Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

FOR THE GLORY OF HIS NAME

August 22, 2014

Psalm 25:11: “For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.”

 Psalm 79:9: “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.”

 Jeremiah 14:7: “O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name’s sake .” 

Salvation is an amazing thing. Christ Jesus died to save sinners. Christ died for the ungodly. His work on the cross actually justifies sinners. The natural man would never devise or even understand a plan like this. It seems logical that the more “quality people” would be God’s people but that is not always the case. Paul said that Christ chose the foolish and weak people of the world to be saved. What is the point? At the end of the day God’s plan of salvation is about His glory. He chose the most messed up people to reveal His grace because this would bring a greater glory to God. 

Just think about His choices. His apostles were uneducated fishermen from Galilee, they were even called ignoramuses by the spiritual leaders in Jerusalem. You might say, “What about Paul, he was highly educated?” That is true but Paul had other issues; issues such as extreme hatred toward Christianity. Paul was responsible for the death of Steven as well as the death of  many other martyrs in the early church. Paul’s conversion was designed by the Lord to bring extreme glory to the Lord. Paul called himself the “chief of sinners” and viewed his own conversion as a prototype of salvation by grace through faith. Jonathan Edwards pointed out that salvation was closely connected to the glory of the Lord. 

 “These things seem to show that the salvation of Christ is for God’s name’s sake. Leading and guiding in the way of safety and happiness, restoring the soul, the forgiveness of sin; and that help, deliverance, and salvation, that is consequent therein, is for God’s name. And here it is observable that those two great temporal salvations of God’s people, the redemption from Egypt and that from Babylon, often represented as figures and similitudes of the redemption of Christ, are frequently spoken of as being wrought for God’s name’s sake .”

So there is hope for all of us. Christ not only forgives our sins but also shows His strength in the area of our greatest weakness. Open your heart to God’s love. The things you may be ashamed of in your life can actually become the vehicle for God to be glorified in your life. 

DESTROYED FROM LACK OF KNOWLEDGE

August 21, 2014

Hos. 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;

because you have rejected knowledge,

I reject you from being a priest to me.

 

This scripture could answer a lot of our questions and problems if we will just listen. I guess the key to this verse is understanding the type of knowledge Hosea was prophesying about. In our modern world a type of knowledge has increased. Some are even calling today’s world the age of information. We have an explosion of scientific and technical knowledge that has made information and communication accessible to all. But is this the kind of knowledge that Hosea was speaking of? I hardly think so; he was speaking about spiritual knowledge. This is not even talking about spiritual information or spiritual principles, it is talking about knowing God. Hosea is saying that God’s people were perishing because their hearts were turned away. In today’s world you could even say that knowledge and information have taken God’s place in our lives. Here is a word study from the Theological Old Testament Wordbook on this word knowledge.

“Particularly distinctive is the prophetic concept of “knowledge of God” which is particularly prominent in Hosea. Knowledge of God is derived from those outstanding historical events in which God has evidenced and has revealed himself to chosen individuals such as Abraham and Moses. These revelations are to be taught to others, “Knowledge of God” appears in parallel with “fear of the Lord” as a description of true religion. The man who has a right relation with God confesses him and obeys him. To do justice and righteousness and to judge the cause of the poor and the needy is to know God. On the other hand where there is no knowledge of God there is swearing, lying, killing, stealing, committing adultery and destruction upon a people. Knowledge of God is more pleasing to him than sacrifice. The prophetic view of the messianic age is of a time in which the knowledge of God covers the earth as water covers the sea.”

The messianic age began at the appearance of Christ and began to spread on the Day of Pentecost. Today, the knowledge of God is available to whosoever will. If any one is thirsty today, draw near to Christ and drink the living water. Drinking in His presence has been made available through the death and resurrection of Christ. Go ahead and drink, that’s where you will find the true knowledge of God, not only will you not perish, you will enjoy the fulness of life in Christ.

STRANGELY WARMED

August 20, 2014

Rom. 4:5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 

John Wesley came to the American colonies to preach Christ; there was one significant problem, he himself was not yet saved. On his trip back to England, after a miserable ministry trip, his ship encountered a terrible storm. At one point, Wesley was filled with fear because of the ferocity of the storm. That’s when he heard a group of Moravians worshipping and giving glory to God. In that divine moment, Wesley saw the difference between a knowledge about God and a relationship with the Lord that comes by grace through faith. On his return to London he began to attend a Moravian prayer meeting. In one of those meetings someone was reading a commentary by Martin Luther about the just shall live by faith. Wesley was awakened, his “heart was strangely warmed”, the rest is history. Here are some comments from Wesley’s teaching on salvation by grace through faith. 

