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Devotions

The Key to All Deliverance

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

The Holy Spirit gave David a revelation that is the key to all deliverance. David could say, “The reason God delivered me from all my enemies, from all my sorrows and the powers of hell is that I am precious to him. My God delights in me!”

Do you need deliverance from lust, temptation or trial? From a problem that’s mental, spiritual, emotional or physical? The key to your victory is in this verse. “He also brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19). God delights in you. You are precious to him!

In Song of Solomon, the Lord says of his bride, “How fair and how pleasant you are, O love, with your delights” (Song of Solomon 7:6). Three of the Hebrew words in this verse are synonymous: fair means precious; pleasant indicates pleasure and delights. These words describe Jesus’ thoughts toward his bride as he beholds her. He looks at her and says, “How beautiful, sweet and delightful you are. You are precious to me, O love.”

In turn, the bride boasts, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me” (Song of Solomon 7:10). The meaning here is “He runs after me with delight. He chases me because I am so precious to him.”

Our Lord also reminds us that although he is the God of glory, the creator of the universe, he loves each one of us completely and will never fail to care for us. “For your maker is your husband,” he says, “the Lord of Hosts is his name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; he is called the God of the whole earth” (Isaiah 54:5). We belong to almighty God!

These thoughts are found throughout the psalms. “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his mercy” (Psalm 147:11). “For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he will beautify the humble with salvation” (Psalm 149:4).

May your heart find comfort today in his unending love for you!

Turtledoves

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

God has kept me through my struggles by showing me King David's secret hope.

David, lamenting and complaining, wondered why God was angry with him. He called on God, saying, “Why do you withdraw your hand, even your right hand? Take it out of your bosom and destroy them” (Psalm 74:11 NKJV). It seemed to David that the enemies of God were taking control, and in his despair, he prayed, "Oh, do not deliver the life of your turtledove to the wild beast! Do not forget the life of your poor forever” (Psalm 74:19).

Like David, we sometimes see ourselves as little turtledoves, surrounded by the traps of the wicked. It has encouraged me in my most trying times to see myself as his lovebird, resting on his promise to keep me safe. Like a turtledove, we long for the presence of our beloved Savior.

I picture Christ coming to me in the form of a dove — his Holy Spirit — revealing to me his continual love and care. How unspeakable that such a great and majestic God would condescend to relate to my needs. Did he not descend on Christ at the baptismal waters as a dove?

Child of God, are you going through difficult times? Is there suffering in your home? Do you hurt? Are you confused at times because of the severity of it all? Remember, you are the Lord's little turtledove, and he will never turn you over to the wicked one. He will deliver you from every snare of the enemy and show you how devoted he is to you in your hour of need. He is there beside you always, whispering, sharing his love with you.

Solomon, speaking of Christ, said, "His eyes are like doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set” (Song of Solomon 5:12). Of the church, the Lord's beloved, it is written, “My dove, my perfect one, is the only one...” (Song of Solomon 6:9). We are one in Christ, his dove.

The sparrow falls to the ground but not the turtledove. He is kept in the hollow of God’s hand, safe and secure. Best of all, the Lord will deliver us out of our troubles and prove his everlasting faithfulness to us. We shall come through it all rejoicing and in full rest and trust in his power and love.

Prodigal Children Overcoming Addiction – Part 1

Gary Wilkerson

One of the greatest joys and challenges in life is being a parent. For Christian parents, when their child walks away from God, they not only feel the heartache but also a sense of failure with their Christian testimony. In this multi-part series, Gary and Kelly Wilkerson share their family’s story.

This is our story of God’s grace and faithfulness during a stormy season of sorrow. It’s a journey of uncertainty and fear but, ultimately, of God’s redemptive grace.

The Wilkersons come from a long line of Christian ministers, evangelists, pastors and even supposedly a Civil War chaplain. My father, David Wilkerson, founded Times Square Church, World Challenge and Teen Challenge, a drug rehab program with almost 1,500 centers worldwide. Kelly and I are ministers who pastored for many years.

What a wonderful spiritual heritage, and what fertile ground for family problems to take root and flourish. You see, when a family loves God and is wholeheartedly committed to spreading the gospel, the enemy sits up and takes notice. He wastes no time attacking the family at its core. Because we had made a positive dent in the kingdom of darkness in the area of addiction, Satan sent every demon from the pit of Hell to come against us with addiction.

