“My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). Now Paul was anything but a weak man in the natural; in fact, he was a leader among leaders. He even once declared that concerning works of the law, he was blameless (see Philippians 3:6).
I would not want to listen to a preacher who has no personal testimony of the miraculous power of God at work in his or her life. Paul was somebody you could look at and say, “There is a power touching my heart that I know cannot come from this physical vessel. It must be from the Spirit at work inside of this one who is speaking to me. Lord, let that be my portion in the days ahead!”
As a new generation of Israelites was about to go in and possess the Promised Land which others had forfeited through their unbelief, they went with the instruction that God gave to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor” (Joshua 6:2). Joshua got hold of that word, obeyed it, and led the children of Israel into the land of promise.
Are you are tempted to think of all the things you are fighting to get through? Begin to think, instead, about all the things God has done. Negative voices that are not provoking you to faith will lead you to die in a spiritual wilderness. Meditate on his Word today and be confident in him!
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.
The foundational truth of Christianity is justification by faith. You will never know true rest and peace until you are convinced that your own works of righteousness can never make you right in God’s eyes. You may feel good because of the good works you do, and you will probably enjoy a moment of victory whenever you resist temptation. You feel God’s favor on you, but the next day you fall back into sin and lose your joy. Why? Because in yourself, you always fall short. And no righteousness of the flesh will ever stand before God. We are accepted by him only as we are in Christ.
“For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Being “in Christ” means God credits Jesus’ righteousness to us. We are accounted righteous in our Father’s eyes because of Jesus. All our sins are washed away because of his work, not ours!
Paul writes, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). We are to break from this world completely and be conformed to Christ alone.
Beloved, Jesus didn’t die just to take you to paradise; he died so that every day you could live in beautiful, close fellowship with the Father. You can talk to him, listen to him, ask him to lead you, guide you, tell you where you’re wrong, convict you of sin — all because he abides in you by his Spirit!
Yes, Jesus died so that we can enjoy deliverance in and from this present world. This simply means:
All you need in order to walk in this marvelous freedom is a faith that yearns to know him in whom you have believed and a hunger in your heart for him!
Is it possible for righteous, godly, Spirit-filled Christians to become so low and downcast that they feel they can’t go on? To actually come to the brink of giving up? These are believers who are close to Jesus, who know his heart and mind, have done battle in prayer, and experienced his miracles.
How could it be possible that such Christians get pressed down and troubled, in despair and despondency? To some, it seems that once they gave their life to the Lord, all they got in return was suffering. No one, within the church or without, has ever understood how a loving God can allow those who have given their all to him to go through times of great trouble and despair.
Consider the man Job who famously suffered and came back to a victorious life. Or Jeremiah, the weeping prophet; also, another prophet, Elijah. They all suffered depression and feelings of defeat during their trials but God brought them back.
In the New Testament, we see Paul, the apostle. He truly was a godly, precious man who had given up the whole world that he might win Christ. He spent every breath in the cause of the Master. He had a revelation of Christ as did no other person on earth and, further, his epistles have instructed God’s people throughout the centuries.
Yet, Paul encountered turmoil and trials. When he went to Asia to preach the gospel, he received only trouble: “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).
How could this happen to a man so mightily used of God? Well, our Father allows his people to go through many difficulties so that their faith may be built from it. So how do you come to victory? The secret, plain and simple, is to trust in the Holy Spirit, who abides in you. And then you pray and read the Word of God faithfully. Lay hold of your special promises and you will find that even when you are ready to give up, he remains faithful to deliver you. Hallelujah!
Destiny, in simple terms, is God’s purpose for your life. It is your appointed or ordained future. We read of many godly men and women in Scripture whom God chose for a destined work or ministry but they ended up aborting his plan. They started out right, moving for a while in the power of their calling, but in the end, they died in shame and ruin, missing God’s destiny for their lives.
Saul was such a man. God himself chose Saul to lead Israel out of bondage to the Philistines. When the prophet Samuel first laid eyes on Saul, the Lord said, “There he is, the man of whom I spoke to you. This one shall reign over My people” (1 Samuel 9:17). The Lord was saying, “Take a good look, Samuel. This is my choice to lead Israel.”
Samuel did not choose Saul nor did Israel elect him; rather, God said, “I have appointed this man!” The Bible says of Saul, “The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man” (10:6). Indeed, Saul was transformed by God’s touch on his life (see 10:9).
Here was a man appointed by God, moved upon by the Holy Spirit, gifted with a spirit of prophecy, destined by God to lead Israel — and God was with him. What more wonderful things could be said about him? For a while he lived his destiny, walking in the fear of God and winning great battles. But when he was appointed king over Israel, he began to fall apart. God fully intended for Saul to live out his days with the Lord’s blessing and be remembered as the man who delivered Israel from the bondage of the Philistines. But Saul missed his destiny as he began to cave in to his need for human applause and acceptance. He made compromises to attain these things and he missed the plan God had for him.
Beloved, if you are going to walk in your destiny, the only thing that will set you apart is your desire to surpass all others in the knowledge of Jesus. Spending time with him and eagerly accepting his marvelous adoption of you will make you great and enable you to continue to walk in your destiny!
“That I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3:8-9). The only righteousness that God accepts is the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ our Lord. And it is a righteousness that can be had only by faith.
The writer of Hebrews introduces us to the truth that this righteousness is the inheritance of all true believers. It is something Jesus has left for us, a legacy: “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Hebrews 11:7). Noah became an heir not by building an ark but by what he believed and preached. He grasped this knowledge of righteousness which God had revealed to him, a righteousness that is by faith, and he became an heir of a perfect righteousness!
Beloved, you and I were given a great inheritance when Christ departed the earth. He left us a title and deed to his very own perfect righteousness. Jesus lived in absolute poverty while on this earth. He owned nothing but he left us riches greater than the diamond mines of South Africa; the oil fields of the Middle East; the gold and silver buried under America’s mountains. Jesus gave us an inheritance that can make us far richer than any person on the face of the earth — an inheritance that allows us to stand before God uncondemned.
We could never possibly meet justice’s demands to fulfill God’s law, so Jesus came to earth and perfectly fulfilled the law of God. He never failed in one point of it and he did it all out of love’s pure motives. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).
Is there anything good in you that would cause God to send his Son to die for you? No, it is an act of complete mercy and grace! By the power of the Holy Spirit, he turns you from all iniquity and empowers you to live out the righteousness he credits to you. Hallelujah!