|by David Wilkerson | February 1, 2013|
When God's Word speaks of rest, it includes physical rest. But the Lord's holy rest begins in the soul: "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9). What is this rest? It is the laying of all our sin-burdens on Christ!
Jesus Himself says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). He is saying, "By faith, you must enter into the Father's sabbath rest. You must refuse to carry your burdens to and from your home any longer, and instead lay them all on Me. I am the Lord of the sabbath and I am the only one who can bear your burdens."
I ask you: Why do so many Christians refuse Jesus' offer? I believe that if Jeremiah were living today, he would be dumbfounded by all the Christians who continue to carry their own burdens of sin and battles with temptation. He probably would cry out: "Why are you bearing all these burdens on such a glorious sabbath? Didn't Jesus say to you as I said to Israel, 'Bring no burden into your house'? Why do you continue to carry such a load around? Don’t carry a burden on the sabbath, for it is a holy day unto the Lord!"
The point here is that sabbath means we are to cease from our own works—our striving in human strength—to merit God's salvation: "Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers" (Jeremiah 17:22).
Here is the secret to how we are to hallow the sabbath: We are to give all our burdens over to Jesus, and trust His Holy Spirit to give us strength for life. That's right! We honor the sabbath by laying down all self-effort in trying to make our way through sin and temptation.
We are to observe this command not just on Sunday but every day!
|by David Wilkerson | January 31, 2013|
"And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain forever" (Jeremiah 17:24-25). I believe this entire passage is prophetic of Christ and His church!
We know that Christ is the seed of David. And we know He sits as King on David's throne. But who are the kings and princes Jeremiah describes here, the inhabitants of Jerusalem riding on horses and in chariots?
We are those people and we have been given an incredible promise: By taking all our burdens to the burden bearer, we will live in peace forever, free of all bondage. Indeed, Jesus’ command to lay our burdens on Him is not an option. We are to do it as a matter of trust in Him.
"If ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched" (verse 27).
The prophet is saying, "If you will not obey God's command to stop carrying your burdens, you'll end up being consumed by them." Tragically, this describes many believers today. Some can hardly sleep at night because they never stop thinking about their problems. They turn things over and over in their minds, wondering, "Where did I go wrong? How can I make things right?"
When they wake up, their minds go straight to their burdens—in the shower, while getting dressed, then at the breakfast table. By the time they walk out the front door, they're so burdened down they can't even smile.
Such Christians never know even an hour of rest in Jesus—rest that He freely gives!
|by David Wilkerson | January 30, 2013|
I believe God has provided us with a very specific promise for the hard times that are coming. It was given to Abraham and his seed as an oath.
“The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life” (Luke 1:73-75).
God has sworn to deliver us from every enemy, every fearful thing, so we can serve Him all the days of our lives without fear. Beloved, hunger is an enemy. Nakedness and poverty are enemies.
This oath from God must be the foundation of our trust in every crisis, calamity and fearful time. Memorize it! Let it be your holy argument at the throne of grace!
In Psalm 121 David has provided us with one of the most powerful Holy Ghost arguments ever given to man. The entire psalm tells us that all our help comes from the Lord alone. Psalm 124 is yet another holy argument, your specific promise to enable you to build special trust.
Right now America is under a "signature judgment" of God. Signature judgments bear a special mark of God in that they mirror the sins committed against Him. As these judgments take place before our very eyes, our only answer is to have Jesus as our shield. Run today to meet Him in the secret closet of prayer. Let your roots go down deep into Him and know that He will keep you in all circumstances.
Take hold of the following special promises in readiness for any and all calamities we may face:
"Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness. . . . He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart shall be established, he shall not be afraid" (Psalm 112:4, 7-8).
"And he shall judge the world in righteousness. . . . The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee" (Psalm 9:8-10).
|by David Wilkerson | January 29, 2013|
In my lifetime I have never talked to as many frightened people as I have in the past three months. America is downright scared!
Builders, Wall Street professionals, retailers, executives, lawyers, small business owners are all saying the same thing: “It's worse than most people know. And it's going to get worse!” We are racing toward very hard times.
No one likes to hear these kinds of reports; in fact, they can be very depressing. But the Puritans had a saying: "Our affections bribe our discernments." We all love America and our way of life, but unless we face the truth that hard times in this nation are upon us, we will never have the trust and confidence we are going to need.
Rest assured, none of this is taking Jesus by surprise. He saw it all coming. He who has numbered every hair on a person’s head and counted every fallen sparrow knew beforehand what His followers would face in the last days.
He knew where every dollar in the federal budget would go—and that your rent and taxes would escalate. He knew about every job layoff His children would face, about all your bills, even the number of children you have. There is not one thing our blessed Savior did not know when He told us very specifically in Matthew 6:25-33: "Don't give these things a second thought. Your heavenly Father knows all about your personal needs and He will take care of you!"
You wonder how a Christian in need can give no thought to his physical condition and I say that we cannot shrink from Jesus' promise to us. His very words are eternal: "I say unto you. . . ." In fact, you can take those very words to the throne room of God and say to Jesus, “These are the red letter words: ‘I say unto you, give no thought to your needs!’”
