Answering The Call: Part 4- Returning to Civilization

Answering The Call: Part 4- Returning to Civilization

 

As discussed in Parts 1-3 of this study, the Wilderness is not about a location.

It is not about “leaving” a fellowship or group or way of doing things. It is not a lifestyle change. The wilderness experience is about the process of shedding the dead man and living in, through, by, and with the Lord Jesus Christ. Every moment of every day. This is not “works” or earning His love. We already have all of His affection.

It is an invitation to live with His Kingdom in us as the greater reality than this physical realm around us.

This is accomplished mainly through trials. Trials expose the areas in which our soul is living apart from our Dad’s heart. Trials expose the lies that hold us bound to the god of this world. The Great Reconciliation does not stop at the cross. It begins there.  He wants all of our being.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live…” Gal 2:20

For those who have allowed themselves to shed the pride of self-reliance, and have transitioned to leaning into the Lord for all things, the wilderness has done its job. The Wilderness was a trail of tears, sorrow, loss, anguish and fear. Those who walked that journey learned to drop to their knees and praise God for the slightest breeze and the tiniest cup of cool water.  Like Jonah, a leafy plant was our closest, dearest comfort, and we prayed each moment it would not wither.

Herein lies the greatest of all the dangers of the Desert Wilderness. It is not the rejection. It is not the pain…or suffering.

The danger is in choosing not to be alive to Christ.

It is during this season of surrender, that one must decide not only to die to the old man… but to then live…IN Jesus.  It is not enough to die. We must finish the transition. We must pick up Christ.

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Rom 6:11

“ alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

We are only relationally alive to the Lord in the areas we are worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth.  Any area in which we are not living in alignment with His word, is an area in which we are sowing to the carnal man.  We sow to death in these areas. (Gal 6:8)

The most subtle of all the carnal-minded deceptions is the false-humility that is produced when we fail to embrace His nature inside us.

If we are willing to be crushed and broken out there in the Desert in regard to our former way of thinking, we must not fall short of embracing the reality of the Righteousness that Christ gave us.

Please hear me my dearest most precious Family…

Pride is to find worth apart from God.  It is that simple. Pride is not our actions. It is our thinking. We do not get to pick and choose which areas we will walk in agreement with His Word.

If we confess the truth that we have no value in ourselves…but then refuse to acknowledge that the cross made us fully valuable- in HIM…we are still in pride. This form is much more subtle and much more difficult to shed.

If we fail to do this, we have substituted one false belief system for another.

The vast majority of the Christians I have met that have allowed the Desert to break their outward pride, never pick up the Righteousness of Christ as their new true identity.  When this occurs, pride in our own worthiness gets replaced with taking pride in our unworthiness.

“It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” 1 Cor 1:30

“For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness.” Isaiah 61:10

One of the most tragic losses the Kingdom of God experiences comes in the form of a child of God who didn’t finish the renewing of their mind.  After all the crushing of the Desert, we can begin to find comfort in our pain and loss.  Little by little, insidiously, we may swap out His love as our comfort in exchange for our own pain and unworthiness as our comfort. This, like all things that are erected in His place…is a form of idolatry.

Pain and loss often becomes comforts that replace His love for us. 

Many often erroneously refer to this death as the death of “self.” The reality is, our new self is in constant union with the Kingdom.  It is the “old” man/self that died.  This is vital if we are going to walk in the Kingdom mindset. We must embrace who we truly are.

“and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Col 3:10

It is a constant process of thinking more and more in line with the written Word of God. This allows us to enter into greater and greater intimacy with the Living Word of God.  To do this is a decision.  It is not about perfection in our actions, but rather a decision of the will.  We chose to pick up His life…so that through intimacy, we may more and more be transformed into His likeness.

We simply cannot do this where we choose to contend with His Word about ourselves.  I implore you, consider your thinking and see where it lines up in regard to what the scriptures state about the condition of the unsaved, the Old Covenant believers, and the New Covenant Believers.  To which group are we aligning our belief system with?  What are we confessing?  What are we believing? 

We live reconciled to God through what the Cross accomplished. What was accomplished was us being given His Positional Righteousness.  Many of us would rather cling to our own rags.  It is just often a greater comfort during the transitional period where we are meant to more fully engage the reality of His love.  We stop short.  We self-soothe. 

Unless we pick up His righteousness as the final matter on our self-worth, we will grasp a “self-righteousness” that is based on our own sense of unworthiness.  What the Desert meant to shed is then merely replaced.  If we are focused on our unworthiness more than we are focused on Him, we need to repent.  If, when we meditate on His love for us and our natural response is feeling unworthy, we need to repent.

