|by David Wilkerson | August 9, 2013|
When we question the power of prayer, we lose it. The devil is trying to rob us of hope by making it appear that prayer is no longer effective.
How clever Satan is, as he tries to deceive us with lies and unnecessary fears. When Jacob was brought the false news that Joseph had been killed, it sickened him to despair, even though it was a lie. Joseph was alive and prospering, while all this time his father grieved in sorrow, having believed the lie.
Unbelieving fears rob the believer of joy and confidence in God. God does not hear all prayer, He hears only believing prayer. Prayer is the only weapon we have against the enemy and must be used in great confidence, or else we have no other defense against Satan's lies.
We think God has not heard us because we see no evidence of an answer. But you can be sure that the longer a prayer is delayed, the more perfect it will come forth at last. Also, the deeper the silence, the louder the answer!
Our lack of patience is proof enough that we do not expect much from prayer. We leave the secret closet of prayer, ready to go on muddling our way through; it seems we would even be shocked if God did answer.
Abraham prayed for a child and God answered. Yet, how many years went by before he held that child in his arms? Every faithful prayer is heard the moment it is prayed, but God chooses to answer in His own way and in His own time. Meanwhile, He expects us to rejoice in the naked promises and feast on hope while we wait for the fulfillment. Also, He wraps His denials in the sweet package of love, to prevent us from falling into despair.
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36).
|by David Wilkerson | August 8, 2013|
We sometimes go to God in prayer as if He were a rich relative who will support us and give us all we beg for, while we lift not even a hand to help. We lift our hands to God in prayer, and then put them in our pockets.
We expect our prayers to get God to working for us while we sit idly by, thinking to ourselves, "He has all the power; I have none, so I will simply stand still and let Him do the work."
It sounds like good theology, but it is not. God will have no idle beggars at His door. He will not even allow us to be charitable to those on earth who refuse to work.
"We commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
There is nothing unscriptural about adding sweat to our tears. Take, for example, the matter of praying for victory over a secret lust that lingers in the heart. Do you simply ask God to take it away miraculously, then sit by, hoping it will die on its own? No sin has ever been slain in the heart without the cooperation of man's own hand, as in the case of Joshua. All night long, he lay prostrated and mourning over Israel's defeat. God set him on his feet saying, “Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them. . . . Up, sanctify the people” (Joshua 7:10-13).
God has every right to rouse us from our knees and say, "Why sit around lazily, waiting for a miracle? Have I not commanded you to flee from the very appearance of evil? You are to do more than simply pray against your lust—you are commanded also to run from it. You cannot rest until you have done all that is commanded."
Do not blame God for not listening to your prayers if you are not listening to His call to obedience. You will end up blaspheming God and accusing Him of negligence, while all along you will be the culprit.
|by David Wilkerson | August 7, 2013|
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3).
God will answer no prayer that adds to our honor or assists our temptations. In the first place, God does not answer the prayer of a person who harbors lust in his heart. All answers are dependent upon the plucking out of our hearts the evil, the lust, and the besetting sins.
"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Psalm 66:18).
The test of knowing whether or not our request is based on lust is very simple. How we handle delays and denials is the clue. Prayers founded on lust demand hasty answers. If the lusting heart does not get the desired thing quickly, it whimpers and cries, swoons and faints—or it breaks out in a spell of murmuring and complaining, finally accusing God of deafness.
“Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not" (Isaiah 58:3).
The lustful heart cannot see God's glory in His denials and delays. Yet did God not get more glory by denying Christ's prayer to save His life, if possible, from death? I shudder to think of where we would be today had God not denied that request.
God, in His justice, is obligated to delay or deny our prayers until they are purged of all selfishness and lust.
Could there be one simple reason why most of our prayers are hindered? Could it be a result of our ongoing flirtation with a lust or besetting sin? Have we forgotten that only those with clean hands and pure hearts can set their feet on His holy hill? Only a total forsaking of a pet sin will throw open the gates of heaven and unclog the blessings.
Instead of yielding, we run from counselor to counselor, trying to find help to cope with despair, emptiness, and restlessness. Yet, it is all in vain because sin and lust have not yet been plucked out. Sin is the root of all our problems. Peace comes only when we surrender and forsake all secret sin.
|by David Wilkerson | August 6, 2013|
We are not at liberty to pray randomly for whatever our selfish minds conceive nor are we permitted to come into His presence and vent our silly notions and mindless ramblings. If God signed all our petitions without discretion, He would end up giving away His glory.
There is a law of prayer, a law meant to weed out self-centered prayers, while at the same time making it possible for honest seekers to ask in confidence. In other words, we can pray for whatever we will, as long as it is His will.
"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him" (1 John 5:14).
The disciples were not praying according to God's will when they prayed with vindictiveness. They petitioned God thusly, “‘Do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’ But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of’” (Luke 9:54-55, NASB).
Job, in his sorrow, begged God to take his life away. What if God had answered his prayer? Such praying was contrary to the will of God. The Word warns, "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).
