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Devotions

Human Effort Has a Ceiling

Tim DilenaMarch 28, 2020

Through human effort and strength, a good high jumper can leap to about seven and a half feet. But the pole vaulter is different. He carries a pole that he fixes into a hole in the ground. He puts all of his trust in that pole not only to hold him, but to lift him higher than he could ever go on his own. In fact, he may go three times as high as the high jumper.

You can leap on your own and do Christian high jumping but you only get so high. However, when you reach out and then lean all your weight on Jesus and his Word, he takes you higher and over things you could never get over in your own strength.

Romans chapter 11 tells the story of Elijah, who got caught high jumping when he should have been pole vaulting. He was depending on his own strength and insights instead of the counsel of God. Paul recounts that Elijah said during a tough time in his ministry, “Lord, they have killed your prophets. They have torn down your altars and I alone am left — and they are seeking my life!” The divine response came, “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed their knee to Baal” (see Romans 11:3-4).

God told Elijah, “You have not accurately defined your situation. It’s not true that you are alone. There are no-nonsense people just as committed as you who do not compromise.” God was telling Elijah, the high jumper, “I know a lot of people who are sold out to me. You are off on your response by six thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine.”

This is what happens when you try to assess situations with fear, anxiety and your own perception. We need to always ask, “What does God have to say about this situation? Is there something in his Word I can hold on to that will get me over this?”

Always seek a response from your heavenly Father and you will never fail to go higher!

Pastor Tim pastored an inner-city congregation in Detroit for thirty years before serving at Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC for five years. He and his wife Cindy presently pastor in Lafayette, Louisiana.

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Spontaneous Worship

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)March 27, 2020

“Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped” (Exodus 34:8). The revelation of God’s nature overwhelmed Moses when he saw how merciful, long-suffering and patient our Father is with his children — even the stiff-necked ones who grieve him.

It’s important to note that this is the first mention of Moses ever worshiping. Prior to this revelation of God’s glory, Moses tearfully prayed and interceded for Israel and even talked with God face to face. But this is the first time we read the words, “[Moses] worshiped.”

This tells us much about the church today. Christians can pray diligently without ever really worshiping; indeed, it’s possible to be a prayer warrior and intercessor and still not be a worshiper. Worship cannot be learned, it is a spontaneous outbreak — the act of a heart that’s been overwhelmed by a revelation of God’s glory and his incredible love for us.

Worship is a response of gratitude that recognizes how we should have been destroyed by our sin long ago, incurring the full wrath of God for all our failures. But, instead, God came to us with the powerful revelation, “I still love you!”

At this point in scripture, Moses was no longer pleading for sinful Israel and he wasn’t asking the Lord for guidance. He wasn’t even crying out for a miracle of deliverance or for power or wisdom. He was marveling at the revelation of the glory of God!

The revelation of God’s glory should be the wellspring of all our worship. We should regularly lay claim to his glory; it is our assigned right and it is meant to be claimed. When Paul says, “I do not set aside the grace of God” (Galatians 2:21), he means, “I won’t nullify God’s offer of mercy by rejecting it.” Those who truly worship God claim the blessing of his promises and see the glory of his love in Christ.

Lay hold of God’s glory today and allow him to guide you into a new revelation of worship.

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A Revival of Holiness

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)March 26, 2020

God is never caught off guard by anything that happens in our world. He isn’t surprised by the awful drug plague or the blood-bath of abortion. So what is his response in times of turmoil and depravity? What does he propose as an antidote to apostasy and growing demonic power?

God’s answer is the same as it always has been — to bring forth the victory of God in a renewed way. In Nehemiah’s day, the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins, the city a literal pile of stones, and the church was totally backslidden. The wicked powers surrounding Israel persecuted them severely, mocking every work they tried to undertake.

