“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:16).
The Lord calls us to the throne of grace, not when we have it all together, but when we find ourselves in a time of need. He is not calling us in this hour because we are strong but because he knows that we need him, and he desires for us to finish the work he has commissioned us to do in this generation.
A recent magazine article talking about the calamities currently facing the world had the following headline: WHO WILL SAVE US? People in our society are beginning to realize that we are in a storm of unprecedented proportions, and a cry for help is rising.
When you start talking about returning to prayer and the work of God, you may face arguments from the enemy. Perhaps even the frailty of your own heart will come against you to discourage you: “Your time has passed. God called you once before but you walked away and now it is too late.” Don’t listen to those voices!
You and I must be awake to the hour in which we are living — and alive to the power of God. If we choose to let God manifest his glory through us, our lives can count for much good in the days that remain. Indeed, the days ahead will be dark, but remember that our destiny is to be a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden. There is no safer place to be than in the hands of God.
God is good and his mercy endures forever. No matter where you are today, no matter how helpless and hopeless you feel, call out to God. When we call out to the Lord, our lives and testimonies are restored, and as a result, many others will find the mercy of God in Jesus Christ.
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001.
“The Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail’” (Luke 22:31-32).
Jesus had foreseen the sifting that was coming to Peter and he would not stop it because the process was necessary. But Jesus quickly added, “I have prayed for you.” “I have prayed for you” not “I will pray for you.” He had probably already spent hours with the Father talking about Peter — how he loved him, how needed he was in God’s kingdom, how he valued him as a friend. When Jesus said he was praying for him, he was speaking not only to Peter, but to all the disciples — and to us today.
Jesus knew all too well the fierceness of the powers of evil and how Satan sifts the Lord’s followers. None of us can understand the great conflict raging right now in the spirit realm against saints who have fixed their hearts firmly on going all the way with Christ.
In your Christian walk, there comes a moment you cross the line into a life of obedience and dependence on Jesus, determined in your heart never to go back. When this happens, you become a threat to the kingdom of darkness and, thus, a target of principalities and powers. The testimony of every believer who turns to the Lord with all his heart, hungering after holiness and a deeper walk with Jesus, includes the sudden breaking forth of intense trials!
“Jesus … lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said … ‘I pray for them … Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me … I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one’” (John 17:9, 11, 15).
If you are sold out for God — reading his Word, spending time with him, loving lost souls — no matter what you’re going through or what lies ahead of you, Jesus is praying for you. What a wonderful comfort this is to every child of God.
“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
Ask any Christian, “Do you love Jesus?” and he will answer, “Absolutely — yes!” But words alone will not stand in the holy light of God’s Word. Jesus said two distinct things will reveal your love for him and if these are not shown in your life, your love for Jesus is in word alone instead of “in deed and in truth.” Those two evidences are: (1) obedience to Jesus’ every command and (2) a manifestation of his presence in your life.
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me … and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). “Manifest” means to “shine or break forth.” In other words, to become an instrument or channel that radiates Christ’s presence.
So often we hear, “Oh, Lord, send your presence among us. Fall upon us and move by your Holy Spirit.” But God’s presence does not suddenly fall and surprise or overwhelm the congregation. He does not “come down” like an invisible smoke that God sprays into the atmosphere, somewhat like the Old Testament cloud of glory that so filled the temple that the priests could not stand to minister (see 2 Chronicles 5:14).
Our bodies are the temple of God, and if his glory comes, it must appear in our hearts and fill our bodies. Christ does not inhabit buildings or a certain atmosphere; in fact, the very heavens cannot contain him! Rather, he manifests through our obedient, sanctified bodies — his temples: “For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people’” (2 Corinthians 6:16).
If you have forsaken all sin and desire to know him, you carry Christ’s glory and presence with you. His life flows through you at all times!
“By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:5-6).
One of the great tragedies of this generation — and one of God’ greatest griefs — is that so few Christians are truly happy. They put on a good front of singing, clapping, smiling, but lurking just beneath the surface is misery, loneliness and sadness. Yet, is this what Christ died for? Paul warns of Christians who need to “come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). This verse describes many Christians perfectly. Satan moves in and out of their lives at his own will and they have no power or authority to stop him at their heart’s door. He flaunts his hold over them: “You have no power of Christ in you to stop me. You will do as I say.”
Perhaps you’re one of those caught in the devil’s snare, but you can recognize the trap and seek to be released. If you have been serving the Lord for more than a few months, you should be growing daily in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. Your spiritual victories should be sweet, and you should be assured of his constant presence. By now, Satan should be running from you!
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13, KJV). Firmly set your heart on walking with God. In doing so, you will be assured that the Lord will deliver you from the devil’s dominion.
We serve a God of hope! The Greek word for hope is elpo, which means “to look forward to with pleasurable confidence and expectation.” The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Paul introduces an incredible concept — “that you may abound in hope.” He implies that you may have enough hope to spare; a supply that is “overflowing, excessive, beyond measure.” To anyone who is in a state of despair, this may sound like a cruel joke. But, beloved, God’s Word is true! He is a God of hope, a hope that is beyond measure. Paul’s prayer for the people of God was that they would be filled with “joy and peace in believing.”
This should be the normal state for all Christians, not just for well-adjusted, happy believers. God is not mocking his hurting children today; he truly is a God of hope. Paul said, “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Romans 8:24-25). In spite of this promise, we often respond by demanding to see a change in our situation: “Well, I could have hope if I could see just a little movement, a small piece of evidence that God is working. How can I have hope when months go by and things only get worse?”
“To abound in hope” also means to have great patience — more than enough patience to “wait for it.” You see, the joy and peace come when you know God has everything under control.
Christ will turn your feelings of hopelessness into rejoicing and clothe you with gladness if you will release your faith to him. “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (Psalm 30:11). Rejoice in the God of hope — and live!