SONG OF SONGS (Pt.3)

“O my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah, Lovely as Jerusalem, Awesome as an army with banners!” (Song of Solomon 6:4 NKJV)

 CAPTIVATED BY HER LOVE

The Shulamite captures the King’s attention.  He sees her through the eyes of love.  We remember that although she had been mistreated by her “brothers”(SOS 1:6) and had been mishandled by the watchmen, who were not alert to her lover passing by them. But she was not made bitter through her experience but better.  She teaches us that by her loving response, that her trials were sent to transform her…not deform her life.

CAPTIVATED BY HIS MAJESTY

She too is attracted to the beauty and majesty of the King.  In Song of Songs Chapter five, she describes her lover from “head to foot” and then declares to the other maidens, “His mouth is most sweet, yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!”(Song of Solomon 5:16 NKJV)  Have you come to a place in your walk with the King that “He is altogether lovely”? Are you surrendered to all of His ways?  This is where the Bridal Call becomes a Bridal Friendship; their hearts have become one heartbeat. The bride is now able to say (In spite of difficulties), “Yes, Lord.  Not as I will but Thy will be done”.

The Shulamite is also captured when she sees the King movement through the desert. “Who is this coming out of the wilderness Like pillars of smoke, Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the merchant’s fragrant powders? Behold, it is Solomon’s couch, with sixty valiant men around it, of the valiant of Israel. They all hold swords, Being expert in war. Every man has his sword on his thigh Because of fear in the night. Of the wood of Lebanon Solomon the King Made himself a palanquin: He made its pillars of silver, Its support of gold, Its seat of purple, Its interior paved with love By the daughters of Jerusalem. Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon with the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day of the gladness of his heart.” (‭Song of Solomon (3:6-11 NKJV)

There is prophetic imagery to consider: (1) 60 valiant warriors armed with swords drawn prepared against a night assault against the King.  Sixty is a number comprised of 5×12.  Five is a number pointing to the 5 wounds of Jesus, the Atoning Work of His Cross.  Twelve is a governing number (12 Tribes of Israel; 12 Apostles of the Lamb).   (2) His Crown given to him “on his wedding day…the day of the gladness of his heart”.   John receives a preview of that great day. “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:6-7 NKJV).  This day is not far off. Are we making ourselves ready? “Forsaking all others…Clinging to Him alone?”. These are vows often repeated in Wedding ceremonies today. The Bride and Bridegroom make public declarations of their exclusive devotion to one another.

THE CHARIOT OF THE KING

Even the description of the King’s chariot in SOS 3:6-11 mentioned earlier is suggestive of the work of God’s transforming love.

(1) Wood is a beautiful picture of His sinless humanity.  He took on our human form to demonstrate what perfect humanity was all about through his words and deeds. (2) Gold in the scriptures speaks of the divine nature.  It speaks of the mystery of God’s nature & character represented in humanity.  “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself”(II Corinthians ‭5:19a NKJV) (3) Silver speaks of redemption and the goal of purifying process of the crucible is purified silver (See Psalm 12:6;Malachi 3:3).  (4) Purple is associated with royalty; Kings were adorned often on purple robe to indicate their sovereignty and rule.

All of these descriptions are to remind us of the value and worth which the Father in sending Jesus, the Messiah thought about us. “And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5-6 NKJV)

For the Shulamite, her beauty and transformation as a result of the King’s love is so magnificent that “they praised her.  ‘Who is she who looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, Awesome as an army with banners?’ “(SOS 6:9b-10 NKJV).  So it will be in this hour of transformation.  A Bride without spot or blemish is arising, adorned with His beauty, terrible as an amy with banners.

(c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights reserved.  This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content.  Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

SONG OF SONGS (Pt.2)

“Do not look upon me, because I am dark, because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept.” (‭Song of Solomon‬ 1:6 NKJV)

KEEPER OF THE VINEYARD

The Shulamite found herself in an undesirable position.  She experienced rejection from her family, being placed outside and exposed to the elements. She was left alone to care for their vineyard.   To increase her consternation and perplexity she says, “my own vineyard I have not kept”(SOS 1:6).

