Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Report of Meeting in Helen, Georgia

Joseph Herrin (04-27-2010)

Kevin O’Connell and his wife Julie Sanders were the gracious hosts of a series of meetings this past weekend in North Georgia. The Spirit of Christ truly answered the prayers of the many saints who had faithfully lifted up these meetings to the Father. That the Holy Spirit had gone before us to prepare the way was evident. There was a peace about the home in which we met. The hosts and another couple, Mark and Cecilia, had prior to the meetings gone around and anointed the house and prayed over it. When I arrived I immediately felt peace. The spirit of rest was augmented by the beauty of the North Georgia foot hills and the Chattahoochee River which was visible from the back of their home.

Randy Simmons and I traveled to the meetings together, and we were graciously provided a place to stay. Another couple, John and Linda Edwards, also stayed in Kevin and Julie’s home. Mark and Cecilia also opened their home to two women who had each traveled alone to attend the meetings, Carolyn Barney and Brandy Vaughan. Others who lived close by commuted to the meetings. One brother drove from Tennessee and stayed all three days.

Having brothers and sisters open their homes with such warm hospitality certainly added to the family atmosphere of the meetings. Bonds were formed in the Sprit in very short order.

Brandy Vaughan is a young sister in Christ that I have been blessed to correspond with for a few months. She has been in California recording an album at a recording studio in Los Angeles. The Father worked it out where she was able to return to her mother’s house in Georgia for a month that “just happened” to coincide with the meetings. “What are the chances” I was blessed to meet this daughter of Christ face to face, and all in attendance were blessed to have her share with us this talent the Father has entrusted to her, coupled by a sincere yearning to bring honor and glory to Christ.

The entire week-end had a sense of a divine orchestration. The Father gathered each individual that He wanted to be there. I can testify with great assurance that He put His message in my mouth and it came forth attended with great conviction in the hearts of those prepared to receive it. Like Moses, I confessed to the Father that I was not able to speak. He assured me that He had made man’s mouth and He would give me utterance. This He surely did.

I am eager to share these messages with you. Kevin O’Connell is an audio engineer and he recorded the meetings. As soon as I receive the audio files from him I will be posting them. Each meeting built upon the previous one. The message of God was presented, allowing people to soak in it over the course of three days. The final day culminated in many hearts being moved spontaneously of the Spirit of Christ with great conviction to embrace an absolute abandonment and surrender to Christ. Those making such declarations of surrender to the Father understood the cost involved, making this a profound event, and one which I believe was deeply satisfying to the heart of the Father. There is nothing more pleasing to Him than to observe in the heart of a son or daughter a willingness to count the cost of taking up the cross and following Christ, and yielding to Him out of a heart of love.

Throughout the weekend there were moments I had not anticipated. The Spirit impressed upon me to make the teachings very practical. On occasion I was led to step on toes (gently - I preach with my shoes off), and the people bore it graciously. The call to be “perfect in Christ” was revealed to be an immensely practical matter. The Spirit kept drawing attention to the speech of His sons and daughters and the need to divide between soul and spirit.

The final morning as I was addressing the idle conversation so prevalent among Yahweh’s sons and daughters, and the need to seek conformity to Christ who testified, “I never speak a word of My own initiative. I only speak the words the Father commands Me to speak,” I was given an insight, shared spontaneously, that I had never seen before. The Father showed me a parable in the Israelite’s first battle in the land of their inheritance.

As Joshua (Yahshua) led the people around the walls of Jericho, for six days they were commanded to remain silent. They were not to speak a word. This surely required great restraint as their minds were filled with the immense task before them of capturing this seemingly unassailable stronghold. On the seventh day, at the precise moment, they were all commanded to shout and the walls of Jericho fell down.

The Spirit had led me to share with Yahweh’s people about the need to exercise restraint in our speech. I told them that when we are bringing an area of our life into subjection to the rule of Christ that He will bring us to quietness in that area first. We will go through a period of cessation where we still our soul, and refuse to give ourselves over to be directed by it. When we have become quiet in an area, then the Father will begin to move us by His Spirit and the result will be light and life.

James tells us that the tongue is the most unruly member of the body. It is the greatest stronghold. It seems fitting that Jericho with its immense walls, seemingly unconquerable, was the first stronghold to be faced in the land. I believe it corresponds to the speech of God’s sons and daughters.

How impossible it seems to us to become perfect in speech. It strikes most Christians as too lofty of a goal to bring their tongue into a perfect submission to the Spirit of Christ. To many it seems unnecessarily strict to even consider dividing between soul and spirit in this area of their lives. Speaking freely from one’s own soul seems both natural and acceptable to the majority of Christians.

The reason that Christ’s words were always attended with power is that there was no mixture of soul and spirit in them. Christ’s words were ALWAYS Spirit. Consequently, they were infused with life. When our speech is also purified, having the soul restrained that the Spirit might come forth, we too will find our words infused with power.

Consider then the parable of Jericho and the Israelites. After six days of perfect restraint, speaking not a word apart from the command of Yahweh, they were finally told by God to open their mouths to be used by Him. Their utterance came forth with such colossal power that the very walls of Jericho fell to the ground in ruins.

The message of the weekend was constantly a challenge from the Spirit to be perfect as our Father is perfect. The Spirit urged the saints to raise their vision, and to arise out of the low living of nominal Christianity. Only those who are perfect (mature, whole, complete, lacking in nothing) will be entrusted with the power and glory of the ages to come. When the Israelites manifested perfection in their speech, their words came forth with power.

If we would receive the anointing of God, His power to accomplish His purposes, we too must be perfect. Such an attainment is impossible apart from the powerful working of Christ within His sons and daughters.

There were many other instances of the Spirit speaking forth words that contained life-changing power this weekend. I look forward to sharing these messages with more of Yahweh’s people as the audio files are made available. I encourage all to listen to them. Begin with the first meeting’s message and proceed through to the end. The Spirit’s message builds to a great climax, and the invitation to come and die that a spiritual creation might arise was heard and answered as deep cried out unto deep.

One of the last things shared was a song my daughter Kristin wrote and performed. Although Kristin was not able to be present at the meetings, she was present in spirit as I played her song while projecting her image and the lyrics of this song on the screen I was using. The words of this song were so perfectly tailored to the message of the week-end that not a word was out of place. It was a song perfect in speech, and it came forth with power, moving people very deeply. What the Spirit performed after this was marvelous to witness.

