Tuesday, May 31, 2011

CHRIST REIGNS!

Often people write to us saying, “I have no one to talk to, no one to share my burden with. Nobody has time to hear my cry. I need someone I can pour my heart out to.”

King David was surrounded by people. He was married, with a large family, and had many companions at his side. Yet we hear the same cry even from David: “To whom shall I go?” It is in our very nature to want another human being, with a face, eyes and ears to listen to us and advise us.

When Job became overwhelmed by his trials, he cried out with grief: “Oh that one would hear me!” (Job 31:35). He uttered this cry while sitting before his so-called friends. Yet those friends had no sympathy for Job’s troubles. Instead, they were messengers of despair.

In his sorrow, Job turned only to the Lord: “Behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high… Mine eye poureth tears unto God” (Job 16:19-20). In the Psalms, David urged God’s people to do likewise: “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8). David also wrote in Psalm 142:

“I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living” (142:1-5).

I believe in my heart this message is an invitation to you from the Holy Spirit to find a private place where you can frequently pour out your soul to the Lord. David “poured out his complaint,” and so can you. You can speak to Jesus about everything – your problems, your present trial, your finances, your health – and tell him how overwhelmed you are, even how discouraged you are. He will hear you with love and sympathy, and he will not despise your cry.

God answered David. He answered Job. And for centuries he has answered the heart-cry of everyone who has trusted his promises. Likewise, he has promised to hear you and guide you. Indeed, he has pledged by oath to be your strength. Go to him, and you will come out renewed.

Monday, May 30, 2011

GOD HAS NEVER, EVER FAILED US

No matter what happens to the economy, no matter what crisis we face, no matter what sorrow or trouble may come our way – OUR BLESSED LORD IS LEADING AND CARING FOR US EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

God had to finally disown those he delivered out of Egypt, because they doubted and limited him after having been so miraculously coddled in his loving arms. It isn’t simply that God would like for us to trust him in difficult times – he demands it. This is why Scripture so strongly warns us against unbelief. We are told it grieves the Lord and shuts us off from every blessing and good work he has promised. Our unbelief makes every promise “of no effect.”

For us in New York City, this is not a dead theology. We have to practice what we preach just to survive each day. If we did not fully trust the Lord’s promises and rely on Jesus with all that is in us, we would freeze up with fear and panic. The streets here are like war zones; people live constant fear and danger, and bystanders are murdered left and right. Our costs to care for those we minister to are heavy, and the needs of hurting people are so enormous. IF WE DID NOT REST IN GOD’S STEADFAST PROMISES, WE WOULD BE OVERWHELMED.

But we are not overwhelmed – we are not afraid. As the problems grow worse, we grow stronger in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I PRAY YOU ARE ENJOYING THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD

There is a text in the original Hebrew that has blessed me greatly, and I want to share it with you. “When designing pursuers approached me, who are far from thy law; then you, O Jehovah, wast near with all thy faithful commandments” (Psalm 119:150-151, Helen Spurrell Translation).

Demonic principalities and powers had surrounded David, trying to bring him and Israel to ruin and destruction. Yet this man of God testified that as the enemy drew near, he trusted the Lord to draw even nearer. David said that God held him by his right hand, walking him through every enemy assault.

Here in David’s testimony is a wonderful promise for you and me. We can be sure Satan is out to destroy, harass and pull down all who love the Lord. The enemy will do all within his power to bring us into a pit of despair, confusion, guilt and condemnation.

Do you have any satanic, “designing pursuers” coming against you right now? Overwhelming temptations? Trials? Financial burdens? Marriage or family problems? Business problems? When your pursuers come near you with a design to destroy you, take heart: the Lord God Almighty is even nearer. He is at your side – and if he is near you, he will act on your behalf. I cannot imagine God being near any child of his and yet sitting by allowing the devil to abuse or corrupt his beloved in any way.

Read Psalm 68:1-4 and see what God has promised to do for you, if you will but trust him. You can claim these four verses for now and throughout the year. Memorize these verses, stand on them, and God will put your enemies to chase.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MAY THE PEACE OF GOD RULE IN YOUR HEART

The Spirit has been making it so clear to me that all my praying is totally in vain unless I pray in faith. I could weep, fast, intercede, agonize and travail in prayer, yet make no impact with the Lord at all – unless I was doing it all with simple, childlike faith.

God will not act on our behalf without faith. The Word says, “Let not that man [the doubter] think he shall receive anything from God” (James 1:7).

The Lord commands us to trust him. Yet often we have so little confidence in him, so little faith in his willingness and desire to answer our heart-cry. When we get to heaven, we will be amazed to discover all the blessings, peace and power we had at our disposal but did not appropriate because of our weak faith.

