Archive for January, 2013

THE ROOT OF THE RIGHTEOUS(Pt.4)

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1 NASB)

The story of Henry Ford is both a fascinating and an inspiring one. His invention of the T-Model car ushered in an era of mechanical production and advance in civilization unheard of until his time. Thousands were swept along by new possibilities in travel as well as lifestyles heretofore unimagined. But by further examining his life story, I also experienced a profound sadness to learn of the way his life ended. Apparently, his ambition for public notoriety; his estrangement from his only son, topped off by his personal, unfounded hatred for God’s people, the Jews, were his undoing. What was the source of these tragic outcomes? No one will know for sure of the motives of the heart. But one thing is evident…The fruit born in a life is a manifestation of a root cause. Take God off His throne and place Man there and no matter how much may be accomplished through talent, gift and ambition it, ultimately, will not be blessed.

Carnal ambition and coveting the praise of men is not a lifestyle of the kingdom of God. Many a gifted man or woman who serves in the public arena has fallen prey to the twins called “Power and Popularity.” King David wisely wrote, “Once God has spoken; twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God”(Psalm 62:11 NASB). Humility is the instrument that balances the weight of power in the kingdom of God.

HUMILITY

Jesus warned His disciples about “practicing their righteousness before men to be noticed by them”. He said, you might be rewarded in the eyes of men but “have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”(C.f. Matthew 6:1,5,16) Humility is not a sense of self-loathing but a condition of the heart. It is an awareness of the supreme gift of God’s love and grace extended toward you. And with that awareness of what God has done for you there comes a deep desire to live for Him and serving others. The psalmist reflecting on the saving mercy of God toward him acknowledged, “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great. (Psalm 18:35 NASB)

ROOTS

Jesus teaches us that humility is rooted in a lifestyle of faith. Roots represent the “hidden life” of the believer. Roots are not something that is deeds put on for display or show. Rather they are the source of the secret wellsprings of your heart, that which is done out of the motive of love for God. Yeshua (Jesus) teaches us that the hidden life will be manifested to the eye of the Father WHEN and by HOW you:

GIVE

“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. ” (Matthew 6:2 NASB)

PRAY

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”(Matthew 6:5, 6 NASB)

FAST

“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:16-18 NASB)

FOCUS

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light….”No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth…. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “(Matthew 6:22, 24, 33 NASB)

These teachings of Jesus need no explanation. They need practice. The things that are hard for man are not impossible with God. Our Lord Jesus said, in essence, “If you want to really know what my teaching is all about, you must be willing to put my words into practice”. Understanding His words comes by taking the journey of the hidden life, the road of loving obedience. By His Word of promise (and your faithful attention to it) the root of the righteous will flourish.

 

(c) Copyright 2013, Walter Fletcher,Jr. All rights are reserved. This article may be shared free of charge provided that it is not altered in anyway from it’s original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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THE ROOT OF THE RIGHTEOUS(Pt. 3)

When the LORD God put Adam in the garden, He put him there to both know his purpose and experience his potential. He called him to be a gardener (or farmer). He was placed in the garden not only to enjoy his working environment but reap it’s benefits.  You could say that  Adam and Eve were in a “business” partnership with their Creator. ” God, being the originator and owner, invites them to be “junior partners” in His kingdom Work. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth“(Genesis 1:28a NASB).
I believe this year we will see and understand the importance of fruitfulness that is brought forth as a result of partnership(With God and others). More will be accomplished as “Co-laborers together” than anything achieved in isolation or independence. 

