Monday, October 31, 2016

THE ROCK WAS CHRIST by Gary Wilkerson

Knowing God was sufficient for Moses. Rather than going to the Promised Land, he asked of God, “Please show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). I can imagine God’s pleasure at hearing this. Every earthly father knows the pleading of his children’s voices asking for things, but nothing warms a dad’s heart like hearing his child say, “Daddy, I love you for who you are.”
God was so pleased with Moses’ desire that He granted his request, as far as He could allow it. “He said, ‘You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live’” (Exodus 33:20).
GOD’S FIERCE LIGHT
God’s unapproachable light is too fierce for humans to experience fully; His holiness is all-consuming: “Lest I consume you on the way” (33:3). But He did want Moses to experience His glory in part. The Lord told him, in effect, “I can’t show you My face but I can show you the effects of My presence and the trail of goodness I leave behind” (see 33:21-23).
“While my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock . . . until I have passed by” (33:22my emphasis).
God told Moses this to protect him. This verse tells us everything about God’s amazing grace in the Old Testament. Even before the cross — before Christ shed His blood for our salvation — God hid Moses in His grace, in the crevice of a rock. As Paul explains, “That Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4).
GOD’S TRANSFORMING GLORY
Scripture says Moses’ face was transformed by God’s glory — a change so powerful he had to “put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome” (2 Corinthians 3:13).
Anyone who encounters Jesus experiences the same transformation — a change so profound the whole world sees it and is awed.

Friday, October 28, 2016

SING AND REJOICE

There is so much bad news, so much division and distortion on all sides. Reports of depravity, terror, hatred and political turmoil seem to overload our senses.
In the midst of this restlessness and disorder, I hear God’s Word telling me to rejoice greatly and be glad.   
“Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds” (Psalm 149:5).
When was the last time you sang joyfully, out loud in your bed, before retiring?
“Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King” (Psalm 149:2).
When you can sing and rejoice in a time of great turmoil, you truly possess faith.
DON’T LOSE YOUR PEACE
If we listen to the so-called experts in the media, we may open ourselves to a spirit of unrest and anger. We can get caught up in issues that are not eternal but are soon to pass. I refuse to be caught up in the present political rage. I will go to the voting booth and cast my ballot, not according to my feelings but on the basis of biblical truth. I will vote calmly, without losing my peace or my love for lost humanity.
Most of all, I will obey God’s eternal Word and rejoice and be glad, no matter how fiercely the storms rage around me. We are told to sing and rejoice — and we must do so, knowing our God has promised to lead and protect us through it all.
“Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).

Thursday, October 27, 2016

GOD REWARDS THOSE WHO TRUST IN HIM

When I began working on this message, The Wall Street Journal reported that the entire world had come under a great cloud of fear. Immediately, my thoughts turned to those who attend Times Square Church. They show no such fear. Instead, while we all have a great soberness about these times, we also have a deep, abiding joy.
I was led to Psalm 37, written by David:
“The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil [calamitous] time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied” (Psalm 37:18–19, my italics).
Psalm 37 tells us that the Lord rises to action against societies whose sins have outraged heaven.
“The arms [power] of the wicked shall be broken” (37:17).
David’s amazing prophecy for God’s people is being fulfilled before our eyes. Yet this same psalm is also one of great hope. It contains an incredible promise to those who put their trust fully in the Lord.
TIME FOR PAYBACK
There comes a time Isaiah describes as “the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of [payback] for the controversy of Zion” (Isaiah 34:8).
“I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; a people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face. . . . I will not keep silence, but will recompense” (Isaiah 65:2–3, 6).
We know our God is not asleep. What we see happening to our economy is not only His vengeance but it has to do with the very honor and glory of Almighty God. He will not stand by as His ways are maligned by the wicked.
At the same time the Lord is recompensing the ungodly, He will reward those who trust in Him.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

