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REIGNING AS KINGS

May 22, 2015

I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.

Ecclesiastes 10:7

We were created in the image of God and are intended to live as kings. Now don’t king me wrong, we are different kinds of kings than the ones you commonly find in this world. Just as our Lord said, “Our kingdom is not of this world”. What kind of kings are we? Well in starts by ruling over our own passions! As a result of the fall, everything seems to be turned upside down. We have been dominated by our own lust and carnal desires rather than walking in self control like a king. In Christ, we are not only forgiven but we are changed. We can live a different kind of life than the worldly kings do. We overcome the lusts of the flesh by revelation and by the power of theSpirit.

We see that our old life was crucified with Christ by revelation. We are potentially free from the bondage that has controlled us for far to long. By tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit what is legally ours by the cross, becomes experientially ours by the power of the Spirit. We put to death the deeds of the old life by the power of the Spirit. Here are some thoughts about this kingly life from Charles Spurgeon.

“Let us not fall into the error of letting our passions and carnal appetites ride in triumph, while our nobler powers walk in the dust. Grace must reign as a prince, and make the members of the body instruments of righteousness. The Holy Spirit loves order, and He therefore sets our powers and faculties in due rank and place, giving the highest room to those spiritual faculties which link us with the great King; let us not disturb the divine arrangement, but ask for grace that we may keep under our body and bring it into subjection. We were not new created to allow our passions to rule over us, but that we, as kings, may reign in Christ Jesus over the triple kingdom of spirit, soul, and body, to the glory of God the Father.”

Just think about it, we are not only forgiven by the grace of God, we are changed to live a different kind of life. The life of God Himself lives in us, we are talking about a whole different quality of life. Instead of groveling with all of the fallen people in this world, living like animals rather than the royalty they were born to, we are living a life of purity empowered by the love of God. It doesn’t get any better than that.

HE IS MY JOY

May 21, 2015

Col 2:9,10. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

When we are born again we walk right into God’s fullness. No half measures here, we are blessed beyond comprehension; actually that will be the jest of eternity. We will explore the infinite nature of God; or in other words, we will search the boundless riches that are our possession in Christ. In this life, the Holy Spirit opens up to us the reality of this fullness. The question is this, how much of this goodness can you contain or appreciate in our current state? Even though we are filled with all fullness now, He must hold back our perception, these mortal bodies and brains can’t cope with His greatness. Charles Spurgeon is known as the prince of preachers. Check out his comments here and see if you agree. 

“The fathomless love of the Saviour’s heart is every drop of it ours; every sinew in the arm of might, every jewel in the crown of majesty, the immensity of divine knowledge, and the sternness of divine justice, all are ours, and shall be employed for us. The whole of Christ, in his adorable character as the Son of God, is by himself made over to us most richly to enjoy. His wisdom is our direction, his knowledge our instruction, his power our protection, his justice our surety, his love our comfort, his mercy our solace, and his immutability our trust. He makes no reserve, but opens the recesses of the Mount of God and bids us dig in its mines for the hidden treasures. All, all, all are yours, saith he, be ye satisfied with favour and full of the goodness of the Lord. Oh! how sweet thus to behold Jesus, and to call upon him with the certain confidence that in seeking the interposition of his love or power, we are but asking for that which he has already faithfully promised.”
Here is the thing that the unsaved can never appreciate, it is Christ Himself that is our passion and our portion. The lost are not remotely interested. To the believer, He is amazing and irresistible. As Spurgeon says, He is our guide, our knowledge, our power, our justice, our comfort, our mercy, and our trust. But even more than all of that, HE IS MY JOY !!!!

DEAF AND BLIND

May 20, 2015

Acts 28:27 For this people’s heart has grown dull,

and with their ears they can barely hear,

and their eyes they have closed;

lest they should see with their eyes

and hear with their ears

and understand with their heart

and turn, and I would heal them.

I think a lot about the miracles in the ministry of Jesus. The ones that really stand out to me are the deaf and the blind. Each of these miracles speak to us of a spiritual condition that also needs the miracle power of the Lord. Think about the little deaf boy that Jesus healed. He had never heard his mother’s comforting voice. He had never felt the strength that came from his father’s words. He had never heard the sounds of the laughter of the other children; he had lived in a world of silence. That is the condition that we are all born with (and Christians tend to slip into), spiritual deafness. Our ears are deaf to the sounds of heaven all around us. It is so easy to be distracted by all the activity screaming for our attention and miss the beauty of God. We hear the noise of the radio and television, the sounds of stress and anger, and the distractions of our carnal appetites and miss the sounds of heaven. His melody is in the wind, the birds, and the sounds of creation all around us. His word is loudest in His written word. Only by the touch of heaven can we hear His powerful voice. In His word we find strength, mercy, encouragement, correction, and guidance. When our ears are healed, we are flooded with His beautiful voice.

