Blogging isn't about publishing as much as you can. It's about sharing the Truth, in spite of how you feel. I'm not a writer, by most standards, I write because I am compelled to disseminate Christ speaking in my inner man. In this, I can deliver profound supernatural inspirations. 

 Dr. Stephen Phinney

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GRACE IN THE WILDERNESS

Thus says the LORD, "The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness—Israel, when it went to find its rest." (Jeremiah 31:2)


Jeremiah is one of the Biblical major prophets I most respect. He was also known as the “weeping prophet.” Enrico Glicenstein portrayed him in a statue where Jeremiah is hugging himself. A pictorial I can relate. Jeremiah's ministry prompted plots against him (Jeremiah 11:21–23). The Anathoth empire, offended with Jeremiah's message, possibly for concern that it would shut down the Anathoth refuge, his priestly associates and the men of Anathoth conspired to kill him – many times over. However, the Lord revealed the conspiracy to Jeremiah, protected his life, and declared a disaster for the men of Anathoth. When Jeremiah complains to the Lord about this persecution, he is told that the attacks on him will become worse.


Thanks for the great news Lord!


A priest by the name of Pashur the son of Ben Immer, a temple official in Jerusalem, had Jeremiah beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin for a day. After this, Jeremiah expresses overwhelming grief and sorrow to the Lord over the difficulty that speaking God's Word has caused him and regrets in becoming a laughingstock and the target of mockery. He recounts how if he tries to hide the Word of the Lord inside and not mention God's name, resulting in the Word becoming like fire in his heart and he is unable to hold it in. This too I can relate.


Jeremiah’s primary mission was to warn the people of God of their doom of captivity to the Babylonians. After Jeremiah prophesied that Jerusalem would be handed over to the Babylonian army, the king's officials, including Pashur the priest, tried to convince King Zedekiah that Jeremiah should be put to death because he was discouraging the soldiers as well as the people. Consequently, the king's officials took Jeremiah and put him down into a cistern, where he sank down up to his knees in mud. The intent seemed to be to kill Jeremiah by allowing him to starve to death in a manner designed to allow the officials to claim to be innocent of his blood. A Cushite rescued Jeremiah by pulling him out of the cistern, but Jeremiah remained imprisoned until Jerusalem fell to the Babylonian army in 587 BC. Again, he becomes trapped by his lamenting. It’s no wonder why he was called the “weeping prophet.”


“And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Revelation 18:2)


The primary connection I have to Jeremiah is over the ongoing issue with Babylon. In his day, Babylon represented the worst kind of oppression known to men and angels. In the book of Revelation, the new Babylon, as described above, remained the same. Years ago, the Lord called me to warn the authentic believers of this new kind of Babylon that was consuming our culture. I must tell you it has come at a great price.

Many of Christians do not believe that prophets are used by the Lord today, covertly confessing that Paul’s reference to the gift of prophecy is dormant. I am not one of them. On every human constructed spiritual gifts test I have subjected myself to, I always obtain a score of 100% when it comes to the gift of prophecy. Honestly, sometimes it feels more like a curse. When people talk, I can usually tell when they are lying. When I view worldview events, I become overwhelmed with prophecies from the Bible. When I write on Biblical Truth, I see perspectives of the Deeper Life, carefully integrated into prophetic proclamations. It would be fine if it stopped there but NO, God puts a fire in my bosom until I speak it. Then the trouble starts.


There are two kinds of wildernesses. The first is the desolate place God put His people as He was preparing their children for the Promise Land. The second is a dark place the people of God are put in an attempt to shut them up. Jeremiah referencing both of these wildernesses.


Thus says the LORD, "The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness—Israel, when it went to find its rest." (Jeremiah 31:2)


Even though this sovereign place of wilderness is mightily used by God, surviving the sword and the dust of dry bones becomes overwhelmingly suffocating. Those of us who identify with Jeremiah know God’s precious promises are comforting. But…when you're stuck in mud up to your knees, weeping seems to be the only recourse.


“The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. "Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! Again you will take up your tambourines, and go forth to the dances of the merrymakers. "Again you will plant vineyards On the hills of Samaria; the planters will plant and will enjoy them. "For there will be a day when watchmen On the hills of Ephraim call out, 'Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.'" (Jeremiah 31:3-6)


On most days, I don’t enjoy being in the wilderness. I certainly don’t enjoy being rebuilt. As for dancing, well, that isn’t my first response to the Lord. So, what is a Jeremiah to do? After a little weeping and feeling sorry for ourselves, we get up, fill our lungs with air and shout.


“For thus says the LORD, "Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise and say, 'O LORD, save Your people, the remnant of Israel.'” (Jeremiah 31:7)


The Body of Christ is the remnant of Israel. I am no longer ashamed of being like my brother Jeremiah, who was called to preserve this remnant. I must do what he was called to do in spite of his despair and sorrow.


Back in 1973 shortly after I got saved, since I felt stupid from the inside out, I asked the Lord to give me half the wisdom He gave Solomon. I know, stupid is as stupid does. To that, He asked, Are you willing to have grief and pain all the days of your life? After saying an affirmative, “yes,” He then took me to one of my life passages.


“Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.” (Ecclesiastes 1:18)


Now in my 60s, I look back with temptations of regret but there I’m reminded that the more I know of the knowledge of the Holy, the more I want to know, and the more eager I go after it. Fully understanding it puts me in harm's way, constant pain and to suffer the grief that drives me to dark places only known to Christ and those willing to fellowship in His sufferings. My journey started out in ignorance of innocence but today, I am willing to accept the knowledge of the Holy and wisdom of the mind of Christ, attained it to the highest degree; instead of making men comfortable with tickled ears, which usually causes vexation and disquietude of my own mind, and promotes yet another round of grief and sorrow.


There is indeed wisdom and knowledge opposite to this, and infinitely more damaging, the wisdom of men. But I resist this daily. I press forward for the increase of Christ manifested. I have found that it brings more joy and comfort in those times of great grief and sorrow. This experimental knowledge of Christ in me, and of God in Christ, and of Divine Truths released through the Holy Spirit is where I revisit my virginity, "Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old, together, for I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.” (Jeremiah 31:13)


The greatest oddity of my life is, in my youth, I was known for my ability to dance without inhibitions. Today, in my old age, it is my greatest challenge. It is not my first response, particularly when suffering. But, since I am in the wilderness being rebuilt, I am learning to dance all over again. May I have this dance?

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