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.

GOD IS NOT DEAD

July 12, 2014

Psa. 103:1-2 ¶ Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:

Some people, and sadly, some churches act like God is dead. No they don’t come out and say it; they just act like it. Paul called it having a form of godliness but denying the power. It takes power to truly convert a fallen being into a child of God. It takes power to deliver someone from bondage to alcohol or lust. Only the power of God can heal the sick or change the course of someone’s miserable life. When older Christians fall into a funk and are tempted to believe that God is not going to come through for them we should listen to the words of David, “forget not His benefits”. If He has been faithful before, He will be faithful again. Here are some powerful thoughts from Charles Spurgeon on remembering God’s powerful acts.

“It is a delightful and profitable occupation to mark the hand of God in the lives of ancient saints, and to observe his goodness in delivering them, his mercy in pardoning them, and his faithfulness in keeping his covenant with them. But would it not be even more interesting and profitable for us to remark the hand of God in our own lives? Ought we not to look upon our own history as being at least as full of God, as full of his goodness and of his truth, as much a proof of his faithfulness and veracity, as the lives of any of the saints who have gone before? We do our Lord an injustice when we suppose that he wrought all his mighty acts, and showed himself strong for those in the early time, but doth not perform wonders or lay bare his arm for the saints who are now upon the earth. Let us review our own lives. Surely in these we may discover some happy incidents, refreshing to ourselves and glorifying to our God.”

So what are you facing that has you singing the blues? Has God forgotten you? Impossible! Is He unable to help in this particular case? Unthinkable! Remember His promises, remember what He had done for you in the past. He is able to heal your body, forgive your sins, deliver you from the power of sin and even restore broken relationships. His benefits are uncountable and His best ones are just ahead of you.

HEAVEN IS A WORLD OF LOVE

July 11, 2014

Rom. 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Eph. 1:14 (The Holy Spirit) who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Today’s title is actually a sermon title preached by Jonathan Edwards. The basis of the sermon is this, the atmosphere of heaven is the love of God. The love of God is displayed in the person of the Holy Spirit. If that is true, in Ephesians 1:14 Paul said that the Holy Spirit is the guarantee or foretaste of the world to come. No one can say this better than Jonathan Edwards, check out his view of heaven, this is one of my favorite Edwards’ sermon.

“There dwells God the Father, and so the Son, who are united in infinitely dear and incomprehensible mutual love. There dwells God the Father, who is the Father of mercies, and so the Father of love, who so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life [John 3:16]. There dwells Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the Prince of peace and love, who so loved the world that he shed his blood, and poured out his soul unto death for it. There dwells the Mediator, by whom all God’s love is expressed to the saints, by whom the fruits of it have been purchased, and through whom they are communicated, and through whom love is imparted to the hearts of all the church. There Christ dwells in both his natures, his human and divine, sitting with the Father in the same throne. There is the Holy Spirit, the spirit of divine love, in whom the very essence of God, as it were, all flows out or is breathed forth in love, and by whose immediate influence all holy love is shed abroad in the hearts of all the church [Romans 5:5]. There in heaven this fountain of love, this eternal three in one, is set open without any obstacle to hinder access to it. There this glorious God is manifested and shines forth in full glory, in beams of love; there the fountain overflows in streams and rivers of love and delight, enough for all to drink at, and to swim in, yea, so as to overflow the world as it were with a deluge of love.”

I can’t wait to swim in that river of love. We can touch the edges of it now, when we do it is unspeakable. His love is poured on us and into through our encounters with the Holy Spirit. It seems like the modern church has run as far as it can from the moving of the Spirit. That’s okay, His love never ceases and greater outpourings are inevitable.

ACCUMULATED PRAYER

July 10, 2014

Rev. 5:8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

What an unusual concept, accumulated prayers. I guess the reason the concept of stored up prayers seems strange may be our lack of understanding of what true prayer is. The nature of prayer is spiritual, not natural. Our effective prayers are birthed by the Holy Spirit making our prayers themselves supernatural. Praying in the Spirit is actually The Lord praying through us; we may be praying scripture, praying for some well known need in our natural language, or even praying in our heavenly language. The Lord actually prays through us making our prayers actually eternal prayers. Our prayers transcend time and space and for us, stuck in the finite world governed by time, prayers appear to be “stored up” before the Father’s Throne. Here is how Andrew Murray describes stored up prayer.

“We learn here that the prayers of the saints in the Old Testament concerning the promised redemption were preserved in heaven. These prayers are offered as incense at the throne of the Lamb, so that He may lay them before the Father. Later, in Revelation 8 we also read of the angel who stood at the altar before the throne with a golden censer filled with the prayers of all the saints.
What profound and heavenly thoughts do these words awaken within us! The prayers of the saints are not answered at once. Just as men on earth accumulate money and allow it to increase as capital for greater undertakings, so the prayers of the saints are stored up in heaven until the measure is full and the answer can descend.”

There is a lot of prayer that has been stored up these last 2000 years. Every time I pray; Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, my prayers join together with the countless multitudes that have prayed that prayer the last 2000 years. My prayers are accumulated with the prayers of the 12 apostles, with the Apostle Paul, and all of those powerful first century Christians. My prayers are mingled before the throne with the prayers of the martyrs from every generation. They are joined with the prayers of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Knox, and Bunyan. They ascend with the prayers of Whitefield, Edwards, Wesley, and Spurgeon. They even are rising as incense with the prayers of Evan Roberts, Seymore, MacPhaerson and Kuhlman. Come Lord, pour out your Spirit, your censer is filling up!!!

THE NIGHT THE ANGELS SANG

July 9, 2014

Rev. 4:9-10 ¶ And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and forever…

There is a night of renown amongst people who love revival called the night the angels sang. It took place in January of 1995 in a revival at Carpenter’s Home Church in Lakeland, Florida in a revival meeting conducted by Rodney Howard Browne. I was actually there lying on the floor near the right side of the platform when the angels began to sing. From what I can remember (I was heavily inebriated in the Spirit) after a lengthy time of corporate singing in heavenly languages the heavy weight of glory fell in a way I have seldom, if ever experienced. That’s when the angels sang. I even felt one place his hand on my back, it was one of the most powerful things I have ever encountered. The strangest thing about that event was that not everyone there even felt anything. There were several world renowned preachers within feet of me on the front row making comments like “I don’t feel anything. Do you feel anything?” That was quite shocking. There were angels present and glory present and some were unaffected.
The Apostle John commented about the effect angels singing have on the redeemed even in heaven. He was there around the throne with the angelic choir and the elders themselves falling on the ground. Angels often attend our services on earth, sometimes they even sing. Freddie Hayler has a song called the Song of Angels. Every time I listen to it I feel that heavenly presence. Here are some of the words to his song.

SONG OF ANGELS

There
In the night sky
Beyond the starlight
In a vision
I see Glory
The archangels
and Michael’s,
hands raising
Angelic tongues of fire
Flow from his being
God let me hear
Celestial beauty
God help me
Liberate my spirit free
to sing the Angel’s song
all around Your Glorious Throne

Verse 2
Lord help me to see
Your Holy face
Illuminated
A blazing beauty
God help me
Liberate my spirit free
To sing the Angel’s song.
All around Your Glorious Throne
I hear the Angel’s song.

For those not familiar with the effects of His presence, I do not drink alcohol. I was speaking of heavenly intoxication that happens in a His presence. Join together in worship with the angels around the throne today. We can rarely hear them but they are always singing. Maybe today you too will feel and sing the song of angels.


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