TRUSTING GOD

Consider the testimony we have put forth about our glorious Lord. We have said He will provide, calling Him Jehovah Jireh. We have declared His promises to supply for His children. He promises:
“I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought [Israel] out” (Ezekiel 20:14).
He is saying, in essence, “When I delivered Israel, it wasn’t in some hidden corner. I worked miracles for them before the whole world. Now I want to do the same in your generation.”
Dear saint, are you facing a situation you have not yet committed to God? Are you being called to put your faith out on a limb in the distant unknown? Have you resolved, “Only a miracle from the Lord can deliver me”?
GOD’S PEOPLE WILL NOT BE ASHAMED
We may not figure out how God will work His deliverance; no one in the Bible did. But we do know that just one of His angels can put multitudes to flight. The Lord will never let His people be ashamed!
Right now, He is telling us just as He told Israel, “I called you out of your sins, and I have set you within sight of everyone around you, that I may glorify My name. It was I who called you out, and I will deliver you in the sight of the ungodly, for My name’s sake.” So, will you now walk in what you preach and claim to believe? Will you commit God to His Word for His name to be glorified before multitudes?
May we all adopt the prayer of David for these times:
“Do thou for me, O God the Lord, for thy name’s sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me” (Psalm 109:21, my italics).
God will never put His trusting people to shame. He will keep His Word to you because His own honor is at stake.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

STAND AND WALK

As Peter and John walked toward the temple, they came upon a beggar who had been lame from birth. Peter and John had probably passed this man many times, but this time they stopped. The throngs in the marketplace heard Peter tell the beggar, “Look on us. . . . In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:4, 6).
Peter was calling on the Lord to act, with God’s own glory at stake. The people in the crowds must have said to each other, “What a foolish preacher. He’s asking a man who’s been crippled all his life to stand up and walk.” I believe those people were ready to laugh Peter and John to scorn.
LEAPING AND DANCING
Then the lame man felt a strange sensation start in his feet. First he wiggled his ankle. Then the feeling moved upward into his calves and his thighs. He raised himself to a crouch and slowly he pushed himself upright and stood. And then to the crowd’s amazement, the man began to leap and dance.
I ask you: What if God hadn’t acted? That was never a concern to Peter, who gladly committed his God to deliver. The Lord will never put to shame those who trust Him!
Today we also are called to place God’s honor, glory and reputation on the line.
GOD’S PLANS SURVIVE
Think about the biblical episodes we read of in Acts. In each one, everything that Christ came to earth and died for was at stake. Yet, all through the Old and New Testaments, God’s plan, purpose and people survived. And in every case, God called His children not only to trust Him but to believe Him to work miracles.
Tell me, would the Lord ask any less of our generation?

Monday, October 24, 2016

PURSUING GOD by Gary Wilkerson

Even after the Lord blessed them powerfully, the Israelites turned to idols. While Moses was communing with God in the mountains, the people melted down their jewelry and made a golden calf. We cannot relate to this kind of thing today but the upshot is this: When you pursue God’s blessings without seeking God Himself, you end up in idolatry — because the focus of your pursuit is something earthen. As Paul says:
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25, ESV).
WHAT ARE OUR IDOLS?
Thankfully, today most of us don’t have to plead for water or bread. We can just turn on the tap or go to the grocery store. But we have golden idols of our own, things we seek apart from God: job success, financial security, material comfort. Those aren’t bad things but if we want them more than we want God — if they become the focus of our life’s pursuit — we have built an idol. And God will say to us, “Go ahead, pursue that. Enjoy it. But you won’t find Me present in it.”
I love Moses’ response: “God, kill me in the desert before you lead me to someplace where You aren’t.”
I pray that this becomes the church’s cry as well: “Lord, my life has been so blessed that I’ve let myself get misdirected. My eyes have been on Your unlimited favor, the blessings You give. I want something different. Let my life be defined by Your ultimate favor—to know You for who You are.”
IS GOD ENOUGH?
I want to ask you: Is God enough for you? Does knowing Him satisfy you? Does anything keep you from Him, an idol you’ve put before Him? His first commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3).

Saturday, October 22, 2016

HEROES, WAKE UP! by Claude Houde

“Proclaim it amongst the nations, wake up the heroes! Let them come near and let the weak say: ‘I am strong!’ Let My people wake up and come together in the valley of decision” (see Joel 3:9-12).
I plead with you to pray with me, “Lord, increase our faith,” but also I challenge you to make the decision to be a hero for God. I deliberately use the expression “plead” because I believe it is appropriate and proportional to our cause and the seriousness of the times. 
A BLAZING PASSION FOR GOD
The apostle Paul had a fire burning in him. He told the Corinthians, “The love of God constrains [presses] me” (see 2 Corinthians 5:14). The eternal kingdom issues at stake were so real and pressing to him that he let out a cry with an intensity that flies like an arrow straight to our hearts, transcending centuries and cultures.
“I plead with you, in the name of Christ, to be reconciled with God” (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). 7
The blazing reality of this passion burns within me today. I beg you, be reconciled with the desires and purposes God has prepared for you.
REAWAKENED FAITH
There is a faith that reawakens and revives the heroes. I have often thought that if, for even a fraction of a second, heaven could open to unveil the scope of the immensity and intensity of God’s desires, love and intention for humanity, monotonous Christian living would have to be put away. We could not continue to just sit in another church service, absent-minded and disinterested, between all the movie rentals and pointless reality shows on TV.
 Dear reader, God’s voice is being heard in the hearts of millions of believers around the world: “Reawaken and revive the heroes!”


