Friday, June 29, 2012

THE HUNTER

“The adulteress will hunt for the precious life” (Proverbs 6:26).

The adulteress spoken of in this verse is Satan. He hunts down those who are precious to God.

The devil tries to seduce everyone who hungers after the Lord. Why do you think you are being so tested? You may have had a lifetime of trials, but it hasn't been because you are evil. No, it is because Satan knows how precious you are in God's sight and it is the precious life he is after!

During an evangelistic crusade on the West Coast, I met a young man who was a witch. In fact, he was the leader of a coven of witches. Even though this young man was deeply involved in the occult, he didn't believe Satan or his demons would ever possess him.

One night as he tried to go to sleep, he saw horrible, demonic faces swirling on the ceiling of his bedroom, leering down at him. As they began to gather like a cloud and form a funnel, the young man realized they were about to come into his heart.

He was petrified. Then he remembered something from his childhood so he cried out, “In Jesus’ name, go!” And all the demons vanished.

The next night those forces rallied even greater legions. As the young man lay down to sleep, he heard a roaring sound. He looked up and saw the whole room filled with ugly, horrible creatures. They had formed a funnel again. This time the young man stood up on his bed and shouted, "I claim the blood of Jesus!" Again the demons fled in disarray.

The young man thought, "The next time they come, I won't be able to handle it." So he called a Christian friend and asked him to accompany him to one of my crusade meetings.

During the service, the young coven leader was convicted by the Holy Ghost, and he gave his heart to the Lord. He testified that even though his family had a background in the occult, he remembered that when he was about six years old, he had a heart for Jesus. “I clearly recall going into the woods behind our house and preaching my heart out," he said.

I have seen this same heart for God in my own children and grandchildren. I had that kind of heart when I was a child, so I knew exactly what this young man was talking about.

Suddenly, a light went on in me and I knew why the devil had tried to possess this young man and destroy him. It was because of how precious he was to God.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

ACCEPT HIS LOVE

It does not matter what you do to try to clean yourself up. If you don't trust Jesus to save you through His grace, all your righteousness is as filthy rags in God's sight. Your flesh isn't accepted before God; it can't even be reformed. All flesh was done away with at the cross and now a new Man has come forth—the Christ-man—and true faith is having confidence in what He did for you.

You may say, "I find it hard to believe that a troubled, failing Christian like me could be precious to God. He has to be disgusted with me, because my life is so up-and-down. I have problems I can't seem to get through. Oh, I believe He still loves me but surely He is disappointed in me because I have failed Him so often!"

Please understand: Isaiah's wonderful prophecy of grace (see Isaiah 43:1-5) was spoken to a people who had been robbed, snared in holes and cast into prison—all because of their own foolishness and unbelief. It was at such a point that God said to them, "Now, after all your failures, I come to you with this message of hope—and it is all because you are Mine."

I will never forget the pain I endured when one of my teenage children came to me and confessed, "Dad, I've never once felt as if I have pleased you. I've never felt worthy of your love. I feel like I've let you down my whole life. You must be really disappointed in me."

Those words hurt. I embraced that tearful child, hurting deeply inside myself. I cried as I told this child, "But you have always been special to me. You have been the apple of my eye. When I'm on the road conducting crusades, I think of you and my whole being lights up. Sure, you've done foolish, wrong things at times but you were forgiven. You were truly sorry and I never once thought less of you. You are nothing but a joy to me.”

So it is with many Christians in their relationship with the heavenly Father. The devil has convinced them they have disappointed God and will never be able to please Him. Consequently, they don't accept His love and they live as if His wrath is always breathing down on them. What a horrible way to go through life—and how pained God must be when He sees His children living that way.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

YOU BELONG TO HIM!

In Song of Solomon, the Lord says of his bride: "How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!" (Song of Solomon 7:6). Three of the Hebrew words in this verse are synonymous: fair (meaning "precious"), pleasant (indicating "pleasure"), and delights.

These words describe Jesus' thoughts toward His bride as He beholds her. He looks at her and says, "How beautiful, sweet and delightful you are. You are precious to me, O love!" And in turn, the bride boasts, "I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me" (verse 10). The meaning here is, "He runs after me with delight. He chases me because I am so precious to him!"

