FATHERLESS GENERATION

June 24, 2015

Gal. 4:6,7 ¶ And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”  Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

One of the great tragedies of this generation is the absence of fathers. The fatherless family is a picture of the breakdown of our culture. I was blessed to grow up in a home with a mother and a father that stayed together throughout their lives. Now our family wasn’t perfect, far from it, but there is a huge advantage and blessing to having a strong father in place in our lives. All of us have a need for the love, protection, and example of a father. This mirrors the basic need all of us have at the very core of our being. We all long to know our heavenly Father. Jesus promised His disciples before He left that He would not leave them as orphans. He said He would send the Holy Spirit into their lives. Paul called this the Spirit of adoption or the Spirit of His Son. If you are a Christian, you have received this Spirit of sonship. You have become an heir, an heir of God. Listen to Adam Clarke’s powerful words on this verse.

“Thou art no more a servant. Thou who hast believed in Christ art no longer a slave, either under the dominion of sin or under obligation to the Mosaic ritual; but a son of God, adopted into the heavenly family. And if a son, then an heir. Having a right to the inheritance, because one of the family, for none can inherit but the children; but this heirship is the most extraordinary of all: it is not an heirship of any tangible possession, either in heaven or earth; it is not to possess a part or even the whole of either, it is to possess Him who made all things; not God’s works, but God himself: heirs of GOD through Christ.”

What an amazing reality. We are no longer Fatherless!!!. We have been adopted into His family. His Spirit is in our lives. God Himself has become our treasure. This is the answer to the dissatisfaction and restlessness that has become epidemic in our world. We are no longer orphans; God is our Father, Christ is our brother, and we are sons of God.

COMFORT OF THE HOLY GHOST

June 23, 2015

Acts 9:31 ¶ So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. 
One of my earliest and fondest memories of my childhood was a funeral of all things. I must have been about four years old and my dad took me on a road trip from our home in South Carolina to the place he was raised in some small country town in Georgia. I don’t even know the name of the town, if you could even call it a town. His Uncle Clevie had died and we were going to pay our respects. I remember how special I felt riding alone with my dad through those winding country roads and staying up late with him to ‘wake the body’. The think that struck my memory the most was that funeral service. Even as a young child I recognized an atmosphere that I had never felt before. My dad’s relatives attended a Pentecostal Church, you know, the shouting and singing kind of church. I remember lots of loud singing, tambourines, crying, and shouts of joy. Yeah, you heard me right, joy at a funeral. Even as a child I recognized that these people didn’t just talk about ‘going to a better place’. They believed in that place called heaven and sang until heaven came into that church. It’s been almost 60 years since that funeral but I can still remember the atmosphere I felt there. Actually that is the atmosphere church is supposed to experience. It’s what I want more of in my church. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on today’s verse. 
“The comfort of the Holy Ghost was their consolation, and that which they made their chief joy. They had recourse to the comfort of the Holy Ghost, and lived upon that, not only in days of trouble and affliction, but in days of rest and prosperity. The comforts of the earth, when they had the most free and full enjoyment of them, could not content them without the comfort of the Holy Ghost. Observe the connection of these two: when they walked in the fear of the Lord, then they walked in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. Those are most likely to walk cheerfully that walk circumspectly.”
Why was there sadness and joy at that funeral? They were sad because Uncle Clevie had died, they were happy because of the comfort of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is real, He will comfort you in whatever circumstance you find yourself in, you just have to take time to let Him. 

318

June 22, 2015

huperekperissou! (The exhaustless, over and above, more than necessary God)  
MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-  
“I pray that you may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Eph 3:18-20
Paul prays for us “that ye may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height”, the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.” His love passes knowledge but we should hunger for it. When we embark on such a journey it will give us a sense of God’s greatness, a confidence before the world and our troubles would evaporate. It’s as if God would say to all of us, “we have yet to tap into His attributes”. Years ago, Christina Weidner was in from China, ministering to the Marysong girls on the glory of His name. (Christina grew up at our church as a homeschooled little girl with a dream to open an orphanage in China someday.) Not only did she accomplish that but she speaks fluent Chinese, runs a school and church along with her husband Jamie. Christ is begging us to walk on the water with him. We can either breathe in the love of God or else breathe in myself which isn’t a good thing. How does one describe the the dimensions of His love? Take the breadth . . . length . . . depth . . . height? The “breadth” implies Christ’s world-wide love, embracing all men: the “length,” its being extended through all ages (Eph 3:21); the “depth,” its profound wisdom which no creature can fathom (Ro 11:33); the “height,” its being beyond the reach of any foe to deprive us (Eph 4:8) [BENGEL]. “The dimensions of redeeming love are admirable. By enumerating these dimensions, the apostle designs to signify the exceeding greatness of the love of Christ, the unsearchable riches of his love, which is higher than heaven, deeper than hell, longer than the earth, and broader than the sea, Job xi. 8, 9. Being “filled even unto all the fulness of God” (this is the grand goal), is “filled according to your capacity, with the divine wisdom, knowledge, and love; “even as God is full,” and as Christ who dwells in your hearts, for “all the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in Him bodily” (Col 2:9). Matthew Henry

God is able to do for us and answer our prayers according to the efficiency, richness, and power of the working of the Spirit in our lives. His love overshadows us and begins to dictate every move we make in our lives. It is when we lose sight of His love, that we begin to see the world through our own glasses. I pray he will color your world!

WINEPRESS

June 21, 2015

Psa. 84:0 ¶ TO THE CHOIRMASTER: ACCORDING TO PTHE GITTITH. A PSALM OF THE SONS OF KORAH.

