Who Do We Rely On?

2Ch 16:7 And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.

Our text today occurs after the 12 Tribes of Israel were divided and now Asa was the king of 2 southern tribes of Judah and Baasha was the king of the 10 northern tribes of Israel. Asa had just experienced what he thought was a great victory. King Baasha, had built Ramah to prevent anyone from coming to Asa and Judah. Asa goes out to confront Baasha and many of Israel die in the conflict, and Baasha stops building Ramah. Afterwards, Asa comes and takes the materials that were being used for the building of Ramah and used them to build Geba and Mizpah for Judah.

Everything sounds great, except in my description I left out one important fact: Asa took all the silver and gold from the house of the LORD and hired the King of Syria to help them in the battle. Now, the seer Hanani came to Asa with a troubling message: the king of Syria has escaped because you did not seek the LORD thy God's help.

How many victories have we celebrated in our lives, that really weren't victories at all because we excluded the LORD from the battle? How many church's are caught up in the race to build a larger church audience, and have used the help of the world and not the LORD to do so? How many families have sought the advice of doctor's and counsellors in how to fix their marriage and their families and excluded God's blueprint for our marriages and families?

May we always seek the LORDS help and guidance in all that we do. The world may have a recipe for the result that we seek, but it will be at the expense of God's approval.
“I” Problems

Ecclesiastes 2:11
“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.”

It is interesting to note that in verses 1-11 the preacher talks about what all he did. Eight times in this chapter you will notice the word “me.” Everything he did was for “me” or “I.” This is why he had no satisfaction, for when you do things for yourself that is selfish, and self is never satisfied. He looked for happiness by satisfying himself, and that did not satisfy. He tried collecting possessions and wealth looking for happiness, and still found no happiness. Everything to this man was all about "me" or “I.” This preacher had a serious case of “I” problems.

In today's world we are constantly being pushed to live to satisfy ourselves. Advertising pushes us to satisfy ourselves. TV programs push us to do what is best for us. Society pushes us not to get involved in something that does not benefit us. Christian, living for yourself will never satisfy. Doing everything for you will only create a dissatisfaction in life. Life will never be satisfying until you learn to live for others.

Are you like the preacher in this chapter who had “I” problems? Does everything on the job have to be about you? When conversing with people, does everything in the conversation have to be about you? If you don't get your way at home, do you get upset? Are you having marriage problems because of your “I” problems? Are you not getting along with your parents because of “I” problems? Do you find that you can’t get along with your brothers and sisters because of “I” problems? Are you constantly dissatisfied with every church that you have attended and every pastor you have had because of “I” problems.

Watch yourself that you don't get so wrapped up in you that you become miserable because of your “I” problems. Learn to take yourself out of every picture and instead put others in the picture. You will find that if you do this you will enjoy what you see.

The day that you learn that life is not about “me,” “myself” and “I” is the day that life will start having meaning and fulfillment. Stop looking at yourself and start looking at others and you will find the feeling of satisfaction for which you have been looking.
Leviticus 1:4
Our Lord’s being made “sin for us” is set forth here by the very significant transfer of sin to the bullock, which was made by the elders of the people. The laying of the hand was not a mere touch of contact, for in some other places of Scripture the original word has the meaning of leaning heavily, as in the expression, “thy wrath lieth hard upon me” (Psalm 88:7). Surely this is the very essence and nature of faith, which doth not only bring us into contact with the great Substitute, but teaches us to lean upon him with all the burden of our guilt. Jehovah made to meet upon the head of the Substitute all the offences of his covenant people, but each one of the chosen is brought personally to ratify this solemn covenant act, when by grace he is enabled by faith to lay his hand upon the head of the “Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.” Believer, do you remember that rapturous day when you first realized pardon through Jesus the sin-bearer? Can you not make glad confession, and join with the writer in saying, “My soul recalls her day of deliverance with delight. Laden with guilt and full of fears, I saw my Saviour as my Substitute, and I laid my hand upon him; oh! how timidly at first, but courage grew and confidence was confirmed until I leaned my soul entirely upon him; and now it is my unceasing joy to know that my sins are no longer imputed to me, but laid on him, and like the debts of the wounded traveller, Jesus, like the good Samaritan, has said of all my future sinfulness, ‘Set that to my account.’” Blessed discovery! Eternal solace of a grateful heart!