I stand in amazement as I think back on the awesome way in which Yahweh moved among His people this week-end. May He bring many sons to glory, and may you be counted among them.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,

Joseph Herrin

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Thanks

Joseph Herrin (04-22-2010)

The responses to yesterday’s post have been overwhelming. I am truly encouraged to see what a wonderfully supportive and compassionate remnant that the Father has reserved unto Himself. I thank all of you for your affirmations and encouragement. I especially thank you for your prayers and invite you to continue to lift up these meetings this week-end. I hope to have audio recordings from the meetings that can be shared with the body of Christ.

As I am preparing to go on the road tomorrow, I am giving my Internet pulpit to another today. John MacArthur will be filling this spot.

A sister in Christ sent me two wonderful videos by Pastor MacArthur. (Thank you Brandy.) The message he is conveying goes right along with the recent posts on the Biblical view of slavery, and the cost of discipleship. I was truly impressed to hear such a well known minister speaking clearly the truth of the disciple’s relationship to Christ. I encourage all who have time to watch these videos. The first is 16 minutes in length, and the second in just under ten minutes.



May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Feed My Sheep

Joseph Herrin (04-21-2010)

Often during my walk of the past eleven years as I have followed the Father there have been seasons of heightened spiritual attacks. There is a very real warfare to be waged. As Christians we not only are called to rule over the enemies within our own flesh, but we have an external adversary as well.

I Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Although the apostle Paul tells the saints in Ephesians chapter 6 that they do not wrestle against flesh and blood, Satan does stir up many men and women to act as hindrances to God’s people. Satan stirred up the jealousy of the Jewish leaders in Christ’s day resulting in His arrest and crucifixion. Paul encountered similar opposition from human quarters and was on different occasions stoned, beaten, whipped, and in the end martyred.

In recent days and weeks I have been experiencing an increased level of attack spiritually. A brother in Christ from New Jersey suggested that I should share such things with the saints that they might stand in prayer with me. I know that a number of you will do so. I have felt the tremendous beneficial effects of the prayers of the saints before when I entreated them to pray. I am walking in such a time now that I believe your prayers will prevail much to break through the enemy’s walls of opposition and to release strength to stand against all his fiery attacks.

I will briefly summarize the character of the opposition.

About two weeks ago my original website, www.heart4god.ws, came under attack. I do not know the specific nature of the attack, but it resulted in the Internet hosting company’s automated defenses kicking in and taking the website offline to prevent unauthorized access or damage to it. The man who owns the company, and who hosts my site at no charge, brought it back online.

I sensed this event was symbolic. At the same time I began to receive an increased level of e-mail, and blog comments that I would characterize as personal attacks. Such things are not new to me. Having had an Internet ministry for over a decade I have encountered many “flames” and un-Christlike communications. These have served as opportunities for me to grow in the grace of Christ, to speak a blessing when reviled, and to refuse to take up personal offenses.

Such experiences are necessary for the sons of God to grow in conformity to Christ. I think those who are called as ministers must especially be tried in many ways. God’s intent in permitting us to endure persecution is always to promote spiritual growth. As Paul testified:

I Corinthians 4:12-13
When we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

Following are a couple examples of the stones of offense that have been thrown my way.

Mr Herrin,

This will be our last response to any of your blogs. As we see your not able to break the chains of Secular Christianity, in word therefore deed. Not able to understand the words and their meaning in the different languages you profess to be a teacher of - when you Preach. We leave you with this last comment.

We do not consider you to be in the body therefore we will not judge you.

Secular Christians are known by the fruit of their Mouth. Out of yours are being taught to others who simply do not understand. The mouthed words that have meanings we oppose as they are against Yahshua Messiah.

We shall no longer respond to your blog as Secular Christianity is Not the Messiah's.

At least 15 (7 being language scholar graduates of The Hebrew University) of us agree - you have 'need' in many things said we can not agree we do not Judge- but only Rebuke you.

Good bye

A couple days later I received the following comment when I posted the information on my upcoming meetings.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Notice of Upcoming Meetings":

The truth is that you are WAITING

on people to mail you a check...

so that you can have a nice trip.

You still cant buy gas food and

lodging on GOD Bless Yous...It still takes money...In which you

take freely of... Get a job!!!

You don't have to take a trip/vacation to spread the word,

you can contiune to do Facebook

twitter, your're website etc etc

without going on the road.

What a farce... Quit living off

other people..and WORK!!!!

May YOU get understanding!!!!

The assaults have come from other directions as well, including family, and from within my own soul. While spending two weeks camping at Pine Mountain, Georgia recently I was going to Callaway Gardens to enjoy the beauty of Yahweh’s creation and to get exercise by riding my bicycle. Callaway is a very family oriented place. There were parents with children everywhere. Couples were walking hand in hand. People were traveling together on tour buses and with friends.

Satan did not fail to point out to me that I was the only person by myself. When I would stop at a park restaurant for a meal I was made aware that I was the only person sitting by themselves at a table. The adversary was tempting me to pity myself for the loneliness of this walk the Father has called me to.

One evening as I was back at my campsite the enemy began to bring many of these thoughts together in my mind. The attacks via e-mail, letters, and blog comments were before me. The enemy poised the question of why I would persist in sharing things publicly when it invited such animosity. The humbleness of my living situation was cast up before me, and I was made to know that I could live a much more comfortable life by returning to work in the computer field. The loneliness was then set before my attention, with the question, “What could be worth such a solitary walk?”

At that moment I picked up a book I had pulled out to review. The book was one I had authored some months ago. I opened it up and read the following passage:

Those who would be firstfruits unto God must anticipate that rejection by their brethren will be their portion. One cannot be too attached to a desire for fellowship among brethren if they would attain to the high call of their Father in heaven. A time will come when such sons of God will recognize that their devotion and love for the Father will lead them to be rejected by their brethren, and they must be willing to bear the cost. They must be willing to walk alone, separated from the companionship of other earthly relations.

John 1:11

He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Luke 14:26

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

The walk of the firstborn is a lonely walk. It is a life set aside for the pleasure of Yahweh, our heavenly Father. When one walks with God, they will find themselves with little earthly company. The church today has lots of fellowship. There are myriads of brethren who meet together regularly, feasting together, playing together, dwelling together, while the Joseph’s are alone.

