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WORSHIP NEVER STOPS

September 2, 2014

And these are the singers … they were employed in that work day and night.

1 Chronicles 9:33

There must have been a reason The Lord called David a man after His own heart. How exactly was He a man after The Lord’s heart? The answer is in worship. That’s what made David stand out among all the prophets, priests, and kings of the Old Testament. David was a worshipper of a whole different caliber than had ever been seen. David was anointed to worship. His worship had a supernatural dimension to it different from anyone before him. Three thousand years have come and gone but David’s songs are just as fresh as the day that he penned them. They are still being sung today because they were born in God’s presence. When you begin to sing the songs of David you can still be caught up in the presence of the Lord. David initiated continuous worship in his tabernacle. His worship was a type of the New Testament we enjoy today because of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh. Here is something Spurgeon said about this continuous worship.

“Well was it so ordered in the temple that the sacred chant never ceased: for evermore did the singers praise the Lord, whose mercy endureth for ever. As mercy did not cease to rule either by day or by night, so neither did music hush its holy ministry. My heart, there is a lesson sweetly taught to thee in the ceaseless song of Zion’s temple, thou too art a constant debtor, and see thou to it that thy gratitude, like charity, never faileth. God’s praise is constant in heaven, which is to be thy final dwelling-place, learn thou to practice the eternal hallelujah. Around the earth as the sun scatters his light, his beams awaken grateful believers to tune their morning hymn, so that by the priesthood of the saints perpetual praise is kept up at all hours, they swathe our globe in a mantle of thanksgiving, and girdle it with a golden belt of song.”

 

What caused David to insist upon twenty four hour worship in the Tabernacle of David? Why was this so important to him? David had experienced the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit upon his life since his youth. The greatness of God’s glory, His ceaseless mercy, His unsearchable goodness all were demanding worship from David’s perspective. With this great God displayed before him what else could he do, he had to worship.

For those of us who have tasted the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we find ourselves in the same position as David. We have to worship. We must respond to His ceaseless love with a lifestyle of worship. Just a few songs at church on Sunday will never do for me, I have tasted His greatness and worship is our only option. David got it. He saw the greatness of God, that’s why it was said He had a heart after God’s own heart. The Lord gets it. He knows His own greatness, He also knows the benefits that come to His sons and daughters when they step into this new way of life.

UNDYING LOVE

September 1, 2014

The Story of Hosea and Gomer

MERRY MONDAY: BY PARRIS BAILEY-

It’s hard to read the book of Hosea and not be moved at Hosea’s love toward His Gomer. He was instructed to take “a wife from the harlots”. What amazes me about Hosea is that he loved her. He didn’t question God as to why this is happening to him but was told “This is what Israel has been to God.” Sometimes our tragedy opens a door to a new spiritual truth. This is how his grief became his gospel. Hosea saw his suffering as a symbol of God’s redemptive grace-that one day Christ would come redeem the harlots of the world.

When I think about my life I realize that God allures all of us to come to him. In Hosea it says, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her. Then I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope and she will sing there as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. It will come about in that day,” declares the LORD, “That you will call Me Ishi and will no longer call Me Baali. Hosea went and bought her back from slavery when her harlotry and idolatry had gotten her there. I have to ask myself how many times does God woo the unbeliever and even me when I get off the track. He takes us out of the valley of trouble and places us into the door of hope.  If we look around this vast world, when I look up at the stars at night, or His vast oceans, rivers and lakes and see the abundance of life. All these things point to a redeeming God that never stops seeking us. We never even had the ability to save ourself. Gomer’s name meant completion. She symbolized the filling up of Israel’s sin and God was saying “you have sowed to the wind and will reap the whirlwind”.  Some of you reading this might have walked close to the Lord at one time, but something happened; you allowed other things to come between you and him. It seemed that you took your eyes off of him for only a moment, but that moment turned into an hour, and the hour into days, weeks, months, perhaps even years. You used to hear his voice calling you back, but now all you hear is silence. You confess your sins, but you feel no release and you worry that somehow you’ve wandered so far away, or done something so terribly wrong. No matter what you might have done, no matter how long it’s been since you walked with the Lord, no matter how far you may have wandered from His presence, no matter what you may have said to Him in your anger, frustration, or disappointment, the truth is that God has never stopped loving you, and he will never give up on you. It’s time to come home.

