Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Ministry So Designed

Joseph Herrin (08-07-08)

Acts 13:2
The Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

It is certain in this hour that each child of God will want to find themselves doing that particular work appointed to them. Many will find out too late that they have been laboring in works of their own choosing, and the Lord’s judgment will be that they were workers of lawlessness, for they did not do the will of the Father in heaven.

Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”

Back in 1993 the Spirit of Christ initiated this ministry of teaching by having me write an article titled The Work that Refreshes. (http://www.heart4god.ws/id186.htm) Fifteen years later I have found that the message Christ has called me to proclaim has not changed. The message the Spirit is speaking through me continues to be that we must apply ourselves to doing the work God has appointed to us. We must not presume to choose our work for ourselves. The life of Christ serves as the pattern for all of the children of God. It was He who declared, “I never do anything of My own initiative. I only do the will of the Father.”

Proclaiming this message has brought me into much conflict with the people of God who are busy running about doing works of their own choosing. Walking out this message in my own life has brought me even greater trials and sorrows, for the ministry God will appoint to us will always contain a cross. Yet, through it all, my heart is at peace knowing that I am walking the path appointed to me.

The Spirit has a very specific work appointed to each of the children of God. It is our duty before Christ to discern what this work is, and to be careful to perform it as unto Him.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Yahshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I have been in awe at the intimate degree to which Yahweh orders our steps and brings us to those very specific works appointed to us. I have shared in previous writings that vehicles often serve as a parable for ministry. Three years ago the Spirit of Christ revealed to me that Yahweh was providing a particular vehicle for me to purchase. Little did I understand at the time how much that vehicle would stand as a symbol of the work appointed to me.

Three years ago I was in residence at the Macon Rescue Mission. I had been using a Ford Tempo for transportation, but had recently given it to my daughter, for her need for transportation was greater than my own. For a period of time I used a bicycle to get around town. One day I had gone to the post office and had found that a brother in Christ from Canada had sent me a money order for $800. As I rode my bike back up to the mission, I noticed a class B motorhome/van parked in the lot. I assumed that it had been donated to the mission to be sold. The Spirit spoke to me as I looked at the van and told me “The $800 you just received will be used to purchase that van.”

The mission was waiting to receive a dealer’s license to sell automobiles, and they were accumulating a number of them to be sold at auction. It was three months later that the auction was held. I gathered, along with about a hundred other people, to bid on the assortment of 25 vehicles up for sale that day. The van was well down the list, so I waited my turn patiently.

The auctioneer always started out at a low price and increased each bid by $50. Finally he got around to auctioning the van. Several people began bidding on it, but most dropped out quickly. It came down to just myself and one other man who were bidding on the van. His last offer was $750. I then bid $800 and no other bids were forthcoming. I was able to purchase the van for the exact amount God had told me.

I wondered for a time why God had me buy this van, for the next several years I spent working for the mission and most of my driving was in town, and usually by myself. The van was larger than my immediate need and consumed more gas than a smaller vehicle would have. If I had chosen a vehicle for myself, I would most likely have looked at something more economical. This is often the way of things when people choose what work they will perform for the Lord as well. We often look at our available resources, and consult with our desires and natural reasoning to arrive at the work we feel we would like to be involved in. Yet the thoughts of God are not man’s.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
[Amplified Bible]

What I did not see then, I do see now. At this hour I am living in this small motorhome, and I am certainly thankful that I did not choose for myself a small car for transportation. As motorhomes go, it is fairly economical, and I am assured by the Spirit that it will serve me well in coming days. Pictured below is the van/motorhome the Lord chose for me.



















The van tells quite a story. Every detail of it seems to be pregnant with meaning, and I have observed in it many things relating to the ministry appointed to me.

The van is a 1986 model. When I purchased it in 2005 it was 19 years old, and it had around 50,000 miles on it. It was driven very little, being owned by an older couple who had purchased it new. This made me the second owner of the vehicle. At this date in 2008 the van is 22 years old, and the Lord has signified that it is at this time that He is calling me to embark on the ministry for which the van stands. 22 is a number relating to the removal of sinful flesh, and if you have read the numerous articles posted on this blog, you will understand how much this number signifies.

The number 22 is very prevalent throughout this vehicle. It is a conversion van built on a Dodge chassis with a Dodge engine. The conversion is by Xplorer Motor Homes and the model of this Xplorer is 222. The Lord has shown me several ways in which this number is relevant. The Lord has shown me that He will send me out with another brother, therefore the 2-22 relates to two witnesses bearing this message of the cross and the removal of the flesh. Two is also a number signifying separation, difference and division. E.W. Bullinger, in his book Numbers in Scripture shares the meaning of this number.

We now come to the spiritual significance of the number Two. We have seen that One excludes all difference, and denotes that which is sovereign. But Two affirms that there is a difference—there is another; while One affirms that there is not another!
This difference may be for good or for evil. A thing may differ from evil, and be good; or it may differ from good, and be evil. Hence, the number Two takes a two-fold colouring, according to the context.
It is the first number by which we can divide another, and therefore in all its uses we may trace this fundamental idea of division or difference.
Recently I wrote to a sister in Christ about the relevance of this number to this hour.

