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MY INHERITANCE

October 19, 2014

Psa. 61:5  For You, O God, have heard my vows;

You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name.

Have you ever inherited anything? Obviously, the value of an inheritance depends on the worth of the person that left the inheritance for you. Several years ago, Parris’s dad passed away leaving Parris and I a small inheritance. Her dad loved vacations, travel cruises,etc. We actually used this inheritance to purchase a time share for our personal vacations in honor of her dad, Tony Hanson. Every time we use our time share, we have fond memories of Tony and his love to travel.

In Christ, His sons and daughters have received a powerful inheritance. He is wealthy beyond comprehension and we have become heirs of His abundance. Not only have we inherited His possessions, we have inherited Him; He is our portion. Here are some thoughts from the Old Testament Word Book on our heritage.

“In civil matters the verb means to become an heir. In military matters it means to gain control over a certain area by conquering and expelling the current inhabitants of that area. In such a light the word came to take on the meaning of “dispossess,” “drive out,” “cast out,” and “seize.”

In Israel’s history the root takes on its double force, to inherit and to dispossess, in relationship to the covenant. God made a covenant with Israel that they would become his own special people. A major benefit on Israel’s side was the promise of an inheritance, namely a land where they could develop into a holy nation.”

This commentary points out two parts of our inheritance. First we become heirs of God, we have become His own special people. As the the nation of Israel was God’s chosen people, we have become His chosen people in Christ. Secondly, we have the power and authority to drive the enemies from our land. One of those great enemies is sin and compromise. Sin no longer has a right to rule in our world. We are now free. We live a different kind of life from the people all around us.  We are sons and daughters of God and fellow heirs with Jesus Christ. Every time we pray like Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father, in heaven…”, we are reminded of our inheritance. We are sons and daughters of the Almighty, our inheritance in unspeakable.

UGLY TURNS BEAUTIFUL

October 18, 2014

Is. 60:15 ¶ Whereas you have been forsaken and hated….. I will make you a joy from age to age.

Some of the worst people in the Bible actually become some of the most powerful. Several names immediately come to my mind; Saul of Tarsus, Mary Magadalene, and of course the demon possessed man from Gadara. We all know Saul’s story, he was persecuting and executing Christians until that fateful day he encountered Christ on the road to Damascus. In a moment of time he became a different man. The grace of God not only accepted Paul, it made him into the greatest of all apostles. Mary’s story is also quite well know. Probably a woman of the night possessed by seven demons. God’s love delivered, forgave, and transformed Mary. She actually became the first witness of the resurrection. Also, the demoniac from Gadara. The nameless man was used to change his world. A great revival took place in Gadara shortly after his miracle. Several months after the folks from that region asked Jesus to leave, thousands joyfully received Him in response to the Gadarene’s testimony. Here are some thoughts from A.B. Simpson about the Lord transforming the worst of us.

“God loves to take the worst of lost men and make them the most magnificent memorials of His redeeming love and power. He loves to take the victims of Satan’s hate and the most fearful examples of his power to destroy and use them to illustrate and illuminate the possibilities of divine mercy and the creativity of the Holy Spirit.

He loves to take the things in our own lives that have been the worst, the hardest and the most hostile to God, and to transform them so that we shall be the opposites of our former selves. The sweetest spirits are made from the most stormy and self-willed; the mightiest faith is created out of the wilderness of doubts and fears; the divinest love is transformed out of stony hearts of hate and selfishness.

The grace of God is equal to the most uncongenial temperaments and to the most unfavorable circumstances. Its glory is to transform a curse into blessing and show to men and angels of ages yet to come that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Romans 5:20).”

So what kind of horrible person were you? This shameful past can be turned into a powerful weapon for the glory of God.

CHOSEN BY THE SPIRIT

October 17, 2014

1Pet. 1:1 ¶ Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, ¶ To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen
1Pet. 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Peter used an interesting phrase in this verse, “chosen according to foreknowledge”. Does that mean more than God knew who was going to be saved? If that’s all it means, then what does chosen have to do with it? I think the foreknowledge is more than the Lord knowing information about us, way more. The Lord actually knew us in the since that He loved us before we even existed. He knew Jeremiah before he was in his mother’s womb, I guess He must have known me that way too. There are some interesting observations about being chosen in Barclay’s Commentary

“The Christian is chosen to be consecrated by the Spirit. Luther said, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to Him”. For the Christian the Holy Spirit is essential to every part of the Christian life and every step in it. It is the Holy Spirit who awakens within us the first faint longings for God and goodness. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of our sin and leads us to the Cross where that sin is forgiven. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to be freed from the sins which have us in their grip and to gain the virtues which are the fruit of the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us assurance that our sins are forgiven and that Jesus Christ is Lord. The beginning, the middle and the end of the Christian life are the work of the Holy Spirit.”

