Friday, July 29, 2016

WE ARE GOING UP!

At the height of all his trials and difficulties, Martin Luther testified: “Lord, now that You have forgiven me all, do with me as you please.” Luther was convinced that a God who could wipe away all his sins and save his soul could certainly care for his physical body and material needs.

In essence, Luther was saying:

“Why should I fear what man can do to me? I serve a God who can cleanse me of my iniquity and bring peace to my soul. It doesn’t matter if everything around me collapses. If my God is able to save and keep my soul for eternity, why wouldn’t He be able to care for my physical body while I’m on this earth? Oh, Lord, now that I’m pardoned, forgiven, and able to stand before You on Judgment Day with exceeding great joy, do with me as You please.”

I have brought this word to you so that your soul might be anchored in Him and to prepare you for any unseen calamity in the dark days that are coming.

Dear saint, rejoice. This present life is not the ultimate reality. Our reality is eternal life in the presence of our blessed Lord. So keep the faith. Things are winding down — but we are going up!

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

Thursday, July 28, 2016

OUR CORONATION DAY

Fear is not compatible with all the wonderful relationships the Lord has proclaimed in His love for us. Throughout the Scriptures God describes all the facets of His relationship to us:
  • He is our father, our brother, our friend
  • our bridegroom, our head, our husband
  • our advocate, our kinsman-redeemer
  • our provider, our refuge, our shepherd
God has established all these glorious relationships with us through the cross and now He is urging us to know, “This is who I am to you.”

Do you think God is going to suddenly wipe out all these relationships with His people on the Day of Judgment? Never! How can a father reject his offspring in that child’s hour of accountability? Even as the Book of Life is being opened, He will still be your father, your advocate, your intercessor. Nothing can take away that relationship from you.

Fear will not be present on the day of your restitution and coronation.

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. . . . As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10, 12).

Our minds cannot begin to fathom how far the east is from the west. And that is God’s point in this verse: He has removed our sins beyond our capability to ever call them back.

Why am I calling God’s Day of Judgment our coronation day? It is because Isaiah says of that day:

As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee” (Isaiah 62:5).

As you stand before your Lord then, you will recognize His eyes of love for you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

BLAMELESS BEFORE HIM

God offers a wonderful promise to all who were guilty of horrible sins:
  • whose acts were bloodied with the stench of hell
  • who abused their bodies with alcohol, drugs, perversions, fornications
  • who gulp when they think of how close they came to falling headlong into hell
God’s promise to them is that they can stand with great joy on the Day of Judgment without a trace of fear. He pledges:

Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

No matter what your past is like, God no longer sees you as you once were. Instead, you’ve been transformed into His precious, lovely, spotless Bride. He is awaiting your presence at the jubilant marriage feast.

Would a bridegroom anticipating his wedding day suddenly charge his bride with iniquity? No groom would do that. You may wonder, “But isn’t Jesus going to judge all wickedness?” Yes, He is. But the Christ you are going to meet on that day is the same Christ who has forgiven you, called you, purchased you with His own blood, cleansed you, and interceded for you all these years.

As you stand before Jesus, you are going to see Him as your husband, your redeemer, your friend, your advocate, your intercessor. And, in that moment, you are going to stand complete in Him, without fault, without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless.

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13).

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

THE BOOK OF LIFE

John writes of the Judgment Day:

I saw a great white throne. . . . And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:11–12).



MANY BOOKS 

Notice that John says there are many books as well as a book at the Judgment. The first books are records of the life of every single sinner who stands before the Judge. Every unbelieving person has a book of works being recorded in heaven and every page is a record of how he lives.

Can you imagine what it’s going to be like for a transgressor when he stands before the Lord on that day? Every thought, word and action in his life will be brought out into the open, exposed for its evil.



A NEW NAME

For the righteous, there will be only the Book of Life and when it is opened, we will not hear one word, one record of a single sin or failing of any of God’s people. Why? Because all our sins are covered under the blood of Jesus. The only thing that will appear in that Book will be our names; in fact, it will contain our new, heavenly names that God Himself will reveal to us.

