You Can Trust God – Know Him
I wanted to share with you what the Lord has been graciously and miraculously been doing in our lives over the past year. I write this as a testimony to God’s goodness and His incredible faithfulness, so that the believer would be edified and encouraged to trust the Lord, and that He would truly be glorified even in the small things of this life. As I write this, I have both an inexpressible joy and yet have a tremendous burden for the believers of our day, and even in our local body. I share this for encouragement for a propelling of believers unto God and for an examination of our intentions, motivations and the possibility of re-centering our worship.
As you know, my accident last year was an eye opener for us in many ways. Some ways were directly spiritual while others were more physical. What you may not know, is just how the Lord provided for us and has led us, as we believe, in healing, moving and long-term financial accountability. A year ago, in the moments and weeks following my injury, was a time of nearness of the Lord that I would not trade for anything. It was a deepened time of walking and trusting in Him alone, a time of training and conviction, resting and blessing in His presence. Not only was I privileged and blessed to have such nearness of our Lord, which is absolutely everything in the Christian life, He provided as we still cannot believe nor comprehend.
During the first week of recovery, several families from Grace Community offered their support to my wife, as was my chief concern and prayer, by providing prayers, meals, and mental support. People from other local church bodies, some of which at that time I did not know, also offered their support. Weeks later I even met an older lady from another church body who stopped me in the mall and asked my name. She then began to tell how she had been interceding on our behalf – amazing. On three different occasions, money was left in our mail box, all cash with no names, the first for $350, the second for $1,000 and the third for $1,000. Being the sole provider for our home, you cannot imagine what kind of praise to our God this was and is for us.
Now, before my accident, I started a remodel of our kitchen and it was a complete mess. Only three months later, I was starting to regain some strength, enough to finish our kitchen myself. This of course was no small task having been only 3 months post a fractured neck. By the end of May, I finished the project and as I looked at all the work, I clearly remember the Lord impressing upon me, “Now, have an open hand with everything here.” I had no idea what this meant at the time, but soon it became more apparent.
By the end of June we sensed the Lord having us to sell our home and buy a dear brother’s home in Bartlesville. It seemed what the Lord had impressed upon me, He also impressed upon my wife. In early July I met up with this dear brother. It was a spur of the moment meeting, with an unplanned agenda other than simple fellowship. Little did I know, but this brother and his wife were setting out to sell their home. I walked into his back yard and sat down to talk. Little did I know, a pastor and brother in Ireland texted him two hours prior telling him that he and his church were praying that a buyer would literally walk into his backyard. Three days later, we met up at the coffee shop and he wrote a short agreement in my journal, it was our motivations for his sale and our purchase – literally two brothers in Christ agreeing to work together in the transaction for the glory of IMGGod. So began the process.
Little did either one of us know what we would encounter. After three more months, we had a contract on the sale of our home. This process, as we had no idea, would become one like no other. The appraiser we were issued demanded many things to be done, not to mention his overall practices, that were unethical and far outside his bounds. He made three visits over eight weeks. We had to go so far as to contact the state board of appraisers and some of the highest mortgage and land specialist in the nation. Everyone we contacted said that they never have heard of such requirements or practices. Through the months of set-backs and the extra several thousand dollars spent, of which we did not have, the Lord continued to direct us forward, even when there were no foreseeable funds. Many people said over and over, “This deal should have ended long ago.” Several well-meaning Christians kept asking me, “Are you sure this is the Lord’s will? It’s just so hard.” (I will address this at the end.) Our relator was completely amazed and I was able to attest to the power of God’s working and His perfect will. Even through this, the Lord provided in ways unseen and unimaginable.
In mid-December, a few days from selling our home and buying our brother’s home, the buyers of our home fell several thousand dollars short. My brother, in helping us to sell, dropped the price of his home so that I could drop the price of my home. Not only this, but he and his wife came out one weekend to work with myself and my buyer on our home. Furthermore, to help out my buyer with their shortage, this brother bought my buyer’s motorcycle to give them the funds needed for closing. The relator said that she has never seen nor heard of three families working together to this degree before!
