Tested by Our Falls and Failing
David Wilkerson (1931-2011)
Our failures constantly test us. I do not mean that Christians who fall back into old sins and turn back to the world are being tested. No, those believers face a shipwreck of faith. I am talking about believers who are growing in holiness and are set on following the Lord. Peter gave them a warning: “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked” (2 Peter 3:17 NKJV).
Some of you may have taken a fall in spite of all the progress you’ve made with the Lord. For example, maybe you’ve had a family disagreement. You may say, “It was a fit of anger. I was provoked by my own family, and I blew up. I can’t understand it. I thought I was becoming a little sweeter, a little more like Jesus, but somebody pushed the wrong button, and I lost it. I’m only human.”
It doesn’t matter that you were provoked or even that you were in the right. The provoking simply proved you need deliverance. Scripture says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).
God is going to keep testing you until you say, “I’ve got a spirit in me that’s got to go.” You will see no growth in Christ, no peace at home or on the job, until you can say, “You’re right, Lord. Take it out!”
If you’re being tested in this area or any other area for that matter, you may be thinking, “I feel so unworthy. How much ground have I lost? Does the Lord still love me?”
Friend, if you have truly repented, you haven’t lost any ground whatsoever. God puts his loving arms around you and says, “I allowed that to happen so you would see what is in your heart, but be assured that you’re making progress. You have said you want to walk with me, and I am teaching you. I know what is inside of you and will allow you to be provoked until you are free.”
Are you being tested? If so, pray, “Lord, you have put your finger on some areas in me that need to change. Help me make those changes and encourage me that I’m not going backward. I’m going forward with you!”
A Faith that Ventures Forth
David Wilkerson (1931-2011)
Nothing honors God more than trusting him in the face of difficulties. How quickly we forget the miracles and past blessings. In Psalm 106, Israel testified about the incredible miracle as the Red Sea caved in upon the Egyptian army, drowning every soldier. “The waters covered their enemies; there was not one of them left. Then they believed his words; they sang his praise” (Psalm 106:11-12, NKJV). Sadly, the next words that follow are “They soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel” (Psalm 106:13).
We cannot trust our faith to past experiences; we are too forgetful, and recall is too fragile. It is the wise person who knows that past experience alone will not be enough to strengthen them in present difficulties. We need fresh faith that is anchored in a daily supply of the Word of God.
Giving God your will and your worries requires a “venturing” faith that is a commitment of all things into his caring hands. It necessitates our going out of our comfort zone and relinquishing control to him. Each time, we must launch out into the deep and cast every care upon him.
You don’t have to read far in the Word to find inspiring examples of venturing faith. Hannah, childless and despondent, prayed daily for a child (see 1 Samuel 1:1-20). She persisted with God through her hopelessness and was rewarded with a son named Samuel, the great prophet who anointed King David. Hebrews 11 gives us a long list of those who walked by faith. Their mind-boggling stories remind us that our struggle is not a solitary one, which should both humble and uplift us. “And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises…escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Hebrews 11:32-34). Such radical faith!
Every day brings opportunities to venture farther in our walk with God and develop fresh faith for the journey. Make it your daily priority to lean on him when you’re in trouble. His utter sufficiency and strength will sustain you without fail. You can count on it.
Shame: A Blessing and a Curse
Shame is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.” Feeling ashamed can take us in one of two directions: restitution and redemption or perpetual defeat. It can be a force for good that leads to healthy living, or it can knock you down and keep you there.
Let’s consider today how guilt and shame can work together to become a strength that propels us forward. For example, we see King David who, at the height of his power, blew it in a spectacular way. Married himself, he seduced Bathsheba, wife of the mighty military leader Uriah the Hittite. When Bathsheba became pregnant, David sent Uriah into battle to be killed so he could marry Bathsheba and cover up his sin. The beloved psalmist, shepherd and now King fell far and fast, doing incalculable damage to his family.
God’s response to this sordid drama was to send the prophet Nathan to confront David, and confront he did. As recounted in 2 Samuel 12, Nathan bluntly conveyed the Lord’s displeasure and harsh judgment: the child would die.
This is where things could have ended badly. David could have waved Nathan away and hardened his heart against God, but he instead owned his guilt. He bowed his head in shame and repented, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13, NKJV). The boy who had communed with God in the Judean hills knew that God cherishes a repentant heart. As we read in Psalm 51, after his meeting with Nathan he poured out his soul in repentance and thanksgiving. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). This is our perfect model for approaching God when we have sinned.
Redemptive shame carries us through failure into restoration. Its hallmark is an understanding that God views us with kindness and mercy, and that he always has our good in mind. His passion is always to draw us back into intimacy with him. Our contrition freely given is the catalyst for that restored relationship and for genuine, long-term, healthy change.
Coming Off the Mountaintop
After the mountaintop experience of the transfiguration, Jesus came down the mountain and was immediately met by a man who was in trouble (see Matthew 17:1-21).
I often have to gently let new believers know that they may be feeling on top of the world, only to get home and be assailed by unwanted thoughts or doubts about their salvation. Many times when we have enjoyed a tremendous spiritual victory, Satan is just around the corner. You go on a wonderful Christian retreat and experience the movement of the Holy Spirit, only to come home to a problem or a disaster.
Jesus came down the mountain and was met not only by a troubled father but by the demons of hell. Jesus responded, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me” (Mark 9:19, NKJV). When you first read this verse, you assume Jesus is talking to the father. However, he could be addressing the disciples or the religious leaders who were in the crowd as well. They had all failed to help the father and his son.
There’s a type of religion in the world that has no bearing on what God is able to do. It can talk about God, just as the disciples at the bottom of the mountain could do; but without faith and the power of God, it cannot make a difference in somebody’s life. The sad reality is that you can have religion and mountaintop experiences, but if you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, it will get you nowhere! You’ll come to the bottom of the mountain, and an attack will knock your feet out from under you.
When we know Jesus personally, we will find that prayer is our lifeline; it’s our method of communication and our vehicle to hear from God as well. If we ignore prayer, we will find our relationship with Christ subpar, a weakened and listless faith that does not bear fruit or transform the world around us. Prayer, combined with the Word of God, is what draws us close to the Lord and builds our faith. This is how James could later write, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. In May of 2020 he transitioned into a continuing role as General Overseer of Times Square Church, Inc.
An Anchor in the Storm
David Wilkerson (1931-2011)
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil” (Hebrews 6:19, NKJV).
The anchor referred to in this passage of scripture is hope. It is not the hope of this wicked world but rather the hope founded on God’s oath to keep, bless and govern those who trust him. It is a hope that moves us past the veil, which represents our shallow faith, into walking confidently in Christ.
This hope alone is our anchor in the storm falling on the earth at this present time. The writer of Hebrews admonished, “Do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12).
God made an oath to the “heirs of promise,” all who are in Christ. He vowed to end all strife, all doubts, so that “…we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18). God has sworn to fulfill his promises, and it is impossible for him to lie. He kept his word to Abraham; he will keep his word to you as you trust him.
We need strong consolation in these times. Sometimes a pat on the back or a platitude aren’t enough. God knew that there would be moments when we needed to feel his firm hand holding ours, pulling us back from the brink of unbelief and despair. This chapter in Hebrews holds us fast and anchors us to God’s promises.
After all is said and done and all the sermons on hope have been preached, it comes down to this: Are we willing to commit everything into his hands, rest in his Word and stand without wavering in the love of God? Are you fully convinced his promises will be fulfilled?
You can take that kind of faith beyond the veil into the holy of holies!
A devotion is a quiet time that you spend praying, reading God's word, and reflecting on your relationship with Him. You might also choose to sing hymns, meditate, or write in a journal during your devotion time.What does it mean to do devotions? ›
A devotion is a quiet time that you spend praying, reading God's word, and reflecting on your relationship with Him. You might also choose to sing hymns, meditate, or write in a journal during your devotion time.What are devotional activities? ›
- Listen to Christian music. Great music can really help you focus on God and His work in your life. ...
- Watch Christian music videos. ...
- Journal. ...
- Write your prayers. ...
- Memorize Scripture. ...
- Listen to Scripture. ...
- Listen to sermons. ...
- Read a devotional book.
Lord, help me trust in you for the best in everything I do because I know you have the best in stock for me and never disappoint me. You promised to take care of everything, and we should not worry; you care about me. So please, dear Lord, Take care of everything today. Amen.What are some short messages for devotional? ›
- “You're doing a great job with this!”
- “I know things have been rough lately, but you've grown so much.”
- “Thank you for all your efforts! They are greatly appreciated.”
- “You are loved and valued.”
- “Keep it up, you got this!”
Most Christians use these terms to refer to one-on-one time spent in prayer, reading the Bible, meditating and often journaling. This is the time a follower of God sets aside to grow their faith by spending time with God.How do I do devotion? ›
- Choose a devotional. Using a devotional is a great way to get started and stay on track with doing daily devotions. ...
- Find a good time. In order to do devotions well, you need time to focus, read, and reflect on your study. ...
- Sit down and read carefully. ...
- Make it a habit.
- sādhu-saṅga, nāma-kīrtana, bhāgavata-śravaṇa.
- mathurā-vāsa, śrī-mūrtira śraddhāya sevana.
