Joseph Herrin (11-09-2014)
In the previous blog post I shared some of the experiences of a young man named Nicholas. This post will continue the narrative, as much has transpired in his life in the past week. I had mentioned Nicholas being challenged by Yahweh to overcome fear and confront conflict rather than running from it. His status of being on parole, and having served 4-1/2 years in prison beginning at the age of 16, the first part being in a Youth Detention Center until he turned 18, presents many challenges in his life now that he is walking as a disciple of Christ.
On some occasions when Nicholas has disclosed to people his background it has led to unpleasant consequences. This proved to be the case once again when he was convicted of needing to tell his employer about his criminal background. He had been on a job a couple months. It was the first really good job with steady income that he had been able to obtain in the year since his prison release. The Spirit of Christ made it known to Nicholas that it was not Yahweh’s will that he walk in fear, or fall short of being honest and straightforward with his employers. Nicholas’ ultimate welfare and provision is not dependent upon the vagaries of human judgment, for he is a son of God and Yahweh has promised to care for him.
It was a disappointment to me, and I am sure it was to Nicholas as well, when his employer decided to terminate him after Nicholas told him about his past. The man said he would give Nicholas a good reference for future employment because he is a very conscientious and hard worker, but he chose to terminate him anyway.
Nicholas recently observed his 22nd birthday and the incident he was put in prison for occurred when he was 16 years old. Despite his young age at the time he was convicted, and the transformation that has occurred in his life, the state continues to treat him as a criminal. Unlike the kingdom of God, there is little allowance in this world’s judicial systems for repentance and grace.
A short time before Nicholas was let go from his job, the elderly couple he was living with informed him he would need to find a new place to stay. They were selling their home and moving to another town. Due to the requirements of his parole, he has to have any potential lodgings approved by his parole officer. Nicholas was facing having to find suitable lodgings while not having a job, while also needing to secure gainful employment, and the clock was ticking. The people gave him 2 weeks to find another place to live, and the two weeks was almost up when he lost his job. Nicholas had secured a place to move locally, but since it was in a rental home owned by the man who had just fired him, that door was now closed.
Remarkably, Nicholas shared with me that he was at peace in the situation. He confessed that God was in charge of his life, and he had confidence that he had done the right thing in telling his employer about his past. Nicholas made reference to the following Scripture passage.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Yahshua.
Nicholas told me he had a peace in his heart that surpassed understanding. It was a peace not based upon his circumstances. Rather, it was founded upon his knowledge of God and his confidence in Yahweh’s goodness.
It is amazing to note how various events at times seem unconnected until Yahweh reveals how they are all woven together. It is as if we see the individual strings in a tapestry and they appear confused until all of a sudden we see the bigger view and comprehend a design that had previously eluded us. Then each string, each event in life, is disclosed to be part of a grand design.
It began to come into my heart that Yahweh might permit Nicholas to move to the area in which I was located in central Georgia. This would be about a two hour drive from his previous place of residence. I had thought it would be good for Nicholas to be able to experience the fellowship of other sincere believers his age. There is an unusually spiritual group of young men and women at the church my daughter Kristin attends. I began to anticipate that Yahweh might be going to accomplish the very thing I had desired for Nicholas since his release from prison.
I considered that if Nicholas had just needed a place to stay, but still had a good job, he would have looked for a residence in the vicinity of his employment. However, by God bringing Nicholas into a circumstance where he needed both a job and a place to stay, he was free to consider other options. What may appear on the surface to be very undesirable circumstances in our life can at times prove to be a great blessing.
I had previously considered inviting Nicholas to stay with me, as I have had another man live with me in my bus before. One of the reasons I had not suggested it was my concern that the parole officer would not approve of his staying in a motorhome, especially one that was a converted school bus. The elderly gentleman with whom Nicholas had been staying was putting pressure on him to move out, and knowing that he had no other options available to him, I was happy to suggest that he come and stay with me. This was a relief to Nicholas, and he contacted his parole officer the next day.
By this time Nicholas also had a job interview lined up in this area as my daughter had contacted some people she knew and made arrangements. When Nicholas told his parole officer he had both a job interview and an offer of a place to stay, she approved his transfer. However, she said the approval for his residence was temporary. Within 14 days the parole officer who oversees the area in which I live would have to make an onsite inspection and approve of the living arrangements. If the parole officer did not approve of them, Nicholas would have to move again.
Nicholas fit everything he owns into his 20 year old Honda Accord that has 243,000 miles on it and arrived here on Friday, November 7th. He had been here little more than an hour, and was still unloading his car, when two parole officers drove up. I did not know who they were at first, but recognized that they were wearing law enforcement shirts and had pistols strapped to their sides. When they said they were here to speak to Joseph Herrin, I experienced a momentary sinking feeling as the last two times someone with a badge and gun came looking for me I was notified that I had to appear in court and I ended up in jail. If you are not familiar with this part of my testimony, you can read about it at the following links:
I can truly empathize with Nicholas, for, like Joseph in Egypt, I know what it is like to be judged as a transgressor without any hope of persuading people otherwise. It is humbling to be numbered among the transgressors. The experience feels the same whether you are not guilty of the things you are accused of, or whether you have transgressed but are now washed, sanctified, and justified in the eyes of God. In either case, men of this world are not judging as God is, and it is hopeless to expect that explanations will change their minds. Our only course is to see ourselves as sheep among wolves and entrust our lives to the care of God.
God gave us favor that day. The two parole officers softened quickly when I explained to them that I was a minister with a prison ministry and I had encouraged Nicholas to locate to this area so he could be part of a fellowship of young adults who loved the Lord. When they learned he also had a job interview the same day and it turned out that one of the parole officers knew some of the members of the church my daughter attends, things became very cordial. In retrospect, it was a blessing for the men to show up right after Nicholas arrived. He did not have to experience two weeks of waiting to find out whether they would allow him to stay with me.
