Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Expatriates - Part Five

An Attitude of Gratitude
Joseph Herrin (05-30-2013)


Expatriate:
to banish (a person) from his or her native country.
to withdraw (oneself) from residence in one's native country.
to withdraw (oneself) from allegiance to one's country.
[Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/expatriate]

An attitude of gratitude is essential if one is to victoriously embrace the expatriate life of a disciple of Christ. To follow Christ requires a surrender of all things. A man or woman who yields their life by accepting whatever experiences Yahweh has chosen for them will both lose and gain many things. Yahshua told those who would be His disciples to count the cost of following Him. He told them the cost was exceedingly high. The cost includes surrendering every relationship to God, every possession, laying down our dreams and goals for life. He has promised that every sacrifice will be repaid in time, multiplied a hundred fold, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

We can choose to focus daily on what we have given up. This, however, leads to depression, to murmuring and complaint. It is not hard to find examples of unworthy attitudes among the people of God. One of the greatest epic narratives of the Bible recounts the experiences of the descendants of Abraham who were loosed from bondage in Egypt as Yahweh led them on a journey to inherit the land of Canaan.

Every man, woman, and child who departed from Egypt on the night of the first Passover were truly expatriates. They were leaving behind houses and lands and various furnishings. They could take with them only what they could carry. They would dwell in tents and embrace a mobile lifestyle. They became wanderers upon the face of the earth. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased.

I Corinthians 10:1-5
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased...


We learn the reason that Yahweh was not pleased with them. These people who adopted the expatriate lifestyle were continuously focused upon what it had cost them to follow God. They lamented the things left behind in Egypt, that fertile and prosperous land of slavery.

The inheritance Yahweh was leading them towards was far better. There they would live as a free people. They would inherit a land flowing with milk and honey. Yahweh was going to given them houses they had not built, vineyards and orchards they had not planted, cities they did not construct. Yet to arrive at their inheritance, the people of God had to first give up the life they had known and embark on a journey through the wilderness which Yahweh would use to test their hearts (attitudes).

Deuteronomy 8:2
And you shall remember all the way which Yahweh your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart...

Only in the hearts of a very small remnant was there found faith, gratitude, and an eagerness to follow Yahweh. Men like Moses, Joshua, and Caleb were the exception. The vast majority of men and women complained bitterly. Daily they murmured about the hardships and trials they faced. When Yahweh miraculously provided bread from heaven day after day, they complained that it was not as good as the quail, fish, leeks, onions, garlic, and melons of Egypt.

I Corinthians 10:6-12
Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved... Do not grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

During my years of public ministry I have had interaction with a large number of God’s people. I have corresponded with thousands through e-mail, and many in person. I have  encountered many who manifest the same grumbling spirit of complaint that was observed among the people of Israel. Some find fault with every provision of Yahweh. They complain that the journey is too long, too difficult, that there are too many trials. Such ones seem to carry dark clouds around with them on sunny days. They speak at times of desiring to return to the life they once had. Their focus is backwards. Like Lot’s wife, they look back to that which they are leaving behind, rather than looking forward to the divine inheritance that lies ahead.

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."


Like the person in the cartoon above, many believers fall short of an attitude of gratitude. Instead they manifest a “sentiment of resentment.” Their way becomes exceedingly difficult. They trudge on wearily, every step a herculean effort, for in their hearts they want to go backwards. They lack an eagerness to follow Yahweh to the new land of promise to which He would guide them.

There is a statement made in Moses’ account of the people’s wilderness wanderings that reveals that their main problem was not their experiences, but their attitude toward those experiences.

Numbers 11:1-6
Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of Yahweh; and when Yahweh heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of Yahweh burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp... And the rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, "Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna."

These words, divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit, reveal a profound truth. Men and women can make their journey with Yahweh exceedingly more difficult than it actually is by manifesting a spirit of complaint. The statement “Now the people became like those who complain of adversity” is pregnant with meaning. There was no actual adversity. Look at what they were complaining about. They grew tired of eating manna every day. Manna was pleasant. It had the flavor of wafers with honey. It had everything necessary to promote health and sustain those who ate it. It was provided in a miraculous manner, daily demonstrating Yahweh’s faithful care of His people. Yet, the people came to despise that which Yahweh had given to them.

Have you ever done the same? Have you come to despise something, or someone, that Yahweh placed in your life to provide something you needed? Have you ever murmured against Yahweh’s provision, speaking as if it was some great adversity? The apostle Paul tells us that the experiences of the Israelites were given to us as examples lest we fall in the same way.

Every Christian is called to follow the Spirit of Christ as the Israelites followed the pillar of fire and the cloud. Christ has promised to provide and care for His people along the way.

Matthew 6:31-33
"Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”

The church has been corrupted in this hour. Ministers regularly make false declarations to the people of God. They declare that Yahweh has promised His people the banquets and feasts of Egypt while they follow the Spirit through the wilderness. The prosperity gospel that is so wildly popular today, leads the people of God to believe that they can take Egypt with them as they walk with Christ. This is gross deception. Those who imbibe the poisonous waters of the prosperity message become unwilling to lay aside the things of the world. They are unwilling to make sacrifices now to attain a far better inheritance later.

Christ has promised to meet every need of those who follow Him, but He has not promised that He will sate their soul’s desires, nor give them that which is pleasing to the flesh. At times He chooses to feed His people with “the bread of privation, and the waters of affliction” (Isaiah 30:20). Surely bread of privation is better than no bread at all. It is the will of Yahweh that His people give thanks in ALL THINGS.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Yahshua.


I find myself daily giving thanks to God for His myriad of blessings. Some people have written to me and said they would not like to live in a converted school bus as I do. I remember one man’s peckish comment as he compared my experience to that of the hippies of the 1960s. He asked me when I was going to hang beads up in the bus. Another dismissed such a life by suggesting that it would be nigh impossible to find a wife who would join a man in such an experience.

Despite the murmuring of others, I find myself frequently bursting forth in spontaneous praise and words of thanksgiving to my Father for the wonderful home He has provided for me. I am truly, sincerely, and ecstatically grateful for the bus He has provided for me. It has everything I need. It is dry. It keeps the bugs out and is climate controlled inside. Since I was able to install an instant-on hot water heater about a year ago I have rejoiced every time I am able to take a shower in my converted motorhome. I am truly blessed and I sense the Father’s approval and pleasure when I give utterance to the thoughts of thanksgiving that arise in my soul.


I have known times when the only roof over my head was a tent in the woods. I was extremely grateful for the tent Yahweh provided. When it rained it kept me dry. When the woods were full of gnats and mosquitoes, it kept them outside so that I could sleep peacefully at night.

For an entire summer my home was the camper van Yahweh provided for me, parked on the property of a rescue mission in downtown Macon, Georgia. Across the street was the county jail. Behind me were rows of crack houses. I had no electricity, sewer, or water connections at the location. Yet I remember telling the Father on many occasions that summer that I had never been happier. Yahweh opened the door for me to get a membership at a gym downtown. For $32 a month I could visit every day, as long as I wanted. I could shower there. There was also a swimming pool, and all types of exercise equipment. There was a library nearby, and coffee houses that I could ride my bicycle to. I was able to spend my days writing, and return to my van at night to sleep.

There were some nights that the van stayed hot until after midnight. I lay on a towel so I would not soak my sheets with sweat. Yet, I was glad that I had a place of my own to lie down, for there were many homeless men and women in the town who had no such place. I also could look forward to a shower, and refreshment each day at the gym.

