Vicki and I have been overwhelmed by the goodness and generosity of God’s people in the face of our recent tragedy. We have received so much response that it took Vicki an entire day to record what we have been given monetarily. We are deeply grateful for your benevolence. We would like to send out personal thank-you notes eventually, but it may be awhile before we can do that. In the meantime, please receive this as a genuine thank you from our hearts. You have been amazing.
Just this morning—less than two weeks later—Vicki and I agreed that eventually we will be thankful that this fiery trial happened; but presently, we are still processing the destruction of our possessions and the fearsome power of a consuming fire. In this letter, I hope to share some of the lessons we have already learned, and are continuing to learn, from this unexpected event—which are far greater than any worldly possessions.
Just before going to bed on the evening of December 14, the Lord told me that Satan had greatly withstood me in the subject of Christological Astronomy. A few hours later, our back porch caught on fire. The Lord supernaturally awakened me, and I got Vicki (and our dog Mickey) out of the house with only seconds to spare. Not to be melodramatic, but the body of Christ almost lost their most apostolic teachers for the subject of Christological Astronomy. Plain and simple, this incident resembles the book of Job; it was an assassination attempt upon mine and Vicki’s lives. The word Vicki and I both received was, “He redeemed our lives from destruction.” We have wreaked havoc on the devil and his kingdom for many years. The reality is that we have become a serious threat to Satan’s kingdom, but Jesus redeemed our lives from destruction.
The whole ordeal with the fire began that night at about 9 pm, when I had cleaned out the wood stove and put the coals in a container on the back basement porch. As much as it sounds like Job, a gust of wind that was approximately 30 miles-per-hour came up in the early hours of the morning (December 15) and apparently blew the can over. Because there were a few live embers within the coals, it ignited a plastic gas tank for my motorcycle, which then quickly spread to our almost six cords of firewood stacked right behind the house. The continuing winds directed this blazing inferno straight into our home and forged the fire so intensely that it was incinerated in its entirety within one hour. Almost immediately after the house was consumed, the winds subsided. The fire marshal said that this was the hottest fire he had ever witnessed. Regardless, my beautiful wife and I stood in the side yard and witnessed our home with all our earthly possessions completely destroyed in a blazing fire. Among the scars and trauma registered in my mind of that night, I have deeply embedded in my memory also a powerful picture of Vicki standing in her nightgown, glowing orange from the reflections of the inferno, with her hands raised to the heavens praying and quoting Bible verses.
I can tell you that I hurt more for her than I hurt for me, but she is a rock and one of the godliest people I have ever known or even read about. Of all that we lost, the thing that hurt me most was the burning of her artwork. But Jesus redeemed my life from destruction—He personally told me that He got her artwork and that it would be in her home in glory. Hallelujah! We lost everything—all of our earthly possessions, including our two cars parked outside the house. Besides Vicki’s artwork, we lost all my guns and ammo, and the contents of our safe, which included enough assets to buy the house (which we were preparing to do). When you listen to this month’s CD (January 2017) entitled “Through the Fire / Bitter or Better,” you will hear Vicki share about the few remains and their possible prophetic meanings. The closing monthly CD for 2016 (December) was on the subject of suffering, and we have now been given the opportunity to live it out.
Both Vicki and I have been vociferous about our beliefs concerning the end times and hard times, and we had made physical preparations to help many people in the face of a catastrophe. I believe we were also both spiritually prepared for this tragedy because we have been storing God’s amazing, powerful Word in our minds, and that has yielded a peace that passes understanding throughout this ordeal. In addition, we believe that God is increasing our spiritual preparation by the lessons He is teaching us from this event, and that is worth far more than all we have lost.
