|A Consuming Fire|
by haRold Smith
from Jerusalem, Israel
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Yeshua, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of YHVH. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: 'My son, do not despise the chastening of YHVH, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom YHVH loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.'
This is my story. I am not trying to promote a doctrine, not wanting to create a following and not trying to contend with anyone about the rightness or wrongness of what they believe. I present this testimony only to uplift Yeshua and what He has done for me. If there is something here that speaks to you, then Baruch haShem YHVH (Hebrew for "Bless the Name YaHoVeH" click on highlighted words to view) - if not, then may Yevarech Otka YaHoVeH (Hebrew for "YHVH bless you").
On Sunday, August 3, 2008, at about 10 am, I began to suffer pain in the upper left quadrant of my heart, running down the inside of my left arm, that within a short time became so incredibly intense that I had to cancel my plans for the day and lay down. The instant it started, I knew why it was happening. I had brought this episode upon myself. I had let the hedge down - ever so slightly, only for a brief moment - but enough so that it loosed the demons of darkness over my heart that had been cultivated in Light. The heart the Father had so graciously bestowed upon me just a year earlier and written about in recent articles. (see Preserving Our Life and Overwhelmed).
One of my first recollections after meeting the Father, some 40 years ago (see the Power of God) was, one day while within the prayer room in my mind, I was trying to connect in the Spirit, but kept getting distracted by demons of sexual lust that seemed to be swirling around my head like bats. I would rebuke them, corral them, chase them out of the room, close and lock the doors and windows of my mind - but in a few minutes they would be back. I couldn't figure out what I was doing to allow them back in and cried out to the Father to give me some wisdom because I sincerely wanted to walk uprightly before Him. In an instant, it was as though a light switch was thrown on in this room in my mind and, as I looked to my left, there was this guy, this spirit, leaning on the doorknob on the INSIDE of the door (now standing wide open) with this smirk of a smile on his face. I will never forget that face and can still see it now. What really surprised me about this encounter was that I KNEW this guy. I saw his face every morning as part of my countenance when I would look in the mirror. He accompanied me wherever I went. I always thought him to just be part of the package I came with. Until then, I had never considered this spirit to be an entity unto himself - and certainly did not consider he might be living within me.
As I looked upon this guy there in this room in my mind, the Spirit of YHVH began revealing to me that his name was "self-pity". Even though I was chasing out all those other demons of sexual lust, because he was in the house, as I was locking everything down, he was coming around behind me opening everything up - inviting them all back in. Everywhere in my life that I have fallen prey to the trap of the enemy in regards to sexual impropriety of some sort, the Spirit showed me how I could trace it all back to where it began - to the point where I had entertained that spirit of self-pity and began to listen to him because of rejection, hurt or dismay in my life. It may have been weeks or months between the initiation of that embrace to its culmination in a falling in some overt fashion, but I could always trace the path back to where I let my guard down and, in some form or another, started to feel sorry for myself.
The last time this happened was right after my divorce, over 10 years ago. I had just moved into a room in my print shop and, feeling sorry for myself, had been abushed by some pornography on the internet. Instead of turning it off, as was usually my custom, I lingered and before long, I had become immersed in it. I had no sooner closed the computer when two hoodlums kicked in my back door looking to rob the place and then ran when they saw me, not expecting anyone to be there. That is when I began to realize, this spiritual realm we occupy is no game to be taken lightly.
Back to the present - this time, the misadventure was not anywhere near as flagrant as in times past, but it didn't have to be. Within the hour I was bouncing across the bed in excruciating pain. Because of a spurned engagement I had suffered the previous summer (which was completely devastating), the well-intentioned prophecies I had subsequently received from friends about there being "another woman" here in Israel for me and a couple of other events right after arriving in Israel, I had begun looking - whereas prior to that, I had contented myself with living a single life. Now, though, instead of keeping my focus on Yeshua where it had been for a decade, I began to look at women trying to determine which one might be "the one". From there, it was a short step to licentiousness (thinking about whether to think about it) and, from there, to thinking about being with a woman. (Matthew 5:28, James 1:14-15)
A woman had come to me after a meeting the previous week, sincerely wanting me to comfort her as she began crying about how lonely she was - not looking for a man but just wanting someone to confide in. At the time, I felt humbled that she would consider me someone she could become vulnerable with. Through no fault of hers, I began to let those thoughts crowd my mind as well. Before long, that spirit of self-pity began to work on me again and, well, I can't fault anyone but myself. I was being set up by the enemy to take a fall - step by carefully crafted step (1Peter 5:8). What gets me, what I am kicking myself the most over, is that I KNOW better - it was a stupid lack of diligence on my part that cannot be tolerated if I am to win the war within. Make no mistake; this is where the war is waged. I soon discovered that what the Father had once winked at wasn't going to stand in His Presence anymore. What hurts the most is, after all YHVH has done for me, in all the ways He has proved Himself true to me, is that I let Him down in a time he was counting on me the most. Not that He needs me, but He wants to use us and to be used effectively, we need to be strong in resistance (James 4:7). He has invested much in this vessel to be brought into this portal in this hour.
