Saturday, November 29, 2008

The God Who is There!

Joseph Herrin (11-29-08)

Psalms 46:1
God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.
[Amplified Bible]

Two Testimonies of Healing - Yahweh Rophe

As I read of your trials regarding your son, I was reminded of a similar situation with my son at the age of six.

Jacob had started complaining about a pain in his chest. The fact that he was only six years of age, and healthy as most those age are, my wife and I both decided that it would pass. As of that time, he had only experienced discomfort that one time, and did not complain about it after this. Some months went by, and he started to feel this pain again, and once again, we paid little heed, as children tend to exaggerate, so it went, for the most part, unattended. As time went by, he started to experience this pain more and more frequently, and he had even been referred to the school nurse for the problem. At this point, we decided to take the next step to determine what exactly was going on. We made an appointment with his doctor, and a cursory exam determined that he was okay. However, the complaints became more frequent, and more severe.

We were directed to the next level of examination, and this continued until we were in the office of a heart specialist, where we were told that Jacob was suffering from a prolapsed valve of the heart, and that the condition was potentially dangerous. What followed was a dizzying journey to a multitude of doctors proficient in that field, and the final result was that Jacob was required to wear a halter monitor that reported the condition of his heart via telephone to LIJ hospital. While this monitoring was going on, the pains were steadily increasing, again both in frequency and severity, to the point where the child would cry uncontrollably in response to the pain. The feeling of helplessness and inadequacy we felt could not be described, and the doctors were still unable to nail down the exact cause, and were considering exploratory surgery to help determine it. The thought of my six year old son being subjected to this was more than I could handle.

Upon receiving a call from my wife advising me of another episode, I went off the deep end. I found myself angry with God for allowing this to happen to my son, and I questioned the reason for it. As I recall, I spent the better part of about three hours engaged in this, and it went from anger, to questions, to intercession on my sons behalf. I remember kneeling on the hard cement floor of the shop, and pleading with God to release my son from this. I had no idea the human body could produce such a profusion of tears, and at the end of what seemed an eternity, I was exhausted. The outcome of all this was, that I realized that I was powerless in this, as were the doctors who still had no idea what was wrong. At that moment, emotionally exhausted, afraid for the health of my first born, I was surprised to hear myself saying, "but Father, Your will, not mine". I had truly realized how inadequate I was in this situation, and relinquished all control to God, then promptly feel asleep on that hard cement floor.

I have no idea how long I had lain sleeping there, as I had lost all concept of time during this, and awoke needing to take a moment to determine where I was, as I had lost track of this as well. I remember feeling as though I had just been in a tremendous battle, and felt even more exhausted than before, not understanding how that could be possible. I also remember feeling broken and defeated, unable to help my child. I ended my day and went home to spend time with Jacob, still in a fog.

When I arrived home, the phone rang. Answering it, the party on the other end was one of the doctors who were charged with Jacobs care, and his first words were, "I don't understand this, but"...Apparently, the team had gone over the results of the latest examination, and were forced to call a leading specialist to consult with due to the fact that they could find no abnormalities with the rhythm, structure or performance of Jacobs heart, despite the results they had been receiving previously, and the latest monitor readout confirmed it.

Jacob today is 19 years of age, blessed with intelligence and abilities far beyond what I would have expected from one so young, and has never complained about chest pains since that day.

I have not thought of this for many years, and it is well that you prompted me to, for I was reminded just what it is we have to be thankful for....relationship with a kind and loving Creator, for whom nothing is impossible, and wants only good for His children. May you be blessed with peace this day, and those that follow.


A Second Witness

Dear Brother Joseph,

Though there have been many times in my life where Father has shown His faithfulness, the time that will always stand out most for me is when our 8 month old first-born child...our son... was diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. Though I had never missed a Sunday in our Baptist Church for the first 15 years of my life, and though I was aware of God and "dedicated" my life at the tender age of 9, I had never sat under good sound teaching. About the only thing I remember from those years at "church" was the extreme emphasis on giving money and Sunday school attendance.

At age 15 I became interested in other things and stopped going to church. Though I thought of God a lot at Christmastime, I really didn't know what I was suppose to do with my "faith" and was certainly unaware that there was a relationship with a "Father" to pursue. Besides, my concept of "father" was skewed by the verbal and sometimes physical abuse of my earthly "father." He had deserted us when I was four then suddenly reappeared when I was twelve to step into that role, spending what little time he was home trying to "fix" two well behaved little girls. He was a merchant marine who was thankfully gone 9 months out of each year or the damage could have been much worse. Needless to say, the idea of an all-powerful God being a loving Father has been an elusive concept that was an ongoing struggle for me then and has been so throughout my Christian life.

However, my heavenly Father was faithful to me before I ever truly committed my life to Him. Upon hearing the cancer diagnosis, I immediately began analyzing my life and came to the conclusion that God would never listen to my prayers, so I called in the minister that married my husband and me. He immediately came to the hospital, prayed with us, and put us on every prayer list he knew about. There were even nuns praying for us as far away as the Bahamas. Meanwhile, surgery was postponed twice because the radiation and chemotherapy treatments weren't shrinking and hardening the tumor as doctors had hoped, and the latest tests had shown that the cancer had infiltrated the liver and the main artery to the legs and was therefore inoperable. Fortunately the doctors consulted with one another before telling us they were canceling the surgery. Instead of canceling surgery, they miraculously decided to "at least go in and take a look." Upon opening up our son's belly, the doctors discovered the largest tumor ever found in a child that young. In fact, this type of tumor usually wasn't discovered at all until age six, and by then it was always terminal. This tumor that was half of our then 9 month old son's right kidney and...after shrinking by 1/3 and weighing over a pound...was the size of a small grapefruit and had compressed the liver and the artery. Miraculously it had not even spread into its own capsule or anywhere else in our baby's body. The doctors were able to just peal the tumor right off of his liver and artery, and safely removed tumor and kidney without spilling any cancer cells. The tumor was put on display in the Medical Museum in Washington, D.C.

In spite of the successful surgery, the medical team decided that our son would have to undergo an aggressive and caustic form of chemotherapy until he was over 2 1/2 years old. They wanted to "play it safe," warning us not to expect him to weigh more than 20 lbs until after the treatments were completed. Imagine a 2 1/2 year old weighing under 20 lbs...he'd be a mere skeleton with skin stretched over bone! They told us that his veins were so tiny they'd have to administer the treatment through veins in his feet, and one of the risks was that the needle could penetrate completely through the vein and the caustic poison would then burn the surrounding tissue inside his foot, causing a third degree burn from the inside of the foot to the surface. They also told us that because of the location of the tumor, all the radiation they gave him would cause scoliosis in his lower spine and that he would be uncoordinated and drag a foot. They also informed us that we were to keep him away from other children because chicken pox would look more like small pox and simple colds would develop into pneumonia. Additionally they warned us that he would lose all of his hair.

The effects of the first course of chemotherapy typically ravaged our son's little body, landing him in the hospital with severe dehydration. Of course, he lost his hair...sporting a very shiny, smooth pate...and his bones were showing through his transparent skin. He looked like one of the malnourished children you see on television. This was after his treatments in January and April. By June, I was saved through a "strange" circumstance. We had just moved into a rental house and suddenly met our neighbor from across the street when her daughter backed into our little Austin Healy, placing a dinner plate-sized dent in the trunk. In the course of the incident, my neighbor witnessed to me, my heart leaped, and I was gloriously "saved." By July I was "baptized in the Spirit" and was made aware of the power of prayer and anointing with oil. By the way...the dent came out of the trunk of the car without a trace when my husband closed the trunk!

The first Scriptures that the Lord led me to were the ones on healing because I desperately needed that teaching at that time in my life. Because I was not steeped in the traditions of men taught in most churches, I was wide open to the Lord's revelation. I was simple enough in my child-like faith to take what God said in His Word as absolute Truth. When our son had his next treatment he experienced some nausea and vomiting a few times, but once I began "standing against" the nausea in Yeshua's Name the vomiting stopped. I began recognizing the "urpy" look on his face and prayed as soon as I saw it. The more I did so the less the incidents occurred, until finally the nausea and vomiting stopped and never happened again. Our son became stronger and healthy, looking like any normal child of his age...except for the bald head. In fact, he became so strong that he began to fight his treatments and had to be put in a straight jacket. In spite of the restraint, it still took a male nurse and myself to hold him down so he'd be still enough for the treatment to be administered. Then I learned that I could silently pray in the Spirit and he'd settle down. Eventually, they stopped putting the restraint on him and he'd lay there during the treatment and look at a picture book. At his last treatment he weighed 29 pounds and had a full head of hair!

