WHY THE WILDERNESS?? – Bryan Hupperts

“And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness (desert) these forty years, that he might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart… whether you would keep his commandments or not.” – Deut. 8:2.

The dry times, those painful seasons of barrenness, are times to
be humbled before the Lord. Jesus said that the Father was glorified
when we bare “much fruit that remains.” Notice when the children
of Israel finally got fruit… after they had walked through the desert.
Fruitfulness is the ultimate objective of God for you when he has
you walking through a desert.

What is precious in the desert? Sand? No, there is shifting sand
everywhere. Sky? No, in fact, there is little protection from the
merciless beating of the sun. What is precious in the desert is water.

A single drop of water can make the difference between living and
dying… Most plants cannot survive in deserts. For those that can,
survival depends on their tap root digging deep through the sand
to find water. Having water is the decisive factor between what lives
and what dies.

Look at the history of God’s dealings with his saints. He led his
people out of Egypt by the hand of Moses… through the desert
headed to the promised Land. John the Baptist lived in the desert
until the word of the Lord came to him. Jesus was “led by the Spirit”
into the desert to be tested by the devil. Paul spent years in the
desert before his commissioning as an Apostle. God has used
the drought of many deserts to forge some of His finest saints.

Deserts are such obscure places. They precede blessing but are
themselves looked upon as curses. They function to bring you to
the place of having to only concern yourself with the basics of
existence. It is when water, symbolic of the Living Word of God,
becomes they only issue of your life, what you live and die by,
are you finally ready to enter into the Masters service. One drop
from heaven is all you need. When all else in this world appears
as sand in your eyes, empty barren waste, you are ready for
Kingdom service.

Plants grow in direct relation to the amount of water available.
When you can blossom with just a little water, you can blossom
anywhere! After the desert, you will be “like a tree planted by the
water” thriving!.. It is when you hunger and thirst for righteousness
that you are satisfied.

Don’t curse the desert times. God is testing you, seeing what is
in your heart. Actually, he is letting you see what He has seen all
along. Allow your roots to grow deep into God so that “out of your
belly shall gush forth rivers of living water.” A river in the desert
suddenly springing forth? Sure, that’s His way.

God often uses the desert to prepare the messenger. When the
messenger is ready, then the message comes. We have our part
to prepare ourselves for the ministries God calls us to. We also
have to be prepared by God for those same tasks. When we can
serve Him in a place of barrenness, we can serve Him in a place
of fruitfulness. It is when we are humbled and broken of our own
power that God can then show Himself strong on our behalf.

There are some beautiful things growing in the desert. Be patient
and let Him finish what he has started in you. It takes a deep,
well developed root system, to be able to not only nourish a plant,
but produce and feed the growing fruit on its’ branches. If there
are no roots, there will be no fruit. And His goal is to bring you to
a place of fruitfulness.

-Please comment on this topic below-

-Copyright (c) Bryan Hupperts, 1997.

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew on September 5th, 2012 at 8:03 pm.

185 comments

185 Replies

  1. Dave S Sep 5th 2012

    This is often used as a complete cop out clause for not being fruitful in God. Christians explaining away their disobedience unfruitful lives “30 years plus” living in a desert. Iwould prefer to hear a message from someone who had responded in the love of God and caused others to see Jesus. If you are truly abiding you will bare fruit now and today.
    This ridiculous excuse is pitiful but often wheeled out by those that have listened to too much ridiculous teaching, super spiritual nonsense. Caring more about their “ministry” than ministering from the love of Jesus compelled to share the more than Too good to believe news. Admit you are passive proud and Jesus will reveal himself that you walk and walk out of the desert of religious nonsense.

  2. marty Sep 5th 2012

    Excellent article. Almost everyone God used in biblical times spent years in a desert situation or situations. The purification, humility and fear and trust of the father that develop during those times are not only necessary to qualify you for a Spirit empowered ministry, but they are vital to bring God Glory in eternity. We often get short sighted and think our preparation is for this life. But it is far more necessary for our rulership / servant roles with him for all future ages.

  3. Val S Sep 5th 2012

    As missionaries, we saw incredible people, very dedicated people, spend years pouring out their lives with apparently no fruit….in a desert, so to speak. One dear friend,a wonderful man of God spent eighteen years working with an indigenous dialect and its people and saw almost nothing come of it. He met a man in our town who was a witch, and shared with him. That man got saved and the work of God began to mushroom in incredible ways. Ask Adiniram (sp?) Judson or some of the other great missionaries….. Its possible to live for many years in seeming fruitlessness and still be in the right place, doing the right thing. When there is no real visitation of God, you can plug away for years with not much to show for it…..not to mention, the passge that has been quoted in this message and examples given. They are true….the desert has a purpose!

  4. L. Alex Smith Sep 5th 2012

    I think it was either Saint John of the Cross, or Ignatius of Loyola who coined the term “the dark night of the soul”. Or was “the winter of the soul”? In any case, there seems to be times in people’s lives, iincluding my own, that seem barren and fruitless. Everything one does falls apart, even though supposedly it’s the “right” thing to do. You’d think that God would bless it, but then He does no such thing. Then, one goes into a state of introspection, wondering how much, and how far it will go…and what sins in one’s own life that you just can’t quite get a handle on, contribute to “If you regard sin in your heart, the Lord will not hear you.” But then you come full circle, back to John “If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart.” One wrestles with seeking holiness in the presence of God; failing; trying again; coming to rely on Grace–then doubting it. Doubting not Grace–but whether you have worn it out. Then cycling around with Faith, pseudo-Faith, cynicism, teetering on unbelief (not actual forsaking God, but unbelief in perhaps your own ability to make it into the Kingdom)–back to Grace; then to the Warnings in Scripture that leave one trembling in apprehension…

    Is this “Abnormal”?

    Is this to be expected?

    Or is THIS what is meant by “the desert”?

    With faces hidden as the walls are tightening, He boxes one in.

    What kind of “fruit” would you see? Do you mean, “the fruit of the spirit” in Galat. 5:22? Do you mean “saved souls, tallied up”?

    Hmmm. So, a paraplegic who can do nothing but Pray, would have a hidden Fruit known only by God. When one says “Is my heart right before God?” do they mean, “My desire is to please Him, to obey Him, and yet I keep giving in to the lusts of my flesh, but He still forgives me”–is this not Paul’s complaint of Romans 7?

    How about Jesus saying “I only speak that which my Father gives me”– does that mean, all the times you go out to speak to people in the street– useless, unless God told you specifically to speak to that person, they were Open. Otherwise you are wasting your breath, and possibly even drving people AWAY from God, because you were “doing the works of the Law” in Abraham’s style of bringing forth an Ishmael.

    Is the “fruit” then something that only God sees, in the innermost motives of the heart?

    Perhaps the desert is very real and no excuse. Otherwise we have endless cycles of self-doubt.

  5. Mark Andrew Sep 5th 2012

    I believe that God leads us all His leaders into the wilderness for a designated time and a season. Its purpose is for us to get to know Him in person at first-hand – away from the hubbub of those who can only tell us about Him.

    I think the mistake is in staying there too long – beyond the time designated by Him. Like Moses, we can get accustomed to living there rather than responding to the call of God on our lives, which probably involves an interaction with difficult people rather than sheep. But if He leads us as individuals into the wilderness, He will surely also lead us out.

  6. Barry Sep 5th 2012

    I have a friend who lives in the desert in Arizona USA. He told me he has a plant in his back yard that grows barely higher than 1 inch high above the ground and blossoms with the most beautiful flower. Yet remarkably its roots grow over 300 feet deep into the ground before it bears a single flower!
    Why are so many in the modern church who grow 300 feet tall so that they are visible for all to see and even the birds of the air rest in their branches and yet their roots are an inch deep? Their inner life and shallow Christianity they produce in others show it!
    May we all remain so rooted and established in Christ that our roots go 300 feet deep into Him tho we remain barely visible to the world. Let a let our deep inner lives flower and blossom with beauty that stalks those who are bowed low.
    Bless you all!
    Barry

  7. Mark Andrew Sep 5th 2012

    Forgive the typo: My first sentence should read omit the “us”, as I did not mean to imply that all are leaders.

  8. Baa Baa Sep 5th 2012

    We are weak bu tHE is strong.We must learn this principle to the point of reallity to the core of our being. Apostle Paul wrote in the the epistle Colosssians “for this reason we also since the day we heard it, ( their love in the Spirit) do not cease to pray for you verse1:9
    He rejoiced in his sufferings::verse 24
    Spoke of the mystery; Verse 26
    The riches of it revealed to the saints
    The manifestation of G-ds glory as the result
    It is G-d’s purpose to have Christ in you to display His glory and reality to the world. That is a problem for us all due to our self will and dependence. Times of wilderness are needed to bring us to His reallity. Shalom

  9. Mark Andrew Sep 5th 2012

    Hi Baa Baa, I can tell by your name that Moses would also have loved you. Blessings, Mark Andrew

  10. debylynne Sep 5th 2012

    this is a word i believe i need to hear right now….as well as the comments of marty and val. i recognize VERY much the ‘cycle’ that l.alex spoke about, as well.

    i am almost 59 years old – spent my ‘vigorous’ years raising my own 4 sons, 2 adopted children, home schooling for several years and doing foster care for 28 children…..circumstances changed and we had to leave new england where we were living and we entered a ‘whole new and different place’ back in the south…..this was the ‘season of confusing and horrific things’ to be honest – much devastation and loss and a ‘prolonged dark night of the soul’ as it were.

    that was almost 17 years ago and since then much happened. my present husband and i sold our ‘overnight freight’ trucking company 12 years ago in order to go to Bible School – something he felt he truly needed to do and the LORD clearly confirmed it. we did and then the LORD told us to return to this place, that He had ‘a work for us to do here’……it has been a struggle to understand what we are to do ever since…..we’ve ‘done’ many things, things that we truly sought the LORD over and saw things happen to ‘confirm’ and yet, we don’t ever seem to SEE much fruit of any sort – at least not up until this time…..

    during these years, the LORD opened our eyes to the NAR agenda/false gospel of the church we were in and led us out – we opened a ‘Christian Coffee Shop’ to try and reach particularly the ‘young people’ in our area – we struggled on with that for a few years, but finally had to ‘call it a day’…..we spent time in a baptist church because we weren’t sure who to trust in the world of ‘charismania’ any more. we learned a WHOLE LOT about those of the ‘once saved, always saved’ camp and it wasn’t ‘pretty’- we spent a couple of years ‘house churching’ ALONE :-/ and we are presently with a small group of believers in a ‘spirit filled’ church where the WORD OF GOD is honored and there is SOUNDNESS in what is believed and preached….amen.

    but, still, we do NOT know our ‘purpose’ in Him. we are beginning to ‘see’ after years of praying and sharing, people in my husbands’ family come to the LORD….and that IS a miracle….but, i honestly struggle with what i SHOULD be DOING for the LORD, can i say, on a ‘daily ongoing basis’??

    we own the local lumber shed/hardware store and there are many opportunities to speak with people about the LORD, but, as i said, we seem to see precious little recognizable ‘fruit’ and it is disheartening at times……

    so, i am contemplating these ‘words’ – i am pondering what purpose the LORD has in this ‘season’ – i have actually ‘heard’ as i have sought HIM on this the words ‘time of preparation’ but sometimes, in the mundaneness of our daily living, it just seems that time is ‘passing’ and we grow older and it grieves me that we do not seem to be truly WORKING in a profitable way in HIS kingdom/ FOR His kingdom……

    we ‘contribute’ from the work of our hands to those ministries that we recognize are TRULY doing the ‘work of the LORD’ and THAT is a blessing….but, still…..we believe that we were brought back here for a PURPOSE and we simply haven’t ‘taken hold of it yet’……..so, i find myself contemplating what bryan has to say in this article and ‘wondering’ is this where we are???

  11. Barry Sep 5th 2012

    I feel compelled by the Spirit to make one more comment. Thank you for bearing with any apparent ostentation on my part.
    The shallowness of modern Christianity has radically redefined salvation in ways that none of the church fathers would admit to. Today most Christians define salvation in terms of personal empowerment which is the opposite of what it means to be in loving and dependant relationships. Believe in Jesus and you will be personally empowered to avoid anything difficult or negative in your life and you won’t need to depend upon anyone.
    Salvation to Jesus and the apostles was never defined in terms of personal empowerment. Salvation was defined by the biblical authors as entering into a holy and loving and dependent RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND OTHERS!
    God take us into the desert in order to DISEMPOWER US not to empower us. He does this until we realize that salvation is about a relationship of dependence upon God and others and not about personal empowerment.
    In the desert you loose all personal empowerment and independence. Friends the desert isn’t to make you a lone ranger or a fiercely independent John Wayne type.
    The desert is to dry up your selfish ambition and your lust for personal empowerment and independence. The desert forces you to make salvation about holy and loving relationships. In the desert all you have is God and those alongside of you. People who believe salvation is about personal empowerment grumble and chafe in the desert. People who understand that salvation is about relationship PLUS NOTHING thrive in the desert and come out of the desert shining like stars in the darkness .
    May God Almighty lead us away from this modern idolatrous notion of salvation.
    Thanks for bearing with this word!
    Barry

  12. debylynne Sep 5th 2012

    amen, barry.

  13. The message of the wilderness has I believe is totally misunderstud by todays church., But the widerness was not necessaraly barren. Manna fell from heaven every morning, they had shoes on there feet. They had everything they needed in the wilderness, perhaps you could say they were in properity, but they were there because they were out the will of good.
    When they stepped back in to the will of God, the manna from heaven stopped, and hardships began, battles had to be fought.
    It seems to me so much of the church today thinks if you are in the will of God, You will have prosperity and an easy life. Maybe they are the ones in the wilderness.

    Nick

  14. Brother Amartey Sep 5th 2012

    The desert is really a very difficult place to be but if we remain faithful, He who put us there would also bring us out in due season to manifest His glory !

  15. debylynne Sep 5th 2012

    concerning what you have said in your last post, barry, i am actually reminded of the situation of the ‘woman caught in adultery’ and how the LORD said, ‘let him who is without sin cast the first stone’ and they all began to go away STARTING WITH THE OLDEST….
    this SPEAKS to me – because as we ‘grow older’ we begin to realize our PERSONAL frailty more and more and our DESPERATE need for HIS strength more and more and we (if we are truly in Him) see how LITTLE is US and how ALL is HIM – we STOP depending on ‘ourselves’ and begin to recognize right up FRONT that w/o Him we can do NOTHING…….nothing nothing nothing…
    sometimes, i feel badly for the LORD, because it seems He spends our ‘lifetimes’ preparing us to be truly ‘usable’ in HIs hands and then we die!! please don’t misunderstand me – i know our lives are in HIS hands, but i DO feel that many of God’s people ‘live’ in such ways as to ‘hasten’ their departure and it just seems that the LORD gets very little ‘return’ on His ‘investment’ in us!!! i am ‘half’ kidding but only half……

    coming back to the article by bryan – i think the LORD probably seeks to ‘reveal’ our absolute dependency on HIM through these ‘desert times’, no matter your ‘age’ – to the younger as well as the older. but, i think that as people we are very GOOD at still thinking ‘we can do it’ until He ‘allows’ us to be ‘stripped down’ – to ‘come to the end of ourselves’, as it were…….i am ‘afraid’ that is why we MUST dwell in the desert at times – because we actually STILL think that it is about ‘us’ and our accomplishing things with our own abilities or stengths, no matter what we say with our mouths – our hearts deceive US in that…….i cannot count the number of times that i ‘thought’ i was utterly depending on Him, only to realize (in the midst of a desert place, perhaps) that i was NOT…..

  16. Hadassah Faith Sep 5th 2012

    I have to give God the praise for bringing this article to me today! I was very discouraged about the spiritual situation my husband and I are struggling in; and didn’t know ‘what’ God could bring to me that would give me fresh courage to go on. Then I read this, and God gently tells me He’s here with me and wants to purify me for a greater fruitfulness for His honor and glory! So I bless Him for all these hard and lonely times!! When I have no one but Him!! There is a tenderly loving and infinite reason!! May God bless and encourage you all likewise!! Keep your eyes on Him!!

  17. DeWayne Sep 5th 2012

    Some of the desert stories reminded me of years ago, when my wife and I planted a small weeping birch tree. It began growing and was beautiful to look at, little did we know of how shallow a root system it had.

    One windy day when it was finally showing a little height, a strong rain and wind blew and tipped the tree with roots half out of the ground. We tipped it back, but within another year or so another wind tipped the poor tree again… and we tipped it back again.

    Then with the tree about twenty foot high a dry season hit, and this time we did not realize how important watering the tree ourselves was needed. What happened as result beetle’s beneath the bark were able to cut around the entire trunk, stopping sap flow, and the poor weeping birch died.

    The opposite has been found true of friends however, perhaps it is possible to over water friendship’s, yet seems more true serving the Lord as best as I know how, can cause a problem between friends, even Christian friends. Oh, but we do have a deeper rooted tree/s now.

  18. Barry Sep 5th 2012

    Now you got me going Debilyne! Lol
    Did you ever consider that your purpose is not to DO SOMETHING not to ARRIVE SOMEWHERE as much as everything you have experienced was about the relationships along the way?
    Could it be that you have yet to abandoned this bogus false church notion that salvation is about personal empowerment. Rather isn’t salvation about Relationship with God and others along the way.
    Paul said “the goal o this command is love.” I Tim (which is relationships along the way and not a destination or a task)???
    love your transparency Sister!
    Barry

  19. Dave S. hit the nail on the head; most enjoy the desert excuse. We enjoy and exploit so many other excuses too. God is with us always. If we’re not seeing Him we should pray for some “eye salve”. He’s not going to appear in church… He’s outside the church now, knocking at the door… but if any would come! God’s would have us as a tree planted by the river, and He’d have living water springing forth from us. Alone? Run to God. Think of the many desert experiences in which God brought His beloved out to the desert to commune with him in the most beautiful way. Separate yourselves from the world and all of it’s substitutes for Godliness, and God will come and bless you beyond measure. He is lifted up then, and will draw all men unto Himself… but they won’t see this if you’re doing what the church has always done. “Come out of her, my people”. …or not.

  20. debylynne Sep 5th 2012

    i don’t know, barry!! i don’t think much about ‘personal empowerment’ – not that i can SEE :-/ – i think a LOT about wanting to ‘go to HIM’ having been FAITHFUL in this life and having something to lay at HIS FEET! i want to look in HIS eyes and NOT be ‘ashamed’ because i lived SELFISHLY – that concerns me a great deal!! it is NOT that i am trying to ‘earn anything’ – i have EXAMINED that ‘motive’ a great deal – i truly truly don’t want His eyes to show ‘sadness’ when He looks in mine – oh, i don’t think i CAN BEAR that!

    but, as i said earlier, i know that my own heart can ‘deceive’ me and so, i’m NOT ‘swearing’ to anything here about my ‘motives’ or my ‘attitudes’…..;-)

    i may not understand what you mean by the term ‘personal empowerment’ either???? i think i understand what you mean about it being about ‘relationship’ – my husband has a ‘favorite saying’ – “it’s about the ‘journey’ more than the ‘destination” – in fact, the ‘journey’ IS the working of HIS purpose IN us……..

    speak on, brother, speak on :-)

  21. JeffM Sep 6th 2012

    Dave S, the bible does not call ministry or ministering or, caused others to see Jesus, fruit.

    Galatians 5:22-23

    Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 humility, self control. Nothing in the Torah stands against such things.

    The things you seem to want to credit to man as doing, are works done by God The Holy Spirit. So people being saved is Christ’s fruit, not ours.

  22. debylynne Sep 6th 2012

    one plants, another waters, but Christ gives the increase…..
    but, are we not to expect to SEE the LORD cause ‘increase’ when He has led us to plant and water?? i am NOT talking about ‘numbers’ – i am talking about GROWTH in people or even BIRTH in the LORD of the ‘lost’…..
    ‘good works that He prepared in advance for us to do’??

  23. Averyl Sep 6th 2012

    Perhaps God wants us to be the oasis in the desert.
    He has not deserted us!
    Perhaps the church system is the desert!
    Wherever we are, let us bare fruit.

