Archive for May, 2013

FOUR THINGS TOO WONDERFUL(Pt. 4)

“There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Yes, four which I do not understand: The way of an eagle in the air, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the midst of the sea, And the way of a man with a virgin. (Proverbs 30:18, 19 NKJV)

When John the Baptist’s ministry was drawing people away from their cities and towns to heed his call to repent,confess their sins and put things right with God, the religious order of his day sent a delegation to meet with him. They were concerned of course because what was happening was on their watch and they had no control over it. Those who are at a loss for power or influence are always attracted to places where the power of God is at work. Sometimes they come to mock and sometimes to admire. At other times they come to learn how they can control the flow of this power in a new direction for their carnal advantage. In the end, when this does not occur, the annals of Church History records that those who were part of the “former move of God” will oppose the new move of God in the land. So it was true with John’s arrival. This delegation needed to get a pulse on this young “prophet” who was not from their camp or tradition.

In addition to John’s enormous following (Not to mention his wild dress Camels hair and a leather belt and diet!), there was a new phenomenon. The religious leaders discerned that there had arisen what they perceived as a new rival for John. “And they came to John and said to him, Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him! John answered and said, A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but, I have been sent before Him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegrooms voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease”(John 3:26-30 NKJV).

FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM

John’s answer was a striking one. His crowds were diminishing because of another who was having a greater effect…more baptisms, creating more disciples! But John didn’t sulk or try and come up with some refined technique to hold on to the crowd. No. John knew he was doing what fore-runners do, prepare the way of the Lord! He describes himself as “a voice”(not “THE Voice”) and a friend of the Bridegroom; announcing his arrival for those who were prepared to receive him. “I rejoice to hear His voice…He must increase I must decrease”.

FORE-RUNNER MINISTRIES

Even as John was jealous with a godly jealousy that he was called to fully prepare a people(a Bride) for the Bridegroom so it must be so today. God is raising up true ministries who do not mind being fore-runners in preparing a Bride for Her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”(Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV). The apostle Paul wrote,” I have betrothed you to one husband, that I might present you as a chaste virgin to Christ”(2 Co 11:2 NKJV).

AN ETERNAL MYSTERY

A Bride mature and complete in everyway for His Son is what God had in mind from the beginning. The mystery of the way of a man with a virgin is the mystery of Christ and the Church. Let us in this hour be reminded that the Story of the Bible is the call to an eternal wedding. The Bible opens with a wedding in the Garden(See Genesis 2:20-25). Jesus commences his public ministry with his first sign at a wedding(See John 2:1-10). The apostle Paul wrote,”Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:25-27, 30-32 NKJV)

Finally, the Bible concludes with a Wedding. John hears and sees it from heaven. “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. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” (Revelation 19:7-9 NKJV) Beloved don’t be late for the Wedding of the Lamb! This life is but a dress rehearsal for the Main event. Even as the wonder of the mystery unfolds, “The way of a Man with a virgin”, even so Christ will receive a Bride, pure, spotless and dressed in fine white linen ready to be forever joined to her Lord.

(c) Copyright 2013, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights are reserved. This article may be copied 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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FOUR THINGS TOO WONDERFUL(Pt. 3)

“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman” (Proverbs 30:18, 19 NIV).

A SHIP ON THE HIGH SEAS

I was assigned to a so-called “Buoy Watch”. This was a mild form of a tease pulled on the new Seaman assigned to Naval Ships. Basically you are sent “Aft”, at the back of the vessel while doing maneuvers at sea until the next “poor” recruit “relieves you of your ‘Watch’”. I did not mind this little prank (A Shipmate gave me a “heads-up” regarding the charade). Being the good recruit I was…I went along with it (allowing the older Seaman their laugh at my expense)! This in turn allowed me some time above deck to “check out” the Ship to which I was assigned.

SHIPS ARE MADE FOR THE DEEP

I was a Hospital Corpsman assigned to a Destroyer Tender, which repaired and assisted Naval Carriers and their crew. Within one week of my being assigned to this Sea vessel I, along with the rest of my Shipmates, was headed out of the harbor into the beautiful, blue waters of the Pacific. This was an entirely new experience for me. I watched the land mass and its sights get smaller and smaller on the horizon. What an awe-inspiring sight! It occurred to me that “This is what this Ship was made for!”…Not shallow waters where the vessel gently bobs up and down in the green murky waters in a safe harbor. Rather it was designed for the deep blue waters, where you can feel the breeze of the Ocean and anticipate adventures on the horizon before you.

SHIPS HAVE A PURPOSE

There are many kinds of Naval ships. Every Sailing vessel is made for a special purpose. For example, there are Cargo ships carrying supplies to those in need. There are Hospital ships designed to care for the injured or wounded. There are Repair ships that work to restore other vessels keeping them fit and ready for their task. There are also Aircraft Carriers where planes take off and land at Sea. There are Submarine vessels, which are used to detect enemy locations as well being equipped with nuclear warheads! Then there is a Fleet Ship, which leads out with many other vessels flying their particular Flag in the Fleet formation. Each vessel is uniquely designed to fulfill its purpose at Sea in time of War. These examples are to remind us that “Deep calls to deep” in the Kingdom of God. We each have been specifically called and assigned by God for our particular mission in the Kingdom of God.