I AM GREATLY MOVED UPON BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO CHALLENGE YOU TO INCREASE YOUR FAITH. Ask the Lord to forgive your unbelief and to flood your soul with confidence in his willingness to over-answer your sincere prayers.

Do you want an increase faith? When you go to prayer again, use the following Scriptures to reason with the Lord. He will not deny his own Word. Lay hold upon these:

• Psalm 62:8
• Psalm 91:4
• Psalm 56:3
• Proverbs 30:5
• Jeremiah 29:10-14

Hold on by faith! He will answer you, and soon.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

GREETINGS IN THE WONDERFUL NAME OF THE LORD

I recommend you take the time to read these powerful Psalms, 142 and 143, to encourage your faith.

I was interested in what David was going through when he said, “When my spirit was overwhelmed in me, then you knew my path” (142:3). He repeats this in verse 143:4, “My spirit is overwhelmed in me; my heart within me is desolate.” David is actually saying to God, “I am drowning in trouble. I am under attack by my enemies. It is bringing me low.” He cried to the Lord, “Hear my cry, for I am brought very low… Bring my soul out of this prison” (142:6-7).

Beloved, these words are written for our sake, for our instruction. Here is encouragement for all of God’s people who are overwhelmed by troubles and afflictions. Some are drowning in financial troubles, overwhelmed with debt. Multitudes of precious believers can hardly make ends meet. Many widows and elderly couples are barely making it.

Often I have been accused of being too gloomy, too negative. People say nobody wants to hear bad news, that they turn off any preacher who talks about pain, suffering and troubles. But the truth is, most of us live in a world where life can be absolutely overwhelming at times. Like David, we face a flood of troubles; we are afflicted even in our righteousness. We endure sickness, death of loved ones, times of confusion, not knowing what to do next. We face hellish attacks of Satan against our faith.

It is in our overwhelming times we learn to seek God and learn to cry out in our pain. David said, “I poured out my complaint before him, I showed before him my trouble” (142:2). “In thy faithfulness answer me” (143:1). Are you even now overwhelmed by circumstances in your life? Do what David did:

• “I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsts after thee, as a thirsty land” (143:6).

• “Hide not your face from me… Cause me to hear your loving kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul to you” (143:7-8).

• “Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies: I flee to you to hide me. Teach me to do your will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble” (143:9-11).

Be encouraged. God has everything under control! He will meet your need right on time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

YOUR BATTLE IS THE LORD’S (2 Chronicles 30:15)

The reason I am writing this is to remind you the battle you are facing is not yours, but God’s. If you are a child of his, you can be certain that Satan will “rage against you.”

In 2 Chronicles 20, a great multitude came against God’s people. King Jehoshaphat and his people set their hearts to seek the Lord and to fast. The king cried out to God a prayer that most of us have prayed at times in our spiritual journey: “We have no might against these that come against us, neither do we know what to do; but our eyes are upon you” (20:12). “The Spirit of God came in the midst of the congregation…saying, Be not afraid nor dismayed…for the battle is not yours, but God’s (20:14-15).

Isaiah gave this warning to all satanic forces: “Who have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you exalted your voice?... Even against the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 37:23).

God told his people Israel, and he tells us today: “The battle is not against you. It is Satan’s rage against me, the Lord who abides in you.” God said to Satan, “I know where you abide, and where you come and go, and your rage against me” (37:28).

I ask you: where is your battle? In your marriage? Your business or job? Your finances? Your health? Does your battle get more intense day after day? If you have a heart for Jesus and a desire to cleave to him, you will face the rage of hell. But that is still not your battle.

You can end your battle quickly if you choose – simply by quitting and giving in to your fears and doubts. Satan will not bother those who give up their confidence in the Lord.

Yes, the battle is the Lord’s, but we have a part – and that is to trust and believe his promises in the face of hopelessness and what seem to be impossibilities. “Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?” (Isaiah 40:27).

Faith demands that I turn over all my problems – all my critical situations, all my fears, all my anxieties – into the hand of the Lord. When I have done all I can do, and I know my battle is beyond my power, I must submit all into his hands.

Our Lord knows the raging of Satan, and we must truly believe he will act. He will bring us through floods and fires and put to chase all spiritual enemies. Here is God’s Word concerning what he will do: “Because of your rage against me…it has come into my ears, therefore I will put a hook in your nose, and my bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way you came” (Isaiah 37:29).

If you will hold fast to your faith – trusting him, resting in his promises, rejecting all lies of Satan coming into your mind – then expect God to come by his Spirit into your situation and bring an expected end to your particular battle. He will move heaven and earth to deliver you and make a way. The way out is to trust, trust, trust! “He makes wars to cease” (Psalm 46:9).