One might think that Joseph finally knew fellowship when his brothers came to Egypt to buy grain and were reunited with him, but this is not so. We read the following about Joseph’s circumstances.

Genesis 43:32

And the servants set out the food for Joseph by himself, and for his brothers by themselves, and for those Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, according to the Egyptian custom not to eat food with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination to the Egyptians.

Three groups of people are revealed here in type. The Egyptians are a picture of the world. Joseph’s brothers are a type of the church. Joseph is a type of the overcomer in Christ.

We find that those who will walk as overcomers will dine alone. The world despises the overcomer. The church cannot eat from the same table, and therefore the overcomer must dine alone. The overcomer can take food from his table, speaking of the revelations of God, and send them to his brothers, but he will find that it continues to be his lot to abide by himself. As much as his heart may yearn to be seated among his brothers, there is always something that keeps the separation in place.

[End Excerpt]

Reading that passage at the precise moment was a great encouragement. It reminded me that these experiences, although trying to the soul, all follow the pattern through which the Father perfects those sons He has determined to promote. The day came when Joseph forgot all the difficulties he had experienced.

I realized that the consistent theme of these attacks was to goad me into forsaking the ministry entrusted to me and returning to secular employment. The Spirit reminded me of the call He had placed upon my life, the many affirmations that I was in His will, and the faithfulness He has manifested in caring for all my needs.

As I was leaving Pine Mountain to drive back to central Georgia this past Sunday, these things were still on my mind. I was thinking about the upcoming speaking trip, and the experiences to be passed through. I felt that what I really needed, and all that was necessary, was for the Father to say, “You are walking where I want you to walk. I have appointed you to go and speak to My people.” When He sends He will be faithful to provide all that is necessary for His will to be accomplished.

I had some songs I had downloaded from the Internet playing on my van’s stereo system. On one particular song I felt the presence of the Spirit manifest in a special way. I knew I was hearing the voice of Christ speaking to me. The song was written by Karl Kohlhase and is titled “The Question.” It was the chorus that really spoke to my spirit. It said:

What do you love?
Do you love Me?
Do you love?
If you love Me, feed My lambs

Do you love Me?
What do you love?
Do you love Me?
If you love Me, feed My lambs

This chorus played several times over, and I could hear the voice of the Spirit of Christ in the words as if they were spoken to me.

(All of Karl’s songs can be downloaded, or played for free at his website. The link to this song is provided below.)


As I heard this invitation in my spirit I knew that I wanted more than anything to finish the course appointed for me. I desired to return the Savior’s love by feeding His sheep that He would send me to.

The attacks have continued this week. I have often seen Satan stir up individuals at critical times. They are not even aware that they are being used as pawns of the enemy of Christ. The taunts of the enemy do not sound like the voice of the Father. They are lacking the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit. There is no gentleness, no humility, no love.

Satan has been able to discourage many through such methods. I know the adversary does not want Christ’s sheep to be fed, encouraged, challenged, or strengthened.

I would invite those who are willing to lift up the meetings which will begin Friday evening and run through Sunday. They will be held in the home of Kevin O’Connell and his wife Julie. Please pray that there would be a profound manifestation of the Spirit of Christ. Where the Spirit is present there is unity, there is love, there is edification. I ask you to lift up those who will be attending that they might truly be fed and strengthened in profound measure. And pray that in my weakness that the Lord might reveal Himself in strength. May the anointing of Christ be present to accomplish all the Father’s will.

Through the parable of the attack on the Heart4God website, a witness has been given that there are attacks coming against those who are walking with a heart after God. The enemy desires to bring down the message of Christ, to keep it from going forth. He does not want Yahshua’s people to find the path to life, or to receive the encouragement to follow the course to its end. One of Satan’s methods is to bring down the messenger. He finds many who are willing to serve as his accomplices in this work, but there is One stronger, wiser, and full of love Who walks with us.

Perhaps you are also experiencing a season of attack. The enemy would have you to be discouraged. He would seek to depress you, to bring you down. Hold up the shield of faith. Through it you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the enemy. Hide yourself in the One who is a Strong Tower and a shelter from the storm. You will receive strength for the journey.

Draw near to Him. Your Shepherd is waiting with open arms.

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Road to Hell is Paved with...

They say there is a paradise at the end of this road.

Many are the travelers along this way.

Surely so many could not be wrong.

Millions of Christians have made this genre of books bestsellers.

If only a few find the path to life...

If it is an afflicted path...

If Christ's disciples must not love the world, or the things in it...

Then who is walking this road?

Matthew 7:13-14
The gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.

James 4:2-4
You lust and do not have... You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Christ told those who would be His disciples to count the cost of following Him.

Christ went to the cross, not to the bank.

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Monday, April 19, 2010

Why Does the Bible NOT Condemn Slavery?

Joseph Herrin (04-19-2010)

The following was written in response to a man in jail who has been writing to me to express sincere objections he has to the Bible and Christianity. He asked why Christ and the Bible did not condemn slavery, for he views it as a great evil. The answer leads one back to the purpose of this age, and reveals the misconception that many men, including Christians, are harboring in their minds.

The answer leads one back to the disciple's cross and the afflicted way. I thought it was therefore appropriate to share it at this time when I have been writing concerning the wilderness and the afflicted way that leads to life.

Dear (Name Withheld),

You asked me why the Bible, and Jesus, did not condemn slavery. That is an excellent question, and the answer is one that provides much insight into the purpose of this present life that we are living.

So many people (Christians included) have the perspective that this present life is of paramount importance. It is the only life that many people know about. With this attitude, you can well understand why so many people are seeking to attain to the fullest, most satisfying life now. One of the most popular Christian books in recent years is Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now.

Such books and teachings reveal the apostasy (falling away from the truth) of the church. The church is doing the very thing that Christ and His apostles condemned. They are seeking to accumulate material possessions, and are pursuing a life of ease and comfort. They do so because they have adopted the false mindset that this present life and age was designed by God to be enjoyed by man.

It may seem bizarre to hear someone say that this present life and age was not designed to be enjoyed by man, but this is actually the case. This present age serves the purpose of developing sons of God who will share His character and image. This character can only be attained through suffering.

Hebrews 5:7-8
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

This is the method by which ALL sons of God must be perfected (brought to spiritual maturity) and learn obedience.

Philippians 1:29
For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake...

