The fire of God
I arrived from Malaysia on Friday morning, but I promised my family that the weekend belonged to them – so I set all my ministry duties aside until Monday, including this letter. We enjoyed each other so much. We ate together, prayed together, had communion together (or as Aldo calls it – “broke the bread” together), visited some friends, laughed at Aldo’s renewed sense of humor, listened to Josh telling jokes out of his joke book… so, finally, after a weekend of family fun, I sit down to write my letter, and it is already late on Sunday evening.
It was so amazing just to be able to do the everyday things, but we did it with tears of thankfulness dripping from my and Tinus’ eyes every now and again. In the same breath I can say that I no longer sleep late when I have an off weekend – no, I watch and pray!
Today was “Global day of Prayer” here in South Africa, and it was wonderful to see all the people coming together at the stadiums to seek God’s face for our nation, for the families, for each individual. In South-Africa we have the privilege to know our only hope is God – there is no other option to save this land. No alternative. No plan A, B or C – South-Africa is dependent on God alone. I know that the fire of God is on the continent of Africa at the moment. My prayer is that every person who walks on African soil will experience this cleansing fire of God.
God had to form David through the trials and tests into His image – his circumstances humbled him, made him realize his dependence on God, made him to know that he can trust God to uphold him, and to maintain him. It was David’s tests and sufferings that molded his Godly character and that trained him to be a man after God’s own heart.
I can identify so closely with David. Many times I look back over the years since the accident and I can see how God humbled me, molded me, and conformed me to His image through my trials. But believe me, I wouldn’t choose any other way – without humility we won’t experience the heartbeat of God. Across the world I see how great men and women of God are still walking in pride, and I know that is what the enemy wants for all of us – because pride comes before a great fall. Pride is also something that you normally won’t recognize easily. Most of us know our weaknesses. You know what I’m talking about - those things that you know you need to steer away from and be careful with. Maybe something like addiction, or lust, or spiritual laziness – but pride is usually not something that we discern in ourselves.
When I sat down in my seat on the airplane to Malaysia there was a quietness after the initial rush to get everything ready in time to board. The seat next to me was empty and after the lights went off I immediately lied down and tears of joy rolled over my cheeks in my secret hiding place. I couldn’t stop the tears, because I actually wanted to get down on my face before my Abba to tell Him how much I appreciate all He has done for us.
Aldo is doing so well! He is like a flower blooming! The battle in the spirit is won, and for the first time in almost 2 years I can climb on the airplane and know – “Aldo is healthy!” This brings me to such a humble, thankful place, because I know it is the work of my Father’s hand and His grace upon our lives.
My time in Malaysia was very special. God not only sent me to minister to his people there, but He also used them to minister to me. He showed me once again, that if we have ears that will hear, the Holy Spirit will teach us – no matter where in the world we are. He showed me that I don’t have to be disturbed anymore by the critical words aimed at me, because what He is teaching me in my bedroom on my face before Him, He is also teaching to His bride across the world; and that is to be ready and prepared in this last hour. It is because of a lack of knowledge that we are not prepared for the battle of the last days.
Holy Spirit confirmed so many things about warfare tactic to me. He wants us to start praying, really really praying. You will find how He starts waking you up in the midnight hour to watch and pray. This is usually the time when the enemy is working the hardest against us, and we are fast asleep! First of all, we need to have revelation knowledge that the fight is not against flesh and blood but against the evil powers and principalities in the air. The fight is in the spirit.
I caught myself murmuring while walking in the streets of Malaysia, about the food the offer to idols and the idols I see so blatantly everywhere. Holy Spirit spoke to me, “This is not so much different from the Western world. Why is this shock you so?”
“O, yes it is Lord! We don’t put food out for idols, and there aren’t any dragons hanging around in our streets,” I responded in my thoughts.
“Retha, it is only because you don’t see what I see. You can’t see the idol worship in so many of the western Christians, because you don’t discern effectively in the spirit. An Idol is anything that you love more than Me. It can be your children, your body, your hobby, your job… It looks the same to Me as the other idols made of stone. Buddha is an idol, but so is your lust for something that is not from Me. The truth is – those who know the Word, also know the truth; but still I am not their first love.
“Then I am not even touching on the people who call themselves Christians and then practice witchcraft and ancestral rituals in secret. You see Retha, they don’t put food out for the idols openly like here in the East, but they are busy with evil things in secret, and in the spirit it all looks the same. Because you can’t see it with your natural eyes, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. My bride is perishing because of a lack of knowledge, and I want to teach her like I taught Samuel to look at the heart of the matter, and not at the outward appearance (1 Sam. 16:7).”
There is only way – and that is that Jesus Christ must be your first love – if anything else is on that place of first love, it is an idol. The one that sits in a charismatic Western church but worships his sport, and the one that calls himself a Christian but still dabbles in ancestral worship, and the one that sets out food for an idol in Indonesia, are all the same in God’s eyes.
