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World Challenge Devotions

Choose Your Friends Wisely

Tim DilenaMay 23, 2020

“Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances” (Proverbs 11:14, The Message).

The Word of God is very clear about the importance of choosing wisely when it comes to your close associates. We all like to have friends with common interests and hobbies but we should choose to associate with people who possess high moral standards and lofty principles. Bad friends often will try to get something from you or use you for their own selfish gains. They will tell you what you want to hear, even though it’s not good for you; in fact, foolish counsel can have tragic consequences.

An example of the result of depending on the wrong people is recorded in the Word of God. King Rehoboam ascended to the throne after his father Solomon had died. Imagine following the wisest man who ever lived! In time, a civil war began brewing between King Rehoboam and King Jereboam, a situation that required great wisdom for resolution.

The wise elders who had advised King Solomon were ready to step in with good counsel for Rehoboam. The advice they had to offer was centuries old but very relevant. However, Rehoboam also was listening to the voices of his young, inexperienced, immature friends. He had the option of choosing truth but he chose to listen to his peers.

The elders spoke to Rehoboam with good advice, but he made a foolish decision: “He rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him” (1 Kings 12:8). This was a catastrophic mistake which resulted in exile, lost lives, destruction, and captivity. All because a young king listened to his buddies instead of his elders.   

Who do you have in your life who will speak truth to you? Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment in choosing your close friends.

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.

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Join God’s Praying People

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)May 22, 2020

By the time the godly prophet Daniel reached eighty years of age, he had outlived two Babylonian kings, Nebuchadnezzar and his son Belshazzar, and then served under King Darius. Daniel had always been a praying man and he had no thoughts of slowing down in his old age.

King Darius had promoted Daniel to the highest office in the land, putting him in charge of forming government policy and teaching all the court appointees and intellectuals: “Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm” (Daniel 6:3).

Obviously, Daniel was one busy prophet. But nothing could take this man of God away from his times of prayer. Three times a day, he stole away from all his obligations, burdens and demands as a leader to spend time with the Lord.

Daniel is an example to us of how important it is to have praying leaders. Remember, he had been appointed over every other leader in the land. Consider the immense effort it took for Daniel to devote himself to prayer. After all, he lived in the New York City of his time — great, majestic, wealthy Babylon. And he lived in a time of spiritual apathy — of drunkenness, pleasure-seeking and greed among God’s people.

Prayer does not come naturally to anyone, including Daniel. A disciplined prayer time is easy to start yet hard to maintain — both our flesh and the devil conspire against it. Prayer that is effectual comes from the faithful, diligent servant who sees his nation and the church falling deeper into sin and falls on his knees and cries out to God on their behalf. God strongly desires to bless his people but if our minds are polluted with the spirit of this world, we are in no position to receive his blessings.

Will you be a part of God’s praying people today? If so, cry out to him, “Oh, Lord, whatever it takes, keep me on my knees. I long to see your Spirit moving in the hearts of men and women!”

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Embracing a Personal Relationship With Jesus

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)May 21, 2020

When Jesus was a young boy, a few people saw him in the temple; others met him in the carpentry shop where he toiled. But who could believe Jesus was God in flesh as he repaired their broken chairs? He was merely Joseph’s son, a fine young man who knew a lot about God.

When Jesus began his ministry, he directed his words to a small population in a very small country — that is, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And because he could be in only one place at a time, access to him was restricted. If you wanted to get to Jesus, you had to go to Judah, and if you lived outside of Israel, you had to travel for days or weeks by boat or camel or on foot. Then, you had to trace his presence to a village, find a crowd there and ask them to locate him. You might have to walk all day and night to get to where he was teaching the masses.

Once you found Jesus, you had to be physically close to him to hear his voice, receive his touch, or be blessed by his holy presence. To get to the Lord, you had to be in the right place at the right time. Consider the blind man who heard Jesus passing by and cried out, “Jesus, heal me, that I may receive my sight!” Or, consider the woman with the issue of blood. She had to push through a crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, while all around others were also struggling to touch him.

But all that changed in one sudden, glorious moment. “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:50-51). This tearing of the physical veil represents what took place in the spirit world — when we were granted unrestricted and instant access to the Father on a blood-stained cross. This is a wonderful gift that has been granted to us, so be careful that you do not take it for granted or treat it casually. Our Savior urges us to draw near to him and we should do so with utmost reverence and devotion.