The prophet Isaiah describes Christ as “a man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief.” This is the experience that is required of all men in order to lead them to spiritual maturity. As we are faced with difficulties, distresses, suffering, and sorrow we are provided opportunities for the Spirit of Christ to form within mankind the image of God.

Consider those things that are described as fruits of God’s Spirit.

Galatians 5:22
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...

When do people have the opportunity to exercise the peace of God? It is not proven, or developed, when their outer environment is one of peace. The kingdom of God must be established IN man. Divine peace is developed when our outer world is one of great distress, and unrest. This is what Christ demonstrated when He was sleeping in the boat while the storm raged all around Him. His disciples which were also in the boat became full of fear and awoke Christ saying, “Do you not care that we perish?”

Christ had found the place of rest. He knew that He was not going to perish for His Father was not done with Him yet. Despite the outer circumstances He was able to maintain calm in His soul and abide in perfect peace.

When do we have opportunity to develop gentleness? Is it not when we are provoked? It is when people mistreat us, or speak unkindly to us. The natural reaction of the Adamic man is to respond in like manner, to fight fire with fire. Yet Christ instructed those who would be perfect (spiritually mature) to speak a blessing when cursed; when slapped on the right cheek, to present to the person the left cheek as well.

Christ demonstrated this as He went to the cross. Peter tells us that Christ “while being reviled, did not revile in return. While suffering, He uttered no threats.” Christ was as a lamb led to the slaughter. There was no other way for Him to demonstrate spiritual maturity than to be put into very unpleasant situations.

The same is true of patience. We only can develop God’s patience when we are put in situations that our natural mind screams out to be released from. It is therefore necessary for God to subject His sons to experiences that they do not find comfortable or easy. As they come to a place of rest in the midst of what may be very difficult circumstances, the nature of God, revealed in the character of peace, is formed in them.

The same is true of self-control, perseverance, and meekness. We only can develop these things when we are tested, sometimes severely.

Seeing that God has determined that this present time is for the perfecting of His sons, He must choose to subject them to many difficult things. Comfort and ease and pleasure do not promote the fruit of the Spirit.

The Bible has testified that the church would fall away from the truth. They would equate material prosperity and worldly blessing with spirituality. This is what a host of prosperity ministers have done. Seeking a comfortable and pleasant life is the predominant mindset of the church today. What they do not understand is that as they set their focus upon a life that is pleasant to them they are avoiding the experiences that are needed to develop spiritually mature sons and daughters.

In God’s sight, this present life is but a moment. There are long ages to come in which His sons are destined to share in His glory and to exercise His power and authority. Yet, many will receive very little of any of these things because they have not labored to qualify themselves. They have avoided the difficult path that alone could mold them into God’s nature and character.

When you read the Bible you find that the very ones that God loved the most, He subjected to very difficult experiences. He did this for their good, including His own Son.

David knew years of difficulty, living in wilderness places, being persecuted by Saul, knowing reproach and sorrow. Yet it was as he responded in a godly manner to these experiences that the nature of God was formed in David. Yahweh was therefore able to make David ruler of His people.

The same is seen in the life of Joseph. Joseph was given dreams of promotion, of ruling and reigning. Yet the path to this advancement and honor was exceedingly difficult. While his brothers were living as free men, doing whatever they chose to do, Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt. Later Joseph was falsely accused by his master’s wife of sexual transgression and he was put in prison. His life was one of slavery and servitude. It was very difficult.

We read that every place Joseph was put, whether as a slave or a prisoner, he was faithful. He did not wallow in self-pity, or grow angry with God. He did not abandon his faith. He continued to pursue behavior that Yahweh found pleasing and the day came when he was spiritually mature enough for God to promote him. God made Joseph ruler of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. He was given honor and power and authority.

The process of Joseph’s preparation serves as a parable for all mankind. God is seeking sons that He can promote. He is looking for those that He can bestow His honor and authority upon. These sons must be matured spiritually first. They must all walk a very difficult path so that patience, gentleness humility, self-control, perseverance, peace, and such things as these might be formed in them.

This is the reason God has not condemned slavery. God takes a much larger view of things than man does. He knows that the experiences of Joseph as a slave and a prisoner were used to bring about godly character. So too will godly character be formed in all who can experience such things while yielding to the leading of the Spirit of God. Those who can bear up under difficulty with patience and grace, rather than responding according to the natural man’s fallen nature, will prove themselves to be fit for God to bestow honor upon.

Of course, it does not benefit a man at all to experience hardships, distresses, difficulties and injustice if he will not choose to respond with peace, forgiveness, and those other traits which are the nature of God. Such a man will merely be hardened in his fallen nature, and will become bitter, angry, vengeful, depressed, or self-pitying.

This is why Christians are called to fight the good fight of faith. Responding in a godly manner to adversity is not the natural man’s normal response. It is a position that must be fought to attain unto.

God takes a much larger view of things than most men do. He knows that a man can develop spiritually while a slave as well as a free man. It is all about attitude. Indeed, being free can be a great hindrance to a man unless he becomes a willing slave to God.

I Corinthians 7:20-22
Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave.

Do you see what is proclaimed here? To be acceptable in God’s sight a man who is free must surrender his freedom to Christ. Man must choose to not live for his own will and desires, but rather for the will and desires of God. He must make himself God’s bondservant, a willing slave.

Philippians 2:5-7
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant...

Christ was the perfect example of this principle. He freely subjected Himself to the will of His Father. He never sought to please Himself. He always sought to please God. Even when His Father revealed that it was His will for Him to die a death on the cross, He said, “Not My will, but Your will be done.” This is true submission to the will of another.

The apostles and church leaders manifested this same attitude.

Romans 1:1
Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God...

James 1:1
James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ...

II Peter 1:1
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ...

Jude 1
Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ...

These men had freedom, but they gave up their freedom to become slaves of Christ. It is no more difficult for a slave to enter into a free and willing subjection to God than for a freeman. All can be conformed to the nature of Christ if they will surrender their own will to do the will of another.

Slavery in the eyes of God is therefore not harmful to a man’s spiritual development. In truth, it may be quite helpful. This is why God chose to subject Joseph to a life of slavery while his brothers lived as freemen. This experience, as hard as it was, served to develop in Joseph the godly character necessary to not be corrupted by the honor he was to receive.

If our mind is upon pleasing ourselves, then slavery will certainly appear as a great evil. If we think this life is all there is, then it will seem unjust for any man to be deprived of liberty and a pursuit of happiness. However, if we have the mind of Christ we will understand that we are not called to please ourselves and this life is far from all there is.

