Huacachina Oasis

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A Desert Journey

Desert Experiences
At Trinity Evangelical Free Church Trinity Online we are doing a series of teachings based on the Exodus of the Israelites and their desert experience. As part of the worship experience before each teaching each week we’ve been learning from the Desert Experiences of members of the church body through short 5 minute videos. After seeing the first I talked with Bill Born our worship pastor about sharing my desert story and he was very excited because he thought it was a great idea.
Later last week he sent me an email with 22 questions to answer before we got together last Thursday to shoot the video footage. I have included the questions and answers below in the hopes that they might encourage you if you’re in a desert experience or to you prepare you to experience one.
I hope that God finds you through this post, and that you can enter the rest mentioned in Hebrews Chapter 4, and be at peace no matter what kind of experience you’re going through in your walk with and in Christ.
Questions and Answers on a Desert Experience
Q1. How long have you had a relationship with Christ?
    I was Born again in the summer of 1987. However I’ve finally realized my status with Christ only recently because of my upbringing in the SDA Church, and it’s morass of tangled doctrine.

Q2. Briefly describe how you began your relationship with Christ.

My relationship with Christ probably began even earlier than I recall. I always felt at peace with my standing in Christ and as I grew up became tired of the false religiosity of pretending to be what I was not (perfect). As a PK within the SDA church there was a lot of pressure, but I was rather flippant about things because I suppose the Holy Spirit was leading me to a understanding of Relationship over Religious Legalism. Freedom over Law. Grace over Works. Because of that I really loved Jesus although I had a totally warped understanding of who He really was.

That night in 1987 when I was Born Again was a look into the Spiritual Warfare that was raging over my soul. I experienced Hell for more time then I’d want to, and a demon tried to choke me to death. In fact I was unconscious when the Lord saved me. I called out to Him in my Spirit and He heard me, and He literally reached down with His mighty right hand and I hear Him say to me “If you take my hand I will never let you out of my hand”. My Spirit if you will grabbed His hand, and I was transferred from the Domain of Darkness to the Kingdom of God’s Son. I was flooded with the Spirit, and felt the peace that passeth understanding- it’s never gone. (I didn’t understand most of this until last year).

Q3. How would you define a desert experience?

A desert experience for me is a time of learning, it’s a time of discovery and revelation. The most amazing thing about my desert experiences is how Christ has wholly revolutionized my understanding of who He is and who I am in Him and through Him.

Q4. What was your desert experience?

I was born into one, since I was born into the twisted doctrine of the Seventh Day Adventist Church- but my current desert experience from 2007-11 has been a continual breaking of my will so my life is full for His will. I have not had a regular job in all this time, but I have slowly learned to trust in God, and put everything into His hands. I’ve also only recently come to a correct understanding of Christ. The disentangling of Adventist teachings from my upbringing seems to be a never ending process, but Christ has brought healing. And my walk and my faith and my knowledge in and of Him on a day to day basis gives me the greatest peace.

Q5. How long did your desert experience last (days, months, years)?

It is ongoing- but I like to say that I found the true oasis, the living water of my Lord and Savior- which I now know flows out of me like rivers of living water through the Holy Spirit who lives and seals me as a Child of God.

Q6. Do you feel that you are still in the desert or have you moved out of it?

I suppose I answered that in the last question but I am assuredly still in it, but God has brought me into the oasis of a fully understood relationship with Hi, through the Son and the Spirit. I’m now at peace even as I still try to find work so that I can afford a place and to get back on my feet again.

Q7. If you have left the desert, what brought you out of the experience?

No answer as I am still in my desert experience.

Q8.How did your desert experience begin?

My current desert experience showed the first stages of beginning back in 2004. My job position didn’t proceed me when I got married and moved to Oregon so I had to look for work as soon as I arrived. I was also a baby Christian, I had no understanding of the Holy Spirit. No understanding of a great many things that most people would take for granted. Not long after that there came my 3 sons (a fourth is in Heaven), and all the jobs I got ended up lasting a month at a time. The marriage became fractured because I was fighting Everymans Battle in my own strength, Things went downhill from there.

Q9. Did God lead you into the desert to teach you something?

Yes, beyond a shadow of a doubt. He led me into the desert to teach me about who He is. To excise slowly but surely all the false teachings I had been born into and had ingrained in me. To reveal the totally awesome truths behind just how amazing Salvation is, and the truth about what happened all those years ago in 1987 when I was Born Again. As I said earlier it was like a revolutionized understanding, it was like being liberated from the lies and darkness of an oppressive kingdom which is exactly what it was.

The only way I could be happier is if I had a regular Job, and a rental to live in that I could afford with that job.

Q10. Did God take you to the desert as a result of bad choices you made (God’s chastening in your life)?

Undoubtedly there were bad choices involved, and I continue to make even more bad choices, but as Paul would say “It is not I that sin but the sin that is in me.”

Q11. What did you learn from your desert experience?

A Theological Seminaries load of truth.

Q12. What did God show you about Himself in the desert?

