Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hesitating in Sodom

Joseph Herrin (07-22-2015)

Back in May of this year I posted a blog titled Summer of Preparation.

In that blog post I shared my belief that Yahweh was giving His children who would heed His words of warning, a season of grace whereby they might make preparations for the very difficult days which are coming to America and the nations. There is no lack of voices, or of significant events arriving in the Fall of the year, which would lead one to conclude that our days of peace and prosperity are numbered. I have been careful to state that Yahweh has not given me a revelation of specific dates. However, my hesitancy to set dates does NOT indicate that the Father has spoken nothing to me about what is coming, or that He has NOT given specific leading in what to do to prepare.

I cannot say that dire events will occur in September, or October, though there are a great many voices declaring such things. These voices are to be found within the church, as well as outside.

Things You Must Do Before September 15th - Lindsey Williams

(Note: I am deeply concerned about the integrity of Lindsey Williams, so test what he says carefully. I think it is deplorable for a Christian man to tell people that the economy will begin to collapse between September and December, 2015, and then charge them $48 for a DVD to provide them with the details and advice on what to do to prepare. Lindsey Williams is doing this in league with The Prophecy Club. Woe to the prophets who sell their prophecies!)

You can hear a summary of what Lindsey Williams says on his DVD on another poster’s YouTube account, and the information is free.

I had a discussion with a brother in Christ recently who posed the question, “Are we being set-up?” Specifically, his question had to do with there being a myriad of voices who are now proclaiming that something dire will occur in September or October of this year. What if Christians embrace these prognostications as true and nothing happens?

What I can state confidently is there are significant events set to occur in this time period: solar and lunar eclipses, the end of the Shemitah year, Yom Kippur, the Feast of Tabernacles, the Pope’s speech to the U.S. Congress and to the United Nations, to name a few. I won’t repeat them all here as I have written of them on numerous occasions. See the post Summer of Preparation linked above.

While avoiding setting dates, there have been a number of credible voices speaking of God revealing to them that some calamitous events are drawing near. In a previous blog posting I mentioned that Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy Graham, has been sounding a warning message

Similarly, Carter Conlon, the head pastor at Times Square Church in NYC has been warning of some impending calamity.

All these words would not have much influence upon me if I were not hearing from the Father for myself. Yahweh has been speaking to me for many years about judgment coming to the nations, and of a time of great trouble. He indicated that my own experiences beginning back in 1999 would foreshadow what was coming to a much larger part of the body of Christ. He had selected me as a forerunner, a pioneer, to serve as a guide to others who must walk a similar path. If you have read my testimony, you know that my path has not been an easy one. I went through bankruptcy in 1999. I was instructed by God to let go of everything, house, custom van, furnishings, a lifetime of accumulated possessions, and to begin anew in a much simpler, humbler life. I was directed by God to lay aside my employment as a computer professional and follow wherever He would lead, performing whatever ministry He appointed to me.

Concurrent with this material stripping, I found myself cast outside the church. Like many before me, I was called to go “outside the camp, bearing the reproaches of Christ” (Hebrews 13:13). I have known the rejection of family, and of friends. I have had the censure of the world. My wife and son left me, having chosen this world rather than the reproaches of Christ. I have twice been cast into jail. I have had seasons of being homeless. I have endured exposure and fasting. I have known loneliness and contended with many fears. Like Paul I can attest to having “conflicts without, and fears within” (II Corinthians 7:5). All these experiences and more, the Father revealed to me, are a foretaste of what His overcoming people must experience in the days ahead.

Yahweh has been preparing a group of forerunning saints who have experienced these trials prior to them coming to the church at large. Most in the church will fall away from Christ in the coming hour of testing.

Matthew 24:10
“And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another.”

Matthew 13:20-21
“And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.”

Don’t misunderstand. Many of these people will not stop confessing Christ. However, they will fashion a Christ according to their own will and desires. This will be a Christ who does not mind if they embrace homosexuality, abortion, or any other evil that the world says must be accepted and celebrated. They will fashion a Christ who does not demand that they deny themselves, or take up their cross to follow Him. They will envision a Christ who is unconcerned with sin or holiness, not unlike the one that Pope Francis, Joel Osteen, or Rick Warren claim to serve.

