I Know Who Started The Fire
By Linda C Dipman

    The flames from the forest fire twirled creating a funnel that took the form of a fiery tornado that lashed out
furiously hurdling huge balls of fire that ignited grasses, trees and every house that was in the mist of the fire. The
intensity of the heat boiled the water right out of the luxury pools of the rich and the tiny streams that ran along the
path of the forest fire.  Everything left behind was destroyed by the gigantic forest fire.

    The people in the fires path gathered a few precious items along with clothing and ran for their lives.  Many
barely escaped as their cars caught on fire from the penetrating furnace emanating from the forest fire. Walls of
dark clouds of ash and smoke blocked out the sun and brought an eerie feeling of loss.

    Half a million people are displaced from their homes and despondent as they wonder how they will start over
again.  Why did this happen?  Why did I lose everything in the fire.  How will I ever replace everything I lost?

    Luke 12: 49-51, “I came to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already kindled!  I have a baptism to
receive, and how distressed I am until it is over!  Do you suppose that I came to bring peace to the world?  No, not
peace, but division.”

    The quickest response to a devastating fire is why God why!  Theologians over the past have raised their arms
with angry faces confirming the feelings that all destruction from natural disaster is a result of people’s sin.  The
media has proclaimed that these are God’s acts of revenge on a sinful and corrupt world who refuse to respond to
the call of God’s will for their lives.

    But today I wish to enlighten those who have suffered a cruel loss of homes and jobs because of the forest fires
in California.  God did not do this to you!  God loves people and He is the Savior of the world.  Jesus did not come
to set the world on fire in a literal sense.  He came to set the world a blaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit that dwells
in a person.  A Spirit that comes to open our eyes as we face the difficulties this world will put us through.
    We are in a life game that centers around a powerful spiritual world that interacts in the physical world that we
are apart.  It is an unseen world that wages good and bad forces against human beings in an effort to teach us the
difference between right and wrong. Satan the ruler and judge of the world has the ability to punish human beings
for sin.  Sin represents evil and it requires punishment.  Satan because he is the evil god of this world has the ability
to wage a war against the earth because of sin.  He started the fire!

    Ephesians 6: 12, “For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the
heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age.”

    Jesus is not our judge but our helper.  He came to strengthen those who have lost their homes and give them the
ability to rebuild again.  He came to bring hope and love.  He came to build you up and give you the ability to fight
against every loss you suffer with perseverance and assurance that you can win!

    John 12: 46&47, “I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in
the darkness.  If anyone hears my message and does not obey it, I will not judge him.  I came, not to judge the world
but to save it”

    When we suffer the loss of our property and home, Jesus comes in and takes our losses and turns them into
challenges that give us the ability to rebuild again.  He takes our near death experiences in a fire and makes them a
witness to the power of God and how He can rescue us just in time.  He takes our memories and builds better
memories of how we overcame the fire with a more enduring faith. He builds our character through our losses and
turns us into a strong unconquerable force that will withstand against any bad thing that comes up against people.

    When Jesus is in our lives we understand that everything we suffer is an instrument meant to teach us something
new that we would never have understood if we had not experienced going through the fire.  We are in a teaching
world.  A world game that will test us and try us so we will change into different people.  He gave us the Bible as a
hand book so we would understand just what kind of world we are experiencing. Jesus is the author of everything
good in the world.

    We have read stories of people who have endured tremendous losses and we have been inspired from their
words.  They have turned their losses into personal victories.  They have won the approval of thousands because
they took their tragedies and told people what they learned.  Their inspiration nurtures Christians everywhere giving
them the knowledge they need to not quit when they face difficult situations brought on by the destructive power of
Satan’s evil wrath.

    Christ came to give us hope.  He came to give us the fight we need to stand up against the evils of the world.  He
came to replace our sorrows with joy.  Joy that fills us with the strength we need to start all over again. He came to
give us life in a corrupt and evil world so we could be an example to everyone of what happens when you follow God.

    John 12: 48, “Whoever rejects me and does not accept my message has one who will judge him (Satan).  The
words I have spoken will be his judge on the last day!”

    Satan is the judge of the world.  When we do not know the purpose behind our world then we come up against
Satan.  He wants to destroy people’s lives and to keep them from running to the saving power of Jesus Christ.  He
tempts people into doing evil.  He is opposite from God for he manifests his spirit in hate.

    Satan takes grief and uses it as a weapon.  He convinces people that God hurt them and they should cut God
out of their lives.  He tells them to blame a family member because they didn’t get out a prize possession during the
forest fire.  He ruins marriages, divides families and  becomes a voice of hate.

    Their losses in the fire become personal tragedies that destroy hope and create mental breakdowns that lead to
depression and feelings of giving up.  They spend years in therapy reliving the loss of a loved one who died in the
fire.  They become despondent and hopeless unable to live past the event that robbed them of their home.

    When you are living in a teaching world, then you must understand that you will go through tests.  Tests that are
meant to open your eyes to what is good and what is evil.  These tests will either break you or change you into more
assured and stronger people.

    John 15: 5&6, “I am the vine, and you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much
fruit; for you can do nothing without me.  Whoever does not remain in me is thrown out like a branch and thrown into
the fire, where they are burned.”        

    Jesus’ prunes those who follow Him with love and care.  He does this so that we will become perfect like He is
perfect.  He takes the fire of the Holy Spirit and becomes a voice of determination that helps us to fight against evil.

    Satan started the fire and when the world game comes to an end all those who chose to hurt people will be
thrown out and burnt up in a fire that is meant to end evil.  When this day comes a bright new world will emerge
shining like lightning and bringing an end to suffering and pain.  Hold unto Jesus, He loves every human being and
He came to show us the way to an eternity of love in the perfect world that is to come.