That You Bring Forth Fruit
The title to this note is suggested by John 15:16, where Jesus assured the disciples that He had chosen and appointed them to bear fruit, and that the fruit borne would remain.
These words touch my heart. These words not only speak to what God is looking for by way of outcome, but also that He has specifically chosen me to be part of the fruit-bearing process, and that somehow the fruit will remain in spite of how unqualified I feel at times—frankly, on some days any fruit seems like a major achievement:)
Of course I need to make fruit-bearing the GREAT purpose of my life. I obviously have many things to do in life, but none of those other things should take the place of fruit-bearing.
What is the fruit? There is some confusion here, the suggestion sometimes being made that the fruit is the person that we have touched here and there, being the fruit. I don't think that has that much warrant in Scripture. Rather, it points to the fruit of the Spirit—"love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against which there is no law." (Gal. 5:22,23)
Somehow the fragrance of those otherworldly fruits attract other longing hearts to consider making Jesus part of their own experience.
I am especially pleased that directly after speaking of choosing and ordaining us to bear enduring fruit, Jesus added, "that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."
Not only are we called to bear fruit, but we are also given the key to bearing the intended fruit: asking the Father in JESUS' name for whatever is needed.
As I have been preparing for upcoming trips to Canada and the South Pacific, I've been reading much on the Holy Spirit. Oh what blessings have come my way. I've been losing sleep, but am more than happy to have lost sleep doing the readings.
Here is some of this morning's portion...
“In these words (ordained to bear fruit) we have surely an indication of the deep, vital connection between true prayer and true fruit-bearing; such that the two things are as it were convertible terms. It is as if He said, “I have ordained you to produce real and lasting spiritual effects for Me; in other words, I have ordained you to be, in Me, prevailing petitioners with My Father that you may be bearers of such fruit.” The “things asked of the Father in Christ’s name” are that the disciple may be a vessel meet for the Master’s use, a branch pregnant with holy fruit; and there is therefore a deep and living correspondence between the bearing and the asking. Now here again is the operation of the Spirit, “the Spirit of grace and of supplications” (Zech. xii. 10). The prayer here meant is no mere devout performance of duty, the due utterance of an expression of reverence and dependence; it is “prayer in the Holy Ghost” (Jude 20), who “maketh intercession for us ... according to (the will) of God’ (Rom. viii. 26,27). It is the prayer of a heart filled with Him, and therefore filled with the humble but intense desire that His will may be done, and in particular that His implement may be used for His glory. Results of life, word, and work in answer to such prayer are “fruit that remaineth.” And indeed it is “fruit of the Spirit.”—H. C. G. Moule, Veni Creator
Be blessed bearing fruit!
Introduction: I have been busy!
Much time has passed since I have written and much has taken place. Seminars have been held in Calgary Canada and locally. They have gone well in all respects. While in Canada I also spent four hours sharing in a juvenile detention center. It was an awesome experience and one in which God greatly blessed. I have added many pages of resources to path2prayer.com, as well as audio from the Calgary series and from a witnessing seminar done locally. I have also started a path2prayer ministries page on facebook (http://facebook.com/path2prayer
) that has grown to 406 people in three weeks. In the meantime I also continue teaching the course in the History of Christian Spirituality, which I count a great blessing and privilege. In a few days I head to London where I speak for two weeks in the Hamstead Church. Many have been praying for me, for which I am soooooo grateful. Yes, I have been busy. But God is very good! Thank you for your interest in what I am doing. Please continue praying!
Prevailing In Prayer: The Prayer of Faith
I’ve spent considerable time studying the prayer of faith, and posted ten articles so far, which you can ﬁnd at this link on the prayer of faith
. The concept and terminology come from James 5:15 where it speaks of the “prayer of faith” saving the sick and allowing God to raise the person up. Here are some significant points: 1. There is such a prayer. 2. It enables deﬁnite miraculous results that would not happen without such faith (Words such as “the Lord will raise him up” and “effective prayer” are used). 3. It anticipates a particular spiritual outcome on the person being prayed for (“confess your sins…that you may be healed”). 4. It is apparently offered in the context of a godly life (“effective prayer of a righteous man avails much”). 5. Elijah’ “earnest praying” is cited as an example of such a praying person.
The most helpful and encouraging thoughts in my study on the subject came from Charles Finney and Wesley Duewel.