Some Lessons We Have Learned
After my wailing and moaning subsided, I took the time to ask the Lord how He felt about the situation. The lessons He taught me and continues to teach me are incredibly comforting and revealing. As I tell you what He said, you will know that He said these things since there’s no way I am clever enough to think them up. When I asked Him how He felt about it, I heard sort of a light chuckle and then He said, “I got what I wanted out of the fire.” I knew He meant Vicki and me. At first, His response sort of shocked me, but then I realized the simplicity and brevity of it. He added, “I am sorry for the loss of your things, but when I see what you have up here, it is not worthy to compare.” He continued, “I have heard your moaning over the loss of Vicki’s artwork. No more tears.” He ended with, “I have them and they will be hanging in her home in glory.” This last statement affected me deeply as I saw His individual compassion on me.
I also asked Him, “People have said, ‘the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.’ Would you please comment on that?” He answered, “I did not burn your house. I am not that way and I am not that cheap. You opened the door with the bucket of coals and the devil capitalized on it and burned your house.” What a valuable lesson. Later, in a different conversation, He also told me that it was a planned assassination attempt on Vicki and me because of our contribution to Christological Astronomy and the glory of the Astrologos we are striving for. This has made me incredibly more aware of the precious cargo that we are carrying and even more dedicated to sow it into the world.
He added, “If you and Vicki had died in the fire, you would have more today here than you would even have had if the fire had not occurred.” He said, “I redeemed your life from destruction because I had mercy on your children.”
I know that He woke me up. When I shared this with the fire marshal, we both praised God for it. Two days later a house fire not too far from us killed all three occupants. It wasn’t until several days later as we were sharing with our home fellowship that it suddenly hit me just how close we came to dying in the fire.
Vicki and I have agreed to not play the devil’s game of “What if,” so I am not going to dwell too long on it, but what if Vicki and I had died in the fire? What would it have done to my family? When I shared this with our staff, Joe Dobrota added, “That includes your spiritual children.” I tremble at God’s mercy.
One of the biggest lessons is the power of memorized scripture. As I laid down to go to sleep the first night after the fire, as soon as I closed my eyes, I was viewing the “video” of my initial discovery of the flames behind my house and experiencing the same trauma at the realization that we were about to lose our lives. (I have taught about situations like this in Mending Cracks in the Soul.) As soon as this flashed into my mind, the conditioning of God’s Word and spiritual preparation for traumatic video replays such as these kicked in and I immediately started quoting Psalm 91. The more my mind wanted to see the flames and make me associate to fear, the more I willed my mind to press into the scriptures. I even began grammatically diagramming verse 1, and when it was finished, I moved onto verse 2, and was diagramming verse 8 when I fell asleep. Then I woke up at 4 am. As soon as I was awake, another scene of the fire—it bursting into the house as the whole back part of the house was ablaze—flashed in my mind. As soon as I saw it, I doused it with Psalm 103. I got down to about verse 5 and woke up at 6 am to a third picture of trauma—seeing the whole house on fire. I hosed that one down with Ephesians and before I knew it, it was 8 am and I was rested and not a victim to trauma. So this is the lesson: overcome trauma with truth. If I had not memorized scripture verses from God’s Word, I could have been a basket case with a fractured mind for a long time, if not forever. Generally, a progression sets in: after trauma comes anxiety, then sleeplessness, then off to the doctor for pain pills and/or sleep aids. Then the next thing you know, self-pity sets in, demons of depression come in, you bear the consequences of being a victim, and a life is destroyed.
Vicki has been my inspiration and my cheerleader in memorizing scripture. Every day I already had the Word running through my mind to overcome the symptoms of Lyme disease and to live above the pain; so when the fire came, we were both prepared. May we exhort you—even if just because this lesson cost us so dearly to see plainly—please memorize some Bible. Don’t delay, start today!
Some lessons have come directly from the Lord, but others have come from several of our friends who have been prophetically reliable for many years and have spoken some words that bear witness in our hearts. One friend prophesied that the glory of the body of Christ’s giving and expression of compassion and love is a far greater glory than the burning of precious possessions. We have received loving gifts from local churches (including the Baptists and the Roman Catholics), and even from complete strangers, such as my granddaughter’s school teacher. Truly, the glory of the whole body of Christ working together to bless us is producing a greater glory than the plundering of our earthly things.