God is Spirit. God put a bit of His Spirit in each one of us, but this Spirit is dead and aligned to sin. It is only by being born of God/Born Again/Born From Heaven that my Spirit could be brought back to life. That God was in Jesus reconciling the world to Himself. That He wanted a relationship with me, and that I could never be good enough without Him, that all my good works before being born again were not even good. That God is Love, and that Love is shown in Perfect Justice, Truth, Peace, Understanding…I could go on and on.

Q13. What did you learn about prayer in the desert?

I learned that prayer is communication and not covering up. As an Adventist my prayer life was weak and feeble, since you could never know you were saved, and since the aberration of the doctrine called the Investigative Judgment, I never knew when my time would be before Christ at what time would my decision come up, what if I was in an unsaved position because of an forgotten sin.

My prayers as an Adventist went like this: “Lord please forgive me for all the sins I’ve committed today including the ones I don’t remember, in Jesus name Amen.”

Now my prayers are like conversations between Father and Son, they are like a wonderful release because I KNOW that I’m talking to my Father. I know my position is secure, I am seated with Christ in Heaven. I am His adopted Son.

Q14. What did you learn about worship in the desert?

I learned that worship always comes first, but it comes in different forms. My worship might be singing along to praise songs. It might be writing poetry or lyrics. It might simply be the times I am walking from one part of town to another and just thinking about how Amazing God’s Grace is.

Right now it’s about writing a novel about the Word becoming Flesh from the perspective of The Word, a project that God told me He wanted me to start work on over a year ago…but I felt about as worthy as a gnat. I finally gave up because God is pretty persistent when He needs to be.

Q15. What did you learn about the desert, in the desert?

I learned that the desert can be hard, and it can be lonely, it can be rough and it can be full of danger. However it’s only that way if you keep on insisting on being the tour director instead of letting the Holy Spirit take the reins, and reign in your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Q16. What did you learn about sin in the desert?

I learned that I was born dead in sin. I was buried in sin and asleep to that knowledge (and not somehow walking on top of sin like I was taught in Adventism)- it was only by God actively seeking me out and giving me the faith in Him that I was able to wake up and accept the sacrifice of The Son and be snatched from Death to Life. I’ve learned that sin will happen until I am standing perfect before the Bema Seat in Heaven and that sin hurts so very much, not just God, Jesus, and The Spirit- but now it grieves myself and I realize how much I have hurt others through my sin.

Q17. How has your view of others changed since your time in the desert?

I see people as lost now. I see people going about their lives, driving their fancy cars, partying, heck even going to some churches and I know that they are asleep and dead in their sin. I know they are not saved, and I am all the more driven to reach out to them in any way that I can. They are lost and broken, and through me the Holy Spirit uses all avenues (and make more) to try and jolt people out of their deadly state like a Heavenly Defibrillator, to break down the doors of death, and rescue those about to enter the pits of Hell.

It is all about Him working through me.

ll glory to Him.

Q18. How has your life changed since your desert experience?

I am free. I am free to run. I am free to dance. I am free to live for You (Christ). I am free! (Those lyrics describe what I have found in the desert).

I am free of legalism…and am born into Freedom in Christ. I am a new creation with some old blemishes but I KNOW that I am saved and sealed and destined for eternity with Christ Jesus my King and Savior.

Q19. Would you want to go through the desert again?

I think so. The desert trips are there for a reason. If the Lord needs to lead me in and out of the desert, if He needs to use the desert to mold and shape me further then to refuse to go into the desert would go against His will, and not only His but mine.

Q20. Do you have any regrets about your time in the desert?

No. You see I truly believe that my desert stay has been the best part of my life. I became a new creation in the desert I certainly wouldn’t want to go back and undo that if such a thing were possible. Perhaps I would’ve preferred it to be shorter, but once again, God knows just how long your desert experience needs to be.

Q21. What impact did your desert experience have on other people in your life (family, friends, co-workers)?

It ripped my personal family apart. My Mum and Sister who are still in Adventism (and I’m concerned about their Salvation) all have uneasy relations with me on a spiritual level- they believe I am lost. My Father who encouraged me to follow the Spirit wherever it led is Saved ( the Lord revealed this to me just last year), we have a wonderful relationship. My older brother Todd just got married to a lapsed Catholic and is an Agnostic. I pray for my family daily.

My 3 boys have been adopted by their mommies Mum and Dad, are being raised in a Calvary Chapel home. I am so happy that they are learning things accurately and clearly from the very start, even though it hurts that I am not the one teaching them. It hurts deeply that I cannot be there for them.

I cannot wait for Heaven, when our families will be together for all eternity in one huge family.

Q22. What would you tell someone who is going through a desert experience right now?

Look to Christ, make sure you’re putting Him first and foremost. Put all of your faith in Him and He will not let you down in the slightest. God may break you in the desert, but He always fixes you up better than when you started.

In Conclusion

As a Christian know that you will go through a desert experience, this is a gift of God for your growth. As you grow in your relationship with your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, know that any experience you go through will lead you into a deeper and more fulfilling relationship.

It is my prayer that you will find yourself in a deeper relationship with Christ, and that He will lead you into a deeper and more fulfilling relationship in the future.

Grace and Peace unto you.

Ross

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