Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

GOD WANTS OUR LIFE TO BE AN OPEN BOOK

by David Wilkerson | April 23, 2014

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God wants our life to be an open book. Therefore, He longs to rid us of all hidden sin—all dishonesty, underhandedness, deception, lying, fraud. That is why the Holy Spirit searches out everything in us that is not like Christ. And if we truly want to change, we’ll open up to His dealings.

You can forget about getting counseling, seeking self-help or restoring relationships until you experience God’s change in each of these areas. Put everything on the back burner until you’re ready to renounce all your hidden sin. When you have submitted to God’s Word and the transforming power of His Spirit, you won’t have to convince others you’ve changed. As you walk in His truth, the Holy Spirit will commend you to the consciences of everyone around you.

“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Corinthians 4:2).

The Greek word for commending here means “God’s approval.” Paul says, “You won’t have to impress anybody that you’ve changed. God will move on their conscience, telling them inwardly, ‘This person has my blessing and approval.’”

No argument can refute the inner evidence that God’s Spirit has put in you. In fact, your change will either attract others or become a rebuke to them. The aura of Christ emanating from you will strike their very conscience. And that’s when you will find the power to influence others—through the changes taking place in you. You’ll find relationships being restored and you’ll recover your spiritual authority in your home.

You will no longer dwell on the changes that need to take place in others. Instead, you will be so encouraged by the changes God is working in you that you’ll realize, “Lord, I know everything is in Your hands and I resign myself to Your will. Just do in me what has to be done.”

Now is the time to give all your circumstances over into His hands. Forget trying to be delivered out of your crisis. Instead, focus on God’s changes in you as He makes you an overcomer. Stay in His Word, call diligently on His name, and trust the Holy Spirit. Make this the constant cry of your heart: “Change me, O God.”
 

CHANGE ME, LORD!

by David Wilkerson | April 22, 2014

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I am not against Christian counseling. Many people are responding to the counseling they are getting, and it is healing their lives, marriages and homes. Indeed, counseling has become a major ministry in the church of Jesus Christ. Almost every large congregation in America has at least one full-time counselor on staff and here at Times Square Church, we use a number of counselors.

But I see more and more troubled Christians who don’t respond at all to the counseling they receive. They may be ministered to for weeks, even months, with no results. A pastor or counselor can take them step by step through the Scriptures, showing them the clear truth of God’s Word. He can tell them, “Here is what God says about your problem. He says you’re supposed to do this and this.” He confronts them with the reality that if they don’t forsake their sin, they will incur God’s judgment.

Yet none of this counsel registers. Why? There is a spiritual veil over the eyes of these people. They have a terrible blindness to their own guilt and need to change.

Since I began pastoring, I’ve been caught in the middle of many family feuds and I can testify that few of these wars are ever resolved outside of supernatural intervention. Why? Because everybody wants the other person to change.

One party tells me, “Why is he so stubborn? It’s awful. He needs to change.” Then I hear something similar from the other party: “How can she be so hard-hearted? She knows I’m doing the best I can. Is this what I get for being kind to her?”

It’s always the other person’s fault, the other one who needs to change. That is why I believe no amount of counseling will have an impact until God’s people resolve something. We all have to make this our sincere, daily prayer: “O God, change me.”

We spend far too much time praying, “God, change my circumstances; change my coworkers; change my family situation; change the conditions in my life.” Yet we seldom pray this most important prayer: “Change me, Lord. The real trouble isn’t my spouse, my sibling, my friend. I’m the one who stands in need of prayer.”

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed (changed) by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
 

SMALL BEGINNINGS

by Gary Wilkerson | April 21, 2014

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Small beginnings eventually affect entire communities. When my father, David Wilkerson, started a church in Times Square, the main area on 42nd Street was a darkened mess. Every few feet one could see a drug dealer or a prostitute or a porn theater. My dad’s approach to any ministry was always to begin in prayer—and he asked me to lead a Friday night prayer meeting at the church.

Those first meetings drew twenty to thirty people. We faithfully cried out for God to bring change to the city. Over time, our meetings grew to almost eight hundred people. As we lifted our voices in travailing prayer, God placed a burden on our hearts for 42nd Street. So we took our praying efforts to the street, where we handed out tracts.