No matter how many banks close or how long the unemployment lines grow, our Lord will be feeding the fowl of the air, dressing the lilies of the fields, and supplying the daily needs of an ocean full of fish! “Your heavenly Father feedeth them” (Matthew 6:26). Not one creature will suffer without our Lord knowing it.
Hard times will never stop our Father’s provision: “Are ye not much better than they? . . . Shall He not much more clothe you?” (Matthew 6:26, 30).
|by Gary Wilkerson | January 28, 2013|
Does God give favor, bless abundantly and lavish His grace on hungry, waiting hearts? The answer is yes—and we find this illustrated in the first chapter of Luke.
An angel appeared to Mary to announce the amazing events about to take place in her life: “The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be” (Luke 1:26-29, ESV, emphasis mine).
Bible scholars say Mary was very young, probably a teenager. Imagine how strange this encounter had to be for her. Here was a simple girl from an obscure village and family, and an angel stood before her: “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus’” (Luke 1:30-31, ESV, emphasis mine).
Mary seemed uncertain about what she was hearing, which is easy to understand. Living in a male-dominated culture, she had little influence and probably few expectations for her life. She would have all the privileges of being a good wife and mother but nothing beyond.
A lot of us are like Mary. We would like to see our circumstances transformed. We want to see our sick relative healed. We long for our troubled child to find purpose in Christ or our tense marriage to be restored to its former joy. Like Mary, we think, “Lord, my life doesn’t reflect Your favor at all. I need You to bring Your light into it.” How would we feel if we heard a voice from heaven telling us, “You have God’s favor”?
Be encouraged! God is actually looking to favor you—especially if you will cry out with Mary: “Lord, I want to see You glorified in my life!”
|by David Wilkerson | January 25, 2013|
God wants to make sure your heart is set on persevering, no matter how long His answer takes. Jesus gave us a parable to prove that He waits on us to determine not to give up. It is the parable of the distressed widow who kept coming to the judge and requesting justice (see Luke 18:2-8). The judge finally granted the widow’s request only because he did not want to be worn down by her constant pleading. "Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me" (verse 5). Jesus added, "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily" (verses 7-8).
You say, “But doesn't Jesus seem to be speaking a paradox in this passage? First He says God ‘bears long with us’ and then He says He ‘will avenge us speedily.’”
Most of us misinterpret the passage completely. Jesus isn't speaking of delaying a long time—not at all! He says God wants to speedily answer us but God is "bearing something" that calls for patience on His part. He is saying, “I will put up with this thing I see in your heart. I will bear with you until you are willing to lay hold as you should for the answer.”
As I look back at some of the things I have persevered in prayer for, I see the Lord saying, "I'm holding up the request to you, like a mirror. And through this, I am going to show you what is deep in your heart."
I have seen doubt . . . fear . . . unbelief . . . things that have made me throw myself at Jesus' feet and cry, "Oh, Lord, I'm not interested in the answers anymore, but only in getting this spirit out of me. I don't want to doubt You."
The hardest part of faith is the last half hour. When it looks as if God will not answer, we give up and go on to something else. We think we are surrendering to God's providence, depending on His sovereign will. We say, "Well, God, You must not have wanted it after all."
No! That is not what God intended. When you are praying the obvious will of God—salvation of family, for instance—you have every right to hold on and never give up until Jesus answers.
|by David Wilkerson | January 24, 2013|
Rest assured that if you are trying to walk righteously before the Lord, you are being tested. In fact, the deeper your walk with Christ, the more intense your testing will be. Scripture makes this clear:
"The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. . . . Now when they shall fall, they shall be [helped] with a little help. . . . And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed" (Daniel 11:32-35).
A great time of testing is coming upon "those of understanding." Just who are these who will be tested? They are the righteous, those who do exploits for the Lord, who walk with God and have the wisdom of Christ.
Right now, you may be asking, "Why am I being tested? Why is this happening to me?"
Remember your school days? When a test in school was given, it revealed how much you had actually learned of what you had been taught. Yet Paul spoke of a different school, one where we are "learning Christ" and are "being taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus" (see Ephesians 4:20-21). If you belong to Jesus, you are in His school. You may have thought you had graduated, but that will not happen until you are in glory.
When I was in school, I hated "pop quizzes," unannounced tests. Yet the Lord has told us to be ready to be tested at any time, and these tests will continue until Jesus returns. All who love the Lord are going to go through fiery trials and be purged of all that is not like Christ, in preparation for the wedding of the Lamb.
David often spoke of being tested and tried: "I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness" (1 Chronicles 29:17). "Thou has proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress" (Psalm 17:3).
|by David Wilkerson | January 23, 2013|
Years ago, after walking the streets of New York City—worn out, tired in soul and body—I developed mononucleosis. I ended up in the hospital for six weeks and developed a growth in my throat. I could not swallow and sometimes I couldn't even catch my breath. My weight soon fell to less than 115 pounds. Since I could not travel, all the income to the ministry quickly dried up and it looked like the end of Teen Challenge!