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Grace for Your Suffering

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)May 20, 2020

Grace has often been defined as, simply, the unmerited favor and blessing of God. Yet, I believe grace is much more than this. It is everything that Christ is to us in our times of suffering — power, might, kindness, mercy and love — to see us through our afflictions and trials.

Jesus says the rain falls on both the just and the unjust (see Matthew 5:45) — referring to given problems of life such as marriage problems, worries over children, financial pressures, sickness. And the righteous may battle against pride, depression and fear, feelings of inadequacy, oppression of the enemy.

You may question why nations suffer — why there is such awful famine, pestilence, flooding, hunger, disease and destruction. Scripture sheds light on the world’s sufferings through its portrayal of God’s people, ancient Israel. That nation suffered similar calamities: holocausts, captivity, economic collapse, strange diseases. At times Israel’s sufferings were so horrible that even their enemies pitied them.

Why did Israel suffer such terrible things? Scripture makes it clear in each instance that it was because they forsook God and turned to idolatry (see Deuteronomy 4:25-28). It is important to note, however, that along with every righteous judgment upon Israel came manifestations of divine grace in preserving a godly remnant, and fulfilling his divine purpose in and through them in spite of their failures (see 4:29-30).

Even though the reason for our trials may remain a mystery, we should be prepared to accept them until Jesus comes for us. There will be no end to them, so the wise believer will determine in his heart to get to know Jesus more intimately and seek him as never before.

Someday in glory, our heavenly Father will reveal to us the beautiful plan he had for us while we were going through hard times. He will show us how we attained patience through all our trials; how we learned compassion for others; how his strength was made perfect in our weakness; how we learned his utter faithfulness toward us; how we became more like him, our precious Lord and Savior. And until the day we meet him face to face, our loving heavenly Father says, “I have all the grace you need to overcome!”

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Confidence to Access God

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)May 19, 2020

“According to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Ephesians 3:11-12). God’s children have the right and freedom to break in on our Lord at any time — one of the greatest privileges ever bestowed on humankind.

Our heavenly Father sits on his throne in eternity and at his right hand sits his Son, our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus. Outside this throne room are gates, which open to all who are in Christ. At any time — day or night — we can bypass guardian angels, seraphim and all the heavenly hosts to boldly enter these gates and approach our Father’s throne. Christ has provided us direct access to the Father, to receive all the mercy and grace we need, no matter what our circumstance.

This wasn’t always the case. In the Old Testament, with few exceptions, no person had access to the Father. Abraham was called a friend of God and enjoyed a measure of access to the Lord, but even he remained “outside the veil.”  

Moses, the leader of Israel, had unusual access to God, who said, “I, the Lord … speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings” (Numbers 12:6-8). But the rest of Israel knew nothing of this kind of access.

Christ’s life in human flesh provided greater access to the Father, but even that was limited. At the moment of his death, however, the veil of the temple in Jerusalem was literally ripped apart and our destiny was sealed. When Jesus gave up the ghost, we were given total, unrestricted access to the holy of holies: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20).

Scripture admonishes us, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith … Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (10:22-23). God is urging us, “Come into my presence often, daily. You can’t maintain your faith if you’re not drawing near to me. If you don’t boldly enter my presence, your faith is going to waver.”

Determine in your heart to take full advantage of God’s great gift of access. Your eternal future depends on it! 

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Divine Blessings

Gary WilkersonMay 18, 2020

Scripture attests to the fact that a hunger for the uncompromised grace of Christ exists throughout the world. Luke writes that when Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, thousands “had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases” (Luke 6:17, NLT). These masses came because they had heard about a man of grace who would heal them.

“There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon” (6:17). The hurting crowds didn’t travel those distances because they wanted to hear a preacher urge them to try harder. They were already worn down by discouragement, disease and despair over their efforts to remain godly. Many were probably on the fringes of life, people who were shoved aside by their broken condition. Whatever the case, observing the law had not brought them life.

To these hungry sojourners, Jesus’ reputation for grace turned out to be true. He not only preached grace but demonstrated it by healing them all: “Healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone” (6:19).  Imagine! Of all those thousands, not one went home unhealed. Not one broken life was left untouched — and not a single soul present was unaffected by the powerful grace of Jesus Christ.

According to Luke’s account, Jesus proceeded straight from those healings to present the Beatitudes: “Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, ‘God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh” (6:20-21). Other gospel accounts include additional blessings: the humble will inherit the earth; the pure of heart will see God; the merciful will be shown mercy.

