Monday, June 30, 2014

A SURE FOUNDATION by Gary Wilkerson

We live in times of great uncertainty—uncertainty in our jobs, our finances and/or our relationships. This can cause us to feel shaken, unsettled or even insecure in our faith. In such times God wants us to know He is a sure foundation. Everything around us can and will be shaken but He remains steadfast.

In the sixth chapter of Mark, just following the powerful healing of the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:25-34) and the healing of the synagogue ruler’s daughter (5:35-43), Jesus went to His hometown where He encountered outright unbelief.

I have always been astonished by the following verse: “Because of their unbelief, He couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place His hands on a few sick people and heal them” (Mark 6:5, NLT).

This verse blows my theology out of the water. How can a sovereign God have His hands tied by the unbelief of human beings? The truth is, Jesus was sending a message to that town, saying in essence, “Sorry, but others have such faith that they’ll cut a hole in their roof to lower a sick man down to Me so I can heal him—and you don’t even believe that I can heal.”

This passage ends with this incredible statement: “He was amazed at their unbelief” (Mark 6:6). Let this be a warning to all. Do not leave off reading this message with any unbelief in your heart.

Of course there are times in our lives when God may choose to act in a way contrary to our desires. We pray, we plead, we believe for the Lord to intervene—and He simply goes in another direction. But that does not mean God wants us to abandon faith, never asking, never hoping, living without desires.

Do you still believe Jesus can? Do you believe He will? No matter what your trial, no matter how far beyond hope it seems, He is ready to intervene. Ask Him to breathe faith into you.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

WE ARE IN TROUBLE by Jim Cymbala

I say we are in trouble and it is high time to wake up! With some exceptions, the Church of today is like the church at Laodicea. In fact, we have so institutionalized Laodiceanism that we think that lukewarm is normal. Any church winning more than a few people to Christ is considered “outstanding.”

The stern words of Jesus apply to us as much as to the Christians at the end of the first century: “You are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing’” (Revelation 3:15-17). In other words, they were voicing a wonderful “positive confession.” They were proclaiming victory and blessing. The only trouble was, Jesus was unimpressed. He responded:

“But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. . . . Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent” (Rev. 3:17, 19).

Strong language, to be sure, but Jesus always deals strongly with those He loves. “What son is not disciplined by his father?” asks the writer of Hebrews (12:7).

Notice that the Laodiceans were saints of God, with all the promises to claim. They were part of Christ’s Body—singing hymns, worshiping on Sundays, enjoying physical benefits, and no doubt viewing themselves as more righteous than their pagan neighbors. Yet they were on the verge of being vomited out. What a wake-up call!

Whenever the body of Christ gets into trouble, strong action is required. We cannot merely sit by and hope the problem will resolve itself.

The early Church began dynamically in power. They were unified, prayerful, filled with the Holy Spirit, going out to do God’s work in God’s way, and seeing results that glorified Him.

Then came the first attack (see Acts 4:2-3). How did they respond? They quickly began to pray in this way:

“Sovereign Lord . . . you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. . . . Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:24, 29-30).

This is precisely what the prophets down through the centuries had told them to do: When under attack, when facing a new challenge, in all seasons, in all times, call on the name of the Lord, and He will help you.


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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, June 27, 2014

THE RIVER OF LIFE

In Ezekiel 47, the prophet was shown the following: In the very last days, the Church of Jesus Christ will be more glorious, more victorious, than in its entire history. The Lord’s true Body is not going to weaken or decrease in power or spiritual authority. No, His Church will go out in a blaze of power and glory and it will enjoy the fullest revelation of Jesus that anyone has ever known.

Ezekiel writes, “Their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many” (Ezekiel 47:10). A body of believers will come forth who will swim in the rising waters of the Lord’s presence.

Ezekiel’s vision of the rising waters (Ezekiel 47:3-4) is speaking of an increase of the Holy Spirit. In the latter days, there will be an increase of God’s presence among His people.

The very foundation of this river is the cross. We see a fulfillment of this image in the following verse: “One of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19:34).

This growing flow of water is the image of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was given to the disciples. Along with this gift of the Spirit, Christ’s followers were given a promise that He would be a river of life springing up within them. And that river would flow out into all the world (see John 7:38-39).

According to Ezekiel’s vision, the river of life will crest just prior to the Lord’s coming. God took the prophet on an amazing trip and Ezekiel testifies, “He brought me through the waters” (Ezekiel 47:3). And the Lord kept urging the prophet onward, deeper and farther into the water. Ezekiel says that finally the water was too deep for him, too overwhelming. “I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in” (47:5).