“My numerous sins transferr'd to him,
Shall never more be found,
Lost in his blood’s atoning stream,
Where every crime is drown'd!”
The disciples had been with Christ, and seen Him pray. They had learnt to understand something of the connection between His wondrous life in public, and His secret life of prayer. They had learnt to believe in Him as a Master in the art of prayer—none could pray like Him. And so they came to Him with the request, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ And in after years they would have told us that there were few things more wonderful or blessed that He taught them than His lessons on prayer.

And now still it comes to pass, as He is praying in a certain place, that disciples who see Him thus engaged feel the need of repeating the same request, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ As we grow in the Christian life, the thought and the faith of the Beloved Master in His never-failing intercession becomes ever more precious, and the hope of being Like Christ in His intercession gains an attractiveness before unknown. And as we see Him pray, and remember that there is none who can pray like Him, and none who can teach like Him, we feel the petition of the disciples, ‘Lord, teach us to pray,’ is just what we need. And as we think how all He is and has, how He Himself is our very own, how He is Himself our life, we feel assured that we have but to ask, and He will be delighted to take us up into closer fellowship with Himself, and teach us to pray even as He prays.

Come, my brothers! Shall we not go to the Blessed Master and ask Him to enrol our names too anew in that school which He always keeps open for those who long to continue their studies in the Divine art of prayer and intercession? Yes, let us this very day say to the Master, as they did of old, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ As we meditate, we shall find each word of the petition we bring to be full of meaning.

‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ Yes, to pray. This is what we need to be taught. Though in its beginnings prayer is so simple that the feeblest child can pray, yet it is at the same time the highest and holiest work to which man can rise. It is fellowship with the Unseen and Most Holy One. The powers of the eternal world have been placed at its disposal. It is the very essence of true religion, the channel of all blessings, the secret of power and life. Not only for ourselves, but for others,
for the Church, for the world, it is to prayer that God has given the right to take hold of Him and His strength. It is on prayer that the promises wait for their fulfilment, the kingdom for its coming, the glory of God for its full revelation. And for this blessed work, how slothful and unfit we are. It is only the Spirit of God can enable us to do it aright. How speedily we are deceived into a resting in the form, while the power is wanting. Our early training, the teaching of the Church, the influence of habit, the stirring of the emotions—how easily these lead to prayer which has no spiritual power, and avails but little. True prayer, that takes hold of God’s strength, that availeth much, to which the gates of heaven are really opened wide—who would not cry, Oh for some one to teach me thus to pray?
Let Go of Personal Strongholds
God wants the best for His children, even here on earth, yet oddly enough many Christians have strongholds in their lives that keep them from receiving the best. A stronghold is a group, person, or thing that is the center of all that we do, when Christ is our stronghold we prosper and are blessed, even through circumstances. Personal strongholds suggests secret thoughts and desires that keep Christ from becoming Lord of their lives and receiving the blessings God has in store for them. If we truly want Christ to be Lord of our lives and see His true blessings we need to let go of personal strongholds.

After the death of Saul, David was rightfully to be the king of all of Israel, but under circumstances, Abner, the powerful commander of Saul's armies, proclaimed Saul's son Ishbosheth king of Israel. His motive, he desired to be in control of Israel and since his was not son of Saul, the next best thing would be next in command. II Samuel 3:7-10. The crown was rightfully meant for David, but David knew that he would be king of Israel when it was his appointed time to do so. Often, people that go over God's commands think they have won and are in control of their own destinies, but they fail to realize that God is always in control and sooner or later He will bring all things to pass as He never goes back on His Word.

