Fear is something we all experience but with the current pandemic, it's taking over hearts. And when we fear, we take our eyes off of God. When fear is felt, it is an indicator that we are focusing on the wrong thing—the big waves and mounting trials. Ultimately, it's really a faith issue, and ultimately, a God issue. In this powerful sermon, Tim Dilena reminds us of God's character that warrants our worship and faith.
Father, we thank you that you are our strength. You are our hope. You are, Lord God, everything we need in this time. Though our country is facing an unprecedented time, ground that we've never been on before, I thank you that nothing takes you by surprise, oh God. There is nothing that is, that your arm is too short to extend mercy, kindness, salvation, and even as Ivory sang, amazing grace can be extended to our country and to countries abroad.
We pray, Lord God, that you would begin just to guide us today. May the Holy Spirit just continue to lift up, Lord God, the people that are affected and infected with this, affected with fear and infected with the virus, but most of all let them turn their eyes upon Jesus who is the healer, the sustainer, and is our hope. Holy Spirit, be with us in these next few moments. Let the word of God begin to come and challenge and change us today. Let the word of God begin to go way down deep, that Lord, when things seem to be forgotten in the midst of fear, let us never forget God is with us. God is with us, and we thank you for this in Jesus' name. Amen. Hallelujah.
Well, once again, all the way from Times Square Church right in the heart of Manhattan, we want to welcome you to our live service here. Though the building is empty, these amazing volunteers have come today to encourage and to bring hope by focusing on Jesus today, I've heard for many years in the church that the Bible says these words, "Fear not" 365 times. That means it says I don't have to fear, think about this, one time for every day of the year. Fear not 365 times in the Bible. How awesome is that for us for what we're facing today?
But it's interesting. In 30 years of preaching, I have said this, but I've said it without checking it out. I've said, "Fear not" is their 365 times. And I thought, "What an amazing thought." So I decided to investigate it myself to see if it is actually there 365 time. Well, here's the real story. Really depending upon the kind of version of the Bible that you have, it doesn't say it 365 times. In fact, it's not even close to saying it 365 times. In fact, based upon the version that you may have, it may be even less than a hundred times in the Bible. But it doesn't really matter, and I want you to listen real closely because here's the fact. If it was only in the Bible once, that's all we need to hear it so we would never fear again.
Why? Because with God, once said is enough said. If he says "Fear not" once, I don't need it 365 times. How come? If our God who cannot lie said it once, that's it. Because God says, "Fear not" over a hundred times, boy, what an encouragement to every single one of us. I believe and don't need it 364 times. I just need to know God said it once and that becomes enough for me.
See, our country and even our planet is faced with a pandemic right now with this virus, with the coronavirus. People are afraid. Not only is the MLB and NFL, the NHL, the NBA suspending seasons, colleges are canceling classes and telling students not to come back even to the fall, from Broadway to literally entire countries that are on lockdown today, and many of it being done to be proactive. None of it's being done without fear that's being instilled in many people's hearts.
And here's the fact: people are afraid and are afraid everywhere. Even when I was flying in and coming into New York City yesterday, the person that I sat next to, they scrubbed down that seat, they scrubbed down the armrest, they scrubbed down the tray table, and I thought I was going to be next that they were going to begin to scrub down at that point because of fear. They are doing everything they can to take precautionary measures. See, the disposition of a Christian and everyone else should be different because we have a God who told us at least once, we don't have to fear.
In fact, I love the story of the woman who was on a plane en route from Boston to Los Angeles, and after being airborne and hitting really bad weather for almost the entire trip, everybody on board was panicking because of the tossing and the jostling of the plane, worrying of whether they were actually going to begin to reach Boston. In fact, everyone was concerned for their safety except one old senior citizen who knitted a sweater the entire time on this transcontinental flight.
People would yell at the number of drops from the turbulence, but she just kept on knitting. And one of the passengers noticed that it seemed never to bother this old lady. So finally somebody when it hit just a little bit of a moment of some clean and clear air, someone went over to this old woman who was knitting again at the time and said, "Why aren't you bothered? Why don't you seem to be fearful while all of us are fearful of this plane and hoping we're going to make it in safety?" Here's were her words. "Young man, I am on my way to visit my son in Boston, but I used to have another son who was a Christian and died not too long ago and went to heaven. So before this day is done, one thing I know. I will see one of them and it doesn't matter which one of them I will begin to visit." That means that woman does not fear and if there's ever a disposition we need as the body of Christ and as Christians, it's really not to have that kind of fear.
I'm so grateful for our President and I'm so grateful for Washington, DC that called a National Day of Prayer. I'm grateful that our nation and churches all around the country are beginning to pray. That first National Day of Prayer was called by our 16th President Abraham Lincoln, and he said these words when he called the very first National Day of Prayer. Listen to what he said. He said, "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go." That's exactly what's happening today. We are under a conviction that we have nowhere else to go, but to God himself.
So that's why we're believing today that through the worship, through the word, and through our service and the services that are being simulcasted all over the country and all over the world, that you're going to be inspired to realize, there's nowhere else to go, but to our knees and calling upon God. Not only are colleges and Broadway and sporting events shutting down, but churches all over America and around the world have had to shut down because of rules that says no more than 250, no more than 500 could meet. But here's the question. Can we with an empty theater right here on Broadway with many of you having not even being able to go to church today, are we still able to worship with fear even all around us?
I want to teach you something today at the end of these few words on how to worship when fear tries to come and take over our hearts. I want to teach you, in fact, we're going to close worshiping with this brand new way that is going to inspire and challenge your heart today. Let me just say a few things I want you to write down because I want to challenge you as we begin to weather the storm through this that I think it will be important for us.
Number one I began to realize is this. Fear is a revelation. What do you mean? When we are afraid, it's showing something about us. See, fear makes us focus on the wrong thing. Let me read to you a passage from Matthew 8 where there is fear but there is and there is focus but there is focus on the wrong thing. This is Jesus and his disciples that are about to hit a storm, and their focus is forgetting who is with them and seeing the situation on the outside. Listen to this from Matthew 8:23. "When he," Jesus, "got into the boat, his disciples followed him, and behold there arose a great storm on the sea so that the boat was being covered with the waves, but Jesus himself was asleep." In fact, one version says that a storm came up, that the waves were higher than even the boat itself, which we many of us feel like today.
It goes on to say in verse 25, "And they came to him and woke him, saying, 'Save us, Lord. We are perishing.' And he said to them," listen to these words, "'Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?' Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm, and the men were amazed and said, 'What kind of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey him?'" One version says the storm came without warning.
It almost seemed like these disciples who were with Jesus, going with Jesus comes without warning, comes up suddenly almost like a pop quiz for them, those pop quizzes that many of us experienced even when we were in school were really revelations about us. Not the teacher, not the material, but about us. If we knew the material, if we knew the stuff, and if we were keeping up with what we were being told and what we were being taught from pulpits and from lecterns and from even from professors all around the country. Think about this. I hated pop quizzes growing up. I was one of those guys if I knew there was a midterm and a final, I could prepare for that, but when it was a pop quiz, it meant that I needed to keep up. I needed to know what was happening.
See, Christianity doesn't work on a midterm and on a final, but usually it's pop quizzes that seem to show up suddenly during lots of suddenlies that begin to come from without and without warning because stuff happens and these disciples were not prepared for this storm just like many Christians who are walking in fear today. But here comes the revelation. It's in verse 26 because the revelation is this. Jesus was telling them this is not a fear issue, but it's a faith issue. It's not the thing that's the problem that's causing the fear, the waves, but it's the little faith in the midst of the waves that is beginning to affect you. Listen to this closely. Let me say this again. It wasn't big waves, but little faith that caused the fear. It wasn't big waves, but little faith that begin to put fear inside of the people that shouldn't have been fearful.
Here's a note. When you have big waves and little faith, you're going to have a fear problem, but if you have big waves and big faith, then you know God's got this for all of us, and that's where God wants to begin to come and help us. So when we're in a turbulent moment, whether it's on a plane or a boat in Matthew 8, it could even be a cruise ship that can't even find a place to dock around the world, don't bind fear. We just need to get faith increased inside of our hearts. That's what God is beginning to ask us to do.
Think of the perplexity, think of the fear that came on the faces of those disciples not knowing what's going to happen in the next few moments. I have a friend that even faced that. His fear began to bring this look upon him that he didn't know what was going to happen with his job, with ministry, with everything that was getting ready to take place in his life, and he wrote to me this and said these words. He says, "My wife and I were meeting in a meeting here right here in New York City, and I was hoping," these are his words, "that the meeting would go differently. After while my wife and I were walking to Whole Foods right in midtown Manhattan," he said, "there was fear all over us.
"And as we're walking, there was a lady begging for money, and I guess my face said it all and said a lot of the fear and I was thinking about the scary future because of what would happen to me just in the meeting, just literally minutes before, and this woman who is homeless begging for money with a cardboard sign literally looked at me and yelled, 'Fix your face. God is good.' I knew at that point I was just rebuked by a homeless woman and realized I can fix my face because God is good, and because God is good, not only should our faces be fixed, but our faith should be full that God can help us through every storm and wave that we begin to affect."
Fear is a revelation. It makes, it reminds us that are we focusing on the right thing? But here's the second thing. Fear is not from God. Second Timothy 1:7 says this: "God has not given you and me a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind." Think of that again. When fear comes, it removes those three elements that are so important that we need every single day. We need power, we need love, and we need a sound mind to walk every day, to walk through this crisis that's happening, to walk through this pandemic. I need power, I need love, and I need a sound mind. But what's interesting is when fear comes, it removes those three things. It removes power, removes love, and sound mind.
Think what's the opposite that happens because I believe fear when it infects us, it takes those three things away. Think about it. What's the opposite of power? But it would be weakness. What's the opposite of love? Listen. Not hatred. It's selfishness. That's the opposite of love. When I'm fearful, I'm weak. When I'm fearful, I'm selfish. And think about this. What's the opposite of a sound mind? But it's crazy thoughts, crazy narratives that begin to come and begin to infect us. That's the opposite of power, love, and a sound mind that we're always facing and we're always dealing with.
I had somebody a few years ago that was coming to our church that was located in a very, very dangerous area of Detroit, and as they were coming for the very first time, invited them to come, they were looking for a place to park, and because the area was dangerous where the church was, they said fear started to strike them. They saw people on the streets and places that they knew that they'd have to walk a long way, and thought to themselves this fear that was there and the fear that came over them, they literally kept their car going and took off and went back home.
And then they asked me this question. They said, "Do you think God was telling me and warning me that it was too dangerous for me to park and walk those two blocks to the church?" Think about what you just said. Was fear, was the fear and the concern that I had, was that God warning through fear, through fear that I wasn't supposed to go to church and I wasn't supposed to park there and I wasn't supposed to walk those blocks? And my words to her were this: "Fear is never the language that God communicates with." God does not communicate in fear. If fear is not of God, 2 Timothy 1:7, then why would God choose a method of communication to begin to bring warning to our life?
God will speak to us from this pulpit through Pastor Carter, Pastor Patrick, Pastor David. He will speak through wisdom of people, the elders. He will speak through the Holy Spirit. He'll speak through a sermon. He'll speak through the word of God, but listen to me close, beloved, he will never speak through fear. That is not a language of God. God begins to communicate with his people as a father begins to communicate. Fear is a good indication that what is being spoken to you is not true. In fact, many times it's the complete opposite of what God is trying to communicate and reminds us that this is not even God.
Jesus, went after the root of the issue, the root of fear was not the impossible situation needed to be fixed, but it was their faith. It was something internal, not external that God was going after. That's what Jesus always rebukes. As people were trying to, as people could try to fix waves and fix a virus, to try to fix an economy, and to try to fix Wall Street, God goes, "I want to fix your faith. I want to fix your focus on me. I want to fix what's happening in you."
Let me read just a few of these verses from a paraphrase of this passage. Listen to verse 25 of Matthew eight. "The disciples woke him up saying, 'Save us, Lord. We're going to die.' But Jesus reprimanded him. 'Why are you gripped with fear?' He says, 'Where is your faith?' Then he stood up, rebuked the storm and the sea. 'Be still,' and instantly became perfectly calm." And then listen to verse 27. "The disciples were astonished by this miracle and said to one another, 'Who is this man?'" It seemed that Jesus was trying to fix them before he fixed the sea. Jesus was trying to fix the "Who is this man" inside of them. The disciples who have traveled with Jesus, seeing the miracles of Jesus, heard Jesus, are still asking the question, "Who is this man?" Could we actually be sitting in the sanctuary singing the songs off a screen in our churches across this country and still asking the question, "Who is this man that we're singing about?" Think about that.
Because when fear strikes us, then usually we're not understanding who the person that we're actually singing about and worshiping. Who is this man and they're speaking to the man that's right in front of them. See, faith that God was going after, that Jesus was going after in this passage, faith doesn't rest simply upon promises and the words that are spoken, but rests upon the character of the one making the promises. See, big promises with low character really causes us to have no faith. If we don't know the character of the one that is speaking, then really our faith begins to get lower and lower and lower.
A promise is never better—think about this—a promise from a person is never better or worse than the character of the one who's making it. A believer's faith can never rise higher, and listen, listen to me close, a believer's faith can never rise higher than who he sees God to be. And if we're sitting here singing songs that we're going to see a victory, then the blood shall never lose its power. And if these are songs that we actually believe, that these are words we actually believe, because we believe in the character of God, then our faith begins to rise up with that. An inadequate view of God has to result in weak faith because faith depends upon the character of God, and that's why this is so important.
So listen to me close. Listen to me close. If I have a fear issue, remember, fear is a revelation, it reveals to me that I'm focusing in on the wrong thing. I'm seeing waves, that I'm not seeing the man that's in my boat, which is Jesus, and if I know fear is not from God, this is so important, if I have a fear issue, fear of flying, fear of a virus, fear of death, fear that begins to just, that I'm going to be single, fear of failure, whatever that may be. If I have a fear issue, then according to Jesus I have a faith issue. This is what Jesus is saying. "Why are you fearful, you of little faith?" He's connecting those two. Let me say this again. If I have a fear issue, then I have a faith issue.
And here it is. And if I have a faith issue, then I have a God issue. This is what's so important because my faith is connected to how great I see God, and if my belief that God is great, it not only begins to increase my faith, it begins to dissolve my fear. This, listen to me close. If I have a fear issue, Jesus says, Matthew 8, it's because I have a faith issue, and if I have a faith issue, the disciples kind of revealed what it's there for and they said it's because I don't even know who this man is that's on our boat, if I have a fear issue, I have a faith issue. If I have a faith issue, I have a God issue.
But if I see God for who He actually is, my faith begins to rise with how I see God, and then my fears begin to dissolve at the same time. As faith begins to rise, fear begins to start dissolving. See, the goal is not to fix our situation because we can't. There is no one in this place. There's not a church in America that can fix what is happening around this pandemic around the world, but we can keep our focus on God at this moment and say, "God, we trust you in the midst of this." So how great is your God? How great is your God? And that's really the question.
