In this chapter we discover the deepest
and most significant truths of the journey thus far. The Floods presents
a vibrant picture of the nature and cost of our sanctification
— the process of being set apart in Jesus to be fully
prepared for His plans and purposes.
The sanctification process is first of all
very personal between you and your Lord. It is based on the
strength of your trust-based love relationship with Him. The
nature of His work in you has nothing to do with religious form
and practice, and you can’t evaluate your spiritual
progress by comparing it to anyone else’s.
As well, this chapter crystallizes the
truth that our ability to grow in the character of Jesus
requires each of us to take full ownership of our past trials
and the suffering He has used to bring us into conformity to
The importance of an individual’s path of
sanctification is often lost in the crowd orientation of
contemporary religious practice expressed corporately under a
steeple. Our Lord died for each of us personally. His work in us
is personal, not general. In the womb He knew each one of us as
intimately as He knew the prophets Jeremiah and John.
Just as Jesus learned obedience through
suffering (Hebrews 2:10), each of us who would follow Him must
learn to accept the sufferings He has put in our path as
instruments of refinement in His hands. Failure to willingly
receive this makes us judges of His ways of character
We trust that as you go through this
chapter, these concepts will all be made very real to you, so
that you may proceed upward to the High Places in Jesus.
Chapter 15 The Floods
1. The path they followed...
Only our God is truly capable of keeping
all of His promises. And, His promises are not given lightly.
It’s important that in times of trial we recall the
promises of which He’s assured us in His Word. The
apostle Paul reminded the Philippians, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He
who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ
Jesus” (Philippians 1:
Our God gives promises so that we may have
something tangible on which to anchor our hope when times of
trial assail us. If you can’t recall any of His promises
at this point, or haven’t made it your habit to drink
daily from the fountain of His Word where you’ll find these
promises, then you’ll discover that many of your trials
are that much more painful to endure.
Because they had walked in mature trust
for so much longer than had Much-Afraid, the companions were
aware of what lay ahead for their stumbling charge. Yet they
unfailingly exercised gentleness and tender care as they guided
her along mountain path.
If you have walked with Jesus for a while
yourself, you may have forgotten what is was like to be a babe
in Christ, full of desire to be with Him but awkward and unsure
about how to walk in His steps. Don’t give way to
self-righteous pride or arrogant expectation that the weak or
immature should unhesitatingly follow all that Scripture
commands from the outset.
Recall how long it’s taken you to press on in
Jesus and follow through in what He tells you! Emulate Paul in
his manner with the Thessalonian believers: “We dealt with each of you as a father deals
with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you
to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and
glory” (1 Thessalonians
How conscious are you of the truth
that it is God at work in you to bring you into conformity to His
Son Jesus? Or, are you more conscious that through your own
choices, strength, and volition, you are changing yourself?
Can you list at least three
promises of God to you, both from Scripture and personal rhema that
He’s revealed to you to apply personally?
2. Toward evening they came...; 3. Once
inside they noticed...
What do you think was the Shepherd’s
“secret mark” that the travelers had noticed on the
cabin door? It certainly confirmed to them that they’d
reached the refuge designated for their rest and refreshment!
Early followers of Jesus recognized their
camouflaged gatherings through covert use of an
“ichthus”, a fish drawing symbolic of Jesus’
miracles and His followers as fishers of men. (The Greek
letters also stood for “Jesus Christ, God’s Son.)
Many today display easily recognizable
signs of Christianity such as bumper stickers and crosses.
However, the sure sign that one is a follower of Jesus is the
indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Without Him, we can do
nothing to either please God or to give Him glory. With Him, we
are able to bear much fruit as we discern His will and carry it
The warm fire and refreshing repast
indicated that the travelers had been expected. Are you ready
at a moment’s notice to welcome with warm heart the ones
our Lord sends to your home? Your attitude says it all. Guests
can feel either welcome or an intrusion, depending on your
When you encounter someone new,
what signs indicate that you’re encountering a fellow
follower of Jesus?
Would you describe your own brand
of hospitality as obligatory or as welcoming? How do you
demonstrate to your guests that their presence is more
important to you than the meal you’re providing?
4. How long she had slept...
You may not recognize sleeplessness as a
divine appointment. Perhaps being awake during the night is
more of an irritant or an indicator of worry on your part. But
the deep silence of the wee hours can be the perfect setting
for uninterrupted conversation with our Father, a mini-vacation
of spiritual refreshment as you respond to His Spirit.
Perhaps He’ll respond with a song of
praise in your heart, or place specific people before your
mind’s eye to intercede for, or remind you of promises
answered and yet to be. At any rate, you have a response choice
during wakeful periods. You can scramble through your medicine
cabinet for sleep aids. You can grumble and toss. Or you can
use that time to let your spirit catch up with His Spirit.