I can only imagine this man’s wonder as the Lord asked him, “Ezekiel, what is this sea that has risen? If this river is all about life and resurrection power, who are the ones who’ll be so blessed to swim in such glory?” Ezekiel could only envision what we now enjoy.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

SING, SHOUT AND WORSHIP!

Satan does not seem to know that the more you attack a Spirit-filled servant, the more praise will rise up in him! Throw a saint of God into a crisis and he will sing, shout and worship Jesus! If you tie up a Spirit-filled child of God with problems and troubles, he will sing, shout and worship even more!

Just after Paul had cast the demons out of the possessed girl (Acts 16:16-18), Satan started stirring things up. He enflamed the crowd against Paul and Silas—and suddenly they were in a terrible crisis!

The city magistrates had them whipped and cast into prison. And with every stripe on their backs, I can hear the devil saying, “So you think you’ve won the victory? You think you’re going to cast out my demons and take authority over me?”

The devil didn’t seem to know that the more you whip a servant of God who walks in the Spirit, the more praise you whip up from him! “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (Acts 16:25).

If we are to walk in the Spirit, then we must believe God for supernatural deliverance from every bondage of Satan even if He has to create an earthquake to do it. That is exactly what He did for Paul: “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed” (Acts 16:26).

Satan will try to bring upon you the most dreadful temptation or trial you have ever faced. He wants you to get bogged down in guilt, condemnation and self-examination. Dear saint, you have to arise in the Spirit and get your eyes off your circumstances and bondage. Do not try to figure it all out. Start praising, singing and trusting God—and He will take care of your deliverance.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

VENTURING FAITH

Nothing honors God more than our trusting Him in the face of difficulties. In Psalm 106 we see Israel beholding an incredible miracle as the Red Sea caved in upon the Egyptian army, drowning every soldier. “He saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left. Then believed they his words; they sang his praise” (verses 10-12). And the next words are, “They soon forgot His works” (verse 13). How quickly we forget miracles and past blessings.

We cannot trust our faith to past experiences—we are too forgetful—and past experiences alone will not be enough to strengthen us in present difficulties. We need fresh faith—anchored in a daily supply of the Word of God—a fresh word from God!

Trust God when facing difficulties and He will trust you with more of His grace, His all-sufficiency and His strength.

Trusting God in the face of dire difficulties requires a venturing faith—committing all things into His caring hands. There comes a time when we must launch out into the deep and cast every care upon Him. This venturing faith is all-pleasing to Him.

Faith is our only hope, our only way out of difficulties, so let us step out and commit all to Him.

God has a plan to deliver us out of our fiery trials. No matter what you are going through, God has a plan for every difficulty, a plan that could never be conceived or imagined by the human mind.

Take, for example, the fiery trials facing Israel in the desert. There was no bread, no food of any kind. Imagine a committee or intercession group coming up with this: “Let’s pray that tomorrow we wake up and discover white flakes of angels’ food (manna)—with a taste of honey—covering the ground” (see Exodus 16).

God had a plan—a miraculous, inconceivable plan. So remember, God also has a plan for us and we are to trust Him!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

AN OVERCOMING LIFE

At Calvary, Jesus stripped the devil of all power and authority. When Christ arose victorious from the grave, He led an innumerable host of redeemed captives out of Satan’s grasp, and that blood-bought procession in still marching on today.

Amazingly, Christ’s triumph at Calvary gave us even more than victory over death. It gained for us incredible spoils in this life: grace, mercy, peace, forgiveness, strength, faith—all the resources needed to lead an overcoming life. “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:14).

God has made every provision for the maintaining of His temple: “Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:6).

The Holy Spirit is showing us a marvelous truth here: Jesus has supplied us with all the resources we need, in His Holy Spirit. But it is our responsibility to maintain His temple, and the resources for doing so must come directly from the spoils of our warfare.

Christ has given us everything necessary for this maintenance to take place. He has adopted us into His household and He stands as the cornerstone of the house, which He has completely cleaned. Finally, He has given us access to the very Holy of Holies. So, by faith, we are now a fully established, complete temple. Jesus didn’t build a house that is only half finished.

The resources for keeping this temple in good repair can be found in the Spirit of Christ Himself. He is the treasurer of all spoils. Those resources are released when we see our need and cooperate with God, and that cooperation begins when we are in the midst of conflict.

Our resources are the Christlikeness we win while immersed in battle. They are the lessons, the faith, the character we gain from warfare with the enemy.

