Thursday, September 29, 2011

Injury and Recovery

Joseph Herrin (09-29-2011)

 Having heard about the accident I had when an elderly lady in her 90s ran into me while I was riding my motorcycle in Macon, some wrote to ask about the motorcycle. They were curious whether it had sustained damage, and was still functional. I imagine that the curiosity regarding the condition of the motorcycle has been partly due to some saints seeking to understand what the parable might be in this event, for surely there are no actual “accidents” in the kingdom of God. Everything is with design and great purpose.

As you can imagine, I too have been pondering very much the motorcycle collision and resulting injury. I continue to ponder these things in my heart, waiting upon the Father to give me a clear understanding of the matter. Randy Simmons told me that since this accident occurred at the entrance to a Krystal’s Hamburger restaurant, he was confident that the Father would make all things “crystal clear” to me. I have certainly been perceiving the Father’s hand in using this experience for my perfecting as a son, but I have not yet arrived at that crystal clarity of understanding that is anticipated.

Regarding the motorcycle, you may note in the photo above, which was taken just a few days prior to the collision, that I had added a windshield. This made the ride much less tiring, and also is of much benefit in keeping bugs from impacting the rider.

The impact of the collision was low speed. The car’s front bumper made contact on my left leg just above the ankle and pushed me and the motorcycle over where we both ended up on the ground. There were people who responded immediately, rushing up to check on my condition, but no one touched the bike, though it was laying on its side and leaking some gas from the tank fill spout. I would have preferred that someone had set the bike upright, but I suspect no one wanted to touch anything until the police had arrived and taken in the full picture of the accident scene.

Even after the ambulance and police arrived, the motorcycle was left lying on its side as the medical workers attended to me, and prepared to transport me to the hospital in the ambulance. Shortly before they loaded me up I heard a pop from the vicinity of the motorcycle, and someone informed me that the windshield had just cracked. Leaving it laying on the ground, the pressure on the plastic windshield finally led to it fracturing. The only other visible damage to the bike was that one of the turn signals broke when the bike hit the ground.

The day after I was released from the hospital (I was only in for 48 hours), my daughter took a young man with her up to Macon to retrieve the motorcycle which had been taken to an impound lot. The young man, after removing the broken windshield, was able to crank the bike and ride it back to Perry some 30 miles away. The motorcycle rode fine, and the damage appears to be limited to the windshield and the single turn signal.

A brother in Christ came down to see me shortly after my release from the hospital. When he heard that the motorcycle sustained very little damage, and was very much functional, he shared that he did not believe the accident really had anything to do with the bike. (I will mention that this brother and his wife both own motorcycles themselves.) He said that if God were sending some message of disapproval of my having a motorcycle for transportation, he believed the bike itself would have sustained more damage, and would have been rendered inoperable.

This brother asked me if I anticipated riding the motorcycle again. I told him that my own soul’s inclination in the matter was one of indifference. I told him that I personally would not be disappointed either way. I recognize the dangers inherent in riding a motorcycle on streets dominated by cars and trucks, where drivers often fail to drive carefully and neglect to pay heed to motorcycles. I certainly would not relish being in another accident. I told this brother that the Father knew that my having a motorcycle was not an idol in my life. I was content to do without one for almost two decades until I sensed Yahweh opening up the door for me to purchase one. Even then, the decision to purchase a motorcycle was arrived at after considering the fact that I could not tow a car and my cargo trailer at the same time, but I could tow the trailer while carrying a motorcycle mounted to the rear of the bus.

I had often told the Lord that I would be very content with a small tow vehicle, if I had some way to pull it behind the bus. I think the vehicle I have enjoyed the most among those I have owned was a Geo Tracker. This small, four wheel drive, Jeep like vehicle with a removable top was both economical and a pleasure to drive. Used ones are not that expensive, and I would have been very happy with such a vehicle. Nevertheless, as I was anticipating traveling in my bus and visiting prisons to conduct ministry, I could not see any way to tow a car and a trailer at the same time.

I share this to state that purchasing the motorcycle was a means to an end, rather than a pursuit of some desire of the soul. I would be content with whatever the Father chose to provide, as I still am.

At the same time, I shared with this brother that I did not want my decision regarding riding the motorcycle to be predicated upon fear. A part of me would say that there is too much risk involved, and would deem the risk something to be assiduously avoided. Yet, I am continually searching my motives, desiring to divide between soul and Spirit. Even as it would be error for me to choose to ride a motorcycle apart from the leading of the Spirit, so too it would be wrong for me to refuse to do so apart from the leading of the Spirit. In our lives, there are many paths God will lead us down that will result in injury, persecution, or suffering. I mentioned the example of the apostle Paul in yesterday’s blog post. Paul was led of the Spirit in his missionary journeys. He went where Christ directed him, and it resulted in much injury.

II Corinthians 11:23-27
Are they servants of Christ? - I speak as if insane - I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

Consider that Paul was shipwrecked three times. Ships are a form of transportation. They were also dangerous, especially in Paul’s time. This was before radar and satellite weather forecasts, and one never knew what weather conditions they would meet with on the seas. Paul could have arrived at his destinations by traveling over land. The Roman road system was fairly extensive and safe at that time. Paul, however, did not base his decisions on what was safe. He resisted the impulse to let fear dictate his actions. Even after experiencing shipwreck twice, he continued to travel by ship, and was eventually shipwrecked a third time. (He actually had no choice this last time, for he was being transported as a prisoner of Rome.)

What is interesting to note, is that ultimately it was Yahweh who chose Paul’s mode of transport. This is indisputable during the occasion of Paul’s third shipwreck. Yahweh told Paul ahead of time that he would be arrested and taken to Rome. Paul could not control his circumstances. He actually perceived that his sea journey would end in great loss, and Paul advised the captain and Roman centurion of this, but they did not heed his warning. Paul could only yield to be carried along, submitting to the experience of being shipwrecked one more time. Nevertheless, in all of these events, Yahweh spared Paul’s life. Indeed, having survived his third shipwreck, Paul was bitten by a viper, and those watching thought he would surely die. But Paul shook the serpent off in the fire and manifested no ill effects from it.

What these experiences reveal is that those whose lives are directed by the Spirit will experience dangers, persecution, and at times injury. We cannot allow a fear of injury, and a desire to avoid it, to be what guides our decisions. Therefore, I told this brother in Christ that I would do whatever the Father revealed to me to be His will. Even if obeying the Father resulted in further injury, I could not refuse to follow that course He appointed to me.

There are times when Yahweh shows us that suffering is ahead of us, and we have to choose to accept it and not turn back. Such was the experience of Yahshua in Gethsemane as the Father made known to Him that He must shortly be beaten, scourged, and crucified. Paul also was on occasion told ahead of time that he would suffer as he followed Christ, but these things did not move him.

Acts 20:22-24
“And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Yahshua, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”

What a magnificent attitude this is described by Paul. Paul’s overriding intent was to finish the course the Father had appointed to him, and to fulfill the ministry entrusted to him. He could not be influenced by whether doing so would result in injury, suffering, imprisonment, or even loss of life. Paul knew very well that following Christ, rather than being a guarantee of a safe and comfortable life, promised many afflictions and much suffering.

As I have meditated upon this motorcycle accident, I have pondered many questions. Will the decisions of my life be based upon the counsel of my soul, or upon the leading of the Spirit? Some would argue that Christians are to “use their heads” and to employ “common sense.” I sincerely disagree. The Bible testifies that “there is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof is death.” The right way to man is a path devoid of injury and suffering. The human soul would choose a comfortable path, but Christ testifies that the path that leads to life is an “afflicted” path, and “few there are who find it.”

Please note that I am not advocating choosing a dangerous course, anymore than I am advocating choosing a safe course. What I see as the example of Christ and His disciples is that they simply left it to the Holy Spirit to direct their course, and they accepted whatever He chose for them.

Have you embraced the practice of dividing between the voice of your soul and the voice of the Spirit? None can follow in Christ’s steps unless they embrace a Spirit led life. This requires that they quiet the voice of their soul which very often shouts loudly at them urging them to a course that is in opposition to the will of God. Whether our soul is advocating the pursuit of some desire or passion resident within, or whether it is shouting at us to be driven by fear and an avoidance of suffering, we must not heed its counsel. The disciple of Christ is to manifest a life directed by the Spirit.

