Mon, 30 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000: PREVAILING PEACE by Gary Wilkerson - DAVID WILKERSON DEVOTIONS It is no sin to say, “Lord, this time in my life is overwhelming and uncomfortable. I need Your strength and courage.” He invites that kind of confession and prayer. But God does have a problem with Christians who say, “I moved out in faith but when I began to feel a lack of peace, I knew it wasn’t from the Lord. So I stopped.”
Here is the problem with that line of thinking. If we stopped walking in faith every time we had a lack of peace, we would never do anything in obedience to the Lord.
Yes, we should have a prevailing peace that undergirds all we do. Such peace comes from God’s immovable Word. But we have to know that if we are about our Father’s business, our peace will be rocked from time to time. Even a man of faith like Joshua could be shaken. That’s why God told him, “Be of good courage; don't fear” (see Joshua 1:6, 7 and 9).
I know my father, David Wilkerson, never would have gone to New York City to work with gang members if he had thought every lack of peace was God telling him to stop. There are times we have to hear God’s voice in the midst of being rocked. His desire for us in chaotic times is not to quit but to discern the Spirit’s voice. That’s how we find peace when our world is being shaken.
A century ago in China, many faithful missionaries spent decade after decade toiling with very little to show for their efforts. Some had only one or two converts; others had none. They suffered under decades of harsh, repressive conditions and many died or were kicked out. There was no reason to believe their efforts amounted to anything more than one massive failure.
Today, tens of millions of Chinese Christians worship God in the underground church alone. Sociologists say that by 2050 the church in China will outnumber all believers in the rest of the world.
Were those missionaries’ efforts a failure? Not at all. Those servants faithfully planted seeds, not knowing what would result. And most of those missionaries died never knowing the results. I urge you, take their example to heart. Whenever we face negative circumstances, it is our call to obey Him. The results are up to Him.
Sat, 28 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000: WATCH GOD BLESS YOU by Claude Houde - DAVID WILKERSON DEVOTIONS I had just shared the Word at Times Square Church, the congregation in Manhattan pioneered by Pastor David Wilkerson. He and I had eaten supper and as we were walking back together, I wanted to ask him for counsel, as our church was due to open in several months. Pastor Wilkerson, the author of more than forty books, founded the Teen Challenge Centers that are bringing freedom to addicts all over the world. He began World Challenge, a Christian organization supporting missions around the world, as well as countless other ministries. In his later years, Pastor Wilkerson spoke in conferences to thousands of pastors face to face and is considered to be a man who truly marked our generation for God.
I was a bit nervous. Pastor Wilkerson was a very humble man, nice, kind and considerate, yet he was also extremely serious and very intense. I love, respect and admire him and am so grateful for all he has done for me and the work of God in the French world.
As I was walking with him through the crowded streets of New York City, lit as brightly as if it were daytime, I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. I finally got up the courage and just blurted out, “Pastor Dave, we are soon going to begin our church. Do you have a key, a piece of advice you would like to share with me? What I’m trying to say is, if there was one thing that I should do or that I should know, what would you say it is?”
I was astounded by his answer. He stopped dead in his tracks and began to say with amazing intensity and a burning passion, “You want to know what the key is? Do you really want to know?”
I answered him in a faltering voice, “Yes, sir, I really would like to know.”
All of a sudden, his expression and tone of voice changed, and his entire face lit up. Like a child who knows a secret, he said, “Find the poor! Give to the poor! Help the poor! Put your heart and your passion into helping people who will never be able to pay you back or do anything for you.” Then he paused for a second and with absolute joy, he added, “And then watch God bless you!”
“Blessed are those who help the poor” (Proverbs 14:21, NLT).
__________ Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.
Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000: PROMISES TO RENEW AND STRENGTHEN - DAVID WILKERSON DEVOTIONS I am convinced that right now the faith of the Body of Christ is under fierce satanic attack.
We know that Satan has always brought intense attacks against God’s people, causing awful suffering. For centuries, the blood of martyrs has been spilled. Godly saints like Job have been tried severely. But the onslaught against the faithful we see today is Satan’s last stand.
Just as wickedness abounds around the world today, so do the afflictions and trials of God’s Church. We’re seeing an unprecedented barrage of sickness, affliction, trouble after trouble, one problem after another—all of which make an overcoming life seem impossible to any believer.