YIELD

August 31, 2014

“One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek:

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 seek him in his temple.

PSALM 27:4

Yield!!! I was in a revival service in 1994 and the preacher kept yelling out ‘YIELD’. Looking back at that season in my life (and the body of Christ for whatever that’s worth) this was a one word prophesy to me; to us. YIELD!!! Yeah, He’s talking to you. Control is one of the biggest issues in all of our lives. Christianity isn’t you becoming a better you, it’s about yielding to the Lord. It is about surrendering control of everything; your heart, your desires, your body, your tongue, your plans. It is about yielding control to our God. But here is the catch (or the blessing depending how you look at it), He changes the very fabric of our being starting with our will or desires. We began to want different things and we begin to love different things. Here is Andrew Murray talking about this change.

“When God’s desire becomes our desire, these words also become our words: to dwell in His house, to gaze upon His beauty, and to seek Him in His temple. The more we realize God’s desire to give rest and peace in our heart, and the more our desire is quickened to dwell with Him and behold His beauty, the more the spirit of intercession will grow upon us to claim all that God has promised in His New Covenant.

We will start thinking more of our church and country, home and school. We will think of saved ones and their need, or the unsaved and the dangers that threaten them. We will think of God’s desire to find His home and His rest in the hearts of men. All thoughts of our weakness and unworthiness will be swallowed up in the wonderful assurance that He gave to His children: “This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it” (Psalm 132:14).”

Wow! Actually what Murray is describing is the fruit of salvation. Salvation of the soul is more than forgiveness of sins, it is also regeneration and reformation. Everything is changed. So how can someone join in with David singing,”One thing have I desired of the Lord”. The one thing is gazing on God’s beauty. You have to be saved to notice His beauty, you have to yield to want it.

PERFECT IN EVERY WAY

August 30, 2014

Rom. 11:36 ¶ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Its funny to me how every one becomes a know-it-all when it comes to spiritual things. Its almost as if some of us think God is lucky to have us on His team. What would the Lord do if we weren’t involved? That’s quite silly if you really think about it. Reminds me of God’s famous response to Job, “Where were you Job, when I laid the foundations of the earth? Does the hawk fly by your wisdom or the eagle soar by your command?” Our God has been content in Himself from all eternity, He was satisfied in His relationship with His Son even before there was a creation. Jonathan Edwards speaks powerfully about the reason God created everything. If you like this quote, read his treatise called “The End for which God Created the Earth.”

“God is infinitely, eternally, unchangeably, and independently glorious and happy; that he cannot be profited by, or receive anything from, the creature; or be the subject of any sufferings, or diminution of his glory and felicity, from any other being. The notion of God creating the world, in order to receive any thing properly from the creature, is not only contrary to the nature of God, but inconsistent with the notion of creation; which implies a being receiving its existence, and all that belongs to it, out of nothing. And this implies the most perfect, absolute, and universal derivation and dependence. Now, if the creature receives its ALL from God, entirely and perfectly, how is it possible that it should have any thing to add to God to make him in any respect more than he was before, and so the Creator become dependent on the creature. And as the Creator is infinite, and has all possible existence, perfection, and excellence, so he must have all possible regard. As he is every way the first and supreme, and as his excellency is in all respects the supreme beauty and glory, the original good, and fountain of all good; so he must have in all respects the supreme regard. And as he is God over all, to whom all are properly subordinate and on whom all depend, worthy to reign as supreme Head, with absolute and universal dominion; so it is fit that he should be so regarded by all,”

So when you start to think you are “all that” open up your Bible and draw near to God. Its in that place where God reveals Himself that we begin to understand He is the Giver, we are His receivers.