So let me close with this because I want to teach you. I want to teach you a new way to worship. I want to teach you a way to remind you how great God is. Because if there's fear, then there's a faith issue, and if it's a faith issue, then I've missed how great God is. And I want to remind us. I want to go all the way to the beginning that says, let me show you how great God is. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet tells us that fear was beginning to fill the land. And Isaiah the prophet, knowing that the kings, that the men that were stepping into power, that so many of them were corrupt, the people didn't know what to do, backsliding was taking place in their nation. They were being faced with even outside enemies from the Assyrians and the Babylonians coming in and the people were starting to fear.
And then in Isaiah chapter 40 he teaches us how to deal with this fear issue. Remember, if it's a fear issue, it's a faith issue, and if it's a faith issue, it is a God issue that we're not seeing God for who he is. And what Isaiah 40 does, he begins to deal with this fear issue. Let me read this to you. This is Isaiah 40:9. He says, "Lift up your voice with a shout. Lift it up." Here are the words. "And don't be afraid or fear not, Oh Israel and say to Judah," listen to this, "Here is your God." Did you see what just happened? He says, "I want you to say this loudly. For those that fear, here is your God." This is who he is. This is what he looks like, and what Isaiah does, friend, in the next 20 to 25 verses is he begins to unpack the greatness of God.
He says, "Are you afraid? Here's your God. Are you in trouble? Here's your God. You don't know what tomorrow holds? Here is your God." What he was saying is if you don't know what the future holds, what the next weeks holds for you, businessman, for you, pastor, for you, church, for whoever you are, if we don't know what happens with our job at a college university because it seems to be shutting down, I want to just give you some hope today. Here is your God.
And this is what Isaiah does. Listen to what he unpacks and we'll just do one of these and find a way to worship when fear wants to begin to control us. Listen to this. That was verse nine. Let me read just a couple verses. "See the sovereign Lord comes with power. He rules with a mighty arm. See his reward is with him and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. He gently leads those that have young," verse 12, "who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens, who is held the dust of the earth in a basket and weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in the balance." And then from verse 13 down, he goes through constantly, over and over again, how great God is, how great God is, how impressive God is. Remember what he says in verse nine. "Do not fear. Here is your God. Do not be afraid. Here is your God."
In fact, can I just show you one of those phrases or two of those phrases to show how impressive your God is and why you don't have to fear for what's ahead for us? In Isaiah 40:12, listen to these words again. "He has measured the waters in the hollow of his hands and marked off the heavens by the span of his hand." Listen to those words again, verse 12. It says, "He has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens by the span of his hand."
I want to close by giving you a reminder in worship on how impressive your God is today and why you don't have to fear. Let's just take the first one. He says, "He has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand." Okay. Listen for just a moment. Do you know two thirds of this planet that is facing this pandemic? Two thirds of this planet is covered with water. Two thirds. Some places, the water goes eight miles deep. The total volume of water on planet Earth according to scientists listen, is incalculable. Incalculable. Even if you can compute it in gallons, they say that the number is too large to even express.
So let's realize how impressive God is, and this is what it says. Listen to these words. He says your God has measured that water, you ready for this, in the hollow of his hands? Do you know what to the Jew the hollow was? It's when you put your hand like this. That little crevice in your hand is called the hollow of your hand. You know how big God is? He takes the incalculable number of water on planet Earth and your God says, "I hold it like this. I hold it here." So the next time you lift your hands up and you look and see that little hollow in your hand, you go, "I've got a big God. He holds all of this together. This is the God that I ... so the next time Greg Thomas or Ivory are leading us in worship and you lift those hands up and you open up your eyes and see those little hollows, you go, "My little hollow means nothing, but God can begin to take numbers that doesn't even exist. He can hold it all together. That's how impressive God is.
Hey, let's do one more. You ready for this? New way to worship. That means when I'm lifting those hands, I'm reminded. It says this. "And with the breadth of his hands," stay with the hands, "And with the breadth of his hands, he has marked off the universe." Okay, get ready, now. There is no instrument that can calculate the distance across our present universe. There is none. We try to send a Hubble telescope, we'll try to send all. We can't even calculate from the distance of our universe, from one end to the other. The nearest, listen to this now, the nearest star, the nearest star other than the sun is four and a half light years away. How far is that? If light travels at 186,000 miles per second, that means the nearest star, get ready for this, is 26 trillion miles away.
Get ready, now. When a Jew talks about the span of his hand, he is talking about from the top of the pinky to the tip of his thumb. That's the span of his hand. Get ready, now. He holds all the water on planet earth in the hollow. He says, but when I'm about to measure your universe that you can't even calculate, that your nearest star is 26 trillion miles away, you have a God that says, "I measure. I'm so big, I measure the universe from the tip of my pinky to the tip of my thumb," and we actually think that God is that big. I'm telling you, he is that big. He is a God that goes, "I hold it here. I've got it here." Which means that as Greg and the team come back to those instruments right now, when they lead us as we're getting ready to close in a song and you lift your hands up, you go, the span of his hand says the universe is small. The hollow of his hand says that the water of our planet can even fit into the hollow of his hand.
So when the enemy comes in like a flood, Christians, do the hollow and the span. When the enemy comes in like a flood with fear, maybe you need to do both. Maybe you need to just worship like this once in a while and realize he's got it all together. When I lift my hands and fear comes in, the span and the hollow, say what am I afraid of? God is bigger than anything thrown at me. What if someone coughs on the plane? Hollow and the span. What if someone wants to shake my hand and not do the foot kick? The hollow and the span. What if I have a fever today? The hollow and the span. Our God is greater. Our God is greater, and my word to you is if someone has flu symptoms, even if you test positive for the coronavirus, I want you to listen to me close. God is bigger than a virus. God is bigger than a pandemic.
If he's bigger than the oceans, if he's bigger than the universe, corona ... let me just tell you something. They're talking about the crown that goes on this protein and all that stuff. There is a crown that says he is the King of Kings, he is the Lord of Lords, and he is able to overcome every single one of these things.
We're going to get ready to close in worship as Greg Thomas and Ivory get ready to come. I want us to go back to this song. We're going to see a victory. We're going to see a victory, and I just want to encourage you today as we get ready to close, as we get ready to believe that no matter what happens, no matter what begins to take place, we don't know what tomorrow holds. We don't know what the next few weeks hold. We don't know what the next month holds. Some of you students are out of college. There's some students listening around the country that are out of high school, right now out of elementary school. Parents and thinking, "What am I going to do? I have a job. What am I going to do? I'm going to have kids at home. I can't even afford daycare. What am I going to do?" There's a hollow and there's a span.
God is able. Because the fear wants to come in, that fear wants to come, and we want to believe today that as we sing this last song, maybe you're at home, maybe you're sitting in your car, maybe you're outside, wherever you're at, you're watching on a phone or on a laptop or on a TV, as we sing this song, would you lift your hands and just go, "The span of the hand. You've got the universe. You've got this, God, and you've got me, God." Lord, we're going to see a victory. And maybe you're going to worship with the hollow of the hand today. Your hands are up and you're going to go, "If you have all the water on this planet, trust me, God, I know you've got me. You've got me protected here."
I want to pray for you. I want to ask God's protection upon you. I want to ask no more fear. No more fear. Fear is a revelation. It tells me that I'm focusing in on the wrong thing, so today we're going to focus on the right thing. Fear doesn't come from God. It's not a language he communicates with. And when we realize that when I have a fear issue, it's a faith issue and when I have a faith issue, it's a God issue. And Isaiah chapter 40 tells us, "Here is your God." You don't have to fear anymore. And that's just one verse. There's over 20 more verses that talk to you about how big your God is.
Would you close your eyes and bow your head just before we sing and let me pray for you? Father, I thank you that you are a father. You need to reveal that to some that are listening today. Show people the greatness of God today, the span and the hollow, that God, you have it all together. Father, I'm grateful that you're going to give our leadership wisdom, from Washington, DC to New York City and around the globe and around the country. But I'm also thankful, Lord God, that we can't do this without you. We need you, Lord.
God, if our hope is in man, we're going to have fear, but if our hope and trust is in God, then we are going to see a victory. We are going to see a victory. Our hope is in God, and we say as we sing this song, we say along with Isaiah, shout it, shout it, "Here is your God." We do what Isaiah 49 says. "Do not be afraid. Here is your God." And so, Father, today as we get ready just to sing and worship, I pray let God become bigger. As God becomes bigger, increase our faith and let the fear begin to leave us today.
Many of us have experienced discouragement and lost a passion for the vision and calling God has given us. But God wants to restore the passion and do a miracle, but He wants us to participate in it. Gary Wilkerson challenges us to be the person that will willingly stand up and say, "I'm not going to settle, I'm not going to be passionless. I'm going to ask God for more."Download MP3 Download MP4
Many of us often miss the best God has for us because of a hindrance. Because we have some sin or stronghold we refuse to deal with. While those who has flourished in accomplishing the fullness of God's purpose are the ones who have refused to allow a hindrance get in the way. Gary Wilkerson challenges us to ask this very important question today: who or what is hindering you?Download MP3
Perhaps things have or are going well in your life. Then, a "but now" threatens your stability and you feel as if you don't have enough to make it through the difficulty. Worry, anxiety and fear overwhelm your faith—your jar has become empty. Pulling from the life of the widow in 2 Kings 4, Gary Wilkerson inspires us to stir up our faith to overflowing when a "but now" interrupts life.
A sermon by Gary Wilkerson spoken at Refresh 2020 in Riverside, California.
Second session here. I want to talk about 'Bursting Limitations'.
'Bursting Limitations' or if you need a second title like I did this morning, 'Full to the Brim'. Full to the brim, bursting limitations because you're so full. So full of Jesus, so full of life, so full of encouragement, so full of faith, so full of dynamic inspiration that you're just full to the top. I want to pray for us first and ask God to bless the teaching of the word here in this second session. Father, we thank you for speaking to us this morning. Just how you cause our mat to be our message. You give us strength to stand up and walk and be healed and come into the fullness that you have for us.
Lord, we thank you that you're the God of more than enough. You're the God who's faithful always. You want to burst our limitations, our self-imposed limitations, our cultural limitations, our talent limitations, our giftedness limitations, our financial limitations, our hope, aspirations limitations, all of these things, God. You just want to burst them and fill us to the brim of new things and new hope, of new confidence. We give thanks for this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Amen. 2 Kings Chapter 4. I want to just read seven verses. In 2 Kings 4:1-7. One day, the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, "My husband who served you is dead and you know how he feared the Lord but now, a creditor has come threatening." Everybody say threatening, would you?
Threatening, all right? "But now, a creditor has come threatening to take my two sons as slaves." "What can I do to help you, Elisha," asked, tell me. "What do you have in your house?" "Nothing at all," she says, "Except the flask of olive oil." Elisha said, "Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you." It sounds like prayer there, doesn't it? "Shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars setting each one aside when it is filled." She did as she was told.
Her sons kept bringing jars to her and she filled one after another. Soon, every container was full to the brim. Everybody say full with me, okay? Full.
Full to the brim. Not half, not partially, full to the brim. How many jars were full?
Every jar. "Bring me another jar," she said to one of her sons. I like this. Her faith is starting to get increased. She's seeing some victories now. She's starting to look at her past victories and giving her confidence first and future victories. She says, "Bring me another one." That's faith. "Bring me another giant." "We just slayed one." "Bring me another giant." That's confidence in the Lord. "Bring me another jar," she said to one of her sons. Uh oh. Look at this. She has faith now for more. There aren't anymore. That's an "Uh-oh" there. "Uh-oh. Wait a minute. There aren't anymore," he told her.
Then the olive oil stopped flowing. When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, "Now, sell the olive oil and pay your debts and you and your sons can live on what's left over." I think she was thinking, "I wish I had a little more left over." On retrospect, I could have had more. I set my own limitations. My faith moved me ahead of what I had but it didn't move me as far as it could have. Faith, not threats determines your future. She says here, "My husband was one of your prophets, Elisha. He worked with you. You know him."
Some say there were 50 or so prophets with Elisha at that time in the school of prophets. He was maybe a younger prophet. He had a fairly young family. Obviously, because there's two sons who were still living at home with their mother. Not at the age of getting married and not on their own yet. Her two sons say to Elisha, "Everything's going pretty good. My husband was in the ministry. He was one of the 50." In this land that defeated the prophets of Baal, in this heritage, in this line of Elijah, the prophet and working now the great prophet, Elisha, maybe my husband might be in line to be.
We had Elijah and then you have Elisha and now maybe my husband could be one of the next great prophets of the nation. She was full of confidence. She was the type of woman I imagine when she woke up in the morning, she would be proud to be next to her husband who was a man of God. I'm sure she prayed with him. I'm sure she went and walks with him and heard some of the prophetic words that he was getting from the Lord. She'd be so pleased that this husband would father their two boys around her and...
...begin to speak prophetically into their life about who they could be and what God had for them, what God was going to do in the nation. Maybe he was designing them, arranging and believing for them to become prophets as well. She had a house. The Bible says she owned her own home. She was living there. She had a family. Obviously, she's now being afflicted by creditors. Before that, she must have had a fairly good financial stability. She was at that place where you might say she almost had a dream life. Things were going really good. Your family was healthy. Kids were serving the Lord.
She was at the church prophetic services every time they met together. Just couldn't get better, couldn't get better except there's this thing. There's these two words. You see them time and time again in the Bible. It's these two words here we read in the first verse here. It says, "But now." Anybody have a 'but now' in your life? It was going well but now. Kids were doing great but now. Marriage was amazing but now. There used to be a fire in my soul when I preached the word of God but now. I used to love to shut that door behind me in that prayer closet and just seek the Lord's face day in and day out.
Just me and the Lord were just like that but now. I'd go to the doctor and then the doctor would say, "You're just a picture of health time after time, report after report but now something's different." All of us in this room have faced these but now's. Some of you lost a spouse or a child. Some of you have faced pain and sorrow in your ministry and difficult situations far beyond your comprehension. You see, everything can be going good but then we experience this 'but now' in our life. We don't expect it but it comes. You discover things that you never imagine you would have had discovered.
Things begin to spiral out of control. Fears begin to arise. Things that you would have never imagined having to spend her nights on her bed now alone, wondering. Here's the word she comes with is these creditors come. The word used here, "But now, a creditor has come threatening to take my two sons away." She seems to believe she doesn't have enough to meet this challenge. There are threats that are affecting her life. The 'but now' always has a threat attached to it. There's some fear that's trying to arise in our heart. I just want to real briefly talk about three types of fear that these but now's.
Things are going good but now they're not going so well. Therefore, there's a threat. They're going to take my sons away. These creditors are going to take my home away. I'm going to have nothing. The first one is crisis. Let me have a cup if I could. Somebody got a glass? Thank you. She has this cup in her house. When she's faced with this crisis, she thinks to herself, "I don't have enough in my own cup, in my own anointing, in my own power, in my own prayer life, in my own faith. I don't have enough to meet this crisis. I don't have enough to meet this 'but now' head on."