Our faith and strength may grow weak, but in our times of weakness, God has given us marvelous promises to renew and strengthen us. Here are some of His promises that sustain me:
“God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. . . . He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters; he delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me. . . . He is a buckler [protector] to all them that trust in him” (2 Samuel 22:33, 17-18, 31).
“Thou hast girded me with strength to battle” (2 Samuel 22:40).
“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11).
“The God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God” (Psalm 68:35).
“Forsake me not when my strength faileth. . . . I will go in the strength of the Lord God” (Psalm 71:9, 16).
“Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee. . . . They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God” (Psalm 84:5, 7).
Do you believe your God is strong, as the Psalmist declares? If He is, no power can stand before Him. Commit everything into His mighty hand of strength and He will make a way. Most of all, believe His word: “In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul” (Psalm 138:3).
Thu, 26 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000: IN TIMES OF AFFLICTION - DAVID WILKERSON DEVOTIONS I may not see the evidence, but God is always at work. Every moment of the day, every hour I sleep, He is making a way for me. And His plan is right on schedule, at all times, even when there seems to me to be a delay in His holy work. He is getting at things deep down in me that must be settled so that He can fulfill His promises.
One day I will look back at these trying times and say, “Lord, now I see. You were there all the time, working my miracle!”
Those who are in despair may be tempted to shut themselves out of communion with God. Yet doing so can be fatal. In Psalm 88, you may find a description of what you are going through. A godly man named Heman tells of his hopeless situation:
“My soul is full of trouble. I have been brought down to the pit, and I am among the dead. God has laid me in the lowest pit in darkness, and his wrath lies hard on me. My friends have forsaken me; I am shut up, closed in. I mourn because of my affliction” (my paraphrase).
Heman then challenges God: “Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise thee? Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? Or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? And thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?” (Psalm 88:10–12).
Heman is saying, in effect, “I need a miracle now, Lord, not at the resurrection. This is my last hope. Soon it will be too late, because I’ll be dead. You face a deadline here, God. Help me! Why are You casting me off? Why do You hide Your face from me? Why don’t You answer my cries?”
This is hopelessness, despair, an apparently impossible crisis.
What can a godly soul do? How does a righteous soul react? Like Heman, we are to cry night and day: “O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee. Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry. . . . Unto thee have I cried, O Lord; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee” (Psalm 88:1–2, 13).
Here are three things I do in my times of great affliction:
I receive and believe in the love and delight of my heavenly Father.
I pour out my heart before Him, crying to Him in silence.
I encourage my soul with His promises daily.
Wed, 25 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000: THE SCHOOLROOM OF PRAYER - DAVID WILKERSON DEVOTIONS Sometimes we are too casual about prayer. But in times of trouble we find ourselves wrestling with the Lord in prayer every day, until we are assured in our spirit that He has everything under control. The more we want to be reminded of that assurance, the more we go to our prayer closet.
The truth is, God never allows an affliction in our lives except as an act of love. We see this illustrated in the tribe of Ephraim in Israel. The people had fallen into great affliction, and they cried out to God in grief. He responded, “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus” (Jeremiah 31:18).
Like David, Ephraim testified, “Thou has chastised me . . . as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me . . . for thou art the Lord my God” (31:18). In other words: “Lord, You chastened us for a reason. We were like a young, untrained bull, full of energy, but You chastened us to tame us for Your service. You brought our wildness under control.”
You see, God had great plans for the tribe of Ephraim, fruitful, satisfying plans. But first they had to be instructed and trained. Thus, Ephraim declared, “I repented; and after that I was instructed” (31:19). They said, in effect: “In the past, when God had us in the classroom preparing us for His service, we couldn’t take correction. We ran away, crying, ‘It’s too hard.’ We were stubborn, constantly slipping out of the yoke He put upon us. Then God put on us a tighter yoke, and He used His loving rod to break our stubborn will. Now, we yield to His yoke.”
We also are like Ephraim: young, self-centered bulls that don’t want to be put under a yoke. We avoid the discipline of plowing, experiencing pain, being under the rod. And we expect to have everything now—victory, blessing, fruitfulness—by merely claiming God’s promises, or “taking them by faith.” We chafe at being trained in secret prayer, at having to wrestle with God until His promises are fulfilled in our lives. Then, when affliction comes, we think, “We’re God’s choice people. Why is this happening?”