Monday, June 23, 2014

RESURRECTION POWER by Gary Wilkerson

“There came from the ruler’s house some who said, ‘Your daughter is dead’” (Mark 5:35, ESV).

This news must have struck Jairus’ heart like a knife. He had just heard Jesus tell the woman with the issue of blood that her suffering was over and now he was being told that his suffering had only begun. I picture this godly man thinking, “My lack of faith allowed my daughter to die.”

There is an important message in this passage for everyone whose situation has fallen apart completely. Maybe your healing didn’t come to pass or your marriage has ended. Maybe that lost loved one never came to Jesus. We simply don’t understand why God allows some tragedies to happen.

The kind of faith Jesus calls for in this scene is the most difficult kind to have. Every circumstance tells us it’s too late for God to intervene. Yet Jesus is looking for a very particular faith in such times, a faith that says, “Yes, my situation is past all hope, but Jesus can still do this.” This kind of faith was required of Abraham. His son Isaac was already considered dead when Abraham raised a knife to slay him in obedience to the Lord. Yet just when the promises of God seemed to be untrue, the Almighty intervened (see Genesis 22).

That is exactly the way Jesus intervened for Jairus. He told him, “Do not fear, only believe” (5:36). I don’t believe Christ was requiring faith of Jairus here as much as He was speaking faith into him. Just as the Lord said at the creation, “Let there be light,” so He said to Jairus, “Let there be faith.”

Friend, if Jesus were to speak audibly to you today, I believe He would say the same about your situation: “Just have faith!” He knows you are beyond all your own strength and abilities and He is creating faith in you. He is prophesying over you, saying, “Just have faith for your marriage, for your children, for your physical affliction, for your finances, for your work in ministry—for every area of life that has gotten worse, not better, and that even now lies on its deathbed.”

We know the rest of Jairus’ story. Jesus told the entire household, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping” (5:39). Your situation may look to be hopeless, too—but it isn’t to Jesus. He raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, and He is ready to step into your situation with the same resurrection power!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

WE ARE NOT WITHOUT HOPE by Carter Conlon

When a deep cry forms in the hearts of God’s people, what is the Lord’s response? I believe the answer is found in the book of First Samuel. God allows a holy desperation to come not only into the nation, but into the hearts of those He will use to call the people back to Himself. In this case, it was a barren woman named Hannah.

“And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefor she wept and did not eat. Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? And why eatest thou not? And why is thy heart grieved? Am I not better to thee than ten sons? So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore” (1 Samuel 1:6-10).

Here we see Hannah at a place of holy desperation—a place where many of us are today. Note that this desperation differs from that of the world living apart from God. People without God are crying out as circumstances begin to overwhelm them and as despair and hopelessness fill their hearts. We, on the other hand, are not a people without hope. Nevertheless, there is a deep cry forming within many of God’s people.

The Bible tells us that Hannah eventually reached a point of desperation where she could not even form words anymore. I have experienced that in my own prayer time—where I come to a point of simply having nothing left to say. But it is in those moments, just as it says in Romans, that “the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).

A God-breathed holy desperation has come into your heart, and it is no accident that it is happening at this particular moment. It is evidence that God desires to do something in and through you.


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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, June 20, 2014

THE LORD PUT HIS HAND ON HIM

When I read about the exploits of godly men in the Old Testament, my heart burns. These servants were so burdened for the cause of God that the powerful works they performed are baffling to Christians today. Their examples reveal a pattern for us to follow. These men possessed something in their hearts and character that caused God to choose them to accomplish His purposes and He is urging us to seek that same character quality.

Ezra was a man of God who awakened his entire nation, a man who had God’s hand upon him, according to Scripture. Ezra testified, “I was strengthened as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me” (Ezra 7:28). In other words, God stretched out His hand, enveloped Ezra, and turned him into a different man.

Why would God do this? There were hundreds of scribes in Israel at the time and they all had the same calling to study and explain God’s Word to the people. What set Ezra apart from the others? What caused the Lord to put His hand on this one man, and give him charge over fifty thousand people to rebuild the fallen city of Jerusalem?

Scripture gives us the answer: “Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it” (Ezra 7:10). Simply put, Ezra made a conscious decision. He determined above all else to seek God’s Word and obey it and he did not swerve from that decision. He told himself, “I’m going to be a student of the Word and I’m going to act on everything I read.”

Long before God laid His hand on Ezra, this man was diligent in searching the Scriptures. He allowed himself to be examined by it and cleansed of all filth of body and spirit. Ezra hungered for the Scriptures and rejoiced in them; he allowed the Scriptures to prepare his heart for any work God chose for him. That is why the Lord laid His hand on Ezra and anointed him.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

MEDICINE THAT HEALS

God’s command to love our enemies can seem like bitter, distasteful medicine. But like the castor oil I had to swallow in my youth, it is medicine that heals.

