For Our God Is a Consuming Fire!

Consuming Fire

Susanne Schuberth recently wrote on her inspiring blog in the comments,

“I think everyone inside or outside the [church] system needs to go through God’s cleansing and purifying fire so that God can use us for HIS purposes.” (1)

Yes! This is the way of the Lord and He has always required His offerings to pass through the fire. Everything and every work we propose to give must pass through His fires of purification, including our own hearts. Oswald Chambers wrote of this process,

Whenever God gives a vision to a saint, He puts him, as it were, in the shadow of His hand, and the saint’s duty is to be still and listen. There is a darkness which comes from excess of light, and then is the time to listen. Genesis 16 is an illustration of listening to good advice when it is dark instead of waiting for God to send the light. When God gives a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will make you in accordance with the vision He has given if you will wait His time. Never try and help God fulfil His word. Abraham went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all self-sufficiency was destroyed; there was no possibility left of relying on common-sense ways. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not of displeasure. Never pump up joy and confidence, but stay upon God (cf. Isaiah 50:10,11). (2)

In the Book of Numbers we read a very telling commandment that the Jews who had come back from war had to strictly follow.

“Only the gold, and the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, everything that can endure the fire, you shall make it go through the fire, and it shall be clean: nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of purification: and all that cannot endure the fire you shall make go through the water. And you shall wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean, and afterward you shall come into the camp.” (Num 31:22-24, KJ2000)

So many Christians come to Christ and have a vision early on of what God wants for them to do in His kingdom. But they are either unaware that they have nothing in them that God can use without it all passing through His fires of purification (the dark night of the soul and the wilderness), or they are willfully ignorant and use the powers of their flesh and their personal charisma to try doing His work for Him. The trouble is that soon the stinking smell of the flesh and pride is all over it. Just like Cane’s sacrifice, God rejects it and they have to spend more and more human effort to prop it up and keep it going or worse yet, those who get involved in their efforts also become defiled.

“And Abraham said unto God, ‘O that Ishmael might live before you!'”(Gen 17:18, KJ2000) and God’s answer to the works of the flesh is always the same, “But my covenant will I establish with Isaac,” the miraculous child of God’s promise. How often do we see ministries begging for money and help to keep them going? “Oh, God, please bless my Ishmael!”

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name: Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13, KJ2000)

We are born into His kingdom by the Spirit and all that is done for His kingdom must also be born of the Spirit. Or as Paul put it, “Are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal 3:3, KJ2000).

Paul wrote:

“For no other foundation can a man lay than what is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall test every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1Cor 3:11-15, KJ2000)

The arrogance and pride of church organizations always make men and their works their foundation (they even often name their ministries after themselves). Each of these organizations are founded by a man or a woman with lots of personal charisma  and men blindly follow them. Instead of each follower being founded on Christ and able to follow the wind of His Spirit, they want a following that will give them unquestioned authority, be loyal to their vision, and do what they say!

Well, “the day shall declare” what manner of work each of us have built. We are in that final day of the purifying fire of God and everything that man has done by and of the flesh is going up in smoke. Jesus said, “The flesh profits nothing!” The real question is, what will be left of all our works when we stand before the piercing gaze of God? Those who have been purified by His fire, His sheep who wait for Him to move among them, will hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” And the self-motivated and self-promoted goats will hear, “Depart from me you who work inequity, I never knew you.”

Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb 12:26-29, KJ2000 – emphasis added)

Oh that more of God’s people waited upon His empowering grace before they acted and  had a godly fear of Him before they built themselves a new oxcart to move Him along or stretch forth an unclean hand to steady what He is doing.

(1) https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/is-the-church-age-over/#comment-13551

(2) http://utmost.org/vision-and-darkness/

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26 comments on “For Our God Is a Consuming Fire!

  1. “I think everyone inside or outside the [church] system needs to go through God’s cleansing and purifying fire so that God can use us for HIS purposes.”

    This really was a great comment. The only thing is that we were warned about wolves in sheeps clothing, about goats versus sheep, about wheat and tares. So while everyone should do this, while everyone ought to experience this, it’s probably not going to happen. Even when we get to the book of Revelation, there we are still having the churches judged for their assorted issues. Paul too of course, spent a great deal of time trying to herd cats.

    I don’t have a solution, just a lamentation. I have seen some maddening things, like talented people sent back to work in the nursery or wash dishes…for some 20 years, while the church tries to raise money to bring in “talented people.” Like hello!