Soon we noticed changes taking place. There were fewer drug addicts and prostitutes around. One by one the porn palaces closed. Finally, a developer came in and bought up property after property. Today, the principal business presence in Times Square is the Walt Disney Company, and 42nd Street may now be the most wholesome block in New York City. I believe this is partly due to a praying people who believed God to do great things.

The first effect of a godly testimony is the building up of our faith. The second effect is the building up of others’ faith: “I may seem to be boasting too much about the authority given to us by the Lord. But our authority builds you up; it doesn’t tear you down” (2 Corinthians 10:8, NLT). Paul is saying, in essence, “Not only did God work mightily through my life. His work in me and through me is meant to stir up your faith to greater works.” Our faith is contagious. It builds up the faith of others to engage in greater acts of boldness.

Paul’s final boast is a curious one: “If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am” (11:30). His point is this: Our good testimony will never result from our own strength. Our boast will always be, “Without God, I am not a giant slayer—I am a shepherd. I am not a wall builder—I am a cup bearer. I am not a deliverer—I am a shepherd wandering in the Egyptian desert.”

Our testimony will never come from our own strength, zeal or effort. If we lean on any of these things, our testimony will lose its power. But the more we acknowledge our inability, the more God’s power will rest on us: “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV).
 

EXPECT 2014 CHURCH LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE NYC

by Gary Wilkerson | April 19, 2014

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The Expect Pastors & Church Leadership Conference is just a few days away. Join fellow ministers for a time of refreshing at Times Square Church in New York City. April 23-24. Speakers are Gary Wilkerson, Carter Conlon, Jim Cymbala, Teresa Conlon, and William Carrol.

Register today at http://bit.ly/1qtMxh3

WHEN IN TROUBLE, PRAY!

by Jim Cymbala | April 19, 2014

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Have you ever noticed that Jesus launched the Christian church, not while someone was preaching, but while people were praying? In the first two chapters of Acts, the disciples were doing nothing but waiting on God. As they were just sitting there . . . worshiping, communing with God, letting Him shape them and cleanse their spirits and do those heart operations that only the Holy Spirit can do . . . the church was born. The Holy Spirit was poured out.

What does it say about our churches today that God birthed the church in a prayer meeting, and prayer meetings today are almost extinct?

Am I the only one who gets embarrassed when religious leaders in America talk about having prayer in public schools? We don’t have even that much prayer in many churches! Out of humility, you would think we would keep quiet on that particular subject until we practice what we preach in our own congregations

I am sure that the Roman emperors didn’t have prayer to God in their schools. But then, the early Christians did not seem to care what Caligula or Claudius or Nero did. How could any emperor stop God? How, in fact, could the demons of hell make headway when God’s people prayed and called upon His name? Impossible!

In the New Testament we don’t see Peter or John wringing their hands and saying, “Oh, what are we going to do? Caligula is bisexual . . . he wants to appoint his horse to the Roman Senate . . . what a terrible model of leadership! How are we going to respond to this outrage?”

Let’s not play games or divert attention away from the weak prayer life of our own churches. In Acts 4, when the apostles were unjustly arrested, imprisoned, and threatened, they didn’t call for a protest; they didn’t reach for some political leverage. Instead, they headed to a prayer meeting. Soon the place was vibrating with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:23-31).

The apostles had this instinct: When in trouble, pray. When intimidated, pray. When challenged, pray. When persecuted, pray!

 

Jim Cymbala began 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 and a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences sponsored by World Challenge throughout the world.

 

 

HE OPENS OUR EYES

by David Wilkerson | April 18, 2014

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The Holy Spirit seeks to bring to us a growing knowledge that God is going to be merciful to us all the way through our trials. “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not” (2 Corinthians 4:1).

What is the merciful ministry we have received from the Holy Spirit? He opens our eyes to the tender mercies of Christ toward us. He implants in us an inner knowing that the Lord is on our side, that He is for us. And He shows us how committed God is to keep us from falling—how compassionate He is toward everything we’re going through, how touched He is by the feelings of our infirmities.