There will be a remnant, however, who will hold fast to the Son of God in faithfulness and truth. These ones must experience many difficulties, many fiery trials in the hour ahead. In this way Yahweh will separate the sheep from the goats; the overcomers in Christ from those who walk in a manner unworthy of Him. The people of God will be purged, purified, and refined. They will grow in faith and conformity to Christ even as the sins of the flesh and unbelief are cast aside.

Although there will be trials aplenty which cannot be avoided by Yahweh’s holy people, there are things they might do to mitigate their suffering. There are both necessary and unnecessary sufferings. The necessary suffering is that which Yahweh has chosen for us for our perfecting as sons and daughters. The unnecessary suffering is that which results from disobedience, unbelief, or some failure to act in accordance with the will of God. In my own journey I have experienced both types of suffering. As a pioneer and guide, I would counsel you to avoid unnecessary suffering by giving yourself diligently to the pursuit of Yahweh’s will for your life.

Let us look to Lot as an example. The Bible tells us that after Lot separated from Abraham, he eventually settled in Sodom. Day after day this godly man would sit in the gates of the city and observe and hear of all the wickedness there. The Bible informs us of the following.

II Peter 2:7-8
He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds)...

Lot saw the immoral conduct of the men of Sodom, and was greatly vexed by it. Nevertheless, he could not find within himself the strength to separate himself from that place. Sodom was a wealthy city. It was prosperous, comfortable, and well situated. There was much that was attractive about the place. Lot’s struggle was revealed when the angels came and visited him. They warned Lot to flee with his wife and daughters, but he hesitated.

Genesis 19:15-16
When the morning came, then the angels hurried Lot, saying, "Get up! Take your wife, and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city." But he hesitated; and the men grabbed his hand, his wife's hand, and his two daughters' hands, Yahweh being merciful to him; and they took him out, and set him outside of the city.

Brothers and sisters, our Lord has told us that the days of tribulation to fall on the earth will come suddenly like they did to Sodom and Gomorrah.

Luke 17:28-30
“It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.”

Listen to what the Spirit of the Lord is speaking! Even now we are experiencing days similar to those of Sodom and Gomorrah. The report of the great wickedness of the nations has arisen up to heaven. Yahweh is warning His people that judgment will delay no longer. There is a remnant who are vexed in spirit as they observe the sensuality, the profaning of all that is holy, the embrace of every form of wickedness in the land. Yet as grieved as many are by the sin around them, and alarmed as they are by the Spirit’s witness that judgment is near at hand, they hesitate.

How hard it is to depart from the comfort and prosperity of Sodom! For every saint in this hour who is heeding the warnings of the Holy Spirit that judgment is at hand, there are a hundred others who hesitate, halted between two opinions. Because Lot hesitated, he lost all he had. He escaped only with the clothes on his back, and with the lives of his two daughters. All his flocks, his herds, his servants, his possessions, even his wife, were lost. Had Lot departed Sodom prior to the angel’s visit, when his soul was vexed as he sat in the gates of the city, he would have been spared much loss and suffering.

I ask you, “Are you acting as Lot in this hour?” Are you vexed at the moral debauchery of the nation in which you reside? Are you hearing the voice of heaven warning you of impending judgment? Do you find yourself still hesitating?

You may be reasoning, “It is too much to lay aside my comfortable life. What if the testimonies of judgment are wrong? What if I sell my home, my possessions, and leave my job to follow wherever the Lord would lead, and judgment does not come?” Brothers and sisters, in such times it is necessary that you apply yourself diligently to divide between the voice of the Spirit of Christ and the voice of your own soul and of the adversary. You need to tarry before God until you know with confidence what counsel Yahweh is giving to you, and to know what counsel is arising from your own soul as you wrestle with fears, covetous desires, and unbelief.

Lot had another problem. By moving to Sodom his wife and family had become attached to the place. No doubt, had Lot suggested to his wife and daughters before the angelic visit that they needed to move from that wicked place, they would have protested. Although sternly warned against doing so, Lot’s wife looked back to Sodom as they were fleeing the city. This act revealed how her affections were linked to that place. The consequence of her disobedience was forfeiture of her life. Christ has a similar warning for those who commit to being His disciples.