The other spiritual condition is blindness. We are tempted to only look at the glitter and the attraction of this present world and miss the light of God shining all around us.  We see Him in His creation, in the Savior Himself, and in His work of redemption. When the amazing grace of God opens our eyes we see His artistry. We see it in His creatures and in the beautiful world He has made for us. We see His amazing grace in the life and ministry of Jesus. He is altogether lovely. Life flows out from Him and changes everything He touches. We see His beauty in the work of redemption. All of us who were bound and lost in our sins have been changed. This is the greatest picture of God’s work; His beauty seen in fallen, redeemed man. All of us were bound in a hopeless condition. Like the blind and deaf in the gospels, we couldn’t fix ourselves. He came and with one touch our lives are flooded with the music and beauty of the kingdom of God.

HE GIVES AND GIVES

May 19, 2015

Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17
At the end of the day, receiving from the Lord boils down to perception and trust. In order to get under the flow of His shockingly abundant provision of life, we must believe that this type of life is available. Many of us have never realized how great our God is, His love for us, and how much the Lord wants to participate in the smallest aspects of our lives. He is often perceived as a far off God who is only involved in our lives in times of crisis or great need, never even noticing His tendency toward blessing and details. There is also that trust thing. We tend to thing that the Lord drives a hard bargain and is after our stuff and our fun. Seeing Him as He is, a lover and a giver, is the liberation that changes the way we live our lives. Here is a powerful word from Spurgeon on this giving tendency of our God. 
“Our Lord Jesus is ever giving, and does not for a solitary instant withdraw his hand. As long as there is a vessel of grace not yet full to the brim, the oil shall not be stayed. He is a sun ever-shining; he is manna always falling round the camp; he is a rock in the desert, ever sending out streams of life from his smitten side; the rain of his grace is always dropping; the river of his bounty is ever-flowing, and the well-spring of his love is constantly overflowing. As the King can never die, so his grace can never fail. Daily we pluck his fruit, and daily his branches bend down to our hand with a fresh store of mercy. There are seven feast-days in his weeks, and as many as are the days, so many are the banquets in his years. Who has ever returned from his door unblessed? Who has ever risen from his table unsatisfied, or from his bosom un-emparadised? His mercies are new every morning and fresh every evening. Who can know the number of his benefits, or recount the list of his bounties?”
So do you get it? His branches of bounty and blessing are so full that they are bending down waiting for us to reach out our hand to receive. Have you been to His table yet today? If so, like Spurgeon you can’t have left unsatisfied. This more than enough God has had you in mind all along, when you see Who He is and His love for you, your life of blessing begins. 

TIME TO GET YOUR PRAISE ON

May 18, 2015

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

“Awake, my soul!

Awake, harp and lyre!

I will awaken the dawn.” Ps. 57:8

“The morning shall not awake me to praise; but in my songs I will anticipate the dawn.” – R. T. Society’s Notes.

There is nothing better than staying thankful and I am talking about having serious praise! Over twenty years ago, I had forgotten that. Everyday bled into another day of excuses, being upset, and battling anger. People, circumstances and my own short comings all overwhelmed me. David, while hiding in the cave from his many adversaries, learned about awakening the dawn. In other words he got his praise on!

God continues to put a “new song” in our mouth and it starts supernaturally. Reading his word and praying in the Spirit helps correct the wrong thinking that goes on. It’s time to awaken your slumbering morn! Awake soul thou sleeps! The question is, are we still hung up with the old song? Years ago, I remember having lunch with a church member explaining how much injustice was done to me. While I was talking I literally felt like I saw “the Lord” standing by me and imitating verbatim my little drama story! In fact, the Lord had a shovel in his hand implying the hole was just getting deeper!  No, I wasn’t awaking the dawn with my praises! I thank God he had me see my little pity party I was having and it shook me to the core. Paul and Silas had quite a few injustices done to them, but at midnight they got their praise on and it set them free. Do you find yourself in a cave being chased by all your issues? Go ahead and put on a song, listen to psalms or do a dance-it’s time to awaken the dawn and get your praise on!

Treasury of David puts it this way, “He first teaches my fingers to fight, and then to play the epinikion, or song of triumph. Sound, then my Psaltery and harp, emulous of those that are around the throne above; your melody can soften my cares, lay my fears, and turn my cave into a choir.” You have to get up early and turn off all the garbage and learn to get violent with yourself. Yes, you have to get physical with yourself and get your heart fixed or prepared on God. David learned to awaken his tongue,  to awaken his heart and his cave became a choir. I believe one has to get a grip on their belief system for your life. Are people, weather, circumstances in charge of your joy or do you drink from the well within? Look again, maybe the Lord has more to say than meets the eye. The Lord is tired of hearing your old sorry song, it’s time to get your praise on and awaken the dawn!