We often focus on our actions.  But…we can live as unrighteous children of God in our thinking just as much as in our conduct.  One of the greatest litmus tests to see where we need mending in our souls is to examine the degree of love we have for strangers.  Where is our overflow?  How much do we truly long to share the love we feel from our Savior with those around us?

“For Christ’s love compels us,” 2 Cor 5:14

What degree of His love is flowing out of us?  Please hear Father’s heart here.  Again, this is not about “works” to prove our salvation or our devotion.  We Christians have beaten that dead horse… uh… to death.  This is about examining the true condition of our soul and how much we have allowed the Holy Spirit to penetrate and heal our deepest, darkest pains.

If we are more focused on the incompleteness of our transformation…or our unworthiness…or how we need to “die”… we misplace our vision.  Our vision is on Christ. Christ alone.  As we behold Him, we are invited to experience His unconditional love.  This is part of the Wilderness journey.  When we experience His love though, we have a choice: embrace it according to our own unworthiness, or embrace it according to His gift of Righteousness.

We must shed the grave clothes.

A sign of having adopted a false-righteousness is a lack of love for others.  We love to the degree we know He loves us.

At this point if one feels blamed, condemned, defensive…it is a sign we have not embraced His unconditional righteousness as the full expression of our self-worth.  There IS nothing else.

He loves you.

That is a gift that is received in greater and greater joy as we behold Him.  We refuse the depths of His embrace when we refuse to acknowledge the full manifestation of His love. Righteousness is what has restored us to intimacy.  It is righteousness that gives us salvation.  His nature clothing us by the shed blood of His Son…this is love.  We enter into deeper union as we embrace this more and more.  This takes courage.  Any area we have found comfort or self soothing apart from His presence and truth is a scary thing to give up.

I will tell you this though:

It burns the most exquisite colors on the altar of our sacrifices.  Such beautiful aromas too… 

We say we love Him.  Are we really, truly willing to enter into His fullest rest and deepest embrace?  Dare to give up the comforts that have helped us survive the season of the Desert Wasteland of breaking and suffering.  Too many.  Too many of my family have I met that have gone out there…too many of those remnant that dared to forsake the world and lightly esteem the ridicule that comes in all forms… are dying there.  I am meeting them more than ever.

It is the season of the “Great Return” as I call it.  The time when His hidden ones are coming forth.  But so few are leaving the desert.  So many have become “institutionalized.”

The wilderness killed the old man, and darn near almost took your physical life.  I get it.  I have been out there…for many…many years.

But it is time, Father is saying.  It is time to embrace the rest of Him.  Time to let His Spirit lead you into the green pastures of the Kingdom.  The death you experienced is meant to end in Joy and Life and Fullness.  Don’t stay out there any longer.  Half dead…half alive.

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”  Hos 11:1

You are His child.  His redeemed.  His rescued lamb.  It is time to leave the blast-furnace. Enter ALL of His rest.  You have been faithful.  You have counted the cost.  You have died.

Now…it is time…

…to live.

 

“Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep,

we should live together with Him.” 1 Thess 5:10

 

Laying Hands on Lions

Sitting in our minivan, I waited outside a local thrift shop while my wife perused for hidden treasures. A last-minute date night afforded me some extra time to connect and unwind with my most intimate ally and soul mate, and as I waited for her, I took the opportunity to ask the Lord a few questions.

I simply don’t consistently reflect His love the way I desire to. Why am I so moody? How is it I rest so easily at times in Him and then suddenly choose not to see people the way He does? On top of all this, I had become keenly aware that depending on what the Lord wants to talk with me about during the late watches of the night, my wife oft-times is honored to wake up to someone who might delicately be best described as “not a morning person.”  This too, needs to change.

My thoughts were interrupted as another vehicle parked alongside us. Out came four chaperoned  adults that I could see where broken in mind and heart. A keen sense of depression and rejection permeated the atmosphere around them. Words and feelings began to build within my spirit until I perceived a self-hatred coupled with the deepest sense of wounding I ever felt someone carry around without being suicidal. Burdens, heaviness, and conflicting emotions swirled within me as Father was allowing me to enter into their lives for the briefest of moments.

Trying to sift through “who was who,” I hopped out of the car and opened the door for them to enter the thrift shop. I smiled and asked the “caregiver” if I could help in any way. I was looking for what I would call, some “rules of engagement,” and was making myself a servant for the Holy Spirit to use.

