THE FOREST FIRE
by Mary Ponder
The following visions were received by Mary Ponder from the 14th – 22nd August 2016. She submitted them to her church leadership, denomination leadership and us here at NZ Prophetic Network. We all witnessed that these were an authentic prophetic word for our nation.
Part 1 - The Forest Fire
I saw a picture of a massive forest; there were old trees, new trees, tall, short, broken and battered ones – skinny willowy trees. They were all different types, shapes and sizes. Hanging from their branches were all sorts of things - rope ladders, wind chimes, tree huts, bird feeders, hammocks, tyre swings and various ornaments.
The forest floor was covered in a jumble of old stumps, dried branches, prickles, brambles and creepers, so thick you could barely make your way through the trees; paths were long covered over by the thick undergrowth. Then I saw a tree right at the edge of the forest burst into flame, then the next, and the next. The undergrowth also caught fire, causing a raging fire storm. One after the other the trees burst into flame, and what was hanging off them quickly burned right through, dropping to the forest floor and disintegrating into ash and blowing away. The fire spread right through the forest and each tree was aflame, yet none were being destroyed. The forest floor burnt clean as a wind whisked up the ash and blew it away. Nothing was left between, or underneath, the burning trees.
There were other forests nearby, and in some cases the fire jumped the fence with the same result. Then there were other forests, some with thick walls around them who only smelt the smoke, but kept the fire away. Some employed expensive helicopters, diligently dropping water, and firefighters with hoses, to keep the fire at bay; they liked their forest just the way it was.
I believe God is saying that He is going to do a new thing. There is a fire coming, not to destroy, but to purify and to refine. This fire will burn away all the ‘extras’ and additions that we have added - things that have become rituals, rules, ways of doing things, plan ‘B’s, things that have replaced the power and the presence of God, that have replaced trust and faith in the Lord. The fire will also burn away the rubbish, the thorns and brambles and undergrowth that hinder and restrict movement and stifle growth.
He will purify the soil so that it will grow good things, such as more trees. For the soil, the ground, is holy ground, and just as Moses turned aside to see the burning bush, so, too, many will come to see the fires, and as the trees flick their branches others will catch on fire. There will be other congregations who will not receive the fire, who will resist and quickly put it out before it can gain momentum, only catching a glimpse of the light and a whiff of the smoke. This is a holy fire, a purifying and refining fire, and it will generate revival for many, transformation for many, and will stir the fires of passion that can only be caught and not taught.
First you will smell the smoke and then you will begin to see a flame. Get ready, for the Holy Spirit fire is coming and it will not be stopped. Stand in it, for though you pass through it, you will not be burned; rather, it will ignite a fire in you that will spread. Where you have been sleeping it will cause you to jump and to wake up. Where you have been lazy and tired it will motivate and inspire. Where you have lost your way it will cut a clear path through. Where you have been discouraged it will cause passion to rise and burn in you, opening the door to new things. Feed the fire, let it burn away everything that is not of Me.
The fire comes on the wind, the anointing of the Holy Spirit; it is carried in by the prophetic. It is called in by the intercessors and is recognised and confirmed by the discerning. The wise will open the doors and the faithful will cry out in praise. Miracles and healing will be its fruit, and there will be a time of restoration and repentance and many will come to Me because of the fear and awe of the fire. Many who have sat on their hands and kept their mouths tightly closed will stand and shout out the words of salvation, and they will speak fire into the hearts of those who will hear. I am raising up the prophets and the intercessors and the discerners, the wise and the faithful. I am shaking off the dust and will blow away the ash, and I will cause them to speak and to call in the new and the fresh, and to call in My power and My presence, and they will not be shut up. Stir yourselves and begin to call to Me. Behold I will do a new thing, and you shall know it and you shall be part of it!
Part 2: The Forest Fire - The Prodigal Sons
I saw a long line (perhaps 2 or 3 kms) of trees, marching in one line. The trees were, again, of all varieties and shapes and sizes. They marched towards the burning forest in silence. As I looked closer I could see that some had artificial limbs, bandages, slings, band-aids and walking sticks; some were dragging themselves along, some broken and rotting, some painfully thin and sickly, others all bright and brave and shiny, at least on the outside. Some were covered in what looked like spider-webs and yet others were dragging chains. Many looked tormented, rejected, isolated and many were wounded.
As they entered the burning forest, they began to fan out; many went and stood beside their family or friends. Some found a place where a previous tree once stood. They were drawn to stand there, as this is where others had gone before them; those ‘others’ were the ones who had been faithful and prayed for them. They stood in the place of grandmothers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers, family members, intercessors and prayer warriors.
As the wounded trees stood in their places, the fire caught them up and all the bandages, artificial limbs, the walking sticks and the shiny exteriors dropped away. They become whole as they, too, burned with the same intensity and brightness as the rest of the forest
I believe that God is saying that this long line of wounded and broken trees represents the prodigal sons and daughters, and the backslidden. It is time to call them in - to call them to be restored, to call them back to what they once knew. It essential for them to come in, as the forest / army / body is not complete without them. Some have been gone since they were children, some have left in bitterness and disillusionment, others have drifted away gradually. God is saying, "I am talking to many, and moving in many hearts. I am drawing them again; first there will be a trickle, and then many more, as they hear about, and see, the fire."