How do our names get recorded in the Book of Life? At the moment we believe with all of our being that Jesus Christ shed His blood for us, our names are recorded. It happens as we claim the victory of His cross and determine to seek Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.

Monday, July 25, 2016

WE MUST GO TO HIM by Gary Wilkerson

Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet” (Mark 5:22, NLT).

And we need to do that, too. As Christians, Jesus resides in our hearts, but even so we need to go to Him on our knees, reaching out to Him in our desperation.

If you don’t know Jesus, I can tell you that He loved you even though you rebelled against Him to live a selfish life. He died for your sins and rose again on the third day; the Bible declares it as truth and more than five hundred witnesses saw Him.

There was proof that Jesus rose again on the third day and now He is alive forevermore. If you receive Him into your heart, you can be forgiven of all your sins and have a fresh start. The Bible says that old things have passed away and all things have become new (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Today you can run from where you are and fall at His feet just as Jairus did. You might be stuck in a cycle of religion — just going to church, going through the empty motions — but you can run to Jesus in your desperation and say, “Jesus, I cry out to You for faith that comes by hearing the Word of God.”

That is the gospel in a nutshell and you can receive Him as your Lord and Savior today!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

FAITH THAT REACHES OUT by Claude Houde

Abraham was a man whose life was consumed by a faith that reaches out. He knew that faith without works is dead (see James 2:17). Genesis 14:11-16 uses simple yet clear words to reveal the scope and beauty of his decision when he learned that Lot and his family had been taken captive and had lost everything. “As soon as Abraham learned this . . . he brought three hundred eighteen of his bravest servants and they pursued the oppressors. . . . They brought back Lot, his brother, their possessions, as well as their wives and children” (14:14-16).

It is important to reread each word to fully grasp the depth of what is being said here. “As soon as Abraham learned this,” he didn’t wait, look for excuses, or put it off until the next day. He did not hide behind his lack of resources nor what he didn’t have. The Apostle Paul appeals to us to make a decision when he reminds the Corinthians that when intentions are sincere, they are demonstrated not by what we don’t have, or hope to have some day, but by what we currently have available. “Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don't have” (see 2 Corinthians 8:12). Help someone today with what you do have. Faith that reaches out simply refuses to continue saying, “No!”

Abraham, armed with three hundred eighteen of his bravest servants” — it is interesting to notice here that the exact number is mentioned. I profoundly believe that God knows each believer who helps those who suffer, but also every believer or church who chooses to do nothing. There are several specific moments in Scripture where God seems to want us to know with infinite precision that each person counts. For instance, in Nehemiah 3 we see the meticulous listing of those who miraculously rebuilt the walls that had been torn down.

Dear reader, this is faith that reaches out. This type of sacrifice opens up the heavens and produces the supernatural. We read these words in the story of Abraham as a prophetic promise for all who turn toward someone who is hurting, who is held captive or in need: After these events, “the Word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision with these words: Don’t be afraid, Abraham, I will be your defender myself. I will protect you and your reward will be so great!” (Genesis 15:1).


Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. 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, July 22, 2016

REMEMBERS THEM NO MORE

There is good news for every Christian who has ever striven or worked to subdue the deeds of his flesh in his own strength. Does this include you? How many times have you tried to plow ahead toward victory in the Christian life? How many promises have you made to God only to break them? How many times have you tried to please Him by fighting off your lusts and habits, only to fail once again?

Here is your good news, reported in the book of Micah: “[The Lord] will subdue our iniquities” (Micah 7:19). God’s Word has given us image after image of how He wipes our sins from memory: He blots them out. He remembers them no more. He buries them in the sea. He subdues them, meaning He hunts them down and captures them. Isaiah even tells us God takes our trespasses and flips them over His shoulder: “Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back” (Isaiah 38:17). This means God will never look at our sins or acknowledge them again.

Now let me ask you: If God forgets our sins, why do we always allow the devil to dig up some muck or mire from our past and wave it in our face? All of our sins are already covered by Christ’s blood; the cleansing, forgiving power of Jesus’ blood is all-encompassing. It covers our entire lives.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

COMPLETE IN HIM

There will be two groups at the Judgment: sheep and goats. These groups are going to stand before the Lord separately on that day, one group on the right and one on the left: saints and sinners. And the bad works which will be exposed that day are only those of the wicked.

Scripture says all evil deeds of the wicked will be brought into the light and exposed. Every wicked thought, every secret desire, every lust, every vile imagination, every denial of Christ, every curse word—all will be proclaimed and judged.

On the other hand, no evil deed of the righteous will be mentioned on that day. Instead, every good thing about their lives will be brought into the light: every holy thought, every charitable act, every sacrificial work. He is going to bring everything good out into the open. And that will be one glorious moment!

The fact is, as we stand before our Lord at the Judgment, we will be complete in Him. This means that everything we’ve ever done, including any sin we’ve ever committed, will already be covered under His blood and never mentioned again. There is no condemnation to the righteous—none at all. Jesus tells us, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). The Greek word for condemnation here is “judgment.” Jesus is saying, in essence, “If you believe in Me, you won’t come into judgment. Instead, you will pass from death over into life.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I BRING GOOD NEWS

“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). As Scripture testifies, our lives here on earth are like grass (see Psalm 102:11). One day we’re here, growing and thriving, and the next day we’re fading away with the season. We’re like the vapor of breath we see on a frosty day: here one moment and gone the next. And I’m convinced that just one moment into eternity, we’ll realize how unimportant and fleeting our present fears and trials have been. We’ll also see just how present the Lord has been with us the whole time, watching over us with His saving and keeping power.

I bring you good news—glorious news—that will help combat all the bad news you’ve been hearing. I believe this news will keep your heart and spirit peaceful, even joyful, through all that’s coming upon the earth. Here is that good news:

If you have repented of any and all sins and you are trusting Jesus—believing in His cleansing blood, submitting daily to His lordship—you’re going to stand before His throne without fault or fear. In fact, you’re going to be acknowledged before everyone present—every human, every angel, every demon in hell—as the precious Bride of Christ.

You will not have to face even a single sin against you, nor be exposed for any failure, but you will be able to stand without blemish.

Not a single sin of yours will be mentioned. Instead, only your good works—including your faith in Jesus Christ—will be expressed to the multitudes gathered.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

ENDURING FAITH

Whenever we face afflictions and persecution, Satan comes to us whispering fears and lies: “How are you going to make it through this crisis? What will you do now? If God is faithful, how could He allow this to happen to you? How could He put your loved ones at risk this way? What will become of you, your family, your job, your ministry?”

But enduring faith rises up and answers the enemy’s lies: “Devil, you’re asking the wrong questions. The question for me right now is not how I’m going to make it. It is not what will become of me and mine. I have already placed everything — all afflictions, all trials, all my plans, everything that concerns me — into my loving Father’s hands. He has proved Himself faithful time after time and He can be trusted with my future.”

With this established in our hearts, the question for us is, “How can I love and serve my Lord better? How shall I serve others as myself?”

Enduring faith means casting ourselves wholly on the will of God, as Jesus describes it in the Sermon on the Mount. In short, we are to seek God and His concerns first, and everything we need will then be given to us (see Matthew 6:33).

Enduring faith declares, “I have no will of my own. Rather, His will be done. No more personal agenda for me. No more playing God by trying to solve my own problems or those of others. Holy Spirit, keep my mind stayed on my Lord and His promises.”

With such faith, we’ll be ready for whatever the present hour brings.

Monday, July 18, 2016

JESUS CAME TO DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL by Gary Wilkerson

Upon being verbally assaulted by a man with a demon, Jesus said to the demon, “Be quiet! Come out of the man” (Luke 4:35, NLT). At that, the demon threw the man down and came out of him without hurting him further.

