Touching the Depths

by Morris Ruddick on July 14, 2014


Morris E. Ruddick


“Oh, the depth of the riches: both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” Rom 11:33EthioFood

During His earthly ministry, Jesus made a very profound statement to His followers. He told them that He had come to send fire on the earth and how he wished it were already kindled; but that He had a baptism to be baptized with and how distressed he was until it was accomplished (Luke 12:49).

Jesus’ earthly ministry progressively laid the foundation and model for the fire He mentioned and the baptism this fire requires. It is the model for those embracing the call of being His followers.

From Deuteronomy to Hebrews, God’s presence is described as a consuming fire. Jesus’ presence progressively unveiled this dimension of the anointing, of being a carrier of God’s presence. God’s power is simply an outworking of the consciousness of His presence.

Simultaneously, John 1:5 reveals that darkness was unable to comprehend His presence.

There is a cost to stewarding God’s presence. It is the cost for displacing darkness. It taps the depths that transcend the natural and for that matter, darkness. Jesus paid that cost at the highest level and changed the spiritual code governing the earth.

The cost begins by completely yielding our lives for His. Jesus said: “He who loves his life will lose it; but he hates his life in this world will gain it for eternal life.” (John 12:25) Jesus understood the sacrifice that lay before Him. It was the price and the pathway into which Jesus admonished His followers to “follow Him.”

His death and resurrection fulfilled all the covenant promises and God’s intentions for His own. It opened the gates to the potential for all His followers to become aligned with and one with God’s heart.

Entering the Depths
From this “baptism of fire” that Jesus went through, He gave His followers, those willing to pay the cost, the keys and strategies to enter the depths, this dimension of reality. They are the keys to employing righteous power in corrupt settings. From these depths comes the change that shakes nations.

In 1997 we met a most unusual woman of God named Agnes Numer. Born in 1915, Agnes was older and spiritually more seasoned. She had an equally unusual ministry that had at its core, the feeding of the poor. Her ministry was a faith ministry, simple in its execution, but profound in its impact.

Her efforts had no formal fund-raising program. Yet it consistently fed and housed its active contingent of workers and visitors. It was birthed after she had hit the age of 60; after what she described as years and years spent in her “prayer closet;” following a time she had memorized almost the entire book of Isaiah.

The Dynamics
At the time we met her, her ministry Somerhaven, had several simple things that distinguished it. First, it was devoted to God’s heart for the needy (Isaiah 58), in daily sending out two 18 wheelers filled with food for the poor across her state.

Agnes’ facility was also a safe-place where leaders came to get perspective from God and be refreshed. It was a safe place because the presence of the Lord was there. While there were regular meetings for prayer and for worship; it was clear that Agnes was the catalyst for God’s prevailing presence at that place.

Agnes’ wisdom and anointed prayers were sought by leaders from across the globe. She would receive phone calls in the middle of the night from around the world, from leaders seeking the flow of the Spirit in which she walked. She remained active until the time of her graduation from this earth when she was 95. Agnes was a carrier of God’s presence. She was a carrier and catalyst of revival.

We have entered a time, when those, prepared like Agnes, are being mobilized as carriers of God’s presence and of revival. Their presence will create the spiritual sparks that nudge others out of their status quo.

True revival is a foundational threat to the status quo. It challenges and displaces darkness. Characterized by the power of His presence, its depths are beyond the boundaries of human dimensions and descriptions.

The Equalizer
In more places outside the West than not, people fear the powers of darkness. They fear and give homage to the powers of corruption. Even within circles of believers, the unspoken response can be that the devil is the prevailing power, with God’s minions operating as comparative weaklings.

Yet, in our work around the globe, we have been uniquely blessed in working together with ones whose identities and callings are uncompromised against the forces of Babylon and Chaldea (Jer 51:20). They have touched the depths. We’ve likewise touched and been touched by an infrastructure of ones who hold significantly potent keys to what the Lord is doing in their nations and then globally.

These are ones whose common ground impels them as doers of the essentials of God’s heart, along with flowing in the outworking of His presence. Untouched by the approval of man, personal ambition or the trappings of power, they produce spiritual ripples with roots that go deep.

The balance, between the agendas of God’s heart and flowing in His presence can only come from the Spirit. One without the other will digress into deception and fall short. Simultaneously, together they are unstoppable.

The crux demands a grasp of applying this unique dimension of the anointing, together with the discipline of operating within the confines of God’s set-times in applying His strategies. Stated alternately, in terms I have previously expressed in these posts: “It’s not what we can do for God, but rather what we allow Him to do through us.”

