Thursday, June 30, 2011

THE LIES OF THE ENEMY

In our times of trial and temptation, Satan comes to us bringing lies: “You’re surrounded now and there is no way out. Greater servants than you have quit in circumstances no worse than this. Now it’s your turn to go down. You’re a failure, otherwise you wouldn’t be going through this. There’s something wrong with you and God is sorely displeased.”

In the midst of his trial, Hezekiah acknowledged his helplessness. The king realized he had no strength to stop the voices raging at him, voices of discouragement, threats and lies. He knew he couldn’t deliver himself from the battle, so he sought the Lord for help. And God answered by sending the prophet Isaiah to Hezekiah with this message: “The Lord has heard your cry. Now, tell the Satan at your gate, ‘You’re the one who is going down. By the way you came here, you will also go out.’”

Hezekiah had very nearly fallen for the enemy’s trick. The fact is, if we don’t stand up to Satan’s lies—if, in our hour of crisis, we don’t turn to faith and prayer, if we don’t draw strength from God’s promises of deliverance—the devil will zero in on our wavering faith and intensify his attacks.

Hezekiah gained courage from the word he received, and he was able to say to Sennacherib in no uncertain terms: “Devil king, you did not blaspheme me. You liked to God himself. My Lord is going to deliver me. And because you blasphemed him, you will face his wrath!”

The Bible tells us that God supernaturally delivered Hezekiah and Judah on that very night: “It came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses” (2 Kings 19:35).

Believers today stand not just on a promise but also on the shed blood of Jesus Christ. And in that blood we have victory over every sin, temptation and battle we will ever face. Maybe you’ve received a letter from the devil lately. I ask you: Do you believe God has the foreknowledge to anticipate your every trial? Your every foolish move? Your every doubt and fear? If so, you have the example of David before you, who prayed, “This poor man cried, and the Lord delivered him.” Will you do the same?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

PEACE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT

On whom does Jesus bestow his peace? You may think, “I’m not worthy of living in Christ’s peace. I have too many struggles in my life. My faith is so weak.”

You would do well to consider the men to whom Jesus first gave his peace. None of them was worthy, and none had a right to it.

Think about Peter. Jesus was about to bestow his peace on a minister of the gospel who would soon be spewing out cursings. Peter was zealous in his love for Christ, but he was also going to deny him.

Then there was James and his brother John, men with a competitive spirit, always seeking to be recognized. They asked to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand when he ascended to his throne in glory.

The other disciples were no more righteous. They simmered with anger at James and John for trying to upstage them. There was Thomas, a man of God who was given to doubt. All of the disciples were so lacking in faith, it amazed and stressed Jesus. Indeed, in Christ’s most troubling hour, they would all forsake him and flee. Even after the Resurrection, when the word spread that “Jesus is risen,” the disciples were slow to believe.

But there’s even more. These were also confused men. They did not understand the ways of the Lord. His parables confused them. After the Crucifixion, they lost any sense of unity they had, scattering in all directions.

What a picture: These men were full of fear, unbelief, disunity, sorrow, confusion, competitiveness, pride. Yet it was to these same troubled servants that Jesus said, “I am going to give you my peace.”

The disciples weren’t chosen because they were good or righteous; that much is clear. Nor was it because they had talent or abilities. They were fishermen and day laborers, meek and lowly. Christ called and chose the disciples because he saw something in their hearts. As he looked into them, he knew each one would submit to the Holy Spirit.

At this point, all that the disciples had was a promise from Christ of his peace. The fullness of that peace was yet to be given to them, at Pentecost. That’s when the Holy Spirit would come and dwell in them. We receive the peace of Christ from the Holy Spirit. This peace comes to us as the Spirit reveals Christ to us. The more of Jesus you want, the more the Spirit will show you of him—and the more of Christ’s actual peace you will have.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

GOD’S GREAT CONCERN

In the midst of this worldwide “shaking of all things,” what is God’s great concern in all of this? Is it on the events of the Middle East? No. The Bible tells us God’s vision is trained on his children: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy” (Psalm 33:18).

Our Lord is aware of every move on the earth, by every living thing. And yet his gaze is focused primarily on the well-being of his children. He fixes his eyes on the pains and needs of each member of his spiritual body. Simply put, whatever hurts us concerns him.

To prove this to us, Jesus said, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Even in the midst of great world wars, God’s primary focus isn’t on the tyrants. His focus is on every circumstance in his children’s lives.

Christ says in the very next verse: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father” (Matthew 10:29). In Christ’s day, sparrows were the meat of the poor and sold two for a penny. Yet, Jesus said, “Not one of these small creatures falls to the ground without your Father knowing it.”