What would it be like today to have faith to believe that your marriage could not be damaged any further? What would it be like for you to believe that your children who are far from God could come back to the Lord and know Him?

I have seen what is written in this text to be a reality and I want to tell you, the same thing can happen for you. I was at the very edge and it was all over my prodigal son. He left home, got into drugs, and was living on the street. He was just a wild kid but he had a good heart and I knew God had a calling on his life.

I began to pray these things: “Holy Spirit, interfere with my prodigal son, Elliott. Oh, Holy Spirit, wherever he is right now, cut short the plans of the enemy because I know that he’s called to victory after victory. And then, Lord, destroy the works of the enemy.”

The prodigal has come home! Jesus interfered with his life and my son is a changed man. He’s serving God. He’s just totally different! There’s joy, there’s confidence, there’s boldness. And there’s vision for his future. Why? Because Jesus gets involved, Jesus cuts short, and Jesus destroys.

The good news is that Jesus wants to take what is planned against you and destroy it so that it cannot harm you any further. He can do that for you today!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

WHEN GOD PROVIDES by Nicky Cruz

There is tremendous relief in living under the guidance and provision of God. It takes a lot of worry off your shoulders. I don’t have to wonder where my next meal is coming from or whether I’ll have a place to lay my head. I know that God is in complete control and He has never let me down.

Early in my ministry I worried about my children. I knew that my background would haunt me, and I wondered if the curse my parents were under would bleed over into my family. I knew that Satan didn’t like the way I assaulted him week after week and the way I did it in his own backyard. He taunted me constantly, and I knew he would do the same to my wife and children.

As an evangelist I spent a lot of time on the road, away from home, and as a young man I spent hours praying that God would take care of my family, protect them from the harm that Satan wanted to do to them.

Many nights I lay awake in a hotel room praying, “Lord, You know that I try to be the best husband and father I can be. I love my children and Gloria more than I love my own life. I couldn’t stand the thought of anything happening to them. Please take care of my family. Please watch over their hearts. Watch over my babies, Jesus.”

The more I prayed that prayer, the more God put a sense of peace in my spirit. He told me that if I would stay faithful to His calling on my life, He would take care of Gloria and the children. He knew my heart. He knew how much I wanted to serve Him and how much I hurt for the lost and helpless of the world, so He commissioned me to reach out to them at every opportunity. And He wanted me to do so without worrying about my family.

It was one of the many conversations that God has had with me through the years. He promised to take care of my family, so I released them completely to His care. And He has always kept His promise.


Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.

Friday, July 15, 2016

IN A DANGEROUS PLACE

Some of you going through difficult situations are in a dangerous place with your faith.

I must ask: Have you allowed seeds of unbelief into your heart? Do you have serious questions regarding God’s faithfulness? Instead of worshiping Him, do you doubt Him?

“Lord, why haven’t You intervened for me? Why have You allowed such confusion in my marriage, my family? You have put on me more than I’m able to bear.” Such an attitude can lead to a hardened heart and eventually spiritual deadness.

The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy, “Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). The Greek word for hardness here indicates suffering, difficult afflictions. What does Paul say to Timothy about these things? “Endure them, son! You are a soldier in the Lord’s army. You’ve been trained to undergo hardship in spiritual battle.”

We see this reflected in the Old Testament as well. We are told, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9, my italics). The Hebrew word for perfect in this verse means “wholly given to Him in trust.”

God looks down upon the whole earth, searching diligently for that man or woman of faith who is given to Him in complete trust.

Whenever the Lord finds such a servant, He says of that person, “This beloved one is holding fast to his faith and confidence in Me. Therefore, I will show Myself strong to him. He’s going to know My power and see My strong arm revealed on his behalf.”

