Seeking the Face of God

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

King David knew that there had to be more to knowing God; he sensed there was something of the Lord he hadn’t obtained, and he would not rest until he found it. “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4, NKJV).

In short, he was saying, “There is a beauty, a glory, an excitement about the Lord that I haven’t yet seen in my life. I want to know what it’s like to have uninterrupted communion with my God. I want my life to be a living prayer. Only that will see me through the rest of my days.”

The Lord revealed to David that he could satisfy his longings by reflecting God in his own life. David wrote, “When you said, ‘Seek my face,’ my heart said to you, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’” (Psalm 27:8). God was instructing David, “Learn of me. Search my Word, and pray for understanding through the Spirit. I want your life to reflect my beauty to the world.”

This was not merely a call to prayer; David would have already been praying several times a day. In fact, David’s prayers were what created this passion in him to know the Lord. No, this call from God was to hunger for a lifestyle that totally reflects who Jesus is.

At Calvary, God took on a human face. Jesus came to earth as a man, God in flesh. He did this so he could feel our pain, be tempted and tried as we are. Scripture calls Jesus the exact likeness of God. He is the same essence and substance of God the Father (see Hebrews 1:3). To this very day, Jesus Christ is the face of God on earth. Through the Cross, we have the privilege of “seeing his face.”

Today, when God says, “Seek my face,” his words have greater implications than at any other time in history. With all that is going on in the world around us, how should we respond? When David was surrounded by a host of idolaters, God said, “Seek my face.” We also obey this command that we may be like Jesus, and those who seek the true Christ will see him in us.

When God Establishes Our Steps

Gary Wilkerson

When somebody says, “I'm going to be a millionaire to prove that I'm worth something” and they actually manage it, that can be incredibly dangerous.

Sometimes achieving our aspirations can be more difficult to overcome than grief or failure because then pride can enter into us. We start to think things like “Wow, I was looking for love, and I found it. I was looking for success, and I found it. I'm successful, loved and well-adjusted!” Pride enters into the picture and becomes a stronghold.

There are people who can even become like that while they’re doing ‘good Christian’ works. Those works are not born out of grace. They're not born out of love. They're born out of a sense of “I've got to make something happen so I can feel good about myself. I will take control of my life. I will relieve the pain in my life. I will make sure that my plans work out well.” When Satan puts that lie of self-sufficiency in your heart and you begin to believe it, pride starts to grow very quickly. Usually this manifests when you develop a strategy to make life work out in your favor.

Scripture tell us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12, ESV). God in his mercy will sometimes allow our strategies to fail and our plans to fall through in order to save us. When that happens, we’ve got to sit down and say, “Okay, I'm going to ask God to tear down this lie that says I can chart my own life’s path. I’m going to grasp the truth that seeking autonomy or security apart from God only causes more pain.”

If you want to determine whether or not you’re falling into this mentality, ask yourself these questions: Are you growing in Christ? Are you finding yourself more free than you've ever been before? Do you find yourself walking in the joy of the Lord like you never have before?

We will find true peace and freedom when we embrace the truth of “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:8-9).

What Crosses the Oceans

Claude Houde

In 1942, Navy Signalman 3rd Class Elgin Staples was serving on the USS Astoria as they supported the landings that were being made on Guadalcanal. They fought well into the night. A brilliant beam cut across the water, and a Japanese cruiser’s spotlight illuminated Staples and his crewmates. The fight was on. At approximately 2 a.m. on August 9th, one of Astoria's turrets was hit and exploded, flinging Staples and many others overboard. More than 200 men aboard died. Badly injured by shrapnel in one leg, Staples only managed to stay afloat thanks to his inflatable life belt.

In the early morning, after long hours of treading the Pacific’s dark waters, Staples was rescued. He began examining the life belt that had helped to save his life and realized with surprise that it had been manufactured by the Firestone plant in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. He also noticed an unusual set of numbers stamped on the belt.

