The Coming of Jesus

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

I believe Jesus is coming soon. We see the Lord moving in astonishing ways around the world, and events are rapidly moving toward the day of his return.

“So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors! But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:33,36, NKJV).

Those who know the scriptures have a Holy Ghost inner sense of the Lord’s return. We hear the call of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, crying, “Even so, Lord Jesus, come.” Jesus said, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns” (Matthew 24:42,44, 46).

Beloved, do you feel or sense that these are the last of the last days? Do you share the longing for his appearance? You are in good company! There are millions of people around the world who are also looking up, waiting with great anticipation for our Lord’s return.

Until then, God wants us to stand out as believers, as messengers of hope in our hopeless world. We do not despair because we know that Jesus Christ’s triumphant return will bring an end to the evil and hopelessness that have poisoned mankind since the serpent spoke to Adam.

When the Lord comes back to earth, he wants to find us hopeful, ready and working hard to spread his message of hope to the world. Even though we don’t know the day or hour, we know he can come at any time. Let us gather the harvest with joy as we await that great day.

What a day that will be! “The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). Look up, and be encouraged; our redemption is drawing near.

Experience versus Scripture

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Over 150 years ago, the missionary George Bowen said, “All human experiences of Christians must be put to the test of scripture.”

This is a powerful statement, and it gives us pause to stop and ask ourselves some questions. Do our deepening fears stand the test of scripture? Does our wavering faith stand the test of scripture? Is there any form of doubting that stands the same test?

When circumstances become overwhelming and doubts enter our hearts, we tend to justify them because of trying experiences. We all experience pain, afflictions of all kinds and trials that threaten to crush us. When that happens, our souls are challenged. How do we react to it all? Will our reaction stand the test of scripture?

What are you facing in your life today? Financial troubles, unemployment, bad health problems, or anxiety attacks? How are you dealing with it? Does your present reaction measure up to scripture? For example, James 1:6 says, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (NKJV).

Do you pass over this scripture and go on wavering because of dire experiences? I think we all do, but this verse is not intended to condemn us. It is meant to encourage us to anchor ourselves to the Holy Spirit when we feel overwhelmed. God created us to reach out for him for help and strength, to cry out to him, to trust in him and to absorb his Word into our hearts.

I have wavered many times when my experience looked hopeless, but more and more, I ask the Holy Spirit to conform my experience to the test of scripture. Because our thoughts, emotions and even our physical circumstances are often unreliable, it is God’s Word that trumps all experience.

God help us all to test our feelings by the Word of God. Ask yourself, “Is this reaction scriptural? Do my emotions measure up to the Word?” If not, pray for strength to let go, and let God steer your vessel through the storm. Keep the faith!

God Is a Rewarder

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

There is little purpose in prayer if we do not fully believe God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

I am persuaded that God delights in generously pouring out blessings upon his beloved children. David the psalmist insisted that God is bountiful and inclined to compassion, that his mercy is great and that it is impossible for him to reject any who implore him for his help.

The Lord rejoices in pardoning sins; he is always propitious. Webster’s Dictionary defines propitious as “kind, gracious, merciful, helpful.” It also says propitious means “favorable as a propitious breeze.” For the Lord’s children, this means “I am the God of ‘yes,’ of hope, help, favor and goodness!” This is the glorious, loving God that we serve.

One of my favorite passages of scripture is “Oh, how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for those who fear you, which you have prepared for those who trust in you in the presence of the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret place of your presence from the plots of man; you shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues” (Psalm 31:19-20, NKJV).

Think of it! First, God says we must believe he is a rewarder of faith. Then the psalmist tell us, “Oh how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for those who fear you…who trust in you.”

Think of that storehouse of great goodness! It is goodness laid up for God’s people, not only in heaven but now in our daily walk.

I pray this every day: “Lord, you promised to reward my faith if I will trust you before the sons of men, but I need what you promised. I need fresh strength and new hope, more of the peace that passes all understanding. Lord, I ask only for what you have promised. It is the highest goodness to have a fresh manifestation of your sweet presence. This is what I desire as my reward.”

Get into the Ark

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

On April 9, 1680, the great Puritan preacher John Owen spoke the following message to his congregation: “You know that for many years, without failing, I have been warning you continually of an approaching calamitous time, and considering the sins that have been the causes of it… I have told you that judgment will begin in the house of God, that God seems to have hardened our hearts from his fear…and that none knows what the power of his wrath will be. In all these things, I have foretold you of perilous, distressing, calamitous times… These all now lie at the door and are entering in upon us.”

God did send his awful judgments on that society. John Owen lived to weep over a fiery catastrophe that engulfed London.

Before these disasters took place, though, Owen faithfully cried out from his pulpit, “I am going to show you how we ought to deport ourselves in and under the distressing calamities that are coming upon us and may reach, it may be, up to the very neck.” We live in such a time today, and there is only one response to the coming storm: “The just shall live by faith!”

Owen tearfully admonished his people, “Get you an ark. Prepare an ark for the safety of you and your families. The ark is Jesus Christ. There is no other way… For Isaiah, the prophet, said of our Lord, ‘And a man [Christ] shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadows of a great rock in a weary land.’ That is our ark! Blessed are they that trust only in him… I know of no safety, no deliverance, in the trials and afflictions coming upon the earth but in believing Christ as our only refuge.”

We may see dangers on all sides, but we have a fiery guard of angels surrounding us and a God who is under oath to carry us through any adversity.

Do you want to face the coming storm with quiet confidence and peace of mind? Don’t try to save yourself. Rather, commit your life wholly to God’s care. He is our loving shepherd who is faithful to see us through! Fix your eyes on Jesus. He alone is our hope.

Called to Be Perfect, Not Perfectionists

Gary Wilkerson

The pursuit of excellence is a noble thing. We are all fans of “becoming your best self.” Christians want the spiritual version of that: Be the best person in Christ that you can be.

The problem is that this type of catchphrase blurs the line between being biblically perfect and just plain being a perfectionist. There is a big difference.

We all want to do well, to be excellent, at the top of our game; but perfectionism is compelled by fear and pride. It is a compulsion to succeed without even the tiniest error, and it can bring us to ruin by neglecting other, needful things or by paralyzing us with fear of failure. As Christians, we are sometimes conditioned to this perfectionism by being taught that this is how we please God or other people. Fear of judgment in the absence of perfection is a cruel and relentless taskmaster that can, if we let it, rule over us night and day.

When Jesus spoke the words, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48, ESV), he had just prior to that told us what he meant. He emphasized that he came to fulfill that demand for perfection on our behalf, and he knew we could not be perfect by our own efforts. Scripture is filled with wildly imperfect people who became great heroes of the faith. Jesus wants us to strive imperfectly to do our best and to depend upon him. There isn’t one human being who has ever lived who was perfect in themselves. Every one of us has failed, time and again. It is the redemption of Christ’s death on the cross which makes us perfect; it's all him, every time. Our perfection is not in our control.

It is when we take our eyes off our ourselves and our efforts to do everything right, that we find peace, perfection and freedom. Know this: your past, present and future are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. You have no need to perform before him because he already knows how imperfect you are.

Scripture says to “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely” (Hebrews 12:1). God desires that we lay down our perfectionism. He wants us to live with childlike authenticity and dependence upon him. He is most pleased when we bring our real and imperfect selves to him.