How Do You Measure Fire?

November 25, 2008

I trust Ben will not mind me posting this great word that came to me via The Elijah List:

Ben R. Peters:
“How Do You Measure Fire?”

While ministering in Zimpeto, Mozambique, with a class of native pastors being trained by Iris Ministries, I heard God ask the question, “How do you measure fire?” I love it when God gives me the question, because I know He will also give me the answer.

As I meditated on the question during my prayer time, I began to catch what the Holy Spirit was communicating with me. It is really simple, but terribly profound. I’m not a scientist, and could be argued with on a technical level, but the following is how I see the true measurement of fire from God’s perspective.

Don’t Get Burned Trying!

First of all, you can’t measure fire with a yard stick or a measuring tape. Fire just refuses to hold still. It jumps up and down and back and forth. Besides that, it might totally ruin your day if you tried to measure it without taking significant precautions.

Secondly, you can’t measure fire on a scale that weighs pounds or kilograms. Fire itself probably would have a negative weight as it creates an updraft. We can clearly see fire. It’s obviously something – but it’s something without weighable substance. You could weigh the fuel under the fire, but you can’t weigh the fire itself.

So, how can we measure fire? Obviously, we have no reason to measure natural fire. But God wants to talk about His Holy Spirit fire. He is a consuming fire and He is in us. So, how do we measure that fire?

Holy Fire in Mozambique

I was in Pemba, Mozambique, the newer center of operations for Rolland and Heidi Baker. We have been witnessing one of the greatest revival movements of all time and a constant theme of this revival is fire. The fire of God burns within the people of this revival. They are passionate lovers of Jesus with hearts that yearn for a greater visitation and more expansion of the fire of God.
Some time ago, many of the Mozambique pastors had a simultaneous vision where they saw themselves carrying fire to other parts of Africa and, finally, all the way back to Jerusalem.

Every time I come to Mozambique, I find myself speaking about spreading the fire and protecting the fire that they have, so it won’t go out. I feel the passion of the Father’s heart as I speak. I know how easy it is to lose the fire. You don’t have to do a thing. You just have to neglect it. Ignore it, and it will surely die.

So what does a fire produce that we can measure in some way? There are three major, useful things a fire can produce. These things in turn can produce other things that are useful to man. The three main things we get from fire are warmth, light and power.

1. Fire Produces Warmth that Conquers Cold

First of all, fire produces warmth. Of course, if you get too close it can get very hot. The warmth that a fire produces causes us to take off our outer layer of clothing that we wear when it’s cold outside. I grew up on the prairies of Western Canada, where it can get down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. We wore heavy parkas, etc., to protect ourselves from freezing to death.

In the same way, the warmth of the fire of God within us causes us to take off the extra layers of protection from our hearts. The heat of the fire represents the love and compassion that reaches out to those in its path. God was asking me, “How much love and compassion flows out of your heart, through your mouth, and through your hands?” That is one way to measure the fire in me.

Do people open their hearts to us when we come in contact with them? Do they want to stay close to us because they feel the warmth coming from the Holy Spirit within us? Are we able to produce enough warmth to overcome the memory of frostbite from previous experiences they’ve had with other Christians?

More Love Equals More Compassion

I believe the more love people receive, the fewer layers of protection they will put around their hearts. But the more pain they experience, without the compassion that heals their pain, the more layers of protection they will put up.

This protection manifests in many ways, such as anger, depression, self-pity, jealousy and obsessive fear. These people are not open to our words unless we first warm them with the fire of compassion that burns within us. This cannot be compassion of our own creation. It must be from a holy fire and passion that has its source in the God who is a consuming fire. This is a love that can love and keep on loving, even under brutal attack.

Two Great Examples

I could cite many illustrations of those who have kept loving when under attack by those they were trying to bless. Certainly, Heidi Baker is one powerful living example. She has had many rocks and bullets directed towards her, and there have been many other attempts to drive her away. She is still here in Mozambique, winning Muslims by the thousands. Little by little, the resistance comes down.
Another great living example is a wonderful missionary to the Palestinian refugees, named Karen Dunham. Her property was burned several times as those she loved tried to get rid of her. She kept loving until she won many of their hearts. The eternal flame of God’s heart has been burning with great intensity within the hearts of these two women of God.

