God’s Promised Rest

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered his rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:9-10 NKJV). You may wonder, “What does it mean to enter this promised rest? What should it look like in my life?” Simply put, entering his promised rest means fully trusting that Christ has done all the work of salvation for you. You're to rest in his saving grace by faith alone. I pray that God will remove the scales from our eyes and allow us to truly understand this.

When Jesus urges, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28), he invites us to stop all fleshly striving and human efforts to obtain peace. He wants us to totally rely on him and his work for us.

Our battle is not against flesh and blood; it takes place in the spiritual realm. The Old Testament makes this crystal clear. Time after time, Israel made empty, futile promises to God: “We want to serve you, Lord. We'll do whatever you command us to do.” History proves they had neither the heart nor the ability to follow through on their word. God had to strip them of all faith in themselves.

Everything we need comes from our precious Lord. Paul states, “He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us; for in him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’” (Acts 17:26-28). This speaks of uninterrupted fellowship. Through the victory of the cross, our Lord has made himself available to us every hour of the day and night.

We have to make a decision and say, “I want Christ in my life. I want to be set free from all flesh. I am therefore going to move forward into his presence and claim my possession. I want Jesus to be my all, my only source of satisfaction.”

A Place of No Reputation

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

There was a time in his youth that Moses was held in high esteem. He had a stellar reputation and was respected in the halls of government. He moved with prestige among the wealthy and was one of the most famous men of his time. By the time God spoke to him out of the burning bush (see Exodus 3:5), though, Moses had hit bottom and had faded into obscurity.

God couldn't use him until he tore Moses away from his worldly attachments. Who knew Moses now? Hidden away, out of sight, silenced and without influence, he had no outlet for his great energy.

The very moment Moses reached zero point — when his reputation was totally lost and there was nothing left of the old, self-assured Moses — he was on holy ground!

How long did God wait by that bush, ready to break forth in a glorious new revelation? He waited until that moment when Moses truly no longer cared about his work or his reputation. When he gave up the last scraps of self-reliance, he found revelation.

The Lord Jesus stood on this same holy ground. The scriptures say Jesus "made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant..." (see Philippians 2:7 NKJV). Shunning reputation and becoming a servant was a willful choice. Thank God for those who once again are being called to such holy ground, prepared for servanthood and seeking to decrease so that God may increase.

One great man of God wrote, "The man of God who truly preaches the Word will finally give up the idea of being known. If he preaches Christ, his reputation will constantly decrease, and Christ will increase. True prophets die unknown. God gives them their dues only after they die."

I believe that if we seek a larger, more widespread reputation, something is missing in our message. Self is too prominent. Christ should be gaining, and we should be losing recognition. We should be less known as the years go by until, like Paul, we end up shut in with God. May we all decrease! May he alone increase! God help us to get back to this holy ground.

Finding Healing in God

Gary Wilkerson

Healing very rarely involves just making the pain go away. Far more often, God is interested in taking a story of suffering, putting the sins that caused it on the cross, and then resurrecting our hearts and minds.  The ‘old man’ in us must die beneath the cross, but like with baptism, God is supporting our head and holding our hand as we go under. He will raise us up again.

Part of how God does this is often through having a good community around you. These are people who are going to help you, even if its just one or two really close, godly friends. You can do some things alone to work towards maturity and healing, but the reality is that we’re really not meant to go through life alone. From the very beginning, God declared, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18, ESV). None of us were meant to go through life alone.

This need for community is echoed in the New Testament when James writes to the early church, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:14-16, ESV).

If you aren’t part of a church, find a church with good theology and join it. Get help from the pastors or elders of your church. Cultivate friendships with mature Christian friends, anyone who’s a little further along in their walk with Christ. They don’t have to be an 80-year-old theology professor. Obviously, you have to be careful whom you trust your story and heart to, but be open to having another person speak into your life. Pray and ask God to bring trustworthy people and mentors to you. God often choses to work through other people and heal us in community.

God Who Redeems Our Past

Claude Houde

Whatever the circumstances of your life, God is able to change them for his glory. This biblical principle is not just a theory for me. I have met many people who were transformed by God despite horrors in their past. I know a young man from the poorest neighborhood of Montreal particularly well who experienced this magnificent and radical transformation.

Most of the men in his family were violent alcoholics. His father was depressed, perpetually out of work and showed all the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Night after night, this boy protected his little brother from his father's violence. As a teenager, however, he became what he had always hated. Alcohol, drugs, anger, delinquency, lies and violence were his lot. Until he was seventeen, he was completely out of control, disappointing and hurting everyone who came into contact with him. How many mornings had he woken up in a filthy Montreal ditch after spending the night drinking and fighting? More than he could count.

One evening, a policeman told his mother, “Don't worry, Madame. One day you won't have him on your hands anymore. Cases like him end up in prison or the cemetery.”

I was that boy. My circumstances predisposed me to reproduce the evil that had made me suffer so much. However, God in his grace came to find me. He took my heart, broken by beatings and rage, and changed it into his image. Our God transforms lives!

Years later, I still consider myself very imperfect, but scripture promises, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, ESV). God made me a faithful husband, a committed dad, a love-struck grandpa and a man of God devoted to his service. God transforms circumstances and hearts.

Do not limit yourself to what you once were. Do not limit your children to who they are today. God is greater than all of that. Your family has no pain that the Lord cannot heal. Declare this truth in your heart for your spouse, your family, your children and your future. If it is true that all our traumas are relational, then so are our healings. In our relationship with God and his people, let us be renewed. What might have been for our harm, God can and will ultimately turn into good.

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. 

Where Leprosy Is Exposed

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Moses was a man touched by God, supernaturally called and full of revelation about who God was. He had a passion to honor God and grieved deeply over the sins of the people. Because of his humility, he was permitted to commune with the Lord and receive his guidance in ways that few other men have.

Despite this, Moses, like all men and women, still had a sinful, diseased nature, and God used a creative way to reveal it: "Furthermore the Lord said to him, ‘Now put your hand in your bosom.’ And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow’" (Exodus 4:6 NKJV).

Imagine the terror of reaching into your own chest cavity and touching leprosy! What an object lesson on the utter depravity of the flesh. Was God indulging in a little magic with Moses? No, this was a powerful lesson God wanted Moses to learn. He was saying, "When self is in control, you end up hurting people and bringing reproach on my work. When you work on my behalf in spectacular, fleshly ways, you minister death, not life.”

Moreover, he said, "I cannot use that old nature from Egypt. It cannot be transformed; it will always be leprous. There must be a new man who is immersed in the glory and power of the I AM!"

The Lord then told Moses to put his leprous hand back into his bosom. "So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out… and behold, it was restored like his other flesh" (Exodus 4:7). Thank God for that second, sanctifying touch!

Moses’ stretching forth his hand is a depiction of ministry, and his leprosy represents hidden, unforsaken sin. When a man of God stands on holy ground, his inner soul is laid bare and those sins are brought to light. He is driven to the tender mercies of Christ for healing and restoration.

Once the old flesh is crucified, the hand of ministry is purified and we are once again clothed in divine flesh. We can rejoice in the cleansing power of the precious blood of Christ.