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Conscious of the Holy Spirit

Jim CymbalaJanuary 11, 2020

Peter was a leading disciple and yet he denied the Lord three times. After the denials, Peter went off into the night weeping. He did not lose his relationship with Jesus in that moment but he did acutely feel the pain of his betrayal and the loss of close fellowship with someone he loved deeply. The Spirit was working in him to bring the pain that leads to repentance and restoration.

Paul warned, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). If the Spirit is grieved, he is vexed and sad. Although we know our salvation isn’t lost by our sin, we also become painfully aware that there is a strain in our relationship. Communion with God is affected, and we feel an uncomfortable emptiness. The sun is still there and shining, but we no longer feel its warmth. It is as if a cloud blocks it.

A Christlike life is a mystery. We live the life — it’s our voice, body, and mind — but it’s not really us at all. It’s Christ living in us through the Holy Spirit. John, the same apostle who wrote a letter to encourage believers not to sin, also included one of the best promises in the Bible: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

A nugget of truth I heard many years ago is the key to being aware of and staying in touch with the Holy Spirit: “To be conscious of the Holy Spirit solves 90 percent of our problems.” We must discipline our minds to stay conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Christ’s plan was to replace “me” with “him” through the Spirit’s presence. This is somewhat like a “corporate takeover” — but it results in a life filled with peace and joy. 

Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.

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Are You Avoiding Fellowship With Jesus?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)January 10, 2020

How would you feel if you cooked a wonderful meal, invited guests who said they would come, and then, after everything was prepared and ready to be served, no one showed up? Most of us would feel quite rejected and disappointed. Yet, this is what happened in this parable Jesus told his disciples in Luke 14.

“Then [Jesus] said, ‘A certain man gave a great supper and invited many’” (Luke14:16). The narrative goes on to show that when everything was ready, the man’s servant went out to summon the people. But instead of being eager to attend the event, everyone had an excuse and declined to join in.

This parable is important because Jesus is host, the feast being spoken of is the gospel, and the table being spread is the cross. Jesus’ invitation is for everyone: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Simply put, our Lord is inviting us to intimacy with him. We have been urged to come into his presence to sup with him, to get to know him, to enjoy his company. He says, “Come and find a table spread for you. Everything is ready now and you will find full satisfaction in me.”

Indeed, all our hunger — everything to do with holiness and godliness — is wrapped up in Jesus. “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). The table has been spread. Dinner is ready!

Many believers find all kinds of reasons to avoid coming into closer fellowship with Jesus. They have plenty of time during the week to constantly go here and there for their family. It may be their children, business pursuits or career ambitions. The list goes on. But when it comes time for the things of the Lord, there is little time left over. This is a dangerous way to live.

As a true lover of Jesus, be protective of your time with him. Consider as an intrusion anything that robs you of precious time in Jesus’ presence.

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The Power of the Blood

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)January 9, 2020

Without a doubt, the blood of Jesus Christ is the most precious gift our heavenly Father has given to his church. Yet, few Christians understand its value and virtue. They sing about the power of the blood. In fact, the anthem of the Pentecostal church is, “There is power, power, wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb” (Lewis E. Jones). And we constantly “plead the blood” as some sort of mystical formula of protection. But few Christians can explain its great glory and benefits, and seldom enter into its power.

When Christ lifted the cup at the last Passover, he said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). We memorialize his sacrifice every time we have communion. But that is the limit of most Christians’ knowledge of Jesus’ blood. We know about the blood being shed but not about its being sprinkled!

The first biblical reference to the sprinkling of the blood is in Exodus 12:22: “You shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two door posts with the blood that is in the basin.” As long as the blood was left in the basin, it was of no effect; it had no power against the death angel. It had to be lifted out of the basin and sprinkled on the door to fulfill its purpose of protection.

The blood in Exodus 12 is a type of the blood of Christ that flowed from Calvary. If Christ is Lord of your life, then your door posts — your heart — have been sprinkled by his blood. And this sprinkling is not for forgiveness only but also for our protection.

Jesus sprinkles his own blood on us when, by faith, we receive his finished work at Calvary. And until we truly believe in the power of his sacrifice at Calvary, the blood of Jesus cannot produce any effect upon our souls! “Whom God set forth as a propitiation [reconciliation] by His blood, through faith” (Romans 3:25).

Praise God with high praises for the precious blood of Jesus: “We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:11).

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What Takes Priority in Your Life?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)January 8, 2020

Many good people who consider themselves Christians are convinced they are going to heaven but they are sadly mistaken.  Even though they are not indulging in gross sin of any kind and are doing many good deeds, their zeal for good things has pushed aside the things of God.

Becoming so engrossed in building your business, advancing your career, providing for your family can take you away from pursuing the deeper things of the spiritual life. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). This is not a suggestion, it is a commandment. Jesus was saying, “If you seek the Lord first, he will take care of all the things you’re toiling over. But you must make him your primary focus!”

The apostle Paul said, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3). Again, this is not a suggestion but a commandment. The meaning is, “Direct your focus, or interests, on things above. Set your attention and concentration single-mindedly on the things of God — immovable, intractable.”

God does not demand that we sell our possessions, quit our jobs and become like monks, giving ourselves completely to meditation and prayer. But he does require that we choose to spend time in the Word and in prayer. He also says we are to gather together with fellow believers: “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

What takes priority in your life? Who does the waiting in your life: your personal endeavors/pleasures or the Lord? This is a personal choice! We must heed the warnings of Scripture lest we become so busy that we neglect the most important thing — time in his presence, seeking his face and growing in him.

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Christ’s Prayer for His Beloved

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)January 7, 2020

God the Father appointed his Son Jesus to become a high priest for us in glory. Indeed, Jesus is in glory right now — as both Man and God — on our behalf. He is arrayed in the garments of a high priest and stands before the Father interceding for us.

No doubt the Father takes great pleasure in having his Son at his right hand, but the Bible does not say Jesus ascended for the sake of his Father. Nor does it say he ascended to regain his glory. No, Scripture says Christ ascended to heaven on our behalf as a high priest. “Christ … entered … into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24).

John caught a glimpse of Jesus in his ministry as our High Priest in glory. He writes that Jesus appeared in the midst of seven candlesticks, representing his church, and ministered among them wearing a particular garb: “Clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band” (Revelation 1:13).

Exodus 30 gives us a wonderful picture of the ministry of the tabernacle and the high priest. An altar made of gold stood just before the entrance to the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. Incense was placed on the altar and burned at all times. Aaron, the high priest, took care of the lamps and wicks every morning and every night. Throughout all of Israel’s wilderness journeys, the golden altar filled the Holy Place with a cloud of sweet incense and the fragrance was constantly rising to heaven (see Exodus 30:7-8).

In the Bible, incense represents prayer and the ever-burning incense on that altar in the Holy Place represents the prayers of Jesus while he was on earth. Jesus prayed constantly — in the morning and evening, in solitude, in the mountains. John 17 is all about Jesus’ prayer for his disciples and his people who followed him and believed in him, yet he also prayed for those “who will believe in Me” (17:20). What a powerful truth—Jesus’ words include you and me. He was praying for us even when he walked this earth in the flesh.

Beloved, this prayer that Jesus prayed for us did not vanish into thin air. It has been burning on God’s altar all this time and God accepts his Son’s prayers for each of us. Our conversion, our salvation, is the result of Jesus’ prayers. Hallelujah!

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