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ISBN (Print): 978-1-09832-799-6
ISBN (eBook): 978-1-09832-800-9

Introduction

I was inspired to write this book when God began to do things directly in response to my questioning Him. All of a sudden, it seems like he showed up. And then all of a sudden, He shined the light down the history of my past and pulled the ripcord, bringing it all together, showing me the places where He has been there the whole time!

My hope is that He will do this for you, and you will also see where He has actually been walking with you, even though you may not have known it. My hope also is that you will “Speak to the Fire” in your own life and understand that you have the power to change things, with even a tiny bit of faith in our creator. Speak to that problem that has been haunting you! Speak truth to it, and forgive yourself!

No matter what walk of life you are—married, single, LBGT, parents or not—no matter where you are on your path in that walk or what religious label you carry—Christian, Mormon, Agnostic, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, even Atheist—this will inspire you to start OR to keep talking to God, that fire within you!

There’s a lot of uncertainty and a lot of division in our country these days. So much hate, so much prejudice, so much fighting. So many things done claiming to be “in the name of God” that just don’t sit well with me.

The word Christian doesn’t sound right to me anymore either. It has been distorted and twisted and used for political reasons. The church itself has been corrupted in many ways. But God, Christ, Jesus…They all still live and speak to each one of us, if we will quiet our minds enough to listen.

I even recall that, when I was single, I didn’t put the label “Christian” on the dating websites but opted instead for the “spiritual but not religious” category. I dated Jewish, Muslim, Agnostic, Mormon, Catholic, pretty much anybody that I was attracted to. Each step of the way, I knew that God would lead me to the right person and that my steadfast belief in Him would not be shaken.

Unequally yoked? I can hear you now. That is what grace is for, and when you are truly led with a humble heart, the Lord knows…and matches you up accordingly! Sometimes that path can be the very thing leading you closer to each other and to him. Pray, seek God’s answer and follow that divine direction he puts in your heart AND gut.

There is a true voice of God, and there is a true spirit of God, and it doesn’t matter what label you put on yourself. I was raised non-denominational Christian, I believe, and I even had to check with our pastor to ask! My mother was raised Pentecostal, but she was led away from some of it. She fell under the non-denominational category as well. She was a fire-breathing, Holy Spirit-filled prophet herself. She didn’t always get it right, but she did get most of it, and I was blessed to have her as a mother. The term “false prophet” is in reference to willful liars doing their will out of greed vs. God’s will he put in their spirit. Discernment comes into play on the part of the receiver. More on that later.

In every generation, God is still present. Sometimes we just don’t recognize Him. Worse yet, sometimes we don’t really understand where other people are in their path to Him. He created us all equally and He loves us all equally, regardless of what label we put on ourselves.

I have atheist friends who are more LED in goodness of heart and deed than some of the people claiming to be Christian. I have brought to my pastor some of my Muslim friends, who were given words from God of comfort and direction; and it didn’t matter what faith, background, or country these friends were from.

God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, our Creator knows the heart. We don’t. And we don’t know what label people have on themselves (or that are placed on them), whether or not there’s relevance. Even the great singer Prince, who was raised Baptist, switched to Jehovah’s Witness; and in his walk, I am certain, he found the Lord, touched the face of God, and he loves Jesus. Now he understands more than we do or will…until we get there ourselves. There was a divine reason for his given name, his fame, and his walk.

A quick loving note to my critics in advance. This wasn’t written with tender tones or the intention that Grandma was going to read it, although she has secretes of her own, I’m sure. If you don’t agree with what I’ve written, then—simply put—this isn’t your sound or where you are called on your journey, and that’s okay. But offending you in order to reach past you to that one person who claims purity or carries guilt, hate, shame, and/or judgment undetected…that is worth it and also who this was written for.

