Joseph Herrin (11-1-2015)
Despair! It is a terrible word. It is the complete absence or loss of hope. Despair renders a person incapable of continuing on. All effort seems futile. Life itself loses meaning.
Have you struggled with going on recently? Have the experiences, the disappointments and failures of life stolen away all light and joy? Do you struggle to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning? Have you pleaded with God to send His Son quickly that you might no longer have to endure more news of the increasing darkness of the nations, the gross darkness covering the peoples? Do you feel all alone? Does it seem that even God has forsaken you?
I receive correspondence on occasion from brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling with despair. There are times when hope seems to have fled even from my own life. Perhaps I have just heard from a brother or sister in Christ whom I have been counseling for a long time. I have carried a great burden for them and their family only to hear of more spiritual failure. At times it seems that Satan is running amok, wreaking havoc among the lives of God’s people. It truly seems like the walls of the church are completely broken down and the enemy has free access to pillage and plunder at will. There is very little good news pertaining to the church today, while bad news is in abundance.
This week I have had correspondence with a brother in Christ who resides in Australia. He once was very much involved in the Christian religious system. He had a popular Christian radio program and hosted church leaders, Christian entertainers, and believers of renown from across Australia as well as those who were known internationally. He experienced honor among the churches until...
Many readers of this blog can fill in the blank. Many of you spent many years in the Christian religious system. At some point Yahweh opened your eyes to understand that what passes for Christianity today is Babylon. It is spiritual confusion. It is the great harlot who professes to be espoused to Christ but whose heart is pursuing other lovers.
As understanding dawns, it is requisite that you act upon the light you have been given. You are no longer able in good conscience to participate in idolatrous holidays such as Christmas and Easter. You are compelled to separate yourself from the false doctrines of prosperity and sensuality, and the errors of a false prophetic movement. As you begin to act and speak in accordance with truth you find that there is no longer a place for you among the churches. Doors that were formerly open have now been shut. Your name that was once praised is now derided and reproached. For many, even family and friends have rejected you.
This was the experience of the brother who wrote to me from Australia. He was at the point of despair. Following is the letter he wrote to me, which I share with his permission.
Dear brother Joseph,
I hope you are keeping well dear brother. As for me I have had my usual battles of being at war with the emotions within me. I was reading the scriptures as I often do to try to gain further understanding and 2 Corinthians 2 really stood out to me. A person can sometimes become overwhelmed with sorrow through rejection.
II Corinthians 2:5-8
If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent - not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
My daughter who is now 24 is visiting this area from Queensland and it brings me great sadness that we are alienated. Throughout my life I had two great driving forces. To see God bring revival to Australia and the second was the care for my family.
I know now the first was folly as their will be no revival, but only a great falling away as we are now observing and experiencing. But as a Christian driven by a hunger for God, in vain efforts of evangelism through sharing God’s word, and my radio days, I believed the scripture that God would pour out his spirit on all flesh. Although this is scriptural the greater many scriptures warn of a falling away, and people becoming lovers of themselves, and exchanging truth for a lie.
I came to realize how dark the world is, including most of the churches and denominations, so my drive and reason for life evaporated. I had seen and met many of the denominational leaders and came to realize it was all empty and false. This took away a lot of my drive for living.
I know our foundation is following God, but when you suddenly become aware that all the good and honourable intentions that drive your life have been meaningless, it is a big awakening, and where do you go to from there to find new meaning and purpose?
Also yes my daughter who I loved and cared for and gave her a wonderful life has also rejected me along with virtually everyone else. I am aware of the trap of self pity, but also one can become overwhelmed with sorrow. So I have a choice to make. Will I let these great sorrows permanently overwhelm me, or will I rise up in faith and trust God through these trials?
The old hymn “though none go with me still I will follow” are words easily sung, but when you are an outcast and none do walk with you the reality is much more difficult than words sung in a hymn.
I know there are others who walk this path of being a misunderstood outcast and face many trials, but as you would know brother Joseph, Satan likes to make us feel isolated and alone. You have gone through so many trials and come out without a hardened heart, but instead a heart able to minister and hear from God. Some I think can't endure the trials. I have even at times contemplated ending my life. The world is just becoming too ugly and full of deceit. I know Satan wants to kill and destroy me so I am prepared to hang on in there and try my best to trust God.
Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!
I can relate to these feelings on many occasions. In fact the world is so evil and deceived today I find it difficult to find enjoyment in anything anymore. I feel it’s almost wrong to seek and feel enjoyment while the world grows more evil and so many suffer.
You have shared a great deal of your own testimony, but I also wish God’s word expressed how Joseph also felt when he was sold into slavery by his brothers and all the years of trials and unjust treatment he experienced and endured. Surely it caused him great pain within his heart. Maybe anger. Maybe many emotions. Until he came to a place of peace and acceptance that his circumstances were being ordered by God. King David often poured out his emotions, yet continued to cling to God through his trials.