Luke 9:62
But Yahshua said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

Brothers and sisters, I am hearing from many of you in this hour. I know that some are hesitating. Many are trying to hold onto the good life until the very last moment. Some will still be grasping it as it crumbles in their hands. The consequences of hesitating will be calamitous. The Spirit of Christ is speaking to many of you, telling you to sell your homes, pare down your life drastically, embrace a humbler, simpler existence, to get out of debt at once, to follow wherever He is directing you, yet like Lot you hesitate. Will you not suffer a similar consequence due to your lingering when you should be acting?

What are you doing with these moments of peace, this season of grace you have been given? Are you letting opportunity slip away from you? Are you spending your days in idleness, in the very things mentioned by Christ when He spoke of the days of Noah and of Lot?

“they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage... they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building...”

We can learn lessons from both Noah and Lot. Of all the people dwelling upon the earth in the days of Noah, only he walked with God. Only Noah was seeking the fellowship of his Creator. Consequently, he heard Yahweh tell him of judgment to come, and he received instruction regarding how to prepare for the coming calamity. Noah applied himself with diligence, and with a good spirit, to do all that the Lord directed him to do. By his faithfulness, he preserved alive a remnant upon the earth of humanity and all creatures.

Noah was willing to be regarded as foolish by all his neighbors and extended family. He alone was preparing for a disaster they did not see. He was preparing for rain when it had never before rained upon the earth. He embraced the life and the ministry Yahweh appointed to him. He did not argue with God. He did not hesitate. He followed, and in doing so he preserved the life of his family.

One might ask, “Were not Noah and his family eating and drinking during the years in which they built the ark? Were they not building? Did they buy nothing during those years? Did they plant nothing?”

Such questions reveal a misunderstanding of what is being communicated. Our Lord was describing a people whose hearts were given over to pleasures and the pursuit of all that the world has to offer. By contrast, Noah’s heart was given to the pursuit of pleasing God. Although he ate and drank and built and planted and purchased, his life was not self-focused or self-directed. His activities were guided by his commitment to know Yahweh’s will and to do it. He was not building his own little kingdom. Noah was seeking the will of God while being content with food and covering for himself and his family.

As I look at the past 16 years since I heeded the call to leave my previous life behind, a life that was typical of a great many Christians in America, I observe an amazing change. Whereas my life had formerly been focused on self, on consumption and personal acquisition, it transformed into a life focused on giving to the needs of others. In my early life up until the age of 38 my life had been largely self-centered, even though I loved God and was more involved in church activities than most Christians. I had been buying ever nicer cars. I married a wife and had children. I purchased a series of nicer and larger homes. I was increasing in material goods, and life was comfortable.

In 1999, Yahweh took me through a great emptying. To say the process was difficult, even painful, would be an understatement. Yet the result of it was great liberty and much spiritual fruit. Yahweh was leading me to come out from the corruption that is called Christianity, and to be led by His Spirit in all my ways. I was challenged by God to accept any lifestyle experience He chose for me, and to embrace whatever work He appointed to me. This was a complete restructuring of my life. The end result looked nothing like the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ. It differed fundamentally from the life I had known in all my years up to that time.

Gone were the days of living a life whose underlying principles were no different from my lost neighbors. The churches today do not teach new converts that they must lay aside a pursuit of materialism. They do not inform them that they cannot serve both God and mammon. Quite the opposite. The wealthy, prosperous, and successful members of the church are held up as examples to be imitated. The financially well-off have more money to put in the offering plate. Their material success is attractive to lost people who want the same thing. Overlooked is the reality that the underlying principle of selfishness and self-interest remains intact in the churches today. There is no self-denial in being a materially comfortable Christian. One’s focus remains on oneself, one’s own family. Such individuals give to others only after satisfying their own desires. The tendency is to increase their own standard of living whenever possible, giving morsels out of their surplus to others. A life devoted to pleasing God and serving others is seldom understood or apprehended.

