Archive for September, 2014

HE PRAYED (Pt. 4)

“Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life” (John 17: 1-2 NASB).

LAST THINGS

Last things said are often the most important to remember. When Jesus prayed what has been called, “His High Priestly Prayer”, He was in an intimate setting with His apostles in the Upper Room (See John 13-17). He ministered and spoke in their presence, knowing that the he was heading to cross. Beyond what He did or said to them, the prayer He prayed (in their midst) was unforgettable. What are some of the things remembered that he prayed in an atmosphere filled with eternal importance?

THE GLORY OF GOD

The Father’s glory. “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You” (John 17:1 NASB).

The glory of God was ever His earthly focus. He came; He lived and would die with the glory as his all consuming passion. He challenged the pretentiously religious crowd saying, “Why do you seek the glory that comes from men rather than the honor that comes from God?” This question must grab us afresh in these last moments of this age before Christ soon return. We remember that one of the signs of “the anti-Christ” figure is he will have no regard for anyone’s glory or honor but his own! Daniel foretells of his coming, “He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all. But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures” (Daniel 11:37-38 NASB).

Like Jesus, we have to guard our hearts against seeking the honor of men. Let us ask ourselves, “Am I one who desires immediate, temporal satisfaction from those around me? ” or “Do I seek a reward that is eternal?” given on that Day by the King of glory Himself.

HIS KEEPING POWER

He prayed for protection of those who belong to God the Father and His Son. “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word…While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled…I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:6, 12, 15-16 NASB).

Although it was Jesus’ time to leave this world…It was not yet their time. He had assured them that it was necessary that He depart in order to send “The Comforter” to abide with them and enable them to finish the work (And teaching) He began (See Acts 1:1-8).

How important that His prayers for them would help keep them focused on the purpose to which they were being equipped and sent. “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you” (John 15:16 NASB).

REMAIN IN MY LOVE

 He prayed that they would remain united in love. “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me”(John 17:22-23 NASB).

There is no greater challenge in this hour for God’s people than the “Love” challenge. Nothing keeps the lost LOST like the display of disunity among the Body of Christ (Messiah). Let us move past our “pet”(And at times “peculiar”) doctrines and lift up our witness with love and conviction that “Jesus Christ is LORD of All”! He gave us the key when He said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto ME”(John 12:32).

The Cross of Jesus Christ alone has the power and magnetic attraction to deliver those from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His light and love.

(c) Copyright 2014, 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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“HE PRAYED” (Part 3)

“Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, (‭John‬ ‭17‬:‭1‬ NASB)

AUTHORITY OF BELIEVER

What “things” did Jesus speak about prior to this moment to which John refers? The authority of His disciples in prayer.  “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full…In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father” (John‬ ‭16‬:‭23-24, 26-27‬ NASB).
CONFIDENCE IN PRAYER

Having served the Lord for over 37 years, I have observed an unusual phenomena among God’s people. The lack of consistent prayer. Why is this so? I am convinced that one of the main reasons is the lack of confidence in receiving answers to prayer. Meaning that many do not believe that their voice heard by God makes a difference. And yet, Jesus assures us that not only do our prayers make a difference on earth. He tells His disciples several things in this regard.
(1) We have a personal relationship with God. He is our Father. Therefore He longs to hear from us(See John 16:23). Again, later John writes,”This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (1 John‬ ‭5‬:‭14-15‬ NASB)

This passage tells us how eager our heavenly Father is to give what we ask in prayer BEFORE a manifestation of the answer. He told the prophet Jeremiah, “‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ “(‭Jeremiah‬ ‭33‬:‭3‬ NASB)

(2) We have a loving Father. Everything God does for His children is motivated by His love. God does not merely HAVE love. God IS love and therefore can do no less than manifest that love toward us when pray to Him.  Yeshua said,”If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (‭Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭11‬ NASB)

(3) As part of God’s forever family in Yeshua/Jesus we have equality as sons and daughters of God with the Son(Galatians 4:7; Romans 8:17).
In regards to confidence in prayer, Yeshua/Jesus assures His disciples that their voice in prayer carries the same authority as His if we are “in Christ”.  “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full…In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father” (‭John‬ ‭16‬:‭24, 26-27‬ NASB).

George Mueller believed God’s Word was equal to God’s character and for over 67 years proved the faithful care of God. He started with care for a handful of orphans; growing to 300 and eventually trusting God’s providence and care only through the agency of prayer. When someone who had read the testimonies of the miracles of God’s provision in answer to prayer, they said to Mr. Mueller, “What great faith you have!” To which George Mueller replied, “I don’t consider that I have any great faith. But the difference is…When others quit, I keep going!”  What was for him an “Open Secret” can be ours as well. Yeshua/Jesus said, “”Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (‭Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭7-8‬ NASB).

Keep praying. Ask…Seek…Knock!
(c) Copyright 2014, 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

“HE PRAYED” (PT. 2)

“It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12 NASB).