Jesus looked on the crowd and saw that they were already poor in spirit so what did he do? He spoke blessings! Just as the Father spoke creation into a void of utter darkness, Jesus spoke divine blessings onto ravaged sinners, people beaten down by life.

Many Christians believe God’s grace is too good to be true so they hold on to their sense of works. But the new life we have been given — the life of Christ himself — resurrects us to serve him in freedom, peace and joy.

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Overcoming the Temptation to Fear

Carter ConlonMay 16, 2020

No one needs to convince you that the days ahead are going to be more difficult than ever — you already know it. Something inside your heart perceives it, in spite of the deepest optimism that many try to generate. Everything that can be shaken is about to be shaken.

As the world’s culture is quickly spinning into something that is out of our control, we can be thankful that it is never out of God’s control. Jesus’ disciples once asked Him, “And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). In Matthew 24:4-11, not only did Jesus foretell the wars, earthquakes, famines and outbreaks of disease that are unfolding before our eyes, but he also warned that in the last days, religious deception would reach epic proportions.

The end-time strategy of Satan is clear: Divert those who are trying to find refuge during calamitous times by presenting a myriad of false Christ-options along the way. Satan himself is the author of much of the chaos in the world, and when the chaos begins to mount, he will put false signposts throughout the world that claim to point the way to Christ. Satan’s goal will be to confuse the people of God as well as the prodigals who are trying to come home to the safety of the presence of the Lord.

The Scriptures bear witness that the battles we face are common to all men. There is no temptation that is unique to you (see 1 Corinthians 10:13), including the temptation to give in to fear. Even the apostle Paul expressed this common struggle when he said, “Outside were conflicts, inside were fears” (2 Corinthians 7:5).

We see from Scriptures that in spite of some trepidation, Paul refused to draw back from whatever awaited him: “None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy” (Acts 20:24). You may have a deep sense of foreboding because of world events, but those who know God will look at what the world sees as catastrophe and be able to embrace it in some measure as an opportunity for God to give us his grace to endure. In the midst of it all, we must be able to hear the word of the Lord to his church: “Fear not!”

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.

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Releasing our Needs into God’s Hands

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)May 15, 2020

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

The Holy Spirit gives us strength when we release all our needs into God’s hands and trust in his might. We see an example of this kind of trust in a Moabite woman named Ruth. After her husband died, Ruth traveled back to the land of Judah with her mother-in-law, Naomi, who was quite elderly and also a widow. The two women lived together in humble surroundings, and Naomi became concerned about Ruth’s welfare.

Ruth went to work in the fields of a wealthy man named Boaz who just happened to be a relative of her deceased husband. According to Jewish law, Boaz was suited to marry her and continue the husband’s lineage, and Naomi encouraged this. God orchestrated a wondrous plan for Boaz to take Ruth as his wife, give her a child, and provide for her and Naomi.

This fascinating story is detailed in the book of Ruth, and we see the beautiful way God brought about his plan. After working in the field all day, one night, Ruth said to Boaz, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative” (Ruth 3:9). In short, she was asking him, “Will you marry me?” Now, this was no manipulative scheme. Ruth and Naomi had done everything in divine order. We can be sure of this because Christ’s lineage came through Ruth (Matthew 1:5).

After Ruth asked this question of Boaz, she told her godly mother-in-law what happened; and Naomi advised, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out” (Ruth 3:18). She was confident that she and Ruth had done their part, and it was time to sit still and trust God to perform what he had promised.

Ruth and Naomi relaxed and praised the Lord as they watched God work out his divine plan in surprising ways. Likewise, when you put your complete trust in God in quietness and confidence, he will never fail you.

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Revelations in Your Darkest Hour

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)May 14, 2020

Throughout scripture, God dispenses his grace through revelations during our trials that we could never understand in our good times. God’s goodness comes to his people in times of trouble, calamity, isolation and hardship. For instance, the disciple John was “in Jesus’ bosom” for three years. It was a time of utter rest, peace and joy. Yet, in all that time, John received very little revelation. He knew Jesus only as the Son of Man. So, when did John receive his revelation of Christ in all his glory? It happened only after he was dragged from Ephesus in chains.

John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos where he was sentenced to hard labor. Isolated, with no fellowship, family or friends to comfort him, John endured a time of utter despair during the lowest point of his life. Yet that is when he received the revelation of his Lord that would become the final element of scripture: the book of Revelation. In the midst of that dark hour, the light of the Holy Spirit came to him, and he saw Jesus as he had never before seen him.