The man thanked me with vacant eyes and a one word reply.  “No.”

Turning toward one in particular, a middle-aged woman, I tried to hone in on anything the Lord wanted to talk with me about. But I just couldn’t dial in. The pain was too great, and I felt overwhelmed. What was worse is that I knew I could not connect with them even if I did indeed gain some sort of conversational inroad. They were all too emotionally guarded.  I was locked out of being able to reach their hearts. Helplessness and uselessness began to creep over me, and as the reality of all their pain intensified, so did my sense of despair. The love, compassion and pain for them continued to build, as was that all too-familiar anger that rises like a storm within me.

And my date-night was just getting started.

That’s just great…

So I called “game-over.”  I wanted off that playground. I decided I would pick up my ball and play church with the Lord inside the safety of my own vehicle. I knew I would need a few solid minutes to re-adjust to the facade of this realm in order to be somewhat amiable again, and I turned away from the group.

Fumbling slowly for my sunglasses, hot tears already streaming, I prepared to fix my eyes on Jesus and enter His rest. I began my apology.

“Not today, Dad. Sorry. There are too many of them and I cannot reach them all. I am so sorry. There are just too many… I’m so sorry…”

But sometimes the Lord wants to finish what He starts, doesn’t He?

“Raise up fishers of men, David.”

The Lord was referring to the caregiver. The one who was so broken himself that I had guessed if I was actually addressing the person in charge. How that man was even given custody over these other people was beyond me. He was so crushed himself that societally, he was barely able to function.

“I will tell you about him.” The Lord said.

And so, exiting my car once again, sunglasses still on, ( a trick I began implementing this past year as it hides the tears until the last moment ) I headed inside to find him. As I searched, the Holy Spirit shared with me a portion of this man’s story.

Father-God gifted him with a very tender heart. He had so much love to give. His soul was soft to all that was around him. I had never felt such a person before. Pure, innocent and full of wonder was the fingerprint of his soul. The heart of a lion and a king. He was a unique and blessed child.

But…

My whole inner being began to writhe and twist as the Lord pulled back the veil a bit more.

From a very young age the boy suffered terrible scorn and ridicule. The kind that deforms one’s entire being from the inside out. His parents were unable to guard his heart and in many instances, were themselves the source of the pain and wounding. Because of the degree of his tenderheartedness he simply was not capable of developing very good external defense mechanisms. He turned inward. With no safe place to hide, he grew up from his earliest days, a small, fragile little boy who slowly began to hate himself. His mind began to darken and his soul began to fracture.  A most exquisite stained glass window… now shattered.

Trapped, and with no answers, that boy made a vow to God. If he ever survived his own hell, he would help others to never suffer the torture his heart was enduring.  He would guard the others… to the death.

A true shepherd.

I passed Maija, who was kneeling over something of interest, and as I did, our eyes locked. Everything unspoken was communicated.  Smiling up at me, she silently encouraged me to hang in there. She knew I was about Dad’s business and went back to her own task at hand.

“Raise up Fishers of men, David.”  He repeated.

Abruptly, turning an aisle corner, I now saw that little boy. That sweet, gentle, soft, and tortured child slowly shuffling away. His feet barely lifted off the ground with an outward gate that reflected his inward malady. A broad, mountain of a man, he stood head and shoulders above me.

“Sir,” I choked out, and introduced myself.

“This might sound strange, but when I saw you a moment ago, I just felt the Lord speaking to my heart about you. It may sound a bit odd but your Heavenly Father wants you to know He sees how much love you have for others…”   Pausing, I attempted to navigate the raging currents within me.

I called upon the Holy Spirit to sustain me; to keep that river of Father’s heart from drowning me. All I could see was that boy. I also understood I had to be careful and gentle. Deep down, underneath, I could feel the tremors of some other hidden, volatile pains within him churning.

I very quietly and very slowly, spoke. I conveyed how Father-God saw the pain he went through growing up and yet how he still chose to love, serve and protect others.  

“We can only give to others to the amount we have inside ourselves. You have so much love to give these people you are taking care of. Would you be offended if I prayed for you?”

Ever so gently, as if placing my hand on a lion’s mane, I touched his shoulder.

And… I very quietly…  gave all I had.

I held nothing back within my heart. My voice quivered and my words cracked. I didn’t care. I prayed for the Lord to fill this man with a revelation of how much he was loved. I thanked God for this man, and for him to come to know Jesus as His Savior and Friend. I allowed Father’s love to just flow through me and rest upon his heart and mind. I agreed with Heaven that this man would pass along a deep love of God to those he met.  It was a tender, soft prayer. I could only give to the extent I myself was capable, and to that limit… I gave all.  I finished my prayer and looked up.

