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Devotions

God Has a Plan for Your Battle

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)April 9, 2020

Multitudes of Christians face indescribable problems every day — physical pain, emotional suffering, financial struggles. They worry, “This is all too much for me to handle. How will I ever make it?” The truth is, not one of these terrible things has surprised God. He has foreseen every awful thing that would ever happen to humankind, including every crisis and problem we face today. And the Bible tells us God wants to show us how to face them all.

God commands us not to fear any of our enemies. “You shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the Lord your God did” (Deuteronomy 7:18). God was referring to the strong, well-armed heathen nations Israel faced. For us today, this applies to every problem and overwhelming difficulty we face in life.

Our heavenly Father sees every step of our lives, and in spite of our crises, he commands us again and again in scripture, “Fear not!” We are not to believe that our problems will destroy us, because he is our strong shield.

“Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help and the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, and you shall tread down their high places” (Deuteronomy 33:29). God is telling us, “It’s a lie that I have forsaken you. It’s a lie that I’m mad at you and have left you to fend for yourself against your enemies!”

If you have a struggle with a troubling, habitual sin remaining in your heart, God knows all about it. He knows how you hate it and he wants you to hear this word: “Fear not! I am your shield, your protector, your defense, your sword of holiness against all your enemies. I know the way out of temptation for you and I will teach you to do battle.” David knew this and that’s why he could say, “I will fear no evil” (Psalm 23:4).

Your heavenly Father sees every bit of your suffering and he makes many wonderful promises to you: “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

No matter what comes your way, God has more than sufficient grace and comfort for you!

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The Great Ministry of Prayer

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)April 8, 2020

Think of how often our prayers focus on our own needs: our own spiritual growth and the needs of our family and friends. We may spend much of our prayer time seeking the Lord about our personal walk with him: to be made holy; to have dominion over sin; to receive guidance for life; to have his anointing. And we enjoy sweet communion with him, quietly worshiping and being refreshed in his presence.

But according to God’s Word, sweet communion is not enough. Yes, it is the secret to spiritual growth but if we go to God’s throne only for our personal edification and needs, we are being selfish. Paul gives us an example of this. “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8). Paul was telling these saints, “Our crisis was so serious, it almost crushed me beyond my endurance.”

He continued, “When we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest … Outside were conflicts, inside were fears” (2 Corinthians 7:5). Although Paul was a mighty man of prayer and had great confidence in the Lord, he endured troubled times. He turned to the Lord and his promises but he also was supported in prayer by “helpers” — “[God] who delivered us … in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us” (2 Corinthians 1:11).

One of the greatest needs in the Body of Christ today is the ministry of being a prayer helper. Paul often asked, even begged, for prayer: “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered” (Romans 15:30-31).”

You can begin the ministry of being a prayer helper today. Trust the Holy Spirit to sensitize you to the needs of others and start asking God to meet their needs.

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Delving Deeper into God’s Love for You

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)April 7, 2020

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 20-21). The Bible is filled with the truth of God’s love but at times we may wonder how the Lord could ever love us.

Millions of believers who have tasted the love of God have never learned how to enter into the fullness of his love. They know the doctrine of his love — they have heard it preached often — yet they don’t know what it means to be kept in his love.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The revelation of God’s love comes in part through the power of the Holy Spirit when we are born again. It’s a wonderful moment when you grasp this truth and realize, “God loved me when I was lost, undone, a stranger, and he proved his love by sacrificing his own Son on my behalf.”

After this initial revelation, Christians must learn how to be kept in God’s love. The Father loves his people with the very same love he has for Jesus, who sits at his right hand. In his final prayer on earth, Jesus said, “You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). What an incredible thought! Christ was greatly loved by the Father before creation — before any planet was formed, before the sun, moon or stars came into being, before the creation of man.

Jesus then followed with this remarkable prayer: “That the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (17:26). He was saying, “Father, I know you’re going to love those I bring into my body just the way you’ve loved me.” You see, according to Jesus, in God’s eyes Christ and his Church are one.

Keep yourself in God’s great love for you and it will be your strength through all the things you experience in life.

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The Vast Resources of our Heavenly Father

Gary WilkersonApril 6, 2020

Imagine a heavenly bank where the Holy Spirit sits ready to dispense any and every resource of heaven. Believers have the ability to step up to the teller’s window and withdraw endless reserves of God’s grace, power, faith and hope.

Many in the church make a lot of deposits but they don’t make nearly as many withdrawals. Instead, they step up to the window and ask for a mere pittance. “Lord, I don’t want to bother you, but I need just a little grace to get me through this present problem. If you can just get me going, I can handle the rest.” What? They don’t want to bother their heavenly Father? Well, God doesn’t want them to “handle the rest,” he wants to do it for them.

God wants us to deposit everything to him: our anxieties, struggles, sins and heartaches. And then he wants us to draw on his infinite resources, which are stored up for us in his vaults. He longs for us to say, “Lord, I’m finished asking for just a small amount of faith to get me through a problem. I need your grace in abundance! And I need more of your life, your breath, your movement within me.”

The prophet Zechariah was seeing down through history to our day when he wrote these words.

“On that day the Lord will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as King David! And the royal descendants will be like God, like the angel of the Lord who goes before them!” (Zechariah 12:8).

Because of Christ’s work for us, even the weakest Christian will be as strong as David, Israel’s greatest king. And the strongest believer will “be like God,” meaning, like Christ. It sounds outlandish, but in this prophecy God gives us an image of the resources he has made available to his church. The reserves of heaven’s bank are meant to pour out on us to his great glory, especially during our times of trial.

No matter how great your need, I urge you to go to the teller’s window and make a withdrawal. Ask God to supply you with his healing and restoring power — and then keep asking. He is pleased with your faith and he will be faithful to make his glory known in your situation, astounding the world around you.

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The Remedy for Complaining

Jim CymbalaApril 4, 2020

When Christians experience joy today, it has a much more powerful impact on the world than it did decades ago. Why? Because the entitlement mentality so prevalent in our society leads many to feel justified in their anger. We may think, “The government, my employer, my family — someone for sure! — owes me big-time. I’m entitled because my life has been hard. You have no idea what I’ve been through.” There is often a deep resentment in that kind of complaint.

If you carefully analyze international affairs, national politics, call-in radio shows, blogs, labor disputes, and race relations, you find a worldwide epidemic of venom and bitterness. It’s everywhere and, sadly, it has also invaded the Body of Christ. It is the exact opposite of the joyous living that Jesus intended for all of us. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).

Centuries before Jesus said those words, joy was already understood as an important facet in the life of God’s chosen people. Moses instructed them that the blessings of God were granted so that “your joy will be complete” (Deuteronomy 16:15).  Enjoying God’s presence produced an even deeper joy than any material blessing (Psalm 21:6), and God’s people were to continually celebrate his goodness with “songs of joy” (Psalm 107:22).

When singing a song of joy, it wasn’t only the lyrics or melody that made the song worshipful; the singers needed a heart of joy for all that the Lord had done for them. God was more interested in joyful hearts than vocal ability — that’s why David’s attitude pleased God so much. Although surrounded by enemies and under intense stress, David didn’t complain or get bitter. Rather, he went to the tabernacle and made sacrifices with “shouts of joy,” saying, “I will sing and make music to the Lord” (Psalm 27:6).

We Christians have been forgiven, cleansed, justified, and sealed with the Spirit — and we will live eternally with Christ! Joyous singing, shouts of praise, and exuberant thanksgiving are certainly in order. Although there is a time to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), we should also remember to “sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob” (Psalm 81:1).

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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