    One thing I have come to terms with, there are Christians and than there are churchians. There are also many lost and confused Christians, but then there are the ones who are outright nasty, and well, by their fruits you shall know them. Those fruit of the Spirit, love, peace, joy, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, better be lurking about somewhere or we have a problem 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks for your comment, Gabrielle. I tried hard for many years to get the visible “church” to be THE Church, all to no avail while I made a lot of enemies in the process. Finally, Jesus got quite abrupt with me and told me to focus on HIM not the dog and pony shows of men. So, in that blind Laodicean system of closed doors and blind people I have let the blind guides lead the blind, believing that God has appointed ditches as His “School of Last Resort.” I know that I had to fall victim to a few of them myself before I quit looking to men.

      They are His sheep (and wolves) to deal with, not mine. We can spend so much time and energy pointing out to people where it is NOT AT that we fail to hear the call of the One who is no longer outside their door knocking, but has moved on and is loudly calling through an open door in heaven saying, “Come up here and I will show you things!”

      Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them… When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” (John 21:20-22, nrs)

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Fred Thoren says:

    “So many Christians come to Christ and have a vision early on of what God wants for them to do in His kingdom. But they are either unaware that they have nothing in them that God can use without it all passing through His fires of purification (the dark night of the soul and the wilderness), or they are willfully ignorant and use the powers of their flesh and their personal charisma to try doing His work for Him. The trouble is that soon the stinking smell of the flesh and pride is all over it. Just like Cane’s sacrifice, God rejects it and they have to spend more and more human effort to prop it up and keep it going or worse yet, those who get involved in their efforts also become defiled.”

    I think I been to a bible study that was headed by someone like that. The last 2 meetings I skipped as something felt very wrong. Money is something that guy asks for a lot and I have donated some so I hope that does not mean I am defiled. I am assuming it does.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Well, Fred, we can assume a lot of things. The important thing is “What is the Spirit saying to YOU?” “Let he who has ears hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

      As for money, it was so “important” to Jesus to have lots of it on hand that He gave the ministry money bag to a known thief who used it for his own profit and finally sold Jesus into the hands of His murderers for gain. Servants of God cannot serve both God and Mammon. Mammon always wins and will be their driving force and motivation. I flee such thoughts and practices, my brother, least I also betray Christ for gain.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Fred Thoren says:

        Thank you although I will admit I feel once again after reading that confused on if I need to quite my job or not.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Fred, I didn’t know you were pastoring. To these Paul said, “If a man does not work he should not eat.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Fred Thoren says:

        no I don’t Pastor but I have thought about becoming one. I was just confused about the money thing. We do work for Money. I try and do this Job for the lord so I do things I would not do if I was doing it just for Money. There still are times were I can be lazy though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Integgrity says:

        They say, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” If this is true, why do churches constantly ask for it? Just sayin’!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Mike @ Integrity, good to hear from you, my brother. It has been a while. I hope you and the family are doing well. There are “churches” and then there is THE church. Jesus said that we can not serve two masters. We will love one and hate the other. Also, we know that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. When the leadership of the churches never miss a chance to shake down their flocks, it become obvious what master they serve… the god of Mammon.

        “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nothing; but worked with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you: Not because we have not that right, but to make ourselves an example unto you to follow us.” (2Thess 3:7-9, KJ2000)

        When was the last time you saw the leadership in churches follow Paul’s example and fully support themselves so that they were not a burden to the saints of God? But this was easier for Paul to preach like this because he did not have a building to support, a retirement program to be paid into, a medical-dental insurance policy to be paid for, paid vacations, housing allowance, pastoral paid staff, et infa nauseum. No, he just gave his life to serving Christ and the gospel and praised God whether he was abased or did abound.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ken Dawson says:

    God does not need our help nor does He want it and in the end He will not have it–are we listening?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Ken D., no, God does not need our help, but He has chosen us to rule and reign with Him as His sons and daughters, just the same. It is a mystery…

      “What is man, that you are mindful of him? and the son of man, that you visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth!” (Ps 8:4-9, KJ2000)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Integgrity says:

