Friday, May 30, 2014

SUFFICIENCY IN ALL THINGS

Why do so many believers experience weakness, feelings of despair and emptiness, as if they can’t go on? It is because they do not have the revelation that the Holy Spirit gave to Paul—a revelation of all the provisions God has made possible for those who claim them by faith!

Do you fit Paul’s description of a bountiful servant—one who has all he needs and more, at all times, in every crisis? Have you proven this by drawing on the bank of heaven?

For several years I worked with Kathryn Kuhlman, an American evangelist. I preached my heart out at her monthly rallies in Pittsburgh, PA, and Youngstown, OH. Services were held both in the morning and evening and usually by the end of the day I was wiped out. One night Ms. Kuhlman said to Gwen and me, “Let’s go out and get something to eat.” I told her, “I’m sorry—I’m too tired. I’ve got to go to the hotel and get some sleep.”

She looked at me quizzically and asked, “David, did you preach under the Spirit’s unction tonight?” I answered, “You know I was anointed. The altars were filled!”

Ms. Kuhlman said quietly, “Then you’re missing something. If you are ministering under the power of the Holy Spirit, you should be stronger at the end of the service than when you started—because He is a quickening Spirit! You can rise above your flesh, because by the Spirit you can claim that freedom.” Since that time I have proven that truth in my ministry.

“And God is able . . . that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). To abound here literally means, “ever-increasing; to have more at the end than at the beginning.” In other words, as the battle gets hotter, God’s grace increases! As weakness comes upon you, His strength comes on even greater—if you believe it.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

ALL HE WANTS IS YOUR FAITH

God doesn’t want your home, your car, your furniture, your savings, your possessions. All He wants is your faith—your strong belief in His Word. And that may be the one thing that other, more spiritual-appearing people lack. You may look at another person as being more spiritual than you but that person may actually be struggling hard to keep up an appearance of righteousness. Yet, as God looks at you, He declares, “There is a righteous man or woman.” Why? Because you have admitted your helplessness to become righteous and trusted in the Lord to give you His righteousness.

Paul tells us we are counted as righteous in God’s eyes for the same reason Abraham was. “Therefore it was imputed to [Abraham] 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, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Romans 4:22-24).

You may claim, “I believe this! I have faith in the God who resurrected Jesus.” Yet, here are some questions for you: Do you believe the Lord can resurrect your troubled marriage? Do you believe He can bring to life a spiritually dead relative? Do you believe He can raise you up out of the pit of a debilitating habit? Do you believe He can erase your cursed past and restore to you all the years that have been wasted?

When everything looks hopeless—when you are in an impossible situation, with no resources and no hope before you—do you believe God will be your Jehovah Jirah, seeing to your need? Do you believe He is committed to keeping His promises to you and that if even one of His words should fail, the heavens would melt and the universe collapse?

“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

FAITH MUST BE FOUNDED ON THE WORD

God is concerned that His people are being shaken in their faith—that they won’t trust Him in their crisis. Beloved, our worst sin is our unwillingness to believe He will do what He promised. That offends Him more than adultery, fornication, drug and alcohol abuse or any other sin of the flesh.

His Word says, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:9). “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

These verses are either the truth or they are lies. But if they are the truth, then we must stand on them. God wants us to be able to say, “Lord, if I die standing here, then let me die in faith. I trust You to see me through, so live or die, I’m Yours.”

Let all the winds and waves of hell come at you. Let everything come at you. Our God said He is able—and He knows how to deliver you.

He intended that you and I have joy, peace, victory and rest in our walk with Him. He is looking for men and women who will stand against what is coming in this dark age—servants who will stand with a calm and a peace because Christ abides in them.

God desires that you come into a place of such trust that you will never again fear, but truly rest in His power and ability. He knows how to deliver you from all snares, trials and temptations—if you will trust Him.

“He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:6-8).

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

THE EYE OF THE LORD IS ON HIS CHILDREN

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

Our Lord is aware of every move by every living thing on Earth. And yet His gaze is focused primarily on the well-being of His children. He fixes His eyes on the pain and needs of each member of His spiritual body. Simply put, whatever hurts us concerns Him.
To prove this to us, Jesus said, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Even in the midst of great world wars, God’s primary focus is not on the tyrants. His focus is on every circumstance in His children’s lives.

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 26, 2014

YOU ARE BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING by Gary Wilkerson

“And [Jesus] told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man produced plentifully’” (Luke 12:16, ESV).