GOTTA GET, GOTTA GET, GOTTA GET MY PRAISE ON! GOTTA GET MY SERIOUS PRAISE ON! HE’S WORTHY, HE’S MIGHTY, HE’S WONDERFUL, HE’S MARVELOUS, HE’S AWESOME, HE’S RIGHTEOUS, HE’S HOLY, HOLY, HOLY!” Ellen Hayes

DEEP THINGS

May 17, 2015

1Cor. 2:10,11 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
What are the deep things of God? The deep things of God are the things that are important to Him. The deep things of God are seen at the cross and experienced by the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Actually the deep things of God are His love for His Son and His love for fallen man. When we read the scriptures, we see the love of God on display. When we step into His presence, we experience the love of God for ourselves. It is the love of God that plumbs the depths and soars to the heights of the deep things of God. This explains how Jesus answered the question about the greatest commandment. He said the greatest was to love the Lord with all your heart and the second, to love your neighbor was like it. It doesn’t get any deeper than that. If this is true I can go really deep really easily. ‘How?’, you ask. I love Him by pouring my heart out in worship to Him. I love others by sharing Christ with the lost and making disciple of the younger Christians. Welcome to the depths of God!!! Here is some insight from Matthew Henry on today’s verses. 
“He searches all things, even the deep things of God. He has exact knowledge of all things, and enters into the very depths of God, penetrates into his most secret counsels. Now who can have such a thorough knowledge of God but God?  This allusion seems to imply that the Holy Spirit is as much in God as a man’s mind is in himself. Now the mind of the man is plainly essential to him. He cannot be without his mind. Now can God be without his Spirit. He is as much and as intimately one with God as the man’s mind is with the man. The man knows his own mind because his mind is one with himself. The Spirit of God knows the things of God because he is one with God.”
The two greatest ways to see and understand the deep things of God is this; look at His Son, and be ever filled with the Holy Spirit. These two persons will take you out into the deep, you were created for this. 

A FIRMER GRASP OF GOD

May 16, 2015

SWEET SATURDAY! BY PARRIS BAILEY-
“In the valley of Anchor is a door of hope” Hosea 2:15
I have this little paperback edition book that by now is worn out with use and every page is underlined with dates and comments. In fact I have quite a few of these books I call my friends. “All Loves Excelling” by John Bunyan and “All Things for Good” by Thomas Watson. These books along  with the presence of the Lord took me through my kids growing pains, the church’s growing pains and I guess our cities growing pains. (aka-Katrina) They are not my Bible of course, they just make good conversation and steer me in the right direction. One has to watch out who he hangs with and can’t surround oneself with “yes men”. Sometimes its good to face your enemies/fears/doubts and lies. Psalms 119:71 says, “it is good for me that I have been afflicted”. Thomas Watson says, “Affliction teaches us to know ourselves. In prosperity we are for the most part strangers to ourselves.” 

The valley of Anchor signifies trouble. “Happy is the man whom God correcteth”. Job 5:17

McClaren’s says, “All is gloomy, damp, hard; and if we look upwards the glen becomes more savage as it rises, and armed foes hold the very throat of the pass. But, however long, however barren, however rugged, however black, however trackless, we may see if we will, a bright form descending the rocky way with radiant eyes and calm lips, God’s messenger, Hope; and the rough rocks are like the doorway through which she comes near to us in our weary struggle. For us all, dear friends, it is true. In all our difficulties and sorrows, be they great or small; in our business perplexities; in the losses that rob our homes of their light; in the petty annoyances that diffuse their irritation through so much of our days; it is within our power to turn them all into occasions for a firmer grasp of God, and so to make them openings by which a happier hope may flow into our souls.”

When I look into the mirror, I don’t’ want to forget when I walk away. The Valley of Anchor will always bring me back to my Father’s voice and to the door of Hope. 

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Hab.3:17

Allow the love of the Father, the comfort of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of Christ to get a grasp of His purpose and plans in your life. 