You're looking at me like you're preaching to a people that never had any problems. Am I in the wrong room here? I don't know. I think this is the cup is full room. Let me preach it to your future. You've never had a 'but now' but you're going to have a 'but now'. Your but now might be 'but soon'. Okay? Listen to me. In this jar, I don't have enough resources for me to meet this threat. I wouldn't need Elisha if I had the oil in this jar that I could go sell and pay for my own debt that I owe. My sons wouldn't be but is seen as a threat. Being overwhelmed is the second threat.
I'm just overwhelmed by too much, too many things pressing in my mind. I got to do this. I got to accomplish that. My to-do list is far greater than my energy resource to be able to do this. My cup is not full enough. I don't have enough energy, resource, power, authority, anointing to accomplish all that needs to be accomplished to meet this need in my life. I am under resourced. The resources aren't sufficient to meet the need that is at hand. Number three is inability to overcome negative life patterns. What I mean by this is when threats come into your life, you have a good life. Something happens.
There's a 'but now' and then you find yourself threatened by this thing. The crisis comes into your life then there's this insecurity in us. It's called fear. You know what fear does? I don't know the reality behind this story. When she was talking to Elisha, I'm not sure what was real and what was imagined. Because I know in my life, when I have a 'but now', my mind takes over. Particularly at 3AM in the morning when I wake up and at 60, I'm waking up a whole lot more now in the middle of the night. There's more opportunities for that mid-morning, late night worry and anxiety.
For me, my fear always takes the threat and exaggerates it so far. I wonder if this woman was like, a creditor knocked on her door and said, "Hey. You owe us $50." She goes, "I don't have $50. Come back next week." She goes back to her room thinking, "He's going to take my house. He's going to take my two sons. They're going to become slaves. I'll become homeless then. I'll be on the streets by myself. Men will beat me up and abuse me on the streets and I'll die a homeless beggar, alone with two sons who are slaves."
Maybe all's that happened was somebody said, "You owe us $50." We take our 'but now' and we make it a 'BUT NOW'. Right?
Fear, anxiety, stress begins to multiply the doubts and the discouragements and the worry and the words. They become cyclical. We begin to worry about what we're worrying about or get anxious what we're anxious about. It builds. It's like a small 'but now' and then it becomes worse. We imagine how bad it's going to be. We lose faith. The jar becomes even more empty. The faith jar, the hope jar, the belief jar, the confident jar. The God can do anything jar becomes empty. We really are stuck into a 'but now' we have nothing. The answer to your threat interestingly, what Elisha's asked her is amazing.
He says to her in her lack, in her doubt, in her discouragement, "What do you have in your house? What do you already have? Do you have anything in your house?" The answer to your threat is already in your home.
It's not something you're looking for to get out there. God, if you will only get me this, if you'll only do this, then my 'but now' could become a solution, have a solution to it. God is saying through prophet Elisha and they're saying to us here in this house today. "You already have what it takes." He's already placed in you faith. It just needs to be stirred up. He's already placed in you belief to overcome this threat. It just needs to be stirred up in you. Stir up that gift of faith in you. Stir up that fire that was once in you. Stir up that passion in your heart. Stir up a confidence in God.
Stir up those things that seem to be lost. Every time that voice of 'but now', doubt, threat, fear begins to build a scenario in your life that seems to be overwhelming you, you put on the mind of Christ. You put on that confidence in the Lord. You begin to speak to yourself because there's already a voice speaking to you really loud, isn't it? That voice of the enemy is going to be speaking at you. You can't do it. You're not going to make it. The cup is empty. You're going to get your sons in slavery. You're going to become homeless.
There's another voice and that voice is saying to you, "I am the Lord, God your Maker. I go before you. I walk before you. I will keep you. You are secure in my hand. The enemy has nothing formed against you that's going to prosper. You're going to make it through this. You will not be defeated. You will not be overcome by this. You will not be overwhelmed. You might go through the fire but you're coming out of the fire.
You might go through the Jordan River but you're coming out on the other side. You might have to go into the Red Sea but you're coming out the other side of the Red Sea. You have something in your house. What do you have in your house? You have gifts. You have salvation. You have a call of God. You have a destiny. You have a word. You have a promise. You have a hope. You have a dream. These are all things you have. It may seem empty right now but they're already there. They just need to be filled. They need to be filled up once again so that you could have that. I like what she says. Tell me what do you have in your house?
Her next three words were this. "Nothing at all." When you allow a 'but now' to become a 'BUT NOW' and you're asked the question, "What do you have?" You're always going to come up with this answer. "I have nothing. I can't do it. It's impossible. No way out of this. It's hopeless. I prayed. I've cried. I've been to counseling. I've doubled up my efforts. I've done an all-night prayer meeting. I have nothing." The enemy is here and my resources are here. I have nothing at all. I like what she says next. This is where the Holy Spirit just gave her a little bit of room for the Holy Spirit to move powerfully in her life.
She said, "I have nothing at all except." You may think that's not a big word in the scripture but that's a powerful word. The word except is the most powerful word to combat your 'but now'. Because you're thinking I'm under too much threat, too much crisis, too much horror, too much pain, too much sorrow, too much suffering. I don't have anything except, I have an 'except'. If you just have an 'except' then all of a sudden, it begins to change the trajectory of your crisis. I do have this. Maybe there's a little bit of hope. I have a little bit of a prayer life left.
Every once in a while when I wake up at 3AM and I'm worried and I'm under these threats and crisis, all of a sudden, this song comes into my heart. Great is thy faithfulness, oh, God, my Father. There is no shadow of turning with him. Great is thy faithfulness. All of a sudden, that song becomes your 'except'.
Just every once in a while, you're just crying yourself to sleep and you're wondering where your kids are. If your home's going to make it, if your church is going to fall apart. You're just worried and anxious. That 'but now' is bigger than the resources you have then all of a sudden, that tear rolls over off your cheek and onto the pillow. All of a sudden, this becomes a tear of joy instead of tear of sorrow.
Just begin to say, "God, you can do this. God, you can make it through. Yeah. God, nothing's impossible for you. I believe even when it seems like I have nothing at all." You see, the Bible's full of this concept of the 'except'. Excuse me. Wow. That woke you up. The Bible is full of this concept of the 'except'. I have nothing except a mustard seed of faith.
That's not too bad. I have nothing except a desire to keep praying when I'm in the storm. I have nothing except a little bit of the revelation of the heart of God. He can help me through this. I have nothing except this little gift to speak the word of God when he calls on me to speak. I have nothing but this gift of singing. I have nothing but this gift of intercessory prayer. I have nothing but this gift of counseling and discernment. I have nothing except the reality is you don't have nothing. You have something.
You have an except and that except is the best thing about you.
I may not can do this except I can do that. I may not have this but I have that. I have faith. I have confidence. I have boldness. I have a stirring in my heart. I have a passion for Jesus. I can speak a little bit. I can share the love of Jesus with lost people a little bit. I can pray for the sick and on occasion Some of them will get healed. I got a few 'excepts' in my life. I want you to glory in the 'excepts' that God's given you.
It's the starting place of the supernatural.
If you'll get a hold of your 'except', I don't have a lot but I got a little something in the cup. Then God begins to use that to multiply. It's the mustard seed that begins to multiply in your life. God can do so much with our little but all's you need is to hold on to your 'except'. I got a little bit of 'except' in my heart. How many of you in this room today have a little bit of 'except' in your heart? I got this is going on but except I got this going on. I feel threatened about this but except I got this going on. There's a big 'but now' in my life but there's an except in my life.
This 'except' is going to set me on the course that God has for my victory, for my destiny, for my overcoming in the name of Jesus.
Amen. From her perspective, she lost her husband. Maybe her home, her sons taken, she's feeling homeless, helpless, hapless. It's an unbelief perspective. It's all what's wrong. It's rehearsing over and over again what's wrong. Oftentimes, even our prayer life starts off with, "Lord, would you please help my finances?" It's a prayer of faith. Help, Lord, we need a breakthrough miracle in our finances. Because right now, I just got that bill and it's more than my next paycheck. Maybe if in two weeks from now, I could call the creditor and ask him to do that, you know what?"
"If I could borrow from my 501ck, whatever it's called, the 401k, I could borrow some money from that. My church has a benevolence fund." Are you still praying? No. It started praying, right? Sometimes, I wonder what God's thinking up there. He's like, "Hello? [knock knock] Hello? Anybody there? Was this a conversation because it stopped? Now, it's not a conversation. Now, it's just you worrying. I'm siting here listening to you worry." God doesn't want you to offer your worries to him. He wants you to offer his faith, offer belief, offer a heart of trust towards him.
That's what I'm saying to you that faith, not threats determine your future. Your future is not determined by the threats around you. Your future is determined by your faith. If you'll put your confidence that the Lord is going to take the 'except' that you have and he's going to be doing miracles with it very soon. Number two. Faith not lack determines your favor. Faith not lack. She thought she was lacking. Excuse me. I want to cough again. Hold your ears. Excuse me. Can I have a little bit of water? Faith not lack determines your favor. You already have what you need.
The prophet says to her, "You have what you need. What do you have?" She says, "I have nothing except." What she had is a little bit of oil in a jar and a jar to fill it up with. The prophet says to her, "Okay, good." Elisha says, "Well, that jar is empty. There's not a lot. Why don't we pray over it and see if we could get it filled up." She goes, "That'd be good. That might take care of one week of the creditor's debt that I owe." Sometimes, we ask for too little. Sometimes, our faith is just enough faith. It's just enough to get me through this week.
But God is wanting something more than that for us and you see. She was looking at her lack and she was thinking that determined her favor. If she was looking at her faith, that could determine her favor instead. Does that make sense to you?
Her favor was going to come out not of her lack, it was going to come out of her faith. She could have a confidence in God. That's what Elisha tells her in Verse 3. Elisha said to her, "Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house and your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil into the flask, into the jars, setting each one aside as they were filled." I've got a couple of Elisha's sons here today. They're going to come and help me. I'm the widow. Do I look a little bit like a widow? Excuse me. All right.
Elisha, the prophet has just told me that I've got a little bit of oil here. I'm going to drink a little bit of it first then we'll pour the rest of it in the cup. Elisha, the prophet said, "Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends." Can you guys go and borrow and maybe get four or five, six jars each from the table? This will be our jar table here. These are glasses. Obviously, they're not jars. That'll be close enough. That was an exercise mat I was using this morning, not an actual bed mat. Thank you. Thank you so much. Borrow as many as you can. She takes her flask of oil. She did as she was told.
Her sons kept bringing jars to her. She filled one after another. Soon, every container was filled to the brim. Now, this is not a magic trick. This is not actually going to work. You have to use your imagination. Some of you are wondering like, "Wow. This is going to be great." That's perfect. Yeah. That's good. She's got one flask. She's got one container of oil. Now, Elisha has just started to say, "You don't just have this anymore. Now, your potential has really skyrocketed and you can take this flask of oil that you have and begin to fill each one." She takes this when she fills the first one.
Some of you are still looking like, "Is it going to fill it?" Hey. We could try it if you want. Let's see what God does. Fills that one, fills that one. This thing, it doesn't run dry. The resource never ran dry.
The place she gets the stuff to overcome the 'but now' is an unending source. It's an unending source. It never ran dry. It has enough for every 'but now'. There's nothing in your life that God doesn't have the resource to pour into and fill it up. The desires that seem empty now inside of your heart, the family that you'd hope for, the dreams that you had, the destiny that God called you to. The church that you're trying to build, the ministry that God has designed just uniquely for you, the gifts and calling in your life. Man, this just feels so empty right now. There's threats about them.
It's just not working. God's saying to you, "How many jars do you have? Fill them up. Bring different jars. Bring different jars. Bring a jar of preaching. Bring a jar of intercessory prayer. Bring a jar of working miracles. Bring a jar of starting Teen Challenge centers around the country. Bring as many as you want, as many as you can." Somebody's looking at me like, "You're going to break those glasses. Those don't belong to you. Those belong to Teen Challenge, Gary. Put those down. I support Teen Challenge and I do not want glasses broken." You're missing your miracle. Borrow as many as you can.
Prepare, believe, work as hard as you can. Not for just enough but more than enough.
Don't just work to get satisfied. Get work to get satiated. Get work to get to the cup overfloweth. My cup runs over. These jars, they represent our needs but they also represent things that God is ready to fill. Things that the Holy Spirit is about to do. And it says here, she went in and the prophet told her, "Shut the door behind you." That's that representation of prayer. Man, just pray over these things. God, you called me to touch my family. You called me to touch this city. You called me to touch this nation. You called me to set drug addicts free. You called me to preach the word of God.
You called me to intercessory prayer. You called me to pray for the sick. You called me to meet all my needs financially. You called my marriage to be strong. You called me to be a good father. There's a lot of cups to be filled in our life. There's an unending source.
She shuts the door. She seeks the face of God. All of a sudden, she starts pouring and she starts pouring. She goes, "This is brilliant. This is amazing. Look sons, it doesn't stop. Look, every jar you brought me is full. I'm so excited. Bring me another jar." But there are no other jars in the house. This is the most frustrating part of this chapter for me. Because she still had this and now she just didn't have a place to put it. She just ran out. This is her container, containers of faith, containers of hope, containers of confidence, containers that the future destiny that the expectation for. No offense to you, guys.
You have great faith. Let's put our hands together for our two sons. They did a great job. Not trying to offend you here but I might anyway. She pours the last one and then the oil ran out. It ceased to flow. The container of faith could have gotten more. Now I know you're thinking you're getting to that American hype culture where everything's about more and bigger and better. I don't mean it for self-grandeur, self-glory, selfish ambition but I do mean it for the kingdom of God.
I do mean it for your children. Your children can see more faith in your life. Your marriage could become more a shining example. The more in the sense of more love for Jesus.
More prayer life, more faith just fill all these jars. Fill them to the brim to where they can't anymore. This is the horrible word. "Bring me another jar," she said to one of her sons. "There aren't anymore," he told her then the olive oil stopped flowing. That's number three. Faith, not limitations determines your fullness. You see what I'm saying? Your faith determines how many jars you're going to bring. Maybe you're a five-jar person, a 10-jar person, a 20-jar person but what God is saying to you is there's more. He has more for you. He is a God who wants more for you.
That's why he talks about the words like abundance. The abundant life, it's the more life, more of him, more of faith, more of boldness, more of confidence, more anointing. He wants you to have that more than you want to have it yourself. What do you have in your house? I don't have anything. I don't have any anointing. I don't have any faith. I don't have any prayer life except I have a little bit. Go get more. Go gather more. Get as much as you can. Her sons kept bringing her jars. You will get filled up to the degree your faith'd up. You'll get filled up to the degree that your faith'd up.
Being faith'd up is how many jars are you going to bring to the Lord? I'm going to bring every jar that is imaginable to the Lord. Every threat that I have in my life, every sense of being overwhelmed, every battle that is on the horizon in my life. I'm going to bring to that to the Lord as a jar and say, "Lord, you're going to fill it up. You're going to fill it up with overcoming power against that thing that's threatening me. You're going to supply all the resources that I need. Hallelujah. Somebody shout amen.
All the resources that you need are available. It's an unending supply. You hear me?