Monday, May 23, 2011

PROMISES

Our great need for patience is repeated throughout the book of Hebrews:

• “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself…and so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (Hebrews 6:13-15, italics mine).
• “Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (6:12).
• “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (10:36).

God has given us many wonderful promises—to break every bond of sin, to empower us to defeat all dominion of sin, to give us a new heart, to cleanse and sanctify us, to conform us to the very image of Christ. His Word assures us, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).

Yet God does all of these things for us only in his time, according to his divine schedule. He has no deadlines pushing him. And he ignores all demands for an instant cure-all. In short, true faith on our part demands that we patiently wait on our Lord. Our response to him should be, “Lord, I believe you’re true to your Word. And by the power of your Spirit within me, I’m going to wait patiently until you bring these things to pass in my life. My part is to remain in faith, waiting on you.”

You may endure awful trials and temptations. And you may hear horrendous lies whispered to you by Satan. At times, you may fail. In fact, you may wonder if you’ll ever reach the goal. But, as you’re enduring all these afflictions, if you’ll simply hold onto faith with patience—trusting God is at work, keeping his Word, being your Jehovah Tsidkenu—he will look on you as righteous. He has sworn by oath, “By faith, you will receive the promise.”

Paul provides the Lord’s definition of righteousness in Romans 4:20-23: “[Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him.”

The Bible could not make this any clearer. Simply put, righteousness is believing the promises of God, being fully persuaded he’ll keep his word. Conversely, unbelief is staggering at his promises, doubting God will do what he promises.

Friday, May 20, 2011

GIVE ME ALL YOUR TOMORROWS

The Lord appeared to Abraham one day and gave him an incredible command: “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee” (Genesis 12:1).

What an amazing thing. Suddenly, God picked out a man and told him, “I want you to get up and go, leaving everything behind: your home, your relatives, even your country. I want to send you someplace, and I will direct you how to get there along the way.”

How did Abraham respond to this incredible word from the Lord? “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8).

What was God up to? Why would he search the nations for one man, and then call him to forsake everything and go on a journey with no map, no preconceived direction, no known destination? Think about what God was asking of Abraham. He never showed him how he would feed or support his family. He didn’t tell him how far to go or when he would arrive. He only told him two things in the beginning: “Go,” and, “I will show you the way.”

In essence, God told Abraham, “From this day on, I want you to give me all your tomorrows. You’re to live the rest of your life putting your future into my hands, one day at a time. I’m asking you to commit your life to a promise that I am making to you, Abraham. If you will commit to do this, I will bless you, guide you and lead you to a place you never imagined.”

The place God wanted to lead Abraham is a place he wants to take every member of Christ’s body. Abraham is what Bible scholars call a “pattern man,” someone who serves as an example of how to walk before the Lord. Abraham’s example shows us what is required of all who would seek to please God.

Make no mistake, Abraham was not a young man when God called him to make this commitment. He probably had plans in place to secure his family’s future, so he had to be concerned over many considerations as he weighed God’s call. Yet Abraham “believed in the Lord; and [God] counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

The apostle Paul tells us that all who believe and trust in Christ are the children of Abraham. And, like Abraham, we are counted as righteous because we heed the same call to entrust all our tomorrows into the Lord’s hands.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

OUT OF THE PAW OF THE LION

It is for our own benefit that God tells us to remember. The memory of our past deliverances helps to increase our faith for what we are going through right now.

Are you facing a crisis? Do you have a menacing giant of a problem, at home, at work, or in your family? The only way to face a giant is to do as David did: remember the lion and the bear. By remembering God’s faithfulness to him in his past crises, David could go up against Goliath without fear.

When David volunteered to fight Goliath, “Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him…. And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: and I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth…. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them” (1 Samuel 17:33-36).

David knew the danger he was facing against Goliath. He wasn’t some novice, a na├»ve kid full of bravado and looking for a fight. No, David was simply remembering his past deliverances. And now he looked his enemy squarely in the eye and stated, “The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine” (17:37).

Multitudes of God’s people today face giants on all sides. Yet many cower in fear. Does this describe you? Have you forgotten the time you were so sick that you were close to death, but the Lord raised you up? Do you remember that financial disaster when you thought, “That’s it, I’m finished,” yet the Lord saw you through it, and has kept you to this day?

There are many things we don’t understand and we won’t understand until we are home with Jesus. But I absolutely believe that God can heal, and that he has a way out of every situation. The question for us is, where do we find the faith, the courage, to stand up and gain victory in him?