Thursday, July 14, 2016

IMPOSSIBLE VICTORY

A messenger brought a frightful report to Asa, the king of Judah: a million-man army was heading toward them! The Ethiopians and Lubims had combined forces, and now this large army was racing toward Judah, bent on its destruction.

On the very day prior to this, Asa had called on the people to give thanks to the Lord for the peace and blessings they were enjoying because they had sought him. Now we read, “And there came out against them” (2 Chronicles 14:9). Overnight, Judah was at war, facing one million hostile soldiers.

So, what does a trusting servant of God do when facing such a dilemma? How does he react? Will he panic? Will he turn to the arm of man for help, or place everything into the Lord’s hands, in total trust?

What was the righteous king’s reaction?

“Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee. So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled” (2 Chronicles 14:11–12).

Tell me, what does Asa’s reaction here say to us, the Church of Jesus Christ, today? This godly man had been given the most horrible, frightful news. He was facing incomprehensible odds against his survival, much less experiencing victory.

Beloved, the meaning of this passage is clear: It shows us that victory—impossible victory—is preserved for those who put their trust wholly in the Lord.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

LETTING THE PEACE OF GOD RULE

God, by His Spirit, creates peace—He causes it to happen—and He creates it in you.

I’m not just talking about peace with God. The peace He creates in you is peace of mind, a peace that springs up and flows within, healing, stabilizing, building confidence.

When you have such peace, you stop trying to play God. You stop trying to solve your problems and everyone else’s. You stop playing over in your mind what might happen, what fearful thing might come to pass.

Instead, you bring every thought into captivity. You are able to do this because you stand in the peace God has created in you. You begin to trust and accept His love and you start believing the promises of His Word.

Beloved, I urge you to ask the Spirit for a greater measure of faith concerning His love for you. Ask Him to create in you a greater flow of God’s peace. His peace will come supernaturally, miraculously, when you have yielded all to Him. Then the Lord will bring forth His peace as the fruit of your lips.

True peace can’t be faked; the world recognizes it when it is in someone. The Holy Spirit will make His peace in your life known to those around you. It won’t be your peace that speaks to them, but the Spirit’s. It will move them, causing them to ask you for prayer, prayer that will touch them and bring healing.

As the gathering clouds cause fear in the world, may God’s people walk according to this word from Paul: “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

PEACE, PEACE!

“I create the fruit of thy lips; peace, peace” (Isaiah 57:19). This is one of the most encouraging promises in God’s Word. The Lord says He will drive out from us the spirit of fear and implant in us His supernatural spirit of peace. Isaiah repeats the word “peace” here to emphasize that it is a continual peace.

The Holy Spirit promises, “I will create peace in you.” Once we experience this peace, it will become a creative word that flows out of our lips to others.

There comes a time in each of our lives when we become totally exhausted by all the problems swirling around us—personal problems that that may involve family, friends, our job, our finances. We become exhausted from all the heartbreaking “bad news” calls that come, crises that seem to be spinning out of control.

So how do we appropriate this miraculous, omnipotent creation of peace?

First, we must admit that all our fears are caused by unbelief because we have not fully trusted the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

The Spirit of God is the absolute fullness of divine love: all-caring, like a mother; greater in power than all principalities in hell; knowing all things. Yet, even though we know this, we often sit in the Spirit’s presence murmuring and complaining, thinking the way abandoned children do.

I tell you, no believer can be healed of the spirit of fear—or find peace—until he or she commits all things into the Spirit’s loving hands. We must give up all to His will, trusting that “He who lives in me is greater than he that is in the world” (see 1 John 4:4).

Monday, July 11, 2016

HE DESTROYS THE POWERS OF DARKNESS by Gary Wilkerson

As Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, a man possessed by an evil spirit cried out, “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?” (Luke 4:33, NLT).

Look at that question, “Have you come to destroy us?” Now we’re really hitting a home run here, because Jesus doesn’t just interfere, He destroys.

