Monday, April 12, 2021

Lean on God Alone

God Alone Is Sufficient

The Word of God exhorts us to trust in God and not to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). There is also another very powerful and familiar portion of Scripture that is often and widely quoted on the same topic:
“This is what the Lord says: The man who trusts in mankind, who makes human flesh his strength and turns his heart from the Lord is cursed. He will be like a juniper in the Arabah; he cannot see when good comes but dwells in the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land where no one lives. The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit” (Jeremiah 17:5-8 HCSB).
Encouragement to Depend on God

We intend to be brief in this article and to share some real experiences on this subject for your encouragement. The Lord Jesus Christ is aware of the many sufferings that Christians who just don’t have enough faith to receive help from Him are undergoing (Hebrews 4:15). Their suffering stems from panic and fear, leading them to be dependent on men instead of on the Lord (Genesis 3:10). If we will literally denounce our dependence on the arm of flesh and choose to trust in the Lord, He is true to His promises to "… never leave you or forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5 HCSB). Furthermore, if you have a solid faith in God and are not shaken by fear and panic, you are guaranteed deliverance, provisions, and protection (Psalm 125:1). The Bible clearly states: “I have been young, and now am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). Brethren, we must recall that the Christian journey is based on faith and the ‘evidence’ or proof of our faith in God’s response in the natural to our prayer requests (2 Corinthians 5:7; Mark 11:24). Let us examine a few Scriptures about some people who literally trusted in God for protection and provisions.

Godly Counsel in Needy Times

When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon gave an urgent order to execute the wise men, Daniel did not panic in fear; instead, he and his companions trusted and sought God to provide a way out (Daniel 2:14-19).

When King Hezekiah was threatened by Sennacherib, he did not go and make a treaty with some foreign army like King Asa did (2 Chronicles 16:7-9). Instead, he went to the Lord in prayer and the Lord was faithful to help him (2 Kings 19:1-7).

When the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab, the Bible says "They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers because they trusted in him" (1 Chronicle 5:18-21).

Furthermore, King David, when he was fleeing from Saul, did not take matters into his own hand to fight Saul; he sought Godly counsel in prayer and followed God’s plan and fled (1 Samuel 23:12; Proverbs 15:22).

Likewise, our Lord Jesus when He was being arrested by the Roman soldiers did not depend on the swords of His disciples, but He trusted in God (Matthew 26:50-53).

Dependence on Men and Ourselves Yields Cursing

You may have heard someone make one of these popular statements: "Believe in yourself" or "Trust in yourself". These statements, while they may sound encouraging, are not true. God has not called us to believe in ourselves but to believe in Jesus Christ (John 6:29). Likewise, God has not called us to trust in ourselves or man, but only in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 17:5). Jesus said: “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63). We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13 NKJV).

People in the Bible who trusted in themselves and ungodly ideas of men received curses rather than blessings. When King Rehoboam chose to take the bad advice of his young friends, Israel rebelled against Him (2 Chronicles 10:10-19). When Nabal chose to return evil for good by not acting in kindness to King David, the Lord struck Him down and he died (1 Samuel 25:5-38). When King Ahab chose to listen to his wife Jezebel’s wicked advice to kill Naboth and take his vineyard, he was promised disaster for his family (1 Kings 21: 17-24). Likewise, when King David relied on his own power and authority to get rid of Uriah the Hittite and take his wife Bathsheba, the Lord promised to raise evil against him from his own household (2 Samuel 12:7-12). Therefore, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).

The reason we should not just trust in ourselves is clear: It is because "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure" (Jeremiah 17:9). Truth can only be found in Jesus (John 14:6), not-self.

Dependence on the Flesh Yields Frustration

Having been very weak in my faith and walk with the Lord after my conversion in 1990, like most new Christians when the reality of the test appeared I was quick to blame the Lord, saying “this is not working!” and “God is not answering my prayers!”. As I matured in my faith, I only realized later that I sounded rather demanding; I lacked humility and faith according to Scripture which says “And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Brethren, such a position could prove to be very dangerous as it could lead us to abandon our faith based on ignorance and wrong perceptions. As it is, over the years I have learned to employ faith, patience, and humility to win God’s favor, for the Lord is not moved by our ‘quick, urgent’ demanding attitude (Isaiah 40:31). As we mentioned in the Patience: An Essential Fruit to Inherit God's Promises article, the fruit of patience slows us down and helps focus on God's salvation and deliverance, leading to God's blessings and a fulfillment of His promises (Hebrews 6:15). The joy of receiving an answer to prayer is best recalled when we consider the (scars) suffering and patient endurance. I tell you, consistent prayer might appear irksome, but it shows trust, endurance, and patient faith (Luke 18:1-8). It delights the Lord when we show faith and dependence on Him. In a message to me recently, I sensed the Lord’s joy when He appraised my faith and in His good pleasure, He granted my request. Hallelujah!

