Do These Three Things

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

In the midst of one of Israel’s most severe trials, Moses told the people to do three things: “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:13-14, NKJV).

Soon dusk fell over the camp. This was the beginning of Israel’s dark and stormy night, but it was also the beginning of God’s supernatural work. “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night. The strong east wind…made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided” (Exodus 14:21). The Hebrew word for wind here means “violent exhaling.” Israel’s tent-dwellings must have shaken fiercely as those mighty gusts blew through the camp.

What was God up to here? Why would he allow such a terrible windstorm to go on all night? Why didn’t he just tell Moses to touch the water with his mantle and part the waves in a more gentle supernatural way? What possible reason did God have for permitting this awful night to take place?

God was at work the whole time, using the terrible storm to make a path for his people out of the crisis. He also sent an awesome, protective angel to stand between his people and their enemy. Yet the Israelites who were hiding in their tents couldn’t see it, but those who came outside witnessed a glorious light show. They also beheld the glorious sight of waves mounting up, mighty walls of water rising to form a dry path through the sea. When the people saw this, they must have shouted, “Look, God has used the wind to make a way for us. Praise the Lord!”

I believe God still sends protective angels to camp around all who love and fear him (see Psalm 34:7). Dear saint, if you’re a blood-bought child of God, he has put a warrior angel between you and the devil, and he commands you, just as he told Israel, “Do not fear. Stand still. Believe in my salvation.”

The Works of True Faith

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Hebrews 11 gives us this image of Jacob in his old age: “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff” (Hebrews 11:21, NKJV). Why is Jacob portrayed in his dying days instead of when he was outsmarting his deceitful father-in-law or wrestling with an angel?

Jacob knew his life was about to end. What does Jacob do as he looks back on the events of his life? He is moved to worship. As he leaned on his staff, he marveled at the life God had given him. Jacob worshipped God in that moment because his soul was at rest. He had proven God faithful beyond any shadow of a doubt. Now the patriarch concluded, “It never mattered what battle I went through. God proved himself faithful to me. He has always been faithful. O Lord, almighty God, I worship you!”

That’s why we see him giving his blessing to his grandchildren. Jacob knew God would fulfill his covenant to the nation of Israel beyond even his own life. His blessing to his grandchildren, his actions, spoke to this faith. There was a reason God wanted this kind of faith for Jacob and his descendants. They would endure slavery, deprivation, danger and suffering. God said, “I want a people who aren’t afraid of death because they know I am trustworthy in all things.”

God wants the same faith in his promises from us. We are called to walk and act in faith that he will see every promise to completion.

This is why James wrote, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17).

Living with Eternity in Our Hearts

Gary Wilkerson

I believe in preaching against sin. I know my heart is prone to wander. I know I’m bent on backsliding, but there’s something more than just responding to an altar call. It’s not enough.

How many of you have been to the altar and repented and went back out and did the same things you were doing before? It can even get to the point where you begin to say to yourself, “Why go to the altar? I’m not going to change.” It can even get to the point where the enemy begins to attack you, saying, “God’s not really transforming you. You’re not changing.”

Here’s the problem: if you’re responding to God because you feel bad and want to obey the rules, your God is too small. He’s not holy; but when you see God, when you see the Shema and you understand the Shema, you understand what God is saying to his people. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, ESV).

As I continue to repent over particular sins, I find my repentance begins to change. I repent over the condition of my life, that I’m not whole, that I’m not holy or loving or walking in sync with God. I repent that my life is out of order. When your life is out of order, you’re not meant to be happy. You’re not meant to be bubbling with joy when sin is crippling your spiritual walk. God wants you to know that you’re not living as one with him.

The eternity that God set in our hearts (see Ecclesiastes 3:11) is not just a hunger for heaven; it’s to be one with God.

I want to walk with him and talk with him and be like him. In my heart, in my behavior, in my speech, I want to be holy. I don’t want to read my Bible just to get a sermon. I don’t want to pray just to see revival. I hunger for those things because God is the Lord of revival, joy and perfection, and I want to love and look like my Father. One day, in the twinkling of an eye, he will make it so!

The Presence of Peace and Joy

Claude Houde

The Bible affirms that a wife and children are a gift from the Lord. “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which he has given you under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:9, AMP) and “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3, ESV).

Before going any further in that line of thought, however, admit that if you are the parent of a teenager in the midst of an existential crisis where everything is called into question, it is possible that you have wondered if this ‘gift’ was exchangeable, or at least refundable.

Take courage. Adolescence, like thunderstorms, eventually passes.

More seriously, though, I would like you to take hold of a supremely important realization for your family that could change your present and your future. Not only are children a gift from the Lord, but parents are called to be a gift from the Lord to their children. Let me share with you a practical tip from Ecclesiastes and the Psalms for your daily life.

Take pleasure in the woman you love. Gentlemen, the most amazing gift you can give your children every day is to love their mom. Give them the gift of seeing you rejoice and laugh with their mother. Be a gift of joy to your children by loving your wife. To love your wife is also to make a commitment before God to not argue in front of your children. There will always be sources of frustration and conflict, but make the decision to talk about it later, one-on-one, when the children are away.

We are human, and we have all failed to do this before. However, I encourage you to renew this covenant and to dedicate yourselves to this prayer: “Lord, put a guard over my mouth, and help me with my speech to my bride. Let my children not hear me verbally attack or denigrate their mother. On the contrary, let them hear and see me honoring her, loving her, appreciating her, valuing her and giving her affection.”

With this decision to keep the peace, our presence becomes a priceless gift from the Lord to our children. Let’s be gifts of forgiveness, patience and peace to our families. The model of our behavior will be the most impactful message in their lives.

Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.

Don’t Be Afraid of Suffering

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Christ’s resurrection was preceded by a short period of suffering. It’s a guarantee to us that we do suffer. There is pain and sorrow. It is often the will of God that we suffer feelings of emptiness and even pain. “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19, NKJV).

The problem is that we do not want to suffer or be hurt. We want painless deliverance, supernatural intervention. “Do it, God,” we pray, “because I am weak and always will be. Do it all while I go my way, waiting for a supernatural deliverance.”

We may blame our troubles on demons. We seek out a man of God and hope he can cast out the demon so that we can go on our way with no more pain. We want to breeze right through to a peaceful life of victory. We want someone to lay hands on us and drive away all the spiritual dryness, but sometimes the Lord’s will is to work through our hardship. Victory is not always without grave suffering. Look at your sin. Face it. Scripture commands us, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when his glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13, NKJV). 

We are also promised, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Thank God, suffering is always just a period before final victory! If we patiently endure our trials, we can expect worthy rewards. “May the God of all grace, who called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).

God’s love demands a choice. If God supernaturally lifted us out of every battle without pain or suffering, it would abort all trials and all temptation; there would be no free choice and no testing as by fire. It would be God superimposing his will on mankind. He chooses to meet us in our dryness and show us how it can become the way into a new life of faith.