A Wonderful By-Product of Heat

Without heat most of the world would have a hard time eating their main meal – rice. The children and staff living on the Iris Ministries’ bases eat rice twice a day, with a little beans, vegetable, or fish on top. Rice is eaten as the main meal in most of Asia and much of Africa. Without fire, rice would be pretty hard to eat.

Wheat, or even wheat flour, is also not much good unless you have a fire to cook it. Breakfast at Iris Ministries consists of a roll of bread and tea. Both require fire to prepare. Heidi loves to talk about how Jesus gave her bread to feed multitudes of children from the flesh of His own body, in a heavenly experience she once had.

The application is very clear. When the fire burns within us, we can take something hard and unappetizing and turn it into delicious bread. It starts out as a seed of God’s Word, and the fire of God turns it into the literal Bread of Life. We can measure bread. How much are we passing out? Is it appetizing and appealing to the senses of the spirit of man? Are people growing in strength because they are feeding on the bread we give them?

2. Fire Produces Light for Our Journey

Now let’s talk about the second great benefit of fire – light. Fire has been used for millennia as a source of light to illuminate men’s pathways. Fire can be just a small candle with limited light, or it can be a large bonfire that lights up the whole neighborhood. Or it can be a forest fire that lights up a whole region.

The fire of God within us provides the light for our pathway to keep us from stumbling. Without the fire within us burning brightly, we will not see clearly to avoid the snares of the enemy and we will surely stumble and fall. We must keep our fire burning just to maintain our own spiritual walk.

But God clearly doesn’t want us to be content with enough light for our own feet, even as He doesn’t want us to be content with enough heat to warm our own hearts and prepare our own spiritual food. He wants our fire to burn so brightly that it lights the way for thousands of others.

Light for Revelation

Light helps us understand what we read in the Word. Many don’t understand much of the Bible because there is little light within them to illuminate what they read. When light increases, we not only understand for ourselves, but we gain understanding that will bless thousands or millions of others.
Obviously then, we need more of the fire of God within us if we want more revelation from His Word. Without the light from that internal fire, we won’t understand much of what we read.

3. Fire Produces Power to Take Us to Our Destinations

There is one more very important product of fire – power. Fire is what made the steam engine pull the train. Fire gives us the power to drive our cars, boats and airplanes. The internal combustion engine, on which we now depend so much, is totally dependent on the continuous lighting of fire within the cylinders of the engine.

We all have spiritual gifts according to at least seven passages of the New Testament, but we need the fire of God to empower these gifts in order to produce what God desires. Without the fire, we have little power to use these gifts.

Wanted: Access Energy

This power must be also for others, not just for ourselves. Just as scientists are striving to produce “access energy” from nuclear fusion, so God wants us to produce access energy to give away to the world. He wants us to be so on-fire that we activate fire in others.

For many millennia, the most common way to start a new fire was with coals or actual fire from another location. Even now, we normally light a series of candles with the first candle that we lit with a match or lighter. Even so, most spiritual fire is caught from the fire of another Believer. There are always some that are the flint that strikes the rock to make the first spark, but most on-fire saints caught the fire from others.

In my book, Catching Up to the Third World, I asked the question, “Why are so many miracles happening in the developing nations, and so few happening in the western world?” I listed seven indispensable keys to revival in the western world.

But perhaps the simplest answer is this: More fire equals more power. Most western church teaching is about how we as individuals can get our needs met by God – how to live in health and prosperity and how to overcome our own weaknesses and habits, etc.

In contrast, the leaders of the revival here in Mozambique are more concerned with how to spread the Gospel to the farthest corners of their nation and continent. Their goal is to have encounters with Jesus that will set them ablaze with Holy Fire. They want power, not for themselves, but for bringing revival to their people.

In other words, they are not looking for just enough power and divine energy to live successful lives – they are crying out for access energy – much more than what they can consume themselves. I am asking God for the same heart. I want the fire within me to produce measurable access energy and power.

Some Very Important Questions

So the question is now, “How does our personal fire measure up? Are people attracted to the warmth, the light, and the power of our fire? Is there supernatural power in our personal ministry, or do we have just enough power to get through the day ourselves without committing some besetting sin?”

Personally, I have measured my fire and find the heat, light and power being generated to be far short of what I would like to see. I think it’s time to fan the flame and put more fuel on the fire. How can I do that? How can you do that?