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, October 21, 2016

GOD DEFENDS HIS PEOPLE

Scripture says King Hezekiah was God-fearing: “He clave [held fast] to the Lord” (2 Kings 18:6).
During Hezekiah’s reign, Jerusalem was besieged by the Assyrians, the great world power of the day. This vast army had already captured Samaria and the cities of Judah, and now they surrounded Jerusalem. Their captain loudly taunted, “We have overpowered the gods of all nations. How do you expect your God to deliver you?”
GOD ON TRIAL
Here we see the Lord Himself on trial. His faithfulness was being questioned before the whole empire, before Israel’s enemies, even before His own people. What if He didn’t act?
As the crisis mounted, Isaiah stood by, watching it all. He had received a word from the Lord and he trusted in it fully. Now he committed God to that word, putting the Lord’s reputation on the line. He prayed, in essence, “God, my honor doesn’t matter. If You don’t deliver, I can always hide in the wilderness. It’s Your honor that is at stake.”
With that, Isaiah calmly spoke to Hezekiah regarding the Assyrian captain:
“He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake” (2 Kings 19:32–34, my italics).
God will never let His trusting people be put to shame, and that night He delivered a powerful miracle. Scripture says 185,000 Assyrian soldiers died mysteriously, causing a huge panic, and the mighty army fled. Once again, God defended His people for His own sake.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

THE FIRE COULDN’T HURT THEM


Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, often referred to as “the three Hebrew children,” refused to bow in worship before Nebuchadnezzar’s ninety-foot golden idol. They stood resolute even when condemned to die in a fiery furnace. As the wicked king taunted, “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” (Daniel 3:15), the young men committed the Lord to His promises.
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee [we don’t hesitate in our response] in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace. . . . But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (3:16–18).
TOTAL CONFIDENCE IN GOD
These young men were so confident God would honor His name that they willingly faced certain death.
Prominent leaders from throughout the land gathered for the execution: princes, governors, judges, rulers from surrounding provinces. And Nebuchadnezzar ordered the fire stoked seven times hotter than usual, a heat so fierce it killed the servants tending the furnace.
The crowds were aghast, exclaiming, “These men can’t survive! They’ll drop dead before they get near that furnace. No God can deliver from this kind of fate.”
WALKING OUT OF THE FIRE
Again, the Lord’s name was on the line. If He didn’t intervene, His name would be defamed throughout the nations.
But the Lord never puts to shame those who fully trust Him! Scripture says Jesus Himself showed up in that furnace to protect and comfort His servants. And out of the fire walked the men, without even a whiff of smoke on them.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD

 There are times when it looks as if God hasn’t shown up — when His people are left in shame and despair — but the full story hasn’t been told. (The cross was one of those times.) What we don’t realize in the midst of our crisis is that God’s own honor is at stake.
Throughout the Bible He had a people whose flint-like faith proved His faithfulness in the most difficult times. These servants unashamedly committed the Lord to act, putting His honor at stake while trusting Him to deliver.
KEEP MOVING FORWARD!
Consider Moses’ example at the Red Sea, a humanly impossible situation. Israel was on the run from the Egyptian army, hemmed in on one side by the sea and on the other by mountains. Moses had already prophesied that God would lead Israel into the Promised Land and now the Lord’s reputation was at stake for all to see.
What was Moses’ reaction to this crisis? Facing the vast sea before him, he cried, “Move forward!” Moses so believed in God’s care, trusting His word to lead Israel into His promise, that he declared, “I know the Lord is faithful. And I’m going to act on His word.”
WILLING TO BE THOUGHT A FOOL
Think about the consequences of such faith. If the Red Sea didn’t open up miraculously, Moses would be thought a fool. The Israelites would go back into bondage, and God would never again be trusted. Yet we all know what happened: As Moses stretched out his hand, the waters divided, and the people walked across on dry ground. I tell you, no one who fully trusts in God will ever be put to shame. God will deliver on His promise for His own name’s sake.
“O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? Or to thy faithfulness round about thee?” (Psalm 89:8).

