Hope in the Coming Storm

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

David gives us a clear picture of Jesus’ attitude in the face of the coming storm. Peter preached from David’s psalms, which speak prophetically of Christ, saying, “I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken” (Acts 2:25, NKJV). The literal meaning here is “I was always in his presence, beholding his face.” David added, “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope” (Acts 2:26).

Here is the secret: Jesus kept the Father always before his face! He continually sought out secret places to be shut in with his Father. It was only after being in God’s presence that Christ came forth to minister, fully persuaded that his Father was always with him. “He’s right beside me and nothing on this earth can move me.” The Greek word for move here means “agitated, shaken or disturbed.” Jesus was saying, “No evil, trouble or misfortune can cast me down or shake my confidence. My Father is in complete control.”

Beloved, if we’re going to face the coming storm, we must be prepared so nothing disturbs our spirit. The only way to do that is to spend time in the Father’s presence beholding his face. We have to be shut in with him in prayer, practicing his presence, seeking him until we’re thoroughly persuaded that he is at our right hand.

The Lord assures us, “Don’t be moved or agitated by anything you see. Keep your eyes focused on me and you’ll retain your joy.” Peter quoted the psalms and David’s words, saying, “You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in your presence” (Acts 2:28).

He was essentially declaring, “I faced everything that you will face in the closing days of time. I had the same foreboding because I saw the coming storm. I ran into the presence of my Father, and he calmed my spirit by showing me the outcome. In his presence I found all the joy, hope and rest I would ever need to the very end.”

My flesh will rest in hope.

Faith Founded on the Word

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

God is concerned that we are being shaken in our faith, that we don’t trust him during a crisis. Beloved, our worst sin is our unwillingness to believe he will do what he promised. That offends him more than adultery, fornication, drug or alcohol abuse or any other sin of the flesh. He desires – he requires – trust in him.

His Word says, “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials” (2 Peter 2:9 NKJV). “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

These verses are either the gospel or they are lies. If they are the gospel, it is vital that we stand on them. God wants us to be able to say, “Lord, if I die standing here, trusting you to see me through, then let me die in faith. Live or die, I’m yours.”

Now, I admit that’s radical. Could you go that far to say, “live or die?” Many of Jesus’ followers did. They and countless others through the centuries had that uncompromising faith, many even unto death. They weren’t superhuman or endowed with special gifts. What they did have was the real deal, a faith that subdued every doubt and fear. They stood solid on the promises of God. They said, “Let all the winds and waves of hell come at me. I stand in the shadow of his wings, and that’s all I need.”

God yearns to bring you into that place of trust. He wants you never again to fear but to truly rest in his power and ability. He knows how to deliver you from all snares, trials and temptations. There is peace unlimited in that place. When we fully trust in the Lord, we can say with songwriter Thomas Chisholm,

“Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
there is no shadow of turning with thee.
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness!”

Fine-Tuning Your Mind and Spirit

Gary Wilkerson

If there is one word that expresses God’s nature, it’s harmony. From the moment he spread out the heavens and filled the earth with life, every component worked together. We see this symphony all around us, from the stars to the jungles to the hidden caverns deep in the ocean.

It is the same with humans. God designed every part of us to work together in divine synchronicity. Today, even with our advanced knowledge, we have only scratched the surface of the interconnection between mind, body and spirit.

What we know for sure is that good, balanced health is up to us and that we are stronger in some areas than in others. Squeezing in time for physical exercise competes with my need to spend time with God. My phone and computer threaten me with mental overload, and I’m then stressed around my loved ones. Where do we find balance?

First, ask God to show you the areas in your life that need nourishment. Sometimes we even need to ask for desire and motivation. Ask for wisdom, for resources, for help from others. He is the source, so ask big! Scripture gives us a boost of faith: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV).

Second, take it one step at a time. One phone call to encourage someone, ten minutes in prayer or a walk around the block are more beneficial than you think. It’s important to set realistic goals that give us confidence to move forward.

Third, reach out. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Asking for help honors God and gives others an opportunity to serve. People in leadership often struggle with this, feeling like they should always be the ones to help. It’s important to remember how much Jesus relied on his disciples and modeled relational living.

Don’t underestimate your value. You and I are exquisitely designed and worthy of care. As “instruments of righteousness” (see Romans 6:13), our lives are a song of praise to our creator. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Discerning Between Good and Evil

John Bailey

As far as I’m concerned, all Christians are meant to have general discernment in the Spirit. Some believers say things like “Oh, I don’t have that supernatural gift, so I’m just going to go on trusting God will take care of me.” That sounds nice, and yes to trusting God, but the Bible warns us that we all need to grow into spiritual maturity, and part of that is being discerning.

Look at what the Bible says here. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14, ESV).

Spiritual maturity involves studying the Bible and growing in your understanding about how scripture applies to life. That means paying close attention to what’s happening in life because you’re not going to be able to apply the Word to something you don’t even see happening, right? Sometimes Christians can be really gullible, and that’s a shame. How often have you heard stories about some con man that no one in the world would believe for an instant, but there’s a Christian writing him a check?

Whatever happened to believers applying the apostle John’s command for us to be wary of frauds? “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). John’s basically saying, “Use your head! Get into the Word, and grow in discerning good from evil.”

Now I’m not saying Christians need to jump into every grimy scam out there so you get experience, but you shouldn’t be a fool either when it comes to identifying counterfeits, evil schemes and when people twist scriptures to their own ends. You don’t want to spend your life stumbling around, falling prey to wicked people and ending up in compromising positions. With all your heart, cry out to God, “Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live” (Psalm 119:144).

John Bailey is the COO of World Challenge Inc. and the Founding Pastor of The Springs Church in Jacksonville, Florida. John has been serving the Lord in pastoral ministry for 35 years, ministering the gospel in over 50 nations, particularly as a pastor and evangelist in Cork, Ireland.

Do with Me as You Please

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Martin Luther, at the height of all his trials, testified, “Lord, now that you have forgiven me all, do with me as you please.” Luther was convinced that a God who could wipe away all his sins and save his soul could certainly care for his physical body and material needs.

In essence, Luther was saying, “Why should I fear what man can do to me? I serve a God who can cleanse me of my sin and bring peace to my soul. It doesn’t matter if everything around me collapses. If God can save me and keep my soul for eternity, why wouldn’t he be able to care for my physical body while I’m on this earth?”

What a liberating attitude! Luther knew that the secret of contentment is being utterly acquiescent to God. Our life here on earth is short, and we are as powerless as reeds blowing in the wind. To know our limitations and God’s unlimited power is to rest in the knowledge that we are in safe hands.

You may look around at our world and feel like everything is out of control. “I’m so worried and afraid,” you may say. “The unrest and ungodliness is worse than ever. I dread the future. The way this world is going, we are all doomed.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. All things are in the hands of almighty God. Scripture comforts us with these truths: “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10 NKJV), and “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?” (Luke 12:24-26).

We are not promised a life of ease at any stage, but we are promised something much better. Our true reality is eternal life in the presence of our blessed Lord.