Thursday, May 05, 2005

Prophetic Word for Homer, Alaska Concerning the Tracy Avenue Fire

The Homer-area Tracy Avenue Fire.

Just about everyone in the state of Alaska has read reports of the Tracy Avenue fire, which recently burned 5,000 acres of wildlands near Homer, Alaska. The fire even made national news outlets like MSNBC and USA Today.

The fire is the largest ever of its kind for the Homer area. The last “major” fire, in comparison, was only 90 acres in size back in 1999. Interestingly, the largest fire ever recorded on the Kenai Peninsula was in 1947, the year that the Voice of Healing revival first began sweeping the nation.

I believe this recent fire has direct prophetic significance for the local area. On the day the fire began, I was scheduled to preach a message on the Spirit of Burning, discussing the refining fire of the Lord and the burning inward passion for the Lord, both of which are intricately tied together to birth the flames of revival. Purity and intimacy are strong themes the Lord is drawing his people to in this hour.

:: First the natural, then the spiritual ::

I had been praying all week for the fire of God to fall on the city – spiritually – before this event took place. Interestingly, I spoke on the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord on the previous Sunday, and that same day, another wildfire broke out. Later, on Thursday, I was speaking about bizarre miracles, and the supernatural exploits of many forerunner revivalists (including several from the Voice of Healing revival) when yet another, separate grass fire was ignited. Three fires, three different days, three different messages. But there are a few common themes.

The Lord wants to release His power and a true baptism of fire that consumes His church with Holy passion.

Jesus said, in Luke 12, that the people could gauge the signs of nature to forecast the weather and determine when the rains would come, but they could not read signs of the spiritual climate around them.

Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? (Luke 12:56)

On this note, I believe it is paramount that we not overlook the intentions of the Lord in this hour, because we know the Lord often gives a sign first in the natural that He will later bring about spiritually. The moment I first saw the smoke cloud rising from the Tracy Avenue Fire, I knew the Lord was up to something significant.

For one, I believe that the Lord longs to release a burning flame of revival on the people of Homer in a very significant way. When I looked up the name “Tracy,” I was overcome with the presence of God. It means “brave fighter; bold; reaper.” The Lord wants to release his fiery, bold harvesters in this hour that will literally shake nations. They will demonstrate an unprecedented boldness, shaking off the fear of man and walking in the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord (see Isaiah 11). We must understand that this fire will not be released just for Homer, but for the nations.

I prophesied at the beginning of the year about a fresh release of missionaries and, specifically, short term mission workers. We are about to see more such activation locally. A number of local people are already receiving a fresh vision for mission work (some joining Heidi Baker in Mozambique, others taking trips with evangelistic ministries, holding crusades in South America, and various congregations focusing on Mexico, Uganda, and other places). More will continue to take practical steps toward this end before the year’s end.

I do not think it was coincidence that this fire could not be contained because it constantly broke fire lines and jumped hundreds of yards past its boundaries. My 7-year-old daughter asked me, “Is there really such a thing as a controlled fire?” In the same way these fires of revival will jump across man-made boundaries, and at times, will seem out of control. I have heard it said that it is better to have wildfire than to have no fire. The Lord would rather us be hot or cold than to be lukewarm. Once his flame is ignited, it is an all consuming fire.

Also beyond coincidence, there were 120 personnel dispatched to the Tracy Avenue Fire. The same number as the original “sent ones” that the Lord dispatched to preach the kingdom.

:: fiery nature ::

There are a few key verses that are significant regarding the fire of the Lord. For one, we should consider his purging, cleansing fire:

But who can endure the day of His coming? Who can stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites (worshipers) and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness (right living) and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years (Mal. 3:2-4, notes mine)

When we realize that the Lord Himself is a fire, then we no longer run from the furnace of purification. Instead we embrace the flame, because it is within the fiery furnace that we find Jesus there walking with us. In fact, the Lord calls us to so embrace the fire that we become one with His fiery nature. Scripture says His servants are a flame of fire.

There is a violent, aggressive taking hold of the Kingdom of God that the Lord is calling us to in this hour, that only the fire can effect in us. The Lord is releasing “brave fighters.” Of John the Baptist, Jesus said:

What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? (Luke 11:7-8)

John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord. He was a forerunner for revival. But what was John? Was he a “sissy Christian,” shaken by the wind? Timid and afraid of the opinions of man? Not likely. Neither was he a well-dressed establishment figure.