I Timothy 5:6
But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.

Proverbs 14:12
There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

God has testified that His thoughts are not man’s thoughts, nor are His ways man’s ways. He considers the one who is living for pleasure to be dead already. They will forfeit long ages of ruling with Christ, sharing in His glory, power and authority.

You are on my heart and in my prayers.

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wilderness Survival for Christians - Part Six

Joseph Herrin (04-13-2010)

An Absence of Applause

The church calls Christ “Lord.” It is perhaps the most common appellation used in reference to both the Son and the Father. The church speaks of the cross, albeit usually in reference to the one that Yahshua bore. The church speaks the word “Faith” endlessly. Observing these things, you might think that someone who truly accepts Christ as Lord, surrendering to obey the leading of His Spirit in all things, and who embraces a walk of faith would receive much encouragement and support from other Christians who observe their life.

If this is your expectation, then I must warn you that you will be greatly disappointed.

That small remnant of the people of God who commit to following the Father wherever He leads; those few who find the narrow path to life and walk it, will experience trials, tests, and sorrows due to their surrender and obedience that makes the experiences of the carnal and lukewarm pale in comparison. During significant portions of their walk these disciples of Christ are waging war with Herculean effort. They are refusing to turn aside despite intense pressures from within and without.

One might expect other Christians to see their struggle and to encourage them on their way. They might anticipate that others would confess that they are doing right, even if those saying such things are unwilling to walk the same path. One might think that it would be obvious to the church that this suffering saint is experiencing all this hardship because of their commitment to follow Christ no matter the cost. But the reality is quite different.

Let me share with you an illustration from the Israelites’ wilderness experience that reveals the truth of this situation. It should be kept in mind that although 600,000 men, as well as women and children, went into this wilderness, these people are not to be confused with those who stand as types of the disciples of Christ. They are merely types of the church, the ekklesia. They were called out of the world, but few of them actually embraced this calling.

The majority of those who went into the wilderness regretted immediately having done so. Had they the opportunity they would have returned to Egypt. They were kept in the wilderness by the strong hand of the Father.

Among this large number of people we read of only a few who were intent on following the Lord. There was the smallest number who did not entertain thoughts of returning to the comforts of Egypt. Among these were Moses, Joshua and Caleb. The majority of the people did not have any desire to endure hardship, or to face trials and battles, even if the end result would have been an inheritance described as a land flowing with milk and honey.

The majority of Israelites in the wilderness represent the mass of Christians today. What was their response when they observed a small remnant among them who were willing to embrace hardship and difficulty? We can observe their attitude when, after approximately two years in the wilderness, Yahweh brought them to the border of the land of Canaan.

Yahweh instructed Moses to send in 12 men to spy out the land. These 12 spies spent 40 days looking over the land. They saw its abundance. They saw the bountiful fruit, the flowing streams, the fertile valleys and the forested mountains. The land was so fruitful that it took two men to carry a single cluster of grapes on a staff carried between their shoulders. Truly, Yahweh was setting before them an incredible inheritance.

Yet, these same men also observed a great many people living in walled cities. They observed giants, the descendants of the Anakim and Nephilim, dwelling in the land. They understood that it would be no cakewalk to go in and possess this land. Great courage would be required. Fierce battles would have to be fought. And enemies more numerous and mightier than themselves would have to be overcome.

Yahweh had promised His people that He would fight for them. They had adequate proof of this already. The mightiest nation on earth had seen its entire military destroyed in the Red Sea as Yahweh fought for the Israelites. The Israelites had complained bitterly at this event. They did not relish facing an enemy. They had no stomach to fight. They manifested great unbelief in Yahweh’s presence with them, and His willingness to support them. They rejoiced AFTER they saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore, but we see their hearts revealed when they were brought once more to face an enemy stronger than themselves.

Numbers 13:27-33
Thus they told him, and said, "We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan." Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us." So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."

People of God, do not think too hard of these Israelites who shrank back from the battles before them. The majority of Christians today are doing the same thing. There is a cross that all disciples must take up if they are to follow Christ. There are giants of fear, and unbelief to be slain. There are walled cities of lust, pride, and covetousness to be conquered. There are many enemies in the land that we must take possession of, and few Christians have the stomach to fight.

Yahshua said “The Kingdom of God is within you.” He also said, “The kingdom of God suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” There is no other way to establish Yahweh’s kingdom in our lives than by fighting battles with an array of enemies that dwell in our hearts.

Consider for a moment the thoughts that arise in your own heart as you contemplate surrendering the leadership of your life to Yahweh. Does not fear leap up as a great giant as you consider the paths Yahweh might lead you down? Does it not cause your knees to grow weak to consider the complete surrender of the direction of your life to the Father? There is a reason that Christ uses the imagery of crucifixion to describe discipleship. Who could consider submitting to crucifixion and not be tempest tossed within their soul? Even Christ wrestled to the point that He sweat drops of blood in Gethsemane as He viewed the things before Him.

Joshua and Caleb were not insensible to the risk before them. They too must have known a quivering in their soul as they looked upon the Anakim dwelling in the land. But they knew it was Yahweh guiding them to these battles, and He had promised to fight for them. They subdued the turmoil in their soul and began to reckon on Yahweh’s presence. They were willing to cast all over into the care of Yahweh, considering Him to be faithful.

Both Joshua and Caleb counseled the people to go forward as Yahweh was directing them. They were willing to put their lives on the line. The rest of the congregation were not.

Did the congregation of God’s people confess that Joshua and Caleb were courageous? Did they admit that these two men were more dedicated to obeying Yahweh than they were? Did they encourage Joshua and Caleb to go in and fight these battles? No, we read there response in the following verse.

Numbers 14:10
But all the congregation said to stone them with stones.

Men, women and children, in one accord, looked at these two men, both of them types and shadows of Christ’s disciples and the overcomers, and they wanted to stone them to death. This too is the response of the church today when it observes those few who are willing to follow the Lord wherever He leads. They will not praise you. They will despise you. They will vilify you. They will hurl many rocks of insult and reproach at you.

It took a wrestling of the soul for Caleb and Joshua to rule over their own fears, and to commit to a path they knew to be perilous. Yet they received no applause for their faith. Neither will you.

