Friday, September 30, 2016

A WORD OF HOPE

For many months, I searched and studied the Scriptures, pleading with the Lord to give me a message of hope and encouragement for these hard times. My spirit cried out, “Lord, please speak a word to my heart for Your children, for You alone have the words of eternal life. Only You can speak a word of comfort to us in such times.”
The Holy Spirit answered my prayer, speaking the following to my heart:
“I am going to give you a single promise from my Word. And if you will commit your very life to it, this word will keep you through any and all perilous times.”
EMBRACE THE TRUTH
Beloved, I know if we will especially embrace this one verse, fully believing it, it will be a daily power-source of faith. Here is the promise the Spirit showed me:
“YOUR FATHER KNOWETH WHAT THINGS YE HAVE NEED OF, BEFORE YE ASK HIM” (Matthew 6:8).
In Luke 12, Jesus enumerates the things He says our heavenly Father knows we need. In short, those needs are: food, drink and clothing.
“Therefore, I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. . . . If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Luke 12:22, 28).

Thursday, September 29, 2016

WE ARE NOT TO BE SURPRISED

I must ask you: As the storm rages, are you going to the Lord in prayer? If you are, then you’re gaining strength, because your mind is becoming fixed on your heavenly Father’s love. In His presence, He continually reveals His power to you and encourages you that you will make it through.
It is not God’s will that any of His children face the coming perilous times with paralyzing fear; in fact, biblical prophecy and warnings should not frighten us. Jesus’ heart on the matter is stated very plainly:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”(John 14:27).
WARNING US IN LOVE
Jesus prophesied of world events to come that sounded frightful. He spoke of wars, pestilence, earthquakes in various places. And He warned His hearers: “You are going to be afflicted, and some of you will even be killed. Iniquity will abound. False prophets and messiahs shall arise, deceiving many” (see Matthew 24:3 through 41).
Later in Matthew, Jesus explains that He forewarned of these catastrophic events so that we would believe in Him when we saw them coming to pass.
HE IS LORD OVER ALL
Jesus wasn’t trying to put a burden of fear on us. Rather, He simply doesn’t want us to be surprised when we are hit by awful storms. He doesn’t want our faith to be shipwrecked when we suddenly face incredible suffering. And most of all, He wants us to believe there is a Lord over all these awful things, a Father who is loving enough to warn us about them and keep us through them all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

FIX YOUR THOUGHTS ON JESUS

Scripture makes it clear that we are to heed every prophetic message delivered by godly men and confirmed in Scripture. We are to gather all the knowledge we can about the oncoming storms so that we can prepare our hearts for whatever we will face.
But we are not to let fear or anxiety consume our thinking or take hold of our hearts. Darkness is certainly coming and judgment is at our very door. But as God’s people, we cannot allow any cloud of darkness to hide the great light of His promises of love and mercy toward His people.
DON’T LET SATAN STEAL YOUR HOPE
We must be well informed by God’s Word and His prophets, but we are not to dwell on prophetic knowledge so much that it takes over our lives. The devil would love for this to happen. He knows he can’t get us to doubt the Lord’s Word concerning judgment, so he will attempt to take us to another extreme and drive us to a fearful obsession with perilous times.
Simply put, Satan wants to rob us of all hope by consuming us with foreboding thoughts. But we cannot figure out the future through being totally preoccupied with it. In reality, we can get bogged down in fear and obsessing about frightful events.
FIX YOUR THOUGHTS ON JESUS
The apostle Paul reassures us with this instruction:
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8, my emphasis).
In other words: “You have heard all the warnings. Now, take heed to what God’s Word reveals and to what His watchmen are saying. And, finally, fix your thoughts on Jesus and His goodness.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

