GET CONTROL OF YOUR MOUTH

March 26, 2015

James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 

Speaking in other tongues helps us enjoy the benefit of a controlled tongue. James tells us of these benefits. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey it, we can direct their entire body. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body. James 3:2-5 compares the human tongue to a bit that we put into a horse’s mouth to control its body and a rudder that steers a ship, directing the course of its destiny. The tongue directs our lives, but it also bridles our bodies. The tongue affects the human body. There is a connection between our tongue and our brain, and between our tongue and our nervous system. Neurologists have identified a connection between what is said and the signals that the brain sends to the rest of the nervous system. The Bible says that the tongue bridles the body. When we begin to pray in the Holy Spirit, we are yielding our tongue totally to God. We are not in control of it anymore, saying what we want to say or what our minds have thought up. Rather, we are saying what the Holy Spirit is saying through us. Our tongue is totally yielded to God. God is then able to bridle our bodies. It is as if He gets on the horse and begins to ride. He then directs our lives in the paths they should go. A wild horse doesn’t accomplish much, but a horse that has been trained and bridled can go out and accomplish something! When you pray in the Holy Spirit, you bridle yourself. God is able to take hold of the reins of your life and bridle your body. The blessing is: He brings life and Healing to your body. He brings soundness to your mind and discipline to your life! He obtains control of your life because the tongue is the key to that control. Think about how someone is saved. He confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believes in his heart that God raised Him from the dead (see Rom. 10:9-10). We have to say it, “I accept Christ as my Lord and Savior. Jesus, You are my Lord.” We yield our tongue and praise God in the Holy Spirit, constantly turning over the lordship to Jesus Christ. Praying in the Holy Spirit is saying, “Lord, ride me, direct me, steer the course of my life.” And God wants to! He wants to bless you with all that He has for you. He can do that when you yield your tongue to Him!

YOU MAKE ME SICK

March 25, 2015

Rev. 3:15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.

Rev. 3:16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

That’s one thing you never want the Lord to say about you, “You make me sick”. That verse always reminds me of a prophesy in the book of Amos: 5:23 “Take away from Me the noise of your songs,

For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.”

The Lord told the people of Israel through Amos that He was sick of their services. Whew! You thought you were the only one that got sick of church. Can you imagine? Even God was sick of the services. That’s when you really know you need a change. The Lord is not so much about how professional or talented the music is or how dynamic the preaching is. What is He after? He is after the heart. He just wants it to be real, not perfect. Here are some thoughts on today’s verse from Jonathan Edwards. 

 

“The Scripture distinguishes mankind into three sorts: those that are cold, who are those that have no appearance or show of religion and are not to be looked upon as visible Christians; and those that are hot, those that are true Christians, that are fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, that have within them that holy ardor and engagedness of mind in religion that has been spoken of; and those that are lukewarm, that is, those that make a profession of religion and have some show of religion, but are not thorough in it, are cold, dull, and lifeless, are an indifferent sort of professor, have no great concern about the honor of God and interest of religion, who are not true Christians and never will be accepted of Christ as some of his if they continue….The lukewarm Christians are more hateful to Christ than the openly profane, than the very heathen that make no pretenses to religion. Christ declares expressly that he had rather men should be quite cold than only lukewarm…. As the stomach nauseates lukewarm water more than either cold or hot, so doth Christ abominate lukewarm Christians that are destitute of Christian zeal in religion.”

That really takes a lot of pressure off. All of us are not that talented but we can all be real. The Lord would rather endure the passionate off key singing of one of His children than the professional hirelings that have no passion. Rather than the Lord being sick of our songs He comes and sings and rejoices in the midst of His children. 

GOD’S TRAIN WRECK

March 24, 2015

Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God’s love  can seem somewhat intangible. Everyone knows the drill, Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life. That stays kind of theoretical until we actually see what love looks like. That is the whole point of the gospel, God’s only Son became a man  to demonstrate the Father’s love. Have you ever thought about it, no really thought about how or why would the Creator would become part of His creation. He could have started all over again but instead He decided to demonstrate love. His healing and deliverance ministry was motivated by compassion. Jesus Christ is the incarnation of the Father’s love. The coup de grace is the cross. It was brutal and it was intentional. It was the final demonstration of God so loved the world.That’s where our life starts. We find ourselves standing and staring with the crowd at what looks like a giant train wreck until it hits us. He did this for me. My life matters, He did this for me. Here is John Bunyan’s thoughts about the suffering of Christ. 

“This is love, that God sent His Son, His darling, His Son that had never done anything wrong, His Son that always delighted Him. This is love, that he sent Him to save sinners; to save them by carrying their sins for them, by bearing their curse, by dying their death, and by feeling their sorrow. This is love, that while we were still enemies, Christ died for us; yes, this is love, for while we were still without strength, Christ died for the ungodly. 

