Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Chastisement of Sons

Joseph Herrin (03-24-2012)

Two days ago I broke my leg again; the same leg that I had just spent six months healing. I knew the purpose of this experience the moment it occurred. I would share it with you that you might walk in the fear of the Lord.

In the book of James we read:

James 5:16
Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart].
[Amplified Bible]

I entreat your prayers for a quick healing as I have much to accomplish at this season. Yet, my foremost desire is that I would walk in victory over an area of besetting sin in which I have often stumbled and have not yet been perfected in the sight of my Father in heaven. Would you pray for me?

Things had been going very well for me lately. I had been relishing the mobility of being able to walk and ride my bicycle again. The Father had sent a brother to fix the brakes on my bus that had been locked up, and I was able to drive the bus and travel in it. In other ways I had also been blessed, and had a sense of liberty and freedom, but in my liberty I grew careless. I am more prone to walk carelessly before God when things are going well than when I am in times of struggle, poverty, and affliction. A perfected son will walk faithfully in whatever circumstances he finds himself. He will be just as faithful to seek God when he is abounding, as when he is abased; when he is fully satisfied, as when he is in need.

Yahweh is seeking to bring forth perfected sons in this hour. The goal for which the church has been aiming is far lower than that which Yahweh has set forth as His desire. Christians are content to attain a little victory, while there are still many strongholds of the adversary and many enemies in the land of their flesh. Like the children of Israel, the church today has fallen short of driving out and subduing every enemy in the land. Is it not clear from history that this failure led to terrible loss among the nation of Israel? What God had given to them was consumed by their enemies. A free people were sold into bondage, showing forth a parable of that which occurs in our lives when we grow content with a little victory and no longer press in fervently to establish within us the kingdom of God in peace and righteousness.

As a teacher to the body of Christ, I am held to a stricter judgment.

James 3:1-2
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways.

I had always thought that the “stricter judgment” would be at the judgment seat of Christ. I am learning that this stricter judgment is also for this present moment. If we are careless in our walk, God will discipline us, and those who are teachers will be held to a tighter accountability. The apostle Paul understood this. Despite his many victories, his great suffering for Christ, and his unflinching obedience, he knew that if he were to let down his guard and become careless he could quickly lose the good things Yahweh had appointed for him.

I Corinthians 9:26-27
Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].
[Amplified Bible]

There is no place to become complacent, nor to let down our guard, as we walk with Christ. We have an adversary who roams about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Our flesh will also rise up at every opportunity should the spirit man become lazy. Yahweh has promised us that we need never fall to temptation and sin. His grace is always sufficient to enable us to walk victoriously as overcomers, keeping the flesh under subjection.

I had become complacent in this area of late. During my convalescence I had put on weight. Being confined and largely immobile I should have reduced my food intake, yet I reasoned that I could lose the weight when I regained mobility and could walk and ride my bicycle again. After I regained mobility I continued to eat more than was good for me. The Father had disciplined me before in this area, quite severely. I knew the will of the Father, and I was not walking in it.

Ephesians 5:15
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise...

On Thursday I had gone to a neighboring town to take care of some errands. I love Chinese food, and there is a Chinese mega buffet restaurant there. I was right next door to this restaurant and I thought how wonderful it would be to eat there. For a brief moment I considered that there was another restaurant down the street that had much healthier food, and it came in measured portions instead of the endless helpings of a buffet. I quickly dismissed the thought, choosing to sate my flesh’s appetite for Oriental food.

I got a plate and went to the buffet. I began by getting some salmon, and some of the crispy long green beans that are served on these buffets. These are items I enjoy and they are healthy. Then I proceeded to put some fried rice on my plate and garnish it with several different dishes mainly consisting of chicken, broccoli and mushrooms. This was not as good, but still not terribly unhealthy. I did not stop there, however, I added a spring roll and an eggroll to my plate (both fried) and a couple of stuffed mushrooms which I am sure have a fairly high fat content.

With my plate heaping with food, I returned to my table. I was standing on carpet while wearing tennis shoes, and I swivelled my body to swing into the bench when I felt a sharp snap in my lower left leg (the tibia). I immediately thought, “I think my leg just snapped.” As I sat down in the booth I found that my appetite had fled and I was suddenly very meditative and focused on the Father. (Discipline should have this effect upon us.)