These same thoughts are found throughout the Psalms. "The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy" (Psalm 147:11). "For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation" (149:4).
Now, I can try to convince you of God's delight in you by telling you, "You are precious to the Lord!" Yet you may think, "Well, that's a lovely thought. How sweet."

This truth is much more than a lovely thought, however. It is the very key to your deliverance from every battle that rages in your soul. It is the secret to entering into the rest God has promised you. And until you lay hold of it—until it becomes a foundation of truth in your heart—you will not be able to withstand what is ahead in this wicked time.

Isaiah had a revelation of God's great delight in us. He prophesied to Israel this word from the Lord:

"O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (Isaiah 43:1-2).

Isaiah was not talking about a literal flood or fire. He was talking about what the people were going through spiritually and mentally. They were in captivity at the time and their floods were trials, their fires were temptations, their rivers were testings. It was all the devil's attempt to destroy and overwhelm God's people.

Isaiah's words were a message of pure mercy to Israel. They were in captivity because of their own stupidity and foolishness and they deserved nothing. But God sent them a weeping, brokenhearted prophet who said, “God wants me to tell you that you belong to Him!”

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

HE DELIVERED ME FROM MY ENEMY

"He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me" (Psalms 18:16-19).

In this psalm, David was looking back after a great deliverance. He was rejoicing because the Lord had rescued him from his enemies: "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies" (verse 3).

Indeed, David had just been through a terrible time of testing. Saul had put a bounty on his head and had chased him relentlessly, so that he was forced to sleep in caves, dens and open fields. David said of that dark time, "The sorrows of hell surrounded me, and I lived in distress. Ungodly men made me afraid that my enemies were too strong for me. They all hated me!"

But God came roaring out of the heavens to deliver David: "He bowed the heavens also, and came down. . . . The Lord also thundered in the heavens. . . . He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy" (verses 9,13,16-17).

Demon powers had surrounded David and the enemy had come in like a flood. Yet David was able to say, "God came roaring forth to pull me out of those swirling waters. He rescued me from all my troubles!" "He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me" (verse 19).

David could say, "The reason God delivered me from all my enemies—from all my sorrows and the powers of hell—is because I am precious to Him. My God delights in me!"

Beloved, if you need deliverance, whether from lust, temptation or trial; whether your problem is mental, spiritual, emotional or physical, the key is simply this: God delights in you! You are precious to Him!

Monday, June 25, 2012

THERE IS A TIME! by Gary Wilkerson

There is a time! I am talking about when it is time to stand up and take action. A time when it is right to say, “I believe God is calling me to be an answer to help in rescuing hurting people.”

There is a time when you hear of a church going to the mission field—a time to say, “God bless them.” There is a time to engage in prayerful faith—and then there is a time for you to get up and go. It’s time to arise—to take action!

In Genesis 14:14-16 Abraham did just that when he heard that his nephew Lot had been taken captive. He got up, armed his three hundred and eighteen men and took them with him. He was outnumbered by tens of thousands to just his few hundred but God gave him a plan. Abraham said, “We’re going to split into two troops and we’re going to go in at nighttime.”

Do you see what he was doing? He was getting the mind of Christ for the battle plan.

Some of us are like Lot when we get upset or enraged, even though we know his actions got him into trouble. We say, “I’ll get up but I’ll take action in my own strength,” rather than listening to the Lord. I am not talking about a fleshly rising up and getting something done because you’re a New Yorker or your political beliefs are different from somebody else’s. I am talking about getting something done because you are a follower of Jesus Christ.

You move in the Spirit, you walk in the Spirit, and you hear the Spirit speak to you. Out of that comes trust, prayerful faith, but also an active, moving, engaging, vibrant life where you become a witness, a servant. You become engaged in ministry that makes a difference in people’s lives. Wherever you are involved—if your teenagers are in trouble or your husband/wife is far from God—you are engaged in speaking into their lives. You are modeling something that is different from what the world has to offer.

Wives win their husbands to the Lord through their humility; through their love; through their service. Men see their families come to Jesus Christ when they stop acting like ogres and begin to really serve and love and put others ahead of themselves.
The type of faith the Holy Spirit is calling us to says, “God, I need You and You want me to become involved.”