RESTING IN THE FATHER’S LOVE

For years, I have been faithfully warning of a soon-to-come worldwide economic holocaust. Even now, we are seeing this coming to pass around the globe. I have warned that Christians are going to suffer, that there will be great loss and hardship, and already this is happening. Multitudes of precious saints all over the word are enduring great financial and mental stress.
LIFESTYLE CHANGES
As awful as these things are, none of them should be the focus of our energies and ministry. Rather, we must continue proclaiming the love of God the Father and the tender mercy of our Savior.
I know the American lifestyle — indeed, the lifestyles of those in every prosperous nation — are about to change permanently. I know everything is reeling and shaking. But when I get up in the morning, I don’t worry, “What are we going to eat? What are we going to wear? What about heat, light, security?” Jesus warned us not to do that.
PERFECT PEACE
I rest in my Father’s love. The fact is, I know that I am not God and He alone is in control of all these things. I simply do what the prophet Isaiah did: He put his mind to rest by fully trusting in his Lord. 
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).
Isaiah the prophet declared this truth to believers in every age — and God cannot lie!

Monday, September 26, 2016

FROM NOW ON by Gary Wilkerson

“And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus’” (Luke 1:30-31, ESV).
God’s favor literally caused a circumstantial change in Mary’s life — a 180-degree turn. According to the Bible, she conceived. When God’s favor is on your life, He does not just say, “Things are going to work out; just try to think happy thoughts.” No, God changes your world; He turns things upside down. 
A BIRTHING OF SOMETHING NEW
Mary conceived! When you receive God’s favor, He will cause a conception, a birthing of something new in your life. There are needs in your life, a cry in your soul. And as you come to God and receive His favor, blessings will be poured out upon you, and your life will be changed.
Mary understood this and she began to sing:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations
will call me blessed”
 (Luke 1:46-48).
THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT
I love this phrase, “For behold, from now on.” From now on something will be different — and I want you to hold on to that. I want you to own that truth in your soul, in your spirit, and in your mind today.
“From now on” a transition is taking place in you. You are going from living for your own wants and desires to a life that is absolutely surrendered to Him, realizing that you cannot do anything in your own pride. Determine that you will trust in Jesus and Jesus alone. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

TRANSFORMED by Claude Houde

A family in our church has a powerful testimony. The father had been abused, violated and beaten by a religious figure when he was young and he had burned with hatred for religion his entire adult life.
When he lost his job a few years ago, his wife started receiving aid from several services we offer to the families of our city. Later at Christmas, she became a volunteer, and then she made friends, and little by little, began attending church regularly.
I WILL NEVER SET FOOT IN A CHURCH AGAIN
A year later, when she was again volunteering during the Christmas distribution event, her husband warned her, “Feel free to go, but I will not pick you up! I will never set foot in a church again!”
At the end of her last day of volunteering, she called her husband and said, “Sweetheart, I’m so tired. Please come pick me up at the church.” For whatever reason, he reluctantly agreed. More than an hour later, she still hadn’t seen him so she started to be concerned for his welfare. Looking around the church, she found him in the sanctuary carrying a box of food!
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Well, I decided to come in and see all this for myself. They needed help so I’m going to stay for a little while longer, if you don’t mind.”
HE LOWERED HIS HEAD AND SOBBED
Two hours later, the couple got into their car in the church parking lot after seeing hundreds of families—the poorest of the poor—arriving at the church and receiving their baskets and gifts. The husband could no longer contain himself and lowered his head to the steering wheel and sobbed. His wife had never seen him like this.
Years of abuse at the hands of “religious” men who represented God streamed down his cheeks in those tears. He finally was able to say to his wife, “When I was a little boy, I loved to hear people talk about Jesus, and I wanted to help others like He did.”
This year their entire family volunteered at Christmas. They have become living stones, living epistles of His grace, read by all men, by the supernatural power of faith.

