|by World Challenge Staff | July 7, 2012|
Lead Pastor & PresidentThe Springs Church, World Challenge, Inc
Senior PastorBrooklyn Tabernacle
Dr. Tony Evans
Senior Pastor, AuthorOak Cliff Bible Fellowship
Concert with Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers
Pennsylvania Convention Center
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Philadelphia, PA 19107
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Wayne, PA 19087
All over the world, pastors and church leaders labor day in and day out to bring His love to those in need. As a minister, you have no doubt experienced the joy of His hand guiding you. But like many, you may also have experienced the difficulty, the loneliness, the dryness, even the despair which can occasionally come to all of us who serve. The ministry you are about to be introduced to was established just for you, to strengthen you, to bring a fresh anointing of God’s love and divine healing into your ministry, into your family, into your church.
Please join us as we stand in awe at the healing work of God taking place in our very midst.
|by David Wilkerson | July 6, 2012|
David wrote: "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. . . . 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 [came upon] 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" (Psalm 18:6, 16-19).
Dear saint, rest assured that if you are being afflicted, it is because God delights in you. "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth" (Hebrews 12:6). Your afflictions are a sign of His love.
You must also remember that whatever you're going through will pass. Recently, I read a passage in one of my journals that I had written while going through a great trial. Three months' worth of entries all ended with the same phrase: "Oh, God, when will this nightmare end?" Then, finally, these words appeared across a page in huge letters: "IT'S OVER—HE HAS DELIVERED!"
I can honestly say I have learned more in my afflictions than I ever did in good times. Prosperity doesn't teach us—afflictions do. The humanitarian Albert Schweitzer said, "Happiness is good health and a bad memory." No, happiness is remembering all the ways God has brought us through.
I ask you again: How are you reacting to your afflictions? Are you wasting them, becoming a doubter and complainer? Or are you building up your faith, knowing that your God delivers?
There is only one way to endure your present troubles: Remember that your heavenly Father delights in you. He has a plan at work, a great investment in you. "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). Your Father is preparing you to be a veteran of spiritual warfare, an example of faith and trust to this generation.
|by David Wilkerson | July 5, 2012|
We have a tendency to forget every good thing God has done for us. When we face new challenges we often do not remember our deliverance from old ones.
When David stood before Goliath, he rehearsed his past victories in order to build up his faith. He recounted, "And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:34-36).
Moses reminded Israel of all their past deliverances and then he warned them: "Take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons" (Deuteronomy 4:9).
The Bible says of Israel: "They kept not the covenant of God . . . and forgot his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them" (Psalm 78:10-11). Like the Israelites, we have the same tendency whenever we face a new trial or affliction. We say, "Oh, God, this time it's too much for me to face." But God answers, "Simply look back and remember Me!"
If need be, keep a journal to remind yourself of God's great deliverances in your life. Jot down a few notes at night before going to bed. Do whatever it takes to remind yourself of all the things He has done for you, all the heartaches you have been through and the deliverance He brought. Then, when your next affliction arises, open your notebook and say to the devil, "You're not going to deceive me this time. My God brought me out before, and He will do it again."
|by David Wilkerson | July 4, 2012|
The book of Numbers contains a sad example of wasted afflictions. The five daughters of a man called Zelophehad came to Moses asking for a share in the possession of the Promised Land. They told Moses, "Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah; but he died in his own sin, and had no sons" (Numbers 27:3). These women were saying, "When all the others rose up against you with Korah, our father wasn't one of them. He wasn't in rebellion. He died in his own sin."
This last phrase struck me as I read it: "He died in his own sin." This meant that although their father had seen incredible miracles—deliverance out of Egypt, water flowing from a rock, manna coming from heaven—he died in unbelief with the rest of his generation. Of that generation, only faithful Joshua and Caleb survived the wilderness.
Obviously, these five daughters were born in the wilderness and they grew up in a family full of anger toward God. All of Israel's testings and trials produced only hardened unbelief in their father and these young women grew up hearing murmuring, complaining and bitterness. At breakfast, lunch and supper, there was constant bellyaching, with never a word of faith or trust in God. Now these women had to tell Moses, "Our father left us with nothing—no hope, no possessions, no testimony. He spent those forty years whining and in bitterness, because life was hard. He died in sin, his life a total waste."
What a horrible thing to have to say of one's parents. Yet I must warn all parents reading this: Your children are watching you as you're under affliction and your reactions and behavior will influence them for life. So, how are you behaving? Are you wasting your affliction, not only for yourself but for the generations that follow? I hope your heirs are being established in Christ as they hear you say, "I don't like this affliction but blessed be the name of the Lord."
I know many Christians who become more bitter and grumpy with every new affliction. The very afflictions meant to train and sweeten them, trials designed by God to reveal His faithfulness, instead turn them into habitual complainers, sourpusses, and meanies. I wonder, "Where is their faith, their trust in the Lord? What must their children think?"
Beloved, don't waste your afflictions. Let them produce in you the sweet aroma of trust and faith in your Lord.
|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!