It comes only by remembering the lion and the bear. It comes when you’re able to recall the incredible faithfulness of God, and the past victories he has given you. You can’t face a giant until you’re able to envision and understand the majesty and glory of God in your life.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FINDING NEW STRENGTH

How quickly we forget God’s great deliverances in our lives. How easily we take for granted the miracles he performed in our lives. Yet the Bible tells us over and over, “Remember your deliverances.”

We’re so like the disciples. They didn’t understand Christ’s miracles when he supernaturally fed thousands with just a few loaves and fishes. Jesus performed this miracle twice, feeding 5000 people one time and 4000 the next. A few days later, the disciples had dropped these events from memory.

It happened when Jesus warned them about the leaven of the Pharisees. The disciples thought he said this because they’d forgotten to bring bread for their journey. But Christ answered them, “Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?” (Matthew 16:9-10).

According to Mark, Christ was overwhelmed by how quickly his disciples had forgotten. Jesus said, “Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? Have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? And having ears, hear ye not? And do ye not remember? When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?” (Mark 8:17-19).

What do these passages tell us? It’s clear that none of the disciples stopped to consider what was happening as those miraculous feedings took place. Try to picture these men walking among the crowds carrying their baskets, passing out loaves and fishes that multiplied miraculously before their eyes. You’d think those disciples would have fallen on their knees crying, “How is this possible? It’s simply awesome. It’s totally beyond human explanation. Oh, Jesus, you truly are Lord.” I imagine them urging the people they served, “Here, feast on miracle food, sent from glory. Jesus has provided it.”

The disciples saw these miracles with their own eyes yet, somehow, the significance didn’t register with them. They didn’t understand the miracles and likewise, you and I forget God’s miracles in our lives. Yesterday’s deliverances are quickly forgotten amid the crises of today.

Throughout both Testaments, we read, “Remember the powerful arm of the Lord, to perform miracles on your behalf. Remember all your past deliverances.” Consider Moses’ exhortation to Israel after the miracle of the Red Sea: “Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place…” (Exodus 13:3).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WE EXALT THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!

Somebody reading this needs a touch from Jesus. When the Lord ministered here on earth, he went about healing and restoring the afflicted by simply touching them. When Jesus touched Peter’s mother, “the fever left her.” He touched the box casket of a dead child, and the boy came to life. He touched the eyes of blind people, and they could see. He touched the ear of a deaf man, who could suddenly hear. Parents brought their children to Jesus “that he should touch them.” His gentle touch changed everything. Multitudes brought their sick and infirm, and Jesus took the time to reach out and touch them all, healing them.

If you truly know the Lord intimately, you have known and felt the touch of the hand of Jesus. In times of loneliness, times of discouragement, times of confusion, times so painful and uncertain, you cried out from the depth of your soul: “Lord Jesus, I need your touch. I need to feel your presence. Come, Jesus, and touch my thirsting soul.”

Some need a touch of Jesus upon their mind. Satan has come with his wicked principalities to harass and overburden the mind with thoughts that are hellish – unbelieving thoughts, unChristlike thoughts, fearful thoughts, thoughts of unworthiness, thoughts of God’s displeasure. Honest believers will tell you they have experienced these attacks on their mind. Satan is determined to destroy our faith and dependence on the Lord.

In Scripture, the touch of Jesus came in answer to a cry. There is no evidence he ever ignored or rejected such a cry. And he will not turn away from your cry, but will mercifully respond to your need. In Matthew 8 we read of a leper coming to him, saying, “Lord, if thou will, thou canst make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

Find a place alone with Jesus today, and say to him what the leper said: “Lord, you are able. Make me clean.” Then expect that he who is no respecter of persons will touch and heal you, in mind, body, soul and spirit. The arm of the Lord is outstretched to you, but he waits for that cry of need, the cry for help that is also a cry of expectancy.

“And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage; and when we cried unto the Lord God of our father, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: and the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: and he that brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey” (Deuteronomy 26:6-9).

Monday, May 16, 2011

GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU IN PEACE

The Holy Spirit prompted me to read Exodus 12, which contains the account of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt.

On the door of every Israelite home, the blood of a lamb was stricken on the two side-posts and lintel. This was to protect God’s people from the passing angel of death. When the day came, a multitude of Israelites marched out of captivity, including 600,000 men plus women and children. “The self same day…all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:41).

In the next chapter, I stopped at verse 3, which reads: “For by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place” (Exodus 13:3). God’s people were delivered by the Lord’s strength alone, not by human means.

David declares, “God is my strength and power: and 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” (Samuel 22:33, 17, 18, 31).

Our faith and strength may grow weak, but in our times of weakness God has given us marvelous promises to renew and strengthen us:

  • “Thou hast girded me with strength to battle” (2 Samuel 22:40).
  • “They that stumbled are girded with strength” (1 Samuel 2:4).
  • “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).

