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Devotions

The Father’s Joy

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)July 27, 2021

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, his flesh…. let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-20, 22, NKJV).

There are two sides to Christ’s work at Calvary. One side is to the benefit of man, and the other side is to the benefit of God. One benefits the sinner, while the other benefits the Father.

We are well acquainted with the benefit on the human side. The cross of Christ has provided us with forgiveness for our sins. We are given the power of victory over all bondage and dominion over sin. We are supplied with mercy and grace; and, of course, we are given the promise of eternal life. The cross has given us the means of escape from the terrors of sin and hell.

I thank God for this benefit of the cross to mankind, and for the wonderful relief it brings. I rejoice that it is preached week after week in churches all over the world.

There is another benefit of the cross, though; one that we know very little about. This one is to the benefit of the Father. We understand very little about the delight of the Father that was made possible by the cross. It’s a delight that comes to him whenever he receives a prodigal child into his house.

In my opinion, most Christians have learned to come before God for forgiveness, for the supplying of needs, for answers to prayer. However, they lack boldness in this aspect of faith, an aspect that is crucial in their walk with the Lord.

The Lord has great joy that the cross has provided us with open access to himself. Indeed, the most glorious moment in history was when the temple veil was rent in two on the day that Christ died. In the instant that the temple veil—separating man from God’s holy presence—was torn asunder, something incredible happened. From that point on, not only was man able to enter into the Lord’s presence, but God could come out to man.

This set the stage for Christ to send the glorious gift of the Spirit to his followers, and our relationship with God was transformed.

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A Little Jar Filled with Faith

Gary WilkersonJuly 26, 2021

In 2 Kings 4:1-7, we have an amazing passage about Elisha and a widow. She began to share her story with Elisha, and it was a tale of hurt, brokenness and disappointment. Her husband had died. That one thing alone would be tragic enough, but her story gets even worse. Not only was her husband gone, but she was saddled with debt far beyond her ability to pay.

If all of this weren’t bad enough, she was approached by the creditor who threatened her, saying, “If you don’t pay this debt back immediately, I’m going to take your two sons and make them my slaves until they pay off that debt through hard labor.”

Here she had a choice to become frozen in cynicism and say to herself, “I prayed for my husband’s healing, and he’s dead. I prayed for this debt to be gone, and I’m in more debt than I’ve ever been before. Why would I believe that my sons are going to be rescued? So many things I’ve prayed for haven’t happened.”

Once you become cynical, the door often closes. The cynic rarely prays and even more rarely believes in God’s power to work. It’s like when Jesus went back to his own hometown. People looked at him skeptically and dismissed his power because Jesus was the local carpenter. As a result, scripture tells us, “He could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief” (Mark 6:5-6, ESV).

Fortunately for this woman in 2 Kings, she believed in God’s word through his prophet Elisha, and the Lord worked an incredible miracle in her life.

I may have seen some unanswered prayers in my time. I may have gone through some hurts in life, but I know that God hears me, and I know that he’s ready to fill my hands that I hold open to him. That tiny seed of belief is all that’s needed. “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (Luke 17:6)

All it takes is a mustard seed of faith to overcome a life of cynicism.

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Choosing the Better Fruit

Claude HoudeJuly 24, 2021

In the book of Galatians, the apostle Paul draws up an unfiltered, precise and realistic list of numerous negative emotions and thoughts that we struggle with on a daily basis: impurity, anger, jealousy, envy, grudges, pity, shame, insecurity, pride, egocentricity, deceitfulness, laziness, despair, hatred, wickedness, hypocrisy, etc. We clearly see how our nature manifests itself in immorality and idolatry.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21, ESV)

Understand that the apostle Paul’s words were radically politically incorrect in the eyes and ears of the religious legalists of his day who hypocritically claimed to live above all sin.

It’s as if he’s telling them but also us today, “Don't be hypocrites. These emotions, thoughts and bad actions are present in all of us. They are very real temptations on our doorstep every day. Let us not deny their existence and their impact on our relationship dynamics. On the contrary, let's recognize them, identify them and resist them by placing them daily in God’s hands.”