Jesus’ use of the word “fall” in this verse signifies more than the bird’s death. The Aramaic meaning is “to light upon the ground.” In other words, “fall” here indicates every little hop a tiny bird makes.

Christ is telling us, “Your Father’s eye is on the sparrow not just when it dies but even when it lights on the ground. As a sparrow learns to fly, it falls from the nest and begins to hop along the ground. And God sees every little struggle it has. He’s concerned over every detail of its life.”

Jesus then adds, “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (10:31). Indeed, he says, “The very hairs of your head are numbered” (10:30). Simply put, the One who made and counted all the stars—who monitored every action of the Roman Empire, who keeps the galaxies in their orbits—has his eye fixed on you. And, Jesus asks, “Are you not worth much more to him?”

Monday, June 27, 2011

AMAZING PEACE!

Jesus gives us more than one reason why we need his peace. Christ said to his disciples in John 14:30, “The prince of this world cometh.” What was the context of his statement? He had just told the twelve, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you” (14:30). Then he explained why: “For the prince of this world cometh.”

Jesus knew Satan was at work in that very hour. The devil had already enlisted Judas to betray him. And Christ knew that the religious hierarchy in Jerusalem was being empowered by the principalities of hell. He was also aware that a devil-inspired mob was coming shortly to take him prisoner. That’s when Jesus said to the disciples, “Satan, the wicked one, is coming. So, I won’t be talking to you much more.”

Jesus knew he needed time with the Father to prepare for the coming conflict. He was about to be delivered into evil men’s hands, just as he had spoken. And he knew that Satan was doing all he could to shake his peace. The devil would harass and attempt to discourage him, all in an effort to break Christ’s faith in the Father—anything to get him to avoid the Cross.

You may be in turmoil, thinking, “It’s over. I’m not going to make it.” But Jesus says “I know what you’re going through. Come and drink of my peace.”

Right now you may be going through the hardest time you’ve ever faced. Your life may be unsettled and things may look hopeless. There seems to be no way out for you and every avenue you turn to fills you with more stress, confusion and weariness.

It doesn’t matter what you’re going through. Your life may look like it was struck by a tornado. You may endure trials that cause others to look at you as a modern-day Job. But in the midst of your troubles, when you call on the Holy Spirit to baptize you in the peace of Christ, he will do it.

People will point to you and say, “That person’s world has come completely apart. Yet he’s determined to trust God’s Word, live or die. How can he do it? How does he go on? He should have quit long ago. Yet he hasn’t given up. And through it all, he hasn’t compromised anything he believes. What amazing peace! It’s beyond understanding.”

Friday, June 24, 2011

IN THE MIDST OF A MIRACLE

You may be in the middle of a miracle right now and simply not see it. It may be that you are waiting for a miracle. You’re discouraged because things seem to be at a standstill. You do not see any evidence of God’s supernatural work on your behalf.

Consider what David says in Psalm 18: “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken…. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured…. He bowed the heavens also, and came down…. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice…He sent out his arrows…he shot out lightnings” (Psalm18:6-9, 13-14).

You have to realize, none of these things literally happened. It was all something that David saw in his spiritual eye. Beloved, that is faith. It’s when you believe God has heard your cry, that he hasn’t delayed, that he isn’t ignoring your petition. Instead, he quietly began your miracle immediately when you prayed, and even now he’s doing supernatural work on your behalf. That is truly believing in miracles, his marvelous progressive work in our lives.

David understood the foundational truth beneath it all: “He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19). David declared, “I know why the Lord is doing all this for me. It’s because he delights in me.”

I truly believe in instantaneous miracles. God is still working glorious, instant wonders in the world today. In Matthew 16:9-11 and Mark 8:19-21, as Jesus reminds the disciples of the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000, he is asking them and us to take note of his progressive miracles and their role in our own lives today.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

THE LORD’S MERCIES

In ancient Israel, the ark of the covenant represented the mercy of the Lord, a powerful truth that came to be embodied in Christ. We are to receive his mercy, trust in the saving blood of his mercy, and be saved eternally. So, you can ridicule the law, you can mock holiness, you can tear down everything that speaks of God. But when you mock or ridicule God’s mercy, judgment comes—and swiftly. If you trample on his blood of mercy, you face his awful wrath.

