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TWICE ANSWERED PRAYER

July 22, 2014

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
PSALM 145:18

People pray for all sorts of reasons. The businessman calls out to God in the time of financial crisis. The person with a terminal disease cries out for healing. The forsaken spouse calls out for restoration. As they say, there are no atheists in a foxhole. Here is the incredible beauty and grace of God on display; not only does He answer these cries of desperation, the supplicant often receives more than they bargained for. God Himself shows up in response to these cries for help. Could it be that that was the point all along? The Lord knows what we really need; Him. Could it be that that is why we find ourselves in these jams? The Lord wanted us to recognize our need for Him, we call out for help, and The Lord comes Himself to initiate fellowship with us. What an amazing God! Murray talks about our greatest need in prayer, to abide with Him. Check out his thoughts on walking with God.

“You long to continually experience the nearness of God. Here is the secret: Pray. Pray without ceasing. Then you will have the assurance that the Lord is near to those who call upon Him. Prayer has the wonderful power of drawing us nearer to God and keeping us in His presence. God is everywhere and He is ready and able to grant us unbroken fellowship with Him.
What does it mean to pray without ceasing? The answer is clear. Realize first that God is near you, within you, and then you will feel how natural it is to talk to Him each moment about your needs and desires. It is this kind of prayer of which Paul says, “Night and day we pray most earnestly” (1 Thessalonians 3:10). The principle of complete dependence on the unseen God, and the holy habit of claiming His presence with us each moment of the day, is the secret to a life of true godliness.”

What a shocking turnaround. We came to Him about our troubles, He came in response to our prayers and suddenly our troubles weren’t what we thought. His nearness and His kindness cause all the troubles to fade into a distant memory. If you are hurting today get ready for a double blessing. Call out to The Lord and He will hear your prayer, He will set things in motion to answer your prayer and He will begin a new intimacy with you as a result of your prayer.

THE DAWNING OF A NEW DAY

July 21, 2014

MERRY MONDAY- BY PARRIS BAILEY

“O what a blessed day that will be when I shall stand on the shore and look back on the raging seas I have safely passed; when I shall review my pains and sorrows, my fears and tears, and possess the glory which was the end of all!”
Wow! There is in a Christian a desire to depart and be with Christ or at least there should be. To look into His beautiful face once and for all. The earth in all its beauty and the animals with all their particular ways and colors speak of a place of beauty and harmony. Only an amazing God could have created all of this. Yes, to depart and be with Christ is so much better than anything we can ask or think. I pray we can redeem the small measure of time that we each have been given and use it for His glory.
Jonathan Edwards never did stop speaking of heaven, lets listen to what he has to say. “And in heaven, the spirits of just men made perfect do see him as he is. They behold his glory. They see the glory of his divine nature, consisting in all the glory of the Godhead, the beauty of all his perfections; his great majesty, almighty power, his infinite wisdom, holiness, and grace, and they see the beauty of his glorified human nature, and the glory which the Father hath given him, as God-man and Mediator. For this end, Christ desired that his saints might “be with him, that they might behold his glory,” John xvii. 24. And when the souls of the saints leave their bodies, to go to be with Christ, they behold the marvelous glory of that great work of his, the work of redemption, and of the glorious way of salvation by him; desire to look into. They have a most clear view of the unfathomable depths of the manifold wisdom and knowledge of God; and the most bright displays of the infinite purity and holiness of God, that do appear in that way and work; and see in a much clearer manner than the saints do here, what is the breadth and length, and depth and height of the grace and love of Christ, appearing in his redemption. And as they see the unspeakable riches and glory of the attribute of God’s grace, so they most clearly behold and understand Christ’s eternal and unmeasurable dying love to them in particular. And in short, they see every thing in Christ that tends to kindle and inflame love, and every thing that tends to gratify love, and every thing that tends to satisfy them: and that in the most clear and glorious manner, without any darkness or delusion, without any impediment or interruption.”
I pray this beautiful Monday, you too can step out of the traffic jam of life, take a good drink of redemption and see something more than just this earth!

BURNING ONES

July 20, 2014

Is. 6:1-2 ¶ In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

There are some very strange and unusual creatures in heaven. Isaiah described creatures that he saw in heaven as seraphs. They had six wings; two each covering face and feet, two others for flying. They were observed as proclaiming the glory of God to one another. The Fire Bible describes these seraphs as attendants of God. Here is that description.

“Seraphs are angelic beings with the awe-inspiring privilege of directly attending God. Seraphs could possibly be identified with heavenly creatures described elsewhere in Scripture (Rev 4:6–9). Their title (literally, “burning ones”) perhaps suggests their purity, since they are the ones who serve God around his throne and inspire those in God’s presence to worship him (4:10). They so directly reflect God’s glory that they seem to be on fire.”

