Page 379 of 383

David Wilkerson in Times Square

David Wilkerson’s Amazing Challenge

It has been 50 years since Pentecostal preacher David Wilkerson moved to New York City to reach violent gangs. His message has restored hundreds of thousands of lives.

Fifty years ago, David Wilkerson seemed an unlikely candidate to attack the Goliath-like monster of drug addiction. He was an obscure 26-year-old Assemblies of God preacher from rural Pennsylvania when he traveled to New York City in 1958 to share Christ with seven teens accused of murder.

At the time, he knew little about drugs, addiction or New York’s gang-infested inner city. What he did know was that the Holy Spirit could destroy any stronghold, even one as insidious as drug addiction.

Christianity-Islam

Radically Changed

One of the highlights of my life is the time I put flowers on the grave of a man I had never met. I first heard this man's name—Samuel Zwemer—in the 1980s during a class at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the oldest and most prestigious Muslim university in the world, sometimes called the "brain of Islam."

My professor taught us that throughout history Christians had attempted to destroy Islam. He reminded us of the bloody battles Christians had waged against the Islamic world during the 200 years of the Crusades. He pointed out the Western colonialism that had been practiced from the late 1700s to the mid-1900s.

"Now Christians have a new strategy to defeat Islam," he added. This strategy was embodied in the name and picture I saw in my textbook: that of Samuel Zwemer.

The Flesh Is Weak


The night before Jesus was crucified, He gathered the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane and made just one request: "All of you must keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41, The Amplified Bible). It seemed like such a simple thing--all the disciples had to do was stay awake and pray.

Jesus told the disciples to pray with Him because He wanted to prepare them for the trial that was coming. But they kept falling asleep.

Jesus, on the other hand, did pray, and as He did, an angel strengthened Him in spirit, enabling Him to endure the cross. The disciples didn't pray--they slept--and proved that the flesh truly is weak.

This is why prayer is so important. As Christians, many of us have the idea that everything in our lives will be perfect simply because we are Christians. But Jesus clearly warned us, "In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you]" (John 16:33).

That's not to say we should be negative. But we need to be realistic and understand that very few things in life are perfect. Jesus said we would have to deal with temptation, tribulation, trials, distress and frustration. These things are part of life on this earth--for the believer as well as the unbeliever.

When temptation comes, our spirit is willing to do what is right, but our flesh will not help us. Our flesh will pull us under if we don't pray and ask God to strengthen us in spirit and to circumcise our hearts to resist temptation.

Crucifying the flesh is never a particularly enjoyable experience, but as followers of Christ, we are called to suffer as He suffered. First Peter 4:1 tells us, "So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God]."

It is important to understand the difference between suffering in the flesh and suffering demonic affliction. Giving up the selfish appetites of our flesh does not mean we are to suffer from sickness, disease and poverty. Jesus died to deliver us from the curse of sin. But unless we are willing to suffer in the flesh, we will never walk in the will of God.

The apostle Paul wrote, "But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]" (1 Cor. 9:27).

Paul is speaking here about self-discipline. Self-discipline is keeping ourselves going in the right direction without being pressured by someone else.

The problem is that somehow we have gotten the wrong idea that everything in life is supposed to be easy. We need to be people who are self-motivated and self-disciplined. We must do what is right because it is right, not because someone is forcing us to comply.

When we get up in the morning, we should set our thoughts on walking in God's will all day long. We might even say to ourselves, "Even if I need to suffer in order to do God's will today, I purpose in my mind and heart to be obedient."

Remember--even in the face of our suffering, there is hope, for Christ has overcome the world! Paul wrote, "Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer" (Rom. 12:12). Decide ahead of time that you will face each day with the determination to please God, whether your flesh is willing or not.


Joyce Meyer is an internationally recognized minister and author of more than 60 books.
Title: Very Important

Why So Many Titles?

Our focus must be on the development of character and skills--not on titles and status!

cross-sky-public-domain

Up Close and Personal

When Jesus died on the cross, He opened the way for us to get personal with almighty God. 

Ask any believer if spending regular quality time with God is a challenge, and he or she will almost always say yes. We manage to make time for lots of other things—entertainment, work, school and church events—but we find it difficult to spend daily time in fellowship with God by praying, worshiping and reading His Word.

I too experienced this difficulty until God taught me a valuable lesson on crisis management. I used to spend time with God once in a while or when my life was in big trouble. Then the Lord told me to seek Him continuously, or diligently. Eventually I learned that if I ever wanted to stop living from one emergency to the next, I needed to seek God every day as if I were in desperate need of Him—even during times of tremendous prosperity and blessing.

The Servant Leader

Jesus overturned every worldly idea about power when He introduced the concept of servant leadership.

To the Jew First

On Pentecost, it was Jewish men and women who first received Jesus as their Messiah.
woman-prayer-comfort-small

Enjoyable Prayer

God is going to fill the church with enjoyable prayer that is refreshing and invigorating.

I probably know more about boring, unanointed prayer than any other person on Earth—or I ought to. I've engaged in enough of it during my lifetime! Though I have felt called for more than 20 years to be a person of prayer, it was not until recently that I learned the true secret to a successful prayer life.

I started searching for the secret in my college days, but it eluded me. I read books on prayer and the deeper life in God, but when it got down to actually praying, I was an absolute failure.

The Power of One

Individual Christians have played extraordinary roles in the spread of the gospel.

Early in my Christian walk (which began more than three decades ago), I recall hearing the phrase, "One plus God is a majority." The idea behind this was that Christians should never be discouraged by numerical or other odds ranged against them because, with God, not only are all things possible, but also ordinary worldly reckonings of who will or won't succeed are often overturned.

Later, as some prominent figures in the charismatic movement began behaving in odd ways, Christian teaching began to focus once more—correctly—on the need for both general laity and leaders to be accountable to oversight through a pastor or some sort of board of elders.

Soul Survivor

I spent 39 days as a participant on the reality show Survivor. I didn’t walk away with $1 million dollars, but I learned some lessons about myself and God.

Taking Risks for The Word

Quietly and without fanfare, Bible translators risk their lives to provide unreached tribes and subcultures with God's Word. This is their amazing story.

Fatal Attraction

Celebrities and business leaders are praising self-help guru Rhonda Byrne’s book The Secret. Don’t be deceived—her message about “the law of attraction” is full of New Age deception.

The Jungle Is Still His Home

Missionary Bruce Olson, known as BRUCHKO to those who read about his adventures, has given most of his life to Colombia's Motilone Indians.

The Harvest is Ready

In past seasons, Christians understood GOD'S VISION for SPIRITUAL HARVEST. We could lose A GENERATION if we don't reclaim this forgotten promise.
people feet walking

Learn to Walk in Consistent Victory

To walk in consistent victory, you must develop a spirit of faith and persevere in that spirit. Gloria Copeland shares how. 

Can I Get A Witness?

Just outside your door are countless unbelievers who need to hear the gospel. What's preventing you from reaching them?

Twilight of Christian Europe

In Sweden, France and other countries, governments are harassing churches. Believers there could be just a few steps away from serious persecution.
Charisma — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit