Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Jesus told His disciples, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30). He was saying, in essence, “When Satan comes at Me, he can’t find any place where he can get a foothold. I am totally under the authority of My Father.”

Likewise, Satan cannot enter the body or spirit of any believer whose life is totally submitted to God’s Word. He has to be given a place in order to gain a foothold. And that happens only when a person holds back “part of the price.” Let me explain.

In Acts 5 a couple named Ananias and Sapphira sold a portion of their land and gave the proceeds to the new church in Jerusalem. Yet, when they laid the amount at Peter's feet, the apostle was perplexed. He asked, “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:3). As soon as Peter spoke these words, Ananias fell down dead on the spot and just a little later, so did his wife.

What is the lesson God wanted to teach the Church through this? I don’t believe it had anything to do with the physical piece of land Ananias and Sapphira owned. Rather, it had to do with the inner territory of their hearts.

This couple believed they could be 95 percent obedient to God but remain safely disobedient in one small area. They had heard God’s pure Word preached but they rebelled against what they knew to be true. They convinced themselves, “We can serve the Lord yet hold on to this one thing.” That was a lie to the Holy Ghost.

So, the part of the price they held back had nothing to do with money, but a small bit of ground of covetousness in their hearts. It was a patch just big enough to give Satan a stronghold, and with their one stubborn disobedience, they allowed the enemy to fill their hearts.

This is why Paul warns, “Neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27). The example of Ananias and Sapphira is clear: The price of an overcoming life is no small matter. It means subjecting our lives wholly to God’s Word, with no more dark places, hidden lusts or rebellion. Do not give Satan one inch of ground. That’s all he needs to gain entrance and establish a power base.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


James tells us, “If ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:14-16).

Take note of whom James is addressing here. In verse 13 he says, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?” He is telling us, “You may have great spiritual wisdom and knowledge. But if there is bitterness in your home, strife in your heart, envy at your workplace, don’t think you are spiritual at all. You are under a lying delusion.”

When James speaks of strife and bitterness, he is talking about arguing and faultfinding. And he says all of it is devilish, sensual, works of evil. In short, anyone who holds on to bitterness causes strife—and worse, he opens his heart to demonic possession.

Do you know people whose bitterness has led to satanic possession? Over time, their outer person begins to manifest the darkness they have held inside. Eventually their body begins to break down, becoming diseased and shriveled, and they suffer mental imbalances. Whenever the devil is given such ground, he works utter destruction.

So, go ahead, hold your grudge. Keep your bitterness. Continue stirring up strife. If you do, you will be in total rebellion against God and His Word and you’ll open yourself up to Satan. You will become spiritually blind and hardened in heart.

On the other hand, if you are spiritual—willingly obedient to God’s Word—then no matter how injured you are, you’ll show the peaceable wisdom of gentleness by forgiving.

On a trip to Jerusalem, I saw a powerful example of how Satan can get a demonic foothold in even the smallest patch of ground. As I looked down over the Holy City from the Mount of Olives, I saw the land where the Muslim Dome of the Rock temple sits.

That tiny piece of ground is perhaps only part of an acre. Yet somehow Satan got his hands on it and built a temple to himself, which now has become the abomination of desolation, as mentioned in Scripture. The devil has managed to focus his powers in the very midst of God’s once-chosen people, Israel. And it all happened because he got just a small foothold. This is a vivid picture of what Satan does when he gains even the smallest piece of ground.

Monday, April 28, 2014

I’M COMING WITH YOU by Gary Wilkerson

Paul said to Timothy, “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus,” (1 Timothy 1:3, ESV), but Timothy, who loved his mentor, said, “I’m coming with you.”

I don’t know why Timothy wanted to go with Paul. Perhaps it was because he just loved Paul or perhaps he was getting a little frustrated in Ephesus. It appears that those in the Ephesian church were focused on themselves, living a self-righteous lifestyle and trying to look good. When you become self-righteous, it often means that you are deceived and you become greedy and selfishly ambitious.

At this time there was a famine in Macedonia and also in Jerusalem and the churches there were experiencing extreme poverty. While they were struggling in Macedonia, apparently the economy was still good in Ephesus and they had a lot of resources that they were keeping to themselves.

Paul says to Timothy, “Charge [the Ephesians] not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Timothy 6:17-18, ESV).

In some translations this verse says, “Command those who are rich in this present age to be generous.” Why would Paul say something that sounds rather ludicrous? It seems unnatural to command people to be generous and to no longer cling to things just for themselves but to spread around this generous gift from God. Why would Paul command them to give?

When Paul told Timothy to “command” the Ephesians to give, it wasn’t to get them just to give but to get them to see that something of grace was missing in their lives.

The church in Macedonia had what the church in Ephesus was missing. True, the Macedonian church was poverty-stricken in the natural but was unbelievably generous, as they didn’t just give but they gave beyond their means (see 2 Corinthians 8:1-3). We read that the Macedonians were “begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:4, ESV).

The church of Macedonia obviously understood grace. They were walking in grace and Timothy wanted to see it for himself.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


The greatness of God is endless, infinite, immeasurable and limitless. Each dawn bursts forth with His promises, His power and His forgiveness. Each new morning announces the beauty of potential and new beginnings, filled with words of life and resurrection and “let's start over together,” calling us to allow Him to write His vision and plan of hope on the tablets of our hearts.

