Friday, April 29, 2011
On Wednesday afternoon my father, David Wilkerson, passed away in a car accident. We grieve the loss of a beloved father, a faithful husband and a holy man of God. My mother, Gwen, his wife of 57 years, was in the car also, but we are told she will recover fully.
Dad’s 60-plus years of ministry have impacted the lives of those closest to him and extended to millions around the world. Today we feel a personal loss, but at the same time we rejoice knowing Dad lived life to the fullest, obeying God with devotion and loving Jesus radically.
He was known for his unlimited faith. He believed God could change the lives of gang members and transform the most desperate drug addicts. He believed that a dynamic church could be launched in the heart of Times Square, New York City. He believed he could be a man who loved his wife and children well. And he did.
Dad was not one for fanfare, acclaim or ceremony. He turned down invitations to meet with world leaders yet would give everything he owned to support a poor orphan or a widow in distress.
Like King David of old, Dad served God’s purposes in his generation. He preached with uncompromising passion and relentless grace. He wrote with amazing insight, clarity and conviction. He ran his race well and when his work was done, he was called home.
I don’t think my father would have retired well. I don’t think he was one to sit in a rocking chair and reminisce about times past. I believe that Jesus, knowing this, graciously called him home.
Dad’s last mission on earth was to be an advocate for the poorest of the poor—to provide relief and support for hungry children and widows and orphans. After founding Teen Challenge, World Challenge and Times Square Church, he sought to feed starving children in the most impoverished countries in the world. Today, Please Pass the Bread is saving the lives of thousands of children, through 56 outreaches in 8 countries.
Like King David of old, after having served God’s purpose, he died. I know if my father were able to encourage you with his words today, he would invite you to give your all to Jesus, to love God deeply and to give yourself away to the needs of others.
The works he began outlive him. We can all attest to his impacting us—not only in his preaching, writing and founding of world-changing ministries, but in his love, devotion, compassion and ability to stir our faith for greater works.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
To believe when all means fail is exceedingly pleasing to God and is most acceptable. Jesus said to Thomas, “You have believed because you have seen, but blessed are those that do believe and have not seen” (John 20:29).
Blessed are those who believe when there is no evidence of an answer to prayer—who trust beyond hope when all means have failed.
Someone has come to the place of hopelessness—the end of hope—the end of all means. A loved one is facing death and doctors give no hope. Death seems inevitable. Hope is gone. The miracle prayed for is not happening.
That is when Satan’s hordes come to attack your mind with fear, anger, overwhelming questions: “Where is your God now? You prayed until you had no tears left. You fasted. You stood on promises. You trusted.”
Blasphemous thoughts will be injected into your mind: “Prayer failed. Faith failed. Don’t quit on God—just do not trust him anymore. It doesn’t pay!”
Even questioning God’s existence will be injected into your mind. These have been the devices of Satan for centuries. Some of the godliest men and women who ever lived were under such demonic attacks.
To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights—and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, “I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident. It was no failure on your part. Hold fast. Let me embrace you in your hour of pain.”
Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail—his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
I do not mean that Christians who fall back into old sins and turn back to the world are being tested. No, those believers face a shipwreck of faith.
But Peter warned, “Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness” (2 Peter 3:17). Peter is warning believers who are growing in holiness and are set on following the Lord.
Some of you may have taken a fall in spite of all the progress you’ve made with the Lord. If I asked you what caused your fall, you might answer, “Brother Dave, it was a fit of anger. I was provoked by my own family and I blew up. I can’t understand it. I thought I was becoming a little sweeter, a little more like Jesus. But somebody just pushed the wrong button and I lost it.” You may say, “I’m only human. How much am I supposed to take?”
It does not matter that you were provoked or even that you were in the right. The provoking simply proved you need deliverance. Scripture says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor [fighting], and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice [grudges]” (Ephesians 4:31).
God is going to keep testing you until you say, “I’ve got a spirit in me that’s got to go.” You will see no growth in Christ, no peace at home or on the job, until you can say, “You’re right, Lord—take it out!”
If you’re being tested in this area, or any other area for that matter, you may be thinking, “I feel so unworthy. How much ground have I lost? Does the Lord still love me?”
Dear saint, if you have truly repented, you haven’t lost any ground whatsoever. God puts his loving arms around you and says, “I allowed that to happen so you would see what’s in your heart. But you’re making progress. You’ve said you want to walk with me, and I’m teaching you. I know what’s inside of you and I’ll allow you to be provoked until you get rid of it all.”
