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THE UNSEEN ANCHOR

September 22, 2014

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

HEB 6:19 “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil”

I will never forget the great raft expedition of 2014. Frank and I decided while in Hawaii to take a zodiac raft to the Na Pali coast. Anything on the seas is a challenge for me, so with seasick pills taken, and sea bands on I was ready. On the way out we saw the coastline and unparalleled beauty all around. I was so happy! When we were pulling out from our lunch stop, I saw a huge sea turtle upside down right beside me. The Captain and the crew started yelling that it was a tiger shark and in it’s mouth was this turtle. Within seconds it disappeared into the deep. Frank and I were stunned needless to say! Here was all this beauty and wonder and right below us lay scary stuff! Even snorkeling afterwards was quite a step of faith! I thank God through all the thick and thin of life- there lays an anchor down deep below both sure and steadfast for my soul. Jesus has undertaken this for us.This isn’t about how strong our boat is, but the unseen anchor that it is tied to will hold us fast. Andrew Murray says, “that He is ready, He longs, as God Himself to work in us all that He has promised. He cannot do this except we open our hearts to Him, and yield ourselves in stillness and surrender for Him to do His work.” Tiger sharks may abound but there is an anchor that will hold me through the darkness of the deep. Do you know that “it is impossible for God to lie?” Murray goes onto to say, “OH, IF WE WOULD BUT TAKE TIME TO TARRY IN THE PRESENCE OF THIS GOD, AND TO LISTEN TO HIM SWEARING TO US THAT HE WILL BE FAITHFUL, SURELY WE SHOULD FALL DOWN IN CONFUSION THAT WE EVER HARBORED FOR A MOMENT THE DOUBT, WHICH THINKS IT’S POSSIBLE THAT HE MAY BE UNTRUE AND NOT KEEP HIS WORD.” I love this verse in Duet.33:13 when Jacob prophesied over Joseph, “And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath.” Joseph found his anchor in that dungeon. Something was waiting for him in the deep-the great intercessor himself who went beyond the veil. Instead of trying to get out of your storm why not wait and see what the Master of the Ship says—–I know this, He has gone before you!

ELEPHANTS AND FRAGRANT OINTMENTS

September 21, 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’s act of worship was totally out of the box. It was passionate, extravagant, and totally out of the norm. This was a radical, bold display of devotion birthed out of unprecedented revelation. You could say Mary had passed the point of no return. There was no going back to the way life was before that fateful day, decisions had been made, sides were being drawn. That’s the way worship is; worship transcends all of the philosophizing of humans. Worships draws a line in the sand. When the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment it had become un-ignorable. This was the proverbial elephant in the room, something had to give. Judas’ fateful decision was made as a result of Mary’s act, he felt things were now out of hand. Actually worship always does that, it rips off the covers. Everything that was already there is suddenly exposed. It’s hard to hide when the whole house is filled with the fragrance.

That is exactly what church is supposed to be; extravagant worship, poured out ointment, the whole house filled with the fragrance. Its possible to hide in a religious atmosphere, true worship tends to ruin that. Its hard to hide when glory fills the room. Here are some comments from Jonathan Edwards on Mary’s amazing act.

“Let us seek to have our heart full of the grace that is ten thousand times more precious than that ointment, ten thousand times more costly, that costs not only three hundred pence, or ten thousand times as much silver and gold, but the precious blood of the Son of God, and that is ten thousand times sweeter and pleasanter than the fragrancy of that ointment. And don’t only seek to have such grace in your heart, but to have it in exercise, that it may not only be in your heart, but that it may flow out of your heart; that it may be ointment poured forth, and that it may be poured forth out of a broken heart.”

Edwards got it; the same grace that flows into us at salvation flows out of us in worship. Mary was responding to the love she had received, all she could do was worship. Has your house been filled with the fragrance, its time to stop ignoring that blasted elephant.

EGGS, SCORPIONS, AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD

September 20, 2014

“I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” —Jeremiah 33:3

Many Christians have never really tasted the heavenly realm of the kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, many aren’t aware that the heavenly experiences are even available to us today. We read about Paul being caught up into the third heaven, John rapt in the Spirit on the Isle of Patmos, or even Peter falling into a trance on Simon the tanner’s roof: and think nothing of it. If anyone claims to have those kinds of experiences today he is shunned as some sort of fanatic. Is it possible that these encounters are possible today and maybe even more common than people realize? I used to be in that skeptical camp. What changed? I was caught up into the heavenly realms for myself. Everything changes when you experience the real power of His presence for yourself. Here are some thoughts by Spurgeon on the power of this heavenly realm.