God is a generous, gracious Father who loves to lavish gifts on His children. But I want to show you the contrast here because this story takes a turn into the wrong direction. Verse 17 says, “And [the rich man] thought to himself.”

God begins to bless and you start thinking to yourself, “What am I going to do with this? Where do I go next?” This thought process will lead you down the wrong course and usually leads toward selfishness. In Genesis 26, we read about Isaac, who wisely asked the Lord what he should do with his resources, in contrast to this foolish rich man Jesus talks about.

When we start thinking to ourselves, we lose the Holy Spirit’s discernment. When we start thinking about what we desire, we go astray—and that is exactly what happened to this rich man. Look at the language here: “And he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’” (Luke12:17, ESV).

Whose crops were they? They belonged to God. Everything belongs to God! So this man was getting selfish. He was beginning to see this gift from God, all his talents and relationships, as things that could be used for his own benefit and selfishness, and these thoughts began to permeate the very fiber of who he was.

“And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry”’” (Luke 12:18-19, ESV).

The problem with some types of teaching about the blessing of God is not the reality that God wants to bless, it is why God wants to bless. Is the blessing of God all for me? Is it to heap these goods upon myself? Is it to create for myself this perfect little cocoon of a world that I’ve always wanted?

You are blessed! From the very beginning of God’s covenant of blessing with mankind, you are blessed to be a blessing, Church.

I’ll say it again. You are blessed to be a blessing!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

HOLY DESPERATION by Carter Conlon

You and I are living in what I call “an hour of holy desperation.”

Our society is degenerating very rapidly, and horrific crimes are occurring so often that we are becoming dulled to it all. The abnormal is becoming normal; evil is becoming good. As you look around perhaps you wonder, “How do I fit into this moment in time? What can God do through my life? And if He is going to do something, why is it that my prayers, that I know are according to His Word, have not yet been answered?”

To help address some of these questions, let’s look at another time in history when a desperate hour came upon a nation. The book of First Samuel speaks of a season when there was no clear word or vision. The priesthood that was supposed to represent God was instead deeply compromised (see 1 Samuel 2:22-24, 3:1). God’s character, purpose, and mind were hidden from the people, leaving them without answers to the questions in their hearts: “What is happening in our society? Where are we going?”

This situation was very similar to the day in which we live when it seems as if the presence of God—His power and provision that we have known throughout our history—is suddenly gone. It appears that the enemies of God now have the upper hand, dictating to us when we can pray, what we can teach our children, what is right and what is wrong. As a result, a deep cry is beginning to form in the hearts of the people.

Psalm 107 speaks of these seasons of holy desperation that recurred throughout history. The psalmist describes a people who were wandering, hungry, fainting and held captive. It was a time marked by a foolish handling of the truth of God. Yet it is in these very moments of desperation that the general population begins to cry out to God, as is beginning in our day. There is a cry rising in this generation—a cry not necessarily heard by the natural ear, but God hears it. It is like the time He came to Moses and said, “I have heard the cry of the people and I have come down to deliver them” (see Exodus 3:7-8). In other words, I have heard their groans of hopelessness. Today the Lord hears the cries of those whose dreams have been shattered, of parents whose children have gone astray, of those who ask, “What happened to us?”

“I have surely seen the affliction of my people . . . and have heard their cry” (Exodus 3:7).


__________
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, May 23, 2014

YOU NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT

In order to be a good soldier in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ, it not enough to just be saved. There is much more for you: You need to be baptized with the Holy Ghost!

In Paul’s time, some believers didn’t even know there was a Holy Ghost. “He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since you believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost” (Acts 19:2). These people were saved, but it is clear they were not filled with the Holy Ghost.

I believe we are saved through the power and ministry of the Holy Ghost. But Scripture tells us that in addition to this, there is also a baptizing, an infilling that the Holy Ghost does.

Jesus did not send His disciples into the world until they had been baptized with the Holy Ghost. The disciples had pure hearts and faith to heal the sick and they were witnesses to His resurrection. They were even willing to die for Jesus, so what more could there be?

Clearly there was more! “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Do you really want the Holy Ghost? You have to be convinced this is for you. You must come to the place where you know you are nothing, have nothing, and can do nothing without the power and leading of the Holy Ghost.