I would ask you brother Joseph to watch the following video if you would please. It has four speakers one of which you are aware of James Corbett, and perhaps you are aware of the others also. One of the other speakers is Sibel Edmonds who previously worked for the FBI but after turning whisteblower lost her job.
I can relate to what Sibel is saying. She has come to realize that society has fallen so far that nobody cares anymore. She expresses her frustration with a few choice words which I will pre-warn you of. Perhaps as a non Christian herself and James Corbett they no doubt genuinely and fervently believe that by making the masses aware of things they can bring change. But we know as Christians that things will not improve, but get worse. But I honour some of these people more than the churches today because they make an effort to stand for justice and truth, even though nobody (or very few) they are coming to realize is listening or cares...
Brother Joseph, you might find this difficult to believe, but before I was a bit like Barnabas always encouraging people, always positive, always exercising faith. May I ask you brother Joseph how is it possible to enjoy life today? I know you find fulfillment through your important and needy ministry though the internet, but I find it very difficult to enjoy life today. I feel burdened with the state of the world today. Do you ever feel burdened yourself? How do you manage brother Joseph to not be weighed down by all that is happening today?
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Should I forget the sufferings and exploitation of others and set my mind on only positive things? Is this what I need to do? Thank you brother Joseph if you can give me some guidance in this area.
Dear reader, perhaps you can relate to the sorrow and despair described by this brother in Christ. Perhaps Vincent has described experiences and thoughts that are very similar to your own. If so, I encourage you to consider the words which follow. They are my reply to this brother whose experiences I can relate to very well.
Hello Brother Vincent,
I have been praying for you. I trust that you will overcome the depression that seeks to overwhelm you.
I read your letter all the way through for the first time yesterday. It has been a very busy time for me of late, so I have been a bit behind on my e-mail. Interestingly, yesterday morning, before reading your letter, during my time of prayer I was speaking to the Father about the darkness and wickedness of this world and my desire that He would soon bring an end to it by sending His Son. It is a source of grief to consider the gross darkness in the world at this hour. For those sons of God who desire spiritual light and who rejoice in truth and love, it is a source of much heartache to observe the growing power of Satan over the lives of men.
Despite the false proclamations of deceivers that a great revival will sweep the earth in the last days, the Bible portrays the last days before Christ's return as a time of great sin, wickedness, and spiritual apostasy.
For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples...
II Timothy 3:1-7
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
II Timothy 4:3-4
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.
"Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved."
"When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"
These passages, and many others, inform me that the hour we are living in is a very difficult hour for faith. Truth, virtue, goodness, human compassion, and every commendable thing are on the wane, while lies, deception, moral depravity, and selfish and cruel behavior are increasing. The dark spiritual condition of this day causes those who are children of the light to experience great mourning and heaviness in their spirit.
Yahweh said to him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry over all the abominations that are done in the midst of it.
Brother Vincent, we live in an hour that calls for endurance, courage, and hope. Apart from these things, we will be overwhelmed with despair.
And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.
I can relate to everything you shared in your letter (though I have not contemplated suicide). Yesterday morning when I read your letter (and today as well) my daughter was away. She had been invited to attend the wedding of one of her cousins, the daughter of my older sister. My sister and I were close growing up as there is only 15 months separating us in age. We attended the same church youth activities, were competitors with one another for good grades in school, and as adults our family's were close for many years as we had children of similar ages.
Our relationship changed when Yahweh called me to a deeper commitment in 1999. My sister blamed me for my wife's struggles. No doubt fear played a part as she did not want to consider yielding the direction of her life to the will of God as I had been led to do. Suffering, hardship, persecution, reproaches, difficulties, trials, poverty, and other experiences are hated by the souls of men and women. Christians often react emotionally when someone suggests that suffering is a necessary part of the process of spiritual maturation. My sister's response was to reproach and revile me. She has not had anything to do with me since 1999. I did not receive an invitation to her daughter's wedding. My presence is not wanted, for I am a reminder that Christ is calling His people to a costly obedience today even as He did 2,000 years ago.
Yesterday my daughter Kristin sent me a photo of her with two of her cousins (there are 5 children in my sister's family) as they went to New Orleans to a coffee shop. When I see such pictures, and realize that not only has my sister, but my entire extended family (with the exception of my daughter) has rejected me, thinking of me as some deluded heretic, it can lead to melancholy. Consequently, I try not to dwell on such things. I accept my present experience as part of the cost of following Christ in this world. Yahshua did not promise us family peace, or lots of fellowship as His disciples. Quite the opposite. He said "the road is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." If we want lots of fellowship we are on the wrong path.
In your letter you wrote:
Throughout my life I had two great driving forces. To see God bring revival to Australia and the second was the care for my family.