Tearfully, he attempted to say something, but all he could manage was the faintest of whispers as he nodded and wept. A flicker appeared in his eyes… just a tiny flicker.

We stared at each other in silence. A lifetime of pain was, for the moment,  in reprieve. More than that, an initial balm had been applied. The kingdom had torn through.  

A beginning… This man would one day roar the sound of The Redeemed.

I went to give him a soft hug and the Lord thundered in my spirit to refrain.  I meekly offered up a handshake instead.

“He sees you…. He wants you to know He sees you and loves you… so much.  Thank you. I am honored to have met you. So honored…”

The man said nothing. He simply nodded and tried to blink his vision back into focus. Staring intently at him, I wiped my eyes. Then I placed my glasses back on, turned and walked out.

“Bring the kingdom.” The Lord instructed me some years ago.  I am nothing special. Truly. I can be moody, contentious with God, and certainly not always a morning person.  But, I do have a will. I do have choices. I get to choose each moment of my life if I will seek to get to know my Dad. We can only release the kingdom to the degree we are willing to seek and possess it within our own walk. This is why Jesus died for us.

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21

This has nothing at all to do with works in order to feed a false, worldly-minded sense of identity. This certainly is not about striving to gain some false, self-righteous sense of holiness that flies in the face of the cross that made us holy by the blood of Jesus and that shed blood alone. It is time to put away childish things. We are already fully pleasing by what Jesus Christ did… not us.

The Word says we entered into Jesus’ death with Him… so we may also live the life He lived here on Earth. Jesus came to show us the Father. If we would find out what that truly looks like, then to that degree of revelation we also will show the will of the Father to those around us. This is called “outflow.”

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Rom 6:4

This was a humble encounter where Father used an imperfect, turbulent and often immature son, to share the Living Gospel.  

Nothing more really…

 

… and certainly nothing less.

 

Clouds and Fire

“Such as I have Lord, I give to this boy.”

It was a simple prayer. 

Inside the diner, I gently placed my right hand on top of the head of this little 3 year old, who, ironically perhaps, was also named Nathan. His eyes were not set properly and when I asked the boy’s grandmother if I could pray for him, she was thrilled.

“He is actually going for surgery tomorrow.” She told me.

You don’t say? What are the odds of that? I disregarded that info, and spoke healing into his eyes, protection, and above all, that this tender little child would come to know His Savior personally. It was a simple prayer and when I opened my eyes, he was staring intently at me. Oh how I longed to scoop him into my arms and just hold him.. to let the love of God wash all over him. But you see, they did not know me. I was a stranger on the road to Jericho. So I had to keep all that in. I had to tame that passion. I had to remain … “normal.” That’s OK. We take what we can get, right?

Turning back to where my family was enjoying the remains of their meals, I was dimly aware that my children did not even think it odd that I was praying for a stranger… Perhaps amidst all the mistakes I am continuing to make, at least some aspect of His heart is printing on my two Sons of Thunder and my little Lamb. Perhaps….

It was then that I saw another couple, sitting at a table behind us. Neither of them were much older than twenty, if that, and they were quietly laughing. I knew immediately they shared a deep love for each other… a camaraderie that went well beyond the superficial platitudes of self-centered “friendships.” These two had each others backs. The girl’s hair was a dark blue, and his a matching shade as well, shaggy, with streaks of orange throughout. Their smiles were bright and countenance carefree.

But something was just itching at me. Not the agitation that I often get. Just…. something. I felt such love for them. I tried not to stare, but a passion for them rose up like a storm. The Fire Pillar within me that was fanned for the boy was now raging for this couple, and I could feel my eyes swelling.  I was vaguely aware I had stopped walking.

“What is it, Lord? What’s up?”

“I love them very much.” The Lord responded… “And they don’t know it.”

That… will never do.

“Hey, guys. Sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to say…”

I spoke with them for no more than two minutes. I asked about their hair and shared with them how I could tell they were sweet, gentle people. She was in school for hair, and had in fact, done the styling herself on both their heads. After a moment more, I thanked them for their time, and rejoined my family.

Several minutes later I turned to see them standing right beside me. After a silence that perhaps might make even a dead person uncomfortable, she spoke.

“I wish you were my dad.” the young lady said… and for the first time in many, many years… I did not know what to say. I just… loved them both, so much… so… much.