I am so blessed to hear the word “destroyed” in this text because if something is just interfered with, my fear is that it might come back. Has anybody ever had anything that went away and then came back? Last year at this time I said I was going to lose twenty pounds. Well, I lost twenty pounds and then I gained it all back—plus five more. So for me, interfering is insufficient. I need the thing destroyed, how about you?

We thank God that He interferes, but most of all we are glad He destroys the works of the enemy. Jesus said, “I came to destroy the works of the evil one.” If a whole plan was written against you in the pit of hell, He would not just interfere with it, like cross off one point, but He would take that plan, tear it into a thousand pieces, and throw it into the fire. Satan would ask, “What did you do with my plan, my intentions to destroy this person’s life?”

“The Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil” (see 1 John 3:8).

Jesus destroys what was aimed at destroying you, did you know that? He’s there to destroy the powers of darkness in your life.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

KEEP THE FIRE GOING by Jim Cymbala

Paul’s last letter was written to Timothy, a young minister he had ordained. Paul said: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:6-7, NIV). We get a picture of a fire that’s almost out, embers that need to be breathed on to keep the fire alive. Paul wanted Timothy to fan the flames of the Spirit. He warned Timothy not to neglect them, but to stir up the fire and keep it going. Whatever Timothy did, he was to prevent the fire from being extinguished; he was to give attention to the Spirit’s work in him. Without that anointing, Timothy would never fulfill the purposes of God for his life.

Charles Finney, a nineteenth-century Presbyterian minister and former president of Oberlin College, preached a series of lectures on revivals of religion, which later became a book and is now considered a spiritual classic. In it he describes three key points about the Holy Spirit:
  • Jesus promised the Spirit’s fullness. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
  • Scripture commands Christians to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Just as there are commands to love one another and not to steal, “be filled with the Spirit” is no different. It is expressed in the imperative form, meaning it is a command no different from any other biblical command.
  • The fullness of the Spirit is a necessity in our lives. When Jesus declared, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), He meant what He said.

When God takes control of a life or a church, He takes control through the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit is the Helper Jesus sent to do the job. When we fear giving control to the Spirit, we really fear God’s control over our lives. When we refuse to yield to the Spirit, we miss out on the holy excitement of living beyond ourselves.

__________
Jim Cymbala began the 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.

Friday, July 8, 2016

COMFORTED OF GOD

“Ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 66:13).

What a prophecy! This verse speaks of comfort in the Church, of every member of Christ’s Body lovingly nourishing one another. It is an image of God’s people comforting each other’s hurts and entering into their sufferings.
This image is confirmed by Paul in the New Testament: “Blessed be . . . the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4, my italics).
Note that nothing is said here about deliverance from the battle. We are told only that the Holy Spirit gives us comfort to endure and stay steadfast in our trial: “comfort . . . in trouble.”
This comfort, provided by the Spirit in the midst of our troubles, is not simply a temporary lifting of the burden. It is not a sigh of relief, a shutting out of troubling thoughts or fears. Rather, it is comfort that comes to us in our troubles—and it is supernatural. It is a miraculous work, a heaven-sent healing of mind, soul and spirit. Such comfort is the exclusive ministry of the Holy Spirit, and is accomplished by faith as we trust in His love for us.
Dear saint, I ask you: What do you have to give to others in trouble? What has the Holy Spirit done in you that can bring healing to hurting friends and family?
It is not a question of means or charity. Kind words of sympathy are not enough. A grocery basket is not the entire answer. All of these things are good and scriptural, but none of them in themselves are able to heal hearts.
“That we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
The Holy Spirit promises a creative miracle.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

MY FATHER’S LOVE

A mother will stay with her sick child until the cure comes. She will even endure a child’s rejection of her love. That child may fall into sin, disregarding all his mother’s words of guidance and correction. He may become overwhelmed with despondency or unbelief, or become proud, stubborn and rebellious. Yet, through it all, his mother never gives up on him.