- In this verse from Chaitanya Caritamrta (Madhya Lila 22.128), Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is instructing Srila Santana Goswami about the process of devotional service.
- Hearing (sravanam)
- Chanting (kirtanam)
- Remembering (visnhu smaranam)
- Serving the Lords lotus feet (pada sevanam)
- Deity Worship (arcanam)
- Praying (vandanam)
- Carrying out the orders of the Lord (dasyam)
- Becoming friends with Him (sakhyam)
Examples include pilgrimages, novenas, processions and celebrations in honor of Mary and the other saints, the rosary, the Angelus, the Stations of the Cross, the veneration of relics, and the use of sacramentals.
We've defined the primary types of prayer: supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, confession, and intercession.What are the 3 daily prayers? ›
Observant Jews recite the Amidah at each of three daily prayer services in a typical weekday: morning (Shacharit), afternoon (Mincha), and evening (Ma'ariv).What is the shortest most powerful prayer? ›
The Prophet Muhammed ﷺ said: “My Dear Uncle, ask Allah for Afiyah for Wallahi, you cannot be given anything better than Afiyah.” It is a simple Dua, Sincerely mean what you say while praying. “O Allah, I ask You to be saved from any Distress, Grief, Hardship, Harm, and don't test me, etc.”What is a good devotional scripture? ›
28 Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him. 29 Let him bury his face in the dust— there may yet be hope. 30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace. 31 For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.
Prayer for a New Day
Dear Lord, This morning as I contemplate a new day, I ask you to help me. I want to be aware of your spirit—leading me in the decisions I take, the conversations I have, and the work I do. I want to be more like you, Jesus, as I relate to the people I meet today—friends or strangers.
Father in heaven, I stand before You today in Your omnipotent presence to ask that You grant me strength. I want You to give me the strength to power through all of the tasks today — whether little or big. It is by Your will that I live oh Lord. And I know it is also by Your will I will not go weak today.How long should a devotional be? ›
Devotionals are usually short. In written form, on average, they may be anywhere from 150–450 words. Be specific yet precise with your writing. Make every word count.What is daily devotional prayer? ›
A daily devotional provides a reading for every day of the year. They have a format, purpose, and provide a time for daily prayer and meditation. Devotionals Provide a Format. Most devotionals contain a simple, but powerful format. For example, the Today devotional begins with a scripture reference.What are the three forms of devotion? ›
Atma-Bhakti: devotion to the one's atma (Supreme Self) Ishvara-Bhakti: devotion to a formless being (God, Cosmic Lord) Ishta Devata-Bhakti: devotion to a personal God or goddess.How do beginners do devotions? ›
- Write down Bible verses or phrases that stick out to you. Whether you choose to read Scripture or a daily devotional (such as Today), find words that capture your attention and write them down. ...
- Reflect, write, and apply. ...
- Write a prayer. ...
- Set spiritual goals. ...
- Get creative. ...
- Keep up with it.
The first step towards devotion is to keep company of the saintly because saints are the models of human excellence.How do you start a devotion prayer? ›
A Simple Opening Prayer
Father God, we gather here today under your care and protection. Thank you for your lovingkindness that never fails us. We thank you for those with us, that you would guide our thoughts and actions to bring you glory. Strengthen us and fill us with your peace.
Choose a Scripture According to Context
In order for your devotional to be powerful, its scriptural basis must be faithful to the truth it communicates. As you study the passage, examine it in context. Does it stand alone out of context and still convey biblical truth? If you can answer yes, then use it.
Devotion is time that is set aside to spend time with the Lord. Time spent in the word and worship allows for an individual to increase their relationship with the Creator of All.What are the 6 principles of devotional service? ›
There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such as śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam—hearing, chanting and remembering Kṛṣṇa], (5) abandoning the association of ...How do I set up a daily devotional? ›
- 1) Pick a time of day. Start your daily devotional habit during a time when you won't be distracted. ...
- 2) Pick a place. ...
- 3) Pick a book. ...
- 4) Look for some Scripture. ...
- 5) Settle in community. ...
- 6) Keep it up. ...
- 7) Give thanks.