Our God of mercy says to you and me, “I will pull you out of the quicksand of fatalism and resignation in which you were sinking dangerously. I will give you a fresh outlook and confidence that you will experience, live out and communicate. From the abundance of your resurrected heart, your mouth will begin to speak again (see Luke 6:45). I will give you a vision that you will share simply and joyfully, and it will change the people around you. I want to write My plan on your heart: a destiny for your future, your children, your marriage, your studies or your career, and the supernatural blossoming of your personal harvest in Me.”

God further says to us, “I have a vision, to breathe into you the knowledge and understanding of the many good works I have prepared for you in every area of your life. There will be wars and battles, with both delays and mountains that will seem insurmountable, but My sons and My daughters will live by faith! If the promise is delayed, trust with faith for the promise throughout your season of waiting. My people shall live by faith!”

Dear friend, wherever you are in the world and whatever your experience or story has been, this message is for you: your past has no future! “Do not hold on to the past, do not allow yourself to be paralyzed today by what happened yesterday. Behold I will do a new thing. It is for now, for today, says the Lord. Are you willing to receive it and to believe me for it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Claude Houde, lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada, is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.

Friday, April 25, 2014


The key to understanding how Satan operates against the church of Jesus Christ is found in the word rebellion. Simply put, rebellion means going against the rule and authority of God’s Word. When Lucifer declared war on God, he was rebelling against the word of the Almighty. 

You must understand—God's word is His power. Through it, He spoke the worlds into being. And through it, the sun, moon and stars are kept in place. His word brought all things into being and continues to produce life. And by His word, God pulls down kings and raises up nations. Through it, He blesses and saves, judges and destroys (see Psalm 29:3-9).

Satan’s aim is always to tempt God’s people to rebel against His word. He planted thoughts of rebellion in Adam and Eve, causing them to reason, “I know what God said but I’m going to act according to my own will.” Those thoughts caused humanity’s fall.

Satan also succeeded in planting seeds of rebellion in God’s chosen nation, Israel. The psalmist says Israel was “a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God” (Psalm 78:8). Scripture also says of Israel, “Ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 1:26).

Please note that God revealed His word very clearly to all of these people. And yet they all rebelled against it. Why? They were seduced by the wicked one.

Satan will also try to tempt you to rebel against God's word. He knows he cannot get to you through blatant temptations so he’ll inject subtle seductions into your mind by flooding your life with pain, trials, struggles. And he’ll try to block God’s blessings in your life, just as he hindered Paul in his ministry.

Many have fallen prey to Satan’s subtle seductions. The psalmist says such believers “sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; because they rebelled against the words of God, and [despised] the counsel of the most High” (Psalm 107:10-11).

Thursday, April 24, 2014


If you are a member of the Body of Christ, get ready to face a mad devil. You may not want to think about it or even accept it but if you have determined to follow Jesus with all your heart, Satan has marked you for destruction. And he’s going to flood your life with troubles of all kinds.

The apostle Peter warns, “The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7). He is saying, in other words, “This is no time for lightness. You have to get sober minded about spiritual matters. It is an issue of life and death.”

Why the need to be so serious? The end of time is near and our enemy has turned up the heat. He is stalking us like a lion, hiding in the grass, waiting for an opportunity to pounce. He wants to devour us, to utterly destroy our faith in Christ.

Some Christians say we shouldn’t even talk about the devil, that we’re better off just ignoring him. Others try to reason him out of existence. Liberal theologians, for example, argue that there is no devil, no hell, no heaven.

But the enemy of our souls is not simply going to go away. Few biblical figures have been identified so clearly and extensively. He is described as Lucifer, Satan, devil, deceiver, hinderer, wicked one, usurper, imposter, accuser, devourer, god of this world, ruler of darkness, old serpent.

These emphatic descriptions tell me the devil is real. And we know from Scripture that he wields a very real power. Even now he is at work on the earth—in our nations, cities, churches, homes and individual lives. And we dare not be ignorant of his methods and strategies of warfare against us.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


God wants our life to be an open book. Therefore, He longs to rid us of all hidden sin—all dishonesty, underhandedness, deception, lying, fraud. That is why the Holy Spirit searches out everything in us that is not like Christ. And if we truly want to change, we’ll open up to His dealings.

You can forget about getting counseling, seeking self-help or restoring relationships until you experience God’s change in each of these areas. Put everything on the back burner until you’re ready to renounce all your hidden sin. When you have submitted to God’s Word and the transforming power of His Spirit, you won’t have to convince others you’ve changed. As you walk in His truth, the Holy Spirit will commend you to the consciences of everyone around you.

“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Corinthians 4:2).

The Greek word for commending here means “God’s approval.” Paul says, “You won’t have to impress anybody that you’ve changed. God will move on their conscience, telling them inwardly, ‘This person has my blessing and approval.’”

No argument can refute the inner evidence that God’s Spirit has put in you. In fact, your change will either attract others or become a rebuke to them. The aura of Christ emanating from you will strike their very conscience. And that’s when you will find the power to influence others—through the changes taking place in you. You’ll find relationships being restored and you’ll recover your spiritual authority in your home.