Even when I was twice cast in jail, once for 60 days, and another time for 74 days, I found that I had many things for which to be thankful. These experiences did not seem like unbearable hardships to me. Sure, there were elements that were hard to bear. I found the constant thunder of voices uttering profanity and obscenities to be difficult to bear. I longed at times for the peace of the countryside, and to experience the solitude that comes from being away from sinful humanity for a time. Yet, I appreciated the experiences for what they taught me. I was better able to understand the patience of Yahweh as He observes and hears all things every day. That He has not once more wiped the earth clean as He did in the days of Noah, is a testimony to His patience and longsuffering.

Through my experiences in jail, I learned a deep appreciation for things I had formerly taken for granted. I had previously thought little of the opportunities I had to pray out loud to God in my daily life. Yet, sharing a prison dorm with 80 other men, and always having another man in my small cell, made me relish the rare moments of privacy that I experienced in jail. I remember that one occasion my cell mate had to go to court. I had an hour or two alone in the cell by myself. It became a time of intense prayer as I paced from one end of the cell to the other, praying out loud, pouring forth my words of praise, hope, anticipation, and petition to my heavenly Father. That cell became to me a castle. It was my meeting room with the King of kings. His presence filled every corner. I relished the experience all the more because it was not readily available to me in that place.

I have frequently found that I have learned to appreciate something far more deeply by experiencing times when I had to do without. When the Father led me to experience two forty day periods of time camping in the woods, separated by a two day break, I came to appreciate a simple meal of bread and beans, or a bowl of soup. I learned this deep appreciation by having nothing to eat during much of this time, and little to eat the rest of the time. For the last seven days of my first forty day period of camping, I had no food. During the second forty day period, I ran out of food and had nothing other than water for my last seventeen days there.

Yahweh has taught me to look for the silver lining behind every cloud. He has taught me to praise Him in every experience. I remember during those seasons of fasting being grateful that I was out in a remote location. I was not tormented by watching others eat, or smelling food constantly, while I was doing without. I also experienced very little hunger, and knew this to be the grace of Yahweh. I thanked Him for these things. I found myself many times a day speaking out loud to the Father, confessing to Him my gratitude for the things I counted as blessings. I thanked Him for the former years of abundance that in my time of lack I was better able to appreciate.

Yesterday I found myself once more expressing to the Father my deep gratitude for the provision He sends my way each day. My spirit feels lightened when I begin expressing thanksgiving to my Father. Clouds give way to sunshine, and despair flees as hope emerges. There is something inherently empowering in the simple act of thanking Yahweh for the blessings He provides. Thanksgiving has become a way of life for me.

I don’t own a car. I ride my bike whenever I need to go to the store or post office. Some would find this to be a source of complaint, but I have found it to be cause for thanksgiving. I am afforded exercise that my body needs by riding a bicycle. I also see and smell many wonderful things along my bike rides.

To exit the property I am parked on, I travel down a dirt lane. It is shaded and for the past month it has smelled wonderfully of honeysuckle. It is like taking a cool drink on a hot day to encounter the aroma of the honeysuckle. Every time I ride down the lane I remark to the Father about how wonderful it smells. Just think, Yahweh designed certain plants to exude aromas that cause pleasure when inhaled by mankind. What a loving and thoughtful thing to do!

Along my bike ride I have found wild blackberries growing. At times I will stop and pick a few handfuls and eat them. I love the taste of blackberries, a fact which the Father surely knows for I tell Him so every time I put them in my mouth. If I were driving a car, I would miss these experiences. We have a choice to either find cause for thanksgiving, or cause for complaint, in all of our experiences. Thanksgiving seems far more befitting a son of God, and it brings with it many rewards.


If you are finding your way to be difficult; if your experiences seem excessively bitter; they can be made easier and sweeter by the exercise of an attitude of gratitude. It is not possible to walk victoriously as an alien and stranger in this world, following in the footsteps of Christ, apart from embracing a heart of thanksgiving.


Gratitude Rocks!

---

This is an excerpt from the series Expatriates.

http://www.heart4god.ws/index_htm_files/Expatriates.pdf

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

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

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

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Expatriates - Part Four

You Can’t Take it with You! 
Joseph Herrin (05-25-2013)


Expatriate:
to banish (a person) from his or her native country.
to withdraw (oneself) from residence in one's native country.
to withdraw (oneself) from allegiance to one's country.
[Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/expatriate]

The tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma on May 20th provides an opportunity to reflect upon the transitive nature of people’s homes and possessions. A recent report stated that as many as 13,000 homes were either damaged or completely destroyed by the tornado. Images of these homes have shown how quickly a lifetime of accumulated possessions can be lost.


Homes and Possessions Lost


Man Standing in the Rubble of His Home


Entire Neighborhoods Destroyed


Shattered Homes

A common sight observed in the aftermath of some of the most destructive tornadoes in recent times is the erection of an American flag over the site of destruction. Such iconic images were seen in Joplin, Missouri, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This week’s tornado in Moore, Oklahoma gave rise to similar images, such as the one below.


Those who erect flags in the aftermath of destruction often do so as a symbol of hope, or even defiance. It is as if they are saying, “We will rebuild. We will come back stronger. We will not be daunted by the calamities of life.”

What is often not considered, even by Christians impacted by such losses, is whether it is the Father’s will that they seek to return to the life they formerly knew, a life where home and material possessions is a major focus of their thoughts, time, money, and energy. When I see images such as the one above where a soiled and tattered flag is strung up in the midst of a scene of complete devastation, I perceive a parable of America’s future. As I have shared in previous writings, RUIN is coming to America.


The images above were taken from Barack Obama’s campaign website. In texting shorthand, which is so common among users of cell phones and Twitter, the phrase “Are You In?” would be abbreviated as “R U IN?” Obama’s first campaign focused on the word “Change.” The change that is coming to America is not what people have been led to anticipate. America is being brought to ruin.

The tornado in Moore, Oklahoma damaged a local movie theater. News sites have shown images of the theater marquee after the storm. The words on the marquee serve as a signpost for what is coming to the nation.


Reading from lower left to upper right the three movies listed are “Pain and Gain,” “Into Darkness,” and “Oblivion.” The latter two movies focus upon destruction coming to the earth.


Into Darkness


Oblivion

Knowing that the U.S. government is preparing for societal ruin by purchasing billions of bullets and thousands of armored vehicles to be used on the streets of America, by pushing strongly to ban assault rifles and approving the use of drones for surveillance and the murder of U.S. citizens, by conducting a test run as they implemented martial law in Boston, etc., it is highly inadvisable that any person should continue on with a business as usual attitude. The following words of the apostle Paul seem particularly fitting for this present hour.

I Corinthians 7:29-31
But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

In a time of distress, those who will be the least impacted by economic and civil chaos are those who are the least entangled with this present world system. In an hour when global bankers are orchestrating the coming economic meltdown, leading to the overthrow of governments, rioting, and the implementation of martial law, it would be well to have as little involvement with the banks as possible. The recent theft of billions of dollars of deposits in Cypriot banks by international bankers, and the monetary controls implemented which are tantamount to a dictatorial rule over the lives of the citizens of Cyprus, is a sign of things to come. Christians who have a mortgage on their home, credit card debt, student loans, or other forms of financial obligations to the banks, will find that the Scripture is true that states, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave” (Proverbs 22:7).

The vast majority of Christians are entangled with this fallen world system in ways that are contrary to the will of the Father and the testimony of Christ and His apostles.

II Timothy 2:4, 7
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier... Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.

