The Most Needed Thing
Part One of Two
On Saturday December 6th I rose early, about 3:30 AM and I was prepared to proof read my finished copy for our December newsletter, or “Trumpet Blast” as I now refer to it. But it didn’t seem right. I had not received the approval of the Holy Spirit of God. Yet I wanted to get a newsletter out before the end of the month. However, I didn’t have the approval from the Holy Spirit because I had not addressed the central need.
For weeks I had been struggling with a number of issues.
My mind was as scattered as my desk, with notes on news stories, magazine articles, etc.
I read several articles about the persecuted Church. My heart was heavy. Are you aware that Christian persecution is taking place in 52 countries? In many cases millions are in prison and thousands are martyred for their faith in Yeshua.
I and other watchmen, plus many prophets, and discerning pastors have warned that persecution is coming to the United States.
Certainly I include terrorist attacks by Islam. In fact something could occur before Bush leaves office, but there is another form of persecution that is already taking place.
Many Churches will not be exempt from satan’s henchmen.
While the liberal, homogenized churches will not be affected, because they will not only march to satan’s drum beat but help lead it. During 1933-1945 many Churches, Catholic and Protestant alike blatantly and unashamedly supported Hitler as he spewed his evil rhetoric.
Many churches will fall in line and submit to a draconian government. But many Churches will be persecuted. It will start with their 501c3. Anytime a pastor preaches against homosexuality that will be called a hate crime.
Like many of you, I am greatly concerned about what the newly elected President and his administration will hold for us.
The adage: “Red skies in the morning sailors take warning; red skies at night sailors delight.” is no longer apropos because the storm has begun. The deluge has yet to begin. There is a pernicious and draconian government being birthed that will embrace everything evil.
This evil presence is ubiquitous and most of you reading this newsletter sense it. Something is not right. You know it in your spirit. Christians are going to be severely persecuted in America. I will be addressing this and other like subjects in part two in the next “Trumpet Blast”
By 5 AM I had looked over my article several times and although I had accurately depicted the direction our country is headed, one central core value was lacking. I had offered no real solutions. I had not touched on the most needed thing. What do we as believers do, as we face some of the darkest days in history?
First I want to address what we do not do. We do not fear!
But many of us live in fear every day; it’s a way of life. When we live in constant fear it is a good indication there is rebellion in our lives. Leviticus 26:36 speaks of blessings of obedience and penalties of disobedience. And for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, even no one is pursing them. So you not be able to stand before your enemies.
I remember a few times when I was young I would walk home just as it was getting dark, and I can remember the blowing of a leaf frightened me. I wanted to get home, a place of safety. When one is fearful the imagination can run rampant
I will fear no evil; for Thy art with me.
For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and a sound mind.
We are to fear the Lord. We are to trust totally in Him.
But for you who fear My name, the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings: and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall
We are to trust God in every situation but never fear the situation.
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Yet why are so many fearful? It is because we do not spend time with the LORD.
My ministry is basically to the Church.
Yet I know for a fact, by your own letters and emails that not everyone has experienced salvation. Even now won’t you call upon the name of Yeshua (Jesus), turn from your sins in true repentance; believe the death, burial, and resurrection and acknowledge your own death, burial and resurrection through the exchanged life in Yeshua through water baptism. It is important to note that there is nothing we can do to obtain salvation. Baptism is an act of obedience; it is a command! We are saved by grace through faith. Yeshua did it all on Calvary. The finished work is in Him and Him alone.
After this, it is imperative that one abides in Yeshua and follows Him all the days of their lives. We live out our walk by faith and the power of the Holy Spirit.
What is the Most Needed Thing?
We all have heard the adage: “Familiarly breeds contempt.” But familiarly can also breed complacency. When we hear something so much it can be deafening. My life is being radically changed and I believe yours will also.
How do we live without fear? We spend time with the Father!
What is the most needed thing? Prayer!
I have prayed for years. It was just something I did but even as I am writing this article, I am learning an entirely different meaning of prayer.
In part one I mainly will address the private prayer - the solitude of the inner prayer life.
As I study the life of Yeshua, I am beginning to understand how important solitude and silence were for Him.
We each need to hear from the LORD afresh. Listen as the Holy Spirit of God encourages and ministers to you. Listen as new revelations will come to your spirit. Listen as the Holy Spirit of God is telling you how much He loves you. Listen as He instructs you. Whatever He tells you, it will never, never violate scripture. This is how we hear from God, this is how we have the mind of Christ, this is how we abide. We are on our faces in prayer and we are in His word daily, searching the scriptures and listening to his voice in our spirits.
This will probably not occur overnight. It’s a process. The first thing is to begin.
I love to steal awhile away
From every cumbering care,
And spend the hours of setting day
In humble, grateful prayer.