He was betrayed, arrested, condemned, spit on, whipped, knocked around, made fun of, crowned with thorns, crucified and pierced with nails and a spear, all to save the soul from sin’s betrayal; to save it from being arrested by justice and condemned by the law; to save it from being continually knocked around by its own conscience; to save it from being made fun of; to save it from being crowned with shame forever; to save it from dying the second death; to save it from pain and sorrow for eternity.”

It was August of 1973 when I was stopped in my tracks by God’s demonstration. God’s love was no longer a concept, I tasted it for myself and everything changed. So stop for a minute and check out God’s demonstration. It will prove to be the crossroads of your life.  

RESTORE, RESTORE , RESTORE

March 23, 2015

Merry Monday by Parris Bailey

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”

Spurgeon said, “God is glorious in the history of his church. God is glorious in the history of every believer. The life of a true believer is a glorious life. He will have men know that he is God, and beside him there is none else.”

This morning while in worship I felt like I was looking through a huge telescope of God, or through His lens instead of mine. I saw the future of Victory and my family. We all know that God is a God of restoration, after all the gospel is good news is it not? He gives us a future and a hope. At times I know we can all get self absorbed in the here and now and begin to lose sight of the promises of God. In 2005 when Katrina blew into our city, Frank and I said it would take  ten years to build it again. I realized that God has been using all of us that live in New Orleans to restore the ancient wells. What’s crazy it’s now been ten and I was challenged this morning to evaluate if I had grown spiritually since then. How wonderful it to see through the telescope and observe God and all He has done through restoration in our church and our lives. He desires breakthrough, expansion and perseverance for the kingdom of God. In the Spirit I felt like I saw the church debt paid off, my family members restored and on our back property I saw Restoration village! A small city so to speak filled with the stories of what God has done. He surely can restore what the cankerworm has eaten in our lives. The above verses is all about Restoration of the Messiah kingdom. When CHRIST comes into our lives our DNA changes. We are no longer wolf like but live like lambs with each other and little children. Jesus said “you will know they are Christians by their love”. God can restore broken relationships and broken hearts but we have to step up and let Him take the broken things from us. Do you measure your life from what has been taken or have you’ve been able to put it into the hands of our Heavenly Father and let him make all things new. 

SON BEAMS

March 22, 2015

Mal. 4:2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.

This is one of the beautiful prophetic pictures of Christ in the Old Testament. Actually it is the last picture from the last chapter of the last book in the Old Testament. It gives us a glimpse of the incredible healing virtue that flows from Jesus. The word translated beams in this verse is a descriptive hebrew word kanaph which refers to a bird’s wings but in this passage is describing the wings or beams radiating from the messiah. Jonathan Edwards preached a message entitled ‘Christ Our Spiritual Son’. In it, he describes the centrality of the sun to the solar system and the centrality of Christ in our lives. Jesus is the Sun of righteousness and there is healing in His “beams”. Here is some of what Edwards said about Christ our spiritual sun.

“The beams of this spiritual Sun don’t only refresh but restore the souls of believers. Thus it is said that the Sun of righteousness {shall arise} with healing {in his wings}. These beams heal the souls of believers. As we often see that when the trees or plants of the earth are wounded, the beams of the sun will heal the wound and by degrees restore the plant, so the sweet beams of the Sun of righteousness heal the wounds of believers’ souls. When they have been wounded by sin and have labored under the pain of wounds of conscience, the rays of this Sun heal the wounds of conscience. When they have been wounded by temptation and made to fall to their hurt, those benign beams, when they come to shine on the wounded soul, restore and heal the hurt that has been received. The sick soul by these beams is restored, as plants that have grown in shady and cold places appear sickly and languishing, if the shade be removed and the sunbeams come to shine down upon them, will revive and flourish; or as the clear shining of the sun after the rain.”

All of us have been wounded and damaged by the effects of sin. From the original sin nature that has crippled our will, to our own personal sinful behavior that has wounded us in so many ways; we all stand in dire need of the healing beams of Jesus to flow over us. I often think of what it might have been like to be in one of the Lord’s services. I imagine myself pushing through the crowd to get closer to the warmth of His healing presence. Basking in His presence, healing would flow through my whole being; my spirit, soul, and body would receive those healing rays. Here is the good news! Christ is still the Sun of Righteousness, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, His healing beams are flowing out today to whosoever will. Maybe it’s time to bask in the Sun for a little while.