Friday, June 22, 2012

THE BEST IS YET AHEAD!

Perhaps during times of affliction you have almost fainted. You may have been so weak and weary you thought you couldn't go another step. But now, from where you stand, you can say, "I never want to go through that again but God brought me out. He has been faithful. Praise the Lord!"

God is not satisfied with a heartfelt "thank you" from us. Rather, He says, "Wait just a moment, My child. I did not bring you through all those troubles and afflictions just to make you a grateful overcomer. I've spent years training you, putting you through all these things for a purpose, and I'm not going to let you waste them now. I fully intend for my investment to pay off. I tell you, your best work is ahead of you!"

Now, as you emerge from your college-level afflictions, God opens your eyes to your struggling friends in kindergarten. These beloved ones don't think they can make it, so what do you do with your affliction experiences? God whispers to you, "I need seasoned, tested veterans, people who have survived deep waters and awful fires, who have been refined through suffering. I want people who will prove My faithfulness to this generation!" The psalmist writes: "That ye may tell it to the generation following" (Psalm 48:13). "Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come" (71:18).

Paul sums it all up beautifully: "But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel" (Philippians 1:12). That is saying something! When Paul wrote this, he was an older man with years of experience and he was in the midst of one of the worst trials of his life. He spoke to his friends from his heart:

"It would be the most wonderful thing right now if I could go home and be with my Lord. That is my greatest desire. But I'm a veteran; I've been through afflictions and trials and I know I'm needed here. This generation needs to see a sufferer who survives and rejoices in any affliction. My son Timothy is going to face all that I've faced, and he needs to know that God will bring him through. So, it is best that I stay and endure these deep afflictions. Look at me! Not only have I survived, but I have true hope. I'm not down or depressed. I rejoice in the Lord for all He has brought me through!"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

DOES GOD AFFLICT HIS CHILDREN?

Does God afflict His own children? Listen to the psalmist's answer: "For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place" (Psalm 66:10-12).

The psalmist is saying, "Lord, You put me in waters so high over my head that I thought I would drown. You put me into the fire, to try me as silver is tried. You brought me into a net, laid affliction on me, caused men to trounce on me!"

Why did God allow such afflictions? It was because He was bringing His beloved child into a "wealthy place." In the original Hebrew this phrase means "a place of abundant fruitfulness." God is saying, "I'm taking you through all these hard places to make you fruitful for My kingdom."

Yet not all afflictions are from the hand of God. Many troubles come from the devil himself, straight from the pits of hell. "For he [God] doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men" (Lamentations 3:33). God says, "I get no joy out of afflicting My children. That is not My purpose in allowing troubles." No, the Lord allows our afflictions only for His eternal purposes, to bring us into a "wealthy place."

I cringe with amazement as I remember all the sorrows, trials, deep waters, flaming fires and powerful afflictions I have seen over the years. And usually when afflictions came, they came not just one at a time, but in bundles. Many times I thought, "There is no way I can make it through this." Even the memories of afflictions are painful — memories of slander, chastenings of the Lord, ministry trials, personal buffetings, family problems, bodily pains and aches. Yet, as I recall those years of suffering, I can say with assurance, "God's Word is true. He brought me out of every affliction that came upon me and I praise Him!"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

GOD IS MAKING AN INVESTMENT IN YOU!

When a parent sends a child to college, it requires a great investment. Obviously that parent hopes his child will apply herself to the rigors of her training. Why? Does he hope she will graduate, come home, hang her diploma on the wall, then sit around the house watching television? No! That parent hopes his child will make his investment pay off by starting a good career.

Likewise, when the U.S. military offers a free education to an enlisted soldier, those years of education are considered an investment. The soldier is told, "After you're educated, your nation and government want a certain amount of your time." That trained soldier is expected to serve in the armed forces for a number of years in order to justify the investment.

So it is with the Lord and our afflictions. Everything you go through as a Christian is a training exercise behind which God has a divine purpose. He did not save you so that you could cruise into paradise on a luxury liner; He saved you to prepare you to be of use in His kingdom. The moment you were born again, He enrolled you in His school of suffering. And every affliction, every trial, is another lesson in the curriculum.