I love in solitude to shed
The penitential tear,
And all his promises to plead
Where none but God can hear.
I love to think on mercies
And future good implore,
And all my cares and sorrows cast
On him whom I adore.
I love by faith to take a
Of brighter scenes in heaven;
The prospect doth my strength renew,
While here by tempests driven.
Thus, when life's toilsome
day is o'er,
May its departing ray
Be calm as this impressive hour,
And lead to endless day.
Phoebe H. Brown
But Jesus “Yeshua” Himself would often slip away to the wilderness to pray.
After He sent the crowds away, He went up on a mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.
In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus “Yeshua” got up left the house, and went away to a schedule place, and was praying there.
After bidding farewell He left for a mountain to pray.
Yeshua prayed early and He prayed alone in certain designated places. He would pray sometimes all night.
It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer.
There is a difference in worry and self talk and prayer.
The Lord has His ways of getting us to pray. In March of this year I started working full time again. I became employed with the position of “groundsman”. Well, I may have stretched the word “position” a little, perhaps the title is a little embellishing, but the job was truly sent from God. On March the 28th I started pushing a lawn mower over a 270 acreage campus at Texas Women’s University. Although I have lived in or near Denton most of my life and I have driven through that university thousands of times I never noticed how hilly it was. I have literally spent hundreds of hours simply praying ”Lord let me make this hill” or “Lord let me make it through the day”, or better stated “Lord let me make it until the next break.” Although I am not mowing as much, we still mow, but now we are raking a lot of leaves, planting trees, etc. The point being, I get a lot of prayer time in. I also pray for everyone I work with. I pray while I am working and during work. Even when I am talking to my coworkers, I am praying for them. We are to pray without ceasing. This job was the catalyst of a renewed prayer life.
As thankful as I am for prayer time at work, it will never ever replace the time I spend completely alone with the Father.
A couple of weeks ago I did a simple but profound thing. I put an old quilt and an old Afghan my mom had made on the floor of my study. They became my prayer rug. This has proven to be an integral move to draw closer to God. Why it has helped me, is because it narrows a place that I set aside for the deeper and more intimate contact.
In That Place
Lord, in that dark and quiet place,
Where secrets stir within our hearts,
Even they are stilled by grace.
Within God's mercy fear departs.
We sense Your very presence near
As we're immersed within Your being.
You are the truth we yearn to hear.
You are our life, our joy, our seeing.
Peace settles deeply as we let go.
In Your name alone we all are one.
That place in You we've always known
The unveiled truth; Your work is done!
Finding a quiet place is essential and if possible I believe it should be the same place; you may have several places.
Yeshua never meant the closet to be taken figuratively. It is literal.
The closet was an inner room; the Greek word means “storeroom” The storeroom door could be shut. But Yeshua meant a real room somewhere, a private place, a corner in the house, the garage, a closet, a bedroom, a study, a basement, a place in the yard, anywhere, but somewhere. Sure, we can pray anywhere, anytime, and we do not need a special place. People travel and so on and so forth, but Yeshua was giving instructions for avoiding the banal use of prayer like the Pharisees. I believe Yeshua often withdrew to a quiet place where He could be silent, to listen. Too often, especially in some public prayers some have this sanctimonious look and are loud, boisterous bombastic, and pedantic, demanding God to answer them. . For some reason I can’t imagine Yeshua doing this. He would be alone, quiet and meditating in silence part of the time just to listen.
If we have trouble praying publicly, or in small groups, perhaps we have little or no practice praying privately. Yet, being good at praying in public should never be our goal, if it is, then those that hear us become our gods, and we become idolatrous.
When you pray you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand in the synagogues and on street corners so that they can be seen by men. Truly I say unto you, they have their reward.
But when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your who is in secret, and your Father sees what is done in secret will reward you.
The main reason we don’t hear from the LORD is we do not spend time with Him.
Barb, my wife, is my most significant prayer partner, but even Barb is not included in my most intimate time with the Father.
Is public prayer beneficial? Yes! Are small group prayers also beneficial? Most definitely! Yet, it’s the quiet times, the times that you pour out your heart that I believe is the best and most strategic way to battle the world, flesh, and the devil.
Now we embark on an event in history that I am not even worthy to write about. I must stand in awe and cover my face out of reverence at what our LORD suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane. When I read about Yeshua as He prayed in the Garden it only magnifies my own “undoneness”.
There were two gardens where two different battles took place; one ended in utter defeat but the other in tumultuous triumph. In the Garden of Eden satan won a temporary battle when Adam and Eve fell, but in the garden of Gethsemane where the most important battle in the eons of time was fought and won by the second Adam, Yeshua. The word “Gethsemane” means an oil press.