      I don’t know that you can “become” a Pastor. Eph 4:11 “and He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as proclaimers of good news, and some as shepherds and teachers…” I believe, if you are, it’s because “HE” made you one, not because you went to Sunday School or Bible College. Nothing worse than a person trying to be something they’re not! A pastor and others mentioned here are not a title plaque you screw on to your office door that suddenly gives you authority, final say or a “church”. It’s a function! You can’t help it, if that is what God made you! And that, not being the only “function.” The church so commonly neglects the others mentioned in the verse. They are all for the equipping of the Saints, not to line your pockets with “pass the plate” money!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Yes, Mike, we are what we are by the grace of God, not by the will of the flesh or the education we get to meet our fleshly goals. Isn’t it amazing how the Church that turned the world upside down in the first two centuries did it without a single church building, Bible school or seminary? No, they only had the power of the Holy Spirit and knew Christ as their sufficiency in ALL things even in the face of some of the most brutal persecution the church has ever known. It is amazing what can happen when only Christ gets the glory and He is held up as being the only Shepherd that the flock of God needs.

        “Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” (1Cor 3:21-23, KJ2000)

        Liked by 1 person

    • You would think that anyone who desires to be a “pastor” over the “bride of Christ”, would understand that the King will only appoint a “eunuch” to the job!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ken Burgess says:

    I believe all who are going into, or are in the fire, experience the same range of thoughts and emotions in the beginning of this journey. Generally, we begin by rebuking the devil. Then we beat ourselves up. And then there’s the blame game. On and on it goes until one day, in one moment of time we, having “seen thru a glass darkly, see HiM face to face.” We begin to see with greater and greater clarity the process as something otherworldly. The strangest thing, amongst many strange things that happen in the process, is that once we realize we have been in HiS hands all along we embrace the fiery process and enter into a realm of worship neither we or anyone around us has ever experienced. I just read the following and thought it might minister to someone else as it has to me.

    In the beginning we all enter into the process as individuals. But on the other side of it, Oh brothers and sisters, on the other side, we come forth as One new man, CHRiST. We look like HiM. We walk and talk like HiM. We smell like HiM, and HALLELUJAH

    Passion Translation

    “To be known as sons and daughters of the Most High God — that’s something incredible. The change started inside of us, religion wants to work on the outside, Jesus works His masterpiece within. The New Covenant reality burns from the inside out. The Old Covenant works of men will always focus on the outside, the performance, the “things” you do. To experience the fullness of Christ within is our true destiny. ~~Brian Simmons
    “We have become His poetry, a recreated people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!”
    Ephesians 2:10 TPT

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Isn’t it interesting that the water (baptism) precedes the fire (purification) … like Elijah’s battle with the prophets of Baal … water preceded the fire and still the fire of God consumed every last bit – flesh, stones of the altar, earth below and water poured on and in the moat around the sacrifice. All mankind is ‘sandwiched’ between the water (Noah) and fire (day of the Lord), whereas only some have voluntarily come to the water (baptism in Jesus name) wherein they face the purifying fire of the Lord to prepare them for the fire that will be day of the Lord. Interesting symbology in the firey furnace intended to consume Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego … they went into the fire directly and survived … the guard(s?) who remained outside was consumed by it.

    Michael, I’m really stirred by John 1:12-13 above …

    “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name: Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13, KJ2000)

    Looking at the KJV+ (Greek annotated), that greek for “received” means to “take hold of”, whereupon Jesus gave them the authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength to become (a verb, which to me refers to a progression and process of transformation) sons of God.

    What’s going through my head about that, is the difference between the faith-speak crowd who tries to lay claim to sonship by the words of their mouth alone, as opposed to those who by cleaving to the Lord are laid bare before Him and are transformed by the Lord’s purifying fire. So often have I heard preached the promises of God, which are claimed, um, intellectually (?) but never actually received because there is still the need to “take hold of Him”, not just embrace the promises … in fact that word rendered “received” infers a more violent use – to “seize” Him.

    Just conjecturing – but it seems like the ‘norm’ of churchianity is to accept the salvation experience and hang onto that for the duration of years with the hope of being with the Savior in the end … so what they are hanging onto is Jesus past – the one they met during a youth retreat, or learned about in catechism, communicants or confirmation class … one can hold onto a memory of Jesus and completely miss the living Jesus – who is the great I AM (the right here, right now) … it causes me to wonder whether the “great falling away” is of those who are laboring to hang onto Jesus past (salvation experience) or Jesus future (rapture Jesus), and completely missing Jesus PRESENT!

    I’ve been reminded several times lately, and even now, of the wonderful old poem “I AM” by Helen Mallicoat:

    I was regretting the past
    And fearing the future.
    Suddenly my Lord was speaking:

    “My name is I Am.” He paused.
    I waited. He continued,
    When you live in the past
    With its mistakes and regrets,
    It is hard. I am not there,
    My name is not I WAS”.