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

GOD KEEPS HIS WORD

“The Lord upholdeth the righteous. . . . They shall not be ashamed in the evil time [the time of calamity]” (Psalm 37:17, 19, my italics).
You may ask, “What does this mean exactly?” It means simply this: God is faithful not just in His recompense of woes, but also in His promises. David is saying, in effect, “Look around you and see how God keeps His Word. His warnings are now being manifested in our headlines, His actions all over our media. Will not God also keep His Word to preserve His chosen ones?”
FEARFUL NEWS
Think of it: No matter what happens in the world — no matter how fearful the news becomes; how severely the world shakes; how closely economies teeter toward collapse — God’s people will not be left ashamed. Indeed, the Lord will act on our faith to fulfill His Word to us. We may suffer, but He will come through for all who fully trust in Him. The world will never be able to say, “Your God didn’t keep His Word.”
TESTIMONIES TO A NUMB WORLD
Make no mistake, we are going to face impossibilities in the days ahead. But our Lord says He is God of the impossible, providing miracles when there is no human answer. In fact, He willingly puts His reputation in the hands of His people, calling us to commit Him to His Word. You may think, “But God can defend His own name. He doesn’t need me.” Not so! God has chosen His people to be His testimony to a numb, unmoved world. And He is calling us to openly commit Him to do what He promises.

Monday, October 17, 2016

ULTIMATE FAVOR by Gary Wilkerson

“If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15).
Moses knew something of God that exceeds His blessings, even His supernatural works. He knew that beyond God’s unlimited favor is His ultimate favor, favor that isn’t found in the things He does but only in Who He is.
A HEAVEN WITHOUT GOD’S PRESENCE
A famous Christian writer posed this question, “What if heaven were a place where you could have everything you wanted — all your dreams come true and every desire is made a reality—but God isn’t there? Would you want to go?” It’s a legitimate question for any Christian. Do we desire God’s blessings apart from knowing Him, the Giver of all good things? Or, like Moses, would we prefer to have every blessing stripped away rather than lose God’s presence?
I don’t take God’s blessings lightly — and neither does His Word. There is hardly a book in the Bible that doesn’t mention God’s concern for the poor. Poverty affects every area of life, and we are to give food to the hungry, hope to the downcast, healing to the brokenhearted. But for those of us who know God’s abundant blessings, Moses conveys something important: Even daily bread pales in comparison to knowing God.
WITHOUT JESUS WE HAVE NOTHING
It’s not that Christians today aren’t grateful for God’s blessings. Our problem is that we stop there. We say, “Lord, Your unlimited favor is enough for me.” But it isn’t enough. We can have the most vibrant marriage, the most beautiful home, the most fulfilling job, and the greatest kids — but if Jesus isn’t in the midst of them, we have nothing.
Are we willing to declare with Moses, “Lord, if You’re not there, I won’t go”? If we are, God will answer us the way He did Moses: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14).

Saturday, October 15, 2016

LIVING IN THE BLESSING by Nicky Cruz

On the heels of his great sin, David prayed:
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. . . Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:1-3, 9-10).
David’s sin took him farther from God’s face than he ever imagined he could travel. The greatest pain of his life came during his time away from God’s hand of blessing and favor. He couldn’t bear the thought of losing his relationship with the One he loved the most.
“Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (verses 11-12).
SEEKING GOD’S PURPOSE
David paid dearly for his sin, but he didn’t allow it to define him. When he came to his senses he cried out to God for forgiveness and God eagerly took him back; however, that didn’t erase the consequences his sin brought about.
If we knew the consequences of our sin before falling to temptation, how many of us would ever take that leap? If only we could see beforehand the harm that our sins eventually bring.
Living in the blessing of God demands that we seek the purpose He has set before us, looking to the future and calculating the cost of every decision. We must keep our eyes fixed firmly on His path and stay focused and true.

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, October 14, 2016

RECOVERING ALL AFTER LOSS

When David sought God’s guidance after the catastrophe at Ziklag (see 1 Samuel 30:1-6), I believe he heard a voice behind him whispering, “This is the way, walk in it.” And, beloved, the same is true for us today.
There is an old uplifting gospel song entitled, “He Will Make a Way,” and our Lord does just that. You see, He has always had a plan in place for us and that plan is still at work even now through whatever turmoil we face.
WHAT TRULY MATTERS?
I’m convinced the word from God that David replayed over and over in his mind was, “You will recover all” (see 1 Samuel 30:8). David knew full well he wouldn’t recover his house in Ziklag nor would his soldiers recover their homes, their gardens, their possessions. Those material things were all gone, burned and destroyed. No, the all they were going to recover was the safety and security of their families.
All that David and his six hundred loyal men cared about was that their families — everything that truly mattered — were going to be safe. They may have had to live in tents with their wives and children after that. But God had assured them they were going to be secure.
FORGET THE “GOOD OLD DAYS”
Do you see the parallels to our own time? These men weren’t about to recover a past lifestyle. They weren’t about to return to the same quiet days that had been so peaceful before. Those “good old days” were now history — but they “recovered all” the important things.
 “And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away” (1 Samuel 30:18).

Thursday, October 13, 2016

FIGHT ON!

Every believer is challenged to stay in the Scriptures until the Holy Spirit makes God’s promises seem to jump off the pages to him or her personally. We can know when that happens because we will hear the still, small voice of the Spirit whispering: “This promise is yours. It is God’s Word given just to you, to see you through hard times.” I am convinced you can’t fight the battle of faith without hearing the assuring voice of the Lord to you.
HIS PERSONAL WORD
When David went down in defeat, he encouraged himself, got back his fight, and immediately acted in faith. When he got back his fighting spirit, he sent for something known as the ephod. This was a kind of garment that included two stones kept in the priest’s breastplate. On occasion God spoke through the ephod, and David was determined to get a word of direction from the Lord.
“David said to Abiathar the priest  . . . I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. And David inquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them?” (1 Samuel 30:7–8, my italics).
RECEIVING GOD’S DIRECTION
Consider what David did here. After he had wept, and after he had regained his fight, this man went directly to his knees. The Lord gave him the word of direction he needed:
“He answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all” (30:8, my italics).
God’s direction to David was, “Go forth. You will be victorious.” In other words: “Fight on!”

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME

If your pastor’s sermons are anointed, they will produce life in you. The preaching of God’s Word will always encourage His saints. Likewise, corporate worship will lift you for a season. But how quickly we forget that uplift after a Sunday service is over. As Monday and Tuesday pass and the news begins to turn bad, we often fall back into fits of anxiety and fear.
GODLY COUNSEL
In normal times, I am able to draw advice from my godly wife, Gwen. She is always there to give me a good word — just what I need. I feel toward her the way David did when he said to Abigail, wife of Nabal: “See, I have hearkened to thy voice” (1 Samuel 25:35). But things can be different in calamitous times. When our faith is being threatened — indeed, when our very lives are being threatened — the counsel of spouses, pastors and wise friends can take us only so far.
Today we are living in fearful times and the truth is, only a personal word from the Lord can lead us through such times with the enduring hope we need. Throughout history, God has always been faithful to provide a word to His people.
HE STILL SPEAKS TODAY
In the Old Testament we read this phrase again and again: “The word of the Lord came.”
  • Scripture says of Abraham: “After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram” (Genesis 15:1).
  • We read of Joshua: “According unto the word of the Lord which he [gave] Joshua” (Joshua 8:27).
And so it was with David and also the prophets. As for God’s people today, we have the abiding Holy Spirit to speak a word from heaven to us. Through Him, the comforting, healing, guiding word of the Lord is available to all who trust.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

