|by David Wilkerson | April 17, 2013|
“But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid” (Matthew 14:24-27).
The disciples were so swamped, so suddenly overwhelmed, the very thought that Jesus was nearby watching over them was absurd. One probably said, "This is the work of Satan. The devil is out to kill us because of all those miracles we've had a part in." Another said, "Where did we go wrong? Which one of us has sin in his life? God is mad at somebody on this boat!" Another could have asked, "Why us? We're doing what He said to do. We're obedient. Why this storm all of a sudden?”
And in the darkest hour, "Jesus went unto them." How difficult it must have been for Jesus to wait on the edge of the storm, loving them so much, feeling every pain they felt, wanting so much to keep them from getting hurt, yearning after them as a father for his children in trouble. Yet, He knew they could never fully know or trust Him until the full fury of the storm was upon them. He would reveal Himself only when they had reached the limit of their faith. The boat would not have gone down, but their fear would have drowned them more quickly than the waves beating on the ship. The fear of drowning was from despair—not water!
"And when the disciples saw Him . . . they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit [ghost]" (Matthew 14:26).
They did not recognize Jesus in that storm. They saw a ghost—an apparition. The thought of Jesus being so near, so much a part of what they were going through, did not even enter their minds.
The danger we all face is not being able to see Jesus in our troubles. Instead, we see ghosts. In that very peak moment of fear, when the night is the blackest, the storm is the angriest, the winds are the loudest, and the hopelessness so overwhelming, Jesus always draws near to us to reveal Himself as the Lord of the flood—the Savior in storms.
"The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever" (Psalm 29:10).
|by David Wilkerson | April 16, 2013|
Millions have been converted because one man heard His voice. Saul "fell to the earth, and heard a voice" (Acts 9:4). And when he became Paul, he continued to hear the voice of the Lord. He knew his Shepherd's voice.
Peter allowed the Savior's voice to come to him. "Peter went up upon the housetop to pray . . . and there came a voice to him (Acts 10:9, 13). The entire Gentile race was welcomed into the kingdom, along with the house of Cornelius, because a man obeyed His voice. We, too, must allow His voice to come to us. "Today if ye will hear His voice . . ." (Psalm 95:7). What God could do with Christians who learn to hear from heaven!
Instead of waiting for God’s voice to come to us, we run to counselors and psychologists, read books and listen to tapes, hoping to hear from Him. We want a leader to follow, a plan for the future, a clear word of direction. But few know how to go to the Lord and hear His voice.
God wants to shake the earth once more. The whole universe is ready for Holy Ghost convulsions! "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven" (Hebrews 12:25-26).
He has promised, "Once again My voice will be heard. Those who hear will shake the earth. Heaven and earth will be moved. By the hearing of My voice, whatsoever is loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
To the last church, the Laodicean church, the Lord cries, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20).
That is the last call of Christ to the church. "Open up. Let Me into your secret closet. Talk with Me and let Me talk with you. Let's commune. That's how I will keep you from the hour of temptation that is coming on all the world."
|by Gary Wilkerson | April 15, 2013|
“Christus Victor” is the Latin phrase the early church fathers used to describe Jesus and His atonement. Roughly translated, it means, “Our victory is not in ourselves, but in Christ.” If we defeat an enemy when the odds are fifty-fifty, we are tempted to think, “I won the battle.” But when our enemy is nine feet tall; when we have rebuked him but he comes back stronger; when we have exhausted all our resources; when we have thrown up our hands and said, “I can’t do this,” then God says, “I have you right where I want you.”
Usually Old Testament stories are taught to children not as spiritual truths but as moral instruction. For example, the lesson of Jonah is usually presented as, “Don’t disobey God or you’ll get into deep trouble.”
Most of us were taught the story of David and Goliath in Sunday school and the lesson is, “Be brave and courageous.” The trouble with this interpretation of David’s story is that we are teaching our children to do something they are unable to do. There was not a single Israelite soldier who could have survived a hand-to-hand fight with Goliath. That battle was beyond even the bravest man.
Likewise, when we are in a spiritual battle, bravery and boldness are not sufficient. David knew he was no match for Goliath. In fact, he wasn’t even a soldier yet; he was too young. The only thing David was armed with when he showed up at the battlefront was bread and cheese for his brothers. Yet the difference with David was that he knew the battle was not his but God’s. When he heard Goliath’s taunts, he testified:
“This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head . . . that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand” (1 Samuel 17:46-47).