FORTY

August 29, 2014

Psa. 40:5 You have multiplied, O LORD my God,

your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;

none can compare with you!

I will proclaim and tell of them,

yet they are more than can be told. 

God’s plan is astounding! He had His plans in place for redemption long before we fell into sin. Redemption predates eternity by a length of time called eternity. Christ was slain as a sacrifice for fallen man before He created the universe with a word. Not only did He have plans for the fallen race, He also had thoughts and plans for you and me. We were also known by God from eternity. These kinds of thoughts are too high for us, they are as endless as His love. As Jonathan Edwards often said, His love is like an ocean without a bottom and without shores. Here is how Charles Spurgeon described this verse in his timeless commentary called the Treasury of David. 

“Creation, providence, and redemption, teem with wonders as the sea with life. Our special attention is called by this passage to the marvels which cluster around the cross and flash from it. The accomplished redemption achieves many ends, and compasses a variety of designs; the outgoings of the atonement are not to be reckoned up, the influences of the cross reach further than the beams of the sun. Wonders of grace beyond all enumeration take their rise from the cross; adoption, pardon, justification, and a long chain of godlike miracles of love proceed from it. Note that our Lord here speaks of the Lord as “my God.” The man Christ Jesus claimed for himself and us a covenant relationship with Jehovah. Let our interest in our God be ever to us our peculiar treasure. And thy thoughts which are toward us. The divine thoughts march with the divine acts, for it is not according the God’s wisdom to act without deliberation and counsel. All the divine thoughts are good and gracious towards his elect. God’s thoughts of love are very many, very wonderful, very practical! Muse on them, dear reader; no sweeter subject ever occupied your mind.”

Maybe your life feels unimportant. Possibly you feel like you are drifting through life like a boat loosed from its moorings. Draw near to God. Open up His book. Before you know it His thoughts will come streaming into your life. He has plans for you. What kinds of plans? Things that are far above anything that you can ask or even think.

GOD’S THOUGHTS ABOUT YOU

August 28, 2014

Psa. 139:17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
Psa. 139:18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

As a child, I remember seeing television shows and movies that portrayed the local telephone operator. She had a giant panel in front of her and she would take incoming or outgoing calls and plug into just the right spot to connect the correct parties. Obviously, you couldn’t facilitate many people with that system. The reason I mention these strange telephone operators is that as a child, this is how I pictured the Lord dealing with our prayers and problems. The Lord seemed very far removed from my problems, and my life somehow didn’t even matter. All of that changed for me when Christ came into my life. Of course He has no limitations and therefore can facilitate all of us at the very same time. When I realized that the Lord actually thought about me, now that was a game changer. Today’s verse is one of those “too good to be true” kinds of passages. The best news is that it is true, the Lord has endless thoughts about you. Here is a quote from Charles Spurgeon about this verse.

“God’s thoughts of you are many, let not yours be few in return. They cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee. Their sum is so great as to forbid alike analysis and numeration. Human minds fail to measure, or to arrange in order, the Lord’s ways and thoughts; and it must always be so, for he hath said, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” No maze to lose oneself in like the labyrinth of love. How sweet to be outdone, overcome and overwhelmed by the astonishing grace of the Lord our God! If I would declare and speak of them, and surely this should be the occupation of my tongue at all seasonable opportunities, they are more than can be numbered; far beyond all human arithmetic they are multiplied; thoughts from all eternity, thoughts of my fall, my restoration, my redemption, my conversion, my pardon, my upholding, my perfecting, my eternal reward; the list is too long for writing, and the value of the mercies too great for estimation. Yet, if we cannot show forth all the works of the Lord, let us not make this an excuse for silence; for our Lord, who is in this our best example, often spake of the tender thoughts of the great Father.”

