Comfort from God in Trials

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

One of the ministries most needed in the Church today is that of consolation — comforting others in their time of trouble and affliction. Many believers simply do not know where to turn when they hurt.

The apostle Paul was as godly a servant of the Lord as ever walked on the earth, yet he endured suffering so overwhelming and powerful that he was utterly at a loss. In fact, at times he was so distraught that he thought death was at the door. Yet he referred to our heavenly Father as “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). He said further in the same chapter, “We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life” (1:8).

In referring to God as “the Father of mercies,” Paul was showing that he had learned from his sufferings. He was even able to rejoice in all his tribulations because he knew they were a kind of schooling for him. He had learned to say, “God has a purpose in this! People are going to need my influence, my comfort and my consolation.” In his sufferings, Paul had learned the valuable lesson of drawing consolation from the Lord

When you suffer in your body, you become very patient with others who are suffering. You gain a newfound empathy for others. When you suffer and yet you dearly love the Lord (and are not hiding sin), you no longer look at another’s suffering and say, “I wonder what they did to deserve that.”

People who have endured suffering and come through faithful to God become strong, mellow and patient. They also possess the gentleness of Christ. It is encouraging to be around such people!

If you are suffering, trust God to see you through it. People will see you gain victory and consolation through the power of God alone and they will be attracted to what you have.

The Mission of Jesus

Gary Wilkerson

The familiar Scripture describing Jesus’ purpose on earth is found in Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 

Wherever Jesus went, his heart was touched by the needs of the people. Whenever he saw someone in need of healing, he would stop and heal them. In fact, he would go out of his way, if necessary, to find those in need. When people got hungry, Jesus fed them. He had great compassion for the hurting, the crippled, the blind, those who were like sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus was not an itinerant healer, although he healed wherever he went. He was not an itinerant social advocate, although he showed compassion. Primarily Jesus was a preacher! “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark1:14). He came to set the captives free, to preach the good news of his saving power, to communicate the gospel.

If each of us could capture the same vision Jesus had, his primary mission on the face of the earth would also become our primary mission. We would be so full of the love of Christ that nothing could keep us from proclaiming it. People around us would not be able to escape the name of Jesus being mentioned to them. And believe me, words are necessary! Actions are good but there is no true proclamation of the gospel without words.

Don’t be ashamed to speak about Jesus. Let the Holy Spirit empower you in such a way that the words just flow through you naturally. Jesus wants us to use the gospel to communicate truth and life to others.

You Can Start Living

Carter Conlon

Growing old in the world is fearful but in the Body of Christ, power is given to old age — a power beyond prophesying and seeing visions. At the end of life, the people whom you love, the ones closest to you, and those whom God has put under your care are the most important.

When you get old in the Body of Christ, you do not have to curl up and die. You can start living! Our cry must be, “Oh, God, turn our hearts to the children of this generation. No matter how far away they might seem, give us the courage to speak into their lives and leave a lasting impact.”

Perhaps in the past your words were not what they should have been, but this can be a new day. Despite our flaws and frailties, God remains faithful and will empower us to speak to the next generation.

It is amazing when you realize that you have the power of speech to make a difference in somebody’s life. I remember as a young Christian, I went through a season when I felt like a failure and I ended up under this cloud of despair for a couple of months.

One day I was out with an older police officer named Doug, a Christian, and he asked me, “What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m so discouraged,” I explained. “I feel like a failure. I want to be different, but it’s just hopeless.”

He looked at me and said, “That is just the devil trying to condemn you. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I know you want God, so let’s just put that attitude away.”

To this day I still remember the words that he spoke over my life! They were not especially profound but they were spoken by an older man into a younger man’s life. And they enabled me to get up again.

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.

Unclouded Decisions

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Many of us have heard the expression “walk in the Spirit” all our lives, but what does it really mean? I believe it means incredible, clear direction and unclouded decisions. The Holy Spirit provides absolute, clearly detailed instructions to those who walk in Him.

The early Christians did not walk in confusion. They were led by the Spirit in every decision, every move, every action. The Spirit talked to them and directed them all day long and no decision was made without consulting him. The church’s motto throughout the New Testament was: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 11:15).

Walking in the Spirit means being worry-free no matter what happens to you. Paul is a good example for us to follow. There are many examples in the Word of Paul’s walk in the Spirit, but let’s look at a couple of instances.

The Spirit warned Paul that his trip to Jerusalem would result in his being taken prisoner and what happened? “A certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. . . . He took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, “So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.”’” (Acts 21:10-11). Paul was being warned so that he could be prepared.

If we are to walk in the Spirit, we must believe God for supernatural deliverance from every bondage of Satan. Paul and Silas were in prison but the Word tells us that “at midnight [they] were praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25). God created an earthquake and opened the doors of the prison “and everyone’s chains were loosed” (verse 26).

In spite of your circumstances, arise in the Spirit, start praising, singing, and trusting God — and watch him deliver you!

Patience to Receive the Promise

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

The famous parable of the sower is about patience. Not patience toward people but patience toward God. You remember Jesus talking about the seed, right? Some fell by the wayside; some fell on the rock; some fell among thorns . . . and others fell on good ground.  Let’s look at Jesus’ explanation.

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:11-15). 

The “good ground” Jesus mentions indicates those who heard the Word and eventually brought forth fruit “with patience.” The other hearers brought forth a measure of fruit, too, but only for a time. Why? Because they were impatient with the Lord and his working in their life.

The heart of the “good ground” hearer has a definite direction! In every circumstance, he directs himself first into the love of God, and then into patiently waiting for Jesus Christ. These two characteristics are necessary for a heart that produces lasting fruit. We read in Hebrews that “You have need of [patience], so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (10:36).

Take God’s Word and set it in your heart; let it produce an honest, pure heart and then wait patiently for him to come to your deliverance.