WHOLE HEART

May 15, 2015

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

JEREMIAH 29:13

I recently read a letter from Dr. Ronnie Floyd, the president of The Southern Baptist Convention about our need for national revival. He spoke about the connection of prayer and revival throughout history. He quoted from Jonathan Edwards letter to pastors from his day calling on the pastors to pray for an awakening in their land. Here is part of that letter. 
“Be much in prayer and fasting, both in secret and with one another. It seems to me, it would become the circumstances of the present day, if ministers in a neighborhood would often meet together, and spend days in fasting and fervent prayer among themselves…. So it is God’s will that the prayers of His saints shall be great and the principal means of carrying on the designs of Christ’s Kingdom in the world. When God has something to accomplish for His church, it is with His will t”hat there should precede it the extraordinary prayer of His people.”
I totally agree with Dr. Floyd and Jonathan Edwards. Without divine intervention our culture is spiraling toward destruction. It is time for Christians to recognize our only solution is national repentance and revival which comes in response to exceptional prayer. Andrew Murray also spoke about our need for the Holy Spirit to come and possess us. That is what revival is, the outpouring of the Spirit on our lives. Here are some of Murray’s thoughts. 
“It is often said that the secret of success is to apply yourself heart and soul to your work. This is also true in the spiritual realm, especially when praying for the Holy Spirit to be present. I cannot emphasize it enough, that the Holy Spirit desires to possess you completely. He cannot be satisfied with less if He wishes to let His great power work in your life. He has the right to this because He is the almighty God. When you pray for the Holy Spirit, you are praying for the triune God to take possession of you. You cannot expect God to bring about just one or two changes and for the rest leave you free to further your own will. The Holy Spirit wishes to take complete possession of you.”

If this is true, it is time for us to take exceptional measures to pray. Are you experiencing a new hunger for God or a new recognition of your need for Him? That is a sure indication that the Lord is about to move in your life. Check with your church about corporate prayer opportunities. If we pray He will come and breath life on our world again. 

YOU ARE MY JOY

May 14, 2015

Ps. 43:4

Then I will go to the altar of God,

to God my exceeding joy,

and I will praise you with the lyre,

O God, my God

Many people don’t associate joy with religion. Joy is for other things; like football, motorcycles, golf, fishing, eating, sex, or vacations. Religion conjures up thoughts like duty, sacrifice, or self denial. If you think about it, that doesn’t even make logical sense. Who is the inventor of joy? Who thought about smiles and giggles, belly laughs and crying for joy? God is the originator of joy and wants nothing more than to be the very source of our joy. He gives us a picture of this in the joy between two lovers that ends in marital bliss. Marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. The wedding is intended to be one of the happiest days of our lives. How can you discover this joy for yourself? It is the very foundation of our Christian faith. The place of greatest joy is in the presence of the Lord. Here are some thoughts from Charles Spurgeon on this spiritual joy.

“It was not the altar as such that the psalmist cared for, he was no believer in the heathenism of ritualism: his soul desired spiritual fellowship, fellowship with God himself in very deed. What are all the rites of worship unless the Lord be in them; what, indeed, but empty shells and dry husks? Note the holy rapture with which David regards his Lord! He is not his joy alone, but his exceeding joy; not the fountain of joy, the giver of joy, or the maintainer of joy, but that joy itself. To draw near to God, who is such a joy to us, may well be the object of our hungering and thirsting. O God, my God. How he dwells upon the name which he loves so well! He already harps on it as though his harp music had begun. What sweeter sounds can music know than these four words? To have God in possession, and to know it by faith, is the heart’s heaven—a fulness of bliss lies therein.”

True religion touches our heart. To those who have been born again, their strongest passions are connected to their spirituality. Once you have tasted this heavenly joy you will understand the role of pleasure in life. Like everything else under the sun, it always points us to the Lord.

NOT MANY MIGHTY

May 13, 2015

 1Cor. 1:26,27 ¶ For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 

Christianity is impossible to compare to other religions or other philosophies, it is the work of God in restoring fallen, helpless human beings. In the religions of the world, you have a set of moral practices and certain religious ceremonies and observations. The ability to adhere to these laws and practices are totally dependent on human effort and will. Christianity starts with an entirely different premise; man is hopelessly lost in an ocean or quagmire of sin without the ability to drag ourselves out of it. The very heart of our problem is the bondage of our will to the power of sin. It is the grace of God that opens our eyes to our condition, it is grace that draws us to Christ, and it is the grace of God that saves us and transforms us into different people. This is why it is even harder for the ‘better people’ to come to Christ. They are just fine, thank you very much, and of course they have their faith; the problem is that often ‘good folks’ have never recognized the need for a savior. Here are some thoughts from Jonathan Edwards on today’s verses. 
“The import of all these things, if we may trust to scripture representations, is, that God has contrived to exclude our glorying; that we should be wholly and every way dependent on God, for the moral and natural good that belongs to salvation; and that we have all from the hand of God, by his power and grace. And certainly this is wholly inconsistent with the idea that our holiness is wholly from ourselves; and that we are interested in the benefits of Christ rather than others, is wholly of our own decision. And that such a universal dependence is what takes away occasion of taking glory to ourselves, and is a proper ground of an ascription of all the glory of the things belonging to man’s salvation to God, is manifest from Rom. xi. 35, 36. “Or who hath first given unto him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For of him, and to him, and through him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever and ever.”
For me, this is the greatest of news. The Lord chooses to work through imperfect and not so talented people. After all, salvation is about the glory of God’s grace, not the works of good people. Maybe there is hope for all of us. 


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