Now, three days out from closing, I was informed that three drastic and erroneous hits affected my credit by over 120 points, of which were not my doing. This made it so that we could not purchase our home – essentially we became homeless. Meeting up with my brother, he laid out a plan, literally putting themselves homeless, for us to rent until able to purchase. We have been renting since late December and hope, Lord willing, to close March 9th.
To show further yet of God’s absolute providence and provisions, my brother and his wife, while heading out east, lost their rental and had nowhere to stay. Little did they know, another brother was convicted by the Lord a day prior to rent his home to them, unknowing their circumstances. The Lord provides yet again!
Two weeks ago, a brother from GCC, approached me and said that the Lord had impressed upon him and his wife to give us some funds. They had no idea our finances and what we have been through. I was floored. They gave us $3,000 – amazing and so humbling! When I asked why, his dear wife replied, “Because this is how the early church acted.” Oh thank God, truly and deeply, that I know such believers here in Bartlesville who pray and are obedient to the leadings and convictions of the Holy Spirit; believers who do not just live idly, but actively and truly desire to walk with God in reality and not mere word. They did not give the money that day, but did the very next week.
As a result, I immediate entered into prayer about this for the next 24 hours. “Lord, what is happening here? Do we give it? Do we keep it? Are there any hidden bills I have forgotten or are unaware of?”
The next day, it was brought to my attention that I had both forgotten a bill and was unaware of a few others. That night, after learning these things, I felt a complete crushing and a heavy weight of helplessness, one that I knew I must bear alone and not place upon my family. As I was returning home, I pulled into the driveway and saw our mail all over the garage. I knew my younger daughter(s) went and got the mail. I decided not to get angry, but to simply pick up the mail and enter the house. Now, usually I open the mail later in the evening, but since I had it in my hand, I opened it. To my surprise, I received an unexpected check for nearly $2,200. I rejoiced and tears streamed in joy. I immediately ran to the bank was able to make a couple of payments needed.
I am now in a place where I feel the Lord has impressed upon me to simply hold my hands up high and open, to let Him fill them as He pleases, and let Him remove and give as He has planned. He will do more with the smallest of ‘mites’ than I could with millions upon millions.
Why do I share all of this? It is so that the Lord is glorified, not in mere thought and word, but in truth and in the light as He alone has orchestrated all of these things (and more that I have not even mentioned). I also share this so that the believer would know, they can indeed trust God in all things and that the “arm of the flesh” needs to be given no credit or attention at all. I want believers to see that even in the midst of God’s incredible provisions for us as individuals, our focus and praise and desire ought never to be on the gifts, the works, nor any other thing, but on the very God of the Bible Himself; for it is He who is the strength and One Whom performs such. Often, I fear, many turn away from the will of the Lord because of the difficulty they perceive; sadly, they never experience close fellowship with the God who rescued their soul and sacrificed His Son through a perfect propitiation of pure grace.
Whenever necessity compels one to reprove or rebuke another, we ought to proceed with godly discernment and caution. First of all, let us consider whether the other fault is such as we ourselves have never had, or whether it is one that we have overcome. Then, if we have never had such a fault, let us remember that we are human and could have had it. But if we have had it and are rid of it now, let us remember our common frailty, in order that mercy, not hatred, may lead us to the giving of correction and admonition.
Earlier I mentioned the burden I have, well what is that burden? I very clearly see in the whole of Christendom, and even here locally, that we are elevating secondary things, good things, even Godly things, but so little is given notice to the best – the intimate, personal, walking and knowing God, for Who He is and what He is. What do I mean by secondary things? God’s goodness, God’s provisions, God’s love, God’s grace, God’s healings and even His incredible attributes. God indeed is and gives all these things, but they are secondary, He alone, in reality and authenticity and in a growing desire to know Him, not by merely once being saved, but by a growing in close fellowship with Him and Him alone, is the central theme, central desire, centrality of all faith. I fear much attention to humanity, comforts, and personal preferences of individuals have taken over the ideas of walking with God and a further knowing Him in greater and greater experiential closeness. I share the story above, yes for God’s glory, yes for the edification and encouragement of the church, but also as a warning that we would never be a people who either accidentally or intentionally elevate humanism above Christ. Unfortunately, and very sadly, this is rapidly and seductively making its way as central. Could this be how Satan causes a great falling away from the truth? Could it be what Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 is happening? I dare say, it has begun and it is happening in multiples of ways.