Every hour of the day, multitudes worldwide have read of this promise in the Bible or have heard it preached. So they have cried out in prayer and been baptized with the Holy Ghost.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh . . . I will pour out in those days of My Spirit” (Acts 2:17-18). He is yours for the asking: “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (Luke 11:13).

Thursday, May 22, 2014

AN ANCHOR IN THE STORM

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil” (Hebrews 6:19).

The anchor of the soul referred to in this passage of Scripture is hope. This is not the hope of the wicked world we live in but the hope founded on God’s promise to keep, bless and govern those who trust Him. Biblical hope is not wishful thinking or an optimistic outlook; rather, it is a confident expectation based on the certainty of God’s Word that as He has anchored us in the past, so He will in the future.

This hope alone is our anchor in the storms falling on the earth at the present time. The writer of Hebrews admonished, “Be not slothful (slow, sluggish), but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12).

God made an oath to the “heirs of promise”—all those who are in Christ. He made this oath in order to end all striving—all doubts—so that “we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18).

Here is our hope: God has sworn to fulfill His promises and it is impossible for God to lie!

He kept His word to Abraham and He will keep His word to you as you trust Him. We need strong consolation in these troubled times.

After all is said and done—and all the sermons on hope have been preached—it comes down to this: Are we willing to commit all into His hands—to rest in His Word—and to stand without wavering in the love of God, fully convinced that His promises to you will be fulfilled?

“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:35-36).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

THE MERCY OF GOD

In Acts 9 we see a man called Saul of Tarsus, one of the most religious men who ever lived, traveling to Damascus. Why was he making this journey?

Saul was so full of hatred toward Jesus that he determinedly persecuted the church of God, even outside of Jewish territory. So he was on his way to Damascus seeking to destroy the Lord’s people.

“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any [Christians], whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem” (Acts 9:1-2).

Consider God’s action toward this man who later became the greatest Christian evangelist who ever lived. Suddenly a stunningly bright light from heaven shone all around him: “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth” (Acts 9:3-4). Saul would later say, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1).

What was the purpose of this bright light? To confound Saul? To put him under guilt and condemnation? To destroy him? To pronounce wrath and judgment on him? No—it was to announce that his iniquity was forgiven and his sins were covered.

Let us picture Saul lying prostrate before the shining light and hearing the voice of Jesus. Instead of hearing denunciation from a holy God for the path he was on, heard the startling words, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest!” There was not a word about the wicked manner in which Saul was living—the persecution and threatening. Why was this? Because the One he persecuted was his greatest Friend.

Beloved, this same Jesus offers us the same mercy. Deserving judgment, we hear Him say, “I am Jesus, your Redeemer.”

Thank Him this day for the mercy He has shown to you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

THE FATHER’S KISS

A great blessing becomes ours when we are made to sit in heavenly places. What is this blessing? It’s the privilege of acceptance: “He hath made us accepted in [Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6). The original language for accepted means “highly favored.” Paul’s use of the word accepted in this verse translates as, “God has highly favored us. We are very special to Him because we are in our place in Christ.”

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

The parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31) provides a powerful illustration of the acceptance that comes when we are given a heavenly position in Christ. You know the story: A young man took his inheritance from his father and squandered it on a sinful life. Then, once the son became completely bankrupt—morally, emotionally and physically—he thought of his father but he was convinced that he had lost all favor with him.

The Scripture tells us that this broken young man was full of grief over his sin and cried out, “I’m unworthy. I’ve sinned against heaven.” But then the Prodigal told himself, “I will arise and go to my father” (verse 18). In doing so, he was exercising his blessing of access. Are you getting the picture? The Prodigal had turned from his sin and returned to the open door his father had promised him. He was walking in repentance and appropriating access.

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

Monday, May 19, 2014

MY INHERITANCE by Gary Wilkerson

Jacob, one of Isaac’s sons, wrestled with God for a large portion of his life. Even in his mother’s womb, because his brother was coming out first, Jacob grabbed hold of Esau’s heel and tried to pull him back in. Why? Because Jacob wanted to be first—he was wrestling for the blessing (see Genesis 25:24-26).

You know the story of how Jacob bribed his brother with stew (Genesis 25:29-34) and then deceived their father into giving him Esau’s rightful blessing (Genesis 27:27-29). Jacob was a man who always felt empty and unblessed on the inside. He did not feel God’s favor on him so he spent his whole life wasting time and energy trying to attain something he already had. He was always wrestling, wrestling, wrestling with God . . . for what? You can hear him say it time and time again: “Bless me, Lord! Let me have my inheritance.”