He returned home and was telling his mother about the whole incident. She was particularly interested because she worked at the plant. Staples grabbed his belt to show her. In a later interview, he said, “She leaned forward and taking the rubber belt in her hands, she read the label. She had just heard the story and knew that in the darkness of that terrible night, it was this one piece of rubber that had saved my life. When she looked up at me, her mouth and her eyes were open wide with surprise. ‘Son, I’m an inspector at Firestone. This is my inspector number,’ she said, her voice hardly above a whisper. We stared at each other, too stunned to speak.”

Through this beautiful true story, I would like to tell you that whatever ocean shakes your child — mental, physical, emotional or spiritual health disorder, addictions or revolt — God hears your prayers. “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:16-18, ESV).

God’s arm will be able to reach your child wherever they are today. Don't stop praying, believing and hoping. Your prayers cross even oceans.

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.

Standing Up to Our Giants

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Are you facing a crisis? Do you have a menacing giant of a problem at home, at work or in your family? The only way to face a giant is to do as David did: remember the lion and the bear. By remembering God’s faithfulness to him in his past crises, David could go up against Goliath without fear.

When David volunteered to fight Goliath, “Saul said to David, ‘You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him.’ …But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth. …Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.’” (1 Samuel 17:33-36, NKJV).

David knew the danger he was facing against Goliath. He wasn’t some novice, a naïve kid full of bravado and looking for a fight. No, David was simply remembering his past deliverances. He boldly stated, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, he will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37).

Multitudes of God’s people today face giants on all sides, and many cower in fear. Does this describe you? Have you forgotten the time you were so sick that you were close to death, but the Lord raised you up? Do you remember that financial disaster when you thought, “That’s it; I’m finished,” yet the Lord saw you through it and has kept you to this day?

There are many things we don’t understand, and we won’t understand every situation until we are home with Jesus. I absolutely believe that God can heal, and that he has a way out of every situation. The question for us is, “Where do we find the faith, the courage, to stand up and gain victory in him?” It comes only by remembering the lion and the bear. It comes when you’re able to recall the incredible faithfulness of God, and the past victories he has given you. You can’t face a giant until you’re able to understand the majesty and glory of God in your life.

Chosen to Bear Fruit

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you” (John 15:16, NKJV). Many sincere Christians think bearing fruit means simply to bring souls to Christ. Bearing fruit, though, means something much larger even than soulwinning.

The fruit Jesus is talking about is Christ-likeness. Simply put, bearing fruit means reflecting the likeness of Jesus. The phrase “much fruit” means “the ever-increasing likeness of Christ.” Growing more and more into Jesus’ likeness is our core purpose in life. It has to be central to all our activities, our lifestyle, our relationships. Indeed, all our gifts, callings, work, ministry and witness must flow out of this core purpose.

If I am not Christlike at heart, if I’m not becoming noticeably more like him, I have missed God’s purpose in my life.

God’s purpose for me can’t be fulfilled by what I do for Christ. It can’t be measured by anything I achieve, even if I heal the sick or cast out demons. No, God’s purpose is fulfilled in me only by what I am becoming in him. Christlikeness isn’t about what I do for the Lord but rather how I’m being transformed into his likeness.

Go into a Christian bookstore and read the titles on the shelves. Most are self-help books on how to overcome loneliness, survive depression, find fulfillment. Why is this? It’s because we have it all wrong. We aren’t called to be successes and be free of all trouble. No, we are missing the one calling that’s meant to be central to our lives, to become fruitful in the likeness of Christ.

Jesus was totally given to the Father. He stated, “I don’t do or say anything except what my Father tells me.”

Does your desire to bear “much fruit” spring forth from wanting to become more like Christ? We fulfill our life’s purpose only as we begin to love others like Christ has loved us. “As the Father loved me, I also have loved you; abide in my love” (John 15:9). His command is clear and simple: “Give to others the unconditional love I have shown you.” We grow more Christlike as our love for others increases. Bearing fruit comes down to how we treat people.