The Secret of Spiritual Strength

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Here is God’s secret to spiritual strength: “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength’” (Isaiah 30:15, NKJV).

The word for quietness in Hebrew means “repose.” Repose means calm, relaxed, free from all anxiety, to be still, to lie down with support underneath.

Not many Christians today have this kind of quietness and confidence. Multitudes are involved in a frenzy of activity, rushing madly to obtain wealth and pleasure. Even in the ministry, God’s servants run about worrying, fearing and looking for answers in conferences and best-selling books. Everyone wants guidance or something to calm their spirit. They seek solutions in every source except the Lord. They don’t realize God has already spoken a word for them through Isaiah. If they don’t turn to him as their source, their striving will end in sorrow and confusion.

Isaiah describes what God’s righteousness is supposed to accomplish in us. “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah 32:17). If we’re truly walking in righteousness, our lives will bear the fruit of a calm spirit, quietness of heart and peace with God.

As Isaiah looked around, he saw God’s people fleeing to Egypt for help, trusting in men, relying on horses and chariots. Ambassadors were coming and going. Leaders were holding emergency strategy meetings. Everyone was in a panic, wailing, “What can we do?”

Isaiah assured them, “It doesn’t have to be this way. Return from your backsliding. Repent of your rebellion of trusting in others. Turn to the Lord, and he’ll cover you with a blanket of peace. He’ll give you quietness and rest in the midst of everything you’re facing.”

Beloved, the same is true for us today. The New Testament confirms it. Christ told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

We must hold fast to this word for us, no matter what the circumstances are around us.

God’s Endless Love for the Hurting

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

When you hurt the worst, go to your secret closet and weep out all your despair! Jesus wept. Peter wept bitterly; he carried with him the hurt of denying the very Son of God. Those bitter tears worked in him a sweet miracle, and he came back to shake the kingdom of Satan.

Jesus never looks away from a crying heart. He said, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17, NKJV). Not once will the Lord say, “Get hold of yourself! Stand up and take your medicine. Grit your teeth.” No, Jesus stores every tear in his eternal container.

Do you hurt? Badly? Go ahead and cry! Keep on crying until the tears stop flowing, but let those tears originate only from hurt and not from unbelief or self-pity.

Life goes on. You would be surprised how much you can bear with God helping you. Tears and emptiness may swallow you up at times, but God is still on his throne. You can’t help yourself. You can’t stop the pain and hurt. Our blessed Lord will come to you, and he will place his loving hand under you and lift you up to sit again in heavenly places. He will reveal his endless love for you.

Encourage yourself in the Lord. When the fog surrounds you and you can’t see any way out of your dilemma, lie back in the arms of Jesus and simply trust him. He wants your faith and confidence. He wants you to cry aloud, “Jesus loves me! He is with me. He will not fail me. He is working it all out right now. I will not be cast down. I will not be defeated. I will not be a victim of Satan. I love God, and he loves me!”

As Paul told the church in his letters. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).

Happiness is not living without pain or hurt. True happiness is learning how to live one day at a time, despite all the sorrow and pain.

The Measured Glory of God

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Christ warned his disciples, “He said to them, ‘Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him’” (Mark 4:24–25, NKJV).

Jesus knew these words might sound strange to non-spiritual ears, so he preceded his message by saying, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:23). Jesus was telling us, “If your heart is open to God’s Spirit, you’ll understand.”

What exactly is Jesus saying in this passage? He’s speaking of how the Lord measures out his glorious presence in various amounts, whether to churches or to individuals. Some don’t receive any of his glory. Others receive an ever-increasing measure, emanating from their lives and churches.

God has promised to pour out his Spirit on his people in these last days. Indeed, all of scripture points to a triumphant, glory-filled church at the close of time. Jesus himself said the gates of hell will not prevail against his church. We won’t be limping into heaven. No. Our Lord is going to bring greater power to his church. This power won’t be manifested merely in signs and wonders. It will be revealed in his people and in the glorious transformation of hearts touched by God’s Spirit.