Since the beginning of this century and the new Millennium which has been marked by the number 2000, I have noted that the Lord is doing a work of separation of an accelerated fashion. The Spirit has been crying "Come out of [Babylon - the Great Harlot] My people." This is a call to separation and it must of necessity result in a distinction among the children of God. There are those who heed the call and come out, and there are those who refuse to heed the call and they remain ensconced in Babylon.
This distinction then becomes one of sin and righteousness, for the Spirit has said to come out "that you might not participate in her sins." Those who remain in Babylon will become embroiled in greater and greater sin. Those who come out, if they are faithful, will find themselves journeying to Zion where the overcomers are pictured in the book of Revelation. These are depicted as virgins, being espoused to Christ and pure in their devotion.
This division among the people of God is going on apace, and we are seeing now that this distinction is now manifesting in some being given over to the judgments of God, and some being spared. Again we see this in the words of the Spirit "that you may not participate in her sins and partake of her plagues."
I believe we live in an hour when the Lord is making a distinction, a division, among His people. The number 2 is a testimony of this division and the difference between those who are numbered among the overcomers and those who are not. The origin of the distinction being drawn is whether a child of God loves truth, or does not love truth. Those who love truth (Yahshua is Truth) will follow Yahshua wherever He leads (Revelation 14:4). Yahshua will lead each of His disciples to a cross appointed to them. Many Christians today despise the disciple's cross, being what the apostle Paul terms "enemies of the cross" (Philippians 3:18). Their unwillingness to suffer for Christ reveals that they are not lovers of the truth, and for this reason they will be given over to delusion that they might believe lies (II Thessalonians 2:11).
It is this very separation that we are seeing in this hour, and I believe this to be the testimony of the number 2 that is featured so prominently in this hour.
The number 22, as I have noted, is also very symbolic as it stands for the removal of the sinful flesh. The van contains a small refrigerator that is 2.2 cubic feet in capacity. It is a model 2200. Recently the back window was broken in the van and when I had it replaced I discovered that the window’s dimensions are 44" by 18". 44 is 2 times 22, bringing another reference to a ministry of two witnesses who will bring a message of the crucifixion of the flesh. 18 is 6 + 6 + 6, this being a number that speaks of the man of the flesh, or the beast nature of man.

As I looked at the specifications of the van I discovered that it is 18' 7" in length. This again is a reference to the ministry being directed at the flesh of man, the number 7 indicating a fullness and completion of this flesh man, requiring that God judge the flesh at this time.

In an earlier writing Explorers and Pioneers to Serve as Guides I noted that the van is an Xplorer and it has a Pioneer sound system in it. The significance of this is that the Lord has sent a group of forerunning saints ahead of the rest of the body to experience a cutting of their flesh as they have journeyed through wilderness places, in order that they might serve as guides to a larger remnant of the body who are to follow them in fast approaching days.

The tires on the van are specified as 235 tires. This is encouraging as the numbers 23 and 5 in combination have been repeatedly used to signify God’s grace for material provision in my life. The Lord has certainly proved this in relation to the van from the very moment it showed up at the mission just as a brother had sent the $800 that would be used to purchase it. Yahweh has continued to manifest magnificent grace in His provision as I have followed Him to the places He has led.

A recent event illustrates the magnificent provision of the Lord, and at the same time it provides a parable of profound spiritual truth. When I went a few weeks ago to get the back window replaced on the van I looked at the rear of the van and my eye was drawn to a dent about the size of a softball on the rear driver’s side corner of the van about 4-5 feet up. The dent had been present from the time I had purchased it. I thought as I looked at it, “Lord, now if that dent were gone there would be no blemishes on the outside of the van.” I have thought of the dent from time to time, but I never felt justified in taking the van to a body shop to get the dent removed.

Two days after getting the rear window replaced I was driving down the street in downtown Macon heading to the gym. I noticed a man pulling a suitcase down the sidewalk, and I thought that he appeared to be a homeless person, albeit one who had recently become homeless. Most homeless men carry a backpack, or bedroll, or nothing at all. It is unusual to see someone with a suitcase.

As I got out of my van this man walked up to me. He told me that his wife had put him out of the house and his car's transmission had gone out, and he was now homeless. He then said, "I noticed that you have a dent in the back of your van. I can fix that for you in about fifteen minutes, and I would ask if you would let me do so in exchange for forty dollars?"

I really had a sense of the Spirit's having ordered my steps in this matter, and the man showed me his body work tools in a duffel bag atop his suitcase. I agreed to let him do the work and I pulled over in a nearby parking lot for him to do so. Sure enough, in about 15 minutes the dent was repaired, a second coat of Bondo applied, and he told me that the next day all I would have to do is sand it and spray paint it.

