We have just returned from a three-week Sabbatical across the American Southwest. Through Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico we were continually stunned by the majesty and the artwork of the Master Painter! Having time in our little camper to leisurely visit national and state parks, camping beneath towering rock formations and leafy boughs, we got the rest we needed - and more importantly, the time with God we needed.
On one particular day in Mesa Verde National Park, we endured an extreme test of endurance that we did not plan on, nor did we see it coming! We took off on what we thought would be a lovely trail through the vast canyon of the ancient cliff-dwellers, looking for the petroglyph pictures they had left behind, inscribed on stone walls. We neglected to see the small sign at the entrance to the trail, which read "EXTREMELY STRENUOUS AND INTENSE HIKE. DO NOT ENTER IF YOU HAVE HEALTH PROBLEMS."
As we hiked the extremely difficult, intense terrain of the Petroglyphs Trail, my John continually assisted me along the way. My legs were too short to navigate and maneuver many of the high-elevated steps and he was always there with a helping hand, lending his strength to pull me up. I was so grateful all day for his strong, loving care over me. He literally had to PULL me with all his strength across a wet, slipper boulder that I could never have gotten over alone.
It was a powerful illustration to me of how Father put us together. I help his mind to navigate and he helps my body to navigate! We do need each other. I am so grateful for this hike and all the parables God showed me. After almost three hours of this relentless test of endurance, we both felt we could go no longer. We became very concerned that it would get dark before we could get out of that remote canyon and we wouldn't be able to find our way out! We had not known there was a register to sign before coming on the hike - so no one knew we were in there.
We stopped to rest, perching on a large, jutted rock and took our last remaining sips of water from our water bottles. Lungs reached for air. Muscles screamed. Then I heard the Spirit say, "Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit," says the LORD! It was a clear call to prayer. I asked God for supernatural strength and energy to finish the course. We told Him we had no strength of our own to keep going and prayed that He would strengthen weak muscles and ligaments, giving us the encouragement to keep going.
John had reached a very real place of fear that we wouldn't get out. But when we finished praying, we got up and began walking again and strength returned to us! We didn't know how far we were from the end of the trail - but after about 15 minutes we clearly saw the museum where the trail began and our spirits rallied, pressing us forward.
Soon a cold 43-degree rain began to pelt us and the trail became very slippery. We felt the strong hand of angels preventing near-slips and falls. God was with us, every step; and in the end, we finished a trail that we later learned was labeled "difficult and intense." The 68-ear-old with two heart attacks had made it - and I could not have made it without him!
Still on a three-week Sabbatical throughout the Southwest, we are experiencing some wonderful divine appointments, and some revelation from the Lord.
We were camping out last week in a lovely cottonwood and sycamore-lined campground near Cottonwood, Arizona, when we met our "neighbor," a newly-widowed woman in her little pop-up. I knew immediately that her heart was still tender with grief. She told me she'd bought the little camper to travel for a while and try to find some purpose or meaning in her life. I asked her if she was a believer and she nodded her head, as tears began to come. "I was once in the same place you are, " I told her. "I made a decision like you've made, to remain alone and draw nearer to the Lord, my true Husband. "How do I do that?" she asked through her tears. "By reading His Word," I told her. "You need to ask the Holy Spirit to show you what to read, and ask Him questions. His Word has all the answers you are seeking. She seemed rather amazed, lost in thought. "I do have a Bible; it's buried somewhere in the back of my camper. I never read it."
The next day we pulled out of the campground and the last thing I saw as I peered back over my shoulder was this sweet widow, sitting at her picnic table, her Bible open in front of her. What a delightful sight!
The next evening we had the awesome blessing of attending David Herzog's Night of Worship in Sedona, Arizona. Only about thirty people attended, but it has been years since I've been in the midst of that kind of passionate intercession into the heavenly realms. David led us in praying over this nation and its upcoming election. They cried out for righteous judges, and broke strongholds of corruption, rigging and manipulation. It was powerful revelation for me. These anointed intercessors were crying out to the Lord just as Abraham cried out to Him to spare the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. "Lord if there are ten righteous people...?"
I confess I have not been praying that way. I know America's cup of sin must be full in the eyes of the Lord, and I know that we surely deserve His swift judgment. But the intercessors cried out for mercy, for awakening of the sleeping Church, for repentance in the Land, and for restoration of all Israel. My heart was moved, as I cried out with them. It gave John and me courage and boldness as we traversed the El Morro National Monument today, moved to make decrees over this country. At the top of the monument we looked out and saw a mountain in the distance of the great desert plain of New Mexico. We began to declare, "Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain! (Isa. 40:4) Father, we declare that every corruption, lie and evil plan against America shall now be exposed and brought into the Light! We declare that nothing shall be hidden that needs to be exposed, no plan of the enemy can lurk in darkness, but must be revealed for what it is. Let every lying tongue be silenced and Truth brought forth in this Land!"
As we were descending down through the majestic rock formations, we stopped to sit on a bench and listen for God's Voice. I stared into the sky, watching the passing clouds and very suddenly a cloud formed into the face of an exotic woman, who seemed to have a veil on. I could see her almond-shaped eyes and her lips, with a lacy veil around her head. Then just as suddenly, the face of a very small dog appeared below her. Both these images were extremely detailed and accurate; there was no mistaking what I was seeing. "What is the little dog?" I asked the Holy Spirit. He spoke to me only these words: "Wiener dog and Huma."
I waited on Him for a long time, wondering why He was showing me these two people, whom I knew were in the news right now. After some time, I finally heard these words, and knew it was in answer to the declarations we had made. He said, "I AM busting it wide open."
The clouds dissipated - busted wide open - and we continued our trek down, feeling blessed
that the Lord had heard and answered.
Kelly Ferrari Mills