Do I have some trepidation in my soul when I think of riding the motorcycle again. Certainly I do. I sustained a serious injury the last time I rode it. Some knowing the danger of being ruled by fear would suggest that I should be like the rider thrown from a horse, and get back on as quickly as possible. Although I perceive some wisdom in this counsel, ultimately I must know what Yahweh would direct me to do.

If vehicles represent ministry, and surely they do, then I know that I cannot permit fear of suffering to keep me from getting back on the motorcycle any more than I could refuse to fulfill the ministry given to me out of fear of suffering. I have twice been jailed now for not being able to fulfill a judge’s order to lay aside the ministry and return to secular labor. There was no rebellion in my heart in these experiences, but rather a desire to remain true to the calling of God on my life. The Spirit, as He did with Paul, showed me ahead of time that I would be put in jail. I could have avoided this experience by laying down the ministry and heeding the counsel of the soul (both mine and others). Such soulish motives are unworthy of Christ, however. Christ declared, “No man can be My disciple unless he hates... even his own soul.”

While I was in the hospital I was told that I would have to stay off the leg for two weeks, and then I would be given a walking cast for another 8 weeks, followed by physical therapy. I saw so many different medical workers in my two days in the hospital that I don’t remember who told me this, but it has proven to be incorrect.

Last Tuesday (September 20th) marked two weeks since my wreck, and I had a doctor’s appointment that day. I met with the orthopedic doctor who performed the surgery on my leg. X-rays were taken, and he showed me what he had done. The injury was more extensive than I had originally been told. One large screw had been placed at the bottom of the large leg bone (the tibia) at the ankle, to correct a fracture there. There were multiple fractures of the smaller leg bone (the fibula).

Bones of the Legs

The fracture of the fibula actually ran up the bone beginning at the ankle and ending about 2/3rds of the distance to the knee. The doctor had put one small metal plate at the bottom of the fibula, with another metal plate (the largest they use) overlapping it slightly and running up toward the knee. The doctor told me that due to the length of the fracture and the plates and screws he had to put in, that he had to make the longest incision of his career on my leg. This incision was healing up fine, and he had an assistant remove the stitches while I was in the examination room.

Of more concern was an area on the inside of my ankle where one of the bones had gone through the skin when the collision occurred. The doctor had washed this area out really good and stitched it up on the night of the injury. The skin was black around this area, and he pointed out what he called “edge necrosis” where the skin was dying in some spots. He wanted to watch this area closely to make sure it healed up, and he gave me a prescription for antibiotics to ward off infection.

There is also a large blood blister on the top of my foot. The doctor called this a “hemorrhagic fracture blister.” He said he preferred to just let these heal by themselves. It is quite a large blister, being approximately 3" x 5", according to my rough estimate.

The doctor informed me that it would be 8-10 weeks before he allowed me to put any weight on the leg. This will make the recovery time quite a bit longer than I anticipated, so it does not appear that I will be going anywhere soon.

I had been staying with my daughter Kristin since being released from the hospital. She has been taking good care of me. I was confined to the bed, having to keep the leg elevated. Kristin would fix me breakfast in the morning, and also prepare me a lunch, before heading off to work. She would then fix me supper in the evening. It was good to spend time with her, and we played Scrabble together which is something we both enjoy (although Kristin doesn’t enjoy it when I win).

Yesterday Kristin moved me back into my bus. She has to be gone for three days this week-end to attend a wedding, and I had been getting increasingly mobile on crutches, though I still have to keep the leg up most of the time. I felt that I could manage by myself in my bus, since everything is laid out very conveniently with little distance to travel. I did fine last night and this morning, and am confident that things will progress well. Kristin, and perhaps Randy, will be coming by from time to time to help me with things I cannot do by myself such as washing clothes, buying groceries, and handling my mail.

I do want to comment on one remarkable aspect of this experience. When I saw the extent of the injury, the multiple fractures, and the metal plates and more than 15 screws that had been put into my leg, I knew that by all rights this should be attended by significant pain. I am no stranger to breaks, having been born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which is commonly  called Brittle Bone disease. I have now had approximately a dozen fractures in my life, and some have been quite painful.

The most painful injury I had occurred in my thirties. I slipped on wet wax at work and broke my right ankle and incurred a partial tear to the anterior cruciate ligament in my right knee. The knee in particular swelled up tremendously, and the pain was intense. I wrote about this experience in the writing Evidence of Things Unseen.  I explained how the Father used this experience as discipline for an area of my life that had not been brought under the obedience of Christ. As this was chastisement, it was appropriate that it be quite painful in order to teach me to not transgress in the same area again.

A remarkable aspect of this present injury has been the absence of significant pain. When the injury first occurred, and I found myself lying on my back beside the road, I was fully alert and aware of what was going on around me, but I had absolutely no pain from the injury. I knew I was injured, and I even knew it was a serious injury, but I had no sensation of pain.

After the surgery, laying in the hospital, I had some pain, and they gave me pain medication, but even then the pain seemed to me to be less than it should be. The doctor would come in and touch my toes and ask me to wiggle them, and there seemed to be no problem with the nerves, there was simply not much pain.

My daughter took me home the second day after the accident and she picked up a pain prescription for Hydrocodone on the way. I took one pill that first evening, and have not had another one since. The physician’s assistant who saw me Tuesday during my appointment was quite amazed by this. I assure you it is not because I am exceptionally stoic, but rather that the Father has been very gracious and merciful and has shown me much kindness in my recovery. Truly, Yahweh’s mercies are new to us every morning.

I do appreciate the many brothers and sisters who have been praying for me. No doubt, your prayers are availing much on my behalf, and for this I am very grateful.

I would mention one last thing. This occurred yesterday upon my return to my bus. I have mentioned previously that on the morning of the day of my accident I had posted the blog titled Why Does God Require Christians to Suffer. I left the house around noon and traveled to Macon to visit with an elderly brother in Christ. About 4:30 P.M. as I was returning home, I was struck and injured.

I had not been back to my bus since that time, until yesterday. I have a desktop computer that I use in the bus, but when I am away I use an older laptop, which I had with me when I was at my daughter’s.

Last night I turned on the desktop computer and I noted that there was an e-mail that had been sent to me at 2:22 P.M. on September 6th, the day of my accident. I was in Macon at the time, visiting with the elder brother, and I never read the email until yesterday. The e-mail was from a sister in Christ who resides in California. The Subject line of her e-mail was simply “re: Afflictions.” This was followed by the words of Paul that I cited in yesterday’s blog post.

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all."

I had actually quoted the same words from Paul’s letter to Timothy. Paul, I believe, was making reference to the words of David above, from Psalms 34:19

II Timothy 3:10-11
Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me!

In the post I commented that Paul is not stating that he was spared from suffering, but rather that the Lord preserved him through the suffering. Paul was able to endure, and not shrink back.

People of God, as we follow after Christ, we will be afflicted in many ways. There will be persecution, rejection, material loss, mocking, slander, homelessness, sleepless nights, hunger, injury and many dangers. These things are appointed for the sons of God, but God truly will walk with us, and sustain us through all of them. He comforts us with much comfort so that we can comfort others. I pray that these present experiences of suffering will result in a greater manifestation of Christ in my life through compassion and comfort shown to others who suffer.

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

Heart4God Website:    

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Way to Life - Part Seven - The Privilege of Persecution

Joseph Herrin (09-28-2011)

Luke 6:22-23
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and cast insults at you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.”

In recent days two separate articles have come to my attention that reveal that persecution of Christians is on the increase in America. The Spirit expressly testifies that these things will increase, and very markedly so. We are at that time which the Bible refers to as “the beginning of birthpangs.” In order for mature sons and daughters of God to come forth, the church must pass through a season of pain and sorrow. When it is observed that a “man child” has come forth to the glory of God, all the pain of what was experienced will be forgotten.

Matthew 24:8-13
“But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.”

John 16:21-22
“A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man takes from you.”

When the church observes actual instances of Christian persecution in America, the response of many is shock and outrage. Many are tempted to resist such persecution through whatever political or human means that are at hand. Such responses reveal a wrong mindset, and a misapprehension of the purpose of suffering. Suffering is not a great evil to be avoided at any cost; It is a privilege to be borne by those who are true disciples of Christ.

Let me share with you an excerpt from the first article that recently drew my attention to the escalating persecution of Christians and their beliefs.

