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Devotions

God Refines Us Like Gold

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Gwen and I recently spoke to a godly woman who has reached the end of her endurance. This woman’s family has seen incredible suffering. She has spent endless hours praying and calling on the Lord.

Month after month, things do not change. Just when she sees a ray of hope, things become even worse. She hears a message or reads something that inspires her faith, and she tries to soldier on; but now she is worn out. She can hardly sleep. She is beyond asking why there is so much suffering. Now she is simply hoping to see a light at the end of her dark tunnel.

She told us, “I have come to the place where I feel I have the right to give up. I have believed; I have sought him; I have been faithful in church and reading his Word. Yet I see no relief. I feel alone and helpless. Now I have to fight this thought: ‘I have a right to feel as I do because I see no end to my suffering.’”

We are praying diligently for her and her family. We believe she will not faint in the battle and that the Lord will send her help, but what she has said in her despair truly touches something deep inside my soul. Many godly believers have come to the same place of hopelessness. In sorrow, they also cry, “I have a right to quit the fight. I have a right to be angry. When will he answer me? Has the Lord passed me by?”

In Job’s despair, he said, “He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; my hope he has uprooted like a tree. He…counts me as one of his enemies” (Job 19:10-11, NKJV). Does any of this sound familiar to you? Is this your battle? Is it the struggle of someone you know? Beloved, God is merciful. Job came out of his trial to a place of hope, and so will you.

May this godly man’s words be our own: “I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive him; when he works on the left hand, I cannot behold him; when he turns to the right hand, I cannot see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:8-10).

The Love of God Shines on You

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

These words of Jesus touch my soul: “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:31-32, NKJV).

Jesus is warning about the heathen tendency to worry. He tells us that worry over our job, family, future or survival is a heathen’s way of living. It is the attitude of those who have no heavenly Father. They do not know God as he desires to be known, as a caring, providing, loving Father in heaven. To all who believe, it is not enough to know God only as the Almighty, the Creator, the Lord of all. He also wants us to know him as our heavenly Father.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). With these plain words, Jesus commands us, “Do not give a thought, a single worry, to what may or may not happen tomorrow. You can’t help anything by worrying. When you fret, you’re only doing as the heathen do.”

We are to go on loving Jesus. We are to move on, casting all our cares on him, rest in his faithfulness. Our heavenly Father will see to it that we are supplied with all the essential things of life.

I wonder if the angels are baffled by all the worry and anxiousness of those who claim to trust in the Lord. To those celestial beings, it must seem insulting to God that we worry as if we had no caring Father in heaven. What perplexing questions the angels must ask among themselves like “Do they not know the Father sends us to take charge of them in times of danger? How can they fret and worry when they know God possesses all power, all wealth, and can supply the needs of all creation? How can they accuse their heavenly Father of neglect as if he isn’t true to his Word?”

The birds sing, while we complain and speak of fear and anxiety. The lilies of the field stand tall in their glory, while we wilt and bend before the smallest wind of adversity. You most definitely have a heavenly Father. Trust in him!

The God of Miracles

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

I believe in miracles!

There is a mother in our church choir who has been praying for her son for years. He had fallen deep into sin as a teenager. She prayed, “God, whatever it takes, save him.” Instead of turning to Christ, he became a Muslim. For the next seven years, he buried himself in that devilish doctrine, but his mother kept praying. Islam sent the boy into a deep depression. In his awful despair, he jumped from a six-story building, hoping to kill himself. Instead, he landed on his feet, crushing a number of bones, but he survived. Last Sunday, he limped onto our stage and told how Jesus Christ miraculously saved him. His mother sat in the choir, praising God and remembering her many tears and hours in prayer. God heard her cry.

Thank God for miracles today!

A teenage boy in our church spoke of praying that God would use him in his high school which is located near Ground Zero and the demolished Twin Towers. He and a friend began to stand outside the school every day, praying out loud. Some mocked them, but others began to join them. It led to the school permitting them to conduct Bible classes in the school. The young man is so overjoyed, and now some teachers are attending. He said, “Can you imagine God using a scared, little nobody like me?  God still does miracles.”

A young man in prison wrote us a letter that moved me deeply. Here is what he wrote, word for word: “David, I receive your sermons through the mail. I am one of the school shooters. I’m the one they blame for starting it all off. On October 1, 1997, I went into Pearl High School and killed two students and wounded seven. I also killed my mother before this. After I came to jail, I got saved. If there is any way that I can help your ministry, I would love to. Maybe I could give you my testimony. I’ll do anything to help. I look forward to your sermons each month…”

Yes, I believe in miracles!

The Power and Authority of Christ

Gary Wilkerson

A friend of mine was looking to build an addition to his church, but he had to get permission first from a majority of the neighborhood within a three block area. He went door to door with a survey, and almost every neighbor said, “Absolutely, you can add on. We’ve lived next to you for 10 years, and you’ve never bothered us once.”

Only two blocks away, someone told him, “Sure. We never even noticed that you were there.” He was appalled because he realized his church was only having an impact on its attendees.

Jesus gave the power and authority to his disciples to reach the unsaved. “And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal” (Luke 9:1-2, ESV). I want to tell you today that you are no less anointed than these men. His promises to the first generation in the New Testament church are no different than the promises that he has for you and me today.

God’s power in our lives demonstrates his heart to heal and to deliver, to take people whose lives have been ruined by demonic forces and set them free. “As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance…by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left” (2 Corinthians 6:4-7).

Your church is meant to have an impact in such a way that causes cities to repent. God has equipped us to reach the lost. The Holy Spirit wants to use you in such a way that you would see it as natural to function supernaturally in the signs and wonders. Healing is central to God’s plan because his kindness leads us to repentance. Soul-winning is central to God’s plan. That is what brings repentance to a city.

Moving Forward or Backwards

Jim Cymbala

In 2 Timothy 4:10, Paul writes, “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.” Demas used to travel with Paul. How would you travel with Paul and see the miracles and hear that man preach and then forsake him?

The Bible clearly says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

There is no holding pattern with God. You may start the race, but you still have to finish too. That’s not legalism; that’s just scripture. If we’re not growing, then we’re going backwards. We’re either growing, getting closer to God and learning more; or we’re sliding backwards, and our instincts will totally change.

You can see that in the history of different denominations. They started out on fire, and they didn’t have 10 dollars to rub together. Now they’ve got millions and property, and they’re a shell. They’re slick, but they’re empty. You know it, and I know it, and everybody knows it. They talk about the ‘good old days,’ but why? Because they know it isn’t that way anymore.

So we learn that we all have to keep growing. We have to keep being challenged. We need to be around other believers who will push us.

The Bible says, “Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35). What’s Jesus praying for? He’s the Son of the living God! He’s the Word, the promises incarnate, and he’s still praying. But we ‘don’t have time’ to lay ahold of God’s promises?

Jesus told his followers, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

If there’s no asking, there’s no receiving. If there’s no prayer, you’re going to go sideways quickly. We move forward toward God or away.   

Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.