  24. Dave S Sep 6th 2012

    JeffM I would agree broadly with what you say on fruit, but simply displaying the fruit of the spirit should attract people.
    I know many Christians that are explaining away depression bad theology and calling it a desert.
    Whereas scripture says we should be full of joy, and have an abundance of life.
    I suggested to “desert Christians” the fact was they had never been properly discipled. Many are frustrated because of the empty visions put in front of them by false Shepherds, realising this they have a revelation there is something better, but without good teaching will not produce good “fruit”
    Mick thanks for confirming me, I was convinced by this “desert theology” which caused me to embrace barrenness I then by faith in Gods word walked out of this empty theology and have never looked back. I see Gods power manifested often by speaking scripture and believing.
    I argued this point with Desert Christians and challenged them to meet in 5 years time to compare notes on what God had done.
    My fear is that they will still be navel gazing, most are really bad examples of Christianity, actually worse than unbelievers. But holding on to this really dodgy theology to justify unbelief and plain disobedience saying God is responsible.
    I am angry at the misrepresentation, and sad at the loss the World is suffering through shipwrecked faith

  25. JeffM Sep 6th 2012

    Dave S, thanks for explaining. The “desert ” was death for the generation that did not go straight up and into The Promised land.They refused to go in when The Lord said go in.

  26. Dave S Sep 6th 2012

    I think its difficult to draw parallels between Old Testament deserts and New. Did anyone stay in a desert for long in the New, Paul was learning theology based on scripture. The guys I know are plain confused producing weird prophecys. No revelation from scripture.
    I think this desert thing is really dangerous.
    Jesus describes a weeping and gnashing of teeth, that could be saved believers realising what they could or should have had if they put faith into action? Thanks for the reply Jeff

  27. Tiffany Sep 6th 2012

    I loved this article, thank you SO MUCH for sharing this Andrew!! A dear sister in the Lord and in fact the one that led me to the Lord many years ago said these words to me in a letter when I was going through a very difficult time in my life, she wrote:

    “I’ve always believed that it is in the valley, in the desert, where we GROW for in the desert, because of its bareness there is nothing to distract us from truly hearing the voice of The Lord. It is there that if we truly seek, we will find and as we yield ourselves completely to Him we experience true and joyful spiritual intimacy with our King of kings and Lord of Lords. In the valley, in the desert, we are solely dependent on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When we are eventually led out of this desert, we are so much more better off than when we first went in. Although it may be a difficult experience, the end result will be magnificent if we truly allow Him to do the much needed work in us! Do not be sad, but rejoice for what’s coming and meanwhile enjoy the quiet time, the spiritual intimacy with The Lord and expect a great spiritual growth!”

    Again thank you so much for sharing this article Andrew! God bless you!!

  28. Martin Sep 6th 2012

    The paradox of the matter is, to fully understand someone going through a ‘desert experience’ one must have had a genuine desert experience oneself. The instances which aren’t genuine then become apparent.

    Speaking only for myself, the years in the wilderness were, with hindsight, most spiritually productive. A time of intense introspection, re-evaluating long held dogmas and understandings in the light of fresh Biblical enlightenment. Learning to let go and let God, to truly just Him in all circumstances, which included penury, the deaths of close family and friends, divorce and later re-marriage. Finding in those desert days wells of living water, and drinking deeply.

    Ambitions to be ‘one of God’s little helpers’ disappeared quickly, to be replaced with an intense peace or tranquility that He holds all things in His hands and in His due time, not mine, all things He has for me will be fulfilled, and not a moment before.

    The desert isn’t completed yet; it’s been long and arduous but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. For me, it was, and is, the way forward.

  29. Tiffany Sep 6th 2012

    @Martin….EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!! Beautifully said!!!

  30. Martin Sep 6th 2012

    Tiffany, I deeply pleased you can enter into this.

    I write only my own experiences; moving from faith to knowledge, from uncertainties to certainties, from the shifting sands of ever changing teaching, prophecies and proclamations to the Rock of our Salvation.

    Weaknesses are still mine, but the strengths which matter eternally are mine also. But the work is not yet complete.

  31. debylynne Sep 6th 2012

    martin,
    i actually identify very deeply with what you are saying – my own ‘experience’ led me through this very way……i hear in your words the ‘echo’ of times past and things learned – not in my head but in my very fiber – to the place of realization that HE and HE ALONE is sufficient for ALL things that i need or ever will need…..that the ‘loss of all things’ in order to HAVE HIM was worth it…….i’m not in ‘that place’ at present, of darkness and struggle and loss and yet, i struggle now, because i ‘feel’ as though i SHOULD be ‘doing’ more……….

    when barry said in an earlier post that he appreciated my ‘transparancy’ i relalized that i don’t ‘protect myself’ – i don’t know how to be except ‘out there’ IF we are truly looking to UNDERSTAND the things of GOD – whether ‘deserts’ are ‘good places’ or ‘hiding places’ or ‘dead places’ – whichever it may be for each of us….

    knowing something of the person that wrote the article, i will say this – sometimes deserts are NOT our ‘choosing’ nor does it rest with us to CHANGE the situation….it isn’t ALWAYS about just ‘getting out there and doing something’….

    i know there are people ‘held in place’ by physical infirmity and if they did NOT believe that the LORD had a ‘purpose’ for them in this ‘desert place’ – how could they believe His Goodness?? but, they DO believe and He DOES have purpose in these ‘places’.

    i’m not familiar with the group that is being spoken of by dave s – i am not doubting his word – just these types of people are not in my ‘personal experience’…..i’m not even sure i understand what he is referring to that these people are doing – BUT, my point is simply that there ARE ‘desert places’ and for many it isn’t just a question of deciding to ‘get up and go do something’ – it IS, as someone said, though, time to LEAVE when the LORD says it’s time to leave! don’t build a city there and plan on STAYING!

  32. Andrew Sep 6th 2012

    I agree that the main problem I see with “wilderness people” is the temptation to ‘set up camp’ out there. So the good lessons get lost, just like the children of Israel who died in the desert.

    But there is the “genuine” wilderness also. I have experienced this myself – and found it very valuable. But don’t get stuck there!

    Bless you!

    Andrew Strom.

  33. My observation is that most of the true and fruit bearing Christians (apostles, prophets, teachers) are obscure and relatively unnoticed. Whereas the most popular are often the least likely to have had much of a wilderness experience.

    Way too many Christians are more attracted to such ministries than to the truly broken ones. Where is the most money? Who has the biggest crowds? Who has a hard time even making it and has to hold a job … as Paul did? There are a lot of tent-maker ministries out there.

  34. Fredrick Hull Sep 6th 2012

    Shalom Brother Bryan:
    Ever once and awhile I read an article that people write and it’s hits the direct point of my spirit. I have been in and out of the ministry for almost 25 years. I have had ups and many downs. I am a Disable Vet and now my disability has come to the place where I can no longer hold down a job. For the last 2 years I have found myself suddenly not working. This has been quite an ordeal for me considering the last 40 years I was in the work force. Going in and out of the ministry and the secular jobs. Well the other day as I was in prayer and asking my Father what in the world is happening to my life and what ever happen to my calling? All I can say is that He took me back 40 years ago when I was 16 and sitting in a Church service. I then remember that the guest minister came to me and laid hands on and me and POW, I found myself laying on the floor and was out past the service and woke up. I felt so refresh and yet really did not understand what took place in my life. I believe now that He had place His anointing and calling upon my life. Yet at 16, I never really receive instruction what to do and what was my next step. Well let just say that I was your normal teenager and after graduation , I join the Army. I had many issues in my life and was a very trouble young man. After almost being killed in the service, I came out of the Army and enter Bible School and jump straight into the ministry. What a disaster that was for me. Anyway I felt that the Holy Spirit told me that from that day in 73 until now has been 40 years of wilderness in my life. And now it is TIME FOR ME TO ENTER MY PROMISE LAND. That scripture you gave Deut. 8:2 really confirm what the Holy Spirit has been revealing to me concerning my life. Thank you so much my brother for sharing this article. This was for me. Thank you again and may the Blessing of my Father be with you and keep you.

    Your Brother in Yeshua
    Fredrick Hull
    Broken Arrow, Ok

  35. Martin Sep 6th 2012

    Andrew, I suggest a genuine wilderness experience instils in one a new purpose, a new direction, for one’s life which is as different from own our wilfulness as soul is from spirit. Indeed, the two conditions have common roots. Is not a major failing of latter day Christianity and church the seeming unwillingness to divide soulish from spiritual?

    To want to remain in the wilderness suggests a spiritual condition other than a God appointed period in one’s life, an habitation rather than a sojourn in the land of preparation. The ease of Egypt, no responsibilities.

    DebyLynne, everything you’ve written in this thread resonates with me; it seems, though thousands of miles apart, we are in the same place, just a different camp.

    Deserts are not of our choosing; if a claim to the contrary is made, it’s a lie. Did Israel choose forty years in the desert?

    Numbers 33:1-48 gives a list of the stages in Israel’s journey. Read in isolation it’s a meaningless meandering through a wilderness. Read in the context of the entire Mosaic period, and beyond, it has the purposes of God stamped on it.

    So it is with us, if our wilderness is genuinely instituted of God. I cannot see any two experiences will be the same; yet the hallmarks stamped on the end product will show the place of origin as the mind of God.

    The world, and Christian/church leaders exhort us to get out there and do something. Yes, let’s do something – wait upon the Lord, tarrry for the Holy Spirit’s direction. One single doing, or act, performed in a true anointing of the Holy Spirit will stand for eternity; all our ‘doings,’ our busyness, will be burned up as wood hay straw and stubble.

    Take courage, DevyLynne, all things work to the good of those who love the Lord, who are called according to His good purposes. Hold fast to Him, the Rock of our Salvation.

  36. Serenity Sep 6th 2012

    Thank you Andrew for sharing this word with us. It is surely true for some of us : those who endure, and intend to come out on the other side. This message is not a cop out.
    There is the question which debylynne touched on : Why do some dedicated believers physically die, before having shown any fruit (on Earth) from their desert experience ? This is surely not of the Lord.

    Another question touched on why is there so little fruit when we are obeying and reaching out in all the ways we know ? (And some of us ARE doing this.)

    Through a website that David Walsh mentioned on this forum, I have been finding some definite answers to these and other troubling questions. Thank You Lord ! because it seems to me that there is a great dearth of certainty and authority in what is called ‘the Body of Christ’ today.
    Anyone who is mature, humble, and teachable, may want to spend some time prayerfully considering what is on the website.

    God bless you all, Serenity.

  37. Serenity Sep 6th 2012

    It’s called takehisheart, but the censoring machine got to my message. :-)

  38. The article shared touched a lot of wilderness people out there, dear brother! Including mine. But now that I am a little/lot over 39 I have come to some conclusions that help me keep the perspective this article gives us.

    The purpose of life is to prepare for eternity. Success is measured by treasures we have laid up in eternity, not here in this lifetime. Now days I am futuristic, eternity minded.

  39. Judith Eddy Sep 6th 2012

    That was one of the most encouraging messages I have read lately.
    Never thought of how the roots need to be developed to see the fruit. not that i don’t know about gardening at all but it just clicked lol Thanks for posting it!!

  40. Andrew Sep 6th 2012

    As some have pointed out above though,

    is it OK if the “fruitfulness” phase never arrives?

    No – something is very wrong in that case.

    Bless you!

    Andrew

  41. Foolhardy Fred Sep 6th 2012

    We must consistently ensure that the “fruit” is always in accordance with HIS WORD as far too many are using carnal means to evaluate spiritual fruit with devastating spiritual results.

    The devil is not fighting religion. He’s too smart for that. He is producing a counterfeit Christianity, so much like the real one that good Christians are afraid to speak out against it. We are plainly told in the Scriptures that in the last days men will not endure sound doctrine and will depart from the faith and heap to themselves teachers to tickle their ears. We live in an epidemic of this itch, and popular preachers have developed “ear-tickling” into a fine art.

    –Vance Havner, Playing Marbles With Diamonds

    For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

    It is better for the sake of eternity to remain in the wilderness than to associate with false religion on any level.

  42. debylynne Sep 6th 2012

    much to ponder and consider here – GOOD thoughts – worth ‘weighing’……
    martin, the LORD bless you, my brother…amen and amen.

  43. Andrew Sep 6th 2012

    No, Fred. It is not OK to stay by yourself in the wilderness if God wants New Testament Christianity to return.

    Getting “comfortable” in the Wilderness is a big danger.

    Bless you!

    Andrew Strom.

  44. JeffM Sep 6th 2012

    Well I just found this scripture and then saw your post Andrew, I am not trying to argue, but it is The Word. John the baptist never left the wilderness, the people came out to where he was to repent.I believe that “church” was so corrupt in his time he could not have anything to do with it. So we can not lump all ” in the wilderness ” stories from the bible together. A New Testament ministry that was wilderness based.

    Matthew 3

    Amplified Bible (AMP)

    3 In those days there appeared John the Baptist, preaching in the Wilderness (Desert) of Judea

    2 And saying, Repent ([a]think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

    3 This is he who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said, The voice of one crying in the wilderness (shouting in the desert), Prepare the road for the Lord, make His highways straight (level, [b]direct).

    I would agree with you, if what you are saying is something seems wrong with the long wait of those who have left “church “.But the call from God to leave and not return is genuine for many, to go back now is to return to doing what I now know is wrong. The Lord can do things anyway He wants. I guess my problem is that it sounds like you try to tell people to not do ,what the Lord has told them to do, because it makes no sense to you.

  45. grant Sep 6th 2012

    Hello,Jesus was led into the wilderness buy the Holy Spirit to be tempted by satan.Jesus over came satan buy the WORD OF GOD,then in matt:4:11 it says satan left him and the angels came and ministered to him. Luke’s gospel says satan departed for a season Luke 4:13. But verse14 says, Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.I think just like Isreal we can either choose to remain in the wilderness,through unbelief,disobedience to the word,etc. Or we can be like Jesus . Be obedient to the Fathers word,and return in the power of the Holy Spirit. I remember bieng stuck in the wilderness for a season, took my eyes of the lord and his word.Each day got heavier and heavier,and of course satan and your flesh is always there to back you up agaist the wall.It was my own fault,for not standing on Gods word.If Jesus was led into the wilderness by the spirit to be tempted then so are we,so be ready,Glory to YAHWEY!

  46. Andrew Sep 6th 2012

    I believe in the Wilderness as a very important experience in Christ. It humbles you and makes you reliant on Jesus – not “self”. It is a place of “death” to self, in fact.

    But it has to end. And not only that, but God wants a full New Testament church back. And this involves a “gathering together”.

    You cannot have Wilderness and this ‘promised land’ of the true Body at the same time.

    So don’t get stuck out there! It is the place of “preparation” – but not the fulfillment.

    Blessings,

    Andrew Strom.

  47. Dave S Sep 6th 2012

    Debylynne The group I speak of have shipwrecked faith, they prefer their own “prophecies” to scripture hardly have an influence through their lives, are not even on milk having confused the word due to their own “proud thinking” DANGEROUS possibly 90% of the Church (other peoples figures) are in the same place.
    Our lives are changed primarily by meditating on scripture and letting that seed bare its fruit. NOT by struggling with barrenness and writing it off as an OLd Testament experience ” John the Baptist was still an OT figure heralding in the New”
    If many were simply taught scripture by mature Christians that had put it into practise, then that seed would bare the right harvest. Most leaders I have been under have very few testimonies of trusting in scripture and seeing it work,
    On many occasions I have put my life and welfare at risk spoken the word trusted and have never been defeated. In the early days it was “blind faith” Now it is a security we have to speak the word, and create fruit Oasis lives changed to the Glory of God.
    My real fear ” not accusing anyone here” is Deserts suiting a lifestyle of unbelief, pray for fruitful teaching.

  48. Foolhardy Fred Sep 6th 2012

    Faithfulness to His Word NOT unity at any price is what God requires Andrew.

    2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

  49. Andrew Sep 6th 2012

    I believe precisiely in “faithfulness to His Word – NOT unity at any price”, Fred.

    I have a track record of exactly that.

    But this does not alter anything I said above.

    Bless you!

    Andrew

  50. Serenity Sep 6th 2012

    PTL, I see something. The wilderness experience of Israel was meant to be only about two years long ; just long enough to accomplish the basics God wanted established.
    However, their unbelief and rebellion caused that time to be greatly multiplied.
    Let’s not ask for a show of hands, but I think quite a few of us still in the wilderness could identify with that.

    Those who CAN lawfully get out of the wilderness today, ought to. No camping allowed !
    Those who are waiting for the Jordan to part, and just cannot leave the wilderness yet, we must keep listening to the Lord as Joshua did, and cross in His time.
    There really are people who cannot just swim across Jordan today in their own strength.

  51. Foolhardy Fred Sep 6th 2012

    God himself is the only one who could ever undo what our sins have done. Only He, by his own initiative could make a way to save sinful, willful, rebellious human beings. He could just as easily wipe us all out, and justly send us to hell, but instead He has revealed His Grace, and offered us His own Peace.

    Grace is not merely an abstract principle, the Gospel tells us of the coming of God’s Grace into this world, in the person of Jesus Christ. Titus 2:11 announces that ,

    … the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men…

    Jesus himself is the revelation and channel of God’s amazing Grace, his goodwill towards men who have rebelled against Him, spurned his love and broken His Holy law. How does the Holy God answer sinful men? In Jesus,

    … the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.(Titus 3:4-7)

    Grace is truly amazing to all whose eyes have been opened to their own sin and to the enormous implications of the fall of man. How could God love us? How could he ever want anything to do with us? Yet in Christ, the Love of God reaches out to his own enemies, extending a nail scarred hand of forgiveness and reconciliation to “whosoever wills”.

  52. John (the Baptist) Sep 6th 2012

    After a series of rebellions against God by the Israelites, culminating in their refusal to enter Canaan, God refused to allow any of the present generation except Joshua and Caleb to enter Canaan — 40 years later.

    “Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise” (Numbers 14:29-34; see also Numbers 32:11-13).

  53. David Marsh Sep 6th 2012

    My dear Andrew,
    I know a little about God’s purging fire within the wilderness experience. And I trust that only a pain loving soul would enjoy that place. It strips you of everything – down to the bone. Until you only have Him to hold onto. It is not a place of comfort and I cant imagine anyone wanting to stay there.

    I do remember your previous writings of desperation for the revival to come. And I commend you for Godly desire for it. But it will come when God determines that it is time.
    Presently, I believe that we are in a ripening process of change toward the last days events. I dont believe we are quite there yet. But I also believe that our time is very near to the end time revival.

    I am reminded of gary Gadazz word from the Lord- of that picture of the saints making there way through a storm – a spiritual storm of great intensity – when the saints were finally transformed and sailed above it.

    The job at hand is to learn His ways, to learn to come to Him in all things, to learn to ask Him in prayer what His will is for us in all things, to learn to ask Him in all submission – as is our place under Him in all things.
    And when we learn His ways then we will be ready.
    And then, after that, the revival will come.

    God bless you Andrew and do not stay silent.
    Your work is greatly appreciated.

    David Marsh

  54. John (the Baptist) Sep 6th 2012

    Had problems with my computer which did not record all of my comments. So here goes once again…

    After a series of rebellions against God by the Israelites, culminating in their refusal to enter Canaan, God refused to allow any of the present generation except Joshua and Caleb to enter Canaan — 40 years later.

    “Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise” (Numbers 14:29-34; see also Numbers 32:11-13).

    Very few Israelites entered the Promised Land due to their disobedience. In the course of the 40 years, they worshipped other gods, fell out with each other, wanted this and that, and turned their eyes away from Almighty God.
    I have been through many wilderness experiences and the Lord has tested my endurance. Praise the Lord He has taught me so much about Himself, the Word fof God, and following the Lord Jesus Christ.
    The Christian Church is in turmoil and disarray due to entertaining another gospel. Many from within are following false teachers and prophets allowing them to tickle their ears. Such leaders have produced man made doctrines and have allowed occultist manifestations called signs and wonders for people to chase.
    These are there for those discerning and which will continue in the End Times.
    Does this not remind you why the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for fourty years. Many held contempt to Almighty God, people wanted signs and wonders, while others began worshipping the Golden Calf. Very few of the original population enterd Caanan.

    How many will be left behind after the Rapture due to their disobedience and mocking Almighty God with their actions, to include those to claim to be christians? Who will respond to His calling when the trumpet call is sounded? Who will continue following those who are the supposed to be the “anointed” ones? Who puts to become prosperous before Christ? How many are worshipping the Golden Calf instead the Lord God Almighty?

    The Word of God reveals what the Great Trubulation will be like. Will this be the complete endurance test of the wilderness experience for 7 years resulting with those who will receive the Mark of the Beast and those who do not?

    John the Baptist was the voice in the wilderness calling people to REPENTANCE.
    Brethren have been calling people to repentance as well.
    Will you call folk to repentance likewise or remain in the wilderness doing your own thing as which so many are doing in the sight of Almighty God.