Much-Afraid discerned her marching orders
from the Shepherd by heeding His voice, a voice to which she
was well-accustomed. Think about that the next night you find
Has it been part of your experience
to be awakened to commune with our Lord? How do you normally
respond to wakefulness at night?
Are you willing to forsake sleep
with an expectant heart when you’re roused during the
5. “Much-Afraid,” said the
Every one of us is born with the capacity
for human love. The Newer Testament calls human love
“filial”, from the Greek phileo. That kind of love
is the affection and friendship we share with one another a
companionable love that glues human relationships together.
But for followers of Jesus, His desire is
that agape love replace human love as our reason to go on
walking in Him. The only source of that sacrificial agape love is the
Holy Spirit. When we live in that love, we begin to grow in
spiritual fruit production: “(agape)
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness” (Galatians 5:
22). The love that the Greatest Commandment calls for is this: “You shall (agape) love the Lord your God
with all your heart, and with all your
soul, and with all your strength, and
with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). No part of you is exempt
from the love that the Spirit prospers in those who press on in
Your growth in dependency on our Lord and
your growth in agape love are intricately connected in your pilgrimage.
You can’t grow in agape love unless you cultivate increasing
dependency on our Lord.
For example, Jesus called His disciples
His “friends”: “Greater love has no
one than this, that one lay down
his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do
what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave
does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I
have made known to you” (John
15:13-15). As dear as friendship with our Lord is, it is
incomplete without the agape love that puts feet to our relationship
Peter progresses through this transition
from filial-based friendship with our Lord into agape love in
order to truly follow in His steps. After Jesus’s
resurrection we encounter this scene by the Sea of Galilee in
John 21: 15-17:
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus
said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you (agape) love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes,
Lord; You know that I love (phileo) You.” He said to him,
“Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second
time, “Simon, son of John, do
you (agape) love Me?” He said
to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love (phileo)
You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He
said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love (phileo) Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the
third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him,
“Lord, You know all things; You know that I love (phileo)
You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.
We know that Peter repented of his denial
of Jesus after he heard the cock crow the third time. Now, at
the lakeside, Jesus restores Peter and calls him to follow
Jesus by adding agape love to his filial love. Our Lord knew it would take agape love in
order for Peter to embrace the painful kind of death that the
All of us will encounter this same demand
somewhere on our pilgrimage to salvation — to exchange
our comfort zone of human companionship for the sacrificial
heart of selfless servanthood that the Spirit matures. There is
a place on the journey in which our human love falls short of
the love our Lord requires. The type of love we’re used
to expressing pales in comparison to the vibrant,
life-imparting love that reflects Jesus at work in us.
This is the crucial transition that
Much-Afraid faces in this chapter. We can learn much from her
choices, for they are the same ones each of us must make.
Are you prepared to offer up as a
Burnt Offering all your natural longings and desires as you
trust that our Father knows what is best for your life? We
realize this is a tough question, especially if you’re
not married and yearn for a life partner with whom to share the
Is there anyone in your life whom
you love more than you love Jesus? Who?
6. Without waking the two beside her...
Anyone who leaves the Valley of their
Strongholds must transition away from being outcome-based, that is,
doing something to gain something. Any concern about where the journey
is leading or how you will benefit from it only inhibits you
from pressing on with confidence in the Shepherd. The journey
calls for you to become obedience-based, that is, knowing what our Lord requires and
doing it without hesitation or grumbling or fear.
When the Shepherd announces, “This
is the appointed place,” Much-Afraid replies, “Yes,
Lord, Behold me — I am thy handmaiden, I will do
according to thy word.” That is an obedience-based answer. The apostle
Peter continues his classroom lesson with the risen Lord in
Peter, turning around, saw the disciple
whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned
back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is
the one who betrays You?” So Peter seeing him said to
Jesus, “Lord, and what about
this man?” Jesus said to him,
“If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You
follow Me!” Therefore this saying went out among the
brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not
say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want
him to remain until I come, what is that to you?”
Peter was well aware that the young
apostle held a special place in Jesus’ heart, one that
was reciprocated as evidenced by John’s Gospel narration.
Learn from Peter: Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone
else! Second, if you have truly died to concern about where our
Lord is leading you, then in your inner being you can agree
with Much-Afraid: “I will do according to thy
Years ago the following poem was given to
us by a godly mentor. You may want to memorize it if
you’re at all hesitant about the future (or even the
present!). After all, it’s addressed to you!
STEP BY STEP
“As thou goest, step by step I will
open the way before thee” (Proverbs 4:12, New Translation).