Gay activists get LifeSiteNews translator and pro-family activist Julio Severo cut off by PayPal
by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

September 19, 2011 ( - Under pressure from homosexual activists, PayPal has decided to deny service to famed Brazilian pro-life and pro-family Christian activist Julio Severo.

In additon, at least two Christian organizations targeted by the same activists remain under investigation by PayPal and may also lose use of the service.

Severo, an Evangelical essayist who also translates for LifeSiteNews, maintains a highly influential blog in Portuguese that is read and commented on by politicians in Brazil’s federal government.  He is also the author of several books, including a work on the homosexual movement in Brazil.

Severo’s use of PayPal has been targeted in recent weeks by the homosexual group “All Out,” which has created an online petition to urge PayPal to dump Severo and nine other PayPal users as purveyors of “hate” and “extremism.” Severo’s site expresses love of homosexuals and a concern that homosexual behavior is destructive to those who participate in it.

Following the initiation of the campaign, Severo and several others on the list have been contacted by PayPal, asking for information on their organizations and implying that they are not in compliance with PayPal policies.

Following Severo’s response noting that he is not an organization, only an individual, PayPal responded today stating, “We appreciate your interest in PayPal. However, due to legal and regulatory constraints, PayPal Private Limited is unable to process donation payments for non-registered charities and non-profit organizations (NPOs); political party/organizations; religious institutions; personal/organizational fundraisers, etc in countries under its jurisdiction.”

“This is not a decision we make lightly, and we deeply regret any inconvenience or frustration this matter may cause you,” PayPal adds.  “Please understand that this decision is final.”

The organization adds that it will not permit Severo to access any funds remaining in the account for 180 days, after which it will inform him of how to recover them...

Homosexuals also managed to remove Severo’s blog from Blogger for a short period of time in 2008, after complaining about its content. However, following a massive outcry from Brazilian Christians, his site was restored.

“I am very worried, because PayPal caved in to gay militants and their hate campaign to have me excluded from PayPal,” Severo told LifeSiteNews.

“I use PayPal to pay for essential services for me and my family. And we are in a very limited situation, because we are away from Brazil because of gay and government persecution. Our resources are limited,” he added. “And now under pressure of my persecutors, PayPal is making sure that my ways to receive donations may be even more limited and hard.

“Millions of individuals use PayPal to receive money. Why cannot I receive too?” Severo asks and points out that “I am not a charity. I am only a Christian individual with a wife and four little children...”


As a Christian teacher with a website hosted by Blogger, who also receives gifts from Christian brothers and sisters through Paypal, this story strikes close to home. Satan has often employed fear of suffering as a tool to silence Christians and to drive truth underground. Should I begin to censor my writings to insure that they do not offend various groups or individuals, fearing that my source of support, or my ability to share publicly with others, might be cut off? Once we begin down the path of permitting fear to dictate our actions it is very difficult to recover.

As Christ is our pattern, we do not see that He ever compromised in speaking forth the mind of His Father. Even when He knew that the religious leaders of Israel would be incensed and begin seeking His life, He spoke boldly and without apology. Yahshua entrusted His life into the hands of His Father knowing that He would be protected until the time appointed by the Father for Him to suffer.

In Peter, we initially see a very different response. Observing that Christ’s open declaration of the things of God led to arrest and suffering, Peter was initially cowed as he feared the same result. Three times on the night of Christ’s arrest, Peter denied that he even knew Yahshua. To save himself from suffering, Peter denied the Lord who had chosen him.

At the third appearing of Christ after His resurrection, we find Yahshua speaking to Peter about his failure. Even as Peter denied Yahshua three times, Christ asks him three times, “Peter, do you love Me?” Christ then tells Peter that he cannot avoid suffering, but must embrace it. Only in this way will Peter be able to fulfill the desire of God and be brought to the full image of Christ.

John 21:17-20
Yahshua said to him..., "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me!"

These words of Christ, although having a literal fulfillment, were spoken as a parable to reveal spiritual truth. In our immaturity, our lives are guided by our own soul. Our soul’s seek to avoid suffering, but following such a course causes Christians to remain as spiritual children. In order to progress to maturity we must all stretch out our hands and embrace the suffering of the cross appointed to us. We cannot refuse to share in the sufferings of Christ. It is only through suffering that we are brought to a mature conformity to Christ.

Yahshua was expressing to Peter that he must yield to the cross, and become willing to go where his own soul would not choose to go. If Peter would advance to spiritual maturity (“when you grow old”), he must permit someone else to gird him and guide him. This person is the Spirit of Christ. He will clothe us in garments of humility and lead us down an afflicted path.

People of God, this story about Paypal cutting off service to this man who has been speaking out openly against the sin of homosexuality is just one example of the growing intolerance of the preaching of Biblical truth. This morning a sister forwarded to me a link to a story on the website Prison Planet. It lists 18 (6+6+6) examples of the persecution of Christians at this hour. Whether each of these events are truly examples of suffering for Christ, I am unable to judge. However, I am persuaded that Christian persecution is on the increase, and will only accelerate. Following is an excerpt from the article:

#1 Home Bible studies are now banned in the city of San Juan Capistrano, California.  According to city officials, regular gatherings “of more than three people” in private homes are simply not allowed.  One couple that has held home Bible studies for years has already been fined twice [2] and is being threatened with even more fines.

#2 Paypal has initiated “formal investigations” of a large number of Christian websites and organizations. Apparently, many of these investigations have been launched due to concerns that these websites and organizations do not hold to a “politically-correct” view of sexuality...

#3 In Wichita, Kansas last year, a Christian minister was handcuffed and hauled off to jail by police for sharing the gospel and handing out tracts to Muslims on a public sidewalk.  Apparently freedom of speech does not apply on the public sidewalks of America any longer.

#4 In the UK, police recently threatened a cafe owner with arrest for silently playing a Bible DVD on a small television on the back wall of his cafe.  The following is an excerpt from a Daily Mail article about this incident….

    Mr Murray, 31, was left shocked after he was questioned for nearly an hour by the officers, who arrived unannounced at the premises.

    He said he had turned off the Bible DVD after an ‘aggressive inquisition’ during which he thought he was going to be arrested and ‘frog-marched out of the cafe like a criminal.’

#5 Last year, a high school student in Southern California was suspended for two days because he had private conversations with his classmates during which he discussed Christianity.  He was also banned from bringing his Bible to school ever again.

#6 Big cable networks regularly feature “comedians” that love to mock Christians.  For example, HBO “comedian” Bill Maher recently stated that “there’s a term for people who hate charity and love killing: Christian.”

#7 Down in Texas, the Department of Veteran Affairs actually tried to ban prayers that include the words “God” or “Jesus” during funeral services for veterans.

#8 In North Carolina last year, a pastor was dismissed from his chaplain duties for praying in the name of Jesus.

#9 An unclassified Department of Homeland Security report published a couple years ago entitled “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” claims that a belief in Bible prophecy “could motivate extremist individuals and groups to stockpile food, ammunition and weapons.”  The report goes on to state that such people are potentially dangerous.

#10 Back on February 20, 2009, the State of Missouri issued a report entitled “MIAC Strategic Report: The Modern Militia Movement.” That report warned that the following types of people may be potential terrorists….

*anti-abortion activists

*those that are against illegal immigration

*those that consider “the New World Order” to be a threat

*those that have a negative view of the United Nations

#11 All over the nation, “child protection agencies” are ripping an inordinate number of children out of Christian homes. In many of these cases the parents believe in homeschooling their children or they do not believe in having their children vaccinated.

#12 On June 18, 2010 two Christians decided that they would peacefully pass out copies of the gospel of John on a public sidewalk outside a public Islamic festival in Dearborn, Michigan and within three minutes 8 police officers surrounded them and placed them under arrest.

#13 A Christian consultant was recently fired by Bank of America and by Cisco because they discovered a book that he had written that expressed Christian viewpoints about social issues.

#14 A while back, a federal judge actually ruled that the University of California can deny course credit to applicants from Christian high schools that use textbooks that teach that it was God who created the earth.

#15 Back in 2009, one 8 year old boy in Massachusetts was sent home from school and was forced to undergo a psychological evaluation because he drew a picture of Jesus on the cross.

#16 The Obama administration has announced that there is a whole host of laws that it will not be enforcing, but one thing that the Obama administration has chosen to do is to aggressively pursue lawsuits against anti-abortion protesters.

#17 During a Congressional hearing earlier this year, U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee warned that “Christian militants” might try to “bring down the country” and that such groups need to be investigated.

