Consumed by the Fire

When we get hungry for more of God, He shows up. And when He does, His presence is the most wonderful, life-changing, amazing thing ever, but since He is God, He reserves the right to act like it, doing things in ways that go beyond our limited human understanding. Just as He has done all throughout history, He is moving among us today in ways that go beyond our ability to understand with unusual manifestations, such as people unable to stand up or people laughing or crying for no apparent reason, which has caused some people to be offended and wrongly conclude it could not possibly be God. (1 Kings 8:10-11)

Some have even publicly slandered any ministries who allow unusual manifestations, calling them phony and their meetings fake revivals. These critics even slander the Holy Spirit by calling Him a kundalini spirit, which is just a fancy word to make people think they know what they’re talking about when they don’t, so they call the ministry of the Holy Spirit the ministry of demons. They go on YouTube or wherever else they can find followers, sowing their seeds of doubt and unbelief, saying anything they can to convince others to turn away from wherever the power of God is manifesting, causing their followers to reject life-changing encounters with God.

It’s a serious thing to publicly slander God and cause His little ones to be confused. He specifically warned, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6 NKJV) By saying those things, they’re playing for the wrong team, putting their name and reputation on the line to advance Satan’s agenda. Satan has no problem with dead, boring, dry meetings because they’re no threat to him whatsoever, but he hates powerful moves of God because lives are changed and people are set free to serve God more than ever before.

God does many things that go way beyond our understanding, such as speaking the universe into existence, including all sorts of amazing creatures. Even though we don’t understand how He did it, He did. If we dismiss everything that goes beyond our understanding, we would have to dismiss just about everything, so that’s the wrong test.

God doesn’t have a problem with going beyond the limits of our understanding, even at the risk of offending us, as He demonstrated by His plan of salvation, which is called a rock of offense, a stumbling stone. He requires us to believe our eternal life was secured by a man hanging on a bloody cross. (1 Peter 2:8) The stakes could not be higher. The salvation of the whole world hangs in the balance. Yet, He has no problem stretching our understanding to the point of offending many people, causing the prideful to reject Him. So, why should we be surprised to see Him offending our understanding with manifestations? Why is there such a rush to judge things we know nothing about? Why so much confidence in calling the ministry of the Holy Spirit the work of the devil? Those who say things like that are like modern day Pharisees, defiled by religious spirits, thinking they know things they don’t know. Meanwhile, those who are too hungry to be concerned with how God does it just keep pressing in for more, allowing Him to move the way He chooses. So the offenses act like filters separating the hungry from those who aren’t. (Psalm 24:3-6 NKJV)

Fire Ignites Hunger:

I first surrendered my life to God in August 1982 and started pursuing Him passionately, but somehow by 1993, my spiritual life had dried up. Instead of pursuing him, I spent my spare time collecting baseball cards. I was not hungry for more and had no idea how to rekindle the fire. I had reached a dead end, but then something happened.

On the last Sunday of July 1993, some members from our church had just returned from a week of revival meetings where peculiar things happened to them. As they shared their stories with the congregation, the same peculiar manifestations began happening to them and others across the sanctuary.

The next week, the same thing happened, and again the week after that. My mind did not understand it, but my heart knew it was real and life changing for those who were being touched. I looked around and saw God touching people everywhere. Many were drinking the new wine described by the Prophet Joel, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.” (Joel 2:28a NKJV) Some people were falling out on the floor weeping while others were falling out laughing.

Everyone seemed to be getting touched, so it made me wonder why He wasn’t touching me. I had learned to handle rejection from people, but feeling rejected by God was much harder. This continued week after week. I went home from church each week feeling frustrated and wondering, “Why is God rejecting me?”The more I thought about it, the more it provoked me. I grew hungrier for a touch from God, but still nothing happened. It seemed like God had overlooked me for some unknown reason.

Then our pastor announced a guest speaker from Florida was coming to our church to hold revival meetings for a whole week, which would have been great, except the meetings were scheduled for the same week I had to be out of town, confirming my fears. While I was out of town that week, I called my wife from my hotel room every night. She told me, “Oh, you would not believe how awesome it was tonight.”

“Oh that’s really great.” I replied, trying to hide my jealousy.

It sure seemed like God had sent me half way across the country to stay in a cockroach hotel while He poured out His life changing power on everyone else. But then one night, when I called her, she had a different report, saying, “I was walking out of the church to go home and another lady was walking out at the same time.”

This lady said to my wife, “Wasn’t that wonderful in there tonight?”

My wife answered, “Yes, I only wish my husband could have been here with us.”

Then this lady started getting a little choked up and said, “The Lord has been speaking to me about your husband. I saw him and he was all bound up with rope. Then I saw Jesus come to him and unravel all that rope until he was totally free. The Lord told me He was going to change him and you are going to have a brand new husband.”

My wife had no idea God had been speaking to this lady about me and prompting her to share this word, but this woman was reluctant to step out, fearing she would be missing God, especially since she didn’t know us very well. Plus, she was not very experienced at giving prophetic words, but when she heard my wife say, “I only wish my husband could be here,” she could not contain it any longer.

My wife was so encouraged. She needed to know I was going to be getting an overhaul because I was making her miserable, more than I realized. She had reached the point where she did not know how much more she could take. Without even realizing it, I had neglected her and hurt her. When she told me what this lady shared, I felt a glimmer of hope and said, “Really? She said that about me?”

I returned home from my trip on Saturday night, but the next morning I had to leave town again for two weeks. So, it looked like I was going to miss church again, but by then, I was so hungry for God, I delayed my departure by a few hours to go to the morning service.