Finney points out that faith is indispensable to obtaining answers (Mark 11:24), and asserts that we MUST believe the following if we are to obtain answers: (1) believe in the existence of God; and (2) that we will obtain an answer. Then he marks out when we can pray for with absolute confidence: (1) when God has speciﬁcally promised the thing (such as salvation of children); (2) when a general promise indicates God will act (such as growing wickedness); (3) when there is a prophetic declaration (of which there are many regarding our time in history); (4) when providence so indicates (where one notices people becoming open to the gospel for example); and (5) when the Spirit excites a strong desire to pray (there are many such examples of such prayer in history). Finney accordingly says, look to Scripture and see if anything is promised, and pray accordingly with great confidence. I know God won’t violate a person’s will, but we can ask God to bring compelling conviction upon the person we are praying for, for example.
Duewel points to the following by way of summary: (1) It is prayer totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit; (2) It is a prayer totally committed to seeing God’s answer realized; (3) It is a prayer willing to believe and prevail for God’s answer in a situation that is utterly impossible; (4) It is prayer that believes regardless of feelings or emotions; (5) It is prayer convinced that it is in accord with God’s highest will; (6) It is prayer so sure of God’s will that it will not accept denial of the answer; (7) It is eager to obey God in any way He leads so as to help hasten the answer; (8) It may include prayer warfare in resisting and routing Satan; (9) It is willing to pray through every detail of the answer or victory.
On Overcoming: Striking quotations!
Perhaps out of my interest in the prayer of faith, a series of quotations on the absolute faithfulness of God have greatly blessed me:
“Every year, I might say almost every day, I believe I seem to see more clearly how all the rest, and gladness, and power of the Christian life hinges on one thing, and that is, taking God at His Word—believing that He really means exactly what He says, and accepting the very words, in which He reveals His goodness and grace, without substituting others, or altering the precise moods or tenses, which He has seen ﬁt to use.”—Frances Ridley Havergal (wrote Take My Life and Let It Be plus many books)
“In the simplest manner in which I am able to express it, faith is the assurance that what God has said in His Word is true; and that God will act according to what He has said in His Word. This assurance, this reliance on God’s Word, this conﬁdence, is faith.”—George Müller (ran an orphanage in Bristol England)
“The core element in the act of faith is that in it, by which we step out and beyond the reach of the senses, or perception; beyond apprehended facts; beyond facts apprehensible by the senses, intuition, or demonstration, to equally veritable facts, cognizable only by faith. As the telescope enables us to bring within our vision and investigation worlds almost inﬁnitely beyond the reach of unaided sight, so faith is an instrument by which we bring within the compass of cognition and experience the most wonderfully blessed facts in the realm of the invisible and spiritual.”—Eli Wigle (wrote a book on prevailing prayer)
“Is Jesus true? Does He mean what He says? Answer decidedly, Yes, every word. Then if you have settled this, by faith claim every promise that He has made, and receive the blessing; for this acceptance by faith gives life to the soul. You may believe that Jesus is true to you, even though you feel yourself to be the weakest and most unworthy of His children.”—E. G. White (Author of many books; one on the life of Christ, the Desire of Ages, is been cited among the most read books by pastors of all denominations)
“(Christ) may be grasped with weak or with strong faith. Weak faith belongs as much to Christ as strong. Whether a man is weak or strong of faith, he is Christ’s own just the same. The grace that is promised is common to all Christians and is eternal. On this, faith must rest, whether it be weak or strong.”—Johan Arndt, (a German Pietist; his book True Christianity greatly impacts modern church history)
“Oh, how true it is; all the waters of earth, how thirsty they leave us, or how soon we become thirsty again! “But,” continued our Master, there is something better, “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst” — shall never thirst! It may have been the end of 1868 or the beginning of 1869 when I discovered that “shall” means “ shall,” and that “never “ means “ never,” and that “thirst” means “ thirst.” I can’t tell you how delighted I was, for I was so thirsty at the time. And so hungry and thirsty was I as the Spirit of God threw his own Divine light on those words, that I saw that “shall” means “shall,” and “never” means “never,” and “thirst” means “ thirst.” I leaped from my seat; I could not sit still. How I did praise God that the thirsty days were all past! Well, you know, it is only a little over twenty years since then, and they haven’t come back since; and twenty thousand years hence, when you and I meet up there, I shall have the same story to tell you. He has promised it to me and I believe it.”—Hudson Taylor (founder of the China Inland Mission)
Of course the challenge is obtaining that power on a practical basis. Many people know there is power and help available from God, but don’t know how to obtain for themselves. I once had the same challenge with electrical power for my computer, when I had forgotten to take an electrical adapter to England with me—the power was waiting in the wall for me, but I didn’t know how to get it out to my computer. In this regard the story of Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20) is most instructive. When he heard that an overwhelming enemy was coming, he immediately began “seeking the Lord and proclaimed a fast” (vs. 3) Too many of us weary ourselves trying to figure out our own solutions to overwhelming problems instead of seeking God and His solutions. Jehoshaphat acknowledged that he had neither the means, nor the wisdom, to overcome (vs.12). God then intervened through a prophet who gave great encouragement and specific instruction (vs. 15-17). Jehoshaphat recognized the virtue of following the counsel of the godly prophet (vs. 20) and obeyed accordingly (vs. 21), and God set up ambushes which defeated the enemy (vs. 22). Once again, in what should have been a great calamity, God brought about great blessings that could not have come any other way (there were the (1) spoils of war that were too great to carry away; (2) a “fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries….” (3) and “the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for God gave him rest all around.”). You will be glad to know that God sent a person with knowledge to help me in England after I made my challenge a matter of prayer, just like God sent Jehoshaphat a prophet after he prayed.