Nothing, nothing at all hinders you from receiving everything that God has for you.
He is not holding back. He is not withdrawing his power, his presence.
The need that you have, the 'but now' in your life is a small thing compared to the glorious power of God. He's not going to leave you stuck in that. He's asking you this one thing. How much will you bring it to me?
How much will you let me fill it? Are you going to stop and just get worried and anxious and stressful and fearful and rehearsing the things until the fears begin to explode? Are you going to bring that cup to me? When you bring that cup to me, I'm going to fill it and it will have no limit. Could you imagine the reality of what this message is telling us? That in Christ Jesus, you have no limitations.
Jesus is bursting your limitations.
The only limitation you have is what you are willing to bring to the Lord. Because sometimes, we withhold things from the Lord. This is me. I got to worry about this. I got to work this out. I got to fix this. I got to make this better. That's just called the flesh. Jesus is saying, "Bring it to me and I'll fill it. I'll fill it to the full. I'll fill it to overflowing. You'll have more resources, more than you ever dreamed or imagined in your life. Far beyond what you think, what you dream, what you believe, what you imagine. I'm going to take it. I'm going to increase."
God is the God of increase. Bring me another jar.
I love that phrase. I want to have another jar.
Sons, how many jars are left out there? A lot. You don't have to go anywhere. It's too late now. Do you get the picture? This is what they have in the house now. What could they have?
Every one of your jars could have been up on this table. Of course, I told them not to get them all because the illustration would not have worked if they were all up here at the table. It's not your fault. This table could have been full. We could have had some up here on the stage. We could have had some on the side. The resources that we would have had and you know what's so interesting about this? There are some people that actually go get all the jars. You've seen them. I've seen them. One of them was my father.
When I looked at my father's life, he was just the guy who says, "If God said get as many jars as you can." Go out and get as many jars as you can. As we said, go out and get as many jars as you can. I'm not getting six jars, 12 jars, 20 jars, 80 jars. I'm getting every jar I could find. You're not going to have any jars left. I'm going to get them all. You can go get your own jar somewhere else but if God told me to go get jars, they're coming off your table and on my table.
You'll find your own. God will give you a supply but I'm getting all that I can.
I'm getting all that I can. It's not greedy. It's not selfish ambition. It's a godly hunger.
You can have as much of Jesus as you want. Give me all of Jesus. You got a little bit of Jesus over there. Give me that one. Get all the faith that you want. You can be a man or a woman of faith, of unbounded faith. You can have it. It's all here. Just fill it. The more things you bring to Jesus to fill, the more he fills them. It gives you abundance. This is the abundant life that he has for you. In closing, you don't have to live rehearsing these things, these threats this woman was rehearsing. When I travel, I travel around the world. Oftentimes, when I visit a new place, I'll be in Budapest next week.
A lot of places like that, I go there and the bishop or the leader will come to me and maybe pick me up from the airport. Take me to the hotel and they begin to describe their city or their ministry. Oftentimes, you probably notice this, Brother Ron as well. They tell you all the bad stuff. We have the number one drug rate in the world. We're number three in suicide. We're number five in homelessness. We're number seven in low income families that are suffering from divorce. I'm going like, "Don't tell me all that's wrong. Tell me all that God's doing."
Tell me the miracles. We're two pastors who are sitting in a car. We don't need to spend this whole next 30-minute drive to the hotel talking about all the bad things the devil's doing because we don't serve the devil. We serve the Lord.
Tell me what God is doing. The cup of homelessness is empty but God's filling it.
We just started a shelter. The cup of drug addiction is full in your city. It's getting full with the power of transformation of the glory of Jesus Christ. Some mats are becoming messages. Some lives are being transformed because that's what God wants to do. He wants to fill us so we're not living from a sense of 'but now'. We're not living from a sense of trauma, of terror of night, terror by day. We're not living by a sense of crisis in our life. We're not living by a sense of what can we do. We're not living on a sense of we don't have enough. We're not living by any of those things.
We're living by the sense, "God, we're putting our faith in you. We're going to bring every need, every 'but now', every trauma, every crisis. We're going to bring it to you. You're going to fill it. That problem is going to be solved. There's going to be an anointing." I am going to pray for you right now. Whatever your need is, whatever your fear is, whatever the 'but now' is, whatever the crisis is, I'm going to pray right now that you would not be by the power of the Holy Spirit, I demand in the faith by the Holy Spirit that you are not going to be allowed.
The Holy Spirit is not going to tolerate. You're not going to be allowed to leave here with fear and worry.
The Holy Spirit is saying, "I'm not going to tolerate. You're going to get up here and you're going to walk out those doors tomorrow. You're going to go, I'm still a little bit worried about." No, no, no, no, you're not. You don't live by your 'but now'. you live by that full cup.
You live by that full cup. He has a full cup for you, church. He has an abounding, overflowing, overwhelming, unending resource from heaven. A supply that never, ever, ever stops. Offer that to the Lord. Say, "God, I give you all my cares. I cast all my cares upon you."
Father, I bring my cup to you and I ask you to fill it up now.
Father, not just an external cup of ministry or family but my own cup. The cup of my own heart, God. I'm asking you to fill me with faith, with grace, with power, with an anointing, with a clarity, with vision, with discernment. God, I'm asking you to give Holy Spirit power when we're faced with confronting issues that just are so difficult. We feel like all's we can do is worry about them but we believe we've heard from the Holy Spirit prophetically now. That you are requiring from heaven and wherever you present a requirement, you always accompany it with a power to accomplish it.
You're requiring us to leave here casting all our cares on you, all of our anxieties, all of our vain imagination that says things are going to get worse. My health is going downhill. The church is falling apart. The elders aren't going to do this. My prayer life is fading. All those worries that we have, we offer them up to you now as a cup, as a jar. We say fill it now, Jesus. Fill it right now, Jesus. Fill it, fill it. Leave me with no but now's. Leave me with no but now's. God, you're preparing something. You're preparing something, a fresh wind, a fresh fire, a new faith.
You're preparing in us in these two days, preparing in us a new confidence to go out of here as Christians who truly believe in the word of God and the God of the word. Hallelujah. We thank you, Jesus that you're faithful. God, you're faithful. Hallelujah. Lord, we just take a moment to offer all of our cares, all of our anxieties. We place them on you. Church, here's the good news. Look at me just for a moment here. Here's the good news. God is not just an absorber of the negative. Sometimes, that's how we see him. Lord, I got all these problems. Please, take them. Good, you took my problems. Now, I feel better.
He's not just the absorber of the negative. He's the giver of the more. Sometimes, we're satisfied with take away my worry, my fear, my anxiety, my stress. God's saying, "You're not asking enough." That's just the beginning. That's just step one. I want to take away your fear, your worry, your anxiety, your thoughts of the future. I want to take that away. Not just so you have an absence of fear but that you have the presence of power. That you have the presence of faith, that you have the presence of boldness. You're moving out of something so that you could come into something.
It's not enough to come out of something. He wants to bring you. Come out of Egypt but he wants to get you into the promised land. That's the cups that's getting filled. You take two minutes right now. Just cry out, "Jesus, fill my cup." Cry out to him. Fill my cup now, Jesus. Pour out your Spirit. This is the pouring out of your Spirit, God. I ask you to fill it now in Jesus' name. Every problem turns into power. Every conflict now turns into confidence. Every enemy formed against me shall not prosper but we're going to see the hand of the Lord. We're going to see the might of the Lord.
I thank you, Jesus for seeing it. I see it in faith. I believe it. My worries, my fears are just flying out the door. In its place comes godly confidence, godly faith, godly boldness. In Jesus' name, we believe. Let's put our hands together. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Bless you, Lord.
David Wilkerson (1931-2011)
Although it may seem impossible to come back from certain marital hurts, God can heal what is broken but it will require intentional work. In this honest and transparent teaching, David Wilkerson speaks to those marriages needing a special touch from God and shares five steps on how to bring healing to your home.
David Wilkerson: Every head bowed please. I speak to you tonight on the subject The Healing of The Home. Heavenly Father, never have we lived at a time like this, the ends of the world coming apart. We begin to rejoice as we look up and see our dear redemption drawing nigh. Lord, our homes are falling apart, millions being divorced. Millions of children living in broken homes. Never has this message has been so desperately needed. Oh God, give me the courage, the anointing, and the unction of heaven. Speak loud and clear to our hearts, that no one leave this building tonight without being met solidly straight on by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I pray in Christ's name, amen. The Healing of The Home. I'll never forget as long as I live a visit in our home by a well-known country western singer. In fact, she has two songs in the top 20 right now. And this young lady's a beautiful young Christian, but prior to her conversion, she'd been divorced two times. Since coming to Christ, she'd found a very fine young man who was anticipating getting married.
David Wilkerson: I think she may have been a little apprehensive about it, and I'll never forget what she said to my wife and I sitting in our living room. She said, "The thing that bothers me, of all my acquaintances, I don't know of one happy marriage. I don't know anyone who's happily married." And that shocked me because she attended a "Full Gospel" church. An evangelical Full Gospel Church and her Pastor happened to be a friend of mine. Over 300 members, I was told, in the church. I said, "Well, what about the deacons? Surely you've got some well-adjusted happily married deacons in your church." She said, "I can't think of one." She said, "They almost all have been divorced at least once." She said, "One family's been divorced five times. One Deacon." I said, "What about the pastor? Surely your Pastor has the example for you." She said, "Haven't you heard? They've separated and filed for divorce." And since that time, that Pastor has been divorced. I said, "Would you please then meet your first happily married couple?"
David Wilkerson: She said, "Well, Mr. Wilkerson, you're not like the rest of us. You live in a different world. We're out there in the front lines of this world, and it's life and making a living and you don't face the same pressures." And I made a confession to her that I'm about to make this evening later on in this service why or how my wife and I just about did not make it. What I speak to you tonight about has been very well tested, I'm just not talking theory. My wife and I have been through it, and I want to share it with you tonight before the service is over. I remember being in Chicago number of years ago for one of these all-night talk shows. Five or six guests. H. L. Hunt was one of them, this is before he died. I was one of I think five guests. It was an NBC show, if I recall, and one of the guests was a well-known comedian who had been divorced 10 times.
David Wilkerson: He was getting married for the 11th time, and his bride-to-be was waiting in the little greenroom listening on the monitor. It started about 11 o'clock, it would last till 4:30 in the morning. For the first two hours of that all-night talk show, I listened to the worst filth and garbage I've ever heard in my life. I listened as a comedian mocked his 10 former marriages. And what he was saying, "Well, I've tried it 10 times, and it didn't work. I'm going to try it again. I got another girl on the line. If it doesn't work, there's a million more where she came from." Or words to that effect. And I thought to myself, "That poor girl sitting in the back room listening to that, she probably loves him. And even though she's the 11th, one she thinks she can make it work." I've never felt so sorry for anyone is I did for that young lady listening to that man put her on the spot.
David Wilkerson: For two hours, the host to this show and everybody but Mr. H. L. hunt ... Mr. Hunt said he didn't like it. In fact, he left early. For two hours I sat there with a stone face with my hands folded listening to this garbage. Finally, the host of the show looked at me with a frown on his face. He said, "Mr. Wilkerson, you don't seem to be in with this. What do you think of what's been said here?" He shouldn't have said that. I'd been sitting there two hours waiting my time. I pointed a finger at the face of that poor comedian who had been divorced 10 times and laughed and mocked about it. Mocking the institution of marriage. And I point a finger right in his face. I said, "I think I have just met the saddest loneliest man in the world. That man puts on a big front, and he laughs and he jokes." But I said, "I think he cries himself to sleep. And I have nothing but sorrow and pity for you, sir." And it was like dropping a bomb. I mean, they changed the subject.
David Wilkerson: The comedian tried to laugh it off, and they started talking about world affairs and politics. Not another word about marriage or divorce. 4:35 or so, I was outside of the NBC studio waiting for a cab to go back to the hotel room. And here comes the comedian and his wife-to-be, and I thought he was ready to rip me off. He came up beside me, said, "Mr. Wilkerson, please don't take a cab. Let us take you back to the hotel. Please, we've got to talk to you desperately." I followed that man around the corner and got in his car in the parking lot, and I saw that comedian, a well-known comedian, who still travels around the country today. I saw him bow his head over the steering wheel and cry like a baby. He said, "Sir, you're the first man that's had the courage to put me on the spot." He said, "Boy, did you hit the nail on the head. Sir, you have met the loneliest, saddest man in the world." He said, "I do cry myself to sleep."
David Wilkerson: He said, "I haven't been fair with this young lady. She loves me, and I've made a fool out of her tonight and I'm so sorry." He said, "I have an itch in me that can't be scratched. There's a loneliness in me, and I go from one woman to another trying to satisfy that empty feeling inside of me. When she can't touch that spot in me, I go to somebody else. It's not their fault." He said, "10 women couldn't be wrong. It's me. Would you please mind praying for me?", Would I mind praying for him? I had been itching to do that the whole night. Boy, I prayed up a storm. Got ahold of God for him. Now, he didn't get saved, but I know I gave him some good advice. I don't know what's happened to that man since, I've lost touch with him. But when I went up to my room, going up the elevator I thought, "Oh, God, there it is. The big front, and that phony smile of all the loneliness inside."
David Wilkerson: I'm going to talk very plainly tonight about marriage and divorce. Now, I've never done that in 18 years of preaching to young people. I've always thought my call was to young people. But friends, something's happening in America that alarms me. Something is happening to the American home. For that matter, homes all across the world. Not just the sinner's home, but the Christian's home. And it's an alarming thing that's happening. There was a song a few years ago, country western song and they spelled out the title D-I-V-O-R-C-E. They spelled it out, divorce, so the kids couldn't understand it. But friends, you can't hide from the little children today the dissension we have in many of our homes. You can't hide it when things begin to go wrong. Even in a Christian home. I was visiting, for example, in a home and the parents, the husband and wife, evidently thought I had left and they started a royal argument in the kitchen. And finally, they almost came to blows.
David Wilkerson: This husband came at his wife, and a little boy who couldn't have been more than two years old had just learned to walk. He couldn't talk. That little boy ... And I was watching from the corner. That little boy went up to his dad and grabbed his leg and his trousers, and started biting and screaming and kicking trying to beat his dad up. He knew something wrong, he sensed it. I'm not saying that all children of divorced homes or broken homes turn out bad. But think of it now. Newsweek projecting 1 million new divorces this year, 10 million more American kids living in broken homes. And oh, the tragedy. Now, friends believe me, divorces caused more kids to go to sex and drugs and alcohol than all the pushers in the world combined. I'll repeat that in case you didn't hear it. Divorce has caused more young people, primarily teenagers, to run off to drugs and sex and alcohol, than all the drug pushers, and bad kids, and influences combined. A mother called me recently to talk to her 13 year old daughter who'd just been released from a mental institution.
