What Is the Inherent Nature of God?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

After all his weeping and crying out to the Lord, David ended up declaring, “But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared” (Psalm 130:4, NKJV).

The Holy Spirit began to flood his soul with memories of God’s mercies, and suddenly David recalled all he had learned through the years about the Father’s loving, forgiving nature. “But you are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them” (Nehemiah 9:17).

Soon David was rejoicing, reminding himself, “For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon you” (Psalm 86:5). “Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases” (Psalm 103:3).

Here is one of the foundational promises of the New Covenant. Jeremiah declares, “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (see Jeremiah 31:34). Paul adds in the New Testament that he has made us “alive together with him, having forgiven all your trespasses” (Colossians 2:13).

God has promised us his forgiveness for every sin! He pours out his love upon us, and we have, through redemption, hope for this life and eternal life to come. As our Father, it is in his very nature to forgive. We are not left out in the cold; we are drawn into the shelter and safety of God’s loving arms through forgiveness.

“He will again have compassion on us, and subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 13:38).

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

Start Small, Trust God

Gary Wilkerson

We live in an age of ‘Big.’ With one click, we can take a global tour and become immersed in the world’s problems. Think about the catastrophic headlines that flow through your phone. It takes your breath away, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. We may rightly ask, “Why doesn’t God sweep in and save those poor people?”

We think big problems require big, dramatic solutions, but God doesn’t think that way. In his world, it happens the other way around.

My friend John Bueno and his wife, Lois, were missionaries to El Salvador for more than 25 years. Late one night during their first year, John was driving home from a meeting when he saw a young boy selling newspapers on the street. “That’s odd,” he thought. “It’s nearly midnight.” Then it hit him. The boy couldn’t go home until he’d met his quota, so there he was at midnight, trying to sell the last three papers. John bought them all, and the boy ran off, elated.

The Holy Spirit wouldn’t let John forget about this boy and the hundreds of other children working on the streets of the city. He felt the Spirit say, “If someone doesn’t help them, this will be the story of their lives.” John initially pushed back. “But Lord, I don’t have enough money or ability to make a difference.” God persisted, and today, more than 60 years later, the school for disadvantaged children that John and Lois founded has 37 campuses. They estimate that nearly one-sixth of El Salvador’s six million people have passed through their school.

You may think, “I’m not a missionary; I’m just an ordinary, unremarkable person.” Good! This is an attitude God can work with. Think of our heroes of the faith. Men and women like Moses, Daniel and Esther were ordinary people who simply stepped up. Many were poor and felt like they didn’t have much to offer, but God didn’t need their resources or resumes. He used their willing hearts and hands to accomplish his purpose. 

Mother Teresa understood that every kindness, every act of mercy, matters. “Never worry about numbers,” she once said. “Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”

Jesus says, “‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40, ESV). Give God your loaves and fishes, and he will feed the world.

God’s Plans for His Children

Claude Houde

In all things, God is the Alpha and Omega, and his plans for us are perfect. These two verses of God's Word need to sink deep into our hearts. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5, ESV). “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalms 139:16).

Whatever our eyes see today, the divine eyes of our Lord see people’s gifts and talents, potential and the unique calling on their lives. Gabriel's family illustrates this truth beautifully.

Every Sunday, we have special classes at Nouvelle Vie church for children and young adults living with learning difficulties such as Autism Syndrome (ASD) or Down syndrome. Gabriel, a handsome young man with autism, grew up in this class. Throughout his childhood, he and his parents, Charles and Monique, met many specialists to help them face the challenges posed by autism. Often, his parents’ hearts sank when they heard doctors say things like “Unfortunately for Gabriel, it will be impossible to... Your boy will never be able to...”

However, Charles and Monique continued to place their faith in God. They were convinced that the Lord knew Gabriel before he had formed in the womb and that the Father had a plan for his life.