Some Christians are in kindergarten. Their afflictions are not difficult to understand and their tests are much easier to endure. Others are in grade school, and they quickly learn that their tests have become a little tougher to face and harder to understand. Others are in college, and their afflictions are much more severe and more difficult to figure out. Still others are in postgraduate school, with years of hard afflictions behind them and many difficult tests looming before them. Their afflictions are the toughest of their lives, and they realize they need Holy Ghost strength to deal with them all.

My point is, God wants veterans of spiritual warfare — people who have been through many afflictions — to prove His faithfulness to the next generation. And every affliction we endure is an investment He is making in us as His veterans.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

UNTO THE FURTHERANCE OF THE GOSPEL

"I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out [turned out] rather unto the furtherance of the gospel" (Philippians 1:12).

In this verse, Paul tells the Christians in Philippi not to worry about all the things that they had heard had befallen him. And those "things" included great afflictions and infirmities.

Paul wrote this epistle while bound in a Roman prison. At that point he was a seasoned warrior of the gospel, having endured every conceivable hardship and human affliction imaginable. If you have studied Paul's life, you know the kinds of things he had faced: shipwrecks, beatings, buffetings, tauntings, mockings, persecutions, hunger, thirst, nakedness, defamation of character. Everywhere Paul went, it seemed, he was met by affliction, trouble and sorrow.

Yet Paul said, "None of these things move me" (Acts 20:24). Furthermore, he added, "No man should be moved [troubled] by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. . . . We told you before that we would suffer tribulation" (1 Thessalonians 3:3-4).

Paul was reassuring these believers, saying, "I've told you all along that if you're going to walk with Jesus, you will face afflictions. So now that these afflictions have come upon me, why are you so surprised? This is our appointed lot in life."

Try to get this picture in your mind: Here was a holy man, called by God to take the gospel to the nations. On every assignment, the Holy Spirit whispered to him, "Paul, the next stop isn't going to be easy. You're going to face opposition again. You'll find more afflictions, more testings."

I find this man's life absolutely amazing. Can you imagine it? Paul faced troubles and afflictions at every turn. At this point you may be saying, "Wait a minute! You're talking about Paul's life, not mine. He was appointed by God to suffer afflictions. I haven't been called to such a life." Wrong! The Bible says: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all" (Psalm 34:19).

The phrase "many are the afflictions" applies not just to Paul, but to us as well. We love to hear the last part of that verse, but do we rejoice in the first part, as well?

Monday, June 18, 2012

PASSIVE FAITH by Gary Wilkerson

Abram was called by God to leave his home, his land, his father, his mother, his upbringing, his heritage — leave it all and go to a land of God’s leading (Genesis 12).

What faith! It takes amazing faith to leave everything behind and respond immediately,
wholeheartedly to the word that one is hearing in his heart — whether it is an audible or an inner voice.

So Abram left and took with him his young nephew named Lot.

“Then Abram said to Lot, ‘Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left’” (Genesis 13:8-9, ESV).

Abram was employing what I call a passive faith. I don’t mean passive in the sense of, “I don’t care” or “Que sera, sera — whatever will be, will be.” This type of passive faith says that you are not going to take action on your own behalf. You are not going to try to make things happen by the will of man. You will allow God to orchestrate the events in your life in such a way that His will will be accomplished.

There are times in life where we need to have that type of passive faith, when there’s nothing else we can do but say, “God, your will be done, not mine.”

Passive faith looks at situations that seem impossible and says, “God, I don’t know how this will ever be worked out. I don’t know how any of these difficulties and troubles that I’m facing will ever be resolved, but I put my trust in You.”

Abram had the confidence that God was looking out for his best interests, confidence that God knew what was better for him than he himself knew.

Abram did not just rest in the Lord but he trusted that God was going to make the right decision for him.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

EXPECT Church Leadership Conference 2012 Philadelphia, PA July 12, 2012












All over the world, pastors and church leaders labor day in and day out to bring His love to those in need. As a minister, you have no doubt experienced the joy of His hand guiding you. But like many, you may also have experienced the difficulty, the loneliness, the dryness, even the despair which can occasionally come to all of us who serve. The ministry you are about to be introduced to was established just for you, to strengthen you, to bring a fresh anointing of God’s love and divine healing into your ministry, into your family, into your church. 