About seven years later, there was a fierce quarrel between Abner and Ishbosheth. When confronted by Ishbosheth over Abner's deceitfulness, Abner tried to take control of the situation by threatening Ishbosheth. II Samuel 3:7-10. Abner conceitedly reminds Ishbosheth that he was the one that made him king, admitting also that he knew that David rightfully was chosen by God Himself to be king. What he was really saying was that he went over God's head and succeeded so he had the right to do whatever he wanted. This resulted in Abner going to David to form a league with him instead. II Samuel 3:12. David agreed and Abner then contacted the elders of Israel, reminding them that David was anointed to be king over Israel to begin with. However, a short time after Abner met with David, he was murdered by Joab, the commander of David's army, and then Ishbosheth was assassinated by two of his own guards. No one can escape going against God, He will even use their wickedness to see that things happen the way He commands. Abner thought he was in control, but he found out the hard way that God is always in control.

Abner's personal stronghold was his ego, he wanted to be powerful and in control, using whatever charm and deceitfulness he could to receive what he desired. Many people have personal strongholds that are harming not only themselves, but their relationship with God as well. There may be a place hidden from human view that is the center of the heart, this can be physical improvement, a career, a forbidden love, or a habit that one has never surrendered over to God. It is important to realize that any person who call on Jesus to save them from their sins are now His Temples and no matter how good we are at hiding things from the human eye we can not hide them from God. Of course He wants us to be healthy and take care of ourselves, but we can not let the personal strongholds of the world to become the center of our lives. Such strongholds are overcome as we daily read and obey God's Word and are filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. We are to "Love not the world... I John 2:15-17. We can all be in the will of God and see great blessings, but we must first examine ourselves and ask ourselves if we need to let go of any personal strongholds keeping us from seeing them. Then and only then can we be forgiven, reconcile with God, and receive His blessings. Romans 5:9-11.
Making a Difference through Courage
Joshua 11:1-5

No enemy is so great that God cannot defeat them.

The kings of Canaan decided enough was enough. Setting aside years of disagreement and enmity, they bonded together against the common foe that threatened to drive them from their homes. Jabin initiated the call, sending word to Jobab, then to the inhabitants of Shimron, Achshaph, Chinneroth, the mountains and valleys, and to Dor. He called on the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Hivites. He gathered all kings, military geniuses, horsemen, and soldiers together to fight against Israel.

To understand the depth of this move, imagine all of Europe uniting against a single foe, a small nation. Great Britain, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland, the Ukraine, The Czech Republic, Romania, and all the other countries pooled resources, soldiers, and military strategies. As Joshua 11 said, their numbers would be as the sand on the shore.

What could Israel do against a super army formed by all the armies of Canaan? God had commanded Joshua to fight, and Joshua had seen successful against Canaan's inhabitants, but this move changed things. He was now facing a battle no strategist would advise him to fight. The odds were impossible; Joshua's army would surely lose.

Have you ever been in Joshua's position? Facing overwhelming odds or unimaginable attacks, fighting seems out of the question, for to fight would be to surely lose. Yet notice God's words to Joshua, "And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire" (Joshua 11:6).

No enemy is so great that God cannot defeat them. No situation you face is so overwhelming that God does not have an answer. God is Lord over all, even the "unwinnable" circumstances you face. Joshua saw victory the next day because rather than focus on the might of an earthly opponent, he trusted the power of an Almighty God.

Joshua faced the situation with courage because he knew Who was on his side. The kings of Canaan could gather as many troops as they wanted, but they still wouldn't outnumber God. Just like Joshua, you also have the armies of God on your side. Even when spiritual enemies gather against you and your life seems to be under constant attack, God stands beside you and commands you to face your enemies with courage, knowing that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

Daily Bible Reading
1 Samuel 19-21 | Luke 11:29-54
Making Yourself Ready

Revelation 19:7
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”

There is nothing that can be compared to a lady preparing for her wedding day. Preparations are made months before the wedding date. She prepares for her dress and the dresses of those in her wedding party. She prepares for the reception and meal that will come afterwards. For many weeks and months, a lady will be consumed with being prepared for her wedding day.

In the verse above, the marriage supper of the Lamb is being discussed. We read in the verse above that those at the supper started rejoicing as the Lamb entered the room for the supper. A statement is made in this verse that “...his wife hath made herself ready.” Notice that she made herself ready to meet Him. Though He may have been involved in helping with the preparations, she was the one responsible to make herself ready. God was trying to teach that every Christian should spend as much time preparing themselves to meet Him as the future bride prepares for her wedding day.