If it reaches someone who avoids “church,” then good! I avoid it, too. You’ve got to find that vibration, where you are, that speaks to your soul…that is God. Be it for example: in your living room, out on the water, in the mountains, Agape, Saddleback, Mariners, City Church, City Home or New Breed Worship Center…God knows where you are and why you are holding this book!

So, this isn’t to convert you or change you. This is to take you where you are and let you know that God shows up, and in whatever way He can in order to meet you right where you are and speak to your heart…be it in music, be it in a color, be it in dreams, visions, or whispering in your head. It is not just your imagination! Enjoy it! Be expecting it! Lean in to the goodness of Him speaking to your soul! Feel the joy and fire in your heart, and know that is from Him!

By Joy Ryan 2020

Chapter 1

Speak to the Fire

It was the summer of 2018 at our home when I came into the kitchen to discover a mushrooming cloud of white and deep grey smoke coming out of the center of the mountain that showed through the window frame. Fire! A forest fire had started. It was several miles off from what I could tell. The news reported that this “Holy Fire” (as it was named) was arson set by an angry cabin owner who destroyed his neighbor’s cabins while taunting the fire captain with emails of the threat before he did it. “You will see this place burn!” he sent.

As the days passed, the fire consumed the top of the mountain and much of the back side of it that we couldn’t see. Smoke billowed high over our heads and blew back over to the other side. The opposite side of the mountain had flames licking at homes all along its border.

I heard a small snip of pastor on the video service talking in those few days about seeing the works of God. He said we would be able to speak it, and it would come to pass. Not control of other people, mind you, but situations. He said you would see God work on your behalf within 24-48 hours of your demand, showing His power and the power He gave His chosen.

I can’t recall how many days had passed, but the fire remained 5% contained and out of control, closing down businesses and having those homes on the opposite side of the mountain evacuate. I included prayers that they would get it put out, each night in our normal prayer routine.

One of those nights, I had gone into the bathroom alone to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. I wasn’t thinking about anything really. The memory of pastor leaped into my mind, saying the part about speaking it out to a situation and you would see God’s hand do it in that next 24-48 hours.

The image and words of pastor in my mind were suddenly drowned out by a loud, clear command: “SPEAK TO THE FIRE!” I suddenly began to cry and shake. I didn’t think that up. It came into my head, loud and clear, out of nowhere! God! The power of those words enveloped my entire being. I said back to Him that I don’t know what to even say to it. What do I say? I recalled pastor said to do it with authority when you do. What should I even say?

I walked out onto the balcony and lifted my hands up toward the red, glowing flames, seeing them reach the sky with silhouettes of the trees they were devouring. Shaking and crying, almost in disbelief myself, I said to it, “Not a life lost, not another home burned, and you will cease one week from this night, in the name of Jesus!”

I went back inside, shaking and crying on overload of this overwhelming request. Had I thought this up? Was that really the voice of God? It wasn’t in any human voice I recognized, the words powerful and clear throughout my being, the way the Holy Spirit feels. I didn’t think this up in my own mind, I struggled with doubt, or did I? The uncontrollable shaking and crying was evidence there had been a supernatural force who had touched me, it wasn’t my own doing. I cried and thanked God in complete surrender.

I texted pastor on the 9th—that September evening—what had happened, to track it. I didn’t tell anyone else about it. I had peace about it somehow and just believed that it would be done. I didn’t watch the news closely anymore after that, only catching that they had begun to gain some ground on it.

A month later, I went and looked up all the dates. Here’s what happened and the timeline. The fire had started on the 6th with zero to 5% containment for several days. The following day—24 hours later, after my prayer on the 9th, Sept 10—it went to 10%; on the 11th to 29%; then on the September 12, the fire containment spiked to 51%; on the 16th, to 78%; on the 17th, to 85%; and on the 18th, to 91%. By September 21, it was fully contained with just the center at the top burning that last bit of brush.