As disciples of Christ, we must have a different driving force in our lives. We must follow in the steps of Yahshua who declared the following:
Yahshua said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work."
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."
Then I said, 'Behold, I have come - In the volume of the book it is written of Me - To do Your will, O God.'
Christ never married. He never raised a family. He did not seek a place for Himself in this world by acquiring a home or recognition among the religious system of the day. He accepted whatever life experiences the Father chose for Him. The life Yahweh chose for His Son ended up being years of homelessness during the entire period of His ministry. It ended with death on a cross, and enduring shame, reproach, rejection, and false accusation.
If your life, or my own, includes similar experiences, we should not be surprised. As incredible as it is for us to comprehend, Christ was "perfected" by His experiences of suffering and through His selfless response to all He endured.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
It is through similar experiences that we are perfected... I have had legitimate reason to mourn the dissolution of my own family, the rejection of kith and kin. I have wept tears at times, and experienced sorrow of heart, but these experiences are tempered by understanding that such things are appointed for ALL who would follow in the footsteps of our Lord.
For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.
Brother Vincent, we must keep in mind that this present life experience is NOT intended for our reward, blessing, and fulfillment. Those things are yet to come. We are in the period of "the first things." Now is the time of our molding, our refining, our perfecting as sons. Now is the time appointed to us to experience sorrows, difficulties, reproaches, and the loss of all things we once esteemed. In your letter you wrote:
I came to realize how dark the world is, including most of the churches and denominations, so my drive and reason for life evaporated.
Your drive and reason for life were NOT in accordance with the mind of Christ. It is well that these things were taken away so that you might discover a true goal and motive to continue on. As much as I am grateful for the opportunities Yahweh has given me to minister, ministry was not given to me or anyone else as a motive for living. The chief purpose of our present time on earth is to be conformed to the image of Christ. Yahweh desires sons in His image and likeness. We are in a time of correction and preparation that we might enter into our adoption as sons of God and heirs with Christ. The process is neither easy, nor pleasant, but it holds forth the promise of great reward to those who will stay the course.
Romans 8:18, 23-25
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us... And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
What you and I must continually remind ourselves is that now is not the time for our reward. Now is not the time of our blessing. This present time is appointed for our perfecting, our maturation, as sons of God. It was because Paul saw this present temporal life in its proper context that he was able to endure far greater things than you or I have experienced, and to dismiss them as momentary and light afflictions.
II Corinthians 4:17-18
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
In your letter you wrote:
The old hymn “though none go with me still I will follow” are words easily sung, but when you are an outcast and none do walk with you the reality is much more difficult than words sung in a hymn.
What you say here is true. It is easy to say that, even if we have to travel the afflicted path alone, we will follow Christ. Until we have experienced it, we don't actually know the full weight of the cross. It is in the crucible of suffering that our commitment is tested and our character proven. If left to our own strength we would ALL fall away, but Christ has not left us to walk the path alone. He walks beside us every step of the way. He feels our pain. He knows our sorrows. He is the God of all comfort, the friend of the downtrodden, despised, and the lonely of this world.
Yahweh's eyes are toward the righteous. His ears listen to their cry... The righteous cry, and Yahweh hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. Yahweh is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves those who have a crushed spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but Yahweh delivers him out of them all.
Right now you are experiencing a crushed spirit. You will find your comfort in only one source.
Why are you downcast, oh my soul? Why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God! For I shall still praise him for the saving help of his presence. My God, my soul is in despair within me. Therefore I remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon, from the hill Mizar... Yahweh will command his loving kindness in the daytime. In the night his song shall be with me: A prayer to the God of my life. I will ask God, my rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?" As with a sword in my bones, my adversaries reproach me, while they continually ask me, "Where is your God?" Why are you in despair, my soul? Why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God! For I shall still praise him, the saving help of my countenance, and my God.
I watched the video from the Corbett Report that you provided the link to. I agree with the sentiment that the vast majority of people have grown callous, weary, and have simply resigned themselves to watch evil grow darker. It must be considered, however, that none of the people in the video are Christians. They do not have the same worldview that a disciple of Christ should have. Yahweh has not called us to be crusaders against the evils of this world. He has not called us to engage in political activism. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal. I feel no compulsion in the Spirit to engage in global activism of the type they are advocating. Mankind will not bring forth a better world by unseating evil people from positions of power.
In a sense, I am resigned to the fact that this world is becoming a darker and more evil place. The Bible prophesies that this will be the condition of the world before the return of Christ. Yet, my resignation to this fact does not imply that I am giving up on being a source of salt and light in this world. I desire daily to be led of the Spirit of Christ to those opportunities He has appointed for me to bring truth and love to others. Though my influence may be small as I minister to men in prison, or to believers through the Internet, nevertheless, according to the portion allotted to me I am confronting lies with truth and darkness with light.
