Don’t Waste Your Wilderness

Now Jesus, full of [and in perfect communication with] the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness” (AMP, Emphasis mine).

You may return from a mission’s trip or a spiritual-high encounter on Cloud Nine ready to take on the world and find yourself on Ground Zero looking up from the dust. How did you get there? Are you under satanic attack? No, being full of the Spirit, and in perfect communication with Him, you may be led into the wilderness for a purpose. God has a pattern, purpose, plan, and process for you. You will come out of the wilderness strengthened.


John Ortberg talked about how God was going to take His people out of bad place (Egypt) to a good place (Promised Land) that should have involved a short walk that could be done in a week. He led them into the wilderness. 

Like the children of Israel you may be aware of your promised land but it seems so far away and the journey there seems unclear. Brad Bailey in his online lesson wrote, “If you were to picture your life in terms of what happened to the people of God, I believe you would be able to identify times in which you relate to God’s calling you out like Abraham… to a new land and life. Times when you feel enslaved in Egypt. Times of deliverance. Times you stepped into the Promised Land. But also times in life when you may identify with wandering in the wilderness.”

Pastor Aaron Batchelor recently mentioned in one of his sermons, “Don’t waste your wilderness.” Excellent advice! What is God’s purpose for leading you into the wilderness? What can you learn from the experience? Many times people are concerned about their location: where am I going? Other times, their vocation: what has God called me to do? God is more interested in who you are becoming as a person. What will you be? He may be most concerned about who you are rather than where you are.

Here are ten points to prevent you from wasting your wilderness.

  1. Wilderness experiences are critical to our spiritual growth and formation. Thrive in it!
  2. In the wilderness experience don’t be surprised when the devil comes alongside to tempt you.
  3. Don’t merely ask, “How do I get out of the wilderness?” But, “What can I get out of the wilderness?” What lessons can be learned from the experience?
  4. God is not in a hurry. He cares about what you are learning and becoming.
  5. Like Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness depend on God’s Word. Quote it. Believe it.
  6. Take life one day at a time. Have faith for the daily provision. Lean on God. He is your anchor.
  7. The Torah was given in the middle of the wilderness experience perhaps as a reminder while the Promised Land is delightful and amazing, we learn our greatest lessons in the wilderness.
  8. There is a great need to better understand the processes of God. Follow God’s process in order to gain God’s promise. You will survive between the season of promise and fulfillment.
  9. In the wilderness we learn to trust God for everything: shoes, water, food, warmth—everything.
  10. In Hebrew, the word for wilderness is midbar which at its root has the meaning of “speak” or “word.”  God speaks to us in the wilderness. Have open ears to listen and an open heart to obey.

“The wilderness is not just a place of disappointment. It’s also the furnace of transformation” (John Ortberg). Don’t waste your wilderness!

Are You In A Holding Pattern?

This is a state or period of no progress or action. In aviation it is a maneuver designed to delay an aircraft from landing. Typically the aircraft has a circular or oval path flying around the airport awaiting permission to land.

“Ladies and Gentlemen; this is your captain speaking. We are currently in a holding pattern. We will circle the airport until the control tower gives us permission to land.”

holding pattern

What do you do when you feel God or the circumstances of life have you circling the airport, refusing to allow you to move on or even land, and you feel you are in a holding pattern, vulnerable, and in limbo?

Learn contentment:

Note the words of Paul from a dark, dreary, prison cell: “Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances.  I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and  live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need” (Philippians 4:11-12, AMP).

Learn to wait:

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Learn to trust:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Memorize it. Embody it.

“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine” (Exodus 19:4-45).

The Blessing of Buffering

I once heard Kristen Keller speak concerning the stage in life she currently finds herself and she described it as “buffering.” You know the drill. You are watching something online only to have it stop while your computer buffers the video content. The techies reveal that “buffering” generally speeds up what you are trying to do on a computer. It can prevent lag when streaming video. A “Data buffer” is a region in a computer’s memory storage used to temporarily house data while it is being moved from one place to another.


  1. The condition is not permanent. Hold on, the next phase of life and ministry is coming.
  2. The aggravating circling round and round that appears to slow us down could invariably be speeding us to our next destination. 
  3. The apparent pause may very well be designed to bring God’s plan into sharper focus.

Sensing God’s Direction


Here’s what I’ve noticed some people saying about the book Sensing God’s Direction recently:

Kennadie Graves, Next Steps 2014

Finally had a chance to sit down and read this book and it is incredible! I highly recommend it to anyone!

Brianna Wolterman, AYC Ghana

That book changed my life! It’s the reason I went on the AYC missions’ trip to Ghana!

Amber Leigh Thompson

Sensing God’s Direction is quickly becoming one of my favorite books. I’m only a few pages in and I don’t want to put it down.

Brianna Rachelle, AYC Ghana:

I got to meet the man who wrote Sensing God’s Direction that rocked my life. The book that I sobbed over as God confirmed and told me I was going to Africa.

Mike Long, AIM France:

Sensing God’s Direction is an incredible little booklet written by Rev. James Poitras (Director of Education and AIM, UPCI) with collaboration from Rev. Bruce Howell (Global Missions Director, UPCI).  With over 80 pages, SGD will detail some of the things that you can do to foster a sensitivity to the quiet voice of the Lord, leading you into the center of his will (cultivating a love for souls, embracing solitude, being open to both surrender and sacrifice, and so forth).  Over and above the incredibly practical content provided by Rev. Poitras, various stories and anecdotes from contributors such as Rev. Howell and Melinda Poitras (MK – missionary kid – from Ghana, West Africa) bring context to the content. While SGD is written by United Pentecostal ministers and can be purchased through the Pentecostal Publishing House. The content is not limited to the Pentecostal experience. The principles are broad enough yet practical enough that people from any Christian background would find it a beneficial read… and I highly recommend it!

Author’s Note:

I am humbled and honored with the comments made about Sensing God’s Direction and pray that many will find their direction through reading the book and following God’s will. His plan is not at the end of the proverbial rainbow but is finding and doing the next right step. I trust Sensing God’s Direction will help you along the journey.

Order the book today from

Do You Know Where You Are Going?

A man named Huxley, having finished another series of public attacks against Christians, was in a hurry to catch a train that would take him to the next city.  He left the hotel, jumped into the taxi, settled back, and closed his eyes to rest for a couple of minutes.

He assumed the driver had been told the destination by the hotel doorman so when he got in all he said was, “Hurry…I’m almost late…Drive fast!”

The taxi rushed through the streets of the city.  Before long the man glanced out the window and frowned as he realized they were going west away from the sun, not toward it.  Leaning forward the man shouted, “Do you know where you are going?”

Without looking back the driver yelled, “No, your honor, but I am going fast!”

This story humorously depicts the situation many people find themselves in; going nowhere, fast, and not realizing it. Peter exhorted in Acts 2:40, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”   We need to save ourselves from a generation that is going nowhere.

In a spiritual sense this entails following the biblical plan of salvation. But, once that is in order we need to put other aspects of our life in order. Setting goals, establishing priorities, and having a vision—knowing where you are going.

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