David Wilkerson: She said, "Mr. Wilkerson, the psychiatrist can't find anything wrong with her. She sits like a vegetable, just with her hands folded looking out into space. She won't answer questions, you have to feed her." And I got the story of a very well adjusted 13 year old teenager, who loved her dad so much. That girl outgoing and full of fun and by basis suddenly overnight, turns into a vegetable. Goes for six months into a mental institutions, is released. They can't put their finger on any physical or emotional reason why it should happen. And I said, "Mother, I can't get through to her." She was just like an animal. I said, "There's got to be some reason why this was triggered. A girl just does not call into a shell like that." She said "Mr. Wilkerson, the only explanation I can give you is that this happened the week my husband ran off with another woman. And this girl idolized her dad." And friends, there's a girl right now down in Denton, Texas who has just been released from the Terrell mental institution that I can't touch.
David Wilkerson: And while I'm talking to you, she's sitting looking out the window staring into space like a vegetable, and nobody can touch her. It makes my blood boil because one day that Dad's going to stand before Almighty God an answer, not only for his own sins, but going to answer for messing up the life of a 13 year old girl who so idolized her dad. She's in a shell and nothing can bring her out now. And friends, that happens now all over the country. Now, I know some of you as Christians sit here right now abhorring the word "divorce." You say, "I even hate to sit in a service and listen to a man preach about it." Because you've been programmed against the word itself. You say, "I would never allow it. Now, my husband I may not have a perfect marriage. But even if we did split up, I'd never allow a divorce. I don't believe in it. My Church teaches against it. I am against divorce." But sadly, friends, this is dropping like a bomb and surprising many, many Christian homes.
David Wilkerson: Almost daily now Christians come home and the good wife says, "Honey, have you heard the latest news? Guess who's getting a divorce?" And it's usually somebody you never could imagine it happening to. Someone you thought so well adjusted, a minister and his wife. I picked up Time Magazine a few weeks ago and there was a little article. It was amusing, yet it was sad. It said, "Joseph Alioto, Mayor of San Francisco, divorce action sought by his wife, Angelina, after 33 years of married on grounds of irreconcilable differences." Now, here's the catcher of it. At first I laughed, and then I wanted to cry. It said the divorce action evidently took Mayor Alioto by surprise, because he had just left his driveway and a half an hour later after waving goodbye and kissing his wife Goodbye, walked into his office and his wife's lawyer was waiting and handed him the divorce papers. Now, get the picture if you will. His wife knew all the time that her lawyer was in the office waiting for him to serve divorce papers. She kisses him goodbye and waves him off to work, "Bye dear, see you for supper."
David Wilkerson: Bam. Divorce by surprise. Well friends, that's exactly what's happening now. People say, "It could never ever happened in my home." And yet it is happening. Happening all over the world. Some of you sitting here tonight may be a part of that statistic. Follow me, if you will, please. I believe the Church of Jesus Christ must take a new look at the divorce problem. First of all, let me tell you tonight if you've been divorced, I'm not about to put you down here tonight. There's been enough of that in the church. There are some people who've been victims of divorce. Jesus made exceptions to this problem. For example, in the case of adultery. Also I have found from practically experience after being on the streets for 18 years and working with some of the most troubled cases in the world. A woman who suddenly discovers she's married to a homosexual is in a hopeless situation, unless that man turns to Christ for a cure. Now, friends for the past 10 years, we've supported a home for homosexuals in New York. Upstate New York, we have an estate.
David Wilkerson: We have a young man there and a beautiful wife who's been delivered from homosexuality. This past month, we baptized seven homosexuals who have been delivered and set free. I know it, their testimony rings clear. There's a witness of the Holy Spirit. Friends, I believe Jesus Christ cures, and saves, and sanctifies homosexuals who are desperate for a cure. There is nothing in the Bible that can prove to me otherwise. Paul, the apostle said, "Some of you were feminine or homosexual, you've been justified and set free." But if a man does not turn to Christ for healing, that marriage is absolutely hopeless. There is no hope. It must inevitably, eventually, end in divorce. There's a Scripture also that suggests that if a man departs from the home and he runs away, don't let him depart. Now, some of you who are here tonight as victims of divorce. You could not help what happened. Probably 10% of the divorces in the world today are cases just like the exception to the general rule.
David Wilkerson: I'm not about to put you down because the Church of Jesus Christ has done a pretty good job of making second class Christians out of many victims of divorce. We treat them like they have leprosy in the church. We have special classes for them called mates without partners, or parents without partners. We don't allow them to have activities in the church, we want to keep our kids away from the lest they contaminate them. But friends, I think it's wrong. There are people sitting here right now listening to me preach who have tears in their eyes, I'm sure enough, hurt deep in their heart for the way they've been treated. Even though they know before God they've been victimized by a terrible situation in their home, and yet they have been put down and put down and trampled pulled on. And I say it's time we stopped that foolishness in the house of God. But friends, at the same time, something is happening that is absolutely frightening. You see, there are only two restraining forces left against pandemic divorce rate.
David Wilkerson: And that was the fact that society did not really accept it, still frowned on it. And the church preached against it as being immoral. And now friends, those last two restraining forces are being removed. Society now accepts it. It's no more sinful in many circles to get a divorce when they split across the street. Think of it. Do you know that New York City this past month, there were more applications ... listen to it. More applications for divorce than there were applications for marriages. Think of it. For the first time in the history of New York City, more people filing for divorce than filing for marriage licenses. Frightening. Absolutely frightening. Now, I say that we have to face it head-on, and I have never in my life preached on this subject. Never. But I've been forced to because of what is happening to the kids I work with, because over 95% of all the kids who eventually wind up with us in the Teen Challenge centers, at least where I've been working, always look back to a broken situation in their home. Always goes back.
David Wilkerson: I've made the full circle, and I'm right back there. And God's beginning to say to me, "David, if you really want to help the kids, get back to talk in some sense to their parents." Yes, we have pandemic divorce rate. We've got situation ethics and people trying to condone it and say it's all right. I had a young Assembly of God minister stop me not too long ago after a crusade, want to walk me back to my motel room. He said, "David, I've got to talk to you. I've just graduated from seminary." And he said, "I'm Pentecostal." But he said, "I work with high school and college students." And he said, "Something's wrong. We have got to come up with an alternative to marriage." And I was so shocked. I said, "Explain what you mean." He said, "Well, Mr. Wilkinson, the kids I work with see their parents go to the altar and go through the formality of saying, 'Till death do us part.' And they go right out and get a divorce.
David Wilkerson: They see them stand there and spend thousands of dollars and stand there in their beautiful gowns, and then wind up in disaster. And they say, 'Marriage isn't working.' They want to live together just to prove that they love one another." And he said, "Perhaps we should come up with some kind of a spousal ceremony, so we could take the guilt problem out." And I said, "How many young ministers are thinking like you?" He said, "Almost every one of my friends my age thinking the same thing, that's marriage is not working. We've got to come up with an alternative for them." It shocks me friends. If that's the attitude, what happens five years down the line when they start taking their place in our pulpits and pastoring our churches? Now friends, I tell you that God has not changed His mind about the divorce problem. For the Lord God says He hates divorce, Malachi 2:15, "For the Lord God says He hates divorce. Guard your affections, let there be no divorcing of your wives. Let there be no divorcing of your wives."
David Wilkerson: If you want to see that very clear, get the Living Bible and see how very clearly it's made. "For the Lord God says He hates divorce." God has not changed His mind. I don't care how many church denominations change their stand. I don't care what anybody else tells you in the way of being a Christian psychologist. The Bible says God still hates divorce. "Let there be no divorcing of your wives. Guard your affections. Let there be no divorcing." Now, I've heard all the excuses why a divorce is inevitable, why people are headed for divorce court. You've heard them too, haven't you? It goes something like this, "Well, Mr. Wilkerson, we just don't talk anymore. We've outgrown each other. We're in two different worlds. We don't communicate." Oh, the excuses that I hear all over the country today, and those judges would sit there and listen to all of it. And it's, "Well, she's gotten fat. He's got a potbelly, he doesn't take care of himself. He's always put me down in front of people. He doesn't love me, and we've fallen out of love."
David Wilkerson: I've heard them all, but you know the number one excuse that you hear? Here it comes. Are you ready for it? "Nobody understands me anymore." And everybody and his brother running around looking for some understanding. If they don't get it from their mate, by golly, they're going to go out and get it somewhere. "I want to be understood." I had pastor of a well known large Pentecostal church ask for an appointment. He said, "Brother Dave, I heard you preach." But he said, "I can't help it. My wife and I are headed for divorce court." I said, "Why?" He said, "Frankly, I've outgrown her. I've been fasting, and praying, and seeking God, and I'll tell you brother Dave, God has shown me revelation and my wife is so materialistic. All she wants to talk about the drapes, and the car, and the kids. I've outgrown her. We don't communicate anymore. If she'd been a little more spiritual, she'd understand my problems in the ministry, but we're not communicating."
David Wilkerson: I said, "Oh, come off it, Pastor. I've learned something and I'm going to tell you what it is right here and now. I've always learned there's a third party involved." And he didn't like that at all. He said, "No. No. No. No. Well, there is a lady in the church that I've learned to talk to, but that's all." I said, "Oh, come off it. Come off it, sir." Now listen to me, friends, I'm going to preach like you've never heard any preacher preach in your life from this pulpit. I don't care if it's my last invitation to this camp, God told me to preach it and I want you to listen. Right here and now, you leave to normal people alone who have problems and they're really in love, and they could work on any problem in the world. But you introduce a third party, then there's no hope. There is no hope whatsoever. You tell me you're not understood. You tell me you're not getting along. You tell me he's always putting you down. I tell you there's a third party involved.
David Wilkerson: Now, you would be surprised and shocked at how the Holy Ghost must be grieved at the kind of flirtatiousness happening in the Church of Jesus Christ. And beginning mainly in our church choirs when there are idle moments after practice, and if there is not a spiritual choir leader, and if the pastor is not there to see that things are done right. I have seen all kinds of hell happening. Breaking out through flirtatiousness in the Church of Jesus Christ. Our little social clubs now. And we are beginning to breed inside of our churches, some of these little platonic relationships, especially when there's an unsafe husband sitting at home watching TV. Now friends, I think it's time that every minister, every man, every woman of God, takes a good hard Look at his or her life right now and say, "God, is there any kind of a thing happening in my life that could eventually drive a wedge into my home and my marriage?" How many people are going to stand before God and find out that this is one sin that you do not get away with.
David Wilkerson: My Bible said, "Be sure your sin will find you out." And sir, ma'am if you've gotten away with it this far, watch out. You're on a powder keg, this is one sin that God always exposes. It has never once in the history of the world dawn unexposed. Never. And if you do not take it to the cross of Jesus, if you do not forsake it and get it under the blood and run from the for your life, you are headed ... my brother and my sister, you are headed for exposure. And then your whole life comes tumbling down. The Bible says, "Why be led away into incredible folly? Why embrace that which is not truly yours?" My brother and sister it's time you and I looked ourselves right in the mirror. And I feel the Holy Ghost right now pulling off and covering off the leads of some of us who think we've got some little secret thing down there. Nobody knows about it.
David Wilkerson: But my brother and sister, right now the Holy Ghost says to those few that are here right now. "Get it out. Pluck it out by the roots now before you lose your home, your children, everything. Get it out." I'm not playing games, man. I'm on a life and death mission across the United States and God warned me to say it and say it loud and clear. You be careful. My brother, my sister, be very, very careful. The devil is out to destroy every godly home in the world. The pressures are mounting. And oh my minister brother, my minister sister, walk softly, reverently before God and say, "God, guard my steps. Don't let it touch my life." Plead the blood. Now, it's not always a secret affair. That third party can be another person. It could be an in law, like a mother-in-law. Now, don't wink at me like that. I had a beautiful Black couple come to see me for counseling recently, and they had three lovely little children.
David Wilkerson: The man said, "Brother Dave, in spite of your message tonight, we're headed for divorce." I said, "Why?" He said, "My wife hates my mother, calls her a witch." I turned to her and I said, "Is that right?" She said, "She is a witch. Every time something goes wrong, he runs off to his mother. He spends more time with his mother than he does with me." And I said, "Isn't it a shame that you people are going to allow your home to be broken up over a third party?" And I turned to him and said, "Do you love her?" He said, "Yes, I do." I said to her, "Did you love him?" She said, "Certainly.", "And yet you're allowing a third party to destroy your marriage?" And I got so indignant. I laid hands on them and started praying. I said, "God, break that."
David Wilkerson: And suddenly a smile broke out in her face and she shook her head a bit. She said, "Mr. Wilkerson, something's happened." She said, "I may never be able to love her like a should, but at least I don't hate her anymore. I can put up with her." He turned to her. He said, "Honey, that's good enough for me." He walked out and he looked at me. He said, "Dave, we're going to make it. We're going to make it." Why some of you men spend more time with your buddies on the job than you do your wife. You never take your wife out once. You say, "Oh, I love her cooking." Folly, you're a cheapskate. That's all. You may laugh about that, but you know there are many wives that are saying, "Amen." To me right now. Just think. This buddy asked me to go fishing, and he'd go a whole week and stick a little thing in the water there without a nibble for a whole week and come over and say he enjoyed himself, and his wife can't even get to go out shopping with him.
David Wilkerson: This is plain old peanut butter preaching, but that's what God told me to preach. Now friends, it's not only a person. It can be a job, it can be a disease. I'm going to give a testimony at the end of this message on how a disease became the third party that almost wrecked our marriage. It can be sickness that changes the lifestyle. It can be the loss of a job, financial pressures. Recently, 15 couples that came to me for counseling, seven of those 15 just a few weeks ago were headed for divorce court because the husband had lost his job and the financial pressures could not be coped with. It caused such tension in the home, they said they just couldn't possibly make it. That's the third party that I'm talking about. But friends, I can tell you something far worse than divorce. Some of you people sitting here now abhored by the word "divorce", you would never even think of it. But you're guilty of something far worse as far as I'm concerned, as far as God's Word is concerned, and I call it divorce by default.
David Wilkerson: Those are two people who live together, claiming to be married ... and at the sight of God and the law, they are. But in all practical purposes in the sight of God, they're divorced. Because though they live together under the same roof and are legally bound together, in the sight of God they're strangers and they're divorced by default. They live together as a lie, an abomination unto the Lord. They fight, and they bicker, and they hate, and they cheat. And yet they say, "I would never get divorced." A lot of Christians like that that I know all across the country would never think of allowing a divorce in their home, and yet there's no love in their home. There is no peace. There is no quiet, there is no joy. And if you could just look on a woman and commit adultery in your heart, you can be a stranger in your home and be and be divorced. In your mind. The same practical way.
David Wilkerson: I think kids in high school or college who just go out live together without a marriage license are far more honest, than Christians who live together without love and understanding and the peace of God. They're more honest. There a lot of you people sitting here right now that need this more you need a psychiatrist or anything else, you need to hear it right now. Mm-hmm (affirmative). You say, "Well, brother Dave, certainly, if you're going to preach like this, you've got to have some plan from God, some message from God in how I can avoid living a lie. How I can bring healing to my home." I do. And I didn't get it out of a book, I got it on my knees and out of the Word of God. Five simple little steps God gave me on how to bring healing to your home and to avoid divorce court. Are you ready? So simple, you probably missed it. But I've got Bible to back it up. I'm not a psychiatrist, and I'm not about to play one either. But I've got some plain old plain English right out of the Word of God.
