David Wilkerson Devotional


    God means it when He says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
    Throughout Romans 8, Paul outlines the destructive realities of sin. He states, “If you live after the flesh, you will die. To be lust-driven, to live only by the senses, leads to death. The body is dead because of sin.”
    In short, death means having no life. And only Jesus provides life, declaring, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
    Because nonbelievers lack life, everything they pursue leads to death. This is the reason so many turn to alcohol and “recreational” drugs. Getting high is no longer a party for them; rather, it is an attempt to numb the pain created by sin, a pain caused by real emptiness.
    “Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:18–19).
    What a horrible condition Paul describes. He is saying, “Such people are so given over to the world of pleasure, they are past feeling.” In short, they have become numb to any sense of God or life. In His mercy, the Lord reaches out to every numbed soul.
    Paul contrasts the condition of those in Christ’s Body: “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Ephesians 4:20–23).
    Paul is making his message plain: “You can be resurrected. You can be changed. You can come into new life.” What a hope! 
    On one occasion Paul was preaching in Ephesus, a city that worshiped the goddess Diana. The silversmiths in Ephesus had made fortunes selling little replicas of the goddess. But when Paul came on the scene, he preached, “Your god is false. There is only one true God. And His Son lived and died so that those who are dead in sin might live.”
    Enraged, the silver merchants realized their livelihood was at stake. So they stirred up a mob to take hold of Paul, determined to kill him (see Acts 19:24-31).
    Paul was convinced he was going to die and even at the very brink of death, he confessed, “We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so much that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8, my italics). He added by way of explanation, “We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead” (1:9, my italics).
    Tell me, have you ever been way down as Paul was, far beyond your power? Have you ever been past all remaining strength, down so deep you despaired even of life? When Paul said, “I despair of life,” he was saying he faced a death sentence: “We had the sentence of death in ourselves.”
    But God came on the scene and delivered him. Having experienced a miracle, Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus: “I have been resurrected from the dead. The Lord took me out of the grave. I stared hell in the face, but God resurrected me!”
    Paul testified, in essence, “The Lord delivered me from a great death — He keeps delivering me — and He will be faithful to deliver me in the future.”
    As Christians, we believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After the Lord’s crucifixion, the Holy Spirit entered the tomb where He lay and raised Him up. This is why we sing on Easter that Christ rose from the grave, victorious over His foes, and now reigns forever with the saints.
    We also believe that by Christ’s power we will be resurrected. This will happen when Jesus comes again. Scripture says all of us will be changed in the twinkling of an eye (see 1 Corinthians 15:52). The Holy Spirit will raise us up from this earth with incorruptible bodies and place us in the Lord’s very presence. This is the resurrection power Paul describes in his epistles — the power of a God who raises the dead!
    I want to show you that Christ still raises the dead today. I speak now of the resurrection life that God brings to those who are spiritually dead. Paul describes this kind of life-giving power in his letter to the Ephesians:
    “You He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as others.
    “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:1–6).
  • Mon, 22 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000: JESUS WANTS TO DISRUPT OLD PATTERNS - Gary Wilkerson - DAVID WILKERSON DEVOTIONS
    Being bound by fear can cause us to resist stepping out in faith. But Jesus has a remedy for our fear. At the Feast of Tabernacles, He stood up and declared, “This river of living water will not be stopped. If anyone believes in Me, this water will nourish him with life. It will flow out of him like a river, demonstrating the goodness of the heavenly Father” (see John 7:37-38).
    When our fearful heart is refreshed, one thing that flows into us is boldness: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Multitudes of Christians know this verse as a precious promise. But it is more than that — it is reality. For instance, we don’t have to muster up boldness to testify about Jesus because He supplies it. In fact, He causes it to overflow in us.
    This transformation happens in two ways: (1) circumstantial refreshing and (2) core refreshing. When God refreshes our circumstances, He changes old patterns. Let’s look at two common areas: finances and marriage. If you have fallen into financial trouble, He may refresh you by exposing your unhealthy spending patterns and convicting you to change them. He may lead you to seek financial counseling that can help you replace those patterns and become a wise steward.