They are called the burning ones. They live in the atmosphere of the Consuming Fire and reflect His glory. Isaiah was convicted of his apathy in their presence. Like the seraphs, we can be burning for God. Calvin talks about their brightness and how we may learn to adore His brilliance.

“And the seraphim stood upon it. Having declared that God appeared to him full of majesty and of glory, he adds, that God was attended by angels, whom the Prophet calls seraphim on account of their fervor. Though the etymology of this word is well known, yet various reasons are adduced. Some think that they are called seraphim because they burn with the love of God; others, because they are swift like fire; others, because they are bright. However that may be, this description holds out to us, as in sunbeams, the brightness of God’s infinite majesty, that we may learn by it to behold and adore his wonderful and overwhelming glory.”

Like Isaiah, when we find ourselves in the glory of God we see our inadequacy and apathy. As we yield to his visitation, like the seraphs, we begin to be lit up. Maybe your fire has grown dim, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Come to the house of The Lord, maybe just maybe, Isaiah’s God will visit you and you will become one of His burning ones.

HEAVEN

July 19, 2014

Rev. 1:14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;

Do you ever think about heaven? No, really, do you ever give serious thought about what it will be like? We probably should if we intend to spend eternity there with The Lord. We have two powerful sources to help give us a real, solid understanding of what the place called heaven is like. Those sources are the Word of God and His powerful presence. His presence brings us into the atmosphere of heaven confirming what Paul said about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a foretaste of this incredible place called heaven.
What is heaven like? Jonathan Edwards said that it was an eternal unveiling of God. Edwards also said that our joy in heaven will increase in intensity throughout eternity. What is the source of heaven’s joy? It is The Lord of course. To see Him, to be near Him, to hear His voice actually is heaven. Its not the jeweled thrones or the golden streets or even the mansions that make heaven, heaven. Heaven is heaven because of the revelation of Jesus Christ. Its in knowing Him that we find the true meaning of heaven. Here are some comments from Freddie Hayler and his song called Celestial Odyssey that describe some of the beauty and power of heaven.

“For the lips of the Lord are as a furnace of fire. There is no metaphor or words in earth language to describe all this. The face of our God cannot be spoken of. Yet from His glorious face, He emits sparks and lightnings of life for the entire universe. The light of the face of God is brighter than a trillion sun-stars. His holy face is man like, but it is translucent and incandescent, and so unutterably beautiful and pleasurable beyond any comparison .. supremely awesome and infinitely unique and glorious with powerful and mighty mysterious voices of incomprehensible magnitudes, multiple voices and billions of commands, simultaneous commands, coming forth from His mouth and being. His form is attended to by armies of millions of angels who obey His every pulse of thought and whim, who do His bidding and worship His holy face with unending singing.”

We can start enjoying heaven now. The sacrifice has been accepted, the way into the holiest of all has been opened. We can receive the fullness of His glory now. Look upon Jesus, set your love upon Him, worship Him; heaven is nearer than you think.

THE GARDEN OF GOD

July 18, 2014

Song 5:1 I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice;
I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey;
I have drunk my wine with my milk.
Eat, O friends!
Drink, yes, drink deeply,
O beloved ones!

At the end of the day, as John Lennon said, “all we need is love”. Obviously, Lennon did not know the love of God (even though there are rumors of his conversion just before his death) but he was longing for this love throughout his life. All of us long for love. It starts at our birth, we long to be in our mother’s arms. Throughout our lives we look for love, from our first case of puppy love, to the companionship of best friends, and even to the lifelong commitment of love found in marriage. Still, all of these earthly loves cannot quench the deep thirst for love that beats in all our hearts. We were born for love. The problem is this, not just any love will do. Our very nature cries out for the supernatural love only found in Christ. Heaven will be the culmination of our search for love. Here is a portion from Jonathan Edwards’ sermon called Heaven is a World of Love.

“And all this in a garden of love, the Paradise of God, where everything has a cast of holy love, and everything conspires to promote and stir up love, and nothing to interrupt its exercises; where everything is fitted by an all-wise God for the enjoyment of love under the greatest advantages. And all this shall be without any fading of the beauty of the objects beloved, or any decaying of love in the lover, and any satiety in the faculty which enjoys love. O! what tranquility may we conclude there is in such a world as this! Who can express the sweetness of this peace? What a calm is this, what a heaven of rest is here to arrive at after persons have gone through a world of storms and tempests, a world of pride, and selfishness, and envy, and malice, and scorn, and contempt, and contention and war? What a Canaan of rest, a land flowing with milk and honey to come to after one has gone through a great and terrible wilderness, full of spiteful and poisonous serpents, where no rest could be found? What joy may we conclude springs up in the hearts of the saints after they have passed their wearisome pilgrimage to be brought to such a paradise?”