If Christians will embrace the mind and attitude of those who are aliens and strangers in this world, they would find themselves lessening their bondage to, and dependence upon, this Satanic world system. As a result, their exposure to the upheavals that are coming would be greater diminished. Yet many, indeed, the majority, are like those citizens of Moore, Oklahoma whose homes were destroyed, and the accumulated possessions of a lifetime scattered to the four winds. They are heedlessly pursuing a material life, conformed to a fallen world system that Yahweh is soon to judge.

A profound lesson can be observed as one looks at the example of the early church that arose in Jerusalem following Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the 120 gathered in an upper room. Three thousand souls were added to the church on that day, and many more were to follow. Among the early church of Jerusalem a radical change was observed. Men and women who had formerly lived material lives, focused on accumulating houses and land, and the goods of this world, found their hearts changed. Those who were formerly focused upon consumption began considering the needs of others more highly than their own needs.

Acts 4:32-35
And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them... For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles' feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need.

I have never heard a sermon that mentioned how this radical transformation of attitude and action served to deliver the saints in Christ from ruinous loss when some years later, in A.D. 70, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman army. Those who had homes and land in and around the city, and who were possessors of much material goods, suffered a loss as total and devastating as the citizens of Moore, Oklahoma. Yet, those believers who had sold their houses and lands, who had laid the money at the apostles’ feet, were not only spared from great material loss, but they were guaranteed treasure in heaven.

Yahweh further protected His people from the depredations of Rome, as a persecution by the Jewish rulers occurred after the stoning of Stephen. This resulted in large numbers of Christians fleeing Jerusalem, relocating throughout Judea, Samaria, and the Roman Empire. When the Roman Army under the leadership of Titus, sacked Jerusalem, tens of thousands of Jews were slaughtered, many of them crucified. Those Christians who had embraced the expatriate lifestyle were saved.

Consider how these refugees from Jerusalem fit the description of the spiritual expatriate that we have been exploring in this series. These ones likely had lived in and around Jerusalem for generations. They had to leave their homes, and their father’s household, just like Abraham did 2,000 years earlier. Many of them had already sold houses and lands as was testified in Acts chapter 4. This freed them to relocate quickly when persecution arose. Because they were traveling, they had to lighten their load of material goods. Many possessions had to be sold, or given away. Their lives stood out in stark contrast to that existence they knew prior to being born again of the Spirit and becoming disciples of Christ.

There are few Christians today who are following this same pattern of disentanglement from the world. For this reason, many will suffer great loss when calamity strikes, as it did in Jerusalem in A.D. 70, or in Moore, Oklahoma this past week. Ruin is coming. I share these things to encourage the people of God to seek Yahweh now while there is still opportunity to make significant changes to your life.

In 1999 the Father challenged me to yield the full direction of my life to His Spirit. When I surrendered my will to Him, handing over the reins of my life, He quickly accomplished a radical transformation of our family’s experience. We were led to surrender our home, our custom van, the majority of our furnishings and possessions, as we went from a 2,000 square foot home to a 28 foot long motorhome.

Let me be clear, for I am often met with arguments and accusations when I share these things, that I am not suggesting that Yahweh will lead every son or daughter to live in a motorhome. What I am seeking to convey, is that those who walk as disciples of Christ, having His mind and exhibiting His attitude toward material possessions, will find themselves thinking and acting in ways that are strange and alien to this world system. They will manifest contentment rather than covetousness. They will be focused far more on giving to the needs of others than to accumulating things for self.

I Timothy 6:7-8
For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

Hebrews 13:5
Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”

Tragically, the majority of Christians in this late hour are manifesting that attitude that the apostle Paul wrote about in his epistle to the saints in Philippi.

Philippians 3:18-19
For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.

Christ came to transform men’s lives. If we do not see a transformation in our attitude and actions regarding earthly possessions, then we should question whether we are truly living lives directed by the Holy Spirit. Christ said that those who would be His disciples must yield all they possess to Him.

Luke 14:33
“So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”

It is quite evident from the four gospels, that Yahshua’s focus was upon giving, not receiving. He emptied Himself when He left heaven and came to earth. While here He accumulated no earthly goods. He did not own a home. He did not seek possessions. He died owning only the clothes on His back, and even these He freely surrendered to the Roman soldiers who cast lots for His cloak.

Whether you own a home, live in a motorhome, stay in rented quarters, or sleep out under the stars, the important matter is how you arrived at such an experience. Did you choose your manner of living in your own soul, or did the Spirit of Christ direct you? Do your possessions reveal an attitude of contentment? Are your home and furnishings modest, or extravagant? Do you live simply, and frugally that you might have as much money as possible to share with others in need? Is your life an example of one that is poured out for others, or is self-focus evident?

Acts 20:35
Remember the words of the Lord Yahshua, that He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

This should be the attitude of Christians even in a time of peace. How much more so, in an hour when troublous days are seen drawing nearer? Those who make giving a focus are given many precious promises that they will be able to stand upon in the coming perilous days. Yahweh has promised to take care of the needs of those who have given themselves freely and generously to the care of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 28:27
He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.

Isaiah 58:6-9
Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; The glory of Yahweh will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and Yahweh will answer; You will cry, and He will say, “Here I am.”

Proverbs 19:17
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to Yahweh, and He will repay him for his good deed.

Hebrews 13:16
And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

James 2:15-17
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

I John 3:17-18
But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

Matthew 19:21
Yahshua said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

Will the manner in which you have handled the financial and material resources of this world give you confidence in coming days that Yahweh will care for you? Can you draw on the bank of heaven, because you have lent to the Lord by giving generously to the needs of the poor? Will you have assurance that Yahweh will hear your prayers, because your ears were attentive to the cry of those in need?

Whether you have been called to a mobile lifestyle, or have a home and land, it is the will of the Father that you be a giver, rather than a collector. There is a popular saying that relates to mankind’s accumulation of this world’s goods. The saying states, “You can’t take it with you.”


Why wait until you die to give away what you have? The saints in Jerusalem did not. Christ admonished the young ruler with many possessions to sell all, give to the poor, and come follow Him. He promised that in return this man would have treasure in heaven. Are you earthly rich and heavenly poor? Or are you earthly poor and heavenly rich?


It is truly a strange and alien attitude, a sign of an expatriate from this world who has become a citizen of heaven, to travel light through this world. Why not see how much you can give away? You will never be able to out-give God. And when the storms of life descend, as they surely will, you will find that you have far less to lose than others.

---

This is an excerpt from Expatriates.

http://www.heart4god.ws/index_htm_files/Expatriates.pdf

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

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Expatriates - Part Three

Where You Lead, I Will Follow
Joseph Herrin (05-21-2013)


Expatriate:
to banish (a person) from his or her native country.
to withdraw (oneself) from residence in one's native country.
to withdraw (oneself) from allegiance to one's country.
[Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/expatriate]

Genesis 37:13
And Israel said to Joseph, "Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them." And he said to him, "I will go."

The life of the spiritual expatriate always begins with an invitation, or a commandment. Though this may appear obvious to some, it is an aspect of life in Yahweh’s kingdom that demands emphasis.

Yahweh never intends a person’s journey through life to be determined by their own initiative and will. 

Do not rush over this statement. Have you considered the manner by which you arrived at the various decisions that have shaped the course of your life? As a child and youth, our lives are largely shaped by the decisions of parents, or other guardians. A transition occurs as a child finishes High School. They have by this time typically reached the age of 18. In America the age of 18 (or 21) is considered the time of transition into one’s majority. At this age the person is no longer considered a minor. They are responsible for their choices, being legally emancipated. (I do not imply that this pattern is in harmony with Yahweh’s kingdom, merely that it is the societal norm.)