So….I stood and asked them if they would be offended if I prayed over them. Collecting my composure, I blessed them with life, with hope, with joy and above all, they they would know how much the God who died to rescue them, also, in fact, loved them deeply. I gave them our number, and watched them walk out. I could spiritually see a deep, thick blanket of love placed upon them by the Lord. Almost like a cloud. That’s better…

I had forgotten about the event entirely, when I saw a text a few days later from the young lady.  She confessed to having considered ending her life that day, and added,

“….meeting you made me realize there are good people in the world…”

More than ever, this world needs the love of God revealed to them. Who dwells mightily inside us is Love personified. But how can we give it if we don’t actually understand it ourselves? 

That will never do….

We have all the power and dominion over the enemy. This means we have the power and dominion to set the captives free. I heard it once said that there is “a freight train living on the inside of us,” and He is raring to get out.  Get to know Him better. Choose to accept what His word says about how lovely He sees His children. We are accepted in the Beloved. We are beautiful in His sight. We have all dominion. We are given an open invitation to enter into the Holy of Holies. Jesus took the keys to all forms of death, including fear, anxiety, rejection, torment and shame. Forever. We have the ability to bring the kingdom everywhere we go… because it resides inside the reconciled child of God. He gave us eternal life. That eternal life is already inside us…. not sure exactly what that means?  Consider casting aside the worries, pleasures and fallen thinking of this world.

You are fully loved already. Meditate on these truths. We are called to think as He thinks. We cannot do this if we meditate on our own self-condemnation.  We are called to live holy (this means to express His nature inside us first.. And then out ). How can we do this if we choose to live lives that say we do not believe He loves us unconditionally and deeply?

“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation–” Col 1:22

The greater we press into the reality of His love, the greater we will be motivated from His love, and in His love, to live lives consistent with His nature. This is where the fire pillar grows. This is where the rage of His consuming nature begins to consume His child. The blast furnace is within you. Holy Spirit is not idle. He churns and invites and longs to confirm the words of the Father toward Himself, you and those around you. 

“As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses” Exod 33:9

“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” Exod 13:21

The Pillar is the Holy Spirit manifested. That Cloud and that Fire is now within every child of God. 

That young boy and couple will never know, that by me being touched by Father’s heart, I will love them always, … but it has been my fervent prayer that through that encounter, they will know that the heart of the only One that truly matters, loves them passionately.

Theology and doctrine and expositions have their proper place in both the corporate body and our walk. But nothing… nothing…. replaces giving the love of God to others in all the varied forms that Holy Fire may wish to release it through His sons and daughters.  

This is a process. We must allow him to work from the inside out. Performing “dead works” (actions originating from the outside, in an attempt to change our inside)  to get God to love us more, is not only manipulative, it is also impossible. If we have personally accepted Christ as our Savior with all our heart, then we are already fully pleasing and loved and adored.  Father God longs for this intimacy, and the lost need us to be capable of carrying it and releasing it. It is all found with time spent “In Him.”

Oh, and by the way… the  more we spend time with Him, the more we will begin to feel His heart toward others. At this point we will never “feel” ready to interact with these individuals. LOL…. Just do it… and have fun.

 (Says the man who cries all the time)…

“Then Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life.’ ” (John 6:68)

Now… what are we going to do about it, my dear family?

Answering The Call:- Part 3- Desert Crossroads

Answering The Call:- Part 3- Desert Crossroads

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jer 6:16

Within the wilderness, the Lord creates paths for us. At some point on these paths, He will divinely lead us to places of crossroads. Congratulations. Sincerely. This means you have walked far enough in the wilderness with Him that His Spirit has prepared and equipped you for your second crossroad (the first was actually saying “yes” to entering the wilderness with Him). We will look at:

  1. What is a crossroad?
  2. What is the purpose?
  3. Repeated Crossroads explained

What is a Crossroad?

Simply put, the Lord will lead us to a place where we will be faced with a decision. We will have the opportunity to tear down an area of lies and carnal-minded beliefs and replace them with the truths of God’s word in an area of our thinking. (2 Cor 10:5, Prov 23:7, Gal 6:8, Heb 12:11 ) 

Said another way:

“Crossroads” are decisions, and those decisions come down to the motives of our heart. Motives stem from beliefs.

It is our belief system that our Lord is after.

Remember our thinking will directly affect our walk. We worship and commune only to the degree we are walking in His truth. (John 4:24, 1 Cor 2:10-16, 2 Cor 13:8)

Again. A crossroad is a decision. We choose to relate to the Lord, ourselves and others either through the dead, carnal minded man, or the mind of Christ which is in alignment with the Word of God. Which path will we choose?