FRUITFULNESS IS A PROCESS
Jesus knew that all fruitfulness is the result of a process. He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.‘” (Luke 13:6-9 NASB)

The Lord Jesus teaches us a kingdom principle through this story. God likens His people to a fig tree planted in the earth. The owner has an expectation of fruit.  Likewise, as individuals, we are His trees planted in His vineyard,in which He desires that our life be fruitful for Him.  As the story demonstrates God  uses others(relations and/or ministries) to show God’s patience and process with us in order that we become fruitful. We should never despise the “cultivating, digging and fertilizing work” of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

ENVIRONMENT DETERMINES FRUITFULNESS
We can only be fruitful if we are placed in the right environment. The prophet Isaiah wrote, As the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.” (Isaiah 61:11 NASB)
God is our right environment. A healthy believer will daily pursue the presence of God. It is natural to their true nature. In other words, you were created to worship God and give Him glory. This is why David was a favorite with God. He understood that worship is a way in which God brings forth the fruitfulness of the Kingdom of heaven to earth. He wrote by revelation of the Holy Spirit,
God be gracious to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us- Selah. That Your way may be known on the earth,
Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy;
For You will judge the peoples with uprightness
And guide the nations on the earth. Selah. Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You. The earth has yielded its produce;
God, our God, blesses us. God blesses us,
That all the ends of the earth may fear Him (Psalm 67:1-7 NASB)

ISRAEL’S REVIVAL
God promised through the prophet Hosea that He would make Israel fruitful once again.
I will heal their apostasy,
I will love them freely,
For My anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel;
He will blossom like the lily,
And he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon. His shoots will sprout,
And his beauty will be like the olive tree“.
(Hosea 14:4-6 NASB)

What a beautiful image the prophet Hosea records. Declaring that as Israel returns to God, they would once again be spiritually rooted, fragrant and fruitful.  I believe this has begun in measure in our time and join in pray with many others that there will be an excelleration of their spiritual revival in the land.

THE ABIDING SECRET
Stability and fruitfulness should be true of every disciple of Yeshua(Jesus). He shares with his disciples the secret to a life of on-going fruitfulness.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so 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, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. (John 15:4,5,7,8 NASB)

Eugene Peterson paraphrases our Lord’s words, “Live in me. Make YOUR HOME IN ME just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples. “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.”  (John 15:4, 5, 9 MSG)
Abiding is the key to all fruitfulness.

(c) Copyright 2013,Walter Fletcher,Jr. All rights are reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

THE ROOT OF THE RIGHTEOUS(Pt.2)

“A man will not be established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will not be moved.”(Proverbs 12:3 NASB)

My wife has a wonderful gift as a home decorator. She is with decorations and arrangements what an artist is with a paint brush. Her eye for color,design and arrangement in a home is quite amazing. Part of her gift in home decor is her love for plants and flowers.  She has a variety of plants throughout the house. Occasionally ,because of our travel, we return home to plants that are all hung over, drooping as if they have no life.  Often, I watch my wife spring into action; going round the house watering these poor plants.  In just a little while, those sagging, wilted plants are standing upright once again. They weren’t dead after all! They simply needed nourishment!  They had survived, becoming stable once again because their root life was strong.  What is true of plants is equally true of trees.  They must have a healthy root system to remain strong and upright.  This also applies to the true believer.
THE CEDAR TREE
One of the many images from the scripture of the righteous in the land is the stately cedar tree. “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. “(Psalm 92:12 NASB)

Solomon had cedars of Lebanon placed as pillars in the temple. These were part of the Inner Court.  The tall,stately, cedar beams were admired for their beauty and stability .   The fact that Solomon had them placed as pillars “in the Inner Court” of the temple is suggestive as well.   Cedar trees are admired not only for the height in which they have grown but the quality of the tree developed over time.  For the believer, this speaks of character– who I am,consistently, over time.   Someone observed, “Behavior over time equals character”.  Who I am when no one is watching is who I am.
Stability is the hallmark of a life rooted in Yeshua (Jesus Christ). A stable life in the midst of our ever changing, fast paced culture is rare.  And, yet our personal character should be a witness to God’s life in the soul.  The apostle Paul wrote in witness to God’s grace, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. ” (1 Corinthians 15:57, 58 NASB)
THE DATE PALM
God’s desire for our life is not only stability but that our life should be fruitful.  Take the date palm tree as an example. The palm tree is not only known for its shelter from the hot
sun but it is known for it nourishment. The dates from the palm tree are both a nourishing and delicious fruit.  If your life is “hid with God in Christ”(Colossians 3:3) then you are going to be one who is a source of delight and comfort to those around you. 