One time the dreaded thing happened...the poison infiltrated the tissue around the injected vein and his foot was burned. The doctor told me that he'd have to go to a plastic surgeon within a week to undergo a graft on his foot. Meanwhile, I was to soak the foot in a warm Betadyne water solution to avoid infection. I watched in horror as the small, white pin-prick-sized blister within my son's foot emerged to the surface and became a blister that covered half of his foot. I dutifully soaked it, but then the blister broke. I cried out to Father, asking Him how I could possibly put an open blister into water. I prayed in Yeshua's Name as I gingerly placed the gaping sore into the water. My son didn't even wince...he just sat there with his foot in the water and played! In a week I took him to the plastic surgeon, who couldn't believe it was a second degree burn and decided against the surgery... it healed without a scar too!

When he was almost two, I took our son to the zoo. I was pushing him around in his stroller when a woman stopped me and asked me what I had done to my son's hair. I was upset with the lady's brash outspokenness, but I was more concerned about the affect her outburst would have on my son, as he was very bright and understood what she had said. For that reason I asked the Lord to please not allow my son's hair to fall out after the next treatment and miraculously it didn't fall out again until his very last treatment, after which he ended up with a head of curly hair!

Every time the doctors would come up with some negative prognosis, I'd pray against it and Father would take care of it. Once the doctor told me that our son would always be tiny. He's about 5'8", which...considering that his dad is 5'5" and mom is under 5'4" another miracle. Remember when the doctors told me that he'd drag a foot and wouldn't be coordinated? Well, our son has black-belts in two forms of martial arts and is into outdoor sports! The scoliosis reared its ugly head when he was four. I had just given him a bath and was drying off his back when I noticed the curve in his lower back. I had been to healing services where I had seen people with bad backs healed. Generally they had one leg or arm shorter than the other, depending on whether the problem involved the upper back or lower back. The evangelist would have them hold out their arms or legs to demonstrate that they differed in length. Prayer would be offered to God to heal their backs and suddenly the arm or leg would "grow" to the length of the other one. When I sat our son down and measured his legs, one was a good inch longer than the other. I told him to remind me Sunday to take him up for prayer, but I sensed inside me that the Lord said, "No, you do it." With my son's feet in my hands I obediently prayed. I no sooner spoke the Name of Yeshua when my son's leg lengthened right before my eyes!

My son never got so much as the sniffles during his months of chemo. The miracles didn't escape the notice of the doctors or medical staff...our son was the talk of Walter Reed Hospital. In fact, at the end of our son's last treatment the oncologist confided in me that because of my son's case he had committed his life to God...a great miracle!

At this time I want to say that when I prayed in the Name of Yeshua, I wasn't using the Name as some kind of incantation or mantra. It not with an air of presumptuousness, it was all about trusting in His character and His Love...Who He is and what He is willing and able to do for us, in us, and through us on behalf of others for His Own glory and for His Name's sake.

Aside from my son's healings, I could go on and on about other miracles that the Lord has done during my times of need...even down to drying our son's diapers while they were hanging on the clothesline in the rain. I didn't have a dryer and I had no more clean diapers. This may seem to be a small thing to some people and presumptuous to others, but it had been raining for a week and I was in a desperate situation. It rained everywhere but over my clothesline...the clothes didn't even get wet when I took them off the line and carried them into the house! God is faithful...even in the "small" things.

Praise You Lord...great is Your faithfulness!


A Testimony of Provision - Yahweh Yireh

Dear Joseph Herrin:

The Lord has led me in so many ways and provided for me in so many ways since He brought me to Him in the fall of 2000 it is hard to pick out one to report on. I can't say that any are as dramatic as your son's healing but I feel His hand on me daily.

Recently, He brought me to quit working full time and take a per diem position. He spoke the name of the facility He wanted me to go to and that is where I now am. Going from full time to per diem (meaning I am not promised any time, but fill in only when needed) has significantly decreased our disposable income. I have felt that this is to prepare us for the days ahead when there will be less money all around - we need to be getting used to spending less, consuming less, requiring less.

We certainly, now, are not starving and can pay all our bills (He did arrange for us to have free cell phone use and free internet and tv use so we are not paying those bills) but there really isn't any extra and we are used to being able to give where we are presented with a need. I have told the Lord that we really want to be able to continue to give if there is a need we learn about and it is His will, but He will have to find me the time to work, or get us the money some other way. For instance, last year we were able to assist a family whose father/husband lost his job and whose mother was unable to work due to illness.

Now that vacation season is over, there is not much work for me, especially nothing scheduled. I asked the Lord, what do you want me to do? and He immediately said "wait, don't do anything quickly" (shades of a parables blog!). So, I haven't looked for another job, I've just waited. Last week, I ended up working 4 days - more than I have worked in one week all summer! All from being called in at the last minute, or from another nurse asking me to work for her so she can take it off!

This week, I had one day scheduled and thought that is all I would have. Then, just this afternoon, I received a call asking me to work tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day) for four hours in the morning. Because it is a holiday, I will get paid for double time - eight hours - and still be able to attend my daughter's Thanksgiving meal! And by working four days last week and two this week that averages to three a week which allows us some extra to save for some future need when it comes along. God is just awesome!!!! I've also noticed that my husband is being sent farther away from home in his consulting and he gets milage for his travel - so our travel checks have been much larger and that is also an extra source of income. Just when we need it, it seems to come in. Again I say "God is just awesome!"

I am very much looking forward to reading of others experiences with God. I know that, when I first read your account of faith living several years ago it greatly encouraged me and frankly gave me a direction to pray towards.

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

With love in Christ Jesus my Lord,

Nancy Goldman

Heart4God Website:
Parables Blog:

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

Friday, November 28, 2008

More on Leaning on the Arm of Flesh

The Following article was sent to me by a sister in Christ. It serves as a wonderful second witness to the recent post on Leaning on the arm of the flesh.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days/


-by David Wilkerson (June 2, 2008).

Christians all over the world have a sense we’re living in the final days. The mounting crises, the growing fears, the signs of great shaking — all these things are evident, even to secular commentators. Now, for every follower of Jesus, the question of the hour is this: “Will my faith endure what is coming?”

I believe the most important issue of this hour has to do with what is called “enduring faith.” Simply put, will the faith of God’s people endure the terrible shaking of all things, the intense trials and testings to come, which no previous generation has faced?

Jesus promised, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). When Christ spoke this, he had just described the frightful trials to come upon his disciples: false messiahs, wars and rumors of wars, nation pitted against nation, upheavals in the natural world, earthquakes and pestilence, persecution and martyrdom (see 24:4–12). When those days arrive, Jesus said, “Many shall come in my name… and shall deceive many” (24:5).

What would be the impact of all these things on the church, those who call themselves by his name? Jesus states very clearly: “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (24:12).

Already, our nation is feeling the tremors of the frightful shaking.

Right now, America is facing an economic “perfect storm.” This past March (2008), the American financial system nearly collapsed. Bear Stearns, one of the nation’s top financial institutions, had to be rescued from bankruptcy by the Federal Bank. The Wall Street Journal, a newspaper not prone to alarmism, blared the startling headline: “Fed Saves American Financial System From Collapse.”

The Fed had to pour $30 billion into the deal initially, to stave off a panic that would have sunk this nation into the worst economic depression in its history. To date, more than $300 billion has been put into the system to save it.

Ten years ago, I wrote a book entitled, America’s Last Call: On the Brink of a Financial Holocaust. In that book, I warned of the following events:

-There would be a meltdown of the bond market.
-God’s judgment would strike suddenly on the U.S. economy.
-A brief, false sense of prosperity would precede the coming economic collapse. (This short flicker of prosperity would be God’s final mercy call before the chastening to come.)
-There would be a real estate meltdown, with a market made up of mostly sellers and very few buyers. Multitudes would lose their homes to repossession.
-There would be an ominous rise of homosexual power.
-A sudden storm of confusion would take place on Wall Street.
-God’s watchmen and prophets would be silenced.
-The U.S. dollar would collapse.
-America would lose control of its economy. To date, China has loaned America hundreds of billions of dollars. We have become the world’s number one debtor nation, no longer in control of our finances.
-Along with many other watchmen, I see that the greatest shaking of all is still to come.
-What we are about to witness upon the earth will affect every person living. The world is going to see a temporary calm, with relative stability, causing many to say, “The crisis has passed.” But in truth, the real panic will still be ahead of us.

