Archive for January, 2014

BUILDING A STRONGHOLD IN GOD(Pt.3)

Recently, I was privileged to be apart of a gathering of Believers who had come together to celebrate the life of the unborn. The unborn is the life that is the womb by the gift of God but often unexpected and therefore often unwanted. Sometimes the unwanted life is due to the shame surrounding the pregnancy. At other times the unborn is unwanted because of the fear of the financial challenges or the pressure from those who don’t want the social stigma attached to their “good name” or standing. And some simply don’t want the unborn child because of their own selfish desire to live without regard for another human being.

THE GREAT BATTLEGROUND

Today’s great battleground has been coined as “Pro-Choice” versus “Pro-Life”. But something else gripped me as I listened to the most amazing stories of those who were given hope (and help) making the choice of life for their unborn child. It was a phrase I heard…”Pro-Love”, an often missing ingredient among God’s people.

COLD LOVE

Jesus said one of the final day signs before His return would be lawlessness and the multiplying of evil living. This would cause “the love of many hearts to grow cold”(Matthew 24:12). A heart that has grown hard as a stone is a cold heart. It has become numb because it all it has seen, heard or experienced that it has shut itself away, being incapable of feeling love. Cold love sets in when We who “observe all the rules” hold in contempt those who live without “rules”(God’s laws). And We become like the overly religious in Jesus’ day, were more concern with outward appearances than the condition of the heart. They had lost any sensitivity for the plight of those trapped in the vicious cycle of sin and defeat. Jesus confronted their cold-hearted love saying, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”(Matthew 9:12, 13 NIV).

THE ALTERNATIVE

By that statement Jesus offers an alternative for cold love. He offers the true love of God. As someone rightly said, “Love on any level demands sacrifice”. Jesus gave away His life as an act of voluntary love for you and me. Paul works this out in 1 Corinthians 13(“The Love Chapter”). If this chapter ever became “The Love Walk” it would melt cold hearts and build a stronghold of God for daily living. There are three primary movements in Paul’s thoughts in 1 Corinthian 13:(1) The EXCLUSION OF LOVE. (2) The FRUIT OF LOVE. (3) The TRIUMPH OF LOVE.

THE EXCLUSION OF LOVE (1 Co 13:1-3)

Paul teaches that true love from God cannot be explained merely because we operate in “Spiritual gifts”. Whether we KNOW what can only be known by God’s Spirit or whether we can DO what is impossible except by God’s Spirit or whether we GIVE the “supreme sacrifice” by dying a heroic death. All of these make no difference IF not motivated by the love of God (See John 3:16; 1 John 3:16). Jesus reminds us that if what is done is for public show or recognition then We have our reward (See Matthew 6:5).

THE FRUIT OF LOVE (1 Co 13:4-7)

The love of God is not like gifts “hung” from a tree at a certain time of the year. But God’s love is born in every season of the year and is the result of the Life of the tree. Fruit grows on the tree because it is in fact part of the tree. A true abiding fellowship with Jesus bears the fruit of His love (See John 15:5). Furthermore, the fruit of His love is only manifest in the context of other relationships (See Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of His love in us is for others to taste and see the goodness and the mercy of the Lord.

THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE (1 Co 13:8-13)

Just as fruit is the result of the soil, the sun and the cultivation of a tree so too the fruit of love is a maturing process. None of us arrive fully-grown or developed over night. But God uses people, circumstances (Setbacks, trials, disappointments and delays) when offered to God to bring forth the fruit of the lovely character of Jesus Christ in our lives. This builds a stronghold in God and causes us to know the triumph of His love over every confusing circumstance of life. And like Paul say, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”(1 Corinthians 13:12, 13 NIV). Or as Eugene Peterson paraphrased,” But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 MSG)

May God who loves us with an everlasting love perfect His love in us.

 

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher,Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com.

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BUILDING A STRONGHOLD IN GOD(Pt.2)

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”(Psalm 18:2 NIV).

David did not realize that his receiving the anointing to be the next king over Israel would be contested. Saul knew that his days as king were ending according to the word of The Lord through Samuel.
Saul represents one who operated from place of insecurity ,jealousy and a Man-pleasing spirit. This was not rooted so much in pride(His beginnings were out of a humble heart and attitude) but rather out of a spirit of fear of being rejected by the people. As his focus became more about not losing his kingdom, he became less concerned about establishing God’s kingdom in the earth.