Spiritual victory is never our own—it comes from our Deliverer. In this story David is a picture of our Deliverer, Christ. He cuts through all our anguish and despair with an authority no demon can stand up to. Goliath had no chance that day, for one reason: The battle was the Lord’s.
|by David Wilkerson | April 12, 2013|
There is a portion of Scripture that convicts me deeply. Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. . . If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (John 15:2, 6).
I have read and re-read these powerful words of Christ, and I cannot escape their convicting power. The Holy Spirit has impressed upon me the importance of understanding these words, "My Father is the husbandman . . . every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away."
This matter of Christians bearing fruit is not optional with God. He watches over His vine and all the engrafted branches with great jealousy and concern, patiently waiting for the branches to bring forth fruit. He stands beside it with pruning knife in hand, lovingly watching for the slightest evidence of corruption, blight or disease which could hinder growth. God expects fruit from every branch. Without fruit, it is impossible to honor and glorify Him or be a true disciple of Christ. Jesus said: "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples" (John 15:8).
Bearing fruit has everything to do with pleasing God—fulfilling our mission in Christ— and with having our prayers and petitions answered. Jesus said, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you" (verse 16).
Actually, bearing fruit concerns what we are becoming, rather than simply what we are doing. I am bearing fruit when there is nothing hindering the flow of the life of Christ into me. That is what Jesus meant when He said, "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you" (John 15:3). He is saying, "Because you believed My word—trembling over it, letting it reveal every hidden secret, bringing to light every dark thing, allowing the Word of God to purge you—the hindrances are all gone!”
|by David Wilkerson | April 11, 2013|
Those who submit to Christ's lordship have an increase of strength and knowledge of Him. They literally gain a new mental and physical strength. They do not faint along the way because Jesus pours His own strength into them as they go.
"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness" (Colossians 1:9-11).
God will keep those who submit to His lordship blameless to the day of Christ's coming. If we submit to Jesus—doing as He commands, not leaning on our own understanding—we will never lack anything. He will supply everything we need to please Him. The Lord Himself will hold and keep us blameless to the very end!
"That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord" (1Corinthians 1:5-9).
We are to entrust our lives into Jesus' care. It then becomes His responsibility to hold and keep us: "The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil" (2 Thessalonians 3:3). He says, "If you keep Me enthroned on your heart, I'll keep you blameless until My coming. I'll keep you from falling!" "Commit the keeping of [your] souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator" (1 Peter 4:19).
|by David Wilkerson | April 10, 2013|
Perhaps you are saying, "I want Jesus to be king of my life. I want to do everything He commands me!" Let me show you two of the wonderful blessings that come to all who enthrone Jesus as king of their lives.
First, Scripture says if you will submit yourself to Jesus, waiting to receive His counsel and direction, you will partake of His holiness. "We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness" (Hebrews 12:9-10).
Paul commands us to come to Jesus, asking Him to give us dominion over all our sins and fears: "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:13-14).
God is saying, "If you want to know abundant life—true, full life—then submit yourself to Me and I will give you life without fear, guilt or condemnation!"
Second, those who submit to Christ's lordship will walk in peace—without fear or anxiety. "That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. . . . Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:74-75, 78-79).
What a wonderful promise! If we will yield our lives to Him, He will shine His light into our darkness and guide us into peace and rest. You can tell when a person has enthroned Christ in his heart. Such a life produces a peace that passes all understanding and you can see that peace in the person's face and demeanor.
|by David Wilkerson | April 9, 2013|
Hebrews 10 contains an incredible promise. It says God's door is always open to us, giving us total access to the Father:
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:19-22).
A few verses later, we are warned that the day of the Lord is fast approaching: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (verse 25). God is saying, "Even now, as the time of Christ's return draws closer, you must seek My face. It is time to go into your secret closet and get to know Me!"
I believe we are already seeing signs that we are close to a meltdown of our financial system; violence and immorality are on the rise and our society is pleasure mad. False prophets—"angels of light"—have deceived many with their doctrines of demons. And at any time we can expect to see the hour of tribulation, which will cause men's hearts to fail with fear. Yet, before all this happens, the writer of Hebrews says:
"Don't let the truth slip away from you! Stay awake and alert. You have an open door into God's holy presence, so go into Him with full assurance of faith, making your petitions known. Christ's blood has already made the way for you and nothing stands between you and the Father. You have every right to enter into the holy of holies, to receive all the help you need!”
|by Gary Wilkerson | April 8, 2013|
Most of us would admit we rarely feel God’s grace at work in us. That’s why we are prone to doubt that His presence abides in us. Paul addresses this dilemma for us in Galatians when he writes, “I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, ESV).