In 1991, when I got retrenched from my first formal job, I had my first taste of frustration as a Christian. I had no income and the pressure to pay rent led me to various decisions including failed attempts at finding a job. After experiencing a few months of frustrations and disappointments, a brother whom I truly regard as a faithful mentor in Christ advised me to go on a fast for a few days and stop my dependence on people, including some Christians who were reluctant to help. After a three-day fast, the Lord opened a door of employment for me, ending my dependence on men. Similarly, a friend told me that he failed his motor car driver's test twice because he was depending on the ‘mercy’ of the officer to overlook his mistakes. He failed twice, but on his third attempt he decided to fully trust in the Lord, after having gone on a fast, his prayer was answered and the Lord blessed him with his driver’s license.

Similarly, when I was unable to provide for my family and pay our mortgage, I relied on many people for help, including my former pastor. Their empty promises led to frustrations, even to the point of causing conflict at home.  In desperation, I decided to go on a fast for seven days, giving myself literally to God. After seeing my position of humility and helplessness, the faithful God answered my prayers and provided the means that I needed. Likewise, our ministry members have received many breakthroughs and answered prayers from the Lord in making tough choices or decisions, needing ideas, healing, jobs, finances, changed attitudes, deliverance from demonic spirits and tough situations, etc. as they looked to God for help by faithfully praying and fasting.

This is what the Bible says:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2).
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
 Call on Me in a day of trouble; I will rescue you, and you will honor Me.” (Psalm 50:15)
Therefore, put your trust and faith in God’s hands, and He will not overlook your situation as many think He does. God knows your anxious thoughts and CARES FOR YOU (Psalm 139:2; 23; 1 Peter 5:7). The Word also says: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).

Finally, we must remember our attitude when asking; it must be submissive, and not demanding or basing our faith on some formulated dogma. I have known a Christian lady who, while laying on her sick bed, desired the prayers of her pastor and did not have faith in her own prayers for healing. She died, not receiving healing because her dependence was on the faith of her pastor and not on God’s ability and promises to heal her. This is the unfortunate situation of many Christians; their dependence is on man; they like piggybacking on others. Like we said in the article Prayer: The Key to All Problems, it is good to ask for prayers in agreement from others, but the Lord Jesus encourages us to trust Him and pray for ourselves. This is pleasing and builds our faith in Him.

In conclusion, make today a turning point in your faith and put your full dependence on the Lord. If you would like to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please get started by praying this suggested Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed grace,

Brother Glenn 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Sinning Deliberately

When the Lord gave Charis this message on (May 4, 2014)  for us to write, she says His voice tone was very serious and firm. He was giving it as a warning! The Word of God says, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26 ESV).

I was recently asked by a God-fearing brother what a double life is; I responded by saying it is willful sinning and blatant disobedience. We should therefore not take the Lord’s warnings lightly; they are meant to keep us on course. We should also remember that the Lord is Judge and His warnings have eternal consequences. So then, when He warns us He is extending His love and grace, and the Lord is reaching out to us to repent (Ezekiel 18:31).

What Causes Us to Sin Willfully?

Recently (May 4, 2014), the Lord gave me the task to warn a person who is engaging in sinful behavior without regard for God. I took the Lord’s message to her, telling her that the Lord said He is seeing everything she is doing and that she must stop. As is common to human nature she lied and denied everything at first (Genesis 18:15). Only after I told her that it was the Lord saying she did those wrong things did she admit and say the Lord is right, and that she is battling to conquer some of her old habits.