How did God respond in such a time of ruin? Did he send a well-trained militia to help them? Did he send a palace guard to smite their prominent enemies? No, God raised up one man — Nehemiah — who spent his time praying, fasting and mourning, because he was broken over Israel’s condition. He also continually dug into God’s Word, grasping prophecy and moving in the Spirit. He remained separate from all the wickedness surrounding him and maintained a holy walk with the Lord. And, in turn, everyone who heard him preach was purified in soul.

Soon a revival of holiness swept the land. “The priests and Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, the gates, and the wall” (Nehemiah 12:30). The house of God also was purged, with everything of the flesh cast out. Nehemiah told the temple workers, “Take out everything that has to do with idolatry or sensuality!”

Nehemiah had the spiritual authority to bring back godly fear to the temple because he had been on his knees, weeping, broken, seeking God’s heart. And because of this, he was able to confess the sins of a whole nation: “Please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant … for the children of Israel” (Nehemiah 1:6). 

Beloved, this is God’s concept of revival! Every chamber of your heart that is unclean and unsanctified must be swept out — no dark places left. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

Purpose in your heart to be the person of God who brings about change in the world around you.

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Are Your Plans in Vain?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)March 25, 2020

“This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

Many in the church today try to determine the nearness of Christ’s return by reading the signs of the times; for instance, the return of the Jews to Israel. Jesus clearly states that the end will come only after the gospel has been preached to all nations as a testimony.

“Proof of fact” is the definition of the Greek word that is used for “witness” in the verse above.  Christ isn’t speaking of just preaching the gospel but presenting it as a testimony. He says that the gospel we preach is effective only if it’s backed up by a life that testifies to its reality.

One would think that America, with its thousands of evangelical churches, would present a strong gospel witness. In one large southern city alone, there are over 2,000 evangelical churches. But many of these churches have so compromised the true gospel of Christ that very little of Christ’s lordship shines through in the lives of the people.

Far too many ministers, both young and old, run all over the world attending seminars, conventions and “think tanks,” searching for the key to building larger ministries. Young ministry professionals are armed with charts and polls while listening to lectures on how to “grow your church.” Still others flock to “revivals” hoping to learn new methods of enabling the Holy Spirit to fall on their congregation.

As missions societies send out more workers, too many missionaries are coming home within just a few years, discouraged and beaten down because they never developed a firsthand knowledge of Christ’s lordship or the fullness of the Holy Spirit. There is a need for more qualified people to win the nations to Christ but only the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit will bring lasting success. The gospel of Jesus Christ will be preached as a testimony — and then the Lord will come!

Beloved, your plans are in vain if Jesus is not enthroned in every area of your life. As you acquire knowledge and employ new ideas and strategies, be sure the life of Christ dwells in you.  

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All Out War on God’s Children

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)March 24, 2020

“Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to constantly be aware that the devil is out to destroy us. Therefore, Paul says, we need to know as much as we can about the enemy's tactics and plans: “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).

The verse in Revelation tells us that Satan has declared all-out war on God’s children — and he has a deadline to complete his work. While many Christians may slumber at the midnight hour, just as Jesus predicted, the devil is working ferociously, making preparation for war. He is keenly aware of the short time he has to accomplish his evil purposes, so he is always scheming, ever devising ways to harass and destroy the church of Jesus Christ.

Satan may lie to you and give you no rest from his accusations. Jesus now sits safely with the Father, well beyond Satan’s reach, but the enemy is still waging war against Christ by directing it against believers — Christ’s seed.

Contrary to the thinking of some Christians, Satan doesn’t possess omnipotent power; he has been defeated by Jesus and stripped of all authority. Neither is he omniscient (meaning, he can’t read minds). And he isn’t omnipresent. But he does have principalities and powers stationed throughout the earth and his host of demons feed him intelligence at his beck and call.  

Peter gives us this warning: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Satan knows your weak spots, your struggles with the flesh, and he’ll work hard on you in those areas. He will try to convince you that you’ll never be free from sin, but the instant you move toward Jesus the devil is rendered helpless. James tells us, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

So, how do you resist the enemy? You do it by faith alone! Simply come to Jesus, trusting he'll rescue you from Satan's clutches.

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