I considered that I was acting in disobedience by choosing to eat as I was. The Father had twice helped me to get down to 165 pounds, but I had failed to maintain that weight. I knew He had set that as a goal for me. Some years back I had experienced a heart attack. This also occurred after eating Chinese food, for I tended to sate myself on it, eating more than was needed for my body to function. I immediately saw a connection and knew Yahweh was disciplining me.

As I looked at the table in front of me my attention was drawn to the napkin dispenser. It was not sitting straight, but was leaning over. It was made to rest on four rubber feet, but one of the feet was missing. The words of the apostle Paul came to mind.

Hebrews 12:11-13
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

“Straight paths for your feet...” I was in the process of turning when I felt the bone snap. I was not walking the straight and narrow that Yahweh had instructed me to walk. I had become careless once more in ruling over the appetites of my flesh. Yahweh would have His sons to be perfect. As a teacher I must practice what I preach or the Father will discipline me.

I am reminded of a sermon I heard many years ago. The minister said that if a shepherd had a sheep that continually strayed he would break the lamb’s leg. He would then carry the lamb on his shoulders when traveling, and he would set it down when they arrived at their destination. Because of the broken leg, the lamb could not go far and would stay close to the shepherd. When the lamb’s leg was healed, this behavior was now habit and the sheep would not stray anymore.

I do not know how accurate this account is, but it seems to be a fitting description for the way our Father deals with His sons. It is because Yahweh loves us that He injures us. He is seeking to teach us righteousness, and to incite us to rise up in spirit and rule over the flesh. I have no complaint for what Yahweh has done. The discipline was deserved. I want to share His holiness and I do not want to incur grievous loss on the day when we must all give an account.

I have been a very wayward and fleshly son, and my Father has been patient and proactive in bringing discipline to me. I know His heart is not one of a wrathful judge looking for someone to smite. Rather, His heart is that of a loving Father who wants His children to be qualified to share an inheritance with His firstborn Son. We will all receive reward according to what we have done. God will not be mocked. We will reap what we sow. It is the overcomers who will receive the reward of an overcomer.

Because my Father does not want me to suffer loss, He has continued to deal with me as a son. He has scourged me, and will do so again. He has made my leg lame for a season to teach me to walk more carefully. I want to learn the lesson. I want to be approved by Him, and to be a vessel of honor in His house.

I share these things sensing a need to confess my faults, being transparent with the body of Christ regarding my struggles and failures. At the same time, I share these things that you also might walk in the fear of God. In this hour the Father must bring sons forth to perfection. He must accelerate the pace of our maturity. If we are careless, or complacent, He must stir us up by whatever means necessary to urge us to be fervent in spirit. “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion.”

There is grace in this chastisement. I am able to walk on the leg, but I cannot do so very far. I incurred a hairline fracture. The bone was not displaced. It will heal quickly if I take care of it and do not try to do too much too soon. I was far too active the past two days as there is much I want to do. I am experiencing the consequences today as the leg is swollen and quite sore. I still have the crutches and walking boot from my previous injury. Also, George, the brother in Christ who is staying with me was a truck driver for many years and he is able to drive my bus for me. All these things are measures of grace given to me by the Father.

The Father reveals His will perfectly. I was pondering today that the Father did not discipline me as I walked into the Chinese restaurant. He did not do so when I had put the salmon and vegetables on my plate. He waited until I had loaded it up with foods I knew I did not need to eat, and more than was necessary to meet my physical requirements. Only when I was fully committed to this act of disobedience and was about to sit down to gorge myself and sate my flesh did the stroke fall. He is perfect in all His ways. I was not left to wonder why this happened. My heart immediately convicted me.

Let us encourage one another to walk in the fear of Yahweh.

Hebrews 12:28-29
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

The flesh must be presented on the altar for the flames to consume it. Our Father wants us to present to Him a freewill offering, willing keeping the flesh under subjection. May we all avail ourselves of the grace of God.

Thank you for your prayers.

Addendum: I often receive comments from people after posting some writing on Yahweh’s discipline. Some are offended at the suggestion that God would inflict injury or suffering on one of His children. I offer here an excerpt from the writing titled The Necessary Fear of God.

---

Why has the church of our day fallen to the depths in which it is mired? Why does it fit the description that Paul and Yahshua and others gave of it? I am convinced that one of the greatest reasons is that there is no longer any fear of God before the eyes of man. The church has rewritten the image of God in a manner that allows for sin to be tolerated and for evil to be winked at. They have taught a grace that is cheap, and they have embraced fables and myths about heaven, judgment, and the following ages that leads to careless living. They have embraced the kindness of God, and rejected the severity of His character.