As he was doing the work we talked some. I could tell he was telling me the truth of his situation, and the fear of being out on the street was evident. He said he intended to go to Cincinnati where he has a brother. As I was watching him repair the van the Lord spoke to me through the verse "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I said, "Lord, if I were in this man’s situation I would want to have a ticket to Cincinnati. I would like to buy him a ticket if you would allow me to do so." The Spirit bore witness that it was his will.

When this man (Michael) finished I told him I would make him a deal. I told him I would either give him the forty dollars he asked for, or I would take him to the bus station and buy him a ticket to Cincinnati. You could see the relief on his face when I said this. He said he would most gladly take the ticket to Cincinnati, and he asked me if I might be able to buy him something to eat, which I was more than happy to do.

After this event I said "Lord, I know what you have done here is significant, for everything about this van has had great meaning. Please show me what the meaning is of you sending someone to take this dent out of my van."

I had gone down the road a short distance and I began to hear the lyrics of a Keith Green song in my mind. The words of the song say, "My child, I see no stain upon you," but what I heard was "My BRIDE, I see no stain upon you." This phrase just kept repeating over and over in my mind. As I heard these words tears began to fill my eyes. I know the words had application to my life as well as to those the Lord will send me to in coming days. The stains are removed from our lives as we submit to the work of the cross in our lives. As we allow the Lord to lead us through fiery trials designed to remove the flesh from our lives, we are readied as a Bride for the coming Bridegroom.

The Spirit also revealed through this incident that those who are walking according to the law of love are pure and holy in His sight. If we truly esteem the needs of others more highly than our own needs, He takes delight in us.

Just before the Lord indicated I was to leave my employment with the Macon Rescue Mission He ordered my steps where I was able to get the van in good physical shape, ready to go out on the road. One by one various things failed on the van. The water pump developed a leak. The electrical system was shorting out somewhere under the dash. A transmission linkage needed replacement, and a number of other small items cropped up. I asked the Lord that if He wanted me to get all these things repaired that He would go before me, as I was very careful about how I spent my money.

I drove up to the Mission one day and it was on my heart to get some of these things repaired. I prayed and asked the Lord if it was His will that He would send me a good mechanic at a reasonable rate. Right after I drove up to the Mission a man who had been a resident there saw me and approached me. I knew him from having supervised him at the Mission’s thrift store, and I knew that he was an excellent mechanic. He came to me and asked me of there was any work he could do for me to earn some money as he was living as best he could around town. I told him I had some things I needed done on the van, and he was thrilled to do the work as I was thrilled to get it done.

Over the next couple months he performed numerous jobs on the van and everything I knew to be a problem was corrected. I sensed that the Lord must have a specific reason for me to get the van repaired at that time, and sure enough, soon after the last repair was done the Lord indicated I was to leave the Mission and prepare for a different type of ministry.

In two days (8/8/8) I will be leaving Georgia to head to Indiana where I have been invited to speak at a discipleship school. The invitation came to me four months ago, and the Lord chose for me to leave on this specific date. I looked at the weather forecast for that date. It has been very hot in Macon recently. Today it was 100 degrees and tomorrow it is forecast to be 96. But on 8/8/8 the forecast is for it to be 88 degrees, jumping back up into the nineties the very next day.

Eight speaks of new beginnings, and both Randy Simmons and I will be venturing out into a time of new things for both of us. I am assured that even as He has chosen this van and the date of our departure with great precision that He has also called the two of us to a work that was prepared for us from the foundation of the world. All of God’s works are already finished, and it is up to the child of God to be attentive to the Spirit of Christ that they might discern and enter into that precise work God has chosen for them.

God does not need any man to perform a work for Him. He determined before the first man took a breath what work would be appointed to every man who would live. He does not desire men and women to initiate works of their own to offer unto Him. He wants us to enter into those specific works appointed to us.

Hebrews 4:3
For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, "As I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest," although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.

We enter into the Sabbath rest of God as we discover the specific work He has appointed to us and we do precisely that which was determined from the foundation of the world. I have been amazed to see how many fine details surround the symbols that represent the work God has appointed to me. Yet I really should not be surprised, for God is sovereign and omnipotent. What He has determined from the beginning will be accomplished. He chose His children before the foundation of the world.

Ephesians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yahshua Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world...

Yahweh has declared the end from the beginning, and He will accomplish all He has planned.

Isaiah 46:9-10
Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying,'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure...'

God has revealed that He has a specific work appointed for me to do, and He has a very specific work for all of His children. Even as He had a specific work for Paul and Barnabas, He has a specific work for all of His children.

Acts 13:2
And while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

Have you discerned what God is calling you to do? Do you understand that He has determined from the foundation of the world what works you are to do? It is not up to us to devise works to offer to God. Only those who do the will of the Father will enter the Kingdom of God. Let it be the testimony of all the sons and daughters of God as it was of the firstborn Son, “I never do anything of My own initiative. I only do the things the Father commands Me to do.”

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

1 comment:

Katherine Huske said...

Can you add a link to Kay Arthur's offcial response?

http://www.precept.org/site/PageServer?pagename=gen_AmericaAtTheCrossroads