David Wilkerson: Are you ready? Step number one, turn down the volume at your house. The Bible said a soft answer turneth away wrath. A soft answer turneth away wrath. The Bible said anger causes mistakes. And look what's happening, our homes like Madison Square Garden Fight Night. Oh we've got people to go to church carrying those big Bibles that look like suitcases, go around waving to Jesus, "Hi." Teaching Sunday school. And I'll tell you, they've bicker and fight all the way to church, and get in their car, and jab, and yell, and scream at each other in front of the kids. But as soon as they step out of the car in front of the pastor, they hold hands and put on that big Colgate smile. They go in there and sing Oh, How I Love Jesus, and talk in tongues. Talk about being filled with the Holy Ghost. Put their money in the offering. Get in a car, and roll up the windows, and bam. Bam. Bam. Go home and gossip about the preacher. I know some people tongue's big enough to lick their way three times around the Statue of Liberty without stopping.
David Wilkerson: And they wonder why their kids grow up to have disrespect for the house of God. Come on. A soft answer turneth away wrath. But sadly, too many mothers think that loudness is a badge of authority. In other words, the louder you get, the more power you have. That's foolishness. The Bible said a soft answer turneth away wrath. And you know why mothers say, "Well, I yell at my kids all day and they never listen. Dad comes home, snaps his finger, and off they go." You know why? Let me give you a case in point. "Now Johnny, you do that one more time, and so help me, you're going to get it." And he knows. Johnny knows her bark's worse than her bite. She's just making wind with her mouth, and he knows. So he does it again. "One more time." So he does it again. "I'll tell your dad." At the 99th time, he's still doing it, "One more time." Mama says, "One more time." And dad comes home and mom tells him all about it.
David Wilkerson: And dad looks at that little boy right in the eye and say, "Now son, I'm going to count to 10 and you better move." He gets the tune and that boy is gone. Why? Because she knows he going to do just like my dad. My dad had no better sense than to raise me by the belt and by the Book. My dad taught me two Scriptures before I could quote anything else, two Scriptures. I had to memorize. "Spare the rod and damn the child." And another Scripture, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of the child and the rod of correction will drive it far from him." And when I did wrong, my dad would take me in the room, he called it a personnel meeting. He always waited till the next day when I thought I'd gotten away with it. And then he sent me down his room. He said, "Now David, you know you did wrong, don't you?" And I'd say, "No, sir." He said, "Well, I'm going to show you what you did wrong." And then he'd get his Bible out and show me that.
David Wilkerson: He said, "Now David ..." and my dad had a great big leather strap, they used to strap razors with. Great big four inch strap, about a foot and a half long. He'd hang it on a nine Penny nail going down the basement, and that was his badge of authority. My dad never talked much, he just had that leather strap. And boy, he'd say, "Now David, here's what the Bible says. Here, see it. Read it for yourself if you want to. Foolish This is bound in your heart and this rod in my hand is going drive it far from you." Then he'd make me kneel over the bed and it went something like this, he'd come down across my backside, "Now David." Bam. "This hurts me worse than it hurts you." And I could never understand it. The worst part of all was next, he'd made me get up and hug him. Then made me get down and pray, "God forgive me." And then we go out and play ball. Now listen friends, if you just spank your kids, that's child beating.
David Wilkerson: But if you show them from the Word of God what the Bible says about foolishness bound in the heart of the child of the rod of correction, and you spank that out ... and don't spank them, anywhere except where they're well padded. That's right. None of this business across the face or the head, you can injure a child. God especially prepared the child right on the upholstery. I'm not trying to be facetious friends, I'm trying to give you something practical from God. Now you spank that child, then take that child in your hand love out the hurt. That's Bible. That's how to raise your kids the Bible way. You know what you to do with Dr. Spock's book? Put a handle on it and use it. He sent more kids to hell than anybody I know. We've got some friends of ours that we don't even allow in our house anymore. They're raising their kids by the book, all kinds of books. And I'll tell you, they've got three little white tornadoes.
David Wilkerson: They come in the house, and they look one way and the other, and boy, down comes everything off the coffee table and then down comes up pots and pans. I want to spank those, that dad and mom. If you say something to that mom, she says, "Oh no." She said, "I don't want to hurt their expression patterns. They're developing their expression patterns." I thought to myself, "Boy, if they can't handle the expressive patterns at six years of age, how are they going to handle at 16 when they're really expressing themselves?" A lot of dads and mothers need the spanking. That's right. Turn down the volume at your house. Oh, the arguing and the bickering. I've had drug addicts come here and say, "Don't ever raise your voice at me again, sir. I've had all that my life, I don't want it anymore." All the screaming, and the yelling, and the bickering in some of our homes. Turn down the volume. The Bible said a soft answer turns away wrath.
David Wilkerson: All right, step number two ... And I'm going to give you something from the Word of God that could save 95% of all the marriages in America and around the world. It's so simple. I call it the sorry secret. Learn the sorry secret. There was a movie out called Love Story and Time Magazine in a review said that the essence of that movie is love is never having to say, "I'm sorry." Well, friends, that's a lie from the pit of hell. Love is learning how to say, "I'm sorry." Someone asked Jesus, said, "How many times do I forgive the person who wrongs me? Seven times?" Jesus said, "No, 70 times seven." Now, that's 499 times in one day, and that's only the beginning. And furthermore, it says if someone wrongs you, you go to them and you'll be the one that says, "I'm sorry." Now friends, here's a secret that must be learned by every husband and wife in America within the sound of my voice right now. If you master this secret, you will never ever wind up in divorce court. Never.
David Wilkerson: Learn how to say, "I'm sorry." And be first, and do it often. Oh, but you know how it goes. Come on now. I'm going to give you some red hot truth, "Me? Say I'm sorry? I always have to say I'm sorry. He's never wrong. He's always right, and I always have to take the blame. This time, oh no. Not this time. Well, I've had it with him. I'm telling you if I give in this time, there's no hope. I'm always having to give in. He runs off and gets mad. Now I have to go and say, "Honey, I'm sorry." Oh, no friends. That's not the way. That's not the way. My Bible says even if you're the one who's been hurt, you're the innocent party, you take the step. And I've had married couples say that doesn't make sense. I'm not saying it makes sense, I'm telling you that's what Jesus said. Jesus said, "You go, and you say, "I'm sorry." Not like the lady said to her husband ... This is supposed to be true from what I hear.
David Wilkerson: She heard me preach like this. She went home, she said, "Well, I know I'm right, but brother Dave said to say I'm sorry. So, I'm sorry. So there." Well, now that's not saying, "I'm sorry." From the heart. The Bible said never go to sleep on your wrath. Never go to bed angry. Well, how many homes there are right now ... How many people are sitting here right now saying, "Brother Dave, I've been deeply hurt." Yes, you have. But if you want your marriage to work, you're going to work at it. There is no well adjusted happy marriage that just happens. This crazy king and a queen living in a castle syndrome has ruined so many of us. You're not a king. She's not a queen. You're not living in a castle. It's an everyday hard full-time job you work at. Boy, my wife and I have learned that. We're always ... she comes and, "I'm first.", "No, I'm first honey. I'm the one that's sorry, we're both sorry." We never go to sleep on our anger, it's been so beautiful. Learn that now. Learn to say, "I'm sorry." First and as often as necessary.
David Wilkerson: Step number three, quit your jealousy. The Bible said jealousy is more cruel than anger. That suggests to me that it's better to slap your mate across the face and send them reeling across the room in anger than to be jealous over them. Because the Bible said jealousy is more cruel than anger. It's more cruel. How many marriages have had this cancer destroy? Oh, listen, if there's jealousy in your heart towards your husband or your wife, pray for a miracle. Say, "God Deliver me." This is a cancer that must be plucked up. It'll destroy your marriage. The Bible says so. More cruel. That's a cruel thing. You're absolutely cruel against your mate if you have jealousy. You say, "I've reason to be jealous." Take it to God. Pray for a miracle. "Oh God, once and for all, take this spirit of jealousy from me. Pluck it out by the root and bring peace and trust in my heart." Number four, quit being so cranky. I'm going to give you a Scripture you never thought was in your Bible right out of Proverbs. "The constant dripping on a rainy day and a cranky woman are just alike."
David Wilkerson: All you men smile and you're the one who made her cranky. The Bible say, "You can no more stop the complaints than you can stop the wind." Crankiness. Now, wait just a minute. You know I'm telling the truth. Your wife, if you would get up in the morning, no matter how you feel, you're the one who starts the day. If you could get up and pray that God give you that grace, just a little bit of sweetness, that's all. Just a little bit of tenderness. Now, my Bible says, "Be ye tenderhearted one to another." And that's the word that's missing today in our marriages, tenderness. Tenderness. My wife and I have been working on a case. In fact, we just quit this case recently. A pastor about four months ago called us, pastor of a rather large church. He said, "Brother Dave, I don't know what I'm going to do. My wife ran off, went back to her mother. She's been gone two weeks and I'm about to lose my mind. I'm afraid I'm going to have to leave the ministry. I don't understand for the life of me why my wife left me."
David Wilkerson: And he said, "The thing that bothers, I me understand that she's swinging a little bit. She's taking karate and jujitsu. I call her and she won't let me in the house. She lived with her mother, she won't answer the phone. I love that woman dearly, and I don't know for the life of me why she's left." And that man called and called for two or three weeks, and the poor man was really upset and I felt sorry. He said, "Brother Dave, please call my wife. She's read The Cross and the Switchblade and you're the only one she'll probably listen to. You can get her to come home." So my wife and I called, and we got a different story from his wife. She said, "I think I could have loved that man." But she said, "I just lost everything, and I'll tell you why. That man is mean and cranky as the devil. Stands in the pulpit oozes love to everybody else. Preaches love. But that man was absolutely mean, always putting me down. I couldn't do anything right for that man.
David Wilkerson: And that man was absolutely mean, he even slap me in the face and that did it." She said, "I think I could have learned to love that man, if he'd just showed me a little tenderness. If he hadn't been so cranky and so mean." Boy, we got the other side of the story. And boy, a couple days later, he called me back again. And I mean, he was crying. He said, "Brother Dave, I'm going to have to quit preaching. I'm losing my mind. That woman has left me and I don't know why." I said, "Oh, quit your crying." I said, "You're mean. Sir, your wife doesn't want you to come home and flip the keys to a $10,000 sports car at her and say, 'Honey, I love you. There's my poof.' Your wife wants a little act of tenderness. Little bit of kindness. Not some big fancy gift. Quit trying to buy your wife off, show a little love and tenderness. When's the last time, sir, you brought your wife home some flowers for no reason at all?
David Wilkerson: Because you loved her, nothing else.", "Who me? Flowers?", "Yeah, you. My wife is here and she'll tell you, I've got all kinds of occasions I dream up for sending flowers, and potted plants, and little love poems. Everything else. But don't look at me like that. A woman wants just a little bit of tenderness, sir. Why don't you take out the garbage once in a while, for example? Without complaining about it. Quit yelling at her for three hours watching As the World Turns, inside out upside down when you spend five hours watching football." Are you ready for the last one? All right, right out of God's Word. Quit dancing to somebody else's tune. Jesus said, "How shall I liken this generation? They're like a bunch of little kids sitting in the marketplace and we pipe to you our tunes, but you don't dance." Jesus said, "That's your generation." Everybody's got a tune, wanting somebody to dance to it. And I'm going to tell you why, and here's where I'm going to add a little to what was said this afternoon about women's liberation.
David Wilkerson: Now, listen to me, I'm not trying to be smart or facetious. I'm on a life and death mission. We've got all kinds of tunes being played to us today through radio, and television, and the written page. And there's a mind programming on right now undermining something godly and holy. You know why we're headed for pandemic divorce rate in America and the world? We're reversing the Bible roles. We are breaking all the barriers that God set up. We are reversing the roles in our homes. Now, my Bible says the man is the head of the house. Jesus. Listen, the Word of God, Paul said this. Listen very closely, "Even as Christ is the head of the church, so is the man the head of the wife. And so let her be subject in all things, even as Christ is the head of the church." Now, many things that are being said by the women's liberation movement need to be heard. Did you hear me? Because too long, we have mistreated women. We have put them down, we've had a bunch of little Napoleon's running around, barking, "Hey Mabel, I want a drink."
David Wilkerson: So she jumps and has to go get the man a drink of water. I've seen that all over the country. Mistreated them, and wiped our feet on them, treated them like dishrags. And friends, I'm one of those preachers who believe it's possible for a woman to have a career and be a good wife and mother. Thousands and thousands of wives have proved that. In fact, I've seen them grow so much in God because they've had a goal and they've had a purpose in their life, and that's beautiful. But friends, what I am against is this programming that's happening right now the demeaning being a wife and a mother. It comes over the Dinah Shore, the Mike Douglas, the Tonight, Today, Tomorrow, all those shows. And it goes something like this. "You housewife there in the Duz with the Hoover sweeper, isn't it a shame you becoming a vegetable?
David Wilkerson: Your husband's out there growing, expanding his consciousness and you're stuck there with the diapers and the kids with your hands in the dish water. Why didn't he do the dishes? Why didn't he clean the room? Why don't you vote on it?" Now, hold it just a minute. What I am against with all my heart and soul is the demeaning one of the highest callings of the world, and that's to be a housewife and a mother. That's the highest calling on earth, better than the presidency of the United States. And woman, dear sister, housewife, mother, don't let anybody put you down for being "just a housewife", or just a mother. In the sight of God ... Listen, who can find a virtuous woman? Her price is above rubies. She rises early, feeds your household. Beauty is deceiving, vanity passes away. But a godly woman is much prepared. A godly woman. A housewife. I wish I could say it and scream to the microphone, it is not just a housewife. That's calling in Christ Jesus.
David Wilkerson: God has a job for you to do. And there will be many that will come to dear housewives, and I don't think God's going to take a male like me, preacher to give you the vision. God's raising up handmaidens and sisters of the Lord, giving the vision and trying to get into you, instill it into your heart. There's wonderful concepts of usefulness and vision to be used of God, and our women today are expanding and doing some marvelous things in the sight of God. And I'm for that 1,000% and I believe in that with all my heart. But at the same time, I am totally against, and I believe the Holy Ghost is against any demeaning of this calling and any reversing of the godly holy roles that He has set. The man is still the head of the house. That role must never be reversed. Never. All right. I told you, I wanted to share with you a confession. Now, my wife and I agreed she would allow me to share with you what I'm about to share.
David Wilkerson: And though this happened years ago, we felt at this critical time that we should share it because would help a lot of others who are going through something very similar. Because my wife and I just about did not make it. That's right. It began one day when I walked into the kitchen, and I saw Gwen leaning over the kitchen sink, grabbing her side and screaming in pain. And she said, "Honey, come here. Put your hand here." There was a big lump. I panicked. I said, "My goodness, how long have you had that?" She said, "A couple months." She said, "It's like a knife. I'm so tired all the time, and I get these weak spells just drain my strength." She said, "I'm afraid there's something there." I took her to our physician the next day. He probed around a bit and he said, "Mr. Wilkerson, it's just a swollen over. It's infected. Here's some medication. I'm sure it'll dissolve, it'll go away." We were relieved, went home. The medication help for a couple weeks. It was a second or third week after, we were in Pittsburgh visiting her mother.
