Joseph Herrin (03-14-09)
Yahweh perfectly orders our steps. He brings into every life experiences of sorrow and joy, perplexity and understanding, that which is good and that which appears evil.
Yahweh also brings a variety of people into our lives. Though widely different in character and experience, there is a purpose for every encounter, a reason for every conversation.
I have known many difficult experiences over the years, and I have met many people who, like Joseph’s brothers, would gladly be rid of me, especially if they saw some worldly profit in the transaction. There have been plenty of relationships with men and women that have brought pain and sorrow into my life. Yet God is not unjust that He would give us all bitter without some sweet.
Over the years I have been blessed to come to know some very precious men and women. I have known some of whom the world is not worthy. They have appeared in my life as lights in the midst of darkness. They have been wells of refreshing in a dry and weary land.
I want to tell you about one particular man through whom the Father has refreshed my soul on many occasions. He is a nobody. You will not recognize his name. You would probably think nothing of it if you passed him on the street. Yet I am fully persuaded that he is a precious vessel whom God has fashioned for honor. He is an exceedingly rare find among men for he has embraced a fiery path of refining. He has gone to the cross and has remained willingly in order for the Father to complete the necessary work of subduing the passions and desires of the flesh, and bringing an end to the self-life that arises from the soul.
I have known Brad Daugherty for some time. He used to reside in Georgia with his wife Jaylene and his son Brodie. Some years ago the Lord directed them to move to Wyoming. I considered it a testimony of the Father’s estimation of this brother than when my wife experienced a crisis of faith and departed from me some five years ago, the Lord directed me to drive two thousand miles and to spend a week with Brad and his family in an hour of much pain and darkness in my life.
At the time I understood that God had fashioned a man who was exceedingly humble, and very careful in seeking to know the mind of the Father. Yahweh is intent upon fashioning sons after the image of Christ, yet few are making significant progress in this hour of spiritual paucity. The cost of conformity is exceedingly high, and a sensual generation abhor the working of the cross.
Because Brad has submitted patiently over a prolonged period of time to the cross appointed to him, he has developed many evident characteristics of the Son of God. One such characteristic is a slowness of speech and an aversion to judging by sight.
And He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge...
There is only one way to judge with righteousness. We must have the mind of Christ. The majority of Christians today know little of judging righteously. They have adopted a set of doctrines and formed a moral code through which they judge all things. When they observe a situation they process the information in the natural mind, comparing actions and outcomes to the moral code they have embraced, and a judgment presents itself to their mind.
Tragically, in a great many instances, the saints who operate in this manner end up condemning that which God has justified, and justifying that which God has condemned. Judging by the letter of the Law, they bring forth death rather than life.
II Corinthians 3:6
[It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive.
If you do not understand the difference between judging by sight and hearing, and judging by the Spirit, I would recommend to you the writing Are You Judging Righteously. I do not want to spend too much time on this topic here, but it is necessary to comprehend the matter to understand why God sent me to Brad’s house at this particular time in my life. You can find the article here:
Consider for a moment the outward appearance of my life at the time. Six years earlier the Lord had directed me to leave my employment as a computer professional and to minister full-time through writing via an Internet ministry. I had no church to support me, and was not attending any church. In those six years since casting all over into the hands of God and looking to Him for all the needs of my family, we had experienced many things both good and bad.
God had been faithful and had never allowed us to go without food, or shelter, or any necessary thing. Yet our lives and manner of living was much different from the majority of Christians in America, and very different from our previous experience when I was employed as a computer professional.
We were often in financial peril, looking to God to come through lest we suffer the lack of some necessary thing. We had to constantly pinch pennies. We did not eat the meats and rich foods we had formerly dined upon, but ate a much more basic diet most of the time. We moved frequently in those years, possibly as many as fifteen times. We sold off all of our possessions save a few things necessary for living. We did not have the money to buy new clothes as we once had done, but made do with wearing the clothes we had longer, buying second hand clothes, and my wife even sewed her own dresses.