Right now, a political madness is gripping America. Think about it: it is utter madness for politicians to promise all kinds of new, multibillion-dollar programs, while the Fed is scrambling to keep the nation’s head above the rising flood of debt.

Yet, for the church of Jesus Christ, the real issue is not economic collapse. It isn’t even about who presides over the nation. Rather, it is all about enduring faith.

Indeed, this one issue has to be foremost in the minds of all who claim to serve Jesus. I ask you: do you at present have an abiding trust in the Lord that will hold up when the world descends into chaos? Or will you waver in times of affliction, as the fearful things Jesus said would come begin to appear on the earth? When that hour comes to pass, will your love for the Lord endure? Or will it grow cold, as Jesus predicted would happen to so many believers?

I ask these questions not to judge or condemn anyone concerning his or her walk with Christ. I ask them of our readers only because these are the questions Jesus put to all who would choose to follow him.

Christ asked, “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Let me give you the context for Jesus’ question here.

He had just told the story of a persistent woman who asked a judge to rule in her favor and bring justice to her cause. Jesus uses her as an example of the kind of persistent, enduring faith he is looking for: the kind that calls upon God in times of trial and trusts him to fulfill his promises. Christ knew such enduring faith would be the only kind able to sustain his people in the times to come.

When Jesus addresses this issue of enduring faith, he speaks of those whose belief will endure “but for a while.” In other words, when their prayers are not answered — when the deadlines for their requests are not met — they will fall into unbelief. Why? Their faith has no roots.

“He hath no root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended” (Matthew 13:21).

Too often, when afflictions begin showing up in such believers’ lives, they become offended. You’ve probably heard such “offense” expressed by Christians who have faced dire afflictions. They have read God’s Word, they have claimed certain promises, they have prayed earnestly, but still their trial continues. And, over time, because they haven’t seen an answer to their prayers, they become offended by the Word they’ve been clinging to.

At some point, a seed of unbelief is planted in their heart. And soon they begin to question God’s faithfulness. They can’t shake the nagging thought that the Lord has failed to keep his promises to them.

They trusted in him for a while. Whenever you talked with them, their conversation was full of faith, and they testified of God’s trustworthiness. But now you begin to hear little doubts in their speech. Instead of faith, you hear questions, remarks that betray an inner unbelief.

Make no mistake, Satan feeds those growing doubts. Over time, prayer becomes a burden to such believers. Their love for God’s Word begins to fade until they never pick up their Bible anymore. Eventually, their passion for Christ is reduced to a flicker.

Some reading this message are in a dangerous place with their faith. Maybe what I’ve said here has struck a chord in your soul. I must ask you: have you allowed seeds of unbelief in your heart? Do you now have serious questions regarding God’s faithfulness? Instead of worshiping him, do you now doubt him?

“Lord, why haven’t you intervened for me? Why have you allowed such confusion in my marriage, my family? You have put on me more than I’m able to bear.” Such an attitude can lead to a hardened heart and eventually spiritual deadness.

The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy, “Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). The Greek word for “hardness” here indicates suffering, difficult afflictions. What does Paul say about these things to Timothy? “Endure them, son! You are a soldier in the Lord’s army. You’ve been trained to undergo hardship in spiritual battle.”

We see this reflected in the Old Testament as well. We are told, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him” (2 Chronicles 16:9, my italics). The Hebrew word for “perfect” in this verse means “wholly given to him in trust.”

Think of it: God looks down upon the whole earth, searching diligently for that man or woman of faith who is wholly given to him in trust. Whenever the Lord finds such a servant, he says of that person, “This beloved one is holding fast to his faith and confidence in me. Therefore, I will show myself strong to him. He’s going to know my power, to see my strong arm revealed on his behalf.”

The words in this verse were first spoken to King Asa, ruler of Judah, by the prophet Hanani. The searching eyes of the Lord had come upon King Asa, who was loved because he “did what was right before God’s eyes.”

Asa was by every measure a righteous man who trusted God. He walked in faith, bringing each matter before the Lord so he might receive divine direction. The king was a devoted man of prayer, wholly dependent on God — and his actions proved it.

Asa abolished idolatry in the land, tearing down all false gods. He abolished witchcraft, sodomy and prostitution. And he built up the cities, with strong towers, high walls and secure gates. Under this faithful king’s rule, the nation of Judah prospered and was blessed.

And Asa was faithful to remind the people that all their blessings had come to them “because we have sought the Lord our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered” (2 Chronicles 14:7).

It must have been wonderful to be an Israelite living in Judah at that time. Try to imagine the atmosphere in Judah during those years under Asa’s righteous rule. There was peace all around, with everything in divine order. The people were blessed, with full employment and abundant harvests, because God was in their midst. No one had to go off to war, because both the king and the people were seeking after the Lord. There was no call for judgment because these were an obedient people.

But one day, suddenly, that peaceful environment changed. A messenger brought to Asa a frightful report: a million-man army was spied heading toward Judah. The Ethiopians and Lubims had combined forces, and now they had a huge militia. It was made up of 300 chariots, multitudes of horsemen, and a million-man infantry, all racing toward Judah and bent on its destruction.

On the very day prior to this, Asa had called on the people to give thanks to the Lord, for the peace and blessings they were enjoying because they had sought him. Now we read, “And there came out against them…” (2 Chronicles 14:9). Overnight, Judah was at war, facing one million hostile soldiers.

So, what does a trusting servant of God do when facing such a dilemma? How does he react? Will he panic? Will he turn to the arm of man for help, or place everything into the Lord’s hands, in total trust?

God had his searching eye on Asa in this critical hour. What was the righteous king’s reaction?

“Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee. So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled” (2 Chronicles 14:11–12).

Tell me, what does Asa’s reaction here say to us, the church of Jesus Christ, today? This godly man had been given the most horrible, frightful news. He was facing incomprehensible odds against his survival, much less victory.

Beloved, the meaning of this passage is clear: it shows us that victory — impossible victory — is preserved for those who put their trust wholly in the Lord.

The awful crisis had fallen on Asa and Judah during their most wonderful time of seeking the Lord, when God was smiling on them with his favor.

I can’t explain why the Lord allows attacks on his godly servants. But I do know Scripture warns us to expect fiery trials to test our faith. Yet, even so, we are told God will find pure gold in our enduring faith.

Surely the Lord was pleased with Asa’s faith in this crisis. Still, he sent a prophet to warn him:

“Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah…The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if you seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you” (2 Chronicles 15:2).

The prophet added that this had been true for God’s people throughout their history. In times past, whenever there was no peace but only vexation and trouble, each time God’s people turned to seek him he was found of them (see 15:3–4).

Azariah’s prophecy to Judah is a warning to the church of Jesus Christ today as well: “One glorious victory of faith is not enough.”

More great trials will come to pass in the life of every believer. Indeed, the more you seek the Lord, the greater your call, the deeper your walk with him — you’ll also encounter further afflictions and sufferings, ever-increasing tests of faith. These will continue until the end, Scripture assures us.

So, what is God’s message to us in all of this? Simply the following: We are not to be shaken in faith when even greater tests come upon us.

Beloved, please know that I do not speak this word to you lightly. What I am preaching in this message has been born from my own personal crucible of great sufferings, hard times and crushing trials of faith.

Don’t misunderstand: I am not complaining. I can testify that I have seen the loving hand of God in every trial and tribulation throughout my years. I have watched as my wife, Gwen, and my two daughters have come close to death from cancer. I have endured the death of a granddaughter from cancer. I have seen all my children and grandchildren under attack at various times. And I have gone through personal fiery trials.

Through it all, I have experienced eclipses of faith, where the Lord’s face seemed completely hidden from me during my ordeal. Yet, after all these years of afflictions, here I stand, testifying that God has brought me through each trial with peace and his song of victory.

Yet, this is not the end of the story.

After thirty-six years of walking in trust and enduring trials faithfully, Asa grieved God’s heart. Another terrible crisis arose in Asa’s life. This time, the righteous king of Judah lost his faith.