This is truly one of the mysterious ways God deals with those who are truly called of the Lord.  They are often called FROM their job or natural vocation TO serve in His vineyard.  In other words, His jealous love over them will mean first a sense of isolation from that which is comfortable and familiar.  It may even seem like they are somehow being “punished” through their isolation.  And yet, in the purposes of God, their isolation is the beginning of the process unto promotion. They have been proven and are counted worthy caretakers of His vineyard.  We see this time and again with His servants in the scriptures; Moses was separated for forty years on the backside of a desert.  Joseph spent thirteen years in isolation in Egypt before being called into Pharaoh’s court. Elijah was called by God to go and hide himself for three years before he was revealed to be God’s voice in the midst of Israel’s spiritual confusion under King Ahab and Jezebel’s reign.

WHAT TO DO?

What do you do when you are in a season of “down time” or secluded in the Lord’s vineyard.  Be faithful and learn the lessons that the season (and gift) of hiddeness has allowed. For example the Shulamite has some wisdom to pass along. “Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” (Song of Solomon 2:15 NKJV).   It is not the big foxes that ruin the vine of your future calling.  Rather it’s the “little foxes” that pull at the tender vines in order to eat the maturing grapes on the vine.  

God looks for those who will be faithful to care and watch over His vineyard. The little foxes are often the seemingly “innocent” things allowed in to spoil the intertwining fellowship and fruitfulness of God’s vineyard (personally and corporately).

ABIDING FELLOWSHIP

The Lord Jesus teaches us the secret of abiding fruitfulness and fellowship. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser…Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing…You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another. (John 15:1, 4-5, 16-17 NKJV)

 SONG OF THE VINEYARD

The Shulamite captures the King’s heart by her beauty and the singularity of purpose. Everything changes. Fruitfulness occurs where there was seemingly nothing to display for her efforts. “Solomon had a vineyard at Baal Hamon; He leased the vineyard to keepers; everyone was to bring for its fruit A thousand silver coins. My own vineyard is before me. You, O Solomon, may have a thousand, And those who tend its fruit two hundred. You who dwell in the gardens, the companions listen for your voice— Let me hear it!” (‭Song of Solomon 8:11-13 NKJV)

They were being called not merely to celebrate the King’s lush vineyards but the Shulamite’s vineyard as well.  So it is true, God’s love for us and our response of love toward God, our King, will produce great spiritual fruitfulness in our life and vocation.   King Solomon honors the Shulamite by asking her to share with others the secret of her fruitful vineyard.  His companions are ready to listen to what she has to say.   So, too, today there are those who are eager to hear from those who have been prepared to make known the secrets of the fruitful vine of His Kingdom.

 (c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights reserved.  This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content.  Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

SONG OF SONGS(Pt. 1)

If you have ever read the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) in one sitting, you get the sense that this would make a beautiful modern Opera (Saving for the tragedy).  The writer provides movement, balance and counter-balance. When you think about it…as these movements occur in this great canticle(Song of the Bride and the Bridegroom) so it is true in life.                 Life has it’s movement and change(Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn). You cannot hasten nor prevent the seasons. They come,whether you want them to or not.  Seasons of the Spiritual life are also about Seasons which bring Spiritual change. Let’s consider some of the seasons that the woman called the Shulamite experienced.

REJECTED…RECEIVED
In the first chapter, the Shulamite describes her condition as being rejected by her brothers.
“Dark am I, yet lovely, daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon. Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I had to neglect.”(Song of Solomon 1:5, 6 NIV)
Her brothers do not have a very high opinion of her worth so they excluded her as it were from the life of the family. She is left exposed and discounted in her true value and worth. And yet, this exclusion was the occasion by which she caught the eye of the King.  “Like a lilly among thorns, So is my love among the daughters…Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.”(Song of Solomon 2:3, 4 NIV)
This is true in the ways of God. Often the shunning by so called “brothers” is the means by which God gets you free to be wholly His.  Remember in the Book of Acts,Chapter 7, Stephen gives one of the great messages regarding the mystery of God’s ways using the examples of the Bible heroes, Moses, David, Joseph (and even pointed toward Jesus of Nazareth). He points out that they were first shunned and rejected then later received and accepted. Their ill treatment of isolation(and  threat of death) would lead them later to time of glorious exaltation.
So too,the Shulamite discovered what may have been meant for evil, God meant it (in the end) for her good. Being exposed by the trials,caring for their vineyards and “darkened by the Sun”,only caused her to be even more distinguished and beautiful in the eyes of the King.
JOY IS COMING
You may be going through a difficult season. A season of dark trials may have come, not of your making. Hang on in faith! God will have the final word. The psalmist wrote, “Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”(Psalm 30:4, 5 NIV)
The Shulamite could celebrate His faithfulness, “He brought me to his banquet table, His banner over me is love”. God’s love for you will never fail. Remember…You’re His favorite!

