One year ago I delivered the message that Holy Spirit shared with me during one of the worst firestorm seasons to ever hit the U.S. state in which I live. That message was recorded in Two Kinds of Flames, Part 1. These two posts go hand-in-hand. Before you read any further in Part 2, I encourage you to re-read or read for the first time Part 1. Now a year later, the message shared then remains significant and increasingly relevant for the Church and the emerging Bride given the firestorm of fear, hate, hopelessness and apathy raging among global humanity both near and far.
Take a few minutes to read Part 1, then rejoin me here. Like before, I don’t apologize for the length of this post.
As Paul said, ‘the tools of (my) trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation…’ (II Corinthians 10:4 MSG) They are for releasing the message the Lord is conveying to His people today. He doesn’t operate within man’s boundaries or best practices model. We write together and I do my best to follow where He leads. I don’t always hear as clearly as I would like or respond as perfectly or quickly as He is asking, but I find I am increasingly sensitive to His impressions and His words of truth. He has a tone of His own with a voice I know, proof that His sheep do indeed hear His voice.
The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice;
and I know them, and they follow Me.
(John 10:27 AMP)
Welcome to Part 2 of Two Kinds of Flames. You may want to have your Bible nearby for reference.
There is an approaching Day of the Lord wherein earth as we know it will be consumed by fire. (II Peter 3:7,10 in context) It’s not a popular thought to think about, yet there seems to be two camps when the topic comes up:
“I don’t want to think/hear/talk about it, period.” Or, challenging/commanding God to “bring it on!”
Father knows best how to deal with both and sent His Holy Spirit to indwell and teach us, unveiling Christ who is our Life. Before that Day arrives there is another fire that even now faithfully burns. It is the flame of the Holy Spirit –
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I,
whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor,
gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
(Matthew 3:12-12 NIV84- John the Baptist speaking about Jesus)
In Matthew 24 Jesus, the living Word, counseled His disciples quite clearly before His earthly life ended how it would be for them in the days to come. In answer to their when and what questions about the end of the age, the first words out of His mouth were, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:3-5, emphasis mine)
Given that was a relevant word to them two thousand years ago, we are much closer today to the fulfillment of the rest of His prophetic wisdom and counsel that follows in that chapter. They were already living in the last days when Jesus was here in human flesh. (Hebrews 1:2) Two millennia later, one might call ours the last, last days. Days of dividing and separation, gathering together, and cleansing fire.
Whereas fire is feared for its destructive properties, the flame of the Holy Spirit makes us holy as He is holy. It has nothing to do with being sought after, acclaimed or followed by a multitude of other human flesh. It has everything to do with becoming the living, breathing witnesses of Christ’s life within.
Holy Spirit will let nothing and no one ‘off the hook’ as the days darken. One thing is now evident:
His flame of fire is burning a demarcation line in the sand of our individual and corporate heart.
Or as John the Baptist put it, gathering his wheat and burning up the chaff.
If you’re feeling the activity and effects of both, that’s a good thing. It means The Flame is at work.
Those who are allowing His purifying fire in their own life – as hard and painful as that may be – have every right to ask with Paul, ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ 31 (in context of Romans 8), for they are coming to know it is His life within that causes them to stand in the heat of the day (when all they know of God’s inalienable truth is challenged, resisted, defrauded, rejected, twisted, lied about, used …)
The more our heart is softened like wax, the stronger and deeper the imprint of His nature within as we receive His divine fire in our bosom. We’ve all known fire that is the opposite and counterfeit of divine fire in some manner and measure. Like the Shulamite, the type of the Bride of Christ being made ready, it is when that heart softening is embraced that we are in the act of becoming. Hard hearts and bowed necks will not receive nor know the redemptive, cleansing, purifying work of the Holy Spirit that is life.
Sensitivity and submission to Holy Spirit’s love, conviction, and truth-bearing bring about not only His promised transformation – from glory to glory – but a fellowship with Him that we will know no other way. Dr. Fuchsia Pickett said it well –
The fire of God is a place of safety and security for the believer;
it saves us from deception and uncleanness.
It is there we can enjoy the light that casts out the darkness.
To walk in the fire results in forgiveness, health, and stability.
Hearts that continually yield to Holy Spirit’s melting heat of conviction, comfort and love know no self-confidence for confidence in the flesh is burned up in His divine fire. In its place is planted a growing God-confidence* that flesh cannot touch. With David we may say, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26) A continually yielded heart may enter His fullness.
People, including believers in the Body of Christ, usually do not like being told what they do not want to hear. It arouses all manner of negative and/or harmful emotional response, pushing the very buttons the Spirit’s holy fire is designed to detect and dissolve.
That is precisely when He is looking to see if we will remember
Whose we are and respond in obedience.
I know that some do not like this type of talk; it can be viewed as judgmental or speaking the truth without love. To speak forth a warning to fellow Christians these days is often met with resistance, apathy, anger or criticism. I have both practiced those responses in my flesh with no good resulting from them and been the recipient of such when moving from merely living in the Spirit to walking in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25, another whole message not related here)
On rare occasion is it welcomed. Most often it is raged at or ignored, the messenger brushed off or ridiculed as someone who is ‘way out in left field’, a ‘Bible thumper’, ‘irrelevant to today’, or ‘archaic’.
I also understand that those who have relented their tight hold on their right to their own life* in exchange for growing up in their new life in Christ – while still in this body – know what I am talking about. The letter of the Word has become fuel for this purifying fire of Love that burns up the dross of flesh so that which is of the Spirit remains. (John 6:63)
This, my friends, is the purchasing of “gold refined in the fire” of Revelation 3:18-19, Jesus’ own word of counsel to His Church.
I assure you, I did not choose to bear these messages. What I did choose was to surrender to His healing, cleansing, purifying flames of love. I made a conscious heart-choice to continue to live in ongoing yielding and obedience to the One to whom I owe my very life, both now and eternally. This is what life has come to: either run into the arms of the only One who can give me true life, or just exist.
Many of you bear witness to the same. Many of you yet will. Some will choose otherwise. Regardless of what we choose, the purifying flame and work of the Holy Spirit will burn on – to reveal wheat or chaff.
Our response to the Lord, not once but continually, will lead to either trying to save ourselves or becoming a tree of life from the inside out for the salvation and protection of many.
How or if you will bear His message
is between you and the One who loves you with His very life.
Not for a moment though will He forget that for the many who will be deceived, He has many more who are being prepared to each take their place in His mighty army of unbreakable rank. (Joel 2 with II Peter 3)
Beloved believers in Christ Jesus, may our hearts burn within us: Steadily without fear. Brightly without apathy. Constantly in spite of resistance. Strongly by the One who is our courage, our joy and our strength.
~ Gracefully Free
 Laodicea, the last of the Seven Churches (ekklēsia) of the Revelation (3:14ff) addressed by the Living Lord. Laodicea is from a compound of ‘people’ and ‘right’ (self-evident), justice – the principle (of), a decision (of), or its execution (of). His Church, the Bride will rule and reign with Him but the Government will be upon His shoulders and governing her heart.* Together as one.
Photo Credit: Pixabay Public Domain – Flame Heart
Shammahs Field LLC/Shammah Ministries is the biblical counseling, life coaching, and spiritual growth ministry entrusted to Wayne & Nancy Bentz. You can learn more about the resources they have to offer at shammahsfield.com and nancybentz.com.