Please join us as we stand in awe at the healing work of God taking place in our very midst.

Venue
Pennsylvania Convention Center
One Convention Center Place
1101 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Contact
Jim Maxim
Acts413 Ministries
950 West Valley Road
Wayne, PA 19087
(610) 721-1010


Friday, June 15, 2012

NO DISTRACTIONS

"Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number" (Jeremiah 2:32).
I quote this passage whenever I miss my daily time of prayer because of busyness. It always drives me back to the secret place, crying, "Oh, Lord, I don't want to forget You!"

This verse is frightening when we consider the context of the passage. God is saying to His people, "I planted you as a noble vine of sound and reliable stock. You started right, you had My touch and I blessed you. But now you have forsaken Me."

"Thy backslidings shall reprove thee . . . it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee . . . How canst thou say, I am not polluted? . . . For they have turned their back unto me. . . . In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction. . . . My people have forgotten me days without number" (Jeremiah 2:19, 23, 27, 30 and 32).

God's people were no longer going to His house to worship Him. They had become lazy and had forgotten all His blessings and judgments. They neglected Him for days on end, pursuing their own pleasures and worst of all, they said, "I am innocent . . . I have not sinned" (verse 35).

If you do not worship God with all your mind and heart, little by little neglect will creep in and you will begin to worship merely out of habit.

You say you love Jesus, so I must ask you: Do you worship Him daily, with all your heart, with no distractions? Do you dig into the Word of God or do you go for days without opening your Bible or praying to Him in your secret closet?

God will not allow you to sit in your seat anymore and let your mind wander. He loves you and knows the power that pure worship releases in your spirit. It makes you stronger than any lion, bigger than any giant. It pulls down every stronghold because it makes you a pure-hearted, single-minded worshiper of Him!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

DISTRACTIONS IN THE HOLY PLACE

"Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me" (Matthew 15:7-8)

I want to talk to you about mental distractions during prayer and worship, especially in the house of God. Jesus called people hypocrites who came into His presence mouthing words of praise, but whose minds and hearts were preoccupied. He spoke directly to them, saying, "You give Me your mouth and your lips but your mind is somewhere else. Your heart is nowhere near Me!"

What about you? Most likely, you are present in God's house for an hour every week. Your body is in church but where is your mind? Your mouth says, "I worship You, Lord," but is your heart a thousand miles away? Where do your thoughts take you during worship and praise?

Do you become preoccupied with family concerns or a business matter that's been hounding you? How distracted do you get during that hour in church as the congregation draws near to God's majesty?

It is dangerous to come into God’s house and enter into His presence lightly. “Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3). The Lord said to Aaron, “I will not be treated as an ordinary person. If you’re going to come into My presence, you must come before Me sanctified. All who approach My holiness must do so with carefulness and thoughtfulness because of My glory and majesty.”

If your heart is not engaged during worship and your thoughts are not captive to the obedience of Christ, you might as well put a straw man in your seat. At least that is more honest than coming into God’s house with no mind and no heart.

The reason many Christians do not worship with power, excitement and zeal is because they have no intimacy with Jesus at home. Those who have learned to worship and focus privately bring their own fire — a fire ignited in the secret closet of prayer. True worshipers can’t wait to get to church to praise the Lord among His people.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BUILDING ON THE ROCK

If you say you're a Christian — that you love Jesus and walk in obedience to Him — yet you neglect Him day after day by not praying, then you really don't know Him. Your house is not on the rock, it’s on sand and it's going to collapse completely in hard times.

You cannot get to know Jesus only by going to church. You must have a day-by-day, hour-by-hour conversation with the Lord. You must get to know Him, grow to love Him, and desire to know what pleases Him.

We consider the Lord's commandments to be something burdensome, restricting to our personal freedom. And rather than embracing His words to us, we look for ways to escape them.

We distort God's grace by making it out to be some kind of tunnel out of the prison of His law. But grace is actually a teacher of holiness: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:11-12).

