We Are Called to Be Carriers of the Fire

As many of you know, October 31st was and is a key day in Church History. It was the Day when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis on the Wittenberg door and launched the Great Reformation. It was also the day when the Spirit fell from on high in the historic move of God with young Evan Roberts. In some liturgical denominations and churches, October 31st is known as All Saints Days. So our emphasis is not on Halloween – it is on redeeming this day and week as a great period of time when the Holy Spirit has historically moved in the past and believing that He will move with power once again!

The Lord has called us to be carriers of His fire—His presence. Paul said that the great mystery of the ages is Christ in us, the hope of glory.11 There can be no greater manifestation of the Spirit than Christ living His life in and through us.

We have to pass through the outer court, as it were, and into the inner court to get the internal fire that we will carry back out to the world. We enter through the doorway of confession and repentance, where we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus at the brazen altar. Then we wash at the laver of God’s Word, allowing it to transform us by the renewing of our minds so that we can prove what is the good, the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.12 Proceeding to the golden lampstand, we are “lit up” with the brilliance of the anointing and gifting of the Spirit. Beyond is the table of shewbread, where the bread of the body of Jesus is laid out. We commune with Him there in intimate fellowship, then advance to the altar of incense, where we “pick up” the live coals of fire mingled with the incense of the prayers of the saints. Finally, when all is ready, we move beyond the veil into the Most Holy Place, the innermost “mansion” of our hearts where the Lord Himself dwells. The mingling of the fire in the firepan with the incense of the prayers of the saints creates the smoke of His presence. The Lord is there, and He communes with us.

The old Ark of the Covenant contained the tablets of the Law (God’s Word), a pot of manna (God’s provision—Jesus the Bread of Life), and Aaron’s rod that budded (God’s authority). What’s inside your ark? Have you stored up in your ark any of the Word of God that the Holy Spirit can blow upon and make into a revelatory presence? Store up His Word. Call forth the divine wind of illumination to fan the flames. Fire warms, lights up, and purifies. As the fire burns within our hearts, it imparts to us the spirit of illumination and revelation. The fire sanctifies and empowers us.

As Brother Lawrence said, we need to practice the presence of God daily. We should never try to do anything in public or “on the platform” that we don’t practice in private. Anyone who does needs to be delivered from a “performance spirit.” There’s an entertainment spirit that has permeated western Christianity. We’re good “performers,” but we have not been good maintainers of the inward fire. It’s time for us to go forth and reclaim the inward journey, because in the long term we will be only as successful in the outward journey as we are in maintaining the inward fire.

The Lord Is Looking to See If We Have a Fire Within

Not long ago I had a powerful encounter with the Lord while participating in a Catch the Fire Conference in Birmingham, England. I was scheduled to speak one morning, and the night before, I stayed back from the main assembly so I could spend time alone with God. For three hours that night I lay on my bed, quietly praying in the gift of tongues and communing with my Lord, spirit to Spirit.

During that time, I heard the Lord say to me, “I am coming to see if there is any fire on your altar.” That was a little scary to me. After all, I had written about this and taught it. I had loved it and tried to impart it to others. Now the Lord Himself was saying to me, “I’m going to do a house inspection and see if there is anything more than just talk and revelation and gifts.”

Then it was as though I underwent a spiritual “cat-scan.” I felt the presence of God begin at my feet and slowly move up my body, penetrating my entire body until it stopped right over my heart. At that point the Lord graciously allowed me to see what He was seeing. On the altar of my heart there were hot burning coals of fire. Then He said to me, “I commission you to give away these coals of living fire that I have given to you, and you must teach My people how to maintain the fire within.”