Child of My love, fear not the unknown
Dread not the new demand life makes of
Thy ignorance doth hold no cause for
Since what thou knowest not is known to
Thou canst not see today the hidden
Of My Command, but thou the light shalt
Walk on in faith, upon My promise leaning,
And as thou goest, all shall be made
One step thou seest — then go
One step is far enough for faith to see;
Take that, and thy next duty shall be told
For step by step thy Lord is leading thee.
Stand not in fear, thine adversaries
Dare every peril, save to disobey;
Thou shalt march on, all obstacles
For I, the Strong, will open up the way.
Wherefore go gladly to the task assigned
Having My promise, needing nothing more
Than just to know, where’er the
future find thee, In all thy journeying I go before.
Frank J. Exley
Do you frequently compare yourself
to other Christians? If you do, does your comparison make you
feel better or worse about your own spiritual maturity?
Do you concentrate more on
discerning what our Lord is commanding you, or on evaluating
the outcome of where your obedience will lead you?
Is one step enough for you to act
on? Do you feel you need to justify your obedience when others
question you about your journey?
7. She did not lie down again...
As with the five wise virgins in Matthew
25:1-13, Much-Afraid stayed awake, prepared in spite of her
fears to act when the time for obedience came. Those times when
our Father is preparing you for His call to act can leave you
exposed to temptations of slothfulness. But this is the time to
be on guard. Close fellowship with others who are on the
journey with you can be an important part of reminding yourself
of that which you set out to do — to be transformed into
the likeness of Jesus Christ.
He is calling you to trust with absolute
assurance that He is faithful to keep His promises, sovereign
to orchestrate whatever is necessary for you to walk in His
fullness, and loving enough to satisfy your longing with His
There is a point on your journey when
everything comes together. The Shepherd tells Much-Afraid,
“Take now the promise that I gave you, and the natural
love in your heart, and offer them for a burnt offering.”
Whether it’s Much-Afraid, or Peter by the Sea of Galilee,
or we who have left the Valley of our Strongholds, there comes
a time when our human love and longing must cease to be our
Few ever accomplish this transformation
because the heart tug to receive human love is so powerful.
Only those who have prepared themselves with obedience-based
motivation can put everything on the altar, trusting that our
Lord is fully able to resurrect your dead hopes.
Again, “Is one step sufficient enough
for you to see and go forward? If not, what is holding you
8. With the first glimmer of dawn...; 9. They
Sometimes it seems as though your life is
so hectic and distracted that you’re surrounded by clamor
both inside and out. The waterfall ahead of Much-Afraid sounded
thunderous but she did not shy away from it.
It’s all too easy to get
side-tracked from our Lord’s best by giving in to the
“next thing” that’s struggling for your
attention. Emergencies do happen, but trying to cram more into
an already overloaded life leads to mental and emotional
disintegration. Even physical destruction ensues from
multi-tasking. Witness the phenomenal rise in car accidents due
to distracted cell phone users.
Don’t let the supposed urgent
tyrannize you. Start your day in the calm, still presence of
our Lord, even if you have to stay extra minutes in bed to
avoid stirring a sharp-eared little one. If you’re
married, take a few minutes to pray and to determine together
that day’s priorities — and let go of the rest. If
Jesus could confirm that each day has its own responsibilities
and concerns, don’t pile them onto yourself.
The world system will try to tempt you
away from recognizing the encounters that our Lord is setting
before you for His purposes. Don’t let that happen!
Finally, notice that before Much-Afraid
and her companions set foot out the door, they took time for
breakfast! You too need a nutritious start to fortify your body
for the day ahead. If you expect your soul and spirit to be
responsive to God, then feed the temple that houses them!
What distractions gnaw at your
sensitive irritation spots most often? What changes need to be
made in your daily plan for your spirit to flourish rather than
Do you neglect proper care of your
body by poor exercise or eating habits? What changes can you
purpose to integrate into your life so that your whole
testimony — body, soul, and spirit — reflect the
character of Jesus growing you?
10. As the hours passed they continued to
climb...; 11. They were running as though for their lives...
Our humanness would like to believe that
as soon as we obey our Lord’s commands and walk in His
ways, everything will get better. Not necessarily so. Sometimes
our lives get harder! As soon as Much-Afraid and her companions
began to ascend the path the Shepherd had indicated, their way
got steeper than ever before.
Mike: Sue and I are western transplants.
