|by David Wilkerson | May 15, 2013|
The children of Israel were in a hopeless predicament!
The Red Sea was before them; the mountains were to the left and right; and Pharaoh and his iron chariots were closing in from the rear. God's people seemed helplessly trapped—like sitting ducks just waiting to be cut down. Yet, believe it or not, God purposely had led them into this precarious spot!
It was panic time in the camp of Israel. Men shook with fear, and women and children wept as they huddled around grandparents and other kin. Suddenly Moses was mobbed by irate family leaders who cried, "Surely this is the end! Weren't there enough graves in Egypt to bury us there? You had to drag us out here to die? We told you in Egypt to let us alone. It was better to be slaves there than to die in this miserable wilderness!" (see Exodus 14:10-12).
I wonder if even Moses had a moment of trepidation about their circumstances. Yet when this man of God wept, the Lord seems to have chided him: "Wherefore criest thou unto me?" (Exodus 14:15).
No one in Israel could have known what a great deliverance God was about to bring! Suddenly the winds parted the sea, and the people walked through the parted waves on dry ground. When Pharaoh and his powerful army tried to follow, the waters began to rage again, closing in and drowning them all!
What a sight it must have been! The people of God looked back from the other side and saw their mighty enemy destroyed like tin soldiers. Then a song went up in the camp as, once again, they realized God had delivered them from impossible circumstances! Scripture records their reaction—and the song they sang:
"Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him" (Exodus 15:1-2).
|by David Wilkerson | May 14, 2013|
Dr. Edward Payson, known as "Praying Payson," was a pastor in Portland, Maine, nearly 200 years ago. In 1806, just a few years after the Declaration of Independence, America was devastated by a severe depression. It was a dark period and Dr. Payson vividly recorded the tragedy in his area. He wrote:
"Business has stagnated, many are failing. Hundreds . . . have been thrown out of employment, and they are destitute. I tremble for my poor country. I fear our sins have helped call down judgment upon us. Some of our wonderful young converts have lost their all, and had their homes stripped away; but it does my heart good to see them cheerful and quiet under it all. Others, who have no God, have lost their reason, they worry incessantly, and are apparently dying of a broken heart."
Dr. Payson and his congregation suffered the spoiling of all their goods. Dr. Payson himself lived on pennies during those hard times. On December 28, 1807, in a letter to his mother, he wrote:
"Conditions worsen. A large number of the wealthy merchants live in poverty now. Businesses are failing daily. The poorhouse is already full, and hundreds are yet to be provided for. Many who have been brought up in affluence are now dependent on others for daily food.
"Perhaps, Mother, you will grieve for me and say, ‘Poor Edward!’ But you never had more reason to rejoice on my behalf, and cry, ‘Rich Edward!’ than now. Blessed be God, my faith does not stand on such tottering foundations as to be shaken by these commotions. God keeps me quiet, resigned, and even happy in all these troubles. I do not mean I don't feel pain—I do. All my worldly hopes are destroyed. In these circumstances it is impossible not to feel pain. I thought I knew before that this world is treacherous, and its enjoyments but for a moment; but these hard times have taught me to wean myself from creature things and pursue the things of God. It is my prayer, that if God has any worldly blessings in store for me, He would be pleased to give me His grace instead."
Edward Payson had quit trying to run the race of life on his own (see Hebrews 12:1). He could take joyfully the stripping away of all he possessed, because he was in this world but not of it.
”My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
|by Gary Wilkerson | May 13, 2013|
God wants to do mighty things through us. He wants to express His love to the world through us. So if we are clinging to one thing that gets in the way of His accomplishing that—some willfulness, some refusal to trust Him for everything—He points it out to us.
Sometimes God wants us to add something to our lives before He brings His best. This may involve something we have not done, so He wants us to ask, “Have I been slow to respond to something God has asked me to do?”
We find an example of this in Acts, when the disciples added a new member to replace Judas. While in the Upper Room, they drew lots and chose Matthias. It seemed like such a small thing. These same men had seen Jesus work wonders, open blind eyes, cast out demons, even raise a man from the dead. They had seen God’s kingdom advanced on earth as never before in history. And when Christ ascended to heaven, He gave them this incredible word: “You will do even greater works, once I send you My Spirit. He will empower you. Greater things are yet to come!” (see Acts 1:1-8).