By that evening marking one week, it was over 80% contained and never turned back. Over 10,000 acres burned but no fatalities, and no more homes lost after the 9th. Eighteen cabins had been destroyed on the 6th when it started. I had not put out the fire, God had. Yes the firemen also, but with God’s help. But he told me to “Speak to the Fire,” and so I followed orders, fearfully but with faith, and it came to pass right before my eyes.

Speak it…in Jesus’s name.

So, that thing that is burning you inside, the guilt, shame, whatever it is. Speak to that fire, and let yourself free of it with help from the Almighty. It is said that Jesus forgives all, and that is why He went to the cross in the first place. Even if you are not sure about all this religion stuff, you can reach out in faith and know that God doesn’t want us living in hurt, guilt and remorse. It’s in the past and lost in the sea of forgetfulness. Stop torturing yourself or letting your thoughts do it.

Speak to that FIRE and make it cease!

Mark 11:24…Therefore I say unto you, what things so ever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Chapter 2

This Is How I Fight My Battles

It’s silly for an adult to be afraid of monsters in the dark. Or is it? What do you do when some horrific image keeps tormenting you, especially in the night?

There was a news story that quickly got my attention because of the horrifically demonic and hypnotic image that would suck you in so that you couldn’t look away. It wasn’t of the devil as we know it, but this was evil and was directed at children. I won’t describe it to you because I don’t want to put the image in your mind, but rather will describe what happened.

This news story went on to say that the image would lure children because of the graphic nature of this monstrous thing, and it would talk to them, giving them commands to do themselves and others harm, followed with threats if they didn’t comply. This was spliced into some of the most popular toddler and young children cartoon videos that are in heavy circulation. It was pure evil, embedded so as not to be detected by an adult unless they watched the whole program.

I was horrified! I went to my five-year-old daughter and had to know if she’d ever seen it. I quickly showed her the image and asked if she’d ever seen it in her cartoons before, and she said YES! She’d seen it a long time ago. I asked her what she did about it. She said she scrolled on by because it was creepy. I agreed with her and boy was I angry at the evil and the folks who were behind this nasty trick.

I began alerting my other mom friends and the kids daycare where my daughter attended regularly. I had opened the image several times to convey my distress and warn the others, not knowing that my daughter kept seeing it, too, and was becoming upset at my distress about it.

Later that night, my daughter was deeply upset and afraid of the image and was having a hard time getting to sleep. I have to admit to you that I was, too. Not out of fear of monsters, but angry that she’d been exposed to this demonic thing. I understood what it was and its motives. And mad at myself for possibly overreacting and causing her worry.

I thought back about my own mother who was a pastor, and how she helped me, when I was about seven years old, to break free of this horrible little green demon that kept haunting me and telling me not to eat. This was something that came to my mind, not by way of TV or radio, but in the spirit realm I honestly believe. And here’s why.

To the spirit vs. physical realm, if you will for a moment…. You can all try this yourselves, and then that ah-ha moment will hit you. We are all given free will by our Creator. This means not only what we do but what we think about. There are plenty of other positive and self-help books discussing this very thing and how it works.

We can all agree that we are a living spirit ourselves, living in a flesh body. When we die, our spirit leaves our body and goes to Heaven, hopefully. Right? God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all spirits, too. Right? And we’ve all heard of haunted houses and ghosts. And have you ever wondered how Hollywood movies get those horrible images of demons, ghosts, goblins, etc., for their films? Because they are not a “figment of our imagination,” but rather a manifestation of the evil spirits that do exist and present themselves to those willing to see. Yes, creepy but not crazy. Next, how to fix this for good.

Drugs or no drugs, we are influenced, whether we like it or not (or even understand it or not), by positive and negative forces all day long. Remember the images of the angel on one shoulder and devil on the other? We have a mind to think thoughts at will; but, also, the mind is directed by unseen forces. Images of ideas and sounds of songs, etc., pop into and out of our heads all day and all night by way of dreams. Test it and try this yourself for a while by putting on some music and see how it makes you feel. What message, positive or negative, is coming through? Notice how your body and gut respond to it. We all have “free will” to choose what we listen to or what we see. Even in our mind.

