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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Last words of David Wilkerson

I have just learned about the passing of a great man of God - David Wilkerson - who was killed in a car accident on 27 April 2011.

Not only is he known by his best-selling book, "The Cross and the Switchblade" but many including myself have been greatly blessed by his sermons and other books written by him. Also known as a prophet to America (though not considered as one by himself), his hard-hitting messages of repentance and the love of God have been instrumental in leading many to the Kingdom of God. The urgent message that he has given on an earth-shattering calamity in 2009 is still fresh in our minds.

(Click here to read the urgent message)

Apparently, he has left his last words in his last post of the Daily Devotions and may all of us who are still on this side be encouraged to hold fast to the great God whom David faithfully served. What a loving and mighty God we serve: -

“To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights, and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, “I am with you,’” Wilkerson wrote. “Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail-his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world.”

(Click here for the full post)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Be still and know...

How much do we need to come to a place of stillness - for true prayers are born from a place of rest. When our minds and our hearts are filled with cares and worries that weigh us down, we do not find ourselves soaring in prayer. Before entering into true communion with the Lord or a time of prayer, our aim is to find ourselves in a place of rest. We can only bring our petitions before His throne and nowhere else. For it is before the throne of our God that we find the unending supply of grace, mercy, provision and help in time of need. And His throne is a place of perfect peace and harmony. We draw near by tuning ourselves to the frequency of His throne by entering the place of rest - when our spirit, soul and body are are tuned to the harmony of stillness.

Firstly, "be still" is a call to our souls to be real. Come with all the burdens, cares and perplexing thoughts that trouble us. Come with our hearts in sincerity and release the burdens at the feet of Jesus. We are exhorted to cast our cares upon Him for He cares for us. If we are laden with a load of care and we do not know what to do, the first step we take is to bring our cares and leave them before His feet. We unload our burdens and the things that weigh us down before His feet. Strange as it sounds, we detest departing with the things that weigh us down even though we cry out to be released from their clutches. We learn to "be still" when we choose to un-load and detach ourselves from these worries, anxieties and fears of the unknown that occupy our hearts.

Not only do distress and anxieties cloud our hearts and minds, but when we approach His throne, we may also be overwhelmed by a sense of guilt, inadequacy and sinfulness. After traversing upon the paths of the world throughout the day, we feel the effects of the dirt of the earth clinging to our feet and hands and at the same time, haunting our conscience as we draw near before the Most Holy God. Again, we hear the Spirit's clarion call beckoning us to draw near with all boldness, in full reliance of Christ's finished work at the cross despite our guilt or sense of sinfulness. Secondly, "be still" is also a call to acknowledge and see our weakness in the light of His love and holiness and yet not to cower away in fear. We overcome another hurdle into the place of stillness and rest when we cling on the redemptive work of Christ on the cross with all our heart and mind and find the strength to speak to our tainted souls - be still for you are washed and cleansed by the Divine blood of the Son of God.

We are now inching closer to the place of rest and stillness. The place of His glorious Presence - the place of revelation, power and glory. It must not be too far away now. We now encounter an enemy so familiar in its appearance that we are not aware of its schemes and strategies. This enemy comes in many shapes and forms. Spiritual apathy, sloth and distraction are just to name a few examples of its manifestations. We are so close to the promised rest yet it seems so far when we find ourselves indifferent to His wooing and bidding. Just when we are hard pressed at every side and we know that the answer lies in coming before Him but it seems that there are so many things to do than to be still before Him. The works of the flesh begin to rear its ugly head and we give in uncompromisingly each time to its demands. This is when we keep postponing coming before His Presence in stillness and wait upon the King of Kings or find ourselves too lazy to draw near or carried away by distractions in our minds or engrossed with too many external activities. The Psalmist cried out in Psalm 27:8, when You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek” There is such swiftness to respond to the Spirit's wooing and bidding. Thirdly, we learn to "be still" when we choose to crucify the flesh and its demands and yield to the higher life of Christ within us. The Apostle Paul revealed in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

We are confronted with different hurdles each time when we choose to enter into the place of rest. There are times when we encounter one of the three hurdles mentioned above and there are times when all three become so apparent standing in the way to God's promised rest. Praise be to our God for we despair not - with the call comes the divine enablement. When we are desirous to draw near to our Savior and Friend, the one called alongside, our Divine Counsellor will prod us along with encouragement and strenghten us along the way. The key to accessing His help is in dying to ourselves and yielding to Him - a choice we make each moment.