When others are thirsty for the things of God they will want to be in your presence because they sense His life in you. Fruitfulness means that you are more than a container of God’s life but you are a sustainer of life for others in need.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD

And whose trust is the LORD. “For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream 

And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7, 8 NASB)

KNOWN BY ITS FRUIT

The Lord Jesus said,”So then, you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:20 NASB)
We live in a synthetic age; Symbols without substance. Things are not often what they appear to be.  Therefore, Jesus teaches us the need for discernment. It is not merely the “label” on the tree. Rather we must ask,”What type of fruit does it bear?”   Paul wrote,
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:1-10 NASB)

Again, Yeshua(Jesus) said, “Bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance”(?)
We must be honest with ourselves and ask, “Does the label I wear bare witness to the fruit in my life?”. A life fully yielded to the Lord will bear the God-kind of fruit.

(c) Copyright 2013, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared provided that it is not altered in anyway from its original content. If you would like to send correspondence or add a friend to be a regular recipient of our blog please send request to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com


THE ROOT OF THE RIGHTEOUS (Pt. 1)

“The root of the righteous yields fruit. “(Proverbs 12:12 NASB)

My father was a horticulturist. He grew flowers. Chrysanthemums were one of His specialties. He was not just good at what he did but He was recognized for his unusual “green thumb”.  I still remember with pride seeing my folks picture on the front page of a half-page feature story in our local paper,holding those beautiful flowers.

What was the key to his success? Among many things that I recall were the way he would place several tiny plants in a pot together. Their spacing and the depth of their planting determined how hearty the Chrysanthemum would be.  In other words, The subsequent budding and flower was determined by a healthy root life.

There is a parallel truth in relation to the life of the believer. The ability to flower & bear fruit is in proportion to our root life. The prophet Isaiah uses this beautiful image regarding His people, “The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward.”(Isaiah 37:31 NAS).

Here are some thoughts for establishing a better root system for maximum fruitfulness this year.

GET PLANTED

Find a community of God-fearing folks who are committed to God and His Word.  Without a continual connection to people who love God and want their lives conformed to the image of His Son,Jesus Christ, there will no roots to establish your life. “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord will flourish in the courts of our God”(Psalm 92:10).

GET INVOLVED

Find out what God would have you do.  There must be a balance between your “being” and “doing” for God.  Sometimes people’s root life can wither simply by always “taking in” but never “given out”(Over-watering a plant can destroy it’s roots).  But by involving yourself in the life and needs of others helps you build strong and healthy roots. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord”(1 Corinthians 15:57 NAS).

GET A VISION

A God-given vision must be bigger than your individual world.  You must see through God’s lense as it were.  God will show you how you can participate in what He is doing in the earth.  That vision generally comes when you take time to pray, asking for the heart of God.  When you have asked God for your personal concerns(Family, friends, job and so forth),stay open to His needs.  This often comes by being available for those “God-moments” or assignments that are brought before you when you really were “on your way to do something else”.  The Lord Jesus lived His public life available to his heavenly Father’s inner voice and direction. Perhaps this is what the prophet Isaiah meant when he wrote“The LORD GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word.  He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.  The LORD GOD has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient nor did I turn back.”(Isaiah 50:3-4).  It is not a little thing to say that God has arranged His universe in such a way that “Others wait for our participation in God’s plan of redemption”.

GROW DEEPER

Wherever you were on your spiritual journey a year ago is not your standard for this year.  Let your roots go deeper into the river of God’s life. “The righteous…will flourish like the palm tree”(Psalm 92:12a NAS).  The palm tree can grow in desert-like conditions because its tap root will go deep down into the hot barren soil and wrap itself around a rock; in order for it’s roots to spread out, and be sustained by deep desert springs. Don’t let those dry spells or times of feeling isolated define your growth this year.  Wrap your roots around the Rock of our salvation, Christ Jesus.  May you take advantage of those times of trials to grow deeper in God; being sustained by the hidden springs of His life and His love.

