). Such immeasurable love is only conceivable when we come to the end of ourselves. God alone can enable us to see beyond ourselves and reach beyond self-sufficiency. Self-centered living ultimately limits us, whereas being God centered is truly liberating.
Your life must first be God-centered. A self-centered life is dull and boring. A God-centered life, on the contrary, is full of excitement, newness and adventure! Thus, God interrupted Moses and beckoned him to look unto something new, beyond himself, wherein God Himself was found.
Smith Wigglesworth said of a certain people1:
“For some years I was associated with a certain church group. They are very strong on the Word and are sound on water baptism; they do not neglect the breaking of bread service and have it every Lord’s Day morning as they had it in the Early Church. These people seem to have everything except the match. They have the wood, but they need the fire and then they would be all ablaze. Because they lack the fire of the Holy Spirit there is no life in their meetings. One young man who attended their meetings received the Baptism with the speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance. The brethren were very upset about this and came to the father and said to him, “You must take your son aside and tell him to cease.” They did not want any disturbance. The father told the son and said, “My boy, I have been attending this church for twenty years and have never seen anything of this kind. We are established in the truth and do not want anything new. We won’t have it.” The son replied, “If that is God’s plan I will obey, but somehow or other I don’t think it is.” As they were going home the horse stood still; the wheels were in deep ruts. The father pulled at the reins but the horse did not move. He asked, “What do you think is up?” The son answered, “It has got established.”
God save us from becoming stationary. Where God is there is motion, movement and momentum. Two-thirds of God’s name is “Go.” It is therefore mandatory that we go on with Him and go into all that He has for us, regardless of the stationary who are content to settle in their establishment. Run from anything that seeks to keep you stationary and sedentary!
God speaks your language
God sometimes appears to people at the most peculiar places and during the most unusual times. Since He is God, He can do whatever He wants, however He wants, with whomever He wants. His manner and method by which He speaks to humanity can be very vast. This is because God deals with us as individuals on a case by case basis. He knows what is best for us at any given juncture in our lives. Therefore, God speaks and reveals Himself in a way that is most effective and capable of accomplishing His purpose in our lives. He knows what appeals to us and how to get our attention.
In my own life, God showed up when I least expected it. I had not been seeking the Lord, nor had I even been attending weekly church services. Formerly, I had been a Lutheran and an Anglican church member. As I grew up with my Lutheran maternal grandparents until the time I entered junior high school, I was infant baptized and attended a few church youth outings. Upon beginning to live with my dad and step-mom, I began to attend their Anglican church, wherein I was confirmed. Though I had been actively involved with both churches, neither ever deeply affected my life in any way. I went on youth outings, was involved in a play and served for years as an acolyte. Yet, none of these left any significant impression upon my heart and life.
Though pouring water and wine on the priest’s hands as an acolyte got me closer to the priest, their was a greater priestly service to be found in ministering to the Lord. When Jesus touched my heart one day within my bedroom by the fire of His Holy Spirit, a holy gratitude and passion filled me with a consuming desire to praise His holy Name. This awe inspiring God who revealed Himself to me as He truly is blew my dead religious upbringing out of the water. The traditional church which I attended was warm and loving, but liturgically iced over spiritually.
Look beyond “your” church
When the fire of God’s Spirit came upon me, I was quick to reverence God. I immediately offered unto God the praise of my lips. Praise and adoration is the supreme sacrifice of a heart fixed on worshipping Jesus Himself. Remember, Jesus is our High Priest and He alone is worthy of our worship. No church can save you because no church died for you. This is why your heart must be fixed upon Christ alone. Look unto Jesus the author and finisher of your faith. Look unto Jesus the head of the Church of the living God.
Prior to my cold heart having been touched by God’s Spirit, I thought I was sure of my salvation due to my occasional church attendance. The focus was the church. Upon being born again by the Holy Spirit, however, my heart was fixed upon Him who had shed His very own blood for me. Thus, I took a look beyond my local church and began to look unto the author and the finisher of my faith. Upon looking unto Jesus, the head of the Church, the joy of the Lord began to fill me to overflowing.
As David said, “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; you shall make me full of joy with your countenance” (Acts 2:28). My ways were all church oriented previously, but when Jesus intervened and showed Himself to be the only way, I had my first taste of eternal life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). Is it any wonder the countenance of many has fallen as they’ve erred in looking to their church rather than to Jesus. For this reason, the Bible declares Jesus to be the head of the Church and the chief-cornerstone upon which it is built (Eph. 2:20).
Let us, therefore, look beyond our religious traditions and denominational affiliations. “Lift up your heads…and the King of glory shall come in” (Ps.24:7). Don’t even look unto yourself. Look unto Jesus, the prince of life (Acts 3:15). Unfortunately, doctrines of men and religious traditions often hinder people in pursuit of a relationship with Jesus. They remove the fire and power from the Gospel, making Christ’s followers cold and mechanical. Jesus Himself said the Word of God is made of no effect by your tradition (Mark 7:13). Furthermore, doctrines and commandments of men cause supposed heartfelt worship to be self-centered and vain (Matt.15:9).