Back to the tormenting green demon that chased me for all that time, scaring me and keeping me from eating. I wasn’t even 40 pounds when I entered the second grade, and I finally had the understanding to actually tell my mother what the problem was. Boy, was she mad?! She was a pastor, and this demonic thing had the nerve to torment her own child, in her own house. So she armed me, and it worked…and it has ever since!

Even in the Bible, in Philippians 4:8, it talks about keeping your mind on whatsoever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable and that the God of peace will be with you. This is perfect for day to day living. You don’t want to be absorbing negative images, etc.; if you focus on them long enough, they do take you right down the road to depression, believe it or not. Yes, limit the amount of daily news you absorb.

I’m not talking about a good, spooky, silly Halloween movie during the holiday. What I’m talking about is not allowing the tormenting thoughts to keep after you, but rather you take control. That is why, even now and then, I say a small prayer to guard my eyes and my mind. You may need a little help, too.

The secret sauce that my mother shared with me that worked ever since is J-E-S-U-S. Yes! That name is powerful above all others and more magical than any other force in the universe. My mother taught me to even just “think” the name Jesus and He will show up! And she was right! She understood that we all have free will, and even as a child, if I was going to get a grip on this green demon, I would have to recruit some help by way of calling on the Lord myself. No amount of her prayers would chase it away, but rather give me understanding of the power in Jesus. Very cool how it actually works!

I explained all of this to my daughter. I reminded her of how she overcame her fear of being alone in her room and of the dark by taking the baby Jesus out of her nativity scene and carrying it with her. She hadn’t quite gotten the concept that God and Jesus are always there with us anyway and we can call them into action at any time, just like the superheroes they are.

My silly green demon when I was seven vanished immediately that first night when I called Jesus’s name in my sleep, and it never returned. As soon as I shared this with my daughter, she began doing it and took a bracelet she has with a picture of Jesus on it to bed with her. She reported that she’d forgotten what the image even looked like and slept peacefully through the night.

I, on the other hand, needed a little help myself. I was totally freaked out that something demonic like that crept into our house. However, my daily prayers over her worked. God did protect my child from it, because she scrolled right on by it and wasn’t bothered by it at all. I understood what evil it meant to do and was completely upset. I was thankful, however, that God and Jesus showed up for my child and they had been protecting her all along, even before I was aware of it. You may think this all sounds silly or crazy, but wait, there’s truth to it and I’ll show you.

Have you ever gotten up to go to the bathroom in the night, and some awful thing from the prior day kept coming into your mind? Well, this demonic image kept it up, swimming in my head. I wasn’t necessarily afraid of it, but it was doing the job its creator intended by tormenting and intruding into all of my thoughts. There it was, that image, front and center and huge, whether I was awake or asleep. That’s it! I was mad and I was done with it. I knew where it was from, and I was ready to hit it with my artillery.

As this image persisted, I focused my mind as hard as I could on the picture of Jesus we had framed on the wall in my house as a child. Then it was war, because that image persisted through it. So, I started in my mind, rapid firing the name “Jesus,” over and over and over, just thinking the name “Jesus” as loud, hard, and deliberate in my mind as I could say it. The image persisted, so I just continued as loud as I could in my mind. Then I heard it! The image kept pressing me, but God and Jesus showed up for me! The song slowly and softly at first came into my mind. I recognized it from church; our pastor had just been playing the week before: “This is how I fight my battles…it may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by you…” The song “Surrounded” by Michael W. Smith.

Where did that song come from? Was it a figment of my imagination? No, I asked deliberately for help by way of just saying Jesus in my head, and He showed up! He reminded me of and played that song in my head, and that overpowered the demonic image. At first, both the song and image were present. Once I realized God and Jesus had shown up, I felt comforted, and peace came over me, because I didn’t have to fight this off by myself. That demonic thing also noticed and gave up. I forgot what it even looks like now, and just like that little green demon from my childhood, it was defeated. Never to return again!

