THE RESCUE

A quaint yellow house stands engulfed in flames. Smoke billows from windows in never-ending streams. The occupants emerge in a panicked fury, coughing and gasping for breath. Suddenly the realization hits that one person is missing. Nowhere to be seen in the huddle of traumatized survivors, it’s certain that the burning inferno has a tight grip on the last occupant inside the house. 

Hope seems lost as one side of the roof caves in and flames shoot into the sky. Then, a loud siren blares in the distance. The tide has turned. A shiny, red fire engine pulls up. Several firefighters emerge, along with their commanding officer. As a team, they size up the scene, contemplating the best plan of attack. Within minutes, they’ve determined the points of entry, and secured the hoses to douse the flames. Two firefighters are tasked with the job of entering the home to locate the occupant and bring him/her out safely. They approach this without hesitation, even as the roof continues to falter. Within minutes they locate the victim, motionless and lying on the ground. Tag-teaming, they lift her, being careful to shield her from the surrounding flames. Several beams crash down as they make their way out of the house. Against all odds, these determined firefighters emerge with the victim in their grasp. A wave of relief rises from the onlookers, who realize a miraculous rescue has just happened.

We all know at least one story that recounts the heroic deeds of a firefighter, who dodges the flames to save a trapped victim. We all love these heroic stories, which remind us that hope can be found, even among the flames.

When my husband became a firefighter years ago, I imagined all the burning buildings he would have to enter–the flames he would face– the people he would rescue. Sometimes I’d worry and other times I’d feel a wave of pride as I realized his job put him in the position to save another person. 

A firefighter has many responsibilities which include: protecting citizens during emergencies, extinguishing fires, inspecting for hazards, and executing rescues. While this is certainly the short list of duties, these are the ones that put a firefighter in harm’s way. Regardless of any danger, the firefighter’s main goal is to put the citizen first and to do everything in their power to bring him/her to a place of safety and well-being. 

I find myself contemplating my husband’s job on a regular basis. During these times, I have often thought of Jesus. After all, he’s the one who faced the flames and fire for us. He gave his life on the cross so all those who trust in him would be spared eternal judgment. He endured six hours of torture so we would not face the flames of Hell. Yes, I’d say Jesus is an amazing FIREMAN.  

Usually, my husband keeps his fire gear at work, but there’s been a few times he’s brought it home. Usually, he places it on the porch so it can air out. The intense smell of ash and smoke is so thick that I can barely stand to be next to the gear. My eyes start to water if I’m around it more than a few minutes. Black smudges cover the jacket and pants, reminding me of just how close the flames must have been. That gets me thinking about all the times Jesus has gone into the fire for me already. During my life on earth, I have faced many “fires,” and I know he has walked through each and every one with me. 

When my husband was overseas with the military, I initially felt frightened and overwhelmed. But Jesus doused water on the flames of anxiety, loneliness and fear. I came through the fire stronger than before.  Years later, when I went through a dark depression, Jesus pulled me out of the smoke I couldn’t see through. I emerged with greater faith.  After my father died of cancer, Jesus gave me oxygen so I could breathe again. The wind of the Holy Spirit became stronger than the winds of hopelessness. And when my son went through years of medical problems, Jesus picked me up and carried me out of the collapsing building. He’s still rescuing me to this day. Truthfully, his faithfulness in my time of emergency never ends.

Psalm 91 reminds me that: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress, My God in whom I trust.” 

When I dwell with Jesus, a fire cannot burn me. Yes, I will feel the heat, but a dwelling with Jesus is essentially fireproof. Sparks and flames shoot in all directions, but I can dodge their reach. 

Psalm 91:11 is what I like to call the 911 of Jesus! It says, “For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.” How’s that for a 911 dispatch! Jesus can send angels to the scene of our most difficult moments and disasters. It doesn’t have to be an actual train wreck–perhaps it’s just that our life feels like one! No matter the reason, Jesus responds in a moment’s notice.

No matter what’s going on, it’s Jesus who goes into the burning building for us. He does not want us to be burned up by depression, fear, sickness, or our own sins. Of course, just like dialing 911, we have to dial him. It’s as simple as, “Jesus, I need your help.” 