This truth shocked me – because after the accident I realized that my children were an idol to me. That kept me from experiencing the fullness of God and made of me and idol worshiper, even if I didn’t want to admit it.
The Word that the Lord keeps on putting on my heart is: Tell My children I want them to enter into My presence! To love Me more than anything else, to have an intimate love relationship with the King of Kings.
The Lord showed me how much joy the cross brought Him, because it provided us with open access to Him. Indeed it was a glorious moment when the temple veil was rent in two, because it opened a way for us to come boldly to His throne of mercy and grace. For such a long time in my life I did not really enter into His presence. These last seven months have been particularly hard on the family, and many nights I ran through that torn veil to the throne of my Savior just to sit at His feet. The longer I spent my time in His presence, the more I found that I could see and discern in the spirit. Today, after patiently enduring until the good work was completed in me, I won’t exchange it for anything.
My crying nights, my longing to touch Him nights, my please hear my cry nights – opened my eyes. And now I know, that I know, that Abba wants all of us to experience Him this intimately. Even though the fire was painful to my flesh, it pushed me onwards to death to self, and alive in Christ.
God spoke to me during one of those nights and said: “Retha, I want My children to be full My fire, as I anoint you with this fire, all of the old self will die more and more.”
“Bless the Lord, O my soul!... Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire” (Ps. 104:1-4).
“Lord, let your fire fall today in this place!” is the one prayer I pray wherever I go. There is a picture that I saw one night when I was before God’s throne, and I see it time and time again when I minister.
I see balls of fire that are thrown down on the people – but not everybody receives this fire. It is flames of fire that turn into balls. The shocking part was when Holy Spirit showed me that only those with opened hearts will receive this fire. Only the ones that will yield to Him receive the fire. Some were critical and judgmental – balls didn’t touch them but bounced off them because criticism makes you fireproof.
I saw another man who was fighting the move of the Spirit, and the balls of fire also bounced off him – “Yes, Retha. Pride also makes you fireproof. You will not receive My fire while there is any pride in you. They need to yield to My Spirit. They need to surrender.”
I saw balls of fire hovering over the heads of the people, and eventually they surrendered and asked the Holy Spirit to help them to lay down their lives. Most people had pride hidden in their hearts. They did not want to let go of the control they thought they had over their lives. They did not want to yield and lay down their lives, afraid of where that road would take them. They did not want to repent and turn their back on sin. They thought that they could still receive God’s fire, even with willful sin in their lives. The fire of God is for all – but not all received it.
Yes I know this is not an easy word, and maybe you want to fight against the vision I saw. I am only sharing this with you because I was also at that place at one time where the fire had to pass me by. I still believe this fire is for everyone, but you need to lay down your life and long for God more than for anything else.
It is so true that only dead wood can burn. As I am writing this to you I am thinking of my own life and I know that God’s fire burned away many things that were so full of “self” and that made space to be filled with Christ, and reveal the power of Christ to others.
A Malaysian woman stood up out of a wheelchair on one of the crusades, and I know it was only God’s power, the blood of His Son, and the fire of God that made this miracle possible. God’s fire gives boldness and from it faith can flow. God’s fire burns “self” away and that puts you in a place of total dependence on God. For many people this is a frightening place, but I tell you it is the best place in life!
This fire of God will burn those emotional wounds that haven’t healed yet; because those wounds prevent us from responding to God’s calling. Emotional wounds keep the body of Christ locked up in the works of the enemy, things like: addictions, gossip, dishonesty, backbiting, pornography, hate, bitterness, unforgiveness, rejection, pride, control. All these things keep people locked in the realm of the flesh where the enemy uses these open doors to control their lives.
I found that the fire of God burns in those wounded places and brings people to repentance and healing through the blood of Yeshua, by throwing light on the problem, so that those things are no longer hidden by shame and guilt. God wants to heal, cleanse and empower the body of Messiah in this hour, and we as His body need to bend our knees before the throne of mercy to receive mercy and grace through the blood of the Lam! All of this is found in front of the throne. Take time off and seek God - find His love and mercy and walk in His fire.
It is wonderful to be home. Josh wanted to hear every detail of my trip and then he drew a picture as I talked. It was a picture of fire falling from heaven. “Wow Josh, how did you know about the fire?” I asked him. “I had a dream one night, Mom.” I stand in awe of our God. All I can say is “God is good!”
To all the wonderful people in Malaysia – thank you!! How wonderful to know we are all part of the same body even though we are continents apart. So many of you became my friends and are now my brothers and sisters in Christ! Thank you for the Church in Malaysia, the body of Christ who welcomed me with opened arms and received all that God had for them. To Aunty Daisy (an old Chinese widow who opened her home to me. She gave her last and her best to me), thank you Aunty Daisy! Just as with Elijah, you just trusted God and gave me a room – I believe God will fill your needs forever and ever. I love you Aunty Daisy!
God bless you all.
Retha and family.