I belong to a small praise and prayer group. It is not a Bible Study…and while it’s open to anybody it’s not for everybody. You know me, I love a good Bible Study, but this is something very different. We generally meet once a week in one of our homes and put on some praise music: Not hymns, which I really do love, however, traditional hymns mostly sing about God. It may seem, to some, like a hair-splitting difference, but Praise or Worship music is designed to sing to God. It is this specific type of music that somehow brings us into His presence. After “soaking” in this way for about an hour. We share what God has laid on our hearts during that time and then move on to a time of prayer for a wide variety of needs and people.
A friend recently asked me why I felt The Lord speaks to us through dreams…and can’t He speak to us any time, in many ways? My response was, Absolutely! God can speak to us however He pleases. However, the only time that we aren’t talking on our phones, texting, working, watching TV, blaring the radio and facebook scrolling is when we are asleep! (Psalm 46:10) At some point God has to either have us unconscious in sleep or see us willing, in listening mode, worshipfully approaching His throne.(Psalm 16:11)
Worship is totally different than prayer. It seeks nothing and has no agenda beyond joyfully acknowledging and glorifying the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.(John 4:23-24) Let me assure you that it took me some time to get used to this: to be able to be quiet and approach Him spirit to spirit.. I have found that during these soaking, worship times that I often receive much more than I am giving in Praise to Him. He loves to hear from us. Who doesn’t appreciate a Love Letter?
More often than not, I am the recipient of a Word of Knowledge, or Word of Wisdom and the like. Sometimes these Words are just for me, sometimes for friends or loved ones that have been on my heart. Remember, I wasn’t there to receive anything only to worship so I am thrilled with any extra tidbit other than refreshing. (you may want to check out some of the archived posts such as Holiday is Over, Beautiful Dreamer 1 & 2, More Dreaming) 1 Corinthians 12:8, John 14:26
Tuesday night, as we worshiped, in the Spirit I kept hearing the words “ Fire and Rain!” repeated. Further words were that I must, “Press into the Fire!”Other than the famous, classic tune by James Taylor you may wonder what on earth this maddeningly brief, “spiritual phrase” may mean? Well, me too! Sometimes, you know right away what these things mean, or you get a specific verse that will totally” fit”, and sometimes it is going to be a little treasure hunt! So let’s start digging!
Fire, as we well know is a volatile, elemental force. As such, we pay special attention when wildfires rage thru forest and dry canyon lands. These fires voraciously consume the deadwood, the brittle brush and any structures that may be in it’s way.( We saw in the last post: View from the Top the absolute necessity of staying well-watered!)
Fire in smaller quantities, can be comforting and cozy. Around the campfire we cook our hotdogs, toast our marshmallows and that fire warms us as we visit with friends. We all remember that wonderful, triumphant scene as Tom Hanks shipwrecked character in his Castaway film, finally got the fire going. Fire is important and critical for our survival!
Scripture does have a lot to say about Fire and I think it will behoove us all to check it out and try to unravel our mystery. Many references are made to Refining fire. I recommend, if you missed it, going back and checking out Hard Knocks, Hard Tack which discusses the refining of metals such as silver and gold in hard-rock mining and relates it to our Christian life. The refining process leaves both precious metals and precious believers much stronger: more usable and valuable.(Malachi 3:2,3, Zech 13:9, Is 48:10, John 15:1-27, I Peter 5:10 and 1:6)
In the wilderness, it was the hovering Fire of God or smoke of God’s Presence that alternately led the people thru the wilderness or rested above the Tabernacle at night.He is the God that Tabernacles With Us. The God who Goes Before Us, He Is the God Who Sees.Jehovah-Shalom: He is our Peace, Jehovah-Tsidkenu: The Lord is our righteousness, The Lord of Hosts! Every name of God reveals something of His fabulous character! Check out Zechariah 2:5 ...I will be a wall of Fire around about and will be the glory in the midst of her.
With a brief reminder to all my non-Jewish readers, Ephesians 2:14, Romans 11:24 assures us that we, as Gentile Believers, have been securely grafted into those Hebrew Covenants of the Old Testament. Now, that we have established those credentials, I direct you to Deuteronomy 4:24-25 and Hebrews 12:28-29 which tells us that our God is a Consuming Fire. OK, so we are, through the sum total of these verses, beginning to build a pretty good portrait of God. He is Love. The First time He came he was a Lamb- But He’s Fiery! Jesus is a Man of Fire! And, He’s coming back soon in a totally different way.
Further illumination on which to base this “hot characterization“ is found in Ezekiel 28:14-16. In addition to giving us quite a bit of back-story on Satan and his evil minions that were kicked out of heaven, we also learn a thing or two about God. Here God is speaking through Ezekiel of Lucifer: as the King of Tyre. He is saying that way back before Adam-back before the sin of pride and rebellion came to Lucifer, this angel was created specifically to worship God with built in taberets and pipes! Lucifer was created by God as a beautiful angel with all sorts of pretty stones as his covering. We learn from this fascinating and revelatory passage that Lucifer once (through this worship music?) had access not only just into God’s Presence in that throne room but he actually had the freedom of access to walk back and forth in the “midst of the stones of fire“. Hummmmm. Heady Stuff.( I hope you put on your diving gear today, we are going pretty deep!)
I personally believe that these “stones of fire” are the most personal, deep, powerful place of God: His Heart. I believe that Lucifer, someho began in the midst of all that residual glory, to think: NOT that he was totally blessed to be that close to his Creator and Lord but rather, that HE was just like God and could do it a little bit better! Pretty much exactly what he later told Eve as they stood together before the forbidden fruit.
We know that Jesus is described many times as The Rock and The Stone uncut by human hands. Is it He that resides there in God’s heart with the rising smoke and mysterious incense of the Holy Spirit? Three in One? I don’t know. Stones of Fire. Consuming Fire. Refining Fire. Pillar of Fire. Tongues of Fire, Light of the World, the Bright and Morning Star, Wall of Fire: This is a fascinating mystery and I confess that I don’t yet know, but I have my suspicions. All I know is that Tuesday Night, I distinctly heard “Fire and Rain!” and, that we need to” Press in to the Fire!” If that means that I ought to Pray it in, and “Press in” to the Heart of God, (seek after, search out, grab hold of and don’t let go!) then I think that is excellent advice that can certainly be supported with Scripture. That is a timely, Godly Word and I will strive, with everything I’ve got, to follow it! I hope that you will too!
Today we explored the Fire. Next time we will look for the Rain.
*Oh, and please don’t write me asking why, if God is all-knowing and all-powerful, that He created Lucifer, knowing ahead of time that he was going to turn out so badly and cause so much trouble! I do not know! I know that he created me, and loved me, knowing that I would be rebellious and sinful and willful…and for that, I am truly, very grateful. I am sure there is a fine answer, however, I suggest that you just put it on your list of things to ask Him when you get there! See you next time!