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Devotions

WALKING WITH GOD

David WilkersonJanuary 6, 2015

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:5-6).

The original Hebrew meaning for “walked” implies that Enoch went up and down, in and out, to and fro, continually conversing with God and growing. Enoch’s father, Jared, lived to be 962 years old and his son Methuselah lived to be 969. But Enoch lived 365 years—or a “year” of years! For 365 days every year for all his years, he walked arm in arm with the Lord. The Lord was his very life!

Enoch learned to walk with God in the midst of a wicked society, yet he was an ordinary man. He “begat sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:22) and was involved in everyday life with a wife, children, obligations, and the same burdens we carry. He walked with God while raising his family and providing for them.

Those who walk with God are translated out of Satan's reach, out of his kingdom of darkness and into Christ’s kingdom of light. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossian 1:13). We are translated out of the devil’s snare and into the very heart of Jesus.

The Greek word for “translate” here suggests that Christ personally comes and carries us away from the devil’s power and sets us in a heavenly place. But God translates only those who walk close to Him as Enoch did. Those who are held captive at Satan’s will cannot be taken up and delivered from darkness. You truly are not saved until you firmly set your heart on walking with God. You can claim to be saved and to love Him; you can tell the world you belong to Him; you may even pray, weep and read His Word. But unless you walk every day with Him, you will never change. You will fall deeper and deeper into bondage.
 

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SOMETHING OF GRACE WAS MISSING

Gary WilkersonJanuary 5, 2015

“As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith” (1 Timothy 1:3-4, ESV).

Paul was urging Timothy to stay in Ephesus even though it appears that he frowned on that idea. The reason Timothy may not have wanted to stay is because of problems the Ephesian church was facing. The people appeared to be living in self-righteousness—trying to look good and appear righteous. When you are self-righteous, however, often you are deceived and this can lead to you becoming greedy and ambitious.

At this very time there was a famine in Macedonia. There was also a famine in Jerusalem and extreme poverty. While Macedonia and Jerusalem were struggling, apparently the economy in Ephesus was good. They had a lot of resources but they were clinging to them for themselves.

Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:17-18: “Charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”

Look at Paul’s first word—charge—which means to “command or give strict orders.” In some translations it says, “Command those who are rich in this present age to be generous.”

Why would Paul say something like this—to command people to be generous, to no longer cling to things for themselves? It sounds legalistic and it is—because it’s the Law. The Law shows us where we are off grace, where we are wrong. The command that Paul said Timothy should give to the Ephesians was not to get them just to give an offering but to get them to see that something of grace was missing in their lives.
 

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GOD’S WAYS ARE HIGHER

Carter ConlonJanuary 3, 2015

“And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him. And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot. And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, Is not the arrow beyond thee? And Jonathan cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. And Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master” (1 Samuel 20:35-38).

Consider for a moment David’s journey leading up to this difficult point in his life. It must have seemed an ordinary day as he tended his father’s sheep out in the field. All of a sudden he was called inside to meet with the prophet Samuel, who took a vial of oil and anointed David to be the next king of Israel. Before taking the throne, David began to win some marvelous victories in secret, followed by an incredible victory in public against a giant called Goliath. David’s heart must have burned within him as he walked in an anointing that produced such faith and boldness in his life.

Shortly after, Saul took David in as his attendant, and David began to worship the Lord with songs that drove the darkness out of Saul’s life. David continued to fight the battles of the Lord, all the while experiencing the supernatural power of God, as seemingly no enemy could stand against him. Eventually, however, Saul’s heart turned against David for no apparent reason other than envy—which brings us to our passage in 1 Samuel. Saul’s son, Jonathan, says to David, “I am going to talk to my father. Hide out in the field, and I will come back and shoot an arrow. If I say to the lad with me, ‘The arrow is beyond you,’ that means you must flee, for harm is determined against you.”

Here is how I see this situation: God was trying to speak to David, but David was only partially listening. The Lord was telling him, “I have a plan for your life that will fulfill all the desires I have placed in your heart. A transition is coming from a system that failed under Saul’s leadership to something that will usher in a season of renewal in Israel, and you are going to lead it. But until that day comes, I am going to take you through some dark places. You must follow Me through these mountains and valleys—even though you will not be able to understand them fully.”

That is what I believe to be the deeper meaning behind “the arrow is beyond you.” It is a sign and a reminder from God that His ways are higher than ours, and all He asks is that we follow Him!

 

Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. A strong, compassionate leader, he is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world.
 

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A GREAT SHOUT

David WilkersonJanuary 2, 2015

At times we must be still and know that He is God. Sometimes the Spirit brings forth sweet, melodic love songs to Jesus. But throughout God’s Word, whenever He brought victory over enemies, the people always lifted up a great shout, a loud noise of praise to the Lord. On the seventh day that Israel marched around Jericho, this commandment circulated: “All the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat” (Joshua 6:5). “And the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat” (Joshua 6:20).

In Ezra we discover that another great shout took place when the temple foundation was laid. “When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord . . . they sang together . . . in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord. . . . And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord . . . So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off” (Ezra 3:10-11,13). The Hebrew word used for “shout” here means “split the ears.” The weeping of the Israelites was so joyful and the praises so loud that they “split the ears!” Some people say they can’t stand noise and shouting in church. But hear this: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

God wants us to know His Word on this matter. The Psalms command us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. “Noise” in Hebrew, suggests thunder, sparks, fire. “Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands” (Psalm 66:1). “Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob” (Psalm 81:1). “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise . . . with trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. . . . Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together” (Psalm 98:4, 6, 8).

God’s people know exceeding great joy whenever the presence of Jesus has been revealed. If we will not shout His praises, the trees will do it for us. At Time Square Church we sing this song: “Lift up your heads, don’t be afraid! Sing till the power of the Lord comes down!” That power is His presence!
 

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AN EXUBERANT AND EXCEEDINGLY GREAT JOY!

David WilkersonJanuary 1, 2015

“Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” (Acts 2:28).

Have you ever wondered what Jesus was like day to day—His heart, His attitude? Did He look crushed by all the burdens He carried? Did He weep? Was there a solemn heaviness in His presence?

He did weep, and He did carry heavy burdens. In Gethsemane He sweat drops of blood, and at other times He groaned and sighed over unbelief. But the Word of God makes it clear that Christ was full of joy and gladness.

“For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be [troubled]: therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad” (Acts 2:25-26). In speaking this to the Council of the Jews, Peter quoted a prophecy from Psalm 16. It was a vision of Christ, Who would have a rejoicing heart, a tongue speaking gladness and a countenance full of joy because of the presence of His Father.

We are to rejoice, be glad and full of joy for the same reasons Jesus was joyful. The first reason for His joy was that He knew it was impossible for death to hold Him. And so it is for us! This knowledge destroys the wicked doctrine that says Jesus was put into the devil’s hands and had to fight His way out of hell. Jesus knew on earth that death could not hold Him—and so do we!
Second, the Lord is at our right hand in all our troubles. We can rest hopefully and expectantly, knowing He is beside us at all times.

Third, “Thou will not leave my soul in [death]” (verse 27). We will rise to new life in a new body, in a new world.

And last, His very presence floods us with joy! How can we do anything but shout and be glad when we have been delivered from hell, promised eternal life, given His assurance in all troubles here on earth, and have His presence manifested before us?
 

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