When you commit to follow the Father, to surrender to the leading of His Spirit, you will be led into experiences that others have not gone through, experiences which they do not even want to contemplate for themselves. The church will observe you being stripped of houses, lands, possessions, and encountering division in your closest family relationships. They will see that you have truly counted the cost of surrendering all your possessions and relations in order to follow Christ. And despite the fact that you arrived at such a surrender only after great inner wrestling that has taxed you to the utmost, they will not praise you. No, they will condemn you.

The wilderness is a type and shadow of the disciple’s cross. It is that daily struggle through difficult situations, following the Spirit wherever He leads. Did the people of God applaud Christ for His supreme sacrifice as He hung upon the cross? No! They hurled abuse and insults at Him. He was counted as a transgressor. They judged Him to be smitten and stricken of God.

So too will the majority in the church view your afflicted path and judge you to be suffering due to disobedience.

Discipleship is a lonely road. Though there be professing Christians in abundance, the path to life is found by only a few. Many are the called, but few are chosen.

There is an aspect of every disciple’s life where they must bear the cross alone. When Christ went to the cross His disciples were scattered. Only John was named as being present, along with Yahshua’s mother and some of the women. It is certain that those present watching His suffering did not understand what He was going through. His closest friends could only grieve as they watched Him suffer.

Christ was the Great Pioneer of this victorious wilderness journey. His example is a pattern for those disciples who would follow after Him. We read of His suffering that there was present in it the false judgments of His own people.

Isaiah 53:3-4
He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

I desire that you would have your heart prepared to anticipate similar things. Be at rest in your suffering. Do not add to your burden by seeking the applause of other Christians. Do not be distressed when no one understands the great spiritual battles you are fighting. Yahweh sees all things. The day will come when He will reward you openly.

As I was gaining an understanding of this aspect of the disciple’s walk I wrote two articles at the time that some may find helpful

A Spectacle Before Spectators

The Silence of the Lambs (A Chapter in the book The Road From Babylon To Zion)

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wilderness Survival for Christians - Part Five

Joseph Herrin (04-12-2010)

Counting the Cost of Your Journey

Surviving an arduous wilderness journey is made possible by doing the preliminary prep work. The value of careful planning cannot be overestimated. Some things must be done BEFORE one enters the wilderness. What adventurer would set forth on a difficult trek without first calculating the cost and making sure he had available resources to properly outfit himself for the journey? Many have perished in the wilderness for lack of such planning.

Let me remind those reading this series that the wilderness experience of every Christian is a metaphor of the disciple’s life. When we commit to following Christ we are to immediately leave all behind us, take up our cross, and follow Yahshua. This was symbolized on the night of the first Passover that Israel observed in Egypt.

The Israelites were commanded by Moses to eat the Passover meal in the following way.

Exodus 12:11
Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste - it is Yahweh’s Passover.

It was not simply because the Israelites were going to depart Egypt that night that they were given these instructions. These things were recorded for our benefit. They were written for the ekklesia, the called out ones of Jesus Christ, Yahshua the Messiah.

I Corinthians 10:11
Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Passover Sketch by Rossetti

Why did Yahweh tell the Israelites to eat the Passover meal fully clothed, with sandals on their feet, and with staff in hand? It was because all who become partakers of Christ, the Passover Lamb, are to be ready to depart from this world system in haste. Having applied the blood of the Lamb to their lives for the remission of sin, having become a partaker of His Spirit, signified by taking the lamb into their body by eating it, they are to not tarry, but to immediately begin a life of being led by the Spirit of Christ.

Notice that Moses gave the Israelites these instructions BEFORE they ate the Passover supper. This corresponds to Christ telling all those who desired to be His disciples to FIRST count the cost. If they became His disciple they must be ready to follow Him immediately, and never turn back from following Him.

Luke 9:59-62
And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Permit me first to go and bury my father." But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God." And another also said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home." But Yahshua said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

What do these words of Christ signify? Those who come to Christ must be ready to depart immediately from their former manner of life. They must forget the life they formerly lived. They are to embark on a new life, for they have become a new creature in Christ.

Philippians 3:13-15
Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Yahshua. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude.

The disciple of Christ must be ready immediately to begin a new life, a new journey. Before they had their soul to guide them, but as Christ’s disciple they must yield to the leading of the Spirit of Christ.

Romans 8:14
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Christ’s counsel to those who wanted to be His disciples seem cruel and unreasonable to the natural man. To not even be allowed to go bury one’s father, or say good-bye to those at home appears unnecessarily harsh and demanding. Why the rush? Why cannot following Christ be put off for a brief season? Why must we enter into this relationship of discipleship fully girded for travel and with our staff in hand?

The one who would be Yahshua’s disciple must be brought to understand that a radical change has occurred. Before they could choose their own way. If they wanted to tarry a while and enjoy the fellowship of natural relations, they were free to do so. But a Christian does not have this liberty.

I Corinthians 6:19-20
Or do you not know... that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price...

A change of ownership has occurred. The disciple of Christ is translated from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Heaven. They are under a new Headship. To be a disciple of Christ, one must become like Christ.

John 5:30
"I can do nothing on My own initiative.”

John 6:38
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

John 8:28
Yahshua therefore said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative...”

John 8:42
“For I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.”

People of God, to be Christ’s disciple requires a total change of life. We must take upon the mind of Christ which was declared in these words. Yahshua lived ONLY to do the will of His Father. He did not live to please Himself. He saw all relationships in this world as secondary to that of His Father in Heaven. So too must all His disciples.

Luke 14:26
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

Certain things need to be settled in the mind of those who would be Christ’s disciples before they embark on their wilderness journey. Foremost is that discipleship requires complete submission to the will of Yahweh. Discipleship cannot be entered into by degrees.

This is why Christ told all who thought they wanted to be His disciple to first count the cost of what this commitment would mean to them. It was an all, or nothing, proposition. There could be nothing held back. If absolutely everything was not given over to God; family, friends, possessions, and one’s own will, then the time would eventually come when they would find following Christ to be too costly and they would turn back. Having begun this journey, they would eventually realize that they could not finish. Only those who surrender all can finish this wilderness trek.

Luke 14:28-30
"For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'”

My own wrestling with this issue of surrender in 1999 lasted for weeks, for I knew what was at stake. What I was facing was the death of self-rule. I would be committing to doing whatever Yahweh required of me, and He could require absolutely everything. He had required that Abraham, His friend, lay even his cherished son on the altar to slay him.

