HE GIVES PEACE

April 26, 2015

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. 

May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our

Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:23–24

He is the God of peace. He is peace when the bills pile up, He is peace when you receive a bad report from the doctor, He is peace when your hopes and dreams cave in, even if the world as we know it falls into destruction He is still our peace. Think about the author of this text. The Apostle Paul who was beaten with rods and put in stocks in Philippi, was stoned and left for dead in Galatia, was attacked and almost torn in two by a mob in Jerusalem, and suffered storms and shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea. He knew this God of peace who would minister comfort and rest to his soul in all circumstances. This is our God of peace Who is with us today to cover us in all things. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray from this passage. 
“What a promise! One would expect to see all God’s children clinging to it, claiming its fulfillment! However, it seems as though many believers do not see the riches of the promises in this text as being for themselves. Just listen to what is written here.
God who gives peace. The peace spoken of here is the peace brought by the sacrifice on the cross, the peace that passes all understanding, a peace that only God can give. God, who gives peace, promises to make you devoted to Him in Christ and in the Holy Spirit. As if he knows that the riches of promises in the verse will be too much for us, Paul repeats and strengthens it in the second part of the verse: spirit, soul, and body: spirit, the inner core of one’s being, created to live in “fellowship with God; soul, the center of life; and body, the means by which sin and death got a foot in the door, but which was made alive in Christ.”

This God of Peace is with you today. What kind of state are you in. He is here and His presence is peace itself. Draw near, cast your cares on the Lord, soon you will find yourself wrapped in His supernatural peace that is bigger than all our troubles. 

WORKING IN YOU

April 25, 2015

Phil. 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

This verse reminds us of our utter dependence upon God. Any good that we do originates in heaven. It is Christ in us, nudging and empowering us to go forward. It is the will and pleasure of God in us motivating us to His purposes and our destiny. Actually this relieves a lot of stress in my life, ‘it is not I but Christ’. What is my part? I must draw near to God, enjoy all He is, and yield my will to the blessed will of God. Here is how John Calvin sees it.

“This is the true engine for bringing down all haughtiness — this the sword for putting an end to all pride, when we are taught that we are utterly nothing, and can do nothing, except through the grace of God alone. I mean supernatural grace, which comes forth from the spirit of regeneration. For, considered as men, we already are, and live and move in God. But Paul reasons here as to a kind of movement different from that universal one.”

How does this look in the practical world? As I experience the hand of God on my life in worship and searching His written Word, I experience this strange and delightful miracle. My will begins to change. I can begin to say with the Lord Himself, ‘I delight to do your will oh God’. Matthew Henry talks about this.

“To will and to do: he gives the whole ability. It is the grace of God which inclines the will to that which is good: and then enables us to perform it, and to act according to our principles. Thou hast wrought all our works in us, Isa. xxvi. 12. Of his good pleasure. As there is no strength in us, so there is no merit in us. As we cannot act without God’s grace, so we cannot claim it, nor pretend to deserve it. God’s good will to us is the cause of his good work in us; and he is under no engagements to his creatures, but those of his gracious promise.”

So, did you see it? Henry said it is grace that ‘inclines the will’. How does that happen? It is in the area of enjoyment. He changes the things we enjoy. It is the very effect of God on our soul that changes our will or changes the things we love and enjoy.

MORE THAN I BARGAINED FOR

April 24, 2015

Worship God. 

REVELATION 22:9
We get more than we bargained for when we pray, way more!!! It is just like this; we come to the Lord with our prayer request. It may be financial, family related or health issues and all we are looking for is some relief, we want our circumstances to change. The Lord has bigger things in mind, He is after us. He uses this opportunity to get at our hearts. How does He do this? When we begin to pray and become more earnest because of the greatness of our need, He comes to us Himself. Sure, He hears and answers our request but He comes to us Himself with His presence. That’s how we get more than we were looking for. God Himself shows Himself in our lives. Could that be the real reason the Lord allows certain things to happen in our lives? Maybe the circumstances that we were so troubled over were just His way to get at our hearts. Changing the circumstances is easy for the Lord, its that heart thing that often proves to be a little more difficult. Here are some thoughts fro Andrew Murray on this very matter. 
“What might be the reason that prayer is not for us a greater joy and delight? How can we bring down the power and the blessing on those for whom we pray?