Nicholas’ job interview also went very well. The job he interviewed for is at a dairy, the largest one in Georgia. It is located about ten miles from where I am parked. Nicholas did not hesitate this time, but voluntarily told the man he interviewed with about his prison record. Nicholas received assurance that his past transgression would not prevent him from working there. He is expecting to receive a job offer this coming week. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.
I would share at this time some things I have been pondering. I have made mention recently that I do not know how long the Father will have me at this present location. All of us have to yield our lives to God, to go where He says go, and to do what He says do. If Yahweh blesses Nicholas and I by allowing us to abide together here for months to come, we will both consider it a great blessing. There is much peace and solitude in this place. Yet, in my spirit I am sensing that days of calamity and great societal unrest are near at hand. I have enumerated some signs that lead me to believe this to be true, and I will be sharing more in upcoming posts. At this time, however, I will limit myself to some things Nicholas observed just prior to relocating here.
For several weeks Nicholas shared that God had been showing him the number 14 and he was sensing that Yahweh was indicating that some transition was coming to his life. He spoke this to me before he had lost his job or had been informed that he would have to find a new home to live in. The number 14 in Scriptures signifies transition. What Nicholas had been sensing regarding an impending transition certainly came to pass, and quickly.
One aspect of this transition is that by leaving LaGrange, Georgia where he had been living, Nicholas was leaving his family behind. The two of us have spoken about this since his arrival here. This is an experience often shared by those who surrender their lives to follow God. Abraham was led to leave behind his father’s household and all that was familiar to him. This experience has been repeated many times among those who are the called out of God. Yahshua said:
“Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, aeonian life.”
I anticipate that one of the great tests of obedience in days drawing close will center upon disciples of Christ being willing to leave behind their family who do not share their commitment to walk in a surrendered obedience to the Spirit of Christ. A Christian brother sent me a link to a broadcast on Trunews where Rick Wiles interviewed a man named Stephen who has left the United States and relocated his family to Central America. I had heard this man Stephen speak before and was quite impressed with his spiritual insight and his surrender to follow the Lord wherever He would lead. The broadcast was posted the same day Nicholas left his family behind to travel to where I am located. We listened to it yesterday, not knowing what it was about. Stephen spoke of God bringing a division among family members at this time. He stated that those who are walking closely in a life of surrender to the will of God are being led apart from those who are not. There was much in the interview that was excellent. The interview with Stephen begins about 20 minutes into the broadcast, and I highly recommend it.
A significant thing occurred two days before Nicholas moved in with me. Various family members wanted to see him before he left, and on Wednesday of last week he drove to Columbus, Georgia to visit his father. On the way there Nicholas saw a fire up ahead and traffic on the Interstate was backed up. He called me and said it looked like a large blaze. He sat there a while until highway patrolmen began coming down the road instructing everyone to cross over the median and return back the other way. Nicholas had to get off at an exit and continue on back roads to his father’s house.
I found on the news the cause of the fire. A car had run into the back of a tanker truck.
Photo of Incident
Later that evening when Nicholas was returning home he found that the Interstate was still backed up. All traffic was being diverted around the site of the accident. A mobile sign stated “ALL TRAFFIC MUST TAKE EXIT 14.” We spoke about this, and the timing of Nicholas’ move. A possible understanding of this “sign” is that everyone will be going through a sudden and unexpected transition soon. The transition will be precipitated by a conflagration of some type. Since this occurred on the Interstate, it may be a conflagration between nations.
One other event that caught my attention was that Nicholas’ father have him a watch during his visit. Nicholas celebrated his 22nd birthday the day before and this was a late birthday gift. Nicholas already had a watch, so he gave the one he had been wearing to another man who was present. When I heard of this the phrase “changing of the watch” came to mind. The changing of the watch is another type of transition. It is also related to time, and the impression I am left with is that a time of transition is at hand, not only for Nicholas, but for those who are not Christians, such as the man to whom Nicholas gave his old watch.
It seems significant that the conflagration on the Interstate resulted in a division between Nicholas and his father. Nicholas was only about 30 minutes away from Columbus, where his father lives, when he found the road blocked, and everyone was required to turn around, though he did eventually find another way there. Nicholas’ father is not a Christian, and what occurred mirrors the message spoken by Stephen in the aforementioned interview.
There have been many signs given to America indicating that the nation is soon to experience what amounts to a new civil war. In the civil war families were divided, brother against brother, and father against son. These are things to ponder and pray about.
One last thing occurred on the day Nicholas was driving to my house. On the way here he was driving behind a black SUV. Suddenly a male deer ran out of the woods and hit the SUV directly on the side, badly denting one of the doors. Nicholas saw one of the deer’s antler’s shatter as it struck the SUV. The deer was killed by the impact. We have often commented on deer representing Christians. One of my favorite books is Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. The title is based upon a passage from
Yahweh God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
The imagery of a deer running blindly, either out of fear, or in a passion of lust (it is both hunting season here in Georgia, and the time when deer are in rut), does not bode well for Christians who are driven by the same impulses. I recently wrote of a young woman named Christian Faith who died of fright when her heart failed her in a horror theme park. Some Christians will run wildly, blindly, without any sense of divine direction in coming days. They will surely suffer grievous harm. Only those who overcome their fears and calmly commit themselves to follow the Lord wherever He leads will pass through these days victoriously.
Addendum: Speaking to Nicholas last night about what was shared in this post, he informed me that the watch his father gave him was set to military time (24 hour format).
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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