The man on the rock embraces and joyfully fulfills the Lord's commands. He doesn't see God as someone with a belt in His hand, always ready to chastise him. No, he sees the Lord as One with arms outstretched to him, saying, "Come to Me and receive life, receive strength. I'll carry you through!" God’s Word shows us what it takes to build upon the Rock.

Enoch obeyed God with the sole objective of pleasing Him. "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God" (Hebrews 11:5). Enoch was translated because he pleased the Lord.

The apostle John says: "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight" (1 John 3:22). "For thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

OUT OF THEIR MINDS

“Every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell” (Matthew 7:26-27).

The law is not intended for the person whose obedience springs out of a desire to please God. He is not concerned about what is legal or illegal, what is permitted or forbidden. He has only one criterion: "What does my Lord desire?"

You can lay out all the law before him — all the rules, regulations and prohibitions — and he will say, "You don't have to tell me not to do those things. I wouldn't do anything to hurt my Father. I love Him! I've already forsaken the world and its lusts to go after Him whom my heart desires.

"Show me what He wants, not just what He forbids. I want His heart's desire to become my actions. I want to know His mind and obey it. Sure, I love His law. But that's for the lawless, for those who haven't come into a knowledge of intimacy with Christ. I have another law at work in my heart. It's the law of love, one that says, 'Lord, what can I do to please You today?'"

Such a person isn't moved by threats of hellfire, or even by rewards. He needs no prophet to shake him, no warnings of judgment. He is in love with Jesus and his obedience to God's Word is a natural outgrowth of this love. It is as natural to him as breathing.
On the other hand, the person who builds his house on sand does so only for show. It is a temporary lifestyle. He reasons that he'll live in that house for five years, then sell it and leave the problems to someone else. It's only a facade with no real foundation!

You see, this person doesn't believe a storm is coming. He doesn't want to think that things are going to get hard. That is the way the world deals with eternity: They simply don't think about it. A Christian celebrity once asked one of the late-night talk show hosts, "What do you think about eternity?" He answered, "I try to put it out of my mind."

Tragically, a lot of Christians also try to put eternity out of their minds. They try not to think that judgment is at the door. They don't want to believe that one day they'll stand before the Lord and answer for everything they've said and done.

Monday, June 11, 2012

ARE YOU READY TO FIGHT? by Gary Wilkerson

Don’t settle for partial victories just because you are weary, frustrated or feeling helpless. God never stops at half a victory. The moment you feel so tired you can’t take one more step is often the moment He is about to give the greatest victory — when the breakthrough is about to come.

The church is not meant to be composed of masses and crowds who want comfort, pleasure and everything handed to them on a silver platter. The church is meant to be like “Gideon’s 300,” warriors who say, “God, I know this is going to be a fight. I know it is going to be wearisome and will even cause tears to flow but, God, I’m with You in this battle!”

You may feel that you have prayed the last prayer you’re ever going to be able to pray about the need that is pressing you. You are exhausted but you must stay in the fight. Don’t stop praying and don’t give up. Yes, it has been a long day! Nighttime is coming and inside you are saying, “It’s time for me to sleep.” But instead God says, “No, no, the fight is just starting.”

What has happened to the all-night prayer meetings in churches? What has happened to people waiting on God? What has happened to people who fast and pray for a breakthrough?

The church was called into battle. It was not begun just to have good services and a nice building with lights that go off and on during the music. That’s not why we’re here! We are here to do battle against the gates of hell because we have a promise that hell will not prevail (Matthew 16:18). We do not have a promise that it won’t be strenuous or that all we have to do is whisper and the gates of hell will not prevail. No! There is going to be a battle and Satan is not going to give up easily — but we have a promise.

It’s going to take a battle! Are you ready to fight?

Friday, June 8, 2012

THE BOLDNESS OF A LION

Jesus Christ has left me an inheritance and I claim it as mine. Scripture says, "The righteous are bold as a lion" (Proverbs 28:1). If you can accept this truth of the perfect righteousness of Christ, you will have the boldness of a lion. You will never again fear any person or look at someone else's life and feel unworthy. You can say, "I have the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ credited to me by faith. No, it's not mine, it's His, but it's accounted to me by Jesus Himself, so I may call it my own!"