Are you being tested? If so, just pray: “Lord, you’ve put your finger on some areas in me. Pluck them out of my heart. Encourage me, Lord, that I’m not going backward—I’m going forward with you!”
Monday, April 25, 2011
Nothing honors God more than trusting him in the face of difficulties. How quickly we forget the miracles and past blessings.
In Psalm 106 we see Israel beholding an incredible miracle as the Red Sea caved in upon the Egyptian army, drowning every soldier. “When they saw the Egyptians lie in the sea before them, then they believed in God, and sang his praise.” And the next words that follow are, “They soon forgot his works” (verse 13).
But we cannot trust our faith to past experiences—we are too forgetful and recall is too fragile. Past experience alone will not be enough to strengthen us in present difficulties. We need fresh faith—anchored in a daily supply of the Word of God—a fresh word from God!
Trust God when facing difficulties and God will trust you with more of his grace, his all-sufficiency and his strength.
To trust God in the face of dire difficulties requires a venturing faith—committing all things into his caring hands. There comes a time we must launch out into the deep and cast every care upon him. This venturing faith is all-pleasing to him.
Faith is our only hope, our only way out of difficulties. So let us step out and commit all to him!
Friday, April 22, 2011
“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil” (Hebrews 6:19).
The anchor referred to in this passage of Scripture is hope. Not the hope of this wicked world, but the hope founded on God’s oath to keep, bless, govern those who trust him.
This hope alone is our anchor in the storm falling on the earth at this present time. The writer of Hebrews admonished, “Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (6:12).
God made an oath to the “heirs of promise” who are all those who are in Christ. He made an oath in order to end all strive—all doubts—so that “…we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (6:18).
Here is our hope: GOD HAS SWORN TO FULFILL HIS PROMISES AND IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD TO LIE.
He kept his word to Abraham—he will keep his word to you as you trust him. We need strong consolation in these times.
After all is said and done—and all the sermons have been preached on hope—it comes down to this: Are we willing to commit all into his hands—rest in his Word—and stand without wavering in the love of God, fully convinced his promises to you will be fulfilled?
You can take that kind of faith beyond the veil into the holiest!
Thursday, April 21, 2011
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
If you should ask me what is happening in the world right now, I would answer, “Everything Jesus warned us would happen in the last days!” He warned of men’s hearts failing them with fear from beholding the things happening on earth. He warned of earthquakes in various places—nations rising against nations—ethnic group against ethnic group.
We have lived to see the beginning of all the end-time prophecies being fulfilled before our very eyes. Consider Luke 21:11, “Great earthquakes in various places.”
What did Jesus tell us to do when we see all these things coming to pass? He said, “Look up, lift up your heads (eyes); for your redemption is drawing near” (21:28).
Oh beloved, if you love Jesus, you should not be surprised or fearful. GOD HAS EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL.
Yes, we tremble at first seeing and hearing such dire news—but this is the time to look unto Jesus. He brought us this far—he is the author of our faith—he will bring us to the finish line with hope and peace, no matter what happens.
Today, let not any bad news cast down your soul. Look up—keep your entire focus on Jesus. He is coming very soon.
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised” (Hebrews 10:23).
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
David gives us a clear picture of Jesus’ attitude in the face of the coming storm. He speaks prophetically of Christ, saying, “I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved” (Acts 2:25). The literal meaning here is, “I was always in his presence, beholding his face.” David quoted Jesus as saying, “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope” (2:26).
Here is the secret: Jesus kept the Father always before his face! Jesus continually sought out secret places to be shut in with his Father. And it was only after being in God’s presence that Christ came forth to minister, fully persuaded that his Father was always with him. “He’s at my right hand—and nothing on this earth can move me.” The Greek word for move here means “agitated or shaken, disturbed.” Jesus was saying, “None of these problems, evils or coming events can cast me down or shake my confidence. My Father is in complete control.”
Beloved, if we’re going to face the coming storm, then we need to be prepared so nothing disturbs our spirit. And the only way to do that is to spend time in the Father’s presence beholding his face. We have to be shut in with him—on our knees, practicing his presence, seeking him—until we’re thoroughly persuaded he’s at our right hand.
God is clearly telling us, “Don’t be moved or agitated by anything you see. Keep your eyes focused on me and you’ll retain your joy.” And, according to David, Jesus testified, “Thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” (Acts 2:28).
