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GOD DOES THE COUNTING

by David Wilkerson | August 19, 2014

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Many Christians have become barren from sitting in a dead church and listening to a pastor who has no anointing from God. In the process they have become spiritually starved, with no spiritual authority. Families suffer; children backslide; marriages fall apart. There are many Ishmaels being born in churches today. Ishmael stands for “flesh” and many Christians are bound by flesh, claiming to be heirs of righteousness.

God is going to cleanse and heal children after His heart and give them to the church. “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 54:1). God is not talking about simply emptying the houses of Ishmael and giving the crowds to the righteous. It is much deeper than crowds, numbers, and success and He is going to do the counting, not man. “Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?” (Micah 6:11).

“The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there” (Psalm 87:6). Look at any great gathering of Christians and they may all be singing loud praises with upraised hands. But God is not impressed by the crowds. Rock bands draw huge crowds but there is no praise to God there. He knows who is holy and those who mourn for sin.

This last revival will come because God will pity His own name. He will sanctify His name before the whole world. Let me share with you a great prophecy from Ezekiel. “But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes” (Ezekiel 36:21-23).
 

THE PERFECTER OF OUR FAITH

by Gary Wilkerson | August 18, 2014

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“Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, NLT). There are many things I sincerely hope for, but some are not initiated by God. For example, I hope with all my heart that our church in Colorado Springs will see tens of thousands of people come to Christ in the coming decades. God has not promised this to me, but still I hope and pray that He will bring the lost into His loving arms.

We all need to be careful about taking our hopes and making them into promises. We can only be assured something is a promise from God when it is confirmed through Scripture, prayer and sometimes fellow Christians.

It is possible for us to hear the voice of our own ambitions and desires and mistake it for the voice of God. We may hope for certain things, including good things, and yet, as James writes, God won’t give us those requests because they are born out of our own striving and flesh.

Instead, God perfects our faith by putting those things away. Speaking as a man in midlife, I am so glad the Lord does this. There are many things I wanted in my thirties that I’m glad He never gave me. In His mercy God saw what I needed, and He didn’t allow the things I wanted. By perfecting our faith, the desires He initiates—those things born of Him and not of ourselves—begin to rise up in our hearts.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen” (11:1). As God purifies our faith, our confidence builds. We grow in discernment, saying, “Ah, yes, this is the word of the Lord, and that other word is not. He is confirming His promise to me—through Scripture, prayer and the witness of my brothers and sisters.” Faith begins to settle the matter within us, so that as Hebrews 11:1 says, we have “confidence that what we hope for will actually happen.”

This kind of faith was perfected in those listed in the Hall of Faith (see Hebrews 11). According to that chapter, God commended Abel not for his worthy sacrifice of worship but for his faith. Noah wasn’t commended for being a preacher of righteousness but for his faith. Likewise, Moses wasn’t commended for being a bold deliverer but for his faith.
 

GENUINE MERCY

by Nicky Cruz | August 16, 2014

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Nothing stirs God’s heart more than a humble heart and a merciful spirit. God responds to mercy, because it is through compassion that we fully come to know Him. This is the defining quality of a true follower of Christ.

We are never closer to the heart of God than when we are forgiving someone. And we are never farther from it than when we are holding a grudge. Jesus said, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15). Few scriptures give a clearer insight into what God expects from believers. If you don’t forgive, God can’t forgive you.

Some years ago I heard the story of two women who had awakened to find a man robbing their home. One of the women was quick-witted enough to call the police, who were there within a few minutes. Several squad cars screamed up in front of their house, and the police took the young thief away.

While an officer was still at the house getting all the information he needed from the victims and filling out the police report, one of the women asked him what would happen to the young man.

“He’ll be processed and sent to jail,” the policeman informed her.

Even as the officer spoke, the Lord began reminding the woman of a similar incident some months earlier. Her own son had committed a crime and had been picked up by the police. But at the last minute the family took pity on him and forgave him for his crime. Against the judge’s wishes, they refused to press charges, and her son went free.

Then the Lord spoke to her spirit, “I want you to show that same kind of forgiveness.”

There is a sort of compassion and mercy that defies human logic. The world doesn’t understand it, and it seldom brings much reward. Forgiving others when they do us wrong is one of the most difficult things God can ask us to do. But mercy is what He most wants to see from His followers.

 

Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.
 

A BARREN CHURCH IS GOING TO BRING FORTH MANY CHILDREN

by David Wilkerson | August 15, 2014

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“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 54:1).

Some argue that this last-days church is not barren. They would point to all the super churches, the many ministries, and the multitudes who attend religious seminars, conferences, and concerts and devour religious books, tapes, and videos. But what God calls spiritual children and what the church has been calling children are two very different things. While the church has focused on growth in numbers, influence and success, Paul is crying out, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you . . .” (Galatians 4:19). Paul would say, “Don’t tell me how many attend your church. Don’t tell me how many attend your functions, how much literature you distribute, how many Bibles you send out—tell me how many are being formed into the likeness of Christ!”