When faith in Christ began in Israel, it began as a relationship with a Person. Upon spreading to Greece it became a philosophy. When it reached Rome, it became an institution. As it entered Europe it became a culture. Eventually, when it came to the United States it became an enterprise. Sadly, when man’s methodology and mechanisms are added to the simplicity of Christ and Him crucified, a dead religious monstrosity is birthed. The Christians of Christ often mislead the seekers of Christ. We should therefore look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
Look unto Jesus and live! While sinning in the wilderness, the children of Israel were bitten by fiery serpents. When they cried out to Moses for help, the Lord told Moses to make a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole. It came to pass, that everyone who looked upon it, lived (Num.21:5-9). Jesus said, “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (Jn. 3:14). Amazingly enough, Jesus likened Himself unto a serpent. That is, Jesus became our sin, though there was no sin in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). Today, hospitals and ambulances across the world use the symbol of a snake on a pole – a picture of Christ crucified. Thus, when you look unto Jesus, beholding Him who paid the price for your sins, you can live. Take your eyes off of yourself. Behold Him who sits upon the throne. Look and live!
The one true God answers by fire
Jesus did not die establish a religion about God. Jesus died to restore relationship to God. Like Elijah the prophet, Jesus boldly challenged the idols and wrong mindsets of His day. Elijah boldly confronted king Ahab and the false prophets saying, “The God who answers by fire, let him be God” (1 Kings 18:24). Unlike the gods of this world which are nothing more than the creation of men’s minds, our God is the Creator of heaven and earth. The Maker of heaven and earth answers the prayers of His people. Not so with the idols of the earth made by the hands of men. Let the fire of God set you ablaze as was Elijah, who mocked the false gods of the land! Look unto the Lord your helper and live! As you grasp who the God of heaven is you shall be able to point others Godward that they too may “Look and live!”
The Gospel must be both seen and heard. When Elijah called fire down from heaven, the people not only heard it but also saw it with their own eyes (1 Kings 18:36-39). I would have liked to see the expression upon their faces. Their eyeballs must have been the size of baseballs. The fire of God fell with such power that it consumed the burnt sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench (v. 38). And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God” (v. 39). The people did not fall upon their faces because of the eloquent preaching of Elijah. No! It was when they saw God show up that they humbled their hearts and acknowledged the most high. And when God showed up, He came as fire.
Nothing has changed in the New Testament. People still need to see the God of heaven demonstrate His awesome power. The people of the city of Samaria gave heed unto the preaching of Philip because they both heard and saw. Philip’s gospel was demonstrated with powerful miracles, the casting out of devils and gifts of healing (Acts 8:5-7). The result was joy in Samaria. When God begins to uphold His Word and confirm it with signs following, people will stop and look. When Almighty God begins to flex His muscles and throw His weight around, people will turn off WWF and behold the living God.
When the Lord descended upon mount Sinai, the smoke ascended and the whole mount quaked greatly (Ex. 19:18). The children of Israel were captivated by the display of God’s mighty and awesome power. Their pupils probably got as big as golf balls, while they beheld His glory and splendor. The sight of the glory of the Lord upon the mount was like a devouring fire (Ex. 24:17).
Wait no more!
A certain sick man waited one day for the stirring of the water in expectation of being healed (Jn. 5:2-6). Surprisingly, when Jesus appeared before him, he didn’t even register it. The sick man was so caught up in trying to get in the water to be healed that he overlooked Christ the Healer who stood directly in front of him. Jesus asked him, “Will you be made well?” Yet, he never answered the question (v. 7). The sick man kept rambling on about how he needed to be put into the pool’s water. He thought his healing was in the moving water, when in actuality his healing was in the Lord standing before his very eyes. The source of all power, life and health is God Almighty. Though God did use at one time the pool to manifest His healing power, it was never the intent of God for those sick in body to put their eyes on the pool. The sick and needy must put their eyes on Jesus!
Sadly, many in our day focus more on the ministerial method than on the Lord. God can move in many ways. Man should not deify the manner or method in which God has previously moved. Our God is not limited to a particular way of moving. In Him we live, move and have our being – not the other way around. Therefore, let us be open to whatever way God may choose to move and bless our lives. Notice that when Jesus healed the man, He did not lay His hands upon Him (v. 8-9). Jesus simply spoke and commanded him what to do. Had the sick man not obeyed Jesus with heartfelt faith, he would have remained in his sickness.
Jesus is always willing and able
Jesus is always willing and able to help you. Jesus said to the leper, “I am willing.” The same Jesus who was willing to heal the leper wants to heal you (Matt. 8:2-3). Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). The question is: “Are we willing to worship Jesus as our Source like the leper did?” The sick at the pool of Bethesda were looking to the water as their source and forgot the Lord. What or who are you looking to? Are you looking to your medication? Are you looking to your physician? Our God is an ever-present help in times of trouble when we acknowledge Him to be our Source and Deliverer (Ps. 46:1). When we take refuge in Him, He will strengthen us. Jesus can save to the uttermost (Heb. 7:25). Stop waiting on God and start believing Him! Believe in the crucified Christ who finished the work on Calvary for your personal victory and total liberty. “It is finished” (Jn. 19:30). Jesus has won the victory! Believe it and receive it! Wait no more.
If you’ve not done business with God, don’t be surprised if He suddenly appears to you and has a little heart to heart talk with you. Moses very likely had not done business with God in a long time, when suddenly Jehovah appeared to him.
The fire of God arrests the attention of the backslider and causes him to slide back to God. I can attest to the fact that backsliders are the most unhappy people in the world. They neither enjoy God nor the sinfulness of the world. They have too much of Christ’s Spirit to enjoy the world, and too much of the world to enjoy God.
Though we may not be trustworthy, God remains faithful and trustworthy. He cannot deny Himself, nor His Word. The ancient paths wherein our spiritual forefathers have walked are bountiful with the blessings of God. The road of obedience is a sure path, where all that you need pertaining to life and godliness can be found. Take another look at your life and your present condition. Remember that Jesus came to enhance your life and give you more abundant life. Upon looking to Him, you can begin to truly live.
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