BROKEN HEART WORSHIP

September 17, 2014

John 12:3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Mary of Bethany was a worshiper. While the men were arguing about who was the greatest and Judas was striving about a new ministry to the poor, Mary was at His feet worshiping. Sounds kind of familiar. Men tend to want to do things or conquer something while women are quite content to just worship.

There are some powerful things we can glean from Mary. First, worship flows from a broken and contrite heart. Pride can’t worship, it is too consumed with its own importance. Humility has recognized greatness, worship is the first response. Secondly, we recognize the source of Mary’s humility. She had glimpsed not only the greatness of the Lord, she had caught a sense of why He came. She was anointing His body for burial. Christ had not come to make men great in this world, He had come to prepare them to live in the next world. His death was essential; that’s why Mary was worshipping. Jonathan Edwards preached about the power of Mary’s worship, here are a few of his thoughts.

“Mary poured forth this precious ointment on Christ out of a broken box. So true grace flows out of a broken heart. Believers don’t only pour forth the exercises of grace out of a pure heart. True Christian grace and divine love always flows out of a broken heart, an heart broken with a sense of sin. And the heart of a saint never sends forth such a sweet savor as when it is most broken and contrite, as is evidenced by Psalms 34:18, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit”; and Psalms 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Isaiah 57:15, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones”

Edwards too had become a worshiper. God had visited his church, Edwards was humbled and grateful to be part of God’s great plan. The Lord is still looking for worshipers today. Maybe you aren’t great in the eyes of this world; thats okay. You too can be a worshiper like Mary.

INSPIRE US AGAIN

September 16, 2014

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another

Counselor to be with you forever.”

JOHN 14:16

Several years ago I read the biography of George Whitefield written by George Dalimore. One of the things the author brought out was the distinct and radical change in Whitefield’s life upon his conversion. Whitefield had already been involved with the Wesleys in their holy club, but that was a real exercise in futility. None of these young men were born again. They had developed an aggressive religious system but no one had experienced regeneration. That all changed one afternoon after Whitefield had a sudden and dramatic encounter with God in his dorm room. In a moment of time he stepped out of a system into a relationship with the living God. Here are some comments from Andrew Murray about the power of regeneration.

“There can be no goodness or happiness in any human being, unless it is the breath, the life, the work of God within him. Goodness can only be in God and it cannot exist separate from Him. He can bless and sanctify by Himself becoming the blessing and sanctification of man. There is thus no goodness in the life of man from anything but the immediate indwelling and working of the Holy Trinity. Perpetual inspiration from the Holy Spirit is as necessary to a life of goodness, holiness, and happiness as the perpetual respiration of air is necessary to animal life.

It is a mistake to confine inspiration to particular times and occasions, or to prophets and apostles. Inspiration is for every Christian who trusts to be continually led and inspired by the Spirit of God. For though not all are called to be prophets or apostles, all are called to be holy and perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect; to be like Christ; to will only as God wills; to do all to His glory and honor; to renounce the spirit of the world; to love God with all their heart, soul, and spirit and their neighbor as themselves.”

Murray is calling regeneration a form of inspiration. From that perspective George Whitefield’s conversion brought him into the arena of inspiration. Not in the sense of the apostles and the writing of scripture but inspired none the less. From that first day there was a new sense of God upon Whitefield’s voice. His voice became God’s weapon that was used to bring thousands to Christ in the Great Awakening. Lord, inspire us again.

RECALLING PAST VICTORIES

September 15, 2014

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” Lamentations 3:21

God causes even our memories to be renewed under His guidance. I remember when The Lord gave me the example of “heads or tails” on a coin. It’s learning to see our lives through “his looking glass”. I find when difficulties come that I begin to recall the wonders of God over my life these past 41 years. So many victories! CS Lewis in the book of Narnia so elegantly depicted Narnia through the eyes of poor Edmund or precious Lucy. Oh to have the grace that Lucy had when trouble came her way, for she flew to her Aslan. Listen to this quote from Pilgrim’s Progress when Christian and Hopeful found themselves in Doubting Castle; “At midnight on Saturday, despite their wounds, Christian and Hopeful began to pray (like Paul and Silas in Acts 16:25), and they continued this prayer throughout the night. Then we read of the amazing escape: “Now a little before it was Day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out in this passionate speech; ‘What a fool,’ quoth he, ‘am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty? I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will I am persuaded open any lock in Doubting-Castle.’ Using the key, Christian and Hopeful escaped.” Wow, what promise have you lying in your bosom? Such a vast treasury of scripture that we can RECALL TO MIND. I pray your memory gives you hope and not discouragement, life and not fear, freedom and not bondage. Psalms 77:6 “I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search. vs.11 ” I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. Spurgeon says, “Fly back my soul, away from present turmoil, to the grandeurs of history, the sublime deeds of Jehovah, the Lord of Hosts; for he is the same and is ready even now to defend his servants as in days of yore.” Lets cast our tools of faith and prayer and mine for gold that doesn’t fade away. There in those deep dark caverns lays hidden promises. Spurgeon says, “many a promise lay in invisible ink which we cannot read until the fires comes”. I’m going to get mine—-see you in the caves!

