Knowing Times of Refreshing

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

I believe I am speaking to a number of godly people who love Jesus with all their heart and who are at a point of deep despair. What is the way to victory?

1. Dive into God’s Word. Lay hold of your special promise, take it into the secret prayer closet, and hold God to it. I present my favorite promises to God whenever I cry out to him: “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11, NKJV). 

Ask the Lord to set you free, to take away all your shame, to remove all the stain of sin. He longs to do it for you. “Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Take this promise to God every day, saying, “Father, you said you would do well above everything I ask so today I’m asking you to over-answer my prayer.” God is pleased by such faith!

2. Trust the Holy Spirit. The Father has sent his Spirit to reside in your heart but you must acknowledge that he is within you to answer. God doesn’t have to send an angel to speak to you; he has already put his resources within you: the Holy Spirit himself.

Say to him, “Holy Spirit, you know the way out of this mess. I don’t. It’s completely beyond me. I’m resigning right now, and I give direction of my life to you. I know that what I’m going through is not uncommon to believers, and I am going to hold the Lord to his great and precious promises. I will trust you to do the rest because you know the very mind of God.”

Dearly beloved, if you make this simple confession, you will know times of refreshing from the Lord. Even when you are ready to give up, he remains faithful to deliver you.

Pressed Beyond Measure

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Perhaps like Paul, you are being pressed beyond measure, tested beyond your endurance. Your strength is nearly gone, and you are on the brink of giving up. You want to run, but there is no place to go. Now you say with Paul, “This is above my strength!”

What is the way to victory? All I can tell you is how God continues to bring me out. Here are two important truths he has given me:

1. Don’t think you are experiencing some strange, unique battle. On the contrary, you are in good company. Recall Job, Jeremiah, Elijah, David and Paul. What you are going through is common to believers throughout the centuries.

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when his glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13, NKJV).

2. When you think you can’t go on another hour, when everything looks absolutely hopeless, cry out to God with all that is in you, “Lord, help!” Consider the counsel of the psalmist in the following verses: “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and he shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, for there were many against me” (Psalm 55:16-18). 

“I will love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. …In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; he heard my voice from his temple, and my cry came before him, even to his ears” (Psalm 18:1-2, 6).

Here is a key verse: “For he will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper”(Psalm 72:12). Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to be your helper, and he will not turn a deaf ear to your cry for help!

Building on the Rock

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Beloved, you are not building on the rock if you need a preacher to thunder at you to obey God, if you need a set of do’s and don’ts. You don’t need a book of rules; you need a passionate love for Jesus. You need to be so in love with him that you know what pleases him.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24, NKJV).

The more you love him, the easier it is to serve and obey him. You will no longer care what the world says about you. You can answer, “I’ve heard from my Father, and I’m doing the good pleasure of his heart.” When your heart is enraptured with Jesus, such obedience naturally flows out. You won’t have to constantly go before the Lord, crying, “Oh, God, break the power of the devil over me!” All those chains will begin to fall off as you get to know his heart.

Are you in love with Jesus? If your answer is yes, I have several questions for you. How can you go throughout the week without spending time in his Word? How can you not yearn to get alone with him in prayer? How can you not have a time of love-talk with your Father, praising and worshiping him, seeking to learn what pleases him? These are foundational to obedience.

Jesus tells us, “He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). What an incredible promise, all based on an obedience of love.

Search the gospels and get to know Jesus’s words as recorded in Matthew 5-7, beginning with the Sermon on the Mount. As you learn his words, do them! God’s commandments are not grievous; they are not a heavy burden laid upon us. On the contrary, obeying them becomes easier the more you grow to love him.

That is building your house upon the rock. When the storm comes, you can stand unafraid. Nothing will move you because you are walking in loving, pleasing obedience to the Father.

Arriving at God’s Victory

Gary Wilkerson

Judges 7:1 tells us that Gideon and his 32,000 men were about to go to war with the Midianites who had well over 100,000 soldiers. Those are not good odds.

God said to Gideon and his men, “If any of you are weary or distraught or discouraged or fearful or timid, I want you to go home” (see Judges 7:3).

We see that 22,000 left and 10,000 remained, and the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go” (Judges 7:4, ESV).

At that point, God reduced Gideon’s army to 300 against 100,000!

“And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing” (Judges 8:4). Late at night with only 300 soldiers left, Gideon went to the camp of the Midianites and overheard two Midianite soldiers talking. One soldier said to the other, “‘Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.’ And his comrade answered, ‘This is no other than the sword of Gideon…’” (Judges 7:13-14).

What he heard brought such an encouragement to the soul of Gideon that he began to believe that he could win this battle. What is his response? “As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped” (Judges 7:15).

Gideon began to worship! God’s goal in bringing us to a place of victory in the midst of our struggle, in the midst of our pain, is to cause us to exalt and worship Jesus Christ. God is not after just the victory in your life, helping you in your finances, helping you find a job, helping with your marriage. He will help you with all those things, of course, but what God really wants is a people who worship him.

Overcome Evil with Good

John Bailey

The deeper the relationship, the more important your testimony becomes. What I mean by testimony here isn’t your conversion story; it’s the way you walk through life. 

If I was sharing the gospel with somebody at a gas station, I wouldn’t have time to go into how I live in a way that matches up with what God commands in the Bible, that I have integrity at work and in my home. The deeper the connection that you have with a person, though, the more important it is that Christ lives through your life rather than just your words. This becomes so important to remember when we’re gathering with friends and family who don’t know God but know us very well. They’ve had years to watch how we respond to little inconveniences like someone hitting our car with a shopping cart and big losses like a loved one suddenly dying.

How do we live in front of people whose perspective on God might be their view of us?

As a pastor, I've found that some people come to me and say, “I just tell my kids something about Jesus all the time, and they just don’t want to hear it.” The more I talk to them, though, the more I realize that they act pretty judgmental and harsh. I can’t really blame their kids for not wanting to hear about Jesus from them. 

When you engage and interact with people, let the life of Jesus come out. When you're ready to share the Word—God opens those opportunities—it will be so much more powerful. 

In our culture in America, people have heard and seen the religious people. What they need to see instead is an authentic godly life. The more that you can capture that new life that God gives his people, the more your words will have power when you begin to talk about salvation or knowing Christ.

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. …Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:9-11,21). 

John Bailey is the Vice President of World Challenge Inc. and the Founding Pastor of The Springs Church in Jacksonville, Florida. John has been serving the Lord in pastoral ministry for 35 years, ministering the gospel in over 50 nations, particularly as a pastor and evangelist in Cork, Ireland.