We had no health insurance, and I desired none, for God had said that He would be our health if we would look to Him. We had no savings, living day to day. Many who observed our lives, whether family, or friends, or Christians, judged me to be deceived, for they had been taught to believe that those who walk with God will always be supplied with an on-time abundance of the goods of this world. In an hour when a prosperity doctrine influenced the minds of the least to the greatest, the man who did not provide abundantly the world’s goods for his family was considered to either be lacking faith, or to be walking in sin.
When my wife experienced a crisis of faith and chose to leave me, it was the judgment of all around me that I was a great transgressor and I had brought this distress upon both myself and my family. In the months after my wife departed I was homeless for a period of five months, living out of my car and a small tent along with my family’s two dogs. I spent two forty day periods camping in the Oconee Forest of Georgia, with little food or water, and I lost over forty pounds during this five month period.
At the end of five months of homelessness, the Spirit of Christ directed me to go to a homeless shelter and ask for lodging. I ended up living in the homeless shelter for a year.
Upon seeing such a man, and examining the matter by sight and hearing, what conclusion would you arrive at? Would you consider the man to be pleasing to the Father, or a great transgressor? Would you believe He was following God faithfully, or that he was deceived?
I do not share these things to justify myself in the sight of man, for I am aware that many who hear such a description will arrive at a very different conclusion. They would not applaud me, but rather condemn. The more gracious and patient saints may simply withhold comment and scratch their head in wonder.
It was at a very low time in my life when I appeared on the doorstep of Brad Daugherty. He had not seen me in a couple years, and we had only met in person very briefly. Yet it was to this man’s house that God directed me while I was experiencing the greatest loss of my life. My wife and son had left me, and my daughter was to be separated from me for a period of time. I had already been stripped of earthly possessions, and God had even informed me that it was His will for me to lay aside the ministry of writing that He had called me to six years previously.
I was an empty man. In God’s great grace and mercy He sent me to the doorstep of another man who had been emptied. Brad too knew the cost of discipleship, and he had not shrunk back from it. The long dark night of the soul had worked a great change in his life, and he did not judge this brother who appeared on his doorstep as some had, an object of hissing and derision to be abhorred. He invited me into his home, and it became to me a sanctuary of peace and rest. My soul which was storm tossed and weary at the time, found solace and comfort in the presence of Brad and his family, for they did not judge, but with quiet grace they became a channel of God’s comfort when I sorely needed comforting.
I shared my heartaches and struggles with Brad. I wept while at his house. And I was able to come to a place of giving all over into the hands of God, all that was precious to me. As Abraham, I laid the sacrifice on the altar, despite great sorrow in my heart.
I considered at the time that there was a reason God sent me on a journey of thousands of miles at that time. Broken vessels who have embraced the cross are in short supply. They are few and far between. Such men and women are exceedingly rare in a land in which Christians have despised the cross and have sought to cling tenaciously to all the comforts and pleasure that the world can afford. When Christ hung on the cross there was only one of His twelve disciples who was there with him. All the others had scattered. The cross was a horror and an offense, and they could not understand it. I do not know that John understood it, but he would not be parted from the one his soul loved as He experienced the pain of the cross.
So too, is it rare today to find a brother who will stand beside us as we endure the spectacle and pain and loss of the cross. Close associates flee away. The religious revile and cast insults. Could it be that John was the only disciple to not die a martyr’s death for his soul had already gone through the bitterness of death as he watched his beloved Master die on the cross? There is a cross appointed to all who would be Christ’s disciples. The church today has largely rejected the disciple’s cross, thinking that it was sufficient that Christ suffered in this way. In doing so they have failed to become conformed to the image of the One who was perfected through suffering.
And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits his soul?”
It has been my continued privilege to correspond with this brother since that time some five years ago. Whenever I correspond with Brad I am brought to consider deeper things of the spirit. My thoughts are directed to ponder weighty matters, and to see the experiences of this life in a light that is altogether different than the vast majority of Christians view things today. In this series of writings I am going to share with you some correspondences and writings I have received from this man of God. I use the phrase “man of God” intentionally, for he is truly one who sees himself as belonging to God and existing for His pleasure.
There are meaty things shared in these writings and letters, and those unaccustomed to solid food may find it difficult to process. Yet for those who are mature, and those who long for the taste of something substantial and full of wisdom and life, the effort of chewing patiently on what is set forth will be well rewarded.