There’s a fireplace in Papa’s house (that’s us), and He’s looking to see if there is a fire there. If you’ve ever had a good fireplace in your home, you know how enjoyable it is to cozy up to the fire and sit there in quietness, possibly with a friend or your spouse, and just watch the wood burn and listen to it crackling. It’s an atmosphere where you can let your guard down, share your most intimate secrets, and enjoy greater union with your companion. The Lord is our companion, and He’s looking to see if there is a fire within. He wants there to be a place in our hearts where we can be warm with Him and where He can satisfy our soul. He wants passionate fire burning in our hearts!

We Need to Return to the Road to Emmaus

I remember one time doing a prayer tour in Israel with my wife and with our dear friend Avner Bosky, who heads the Israel-based ministry Final Frontiers. While we were there, Avner took us to places where the typical tours do not go—to some of the less traveled paths. Avner had no idea of the depth of my love for the 24th chapter of Luke, yet one of the places he took us to was the road to Emmaus. What a blessing it was to walk the same literal road that Jesus and those two disciples walked 2,000 years ago!

At the same time, I felt a conviction and burden in my spirit, because today, the road to Emmaus is an uncared-for, weed-overgrown, and hilly path that few people travel anymore. In the natural, it describes the need today for the Body of Christ to return to the Emmaus of the burning fire within. It is a long-neglected path that needs to be restored.

It is the path where Jesus comes alongside and walks with us, sharing His Word and opening His heart to us. It is the path where we meditate upon the written Word of God and reflect upon the living Word of God who dwells in our hearts. As I walked along that road to Emmaus, I pondered how the hearts of those disciples who met Jesus were burning within them. It broke my heart and I wept before the Lord.

Our loving Father and gracious Lord wants our hearts to burn within just like those disciples of old. He wants our hearts to beat in synchronous rhythm with His own; to feel as He feels, sorrow as He sorrows, rejoice as He rejoices, and love as He loves. His heart burns for us to take the living coals of fire in our hearts and place them upon others at their exact points of pain and brokenness, so the cleansing purity of His love and grace can cauterize their wounds and bring healing, deliverance, and redemption.

Just as the coal of fire from Heaven’s altar touched Isaiah’s lips, cleansed him inside and out, and ignited a flame in his heart that would never go out, so the Lord wants to touch us. He wants to take that same coal of fire and set our hearts ablaze in a white-hot passion for Him that will consume us totally, yet preserve us in perfect union with Him.

The Fire of His Love

The inward is for the outward, and the living fire on the altar of our heart is the fuel that will propel us from the warmth of our own personal Emmaus into the dark and downtrodden, harried and hopeless ways and byways of a lost and hurting world. We are a drink offering for our Lord, poured out and wasted for Him, just as the pure nard with which Mary of Bethany anointed the feet of Jesus. Let the fire burn brightly!

Let’s follow in the paths of those who have gone before us. Practice the presence of God like Brother Lawrence. Enroll with Christ in the school of prayer like Andrew Murray. Learn there are many rooms to fill in our Father’s house—like St. Teresa. Walk in the footsteps of Joshua in meditative prayer. Be consumed with the fire of love by entering into the Bridegroom’s Fast and join Anna the praying prophetess.

But just give your all to Him! Do not hold back. Be extravagant in your reach for Him. After all, isn’t He worth it?!

With Holy yearnings, this is my epistle of passion written to you!

James W. Goll

(This artical is an excerpt from the last chapter of my book The Lost Art of Practicing His Presence.)

Prayer Targets for The First Week of November 2009

Below is a three-pronged approach to be used for our prayer emphasis this week.

First take this devotional style writing and turn it into a prayer personally for you. Ask the Lord to light a fire in your heart and in your family. Then turn and ask the Lord to make you into a carrier of His presence and release the fire of His love wherever you go.

Second, don’t stop there. Now call forth the fire from His altar of power and love, and demonstrations of His goodness to fall in your congregation, ministries in which you are involved, and your particular city.

Third, ask the Lord to visit our PrayerStorm Intensive this weekend. Call forth the Fire of His Love to be ignited in each of our hearts and ask that we will be flaming torches for His purposes.

Thanks once again!

James W. Goll