When we are ushered into the place of His rest, indeed what joy it brings to our souls. A place of enlightenment, a place of revelation and a place of divine exchange. It is a place where we exchange our weakness for His strength and we receive His power to accomplish that which we are shown to do. Even in this place, oftentimes many are tempted to just bask in the wonderful feelings and the wonderful ambience of the place but the complete verse of the title of this post goes on to tell us, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" This is a place where we know our God as He is. When we have come to the place of rest and stillness, we receive His divine revelation and just like Jesus, we can begin to do the things we see the Father doing. This is a place where divine strategies are released and the Father's secrets are shared with His bride. And this is the place of prophetic intercession - the most effectual form of prayer that we can embark, that is when we pray in accordance with the heartbeat of God.

Let's take time to be still each day and enter into the place of divine rest for true prayers are indeed born from a place of rest. On a practical note, it is imperative for us to set a time and place each day - to be still before Him and to draw near before His throne. There are "accessories" that can help us when we begin to embark on this journey. Soft, worship (or soaking) music in the background helps to tune our souls to be still. The scriptural exhortation of entering His gates with thanksgiving and praise is another key that will bring us to His throne. Similarly, the grace of reading and meditating upon His word can be used to set our soul and spirit in tune with the frequency of His throne (not discounting the importance of reading, meditating and studying the Word of God as a separate exercise in our walk with the Lord). Do you hear the Spirit of the Lord whispering in your ears, "Seek My Face..." Let us come and be still before the Lord and tell Him, "Your face, Lord I will seek."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A call to prayer

I believe the Spirit of the Lord is sounding a trumpet call to prayer to His people all over the world. This is not a call relevant to Malaysia only but a call to nations across the globe. If you're reading this now, God is speaking to you in the place and country you're from. This is not just a call to prayer for a specific agenda initiated by man, be it in the political or socio-economic sphere. This is a time where God is birthing His plans and purposes in this kairos season through His praying bride. Oftentimes, we are motivated to pray for certain pressing situations, for e.g. an impending elections or the happening of a certain event around our lives, etc. - in which all these are valid reasons to pray and are not wrong in themselves. But there are times when our short-sightedness blurs our spiritual vision of God's plan and purposes in this hour. Putting all the events of what our natural eyes see aside, we should be still and enquire of the Lord of His plans and purposes for this hour in our lands - be it in Africa, America, Europe, Asia or any nations throughout all the continents of the world.

The Lord seeks for a company of His people who would wait before His Presence for His directives and be the vessels whom He can birth His Kingdom on earth - through prayer. Yes, through prayer. We would like to think of a thousand and one thing which we can do to bring forth His Kingdom on this earth but not prayer. When God desires to accomplish His work He will seek for a company of praying people. And now is the time where His eyes are seeking whom He can share and release His heart's desires, i.e. His heartbeat so that His desires shall be birthed into reality through the prayer of the saints. I am reminded of the account of a man named Simeon in Luke 2. Here was a man waiting, praying and believing that he would live to see the birth of the Father's desire - the promised Messiah in his lifetime and true enough, he lived not just to see but also to hold in his hands the Messiah and released a dynamic prophecy to Mary. Just like in the account of the creation of this world, when the Spirit of the Lord was hovering over the waters, once again the Spirit of the Lord is hovering over His people. There are many who have heard this call and responded in the secret place whilst there are some who have grown weary and the vision has become blurred. He is blowing a fresh wind to awaken His desires within His people now. Strength is being released for His vessels to align themselves for the birthing of kingdom purposes even in this hour. This is an initiative from His throne and He who has begun a work in us will bring the same unto completion in Christ Jesus.

The enemies of God's kingdom and His plans are tirelessly forming hindrances and oppositions in the form of distractions amongst the people of God. And distractions are what they truly are - distracting and steering our vision, our strength, our focus and our being away from that which is important - that which God desires to accomplish through our lives. Have we been distracted? How are we spending our time? Are we rightly dividing our time prioritizing kingdom business ahead of the rest? Are we being swayed by what the media tells us as the "breaking news of the hour"? Are we guilty of aimelessly jumping into the bandwagon of the latest spiritual fad in town? How we need to read and meditate afresh the familiar verse in Matthew 6:33 - But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

How do we respond to this call to prayer? It is a time to set apart time and place to pray. As led by the Spirit of God, gather with like-minded saints to pray and wait before the Lord. It's not business as usual. Perhaps, we should also discard our ritualistic forms of prayer when we approach God if there is no life in them. Just gather with the believers or come before His throne by yourself and be still. Ask for His light to shine in our hearts and begin to open our hearts and pour out our hearts before the our Merciful God and Father. A time to humble ourselves and call upon the Lord. A time to repent of our prayerlessness and other wicked ways as the Spirit of the Lord shines His light in our hearts. This is indeed the first step we can take as we choose to respond to the Spirit's wooing. We will look into other aspects of prayer in the coming days but for now, let's not delay responding to His divine call to prayer.