God’s Strategies and Opportunity
For communities of believers bridging the gap with the broader community, one of the most effective strategies to maintain this balance and to release this anointing involves food.

Throughout the Bible are spiritually significant instances of eating together or of the provision of being fed. The practice has involved times of settling differences, making peace and establishing agreements.

Similarly, are the instances in which God’s people are the catalysts of provision when the world encounters famine and judgment (Isaac, Joseph). In the same fashion, the biblical mandates of the feast-days have their foundations in God’s people coming together and eating, as they are spiritually be refreshed and strengthened.

These are God’s strategies that give opportunity for His presence.

Jesus’ time with His disciples repeatedly describes significant spiritual times involving food and eating. From multiplying the loaves and fishes, to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who after being with Him, only recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread, to Jesus feeding the disciples on the shore after His resurrection; again and again His power and presence find release through the provision of and the breaking of bread.

Within Agnes’ ministry, along with feeding the poor, there was always ample food for those assembled and with that food, a fellowship that centered on the Lord.

Years ago, Carol and I began and led a home gathering that met on Saturday evenings. It was designed as a setting for the unreached international community of our city. It began with an hour of worship and prayer. We then would break for an array of international dishes brought by those attending, who also brought their unchurched friends.

People enjoying plates of food would stand around in small groups, discussing lives, needs and the Lord, many praying for one another, often leading members of their group in prayers ranging from repentance to needy requests. Because of the unique answers to prayer that the unchurched attending received, those gathering swelled to over 50. One month we had 16 people from this group who, having seen the reality of the Lord, got baptized in our church.

Gatherings with meals have served as strategies to effectively penetrate spiritual hardened cultures. I know of many instances of believers in tough spiritual climates having actuated change in the hearts of guests through the hosting of meals that included the simplicity of praying for their guests.

In each case, His presence was revealed. From the beginning, in God’s order of things, it has been the simple things that confound the wise.

The Challenge
Having ministered in over 20 nations constrained and ruled by the forces of darkness, the issue involves tilling the spiritual soil that cover the roots of darkness and simply releasing His presence. Sometimes the barriers can be broken with nothing more than the simple request: “May I pray a blessing over you?” or “How can I pray for you?” to “May I speak a (prophetic) word of encouragement to you?”

While in Afghanistan in May of 2002, visiting with a high level minister of that nation, a bond of trust was created with our small group, when Barbara Wentroble opened the doors, with permission, with a “word of encouragement” to this man. He recognized and embraced it for what it was, a good word from the Lord. While the gifts employed may be different, they each serve to challenge the spiritual status quo with the goodness of God enabling His presence.

It’s in the simple things that the depths are revealed. There is an intimacy and bond that comes from sharing a meal.

During our younger days, when our older kids were in high school, I established a practice on each Saturday of taking one of them out for breakfast. It was an opportunity, one-on-one, to listen and to close the gap on matters that made a difference. One summer, my nephew stayed for the summer, so I included him in this practice.

The first time we met, I sat there staring at him as he gave undistracted focus to digging into the array of items on his plate. I finally stopped him with the words, “Look, this is not about food!” Well, actually it was, but I needed to pull back the superficial in order to allow the entry into the depths. From that, came some really meaningful chats. Years later, as an adult, he shared with me the impact that those words and those times and what was released following them, had had on his life.

Touching the depths begins with opportunity that allows the consciousness of His presence. When that takes place, everything else realigns to the extent to which we then become carriers of His presence.

The Power from the Depths
What we refer to as miracles, in reality, are manifestations of the consciousness of His presence: the parting the Red Sea, Elijah calling down the fire, Jesus casting out demons, healing the sick and raising the dead. With His presence, darkness flees.

The consciousness of God’s presence is both the end and the beginning in knowing Him. It is also the reality imparted in making Him known. At the same time, with His presence is His power, albeit the application of His power being the most misunderstand dimension of God since the days of the early church.

Whether as individuals or as a people, the constraints of man’s spiritually-fallen condition limit our natural perceptions of the realities tied to an unlimited God. What we refer to as revival is, in short, a piercing of those constraints, as His conscious presence manifests to those, who together, have touched and held-on to this dimension of the reality of God
“To the eyes of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top. So Moses entered the midst of the cloud, as he went up to the mountain.” Ex 24:17-18

Previous post:

Next post: