|by David Wilkerson | December 25, 2012|
Jesus was drawn to an impotent man lying by the pool of Bethesda. "And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?" (John 5:5-6). This unnamed crippled man has many faces and represents multitudes of impotent Christians who feel hopeless.
Impotence comes in many forms: physical, spiritual, mental—or all of these at once. Mentally and spiritually you may be that man lying by the pool. You are in a situation that seems hopeless and you see no way out. No one really understands the depth of your suffering; not a single friend or loved one seems to have the time, love or energy to really touch the hurt in you.
Take a good look at that impotent man and think of the years of struggle, the hurts heaped upon him by uncaring, insensitive people. How often he must have lifted a withered hand to those rushing by to get their own needs met, crying, "Someone, help! Please! I can't do it on my own!"
Multitudes of Christians are spiritually helpless and impotent because of a lingering battle with some besetting sin that has robbed them of spiritual life and vitality. They lie helpless on the bed of depression and despair, always hoping for a miracle, always waiting for someone to stir things up and make something happen. They drag themselves to meeting after meeting, counseling sessions, seminars, waiting for that one great, life-changing miracle. But nothing changes.
I believe God's great love is revealed in response to a cry from the heart—and I believe Jesus came to this man in answer to a deep and agonizing cry to the Father. The Bible has much to say about this cry from the heart. "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God; he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears" (Psalm 18:6). A cry to God from the heart will always be answered by a merciful, healing word from heaven!
|by Gary Wilkerson | December 24, 2012|
The Corinthian church had many problems: division, gossip, backbiting, envy, strife and sexual sin. There was compromise and tolerance in the church and the attitude of the people seemed to be, “Well, we all slip or stumble at times. We’re not really so bad.” In 1 Corinthians 3 the apostle Paul writes to the church.
“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1, ESV). Paul was not attempting to give them a word of encouragement but was preaching a strong word that would convict them and tear up the fallow ground of their hardened hearts.
Paul went on to say, “I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready” (verse 2). Paul longed to speak a meaty word to them that would fill their souls and nourish them in ways that would raise them up in Christ to new development and stability. Because of their immaturity, however, he had to keep giving them milk.
“For you are still of the flesh” (verse 3). The Bible uses the word flesh (carnal), which means “having the spirit of the age.” This fleshly, carnal spirit that we are talking about can be described as not having the Holy Spirit’s power but, instead, doing things in your own strength.
“For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” (verse 3). Paul describes some of the ways this human, fleshly spirit works. It is always jealous. It is always envious. It is always causing strife and division in the house of God. The fleshly spirit accuses others or has an attitude that says, “I’m better.”
God is using Paul to call this church to repent and say, “God, I want all that You have!” If we repent and become willing to lock ourselves in the secret closet alone with God, we will become old-fashioned men or women of prayer.
|by David Wilkerson | December 21, 2012|
(Please note: These evidences are contingent upon your first repenting of sin, forsaking all wickedness, trusting in Christ for eternal salvation, and allowing Him to translate you out of darkness and into His kingdom of light.)
1. You are in Christ if you are continually being renewed. Those who are "in Christ" do not rest on a one-time conversion experience. Rather, they constantly cry out to be changed and renewed by the Holy Spirit. Their daily prayer is, "Lord, take out of me everything that is unlike You.”
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour" (Titus 3:5-6).
2. You are in Christ if you govern your life by the Scriptures. Do you revere and fear God's Word?
"Whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him" (1 John 2:5). The Bible makes it clear: We know we are in Christ if we love and obey His Word.
3. You are in Christ if your faith is mixed with charity. Scripture says if you do not have charity, or unconditional love, you cannot be in Christ.
"Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2). Nothing in Greek here means, "I am nothing now nor will I ever be anything." In other words, "Without unconditional love for all, I am a nobody and I will always be a nobody."
You can be a gifted preacher, a powerful evangelist, or an anointed teacher of God’s Word who walks in great faith, but if you do not have love for others, you are nothing.
|by David Wilkerson | December 20, 2012|
Jesus prayed to the Father: "All mine are thine, and thine are mine; I am glorified in them" (John 17:10). "The love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them" (verse 26).
Jesus makes it very clear: When we are one with Him, we enjoy the very same love of the Father that He enjoys. God delights in us as much as He does in His own Son.
The Bible also tells us God is our Father, just as He is Christ's Father. Jesus testified: "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17).