That’s exactly what happened to the Philistines when they stole the ark. Deadly destruction came down on them until they had to admit, “This isn’t just chance or happenstance. God’s hand is clearly against us.” Consider what happened when the ark was taken into the heathen temple of Dagon, to mock and challenge Israel’s God. In the middle of the night, the mercy seat on the ark became a rod of judgment. The next day, the idol Dagon was found fallen on its face before the ark, its head and hands cut off (see 1 Samuel 5:2-5).

Beloved, this is where America should be today. We should have been judged long ago. I say to all who mock and challenge the mercy of God: Go ahead, try all you want to bring Christ’s church under the power of secularism or agnosticism. But if you mock the mercy of Christ, God will cast all your power and authority to the ground. Jeremiah says, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22). Yet when men make a mockery of that great mercy which is Christ, judgment is sure.

It is only the mercy of he Lord that delays judgment. And right now America is benefiting from that mercy. Incredibly, our country is in a race with the rest of the world to remove God and Christ from society. Yet the Lord will not be mocked; his mercies endure forever, and he loves this nation. I believe that is why he’s still pouring out blessings on us. His desire is that goodness will lead us to repentance (see Romans 2:4).

We are not to despair over the present condition in America. We grieve over the awful corruption, mockery and sin, but we have hope, knowing God is in full control. We know the mercies of God endure forever.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

JESUS HAD A PLAN

“When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do” (John 6:5-6). Jesus took Philip aside, and said, “Philip, there are thousands of people here. They are all hungry. Where are we going to buy enough bread to feed them? What do you think we should do?”

How incredibly loving of Christ. Jesus knew all along what he was going to do; the verse above tells us so. Yet the Lord was trying to teach Philip something, and the lesson he was imparting to him applies to each of us today. Think about it: How many in Christ’s body sit up half the night trying to figure out their problems? We think, “Maybe this will work. No, no…. Maybe that will solve it. No….”

Philip and the apostles didn’t have just a bread problem. They had a bakery problem…and a money problem…and a distribution problem…and a transportation problem…and a time problem. Add it all up, and they had problems they couldn’t even imagine. Their situation was absolutely impossible.

Jesus knew all along exactly what he going to do. He had a plan. And the same is true of your troubles and difficulties today. There is a problem, but Jesus knows your whole situation. And he comes to you, asking, “What are we going to do about this?”

The correct answer from Philip would have been, “Jesus, you are God. Nothing is impossible with you. So, I’m giving this problem over to you. It’s no longer mine, but yours.”

That’s just what we need to say to our Lord today, in the midst of our crisis: “Lord, you are the miracle worker and I’m going to surrender all my doubts and fears to you. I entrust this entire situation, my whole life, into your care. I know you won’t allow me to faint. In fact, you already know what you’re going to do about my problem. I trust in your power.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

THE FATHER’S KISS

A great blessing becomes ours when we’re made to sit in heavenly places. What is this blessing? It’s the privilege of acceptance: “He hath made us accepted in the beloved [Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6). The Greek word for “accepted” means highly favored. That’s different from the English usage, which can be interpreted to mean “received as adequate.” This signifies something that can be endured, suggesting an attitude of, “I can live with it.” That’s not the case with Paul’s use of the word. His use of “accepted” translates as, “God has highly favored us. We are very special to him because we are in our place in Christ.”

Because God accepted Christ’s sacrifice, he now sees only one corporate man: Christ, and those who are bound to him by faith. Our flesh has died in God’s eyes. How? Jesus did away with our old nature at the Cross. So now, when God looks at us, he sees only Christ. In turn, we need to learn to see ourselves as God does. That means not focusing solely on our sins and weaknesses, but on the victory that Christ won for us at the Cross.

The parable of the Prodigal Son provides a powerful illustration of the acceptance that comes when we’re given a heavenly position in Christ. You know the story: A young man took his inheritance from his father and squandered it on a sinful life. Then, once the son became completely bankrupt—morally, emotionally and physically—he thought of his father. He was convinced he’d lost all favor with him. And he feared that his father was full of wrath and hatred toward him.

The Scripture tells us that this broken young man was full of grief over his sin and cried out, “I’m unworthy. I’ve sinned against heaven.” This represents those who come to repentance through godly sorrow.

The Prodigal told himself, “I will arise and go to my father” (Luke 15:18). He was exercising his blessing of access. Are you getting the picture? The Prodigal had turned from his sin, he’d left the world behind, and he’d accessed the open door his father had promised him. He was walking in repentance and appropriating access.

So, what happened to the Prodigal Son? “When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). What a beautiful scene. The sinful son was forgiven, embraced and loved by his father, with no wrath or condemnation whatsoever. When he received his father’s kiss, he knew he was accepted.

Monday, June 20, 2011

THE HEATHENISM OF WORRY

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek)” (Matthew 6:31-32).

Jesus tells us that worry—about the future of our family, about jobs, about how we are to survive—is a heathen’s way of life. Jesus is talking here about those who have no heavenly Father. They do not know God as he wants to be known, as a caring, providing, loving Father in heaven.

“Take no thought for tomorrow” (v. 34). In these plain words, Jesus commands us, “Do not give a thought, do not give a worry, about what might or might not happen tomorrow. You can’t change anything. And you can’t help by worrying. When you do, you’re only doing as the heathen do.” Then Jesus says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (v. 33). In other words, you are to go on loving Jesus. You are to move on, casting all your cares on him. You are to go on resting in his faithfulness. Your heavenly Father will see to it that you are supplied with all the essential things of life.

I wonder if the angels are baffled by all the worrying and anxiousness of those who claim to trust in God. To them it must seem so degrading, so insulting to the Lord, that we worry as if we had no caring Father in heaven. What perplexing questions the angels must ask among themselves: “Have they no Father who is in heaven? Do they not believe he loves them? Did he not tell them he knows all about their needs? Do they not believe that he who feeds the birds and the whole animal kingdom will feed and clothe them? How can they fret and worry if they know he owns all power, all wealth, and can supply the needs of all creation? Would they accuse their heavenly Father of neglect, as if he was not true to his word?”

You have a heavenly Father. Trust him!

Friday, June 17, 2011

WE ARE FAMILY

Claiming the power that is in Christ’s name is not some complicated, hidden theological truth. In my library are books written solely on the subject of Jesus’ name. The authors wrote them to help believers understand the deep implications hidden in Christ’s name. Yet, most of these books are so “deep,” they go right over readers’ heads.

I believe the truth we’re meant to know about Jesus’ name is so simple, a child could understand it. It’s simply this: When we make our requests in Jesus’ name, we’re to be fully persuaded that it’s the same as if Jesus himself were asking the Father. You ask, How could this be true? Let me explain.

We know that God loved his Son. He spoke with Jesus and taught him during his time on earth. And God not only heard but answered every request his Son made. Jesus testified to this, saying, “He heareth me always.” In short, the Father never denied his Son any request.

Today, all who believe in Jesus are clothed in his Sonship. And the heavenly Father receives us as intimately as he receives his own Son. Why? It’s because of our spiritual union with Christ. Through his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus has made us one with the Father. “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us…I in them, and thou in me” (John 17:21–23).

Simply put, we are now family—one with the Father, and one with the Son. We’ve been adopted, with the full rights of inheritance possessed by any child. This means all the power and resources of heaven are made available to us, through Christ.

Praying “in the name of Jesus” is not a formula. It is not the phrase that has power in simply speaking it. The power is in believing that Jesus takes up our cause and brings it to the Father on his own merits. He is the Advocate—he is doing the asking for us. The power is in fully trusting that God never denies his own Son and we are the beneficiary of the Father’s utter faithfulness to his Son.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

DETAILED DIRECTIONS AND UNCLOUDED DECISIONS!

God’s purpose for every one of his children is that we surrender to the reign and rulership of the Holy Spirit:

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). In other words, “If he lives in you, let him direct you!”

I want to show you what it means to walk in the Spirit. I have not yet fully arrived in this glorious walk—but I am gaining ground!

We have heard the expression “walk in the Spirit” all our lives, but what does it really mean? I believe the 16th chapter of Acts is one of the best examples of what it means to walk in the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Ghost provides absolute, clearly detailed instructions to those who walk in him. If you walk in the Spirit, then you don’t walk in confusion—your decisions aren’t clouded ones.

The early Christians did not walk in confusion. They were led by the Spirit in every decision, every move, every action! The Spirit talked to them and directed them in their every waking hour. No decision was made without consulting him. The church’s motto throughout the New Testament was: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit has to say!”

I began ministering in New York City because the Holy Ghost told me very clearly: “Go to New York City and raise up a church.” And he told me when to come. No devil or demon could move me from this—because the Spirit gave detailed instructions. I remember standing between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, weeping and raising my hands. The Holy Ghost said, “In this very area I am going to raise up a church. Obey me, David. Start a church in New York City!” Times Square Church is not an accident. It is the result of clear, detailed instructions from the Holy Spirit!

________________________________________

Pastors Gary Wilkerson, Carter Conlon and Claude Houde will be ministering to Haitian pastors from June 16 & 17, 2011

Please pray for

1. For the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the sessions, for open heaven and for the anointing of God's word.

2. For spiritual breakthrough, for the pastors to be strengthened and encouraged.

3. For divine intervention not only for the churches but for the nation.

4. For God to break the strong holds that bind the people of Haiti.

Thank you

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO FORGIVE AND BLESS OUR ENEMIES?

Paul writes, “Give place unto wrath” (Romans 12:19). He is saying, “Suffer the wrong. Lay it down and move on. Get a life in the Spirit.” However, if we refuse to forgive the hurts done to us, we have to face these consequences:

  1. We’ll become guiltier than the person who inflicted our wound.
  2. God’s mercy and grace toward us will be shut off. Then, as things begin to go wrong in our lives, we won’t understand them, because we’ll be in disobedience.
  3. Our persecutor’s vexations against us will continue to rob us of peace. He’ll become the victor, succeeding in giving us a permanent wound.
  4. Because Satan succeeds in driving us to thoughts of revenge, he’ll be able to lead us into deadlier sins. And we’ll commit transgressions far worse than these.

The writer of Proverbs advises, “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11). In other words, we’re to do nothing until our anger has subsided. We’re never to make a decision or follow through with any action while we are still angry.

We bring glory to our heavenly Father whenever we overlook hurts and forgive the sins done to us. To do so builds character in us. When we forgive as God forgives, he brings us into a revelation of favor and blessing we have never known.

Jesus commands us to love those that have made themselves our enemies by doing three things:
1. We are to bless them
2. We are to do good to them
3. We are to pray for them

In Matthew 5:44 Jesus says, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

THE GREATEST DANGER

The greatest danger we all face is not being able to see Jesus in our troubles—instead we see ghosts. In that peak moment of fear when the night is the blackest and the storm is the angriest, Jesus always draws near to us, to reveal himself as the Lord of the flood, the Savior in storms. “The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever” (Psalm 29:10).

In Matthew 14, Jesus ordered his disciples into a boat that was headed for a storm. The Bible says he constrained them to get into a ship. It was headed for troubled waters; it would be tossed about like a bobbing cork. Where was Jesus? He was up in the mountains overlooking the sea; he was there, praying for them not to fail in the test he knew they must go through.

You would think that at least one disciple would have recognized what was happening and said, “Look friends, Jesus said he would never leave us or forsake us. He sent us on this mission; we are in the center of his will. He said the steps of a righteous man are order by himself. Look again. That’s our Lord! He is right here! We’ve never once been out of his sight.”

But not one disciple recognized him. They did not expect him to be in their storm. Never, ever did they expect him to be with them, or even near them, in a storm! But he did come, walking on the water.

There was only one lesson to be learned, only one. It was a simple lesson, not some deep, mystical, earth-shattering one. Jesus simply wanted to be trusted as their Lord, in every storm of life. He simply wanted them to maintain their cheer and confidence, even in the blackest hours of trial. That’s all.

Monday, June 13, 2011

DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAILURE

When Adam sinned, he tried to hide from God. When Peter denied Christ, he was afraid to face him. When Jonah refused to preach to Nineveh, his fear drove him into the ocean, to flee the presence of the Lord.

Something much worse than failure is the fear that goes with it. Adam, Jonah, and Peter ran away from God, not because they lost their love for him, but because they were afraid he was too angry with them to understand.

The accuser of the brethren waits, like a vulture, for you to fail in some way. Then he uses every lie in hell to make you give up, to convince you that God is too holy or you are too sinful to come back. Or he makes you afraid you are not perfect enough or that you will never rise above your failure.

It took forty years to get the fear out of Moses and to make him usable in God’s program. If Moses or Jacob or David had resigned himself to failure, we might never again have heard of these men. Yet Moses rose up again to become one of God’s greatest heroes. Jacob faced his sins, was reunited with the brother he had cheated, and reached new heights of victory. David ran into the house of God, found forgiveness and peace, and returned to his finest hour. Jonah retraced his steps, did what he had refused to do at first and brought a whole city to repentance. Peter rose out of the ashes of denial to lead a church to Pentecost.

In 1958, I sat in my little car weeping; I was a terrible failure, I thought. I had been unceremoniously dumped from a courtroom after I thought I was led by God to witness to seven teenage murderers. My attempt to obey God and to help those young hoodlums looked as though it were ending in horrible failure.

I shudder to think of how much blessing I would have missed if I had given up in that dark hour. How glad I am today that God taught me to face my failure and go on to his next step for me.