It is the rare individual who at this age yields the rule of their life to God. Most youth, even from Christian families, transition from the rule of their parents to self-rule. They begin to make choices and base life decisions upon their soul’s desires and ambitions. After High School, the individual may decide to go to college, or to a technical training school, to receive the skills and education needed to obtain the job they desire. Their employment goals may be based either upon personal interest in a specific field, or upon the benefits that a job offers. The chief consideration for many is how much money they can potentially earn in a particular career, though some are motivated by other aspects of a career, such as family tradition, travel opportunities, or generous vacation time.

All such considerations are soulish. They are not what Yahweh desires His sons and daughters to use as the basis for decision making. Nevertheless, in the vast majority of cases, Christians are led by their soul’s desires, rather than by the Spirit of Christ.

Yahshua is given as the pattern for all who would be found pleasing to the Father. He demonstrated by His words and actions that every decision of His life was surrendered to His Father in heaven. Yahshua NEVER did anything of His own initiative. He ALWAYS did the will of His Father.

John 5:30
"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

John 8:28
Yahshua therefore said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”

John 8:42
Yahshua said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.

John 12:49
"For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.”

John 14:10
"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”

Christian parents should be promoting a life lived according to the mind of Christ to their children long before they reach the age of emancipation. This requires that parents not only instruct their sons and daughters to yield their will and desires to the rule of God, but that the parents model this behavior. Abraham provides an excellent example of a parental role model.

Throughout his young life, Isaac surely had instilled in him the concept of living a surrendered life to Yahweh. I am sure Abraham and Sarah spoke to Isaac about their departure from the land of their forebears. Isaac understood that his father was living a nomadic life in Canaan because Yahweh had called him to leave his father’s household and travel to a distant land. Furthermore, Isaac observed his father’s commitment to do whatever Yahweh required of him. This firsthand knowledge included Isaac’s experience as a youth when his father took him to the mountain of God to be offered as a sacrifice.

I cannot imagine a more impactful lesson. Isaac must certainly have been profoundly affected by his father’s actions in this matter. The understanding that one must yield EVERYTHING to Yahweh would have been indelibly impressed upon his mind as he observed his father’s obedience and surrender to this terrible experience of self-sacrifice and suffering. Isaac understood by his father’s example that the man who walks in the fear of Yahweh must yield every dream, desire, and passion of his soul to God. Where Yahweh says go, the godly man must go. What Yahweh says do, the friend of God must do.

Abraham’s life reveals an aspect of this pilgrim existence that I have often spoken of in my teachings. Abraham did not leave his father’s household of his own initiative. He did not wake up one day and say, “I am sure tired of this neighborhood. I think I will leave my father’s household and travel, trusting Yahweh to take care of me and my household.”

If this had been the manner by which Abraham arrived at his decisions, he would have had no foundation of faith upon which to stand when he encountered trials of various types. The confidence of the saints comes from the certain knowledge that Yahweh is ordering their steps. In my experiences I have frequently been brought to some trial, some extremity in my circumstances, where calamity loomed and I desperately needed Yahweh to deliver me.

Had I left my employment as a computer professional in 1999 of my own initiative, I would have lacked any confidence that Yahweh would hear my cry in a time of need. On many occasions as I was facing some threat I would seek a place apart with Yahweh and implore Him to intervene. I would remind my heavenly Father that I was brought to this place of danger, lack, or vulnerability, by yielding my will to His. It was by following the path He appointed to me that I was placed in harm’s way.

I did not speak these words as accusation, but rather to establish the ground of faith upon which I was standing. I could entreat Yahweh to deliver my family because our lives were placed into His care at His commandment. I would often rehearse before Yahweh the various ways that He had affirmed His will to me, and how I had followed to the best of my understanding. I would stand upon the fact that He is faithful, and He had given me promises of provision and help when I called unto Him. Those who choose their own course in the world do not share the same assurance.

Abraham is called the father of faith. His life reveals various aspects of the life of faith. Observe in the following Scriptures how Yahweh initiated the acts of Abraham’s life.

Genesis 12:1, 4
Now Yahweh said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you...” So Abram went forth as Yahweh had spoken to him.

Genesis 22:1-3
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." And He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son...

The apostle Paul reveals this pattern of faith and obedience in the following words:

Romans 10:17
So faith is from (ek) hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

The Greek word translated into English as “from” is “ek.” This Greek word means “out.” It is the prefix for the word “eklessia” which means “called out ones,” being the most common Greek word for “church” in the New Testament. Paul is saying that faith has to come out of something. Faith is not that which the name it and claim it crowd declares it to be. Faith does not originate in the soul of man, in his vain imagination, or his carnal desires. Faith is ALWAYS precipitated by a word from God.

When God speaks, when He makes His will known, then a man has something solid out of which faith might arise. Yahweh has spoken. Surely He will bring it to pass. Yahweh has commanded. Surely He will support those who obey. In the writing Understanding Faith and Healing, I shared the following:

If a man, woman, or child has not heard anything from God, faith is not present, and belief is not possible. What many are calling faith and belief is merely positive thinking, or misplaced confidence based upon a wrong understanding of God’s word.

Hearing from God is a necessary part of a life of faith. Without hearing there can be no true faith. Many are teaching a type of faith today that lacks this vital necessity of hearing God give us direction. Many are teaching a false faith that originates in man’s own mind and imagination. They encourage the saints to envision the things they want and then stand in confidence, claiming that they have these things. Elwin Roach wrote regarding this false faith:

Some have called this type of faith the “Prosperity Message,” although in less favorable circles it has been called “Name it and Claim it,” “Bless it and Confess it,” “Blab it and Grab it,” or “What the Heck, Write the Check...”

It is one thing to have the Faith of God as a result of an impregnation of His anointed word which will move mountains, but it is entirely another matter when a man carves an image in his positive-thinking mind and calls it faith, and then holds God ransom with the written word which his carnal mind has little or no understanding of. This, dear reader, is not faith, not even in the farthest stretch of the imagination. It is presumption, and God is not obligated to pay up! 

Many of the saints today have built upon the shifting sands of a false faith doctrine. Its teachings rest upon a belief in a principle of faith. It is taught that if one can work up enough confidence to believe something when they ask for it in prayer, then they will be assured of having their request. The key to this type of faith is the ability of man to believe something. The saints are told that if they can conceive something, and believe in its fulfillment, then they can have it. This is not the type of faith that Abraham demonstrated.
[End Excerpt]

We see the Biblical pattern of God initiating acts of faith and obedience of His people throughout the Scriptures. Yahweh is ALWAYS the initiator of the Christian life of discipleship.

John 6:44
“No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him...”

The Father draws, and Yahshua beckons.

Matthew 4:18-19
And walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Matthew 19:21
Yahshua said to him, "If you wish to be [Greek “teleios”: complete, perfect, lacking in nothing], go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

The life of a disciple of Christ is of necessity a Spirit directed life. Yahweh never instructs a man to conceive some plan in his soul and then ask Him to bless and prosper it. Yahweh must be the initiator of all that is done in His kingdom. Observe the pattern by which the great missionary and apostolic calling of Paul was begun.

Acts 13:2-4
And while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went...

What a critical point this is! Paul and Barnabas did not initiate their ministry. They went forth at the command of the Holy Spirit. This is to be the pattern of all Christian’s lives. May it be the testimony of all of our lives that we are where we are today by the direction of the Spirit. May we all affirm as did the Son of God, “I did not even come of My own initiative, but He sent Me.”

