GOING TO GETHSEMANE

David Wilkerson
August 10, 2016

Peter’s bold faith enabled him to walk on water to get to Jesus on the sea. But when Peter saw the waves rising around him, he began to sink, and suddenly this fearless disciple panicked and cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30).

Jesus reached out and caught Peter, saying to him, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (14:31). Make no mistake; Christ was not wearing a smile when He spoke these words to Peter. He was deeply grieved over His close friend’s unbelief and was demanding, “Why did you doubt Me, Peter? Am I not the Almighty Lord?”

 

DON’T WAIT FOR A CRISIS

Like Peter, we may move boldly in faith for years before a crisis comes that causes us to fix our eyes on our condition. Worsening circumstances can cause a sense of panic to overtake us, and we think we are going to sink. Yet, all the time God is within our reach.

I asked the Holy Spirit to show me how to move unbelief out of my life, praying, “Lord, how do I cast this mountain out of my heart? How do I rid my soul of everything that hinders Your miracle-working power?” He whispered to me: “If you want authority over every doubt and fear, there is a place you must go.”

 

THE PLACE FOR ANSWERS

The answer is found in only one place: Gethsemane.

Gethsemane was the garden where Jesus went to pray when His trial became crushing and His cup overwhelmed Him (see Matthew 26:36-46).

  • He wept out His deepest sorrows before the Father
  • He won the battle over every evil principality and power
  • It is where all obstacles must obey His Word

You may have to meet Him at a place of tears but you will come into victory. 

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THAT MOUNTAIN CAN MOVE

David Wilkerson
August 9, 2016

“Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23).

Jesus said it is possible for us to move the mountain before us, but it is accomplished only by faith! He gives the glorious promise that whatever we desire, when we pray and believe, we will receive. Can you believe it?

 

DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE?

In my years in ministry, I have observed that very few Christians believe that such a supernatural work can occur. In fact, you may say, “I have tried this and it didn’t work for me. I prayed in faith and I believed but my prayer wasn’t answered.”

I remember a new pastor coming to me confessing his addiction to pornography. This young man loved God and loved his wife, and they enjoyed a good marriage. But he got hooked on pornography and was unable to shake himself loose from it. It began to rob him of all his spiritual strength, and even though he prayed earnestly, he had not been delivered.

 

FULLNESS IN CHRIST

This young man’s problem was not just an addiction but unbelief. He did not accept that God answers prayer, and his unbelief stood before him like a looming mountain, impassable and immovable. And it was severely hindering the fullness that was his in Christ.

The good news is that this pastor came into a better understanding of how to exercise his faith, he weathered his storm, and he came into a wonderful place of victory in the Lord.

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GREATER WORKS

Gary Wilkerson
August 8, 2016

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).

What does Jesus mean when He says we will do greater works than those He performed? We find a key in the last phrase of this verse: “Because I am going to the Father.” What exactly happened because Jesus ascended to the Father just after His death?

  • The earth literally trembled
  • Graves opened and the dead emerged to life
  • Jesus preached the good news to the dead in Hades

And then Jesus did this for us: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” (14:16).

By going to the Father, Jesus would save all who called upon Him. He would provide resurrection life and fill His followers with His very own presence through the Holy Spirit. All He did in the brief time after His death added up to this: He made us one with God. That could only happen “because I am going to the Father.”

This explains the greater works Christ said we would do. In our flesh we tend to think of “greater works” on the same scale as Jesus’ awesome miracles:

  • Feeding vast throngs with a few leftovers
  • Walking on water
  • Performing amazing demonstrations of healing power

But Jesus showed us what that “greater work” is: bringing the light of His gospel—the saving, delivering, life-transforming gospel—to the world.

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AN INCREDIBLE PROMISE

Carter Conlon
August 6, 2016

Psalm 37:25 is an incredible promise to those of us who have been appointed to live in an anti-Christian time in history! “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” The righteous have never been forsaken, and I assure you that you will not be the exception!

Of course, it is important to note that the key to this promise hangs on the word “righteous.”  When you and I came to Christ, we were given what the Bible calls imputed righteousness. The best way I can explain this is through the parable of the prodigal son (see Luke 15). The Bible tells us that this boy took his inheritance and went far away from his father, in the same way many of us strayed from God in our early years. He ended up in a place of famine and heartache, doing things he never believed he would be capable of. And although he knew he had no merit, one day he just got up and started to return home. To his surprise, when he got close to home, his father ran to meet him—embracing him and covering him with the finest robe in the house.

In the same way, when you decided to return to God, God met you. He embraced you and covered you with the finest robe—the blood that Jesus shed on a cross two thousand years ago.  God cleansed you and gave you a righteousness that you did not earn.