Friday, June 10, 2011

THE LORD OUR PEACE

Knowing and believing in God’s character as revealed in his names provides great protection against enemy attack. God declared through Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). The implication here is powerful. God is telling us that having an intimate knowledge of his nature and character, as revealed through his names, is a powerful shield against Satan’s lies.

This brings us to another of our Lord’s names: Jehovah Shalom. We find this name mentioned in the book of Judges. Here, the Lord revealed himself to Gideon in the form of an angel (see Judges 6:22–24). What does this name, Jehovah Shalom, mean exactly? As a noun, the Hebrew word shalom means “completeness, health, welfare.” It implies being whole, in harmony with God and man, having wholesome relationships. It also indicates a state of being at ease—not restless, having peace both inwardly and outwardly, being at rest both spiritually and emotionally. In short, shalom signifies wholeness in a life or work. And as a verb, shalom means to be completed or finished, or to make peace.

Once more, I’m driven to ask, “What does this particular name of God have to do with me and with the church today?”

Shalom cannot be earned. We’ll never receive the Lord’s shalom until we realize, “This is serious business. This is God almighty I’m dealing with, creator and sustainer of the universe. How can I continue taking him for granted? Why do I still test his grace, living with this lust as if he is deaf and blind to my secret acts?” Do you tremble at God’s Word? Are you ready to obey everything it says? If so, you’ll receive the revelation of Jehovah Shalom. He’ll come to you personally as “the Lord, your peace,” filling your spirit with supernatural strength against every enemy. You can’t earn this kind of peace; it’s a gift from God.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

COME DO YOUR WORK IN ME

I believe if a Christian has an intensity for a holy life—if he desires to give his all to the Lord—there can be only one reason why he fails to enjoy the blessing and freedom promised by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That reason is unbelief. As surely as Jesus could not perform his works when there was unbelief, so his Spirit cannot do anything in our lives when we harbor unbelief.

It is vital for every follower of Jesus not to judge God’s promises according to past experiences. If we cast ourselves fully on his promises—believing them with all our being, trusting him for a supply of faith, holding the Spirit to his own word—then we can know the results are all God’s responsibility. And we’ll be able to stand on judgment day, having been faithful. We simply cannot give up our desire to enter into his promised blessings.

There was a point in my life when I had to cast my eternal future on God’s promises. I determined to trust his Word at the risk of my very soul. I put out this challenge to almighty God: “Lord, I’m going to believe you’ve given me your Holy Ghost. I believe he alone can deliver me from every chain that binds me. I believe he will convict me, lead me and empower me to overcome. I believe he causes me to obey your Word. And I believe he will never depart from me, nor will he let me depart from you. I won’t limit your Spirit in me. I’ll wait on him, call on him and trust in him—live or die.”

“Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:4). We’re to do what the Lord told Ezekiel to do—pray the Word of God. We are to remind the Holy Spirit of God’s promises to us. We’re to tell him, “Holy Ghost, the heavenly Father promised me he would put you in my heart—and I’ve committed myself to that promise. I will yield and I will cooperate, for I want to be holy. You said you will cause me to walk in his ways and obey his every word. I don’t know how you plan to do that—but you made an oath, and you cannot lie. This is all written in the Word, Holy Spirit. So, come—do your work in me. I’ve entrusted my very soul to this promise.”

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

THE SECRETS OF THE LORD

Matthew tells us Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables: “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:34–35).

To many Christians today, the parables sound very simple. Yet, according to Christ, each parable holds an incredible secret. There’s a hidden, kingdom truth in every parable Jesus told. And that truth is discovered only by those who diligently seek for it.

Many believers skim over the parables quickly. They think they see an obvious lesson and quickly move on. Or, they dismiss a parable’s meaning as not applying to them

The Bible states clearly there are secrets of the Lord: “His secret is with the righteous” (Proverbs 3:32). These secrets have been unknown from the foundation of the world, but Matthew tells us they’re buried in Jesus’ parables. These hidden truths have power to truly set Christians free. Yet few are willing to pay the high cost of discovering them.

Consider with me one of the Lord’s parables.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:45–46). Who is the merchant in this parable? The Greek root here explains him as a traveling wholesale trader. This merchant was also an assayer, or tester. In other words, he made his living by evaluating costly pearls for their quality and worth.

We know that Jesus is the pearl of great price that the merchant finds. He’s very costly, of incalculable value, because the merchant sells all his other possessions to gain him. I believe we find the meaning of the pearl in God’s eternal purposes. Obviously, the pearl belonged to the Father. He possessed Christ just as any father possesses his own son. Indeed, Jesus is the Father’s most valued and treasured possession. Only one thing would cause the Father to give up this priceless pearl. He did it out of love.