John had never received this revelation while he was with the other apostles or even during Jesus’ days on earth. Yet now, John saw Christ in all his glory, declaring, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:18). This incredible revelation put John on his face, but Jesus lifted him up and showed him the set of keys that he held in his hand as he assured him, “Do not be afraid” (1:17).

This revelation comes to every praying, hurting servant in his or her time of need. The Holy Spirit says, “Jesus holds all the keys to life and death. Satan can never take you or any member of your family. Christ alone determines our eternal destiny. So, if he turns a key, there is a reason for it and that reason is known only to him, the Father and the Holy Spirit.”

Beloved, ask the Lord to enable you to envision Jesus standing before you, assuring you, “Be at peace. I hold all the keys and I will bring peace to your heart.”

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Reaping Life Everlasting

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)May 13, 2020

We have all heard, “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7), and it usually is spoken with a negative connotation, but there is also a positive side to sowing: “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (6:9).

A parable is a story that illustrates a truth and in the parable of the talents, Jesus focuses primarily on the good side of sowing, which is sowing to the Spirit to reap life everlasting.

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them” (Matthew 25:14-19).

Briefly, the parable deals with a man who entrusted three servants with differing amounts of money to steward while he was on a trip. When he returned, he found that two of his servants had invested their money and made a profit while the third had merely buried his money for safekeeping. The master was pleased with the first two and very displeased with the third.  

Jesus is “the man traveling to a far country” (25:14), and we are the servants with the talents representing our measure of grace and revelation of Jesus. We are commanded to go out and sow this revelation. This parable shows that God will have a fruitful, glorious harvest at the end. Two out of the three servants will come before the judgment loaded with fruit and full of joy — good and faithful servants — and the third will be banished. 

Beloved, I encourage you to examine your heart and then become a part of God’s last-day army!  He will have a last-day harvest, and only willing, faithful servants of the Lord will be part of this great gathering.

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A Measure of God’s Glorious Spirit

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)May 12, 2020

“Then He said to them, ‘Take heed that 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).

Jesus knew his words would sound strange to nonspiritual ears so he prefaced the message by saying, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear” (4:23). He was saying, in essence, “If your heart is open to God’s Spirit, you’ll understand what I have to say to you.” Jesus is speaking of the glory of God in our lives, Christ’s manifest presence. In short, the Lord measures out his glorious presence in various amounts, whether to churches or individuals. 

Jesus alone was given the Holy Spirit without measure: “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure” (John 3:34). The Lord has already allotted to each of us a measure of his Spirit. Paul writes, “To each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Ephesians 4:7) and “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).

What is God’s goal in measuring out his Spirit, his glory and presence, to us in varying amounts? He has a single purpose, that “… we all come to the unity of the faith … to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

Today, cry out to Jesus, “I don’t want to miss what you’re about to do in your church.” As you give to your Savior a greater measure of yourself, you will see evidence everywhere of his presence, glory and love. He has promised to pour out his Spirit on his people in these last days, and he will be faithful to come to you and give you more of himself.

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Programs and Plans but No Place for Jesus

Gary WilkersonMay 11, 2020

In John 2, Jesus enters the temple for an act that would signal the beginning of his public ministry. What takes place next is quite dramatic:

“The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, ‘Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me’” (John 2:13-17).

What Jesus does here is more than radical. Tell me, if you wanted to announce your ministry, would you go into a megachurch and start turning over tables and driving people away? Jesus was up to more here than just showing his authority. He was demonstrating that he was about to turn things upside down in every way.

Yet when Jesus began this upheaval, he was overturning more than the moneychangers’ trade. He was overturning a religious system that for millennia had relied on animal sacrifices to please God. Christ was stating in essence, “Your relationship to the Father will no longer be based on sacrifices of sheep and goats and doves. It’s going to be based on my once-for-all-time sacrifice for you.”

That scene in the temple offers an analogy for our time. A lot of congregations today are filled with noise and activity. They have many programs in place, from overseas mission trips to local outreaches to dozens of small fellowship groups. The worship services can be full of bright lights, powerful sound and amazing energy. Yet sometimes amid all this lively activity something is missing at the center: Jesus himself.

I’m not suggesting we start turning over book tables in church foyers. But without Christ as the focus of our activities, our church is dead. No matter how hard we work to do things that serve and honor his name, none of our “sacrifices” in themselves can achieve true kingdom results. From the outside our fellowship may look righteous, but if we don’t maintain a focus on Jesus we’ll be a church full of dead men’s bones.

