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!”

Spend Time with God!

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

We are what we eat. It's true. Jesus said his flesh is our meat [food]: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53 NKJV).

People who relegate this eating of the Lord to the communion table alone do not understand what Jesus meant. The Lord's Supper isn’t just symbolic. It is a reminder to us that he became our source of life through death. We are to come daily to eat and drink of him.

When sheep are not fed, they grow skeletal and weak, becoming easy prey for the enemy. I see a remnant of people emerging in the land, though, who are strong and robust because they are acquainted with God’s heart. They are bursting forth with life because they have been in the presence of the Lord so often.

God has provided a way to make every child of his strong enough to resist the enemy! This strength comes from eating the bread of God sent down from heaven. Our spiritual health depends on this. Hear the words of Jesus: “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on me will live because of me” (John 6:57). Jesus was in such union with the Father that the Father's words became his very food and drink, the result of spending much time alone with him.

Jesus once told his disciples, “I have food to eat of which you do not know. My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:32, 34). Moreover, he said, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life” (John 6:27a).

We dare not miss this secret of strength! Our sustenance comes from the Lord. Get alone with him and spend quality time in his presence. He wants to feed your hungry soul and guide you through these perilous times. God will always manifest himself when you seek him with all your heart.

An Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God” (Acts 10:44, 46 NKJV). This is speaking of the household of Cornelius.

Think of it: a private Pentecost falling upon an entire household with everybody there lifted into the heavens. It was miraculous! The praises were thrilling as all the relatives and children were getting saved and filled with God's Holy Spirit. Meanwhile, here we sit in the day of the outpoured Holy Ghost, where we often see little or no evidence of his working and presence. Many of our Christian homes are now under the control of the spirit of the world rather than the Spirit of God.

We need to take back the spiritual authority in our homes. If a Christian husband and wife are not in total unity, flowing together in the Spirit and love of Jesus, there is extreme danger ahead. One or both are not walking in the Spirit. When both are seeking God in private prayer and devotion to God, the Spirit works his wonders. Where the Holy Spirit abides, there is rest, peace, unity, unspeakable joy and victory over the spirit of this world.

God is doing something new in the land right now. The Holy Ghost is separating a people unto the Lord. To God’s people, being successful is not nearly as important as hearing from him. Houses, land, furniture, cars and clothes have lost their charm to a people now passionately in love with the Lord of glory. The Holy Ghost has come to reveal Christ as the Savior of our homes!

I have seen into the spiritual world, and I see demons fleeing. I see powers of darkness trembling because God's true church, once a slumbering giant, has been provoked by the Holy Ghost to shake itself, rise and claim its place of power and authority.

Entire families, churches and ministries are being turned upside down. God is saying, “Get serious about spiritual things, and I will meet your every need!” The Father is doing great things all around the world, and we can be a partaker of his mighty blessing.

Cornelius Saved His House

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:1-2 NKJV).

The life of Cornelius proves that God seeks full-hearted devotion, obedience and ceaseless prayer. Consider how this man of God saved his house and the miracles his devotion brought about.

Cornelius was so determined to lead his household into God’s fullness that he neglected to eat in favor of seeking God. Food was secondary to his deep spiritual hunger and longing for God. Days of fasting without a corresponding hunger and thirst for God avails nothing; in fact, it is better to eat than to fast to earn a blessing from heaven. However, hunger after God takes the edge off the desire for food for a man with a heart in pursuit of him.

Cornelius should put us all to shame. He had no sermons or online instruction. He didn't even have a teacher! He was not a Jewish proselyte but simply a man desperate for God. What he had learned had come the hard way with no seminars, no conventions, no how-to-get-it-from-God books. Even though he hadn’t yet received the Holy Ghost urging him to pray and seek God's face, he fasted and prayed continually.

His prayer life made him a giver of alms. At that point, God had not answered his prayer for his household, yet he gave generously to those in need. He was not so wrapped up in his own need that it took all his time, attention and money.

Praying men and women always get God's attention, and the praying person hears the voice of God. It's been that way since the beginning. You can save your house the same way Cornelius saved his. In a single day with one glorious miracle, his entire household was saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. In one day, his house was transformed from spiritual blindness to marvelous light and life.

All of this happened because one man set out with great determination to save his house. May God help us get serious too about praying for our lost families and friends.