In the parable, the covering came with a ring, representing the power that the son would need in order to be the ambassador his father was calling him to be. He also was given a pair of shoes—implying that his righteousness would involve a journey. He was not called to merely stand on the road and look good and clean. No, he was called to go on a journey with his father!

 

Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. 

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THE HARDEST PART OF FAITH

David Wilkerson
August 5, 2016

On his way home after a great military victory, King Asa of Judah was intercepted by a prophet. This man did not come to congratulate Asa but to give him a warning: “As long as you rely on the Lord, fully trusting Him, you will be blessed. He will walk with you and give you victory after victory. But if you turn away from Him, trusting in your flesh, you will have disorder and chaos in every area of your life” (see 2 Chronicles 15:1-6).

 

A GLORIOUS TIME

Asa took this message to heart and walked faithfully with the Lord for thirty-six years. During that time, God greatly blessed Judah. It was a wonderful, glorious time to live in that land but after all those years, another crisis came. The backslidden king who ruled Israel (which had divided itself from Judah) launched an attack on Asa. He captured Ramah, a town just five miles from Judah’s capital, Jerusalem, cutting off that vital trade route to the city. If something didn’t happen quickly, Judah’s entire economy would collapse.

 

FEAR AND PANIC

This time, King Asa moved in fear. Instead of trusting the Lord, he turned for help to a notorious enemy, the king of Syria. Unbelievably, Asa stripped Judah’s treasury of all its wealth and offered it to the Syrians to deliver Judah. It was an act of absolute unbelief.

It is often said that the hardest part of faith is the last half hour. The fact is, God already had put into motion his plan to deliver Judah, but Asa aborted that plan by acting in fear and panic.

 

ANOTHER PROPHETIC WORD

Asa received another word, “Because you didn’t trust the Lord, from now on you will have wars” (see 2 Chronicles 16:9). And so it was in Judah.

Acting in unbelief always brings total disorder and chaos.

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UNBELIEF IS NO LIGHT MATTER

David Wilkerson
August 4, 2016

Scripture makes clear that God does not take unbelief lightly. The New Testament gives an example of this in the story of Zacharias. In Luke 1, God promised the aging priest a miracle child, a son who would be a forerunner to the Messiah.

The angel Gabriel appeared to him, saying, “Your prayer has been heard, Zacharias. You will have a son, and you will call him John.” Zacharias, a godly, faithful servant who had prayed his whole life for the coming of the Messiah, was burning incense in the temple when he received this news.

 

A PROMISE TOO WONDERFUL TO BELIEVE

Zacharias knew that since he and his wife were well past the age of conceiving a child, this was a heavy promise. He had to wonder, “How can this be? Elisabeth and I are both advanced in years.” He was stricken with unbelief.

Yet God did not excuse Zacharias’ lack of faith. He had no pity for his age or his service of devotion in the past. The fact is, God was not about to overlook unbelief even in such a dedicated servant. Instead, the angel told Zacharias:

“Behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season” (Luke 1:20).

This was a grievous punishment for Zacharias. His own son was going to herald the coming of the Messiah, but the priest himself would not be able to celebrate the news for the duration of his wife’s pregnancy.

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THE MOUNTAIN THAT HINDERS

David Wilkerson
August 3, 2016

From the very beginning, God sought a people who would live before Him without fear. He wanted His children to be at rest in body, soul and spirit by fully trusting in His promises. God called this “entering My rest.” So He led His people into a barren wilderness, without water, food or any source of sustenance. Giving Israel only His promise to keep them, His message to them was simply, “Have faith in Me.” He called them to place all their trust in Him to do the impossible for them.

According to the author of Hebrews, God’s people at that time never entered into His rest, because they didn’t trust in His promises (Hebrews 3:11).

In the passage about the fig tree, Jesus refers to an unnamed mountain:

“Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23).

Jesus was saying to His disciples, as well as to us today: “Unbelief in your heart is like a hindering mountain that cannot be moved. If it is not cast out, I cannot work with you.”

The fact is, Jesus was unable to perform miracles in a certain town because of the people’s unbelief:

“He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58).

The same holds true for Christ’s church today: wherever there is unbelief, He is unable to work. Unbelief is always the mountain that hinders the fullness of God’s revelation and blessing in His children. 

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A NEW DAY WAS DAWNING

David Wilkerson
August 2, 2016

Jesus was in His last days of ministry. He had just cleansed the temple, driving out the moneychangers, and now He was spending time with His disciples to prepare them as the pillars of His future church. Yet at this point they were still faithless, “slow to believe.” Jesus had chided them for their unbelief at various times, asking, “Can you not see?” He saw in their hearts a hindrance that had to be removed or they would never come into the revelation necessary to lead the church.

One day as Jesus and the disciples passed by a barren fig tree, Jesus cursed it:

“[He] said to it, ‘Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.’ And His disciples heard it” (Mark 11:14).