It’s as if Christ is telling us, “I faced everything you’re going to face in the closing days of time. I had the same foreboding feelings, because I saw the coming storm. But I ran into the presence of my Father, and he lifted all my concerns. He showed me the outcome to it all. And in his presence I found all the joy, hope and rest I would ever need—to the very end. I have peace and joy because I’ve been with him.”
“My flesh shall rest in hope” (2:26).
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
God’s concern is that his people are being shaken in their faith—that they won’t trust him in their crises. Beloved, our worst sin is our unwillingness to believe he will do what he promised. And that offends him more than adultery, fornication, drug and alcohol abuse or any other sin of the flesh.
His Word says, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:9). “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
These verses are either the gospel or they are lies. But if they’re the gospel, then we must stand on them. God wants us to be able to say, “Lord, if I die standing here, trusting you to see me through, then let me die in faith. Live or die, I’m yours.”
Let all the winds and waves of hell come at you. Let everything come at you. Our God said he is able—and he knows how to deliver you.
He intended that you and I have all joy, peace, victory and rest in our walk. He is looking for men and women who will stand up against what’s coming in this dark age—servants who will stand with a calm and a peace because Christ abides in them.
God so desires for you to come into such a place of trust. He wants you never again to fear, but to truly rest in his power and ability. He knows how to deliver you from all snares, trials and temptations—if you will but trust him.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Martin Luther, at the height of all his trials, testified, “Lord, now that you have forgiven me all, do with me as you please.” Luther was convinced that a God who could wipe away all his sins and save his soul could certainly care for his physical body and material needs.
In essence, Luther was saying, “Why should I fear what man can do to me? I serve a God who can cleanse me of my iniquity and bring peace to my soul. It doesn’t matter if everything around me collapses. If my God is able to save me and keep my soul for eternity, why wouldn’t he be able to care for my physical body while I’m on this earth?”
“Oh, Lord, now that I’m pardoned, forgiven and able to stand before you on Judgment Day with exceeding great joy—do with me as you please.”
Brother, sister—rejoice! This present life is not reality. Our reality is eternal life in the presence of our blessed Lord.
So keep the faith! Things are winding down—but we are going up!A
Friday, April 15, 2011
"He maketh wars to cease..." (Psalm 46:9).
What welcome news to the child of God shattered and torn by warfare in the soul! The battle in my soul is his battle, and he alone can end it. My loving Father will not permit the flesh or the devil to bully me into defeat. My war is clearly defined by James, who wrote:
"From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? (James 4:1). These lusts include covetousness, pride and envy.
Throughout the ages, holy men of God have asked the same question, "Will the lust-war in me ever end while I am alive?" Is that not the same question being asked today by those who love the Lord completely?
The answer, of course, is that the war must and will end, and it will inevitably be followed by the greatest peace ever known. But how does the war end, and who ends it? If it is my battle and my obligation to end it, God must show me how. If it is truly his battle, then he must end it in his time and way—and give me patience while the fighting goes on, knowing he loves me through it all.
The Greek word used by James is stratenomai, which suggests a battle against carnal tendencies; a soldier at war. It is derived from stratia, which means a host, an army encamped. Didn't David speak of hosts encamped against us? Our carnal inclinations come against us as an army, an evil host determined to undermine and keep us in turmoil in hopes of shipwrecking our faith by attacking our minds with fear and unbelief.
If you study the Hebrew word for war used by David in Psalm 46:9, it becomes a cause of great rejoicing. It is milchamah which means to feed on, consume, and devour.
What the Word is actually saying to us here is simply marvelous: God is going to stop the enemy from consuming us, from devouring us. He will no longer permit lust to feed on us or overcome us. Be encouraged! God will cause our lust-war to cease. This is God’s battle—and he never loses.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
When we hurt, when we are lonely, afraid, and overwhelmed by circumstances beyond our control—we quickly turn aside from our true source of peace and victory and look to human ways and resources. How tragic! We know God is still on the throne waiting for us to call on him. We know the answer to all our needs is to be found alone with God, shut in with him. We will even confess to our spiritual friends, "I know I need to pray! I know God has the answer! I know I need to cry it all out in his presence!
It is discouragement of the worst kind to give in to fear and despair while ignoring the majesty and faithfulness of a loving Father. God said to Israel, "...I have talked with you from heaven…in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee" (Exodus 20:22.24). But Israel answered, "God hath forgotten to be merciful” (Psalm 10:11). "But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me" (Isaiah 49:14).