#18 According to a shocking FBI document obtained by Oath Keepers, the FBI definition of “suspicious activity” now includes making “extreme religious statements” and believing in “radical theology.”


Christ’s theology in His day was certainly considered “radical.” So too was the preaching of the apostle Paul. Not surprisingly, their words stirred up strong emotions and at times a violent response from those who heard them. If the sons of God speak forth those things Yahweh’s Spirit delivers to them to speak in this hour, it too will be considered radical, offensive, and will provoke a response of persecution.

John 15:20
“Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you...”

II Timothy 3:10-12
But you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me! And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Yahshua will be persecuted.

When Paul speaks of being delivered by the Lord out of all his persecutions, he is not implying that he was spared experiences of suffering. Christ gave Paul strength to stand, and not shrink back, when faced with suffering. It was the will of Christ that Paul suffer many things. This fact was expressed at the very time of Paul’s conversion.

Acts 9:15-16
But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake."

Although you and I may never be called to suffer as many things as Paul, Yahweh has specifically appointed experiences of suffering for everyone who would follow in the steps of Christ. We must not shrink back from these experiences as Peter did on the night of Christ’s arrest. We must embrace the cross appointed to each of us.

The vast majority of Christians in America who come across articles such as those cited in this post will be alarmed. Their immediate response will be to cry out in indignation, and perhaps to engage in some carnal means of averting further persecution against Christians. The church has not been taught the role and necessity of suffering for Christ. Deceptive teachings that assert that God wants to provide an uninterrupted life of blessing and prosperity to the saints has deeply weakened the churches ability to stand. When persecution and suffering presents itself to the church in coming days, a great many will fall away.

Mark 4:16-17
“And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.”

Christ encouraged those who would follow as His disciples to adopt a very different mindset from that which is so prevalent in this hour of sensuality, ease, and comfort. He told His disciples to think of themselves as “blessed” when all men hate them. He told them to “leap for joy” with the understanding that they have a great reward in heaven.

It is a privilege to be permitted to share in the sufferings of Christ. In coming days, many saints will be invited to partake of this privilege. To natural eyes, such things look like no privilege at all. Men think it a curse to be turned out of homes, to have their possessions confiscated, to be arrested, reproached, blasphemed, and roughly treated. In coming days, many will be put in prisons, and some will lose their lives for their obedience to follow Christ wherever He would lead. Let us have our minds made up ahead of time that we will accept whatever comes, and not turn back.

Revelation 12:11
“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.”

Let us “think it not strange” when these experiences come to us. Tribulation is appointed to all of the sons of God. There is a cup of suffering that Christ drank from, and He would offer it to all who are called and chosen as sons. There is a baptism of fire that all must pass through.

Mark 10:39
Yahshua said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.”

Let us not be alarmed at the increasing enmity of the world toward Christianity. These things must come. The swelling tide of Christian antipathy cannot be turned back through political activism, through boycotts, letter writing campaigns, or any other means. Christ prophesied that His disciples would be hated by all nations. It is vain to seek to produce a safe society where Christians can worship God and serve Him unmolested. To seek such a course will only result in a watered down message, compromised obedience, and disciples of Christ that have lost their saltiness and are good for nothing.

The Father has been merciful to me and has never shown me too much of what lies ahead. Yahshua testified, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” urging His disciples to “take no thought for tomorrow.” Tomorrow will come. There will be evil things we must pass through. Many will be rejected by family, friends, church members, and society. Some will experience the loss of all worldly possessions. More than a few will be beaten, imprisoned and even put to death. As the elect of God bear up patiently under all things while maintaining a heart of love and forgiveness, they will prove that they are worthy of the name of Christ, and that the world is not worthy of them.

Hebrews 11:35-38
And others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

We should not be surprised that Paypal should refuse service to the disciples of Christ in these last days. An hour is coming when those who bear the imprint of Christ, and have overcome the mark of the beast, will not be permitted to buy or sell in a world under the dominion of Satan. The faith of the saints must be tested. Those who stand fast will find that their faith will be purified even as gold is refined in a fire.

Our faith is precious in the eyes of God. Let us not cast away our confidence, for the words of the apostle are true:

I Peter 5:10
And after you have suffered for a little while , the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

There is a beneficent purpose behind the suffering appointed to us. Yahweh would have us perfected and established as sons ready to receive an inheritance imperishable in the heavens. Let all who would be perfect put on the mind of Christ who said, “Not My will, but Thy will be done.”

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

Monday, September 26, 2011

Under the Microscope - Examining All Things Closely - Part 7

Joseph Herrin (09-26-2011)

Comet Elenin

Back in April I began a series titled Under the Microscope in which I urged the saints to test carefully the many conspiracy theories and doomsday prophecies that are so rampant in this hour. Although we do live in an hour when great judgments must come to the nations and the church, even as birth pangs come upon a woman when her hour to deliver is near, there is much being declared that is unsound. Satan always seeks to sow confusion and deception, if he might by any means direct people away from truth and a sound understanding of what God is about.

I began this series back in April. If you have not read the first installments of it, you can find it posted in order at the following links:

This present post comprises part 7 of this series. I had intended to write about Comet Elenin months ago, but many more matters and experiences came into my life, not the least of which was a 74 day stint in jail, and I was not able to bring to completion that which was on my heart to set forth in writing. Nevertheless, I have had many correspondences with various saints who have written to ask me about Comet Elenin, or to send me articles regarding it. These queries continue to come in many months later. I believe I have had at least four separate individuals write to me on this subject in the past few days, so I wish to set forth some information so that the saints can be better able to test this issue.

To state that the claims surrounding Comet Elenin have been spectacular, and incredible (in the most literal sense of the word), is to speak conservatively. Comet Elenin has been attributed as the cause of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Concepcion, Chile, as well as the successive earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand and Sendai, Japan. There have been many voices suggesting that the government of the United States has been involved in a massive cover-up and disinformation campaign, as they know that Elenin will produce an “Extinction Level Event” on the earth, and do not wish to panic the populace. Some of these voices suggest that the government has been preparing their own survival bolt holes, while misleading the public about the impending destruction of the earth.

Such claims sound like a Hollywood script. Indeed, Hollywood has produced movies with a very similar plot, including Deep Impact and Armageddon, both of which were about comets or asteroids that were on a collision course with the earth. Some have actually pointed to these movies to bolster their claims of impending calamity, pointing out parallels to details in the movies and the facts surrounding Comet Elenin.

For example, the discover of the comet “Wolf/Biederman” in the movie Deep Impact was a young boy named Leo Biederman. This is compared to the fact that Comet Elenin was discovered by a man whose first name is Leonid. Additionally, the same movie refers to the impending disaster produced by the collision of the comet with the Earth as ELE (pronounced Ellie), which stands for “Extinction Level Event.” This is compared to the theory that has the dinosaurs being wiped out by a similar impact millennia ago.

That the discoverer of Comet Elenin has a last name beginning with the letters “ELE” has been interpreted as a prophetic sign that this comet will produce a similar effect upon the earth as was portrayed in the movie.

Some extreme conspiracy websites that get into fantastical theories that are devoid of any hard science or practical skepticism, have further postulated that Comet Elenin is not a comet at all, but is actually Planet X, which is often referred to a Nibiru, or that it is a brown dwarf star. Those who ascribe to the  Nibiru theory have produced a complete anagram of the name Elenin, suggesting that it stands for “Extinction Level Event - Nibiru Is Near.” Although this is clever, it is mere conjecture, and as all things, such claims need to be tested both through whatever science is available to us, as well as through more spiritual means (examining the testimony of Scripture and listening to the voice of the Spirit.)

Elenin has been in the news for quite a long time now as it was discovered back on December 10, 2010. Conspiracy theories and doomsday prophecies have been circulating on the Internet for at least the last six months. As they have become more widely disseminated they have attracted greater speculation and more voices have begun to jump on the Elenin disaster bandwagon.

Due to this Internet notoriety, some Christians have also begun to take note of Comet Elenin, and this has led to a new wrinkle. There are some who have plotted the course of Elenin using such software programs as Starry Night which are able to project astronomical data into the future and focus in on individual heavenly bodies. They have traced the course of Comet Elenin as it would be viewed from earth, and have concluded that it will serve as a sign of great importance as it passes through the constellation Virgo (Bethulah the Virgin), where a conjunction of Saturn and Venus will also be taking place.