How can we obtain an ever-increasing measure of Christ’s glory? The Lord told us very clearly in Mark 4:24. Jesus was saying, “According to the portion of yourself you allot to me, I’ll give back to you in like portion. I’ll deal with you in the manner you deal with me.”

If you measure out to God sloth and laziness, taking for granted his great work, you’ll be dealt a spirit of slumber. “Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger” (Proverbs 19:15). As a result, your soul will go hungry.

God’s love, mercy and grace toward us are boundless. The issue here isn’t obtaining his love, mercy or grace; but having the blessing of his glory in our lives.

Jesus states plainly that he measures out different amounts of his glory to us, according to how we measure out our hearts to him. Our part is simply to move ever closer to him in our worship, obedience and diligence.

Hope for the Broken

Gary Wilkerson

Some of you come from broken families, and you might feel like asking, “Is there hope for me?” I met somebody not long ago, and their parents had been divorced, and their grandparents had divorced. They were asking, “Can my marriage make it?”

I want to say to you today that no matter what kind of family you’ve come from, no matter what kind of personal history you’ve had, you can be the forerunner of a whole new generation of people who are going to stand up and serve God.

Kelly and I are very close friends with a lovely family. Once time, the wife started telling us her testimony, and we were astonished.

When she was a little girl, her mother had some severe mental difficulties and would have fits of rage and paranoia. Because of this condition, bizarre things would make her mother angry; she would blow up at this little girl who was only four or five years old. The mother would throw her in a closet and leave her in there all day long in the dark. On top of that, her father would come home drunk many nights, and there was physical abuse in the situation.

She grew up in that type of environment until she met Jesus as a 15-year-old. She wasn’t allowed to go to church, but she went anyway, praise God! She started growing in Christ and being healed from the years of trauma. Then she met a wonderful man. They got married and started having children, and we would’ve never guessed her history because she just seemed so emotionally and spiritually healthy.

If you find yourself in a difficult family situation, do not give into despair. When Paul was talking about our future hope in Christ, he said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14, ESV).

Do not be overcome. Realize that the power of the Holy Spirit lives in you, and he’s going to give you the authority to stand up and be renewed.

Why Should I Forgive Them?

Tim Dilena

I was reading Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis, and he wrote in it, “There is no use in talking as if forgiveness were easy. We all know the old joke, ‘You’ve given up smoking once; I’ve given it up a dozen times.’ In the same way I could say of a certain man, ‘Have I forgiven him for what he did that day? I’ve forgiven him more times than I can count.’ For we find that the work of forgiveness has to be done over and over again.

“We forgive, we mortify our resentment; a week later some chain of thought carries us back to the original offense and we discover the old resentment blazing away as if nothing had been done about it at all. We need to forgive our brother seventy times seven not only for 490 offenses but for one offense.”

How many of you know this to be true? There are moments that are going to provoke old pain. You’re going to hear something, someone's going to mention something, and it's going to bring up a memory.

At those moments, I've got to go 490 on the issue, saying, “I forgive that. I forgive that. I forgive that.” Why do I forgive it? Because God has forgiven me. That's my motivation. I can forgive 490 times because I've been forgiven of so much. I have the ability to cover a wound because God says I can. Now sometimes I can forgive an issue, but I still need to confront it.

How many of you know this verse "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20, ESV)?

How many of you know that Jesus wasn't giving us a verse for bad church attendance? I've heard that verse used more at poorly attended prayer meetings and church services than anywhere else, but it wasn't Jesus saying, “Hey, when you have a prayer meeting and there's only 10 people there, just say these magic words.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Context means everything. You know how that passage starts? “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone” (Matthew 18:15). Then Jesus walks through the forgiveness grid on how to deal with sin.

He was essentially saying, “I see reconciliation as so important and powerful that I will show up to see brothers and sisters come back to me and healthy community.” If you have a heart to reconcile a broken or damaged relationship, to forgive 490 times if necessary, Jesus says, “My presence will be there.”

After pastoring an inner-city congregation in Detroit for thirty years, Pastor Tim served at Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC for five years and pastored in Lafayette, Louisiana, for five years. He became Senior Pastor of Times Square Church in May of 2020.