Consider this image of a mother eagle. “He kept [you] as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings” (Deuteronomy 32:10–11). Jesus refers to a similar image when He speaks of being “a hen [who] gathereth her chickens under her wings” (Matthew 23:37). In times of storm, such a mother hides her young safely and lovingly under her wings.

We are talking here about the tenderest, most trustworthy love known to human beings. If you were to go into any courthouse and peer into one courtroom after another, you would see young men on trial for every conceivable crime. And who would be watching from the courtroom seats? Mostly mothers.

Go to any prison on visiting days. Who do you see lining up to visit an incarcerated son or daughter? Mothers, heavy-hearted with grief—mothers who seem to have an unlimited capacity to love and forgive.

Many years ago, an old preacher wrote, “I don’t know if the Prodigal Son had a mother, but if he did, I assure you that while the father stood on the roof looking for his son to come home, that mother was shut in her room, praying and weeping. Later, when everyone was dancing at the son’s return, you would find that mother whispering hope and healing into her son’s ear.”

We may not understand why God allows our afflictions to continue; why those we love endure pain and trouble for so long; why so many of our prayers do not seem to receive a response; why so many of our questions go unanswered. But God is not obligated to answer all our questions. Indeed, we may not know any answers until we get to glory.

Yet there is one thing I will never question—and that is my Father’s love for me, revealed by the Holy Spirit who dwells within.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A LOVE MISSION

The love of the Father toward us, embodied in His Son, has been committed to the ministering work of the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit has been sent to humankind to reveal the majesty and glory of this everlasting love.

“The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. . . . I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit” (Romans 5:5; 15:30). The Holy Spirit is the eternal love of Father and Son. All His works, all His ministry, are ordained to express and manifest that love.

Just as Jesus accepted His mission willingly, so did the Holy Spirit. He was given by the Father to Christ, who in turn sent the Spirit to us on a love mission. Therefore, every work the Spirit does—every comfort and consolation He brings, every revelation, every chastening, every wooing and warning—all proceed from love. It proceeds first from the Father’s love, and Christ’s love, but also the Spirit’s own love, for the Holy Spirit truly loves everyone He lives in.

This may sound elementary to some readers but, frankly, in these days of increasing turmoil, this truth must be fixed in our hearts. To hold fast through the days ahead, our faith must lay hold of the following: If we are not secure in God’s love for us, we cannot grow in steadfastness and confidence. And we will not be able to rejoice when the furious storms are upon us.

The prophet Isaiah likens the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit to the love and comfort of a mother.

“As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 66:13).

In the natural, there is no greater conception of love than that of a tender, caring mother. She is always there for her children, with a nurturing, comforting word in times of distress.

With this maternal image, the Holy Spirit shows us how He fulfills His mission. He is saying to us through Isaiah, in essence:

“As followers of Jesus, you already know something about love. Now let Me show you how tender and longsuffering the love of the Father and His Son is toward you. To understand it, think of a godly, tender mother’s love. This is how I work in you, how I minister to you.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

STEADFAST AND CONFIDENT

“Christ . . . 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. Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years” (Hebrews 3:6–9, my italics).

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (3:12–14, my italics).

I believe, with other watchmen, that the days Jesus foretold are now upon us. All over the world, people’s hearts are failing them from fear as they watch the terrifying things coming upon the earth.

Yet, in the midst of all this anxiety and fear, we who trust in the Lord hear His Word telling us, “Be steadfast and confident to the end.”

The fact is, whenever there is mounting fear, God calls for greater steadfastness. Whenever there is great terror and falling away, He calls for greater confidence. Whenever there is gloom and despair, He calls us to increase our gladness and rejoicing.

That is the nature of our heavenly Father. He has made provision for His people to hold fast and retain their joy in the severest of troubled times.

Yet there is a condition attached to this provision and it is a big if:

“We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end. . . . Christ . . . whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:14, 6, my italics).

Why are we given this cautionary word? It is because there are powerful forces at work today against every believer who would hold fast to his confident faith.