Daniel prayed the right way. First, he went to the Scriptures and searched out the mind of God. Then, after receiving clear direction, and sure of God's will, he ran to God's throne with a mighty assurance. “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer” (Daniel 9:3).
We know too much about what we want and too little about what God wants. Our prayers are aborted when they are not according to His will.
|by Gary Wilkerson | August 5, 2013|
I have a default system at work, a reflex that springs into motion whenever I fall short in my walk with the Lord. I’m talking about my tendency to turn to works rather than to God’s incredible grace to reestablish my standing with Him.
I believe most of us have such a system; it is why Paul emphasizes God’s grace again and again throughout the New Testament. In letter after letter, he hammers home the sufficiency of grace for our right relationship with the Lord.
Yet this default system—the urge to turn to works to make up for our shortcomings—is constantly at work in us. The reason I preach grace so often is because I need it! At times my church must think I overdo it, because people say to me, “I know I’m under grace, but what is my responsibility?” That is a good question. In a covenant of grace—one in which God has done everything required for our salvation—what part do we play?
For many of us, the concept of grace holds no power in our daily walk. We know God has bestowed on us precious, costly gifts in His Son and the Holy Spirit; therefore, we think we should not fail or fall short. So when we do, we’re surprised. It does not compute that we could still be awful sinners after all God has done for us and we picture Him shaking His head in regret.
We convince ourselves we can do better and so we double our efforts at prayer, at Bible reading, at getting involved in ministry. We do this knowing full well our works do nothing to gain right standing with God. Do we really think more works are what God wants from us? Two hours of prayer instead of one? Does He really want us busier?
Only two things result from these efforts to save ourselves. First, we avoid facing up to our sinfulness. Second—and much worse—we rob ourselves of drinking from God’s deep well of grace. Paul faced this dilemma early on in the church. When the Christians in Galatia tried to please God through works of the law, Paul confronted them: “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 3:1-2, ESV). Paul was asking, “Do you really think you can improve on the cross?”
|by David Wilkerson | August 2, 2013|
Who are the real troublemakers in the house of God today? It is not the Elijah company, who sigh and cry over the abominations of the church. It is not those who expose sin and testify against the wicked deeds of religious leaders and those at ease in Zion. No, all division is caused by compromise. All trouble in God's house is the result of apostasy and the forsaking of the Lord's commandments. "For where envying and strife is, there is disorder and every evil work" (James 3:16).
Paul warns the brethren to "mark them which cause divisions . . . and avoid them" (Romans 16:17). But who were these who "caused offenses contrary to the doctrine taught?" They were none other than a self-centered, backslidden group who "served their own belly" (verse 18). This proves that division is caused by proud, arrogant catering to self-interests. Paul said, "By good words and fair speeches [they] deceive the hearts of the simple (unsuspecting)" (verse 18). Those who are soft on sin, overlooking evil deeds and crying unity, are the real divisionists. The true body of Christ has never been nor ever will be divided. Those in holy union with Christ are already united to each other. Sin is the divider!
Paul and Silas were brought before the magistrates of the city of Philippi, having been accused of "exceedingly troubling" the city (Acts 16:20). They were beaten and cast into prison as a result of the trouble they had caused. What was this exceeding great trouble? Paul and Silas had cast a fortune-telling spirit out of a damsel who had "brought her masters much gain by soothsaying. . . And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas" (Acts 16:16 and 19).
When self-interest is threatened in any way, the cry goes up, "Troublemakers! Division! Threat to unity!" Paul and Silas had uncovered a religious con game, a demonic deception under the guise of religion. It was a very profitable scheme for a select few who knew how to manipulate undiscerning crowds. What raised the cry, "Division"? It was a revival of cleansing. Those who accused Paul and Silas of causing dissension had ulterior motives and they refused the call to repent and walk in holiness.
God, give us more troublers of Israel who are not afraid to stand up against religious hypocrisy and disobedience!
|by David Wilkerson | August 1, 2013|
Elijah's hatred for the sins of Israel sprang out of his very strong love for God's people. He was not a people hater, only a sin hater. He was not a man of revenge, but rather a man whose heart yearned for Israel's return to the Lord. To understand the spirit and power that was upon Elijah, you must hear his heartbroken cry on Mount Carmel: "Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell . . . and when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces" (1 Kings 18:37-39).
Elijah was not at all interested in being validated as a prophet. He wanted only to see the honor of God restored and the backslidden in heart "returned to the Lord." True prophets, though they may sound hard against sin, are at heart merciful, kind and patient. And when they see real biblical repentance, they are builders and restorers of breaches.
I believe there exists today an Elijah company of true shepherds. Not all preachers are backslidden or self-serving. I am hearing from a growing number of holy shepherds who have been wounded and rejected by uncaring sheep. Some are being literally driven out of their churches for preaching holy standards. But cruelest of all are the so-called prophecies and denunciations from harsh "prophetic voices" that have no mercy or redemptive quality to them.