Beloved, do you believe our God is strong? If he is strong, no power can stand before him. Therefore, commit everything into his mighty hand of strength and power. He will make a way. Most of all, believe this word: “In the day when I cried you answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul” (Psalm 138:3).

God love and bless you.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

FORGIVEN

Jesus tells us, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). The Greek word Jesus uses for condemnation here is judgment. He is saying, “If you believe in me, you won’t come into judgment, but will pass from death over to life.”

Indeed, Scripture tells us from cover to cover that once the Lord forgives our sins, he wipes them from his memory.

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

“I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee” (Isaiah 44:22).

“I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).

“I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord. I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 10:16-17).

“He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).

Here is abundant good news for every Christian who’s ever sweated, striven or worked to mortify the deeds of his flesh in his own strength. Does this include you? How many promises have you made to God, only to break them? How many times have you tried to please the Lord by fighting off your lusts and habits, only to fail once again?

Here is your good news, reported in the book of Micah: “I, the Lord, will subdue all your iniquities.” God has given us image after image in these passages of how he wipes our sins from memory. He blots them out; he remembers them no more; he buries them in the sea; he “subdues” them—meaning, he chases them down and captures them.

Isaiah even tells us God takes our trespasses and flips them over his shoulder. “Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back” (Isaiah 38:17). This means God will never look at our sins or acknowledge them again.

Now let me ask you—if God forgets our sins, why don’t you and I? Why do we always allow the devil to dig up some muck or mire from our past and wave it in our face, when all our sin is already covered by Christ’s blood?

The cleansing, forgiving power of Christ’s blood is all-encompassing. It covers our entire lives!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

JUST BEFORE VICTORY

If you are experiencing confusion, pain, and suffering, it may be that God is working things out for you in his own way. It is most often the sovereign work of our God unfolding a master plan known only to him. Through all the suffering of God's people, he is at work. The miracle soon follows the confusion.

Study your Bible and you will discover these same patterns in the lives of all of God's people. In case after case, when God began to fulfill his promise, the roof seemed to cave in first!

Think of Daniel and the three Hebrew children. They gave themselves to a life of holiness and separation from the world and all its pleasures. Daniel pledged himself to a life of prayer, tears, and intercession, but what did that get him and his three Hebrew friends? Testing just before victory!

You don't go from the prayer closet to some mountaintop victory—you go to the lions' den. You don't go from consecration to a life of ease and blessing only—you go to the fiery furnace. These men were not afraid to face pain and suffering, because they knew it always ended in God having his way. Through lions and red-hot furnaces to God's perfect will!

Think of Elijah. God gave him a glorious promise of a spiritual awakening in the land; of an outpouring of abundant rain; of a new day of victory for God's people; and the overthrow of Ahab and Jezebel. But look at all the confusion that broke out after the promise was given. Jezebel threatened his life, chasing him into hiding in the mountains. Wicked forces killed the prophets of God and the land continued in wickedness and drought. In fact, the Word of God seemed like a hoax.

Can you imagine how confused Elijah must have been? “What kind of answered prayer is this? I'm left all on my own. Where is the Lord? Has his promise failed?" And all the while God was doing exactly what he said he would do. The confusion would soon pass and the answer would be forthcoming.

Christ left his disciples a promise that could have seen them through all the confusion and pain, but they were too broken up in sorrow to remember. He had told them: "After I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee" (Matthew 26:32).

In other words, "Don't try to figure it all out. Don't question the time of confusion. It's not your battle. God is at work! When this is all over, I will still be going before you. Your shepherd will still be there." What an encouraging word!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD

Peter said, "[We] are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:5). I see in this a prophecy that in these last days, God is once more going to reveal his keeping power to his people.

Christ prayed to the Father concerning his disciples: "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost" (John 17:12). The disciples did not keep themselves in the will of God, they were kept by a mighty power outside of themselves. They could not have made it a single day without Christ's keeping power.

What a glorious prayer Christ prayed on our behalf: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil" (John 17:15).

In the Greek, the work kept is very expressive. As used in 1 Peter 1:5, it means:

To establish a military outpost.
To guard, hem in, protect with a garrison.
To establish a fortress with a full military line, with full military apparatus.
To discern the enemy far in advance and protect from danger.

Not only is the Lord a strong tower, but he establishes in us a military outpost, manned by a fully-equipped army. We actually become a powerful military outpost with armies of soldiers, horses, and chariots ready for combat, and with a sentinel that sees the oncoming enemy far in advance.

