The Power of a Father’s Word

Gary Wilkerson

I was reading a story recently about a family in Madrid, Spain. The father had had a strong conflict with his teenage boy. In their relationship, they were clashing all the time, but then the boy said some truly awful things and was making choices so that they could no longer keep him in the household. At the last minute, the father tried to plead with him to stay, but he wouldn’t.

It’s the story of this horribly broken relationship. The father went throughout Spain looking for his son, then he got word that the boy might be in Madrid, so the father went to Madrid. The city is enormous, though, so he couldn’t find his son anywhere. He decided to make one last ditch effort. He put an ad in the newspaper that said, “Paco, this is your father. I love you. All is forgiven. Come home.” He included that he would wait at the entrance of the news station two days after the ad ran. 

He submitted the ad to the paper and then waited.

On the appointed day, the father went to the news station and stood on the steps. Records say that over 800 young men named Paco showed up. Eight hundred young men were saying, “If only my father would reach out to me. If my father would say that I’m forgiven, if my father would call out to me, things would be different.”

I want to ask the fathers reading this to be that kind of father. Do this before your children leave, okay? Let them know that they are loved. Let them know that you are proud of them. Speak words of blessing over them. For young men, a father often times speaks into their masculinity and gives them a sense of confidence and power. A father to a daughter gives them a great sense of who they are in Christ and who they are in their femininity.

This is the heart of God that Paul points to: “’I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…. and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:16, 18, ESV).

He searches us out; he speaks into our hearts the truth of who we are made to be.

The Distracted Bride of Christ

Carter Conlon

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies… He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel.” (Psalm 103:2-4,7, NKJV).

To understand God’s nature truly, we must often be led into a wilderness first. What do I mean when I speak of the wilderness? First of all, it is a place of dryness and incredible hardship, a place where familiar comforts are stripped away. More importantly, the wilderness is a place that brings us to a total dependence on God.

Not only will God bring us into a wilderness in order to put an end to wrong pursuits and human schemes, I believe he is also after something much deeper. At the core of it all, we will find God’s jealousy over his bride and his yearning for her return to him.

Jesus once cried over his own people, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem… How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37). Jesus referred to the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem as if they were one person, like a bride who had once been brought into a place of worthiness so that she might honor him. Yet somehow this bride had fallen drastically from her calling in the earth.

We can hear the underlying longing in the Lord’s cry, much like a broken-hearted bridegroom who comes home to discover that his bride has not been faithful. “How I wanted you as my bride! I wanted you as my very own. I wanted to draw you into the closeness of my heart so that the two of us would walk together as one.”

The Lord is well aware that something else has captivated the heart of his bride, and he is determined to get it back, even if this means that he must draw her into the wilderness. There, distractions fall away. There, we may finally understand God’s ways and his heart.

Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. In May of 2020 he transitioned into a continuing role as General Overseer of Times Square Church, Inc.

The Blessing of Living with Afflictions

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

I believe in healing. I believe in affliction. I believe in “healing afflictions.” Any affliction that keeps me from going astray, that drives me deeper into God’s Word, is healing. As Psalm 119:67 says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (NKJV). God’s most gracious healing force spiritually and physically can be afflictions.

To suggest that all pain and affliction are of the devil is to suggest that the Psalmist was driven by the devil to seek God’s Word. In my own life, I have suffered great pain. I have called on God for deliverance, and I believe him for complete healing. While I go on believing, though, I will continue to thank God for the present condition and let it serve to remind me how dependent I really am on him. With the Psalmist, I can say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71).

Pain and affliction are not to be despised as coming from the devil. Such burdens have produced great men of faith and insight.

Paul spoke of the “cares” of the churches that were thrust upon him (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Every newborn church was another “care” on his shoulders. Growth, expansion, lengthening of stakes always involve new cares. The man that God uses must have broad shoulders. He dare not shrink from the challenge of numerous cares and responsibilities.

Every new step of faith God leads me to take has brought with it numerous new cares and problems. God knows exactly how many cares he can trust us with. It is not that he seeks to break us in health or strength; it is only that willing laborers are few, and the harvest is so great. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon him, for he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Cares are taken from those who refuse them and given as gifts to those who are not afraid of them. Every new blessing is related to a family of cares. They cannot be divorced. You cannot enjoy the blessings until you learn to live with the cares.

The Unrelenting Love of God

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

I want to talk with you about the word ‘unrelenting.’ It means undiminished in intensity or effort, uncompromising. To be unrelenting is to stick to a determined course and to not be persuaded by arguments.

Our Lord’s love is absolutely unrelenting. Nothing can hinder or diminish his loving pursuit of both sinners and saints. The Psalmist expressed it as “You have hedged me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me…. Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there” (Psalm 139:5,7–8, NKJV).

David is speaking of the great highs and lows we face in life. He’s saying, “There are times when I’m so blessed; I feel lifted with joy. At other times, I feel like I’m living in hell, condemned and unworthy. But no matter where I am, Lord—no matter how blessed I feel or how low my condition is—you’re there. I can’t get away from your unrelenting love. You never accept my arguments about how unworthy I am. Your love for me is relentless!”

We also need to consider the testimony of the apostle Paul. As we read about his life, we see a man bent on destroying God’s church. Paul was like a madman in his hatred for Christians. He sought the high priest’s authorization to hunt down believers so he could charge into their homes and drag them off to prison.

After he was converted, Paul testified that even during those hate-filled years—while he was full of prejudice, blindly slaughtering Christ’s disciples—God loved him. The apostle wrote, “God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Through the years, Paul became increasingly convinced that God would love him fervently to the end, through all his highs and lows. He stated, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Once we are God’s, nothing can separate his children from his love. No matter where we go, God knows our hiding place. Nothing can stop God from loving us.

When We Seem to Be Alone

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“Hezekiah prospered in all his works. However, regarding the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, whom they sent to him to inquire about the wonder that was done in the land, God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that he might know all that was in his heart” (2 Chronicles 32:30-31, NKJV).

Often, while in the righteous pursuit of God’s work, the steward of the Lord finds himself apparently forsaken, seemingly left all alone to battle the forces of hell. Every man God has ever blessed has been proved in the same manner. Consider Abraham’s situation. “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him… ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love…and offer him there as a burnt offering’” (Genesis 22:1–2). We know the end of the story, that a ram would be provided as Isaac’s substitute, but the patriarch did not know this on his journey up the mountain.

Do you find yourself in strange circumstances? Do you feel forsaken and alone? Do you fight a losing battle with an unpredictable enemy? These are signs pointing to the proving process.

Victory is always the desired result; but should you fail, remember that it is what remains in your heart that God is most interested in, your attitude after you have won or lost the lonely battle. Your devotion to him in spite of failure is his desire. Jesus has promised never to leave us or forsake us, but the record of scripture reveals there are seasons when the Father hides his presence to prove us. Even Christ experienced that lonely moment on the cross.

We have become so preoccupied in proving God that we have not prepared our hearts for the great tests of life whereby God proves man. Could it be that the great trial you are now facing, the burden you now carry, is actually God at work proving you?

Jesus says we are to take up our cross and follow him (see Matthew 16:24). What is that cross? It is the flesh with its frailness and sinfulness. Take it up, move on in faith, and his strength will be made perfect in you.