  55. Foolhardy Fred Sep 6th 2012

    In 1 Timothy 4:1-3, Paul indicates that the Spirit expressly taught him that in the last days many would ‘depart from the faith,’ giving heed to ‘seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.’

    The remedy for this

    2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

  56. JeffM Sep 6th 2012

    After a long time of The Lord showing me what He saw going on in church, I did not have a hard time believing that it could not be fixed. Just as at one time people decided to give up on the Roman Catholic church and left it, the same now applies to the Protestant church system.

    But then I saw that the devil had already started his own version of a call for another reformation.There is as much danger in looking for something new as there was in staying in “man’s” church. We must all be carefull to do what our Lord and Savior tells us to do, and be very carefull to not go along with what is done in God’s name, but The Holy Spirit is not having it all His way.

  57. craig Sep 6th 2012

    True desert experiences strips us of all the things we think we need, tests our ability to love and makes us desperate for what only the deep roots of a life revealed in Christ can find or appreciate, through the work of the Holy Spirit, the Word, prayerful fellowship and whatever work the Lord leads us into so that we know Him and fulfill His purposes. John the Baptist sat in a jail cell wondering if, after all he had seen and done in disciplined obedience to God, had he missed it. He had answered the question earlier “Are you a prophet?” with “No, I am not.”. Yet the second half of the message he was given to preach was ‘prophetic’ and wouldn’t be fully realized in his lifetime. Sometimes, in our faithfulness, God is working out purposes that go beyond us or may even be hidden to us so that our ‘delivery’ is not altered; but remains immediate; as an example. We shouldn’t judge ourselves or each other too harshly. Some may be called to live in the desert as a source of help to those passing through. Others may be formed by God to fulfill a calling that never experiences a desert. The important thing, I think, is that we are each His sheep and hear His voice. If His love dwells within us, we will transform until the day we are ‘translated’ either by a personal rapture at our death, or the final rapture of His church. God is making for Himself Children in His own image. None us should look or function exactly the same, but we should be able to identify that we are apart of His family. John struggled as to whether or not he had failed God. He had not. These are good days to live in the exhortation of the book of Hebrews. But, as Paul encouraged us by his example, we must learn to press on to His upward call and allow those things behind us to fall away. If we remain in Christ, what was in Him will remain as root, and what wasn’t will reveal itself as dead. “Today, if you hear is voice.. “. And what day is today? “Today!”. To the desert. To the river. To the mountain. To the sea. And what shall become of all this pursuing? A life lived for Christ, for “He did purchase us from the earth by His blood!”. Sometimes we may be confused as to if we have found our place or are fulfilling His purposes because we have expectations that are expecting in a way He isn’t meaning, or yet meaning, to show us because this is part of His purpose. John spoke as one proclaiming impending doom, but Christ was crucified! Yet, of those who heard John, who not been winnowed? We ‘follow’ best when we don’t know everything. The desert is many things; a check on our pride, the ability to truly hear when we have to, but more than anything, it is a blessing to know that you’re following because this is the adventure of life. But as for a true desert experience; if wr don’t learn to recognize His voice there, will we learn to recognize it anywhere? “In the desert, you can remember your name.”. Okay, song lyric reference, not the Bible; but it makes the point. It is often in desert experiences where we learn who He is, and thus, who we are. A good desert experience will leave you reluctant to leave, but joyful in your understanding that you are following Him out, because your life has become about Him, wherever He leads you. This is Grace. God bless you.

  58. debylynne Sep 6th 2012

    dave s – thank you – i think i understand a little better what you are describing here with these people that are “remaining willingly in the ‘wilderness’”.

    david marsh said
    “know a little about God’s purging fire within the wilderness experience. And I trust that only a pain loving soul would enjoy that place. It strips you of everything – down to the bone. Until you only have Him to hold onto. It is not a place of comfort and I cant imagine anyone wanting to stay there.”

    in a way, i believe you are right, david…..but, i do want to add that it CAN be a ‘precious’ place because it is here that we can be truly SET FREE. coming to the place of having ‘only Him to hold onto’ is an absolutely AMAZING AND LIBERATING place, don’t you think?? for me, it was – it was the MOST real thing i had ever experienced in my years as a believer – painful – yes – almost unbearably so – and, yet……the JOY of realizing that HE ALONE was my source, that HE ALONE was all that i needed, and that HE ALONE WOULD NEVER LEAVE……THAT is freedom – THAT is joy unspeakable and full of glory…..

    i’m realizing something here, though. when we speak of ‘desert’ experiences, we are not all speaking of the ‘same thing’…..some of us have been in ‘desert experiences’ without our own will or choosing being involved – it is the sovereign hand of God that brought us there and, in HIS time, He leads us out – changed forever by our time there…..
    but, some here are talking about those that move ‘voluntarily’ into a ‘wilderness experience’ because they believe the LORD is directing them to do so – to separate – to be ‘called out’….

    i do think that the ‘second’ group might have a greater potential for ‘staying there’ beyond the will of GOD. if the LORD indeed called them out, (and having been called ‘out’ for a season ourselves, i know that the LORD does indeed do this, BUT, in our case, He always draws us back into fellowship with other believers) there is a very real danger of becoming ‘obsessed with your separateness’ – a ‘pride’ as it were, perhaps?? a ‘disdain’ for others, perhaps??

    i am NOT advocating the remaining in relationship with those that are NOT the true church, nor promoting the truth of God’s Word first and foremost ABOVE anything they might ‘think they hear’ in the Spirit – i’m simply saying that i recognize the DANGER here on BOTH sides of this question…..

    ending by repeating this – i BELIEVE we are addressing TWO separate ‘experiences’ here and i’m not ABSOLUTELY sure that the second is an actual ‘desert experience’ ……..(having been in both :-/)

  59. L. Alex Smith Sep 6th 2012

    There are different kinds of “wildernesses”. Moses’ was 40 years of testing, and training. Sheep are much like us– stubborn at times, sweet at times, silly at times, helpless…exasperating, and yet loveable. And yet trained to look after Israel by looking after sheep, he received a direct Revelation of God, God’s very name and nature YHWH, the great I Am/I was/I will be (Hebrew- indefinite tense). Israel’s wilderness was because of unbelief. Jesus’ wilderness was both the Fasting (which does weird things to your brain, causing you to be way more open in your spirit than normal) and the Testing (by the satan). Paul’s wilderness was training, apparently continual inter-relation with the Lord teaching him. John’s wilderness possibly could have been training by the Essenes–wealthy parents often sent their sons to the Essene community just as we send ours to boarding school. (Zachariah & Elizabeth were wealthy–Z. was a Priest). But the monastic hermits 200 years later (St. Anthony, etc.) sought out the wilderness as a place to mortify the flesh, and to really seek God without distraction, and to pray in intercession.
    There is another type of wilderness: the preparation type… these comments have revolved mainly around this. In Song of Solomon 8:4-5, the Shulamite (the strong possibility is that she is Abishag, whose name means “errors” see I Kings 1:1-4, and 2:21-25, Solomon inherits her and kills his half-brother over her) says to the “Daughters of Jerusalem” , the court women, “virgins without number” (S.S. 6:8) “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awaken love (it’s a feminine word) until ‘he please’–literally, until it is ready, or it is mature”. There is a maturing work needing to take place in the heart, before it can be manifest. THEN– next verse 8:5– the Daughters ask, “Who is this, that cometh up from the Wilderness, leaning on her Beloved?” There are Christians at different levels of intimacy in the Lord, some closer to His heart, some not as close. Jesus want All to seek Him earnestly, but not all do that. So there are those who Yes, are Saved, but they are as servants to the Lord (symbolised by the Daughters of Jerusalem). When the Bride (all those who become that close to the Lord) COMES OUT OF THE WILDERNESS, 1) they have to ask who it is 2) she (singular fem. symbolic of group of people) is Leaning on her Beloved— dependent, not self-sufficient. This echoes the earlier query by the other women of the Court, in 6:10 “Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible as an army with banners?” (There’s a metaphor for a group, as well as in v.13 “As it were, the company of two armies” or, “the dance of two companies/armies”)
    My point being that anyone who desires to be closer to His heart can do so– we are the only ones limiting ourselves– but that the group called The Bride will come out a wilderness, leaning on Jesus, purified and made “beautiful” –holy, totally dependent on Him. Let us all seek that relationship in Him, and not be content with just being in the wedding party, one of the “wise virgins” of Matthew 25. (In the Syriac and Coptic texts, and the Latin Vulgate, Matthew 25:1 says “…went forth to meet the Bridegroom AND THE BRIDE.”
    If I’m in a wilderness, I hope that it’s the Song of Solomon 8:5 type.

  60. Dave S Sep 7th 2012

    I struggle with the idea of applying an Old Testament view of Wilderness which was used to “prove” people. When in the New Testament the major way in which that happens is through the word. To mix the two up and apply 40 years of proving, will lead to a literal dead church.
    The more open we are to the word will quicken the spirits work in us.

  61. L. Alex Smith Sep 7th 2012

    Well, David, Old Testament typology is very useful in drawing parallels…Paul writes that “these were given for admonition and Examples, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” There is ample proof that many Old Testament figures fore-shadow spiritual realities in this present age. And the more we know and understand the symbolism in prophetic imagery (both O.T. and N.T. Book of Revelation) the more we understand the depths of the plan of God for the unfolding of the ages and the part that we can and should play in it. This IS “the Word”.

  62. Dave S Sep 7th 2012

    Alex I would have enjoyed being able to throw javelins at some really bad speakers, in the OT times there were bonus points for spearing a false prophet against the Temple walls. Or when I was in leadership and some stroppy Church member being swallowed up by the earth.
    John the Baptist was the greatest under OT untill the least believer would be greater.
    I love how Elijah was a man like us, he only did one third of what God commanded him ” anointing Elisha” and he did not do that in good grace. His faith failed him and God had to find him out.
    Apart from all his bad attitude God loved him so much for his faith, he simply took him. The desert never refined his character in a way that would make him “acceptable” to fellowship with. But man did he have something to boast of, in God.

  63. L. Alex Smith Sep 7th 2012

    That was I Corinthians 10:11. The word “examples” is “tupos” in Greek–we say “type”. Also in Hebrews 9:24 “For Christ has not entered in the Holy Places made with hands, which are the figures (Gr. antitupos = antiType) of the true…” Things in the O.T. frequently have symbolic value to spiritual truths in the N.T. In case you don’t know, “type” means like a imprinter (like a lead type face) which of course is in reverse to the printed word or character. AntType essentially means the forward character, that the “type” pointed to. For instance, the “crystal sea” in Revel. 4 (I think that’s the right chapter without looking)– the whole scenario is a pattern of the Temple/tabernacle Holy Place…24 Elders for the 24 courses of priests. The altar (martryed saints crying out from under the altar, as if they were like the blood of the ancient sacrifices which ran down a channel under the stone altar back then), the crystal sea… in the Temple it was a Brass (or, bronze) sea or Laver that the priests washed their hands in. But in the heavenly realm it is not Brass, representing Judgement, but Crystal, representing Transparency/Accountability and Purity before God. Just one example.

  64. Colin Sep 7th 2012

    I have been though a painful wilderness experience myself of not being able to find a biblical christian church since leaving a charismatic church now saturated in restorationism and taking the name of Jesus in vain to claim their city and institutions for Jesus.
    This church does not believe having an wilderness experience because they claim that they have been anointed by God. This shows contempt towards God and instead they are demanding God to do this and that in their prayers. They once used to have prayer marches using techniques such having dominion over territorial spirits. Nothing has happened despite christian celebrities making prophecies over and about the city which have never been fuffilled.
    I was in the wrong for questioning these teachings and prophecies so I left.
    I am still in the wilderness being tuned and finely homed having to bear criticism from christians who do not wish to know me because I have become churchless.
    Is this one of the reasons why has the christian church has become a mess because they do not care for the sheep? Why is it seen that christians are going from one church to another in finding biblical truth? Why have many christians left the established churches due to conflict within? Why is the churches too afraid to venture out from their four walls of church buildings? Who cares anymore concerning the future of churches?
    There are four christians from the UK awaiting their fate concerning standing up and being counted. The decision lies with the European Court. See link
    http://www.christian.org.uk/news/govt-lawyer-christians-should-leave-faith-at-home-or-resign/
    It will take another seven months for the final decision to be reached.
    Then of course in the meantime more christians in the UK could face another onslaught for following the Lord Jesus.
    And of during this deliberation same sex marriages could become lawful and homosexuality will be accepted as norm with indoctination starting at school age. See link
    http://www.christian.org.uk/news/scots-govt-includes-gay-marriage-bill-in-agenda/
    Believers have already made their comments about being voices in the wildernesses due to their calls to repentance. I have joined them.
    So our wilderness experiences are likely to remain with each of us calling people to repentance and will remain that way until He calls us home either having a physical death or are raptured in a twinkling of an eye.
    The bible does not give support to a Great World Wide Revival but a falling away for the Last Days.
    As already been shared by believers making their comments, the revival envisage will happen during the Great Tribulation and not beforehand.
    Praise the Lord while I still have breath to proclaim this!!!!!!!!!!
    What do other folk say about my convictions?

  65. Dave S Sep 7th 2012

    Colin I am in the Uk out of Church would love to communicate with you. My wilderness was caused by being offended by Church “10 years” my understanding is that the wilderness was inside the Church. Coming out confronted me with how little I knew.
    Good teaching when I came out would have cut that time down to weeks

  66. Foolhardy Fred Sep 7th 2012

    God requires separation from idolatry and false religion in all its forms in order to remain faithful to HIM and HIS WORD.

    In these days of wholesale apostasy with so many people doing “what seems right” in their own eyes this often involves isolation.

    How many are prepared to STAND ALONE FOR CHRIST should that prove to be necessary?

  67. Colin: What are you repenting of:
    Believers have already made their comments about being voices in the wildernesses due to their calls to repentance. I have joined them.
    So our wilderness experiences are likely to remain with each of us calling people to repentance and will remain that way until He calls us home either having a physical death or are raptured in a twinkling of an eye.

    2nd Cor 5:17-18 in a nutshell says that I have been totally forgiven and I am now a NEW Creation IN Christ Jesus.

    Therefore I have NOTHING to repent for unless I HAVE REJECTED that which Jesus did for me on the cross.

    My recommendation is to live today – NOT yesterday.

    Paul

  68. Martin Sep 7th 2012

    David, I’m in the UK too, out of church twenty years.

    There is a bunch of us on here who are having, or had a set of common experiences. The Desert experience. No two accounts of this time will entirely agree; we’re different people with different backgrounds and differing needs.

    The common factor here is being called out to be called into.

  69. Dave S Sep 7th 2012

    Martin would be great to share, I meet informally with 6 or so we have got 8 people being baptised through our witness. Seen 2 come to Jesus in my living room, my daughter got her eyesight healed. All of us fed up with worse than bad teaching, cold hearted Churches that cannot welcome strangers. We are moving in the power of God and would love to encourage and share.
    This is not theological ideas it is seeing Jesus manifest, he loves those that put the word into practise.

  70. Roger Sep 7th 2012

    Colin, David, Martin – I encourage you to make contact, and continue that contact, as Lord Jesus leads, for encouragement, edification, and support of each other :-)

    Martin – you said: The common factor here is being called out to be called into.

    Like you, and others, we too have had a ‘wilderness, desert, training’, period. For a while we were alone, being stripped of flesh (self), then discipled by Lord Jesus. He introduced us to others going through a similar process, and yes, each had a different yet similar testimony.

    We too were shown that we hadn’t left anything, but had been called ‘into’ His body – yet we are very conscious that we are to be in the world, sharing the truth of Christ Jesus our risen Lord.

    Through these years, we have met some wonderful disciples of Lord Jesus, some are now eternally with Him, others we have lost contact with, others we still have fellowship with, others we are being introduced to.

    ****

    Foolhardy Fred, you ask: How many are prepared to STAND ALONE FOR CHRIST should that prove to be necessary?
    I would add to that, – How many are prepared to die for Lord Jesus..?

    Through the process of ‘dying to self’, there will come a time when one realises, (Holy Spirit revelation) that with ‘self’ gone, one has no concern (fear) of physical death.

    Praise God for His work in each one of us, as He prepares us, disciples each one of us for His use – as He chooses.

    In His love,
    Roger

  71. a farmer Sep 7th 2012

    Evidently there will be MANY who think they were fruitful for the Lord, only to hear, “Depart from Me.” (Matt. 7:22-23) To them He says. “I never KNEW you.” What did Paul say at the end of his life? “That I may KNOW Him…” (Not, “I wish I had been more fruitful.”)

    One of the most precious books to minister to me in the wilderness was Pastor Wurmbrand’s, “Alone With God In Solitary Confinement.” He was three years in total isolation, even from seeing the sun or any color. When I told his wife, Sabina, how much the book had blessed me, she said , “Not many understand.”

    Intense suffering does wonders for one’s theology! Yes, God’s standard is holiness, and yes, His mercy is great. It’s a paradox. Humility comes to us in the “wilderness” and Love flourishes.

    Pastor Wurmbrand put it so beautifully upon his release after 14 total years in prison: “Lord, let me not rejoice more that I am free than that You were with me in prison.”

  72. Averyl Sep 7th 2012

    I guess those of us in the wilderness/desert have to stay here until there is either somewhere to go, a way out, until we die, or until the rapture!

  73. debylynne Sep 7th 2012

    colin, i identify more than i can convey with what you shared of your experience…….

    there has been so much pointed out in the last several posts that ‘carry the sound of the LORD’, i feel ‘humbled’ by the degree of struggle and difficulty ya’ll have known…..but, PLEASE, let’s just be SURE that we remain where we are out of obedience and NOT ‘self-enforced’ martyrdom – please. and do not think that i am being ‘condemning’ here – i am NOT. i just KNOW where i have found myself at some points in my ‘suffering’ and would not encourage anyone to ‘linger’ there for the sake of self-abasement or to be ‘able to feel that we are suffering for HIS sake’.

    i actually felt ‘envy’ that you that are in the UK and share so much understanding in the LORD might be able to ‘connect’!! i find it very very hard here in the middle of the ‘baptist Bible belt’ to have true fellowship with like minded spirit filled believers – we’ve come across a couple but they are rare – seems that even the ‘pentecostals’ as a ‘group’ are ‘steeped in religion’ these days and have rejected the true moving of the Holy Spirit – and i won’t touch ‘charismania’ with their ‘false moving of ‘some’ spirit’ – with a ten foot pole!! i don’t mean to be ‘dismissive’ of other believers myself, it is simply HARD and very disappointing at times to think that perhaps THIS time, we have found some fellow Christians whose faith is truly built on the Word of God and whose hearts are set in seeking after the KNOWLEDGE OF HIM and then end up ‘let down’ again…..
    we are in a small group now and a couple, including the pastor, seem like the ‘real deal’ and not running after ‘word of faith’ or ‘nar’ or ‘ihop’ or ‘morning star’ doctrines (of devils). they seem to be very ‘simple’ believers and we are HOPEFUL that ‘here’ we can have true fellowship…….(after being in a ‘fellowship desert’ for some time :-( )

    paul, i don’t think colin was speaking of his own ‘repentance’ (unless i am misunderstanding him????) but of the ‘CALL to repentance’……..i’m also not completely sure what you are conveying when you say:
    “Therefore I have NOTHING to repent for unless I HAVE REJECTED that which Jesus did for me on the cross.”

    while i COMPLETELY agree with you that faith in what JESUS CHRIST DID ON CALVARY is the ONLY thing that saves us and rejection of that truth is the only thing that ‘damns us’, i’m still a bit confused by what you said……..you are not conveying, are you, the currently held ‘false belief’ that a Christian needs NEVER to repent of sins again??? or, ‘confess’ them and seek forgiveness as 1 John clearly conveys??

    since we are NOT perfected yet, my brother, and, as james says…’we all stumble in many ways’ – unless you don’t consider ‘confessing your sins in the same light as repentance’??

    i’m just a bit confused :-/

  74. ValleyAnt Sep 7th 2012

    Barry, you said, “Today, most Christians define salvation in terms of personal empowerment… Believe in Jesus and you will be personally empowered to avoid anything difficult… and you won’t need to depend on anyone.” Seeing that this is absolutely true and runs so contrary to God’s ways, it’s apparent that God has a major work on His hands when it comes to reforming ‘Christianity today’.

