|by David Wilkerson | July 3, 2012|
“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12). When Paul wrote this, he was an older man with years of experience. In the midst of one of the worst trials of his life, he was speaking to his friends from his heart.
In the time you have been walking with Jesus, you surely have known pain, trials, afflictions. So, how have you behaved? What has been the outcome, the result of your experiences? Have your afflictions all been in vain? Or have you learned of God's love and faithfulness in the midst of them?
Let's say you are a dedicated believer who has laid down his life for Jesus. You have a burden for a dying world, you weep for the lost, and you have a clear command to win souls. So you tell all your friends you are going to a certain city to testify of God's grace.
Yet after you arrive, your friends back home receive word that you are not being used of God at all. Nothing has gone as planned; in fact, your ministry is dead. You have nothing to show for your efforts and rather than stirring up the city for Christ, you have landed in jail.
How would you react if all you had to show for your dedication, labors and sacrifice was utter failure?
Some Christians would pout. They would doubt God's word to them and question the Spirit's leading. Yet other Christians would respond as Paul did—rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer for Christ's sake. Paul did not try to figure out his afflictions. He responded with joy, faith and hope because he knew he was in training as God's witness. He wrote to his friends from jail: “My situation is the topic of conversation in Caesar's palace. In fact, everyone in Rome is talking about what's happening to me. I'm in jail for Jesus!” He must have been quite a sight in that prison cell—a scrawny Jew encouraging everyone around him, “Rejoice in your afflictions. God is faithful!”
Paul did not waste any of his afflictions, because he knew that each of them had a divine purpose. Likewise, the Lord is watching us to see how we behave during our trials.
|by Gary Wilkerson | July 2, 2012|
The Holy Spirit is calling the church to action and we have to know what type of faith to employ or what action to take. If you start flailing away with a sword, stirring things up on your own and saying, “I’m going to take care of this mess,” you are going to hurt others and yourself.
Perhaps you think you should just pray over an issue but God says, “No, this is the time for you to stand up and take action.” Or, on the other hand, God may say, “Just trust Me right now. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”
People ask me all the time how they can attain discernment or how they can know what to do in a situation. They want to have the type of faith that gets action.
Well, there is not a ten-week series on what to do in every situation in your life and you can’t call a counselor every day and say, “I have to make a decision and I want to know what to do.” You have to know Jesus and you will gain discernment only as you spend time in His presence.
If I were to tell you today to go out and run a marathon, if you’re like me you would go about a mile and then drop. But if you begin to train—one mile then two miles and then three, eventually you will be able to run that kind of race.
Likewise, we must train for righteousness. You may be feeling very stretched but begin to let yourself be trained by hearing the Word of God. If you obey in the small things, He will give you more and more wisdom and strength and before long you will know when it’s time to say, “God, you are in control. This is out of my hands.”
Or you will know when it’s time to pray.
Or you will know that it’s time to stand up and do what He has called you to do.
|by David Wilkerson | June 29, 2012|
“The adulteress will hunt for the precious life” (Proverbs 6:26).
The adulteress spoken of in this verse is Satan. He hunts down those who are precious to God.
The devil tries to seduce everyone who hungers after the Lord. Why do you think you are being so tested? You may have had a lifetime of trials, but it hasn't been because you are evil. No, it is because Satan knows how precious you are in God's sight and it is the precious life he is after!
During an evangelistic crusade on the West Coast, I met a young man who was a witch. In fact, he was the leader of a coven of witches. Even though this young man was deeply involved in the occult, he didn't believe Satan or his demons would ever possess him.
One night as he tried to go to sleep, he saw horrible, demonic faces swirling on the ceiling of his bedroom, leering down at him. As they began to gather like a cloud and form a funnel, the young man realized they were about to come into his heart.
He was petrified. Then he remembered something from his childhood so he cried out, “In Jesus’ name, go!” And all the demons vanished.
The next night those forces rallied even greater legions. As the young man lay down to sleep, he heard a roaring sound. He looked up and saw the whole room filled with ugly, horrible creatures. They had formed a funnel again. This time the young man stood up on his bed and shouted, "I claim the blood of Jesus!" Again the demons fled in disarray.
The young man thought, "The next time they come, I won't be able to handle it." So he called a Christian friend and asked him to accompany him to one of my crusade meetings.
During the service, the young coven leader was convicted by the Holy Ghost, and he gave his heart to the Lord. He testified that even though his family had a background in the occult, he remembered that when he was about six years old, he had a heart for Jesus. “I clearly recall going into the woods behind our house and preaching my heart out," he said.
I have seen this same heart for God in my own children and grandchildren. I had that kind of heart when I was a child, so I knew exactly what this young man was talking about.
Suddenly, a light went on in me and I knew why the devil had tried to possess this young man and destroy him. It was because of how precious he was to God.
|by David Wilkerson | June 28, 2012|
It does not matter what you do to try to clean yourself up. If you don't trust Jesus to save you through His grace, all your righteousness is as filthy rags in God's sight. Your flesh isn't accepted before God; it can't even be reformed. All flesh was done away with at the cross and now a new Man has come forth—the Christ-man—and true faith is having confidence in what He did for you.
You may say, "I find it hard to believe that a troubled, failing Christian like me could be precious to God. He has to be disgusted with me, because my life is so up-and-down. I have problems I can't seem to get through. Oh, I believe He still loves me but surely He is disappointed in me because I have failed Him so often!"
Please understand: Isaiah's wonderful prophecy of grace (see Isaiah 43:1-5) was spoken to a people who had been robbed, snared in holes and cast into prison—all because of their own foolishness and unbelief. It was at such a point that God said to them, "Now, after all your failures, I come to you with this message of hope—and it is all because you are Mine."
I will never forget the pain I endured when one of my teenage children came to me and confessed, "Dad, I've never once felt as if I have pleased you. I've never felt worthy of your love. I feel like I've let you down my whole life. You must be really disappointed in me."
Those words hurt. I embraced that tearful child, hurting deeply inside myself. I cried as I told this child, "But you have always been special to me. You have been the apple of my eye. When I'm on the road conducting crusades, I think of you and my whole being lights up. Sure, you've done foolish, wrong things at times but you were forgiven. You were truly sorry and I never once thought less of you. You are nothing but a joy to me.”
So it is with many Christians in their relationship with the heavenly Father. The devil has convinced them they have disappointed God and will never be able to please Him. Consequently, they don't accept His love and they live as if His wrath is always breathing down on them. What a horrible way to go through life—and how pained God must be when He sees His children living that way.
|by David Wilkerson | June 27, 2012|
In Song of Solomon, the Lord says of his bride: "How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!" (Song of Solomon 7:6). Three of the Hebrew words in this verse are synonymous: fair (meaning "precious"), pleasant (indicating "pleasure"), and delights.
These words describe Jesus' thoughts toward His bride as He beholds her. He looks at her and says, "How beautiful, sweet and delightful you are. You are precious to me, O love!" And in turn, the bride boasts, "I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me" (verse 10). The meaning here is, "He runs after me with delight. He chases me because I am so precious to him!"
These same thoughts are found throughout the Psalms. "The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy" (Psalm 147:11). "For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation" (149:4).
Now, I can try to convince you of God's delight in you by telling you, "You are precious to the Lord!" Yet you may think, "Well, that's a lovely thought. How sweet."
This truth is much more than a lovely thought, however. It is the very key to your deliverance from every battle that rages in your soul. It is the secret to entering into the rest God has promised you. And until you lay hold of it—until it becomes a foundation of truth in your heart—you will not be able to withstand what is ahead in this wicked time.
Isaiah had a revelation of God's great delight in us. He prophesied to Israel this word from the Lord:
"O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (Isaiah 43:1-2).
Isaiah was not talking about a literal flood or fire. He was talking about what the people were going through spiritually and mentally. They were in captivity at the time and their floods were trials, their fires were temptations, their rivers were testings. It was all the devil's attempt to destroy and overwhelm God's people.