In the remainder of his letter, Paul uncovers the emotions and thoughts that God wants and can create or restore in us by his Spirit: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of a relationship with God produces an obvious work in us, which results in a wide range of strong but healthy emotions.

God did not give us a spirit of wickedness, fear, resentment or anger. He gave us a spirit of love, peace, forgiveness, hope and consolation. The fruit of the spirit of God in us is a gift that he desires to rekindle every day. To that end, Paul commanded believers to put certain practices in place to help these spiritual fruits grow: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Our lives can be a pleasing offering to God through the constant renewing of our hearts and thoughts.

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.

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Walking as a New Man

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)July 23, 2021

You know the story. A young man took his portion of his father’s inheritance and squandered it on riotous living. He ended up broken, ruined in health and spirit. At his lowest point, he decided to return to his father. Scripture tells us, “He arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20, NKJV).

Note that nothing hindered this father’s forgiveness of his son. There was nothing this boy had to do, not even confess his sins, because the father had already made provision for reconciliation. Indeed, the father ran to his son and embraced him as soon as he saw the boy coming up the road.

Forgiveness is never a problem for any loving father. Likewise, it’s never a problem with our heavenly Father when he sees a repentant child.

With that in mind, forgiveness is not the main issue in this parable. In fact, Jesus makes it clear that it wasn’t enough for this prodigal merely to be forgiven. There needed to be restoration. The father didn’t embrace his son to forgive him and then let him go his way. No, that father yearned for his child’s company and communion. Even though the prodigal was forgiven and in favor once more, he still wasn’t settled in his father’s house. Only then would the father be satisfied, his joy fulfilled when his son was brought into his company. That is the issue in this parable.

Here the story gets very interesting. Note how the father responds to his son. He utters not a single word of reproof. There is no reference to the prodigal’s rebellion, foolishness, profligate living and spiritual bankruptcy. In fact, the father didn’t even acknowledge his son’s attempts to stay outside. Why?

In the father’s eyes, the old boy was dead. That son was out of his thoughts completely. This son who had returned home was a new man, and his past would never be brought up. The father was saying, “As far as I’m concerned, the old you is gone. Now, walk with me as a new man.”

This is the same invitation our heavenly Father gives us. The sin problem is settled. We are invited to come boldly into his presence and partake in his mercy.

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Into the Arabian Desert

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)July 22, 2021

If I seek to please man, I simply cannot be a servant of Christ. If my heart is motivated by the approval of others, my loyalties will be divided, and the driving force behind my actions will be confused. I’ll always be striving to please someone other than Jesus.

A few years after the apostle Paul was converted, he went to the church in Jerusalem to try and join the disciples there, “but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple” (Acts 9:26, NKJV). The apostles all knew Paul’s notorious reputation as a persecutor. “I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. But they were hearing only, ‘He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy’” (Galatians 1:22-23).

Barnabas helped the apostles get over their fear of Paul, and it might’ve been very tempting for Paul to settle into being a type of celebrity convert, but he decided to itinerate among the Gentiles. Indeed, Paul states, “I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ…. I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood” (Galatians 1:11-12, 16). 

What did Paul mean by this? In Galatians 1:17, he explains, “Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia.” What he is saying here applies to all who desire to have the mind of Christ. “I didn’t have to read books or borrow men’s methods to get what I have. I received my ministry and my anointing on my knees. I went into Arabia and the desert to have Christ revealed to me. I spent precious time there, being emptied of self and being taught by the Holy Spirit.” 

This by no means justifies those who are arrogant, lone-ranger believers. We know Paul had a servant’s heart. He had emptied himself of self-ambition and completely relied on Christ.

When your mind is set on knowing and pleasing Christ, you will not place the approval of human teachers over the instructions of the Holy Spirit. Avoid following other believers rather than the Lord. Only then will you maintain a clear vision of God’s calling on your life.

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