Jesus states very clearly: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44).

Was Jesus contradicting the Law here? Not at all. He was reversing the spirit of flesh that had entered the Law. At that time, Jews loved only other Jews. A Jew wasn’t to shake hands with a Gentile, or even allow his robe to swish against an outsider’s clothing. Yet, this was not the spirit of the holy Law instructing, “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee” (Proverbs 25:21-22).

We can hate the immoral actions of those in government. We can hate the sins of homosexuals, abortionists and all Christ despisers. But the Lord commands us to love them as people—people for whom Jesus died—and He commands us to pray for them. If at any time I despise a person rather than the principle behind that person, I am not truly representing Christ.

I witnessed a homosexual parade on Fifth Avenue here in New York City. Two hundred and fifty thousand gays marched, many half nude and some carrying signs proclaiming “God is Gay.” I also witnessed them break rank and jump on Christians carrying signs that read “God HATES Your Sin—But He Loves You.”

I blushed with hot anger. I felt like calling down Sodom-like fire upon them. But in reflection, I said to my heart, “I am like the disciples who wanted to call down fire and consume those who rejected Jesus.”

Love your enemies! Love those “in your face” militant sinners! Pray for them! Bless them that curse you!

That is exactly what Jesus said! So do it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

HIS OWN KINGDOM

In no other kingdom does God rule as supremely and as powerfully as in His own kingdom—the one He has established in the hearts of His people.

Jesus said, “Behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). And it is within this kingdom—the realm of our hearts—that Christ rules supreme over His people, guiding us, healing us, governing our actions and behavior.

“Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be not end” (Isaiah 9:7). This verse speaks of Jesus’ endless rule throughout eternity. Yet, it also has another significant meaning: We must always increase our submission to our King’s rule.

Can you honestly say that day after day, Jesus’ government over you is increasing? Are you bringing your behavior more and more under His authority?

You may wonder—If Jesus is in heaven, ruling in all authority at the right hand of the Father, how does He go about governing His kingdom here on earth? We find the answer in the book of Hebrews where the author tells us that in the Old Testament, God spoke to His people through the prophets. But today the Lord has chosen to speak through His Son.

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, who he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom He also made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Jesus is God’s explicit message to us—the divine Word made flesh. In turn, the Father has sent the Holy Spirit to remind us of the words Jesus spoke while on earth. Thus, Jesus governs us by the written, revealed Word of God. The Bible is our Ruler’s scepter, by which He makes His Word known to us.

If you want to hear the testimony of a man who was governed by the Word of God, look in Psalm 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TRUE COMFORT

“As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants” (Isaiah 66:13-14).

Let me ask you a question: How long will a teacher stick by a stubborn, obstinate student who refuses to heed advice? Not very long! The prophet Isaiah takes one of the highest images possible among men—that of a mother’s love for her child—and shows us something of the love that our Father has for us.

One mother in our church takes a whole day to visit her son in an upstate prison. She gets on a bus and rides for hours, just to see him for a short while. Such a mother will look across at her son in that drab uniform and see the agony in his eyes—and each trip she will die a little more inside. But she never quits on him. He is still her son and she loves him!

This is the kind of love the Holy Spirit wants you to know that God has for you! He comforts us by telling us, “You once said you gave your all to Jesus. You gave Him your love, and He still loves you. And now, neither will I let you go. I have been sent by Him to do a work and I will keep doing it!”

There is no true comfort for anyone on this earth except that of the Holy Spirit. This is why you need Him abiding in you. He alone can lay you down at night, as in a warm bed, and fill your heart with perfect peace. He alone can truly comfort you in times of pain and sorrow. He is the one who will assure you, “This comfort is not just temporary—it is eternal!”

Monday, June 16, 2014

JESUS WILL by Gary Wilkerson

“A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse” (Mark 5:25-26, NLT).

Consider this woman’s desperate situation. Over time her condition had gone from bad to worse. Yet when she heard that Jesus was passing by, “She thought to herself, ‘If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed’” (5:28).

Hidden in her heart was a mustard seed of faith — the kind that grows into a large, fruitful plant. Her faith was so strong that she didn’t need Jesus to come to her; all she needed was to reach out and touch Him. Note the last phrase in her thinking: “I will be healed.” She did not just think, “Jesus can do this if He wills.” She was convinced, “This is going to happen because He is God.” It was rock solid, concrete faith—the kind that believes God for miracles based on His goodness.

