Monday, October 23, 2017

Fulfilling Hope

Hope That Never Fails

After our Lord ascended to Heaven He told us, "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you "...the world will not see Me, but you will see Me..." (John 14:18-19 NKJV). In this instance the Lord gave us hope of His indwelling Holy Spirit and the Hope of such a promise.

Furthermore, in Romans we read "For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it  patience" (Romans 8:24-25). In another Scripture, we are encouraged that "...according to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3).

Brethren, this kind of article is needed Christ our hope needs our attention daily! Let's hope in Him and not just on the advancement of our earthly careers. When our years winds down and our bodies becoming weary, when our careers starts or end and when the Lord comes or death catches up with us, hope will be there as security to our futures. Let us continue to hope in Christ His precious promises are unshakeable. Now, the above Scriptures remind us of God's eternal promises. There is no good promise of God that ever failed. Throughout the history of Israel, the Lord gave them many promises which served as hope that carried them and their descendants well into the future (Isaiah 43:1-13). The Lord Almighty created hope through His promises, which are vested in His faithfulness and holiness. This is a hope based on genuine faith. It is not just a mere wish for something, but in essence it is placing a strong confidence in God's abilities to fulfill our hopes and expectations (Psalm 42:5; 71:5; Romans 4:18; Hebrews 11:1). Eternal Glory be to Yahweh!

Given to our ever-changing environment politically and otherwise it is always so tempting to for us as people to put our hope in other things than on the Lord, and this results in us moving subtly away from the Lord. In addition, while we are writing about hope, there is need to mention faith as a co-pillar of our Christian belief in this article. Faith and hope are inseparable (Romans 5: 1-5; Galatians 5:5; 1 Peter 1:21). Therefore those without God have no faith nor any hope in the promises God has for "...those who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Hebrews 6:11-12 NKJV).

What is Our Greatest Hope as Christians?

Some 22 years ago, I was living in an apartment in Johannesburg city centre. Due to economic conditions I lost my first job through retrenchment. I got my last pay cheque and paid my rent, and I used some of the money to buy myself a bed. I did not panic of losing my apartment; I hoped in the Lord to bless me with a new job and after prayer and fasting, my hope was met and I got blessed with a new and better paying job. Naturally, people with no faith run to man for help and not to the Lord; this is their greatest loss.  Unfavorable  circumstances should require us to act by faith, hoping on God's flawless promises. I don't want to sound like a prosperity teacher; however, the Lord promised to supply our needs (Matthew 7:7; Philippians 4:19), to heal us (Isaiah 53:5-6), and He also promised us Heaven and eternal life (John 3:16; 14:2-4). The only condition being obedience (John 15:7).

Moreover, our greatest hope is the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, when we will experience the fullness of our salvation and enter with the Lord into the glory of the new age (1 Corinthians 15:19-23; Ephesians 1:18; Colossians 1:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:8). As it is, for the Christian to have the hope of the Lord's return means to eagerly look forward into the future, and the basis of such hope is our Lord's atoning death and His glorious resurrection. Therefore our Lord's entrance into His glory guarantees our entrance and glory (Colossians 1:5; Hebrews 6:19; 1 Peter 1:18-21).

I would like to add this: "By its very nature, hope means that the thing hoped for has not yet arrived. Christ has not yet returned, so Christians must have patience as we wait for our final salvation. We have received God's promises and the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 11:1, 39-40; Romans 8:23-25). This patience therefore has no element of doubt, for our hope is the anticipation of something that is absolutely certain. Like I alluded elsewhere, God confirms the hope of salvation by giving us His Holy Spirit. We have a living hope within us until the day our hope is fulfilled. The Holy Spirit is God's mark of permanent ownership upon our lives (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30).

Finally, the hope we have received from the Lord gives our lives purpose and stability (Romans 15:13; Colossians 3:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 1:3). Having said that, we should work hard through prayer and obedience to keep ourselves free from sin because our day of salvation is also our day of reckoning (1 John 3:2-3; Matthew 24:45-46; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

In closing, may the word of the Lord through these short, weekly articles increase your faith and hope in Christ Jesus our Lord. Remember, He is the One who commands what we should write and He knows about you. Take heart, the Lord is near!

If you are not yet born again, here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started in this great journey of hope. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed Hope,

Brother Glenn.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Faith to Believe

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV).