Christ is the treasure chest in the field. And in him, I’ve found all that I’ll ever need. No more trying to find purpose in ministry. No more looking for fulfillment in family or friends. No more needing to build something for God, or to be a success, or to feel useful. No more keeping up with the crowd, or trying to prove something. No more searching for ways to please people. No more trying to think or reason my way out of difficulties.

I’ve found what I’m looking for. My treasure, my pearl, is Christ. And all that the Owner asks of me is, “David, I love you. Let me adopt you. I’ve already signed the papers with my own Son’s blood. You’re now a joint heir with him of everything I possess.”

What a bargain. I give up my filthy rags of self-reliance and good works. I lay aside my worn-out shoes of striving. I leave behind my sleepless nights on the streets of doubt and fear. And in return, I get adopted by a King. This is what happens when you seek the pearl, the treasure, till you find him. Jesus offers you everything he is. He brings you joy, peace, purpose, holiness. And he becomes your everything—your waking, your sleeping, your morning, afternoon and evening.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

RECOVERY OF FAITH

I have a special word for all who face impossibilities: A recovery of faith depends on a fuller revelation of the love of our heavenly Father toward us.

“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). Here is a glorious revelation of the steadfastness of God’s love for his people. Scripture tells us he rests and rejoices in his love for us!

The Hebrew word for “rest” here means God hasn’t a single question concerning his love for us. In other words, he has fixed, or settled, his love for us, and he will never take it away. In fact, we’re told God is so satisfied in his love for us that he sings about it.

Can you imagine this? Here is a manifestation in heaven of God’s delight over you. John Owen interprets the passage this way: “God leaps, as overcome with joy.”

Moreover, Paul tells us, everything that is out of divine order—all that is of unbelief and confusion—is changed by the appearance of God’s love. “After that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared” (Titus 3:4)

In the preceding verse, Paul says, “We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived” (3:3). In other words: “Everything was out of order. Our faith was not an overcoming one. But the kindness and love of God appeared, which the Father shed on us abundantly through Christ.”

When Paul says the love of God “appeared,” he uses a word from a Greek root meaning “superimposed.” In short, the Lord looked down on us poor, struggling souls, full of fear and questioning, and he superimposed this revelation: “My love will deliver you. Rest and delight in my love for you.”

I thank God for the day his love “appeared” to me. There is no faith that can stand against impossibilities unless everything—every problem, every affliction—is committed into the loving care of our Father. When my situations are at their worst, I must rest in simple faith.

Monday, June 6, 2011

FULLY PERSUADED

Abraham didn’t stagger in his faith. Rather, he was “fully persuaded that, what (God) had promised, he was able to perform” (Romans 4:21). He recognized that God is able to work with nothing. Indeed, our Lord creates out of a void. Consider the Genesis account: out of nothing, God created the world. With just a single word, he creates. And he can create miracles for us, out of nothing.

When all else fails—when your every plan and scheme has been exhausted—that is the time for you to cast everything on God. It is time for you to give up all confidence in finding deliverance anywhere else. Then, once you are ready to believe, you are to see God not as a potter who needs clay, but as a Creator who works from nothing. And, out of nothing that is of this world or its materials, God will work in ways and means you could never have conceived.

How serious is the Lord about our believing him in the face of impossibilities? We find the answer to this question in the story of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. Zacharias was visited by an angel who told him that his wife, Elisabeth, would give birth to a special child. But Zacharias—who was advanced in years, like Abraham—refused to believe it. God’s promise alone was not enough for him.

Zacharias answered the angel, “Whereby (how) shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years” (Luke 1:18). Simply put, Zacharias considered the impossibilities. He was saying, “This isn’t possible. You’ve got to prove to me how it will happen.” It didn’t sound reasonable.

Zacharias’ doubts displeased the Lord. The angel told him, “Behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season” (1:20).

The message is clear: God expects us to believe him when he speaks. Likewise, Peter writes: “Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19, my italics).

Friday, June 3, 2011

IN THE FACE OF IMPOSSIBILITIES

“Being not weak in faith, (Abraham) considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb” (Romans 4:19).

The essence of true faith is found in this single verse. God had just promised Abraham he would have a son, one who would become the seed of many nations. Remarkably, Abraham didn’t flinch at this promise, even though he was well past the age of siring children. Instead, when Abraham received this word from the Lord, we’re told he “considered not his own body now dead (nor)…the deadness of Sarah’s womb.”