Indeed, these same disciples would go beyond Israel and the Middle East, into Europe and India and Africa, preaching the good news of Christ to the nations, all within their generation. What made it so important to add another disciple? They did it for one simple reason: Peter sensed it was something God wanted them to do.
“In those days Peter stood up among the brothers . . . and said, ‘Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas . . . For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry’” (Acts 1:15-17). Peter was referring to Psalm 109:8: “May another take his place of leadership.”
There is a great lesson here for Christ’s church today. That is, never overlook a nagging issue of the heart, no matter how small. God puts His finger on these matters for a reason: to reveal our heart’s response to Him. Greater things are yet to come!
|by David Wilkerson | May 10, 2013|
If you do not deal with your doubts, you will be given over to a spirit of murmuring and complaining. You will live that way and die that way. Your doubts cannot simply be suppressed, they must be pulled out by the roots.
Look at Israel just three days after their deliverance from Egypt. They had been singing, shaking their tambourines and testifying to the power and strength of a mighty God, boasting that He was leading and protecting them. Then they arrived at Marah, which means "waters of bitterness." This was to be testing place for them.
God just keeps allowing crisis after crisis until we finally get the lesson. If we keep refusing to learn it, a time comes when He gives us over to our own bitterness and murmuring. "And they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. . . . And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?" (Exodus 15:22, 24).
On Sunday, the Israelites were having a great time—singing, dancing and praising. Then Wednesday came and they were in trouble. Another crisis—and they were falling apart!
How could a people lose their confidence so quickly? Because they never had any. They never had that foundation built under them. So again they failed the test. They had learned absolutely nothing from their previous crisis and again they missed an opportunity to shine forth the greatness of their God.
From that day on, Israel was beyond learning anything from God. They even began to take His goodness for granted. They had no food, so He sent them manna from heaven. He dropped quails out of the sky, piling them three feet high outside the camp. But not a word of thanksgiving was heard! Instead, the people turned to greed, hoarding all that God gave them. Israel became stiff-necked!
Oh, what a shame it is to go from crisis to crisis and learn nothing in the process. It carries with it a curse that you will be given over to a spirit of murmuring.
|by David Wilkerson | May 9, 2013|
"Ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord" (James 1:6-7).
The world is full of Christians who will not hold on to God's Word. They think it is an innocent thing to sit at the table in the house of God and murmur and complain, as if God doesn't hear. God does hear our murmurings! They are accusations that He does not care, insinuations that He has let us down.
God has warned me not to give voice to nagging doubts and fears—not to my wife, not to friends, not to loved ones, not to colleagues. God says to take those doubts to the cross and say, "Jesus, heal my unbelief. Take it out."
Israel spent forty years in turmoil—backbiting, complaining, full of bitterness and jealousy. What a miserable existence they led while claiming to be the children of God, claiming to be holy. But that was their testimony, not God's.
You must come to a place where you trust Him. If you learn it now, the next time a crisis comes you will sing and shout with praises to your Deliverer! Oh, the victory will be there but more importantly, you will have dealt a deathblow to all doubt, fear and unbelief.
Where do you start? By looking right into the mirror of God's Word. Consider your words and actions over the last thirty days: Have you been murmuring? Complaining? You may answer, "Yes, but I haven't been murmuring at God!" Oh yes, you have! No matter where or to whom you complain, it is all directed at God.
Every place I turn in my Bible, I see, "Trust Me and I'll see you through. Just commit your ways to Me." What does that require? Simply this: Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. You ask, "But what if nothing happens?" That response reveals doubt and fear.
Beloved, turn to God today and say, "Lord, I've done everything I know how to do in my situation. I know there's nothing I can do to fix the problem anyway. I'm going to trust You and wait for Your victory.”