There is something more about today’s verse that really puts this whole chosen thing in perspective for me. Peter says we are chosen by the work of the Spirit. We are chosen by His alluring us. As a young man I was interested in everything but the Lord. He used a strange series of events to get me thinking. One look in His direction and I was done. I was captured by His love, the Holy Spirit reeled me in and I found myself consumed with Jesus Christ.

INDESCRIBABLE

October 16, 2014

1 PET. 1:8 ¶ You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.

We are looking for joy. We may not ever think of it in those terms, but that is what life really is. It is a long search for enjoyment in our lives. We have all wandered down so many roads and gazed into the proverbial rabbit holes in life in search of pleasure. That’s the way we are geared, our Maker created us for joy. He not only made us for joy, He gave us a huge appetite for it. The dilemma we all face is this, our hunger is for something not of this world. We were formed with eternity in our hearts, nothing in this world can satisfy that need for the taste of eternity.
The final destination for those who are truth seekers is the presence of God. It is in His presence that our search for fullness of joy finally ends. Here are some observations from the Tyndale Commentary about this glorified joy.

“The word translated unutterable occurs only here in the New Testament, and describes a joy so profound as to be beyond the power of words to express. (It thus reminds us of the value of singing and other kinds of music in worship, for music often provides a vehicle for expressing the fullness of joy in a Christian’s heart in a way that is much more effective than spoken words alone.)
This joy is also exalted. This word (doxazoœ) is the verb which corresponds to the noun ‘glory’ (doxa). These terms would quite naturally remind Peter’s readers of the frequent Old Testament mention of the glory of God, that bright shining radiance which surrounded the presence of God himself. The sense of this word exalted could be given more fully by paraphrasing, ‘joy that has been infused with heavenly glory and that still possesses the radiance of that glory’. It is thus joy that results from being in the presence of God himself, and joy that even now partakes of the character of heaven. It is the joy of heaven before heaven, experienced now in fellowship with the unseen Christ.”

We are not talking about ordinary, everyday joy. We are talking about glorified joy. Tasting it helps us know how great heaven will be. Go ahead, launch out into the depths of God. It is in His very presence that our search is ended.

MARTYRS’ WEDDING DAY

October 15, 2014

1Pet. 1:3 ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

For the lost, death is the end; all of their hopes are in this life. It is not so with the Christian, our hopes are all in the world to come. All of our earthly, dreams, pleasures, and accomplishments will fade into a forgotten haze when we shut our eyes in death. In an instant of time, our eyes will open again in a place of unspeakable glory. As David declared, we will begin to enjoy pleasures evermore. John Trappe was a Scottish pastor in the 1600’s. He wrote a commentary of the Bible which is filled with wisdom and humor. Here are his thoughts about today’s verse.

“Unto a lively hope] Sure and solid, clearing the conscience, and cheering the spirit. If it were not for hope, the heart would break; as they do whose lives and hopes end together. True hope lives when the man dies. It hath for its motto. The righteous hath hope in his death, as St Stephen had; who went with good cheer to take his end. And many of the holy martyrs went as willingly to die as ever they did to dine; they called it their wedding day. They knew it was but winking only, and they should be in heaven immediately; hence their invincible courage at the hour of death. The ungodly are not so; their hopes are dying hopes, they are no better than as the giving up of the ghost.”

I love this quote from Trappe. He said the martyrs looked at the day of their execution as their wedding day. We all know what that means, the joyful anticipation deepens as the wedding day draws near. For the martyr, his eyes are not on the momentary suffering, but on the eternity that follows. Heaven had become so real and Christ so precious that there was an actual joyful anticipation as the day of their death drew near. They said their death was just a “winking”. Their eyes would wink and they would then see Jesus. Just think about, we are all just one blink of the eye to our heavenly reward. That truth can change everything about the way we live.  MARANATHA !!!