    When you live in the future
    With its problems and fears,
    It is hard. I am not there.
    My name is not I WILL BE.

    When you live in this moment,
    It is not hard. I am here.
    My name is I AM.

    …..

    Love you brother! Jack

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Jack, it is interesting and a confirmation to me (and Susanne) in what you wrote here about “Jesus present” or the “I AM” of God’s nature. Susanne and I were sharing this very thought lately as God spoke to us about how His grace is always found in the NOW. We cannot do anything about our past, but give it up to Him. We cannot do anything about the future either except become anxious. BUT if we learn to live in the present by faith in Him alone, we will find peace and joy because that is where HE IS!

      “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I AM meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt 11:28-29, KJV)

      Our peace and rest are found in the I AM of Christ. Thanks for sharing this, my brother.
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

      • Excellent article, once again, Michael! ⭐ Thank you very much for the compliments and for the link to my blog. 🙂 I can honestly say that your writings are always an inspiration for me as well, my brother!

        Your exchange above, Jack and Michael, reminded me of a very personal experience I want to share below. What hit me in both of your replies was indeed the ‘I AM’.

        I remember one summer day some years ago, I was standing at the kitchen window in the evening, looking out of it without any particular thoughts on my mind. I was just watching an illuminated internal staircase in a house across the way. It was quite empty, no people but plants with only those wooden stairs and that soft and golden lighting. Only part of the stairway was visible for me through several beautiful pained windows. As I was gazing into one of these windows for a long time, out of the blue, an invisible veil before my eyes was lifted and I was plunged into a heavenly eternal condition where I doubtlessly knew and felt, “I am, I was, and I will always be.” Period.

        Actually, it was my spirit IN HIM that knew I AM, too. Wow!!! That was such a terrific experience to suddenly be transferred to the kingdom of God — to that indescribable condition of being IN Christ. I now sooooo long for the day when this state of mind and heart will be a permanent one.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, as I read your account of being totally ONE in Christ, the I AM of God in His timelessness (was, am and will be), I felt this warmth in my heart and a sense of being secure in Him through all eternity. I know that it was no way as strong as what you experienced, but for a moment I felt the unity that is ours IN Christ. Paul wrote,

        “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Eph 1:3-4, KJ2000)

        We were chosen IN Christ before the foundation of the world, standing before Him in love in heavenly places?

        And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had before prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he has called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (Rom 9:23-24, KJ2000)

        We as His vessels of mercy were before prepared to share His glory?

        For some time I have been feeling like the Spirit wanted me to understand what it means to be in the timelessness of the risen Christ in God’s seventh day, in His rest where there is no work, no pain, no sorrow, no sin and no shame… only His wondrous love and Light. Along that line He has had me pondering for a few years about what it means to be one just as the Father and the Son are one with us in them and truly one in each other (see John 17:21). In your comment you spoke of experiencing the timelessness of God and being part of that for a few moments. For me it has been about not being separated from them by space… truly ONE. It occurs to me after reading your comment that it has to be both if we are truly ONE with the Father and the Son. If we are truly ONE with the Father there cannot be any separation by either time nor space. There is much to pray about, here, that HIS revelation light might break through the fog that is part of being in this fallen world and its way of seeing things.

        “For now we see in a mirror dimly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1Cor 13:12, KJ2000)

        Dear Father give us the mind of Christ that we might truly see you, your Son and ourselves as the spirit beings we truly are IN Him. Amen

        Liked by 1 person

      • What a beautiful experience the Lord gave you, Susanne! Thanks for sharing that!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Michael says:

    Ken B., you wrote, ” The strangest thing, amongst many strange things that happen in the process, is that once we realize we have been in HiS hands all along we embrace the fiery process and enter into a realm of worship neither we or anyone around us has ever experienced.”

    When I read this it brought a deeper meaning to me about something Paul wrote,

    “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom 12:1, nrs)

    My brother, I also have had this strange thing happen to me recently.I started seeing that EVERYTHING, both good and evil, that has been happening to me was all to further His purposes in my life and it brought this deep feeling of gratitude and worship in my heart. I think it is from this revelation that we can finally present ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice with confidence and trust, in full worship of our Father and His ways.

    Praying for you, my brother,
    Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pat Orr says:

    I am privileged to be able to read the blogs that you and Susanne write, and to read the replies that you receive. Thank you for the Life that you reveal.

    Liked by 2 people

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