    Mick, you said, “If we’re going to see Him we should pray for some ‘eye salve’. He’s not going to appear in church… He’s outside the church now, knocking at the door…” How splendidly said. When I read this, I decided to stop here for tonight. I and two others from the church (building) I currently attend met for Bible study yesterday. We began in 1Cor. 10 but were talking about ‘matters of the heart’ before long, and everything fell there. Then we were talking about God’s Kingdom from there. As the man to my right spoke some about this, the Rev. 3:20 passage where Jesus stands and knocks came to me. As the Lord explained this passage to me and I shared it in turn, He suddenly appeared there, standing between me and the man to my right and across from the other man, knocking (knocking isn’t literal but rather means ‘desiring to partake more fully’), and wanting to ‘join us’ (dine with or fellowship more deeply with us). We began to understand that the Lord on the outside of the churches knocking is simply the Lord’s Kingdom or reign outside (because, as we experienced, the Lord is wherever two or more gather in His Name). Many sincere Christians gather, and the Lord is among them as He promised. Yet, He’s usually still knocking, waiting to bring in His Kingdom. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a church or group of Christians is wrong or off; it rather means the Lord’s Kingdom (rule) isn’t yet established there though the Lord must be there.

    Hopefully, this last part will help some to make some sense of a barrenness that sometimes dogs them, a ceiling they can’t seem to pass in the Lord (or progress that isn’t made no matter how much they obey or share the Lord with others). (Afterall, the Lord Himself appeared inside the walls of a church, knocking to enter a Bible study in which He already was in order to get this message across to us.) Jesus knocking on the outside of a church or group of Christians doesn’t necessarily mean the Christians are in sin; it does always mean that the Lord’s Kingdom (and not the Lord Himself, if we absolutely had to make a distinction) is not yet MANIFEST or ruling in that place. His Kingdom is His way of doing things which can be summed up in being constantly led by the Spirit, a simple ‘concept’ but, for certain, not at all easy. (Check Book of Acts for reference.) The Lord’s message to the Laodicean church (the church many say we are now in), in this light, and the need for ‘eye salve’, will make more sense. Not fault and blame but Grace and Truth; not failing but not having yet obtained. Our question regarding some of these perplexities should be, “How do we allow the Lord inside?” It takes humility to acknowledge the difference, but as we sat in fellowship with the Spirit and the Lord suddenly appeared next to us but ‘outside’ and knocking to enter, we ourselves had no choice in the matter. God bless all.

  75. ValleyAnt Sep 7th 2012

    One more thing! Lol. It’s not the churches that the Lord is outside of but our hearts or our lives or the way we live and do things. It’s our way of doing church (either-or; a building or a home; no other options), of seeing the Lord, our general lack of vision, and a great deal of our ways of thinking (mindsets) that are actually contrary to the Lord’s own ways that keep the Lord outside. He’s not outside church buildings at all; rather, He’s outside our hearts, lives, or ‘the way we choose to see’. It’s again a matter of the heart. I’m still perplexed to meet Christians who read the Bible then ask in essence, “What does the Lord require of me?” Thankfully, many are sincere ; but the inability to see what the Lord requires, written many times in the Bible, is a spiritual vision problem. Solomon says to guard the heart as “the issues of life” spring or ‘issue’ from there.

    Paul speaks in Eph. 1 of our need for “a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God” in order for “the eyes of [our] hearts [to be] enlightened (opened to spiritual things)” so we can see and understand what God requires of us and then, from such a vantage point, we then experience “the surpassing greatness of His power” which is toward/for “those who believe” or ‘those who can see’ (with cleaned or new hearts or ‘eyes of faith’)– those who are enabled (whose spiritual vision or sight is literally unlocked as it is dormant in many Christians) to understand what is plainly written in God’s Word. Without this spiritual vision (i.e. without Light shining on God’s Word), spiritual progress in any body of believers is immensely limited and can be likened to a band of blind men making along well because they have each other but still without sight and therefore lacking a great deal: “The entrance (UNFOLDING, unveiling, explaining) of Your words gives light; it gives understanding (REVELATION, the ‘eureka!’ moment) to the simple” (Ps. 119:130). As Solomon says, we perish without vision. Yes, I’ll take a few bottles of eye salve please :)

  76. Dave S Sep 7th 2012

    I am into comforting the afflicted but afflicting the comfortable

  77. debylynne Sep 7th 2012

    dave s. – CUTE!!!! i like it :-)

  78. Ibelieve Sep 7th 2012

    Andrew Strom,

    This article is a little confusing here. Notice this statement made at the beginning:

    QUOTE: Notice when the children
    of Israel finally got fruit… after they had walked through the desert.
    Fruitfulness is the ultimate objective of God for you when he has
    you walking through a desert. UNQUOTE

    The problem is they never did get fruit, in fact they were all rejected from going into the promise land except for two men (Joshua and Caleb), and the peoples children. The people were in constant rebellion and would not listen to God and His leadership. This is why they found themselves in a wilderness that they never left.

    Is it possible the very same thing is going on today?

    You mentioned several times for people not to think they are going to remain in the wilderness.

    But as I read all these comments I am wondering if people are not quite content where they are and have no initiative to ever leave the situation they find themselves in.

    Many comments seem to imply that if your in a wilderness long enough that God is going to use you in some mighty way as He did with all those who went through a wilderness experience.

    There is no where in the Bible that says everyone is going to go through some wilderness experience and this is going to bring some measure of greatness in the Kingdom.

    The fact is we cannot work our way into heaven, Jesus paid the price at the cross.

    Yes there was a lot of people found in the wilderness in the Bible, but they never left because they had their own ideas on how things should be done.

    I can see your point that its not good to just remain in the wilderness.

    In Him,
    Gary

  79. Andrew Sep 7th 2012

    You are right, Gary.

    An entire generation became too “comfortable” in the Wilderness and died there.

    Only their children and the families of Joshua and Caleb made it into the Promised Land. The rest of that entire generation died in the desert.

    Bless you!

    Andrew

  80. Martin Sep 7th 2012

    A genuine desert experience has a beginning and an end. It’s duration is indeterminate, but does depend on how we receive what is given us to receive.

    It has a purpose, seldom discerned at the beginning; it is driven from without and not within. It serves to separate us from the dross we cling to and reveal the eternal in ways we may receive Him.

    There is no pattern, but commonalities; it is not a process but a preparation.

    Speaking just of myself, I would doubt any experience which doesn’t glorify Jesus and have Him at it’s core, Him as the sole purpose, the first cause, the Alpha and the Omega.

    All else is something else,

  81. ValleyAnt Sep 7th 2012

    Gary said, “The people were in constant rebellion and would not listen to God and His leadership. This is why they found themselves in a wilderness that they never left.” Yes. Many Christians will believe their hearts are right till the Lord uncovers their rebellion. I know a man who the Lord called to spiritual fatherhood (selfless service); in his case, he knows his heart isn’t right but tries to convince himself and others. Like King Saul, this man instead has a business and likes to rule over people, pretending to be doing God’s will (self-will over selflessness). He’s cunning and believes that because he can deceive people to believe he’s righteous, he’ll be able to tell the Lord ‘in that Day’, “I didn’t know what I was doing was wrong…” But the Lord, full of mercy, made sure to send me to him to destroy his crafty reasoning and tell him in essence (which finally came about yesterday), “You believe you can deceive the Lord because you deceive everyone else, but the Lord has sent me to you so that you understand according to your own reasoning that since you aren’t deceiving me, then you aren’t deceiving the Lord and will have no justification for your disobedience when you stand before Him for judgment ‘in that Day’.” This man’s answer is to avoid me ‘with all speed’.

    Reading many comments on this site, I see that as in Moses’ day, “many who are first will be last”. It’s easy to think we’re following God (even the most vile person is right in his own eyes), but if we aren’t willing to submit when He tells us to, we’re just like King Saul, full of stubbornness and idolatry and self-will but thinking we’re doing God’s will. From the beginning, they told Moses, “Who made you a prince and ruler over us?” Today, many in the wilderness, seeking to leave the barrenness, continue looking over the heads of God’s leaders who are able to bring them out, seeking leaders of their own choosing, looking for a King Saul (or seeking to avoid anything called ‘leadership’). But the Spirit says, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion in the wilderness… I was angry with that generation and said, ‘They always go astray in their hearts (ways), and they have not known My ways (heart).’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They will not enter My rest.’” If we believe we follow Christ but can’t submit to the primary things in His Word and to His leaders, we can know for certain that we are rebellious in heart. Hebrews says we should exhort one another to enter His rest (walk in obedience) while it’s still ‘Today’ (not ‘Tomorrow’ which is the Day of judgment when it’s too late).

    Reading here, I’m also reminded of the families who joined David in the wilderness: discouraged, discontented, and disillusioned with present leadership. But (most of) David’s people learned obedience and didn’t remain in or choose rebellion. I hope that most here don’t reject God IN His leadership (on the shoulders of whom He introduces His Kingdom and His ways of doing things as it was in the Beginning and will be until the End; amen) but only false leadership.

  82. Debylynne,
    Thank you for your comments. It could be that I may have misunderstoods Colins position. I have a dificult time with those who are “in the wilderness”. If we are following the leading of the Lord (1st Cor 12:18) He will always put us in a position where we are to (1) grow spiritually, (2) mature individually, and (3) become fruitful.

    As for seeking forgiveness for sin, that could be a daily condition as expressed in 1st John 1:7. We can, according to the Apostle John live daily in a sinless condition. BUT we also need to understand that we can stray from the narrow path that leads unto salvation and fall into sin and when we acknowledge that we have missed the mark and ask for forgiveness we will receive it. None of us are perfect, but as the Apostle Paul wrote we need to continually strive toward the mark of the high calling in Christ.

    Paul

  83. JeffM Sep 7th 2012

    So the personal desert experience would be, if you refuse to obey The Lord God then God sends you into the desert. If you learn to obey then you come out of the desert but if you still refuse to do what God says, you will die in the desert.

    Using Israel in the desert as an example we can see how to return to true New Testament church life. Only after God removed all who would not obey Him from the group ,was Israel able to go forward into The Promised Land. A true new testament church meeting has to be made up of only people who will do whatever Jesus says to do, then you can allways do what He says. If you include people who will not obey Jesus ,you will send the entire group into a desert place of refusing to obey.

    Amos 3:3

    Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

    3 Do two people travel together
    without having so agreed?

  84. Foolhardy Fred Sep 7th 2012

    I see the desert experience s more of a willingness to obey God in a culture which demands allegiance to “anointed ones” who care nothing for the Word of God but are obsessed with their status.

    The PROBLEM is addressed

    In 1 Timothy 4:1-3, Paul indicates that the Spirit expressly taught him that in the last days many would ‘depart from the faith,’ giving heed to ‘seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.’

    The remedy for this

    2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

    The desert experience for those who would remain faithful to HIS Word at any cost remains until God, in HIS faithfulness provides a way out..

  85. Foolhardy Fred Sep 7th 2012

    Faithfulness to the Word of God will always come at the price of separation from the majority and in many cases isolation will be required.

  86. debylynne Sep 7th 2012

    paul, thank you for responding so graciously!! it is GOOD when we ask questions cause we really aren’t ‘clear’ (not trying to be argumentative just for the sake of being argumentative!!!) that our brethren respond kindly – and your response gives me a much clearer understanding of what you were saying :-)
    thank you!

  87. Martin Sep 7th 2012

    Fred, right in every detail.

    The desert experience is not just tied to the above, but, seems increasingly to be used of God to render for Himself a people of the Word.

    This has certainly been my experience.

  88. debylynne Sep 7th 2012

    sometimes i ponder on the parable of the ‘wheat and the tares’ – i used to think of it simply as a ‘picture’ of the saved and lost in the ‘world’ and i suppose that IS what it means since the LORD says in His explanation ‘the field is the world’…..but, it seems to me that it is also a ‘picture’ of the ‘church’ – you have the ‘true sons of the Kingdom’ and in ‘amongst’ them you have the ‘tares’ – those that ‘look’ ALMOST like the ‘real deal’ (the wheat) but are NOT – and, in fact, are poisonous and deceptive…..is that NOT a picture of supposed “Christendom” today??

    the reason this parable seems to me to depict the ‘church world’ perhaps moreso than just the ‘world’ is that the tares LOOK so much ‘like’ the wheat – the world DOESN’T look like ‘us’ – it seems that tares were sown in amongst the true seed in order to ‘confuse and deceive and hopefully poison’…..

    i bring this up because of the alluding to our ‘coming out from among them’ – which i’m NOT coming against, so please don’t misunderstand me. but, sometimes i’m not sure that is the ‘whole story’ – there are TRUE believers in many ‘churches’ but they ARE in the midst of those that are ‘false’ – church members but not born again believers – and, yet, they feel called of God to remain…..

    we did so at the baptist church for 3 years – we actually walked away for several months until the LORD made it very clear we were to go back….we did and we had HOPE that it was in the LORD’s heart to perhaps ‘change’ some things there – in the end, after another year, (during which time the pastor gave my husband the leeway to teach according to the Word of God and NOT the standard issue baptist material and he did so to best of his ability :-/) HE released us and we walked away for good in sadness because the ‘holding to baptist doctrine’ is MUCH more important than the Word of God there………much confusion, much blatant sin in some of those in ‘leadership’, sad and distressing. ‘once saved, always saved’ (UNconditional eternal security) is a VERY broad path – much much broader than i realized before we were there.

    so, my point, you say????? where is it, lol??

    i’m NOT convinced God ALWAYS ‘calls us out’ – sometimes there may very well be a ‘wilderness experience’ but it is IN – not out. i’m not advocating staying ‘in’ something that is NOT of God – but we have to ‘follow the LORD’ in this – many times there are others INSIDE that will hear and will ultimately ‘come out’ as well – that’s what happened in our case……..so, i just don’t think there is a ‘hard and fast’ rule here – we MUST be led by the HOLY SPIRIT in each individual situation or we would simply become another group, like the amish, perhaps??? following certain rules and standards, but with PRECIOUS LITTLE life and leading of the Holy Spirit……..just my thoughts………

  89. I feel that “separation and isolation” can be VERY dangereous. The reason that I say this is God has warned against that:
    (1) Probverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
    (2) Probverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend
    (3) Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

    Remember we are the “Body of Christ” NOT a family, we can not live separate of one-another as family members can do. Each of us have a specific part to play in the Body and without others we lose, and without our contribution others lose.

    Paul

  90. debylynne Sep 7th 2012

    i cannot believe how GRATEFUL i am for the ‘handful’ of genuine believers the LORD has led us to in this small ‘spirit filled church’ – i am THANKFUL for each one…..i feel very grieved when a couple of the older ones have not been able to be there due to infirmity – truly, i feel ‘loss’ when they are not there with us……we’ve ‘done it all’ i guess, but, the LORD always seems to draw us back into ‘fellowship’ and it IS strength to me, i know.

    i think that some that ‘come out’ do so WITH others and i DO believe in and support ‘house churches’ – i feel they cannot help but be ‘more real’ and this ‘church form’ seems much more condusive to being built on the true foundation of the Word of God. in these days, are not TRUE fellow believers the most precious gift?? they are to me – there was a time when i didn’t realize just how PRECIOUS they were, but i DO now….

    we aren’t called to be ‘lone rangers’ or just ‘Jesus and me’ – we ARE a body…..but, sometimes we are also in seasons where we ARE seemingly ‘alone’ – but, i never believe that is for the ‘long term’ – do you?? no, we are ‘members one of another’.

    i think that ‘most’ everyone on here recognizes the NEED for our fellow believers – to be in ‘fellowship’ – i think some that feel ‘called out’ must mean that they do so while remaining in fellowship WITH other believers – that there are ‘others’ called out that they ‘join with’?? am i understanding that correctly??

    or do we mean by an ‘ongoing desert experience’ that we are ‘on our own’ separated from the rest of the body??? THAT happens without our ‘control’ at times, as with pastor wumberland (sp??) – of course it does – but is that something we should SEEK after?? i don’t think so……

    and paul, there is MUCH wisdom in the Word of God that you illuminated – yes, amen.

  91. JeffM Sep 7th 2012

    Ok, I think I see why this “wilderness ” conversation looks confusing. Israel in the Wilderness was two different examples. The example of Israel leaving Egypt and going into The Wilderness was a story of faith and salvation and obedience, so that is a “good” wilderness journey.

    Keep in mind in only takes two weeks to march from Egypt to The Promised Land. The second example is Israel refusing to enter The Promised Land , for us that would be that you will not do all that Jesus tells you to do.

    So the second example is God sending Israel back into The Wilderness, this would be a “bad” wilderness journey and one that you need to walk out of as soon as you repent. Do whatever The Spirit of God tells you to do.

  92. debylynne Sep 7th 2012

    AMEN.

  93. What I think I am seeing in these discourses is a choice to leave fellowship with fellow believers and possibly unbelievers (Church goers without salvation). I would like to present the following:

    I wanted the reader to begin looking at the local Christian community in a different way. I wanted to begin a serious inquiry about what true “body ministry” should be.

    My hope is that the Christian communities around the world will begin taking a serious look at their local “Body of Christ”. That the local leaders will take to heart what I wrote and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to being about a true manifestation of the Body of Christ in their communities.

    Many times I hear young and old Christian express their disappointment about the ineffectiveness that the “Church” is having, they all want to see the restoration of the “Church” that they read about in the Book of Acts. They want to begin duplicating the history of how that “Church” is said to have turned their world upside down. Can that example be present today – YES, and this is how that can be done.

    A good example of what the Body of Christ should be can be seen, experienced, and enjoyed in almost every community. Here we will find a group of people from all walks of life, housewives, doctors, nurses, skilled technicians, plumbers, electricians, police and firemen, students, office workers, even maintenance personnel. The list is not restrictive of any life style or employment it can include anyone. As we shall see there is only one individual who is the true professional.

    When this group come together each one bringing their own special gift or talent to share, the product can only be describes as beautiful, engaging, and beneficial for anyone who is exposed to this united assembly of dedicated individuals. What I am describing is a Symphony Orchestra.

    Anyone who has ever attended a symphony has probably noted the large number of musicians performing on stage; the orchestra is a large grouping of musicians who must manage to play together despite their size. While there is no fixed number at which an orchestra is complete, there are common features to every orchestra and a set number of sections. The orchestra generally has four sections:

    •Woodwinds – the reed instruments such as the bassoons, oboes and clarinets, and also the flutes and piccolos
    •Brass – the horns, such as the trumpets, trombones and French horns
    •Percussion – the drums, the timpani, the cymbals and other similar instruments
    •Strings – the violins, the cellos and the other members of the string family such as the bass and violas

    Now I would like for you to consider each one of the four sections of the Orchestra as a major Christian denomination in your city with all of its sub-groups or fellowships, here is how they appear today to the world.

    Example Of The Body of Christ TODAY

    As we see above there are various major groupings and each has a number of other members with various skills, talented men and women who have come together with a single purpose. Arriving early to the Symphony Hall allows for mingling with the other guest, but more importantly you will be subject to the “tune-up” by the musicians. This is necessary so that each one is sure that their instrument is ready.

    We know that each musician is an accomplished performed or they would not be a member, but what we are hearing is not music it is just NOISE. There is no coordination, no harmony, and no directed purpose. Each section and each member of each section is doing their own thing without concern for the others. Each is in their own little world, concerned with their “gift” that they have brought to the stage. Now what would it be like if each musician decided to play a musical score that they wanted and the others were not in agreement with it. What if the “first Violinist” sought to bring the other sections under the control of the strings what would the results be? Without leadership, agreement, and directed purpose there would only be chaos and disharmony. Today this is what your community sees as representing the Body of Christ: a body that is dissected, disjointed, separated, resentful of the other groups, and while it is alive – it is without any life to impart.

    NOW HERE IS WHAT THE CHURCH SHOULD BE

    John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

    The members do not get to choose what their specific function/ministry will be.

    If these musicians are truly dedicated to the success of the performance this is what we will see. After the “tune-up” period, the members begin to settle down. Then without any signal from anyone a silence falls upon the members and they all take their seats in anticipation of some event or someone. Within the assembled musicians, even if some are the most accomplished in the world they WAIT. No member of the assembled group even thinks about taking charge of the others, even from within their respective sections. A matchless SILENCE and sense of anticipation falls over both the musicians and the audience – something or someone is coming.

    On to center stage walks the conductor, the person for whom the entire assembly has been preparing and waiting for. The conductor is the ONLY individual, who selects which musicians will be in the Orchestra, which musical score will be played, and specifically how it will be played. The conductor has ABSOLUTE authority over every aspect of the performance. When he points to a section it plays, but it plays only the music that has been chosen by the Conductor for them to play, and it will only be played at the tempo indicated by the Conductor. When the symphony is finished it is the Conductor who receives the praise and adoration, he then directs the entire Orchestra to rise so that they may receive recognition for their work.