It gives me tremendous peace and confidence to KNOW that I am where Yahweh has called me to be, and I am fulfilling that ministry He has directed me to fulfill. I can testify of the manner by which the Holy Spirit made known His call on my life as surely as Paul and Barnabas. This knowledge has been a steadying anchor when storms have assailed my life. I have held firmly to the knowledge that my ship has been steered by the only Captain qualified to direct the lives of men.

I would have broken under the strain and pressures of life long ago had it not been for the fact that I have handed the reins over to Yahshua. It is too great of a burden to take unto oneself the responsibility to decide what to do when storms and trials come. The crushing weight of decision would have overwhelmed me had I attempted to bear it.

Yahweh has led me through plenty of trials. There have been storms in abundance. I have often been in need, facing some threat, and did not know what to do. Yet, I always knew to Whom I could turn.

One of the most common prayers of my life has been “Father, my eyes are on You! I am looking to You to guide! I am looking to You to deliver!” Observers of my life, most of whom were critics offering reproach and condemnation, were quick to declare that it was my decisions that led to some trial, so they reasoned it was my responsibility to find a solution. Had their words been true, had I actually chosen the path that placed my family into peril, then I would have felt the crushing weight of responsibility. Yet, I knew my accuser’s words to be false. It was Yahweh who had directed my path. Therefore it was HIS responsibility to care for us, and to deliver us.

I have seen men broken as they sought to handle things in their own strength. Having failed to surrender the direction of their life to Christ, they never learned what freedom is found in a simple life of faith. They have acted as if it is their duty to come up with some scheme to provide, protect, and prosper their family. I have been amazed at times at the carnal scheming and unrighteous actions that some men embrace as they know no other counsel than their own, and no other strength than that which man can supply.

I know my inadequacy. The course of life is fraught with too many trials, calamities, and unforeseeable experiences. There are too many variables, too many details outside of my control. My own wisdom, strength, and ability is insignificant in comparison to Yahweh’s. It is far better to let God guide, and to leave the responsibility for one’s welfare in His hands. The days ahead are certain to be tumultuous. The nations will be shaken. The financial system of this world is tottering and will soon collapse. Who is adequate for such things?

I am not advocating laziness, or a careless attitude. A man should be very much concerned for the welfare of his family. Concern, however, does not mean “worry.” Worry is a form of fear. Worry displaces faith. The only sure way to combat worry is to be released from the belief that YOU are responsible to figure all things out and to make things happen. NO! This is Yahweh’s role. When we usurp the role of Yahweh we find that the weight of it is crushing. It will lead a man to despair.

Yahshua said, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” I have heard many interpret these words through the symbolism of two animals, such as oxen, being yoked together to plow a field. Although some good lessons can be drawn from such a comparison, I do not believe this was the symbolism Yahshua intended. The yoke referred to is the yoke of a slave. We are called to be “bondservants” of Christ. The yoke He was referring to is the yoke of slavery.

Ephesians 6:6
As slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart...

Consider how fitting this analogy is. A slave does not have authority to do as he pleases. He lives for the will and pleasure of another. A slave does not direct his own way. His master tells him where to go and what to do. With human masters there is fear, for men are inherently selfish. The Adamic race is not inclined to seek the welfare of another if it impinges upon their own comfort or security. Yahshua, however, is unlike men. He laid down His life for others. He ever seeks the welfare of His servants.

As a bond-slave of Christ I need not worry about whether I will have a place to lie down at night, or food to eat. If I do His will, He has promised to care for me.

Matthew 6:31-33
“Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”

There is rest and peace to be experienced by those who yield their lives to the direction of the Spirit of Christ, a rest and peace that those who direct their own way can never know. When Christ says, “Come, follow Me,” and we yield our will and desires to obey, He becomes the surety and guarantor of our lives. As Paul declared:

II Timothy 1:12
For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day.

Whether you remain in the country of your forebears, or travel to a foreign location; whether you hold down a 9 to 5 job, or are led to circumstances and experiences where Yahweh has become your primary source for all things; the critical factor is that God be the initiator of the life you are living. If you will relinquish the rule of your life to Yahshua, you will find that in addition to being a guiding Shepherd, He becomes the protector and provider for your life.

I challenge you to test whether the life you are living is the life you have chosen for yourself, or the one Yahweh has chosen for you. There is great grace presented to those who yield their lives voluntarily to the rule of Christ. Do not wait for the life you are living to be violently wrested from your hands as the earth goes through its birth pangs. You can have treasure in heaven if you relinquish your life and possessions freely to Christ. There is only loss if God must take these things from you by force.

If you learn today to walk in faith, obeying and trusting Yahweh, you will be prepared to stand in days of tribulation. If you delay, you may find that your faith is inadequate for the demands of the days ahead.

---

This is an excerpt from Expatriates.

http://www.heart4god.ws/index_htm_files/Expatriates.pdf

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

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

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

Monday, June 11, 2018

Expatriates - Part Two

Family Matters
Joseph Herrin (05-15-2013)

Expatriate:
to banish (a person) from his or her native country.
to withdraw (oneself) from residence in one's native country.
to withdraw (oneself) from allegiance to one's country.
[Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/expatriate]

Genesis 12:1
Now Yahweh said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you...”

One of the most difficult aspects of the life of an expatriate is experiencing separation from family. Although we are not given any details of the inner wrestling Abraham endured at the thought of having to leave his relatives and his father’s house behind, I suspect that Abraham found the decision to be a painful one. Abraham understood that his journey was one way. Yahweh gave Abraham no reason to expect that he would ever see his relatives, or his father’s house, again.

Let me take a moment to reiterate a thought here. The life of an expatriate, of an alien and a stranger in this world, is set forth from the first book of the Bible to the last. It is a continuous theme. There was rarely a man or woman of faith whose life was recorded in the Scriptures who did not share aspects of this experience. It is important for Christians to understand this Biblical theme, for everyone who accepts the call to be a disciple of Yahshua must adopt the mind and heart of one who is a wandering pilgrim on this earth.

This is not to suggest that men and women of faith will never be led of the Father to purchase a piece of land, nor to build a home to live in. Not everyone who has the heart of a Christian expatriate will have to leave their relatives, or depart from their father and his household. I can cite a number of examples of men and women at this present moment who I know to be walking by the Spirit, living the life He has chosen for them, who have land and homes and who still dwell among extended family. Many of these men and women have known seasons where they did not have their own home, and did not dwell among family, and this may be their experience again.

The key issue is whether a person will hold loosely all things of this world, being willing to surrender them at any moment as the Father requires. It should not be considered the norm to have house and land and to dwell among family. The words of Yahshua, and the testimony of Scripture, reveal that the true norm is to be asked of God to lay these things aside.

Matthew 10:37-38
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”

Matthew 19:29
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life.”

All those who confess that they will follow Christ as His disciple will be tested in these matters. Abraham is given as an example for the saints today. His life is set forth as a testimony of the ways by which Yahweh deals with those whom He calls friends. Not only did Yahweh test Abraham’s heart by asking him to leave his relatives and father’s household, but after many years of wandering across the land of Canaan Yahweh tested this man again. God had given Abraham the desire of his heart. He was given an heir from his own loins, a child of his old age. Isaac was born to Sarah when she was ninety years old and Abraham was one hundred years of age.

Genesis 22:1-2
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." And He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you."

The church has erred greatly in deeming Abraham’s experience to be unique, something that was exceptional, never to be repeated. I cannot envision a conclusion that is further from the truth. Yahshua would not have stated that a man must hate his father and mother, sons and daughters, wife, brothers and sisters to be His disciple if Abraham’s experience was a one-off event. No! What Yahweh required of Abraham He will require of all those who are called to walk with Him.