Various interpretations have been given of what this sign might mean. One writing that was forwarded to me came from a man with a Messianic Hebrew perspective and he suggested that it is a prophecy of the restoration of the two houses of Israel, Joseph and Judah, or the Northern and Southern kingdoms. Other writings that have shown this same transit of the comet through Virgo suggest that it is a sign of the appearance of the Manchild of Revelation 12, or the return of Christ. Some even suggest it marks the beginning of the Great Tribulation, since its appearance is coinciding with the Feast of Trumpets. As with all such things, there is always a temptation to interpret events according to our belief system and expectations. In other words, men are prone to see what they want to see in such signs.

This fact actually has formed the basis for much of what I have shared previously in this series Under the Microscope. I have cautioned the saints against being swayed by bias as they encounter the myriad of conspiracy theories and prophecies that are swirling about the Internet at this time. Such claims are increasing, and they are not likely to go away. It is requisite that the saint who would walk in truth while avoiding the panic and hysteria of the masses, be well grounded spiritually, patient in testing all things, and not prone to embracing every idea that comes along simply because it appeals to some bias, or desire of the soul.

I share these words of caution not with condemnation, but as one who has been chastised by Yahweh for failing to discern between truth and error in the past. Experience, if we will permit it to be so, can be a most effective instructor. The errors of our past can serve to keep us from similar errors in the present and future, if we will take the lessons to heart and apply them in humility. I have confessed openly my own foibles of judgment when I was led astray by the hype of doomsday scenarios and prophecies of calamity to come which had some appeal to my soul.

The earliest such event I can remember was the Y2K bug that a great many voices suggested would spell the downfall of modern civilization. If we do not divide between soul and spirit we will be led astray, as many were in that day who sold homes and built bunkers out in some wilderness area, stocking up with food rations and guns and ammunition. When Y2K turned out to be a non-event, the folly of many became evident, though due to pride very few prognosticators of doom ever admitted their error. The matter was swept under the rug, but the consequences of such an approach became evident over time. Those Christians who did not own up to their error and misspoken words were given over to a spirit of delusion and have become susceptible to ever increasing deceptions, seemingly lacking the ability to test anything at all. Yahweh gives grace to the humble. It is therefore ever necessary to publicly confess our error, and repent of it, when we have misspoken publicly about some event.

That there are aspects of the Comet Elenin conspiracy theories, doomsday reports, and prophecies that appeal to aspects of the soul of man is evident. There are a great many who mistrust the government today, and I admit there is very good reason to do so. The kingdoms of this world are presently ruled by the Prince of the Power of the Air, who is also known as Satan, and the Great Deceiver. The day has not yet arrived where the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and Christ. The earth still lies in the power of the evil one. Those in positions of ruling authority in this fallen world system exemplify Satan’s nature, and he is a great deceiver.

Nevertheless, it is not wisdom to attribute deception and conspiracies to governments, or anyone else, without properly testing the subject first. Mankind needs very little help in being led astray into error. Not every report from government agencies are false, nor are those outside the government known to be paragons of truth and virtue. In America, the government leaders are elected by the populace, and it is my judgment that both the leaders and the followers are largely cut from the same cloth.

Jeremiah 5:31
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so!

As Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the Sun.” Corrupt nations produce corrupt leaders. To expect anything different defies common sense. Should we really expect that a nation that has murdered more than 50 million babies in the womb at the altar of convenience and sensuality; that has filled the world with images of pornography, rebellion, and violence, that champions homosexuality; and has come to endorse torture and unlimited imprisonment without legal recourse, would not have a truth problem among the citizens as well as among its leadership? It is necessary to test all things that are proclaimed whether they originate within, or without the government.

Following is a graphic I received in an article this morning. The information displayed has been passed along the Internet for many months now. The data provided is intended to suggest a link between Comet Elenin and major earthquakes that have occurred.

It is suggested that on the date of each of these earthquakes that Comet Elenin was aligned with the Earth, the Sun, and at times some other planet within our solar system. It is further suggested that these alignments have been the cause of earthquakes, though the mechanism, or science, demonstrating cause and effect has not been in evidence.

A comet the size of Elenin has very little mass. Its core may be no larger than a few meters, and even if it measured kilometers across, its mass would be so small that it would have little influence on surrounding bodies. If gravitational attraction is supposed to be the instrument leading to such massive earthquakes, then Elenin would have to be truly massive to exert enough influence at such great distances to have any effect at all upon the earth.

Note that when the earthquake occurred in Chile, Comet Elenin was more than 6 AU distance from earth. An AU (Astronomical Unit) is the approximate distance from the earth to the Sun. In miles, one AU is about 93 million miles.

If one considers that the Moon that orbits the Earth is at its closest approach a mere 225,000 miles from the Earth, and it has a diameter nearly one quarter that of the earth, it would require a truly massive object 6 AU distance to have any measurable impact at all upon the earth. (The moon at its closest is only .0024 AU distance from the Earth.)

If the Moon were set at a distance of 6 AU from the earth, we would never have any effect from its gravitational pull. There would be no rise and fall of the ocean tides, nor any distortion of the earth’s crust. The distances would simply be too great for an object of such a small mass to have any effect upon the Earth. Consider also that the largest planet in the Solar System is Jupiter. This giant planet has a mass by itself that is 2 and ½ times the mass of all the other planets combined.

Jupiter and Earth Size Comparison

Jupiter at its closest approach to the Earth is 555 million miles distance. This is slightly less than the distance of Comet Elenin to the Earth on the date of the Chile earthquake. On the date of the Christchurch earthquake, Elenin was even further away. It is inconceivable that an object with as little mass as a comet, at such great distances, could have any impact upon the earth, either through gravitational attraction, or any other supposed force. Even if Elenin were a brown dwarf star (I know of no evidence to support such a conclusion), its mass would likely be similar to that of Jupiter, and perhaps even less. The mass of Jupiter is actually used by astronomers as a comparative unit when speaking of the mass of brown dwarf stars.

So, what effect does Jupiter have upon the Earth due to its influence less than 6 AU away? Does it cause earthquakes? Does it even effect the tides of the ocean? The answer to both questions is “no.” Even though the planet has such a great mass, it is simply too far away to have any appreciable effect. Jupiter has approximately 1/1000th the mass of the Sun, and it is nearly six times further away. If, as scientific observations have shown, Elenin is indeed a comet, and a minor one at that, its mass is infinitesimally less than that of Jupiter, and it cannot reasonably be expected to exert any influence upon the Earth.

There are ways to test this conclusion. If the earthquakes listed are the result of another heavenly body exerting a gravitational pull upon the earth due to an alignment, or close approach, then this influence would easily be observed by looking for distortions of the ocean tides. The tides are produced due to the gravitational influence of the moon. Therefore, any unusual gravitational force strong enough to cause large earthquakes would also produce an alteration of the tides. Where are the reports of unusual tides that coincided with these earthquakes, and alignments of Elenin? I have seen none. (The tsunami caused by the Japan earthquake was not the result of tidal changes. It was caused by a sudden upthrust of the Earth under the ocean. Although some people call Tsunami’s “tidal waves,” this is a misnomer. Tsunami is literally translated as “harbor wave” and they are unrelated to the ocean’s tides which are caused by the influence of the moon’s gravitational field.)

A sister in Christ forwarded to me a writing suggesting that Comet Elenin has been responsible for earthquakes, and could produce a great cataclysm tomorrow (September 27th) which the article states is also the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets on the Hebrew Calendar. Following is an excerpt.

Quakes that are produced by alignments are NOT created by gravitational pull but rather by Electro Magnetic Troughs - which contains what is known as portals. Some active and others inactive.

The Earth is connected to the sun by one of these troughs in a fixed manner. Like wise, it appears that Elenin is connected as well, yet not fixed.

It is much like the electro magnetic globes you can buy at one of those unique gift shops. Which is actually called a plasma ball. When you place your finger to the globe it draws most the charge to your finger. When the Earth passed through this unfixed trough, forming an alignment with the Sun, it is believed that it triggered the large earth quakes.

As the distance between Elenin and the sun shortens, the trough widens as
it gets shorter. The difference would be comparable to a garden hose that is 50 feet long to that of a 24 inch water main that is only 5 feet long. This trough connecting Elenin to the sun will be at it's greatest capacity on September 11th as this will be the date that it is closest to the Sun. 16 days later, on the 27th, it will come between the Sun and Earth at approximately 1/3 of an astronomical unit away.