    This is the Body of Christ in ACTION. The various groups (denominations, Churches, Fellowships) gather together each ready to administer their gift. Remember the members of the Orchestra are chosen by the Conductor, and it is the Conductor who has decided what score/piece will be played. Who is this Conductor – the HOLY SPIRIT. He is the one that has full and absolute authority over the Orchestra that have trained for the privilege of being chosen to be assembled under His direction. He has chosen who will be seated or present in the Orchestra, what they will contribute, and when it will be contributed. It is the audience who are the recipients of the outpouring of the divine heavenly gifts and blessing that will be distributed by the Orchestra. It is up to them to receive, partake, and enjoy what the Holy Spirit has prepared for them.

    Paul

  94. JeffM Sep 8th 2012

    Paul , that is a perfect example of how a group Evangelism event should happen. But it does not fit the desciption of what a meeting together of the believers is like. You can not have an audience or what you have is not a meeting of (just ) believers.

    Church, as it is practised, is an attempt to combine the meeting of believers ,with the activity or activities of taking The Word to those who do not live according to His Word. When you try to do both you end up with something that is neither, I mean it is not the way Jesus wants it done.

    At one time have a meeting of just believers and do what is appropriate for this group, and at a seperate time do the work of evangelism. It is just plain wrong to invite people who despise God in their heart to join you in The Worship of The Lord.

    In your example The Holy Spirit is the leader of only some of people at the meeting, that is fine for evangelism. But the biblical meeting together of believers has to be characterized by The Holy Spirit being the leader of all the people at the meeting.

  95. JeffM Sep 8th 2012

    All that Man has built must be shaken, and crumble and fall away, until only what Christ Himself has built remains.

  96. debylynne Sep 8th 2012

    jeffm – you said:
    “Church, as it is practised, is an attempt to combine the meeting of believers ,with the activity or activities of taking The Word to those who do not live according to His Word. When you try to do both you end up with something that is neither, I mean it is not the way Jesus wants it done.”

    i do not believe that i have ever ‘thought’ of it in this way but it is TRUE. looking back i see all sorts of problems and negative circumstances that came about from THIS very thing…..

    my LORD, THIS may be one of the KEY reasons that so much seems to ‘fall to the ground’ in the traditional church setting – i am going to need to ponder this – i feel as though i am seeing something IMPORTANT here for the first time…..

    please forgive me if i seem foolish or naive not to have ‘seen’ this before – i believe i have to a degree, but it’s one of those ‘simplistic truths’ that seems to be easily ‘overlooked’ if you simply ‘accept’ the current way of ‘having church’…….:-/

  97. Kevin Sep 8th 2012

    JeffM , I agree with the theory of what you are saying in your post above, however in practice even a meeting of ”
    believers ” only, will contain the wheat and the tares;

    i.e. Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
    Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    Having said that , private meetings for believers, and public meetings for reaching out to non believers is the biblical pattern.

  98. Kevin Sep 8th 2012

    Regarding the desert experience, we all have to go through it as Christ did before us.

    When Jesus was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit , it was immediately after His baptism in the Holy Spirit.

    The purpose of the desert is to overcome ;

    The flesh

    The world

    The enemy

    If we don’t understand what the purpose of the desert is and start grumbling about the lack we are experiencing , then just as the Israelites did we will circle in the desert until we do understand and overcome.

    One of the main stumbling blocks I have seen in the desert is that the enemy will come to distract people and get them chasing after him, focusing on his works, when they should be focusing on Christ and learning His ways.

  99. JeffM Sep 8th 2012

    debylynne, Years ago I heard it said that there must be some worldwide deception from the enemy that keeps derailing Christianity. This is it and it is “so simple”. But there it is. It is hard for people to see because there is a real stronghold of deception around it. Until now I have only gotten blank looks when I explain it.

  100. debylynne:

    I think this will help you if it is applied to the “Church”. If we examine the ministry of Jesus you will find the following:

    1. Jesus FATHERED the twelve. He lived with them 24/7 for the entire length of His ministry teaching them with instruction and example.
    2.Also, during this time He also TAUGHT the seventy. This group after being instructed in the ways of the Kingdom, as the twelve were, was sent out in advance of Him just as the twelve were, but with one exception – they were not instructed to raise the dead.
    3.He MINISTERED to the needs of the multitudes, but He did not teach them.

    This is the way the Body is to function. This is the reason that Jesus Himself appointed special ministry gifts for the maturing of the Body (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, and Teachers). Each of these ministry gifts are in place to raise up and train the members of the Body so that they can perform their ministries (Eph 4: 11-16).

    Paul

  101. Kevin Sep 8th 2012

    It is interesting to note the Jesus did not start His ministry until He came out of the desert, at which time He was walking in the ” fire ” of the Spirit .

    This same fire that fell on the day of the Pentecost is what is missing today in all powerless “Christian” situations.

    When you compare what we consider today to being baptized in the Holy Spirit , to what happened on the day of Pentecost , something is seriously missing.

    Jesus followed the Holy Spirit into the desert, to be tested and overcome.
    This established Him in His ministry.

    Do we today bypass this part of our walk in Christ ?

    If so, does the lack of overcoming explain the lack of true anointing ?

    Do we come strait out of the baptism waters and listen to much to man’s flattering words and not hear the call of the Spirit ?

    I don’t believe there are any shortcuts.

    When Jesus says to take up our cross and follow Him , He means to walk the path He walked.

  102. Dave S Sep 8th 2012

    When Jesus spoke of False Prophets he said Do not go out to the wilderness. So why have a doctrine not taught in the New Testament based on Desert experience.
    Seems strange that this website works because it is “prophetic” when what is needed is sound teaching. It also promotes Revival but I post about God moving in revival and it produces no praise.
    How many of you here are actually moving in any power, because Paul Says its not about words.
    How many have come out of the desert to create the abundant life ?
    Basically if all you have is an argument/doctrine but no fruit of change, then it could just be a form of Godliness.
    The Pharisees could produce doctrines but opposed the life of Christ.
    If you have posted here about producing “fruit” thats great but I got bored reading empty doctrines.

  103. Kevin Sep 8th 2012

    Dave S , regarding your comment that is the bottom line.

    In the country I live in, NZ , main stream Christianity has been calling out for revival for years now, yet over the last 20 years I have seen with my own eyes faithful mature servants of Christ in this country being used by Christ to bring miraculous life changing physical and spiritual healing to many.

    These faithful servants I have known, are not known by main stream Christianity, yet they have faithfully worked away under the radar so to speak , for most of their lives , bring glory to our risen Lord Jesus Christ , walking in His fire, expanding His Kingdom.

  104. Kevin Sep 8th 2012

    Dave S, meaning where you said;

    “How many of you here are actually moving in any power, because Paul Says its not about words.”

  105. Martin Sep 8th 2012

    David, I offer my thanks in Jesus Name for what He has accomplished through you. The Kingdom is now greater than days ago, and yet more is to come.

    I don’t know where you are in the UK, but any help, prayer especially, would be great fully received in breaking the stranglehold Anglo Catholics have on this area. Even John Wesley made impact in Norfolk and Suffolk – too rich by far!

  106. Dave S Sep 8th 2012

    Thanks Kevin so pleased its under the radar, we are using stealth tactics as well.
    The thing on Power is not just manifestations but a confidence in God very few are confident. I know of very few Christians that have testimonies of Gods love working through them, most are as scared of the World as unbelievers.
    I recently encouraged a Lady to overcome cancer using scripture, she knew the presence of God during treatment. She had been prompted to ring me for prayer, she was not a Christian.
    I have forgotten the years stolen by false leaders as I now have the New Wine, the Old Wine is no longer my reference.
    A lot of what has been written here appears to be poor theology with no results.

  107. Dave S Sep 8th 2012

    Thanks Martin I posted my e mail address earlier, obviously someone does not think Christians can be trusted it was deleted. I am in Reading Berks

  108. Martin Sep 8th 2012
  109. Foolhardy Fred Sep 8th 2012

    Nothing is more dangerous than knowingly associating and participating in false religion.

    The apostle Paul’s prophecy in II Timothy 3:1, 13 provides a concise but penetrating description of the kind of world we live in. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. . . . But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” This is a warning especially applicable to us because the world applies sufficient pressure that, if we are lackadaisical, we will allow ourselves to follow Satan’s arrangement of things. The human nature that remains within us finds much “out there” attractive, and true Christians, despite 2,000 years of preaching, still see the overwhelming majority following the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13). This creates a great deal of peer pressure.

  110. Roger Sep 8th 2012

    Dave S – it was in a ‘house fellowship’ in Tilehurst, (1972) that I understood the truth of who Jesus is, believed the scripture I was reading, repented and was ‘born again’.. :-D

    He brought us to NZ.

  111. Roger Sep 8th 2012

    Dave S – Andrew will pass on email address’s to others if you ask..

  112. Kevin Sep 8th 2012

    Yes Dave S, love is the true foundation, the evidence of , the nature and character of Christ ( the true fruit of the Spirit ) .

    The gifts / power are for bringing glory unto Him and confirming that His truth is His truth.

    From what I have seen He establishes His fruit first in His servants, before He empowers them to serve Him.

    What I have noticed is that people without the true fruit ( the love, nature and character of Christ ) who claim to walk in power , do so for their own gain and glory.

  113. Kevin Sep 8th 2012

    To overcome the world, the flesh and the enemy is to establish the nature and character of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit .

    This has always been the purpose of the desert.

  114. Ibelieve Sep 8th 2012

    Could anybody tell me where this doctrine is found in the NT, and that is Christians will go through a lengthy wilderness experience?

    There must be a place that tells us this will happen.

    When Jesus was seen in the wilderness it was not because:

    The Pharisees and Sadduces were not teaching the OT.
    Nor was it because the money changers were making dishonest gain in the temple.
    It was not because the condition of the synagogues was full of deception.

    The Word says He was driven in the wilderness by the Spirit of God, where He spent the entire time fasting.

    We do not see the original 12 Apostles nor many of the pastors and evangelists going through a lengthy wilderness experience.

    Is this a modern day concept?

    I was just wondering why so many are finding themselves in a wilderness condition.

    Could anyone at least point me to the NT teaching that shows this?

    In Him,
    Gary

  115. Andrew Sep 8th 2012

    “WILDERNESS” in the New Testament:

    Jesus, Paul and John the Baptist in the NT writings.

    The apostles during the 40-50 days between Passover and Pentecost.

    Bless you!

    Andrew

  116. debylynne Sep 8th 2012

    thank you jeffm and paul for responding to my post – i appreciate very much all that you have to share in this AND your kindness – thank you.

  117. Kevin Sep 8th 2012

    Gary ,

    Mat 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
    Mat 4:2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
    Mat 4:3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
    Mat 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
    Mat 4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple
    Mat 4:6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
    Mat 4:7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
    Mat 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
    Mat 4:9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
    Mat 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
    Mat 4:11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

  118. Ibelieve Sep 8th 2012

    Andrew,
    Okay, What is this when people say they are in a wilderness for twenty or thirty years and still are in it?

    This seems like an endless amount of time to be in this situation. The Hebrews spent forty years in the wilderness because they refuse to listen to the Lord.

    Just wondering here about this whole concept.

    Thanks Kevin, I am familiar with these passages but this was preparing the Lord for His ministry as He is seen fasting during this forty days.

    Maybe this is a matter of terminology but I wonder if anyone will ever find a fellowship with all the things going on in the church world.

    The difference is the saints in the Bible were in literal deserts. In the western countries we set in air conditioned buildings, with every form of entertainment at our fingertips. Our lifestyle is easy compared to someone who was living on locusts and honey in a real desert.

    I just don’t see Paul or others making this an emphasis in their ministries to others. That is, one third of their lives being spent in the wilderness.

    If the church world does not make some changes and revival does not come some will be there till they die I guess.

    In Him,
    Gary

  119. Foolhardy Fred Sep 8th 2012

    Consistent with previous teaching the idea of being separate from false teachings, false movements, false “anointed ones”is NOT a doctrine. It is a natural consequence of sincere and humble commitment and obedience to HIS WORD in a world committed to the false, the sensational, the unbiblical and ultimately the anti(alternate or substitute) Christ.

    It is therefore pertinent to reiterate in the strongest possible terms:

    I see the desert experience as a demonstration of willingness to obey God in a culture which demands allegiance to “anointed ones” who care nothing for the Word of God but are obsessed with their status.

    The PROBLEM is addressed

    In 1 Timothy 4:1-3, Paul indicates that the Spirit expressly taught him that in the last days many would ‘depart from the faith,’ giving heed to ‘seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.’

    The remedy for this

    2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

    The desert experience for those who would remain faithful to HIS Word at any cost remains until God, in HIS faithfulness provides a way out..

    Faithfulness to the Word of God will always come at the price of separation from the majority and in many cases isolation will be required. Jesus Himself accepted crucifixion rather than compromise with the “anointed ones” of His day and is our ultimate role model in this regard.

  120. craig Sep 8th 2012

    Growing up, my family moved every four or five years, usually to another state. My parents, and eventually all of us, always sought the Lord as to where we should go to church. It was never the same denomination but it always became ‘home’. I have never really thought of where I was to attend as being my decision. I have at times felt ‘Permission’ to leave when a situation became challenging, but staying was the better of His will. He has led me, now ‘us’ (my own family) to leave for another church, but this was usually due to a distinct change in the season of my family. He has always had a place for us, though smaller fellowships have always been vital. When someone is telling me in person, why they’re leaving or what they’re looking for, I’m always thinking, but where are you supposed to be. Of the gifts I was given as a personal heritage, it seems this subtle idea of ‘Which of these churches is His choice for us’ has brought great grace. That isn’t to say it’s been easy. It has been extremely challenging in these days of demonic incursions and false teachings. But i am more willing, perhaps, to enter the fray, prayfuly and Biblically, because i know I’m where I’m supposed to be. I have been an enemy to the enemy, especially these last few years. It has strained friendships and challenged the leadership, but sound doctrine, faithfulness and time has proved itself and I am now left alone and under the radar as sort of sentinel at the church I attend. My heart hurts for those who can no longer find a congregation. Our congregation is about 800 or so, but is established by smaller fellowships, study groups and strong support for ministries that come out of the congregation. But it is a constant effort to remain vigilant. But a church that is willing to make room for those called to wage war while drawing the bulk of the flock into discipleship and service can be a great source of encouragement to a community. I have seen The Lord use serious incursions by NAR and IHOP to humble the proud and educate the spiritual thrill seeker. We are a stronger church, but it has been, at times, brutal. There is only one way any of this is accomplished; forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness. If those with sound doctrine cannot forgive, a church will not stand. And if those who are given the role of meeting the enemy at the proper time don’t learn to apologize for the times they’re too aggressive or insensitive, they will be just another burden to good leadership. So on that, let me apologize for the times I post long after I should be sleeping, that is to say, when I am unkind.

    I know it’s only a matter of time until Texas seems like the UK, but hopefully not to soon because it seems the brood is nesting just North of my fair Georgetown and there’s plenty of churches that are unprepared. There is a war going on here, every day. It is challenging, but He is in our midst. And I will say this, I am seeing many of the most hard core prodigals returning, and others giving everything the Lord has entrusted them with to bring them to restoration. It is incredible to be a part of. “Raiders raided them, but they raided at their heals”. This war is by no means lost.

    What I believe is that we are in the segue between the 6th and the 7th church with Philadelphia having been based over the rise and decline of America and the World Wars. I believe it was ushered in with the Great Awakening. In my view, there is but one logical (Meaning I believe the Holy Spirit bares witness but I have no desire to presume authority in this day and age, His authority being sufficient) that India with the embers of Saint Thomas’ seven churches smoldering in it’s heel will host the power of the last great revival and the resurrection church of Laodicea. But i believe the revival will start here amidst our chastening. Thomas said “My Lord and my God”, a name no one had directly used for Jesus. What would an astonished India declare when God opens their eyes and they behold the one true Living God? I don’t know. I’ve never been to India. But it seems to have a fair bit of desert both literally and spiritually.

    The generation that perished in the wilderness did so because they didn’t believe God could accomplish what he had promised and because they feared for their lives. Their desire for safety and self preservation was greater than their faith. They didn’t hope or intend to stay in the wilderness, and I don’t believe they were comfortable. They were rejected because they wore out Gods patience. The wilderness had a purpose. They didn’t get it and they didn’t get in. Perhaps they had too much Egypt in them.

    In Judges, the five spies of Dan return from spying out Laish, to the leaders of their tribe, the tribe given the last lot, the most difficult enemy and no help from the its neighbor who was the first tribe to settle, with help, and the most secure. The spies returned to their brothers who asked “What do you report?”. They replied “Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. And will you sit still? Do not delay to go, to enter, to posses the land”. This, it seems, was the lesson handed down to them.

    Whatever the wilderness, if God shows you the why and the where, then it’s probably time. Don’t delay or consider self preservation, go up and posses what He has promised. “Faith is…”.

    I think my own wilderness time is coming to an end. Please pray for me, that I follow through.

  121. Foolhardy Fred Sep 8th 2012

    2 Thessalonians 2:15

    (15) Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

    New King James Version

    Whatever the cost TRUE faith requires commitment to HIS WORD!

  122. Kevin Sep 8th 2012

    Gary, the principle of denying ones self was shown by Jesus in the desert, as was not falling for enticement of this world, as was not being deceived by our enemy.

    If we as followers of Lord Jesus Christ don’t understand and overcome in these areas , how can we expect to be effective servants used in ” revival ” ?

    If as you have said we live a life a relative luxury and never allow ourselves to be led away for testing and refining, whose fault is it that we don’t walk as the early church ?

    The principles of the desert in terms of overcoming the flesh, the world and the enemy, have always been accomplished by the early effective servants of Christ.

    What we have to do to overcome today is in the mind of God and available to us through the Holy Spirit.

    The stalemate today where upon we are waiting for God to move , and He is waiting for us to listen and obey, is of our own making.

    The limitation is on our side of the agreement , not Gods.

    The following words of Jesus I believe apply to this stalemate;

    Rev 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
    Rev 3:15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
    Rev 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
    Rev 3:17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
    Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

  123. Kevin Sep 8th 2012

    Gary , just to clarify , my above post is not directed at you personally, it is simply a reflection of what I believe our Lord Jesus Christ has revealed in these matters.

  124. JeffM Sep 8th 2012

    Numbers 14:28-35

    Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

    28 Tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, Adonai swears, as surely as you have spoken in my ears, I will do this to you: 29 your carcasses will fall in this desert! Every single one of you who were included in the census over the age of twenty, you who have complained against me, 30 will certainly not enter the land about which I raised my hand to swear that I would have you live in it — except for Kalev the son of Y’funeh and Y’hoshua the son of Nun. 31 But your little ones, who you said would be taken as booty — them I will bring in. They will know the land you have rejected. 32 But you, your carcasses will fall in this desert; 33 and your children will wander about in the desert for forty years bearing the consequences of your prostitutions until the desert eats up your carcasses. 34 It will be a year for every day you spent reconnoitering the land that you will bear the consequences of your offenses — forty days, forty years. Then you will know what it means to oppose me! 35 I, Adonai, have spoken.’ I will certainly do this to this whole evil community who have assembled together against me — they will be destroyed in this desert and die there.”

  125. Foolhardy Fred Sep 8th 2012

    The cost of commitment is magnified considerably, of course, by the wholesale apostasy that has overtaken much of what might previously have been referred to as the “christian church” but is now more correctly addressed as the “apostate church.”

  126. Dave S Sep 8th 2012

    So all you Wilderness theologians, wheres the fruit Jesus came out in the power of the Holy Spirit likewise Paul. Where are your testimonies of consistent moving in the Holy Spirit, discipling anyone ? Seen anyone come to Jesus.
    Or are you into OT this is taking a bit longer than 40 days, most I know are heading for 40 years and this is a convenient theology to explain the fact they are lost, nullified the word of God confused and confusing others.
    Come on get real, wake up and smell the coffee.
    God has a wonderful plan for your life, abundant life flowing in the spirit and the love of Jesus, I encourage you to seek out Teachers that are bearing the right fruit, not rainless clouds.

  127. Andrew Sep 8th 2012

    PRIDE is generally another thing that takes a hit in the wilderness.

  128. Andrew Sep 8th 2012

    Those who are seeing good fruit rarely “boast” about it.

    Unless they are still carnal.

    Bless you!