Later, as the group came by the fig tree again, Peter pointed out, “Lord, the fig tree You cursed has dried up.”

Without giving Peter an actual answer, Jesus said simply, “Have faith in God.” We know from Jesus’ amazing response that the message to follow was all about faith.

 

SOMETHING NEW

The withered fig tree was another of Christ’s illustrated sermons. This dried-up plant represented God’s rejection of the old religious system of works in Israel. That system was all about trying to earn salvation and God’s favor by human effort and self-will.

Something new was about to be birthed in Israel: a church in which God’s people would live totally by faith. Salvation and eternal life would come only by faith.

To this point, God’s people knew nothing of living by faith. Their religion had been all about performance: appearing for worship services, reading the Torah, keeping extensive sets of rules. Now Jesus was saying, “That old system is over, headed for judgment.” A new day was dawning: the church of faith was being birthed.

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THE FIRST UPPER ROOM

Gary Wilkerson
August 1, 2016

Whenever Christians speak of the Upper Room, they usually are referring to Pentecost. But the Bible mentions an upper room incident that occurred several weeks earlier, where the disciples had a different type of experience. This upper room was the setting for the Last Supper on the night before Christ’s death on the cross. On that evening He talked about difficult subjects:

  • The suffering He would endure
  • His approaching death
  • The fact that He was leaving His closest friends, the disciples

My father used to call this first upper room experience “being taken to the woodshed.” It’s about addressing things in our lives that aren’t honoring to God. At those times, He tells us, “You’re drifting from Me. You’ve placed your affections on earthly things and lost your first love for Me. I cannot allow you to go any further without addressing this.”

At the first upper room, Jesus wanted to deal with the mixture in His disciples’ hearts. The clearest example is Peter, who told Jesus he would follow Him to the death. The Lord challenged him on that:

“Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34).

Are you experiencing a first upper room right now? Are there things in your life you know aren’t pleasing to God? He wants to deal with them and He will not pull any punches. His response to Peter was harsh, but we know from the outcome that it was an act of love. Jesus was saying, in essence, “I know you love me, Peter, but there’s an agenda in your heart that isn’t God’s. I’m confronting it now because I don’t want it to become palatable to you. I have greater things in mind for you.”

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WE ARE GOING UP!

David Wilkerson
July 29, 2016

At the height of all his trials and difficulties, Martin Luther testified: “Lord, now that You have forgiven me all, do with me as you please.” Luther was convinced that a God who could wipe away all his sins and save his soul could certainly care for his physical body and material needs.

In essence, Luther was saying:

“Why should I fear what man can do to me? I serve a God who can cleanse me of my iniquity and bring peace to my soul. It doesn’t matter if everything around me collapses. If my God is able to save and keep my soul for eternity, why wouldn’t He be able to care for my physical body while I’m on this earth? Oh, Lord, now that I’m pardoned, forgiven, and able to stand before You on Judgment Day with exceeding great joy, do with me as You please.”

I have brought this word to you so that your soul might be anchored in Him and to prepare you for any unseen calamity in the dark days that are coming.

Dear saint, rejoice. This present life is not the ultimate reality. Our reality is eternal life in the presence of our blessed Lord. So keep the faith. Things are winding down — but we are going up!

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

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OUR CORONATION DAY

David Wilkerson
July 28, 2016

Fear is not compatible with all the wonderful relationships the Lord has proclaimed in His love for us. Throughout the Scriptures God describes all the facets of His relationship to us:

  • He is our father, our brother, our friend
  • our bridegroom, our head, our husband
  • our advocate, our kinsman-redeemer
  • our provider, our refuge, our shepherd

God has established all these glorious relationships with us through the cross and now He is urging us to know, “This is who I am to you.”

Do you think God is going to suddenly wipe out all these relationships with His people on the Day of Judgment? Never! How can a father reject his offspring in that child’s hour of accountability? Even as the Book of Life is being opened, He will still be your father, your advocate, your intercessor. Nothing can take away that relationship from you.

Fear will not be present on the day of your restitution and coronation.

“He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. . . . As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10, 12).

Our minds cannot begin to fathom how far the east is from the west. And that is God’s point in this verse: He has removed our sins beyond our capability to ever call them back.

Why am I calling God’s Day of Judgment our coronation day? It is because Isaiah says of that day:

“As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee” (Isaiah 62:5).

As you stand before your Lord then, you will recognize His eyes of love for you.