It is time to stop your struggling. If the devil comes to you and says, "You're no good, you have no righteousness," you can answer, "I know I'm no good. I have no righteousness in myself but I do have the righteousness of Jesus Christ. I've failed God but I have an Advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ the righteous!"

When you stand before the Lord, you will not have to tremble, thinking, "What am I going to offer Him? What did I do right or wrong?" No, you will be thinking, "I have nothing in myself to offer Him because I have His righteousness — by faith."

Does this mean Christians are not obligated to do good works? Not at all. Justification by faith and the imputed righteousness of Christ sets the soul free to walk in holiness and do good works. Good works done in slavish fear bring no glory to God — they must flow out of a loving heart. Walking in true holiness is possible only to those who have laid hold of their inheritance — Christ's perfect righteousness — because they are no longer imprisoned by fear and condemnation.

His perfect righteousness is mine by faith and now I am free and released to serve Him as a bondservant of love. Now, by the power of the Holy Spirit promised in the New Covenant, He turns me from all iniquity and empowers me to live out the righteousness He credits to me.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

THE POWER OF FAITH

Oh, what a wonderful thing the power of faith is!

God's Word tells us that Christ paid for the sin of humankind with His own blood at the cross; that He fulfilled the law and removed the curse; that He ransomed us from the claims of hell and the devil; that He lived a sinless life, keeping the law at every point; and that He will present us before the Father with a perfect righteousness.

The Word goes on to tell us we can have Christ's perfect righteousness attributed to us — that God will consider us as perfectly righteous in Jesus — if only we will believe what He has accomplished for us. Please understand that I am speaking of those who have repented of their sins.

Oh, how my flesh recoils at the simplicity and ease of it all. The flesh cries, "No way! It can't be that easy. I have to help; I must pay something. After all, I still have problems in my life. I still struggle with sin. I can't expect Him to consider me righteous because I still have so many things needing improvement. I need to clean up my act first."

Certainly there may be tears on our part. We have to be humbled and broken, but a river of tears alone will not save anyone. A lifetime of struggles will not save anyone. God says, "It must be by grace through faith. No flesh shall glory in My presence!"
  • "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17). 
  • "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith" (Galatians 5:5). 
  • "Righteousness . . . which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Philippians 3:9). 
My faith has to rise above all my fears, above all satanic lies, all feelings, all circumstances, and rest in what God's Word declares. His Word says that by repentance and faith in Christ, He looks upon me as having the perfect righteousness of Jesus. He accepts me "in the beloved" as holy and righteous.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CREDITED TO OUR ACCOUNT

We will never be justified or accepted as righteous before God unless we stand before Him with Christ's perfect righteousness as our own. That is the only righteousness God will ever recognize, so how can we receive Christ's perfect righteousness?

The heavenly Father imputes it to us through our faith. "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works . . ." (Romans 4:6). Paul quotes David as saying, "The richest, most blessed, most peaceful man on earth is the one who understands he has a perfect righteousness imputed to him — without works!"

"[Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God . . . And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed" (Romans 4: 20-24).

This righteousness has to be imputed to us. It is not ours by infusion. In other words, God doesn't just pour it into us. No, it is never our righteousness, nothing we have done or accomplished. It is always His righteousness, imputed to us, credited to our account.

The word impute means "to regard or esteem, to consider, to attribute to a person something he does not have, to reckon or credit to one's account." When Jesus imputes His righteousness to us, God looks upon it as our very own. No, we did not earn it. Christ did it all and He credits it to our account.

This imputation comes by faith alone. We can't work for it or merit it in any way. Rather, because of our faith in Jesus and His redeeming work, the Lord credits the righteousness of Christ to us and we are reckoned as perfect in Him. By confessing our sins and having faith in Him, we stand before God with an imputed righteousness. And it is a perfect righteousness that is of faith and not of works:
  • "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace" (Romans 4:16). 
  • "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness" (Romans 10:10). 
  • "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no [distinction]" (Romans 3:22).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

NOT FOR BABIES

Understanding how God justifies His people is not for babies, it is a truth for full-grown believers. Yet many Christians are still babies, drinking milk and refusing to go on to the meat of the Word of righteousness. All they understand is forgiveness of their sins.

"For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:13-14).