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully (violently) advancing, and forceful (violent) men lay hold of it (Luke 11:12, notes mine).

There is a spiritual aggression that is necessary to birth revival. Some have felt that locally, there has been a spiritual lull in the Homer area in recent months, if not an overt assault of the enemy on the church. The Lord is about to speed up the warfare, but it will not be the enemy attacking: It will be the brave warriors of God moving offensively to take ground for the kingdom.

This type of fire is not a zeal without wisdom. The Lord is now releasing strategies for the church to ambush the enemy in our city. I believe that a very strategic passage for this hour is Joshua 8, when the Israelites advance on the city of Ai.

:: strategy for Ai ::

The Tracy Avenue Fire burned 5,000 acres of land. This is the same number of troops that Joshua used to lie in ambush and set fire to the city of Ai. Ai literally means “or.” It is a place of indecision.

The Lord is asking us this day who we are going to serve. And if it is Him, let us get serious about it in every respect.

The first time the armies of Israel attacked Ai, Joshua and the elders of Israel were dealing with sin in the camp. This is prophetically where the church of Homer has been for some time. You may remember in Joshua 7 that Achan stole the devoted things and it caused many of the young warriors to die in battle. Only a few men from Ai, a small minority, routed Israel’s armies. It should have been an easy victory for Israel, but sin strips God’s people of power. The Israelites finally dealt with Achan, destroying his entire family and possessions, and they named that place the Valley of Achor, meaning the “Valley of Trouble.” In the same way, we need to get more aggressive about ridding the sin from our midst.

Joshua then had 5,000 men to lie in ambush between Ai and Bethel (a place of worship – worship being our primary spiritual warfare tactic). Joshua then sent many others to fake an attack and then retreat from Ai. This lured the men of Ai out of the city. The 5,000 then attacked and burned the city to rubble. They burned away the “indecision.”

The primary strategy for taking our city starts on an individual level. We must remove the reproach of sin first of all from our own hearts by allowing the flame of the Lord to purge us. But this can only happen when our hearts are first gripped with the burning fire of intimacy. Purity is only a requirement because it makes way for divine love. We must develop a secret relationship with the Lord that displaces our secret idols (a big one is the fear of man). When our hearts are purged of the spiritual adultery of sin, then the Lord will “make the Valley of Achor a door of hope” (Hos. 2:15). He will restore what our sins have stolen from us.

We must reposition ourselves into a place of worship. We do not combat the enemy directly. We combat him through an aggressive pursuit of the face, heart and hand of God. When we cultivate the presence of the Lord in our lives, the enemy is exposed automatically. When the enemy is exposed, the Lord has given him into our hands.

It is also important to remember that the majority of Joshua’s army did not directly attack Ai. The majority served as decoys, but only the 5,000 were lying in wait for ambush. In the same way, there are still hidden regiments in our city that are lying in wait for the opportune moment for the Lord to move. It is when Joshua (a foreshadow of Jesus) extended his javelin toward the city that they attacked. We must wait for the Lord before we strike. Not flailing and haphazardly. We need precision, unity and divine strategy.

What will be the result? The power with which the enemy resists us will become ours. Remember how David took Goliath’s sword after he defeated the giant? 1 Samuel 17:4 says that Goliath’s armor of bronze weighed 5,000 shekels. Five thousand, wow! The same resistance that the gospel has faced – the hard armor of the enemy that has seemed impenetrable – is about to change as the Lord hands over our adversaries into our hands. That means salvation, healing and deliverance on a local level.

In conclusion, I believe that the Lord is saying it takes aggression to overcome indecision and resistance to the gospel. And it takes personal holiness and intimacy stoked in our hearts like never before to bring the kingdom into our midst. But if we allow the Lord to consume us with purity and passion like never before, we should know that He is offering out His hand to bring radical revival.

The flames of Tracy Avenue were sparked by a power line. In the same way, the Lord is willing to “show His power” and let the fire fall in a power confrontation against the false prophets of Baal. I’m talking about bizarre miracles and serious supernatural encounters.

But this entire word speaks only to Homer’s prophetic potential. The Lord never dictates a revival. There is always a responsibility on our part to get hungry, to always keep the fire burning on the altar of our hearts, and to seek Him while He may be found. Let us diligently pursue.