Just prior to Gethsemane some profound and significant events took place and I will address these in part two. But I want to take up where Yeshua along with His disciples were leaving the Passover meal, what some refer to as the “last supper” and were making their way to Gethsemane.
Picture the scene if you will. John spends chapters 13-17 depicting all that occurred at the last meal (Passover) but gives no detail about Yeshua praying at Gethsemane. But John does say something quite interesting. In John 18:1 John writes:
When Jesus (Yeshua) had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples.
Why does John mention the ravine of Kidron? Why bother to mention it? Why? Kidron is the area east of the Temple Mount; it actually separates the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives. Gethsemane is at the front of the Mount of Olives. Not that many are aware of this but from the study I was introduced to, the Kidron valley or ravine was the drainage system for the entire temple complex. The waters that were brought in by an aquifer that fed the temple area were also used to flush waste from the altar area and make its way down to this ravine. They are walking at night or the very early part of the morning. They had just finished Passover and although dark, it is likely they could look down in the darkness and see this ravine and see the blood of the lambs that had been slain the previous evening. It must have been an eerie sight as they walked. Yeshua and His disciples looked down and saw blood mixed with water. Passover is about to pass over, and here is Yeshua, along with His disciples passing over the blood of the lambs that were slain the evening before.
The fact that the word Gethsemane is associated with a garden is significant. The word Gethsemane comes from two Hebrew roots: gath, meaning “press,” and shemen, meaning “oil,” especially that of the olive. In other words Gethsemane was the garden of the oil press. The olives had been pressed under the weight of great stone wheels that would squeeze the beneficial oil from the olives. So we have Yeshua in the Garden of Gethsemane; He was literally pressed by what laid ahead.
I believe everything Yeshua experienced at Calvary, on a stake, better known as the cross, was first experienced in the garden of Gethsemane. He was tempted as no man has ever been tempted at this time. I can almost hear His human flesh, screaming No, No, a thousand times No!!!
I don’t want to die this death so very cruel. I do not want to experience the only thing I cannot cope with which is sin – not just sin but the sins of all humanity through all of history and those yet to come.
And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweet became like droops of blood, falling down upon the ground.
He sweated drops of blood. The King James says “He sweated great drops of blood.”
Did Yeshua really sweat blood? Most certainly! This is not to be taken figuratively. Medical science even has a name for it. It’s called “hematidrosis”. It is not common, but there have been rare cases of hematidrosis recorded in which tiny capillaries in the sweat glands rupture under extreme and intense mental pressure. Go back with me if you dare to Gethsemane and picture Yeshua falling to the ground in total agony as He cries out to His Father. Picture the disciples, just a stone’s throw away sleeping, perhaps partially out of sorrow, perhaps fear, and just plain fatigue. But Yeshua is alone and crying out in dire pain and sorrow as He prays one of His mot epoch prayers.
We are told He kneels on the ground, later He falls on His face and prays: “Father if You are willing, remove this cup from Me, yet not My will but Yours be done.”
Oh the cup, the cup, we cannot fathom it. The suffering was much more than pain, in fact the pain, as horrific as it was, was one of the least of the tortures He endured. He was about to experience something He had never experienced. It was sin. That was the foreign object; it was this pathogen that would kill Yeshua. The long and thick nails, the whip with chips of bone at the end, the beatings, and all the unspeakable torture that was inflicted on Yeshua did not compare to the sin of the world that entered Him.
Yeshua basically abased Himself of all self worth and it was here that obedience was taught.
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.
One of the last prayers Yeshua prayed was on the cross. When He cried out: Father forgive them…” they were forgiven. Even those sins were dealt with by our Savior.
For He had made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21
It was our sins, yours and mine, that Yeshua took on Himself that we might be saved!
My heart has been so heavy at times that I had my own little Gethsemane.
Sometimes my heart is so heavy I don’t know how to pray.
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness, for we do not how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
I have become familiar with Romans 8:26 and the more I seek Him the more familiar I become with praying this way.
I beseech you in the name of Yeshua. Fall on your face and seek Him as never before, for it is the most needed thing. You can debate the end times, how to pronounce the Holy name of God, to celebrate or not celebrate Christmas, once saved, always saved, pre-trib or post-trib, what day to attend Church, and I have strong opinions on these and more, but until we learn really how to pray then we will never hear from God and these and other issues will be meaningless.
This article is in no way an article on prayer, for I am not that gifted, but it’s a charge to pray, and that is the most needed thing.
Now may the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bless you through His Son Yeshua.
In His Service,
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
This author does not capitalize satan.
In Part Two I will attempt to address the following.
Ø Walking deeper into Gethsemane: More thought on prayer.
Ø Why these three: Peter, James, and John?
Ø Praying from the cross
Ø Facing three false gods in America