Let God make you a testimony to the world, a witness of His faithfulness. Love Him with all your heart right now. Give Him all your problems, all your faith and all your trust!
|by David Wilkerson | May 8, 2013|
"They that carried us away required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" (Psalm 137:3-4).
The people of God were in the hardest place of their lifetime. And as they were carried away, their captors required of them a song. Yet there was no life in them anymore, nothing but depression, despair, hopelessness.
Multitudes of Christians are in the same position today. You may be trapped by your circumstances or the devil is coming at you with an old temptation. You are on the edge of giving up, thinking, “I can't make it. In spite of all my crying and praying, that old bondage is going to hound me forever!"
When Israel fell into Babylonian bondage, their captors cried to them, "Sing for us! Play for us! We've heard all about you and what your God did for you. Now take out your tambourines and bring out your harps. Play us a song. Show us your joy in your God!"
I do not believe this demand was made only in mockery. I believe it was also a pitiful plea. The Babylonians' gods had left them empty and dry. They had no hope. But they had heard Israel singing to their God, a God who had seen them through impossible circumstances. They said, "These people have a God who can open a sea for them. His fire comes down from heaven and He stands against their enemies. There's got to be something to this God of theirs!"
Like all the world, they wanted to see a people who endured the same problems they endured and faced the same battles they faced, yet could sing and shout and hold their faith in the darkest of hours! The Babylonians demanded a song because there is something in every person's heart that cries out, "Where on the face of the earth is something that can make you sing even when you've lost everything?" They needed a testimony! It is important that the children of God, wherever they are at whatever time, sing the songs of Zion: "God, I believe You, no matter what is happening!"
The world is shouting to us, "You can show us a miracle! It isn't the Red Sea opening up that impresses us. It's not seeing the blind given sight or the lame healed. It's that you can look at the darkest hour of your life, a situation that's hopeless to all human reasoning, and yet smile with joy, singing praises to God. That's the miracle we want to see."
|by David Wilkerson | May 7, 2013|
Pride is repelled by the idea of servanthood. Today everybody wants to be everything but a servant. A popular children's game in America is called "Masters of the Universe." But that is also becoming the theology of many Christians. We quote this Scripture, "Thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Galatians 4:7). What Paul really is saying is that a son who has been taught correctly knows that he is legally the king's son with all rights, but he so loves his father he chooses the role of a servant. Paul also said he was "a servant of Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:1) and James called himself "a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus" (James1:1).
A servant has no will of his own; his master's word is his will. The cross represents the death of all my own plans, my own ideas, desires, hopes and dreams. And most of all, it means the absolute death of my own will. This is true humility. "He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). He had told His disciples, "My meat (fulfillment in life) is to do the will of him that sent me (John 4:34). In other words, “I refuse to take matters into My own hands. I wait to hear every direction from My Father!”
John wrote, "As he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Every true Christian must be willing to say, "I really want to do His will." But here is where we miss it. We set our hearts on something that we want, something that looks good, that sounds logical, but is not God's will. We will fast and pray and intercede. Cry a river of tears. Claim it. Quote the Bible. Get others to agree with us. One of the biggest traps to Christians is a good idea that is not God's mind, a good strategy which is not from Him, a well-conceived plan that is not His. Can your desire survive the cross? Can you walk away from it and die to it? You must be able to say with honesty, "Lord, maybe it's not the devil stopping me, but You. If this is not Your will, it could destroy me. I give it up to the cross. Do it Your way, Lord!"
|by Gary Wilkerson | May 6, 2013|
“Have I neglected to do something He has asked of me? I want nothing in my life to hinder what God wants to do.”
God is forever bringing His people to this point. Why? Because before He can bring about His best, He has to do something deep in us. He wants to give us His victory, but He also wants our complete devotion.
The first six chapters of Joshua describe the glorious work God did among His people over a few years’ time. Israel had just been freed after 400 years in bondage. They had emerged from 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. And after all this, God had blessed them. Now they were at the border of Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey He had promised them years before. So they crossed over—and what happened? Immediately Joshua turned to the younger generation of men and separated them unto God. Scripture uses the word “circumcised” to describe their preparation, but the deeper meaning is, “They were made ready.”