Please consider something that our Behold your God study has just started thinking, I will elaborate below. They are: Knowledge by Hearsay, Textualism, and True Truths. The question for us is, are these things prevalent amongst us as well?
If Jesus prayed for us that true salvation was that we would know the Father and Himself (John 17:3), and Jeremiah said that we should boast not in the flesh, but in “knowing God,” then how much more important is it for us that we would call professing believers to “test themselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5) in regards to knowing and walking with the God of the Bible? What would it look like if we centrally pressed upon the people that God and an intimate knowledge of His very person, in walking closely with Him, is the chief ends of all ends, and focus of all eyesight? I believe that no real revival, that being truly of God, and not the fulfilling of false movements and the millions of people who think they are right with Christ (Matthew 7:21-23), will occur until we run on the pathway, straight and narrow. Until it is God in all things and God is central in the church, disregarding the pragmatism of human centering’s, the true workings of the Holy Spirit will not be poured out in great power as has been in days gone by.
I hope that this letter is an encouragement, not condemnation in any regards. I hope it results in the elevation of God and praises of His divine glory. I hope His incredible love and His faithfulness to his little children can be seen, even in matters of living in America. I will pray for everyone who reads this. Please pray for us that we remain obedient and that my brother and his wife will be incredibly blessed for their sacrifices for both my family and the buyers of our old home.
Peace and blessings,
Below taken from:
Behold your God: Rethinking God Biblically; Pgs. 17-18
Dr. John Snyder
Knowledge by Hearsay
Thomas Carlyle wrote: “What this country needs is a man who knows God other than by hearsay.” Knowledge by hearsay is counterfeit knowledge, made up only of things others have told us about God. Such knowledge might come through years of listening to sermons or reading good Christian books. These are beneficial, but they can become a substitute for personally walking with God. We end up only knowing Him by hearsay.
This is a deadly counterfeit that thrives in conservative churches that still defend the truthfulness of Scripture. A. W. Tozer describes the textualist as a person who assumes that because he affirms the Bible’s veracity, he automatically possesses the things of which the Bible speaks.1 For example, if he agrees with the biblical definition of faith found in Hebrews 11, then he assumes that he already possesses such faith, even if all of his choices in life prove otherwise. If he agrees with the words of Paul, then he is sure he possesses the reality of Paul’s words. If he accepts every word of Paul as inspired, then every experience that Paul describes in the Christian life must already be his. In other words, the textualist lives as if affirming the words of the Bible is equivalent to having their reality in his own life.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote: “Truths . . . are often considered as so true that they lose all the power of truth, and lie bed-ridden in the dormitory of the soul, side by side with the most despised and exploded errors.” This is nowhere more obvious than in the basic truths we have been given in the Bible concerning The many false and counterfeit appearances which we meet, instead of proving that there is no religion in the world, not only prove that there is, but that it is extremely precious, otherwise it would not be counterfeited. — Edward Payson
Reflect on how little God’s omnipresence (dwelling everywhere at once) has affected the way you dressed, ate, drove, spent money, and responded to family members today. You will admit that God is present everywhere; it is a very different thing to live on it. By the way you treat this truth, it may be difficult to distinguish it from things you know to be bold-faced lies. The Easter Bunny myth was exploded long ago for us. Therefore, we do not think about the Easter Bunny, and his nonexistence does not affect our lives. How tragic to allow the glorious truths of God to lie “bed-ridden” in our minds alongside such myths. This is another counterfeit type of knowing God—having a mind crammed full of right words that lie dormant, not affecting your life any more than the things you know to be lies. A. W. Tozer gave this advice: Take them out of the back room of your mind, dust them off, reacquaint yourself with those truths, and live on them.
Jeremy B Strang