Jesus Wants the Best

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

How it must break the Lord’s heart when we question his ability and desire to care for us. The Bible tells us how the Lord took meticulous care of Ruth. She pledged her love to Jehovah God and told Naomi, her mother-in-law, “Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16, NKJV).

God loved Ruth and opened up every door for her. She was poor and had to gather wheat in the fields, but scripture says, “She happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz . . .” (Ruth 2:3). Now, there’s not a chance in the world that this just “happened.” It was God’s doing, and he knew what was best for Ruth.

Ruth simply loved and fully trusted the Lord; and he had a godly man prepared for her as a husband. Boaz saw Ruth in the fields and immediately discerned, “She’s different, really different.” His heart was captured, and Ruth and Boaz were married.

What a love story, guided by God’s own hand! If he would do that for Ruth, will he not do right by his own bride in every circumstance?

We have someone who is richer and mightier than Boaz. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He knows all and can do all, and he loves his bride. Yes, the Lord works everything in your life for your absolute best, and he takes great pleasure in doing so. Sadly, we often don’t rest in that. We doubt that he is on the job at all times, working out everything for our good.

Beloved, nothing breaks his heart more. Paul describes the bride of Christ as “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing” (Ephesians 5:27). “Wrinkle” here means “fold,” as on one’s face, a wrinkled brow. This speaks of worry and fretting, and Paul is saying that Jesus’s bride will have no “worry lines” on her face.

The bride of Christ rests in his love. She is confident he knows where she is, how she feels, what she is going through, and what is best for her. His love brings her peace and calm. She knows he will not allow anything that will cut her off from him or hurt her. He is going to preserve her because he said, “You are mine!”

The Bride of Christ

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

What would a man think if his bride-to-be invited him to her house, sat him in the living room and then went her way? While he waits, she works in the kitchen, dusts the furniture, mops the floors and never says a word to him.

Jesus endures the same pain any man would feel if his beloved continually praised him, saying “I love you” over and over, yet showed him little or no attention. Her words would have the ring of insincerity.

The sweetheart may claim, “Well, he’s always on my mind.” I’ve heard people say that about Jesus. “He’s on my mind all day in everything I do.” How can you have him on your mind all day and still neglect him? When a bride-to-be does this, her so-called love is a lie. She may tell her fiancé she truly loves him, but her actions tell him she does not.

The Lord asks, “Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32, NKJV). David also speaks of this: “They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt” (Psalm 106:21).

The Lord exposed his pain in scripture for the whole world to see. He said openly, “My people neglect me for days on end.” Why would the Lord tell the world about such neglect? Shouldn’t lovers’ differences be kept quiet? Not in the Lord’s case; he wants us to know how hurt he is. He tells the whole world because he is heartbroken by our behavior.

Imagine that you are an engaged young woman on your way to the church with your husband-to-be. You grasp his hand and tell everyone, “It’s our wedding day! I love him; he is absolutely wonderful.” As soon as the ceremony is over, you clam up and don’t say a word to him. What is he supposed to think? I wouldn’t want a bride who extols my virtues, says loving things about me in public, telling me how precious I am and then later growing cold and avoiding time with me. That isn’t true affection!

Beloved, if you do not have quality time with Jesus every day in prayer or reading his word, you don’t truly love him, and you are breaking his heart.

Curiosity Is the Cure for Cynicism

Gary Wilkerson

In her book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, American historian Doris Kearns Goodwin details Lincoln’s gift for bringing opposites together. She says Lincoln possessed an “array of personal qualities that enabled him to form friendships with men who had previously opposed him; to repair injured assume responsibility for the failures of subordinates; to share credit with ease; and to learn from mistakes.”

Lincoln’s Civil War cabinet was similar to groups of people everywhere: families, churches, boards, workplaces, juries, neighborhoods. They all contain a variety of people who have the same goal but want to get there in different ways. Of course, in Lincoln’s case, the stakes were higher than most — the fate of the Union hung in the balance — but the group dynamics were like any other. His brilliance lay in his resolve to respect his team, learn from them and honor the mission by using all of their talents.

Can you think of a time when you were determined to do a job in a certain way but had to work with someone who was equally set on doing it differently? I can; it’s happened more times than I can count. How did you find common ground? If you’re like me, there were times you struggled to find any value in others’ points of view.

Paul went through this too, and he addressed it often in his letters. In Philippians, he challenges us to know the goal but to learn how to let our differences become our collective strength.

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:1-5, ESV).

Why “count others more significant?” Because it’s a spiritual connection that breaks down barriers and brings people together. It helps us think outside the box like Jesus did. When we bring the mind of Christ into all that we do, the job becomes easier, the load lighter and we might just learn something in the process.

Facing Objections to a Step of Faith

Carter Conlon

When God first set before me an open door to lead a church, I said no. He spoke to me often about that open door, but I had my career with the Ottawa police. Giving that up would mean losing money, my government pension, my coworkers’ respect, and the security of all these things.

One day, I glanced out a window and saw three or four sparrows pecking away at the snow. God spoke again, “I care and provide for them. Do you not believe that I will care all the more for you?”

That decision to take over leading the church was still not easy. People thought I was crazy. My father said to me, “When there’s no food to feed your family and no milk in the fridge for your kids, don’t come to me. I won’t help you. What you’re doing is foolish.” That was a bitter pill to swallow. Two of my fellow Christian police officers were quite vocal about their opposition. They questioned my Christian responsibilities to my wife and three children. “You’re going to bring your family into hardship.”

One day, I walked out of the elevator and came face-to-face with an officer in uniform. I knew him just well enough to know he was not a believer. He reached out and hugged me. No one hugs in the French-Canadian Ontario-Quebec National Capital Region in public! He stepped back and looked at me through misty eyes and said, “I don’t agree with what you believe, but you’ve got guts, man. I respect that.”

As he got on the elevator and went his way, I stood there for a moment, realizing the first encouragement I had received to step out in faith came from a nonbeliever.

I was well aware that there appeared to be a cliff on the other side of my open door. I wasn’t blind. I knew that God would need to sustain me. I felt like Peter stepping out of the boat. There was nothing in the natural to support me. From the moment I stepped out of the boat, though, the journey God put before me was amazing to behold.

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26, KNJV).

Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. In May of 2020 he transitioned into a continuing role as General Overseer of Times Square Church, Inc.

Serving the Lord with Gladness

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

God desires that we be so convinced of his tender love, so persuaded he is at work bringing us into his best, that we will have continual joy and gladness in our walk with him. Moses warned Israel, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of all things” (Deuteronomy 28:47-48, NKJV).

God is saying to us today, “Be glad and rejoice in what I have already done for you! If you go around moping and complaining, you will forever be spiritually starved and naked, prey to your enemies.” God wants us to so trust in his love for us that we will be testimonies of gladness and good cheer. He wants believers who are glad at heart, filled with a gladness that is based on truth.

His truth produces a wealth of gladness that flows naturally outward from the heart: “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing” (Psalm 100:2). “He brought out his people with joy, his chosen ones with gladness” (Psalm 105:43). “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (Psalm 32:11). “Let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God; yes, let them rejoice exceedingly” (Psalm 68:3).

You may ask, “How long can I expect to maintain joy in my service to the Lord?” Many believe that it lasts only as long as seasons of refreshing come from on high or as long as things go right.

No, we are to have joy at all times! That is exactly what the Bible says. “Oh, satisfy us early with your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days!” (Psalm 90:14). “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy” (Isaiah 65:18). We are “the Jerusalem from above,” reborn and living for him with a spirit of gladness and rejoicing. Trust the Father, believe his Word about himself, and see his gladness pour forth from your life.