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BLAMELESS BEFORE HIM

David Wilkerson
July 27, 2016

God offers a wonderful promise to all who were guilty of horrible sins:

  • whose acts were bloodied with the stench of hell
  • who abused their bodies with alcohol, drugs, perversions, fornications
  • who gulp when they think of how close they came to falling headlong into hell

God’s promise to them is that they can stand with great joy on the Day of Judgment without a trace of fear. He pledges:

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

No matter what your past is like, God no longer sees you as you once were. Instead, you’ve been transformed into His precious, lovely, spotless Bride. He is awaiting your presence at the jubilant marriage feast.

Would a bridegroom anticipating his wedding day suddenly charge his bride with iniquity? No groom would do that. You may wonder, “But isn’t Jesus going to judge all wickedness?” Yes, He is. But the Christ you are going to meet on that day is the same Christ who has forgiven you, called you, purchased you with His own blood, cleansed you, and interceded for you all these years.

As you stand before Jesus, you are going to see Him as your husband, your redeemer, your friend, your advocate, your intercessor. And, in that moment, you are going to stand complete in Him, without fault, without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13).

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THE BOOK OF LIFE

David Wilkerson
July 26, 2016

John writes of the Judgment Day:

I saw a great white throne. . . . And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:11–12).

 

MANY BOOKS

Notice that John says there are many books as well as a book at the Judgment. The first books are records of the life of every single sinner who stands before the Judge. Every unbelieving person has a book of works being recorded in heaven and every page is a record of how he lives.

Can you imagine what it’s going to be like for a transgressor when he stands before the Lord on that day? Every thought, word and action in his life will be brought out into the open, exposed for its evil.

 

A NEW NAME

For the righteous, there will be only the Book of Life and when it is opened, we will not hear one word, one record of a single sin or failing of any of God’s people. Why? Because all our sins are covered under the blood of Jesus. The only thing that will appear in that Book will be our names; in fact, it will contain our new, heavenly names that God Himself will reveal to us.

How do our names get recorded in the Book of Life? At the moment we believe with all of our being that Jesus Christ shed His blood for us, our names are recorded. It happens as we claim the victory of His cross and determine to seek Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.

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WE MUST GO TO HIM

Gary Wilkerson
July 25, 2016

Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet” (Mark 5:22, NLT).

And we need to do that, too. As Christians, Jesus resides in our hearts, but even so we need to go to Him on our knees, reaching out to Him in our desperation.

If you don’t know Jesus, I can tell you that He loved you even though you rebelled against Him to live a selfish life. He died for your sins and rose again on the third day; the Bible declares it as truth and more than five hundred witnesses saw Him.

There was proof that Jesus rose again on the third day and now He is alive forevermore. If you receive Him into your heart, you can be forgiven of all your sins and have a fresh start. The Bible says that old things have passed away and all things have become new (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Today you can run from where you are and fall at His feet just as Jairus did. You might be stuck in a cycle of religion — just going to church, going through the empty motions — but you can run  to Jesus in your desperation and say, “Jesus, I cry out to You for faith that comes by hearing the Word of God.”

That is the gospel in a nutshell and you can receive Him as your Lord and Savior today! 

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FAITH THAT REACHES OUT

Claude Houde
July 23, 2016

Abraham was a man whose life was consumed by a faith that reaches out. He knew that faith without works is dead (see James 2:17). Genesis 14:11-16 uses simple yet clear words to reveal the scope and beauty of his decision when he learned that Lot and his family had been taken captive and had lost everything. “As soon as Abraham learned this . . . he brought three hundred eighteen of his bravest servants and they pursued the oppressors. . . . They brought back Lot, his brother, their possessions, as well as their wives and children” (14:14-16).

It is important to reread each word to fully grasp the depth of what is being said here. “As soon as Abraham learned this,” he didn’t wait, look for excuses, or put it off until the next day. He did not hide behind his lack of resources nor what he didn’t have. The Apostle Paul appeals to us to make a decision when he reminds the Corinthians that when intentions are sincere, they are demonstrated not by what we don’t have, or hope to have some day, but by what we currently have available. “Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don't have” (see 2 Corinthians 8:12). Help someone today with what you do have. Faith that reaches out simply refuses to continue saying, “No!”

Abraham, armed with three hundred eighteen of his bravest servants” — it is interesting to notice here that the exact number is mentioned. I profoundly believe that God knows each believer who helps those who suffer, but also every believer or church who chooses to do nothing. There are several specific moments in Scripture where God seems to want us to know with infinite precision that each person counts. For instance, in Nehemiah 3 we see the meticulous listing of those who miraculously rebuilt the walls that had been torn down.

Dear reader, this is faith that reaches out. This type of sacrifice opens up the heavens and produces the supernatural. We read these words in the story of Abraham as a prophetic promise for all who turn toward someone who is hurting, who is held captive or in need: After these events, “the Word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision with these words: Don’t be afraid, Abraham, I will be your defender myself. I will protect you and your reward will be so great!” (Genesis 15:1).

 

Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.

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