MY LIPS ARE SHOUTING

October 14, 2014

Psa. 71:23 My lips will shout for joy,

when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed

David really taught our world to sing. Obviously, people had been singing for thousands of years before David came along, but David was a game changer. His songs were not just good songs, they were permeated with joy, the kind of joy that gets inside of you and fills every crevice. Where did this sort of joy come from? For David , it started on just another average day. He was tending those blasted sheep again when he heard one of his brothers shouting, “David!. Come to the house. Come to the house now! Samuel is there and he is calling for you”. This could be really good or it could be really bad. Samuel was one serious dude, people had a bad habit of dying when he came around. David ran home as fast as his legs would carry him. Inside he knew his life was about to change. As he walked into the room he saw his brothers, his dad Jesse, and the he saw the prophet. Samuel’s eyes were fixed on David as he motioned for David to come. What happened next is beyond description. He felt oil poured over his head but more than oil. Something like wind and fire swept all over him. David didn’t know the ramifications of what had happened but he knew his life was forever changed.
From that day forward, David experienced the power and presence of the Lord. His soul was permeated with a joy bigger than anything he had ever known. He couldn’t help himself, his heart was filled with melodies and words. We call them the Psalms of David. David nor the world have ever been the same. Here are some thoughts by Spurgeon on David’s joyful songs.

“My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee. It shall be no weariness to me to praise thee. It shall be a delightful recreation, a solace, a joy. The essence of song lies in the holy joy of the singer. And my soul, which thou hast redeemed. Soul singing is the soul of singing. Till men are redeemed, they are like instruments out of tune; but when once the precious blood has set them at liberty, then are they fitted to magnify the Lord who bought them. Our being bought with a price is a more than sufficient reason for our dedicating ourselves to the earnest worship of God our Savior. Here is the final vow of praise”.

Like Spurgeon says, redemption sets our soul in tune. So go ahead and sing, if you are one of His, your songs will be filled with incredible joy.

DIRTY FLOORS AND CHRIST

October 13, 2014

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY

“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One), (Philippians 3:8 AMP)

I love the Pauline Epistles! Christ had indeed grabbed hold of Paul and lost all contact with the love of this world. Jesus even told Martha that Mary “chose the best part” when Martha went to Him complaining about being overloaded; Mary praying too much. Years ago, on finding the school floors dirty, I drug the principal, head of maintenance, and the worker over to look at the floors. I grabbed the broom out of the worker’s hands and pulled up the carpet and begin to sweep arrogantly. That night the Lord rewound the tape of the day before me and I saw that it was not what we would call “walking in love”. When I found out the next day, the worker quit I got all the more embarrassed.
Gill has a great way of explaining this verse: “Knowing Christ it is not of ourselves, nor by the assistance of men; it is not in the book of nature, nor in the schools of the philosophers; it is not of earth, nor earthly, but it comes from afar, from above, from heaven, from God the Father of lights; it is a free grace gift, a distinguishing one, and is very comprehensive, unspeakable, and unchangeable: and as to the object of it, it is Christ, the chiefest among ten thousands; who made the heavens, earth, and seas, and all that in them are, the sun, moon, and stars, men and beasts, birds and fishes, fossils, minerals, vegetables, and everything in nature; and therefore the knowledge of him must be superior to the knowledge of everything else; and, which adds to its excellency, it makes Christ precious, engages faith and confidence in him, influences the life and conversation, humbles the soul, and creates in it true pleasure and satisfaction; when all other knowledge fills with self-love, pride, and vanity, and just increases sorrow.”
You might ask what does this have to do with you sweeping some floor arrogantly? I had lost sight of Christ and resorted to the worries and cares of this world. Yes, the school floors need to be clean, bills paid and kids taken care of. But we need to chose the best part and treat Him as if He was the worker cleaning that floor. He is the child that needs a little extra help with homework and most of all He loves to give us the grace to go about our day knowing that it’s all for Christ and He makes all things indeed precious.

AHHHHHHH! REDEMPTION!

October 12, 2014

SONNY SUNDAY!

BY Parris Bailey
Phil.2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”