It sounds simple enough but we tend to take Paul’s counsel here as a hard command to be obeyed. We grit our teeth and say, “I will walk in the Spirit today.” Then once we stumble, we think we are not “being spiritual” so we try even harder. Suddenly we are under the law again because we have turned to our fleshly ability, rather than trusting that we are already in the Spirit.
Paul says, “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (5:18). In other words, the Spirit of God abides in you, giving you access at all times to His grace, which empowers you. When Paul says, “Walk in the Spirit,” he means, “Walk under grace, not the law.”
Paul then shows us the result of a walk in the Spirit: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (5:22-23). Take note: These things do not come about because of what we do. They are the fruit of the righteousness God has put in us—the result of His work in us.
You may not feel very loving at times, but love is in you because God put it there. You may not feel joy and peace, but God has implanted both deep within you. His Spirit is at work in you every hour of every day, to His great glory and to your deep blessing.
In one of the most amazing passages in Scripture, Paul gives us God’s response to the human condition: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. . . . There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 7:25, 8:1-2).
|by David Wilkerson | April 5, 2013|
Some believers get discouraged over unanswered prayers and, finally, they simply give up. They think, "Prayer doesn't work for me and why should I pray if it doesn't work?"
The Israelites in Isaiah's time had the same attitude. Isaiah wrote: "They seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness . . . they ask of me . . . they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge (notice)?" (Isaiah 58:2-3).
These people were saying, "I love God. I do right and avoid sin, and until recently, I've been faithful to seek Him in prayer. But, you know what? He's never answered me. So why should I continue afflicting my soul before Him?"
James writes that God doesn't answer the prayers of those who ask for things simply to satisfy themselves: "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3). In other words: "You're not asking for God's will. You're not ready to submit to whatever He wants. Rather, you're trying to dictate to Him those things that will satisfy your own heart."
Our God is utterly faithful. Paul writes, "Let God be true, but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4). He is saying, "It doesn't matter if you hear a million voices crying, ‘Prayer doesn't work. God doesn't hear me!’ Let every man be called a liar because God's Word stands. He is faithful to hear us!"
Jesus said, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matthew 21:22). Simply put, Christ is saying, "If you truly believe, you will be willing to wait and expect an answer from your heavenly Father. No matter how long it takes, you will hold on in faith, believing He will answer."
"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). "They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing" (34:10).
|by David Wilkerson | April 4, 2013|
Christians who neglect prayer have perverted their priorities. Many believers pledge to pray if and when they can find the time. Yet each week, seeking Christ becomes less important to them than washing the car, cleaning the house, visiting friends, eating out, going shopping, watching sports events. They simply don't make time to pray.
People were no different in the days of Noah and Lot. Their top priorities were eating and drinking, buying and selling, marrying, and caring for their families. They had no time to listen to messages of God's coming judgment. And so no one was prepared when judgment fell!
Evidently, nothing has changed over the centuries. For many Christians today, God remains at the bottom of the priority list; at the top are income, security, pleasure, family.
Beloved, the Lord does not want your leftovers—those little bits and pieces of time when you have only a moment to toss up a quick prayer request. That isn't a sacrifice of prayer.
The prophet Malachi writes: "If ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 1:8).
Malachi is saying, "You're bringing just any old farm animals to sacrifice in God's presence—careless, thoughtless, secondhand gifts. Try giving those kinds of offerings to your governor and see what happens!"
God expected His people to go through their flocks carefully, examining every animal, and choosing the most perfect specimen for sacrifice to Him. Likewise today, God expects the same from us. He wants our quality time—unrushed. And we are to make that time a priority!
I once met with the pastor of one of America's largest churches. This man was one of the busiest ministers I had ever seen. He told me without apology, "I have no time to pray." Yet, what he really meant was, "I don't give any priority to prayer." When I visited his church, I sensed no moving of God's Spirit in the congregation. In fact, it was one of the deadest churches I had ever preached in. How could there be any life if the pastor didn't pray?
No Christian will set aside time to pray unless it becomes his first priority in life—above family, career, leisure time, everything. Otherwise, his sacrifice is perverted!