Right now you may feel abused and unloved. The devil would have you believe that God has left you to your own devices—that you deserve to suffer, that it’s all over for you, that there is no hope. Beloved, those are lies from hell. God wants more than anything else to rid you of your perverted concept of Him. He loves you tenderly and He has already set a time to bestow all His mercies on you.

David cried pitifully as he was overwhelmed by his situation: “My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. . . . I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top. Mine enemies reproach me all the day . . . I have . . . mingled my drink with weeping. . . . My days are like a shadow that declineth" (Psalm 102:4, 7-9, 11). He groaned, “I’m in a terrible condition, physically, mentally and spiritually.”

Yet that was the very time God had set to deliver David, and the Lord moved in quickly with mercy, help and comfort. David testified, “Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come” (Psalm 102:13).

God’s set time to deliver David was in his lowest hour, when he was thinking, “I’ve been reduced to nothing.” Likewise today, God has set a time to deliver and send His favor upon us—and it usually comes in our worst hour of trial. That’s the time when we’re no longer struggling to do things on our own. Instead, we admit, “Lord, I can’t do it—it’s a mess. I give it all over to you.”
 

AN OPEN FACE

by David Wilkerson | April 17, 2014

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The apostle Paul writes, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). The root word for “open face” here has an amazing definition. It means being totally committed to allowing God to expose every hidden thing in your heart—for the purpose of being delivered from it all.

This kind of open face cries out, “Try me, Lord; see if there is any wicked way in me. Show me where I’m living contrary to Your Word. I want to be delivered from everything that is unlike you. Away with all my pride, my ambitions, my selfish intellect, my reasoning. I know I can’t think my way out of my situation. Holy Spirit, I need Your power and wisdom. I lay down every hope of solving things my own way.”

For many believers, this is a very difficult thing to do. They have survived their whole Christian lives on their wits and wisdom. And now to have to admit to bungling things up and needing to give up control is just too hard.

The Lord had to strip me of my pride in this area years ago. Now, thank the Lord, I freely admit whenever I mess things up. My constant prayer is, “God, I do such dumb things. I make such awful mistakes, get myself into terrible messes. Please, Lord, clear them up for me. I can’t do it. Only You can.” Thankfully, God delights in fixing our messes when we seek to do His will.

The glass Paul speaks of in this passage means mirror. And, beloved, our mirror is God’s Word. It alone accurately reflects back to us our condition. Paul is telling us, “Go to the mirror of God’s truth, and behold your life. Tell the Lord you’re on the wrong course, and you want to be changed. Ask His Spirit to humble you and to open up His Word to you. Forsake others’ advice, your own ideas, your own contrivances. Instead, turn to the Holy Ghost in full trust. Believe what He says to you.”

If you will rely solely on the Holy Spirit, turning away from all other helps, He will unveil your eyes. He’ll also send Holy Ghost-led helpers into your life and you will begin to change in that very moment.
 

THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

by David Wilkerson | April 16, 2014

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Change is exclusively the work of the Holy Ghost. “How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?” (2 Corinthians 3:8). We simply can’t change ourselves. Only the Spirit of God can conform us to the glorious image of Christ. We have all heard it said, “When a person turns to the Lord, God lifts the veil from his eyes.” That is solely the Spirit’s work.

We also read, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (verse 17). The word “liberty” here means “no longer a slave; exempt from liability; free, unchained.” This describes the freedom that comes with having our eyes opened. Suddenly, we see things in a new light. Only the Holy Spirit can break down our lifelong way of seeing things, turn us around, and set us on a true course.

In short, the turning Paul speaks of here means trusting fully in God’s Spirit. It also means turning away from all unbiblical counseling, all ideas and plans of your own, and calling on the Holy Ghost alone to lead and guide you.

Paul experienced this kind of turning. In Acts 9, when he was still known as Saul, he was on the wrong course, riding to Damascus to persecute the Christians there. Talk about having a veil over his eyes! Saul actually believed he was doing God a favor by arresting believers and throwing them in jail.