In April of 2000 we conducted a 10-day seminar for the staff of
an Indian mission school outside Phoenix. When we returned to
Con-necticut the mission’s director invited us to move to
their campus to consult with them about Hebraic principles and
We accepted his invitation and looked
forward to being able to help the missionaries share the
Hebraic foundations with the Native Americans. Two weeks later,
as we closed the cargo door to the moving truck we’d
rented, the director called. His invitation to us had been
rescinded. “The missionaries here overruled me with a
clause in our charter. They don’t like your requirement
that ‘You can’t minister to people whom you
don’t love.’ They admit they don’t even like the Indians
they minister to, but consider that being responsible teachers is
The director added, “Mike, I believe
God is protecting you and Sue. I’ve submitted my
resignation, and my wife and I are going to live among one of
the tribes to share the Hebraic foundations with them.”
As we prayed standing next to the truck, Sue and I agreed that
God indeed wanted us to move west. We sensed that God wanted us
to stay with friends in Memphis and wait further direction, so
we contacted people who would intercede on our behalf.
When we arrived in Memphis we received
three prophetic phone calls telling us that God wanted us to
move to Flagstaff in northern Arizona. Two days later we drove
into Flagstaff knowing no one. Months later, after our Lord had
opened a door to work directly with Native Americans, our
tribal friends told us, “If you’d gone to that
mission, we we’d never have listened to you. Those people
have destroyed so many of our children at their school.”
One man in his 30’s who had attended
the mission school told me that he is the only male survivor of
his graduating class. All the others had died from alcoholism,
drug addiction and suicide. Evidently “responsible
teaching without love” produced decidedly rotten fruit.
God delivered us as He has many times from
getting involved with what we call “entangling
alliances”. These are relationships that would only taint
the truths of what we were commanded to share, or would
side-track us from fulfilling His purpose in or through us.
You’ve probably encountered some of these alliances
yourself during your journey to obey Jesus in love-grounded
In the face of total surrender, the
voices that would attempt to deter you flee. That must have
been quite a sight for Much-Afraid: all her old nemeses —
Fear, Bitterness, Resentment, Pride, and Self-Pity —
scrambling away from perceived danger as she, in total
obedience, kept on undeterred.
Can you remember a time when God
closed one door of apparent opportunity only to open a
different one? How did you initially respond?
Were you ever in a potentially
dangerous situation in which you knew that our Lord was calling
you to keep pressing on?
12. “What are we to do?”...; 13.
“No,” said Much-Afraid ...; 14. Then the Voice
There was no way Much-Afraid was going to
turn around. Something was compelling her to press forward. There
comes a time on the journey when you find something deep inside
compelling you. This is the same inner drive that Paul found, “For the (agape) love of Christ compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14a).
Mike: Both Sue and I found within
ourselves this inner compulsion when we began to work among
Native Americans. In their eyes, we, as whites, represented all
that has ever hurt them. Wherever we traveled we received
little or no facial affirmation through a smile. Because so
many are ensnared by a stronghold of bitterness, they manifest
as a seething, begrudging attitude of passive aggression.
Refusal to let you into their hearts or lives effectively
blocks out your value as a human being.
But to our surprise we found we were madly
in love with them no matter how they responded to us!
Paul's’ words affirmed what our trust-based
obedience had formed in us: “For
in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means
anything, what matters is trusting
faithfulness expressing itself through (agape) love” (Galatians 5:6).
Much-Afraid had matured greatly during the
past few days of her journey. Her resolve was not based on
either flighty expectation or unrealistic dreams. She had set
her face like flint to press on in obedience no matter what.
Notice the apparent questioning of Sorrow and Suffering as
they mention turning back. They already know the answer, but
Much-Afraid needed to hear herself confirm the decision.
Jesus used a similar approach with His
disciples in their encounters with the hungry crowds that had
followed them to deserted areas around the Galilee. When He
directed His men to feed them, they asked, “How?”
He wanted them to realize that He alone is sufficient to meet
every need of those who trust Him.
Describe an incident in which you
did turn back from the path on which the Lord was leading you.
How did you feel at the time? Has the memory of that situation
stirred any change in you?
Are you able to look at every
person, especially those who have hurt you, and see them as
individuals whom Jesus loved from the cross? Can you as His
follower have any less than the same love for them He had?
15. In the rocky wall beside them...; 16.
Then the rains descended and floods came...
Fully trusting in our Shepherd seems
pretty easy when our days are sunlit and tranquil. But what
about when the gales of trial are whipping about you? If you
choose to abide in trust in His faithful and powerful grip, the
rains won’t overcome you.
Your heart relationship with Jesus is seen
most vividly when you’re in the middle of everything
falling apart around you. It’s for good reason that our
Lord is portrayed as a shepherd in both Hinds’ Feet and
in Psalm 23. Notice the wonderfully intimate interplay between
the Shepherd and His sheep.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie
down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths
of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for
You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence
of my enemies;
you have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will
follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Because of the Shepherd’s unchanging
character and unfailing love, we need never give way to fear.