 The Gospel according to Luke catalogues more carefully the history of Jesus the Messiah than any recorded by the other Gospel writers. One of the most peculiar records of events in the life of our Lord was his earthly habit of prayer. Why does Luke make more of this feature than the others? Perhaps, he wanted to affirm, in addition to the divine nature of Yeshua, he wanted to affirm his real humanity.

 HIS HABIT 

Our Lord (Yeshua) Jesus, grew up in a religious culture. It was normal that three times a day (9 am, 12 Noon & 3 pm) was the Jewish hours for prayer. So, in one sense, we could say it was a religious habit for Yeshua (being a good Jew) to pray. A habit of prayer is to be commended. But with our Lord, it was more than the routine of prayer. He, as our example for all things, shows the HUMILITY of the DISCIPLINE of Prayer.

 DEPENDENCY

 Yeshua (Jesus) shows us the way into the Father’s presence is the prayer of dependency. He took on all the limitations of our humanity (Saving Sin). He did not attempt to do the work of his Father without prayer and heaven’s assistance. Likewise, the apostle Paul was driven to his knees as a necessity not as a religious luxury. With all of his zeal and religious learning (Even revelations!), he must face his human, carnal limitations in doing God’s work.

 “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me-to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9 NASB).

Paul had to learn that some prayers don’t get answered in the way we would wish! But to form a disciplined life of prayer is never wasted. Prayer affirms my dependency on the grace and power of God IN me in order that HIS life can be manifest THROUGH me (And inspite of me!).  Forming a daily habit of prayer declares, “Not I but Christ”(see Galatians 2:20-21).

A BAND OF BROTHERS

Luke further records that Yeshua prayed all night because he would choose the men who would labor with him, advancing the kingdom of God on earth. He shows a valuable lesson for those who a building a business, organization or ministry. The most important time spent is not the time spent in the field of Work. Rather it is the time spent for the Workers for the field. Jesus through prayer to the Father chose His Team. Later on, “He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38 NASB).

This is no doubt, in part, the reason for a lack of abiding fruit in the Lord’s work.  It is not merely the lack of prayer. But it is also due to lack of FOCUSED prayer. We need to renew our commitment and focus in prayer not merely because the harvest is ripe but because the workers are few.  Through the efficiency of prayer we will see both the INCREASE of the workers and the QUALITY of the workers HE desires.  We must pray them in.

 

(c) Copyright 2014, 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

‘HE PRAYED” (PT. 1)

“Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear” (Hebrews 5:7 ASV).

 There is nothing, perhaps, more overlooked in the life of Jesus than his earthly prayer life. Perhaps it is because we do not take into account his humanity while exalting his divinity. In other words, because of our defense of he being the unique Son of God we minimize the reality of his human nature. His humanity was real. He did not get “a pass” because he was sent from a heavenly realm into the earth. He did not come as an angel but as a man.

REAL TESTS

Yeshua (Jesus) was subjected to real temptations, on every level. “For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18 NASB)   He was not immune from the temptations of life. Rather, He faced them squarely as part of the fallen human condition…Not for himself merely but for you and me.  When He was “driven in to the wilderness by the Holy Spirit”, it was for the specific purpose of facing one of the most intense battle with the Adversary, Satan.

One of his temptations and tests was hunger.  He faced hunger because he had fasted for forty days. The tempter came at him with the temptation of Self-initiating, Self-directed “rights and prerogative”. After all “If your are really the Son of God…Prove it! Take matters into your own hands; “Turn these stones into bread”(Read Luke 4:2-3).  “After all, you have the power to do so.”

Jesus did not yield to this temptation. Later in Scriptures, we will see him (Directed of the Father) feeding the multitudes through a creative miracle.  But Why not now, in this moment when he is hungry? I believe there is a two reasons..

First, He had submitted his human nature to his spiritual nature. He only did the will of his heavenly Father.  One of the sure ways of breaking free of human limitations is to submit ourselves to God. Jesus’ response to the tempter was not a debate but a rebuff. “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). His heart and mind were held captive to God’s Word. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NASB)

 The second reason Yeshua (Jesus) did not “buckle under” the pressure of temptation was that HE PRAYED.  He understood that prayer was an aspect of fasting and that prayer was necessary for victory over the enemy of his soul.  “Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered”(Hebrews 5:7-8 ASV).

He prayed because prayer was the hotline to heaven. He prayed because heaven’s assistance was needed. He prayed because he knew that heaven’s army was available to him. The holy angels stood at attention,waiting to be sent of His Father to help him war a better warfare. This was activated in the unseen realms by prayer.  He knew that although the CONFLICT was real, through prayer the CONQUEST was assured. So it is true for us today.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand…with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”(Ephesians 6:10-13, 18 ASV).

Prayer succeeds where human attempts fail. Our Lord, in His days here on earth, prayed through to victory. So must we.

 

(c) Copyright 2014, 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