I have watched people enter the wilderness, beginning to follow the leading of the Spirit, without first counting the cost, soberly appraising their willingness to yield everything to Yahweh, and then accepting it. Instead they go along haltingly. At every new command of the Spirit they wrestle with whether they will pay this cost too. Having never committed to follow Christ to the point of death, they limp along painfully, and are tossed about as double-minded creatures.

Their way becomes very bitter, for they keep looking over their shoulder, thinking that if things get too difficult they can always go back. The temptation to flee the wilderness and seek an easier walk becomes a snare to them. Not having decided from the onset that there is no going back, the temptation remains as a constant nagging thorn in their mind.

We see that the majority of the Israelites had not counted the cost. If following Yahweh got too difficult, they had held onto “plan B.” They could go skulking back to Egypt, and return to an existence that for all its bondage seemed to be easier to them.

Numbers 14:2-4
And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! And why is Yahweh bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" So they said to one another, "Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt."

People of God, do not say you will follow Christ wherever He will lead you if you do not intend to keep your commitment. If there is any wavering in your heart, He will surely seek it out. He has promised to see you through to the journey’s end. He will not fail you, but you can fail Him. If you commit to follow, you must hold fast your commitment, even if death be your lot. He has promised that you will suffer no eternal loss as long as you continue to trust and obey.

Hebrews 10:35-39
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

Your very soul is at stake. You can hold onto all the things of the world that you find comforting and necessary, but in the end you will forfeit your own soul.

Mark 8:35-36
"For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

There are truly issues of life and death at stake before the people of God. They can cling to their natural life and lose all they hoped to hold onto. Those who survive the wilderness are the ones who have counted the cost. They have surrendered to follow Christ through riches or poverty, through health or sickness, through peace or distresses, through honor or shame, through life or through death.

Revelation 12:11
"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.”

I am not exaggerating the cost of discipleship with these words. The Israelites saw the giants they had to face, the multitudes of people to be fought, the great walled cities, and they rightly understood that they would be risking their lives if they obeyed Yahweh’s command to go in and take possession of the land. The only thing between them and death was the word of God.

Yahweh has said to us today that He will never abandon or forsake us. Though He will lead us through the valley of the shadow of death, He will be with His people. He did not say they would not suffer. I live in the midst of America, a country that calls itself a Christian nation, and I have experienced hunger, homelessness, and loneliness. My fellow ministers cast me out. I have been refused communion and any opportunity to teach in Yahweh’s churches. My wife and son departed from me. Family have labeled me a heretic and deluded. I have even been imprisoned for obedience to Christ.

Do not think such experiences as Christ and His early disciples went through were only for that day and hour. The cost of discipleship has never changed.

II Timothy 3:10-12
But you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me! And indeed, ALL who desire to live godly in Christ Yahshua will be persecuted.

There are not two roads that lead to life, a broad and easy highway, and a narrow and afflicted wilderness path. There is only one way that leads to life, and few there are that find it.

People of God, I do not share my trials to elicit sympathy. Rather, it is to reveal that even in this hour the cost of following Christ fully is the same as it was in the book of Acts. If Yahweh can take one of the weakest, most timid, and fleshly of all men and bring me through these experiences without shrinking back, then He can bring any and all men through. He is a Father of great compassion. His mercies are new every morning. His love never fails.

If you have not yet settled it in your mind that you will follow Christ come whatever may, without shrinking back, then how long will you avoid the decision? Yahweh has tarried patiently with many of His sons and daughters, but He will not wait indefinitely. If you are experiencing the drawing and conviction of His Spirit today, there is no guarantee that in putting Him off that He will still be calling you tomorrow.

Hebrews 3:7-11
Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years. Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart; and they did not know My ways'; As I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'"

Have you already partaken of the Passover Lamb? Have you already applied the blood to your life? Then why do you not have yourself girded, sandals on your feet, and staff in your hand? He is calling you to follow Him now. Do not miss your opportunity.

Matthew 24:37-40
"For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.”

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Friday, April 9, 2010

Wilderness Survival for Christians - Part Four

Joseph Herrin (04-09-2010)


I have learned much from my own wilderness walk. I desire to share these things that I might lessen some of the agony that comes to people when they do not understand what is happening to them. Oftentimes perplexity can lead people to despair for they may believe they have somehow gotten out of God’s will and are on their own. To think such a thing will rob the saint of peace and make it very difficult to continue on their way.

I have shared that in 1999 the Father brought me to a place of surrender to follow Him wherever He would lead. This was actually my moment of counting the cost of being a disciple of Christ and accepting it. I was immediately led into a wilderness walk. The narrow gate opened before me and the afflicted path to life greeted me.

The Father instructed me to quit my job as a computer professional and to begin a ministry of writing. He said He would supply all of our needs. My way was made very difficult because I had false expectations of what that would mean. Yahshua has promised all His people that if they seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, His Father will supply all our needs (Matthew 6:33).

The immediate context of this passage in Matthew finds the Lord speaking of the birds of the air being fed daily by the Father, and the lilies of the field being clothed in raiment. These are the necessities of life, food and covering. The apostle Paul echoed this sentiment to Timothy, declaring that with these things we should be content.

I Timothy 6:7-8
For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

When the Father led me through the narrow gate in 1999, I found that it was so narrow that I could not carry all of my worldly possessions with me. I have written elsewhere about the meaning of Christ’s words concerning a camel going through the eye of a needle, but I believe it is appropriate to share it again here.

Matthew 19:23-24
"Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Many have misunderstood the message of Christ in these words, for they have mistakenly equated “the eye of a needle” with a sewing needle. Camels do not go through the eye of a sewing needle, so this makes little sense. In the days of Christ cities were surrounded by walls for protection against invading enemies. Gates were set in the walls to allow people and materials to come and go. These gates were closed at night and in times of danger, but it was still necessary to allow a limited flow of people in and out. Therefore, built into the large gates was a small door which could be opened to let a man in or out. This small door was called “the eye of the needle.”

Camels at the time were used for transport of goods. They would be piled high with merchandise and goods to be traded. If a man came to the gates after they had been closed and needed to enter, it was possible to go through and take his camel along, but it was very difficult. The master of the camel would have to take all the merchandise off of the camel, and the camel would have to go through the gate on his knees.

