Confidentiality for Pastors - A New Pathway to Spiritual Equilibrium

Desert Places

Isaiah 35: 1-2
The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.

Isaiah 41:17-20
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

Isaiah 51: 1-3
Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

Isaiah 51: 21-23
Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine: thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: but I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.

Mark 1: 40-45
And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; and saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.
Sometimes we find ourselves in desert places, desolate wildernesses of isolation and despair. What then do we do in the midst of our despair? First of all, we must ascertain the reason for our isolation and come to terms that it is ordained by God, and used as a refining fire from his infinite armory of finishing tools to remake us into vessels fit for his use to build his Kingdom on earth. 

To be alone in your desert places simply means that you are still in the refining mode of preparation for purpose; the ultimate fulfillment of your destiny. God-given destinies do not come about without paying a great price, which is often composed of agony, pain, torment, suffering, distress, sorrow, grief, misery and heartache. 

The desert is a bleak, hot, barren and bare place to dwell, in the meantime, waiting for a change to occur in your life, nevertheless, it is where God does his greatest work in you. It is your Gethsemane moment where you determine within yourself that you will let your will die, and yield to the will of the Father, who requires of you to lay everything that is you on the altar of sacrifice. 

Failing to do so means to die in your God-ordained desert wilderness just like the Israelites did because they failed to go forward, but instead kept reflecting on what was behind them; Egypt, the place of God's miraculous deliverance.

What then is your Egypt? What are you holding onto from the past that God has delivered you from? It is the failure to accept God's deliverance and the denial of your destiny simultaneously. 

The Promised Land lay before the Israelites; Lebanon, Carmel, and Sharon, a deep, rich fertile land of evergreen trees, orange groves, vineyards, fragrant flowering trees that produced oil for spices, soaps, and medicines, a place where they could grow and flourish into perfection and beauty in the presence of the Lord, adorned in the garments of praise, and giving thanks to the mighty God of their miraculous deliverance. 

But no one wants to dwell in the uninhabited, lonely, unfruitful, infertile, bleak and empty desert places while God purges the past "Egypt(s)" from our frame of reference. Egypt(s) that stifle our growth and creativity because they are not seen in the proper perspective, that being as individual bricks in the building that was under construction by the hand of God before time began. 
All things, both good and evil will work together for our good if we but step off the throne of our lives, and allow Jesus Christ to take his place of divine ruler over our lives in all circumstances and situations.

If we endure the desert places in our lives we will come through to the other side of our cross-bearing trial of faith, wearing the symbolic laurel of honor and victory just as Christ did when he was resurrected from the dead. As Christ was rewarded for his obedience to the will of God, so will we receive our reward if we get to the other side of the death of our will and learn to lovingly embrace God's will for our lives.

The desert places in our lives are meant to crush us to produce the fragrant oil of the anointing of the Holy Ghost, that will, first of all, minister to our "friendly fire" wounds, and heal our sorrows and brokenness in preparation for the fulfillment of our divine purpose in life.

Even in our desert places God comforts us by his presence, and guides us through all the pitfalls dug by enemies who assail us at every turn. 

It is for the conquering of our enemies that we have arrived in our own specific desert place, where we put all fears under our feet, and learn to trust in the Lord with every fiber of our being, because within that parameter of trust we find out who we are as God introduces us to who he created us to be in actuality, casting away the layers of who we are not; labels and definitions perversely attached to our perceptions of who we think we are, and who we were told that we are. 

Wearing this false persona for years, living in a world among people, including ourselves, who really don't know who we really are from God's perspective, we stumble through the darkness of our own ignorance until we collide with the mercies of God. 

Within the framework of God's perspective, through obedience to his all-knowingness, we discover who we really are in relation to the purpose of our existence in finite time.

Dwelling in our desert places we are as of yet uncultivated outwardly, but inwardly we are being cultivated by the power of God as he builds a strong foundation within the construct of our true actuality. 

Our deliverance from our desert places means that now God is ready to build upon the foundation that he has constructed within us, through the unmitigated slaying of our flesh, in order to create us into a holy temple where he might dwell to perform his will in our lives.

After you endured decades woven together with tragedy, loss, pain, suffering, isolation,  persecutions, accusations, misunderstanding, and hateful liars more or less,  it is then quite understandable that what is below ground does not equate to what is above ground. We have to become acquainted with the new us.
All that is now visible is the beginning of the framework of who you are, which is not indicative of who you are going to be when God finishes constructing the work called you! So we stumble once again from our desert places into the light of a new reality, the embryonic created being taking the first step into an unseeing world who still has its preconceived labels ready to reattach them to your new essence, but then the battle ensues, only this time you are prepared to resist evil and counter it with who God says you are, to resist allowing the lies forming about you to sway you either to the left or right of who God has redefined you to be exactly who he created you to be.

We are then in a fertile land where the rivers of living water are flowing freely through us; the Holy Spirit continuing our education, and escorting us into a world where our candles, the light of God in our lives, are no longer hidden but sitting on a candlestick, cities on a hill flickering in the darkness of a blind world and a deliberately obtuse people. We cannot be the light of the world if we have misconceptions about our true identities.

God will cause our desert places to blossom, inexplicably so. We cannot explain it, nor can we understand what or how God does what he does in our lives. We only know that one morning we woke up and everything was different, and not only that, but the changes kept arriving like exquisite gifts, that you did not even ask for, that were just left on the doorstep of your life, sent directly from the generous hand of a loving Father. It's called your own unique promised land. We don't know what that land will consist of, we only know that when we arrive at the place God that has prepared for us, it is indescribable, unique, and awesomely appealing to every aspect of our being. God is creative, this we know, and his creativity can often cause our minds to pause in wonder at the mighty God we were born to serve.

God will give us fragrant blossoming trees of blessings to adorn our lives with even in the midst of our confusion and despair, he blesses us wondrously in the heat of the desert, in the isolation of our despair, he rains from heaven manna for our weary souls, refreshes our spirits and gives us the momentum to continue the process of allowing him to make us into vessels of honor, sanctified for the master's use, and prepared for every good work.

Jesus Christ healed the sick and raised the dead, but that was not his purpose. His purpose was to die on the cross for the sins of the whole world. Even he was found to be in desert places, no doubt, trying to wrap his mind around and prepare himself for the crucifixion that was on the horizon of his brief life. 

Visualizing Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, it occurs to me that our ultimate purpose in life is liable to be something that we really don't want to do, but we must submit ourselves to the will of the Father anyway. I imagine that Jesus could have just left the Garden of Gethsemane and trekked back to the wilderness, sat down and contemplated the cross from afar, but since he was the Word of God, he really had no alternative but to complete the task set before him. 

Isaiah 55: 10-11 states this, "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

Additionally, John 1:14 confirms, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

Desert places are where miracles are birthed in our soul, miracles that assist us in the completion of our divine purpose in life. 

Our parched desert places cannot be avoided nor circumvented, if in fact we desire to fulfill our purpose in life. To leave our purpose scattered in disarray on the arid desert floor is to walk, seemingly unaware, directly into the awaiting arms of Satan, who then becomes our newly adopted ipso facto father. Selah.
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