Will You Take the Call?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

God's Spirit has always been calling mankind to himself, to holiness, purity of heart, a separated life; and some in every generation answer this call. Joseph responded at an early age; his ten older brothers received the same call, but they chose to remain in the world.

On at least two occasions, all of Jacob's sons clearly heard the Spirit's call. The first was when Jacob built an altar to the God of Israel (see Genesis 33:18-20). Jacob called his sons to the altar to worship with him, but Joseph’s brothers turned to revenge and bloodshed instead.

The second time was at Bethel. Jacob knew his sons were idolatrous so he warned them, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments…I will make an altar there to God” (Genesis 35:2-3, NKJV).

This is one of the clearest calls in all of God's Word. The phrase ‘change your garments’ in Hebrew means a moral and spiritual purification of the mind and heart.

Outwardly, Jacob's sons surrendered — “So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears” (Genesis 35:4) — but their repentance was only on the surface. They went right back to their rebellion. Joseph was different; his repentance had been from the heart. In the middle of a wicked, evil environment, Joseph maintained clean hands and a pure spirit.

One day, Joseph was sent out to the fields to help his brothers care for the family’s flocks, but he was grieved when he heard his brothers speak and act with such malice. His heart was crushed by the wickedness in his own family, and he went to his father (see Genesis 37:1-4).

A mark of the Joseph Company is that they grieve over sin. They have left their idols behind and are in love with Jesus and his holiness. They are grieved most of all by the sin in the church. They cry out, “Lord, look at what is happening among your children!” If you are like Joseph, you can't overlook sin. You will say, “I can't stand what they're doing to your name!” You will pray, not against people but against the inroads of Satan into the church. You will pray for righteousness to prevail.

From Prison to Freedom and Beyond

Gary Wilkerson

Awhile back I spoke with a woman named Holly Dziedzickie. Holly was raised in a Christian home and attended church with her parents from an early age, but in her teens she rebelled against God. She became involved in a lifestyle of promiscuity, alcohol and drugs, including selling methamphetamine. She was angry at God that he considered the things she wanted to do sinful. For years she was in and out of jail. The drugs made her paranoid and violent, and she was ultimately sent to a high-security facility.

There, Holly met an inmate she had known previously. This time, however, her friend seemed different. “You’ve changed,” Holly said. “You’re shiny.” Her friend told her that she had been saved, led to Jesus by a little old lady from Yucca Valley who used to come to the prison and pray over the girls. Holly began reading the Bible, but it didn’t speak to her. Her friend said, “You need to ask God to open your eyes before you read that,” and she did. She opened her Bible again, her eyes landing on Romans chapter five.

This was Holly’s turning point. God ripped off the blinders, and she understood for the first time that Satan had conned her. She was not doing what she wanted; she was instead a slave to sin. Romans 5:8 stood out: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (ESV). She asked God to save her.

Holly served a reduced sentence and emerged from prison a different person. She went to Bible school, then traveled to Cambodia where she founded the Girls’ House of Refuge in Phnom Penh. For over ten years now, God has brought hundreds of young, impoverished girls to this haven – girls from the slums who have been abused, exploited, traumatized and thrown away by society.

Who knew that a little lady from Yucca Valley would impact so many? One person, not content to sit in comfortable complacency, steps into the Holy Spirit’s mighty flow. It spreads, prisoner to prisoner, friend to friend, and Holly pays forward her glorious redemption to bring Christ’s love and hope to the forgotten women of Phnom Penh.

Whatever God is calling you to right now, take a step toward it! His plans are far beyond ours and may touch the lives of people we could never imagine right now.

When God Plants His Church

Claude Houde

The city of Philippi, located in the northeast of modern Greece, was once one of the largest cities in the world. When the apostle Paul arrived there, he discovered a city totally assimilated into the Roman culture. It was a materialistic culture where injustices and cruelty reigned and where the vulnerable were forgotten or exploited. According to the religious traditions of the time, everyone fashioned their own god and regularly prayed to the dead to ask for guidance. It was a fundamentally anti-Christ culture.

This was the place where the Apostle Paul founded a church. It was to this church that Paul wrote, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:3-5, ESV).