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, September 23, 2016

ALLOWING MERCY TO FLOW

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell upon a prepared people who “were all with one accord [of one mind]” (Acts 2:1). So, what does it mean that the people were of one mind? Simply put, mercy was flowing through them. Let me explain.
Consider those who were on the scene at Pentecost, people we revere today as church fathers. Some of these men had sinned grievously against the Lord and against their brethren. They all had to be forgiven and their sins covered, or the church never would have moved forward with the work the Spirit was about to do.
GRIEVOUS SINS
Consider Peter. He had blasphemed horribly, wounding Jesus as well as the other disciples. That church body forgave Peter, and they covered him so his past would never be held against him. Consider also James and John, the “Sons of Thunder.” They too had sinned grievously, offending their fellow disciples when they professed to be greater than the rest. They also were forgiven and covered.
In truth, anyone present that day might have said, “Hold it, Peter. Who made you the leader here? You denied Christ.” No one did that, because their hearts had been prepared through mercy. And they were ready to receive the Spirit when He came in the great outpouring at Pentecost.
ISSUES OF THE HEART
Beloved, this is why in Peter’s epistles his focus is on the issues of the heart. He knew firsthand all these things had to be cast out and forgiven, lest the Spirit’s work be hindered by any flesh. The same is true for Christ’s church today, we who are to receive His mighty harvest rain.
Will we hinder that work of the Spirit by failing to forgive? Or will we be prepared by allowing mercy to flow through us to others?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

THE GLORY OF THE LATTER HOUSE

The devil knows what is written in God’s Word and he is determined to hinder the great harvest he knows is coming. He has unleashed a furious attack on the church, using every weapon he can to remove the peace of God’s people.
The gloom and fear hovering over every nation has left people feeling helpless. In America, courts have made laws that glory in perversions, all against the will of the people. The result is hopelessness and stress, weakening the spirit, and even causing physical sickness.
DOWNGRADING SIN
In God’s house, sin has been downgraded and hell discarded. Entire denominations are splitting apart over gay marriage. Meanwhile, evangelicals — those who are the supposed torchbearers of God’s Word — are placing their energies in movements that are not Christ-centered.
The Israelites in Haggai’s day were discouraged over the new temple they were building. Their work seemed so insignificant compared to the magnificence of the former temple. As they reflected on all God’s past glories, they wept with despair at the modest house before them. Haggai asked the people, “Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?” (Haggai 2:3).
DO NOT COMPARE
Beloved, the same question applies today. You may recall great revivals of the past, where the Spirit fell powerfully and multitudes were being saved. Tell me, do you see the life of the church today as nothing compared to those past times?
I tell you, the word God gave Haggai for his church is meant for us today: “My spirit remaineth among you. . . . The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace” (2:5, 9).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

THE HARVEST RAIN

The prophets — from Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel down to the minor prophets — reveal that in the last days God’s Spirit will once again fall on a prepared people. This event is referred to as the “harvest rain.” It is promised to be greater even than the “former rain,” which was the Spirit’s mighty outpouring at Pentecost.
This prophecy of a “last rain” refers to Israel’s two annual rains. Their seasons were opposite to ours today, with the former (or first) rain coming in the fall, watering the newly planted crops. This typifies what happened at Pentecost, when the “first rain” fell in a great outpouring of God’s Spirit. That rain watered the seed of the Word, and it grew and spread to become the worldwide church we see today.
NO HARVEST WITHOUT RAIN
Israel’s “last rain” came in the spring, ripening the crops just before harvest. Zechariah refers to this last rain, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days (see Zechariah 10:1).
Moses said there simply could be no harvest without another rain. The Lord said to Israel through him, “If ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments . . . I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil” (Deuteronomy 11:13–14).
WAKE UP, CHURCH!
Finally, Joel 2:21-27 gives us a vibrant picture of what it looks like when this harvest rain comes, saying, in effect, “Wake up, church! Look around you. What you see happening has been prophesied. It is beginning to rain, and the Lord has made the clouds bright and full of water. The Spirit is preparing all things for the last great harvest.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

SIGNS OF THE END TIMES

In his first letter to the church, Peter bluntly speaks of the last days: “The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:7–8).
Peter also mentions the last days in his second letter, where he tells the church, “Shortly I must put off this tabernacle” (2 Peter 1:14). He’s saying, in other words, “God has shown me my time on earth is short.”
PETER’S MESSAGE OF WARNING
Peter’s message was meant for the New Testament church, both in the time he wrote it and for every succeeding generation of believers. It is a message of warning, as Peter prophesies the following:
“There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in [destructive] heresies” (2 Peter 2:1).
“There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
“[They will] walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government [the laws of the land]. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities” (2 Peter 2:10).
HASTENING THE DAY
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (2 Peter 3:10).
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (2 Peter 3:11–12).

