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Devotions

HEADED FOR A COLLISION

David WilkersonAugust 19, 2015

Jesus ordered His disciples into a boat that was headed for a collision. The Bible says He “constrained [them] to get into a ship” (Matthew 14:22). It was headed for troubled waters; it would be tossed about like a bobbing cork; the disciples would be thrust into a mini-Titanic experience—and Jesus knew it the whole time.

Where was Jesus? He was in the mountains overlooking the sea, watching the disciples and praying for them not to fail the test He knew they must go through. The boat trip, the storm, the tossing waves, the winds were all part of a trial the Father had planned. They were about to learn the greatest lesson they would ever learn—the lesson of how to recognize Jesus in the storm!

At this point the disciples recognized Him as the miracle worker, the Man who turned loaves and fishes into miracle food. They recognized Him as the friends of sinners, the One who brought salvation to every kind of humanity. They knew Him as the supplier of all their needs, even paying their taxes with money from a fish’s mouth.

They recognized Jesus as “the Christ, the very Son of God.” They knew Him as a teacher, teaching them how to pray, to forgive, to bind and to loose. They knew He had the words of eternal life. They knew He had power over all the works of the devil. But they had never learned to recognize Jesus in the storm.

This is the root of much of our trouble today. We trust Jesus for miracles and healing. We believe Him for our salvation and the forgiveness of our sins. We look to Him as the supplier of all our needs. We trust Him to bring us into glory one day. But when a sudden storm falls upon us and it seems like everything is falling apart, we find it difficult to see Jesus anywhere near. We can’t believe He allows storms to teach us how to trust. We are never quite sure He is nearby when things get really rough.

There was only one lesson for the disciples to learn in this storm—only one! A simple lesson—not some deep, mystical, earth-shattering one. Jesus simply wanted to be trusted as their Lord in every storm of life. He simply wanted the disciples to maintain their cheer and confidence even in the blackest hours of trial. That’s all!
 

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THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS

David WilkersonAugust 18, 2015

After Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, His listeners sat in awe. Scripture says, "The people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Matthew 7:28-29). The Greek word for authority in this verse means "with mastery, power, liberty; as one in control." Jesus' listeners were saying, in essence, "This man speaks as if He knows what He is talking about."

Note that this verse does not say Christ spoke "with authority," but rather "as one having authority." It is one thing to speak with what we think of as authority—in a loud, boisterous voice, seeming to have total control. But in God's kingdom, authority is something altogether different. It's something you have, not something you simply speak.

The authority Jesus wielded shook up the entire religious system. Jewish leaders kept coming to Him demanding to know where He had obtained His authority: "By what authority doest thou these things? And who gave thee this authority?" (Matthew 21:23). Jesus answered them point blank, "I'm not telling you" (see verses 24 and 27). Our Lord knew He didn't have to answer to the devil about where He got His spiritual authority.

Christ had this authority not only in the pulpit, but also over all satanic powers. When He entered a synagogue in Capernaum, He was accosted by a man possessed by a demonic spirit. The spirit cried out, "Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us?" (Mark 1:24).

Now, Jesus knew this synagogue didn't need another sermon or interpretation of the Law. It didn't need a how-to seminar or some exciting new program. It needed a person with authority—someone who could chase the devil out of their midst, and cleanse both the possessed man and the powerless church.

Christ used His authority to do just that. Scripture says, "Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him" (1:25). In modern terms, Jesus said, "Shut up, devil, and get out of here." And Satan fled. "The unclean spirit . . . came out of him" (1:26). Once again, the people marveled, saying, "What thing is this? . . . For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him" (1:27).

If ever the Church of Jesus Christ needed His power and authority, the time is now!
 

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THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS

David WilkersonAugust 18, 2015

After Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, His listeners sat in awe. Scripture says, "The people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Matthew 7:28-29). The Greek word for authority in this verse means "with mastery, power, liberty; as one in control." Jesus' listeners were saying, in essence, "This man speaks as if He knows what He is talking about."

Note that this verse does not say Christ spoke "with authority," but rather "as one having authority." It is one thing to speak with what we think of as authority—in a loud, boisterous voice, seeming to have total control. But in God's kingdom, authority is something altogether different. It's something you have, not something you simply speak.