Isaiah's words were a message of pure mercy to Israel. They were in captivity because of their own stupidity and foolishness and they deserved nothing. But God sent them a weeping, brokenhearted prophet who said, “God wants me to tell you that you belong to Him!”
|by David Wilkerson | June 26, 2012|
"He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me" (Psalms 18:16-19).
In this psalm, David was looking back after a great deliverance. He was rejoicing because the Lord had rescued him from his enemies: "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies" (verse 3).
Indeed, David had just been through a terrible time of testing. Saul had put a bounty on his head and had chased him relentlessly, so that he was forced to sleep in caves, dens and open fields. David said of that dark time, "The sorrows of hell surrounded me, and I lived in distress. Ungodly men made me afraid that my enemies were too strong for me. They all hated me!"
But God came roaring out of the heavens to deliver David: "He bowed the heavens also, and came down. . . . The Lord also thundered in the heavens. . . . He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy" (verses 9,13,16-17).
Demon powers had surrounded David and the enemy had come in like a flood. Yet David was able to say, "God came roaring forth to pull me out of those swirling waters. He rescued me from all my troubles!" "He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me" (verse 19).
David could say, "The reason God delivered me from all my enemies—from all my sorrows and the powers of hell—is because I am precious to Him. My God delights in me!"
Beloved, if you need deliverance, whether from lust, temptation or trial; whether your problem is mental, spiritual, emotional or physical, the key is simply this: God delights in you! You are precious to Him!
|by Gary Wilkerson | June 25, 2012|
There is a time! I am talking about when it is time to stand up and take action. A time when it is right to say, “I believe God is calling me to be an answer to help in rescuing hurting people.”
There is a time when you hear of a church going to the mission field—a time to say, “God bless them.” There is a time to engage in prayerful faith—and then there is a time for you to get up and go. It’s time to arise—to take action!
In Genesis 14:14-16 Abraham did just that when he heard that his nephew Lot had been taken captive. He got up, armed his three hundred and eighteen men and took them with him. He was outnumbered by tens of thousands to just his few hundred but God gave him a plan. Abraham said, “We’re going to split into two troops and we’re going to go in at nighttime.”
Do you see what he was doing? He was getting the mind of Christ for the battle plan.
Some of us are like Lot when we get upset or enraged, even though we know his actions got him into trouble. We say, “I’ll get up but I’ll take action in my own strength,” rather than listening to the Lord. I am not talking about a fleshly rising up and getting something done because you’re a New Yorker or your political beliefs are different from somebody else’s. I am talking about getting something done because you are a follower of Jesus Christ.
You move in the Spirit, you walk in the Spirit, and you hear the Spirit speak to you. Out of that comes trust, prayerful faith, but also an active, moving, engaging, vibrant life where you become a witness, a servant. You become engaged in ministry that makes a difference in people’s lives. Wherever you are involved—if your teenagers are in trouble or your husband/wife is far from God—you are engaged in speaking into their lives. You are modeling something that is different from what the world has to offer.
Wives win their husbands to the Lord through their humility; through their love; through their service. Men see their families come to Jesus Christ when they stop acting like ogres and begin to really serve and love and put others ahead of themselves.
The type of faith the Holy Spirit is calling us to says, “God, I need You and You want me to become involved.”
|by David Wilkerson | June 22, 2012|
Perhaps during times of affliction you have almost fainted. You may have been so weak and weary you thought you couldn't go another step. But now, from where you stand, you can say, "I never want to go through that again but God brought me out. He has been faithful. Praise the Lord!"
God is not satisfied with a heartfelt "thank you" from us. Rather, He says, "Wait just a moment, My child. I did not bring you through all those troubles and afflictions just to make you a grateful overcomer. I've spent years training you, putting you through all these things for a purpose, and I'm not going to let you waste them now. I fully intend for my investment to pay off. I tell you, your best work is ahead of you!"