We don’t find these paths. They come upon us. As we spend time with our Lord, quietly drawing to Him and enjoying the season of aloneness with our Dad, Savior and Comforter, God Himself leads us down a journey with Him that will eventually have a fork in the road.

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them…” Isaiah 42:16

These new intersections are most often come upon through the reality of a trial. 

Trials are the doorways to crossroads.

What is the purpose of Crossroads?

The purpose of the crossroad is to release the power of the Resurrected life within us in the arena that that particular trial is meant to bring into the light.  This is true rest. It is His Sabbath rest manifest within us. It is to enter us into deeper communion. Let’s look at the second half of Isaiah 42:16  

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do…”

Did we catch that? Our Lord Himself will sovereignly walk us down unknown paths that will remove our spiritual blindness and ignorance of His nature and kingdom. Jesus Christ is the source of all Light.  It is through the continual greater revelation of Him that enters us into continual deeper fellowship. This is where trials come in to play.

A “trial” may be defined a couple of ways, but is basically any event that brings our belief system to the forefront.

It either brings to the surface a way of thinking that is contrary to the word of God, or makes it challenging to stand on our Godly beliefs (which in reality is exposing a more hidden area of personal false thinking). It is most often through such calamity, uncertainty, unknowing, or fearful expectation of what might occur, that the Lord shows up and says:

“David, will you look at these pains, fears and hurts squarely in the face with me? Will you walk down this path with me and trust me to reveal to you a part of who I AM you do not yet truly know?”

Trials are not about what we decide. It is about what motivates our decision. The crossroad path is not about us being provided for, cared for, protected or vindicated. No. Not at all.  The crossroad is about being willing to be crucified. No compromise. No conditions. No terms of surrender. No quarter asked…and none given.

The crossroad is about only one thing: Resurrected life. 
The method is also about only one thing: dying.

Positionally, we already died to the carnal man (see related study “We Died to the Carnal Man”).  Relationally however is another story. This is where our decisions come into play, and whether our soul chooses to pick up the life and mind of Christ within our spirit man, or continue to carry around a corpse and stubbornly refuse to renew our minds. As painful as this may be, the answer always comes down to a decision. Ergo, the need for crossroads.

On every one of these pathways, when we practice this blind obedience to choose Him, we relationally enter into His death and burial. We move from positional partakers of His righteousness to experientially partaking of the crucifixion, tomb, and resurrection life of Jesus Christ.

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24

“Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Rom 6:11

Resurrected life is what will result in every area that we chose to reckon the carnal man as dead 

AND

choose to pick up the life of Christ.

These crossroads are not orchestrated by the enemy. These are hand picked by our Heavenly- Dad. Far too many erroneous teachings on “trials” has surfaced as a result of lopsided American church theology. If we study the lives of those who walked in deep union with God, it was the Lord who was most often created the crossroad trials. The same holds true today.

“Some time later God tested Abraham…” Gen 22:1

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions or no..” Exo 16:4

“I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.”  Jdg 2:21-22

The crossroads are designed to shake us free from our carnal-minded thinking, and are invitations to enter us into deeper union with Him. Only obedience allows us to partake of this new aspect of Him He is desiring to impart to us. Each crossroads is designed to take us to greater rivers of His life. This comes down to the decisions we make in our heart… not our hands. It is our heart, our will, that decides which path we take. 

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Deut 30:19

“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” Joel 3:14

The only way we can become familiar with His ways and His paths and His nature is to reject the thinking and lies we have clung to as truth. This is the carnal-minded man that scriptures tell us we actually already died to when the Spirit of the living God entered into our spirit at salvation. (Rom 6:2-4, Rom 8:6-9, 2 Cor 5:16, Eph 1:14, 2 Cor 1:22)

This only comes by putting into practice 2 Cor 10:5

“We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

This is truly learned in the desert. If…. we allow it.  It is vital to understand the heart of our Father is reconciliation and intimacy. Mankind’s first crossroad took place ironically enough, not in a desert, but in Paradise. A desert wasteland, much more than simply physical, but also spiritual, emotional and relational resulted from the decision that was chosen at that crossroad.  Death was sowed. Alienation in our spirit and also in our thinking resulted. It is now in those very places of our heart, that we once again are faced with the choice of either Life… or death. We get to say “yes” to His heart and despise the shame of the world and its satanic, false belief system.