Yet we can never experience true peace until we face something that would
attempt to rob us of that peace, be it death or evil. The oil
of our anointing comes right in the middle of what we could
potentially fear. It’s when we have the possibility of
fear that we find out what foundations our faith has been built
upon. Frustration and fear are indicators that we are
exercising a right God hasn’t given us. Frustration and
fear show us that we need to put something on the altar in
order to have peace.
Much-Afraid and her companions have to
stoop down to enter their cave of protection to experience
serenity. As often as you choose to bow before our Lord on your
knees to humbly share in His peaceful presence, you’ll
rest in in the reality of His power to overcome your tumult.
Jesus offers us the parable of the wise
and foolish builders in Matthew 7:24-27 to highlight this
truth. The difference between the two builders is not what they knew,
but what they trustingly put in to practice.
It’s often in the face of the
temptation to lose our peace that our Lord will have us
recount the cost of our journey, just as Much-Afraid is about
Are you in perfect peace or are you
being plagued? If you have no peace, are you willing to place
on God’s altar whatever is robbing you?
Reread Psalm 23, this time focusing
on the Shepherd’s role in your life. How does your perspective
change as you shift from yourself to Him?
17. After they had been there...
Mike: When Sue and I arrived in Israel 11
years ago I was mired in a deep pit of self-pity and despair.
Our marriage had been drained through years of intense
ministry. All that both of us could do was to place absolute
trust in Jesus to heal us and to bring glory out of our needy
lives to Himself.
I was constantly plagued by thoughts that
God had always given me “the short end of the
stick”. All that I could recall was the hurt and
betrayals of people over the years whom I had counted as close
friends. It was on New Years Eve, 1993, that our host said to
me, “Only you and the Holy Spirit can deal with
this.” I wearily climbed the stairs to my bedroom to take
up my issues with God. As soon as I closed the door it was if
He were waiting for me!
I knew immediately that He had been
waiting for years for me to take up the sufferings and betrayals with
Him, and to let go of my bitterness. I never said a word, but I
underwent an altar experience in which I took ownership of all
my past hurts, finally understanding that our Lord had been
using these to develop His Son’s character in me.
By the time Sue came into the room I was
changed. Even as I looked at her I was madly in love with her,
but with an agape love I had never before experienced toward her. Since
that time there have been other “memorial stones”
we’ve picked up. These have become milestones in our
sanctification process — reminders of something our Lord
has changed in us.
Do you have, as I once did, a
secret grudge toward God that you are too fearful to bring
Are you plagued by self-pity and
bitterness toward others? If you are, take it up with God.
He’s waiting for you!
18. She looked at the little pile in her
lap...; 19. She put the stone back...
Much-Afraid is about to embark on a
crucial step, the same one you need to take to truly be
free to love with all the (agape) love the Holy Spirit would pour through
you for others.
The willingness to endure suffering
doesn’t come easily to any of us. Yet Jesus set the
example for all who would walk in His steps: “For since He
Himself was tempted in that which
He has suffered, He is able to come
to the aid of those who are
tempted” (Hebrews 2:
18). In essence, our Lord had to embrace suffering just as we
must as an indispensible part of our Father’s plan: “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).
Those painful situations from your past
that you have not fully embraced are only going to hinder your
usefulness to our Lord in the future. They will cause you to
emotionally insure yourself against being fully obedient to
Him, allowing yourself an emotional exit out of trusting Him
during the tough times. Partial obedience is disobedience.
Disobedience magnifies into rebellion and results in your
failure to proceed on in your pilgrimage to the High Places.
Why is it important to recount our life
journey and the crisis points in which we find our Shepherd to
be so faithful? Your own “little pile of stones”
can take the form of a personal journal or even your own
insights and notes in the margin of your Bible. What is
needful, though is that you hold onto those proofs of His
faithful work in you to so deeply alter your life.
As Much-Afraid recounted her first promise
from the Shepherd, that of ultimately receiving strong
hind’s feet, she also became aware of the timing factor.
While she did not yet have them, she was at least that much
closer to her objective to leap in the High Places!
Many of our spiritual ancestors, the
Israelites, were eagerly awaiting their Redemption. And Paul
encourages the Romans that their salvation is nearer now than
when they first believed — and that was nearly 2000 years
ago! Since our God cannot lie, His process of raising up sons and daughters must be
high among His priorities, since we who trust are still waiting
for Jesus’ return. Yet the promise still stands, for all
Recount when you have erected
emotional walls up to fend off any potential hurt.
What will it take for you to tear
down anything that hinders you from being vulnerable to the
ones our Lord puts in your path to learn compassion and
20. Picking up the third stone...; 21.
Taking the sixth...
