Monday, January 19, 2009

A New Name

Joseph Herrin (1-19-09)

Isaiah 62:2
And the nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name, which the mouth of Yahweh will designate.

Revelation 2:17
To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.

A brother in Christ wrote to me recently and told me he had heard the Spirit speak the words to him, “Expect the unexpected.” Such a commandment seems paradoxical. How can one expect that which he does not expect? Yet, this is the Father’s way of saying that things are coming that have been unlooked for.

This morning I experienced the unexpected. I want to tell you about a most unusual, but blessed experience. To understand it I must tell you a story.

Today is the 24th anniversary of my wedding to Tony Elizabeth Herrin (formerly Pierce). Tony and I walked together for many years. We were both Christians when we met, and we shared many good times together. At the same time we both had much need to be perfected in the Beloved. Those who read this blog and the other writings of this author, know that I have struggled with many things in my lifetime. These struggles by no means went away when I became a Christian and was baptized at the age of ten. Indeed, it seems that God is intent upon bringing every foul thing in our flesh to the surface that we might recognize it and allow Him to provide His deliverance.

I have shared recently that I have finally arrived at a weight goal the Father set for me of 165 pounds. Throughout my life as a believer in Christ my weight has fluctuated greatly. I reached a maximum weight of between 280-285 pounds about fifteen years ago. This was also a symbol of the struggle between flesh and spirit in my life. God will allow us to see how exceedingly fleshly we are that He might transform us into spiritual creatures.

I have not hidden those things I once struggled with. I know others are not helped by my testimony unless I share with them those things which once had me bound. People need to know that there is a living Savior who delivers men from the power of sin. When Christians put on a facade of innocence they deprive others of a living testimony of the power of Christ to set the captives free.

Christ did not choose me because I was better than any other person. I was not more righteous, nor self-disciplined than any other. In my flesh dwelt no good thing, and to this day the same is true. I must always keep the flesh under subjection to the Spirit, for sin dwells in my flesh.

The sin in my flesh manifested in a number of powerful and enslaving lusts. Obviously one of these lusts was for food. I ate too much food, and I craved those things which were not healthy for my body. For many years I struggled against this enemy, and only now at the age of 47 am I seeing this enemy placed firmly under my feet.

From the time I was 13 and first viewed pornography at a friend’s house, another powerful lust was awakened. This addictive and enslaving desire continued well into the time of my marriage to Tony. It has now been about 15 years since I have looked at a pornographic magazine, and about a dozen years since I have viewed pornography on the Internet. Yet there was a time when this was a very enslaving desire, and by it I brought much impurity into my marriage relationship.

It was not necessary for me to bring pornography into my home in the form of magazines. The images were in my mind, and were entertained in my soul. I was an adulterer hundreds of times over in my thoughts, being enslaved to a life of fantasy.

Does such a description of my life surprise you? It should not. As men and women born of the first Adam we are all inheritors of the curse of sin and death. I have often found that those men and women who seek to deceive the world about their inherent corruption, putting on a religious front, are often exposed publicly as frauds in the most public and humiliating ways. I could provide numerous examples of big name television ministers who have been so exposed in recent years, but they are most likely already known to you.

King David is called “a man after God’s own heart,” yet in his flesh dwelt an adulterous lust and a murderous fear. God allowed these things to be manifested that He might cleanse David of these things. Abraham failed in faith more than once before he walked in victory. Moses was proud of who he was as an Egyptian raised in the house of Pharaoh, trained in all the learning of Egypt, powerful in words and deeds. It required forty years in the wilderness to transform him into the meekest man on the face of the earth.

An honest assessment of Scriptures reveal that all mankind is seriously flawed. Apart from the grace and mercy of God we would all be lost as unrecoverable reprobates. Yet God in His great love has provided a Champion and a Savior to deliver us from sin’s enslavement and to reveal in us the peaceful fruit of righteousness. He ever lives to see Christ revealed in the sons of Adam.

I have much to boast in, for some things that formerly resided in my flesh as giants behind great walls with strong defenses have been brought down under the leadership of Yahshua my Champion. Enemies that once reigned uncontested in the land of my flesh have been conquered. Christ has gone before me and led me to place my foot upon the neck of my enemies. I will not boast in what I have done, but what Christ has done in me.

Perhaps you can identify similar enemies in your life. Maybe you have found things resident in your flesh that you have not even entertained the hope of achieving victory over. Some may have been manifesting your entire life, and you have fallen before them an uncounted number of times. I too was right there with you, beaten and shamed, not willing to approach the presence of a righteous God, nor to look another man in the eyes with honesty and peace. But God..., He has trained my hands for battle, and He has promised me the victory.

I am not proud of MY achievements, nor am I so deceived as to think that I cannot still fall to the enemies in the land. The flesh must be crucified daily, but every day I find that Christ is dwelling in me. There is no day that I must ever face the enemy alone. I always am able to go forth with my Dread Champion beside me. None can stand in His presence. No foe can overcome Him. No stronghold can withstand His assault.