Know this: the Lord will never allow us to face a decision where we are not capable of choosing life. He leads us slowly and methodically, through the desert paths and into His resurrected life with and in Him.

“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” Exod 13:17

He is our great Shepherd. The purpose of every trial is to allow us, by the grace available to us through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit within our spirit man, to choose life. He knows what we can handle, and when we can handle it. He refines us into His image and His nature.

The purpose of this is communion and greater intimacy. He loves His children. He loves you.

Repeated Crossroads Explained

Ever wonder why it seems at times you have gone through repeated experiences where, though the situation may be different, the same fears always seem to arise? The same pain or shame or hurt?

A glimpse of the reason may be found here:

“Not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times- not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.” Numb 14:23

“where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did.” Psalm 95:9

When we chose to reject the word of the Lord for ourselves, and instead continue to relate to Him in the same manner as we did before the trial, we are in essence  contending with the Word of God, and rejecting His invitation to come deeper. Additionally, whether we  care to admit it or not, we are saying we will choose to related to God, ourselves, and others according the god of this world’s thinking. Any area we choose to reject God’s word for our walk means we are in unbelief, and to that degree, rebellion.  (2 Cor 4:4, Matt 13:18, Jam 1:6-8 James 2:14, Gal 6:8)

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

He is always there. The Spirit of the Lord is inside us. When we go through a trial, the Word tells us that our Lord will always be faithful. In that faithfulness and in that fiery challenge we will hear the Holy Spirit calling to us “this is the path of life. Walk in it.” This decision of choice is now our crossroad. What I find amazing in the scriptures is that God never stops attempting to draw us out of our dead thinking and relating. He will always look to break through. He will… In His immense love… repeat the scenario in some form or another in order to bring us back to the valley of decision… to that same crossroad. Just read through the book of Judges. Read Kings and Chronicles and you will see this theme repeated endlessly.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jer 31:3

Our Dad, in His love, will never stop orchestrating events in order to give us yet another opportunity to choose the path of life. The crossroads lead to the thorough separation of that dead, carnal mind, so that the resurrected life may be lived out relationally with Him. He will never cease to draw us, call to us, or cease in His everlasting and unfailing love, to try to set us free.

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jer 6:16

I just love this verse… so I am going to close with it as we opened with it. Every decision we  make to pick up His life, His truth, His Word, His promise, His nature, His holiness, His heart… whatever that particular crossroad path is… know this: the other path is death. We either sow to death.. or we die to it, so that Christ might reign within us and through us and above all… commune with those He died for.

The Ancient Paths will be brought to you. The word of God assures us of this. Walk in the “good way.” Enjoy His rest. Seek deep intimacy. This is what He longs for.

He is worthy of having all our heart anyway…

-David

Something on our Lord’s Heart…

Hello family.

There is so much confusion in our Land in this hour. 

I will share some limited insights the Lord has quietly shown me while I have silently travailed for the body of Christ as well as this nation these past 25 years. Never before is the hour so great for a turn of heart within His Church here in America.

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We have rejected our First Love. The Church in America seeks “forms” of Godliness and not Him alone.

The church in America has also rejected her Commission as a result of our spiritual condition. The Kingdom call that is upon this nation is at risk as a result of the backslidden American church.

One of the main reasons there is so much confusion in the body of Christ is that the American Church as a whole, has lost the ability to walk in the heart, mind, and intention of the Lord.

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  • We either speak of an angry God and His un-reconcilable judgement upon this nation…or
  • We preach a message of excessive grace and spiritual & national pride from the false notion a loving Father would not humble this nation (perhaps we have forgotten this country is not our home) … or
  • We speak of some twisted old covenant form or “revival” as if the Holy Spirit is not already inside us ( WE are the revival- it is the Church that needs to be revived; the Spirit of the Living God works within and through our hearts and spirits to the degree we allow it)

A vital component is missing from these camps in the form of the heart and mind of God. Because of this, the messages are lacking His vision. 

The heart of God is to restore fellowhip, build intimacy, and rescue His lost sheep. This is the Fulfillment of the Great Commission which was never rescinded. We are not called to curse one another and we are not called to dismiss sin and worldliness. Above all, we are not called to ignore His lost children who need to see and touch and taste His goodness through the Church.

  • The Church is called to holiness.
  • The Church is called to love.
  • The Church is called to purity.
  • The Church is called to walk in HIS righteousness... (not our own smug self-centered and self-righteous acts of piety)

From this position of walking In Him and with Him the Church is then called to:

  • Fulfill the Great Commission up until we are taken away.