Perhaps you’ve noticed the common
denominator in each of the Shepherd’s promises
represented by Much-Afraid’s stones of remembrance: hope.
As Paul comfortingly relates to the Roman believers, “Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who
hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do
not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:24b,25).
Each promise has to be encompassed by
trust that the Speaker is truthful, and that His promises are
true. Each promise is intently re-examined by Much-Afraid for
veracity, and because of the nature of the Giver, each is held
You may be finding yourself in the
classroom depicted by these first stones: perseverance,
yieldedness, patient endurance, obedience. The grinding apart
of your pride and the burning away of your independence from
your loving Lord is necessary if your testimony is to shine
radiant before those with whom you share. It’s not enough
in a pluralistic, anything-goes culture to be the bearer of
just another “truth”. Your words and your life need
to represent the King of Kings in His love and His power.
That’s the kind of testimony that gets attention and
perhaps draws some to reconsider their own lives.
Whether your words attract or repel, they
should at the least evoke a
Mike: Our stay in Israel resulted in a
dramatic life change. We had ostensibly gone to visit friends,
and came back to the States with a prophetic message to restore
our Father’s children to the relationship He has always
desired. He warned us there that not many would initially
embrace that which He told us to share. But He also promised,
“When the Dark Days of Chastisement come on the United
States, what you share will then bear fruit.”
Rejection of the Hebraic foundations and
verbal attacks against us have been the habitual pattern of our
ministry. Many times all we could do is recount the promises
our Lord has given us. One of these promises has found
fulfillment many times over: “Share this message and I
will provide for you.” This He has done in the most
marvelous and creative ways! Remembering His promises in times
of deep distress has helped us climb out of despair into the
light of grateful praise.
Next to our front door we’ve hung a
plaque with this verse, “Then
I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I
send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here
am I. Send me!” (Isaiah
6:8). During our final days in Israel Sue and I went away on a
two-day retreat for our Father to confirm what He wanted us to
share back in the States.
I got up very early in the morning and
went into a small chapel to pray. As I sat there surrounded by
memories of past failures and shortcomings, I poured out my
heart to our Lord. I felt totally unworthy to share the Hebraic
foundations that He was restoring to His called-out ones.
The Holy Spirit directed me to a small
devotional book on the seat next to me. I opened it to the
passage for that day; it was Isaiah 6:8. I knelt down and
sobbed, “You do this to everyone you intend to
use!” That plaque is a reminder from the Sender for the
two of us to keep on sharing.
How does our Lord help you get out
of the pit of despair in your desperate hours?
What particular lessons have you
derived from the classrooms of perseverance, yieldedness,
patient endurance, and obedience?
22. Then as she thought of his face...;
23. For a very long time...
The unalterable fact of fulfillment surrounds
the promises of God in His Word. By now you realize that you
can’t allow circumstances or fears to control your life
decisions. Our Father’s intervention is as powerful now
as when He parted the Red Sea — and just as potent in
overcoming seemingly impossible situations! He Who is well able
to heal the most malignant cancer is just as capable of
encompassing with profound serenity and peace the one whom He
chooses to heal on the other side of eternity.
Sue: For years my very independent
unbelieving father paid little heed to my testimonies of our
Lord’s work in my life. He seemed to think that his
self-sufficient life would go on as it had for years to come.
Then he developed a circulation problem
and an oozing sore on his foot that kept him immobilized for
over a year. During that time I returned to Connecticut to
visit him, sharing as usual the work of my Lord and His offer
of Lordship to those who humbly turn from their sins and come
to Him for forgiveness and reconciliation. This time he
listened intently. “I guess I should think about
that,” he commented. Then he looked me in the eye.
“I really need to take action, don’t I?” I
Four months later he ended his sojourn on
earth. In prayer I asked my Lord for an indication that my dad
had followed through. The phone rang. My sister related a story
about my father a few weeks before his death.
“Bill,” said his doctor, “your sore seems to
be healing. You’re a lucky man!” “Luck
nothing, replied my father, “it’s God Who is
Another phone call revealed that my
notoriously stingy father had offered his grandson-in-law his
new snowblower as a gift! And the morning of his memorial
service, our Father highlighted for me Isaiah 58:8,9: “Then your light will burst forth like the
morning, your new skin will quickly grow over your wound...Then
you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry, and He
will say, “Here I am.” In
my spirit I knew that not only was my father’s foot sore
healed, but that he had indeed cried out and found healing in
his spirit as well!
The moral of this tale: Keep on praying
and keep on sharing. Our Lord is well able to bring about the
events that will cause your loved on to encounter Him in a
How has our Lord made good out of a
circumstance in your life that seemed hopeless?