It was Sunday, August 22, 1993. My hunger for God had grown into an obsession. I felt like I would literally die if did not have an encounter with Him. My mind was playing tricks on me going back and forth between thinking perhaps this could be the time He would touch me, but perhaps He had decided I did not qualify. One way or the other, this anguish had to come to an end. We got there early and got a good seat in the front. The visiting pastor preached one of the most awesome messages I’ve ever heard. When he was finished, he turned around and said, “Pastor, come get your church.”

When he looked back, our pastor was sitting slumped down in his chair on the platform. I learned later he had been standing in front of his chair when the power of God fell on him so heavy, he was no longer able to stand, so he just collapsed into his seat. (1 Kings 8:10-11) When the visiting pastor asked him to come get his church, our pastor could not move or get up or even say anything, so he just smiled and pointed his finger as if to say, “You keep on.”

When the visiting pastor saw that, he said, “Well, I believe the Lord wants to minister to families today. So, if you’re here with your family and you want to have the favor and blessings of God, then come forward to get what God has for you.”

My wife and I were the first ones to get to the altar, standing at the front and center, so I thought, “If anyone is getting anything, surely I can’t miss it.” The altar quickly filled up as other families came forward. By this time, our pastor had managed to get up from his chair and he walked straight toward me. I thought, “This could be it.”

He got about three feet from me, but then he turned 90 degrees to my right and began walking away. I could hardly believe it. Here I was standing in the best spot, and he walked right up to where I was and turned away to minister to someone else. It sounds like a small thing, but at that moment it was huge to me because it seemed like a confirmation God had rejected me and the thought of that was too big for me to handle. On the inside, I felt like I was free-falling, but it only lasted a few moments because he only took about three steps away before he suddenly turned around and glared right at me. He walked up to me and said, “Jim, the Lord has just spoken to me. He said to tell you, ‘It’s not too big for me Jim.’ Get ready Jim. Get ready. I anoint you today as the priest of your home…”

Those were the last words I remember hearing. As he said that, he reached out his hand to lay it on my head, but the moment he touched my head, the power of God hit me so hard I was thrown back to the ground with both arms landing up above my head and I instantly began weeping uncontrollably. Before that, I was not crying at all, but suddenly I was crying like a baby. I was aware other people could see me, but I didn’t care. I didn’t know why I was sobbing, but I knew I was in the presence of God like I had never experienced before. I felt His love and His power like they were the same.

My eyes were closed as someone stuck tissues in my hands, but it didn’t help because I couldn’t even get my hands to my face. I was on the floor in that condition for over an hour when it finally began to ease up a little bit. Then I heard the voice of my pastor as he knelt beside me and kissed me on the forehead and said, “I love you Jim.” When he did that, I knew it was the Lord speaking through him and the intensity suddenly increased to a new higher level and I was right back to crying like a baby again.

In total, I was on the floor for an hour and 45 minutes. During that time, I repeatedly sensed the flames that burn downwards because each time they touched me, they illuminated the hidden motives behind whatever I was thinking about at that moment, revealing the utter wretchedness of my heart and causing me to feel deep conviction of my guilt before God, so I knew I deserved His punishment, yet He was showing me His kindness and love.

When it was finally over, I needed help getting up because my body was so weak. I was a complete mess, but I was happy because I was filled with God’s spirit to the point of being intoxicated. I felt like the disciples in the book of Acts, chapter 2, where Peter explained to the crowds, “These are not drunk as you suppose, but rather they are filled with the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:14-15) I was too woozy to walk straight and way too woozy to drive, but more than anything else, I felt clean. I had not even realized I was dirty until I found out what it was like to feel clean.

How a brief encounter with God, lying on the floor for an hour and 45 minutes, could possibly accomplish anything goes beyond our understanding. Some people claim God would never do it that way, but they’re too late to convince me because I experienced the most powerful presence of God and was set free from things I had been bound with for many years. God ignited a fire of passion in me, consuming me like a dry twig. From that day on, I started waking up way before sunrise every morning so I could spend hours worshiping God and seeking Him more fervently than ever before so I could get filled with more of Him. I became hungry to know the truth, so God started revealing new things to me. Each night, I went to bed shaking my head in amazement and saying, “How could I have been a Christian all these years and never known these things?” That was in 1993 and my life has never been the same since.

Even though it seemed at first that God was ignoring me and rejecting me, He was just used all those circumstances to stir up hunger in me so He could have my full permission to do what He wanted to do all along. He provoked me to jealousy the same way He used the Apostle Paul to stir up hunger in his fellow Jewish people. (Romans 11:14) Then He showed up in a powerful way.

How is it possible my spiritual life went from being dry as sawdust to having an intense fire burning in me with far greater hunger for more of Him, which has continued after all these years? Does that sound like something God would do or Satan would do? Does it sound like the fruit of a genuine revival or a fake revival? Does it sound like the ministry of the Holy Spirit or a kundalini spirit? Jesus said every tree is known by its’ fruit, so I believe the fruit speaks for itself. (Matthew 12:33)

It was not God’s fault I was stuck in a dead end all those years. It was my fault because I was not hungry, not seeking more. As soon as I demonstrated my hunger, He wasted no time moving in my behalf. (Psalm 34:15 and 34:17, Proverbs 15:29, 1 Peter 3:12) It was like what I saw happening in my dream when God showed up in such a powerful way because we were crying out for more of Him, but the level of hunger in those meetings was a far greater because it was a unanimous cry from a large army. (Matthew 5:6)