Yahweh is primarily working among a firstfruits group at this time. This firstfruits group is small in comparison to the vast numbers of humanity. The beginning of Yahweh's great work of fashioning mankind into a living temple for His presence seems quite meager and inconsequential at this time, yet we need to consider the words Yahweh spoke through Zechariah.
For who has despised the day of small things?
The context of these words, and the lesson they hold for us today, is quite profound. Following is the question above in its context.
"The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of Yahweh, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth."
Zerubbabel was one of the Jews who returned from captivity in the land of Babylon to find Jerusalem in ruins. The scene before him must have been very similar to our own vision of the church and the world today. The walls are broken down. The precious things have been destroyed. The enemy has free access to every quarter. Ruin is everywhere to be seen.
The name Zerubbabel means "Called out of Babylon." We are among those who have been called out of Babylon.
Come out of [Babylon], my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
Brother Vincent, when you were in Babylon, the false religious system of this hour, did not things look quite impressive? There seemed to be prosperity and activity in every direction. It is a land of ease and comfort and pleasure. Yet it is also a land of profound idolatry, sensuality, and sin.
Yahweh has been calling a people out of Babylon. They are Zerubbabel, the called out of Babel. They have been called to return to Zion and to labor to rebuild it. Upon their return, their eyes are filled with the visage of Zion's ruin. They want only to weep, and their hearts are filled with despair. The laborers are few, and they wonder how they will ever be able to accomplish the enormous work that must be done. Many are daunted. Their hearts faint, and they give up the vision of seeing the city and the temple of Yahweh restored.
Reading the books of Ezra and Nehemiah and prophets like Zechariah, we discover that the people were greatly helped by Yahweh. They rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in nothing less than miraculous time. Yet, the continued hardships of life were great. Many lost focus on rebuilding Zion as they shifted their attention to improving their own situation. They began to build nice homes for themselves and left off building the House of God. The work that was begun on the temple languished for many years until Yahweh sent prophets to renew the spirit of the people to take up the work once more.
Brother Vincent, we are living out the spiritual counterpart to these experiences of the Jewish people. We see the church in ruins. The majority of the church has been taken captive by Babylon. Finding Babylon to be a prosperous place, a place of material wealth and comfort, the majority do not want to leave Babylon when Yahweh calls them to return and begin to restore Zion. Only a remnant make the perilous journey, for it is an afflicted path, and only hardship, danger, and toil await them.
There is continual provocation, or cause among those who answer God's call, to become discouraged. It is especially difficult to remain optimistic and joyous when we are daily beset with trials and loneliness and difficulties and then consider that the majority of our family, friends, and fellow Christians, remain in Babylon where life seems to be abundant and pleasant. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, many are tempted to give themselves to a spirit of murmuring and complaint, and to entertain notions of returning to the worldly abundance they were called out from. Some, like yourself, see that returning to the places they once were is not an option. They see no hope going forward, and no hope going backward. This leads to despondency and depression.
We need to stand in hope that as we continue to obey God and follow where He leads that a people for God's praise will one day arise. The living Temple of God will eventually be completed. We can aspire to be a pillar in that Temple, nevermore leaving the presence and glory of Yahweh.
"He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
This analogy of the saints of God laboring in tears, and toiling among dry places as they look with hope to a future reward and harvest, is seen throughout the Bible. We are encouraged to not faint.
Restore our fortunes again, Yahweh, like the streams in the Negev (desert). Those who sow in tears will reap in joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed for sowing, will assuredly come again with joy, carrying his sheaves.
When Yahshua began His earthly ministry, He did so by reading from the following words of the prophet Isaiah.
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...
We need to remember the words that Isaiah spoke next, for they describe our experience and what is yet to come.
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.
Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up the former devastations,
And they will repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
And strangers will stand and pasture your flocks,
And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.
But you will be called the priests of Yahweh;
You will be spoken of as ministers of our God.
You will eat the wealth of nations,
And in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame you will have a double portion,
And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion.
Right now our experience is one of humiliation, of mourning, of poverty, of fainting. Yet if we persevere and do not lose hope, we will see our experiences transformed in due time. Right now the Temple of Yahweh built of living stones appears contemptible in our sight and in the sight of others. There is little to show, for we have not progressed beyond the foundation. Yet we can be assured that because the plumb line is in the hand of Zerubbabel (those Yahweh has called out of Babylon) that what has been begun will also be completed by the same.
I encourage you to ask Yahweh to show you what His will is for you each day. As you pursue that will, in due time you will discover the great benefit of having done so.
II Corinthians 1:3-7
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
Dear reader, if you would like to share a word of encouragement with this brother in Australia, he would like to hear from you. You can either post your words in the comment section below the blog, or e-mail me and I will be happy to pass your words along to him, or put you in contact with him.
Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063