The Church is called to share the Gospel message with our dying breath if need be, to those who hate us.. in love and power.

We, the Church, are meant to proclaim the gospel to all the world…. just as someone once did for us while we were dead to Jesus.

The fractured, broken, divided camps of the American church are not walking in the ways of Jesus Christ from His heart. We have turned aside to the things that please our own carnal desires. 

God is calling the Church in America to repent and return to Him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength.

It is the Church that follows and oversees and stewards the heart of God and the mind and will of God over any land, region, area or country. The Church is the peculiar people, the royal priesthood, the holy nation and the ambassadors of Heaven sent to bring the lost to repentance by releasing the goodness of God to a lost and dying world.

We are now either looking to save our own lives in fear and self-preservation.. or… looking to the Holy Spirit to initiate some “movement” forgetting that in the New Covenant He now lives IN us. God is waiting for us.. the church, to repent and return to all His heart… and we will lead this nation back to truth by the power of the Living Witness inside us… the Church. Holiness and Love are what usher the Church to walk in the ways of God. This is how the Church leads this nation back to its biblical foundations.

The Lord’s burden that He placed within my own heart is the spiritual condition of the church in America. We have turned from seeking our First Love. We have sought programs and statistics and doctrines that are fun and exciting. The Church is supposed to be the light and truth and the Love of the Cross. His redeemed children are supposed to reveal His Love and redemptive plan to a dead people who need salvation.

His redeemed children are meant to get His lost children. 

Now about Donald Trump… The Lord did not speak to me about who will win the election. No… the Lord did not tell me who would be the next president. I will tell you this though: Trump is a voice speaking out where the Church is supposed to be, but is either too afraid of the consequences, or too distracted from the heart of our Lord to do so.  Please hear me… this is to be spiritually discerned.. not carnally. I am not saying that what Trump is “saying” is coming from God.. not at all.

God will use the “lost” to shake foundations that are supposed to be shaken through the LOVING but UNCOMPROMISING voice of the Church.

In the end, the future of this nation will be determined by what the body of Christ does. It is not who sits in the White House who will determine our future. It is the Church. Will the camps and fellowships that are afraid, or bitter, or asleep or compromised  begin to change and seek the heart of God?

Will words like repentance, holiness, joy and peace ever be used in the same sentence again? Will “The Great Commission” be on our hearts once more?  Will the word “hell” ever be spoken of again… anywhere?

Will we ever begin to see His desire for purification inside us as a sign of His longing and affection for deep intimacy? 

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” Luke 12:49

Will we ever begin to realize this verse is speaking of Love and restoration?

Fire refines.

Will the other divided camps in the body of Christ stop spitting and cursing our sleeping brothers and sisters – not to mention the lost in this nation? Will we repent of this hatred? Will we finally at long last, from the love of Father’s heart,  “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you”? 

Will the Church purify herself, seek her Groom first in ALL areas, and begin to seek to fulfill the Great Commission from a pure heart and purified mind?

Where this nation ends up is up to how the church responds. The Lord has spoken to me about a number of different “futures” for the United States. That is because there are a number of ways the body can respond.

Discipline begins with the household of God FIRST- it is the church that is being refined in this hour. This is birthed from His heart of Love, not anger. 

The nation is experiencing the natural/spiritual fallout that occurs when the born-again Christians in America stop leading the nation by example, holiness, prayer and obedience to God.

The Church is meant to lead this nation under the power and direction of the Lord Jesus Christ. This comes only through deep communion with Him.

It is the condition of the church and how we chose to respond in this hour that will determine what the future holds for this nation.

I beg you all… pray for those hidden ones who are called to bring forth the full counsel of the Lord in this hour; that they may come forth. We all have a part to play and we do not all have the same part… there are those who are called to share His heart. Pray for them… this is what is needed more than ever in this hour.  We need clear voices that are seeing what God wants to do in the American church in this hour and are willing to share it without compromise, and without hatred in their heart, but rather speaking the counsel of the Lord in love.

Ever so humbly, and in His love-

David 

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To my family abroad:

To those of you who have been asking me how long until America is refined and partakes of the suffering that many of you have partaken: How long until America stops squandering the freedom we have been given to openly commune in spirit and in truth and share His goodness to those dying around us every moment?

My brothers and sisters that I have come to love as my own… I ask for your forgiveness and above all, your prayers for us here in the United States of America… even as I pray for you.

Forgive me, my beloved family. Stay steadfast. Your redemption draws nigh.