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Devotions

A Vision of Hope

Gary WilkersonApril 20, 2020

The prophet Ezekiel moved mightily in the Spirit and the Lord gave him a vision that holds a timely message of spiritual awakening for the church today. As was true of most Old Testament prophets, Ezekiel served Israel’s king, which meant traveling with the king’s army and witnessing the horrors of war. But Ezekiel received a vision so terrible that it surpassed anything he had ever witnessed in real life.

God told Ezekiel, “Sit down, I have something to show you” (see Ezekiel 37:1). The Hebrew word for “sit down” as used here is the same word found in Luke 24:49 when Jesus instructed his disciples, “Stay [sit down] in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” The meaning in both instances is, “Lay down your plans and strategies and then wait on me to fill you with my power.”  

In Ezekiel’s vision, he was led into a valley filled with dry bones: “[He] set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many … and behold, they were very dry” (37:1-2). What a terrible scene — a vast stretch of land filled with skeletons as far as Ezekiel could see. As Ezekiel surveyed the scene in front of him, God asked, “Son of man, can these bones live?” (37:3). And Ezekiel responded, “O Lord God, You know” (same verse). Ezekiel’s answer was one of complete trust — just the answer God was waiting to hear.

You may be experiencing many difficult things in your life and, if so, Christ asks the same question of you today: “Can the dry bones of your situation come to life? Do you believe it can happen?”

God told Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones that they might live and he asks the same of us. Once our faith is engaged, he calls us to action, to speak life into our families and our various challenges. “Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live” (37:6).

Out of chaos, Jesus produces life; out of ashes, he produces beauty. And into a horrific situation that the enemy means only for destruction, Jesus breathes new life!

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Victory in Troubled Times

Carter ConlonApril 18, 2020

The Bible warned that there will be unspeakable darkness and a great falling away in the last days before Christ returns, but most of us probably never thought we would live to see a day of moral decay quite like this.

Before David became king, he lived in a season when his own nation was in fearful spiritual decline. Self-will and false spiritualism, under King Saul, were on full display, leading the nation toward what inevitably would become certain defeat without divine intervention. David soon found himself being pursued by an army that hoped to cast off all that represented God. Of course, we know that David ultimately ended up being someone who made a difference.

What are we supposed to do in these days? We must pray for deliverance from the spirit of the age. “Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their hearts” (Psalm 140:1-2). In this psalm, David was referring to those who were looking for a solution in human terms. David was the Christ-type of his generation, and he felt called to something higher than the petty violence and grievance of his generation.

We, too, must pray for deliverance from the spirit of this age, saying, “Lord, I do not want to be part of the problem but part of the solution. Help me to get my mind back on spiritual things. Get me away from the media and anything that might poison my spirit and cause my speech to lose its effectiveness as it becomes exactly the way of the world. Give me your Holy Spirit! Give me your thoughts, your mind, your compassion for the multitudes. Help me to love even my enemies.”

In the natural, we are on the weaker side; but in the spiritual, we are already more than conquerors. We are seated at the right hand of Almighty God, the one who already destroyed the power of darkness and sits in all power and authority. We have direct access to the throne of God with power to push back the darkness and believe that there will be victory and rejoicing in the days ahead!

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.

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Fighting for Every Inch of Your Heart

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)April 17, 2020

Satan has turned his wrath on the church of Jesus Christ and he has reserved his worst rage for believers who keep God’s commands and trust in Him. The devil knows this war is his last chance, because only a short time remains before Christ returns for his Bride: “The devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows he has a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

Satan’s aim is to tempt God’s people to rebel against God, just as he did Adam and Eve. So, how does this apply to you and me? Satan isn’t interested in turning us into degenerates. All he wants is for us to rebel in just one area, which will allow him enough room to get a foothold. He has his principalities and powers on alert to provide him with intelligence reports on us — they read our actions and hear our conversations. And when they pick up on a fleshly weakness, they aim all their temptations at that weak area.