So, how hard are you striving to please God? Do you go through seasons in which you feel you are delighting Him? And do you have "low" seasons when you feel you are displeasing Him?
Beloved, you have to put facts ahead of your feelings. And the fact is, God's pleasure in you has nothing to do with your strivings, intensity, good intentions or actions. No, it all has to do with your faith.
I believe God wants us to have what I call a "focused faith" that says, "All your faith may be focused on the principle that if you wish to stand holy before God, you must come to Him in Christ."
The writer of Hebrews warns against having ". . . an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God" (Hebrews 3:12). This is an issue of faith! When we move away from the foundational doctrine of being accepted by God through Christ, we are turning back to the law, the flesh and spiritual bondage!
"We which have believed do enter into rest . . . For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his" (4:3, 10). Scripture makes it clear: The evidence of faith is rest.
The only way to bring your striving, sweating, troubled soul into peace is to convince yourself, "I am in Christ and I am accepted by God. He delights in me, regardless of whether I am up or down. No matter how I feel, I know my position in Christ—that I am seated with Him in heavenly places!"
|by David Wilkerson | December 19, 2012|
"Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" (Micah 6:6-7).
The Israelites in this passage were asking a good question: "How can any human approach a holy God? How can we ever please Him and be accepted by Him? What kind of sacrifice does He want from us? Our blood, our bodies, our children?"
God's answer appears throughout the Scriptures: "I do not want your sacrifices, your good works, your promises, your moral deeds. Not one of these fleshly things is acceptable in My sight. Nothing can please or delight Me except My Son and all who are gathered in Him."
Think of the most moral, upright person you know. Even he or she is not accepted in God's presence outside of Christ. All of that person's good works, kind nature and generosity are filthy rags in God's sight.
So, how are we accepted by God? Paul writes, "He hath made us accepted in the beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). Our good works come as a result of being in Him.
If you have given your heart fully to Jesus, you have probably voiced the same questions Israel asked: "Oh, God, how can I please You? How can I be a delight to You? I've made promises and tried my best, but every time I think I'm making progress, I take two steps back. Should I read more of the Bible? Should I spend more time in prayer? Should I do more witnessing? Lord, what do You want from me?"
God answers us as He did Israel: "I don't want any of your sacrifices or good works. I recognize only the work of My Son, who delights and pleases Me. I chose you from before the foundation of the world to be wed to My Son. I wooed you, convicted you and through my Spirit I brought you into Him. I cannot hate My own flesh!"
|by David Wilkerson | December 18, 2012|
God spoke to Isaiah about a certain servant who delights His heart: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth" (Isaiah 42:1). Who is this One whom God sustains and upholds, guarding His every step? Who is His chosen, His elect, the One in whom He so delights?
We find the answer in Matthew's gospel: "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:16-17).
The Hebrew word for I am well pleased here is "delight." God was saying, "My soul delights in My Son, Jesus Christ!"
Throughout the Old Testament, untold numbers of sheep and cattle were offered to the Lord as sacrifices. Rivers of animals' blood flowed for centuries. Yet the Bible says none of these sacrifices brought the Lord any pleasure: "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. . . . In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure" (Hebrews 10:4, 6).
In the very next verse we read these wonderful words from Jesus: "Then said I, Lo, I come . . . to do thy will, O God" (verse 7). Christ came to earth to do what no animal sacrifice could do.
"Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me" (verse 5). God had prepared a physical body for Jesus here on earth, a body that would provide the final, perfect sacrifice.
In short, God abased Himself for our sake. Encasing Himself in a human womb, He took on our nature. And He gave up the riches of heaven to become poor, giving His life to ransom us.
|by Gary Wilkerson | December 17, 2012|
In the 1800s, after a visit with a couple and their eight children, a young woman wrote an anointed song. All the family members attended church but during her five days with them, she sensed a coldness in their hearts toward the things of God. They seemed to lack spiritual fervor and there was no reverence for Him.
Deeply burdened, the young lady prayed fervently for her hosts the entire time she was with them, believing that God would deal with their hearts. She also spoke the truth in love and boldly warned them. Before she left, a revival had broken out in that house of ten people. They wept for hours as they rejoiced at what the Holy Spirit was accomplishing in their lives!
The composer of the song, Frances Havergal, said, “I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration. These little couplets formed themselves, and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with 'Ever, ONLY, ALL for Thee!'"