The Apostle James said, “…but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed” (James 1:14). Similarly, Paul encouraged us to walk by the Holy Spirit so that we deny the flesh its sinful desires (Galatians 5:16). Like I alluded elsewhere, human nature requires a law or a rule to base our decisions on. If our decisions are unguarded, we would act only in our interest and often without regard for God and others (Proverbs 3:15-16). Self-interest, which is a powerful weapon that Satan is using to draw us away from the Lord, is one of the biggest enemies against our relationship with our Heavenly Father (Genesis 3:6). Because of human weakness, we often express self-pity and give others blame for our lack of self-control and disobedience (Genesis 3:12). However, whatever excuse(s) we offer will not make us guiltless; it might make us feel a little better, but the guilt remains and in God’s perfect Justice He requires an account or answer (Genesis 3:11). When we act contrary to our “guide” (God’s Word and Holy Spirit), there is a reprisal for our disobedience.

Furthermore, the Lord told us that it displeases Him when we sin deliberately as His children and that is showing contempt for His Word. He once told us whatever well-defined excuse we might offer, we are in violation of His Word and the excuses we offer are often an answer of a guilty conscience seeking His Justice. In other words, we are expecting His justice to justify or condemn us; that is why the Scripture says that “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26 ESV).

Salvation is Sacrificed in Willful Sinning

Someone in our ministry once decided to stop praying and attending services after being severely rebuked by the Lord; this was willful disobedience and rebelliousness. Like Paul he was “kicking against the pricks”(Acts 26:14). We cannot become bitter with the Lord; we stand no chance of being justified apart from Him! In fact the only remaining reality is “but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Hebrews 10:27). Knowing that a life outside the Lord bears fruit unto death (Romans 6:23), the brother confessed his wrong-doing, picked up his cross and followed the Lord once again.

Sadly, the Lord told us that many Christians who are living deliberately in sin will not see His face but His wrath for despising His Word (Hebrews 12:14). After a life of sadness and hopelessness in my heart, soon after my conversion and deliverance from wicked living, I went to almost all my worldly friends with the gospel. Some immediately praised the Lord for His grace while others asked for a few days. I boldly confessed to them my faith in Christ. I prayed for their deliverance and salvation often, but sadly, some of them died without being saved. The Lord once told Charis, “One of your father’s friends is going to die soon”, and He showed her in a vision two of my former friends’ photographs, but the photograph of the one who was going to die was made bolder. I approached the friend telling him about the Lord’s warning and that the Lord said he should repent. However, he did not heed the warning and later went back to his old way of living and he died suddenly without having the opportunity to make right with God.

Furthermore, a friend I had came to me shortly after my conversion some seven (7) years ago; he was encouraged and excited when he learned that the Lord saved me from my addictions. After sharing my experience with him, he expressed his desire to become saved too. A few weeks later, he paid me a visit sharing with me the good news of his conversion. Soon after his conversion, we decided to break bread daily; this was before the Lord started speaking to us. This brother was unemployed when he came to the Lord, but about a month after his conversion, he was blessed with a job and went back to his old ways of drinking and smoking. When he stopped visiting me for a few weeks, I suspected that he might have become unfaithful in his walk with the Lord. I paid him a surprise visit and he confessed that he had become weak. This confirmed an earlier dream I had about him that he had forsaken the Lord. He promised to make right with the Lord, but sadly He died about two years ago without doing so. The Lord also showed both Charis and I that he procrastinated his salvation. In a vision, Charis saw this brother having a conversation with someone, and he said that the Lord had warned him that he was going to die, but he did not heed this message. Charis said she could feel he regretted not taking the Lord's warning seriously.  Additionally, in a dream I had about him, he was swearing and he sent me to go speak to his family about the Lord.  Being driven by a strong conviction, I went to his wife and related the message to her.  However, from my observation, she showed very little interested in what I was saying.

As for those of us who are genuinely serving the Lord with a God-fearing conviction, if we make mistakes and sin accidentally, the Lord will forgive us (1 John 1:9). The Lord once said, “I like it when you ask for forgiveness after you realized you have made a mistake”. I cannot say to which extent we make mistakes, but the Lord judges our motives if it is driven by self-interest or if it is an innocent mistake. The Lord also warned us that many people who think their work for Him is justification for willful sinning are badly mistaken. There are people who are gambling and drinking wine or beer and getting drunk, while some think their many good deeds will count in their favor even while living willfully in sin. The Lord says their fate and destiny is already decided. The Bible admonishes us: "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18).

In conclusion, know this, brethren, that the Lord is not pleased when we sin deliberately; when we do so we are dishonoring Him and our confessional covenant with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17).

Yours in submission to Christ,

Brother Glenn.