DANGERS AT SEA

We must be equipped in this hour. This world in which we live is not a “Sight-seeing Cruise”. Ships face real trouble on the high seas of life. The apostle Paul warned of dangers of being blown off course, some even suffering a “shipwrecked” of their faith” (See 1 Ti. 1:19-20). Again dark clouds may gather at Sea and make it impossible to see the “Charted course”. We have faith in God. The Lord Jesus is a faithful Guide to pilot us though. He uses spiritual “triangulations” (The Father assists us by The Word & The Spirit) to accurately pinpoint our position and keep us on course. We are also in danger of shipwreck if we get too close to “hidden reefs”(False prophets & teachers who seek to lead astray the weak in a community) or we fail to see what is up ahead. Recall the “Titanic” (Said to have been “unsinkable”!) was lost at sea, suffering at that time the greatest Maritime disaster in history because an ambitious Captain ignored the repeated warnings that an iceberg lay directly ahead in its path. If you don’t respect the seasonal patterns of the high seas, you could also run into the “Perfect Storm”. The Scriptures record how the Captain of a certain ship carrying cargo & prisoners to Rome made an ill-advise attempt to beat the seasonal storm (See Acts 27). The apostle Paul, on board as a prisoner became, as it were, the “ Captain” of the vessel giving orders that ultimately saved the lives of all those aboard the Ship!

“CAPTAIN ON DECK!”

Make Sure Jesus Christ is in your boat. He is the true “Captain on Deck”. He is also the “Anchor that holds” you on course so that “the winds or waves” of false teachings do not take you off course (See Heb.6: 19). With Christ at our side we will reach our destination in spite of all that opposes us on the high seas of life. It is good that we claim the words the apostle Paul declared in the midst of a storm at Sea, “Take courage! For I believe God that it will turn out, even as He has said”(Acts 27:22). Through his words, God took charge of the ship, delivering them from sure death and placed them on an Island to witness true revival! In addition, when it was time for them to leave (heading for Rome), they were given a new sailing vessel, fully stocked and loaded (See Acts 28:7-10)!

The Psalmist observed, “Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:23, 24, 29-31 NKJV)

(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 sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

FOUR THINGS TOO WONDERFUL(Pt.2)

“”There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman” (Proverbs 30:18, 19 NIV).

Living part of my childhood to adulthood away from a major city gave me a deep appreciation for nature in all its unspoiled beauty. I’d often go exploring through wooded areas around our farm. As much as I enjoyed the adventures I also had to be on the lookout for any poisonous snakes! If I were near the water, I might come upon a Cottonmouth(Water Moccasin) Snake, a poisonous black snake with a white mouth. I could also detect when a poisonous Copperhead Snake was near because it had a strange smell like a cucumber. And of course, there was the Diamondback Snake which was easy enough to recognize by the diamond shape pattern on its back, by which it derived its name. The sound of its rattling tail gave fair warning when threatened. Snakes and I had one thing in common…There was no “love loss” between us!

One of the mysteries the wisdom writer mentions in Proverbs chapters 31 is “the way of a snake(or serpent) upon a rock”. In the book of Genesis we are introduced to the story of Creation, with God’s thought of beauty, harmony and goodness. We recall that the story is spoiled by these words, “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, Has God indeed said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1 NKJV)

THE SNAKE IN THE GARDEN

The moment they questioned the truthfulness of God’s word and His good intentions for their lives(See Genesis 3:2-7) the seeds of doubt and deception(in Eve) and rebellion(in Adam) were sown. It all started as they listened to the serpent, who took advantage of their free will to choose. They could listen to the voice of God for guidance, peace and security or partake of “the tree of knowledge of good and evil”. It was when listened to the voice of the Adversary and subsequently, the Accuser that (as someone suggested) “Mr. & Mrs. Adam ate themselves out of house and home”! The serpent was the instigator of their rebellion against the LORD God and their subsequent projecting blame and irresponsibility put them out of the Garden.

CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES

The story of Adam and Eve’s decision is not unique to history. We must realize today that God has made it plain in His Word that choices have consequences. Through the prophet Moses he declared,”This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live”(Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV). Again, through the prophet Isaiah he declared, “If you are willing and obedient,you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel,you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken”(Isaiah 1:19, 20 NIV).

HAVE YOU BEEN SNAKE BIT?

Some have unwittingly by self-deception been “Snake bit”. How can you tell? They manifest the same traits that the Serpent revealed in the Scriptures. His poison runs in their veins, manifest in their behavior: the same pride that leads to rebellion against authority; the same iniquitous pattern of lawlessness; the same projection of personal guilt and blame shifting; the same lies and slander which poisons others with gossip with the intent to isolate and destroy someone’s character. The apostle Paul wrote to the Roman believers, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you” (Romans 16:17-20 NIV).