Monday, September 19, 2016

REFRESHING, LIVING WATER by Gary Wilkerson

How does God’s refreshing affect our lives in practical ways?
REFRESHING OF OUR CIRCUMSTANCES
When God refreshes our circumstances, He changes old patterns that may involve our marriage, our finances, our work. He may expose unhealthy spending patterns and convict us to change them. He may even lead us to seek financial counseling that can help us replace bad patterns and teach us to be wise stewards.
He may want to disrupt old patterns in our marriage, patterns that keep us stuck in unloving ways. Our Father is ready to refresh us with abundant grace every time we need it. This kind of refreshing deals with our circumstances.
CORE REFRESHING
Then we have core refreshing — refreshing that goes beyond our circumstances to renew our souls, our lives, our inner being. This kind of refreshing flows not just into us but out of us. It fills us with joy for our marriage; for tithing and giving freely; for facing difficult relationships with hope and courage and energy.
In short, core refreshing causes us to anticipate every moment of life with Jesus. It stirs in us a heart that says, “I’m fully alive, not dreading the day. I’m thrilled to follow You, Jesus. You have made me bold, not fearful. Let me use this vast overflow of life for You!”
BRING IT ALL TO HIM
What is flowing out of you right now? Unbelief, grumbling, fear? Or faith, hope and love? Just as He did at the festival in Jerusalem, Jesus shouts to you to bring Him your unbelief, your bitterness, and your fear. He wants to replace it with contentment and contagiousness, to move you from emptiness to fullness.
He has promised, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart’” (John 7:37-38, NLT).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

THE MIRACLE IN MY FAMILY by Nicky Cruz

I wish you could experience the miracle that our family has experienced.  I wish you could feel the difference between how we live now and how we lived during the days of my youth. Today I love my brothers and sister with a passion. There’s nothing I’d rather do than to sit around and laugh and talk and cry with my family.
LITTLE NICKY, BIG NICKY
The times that I get to travel back to Puerto Rico and visit are some of my most precious memories. When I go home I’m no longer Nicky Cruz the evangelist or speaker. To my older brothers I’m “little Nicky” and to my younger ones I’m “big Nicky”—just one of the family. 
But we were not always so happy and carefree and loving. In my family we have a lot of pain in our past, yet none of us harbors feelings of resentment. When Jesus came into our lives, He brought with Him an explosion of love, mercy and forgiveness. No one holds a grudge. We hold nothing but love in our hearts among us. We don’t spend any time in regret; we just rejoice in the Jesus we know today—in the future He brings to us all.
ERASING THE PAIN
Jesus can do for the human heart what no one else can do. When He comes to live in your heart, He does more than forgive you, He leaves behind supernatural seeds of forgiveness that will not only erase the sin but erase the pain that sin has brought. Not only can these seeds heal our hearts, they can heal our relationships. They can spread through every hurt of our past and undo it.
I could never thank Jesus enough for what He has done for our family. For the forgiveness and mercy and grace that He brought, bringing us back together again.
And He can do the same for anyone. For any family. Even yours, if that’s what you need!

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, September 16, 2016

DO YOU WANT TO BE READY?

Peter was surely a godly man, and through him the Holy Spirit shows us exactly what God says about how to face these last days. Peter is telling us very clearly, “Here is your most important preparation: Get your heart ready. If this matter isn’t dealt with, all other preparations are in vain. Stay on your knees. And above all else, practice unceasing mercy and love toward your brothers and sisters. Forgive and cover their sins.”
COVER THE SINS OF OTHERS
We are commanded to “cover” those sins committed against us — meaning, we are not to expose the sins of others.
“Charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Who has hurt or wounded you? Who has spread gossip about you? According to Jesus, if you do not forgive and cover that sin, you are like the man who was forgiven a great debt but later choked a man who owed him a few dollars.
“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (4:10).
FILLED WITH JOY DURING TURMOIL
The truth is, Peter’s message here has everything to do with the future of the Church of Jesus Christ. You see, God is preparing His Church for a latter-day outpouring of His Spirit. According to the prophets, the Holy Spirit will come in a great wave upon the earth, filling God’s people with joy when the world is in upheaval. This won’t happen, however, where people hold grudges and wounds are left unresolved.
THE QUESTION: Do you want to be ready for what’s coming? Do you want to be fully prepared when all things are being shaken?
THE ANSWER: Then make sure you have nothing in your heart that hinders the flow of God’s Spirit.
Something wonderful is just ahead so make sure you are not left out of it!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

