Here is a guidebook to unleash the unlimited power of God to bring personal peace in prayerful communication with Him. The Fire Will Not Consume You is a spiritual memoriam that chronicles Jim Parker’s multi-year recovery from mental depression through introspective prayer and Bible study. It follows Jim’s progression from successful engineer to cynicism, to financial disaster and stress-induced illness, to the Spirit-lead process of prayer and recovery (which is the core of the book) and finally, to acknowledgement of his intimate relationship with his creator God. Each chapter in the central core of the book begins with prayer, certainly counseled by the Holy Spirit, addressing a specific deficit in character or perception. His subsequent research of the Holy Scriptures reinforced and confirmed the applicability and authenticity of each prayer.
(The following excerpts are from : THE FIRE WILL NOT CONSUME YOU, Isaiah 43:2b) . “I’m not climbing any more poles today!” I shouted to the foreman of the line crew, pressing to be heard over the howl of the wind, my words bolting south toward Oklahoma. As I stomped the snow from my boots, his response was predictable and to the point. “You’ll get back up there or go to town and collect your pay!” In two weeks, I was due at the Coast Guard receiving station at Alameda. I took the foreman up on the second half of his offer.
At the end of my short but busy company to company trek, on my application for a job at IBM in Boulder, Miles Cable, the hiring manager observed, “It looks to me like you’re a job hopper.” “This is my last one,” was my quick and confident reply.
“What kind of example am I setting for my children?” I pondered the question. “God help them not to grow up like me.” I thought: “Driven to almost frantic activity, an unrelenting passion to work, to achieve, to acquire.” I thought of my own early childhood, a gentle and happy time. I recalled the pleasure that my “surrogate fathers,” Uncle Lou, Uncle Joe, Uncle Frank, and Grandpa seemed to find in our times together.
The spring employee opinion survey showed my organization with the highest morale on the plant site, but the esprit-de-corps took its toll in our relations with other supporting groups. Problems were dispatched only to reappear some weeks later in another form. Frequently, my managers would get into them-guys versus us-guys arguments with their counterparts in other functions; I was the constant arbitrator.
The picture of my office that day years ago, when a good friend suggested that I was suffering from mental depression, is still vividly with me.
My once thriving professional career was in a nosedive to disaster; my once profitable investments, dragging me to the precipice of financial ruin. The stress of the battle for survival was wasting my will. Mental depression had trashed my intellect. As a nominal, but skeptical, Christian I cried, “Can Jesus rescue me? Will Jesus deliver me from my earthly hell?”
My lifelong interest and vocation has been in the sciences. Long holding in reverence the physical laws governing energy and motion, I asked, “Is there a parallel in the spiritual world? What are the formulae governing the link between God and the caretakers of His vineyard? Is our alliance with the Lord of The Universe predictable, or are we, like the ancient Greeks, at the mercy of a capricious All-Powerful?”
This book describes the spiritual wasteland of a life dedicated solely to the trappings of success. I suffered bone numbing worry and the terrors of mental infirmity. I rejoiced in the Divine response to my prayers, supplied by the Holy Spirit, replying, in turn, to each specific hurt. Jesus healed the spirit as He healed the body, step by step, fitting stone upon foundation stone, supplying every need. Slowly, I began to experience the peace, the joy, and the fulfillment of the walk with Him—just as He promised.
And, although my grip on earthly materialism is loosening, I just can’t let go and grab hold of the Lord with both hands. It is as if I am trying to walk down the unpredictably winding, rock-strewn and muddy, briar-lined path of life, with one hand reaching for Jesus, the other desperately clutching my earthly baggage, and my feet shackled with all of my past hurts and defeats.
As I worship the Master of all creation, I cannot help but feel awed and humbled—awed by this Energy that grants life to the tiny seed in the darkness of the earth, gives direction to the winds and prescribes the ordering of the galaxies—and yet, I’m humbled by the certainty that this mightiest of all powers is also my Companion of the moments and my eternal Friend.
This then, I believe, is the beginning of the Eternal Life that Jesus spoke of—the constant awareness of His presence, God’s Holy Spirit pervasive in every nook and cranny of my life—His nature influencing every moment and every act. Not just a Biblical knowledge of God, not simply acceptance that God is almighty but, living with Jesus, seeing His presence in all things, allowing not me to be god, but God to be God.
Fifteen years previous, as I laboriously climbed from the deep, dark pit of depression, prayer was the lifeline that I, in desperation, had seized. As I laid each of my terrors before my Lord, they were addressed, one by one. There was much in my view of the world that was not in accord with His plan for me. And, as I studied the long neglected scriptures to find my God, the Holy Spirit instructed me as to how I should pray, rebuilding my attitudes, stone upon stone, each lesson given only as I had mastered the previous instruction. The master Teacher, more concerned with my spiritual well-being (I believe) than the physical, led me from the darkness, back to health.