Christian, the preparation is your responsibility. You are the one who is supposed to clean up your life to meet the LORD. The question is simply this, are you making yourself ready to meet Jesus? What preparations have you made to make yourself ready if Jesus were to come back today? We should prepare ourselves by being as clean as we can to meet Him. Every day of our life we should constantly try to cleanse our lives from sin. The bad attitudes should be cleaned up. The filthy minds should be cleaned up. The cold hearts should be cleaned up. Every part about our Christian life should be made clean, for the LORD deserves the best from us.

Furthermore, we should prepare ourselves by not just putting away those things that cause us to be filthy Christians, but we should also put on good works as a part of our preparation to meet Him. There are many Christians who can talk about what they don't do, but God deserves to have Christians who can talk about what they are doing for Him.

Let me ask you, if this was the day the LORD decided to come back, have you spent as much time preparing yourself to meet Him as a bride prepares herself for her wedding day? Be a person who daily lives your life preparing to meet Jesus. Everyday make yourself better prepared to meet Jesus. This will have to be a purposeful act, but He is worthy of us purposely preparing to meet Him.
Conquering Attitude

Revelation 6:2
“And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”

In the tribulation period, John talked about God having a book with seven seals. The Lamb, Who is Jesus Christ, held this book. According to Revelation 5, Jesus Christ was the only One Who was worthy to open this book. In the verse above, when John saw the first seal opened, he saw Jesus sitting on a white horse ready to go forth and conquer the Earth.

In this verse there is a statement made that I believe should be the attitude of every Christian. It says that Jesus “...went forth conquering, and to conquer.” Jesus didn't have a passive attitude about what He was going to do. Jesus didn't have the attitude that He was just going to do the best that He could. No, He had the attitude that He was going to conquer the tasks ahead of Him.

Every Christian should have a conquering attitude. I find too many Christians today have a passive attitude about life and the things that they face in life. God's desire for every Christian is to have an attitude to conquer the things we face in life. You should never have the attitude of, “Well, whatever happens, happens.” This is not a Christ-like attitude, for the attitude of Christ was to conquer.

When obstacles come your way in life, have the attitude that you are going to conquer that obstacle. It never fails that when we start to do something for God that obstacles come and try to stop us from doing God's work. You must decide that you will not let any obstacle stop you. You must have the attitude that you are going to conquer the obstacle no matter how difficult it is.

When trials come your way, don't let the trials stop you from doing God's will for your life. That trial may be health issues, family problems or financial hardships, whatever the trial is you face today, decide to conquer the trial and don't let the trial conquer you.

When marriage problems come your way, decide you are going to conquer those problems. Don't run to divorce and take the “easy way” out. No, take up the conquering attitude, decide to conquer those problems and make your marriage work.

When you face difficult projects don't run from them, but decide to conquer them. Take that project you face and challenge yourself to conquer it one way or the other. It might be you are having difficulty building your Sunday school class, building your church, building your bus route or a project on the job, whatever it is decide you are not going to quit, but you are going to conquer that project.

Christian, having a conquering attitude is a choice. You must not give in so easily to the problems and obstacles you face in life. You must decide that you are going to have a conquering attitude. This is the attitude that God has and you must take that attitude and make it yours. Whatever you face today, no matter how difficult it may seem to be, decide to conquer it.
Making a Difference through Obedience
Joshua 6:1-7

A difference maker realizes the benefits of following God's path and obeys His commands.

Jericho was no ordinary ancient city. This was an impenetrable city surrounded by a giant wall, the "Great Wall of China" of its day. The wall system consisted of a large outer wall, then a similar inner wall. The success rate for enemy penetration was 0%. If you wanted to build a successful defense system in that day, you looked to Jericho as your guide.

Jericho was situated on a desert oasis. An underground reservoir supplied water to the city and provided enough sustenance for the entire city to hold up for large amounts of time in case of a surrounding attack. Not only was Jericho a well-fortified city, it was the key defense on the road to Jerusalem and into the central highlands. Roads to the eastern cities led through Jericho, therefore any enemies or attackers had to defeat Jericho before traveling into Canaan.