SHOWING UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

Right now, many Christians are in panic mode. People who have testified all their lives that God is their keeper are now scrambling in fear as the storm clouds gather over us. Peter has something very simple to say to them, “Bring all your natural feelings under the control of faith.”
Next, Peter tells us to bring everything to God in prayer: “Watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7). Only by seeking the Lord will we be able to control our anxieties about the times. According to Peter, the blacker things become the more we should walk in the peace and rest of the Holy Spirit.
AVOIDING PANIC MODE
Right now the secular world is desperate to find calm in the chaos. According to The Wall Street Journal, corporate leaders and others in high-stress jobs are turning to yoga, mantras, Chinese chants, meditation. But as Christians, our God promises to keep us in perfect peace if we will fix our minds on Christ above anything happening in the world.
Peter tells us we should be concerned with one thing above all others in these times. Let’s look at the final exhortation of this dying apostle:
“Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
REACH OUT WITH MERCY
Peter’s summation is, “If you want to know what survival is all about — how God is leading His people through these times — then show unconditional love to your brothers and sisters. That has everything to do with the future of the Church of Christ.”
According to Peter, here is our most important concern. In light of the great mercy God has shown each of us — in light of His unconditional forgiveness toward our past sins, His compassionate longsuffering toward us — we are to reach out with mercy to those who have sinned against us. And we are to forgive them as if they had never committed those sins.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

PREPARING FOR THE END TIMES

As Christians, we believe God’s Word about the times to come and we receive Spirit-directed warnings from God’s holy watchmen. Indeed, we see the handwriting on the wall.
An important question arises for many Christians today: “How do we prepare for the tumultuous events to come?”
SURVIVING FRIGHTFUL TIMES
I think it is normal to want to know how we’ll survive the frightful times to come. When the storm hits, destroying all roots of recovery, what will we do about jobs, housing, food, clothing?
Believers in Peter’s day most certainly had questions, as well. In his message about the end times, he focuses not on having our needs met but on the importance of preparing our hearts.
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” (2 Peter 3:11).
In the face of all that is to come, Peter zeros in on character issues!
The apostle is asking us, in essence, “What is in your heart in these last days? Who are you becoming as the end times approach? You already know God will take care of your physical needs but are you preparing yourself spiritually?”
BASIC INSTRUCTIONS
Peter echoes Jesus’ words (see Matthew 6:31-32) when he says, “The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7).
In short, he is giving us basic instructions for preparing for the end times:
  • Be sober-minded.
  • Stay calm, no matter what happens
  • There is no need to panic
  • Take it all to prayer

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

FREEDOM AND ABUNDANT LIFE

God cannot answer prayer where there is no faith. And Satan will not flee where there is fear and unbelief. The fact is, we have failed to take our God-given authority over the devil and his demonic empire.
God’s Word tells us that the enemy is not in control. We have power over him!
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Yet many have let Satan run roughshod over their faith with no resistance. If this describes you, Malachi offers you a most wonderful word: “You will go forth leaping as calves released from the stall” (see Malachi 4:2).
What an interesting and incredible word to the people of God in these last days. Malachi pictures believers as calves confined in stalls. The Hebrew root word for stall here means “tied up,” “going around in circles.”
NOISY, FRISKY CALVES
Have you ever seen spirited calves locked up in stalls? They run in circles, kicking and making lots of noise. Do you get the picture Malachi is giving us? Satan has succeeded in locking up multitudes of believers in little stalls. He has kept them shut out of Christ’s green pastures, away from His cool, refreshing waters.
Dear saint, I urge you: Do not go another day satisfied with the way things are. Your release must come by faith, and the Lord gives His Holy Spirit to those who ask. When God promises, “You will go forth leaping as calves released from the stall,” He means more than releasing from confinement. When He opens the gate of our stall, we are going to emerge from it leaping with joy. We’ll no longer have a cloud of gloom hanging over us, but will be released into a walk of hope, freedom and abundant life.