Some years ago, two of our sons, Elliot and Evan, became deeply involved in drugs and alcohol. They both always had a heart for God. Elliot, even when he was homeless and addicted to heroin, would call and say, "Dad, I’ve been praying all day, ‘Jesus, help me; set me free.’ I want to change, but I don't know how. My prayers don’t work."

With broken hearts, Kelly and I cried out to the Lord, “You said to ask, so we’re asking you to deliver our children.” Often, we just fell on our faces and pleaded, “Help us, Jesus.” Other times we would shake our fists angrily. "Where are you, God? You heal other people's children!” It felt like the more we prayed, the worse it became.

We endlessly questioned ourselves and our abilities as parents. We felt like we had failed. “What could we have done differently? Maybe we should have spent more time with them; maybe we should have been harder on them.” We spun through the ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ cycle of defeat with self-loathing, anger and despair.

The entire family felt powerless. Remember, Satan has endless ways to deceive and counterfeit and penetrate the hearts of our children, and he used them all. Evan and Elliot had lost their way, and our best efforts as parents came to nothing.

The only recourse we had was prayer. We clung to the words of King David, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (1 Chronicles 16:11, ESV).

Gary and Kelly’s testimony will continue next week, and their full story with Evan is available on the Gary Wilkerson podcast.

Redeeming Our Time Together

Claude Houde

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17, ESV).

As a spouse and a parent, this can be especially hard! Let me suggest some habits to help make the best use of our time. Despite everyone's busy schedule, commit to eating meals together as often as possible. Make sure your table is a place for discussion with no electronic devices nearby. Talk about your day, your joys, your sorrows, what you read in the Word that morning or what you experienced at work. Ask your children about their day in turn. A preschooler won’t necessarily be eloquent, but you both can still experience a beautiful moment of sharing.

We have practiced this for years. Even today, our adult children and now our grandchildren have conversations with us about faith, life, our society, politics and a host of other topics where they feel passionate. These moments are some of the most precious that I have ever experienced as a husband and father. If you were invited to one of our family dinners, you would have to be proactive about jumping into the conversation because at the Houde's, people talk a lot and loudly!

Have special ‘buy back time’ evenings with your spouse and children where you put aside your work and concerns. For years, the special night at our house was Friday night. We didn't have a big budget, but the children were young, and their needs were relatively simple: to eat chips and chocolate! Chantal and I devoted these evenings with them to watching films and playing games together.

If you have children, make time for special evenings without your children. I’ve met too many young couples who have not taken a romantic vacation in years. I'm not necessarily talking about long stays at an all-inclusive resort. Organize a two- or three-day getaway. Ask the grandparents to watch the children and allow you some respite. Hire a babysitter for an evening. Find solutions within your means in order to buy back time as a couple. A rested, happy couple is the first ingredient of a fulfilling family life. Redeem time by seizing every opportunity to experience moments together and build your relationship as a couple or as parents.

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. 

Finishing the Race Well

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’” (Luke 14:28-30 NKJV)?

Jesus spoke these words near the close of his ministry on earth to warn followers that good intentions wouldn’t be enough to see them through hard times. Many would not have what it took to finish the race!

I believe the most tragic condition possible is starting out fully intending to lay hold of Christ and grow into a mature disciple, and instead slowly drifting away and becoming cold and indifferent to him.

God, help us understand that we are always changing; we are either changing daily into Christ's image or we are changing back into our old, carnal ways. Paul said to those who have determined to lay hold of Christ at any cost, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

What a joy to meet those who are finishing the race. They are growing in the wisdom and knowledge of Christ, becoming more distant from this world and its pleasures, and becoming more heavenly-minded. Their spiritual senses are highly exercised, and their discernment of what is of God and what is of the flesh is ever-increasing. They are cutting away all earthly attachments. With growing intensity, they long to be with him.

You can be sure that when Christ returns, he will have a glorious church. It will be made up of those who have become so unattached to this world that moving from the corruptible to the incorruptible will be but one last love step into his presence.

You may have fallen down in the Christian race, but you can get up and run again. Jesus will not fail you. He will not let you lie down by the track, exhausted and broken. He will lift your weakened knees and give you his supernatural strength. He will be there at the finish line to say, “Well done!”