GOD’S RIVER

March 21, 2015

Psa. 46:4 ¶  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

Parris and I love to kayak on the rivers near our house. Recently we went for a paddle down the Bogue Falaya River. Needless to say, the river is teeming with life. From the Kingfisher patrolling the river to the egrets looking for some breakfast, there is always a lot going on. If we are lucky, we sometimes even see a river otter sneaking a peak at who is intruding his world. Ezekiel says that everywhere the river goes there is life. Ancient civilization was closely related to rivers. Everything that pertained to life was connected to life on the river. The crops needed the water, food came from the river, transportation, cleaning, and of course the water itself. Everything was dependent on the life that the river provided.

No wonder Jesus used the river as the picture of spiritual life. “Anyone who is thirsty”, He cried, “must come to Me and drink”. He has water to give that quenches the very thirst of our souls. Our spiritual life is totally dependent on this river. Here are some thoughts from John Bunyan on this river of God.

“At the bottom of grace’s holy river, we see the glory of God. We are healed, made whole, and kept safe by grace, through the redemption that comes from Christ, to the praise of the glory of God. This river bottom is good and solid, for grace will not fail. Christ has proven that God will never lose His glory, and therefore they who drink of this river without a doubt will be saved, so long as they drink of it with a spiritual appetite. In the glory of His wisdom, this river of grace gave joy to God. He created it according to His own plans, the fruit and product of His wisdom. That is why, lost soul, you should please Him by doing that which gives Him most joy: come to the waters, dive into them, and do not be afraid of drowning. Trust God alone as you float in His grace, borne by the current into His praise, where you will see His throne.”

So we are still river dwellers today. Its in this river that our thirsty souls are satisfied and as Bunyan said, we are carried along by praise until we see His throne. So like the Kingfisher, we are patrolling the River drinking in all the life it provides. Like the egret we are up early searching for our next meal. Like the otter, we are swimming in the current, enjoying this life given to us by God.

CHRIST IS ALL

March 20, 2015

Col. 3:1-4 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

There is no comparison to the Christian life to the life without Christ. They are as different as being alive or being dead; there are really no similarities. For the Christian, the Lord doesn’t become part o our life, He actually becomes our life. The Apostle Paul was the forerunner of this new kind of life. He said that he had been crucified with Christ. That is a dramatic and powerful image. Paul’s former life was executed, done away with on the cross with Christ. When Christ was raised, Paul was also raised. Christ was now his life, the other life was permanently gone. Here is how Jonathan Edwards described tis life hidden away in God.

“Ye are now dead, and your life is hid. Dead men are hid; they are out sight. ‘Your life is hid’. The world don’t see that you live. They don’t see that you are happy, but look upon you miserable, because you deny yourselves, and don’t gratify the flesh, nor give yourselves that enjoyment of earthly things which they do. They don’t see what ’tis that you live upon. They don’t know how, nor in what, nor by what means you enjoy comfort and happiness. The world looks upon you dead, as you are indeed dead to the world. But your conversation is in heaven. You live above the world. Your life, and comfort, and happiness is in God, whom the world sees not; it is in heaven with Christ. But though now ye are hid like dead men that are out of sight, yet when Christ, who is your life, shall appear, ye shall be hid no longer, but then shall appear with him, and shall appear with him in glory. Then your life shall appear; then shall it appear that you are alive and happy.”

We have a new life and a new joy. We love different things than we used to love. Christ and His kingdom have become real to us. They have not only become real, they have become the joy and center of our very lives.

THE DAY OF HIS COMING

March 19, 2015

Rev. 1:7 ¶ Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. 

I have plenty of memories from my tree planting adventures back in my Bible School days. For those that don’t know, my wife Parris and I spent about seven months in the mountains of Oregon and Washington planting trees to support our Bible School. One of the adventures including night time tree planting to avoid the sun and heat of the day. It was dark and cold on those long winter nights on the slopes. I can remember the anticipation and joy as sunrise would approach. Jonathan Edwards preached about the joy that will fill our hearts at the great Sunrise of the coming eternal day. For the saved, the celebration will begin. For the lost, rather than joy they will shrink back in fear at the dawning of the great day of the Lord. Here is how Edwards explains it. 

“This shall be the most joyful and pleasant sight to believers that ever their eyes beheld. It will be a thousand times more refreshing to them than ever was the sight of the rising sun to them that have wandered in a wilderness, through the longest and darkest night. The sight of [it] will fill their souls with unspeakable gladness and rejoicing. It will be a bright day to the saints. The beams of that glorious Sun that will then appear will make it bright. The earth will be lightened with his glory, and the light of his glory that the world will then be filled with will be a sweet light to them…

But this appearance, that will be so pleasant to believers, will fill the souls of unbelievers with amazement. The first sight of it will strike them with terror. They shall be for hiding “in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains” [Revelation 6:15]. Every ray of that glory that Christ shall then appear in will be like a stream of scorching fire, and will pierce their hearts with a keener torment than a stream of fierce lightning…”

Malachi prophesied about that coming great day and how it would be for the lost.  He said,  Mal. 3:2 “But who can endure the day of His coming?