Monday, September 12, 2016

THE SPIRITUAL ROCK by Gary Wilkerson

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.’ So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on” (Exodus 17:5-6, NLT).
The details of this scene — and of God’s compassion for the people — are replayed through Jesus’ sacrifice. Christ is the rock that was struck for our transgressions when we were lost and wandering. And He is the living water that sustains us. Paul tells us:
“I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. . . . For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:1, 4).
HOLDING ON TO BITTERNESS
The scene in the wilderness demonstrates what Jesus does for grumbling people: He takes on their punishment and declares, “I’ll stand condemned for them; I’ll be scourged; I’ll take their sins upon my back; I’ll be nailed to the cross in their place — all so that they might receive abundant life.”
Some Christians forfeit this awesome gift by holding on to bitterness. Paul says, “Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. These things happened as a warning to us” (1 Corinthians 10:5-6).
GOD’S BEAUTIFUL GRACE
Our lives can wither away in bitterness, or we can be revived by the beautiful grace God offers us — it’s our choice. But His promise remains available to us either way — and He gives us newness of life.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

ANOTHER TEACHER by Jim Cymbala

Two thousand years ago, the disciples had Jesus as their teacher, but even they had problems understanding what He taught them. There are countless examples of Jesus saying something and the disciples completely missing the point. They just didn’t get it. In fact one of them even argued with Him, saying “No, You won’t go to the cross. I won’t let that happen.”

Jesus would teach them about trusting God, and in the next chapter, we see them not trusting God. Jesus even used Himself as an example during a lesson about humility. During the Last Supper, Jesus showed Himself as a servant of the Lord and washed the disciples’ feet. Yet during that same dinner, the disciples argued about which one of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24-27).

But Jesus promised that when He died, another teacher would come and help them to properly digest spiritual truth.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that He will receive what He will make known to you” (John 16:12-14, emphasis added).
Jesus not only told them a better teacher was on the way but He also said the new teacher would convey truth that He couldn’t pass on at that time. In other words, Jesus was saying, “I have more to say, and the new teacher will be the one to teach you about it.” The Spirit “will guide you into all the truth,” which includes applying the message to the hearts of the disciples. Then the meaning of Jesus’ life and death, faith, hope, love, the power of prayer, and much more would all be made crystal clear to them.


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, September 9, 2016

TRUST IN HIM

I wonder if the angels are baffled by all the worry and anxiousness of those who claim to trust in the Lord. To those celestial beings, it must seem insulting to God that we worry as if we had no caring Father in heaven.
What perplexing questions the angels must ask among themselves:
“Do they not believe the One who loves them? Did He not tell them He knows about all their needs? Do they not know the Father sends us to take charge of them in times of danger? Do they not believe that He who feeds the birds, the fish, the whole animal kingdom will feed and clothe them? How can they fret and worry when they know God possesses all power, all wealth, and can supply the needs of all creation? How can they accuse Him of neglect, as if He isn’t true to His Word?”
The birds sing, while we complain and speak of fear and anxiety. The lilies of the field stand tall in their glory, while we wilt and bend before the smallest wind of adversity.
The following poem puts it succinctly:
The very birds reprove thee with all their happy song;
            the very flowers teach thee that fretting is a wrong.
“Cheer up,” the sparrow chirpeth. “Thy Father feedeth me;
            think how much He careth, oh lovely child, for thee.”
“Fear not,” the flowers whisper, “since thus He hath arrayed
            the buttercup and daisy. How canst thou be afraid?”
Then don’t you trouble trouble, till trouble troubles you.
            You’ll only double trouble, and trouble others too.
You most definitely have a heavenly Father. Trust in Him!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

