Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT

by David Wilkerson | July 17, 2014

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One of the last things Elijah did before he was taken up to heaven by God was to ask Elisha what he could for for him. When Elisha responded that he wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit to be upon him, Elijah told Elisha that he had asked a hard thing.

Yet, who exactly would this task be hard for? Would it be hard for God? Would it be hard for Elijah, a man who had raised the dead and called down fire from heaven? No, it was going to be hard for Elisha! This was something he would have to obtain for himself because Elijah did not have the ability to empower his servant with a portion of the Spirit residing within himself. Only God can impart His Spirit to man.

But Elijah replied, “Nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so” (verse 10). It is important to note that the words “when” and “am” in this verse do not appear in the original Hebrew. They were inserted later into the text of the King James Version. Thus, I believe Elijah was saying to Elisha, “If you see me as being taken from you.”

Elijah was saying, “The Holy Spirit cannot do a special work in you as long as you are still leaning on my memory. You have to consider me gone. You don't need me, Elisha. Turn to the Lord, whose Spirit also worked in me, and He will answer your cry.”

The moment Elisha saw his master whisked away in the heavenly chariot, he assumed his responsibility to carry on God’s work to his generation. And as he stood at the Jordan River and struck the water, the words he cried out were, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14). The young prophet was saying, “Lord, all my spiritual forefathers are dead and gone. And this awful hour requires even more than You have given so far. Work again, Lord, this time through me. I have to be empowered with more of Your Spirit.”
 

GOD WANTS TO PART THE WATERS FOR YOU

by David Wilkerson | July 16, 2014

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As the old prophet Elijah pondered his last days on earth, he decided to visit the towns of Bethel and Jericho. He invited his servant, Elisha, to go along with him, and the pair set off for what I see as a “teaching journey.” After visiting both towns, they arrived at the banks of the Jordan River. Elijah took off his mantle—a wide, loose-fitting garment or gown—and smote the water with it. Supernaturally, the waters parted, and the two men crossed over on dry ground (see 2 Kings 2:8).

Why did Elijah insist on miraculously passing through the river? The Jordan was not a deep, wide river, and Scripture gives no evidence that it was swollen. And further, there were fifty strong, young prophets on the other side who could have built a raft for them in a matter of a few hours.

I believe Elijah sought to teach his successor that the miracle crossings of the past—from Moses, to Joshua, to the present day—were all ancient history. He wanted to challenge Elisha, as if to say: “When you start your own ministry, and you preach that God is a God of miracles, you have to testify of what He has done for you personally. I’m going to be gone soon, Elisha, so tomorrow when you return to this river, I want you to go back across the way you came. Believe God for the miraculous in your own life.”

Many of us don’t have faith to believe God for our own miracles today. We spend our time poring over the incredible wonders in Scripture, yet all along God wants to tell us, “I have something even better for you. I want to do miracles in your life—to change your home, fix your marriage, save your unsaved loved ones. You are going to face your own Red Sea, your own Jordan River, and I want to part those waters for you.”
 

GOD WANTS TO DO GREATER THINGS

by David Wilkerson | July 15, 2014

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Second Kings 2 contains one of the most spectacular passages in all of the Old Testament. This chapter tells the miraculous story of the aging prophet Elijah and his servant Elisha. When we pick up the narrative, God had informed Elijah that his ministry on earth was over. Now he was to cross the Jordan River and go to a certain place where a heavenly chariot would pick him up and translate him to glory.

When Elijah and Elisha reached their destination, Elijah turned to his servant and said: “Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee” (verse 9). Without hesitation, the younger man answered, “I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me” (same verse).

At first glance, Elijah appeared surprised by Elisha's response, saying, “Thou hast asked a hard thing” (verse 10). But Elijah went on to instruct Elisha that he must watch carefully what God was about to do so that he would not miss it and go home disappointed.

As the men walked along, suddenly a chariot appeared out of heaven and separated them. In a flash, Elijah was taken up in the chariot—and Elisha witnessed the whole scene! He cried out, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces” (verse 12).

Elijah was gone but his mantle had dropped to the ground. When Elisha saw it, he ripped off his own clothes, tore them into pieces and placed Elijah’s mantle on his back. And when he returned to the Jordan, he removed the mantle and struck the water with it, just as his master had done. Immediately the waters parted, and Elisha walked over on dry ground. Thus began the young prophet’s own remarkable ministry.

The events in this chapter are absolutely incredible. Yet what does this passage have to say to us today? I believe God has given us an unmistakable lesson here, with a clear, simple meaning: God wants to do greater things with each succeeding generation. And each new generation must seek the Lord for its own experience of the Holy Spirit and its own imbuing of power from Him.
 

DON’T TAKE THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM ME

by Gary Wilkerson | July 14, 2014

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The psalmist David writes, “Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11, NLT). We know that God is omnipresent, but His manifest presence is something else altogether. It is the reason why so many worship services open with choruses imploring the Holy Spirit to come down and make His presence known. David is saying here, “Lord, I need Your presence, not just today but tomorrow. I don’t want it to diminish because I don’t want to return to my lukewarm ways. Please, God, don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me. Stay with me once I finish worshiping You.”