Another friend commented that I have pioneered works my whole life and ministry. He said, “It appears that the Lord has given you an apostolic teaching mantle on suffering and is giving you some great lessons that you can share with us.” He continued, “The last several teachings you have sent us have been on suffering; now it appears that He is giving you a promotion and some new material.” I responded that I did not volunteer for an apostle of suffering any more than Paul did, but who am I to question the Potter? I am committed to getting as much out of this as I can. What the devil has meant for harm, God will use for good.
Also, about two weeks prior to the fire, my daughter Sarah had a dream that I was killed. Since then she has been praying repetitively and fervently, “God have mercy on me and don‘t let my parents die.” Obviously, He heard and answered her prayers. We also have several testimonies of people waking in the middle of the night just in time to pray for Vicki and me before, during, and after the fire. Mercy, mercy, mercy.
Always remember, it is how you respond to taking a big hit that reveals if you are a champion with a strong depth of character. “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10). The fire has also ignited resolve in our hearts to fulfill our purposes, and we are thankful for the extension of time we have been given to do that. I actually have less fear now than ever before because Jesus redeemed our lives from destruction. Satan made two mistakes: 1) trying to kill us; 2) failing in the attempt.
Lots of lessons—expensive and precious. Praise the Lord, I have my wife and I have my life.
How You Can Help
For those of you who may be wondering how you can help us, here are some suggestions.
- Please pray that we can learn as much out of this as we can and that we would share the lessons with God’s people. I knew when I was ordained and especially as an apostle that I would be set up for such things. Please pray for peace, grace, and at least a double portion of restoration.
- We need money to buy back what was plundered. Vicki and I are thankful for the burning of some ballast, but there are some things we would like to replace. Checks, made payable to Dale M. Sides, may be sent to the LMCI address: 1029 Turnpike Rd., Suite F, Bedford VA 24523. (Please note that such checks are NOT tax-deductible; they are personal gifts.) Many of you have already done this. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
- I had the thought last night that if anyone has a house full of really nice furniture (perhaps left by parents or grandparents) that they don’t want and are willing to donate, it could be a great answer to what we need. What we lost in the fire, at least at this time, was our inheritance to give to our children. They have assured us that our lives now are their inheritance. In addition, if you know anyone who would like to make a sizeable donation to the ministry, we could buy or build a location for Vicki and me to live in.
- We so appreciate the gifts that you have already given and your wonderful hearts of benevolence. However, please do not give us what you would normally send to sponsor LMCI. We appreciate your kindness, but it’s in a time like this that if we are not wise, we could end up with personal things while the ministry suffers.
I am planning our strategy carefully. A spiritual warrior’s most effective and powerful position is on his knees. All of his moves and weapons are launched best from this position. We have weapons of power and authority to command God’s heavenly purposes to come to earth. Thanks for joining us in the operation of these.
In summary, Vicki and I have both adopted the same attitude as the Lord—we got what we wanted out of the fire, and that was each other. We have both had to deal with trauma but we are so grateful for the scriptures we have memorized that have freed us from it. This is one of the greatest lessons of all and we are committed to continue teaching people this vital key on how to prepare for hard times. It has become more valuable than all our earthly treasures.
Vicki and I have a cute little furnished house to move into on January 1st while the other house is being rebuilt. This temporary home is right next door to Joe and Mary Ellen Dobrota. We are presently staying with our daughter Sarah and her husband Keven and enjoying the therapy of our grandchildren. My granddaughter Kaitlin said to me the other night as I was putting her to bed, “Pop (my affectionate grandfather name), I am sorry that your house burned down but I know something good that can come out of it.” “What?” I asked. She said, “You can write a book about what you learn.” Out of the mouth of babes!
From the first night of the fire, Vicki and I began confessing “Jesus Christ makes all things new.” Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love, prayers, and support for us.
God bless you all. We love you.
P.S. Please note that we have already received all the clothes that we need; and although we will eventually need furniture, we presently have no place to store it. However, we would love to receive some furniture once the new house is finished, which should be within six-to-eight months. We will certainly let you know when that happens.