 “Faith in general is a divine, supernatural; “evidence” or “conviction,” “of things not seen,” not discoverable by our bodily senses, as being either past, future, or spiritual. Justifying faith implies, not only a divine evidence or conviction that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself;” but a sure trust and confidence that Christ died for “my” sins, that he loved “me,” and gave himself for “me.” And at what time soever a sinner thus believes, be it in early childhood, in the strength of his years, or when he is old and hoary-haired, God justifieth that ungodly one: God, for the sake of his Son, pardoneth and absolveth him, who had in him, till then, no good thing. Repentance, indeed, God had given him before; but that repentance was neither more nor less than a deep sense of the want of all good, and the presence of all evil. And whatever good he hath, or doeth, from that hour when he first believes in God through Christ, faith does not “find,” but “bring.” This is the fruit of faith. First the tree is good, and then the fruit is good also.”

Faith is a gift of grace given to us by God. When faith awakens in our soul, the unseen world of the kingdom is no longer a theory, it becomes a living reality to us. Soak yourself in God’s word, it is the doorway to the kingdom. Read it, meditate on it, sing it, proclaim it; surely your heart will be strangely warmed. 

SHAPING HIS LOVE INTO PRAYER

August 19, 2014

Psa. 45:1 ¶ My heart bursts its banks,

spilling beauty and goodness.

I pour it out in a poem to the king,

shaping the river into words:

Prayer is by nature supernatural. John Wesley said that God rules the world by the prayers of His children. How could that be? Actually, effective prayer originates with God, not with man. It is Spirit led, Spirit inspired, and Spirit empowered prayers that change the world. I learned about these kinds of prayers one night on a long ride in the back of a pickup truck in the mountains near Coos Bay, Oregon. I had an unusual compulsion to pray, to pray for my mom. I had no knowledge of anything going on in her life, but this sense of urgency to pray was on me. She had been in good health. I had a sudden, urgent sense of danger and an unusual anointing fell on me in that truck. After forty five minutes or so the urgency lifted. It wasn’t but a few days later that my mom had a life threatening stroke. I don’t know what was actually going on, somehow I know my prayers were God’s tool to visit my mom. Here is something Andrew Murray said about the power of prayer. 

“When will Christians learn that prayer is an indispensable condition for what God wants to do on the earth? Intercession is the way by which people are converted. Without the power of the Holy Spirit given in answer to prayer, all our efforts are in vain. When spiritual leaders and believers unite in a covenant of prayer and testimony, the church will again flourish.

What can we do to stir up the spirit of intercession? Start praying for a few individuals. Pray for your children, for your relatives and friends, and for all with whom God brings you into contact. If you feel that you do not have the power to intercede, let the discovery humble you and drive you to the mercy seat. God wants every redeemed child of His to intercede for those who do not know Him. It is the vital breath of Christian life.”

So I wonder what God is doing today? Who does He want to visit? Maybe He is calling you to a time of prayer. The urgency I described when praying for my mom often comes in the form of compassion. At the end of the day, that’s all intercession is. It is the love of God directed at a specific person or group of persons. If you are a Christian, God’s love is shed abroad in your heart. Intercession is one of the reasons His love dwells in yo

STAYING MINDFUL OF THE ROCK

August 18, 2014

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY- 

“Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips” Isaiah 17:10

In church Sunday Frank talked about Deism vs Theism. Deism holds that God does not intervene with the functioning of the natural world in any way, allowing it to run according to the laws of nature. Whereas Theism, in this specific sense, conceives of God as personal, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe. I think to many of us without even realizing it begin to act like Deists. In other words not “MINDFUL OF THE ROCK OF OUR STRENGTH”.  

What is so special about a rock? Being a Christian is not about obeying rules and being dutiful. Wishing you could drink, lusting for things of the world and living angry doesn’t sound like a free person. Have we been mindful of the Rock? Do we live our lives depending on His presence or live our lives as we want? It about learning to drink the honey out of the rock and the rock is Christ my friend.  

Edwards always hits the nail on the head, when he says, “But Christ Jesus has true excellency, and so great excellency, that when they come to see it they look no further, but the mind rests there. It sees a transcendent glory and an ineffable sweetness in him; it sees that till now it has been pursuing shadows, but that now it has found the substance; that before it had been seeking happiness in the stream, but that now it has found the ocean. The excellency of Christ is an object adequate to the natural cravings of the soul, and is sufficient to fill the capacity. It is an infinite excellency, such an one as the mind desires, in which it can find no bounds; and the more the mind is used to it, the more excellent it appears. Every new discovery makes this beauty appear more ravishing, and the mind sees no end; here is room enough for the mind to go deeper and deeper, and never come to the bottom. The soul is exceedingly ravished when it first looks on this beauty, and it is never weary of it.”