As Jesus overturned all those tables he cried out, “Take these things away!” (John 2:16). Likewise today, our temples are to be cleansed of anything that takes the place of his rightful lordship. God sends Jesus to rid us of those things, to prepare room for the things he wants to fill us with. He wants our temple to be once again a house of prayer, faith and kingdom victory.

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The Strength to Go Again

Claude HoudeMay 9, 2020

“When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me” (Matthew 8:5-9).

The scripture goes on to describe how Jesus marveled at the great faith of this man. In fact, he told the man that he had never seen such great faith, such great conviction, persuasion and confidence. Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you” (8:13). The man’s servant was healed in the same hour!

In the Old Testament, we see Elijah, a man of great faith and Christ-like compassion. There had been a drought in Israel for a very long time, and Elijah began to cry out to the Lord to send rain upon the land. He was so confident God would send rain that he proclaimed, “There is the sound of abundance of rain” (18:41). Then Elijah told his servant, “‘Go up now, look toward the sea.’ So he went up, looked and said, ‘There is nothing.’ Seven times, Elijah said, ‘Go again’ (18:43). All the while, Elijah contended in prayer until “there was a heavy rain” (18:45).

We go through seasons of drought, times when God says, “Go again; pray again; stand again; release again; love again; trust again; surrender again; worship again; praise him again!” True faith celebrates the rain drops before the abundance of rain comes.

Jesus marveled in wonder and joy at the faith of the centurion at Capernaum. God rewarded Elijah’s faith and patience with a mighty downpour. So do not give up on God’s promises to you. Ask God for strength to “go again” and again and again until your answer comes.

Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.

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Loving Others in Spite of Their Sins

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)May 8, 2020

One of the supreme marks of a mature believer is love for all of lost humankind. Such a Christian shows love equally for Jews and Palestinians, for Bosnians and Serbs, for everyone.

Only a full-grown, mature believer can accept these words of Jesus: "Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you and spitefully use you. If your enemy is hungry, feed him." I ask you: can you imagine spending a month in a Palestinian field hospital, nursing and feeding soldiers who want to destroy Israel? Can you keep your prejudices in check as you read inflammatory news reports in the coming days? Will you have the same spirit that was in Christ, who said as he was crucified, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"?

If you want to walk as Jesus walked, you can't allow your human passions to be inflamed by headlines. Christ died for every lost soul on this earth! Right now, our jails are filled with convicts who have become powerful witnesses of the saving love of Jesus, all because somebody loved them in spite of their sins.

Are you loving others in spite of how they may have hurt you, someone you care about or simply because they might be different than you? There are few things that make you more like Christ than when you sacrificially love someone, especially someone not in your circle or easy to naturally be around.

You can know you're growing in grace if you're able to pray for those whom the world hates. As we hear of terrible things happening, we're to stand against every prejudice that rises up in us, and declare, "I take Christ's authority over this. I will love humankind as my Lord did."

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A Heart That Can Discern the Times

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)May 7, 2020

When the economy collapses, jobs are lost and bills are piling up, what will people need? To be a part of a nice, fast-growing church, hearing messages on how to enjoy life? No, they’ll need answers. They’ll need someone with authority who can interpret what’s happening around them, someone who can read the times. And they’ll need a word from heaven to keep their hearts and minds in God’s peace.

Jesus, though God in flesh, faced the devil as a Spirit-empowered man. He didn’t fight Satan on any other grounds. Jesus’ disciples had this same power: “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease” (Matthew 10:1). “I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19).

The apostle Peter was made of flesh and blood, just like the rest of us, yet he wielded spiritual authority over the devil. He said to the lame man at the temple gate, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).  The man was instantly healed and the religious leaders of the day recognized great power in Peter. They asked him, “By what power or by what name have you done this? (4:7).

Nowhere in the Bible do we see any suggestion that this same power isn’t meant for us today. What kind of God would empower his people in the wilderness when they needed it and embolden the crowds at Pentecost and then withhold it from his last-days church, when we need it more than any generation?

God entrusts his divine authority only to what Peter calls the “hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle spirit and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4). Paul says, “The inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Although the outward man is always on display before others, the hidden man is known only by God. The Holy Spirit is constantly at work in him, strengthening and preparing him to receive spiritual authority.

Beloved, you are being trained and matured in God’s mercy and you’re learning to grow in your hidden man. Trust in his Word in every crisis — and walk in your spiritual authority.

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