David Wilkerson: We were at Gimbels department store, I'll never forget it. She was buying a pair of stockings and all of a sudden that scream, she bent over in pain. She said, "Honey, it's bigger and it's worse than ever. It's like a butcher knife cutting me." I really got scared. I called her mother. We got the name of an internist, a specialist. I took her in. He programed and he called me the next day. He said, "Sir, you get your wife back to New York immediately. Demand the bare minimum x-ray. You've got serious problems, you're in trouble." I start playing a game with Gwen. I just told her a lie, and that's where it all the trouble begins when you're dishonest. When you cheat. Despite being dishonest, even about this kind of a third party, even a disease. Few days later, she's in the hospital. It's 10 o'clock in the morning the following day, the doctor called me up and he said, "David, I'm really sorry I missed it." I said, "What are you talking about?"
David Wilkerson: He said, "Your wife, sir, has a cancer on her little bow the size of a lemon. I want permission to prepare for surgery. She should be operated on right away." I was angry. I blew up. I said, "What do you mean you missed it? You told me it's just it affected ovary." He said, "Well, we're human, sir. We do make mistakes." Boy, I slammed the phone down. When I went into the hospital, I start playing a game with Gwen again. I said, "Honey, the doctor said that the ovary is infected. It needs to come out, lest it affect the other ovary. So you're going to have to go into surgery." She agreed. The doctor let me wait in the little outer room. He said, "David, I'll be in there about four hours. I'll tell you what happens as soon as I get out." He was in there six hours, and I knew there was trouble when he was two hours overdue. Came out and pulled off that green mask, and I can still see him. He shook his head.
David Wilkerson: He said, "Sir, it's a shame that a 32 year old woman should have such a black ugly thing like that in her." He said, "I had to cut out all the lymph glands, half her bowels." And he said, "We hope we got it. We don't think it metastasized, but we had to take out all the lymph glands and midsection." He said, "it's in God's hands now." When I saw Gwen at the recovery room, she was coming out. I tried to lie to her again, and this time she said, "David, stop." And she said, "It was cancer, wasn't it? I've known it all the time." I said, "Yes." So the tension was gone. But friends, that was the beginning of a third party introduced in our home that was absolutely devastating. I had no way ... neither of us had any way of knowing how low it would take us in despair, despondency. Some of you people here tonight may have been through it, and maybe you're going to have to go through it, the Holy Ghost is trying to prepare you. And this is very, very difficult for me. But we've lived through it.
David Wilkerson: My wife and I both agree that so many people could be helped if you could just listen. Because when I was in Bible school, we'd have ministers come and they'd stand there. And I'd be sitting in the chair with all my problems. And all these evangelists, they talked about all the great victories and all the things that they'd accomplished. I sit there with all my problems. I said, "That doesn't make sense. They can't be all right and I'm all wrong." And I thought, "Lord, if You ever give me a ministry, I want to get up and confess some of my problems so that the people who go through it like me can relate to it." That's the reason I'm like this, I can't help it anymore. Friends, she got along for a year or so and regained some strength. But boy, those tired spells would hit her again and then another lump. In the next five years, Gwen had I think, five operations. Three malignancies, two non malignant. The goiter, other midsection problems.
David Wilkerson: She was cut four times across, crisscross the stomach. And after the fourth operation ... I think it was the fifth operation, she seemed to be gaining strength and becoming very weak. We lived in ... At night, she used to like to walk around the block. We were taking a walk one night, and she really shocked me. She said, "David, they cut me so much, I don't feel like a woman anymore. I want another child." Well, I almost passed out. I said, "That's the worst thing in the world, honey. All you've been through, now to carry a baby." She said, "I want child." And I know now why God put that in her heart because soon after that, she'd not be able to have any more. We planned our fourth child, that's Gregy back there, now 10 going on 11. Healthy and strong, and call of God in his life. He will be a preacher, he said. It was a year later after that, she seemed regaining strength. We were so happy.
David Wilkerson: We're coming home from Memphis General Counsel, and on the way home, she had one of those attacks. Started to bleed. We rushed her into the nearest town into a hospital, they sedated her, stopped the bleeding. Said, "Get her to a hospital, you've got problems." Once again, dear Gwen was down. This time a surgeon friend of mine did the operation. A very fine Christian, spirit-filled man. Thought it would make a little easier. This time a radical hysterectomy. And I mean that it was radical surgery this time. When Gwen came up this time she said, "They'll never lay another knife on me ever. I don't care, they'll never." They used to greet me. People would come to me and say, "David, you've got faith to believe God for miracles, for drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes. Why can't you believe God to heal your life of cancer?" And it hurt us because God had done something wonderful for us. He had given us what I call the faith of the Hebrew children.
David Wilkerson: The Hebrew children stood in front of the fiery furnace and they knew in their heart God was able, and their message to the whole world was simply this, "We know our God is able. But if we have to go through the furnace, He'll take us through." And friends, God saw fit to take us through the furnace, but it was in the furnace that we came out with His hand on ours. That's where we met Him in the furnace. God takes you through the blood, He doesn't bypass it. You go through the wilderness, through the fire, through the flood and that's where He makes you. This time, a surgeon calls me in the next room and he said, "Brother Wilkerson, you're man of God, but you've got to know something. We've taken two of the three lines of defense against disease away from your wife. She has no more hormone system being produced, no more goiter. So there's no thyroid, she has to take thyroid hormone." And he listed all the medications she'd take the rest of her life.
David Wilkerson: He said, "She's going to go through massive sudden changes in her body and in her psych. And she's going to feel depression like she's never felt. She's going to feel fits of jealousy and temper. She's going to go through every range of human feeling so high and so low, it'll be devastating. And unless you're prepared, unless you're patient and understanding, you can only make it more difficult on her and yourself. Sir, be prepared. I'm just telling you, you're in for it. You're going to see things you've never saw before, and your wife's going to be another woman." And I couldn't understand then what he was talking, I couldn't even begin to comprehend it. The first three months, we were able to take it pretty well. When I come home from Teen Challenge and walking the streets, and walk in the house and see her hand shake when she's is drinking coffee, I could take her the room and pray with her and she was relieved. And friends, it went downhill. Downhill. For the next six months, it got worse and worse, until finally it got on my nerves.
David Wilkerson: I'd say to myself, "Now, look I'm walking the streets, I'm giving my life and to come home to that tournament. Maybe she's not trying." Because I came on one time and she was screaming at the children, and I couldn't understand that. And she'd run to the room and say, "David, why do I do that? You know that's not me." And we prayed. But after a while, friends, the depression got so bad. She slipped so low physically. She said I'll never get it. Came home one day and she said, "You don't love me. The kids don't love me. Nobody loves me. I don't want to live." And suddenly got loss of a will to live. "Nobody cares." And friends, I'd be going around the country preaching and asking prayer, and she had more people praying. We had flowers and telegrams, and people praying, and more friends she'd ever had her life. But the enemy trying to say, "Nobody cares. You don't care, nobody cares."
David Wilkerson: And boy, I would come home and go into the garage where I had a little prayer room and say, "God, it's not great. I can't care this kind of a battle." And friends, for a whole year I traveled around the country preaching crusades, and have to stand and hearing in my subconscious mind, "David, you're a phony. You preach deliverance, and yet you can't solve your own problem. You're going to wind up in divorce court, and the millions of people who read The Cross and the Switchblade are going to laugh. You're going to bring reproach on the ministry." And one night in California, I was preaching for Miss kathryn Kuhlman, 4,000 people. In the middle of the sermon, it ran through my mind, "You're a phony, you have no right to preach. You're a phony." And I was paralyzed. I couldn't move. I grabbed the pulpit, and nothing came out. I stood there for three minutes, just petrified. And suddenly turned and walked off the stage. Walked off in front of 4,000 people right in the middle of my message. Miss Kuhlman had to take over the service.
David Wilkerson: I went up to the side, and brother Aaron Vic was there. He said, "Dave, what's wrong?" I said, "I'm a phony." He didn't know what I was talking about. I just walked out. I said, "I can't preach. I can't stand up anymore and tell what God can do until God heals our marriage." Because we were not making, we were arguing now. We were not understanding, we were not communicating. I knew she loved me and I knew I loved her. There was no other third party, but this disease that it was crippling. I knew the enemy was going to use this, try to destroy our home and marriage. Our children knew it, and some of our closest friends knew it. I went home and did what most people do when they're headed for trouble, they think a second honeymoon will solve everything. As if geographically removing yourself from the area of your problem would solve it. Friends, you take your problem with you. You don't solve it by going somewhere, you solve it right here in your heart.
David Wilkerson: And so I went home and I said, "Honey, I've got to go to California for crusades next week. Let's get somebody to watch the kids. Let's take a second honeymoon." She said, "We need something David." We flew to California, arrived at Friday. Checked into the hotel in Anaheim, and I had a Saturday afternoon banquet for some 400, 500 ministers and their wives. The Southern California District. And then a big crusade that night at the Long Beach auditorium, thousands of people expected. It was Saturday afternoon, I was dressing to get ready for the crusade. I don't know what triggered it, but for some reason or another, we started arguing, and I blew up. I said, "That does it. God doesn't expect out of me." I said, "We're not making it. We came here to California. We're not solving our problem. I said, I'm having a hard enough time preaching. I feel like a phony now. I've lost the victory. You're not coming in the car with me."
David Wilkerson: I slipped through a telephone number, I said, "Here, you call Ralph and Eileen. If you want to come, you come with them. You're not coming in a car with me." I got in my Hertz rental car and drove off in a huff to the banquet. They had my book set up down in the lobby, and when I appeared kids came running up wanting to autograph The Cross and Switchblade. And if you'd have seen me then, you would have never know with that phony smile on my face that I was dying inside and going through a ravishing period in my life. 10 minutes before the banquet was to start, here comes my wife with the pastor and his wife. And we'd learned by now to put on a big front, so she smiled and side up to me. We walked in hand in hand, and sat at the speaker's table at the banquet. Friends, I felt like I was in an echo chamber. I didn't hear a word for the first hour preliminaries, I was in an echo chamber. I was so low.
David Wilkerson: I reached in my pocket and I had $500 in traveler's checks. Now, it's not because I carry a lot of money, but the tickets alone were $300. And we were going to be there for a week, we thought. And suddenly a Scripture came to me. It's a scripture that David used. It was what David said when he was going through a trial, and he wanted to run away from it. He said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove, that could fly off to some distant wilderness and escape this tempest and storm. Oh, that I had dreams of a dove, I could fly away to the wilderness." And on my way to the meeting that afternoon, I'd seen a bus pull out of the station there. It said, "Mexico City." And all of a sudden it hit me. "God doesn't expect this of you. You got $500 in your pocket. Just get up, walk out, go to the bus station. Get a ticket, go to Mexico City.
David Wilkerson: Take your Bible and your clothes. And check into a hotel down there and write another book, maybe on family problems, because now you can relate to them. Fast and pray. Call New York and tell Paul the treasurer to give your paycheck to your wife and take care of the family. Don't let anybody know where you're at. And one of these days when she really tries, when she starts praying and seeking God like she should, then she'll come crawling back to you. Then you can come home." God doesn't expect it. Friends, I did the stupidest thing I ever did in my life. I got up, put the chair under the table and walked out. People must have thought I was going to the restroom. I headed for that bus station feeling sorry for myself, and hurt, and depressed. The lowest I'd ever been in my whole ministry. I got that bus station. I'm standing there getting ready to lay money down for a ticket. And friends, all of a sudden I begin to shake and tremble because the fear of God came on me.
David Wilkerson: The Holy Spirit fell on me, and I heard it ringing through my subconscious mind, "David, what a fool. What a fool. You talk about being hurt. You talk about not being understood. And yet you haven't had the knife laid on you. You haven't had the tubes down your throat. You haven't had to face the trauma of cancer. She has done all the suffering. You don't even begin to know what suffering is. She's gone through it all. If anyone has a right to run away, she does, not you. Get back before it's too late." Now, I tell you I literally ran. I remember jumping over a car. I put my hands to the front lead right over the front of it, over a fire hydrant. I huffed and puffed my way back, and I got there five minutes before they introduced me to speak. My wife later said she knew what I'd tried to do. She wanted to do the same thing. I don't even know what I spoke, friends, I got through it.
David Wilkerson: But after the banquet about 5:15, 5:30, I handed my wife the key to the room they'd given us there at the hotel. I said, "Honey, we're not making it." And I said, "I can't go in, I'm at the end of my rope." I said, "You go to the room. You know I love you, and I know you love me. But I can't go on another day." I said, "Now, I've got to preach to thousands of people tonight and I'm not going to do it unless God leads me, unless God heals our marriage, and our home." I went up to a little dressing room, it's still there, up at the Long Beach auditorium. Dirty old filthy dressing room. I slammed the door and I pounded my fist against the wall almost till I bled, and said "God, like Jacob wrestling with the angel of God, I'll not let You go until You answer prayer. God, You've met me all these years, You've met my financial need.
David Wilkerson: You've healed boys like Nicky Cruz, I've seen Your miracle working power. This burden is too much." And I'll tell your friends, He said you'll make a way of escape. Hallelujah. God said He'd make a way of escape that we may be able to bear it. And friends, after an hour or so, something happened in that little room. God poured on me a fresh anointing, an anointing like I had never experienced all my life. Even fresher than when God first called me to the streets of New York. And suddenly, all that poison was washed out. Glory to God. It doesn't take that all night, it just takes God a few moments. He washed out all the fear, and He washed out the depression. I knew God was going to bring healing towards wife and our home that night. Friends, at 7:30 I walked out, and the place was packed and jammed. I didn't even have my Bible with me, I didn't even know where I'd left it. Didn't even have a note. All I remember, I was in a daze, I was in the Spirit and I heard someone introducing me.
David Wilkerson: I stood before thousands of people. I remember for just a half an hour I preached on love. If God marked iniquities, who among us could stand? He remembers our frame, He remembers that we're but dust. Oh, I began to just pour out of my heart the love that I felt for Jesus, and the love that He was giving back to me. All the love. I spoke for half an hour through tear stained eyes, and halfway through my message ... And I'd never experienced such anointing, it was as though I'd stepped out of my body and, and the Lord Himself just speaking through my lips. Just pouring out. I couldn't wait to hear what the Holy Ghost will say next. Just poured it out and halfway through my message, the Lord let me pick up Gwen space. Way in the back of thousands of people I could see her and her hands were raised, and tears streaming down her cheeks. And suddenly, I had a Holy Ghost premonition. God is healing your wife right now. God is healing, the miracles happen.