Monday, July 4, 2016

NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST YOU by Gary Wilkerson

“Go away! Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? . . . Jesus cut him short. ‘Be quiet! Come out of the man,’ he ordered” (Luke 4:34-35, NLT).

I want to concentrate on the phrase, “Jesus cut him short.” Jesus wants to do that in your life today. Today! Not when you finally have pleased Him with perfection (because you’re never going to do that). The good news is, there is a power of the Holy Ghost available to believers of Jesus Christ where He says, “I am going to cut this short.” Even if it’s a backslidden heart or some struggle with sin, in His mercy, kindness and grace, He does it right now!

Satan plans to get you addicted, discouraged, doubting, fearful, and anxious. His plan isn’t just to get you there but to keep you there. One of the most sorrowful experiences I have as a pastor is sitting face to face with people and hearing their confessions:

“I’ve been addicted to this or that for ten years or fifteen years.”

“Ten years ago our son ran away and he’s not serving God.”

“For the last five years our marriage has been on the rocks. We’re about to crash!” And it just goes on and on and on.

Here is some good news for all of us today. Not only does Jesus interfere, but He looks at that length of time that Satan wants to harass you and says, “Enough is enough. It’s time to cut it short.”

It’s time to cut it short! It’s time for you to say that it’s enough. Satan intends to build weapons—a scheme, a plan—and then he wants to use those weapons against you. So we need to be very careful that we don’t take a sort of a lighthearted, laissez -faire attitude. Kind of like, “Oh well, Satan doesn’t have any power. He can’t interfere in my life. He can’t interrupt what God’s doing.”

He can come against you, right? You’ve experienced that. But the good news is that the Bible says those weapons will not prosper.

“No weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you” (Isaiah 54:17, NLT).

Saturday, July 2, 2016

HE IS ABSOLUTELY FAITHFUL by Carter Conlon

“I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). The incredible second half to this promise—“Nor his descendants begging bread”—means that walking with Christ does not affect only you, it affects the future of those you love.

Remember that it is ultimately because of Christ’s obedience to the Father—because He yielded His life to fulfill the purposes of God—that you and I, as the descendants of Jesus Christ, can claim the promise in this psalm. And so we see how important it is that we walk in obedience and give our whole hearts to the Lord. As we do so, the promise will extend to all those who come after us—our children, our grandchildren, those over whom God has made our lives an authority. I have already seen this to be true in my own life.

As far back as I know of, I am the first believer in Christ in my family. But now I have nephews and nieces and other family members turning to God. And long after I am gone, I believe that the blessing of the Lord will still be touching my home as I make the choice to walk in the righteousness of Christ.

On Sunday nights here at Times Square Church, I hear many testimonies of people in our congregation who tried to run from God. They lived lives of sin and rebellion, turning up their music extremely loud in an attempt to drown out the voice of God. But the dilemma they faced was that they had a righteous mother or a righteous father; somebody was praying for them! And now it is obvious that they have not been forsaken; they are not begging for bread, because somebody in their house walked with God.

Let us make the choice daily to walk in God’s way, holding the truth of God in righteousness, and trusting Him for the strength that we need to fully follow Him. As we choose to do so, we will see the Scripture fulfilled—the blessing of the righteous will be upon us as well as our descendants. All that we need will be supplied, for God is absolutely faithful to fulfill His promise!

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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.

Friday, July 1, 2016

GOD IS A REFUGE FOR US

Right now, the world is heading into great turbulence. There will be events and chaos that naturally bring fear. But God has said to us, “My Word is in you. You are covered under the shadow of My hand. And YOU ARE MY CHILD.” It is time for us to fasten our seatbelt, open our Bible and talk to our Father through it all. He has said we are not going down: “I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved” (Acts 2:25).

I urge you to make this powerful word from Isaiah your own:

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

“Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding.

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 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 40:26–31).

Our communion with Him gives birth to trust. By pouring out to the Lord our needs, our worries, we come away with His rest and assurance. “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8).