The Wise Soul-Winner (Prov. 11:30): An Intentional Witnessing Lifestyle
I shared my thoughts on witnessing at a convention for business people in the last couple of weeks. I’ve been thinking about witnessing for many years now and have been learning all I can. It hasn’t hurt that the class in spirituality has caused me to read broadly on the subject. I am convinced that we all need to develop an intentional witnessing lifestyle. Listen to learn what I mean by the witnessing funnel. You can ﬁnd my talk and related resources at path2prayer at this witnessing link
In previous newsletters I have suggested that we all need a prayer partner. How are you doing in that respect? What about the “each one reach one” witnessing goal? How about goals for a personal relationship with Jesus?
Travel Notes: The Trip to Calgary was Amazing!
My trip to Calgary was pretty amazing. When departing, upon entering O’Hare Airport I ask God to allow me to have a meaningful conversation with at least one person. To my amazement I ended up sitting down next to a person who regularly listens to my pastor on television. God deﬁnitely answered my prayer! I also was able to spend the day praying and meditating on my talk at the juvenile center in the Minneapolis Airport due to the plane arriving late from Chicago. God provided a perfect talk for the young adults based on the life of John Newton (he wrote the song Amazing Grace). I told the young adults that I wasn’t concerned about what had happened in the past, I was only concerned about what they would do in the future and that I wanted them to be my neighbors in heaven. They listened like lambs and the Spirit was very present. Several have since written me with speciﬁc spiritual questions. The seminar on how to prevail in prayer at the church also went extremely well. There was an excellent turnout every evening the whole week, and we were all aware that the Spirit was present. Since then I have received many notes of appreciation and stories of answered prayer. You can hear the audio from Calgary at this link in the audio resources section
Here is one of those answers to prayer:
“I prayed a lot for my exams and had asked the prayer meeting group to pray for me as well. So today morning, while I was reviewing the course (Modern Chromatographic Analysis) I came on a diagram that describes injection of analyte (a chemical substance) using High Performance Liquid Chromatography. I felt some thing powerful saying that’s a question for exam! And I jumped up and said: Thank you Lord for giving this question. There were no doubt it was from the lord, for I had studied before and never paid much attention to that diagram. I mean this coarse is full of ﬁgures, graphics and diagrams, but somehow that one, today around 10 to 11 am (maybe somebody was praying for me) it stood out! Guess what, the same question was on the exam. ‘Draw the injector in HPLC and explain how it works’ I was shocked. We serve a powerful God.”
Service Opportunities: More than one way to serve.
I am pleased that some have taken up the call to serve in short-term or longer-term mission stints in various places in the world. Remember you can go two ways: (1) directly; (2) by supporting another person to go.
Coming Up: London
I head to London and the Hamstead Church (66 Haverstock Hill, NW3 2BE; 020 7482 5022 for information) this coming Thursday evening, where I will be speaking for two weeks. I begin speaking on Saturday May 1. I am sure I can get to London on time; I hope I can get back when I am suppose to since the volcano has caused some mischief in this regard.
Please consider joining the path2prayer ministry page on facebook. Find it at this link on facebook
. I tweet at path2prayer.
Here is another way of supporting this ministry: Add links to path2prayer.com to your personal blog or web site, or your church’s web site.
Communicating with me and Requests:
I always appreciate updates on how things are going. Do you know friends who would beneﬁt from this newsletter? Please have them write me in that regard.
Father, thank you for what you are doing in our lives. Thank you that we have the privilege of serving you wherever you have planted us. Be with my friends, and help them learn how to pray as effectively as Elijah did. Thank you that there is every reason to be of good courage no matter what is going on. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen!
A Final Thought:
“The men who have done mighty things for God have always been mighty in prayer, have well understood the possibilities of prayer, and made most of the possibilities.”—E. M. Bounds
God bless you!
God’s will; nothing more, nothing less, nothing else!