Ps. 81:6 says, ‘He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.” I couldn’t help think about my own actions this week as I engaged in my daily activities. Am I taking things into my own hands? Do I lay down my life for my brother? Do I walk in forgiveness? Has my prayer been to do only “what my Heavenly Father does”? Only Honey from the Rock can satisfy, it flows from everywhere, all we have to do is be Mindful. 

NO LONGER A SLAVE

August 17, 2014

Rom. 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 

Mankind was brought into slavery in a garden. We became slaves of sin that first day we turned our backs on God. You may say, “I never did that”. The truth is, we all did. We were in Adam and Eve that fateful day that they ate from the tree, that day, we all died. We died to freedom and were slaves to our own sinfulness until another fateful day in a garden. The day was the day the prison that man had been kept in for thousands of years suddenly burst open. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes that day. 

Matt. 28:2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 

“Death was being upheaved, and all the bars of the sepulcher were beginning to burst. When the King awoke from the sleep of death, he shook the world; the bed chamber in which he rested for a little while trembled as the heavenly Hero arose from his couch: Behold, there was a great earthquake. Nor was the King unattended in his rising: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven. It was not merely one of the angelic host, but some mighty presence angel, ‘the angel of the Lord’, who came to minister to him on that resurrection morn. Jesus was put in the prison of the tomb as a hostage for his people; therefore he will not break out by himself, but the angelic sheriff’s officer must bring the warrant for his deliverance, and set the captive at liberty. When the angel had rolled back the stone from the door, he sat upon it, as if to defy earth and hell ever to roll it back again. That great stone seems to represent the sin of all Christ’s people, which shut them up in prison; it can never be laid again over the mouth of the sepulcher of any child of God. Christ has risen, all his saints must rise, too.”

This is the greatest news of all time. I am no longer a prisoner, I can never be a prisoner again. The prison door has been blown off, I will never be ensnared again. 

DO I HAVE A FREE WILL?

August 16, 2014

May your will be done.

MATTHEW 26:42

Our will is a huge part of our life. Desire and the pursuit of happiness are pretty much at the bottom of all of our decisions and actions. When man was first created, our free will was a beautiful part of our being, choosing to love and honor God was at the core of everything we did. That all changed in a moment at the fall of man. It was our free will, our ability to make good choices, that was effected most by the fall. Rather than worshiping and loving God, our heart began to pursue other interests. What had happened? Our free will became ensnared in the quagmire of sin We became slaves of our own lusts and as Paul said, “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” That pretty much sums it up, our free will is messed up until Christ sets us free. Here is how Andrew Murray explained it. 

“God created man with a will of his own and the power to choose and make decisions for himself. And after man had fallen and yielded himself to the will of God’s enemy, God in His infinite love set about the great work of winning man back, that man would make the desires of God his own once more. As in God, so in man, desire is the great moving power. And just as man had yielded himself to a life of desire after the things of the earth and the flesh, God had to redeem him into a life of harmony with Himself. And so the Son came into this world to reproduce the divine desires in His human nature. Jesus yielded Himself to the perfect fulfillment of all that God wished and willed. He was even prepared to be forsaken by God, so that the power that had deceived man might be conquered and deliverance procured. It was in the wonderful and complete harmony between the Father and the Son, when the Son said, “May your will be done,” that the great redemption was accomplished.”

Christ became a man to liberate fallen man. That work of liberation began as Jesus spilled great drops of blood praying in Gethsemane, “Not My will Father, but your will be done”. The work of redemption begins with the will. The obedience of Christ changed everything. Through the disobedience of Adam, all of us became sinners, slaves of our fallen will. Through the obedience of Christ, whoever believes on Him experiences this powerful liberation from our fallen will. What a salvation! I can now shout with Jesus, “I delight to do your will oh God”.  

LIGHT OF THE WORLD

August 15, 2014

John 8:12 ¶ Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

You often hear Christians say, “We live in a dark world”. Have you ever really thought about that statement? What is a ‘dark world’? All darkness is, is the absence of light. In this case, it is the absence of spiritual light. Jesus said that He is the light of the world. While He was present on earth, everywhere He went the light shined. It was shining through His words and shining through His actions. The light shone when He declared “I am the light of the world”. This radiant light maybe shined its brightest as He prayed on the cross, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”. When He multiplied the bread and fish, opened the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf, and when the lame danced for joy; His light was piercing the darkness. Here are some thoughts from Tyndale’s Commentary on today’s verse.  