One group of "attackers" who needed to get through Jericho was the Israelites. God had promised them the land of Canaan to establish their nation, yet He commanded them to drive out the inhabitants of Canaan. Some of those inhabitants were the people of Jericho.

How could the Israelites get past Jericho? They were a group of fathers, mothers, children, grandparents, and friends. They weren't equipped for battle, nor were they trained in military tactics. Some had fought before, yet no one had the expertise needed to fight Jericho. If all the skilled armies of the world couldn't defeat Jericho, how could Israel?

More peculiar than God's command to conquer Jericho was His plan of attack. The Israelites were to march around the city for seven days. Military geniuses would have laughed at such a plan. Yet Joshua realized the wisdom in following God's plan, and made a difference by obeying God.

The walls didn't fall because of expert planning or strategizing. Jericho's walls fell because Joshua obeyed God. He made a difference by obeying God's command.

What walls stand in your life? Has God given you a plan of action in some area of your life? You won't make a difference by resorting to your own methods or following your own plan, but by obeying God's commands. God's plan may sound peculiar to you and you may even question its effectiveness, but His desire is for you to obey Him and trust that His plan will work.

A difference maker realizes the benefits of following God's path and obeys His commands. It doesn't matter if God commands you to plant a church or be faithful in your Bible reading, He still desires your obedience. Determine to faithfully obey God even in the smallest of tasks so that you can make a difference through obedience today.

Daily Bible Reading
1 Samuel 17-18 | Luke 11:1-28
So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing,
So send I you to toil for Me alone.

So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O'er wand'ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.

So send I you - to loneliness and longing,
With heart a-hungering for the loved and known;
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and dear one,
So send I you - to know My love alone.

So send I you - to leave your life’s ambitions,
To die to dear desire, self-will resign,
To labor long and love where men revile you,
So send I you - to lose your life in Mine.

So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,
To eyes made blind because they will not see,
To spend, tho' it be blood, to spend and spare not-
So send I you to taste of Calvary.
As the Father hath sent Me, So send I you.

Isaiah 6:8
John 20:21
Mark 16:15
Romans 10:14-15
Jeremiah 1:7-9

Lyrics: E. Margaret Clarkson, 1915-
Composer: John Willard Peterson, 1921-2006


The text of “So Send I You,” sometimes called “the finest missionary hymn of the twentieth century,” was written by a young Canadian, then just twenty-two. Born in Saskatchewan, Margaret Clarkson grew up from age five in Toronto, graduating as a teacher in 1935. Jobs were so scarce that she had to spend seven years in the far north of Ontario, first in a lumber camp, then in a gold-mining area, before returning to teach her remaining 31 years in Toronto, retiring in 1973.

For over 50 years she has been known for her poems and articles in Christian periodicals, for her many hymns, and for her books. Of the writing of this text Miss Clarkson has written: "In the north I experienced deep loneliness of every kind — mental, cultural and particularly, spiritual — I found no Bible-teaching church fellowship, and only one or two isolated Christians, in those years. Studying the Word one night and thinking of the loneliness of my situation, I came to John 20, and the words 'So Send I you.' Because of a physical disability I could never go to the mission field, and this was where He has sent me. I had written verse all my life, so it was natural for me to express my thoughts in a poem..."

John W. Peterson was born in Lindsborg, Kansas on November 1, 1921, and spent his early days in Salina, Kansas. In 1939 he began a radio evangelistic work with two brothers and at that time began writing his first gospel songs. In 1942 Mr. Peterson entered military service and served as a pilot in the Chinese-Burma theater. Commenting about this period of his life, he says, "I had many precious spiritual experiences during those days, and many of my songs now in print had heir beginnings somewhere in India or Burma or high above the Himalayan Mountains."

In his book The Miracle Goes On, Mr Peterson often mentions his conviction about the power of a gospel song to change a person’s life. He cites the following example: "'So Send I You' was used by God in the life of an actress who had come to know Christ and who faced a agonizing decision: Should she maintain her professional contracts or give up her career and dedicate her life completely to the Lord for service, wherever He might lead? In the midst of her dilemma she sat listening to a recording of this song, and its challenge came through with stunning impact. The actress fell to her knees and made a total commitment of her life to God, and in due time He resolved the question of her vocation." More...