Though the Earth will NOT be between Elenin and the sun on this alignment like the previous ones, it appears that Elenin could super charge the trough between the Earth and the sun as it passes through it. Basically acting as a syphon and thrusting huge amounts of electro magnetic shock waves to earth. Then as Elenin continues on it's trajectory, earth DOES come between Elenin and the Sun again. Having this alignment come on the 27th of September may not sound like a significant date to many but it literally falls on the feast of trumpets of Yahweh's prophetic calendar! What if this event is the actual beginning of the blowing of the trumpets in Revelation?
[End Excerpt]

According to sources I have checked (Karaite Korner, etc.) Rosh Hashanah (Yom Teruah) actually begins at sundown on the 29th, and will be observed during daylight hours on September 30th. So there is some discrepancy in the dates here.

Coming across a report such as is found in the words above, would you normally be inclined to test the statements uttered before accepting them? The author is not an expert in these matters, though he writes with a lot of confidence. One must ask whether such confidence is justified. Is the writer merely presenting conclusions that result from his own personal bias that have led him to adopt theories and hypothesis favorable to his pre-judgment of this matter, and to make claims that are unwarranted? Christians should certainly apply themselves to fact check claims as far as possible.

All this talk of electromagnetic troughs and portals sounds mysteriously like science fiction. I decided to do a search on the words “electromagnetic troughs and earthquakes” to see if there was any science behind these claims. I found very little. There were a couple of articles that revealed that very preliminary studies are being considered and conducted to see if there is a relationship between electromagnetic fluctuations and earthquakes. The articles stated that it was hoped that studying this subject might lead to a predictive capability for earthquakes. The articles also revealed that such a link was controversial, and that the source of electromagnetic fluctuations preceding earthquakes was not assumed to be due to an outside influence (such as a heavenly body), but could be a by product of subterranean forces associated with an earthquake.

What I did not find was any scientific evidence that would support the confident assertions of the author of the piece forwarded to me. There is no body of evidence to support the contention that earthquakes are produced by electromagnetic troughs in the heavens. Also the statement that Elenin “appears” to be connected to the Sun by one of these troughs is not backed up by any evidence whatsoever. The author simply makes the claim without providing any data, or source material, to fact check his conclusions.

As I have watched this Comet Elenin story unfold over the course of many months, I have observed that the Christian community has gotten involved with it due to other websites giving the subject such heightened attention. I have had to ask whether this attention was justified. What, after all, makes Comet Elenin special? Although comets visible to the naked eye on earth are fairly rare, comets themselves are quite common. It is estimated that there may be as many as a trillion comets in the solar system. Although few are visible to the naked eye, there are many more that are observable with telescopes and other observation equipment. Every year, amateur astronomers discover more than 100 never before seen comets. Elenin was just one of more than 100 discovered in the past 12 months. Why then has it received such inordinate attention?

The attention given to Elenin cannot be due to it being spectacular in appearance. At its brightest in August of this year it was recorded as having a brightness of 8.3 magnitude*. To put this in perspective, this is 5 times dimmer than the human eye can see. At no time has Comet Elenin ever been visible from the Earth with the unaided human eye. If Comet Elenin is to be interpreted as a heavenly sign, as some Christians are now suggesting, it must be considered a very minor sign, and in my opinion it is no sign at all if it cannot be seen by the human eye.


Some men have gone to great lengths to describe Comet Elenin’s passage through the Constellation Virgo. I have seen illustrations taken from various computer software programs. I have two such illustrations that follow. Both are taken from different versions of the Starry Night software. They depict the view of the heavens as seen from Jerusalem on the night of September 29th, which is Rosh Hashanah/Yom Teruah. Note that although this software does depict the location of Comet Elenin in this constellation, it does not disclose the fact that the comet will not be visible to the unaided eye. Furthermore, it has been reported in the past week or two that it appears that Elenin may have already begun disintegrating as it approached the Sun*. Therefore, there may not be anything left of it to observe, even with a telescope.


Note Elenin’s location near the neck of Virgo.

In the descriptions and interpretations of this “possible sign” in the heavens, the authors have described the moon as being under the feet of the virgin. In neither depiction does it truly appear that the moon is “under” the feet of Virgo. Rather, it is alongside the feet. There are numerous such discrepancies where things are stated to be aligned, but the reality is somewhat different.

Having considered these writings, I am not persuaded by any of the arguments that Elenin is being used by God as a sign of great things happening at this time. If Yahweh were truly indicating the restoration of the two houses of Israel, the birth of the manchild, the return of Christ, or the beginning of the Great Tribulation, I believe the heavenly sign would be observable to the human eye.

The only reason I can arrive at for so many giving such attention to a comet that cannot even be seen, and which has quite possibly already begun an intense disintegration into nothingness, is that they were caught up in the hype that has surrounded this subject. Considering that the hype was itself extremely spurious from the beginning, with the first reports appearing on very disreputable conspiracy sites, I believe we simply have an example of much ado about nothing.

I John 4:1
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

People of God, I do not deny that we live in a very unique time in history. Yahweh is about to accomplish many things. There is a need to be watchful. Judgments are being loosed in the earth. Christchurch has been shaken twice now, and Christ’s church must also be shaken. There will certainly be many true signs of things that are coming, and many difficult days lie ahead, but let us be patient and test all things for many false reports and claims are being circulated. The sons of God are called to be wise as serpents, yet harmless as doves.

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, September 22, 2011

The Way to Life - Part Six - We Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood

Joseph Herrin (09-21-2011)

Note: The following is a link to an excellent post by Art, a brother in Christ. I love the depths of truth revealed through the parable of coaching a high school long distance running team. I believe you will be blessed by it as well.

We Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood

Ephesians 6:12
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood...

This series has focused upon the necessity of Christ’s disciples to experience suffering. In perhaps a majority of circumstances the sufferings of Christ’s disciples come to them through the hands of other men and women. There is a natural enmity between the natural descendants of Adam and the spiritual descendants of Christ. This enmity was viewed as far back as the strife that existed between Cain and Abel, and between Ishmael and Isaac. This enmity continues on to this day.

The disciples of Christ should not be surprised that it is those who confess faith in Christ who are their chief persecutors. It was those who swore allegiance to Yahweh who crucified the Son whom He loved. Yahshua said this same state of things would persist throughout the church age.

John 16:1-2
“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues (churches); yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God  service.”

Who is it that thinks they offer God service except those who claim to be His servants? Yahshua is declaring to His disciples that the very ones who profess obedience to God will become their persecutors. It is Christians who will arise more than any others to inflict reproaches and suffering upon Christ’s disciples in this day. They will quote Scriptures as they do so, and present evidence that what they are doing is the will of God.

Yahweh has revealed to me that He has called me to serve as a pioneer and explorer for others of His sons and daughters. He has led me down an afflicted path for these past 12 years that I might serve as a guide, instructor, and encourager to a much larger number of His children who must walk a similar course in these last days. I do not share my experiences to boast of those things I have passed through. Rather, I share them to reveal to my brothers and sisters what Christian discipleship looks like in this hour in a nation such as America.

There are no experiences that the Spirit of Christ has led me through that were not common to the early church. The first disciples’ experiences are recorded for us in the New Testament. We have previously read that Christ’s disciples suffered many things. They were made a reproach and spectacle before religious and secular people. Some had their possessions confiscated. Others were imprisoned. They were put out of the synagogues. Some suffered beatings, while others were put to death. The sufferings of Christ were shared abundantly among those who accepted Christ’s invitation to “Come, take up your cross, and follow Me.”

Over time the church at large has drifted away from discipleship, having replaced it with confession of Christ as Savior. The Lordship of Christ is no longer observed in the lives of most who profess to be Christians. There is no surrender, no yielding of one’s life to “follow the Lamb where He goes.” Because of this, very little of the sufferings of Christ are known to this generation.

Part of the value of Christ having me share the experiences I have encountered since I yielded in 1999 to follow wherever He should lead, and to do whatever He should ask of me, is to demonstrate to the saints that such a walk will result in affliction. Many find it hard to imagine being persecuted as a Christian in a nation such as America. The vast majority of professing Christians get along remarkably well with the society around them. Causes of conflict are difficult for many to imagine.

The lack of suffering among Christians in American society, when compared to the very substantial suffering of those early saints in Roman society, is not due to the world having changed. It is the result of Christians having abandoned the call to be disciples. The following statement is a universal truth throughout all nations and societies during this kingdom age.