The primary answer is undoubtedly that our experience of the presence of God is too limited. When we pray, we do our experience of the presence of God is too limited. When we pray, we do not seek after His presence with all our hearts. We think mostly of our need, our weakness, our desire, our prayer. We forget that in every prayer God must be first and foremost. To seek Him, to find Him, to linger in His presence, is the approach that gives prayer its inspiration.

How then can you acquire an intimate experience of the presence of God in your communion with Him? The answer is quite simple: Believe with your whole heart that He offers Himself as the listener. Give God the opportunity to make Himself known to you when you approach Him in prayer. You will never discover this, however, if you do not take time to have genuine fellowship with God. The power of prayer does not lie in the number or earnestness of the words you use, but in a living faith that God Himself accepts both you and your prayer into His loving heart.”
So don’t be surprised if today when you pray you receive even more that you hoped. The Lord begins to orchestrate the circumstances in your life to answer your prayer; but even better, He comes Himself to show you His glory. 

DEEPER AND DEEPER

April 23, 2015

The anointing which ye have received—1 John 2:27

Have you ever connected the love of God to the anointing of the Holy Spirit? Jonathan Edwards taught that the Holy Spirit is the manifestation of God’s love displayed in a person. Just as Jesus is the Word of God, the Holy Spirit is the love of God. If that is true, being filled continuously with the Holy Spirit will take us into this deeper life, the life of God’s love. First, He draws us in by the love of God. We are struck by the love of the Savior, we accept Him and yield to Him. Next, we find ourselves drinking in His great love, the continuous fillings of the Holy Spirit. This love begins to effect every part of our lives. Being loved by God changes us, we begin to take on more and more of His nature. Then, we see this amazing transformation. We love people!!! We actually love to share God’s love with others. We can’t wait to share this goodness that has changed everything for us. Praying and ministering to others not only effects their lives, it actually deepens His effect on us. Here is how A. B. Simpson describes it.

“Divine anointing is the secret of the deeper life, but that ye [may be] rooted and grounded in love is the substance and sweetness of it. The fullness of the divine love in the heart will make everything easy. It is very easy to trust those whom we love, and the more we realize their love the more we will trust them for it. This love is the source of healing. The tide of love flowing through our bodies will strangely strengthen our very frame and the spring of youth and freshness in our physical being. The secret of love is very simple. It is to take the heart of Jesus for our love and claim His love for every need of life, whether it be toward God or toward others. It is very satisfying to think of other persons in this way. “I will take the heart of Jesus toward them, to let me love them as He loves them.” Then we can love even the unworthy in some measure, if we see them in the light of His love-as they shall be and not as they now are, unworthy of our love.”

What a great life we have been given!!!  Launching out into this deeper life not only satisfies us, it touches and heals our broken world.

THERE IS A RIVER OF LIFE

April 22, 2015

Psa. 46:4 ¶  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 
There is a River!!! This is the River of Life that Jesus prophesied about in the temple in Jerusalem. He interrupted the services in the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles crying out with a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink’. He was so overcome with passion His appeal burst out into pleas compelling people to come and drink. David sang about this river, Ezekiel prophesied about it as he waded in over his head, and John declared that this river was flowing out from the Father and the Son. Spurgeon describes it as smoothly flowing divine grace.  
“Divine grace like a smoothly flowing, fertilising, full, and never failing river, yields refreshment and consolation to believers. This is the river of the water of life, of which the church above as well as the church below partakes evermore. It is no boisterous ocean, but a placid stream, it is not stayed in its course by earthquakes or crumbling mountains, it follows its serene course without disturbance. Happy are they who know from their own experience that there is such a river of God.” 
The Fire Bible says that this river is a continuous flow of inspiration and power. 
“God’s ‘river’ is the continual flow of his grace (undeserved favor, mercy and help), inspiration and power working through and among his faithful people. This pure, life-giving river flows from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It is described as flowing from God’s throne and constantly refreshing his people on earth and those in heaven. The most important benefit of this river is that it brings evidence of God’s presence among his people: ‘The LORD Almighty is with us’.”
This River is not an experience or even the power of God, the River is a person. It is the third person of the blessed Trinity, the precious Holy Spirit. Have you found your way to the River of God? You see, it is not good enough to believe that there is a River; you must get into the River. The River is a place of refreshing to those who drink it, it is a place of cleansing for those who bath in it, it is the source of power to those who will swim and live in it. I have to agree with David,  ‘There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God”. 

PICKLED

April 21, 2015

PICKLED

Acts 19:9,10  (Paul)  took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.
This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. 

