Archive for March, 2013

“A MAN AFTER MY HEART(Pt.4)

“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His”(2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB).

GOD’S CHOICE

God does not look from the outward IN but from the inside OUT. He sees things from a higher vantage point because He sees the end of a matter from it’s beginning. He is not as interested in what someone will do for Him as much as what they will become in Him. God sees the heart. David was God’s choice to become king after Saul. If we were to read the entire record of his life we realize he was not perfect in all his ways. But the bent and direction of his heart was toward doing the will of the LORD his God.

DEPENDANT

David recognized the LORD as his Shepherd. As such he acknowledged that he, life sheep, was vulnerable and in need of daily, watchful care. From the grazing ground to the quiet brook; from the tendency to wander and stray off the path and for protection during the dark lonely nights from predators…he needed a shepherd. He was dependant on God to shepherd, guard and guide him.

VICTORY IS OF THE LORD

David refused to trust in “Saul’s armor”. In the day of battle against Goliath he went with what had always brought him victory over the “lion and the bear”. He recognized that in the day of battle “the LORD is a Man of War”; victory is of the LORD. He will fight for all who put their trust in Him.

RETURNING THE ARK

God loved David because David loved God. Under David’s watch the Ark of God’s presence was restored to the people. Prior to his reign it had been taken by the Philistines, neither Samuel or Saul had sought it’s return. David knew that his kingdom would not be established unless the presence and the glory of God was once again in the midst of Israel. In his first attempt he failed to bring it back. But he refused to be discouraged! He wrote of his passion and longing for the glory of God once again to be among his People. ”I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the LORD, A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob”(Psalm 134:4-5 NASB).

A HOLY PRIESTHOOD

He sought God through His Word and discovered that if he wanted to bring the Ark of the Covenant back he must do it God’s way (not his) through a restored holy priesthood. In other words, God’s will and way was for a true, holy priesthood to bear the Ark upon their shoulders.

God is looking for a people today who will bear the true responsibility of being a holy priesthood in the earth. The apostle Peter declared, “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”(1 Peter 2:9 NASB).

A RESTING PLACE

God was so delighted with David’s desire to establish a “resting place” for Him in the earth that he promised that he would not lack for an heir of his to sit on his throne forever. This, of course, was speaking of Messiah, Yeshua(Jesus the Christ), who was to come. Jesus, in honor of David and to hint at His mission in coming to earth, quotes from Psalms 110. “The LORD says to my Lord:’Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies’”(Psalm 110:1-2).

David understood by the Spirit of God that he was given the privilege of sitting on a throne that would far exceed his day and age. He was ushering in a kingdom in which Jesus the true heir to the throne would sit and reign on the earth. For His Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom which shall never end.

May God find in us a heart like David and realize God’s Kingdom HAS come and IS coming. For His Kingdom does not come by observation but by observing His coming. Stay Alert!

 

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

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A MAN AFTER GOD’S HEART(Pt.3)

“But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king” (1 Samuel 8:6, 7 NIV).

“GIVE US A KING LIKE THE NATIONS”

The people’s choice of Saul as their king did not come as a change of their hearts…It merely revealed their hearts. Israel was called by God to be a distinct nation and yet they fell prey to the temptation of the other nations round about. They judged things by the natural, cultural appearances rather than from the heavenly perspective. Although they were trained for battle, they did not want to take their part in defeating their enemies. They were called to be God’s Army. And yet…they wanted someone (Other than God) to fight their enemies for them.

HEAD AND SHOULDERS ABOVE THE REST

Saul was chosen by the people because He was head and shoulders above his brothers. They forgot that the LORD is not impressed with the stature of man. He is with those who are “lowly and humble of heart”. Part of the strategy of spiritual warfare for the believer is to “Cast down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Jesus Christ”.

