In Acts 3:19 Peter speaks of “times of refreshing” that would come from being in the Lord’s presence. I am convinced that even now, amid times of global turmoil, the Church is experiencing such a time of refreshing. It is an event in which Jesus is manifesting His presence worldwide.
Yes, there is much spiritual deadness and dryness in many churches. Multitudes of believers have compromised their walk with Jesus, while others have gone mad after worldly pleasures.
But something glorious is happening all over the world, even in Islamic nations. There is undeniable evidence that the Holy Spirit is hovering over nations, and the awesome presence of Christ is manifesting powerfully. It is happening throughout Russia, China, South America, Africa, Asia and nearly every nation on earth. God is stirring people in Mongolia and in the former Soviet states. In India the Spirit of God is mightily at work.
I hear of such times of refreshing touching various towns and cities in the United States. Pastors are growing desperate for a true manifestation of God’s presence in their churches.
This refreshing of Christ’s presence is the result of exaltation of Him alone — not signs and wonders, not spiritual gifts, not “revival” that soon fades. This is a last-days revelation of the glory and power of Christ. Many write to me saying they go to church yearning to experience the actual presence of Jesus. They want to hear from a shepherd who has been shut in with the Lord. They don’t want any more entertainment, showmanship or empty methods. Now they are crying, “Give me Christ. Give me the melting, healing, awesome presence of Jesus.”
May this be the heart-cry of all God’s people in these days.
I am deeply blessed by God’s message to His people in Psalms 37. I recommend that you read this Psalm before the day is over. It is one of the richest, most encouraging passages in God’s Word. No matter what you are going through, no matter how trying your situation, this Psalm will be a source of great strength and encouragement to you.
Psalm 37:7 is of special interest to me in light of what is happening in the gay community. States are passing laws that pave the way for gay marriages and hundreds of homosexuals have gotten married. I was so deeply grieved at this lawlessness and mockery of true, God-ordained marriage, that I cried, “Oh, Lord, they are stealing our nation. They are mocking your Holy Word. America is now indulging in a sin not even known in Sodom and Gomorrah. There is no biblical record of homosexuals marrying in those wicked societies.”
Then I read Psalm 37:7: “Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.” In other words, “Do not let it get at your spirit. Do not get worked up about it. God hears the deep inner groanings of His people, and He is very patient.”
Let no evildoer think for a moment that God is going to overlook blatant disobedience and mockery of His Word. All through the Bible, we see the Lord sending judgment when lawlessness envelops a society.
Pray for our nation amid these times. God hears the prayers of His people!
The following word, given to me by the Holy Spirit, is for those who need an answer to prayer, who need help in time of trouble, and who are ready and willing to move God’s heart according to His Word.
Lay hold of the covenant promise in Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
The phrase very present means “always available, immediately accessible.” Faith must rest in the assurance that God’s Spirit abides in us all hours of the day and night, continually. And because He took up a habitation within us, He listens to our every prayerful thought and cry. We can be sure that if He hears us He will grant our petitions. Indeed, the Holy Spirit will move heaven and earth for any child of God who takes time to pour out his heart to the Father.
Read and believe Psalm 62:5-7. This is the prayer of David that touched God’s heart. David said in essence, “Wait on God only! Expect help from no other source. He alone must be your provision, your only hope and defense. Only He can supply you with the strength to keep going until your answer comes.”
Here is the heart of it all, the secret to prevailing prayer that every saint throughout history has learned: the pouring out of the heart before the Lord. “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8) Hannah is our example in doing this. Desperate for a child, she “poured out” her soul to the Lord (see 1 Samuel 1:15). And Scripture says, “Her face was no longer sad” (1:18).
God wants to bless and favor you. He longs to enrich your life, your marriage, and your spiritual life. He wants to give you wisdom, understanding and discernment so that your decisions will lead to blessing in your life.
Once we receive the blessings of God, we must be careful that we do not turn them into something selfish.
Luke 12:16 tells us about a man who was blessed. “And [Jesus] spoke a parable to them, saying, ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.’”
God is generous and loves to pour out gifts on His children. But this story quickly took a wrong turn, as we see that this man “thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’” (verse 17).
Now, whose crops were they? Everything belongs to God, so this man was revealing his selfish nature. He began to see all his talents, his relationships, his many gifts from God as things to be used for his own benefit. That selfishness began to permeate the very fiber of who he was.