It’s really not complicated, but it does require focus and commitment. We can’t depend on others, such as our pastor or spouse, to increase the measure of fire we carry. They can help, but why not be the one that lights the fire in others? How do we become those who light and spread fires?

We need to get closer to the Source – the God who is Himself the consuming fire. He promises to draw near to us if we draw near to Him.

He will give us everything we ask that pleases Him. We can tell Him we want the fire within, no matter what the cost may be. We can express our willingness to lay everything on the line and totally serve Him with all our heart and strength if He will just increase the fire within us. Frankly, I believe He is waiting for that kind of an offer from us.

Three Components of Fire

A fire requires three components: ignition, fuel, and oxygen. Obviously, God is the source of ignition, and the Holy Spirit is the wind that provides the oxygen, but what is the fuel? How do we keep the fire from going out from lack of fuel?

The key to understanding fuel is to realize that it is something that we give up to the flames. Unless we are willing to let something be consumed, we have no fuel for the fire.

Examples of Holy Fuel

Again, my mind goes to countless illustrations of lives that have burned brightly for Jesus, who were required to lay down so much at the altar that it boggles the mind. Paul, who put his whole life and reputation on the altar, said it well in the second and third chapters of Philippians. He pointed to Jesus, who humbled Himself to come from Heaven to become a servant and lay down His life for us.
He also relates how he considered everything he possessed and everything he had achieved as nothing but manure compared to the blessing of just knowing Jesus and being with Him. It seems clear to me that the fuel we must keep putting on the fire to keep it burning is our own will, our flesh, and all that we naturally fight to protect, such as our reputation, financial security, and power.
Getting “lower still,” as Heidi teaches, is letting go of our personal pride and dignity in order to fuel the flames of revival around us. We ourselves become the fuel that lights the way, provides the warmth, and creates the access energy that we need to be a force for good in an evil world.

Measuring Our Own Fires

Yes, this fire can be measured. It is constantly changing shape, but it is also constantly producing warmth, light, and power for those who know how to use and appropriate it. I want to produce access energy to bless the world. How about you? Are we willing to lay ourselves on the altar to the fire?
It’s our key to revival in our world. Let’s take the key and use it. It will surely open the door we want opened and God will breathe on the fire that consumes our flesh. The result will be awesome and amazing. We will see His power and glory revealed around the world, and we will rejoice to see what only God’s holy fire can produce.

Prophetic Proclamation Regarding the Holy Fire

I believe the Lord is proclaiming, “My fire will be kindled in many of the darkest places in the land. In the secret chambers of wickedness My fire will fall on desperate hearts. I will turn things inside-out and upside-down. Those who use ministry for personal gain, who have neglected the fire which I had put within them, will not see the favor which I will give to those who are now embracing the fire. But those who have been the last shall be first, and those who have been first in their own eyes, shall be last.

“But revival fires will be carried back and forth across the oceans, and across the deserts, and across the plains, and the mountains. Fires from the cities will be mixed with fires from the country. Fires from the north will be combined with fires from the south. The fires from the east and west will meet and My people will say, ‘This is a fire which cannot be measured – it is too big and moving too fast.’
“But I have already measured it. It has filled the heavens and will fill the earth. This fire is given to empower My Church to bring in the great harvest. This is a fire that will purify hearts, illuminate minds, and empower the harvesters. The fire will fill every willing vessel. There are many vessels which I could use, but I will use those which are full of the fire, not those whom man would choose.
“And now, I command the fire to fall on the sacrifice that is on My altar. I decree that those who cry out for the fire will become blazing torches to light the way for many. They will open the doors to many hearts and even My prophets will say, ‘We have not seen this before. Here are unknown vessels proclaiming the Word of the Lord with fire and authority. Surely they have received the fire from Heaven.’

“My holy fire will not be stopped by any human or devilish strategy. My fire will burn until I restrain it on the earth and all things are fulfilled. But today, embrace the fire, put yourselves on the altar, and prepare to burn like the bush which Moses saw. As you burn for Me, many will turn aside to see the fire that I have kindled. For you will burn, but you will not be consumed, for the fire in you is the fire of My great Glory and it shall bring you incredible blessing,” says the Lord.

Ben R. Peters
Open Heart Ministries