This is a reminder to everyone that the Word of God is never limited by the circumstances, culture or obstacles around us. Two thousand years later, I stand by Paul's side and remind every believer, leader, pastor that whatever hostile socio-cultural mindsets or trends surround where you work, there are always possibilities to reach our generation. Where sin abounds, the grace of God abounds all the more!

People in the world thirst for the absolute, for authenticity, for meaning in their lives, for the liberation of their souls from the chains of the past. The same societies that have rejected religion and deplored fundamentalism are still craving spirituality. This is what we have experienced every year for more than two decades at Eglise Nouvelle Vie. In Quebec, the culture is closed to the gospel, like in many French-speaking countries and cities. Nevertheless, in the past year, two thousand people have passed through the doors of the church for the first time. After hearing the gospel message, those two thousand people registered their names with the church staff because they recognized their need for God; they want to have their questions answered and to have someone pray with them.

I declare by faith that, in the coming years, God will plant and expand his church with supernatural power.

Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.

Doubting God’s Assurance

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“He sent a man before them – Joseph – who was sold as a slave” (Psalm 105:17,19, NKJV). Joseph was tested in many ways, but his greatest trial was the word he had received.

Consider all Joseph had endured. At seventeen, he was stripped and thrown into a pit to starve. His coldhearted brothers laughed at his pleas for mercy and sold him to Ishmaelite traders who took him to Egypt and sold him as a slave.

Yet Joseph's greatest trial wasn't his rejection by his brothers or slavery or prison. What confused and tried Joseph’s spirit was the clear word he had heard from God.

God had told Joseph through dreams that he would be given great authority. His brothers would bow before him, and he would be a deliverer of many people.

None of this was an ego trip for Joseph. His heart was so set on God that this word gave him a humble sense of destiny: “Lord, you have put your hand on me to have a part in your eternal plan.” Joseph was blessed just by knowing he would play an important role in fulfilling God’s will, but his circumstances were the opposite of what God had told him. He was a servant! How could he believe that he would one day deliver multitudes when he was a slave himself? He must have thought, “This doesn't make sense. How could God be ordering my steps into prison, into oblivion?”

For ten years, Joseph faithfully served in Potiphar's house, but he was misjudged and lied about. His victory over temptation with Potiphar's wife only landed him in jail. During such times surely he questioned, “Did I hear correctly? Did my pride invent these dreams? Could my brothers have been right? Maybe these things are happening to me as discipline for some selfish desire.”

There have been times when God has shown me things he wanted for me—ministry, service, usefulness—yet every circumstance was the opposite of that word. At such times, I thought, “Lord, this can't be you speaking; it must be my flesh.” His words were a test of my trust in him, but now I can look back and see that he fulfilled them all.

Friend, don’t be anxious when you feel doubtful of God’s promises. You can be assured that he will accomplish each one in his way and in his time!

Every Word and Promise Was Fulfilled

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Joseph was in one of his darkest hours; he was lonely, downcast, about to give up his dreams and questioning his place in God. Suddenly, the call came from one of the king's guards, “Joseph! Get cleaned up. Pharaoh is calling for you!”

In that moment, I believe the Spirit of God came mightily upon Joseph, and his heart leapt with excitement. He was about to understand what it was all about. As Joseph shaved and trimmed his hair, he probably thought, “This is the beginning of what God promised me. Now I know I heard from him. The devil has not been in control, and my life hasn't been wasted. God has been directing everything the entire time.”

In a matter of minutes, Joseph was standing before Pharaoh listening to his dream. Joseph gave the interpretation of the coming famine and told Pharaoh he had to gather and store the nation's grain. “Someone must be in charge of the storehouses. You have to find a man who is full of wisdom to oversee it all” (see Genesis 41).

Pharaoh looked around and then turned toward Joseph. “You! I appoint you second ruler. Only I will have more power in the kingdom than you. You will oversee it all.”

How quickly things had changed! The day came when Joseph stood before his brothers and was able to say, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20, NKJV), and later he stated, “God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout Egypt” (Genesis 45:7-8).

Dear friend, very soon you're going to understand your present fiery trials. God is going to bring you into the promise he gave you, and suddenly it's all going to make sense. You'll see that he has never forsaken you. He has been training you, preparing you, teaching you to trust him for everything. He has planned a time for you to be used, and that time is just ahead.