Wrestling with God sometimes causes us to lose the very blessing that He has provided for us. We must come into rest, into that place of trust, and say, “God, I don’t care what the situation around me seems like, I’m going to trust You.”

Do you remember the actual wrestling that Jacob did with God? The angel descended and there was an overnight battle. The Bible says Jacob wrestled with God and he prevailed (Genesis 32:23-30).

God was saying to Jacob, “Let it go, Jacob. This battle is over. You have been fighting to be blessed your whole life and you haven’t known that I have already blessed you. I have given you My inheritance, My love, My grace, and My power. I have given you everything you need according to My riches in glory so you need to stop wrestling for it. Just receive it by faith and walk in obedience with Me. Do what your father did, do what Abraham did, and you will see the blessing of God on your life.” And so finally Jacob trusted God!

God wants to favor you and enrich your spiritual life. He wants your discernment to be clear so that you will make wise decisions that lead to blessing in your life. Remember, God wants to bless you!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

TRANSFORMED FOR TRIUMPH by Claude Houde

Simon, Simon, Satan had desired to have you, to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith would not fail and when you come back, you will strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).

Jesus fixed His prophetic gaze upon Peter and saw something terrifying. He saw Peter deny Him and blaspheme His name to prove that he did not walk with Christ. Jesus caught a glimpse of the immediate future, the satanic trap and intent, as He saw Peter weeping bitterly, staggering away and abandoning everything to go back to his fishing vessel. Peter was returning to the nets of his past, in a state of profound resignation and despair. Satan had desired to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you.

Jesus saw the somber threat, demonic, dark, menacing and destructive, hovering over Peter. He sees and knows what could destroy us. He is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last page of our existence. He is never stunned or disgusted by our mistakes, our secrets, and our failures. He never “finds out” anything about us. He is all knowledge and all love and He never gives up on us and our future.

Jesus is not na├»ve, like a sweet “momma” who is sometimes blinded by unrealistic love that causes her to lose all lucidity or objectivity about “her baby.” No, to the contrary, Jesus possesses the divine and redemptive capacity to vividly see the worst threat in Peter’s life, but also to pray for him and to supernaturally foresee, by the Spirit of the Lord upon Him, that barely fifty days later, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter would stand in the midst of an agitated and tumultuous crowd and speak words that would literally give birth to the Church! “When you come back, you will strengthen your brothers.

Jesus was already seeing Peter being transformed for triumph—from weeping to worship; denying to deliverance; feebleness to faith; blasphemy to blessing; ruin to revival—and from almost dead to authority and destiny. This is how Jesus sees you! He never only sees what you have been or what you are presently, He sees what you can become by faith in Him. He knows what has been prepared for you in the invisible realm. He wants us to learn to see ourselves, as well as others, through that dimension of faith.


__________
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, May 16, 2014

BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST!

In both the Old and New Testaments, the Holy Spirit fell upon people in the most unusual ways. People began to praise Him—in new tongues as the Holy Spirit took full control!

At Pentecost He came with a mighty, rushing wind. Fire fell! When the Holy Spirit comes down, things get shaken up. “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

John the Baptist preached, “I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Luke 3:16).

Beloved, the Bible makes it very clear: When Jesus comes to you, He desires to baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire! The Holy Ghost brings fire—a red hot, consuming love for Jesus. Why are so many believers hot one minute and then cold the next, never totally yielded, never sold out? Is it because they refuse to let Jesus baptize them with the Holy Ghost?

“When [the Holy Ghost] is come, he will reprove the world of sin” (John 16:8). Could it be that these believers are not convicted because the Holy Ghost has not yet been invited to take His rightful place in them? He is God’s plumb line. Anything that does not measure up to Christ, He reveals—and He convicts us and empowers us to conform to His Word! Truly He becomes our Comforter in this, because as He convicts us of sin, He empowers us to forsake it. This is true comfort!

The Holy Ghost will never make you do anything stupid, but He may come upon you in such a way that sinners may think you are drunk. He is not welcome in many churches because He is thought to be too noisy, too upsetting, too unpredictable!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

SATISFIED WITH TOO LITTLE!

God has so much He wants to give you. His desire is to “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). He stand in a full storehouse, saying, “I am a giving God—but so few will receive from Me. They will not let me be God to them!”

Of course, we are to thank God for all He has done and given already. Yet, we are not to be satisfied with what we think is a lot! Many Christians are satisfied to sit in church and be blessed by God’s presence. Such people are no more than “satisfied sponges” soaking up everything—but they limit God in their lives, when He so wants to anoint them for service.

When the disciples marveled at Christ’s miracles, Jesus replied, “God has an ever greater work for you!” Most of us are like the disciples. We see one miracle, and we are satisfied to talk about it for the rest of our lives. Yet, if we really knew God and let Him be God to us, we would ask Him for so much more.
  • We would reach into the heavenlies by faith, believing God to bring down the godless leaders in local, state and federal agencies. We would bring down principalities and powers, as God said! 
  • We would believe God to help us saturate our city with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We would stand up in faith against every weapon aimed against us, and we would be putting down satanic stronghold in our families and churches. 
Our vision would be limitless. We would believe God for even greater things for His kingdom!

“Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

TO KNOW HIS VOICE

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

Those who truly know God have learned to recognize His voice above all others. He wants you to be absolutely convinced that He desires to talk to you—to tell you things you’ve never seen or heard before.

I believe that three things are required of those who would hear God’s voice:

  1. An unshakeable confidence that God wants to speak to you. You have to be fully persuaded and convinced of this. Indeed, He is a speaking God—and He wants you to know His voice so that you can do His will. What God tells you will never go beyond the boundaries of Scripture. 
  2. Quality time and quietness. You need to be willing to shut yourself in with God and let other voices completely hush away. True, God speaks to us all day long. But whenever He has wanted to build something significant into my life, His voice has come only after I shut out every other voice but His. 
  3. Asking in faith. We do not obtain anything from God (including hearing His voice) unless we truly believe He is able to convey His mind to us—to enable us to understand His perfect will! 
God is not a tease! He will not allow the enemy to deceive you. When God speaks, peace follows and Satan cannot counterfeit that peace!

“But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice; and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:2-5).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PRAISING GOD FOR HIS GOODNESS

“I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of thy terrible acts; and I will declare thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness” (Psalm 145:5-7). The word terrible used here means that His acts are so great that they cause astonishment and awe.

We cannot deny God’s claim that we are to praise Him in all His excellence, but we are especially called to praise Him for His goodness.

Note that the psalmist insists on an abundance of praise in memory of the Father’s goodness. It was common for David to sing these praises as lavish utterances, as if to cause the praise to gush out like water rushing from a fountain.

In Psalm 107:8-9, David writes, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

This truth of praising God for His past goodness struck a chord in my heart and I have been moved upon to do as David did. We are called to celebrate His goodness!

David opens up about the goodness he speaks of—God’s inclination to use mercy as He sympathizes with our afflictions and miseries. David borrowed from Exodus 34:6, where God spoke to Moses: “The Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”

Beloved, look back over the past and remember how good the Lord has been to you. Meditate on His compassions that never failed to bring you through. I am finding pleasure in praising God for all things, but especially for His goodness. Not only for past goodnesses, but for those I see daily—the good I see all around me in the present.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).

Monday, May 12, 2014

YOU’RE BLESSED by Gary Wilkerson

“There was a famine in the land, besides the former famine” (Genesis 26:1, ESV). Now if you’re a farmer and your whole sustenance depends on crops, you don’t want to hear that there was a famine in the land. Nor do you want to hear “. . . besides the former famine.”

This is what Isaac was facing. His father had been through a famine and now he was going through a second famine. He probably had memories of how difficult the first one had been and there was concern in his heart.

The Bible says something interesting: “And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the LORD appeared to him and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws’” (Genesis 26:1-5, ESV).

A key word in verse 5 is obeyed. Abraham obeyed the Lord and so did Isaac. In fact, Isaac here was gloriously obedient to God. I want to say this as clearly and simply as I can—when you obey God, the result is His blessing. You are saved by grace and yet you are called by God to be an obedient people.

When you take a step of faith and say, “God, this is hard. I’m not sure I can do this, but I’m going to obey,” then the windows of heaven will open to you.

No matter what God asks you to do, obey Him. If He tells you to give, obey Him. If He tells you to go, obey Him. Don’t live by what you want to do; live by what God wants you to do and you will find blessing coming to you, on you and around you.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT CHURCH LIFE by Jim Cymbala

The clearest instructions about church life come when Paul tells young Timothy how to proceed. “I urge then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone” (1 Timothy 2:1).

