12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13
Today I’m remembering a very special man by the name of Walter Buettler. He had a powerful influence in the life of my spiritual father, Wade Taylor. Walter was born in Germany in 1904. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1925. In 1931 he graduated from Central Bible Institute. He served on the faculty at Eastern Bible Institute from 1939-1972. During a campus revival in 1951, God called Beuttler to "go teach all nations," and for 22 years he travelled around the world ministering the Word of God. He retired in Shaverton, PA with his wife Elizabeth. There he continued his ministry until he went to be with the Lord at the age of 70.
The Lord often visited the classroom as he taught, and revealed Himself and clearly moved in the lives of the students who sat under his ministry. At the end of each visitation of the Lord’s special presence in the classroom, brother Beuttler would smile at his students and say, “Isn’t He nice?” He often exhorted his students to cultivate a personal, experiential knowledge of the Lord. He used his unique spiritual walk and experiences with the Lord as a means to encourage others to begin seeking the Lord in earnest. Walter Beuttler went beyond seeking God for His blessings but sought God for Himself. He traveled the world many times over teaching about his friend—Jesus. The presence of God was electrifying in his meetings because he personally knew and walked with the Lord as few have.
One student who sat under his ministry explains in his own words: "We often experienced firsthand exactly what he was teaching us when the Holy Spirit would suddenly fall over the classroom with his wondrous sense of presence. “Student’s close your books, he is here.” Quietly we would close our books and slip our notes inside our Bibles. Then we would start waiting and breathing in the presence of the Holy Spirit. A message in another language would be heard and a word of interpretation would follow giving the class direction or admonishing us. The rest of the class period was given to praying and several others could be heard weeping as the Holy Spirit was doing His work secretly in the heart of each student." -- Bill Burkett
Walter Beuttler’s ministry has deeply affected my life in ways I find it hard to express. He passed away in 1974, yet his ministry still lives on through his sermons and articles. I have spent hours reading and studying his life, and each time I receive a greater hunger for the manifest presence of God.
Brother Beuttler once told the story of how he’d been watching another pastor’s church for a week, and the Lord told him to fast and pray, saying, “Don’t eat anything.” So that night he went into the church and began to fast and pray. He prayed all night and into the next day and still nothing happened. That night he went to sleep, still fasting, and when he woke he returned to the church and continued to pray. But halfway through his fast, he grew despondent because the Spirit of God wasn’t moving, so he decided to give up the fast.
Now, I know you don’t know Walter Beuttler, so you have no reason to trust him, but I trust this man and his word because I have listened to all his sermons, and read all his writings, and I know he is a credible source whose stories are true. That day he went home and sat down to eat. As soon as he put the first spoonful of food in his mouth, the devil appeared in front of him and began to laugh. As a result, he instantly dropped the spoon and returned to the church. He resumed praying and began to contend, by then simply waiting on the Lord for direction. He continued his fast for the rest of the week, fasting for seven days. By then his heart was desperately hungry for the Lord to move in his midst. But it seemed the Lord was taking an awfully long time. At that point he encouraged himself, saying, “He is worth pursuing.” It was the last night of his fast when he was alone at the altar that he felt chilly, so he covered himself with newspapers and continued to lie on his face on the floor, saturating himself in the presence of God. In that instant, he literally saw Jesus enter the room. Jesus spoke to him, telling him things that he would not reveal to anyone else, because they were too special and personal. But the revelation he received profoundly changed him and his ministry from that day on.
His example is a great testimony to me. Most of us would give up the fast, the pressing in, by the third day, believing Jesus would’ve spoken by that time if He intended to do it. However, I believe the truth is far different than we imagine. Jesus is quite anxious to speak to us, but the question is: How bad do we want to hear what He has to say? Do you really want Him to come and change your life? Only you can decide what it’s worth to press in for everything God has for you. Only you can fast and pray for breakthroughs and direction, for the deep things that are only acquired by pressing in.
God will have a remnant in the body of Christ who knows what it means to press in—who knows what it means to contend—who knows what it means to constrain the Lord, refusing to take “no” for an answer. Have you ever heard someone say, “We’ll have to have you over for supper some time soon.”? If so, you probably didn’t take the invitation seriously, because it was too vague, and you probably wondered if the invitation was serious. But if that person said, “I want you to come to dinner—how about Thursday night at six?”—you’d know it was a serious invitation, and you’d probably rearrange your schedule to accommodate it, because the host means business. The same situation occurs with the Lord. He wants to know we’re serious about spending time pressing in, to seek and pursue His face. If we’re flippant when we say, “I want more of you, God,” He’s well aware of the lack of sincerity behind it. On the other hand, He’s eager to respond to those who cry from a deep heart need, “Come, Jesus. I’m desperate for more of you. I can’t live without you, so I’m pressing in, expecting you to give me more of you.”
This message is vital for those who want to be lovers of God in these last days. In fact, I hope this message wakes you in the night—that you can’t get it out of your mind. That it makes you hungry and thirsty for more of God, unwilling to take no for an answer, because those are the kind of people in whom God invests His time, reveals His deep secrets, and perfumes you with His presence. Don’t settle for less than His best! The beautiful face of Jesus is looking your way; His arms outstretched tenderly desiring to pull you ever so close. Press in!