These are, shravana, kirtana, smarana, pada-sevana, archana, vandana, dasya, sakhya and atma-nivedana. Shravana is listening to the divine name, the lila's or sports of the Lord, the stories of saints, as these may orient one's mind towards spirituality.What are the 2 types of devotion? ›
Devotion is of two types, conditional and unconditional.What is a simple prayer to say? ›
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”What are the 4 main prayers? ›
- Prayer of Blessing and Adoration (praising God)
- Prayer of Petition (asking for what we need, including forgiveness)
- Prayer of Intercession (asking for what others need)
- Prayer of Thanksgiving (for what God has given and done)
They are based on a well-known format: A.C.T.S. = adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.What is the most common prayer in the world? ›
The most common prayer among Christians is the "Lord's Prayer", which according to the gospel accounts (e.g. Matthew 6:9-13) is how Jesus taught his disciples to pray.What 3 things to say 33 times after prayer? ›
"Allahu Akbar", "Al-hamdulillah" and "SubhanAllah" are recited 33 times each.What is the most basic prayer? ›
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.What is Jesus most famous prayer? ›
The Lord's Prayer
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
This prayer, known in Latin as Sub tuum Praesidium and first found in a Greek papyrus, c. 300 A.D., is the oldest known prayer to the Virgin.What is the powerful prayer that never fails? ›
The most effective prayer, the one that is always answered, is this: “Father, glorify Your name.” “Answer my cry, O Lord, in a way that will accomplish Your will, for Your will is good, acceptable, and perfect. It is best for You, and therefore best for me and any others who may be affected by this prayer.What does the Bible say about devotions? ›
Personal devotions help us grow in spiritual maturity. God promises that if we seek him with all our heart and soul, we will find him (Deuteronomy 4:29). And Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV).What does it mean to pray with devotion? ›
It means to continually and steadfastly pray without ceasing. We need more than a prayer list we need a prayer life! We must take prayer seriously and not casually. Paul gives us four marks of devoted prayer.What does devotion with God mean? ›
To be devoted means to cling to Jesus and steadfastly persevere with Him. Out of love and gratitude, we express our dedication to Him through three things: a passion to obey, a spirit of humility, and a servant's heart.
Some common synonyms of devotion are allegiance, fealty, fidelity, loyalty, and piety. While all these words mean "faithfulness to something to which one is bound by pledge or duty," devotion stresses zeal and service amounting to self-dedication.How to do daily devotion with God? ›
- Start Your Day With Him. ...
- Pray Intentionally. ...
- Write Down Things You Are Thankful For. ...
- Notice Your Complaints and Turn Them Into Praise. ...
- Enjoy God's Creation. ...
- Love Others. ...
- Love Yourself.
It reminds us of what to focus on the rest of our day. It reminds us of our priorities. It reminds us of our calling to love God and love others. It reminds of who we are in Christ and who He wants us to be.When should you do devotions? ›
There are not right or wrong time of day in doing devotions. First thing in the morning is the best time to avoid interruptions as phone calls or unexpected visitors or children awake. Always great to start your day off with time with God and it definitely makes the day go smoother.How do you worship devotion? ›
- Music, Singing and Dancing (Psalm 98:1)
- Prayer (1 Chronicles 29: 10-13)
- Creativity: Filmmaking, Writing, Painting, etc. ...
- Exercise (Romans 12:1)
- Serving Others (1 Peter 4:10)
- Giving and Sacrifice (Genesis 22 and 2 Corinthians 9:11)
- Reading His Word (1 Timothy 4:13)
Help me to keep my heart pure and undivided. Protect me from my own careless thoughts, words, and actions. And keep me from being distracted by my wants, my desires, my thoughts on how things should be. Help me to embrace what comes my way as an opportunity, rather than a personal inconvenience.How long is devotion prayer? ›
My morning devotions typically last 30 – 45 minutes but sometimes last as long as an hour or only 15 minutes.What is the 4 types of prayer? ›
Forms of prayer. The tradition of the Catholic Church highlights four basic elements of Christian prayer: (1) Prayer of Adoration/Blessing, (2) Prayer of Contrition/Repentance, (3) Prayer of Thanksgiving/Gratitude, and (4) Prayer of Supplication/Petition/Intercession.Is devotion and faith the same? ›
Faith and devotion are often spoken about together. With faith comes devotion, when we have faith, the devotion we need in order to commit to something is taken very seriously, our spiritual evolution depends upon our faith and devotion.What is Jesus devotion? ›
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is devotion to Jesus Christ Himself, but in the particular ways of meditating on His interior life and on His threefold love – His divine love, His burning love that fed His human will, and His sensible love that affects His interior life.
: religious fervor : piety. : an act of prayer or private worship.What are popular devotions? ›
Common examples of Catholic devotions include the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy Face of Jesus, the various scapulars, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Seven Sorrows of Mary, novenas to various saints, pilgrimages and devotions to the Blessed Sacrament, and ...Why is it called devotion? ›
1200, devocioun, "profound religious emotion, awe, reverence," from Old French devocion "devotion, piety" and directly from Latin devotionem (nominative devotio), noun of action from past-participle stem of devovere "dedicate by a vow, sacrifice oneself, promise solemnly," from de "down, away" (see de-) + vovere "to ...