And who can stand when He appears?

For He is like a refiner’s fire

And like launderers’ soap.”

He also spoke of that day for the saved, “Mal. 4:2 But to you who fear My name

The Sun of Righteousness shall arise

With healing in His wings;

And you shall go out

And grow fat like stall-fed calves.”

The question begging to be answered; what kind of day will it be for you?

 

STEPPING INTO THE POWER OF SIGNS AND WONDERS

March 18, 2015

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 

Another powerful benefit we receive when we speak in tongues is that our prayer language opens the door to the supernatural world of God. In Acts 3:7-8, we see the first healing miracle after Christ’s death and resurrection. A lame man had been in the temple for 38 years when he met Peter: “And (Peter) seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap, he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.” There is an invisible spiritual world in which you and I were created to function. God is Spirit. We are spirit beings; we were created by God in His image to live and operate in that world. When we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, a new door to the world of the supernatural opens for us. This is a world that God inhabits, and that man was created to inhabit. As we begin to move into this heavenly realm, walls are torn down and authority is given to us by God in this world, so that we can live victoriously on earth. Learning to function in awareness of the spirit world becomes normal to the Christian who prays often in tongues. In Acts 3:7-8, Peter began to live in this spiritual realm. He was launching out into the world of the supernatural. We see this supernatural world throughout the Book of Acts. The lame man was healed in Acts chapter 3. In Acts chapter 5, multitudes are healed. The Church began to expand and grow throughout the Book of Acts, as people were praying in tongues and began to experience the miracle power of the Lord. God wants us to live in His supernatural world! He wants us to live victoriously, dwelling with Him. We can spend extended periods of time praying in the Holy Spirit and enter this supernatural realm that God inhabits. We may not have a disciplined prayer life but that can change. Make a decision to schedule time with the Lord every day. Begin to launch out into the spiritual world praying in your heavenly language. For too long Christians have been afraid of the spiritual world, yet our prayer language brings us into this new realm, the realm of the Holy Spirit. Spend time praying in your Spirit language and you will begin to see the power of signs and wonders becoming a part of your life. 

SIGN TO THE UNSAVED

March 17, 2015

 1Cor. 14:22 ¶ Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 

In Acts chapter 2 we see the first time people in the Bible prayed in tongues when they gathered together in the Upper Room. The people on the streets heard them and some were hearing their native languages being spoken. Acts 2:11 (NASB) says, “Cretans and Arabs – we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” Peter responds in Acts 2:15-16 (NASB): “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day [or nine o’clock in the morning]; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel.” These non-Christians on the street were in essence asking, “What does this supernatural utterance mean?” Peter explains the baptism with the Holy Spirit to them. That day 3,000 people were born again. We see clearly in this passage of Scripture that praying in tongues drew the people to Christ. God was evident there. His presence is evident when we pray in the Holy Spirit. The world is looking for a supernatural experience. Over the last couple of decades, people have been interested in Ouija boards and fortune-telling. More and more, individuals have looked to psychics and to the occult, longing for the supernatural that they are not finding in many of their churches. People are tired of dead churches that have a form of godliness, yet are devoid of power. They want to experience God. When we pray in the Holy Spirit, we pray a supernatural utterance from God. Our mind is not praying, but our spirit, energized by the Holy Spirit, is praying. This makes Christians and non-Christians alike aware of the presence of God. It is one of God’s advertising tools. What a tragedy it is to invite someone to a prayer group or a church service and hope the people praying in tongues don’t pray too loudly, or that prophecy doesn’t come forth because of the fear that the person visiting might not accept God. The underlying thought is, “I hope there is no supernatural manifestation. I hope God is not here today. If God shows up, this person might not accept Him.” But realize, brothers and sisters, that praying in tongues is God praying! The Holy Spirit is praying through you in a supernatural utterance, and others will be drawn to Christ because they will sense God’s presence there! How vital is our prayer language! It is an outreach to the lost. The last portion of Isaiah 28:11-12 (NASB) tells us about this: “Indeed, He will speak to this people through stammering lips and a foreign tongue…” This is a prophecy written 700 years before Christ. It is a prophecy the apostle Paul quoted in First Corinthians 14:21 regarding our prayer language. Paul quotes Isaiah saying that God was going to speak to the world through the prayer language. Our churches need a new outpouring of this Pentecostal gift. What will the results be? Another harvest of souls. 


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