(c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

ALL THINGS NEW (Pt. 2)

In our last article, I mentioned two events recorded in the scriptures that are given to help us understand the story of God and Man.  The first is the Creation Story.  God made the heavens and the earth, creating human beings to walk & work in partnership with Him.  One day (in spite of the Fall), we will give account to God for our obedience to His desire and design for our life.

The second part of the Biblical narrative that is essential to our understanding is the story of the Exodus.  We must understand how God has journeyed with Mankind through history. The apostle Paul wrote in the Letter to the Believers in Corinth, “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ”(1 Corinthians 10:1-4 NKJV).  When he says, “I would not have you unaware (or ignorant)” he is saying, “Pay attention! This is important for your spiritual consideration and growth.”  The story of the children of Israel’s exodus from Egypt into the Promised Land is a typical model for our exodus to spiritual freedom today.  Here are some points in the story of the exodus that mirror the climate for deliverance.

(1) Egypt’s Bondage.  Israel went into the land of Egypt as a “free” People.  God arranged for Joseph to be sent to Egypt to preserve his father and his brothers from a famine coming upon the whole of that North African region.  The children of Israel settled into the land of Goshen and began to thrive there.  But a new Pharaoh came to power, “who knew not Joseph”, and did not want the children of Israel to grow & prosper in Egypt’s land.  So he conspired with his “Cabinet” and began to mistreat them and to cruelly enslave them.  But, the more they were oppressed, the more they continued to multiply!  So this king thought that the “final solution” was to destroy their potential future growth and influence by ordering all the Hebrew baby boys to be thrown into the river Nile (Exodus 1&2).   This is application for us.  Please be aware, that if the enemy can’t defeat you, he’ll try and destroy your future and hope (See John 10:9).

(2) God raises up a deliverer.  His name was Moses. He was drawn out of the river of the Nile and would eventually be used to deliver his people out of Egypt.  But he also would be used to see that Pharaoh and his Army were drowned in the Sea! (Exodus 15)  God will never give us more than we can bear.  He has a person.  And He has a plan for our deliverance.  

God’s people came out of bondage, under the hand of Moses by the blood of the Lamb.  Likewise, God has made a way for our deliverance.  This the rest of the story, found in John’s Gospel concerning John the Baptist.  He was sent by God to announce our Deliverer, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NKJV).  Jesus came as the atoning sacrifice to set people free from their sins.

(3) God had a purpose for their freedom. “The LORD spoke to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him,’ thus says the LORD: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me” (Exodus 8:1 NKJV).  God wanted His people to be free to choose to do that for which they were created…To “Serve” and “Worship” Him.   Jesus affirms that this was the Father’s purpose. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24 NKJV)

We were created to worship the LORD God (& have no other gods besides Him).

What does true freedom look like?  It looks like a people who have gained their freedom by the blood of the Lamb.  And they have learned to sing the true Song of redemption.   John saw this from a heavenly view:”They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! (Revelation 15:3 NKJV)

May we cry out for true spiritual freedom to be what God created us to be…’Lovers and Ministers’ of/and in His presence. Tune your heart and enter into the Song…Singing your part.

 

(c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights reserved.  This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content.  Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

ALL THINGS NEW (Pt. 1)

“By faith we understand that the universe has been created by a word from God so that the visible came into existence from the invisible”(Hebrews11:3 CEB).

To understand what God is doing today, we must understand what He has done, as we have given in the Biblical narrative.  As someone observed, “History is His-Story”.   If we can see & understand what God has made known and done in the history of His people Israel, we will able to discern what He is doing in this day and hour.

CRITICAL EVENTS

Two events that are critical to our faith and understanding: The Creation narrative and the Story of the Exodus from Egypt. In this article, I will only address the issue of creation.

God made known to Moses that the origin (and the order) of creation was not a random act but an intentional design.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth….God saw all that he had made, and it was very good”.  (Genesis 1:1, 3a1 NIV) “Thus the heavens and the earth were created in all their vast array.  By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work”(Genesis 2:1-2 NIV).