THE LORD’S ENCOURAGEMENT

David and his band of men were on the run from King Saul, who had been trying to kill him. At one point the small army encamped in a town called Ziklag, where they settled their families. From there they went out to do battle, leaving their wives and children safely behind.
After a battle, David and his army were making a three-day trip back home when their village was suddenly raided by the Amalekites. This fierce enemy kidnapped the families of David and his men and burned down the whole town.
“So [they] came to the city, and, behold, it was burnt with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captive” (1 Samuel 30:3).
RECOUNTING BLESSINGS
David’s response to this calamity was that “[he] encouraged himself in the Lord” (30:6). I believe he did this by remembering God’s past deliverances. In his young life, he had killed a bear, slain a lion, and brought down the giant Goliath. Now, as he agonized over this loss, he recounted those battles and the many others he had won.
ONLY A PERSONAL WORD
David was saying, “I need a word from the Lord.” He knew that no one could encourage him — not the very wise captains under his charge or, indeed, any counselor at all. David had to have a personal word directly from the One who had delivered him from every desperate situation he had ever faced.
Beloved, the same is true for you and me today. There simply is nobody on earth who can lift your soul out of despair or keep your spirit encouraged through the duration of your crisis. We all must get our own word from the Lord. Like David, we are called to strengthen ourselves by recalling God’s deliverances in our lives. And we must also remember those times when God has proven fruitful in past generations.

Monday, October 10, 2016

GOD’S EARTHLY BLESSINGS by Gary Wilkerson

Moses knew how important God’s blessings were to Israel. His supernatural works had saved their lives — manna from heaven when they faced starvation and water from a rock when their bodies were parched beyond their limits.
But Moses recognized that the point of these experiences, beyond their miraculous provision, was to know and trust the compassionate, loving God who bestowed them. Moses’ next statement comes as no surprise:
“Please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight” (Exodus 33:13).
Moses knew that, ultimately, God’s favor wasn’t found in the blessings He provided — it was found in knowing the Lord Himself. 
THROUGH A PASTOR’S EYES
I thank God for all His earthly blessings. As a pastor, I get to see His amazing work in people’s lives all the time. He restores marriages that have broken apart. He provides for those who struggle economically. He brings healing to people’s sick, broken bodies.
As I write this, I think of a little boy named Isaiah who wasn’t expected to live for ten days beyond his birth. After he survived the first year, doctors said he would never walk. Recently, his mom sent me a video of young Isaiah dancing with a little girl at a wedding!
GOD’S BREATH OF LIFE
Such things speak of God’s unlimited favor — His ability to breathe life into any desert wilderness. We all experience His favor in ways too great to measure: our relationships, our health, our work, our school. When we struggle in any area of life, or our circumstances get too difficult, He sustains us with His soothing presence. God has done things in our lives we never could imagine happening. His unlimited favor knows no boundaries.   

Saturday, October 8, 2016

THE TEACHING MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT by Jim Cymbala

Just like any minister today, Jesus preached using only His voice. And just like any congregation today hearing a sermon, the disciples could hear His words only with their ears and process them with their minds. But the truth of God is different from mathematics or the laws of science. It can be understood and appropriated into our lives only when it is revealed to our innermost being: that is where its life-changing power works (see Matthew 13:18-23).
MERE FACTS IN OUR BRAIN CELLS
A divine book must have a divine teacher so that its message can be revealed on a spiritual level. Otherwise the message just crumbles into facts that reside only in our brain cells. That Jesus was born in Bethlehem is a fact. Understanding the glorious meaning of Immanuel, God with us, and the significance of His lying in a stable requires divine teaching. So it is absolutely necessary for the Holy Spirit to be our teacher if the Bible is to be truly understood. The Spirit can overcome the human limitations of voice, ear, and brain because He teaches in the classroom of the heart.
WHAMMO! IT COMES ALIVE
That is why we can read a portion of Scripture for years and then when we read it again, Whammo, it comes alive! We understand it in a brand-new way. We ask, Why didn’t I see that before? That is the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Of course, teachers play an important role, as do apostles, evangelists, prophets and pastors. But even when teachers do their best, the only way for us to be ultimately blessed by the Word is through the inner teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is faithful to help us know truth from error and keep us from satanic distortions. But for all of that to happen, we must come with humble, teachable hearts.

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, October 7, 2016

FIGHT FOR YOUR FAITH

A time comes when all weeping must end. It is then that God’s people rise above their grieving, above every dire foreboding, and get back their fight.
In the New Testament, Hebrews echoes Isaiah’s words:
“Strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:12–13, NASB).
The meaning here is, in effect: “Don’t stay down. Get up and fight for your faith. Don’t give in to sore, trembling knees; instead, keep running. If you succumb to fear and worry, your faith may end up crippled.”
After enduring a period of weeping, there comes a time to fight!
CASTING BLAME
Consider the crippling response of David’s army to their calamity at Ziklag. After these mighty men had finished weeping, they grew outraged and blamed David for having allowed the disaster. They were so embittered by their horrible misfortune that they began picking up stones to kill him (read the account in 1 Samuel 30:1-6).
In my opinion, this is exactly what the majority of people are doing right now over the current state of affairs in the world. They’re turning left and right, asking, “Who is to blame for this calamity? Everything is a mess.”
LET IT GO — AND FIGHT
I urge every follower of Jesus: Forget about how we got here. Forget about who is responsible. Most of all, forget about your own personal “what-ifs” — “If only I had done this or that, my finances would be okay, my life would be better.” If you hang on to such thoughts, your fear will turn into rage or some other crippling, destructive spirit. The Lord intends a different direction for all your energies. His Word tells us, “Now is the time to fight for your faith!”