Even as Abraham’s great test came after he had ben following Yahweh as an alien in the land for some years, the Father brought me to a similar test. Yahweh called me to leave all I was familiar with in 1999 and to go wherever He directed. By 2004 I knew that my wife was not going to continue this journey with me much longer. When she left, I knew she would take our son Josiah with her. Josiah was fourteen years old at the time. This may be close to the age of Isaac when Abraham was commanded to lay him on an altar.

On July 15th, 2004 my wife announced that she was leaving me. She longed to return to the life of ease that is the portion of most American Christians. The demands of a life of faith were too difficult for her, the trials too bitter. As anticipated, my son Josiah chose to stay with his mother. In one day I lost my wife of seventeen years, and my son. It was a bitter experience.

It had been my practice for some time to read out of a devotional book each day. At the time I was using the excellent book titled Streams in the Desert. On many occasions the Father used the day’s devotion to speak specifically to the experiences I was passing through. When my wife decided to leave, the person whose home we had been invited to stay in dis-invited me. I was asked to pack up my things and leave. I loaded what little I possessed into the car we owned and I drove to the Walmart parking lot where I spent the night. I had only $5 in my pocket, and had no idea what the future held for me. I felt stripped, and emptied, but I had peace with God knowing that I had not turned back from the path Yahweh called me to walk, even when it was exceedingly painful.

As I sat in my car at Walmart I read the devotional entry for the next morning, July 16. I was met with the following words, which the Holy Spirit brought to me with great force and affirmation.

Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will... make your descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky... because you have obeyed Me. (Genesis 22:16-18)

From the time of Abraham, people have been learning that when they obey God's voice and surrender to Him whatever they hold most precious, He multiplies it thousands of times. Abraham gave up his one and only son at the Lord's command, and in doing so all his desires and dream's for Isaac's life as well as his own hope for a notable heritage, disappeared...

This is exactly how God deals with every child of His when we truly sacrifice...

We sometimes seem to forget that what God takes from us, He takes with fire, and that the only road to a life of resurrection and ascension power leads us first to Gethsemane, the cross, and the tomb.

Dear Soul, do you believe that Abraham's experience was unique and isolated? It is only an example and a pattern of how God deals with those who are prepared to obey Him whatever the cost. "After waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised" (Hebrews 6:15), and so will you. The moment of your greatest sacrifice will also be the precise moment of your greatest and most miraculous blessing...
[End Excerpt]

People of God, there was no ram in the thicket for me. Yahweh did not restore my wife or son to me as soon as I proved willing to bear the cost of obedience. He is not obligated to keep us from suffering. Yahweh did not exempt Himself from suffering the bereavement of a Son who was sacrificed. There was no angel that appeared at Calvary to stop the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. There was a cup of suffering from which Christ had to drink. There is also a cup presented to those who would follow in His steps.

Philippians 1:29
For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake...

Some have asked me over the years why God would lead obedient sons and daughters to experiences of separation and loss among their families. Some have expressed difficulty reconciling the following passages of Scripture:

Matthew 19:5-6
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Luke 14:26
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

Why would Yahweh declare the marriage union to be holy in His sight, and then state that a man must hate his wife to be Christ’s disciple? Why would God command a man to honor his father and mother, and then say a man must hate father and mother? Why would God call children a blessing, and then take from a man that which He has given?

I think the answer has to do with priorities. Yahweh wants a husband and wife to love one another. He desires for children to honor their parents and for parents to love their children. Yet these relationships, as important and precious as they are, cannot take precedence over a man’s love, devotion, and obedience to Yahweh his Creator. All things must be kept in their proper order, otherwise chaos will enter into the creation. Even love for family will bring forth death if love for God is not greater still.

We read that Eve sinned in the Garden because the serpent deceived her. Adam, however, was not deceived.

I Timothy 2:14
And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.

It was not Eve’s transgression that resulted in death to all mankind. The seed is found in the man. Had Adam not listened to the voice of his wife and joined her in transgression, death would not have entered into the creation. Mankind would not have become enslaved to sin.

Why did Adam sin if he was not deceived? The first clue we receive is found in the testimony of the man and his wife.

Genesis 3:12-13
And the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." Then Yahweh God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

Again we find that Eve disobeyed God because she was deceived. Adam, however, was not deceived. Adam ate because his wife entreated him to do so. Adam placed his love for his wife above his love and obedience to God. Yahweh confirmed this when He told the man what would result from his fateful choice.

Genesis 3:17
Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'”

Yahweh expressed His will to the man, and Eve expressed her will to the man. Adam placed his love for the woman first. He listened to her, rather than listening to God. The result was death. The creation fell under the curse of sin and death because man had brought confusion to the proper order of all living things. Yahweh must ever be man’s first love, his first priority. To alter this order results in death.

Matthew 22:35-38
And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment.”

Adam did not transgress by loving his wife. His transgression was that he loved his wife more than he loved God. Christ said to His disciples, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Whose commandment did the man keep? Adam did the bidding of the one he loved the most. Adam chose “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” over his Creator.

Is it any wonder that this issue has been a point at which Yahweh has tested mankind ever since? Abraham was tested when Yahweh commanded him to leave his relatives and his father’s household. He was tested when Yahweh instructed him to take his son, his only son, Isaac, and slay him on an altar. Did Yahweh want Abraham to hate his family? No! It is the will of God that we love one another, but our love for Yahweh must always be foremost of all.

I remember well a time when Yahweh was leading my family through some very painful experiences. He had provided for us a home during this season in a community called Payne City (Pain City). My wife did not want to be there. On a number of occasions during our stay in Payne City I remember her saying to me, “You must truly hate me.” Every time she spoke these words I assured her that I loved her, affirming that it would not be love for me to disobey God by shrinking back from the experiences He had chosen for us.

People of God, this is what Christ meant when He said no man could be His disciple unless he “hates” his family. Yahshua will lead His disciples to experiences that their family members find repugnant. Like Eve, our family members will direct us to take another path. We must choose to obey God, or to obey our wives, our parents, our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters. We will choose to love God foremost in our lives, or to put others before Him.

Some of those reading this writing can see a test looming before them. Yahweh has not changed the ways in which He deals with His sons and daughters. There continues to be a high cost to walking with Him. Some men who read this blog know that if they surrender their life fully to go wherever Christ leads them, and to do whatever He requires, that their wife, their children, their parents, their brothers and sisters, will protest. The opposition may be severe. Parents may cut you off from an inheritance. Wives may threaten to leave you. Children may rebel. Brothers and sisters may betray you.

Do not think God will not bring you to the test. Christ has stated:

Matthew 10:34-39
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”

Christ will put you to the test. He will require of you an obedience that is odious to the members of your household. Will you follow when He commands it? Or will you delay to appease wife, or son, or daughter, or father, or mother?

Know this, you who refuse to surrender all to the will of the Father; placing family before God will bring forth death. Adam condemned all his future generations when he put the love of his wife before the love of God. Do you suppose that you or I can make the same choice and reap a different result? Do not be deceived!

Yahshua has not misled any man. He proclaimed boldly to the multitudes that there is a high cost required to be His disciple. He said those who will not pay the cost are unworthy of Him.

All is not bitterness, however. There is a fellowship to be found with Christ as we partake of His sufferings. What we lose in earthly relationships, we gain in intimacy with God. “There is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.” “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.” Yahweh is called “The God of all comfort.” He knows how to bind up the brokenhearted, and how to comfort the afflicted. There is also a great hope set before those who endure sorrow for a night, for joy comes in the morning.