    He may want to disrupt old patterns in your marriage, patterns that keep you stuck in hardened, unloving ways. Too many couples say to each other, “You’re always like this,” or, “You did this five years ago,” or, “You’ll never change.” The important question for any couple is, “How can I believe the best about my spouse and still deal realistically with our issues?” It starts with the refresh button. Very few relationship problems are solved overnight; most require diligent grace every day.
    Remember, Jesus is ready to refresh us with abundant grace every time we need it.
  • Sat, 20 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000: FACING THE ENEMY HEAD-ON - Nicky Cruz - DAVID WILKERSON DEVOTIONS
    In one of King David’s most quoted yet misunderstood psalms, he says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). I do not think David was asking God to remove this evil; he was asking to be pushed toward battle, to be forced to face the enemy head-on. He was ready to go to war with Satan, not hide from him!
    When the apostle Paul was inspiring his brothers in the faith to remember their purpose as Christians and their reward in heaven, he told them to “comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). In effect, he was saying, “Push each other forward in our battle against the evil one.”
    And when Jesus promised His disciples that the Comforter would be coming after His death, it was an announcement of war. The Holy Spirit would both inspire and empower them toward frontline spiritual warfare. This is a dimension of God’s Spirit that is very real yet too seldom understood and embraced.
    If you want to see God’s Spirit at work in full glory on earth, take a trip to the front lines of battle where the war between good and evil — the battle for human souls — is being fought with intensity. If you want to feel Satan’s wrath, just spend some time on his turf talking to the people he keeps in bondage and telling them about Jesus. Watch him raise his ugly head to try to intimidate and mock you.
    Nothing makes Satan angrier or more nervous than having one of God’s people carry the flashlight of grace into the damp darkness of his dungeon. That’s when he fights the hardest and when we see the Holy Spirit shine most mightily.
    Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run
    Tragically, the religious world has been divided for centuries. Down through the generations, terrible divisions have pitted Christians against each other. Brother has come against brother, sister against sister, and entire denominations have been ruined.
    The truth is, I honestly love my brother only when I can stand side by side with him in worship of Jesus. I know I truly love my brother when I can stand confidently before Christ’s throne knowing I have nothing in my heart against him. And I know I truly love my brother when I have the same love for him that Jesus has shown to me.
    So how do we truly love one another as Christ loves us?
    It happens when we forgive those who have hurt us, just as Christ has forgiven us.
    It happens when we reach out to the backslidden, doing all in our power to restore them.
    It happens when we esteem others better than ourselves.
    Dear saint, I plead with you today: Lay down all bitterness, strife and disrespect. Do not hinder the blessing of God in your life and home. Obey His new commandment to you and remember His Word: “By this all will know that you are Mine — if you love one another!” (see John 13:35). The lost will see and know God’s love through His obedient, joyful, sacrificing people — the church. Amen!
    “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3).
    The world needs illustrated sermons — powerful personal examples — of God’s love.
    In John 17:21, Jesus prayed: “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (my italics).
    Think of it: Even in His final hours, Jesus was still yearning over lost humanity. And He was giving His church specific direction on how to win those lost multitudes. Consider His final words on the subject: “Be as one! Put aside all strife and division, that the world may believe in Me.”
    You may think, “That sounds so simplistic. Is that really how the church is going to reach hardened hearts? Does simply loving each other truly provide supernatural power to combat hatred?”
    The answer is yes, yes and yes — absolutely! According to Jesus, the powerful love of God is revealed most clearly to the world by the unconditional love between His people.
    Right now, one of Satan’s primary strategies against the church is to plant division and strife. Everywhere I look in the Body of Christ worldwide, I am convinced hordes of demons have been sent on assignment within church walls. And their aim is to destroy the love of Christians for one another.
    The devil’s strategy is subtle: He pits race against race and rich against poor in the Body of Christ. The racial strife, specifically, is being fed worldwide through television and other media. I have not seen such racial hatred spewed forth in years, and now it is infiltrating the walls of God’s house.
    I thank God that Times Square Church was raised up with no color lines and no distinction between rich or poor. All who come through our doors are treated with the same respect and welcoming love. We have enjoyed God’s blessing for many years and I believe this is partly because we have obeyed Christ’s command to love one another as He has loved us.
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