The best news is this, we can taste this love today. This is the love poured out on us in the person of the Holy Spirit. If you are hurting from a betrayal of love or hurting from the conflicts found in this world, you can find rest drinking in God’s love in the Garden of God.

ETERNAL LOVE

July 17, 2014

Eph. 3:19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Have you ever thought about how much love plays a part in the lives of all God’s creatures? From the mama grizzly bear to the African lioness, mothers have a powerful love for their young. You see all kinds of love that is entrenched in all our lives. The love smitten teen ager, the grieving widow, all of us are effected by love every day. Creation reflects its Creator. Our Creator is the fountain of all love. His abode, the place called heaven, is drenched in His supernatural love. The Father’s love is infinite and can be seen in His affection that pours out upon His only Son Jesus Christ. The good news is that we have been adopted into His family. In Christ, we also have become the object of the Father’s love. Heaven will be an endless adventure as we explore the height, the depth, the breadth and the width of God’s love. Jonathan Edwards preached a powerful sermon entitled Heaven is a World of Love. It is one of my two favorite sermons of all time. here is a taste of Edwards world of love.

“Here is joy unspeakable indeed; here is humble, holy, divine joy in its perfection. Love is a sweet principle, especially divine love. It is a spring of sweetness. But here the spring shall become a river, and an ocean. All shall stand about the God of glory, the fountain of love, as it were opening their bosoms to be filled with those effusions of love which are poured forth from thence, as the flowers on the earth in a pleasant spring day open their bosoms to the sun to be filled with his warmth and light, and to flourish in beauty and fragrancy by his rays. Every saint is as a flower in the garden of God, and holy love is the fragrancy and sweet odor which they all send forth, and with which they fill that paradise….. And thus they will live and thus they will reign in love, and in that godlike joy which is the blessed fruit of it, such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath ever entered into the heart of any in this world to conceive [cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9]. And thus they will live and reign forever and ever.”

If you are born again you are clothed with Christ. In Christ you are the recipient of a limitless love. Open your heart today. The love of God is being poured out into your heart, it will change everything.

TONGUES OF ANGELS

July 16, 2014

1 Cor.13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

In 1 Corinthians 13:1 Paul speaks about the tongues of angels. It seems like most commentaries by pass this part and focus on their perceived view of the heavenly language, the part that says that tongues are useless without love. So is everything else! Evangelism is worthless without love, preaching is worthless without love, even giving to the poor can be hypocritically done without love. The amazing thing is that praying in tongues is actually the language of intimacy and love.
1Cor. 14:2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. Actually the Message Bible says “If you praise him in the private language of tongues, God understands you but no one else does, for you are sharing intimacies just between you and him.” Praying in the Spirit is the love language of the heavenly beings, after all, heaven is a world of love. Here are some interesting comments about tongues of angels from the Barnes’ NT Commentary.

“The language of angels here seems to be used to denote the highest power of using language. It is evidently derived from the idea that the angels are superior, in all respects, to men; that they must have endowments in advance of all which man can have. It may possible have reference to the idea that they must have some mode of communicating their ideas one to another, and that this dialect or mode must be far superior to that which is employed by man. Man is imperfect. All his modes of communication are defective.”

There were numerous angelic appearances in the early church according to the book of Acts. Peter was released from prison by an angel, an angel appeared to Paul during the storm, an angel was involved with Phillip’s ministry to the Ethiopian treasurer, an angel was even involved with Peter’s ministry to the gentiles at Cornelius’ house. I think angels are involved with all of our services today. I think angels become more obvious when churches begin to step over into the heavenly realm. That brings us back to the tongues of angels. We need a greater emphasis on the heavenly language of love. Personally and corporately there needs to be extended times of worshiping God in the language of the angels. As we do, don’t be surprised if the angels join in as they hear The Lord being worshipped in their own language.

FREE RIVER

July 15, 2014

That we might know the things that are freely given to us of God—1 Corinthians 2:12

Parris and I recently moved to Covington, Louisiana; a bedroom community of New Orleans. Our house is actually on a small river called the Bogue Falaya. We have been able to spend a little time on this river on our days off on our kayaks. I have become more and more observant to the spiritual lessons you can learn by watching the river. One thing that I have come to appreciate is the freedom the river affords. Even though all of the properties on both banks of the river are private property, the river is available for whosoever will. There are kayakers, and fishermen, and children playing in the river. It is open to whoever wants to enjoy the cooling current. In the same way there is a river that flows from the throne of God. It is a river of grace and refreshing for all those that are thirsty. Here is something A. B. Simpson said about this river of grace.

