Be Ye Holy

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Three months after Israel left Egypt, they arrived at the base of Mt. Sinai and set up camp. Moses climbed the rugged mountain to commune with the Lord and God called to him saying, “I am going to come to you in the form of a dark cloud so the people can hear when I talk to you. Then they will always believe you. Go down and get them ready for my visit. Sanctify them.”

On the morning of the third day, an awesome thunder and lightning storm descended on Mt. Sinai. As a cloud covered the mountain and Jehovah descended in fire, the earth shook with a violent earthquake. A trumpet sounded loud and long, Moses spoke, and God answered. His message that day to Moses and the children of Israel was clear: “You shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation...” (Exodus 19:6).

Just as he did that day on Mt. Sinai, God promised to speak once more. A prophecy recorded in Hebrews says, “See that you do not refuse him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from him who speaks from heaven...'Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.'” (Hebrews 12:25-26). Today God is speaking from heaven with the same powerful message that he spoke in Moses’ day: “As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

How do we stay holy in this wicked age? Who can keep himself from being contaminated by it all? No one — in his own strength, that is. Only God has the power to keep us holy, to present us to himself a holy people without spot or wrinkle.

The God who gives us his holiness has the power to keep us in it! The safest place on earth is at the foot of the cross, humbled before God’s throne. The more wicked the times, the more we need to stay yielded to him!

Will My Prayers Ever Be Answered?

David Wilkerson

I believe in Holy Ghost timing. Our prayers will be answered, one way or another, in God’s own time. However, we are often afraid to submit our prayers to Holy Ghost scrutiny. Some of those prayers need to be purged because our faith can be misspent on requests that are not mature. We do not know how to pray “your will be done” (see Matthew 6:10). We don’t want his will as much as we want the things permitted by his will.

Abraham exercised his faith to remind himself that he was a stranger on this earth. His blessing pact produced only a tent to dwell in because he put his faith in that city “whose builder and maker is God” (see Hebrews 11:10).

Were some of these faith warriors not living in faith? Did God refuse to answer some of their prayers? After all, not all of them were delivered and not all lived to see answers to their prayers. Some were tortured. Others were “stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins…destitute, afflicted, tormented…in dens and caves of the earth…” (see Hebrews 11:36-38).

Some who had a reputation for having great faith “did not receive the promise” (see Hebrews 11:39). Those who did receive the promise used their faith to work righteousness, to gain strength in times of weakness and to put the enemy to flight.

Don’t worry about whether God will grant your request, and don’t depend on faith formulas and methods. Commit every prayer to Jesus with confidence. Say, “He is all I need. He will answer in his time and in his way. No matter what happens, I have faith in his faithfulness.”

May God forgive us if we are more concerned about having our prayers answered than about learning total submission to Christ. We do not learn obedience by the things we obtain but by the things we suffer.

Are you willing to learn by suffering a little longer with what appears to be an unanswered prayer? Will you rest in his love while patiently waiting for the promise?

The True Meaning of the Promised Land

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

God gave our forefather Abraham the land of Canaan “as an everlasting possession…” (Genesis 17:8, NKJV). In Hebrew, the word everlasting means never-ending. You might think that Abraham had to rejoice over this. God promised his descendants a permanent homeland, as far as they could see, and it would last into eternity. However, the New Testament tells us the world will be destroyed by fire, burnt completely out of existence, after which the Lord will bring about a new heaven and earth.

How could God’s “everlasting possession” to Abraham be a mere piece of real estate? How could it be eternal? God was saying that this land of promise was symbolic of a place beyond the earth. I believe Abraham knew this. The Bible says that as Abraham moved about in Canaan, he always felt alien: “By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise” (Hebrews 11:9). Abraham’s heart longed for something beyond the land itself.

“He waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Abraham could see the true significance of the land blessing and he realized, “This place isn’t the real possession. It’s just an illustrated sermon of the great blessing to come.” Abraham grasped the true meaning of the Promised Land; he knew Canaan represented the coming Messiah. Jesus himself tells us, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56).

The Holy Spirit enabled this patriarch to see down through the years, to the day of Christ. He knew that the meaning of his Promised Land meant a place of total peace and rest, and that this place of rest is Jesus Christ himself. That’s right, the Lord Jesus is our promised possession. We are his, but he is ours as well. God invites us to obtain our everlasting possession by simple faith.

Stepping Up into the Battle

Gary Wilkerson

There’s a gap in our understanding of one of the Bible’s most important passages to believers. God promises, even over-promises, abundant life far above and beyond what we can even imagine. The problem is that we’re down here saying to ourselves, “Oh, I’m not experiencing that.”

We keep going to church and hearing their encouragement, “This is the year of overcoming” or “This is the year of prospering.” We start out thinking, Okay, God. Maybe this year is the one where I’ll see your promise of abundance. By the end of the year, though, it hasn’t been a year of breakthrough or flourishing. Maybe it’s been harder than the year before. We’re left confused, discouraged or even angry. There seems to be this gap between God’s promise of abundance and our reality.

In order to really understand God’s abundant life, we need to go to another set of promises that Jesus made to his disciples. “Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:32-33, ESV). The Son of God promises you that you will have tribulations in this world. If you think that abundant life means trouble-free, pain-free life, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Israel’s promise of abundant life from God was “I’m leaving five enemy nations in your land to test you” (see Judges 3:1-6). The word ‘test’ here means something closer to a contest like a boxing match. God was setting up opponents for Israel so he could show them how to fight and that he was going to make them victorious, if they trusted and followed him.

A lot of us don’t expect trouble in life. When it comes, we get discouraged and withdraw. We think abundant life means no need to fight.

Abundant life actually means getting into the arena. It means getting scarred up in the fight because we know that Christ won the war. This doesn’t mean we don’t have to fight in the battles; we must engage.

Finding the Lord’s Provision

Carter Conlon

In 2 Kings 7:1-2, God gave a word through Elisha that provision would very soon be made available and affordable to the famine-stricken land of Israel. The servant of the king replied in disbelief, “Might this thing be?” In the New Living Translation, the servant says, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!”

You and I are living in a time when things can change drastically almost overnight. We New Yorkers recall how quickly the stores were emptied after the planes struck the Twin Towers on 9/11. If provisions suddenly were to become scarce again in the near future, we would do well to take to heart the psalmist’s words: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). Yet I wonder how many people will end up reacting to God’s promise of provision with a sentiment of disbelief, much as the servant of the king of Israel did.

In response to the servant’s remark, Elisha said, “You are going to see it with your eyes, but you will not partake of it” (see 2 Kings 7:2). What a stark reminder that we dare not deal casually with the Word of God, both the promises of God as well as the warnings of God. If this servant had possessed any wisdom in his heart, he would have said, “Oh God, forgive me for my unbelief! Forgive me for what I just said, for I know that you are faithful to keep your Word.” But sure enough, when the supply finally came into the city, this man was trampled by a stampede of people as they ran through the gate to get their hands on the provision.

Far surpassing the greatest earthly father, the Lord delights in providing for his children. So why then does it seem that we tap into so little of his endless supply?

If only you and I could lay hold of this truth and understand that victory is not by might, not by power, not by numbers, not by the eloquence of our preaching. In this case, victory was found when the weakest of society simply headed toward a place where provision could be found.

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.