Do you hear Christ calling you to the expatriate life? Know then that the call begins as it ever has.

“Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you...”

“Come, take up your cross and follow Me.”

There is no hope that by delaying the decision to follow Christ you might avoid the cost incurred among family members. One man came to Yahshua and said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” I do not believe this man’s father had yet died. The man was requesting that he might delay following Christ until his father passed away. He likely anticipated that his father would object to his commitment to follow Christ, and he wished to avoid the pain of division and strife in his family.

Do not say, “I will wait a little longer before I yield myself to follow Christ wherever He would lead.” There is no promise that there will be an opportunity tomorrow. We must choose to obey Christ while He is beckoning. Don’t wait for your entire family to get on board. That will likely never happen. The prophet Jeremiah wrote:

Jeremiah 3:14
And I will take you one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.

One from a city and two from a family are not great numbers. It is ever a remnant who will heed the call to come out of Babylon and make the journey to Zion. Will you be one of them?

---

This is an excerpt from Expatriates.

http://www.heart4god.ws/index_htm_files/Expatriates.pdf

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

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

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

Friday, June 8, 2018

Expatriates - Part One

I was reading over some past parables and I came across this one called Expatriates. It brought to mind my daughter Kristin who is at thirty years old going out to a foreign land to bear the testimony of Christ. As Kristin leaves in 5 weeks to go to Poland she will follow the pattern of a very large number of saints who left home to carry the testimony of Christ along with them. I pray that you might remember Kristin's trek and lift her up in prayer, along with all other missionaries you know.

Expatriates

Expatriate:
to banish (a person) from his or her native country.
to withdraw (oneself) from residence in one's native country.
to withdraw (oneself) from allegiance to one's country.
[Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/expatriate]

You have likely never heard a sermon on the subject of expatriates, nor read a Christian book on the topic. Yet it is one of the most pervasive themes throughout the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. From the moment God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden mankind has experienced displacement from the place that was once his home.

Genesis 3:22-24
Then Yahweh God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" - therefore Yahweh God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Eden was mankind’s first home on the Earth. It was a paradise, perfectly suitable for the first man and woman. Yet, due to sin, a paradisaical existence was no longer optimal for mankind. Men needed to toil, to sweat, and to suffer, in order that they might learn obedience and be taught righteousness.

As sin increased, men were driven further from their Edenic origin. Toil increased, and a life of ease and comfort were further withdrawn. After Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden, their son Cain murdered his brother. As a result Cain was driven further into exile from mankind’s original home.

Genesis 4:12-16
You shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth [in perpetual exile, a degraded outcast]. Then Cain said to the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, You have driven me out this day from the face of the land, and from Your face I will be hidden; and I will be a fugitive and a vagabond and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me. And the Lord said to him, “Therefore, if anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark or sign upon Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him. So Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod [wandering], east of Eden.
[Amplified Bible]

The concept of being a wanderer on the earth is closely connected to the theme of being an expatriate. Throughout the Scriptures, those who were driven from their homes, or directed to leave their homes by God, became wanderers. Many of them lived in tents, having no permanent place in this earth. When Cain was driven out from the vicinity of Eden, he became a wanderer. Many English Bibles state that “Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod.” This is a poor translation, however. The word “Nod” means “wandering.” Young’s Literal translation of the Bible provides a more accurate interpretation.

Genesis 4:16
And Cain goeth out from before Jehovah, and dwelleth in the land, moving about east of Eden.
[Young’s Literal Translation]

Being an expatriate and a wanderer is not just a life appointed to those who sin flagrantly against the will of Yahweh. Eight chapters after the account of Cain’s expatriation we read of the first example of expatriation as obedience.

Genesis 12:1-5
Now Yahweh said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you... So Abram went forth as Yahweh had spoken to him... And Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan.

Abraham did not settle in the land of Canaan. He built no house there, and the only land he purchased was for use as a burial ground. Abraham was a wanderer over the face of the earth. Abraham described his experience in the following manner.

Genesis 20:13
And it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father's house...

So pervasive is the experience of leaving one’s home and wandering the earth among the saints of both Old and New Testaments, that finding godly men and women who settled in one place becomes the exception, rather than the norm. The book of Genesis closes with the story of Joseph. It is the longest single story in this opening book of Scripture. Joseph’s preparation for promotion began at the age of seventeen when his father sent him away from his home to go find his brothers who were tending their father’s sheep.

Genesis 37:13-14
And Israel said to Joseph, "Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them." And he said to him, "I will go." Then he said to him, "Go now and see about the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock; and bring word back to me." So he sent him from the valley of Hebron...

A jewel of revelation is uncovered when one looks at the meaning of the name “Hebron.” Hebron means “place of association.” Joseph dwelt with his father Israel in Hebron. Joseph was the favorite son of his father, and his father delighted to keep Joseph nearby. Yet a time came when Israel sent Joseph away. Israel did not know that it would be twenty-two years before he would see his son again. For twenty-two years Joseph lived the life of an expatriate. He lived in a foreign land, among a foreign people, who spoke a strange tongue.

A common denominator among those who are expatriates in the Bible is that they experience more trials, and greater hardship, than those who remain at home enjoying the comforts that settled living affords. Joseph was sold as a slave, and later was falsely accused and imprisoned. The first thirteen years of his experience in Egypt were sorrowful, yet they were crucial for his development as a son whom Yahweh could elevate to a position of honor.

The second book of the Bible brings us the story of Moses. Moses, although a Hebrew, was raised as an Egyptian, in the home of Pharaoh’s daughter. Egypt became home for Moses until the age of forty. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, describes Moses’ life in the following manner:

Acts 7:20-22
And it was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God; and he was nurtured three months in his father's home. And after he had been exposed, Pharaoh's daughter took him away, and nurtured him as her own son. And Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.

Moses, like Joseph, was appointed for great purposes. Because of this, he too needed to be formed and fashioned to bear the power and authority Yahweh determined for him. At the age of forty Moses had to flee Egypt. He fled across the wilderness to the land of Midian where he dwelt as an alien and stranger for the next forty years of his life.

Exodus 2:16-22
Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came to draw water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. Then the shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. When they came to Reuel their father, he said, "Why have you come back so soon today?" So they said, "An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds; and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock." And he said to his daughters, "Where is he then? Why is it that you have left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat."Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses. And she bore him a son. He called his name Gershom (Geershom), for he said, "I have been a stranger (geer) in a foreign land."

So influential was this experience of living in exile to Moses, that he named his firstborn son to bear testimony of his expatriation.

Gershom: from 1644 (garash) a primitive root; to drive out from a possession; especially to expatriate or divorce.
[Source: Strong’s Concordance]

At the end of forty years of living the life of a stranger in the wilderness of Midian, Yahweh appointed Moses to lead the entire nation of Israel to a similar experience. Instead of individuals being expatriated, and wandering about as strangers in a foreign land, we see an entire nation of people being called of God to partake of this way of life. For forty years the children of Israel numbering 600,000 men, besides women and children, experienced a life of wandering in foreign lands. They lived in tents, having no permanent place in the earth. These experiences were necessary to prepare them for the high calling Yahweh had appointed to them. Israel was to be a holy people, Yahweh’s representatives upon the earth, entrusted with the oracles of God.

This experience of leaving one’s homeland, and laying aside any permanent possession in the earth, living as a stranger among a foreign culture, has been used repeatedly by Yahweh to shape men and women for His holy purposes. We can discern part of the effect that such a life has upon mankind from the following passage of Scripture.