But the Lord intercepted this man and created a crisis in his life. When Jesus met Saul on the Damascus road, He struck him with a light that was so powerful it literally blinded him. Saul had to be led sightless to a house in Damascus, where he stayed until godly Ananias arrived. Ananias told him: “Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight” (Acts 9:17-18).

Saul surrendered his past, future, everything to the Holy Spirit—and the veil was immediately removed from his eyes.

 

__________

The Expect Pastors & Church Leadership Conference is just a few days away. Join fellow ministers for a time of refreshing at Times Square Church in New York City. April 23-24. Speakers are Gary Wilkerson, Carter Conlon, Jim Cymbala, Teresa Conlon, and William Carrol.

Register today at http://bit.ly/1qtMxh3
 

 

WE’RE CONTINUALLY BEING CHANGED

by David Wilkerson | April 15, 2014

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Like it or not, we all are in the process of changing in one way or another. In the spiritual realm, there is no such thing as mere existence; we are being changed, either for good or for bad. We are either becoming more like our Lord or more like the world—either growing in Christ or backsliding.

So, are you becoming more sweet-spirited, more like Jesus? Are you looking soberly in the mirror each day and praying, “Lord, I want to conform to Your image in every area of my life”?

Or has your bitterness taken root, turning into rebellion and hardness of heart? Have you learned to shield yourself from the convicting voice of God’s Spirit? Are you now spewing out things you once thought a Christian would never be capable of speaking? Are you hardening beyond change?

If this describes you, let me tell you plainly: You will never receive deliverance unless you change. Your life will only become more chaotic, and your situation will worsen. Stop building your case, pointing your finger, justifying yourself. God will not meet you until you wake up and admit, “Nothing is going to change for me unless I’m changed.”

Cry out to the Lord honestly in prayer: “Change me, O God. Dig deep in me—show me where I’ve failed and gone astray. Expose my pride, anger, stubbornness and sin. Help me to lay it all down.”

How many more experts, counselors, lonely nights and fruitless strivings must you endure before you wake up to the truth? If any healing or restoration is going to take place, you must take responsibility. Your miracle is dependent on your being changed.

“The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all” (Psalm 34:17-19).

 

LOOK WHAT GOD DID TODAY

by Gary Wilkerson | April 14, 2014

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The book of Hebrews mentions two types of testimonies. We all prefer the first kind, when saints conquered kingdoms, destroyed the enemy, slew giants. The second kind of testimony is altogether different: Christians were sawed in half, they starved, they froze, they hid in caves.

It is too easy for Christians today to live off the testimonies of others. How often do we catch ourselves saying, “Have you heard about the spiritual awakening in Africa?” “The church in America does a great work among the poor.” “Our church has opened its doors to reach drug addicts.” We should rejoice in the faithfulness of those making a difference in Christ’s name, of course, but Paul refused to live vicariously through another’s work: “Nor do we boast and claim credit for the work someone else has done. Instead, we hope that your faith will grow so that the boundaries of our work among you will be extended” (2 Corinthians 10:15, NLT).

You may think your life doesn’t measure up—that you don’t deserve a boast-worthy testimony—but that is not the issue. Everything can change with one simple prayer of faith. Just before I preached recently, a woman in church told me about something that had happened that week. After thirty-eight years of being addicted to marijuana, God had set her free! It happened through a simple visit from two lay ministers in our church. As they sat praying with her, she grew convicted over the pot in her apartment and immediately threw it out.

The woman’s deliverance is real and lasting. She has obtained a boast-worthy testimony of God’s power to deliver—and the two lay ministers have a testimony as well. God used them in a way they could not have orchestrated. All three can say, “Look at what God did in our midst today.”

With even the smallest beginning, faith starts to rise up in our hearts. We realize, “God did it last week and He can do it again this week.” I want to boast that our church has powerfully effective ministries that were launched just this way—because an individual was faithful to help one person. In every case, a believer’s prayerful act led to a counseling ministry, a mercy ministry, a discipleship ministry, and more. The same can be true for every believer. As we build a history of testimonies, our faith will grow to seek God for greater things.

 

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