ANOINTED BUT NOT QUALIFIED

It was not as if Saul was entirely bad or unsuited. Rather he was not proven albeit anointed. He still was given the chance(by God)to prove he was qualified. Under his anointing there were a few victories over God’s enemies. But the moment came when he disqualified himself. The pressure of leadership and the unsurrendered self-life brought those unhealed character flaws once again to the surface. He became impatient with God and His directives through Samuel. He “forced“ himself by yielding to the people’s pressure and presumed to function as a priest, offering the sacrifice ahead of the prophet Samuel’s appearance. Again,he disobeyed God’s orders by not destroying all the sheep & sparing Agag the king of the Amalakites, of whom God warned Joshua that they would be a perpetual enemy to His people. Finally, we see that under Saul’s leadership that the kingdom of God was not established in the earth. Rather Saul had determined to make his son,Jonathan, heir apparent to the throne. (Unfortunately, the spirit of Saul is alive and well in many religious circles). What does God announce to the prophet Samuel after Saul had disqualified himself from being a true king under God’s Lordship? That He will replace Saul with another “who is better than he”.

KINGDOM PARADOX

The scriptures seem to give us a paradoxical lesson through another Saul, Saul of Tarsus. He started with many of the traits of his predecessor. He had all the markings of one who was,as it were, “head and shoulders” above the rest. Ironically, He was a descendant  of king Saul, a Benjamite. He wrote: “Although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, (Philippians 3:4-8 NASB) What made the difference? How did Saul the proudest of men become Paul the meekest of men? His encounter with the true King of Israel, Jesus the Messiah. In his own words: “I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood”(Galatians 1:14-16 NASB).

INWARD VISION

Saul of Tarsus was transformed by a true vision of the King. His vision of the Messiah outwardly gave way to a deeper revelation of Him inwardly. That vision was one of a new reality, a vision of Christ Jesus and the Way of the Cross. He writes, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20 NASB).

VISION AND PURPOSE

Saul of Tarsus let the vision of the Cross have it’s perfect way in him. It was the eternal vision of what the Father had planned before time began. It had been a mystery but now was revealed. “The mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”(Colossians 1:26, 27 NASB). With that vision ever before him, Saul of Tarsus became “Brother Paul”. He thus was able to fulfill his God-given mission in life. Recall him having been arrested by Rome and put on trial for his missional activity he dares to proclaim before king Agrippa, “I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision”(Acts 26:19 NASB). So…Which “Saul” are you? Saul, the people’s choice; head and shoulders above others, moving under natural, carnal zeal and religious reasoning? Or, Saul, the Lord Jesus’ chosen servant; moving and serving under the vision of the Cross and soon coming King?

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

I HAVE FOUND A MAN AFTER MY HEART(Pt.2)

Hannah “made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.” (1 Samuel 1:11 NASB)

Hannah’s cry to the LORD did not go unheeded. She was barren and her rival Peninnah provoked her to jealousy having conceived many times and bore children for Elkanah her husband. This was no small matter for Hannah. At first she did what many would have done in her condition…She put on a good face; continuing to carry out her wifely and religious duties. But the social and religious implications for her during that time was that a woman married without having children was considered under a curse.

“GIVE ME CHILDREN OR I DIE”

Hannah, as often is the case, tried to project the cause of her barrenness onto her husband (as if he was God the Source of life). Elkanah loved Hannah his wife but understood that God alone makes life. In faith, he continued to be faithful to Hannah his wife and honor God by leading the way in worship and devotion.

AN UNHOLY PRIESTHOOD

During this time, whispers began to circulate regarding the ungodly behavior of the high priest Eli’s sons. It became known that they did not honor God or His house. They further despised the LORD God’s protocol for priestly service and sacrifices. Eli was aware of his sons’ ungodly and unrighteous behavior but rather made a choice to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. At this point,the scriptures give a turn of phrase that are full of significance, “And the word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well, and the lamp of God had not yet gone out”(1 Samuel 3:1b-3a NASB).

 A MANCHILD FOR THE LORD

Little did Hannah know that in the providence of the LORD that her contradiction of suffering would be used to bring forth a weapon for the day of battle.  Hannah’s momentary affliction and shame did not lead her away from the LORD God but rather it caused her to run into His loving and faithful arms. She dared to believe that God is “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”(Hebrews 11:6). As she continued to go to the house of God and cry out for a child, promising to dedicate the child to the LORD when He answered, she was heard on high. God not only answered her prayer but she discovered that the gift of a child was an answer as it were to God’s need. The LORD God gave Hannah not just a child but a malechild, one whom she named Samuel–a prophet.