Imagine what this woman’s condition had done to her life. Over twelve years she had gone from weak to frail to feeble. Maybe that describes your life. Problems have multiplied, bills have piled up and your worries are increasing. You have seen other people’s prayers answered, but yours seem to fall on deaf ears. Now your heart’s cry is, “How long, Lord? Why should I continue hoping You’ll hear me?”

I love this woman’s faith. Nothing had worked for her, yet she reached out to Jesus with believing faith: “I will either die of this, or my healing will come today.” Her faith was not simply “Jesus can” but “Jesus will.”

As she touched Jesus’ garment, “Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my robe?’” (5:29-30).

Notice that Jesus did not initiate this healing, the woman’s faith did. Jesus Himself said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over” (5:34). Her faith was based on God’s goodness and she declared, “Lord, even if You have forgotten my need, I have not forgotten Your faithfulness.” Her story is meant to tell us we can have the same kind of faith— the kind that says, “Lord, You will.”

Saturday, June 14, 2014

THIS IS FAITH WITH REPENTANCE by Claude Houde

Jesus had a vision that Peter would become a pillar for His Church and that he would be the one who would open the door of the kingdom of God for the first time to non-Jewish people, a moment in history (Acts 10) that brought forth a countless harvest of souls through the ages.

Dear reader, please never forget that the Church of Jesus Christ, nearly one billion people strong and more than two thousand years later, began with the simple message of a man that most considered to be a loser and a spiritual “has-been.” Those who rubbed shoulders with Peter could have told you he was a “big talker” who failed miserably when push came to shove, just another pathetic story of wasted potential. Jesus burned with this vision that, by faith, Peter would become a man of God, a man of courage and eternal influence. Dear friend, this is faith with repentance! It is faith that cries out: “Oh, Lord, teach me to see myself and to see others with a faith that will transcend the limitations of circumstances, backgrounds, tragedies, failures and my human understanding and abilities.”

The beauty of the Church all over the world is not found in her buildings, architecture or programs. The brightness and value of the Church in the 21st century is in the testimonies of lives transformed by faith with repentance, one person at a time, birthing a people with a story to tell, a message of grace, hope and redemption for real people with real lives living in the real world today. This is what motivated me to respond by faith with repentance to His call and His cause and to dedicate my life to the work of God.

I believe that in the hearts of millions of men and women of all ages and life experiences, there is an insatiable thirst, a search and dream for a God they don't know yet, have not found in traditional religion, who through faith, offers the possibility of finding new direction and hope.

Dear reader, please join me wherever you are to simply pray: “Lord, increase our faith! We want to do away with fatalism, rituals, unbelief and cynicism. We want to change direction.” Beloved, you will then hear a voice that will allow you to lift up your head and wipe the tears from your face, as it speaks these words of hope to you today, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst . . . for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

Faith with repentance will always receive resurrection.


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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, June 13, 2014

FLOODED BY THE LOVE OF GOD

The Father loves you! It is at this point of understanding that multitudes of believers fail God. They are willing to be convicted of sin and failure, over and over again, but they will not allow the Holy Spirit to flood them with the love of the Father.

The legalist loves to live under conviction. He has never understood the love of God or allowed the Holy Spirit to minister that love to his soul.

We at Times Square Church have taught that the righteous person, the true lover of Jesus, loves reproof. He learns to welcome having the Holy Spirit expose all the hidden areas of sin and unbelief—because the more he deals with sin, the happier and freer he becomes.

The attitudes I see in response to my ministry newsletter messages vary. When I write a message that thunders with judgment, I get overwhelmingly approving responses. When I share about the sweetness and love of Jesus, I receive letters saying, “You are not preaching the truth anymore!” It is as though these people are saying, “If you are not reproving, then what you are saying cannot be the gospel.”

Such believers have never entered into the great love-mission of the Holy Spirit. This is an area where you must learn to walk in the Spirit and not by feelings! Walking in the Spirit means allowing the Holy Spirit to do in you what He was sent to do. And that means allowing Him to flood your heart right now with the love of God! “Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).

Isaiah said, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 66:13). Isaiah was writing to a stubborn people of God who “went on frowardly [rebelliously] in the way of [their] heart” (Isaiah 57:17).

Thursday, June 12, 2014

TOTAL TRUST IN CHRIST

When I speak of total trust in Christ, I mean not only His saving power but also His keeping power. We have to trust His Spirit to keep us and enable us to conform to Jesus’ likeness.

