Ezekiel 33:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Watchman and His Message
33 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will [a]save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’
“Did you know those two firefighters that died?” I had stopped by Cobb Vineyard to visit one day when Pastor Thomas asked me this question. Seeing I had no idea what he was talking about, he explained further. “It’s in today’s paper. Two Alpharetta Firefighters drowned on a fishing trip down in Florida.” He then showed me the article in the paper with their pictures and suddenly I was sick. I knew one of them but will not mention his name out of respect. I was flashing back to the day he was staging at my Fire Station while working his ambulance job. He was an excellent paramedic who had, amazing enough, been there the day of the Oklahoma city bombing. God divinely had him in places when disaster struck because he was good, maybe one of the best medics I ever saw. And now he was gone.
It was well over a year earlier when I awoke the morning of my Fire Department shift to a vision of a coffee cup. I recognized the cup as one we had at work. I knew from experience to wait on understanding. As I pulled in to the station early at maybe 6:30 am there he stood in the bay drinking a cup of coffee from the cup I saw earlier. His AMR ambulance was staging there for their next call. He worked full time with Alpharetta Fire and part-time for AMR. When I saw him drinking from that cup I asked Holy Spirit what I was to do. “I want you to tell him it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.”
I don’t know why but I’m still always amazed at the openings He gives me when I have a word to give. I got my coffee and sat at the kitchen table as he came in and sat with me. We talked about several things and I waited. He talked about the Oklahoma City bombing and what it was like working that scene. He spoke of other tragedies God just seemed to divinely have him arrive at. But then he turned pensive…he explained how he once wanted to be a missionary medic but got sick of church and Christians etc. After agreeing with him about how easy it is to get offended I began to tell him what happened as I woke up. I told him what Holy Spirit said, “It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.” He put his head down and said, “my dad used to say that to me all the time.” So I explained, “your heavenly father must have known that to have me say those words. And He knew which cup you would drink coffee from this morning.” I remember him telling me some changes he needed to make. One was kind of funny. He road a motorcycle with several stickers on his helmet and one said,”Jesus loves you but I think you’re an ass hole.” He thought he needed to remove that sticker. I wasn’t so sure! Several months passed and I ran in to him at a fire station again. He was unfriendly and unapproachable. He had never been that way to me before. I went to the Lord in prayer complaining, “why do you have me do this stuff when you know this is what will happen?” I was mad at God and I felt kind of shafted by the whole situation…until that day in Pastor Thomas office.
He and a co-worked had gone down to Florida to fish but they were having engine trouble. When they finally thought it was fixed they took off in to the ocean. Evidently the engine trouble was not fixed. When they found them drowned three days later their fishing boat had capsized as a storm rolled in. They evidently had no control over it as the engine stalled. They were stuck in the water for three days. I believe it was hypothermia they finally succumbed to. This man I knew had also been a tri-athlete and had evidently tried to swim for shore. He didn’t make it. Both he and his friend were found with Dolphins around them saving them from sharks. The autopsy showed he had lived the longest, almost the full three days. I thought of Jonah in the belly of the great fish three days and how he cried out to God. Because of a dream the night after his funeral I knew he was now in heaven. Fellowship means, “two fellows in a ship.” Sometimes our lives and fellowships are capsized but the grace of God is always there. Just the what the dolphins did seemed to be a divine act. I was not there to hear this man’s prayer under the stars in the ocean as the dolphins held the sharks at bay but I’m thinking it was a passionate one. Loving his wife as he did I pictured him praying for her. All I know at this point is I very much look forward to sitting with him again one day in the eternal fellowship purchased for us by our God.
Since I’m on the subject of the painful side of this ministry I will add another story here. Years ago I was on a high school alumni site. This was before Facebook and I can tell you the guy who created it obviously missed the Facebook opportunity. It was our Facebook before Facebook was cool. There was one rather flamboyant young man on the threads who was the “in your face” kind of homosexual. Everyone liked the guy because he could be quite funny but I tried to be careful with him. I will not mention his name either. One day in prayer I saw this young man in a vision laying face down in the hot sand with his hands and feet both tied behind his back. He could not move and looked terribly uncomfortable. After praying about it I sensed I was to contact him and offer him hope for whatever the situation was. I knew Jesus sets the captives free! So I reached out to him and asked if I could pray for him about what I had seen. He was friendly about everything and said the vision was accurate but would stubbornly not tell me why. He just kept telling me it was too late to do anything about it. I would say, “it’s never too late for you…the lord gave me this vision because He wants to set you free.” He just repeatedly told me, “it’s too late. There’s nothing you can do.” I finally told him I would just pray for him when I got off the phone but he was never receptive at all. Looking back I always wonder why?
It was not long after I spoke with him that someone on the alumni site started a thread for him. He had just died from AIDS. I was seriously crushed. When you get involved prophetically you get involved emotionally. This ministry is not always exciting or “encouraging, edifying and comforting.” Sometimes it will cut your heart out of your chest. In my career as a Firefighter/EMT I had to stand between life and death on numerous occasions. If you get involved in prophetic ministry be prepared to do the same, to stand in the gap between life and death and fight for the souls of the living.