The authority Jesus wielded shook up the entire religious system. Jewish leaders kept coming to Him demanding to know where He had obtained His authority: "By what authority doest thou these things? And who gave thee this authority?" (Matthew 21:23). Jesus answered them point blank, "I'm not telling you" (see verses 24 and 27). Our Lord knew He didn't have to answer to the devil about where He got His spiritual authority.

Christ had this authority not only in the pulpit, but also over all satanic powers. When He entered a synagogue in Capernaum, He was accosted by a man possessed by a demonic spirit. The spirit cried out, "Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us?" (Mark 1:24).

Now, Jesus knew this synagogue didn't need another sermon or interpretation of the Law. It didn't need a how-to seminar or some exciting new program. It needed a person with authority—someone who could chase the devil out of their midst, and cleanse both the possessed man and the powerless church.

Christ used His authority to do just that. Scripture says, "Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him" (1:25). In modern terms, Jesus said, "Shut up, devil, and get out of here." And Satan fled. "The unclean spirit . . . came out of him" (1:26). Once again, the people marveled, saying, "What thing is this? . . . For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him" (1:27).

If ever the Church of Jesus Christ needed His power and authority, the time is now!
 

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THE FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM

Gary WilkersonAugust 17, 2015

John the Baptist is a biblical example of how to resist worldly distractions and pursue true greatness. He testified, “The friend of the bridegroom . . . rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice” (John 3:29). In Jesus’ day, the supporting role in a wedding was a place of honor and respect. It called for a person of great stature and responsibility.

In that time, the friend of the bridegroom was in charge of the entire marriage event. He invited the guests, planned and organized the wedding ceremony, and hosted and oversaw the reception. He even arranged the honeymoon, going ahead of the couple to make sure everything was in place for his friend and the bride. He also secured their new home, preparing it for the couple to live in. In short, the friend of the bridegroom was responsible for it all. His role was a rigorous work of love and grace, from beginning to end.

John the Baptist was not saying, “Theology isn’t important.” He was saying, “How can you be fixated on minutiae like this if you’re truly focused on the essentials? Jesus is going to give His life as a sacrifice, rise from the grave, and return for a Bride whose faith is spotless and without wrinkle. Can you not see what God is doing in your midst?”

John had good reason for his focus: King Herod’s household had begun calling for his head and he knew he was about to die. John was telling his followers, “I have only a few days left and I want everything I say to be fueled with this urgent message: ‘Turn to Jesus.’ I want my passion to be for the one true thing!”

John the Baptist had one overriding passion, and it is contained in this beautiful verse: “The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete” (John 3:29). Knowing his own time was short, John could rejoice over one thing: Jesus had come to proclaim the kingdom of God!

We all play John’s role in God’s kingdom—paving the way for people to receive Jesus. When that is our singular focus, all else falls into its rightful place. And God promises to empower us in our service to Him. As John the Baptist testified, “He whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure” (3:34).
 

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COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED

Nicky CruzAugust 15, 2015

God gifted my mother with endless talent and ability, and He wanted to use her to do mighty things for His kingdom on earth—to reach countless souls for Christ, to raise a good family, to be an exceptional wife and mother.

But Satan kept her from discovering her godly purpose. He seduced and distracted her at an early age, introducing her to the world of the occult, shielding her from the truth of God’s Word. By bringing my mother into a dark and evil world, Satan kept her from embracing the blessings that God had in store for her. He bound her, blinded her, and beat her into submission. She lived most of her life in chains—imprisoned by the Evil One, completely unaware of the goodness and mercy of God.

The day my mother broke free from Satan’s curse was the day that she finally began to see what God had planned for her life. She became a different person. Her eyes were opened for the first time, and she could see! She saw the hate and violence that she had lived with, and it was abhorrent to her. It sickened her to think of the way she had treated her family, the love she had withheld, the sin that had held her hostage.

Those beautiful green eyes that once had looked at me with such vengeance and hatred were suddenly filled with love. The tension in her face lifted, and a tremendous peace came over her. Jesus came into her heart and took away every ounce of fear, every hint of hate, every lasting shade of darkness and despair. He changed her completely. Finally my mother was able to embrace her purpose, her calling, her glorious future before God.

For the final twenty-five years of my mother’s life, she lived in God’s blessing and favor. She became the person He had created her to be—a wonderful wife and mother. Everyone she met was blessed by her kindness and her friends didn’t even recognize her. She was no longer the person I had grown up with. Her life was completely transformed by Jesus.

 

Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.
 

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