In the early days of the church God brought swift judgment on sin and it caused the body of believers to walk carefully for a season, knowing the fear of God. We read the following from the book of Acts.

Acts 5:4-5, 9-11
4     Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God."
5     And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came upon all who heard of it...
9     Then Peter said to her, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they shall carry you out as well "
10     And she fell immediately at his feet, and breathed her last; and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
11     And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things.
(NAS)

The effect of the great fear that came upon the church was that the church walked very carefully before God. The result of this holy walk was that the reputation of the church was very great, verse thirteen of this same chapter states that “the people held them in high esteem.” This is quite the opposite of the church today. Today the church is a laughingstock, a derision, and its reputation and esteem in the eyes of the world is very low. This is not because they fail to preach Christ. Rather it is because they hold to a form of godliness, but deny the power of true godliness...

I can state without equivocation that there is no holiness apart from a fear of God. I can say this not only from my own experience, but from the scriptures. It may be the kindness of God that leads men to repentance, but it is the fear of God that makes them holy. The fear of God is just what it says, it is FEAR of God. It is not just a reverent respect as some teach. A reverent respect will not cause men to turn away from sin, but a real holy terror of the awesome and righteous nature of God will lead men to holiness. Does such a feeling of fear and terror have a place in the church of the New Testament? Examine the following verses.

II Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
(NAS)

II Corinthians 5:10-11
10     For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
11     Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men...
(KJV)

Romans 11:20-22
20     Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;
21     for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you.
22     Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
(NAS)

Hebrews 10:26-31
26     For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27     but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.
28     Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
29     How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
30     For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge His people."
31     It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
(NAS)

These things were written to the church, not the lost. Some may ask, “Why then does John say that perfect love casts out all fear?” The answer should be plain. If we walk in obedience we have no reason to fear, but if we walk in disobedience we have much to fear. John said this was his meaning when he stated,

I John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment...
(NAS)

If you are perfected in love then you will not sin and you will have no reason to fear any punishment. If you develop a mindset that says, “It is no big deal if I sin. I can just confess my sin and receive forgiveness”, then you have made a provision for the flesh. You have made a way for the flesh to do what it desires without any repercussions. This is simply delusion, no matter how many pastors are preaching it.

Did you note the scriptures above that said, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries?” Where is this preached today?

Who has a part in the first resurrection, over whom the second death (the lake of fire) has no power? It is those who are blessed and holy. Who are the blessed? A reading of the sermon of the mount will reveal many of those who are blessed. It is those who suffer for the name of Christ. It is those who are persecuted for His name. It is those who are poor and hungry and who suffer shame for His name. It also says “holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection.” Need we ask who the holy are? They are those who are holy. They have separated themselves from the world and the pursuit of it. They have taken up the cross, dying to the desires of the soul. They are the ones who have crucified the flesh with its lusts and desires. Is this all Christians? Absolutely not.

Matthew 8:11-12
11     "And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven;
12     but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
(NAS)

Matthew 22:13-14
13     "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
14     "For many are called, but few are chosen."
(NAS)

Matthew 25:30
"And cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
(NAS)

Who are the servants and slaves of God and Christ? They are not the lost, but those of God’s own household. Paul identified himself as a bond servant of Yahshua. It is these who are here being spoken of, not the lost. There are many of God’s own children who will be found to be lacking in the hour that God inspects His servants and asks for an accounting of them. Many will experience weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Do not think that because you have been born again and you name the name of Christ that this alone is sufficient and you can live any way you please. God will not be mocked. We will all reap according to what we have sown. Yahshua said, “Behold, I come quickly and My reward is with Me to render to every man according to what he has done.”

There will be no universal reward. Each man will receive according to what HE has done. Our reward will not even be based upon what Christ has done. It is based upon what we have done. Paul tells us that each man’s work will be tested by fire to see if he has built with gold, silver, and precious stones, or if he has built with wood, hay, and stubble. The fire will test the quality of each man’s work. Many will suffer great loss.

I Corinthians 3:15-17
15     If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.
16     Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
17     If any man defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.
(NAS)

Does any saint desire to be saved in this manner, suffering the loss of all reward? Does any saint want to experience what is spoken of here as a just reward for defiling the temple of God? These words should make the saint of God pause and take note. Paul said that “knowing the terror of God, we persuade men.” Where is this preached today? Because this severe side of God is not preached, the church has become corrupt and full of defilement. The saints of God lead unholy and sensual lives without regard for the consequences. But the scriptures state that there will be consequences, and they will be severe.