He has not only endless thoughts about you, He has a mighty plan. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask or think according to His power that is at work in you.

SHEPHERD’S ROD

August 27, 2014

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.Psalm 23:4

I remember when I first became a Christian I was a little confused by some of the Christian lingo, I used to call it Christianese. One of the phrase that bewildered me was when I heard Christians say that the Lord had spoken to them. That seemed so foreign to me. I never thought I could ever be spiritual enough to hear the Lord’s voice for myself. It wasn’t very long until I began to ‘get it’. As I began to have a regular, daily time, reading the Bible I began to understand how God was speaking to us. He speaks to us from His written word. The Bible is not a book of formulas, how tos, or philosophies. It is actually a living book, it is alive and active. As you take time to read it and ponder it’s message, the Lord will make certain verses come alive to you and begin to speak to you. This is the way we learn to hear His voice. Martin Luther loved the written word. He valued it so much he translated into the language of his German countrymen. His translation became the fountainhead of all the English translations of the Bible. Here are some comments from Luther about hearing the Lord’s voice. 

“Even though David couldn’t see or hear the Lord, David said, “You are with me.” The Lord’s presence can’t be perceived by the five senses. Only faith enables us to know that he is there. Faith convinces us that the Lord is nearer to us than we are to ourselves. In what way is God near? He is near to us through his Word. When David said, “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me,” it’s as if he wanted to say, “Nothing else on earth can help me through my worries and troubles. God’s Word alone is my rod and staff. I will hang on to it and use it to pull myself up again. I will be certain that the Lord is with me and that he gives me courage in all anxieties and troubles. He defies the devil and the world and rescues me from my enemies.”

So why not start right now. Read and ponder God’s written Word. It is alive and He will speak His beautiful word into your life.

THE BREAKER

August 26, 2014

The breaker is come up before them.

Micah 2:13

This world is full of obstacles. Even though you are now saved, there are many challenges and potholes along our path. It seems that we often expect a life with no trials or problems as a Christian; that is just not true picture of life. As this scripture tells us, the Breaker, the Lord Jesus Christ, has gone before us to defeat all of our enemies. Our greatest enemy was sin itself. Our nature was intertwined with sinfulness. Christ has not only forgiven us, the Breaker has broken the chains of sin off of our souls. 

There are also many distractions and setbacks along our path. Unexpected financial disaster, health challenges, turmoil within our very own families; we face all sorts of situations in our daily lives.  No, Christians are not immune to the problems of this world, but Jesus is the Lord of the break through. He has answers for every problem that comes against us. Here is a powerful excerpt from Charles Spurgeon on the Lord our Breaker. 

 ‘Dost thou dread sin? He has nailed it to his cross. Dost thou fear death? He has been the death of Death. Art thou afraid of hell? He has barred it against the advent of any of his children; they shall never see the gulf of perdition. Whatever foes may be before the Christian, they are all overcome. There are lions, but their teeth are broken; there are serpents, but their fangs are extracted; there are rivers, but they are bridged or fordable; there are flames, but we wear that matchless garment which renders us invulnerable to fire. The sword that has been forged against us is already blunted; the instruments of war which the enemy is preparing have already lost their point. They are beaten, they are vanquished; all you have to do is to divide the spoil. You shall, it is true, often engage in combat; but your fight shall be with a vanquished foe. His head is broken; he may attempt to injure you, but his strength shall not be sufficient for his malicious design. 

Proclaim aloud the Savior’s fame,

Who bears the Breaker’s wondrous name;

Sweet name; and it becomes him well,

Who breaks down earth, sin, death, and hell.’

Yes, we are fighting a vanquished foe. Though the challenges are real, the outcome is certain. No weapon formed against us shall prosper. So cheer up weary pilgrim, the battle is the Lord’s and the victory is yours.