FINALLY ALIVE

September 14, 2014

1 Pet.1:10,11 ¶ Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.

I think way too little emphasis is placed on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in churches today. If you stop for a moment and think about it, the apostles didn’t really change until they were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Two examples come too my mind as I think of the apostles before the Day of Pentecost. The first thought is their fearfulness. Before Pentecost they were huddled away in hiding, terrified that they would be discovered and executed. After Pentecost they were never afraid again. Peter took his stand that first day as he preached as if daring the religious leaders to kill him. The second change was in their calling. Peter took off and went fishing again after the crucifixion. What changed all of that, it had to be the Baptism in the Spirit. That is the day Peter stepped into his calling as a fisher of men (3000 were saved at Peter’s first sermon). Here is Andrew Murray describing this new life.

“Why could not the apostles, who had been eyewitnesses to the suffering of Christ, testify with their human apprehension the truth of such things? Why did they have to wait till they were baptized with fire and born again of the Spirit? It is because the mysteries of Christ’s life are revealed to us by the Spirit of God in our souls. Every man, however able in all kinds of human literature, remains a stranger to the mysteries of the gospel until Christ Himself reveals it to Him. The work of the Spirit consists in altering that which is the most radical in the soul, bringing forth a new spiritual death and a new spiritual life. It must therefore be true that no one can know or believe the mysteries of Christ’s redeeming power except by an inner conviction.”

After the disciples were baptized with the Spirit they became different kind of men. They apparently lost the fear of death as they publicly and relentlessly proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ. Going back into the commercial fishing business? The thought never crossed their minds. They had discovered a whole new reason to be alive, actually they were now finally alive; totally filled with the Holy Spirit.

NEW CREATION

September 13, 2014

John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Sometimes the truth is as hard to see as the nose on our face. Recently, I came face to face with one of these noses. It was so simple I had somehow missed it. What am I talking about? I am talking about the un-settled feeling I have had with the recent emphasis on the so called message of grace. I know His mercy is everlasting and His grace is unfailing but something wasn’t ringing true. That’s when it suddenly hit me. It wasn’t what was being said that was troubling, it was what was left unsaid. His grace is amazing but it does more than just cover our sins. It’s His grace that leads us to the born again experience. He is not happy leaving us as He finds us, He insists upon change. Since we could not change ourselves, divine intervention is essential. As Jesus Himself said, “You must be born again.” Here is Andrew Murray talking about this essential truth.

“I want to draw your attention to the most delightful subject in the world, to help you to rejoice in the adorable God whose being is pure love. He is the inexhaustible source of meekness, delight, blessing, goodness, patience, and grace. These are like many streams breaking out of the abyss of the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The triune God who is forever giving forth nothing but the same gifts of light and love, of blessing and joy, whether before or after the Fall, either for angels or for men. No good can become part of you unless it is by way of a birth from above. Your nature must also be restored; it must be part of this new birth. It must cooperate in the production of new life before the Spirit of love can have a birth in it. For love is delight and delight cannot arise in any creature until its nature is in a delightful state, or is possessed of that in which it must rejoice. The reason why God came to earth as human was to make it possible for the Triune to dwell in you.”

So the truth is that covering our sins is not the ultimate purpose of the cross. The ultimate purpose was total transformation. “Unless a man is born again he will never see the kingdom of God.” So the next time you hear the someone talking about grace as if it is an excuse to live however they want know this; there is a better way. The kindness of the Lord leads us and grants us total life change through the power of repentance.

TASTE AND SEE

September 12, 2014

Psa. 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste,

sweeter than honey to my mouth!

How can you tell somebody what something tastes like. At the end of the day, you have to try it for yourselves. That is especially true with spiritual realities. As much as we try, describing spiritual experiences are pretty much impossible. It’s like trying to tell someone who was born blind what a beautiful sunrise is like or even describing the color blue. We find ourselves pretty much at a loss. This is the challenge of being a preacher, it is sort of like being an artist in a world filled with blind people. They can never appreciate your work until the day their eyes are opened and they can see for themselves. Jonathan Edwards often spoke of tasting the things of God. He said that tasting God’s word was like the taste of honey. Here are some thoughts about tasting spiritual reality from Jonathan Edwards.