Are you a discouraged Christian? You are if you ignore the Lord's majestic promises and doubt that he means what he says! He promised, "Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me" (Isaiah 49:15-16).
You will be downcast if you go on carrying unnecessary burdens of guilt, fear, loneliness, anxiety, and turmoil simply because you refuse to rest on the Lord's great and precious promises.
God is not mocking his children when he promises, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
God is not lying when he promises, "The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry…. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles" (Psalm 34:15 and 17).
Let’s not become impatient and act according to our feelings. When we get into trouble and cry out to God for mercy and help, all heaven goes into motion on our behalf. Should the Lord let us see into the spiritual world to behold the good things he is preparing for those who call on him and trust him, it would be an incredible sight for our eyes.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
We are engrafted as a branch into Christ, the Vine (Romans 11:17-19). The very same power that is in him, enables us. The very same Spirit that quickened him, quickens us. The very same place he sits at the right hand of God is the same place we are by faith, in the Spirit. How do we know our sins are forgiven? By faith alone! We must take God's word for it, and when we do, we are given great peace of mind.
So it is with his power. We must take his word that his power is now at work in us, causing us to will and to do of his good pleasure! And this power can be appropriated only by faith. We must face our weakness with faith that he will help us do what he has commanded.
The paralyzed man who got up, walked, and carried his bed is a type of the believer who has mastery over sin! What an expression of Christ's power he was. What hope he must have given to all who were helpless and in need.
Isn't this what God is after today? Is he not seeking overcomers who will set an example for the world, showing an evil generation how Christ completely delivers from sin's dominion?
Sinners should see believers who live above the lusts and pleasures of this world. Men who love their wives and are faithful; wives who do not cheat and are good mothers and keepers at home; young people who practice purity and separation from all that defiles.
We have enough gospel radio and television and busy Christians doing exploits. We have enough crusades, concerts, and outreaches. We have more than enough plans, projects, programs, seminars, books, records, tapes, magazines, and newsletters.
I am not condemning all these good works. However, what we do not have enough of are Christians who truly show who Jesus is. There is a shortage of those of whom it can be said, "There goes a Christian who really expresses who Jesus Christ is! There is one who has nothing to promote, nothing to prove—but Christ, risen and glorified! There stands a brother, a sister, who shines with the beauty and simplicity of Jesus Christ, the Lord! There is one who has what I'd like to have—a reality that cannot be denied!"
This should become the one and only goal of our lives! To fulfill God's intention—to be a witness who expresses the fullness and completeness of Christ!
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The paralyzed man in Mark 2 was forgiven and cleared in God's eyes, but he was still a prisoner of his affliction. He was relieved of all his sins, but still impotent. He knew Christ as a relief but not as a resource!
It is not enough to be a forgiven cripple, a relieved prisoner. There is something we must do. Christ's part is to clear us before God and our part is to get up and walk! We must go beyond relief from sins into the freedom of his resources.
"Is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.... I say unto thee [the sick of the palsy], Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house" (Mark 2:9-11).
That man did not get up on his own strength; Christ imparted his strength to him. Without Christ, we can do nothing. We can overcome only through his strength and the power of the Holy Spirit!
Christ was saying to this man, "I am going to make you an example of my power over sin! Where you were the weakest, you will become the strongest. The thing that made you a prisoner, you will pick up and carry. You will overcome the very thing that held you down."
A spiritual cripple cannot be a true expression of Jesus Christ. We must live in the full power and victory of a life free from the bondage of sin. We all know our weakness, places where we are vulnerable, and Satan tells us that we will always be weak at that point, and one day be overcome by it.
Not so! By his glorious power, God can make us strongest at our weakest point. That is what the Scripture means when it speaks of his strength made perfect in our weakness.
What hinders you? A besetting sin, a weakness, an unresolved inner controversy? Whatever it is, it must go! You can no longer be chained to a bed of failure. It is all accomplished by faith in God’s promises.
The Lord wants to get you up out of that bed! He will give you all the power you need to overcome and walk in total deliverance!
Monday, April 11, 2011
What is there in us that attracts the marvelous grace, mercy and pardon of our Savior? Is it some kind of beauty, goodness, or strength? Is it some kind of potential in us?