“There are different translations of these words. One version renders it, “I will show thee great and fortified things.” Another, “Great and reserved things.” Now, there are reserved and special things in Christian experience: all the developments of spiritual life are not alike easy of attainment. There are the common frames and feelings of repentance, and faith, and joy, and hope, which are enjoyed by the entire family; but there is an upper realm of rapture, of communion, and conscious union with Christ, which is far from being the common dwelling-place of believers. We have not all the high privilege of John, to lean upon Jesus’ bosom; nor of Paul, to be caught up into the third heaven. There are heights in experimental knowledge of the things of God which the eagle’s eye of acumen and philosophic thought hath never seen: God alone can bear us there; but the chariot in which He takes us up, and the fiery steeds with which that chariot is dragged, are prevailing prayers.”

Spurgeon said that one of the portals to these heavenly realms is the blessing of prevailing prayer. Prayer is actually a form of yielding. It is yielding to the power of His Spirit as He takes us into the heavenly places in Christ. So don’t be quick to criticize the experiences of others. Just because something is out of your realm of experience doesn’t mean that it is not real. Open up your heart to the Lord. Ask Him to fill you with another measure of His presence. You don’t have to worry, as Jesus said, “if you ask for an egg He won’t give you a scorpion”.

The Heavenly Man – Heavenly Language

September 19, 2014

Originally posted on The Bailey Drink:

Paul urged us to be transformed, changed into a heavenly man in Romans 12.  He said in view of the mercies of God, offer your bodies to the Lord, this is our spiritual worship.  As we give ourselves to the Lord, renewal begins to take place.  Renewal is the supernatural work of God in us.  He uses the word of God and visitations of His Presence to change each of us from the natural man to the spiritual man.

Paul talked about one of the obvious changes we see in the heavenly man.  The heavenly man uses a new heavenly language, not just the prayer language, but a spiritual language in our mother tongue (English).  He describes this in 1 Cor. 2:12-16 (NASB)

12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given…

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DYING TO SELF

September 19, 2014

…always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

2 Cor. 4:10,11

Nobody really wants to die. Suicide is a desperate, last ditch effort at taking away the pain. All of us want to live and enjoy life. When Jesus beginning to talk about dying the disciples wanted none of it. What about the abundant life? Why all this talk about death? We thought Jesus came to give life and that more abundantly. We don’t want to die. Jesus was actually trying to teach His followers about real life. Our life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions. In a strange way its in dying that we first begin to taste the power of His new life. Not dying physically but dying to ourselves is the place where real living begins. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray on this strange way to live our lives.

“We have now learned that the only way of dying to self is the way of patience, meekness, humility, and total surrender to God. The reason you are trying in vain to obtain these virtues is that you are seeking them in a multitude of human rules and methods instead of in simple faith—the faith that is given by Christ to all those who ask for it.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” It is a short, simple, and certain way to peace and comfort. What has now become of your rules and methods to be delivered from self and the power of sin? What folly it would be to suppose that Christ, after His ascension, would become less of a Savior, and give less immediate help, than when He was on earth”

As Jesus neared His death He began to unfold His plan to His disciples. His plan included death. It was death on the cross for Jesus, it was learning to die to themselves for His followers. The strange thing about this dying to self is that it is connected to abundant living. It is only in dying to ourselves can we really begin to live. Just as Jesus death lead to His resurrection; our dying to self leads to a resurrection of His life in us.

SEATED IN HEAVENLY PLACES

September 18, 2014

Eph. 2:6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
For some people, heaven is a myth or maybe even a copout. For Jonathan Edwards nothing could be further from the truth. Even though Jonathan was known for his sermon ‘Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God’, heaven was constantly in his thoughts. To Edwards, heaven was a very real place. He viewed our lives as if we were pilgrims, strangers in a strange land; heaven was our real home. The struggle many of us have in our 21 century world is seeing the relevance of heaven. Right now, this world is crying for our attention. How can one think of heaven when he has mortgages, taxes, doctor bills, etc. crying for his attention. That is the challenge, living in this world while we are seated in heavenly places. Listen to Edwards as he speaks as if heaven is real and his experience of it is real right now.
“the privilege of being with Christ in heaven, where he sits on the right hand of God, in the glory of the King and God of angels, and of the whole universe, shining forth as the great light, the bright sun of that world of glory, there to dwell in the full, constant and everlasting view of his beauty and brightness, there most freely and intimately to converse with him, and fully to enjoy his love, as his friends and spouse, there to have fellowship with him in the infinite pleasure and joy he has in the enjoyment of his Father, there to sit with him on his throne, and reign with him in the possession of all things, and partake with him in the joy and glory of his victory over his enemies, and the advancement of his in the world, and to join with him in joyful songs of praise, to his Father and their Father, to his God and their God, forever and ever? Is not such a privilege worth the seeking after?”
Heaven is not just a far off place to be experienced in the sweet by and by. Heaven can be tasted now by the power of the Spirit. It is this experience, tasting the reality of the coming kingdom, that strengthens us for the journey right now. So if the cares of this world are blocking the glorious light of the coming kingdom, look to Jesus. Draw near to Him in worship and you too can enjoy the pleasures of the coming kingdom.

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.


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