Paul warns, “Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man … and be renewed in the spirit of your mind … nor give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:22, 23, 27). The price of an overcoming life is no small matter; it means subjecting our lives wholly to God’s Word, with no dark places, hidden lusts or rebellion. There is power in God’s word — through it he brought all things into being and continues to produce life. By his word, God pulls down kings and raises up nations, and through it he blesses and saves, judges and destroys.

Do not give Satan one inch of ground — that’s all he needs to gain entrance and establish a power base.

Here are a few areas to be mindful of in keeping a strong defense against the enemy:

  • Stay in fellowship with other believers (Hebrews 10:25).
  • Do not hold on to unforgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15).
  • Let go of bitterness and strife (James 3:14-16).

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20). When the flood crashes in and you’re overwhelmed, enter into the very presence of God on his throne, because the Lamb has made a way for you, through his blood.

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Fighting for Your Children

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)April 16, 2020

Today’s children are plagued by sex, drugs, alcohol, greed, and violence at a young age. Our judicial system has shut God out of our schools, yet we cannot blame our corrupt school systems for damning our children — our entire society is experiencing a moral collapse.

All parents should memorize this covenant promise: “Hear now, O Jacob My servant, and Israel whom I have chosen. Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you: ‘Fear not … for I will pour water on him who is thirsty. And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessings on your offspring; they will spring up among the grass like willows by the watercourses’” (Isaiah 44:1-4).

This word of promise to Israel is also meant for us today. Its words of comfort are given to all who are chosen (verse 1), which means all who are in Christ. God’s glorious, binding, covenant promises are to his righteous ones. The promises are:

  • God will provide water to satisfy our thirst: "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground" (verse 3).
  • God will cause you to grow tall and strong in the Lord. "I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses" (verses 3-4).
  • Finally, God says your children will testify, "I am the Lord's" (verse 5).

Parents today need more wisdom and discernment than at any time in history. Satan has wicked inventions and subtle disguises to use against our children and God has made parents the guardians of the home.

God says your children will testify, “I am the Lord’s” (44:5). What an incredible promise — yet these promises are not for everyone who merely says, “I am of Christ.” They are only for hungering, thirsting parents; those who drink in God’s Word daily and pray regularly, asking the Spirit to pour out on them his power and presence.  Claim these promises today and then bathe your home and your children in prayer.

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It’s Never Too Late

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)April 15, 2020

God can bring back to life anything you have given up as dead. We are all familiar with the story in Mark 5 of Jairus, the desperate synagogue ruler who asked Jesus to heal his daughter. The twelve-year-old girl was dangerously near death and Jairus pleaded with Christ to come to his house and lay hands on her.

Jesus agreed to go with Jairus but he had some interruptions along the way. When Jesus stopped to minister to the woman with a blood disease who touched the hem of his garment (Mark 5:25-34), a messenger came with the tragic news that Jairus’ daughter had died (5:35). Of course, Jairus’ heart was gripped with grief and he must have thought, “If only we had gotten there on time. Now it’s too late — my daughter is gone!” But Jesus assured him, “Do not be afraid; only believe” (5:36).

They continued toward Jairus’ home and as they neared the property, they heard sounds of wailing and weeping. Jairus’ family and neighbors were grieving loudly. Consider the contrast in this scene: God in the flesh, the creator of the universe, was approaching in all his power to perform the unimaginable. Yet, the mourners were weeping in his presence. In short, they were testifying, “God can only help as long as there is some sign of hope left. But when all life is gone, there is no need to call on him; even he can’t restore that kind of situation.”

How many Christians today no longer call upon the Lord because they think their problem is hopeless? Jesus rebuked such unbelief when he said to the weeping crowd at Jairus’ home: “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping” (5:39).

The Lord was stating, “This situation is not what you see or think. You think all hope is gone, but I say there will be restoration.” He then went to the little girl’s room and with merely one small phrase, he brought the child to life (5:41).

This story in Mark’s gospel shows us that nothing is too “dead” or too far gone for Jesus to restore to life. He is saying, “Put your trust in me to fix your problem. It’s never too late for me to work.”

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