Have you ever shared (or refrained
from sharing) the Gospel with someone who died shortly
thereafter? How did that person's passing impact you?
24. Then she dropped the icy-cold little
pebble..; 25. Returning the tenth stone to the bag...
Mike: Following our months in Israel we
arrived back in my mother’s home in late March, 1994. On
April 5th our spiritual father came to see us. Frank Murray had
been born in Jerusalem in 1908. His parents had gone there with
many others, where some had died of disease. They had gone to
intercede that God would restore the Israelites back to their
land, fulfilling our Lord’s promise to bring them back
one last time. [See Chapter 13 of our book, Restoring the Early Church, for specific prophetic passages that pertain to
restoration of the Jews to the Land.]
Sue and I had encountered only a few
people in our lives who were as dedicated to our Lord as Frank
was. We looked forward to his coming, often calling his visits
“Jesus checks.” Even before he arrived we’d
find ourselves scrutinizing our devotion to our Lord to see if
there were any areas of lukewarmness lurking. And when he left
and hugged us, it was like getting a “well done”
On this particular visit he conveyed a
Spirit-prompted passage to encourage us in the ministry our
Father had given us. Those two verses pretty well summed up our
previous few years: “Although
the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of
oppression, He, your Teacher, will no longer hide Himself, but
your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word
behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,” whenever
you turn to the right or to the left’” (Isaiah 30:20,21).
The other passage that has so greatly
strengthened us is Revelation 3:8: “I
know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept
My word, and have not denied My name.” Sometimes we have been so knocked down by the demonic
assaults that have tried to hinder us from sharing this message
that we’ve felt our faith is almost non-existent. But in
the midst of all that battle we have not denied His Name
or His Word. He truly has been all-sufficient!
That trust in our Lord has been tested
often during the 10 years that we’ve been sharing the
Hebraic foundations. Habak-kuk’s words have been like an
arrow pointing the way to the heart attitude we want to have:
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
Has our Lord called you to do
something that is far beyond your own abilities to fulfill?
What is it?
What are the assaults you face in
order to keep on going? What encourages you to keep going?
26. Sorrow and her sister had been sitting
silently...; 27. By this time, the rain had ceased...
Matthew 7:24-27 warns us in advance that
our trust will be tested. Much-Afraid could have at any time
tossed the whole pouch of stones out the cave entrance into the
flooding water. But she chose to cling to her hope in the
Shepherd through it all. By her decision, her companions were
able to rejoice in “relief and thankfulness”. Her
trust was indeed founded on the Rock!
We can tell you with confidence that one
of the things that helps you during the time of testing is to
take ownership of the stones of suffering you have gone
through. See them as God’s instruments in your
sanctification. They are part of your priceless treasure, just
as were the stones of remembrance in Much-Afraid’s pouch.
He’s using them to conform you to the character of Jesus.
As the Lord has guided us in writing these
study guide chapters, it hasn’t been without painful
self-examination! We’ve had to wrestle with attitudes,
confess irritation, and cry out to Him for help.
If we failed to respond to His prompting
to “come clean”, we’d begin to insure
ourselves against further hurt. In time our trust in the
“Potter” to form us as He wills would wane. Once
again Paul’s words penetrate below skin deep to the
spiritual heart of the matter: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor
uncircumcision means anything, but [my trust] working through
love” (Galatians 5:6),
and 1 Corinthians 13.
Every human being we meet deserves the
same love of Jesus from us without any concern for our personal
and emotional self-protection. We may get knocked down, but God
through His Word and His promises strengthens us to stand in
trust-based love again and again. In this way no icy hardness
can form around our hearts as a barrier to hinder His love from
Have you embraced all of the
painful sanctification stones from your past?
Have you secretly insured yourself
against any further hurt God may permit in you life? Are you
emotionally guarded against further hurt by a spouse, children,
close friends, anyone else?
28. From that place on...; 29. The higher
they went, the more conscious she was that her strength was
One truth is clear on our journey to
The further along you travel,
the less you lean on your own strengths.
It’s helpful to recall a basic
principle of sanctification. Paul clearly understood this when
he yielded to God’s will concerning the “thorn in
his flesh”: “And He has
said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected
in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my
weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Paul was accustomed to seeking his Lord
and hearing from Him. That’s why, even if the message
wasn’t one he might have hoped for, he could respond with
a most glad heart. His God’s purposes were being
fulfilled in and through his own frailties!
There are three steps to the process of
sanctification, that is, God’s way of bringing us into
conformity to the character of Jesus:
The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit;
The Filling of the Holy Spirit;
The Control of the Holy Spirit.