Think about your own testimony. At one time you were cut off from God by wicked works. What good work did you do to make things right with Him? None! No one has ever been able to save himself.

Likewise, nobody has ever been able to make or keep himself holy. We are brought into Christ’s holiness daily by faith alone, as we trust in what God’s Word says: “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy” (1 Peter 1:15).

“You, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by your wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith” (Colossians 1:21-23).

Note the phrase, “If ye continue in the faith.” Jesus is saying, “Continue trusting in Me, living by faith. I will present you as clean, faultless, and holy before the Father.”

There are no degrees of holiness, only degrees of maturity in Christ. It is foolish to measure yourself against someone you picture as being “holy.” We are all measured by one standard: the holiness of Christ. If we are in Him, His holiness is ours in equal measure.

You must never again look at another Christian and say, “Oh, I wish I were as holy as he is.” You may not have that person’s discipline or his prayer life; you may struggle more often and make more mistakes than he does. But he is no more accepted by the Father than you are. You are to compare yourself to no one, because no one is loved more in the eyes of the Father than you!

Dear saint, put off all reliance on the flesh and make this declaration: “I claim my holiness, which is in Christ Jesus. I am part of His body and my Father sees me as holy because I abide in Him.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

THE BURDEN OF PAIN

In one way of another, we all are hurting. Every person on earth carries his own burden of pain.

When you are deeply hurt, no one can shut down the inner fears and deepest agonies. The best of friends cannot understand the battle you are going through or the wounds inflicted upon you.

Is there a balm for a broken heart? Is there healing for those deep, inner hurts? Can the pieces be put back together and the heart be made even stronger? Yes! Absolutely yes! If not, then God’s Word would be a hoax and God Himself would be a liar. That cannot be!

God did not promise you a painless way of life but He promised you “a way of escape.” He promised to help you bear your pain. He promised strength to put you back on your feet when weakness makes you stagger.

Our loving Father said, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but 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).

Your heavenly Father watches over you with an unwavering eye. Every move is monitored; every tear is bottled. He identifies with your pain and feels every hurt. He will not permit your hurt to deteriorate your mind. He will never allow you to drown in your tears and He promises to come, right on time, to wipe away those tears and give you joy for mourning.

Your have the ability to make your heart rejoice and be glad in the Lord. God’s eye is on you—and He commands us to rise up and shake off all those fears that are causing doubt.

“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry” (Psalm 34:15).

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

TO KNOW NOTHING BUT CHRIST

“In Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Men and women of God live within this very small circle; their very existence is wrapped up only in the interests of Christ.

To know nothing but Christ, there must be a continual flow of revelation from the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God, if He searches the deep and hidden things of the Father, and if He is to be a well of living water springing up, then that well of flowing water must be a continual, never-ending revelation of Christ. It awaits every servant of the Lord who is willing to wait on the Lord—quietly, in faith believing, trusting the Holy Spirit to manifest the mind of God.

Today we need His infallible word—a true and living revelation. Samuel had that kind of word from God and all Israel knew it. When Samuel spoke of all the voices in the land, his own voice came through and not one word fell to the ground.

Today multitudes are trying to sift through all the voices to hear the clear word of God. Saints of God are getting weary of a barrage of voices, while finding only a few kernels of truth. Christ alone is the light! The whole world lies in darkness, and light alone dispels that darkness.

Paul said, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

You may be in a dark place right now. Your good works will not dispel that darkness and our preaching on social issues will not cut through it, either. All your personal experiences won’t do it. I will go a step further—even binding the powers of darkness won’t work without the light of Christ shining forth. All darkness vanishes in the light of God’s glory reflected in the face of Jesus Christ! Let us study Christ alone in the secret closet. We serve the same God and are taught by the very same Holy Spirit as all others who have known Christ in fullness.

Monday, June 9, 2014

JESUS IS NEAR TO YOU by Gary Wilkerson

Are you facing a crisis that has driven you to your knees? Physical pain, financial turmoil, troubled marriage? Has your trial continued for so long that your spirit has sunk into despondency?

Multitudes of Christians face excruciating situations beyond their control and things seem hopeless. They’ve exhausted all their resources and pressed forward, believing that God will meet their need, but their situation has gone from bad to worse. The more they pray, the farther away God seems and they think He no longer cares.

If this describes you, I want to encourage you: Do not give up—Jesus is near to you. He desires not only to meet your need but to give you a breakthrough of faith. No matter how desperate your circumstance, He wants to infuse your spirit with this truth: “Jesus can still do this.”