I believe God will look upon the past twenty to thirty years as a time of famine of the Word; as years the cankerworm has eaten; years of self-seeking; years of strangers being exalted in God’s house; years of proud preachers, money madness, empire building and shallowness. “They have dealt treacherously against the Lord: for they have begotten strange children” (Hosea 5:7). “Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed; how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?” (Jeremiah 2:21).

God promises that the barren, last-days church is going to give birth to a great ingathering of children. “Enlarge . . . spare not . . . lengthen . . . strengthen . . . For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left” (Isaiah 54:2-3). God is going to remove the shame and reproach of the last-days church. “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood anymore” (Isaiah 54:4).
 

MANY WILL BE SAVED

by David Wilkerson | August 14, 2014

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In the last days God will call to the wicked who never knew Him. “Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He hath glorified thee. Seek the Lord . . . for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:4-7).

This happened in the New Testament times when the Gentiles ran to Christ. The heathen saw the light and responded. But once again, in one last revival of mercy and kindness, the wicked are going to hear. Multitudes will forsake their wicked ways and call upon the Lord.

He is going to offer comfort, healing, and restoration to all who walked out on Him. “I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners” (Isaiah 57:18). How thrilled Isaiah must have been to bring this message: “For My own name’s sake, I will forgive this polluted bride and call her back.”

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25). Think of the millions of backslidden Christians worldwide. In Times Square Church, half the converts are backsliders, those who have walked away from God. What a revival it will be as multitudes of backslidden Christians come back! Those bound by drugs, alcohol, sex, doubt, and fear will hear His call, and multitudes will return. Addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, homosexuals, and the backslidden destitute will be called by Him.

Will His outpouring of mercy overlook sin? Never! Those who walked out on God are those who once tasted of the Holy Spirit. They once knew Him. The Lord will send the Holy Spirit, His messenger, with a word of love, calling them to remember all His loving words and how lovely their relationship once was. He will remind them of how He once protected, loved, and blessed them.

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10-11).

THE FINAL RECALL

by David Wilkerson | August 13, 2014

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God has great concern for those who have been His beloved but have been overcome by a sudden storm of temptation. His promise is to those who are right now in great affliction. God is going to woo back to Himself a backslidden, forsaken people. “For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called. For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:5-8).

This is a prophecy to the last-days church—which He momentarily forsook.

Who is this He forsook for a while? And what would make Him hide His face? “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). God has not divorced the present-day, compromised church, but He has had to hide His face. She has left Him, her Beloved. “Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away” (Isaiah 50:1).

God said, “You walked out on Me. You committed adultery. I didn't leave you—you left Me! I had to refuse you because you sold yourself to prostitution.” The church ran off to Babylon, but it is not yet divorced. For God says, “Show Me the papers! Show Me the bill of sale where I sold you to the devil.” God is saying, “We are not living together at this time, but the divorce is not final. The marriage is not hopeless. I still love you! You left Me, yet I called and called, and you refused to listen.” “Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? When I called, was there none to answer?” (Isaiah 50:2).

To this sin-corrupted, backslidden, wandering wife, God swears, “I am going to call you back.” “For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money” (Isaiah 52:3). And again, “For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit” (Isaiah 54:6). There is even now the sounding of this final recall: “With great mercies will I gather thee” (Isaiah 54:7).
 

A REVIVAL OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IS COMING

by David Wilkerson | August 12, 2014

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I want to make a statement with the greatest spiritual authority possible, a statement backed by a covenant as sure as the one made to Noah. There is going to be a final, midnight hour revival, one which shall break forth on all sides. Zion will travail and many, many children will be given to her. There will be great singing and shouting, and Zion will say, “Where have all these come from?” It will be a revival of righteousness.

I have heard old-time preachers speak of a last revival for years. One dear friend has been preaching it for over sixty years. Now the young preachers are praying for revival; they want to see God work in this day, not just read about it in books. It is not enough to simply preach on past revivals. Why pray, why seek revival, if it is not promised in the Bible? If the Bible says we are beyond hope, let’s just evangelize and preach, and not be concerned about results. But, if revival is promised, Christians need to see it, lay hold of it, and pray with faith knowing that God has promised to do it. Is it in His Word? Yes, the promise is found in Isaiah 54. This is one of the most important chapters in God’s Word for this generation. We are clearly told here what God intends to do with His church, His people, in the last days. This chapter prophesies what is going to happen at Times Square Church, as well as everywhere else where hungry hearts exist. It will happen in Russia, in China, in every land, every island of the sea, from the North Pole to the South.

The church is going to experience an undeserved outpouring of love, mercy, and kindness. It is going to come in a time of great affliction, with a tempest raging, with anxiety on all sides, when society is being tossed about. God swears He is going to reveal Himself in great kindness: “But with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. . . . My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee” (Isaiah 54:8-10). What God is saying to the church, He is also saying to individual believers. God is speaking to those “afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted” (Isaiah 54:11).
 

THE LIFE OF FAITH

by Gary Wilkerson | August 11, 2014

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Most of us would like the ability to do certain things in life that we can’t do. I’m talking about things that are not just hard but impossible.

Even the most devoted followers of Jesus cannot fix certain things but we do know the One who can. The wonderful thing about life in Christ is that we get to engage in amazing things we could not do on our own. In fact, Jesus calls us to participate with Him in accomplishing what we cannot do ourselves: seeing lost loved ones come to faith; seeing broken marriages restored and healed; seeing unsaved people in our community rescued from a hopeless eternity. Through our faith in Jesus, we get to see—and even take part in—such things as they are accomplished by His power, majesty and authority.

Hebrews 11 is the chapter known as the “Hall of Faith,” listing biblical figures who pleased God through great acts of faith. From Abraham to Sarah to David to Samuel to Gideon and a host of others, we see believers commended not for their talents or achievements but for trusting God to do what was beyond their abilities. Together they comprise “a huge cloud of witnesses to the life of faith” (Hebrews 12:1, NLT).

That italicized phrase tells us there is a life of faith to be lived. And to attain that life, we are urged to lay aside every weight that prevents us from trusting faith: “Let us strip off every weight” (12:1). What are these weights, these obstacles to faith? I know many Christians who are weighed down by unbelief. As they consider their circumstances they think, “My need will never be filled. I’ve prayed endlessly and asked others to pray for me, including church elders, but the answer never comes. Nothing I’ve tried works.”

The problem for many is that they look to their circumstances more than to the God who controls all circumstances. Their faith ends up stalled by a “weight that slows us down” (12:1). I can assure you, what God has promised can never be thwarted. Every word He sends forth will ultimately be accomplished. Satan knows this, and all he can do is try to slow down God’s purposes by convincing us to wallow in our difficulties. If your situation seems hopeless, the life of faith calls you to believe, “One day God will fulfill what I’m unable to envision now.”
 

WE CAN ACCOMPLISH THE UNTHINKABLE

by Jim Cymbala | August 9, 2014

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The work of God can be carried on only by the power of God. The church is a spiritual organism fighting spiritual battles and only spiritual power can make it function as God ordained.

The key is not money, organization, cleverness, or education. Are you and I seeing the results Peter saw? Are we bringing thousands of men and women to Christ the way he did? If not, we need to get back to his power source. No matter the society or culture, the city or town, God has never lacked the power to work through available people to glorify His name.

When we sincerely turn to God, we will find that His church always moves forward, not backward. We can never back up and accommodate ourselves to what the world wants or expects. Our stance must remain militant, aggressive, bold.

This is what characterized General William Booth and the early Salvation Army as they invaded the slums of London. It also characterized early missionary endeavors such as Hudson Taylor in China and the revivalists on the American frontier who spoke the truth in love—fearlessly.

In the familiar story of David and Goliath, there is a wonderful moment when the giant gets irked at the sight of his young opponent. “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” he roars (1 Samuel 17:43). Goliath is genuinely insulted. “Come here . . . and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” (17:44).

Does David flinch? Does he opt for a strategic retreat behind some tree or boulder, thinking maybe to buy a little time?

Absolutely not!

“As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him” (17:48).

That is the picture of what God wants for us today: running toward the fray!

David’s weaponry was ridiculous: a sling and five smooth stones. It didn’t matter. And God still uses foolish tools in the hands of weak people to build His kingdom. Backed by prayer and His power, we can accomplish the unthinkable.

 

 

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.
 

BORN IN A BLAZE OF GLORY

by David Wilkerson | August 8, 2014

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The New Testament church was born in a blaze of glory. The Holy Ghost came down upon it with fire, and the first Christians spoke with tongues and prophesied. They experienced smiting conviction, and multitudes were converted. The fear of God fell upon them and upon all who saw them. Jails could not hold them and storms could not drown them. There were signs, wonders, and miracles. Fearless evangelists went everywhere preaching the Word and when their possessions were seized, they continued to rejoice. When they were stoned, hanged, burned or crucified, they went out singing and praising God. It was a triumphant church, unafraid of Satan, irreverent toward idols, unmoved by plagues or persecution. It was a blood-washed church, living and dying in victory.

What is the last-hour church going to be like? How will the church go out in its final hour? As a fat, prosperous, self-seeking church or will it be just a handful of true believers holding on, watching death and apostasy eat away at it like a cancer? Will coldness leave it weak, mocked, and powerless? Will the church go out of this age full of hypocrisy, with unclean hands and impure hearts offering strange fire with great praise, worship and prayer meetings?

To be sure, there is going to be a great falling away or apostasy. There will be spiritual harlotry on all sides. And because sin abounds, the love of many will grow cold. Deceivers will come, teaching doctrines of demons. People will have itching ears and will flock to hear soft preaching. Deceptions will get so bad that even the elect will be tested severely.

But the church of Jesus Christ is not going out with a whimper or a limp. It is going out victorious, with joy unspeakable, riding a river of peace. It is going out in freedom from all bondage, with its foot on Satan's neck. And every member of this true church will live and die without fear. The tempter's power will be broken. Christians will be holy and will tear down idols. They will be just as strong in the Lord as the first Christians.

“In the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh” (Acts 2:17).

 

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