AHHHHH REDEMPTION! I don’t think we can ever fathom Christ in us and what was accomplished on the cross. What an honor for a Christian to see redemption unfold everyday in us and in the lives of others. I never tire of it. I can leave my efforts and works all on the work of Christ, for He is “both the will and to do”. Which means he gives the whole ability. It is the grace of God which inclines the will to good: and then enables us to perform it. “Thou hast wrought all our works in us.” Isa.26:12. As we cannot act without God’s grace, so we cannot pretend to deserve it. He gets the glory and I’m good with that!
Simpson puts it this way- ” It is as if, with the finger of solemn warning raised, He were standing and looking into our eyes and saying, “God has come. The Almighty has taken this matter in hand. The Eternal Jehovah has undertaken the work, therefore, mind what you do! Let there be no laxness, no negligence, and no failure on your part to meet Him and afford Him the utmost opportunity to fulfill in you all the good pleasure of His will, and the accomplishment of His high and mighty purpose for your soul. This is what the Holy Ghost brings to us, the vision of the Lord, power to see divine things as God sees them. Not only does He give us the knowledge of the truth, but the realization of it. Not only does He reveal to us the promises, but He enables us to appropriate them. Not only does He show us the living bread and the flowing water of life, but He opens our mouths to drink, and gives us the taste to receive and know the blessedness of these things. Not only does He speak to us; He speaks through us, thinks in us, gives us divine instincts and intuitions, and enables even our own sanctified judgment to act under His influence and by His suggestion, so simply and yet so perfectly that it is not so much God speaking to us, as God speaking through us, and “working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
Allow redemption to do its work, your revelation of the union with Christ is vital. Rest in the finished work of Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to continue the sanctifying work in you. AHHHHH REDEMPTION!

MINISTERING SPIRITS

October 11, 2014

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” —Hebrews 1:14

Angels are seen all throughout the Bible. We see them from the guarding of Eden to their involvement with the judgement seen in the book of Revelation. Jacob saw angels in his dream on his first night away from home. These angels were ascending and descending on Jacob’s ladder to the throne of God. Isaiah saw angels in his vision of the Lord in the temple. Daniel had angelic visitations as he was involved with intercession for his nation. Angels announced the Lord’s birth, ministered to Him during His temptation, and came to Him when His soul was troubled in Gethsemane. Peter was liberated from a prison cell by an angel, an angel came to Paul during the great storm on the sea, an angel even directed Phillip in his evangelistic outreach to the Ethiopian treasurer. If you really think about, angels have been around a lot. Actually they are always around ministering to and for the heirs of God. They are there with you right now, they are always on duty. Here are some of Spurgeon’s thoughts on angels.

”Angels are the unseen attendants of the saints of God; they bear us up in their hands, lest we dash our foot against a stone. Loyalty to their Lord leads them to take a deep interest in the children of His love; they rejoice over the return of the prodigal to his father’s house below, and they welcome the advent of the believer to the King’s palace above. In olden times the sons of God were favored with their visible appearance, and at this day, although unseen by us, heaven is still opened, and the angels of God ascend and descend upon the Son of man, that they may visit the heirs of salvation. Seraphim still fly with live coals from off the altar to touch the lips of men greatly beloved. If our eyes could be opened, we should see horses of fire and chariots of fire about the servants of the Lord; for we have come to an innumerable company of angels, who are all watchers and protectors of the seed-royal.”

Why doesn’t the Lord allow us to see them? It seems to me that they are so amazing that even the Apostle John was tempted to worship an angel during his heavenly encounter. We don’t need to see them or hear from them, we have the written word for that. Its just good to know that we are surrounded. There are more with us than against us.

MY UNCLE’S GARDEN

October 10, 2014

Hos. 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;

Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

My uncle used to have a small farm where he grew various fruits and vegetables. As a child, I was amazed at how much food came from his small plot of land. He had field peas, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, plums, peaches, cantaloupes, watermelons (can’t forget those); the list goes on and on. Those were the sweetest watermelons I have ever eaten.
The point is this, we live in a fruitful world created by a fruitful God. The seedtime and harvest is intended to be a picture of the abundant provision the Lord has put in this world for all of us. Here are some powerful thoughts from Adam Clarke on today’s verse.

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy – Literally, ” in the proportion of mercy,” not in proportion to what you have sown, nor what justice would give, but beyond all deserts, ” in the proportion of mercy; according to the capacity and fullness of the mercy of God; what becometh the mercy of God, which is boundless, which overlooketh man’ s failings, and giveth an infinite reward for poor imperfect labor. If the earth giveth thee larger fruits than it has received, how much more shall the requiting of mercy repay thee manifold more than thou gavest!” Sowing and reaping always stand over against each other, as labor and reward.”

Thinking about that one little piece of land speaks volumes about the fruitfulness of our God. His supply in the physical world only speaks of the other world that is all around us. The spiritual world is the one where our Lord lives. That is the place our hearts long for. There is another abundant supply available for us in that invisible world.The supply of the Spirit to our hungry hearts will come with no limitations. Just as my uncle tended to that little plot of land, we must tend to the spiritual garden of our heart. How do we tend our garden? Plow the ground with prayer, plant the seeds of God’s word. As we do these things, we will be amazed at His abundant harvest in our souls. “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”


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