“So he said, ‘I will . . . pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry”’” (verses 18-19).
God loves to bless His children but He is concerned about what you do with those blessings. What is His purpose in blessing you? Is it merely to heap goods upon yourself and create a perfect little cocoon of comfort that you have always wanted? No! As we see from the very beginning of His covenant with mankind, you are blessed to be a blessing to others!
A number of years ago on the opening night of a crusade in London, England, the crowd that gathered was a diverse one — hippies, punk rockers, addicts, Goths, hookers, homeless people, and more. Everywhere I looked were kids with purple, green and orange hair. Most were wearing black clothes emblazoned with satanic symbols, and their bodies were pierced in just about every conceivable place. I had never seen so many confused and broken young people.
My wife, Gloria, had a seat on the front row of the auditorium. As I was preparing to go on stage, I looked over in her direction and saw a young man sit down in the seat next to her. He looked frightening — a Goth with all the trimmings! As he shifted to one side, I noticed something crawling over his lap. I looked intently and realized it was a black rat on a small leash.
Gloria is terrified of rats and at first she didn’t notice; I hoped it would continue that way. But when the young man turned his head away from her, I saw her glance in his direction, just in time to see the rat crawling across his lap.
Gloria knows that I love her and would never allow anything happen to her, but I would not kick a person out of a crusade, especially someone so obviously in need of Jesus. So catching her eye, I motioned for her to stay calm. I’m not sure she got the message but she remained in her seat, stiff as a board throughout the whole service — a real trouper.
Later, during the altar call, this young man was the first to step forward and receive Christ. He stood down front with the rat in his hand and his head bowed. Tears rolled down his face as a volunteer worker laid hands on him and prayed with him to receive Christ.
“And then He told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone’” (Mark 16:15, NLT).
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.
When Moses heard the voice of God come from the burning bush, he was surprised at what God asked him to do: “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5). God tells every Christian today the same thing He told Moses: “There is only one ground upon which you can approach Me and that is holy ground. You can have no confidence in your flesh because no flesh will stand in My presence.”
Why did God focus on shoes in the Exodus passage? What does that have to do with putting off the flesh? Our feet are tender parts of our body and shoes are a protection of our flesh. They protect us from the elements, from stones, from snakes, from filth and dust, from the hot pavement.
So to Moses, God was using an everyday, ordinary thing to teach a spiritual lesson, just as Jesus did later using coins, pearls, camels and mustard seeds. God was saying, “Moses, you wear protective garb to keep your flesh from injury but no amount of fleshly protection will be able to keep you. Where I am about to send you will require a miracle of deliverance.”
Where was God sending Moses? Into Egypt — that den of iniquity — to face a hardened dictator. Moses had to put aside all reliance on his flesh: his meekness, zeal and humility. All his abilities would be worthless unless God sanctified them. Moses had to put his total trust in God’s name and power.
Indeed, Moses faced all kinds of tests and trials. He was about to lead some three million people into the desert where there was no place to buy food or no place to obtain water. He would have to depend wholly on God for everything!
God would ask the same question to us as He asked Moses. Are we willing to put down our own abilities and ambitions and trust wholly in Him? Will we put all our confidence in Him instead of in our own gifts and plans?
I believe every episode or story in the Old Testament is full of truth for New Testament believers. Whenever I have difficulty understanding a New Testament truth, I turn back to its foreshadowing in the Old Testament. One such example concerns Moses at the burning bush. I believe this particular story is full of profound New Testament truth regarding holiness.
Alone on Mount Horeb, Moses was herding the sheep of his father-in-law when suddenly a strange sight caught his attention. A nearby bush was burning brightly — yet it was not consumed!
“Then Moses said, ‘I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.’ So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush” (Exodus 3:3-4). Going in for a closer look, Moses heard God call out to him from the bush — living proof that God was present, a visual representation of His holiness. Indeed, wherever He is, that place is holy!
“As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16). In other words, “It is written, recorded, settled once and for all that we are to be holy, even as our God is holy.”
“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:7). God has not called us just to salvation, or to heaven, or to receive His pardon. Rather, these are benefits of our one true call — which is to be holy as He is holy.
Every believer in Jesus Christ is called to be holy — to be pure and blameless in God’s sight. So, if you have been born again, holiness must be the cry of your heart: “God, I want to be like Jesus. I truly want to walk holy before You all the days of my life.”