God’s Goal for Us Is Peace

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

God's ultimate goal for all his children is abundant life. He never intended for us to go through life focused on our sins and failures. The good news is that we serve a God of absolute love and mercy who desires to bring his children into a place high above all turmoil. However, we cannot take our place with Christ in the heavenlies until we are fully identified with his death and resurrection.

There can be no breakthrough into ascension life without experiencing death at the cross. The Holy Spirit has put within us a knowledge that we can never truly live until we truly die. We seem to know we have a date with death, a destiny relating to the cross of Christ.

Take a good look at where we are with all our fears, emptiness, loneliness, failures and compromise with sin. Consider how little of the Lord's promised peace we really possess. We have fallen far short of what we know an overcoming Christian should be, yet we know God's Word speaks clearly of victory, peace and freedom from sin's dominion. We have seen some who have broken through to that beautiful life of assurance. We would like to ask, “How did you arrive at such victory? How can I break through?”

The Holy Spirit must bring us to the cross and make us face the reality of dying to the world and sin. The moment we begin to seek the Lord diligently with a desire to be under his lordship in all things, we will be irresistibly drawn by the Spirit. We will be brought to the end of ourselves, stripped, weakened and without confidence in our flesh.

I am convinced the Holy Spirit is bringing his church back to the glorious truths of identification with Christ in death, resurrection and ascension life.

Death can be frightening, especially if you cannot see the glory on the other side of it. The Lord assures us, though, of his everlasting love in spite of our failures, and gives us peace and the joy and hope of his resurrection life.

When All Means Fail

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

To believe when all means fail is exceedingly pleasing to God and most acceptable. Jesus said to Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29, NKJV). Those who believe when there is no evidence of an answer to prayer are blessed! We are favored of God when we trust beyond hope when every possibility has been exhausted.

We’ve all been in that place of hopelessness, the end of hope with no rescue. The miracle prayed for is not happening. It might be a devastating health diagnosis, the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship or perhaps financial ruin. The valley of no hope is a cold, dark, awful place.

This is when Satan’s hordes come to attack your mind with fear, anger and overwhelming questions like “Where is your God now? You prayed until you had no tears left. You fasted. You stood on promises. You trusted.” Blasphemous thoughts will be injected into your mind. “Prayer failed. Faith failed. Do not trust God anymore. It doesn’t pay!”

Even questioning God’s existence will creep in. These have been the devices of Satan for centuries. Some of the godliest men and women who ever lived were under such demonic attacks.

To those going through the valley of the shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some long, dark nights; and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, “I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident. It was no failure on your part. Hold fast. Let me embrace you in your hour of pain.”

Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail, his love prevails. There is no other hope in this world.

Tested by Our Falls and Failing

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Our failures constantly test us. I do not mean that Christians who fall back into old sins and turn back to the world are being tested. No, those believers face a shipwreck of faith. I am talking about believers who are growing in holiness and are set on following the Lord. Peter gave them a warning: “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked” (2 Peter 3:17 NKJV).

Some of you may have taken a fall in spite of all the progress you’ve made with the Lord. For example, maybe you’ve had a family disagreement. You may say, “It was a fit of anger. I was provoked by my own family, and I blew up. I can’t understand it. I thought I was becoming a little sweeter, a little more like Jesus, but somebody pushed the wrong button, and I lost it. I’m only human.”

It doesn’t matter that you were provoked or even that you were in the right. The provoking simply proved you need deliverance. Scripture says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).

God is going to keep testing you until you say, “I’ve got a spirit in me that’s got to go.” You will see no growth in Christ, no peace at home or on the job, until you can say, “You’re right, Lord. Take it out!”

If you’re being tested in this area or any other area for that matter, you may be thinking, “I feel so unworthy. How much ground have I lost? Does the Lord still love me?”

Friend, if you have truly repented, you haven’t lost any ground whatsoever. God puts his loving arms around you and says, “I allowed that to happen so you would see what is in your heart, but be assured that you’re making progress. You have said you want to walk with me, and I am teaching you. I know what is inside of you and will allow you to be provoked until you are free.”

Are you being tested? If so, pray, “Lord, you have put your finger on some areas in me that need to change. Help me make those changes and encourage me that I’m not going backward. I’m going forward with you!”

A Faith that Ventures Forth

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Nothing honors God more than trusting him in the face of difficulties. How quickly we forget the miracles and past blessings. In Psalm 106, Israel testified about the incredible miracle as the Red Sea caved in upon the Egyptian army, drowning every soldier. “The waters covered their enemies; there was not one of them left. Then they believed his words; they sang his praise” (Psalm 106:11-12, NKJV). Sadly, the next words that follow are “They soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel” (Psalm 106:13).

We cannot trust our faith to past experiences; we are too forgetful, and recall is too fragile. It is the wise person who knows that past experience alone will not be enough to strengthen them in present difficulties. We need fresh faith that is anchored in a daily supply of the Word of God.

Giving God your will and your worries requires a “venturing” faith that is a commitment of all things into his caring hands. It necessitates our going out of our comfort zone and relinquishing control to him. Each time, we must launch out into the deep and cast every care upon him.

You don’t have to read far in the Word to find inspiring examples of venturing faith. Hannah, childless and despondent, prayed daily for a child (see 1 Samuel 1:1-20). She persisted with God through her hopelessness and was rewarded with a son named Samuel, the great prophet who anointed King David. Hebrews 11 gives us a long list of those who walked by faith. Their mind-boggling stories remind us that our struggle is not a solitary one, which should both humble and uplift us. “And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises…escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Hebrews 11:32-34). Such radical faith!

Every day brings opportunities to venture farther in our walk with God and develop fresh faith for the journey. Make it your daily priority to lean on him when you’re in trouble. His utter sufficiency and strength will sustain you without fail. You can count on it.

Shame: A Blessing and a Curse

Gary Wilkerson

Shame is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.” Feeling ashamed can take us in one of two directions: restitution and redemption or perpetual defeat. It can be a force for good that leads to healthy living, or it can knock you down and keep you there.

Let’s consider today how guilt and shame can work together to become a strength that propels us forward. For example, we see King David who, at the height of his power, blew it in a spectacular way. Married himself, he seduced Bathsheba, wife of the mighty military leader Uriah the Hittite. When Bathsheba became pregnant, David sent Uriah into battle to be killed so he could marry Bathsheba and cover up his sin. The beloved psalmist, shepherd and now King fell far and fast, doing incalculable damage to his family.

God’s response to this sordid drama was to send the prophet Nathan to confront David, and confront he did. As recounted in 2 Samuel 12, Nathan bluntly conveyed the Lord’s displeasure and harsh judgment: the child would die.

This is where things could have ended badly. David could have waved Nathan away and hardened his heart against God, but he instead owned his guilt. He bowed his head in shame and repented, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13, NKJV). The boy who had communed with God in the Judean hills knew that God cherishes a repentant heart. As we read in Psalm 51, after his meeting with Nathan he poured out his soul in repentance and thanksgiving. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). This is our perfect model for approaching God when we have sinned.

Redemptive shame carries us through failure into restoration. Its hallmark is an understanding that God views us with kindness and mercy, and that he always has our good in mind. His passion is always to draw us back into intimacy with him. Our contrition freely given is the catalyst for that restored relationship and for genuine, long-term, healthy change.