Throughout our lifetime, Jesus rescues us from many things. Whether we’re aware or not, we have been plucked from the grip of many calamities. After I was divinely rescued during a horse-back riding accident in 2012, I became increasingly aware of the supernatural presence of Jesus. From that point on, I began interceding with strategic prayers for myself and others. Intercession is like a giant water hose that knocks the enemy off his feet. Or better yet, picture the witch from the Wizard of Oz–she melted when water was thrown on her!

The enemy is constantly creating sparks that can turn into fires. Prayer and intercession are key components to fighting the worst arsonist on planet earth. Never fear because Jesus is the Living Water, who extinguishes those flames in record time. You have to let him do the work, however, through the power of the Holy Spirit. I have found that trying to put the flames out myself seems to make matters worse–have you ever thrown oil on a fire? That’s what I do when I try to douse the flames through my flesh. By the time I make a 911 call to Jesus, the fire has almost consumed me. I often learn the hard way, getting singed and covered in the smoke of my stubborn pride. 

While we will continue facing “fires” here on earth, there’s one event in time that will make all those flames look like tiny embers. This event is still to come and we don’t know the exact timing of it. When imagining a fire, this one would trump all others and leave Smoky the Bear heading for the hills. The event I’m referring to is the Seven-Year Tribulation. The Bible speaks of this being the worst time on earth. 

In Matthew 24:21-22 Jesus says,  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” 

Jeremiah 30:7 says, “Alas! That day is so great; there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.” 

Jacob is another name for the nation of Israel. The Tribulation will be a time where Israel will go through very difficult, pressing times. The word Tribulation is related to an agricultural tool known as a tribulum.  Precept Austin  (a website which is full of biblical commentary and word studies) says this: The English word ‘tribulation’ is derived from the Latin word tribulum (literally  a thing with teeth that tears), which was a heavy piece of timber with spikes in it, used for threshing the corn or grain. The tribulum was drawn over the grain and it separated the wheat from the chaff.” 

A threshing board from Palestine in 1937

The Tribulation will be a period of great suffering, pressing and squashing. Like the agricultural tool known as a tribulum (threshing board), it will grind and tear in order to purge sin and urge people to repent. It will also bring about a great harvest of Jewish people (known collectively as “the nation of Israel”) who will become believers–a remnant who will finally recognize Jesus as the Messiah. It will also bring unbelieving Gentiles to faith in Jesus. They will have to face the fires of the Tribulation, but those who come to faith in Jesus will be saved.  

The Tribulation will unleash a time of great disaster and devastation on the earth. To be more specific, it will release God’s wrath. So, where is the Bride of Christ during this time of Tribulation? (The Bride is made up of all those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior.) Some biblical scholars believe the Bride of Christ will face this horrible time of judgement that will fall upon the earth–which includes plagues, fire, rampant lawlessness, starvation, disasters and horrific persecution. The seven years of the Tribulation will be Hell on earth. Read the book of Revelation for more details about this.

But, a large number of biblical scholars believe the Bride of Christ will be rescued before the Tribulation. Personally, I believe the Bride of Christ will be taken under Jesus’ mighty wings to heaven before the Tribulation. Though I won’t get into all the reasons in this post, I have searched the scriptures and studied the Hebraic roots and Feasts of the Lord, which all lead me to this conclusion. If you want to read a blogpost about the hope of the Rapture, click on this link. My great hope comes from knowing that a gigantic rescue is coming! This rescue is called the Rapture of the Church. 

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18 describes this rescue:

“ Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

Notice that when Jesus returns at the Rapture, a trumpet call will be heard. This reminds me of the fire alarm my husband hears when he goes on an emergency call. He’s on 24-hour duty when he’s at the station. This means he must sleep there as well. He describes being in a dead sleep when all of a sudden, a sharp, loud alarm rings out. In a flash, he wakes up, grabs his gear and jumps on the truck. This whole process takes a matter of minutes.

It makes me realize that when Jesus comes to rescue us, it will be very fast, and the trumpet will be the siren. Actually, the trumpet (also called a shofar) is meant to be an awakening blast. One of the appointed times of the Lord is called the Feast of Trumpets. But its Hebrew name is Yom Teruah, which means the Day of Blasting or Shouting. One day the Bride of Christ may be awakened out of a dead sleep in our beds when a the loud, sudden blast of the trumpet sounds. 