You will no longer dwell on the changes that need to take place in others. Instead, you will be so encouraged by the changes God is working in you that you’ll realize, “Lord, I know everything is in Your hands and I resign myself to Your will. Just do in me what has to be done.”

Now is the time to give all your circumstances over into His hands. Forget trying to be delivered out of your crisis. Instead, focus on God’s changes in you as He makes you an overcomer. Stay in His Word, call diligently on His name, and trust the Holy Spirit. Make this the constant cry of your heart: “Change me, O God.”

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I am not against Christian counseling. Many people are responding to the counseling they are getting, and it is healing their lives, marriages and homes. Indeed, counseling has become a major ministry in the church of Jesus Christ. Almost every large congregation in America has at least one full-time counselor on staff and here at Times Square Church, we use a number of counselors.

But I see more and more troubled Christians who don’t respond at all to the counseling they receive. They may be ministered to for weeks, even months, with no results. A pastor or counselor can take them step by step through the Scriptures, showing them the clear truth of God’s Word. He can tell them, “Here is what God says about your problem. He says you’re supposed to do this and this.” He confronts them with the reality that if they don’t forsake their sin, they will incur God’s judgment.

Yet none of this counsel registers. Why? There is a spiritual veil over the eyes of these people. They have a terrible blindness to their own guilt and need to change.

Since I began pastoring, I’ve been caught in the middle of many family feuds and I can testify that few of these wars are ever resolved outside of supernatural intervention. Why? Because everybody wants the other person to change.

One party tells me, “Why is he so stubborn? It’s awful. He needs to change.” Then I hear something similar from the other party: “How can she be so hard-hearted? She knows I’m doing the best I can. Is this what I get for being kind to her?”

It’s always the other person’s fault, the other one who needs to change. That is why I believe no amount of counseling will have an impact until God’s people resolve something. We all have to make this our sincere, daily prayer: “O God, change me.”

We spend far too much time praying, “God, change my circumstances; change my coworkers; change my family situation; change the conditions in my life.” Yet we seldom pray this most important prayer: “Change me, Lord. The real trouble isn’t my spouse, my sibling, my friend. I’m the one who stands in need of prayer.”

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed (changed) by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

Monday, April 21, 2014

SMALL BEGINNINGS by Gary Wilkerson

Small beginnings eventually affect entire communities. When my father, David Wilkerson, started a church in Times Square, the main area on 42nd Street was a darkened mess. Every few feet one could see a drug dealer or a prostitute or a porn theater. My dad’s approach to any ministry was always to begin in prayer—and he asked me to lead a Friday night prayer meeting at the church.

Those first meetings drew twenty to thirty people. We faithfully cried out for God to bring change to the city. Over time, our meetings grew to almost eight hundred people. As we lifted our voices in travailing prayer, God placed a burden on our hearts for 42nd Street. So we took our praying efforts to the street, where we handed out tracts.

Soon we noticed changes taking place. There were fewer drug addicts and prostitutes around. One by one the porn palaces closed. Finally, a developer came in and bought up property after property. Today, the principal business presence in Times Square is the Walt Disney Company, and 42nd Street may now be the most wholesome block in New York City. I believe this is partly due to a praying people who believed God to do great things.

The first effect of a godly testimony is the building up of our faith. The second effect is the building up of others’ faith: “I may seem to be boasting too much about the authority given to us by the Lord. But our authority builds you up; it doesn’t tear you down” (2 Corinthians 10:8, NLT). Paul is saying, in essence, “Not only did God work mightily through my life. His work in me and through me is meant to stir up your faith to greater works.” Our faith is contagious. It builds up the faith of others to engage in greater acts of boldness.

Paul’s final boast is a curious one: “If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am” (11:30). His point is this: Our good testimony will never result from our own strength. Our boast will always be, “Without God, I am not a giant slayer—I am a shepherd. I am not a wall builder—I am a cup bearer. I am not a deliverer—I am a shepherd wandering in the Egyptian desert.”

Our testimony will never come from our own strength, zeal or effort. If we lean on any of these things, our testimony will lose its power. But the more we acknowledge our inability, the more God’s power will rest on us: “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV).

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Have you ever noticed that Jesus launched the Christian church, not while someone was preaching, but while people were praying? In the first two chapters of Acts, the disciples were doing nothing but waiting on God. As they were just sitting there . . . worshiping, communing with God, letting Him shape them and cleanse their spirits and do those heart operations that only the Holy Spirit can do . . . the church was born. The Holy Spirit was poured out.

What does it say about our churches today that God birthed the church in a prayer meeting, and prayer meetings today are almost extinct?

Am I the only one who gets embarrassed when religious leaders in America talk about having prayer in public schools? We don’t have even that much prayer in many churches! Out of humility, you would think we would keep quiet on that particular subject until we practice what we preach in our own congregations

I am sure that the Roman emperors didn’t have prayer to God in their schools. But then, the early Christians did not seem to care what Caligula or Claudius or Nero did. How could any emperor stop God? How, in fact, could the demons of hell make headway when God’s people prayed and called upon His name? Impossible!