    Andrew

  129. craig Sep 8th 2012

    Once you take everyone’s different views on wilderness experiences and classify them as believing the same ‘wilderness theology’ and then exhort them as if they are all a similar type of student in a particular class under small t teachers, i wonder if you might be wrapping it up a but too neatly. It’s easy to call something a theology, but it’s rarely true that it is a theology. It seems to be a collection of different experiences that can in some way be related to a Biblical example of being in a wilderness. Once you say i have a ‘wilderness theology’ you are confining me to someone else’s definition of what I believe. It’s like eating fish on Friday and discovering I’m Catholic. Do i now have a history of going to mass and confessing to a priest. Calling something a theology seems a bit dangerous because you’re telling them what they really believe. I didn’t know that there even was a wilderness theology and i doubt if i have accidently became one them.

    I define the last few years as a correction, refining and focusing period. I have been dirt poor and sold nearly everything i had to put food on the table. We spent two and a half years living in an RV on our friends property, helping them build a thirty horse stable and ministry, working two jobs and mucking stalls in whatever hours were left as my rent. I found a deeper peace, a stronger faith. I mentored four boys who were removed from their home, disipled many, intervened and was used to bring my brother out of alcoholism and oppression, restored others to their faith, helped start a recovery church, intervened at church with a group being swept away by the demonized NAR theology, and that’s just a part. Call it shipwrecked or wilderness, i have become the least of the brethren and suffered much humiliation in having to ask for help, yet i have lost all anxiety regarding money, all doubts as to Gods love for me and witness on a daily bases to the people on my delivery route. I could go on. I do have a vision regarding what the Lord is preparing me for. But i have communion with Him. I have produced fruit while learning to enjoy His food and water more than the things of this world. I would never have chosen this, but i cannot imagine having the faith i now have without it. Humbling, painful and glorious. But this isn’t my theology. This is my experience. It is Gods grace. If you pray Whatever it takes’ you might find yourself in a metaphoric, allegoric, spiritual or even literal wilderness. But I still pray the same thing. And I’m not speaking against anyone in reference to fish. It was just an example.

  130. Martin Sep 8th 2012

    Pride certainly does take a hit in the wilderness!

  131. JeffM Sep 8th 2012

    The Good Shepard does not want you to be bruising His Sheep.

    Philippians 2:3

    Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

    3 Do nothing out of rivalry or vanity; but, in humility, regard each other as better than yourselves —

    …….

    The Word instructs us to look at this very issue that the article brings up.

    1 Corinthians 10

    Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

    10 For, brothers, I don’t want you to miss the significance of what happened to our fathers. All of them were guided by the pillar of cloud, and they all passed through the sea, 2 and in connection with the cloud and with the sea they all immersed themselves into Moshe, 3 also they all ate the same food from the Spirit, 4 and they all drank the same drink from the Spirit — for they drank from a Spirit-sent Rock which followed them, and that Rock was the Messiah. 5 Yet with the majority of them God was not pleased, so their bodies were strewn across the desert.

    6 Now these things took place as prefigurative historical events, warning us not to set our hearts on evil things as they did.

  132. I agree with dave that sometimes the concept of ‘wilderness’ really is used as a religious excuse for our own mistakes, to encourage people to stay in their pit instead of crying out to the Lord to deliver them. There is much unnecessary suffering caused by one’s own mistakes – and the results aren’t fruitful, unless redeemed by God. Have been there – the past year has been the most difficult ever, broken relationships, everythng falling apart and turning to shambles, no amount of prayer seemng to make any difference..
    Now, I have accepted that some practical decisions on my part opened the door to the enemy’s destruction and confusion, and the Lord has graciously given me a new beginning on same areas. But many others remain seemingly dead..
    The dark night of the soul is a handy idea, but it can’t go on forever or it kills your desire to live. and that is never from God.. Life, joy and peace is what He has promised us, not necessarily easy circumstances, but His presence in the midst of challenges. If His joy is gone, it’s very hard to be fruitful in any area.
    Debylynn, I relate to what you shared.. much blessings to you.

  133. JeffM Sep 8th 2012

    I got 3 people saved, because I AM MIGHTY JEFF. And I kicked 10 sheep in the head because they are just so stupid.

    I hope this not in going to far , Andrew.

  134. Ibelieve Sep 8th 2012

    Fred, Kevin, Thanks for the comments, I think a I have a clearer understanding of what everyone is applying as their wilderness experience. Fred you made a really good point here.

    I have noticed that some who say they have been in the wilderness a long time are quick to be angered, or offended easily and I wondered if the wilderness experience was not just some fancy term for not doing nothing.

    I also know that things have to take time to work out, if I remember correctly Smith Wigglesworth had a problem with anger but it was dealt with when he fasted before the Lord.

    As the church world walks in deception and it seems to be getting worse, I can see where its better not to set and let deception reign and end up become dull of hearing.

    As someone stated, if you are in a real wilderness drawing closer to Jesus,one day I would think you would come out with the anointing and if nothing else be leading others in the strait and narrow. After all you’ve been on the mountain top listening to God, Right.

    In Him,
    Gary

  135. Kevin Sep 8th 2012

    Craig, the experience you mention reflects what many have found in their desert experience, in that priorities and what they once considered important are realigned and through it all they come into a closer relationship with Christ and find a sense of peace and purpose that was missing in their walk and life previously.

    This is how I believe we are to measure any desert experience as to whether it is of Christ or not.

    If we find true value in the desert and rejoice in our sufferings , finding a deeper more meaningful walk with Christ, then why would we consider that the experience was not of Him.

    If however we drift further away from Christ and have no peace , nor find no true purpose in Christ, then we should consider the possibility that we are under the afflictions of the old foe.

  136. JeffM Sep 8th 2012

    Do we consider Moses a good example or a “don’t be like him” example.He was a very good example to follow. Moses never left the place of “desert” life. The Lord God would not let him leave it. When Israel went up into The Promised Land , God told Moses that he can not go with them. So don’t look down on someone who is stuck in the “wilderness”. Jesus may just see them as like Moses.

    Mark 9:2-4

    Amplified Bible (AMP)

    2 Six days after this, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves. And He was transfigured before them and became resplendent with divine brightness.

    3 And His garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller (cloth dresser, launderer) on earth could bleach them.

    4 And Elijah appeared [there] to them, accompanied by Moses, and they were [a]holding [a protracted] conversation with Jesus.

  137. Foolhardy Fred Sep 8th 2012

    Andrew, in response to your comment about pride taking a hit in the wilderness.

    May I suggest that pride would cause one to avoid accepting the “wilderness” experience as the price for being faithfully committed to HIS WORD.and to prefer to remain within the cocoon offered by compromise and tolerance of what is false that is part of the apostate church generally.

    Pride is what leads one to say “I do not care what the Bible says I only care about my anointing.”

    For anointing read STATUS/RECOGNITION?ACCEPTANCE within the local apostate church.

    There is NO recognition or “big noting” of any kind in the genuine wilderness experience as you are genuinely alone with GOD and perhaps some other like minded individuals.

    It becomes increasingly essential that God given experiences such as this leads to greater intimacy with God as we become totally reliant on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in accordance with HIS WORD!

  138. Foolhardy Fred Sep 8th 2012

    2 Thessalonians

    8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

    9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

    10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

    11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

    12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

    13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

    14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle

  139. watchful Sep 8th 2012

    In case it’s of any help to anyone, it has helped me to understand that wilderness is the Way; it is the carrying of our crosses and denying ourselves; it is the narrow path which leads to life. It’s purpose as the scripture says is so that we can know what is in our hearts….in the testing and trying the dross in our hearts is exposed and brought to the surface to be dealt with – things we never knew were lurking in the inner parts of our being, so that we can clean the inside of the cup.

    It’s also needful to remember when reading the OT that these things were written for our ensample, in other words they were written as parables to teach spiritual lessons to a spiritual people. For example, we should not necessarily understand our spiritual wilderness journey in a chronological sense the way the Israelites’ journey occurred in the natural. (Parables are not understood in terms of linear logic, they are a kind of picture that we are to grasp all at once, by the Spirit.) I dont know if this explains it very well, but for example, we can be dwelling in the wilderness our flesh being crucified in some particular area, and yet at the same time have already overcome in some other areas.

    When I saw this in terms of a parable, I was able to see that the first generation of Israelites dying in the wilderness is an analogy for our flesh dying (carnal nature)….the next generation that was “born” to them and who entered in, is an analogy for the new man Christ in us, our spiritual man. In other words, that which is being born in us in the wilderness is spirit (as our carnal mind/nature dies). Flesh cannot inherit the Kingdom (Promised Land), this is speaking of our carnal nature, remembering too that the natural carnal mind cannot grasp the things of the Spirit. So we are entering the Promised Land bit by bit, just as the clay pot with fire in it in Abraham’s vision/dream passed through the pieces of flesh piece by piece -we are entering the Holy Place behind the torn veil of Jesus’ body little by little as we persevere and endure to the end (death of our old man).

    But oh my how we like to point fingers at those poor suffering Israelites (this is the Phariseeical spirit in all of us) grumbling and complaining in their hunger and thirst and anxiety (really who could blame them), not realizing that our flesh is no different. It’s natural that we will moan and groan in the wilderness especially more towards the beginning before we realize what is going on, because the fire of God burning away our fleshly nature is excruciating at times – until and as we overcome more and more, and learn, by experience (because this is how the Father is teaching His children) that He is worthy of our trust and we learn to rest in Him…..remembering that the Promised Land is none other than the land of rest, the sabbath rest of God.

    For me I have accepted the wilderness (cross) with all its seasons, as being a Way of Life………until perfection comes.

  140. craig Sep 8th 2012

    Was I answering a question or boasting? Or both? I guess I’ll have to contemplate that one. There is an art to ‘implying’ rather than saying what you mean that eludes me. Innuendo is so much a part of our culture now, but it still feels a slithery to me. Is the softness of a vieled reply better than a direct statement or answer. Or is it the wise and refined in contrast to the carnal and immature. I honestly don’t know.

  141. JeffM Sep 8th 2012

    craig, speaking about myself, I seem to come to a place where I have both questions and a vague empty feeling about my actions.
    How do I choose the right way to talk to someone?
    Do I drop a stone in front of them that they stumble over or do I talk to them about rocks?

    I found no peace or holy confidence in making the choice, so I gave it to God to decide and The Holy Spirit is able to give direction to me in that area. I don’t want to make those choices anymore.

  142. debylynne Sep 8th 2012

    craig said: ‘I would never have chosen this, but i cannot imagine having the faith i now have without it. Humbling, painful and glorious. But this isn’t my theology. This is my experience. It is Gods grace.’
    i do not ‘grasp’ all that is being debated here….i IDENTIFY very strongly with what craig has said here…..

    also, NG, i ‘hear’ you – in my Spirit, i HEAR you……i would venture to say that i ‘recognize’ where you are very clearly. God bless you and help you and bring you through to JOY.

    sometimes when people on here start declaring ‘all’ they have done in the LORD, i feel a sort of ‘cringe’? in my heart – it doesn’t ‘feel’ right – it feels more like boasting. BUT i recognize that they are trying to convey the DIFFERENCE in a faith that is seemingly ‘dead’ and one that is ‘alive’ and ‘bearing fruit’ (as for what is real fruit, i’m NOT debating, i’m just using that ‘term’ for lack of anything clearer to use here!!)

    as others have said, i think we are talking ‘apples and oranges’ here – wilderness vs. wilderness – one place you are ‘taken’ or ‘led’ because of the issues in your life or even YOUR OWN MISTAKES – but it is a place of humbling and learning and sorrowing and healing and drawing NEAR and being ‘stripped down’ of flesh and being BUILT UP in grace and truth….and a place of ‘resurrection’ if you would, because the LORD DOES LEAD YOU OUT…..in His time……
    the ‘other’ seems to be a place of ‘choosing’ to be – of ‘going out’ of your own volition – is it of GOD?? are you being led of the Spirit to do so?? the LORD JESUS was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. but, that does NOT necessarily mean that ALL are……it doesn’t. i agree – you need to examine your life and determine if ‘here in the wilderness’ that you have chosen BECAUSE YOU BELIEVED IT TO BE THE LEADING OF THE LORD, that you are indeed in His perfect will – by the evidence of what is going on in your life??
    the Lord Jesus did NOT stay in the wilderness – no one seemed to STAY except those who were in disobedience and being ‘disciplined or punished’, as it were. (perhaps we would say John the Baptist stayed?? but, his was actually ‘preparation’ for a ‘short’ time in ministry’ wasn’t it??

    i will say that i believe i have seen much more of people separating themselves in PRIDE than those that ‘stayed’ out of pride – IF we are talking about TRUE followers of Jesus Christ….i have personally had to repent of ‘thinking more highly of myself than i ought’ when considering ‘coming out from among them’ and had to have my ‘attitude’ adjusted before being ‘released’ from even CLEARLY wrong situations……

    we are servants…..are we not?? if our ‘wilderness experience’ makes us feel EXALTED, instead of humbled, we would have to truly EXAMINE my hearts, don’t you think??

  143. debylynne Sep 8th 2012

    i apologize – that last line SHOULD say…’EXAMINE OUR hearts,…..

    i just am not sure we can call ‘come out from among them’ as a TRUE ‘wilderness’ experience???? when the LORD left the crowds and went into the hills to pray, was He going into the ‘wilderness’?? wilderness seems to denote a ‘struggle’ – a ‘challenging’ time…… abram left and ‘followed’ God into the ‘wilderness’ in a way…..but we could not call that the SAME as the ‘wilderness’ experience of someone such as my case of ng’s or others that have shared on here – this would not be termed a ‘dark night of the soul’ as it were – we have two different situations here, don’t we??

    i think we need a ‘different’ expression for ‘coming out’ – i personally don’t see it as a ‘wilderness’……?????

  144. craig Sep 8th 2012

    Thank you JeffM. Andrew, I appreciate your forum and everyone’s participation. Simply learning how to discuss and fellowship regarding these topics that are affecting the Church (His Church) is crucial. These global attacks are divisive and can easily lead to isolation that is not God’s will. When friends can become enemies over night through these deceptions, it can make one suspicious rather than companionate. Above all, speaking for myself, it is complaints against God and His provision through Christ, pride and fear, that make us candidates for deception. Crucified daily is vital, but this takes a commitment of time and the willingness to be wrong AGAIN! Mercy is so much more substantive than our normal modes of being because it is the offering of Christ’s flesh to others by making available our own flesh through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. In this life, we will have much trouble. He did not lie. But He is able to keep us if our intent is to remain in Him. But where would we go for His words are, and He is, Life. May He keep us all from falling away.

  145. Tim S Sep 8th 2012

    DAVE S……Thank you so much for that totally “discouraging” comment! Romans 2:1

  146. Tim S Sep 8th 2012

    Also, if the Holy Spirit places an individual in the wilderness, then that wilderness experience WILL be “fruit-bearing” ! Even the 40- year wilderness bore fruit: Joshua & Caleb and their families & that generation entering into the promised land was the FRUIT! It became our shadow-type of our walk with Christ.

    Craig…I like your ending: “May He keep us all from falling away.” Because that time is fast approaching! God Bless!

  147. watchful Sep 8th 2012

    He was teaching them in the wilderness, as children, this is why they were called the children of Israel, carnality is spiritual immaturity……we don’t come by complete faith and trust automatically, it is a growing thing, and we learn by experience of His faithfulness and His ability to deliver and provide etc. How we view the scriptures and other people so much depends on what is in our hearts. If we are self-condemning and Phariseical we will so easily condemn the people in scripture who were less than perfect (and notice that they ALL were imperfect – like as we are). But the bible was written in such a way as to reveal what is in our hearts. Yes, deception, children are prone to it, believing in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. There was a time when I thought God was some sort of Santa Claus in the sky and I had my Christmas wish list of things I wanted Him to do for me……….until EXPERIENCE of Him TAUGHT me otherwise.

  148. debylynne Sep 9th 2012

    repost from beginning of this article:

    “And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness (desert) these forty years, that he might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart… whether you would keep his commandments or not.” – Deut. 8:2.

    “The dry times, those painful seasons of barrenness, are times to
    be humbled before the Lord. Jesus said that the Father was glorified when we bare “much fruit that remains.” Notice when the children of Israel finally got fruit… after they had walked through the desert.
    Fruitfulness is the ultimate objective of God for you when he has
    you walking THROUGH a desert.” (emphasis added by me ;-))

    here is what i am seeing – going BACK to the article – bryan is talking about a ‘specific’ experience – a ‘specific’ timeframe AND a going THROUGH it to a place of ‘fruitfulness’.

    this does NOT seem to be a case for ‘come out from among them’ – NOR of ‘dwelling’ in the ‘wilderness’ – if you are ‘out from’ and yet in a ‘fruitful place’ then i would NOT call that a wilderness experience – at least NOT the kind i believe bryan is talking about here!

  149. watchful Sep 9th 2012

    Debylynne, the way I understand it, coming out from among them is a stage of growth whereby we no longer depend on “ministers” and “church services” to feed us, but begin to take our sustenance from Christ alone….it is He who at this point (where we have learned to depend on Him as our Shepherd) who leads us into the wilderness where our roots go deeper into Him alone, and our walk of faith becomes more personal and focused on overcoming in our own personal circumstances, and no longer focused on “institutional” activities. It is hard to grasp these things with the natural mind and so we need to have our minds renewed to understand the things of the Spirit.

    He teaches each of us individually, but I have found the story of Moses/Israelites leaving Egypt helpful as well as the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot, and even more recently, Noah and the 40 days/nights floating above the flood in case any of that would be of help to you……I see them as parables and not to be taken quite so literally and this has helped to really open them up to my spiritual understanding.

  150. Roger Sep 9th 2012

    Reading comments here over the last 2 to 3 days, I wonder whether there is a misunderstanding that going through the ‘wilderness’, or ‘desert’ experience – may be confused with being out of church..?

    Whether we are in a church, a house fellowship, or just two disciples walking the road together, members of Christ’s Body need a ‘time apart’ to be alone with God.

    Kevin shared this insight: To overcome the world, the flesh and the enemy is to establish the nature and character of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit .

    This has always been the purpose of the desert.

    When someone demonstrates this, lives this ‘life in Christ Jesus’ – then He can use that person, because He can trust that person, His disciple.

    I, and my wife, have been ‘out of church’ for a number of years, yet we remain IN the Body of Christ Jesus our Lord.

    We have also experienced periods in the ‘wilderness/desert’ – during which time, Lord Jesus has discipled us – sometimes directly, other times through members of His Body. On each occasion there was spiritual growth.

  151. Lynn 2 Sep 9th 2012

    Andrew I believe when God gets you to a true life expierance Wilderness it will surely get your attetion and to change you in ways you never planned, It is, I believe first and most to make you more dependant on Him for every situation, for we can do absolutely nothing without him, I even believe we can not survive without him, without him and a real relational heart to heart change encounter, we are lost.

    Also I hope you don’t mind my posting this but this is the Power of Prayer at its very finist, and the mercy of God his agape love and compassion of God for his own. God must have smiled for such a servant, this man can truely say he has been in the wilderness Oh can we? faced by temptation and I rejoyce in God for his awesome provision, for his being this mans friend and strenght in his greatest hour in his times of trouble, his hand upon his saint in times of great persecution. It is true he will never leave nor forsake those whom are truely his own, I pray we all learn how tostand strong and praise him and defend him when such persecution comes our way.
    Too me this is what true wilderness is, Jesus suffered and drew on his father and stood strong on his fathers word in his wilderness, and rebuked the enemy and all the temptation it is a time when you are faced with the temptations and the advasary, it is a time to build a steadfast, unshakable faith no matter if you live or die.

    Please Read

    WONDERFUL NEWS …

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/​2012/09/08/​christian-pastor-jailed-in-iran​-for-3-years-is-freed-watchdog​-group-says/?intcmp=trending

    GOD IS FAITHFUL TO HIS OWN, let us praise him.

  152. Lynn 2 Sep 9th 2012

    Fox News
    Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was originally sentenced to death in his native country for his Christian faith, was acquitted of apostasy charges and released from custody.

    Nadarkhani, 32, was imprisoned for three years and waiting execution for refusing to renounce his Christian faith.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/09/08/christian-pastor-jailed-in-iran-for-3-years-is-freed-watchdog-group-says/?intcmp=trending#ixzz25v5E24nT

  153. debylynne Sep 9th 2012

    yes!! praise the LORD!! pastor youcef nadarkani is free!!

  154. Foolhardy Fred Sep 9th 2012

    Come out from among them and touch NOT the unclean thing provides very clear teaching on what we are to do when we recognize apostasy which sadly has spread like a cancer throughout much of the church

    Clearly false, apostate churches MUST be avoided at any cost.

    The humility of spirit required to admit that the church we once thought was christian has in fact moved away from God and is now involved in occultic new age hybrid religions and religious activities leads to an emptying of personal pride. Peer and group pressure to remain even within such an evil environment often has an overwhelming impact on many who might be described as scripturally ignorant spiritually naive.