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
Would you ask God to fill you afresh with the power of the Holy Spirit? I invite you to pray, “Take all of me, Jesus. I want my life to be fully consecrated to You!”
|by David Wilkerson | December 14, 2012|
King David committed adultery and then arranged for a faithful soldier to be murdered so he could lay claim to his young wife. He brought shame on Israel and on his heavenly Father's name. He hid his horrible darkness for a whole year and came to the brink of total ruin. Yet, even after all this, God called David “a man after mine own heart" (Acts 13:22). How could this be? The secret is that just before David was about to fall, he humbled himself and repented.
"I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin" (Psalm 38:18). "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psalm 51:4).
“Create in me a clean heart, O God . . . and take not thy holy spirit from me" (Psalm 51:10-11).
Are you troubled and grieved by your besetting sin? Do you feel you are on the brink of falling under the heavy load of it all? If so, then you are on your way to healing and deliverance. You see, when David repented, he was finally able to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel.
"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my trangressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. . . . Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance" (Psalm 32:5, 7).
Dearly beloved, you can get back your joy. Simply confess and forsake your sin and the Lord will pardon and deliver you. He is ready to kiss your neck, clothe you in a robe of righteousness, and spread before you a great feast. Then you will be able to testify with David:
"Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart" (Psalm 32:10-11).
|by David Wilkerson | December 13, 2012|
The prophet Ezekiel gives us a vivid illustration of what happens to a people who take their sin lightly. In this account, the seventy elders of Judah came to Ezekiel to receive a word from the Lord. These men were all in the service of the temple, and as they gathered with the prophet to worship, Ezekiel was given an amazing vision:
"As I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me . . . the hand of the Lord God fell there upon me. Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire . . . as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber. And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem" (Ezekiel 8:1-3).
The Holy Spirit fell on this gathering, and God's holy fire filled the place with light: "And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there" (verse 4). Whenever God's fiery presence appears in a meeting, sin is always exposed. Suddenly, the prophet saw that these men's minds were filled with ". . . every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts" (verse 10). He is describing demonic strongholds, evil beings. And they had infiltrated God's house through the ministry!
There sat the seventy elders, calm and placid, appearing as worshipers seeking guidance from the Lord. In truth, however, they were covering hidden sin. They had been going through the outward worship procedures of the temple ministry, when in reality they all belonged to a secret society of sun worshipers. They employed prostitutes in the temple and as part of the worship ritual, these supposedly godly elders took part in fornication.
Worst of all, these men were not convicted of their horrible idolatry. They had convinced themselves that God winked at their idolatry. David was heavily burdened by his sin but these seventy elders felt no arrows of conviction, no loss of physical strength, no emotional pain. Instead, they were deceived by what Moses called a "false peace."
"And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst" (Deuteronomy 29:19).
In other words: "A deceived person is like a drunkard; he has lost all ability to discern. He can't even distinguish between thirst and drunkenness."
|by David Wilkerson | December 12, 2012|
The burden of hidden sin King David carried for an entire year cost him dearly. It broke his health, plagued his mind and wounded his spirit. It created havoc in his home, disillusionment in God's people, mockery among the godless. Finally, he cried out, "I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me" (Psalm 38:17). The Hebrew word for halt here means "fall." He was saying, "I am about to fall from this heavy load of sorrow."
Some Christians might look at David in his time of turmoil and think, "What a tragedy Satan was able to bring upon David. How could this once-tender psalmist come to the brink of a fall? God must have been terribly angry with him."
No! It was not the devil who made David's sin so heavy, it was God. In His great mercy, God allowed this man to sink to the depths, because He wanted him to see the magnitude of his sin. He made David's unconfessed sin so heavy, he could no longer bear it and he was driven to repentance.
The truth is, only a righteous man like David could be so powerfully affected by his sin. You see, his conscience was still tender and he felt the sharp pains of every arrow of conviction God thrust into his heart. That's why David could say, "My sorrow is continually before me."
That is the secret of this whole story: David had a godly sorrow, a deep and precious fear of God. He could admit, "I see the Lord's disciplining hand in this, pressing me down to my knees, and I acknowledge that my sin deserves His wrath.”
The writer of Lamentations says, "I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. . . . He hath broken my bones. He hath builded against me. . . . He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old. He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. . . . He hath enclosed my ways with hewn stone" (Lamentations 3:1-9).
The writer's point is clear: When we live with hidden sin, God Himself makes our chains so heavy, chaotic and terrifying, we are driven to open confession and deep repentance.