OUR HEAVENLY FATHER KNOWS

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek)” (Matthew 6:31-32).
Jesus is warning about the heathen tendency to worry, and His words touch my soul. He tells us that worry—over our job, our family, our survival—is a heathen’s way of living.
A BAD ATTITUDE
Worry is the attitude of those who have no heavenly Father. They do not know God as He desires to be known: as a caring, providing, loving Father in heaven.
To all who believe, it is not enough to know God only as the Almighty, the Creator, Lord of all. He also wants us to know Him as our heavenly Father.
“For your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things” (6:32).
            “Take therefore no thought for tomorrow” (6:34).
A RIGHT ATTITUDE
With these plain words, Jesus commands us: “Do not give a thought, a single worry, to what might or might not happen tomorrow. You can’t change anything. And you can’t help by worrying. When you do so, you’re only doing as the heathen do.”
Jesus then says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (6:33). In other words, we are to go on loving Jesus. We are to move on, casting all our cares on Him. And we are to rest in His faithfulness. Our heavenly Father will see to it that we are supplied with all the essential things of life.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

YOUR PRESENT AFFLICTION

We simply cannot explain why many righteous people face insurmountable sufferings. Why do the difficulties increase for those who love God deeply?
“It’s all meant to teach patience.”
“It teaches God’s people to trust Him more.”
Really? Are those actual reasons or nothing more than clich├ęs? Certainly such statements are empty of meaning to those who are enduring critical crises.
During a recent time of great personal testing, I asked the Lord, “If there are lessons I need to know from this present trial, please teach me.”
IT’S ALL ABOUT ETERNITY
The Spirit spoke clearly to my heart: “Your present affliction has nothing to do with chastening. In fact, it has nothing at all to do with this world. Your intense, long-lasting trial has to do with eternity. I am preparing you for your service and ministry in My Kingdom.”
Dear saint, I believe we are being weaned from everything that is of this world. The pains we are experiencing right now are awful birth pangs. God has allowed us to be so weakened of human strength that we will stop all our striving and let Him take us the rest of the way.
There is an old gospel song:
By and by, when the morning comes, 
When all the saints of God are gathered home, 
We will tell the story of how we've overcome, 
And we'll understand it better by and by. 
I have testified of God’s goodness throughout my lifetime. And in the new world to come, I’m going to tell my story all over heaven—the story of how real, near and merciful Jesus was to me in my worst times. Glory to God!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

THE LORD IS OUR SOURCE

Is there a point in our walk with God when we become so trusting, so proven faithful through years of testing, that we can expect a respite from spiritual warfare?
Is there ever a vacation from troubles, a time when we can relax free of trials? Does a lifetime of meeting faith’s demands earn us a furlough from the battle? Is it possible to reach a point in faith where a test is no longer necessary?
According to Scripture, the answer to all these questions is no.
The first reason for such continual testings is well known to most Christians. That is, the life of faith continually demonstrates humankind’s need for the Lord in all things. Simply put, we never reach a point of not needing God. The idea of a “furlough from trials” presumes a “furlough from need.” And there will never be a time when our needs are met by our circumstances. The Lord is our source, our all in all.
ARE YOU RELYING ON YOURSELF?
The Bible shows us instance after instance of when Israel’s needs were met and then the people stopped relying on God. They became preoccupied with being provided for, when God had already promised to supply all their needs. As Jesus tells us, our purpose is not to seek having our needs met, but to feed on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
“It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
“Desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).

Monday, September 5, 2016

THE REFRESHING SPRING by Gary Wilkerson

Early in His ministry, Jesus announced this about Himself:
“On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds” (John 7:37, NLT, emphasis mine).
Jesus didn’t just issue a statement—He shouted. And He waited until the biggest day of the festival to stand up and make His announcement:
“[He]) shouted to the crowds, ‘Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, “Rivers of living water will flow from his heart”’” (7:37-38).
BEATEN DOWN BY DEAD RELIGION
This was an act of compassion more than a theological statement. Dead religion had beaten down God’s people. That which should have refreshed them left them with no life whatsoever. Now Jesus announced, “I am your cup of cold water, the refreshing spring that never stops flowing. You can drink from Me to find your life renewed continually.” There are no qualifications needed to drink from this amazing wellspring. Christ assures us, “Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink!” (7:38).
THE REFRESH BUTTON
Friend, life in Christ is a refresh button like no other. When it gets pushed, the most stunted, despairing, dreary soul is renewed with the power of heaven. When Jesus says, “Rivers of living water will flow from My heart,” He is showing us what our lives will look like with a simple touch from Him. His Spirit so fills us that we overflow with abundant life, grace, mercy and love. His flow of life transforms everything.
As I have said many times, God never gives us a message without backing it up with His power. If He has called us to a life of abundant refreshment, then He will supply everything needed to make that happen. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