    This EXCELLENT comment and scripture sums it up beautifully:

    The devil is not fighting religion. He’s too smart for that. He is producing a counterfeit Christianity, so much like the real one that good Christians are afraid to speak out against it. We are plainly told in the Scriptures that in the last days men will not endure sound doctrine and will depart from the faith and heap to themselves teachers to tickle their ears. We live in an epidemic of this itch, and popular preachers have developed “ear-tickling” into a fine art.

    –Vance Havner, Playing Marbles With Diamonds

    For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

    –(2 Cor 11:13-14)

  155. Roger Sep 9th 2012

    Foolhardy Fred – I agree with your comment above. :-)

    Absolutely, any practise that is not of God, must be recognised, avoided, and yes – that includes any and all apostate religious activity.

    I agree – satan has produced a pseudo christianity, and he has used a pseudo ‘holy spirit’, and a pseudo Word (another Jesus, a false christ) to seduce many away from the true Holy Spirit empowered Body of Christ Jesus our risen Lord, – by encouraging the promotion and satisfaction of ‘self’ and flesh.

    However, the wilderness (or desert) is not a replacement for the true Church, the Ekklesia of Lord Jesus.

    We are ‘called out’ of the carnal world and false religious, and ‘into’ the Body of Christ, His Ekklesia.

    1Jn 2:15-16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

    ..and those of us in His Body (Ekklesia), will have fellowship with Him, and have fellowship with each other.

    1Jn 1:3 that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you also, that ye also may have fellowship with us: yea, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ:

    1Jn 1:6-7 If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

    In His love,
    Roger

  156. Foolhardy Fred Sep 9th 2012

    Thank you Roger.

    When the TRUE is available to the genuine born again believer and involvement is a genuine option then yes, of course, the committed bible believing christian should be a part of it.

    The wholesale apostasy we are witnessing today is making such commitment harder and harder to justify as it is becoming all but impossible to find a genuine bible believing church as even whole denominations turn away from the Word of God to chase the “delusion which God has sent to those who do not love the Truth.”

    Jesus Himself is our role model.

    He was prepared to accept crucifixion as the ultimate wilderness experience rather than compromise with the false religions and pay homage to the “anointed” (those who do not care what the Bible says but only care about their anointing, read status, and insist that they be followed without question) religious leaders of His day’.

    Imagine how the “ministry” of Jesus might have been advanced and promoted had he but compromised as required with the esteemed religious leaders of His day. What “fruit” His ministry would have had if only He had unquestioningly worshipped and promoted the false leaders or Popes’ and Dalai Lamas’ of His day.

    “Hold fast to the traditions you have received…..”is the consistent teaching of the true apostles.

  157. DaveL Sep 9th 2012

    The desert ‘experience’: = Temptation. Overcoming Satans deceptions using/twisting the Word of God.
    Jesus was tempted 3 x.
    1st to turn stones into bread. (Perform a miracle at the instruction of Satan)
    2nd to throw himself off a high place because it was written that the angels would save him. (Tempting God to prove He was true) 3rd He was offered the Kingdoms of the World IF he would bow down to Satan.

    The so called ‘desert experience’ was made popular by many Catholic mystics – St John of the Cross et al. and is a mystical form of ‘suffering’ that leaves the adherant ‘feeling’ that their suffering is for God when in fact it is a kind of narsisisstic self-love / self-holiness movement.

  158. Ibelieve Sep 9th 2012

    DaveL Where did you get this information that the Catholic mystics came up with this “desert experience”?

    I understand what some are calling their desert experience here, which I think is more identified with the crucified life in Christ. The article itself plainly is not talking about being out of church.

    Jesus, John the Baptist, and Paul we are told was in the desert. Jesus was there fasting and later tempted of the devil. John the Baptist lived there preparing for his ministry, while living on locusts and honey. Paul was on the backside of the desert learning about his ministry.

    I do not see anywhere in the NT that this is strait out taught as some way of life for Christians. This article says nothing about being out of church as some desert experience but is talking about a whole different issue.

    Because the church appears to of departed from the Bible many no longer desire to identify with all that is going on and find themselves in a spiritual desert experience. Without seeing all the information I do not think this is the same as some catholic mystics may of practiced and that is some ascetic way of life.

    Anyway your stating this teaching has its roots in the Catholic church and I was wondering where did you get this information?

    In Him,
    Gary

  159. Foolhardy Fred Sep 9th 2012

    I believe this to be an exclusively christian site DaveL which is currently discussing the experiences of Bible Believing Born Again christians. Consequently the RELEVANCE of your comment concerns me greatly.

    Roman Catholic experiences have NO relevance to the experiences of Bible Believing christians in any way.

    The Roman Catholic Church is a false cult committed to the teachings of their Pope with a range of Gods including Mary Queen of Heaven, a false or alternative Christ who is nothing like the Jesus Christ of the Bible and a range of pagan practices designed to appease the carnal desire for false religion inherent in unsaved human beings.

    You might as well introduce the experience gained in other New Age practices being introduced into the apostate church as well for the relevance it has to the experience of christians..

  160. Peter Hudson Sep 9th 2012

    Dave S mentioned about bringing folk to Christ which is lacking in church and others have mentioned christians instead of going out into the world to preach the Good News prefer the comforts of organised religion, remaining in the four walls of church buildings, and listening to those who wish to tickle their ears.
    If it was not for the Jesus People, I would not have known about the Cross, the Lord Jesus, repentance, and salvation and redemption. They got of their backsides to come to me as I was passing by when at teachers training college.
    After leaving college I was advised to go to a suitable church which I did when going back home. This I did but decided to visit the established and known churches in my home town.
    Going to organised church meetings which a painful experience which was devoid of the Holy Spirit and His presence. This is what they did and continue to do and they wondered why not many people went to church.
    Prayer meetings were set patterns and lists were read out in what to pray for. Just like a shopping list. Leaderships of the local churches had their own cliques and who organised this and that church meeting. Sunday church services wre predictable.
    What the Lord laid upon my heart was treated not the right moment to share it. I never did!
    So I left the church system because it failed to feed me, encourage, and did provide support.
    I ended up going to a charismatic church but the three pastors controlled the membership. When they began to entertain every wind and doctrine coming from North America without question and discernernment, this bothered myself. They invited all sorts of celebrity christian leaders with their teachings and prophecies. I was told if I did not like this to leave.
    So what did the senior paster did after leaving. In the street, he avoided to talk to me. He was too busy to say how I was or cared about the rest of my family.
    Members of the home group walked on the other side as though I was a leper.
    This reminded me of what JWs did and practised – disfellowshipping and no longer recognised!
    So I went into the wilderness to seek my Heavenly Father about the situation. He has brought me where I am today, in Him, walking with the Lord Jesus, and trained to be a SERVANT serving Him and Him alone and forgetting about religion and its man made systems. Praise the Lord!
    Well, the rest is history in reaching out to others. I believe this is what Dave S was implying.
    I believe that the Body of Christ is living in the End Times now recognised by many folk inside and outside of church.
    Keeping in touch with brethren has encouraged me to seek Him and Him only, waiting upon Him, and obedient to the written Word of God.
    Her is one pastor who has blessed me and I hope he will encourage everyone reading his words…

    Hiscoming Ministries

    A Thought for This Lord’s Day – Sunday 9th September 2012

    “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” Romans 12:5

    “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” 1 Cor. 12:27

    I am talking in particular to a minority within Christendom, the true body of Christ. You can take your place in the body of Christ only through a genuine repentance, belief in the true gospel and by receiving Jesus Christ into your heart and life. This ‘ body of Christ’ goes by many names in scripture, some of which are ‘The bride of Christ’ ‘The Church’ & ‘The saints’ It comprises of all those who are genuinely born again of the Holy Spirit.

    It is the title ‘body of Christ’ that I want to dwell on here. It goes without saying that we are the SPIRITUAL body of Christ on earth. We cannot be His physical body, for He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.

    We are His spiritual body and Jesus Christ is the head.

    “…even as Christ is head of the Church and He is the Saviour of the body” Eph. 5:23

    “And He (Christ) is the head of the body, the Church….” Col. 1:18

    A body without a head IS DEAD. Any man that makes himself head over the Church is an anti-christ. (anti – Greek, meaning ‘in the place of’ or ‘against’) Only Jesus Christ is the rightful head of the body of Christ. Never forget that!

    The heart of Jesus towards His Church is to be with her ALWAYS. He even prayed this very thing before going to the cross.

    “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given me, BE WITH ME WHERE I AM, that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given me: for Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” John 17:24

    I have capitalized part of that verse because it is so important. Jesus wants His body, the true Church, to be with Him where He is! Now, we can say that that will happen when we die, because ‘absent from the body, present with the Lord’ 2 Cor. 5:8 but if we are His body, then surely we must be identified with Him not only in death but in His resurrection. That is the reason, I believe, that Jesus also said:

    “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; THAT WHERE I AM, THERE YE MAY BE ALSO” John 14:3 (again, I have capitalized that important phrase)

    What Jesus describes here is what we commonly call THE RAPTURE of the true Church. When it happens, and I believe it will be soon, it will answer the prayer that Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father in John 17:24.

    It will also unite His spiritual body with Himself, the head of the Church. We will truly be ONE WITH CHRIST.

    If this doesn’t get you excited, then I don’t know what will! In fact, if you are not excited by this tremendous prospect, I would doubt the genuineness of your faith and salvation experience.

    We have identified ourselves with Christ’s death by our repentance. For in true repentance, we turn our backs upon our old life and become a new creation in Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 5:17) That is what is typified by baptism.

    But when Jesus comes again, at the rapture of the true Church, we will be identified with Him in His resurrection!

    “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” 1 Cor. 15:52

    Because Jesus died, we die, to our old life without Him. Because Jesus was resurrected to die no more, we will likewise be resurrected. Because Jesus ever lives, we have eternal life in Him! We are His body, and He is the head! And to that, I say HALLELUJAH!

    Brotherly love…..Pastor Keith

    With every blessing in Jesus
    Brother Peter

  161. Foolhardy Fred Sep 9th 2012

    The context of this particular blog ultimately is that faithfulness to God in this life requires faithfulness to HIS WORD at any price.

    For many the consequence of that commitment is what Andrew has referred to as a desert experience which does not equate to Roman Catholic mysticism or any other occultic New Age experience.

    Their is a price for simple faith resulting in commitment to HIS WORD alone and may God bless and continue to bless those who honour HIM and HIS WORD!

  162. Ibelieve Sep 9th 2012

    Fred
    I think he (DaveL) is confused on the issue here. I would like to see the information that he is quoting to see why he is coming to this conclusion.

    There is nothing wrong with some one going through a dry time, seeking God and getting the mind of the Lord.

    As for all the bizarre things going on in the charismatic churches I can see why most choose not to participate.

    The last few churches we visited I have noticed “now” they try to drag complete strangers who are visiting up front for prayer. Either they think everyone is there for prayer or they are making people think something is happening in their church. They don’t realize that just maybe someone is looking for a Bible based church to attend.

    As for the desert experience I have been thinking about this and we must realize everything can be carried to an extreme in Christian circles.

    In Him,
    Gary

  163. JeffM Sep 9th 2012

    I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God
    who is sending a love letter to the world.
    -Mother Teresa of Calcutta

    These are the words of the angelic Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Anyone who has read the recent book about her (Come Be My Light) would have been shocked to discover that despite her joy, cheerfulness, and constant exuberance in her work with the poorest of the poor, Mother Teresa went through a very painful, inner torment for most of her life. She knew, in Faith, that God was present to her — within her and within the poor. But she could not feel Him at all. On the contrary, she felt, most of the time, dryness and aridity inside her. This is what the Catholic mystics call “the desert experience”.
    …………………

    I would say what looks like seperation from God is viewed as “the desert ” by them. So it is used as a way to claim that they have Christ when He is really not in them.

  164. debylynne Sep 9th 2012

    foolhardy fred – AMEN!! AND roger – what you are both saying is the clear truth…….
    from fred’s post:
    The devil is not fighting religion. He’s too smart for that. He is producing a counterfeit Christianity, so much like the real one that good Christians are afraid to speak out against it. We are plainly told in the Scriptures that in the last days men will not endure sound doctrine and will depart from the faith and heap to themselves teachers to tickle their ears. We live in an epidemic of this itch, and popular preachers have developed “ear-tickling” into a fine art.

    –Vance Havner, Playing Marbles With Diamonds

    For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

    –(2 Cor 11:13-14)

    from roger’s post:

    “However, the wilderness (or desert) is not a replacement for the true Church, the Ekklesia of Lord Jesus.
    We are ‘called out’ of the carnal world and false religious, and ‘into’ the Body of Christ, His Ekklesia.”

    “As for the desert experience I have been thinking about this and we must realize everything can be carried to an extreme in Christian circles.” AMEN, GARY

    jeffm – i confess i am a little confused by your post?? are you saying mother teresa was truly ‘of God’ or not ‘of God’?? sorry for not understanding :-/

    i have to say there is a lot of wisdom and truth being spoken here by several of you, my brethren. amen.

  165. Green Sep 9th 2012

    Fred,

    Why are you so hard on Dave’s comment, when he mentioned Catholic mystics? By the way he worded it, he is against their beliefs. He just happens to think that the wilderness experience was made popular by the Catholic mystics.

    I do not believe as Dave does, though it may be true that the Catholic mystics exaggerated the experience to become something narsassistic. I do believe that this could be the case.

    This does NOT, however, negate the validity, the truth, or the need for an actual desert experience. It may be that it is something that is hard to explain, so we have coined a phrase that helps us to grasp an otherwise intangible moment in our lives. What’s the harm or falsehood in that?

    And why, Fred, of all things, do you come down so harshly on Catholics?! My goodness, but it seems as though Dave’s comments became a catalyst for your rantings!!

    Catholics do have a lot of extras, as far as I am concerned. A lot of Catholics themselves do not see the reason for it all. I see a lot of extras in the Protestant churches as well, however. If you are going to point out the inconsistencies in Catholics, then there needs to be pointed out the equally grave inconsistencies of the Protestants. But I do not consider them heathens, as you do. They profess the same Christ as I do and they are against and for some fundamental issues (pro-choice, marriage between man and woman, etc.). There are very few Protestants who have been able to influence politics and sway the laws of government as much as the Catholic church have. The Lord has used them for good.

    Otherwise, it sounds like a person who points out all the flaws of their spouse. Yes, of course there are flaws, but that isn’t the point of marriage, now is it? The body of Christ on earth, as it is NOW, is not perfect, but being perfected. Is there harm in that? Would you separate yourself from all evil, as per your perception, that you render yourself useless by having no connections? If the salt has lost its saltiness, Brother… take heed!

    For this very reason, Jesus left the Pharisees and went to talk to the poor and those riddled with sins. They were easier to reach and more genuine. The Catholics, for all their flaws, are acquainted with their sins. They do confess them on a regular basis. This is more than I can say for a lot of Protestants! You do not want to become so foolhardy in your own eyes, Fred, that you actually have jilted yourself into thinking that your wisdom is with flaws. It takes humility to be among the sinners and the imperfect. Jesus knows about this more than anyone! And we can be no less than followers of His actions.

  166. JeffM Sep 9th 2012

    debylynne, the subject of what catholic mystics call “the desert experience” came up. DaveL brought it up to point out that it was a false concept. He was misunderstood by Foolhardy Fred and
    Ibelieve wanted more information on what catholic mystics are calling the desert experience. So, my post was to give an idea of what catholic mystics consider a desert expeience.

    As far as Mother Teresa ‘of God’ or not ‘of God’?? as a person, it isn’t helpfull to look at it quite like that . I will say that anyone who is even the worst of bible students can see that in The Word of God there is no calling of Nun, and no office of Mother. If anyone thinks those things are part of Christ’s Church then they are very decieved.The Roman Catholic Church is a false religion, made up by Man. Mother Teresa seems to be an Idol now, that the world expects us to honor, that is more false religion.

  167. Lynn 2 Sep 9th 2012

    A true wilderness expierance is a brokeness, that only Christ can bring, as the Lord begins to strip you of yourself, layer by later and a real burden for the lost even those whom persecute you. I have also found it begins to strip you of fear as you continue to depend totally on Christ Jesus.
    The disciples completely understood this and lived for Christ and the gospel to the very end, turning the world upside down for Christ, how? total surrended to their master.why? because they encountered the living Christ,and fell in love with him, how much more should we know him, we who are born again baptised in Christ, are joined to him, and have the Holy Spirit, finding ourselves falling in love with him, with a true hunger for his appearing..

  168. a farmer Sep 10th 2012

    Here is my perspective of the wilderness–

    The Father, who is Love, disciplines those whom He will receive as sons (Heb. 12) “He disciplines us for our good that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.” ( v.10-11)

    He leads us beside still waters where He restores our souls so that He can lead us in the paths of righteousness. “Be STILL and know that I am God.”

    There is no place on earth as still as the desert. That is the cocoon, so-to-speak, where we are transformed from a living soul to a life-giving spirit. Our ‘I am-ness’ shifts from our sinful nature to Christ’s nature. There has to be a time and a place for this to happen. That place is the desert/wilderness/prison/womb.

    The FRUIT that He is after is righteousness.

  169. a farmer Sep 10th 2012

    Dear Jeff,

    I pray you will not be judged as you have judged. May the Lord be merciful to you when you need it the most.

    How could Jesus overcome the stillness of death except by the greater Stillness of Resurrection Life? When God’s Presence is nearest, it feels absent. At least that has been my experience. Thank you for informing me about Mother Theresa because I didn’t know she had experienced that, too. So did Pastor Wurmbrand, as have many others. In that place, your faith is tested far more than during the seasons of refreshing which come with that “PEACEFUL fruit of righteousness.”

    Our ability to know Him is not dependent upon our precision of doctrine. Case in point, the scholarly Pharisees had “proof” Jesus was not the Christ: “Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.” (John 7:52) They knew every nuance of doctrine and missed Jesus entirely.

    Conversely, impureness of doctrine does not insure that one does NOT know Him. There are true believers in the Catholic Church. I know some personally.

  170. a farmer………………….. after your last potshot I told you NOT to talk to me unless you want to have a conversation.
    …………………………….
    “Dear Jeff,

    I pray you will not be judged as you have judged. May the Lord be merciful to you when you need it the most.”

    …………………..
    This is MOST DEFINITELY NOT how anyone starts a conversation.

  171. debylynne Sep 10th 2012

    jeffm – thank you – that is how i feel, as well, and i appreciate your clarification!!

    lynn 2 – amen – beautiful words of truth.

    foolhardy fred – brother, i have to agree with jeff on this one (although who cares if i agree??? :-/ !!!!!) we’ll just go round and round if we start this up and i KNOW cause i DID a couple of subjects back with the ‘other fred and les’!! ……you know, i haven’t ‘seen’ them on here?? hope it isn’t because of me :-/

    i am going to say something concerning catholicism – i have had a number of catholic friends in my lifetime – especially the 21 years we lived in new england…..this is what i will say…..many who DETERMINED to ‘stay’ after they were truly ‘born-again’, simply COULD NOT because of the false doctrines that are taught and promoted to the denying of what the Scriptures actually say……they WANTED to stay – they TRIED to stay – but it was a constant grief to their heart because once you TRULY know HIM and HIS Word you cannot ‘abide’ with those things that are NOT RIGHT being put in HIS rightful place. this is NOT ‘my’ experience – this is THEIRS – but i won’t deny the truth of it……’rituals and rites’ replace the LORD JESUS – and that is what so many in the ‘emergent’ church group are trying to ‘reinstate’ into Christianity – people think that these ‘things’ are ‘helpful’ in trying to be ‘spiritual’ but all they are is IDOLS – we take our focus OFF the PERSON of the Lord Jesus Christ and we put it on some ‘thing’ – some ‘ritual’ – some ‘ordinance’ that is NOT Biblical and the LORD JESUS – the ONE who should be the CENTER of all worship and praise and our very lives – becomes a ‘sidelight’- oh, HE’S there – they claim to believe in HIM, but constantly OTHER things are put in HIS place – this is NOT true Christianity. it simply is NOT.

    everything – everything – everything CENTERS on the PERSON of the LORD JESUS CHRIST or it is a ‘false gospel’.

    i hope NOT to be offensive but i will NOT deny the truth on this – haven’t we seen the very SAME thing going on in the ‘charismania’ world – they ‘name the name of JESUS’ but they promote their OWN words – their OWN visions – their OWN doctrines (of devils) and deny the ABSOLUTENESS OF OUR KING in so doing.

    everything is the LORD JESUS – HE COMPLETED THE LAW – HE COMPLETED THE SACRIFICE ONCE AND FOR ALL – we do not NEED all these ‘hebraic’ things either because contained in our LORD is the fulfillment of EVERY type and EVERY shadow that the O.T. portrayed – THIS IS RELATIONSHIP with a PERSON – NOT a religion of law and rules that men could NOT even keep – JESUS PAID IT ALL and HE DESERVES to be the CENTER of ALL things.

    amen??? amen.

    i apologize for being somewhat OFF topic.