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A WORD OF ASSURANCE

I believe that through all the churning and chaotic events going on in the world today, God is bringing down greed, covetousness, and pride. I’m convinced He could no longer permit sexual perversions to destroy the soul of an entire generation. And I believe same-sex marriages have become a flash point of God’s vengeance.
Isaiah describes a period in history that was full of weeping, fear and trembling. Yet the Lord gave Isaiah a word of assurance for His people:
“Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you” (Isaiah 35:3-4, my italics).
The Lord was saying, in essence: “Strengthen the exhausted. Build up those who are weak among you. Encourage all who are afraid and full of anxiety. Tell them, ‘There is no need to be fearful. This is all the Lord’s doing. And through it all, He is going to preserve His people. He is doing this to save you.’”
EVEN THE GODLY TREMBLE
Beloved, even the most godly among us experience a trembling of heart, a sudden rush of fear, when a terrible crisis comes. At such times, it is not a sin to have a moment of deep anxiety.
Indeed, when the Lord gave this word to Isaiah, He was making sure that all who felt overwhelmed by the terrifying situation would not be crushed by it. He wanted every weary, troubled heart to hear: “Fear not! Take courage, for the Lord is a Savior to His people.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

HE CARES FOR YOU

The Lord says to the rich and poor alike, “Don’t fret about your worldly possessions. Give Me quality time and trust Me. I am going to take care of all your future needs and supply all the essentials you need to get by.”
This is one lesson every believer must learn and practice.
At this moment, world events are moving so fast that nobody can keep up with them. Violence is all around us and moral barriers have broken down. The implications of current events are too deep and complex to fathom.
LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
Our faith is anchored in this: Our heavenly Father knows us — He knows exactly what we need and when we need it — and the very fact that He knows is proof enough that we are under His care. He delights in us, and we are snuggled in His bosom, safe and sound.
Daniel said of the Lord:
“He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him” (Daniel 2:22).
God knows all about the dark days ahead and He knows that even this darkness cannot obscure His face from us.
TRUST HIS GREAT LOVE
Indeed, our clear path through hard times will be found only in trusting the Lord. He is calling us today to have a simple, childlike trust in His faithfulness.
Let us all keep our eyes on Jesus! Let us trust His great love and care for us. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

GOD KNOWS — AND THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS

Jesus speaks of grass that is full and green today but tomorrow is cut down. He would have us remember that He gave it life and care.
“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 12:28).
We dare not think He cares less for our needs than He does for grass. He knows full well what we need, whether it is food, finances or clothes.
OUR FATHER’S GREAT PROMISE
“All these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things” (12:30).
Again Christ is reminding us, “Here is all you need to know: Your heavenly Father knows what your needs are. He has already enumerated them.”
Jesus promises, “Rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock” (12:31–32). If we will simply trust Him, our Lord will bless us with all that we need.
GOD WILL NEVER ABANDON HIS “LITTLE FLOCK”
If you are concerned for your family’s welfare in the coming days, I have good news for you: Your children are God’s children. And He cares for your loved ones more than you do. Jesus knows exactly what you all need to survive.
He knows about your need to have a roof over your head. He knows exactly what your rent bill or mortgage payment is each month. He knows about the mouths you have to feed and the amount of food in your pantry. You can trust Him fully to meet all of these needs, because He promises to do it.