The heavens and the earth were created, arranged and framed by a Creator for a specific purpose. To declare and proclaim His majesty.  “Heaven is declaring God’s glory; the sky is proclaiming his handiwork. One day gushes the news to the next, and one night informs another what needs to be known. Of course, there’s no speech, no words— their voices can’t be heard— but their sound extends throughout the world; their words reach the ends of the earth. God has made a tent in heaven for the sun. (Psalms 19:1-4 CEB)

 Further, God who is Creator is also the Owner of all.  Again, the psalmist declared, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. (Psalm 24:1-2NIV).

This understanding that God is Creator and Owner comes with an implication.  God is in charge and we are not. And it  follows that one day we must give account.   The prophet Daniel, who was given the privilege of a vision of the end of the age, wrote, ““As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9-10 NIV).

YOUR DAY IN COURT

This court scene was not on earth. It was the court of heaven, where everyone who has ever lived will have “their day in court”!  They will give account for themselves before the “King of kings” and the “Judge of judges”.  The Judges decision will be final with no “Court of Appeal”.

Daniels vision was collaborated by John the beloved, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done…Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire”(Revelation‬ 20:11-13,15 NIV).

God’s judgement on that day will not be “rigged” nor merely “fair”.  His judgement will be just.  He will give to each one a just verdict based on the choices they have made in life.  John records in his vision, “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world”(Revelation 13:8 NIV).  Or alternatively, John recorded, “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away….Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life”(Revelation 21:1-4, 27 NIV).

God is both Creator and in the end…the only Redeemer.  He has made a way for all men to be assured that they can be secure, for all eternity.   God has revealed Himself as a loving Father, longing for His wayward children to return home.  This is why Jesus was sent into the world, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”(John 3:6-17 NIV).

(c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights reserved.  This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content.  Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

STEWARDING YOUR YEAR (Pt. 4)

As he was preparing his disciples for his departure from this world, Jesus intended that they understand the responsibility being in trusted to them.  He does so by telling them some stories with Kingdom truths found in Matthew’s Gospel (Chapters 24& 25). The moral of the stories were clear… They needed to be good stewards; faithfully attending to the duties given them by their Master.  They also were to stay watchful and alert for his unknown hour of return.

STEWARDS OF A HOUSEHOLD
In Matthew 24:42-51, Jesus likens his disciples to stewards of a household. The main steward had been given the responsibility of caring the household; feeding each their portion at the proper time.

Today,there is still the need for good stewardship of ministry gifts for the household of God. The apostle Paul wrote,”Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy”(‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭1-2‬ NASB).
From Jesus story(Matthew 24), we learn that those called to minister the Word of God should not do so with an eye of covetousness and greed; using and abusing the flock under their care. They are called to feed God’s people with a faithful Word from the Lord.  Like the prophets of old, they were approached to find out “Is there a word from the Lord?” Those who minister the things of God to His people are only stewards of a gift to which they will one day give a strict account  (See 1 Peter 5:1-4).
Our Lord knows the heart and gives warning to the unfaithful that they will experience “Weeping, gnashing of teeth”(Vain regret). And they will find themselves in a place with the “hypocrites”.  A hypocrite is a Greek word that was used in theatre meaning “A person who wears a large Mask to exaggerate the stage character they were playing” for the audience. Hypocrisy is pretending to be what you, in reality, are not.   The apostle Paul may have had this in mind when he wrote to Timothy regarding his public ministry, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2‬:‭15‬ NASB).

STEWARDING THE TALENTS
In Matthew 25:11-30, Jesus tells a story to highlight the importance of being faithful stewards of the Master’s “talents”(Money).  In the story we discover that the Master was going away for some time. He left three servants in charge of his Business affairs. He set up each servant as a winner, giving “each according to their ability”(Matthew 25:15). The first two servants recognized that their GIFT(Talents) + TIME = OPPORTUNITY! They made an investment for the Master so that upon his return they were able to show him that they had made a profitable gain.   The Master was both delighted and grateful, rewarding and honoring each with at least twice as much as they previously had received!
But not so for the third servant. Why not? Because he had a wrong view of his MASTER. “I knew that you are a hard man…harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have scattered seed…I was afraid…and hid YOUR talent in the ground”(See Matthew 25:25).
The Master is not only disapproving of this servant but tells him, “Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away” (‭Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭27-30 NASB).  

CHARACTER & ACTIONS

The Master summed up his judgement, based upon both the servant’s character and actions.  “You wicked, lazy servant!”(Matthew 25:26).