Now, as you emerge from your college-level afflictions, God opens your eyes to your struggling friends in kindergarten. These beloved ones don't think they can make it, so what do you do with your affliction experiences? God whispers to you, "I need seasoned, tested veterans, people who have survived deep waters and awful fires, who have been refined through suffering. I want people who will prove My faithfulness to this generation!" The psalmist writes: "That ye may tell it to the generation following" (Psalm 48:13). "Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come" (71:18).
Paul sums it all up beautifully: "But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel" (Philippians 1:12). That is saying something! When Paul wrote this, he was an older man with years of experience and he was in the midst of one of the worst trials of his life. He spoke to his friends from his heart:
"It would be the most wonderful thing right now if I could go home and be with my Lord. That is my greatest desire. But I'm a veteran; I've been through afflictions and trials and I know I'm needed here. This generation needs to see a sufferer who survives and rejoices in any affliction. My son Timothy is going to face all that I've faced, and he needs to know that God will bring him through. So, it is best that I stay and endure these deep afflictions. Look at me! Not only have I survived, but I have true hope. I'm not down or depressed. I rejoice in the Lord for all He has brought me through!"
|by David Wilkerson | June 21, 2012|
Does God afflict His own children? Listen to the psalmist's answer: "For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place" (Psalm 66:10-12).
The psalmist is saying, "Lord, You put me in waters so high over my head that I thought I would drown. You put me into the fire, to try me as silver is tried. You brought me into a net, laid affliction on me, caused men to trounce on me!"
Why did God allow such afflictions? It was because He was bringing His beloved child into a "wealthy place." In the original Hebrew this phrase means "a place of abundant fruitfulness." God is saying, "I'm taking you through all these hard places to make you fruitful for My kingdom."
Yet not all afflictions are from the hand of God. Many troubles come from the devil himself, straight from the pits of hell. "For he [God] doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men" (Lamentations 3:33). God says, "I get no joy out of afflicting My children. That is not My purpose in allowing troubles." No, the Lord allows our afflictions only for His eternal purposes, to bring us into a "wealthy place."
I cringe with amazement as I remember all the sorrows, trials, deep waters, flaming fires and powerful afflictions I have seen over the years. And usually when afflictions came, they came not just one at a time, but in bundles. Many times I thought, "There is no way I can make it through this." Even the memories of afflictions are painful — memories of slander, chastenings of the Lord, ministry trials, personal buffetings, family problems, bodily pains and aches. Yet, as I recall those years of suffering, I can say with assurance, "God's Word is true. He brought me out of every affliction that came upon me and I praise Him!"
|by David Wilkerson | June 20, 2012|
When a parent sends a child to college, it requires a great investment. Obviously that parent hopes his child will apply herself to the rigors of her training. Why? Does he hope she will graduate, come home, hang her diploma on the wall, then sit around the house watching television? No! That parent hopes his child will make his investment pay off by starting a good career.
Likewise, when the U.S. military offers a free education to an enlisted soldier, those years of education are considered an investment. The soldier is told, "After you're educated, your nation and government want a certain amount of your time." That trained soldier is expected to serve in the armed forces for a number of years in order to justify the investment.
So it is with the Lord and our afflictions. Everything you go through as a Christian is a training exercise behind which God has a divine purpose. He did not save you so that you could cruise into paradise on a luxury liner; He saved you to prepare you to be of use in His kingdom. The moment you were born again, He enrolled you in His school of suffering. And every affliction, every trial, is another lesson in the curriculum.
Some Christians are in kindergarten. Their afflictions are not difficult to understand and their tests are much easier to endure. Others are in grade school, and they quickly learn that their tests have become a little tougher to face and harder to understand. Others are in college, and their afflictions are much more severe and more difficult to figure out. Still others are in postgraduate school, with years of hard afflictions behind them and many difficult tests looming before them. Their afflictions are the toughest of their lives, and they realize they need Holy Ghost strength to deal with them all.
My point is, God wants veterans of spiritual warfare — people who have been through many afflictions — to prove His faithfulness to the next generation. And every affliction we endure is an investment He is making in us as His veterans.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19).