I want to mention a parallel thought, as this is really where the unexpected revelation came forth this morning. We inherit many things from our fallen ancestors Adam and Eve. One of these things is our temperament. The temperaments are described in numerous ways. One representation is through the four humours: Melancholy, Choleric, Sanguine and Phlegmatic.

Each one of these character types is associated with a list of positive and negative manifestations. One type is not preferred above another, for all have their shortcomings. Every person born of Adam has inherited various undesirable characteristics associated with their personality.

Hannah Hurnard in her allegorical books has done a good job of exposing the failings of personality and revealing how Christ is able to transform people. Much-Afraid is transformed by the Shepherd into Grace and Glory. Craven Fear is transformed into Fearless Witness. Mrs. Dismal Forebodings is transformed into Praise.

Throughout the books Hinds’ Feet on High Places and Mountains of Spices we find characters bearing such names as Old Lord Fearing, Timid-Skulking who is nicknamed Moody, Spiteful, Gloomy, Bitterness, Murmuring, Coward Fearing, Pride and a host of others. Yet the Shepherd is able to transform any and all who would come to Him and ask for His help.

As Christians we are often less quick to identify the various aspects of our personality as having been inherited from our forebear Adam. Though we may quickly identify such things as sexual lust and obesity, hatred or jealousy, as being sin, we do not so quickly identify the propensities within our personality in the same way, but we should.

It is not the will of God that we live as Adamic men. We are called to be new creatures in Christ. Christ makes ALL THINGS NEW. He will take that which we received in Adam and lay it in the dust that a new creation might arise.

Throughout my life I have identified myself as a melancholy man. I have taken various personality tests, and they have described melancholy to be the predominant of the four humours in my life, with both its positive and negative traits. The word melancholy is usually mentioned with negative associations. The word melancholy comes from a Greek word meaning black, and it was associated by the Greeks with black bile. Those who are melancholy are often associated with dark and depressive moods.

I have not been deeply depressive in my life. I have always preferred to describe myself as serious, or sober. One thing that was lacking in my life, however was joy. No one would ever have described me as a joyful person. I have often thought that the personality I have is simply the way God made me, and I need not be ashamed of it, nor apologize for it. What I am coming to see is that God desires to transform every area of our life until we become a manifestation of Christ in us. Let me tell you how He brought a revelation to me of this matter.

Five years ago my wife Tony experienced a crisis of faith. God had called us to walk a path that was unusual by present Christian standards, albeit completely normal according to the testimony of Scriptures. God presented to us a cup of suffering from which we were to drink, and it was too bitter for Tony and she ended up turning back and she divorced from me.

This was a very grievous period of my life, and the Spirit directed my steps to drive from Georgia all the way to Wyoming to visit with a dear brother and sister in Christ. Great comfort was afforded me through their unparalleled hospitality and grace and the Spirit of Christ applied a healing balm to my soul through these saints.

Just getting to Wyoming was a test of faith. I had 2,000 miles to travel one way, and little more than $80 in my wallet. I was led to purchase a copy of Hinds’ Feet on High Places before I left, and I read it to obtain comfort and encouragement on the journey. I could very much associate with the main character named Much-Afraid. The Shepherd promises Much-Afraid that He will transform her crippled feet into hinds’ feet if she will follow Him on a journey to the high places. Receiving hinds’ feet is symbolic of being able to traverse the mountains of difficulty in this life as if they are a level plain. Even as a deer can bound gracefully and with apparent ease up the most difficult mountain path, so too is God able to transform us into champions where we are able to overcome all obstacles with grace and glory.

Much-Afraid also was described as having a twisted and disfigured mouth. When the book was first placed into my hands by my daughter some months before I had no clue what was in it. I was at the time suffering from Bell’s Palsy. This is a paralysis of one side of the face caused by damage to the seventh cranial nerve. It takes months for the nerve to heal itself and the paralysis to go away. I was a perfect picture of the character in the book as I also had a twisted mouth. One side of my mouth would not move with the other side. I realized today what this symbolized.

When I arrived at my friends’ house in Wyoming we would take walks almost daily out into the countryside surrounding Sheridan, Wyoming. The Bighorn Mountains were in the distance, and beautiful valleys and rolling hills surrounded us. One day we were walking down a dirt road in the country and had a wonderful view of a valley from which arose one large hill. Its sides were steep, and as we looked at it we all saw a family of deer bounding up a path to the summit. Quickly and with apparently effortless grace they bounded to the top as if they were on a level plain.

We had been talking about the book Hinds’ Feet on High Places and immediately our thoughts were drawn to that which the Lord was signifying. My friend told me that he had never seen deer there before. My two friends were also undergoing wilderness experiences of their own, and the promise of receiving hinds’ feet was equally precious to them. As I remember, there were the same number of deer ascending the hill as there were of us who watched them.

I have shared this background with you in order that you might understand what happened this week-end. Saturday I received two things in the mail. One was a letter from my friends in Wyoming. They acknowledged receiving some photos I had sent them, and they said they were going to go out to the same spot where we had seen the deer and take a family photo to send to me. The second thing I received was from a dear sister in Long Island, New York. She sent me a package and it contained the book Mountains of Spices. She knew that I had been very much blessed by Hannah Hurnard’s other book, and she did not know if I had ever read this sequel to it.

When I received it I felt like a had received a great treasure. Rarely has the Spirit of Christ ever ministered such grace and understanding to me through a book as Hinds’ Feet on High Places, so I had a great anticipation of that which I would receive through this sequel.

Mountains of Spices is also an allegory. It compares nine mountains of spice with the nine fruit of the Spirit named in Paul’s writing to the Galatian church. Before I tell you what the Father spoke to me in this book, I must tell you first of an e-mail I received just after receiving these things in the mail.

A sister in Christ from Texas had shared with me a couple days earlier that she had marvelously obtained a large supply of herbs and vitamins and she wanted to offer to me whatever I desired for my personal use. I asked her to pick out what she thought was best, telling her of my physical health, as I expected she knew what was best better than I. On Saturday she wrote to me and told me that she had shipped a package, describing the contents and how to use them. She ended the e-mail by describing a natural lip balm that she had included. She described it as containing soy, beeswax, olive oil, tea tree essential oil, and camphor oil.

I wrote her back the following:

Dear Sister B.,

I am greatly appreciative for all you have sent to me. It sounds like a wonderful mix of products. I also see symbolism in a number of them. The last one mentioned in particular really stood out. The lip balm with olive OIL, tea tree essential OIL, and camphor OIL. It is symbolic of anointing one's lips with oil. At this season the Father is indicating that a time of release into a teaching ministry is at hand, and He delights to signify how He will anoint the lips of His servants whom He will send out. As He told Moses:

Exodus 4:12
"Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say."

I am confident that the very timing of your offering me these wonderful gifts is ordered of the Lord. He is indicating much more through them than you probably realized at the first. Everything these herbs and treatments do in the natural are symbolic of things in the Spiritual...

Sister, I do truly appreciate your obedience in these things. I thank you very much for sending them to me. I know the Father has ordered both of our steps in this matter.
[End letter]

When I wrote this to her I was wondering what the significance of the Camphor oil in the lip balm was. It was the only thing that arrested my attention and stuck in my mind. That night I began reading Mountains of Spices and the second mountain named was the Mountain of Camphor. It was said that Camphor represents Joy.

The Spirit of Christ began speaking to me and said that He was truly going to anoint my lips to fulfill the ministry of these last days. My lips would also be anointed with joy. This was the thing unexpected and unlooked for. In a day when the Spirit is signifying that greater difficulties will be upon the earth than at any time since man was created, He will anoint my lips with joy. What an awesome and wonderful thought.

He has also been showing me the source of the joy. It will be in telling people that God will also give them hinds’ feet to traverse the difficulties as if they were a level plain. He will free them from every sin that binds them. He will make them radiant in His glory. He will place GOOD NEWS in my mouth.

Isaiah 61:1-3
The Spirit of Yahweh God is upon me, because Yahweh has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of Yahweh, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that He may be glorified.

This week-end I was also corresponding by e-mail with this sister in Long Island about the four personality traits. This was before the Lord revealed to me that He was going to bring forth a transformation. I shared with her that I had always been melancholy by nature, and she sent me the lyrics to the song Melancholy Man by The Moody Blues. The name of the song and the group are pregnant with revelation.

After reading the lyrics of the song I went to download it onto my phone, but I ran into one roadblock after another. I cleared up one obstacle only to run into another until I discerned that perhaps the Lord did not want me to have this song in my possession. This morning as I read further in Mountains of Spices, understanding dawned. God said, “This is who you have been, but I am going to give you a new name. No longer will you be the melancholy man, for I will anoint your lips with joy.”

Today is my wedding anniversary. God has promised to bring forth a restoration, but to make all things new He must first make us new. He has been honing and refining me that I might be a manifestation of Christ. This morning I awoke early and read the following in Mountains of Spices.

Goodness is such a lovely thing!
‘Tis Love’s own bridal dress
The wedding garment from our King
Is spotless righteousness;
And those who keep “The Royal Law,”
Shine lily white without a flaw.

O, happy, holy ones! Each day
Their cup filled to the brim,
Love’s Table spread for them, they may
As God’s guests, feast with Him.
Their happy faces shine with bliss,
With joy from Him and one with His.

Christ will transform our mourning into laughter. He will put a song of joy in our hearts and praise on our lips. He has wrought great things!

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

2 comments:

Joe Brazzeal said...

Dear Joseph and Brethren,

One saying I've used many times in days gone by, is also "Always expect the unexpected." It's one of my life rules I live by, even though I do get surprises every now and then :)

Thanks for a wonderful message. You set a great example for the body of Yahshua.

Happy anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Herrin!

Love Always,
Joe

Jake Tribble said...

Joseph, I have been so inspired by todays writing. You have such a testimony to the Love of Jehovah God, there is none like HIM. On your anniversary, there is much that many can learn of the Joy of our covenant relationship with Christ. I pray for restoration and wholeness. Those things promised to those who walk by Faith and not by sight. For often what we see with our natural eyes, deceives, and is not the Truth of our situation.
May the Lord be praised in your obedience, for HE alone is Worthy of Praise.

For HIS Glory,
Jake