Notice: As a family and ministry, we would like to heartily thank you in the Lord our most loyal brethren and readers on this platform for the positive feedback, encouragement, love and prayers we have been receiving over the past few weeks. The Lord knows how your messages of encouragement is lifting us up. Being filled with faith ourselves, we know that the good flowing from your hearts to us through those wonderful messages comes from the Lord Himself (James 1:17). We therefore urge you to continue praying for us so that we will continue faithfully in all the Lord's work. Now this week, we are sharing a simple but very important message about faith without it we know from the Bible that salvation, gifts of the Holy Spirit and the supply of needs would be impossible to attain. Brethren, we can assure you that the Lord will continue to provide some great messages and revelations on this website to ensure your readiness for His soon Coming.

Let's reason from the Word of God, the Bible tells us that having faith, that is, believing and trusting God without any reservations, is an important prerequisite for receiving anything from God. The Bible further reminds us that as we believe, so it shall be according to our faith.

He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you” (Matthew 9:29 NKJV).

And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22 NKJV).

On the other hand, expressing doubt in God, who is the I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:14), and not believing that with Him all things are possible (Matthew 19:26), amounts to a lack of faith and we have no hope of expecting any results to our prayers. As much as faith is a gift from God, it is a choice that we should exercise and we know God is very pleased with a person who has faith in Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Before you express contentment and complacency to this message, please read on you stand to gain. Faith is an active consciousness about God, His will and His love for us. In essence we all need a message of faith, because no amount of faith is ever going to be enough (Luke 17:5). The absence of faith brings about hopelessness, doubt and spiritual stagnation. Therefore, we should keep growing in our faith! The Bible says that as diverse as the various members of the body are for the good of the whole body, the gifts are likewise diversified for our edification and maturity in our faith (1 Corinthians 12:4-5; Ephesians 4:11-13). There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord (1 Corinthians 12:4-5 NKJV).

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ… (Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV).

Having faith in God involves acquiring Bible knowledge to know Him better and to trust Him to protect us against our fears and insecurities. It is indeed true that the message about faith is ancient, going as far back as the first generation of our faith fathers (Hebrews 11:4). True faith is not simply based on a confession and a belief in a Supreme Being. No! Such faith is casual and hopelessly fruitless because it is neither based on a relationship nor does it give us a fear for God or bring about a change in our character. In other words, simply believing in God, without being committed to obey Him, is not enough; even the demons believe—and tremble with terror and trepidation! (James 2:19).

A living faith is active, fruitful and rewardful (Hebrews 11:6). However, a mere confession of faith without an active commitment holds no hope or reward. Therefore, this kind of faith is equivalent to atheism because an atheist says: “I do not believe in the existence of a God, so I am not going to obey Him or do anything He requires from me!” A person with such an attitude is self-seeking and without hope. An atheist hopes that there is no God so that they may not be held accountable for their sins and lack of faith. For us, faith connects us to a relationship, commitment, and responsibility towards God (James 2:14-26). The Bible clearly says that without faith it is impossible to please God. If we come to God, we must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Let us consider an example of faith in the Bible and especially Joseph's experience in Egypt (Genesis 41). When Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, being pagan, Pharaoh believed Joseph’s message and acted by faith allowing Joseph to implement decisions to save Egypt from starvation, and he subsequently set Joseph in charge over all the land of Egypt (Genesis 41:37-41). Unlike today, if Pharaoh doubted Joseph’s message it would have led to the destruction of Egypt and the then known world (Genesis 41:53-57).

Faith for Salvation

How does faith leading to salvation come about? Well the Bible says first, faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and when we hear the Word of God, conviction from the Holy Spirit brings about a godly sorrow and repentance, and God who knows our hearts grants us grace to accept His gift of faith and forgiveness (Ephesians 2:8; 2 Corinthians 7:10). By the preceding Scriptures, we noted that no one inherits faith automatically, the Word of God is the foundation (Mark 4:15; Jeremiah 31:30; Ezekiel 18:20; Galatians 6:5). Therefore, by accepting God’s gift of faith through the invitation of the Word, this led to our salvation. So on our part, we are required to wait for our redemption while we exercise or work on our faith, which is ‘proof’ of God’s Presence in us by our transformed ways and renewed inner intentions (Colossians 3:10; (Romans 12:2; John 15:8; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 3:9)).