The prayer closet is our schoolroom. And if we don’t have that “alone time” with Jesus—if we’ve eased off from intimacy with Him—we won’t be ready when the flood comes.
Tue, 24 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000: IMPORTANT TO JESUS AND HIS KINGDOM - DAVID WILKERSON DEVOTIONS Grandma Carosso, my wife Gwen’s mother, died at age ninety-five. She was a praying woman, quiet and unassuming.
After she went to be with the Lord, in her closet Gwen and I found a cardboard box filled with checkbook stubs dating over many years. Grandma Carosso had spent little on herself, but the records showed she had supported missionaries for many years. She sent in small amounts at a time: five, six, ten dollars.
All that time, Grandma Carosso had thought she didn’t do much in the work of the kingdom. She would say she had no talent, no ministry. But she was just as important to Jesus and His kingdom as the many missionaries she supported over the years with her sacrificial gifts.
When our blessed Lord rewards those wonderful missionaries she supported, Grandma Carosso will share in all the spoils of their front-line spiritual victories. Remember what Jesus said of the poor widow who cast two pennies into the offering: “She has cast in more than all the others” (Luke 21:3). The widow had given all she had.
My wife, Gwen, stayed at home while I traveled for years on the front lines of evangelism. Gwen is much like her mother: quiet, unassuming and very dedicated to her family. During the decades when I traveled the world in ministry, I was away from home much of the time. Gwen had to stay behind to care for our four children; she was always there when they came home from school, always there when they expressed a need.
When I returned from trips, Gwen rejoiced with me at the reports of numerous souls being won to Christ, or addicts and alcoholics being healed. Yet she wasn’t able to go and do this work herself.
Many times I heard my wife say, “I can’t preach or sing. I’m not a writer. I feel I’m doing so little, if anything, for the Lord.” But Gwen came to believe that her calling was to be a faithful wife and mother (and, eventually, grandmother).
While writing this message, I told my wife, “On that day when I stand before Jesus, if I have been used to win souls or raise up godly works that please Him, if there are any rewards to be had, Gwen, you will share in them equally.”
Mon, 23 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000: LOVE GOES THE EXTRA MILE by Gary Wilkerson - DAVID WILKERSON DEVOTIONS Some Christians think peacemaking means avoiding conflict—but doing that only leads to further division, strife and disorder. When was the last time you avoided a necessary confrontation with someone? Did you end up being passive-aggressive toward that person and withholding kindness? Did your e-mails or Facebook posts about them contain an edge?
There’s nothing Spirit-led about avoiding conflict, per se. In fact, Jesus commands us to do the opposite. He even gives us specific instructions on how to go about it. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (Matthew 18:15, ESV). Jesus’ instruction here is packed with wisdom. Confronting a person in private preserves one’s dignity in the face of their sin. It also allows truth to shine its light on sin.
Yet, confronting someone this way isn’t a one-time solution. Why? First, it may not work, as Jesus points out. “But if he does not listen . . .” (18:16). Also, this isn’t just a cut-and-dried command, where afterward we can walk away and say, “Well, I did what Jesus said. That’s that. I won’t have to deal with this guy anymore.” According to Jesus, we have more to do—because love goes the extra mile: “If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses” (18:16).
It doesn’t even end there. Love keeps going the extra mile, on and on: “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (18:17). This last phrase sounds like a final rejection but that isn’t accurate. Our actions are meant to reflect back the sinner’s behavior so that he might repent and enjoy fellowship again.
This sequence of actions shows us something else. It teaches us the lengths to which God extends His grace—and the cost to us as agents of that grace. God’s heart is always to bring the lost sheep back into the fold. How far does this grace extend? As Jesus told Peter, we’re to forgive our sinning brother “seventy times seven”—meaning as many times as it takes. Once again, this requires a lay-down-your-life-on-the-cross kind of love. It’s a love that says, “I’m still here for you. I’m not going anywhere.” This love requires a Spirit-filled walk because our flesh simply isn’t capable of it.
We speak thousands of words every day and all these words are accumulated: the good words, the bad words, the criticized words... we're so flippant with our words; we're so easy with our criticism. We stab and we injure and we hurt, and God i s going to try all my word before a thousand-million people. Every word you say is going to be played back some day. The Word of God says man shall give an account for every word that he has spoken. - Leonard Ravenhill