David Wilkerson: And boy, it rolled off of me and I knew it. I knew it. I gave an invitation that night, and over 1,000 people came forward. I'd never seen anything like it. People were crying and making up with each other, it was a beautiful experience. And about 10 minutes later into the altar service, I heard somebody going, "Psst, psst, psst." I turned and there's Gwen behind the curtain going like this. Most informative, "Come here." Boy, and I walked away from thousands of people. I went over and I picked her up and hugged her, and she said, "Dave, I feel like a 13 year old girl. I have never felt like this in all my life." She said, "Do you know you preached your whole sermon right at me? I said, "Honey, there's 1,000 others that are thinking the same thing." She said, "No."
David Wilkerson: She said, "Halfway through your message tonight, the anointing of God came on you so, your face lit up." She said, "I saw a ring around your face." She said, "And God took that anointing and broke the yoke in my life, the anointing on you touched my life and broke the yoke." She said, "The depression snapped." She said, "The glory of the Lord filled my heart." And she said, "God told me I'm healed." She said, "I am healed." She said, "The depression is gone." She said, "Let's get out of here." And we got out of there. We walked away from thousands of people, didn’t tell anybody or friends, that second honeymoon was 10 million times better than the first. We've been going on it ever since. Hallelujah. It's just been absolutely beautiful. You say, "You got no more problems?" Oh, yes. But we always make sure, "I'm there first, honey. I'm the one that's sorry." We've learned the sorry, secret. Hallelujah. Glory to God.
David Wilkerson: Let me tell you something, you tell me your marriage is hopeless. You say, "Well, it used to be nice." Come on. You stood one day ... With this, I close. You stood one day with your husband or your wife before an altar. I don't know whether you were in a white dress or not, but you stood there either before a judge, a priest, or a minister the gospel and you said, "I love you, until death do us part." And you were married in the sight of God. I don't know what's happened in the meantime, I don't care if you're retired. Maybe you say, "The magic is gone, David. I'll never be able to sense what I had before." Well, friends, we don't live by feelings. We live by faith. But if by faith you'll come to Him now and pray for a miracle, God can heal you. God can heal your marriage. And He said ... here's what the Bible says, "I've got something against you because you left your first love. You didn't lose it, you left it.
David Wilkerson: So remember how it was, and repent, and go back and do it all over again." Come on, remember how it was and go back and do it all over again. Now. I used to have people come forward that wanted their marriages healed, and I'd have to repeat the marriage vows until I saw how stupid that is. Those are just words, that doesn't mean anything. It's the act of kindness. It's determining in your mind, "I'm going to make this work. I believe in miracles. I believe in God. I believe God can keep my home. I'm not going to give up, I'm not going to let the devil destroy my home and ruin my kids. Break up my husband and my wife. I'll not allow it. Never." Some of you young married couples needed this so much tonight. Look what's happened, all the pressure in this age. Father, I've made a confession. Now, we've all got to make a confession. Lord, I needed this tonight. This is exactly what I need. I need it. I acknowledge it. I admit that I need help. That's where it begins. Amen.
At some point in our lives we all get labeled by others, and some of us carry those labels until the day we die. Once applied, labels are hard to remove. They become self-fulfilling prophecies that affect how we live our lives. Jabez, from birth, was called “pain” but he didn't let this label direct his life. Instead, he asked God to give him a life contrary to his label. Let God give you a life that lets you live contrary to the negative labels that have been applied to you.
I'm going to talk to you about not living up to your label. People put label in a life. Right now in United States we have so many labels. The Christians they have been putting labels to the Christians. We have people from all walk of life, they are confused between masculine and feminine and gender, or whatever you want to call. And we have a problem, a serious problem with revival of drugs, synthetic drugs coming from China all the way to Mexico, across the border.
And there's one drug that can kill thousands of thousands, that can kill the whole city. And people have been busted or arrested, thank God because these drugs are very dangerous. I'm going to give you warning as a Christian and this warning either you take it or you leave it. In 1st Chronicle, Chapter 4, verse 9 and 10, let me read what it says. Now Jabez was more honorable than his brother. And his mother call his name, Jabez saying, "Because I bore you in pain." And Jabez call on the God of Israel saying, "All that you would bless me indeed and you would enlarge my territory, that your hand will be with me. And that you would keep me from evil." Evil, remember that.
That I might not cause pain. So, God granted him what he request. This is a book that was written by the name of Wilkerson, not Dave Wilkerson, called the prayer of Jabez. Do you heard about that book? The prayer of Jabez. But there was something that happened when Dave wrote that little book, it wasn't big. That the people twisted, they took whatever was the best for them and then forgot other things. And I'm going to explain that as I've going to go through this. People had label play something from the time they are born to the time they're dying. There are both good and bad labels.
Labels are difficult to peel off once it placed in the person. Labels become self-fulfilling prophesy. They influence our individual personality, temperament, and destiny. That's what it can happen. But there's good news. We don't have to live up to our labels. I don't know how they called you if you have a nicknames. I don't know, but call your mother call you that you're going to cause pain. That is not a blessing, that is a curse. That is something that is a curse. Why you call, can you imagine why you call your son that you're going to cause pain. The story about Jabez is so beautiful.
There are only two verses in the Bible about this man, yet a powerful testimony. Powerful. He was a descendant of the tribe of Judah from which would produce the line of David. And subsequently, Jesus Christ. This is Jabez. And here his mother, however, name him Jabez which is mean he will cause pain. Can you imagine Jabez walking down the street, let's put it right now in this moment. Our time. Can you see a guy with a big head walking down the neighborhood and everybody say, "Hey, big head. How are you doing big head? Hey, big head, can we play baseball, basketball? Huh, Big head? Hey big head, come down, let's go dancing. Big head, do you want to try marijuana?"
Can you imagine call somebody given labels like this? Well, he went to his mom, he told his mother, mom, why they call me big head? Why? And what do you expect from her mother, his mother? No son, you don't have a big head at all. So label is putting in all of the people, but the worst for the Christian is when they call you a hypocrite. When they call you a liar. Where you preach exaggerations. When you walk in the neighborhood and people know what kind of lifestyle you live in. Christians, we are the example of the world. And they expect us that we should conduct ourself properly and spiritually.
The hardest thing is somebody that call you and put a label on your life. You know something, I can never escape from my label. I can't. People know me as a gang leader. People introduce me as a gang leader. Ex gang leader. Do you think I like it? I was. I cannot denying that I was that kind of person. Yes, in my neighborhood. Parent used to take your children across the street and they're going like this, "He's bad. He's mean. Don't get close to him." Can you imagine that I have a label that I was born in a witchcraft home? Because I said that my father was a satanic priest and my mother was a witch. What a nice label!
But I can tell you, God didn't change Jabez name, his still was called Jabez. But something beautiful happened. Something beautiful happen in my life and because it happen in my life, one of the hardest thing in life is to reach your own family. I don't know if you've had that experience. But to have a label in my neighborhood, that I was bad. To have a label on my parents in Puerto Rico that they are Satanic people. That was the label that them put on my parents. The great one, the one who do miracle. And when you began to think about this, that's something that I'm so proud to say that I gave my life to Jesus Christ, that I was born again, went to Bible school. I didn't know nothing about the Bible at all.
Seriously, I didn't know who Adam was. I know a little bit about Eve. I didn't know. I went to Bible school one month and a half converted. I did not know nothing about the Holy Spirit like brother Claude was talking about it. I thought that I was in another country and another land. I saw people speaking in tongue and I just couldn't believe it. I said, "Why these people are talking?"
He seemed that he was destined to be a troublemaker. From the time he was born, the very mentions of his name reinforce the curse of his future life. However, he did not live up to that name. He refused to allow this label determine his personality, his temperament, and destiny. He came to the conclusion, in his life that he will not cause pain. That he going to reverse everything in a different direction. And then he did the right thing, he called, this is what the Bible say, "He call on the Lord of Israel." That's the key.
That's the key that can change everything. That's what he was talking about, prayer. It is essential that we pray every day. I miss, right now my devotion with my wife, she's not with me. We have our prayer time, one hour every day. We pray. And I ask you to do the same thing. His life did not cause pain at all. As a result, God granted him what he request and now that is the twist what happen with that prayer of Jabez. Why was misunderstand? Why people went in different direction and here this is his prayer, to be blessed. You want to be blessed, right? Blessings of God, which is mean inherit God promise.
Enlarge my territory, his territory, the borders. Able to prosper and that's when he came in, what you call today, so many years ago every Bible a prosperity. They twist it. Then is reading all the thing about him, but there everybody was talking about prosperity. If you give $10 God going to give you $100. Bring me your handkerchief and I going to bless your handkerchief, but give me some money. They twist it so bad because everybody was talking about the prayer or Jabez, but then took it as a prosperity type of ministry and that it wasn't what Jabez want. If I wanted to be honest to you, enlarge my territory, it go deeper than that. Enlarge me with faith, with grace, with favor, with love, with forgiveness, with strength.
No, twist it and say, enlarge my territory and prosperity. Choose which one you want. Because regardless of what, God always going to be there for you and he going to prosper you, But that's not supposed to be the priority of your life. The priority of your life is to live a life of faith and prayer, communion with God. Be with him. Remember, families and all of these in your life. Tell God hand be upon him, which is mean receive first. This is what Psalms 5:12 said. For surely, Oh Lord you blessed the righteous, you surrounded them with your favor, as with your shield. That's what he was trying to say. Your hand will be your upon me.
And this one, you're not going to like it, but it is true. Keep me from evil, because I'm going to be honest to you. You are surrounded by evil. People want the worst for you as you want the best from God in your life. Some people want to hurt you. This is evil day and you have to deal that you've got to fight all of these things in your life until you die. Look the way King David saw this. Psalm 23, verse 4, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Cast out all fear, that's what love do. You cannot live a Christian life, full of fear, depression. You cannot be negative about this, the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a privilege to really serve the Lord.
And is through the presence of the Holy Ghost that you're going to be a winner and evil cannot touch you because you will be a blessed child. That to me is the blessing. And you know who put it very beautifully, Jesus Christ himself when the disciple ask him, teach us how to pray. Teach how to pray. And do you know the Lord prayer, there is something in the book of Mark, chapter 6, verse 13. Right in the middle where he prays, this beautiful prayer, boom, he make this statement. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. We are no exception to the rule. This is going to happen until we die. The devil going to be chasing you, you cannot allow him to be the one who take the victory. You've got the victory already in Jesus Christ.
You believe in the resurrection, right? You believe that you have been resurrected from your sin. I have been resurrected. The day I gave my life to Jesus Christ. He gave me new heart. He gave me new mind. And this body is temple of the Holy Spirit. He dwell on me. He's here. I can feel him. I'm not afraid. And I came to the conclusion, that I'm going to be aware that the devil is devil. That evil is evil. That he want to try to destroy your family, your relationship, he's going to put in yourself. I'm going to tell you something, I don't want you to ... I cannot watch Christian television. So many new theology that God never heard about it.
A guy controlling the people mind. You know his name? What his name?
You are scared of him? What is his name?
Had to force you to say his name. My goodness. Let me close with this, you was expecting a message of deep, deep message of evangelism. I will do it one of these days. You might not have a choice on the label that was placed on you or me, such cultural background, poverty roots, label placed by your own family members. And that's what I want to warn you, don't call name to your kids. Don't hurt them that way. Because that's what my mother did to me.
And you know what, I believe it. I believed that I was a failure. I believed that I was evil. All the name that she gave me, one by one, about seven curse. Seven curse. You might try to change this name, but everybody know that I was a ex gang leader. Everybody know about it, but if you listen to my story, do I am still a gang leader? Talk to me. Why? Because the God of Israel, because Jesus Christ had changed my life completely. He have changed me. And the conclusion is, the day you stop crying for the lost, and praying for your families and your neighbor and your barrios, which is the ghetto. I saw when I was driving here. I couldn't believe it, when I look at the mountains.
You can build the most beautiful places and there is nothing but ghetto. Poverty. Is hurt. Don't forget your family. And your name, what is your name? My name is Nicolas Cruz Velasquez. I repeat myself again, my real name in the passport, Nicolas Cruz Velasquez. But if you want to really put my real name, you know how my mother called me Nicolas? What Nicolas represent? Christmas. My mother called me what she called me and she was prophesying Saint Nicolas. Hallelujah, Saint Nicolas.
No evil Nicolas, Saint. We are saint people.
We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
You've got story to talk about.
You have been freed. Free in deed.
The peace of God dwell in you.
The Holy Spirit is right there with you. God filled me with the Holy Spirit when I was about eight months saved. And there he called me into being evangelist. He didn't call me to go to South America. I thought he going to send me to Central America because I speak Spanish, yo hablo español.
Yeah. And you know how he call me? With one of the most awesome brokenness that last more than four hours on the floor. A teenager, a young kid broken by just hurt. I would cry until there was no more tears. I didn't understood why he called me, I didn't. Until it dawned on me, Nicky, I'm calling you to be evangelist. Trust me, I'm going to take you every place that you never imagined. And then two days later, a professor from the Bible school, came to me, and he told me you have been called to be ambassador to all the youth all over the world. That's the calling that I got. Gary, that's enough. That's enough.
Either we are going to believe in the prayer of Jabez or either we're going to twist it in my way. There is a song sing by Frank Sinatra, I did it my way. If you want to go that way, you want to be a loser. If you want to go God way, you're a winner. And you should already praise the Lord because God is good and he is worthy to be praised by all of us. I never ask people to clap because I don't know, I never, but I just want everybody to stand and let's give Jesus one of the biggest standing ovation, one of the biggest clap, and you pray, and you already pray with Pastor Claude. But I want you to lose yourself, renounce all kinds of label. That label is out, you are born again.
Stay on the rock, okay? All right?
And if you're having problems with your children or with your parents or friends, release it right now.
Release it. If you're having a problem with yourself of being real, release it. Don't be a phony. Don't be a phony baloney macaroni. Let's pray. Let's go for the blessing instead of going for the curse. Can you do that? Grab everybody hands and we're going to do it together as a body of Christ. I want you to pray. You know your heart better than anybody. I know my heart, I need quite a few things to change in my own life. I don't have to confess to you, but I know Nicky Cruz very well. Can you say the prayer, the prayer of Jabez in your own words? Can you ask him what you want with your life? Can you believe in miracle that God can change your son, your daughter, your parents? Can you pray as a minister of the gospel that the anointing of the Holy Spirit will be upon you?
You evangelist that God can put his fire in your tongues. Can you pray that? Then open up your mouth. Open up your mouth. If you lack love, ask him to give you that love. Because sometimes we're cold. Let me hear you. Hello, let me hear you. Hallelujah. Blessed be the Holy One. We worship you Jesus. We thank you for the transformation of our life. Thank you for our family. Thank you for the miracle that you have done in our family. Thank you for answering our prayer when we felt completely alone and lost. Thank you Jesus for being so kind to us. Thank you Jesus for supply all our needs. Fill us with your Holy Spirit. God, cleanse us for everything that is not right.
And now we worship you Jesus. Why don't you raise you hands to the sky and worship him? Say, I worship you. Thank you Jesus. Praise your holy name, Jesus. I thank you for what you had done in my life. I thank you for what you have done in my children life. I thank you that you have delivered us from the evil one. Hallelujah, yes.