“Always take grace as something you do not deserve, something that is freely bestowed. The long, deep, boundless river is free-as free at the mouth as it is at the little feeder stream. It is free all along its course; anybody can come and drink, and anybody can come and bathe in its refreshing waters. Do you believe that? God has given us His Holy Spirit that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God. It is a sad thing for a poor starving child to look longingly through the window and see a fire and the happy family sitting around a laden table. What is the good of knowing that there is warmth and love and light if it is not free? God has freely given all the goodness of His grace and love.”

The Bogue Falaya is quite shallow near my house. As you go down river other streams and tributaries join together that form quite a wide and deep river within just a few miles. The river of God has many currents and changes as you step into its flow. There are seasons when it may seem shallow and fast moving that leads to other places that are deeper and wider than you could ever imagine. Step into the river of God. It will wash you and heal you and transform you into another person. The only way that you cannot benefit from the blessing of the river is by staying stuck on its banks.

COMFORTING THE COMFORTLESS

July 14, 2014

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

“For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” IS.51:3

We are having our annual Summer Saturation. Nightly meetings right in the middle of the summer where it’s so hot you can hardly breathe. It is nice to gather around church folk like an old fashioned camp-meeting and see what The Lord does. So many people need healing, refreshing and direction from God. Last night while worshipping this scripture came up on the overhead and I felt The Lord’s presence speaking comfort to me and others. “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people. saith your God”. Is. 40:1 Many times throughout my walk with God I feel the rain of His presence just like last night.
Spurgeon puts it this way, “The Holy Ghost, who brooded over chaos, and brought order out of confusion; the mighty Spirit who came down at Pentecost in tongues of fire, with a sound like a mighty rushing wind – that same blessed Spirit will come to the hearts of the members of his Church and comfort them. There are sorrows for which there is no solace within the reach of the creature; there is a ruin which it would baffle any mortal to retrieve. Happy for us that the Omnipotent comes to our aid. It is “he who telleth the number of the stars; calleth them all by their names”; who also “healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds! Where he is, rolling the stars along, filling heaven with wonder as he creates majestic orbs, and keeps them in their pathways, making the comet fling its gorgeous light across space and startle nations, holding the burning furnace of the sun in the hollow of his hand; yet he stoops down to minister to a desponding spirit, and to pour the oil and wine of heavenly comfort into a poor distracted heart! Yes, it is Zion that is to be comforted, but it is Jehovah himself who has promised to be her Comforter!”
Do you need a breakthrough? My friend the best thing you can do is to get out of your “comfort zone”. Shake yourself and find a Holy Ghost drinking hole. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. The worst thing you can do is just to sit there in that wasted place. He brings a comfort that no one else can bring-healing balms from heaven itself. He will come and step on your boat in the worst possible storm. Holy Ghost winds of change, deliverance and breakthrough are coming your way! Stretch forth that hand, pick up your pallet and walk, go show yourself to the priest, rise and be healed my friend. And when He comes, make sure you sing the song of thanksgiving for He is just that kind of God!

NO DELIVERANCES?

July 13, 2014

Forget not all His benefits.
Psalms 103:2

Bless The Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name!!! This is how Psalm 103 starts. David is overcome with joy thinking of all of God’s blessings in his life. Have you ever been overcome with joy as you reflect on all The Lord has done for you? Reflecting on His benefits carries its own benefits within it. You think of His protection, provision, guidance, correction, and healing and you are drug out of whatever pit you were in. Suddenly, your faith is awakened and you have an expectancy of God’s next intervention into the affairs of your life.
I often remember how God saved me and called me into His work. I also reflect on His guidance, bringing me back to my home town. Then I remember His supernatural provision to start our ministry in NOLA. That brings me to His outpourings; the incredible move in the early days of our church and the shocking visitations of revival in the 90′s. Thinking about all He has done brings me to a place of expectancy. Surely the Author of all that has happened in these 40 years of my journey will be the Finisher. Here are some reflections from Spurgeon on the blessings of God.

“Have you had no deliverances? Have you passed through no rivers, supported by the divine presence? Have you walked through no fires unharmed? Have you had no manifestations? Have you had no choice favours? The God who gave Solomon the desire of his heart, hath he never listened to you and answered your requests? That God of lavish bounty of whom David sang, Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, hath he never satiated you with fatness? Have you never been made to lie down in green pastures? Have you never been led by the still waters? Surely the goodness of God has been the same to us as to the saints of old. Let us, then, weave his mercies into a song. Let us take the pure gold of thankfulness, and the jewels of praise and make them into another crown for the head of Jesus. Let our souls give forth music as sweet and as exhilarating as came from David’s harp, while we praise the Lord whose mercy endureth for ever.”

If you are hurting or down in the dumper today, reflecting on His blessing is a sure cure. Let’s join together with David and bless The Lord for He is good and His mercies are constant and never ending.


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