Deuteronomy 8:16
In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.

Those who yield their lives to be directed by Yahweh; those who lay aside earthly possessions; those who give up homes and lands to go wherever the Spirit of Yahweh would lead them, experience things their fathers did not know. They become far more dependent upon Yahweh. Even their daily bread becomes an object of much concern.

Those who live settled lives can plant crops. They can erect barns. They can store up provision for days of need. Yet, those who wander about, following Yahweh wherever He leads them, are often unable to do the same. Yahweh becomes the source of provision for those who are aliens and strangers in the earth. He provided manna from heaven and water from the rock while the nation of Israel wandered for forty years in the wilderness. In all this time, Yahweh’s provision did not fail.

Those who follow Yahshua as His disciples are instructed to look to the Father for their provision with the same calm assurance as one would have who anticipates that the Sun will rise in the morning. The birds do not plant seed, nor gather crops into barns, yet every day Yahweh feeds them. The flowers of the field do not spin, nor sew, but they are arrayed far better then Solomon in his splendor. Yahshua taught His disciples to maintain a constancy of devotion and trust toward His Father in heaven. He instructed them to pray, “Give us this day, our daily bread.”

This daily dependence upon the Father for basic necessities encourages humility in the hearts of men and women. Knowing that each day a person is dependent upon the Father for the necessities of life is a safeguard against pride and willful sin. The man or woman who walks in daily dependence upon the Father’s care and provision will not easily forget Him. In the book of Proverbs it is recorded:

Proverbs 30:8-9
Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, lest I be full and deny You and say, "Who is Yahweh?" Or lest I be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.

The person who leaves the stability and comfort of their home to follow wherever Yahweh leads them is more conscious of His presence, and their dependence upon Him. Many more examples could be given. I could speak of Jacob, who spent twenty-one years in a foreign land serving his father-in-law Laban; of David who lived as a vagabond and wanderer for many years, pursued by a jealous king, forced to live in caves, and to seek refuge in foreign lands; of Elijah and Elisha, both of whom were wandering prophets, moved about at the impulse of Yahweh; of Judah and Jerusalem, and men like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who were appointed to endure seventy years in the land of Babylon. Indeed, the life of the alien and stranger were so important in Yahweh’s work among mankind that He instructed Moses to establish laws that would give special consideration to this segment of the population who dwelt among them all their days.

Exodus 22:21-23
And you shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry...

Deuteronomy 24:17
“You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow's garment in pledge.”

Jeremiah 22:3
Thus says Yahweh..., “Do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow.”

Why do you suppose Yahweh includes the alien and stranger in the same category as the widow and the orphan? Is it not because all three are vulnerable and must look to God to care for them?

One can live the life of an expatriate, or an alien and stranger in the land, without having to travel to a foreign country. Consider the example of the sons of Jonadab whose testimony is recorded in the book of Jeremiah. Yahweh wanted to demonstrate something to the prophet Jeremiah, so He instructed Jeremiah to invite the men of the family of the Rechabites, the sons of Jonadab, to a room and set wine before them and entreat them to drink.

Jeremiah 35:5-11
Then I set before the men of the house of the Rechabites pitchers full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, "Drink wine!" But they said, “We will not drink wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, 'You shall not drink wine, you or your sons, forever. And you shall not build a house, and you shall not sow seed, and you shall not plant a vineyard or own one; but in tents you shall dwell all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.' And we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, not to drink wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; and we do not have vineyard or field or seed. We have only dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and have done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.”

How odd the lives of these men and their families must have looked to the other inhabitants of the land! The majority of the Israelites in the land were dwelling in houses. They had fields and vineyards. They lived settled, comfortable lives. This family, however, lived the nomadic life of bedouins. They could have lived like the majority of those around them, but they heeded the counsel of their father who yearned for his descendants to not forsake the ways of Yahweh, nor to forget the One who had brought them into the land. They chose obedience over comfort, the life of a wanderer over conformity to the ways of the people they dwelt among.

Yahweh found delight in this family, and their willingness to live set apart lives unto Him. He declared a blessing upon this family that is recorded only twice in Scripture.

Jeremiah 35:18-19
Then Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father, kept all his commands, and done according to all that he commanded you; therefore thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me always.”’”

The expatriate experience is not limited to the Old Testament. It is observed throughout the New Testament as well. Yahshua continues to call men and women to leave their homes, their possessions, and their settled way of life, and to follow Him as aliens and strangers in this world. Yahweh continues to call His people to live as aliens and strangers in the midst of a society that is at ease.

I Peter 1:1-2
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit...

I Peter 2:11
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul...

The church expanded and prospered after the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost. It was centered in Jerusalem, and was made up mostly of Jews who lived in and around the city. Yahweh once more chose the expatriate life for His people. He used persecution against the followers of Messiah to scatter the church, sending them across Judea and Samaria and throughout the Roman Empire.

Acts 8:1
And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Yahweh continues to mold and fashion sons and daughters for high callings, both in this age and in the ages to come. He uses the same methods, and calls His people to the same type of experiences, that He has always utilized to prepare a remnant for ruling and reigning.

Luke 18:28-30
And Peter said, "Behold, we have left our own homes, and followed You." And [Yahshua] said to them, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life."

Matthew 8:19-22
And a certain scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." And Yahshua said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." And another of the disciples said to Him, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." But Yahshua said to him, "Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead."

Yahshua continues to call men and women to leave their fathers and mothers, and to give up homes and lands, that they might follow Him. Those who have read the testimony of my life know that this has been my experience. The Spirit is testifying that this must be the experience of many others who would rule and reign with Christ in the age to come.

Revelation 20:6
Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

That this type of life is rare among those who profess to be Christians today is not due to God having changed the way He molds and shapes sons and daughters, nor is it due to the cost of Christian discipleship being less than it was 2,000 years ago. It can be attributed to the generally low state of spiritual life among God’s people. There are very few who are yielding their lives to the direction of the Spirit of Christ. The vast majority of men and women in the church are choosing the course of their own life. Their soul is leading the way. They refuse to hand over the reins of their life to the Son of God. Yahshua has always given the same invitation:

Matthew 16:24-25
Then Yahshua said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.”

Matthew 19:21
Yahshua said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Like Abraham, the father of faith, the invitation is set before the sons and daughters of God today to leave their homes and their comfortable lives to follow the Spirit of God wherever He would lead them. There is a remnant who are answering the call, and more will follow in the coming days. Yet it will ever be a small portion of the body of Christ who accept this invitation.

To set oneself apart from the world, to become an expatriate in spirit, embracing the life of an alien and a stranger in this world, will always lead a person to a greater sense of vulnerability. The security of home, of a familiar culture, of a sense of place in this world, are laid aside and a dependency upon God the Father is embraced. Fears must be overcome. Covetousness, idolatry, a desire to be accepted, and the comfort of belonging someplace, or to some group, must be set aside that one may follow the Spirit of Christ wherever He would lead.

In coming posts I will share the experiences of some who are accepting this call. These ones stand out from the crowd of Christian confessors today. They are following God into experiences that are beyond the normal experience of the comfortable, no-cost, Christianity that is proclaimed in myriads of churches. These ones are seeing the hand of God move in extraordinary ways as He proves His faithfulness to care for those whose hearts are wholly devoted to Him.

II Chronicles 16:9
For the eyes of Yahweh move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.

---

This is an excerpt from the following parable:

http://www.heart4god.ws/index_htm_files/Expatriates.pdf


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

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

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