I know the protestations which will follow. I have heard them many times over the years. “Joseph, God has not called all of us to quit our jobs and to abandon our manner of living and to live out of a bus! Who would send you support if everyone who read your words quit their jobs?”

There is both great unbelief, and great misunderstanding revealed in such questions. To answer the first objection, I have never instructed anyone to pattern their life after the specific aspects or details of my own. I am not telling anyone to quit their job, divest themselves of all earthly possessions, or to buy a motorhome to be able to travel wherever God would lead them. What I am counseling them to do is to surrender their will and the direction of their life to Yahweh. This is something that the vast majority of Christians have not done. What I have repeatedly urged all those who would be Christ’s disciples to do is to surrender to go WHEREVER Yahshua would lead them, and to do WHATEVER He would command them to do.

If you have never made such a wholesale abandonment of your life into the hands of God, then you have not yet begun to be a disciple of Christ. His invitation was always the same. “Come, take up your cross, and follow Me.” If you are choosing your own course through life, you are not following Christ. If you are choosing for yourself a comfortable material life, you are not taking up your cross.

The events coming to America and the nations are ultimately designed by God to shake the church out of this false form of Christianity that is devoid of self-denial and which knows almost nothing of the surrender of one’s will to God. God will allow the economy to crash; for the fat, material lifestyle enjoyed by so many Christians to collapse. They will lose their homes, their luxury vehicles, their furnishings. Many will escape with nothing more than the clothes on their back. They will not know where their next meal is coming from. Then, set free of the perverted religion that has sought to marry the pursuit of God to the pursuit of mammon, Yahweh will invite His people to set their affections on things above, rather than on the things of this earth.

Most will balk at this. Many will seek succor in the arms of the beast system of this world. They will turn to the government for food and shelter, and vainly try to rebuild the material lifestyle they lost. A remnant, however, will turn their affections to God. Understanding that it was Yahweh who stripped them of their material goods, they will say to the Lord, “Here I am to do with as You please. Show me the way that I might walk in it.”

You don’t have to wait until the economic collapse comes. There will be no reward, no praise, for those who have this present material lifestyle torn from their grasp. If you seek God now, laying everything you are, and everything you possess at His feet, to be disposed of as He directs, there will be great reward. Remember the words of Christ to the rich young ruler.

Luke 18:22
When Yahshua heard these things, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have, and distribute it to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Come, follow me."

The opportunity described in these words is fleeting. The time to divest oneself of material goods, houses, and lands is coming to a close. Soon, it will be impossible to sell such things. Many will lose their goods to forfeiture. There will be nothing left to give to the poor, or to make preparations for the life God has chosen for you.

Before the fire fell on Sodom, we were informed that Lot had many flocks and servants. They were so numerous that Lot and Abraham found it necessary to separate and go in different directions. Lot could have sold these flocks and herds and given them to the poor and received treasure in heaven. Yet, all he had perished when fire and brimstone fell from heaven and consumed all the people in the valley and vicinity of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot was left with neither provision for his own family, or provision to give to others.

Brothers and sisters, you see America being transformed into Sodom and Gomorrah right before your eyes. Warnings of Yahweh’s judgment are being sounded forth from many sources. What has been your response to these things? If your soul is vexed at the unrighteousness in the land, if you are grieved by all you see and hear, you do well. However, if you sit transfixed, hesitating, lingering in the gates of Sodom when the Lord would speak to you to act otherwise, you will bring unnecessary suffering upon yourself.

Are you finding yourself transfixed, unable to move? Then you know the experience of Lot. He was a man of like passions with us. Even with the angels of God urging him with haste to act, and to depart Sodom before the fire fell, he lingered. I am therefore not surprised when so many who read my admonitions find themselves similarly rooted in place, seemingly unable to act upon the words of warning shared with them. I cannot take you by the hands and compel you. You will either act, or not act. The responsibility is yours, and the consequences will be laid at your feet. I pray that you might set your heart to know Yahweh’s will and to do it quickly without further hesitation. The hour is late.

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Joseph Herrin
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Montezuma, GA 31063

1 comment:

Unknown said...

thank you writing this Joseph. Amein! Perhaps we may be sheltered in that day by the Father.