In the New Testament we don’t see Peter or John wringing their hands and saying, “Oh, what are we going to do? Caligula is bisexual . . . he wants to appoint his horse to the Roman Senate . . . what a terrible model of leadership! How are we going to respond to this outrage?”

Let’s not play games or divert attention away from the weak prayer life of our own churches. In Acts 4, when the apostles were unjustly arrested, imprisoned, and threatened, they didn’t call for a protest; they didn’t reach for some political leverage. Instead, they headed to a prayer meeting. Soon the place was vibrating with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:23-31).

The apostles had this instinct: When in trouble, pray. When intimidated, pray. When challenged, pray. When persecuted, pray!

Jim Cymbala began Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson and a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences sponsored by World Challenge throughout the world.

Friday, April 18, 2014


The Holy Spirit seeks to bring to us a growing knowledge that God is going to be merciful to us all the way through our trials. “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not” (2 Corinthians 4:1).

What is the merciful ministry we have received from the Holy Spirit? He opens our eyes to the tender mercies of Christ toward us. He implants in us an inner knowing that the Lord is on our side, that He is for us. And He shows us how committed God is to keep us from falling—how compassionate He is toward everything we’re going through, how touched He is by the feelings of our infirmities.

Right now you may feel abused and unloved. The devil would have you believe that God has left you to your own devices—that you deserve to suffer, that it’s all over for you, that there is no hope. Beloved, those are lies from hell. God wants more than anything else to rid you of your perverted concept of Him. He loves you tenderly and He has already set a time to bestow all His mercies on you.

David cried pitifully as he was overwhelmed by his situation: “My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. . . . I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top. Mine enemies reproach me all the day . . . I have . . . mingled my drink with weeping. . . . My days are like a shadow that declineth" (Psalm 102:4, 7-9, 11). He groaned, “I’m in a terrible condition, physically, mentally and spiritually.”

Yet that was the very time God had set to deliver David, and the Lord moved in quickly with mercy, help and comfort. David testified, “Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come” (Psalm 102:13).

God’s set time to deliver David was in his lowest hour, when he was thinking, “I’ve been reduced to nothing.” Likewise today, God has set a time to deliver and send His favor upon us—and it usually comes in our worst hour of trial. That’s the time when we’re no longer struggling to do things on our own. Instead, we admit, “Lord, I can’t do it—it’s a mess. I give it all over to you.”

Thursday, April 17, 2014


The apostle Paul writes, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). The root word for “open face” here has an amazing definition. It means being totally committed to allowing God to expose every hidden thing in your heart—for the purpose of being delivered from it all.

This kind of open face cries out, “Try me, Lord; see if there is any wicked way in me. Show me where I’m living contrary to Your Word. I want to be delivered from everything that is unlike you. Away with all my pride, my ambitions, my selfish intellect, my reasoning. I know I can’t think my way out of my situation. Holy Spirit, I need Your power and wisdom. I lay down every hope of solving things my own way.”

For many believers, this is a very difficult thing to do. They have survived their whole Christian lives on their wits and wisdom. And now to have to admit to bungling things up and needing to give up control is just too hard.

The Lord had to strip me of my pride in this area years ago. Now, thank the Lord, I freely admit whenever I mess things up. My constant prayer is, “God, I do such dumb things. I make such awful mistakes, get myself into terrible messes. Please, Lord, clear them up for me. I can’t do it. Only You can.” Thankfully, God delights in fixing our messes when we seek to do His will.

The glass Paul speaks of in this passage means mirror. And, beloved, our mirror is God’s Word. It alone accurately reflects back to us our condition. Paul is telling us, “Go to the mirror of God’s truth, and behold your life. Tell the Lord you’re on the wrong course, and you want to be changed. Ask His Spirit to humble you and to open up His Word to you. Forsake others’ advice, your own ideas, your own contrivances. Instead, turn to the Holy Ghost in full trust. Believe what He says to you.”

If you will rely solely on the Holy Spirit, turning away from all other helps, He will unveil your eyes. He’ll also send Holy Ghost-led helpers into your life and you will begin to change in that very moment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Change is exclusively the work of the Holy Ghost. “How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?” (2 Corinthians 3:8). We simply can’t change ourselves. Only the Spirit of God can conform us to the glorious image of Christ. We have all heard it said, “When a person turns to the Lord, God lifts the veil from his eyes.” That is solely the Spirit’s work.

We also read, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (verse 17). The word “liberty” here means “no longer a slave; exempt from liability; free, unchained.” This describes the freedom that comes with having our eyes opened. Suddenly, we see things in a new light. Only the Holy Spirit can break down our lifelong way of seeing things, turn us around, and set us on a true course.

In short, the turning Paul speaks of here means trusting fully in God’s Spirit. It also means turning away from all unbiblical counseling, all ideas and plans of your own, and calling on the Holy Ghost alone to lead and guide you.

Paul experienced this kind of turning. In Acts 9, when he was still known as Saul, he was on the wrong course, riding to Damascus to persecute the Christians there. Talk about having a veil over his eyes! Saul actually believed he was doing God a favor by arresting believers and throwing them in jail.