No! It is our great need and utter helplessness that attracts his grace. It is our weakness that attracts his strength. Our helpless condition is exemplified by the palsied man in Mark, chapter two: "And they came unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy..." (Mark 2:3).
Here is a picture of absolute helplessness, a man without one iota of strength or power. He cannot even bring himself to Christ. Look again at that trembling, weak, helpless creature—a prisoner to his own bed. That is you and me before we knew anything of Christ's power.
Jesus stood before this helpless man, let down to him through the roof, and did not even mention his physical condition. The Lord chose to bring him into the Father's presence clean and cleared. He would be accepted before he was healed. "When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee" (Mark 2:5).
What a beautiful picture of the love of God in Christ Jesus! Here is a helpless man, too overwhelmed by his infirmity to even whimper. He cannot even muster a weak confession.
"We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…" (Ephesians 2:10). The Pharisee, with all his good works, his boasting, never did attract the grace of the Lord. It is not of works, lest any man should boast.
Show me the child of God who struggles against a hated besetting sin, one who is crushed beneath a load of guilt and despair, one who feels helpless and weak—and I will show you the one who is the object of abundant grace. Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more (see Romans 5:20).
When you have repented, stand by faith on the finished work of the cross! Through faith in him, your sins are under the blood. You now live on the other side of the veil, seated with Christ in heavenly places, accepted in the beloved, one with Christ and the Father! God's wrath against your sin has been satisfied. You are now more than a conqueror, living and moving in the Spirit. You are filled with the fullness of Christ with power to meet everything having to do with life and godliness. You are the apple of his eye, renewed in your mind, and made an heir to all that belongs to Christ the Lord!
Friday, April 8, 2011
When I speak of total trust in Christ, I mean not only in his saving power but also in his keeping power. We have to trust his Spirit to keep us and conform us to Jesus’ likeness.
Think about your own testimony. At one time you were alienated, cut off from God by wicked works. What good work did you do to make things right with him? None! No one has ever been able to save himself.
Likewise, nobody has ever been able to make or keep himself holy. We are brought into Christ’s holiness daily by faith alone, as we trust in what God’s Word says: “If you are in Christ, you are holy as he is holy.”
“You, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith” (Colossians 1:21-23).
Note the phrase “if ye continue in the faith.” Jesus is saying, “Continue trusting in me, living by faith. I will present you as clean, faultless, unblameable, holy before the Father.”
Beloved, this is all the sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost. As the Spirit empowers you to mortify the deeds of the flesh, he will lead you by his conviction and his comfort.
There is but one holiness: Christ’s! Therefore, no one believer is “holier than thou.” There are no degrees of holiness, only degrees of maturity in Christ. You can be a new Christian and still be absolutely holy in Jesus. So it’s foolish to measure yourself against someone you picture as being “holy.” We are all measured by one standard: the holiness of Christ. And if we are in him, his holiness is ours in equal measure.
You can never again look at another Christian and say, “Oh, I wish I were as holy as he is.” You may not have that person’s discipline or his prayer life; you may struggle more often and make more mistakes than he does. But he is no more accepted by the Father than you are. You are to compare yourself to no one, because no one is more loved in the eyes of the Father than you!
Dear saint, take off your shoes. Put off all reliance on your flesh. Here is the ground upon which you’re to live: “I claim my holiness, which is in Christ Jesus. I am part of his body. And my Father sees me as holy because I abide in him.”
Thursday, April 7, 2011
“They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness” (Psalm 145:7).
We cannot deny God’s claim to praise him in all his excellencies, but we are especially called to praise him for his goodness.
Note that the Psalmist insists on an abundance of praise in memory of the Father’s goodness—they sang the Hebrew for abundant utterances: to gush out like water rushing from a fountain.
In Psalm 107:8-9, David writes, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”
This truth of praising God for his past goodness struck a cord in my heart and I have been moved upon to do as David did. We are called upon to celebrate his goodness.
David opens up the goodness he speaks of—God is inclined to use mercy, as he sympathizes with our affliction and miseries. David borrowed from Exodus 34:6, where God spoke to Moses: “The Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”
Beloved, look back over the past and remember how good the Lord has been to you. Remember his compassions that never failed to bring you through. I am finding pleasure in praising God for all things, but especially for his goodness. Not only for past goodness, but for those I see daily—the goodness I see all around me now in the present.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” (Psalm 23:6).
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I am shocked by the present madness of the world. Government leaders are under God’s judicial blindness. You cannot explain the blindness of so many politicians and leaders. They grope about like the blind leading the blind.