A scene in Mark’s gospel addresses four types of fires that can confront our faith. The first is when sudden calamity befalls us; the second is when our trial has lasted a long time with no end in sight; the third is when circumstances grow continually worse; and the fourth is when we stop believing altogether.

Jairus was a devoted God-fearer in an immediate crisis. “A leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet, pleading fervently with him. ‘My little daughter is dying,’ he said. ‘Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live’” (Mark 5:22-23, NLT).

Imagine Jairus’ desperation! His young daughter was deathly ill and when he learned that Jesus the healer was nearby, he decided, “I’ll put my faith in Him.” He ran to the Messiah, fell on his face and begged for a miracle: “Lord, unless You do this, I have no hope. Doctors can’t help me. You must make my miracle happen.”

Note the exact phrase Jairus uses in the verse above: “So she can live” (5:23). The word “can” denotes Jairus’ faith in Christ’s ability. He believed the Lord for the impossible, declaring, “Jesus, You can!” He knew that if Christ would just touch his daughter, she would be healed.

We know the rest of Jairus’ story. Jesus told the entire household, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep” (Mark 5:39, NLT).

Your situation may look like it is beyond hope—but it isn’t to Jesus. He raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, and He is ready to step into your situation with the same resurrection power!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD by Jim Cymbala

Over the last thirty years, more books have been written about marriage than in all the preceding 2,000 years of church history. But ask any pastor in America if there aren’t proportionally more troubled marriages today than in any other era. We have all the how-to books and videos, but homes are still falling apart.

The couple that prays together stays together. I don’t mean to be simplistic; there will be difficult moments in any marriage. But God’s Word is true when it says, “Call upon me and I will help you. Just give Me a chance” (see Psalm 91:15)

The same holds true for parenting. We may own stacks of good books on child rearing and spending “quality time” with our children. Yet we have more problems with young people in the church today than at any previous time. This is not because we lack knowledge or how-to; it is because we have not cried out for the power and grace of God.

The writer to the Hebrews nails down the most central activity of all Christians: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). It doesn’t say, “Let us come to the sermon.” We in America have made the sermon the centerpiece of the church, something God never intended. Preachers who are really doing their job get people to come to the throne of grace. That’s the true source of grace and mercy.

To every preacher and every singer, God will someday ask, “Did you bring people to where the action could be found . . . at the throne of grace? If you just entertained them, if you just tickled their ears and gave them a warm, fuzzy moment, woe to you. At the throne of grace, I could have changed their lives.”

God has chosen prayer as His channel of blessing. He has spread a table for us with every kind of wisdom, grace and strength because He knows exactly what we need. But the only way we can get it is to pull up to the table and taste and see that the Lord is good. Pulling up to that table is called the prayer of faith.


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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, June 6, 2014

THE GREATEST DANGER

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

In Matthew 14, Jesus ordered His disciples into a boat that was headed for a storm. The Bible says He constrained them to get into a ship. In other words, He insisted that they get into the ship even though it was headed for troubled waters; it would be tossed about like a bobbing cork. And where was Jesus? He was up in the mountains overlooking the sea, praying for them not to fail in the test He knew was coming.

Later He came to them, walking on the water (see Matthew 14:25). But not one disciple recognized Him! They did not expect to see Him out on the water in the middle of a storm. Never, ever did they expect Him to be with them or even near them in a tempest.

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

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

“I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

Thursday, June 5, 2014

THE REQUEST FOR FAITH

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5).

Jesus answered His disciples’ request for faith in this way: “Which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? . . . So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:7-8, 10).

Christ is speaking here of us, His servants, and of God, our Master. He is telling us we are to feed God. You may wonder, “What kind of food are we supposed to bring to the Lord? What satisfies His hunger? How can we do this?”

The Bible tells us, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Simply put, God’s most delectable dish is faith. That’s the food that pleases Him.

We see this illustrated throughout Scripture. When a centurion asked Jesus to heal his sick servant by merely speaking a word, Christ feasted on the man’s vibrant faith. He replied, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matthew 8:10). Jesus was saying, “Here’s a Gentile, an outsider, who’s feeding My spirit. What a nourishing meal this man’s faith is giving me.” When the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48) pressed through the crowd and touched His garment in faith, Jesus was immediately aware of her faith and she was healed. Her faith pleased Him.

I notice in Jesus’ words in Luke 17:8 a blunt statement: “Make ready wherewith I may sup . . . and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken: and afterward thou shalt eat.” He is saying, “You don’t eat first, I do.” In other words, we are not to consume our faith on our own interests and needs. Rather, our faith is meant to satisfy our Lord’s hunger.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WALKING WITH HIM

“By faith Enoch was translated” (Hebrews 11:5).