A PROPHET FOR THE LORD

The scriptures reveal that God raised up prophets for times of moral or spiritual crisis. In Samuel’s day when the lamp of God’s light was so dim and there was rarely a true revelatory word from the LORD, it required a direct divine intervention. Only by the word of the LORD could God’s people find their way back to God. This was the unique task of the prophet. The prophet was called by God to stand before Him. He stood in the presence of God BEFORE he stood before the people of God. In a day when many are self-styled and self-proclaimed “prophets”, let us examine them (first) by this test…Do they enjoy the public place before people more than they enjoy the private place before God? When the private, alone place with God is secured then the public place can be safely honored. It is interesting to note from the Hebrew scriptures how many men were first faithful priests before they were called to their office of the prophet. The priest understood that their primary task was not to people and things but rather they were called to “minister unto the LORD”. Priests who know how to minister to the Lord are best qualified to become God’s mouthpiece. The prophet must share God’s unique perspective before He could be trusted to communicate God’s heart to His people (and sometimes nations). Furthermore, the true prophet stood in the gap (through prayer & intercession) on behalf of God’s people in order that they might fulfill their divine Purpose.

THE PROPHET SAMUEL

Hannah made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.” (1 Samuel 1:11 NASB). Perhaps this was the secret of the grace upon Samuel’s life. SAMUEL was dedicated to the LORD while a young child. He learned to bear the yoke of love and obedience , abiding in His presence. While a young boy he would be joined to the LORD for His future plans for His people. We read of the results of him becoming acquainted with God’s voice and vision, “Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail. All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD”(1 Samuel 3:19-20 NASB). Samuel ministered God’s word faithfully to His people and would ultimately assist the LORD God by anointing kings. All of this was made possible because a barren woman, named Hannah, dared to believe and ask God for a child who would serve the LORD God all the days of his life. Her faith was not only rewarded by God by giving natural birth but she gave birth to spiritual revelation and insight in the ways of the LORD God for all times.

“The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. “He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, And He set the world on them. “He keeps the feet of His godly ones, But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; For not by might shall a man prevail. “Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed.” (1 Samuel 2:7-10 NASB)

 

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

I FOUND A MAN AFTER MY HEART

 “Now the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” (1 Samuel 16:1 NASB)

God does things His way and in His timing. This was one of the realities that the prophet Samuel had to face. Samuel, for all of his praying and crying out to God regarding His decision to remove Saul from his kingship did not change His mind.  Samuel understood that God in His rule is sovereign. He also understood something of the ways of God; He Who is the Everlasting One DOES NOT CHANGE BUT HE MOVES. In the Book of Numbers(In one chapter) we read of how the cloud of God’s presence led the children of Israel to move over forty times! His wisdom dictated that they learn to be a people led by His Spirit.  They were pilgrims and strangers in their sojourn in the wilderness and had to develop a new skill. They had learn how to fight.

FROM GLORY TO GLORY

They also must learn to trust the ways of God that He was looking out for their future, which was better than their past. God loves to take a people in their weakness and show them His might. He loves to take them from faith to greater faith, from one victory to another. And ultimately the Lord God will take His people from glory to glory until they are changed into the image and likeness of His Son,Jesus Christ.  When we consider from the Scriptures how marvelous are His ways, we will do as the LORD God instructed the prophet Samuel, “Weep no more over Saul”.

NO FINAL FAILURE

God makes no mistakes, man makes plenty. Samuel would learn that in the end,that God REDEEMS.  Even when the children of Israel did not believe God’s promises causing a whole generation to miss out on their inheritance, He brought their children who had not rebelled into the Land of promise.  I believe God is doing another mysterious work among those who have stopped looking over their shoulders to what God has done and embrace what the Lord wants to do in His people today.  The writer to the Jewish believers wrote, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.” For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:12-19 NASB)

What seemingly was lost to one generation was kept for new generation if they would hear and obey God’s voice. When losses or disappointments have occurred in your life please remember that God is not being unkind or cruel.  It is often not what God has kept you FROM but what He has kept you FOR. He reserves the BEST for those who are willing to forego the GOOD.

“When the LORD brought back the captive ones of Zion, We were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with joyful shouting;  Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”  The LORD has done great things for us; We are glad.”(Psalm 126:1-3 NASB)

(c) Copyright 2013, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied without charge provided that it is not altered from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com