There are some things in this chapter of the book of Acts that are quite shocking. It says that all of Asia (modern day Turkey) heard the gospel during those two years. Think about it, no television, newspapers, radio, or social media and all of Asia hears the word of God in two years. Obviously news of the meetings in Ephesus spread throughout that region, many came and were touched and brought the message back to their community. It also speaks of unusual miracles. Clothes were taken from Paul’s body; whoever they touched were healed or even delivered from demon activity. It even goes on to say that there was mass repentance in Ephesus; in Ephesus?!  Ephesus was known for its immorality and pagan religious practices. What could have precipitated mass repentance? 
The answer can be quite revolutionary. It was those daily meetings. They were meeting from 10-4, according to historians, for two years. The anointing began to increase. The anointing is also transferable or you might say, contagious. Everyone in those meetings were not only mightily affected, they became carriers of the anointing. The city and region were being transformed by the power of spiritual saturation.

If you look at the first few verses of Acts 19, you will see the powerful secret to the power of these meetings. These twelve disciples that met with Paul were all baptized with the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not really emphasized in many churches today, this lack of emphasis is what produces powerless churches. A key to the importance of the Spirit baptism is seen in the word baptism itself. You see the word baptism means to be immersed into a substance. It was the word used for dying fabric, turning a white cloth into a purple cloth. It is also the word used when referring to making a pickle out of a cucumber. The key in fabric and cucumbers is staying immersed into the substance long enough to take on the characteristics of that substance. Once a cucumber stays immersed into vinegar for a set amount of time there is no turning back, that pickle will never be a cucumber again. 

As for us, we need to take on the nature of Christ to change us and to effect our world. How do we take on His nature? We have to be immersed into Him. Just once or once in a while is not enough. We have to be immersed (baptized) into His Spirit long enough to experience permanent  transformation. Let the pickling begin!!!

A RIVER OF DIVINE SUPPLY

April 20, 2015

A RIVER OF DIVINE SUPPLY

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God” Psalm 46:4

Years ago, in fact about 21 years ago, I came across this scripture in Psalms and began to experience a unusual supply of His presence in my life and in my church. For the first time in my life I realized that I had put myself on a ridiculous treadmill of performance, excellence and shear willpower. I never imagined the divine supply and refreshment of God that could come unto my life once I repented of my works of the flesh. He restored the years that the cankerworm, so to speak, had eaten from my life. People literally walked up to me and said that I looked twenty years younger. Something so special, so intimate happened to me that I’m still not able to comprehend nor put into words. This scripture has so much meaning. Have you found yourself weary and beaten down by how your life has turned out? Maybe you are successful and everyone around you sees your importance but has it flowed out from the river of God?  God doesn’t measure our success by our measurements. How’s it working for you? I pray that you, like me, would get arrested and taken down into the river! 

There is a river that you can drink from and live by all the days of your life. It will sustain you in the toughest times. John in the book of Revelation saw a “pure River of water of life clear as crystal proceeding from the throne of God” and it brought healing to the nations. He can bring healing and deliverance to you today if you would but open your mouth wide.  

Spurgeon said “divine grace is flowing, fertilizing, full and never failing, it yields refreshment and consolation to believers. There is the river of the water of life of which the church above as well as below partakes evermore. It is no boisterous ocean but a placid stream, it is not stayed in its course by earthquakes or crumbling mountains, it flows it serene course without disturbance. Happy they are who know from their own experience that there is such a river.”

Some say the river is symbolic of the Holy Spirit constantly flowing through our lives showing us the attributes of our Heavenly Father and opening up the treasures of the scriptures. Even JESUS on the great day of the feast cried out with a loud voice compelling people to drink from him. Jesus spoke of having a supernatural divine supple supply of joy, healing and strength for the journey. My question is have you spent time drinking of this precious river that He has provided everyday for us? Drink again and keep drinking. 

I DIDN’T KNOW

April 19, 2015

Acts 19:2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” ¶ So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

One of the great stories in the New Testament is the founding of the church in Ephesus. Ephesus was well known throughout the Roman Empire for it’s sensuality as well as being the center of their pagan worship. The temple for their goddess Diana was located there. This makes the impact that Paul’s ministry had on this region even more impressive. Actually, Ephesus became a hub of the Christian faith led by two of the greatest pastors of the first century; Paul’s disciple Timothy and none other than the Apostle John. It probably became the largest church of that time period.