It seems like all restraint is being cast aside and a moral madness has hardened multitudes.
Seeing all this madness makes me rejoice all the more that Christ Jesus has quickened those of us who were dead in trespasses and sin. I rejoice that those who once walked according to the course of this world—who were under the spirit of the prince of the power of the air and the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience—who once fulfilled all desires of the flesh and of the mind, even dead in sins—are now raised from the dead, quickened by the Spirit—sitting in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Today, as you grieve over the present madness, give God praise that you have been saved out of it all.
God be praised!
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
In my devotions today, I came across a portion of a sermon by William Bridge, preached in the 17th century. I felt led to share it with you.
It is this faith that now I am speaking: believing when all means fail and lie dead before us, that does honor God especially which doth justify the soul: It is the soul-saving faith of all.
Pray look into the seventh of Luke and consider it well. It is said at the last verse, “Jesus said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace.” But here is no mention at all before of her faith. There is mention of her love in the forty-seventh verse. “I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.”
There is mention before of her tears, at the thirty-eighth verse, “A woman in the city, which was a sinner, brought an alabaster box of ointment and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”
Here is mention of her tears, here is mention of her liberality, and bounty, and love to Jesus Christ. And yet our Lord and Savior Christ does not say thus: Woman, thy tears hath saved thee, go in peace; Woman, thy repentance and thy humiliation hath saved thee, go in peace. He doth not say, Thy love to me and thy bounty to me hath saved thee, go in peace, woman.
No, but our Lord and Savior, he saw a secret work of reliance upon himself in this woman, for she was a great sinner, and he says unto her, Woman, thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace!
Monday, April 4, 2011
In Acts 9 we learn of a man called Saul of Tarsus, one of the most religious men who ever lived. He could boast, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” But what was this pious man doing?
Saul is so full of hatred toward Jesus that he determinedly persecuted the church of God, even outside Jewish territory. In Acts 9 he is on his way to Damascus, seeking to destroy the Lord’s people.
Consider God’s action toward this man who became the greatest Christian evangelist who ever lived.
Suddenly there shines round about him a light from heaven. What for? To confound him? To put him under guilt and condemnation? To destroy him? To pronounce wrath and judgment on him? No—but to announce that his iniquity is forgiven and his sins covered.
Picture Saul lying prostrate before the shining light and hearing the voice of Jesus, instead of hearing denunciation of a holy God for the path he was on. The words he heard are, “I am Jesus!” There was not a word of the wickedness of what he was doing. Why this? The one he persecuted was his greatest friend.
Beloved, this same Jesus offers us the same mercy. Deserving judgment and denunciation, we hear him say, “I am Jesus, your Redeemer.”
Thank him this day for the mercy he has shown you.
[Thoughts inspired by J.B. Stoney]
Friday, April 1, 2011
We must once and for all understand what Christ did for us at the cross. He forever took away the thing that offended God's holy eye, so that we will always have a right to his presence. We are accepted in God's sight and there is not a single thing in God's heart against us!
Don’t go a step further until you learn the efficacy of Christ's blood—that you are fully pardoned! The cross cleared us in God's eye. We may forget that, but God never does. The veil was torn to allow us entrance and God was saying, "You are accepted! Come boldly to my throne, for you are now mine in the Beloved."
If God is satisfied, why shouldn't we be? This is the one issue that must be settled. Is there anything between you and your Father in heaven? You may say, "My heart condemns me! I've said and done things that would grieve the Spirit. I feel unworthy and the heavens seem brass." To all this you can answer, "But God is greater than my heart!"
Do you hate your sins? Have you confessed them? Do you believe that through Jesus, "forgiveness of sins is preached" (Acts 13:38)?
Here is where many Christians fail. They live with unnecessary fear and bondage, because they do not understand the victory of the cross. They are clear in God's eyes, totally satisfied by Christ’s sacrifice, but they don't know it. There is nothing blocking access to him except our fear and lack of knowledge. When the veil was split, God came out to you and me! We go in—he comes out!
How incredible! We offend God, yet he is so anxious to clear us in his own eyes, he sends his own sacrifice for our sins. Sin was judged and the offense removed. Now God can say, "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12). He himself removed the distance!
God is not wanting to impute sin against us. Instead, he seeks to reconcile us to himself. He desires that we live in the blessedness of knowing the sin question was forever settled at the cross.