We all know what this is like. At church and in our fellowship with others, we may know God’s manifest presence. Inner sparks fly, bringing a sense of fresh, new life and we weep for God to stir us that way every hour of the day. Yet the spark wanes as days pass and we are bombarded by job demands, family obligations, and bills that consume and overwhelm us.

I fall into this cycle every September at our ministry’s EXPECT Conference. I am moved and inspired by the godly leaders who speak here, their powerful messages driving me to my knees. Yet last September I made a bold prayer to God: “Lord, if You are not going to sustain the spark, don’t give me one.”

I was tired of the roller coaster, of being sparked without a flame to sustain it, of being on a mountaintop one week only to descend to drudgery the next. So I asked, “God, whatever flame You spark in me, let it grow more and more intense. Give me a loyal spirit, as David said. If you give me a spark, turn it into a torch!” God has sustained that flame these past months. The church I lead now has a pastor who burns with prayer for his people. I may not be able to take everyone to coffee or play golf with them, but I have a loyal spirit that intercedes for them day and night to see their lives become all they can be for Jesus.

IT IS NOT FOR OURSELVES

by Carter Conlon | July 12, 2014

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The Scriptures tell us that Hannah, in her most desperate hour, finally “vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head” (1 Samuel 1:11).

That was what God was waiting for! You see, oftentimes when we receive an answer too quickly, our human tendency is to take the answer home. Sure, we may testify of how God was faithful and blessed us, but ultimately we will take the blessing and consume it on ourselves. That is why God often must wait until we come to a point of desperation just as Hannah did—a place where we purpose in our heart to take that answer and give it back to the Lord for His glory.

At the time, Hannah had no idea that this holy desperation was what God was producing in His own people as His answer to the peril her country was facing. What she did know, however, was that there would be a cost accompanying her vow. Imagine how difficult it must have been, knowing that the priesthood was completely backslidden and the nation was in declension, to still choose to bring her son—the desire of her heart she had prayed for so long—and commit him to the temple.

I can picture what Hannah’s neighbors must have been saying as she left for the temple that last time with her little boy. “What in the world are you doing, Hannah? God finally answered your prayer and gave this child to you!” It is the same thing that you and I will fight along the way—the false reasoning; the advice of those who would never walk such a journey.

Somehow Hannah had the sense to know that the life Christ blesses us with is not for ourselves but rather for others. It was something she realized back in the temple when she first made that vow to the Lord, promising to bring back to Him the life He would give. In fact, it was at that point that Hannah went away with her countenance no longer sad (see 1 Samuel 1:18).

 

 

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. A strong, compassionate leader, he is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world.
 

AT THE BREAKING POINT

by David Wilkerson | July 11, 2014

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Pastors have written to me expressing their concern for parishioners who are giving up. “Good, honest Christians are so overwhelmed by guilt and condemnation that it causes despair. When they can’t live up to their own expectations, when they fall back into sin, they decide to give up.”

Growing numbers of Christians are at the breaking point. Few Christians would even dare to entertain thoughts of quitting on their love for Jesus, but in despair they consider giving up on themselves.

Some ministers today preach only a positive message. To hear them tell it, every Christian is getting instant answers to prayer and receiving miracles; everybody is feeling good, living well; and the whole world is bright and rosy. I like to hear that kind of preaching because I really desire all those good and healthy things for God’s people. But that is not the way things are for a great number of very honest, sincere Christians.

No wonder our young people give up in defeat. They can’t live up to the image created by the religion of a carefree, rich, successful, always positive-thinking Christian. Their world is not that ideal; they live with heartbreak, hour-by-hour crises, and family problems.

Paul talked about trouble: “We were pressed out of [burdened beyond] measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8).

Positive thinking will not make these problems go away, and “confessing” that these problems do not exist does not change a thing. What is the cure? Here are two absolutes that have brought me great comfort and help:

  • God loves me. He is a loving Father wanting only to lift us out of our weakness.
  • It is my faith that pleases Him most. He wants me to trust Him.

“I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” (Psalm 18:1-3).
 

OUR SHEPHERD

by David Wilkerson | July 10, 2014

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Our great Shepherd loves every sheep who has gone astray because of testing, trials, hurts and wounds. We never dare to accuse our Shepherd of abandoning us because He still walks beside us and watches over us at all times.

Right now you may be waging a losing war against some sort of temptation or trial. Whatever your struggle, you have determined not to run away from the Lord. You refuse to give yourself over to sin’s grasp and, instead, you have taken God’s Word to heart.

Yet, like David, you have grown weary and come to a point where you feel absolutely helpless. The enemy is flooding you with despair, fear, lies.

Your testing may become even more mystifying and unexplainable. But I want you to know that no matter what you are going through, the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to you Jehovah Rohi, the Lord your Shepherd. You have a Shepherd who wants to imprint His love upon your heart.