I remember the night I cried out in desperation, "Lord, I give up! Teen Challenge is all Yours. I am just going to trust You. If You want the ministry’s doors to close, that's Your business. But, please, God, get this thing out of my throat!" Within an hour I coughed up a fleshy growth the size of a large walnut.
I left the hospital in a day or two and soon got my strength back. And I discovered that while I was away, Teen Challenge had survived! I do not know how the Lord did it, but while I was ill, the staff began to trust the Lord instead of looking to me. And that's what God was trying to accomplish!
Beloved, your troubles are not unforeseen accidents. No matter what you are going through, no matter how deep your hurt, God is right on target and right on time.
You may think the devil came in and interrupted God's plan for your life, saying, "Let me at him." But no, that is not the case. It does not matter if you did something stupid or careless. If you have repented, the Lord can harness everything meant for evil and turn it around for good.
Don't focus on your past mistakes—get your eyes off the monsters. God promised to restore to you all the years the cankerworm has eaten. Encourage yourself with these words and let them become your life and hope: "My God can do anything. He has not forgotten me. No one can change His plans. No matter how bad things look, He has everything under control!"
|by David Wilkerson | January 22, 2013|
I would be lying if I told you that Christians will observe sorrow, trouble, unemployment and depression on all sides while they themselves remain safe within a cozy cocoon of health and wealth. The Bible says God causes the rain to fall on both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). Job was holy—yet he suffered! But just as God brought Job out of his affliction, so He will bring us out even though we, too, will go through the fire.
Hundreds of ministers are meeting to pray in different cities, and the same confession is heard: "Never have so many been so deeply tested. Satan has come like a flood, with trouble, hardship, deep sorrow and pain befalling the godly."
Satan was Job's troubler and he is your troubler. Could it be that he has stood again before God and issued a great accusation against the last-days church? He might have challenged God, "It is the last hour, but You have no true church. You have no spotless bride. There are no wise virgins; in fact, most of them are asleep. Look at them—materialistic, self-centered, grasping for riches and the good life. Listen to their teachers telling them they need not suffer, that all things are theirs for the asking.
"Take down Your wall of protection, God! Let me put them to the test. You won't even have a holy remnant left. I'll take away their employment. I'll smite them with sorrows. I'll pour out a spirit of fear and despondency, and flood them with temptations. You will see this last, pampered generation fold. There are no Jobs in this church. They are spiritual wimps!"
Beloved, this is why the Scripture says, "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Revelation 12:12).
In the midst of your trial, some of you already have adopted the despairing language of Job. Your heart cries out, "God, what did I do wrong? I don't understand why this calamity has fallen on me when I loved You most, my walk was holy, my heart pure, and my spirit was longing after You. It seems like the closer I draw to You, the deeper I fall into trouble and the more sorrows come.”
We do not realize how important it is to God that we trust Him through all the floods of trouble that come upon us from hell. You see, the devil cannot touch you or test you unless God first lets down the wall and allows it.
|by David Wilkerson | January 21, 2013|
The whole world is frightened, perplexed and confused. Even the saintliest Christian must be wondering about all the prophetic events rapidly unfolding. I know that believers all over the world are asking themselves a question that I, too, am pondering: Are we in the last decade of human history? I do not know, but one thing is sure: We have seen an acceleration of world events. Suddenly, without warning, the Iron Curtain fell. Almost overnight, Eastern Europe was free. Seemingly in a flash, the Soviet Empire—once threatening the United States—was brought to the brink of disintegration and utter turmoil.
Could it be that in the same sudden manner, the antichrist world leader will be revealed? Could it also be that God has come to the end of His patience with the sins of North America, as happened with Sodom and Gomorrah?
Frightening bankruptcies in our savings and loan organizations, mounting national debt, diseases and nationwide plagues—are these all signs that our country is entering the corridor of a divine curse as outlined in Deuteronomy 28? Read what God does to the nations that sin against the light. You can see it happening right now!
Are we already in the early stages of the biggest depression in our history? The Great Depression of the 1930s has been regarded as the worst ever, but many economists believe we are on the brink of a depression that will make our worst look tame by comparison.
Is God even now beginning to cut off our supply of bread? Is He bringing ruin upon us, as He did upon Jerusalem and Judah because of their sins? In Isaiah 3:1-6, you will find that God does cut off bread and massive unemployment results. When judgment fell in Zion, "there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast" (Zachariah 8:10). Will there be massive unemployment as God judges America's sins?
There is a sense of danger in the air; every situation seems volatile. There is a feeling that the world is on a course from which there is no turning back. There is talk of wars, race wars, holy wars. Israel is feverishly preparing for war as never before, gearing up for a final conflict.
Is this the day that Jesus predicted when men's hearts will fail from overwhelming fear as they behold the frightening things happening on the earth? Could it be we really are the generation that will behold the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ? Have we come to such a point in human history that it can now be said, "This generation shall not pass away till all these things come to pass"? Will it indeed happen in our time?