II Timothy 3:12
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Yahshua will be persecuted.

During the past 12 years I have experienced tremendous resistance from men and women in American society. There have been reproaches, condemnation, rejection, even attacks and unveiled hatred. The greatest part of this has come from professing Christians. Adamic man has not improved since the days of Christ, nor have the natural affections and passions of the flesh become more accepting of the spiritual. There remains a natural antipathy in the hearts of natural men toward those walking as spiritual. Indeed, there is great hatred, even to the point of murder.

Matthew 24:9-12
“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another... And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold.”

James writes to the people of God and reproves those who have an abundance of the world’s goods with the following words:

James 5:6
You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.

I have found, both in Scripture and in personal experience, that it is those who have much of the world’s goods who become exceptionally antagonistic toward the disciples of Christ.

James 2:5-7
Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?

Those who love money, comfort, and material possessions find that a natural enmity exists in their hearts toward those who are Christ’s disciples. A man cannot serve God and mammon. Despite this clear declaration of Christ, the vast majority of Christians today are trying to do that which He testified to be impossible. Most Christians are attempting to serve God and to pursue material prosperity at the same time. Little do they realize that in doing so they are adopting a mindset that is antagonistic toward Christ and His disciples. Such ones are at risk of becoming the persecutors of the righteous while thinking they are doing God a favor.

Luke 16:13-15
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”  Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things, and they were scoffing at [Yahshua]. And He said to them,  “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts.”

There are many pharisees in the church today. Many of them appear as the most righteous and devoted of all believers. They sit in the best seats, and are given honor, for the leaders of the churches favor those who exude a material prosperity and worldly success.

The Scriptures, personal experience, and the witness of the Spirit of Christ, all lead me to conclude that much of the suffering, reproaches, and persecution that will accrue to those who surrender to follow Christ in this hour will arise from those who profess to follow Christ while pursuing material prosperity. Christ will lead many of His sons and daughters to embrace a path where most, if not all, of their material possessions must be left behind. Having a house, or a nest of their own will no longer be a certainty. Those who follow Christ will of necessity need to manifest a contentment with whatever God chooses for them. There will be periods of lack. Food will not be present in the same abundance as former days, nor the comforts of life that so many take for granted.

Those who esteem such things will become critical of those whose pursuit of obedience to Christ has replaced a pursuit of the material. Family members, church leaders, fellow saints, and the members of a materialistic society will all scorn those whose lives appear to be cursed with poverty. Men and women will receive condemnation for not giving themselves to a pursuit of mammon. They will be vilified as lacking compassion for their family members, of being lazy, prideful, or spiritually deluded.

I am at this very moment aware of saints who are entering into times of material lack as they labor to follow Christ with all their hearts. God has certainly ordered their steps. He has promised not to forsake them. He will provide them their daily needs, but what God has defined as man’s need is very different from man’s definition.

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

Remember once more the Scripture we reviewed in the previous post.

Luke 6:20-26
And turning His gaze on His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and cast insults at you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets.”

Christ is revealing to those who will follow Him that they are going to have a very different experience from those who are full and satisfied, those who are comfortable and full of happiness. If you surrender to follow Christ, you will know lack where others know plenty. You will be reproached when others are honored. You will face difficulty when others are at ease.

Joseph, the son of Jacob, is a type of those who are forerunners in suffering. Joseph knew suffering and reproach when his brothers were living lives of ease as the sons of a wealthy father. Yahweh must have some sons who will embrace suffering that He might bestow promotion upon them. At this hour, many are being called to surrender their lives to follow Christ wherever He would lead. A desire to obey their heavenly Father will lead these sons and daughters into Egypt where they must undergo the furnace of afflictions. For a season they will be separated from their brethren. All natural affection toward them will appear to have disappeared. Great is the reward that awaits those who endure to the end.

The point I want to address in this post is that the source of your suffering will very often be people. It is rarely some nameless circumstance that leads to our suffering. There is usually a human hand behind it. When we encounter reproaches and persecution from human sources there is a temptation to enter into striving with man. In counseling with others I have frequently encountered a wrong focus. Many of Christ’s disciples seek to deliver themselves from suffering by contending with those they view as their persecutors. It is never the will of God that we strive with man.

Consider the example of Joseph. After he had matured through many years of suffering in Egypt, this man of God came to understand Yahweh’s purposes in his suffering. Although his brothers had acted with evil intent toward him, Joseph perceived that God had ordained all of his experiences of suffering with good intent. Speaking to his brothers, Joseph declared:

Genesis 50:20
And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

If you surrender your life to follow Christ wherever He would lead, you will find yourself brought into experiences of suffering. Those who you counted as brothers will treat you as their enemy. Some will act with great hatred, seeking to cause you much harm. The reflex of the natural man is to defend oneself, and to strike back. Those who are spiritual must not do so. We have Christ as our pattern.

Acts 8:32
“He was led as a sheep to slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He does not open His mouth.”

These words that describe the response of Christ to His attackers are applied to those who would follow in His steps.

Romans 8:36
Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

The apostle Peter testified that Christ did not strive with man. Instead, He entrusted His soul to His Father when enemies arose against Him. Peter presents Christ to the saints as the pattern we are to emulate.

I Peter 2:21-23
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously...

As we observe the life of Christ we find the following pattern. When He was faced with persecution, even crucifixion and death, Christ was silent before man. When He was threatened, He did not threaten in return. When He was reviled, He did not defend His own reputation. When brought before man’s courts Christ was silent.

Mark 15:3-5
And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, "Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!" But Yahshua still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.

The counterpart to this silence before man is that Christ DID make His petition before the Father. Yahshua pleaded with the Father to deliver Him, if it be His will to do so. Ultimately, Christ surrendered to whatever the Father chose for Him to experience.

Luke 22:42
"Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done."

John 12:27-28
"Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Thy name."

Yahweh has shown me that this is the pattern His saints are to follow when they are facing persecution. He has directed me repeatedly to not strive with man. Even when I have been brought before the courts of this world, I have been instructed to not argue, accuse, nor to present a defense. Like Christ, my petition has been lifted up to the Judge who sits on high. I have made my plea to Yahweh, and I have accepted whatever He should choose for me before I have faced those who judge on earth.

This is a most important matter. As sons of God we must always discern that the experiences of suffering we face are ultimately chosen for us by our Father in heaven. Did not Christ reveal this when He prayed to His Father in Gethsemane? He understood that the cup of suffering presented to Him was chosen by God. It could only be honorably removed by the same. Christ could have delivered Himself in the courts. He could have mounted a defense. He could have confounded His accusers with His wisdom as He had done so many times before. Yahshua had legions of angels at His dispatch, and could have called on them to deliver Him. Yet, He did none of these things.

As we come to discern the necessity of suffering, and its role in our perfecting as sons of God, we will enter into this same place of rest that was demonstrated by Christ. We will not act out of fear, seeking to deliver ourselves from the suffering we see before us. Those who trust Yahweh will know that He will not ever permit anything to truly harm them. Though our outer man may perish, our inner man will be preserved alive.

Romans 8:35-39
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Yahshua our Lord.

It seems strange that the church can read a passage such as this and not understand that it is appointed to the sons of God to suffer many things. Yet, through deceit, often embraced willingly, the church has come to believe that these words speak of someone other than themselves.

If you have embraced the understanding that YOU are called to follow Christ down an afflicted path, you will not think it strange when you encounter difficulties and difficult people. It is my hope that you would perceive that adversaries must come, and many will appear from within the household of God. If you are not afraid of suffering; If you stand in the confidence that it is Yahweh who holds your life in His hands and not man, then you too will be able to resist the urge to enter into contention with flesh and blood. You will be able to bless those who curse you, and to walk calmly to the slaughter as a sheep that is silent.

It is as we quiet our souls in the face of many threats that we begin to experience the release of the Spirit within us. That gentle, patient, forgiving, and longsuffering nature of Christ is revealed in us. Perhaps we too will find that some will be brought to marvel at the peace in which we abide. Such is the faith that overcomes the world.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

The Way to Life - Part Five - Sharing in the Sufferings of Christ

Joseph Herrin (09-19-2011)

The union of Christ and His body is a great mystery. Much has been written and preached regarding the oneness of Christ and those saints who comprise His body. One aspect of our identification with Christ that has been largely neglected, especially in this late hour at the end of the age, is the church becoming one with Yahshua in His suffering.