Years later, Charles and Monique sent me this message: “Dear Pastor Claude. This week, the pan-Canadian TV channel Radio-Canada came to do a report on the story of our beautiful Gabriel, and the inspiring story of an autistic boy who became an athlete, studying to be a professional acrobat. We hope that this report will be a source of hope for all families with an autistic child. Looking back, we can say that our God never makes mistakes.”

God sees beyond what our minds and hearts can comprehend. Where our eyes may see only frailty and limitation, God sees tremendous potential in the making. He is above challenges, detours and disappointments. “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Be of good cheer. God sees further than we can!”

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.

Breaking the Cycle of Despair

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

For many believers, sinking to the bottom means the end. They become so overwhelmed by their failures that they develop a sense of unworthiness. Over time, they feel trapped beyond any help. Isaiah wrote of such believers, “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted…” (Isaiah 54:11 NKJV).

Some eventually get mad at God. They grow tired of waiting for him to move, so they cry accusingly, “Lord, where were you when I needed you? I cried out to you for deliverance, but you never answered. I’ve done everything I know to do, yet I’m still not free. I’m tired of repenting and crying, without ever seeing any change!” Many such believers simply give up trying and give themselves over to hopelessness.

Others fall into a fog of spiritual apathy. They are convinced that God doesn’t care about them anymore. They say, “That’s it. I give up. I am invisible to God.” Consumed by sadness and defeat, they tell themselves, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God” (Isaiah 40:27). “The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me” (Isaiah 49:14).

Still others end up focusing all their attention on the failure, trying to keep themselves in a constant state of conviction, guilt and hopelessness. Yet this only causes confusion! They cry, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?” (Ezekiel 33:10).

The fact is, recognizing and feeling sorry for our sin is not an end in itself. We aren’t supposed to rest in those feelings. They are meant to drive us to the end of ourselves, toward the victory of the cross. God does not want us to languish in defeat and despair. He is eager to lift us up! When we give our sorrow to Jesus, he has promised that he will hear our cries and bring us into a life of purpose, hope and joy in him.

“And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7).

“The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down” (Psalm 145:14).

The Irrationality of Faith

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

When God says to humankind, “Believe,” he demands something that is wholly beyond reason. Faith is totally illogical. Think about it. The book of Hebrews says faith is the substance of something hoped for, evidence that’s unseen. There is no evidence, yet we’re asked to believe. Believers will face discouragement in this life, yet I believe if we understand the illogical, unreasonable nature of faith, we will find the help we need to get through.

Consider the faith that was demanded of Noah. He lived in a generation that had spun out of control, and God finally said, “Enough! Man is set on destroying himself. It must end.” (see Genesis 6).

Imagine the faith required of Noah. God was going to send a cataclysmic event that would destroy the entire earth, and Noah was simply to accept God’s words by faith. He was given a mammoth task to build a huge ark, surrounded by dangerous unbelievers, without further direction from God for the next 120 years. Despite all this, Noah did as God said and kept trusting the word he’d been given. For his obedience, Noah “became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Hebrews 11:7 NKJV).

In Genesis 12:1–4, God similarly told Abraham, “Get up, go out, and leave your country.” This was a ridiculous, unreasonable demand, yet Abraham obeyed. Faith demanded that he act on nothing more than a promise.

One starry night, God told Abraham, “Look up into the sky and try to count the stars. That’s how many descendants you’re going to have” (see Genesis 15:5). Abraham must have shaken his head at this. By now he and his wife, Sarah, were old, yet here was God promising him that he would become a father of many nations. The only evidence he had was a word from heaven: “I am the Lord” (Genesis 15:7).

Abraham obeyed, and the Bible says the same thing of him that it says of Noah. “And he believed in the Lord; and he accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). Once again, one man’s faith is translated into righteousness.

What God asks of us may sound unreasonable, but he has proven that we can trust him in every situation. Even when the situation seems hopeless and impossible, he always comes through with perfect Holy Ghost timing.