For the last month or so, He has been pushing me to stop and focus on how I was accomplishing my assignment. I know that my assignment [along with my husband, Mark] is to continue His work in setting "the captives free" [from spiritual bondage] through our Inner Healing Ministry. I also know that He has revealed to my husband that we will begin to teach small groups of Christians who want to know more about Kingdom Living. That assignment has already begun and I can see that "Kingdom" is at the heart of what He has called me/us to.
But my spirit began to be troubled because I could also see that other ministries were pulling on my heart and, while I am in full support of their calling and purpose, it wasn't given to me as my assignment, and I wasn't fully vested in where Jesus wanted to take me. He had more for me to do within my "lane" and I wasn't hearing Him! So, I struggled with saying "No" to this other ministry [for a season, at least], and waited to hear from the Lord about what is next in His agenda for me.
Almost immediately, He showed me new opportunities within my "Kingdom lane" -- an invitation for Mark and I to come speak to a new group on Kingdom; the possibility of a women's retreat on Kingdom Living and Freedom; as well as encouragement to write a book on the Kingdom of God and Kingdom Living -- all within the span of several hours! This last assignment had actually been given to me as a word of knowledge two years ago, and I had not acted on it, even though it was constantly on my mind. Then in the same afternoon that these other two opportunities surfaced, I was speaking to a woman I consider my mentor about being spiritually attacked after hammering home the Kingdom on my blog, and she said, "So, are you are going to write a book on the Kingdom?" Confirmation of the word spoken over me two years prior! There it all was! Jesus was making it pretty clear that I was to be concentrating on my Kingdom assignment; it was to be front and center!
So, what do I do? I get all excited and my spirit is fired up! In about 45 minutes I write an outline of what a women's retreat would like -- talk about a fast download! I'm looking at our schedule to plan our talk to the group near Houston, and I'm figuring out how I can rearrange my daily schedule to commit a dedicated amount of hours to begin writing the book.
You see, at first I'm equating wilderness with the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years and I said, "I don't understand why He would point me to wilderness". Her response was, "He says to just trust the process". So, now I know I need to go home that night and have a talk with Jesus to discover what He means, and why "Wilderness" is something I need to meditate on and pray about. At that moment, it certainly didn't sound like an encouraging word.
But this morning, it is a different story! Last night I prayed for Him to reveal the fullness of what "trusting the process in the Wilderness" meant for me. Today, He began to reveal it layer by layer. First, the "Wilderness" wasn't connected to the Israelites' wanderings. Instead, He pointed me to His own time in the wilderness after His baptism in the Spirit. Matthew, Chapter 4, gives us an account of that experience ... Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The passage goes on to focus on the ways that the devil tests Jesus to get him to sin, and the way in which the Lord defeats the Enemy's tactics with the Word of God.
However, I believe our English translations put the wrong emphasis on what happened there in the wilderness. I prefer the Aramaic translation which reads, Afterward, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the lonely wilderness in order to reveal His strength against the accuser by going through the ordeal of testing. And after fasting for forty days, Jesus was extremely weak and famished.... As I began to ask Jesus questions about His Word of "wilderness" to me, He began to show me that although it was important to recognize that Scripture is an effective weapon against the attacks of the devil, He wanted me to focus on His fasting experience in the wilderness. The primary purpose of Him fasting was to draw near to the Father for the strength and knowledge and power He would need to begin His ministry; for the signs and wonders that were to come, and for the authority of the Gospel of the Kingdom!
Yes, Jesus has a new exciting season ahead for me [and for Mark]. And I believe He will take us to new levels of power and authority. But first, I must spend my time in the wilderness with the Father -- fasting and praying; receiving new revelations about my assignment(s); being prepared for the testing that will inevitably come in this new season. Like Jesus, I need to trust this process in the wilderness. I need to spend time fasting as a spiritual investment to draw upon in those times that I will need God's help. Jesus, Himself, taught His disciples that some of their Kingdom assignments could not be completed without the power that came from prayer and fasting.
Fasting will also help me strengthen my intimacy with the Father as He reveals His power and strength in my assignment and in my battles against the Enemy. And most importantly, I believe that spending time in the wilderness with my Heavenly Father will help me to pray and hear from Him as Jesus did. And I hope it will reveal any hidden sins that the devil could use to hinder my assignment. I want to leave the wilderness with a heart like Jesus. I want to be able to leave the wilderness empowered with the complete knowledge of my mission and empowered to walk it out, just as Jesus did His!
So, while my initial response to the word of knowledge Theresa received was luke-warm, the Holy Spirit and Jesus have now shown me the truth of that word. WILDERNESS is not to be denounced, but rather, it is to be welcomed! I gladly enter into the wilderness my God has prepared for me, because I know I will meet Him there. I will be humbled there. I will receive spiritual knowledge and authority there. And I will be empowered to walk in new levels of Kingdom and to share the glorious news with those who are seeking the Kingdom first. My wilderness will glorify my God!
Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.