But the Lord intercepted this man and created a crisis in his life. When Jesus met Saul on the Damascus road, He struck him with a light that was so powerful it literally blinded him. Saul had to be led sightless to a house in Damascus, where he stayed until godly Ananias arrived. Ananias told him: “Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight” (Acts 9:17-18).

Saul surrendered his past, future, everything to the Holy Spirit—and the veil was immediately removed from his eyes.


The Expect Pastors & Church Leadership Conference is just a few days away. Join fellow ministers for a time of refreshing at Times Square Church in New York City. April 23-24. Speakers are Gary Wilkerson, Carter Conlon, Jim Cymbala, Teresa Conlon, and William Carrol.

Register today at

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Like it or not, we all are in the process of changing in one way or another. In the spiritual realm, there is no such thing as mere existence; we are being changed, either for good or for bad. We are either becoming more like our Lord or more like the world—either growing in Christ or backsliding.

So, are you becoming more sweet-spirited, more like Jesus? Are you looking soberly in the mirror each day and praying, “Lord, I want to conform to Your image in every area of my life”?

Or has your bitterness taken root, turning into rebellion and hardness of heart? Have you learned to shield yourself from the convicting voice of God’s Spirit? Are you now spewing out things you once thought a Christian would never be capable of speaking? Are you hardening beyond change?

If this describes you, let me tell you plainly: You will never receive deliverance unless you change. Your life will only become more chaotic, and your situation will worsen. Stop building your case, pointing your finger, justifying yourself. God will not meet you until you wake up and admit, “Nothing is going to change for me unless I’m changed.”

Cry out to the Lord honestly in prayer: “Change me, O God. Dig deep in me—show me where I’ve failed and gone astray. Expose my pride, anger, stubbornness and sin. Help me to lay it all down.”

How many more experts, counselors, lonely nights and fruitless strivings must you endure before you wake up to the truth? If any healing or restoration is going to take place, you must take responsibility. Your miracle is dependent on your being changed.

“The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all” (Psalm 34:17-19).

Monday, April 14, 2014


The book of Hebrews mentions two types of testimonies. We all prefer the first kind, when saints conquered kingdoms, destroyed the enemy, slew giants. The second kind of testimony is altogether different: Christians were sawed in half, they starved, they froze, they hid in caves.

It is too easy for Christians today to live off the testimonies of others. How often do we catch ourselves saying, “Have you heard about the spiritual awakening in Africa?” “The church in America does a great work among the poor.” “Our church has opened its doors to reach drug addicts.” We should rejoice in the faithfulness of those making a difference in Christ’s name, of course, but Paul refused to live vicariously through another’s work: “Nor do we boast and claim credit for the work someone else has done. Instead, we hope that your faith will grow so that the boundaries of our work among you will be extended” (2 Corinthians 10:15, NLT).

You may think your life doesn’t measure up—that you don’t deserve a boast-worthy testimony—but that is not the issue. Everything can change with one simple prayer of faith. Just before I preached recently, a woman in church told me about something that had happened that week. After thirty-eight years of being addicted to marijuana, God had set her free! It happened through a simple visit from two lay ministers in our church. As they sat praying with her, she grew convicted over the pot in her apartment and immediately threw it out.

The woman’s deliverance is real and lasting. She has obtained a boast-worthy testimony of God’s power to deliver—and the two lay ministers have a testimony as well. God used them in a way they could not have orchestrated. All three can say, “Look at what God did in our midst today.”
With even the smallest beginning, faith starts to rise up in our hearts. We realize, “God did it last week and He can do it again this week.” I want to boast that our church has powerfully effective ministries that were launched just this way—because an individual was faithful to help one person. In every case, a believer’s prayerful act led to a counseling ministry, a mercy ministry, a discipleship ministry, and more. The same can be true for every believer. As we build a history of testimonies, our faith will grow to seek God for greater things.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Think for a moment of all that opposes you today and stands in defiance of your inheritance in Christ. It may be the words that were spoken over your life when you were young: “You’re stupid! You’ll never amount to anything. I am leaving because you are not worth staying for.” No matter what was said, or the nature of the opposition that you are currently facing, just keep in mind that it is all simply trying to stop you at the border of this incredible life of Christ.

Joshua said to the people, “Do not be afraid of them, for they are bread for us” (see Numbers 14:9). In other words, the opposition will sustain us; it will nurture and feed us. Of course, this is contrary to the way the natural man thinks. We consider opposition to be an awful thing, larger than we are. It makes us feel like grasshoppers in its sight; it threatens and intimidates us. So how exactly does it feed us?

Remember when Jesus was ministering in Samaria and the disciples went to get food for Him? They returned to Jesus and encouraged Him to eat, but He replied, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of” (John 4:32). Jesus was essentially saying, “I have a source of strength that you are not aware of yet. You have not tasted it; you do not know what it is or how it can nurture you.” The disciples then turned to one another and asked, “Okay, who brought Him something to eat?” But Jesus explained, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (v. 34). In other words, “This is my meat; this is what feeds my life—facing all that stands in direct opposition to the will of God and conquering it in the power of God.”

Jesus continued, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (v. 35). I do not know how many times I have heard Christians say that the harvest is coming—a great day when many will come to Christ. But here Jesus was telling His disciples, “Listen, lift up your eyes, the harvest is already here, ready to be harvested!”

