Linda in Santa Barbara, Calif.
The doorway in this picture reminds me of the hermitages our ministry conducts several times a year and the invitation from our Holy Beloved to be refreshed in new ways as we enter into spiritual intimacy with Him in complete privacy, solitude, and silence. The door also reminds me of a favorite scripture of mine from Revelation 3:20-22 & 4:1-2 which read: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. After these things I looked, and behold a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, ‘Come up here,’ and I will show you what must take place after these things. Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.” What an amazing invitation from our God Most High!
The first thing one must note here is that there is an invitation from the Lord to enter into His Presence in an ever deepening way that elevates us into higher realms of His glory! The Throne Room experience is beyond description! We must seek after this because the dark days of humanity’s loss and devastation of turning their backs on Jesus, is creeping ever closer to our doors and we must be prepared. In these heavenly experiences with our Lord, we are enabled and equipped to be witnesses and winners in every situation of life.
Just today as I’ve been writing this month’s IWG Journal, I received a magazine in the mail which was unsolicited, but came no doubt as a result of our being in ministry. It’s a rather unusual magazine with false names being used for the authors of different articles because they are working in dangerous parts of the world to bring the Gospel. One article, MY QUIETNESS IS IN HIS PRESENCE, caught my attention. It’s hard to imagine such a thing can be achieved in such circumstances. Nevertheless, even there, times alone with the Lord are essential. I want to quote a portion of it:
“Shutting out noisy streets, I crave for quietness with Him, sensing His Presence, hearing His words. Even 10 minutes in the early morning brings nourishment. Don’t we all need these moments with the Creator?
God wants that intimate time with us who are called, forgiven, cleansed, loved, and treasured by Abba Father, Yeshua our Bridegroom and the Holy Spirit our Comforter. We prefer a little distance, some personal space…sitting at the end of the table with Him, but scared to lean on His chest. How often have I left there when there was so much more He wanted to give me! Perhaps that is why I run from these quiet times. Is He asking me to believe, repent, embrace, ask for forgiveness, or let go of my pride? Restless, we’d rather get up and do something – for Jesus, of course. Right, Martha?
Intimacy with Him means to walk together, hand in hand. Then let us, together talk to that stranger, or the one that hurt you. Then we can praise Him in the storm, and give thanks when things don’t work out. Nothing is more valuable than time alone with Him, especially in the noisy world I know. My quietness comes from His Presence.” End quote.
The battle field of life
In regard to the above quote - if a Christian, on the battlefield of life , truly on the battlefield with their very lives at stake, if they need that quiet time alone with God, don’t we as well?! I challenge each one of you reading this, to think and pray about going on a 3 night, 4 day hermitage in the woods where you’ll have your own one-room immaculately clean cabin to fellowship in spiritual intimacy with God. More details are given when you make inquiry or sign up. The next one for women is coming up soon, so contact us quickly as it fills up fast! The dates are May 21-24, 2015. The fall dates for the Women’s Hermitage is Oct. 1-4, 2015.
I’ve been leading these hermitages for over 20 years. Each one has been a different experience as the Lord met me in ever new ways that was needed for the things I was going through at the time. He knows us so well! But we must draw close to Him with extended times of intimacy so that we can better hear and clarify what He is saying to us in the ‘now.’ If Jesus Himself had to draw away from the people to be alone with the Father, how much more so for us! [Mark 1:35; Matt. 14:13 & 23; Luke 4:42, 5:16, 6:12]
INFO ON HERMITAGES
In last month’s IWG Journal I wrote the following:
It has come to my attention that some of you may not be familiar with what a hermitage is. And that’s understandable since I really don’t know of any other ministry that offers this particular kind experince and journey with the Lord. So briefly, because I think I could write a book about it, years ago I was struck in my spirit about how often the New Testament speaks of Jesus ‘going away to be alone with the Father.’ I thought that if He needed to do that, then most certainly I needed it even more! I found this also in the Old Testament with many of the prophets, etc. With that in mind, I went on my own personal week long hermitage about 23 years ago and on the way home the Lord told me to offer this kind of experience to others. I take the women on these amazing journeys while my husband offers similar trips for men.
There are no Bible studies, no casual gathering together because a hermitage affords you time alone with the Lord away from everyone and every distraction. That time is very sacred and very guarded. It’s a cherished time alone with God – just you and Him, resting, relaxing, listening to His every heartbeat in an atmosphere of silence and solitude. A Sabbath Service is conducted at the conclusion with the washing of one another’s feet in grace, humility, and love and also partaking of a very intimate time of Holy Communion. It’s at this service that many amazing things take place!
We go to a place in the Minnesota woods where each ‘hermit’ has his/her own one-room cabin with an attached screened-in porch. It’s quite cozy, quaint and well equipped. Deer quite often walk by. A lake is nearby with walking trails for exercise and reflection. This holy journey is 3 nights and 4 days. A very detailed letter with more information is sent to those who sign up. If you long for deeper intimacy with God, this experience is for you!
