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Embracing the Wilderness, Part 2. By Ashley Martinez

Embracing the Wilderness, Part 2. By Ashley Martinez

Rev. Crystal February 7, 2014 0 comments
07Feb
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The Continuation of “Embracing the Wilderness, Part 1” by Ashley Martinez

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This year, I decided to read the Bible in 90 days. After a few days of reading, I came upon Numbers 14. It is about the people of Israel rebelling against God after scouting out the Promised Land in the previous chapter. The first thing to be pointed out is the people’s rebellion stems from four things which re-occurred throughout their wilderness travels; (1) First, they continually griped and complained about the place they were in. No matter the miracles and continual provision they were given by YHWH it was never enough, (2) The people of Israel questioned, mocked and tried to usurp the spiritual authority in their life because of pride and covetousness of “power.” (3) The people did not foster a spiritual environment in their lives of faith. They were filled with unbelief in God and even before entering the promised land, were flirting with idolatry to other god’s that met the needs they thought they needed. (4) last, their final rebellion was the climax of all the attitudes and actions stated above which culminated into the final state of fear which overtook their hearts.
I cannot get the words the Lord spoke out of my head. As He heard his chosen people make plans to RETURN TO EGYPT, He says, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?” Can you imagine the heartbreak in God’s words as He ponders how a people can be so utterly stubborn? These people cried out in anguish and oppression in Egypt. It was their cries of pain and toil which caught YHWH’s heart as they were in slavery that motivated God to send Moses to save them (Exodus 2:23). Yet as they are at the precipice of the promised land, as they stand at the door of their promise, at the door of land, peace, eternal relationship with God, and many other wonderful gifts (that are undeserved); the fear of the “giants” in the land culminated with their prolonged rebellion and unbelief to make them run away from the promises and gifts of God! Yes, they had to work for their promise, yes they had to walk in faith, but they were promised to never face those challenges alone or without YHWH! They ran anyway! They ran in such fear in the opposite direction that YHWH said, “As I live (I am real, despite your unbelief) declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upwards, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell… And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness.” (Numbers 14:28-34).
Yes, we are lonely. But I must ask you brother & sister in Christ, how much of our fear of loneliness has kept us from our promised land? We can never go back to Egypt. Never think for a moment the world and all its oppression, bondage and abuse has more appeal than the promise of relationship, provision and miracles from Christ. We have been given a place of security. In Egypt there was security in the fact that nothing would change, they were fed, they had a place to lay their head, but did they thrive? No… neither can we thrive in Egypt. God has asked us to trust Him to take us into a wilderness experience. He is testing. He is molding and making us into the person He would have us be when we are ready to enter the Promised Land. We must realize it was the people’s mindsets which held them back.
I encourage you to do five things while you wander through the wilderness.
1. Speak positive things to life, not negativity.
2. Believe God is providing, and recognize God’s miracles of provision in your life.
3. Realize there are spiritual leaders in your life who are there for your good. God placed them in your life to move you forward and encourage you. Do not covet, do not disrespect, and do not tear down the place God has put them in over your life as Christ walks with you.
4. Propagate a consistent walk of faith! The people of Israel lacked such faith and it fostered a bad attitude of rebellion and stubbornness. As a result, they forsook YHWH and sought other god’s who made them feel good. What false god’s have you placed in your heart, simply because you are uncomfortable with where you are right now?
5. When you reach the door of your promise, do not run in fear but courageously believe and take a step of faith. God will continue to be with you and though you have much work to do to attain your inheritance, God will fight for you and be with you. You must simply lift your voice in a war cry, praise the Lord most high and believe your inheritance will fall into your hands.

               If you do these things, you will hear the words of Moses ring through your soul, “And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build,  and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant…” Deuteronomy 6:10-11
               There will be blessings in your life you did not work for! There will be miracles. There will be provision you cannot even imagine in its entirety.  The reality is we must walk through the wilderness. We must draw closer to the heart of God. We must desire a life which is completely and utterly dependent on Christ. We must come to a place where we trust and realize all that God does is for our good. God is our greatest fan and has all the power in the world to make our future plans a reality. Embrace the wilderness experience. Learn to enjoy the quiet moments of solitude. Trust that the pitfalls are character builders, that the dreams we forgot, will one day rise again. Remember that our pain . . . in our sufferings, are moments where God is stretching us into the person he sees us becoming later, though we cannot see it now. Believe God’s promises are true. God will never leave nor forsake us, and let us pray through the wilderness experience we do not get to the point that we turn from the one (the only one) who desires to give us the promises and future we desire. I am NOT preaching prosperity doctrine. I am preaching the reality that God knows the desires of our hearts, though we may not. The future is as clear as mud to us, but to Him, clear as day. We must trust, regardless of what we see. God has great thing in store for us. There are things we have never expected. Do not live in fear, but with great expectation!

I encourage you to go and read a psalm and refresh your mind on the promises of the Lord. God desires all that is good for you and in you. Take the time to remember this truth! Blessings to all! –Ashley Martinez
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About The Author Rev. Crystal Rev. Crystal Schmalz is a licensed minister in the United Pentecostal Church International, holds a Master of Divinity degree from Urshan Graduate School of Theology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Humanities and History from Michigan State University. Crystal has served as a staff chaplain at Barnes Jewish Hospital, has completed five units of Clinical Pastoral Education, and is a member of ACPE. She served as a ministry staff leader for ACMNP in Yellowstone National Park and enjoys the beauty of God’s creation. She served on staff at Life Christian Church pastored by David Stephens doing outreach, guest coordination, youth leadership, Sunday school, and music ministry. She currently attends New Life Center pastored by Garry Tracy, and is involved in teaching Sunday school, preaching at nursing homes, teaching Bible Studies, and helping people connect to God and community. Crystal loves to spend time with her husband Luke, and her hobbies include writing, “thrifting,” eating ice cream, and playing Settlers of Catan and Scrabble with friends and family.

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