And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together” (v. 36). He who goes out to harvest will receive wages, and these wages are the provision and strength of God. They will be given to the one who says, “Lord, I give You the reins of my life. I am willing to do the work of God no matter what opposition I must face, for this is where my nourishment will be found.”

Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. A strong, compassionate leader, he is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world.

Friday, April 11, 2014


When God said, “Once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven” (Hebrews 12:26), He was saying, in essence, “I shook the earth at Mount Sinai. But when I speak in these last days, My voice will shake both the natural and spiritual worlds. The status quo will tremble; nothing will remain as it is. Whatever is called religious—all that is of Christ or the Church—will be shaken by the voice of My Son speaking from heaven.”

God had warned Israel that all who refuse to listen to His prophet would be brought to account: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him” (Deuteronomy 18:19). He was saying, “I’m going to pursue every disobedience—and you’ll account for it all.”

Scripture reveals that those who ignored the words of God’s prophets fell into ruin. They became withered and bitter, dying without any joy or peace. “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven” (Hebrews 12:25).

Beloved, neither will we escape God’s wrath—either as a nation or as individuals. And right now Jesus’ voice is shaking every nation, causing institutions, leaders and economies to tremble. He is saying to the wind and the elements, “Blow upon the earth.” He is saying to the clouds, “Withhold rain.” He is saying to the economies of the world, “All greed—be judged.”

God is also commanding, “Prisons, shake. Governments, shake. Financial systems, shake. Schools, shake. Military forces, shake. Courts and legislatures, shake. Everything on earth, shake until there is no foundation left but the Lord.”

It is not the devil who is shaking everything. The whole world is being shaken by the voice of the victorious Christ. The Man in glory has risen in power upon His throne and He is speaking a word to shake all things.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


God is still speaking clearly to us today. His heavenly voice is sounding mightily throughout the earth and that voice is coming through a Man—Jesus—who is seated at the right hand of the Father. Consider these words from Hebrews:

“For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)

“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:18-27).

Do you get the picture from this passage? When God spoke the first time, the people answered, “Don’t speak to us from heaven anymore. Speak to us through a man.” And Moses prophesied, “Just as you’ve asked, God is going to raise up a prophet. He will be fully human—and He’ll speak God’s words to you.”

Jesus was that promised prophet. He was God incarnate, the Lord in human flesh. He had a ministry on earth as a man, and a multitude of witnesses saw Him ascend to heaven as a man. Now He has a mystical body, which is His Church. But Jesus is still a man made of flesh—still touched with the human feelings we all experience.

Today, in these last days, God is speaking once more from heaven and telling us that He is going to shake everything in sight.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


A man recently wrote the following to our ministry: “I don’t know who put me on your mailing list, but please remove my name immediately. I can’t stand your gloomy gospel and your hammering against sin. None of us is perfect, not even you. I’ve had it with your King James gospel of doom.”

Isaiah spoke of this kind of response: “This is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way” (Isaiah 30:9-11).

The word “smooth” in this verse means “nice, flattery.” The people of Israel were saying, in short, “Don't tell us any more bad stuff. Describe how we’re going to prosper, how great things lie ahead of us. If not, then get out of our faces.”

No believer who hides sin in his heart ever wants to hear a holy, sin-exposing word. That person will always flee the Holy Spirit’s voice of truth. And he’ll turn to some preacher who is soft on sin, offering smooth talk and flattering prophecies.

So, you ask, what hard message did God’s voice deliver to His people on Mount Sinai? He said simply this: “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before me. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image. . . . Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them” (Deuteronomy 5:6-9).
Here was the pure, unadulterated word of the Lord, coming directly from His mouth. It should have sent the people flying to their tents to smash their graven images. It should have stirred their hearts and brought them to their knees. But instead they cried, “No more thunder, fire, shaking. No more audible voice speaking to us. Give us a spokesman who is like us, and let him speak to us. Then we’ll hear and obey.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


“Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not” (Exodus 20:20).

“Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess” (Deuteronomy 5:33).

Moses said, in essence, “God isn’t mad at you. That’s not what this majestic experience is all about. No—He wants to empower you with His awesome fear. He is trying to build into you a powerful weapon and He’s doing it so that you can live victoriously all the days of your life.”

Then came some of the strangest logic in the Bible. These leaders said to Moses, “We have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?” (Deuteronomy 5:24-26). They told Moses, “We know we can hear God speak out of the fire, and survive. Yet, if we have to sit under His direct, pure, holy voice, we will be consumed. Why should we die? Of all people in the world, we’re the ones who’ve heard God’s voice and lived.”

The Lord then gives us a clue about what was really happening: “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever” (verse 29).

They were giving God honor with their lips but their hearts were far from Him. To quote Isaiah, “This people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but [they] have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” (Isaiah 29:13).

The Israelites were so devoted to their little golden images that nothing could keep them from idolatrous worship. They finally even ignored the audible voice of God, in all its holiness and majesty.

When Israel’s elders said, “We need a softer message, otherwise we’ll die,” how right they were. Anytime you sit under Holy Ghost preaching—hearing God’s anointed, convicting word—you’re surely going to die. That is, you will die to your sins.