“Jesus presented himself as the light of the world at the Feast of Tabernacles; a festival during which great candles lit up the courtyards of Jerusalem every night. However, Jesus’ claim to be the light of the world contained more than allusions to the great illuminations of the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus promised, Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. Those who followed him by accepting his teaching would no longer walk in the darkness of ignorance under the power of the evil one. As the apostle Paul said, ‘he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves’. As life in the darkness culminates in death, life in the light of Christ culminates in eternal life; it is ‘the light of life’. In the Prologue the evangelist said of the Logos, ‘In him was life, and that life was the light of men’. To come to Christ means coming to the one in whom is found the life of God, and that life is the light of men, the light of life.”

Today that light shines through the faces of His sons and daughters. We are now the light of the world. He shines through our words and our actions. As we walk with Him, His love penetrates the world we live in. You effect your world more than you know. 

BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, I AM

August 14, 2014

John 8:58 ¶ Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

I learned about the error of the Jehovah Witness doctrines out in the streets. Actually it was at a Jehovah Witness Convention in Fresno, California where a number of my street preacher buddies and I stumbled into the JW conference. The leader of our team that night managed to get hold of the microphone on the stage in front of about 10,000 Jehovah Witnesses. His text was today’s verse, “Before Abraham was, I am.” That pretty much says it all. You have to do some fancy doctrinal foot work and distortion to get around that statement. Jesus was making a blatant claim to deity. He is the eternal Son of God. Needless to say, the leaders of the conference were not very happy. You could say they were quite angry with all of us as we were tossed out of the building. Their stern objection to Christ’s claim to deity seemed strangely similar to the reaction the religious leaders showed toward Jesus. With that much animosity, I knew what Christ said was true. Here is how Matthew Henry describes this passage.

“I am, is the name of God (Exod. iii. 14); it denotes his self-existence; he does not say, I was, but I am, for he is the first and the last, immutably the same (Rev. i. 8); thus he was not only before Abraham, but before all worlds, Jn.1:1; Prov. viii. 23. Secondly, As Mediator. He was the appointed Messiah, long before Abraham; the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. xiii. 8), the channel of conveyance of light, life, and love from God to man. This supposes his divine nature, that he is the same in himself from eternity (Heb. xiii. 8), and that he is the same to man ever since the fall; he was made of God wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, to Adam, and Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and Shem, and all the patriarchs that lived and died by faith in him before Abraham was born. Abraham was the root of the Jewish nation, the rock out of which they were hewn. If Christ was before Abraham, his doctrine and religion were no novelty, but were, in the substance of them, prior to Judaism, and ought to take place of it.”

This great ‘I am’ is with you today. He is not only eternal, He is all powerful. He has each of us safely in His hand. No matter what we face, ‘I am’ will be with you every step of the way.

THE PLEASURES OF GOD

August 13, 2014

Psa. 16:11 ¶ You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 

Let’s face it, sin is pleasurable. There I said what everyone knows and pretends to not notice. The common approach for a Christian to avoid temptation is self denial. That seldom works for very long. The biblical solution to overcoming temptation is not the denial of pleasure but the pursuit of pleasure, it’s just the pursuit of a different kind of pleasure. Actually it is a greater pleasure that the Bible challenges us to pursue. It’s the pleasure that comes from intimacy with God. Young Jonathan Edwards discovered the Biblical way to overcome the pleasures of sin, he discovered that the pleasure found in God was the way out of the traps that sin lays for our soul. Here is how Edwards describes this truth in his sermon Pleasantness of Religion. 

“The most common argument that is used to urge men to godliness is the pleasures of the life to come; but this has not its effect for the sinner [who] is in pursuit of the pleasures of this life. Now, therefore, we urge to you the pleasures of this [life]: therefore you can have nothing to say. The common argument is the profitableness of religion, but alas, the wicked man is not in pursuit of profit; ’tis pleasure he seeks. Now, then, we will fight with them with their own weapons, {for religion does not deny us outward delights and pleasures}. If it be so, that ’tis worth the while to be religious if it were only for the pleasantness of it, then how exceeding great is the reward of the godly. What a reward have they in the world to come; what joys {in another life}. But yet this is not all; no, they have a reward in this life. In the very keeping of God’s commands, there is great reward (Psalms 19:11). The reward they have in hand, besides that which is promised, is well worth all the pains they take, all the troubles they endure. God has not only promised them a great reward, and exceeding great beyond conception; but he has given them a foretaste in this world. And this taste is better than all the pleasures and riches of the wicked.”

Edwards said that the foretaste of the joys of heaven are far superior to the pleasures that this world offers. The foretaste of heaven is the Baptism in the Spirit or the Promise of the Father. If the foretaste is that grand, I can’t even imagine the pleasures associated with the world to come.


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