As day-7 of my 21-day fast begins, I pen a reflection once again from an observation found within nature, on my mini-farm.
Though greatly weakened from gnawing hunger, I have forced myself out into the weather to walk briskly through the snow and ice, to maintain a regimen of exercise. Even when the temperatures are near zero at times, the wind is blowing strong, and sleet is covering my eyeglasses, I press-on; bundled up of course, and pray in the spirit as I pant like an exhausted wolf after chasing a rabbit through the snow up a mountainside.
I have long deemed snow to symbolize purity and purification. And it is in the snow that I have found a sobering tale in recent days.
In my walks through the snow I have marveled over the foot, hoof and tail prints of many animals, and the stories these prints tell. In all, I have seen deer, coyote, cat, raccoon, opossum, fox, rabbit and bird prints. In just the past few days alone I have observed the telling story of wanderings, chases, confrontations, skirmishes, fatal fights, and the aftermath of one animal becoming the dinner of another, either dinner on-the-spot, or the dragging of such into the woods.
I observed the footprints of a bird which wandered away from one of my bird feeders; it wandered over toward my heating fuel tank. I then saw prints from a cat having bounded from behind my smaller (mini) barn, intersecting the bird prints. I then observed interlacing and overlapping circular prints of both, followed by a few feathers strewn about. The cat had obviously reached its fiber count after devouring the bird, and chose to leave but two feathers remaining. I have observed deer tracks emerging from the fifty acres of woods directly behind my southern fence line, and making a “B-Line” to one of my bird feeders. And because I also line the ground with bird seed, for the Mourning Doves who are ground-feeders, the deer (several deer) opted to eat the bird seed, which happens to contain cracked corn.
A more brutal tale was told in the snow just this morning, as I found half of a rabbit in the snow just a few feet from the main entrance of my larger barn. I saw the fresh rabbit tracks having emerged from a cluster of pine trees, and straight toward my barn. I then observed coyote tracks emerging from the other end of the cluster of pine trees, intersecting the rabbit right where I found its remaining hind quarters. The coyote had obviously cleaned the area with its tongue, not unlike a person who absorbs the last drop of broth after a great bowl of soup; for there were very few blood stains remaining in the snow following the this violent encounter.
Recalling the metaphor within snow, as representative of purity and purification; I am dully reminded of the purification which results from fasting.
Over the past 7 days, and while pressing-into more concerted prayer and meditation with the Lord, I have been shown a map of my thoughts, emotions and actions in recent months. And though outwardly I can often convincingly emulate the fruit of the spirit, I have yet harbored thoughts and emotions, and subsequent actions, which defy this fruit.
In the same way that the tracks in the snow have revealed hunger, searching, wandering, conflicts, aggression, violence and death; so our purification which occurs during fasting unveils the very same emotions and actions within our personal histories.
The Lord, through the prophet Jeremiah renders a sobering assessment of the tendencies deep within each of us: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick, who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart…” (Jere. 17:9-10a, NASB).
One may be inclined to readily argue that this excerpt of Jeremiah describes the unredeemed heart, the heart that has yet to experience the full habitation of Y’shua’s (Jesus’) rule and reign. Think again. Recall the puzzling transition with Peter, within Matthew chapter 16; whereas in one moment Y’shua declares to Peter that “…upon this rock [Peter’s revelation/declaration of Who Y’shua is] I will build My church…I will give you the keys of the kingdom…” (vv. 18, 19). And yet in another moment, but a few verses later, Y’shua rebukes Peter, saying, “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block for Me; you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on mans interests” (v. 23).
In the span of but a few verses, Peter has gone from being highly exalted and affirmed by Y’shua as having revelation which is so great that the Church Universal would be founded upon it; to then being rebuked by Y’shua as being Satan’s personal spokesperson. Hello? This excerpt of Peter’s story serves to underscore the condition of the heart which Jeremiah soberly uncovered, and which further serves to remind us that we too are subject to the same propensity.
I have, over decades at this stage, experienced many moments when the Holy Spirit has found fit to grace me with revelation far and above anything another human being has shared with me; only to find myself just days later, allowing my thoughts, emotions, and subsequent actions defying the same.
I have on many occasions, over many years, submitted myself to the cleansing process of various models of Inner-Healing and Deliverance ministry. This began with my first meeting with Dennis and Rita Bennett in 1983; authors of The Holy Spirit & You, a Christian classic written in 1971. And more recently I submitted to such in San Francisco close to a year ago, at the hands of two precious brothers who team-up from Texas and Hong Kong respectively, and travel the globe together. In one day I received ministry from them, and the very following day I was ministering with them. This pattern of receiving and giving ministry is one which I have long sought to speak to leaders, especially as relates to the ministry of Deliverance—a grossly overlooked and vital ministry in this hour, as the Bride succumbs to intense purging this year as 2013 unfolds.
I have discreetly shared with many leaders over the past few years, the growing criticality of submitting one’s self to the trusted hands of mature Believers, on an annual basis, and submitting to a deliverance session not unlike the way we submit our automobiles to major tune up’s, and car washes wherein we can select the “Deluxe Wash,” which includes a “full undercarriage spray.” Leaders especially at this juncture, need to periodically submit themselves to trusted hands, lay all their “issues” upon the table, and receive the cleansing power of the deliverance afforded to us as we entrust others with our hearts. It is those leaders who fail to do this, and who feel themselves above such activity, that wind up setting themselves up for a terrible fall. We have seen this played-out many times over, over many years, as the news media has attempted to make a mockery of such unfortunate souls.
We are, as the Church Universal, entering a very sobering period, my friend, intensely so as 2013 unfolds. And as we march further into the chaos unfolding within the End-Times before us, we have to be sober in spirit—around the clock. There is no more liberty nor latitude for lives of compromise, as alarmingly depicted in Revelation 3:16. I encourage you to re-visit that passage in light of what I’ve just shared.
Lest I fall prey to taking myself entirely too seriously at this moment; allow me to confess to you that for nearly 7 days I have had a recurring vision of a warm pecan pie sitting in front of me, with whipped cream on top—and the pie is for me alone. The vision includes eating the whole thing—in one sitting. And worse, the consumption of this pie is all that matters in the whole wide world. Such vanity, I repent.