THE POWER OF CONFIDENT SPEECH by Carter Conlon

In the last book of the Old Testament, the prophet Malachi spoke about something that had occurred and will happen again among God’s people in a season of spiritual decline. “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another” (Malachi 3:16, NKJV). What were they speaking? Were they not speaking to each other before this moment in history? What was it about their speech that changed?

The Scriptures tell us that “anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (Proverbs 12:25). It also says, “A word spoken in due season, how good it is” (Proverbs 15:23) and instructs us to let our speech “always be with grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6).

There is incredible power in confident, calm speech. You and I must encourage one another now! We do not need the fire or the earthquake or the wind. Those things are wonderful, and if God should choose to do that, then so be it. But there is something more powerful than all those put together, particularly in this hour. It is that still, small voice of confidence in God. It is the voice that says, “All is well. God is in control of your situation, my sister, my brother. God is still on the throne. Jesus is still the victor, and we are still more than conquerors.”

You have no idea how much power God is willing to pour through your life as you walk through your day — in your neighborhood, your workplace, or your home — simply speaking words of confidence in the goodness and faithfulness of God. Let us open our hearts to the Lord and begin to speak to one another in those still, small voices. We will discover the incredible privilege of being an ambassador of the power of God to this generation.


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, September 2, 2016

THE FAITH OF DAVID

King David was known as a man who fully trusted God. He declared the theme of his own life when he wrote:
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him” (Psalm 28:7).
These weren’t just words for David. Scripture records event after event in David’s life when he showed great faith in impossible situations.
GREAT EXPLOITS
David did great things through faith in God:
  • He killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands
  • He killed the Philistine giant Goliath.
  • He escaped from Saul’s attempts to kill him
  • He won great victories over all his enemies.
Later, by faith and repentance, David was restored to the throne after his son Absalom attempted to kill him.
Through all these things, David boasted of the Lord:
“Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” (Psalm 31:19).
It is no wonder Scripture calls David a man after God’s heart!
We also know from Scripture that this blessed man was overcome by temptation and he spent days, weeks, months in anguished pain over his failings and trials. David also suffered severe bouts of depression; in fact, he writes of his intense loneliness and of crying himself to sleep many nights. At times in his life he was so tormented and afflicted that he pleaded for death.
Yet, through those years of intensified afflictions, David never lost faith. Few people in Scripture were tested, tried and proven as David was. But he came out of it all with an ever-increasing faith.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

YOUR SERVICE IN ETERNITY

I want to offer a special word to all who have come through many floods and fiery furnaces of affliction. I believe it is possible that your time of testing has nothing to do with chastening. Rather, it is something eternal—something having to do with your life in the new world to come.
The battle you are enduring now is not about this world, not about the flesh, not about the devil. This warfare is preparation for your eternal service in glory. You are being prepared for service on the other side.
DIVINE PREPARATION
Think about it: The very day you committed your life to trust God, He knew your present trial would come. He knew then that you would love Him through everything that comes at you and be an overcomer.
I am convinced that right now everything you are facing points to the New Jerusalem. The apostle John writes about that time to come:
  • “There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” (Revelation 22:3).
  • “There shall be no night there . . . and they shall reign forever and ever” (22:5).
  • “[He[ hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (5:10).
All of this speaks of activity. It suggests God is preparing us now for what He wants to entrust to us in the new world. Simply put, He has plans for us beyond our comprehension.
Paul speaks of this when he says we will serve God continually, with all joy:
“He has raised us up together, and made us sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6–7, my italics).