Don’t Be Blind to Blessings

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

I am a father of four, all of whom are married and have children of their own. Whenever my children face any kind of difficulty, I do not get angry at them. On the contrary, I am delighted when they call on me. Whether I can help them by providing prayer, counseling or financial blessings, I take great pleasure in reaching out to them and blessing them.

How much more does our Lord Jesus delight in blessing his children in their time of need? He tells us, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11, NKJV).

You may look around the body of Christ and see other Christians who seem more talented and blessed. Some can memorize and quote entire passages of scripture. Others can preach, teach or sing to God’s glory. You say to yourself, “How blessed they are by God. Poor me! I am not smart enough to memorize God’s Word. I can’t even remember a sermon. I don’t have the gifts my brothers and sisters have to serve God.”

Beloved, you do not know how blessed you are. Are you poor in spirit? Is it difficult for you even to smile? Do you lament over seeing no spiritual growth in your life? Do you grieve because you feel inadequate, left out, unneeded?

Jesus says, “You are blessed. You have nothing to be proud about and in that way, you serve me best because my strength rests in your weakness! I can use you more readily than all others.” Jesus said to the apostle Paul, “And he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

What a blessing! Jesus never said, “Blessed are the strong, the happy, the self-sufficient, the forceful.” No! Our Lord blessed the weak, the reviled, the persecuted, the downcast, those who are considered nothing in the eyes of others. He is saying to you, “You know you have great need of me, and therefore you are blessed!”

Know God Fully

Gary Wilkerson

Let’s face it. We don’t like to talk about things like wrath and judgment. People say, “The wrathful God of the Old Testament, that’s not the God I know.” To reconcile a God who dispenses harsh judgment with our God of love and mercy feels wrong, but this is where we enter what we may call a higher education in knowing God. 

God’s attributes are like the prisms in a diamond. When seen through different views, the diamond reveals itself to be completely at odds with itself. It’s still, however, one rock. It doesn’t change. Certain industries depend on this; they use diamonds and diamond dust to polish and shape other substances because the diamond is one of the hardest natural materials on earth. This is our immutable, unchanging God. Every part, every facet, is different; yet all are needed to make up the whole. 

We often say we live in a fallen world, a world that isn’t yet perfect and one in which Satan still has influence. This isn’t a world God wants. He longs for us to live fully in him and to depend upon him. He pulls us toward him with his Word and the Holy Spirit. Because he is wise and all-knowing, he sometimes uses discipline and judgment to bring us back to him. 

People in ministry, parents and others in authority can pervert God’s Word and teach that God is only judgmental and a harsh disciplinarian. This completely upends the true wholeness of who he is. We must see and embrace all of his attributes in order to truly view his beauty and love as our heavenly father. 

Paul said, “That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-21, ESV). Would you serve a God who possesses only some knowledge or some truth or a little bit of justice? I wouldn’t. We dilute his majesty when we pick and choose the traits we like. 

Ask God today to show you all of his simplicity, love, wisdom, strength, truth, mercy, power, grace and goodness. It is there that you’ll find the peace that passes understanding.

The Unchanging Message

Joshua West

We live in an era where many people who claim to know God and follow scripture are actually wolves who plant seeds of doubt and look down on those who strive to obey the Bible’s mandate: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, ESV).  

For these people, the plain teaching of the gospel isn’t enough. They say things like “Yeah, yeah, we believe in the ‘Jesus saved me’ stuff, but what about this or that?” Trying to ‘add’ things to the gospel actually takes away from the power of the gospel.

Paul said, “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:17-18).

We subtract from the power of the gospel when we try to add any new revelations or social agenda, anything that takes away from the simplicity of Jesus came to save sinners. He is fully God as the second person of the trinity. He became fully man 2,000 years ago and lived a perfect life. He humbled himself and walked among us so that we might know him. He died a brutal death and rose again because he is God. 

That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

That is what all of our lives are hitched to, those of us who truly follow him. The message of the gospel has always been the same. Even before Christ came to earth as a man, it was purposed in the trinity to send him to die for the sins of mankind. We see it in Genesis 3, immediately after Adam and Eve sinned, God foretold the coming Messiah. 

We should take hope in the gospel’s enduring nature. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5). 

Joshua West serves as the Pastor's Network Director at World Challenge helping equip and empower pastors all over the world. Joshua’s desire is to raise up ministers who will correctly and boldly preach the word with passion and integrity. The point of all his work and writings is to preach the gospel, glorify God and to teach sound doctrine.

Jesus Delights in Blessing

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Many Christians think God delights only in chastising and correcting us. Not so! The Bible tells us he takes no pleasure in disciplining us. On the contrary, Jesus says, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32, NKJV). He assures us, “I’ll give you everything you need because my heart is set on blessing you!”

Nowhere in the Bible do we find Jesus cursing anyone; the only thing he cursed was a fig tree. No preacher, apostle, prophet or shepherd in history ever blessed people more than Jesus did. He pronounced blessings everywhere he turned.

Consider the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are you who mourn. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are you if you hunger and thirst after righteousness. Blessed are the merciful, the peacemakers, the persecuted, the reviled.” Everywhere Jesus turned, he pronounced, “Blessed …blessed …blessed.”

Jesus took children into his arms and blessed them. He blessed those who held feasts for the poor, crippled, lame and blind: “He lifted up his hands, and blessed them” (Luke 24:50).

It touches my heart deeply that Jesus’s last words before he left his disciples were words of blessing. Luke says, “And he opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the scriptures” (Luke 24:45). And then “…he blessed them” (verse 51).

At this point, you may be thinking, “I can understand how the Lord would bless children, or new converts, or even Christians in poor countries who need miracles just to have food. I can see how he would bless imprisoned believers in foreign countries, miraculously providing them with glorious revelations of himself. But me? Well, I don’t think I ever live up to the light I have received and I don’t feel worthy of his blessings.”

Beloved, I hope you understand by now that you will never be worthy of God’s blessings. No one earns his blessings. Rather, he comes to us — strictly in his mercy and grace — and bestows on us spiritual blessings beyond our comprehension.

From Wrath to Mercy

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

God’s holiness demands that he be angry at sin, but he loves mercy. Now the blood of Jesus has satisfied God’s justice so that he can come out to us through the torn veil, showing mercy and grace.

The Old Testament includes a powerful foreshadowing of our merciful High Priest. In Numbers 16, we see the whole congregation of Israel rising up and murmuring against Moses and Aaron. God had destroyed two hundred and fifty princes because they had rebelled against him, and the people were mad at Moses and Aaron over their deaths. “On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘You have killed the people of the Lord.’” (Numbers 16:41, NKJV).

God appeared in a cloud, telling Moses and Aaron to stand apart from the rest. “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment” (Numbers 16:45).

Suddenly, a horrible plague broke out among the people. Terrified, Moses told Aaron, the high priest, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the Lord. The plague has begun. …And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped” (Numbers 16:46, 48).

Aaron is a type of Christ here, and the incense represents Jesus’s prayers for a rebellious people. What an incredible picture of God showing mercy through the prayers of the high priest. We see an image of Jesus running among rebellious sinners, sending up prayers to the Father on their behalf. With each person, he cries, “Father, have mercy!”

An advocate is one who tells the court what is legal, what is right and should be done. Jesus says, “I have fulfilled the law. I have paid the price to fully satisfy God’s justice. The devil can never accuse God of being unjust.” 

Although 14,700 Israelites died of the plague, two or three million others should have fallen. However, God showed mercy! Likewise, you and I should have died long ago because of our sin. The Father, through Jesus’s prayers, has mercifully kept us by his power.