Up to that point, Asa had lived as a trusting man of God. He was a vibrant example of devoted faith and zeal, seeking the Lord continually. His ministry over Judah had brought about a powerful spiritual revival in that land, establishing God’s righteous rule.

Then another sudden crisis befell Asa and the nation of Judah. This time, word came to the king that Jerusalem was being blockaded by an enemy army. All trade routes into Judah had been shut down by this foe. The town of Ramah, just five miles outside of Jerusalem, had been invaded, captured and fortified, with all roads shut. No one could go in or come out. The blockade could cripple Judah’s economy. Something had to be done quickly, or the people would starve. So, what did King Asa do?

This time, he did not go to the Lord. In fact, Asa didn’t even pray or consult his spiritual advisors. Instead, he panicked. He didn’t just put his trust in man — he relied on his own enemy! Asa turned to wicked king Ben-hadad of Syria, Judah’s arch enemy, to seek military aid.

In this way, Asa bribed his way out of the conflict. He stripped the nation’s treasury of all silver and gold and sent it to King Ben-hadad, with this message: “Here is all of our gold and silver. It’s yours. Just get this invader off my back. Deliver me from my attacker.”

How utterly tragic! It is always a great tragedy when godly people who have trusted God before the world’s eyes suddenly fail in their belief, turning to the flesh in a time of crisis. And the world responds with mockery, saying, “Is this what happens after spending years believing in God? Is this how faith ends, in shipwreck? How foolish that you ever believed in God in the first place.”

Now another prophet was sent to Asa, with this word from the Lord:

“Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand…. Therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars” (2 Chronicles 16:7, 9).

Let me sum up this whole issue of enduring faith. Here is enduring faith: it is the committing of all things into God’s hands. Enduring faith says to the Lord, “I cast every event, every future success, into your care. And I hold you to your promise to commit all that you are — all your omniscience and omnipotent strength — to preserve me.”

Whenever we face afflictions and persecution, Satan comes to us whispering fears and lies:

“How are you going to make it through this crisis? What will you do now? If God is faithful, how could he allow this to happen to you? How could he put your loved ones at risk this way? What will become of you, your family, your job, your ministry?”

But enduring faith rises up and answers the enemy’s lies:

“Devil, you’re asking the wrong questions. The question for me right now is not how I’m going to make it. It is not what shall become of me and mine. I have already placed everything — all afflictions, all trials, everything that concerns me — into my loving Father’s hands. I have trusted all future events to him. And he has proved himself faithful time after time. He is trustworthy with my future.”

With this established in our hearts, the question for us then becomes clear. The question for us is, “How can I love and serve my Lord better? How shall I serve others as myself?”

You see, enduring faith means casting ourselves wholly on the will of God as Jesus describes it in the Sermon on the Mount. In short: we are to seek God and his concerns first, and the desires of our heart will then be given to us (see Matthew 6:33).

Enduring faith declares, “I have no will of my own. Rather, his will be done. No more personal agenda for me. No more playing God by trying to solve my own problems or those of others. Holy Spirit, keep my mind stayed on my Lord and his promises.”

With such faith, we’ll be ready for whatever the present hour brings. Amen!

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Joseph Herrin
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Montezuma, GA 31063

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Joseph Herrin (11-25-08)

I have received a considerable amount of response to the recent post Leaning on the Arm of the Flesh. Some have blessed me by sharing testimonies detailing how the Father directed them to lean upon Him for a very serious and pressing need. Testimonies of Yahweh’s power and presence in the lives of His children do much to stir up faith in the hearts of others of God’s children.

In this blog post I would like to invite you to participate in a Thanksgiving opportunity. I would like to hear from you about a specific time that you were led to trust God for a very practical need and you found Him faithful. Please write your testimony so that it can be shared publicly with others, and I will post these testimonies in coming days on the Parables Blog.

Your witness as a son or daughter of God serves as a powerful encouragement to others who are faced with trials and pressing needs. Remembering the ways in which God has revealed His watchfulness over your life and those around you also will encourage you.

Please take the time to sit down during this Thanksgiving season and remember the faithfulness of God. Even if you only believe your testimony is of a small thing, do not neglect to share it. If God is faithful to meet even the small needs of life, how much more can we trust Him for the large things? You never know how your testimony of the goodness of God will impact another person.

Malachi 3:16-17
Then those who feared Yahweh spoke to one another, and Yahweh gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear Yahweh and who esteem His name. "They will be Mine," says Yahweh of hosts, "on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him."

I will begin this exercise in recounting the faithfulness of God by sharing an excerpt from the book Evidence of Things Unseen.

Father, Will You Heal My Son?

Both my son Josiah and my daughter Kristin were born with a hereditary bone disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which simply means “imperfect bone formation.” The common name for this disorder is “Brittle Bone Disease.” Kristin was born first, and she entered this world already having suffered a fracture of the thigh while in the womb. This fracture had healed by the time of her birth. She then broke three more bones by the age of two, and at one time she had both legs in a cast simultaneously. Josiah was born two years after Kristin, and he also experienced a broken bone when he was only a year old.

When our children were at this early age, someone suggested to my wife and I that we should apply for government SSI benefits for children with disabilities. We were told that these benefits would pay for all medical expenses, as well as providing a monthly stipend for the child’s support. I did not seek God’s mind on this matter. The money and the free medical care both sounded appealing, so we applied for these benefits on both of our children. Remarkably, Kristin was turned down although she had already experienced four fractures. Josiah, who had only one fracture at this time, was accepted.

God was about to demonstrate something to me through this peculiar set of circumstances. Over the course of the next six years Josiah was to break eleven more bones, and have surgery twice to put a bone in place. Kristin, who had been turned down for these government benefits, never suffered another fracture. By the time Josiah reached the age of seven Tony and I had been in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices regularly. We were continually taking Josiah to receive medical care for his many broken bones. The knowledge that I was not having to pay a dime for Josiah’s medical care provided little consolation to me, neither did the fact that I was getting three to four hundred dollars a month for his support. My heart was burdened for my son.

It does not take much for a child with this disease to injure himself. On one occasion, when Josiah was about three or four years old, he was in the doctor’s office and had just gotten a cast off of his leg. When the doctor stepped out of the room for a minute, Josiah got up to walk over to a nearby trash can, and he fell down right before he got there. Tony recognized the tone of Josiah’s crying and knew that he had broken another bone. The doctor came back in and she told him what had happened. He agreed to x-ray him, and he found that he had fractured the same leg in a different location. The doctor was amazed, saying that he had never had a patient break a bone while in the office.

Seeing my son endure so many injuries was tearing at my heart. I knew that every time Josiah was in a cast that his muscles would grow weaker and this would compound the problem, for the muscles provided support to the bones. If both the muscles and bones were weak he would injure himself much more.

I had often prayed for my son before, but on one particular day I really poured my heart out. I told God that I wanted my son to be able to play like other boys. I wanted him to be able to ride bikes, and play on trampolines, and play ball without breaking his bones. I wanted him to be able to have fun with the other young boys, and not have to hobble along on crutches, looking at the others play while he stood watching. God spoke to me on this day and He said, “I will heal your son, but you will have to trust me completely and not lean on any other for His healing.”

A number of thoughts began to come to my mind. I was reminded that since my daughter had been turned down for SSI benefits that she had not broken another bone, but Josiah, having the benefits, continued breaking multiple bones each year. Now, I suppose some could have looked at this and said, “See, God knew which child would break the bones, so He gave you medical benefits for that child.” This, however, was not what I was discerning in the spirit. I believed God had orchestrated this matter to demonstrate to me that when we lean on the arm of man we will have to depend upon that in which we place our trust. He was speaking to me that if I would cancel all SSI health benefits on my son that He would become his source of health, and He would heal Josiah even as He had healed my daughter.

Man offered no cure for this bone disease. All man could do was patch my son up every time he hurt himself. I much preferred that God should heal Josiah, than that I should receive free medical care every time he injured himself. To the natural mind what God was asking us to do seemed like pure folly. Josiah was freshly out of a cast, and had experienced two fractures that year. These government SSI benefits were hard to get, and many people employed the use of lawyers to attain them. Yet we were to cancel our benefits on Josiah and then trust God to heal him.

I knew this was the way God worked, for He had already revealed to me the principle of placing your feet firmly in the water before seeing His provision. I really did not struggle much in making this decision, for I had a strong witness of what God had spoken to me. When I shared these things with my wife Tony she also was willing, so we took the step of calling the SSI offices and canceling Josiah’s benefits. The SSI staff could not understand why we would turn down these coveted benefits, and they tried to talk Tony and I into delaying our decision. We were adamant, however, knowing what God required of us. We terminated benefits on our son.

When I was praying about this matter, the Lord told me that I would not need to baby my son. I felt that I was to instruct Josiah to ride bikes, play on trampolines, roughhouse with the boys, and play ball, while trusting God to protect him. I had to coax my wife some in this, for she was still leery of his injuring himself, but I believed God would prove Himself faithful in what He had spoken to me. I had asked Him to let my son play as other young boys did, and I trusted Him to keep Josiah safe in all of these activities.

Josiah is now fourteen years old, and he has not broken another bone. Kristin also has remained break free during this time. I have seen Josiah take some terrible spills on bicycles, which would have certainly resulted in fractures before, but he has come away with only scrapes and bruises. When I think of what God has done for my son my eyes well up with tears. Our Father in heaven is so merciful and compassionate to us. When we ask for bread, He will not give us a stone. When we ask for a fish, He will not give us a serpent.

God will ask us to do things that appear risky, or even downright foolish, to the natural mind. He has always done so with His children. He requires faith to be manifested on our part before He will reveal His provision. Great are the rewards for those who believe.
[End Excerpt]

Note: This testimony was written over four years ago. My children are now 18 and 20 years of age.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Heart4God Website:
Parables Blog:

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

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Leaning on the Arm of the Flesh

Joseph Herrin (11-23-08)

II Chronicles 16:7-9
At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, "Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on Yahweh your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on Yahweh, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of Yahweh move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this.

Many Christians do not realize how much they have been conditioned to look to man to deliver them in all of their difficulties and crises. Looking to God in a time of need is actually a rare thing among the people of God in this hour. Most Christians who reside in western nations live by sight, rather than by faith. They have adopted the thoughts and methods of the world in which they live, and they are quick to look to a worldly source of provision whenever a need arises.

It is very common for a Christian to look to man’s provision in almost all areas in which they might have a need. If they encounter a financial crisis, or have some pressing financial need, they will look to the bank for provision, taking out a loan, or using a credit card. If they have a health need they will look to the doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to take care of the problem. If they have a conflict with another individual, or are dealing with a corporation and need relief, or seek some compensation, they will hire a lawyer and pursue a resolution through the courts of man.

I do not deny that God will at times work through such means, but He does not always desire to do so. Yahweh desires that His children would habitually look to Him when they have a need. The people of God often do not see Him work sovereignly on their behalf because they do not ask, nor do they wait upon Him to discern His will in a matter.

Failing to develop the habit of looking to God, and leaning heavily upon Him when a need arises, will prove very costly in coming days. Many crises are about to beset the people of God. There will be trials of hunger, and shelter, and health, and safety, and in many other areas. Even now Satan is establishing patterns of behavior where men and women automatically look to their governments and other agencies of man to deliver them.

I was speaking today with Randy Simmons, and we were discussing the trials to come. A relative had made a comment recently that when the economy of America collapses that at least we would all be in the same boat, experiencing the same trials. This is both true and false. The circumstances of many will be very similar in that they will be living in a day of great distress. However, the experiences of individuals will vary greatly. Those who have been developing the habit of looking to God to meet their needs will be prepared to continue doing so. Those who have been looking to the arm of the flesh to meet all needs will not be prepared to trust God in the hour of distress.

When the world system ruled over by Satan offers men and women a solution, many who have been conditioned to find their provision in governments and the various agencies and institutions of man, will be drawn to continue looking to the arm of the flesh. Even when receiving aid requires that they give up their freedoms, and even leads them to violate their conscience, or disobey the witness of the Spirit of Christ, many will turn to man’s provision because they are not accustomed to exercising faith in God.

Satan has been working tirelessly to condition men and women to look to the government for all of their needs. We have seen this trend at the corporate level in recent days. When companies face financial distress they are increasingly turning to the government to bail them out, to provide some sort of lifeline, and to enable them to continue operating. In recent days we have seen the government rescue AIG, America’s largest insurance company. They have intervened in behalf of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the world’s largest mortgage underwriting companies. The government has made themselves indispensable to the financial industry, propping up banks and buying stock in them. Now the nation’s three automakers are looking to the government for succor.

Many are not aware that the same trend is occurring at an individual level. This past year the government of America took the unprecedented step of sending out stimulus checks to everyone who had filed a tax return. Never before had such an action been taken by the government. There was no uproar over the cost of the government taking this action. After all, people who are receiving “free money” are not likely to complain. What few discerned was that they were being conditioned to receiving a helping hand from government when they have a financial need.

There is now talk of a second stimulus package, and it is virtually assured that a Democratic controlled government will pass it. This past week, congress also extended the amount of time that people can receive unemployment benefits. Millions are receiving unemployment checks from the government, and this too is training them to look to the arm of flesh when they have a pressing need. On top of this there are millions receiving welfare checks. Millions more are receiving Social Security retirement checks, and Social Security disability checks.

Aside from direct financial support, there are millions of Americans who are enrolled in the government’s Medicaid and Medicare programs. These ones have become dependent upon the government to pay the cost of doctor’s visits and hospital expenses. Since President George W. Bush has been in office, the government has also expanded into the area of paying for prescription medicine. One might well ask what the rationale was in doing so. Traditionally the Republican party has been noted for an emphasis on limited government, and they have opposed the expansion of expensive government social programs. Satan has an agenda, and it involves leading people to a dependency upon the government for all things.

If you receive some form of government support, please do not take this writing as a criticism of your actions. What is written is intended to provoke consideration of the subtle dependence that is being ingrained in the minds of men and women. If you have not sought the counsel of the Father in these matters of dependence, I urge you to do so. If you find yourself facing some need in coming days, before turning to the arm of the flesh, wait patiently before the Father and ask for His counsel. Perhaps He will lead you to look to Him for some very practical need, and in doing so He will be building your faith and preparing you for days that will require even greater faith.

Few Christians realize what is occurring. They are simply swept along with the stream of events, seldom pausing to consider where the current is taking them. Few consider how much things have changed. When the United States was first established there were no government social programs. Welfare did not exist. Social Security did not come about until the 1900's. The poor were taken care of by the churches, not the government, and health insurance was unheard of, much less something the government sought to be involved in.

The government being looked to as the supplier of all needs, and the source of all things necessary for life, is a recent phenomenon. It is also a disturbing trend for those who have read the Scriptures and are aware of what is prophesied for the end of the age. A people who are conditioned to look to the government of man for every need will be willing to surrender every freedom as long as they are promised food and shelter, peace and safety. National ID cards will soon be required in order to partake of the government programs, and not long after a mark in hand or forehead will be required to do things as basic as buying and selling.

How many Christians will embrace such things, trying to convince themselves that they are not that which is spoken of in Scriptures? They will embrace these things because they have habitually looked to man to supply all their needs, and they have failed to develop the habit of leaning upon God.

People of God, you need only read the daily news to see these things being played out. There is a great hope among many that Barack Obama will supply everything that the people want and need. After his election one woman was interviewed on national news. She was ecstatic, saying that now she did not need to worry about paying her home mortgage or electric bill, for Barack Obama would take care of everything.

Some may ridicule the woman as being naive, but her mindset is not uncommon. There is a very large percentage of Americans who are right now looking to the government to supply some need in their life, and the areas of dependence are expanding all the time. How many Christians are actively, daily, looking to God to meet the practical needs of life? The number is relatively small, and in the days ahead only those who are leaning upon the Father for all things will be able to pass through days of trial as overcomers. God has promised to take care of the needs of life.

II Peter 1:3
His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness...

Philippians 4:19
My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Yahshua.

Matthew 6:31-33
Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?' or ‘What will we drink?' or ‘What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

God can be trusted to supply all the needs of His children. Why do Christians not look to Him to do so? Do you recognize the schemes of the enemy in these things? Do you understand that Satan is the god of this world, and he is the mastermind behind the government policies to foster a dependence upon the arm of flesh? Satan, and those men and women in league with him, are both creating the crises and then offering solutions which lead to a greater dependence and greater subjugation.

Is it reasonable to expect that Christians who have not looked to God for their needs will be well equipped to do so in a time of desperate need if they have not made a habit of trusting Yahweh for these things already? Many will find that their faith is deficient. They have for too long looked to the arm of flesh for all their needs. Fear and unbelief will lead many into the embrace of the beast system.

Revelation 14:9-12
Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up to the age of the ages; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Yahshua.

John declares that it will require faith and perseverance to obey God in the hour when the mark is given that will be required to buy and sell. Will Christ find faith on the earth when He returns? Will He find this faith in you? Will you be able to entrust yourself to the care of God when you are forbidden to buy or sell anything without the mark? Have you been proven in these things already?

The mark of the beast actually speaks of a far deeper spiritual principle than most people realize. It is not just a physical mark required for commerce. In the book titled The Mark of the Beast, the following is written:

A great number of prophecy teachers are focusing upon carnal interpretations of those things written in the book of Daniel, in the book of Revelation, and elsewhere, but they are almost universally neglecting the spiritual truths to which they point. This is not wisdom, for it will lead no man to perfection. These carnal signs exist for the purpose of leading the saints to the spiritual realities that are signified in them, but for the most part there is no discerning of these greater things.
It is not my intent to deny that there will be a physical fulfillment to many of the things described in the apocalyptic Scriptures, though certainly much that is taught today is spurious and results in much injury to the church by leading the saints to focus upon false notions of man’s imagination rather than directing them to that which could be of real spiritual benefit to them. I am not desiring to deny that there may be a physical mark that will be given one day soon which will be required for men and women to buy and sell. What I do want to stress is that such a carnal fulfillment of the Scriptures is not nearly as important as the spiritual truth to which it points.

In the history of the church during the past 2,000 years there has not yet existed a physical mark of the beast which has been required to buy and sell, yet there have been innumerable saints who have received the imprint of the beast nature to which it points. In receiving this mark many men and women have been able to trade in all of the things of a fallen and corrupt world. Many more saints stand in danger of receiving this mark, and of bringing the wrath of God upon themselves, and they have no clue as to the true identity of this mark.

This book seeks to illumine the saints to the greater meaning of those things relating to the mark of the beast that they might arrive at the perfect will of God and escape the wrath that comes upon the children of disobedience.

It is important to discern the spiritual truths symbolized by those things written concerning the mark of the beast. If you have not yet read this book, you can find it here:

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Heart4God Website:
Parables Blog:

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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Carbon Footprint

Joseph Herrin (11-20-08)

A sister in Christ wrote to me today and spoke of how the life the Spirit of Christ has directed me to live can be viewed as a positive thing according to the popular culture. Having no home, and few possessions, living quite often out of a small camper van as I travel, certainly consumes less of the earth's resources. I had never looked at things in quite this way before. I just understood that it was the way the Father had directed me to live.

My lifestyle in recent years has been much more environmentally friendly than earlier days. When you have less money to spend you certainly tend to be less wasteful. I know that there are lean days coming for multitudes of people who have been accustomed to fat times.

As I considered what this sister shared, I was reminded of some Scriptures, including the following:

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 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.

I believe that if all of God's people were surrendered to the leading of the Spirit in how they conducted their lives, that the lives of Christians would stand out from the rest of society. When the nation was trending toward ever larger houses, and bigger SUV's, the vast majority in the church would have found themselves being content with far less.

I Timothy 6:6-8
Godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

The Bible is actually a very green book. Certainly there are those who have gone to extremes in their worship of nature and hatred of mankind, and much of the environmental movement is based upon philosophies and pseudo science that are objectionable. A Christian would be wrong to conclude, however, that God is not concerned with man's attitude toward the earth in which he resides.

Sin is manifested in a spirit of rabid consumerism. The sinful nature is selfish, and seeks to gather matter to itself. In contrast, the Spirit of Christ is that of love, and it is giving. When the Spirit of Christ was manifested in power in the lives of the disciples in Jerusalem, the result of the influence of the Spirit was observed in a profound way.

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.

When the Spirit of Christ was manifested in power in the very early church, men and women who had formerly been marked by a spirit of consumerism were transformed. They relinquished ownership of their amassed goods and sold much of what they had to provide for the needs of others. Downsizing was the order of the day.

What does it say about the spiritual state of the church today when it has followed the trend of the world towards greater accumulations of all things material? Some time back I was struck by a story of some who were downsizing. I found what they were doing very appealing. It had a sense of "rightness" about it.

The story spoke of a woman who had moved into a very small home which was built to be portable. She was parking her "home" at the house of some friends, and her costs were in every way greatly reduced. It was her answer to a struggling economy. Another story was of a group of college students who traveled to a city in Mexico and were shocked at some of the sub-standard housing, and they wanted to design something safe and clean and livable for people who did not have much money. What they came up with was a home built out of a recycled shipping container.


Mankind can be content with much less than many would consider desirable in America. As Christians, we should stand out from the society in which we live. When others are upsizing, the Christian would certainly be manifesting a different spirit were they to pursue downsizing. How greatly different would the situation of the majority of Christians be at this hour had they sought the mind of the Father in all that they do. There would be far less distress from people who are now struggling with a collapsing economy. Debt would not be the problem it is today, and a people who had learned the joy of giving would find themselves well prepared spiritually for the coming days.

I recommend to you the audio message Compassion's Silver Lining, to see how giving to the poor and needy prepares one spiritually for a day of distress.

Reducing one's carbon footprint actually contains within it a spiritual parable. In the book The Mark of the Beast I wrote about the element Carbon. It is the only element that has 6 electrons, 6 protons, and 6 neutrons. All living matter is Carbon based, therefore at the lowest level God has stamped all living things which are under the curse of sin with the number 666.

I want to share an excerpt from this book with you.

The Beast Nature

What is the beast nature that Adam and Eve submitted unto? What is it that Adam and Eve were commanded to subdue and rule over, but which they became slaves unto? A good place to begin studying this matter is to look at the creature that was the instrument of Eve’s fall.

Genesis 3:1
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which Yahweh God had made.

Genesis 3:14
Yahweh God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life...”

The serpent is identified as a beast, and he excels all other beasts in two distinct ways which are mentioned in these verses. The serpent was more crafty than any other beast, and the serpent was cursed more than any other beast. We should note that in this account we have the very first appearance of Satan, and he appears as a serpent. That the serpent and Satan are one is revealed in other passages.

Revelation 12:9
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world...

Satan’s first appearance in the form of a beast reveals much about his character. Satan is wholly given over to the beast nature. He was created as a covering cherub, perfect in beauty and the sum of wisdom (Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14). He was flawless in his creation until the day that iniquity was found in him. He became corrupted due to his great beauty, and he began to worship the creature rather than the Creator. When Satan began to worship the creature he was given over to a beast nature. His wisdom, which was declared to be “perfect” before his transgression, became distorted, and thus we see the serpent described as “cunning.” The word cunning speaks of a fallen wisdom that has been given over to the pursuit of selfish desire, no longer seeking the will of God.

There is no greater characteristic of the beast nature than its selfishness. It lives for self. It exists to satisfy the natural appetites that are found within its own being. It lusts and covets and is jealous and knows nothing of dying to self in order to live for the will and pleasure of another. While Satan was yet in heaven he determined that he would no longer live for the will and pleasure of God, but he thought it right that he should be equal with God and be able to determine his own way, being self-directed and seeking self-fulfillment. An attitude of selfishness always leads to a host of other sins such as covetousness, jealousy, selfish ambition, pride, strife, and violence.

Much is revealed about the beast nature in the curse which God spoke to the serpent.

Genesis 3:14
“On your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life...”

There is great symbolism here. The words, “On your belly you shall go” signifies that the beast nature will live for the fulfillment of the natural appetites. What is it that the beast nature desires, and what are its appetites? Food, sex, fame, riches, ease, pleasure, worldly goods, power and a host of other such things. None of these things are inherently evil, but they become evil when they are that which the creation pursues, hungers and thirsts for. God’s will is that mankind would seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness while allowing God to choose how and when to supply mankind’s needs. Yahshua spoke in this way:

Matthew 6:31-33
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

What is expressed in these words is the contentedness of those who live to do the will of the Father. Doing God’s will is the foremost priority of their lives, and they care not for the things of this world. They do not need houses and lands and cars and many material goods. They are not worried about the care of their physical body, for they understand that the One who fashioned man’s body already knows their needs and He will certainly provide according to His great wisdom, love and power. They understand that if they give themselves to the pursuit of the Kingdom of God that Yahweh will take care of their needs.