A DIFFERENT MIND

David, on the other hand, is “a man after My heart” said God “who will do my will”. Under David’s rule and leadership the kingdom of God would be revealed in the earth.   Ultimately, Saul and David represent two opposing viewpoints or mindsets in the earth…The fleshly or carnal mind or the spirit mind. The apostle Paul explains,”For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. (Galatians 5:17 NIV)

There must be a dismantling as it were of the carnal(fleshly) mindset in order to build a spirit mindset. By our choosing one over the other, the stronghold in which we think and operate in this hour will be set. Again, Paul wrote,”Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8 NIV)
THE HIDING PLACE
The story of Corrie ten Boom and the courage that her family displayed during World War II was made into movie called, “The Hiding Place”. The family discovered that Nazi Germany would attempt to round up and destroy all the Jews. They began to build in their home a secret room to hide the Jews from their enemies. This was at great risk to themselves as a devout Christian family. But with faith,courage and determination they hid away and were able to deliver many of their Jewish neighbors from destruction. God used them to be a stronghold in time of trouble.

David, too, experienced God’s mercy and shelter during his many years of being on the run against Saul’s murderous plots against him.”David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands. (1 Samuel 23:14 NIV)

Whatever the storm you may be facing, know that God is able to shelter you and keep you safe from your enemy. Claim David’s words as you pray:
“In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel” (Psalm 71:1-4 NIV).

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher,Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com.

BUILDING A STRONGHOLD IN GOD(Pt.2)

BUILDING A STRONGHOLD IN GOD(Pt. 2)

David did not realize that his receiving the anointing to be the next king of Israel would be contested. Saul knew that his days as king were ending according to the word of The Lord through Samuel. Saul represents one who operated from a place of insecurity, jealousy and a Man-pleasing spirit. This was not rooted so much in pride (His beginnings were out of a humble heart and attitude) but rather out of a spirit of fear; fear of being rejected by the people. And so as his focus became more about not losing his kingdom, he became less concerned about establishing God’s kingdom in the earth.

A DIFFERENT MIND

David, on the other hand, was “a man after My heart” said God “who will do my will”. Under David’s rule and leadership the kingdom of God would be revealed in the earth. Ultimately, Saul and David represent two opposing viewpoints or mindsets in the earth…The fleshly or carnal mind or the Spirit mind. The apostle Paul explains, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. (Galatians 5:17 NIV) There must be a dismantling as it were of the carnal(fleshly) mindset in order to build the Spirit mindset. By choosing one over the other, the stronghold in which we think and operate in this hour will be set. Again, Paul wrote, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8 NIV)

THE HIDING PLACE

The story of Corrie ten Boom and the courage that her family displayed during World War II was made into a movie called, “The Hiding Place”. The family discovered that Nazi Germany would attempt to round up and destroy all the Jews. They began to build in their home a secret room to hide the Jews from their enemies. This was done at great risk to themselves as a devout Christian family. But with a spirit of faith and love, courage and determination they hid away and were able to deliver many of their Jewish neighbors from prison camps of destruction. God used them to be His stronghold in time of trouble.  

David, too, experienced God’s mercy and shelter during his many years of being on the run from Saul’s murderous plots against him. “David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands” (1 Samuel 23:14 NIV). How wonderful to know that no matter what demonic storm you may be facing that God is able to shelter you in His stronghold and keep you safe from the destruction of the enemy. Claim David’s words as you pray: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust”….If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent”(Psalm 91:1, 2, 9-13 NIV).

 

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher,Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com.

BUILDING A STRONGHOLD IN GOD(Pt.1)

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble”(Psalm 9:9 NIV).

Where do you go in times of trouble? Where do you turn when there is no where to hide? For David, these were questions that were a matter of life and death when he was running from Saul who hunted him like a bird on every hill. He felt the hot breath of his enemy in pursuit at times and said, “There is just a step between me and death”(1 Samuel 20:3). How did he escape? He found The Lord to be his refuge and his stronghold.

SHELTERED
David’s metaphor of the stronghold was driven home to me having been in the land of Israel recently. There I saw plenty of mountainous ranges with caves where David had no doubt hidden from Saul and his army who sought his destruction. Some of the openings did not look very large from a distance but when entered they are deep caverns. They provide great hiding places and shelter. It reminds me of the psalmist’s words, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you”(Psalm 91:1-7 NIV).

FINDING GOD IS A PROCESS
Finding God as our shelter is a process. We don’t know,as someone has said,that “God is all you need until He is all you have!”      We learn to turn to God when everything else around us has failed and proven insufficient to provide the security for which we long. Finding God in our daily struggles is a process of not merely turning to Him but confronting the lies that keep us in a captive place. The prophet Jeremiah was called by The Lord God in time of a spiritual crisis among his people Israel who were on the brink of national captivity due to their sins. He was given the task of “tearing down and overthrowing” some things in order “to build” other things up(See Jeremiah 1:9-10).