CREATION CALLS

August 25, 2014

CREATION CALLING ME TO SEE FEEL TOUCH AND HEAR-

MERRY MONDAY-

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”
Rom. 1:20

This last week I was able to visit my mom who lives up in the Smokey Mountains. She lives up at 4200 elevation and from her house one can see Mt Pisgah on a clear day. It is not uncommon to see a bear, elk or even a groundhog climbing up a tree like I just saw. Every year I try to go during blackberry season so my mum can make her famous blackberry cobbler. I have been walking her mountain roads for over twenty years. Even now my grandkids can’t wait to go up there to do the same. Why do millions of visitors travel up there, along with so many other people to see natural beauty? Because the glory of God speaks to us, almost as if He is yelling out to us! I believe that the sky, stars, oceans, animals and mountains know that soon now Jesus will plant His Brazen feet back here once again. Each one of them have been doing things that are unusual. I can only pray that I stay “INTUNE” with His voice. One would have to be deaf not to hear, see, breathe and feel His beauty. Barnes said, “Being understood, His perfections may be investigated, and comprehended by means of his works. They are the evidences submitted to our intellects, by which we may arrive at the true knowledge of God.”
All this beauty is “not the parent” but is the “interpreter of our faith in God”. All the inner and outer revelation of God serve to compliment each other. What will you interpret today when you walk out into your world? Sometimes our lifestyle alone makes it extremely hard for God to get our attention and by the time we do hear Him he is yelling! haha—I pray you will open your hearts wide for our God is loud. His voice is the sound of many waters. Let me speak words of hope and life today. Whatever you may be facing allow Him to show you His bigness. Allow yourself to be wrapped up in His love. The storm clouds can fade away when Christ steps in your life. Matthew Poole said, “The invisible things of him: his being and his attributes, particularly his eternity and almighty power; to which we might add, his wisdom, goodness, &c. These, though invisible in themselves, yet are discernible by his works, and that ever since the creation of the world. By what they see created, they may easily collect or understand, that there is an eternal and almighty Creator.” Let the almighty creator speak to you today, he desires to color your world that might be drab dreary and dreadful.Creation calls!

LOVE SICK

August 24, 2014

“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.” —Song of Solomon 5:8

Have you ever been love sick? To the rational mind, love sick doesn’t make sense, but to the one struck with it, it is very real and can be quite painful. I remember my first reforestation trip going to the mountains of Oregon. On the first trip I had to leave Parris by herself with our new born son. We had been married just over one year and it was our first time of being separated. I was beside myself. I don’t want to get into the embarrassing details but let’s just say I was love sick. We were apart for only a week but it felt like a year to me. This is the condition Solomon is describing In Song of Solomon. In this powerful book, the Lord describes this love sick condition. When her lover is gone, the Shulamite can think of nothing else. She is helpless and hopeless without him. Charles Spurgeon speaks powerfully on this condition in his comments on today’s verse. 

 “Such is the language of the believer panting after present fellowship with Jesus, he is sick for his Lord. Gracious souls are never perfectly at ease except they are in a state of nearness to Christ; for when they are away from Him they lose their peace. The nearer to Him, the nearer to the perfect calm of heaven; the nearer to Him, the fuller the heart is, not only of peace, but of life, and vigor, and joy, for these all depend on constant intercourse with Jesus. What the sun is to the day, what the moon is to the night, what the dew is to the flower, such is Jesus Christ to us. What bread is to the hungry, clothing to the naked, the shadow of a great rock to the traveller in a weary land, such is Jesus Christ to us; and, therefore, if we are not consciously one with Him, little marvel if our spirit cries in the words of the Song, “I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, tell Him that I am sick of love.”

Love sick cannot be faked. It is the spontaneous response to separation from the object of your love. Are you love sick today? Do you feel separated from the lover of your soul? That can be a good thing spurring you on to the greatest of all pursuits, the pursuit of God.


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