Later in the same chapter (verse 8) Paul says, “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” That is a sign of a Christian church.

The book of Revelation says that when the twenty-four elders fall at the feet of Jesus, each one will have a golden bowl—and do you know what’s in the bowls? What is this incense that is so fragrant to Christ? “The prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8).

Just imagine . . . you and I kneel or stand or sit down to pray, really opening our hearts to God—and what we say is so precious to Him that He keeps it like a treasure.

Do you know of a church in your community that says because prayer is so great, so central to Jesus’ definition of the church, that on a prominent night of the week they are going to concentrate on prayer . . . with all their leaders present?

For myself, I have decided that our church’s Tuesday night prayer meeting is so crucial that I will never be out of town two Tuesdays in a row. If that means that I cannot accept certain speaking invitations, so be it. Why would I prefer to be anywhere else?

The Bible has all these promises:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

“You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).

Isn’t it time to say, “Stop! We’re going to pray, because God said that when we pray, He will intervene.”


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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, May 9, 2014

GOD HAS NOT BYPASSED YOU

One of the greatest burdens I have as a pastor is, “Oh, God, how do I bring hope and comfort to believers who are enduring great pain and suffering? Give me a message that will cancel their doubt and fear. Give me truth that will dry the tears of the grieving and put a song on the lips of the hopeless.”

The message I hear from the Holy Spirit for God’s people is very simple: “Go to My Word, and stand on My promises. Reject your doubtful feelings.” Hope is born out of God’s promises.

I received a letter recently that contains a beautiful living illustration of this. It is from a mother who writes, “My sixteen-year-old daughter has a physical degeneration of her muscles, ligaments and joints, and is in extreme pain twenty-four hours a day. She was a ballerina and was looking forward to going to the Juilliard School in New York City. But her dreams were shattered when she was stricken with this disease. The doctor said that on a scale of 1 to 10, her pain is at 14. The amount of painkiller needed to be effective for her would destroy her kidneys, so she can’t take the medication.”

In the face of everything, amid a relentless shaking of body and soul, this mother and her daughter testify that they have put their hope in God’s Word and He has given them unspeakable peace.

Has the enemy tried to tell you that God has bypassed you? Have you been tempted to conclude that the Lord isn’t with you? Have you almost given up your faith? Put your hope in the Lord’s Word to you: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, has not forsaken them that seek thee” (Psalm 9:9-10).

Thursday, May 8, 2014

THE BLESSINGS OF GOODNESS

“Thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head” (Psalm 21:3). At first glance, this verse by David is a bit puzzling. The word “prevent” is usually associated with hindrance, not with blessing. A modern translation here would be, “The Lord hindered David with the blessings of goodness.”

The biblical word for “prevent” signifies a completely different meaning. It means “to anticipate, to precede, to foresee and fulfill in advance, to pay a debt before it is due.” Furthermore, in almost every instance, it implies something of pleasure.

Isaiah gives us a glimpse of this kind of pleasure when he explains that God anticipates our need and fulfills it ahead of time. “It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).

This verse provides us with an incredible picture of our Lord’s love for us. Evidently He is so anxious to bless us, so ready to fulfill His lovingkindness in our lives, that He cannot wait for us to tell Him our needs. He jumps in and performs acts of mercy, grace and love toward us before we even ask—and that is a supreme pleasure to Him.

So this is just what David was saying in Psalm 21: “Lord, You pour out blessings and lovingkindness on me before I can even ask. And You offer more than I could ever conceive of asking.”

David was referring to some awesome work that God performed for him in the spiritual realm. It was something that gave David answers to prayer, overcoming power, victory over his enemies, and unspeakable joy. And God did it all before David could go to prayer to unburden his heart or present his request. Once David finally did pour out his heart, he discovered that God had already made provision to defeat his enemies. David’s victory was assured before he could even get near the battlefield!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

THE VEIL SHALL BE TAKEN AWAY

Paul describes one change that must take place before any other change is possible:

"Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: and not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: but their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away” (2 Corinthians 3:12-16).

In this passage, Paul is talking primarily about the blindness of the Jews concerning Jesus as the Messiah. Yet he is also laying down a principle that applies to all people, Jew or Gentile. He is talking about blindness to biblical truth. Note verse 14: “But their minds were blinded.”

Please understand, the people Paul wrote to were sincere. They faithfully studied the books of Moses, the Law and prophets, the psalms of David. They revered God’s Word, teaching from it and quoting it freely. But there was still a veil over their eyes.

