Devotions | Page 8 | World Challenge


Sympathy in Suffering

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)January 15, 2020

There is a “Holy Ghost school of sympathy” that consists of tested saints who have suffered greatly, enduring temptation, trials and mistreatment. The Bible speaks of “the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10) — a fellowship of shared suffering. Jesus founded this school and he proved that it is possible to endure every sort of hardship and graduate as an overcomer.

Jesus was rejected, distrusted, abused, mocked, falsely accused. He knew what it was like to be lonely, hungry, poor, unloved, shamed, slandered, taunted; he was called a liar, a fraud, a false prophet. His own family misunderstood him; his most trusted friends lost faith in him; his own disciples forsook him and fled; and, finally, he was spat upon, mocked, and murdered.

Jesus certainly sympathizes with all our hurt and suffering because he went through it all himself. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

You may love Jesus now more than ever before, but you also may be going through hurts and trials. You can be very sure that God has a divine purpose behind every one. The Jews believed that if God was pleased with you, you would always be blessed and never suffer. Because of this, Paul did not want converts to be confused by the troubles that swarmed around him. Reports of his sufferings spread through the churches so he wrote, “No one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation” (1 Thessalonians 3:3-4).

It is not suffering in itself that teaches us; rather, it is understanding and accepting that it is from his hand, for his purposes, for our good. Remember, God’s Word says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19).

Do not be surprised when you suffer! But be assured that God proves himself faithful and he always produces life out of death. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). 

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Redemption Through His Blood

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)January 14, 2020

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). Jesus’ blood redeems us from sin and the power of darkness. A lot of people have been redeemed and justified by the blood of Jesus, but they still needlessly live in fear and condemnation. 

“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God” (1 John 3:21). The shed blood of Jesus cleanses us from evil so that our conscience no longer condemns us. Your conscience does an evil work when it does not wake you or stir you to obedience to the gospel. It also does evil when it unnecessarily condemns you, accuses you, constantly reminds you of how you failed God, causing depression and fear.

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Believers in Christ are to be warriors who call on the power and authority of Christ’s blood when they are under enemy attack. Some may call their best friend or a counselor, or wallow in fear and condemnation, but the Lord wants us to immediately stand on the Word of God and plead the blood of Jesus. Truly, we can be more than conquerors through Him.

Believers in Christ are willing to walk in the light and allow the Holy Spirit to expose all darkness in them (see 1 John 1:7). John is clearly talking about someone who is in love with the Word of God and unafraid of reproof. Someone who says, “Lord, shine Your Holy Ghost light into every crevice of my heart. I want to walk in the light.”

Your heavenly Father wants you to proclaim the victory of Jesus’ blood in your life and begin praising him now for the promise of that great day of redemption ahead.  “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

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Trusting God for Your Supply

Gary WilkersonJanuary 13, 2020

Many Christians are dealing with huge obstacles in their lives: job loss, a stressful marriage, sickness, children struggling with faith. They think, “I can’t see past this mountain in front of me. If I don’t have a breakthrough, it’s over!”

No matter how bleak the circumstances of your life, God is right in the midst of things. He loves to show his care and provision to those who love him and put their trust in him. A perfect example of this is found in the miracle of Elisha and the poor widow who was destitute and desperate. In those times, when you could not meet your obligations, the creditors took your children as well as your belongings.

“A certain woman … cried out to Elisha, saying, ‘My husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves’” (2 Kings 4:1). Elisha might have referred her to the temple for assistance but he felt led to go another direction. He was about to reveal God in action in her life.

The woman had only one jar of oil in her house and the prophet instructed her, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few” (4:3). In Scripture, oil represents God’s blessing and provision. Elisha instructed her further, “When you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones” (4:4).

The widow obeyed the direction of the prophet and as she poured oil from her own jar, it filled the borrowed jars, one after the other, until they were all full. There was an endless supply of oil!

When God tells us he has our needed supply, it is not just a meager amount. God has everything we need — absolutely everything. The jars in this story represent our capacity for faith; the more “jars” we bring to God the more he will fill us up. This account reminds us to trust him for our supply, whether material, emotional, or spiritual.

Not only was this widow’s need met, but now she had a powerful testimony of an amazing deliverance for her neighbors. Her story can be your story as you trust God for his abundant provision in your life.  

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Conscious of the Holy Spirit

Jim CymbalaJanuary 11, 2020

Peter was a leading disciple and yet he denied the Lord three times. After the denials, Peter went off into the night weeping. He did not lose his relationship with Jesus in that moment but he did acutely feel the pain of his betrayal and the loss of close fellowship with someone he loved deeply. The Spirit was working in him to bring the pain that leads to repentance and restoration.

Paul warned, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). If the Spirit is grieved, he is vexed and sad. Although we know our salvation isn’t lost by our sin, we also become painfully aware that there is a strain in our relationship. Communion with God is affected, and we feel an uncomfortable emptiness. The sun is still there and shining, but we no longer feel its warmth. It is as if a cloud blocks it.

A Christlike life is a mystery. We live the life — it’s our voice, body, and mind — but it’s not really us at all. It’s Christ living in us through the Holy Spirit. John, the same apostle who wrote a letter to encourage believers not to sin, also included one of the best promises in the Bible: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

A nugget of truth I heard many years ago is the key to being aware of and staying in touch with the Holy Spirit: “To be conscious of the Holy Spirit solves 90 percent of our problems.” We must discipline our minds to stay conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Christ’s plan was to replace “me” with “him” through the Spirit’s presence. This is somewhat like a “corporate takeover” — but it results in a life filled with peace and joy. 

Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.

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Are You Avoiding Fellowship With Jesus?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)January 10, 2020

How would you feel if you cooked a wonderful meal, invited guests who said they would come, and then, after everything was prepared and ready to be served, no one showed up? Most of us would feel quite rejected and disappointed. Yet, this is what happened in this parable Jesus told his disciples in Luke 14.

“Then [Jesus] said, ‘A certain man gave a great supper and invited many’” (Luke14:16). The narrative goes on to show that when everything was ready, the man’s servant went out to summon the people. But instead of being eager to attend the event, everyone had an excuse and declined to join in.

This parable is important because Jesus is host, the feast being spoken of is the gospel, and the table being spread is the cross. Jesus’ invitation is for everyone: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Simply put, our Lord is inviting us to intimacy with him. We have been urged to come into his presence to sup with him, to get to know him, to enjoy his company. He says, “Come and find a table spread for you. Everything is ready now and you will find full satisfaction in me.”

Indeed, all our hunger — everything to do with holiness and godliness — is wrapped up in Jesus. “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). The table has been spread. Dinner is ready!

Many believers find all kinds of reasons to avoid coming into closer fellowship with Jesus. They have plenty of time during the week to constantly go here and there for their family. It may be their children, business pursuits or career ambitions. The list goes on. But when it comes time for the things of the Lord, there is little time left over. This is a dangerous way to live.

As a true lover of Jesus, be protective of your time with him. Consider as an intrusion anything that robs you of precious time in Jesus’ presence.

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