Monday, June 26, 2017

Finding Strength in the Lord Through His Word

“I am weary from grief; strengthen me through Your word” (Psalm 119:28 HCSB).

“For the Lord will not reject us forever. Even if He causes suffering, He will show compassion according to His abundant, faithful love. For He does not enjoy bringing affliction or suffering on mankind” (Lamentations 3:31-33 HCSB).

As people, we are always smitten by grief, frustrations and discouragement, and as you well knows, no one has been immunised against feelings of sorrow, worry and hopelessness. As a family, we are experiencing our fair share of discouragements too! We are firmly tested and when the Lord is silent, we have learned to use our faith and trust the counsel of the Scriptures to conquer insults, inner conflicts and any other challenges. Naturally, when many of us are at the crossroads of despair, we often question if God really cares about us. As a result, we feel that our prayers and efforts are worthless and not seen and appreciated by the Lord. While we may be tempted to agree with such sentiments, these are lies! The truth is that the Lord watches our every move and strengthens us in our weaknesses (Psalm 139:1-12; Isaiah 40:29). The Lord, in His love and wisdom, knows that we are hindered in our walk with Him if He does not give us strength, and He takes no pleasure if we do not bear fruit (John 15:8). 

How the Lord Provides Encouragement to the Weary Soul

There is no other remedy available to encourage us Christians when we are down and feeling low, besides the Scriptures (Psalm 119:50; Romans 15:4). I have heard some Christians going to other sources to find comfort and encouragement instead of seeking the Lord. The Bible tells us of only One Comforter - the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16-17), and the comfort He provides does not contaminate our souls. Instead, He purifies us (2 Corinthians 7:1). While the help we might find elsewhere might bring some temporary relief, when we turn to the Lord He will both comfort and empower us to overcome the soul-straining discomfort (1 Corinthians 10:13; Psalm 46:1).

It is worth mentioning that if we have issues with our faith, we would find it very hard and discomforting to accept directives and encouragement from the Word of God. I am addressing those who are weak in the faith, and my purpose is not to undermine the Word of God as an adequate Source to deal with our moments of sadness and discouragement (Psalm 119:105). We should dispel the notion of treating the Bible as if it does not contain living words that are relevant in today’s world. The Bible declares: “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV). The force and effect of the Word of God is fully evident in a heart of faith. What would surface for others to see are the invisible qualities of joy and peace. In other words, the Holy Spirit releases an energy of strong comfort in us with the outward manifestation of joy and peace in lives.

In various messages to us as a family and to members of our ministry including to some brethren around the world, the Lord gave us words of great comfort when we suffered insults, loss and frustrations due to internal conflicts that challenged our faith and confidence in Him. When I was obedient to the Lord in rebuking some brethren, I suffered some vitriolic insults which rendered me spiritually crippled with discouragement. However, in powerful messages through Charis and through the Bible as I faithfully read it, the Lord would give me comfort and strengthen my soul by cleansing me from the effects of those negative words. Therefore, not only did I receive comfort, but I also received soul strength, inner healing and empowerment to conquer people’s insults through love. For those who don’t hear from the Lord like we do, He has never lost sight of you, and the Lord still speaks through His Word and through the Holy Spirit as you faithfully seek Him! (Hebrews 11:6; John 2:26-27). In trying times and soul-straining situations, we need faith to stand on, and His comfort and encouragement will sustain us.

Here are a few ways we can find strength in the Word of God. This list is by no means exhaustive since the Holy Spirit will use the Word to personally minister to you based on your unique situation and circumstances.
  • Through the Word, we learn that Jesus empathizes with His children and understands our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).
  • We get encouragement that our tests and trials are not unique, and we can cry out to the Lord for help as David (Psalm 18:6), Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:1-17), Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:1-22) and others did.
  • We receive hope through any distress – financial, emotional, physical, etc. (1 Kings 17:7-16; 2 Kings 4:1-7; Isaiah 41:10).
  • We learn that our failures are not final and the Lord is merciful (Deuteronomy 4:31; Psalm 86:15; Micah 7:18). God can give you a second chance as He did with Peter, Jonah, Samson, David, and others.
  • We get encouragement and warning not to lose our faith (Romans 6:23; Revelation 2:10).
  • We gain courage to stay strong through every kind of adversity (Psalm 23:4; 116:15; Hebrews 11:32-40).
  • We learn that God’s ways are always the best, no matter how difficult they may seem (2 Chronicles 25:7-9; Jeremiah 6:16; Matthew 7:13-14)
  • We overcome rejection, betrayal, and aloneness knowing God is always with us (Deuteronomy 31:6; Proverbs 18:24).
  • We are convicted of our sin (Hebrews 4:12).
  • We receive encouragement not to give up – the lord is coming soon! (2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 12:1-2; Revelation 22:12).

Ill Feelings Increase Discomfort

In December 2014, two sisters in our ministry had a sharp disagreement which resulted in one of the sisters leaving the assembly of the brethren due to anger. The Lord, in is His great love and mercy, facilitated reconciliation between the sisters. In a vision to Charis, He reminded them that their anger and hateful feelings for each other would result in both of them being left behind if He was to come at a time when they still harboured these ill feelings. Subsequently,despite the Lord’s encouragement not to quit but to pursue peace, one of the sisters still disobeyed and quit, returning to her old life in the world.

Through the above incident, we learned that when a Christian has lost love and tolerance for the weaker brother or sister, they would rather leave the Church and hold onto ill-feelings instead of humbling themselves and seeking forgiveness. They fear being hurt again and lack the courage and love to face and deal with differences in a godly manner. Avoiding others when we disagree is displeasing to the Lord. The Lord revealed to us sometime in February 2016 (through a vision to Jaydeen) that hateful feelings and not forgiving others will result in our lives being cut short. In the Bible, we see the example of King Saul who was consumed with hatred for David, and he had no peace and died a broken man (1 Samuel 18:8-11; 1 Chronicles 10:13).

In conclusion, remember that while we were yet sinners, God showed His love towards us by Jesus Christ dying for us (Romans 5:8). Now that we have been born again and following Him, nothing can separate us from His love and He is always willing and able to lift us up (Romans 8:35-39; James 4:10). Therefore, we encourage you brethren to guard against frustrations that can lead you away from the Lord. The Lord has provided us with remedies of peace through His Word. The Word of God truly is a living testimony that can change our lives, when it is activated by our faith and His Holy Spirit who releases the joy of His comfort.

To find strength in the Lord, please start by praying this Prayer of Sincere Repentance, read the Bible every day, continue to faithfully seek the Lord, and take refuge in Him. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed comfort in Christ,

Brother Glenn and Preparing for the Kingdom Ministry Team.