The apostles were not averse to speaking openly about this aspect of our union with Christ. They actually had much to say on the subject.

II Corinthians 1:5
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

Now, if Paul had said “the riches of Christ are ours in abundance,” or “the pleasures of Christ are ours in abundance,” we could be certain that this passage would be one of the most quoted in this hour of sensuality. Yet, that is not what the apostle declares. He says, “the SUFFERINGS of Christ are ours in abundance.”

Consider carefully what is being stated. Paul is not speaking of any and all suffering. He is speaking specifically of the sufferings of Christ. These are afflictions and sorrows and trials that are uniquely associated with the Son of God. Let us define these sufferings that Paul is talking about.

The sufferings of Christ are those sufferings which arise as the will of man comes into conflict with the revealed will of God. Christ ALWAYS chose to do the will of the Father. He testified that He did not come to please Himself. The will of God will not lead us to the same experiences we would choose for ourselves. Christ was not born in a mansion. Yahweh did not give His Son a great reputation among the people. Quite the contrary. The Jewish leaders accused Yahshua of being born illegitimately, of being a Samaritan (mixed race), of having a demon.

The Father did not choose for His Son to walk in a position of worldly power and prestige. Christ had no great ministry center. He had no wealth, or political influence. He came to His own, and His own received Him not. Yahweh chose for His Son to perform His ministry as a wanderer, a poor man who was homeless. The foxes had holes, and the birds of the air had nests, but the Son of man had nowhere to lay His head.

Yahshua is a pattern for the body of Christ. Whenever any man or woman accepts the invitation of Christ, when they begin to walk as His disciple, they will be brought to this form of suffering that is unique to Christ. They must act as if they hate their own soul in order to follow in Yahshua’s steps.

Luke 14:26
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate... even his own life (psuche - soul), he cannot be My disciple.”

The apostle Paul most certainly has this form of suffering in mind when he declares that “the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance.” You cannot be Christ’s disciple without experiencing the suffering that arises as your own soul’s desires are denied that the will of the Father might be accomplished. The disparity between man’s desires and the Father’s are at times extreme.

Matthew 26:38-39
Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will."

There are times when the Father reveals some trial ahead of us, and everything within our natural being recoils in horror, fear and loathing at what is before us. To be numbered among the overcomers in Christ we must not shrink back at such moments. We must press forward. There are great consequences riding upon our decisions, even as there were for the Son of God in that moment portrayed above.

Hebrews 10:32-39
But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly, by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay.  But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

Here are described some of the sufferings of Christ. Those who come to Christ, and become partakers of His Spirit, are to surrender their lives to be led of the Spirit in all things. This surrender will result in conflict with the world, and the religious spirits in this fallen world system.

The Hebrew saints addressed in these words experienced “a great conflict of sufferings.” These were truly the sufferings of Christ. The Jewish religious leaders persecuted them, and Roman society also did the same. The disciples of Christ were subjected to public reproach. They were made spectacles before their neighbors. They had to accept scorn, shame, and many evil accusations. We read that some were imprisoned. Others had their property seized.

Do not be deceived in thinking such things could not happen to those who walk faithfully with Christ today. I can tell you truly, from my own experience, that such tribulations are as likely today as they were 2,000 years ago. This must be so, for Christ’s body has always been perfected through suffering. Let us remember again the words of Paul:

the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance...

This testimony occurs frequently in the Bible.

I Peter 4:12-16
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God.

Both Peter and Paul are speaking in harmony. Paul states that the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance. Peter shares that when we encounter the sufferings of Christ we should not act as if some strange thing were happening. What could he possibly mean, other than that being a partaker of Christ’s suffering is common to all disciples? Christ’s sufferings are to be expected, anticipated, and received with grace. These two apostles are speaking in perfect agreement with the Son of God Himself. Yahshua testified that no man could be His disciple apart from taking up his cross and following Him down an afflicted path. This testimony is found from the gospels to the book of Revelation.

Revelation 1:9
I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Yahshua, was on the island called Patmos, because of the word of God and the testimony of Yahshua.

The day is at hand when a remnant of God’s people will once again identify themselves as John did in these words. When we speak to a true brother or sister in Christ we will acknowledge one another as “a fellow partaker in the tribulation... and perseverance of Christ.” The troubles of Christ are appointed to us in abundance. Think it not strange. These things must be.

In former years the saints in Christ were more amenable to suffering with Christ. I do not mean to suggest that there has ever been more than a remnant who have embraced such things, but at least the church spoke openly about such matters, even if only a few had the attitude of Paul expressed in the following words.

Colossians 1:24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

In 1693 Thomas Shepherd wrote the first stanza to the hymn titled Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone?

Must Jesus bear the cross alone
And all the world go free?
No, there's a cross for ev'ryone,
And there's a cross for me.

I recently finished reading the wonderful biography of Amy Carmichael written by Elisabeth Elliot. The title of the book is A Chance to Die. Ms. Carmichael left a comfortable life in England in the late 1800s to live among the native people of India as a missionary. She understood something about the ways of God, and the call of the body of Christ to share in the sufferings of Christ. The following poem that she penned gives eloquent testimony to her understanding and her experience.

Hast Thou No Scar
Amy Carmichael

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?

What a question to ponder in this hour. “Can he have followed far who hast no wound or scar?” I have at times considered that I would not want to stand before Yahshua on the day when I must give an account of my life and not have any testimony of being a partaker of His sufferings. I would be ashamed to stand before the One who suffered so much for me, and to not have suffered anything for Him.

Consider the attitude of Peter, and the other apostles toward suffering.

Acts 5:40-41
After calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them to speak no more in the name of Yahshua, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Christ tells the saints that this attitude is right and proper.

Matthew 5:11-12
“Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

People of God, I am not a bold or courageous person. God chose one of the most timid, fearful, weak, and anxious of all men when He claimed me as His son. I have often been in fear and trembling and great anxiety as I have viewed the afflicted path before me. Christ has come to me at such times and given me great comfort and encouragement. Yahshua has held me to the course and preserved me through many perils.

For years, as I followed the leading of the Spirit of Christ, I did not know from one day to the next where my family’s provision would come from. I found such an existence to be exceedingly taxing. Yahweh did not choose this path to torment me. Rather, He desired to set me free from the giants of fear and unbelief. I would not have personally chosen to face these giants. I would have avoided them if I could, but I am grateful that my Father had my highest good in mind, and He would not relent despite my many pleas.

I have faced physical trials of health in my body, and among family members, and have been instructed by the Spirit to look to Him for healing. When I was diabetic, and later had a heart attack, the Spirit would not permit me to seek medical care. These things were for my chastening, and I had to bear up under them patiently while trusting my life to the hands of my heavenly Father.

As I have followed Christ wherever He would lead I have been brought into conflict with many other saints. I have been rejected by ministers, put out of churches, and have had my wife and son depart from me. Other ministers and Christians have vilified me, and used their ministry platforms to launch attacks against my character and my teachings. I have accepted poverty during many seasons of this walk, and have been in lack often. Twice I have been jailed. I have faced the threat of having all my possessions taken from me by force. In all these things I had to choose to yield my soul’s desires to whatever the Father should choose for me to experience.

It is evident that our Father often chooses for those who follow in Christ’s steps to suffer. We should “think it not strange.” As we respond to each new trial with grace, patience, forgiveness, and love we will find that Christ is formed more fully in us. This is Yahweh’s purpose. He wants us to share His image and likeness. We are matured through those things we suffer.

I am no glutton for suffering. Yet, the Spirit of Christ has shown me that none can come to maturity in Christ apart from accepting that path He has chosen for them. All must yield their lives to the direction of the Holy Spirit. We must not shrink back. We all have need of endurance so that after we have done the will of God we can receive that which is promised.

In Gethsemane the Father presented to His Son a bitter cup of suffering from which He was to drink. Christ’s soul had to be crushed as unto death in order for Him to accept that which His Father chose for Him. The Father is offering the same cup to His sons and daughters today. The apostles understood that it is an honor to be invited to drink from the same cup as Christ. They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do so.

Will you accept the invitation to drink from Christ’s cup? Will you become a partaker in His sufferings?

Must Jesus bear the cross alone
And all the world go free?
No, there's a cross for ev'ryone,
And there's a cross for me.

Heart4God Website:    

Parables Blog:    

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