Monday, April 7, 2014


David never said, “My dad asked me to be a shepherd, so I was a good one. I fought off lions and bears and never lost a sheep.” That would have been a good testimony—but it did not give glory to God. Actually, David’s boast was, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37, ESV).

As a butler in Babylon, Nehemiah risked his life as a wine taster for the king. But Nehemiah’s boast in God was: “I rebuilt a city to restore honor to God’s name.” With God’s name mocked in Jerusalem’s streets, Nehemiah felt a fire in his belly—and he set about rebuilding the walls.

Moses’ testimony was not, “I lived in Pharaoh’s palace and had great authority.” His boast was, “God spoke to me from a burning bush—and I confronted Pharaoh, saying, ‘Let my people go.’” His boast was heard at the Red Sea: “Egypt’s army has drowned in the sea!”

New Testament believers had the same boast. Stephen was a deacon who distributed food to widows—a good testimony in itself—but his boast-worthy testimony came when he preached to an unbelieving crowd. His anointed sermon so provoked the people that they took up stones to kill him. Stephen’s testimony was twofold: He was the first martyr of the Church, and his faithful sacrifice would later impact a Jewish zealot named Saul.

I have yet to meet a Christian who has not wondered, “Isn’t there something more to this life in Christ? When will we see God’s power made manifest in this generation?” Maybe you are facing something that requires God’s intervention. This is no time to say, “I’ll go to church more.” It’s time to say, “I trust God to demonstrate His power in my life. He is going to save my marriage, rescue my kids, impact my coworkers. He’ll give me a boast-worthy testimony.”
This message is not meant to be a guilt trip. It is meant to stir a passion in our hearts—a passion too often repressed by fear and doubt. Some have set aside their faith for so long they no longer believe they can have a boast-worthy testimony—but God’s Word says differently.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


I want to challenge you by faith to receive a vision for yourself. Whether you are a teenager, a parent, a student, a housewife, or a young person launching a career, you can communicate your faith to someone. You can inspire somebody—a friend, a mom or dad, son, daughter, fellow believer—to love, pray, forgive, repent, serve and do something beautiful and noble! Please allow your spirit to hear that God is seeking a man or a woman whose heart will beat with the vision that without faith, it is impossible to produce a victorious people.

Faith is not only taught, it is caught! The truth and spiritual reality is that as a dad, my children can walk in the footsteps I will leave for them. Please allow me to illustrate this with a simple tale from my childhood growing up in the low-income housing projects in Montreal.

  • It was a cold winter night as a father walked to the local bar yet again. It was Friday night and he had just cashed in his paycheck. The money burned in his pocket, and as he did every single week, he was about to drink it away. In this insane and incomprehensible moment, everything else vanished. He was unable to think of the money he would need to feed his children, and pay the rent and heating bills. The promises he had made to his wife, over and over, disappeared each time, choked by the blinding habit and the all-encompassing thirst to forget that which both disgusted and enslaved him. This man hated himself, but the voices inside always won: “It's my business; I am not hurting anybody; it's my choice; it's only a few drinks.” Suddenly, he heard a rustling sound in the silence of the cold night—the sound of soft steps in the snow. He turned around and what he saw hit him like an iron fist in the gut, taking his breath away. His son was following him and making his best effort, giving it his all, trying to put his little feet, step by step, in the imprints his daddy had left in the snow. He was walking in his dad’s footsteps.

Dear reader, each one of us is leading somebody somewhere. Some boys and girls are learning to lie, blame others, cheat, criticize, be arrogant and always look for shortcuts. But our sons and daughters can also watch us and learn to love, pray, work, worship, serve, forgive and believe. They can learn from us to speak the truth, respect people, judge people on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, and to be honest, respectful to their elders, and a friend of the poor.

Claude Houde, lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada, is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.

Friday, April 4, 2014


When Israel camped at Mount Sinai, they were suddenly engulfed by thick darkness and an incredible, blazing fire. Out of the midst of these awesome elements, God spoke: “These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice” (Deuteronomy 5:22).

While all this was happening, the Israelites stood frozen with fear. They were convinced they would die before the voice of the Lord stopped speaking. Finally, the voice stilled; the lightning stopped; the quaking ended; and before long, the sun began to shine. As the people looked around, they saw everyone was still alive. They had heard the actual, audible voice of God and lived!

Evidently, as soon as this incredible manifestation ended, Israel’s elders and tribal heads called a meeting. You would expect this to be the greatest praise meeting in the history of humankind. Yet this meeting was not one of praise—not at all. Incredibly, the elders told Moses, “We can’t handle this kind of experience. We don’t want to hear God’s awesome voice anymore. If He speaks to us this way again, we’ll die. From now on, we want to hear His words through a man’s voice.”

Their response is absolutely puzzling. Why would anyone react this way to such a glorious miracle of God? I can tell you why: It was because the Israelites had hidden sin in their hearts. They were secret idol worshipers.

Unbelievably, these people still clung to the small golden idols they had brought with them from Egypt. The apostle Stephen said these idols were “figures which ye made to worship” (Acts 7:43). The Israelites had carved them in the likeness of the giant golden calves the Egyptians worshiped. They cried, “You delivered us from Egypt. You are our God.” And now, in the desert, they still had not let go of their horrible idolatry.