Jesus prayed, "Keep them from the evil...." The Greek word for keep means:

Deliverance from the effect or influence of anything bad, evil, grievous, harmful, lewd, malicious, or wicked.
Deliverance from Satan himself and all that is corrupt or diseased.

Put it all together and it seems almost too good to believe. We are God's military outpost, protected by a fully-equipped spiritual army of innumerable horses, chariots, and soldiers in full battle array completely informed of every enemy plan and device—wholly defended against Satan and all the evil powers in the universe. Now maybe we can understand what the Scripture means when it says, "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

KEPT BY THE LORD OF HOSTS

Old Testament saints knew God in a way we New Testament saints know very little about. They knew him as the Lord of hosts! Over 200 times in the Old Testament—from Samuel through Malachi—God is referred to by this name. We read that "David waxed greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him." This majestic title is found repeatedly in the Psalms:

• "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge" (46:7).
• "O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?" (89:8).
• "Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer" (84:8).
• "The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory" (24:10).

The Hebrew word for "hosts" is tsbaah. It means "an army ready and poised for battle." Soldiers, horses, and chariots ready to go to war at an appointed time; an army assembled and mustered, waiting for instructions.

On one occasion, the Assyrian army came against King Hezekiah and Judah. This king was unmoved when surrounded by a ferocious army and he said to God's people, "Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: with him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon those words" (2 Chronicles 32:7-8).

The Old Testament saints rested in their vision of an almighty God whose all-powerful, unseen army was assembled for their protection. David boasted, "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them..." (Psalm 68:17). According to the psalmist, they are enlisted for us: "The Lord is thy keeper" (121:5).

We do not keep ourselves from evil by our own power; we do not do battle with Satan in our own strength. The Lord of hosts must do the keeping. Hear what the Bible says: "He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy...for they were too strong for me" (Psalms 18:16-17).

In Jude, we are promised, "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24).

Monday, May 9, 2011

THE LORD IS THY KEEPER

A thrilling Old Testament story in 2 King 6 best illustrates what it means to be kept by the power of God.

Ben-hadad, King of Syria, declared war on Israel and marched against them with a great army. As his forces advanced, he often called his war counsel into his private chambers to plan the next day's strategy. But the prophet Elisha kept sending word to the King of Israel, detailing every move of the enemy troops. In fact, on several occasions, the Israelites escaped defeat because of Elisha's warnings.

Ben-hadad was furious and called his servants together. "Tell me who is revealing our plans to the King of Israel! Who is this traitor?” The servants told him, "It's not what you think, my lord. There is no traitor in thy camp or in thy court; we are all true [loyal] men. The man of God [Elisha) is telling the King of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchambers" (2 Kings 6:12).

Ben-hadad immediately dispatched a host of horses, chariots, and soldiers to capture Elisha. "Go to Dothan and bring him to me," he demanded. They went by night and surrounded the city, intending to take the old prophet by surprise, but Elisha's servant awakened early. When he saw that "an host encompassed the city both with horses and chariots" (vs. 15), he ran to Elisha in terror and cried, "Alas, my master, we are surrounded. What shall we do?"

Smiling confidently, Elisha replied, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha" (2 Kings 6:16-17).

Like the psalmist, Elisha could stand in the midst of crisis and say with absolute assurance:

• "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about" (Psalm 3:6).
• "Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident" (Psalm 27:3).
• "He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me" (Psalm 55:18).

My prayer is that of Elisha: "Lord, open our eyes that we may see and behold the mountains filled with the horses and chariots of fire—of the Lord of hosts!"

Friday, May 6, 2011

BE STILL AND KNOW

After the Word tells us that it is God who makes wars to cease, this is added: "Be still and know that I am God..." (Psalm 46:10).

The Hebrew word for "still" is raphah, which means to cease; let alone; become weak, feeble. It is from the root rapha, which means to mend and be made thoroughly whole by the hand of a physician.

How thoroughly consistent the Word of God is. He makes wars to cease and until he finishes his work, we are to cease our self-righteous efforts, trust everything into his hands, confess our weaknesses and feebleness, and trust our future and restoration into the hands of Christ, our Great Physician.

Loving believer, is your inner conflict tearing you apart? You may be buffeted by Satan, but he cannot hurt or destroy you. Most likely you are being stripped down in preparation for a deeper revelation of the cross so you can be made ready for greater service for God.

You are like Peter, who was stripped of everything before going to Pentecost. See this great man of God wandering aimlessly over the Judean hills—at rock bottom. Peter once walked on water and helped feed multitudes miraculously. He experienced the actual glory of God and was a blessed, prominent, useful, Christ-loved servant. But he sinned grievously, failing the Lord as few others did, and afterward, he wept and grieved, thinking he had lost his salvation and his ministry.

