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October 17, 2017

In this blog Wanda and I have tried to give readers an understanding of the wilderness and how Jesus works through our journey to teach us how to be rid of the malevolence of ‘self’. This has not been easy and we have little idea if the truth we are sharing is having any meaningful impact on the lives of others. Yesterday, however, Jesus gave us a powerful lesson on the results of going through the wilderness and an important revelation about how He eliminates ‘self’ in us. We freely share again the very important lessons we have learned; for love’s sake.

As we took Milo for his walk on a very chilly October morning yesterday, we came across a young lady packing shopping bags with her stuff. She was lightly dressed, which was not practical for the weather, and somewhat disheveled. Immediately Wanda and I discerned she was homeless. We knew this because her preparations for the day were all too familiar to us. We approached her and immediately asked if she could use a backpack. She replied with a tentative yes. We then entered into a conversation to determine if she had a place to sleep, warm clothes and enough to eat. The answers provided indicated she had a little but not enough. With that in mind we sped back to the hotel, grabbed the backpack we had been given when we walked out of Ottawa, some money, and our eldest daughter donated her brand new fleecy that was her only warm jacket. With all this we made a plan to help this young lady who was poor and homeless.

After driving back to where this young lady was, we talked for a bit; all the while helping this young woman pack her belongings into her new backpack and giving her a warm jacket. She wanted to go to a place where she could get more warm clothing and food downtown; so we decided to take her, her belongings and her bike in our small car and help her out. We went to a store to get her more money but Wanda found the bank machine was out of service. No matter, she thought, and went to buy the young lady mitts, and a warm head covering; and to get some cash added on to the purchase at the grocery till. When Wanda returned we gave the young lady the warm clothes and the money. After that we went to a nearby restaurant and purchased for her a hot breakfast. Finally, we drove her down to the area where this beautiful lady could get further help. We helped her with her stuff and her bike until she was ready to leave. With a small prayer of blessing we parted ways letting her know if she needed anything else, she could contact us at the motel.

This mission took only an hour of our time but it did wonders for our spirit as we were so very grateful to help this woman. Tears and prayers flowed throughout the day as we lifted her up to the Father so that she could receive more than she had. We felt a kindred connection with this woman who had been abused by the systems of man, and was now homeless and alone like us. I cannot even begin to describe the joy at being able to help one who was so needy.

When we go through a wilderness experience with Jesus, it is important to remember what the goal of the wilderness is. It is always the goal of the Father to bring us into maturity as adult sons just like our example, Jesus. To achieve this goal, we must be rid of ‘self’. This process we have outlined is primarily from the perspective of God exposing the ‘self’ nature to us, so we can see just how much an enemy it is to our own souls and to Him. There is a curious Scripture that goes as follows “Behold, I have created the smith who blows on the fire of coals and who produces a weapon for its purpose; and I have created the devastator to destroy.” Isaiah 54:16. This verse helped us understand that our prime adversary, satan, is used by God to expose the ‘self’ nature in each of us. Time and again God will use pressure, affliction and hardship in the wilderness to expose our own treacherous, duplicitous and evil ‘self’ nature. Each time Jesus does this, He calls us to repent of ‘self’ so we will be a clean vessel for His Spirit to fully indwell us. But to say that this is the only way God bids us to be rid of ‘self’, would do a disservice to His almighty power.

When we lived in Sherwood Park, Alberta we lived in a suburban middle class bubble that kept us sheltered and isolated from the poor and homeless. We insulated ourselves with church and money which kept us from seeing the harshness of life. It was only after we left our house and belongings and moved east, that we began our own slow descent into poverty. Once there,
we experienced firsthand what the poor and needy go through. These were tough but very valuable lessons; for Jesus taught us empathy and compassion for those in need, along with the lessons about our own ‘self’. What we did not understand, until today, was how much Jesus works through the poor and needy to also get rid of ‘self’ in us.

In Zephaniah 3:12 the prophet writes, “For I will leave in the midst of you a people afflicted and poor, and they shall trust, seek refuge, and be confident in the name of the Lord.” In Mark 14:7 Jesus says, ”For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you will not always have Me.” God is saying to us that He leaves the poor and needy on the earth for a reason. What is that reason? It took helping that young lady yesterday to give us the sharpened spiritual discernment to see this valuable lesson. What we learned is that helping the poor, along with intimate prayer, helps to dismantle the ‘self’ in each one of us. This happens as we pour our lives and resources into practically helping another. When we give of ourselves in love and empathy, ‘self’ does not have room to maneuver. By being kind and loving we are exercising the very actions that are the exact opposite of ‘self’. The humility required to help the poor effectively blunts the pride that is innate in all of us. ‘Self’ is effectively stopped in its tracks as the spirit in us, led by the Holy Spirit, takes over to pour out blessing on the less fortunate.

We can tell you from experience that when one tries to help the poor and needy when ‘self’ is still in full blown control, it will be dripping with condescension and pride. They will look down at the poor and in the end serve their own needs instead of the poor they are supposedly trying to help. The classic scripture is 1 Corinthians 13:3, ”Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.” We encountered this many times and to this day we loathe encountering such people. On the other hand, when one has been touched by poverty, suffering, and hardship, the level of humility and empathy they have for the poor is astonishing and welcome. These people did not look down at us who are poor, but met us at our level. They looked to our need and with no thought of ‘self’ reached into their heart and gave us love. This is the real value of the wilderness. To learn the art of ‘selfless’ love that reaches out to help the poor and needy in a practical way that blesses them. It is the perspective of the “fox hole”, rather than the perspective of the ivory tower. To have the perspective of the foxhole, you will have to have lived in a fox hole.

I sit here and wonder at how people can sit in their pews or chairs, Sunday after Sunday, listening to someone drone on about God and never reach out in love and empathy to the poor and unfortunate. How can they say that they have somehow met with God in their service, when they have not served the less fortunate? How can they say they’ve touched the heart of God when His heart is for the poor and needy that are sleeping cold and shivering in the park on the bare ground with no food? How can these believers say they are walking with God when they hold on to ‘self’ and are so unwilling to let go of what they have to bless those that have nothing? I confess I do not understand how we ourselves lived like this before. It has taken the wilderness to help us understand “For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17. By being broken of ‘self’ in the wilderness, we learned about what is valuable in His sight and what is the expression of love that He deeply desires.

Our day to day lives need to be full of those experiences where we, as mature adult sons, the Bride of the Most Holy One, are giving what we have to those that are needy with no thought of ‘self’. Knowing that our Father will replenish our supplies and resources multiple fold so that we can continue to help those around us in need. This is what happened yesterday. As we gave, more came to us. These are truly the tithes and offerings that please the Father. We do not give to get; we give to be the loving body of Christ in the earth and give directly to people in need without a “middle man”. This is the practical, living, daily example of living a life without ‘self’ He is looking for; and those bound in the religious systems just do not understand. He is looking for those that will begin the journey to rid themselves of that very thing that keeps them from Jesus. No, it is not the world or the devil or demons; it is your own enemy ‘self’. Nothing more and nothing less. It is the ‘self’ in you that keeps you from meeting Him in His heart. As you dismantle ‘self’, you will begin to see His heart is full of compassion, mercy and love for the poor and needy. If you do not know this, then you do not know Him. Only as you are rid of ‘self’, will you truly learn how to help the poor His way and touch His heart.


Homer and Wanda