The Last Outpouring

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

I do not believe we have yet seen the glory and fullness of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as prophesied by Joel. What we have seen are just a few sprinkles! The power and love of the Holy Spirit have brought many together throughout the world, yet it is just a foretaste. God has much more in store for us.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit will not be just a renewal of love and praise; it will be a restoration of holiness unto the Lord. God will permit nothing to hinder what he plans to do, and his intent is to raise up a standard against the enemy when he comes in “like a flood” (see Isaiah 59:19). What is that standard? It is a holy people who are pure, undefiled and delivered from the corruption of the world. We will not have the fullness of the Spirit's outpouring, and we will not be able to stand against the enemy, until God’s people separate themselves completely from the world.

Tragically, too many people have an initial encounter with God but do not try to live a holy life afterward. They may speak with tongues, but then they live like the devil. Sin is not uprooted from their hearts, and all they receive is an experience of ecstasy. You are not truly baptized with the Holy Spirit until every hidden part of your soul has been exposed, and every sin confessed and forsaken.

We must emphasize separation and purity of heart. The purpose of the Spirit's coming is to sanctify and prepare a people for the Lord's return, a people without spot or wrinkle. He will “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8, NKJV). This is the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s work: renewal and sanctification!

God wants us to be led by the Spirit into a deeper, more mature life that is consecrated to him. When we seek this sanctified life, we will be mightily used by God to shine forth as lights to this wicked and perverse generation.

Healing for Hidden Hurts

Gary Wilkerson

It’s interesting that every sin in the Bible is a relational sin, even the Ten Commandments. The first four deal with our relationship with God: "Have no other gods before me. Don't take my name in vain." The other six address our relationships with other people. Throughout scripture, every sin that's mentioned — greed, pride, lust, anger, strife — is relational.

When we don’t understand and follow the ways God wants us to view our relationships with him and others, we know something is missing. There is a hollowness, a separation from God, because sin is following our own ideas and not his plan.

We seem to always measure fulfillment by external circumstances. If our lives fall short of those expectations, and it almost always does, we feel that emptiness. For some, life may be especially traumatic. A person may have come from an abusive situation in childhood, or experienced divorce or addiction. Wherever that disappointment with life comes from, we feel it keenly at our core. Let's say somebody grows up without a sense of being loved. Their father never once said to them, “I love you,” and they were never held or hugged. They feel that constant ache and longing.

For some, the measurement might be money or admiration. “Once I make my first million, or get to this place on the corporate ladder, everybody will love me.” A guy who feels insecure about his masculinity might chase women. If it doesn’t work out, we feel like a failure.

Here is the problem. Out of that pain comes a sense that there is something wrong with us. “I am incomplete. I am defective because...” We start blaming ourselves. We say, “The reason my father rejected me, or my mother left me, or my marriage fell apart is that I am insignificant, unworthy, unlovable. I'm not smart enough. I'm not good looking enough.”

We build what I call false constructs. We’re building our whole life based on our wounds. You could call it “wound speak.” Our wounds have a subconscious voice, and they tell us, "Go get this, get that." It's very subtle but very powerful. God’s plan is that we measure our worth by his love and grace. He paid the ultimate price to silence that wounded voice, to wipe away our past through forgiveness, and to redeem us into wholeness in him. His voice is the only one that matters.

When God Leans In

Mark Renfroe

Have you ever caught yourself leaning in as someone speaks?  Maybe they weren’t speaking loud enough, and you didn’t want to miss anything. Or perhaps the content was so compelling that you were physically drawn in. I’m always encouraged as a preacher when I see people leaning in while I speak. I may be the one with the microphone, but they’re speaking with their body language. They’re letting me know that they’re tracking with me. They’re interested in what I have to say.

Did you know that when we pray with patient expectation, God leans in? In Psalm 40:1-3, we read, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (NIV). God turned his ear to David. Of course, God is both all-knowing and everywhere present, so he doesn’t need to physically lean in. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit revealed to David, and thus to us, that as we pour out the pain of our hearts to the Lord and trust him to act on our behalf, God turns his ear to us. One Bible translation puts it this way, “He inclined to me” (ESV). In short, God leaned in.

We don’t know what David was facing at that moment in his life, but he called it a slimy pit full of mud and mire. A few hundred years later, the conniving officials of King Zedekiah would dump the Prophet Jeremiah into a pit for speaking unwanted truth. The Bible tells us that Jeremiah sank into the mud and would have died had it not been for the intervention of a Gentile servant of the King. While the Book of Jeremiah doesn’t give us insights into what the prophet did while in the pit, we can assume from the rest of book that he cried out to God. The LORD heard his cry, leaned in and rescued him out of the miry clay.

Perhaps you find yourself in the pit of discouragement. Maybe the pit is the result of your own unwise or sinful actions. Rest assured that the Lord has not turned away from you. The Prophet Hosea put it this way, “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us, he has injured us, but he will bind up our wounds” (Hosea 6:2). The Lord longs to come to your aid, so cry out to him today and wait patiently for his deliverance.

Mark Renfroe and his wife, Amy, have been involved in field missions work for 30 years. Mark served as the area director for Assemblies of God World Missions and currently serves as the chief missions officer for World Challenge.

The Spirit and Power of Elijah

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

The Old Testament closes out with this glorious prophecy: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6 NKJV).

Jesus said of John, “If you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:14). Jesus was saying, “John the Baptist has the spirit and power of Elijah upon him, if you could just see it.” We are told the angel of the Lord prophesied to Zachariah that his son John would “go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to ‘turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (see Luke 1:17).

I believe Malachi's prophecy is also meant for us. Once again, God will place the spirit and power of Elijah on his chosen servants. These men and women will be mightily used to bring about the restoration of families. Divorces will be canceled, and children will be restored to their parents.

This prophecy is being fulfilled even today! In a Texas town, an unassuming young pastor recently began to pray for the salvation of the young people in local schools. God anointed him with the dynamic spirit and power of Elijah, and not only have hundreds of local students been saved, but the restoration is spreading to schools wherever he goes. Thousands of high school students are being convicted of their drugs, alcohol, sexual sins and rebellion. Young people are going home from outreaches and reconciling with their parents, and their hatred has turned into repentance. This will continue to spread throughout the land because of God’s promise to restore parents and children.

I am so excited about what I see coming that I can hardly write these words. Humble young men and women are being directed by God to “go forth and restore! For the day of the Lord has come.” Because of God’s promises, we can be confident that he will destroy the cankerworms of sin that eat away at the lives of our nation’s youth.

Note from the Editor: The events described in this devotion are from many years ago, but ministry to the youth was near and dear to David’s heart throughout his entire life, and those of us at World Challenge continue to pray for the current generation of teens.

He Brought Us Out to Bring Us in

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Before the cross, most people did not have direct access to God; only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies. Now Jesus’ death on the cross has made a path for us into the Father’s presence. God tore right through the veil that had always separated us from him. He can come out and embrace mankind, including prodigals and sinners, with no interference.

Consider Israel’s miraculous deliverance. As God’s people crossed over the Red Sea onto dry land, they saw the waves crash down on their enemy behind them. It was a glorious moment, and they held a mighty praise meeting with dancing, singing and thanksgiving. “We’re free! God has delivered us from the hand of oppression.”

Their first test came just a few days later, but they ended up murmuring and complaining, totally dissatisfied with the outcome. Yes, they had known God’s deliverance, but they didn’t yet understand his great love for them.

Israel’s story represents our own deliverance from the bondage and guilt of sin. We know that Satan was defeated at the cross and that we were set free from his iron grip. Yet God had something even greater in mind. You see, he never meant for Israel to just camp on the victory side of the Red Sea. His ultimate purpose in bringing them out of Egypt was to take them into the promised land of Canaan. He brought them out to bring them into his love and embrace in the home he had prepared for them.

Here is the key: You cannot serve the Lord in peace and freedom until you see his delight in your deliverance…until you realize that every wall has been removed at the cross…until you know that your sinful past has been wiped away. God says, “I want you to move on! Come now into the fullness that awaits you in my presence!”

As God’s children, we rejoice in the wonderful benefits of the cross. We have moved out of Egypt and are standing on the “victory side” of our Red Sea trial. We thank God continually for casting our oppressor into the sea. Now let us make sure that we don’t miss God’s ultimate purpose for us: to bring us into the Holy of Holies, to himself.