Indwelling. No transformation into
Christ-likeness can occur without the indwelling Holy Spirit.
We become indwelt when we embrace the true Gospel of the
Covenant. Then our Father seals us with the Holy Spirit for the
day of redemption. [For more on this, see The Gospel of the Covenant is the Pilgrimage to
Salvation under Hebraic
Articles on our website.]
2. The Filling. As we yield ourselves in obedience to the
changes the Spirit desires to make in us, our soul, that is,
our mind, will, and emotions, begins to be filled with His way
of perceiving our lives. And with His filling comes His power.
3. The Control. As our soul becomes increasingly filled with
the Spirit, our mind, will, and emotions come under His
control. Our motivations and attitudes begin to respond as if
the mind of Christ is ruling us. The more we come under the
control of the Holy Spirit, the less we are like the world in
motivation, attitude and response. In time, the world system
doesn’t even know us.
Paul addresses the difference between
spiritual life and natural man in 1 Corinthians 2:13,14:
Those things things we also speak, not in
words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the
Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
But a natural man does not accept the
things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him;
and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually
Are you readily aware in your
spiritual journey that it is our Lord Who is the
“Refiner”, the “Potter”, and the
“Baker”? There is no doubt that He intends to
change you. How do you feel about this whole process?
Summarize briefly the changes that
the Spirit has made in you from your initial indwelling by the
Spirit through to His control in your life. How has the nature
of your relationship with others changed during this spiritual
30. On the second day...; 31. Stooping
down at the spring where it bubbled...; 32. There is a tree
growing...; 33. Much-Afraid looked on the other side...; 34.
Suffering stepped forward...
One aspect is often overlooked in the
sanctification changes that the Holy Spirit makes in our
Father’s children. We can look back and see the character
changes He has made, but sometimes we don’t realize the
greater dependency on Him that He has instilled in us.
Dependency is connected to our increasing level of trust. And
trust, along with our love, is what binds together our
relationship with our Father.
Dependency shows that we understand how
awesome, all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving our Father
is. Sadly, for too many, His method of suffering in order to
accomplish His purpose leaves a bitter taste in their hearts.
Far too many turn back in bitterness because they’ve
erroneously been taught that everything ought to go great for
them after they put their trust in Jesus.
The truth is:
Our Lord uses situations and people to change us. It’s far
easier to pick up and embrace the stones of past situations in
which we had to endure suffering than it is to embrace the people God has used,
especially when betrayal may have been part of the suffering we
endured. I can only repeat for you the precious counsel my
friend gave me years ago: “You
can never walk in the fullness of Jesus, until you wash the
feet of Judas.”
The “Branch” that Much-Afraid
cast into the bitter water represents Jesus. NO ONE can heal
the pain of past bitter experiences except Jesus — NO
ONE! It is only through forgiving those who hurt us that we can
take ownership of that particular “sanctification
Only by crying out to Jesus for His power
to heal our emotions can we truly be healed. All areas of
our bitterness must come under control of the Holy Spirit if we
are to find the freedom Jesus promises. That means no
rationalization, no victimization, no blame, no denial.
Do you want to speed up the healing
process? After you forgive from your heart the people who have
hurt you, pray for our Lord to bless those individuals. Forgiveness only gets
you back to zero out of “negative territory.”
Blessing gets you into “positive territory.” The
further you press on into positive territory through sincerely
praying blessing for whoever hurt you, the harder it will be
for you to be seduced back into that bitterness.
Note that the water Much-Afraid drinks
doesn’t become sweet, only that the stinging, burning
bitterness has gone. Your memories of past hurts will not
become sweet to you, but the healing power of Jesus will remove the sting of
them. The “curative properties” of forgiveness
equip you to comfort others with the comfort you yourself have
received from Him. (See 2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
Have you applied the Branch of
forgiveness and cried out to Jesus, praying blessing for those
who have hurt you?
List some tangible forms of
blessing through which you can demonstrate that you’ve
forgiven from your heart.
35. After they had rested...
Much-Afraid’s journey has not gotten
easier per se. The path is even steeper than it had been, but
her resolve to reach the appointed place and fulfill the
Shepherd’s command was strengthened.
So often in Scripture we see repeated the
phrase, “on the third day.” Not only did our Savior
rise during that time frame, but all sorts of resolutions
occurred throughout both testaments. Check out your concordance
and marvel at the frequency!
Your own “third day” calls for
you to keep pressing on with expectant urgency before your
motivation and purpose get side-tracked. For the joy set before
Him, Jesus pressed on to victory. Keep going!
In the next chapter a wonderful
transformation occurs. Are you prepared to set aside human love
and receive the love that only our Lord can give you? Before we
get to the next chapter, is anything still hindering you?