In the gospels we see that the greatest emotion and anger that Christ displayed was when He entered the Temple and found it defiled. It was spoken of Him, “Zeal for My Father’s house will consume Me.” Was Yahshua concerned about a physical building? Absolutely not. He was concerned for what it represented. We are the true temple of God. We are the temple in which the Spirit of God dwells. Yahshua is consumed with a zeal for these temples of our bodies and He will act with great zeal to cleanse them. If any man has defiled the temple, he will be destroyed.

Yahshua said, "It is written, 'And My house shall be a house of prayer,' but you have made it a robbers' den" (Luke 19:46). It is the temples of our bodies that are to be houses of prayer. Our bodies are to be places of communion with God. The anger of God is unleashed against those who treat the temple of God as an unholy thing.

What was to be a place of worship and prayer became full of the commerce of the world. Even so, our bodies are the temples of God and they are to be places of prayer and communion with the Father. However, the majority of the saints of God have profaned and defiled their sanctuaries. Their lives are lives of traffic and trading as they pursue the things the world has to offer.

Many of the saints of God are anticipating Yahshua coming back to take them from the pursuit of the pleasures here on Earth and to transplant them into the realm of heaven where they will know uninterrupted pleasure forevermore. When Yahshua came the first time He was anticipated to appear in a manner altogether different from the way in which He came. For this reason we are told that “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). I am convinced that His second appearing will be no different.

The saints of God are anxiously awaiting the appearing of Christ, but they have not discerned that His appearing will be to the sorrow of many.

Amos 5:18-23
18     Alas, you who are longing for the day of [Yahweh], for what purpose will the day of [Yahweh] be to you? It will be darkness and not light;
19     As when a man flees from a lion, and a bear meets him, or goes home, leans his hand against the wall, and a snake bites him.
20     Will not the day of [Yahweh] be darkness instead of light, even gloom with no brightness in it?
21     "I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies...
23     "Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.”
(NAS)

Joel 1:15-16
15     Alas for the day! For the day of [Yahweh] is near, and it will come as destruction from the Almighty.
16     Has not food been cut off before our eyes, gladness and joy from the house of our God?
(NAS)

Joel 2:1-2
1     Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of [Yahweh] is coming; surely it is near,
2     A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness.
(NAS)

Many today are saying that they long for the Lord’s appearing, but they do not understand that He will come as a thresher of wheat to separate out the chaff; to make a distinction between the holy and the vile. Yahshua will come back and He will steal away those who have made themselves ready, those who have allowed Him to purify and refine them and clothe them in garments of righteousness. Those who were sleeping and who were pursuing the things of the world, those who have allowed the traffic of the world to defile and profane their sanctuaries will receive the scourging of the Lord. They will be left behind and endure the day of the Lord’s wrath as He cleanses the temple once again. As it was in the days of Noah and the days of Lot, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. He who has ears to hear, let him hear...

What the world needs in this hour is to see the sons of God walking in righteousness and holiness. I am convinced that there is no more pleasing request that a son or daughter can make in this hour than to ask for God to teach them His fear, and to ask for God to establish their walk in holiness. What a delight it is to our Father’s ears to receive such a request from His children.

The fear of God is necessary in our lives. It is not enough to love God, even if you love Him passionately. You must also learn to fear Him that you might turn away from sin. It is in the fear of God that we are perfected in holiness.

Selah


Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

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

5 comments:

crimson covered said...

I am so sorry for your suffering another painful break. I am praying the healing will be as swift as the understanding you received. Be well my dear brother.

Joseph Herrin said...

Dear CrimsonCovered,

Thank you very much for the gracious words and for your prayers.

JMD said...

Oh my, I feel so bad that you are hurt again. I will be praying for a swift recovery.

BMO said...

What a gracious testimony of Gods love. He truly does want us to walk in that obedience, willingly.
Thank you for sharing. This has been particulary helpful to me and and answer to a prayer I prayed earlier today.
My prayers are with you!
BMO

Kevin said...

Dear Brother Joseph,
What a powerful testimony! What a help in these days! Thank you, yet again for standing as a witness and sharing the messages our Father gives you. Have courage! May your steps be straight and your heart be right in the fear of our Father. May it be so for all who love Him.
Kevin