“There are two kinds of knowledge of divine truth, viz. speculative and practical, or in other terms, natural and spiritual. The former remains only in the head. No other faculty but the understanding is concerned in it. It consists of having a natural or rational knowledge of the things of religion, or such a knowledge as is to be obtained by the natural exercise of our own faculties, without any special illumination of the Spirit of God. The latter rests not entirely in the head, or in the speculative ideas of things, but the heart is concerned in it: it principally consists in the sense of the heart. The mere intellect, without the will or the inclination, is not the seat of it. And it may not only be called seeing, but feeling or tasting. Thus there is a difference between having a right speculative notion of the doctrines contained in the Word of God, and having a due sense of them in the heart. In the former consists the speculative or natural knowledge; in the latter, consists the spiritual or practical knowledge of them.”

Yep, it is impossible to know the things of God until you taste them for yourself. Someone else can explain these things to us but there is not enough explaining in the universe without spiritual light. It is the breaking in of these rays of light and inspiration that give us the first sense of the reality of God. Before you know it you will also be tasting honey from the rock.

REAL BEAUTY

September 11, 2014

REAL BEAUTY

Psa. 27:4 ¶ One thing have I asked of the LORD,

that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD

and to inquire in his temple.

Following your heart can be quite confusing. Sometimes our heart can be quite deceiving, especially to ourselves. Having our heart changed is at the very center of what the Christian life is all about. How can we change our heart? Actually it is quite simple and hard at the same time. It is simple because we are to follow what we love. It is hard for the same reasons, we often love the wrong things. That is where the power of the gospel comes in. Our heart is changed, the very fabric of what we love, by the power of God’s love. He loves us into this new life of obedience. Here is how Dane Ortlund explains it in his book about the preaching of Jonathan Edwards.

“The heart of obedience is not summoning the will to do what it loathes. Rather, obedience is fruit- it is the outward manifestation of inward health. We naturally blossom because we are planted in the soil of the gospel with the sun of divine grace shining upon us. Obedience does not come out of a new raw power to now do what we don’t want to do; obedience comes because we now delight to do what we hated before. To obey is thus not to mechanically force our behavior into line with God’s moral law so much as it is living out a new delight in God. Burgeoning bank accounts, lavish vacations, orgasmic pleasure, celebrity-like fame; such things have lost their luster. We have seen real beauty.”

Edwards also spoke about the role beauty plays in the changing of our heart.

Holiness is a most beautiful and lovely thing. We drink in strange notions of holiness from our childhood, as if it were a melancholy, [morose, sour,] and unpleasant thing; but there is nothing in it but what is sweet and ravishingly lovely. ‘Tis the highest beauty and amiableness, vastly above all other beauties; ’tis a divine beauty, makes the soul heavenly and far purer than anything here on earth (this world is like mire and filth and defilement, to that soul which is sanctified); ’tis of a sweet, pleasant, charming, lovely, amiable, delightful, serene, calm, and still nature;”

So yeah, it does pay to follow our heart after our heart has tasted true beauty for itself. Once that happens, like David, your life will become fixated on the beauty of God.

LIVE DEAD

September 10, 2014

LIVE DEAD

Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I remember, years ago, going to a drive in movie to see a showing of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. That was the first time I had ever heard of zombies, you know, those walking around dead people. I often think about that stupid flick and what an impression it made on me. I don’t remember many of the other films I saw in those days but this one stuck with me. This was the original dead men walking. Really, this is a great picture of our Christian life. Paul said we were crucified, publicly executed, with Christ; nevertheless we live. Just as our dying was public, our living for Christ is very public too. We are literally walking dead men, dead to the world but alive in Christ. This is an excerpt from a powerful book called LIVING DEAD by Dick Brogdin & Mark Renfroe.

“In one sense, Live Dead is timeless and universal. It is the crucified life, the “I die daily” of Paul, the death to self that unbroken generations of Christ followers from all cultures have faithfully lived. All who bear the name of Jesus are called to put His passions and priorities above their own needs and comforts. We all are to live dead.
In another sense, Live Dead is a very intentional effort to preach the gospel of the Kingdom among every nation that the end may come (Matthew 24:14). Following the 1800s, the great century of Christian mission, came the realization that our world is not getting better, and that peace and justice cannot be ultimately realized by the efforts of man—including redeemed man. A longing, a desperation for Christ to return, filled the hearts of believers in Jesus as the twentieth century dawned. Desperate for Jesus to come back, understanding that His return was linked to the gospel being preached to every people (to every ethnolinguistic group), aware that this could not be done in their own power, believers from around the world got on their knees and pleaded for for power from on high.”

