Tuesday, September 2, 2014

MORE OF JESUS

I can’t read the book of Acts without feeling ashamed. The apostles lived and ministered in the realm of the miraculous. Even laymen such as Stephen and Philip, men who served tables, were mighty in the Holy Ghost, working miracles and stirring entire cities. Angels appeared to them, unlocked their chains, and walked them out of high security prisons. They had mighty visions, clear and detailed.

Peter was so full of the Holy Ghost that the sick were brought into the streets on beds and couches so that his shadow would fall on them for healing (Acts 5:15). Cripples were healed and went leaping through the temple, and miracles are recorded: “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:11-12).

Why are we not living today in such a realm? God has not changed; we have! The same Lord is with us; we have the same promises; and God is more than willing to do it again. But regrettably, there is an idea today that we don’t need the miraculous. It is said, “This generation has a greater revelation; it’s more educated, more knowledgeable. We are not to expect the Lord to work like that today, as that was only necessary to establish the church.”

My answer to that is, if miracles were needed to establish the church, they are even more needed in the closing of the church age. Evil men have waxed worse and worse as sin has abounded many times over. Seducers have increased, violence has broken out beyond control, and hell has enlarged its borders. Satan has come down with great wrath. As doctrines of demons come in like a flood, apostasy grows worse.

We are in the great falling away. Abortion has filled the land with blood-guiltiness. Our youth are out of control with cocaine, crack, heroin and alcohol spreading throughout schools, devastating and killing, turning teenagers into sick, crazed thieves and murderers. New diseases are spreading death worldwide.

We need more of Jesus, more of His saving, healing power, than any past generation! The apostles knew the cost of the miraculous and eagerly paid it, but we have not been willing to pay the price.

Monday, September 1, 2014

KEEPING OUR EYES ON JESUS! by Gary Wilkerson

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV).

We can be hindered in our race of faith by “sin which clings so closely.” As we run the race of faith, the enemy will stick his foot out to make us stumble. This often happens after our greatest times of victory. One moment we think, “God is on the move! Now I’ll see His promise come to pass,” but then our situation turns in the opposite direction, tripping up our faith. We’re left thinking, “Lord, I thought this was my breakthrough. Now things are worse than ever.”

So, where is our hope? We find it at the verse’s end: “Let us run with endurance the race [God has] set before us” (12:1). Though our circumstances cause us to doubt and we are easily tripped up by sin, the race we’re in is about endurance. We are instructed to endure by keeping our eyes on Jesus. Our race isn’t about mustering up enough faith—we can’t muster anything on our own. We must look to Jesus to supply us with faith, for He is “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (12:2).

What a wonderful thing: Christ initiates faith in our hearts! Long before He called us to run our particular race, the thought was in His mind, “I want to see this done.” He initiated faith in us and set us on a race to see His purposes accomplished.

Tell me, what has happened to the faith God planted in your heart? Do you feel it has died? Are you weary after stumbling so many times? Friend, do not despair! God has promised to initiate faith in you, and that includes reigniting the faith you have known. “So then faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17, ESV).
If your promise has not yet been fulfilled, be assured that God is at work “perfecting your faith.”

Friday, August 29, 2014

MY BAGS ARE PACKED

This is no time to be settling down to a life of ease. We must live in a stirred-up state. “And it shall come to pass at that time [before judgment], that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil" (Zephaniah 1:12). “Settled on their lees” means they are unconcerned. “Lees” are sediment of wine settled at the bottom of the barrel. Many Christians have not wanted Holy Ghost stirrings. They now sit back, taking it easy, and letting all the dirt settle in their hearts. Some have left Times Square Church because it is too intense; there is too much stirring up of the heart. They have gone on, looking for a place where there is no stirring. They say, “I can’t take the pressure, the strong preaching. You call for too much heart-searching.”

I say to you, a true Holy Ghost church will be the candle of God, searching through the city, making it very uncomfortable for those who have settled down. God’s Word calls it “being emptied from vessel to vessel” in Jeremiah 48:11-12: “Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.” These people refused to get involved. They preferred quiet, peace, and undisturbed prosperity, refusing to be probed, convicted, or stirred.

If we knew how close we are to our Lord’s return—how close to fiery judgments—we would thank God for His stirrings in us. We would be poured out in every meeting, getting rid of the dregs. We would thank God for ministers of the gospel who keep provoking us to walk in righteousness and who flood our souls with the convicting, piercing Word of truth. On Judgment Day, we will be eternally grateful to God that we were awakened by the trumpet messages that brought us to repentance and the true fear of God.

My bags are packed! I’m ready and longing to see Jesus face to face.