Those who are subject to the serpent do not know the contentedness of doing the Father’s will. Of the serpent we read that he was cursed to eat dust all the days of his life. The flesh of man was formed from the dust of the earth. These words of judgment upon the serpent symbolically speak of an appetite for that from which the flesh was formed, and for all of the sins of the flesh.

Galatians 5:19-21
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these...

The serpent was cursed to be ruled by its belly and to eat of the things of the flesh. When a Christian gives himself to the things mentioned in the list above, it is certain that they are allowing the beast nature to be manifested in them. Many men, even those who name the name of Christ, are ruled by this nature.

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

Paul most likely had the serpent in mind when he penned these words, for he speaks of the belly and a mind set on earthly things. The belly is a prominent feature of the beast nature, and it was singularly marked out when God cursed the serpent. The emphasis on the belly of this beast reveals that its entire life rests upon the satisfying of its earthly appetites. The belly is also emphasized when speaking of men who have given themselves over to be ruled by the beast nature.

The beast nature can be summed up in one word, “selfish.” The divine nature, in stark contrast, can be summed up in the word “selfless,” or with the word “love,” for we are told that love “does not seek its own” (I Corinthians 13:5).

The perfect wisdom of God is unselfish and seeks the welfare of another. Thus we see in Scripture that among the godhead there is a great selflessness. The Father glorifies the Son, the Son lives to do the will of the Father, and the Spirit takes the things of the Father and with them glorifies the Son (John 16). The perfect wisdom of God is such that Yahweh would send His beloved Son to die for mankind, and Yahshua would freely lay down His life for His friends. This wisdom is utterly unselfish. This wisdom is meek and gentle and humble.

James 3:17
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

The corrupted wisdom of the beast nature is not so. It is born in selfishness and cares not about the welfare of others.

James 3:15-16
This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

I want to share something here that is difficult to convey. The reason it is difficult is that the saints have been so carnal for so long that they can only with great difficulty begin to perceive the tremendous depths to which the church has sunk. I know the majority of those reading this book will think that they are not manifesting the beast nature in any way, that they are truly selfless and to a great degree they are manifesting the Spirit of Christ, but we must remember that the serpent is cunning above all beasts and that Satan’s chief weapon is deception. Satan can convince you that you are the image of godliness when in fact you are far from it.

I ask you to really allow the Spirit to search the depths of your being as you read what follows. It will certainly sound radical and appear out of place in a world ruled by the evil one. It will appear as heretical to a harlot who wants to remain firmly seated upon the beast. It may even cause some fear to arise within your being as you “count the cost” and consider the consequences of what is being shared, but if you will not shrink back, and if you will allow the Spirit to transform you so that you are no longer conformed to a fallen, materially obsessed world, you will find the image of the divine expressed in and through your being. You will begin to manifest that for which God created man. You will appear as the very image and likeness of God.

Are you ready?

We read above where jealousy, and selfish ambition, and a slavery to the belly, or the appetites of the flesh, are all characteristics of the beast nature. The beast nature is marked by its consumption and it is never satisfied. This consumption is evident everywhere in our society, but we really do not see it. We have become so lost in this conspicuous consumption that it is no longer conspicuous to us.

Saints are called to be conformed to the image of Christ, and Christ is called “the Light of the world.” He is totally selfless and giving. He laid down His life for the very ones who hated Him. We are told that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” and even when we were His enemies. We read in the first chapter of Genesis that on the fourth day that lights were created in the firmament of the heavens, and we saw how the saints correspond to these lights. Light is selfless. Light does not consume, rather it radiates outward. It goes forth and brings warmth and life and energy to all that it shines upon. All saints are called to be such selfless, giving lights, radiating the life and love of Christ in a darkened world.

It has occurred to me that even as God has given us a representation of the saints in the heavens, so too has He given us a representation of those who are marked by the beast nature. Much has been spoken in recent years about black holes. Black holes are said to be areas of super dense matter that are caused by a star collapsing in upon itself. These areas of super dense matter begin to pull all things into themselves. They are such powerful attractors that they will not even allow light to escape from them. They just suck in more and more matter.

Scientists cannot actually see black holes, for they give off no light. Rather they have determined that they exist by observing the effect that occurs on matter around them. They can observe matter being pulled powerfully to a certain location, and light being extinguished, and by observing this activity they are made aware of the existence and presence of black holes.

See now how perfectly these black holes typify those men and women who have given themselves over to the beast nature. Mankind was created like the stars to show forth the light and life of the Creator, but many have collapsed back in upon themselves, having turned inward and begun to seek things for self. Many, even among the saints, have failed to be content to express the light of Christ and to live to do the will of the Father. Rather, they want things for self. They are attracted to the matter of this world, and they crave it, being filled with covetousness and lust and selfish ambition.

As these ones begin to work to gain the things their souls desire they cease radiating the light of God and they become as big vacuums attracting material things to themselves. They reason that it is only right and proper that they should have a fair portion of the world’s goods and they begin exerting tremendous energy to gain those things around them. They begin attracting matter to themselves. The Bible calls this activity “serving mammon” and the saints are warned that no man can serve both God and mammon.

Now here is the difficult part of what I desire to convey. Almost all saints are attempting to serve both God and mammon, though they do not recognize it. Most saints are marked by the influence of the beast nature on their lives, and a great number are even riding upon the beast with no admission of what it is they are doing. Though all saints have been called to give forth the light of Christ, an alarming number of them have turned inward and have become voracious consumers of matter. They are in peril of being cast back down to the earth as unripe figs, of being given over wholly to the pursuit of their selfish appetites.

One reason that the saints fail to recognize the influence of the beast nature upon their lives, the great selfishness and covetousness that is present within them, is that they compare themselves with one another rather than with God Who is the true measure of what man was created to be. I would therefore like to set Christ as the standard and reveal what His attitude was regarding consumption and the fulfillment of natural appetites. In looking at Christ we will see clearly what is of the beast nature and what is divine.

Immediately after Christ was baptized by John in the Jordan River, the Spirit led Him out to the wilderness where He fasted for forty days. Another way to say this is that Christ consumed nothing for forty days. After these forty days we are told that Christ was hungry, but He did not yet eat. Satan then came to tempt Yahshua and the very first temptation was related to consumption. Satan said to Christ, “If you are hungry, turn these stones to bread.”

What Satan suggested seems very reasonable to the creature part of man. If you have an appetite that is clamoring to be satisfied, then it seems normal to satisfy it. After all, God created man’s body to be nourished by food, and even Christ said “food is for the body,” but see here a remarkable manifestation of the divine nature. Christ responded to Satan by saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

What Christ declared was that doing the will of the Father is more important than satisfying the natural desires of the body. The Spirit had not yet released Christ from His fast, and God had not yet manifested how He would meet His Son’s need for food. Yahshua was so submitted to the Father that He would not consider doing anything of His own initiative to satisfy His need for food. He was not worried that His Father would let Him starve to death. He knew that if He sought the Father’s will above all else, that the Father would take care of the necessities of life.

Christ refused to be driven by His appetites. He refused to give Himself over to the beast’s urging to consume, even when He was hungry. He subdued and ruled over the beast. He buffeted His body and kept it under subjection. We are told that after Satan left Yahshua that the angels of God came and ministered to Christ’s needs. God already knew how and when He would provide sustenance for His Son, and the Son had such peace and confidence in the Father’s love for Him that He was willing to wait, knowing that the Father’s will is always the best and highest good for us.

Let us now look at another event in the life of Yahshua. During the entire span of His ministry Yahshua never owned a house. He never had a ministry center, and He was content to sleep wherever the Spirit led Him to sleep. Sometimes He slept in the open fields. Sometimes He slept in the stern of a boat on a pillow. At times He slept in a bed in someone’s house such as in the home of Lazarus and Martha and Mary. When a man approached Yahshua and said that he desired to be His disciple, Yahshua responded in this way:

Matthew 8:20
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."

I think it is significant that Yahshua contrasted His divine way of life to that of two beasts, the foxes and the birds. Beasts demand some type of home. They want a nest to live in, or a nice den in the earth. So too do many men and women demand such things. They may say to God, “I will be your disciple as long as I can have my nice home and furnishings. As long as I can have my nice bed to sleep in at night I will follow you.” But look at the words of Christ to one who would be His disciple. He said that He could promise no such thing, for one who lives to do the will of God is content with whatever God decides to provide for them. In effect Yahshua was telling this man to count the cost. If this man had to have a home, like the beasts demand a home, then he could not truly be Christ’s disciple, for Christ revealed that His life was focused upon pleasing the Father, not upon pleasing self.