Milk is for babies — and babies need constant attention. They feel good only when their mother is in the room, and when she leaves, they cry out with fear. They have to be able to see her, feel her, touch her in order to feel secure.

Likewise, the believer who remains on milk lives in constant dread of his salvation. He is never at ease with the heavenly Father. Instead, he's always uptight, thinking God is ready to send him to hell every time he fails. He does not know or understand his position in Christ and therefore he never knows the peace of God. He cannot believe that God is fully committed to save and keep him.

Paul says in the Word that there is meat available to us, food that will cause us to grow into maturity, to become men and women in Christ and develop into full stature as believers. Beloved, this meat is the truth concerning Christ's perfect righteousness. Understanding it allows you to remain secure in your salvation. You don't have to fear that God will forsake you every time you slip and fall. No — you will have victory!

If you do not have this truth, the devil will play havoc with your feelings. He'll lie to you and push you around. Unless you have this truth as a foundation under everything you believe, nothing will be right in your doctrine, your theology, your life. You can't even obey God until you understand it.

You have to be convinced that nothing you can ever do will produce an acceptable righteousness before God. It has to come from another source. When I stand at the judgment seat, I have no other plea but the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Monday, June 4, 2012

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE OVERWHELMED? by Gary Wilkerson

What do you do when you’re overwhelmed? What do you do when it seems the odds are against you or you don’t have enough resources?

Do you go home at night and just continue being stressed, full of anxiety and fear? If you want to get to the place where you see victory in your life, you will have to fight for it — and in the fight God will supply the strength. He will supply the resources that you need and you will come out of the fight as a worshiper of Jesus Christ.

Three years ago my father, David Wilkerson, turned the leadership of World Challenge over to me. Dad was still here to support and encourage me and if I ever got in the midst of a battle that I wasn’t quite sure how to handle, I’d call Dad. In April of 2011 he passed away in an auto accident and I find myself without that particular resource in my life to help lead World Challenge. Sometimes when challenging things happen, I feel a little bit of fear come in. What if I don’t have what it takes? What if I don’t handle this situation well?

One day as I was thinking these things, the Holy Spirit came over me and confidence dropped into my heart. I realized that if God was leading me, if He was saying, “This is the way you should go,” then all I had to do was trust Him. I don’t have to look at the black line or the red line and see where the finances are; I have to look to heaven and see what He says for me to do. And that is what we are doing. We are going to go harder than ever before; we are going to reach more people than ever before; we are going to touch more children’s lives than ever before — all because we are not going to let the enemy cause fear to come into our lives.

Some of you are in a battle right now. It might not be financial. It could be relational — even problems with your own children. Whatever the battle is, I have a good word for you — don’t give up in the battle! Don’t give up interceding! Don’t let limited resources cause you to think that somehow God is limited in power.

Don’t give up!

Friday, June 1, 2012

COMPARING OURSELVES TO OTHERS

In my younger years, I compared myself to certain others who appeared to be holy. These people seemed to be aglow — always upbeat, smiling, seeming much more Christlike than I. I never thought I measured up to their holiness, so I prayed, "Lord, make me righteous like Brother So-and-so. How wonderful it must be to live that way for You."

How wrong I was! These people were not who I thought they were. Indeed, I have learned that nothing is as it appears; no one is quite as evil or quite as good as he may seem. Rather, there is only One who is truly righteous — Jesus Christ our Lord — and His righteousness is perfect.

If we are in Christ, we have His righteousness and it is not attributed to us by degrees. No one receives more or less of it — rather, by faith we receive it in its fullness.

We are to measure ourselves by His righteousness alone and not by anyone else's supposed righteousness. "But they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. . . . According to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you" (2 Corinthians 10:12-13).

Paul is saying here, "There's a rule you can use to measure yourself. It is this: Everyone who truly repents and believes in the perfect righteousness of Christ — who comes to Him in faith, believing in His work on the cross — is made perfectly righteous in the sight of God. You may not have everything worked out yet. There is still a daily work of sanctification through the power of the Holy Spirit. But you are accepted in the beloved, imputed with the very righteousness of Christ."

Dearly beloved, it is time you stopped putting yourself either up or down as measured against others. God has imputed to you the full measure of the perfect righteousness of Christ: "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).