Character is about what you are and what you do when no one is watching.  Also, never forget that when it seems that no one knows or is watching…there is always One watching.  As the old plaque on the wall in someone’s home read, “Thou God seeth me”.  As stewards, our work should always be done “For the audience of One..The Lord Himself”.

Returning to the Master’s evaluation, the problem with the last servant was that he was lazy. He was ungrateful for the gift given and therefore did nothing with it.  He did not consider that investing time and God-given energy was his OPPORTUNITY to receive a good return on his God-given INVESTMENT.
A JUST REWARD
Jesus teaches us in the story, that if we steward well our God-given “talent”, the Master will reward us with MORE in order that we can still accomplish MORE.   But the Master also stated that there was no reward for a “wicked, lazy” servant.  Only a fearful judgement awaits those who squander the Master’s gifts and talents.
In every field of life, in God-given endeavor, there is profit and a good reward. Stewards must be faithful. Look through the eye of faith and arise to your place of God-given influence. “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be”(Job 8:7).  God assures us,”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”(Jeremiah 29:11).

(c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

STEWARDING YOUR YEAR(Pt.3)

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:14-16 NIV)

 A praying leader understands the value of potential team members. They add value to your vision and help you achieve your goals. They also are recognized as those who can be promoted to the next level in a business or ministry.

A few years ago, I was hired as the Chaplain for a Marketplace company. My primary role was to be available, providing any counsel and spiritual care to the employees and their families. But within just a few months of joining the company my position changed. I was asked to help design an entire Department that would direct a group of Intercessors. Their primary job description was to pray for the Company.

At the time, this was a novel idea; having people on site whose sole was to pray for the various departments and their managers. But the owner understood the importance of seeking God’s assistance as a daily component of business. We understood that God did not want to be on the “sideline” of business but “in the game”. The company became well known for its productivity and success, having both a national and international presence.

PRAYER IS STRATEGIC

Prayer was a strategy that increased the potential effect service of the company.   When you think about it, this was not the first time that someone thought it important to have God’s presence to change their fortunes.

JABEZ

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request” (2 Chronicles 4:10). Apparently, Jabez changed his misfortunes to fortunes when he turned his life and business management over to God.   God turned his sorrows or setbacks into joy when he turned his business over to God. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the things will be added unto you”(Matthew 6:33).

Make God the CEO of your business or ministry. Watch it become what it was meant to be…a kingdom business!   Then you become the junior partner of His business.   God wants to unlock your potential to grow and expand what He has put inside you. “It is God that gives you power to get wealth”(Deuteronomy 8:18).   It all begins with praying for a release of the potential.

 MOSES & JOSHUA

Joshua would prove to be a great servant-leader. As a servant to Moses, his potential and capacity as a leader grew.

Under Moses, he led the Army of Israel into battle against the Amalekites and defeated them (Exodus 17:9-16). Joshua proved LOYAL to God’s servant Moses. He did not rebel as some had done and bring a “bad report” into the camp to divide or discourage the people (Numbers 14).

But the greatest capacity that Joshua had was spiritual. He had a heart to follow after God. When Moses climbed the Mount to meet with God…so did Joshua. When Moses moved the Tent of Meeting outside the Camp so only those who sought God, Joshua was right there. While others stood watching from a distance…Joshua followed Moses into God’s presence (lingering there in the glory long after Moses had left!). Perhaps he understood his need for a greater capacity for God. In the words of A.W. Tozer, “Most people are as close to God as they choose to be.”

Prayer helps us steward well our capacity as a leader. We are not all called to be outwardly successful. But we each are called to be faithful.

PAUL & TIMOTHY

Another great example in the New Testament was Paul and Timothy.  Paul recognized Timothy’s POTENTIAL and helped to develop and steward his gifts for leadership. While was doing some ministry travel a name that was mentioned with a GOOD REPORT was, “Timothy”. “Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him” (Acts16: 1-2 NIV).

As Timothy joined Paul’s team, he was seen to have PROVEN CHARACTER. “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel” (Philippians 2:19-22 NIV).

Paul understood that character is not built in a day. It is proven over time. It was Paul’s prayers for young Timothy that caused his potential to FLOURISH!

SCRIPTURE IS KEY

Ultimately, Paul knew that Timothy would steward well his gift and calling if he made God’s Word his priority in life.  As someone said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing THE MAIN THING”.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17 NIV)

May God help you to place godly folks around you in order that you may steward well your potential for your good and God’s glory.

(c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights reserved.  This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content.  Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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