Stephen called this people “the church in the wilderness” (verse 38). He was amazed that even after the Lord had spoken to them audibly, their hearts were still back in idolatrous Egypt. He said of them, “Our fathers would not obey . . . and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt” (verse 39).

You can see why God’s voice made these people quake. The reason they thought they would die was because they were in the presence of a holy, powerful God—not some lifeless, carved idol. His Spirit had gripped their souls, and their consciences were convicting them.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


A pastor’s wife left a pitiful message on our ministry’s answering service. She said in very slurred speech, “Brother Dave, thousands of preachers’ wives drink in secret to cover their pain. That’s what I do. I drink to dull the ache.” Other ministers’ wives write of their failing marriage or their husband’s addiction to pornography.

Beloved, these are the people I am now helping in prayer. I pray for ministers and their families, because I know they need it. I have learned firsthand that helping prayer works. Scripture says that when the apostle Peter was bound in jail, “prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him” (Acts 12:5). And God delivered Peter with a miracle!

Paul not only asked for prayer helpers, but he was a helper himself. He knew it was part of his calling as a minister of the gospel. He wrote to the Philippians, “To all the saints . . . with the bishops and deacons . . . I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy . . . because I have you in my heart” (Philippians 1:1, 3, 4, 7).

Are you aware of a brother or sister whose marriage is in turmoil? If so, what do you do about it? Do you merely tell others what a shame it is that they are about to break up? Or do you bring up their names to the Lord and strive for them in prayer?

Do you desire this ministry of being a helper in prayer? If you don’t know anyone with a need, start by praying for all Christian marriages and all of God’s saints. Your prayers do not have to be long. Simply state your request, and trust God to hear you.

This was illustrated for me once when I was sick in bed. One of my grandsons came in and announced, “Papa, I’m going to pray for you.” My little helper laid his hand on my head and prayed, “Jesus, make him all better.” I smiled and thanked him but he just kept looking at me. Finally, he said, “You’re healed. Get up!” So I did get up—and I was healed! His prayer of faith brought me to my feet.
Mighty deliverances take place when God’s saints seek Him diligently with childlike faith for the needs of their brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


The most significant lesson Paul learned in his anguish was that he had to turn to the Lord and His covenant promises. He knew he could no longer trust in his own flesh, abilities or willpower. He writes, “We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).

Paul’s trial had brought him to the end of his endurance. He knew he did not have any strength left to fight the powers of darkness so he sentenced his own flesh to death. And God marvelously delivered him: “Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us” (verse 10).

How was Paul delivered? Several things were involved: First, he was a mighty man of prayer and second, he had great confidence in the Lord. Paul knew God would uphold His covenant promises. He could say, “Just as the Lord has delivered me in the past, He is at work delivering me from this present trial. From now until the day I die, I’ll be living under His delivering power.”

Like Paul, we also are allowed to endure troubled times, so that we will die to our reliance on human ability. The Lord permits us to be crushed, made helpless and weak, in an effort to convince us we cannot defeat the enemy by any fleshly efforts.

As we compare our lives to Paul’s, we may be tempted to think, “I’ll never experience the kind of deliverance this man enjoyed. He was well-educated in the Scriptures and he received great revelations from the Lord about Jesus, the gospel, the New Covenant.

“And Paul ministered in the power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost. He single-handedly shook cities and nations. He couldn’t be killed by the devil, even after stonings, mob attacks, three shipwrecks. God even used him to raise the dead. This man was one of God’s most anointed servants in all of history. He had it together spiritually.”

Not so, according to Paul. The apostle makes it clear that there was one other important factor in his deliverance: the powerful intercession of praying helpers. “Ye also helping together by prayer for us” (verse 11). Paul was saying, “I’m confident God will deliver me. And you’re helping that come to pass by praying.”

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


“We would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8). The Greek word for pressed in this passage means “heavily burdened, grievously crushed.” Paul was telling these saints, “Our crisis was so serious that it almost crushed me. I thought it was the end for me.”

When Paul says he was so burdened down that he despaired of life, we can know he truly was at rock bottom. In other passages, he downplays his sufferings. You may recall how he simply shook off a poisonous snake that had attached itself to his hand. He was shipwrecked three times yet he mentions this fact only in passing, to make a point. Paul was beaten, robbed, stoned, jailed—yet through it all he never complained.

In this passage, however, the apostle was at a point of total exhaustion. I believe this “trouble” he endured was mental anguish. We cannot know exactly what Paul's trouble was but 2 Corinthians 7:5 gives us a hint: “When we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.”

I believe Paul was referring to pain caused by the sheep he ministered to. False teachers had risen up in Corinth and had tried to turn the people against him. Now Paul feared his flock would reject his message and follow men who did not have their interest at heart.

He was consoled when Titus arrived, bringing him good news about his “beloved children” in Corinth. Paul writes, “Nevertheless God . . . comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more” (verses 6-7).

I have felt this kind of anguish in my life. At times, the words of people I have loved and helped have felt like knives in my back. I can say with David, “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords” (Psalm 55:21). In such troubled times, I have most needed “helping prayers.”