"What is wrong with me?" he must have asked himself over and again. "Why did I have no power or strength when tempted? Why no moral reserves—no will to resist the enemy? Why did I have to be the one to fall? How could a man of God do such a horrendous thing to his Lord? How could I have preached to others when I have no power in a crisis?"

God did not cause Peter's failure, but great good came out of it. It was a part of the stripping of God's man—permitted to reveal what was rooted deep in the inner man. Only failure could expose the pride and self-sufficiency. Failure broke Peter down and revealed to him his need for absolute dependence on his Lord for everything, including his purity and righteousness.

It is in the shadow of the cross that we endure our greatest temptation and failures and then break through to resurrection!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

GOD’S GOAL FOR US IS PEACE AND REST

Note from Gary Wilkerson:

Before going to be with the Lord, my father, David Wilkerson, had filled many journals and prepared unpublished materials. We are honored to be able to continue sharing these with you through the David Wilkerson Daily Devotional. Before his passing he had asked me to join him in writing the Pulpit Series Newsletter and these daily devotions, so you will be hearing from me as well. I have taken on the responsibility as president of World Challenge and appreciate your prayers for continued grace to continue the works of Jesus that my father began.

Today's devotional:

God's ultimate goal for all his children is abundant life. He never intended that we go through life focused on our sins and failures. The good news is that we serve a God of absolute love—a God of mercies who desires to bring his beloved ones into a place high above all turmoil. But we cannot take our place, seated with Christ in the heavenlies, until we are fully identified with his death and resurrection.

There can be no breakthrough into ascension life without experiencing death at the cross. The Holy Spirit has put within us a knowledge that we can never truly live until we truly die. We seem to know we have a date with death, a destiny relating to the cross of Christ.

Take a good look at where we are, with all our fears, emptiness, loneliness, failures, and compromising with sin. Consider how little of the Lord's promised peace we really possess. We have come up far short of what we know an overcoming Christian should be, yet we know God's Word speaks clearly of victory, peace, and freedom from sin's dominion. We have seen some who have broken through to that beautiful life of assurance and would like to ask: How did you arrive at such victory? And then we wonder how we can break through.

The Holy Spirit must bring us to the cross and make us face the reality of dying to the world and sin. The moment we begin to seek the Lord diligently with a desire to be under his lordship in all things, we will be irresistibly drawn by the Spirit. We will be brought to the end of ourselves, stripped, weakened, and without confidence in our flesh.

I am convinced the Holy Spirit is bringing his church back to the glorious truths of identification with Christ in death, resurrection, and ascension life.

Death can be very frightening, especially if you cannot see the glory on the other side of it. But he assures us of his everlasting love, in spite of our failures, and gives us peace and the joy and hope of his resurrection life.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CARRYING ON THE VISION

Dark clouds, pouring rain and a cold wind blew through the tent where my father’s body was to be lowered into the ground. But those who gathered at his grave site after a glorious funeral found solace and even joy knowing that David Wilkerson had run his race, finished his course and left behind a legacy of millions of lives deeply impacted and transformed. Our family, close friends and ministry associates sang, “Soon and very soon we are going to see the King! No more dying there, we are going to see the King!” Knowing the sting of death has lost its power, we rejoiced.

Today, with the funeral and burial behind us, the works of Jesus launched through his ministry are still moving on in full force. Dad was fond of saying, “The best is yet to come”. I’m convinced he’s right. The days of feeding starving children, ministering to the poorest of the poor, rescuing homeless orphans, preaching the Gospel to the most unreached will not be diminished during our watch.

Even this week, we will be launching new feeding sites through Please Pass the Bread. This week homes are being built for homeless by World Challenge mission teams in Haiti. This week new churches are being planted among the unreached people of Northern India. In the coming weeks, months and Lord willing, years, we will continue to feed hungry hearts with the David Wilkerson Daily Devotional and World Challenge Pulpit Series Newsletter.

I want to assure you that the vision and ministry of my father and World Challenge, Inc. will continue. We still have the same Board of Directors, same focus and same leading of the Holy Spirit for the work God has placed in our hands. I have been actively serving as President of World Challenge, Inc. for the past year and will officially take the role now. We will not make any major directional changes but will carry on in the same heart and vision as my father.