Within a few hours after the pain began in my heart, a couple of brothers showed up and I confessed my sin to them that same afternoon. I knew right away that He had forgiven me and put me back into right standing with Him (1John 1:9). He is so Good that way. They prayed for me and the severe pain moderated somewhat but I was left with this ache in my heart and arm that just wouldn't subside. There are consequences to stepping aside, even if we are forgiven. I wasn't afraid of dying to go be with Him if He felt that was the best - but, I really didn't want to go out this way, not after all that He has done for me to spend the rest of eternity knowing I could have served Him better. The dispersion I had cast on Him before the universe to see was what was hurting me the most. So, I said to him, "Father, if you are to keep me here - then make this hurt so that I will never again be tempted to forget it." The pain dragged on, constantly, for two more days and nights. There would be moments of sharp severity, but mostly was a dull, ache from deep within my heart. He was answering my prayer.
Over the course of Sunday evening and into Monday, word was beginning to spread that l was in distress and I was starting to hear from this one and that one that I needed to go to the hospital. I had not received any clear indication from the Father as what to do and (as referenced in the articles mentioned above) have come to the understanding in my life where, regardless of circumstance, if I DON'T hear Him say anything, my best position is to do nothing - to not presume Him to be saying anything. In all the years I have known Him, whenever I have been true to Him in this regard, He has never once failed to give me direction - not once. I am very fortunate to have so many who love me and are genuinely concerned for my welfare. However, I found myself trying to explain to these folks that this wasn't about going to a doctor or not going to a doctor but was, first and foremost, about hearing His Voice. (see Hearing His Voice).
Monday night I had a dream about this fellow I know back in Texas that I have not conversed with in over 25 years. I was explaining to him in some detail the necessity of hearing the voice of the Lord for your self and being resolute in following that no matter what the world would present us or what others would try to, well-intentionally, talk us out of. We are to listen to others and to weigh their counsel but, as Paul was repeatedly admonished to not go to Rome but went because he knew that was where he was supposed to be, so, likewise, are we to submit ourselves to one another "in the fear of YHVH" but to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit - even if we are the only ones to go there. This is why it becomes so crucial for us to be exercised in knowing and hearing His Voice. I was ready to dash an email off to this fellow when I realized this dream was for me. (see Prayer and Healing).
When Aharon (of the hospital I was working with at the time - isn't that a hoot?) was talking to me on the phone Tuesday night, every symptom he was describing, I was having - not as severe as before, but still there. He offered to cover all the expenses and insisted I go to the hospital - a kind and generous offer. I asked him if he was now assuming the role of my Jewish mother to which he told me to be sure to eat my chicken soup - ha! I told him I felt that I was on the other side of this thing and he gave me the phone number of a doctor to call at the hospital if things should get bad again while he was away (he left for America a few hours later). I told him I would.
What all these well-intentioned folks could not know, was that for those three days - Yeshua was right there in the room with me through all of this, from the very first - just watching. As real as you are - but not. There are not words adequate enough to explain this phenomenon. It was as though I was able to look into another dimension where I could see Him watching me while at the same time aware that I was in my body in this room. The whole time, in spite of the pain, I was enveloped in His Peace that passes all understanding - and He was right here with me. It was quite extraordinary.
Wednesday was resurrection day - the third day since Sunday when this all began. I was able to sleep for the first time during the nite for about 5 hours, awaking with no pain or shortness of breath - tender, but no pain. 12 hours after waking up, there was still no pain - had not taken any aspirin all day, but was still very weak. One of the brothers here that I lean on told me the Father said, "rest", so I am taking that admonition.
I went to bed with pain again on Thursday nite. I think I pushed it a bit much. Had people over - never realized how much of a strain they can be. I awoke in the middle of the nite and Yeshua was bending over me, sewing something in my heart. He told me to "be still". I still thought about getting up, but He told me again to "be still" - not "Peace, be still", but "be still" so I wouldn't interfere with His stitching. I went back to sleep for another 5 hours and got up with no pain and I have had no pain since. This has got to be the most excruciating and most exhilarating time I have ever experienced. A friend of mine, when I told her this, said she had been praying for Him to give me a new heart and couldn't understand why He would be just repairing it. I answered her that He had already given me a new heart - it was I who damaged it. That He would yet fix it just causes me to love Him that much more. (Romans 2:4).
There is a basic law in the universe (called the law of righteousness, brotherman) that says light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time - it is an impossible event. I brought this occurrence upon myself by bringing darkness into the Temple which now resides in me through my actions - not because I broke somebody's rule. When God heals us and gives us new parts, particularly a new heart, there is responsibility that goes with it as partakers of the Holy of Holies. Or, another way of saying it, darkness will - not maybe, WILL - become separated from the light - and that separation can often be violent. Darkness has not, will not, nor will it ever overcome the Light (see the Law of Grace, and the Righteousness of the Law).
It was this occurrence of darkness being evicted from the Presence of His Light that is recorded in the original books as the earth opening to swallow people up and plagues or diseases running throughout the children of Israel. This same event occurred with Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. I had often looked at that passage and wondered about the harshness of God meted out to them. From my viewpoint, it didn't seem as though what they had done was all that bad - they just got a little prosperity teaching going there. I fully understand now that it is not the degree of darkness brought into His Presence, but that there IS darkness. The closer we come into His Light, the more severely darkness will be dealt with (1John 1:7). This is the judgment that is coming upon the earth - darkness is being separated from light within the hearts of men and it begins with the household of God (John 3:19-21, 1Peter 4:17).