  172. debylynne Sep 10th 2012

    and i would like to add that i GREATLY appreciate the Catholics and their stand on ‘moral issues’ and that they use their influence to support those very issues. i am NOT anti-catholic – just anti-deception.

  173. a farmer Sep 10th 2012

    When our son died, it was the Catholic family in the neighborhood that was the dearest. They KNEW their Savior. [One recently went to be with the Lord after a three-year bout with cancer.]

    When you truly Know the Lord it doesn’t matter a whole lot where He puts you. They felt no need to leave the church. Their hearts were His, and when when you have Him, you have everything!

  174. John S Sep 10th 2012

    To Green and a farmer.

    There was mentioned about true believers who are part of the Roman Catholic Church. If they have been born again may I suggest that they leave Roman Catholicism behind and put their eyes upon the Lord Jesus alone. They will and can never change the RC Church which is the biggest cult on earth. It may consider itself to be part of christendom but it will never be part of the Body of Christ.
    Charismatic Roman Catholics go back to the 1970s and many tried to change their priests and members of the RC Church. Their hearts remained in Roman Catholicism, its litergy and practices, and worshipped and prayed to the Queen of Heaven which is an unbiclical teaching and practice. I have sat with them when doing this and they would not accept this as wrong, and refused to change even when they were contended the scriptures. Therefore due to their unsound and false teaching and no repentance of this, one cannot have fellowship with such demonic doctrines.
    If you believe that Roman Catholicism is acceptable, then you yourselves are in deception. Otherwise you may as well say lets embrace the Watchtower (JWs) and the Mormon Church as part of the christian church, two more cults.
    As a former area director for Reachout trust for 11 years, which has a ministry to those in the cults and the occult, may I suggest that yourselves look and find out more about what Roman Catholicism embraces and teaches. It is far from the sound and solid teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. It conists of idolatry, visions of Mary an occult practice, worshipping Mary as the Queen of Heaven, and celebrating MASS, as examples.
    Being a charismatic Roman Catholic does not neccessarly mean that you have been baptised in the Holy Spirit as the counterfeit copies such things as speaking in tongues, etc. I have baptised in the Holy Ghost but this nothing to to with Roman Catholicism
    So called charismatic Roman Catholics are doing the same today when what they did in the 1970s. Nothing has changed except for a new breed and an updated version of charismania.
    Take heed and be warned to the likes of Rick Warren who is flouting with the RC Church and adopting a number of its false teachings to include selling his philosophy to the RC Church, and the christian church.

  175. We too have friends, and relatives, who are R.C., Methodist, Anglican, Athiest, and unsure.
    We have J.W.’s, Mormons, meter readers, and others, who knock on our door.

    We have learned to share with each as Lord Jesus leads us through His indwelling Holy Spirit.

    We trust that He knows where each is at in their individual relationship with Him – all we can do is to keep directing them toward Him, as Saviour and as Lord.

    Joh 12:44-50 And Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that beholdeth me beholdeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me may not abide in the darkness. And if any man hear my sayings, and keep them not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I spake not from myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life eternal: the things therefore which I speak, even as the Father hath said unto me, so I speak.

  176. John,

    I thank you for your fair warning. I started out many years ago delving deeply into the history of the Catholic church. I had a very dim view of Catholics, as I too saw them as nearly purely occultist, with downright pagan rituals, etc. Their political structure leaves something to be desired; the way they elect a new pope seemed very pagan to me, with the colors of the smoke and the stringing of thread through the ballets. There are also many murders that have been linked to their political structure. There was evidence that the Pope during Hitler’s reign helped Hitler get into power.

    So you see, I am aware of the bad side of Catholicism. Quite aware.

    I suppose I should be very fair here and say what I said in the last thread, which is that I was persuaded to view the Catholics in a different light only from one man, Mr. G. K. Chesterton. I am not persuaded enough to become Catholic myself, by no means. But, what he brought forth was compelling.

    Visit http://www.chesterton.org. He was a Protestant in the 1930′s who became Catholic.

    I read a book many years ago, named Hitler’s Pope. In it, the man had researched and found many disturbing links between the Pope (Pius the 12th? I believe) and Hitler. But, even this man was quick to say that the laypeople and even the priests themselves were some of the strongest and endured the most suffering for the faith. I don’t know if the same could be said for the Mormon’s or for the JW’s.

    And no, I don’t think that they should be included as Christians. Their Bible is literally (literarily) twisted. It isn’t the same gospel at all! Catholics, on the other hand, have the same Bible as we do. In fact, they are to be congratulated on spreading to Good News to the world! “You shall know them by their fruit.” This we were also discussing on the other thread. The Catholics have produced a lot of good fruit.

    The Protestants rebelled against the Catholics. There were no Protestants before. But there were Catholics before. I agree that the Catholic church must be reformed, but I hesitate anymore to break away from it completely. I would even dare to say that I think they have been more influential overall than the Protestants have, for as good as they have been.

    The divorcing of these two Christians into two separate camps put the idea of divorce within family’s into people’s minds. And now, divorce is rampant, even among Christians. And the man who led the Reformation, Luther, was very strict, angry, and venomous towards the Jews. He was completely and unabashedly antisemitic. This antisemitism I find more disturbing than anything that I have found in Catholicism! God’s genetic people ALWAYS receive a higher blessing and more comfort from Him than any other race! They also receive much more judgement and hardship than any other race. I honor the Jews whenever I can, even those who have lost their faith. God blesses those who treat His own well; there is hope for bringing them back to their God.

    I know that these are strong statements, bold and possibly even alarming. I am asking those of you who will listen with their hearts, that they see mine in all this. It hasn’t been easy coming to the conclusions that I have, but I do see it as being productive and good.

    In hard times, we have to ask ourselves if we are going to have the luxury to stay apart from each other. The Protestants… my goodness! Can you imagine them?! It’s going to take a miracle just for them to come to a unified body. And most of them will try to unify via doctrine which will fall. So, say the Protestants unite. Can they afford to stay separated from the Catholics? Really and truly? I do pray for them,that they will see the error in some of their ways, just as I pray that I will see the error in my own way, or in my fellow Protestant’s way. We can all come up higher, can we not?! And then, can we all then unify with the Jews? Is anyone dare asking themselves if the Jews can unify with us, since it is the Jews who were first? But then, what would that look like? Would we accept all of their rituals? I don’t think so. Should we get of all their rituals? I don’t think so, since some of them are at the very least, cultural.

    Ritual adds stability and in and of itself is not bad. It is a metronome, if you will, and helps everyone to keep pace. Someone said on the last thread that it was wrong to incorporate nonbelievers into a congregation of Jesus because you have different levels of belief all at once. There is some truth here, some logic I suppose. But does that mean that we should not include our children either, who are too young yet to accept Jesus on our own? We cannot have a pure congregation apart from the world in this fashion, until Jesus returns and purifies it. We are necessarily “in the world” though “not of it.” We should be willing to compromise doctrine for the sake of unity and fellowship. For the sake of relationship, in hard times especially, we should be able to come together.

    A house divided against itself cannot stand. All other ground is shifting sand. The foolish man built his house on the sand and when the flood waters arose, his house fell down. And great was its fall….

  177. Andrew Sep 10th 2012

    Catholicism contains serious deception. This has been proven again and again by theologians.

    Sadly, though, a lot of Protestants are involved with deception today also.

    Much of today’s Christianity is utterly unbiblical.

    Sad but true.

    Bless you!

    Andrew Strom.

  178. If you apply these verse evenly then you will see that it identifies both catholic religion and protestant religion as works of the flesh.
    If anything on this list is an ongoing part of any organization then you can not call that group Christ’s Church. The Lord will not use any other standard to define things . He uses The Word to judge what something is, not what the people think. Factions are as bad as Idolatry and sorcery and everything on the list. We can only define Christ’s church the way His Word does, without ignoring any part of The Word of God’s definition of The Church that Jesus is The Head of.

    Galatians 5:19-21

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: [a]immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [b]factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

  179. Just to let you know Andrew, we still keep an eye on this website.
    You might want to stop sending us your emails … I only say that because I’m a free lance journalist and have got quite a collection now of your ‘pronouncements’. Did you know that in NZ all you need is 10 dollars and two other people to agree with you and you can start a church – then you can start bullying people with the Holy Spirit – and be tax exempt. We think the government should stop giving apostate christianity the stamp of authenticity so that many others can be decieved and spiritually abused. There are many books written on spiritual abuse now – just google.
    We think NZrs have had enough of the nasty nasty churches in this country. What do you think?

  180. debylynne Sep 10th 2012

    the entirety of the gospel – the good news – in contained in this one phrase:

    JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED.

    everything – absolutely EVERYTHING that we need for life and godliness and to be able PLEASE the LORD in our ‘ongoing’ walk is contained in THAT truth….we must NOT put ‘ANY’ ritual or ‘program’ or any such thing in the place of PERSONAL relationship with our LORD. we must NOT give ‘credit’ to any person or thing for our salvation, our sanctification, our very being other than the LORD JESUS CHRIST AND WHAT HE DID ON THAT CROSS.

    GREEN, you said:
    “Ritual adds stability and in and of itself is not bad. It is a metronome, if you will, and helps everyone to keep pace.”

    while i understand what you are saying and ‘in human terms’, you are right. BUT, it is a GREAT WEAKNESS of humanity to put the ‘ritual’ or ‘prop’ in the place of the PERSONAL GOD.

    the moment you make it about any ritual or program or process you DEpersonalize this gospel. it is a ‘relationship’ with the INDWELLING GOD – we don’t NEED ‘props’ if we are in RIGHT relationship with Him. we don’t need ‘structure’ OTHER THAN the structure that the LORD HIMSELF put in place when HE established HIS church and as HE continues to ‘build’ it…….

    ‘props’ and ‘rules’ belong to clubs – those that are part of a certain club need their rules and their props to keep everyone in line – we’ve HAD the ‘law’ and what it was UNABLE to do because of OUR flesh – CHRIST did for us and does IN us – it is NOT about ‘steps’ or ‘stations’ or ‘props’ or ‘rituals’ – it IS about a PERSON – the only ONE that matters……..

    Romans 8
    3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    dear brethren – perhaps you think i am ‘belaboring’ the point – please forgive me – i know i am not doing a ‘good job’ of getting across what i am trying to say……..

    ALL false religions – all false gospels – have men look to OTHER things besides simply the LORD HIMSELF……even the ‘charismania’ group – they have removed the LORD from the CENTER and put their own ideas and ‘spiritual gifts’ in HIS place – the catholics have been doing it for eons – all all all.

    it does NOT matter if they ‘name the name’ – DOCTRINE DOES MATTER – false doctrine deceives people and we MUST stand against it – no matter what form it takes. false doctrine sends people to HELL while ‘thinking’ they are fine…….because they have gone through the ‘motions’ and done the ‘steps’ and Jesus will say to them on that day “depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity, I NEVER KNEW YOU”

    do you SEE it?? He doesn’t say, you didn’t do enough religious stuff, He doesn’t say you should have leaned on your ‘props’ and your ‘rituals’ more – HE POINTS DIRECTLY TO RELATIONSHIP…..even the calling of them ‘workers of iniquity’ declares something – in the passage that JEFFM posted above from Galatians – all these ‘sinful practices’ are listed – is the LORD saying that our ‘works’ either save us or damn us?? we would have to throw out all the other scriptures that declare it is NOT by works but grace, lest any man should boast…..if that were so – what is SEEN in the passage that does NO violence to other scriptures is that THOSE THAT KNOW HIM AND ARE KNOWN BY HIM CANNOT WALK IN THESE THINGS……..they will not because they KNOW Him and are KNOWN by Him – they will NOT practice these types of things and if they are???? they do NOT know Him and HE does NOT KNOW THEM.

    when the scriptures say that HE has given us everything we need for ‘life and godliness’, does it lie?? is it true??
    let God by true and every man a liar – OF COURSE it is TRUE – and that being the case, NO ONE NEEDS ANYTHING THAT MAN HAS COME UP WITH TO TRY AND GIVE ‘STRUCTURE
    or RITUALISTIC FORM’ to a Christians relationship with the LORD.

    please remember that it is not hard to be ‘deceived’. that many ‘deceptions’ feel GOOD and that many that are in the ‘deceived’ group LOOK good – that does NOT change the TRUTH of GODS’ WORD AND THE PURE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHIRST one iota – we can point to people all day that are operating in deception and yet they seem so good, so sincere, so ‘right’ – but when you EXAMINE what their ‘doctrine’ truly is and what they actually BELIEVE – you find the truth – deception.

    DEAR FARMER
    i am VERY sorry to learn that you had a son who died…..i lost a nephew and THAT was hard….i can only imagine the loss of a son. i am glad these dear people were THERE for you and your family….but, brother, that doesn’t make what they believe ‘right’. there are so many NICE people in the world that are utterly lost, are there not?? God bless you, brother.

    thank you all for your patience as i have ‘rattled’ on here – i KNOW deep inside the truth of what i am trying to convey but i ALSO know that i ‘stumble’ in trying to do so.

    amen.

  181. You ‘leaders’ in the Christian Church are constantly exhorting Christians to be busier and busier in these times, to do things you don’t do yourselves. Go to Parliament and tackle John Key over the homosexual issue in this country. Maybe someone will be foolish enough to front up with you.

    The Christian Church across the board stinks to high heaven, and unbelievers have noticed. Hey. We have witnesses.

  182. David Marsh Sep 10th 2012

    Dear one and all,
    The Wilderness is truly a time of refining and of bringing its pupil back to gaze upon God’s face again. But as Andrew’s heart yearns for the church to come out from this wilderness – there remains the question of where should she go when she does come out from this place.
    I discern that Andrew is rather addressing those who are in a holding pattern – but not knowing, exactly, what to do or where to go or even how to go about it.

    However, God does not leave us directionless. I refer to the 1947 prophecy given by Smith Wigglesworth. All of the words given to him by God has come to pass, except for the last step.
    Firstly1. the people will come out from their ‘historical’ churches to plant new ones. 2. Then, when the new church phase is on the wane there will be something seen that has not been seen before.
    3. There will be a coming together of those with an emphasis on the Word and those with an emphasis on the Spirit. ( these are heavy emphasis )

    4. The last step – Then, when the Word and the Spirit come together there will commence the greatest revival ever ( God’s outpouring of His Spirit ).

    To those who are hungry and to those who have an emphasis on the Spirit, (and I believe there are many of you here) the emphasis on the Word that would prove most beneficial to these people is a biblical emphasis that would prepare these very saints for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
    It should be a publication or emphasis of the word that should show these people the way to the deep truths of the N.T. ekklesia.
    It would be a publication not seen before. One that has uncovered the lost biblical truths of what the apostles knew. For when these truths are brought to light AND combined with those whose hearts are set on God’s very Presence and Face – the Spirit. THEN the process of God building and preparing His end time army in conjunction with the imminent outpouring of the Holy Spirit can begin.

    But not before.

    The saints have to have this ‘emphasis on the word’ first. According to God’s prophecy through Wigglesworth. Amen.

    God bless you all.

    David Marsh.

  183. Debylynne,

    Yes I hear what you are saying and I believe what you say, for the most part. I won’t address all your points, since I feel that I understand your heart on this issue and I would wish to set you more at ease about mine, or that you would know mine as well.

    I will, however, say that I have also been in groups who tried to throw out all of “man’s” structure and just have God, as they did in the first century. It was a mascarre at that point. There must be structure and a governing body in order for the Church (and by that I DO mean Christ’s body) to live inside of a physical world. We are in the flesh right now and we cannot forget that aspect of our lives! We must eat, drink, defecate, procreate as Christians; they are not desires, but absolute needs. So the Church needs a physical structure. It is a placeholder, I agree, but I have seen and experienced when this placeholder is so abruptly taken away. It is utter chaos and the demons have more play there than I have seen anywhere else.

    Can we eat only of Jesus’ Body and be sustained in our physical bodies? No! We must also eat physical food. Does a mother lift her infant to God, neglecting their needs of food, because of a conviction that we are more than physical, in fact that we might be all spiritual? Would this not be cruel, a neglect of the gift of a time here on earth, given to us by God Himself? And to what end? To learn more about Him, to enter into a relationship with Him until the day that He takes us.

    Until the day that He takes us, we must be good stewards of our bodies. We must eat, drink, bathe, produce children (for most of us), teach and instruct them, and make ourselves presentable as living sacrifices unto God. Living sacrifices. We must tend to our lives.

    This is all that I mean to say when I say anything in defense of the Catholic church. A governmental structure is necessary when it comes to religious matters. It does not work to have no governing body or no structure. Are the Catholic perfect? By no means! I have said as much several times already. But they Protestants who persuade themselves that all Catholics are evil and deceived have blinded themselves to the good fruit that the Catholics have produced. The best test of a movement is to see how that movement survives and grows and reacts under pressure. The Catholics have proven themselves to be helpful, kind and caring by and large. These are Fruits of the Spirit.

    Doctrine, I am sorry, does not matter. But perhaps it is our definition of doctrine that differs. Doctrine I believe is man’s perception of God that he forms into a set of guidelines or rules that he lives according to. Doctrine therefore, is not straight from the throne of God. Relationship, however, is.

    Please forgive me for distracting everyone from the topic at hand. I feel, for that fact alone that my comments are worthy of deletion. I do not wish to distract or to make my brothers stumble, that the Bible says not to do, even if a brother may believe or behave differently than another. We are to put our differences aside and keep strengthening each other towards our goal, which is a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

    I am comforted by this post, about the Wilderness. It is so rarely spoken of and yet such a necessary time of growth in God! It explains some of my most painful yet most insightful times; these times were also when I felt the closest with the Lord.

    So, this is all I will say about my beliefs on Catholics, until there is a specific post that deals with them (then let the firestorm fall, eh Strom?). I hope it will be easier to focus on the wonderful topic at hand.

  184. ValleyAnt Sep 10th 2012

    Paul, thanks for a good description of the Church as a Symphony Orchestra with each one having its part. And the Conductor is Christ. Amen.

    Dave S, well said about godliness, empty talk, and fruitlessness. Many who seek revival are still children, wanting no responsibility and believing revival to be ‘God doing everything for us’; these people will have no revival from God. (Unfortunately, the prophetic realm of ‘spiritual things’ attracts lots of maggots whose hearts are dead and rotting, who seek glory by appearing godly, thinking that godliness is a means for gain.) But sometimes, even in written words, ignorant talk sometimes betrays the lack of the Life (power) of Christ in one’s life. In time, this religious spirit (i.e. the murdering false Jesus Christ at work in disobedient and insincere Christians who pretend devotion to the Lord but are impostors seeking to deceive the obedient) will be cast out of the Mountain of the Lord which is ‘the congregation of the Saints’, the place where the Lord dwells among His People. Christianity isn’t talk but power leading to holiness, godliness, and EFFECT– the Life of Jesus Christ issuing from us and into the world.

    Martin, Kevin, and Dave, it’s good to see the fellowship among you.

    Gary, I believe that many wildernesses aren’t of God but a mixture of things. God, though, uses them for good for those who have Grace to allow Him. The Bible doesn’t focus on a wilderness you can file away to a few days, weeks, months, or years; the true wilderness is the ongoing wilderness on the flesh which is “the fast (wilderness, self-denial, Christian lifestyle) which the LORD has chosen (seeks, is after, is pleased with, approves, accepts, finds acceptable)” (Isa. 58). Amen.

    Craig, it would be unkind to say that what you shared is interesting. I wish I could hear more.

    Andrew, you said, “Those who are seeing good fruit rarely boast about it.” Perhaps that’s why they see good fruit. But, as you know, there’s a time for everything.

  185. David Marsh Sep 10th 2012

    My dear Green,
    Unfortunately, your massacre experience illustrates perfectly, my point.

    Until the bride has the ‘emphasis on the Word’ she will experience many a massacre from the eager enemy. Until the biblical precepts are understood, the bride cannot prepare herself. The outpouring is going to come – we have to understand the biblical principles taught in the N.T. ekklesias to be prepared for it.
    When God sees enough of the bride prepared – He will begin the outpouring.
    It has to be God’s way – and no other.

    God bless you all

    David Marsh