Part 3 - The Forest Fire -The Seeds
I saw coming from the burning trees a myriad of seeds; the fire had caused seed pods to burst from many of the trees, including the ones who don’t normally have seed pods. The sound of the popping of the pods was just like popcorn popping, but many times louder. They were popping from everywhere, and the seeds were being thrown everywhere. As they hit the ground they burst into instant flame. Some just burst into flame and disintegrated in the heat, however most sat for a moment in the soil, burning, then suddenly, like a time lapse video, they started shooting up into little trees (saplings) and quickly began to develop their own fruit and seeds.
I believe this is a picture of ‘revival’ hitting our families and our community, and that in the midst of revival the seeds ‘take’ incredibly quickly, and the growth is unprecedented, and though some will disintegrate, most will grow and produce amazing fruit, and even more healthy and vibrant seeds.
Part 4 - The Forest Fire - The trees become an army
The trees turned into an army, at least a thousand across and ten thousand deep. The armour they wore was like highly polished silver. The shields were large and, held properly, covered from the ankle right up to the neck. The edges of the shields were as sharp as a sword. The swords were as polished as the armour; they were razor sharp and could cut to the bone. As the army stood and waited there was absolute silence – not a sound. Suddenly, there was one blast of a trumpet coming from a distant hill, loud and long, but only one. The army began to march. There was no other sound except the boots hitting the ground, marching in perfect unison from the front to the back, and the noise of the boots grew louder and louder, pounding out like a thousand drums. Nobody spoke, and nobody was out of step. Inside every person’s heart the fire burned like a bright beacon and somehow could be seen, even through the armour. By hundreds and thousands they split off into cohorts (companies / squadrons / groups) and marched to predesignated destinations, as there were multiple battle fronts. Every soldier had their sword drawn; every eye was focused on their destination.
Then the enemy was seen, far off, already making a terrible, invasive noise. The enemy advanced; they were nasty looking creatures, half man, half beast. Black and evil, they crept, crawled, jumped, slithered and ran towards the advancing army of God. THEY HAD NO WEAPONS IN THEIR HANDS, however they shouted obscenities, horrible names, filth and lies came out of their mouths, as the only weapons they wielded were the words they spoke. They ducked and dived as God’s army advanced, yet they fell easily under the feet of the army. Some were quick and some could fly, some burrowed underground, trying to build traps and create ambushes, but the mighty army of God advanced and many of the enemy fell. Many of the enemy ran for cover or slunk away; other battles would obviously need to be fought, and there were other days to come.
Part 5 - The Forest Fire - The three vital steps
The first thing the fire will do is uncover, expose and reveal. It will uncover the lies and deceptions that people have believed about themselves, about others and about God. I feel the Lord is saying that it will expose the hiding places, the ambushes and the traps of the enemy. It will also uncover the blind eyes and remove the scales, and reveal the love and presence of God.
It will reveal motivations and intentions, both good and bad. It will break denial, and once ignorance is revealed, it will be broken, and people will see the condition of their own hearts, the condition of their relationships and the condition of their hopes and dreams. It will expose needs - needs for attention, recognition, position and the need for acceptance and to be heard or loved. These are not bad needs, but if they are a person's motivation they can easily be corrupted. The fire will reveal the distractions and the coping mechanisms people use to find comfort and to cope, rather than going to the Lord.
The learning here is the ‘reality’, especially when it comes to the enemy and his plans, as for too long he has set subtle traps and plagued my people and gone unrecognised.
Also, the learning is to find revelation of the love of God. There will be deliverances and breaking of oppression.
The clean-up, the stripping away - this is about the undergrowth and the things hanging off the trees. Some will not want these things to be stripped away as they are dependent on them; they may be precious to them. They will attempt to fight the fire rather than give them up. I felt the Lord say, “I am calling for holy ground and a holy nation, a holy people. This will start with sacrifice. Giving up, giving away, giving out will break open the next step. This will include what has been exposed and uncovered. It will include indulgences, compulsions and obsessions, including inter-generational cycles and patterns and beliefs.”
Where purification is enabled, people must choose it. This place is a place of surrender, the place of a work of the heart - taking in the Lord’s presence, repentance and receiving cleansing and washing and preparation. As people surrender there will be a great cry, not of sadness, but of hope and then freedom. Anxiety and fear will lose their grip; control, manipulation and intimidation will go. The Lord says, “I will pour out My Spirit; you won’t have to wait or force, or even ask; I will come.”
The learning here is all that you are, is what God wants, because then you become a vessel for God’s use. Repentance and surrender will lead you to a new level of transformation and intimacy.
Mary has ministered prophetically, and in leadership situations, for many years. She attends Christchurch North Elim Church and is currently involved in prophetic ministry, prayer ministry, leadership training, and is on the ministry team there. She has been married for 40 years to her husband Keith and has 3 adult sons and 11 wonderful grandchildren. Mary also runs ‘Ignition Plus’, through which she writes and supplies training and personal development courses for churches to offer to their congregations and communities.