We can never find a stronghold in God without removing mindsets that lead to controlling and destructive behavior. The apostle Paul wrote, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled”(2 Corinthians 10:4-6 NKJV).
Strongholds start in our fleshly or carnal thinking. As goes our thinking over time so goes our body,our habits. The habits we form become the character of who we are.  Again, the apostle Paul warned, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God”(Romans 8:5-8 NKJV).

BREAKING THE CYCLE
Mental strongholds can only be broken by using our spiritual weapons of war. There are ways to break the cycle of defeat: (1) Bold faith. This only comes by hearing the Word of God. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17 NASB). (2) Obedience. Working God’s Word into our life dislodges the poison arrows of the enemy from our thinking. (3) Declaring God’s Word. Speaking God’s Word of Truth overthrows carnal logic and reasoning, building a new fortress in our mind. This new fortress is a spiritual stronghold called “The mind of Christ”(See 1 Corinthians 2:10-16).
God gave Jeremiah a promise if he would only speak God’s Word.  It will work for you,too, if you will apply this promise today. “Now, gird up your loins and arise, and speak to them all which I command you. Do not be dismayed before them, or I will dismay you before them. Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land…. to the people of the land.  They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord”(Jeremiah 1:17-19 NASB).

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher,Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com.

A WORD FOR YEAR 2014

 We in the Body of Christ need to know what this New Year of 2014 holds for us. According to some, from the Religious Calendar (Hebraic Calendar) this year will be a “Sweet” Year. It reminds me of Samson’s riddle after he had destroyed a young lion with his bare hands and later found honey in the carcass of the beast.  “Out of the eater came something to eat…Out of the eater came something sweet”(See Judges 14). If we will stay alert, knowing that we have an adversary who seeks to devour us (1Peter 5:8-9), there will be victories in the Name of The Lord, which shall indeed be sweet.

This will ultimately be a sweet year as we daily seek the presence of Yeshua (Jesus) in His Word. He is the Living Bread that came down from heaven. Like the children of Israel who gathered this mysterious “manna” daily (A double portion on the 6th Day so as not to labor on the 7th Day), we will find Him “sweet like honey”(Exodus 16:31).

THE OPEN DOOR

This year is also called the “Door of Opportunity”. Doors are entry points to new horizons. John was called by the Spirit of God to “Come up here” when he saw “a door standing open in heaven”(Revelation 4:1). If we allow the Holy Spirit to change our VISION, God will change our POSITION in order to change the CONDITION in the earth realm this year!

THE DOUBLE PORTION

The Year 2014 also suggests “A Double Portion” year.  The number 14 is (7×2 or 7 + 7). The number 7 in the Scriptures indicates “Completion of a finished work, bringing us to rest”(See Genesis 2:2). This year let us enter into all that the FINISHED Work of Jesus has purchased for us. He cried out on the cross of Calvary, “It is finished”(John 19:30)! What He finished on the cross FOR us, satisfying the heart of the Father, He wants to accomplish IN us.  Part of that work is to bring forth fully mature (completed) sons. It was for the joy set before Him that He endured the cross. Should we not intercede that He receive “the reward of His sacrifice”? (See Romans 8:26-30; Philippians 1:6;2:13).

OUR INHERITANCE

Joshua caused the children of Israel to cross the Jordan to possess their inheritance. They had to contend for what God said was theirs by Covenant right. But some were content to gain access to the Land and never claim their allotted portion. Why? They allowed a spirit of passivity to lull them into a sense of indifference rather than bold faith like Caleb. Let us shake off the spirit of passivity and rise up! To stake our claim to the things of The Lord in this hour. Jesus taught that as His disciples, we should “Occupy till He come”!

INTENSITY OF FOCUS

Finally, this year will require an intensity of focus. Let us ask the Father to give us eagle vision. An eagle’s vision is said to be eight times more powerful than our human vision.  Therefore it can fly at such great heights and yet make a power dive for what it wants for lunch!  God spoke to Job regarding the eagle’s amazing skills. “It looks for food; its eyes detect it from afar. It’s young feast on blood, and where the slain are, there it is”(Job 39:29-30).

Eagle saints must arise in this hour! They will be spiritual hunters who have learned to feed on Christ Jesus, drawing their life and strength from Him. This year, may we learn to “Wait on the LORD” and find our strength and purpose in Him.

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights 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.