Faith for Ministry

As for ministry work, we learn from the Bible that God does the calling of people and anoints them accordingly to do the work He needs done (Exodus 31:1-6; Leviticus 8:12; John 1:32; Acts 13:2). In other words, God does the calling and the anointing, which determines the kind of work we are called to do. Over the years, many believers have written to us asking how they could recognize the call of God upon their lives. Still others even asked that we inquire from the Lord on their behalf and ask Him about their ministry callings. In some instances, because of their lack of faith, some people that we inquired for from the Lord did not even realize that the work they were currently doing in the body was from Him! In response to them, the Lord rebuked them for their lack of faith and discernment. Often, some of these believers thought that the Lord would have said that He called them to be prophets or evangelists, thinking only of the official ministry offices. The Lord told us that no ministry activity in the body of Christ is inferior to the other ministry gifts, all work for Him enjoys the same importance (1 Corinthians 12:21). Scripturally, the Lord designed the various gifts to serve just one purpose, and that is to “equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13). When we are involved in any type of ministry work, we do so for His sake (Luke 9:50; 12:34).

Sadly, there are some brethren who are still waiting for the ‘formal’ anointing by the laying on of hands by their leaders before they can accept and acknowledge the calling of God in their lives. They will not do ministry work unless they are acknowledged or ‘ordained’ and ‘blessed’ by some church leader. This kind of attitude gives the impression that there is no formal conviction from the Holy Spirit to witness or pray for someone when God presents such an opportunity. Unlike the disciples who had to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit, when we become born again we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and as we commit our ways to the Lord, He sets us apart for ministry work (Acts 13:2). It is evident from the Scriptures that God does the calling (1 Samuel 3:4), and when He calls, He also anoints us for the task we are called for (Galatians 1:11-12). It is true, the laying on of hands for ministry service is a genuine Biblical practice, however, the calling and anointing is not from the pastor or the person ordaining us, but from the Lord Himself (Acts 13:2). With faith and commitment, we have examples of lay believers in Christ who went out preaching the gospel, healing the sick and driving out demons (Luke 9:50; Acts 8:4). Let us therefore not limit the work of the gospel by thinking that only a few “special” or specific people are anointed or ordained for ministry work. The truth is that all believers are called to serve the Lord, but only those who express willingness and obedience to do the Lord’s work operate by faith (Matthew 22:14; Luke 10:1-3; 17-20).

Faith for Deliverance and Provision

Briefly, in our ministry we have had a few people who were unemployed, sick, and struggling with certain personal habits. By praying and enquiring for them from the Lord, He encouraged some of them to have faith and to others who lacked faith He encouraged to fast if they need a breakthrough and deliverance. Being true to His word, after prayer and fasting some have experienced healing from various sicknesses, others deliverance from sinful habits and demons, and the jobless got employed. When we delight in the Lord and our motives are pure and pleasing to Him, we will receive answer to our prayers (Psalm 37:4; Matthew 7:11; John 15:7).

Faith is a Choice

From what we were trying show is that faith is a choice or an option we should exercise daily. When we have a committed faith in the Lord, we choose to disregard the opinions of others and instead concentrate on our obedience to Him (Daniel 6:10).

We are all aware of some religions, sects or even some “Christian” denominations that use fear as a weapon to force or coerce their followers to submit and act in a certain way. As fellow believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have learned first-hand from our experiences with Him that He never forces His will upon us (Revelation 3:20). Because, forced obedience does not emanate from faith and love, but from fear.

Briefly, please allow me to share with you an experience I had with the Lord on choosing to have faith. A few months after the Lord showed my daughter Charis that a man closely related to my wife was in hell (we have shared this vision on our website, titled as “Visit to Hell), the Lord in His unfailing mercy heard the pleas of his family and He sent us to go and preach the gospel to them. This was something we desired to do after learning of the man’s eternal fate. The day before going to preach to his family, I experienced a very frustrating day at work, and as such I was so upset to the point that I asked the Lord in prayer to release me from going to preach at his (the man who is in Hell) family’s residence. To my amazement, the Lord did not rebuke me for refusing to go where He had sent me. Instead, as a surprise to my wife, He gently gave my wife a message to go and preach to the man’s family. Being overcame with guilt and shame for being disobedient to the Lord, I immediately repented and told my wife that I would go and preach to the man’s family. Since the message that I was going to preach was very important, the Lord drew many people to our meeting that evening. In acknowledging my obedience, when the Lord visited Charis that evening, He said: Your father preached with the fire of the Holy Spirit!

Praise be to God who gives us His Spirit without limit (John 3:34), we ought to delight in Him and fear Him! (Isaiah 11:2-3). Let us diligently continue to desire further what it means to fear the Lord.

Are you lacking faith in God in any area of your life? We encourage you, don't lose your faith. God is promised and is able to help you through your situation (Isaiah 41:10). If you desire a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and faith leading to your salvation,  here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance
to get you started. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed Grace,

Brother Glenn and Preparing for the Kingdom Ministry Team