Brad has been led of the Spirit to separate himself from many of the distractions of the world, and does not have Internet access. From time to time I will send him something I have written, and he will share appropriate comments and words of insight. I am going to begin with a recent letter that Brad wrote to me in response to some writings I sent to him.
I pray you are doing well brother, and are at rest in our Heavenly Father’s hands. If He is indeed the God of our circumstances, then He is Lord of them as well. They are His chariots, to lift us higher still, bringing us ever higher, into a life that has ascended above all that is of the earth.
As on writer I recently read put it, “No words can express the glorious places to which that soul shall arrive who travels the chariots of God... but they do not look like chariots. They look instead like enemies, sufferings, trials, defeats, misunderstandings, disappointments and unkindness. They look like juggernaut cars of misery... waiting to crush us into the earth; but they are really chariots of triumph in which we may ride to those very heights of victory for which our souls have been longing and praying. If we would ride on the high places, we must get into the chariots that can take us there.”
He found him in a desert land... a howling wilderness; He encircled him, instructed him and kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings... He made him to ride in the heights of the earth.”
There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides in the heavens to help you., and in his excellency on the clouds. The eternal God is your refuge.
The hallmark work, I believe God will accomplish in His remnant in these end days, is that work of the inner life, reigning supreme over that which is outward.
We often talk about judgment in these last days. There is that of course. But there is also love in loss. A love which causes the outward man to perish, yet the inward man to be renewed day by day. A love for which Paul said he had suffered the loss of all things, but considered them “rubbish,” that he may gain Christ Jesus.
The circumstances of the last days will become the ultimate chariots, I believe, which will cause us to ascend to heights thus far unknown. We will manifest corporately what Christ did on the cross. “Disarming” the principalities and powers of wickedness, “triumphing” over them, making a “public spectacle” of them. It is not a victory won by outward pomp and glory, but inward meekness and humility.
The same writer writes, “Our king essentially rose superior to His surroundings; and it is given to us who are reigning with Him to do the same. But, just as He was not a king in outward appearance, but only in inward power, so shall we be. He reigned, not in this, that He had all the treasures and riches of the world at His command, but He had none of them, and could do without them. And so shall our reigning be. We shall not have all men bowing down to us, and all things bending to our will; but with all men opposing and all things adverse, we shall walk in a royal triumph of soul through the midst of them.”
I recently gave much thought to the aspects of the cross and sword after the presidential election. I could not escape the dramatic contrast between the great fall of one man and the meteoric rise of another. The Lord led me to read II Thessalonians 2:3. “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first and the man of sin is revealed.” I will not suggest in this letter that Barack Obama is the Antichrist. I will leave that for others to decide. My focus instead became what these two men represented symbolically in prophecy.
President Bush was the most powerful “Christian” leader in the world. Barack Obama was a man who ascended to the heights at the expense of Bush’s great fall. Great hopes were placed on one man, as great despair built for another.
As I have mediated on this I have come to believe President Bush represents symbolically a Christianity who has tried to rule in the flesh, who lives in the flesh and glories in the arm of the flesh, the sword. They are caught up in a war against flesh and blood when the war is to be fought in the heavenlies. They have been much busy trying to establish moral law through earthly kingdoms, rather than heavenly law through transformed hearts.
Catastrophically, I believe, it has led to the ascension of an anti-Christ spirit that is mesmerizing the nation and the ends of the world. It is a Christianity inept to disarm and triumph over principalities of darkness because it glories in the flesh, and lives by the sword rather than dying to self and enduring the cross.
On the one hand I feel many will be deceived in this day in following after something which seems “good,” but comes of the devil as an angel of light. On the other hand I feel many will lose further sight of God by trying to continue to win in the flesh, even to the possible point of violence.
Then there will be those few who choose that narrow way that leads to the gate of life. There is no greater victory than that which Christ wrought at the cross. May He lead us there that we would triumph over evil and soar in the heavenlies with Him. I believe God will raise up a church in these last days who will do just that.
What Satan meant for evil, God will use for good. God will use great loss, and great affliction, even the works of Satan, to become for us His chariots that lift us to the high places where the love of God reigns supreme. God will have His bride for His millennial return.
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