Don’t Make the Flesh your Strength

Trust in Man
Jeremiah 17:5-6 ESV

“Thus says the Lord:
‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.’”

So much of the church has turned away from putting their absolute trust in Almighty God and instead they are putting their primary trust in humans. They are following after human marketing schemes on how to conduct and to grow their churches (businesses). And they are accepting man-made gospels which dilute and which alter the gospel of our salvation to make it more acceptable and appealing to the world and to human flesh.

So many people professing faith in Jesus Christ are quoting humans and not the Scriptures, and they are accepting as fact what certain humans are saying without even checking to see if what they are saying is true or not, and merely because those particular humans just happen to be widely accepted as the “real deal” in Christian circles. But no matter who the person is, we should still test what he or she is saying.

The modern-day market-driven churches are not built on the foundation of the Scriptures but on the foundation of men and their doctrines and dogmas and their marketing schemes and goals and what they are being taught in their training sessions. I hear the same phrases being repeated over and over from multiple sources but stemming from the same ultimate source, which is not God, and many people are blindly accepting these as fact.

For example, “Stay in your own lane,” meaning don’t talk to people about sin or share with them the gospel and just say to people what makes them feel good for you don’t want to offend anyone. And that is said plainly. Or “Wait until you have friended someone for at least two years before you tell them the gospel, for you need to earn the right to talk with them about sin.” Not biblical! And, if you are feeling guilty about sinning they tell you to just “Claim who you are in Christ.” Also not biblical.

Another one is to just “be the gospel,” meaning invite neighbors over to watch a movie and drink soda or beer and eat pizza and pop popcorn. Now, we should all be hospitable, and it is great to invite neighbors over for a meal, but movies can be questionable in nature, and watching a movie together is not “being the gospel.” But they use “human deeds” in place of sharing the gospel so that they don’t offend anyone with the gospel.

We should live the gospel, yes, but that means walking in holiness, righteousness, moral purity, honesty, integrity, faithfulness, obedience to God and submission to Christ as Lord. And it means we don’t make sin our habit, our practice. We don’t deliberately, habitually, and/or premeditatedly commit the same sins repeatedly without genuine repentance. For repentance is making a spiritual U-turn and going the other direction. And we must share with others the truth of the gospel in words they can hear.

Another one we learned in our training was to just use “needy” people to get up and going and then get rid of them or they will drag you down. Ouch! Oh, and I had one pastor tell me that he was warned in his training about people like me, “people of strong convictions.” And many of these pastors are being taught to “weed out” those they can’t mold into their image and to invite them to leave and to go someplace else where they will be a “better fit.”

And I could go on and on with the phrases I keep hearing over and over and quoted as though they are truth when they are not. And in particular are the ones where they give people the impression that they can be saved, be on their way to heaven, but that none of their sins will ever count against them, and that God loves them, and that he is pleased with them just the way they are even if they are engaged in deliberate and habitual sin in God’s face.

Trust in the Lord
Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

We are not to be those who put our trust in other humans but we are to put our trust solely in the Lord, for he alone is the one who can be trusted completely and who will never lie to us or deceive or trick us or manipulate us or trick us into sinning against God, etc. He is the only one who truly loves us with a pure and unadulterated and unselfish love which considers what is truly best for us. He is the only one whose word we can trust without question who we know will do what he said he would do.

I am 72 years old and I began believing in Jesus at around age 7, so I have a long history with the Lord, and he has proven faithful every time. Now, I didn’t always understand how he worked and I had some misperceptions early on because I was raised by a dad who was an abuser, and God did not rescue me from that situation. So, for a while I was convinced that man had power over me that God could do nothing about, so I had learning to do.

But once I began to understand the sovereignty of God over my life and how he created me for a purpose, and that he gave me the history he did in preparation for that purpose – but not that he ever once tempted me to sin – I began to see the goodness of God even in the difficult circumstances of my life and how all this was in preparation for his plan for my life. And so that changed my perspective about his part in all of my life.

And that increased my trust in him to where I could trust him fully with my life no matter what came my way. And I have gone through some very hard things all throughout my life. Now I have never had bombs bursting all around me, and I have not had the continual threat of losing my life for my faith that people in other countries experience, but God has taken me through a lot to try my faith and to make me strong and steadfast in my faith.

And in this process he also taught me the nature of humans and he showed me so much about what is going on in our government (USA) and in the media, and in the church that was really eye opening and which also made me realize how much I should not put my trust in humans but only in God. For not many people these days are trustworthy or honest or morally pure, not even pastors of churches. It is a sad reality but a reality I needed.

Anyway, the point here is that when the Lord takes us through difficulties his goal is to purify us, yes, but also to strengthen us in our faith and in our trust in God alone, for we are entering into some very trying times now in America and in the world. And we are going to have to stand on one side or the other, and we have to be ready to stand with God even if it means standing alone, and even if everyone else turns against us, which they may.

So, let the Lord open your eyes to see what is going on in this world and ask him who can be trusted and who can’t, and let him show you who is teaching the truth and who is teaching lies. But get your truth from the Scriptures, and read them in context, for many false doctrines stem from Scriptures taught out of context, and they are made to say what they do not say. So be diligent about being students of the Scriptures and following your Lord in obedience so that you are not caught in the traps of deceitful men.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]

I Stand in Awe

By Mark Altrogge

You are beautiful
You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above

And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You

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