Jesus assures us, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). And our heavenly Father—Jehovah Rohi, the Lord our Shepherd—has revealed Himself to us in Psalm 23. He tells us, “I know you by name, and I know what you are going through. Come, lie down in My grace and love. Don’t try to figure everything out, just accept My love for you and rest in My loving arms. Yes, I am the Lord of hosts and the majestic and holy God. I want you to know all of these revelations about Me. But the one revelation I want you to have right now is the revelation of Jehovah Rohi. I want you to know Me as your loving, caring Shepherd. And I want you to rest assured that I will bring you through all your trials, in My tenderness and love.”

“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so I know the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15).
 

“THE LORD IS THERE”

by David Wilkerson | July 9, 2014

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To be a member of God’s true Church, you must be known by the name of Jehovah Shammah—Hebrew for “The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35). Others must be able to say of you, “It’s clear to me that the Lord is with this person. Every time I see him, I sense the presence of the Lord. His life truly reflects the glory and presence of God.”

If we are honest, we must admit we do not sense the Lord’s sweet presence in each other very often. Why is that? Christians spend their time involved in good religious activities—prayer groups, Bible studies, outreach ministries, home groups—and that’s all very commendable. But many of these same Christians spend little if any time at all ministering to the Lord, in the secret closet of prayer and study.

The Lord’s presence simply cannot be faked. This is true whether it applies to an individual’s life or to a church body. When I speak of God’s presence, I am not talking about some kind of spiritual aura that mystically surrounds a person or that comes down in a church service. Rather, I am talking about the result of a simple but powerful walk of faith. Whether that is manifested in a Christian’s life or in an entire congregation, it causes people to take note. They tell themselves, “This person has been with Jesus,” or, “This congregation truly believes what they preach.”

It takes much more than a righteous pastor to produce a Jehovah Shammah church. It takes righteous, shut-in people of God. If a stranger comes out of a church service and says, “I felt the presence of Jesus there,” you can be sure it wasn’t just because of the preaching or the worship. It was because a righteous congregation had entered God’s house, and the Lord’s glory was abiding in their midst.

In Acts 4:13 we read about Peter and John when they were taken before the High Priest and other rulers: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
 

THE LESSON OF THE PRODIGAL

by David Wilkerson | July 8, 2014

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The Bible says, “When [the prodigal] was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. . . . The father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry” (Luke 15:20-23).

I believe the Prodigal Son came home because of his history with his father. This young man knew his father’s character—and apparently he had received great love from him. He must have known that if he returned, he would not be upbraided or condemned for his sins.

Notice how the Prodigal’s father received him in spite of his pitiful condition. The young man was intent on offering a heartfelt confession to his dad. Yet, when he faced his father, he didn’t get a change to fully confess because his father interrupted him by running up to him and embracing him.

The young man was able to blurt out only the beginning of his speech, saying, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son” (Luke 15:21). But his father didn’t wait for him to finish. To him, the young man’s sin had already been settled. The father’s only response was to issue an order to his servants: “Put a robe on my son and rings on his fingers. Prepare a feast, because we’re going to celebrate. Let everyone rejoice—my son is home!” The father knew his son’s heart and he knew he had fully repented.

Sin was not the issue to this father. The only issue in his mind was love. He wanted his son to know he was accepted even before he could utter a confession. And that is the point God wants to make to us all: His love is greater than all our sins. “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Romans 2:4).
 

A SPARK

by Gary Wilkerson | July 7, 2014

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A spark is temporary, lasting only a brief second before going out. Yet the purpose of a spark is to ignite things, get something started. For example, a spark is needed on a gas grill to start the flame that does the cooking. But a spark in itself isn’t a fire; it won’t cook the meat.

In order to live in the fullness that God intends for our lives, we need a flame that is fueled continually by the oil of God’s compelling grace. David’s life shows us the difference. He had the same spiritual experiences that Saul did, being touched and anointed by God’s hand. Yet the spark that David received was fanned into a flame. “As David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David from that day on” (1 Samuel 16:13, NLT). This last phrase—“from that day on”—shows us the difference in David’s and Saul’s lives. Once David received a spark from God, he guarded it, stoked it and fueled it. He determined, “I want this spark to increase into a burning flame for the Lord.”

When God’s spark comes it may soothe us, but it is also meant to create a fire that refines. The flame of His holiness cleanses us of things that do not belong and as it burns away the dross of sin, it causes us to hate our compromise. It also stirs in us a passion to be holy, so that we say as David did, “Lord, I want to be clean before You and have a right spirit.”

Many Christians resist this. Conviction can lead to change, and we may not be willing to change some of our habits or things we covet. David addresses the resistance of his own heart, pleading, “Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you” (Psalm 51:11-12, NLT).

Note David’s emphasis on obedience in this verse. The apostle Paul could have disobeyed God’s direction and gone his own way in missions. In fact, he was chomping at the bit to take the gospel into Asia, but he speaks of being forbidden by the Holy Spirit to go there. Paul knew that if he proceeded on his own, he would grieve the Holy Spirit. He still would have been saved and loved by God, but he would have quenched the Spirit’s power to move in his life.

That’s exactly what happened to King Saul. As he kept disobeying, the power of God’s Spirit to use him kept diminishing. After a while, Saul no longer heard God’s voice or felt the stirring of His Spirit because he had never allowed the initial spark to fan into a cleansing flame.
 

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