Here is some proof that will give you chills! Several months after all of this happened I was watching the Morgan Freeman series The Story of God. There was a story of a monk who made a deal with the devil if he could finish some major project, completing this book he was working on by a certain timeline. In return the devil ordered him to put a written image of himself in the book. It’s called The Big Book and the picture is of a green demon! Yes this is the same one that I encountered when I was 7 years old! The damn thing exists and has for a very long time! That gave me chills but it also gave me hope because that makes me know that as true as that demonic figure was, so is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit!

You may simply call this mind over matter, but there’s a lot we don’t understand about the brain, mental illness, and the influence of drugs on the mind. But more boggling than that we are also a spirit ourselves which is much more baffling to understand. It’s a mystery in some ways, and easily explained by science and the medical field in some other ways. I believe it’s a blend of both. God gave us the understanding of science and health as a way to help ourselves.

He also created in us a spirit in a physical body, so we need to take care of both sides. Keep this in mind: We wouldn’t have miracles and criminals if the spiritual world didn’t exist. Both are influenced by unseen forces, positive and negative. That is why, when all else fails, call on Jesus. Even for the small things, He will show up.

The Lord obviously shows up in the big things as well. It may not be an image that is tormenting you in the night but it could be worry. Worry over a relationship, a job, the economy, a health issue. It could be an unbearable evil story you heard about. Any number of things, valid reasons, could be keeping you up at night and robbing you of a good night’s rest. However, that torment, stress, worry is all a negative force from the same place. You can make is stop with help from the Lord. I promise! Try it!

Chapter 3

Jesus Christ, Used As a Swear Word

I don’t like the title of this chapter either, but this is how it’s flowing, so I am just doing what I feel led to do.

We’ve all heard folks swear, and sometimes they use the name of Jesus (or Jesus Christ) in a manner meaning for it to be a swear word. This really bothers me and, I would think, most folks, at least on some level. One question: Why that name? We can think of plenty of other foul things to say, but no one says Buddha, Krishna or Allah as a swear word. My guess is that it is powerful beyond any others; however, not as a swear word.

I’ve scolded folks in the past for shouting “Jesus Christ” when I know they are using it profanely. I expressed it in such a way that, if they use the name, they are addressing him and are planning to speak to him, so do it with respect. I have heard folks swear and say “God D-word,” and that also bothered me horribly, but the name of Jesus even more so.

On the flip side, I also recall, as a child growing up in a Christian home with a mother as a pastor, that the Holy Spirit would bear witness to something said. Not sure if this is foreign to you, but the shouting that comes with it is typically after some move of God, and then the surprised person somewhere shouts something like “Hallelujah!” This was the case with my father. It was almost comical, as it would happen out of the blue, like lightning, and startle even him! Everyone in the room would bounce with surprise right along with him as it struck in agreement with what was said.

There’s one occasion that really got me thinking about the name of Jesus being used as a swear word. It was a typical dark, rainy night, and I was the passenger in this pickup truck with a canopy that was winding down an extremely curvy, steep, two-lane mountain road. The area was shaded due to all of the huge mossy trees. There was even moss on the road itself along the shoulder, so the road was especially slick in the heavy rain.

This particular night, we rounded the curve to the right on a flat turn and were probably going a little bit fast for the conditions, when we came up behind another pick-up truck, also with a canopy. We followed along behind it for quite some time, rounding each curve. We could hardly see its tail lights due to the blinding downpour of rain.

Then suddenly, on another horribly sharp blind hairpin turn to the right, the truck in front of us stomped on its breaks and made a hard stop. We were following altogether too close, within just a couple of feet because of the heavy rain, and by this time we weren’t going very fast; however, we were too close to avoid hitting it. The driver of our truck let out a scream, “Jesus Christ!” And I closed my eyes and braced for impact.