It all started with Paul’s question to a bible study attended by twelve me, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?”, Paul asked. “We haven’t heard that there is a Holy Spirit”, was their clueless reply. Now these men were already called disciples, they had believed in the Lord and been baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Of course they knew in theory about the Holy Spirit, they just hadn’t known that you could actually be influenced the way Paul was describing by the Spirit. That’s when it happened, Paul laid his hands upon them and the atmosphere in the room changed. They were filled with the Holy Spirit just like the believers on the day of Pentecost. They also began to speak in tongues just like the believers in Jerusalem had experienced. They also began to prophesy. Paul was not shocked by this, this is exactly what he was looking for. He knew for the church to effect the pagan society of Ephesus there needed to be more than just a Christian creed, they needed the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes it feels like we live in Ephesus. Society is immoral and at the same time full of religious beliefs and practices. It also seems as if many Christians have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.

How can we see our ‘Ephesus’ changed? It is really quite simple; we have to receive another season of immersion into the person of the Holy Spirit. You can build large organizations with structure and eloquent preaching; you just can’t change Ephesus.

THEY SHALL BE WILLING

April 18, 2015

Psa. 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.

This describes the biggest problem man has; he knows what is right but way too often finds himself in the midst of a conflict. He chooses the wrong just because he wants to. People often discuss and even argue about the free will thing. Man was created with a free will all right, there is just this minor problem. It was our free will that became twisted that fateful day when our first parents ate from that dratted tree. You know the one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Somehow how, free will is not so free anymore, it is entirely bound by sin.

So what is the solution? It’s found in today’s verse. Did you see it? It’s the day of His power. It is times of spiritual awakening that our will is bent or conformed to His will. People tend to volunteer to follow Him gladly in the day of His power. Here are some awesome thoughts from John Pulsford.

“Willing to do what? They shall be willing while others are unwilling. The simple term ‘willing’, is very expressive. It denotes the beautiful condition of creatures who suffer themselves to be wrought upon, and moved, according to the will of God. They suffer God to work in them to will and to do. They are willing to die unto all sin, they are willing to crucify the old man, or self, in order that the new man, or Christ, may be formed in them. They are willing to be weaned from their own thoughts and purposes, that the thoughts and purposes of God may be fulfilled in them. They are willing to be transferred from nature’s steps of human descent to God’s steps of human ascent. Or, to abide by the simplicity of our text, God is Will, and they are ‘willing’. God will beautify them with salvation, because there is nothing in them to hinder his working. They will be wise, they will be good, they will be lovely, they will be like God, for they are ‘willing’; and there proceeds from God a mighty spirit, the whole tendency of which is to make his creatures like himself.”

Maybe you are still like that unbridled wild horse or maybe even like a mule. Be encouraged, we live in the day of His power. Step into His presence. Maybe that old mule will bend His neck to the yoke of the Lord.

HIS ONLY PLAN

April 17, 2015

Psa. 110:2  The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!

The church has always taken a lot of grief. How many times have I heard people say they are spiritual but don’t believe in the ‘organized church’? Well which church do you believe in, the one where you are in charge? Actually it is the weakness and imperfections in His church that make it so beautiful. He accepts us, covers us, cleanses us, changes us, and then uses us for His glory. In today’s verse David is prophesying about the mystery of Pentecost. In this Psalm he describes the beauty of the exaltation of Christ, the blessing of His heavenly priesthood, and the incredible power He displays in and through His church. It started on the day of Pentecost, continues today, and promises to crescendo in preparation for the coming King. The church, with all of its goofed up people, is His chosen tool to display His glory in the earth. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon’s Treasury of David on this verse.

“It is in and through the church that for the present the power of the Messiah is known. Jehovah has given to Jesus all authority in the midst of his people, whom he rules with his royal scepter, and this power goes forth with divine energy from the church for the ingathering of the elect, and the subduing of all evil. We have need to pray for the sending out of the rod of divine strength. It was by his rod that Moses smote the Egyptians, and wrought wonders for Israel, and even so whenever the Lord Jesus sends forth the rod of his strength, our spiritual enemies are overcome. There may be an allusion here to Aaron’s rod which budded and so proved his power; this was laid up in the ark, but our Lord’s rod is sent forth to subdue his foes. This promise began to be fulfilled at Pentecost, and it continues even to this day, and shall yet have a grander fulfillment.”

I love the gathering together of His congregation for worship, there is nothing in this world that even comes close. As we worship Him in the beauty of His manifest presence, His glory and power increase among us. As David also said, “This is the place of commanded blessing”. Get yourself in church, you will become a part of His mighty plan to display His glory to this generation.


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