NO IMPRESSION UPON THE ROCK

The true believer does not entertain the whispers of the Serpent and is therefore safe from his bite. A serpent may leave his trail in the dust but makes will leave no impression upon a rock! So it is true for those who are “in Christ Jesus”. Mankind was made from the “dust of the ground”(Genesis 2:7) and through one man’s sin death was past on to all men. But through faith in the obedience, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we have been delivered from the “snake bite” of Satan(See Romans 5:12-14). “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (John 3:14, 15 NIV) Jesus Christ is the Rock of our salvation and when we build our lives on Him we are safe. He assured His disciples that the Enemy was coming but had no place in Him. There was not even a window ledge for him to stand upon in Jesus life! Furthermore, “in Christ” we can overcome all the works of the enemy in our life. Take a hold of God’s promises and you shall overcome every weapon of the enemy forms against you. “You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation” (Psalm 91:13-16 NIV).

 

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

FOUR THINGS TOO WONDERFUL(Pt. 1)

“There are three things that are too amazing for me,four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman “(Proverbs 30:18, 19 NIV).

Someone suggested that we treat the Book of Proverbs like God’s vitamin chest. By this they meant that since there are 31 chapters in the Book of Proverbs(one for each day of the month) we should read a chapter in Proverbs daily in order to gain wisdom. “A chapter a day will keep the devil away”. Whether or not this will keep the enemy of our soul away, it will certainly keep him at bay! Wisdom is more than acquired knowledge. It is the insight necessary to apply that knowledge for practical living.

NATURE OUR CLASSROOM

One of the greatest schools to gain wisdom in is the classroom called Nature. I was reminded of this truth through an article sent to me recently by a friend. In it was the story of Dr. George Washington Carver, who was one of the greatest creation scientist of American History. He shared his secret of unlocking thousands of new discoveries (From the peanut and sweet potato alone) that blessed the world. From Glenn Clark’s book, THE MAN WHO TALKS WITH FLOWERS, Dr. Carver stated, “It is very simple, If one knows how to talk with the Creator…. All my life I have risen regularly at four o’clock and have gone into the woods and talked with God. There He gives me my orders for the day…when people are still asleep I hear God best and learn my plans…after my morning’s talk with God I go into my laboratory and begin to carry out His wishes for the day.”

THE WAY OF THE EAGLE

In Proverbs 30, the observing of “an eagle in the sky” resulted in wonder and wisdom. The eagle has been called “the great monarch of the sky”. In spite of it’s weight, it’s awkwardness on the ground and with a near seven foot wingspan it can lift, soaring into the sky almost effortlessly. Indeed a wonder to behold.  And yet, the deeper wisdom-lesson is that God and you and I the believer is likened to the eagle in the sky.  “Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high? It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is its stronghold. From there it looks for food; its eyes detect it from afar. Its young ones feast on blood, and where the slain are, there it is.” (Job 39:27-30 NIV)

Like the eagle, we too have been called to a new dimension. We were made to soars into the heavenlies in Christ (See Ephesians 1:3,2:6). Like the eagle, we too have been sheltered in the cleft of the Rock. “‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself”(Exodus 19:4 NIV).  Like the eagle, we too are to have keen vision. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people”(Ephesians 1:18 NIV). Like the eagle who hunts for living things, we are to feed on the life of Christ (not dead doctrines). “Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:53-57 NIV)

MAKING A DISTINCTION

Those who belong to Christ are to reach out for a higher principle of wisdom. Unfortunately, it is sad to admit that many of God’s people have no spiritual discernment to know the difference between the world’s so called wisdom and spiritual wisdom. Why no distinction? Because often they have been so conditioned by the systems of the world that they have no understanding of the ways of the Kingdom of God. This can only be done by pursuing a Spirit-Walk with the Lord Jesus through daily contact with His word and His ways. His ways are not far from the littlest or youngest follower of Jesus Christ. Recall our Lord Jesus going through many towns that were religious but unrepentant. They were moved by religious traditions but unchanged in their hearts. He warned them that without a radical change in their hearts they stood under God’s judgement. Apparently right after this, He stops to praise the Father regarding the wisdom of His kingdom. “At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do” (Matthew 11:25, 26 NIV). Wisdom from God is a matter of the condition of the heart manifest by walking in His ways. “Wisdom is proved right by her deeds” (Matthew 11:19 NIV). The fruit of our behavior tells what is growing in the heart.

IN HIM IS WISDOM

For the believer, wisdom does not come merely in propositional truths but in a Person, Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul wrote, “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. But we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord”1 Corinthians 1:20, 21, 23-31 NIV).  

(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 sold or altered from it’s original contents. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletchetjr@gmail.com.