To the natural mind, it was impossible for this promise to be fulfilled. But Abraham didn’t dwell on any such impossibility. According to Paul, the patriarch gave no thought to how God would keep his promise. He didn’t reason with God, “But, Lord, I have no seed to plant. And Sarah has no life in her womb to conceive. My wife is past the ability to bear children. So, how will you do it, Lord?” Instead of entertaining such questions, Abraham simply “considered not.”

The fact is, when God is at work producing a faith that is tried and better than gold, he first puts a sentence of death on all human resources. He closes the door to all human reasoning, bypassing every means of a rational deliverance.

The faith that pleases God is born in a place of deadness. I’m speaking here of the deadness of all human possibilities. It is a place where man-made plans flourish at first and then die. It is a place where human hopes bring temporary relief but soon crash, adding to a sense of helplessness.
Have you been at this place of deadness? Has it seemed you have no options left? You can’t call someone to advise you. The heavens are like brass when you pray, your requests falling to the ground.

I declare to you, this is God at work. His Spirit is working to get you to stop considering the impossibilities—to stop looking to human ways and means—to stop trying to think your way out of your situation. The Holy Ghost is urging you, “Quit hunting for help from some man. And quit focusing on how hopeless you think your situation is. Those are hindrances to your faith.”

Thursday, June 2, 2011

GRACE AND PEACE TO YOU FROM GOD OUR FATHER

“Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in everything prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

I believe that prayer mixed with faith is the answer to everything. Paul says here, “in everything” – meaning, “Pray about everything. And give thanks that your requests will be heard and answered.” We are told to pray as our first option, not after we have tried everything else in vain. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33, my italics).

So many Christians today are being plundered by Satan. Their homes are in turmoil, they are plagued with fear and guilt, they face trouble on all sides. The problems our ministry reads about in letters from Christians are overwhelming.

But to be truthful, so few believers who are facing difficulties turn to the Lord in fervent prayer. Few today have consistent, daily, quality time alone with God in prayer. Too often, despair sets in because they do not go to the secret place, to unburden their souls and cry out their sorrows to the Lord. Instead, they tell all of their problems to friends, pastors, counselors – and they neglect the Lord, who waits to have them all alone. We pray as a last resort.

Could God be grieved with this generation the same way he was with Israel? He said of them, “My people have forgotten me days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32).

God is pleased when we run to him first, when we make special time to be alone with him, pouring out our innermost feelings and laying our petitions before him. We have no right to say we love the Lord if we don’t spend time with him on a regular basis. He will hear your prayers and answer. But he needs you alone so he can speak to you in a quiet moment.

As I go into the Lord’s holy presence each day, my most consistent petition is that the Holy Spirit will open God’s Word to me so I can be a true oracle of him. I trust him that my messages to the body of Christ will edify, convict and provoke believers to righteousness.

May you make quality time for him, trusting him with your petitions.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

GREETINGS IN THE PRECIOUS NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS

The following word was given to me by the Holy Spirit. It is for those who need an answer to prayer, who need help in a time of trouble, and who are ready and willing to move God’s heart according to his Word:

1. Lay hold of the covenant promise in Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” The phrase “very present” means always available, immediately accessible. Faith must rest in the assurance that God’s Spirit abides in you all hours of the day and night, continually. And because he took up a habitation in you, he listens to your every prayerful thought and cry. We know that if he hears us, he will grant our petitions. Indeed, the Holy Spirit will move heaven and earth for any child of God who takes time to pour out his heart to the Father with unrushed, unhurried time in his presence.

2. Read and believe Psalm 62:5-7. This is the prayer of David that touched God’s heart. David said, in essence, “Wait on God only. Expect help from no other source. He alone must be your provision, your only hope and defense. Only he can supply you with the strength to keep going until your answer comes.”

When you become wholly dependent on the Lord alone – when you stop looking to man for help, and trust God for the supernatural – nothing will be able to shake you. Nothing can move you into fits of despair. David declared, “I shall not be moved” (Psalm 62:6).

3. Here is the heart of it all, the secret to prevailing prayer that every saint throughout history has learned: THE POURING OUT OF THE HEART BEFORE THE LORD. “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8). Hannah is our example. Desperate for a child, she “poured out” her soul to the Lord. And, Scripture says, “Her countenance was no more sad” (1 Samuel 1:18).

God will hear and answer you when he sees you’re willing to shut off all worldly voices for a season. Cry out the contents of your heart, pour out your soul before him, and trust he will respond. The time has come for brokenness before the Lord, for a faith born out of contrite intercession. Follow these scriptural ways, and God will hear and answer.