Am I beginning to sound heretical yet? Are you beginning to feel fear rise up within you at what God might truly require of you if you were to surrender all to Him? You may think, “God does not really require that I be willing to give up all, and I see no one around me doing so,” but again let us allow Christ to be the measure of all things. Listen to His words:

Luke 14:33
“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”

These words of Christ come immediately after He spoke of counting the cost of discipleship. Bearing the image of the divine nature comes at a great cost to the flesh and the natural man. This is why Christ said that all who would follow Him must take up their cross. The cross is an instrument of death, and the beast must be slain, even the beast that thinks it only normal and necessary to have its own private nest, or den.

We may ask, “How did the apostles and the early church understand this matter? Did they too give up all they possessed?” I am glad you asked. Let us look to the Scriptures to see.

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.

During the first few years after Christ’s ascension, and following Pentecost, a remarkable work of grace was seen among the saints. They were extraordinarily delivered from the beast nature. They manifested the divine life to an amazing degree, and because of this they appeared as great lights in their world. Of their reputation we read, “The people held them in high esteem” (Acts 5:13).

I want to urge you to consider at length the Scripture above for it reveals perhaps the most profound evidence of God’s ability to transform the lives of men than any other testimony or miracle of the New Testament. A large number of men and women who had formerly been enslaved to the beast nature, and who had lived as consumers, were transformed into givers. Before salvation it was their nature to gather material goods to themselves, and after salvation it was their nature to be free of all ownership and all claim that anything was their own.

Notice the scope of the words used “NOT ONE OF THEM claimed that ANYTHING belonging to him was his own.” Hallelujah, the beast nature that crawls on its belly and eats the dust of the earth was slain! I know of no greater evidence of the complete transformation of the saints by the power of the Spirit than these words. They were gloriously set free from self! No one claimed that anything they possessed was their own. They truly began to esteem the needs of others more highly than their own needs. They began to manifest love of the brethren, and because of it all men recognized that they were Christ’s disciples. They loved God and the children of God rather than material possessions.

It can be said that these early saints were so captivated with a love of Christ and a desire to do the will of the Father that material things simply became unimportant to them. What they had formerly held onto with great tenacity, and guarded with great jealousy, was no longer precious to them. When the love of Christ and the brethren came in with such power, the love of other things died. When an immense yearning to do the will of the Father gripped them, a desire to do the will of self was put away.

The church today does not manifest this same selfless attitude, this contentment with whatever the Father would give them, at the time and in the way that He chooses. Instead the church rides upon the beast as a great harlot who has many cravings for the things of this world. She longs to be clothed in fine garments and to be adorned with many jewels. The saints are given to a pursuit of houses and lands and cars and furnishings and clothes and rich foods and pleasure and entertainment, and they say “God wants me to have these things and to spend my days collecting whatever my heart desires, laboring for things that will perish,” for the cunning of the beast has deceived them.

Consider the words of the apostle Paul:

Philippians 4:11-13
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

I Timothy 6:8
If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

Hebrews 13:5
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have...

The mark of the divine nature is contentment, not coveting. Paul said, “Having food and covering, with these we shall be content.” He said he was content in whatever circumstances he was in. The bottom line is that those who bear the divine nature are satisfied with whatever provision the Father chooses to give them. They are not living to satisfy self. They are living to do the will of the Father. They are not given over to the pursuit of worldly things. They are not in debt that they might own today what they crave, but do not have the money for. They are marked by their generosity and their selfless giving. They do not claim that anything they possess is their own, for they have surrendered all their possessions to God.

I must add a few remarks here for the sake of clarity, for I know that some might misunderstand my words. I am NOT saying that in order to bear the divine nature that all saints must embrace poverty and get rid of their houses and lands. What I AM saying is that they must be willing to do so if it is God’s will for them. Paul said that he knew how to be content with poverty (humble means), but he also knew how to be content with prosperity. The heart of the matter is just what has been stated repeatedly, the saints must be content with allowing God the Father to choose what HIS provision is for them, and to be at rest with HIS timing and HIS provision. They cannot demand their own way.

In this chapter I am focusing mostly upon the beast nature’s demands to have homes and lands, etc., for this is what the majority of saints have given themselves to pursue. There are not many who go to excess in the opposite direction, demanding that they live in an impoverished way, treating their bodies very strictly and denying themselves all pleasure, but this too is error.

Colossians 2:20-23
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) -- in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

There are a small minority of saints who have erred in the opposite direction of the majority. This minority glory in their self-abasement and severe treatment of the body. Paul says that such things have an “appearance of wisdom,” for it appears that they are not serving self, but God. Yet Paul reveals where the error lies in these saints as well. He states that these are not truly wise for their appearance of wisdom is based in “self-made religion and self-abasement”.

These ones, whom Paul equally condemns with those who give themselves over to the pursuit of pleasure, are missing the mark for they are still SELF directed. They are not content to wait upon God and to receive WHATEVER He has for them, but they will only receive poverty and self-abasement. Paul said he was content with poverty, but also with prosperity, with hunger and with being filled, with suffering need and with having an abundance. Those who are conformed to the image of the divine are content with what God chooses for them.

To be sure, most saints are erring on the side of covetousness, not self-abasement, but both are equally sinful for both originate in self. Those who are mature reflections of Christ have crucified the flesh and self and they live to do the will of God. They are content with whatever He provides and they will not stretch out their hand to satisfy their natural appetites apart from the will of God. Neither will they refuse to receive what God would provide for them in order to glory in their self-abasement.

Discipleship is surrender to the will of another, and this surrender of the will is where the cost of discipleship lies. There is a high cost to discipleship, and for this reason Yahshua urges all who would follow Him to count the cost. He promises no man or woman houses and lands, but He would urge all to be content with whatever the Father chooses for them. This then is a real sticking point. Can you be content with whatever the Father chooses for you, or do you have certain requirements, desires, wants, or demands that are non-negotiable? Will you say to God, “I will give you a part of my life, but I reserve a portion of it?” Remember, Christ said that no man can serve both God and mammon.

Yes, these things are radical, and the early church was very radical, and they shone forth as a brilliant light for a season. The beast suffered a mortal wound, but the wound has healed and the beast has returned and has offered the church a ride on its back.

Revelation 13:3-4
I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?"

When Christ was crucified and rose again Satan received a mortal blow. The early church subdued and ruled over the beast nature. They were completely set free from a slavery to their natural appetites. They were transformed from consumers to radiators of light and life. They knew the glorious liberty of possessing nothing but Christ. However, the saints failed to continue subduing and ruling over the beast nature. They began to worship the dragon, Satan, the serpent, once more. By cunning he convinced them that they could be disciples of Christ while allowing the beast to live. He convinced them that the beast would even carry them to their goal and they could live harmoniously with the beast nature.

There are many carnal interpretations of what this passage from Revelation 13 speaks. Many prophecy teachers see the beast as some political ruler who will arise and make war against Christianity, but let me declare that the beast has been present for the entire duration of Christianity and he has waged war with many saints, and few have overcome him. Many are the saints who have been defeated through great deception and cunning, as they have failed to subdue and rule over the beast nature. They have believed that they could live for self and for God, that they could offer God a portion of their lives while maintaining a sizeable piece for themselves, that they might find pleasure and satisfaction in the offerings of the world.

Are you willing to allow the Spirit to shine a light upon your life, upon your spending habits and your accumulation of the goods of this world? Are you willing to give up all your possessions should Christ require this of you as He did of the rich young ruler? Would you be content with food and covering, not even demanding that which the beasts have, your own nest, your own den? Christ admonishes all to count the cost before declaring that they will follow Him wherever He would lead. If you would bear the image of the divine, then the nature of the beast must be ruled over and subdued.

Many cling tenaciously to the things of this world, to possessions that they own, for they do not know a love of Christ and of the brethren that should make such things appear pale in comparison. If you are not wholly captivated by Christ, you will be captivated by lesser things. On the other hand, if your love of Christ is pure and unadulterated, then the things of this world will be as nothing to you. You will not covet them, or spend your life, your time, and energy in pursuit of accumulating matter.

Christ came to set men free, and those whom the Son sets free are free indeed.
[End Excerpt]

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