Body

Devotions

Knowing the Voice of God

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Those who truly know God have learned how to recognize his voice. I believe that three things are required of those who would hear God’s voice:

1. Unshakable confidence that God is wanting to speak to you. You have to be fully persuaded and convinced of this. Indeed, he wants you to know his voice so you can do his will. What God tells you will never go beyond the boundaries of scripture.

2. Quality time and quietness. You need to be willing to shut yourself in with God and let all other voices fall away. True, God speaks to us all day long, but whenever he has wanted to build something into my life, his voice has come only after I had shut out every other voice but his.

3. Asking in faith. We do not obtain anything from God, including hearing his voice, unless we truly believe that he is able to convey his mind to us and enable us to understand his perfect will. We also must believe that the Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray for ourselves or a certain situation (see Romans 8:26-27).

God is not a tease. He wants you to be convinced that he desires to talk to you and tell you things you’ve never heard before. He will not allow the enemy to deceive you. “He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:2-5, NKJV). When God speaks, peace follows, and Satan cannot counterfeit that peace!

God saw what your hurts and needs would be. He knew ahead of time what you would need to solve all your problems. He did not wrap up and hide away his answers.

The Lord Raises Up His People

Gary Wilkerson

One of God’s names in scripture is Jehovah-Nissi. It means the God who provides, who is a banner, who lifts ups, who exalts. It’s an interesting combination of meanings all together in one word.

This Hebrew word nissi was used in Jewish weddings. When the bride and groom were at the wedding party, all of the guests would make the couple sit in two chairs; then they would lift the chairs up and walk around the room, carrying the bride and groom. That action of lifting up was called nissi.

I think it’s a powerful picture because marriage is a kind of lifting up and great exaltation. I’ve been married 25 years, and it’s a wonderful blessing, but it’s also a test.

We don’t really want God to test us; we don’t want to go through dry seasons where we feel alone and away from his presence. We don’t want to go through the test of having to move to difficult places, the test of friends hurting our hearts, the test of family difficulties, the test of financial difficulties, the tests in church or ministry.

When Paul was talking about some of the tests in his life, he said, “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles…danger from false brothers. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:24-26,28, ESV).

Why is he saying this? What’s the point of this?

Paul provides the answer in very next chapter. “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

There’s a reason for God’s tests. He tests us in the area we love most. Every test you’re going through is not God’s desire to push you back or keep you in your place; it’s God’s desire to bring you nissi, to bring you to a new place, to elevate your faith and have you worship him as the Lord who lifts us up.

His Word My Hope Secures

Tim Dilena

Brother Dave Wilkerson used to tell one of the most fantastic stories. It was about this 82-year-old woman who was living by herself in one of the New York boroughs. One night, she heard someone start hammering on the front door. 

Her bedroom was at the top of the stairs; she looked down and saw a man kick open her door. What do you do? You're 82 years old; this man's about to steal everything you have. She just started crying out, "Acts 2:38, Acts 2:38, Acts 2:38." The man froze then got down on the floor, spread his arms and stayed there until she called the police, and the police came and arrested him. 

Now get this, the verse just says to repent and believe in Jesus. This guy was laying on the ground because the 82-year-old woman kept saying, "Acts 2:38, Acts 2:38." Here's what's great: Brother Dave said the cops started laughing, and they asked the guy, "This is an 82-year-old woman. Why did you wait for us to come?"

He told them, "Listen, if you knew a lady had an ax and two 38s, you would have waited too."

Here's the promise that Jesus gave to his disciples, "When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour” (Matthew 10:19, ESV). When people come into your life to antagonize you, and you're thinking, “I'm being written up at my job, written up at my campus because I said something about Jesus. What do I say?“ Jesus says, “Don't worry because there's going to be stuff that you say that you didn't even plan on saying, and it's going to be the exact words that you need in this situation.”

That's why I think the old song “Amazing Grace” from John Newton really does mean something when it says, “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; 'tis Grace that brought me safe thus far, and Grace will lead me home. The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures.”

God knows exactly what we’ll need and when we’ll need it. He is our shield and life-sustaining portion.

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.

God’s Glory Revealed to Us

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

In Exodus 33, Moses didn’t know it, but God was about to bring him into a greater revelation of his glory and nature. This revelation would go far beyond friendship, far beyond intimacy. It’s a revelation God wants all his hurting people to know.

The Lord told Moses he was going to show him his glory. “’I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you...’ But he said, ‘You cannot see my face; for no man shall see me, and live…. So it shall be, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand while I pass by.’” (Exodus 33:19-22, NKJV).

The Hebrew word for glory in this passage means “my own self.” God was telling Moses, “I myself will pass by near you.” One translation says it this way: “I will hide you in a cavity of the rock, and I will defend you with the protectiveness of my power until I have passed by.”

What was the great revelation that God gave to Moses about himself? What is the truth about him that we’re to sanctify in our hearts? It is this: “And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty” (Exodus 34:6-7).

Here was the greater revelation, the full picture of who God is. The Lord told Moses, “Come up to this rock in the morning. I’ll give you a hope that will keep you. I’ll show you my heart as you’ve never seen it before.”

Christ is the full expression of that glory. Indeed, all that is in the Father is embodied in the Son, and Jesus was sent to earth to bring that glory to all of us.

Thanksgiving Time!

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

The subject of thanksgiving came to me recently during a time of great personal heaviness. At the time, our church building needed major work. Parishioners’ problems were piling up. Everyone I knew seemed to be going through some kind of trial, and I was feeling the burden of it all.

I went into my office and sat down, feeling sorry for myself. I began to complain to God, “Lord, how long will you keep me in this fire? How long do I have to pray about all these things before you’ll do something? When are you going to answer me, God?”

Suddenly, the Holy Spirit fell upon me, and I felt ashamed. The Spirit whispered to my heart, “Just begin to thank me right now, David. Bring to me a sacrifice of thanksgiving for all the past things I’ve done for you and for what I’m going to do in the future. Give me an offering of thanksgiving, and suddenly everything will look different!”

  • • Those words settled in my spirit, but I wondered, “What does the Lord mean, ‘a sacrifice of thanksgiving’?” I looked up the phrase in scripture and was amazed at all the references I found.

  • • “Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing” (Psalm 107:22, NKJV).

  • • “I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:17).

  • • “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to him with psalms” (Psalm 95:2).

  • • “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise. Be thankful to him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4).

We live in a day when our high priest, Jesus, has already presented the sacrifice of his own blood to the Father to make atonement for our sins. Christ has wiped out all our transgressions, never to be remembered against us. For us, the work of atonement is finished.

We must no longer bring God sacrifices of blood or offerings of silver and gold for atonement. Instead, we are to bring him a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. “Therefore by him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15). The “fruit of our lips” is gratitude and thanks!