© Copyright, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights are reserved. This article may be copied or shared provided that it is not altered in any way from it’s original content. Address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

STEPPING INTO YEAR 2013

“There will be no end to the increase of his government”(Isaiah 9:7a NASB).

So… “What can we make of the Year 2013?”  We can make this year in one sense what we choose.   If we have been privileged to live to see another year,  I’m sure gratitude should be at the top of the list.  Maybe I’ve lived enough of “Winters” to be much more aware of how quickly people we know and love pass into eternity.  Be grateful to be alive.

Life also means we can make new choices and set a new course for the remainder of our time here on earth.  We must be aware that “the Coming of the Lord draws near”.  Therefore, Time is a gift from God that we who live on earth must learn to steward well.  Paul said, “Let us make the most of every opportunity for the days are evil“(Ephesians 5:16).

The Year 2013, under God, will be what we make of it.   As someone has rightly observed,”Time is like a coin. Spend it anyway you want, you’ll only spend it once.”   In 2013 we will either align ourselves with God’s will and purpose for our life or squander our opportunity.  Recall when Jesus taught the “Parable of the Talents”(Matthew 25:14-30), He was teaching the importance of using the gifts and capacity we each have been given to “make a profitable gain” in life with anticipation of giving an account to the Master who set us up to succeed in “the business of life”.  God is not a harsh taskmaster who sets us up   for failure.  Rather, every good and perfect gift is given by God to bring increasing glory and honor to His great Name.   In other words, You were “wired” for success!  And unless you plug your life into another source other than God, you will see the “increase of His government” and blessing in your life.

Another thought for the Year 2013,  It is interesting that the number 13 is a number associated with “disintegration, corruption and rebellion”.  For example the first mention of the number 13 is found in Genesis Chapter 14. There we read of four kings who no longer wanted to pay tribute to another king under who they were ruled. “Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but the thirteenth year they rebelled.“(Genesis 14:4). The number 13 is 12+1. The number 12 is a number associated with “divine order and government”.  For example, our Civil calendar is arranged and ordered in 12 months; there are the Twelve tribes of Israel and Jesus chose  Twelve apostles.  Of course,If we were to add 1 to any of these, it would make an arrangement that is out of order.  So, too,with new year we will have to be careful that we do not dimenish or add to God’s will and purpose for our life.  The only way to be assured of His leadership in our life is through following His teaching through the Scriptures.  John received this word,”Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”…”I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”(Revelation 22:12-13,18-19 NASB).

We can’t “add to” or “take away” from the Written Word of God to suit our own Self-styled preferences for living.  The Scriptures speak of Jesus Christ the Living Word of God.  He is in the Aramaic the “Alap and the Taw”; in the Greek He is the “Alpha and the Omega”.  What does this mean?  He is the “First and the Last; the Beginning and the End”.  In other words, He is our perfection and completion. “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority(Colossians 2:9).    Do not add to His perfection but find your complete rest and satisfaction in Who He is TO you this year. And allow Who He is IN You to have it’s perfect work in your life.(See Philippians 1:6; 2:13).   Again The Year 2013 will be a victorious year if we can remember that 8+5=13.  The number 8 being associated with “New Beginnings” and the number 5 being associated with “God’s grace”.   Live 2013 as a point of NEW BEGINNINGS BY HIS GRACE, without reference to that which was not accomplished in the PAST.  Place the increase of “government”(and direction) for your life and future upon His shoulders and this will be a great year with much fruitfulness and victory!

(c) Copyright 2013, Walter Fletcher, Jr.  All rights are reserved.  This article may be copied or reproduced with permission from the author provided that it is not altered in anyway from its original content.  Please address correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com