Why did Joshua do this? Now that they had crossed over, they faced the thick, impenetrable walls of Jericho. Taking this enemy would be impossible for the ragtag Israelites. Yet God was telling them, “I have blessed you these recent years. You have experienced My incredible riches. But your work is not yet finished.”
How did the Israelites prepare for this battle? They didn’t sharpen their swords and shine their armor. Instead, the preparation took place inside their hearts. God commanded them to circle the city singing songs, praying, and waiting on Him. Finally, He had them raise up trumpets and issue a single blast. In an instant, those mighty walls came tumbling down!
Joshua and his men then performed mighty exploits, defeating their enemies, inheriting greater lands and seeing victories as never before. In fact, Joshua did something even Moses did not do—he defeated thirty-one kings. That was a tenfold increase over the number of kings Moses had defeated. I believe this is a picture of what the Lord wants to do in all our lives. He wants to bring a tenfold increase, pour out His Spirit in amazing ways, and have us believe He wants to do it all. In short, He wants us to possess a tenacious, unwavering faith.
|by David Wilkerson | May 3, 2013|
Here is an amazing truth connected with Christ's suffering: "When he was reviled, [he] reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not" (1 Peter 2:23).
What a tremendous statement: "When He suffered, He threatened not." He never once defended Himself against those who mistreated Him. He punished no one nor retaliated against any.
How unlike us! We threaten when suffering gets unbearable; we defend ourselves; we constantly protect our rights and reputation. Worst of all, we threaten God. It's a very subtle thing, and most of us are not aware of what we are doing. When our prayers go unanswered—when trouble and disaster strike our lives—when it seems as though the Lord has let us down and we end up lonely and in pain—we pull back on God. We slack up on prayer and Bible reading. We still love Him, but we let go of our zeal. We begin to drift and our faith becomes dull, inactive. Those responses are all threats against the Lord.
Every time we back off from seeking the Lord with all our hearts, we are threatening Him. It's a subtle way of saying, "Lord, I did my best and You let me down."
The Lord has infinite patience with those of us who hurt. He waits lovingly until we return to His tender care. But it can become a way of life, a threat to God's faithfulness, if we refuse to wake up and renew our faith and hope in Him. Some become so disillusioned, they give in to their lusts and passions. They indulge their desires because the battle seems so hopeless. It's their way of saying, "What's the use? I call on God to help me, to deliver me, but help never comes. I've still got this thing in me, after all my tears and prayers."
It finally comes to this: "I have a right to do it—because I've been hurt so badly." It's a threat to God, a way of getting even with Him for not answering prayer on schedule.
Beloved, there is hope! The Lord of Hosts is with us! He alone is our keeper. He will not let His children slip or fall. We are held in the palm of His hand.
Let us do as Christ did. He "committed himself to him that judgeth righteously" (1 Peter 2:23). "To commit" is to place your life completely in His hands. Give up your struggle, quit trying to accomplish anything in your own strength, and commit the keeping of your body and soul to the Lord of Hosts!
|by David Wilkerson | May 2, 2013|
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27).
God still chooses the weak to show forth His strength. Have you ever grieved over weakness? Have you felt insignificant, frail and useless to God? Have you looked upon others who seem so strong, so perfect, and thought of yourself in comparison as too sinful, too dull to be used of God? God is not looking for spiritual giants, but rather for ordinary saints with childlike faith who have lost all confidence in the flesh.
God will confound the strong and wise by anointing as His instruments those who are considered weak and foolish. The Lord will bypass those who lean on the arm of flesh, who trust in their talents, their knowledge, their background, their family reputation. Instead, He will raise up the brokenhearted, the weak and the weary. He will pour on them a spirit of praise and a baptism of love. He will show them His greatness, His faithfulness, His covenants, and they will become strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Is there a spirit in you that urges you on to new and higher places in the Lord? Is there a fire for God ignited within? Do you feel a drawing to a renewed faith and trust in God? Be thankful! That is the call of Jesus Christ the Lord!
His promises to us are great and precious. “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou has wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues” (Psalm 31:19-20).
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).