It was my 17th birthday. They year was 1995, one year year before I graduated from high school.
Light pink Bibles were pretty awesome back then.
I loved this thing. It was my companion. I took notes in it and spent hours pouring over it for next few years.
Fast forward to March 13, 1998.
Today, it’s almost like the fire never happened. I haven’t thought of it in a long time. But when I see the singed edges of my favorite pink Bible, the memories flood over me. It was one of the few things I was able to salvage from my bedroom. Memories of a charred apartment only 6 short months after my marriage, haunted me for a long time. The smell of smoke still catches me off-guard and reminds me of the fireman’s Chaplain reassuring me that my husband was O.K.
An apartment fire was a tough way to start our new life together. But after a time, after the insurance check came in, and we moved out of a long-term hotel room, I started to view it as a fresh start.
Before the fire, we had moved to Colorado Springs, but I still traveled to Pueblo for church and my favorite morning Bible study. At the time our apartment burned, my Tuesday group of Bible Study partners and I were going through Beth Moore’s study on the Tabernacle.
The week of our fire, we were studying the altar of the Holy Tabernacle. Even though we were going through a lot, I kept up with my study, and was literally blown away with the timing of a week-long study on the topic of…
You guessed it: FIRE.
“The fire on the altar must be kept burning, it shall never go out. The priest shall burn wood on it every morning.” Leviticus 6:12
A fire that never goes out? Kind of scary for someone who just lost their home in a fire, right? But as I got deeper, I realized that Jesus is our fire.
He burns for us, cleansing us constantly.
After we surrender to Him, every minute of every day, we are being cleansed. Every second we draw breath, His cleansing fire is at work in us. He’s making us holy, new, and clean.
In Hebrews 12:29, God is referred to as a “Consuming fire”. Again, sort of scary visuals, right? Fire is not something to be taken lightly. It’s life-changing, I can tell you that.
God wants to clean us like a holy fire. Will you let Him consume you? Will you allow Him to write a new story on a blank slate?
After our fire, all the things in my home were replaced.
Everything was new.
Imagine! Totally new.
New furniture, new bedding, new makeup, new clothes, and fresh dish towels.
It was a fresh start.
That’s what the cleansing fire creates. It’s what Jesus longs to do for our souls. It was a painful process, but trust me, I’ll never forget the feeling of having ALL new things.
After the sense of loss, there was an overwhelming feeling of pure blessing. Jesus, like fire, makes all things new, and sometimes, that means starting over.
Do you need to start over? Are you ready to go through some pain to get a clean, brand-new kind of start?
The Israelites, as they traveled through the wilderness, were led by God himself as He manifested Himself in a pillar of fire through the desert. I’m sure it gave them warmth on cold nights. Like a child’s night light, it brought light and comfort in their distress. Let Him lead you into salvation in the light of His cleansing fire.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Is. 43:2