We think of a spiritual veil covering the eyes of Jews, Muslims and others, blinding them to the truth about Jesus. Yet there is also a veil blinding the eyes of many believers. They read God’s clear warnings in Scripture, they hear them preached with power—yet they’re still not affected. In fact, they continue doing the very things they hear God’s Word renounce.

Paul says that before our blindness can be removed, we must turn to the Lord. “Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away” (2 Corinthians 3:16). The Greek word for turn here means “to reverse course.” In short, Paul is saying, “You have to admit that the course you’re taking has brought you to emptiness, ruin, despair.”

If your life is in some kind of turmoil—if something is terribly wrong, and things are deteriorating—you know you’re going to have to change course. You may think, “It’s my husband who’s in a bad place. I’m waiting for him to change.” Or, “My wife is headed for ruin unless she changes.” Or, “My boss is all wrong. Something has to change in him.” We so clearly see the mistakes and wrongdoings of others, yet we are blind to our own need for change. We need to admit to God, “It’s me, Lord. I’m the one who needs to change. Please, Father, show me where I’ve gone wrong.”

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

RESIST AND RENEW

If you ask a Christian how to do battle with the devil, he will probably recite James 4:7: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” But what does James mean by resist and how do we resist Satan’s power?

When you are alone with God in prayer, you are totally immune to the devil’s devices. So run to His throne by faith, call on Him, and stand on the power of Christ’s blood.

The apostle John writes, “To the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time” (Revelation 12:14). I believe the two eagles’ wings John speaks of here are the Old and New Testaments of God’s Word. When the devil comes against us, we are able to fly over him on the wings of God’s Word to a place of being nourished by God.

The apostle Paul also uses the word nourish, writing, “nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:6). The Greek word for nourished here means educated. Paul is talking about being educated in the Scriptures, knowledgeable of God’s Word.

Jesus is our example here. When He resisted temptation with God’s Word, the devil fled. Why? Because the truth exposed Satan, putting him to shame. Hebrews says that all who have trusted in God’s Word “through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions” (Hebrews 11:33). We muzzle the powers of hell by standing on God’s Word.

So, when you hear the lion’s roar, fall on your face before the Father. Immerse yourself in His Word and His eagles’ wings will carry you above every overwhelming flood of temptation.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Monday, May 5, 2014

AMAZING GRACE by Gary Wilkerson

The grace that Jesus says He pours out upon us is unparalleled in the history of all mankind. The word “grace” has become almost as common as the word “prayer” in the Bible. We all go, “Oh, yes, I believe in grace. Sure, of course.” We sing the hymn Amazing Grace and emphasize the second word, agreeing that grace is wonderful, a thing we all enjoy.

But wait! That’s not all that grace is! It is so much more than we could ever imagine. Why are our hearts not exuberant with worship or enamored with grace? Because, to us, grace has become minimalized, acceptable. It has become normal, average, something we are content with.

As I talk about this revolutionary, unmerited grace, this gift from God that changes your heart and produces fruit in you, many of you are saying, “Grace . . . yes . . . but!” If you are one of these, you are dangling in the realm of legalism. You are escaping the realm of grace and becoming trapped into trying to do it yourself.

See what Paul says about this to the Galatian church in Galatians 3:1-3 (ESV): “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? . . . Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

Sadly, many of us say, “Thank You, Jesus, for Your grace on the cross. That grace has cleansed me and given me a clean slate. Thank You for my fresh start . . . now I can do it myself.”

The problem is, you cannot do it yourself. Many are offended by grace because grace says we can’t do it on our own; every time we try, we fail miserably.

Do you want to be free today? Then just say, “I’m a failure on my own; I cannot keep the law of God by myself. Thank God for His grace!”

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A NECESSARY INGREDIENT by Carter Conlon

Consider all that Jesus had to endure—the scorn, the beatings, the mock trial, the rejection of those He had walked with and even fed in the desert. Think of the cross—the violence and the fury of the opposition that Satan sent in his attempts to destroy the work of God. Little did the enemy know that he was actually supplying the necessary ingredient to secure its success.

According to the Scriptures, “without shedding of blood is no remission [of sin]” (Hebrews 9:22). Those who oppose the work of God are bread for us. There had to be violence, there had to be a cross, there had to be a death. We read in 1 Corinthians 2:8 that if the rulers of this age had known what they were doing, they never would have crucified the Lord of glory!