This is a picture of how a rich man must enter the kingdom of heaven. Getting on one’s knees speaks of humility, and removing all the goods from the camel’s back speaks of the necessity of Christians being unburdened from their possessions.

Matthew 19:21-22
Yahshua said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property.

The word rendered as “perfect” in this Scripture is the Greek word teleios. This Greek word means “perfect, mature, of full age.” What Yahshua was telling this rich young ruler of the Jews is that if he wanted to come to maturity as a son of God, then he needed to free himself from his possessions which were making his life very comfortable and easy. He would then be free to follow Christ. Christ would lead this young man down an afflicted path, but it would lead to spiritual maturity. Holding onto his possessions, and clinging to his comfortable lifestyle, would hinder this man from coming to a perfect conformity to the image of Christ.

Most Christians think that the Lord’s words to this young ruler were exceptional. They have been convinced by preachers of prosperity that this young man had an inordinate affection for the world’s goods and therefore he was required to give them up. They are told that this example does not apply to them. What the saints have not understood is that the Lord is revealing a very general principle through these words, a principle with application to all of the lives of Yahweh’s sons and daughters. A life of material ease and comfort will hinder all men from coming to maturity in Christ. “The way is afflicted” which leads to life. Comfort and affliction are opposites. We cannot choose to live comfortable lives and expect to find the life of Christ revealed in us at the end of our journey. It will not happen.

I did not understand this in 1999. According to the Biblical definition of wealth, I was wealthy. So too are many who are reading this. Paul contrasts the person who is content with food and covering with the one who desires to get rich. This then must be our standard to understand what an inordinate desire for material things is. If we cannot be content with food and covering, but must have many other material things, then we are those who desire to be rich, and we risk falling into a snare and many hurtful desires.

Now, I am not saying that a Christian cannot have more than their daily bread and the clothes on their back. What the Scriptures teach is that if this is what the Father chooses for us, we must be content.

When I was directing my way I naturally accumulated a great amount of the world’s goods. I had a house, multiple vehicles, many furnishings, closets full of material goods, and a garage filled with the same. Many of the things I had were for entertainment, comfort, or ease. I anticipated that in following the Father that He would continue to supply me with the financial means to keep this mass of worldly goods.

Soon after quitting my job and entering a full-time ministry of writing, my money began to run out. I knew I had heard Yahweh correctly, for He had given me an abundance of affirmations that I was walking the path He had chosen for me. Yet my expectations were not met, and this led me to much inner wrestling. Perhaps the word terror would more accurately describe this period of my life. I did not understand what was happening, and great doubts began to assail my mind, as well as fears of being out on the street homeless with my wife and kids.

It became necessary to begin selling some of our accumulated possessions to have money for food and to pay the bills. So we had a garage sale.

The money would last us for a time, and then I would find that it was necessary to lighten the load some more. In God’s sight I was still carrying way too much worldly baggage with me.

I found that I could not get past the narrow gate with all of these goods. The first thing the Father did upon my surrendering to Him was to begin stripping me of the baggage of this world. I believe this to be the pattern for a great many people who are brought to a place of counting the cost of following Christ. Christ traveled very lightly through this world. His focus was not upon material acquisition, or personal comfort, but upon doing the will of His Father.

When we read of the story of the rich young ruler, many Christians automatically think that the story does not describe them. They do not consider themselves rich in this world’s goods. The Bible describes this young man as one who “owned much property.” Does this not describe a majority of Christians today? Property is not merely real estate. It is every item that we purchase. It is all the things that fill our homes, our attics, our garages, and our storage rental buildings.

The reaction of this young man who came to Christ is the same as a great many Christians. If Christians today heard Yahshua speak to them, telling them to sell all they had and to them come and follow Him, most would go away greatly saddened. What the church has done instead is to change her doctrines. The church promotes the accumulation of goods. They have made the gate very wide and the path broad, but they are leading men and women to destruction.

Christ’s first disciples testified that they had left all behind to follow Christ (Mark 10:28). They are not an exception. We find in the book of Acts that the Christians of that first church in Jerusalem began selling possessions and lands and bringing the money and depositing it at the apostles feet to be distributed to those in need. They did what Christ urged the rich young ruler to do. We see then that Christ’s words were not an exception to be applied to one man who was inordinately wealthy. The entire church began to practice this disengagement from the world and its possessions.

Acts 4:32-35
And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them...For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles' feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need.

Notice the highlighted words. They reveal that what was done by the first Christians was a general work, not an exceptional one. Upon surrendering to Christ, I too found this to be an immediate work of the Father. I believe the reason we see so little of this occurring today is that there have been very few saints who have yet counted the cost of following Christ. There are hardly any who have accepted the invitation of the Spirit to follow wherever He would lead and do whatever He would say. Men and women who are directed by their own souls are not naturally led to do those things that Christ directs His disciples to do.

People of God, my purpose in sharing these things is to prepare your heart to have correct expectations of what you will meet with when you surrender to be led of the Spirit. I was tremendously distressed, for I did not understand these things. My heart was filled with anxiety, but I submitted to the stripping of my worldly goods nonetheless. Each time I had a sale the Father cut deeper into those things I thought I needed to have, or desired to have. At the end of a year my wife and children and I found ourselves with a 28 foot motorhome and a small car in tow. We had clothes, and a few possessions which would fit into the motorhome. We also had freedom. We had no debt and no attachments to a specific place. We could go wherever the Father directed.


The Israelites who left Egypt to enter the wilderness had to leave many things behind. They could take only what they could carry, or what their few wagons could hold. They left homes in Goshen, and furnishings, and a great many things. Necessity dictated it. For forty years they dwelt in tents. The day came, however, when they took possession of Canaan. They received houses they did not build, and vineyards they did not plant. They became possessors of a land flowing with milk and honey.

We too are seeking to enter into the land of our inheritance. Our Savior has promised us that He goes to prepare a place for us. We will one day receive many glorious things, but on our journey to that destination we should travel very lightly through this world. We are aliens and strangers here. This is not our home.

These things I write are for that remnant of Yahweh’s people who will surrender the direction of their lives to Him. I desire that you would not be tormented by the perplexity I was met with when I began this journey. I am now accustomed to traveling light through this world, but the initial adjustment came as a shock. I would now have it no other way. What I once possessed actually possessed me. I had been in bondage to the material things I owned. Now my burden is light, for I am yoked to Christ and I am walking as He walked, and continues to walk.

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063