Even the fire truck reminds me of Jesus because as it travels to its destination, the alarm is blaring, alerting people of its presence. During biblical times, when a groom was coming to get his bride, trumpets would be blown to alert everyone nearby that the moment had finally arrived! It was time to go to the Father’s property for the grand wedding ceremony!  When Jesus comes to get his bride at the Rapture, a trumpet (alarm) will sound as he comes to literally rescue us from this dark world. He will meet us in the air in just the nick of time before all chaos unfolds on earth. A loud siren (trumpet) will sound as we are raptured.

Recently, I experienced something amazing that spoke to my heart through the Holy Spirit. I attended the wedding of a firefighter my husband works with. When I got to the church where the wedding was taking place, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful red fire truck parked out front. As I stared at it, the words, “Jesus is our rescue,” came to mind. When I went inside the church, I saw the groups of firefighters who were attending the wedding. They were all friends of the groom.

After the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom went outside to take pictures in front of the firetruck. That’s when it really hit me. In that moment, I could picture Jesus, our perfect groom, saving his bride from the darkness of this world. I had a vision in my mind of the Rapture– with Jesus pulling his bride out before the “fire” of the Tribulation.  The fire truck was from Station 11 and it reminded me of this grand 11th hour rescue. 

Believe it or not, the next month I attended another wedding of a firefighter from Station 11. It was at the same church, and it followed the same routine. Like before, the fire truck was parked in front. All the firefighters were gathered inside the church. After the wedding ceremony, I saw the bride and groom taking pictures on and in front of the firetruck. The thoughts pervading my mind were that our groom loves us so much that he put everything on the line to save us. He overcame the fires of Hell for his bride. This is our 911 rescue“We will not fear the terrors of the night, or arrows that fly by day…we do not dread the diseases that stalk us in the darkness, nor the disasters that strike at midday. Even if a thousand fall at our side, or ten thousand die all around us, those evils will not touch us.” Psalm 91:5-7.

Four years before the Covid-19 pandemic began, I read a book called Station 11. It had nothing to do with a fire station–actually, it was about a flu pandemic that shuts down the world and the economy. The book was a work of fiction, but at the time when I read it, I felt like there was something “prophetic” about it. I prayed and felt like the Lord was telling me to get ready for a pandemic. I didn’t know when or how– I just sensed that if one occurred, I needed to stay very close to Jesus. At no time was I frightened, but I understood that I needed to remember the promises of Psalm 91 and dwell in them.  The main message was this: Jesus is your 911. The odd thing about the name of the book being called Station 11 is that my husband used to work at Fire Station 11 when he was first assigned as a firefighter. But it had been eight years since he’d been assigned to that station. Strangely enough, not long before the Covid pandemic hit, he was moved back to Station 11. That was when I realized I’d better get ready, and cling to Jesus tightly. When I attended both weddings for Station 11 firefighters recently, I felt even more strongly that the Bride of Christ needs to dwell under the safety of her groom Jesus. We need to get on the fire engine with him. 

 I just happened to visit New York City in October 2019, which was a few months before the pandemic made its debut. While I was there, I was standing near the famous Macy’s flagship store in the middle of the hustle and bustle. As I stood there, I remember thinking, “One day, this is all going to come crashing down.” Just as the thought entered my mind, a firetruck came down the street with its sirens blaring. As it passed, my mind went to the Titanic. I realized that the ship we call this world is sinking and Jesus is the only one who can pull us out of the icy waters. Actually, did you know that the owners of Macy’s went down with the Titanic? Isador and Ida Strauss were the owners of Macy’s from 1896 to their deaths in 1912. Ida Strauss was given a chance to get on a lifeboat, but she would not leave her husband behind. She said, “Where you go I go.” They died together aboard the sinking ship. Like Ida, we must remember to stay with our beloved groom Jesus, even as the ship is going down. Where Jesus goes, we go. On a side note, I find it so interesting that this couple not only died on the same date-April 15, 1912, but they also share the same birthday–Isador was born February 6, 1845, while Ida was born February 6, 1849. 

While in New York, we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn and it just so happened that it was not far from a fire station known as Engine 54/Ladder4/Battalion 9. We were able to visit the station, tucked into one of the busiest areas of mid-town Manhattan. When I arrived, I felt an inward nudging of the Holy Spirit saying, “Jesus is our protection from the fire.” At the time of the visit, I didn’t know the history of this particular fire station. I immediately looked it up on my phone and found out that this firehouse was the only one to have an entire shift of firefighters killed on September 11, 2001 ( 9-11). They were among the very first responders to go the World Trade Center on that fateful day. None of the 15 firefighters on that shift made it back alive. After I learned this, I understood even more that in the midst of devastating events, there is only one fireproof answer–JESUS. As Psalm 91 says, “’Because he  loves me,’ says theLord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.’”

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, I realized no matter what I saw going on around me, I had to look to Jesus for the answers. I decided I would not let the media or “worldly knowledge” bring fear into my life. Jesus is my fireman and with him as my protector, what do I have to fear? The flames of a virus and the lies of the enemy would not get their grip on me.

I also understood that this pandemic was part of a bigger picture that was tied to getting the bride ready for Jesus’ return. Of course, I’m not date setting. I am just saying I felt the Holy Spirit was letting me know that end time events were moving quickly. Throughout this pandemic we have seen more government control over every aspect of our lives. We have also seen the use of fear tactics such as mask mandates and heavy pressure to get vaccines. The economy has been left in shambles as leaders around the world try to place a vice on all who fight back against the “covid narrative.”

When I went to both Station 11 weddings, I couldn’t help but think of the Station 11 book, and the hope of Jesus’ return for his bride. Even as the world spins out of control, we have a grand rescue coming. Jesus will pull us out of the flames, just as Lot and his family were rescued from a complete fiery destruction in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

There’s a timely story in the Bible that describes three godly men who were protected from the flames of the fiery furnace. In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would not bow down to the image (statue) that King Nebuchadnezzar set up. Because they refused to follow the orders to worship this gigantic idolatrous statue, they were brought before the king. 

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18.

Notice that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew that God was more than able to save them from the fire. They told the King they would not submit to his ungodly commands. 

“Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.” Daniel 3:19-23.

So we see that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fire. Their 9-11 came swiftly that day, but they knew God was the ultimate firefighter!

Verses 23-27 say, “But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, ‘Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?’

‘Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,’ they replied.

‘Look!’ Nebuchadnezzar shouted. ‘I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!’ Then, Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!’

So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire.Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!”

WOW! NOT EVEN THE SMELL OF SMOKE WAS ON THEM!

And that my friends, is how it is with us. Our heavenly fireman, Jesus, steps into the fire with us! The verses mention a fourth person walking around in the fire. While some scholars have said this was an angel, there are others who believe it is an early appearance of Jesus–also known as a theophany.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were protected because the presence of God (or Jesus) was with them. Even the smoke could not penetrate their clothes. To me, this is amazing because when my husband brings his fire gear home, I can smell it several meters away. Here we see these three godly men who were in a burning hot furnace, yet they had no smell of fire on them! The furnace that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into was heated SEVEN TIMES hotter than the usual. So we know it was SCORCHING!!! The use of seven reminds us of God because it’s the number of divine perfection. Certainly, the divine stood alongside Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. 

In this life, as we battle one circumstance after another, we can be sure Jesus is protecting us from the smoke and heat that would smother us without his help.

I don’t know what’s coming next–only Jesus has that information. But, I do know this–we cannot cling to our worldly possessions and ways. When I was in New York next to Macy’s Department store, I realized how much people hold on to wealth, status and the promises of this world. Ida and Isador Straus (the owners of Macy’s) knew what it was like to have great wealth, but when the Titanic sank, they left it all behind.

Friends, a rescue is coming for the Bride of Christ. Until then, we have to leave this world behind. We have to put our hopes into the REAL 911– JESUS. Rest assured, he has his fire gear on, and he’s waiting for his Father’s signal (siren). When that alarm sounds, he will be here in the blink of an eye to fetch his bride! 

Yes beloved, there is hope in the midst of the FIRE.

Here are some Images from Ground Zero which include firefighters. Though there was great devastation on 9-11, there was also hope among the ash and smoke. In the midst of the fire, Jesus is our shield, strength and strong tower. He is mighty to save!

My latest book, Psalm 91: Under the Wings of Jesus is now available on Amazon. For links to other sellers, please check out my Psalm 91 tab on the homepage.

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