Even though my father has gone to be with the Lord, the work will continue. The needs are still great and your continued support is appreciated as we reach out to the poor and needy

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A TRIBUTE TO DAVID WILKERSON

David Wilkerson was laid to rest in Lindale, Texas on May 2, 2011. During the funeral service, a tribute video was shown to those who attended. To view this video, please click on http://pleasepassthebread.org/2011/05/02/a-tribute-to-david-wilkerson/

Please continue to keep his wife, Gwen in prayer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A MAN OF UNLIMITED FAITH

Loving husband and father, doting grandfather. Friend to the outcast and hurting. Fearless witness of Christ’s saving power. Passionate voice for God to his church. Tender supporter of widows, orphans and the poor. And spiritual father to generation upon generation—from the destitute to the powerful, from adults to teenagers, from loved ones to strangers from every walk of life.

These traits only begin to define the life of David Wilkerson. For over six decades he served the Lord faithfully in ministry, founding and leading outreaches that have grown internationally with each decade. Behind it all has been an unwavering belief in God’s love for every human being and His relentless desire to reach them.

“Brother Dave,” as he liked to be called, was known literally to millions for his unlimited faith. He believed God could change the lives of gang members and transform the most desperate drug addicts—and the Lord did. He believed a dynamic church could be launched in the heart of Times Square, New York City—and God brought it to pass. He believed he could be a man who loved his wife and children well—and he did.

David Ray Wilkerson was born May 19, 1931, in Hammond, Indiana, to a line of devoted Pentecostal preachers. After he was ordained in the Assemblies of God, he married the love of his life—Gwendolyn Carosso, who would serve beside him in ministry for 57 years.

From the very beginning Brother Dave applied a creative, innovative spirit to ministry. Yet he preached from anguish and pain, believing God works through our weakness. He knew that God confounds the wisdom of the world to reveal Himself—and that truth was proved again and again by the ministries Brother Dave founded.

In 1958 he traveled from his small church in Phillipsburg, Pennsylvania, to reach out to gang members on trial in New York City. “He had never been to New York—he had certainly never met a gang member or a drug addict,” according to his brother, Don Wilkerson. “He just came here, with his simplicity, his naivete, whatever you want to call it, and he changed people’s lives.”

As Brother Dave’s friend McCandlish Phillips, the New York Times reporter, wrote, “His method was an absolute model of simplicity, directness and total non-sophistication—he just went out on the streets and mixed with the kids and reasoned with them face-to-face, often quoting the Bible—and it worked.”

Out of that bold move was born the Teen Challenge ministry, a Christ-centered drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. The ministry became well known though the book The Cross and the Switchblade, which has sold over 50 million copies and been translated into 30 languages. The ministry has grown to more than 1,000 centers in the United States and 80 other countries.

The Lord then stirred Brother Dave to found Youth Crusades, his evangelistic ministry to young people. An entire generation became inspired that their lives mattered greatly to God. Brother Dave also wrote prolifically, his books moving generations of readers toward a life of holy devotion in Christ. The dozens of books he produced were filled with powerful insight, clarity and conviction. And he lived out the Christ-like example he wrote of, speaking continually of his own weaknesses and Christ’s faithfulness to him.

Like his namesake, King David of old, Brother Dave served God’s purposes in his generation. He preached with uncompromising passion and relentless grace. He was not one for fanfare, acclaim or ceremony. He turned down invitations to meet with world leaders, yet he would give everything he owned to support a poor orphan or a widow in distress.

His last mission on earth was to be an advocate for the poorest of the poor—to provide relief and support for hungry children, widows and orphans, in the U.S. and in impoverished countries. The outreach he founded to do this, Please Pass the Bread, ministers to thousands of children daily through 56 outreaches in 8 countries.

He ran his race well, and when he was finished he was called home by his Lord. David Wilkerson touched the lives of multiplied millions, and the God-inspired works he founded now outlive him. The impact of his life is immeasurable—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. David’s son Gary offers this word to all who knew and loved his dad: “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.”

Brother Dave’s final blog posting, titled “When All Means Fail,” is a fitting word of departure to all whose lives he touched: “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.”

David Wilkerson’s passing is deep personal loss for many. Yet we rejoice knowing he lived life to the very fullest, in obedient devotion to God and with a radical love for Jesus.

He is survived by his wife, Gwen Wilkerson; daughter Debi Jonker, her husband, Roger, sons Brent and Matthew and Matthew’s wife, Christina, and children Eva and Grant; daughter Bonnie Hayslip, her husband, Roger, sons David and Brandon and Brandon’s wife, Christina; son Gary Wilkerson, his wife, Kelly, and children, Ashley, Elliot, Evan and Annie; son Greg Wilkerson, his wife, Teresa, and their children, Alyssa and Ryan; brothers Don Wilkerson and Jerry Wilkerson and sister Ruth Harris. His grandsons serve as his pallbearers.

These devotionals will continue as there are many journals and unpublished materials written by David Wilkerson from which we will glean.

In the meantime we will continue to post some of his previously published devotionals.