What a great picture of the Christian life. We are separated from this world, dead to this world, that we can testify to this generation about Jesus Christ. It all starts the day you are born again, suddenly you are not able to fit in with the people and behavior that was so natural before. You have changed and as far as the old friends are concerned, you are dead. You are dead to them but more alive than you have ever been. Welcome to the Life of the Living Dead. Learning how to Live Dead will consume the rest of your days.

MASTER OF THE BREAK THROUGH

September 9, 2014

MERRY TUESDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

“And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then bestir yourselves, for then has the Lord gone out before you to smite the army of the Philistines.”

(2 Samuel 5:24 AMP)

Have you ever been backed up against the wall? Sometimes life takes unexpected turns and you find yourself questioning and turning over ever rock possible to find the answer. Sometimes we get dealt a blow that levels us. The Apostle James told us to “count it all joy” when these things happen to us. When this happens we need to get off the “busy wheel” and allow Him to speak. I have good news to tell you! THE LORD GOES BEFORE US AND HAS PREPARED THE WAY! David always seem to find himself in a pickle, I think that’s why the Psalms speak to us because he is always begging God to HELP, DELIVER OR DO WHATEVER IT TAKES! On one of these occasions God is telling David to wait until he hears a sound in the mulberry trees and then and only then attack. In other words, God will go before us and get it sorted.

Clark said, ‘Who believe that God see all things and is everywhere? Who supposes that he concerns himself with the affairs of his creatures? Who acknowledges him in all his ways? Who puts not his own wisdom, prudence, and strength,in the place of God Almighty? Reader, hast thou faith in God? Then exercise it, cultivate it, and thou mayest remove mountains.” Yes, the God of the Breakthrough breaks through as if it were a dam breaking.

Interpreter’s Bible puts it this way; “The tragedy of the kingdom of God on earth is that half the time we fail to discern that The Lord has gone out before us. When God has already gone out, who are we to lag behind? The ultimate factor in strategy is not the pre pondering of hindering forces in any given direction, but “where is God, what direction has he taken”? Over and over again in human history there has been the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees. So it was in the days of the early church, when suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind”. (Acts 2:2) So it was at the time of the reformation so it is today. God has obviously gone out before us toward a deepening of vital spiritual integrity within the church.

Jesus asked us if discern the times of this age. When the Holy Ghost wind stirs, God speaks and then we must act. God is speaking to someone that feels all alone and surrounded by bad news and hopelessness. The Master of Breakthrough has gone before you and is marching above the circumstances and will bring a mighty deliverance.

HE LOVES, HE LOOKS, HE TOUCHES

September 8, 2014

Mark 1:41 ¶ Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”

Have you been touched by God? No really! If you have, there would be some distinct changes in your life. He came to destroy the works of the devil. Have the works of the devil been destroyed in your life? What’s that? You don’t believe in a personal devil. Well, do you believe in a personal Lord? Is He real to you? Is He real to you today?
First of all, has the power of sin been broken in your life? I know no one is perfect but I am talking about an habitual lifestyle of sin. Has that been broken? The touch of God breaks the power of sin and introduces you to life. Just like the leper in today’s verse, there is power in every touch of God. Here are some thoughts from Charles Spurgeon.

“In reading the narrative in which our morning’s text occurs, it is worthy of devout notice that Jesus touched the leper. This unclean person had broken through the regulations of the ceremonial law and pressed into the house, but Jesus so far from chiding him broke through the law himself in order to meet him. He made an interchange with the leper, for while he cleansed him, he contracted by that touch a Levitical defilement. Even so Jesus Christ was made sin for us, although in himself he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. O that poor sinners would go to Jesus, believing in the power of his blessed substitutionary work, and they would soon learn the power of his gracious touch. That hand which multiplied the loaves, which saved sinking Peter, which upholds afflicted saints, which crowns believers, that same hand will touch every seeking sinner, and in a moment make him clean. The love of Jesus is the source of salvation. He loves, he looks, he touches us, WE LIVE.”

It’s in His touch that we first begin to experience His love. Its the power of His acceptance and love that brings us forgiveness and even more than forgiveness. His gracious touch brings us from death into life. The very life of God, the new birth actually makes us into a new kind person. Old things have passed away, new life has come. It all starts with a simple touch, the incredible touch of God’s love.


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