Recall the time when Peter and John approached the temple called Beautiful and took a lame man by the hand—a man who had spent many years begging while the religious crowd simply passed him by. Nobody had a problem with his powerlessness until Peter and John lifted him up in the name of Jesus, and God miraculously healed him.

Beloved, do not be afraid of opposition. It is a necessary ingredient in our lives; it is bread for us. Peter and John were called before the council of religious leaders and threatened twice. Yet what was the result of this threat? “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is” (Acts 4:23-24).

We see here that opposition had ignited a prayer meeting! Instead of bowing to the threats, the disciples bent their knees to God and began to pray, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus” (Acts 4:29-30). It was the healing of this lame man that brought all this trouble upon them, so they turned around and asked God to give them more boldness, more power, more healings!

Opposition is bread—it sends us into the presence of God where all our strength is found. Without opposition the church gets lazy and turns inward, seeking power without purpose—a formula for spiritual delusion.


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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, May 2, 2014

WHEN YOU HEAR THE ROAR OF THE LION

When I was a young preacher, I didn’t give much thought to spiritual warfare. I thought anyone who walked in victory shouldn’t have any problems at all against the devil. To me, it was simply a matter of resisting him. But soon I found a roaring lion pouncing on my weaknesses with all his might and I felt helpless to do battle with him.

All too often I see the devil doing the same thing to other sincere Christians. I know multitudes of godly servants—people pure in heart, walking in grace—overwhelmed by demonic floods of confusion and despair.

Such Christians can labor diligently for the Lord for years. Then, one day, Satan suddenly injects accusing thoughts into their minds. Overnight they are overcome with awful troubles—unexpected temptations, covetousness, depression. Their trials are so deep, strange and mysterious that these saints have no idea where they came from.

I believe there is only one explanation: Their troubles are a demonic onslaught. Time after time I have seen this happen to Christians who are growing by leaps and bounds. At the very peak of their spiritual growth, Satan puts an old seduction in their path. It may be an old lust, something they thought they had overcome years before. But now, after years of living in victory, they’re walking a tightrope, teetering on the brink of an indulgence that could lead them back into terrible bondage.

I have experienced this flood. And multitudes of believers are being caught up in it right now. They’re being flooded with persecutions, physical attacks, mental harassment, fiery temptations out of hell, friends turning against them as enemies. Satan has aimed an all-out, last-days assault meant to sweep us away in utter despair.

How do we resist Satan’s power? John gives us the answer in Revelation 12: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (verse 11). When you hear the roar of the lion—when the flood crashes in and you're overwhelmed—simply run to the holy of holies. By faith, enter into the very presence of God on His throne because the Lamb has made a way for you, through His blood.

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20).

Thursday, May 1, 2014

HE COULD NOT DEFEAT THE SON OF GOD

“There appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” (Revelation 12:1-4).

Satan knew an incredible church was about to be born out of the Old Testament remnant. It would be a glorious body, so the devil declared war once again, reasoning that now he could do battle on his territory, the Earth.

This passage suggests that Satan knew he couldn’t get to the child in Mary’s womb so he determined to destroy Christ as soon as He was born. He gathered all his demonic forces around Bethlehem, sending spirits of deception to blind the scribes, priests and Pharisees. Then his own spirit entered King Herod, possessing him. If Satan couldn't kill Christ Himself, he would have a man standing by, ready to do it for him.

But the Lord’s armies of heavenly angels stood guard over the child, so that Satan couldn’t touch Him. The devil would have to wait another thirty years to try to devour Christ. His next chance came at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, when the Holy Spirit declared Him to be the Messiah. At that point, Satan led Christ into the wilderness to be tempted, yet Jesus defeated him in that battle also. God protected His Son again, sending angels to minister to Him in His time of physical weakness.

The devil would try one last time to devour Christ. This time he moved forces into place to try to kill Jesus by crucifixion and cast Him into the grave. He sent demonic spirits to incite a mob, entering the bodies of priests, soldiers, political leaders and false witnesses. At last, Satan thought, he had his hour of power. Now he would wage an all-out war!

Yet you know the rest of the story: Resurrection day was Satan’s most humbling defeat. When Jesus ascended to heaven, He was out of the devil’s reach forever. “Her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5). All of hell was shaken because Satan had lost again. Even using all of his power, he still could not defeat the Son of God.