If you should ever hear a "prophet" pronouncing curses on anyone, you can be sure he is not walking in the Spirit of Christ. He is often a proud, self-proclaimed Elijah, full of arrogance and lust. The Word says clearly, "Bless, and curse not" (Romans 12:14). Those who go about speaking of cursing ought to shudder at these warnings: "As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing like as with a garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones" (Psalm 109:17-18).
The Elijah company is comprised of a weeping people and any prophetic word that comes forth from their lips is bathed in tears. In brokenness and godly sorrow, they walk in repentance. They refuse to wink at sin and they fear no man or devil when it comes to standing up for the honor of Christ.
|by David Wilkerson | July 31, 2013|
"Dear Pastor David, A few years ago my husband lost a job that was very important to him. This was tragic for him, as he lost all his self-esteem and his good income, and he has never recovered. Even though he's employed, his present salary is less than half of what it was. Now I am the family’s primary breadwinner.
“A few weeks ago I was looking for something to read when the Lord led me to a box of papers I had kept. I pulled out one of your old sermons, ‘A Place Called Wits’ End.’ As I read this message, God's Spirit ministered to me that that's exactly where I am—at my wits’ end!
"God showed me through your message that I've turned in anger against my husband. I've been depending on him—that is, on the flesh. I need to turn to Jesus alone as my hope, as the only one who can provide for me and bring me out of these problems. I know now that my husband can never bring me out. Yet as I read your message, I received assurance that God is with me.
"I'm not through my trial yet. It's still very hard. Sometimes when I look down the road, I see potential disasters hemming us in like the children of Israel. Yet God has shown me I have doubted His love for me and His faithfulness to provide for me.
"I've also realized, as you've taught, that I've been good at suppressing my fears and have never dealt a deathblow to my doubts. Now I want to put an end to all that. I choose to praise God for loving me and providing for me, even though I haven't seen the provision yet.”
Dear saint, you may have more bad days coming. But you must come to the place where you can say, "Jesus, I cast all my cares upon You now. I'm an heir to the riches of God in Christ Jesus. And I know those riches include full supply of all my physical needs."
You can believe and trust God for that!
|by David Wilkerson | July 30, 2013|
Imagine an adopted son who has matured and inherited lordship over all of his father's wealth. Yet this son continues to eke out an existence with the servants, living under the terms of enslavement.
Is it right for this young man's father to comfort him in his bondage, assuring him he's loved and that everything will be all right? Of course not. Any father who loves his son would want him to claim his inheritance and leave his poverty. He would urge him to appropriate the riches that are his!
Likewise, God doesn't merely comfort us in our bondage. Rather, He comes to us saying, "Son, daughter, when are you going to take your place at My side? When will you come into My house and lay hold of all the resources that are now rightfully yours?"
"Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Galatians 4:6-7).
If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, then you're a child of God. And because you are His child, you are automatically an heir and joint-heir with Christ to all the riches of the Father!
Of course, our position as heirs has nothing to do with material wealth. To say that Christ died to make us rich in gold or silver is blasphemy. The Bible states, "In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9). This means God has given Jesus all riches in glory. Therefore, He has every resource needed to bring us out of every bad day we might face.
Yet, you ask, "Isn't God interested in our physical well-being? All my bad days have to do with my lack of finances. I constantly worry about making ends meet."
Beloved, your Father begins by meeting all your physical needs. His Word promises, "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). The Greek word for need here is from a root word meaning "to handle all business, all that is lacking or necessary."
Paul is saying, "God is faithful to take care of all your concerns—business, financial and otherwise. That covers your employment, your food, your clothes and your home. Yet there are also the riches of His goodness—strength, wisdom and grace, as well as the riches of His full assurance of salvation. And, beyond even these, there are His unsearchable riches."
|by Gary Wilkerson | July 29, 2013|
I visited a church in El Salvador where the average income of of the members is four dollars a day. I was astonished to learn that the people give two of their earned dollars toward charity. When I asked them why they give so much, all of them answered, “Because Jesus told us to give to the poor.”
When I pointed out that they were in need, they responded, “Oh, no! We’re blessed and we want to bless in return.”
These are not hearts that are unholy or swollen with conceit. Can we say the same of ourselves? As Christians, will we be eager to bless others when we have little in our own accounts? Or will we shrink back when it comes to blessing as we have been blessed?
The coming hard times will reveal the condition of our hearts. For the first time in history, less than 50 percent of Americans identify themselves as believers of some kind. That figure is even lower—30 percent—for people under thirty. Many of these check “none” as their religious affiliation. It is estimated that within a decade this generation will be lost completely to secularism and godlessness. And intolerance for Christians will only increase.
What are we to do with this? The writer of Hebrews answers, “Recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings” (Hebrews 10:32, ESV). God turned those early Christians’ sufferings into tools for gospel power: “Sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction . . . you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, ‘Yet a little while, and the coming one will come . . . but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (10:33-39).
This is a hard passage, to be sure, but there is good news embedded here. God is telling us that in the midst of the growing darkness, He is doing something glorious, raising up a last-days church as a testimony to His power in hard times.