This is an incredible truth, almost beyond our comprehension. All of Enoch’s faith was focused on the one great desire of his heart: to be with the Lord. Enoch could no longer bear to stand behind the veil—he just had to see the Lord—so God translated him in answer to his faith.

Our brother Enoch had no Bible, no songbook, no teacher, no indwelling Holy Spirit, no torn veil with access to the Holy of Holies. But he knew God!

“He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). How do we know Enoch believed that God was a rewarder? Because that is the only faith that pleases God—and we know that Enoch pleased Him! God is a remunerator, that is, one who pays well for faithfulness. How does the Lord reward His diligent ones?

Three important rewards come by believing God and walking with Him in faith:
  1. The first reward is God’s control of our lives. The person who neglects the Lord soon spins out of control as the devil moves in and takes over. If only he would fall in love with Jesus, walking and talking with Him! God would soon show this person that Satan has no real dominion over him and he would allow Christ to control him. 
  2. The second reward that comes by faith is having “pure light.” When we walk with the Lord, we are rewarded with light, direction, discernment, revelation—a certain “knowing” that God gives us. 
  3. The third reward that comes with a walk of faith is protection from all our enemies. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17). In the original Hebrew, this verse is translated as: “No plan, no instrument of destruction, no satanic artillery shall push you or run over you, but it will be done away with.”

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

WALKING PLEASINGLY BEFORE THE LORD

“Enoch walked with God” (Genesis 5:24). The original Hebrew meaning for walked implies that Enoch walked arm in arm with God, continually conversing with Him and growing closer to Him. Enoch lived 365 years—or, a “year” of years. In him we see a new kind of believer. The Lord was his very life—so much so that at the end of his life, he did not see death (see Hebrews 11:5).

Enoch learned to walk pleasingly before God in the midst of a wicked society. He was an ordinary man with all the same problems and burdens we carry, not a hermit hidden away in a wilderness cave, “hiding to be holy.” He was involved in life with a wife, children, obligations and responsibilities.

“Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). We know from Hebrews that this verse speaks of Enoch’s translation, the fact that he did not taste death. But it also means something deeper. The phrase “he was not” as used in Genesis 5 also means “he was not of this world.” In his spirit and in his senses, Enoch was not a part of this wicked world. Each day as he walked with the Lord he became less attached to the things of the world. Like Paul, he died daily to this earth life and he was taken up in his spirit to a heavenly realm.

Yet, while he walked on Earth, Enoch undertook all his responsibilities but none of the demands of this life could keep him from his walk with God.

Hebrews 11:5 says clearly: “Before [Enoch’s] translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” What was it about Enoch that pleased God so much? It was that his walk with God produced in him the kind of faith God loves.

These two verses cannot be separated: “Before [Enoch’s] translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:5-6). We hear this latter verse often, but rarely in connection with the former. Yet, throughout the Bible and all of history those who walked closely with God became men and women of deep faith. If the Church is walking with God daily, communing with Him continually, the result will be a people full of faith—true faith that pleases God.

Monday, June 2, 2014

ESSENTIALS OF GRACE by Gary Wilkerson

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV).

There are four essentials of grace for every follower of Jesus:
  1. Grace is unassisted. We can’t assist the work of Christ’s grace without diluting or diminishing it. 
  2. Grace is unmerited. When we detect some unrighteousness in our lives, many of us think we have to pump up our grace again with good works. No—Christ’s grace toward us is totally unmerited, never partially so. 
  3. Grace is unchanging. God’s grace does not apply less on the days we pray less. It doesn’t work that way. Even His warnings against sin are a sign of His loving grace. 
  4. Grace is unending. Neither the Father nor the Son will be unfaithful to the covenant they have made. It will last through eternity, never to be broken, so as we remain hidden in Christ, we remain in covenant with the Father—we are thus safe and secure. 
Let me say this as well: I know the covenant that God made with His Son, Jesus, is deeper, stronger and more far reaching than any of us can grasp. Many Christians fall short of His glorious grace, our lives dominated by fear. When we make a mistake, we tell ourselves, “Oh, no, I’ve broken covenant with the Lord.” Nothing could be more untrue. It is Jesus who is in covenant with the Father, not us!

This is the reason Christ had to become fully human, made like us. He completely fulfills the covenant on our behalf—and He invites us to partake of all its benefits. Through Him we are fully cleansed, fully at peace with God and abounding in His grace. We cannot add anything to His finished work—His grace is fully sufficient. It is our role to receive the glorious gift—and to walk in it with joy!