“It’s hard to put such an experience in a few words...but I will try. God is so good and His love, mercy, and words are breathtaking. I usually go exhausted from the world and all the things that pull at us, but always I’m longing for my time alone with Him! I never know what to expect, and in fact I go now with no plans. I leave it open to whatever Jesus wants to share with me. It is such a time of renewing, strengthening my faith, and reminding me that I am His. I am reminded the greater one lives in me than he that is in the world and I draw upon His strength to stand strong. I Praise the Lord! For He is so good!”
Your Sister In Christ, Karen Renken
“Becoming a hermit at Pacem is a deep longing in my heart each year. As I close and lock my cabin door on Sunday, I already begin to anticipate my next hermitage! The LORD invites me to come and just be with HIM. I absolutely want and need that precious time. It is time like no other. A time to listen, pray, rest, read the Word and adore the KING! A time to give myself fully to listen and receive more than I can even express. Each hermitage is uniquely holy. One year several family members came with me because they too needed and wanted that holy, set-apart time with the living LORD. As I write this my heart is stirring to meet with HIM in my little cabin!”
“When I think about my experiences at this hermitage, two concepts come to mind - honor and canopy. Concerning honor - I found it to be a remarkable way to respect God. The environment offers a way to notice and reflect on His beauty, to focus on His creativity, and to fear His holiness. The stillness and quiet settled my soul so that spiritual communion was facilitated. The hermitage offers a place to honor the Godhead to leave the common behind and to respect the Holy. Concerning the concept of canopy - the natural wooded environment , the awareness of fellow hermits and quiet worship, offered a sense of connection, of protection , of safety-almost like an invisible bubble from the pressures/demands of temporal life. I felt a chance to breathe and to relax, comforted by the love of the Father and by unity and brotherhood of other men of faith.”
“My experience with the hermitages over the past number of years have enabled me to be in closer relationship with the Lord. Initially, I did not know how to sit. Then each time I have gone, I have had encounters in my cabin, along the trails, and in everyday life I’ve noticed in situations I can access a depth of the Lord and deeper place of peace and love of the Lord, not to mention the amazing relationships and fire igniting of the Lord in the services held at the end. One year, I got a new job to work remotely. I put all my things in storage, was going to live in a warmer climate, and I flew back to go on the hermitage. The Lord spoke to me to rest and be in a quiet, small place. This time alone and listening to His voice, He prompted me to move to Minnesota and I did not proceed to go live in a warmer place. Hearing His voice literally changed my life, and the Lord has confirmed this word, time and time again. To get away with the Lord increased my intimacy with Him, to love Him with all of my strength. It also increased my relationship with others and I highly recommend everyone to go on a hermitage.”
“What in the world is a hermitage? Who would want to be alone for days? Why would you want to do one more church function when you’re already so swamped with a long to-do list?
Those were just a few of the questions that went through my mind whenever I would see a solitude retreat announcement in the church bulletin. Seasons of life have a way of changing one’s perspective. When I hit a time of many traumatic things and I was wearing down physically, emotionally and spiritually, I decided to try a solitude retreat/hermitage.
To experience “Be still, and know that I am God” was a process for me. When I got to my one room cottage among the pines, I was both excited and a little afraid. I had to learn to give myself permission to not be busy. The room was clean, bright and no clutter. When there was actually nothing to do except hear my own thoughts, I knew I was in a different spot with God and my heart became curious as well as expectant. There was a small wooden cross hanging on the wall ~ in fct, it was the only thing on the walls. I decided to write down on paper all the worries and burdens that were on my heart and with a safety-pin I found in my purse, I pinned my list on the cross. The reality began – just God and me, alone. I looked out my window, silently sang a song “The King Is Coming” and then waited.
Many wonderful things happened over the course of those days. Sleep, walks, nature’s sounds, no responsibilities and a rested mind and body began to immerge. My Bible and journal became my companions and I found myself more hungry for the Lord. Oh how I had misjudged the word solitude/hermitage. Those solitude days of aloneness that I experienced became a fountain of life for me spiritually and physically.
I went on hermitages for many years thereafter. In fact I couldn’t get enough of them. I am forever grateful for what I experienced during those “Be Still and Know I am God” days. Those days afforded my relationship with the Lord to grow deeper roots and allowed me to experience the Lord as a Friend as well as a Shepherd. The Lord increased my faith and a new trust developed. Common Bible verses took on life as did the Bibles stories with which I was familiar. Fresh applications and insight blossomed.
We have been in Africa for seven years now. In looking back it is clear to see the preparation of my heart that unfolded during those hermitage days. I want to thank Linda Schreurs for showing me the value of a hermitage and leading the way.
The conclusion of Psalm 46 says “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” I still make my lists and I still pin them to the cross because I know the “I AM” of the ‘be still.’”
“Partaking in the hermitage is one of the richest and most valuable times spent alone in the presence of God. It is crucial to come away from the distractions of everyday life and to sit at the feet of Jesus, basking in the glory of His love and embraced by His beauty. It’s in those moments of being alone that His holiness penetrates my very being. I come away refreshed, energized but above all, I know that I have encountered a holy God.”