Monday, October 3, 2016

EL FAVOR DEL SEÑOR - Gary Wilkerson

Mientras yo predico este sermón en la Iglesia “Springs Church”, en Colorado Springs, hay un joven que predica en la iglesia “Times Square Church” en la ciudad de Nueva York. Durante un año, vivió en la calle, estaba perdido, herido, quebrantado y era un alcohólico.
ODIO ESTA IGLESIA
Un domingo por la mañana entró en la iglesia “Times Square Church” y encontró un asiento en la última fila de la parte más alta del balcón. Dejó aquel servicio murmurando: “Odio esta iglesia. ¡Nunca mas voy a volver!”. Sin embargo, sí regresó, y de nuevo se fue diciendo: “Odio esta iglesia. ¡Nunca mas voy a volver!”
Pero seguía volviendo - un tercer domingo, un cuarto domingo, un quinto domingo, y así sucesivamente. Incluso contó los domingos – eran 52 - y, por último, en lugar de decir: “Odio esta iglesia. ¡Nunca mas voy a volver!”, dijo: “Amo a Jesús y lo necesito en mi vida". Este joven sin hogar, que vivía en las bancas del parque en la ciudad de Nueva York, llegó al altar y dio su vida a Jesús.
REDIMIDO, RESTAURADO, FAVORECIDO
Posteriormente, fue enviado a un programa de rehabilitación en el que se descubrió que tenía una mente brillante. Después de completar el programa de rehabilitación, fue enviado al Seminario Bíblico donde terminó un programa de estudio de cuatro años en dos años con el promedio de notas mas alto.
Luego fue enviado al seminario para continuar con el título de maestría en teología por tres años. Su brillantez continuó impulsándolo y terminó ese curso de tres años en 18 meses. El seminario le pidió que se quedara y se convirtiera en profesor, pero él respondió: "No, yo soy un pastor."
Hoy en día es parte del personal de la Iglesia “Times Square Church” y predica de la gloria de Dios. Ese es el favor del Señor.

THE FAVOR OF THE LORD by Gary Wilkerson

While I’m preaching this sermon at the Springs Church in Colorado Springs, a young man is preaching at Times Square Church in New York City. For a year, he was homeless, lost, hurt, broken, alcoholic.
I HATE THIS CHURCH
One Sunday morning he wandered into Times Square Church and found a seat in the back row of the highest part of the balcony. He left that service muttering, “I hate this church. I’m never coming back!” However, he did come back, and again he left saying, “I hate this church. I’m never coming back.”
But he kept coming back — a third Sunday, a fourth Sunday, a fifth Sunday, and on and on. He even counted the Sundays — 52 of them — and finally, instead of saying, “I hate this church, I’m never coming back,” he said, “I love Jesus and I need Him in my life.” This homeless young man, living on the park benches in New York City, came down to the altar and gave his life to Jesus.
REDEEMED, RESTORED, FAVORED
Subsequently, he was sent to a rehab program where it was discovered that he had a brilliant mind. After completing the rehab program, he was sent off to Bible school where he finished a four-year Bible program in two years with a 4.0 grade point average.   
Then he was sent to seminary to pursue a three-year master’s degree in theology. His brilliance continued to propel him and he finished that three-year course in 18 months. The seminary asked him to stay on and become a professor, but he replied, “No, I’m a pastor.”
Today he is on staff at Times Square Church preaching the glory of God. That is the favor of the Lord.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A CHILD’S VOICE by Carter Conlon

In the book of Luke, we see yet another time that society was in total upheaval. People were clamoring for influence and authority and the place where the testimony of God physically dwelt was being dominated by a foreign power.
I am sure there were prayer meetings and people crying out to God, for there were religious and devout people in that generation. However, while everyone had a mental picture of what the power of God should look like, suddenly something came on the scene that was not understood.
THE WHISPER IN A MANGER
Nobody expected God to show His power and give His people strength to go forward in the manner He did. In the midst of all the voices, the chanting of religionists, the power of God appeared—and it was a child’s voice! It was not the wind, the fire or an earthquake—it was a whisper in a manger. Yet, who was able to hear it?
The religious could not hear it. The movers and shakers could not hear it. The self-focused could not hear it; neither could the Romans who were intent on dominating with power. And so God went to a few shepherds in a field, broke open the veil between time and eternity, and sent angels to burst forth singing, “Glory to God in the highest! On earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (see Luke 2:13-14). In other words, “Everything you have ever longed for has come.”
BE QUIET SO YOU CAN HEAR
Those shepherds rose up and went to the manger, only to find nothing more than a baby’s whisper. It would have been a voice so still that everybody had to be quiet in order to hear it. Yet in the end, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them” (Luke 2:20).
In the natural, this would have been regarded as foolishness! But the still, small voice was the power of God being made known to man once again.

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.