Friday, February 24, 2012

Pursuing God in the Dead of Winter

How hot is your spiritual passion when it’s 40 degrees below zero outside?

Because I grew up in Georgia’s sweltering humidity and I now live in Florida’s year-round sunshine, I am not fond of cold weather. I’d rather go barefoot in the sand than trudge through snow in heavy boots. To me, it’s “cold” when I have to wear anything heavier than a T-shirt and shorts, or if I have to cover the Sago palm in my front yard with a plastic sheet on a chilly Florida evening.

But because I told God a long time ago I would go wherever He sends me, I ended up in the Canadian city of Saskatoon two weeks ago. It was minus 40 degrees F on my first night there. Snow was piled everywhere, and the Saskatchewan River was frozen solid, yet my hosts told me this was a “mild” winter. Locals, who start their cars 10 minutes before going anywhere to warm their engines, joke that there are four seasons in Saskatchewan: “Almost winter,” “winter,” “still winter” and “road construction.”

“God honors spiritual hunger because it is a sign of humility. He does not reveal Himself to casual inquirers; He looks for fervent pursuers—people who are willing to go the extra mile to find Him.”

We had a renewal service planned for a Friday night, and I wondered if anyone would be brave enough to venture out in that freezing weather. (I would have hibernated until late March.) But not only did these people from Saskatoon come to receive a word from God, one pastor and his family drove from a town three hours north.

As I was preparing for the meeting that afternoon, I felt the Lord told me that a “desperate pastor” was coming to the service. I prayed in the Holy Spirit, not knowing how I could help this person or what he or she was battling. All I knew was that God cared very much about the situation.

The people who came that night were so excited about Jesus that I forgot about the cold outside. After I preached I began to share some words of prophetic encouragement with different individuals in the congregation. And then at the right time I mentioned what God had told me earlier: “There is a pastor here tonight who really needs a touch from God.”

Tyler and his wife, Debra, were already standing near the front of the church. When they raised their hands I called them forward, and I asked the host pastors, Brent and Barb, to lay their hands on them. We held Tyler’s arms in the air and I began to prophesy about the new strength and joy God was releasing into their situation. The enemy had been warring against this couple, and trying to discourage them. But that night the Lord aimed His spotlight at them and reminded them of His unbreakable promises.

What struck me about that night was this couple’s fierce determination to lay hold of God. Would I have driven three hours in 40 below weather?

I’ve seen this kind of tenacious faith in other parts of the world. When I was in Uganda recently, some women walked eight miles in sweltering heat to attend a revival service. And they returned for three more days—always walking. When I visited Peru once, some indigenous people walked eight or more hours to attend a conference. And a pastor I know in Malawi rode a bus for four days to attend a week of ministry training in Kenya.

Whenever I witness this level of spiritual hunger I am convicted of my addiction to comfort. I’m so used to my suburban blessings that I can easily become spoiled and ungrateful. My lack of thankfulness can cause me to forget how much I need God every moment.

God honors spiritual hunger because it is a sign of humility. He does not reveal Himself to casual inquirers; He looks for fervent pursuers—people who are willing to go the extra mile to find Him. “You will see Me and find Me,” the Lord says, “when you search for me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13, NASB).

Just as God met my friend Tyler in the dead of winter and reheated his faith, He will do the same for you if you will take a fervent step. Don’t be smug or satisfied. Don’t let the spirit of Laodicea tell you that you are rich and in need of nothing (see Rev. 3:15-17). Ask God to make you desperate!

Let the Holy Spirit kindle a blazing passion in your heart, and determine to seek the Lord no matter how cold the spiritual environment is around you.

J. LEE GRADY is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


by David Wilkerson[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]

Jesus says in Matthew 24:44, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

A characteristic of the bride of Christ is an expectancy of His soon return.

Jesus’ bride is to live in continual, joyful expectation of His imminent return—because He may come at any moment. Jesus warned, however, that in the last days evil ministers will infiltrate the church in an effort to put the bride to sleep. They will attempt to take away her heart of love for the Bridegroom by claiming, “My master is delaying his coming” (verse 48).

This gospel is preached by those who do not want to pay the price of obeying Christ’s commands. They really do not want Jesus to come back because they have sinful habits and lead double lives; in fact, they have concocted a doctrine to justify their continuing in sin. What is the result of this false teaching? First, it ends in worldliness because those who believe it want to enjoy worldly success and prosperity.

Beloved, do not give in to this doctrine of delay! If you are a part of Jesus’ bride, you will be so lovesick for your Lord you will not be able to buy into it. Instead, you will cry out, “My Lord said I am to be ready at any moment for His return. I know He is near—I can sense it. My heart cries out
within me, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom is coming!’”

The early church was wide awake, heeding Jesus’ words. Their lamps were trimmed and burning, and they had a good supply of oil. Peter summed up the spirit of the early church this way: “Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God . . . nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:12-13). Likewise, Paul said: “[We are] eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7).

Monday, February 20, 2012


by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).

The disciples were twelve men beloved of God—precious in His eyes, full oflove for His Son, pure of heart, in full communion with Jesus. Yet they had dirt on their feet!

Jesus, in essence, was saying to these men, “Your hearts and hands are clean, but your feet are not. They have become dirty in your daily walk with Me. You do not need your whole body to be washed—only your feet.” The dirt Jesus mentions here has nothing to do with natural dirt. It is about sin—our faults and failures, our giving in to temptations.

No matter how dusty and dirty the roads were in ancient Jerusalem, no age has ever been as filthy as ours. I wonder how many of you reading this message right now have some dirt clinging to you.

Perhaps this past week you fell into a temptation or failed God in some way. It is not that you have turned your back on the Lord. On the contrary, you love the Savior more passionately than ever, but you fell and now you are grieving—because your feet are dirty.

Scripture tells us: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). The Greek word for trespass here means “a fall, a sin.” We are to restore every Christian who falls into sin
if there is a repentant heart.

Foot washing, in its deepest meaning, has to do with our attitude about the dirt we see on our brother or sister. So I ask you: What do you do when you are face to face with someone who has fallen into a sin or transgression?

We are to take up the towel of God’s mercy and go to that hurting one. In the special love of Jesus we are not to judge him, expose him, lecture or find fault. Instead we are to commit to being his friend. We are to help him come to salvation by sharing the correcting, healing, washing, comforting Word of God.