There was no impact. I opened my eyes and we looked all around for the other truck. It had somehow ended up behind us! There was no room! How did this happen? My partner, who had been driving and wasn’t the religious sort of person, had swerved and shouted, “Jesus Christ,” thinking he’d said it as a swear word also. But as he described it, the fear of the crash hit him and he called out spontaneously.

We recounted the event, realizing the miracle of not only nothing being in the oncoming lane in that very moment, but that at least part of the two trucks had to have passed through each other! At that close of a distance, you can’t take two rectangular objects in that small space and have them totally miss each other. The boxy shape of the trucks and canopies in that proximity would have collided.

Once my partner and I realized this…that somehow, this was a miracle…we both began to shake. We had experienced some supernatural intervention to keep us from horrible harm. That phantom truck passed through part of ours or the other way around. I explained that I thought, even when he went to scream “Jesus Christ” as a swear word, that Jesus really did show up!

We were both clearly shaken and tripped out for several weeks after this. Even recounting it now amazes me. What puzzled me was when the intent of shouting “Jesus Christ” was to be a swear word, it actually called him into action on our behalf. I ran this by some of my elder family members and they explained it this way, and it makes sense: We, ourselves, are a spirit, and even if we consciously don’t understand, our spirit does and intercedes for us. Our inner man, or spirit, knows to call on Jesus in emergencies and overrode the physical man. Cool. I just can’t help thinking how cool.

I’m tearing up again reading this during its final proofread before publishing. Wow. Think of all the near misses you’ve had yourself! What name or phrase comes to mind?

I also can’t help but think about the phase in the song “Help Is on the Way” by the Little River Band. They even acknowledge it in the phrase “a tiny voice did say, somewhere deep inside the inner man.” Somehow, we are all connected to God, and even when we don’t mean it to be calling on Him ourselves, our inner man does.

My own mother had a similar story of an eminent head-on collision where she was the passenger and both she and my dad closed their eyes and called on the Lord. Neither of them ever knew how the approaching out-of-control, speeding car ended up behind them!

On a different occasion, I was heading to the hospital to visit my mom, and my dad was the passenger. They were up in years by this time, so her hospital visit was minor. It was raining, and I was driving northbound on the freeway, way too fast for the conditions in a high powered rear wheel drive muscle car, when coming southbound was a hail storm!

All of a sudden, we were skating on ice! Completely out of control, sailing at speeds about 80 mph. The car swerved to the left and we could see the median coming at us in the windshield! Then my car did a 180, and we could see the guardrail on the right through windshield!

That peace that transcends all understanding took over me, and I recall putting my right hand in the air calmly and saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” over and over, calling on the Lord for help and accepting whatever fate awaited me for my mistake. My father was quietly praying also. That song “Jesus, Take the Wheel” by Carrie Underwood is no joke! That is exactly what happened to us!

I had lost control physically and was in a calm trance, unable to control my own body, while I watched through the windshield, the car spinning back and forth with both sides of the freeway coming into view over and over, and my left hand, an open palm, without effort moving the wheel, calming the gyrating car. It finally regained its footing, and I felt the pavement grab. Once the car was heading straight again, and calm, that paralysis lifted from my body and let me resume control of the vehicle.

My father and I were shaken for weeks after the encounter, but we were grateful. We knew the Lord was present! I am certain that the Lord has done this for countless folks, even unaware of his supernatural protections. Shock sets in, yes, but somewhere with that is the Lord’s presence.

It makes me wonder how many times folks swear out there, and say “Jesus Christ,” and He does make an appearance to rescue them in some way, but they just don’t see it or understand it. Maybe that is the reason His name is so popular, even as a swear word, because maybe some of those times it is actually a call on Him in disguise. I am thankful most of all that He is listening…despite our ignorance, arrogance, and stupidity, He still hears. And most of all, he still shows up! Thank you, Jesus Christ!

Amen.