Psa. 84:1 ¶ How lovely is your dwelling place,

  O LORD of hosts! 
This Psalm is titled, Gittith, “For the Winepresses’. That is similar to the meaning of Gethsemane (oil press), the infamous garden that Jesus spent His last evening in with His followers. Like Jesus, David was familiar with God’s winepress. David had it right, how lovely is your dwelling place O Lord. You see what makes our life beautiful is not the comfort of our present situation. What makes our life beautiful is this, God is present with us. Jesus wrestled with God in Gethsemane. He was being squeezed in God’s winepress. What was the fruit of that night? The fruit was calvary, the empty tomb, and a great harvest of souls. David was also familiar with the uncomfortable wine press of God. David also bore fruit from being squeezed by God, he was transformed into the greatest of worshippers and song writers that has effected every generation since his time. Here are some thoughts from Augustine on today’s passage.   

“This Psalm is entitled, “For the winepresses.” The grape hangs on the vines, and the olive on its trees. For it is for these two fruits that presses are usually made ready; and as long as they hang on their boughs, they seem to enjoy free air; and neither is the grape wine, nor the olive oil, before they are pressed. Thus it is with men whom God predestined before the world to be conformed to the image of His only-begotten Son, who has been first and especially pressed in His Passion, as the great Cluster. Men of this kind, therefore, before they draw near to the service of God, enjoy in the world a kind of delicious liberty, like hanging grapes or olives:…He hath the coverings of carnal desires stripped off from him, like grape-skins: for this hath taken place in him in carnal desires, of which the Apostle speaks, “Put ye off the old man, and put on the new man.” All this is not done but by pressure: therefore the Churches of God of this time are called winepresses.”
So have you been to God’s winepress lately? Augustine said it was God’s church. It is in church where we hear God’s word, struggle to yield, and then are pressed in our interaction with the body of Christ. His dwelling place is lovely, it just may take you a while to see it. 

DOORKEEPER

June 20, 2015

Psa. 84:10 ¶ For a day in your courts is better

than a thousand elsewhere.

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God

than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Ambition is like a two edged sword. Left unchecked, human ambition leads to a multitude of sins. On the other hand, ambition bridled by the plans and purposes of God leads us into some powerful territory. David was a classic example. His predecessor, Saul, fell into the ditch pursuing the kingdom with human ambition. David was able to harness his ambition in all those years he was hidden away in a cave leaving his future in the hand of God. When the day arrived he was ready. He came to understand that God’s ways are higher than our ways and that waiting on Him is essential in order to have God’s best in our lives. Not only did David ascend to the throne in Jerusalem, he also led Israel into their greatest time of revival. He instituted 24 hour worship which was the result of years worshipping God alone in the wilderness of Judea. Here are Spurgeon’s thoughts on today’s verse.

“Under the most favorable circumstances in which earth’s pleasures can be enjoyed, they are not comparable by so much as one in a thousand to the delights of the service of God. To feel his love, to rejoice in the person of the anointed Savior, to survey the promises and feel the power of the Holy Ghost in applying precious truth to the soul, is a joy which worldlings cannot understand, but which true believers are ravished with. Even a glimpse at the love of God is better than ages spent in the pleasures of sense. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. The lowest station in connection with the Lord’s house is better than the highest position among the godless. Only to wait at his threshold and peep within, so as to see Jesus, is bliss. To bear burdens and open doors for the Lord is more honor than to reign among the wicked. Every man has his choice, and this is ours. God’s worst is better than the devil’s best.”

Have you come to that place in your life? This cuts to the heart of human ambition, I would rather be a door keeper at church than a famous entity in the world. God’s plan for your life is more rewarding than anything you can cook up on your own.

LOVELY

June 19, 2015

Psa. 84:1 ¶ How lovely is your dwelling place,

  O LORD of hosts! 
What was David talking about? What made the tabernacle lovely? This tattered, left over tent from the days of Moses was anything but lovely. The building had nothing about it on the outside that was attractive to anyone. The beauty was all inside. It was the beauty of the Lord that was resident inside the tabernacle that made the difference. Years later, when Solomon dedicated his magnificent temple, nothing had really changed. Solomon’s temple was known for its opulence. It was filled with gold and silver but that had changed nothing. The beauty of the tattered tabernacle was just as magnificent as the masterpiece of Solomon. What made the temple special also was seen in the tabernacle, it was the shining beauty of the shekinah glory of God. Here are some thoughts from John Gill on this beautiful place. 
“What made the tabernacle of Moses lovely was not the outside but what was within, having many golden vessels in it, and those typical of things much more precious; moreover, here the priests were to be seen in their robes, doing their duty and service, and, at certain times, the high priest in his rich apparel; here were seen the sacrifices slain and offered, by which the people were taught the nature of sin, the strictness of justice, and the necessity and efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ: here the Levites were heard singing their songs, and blowing their trumpets: but much more amiable are the Church of God and its ordinances in Gospel times, where Christ, the Great High Priest, is seen in the glories of his person, and the fulness of his grace; where Zion’s priests, or the ministers of the gospel, stand clothed, being full fraught with salvation, and the tidings of it; where Christ is evidently set forth, as crucified and slain, in the ministry of the word, and the administration of ordinances; here the gospel trumpet is blown, and its joyful sound echoed forth, and songs of love and grace are sung by all believers; besides, what makes these tabernacles still more lovely are, the presence of God here, so that they are no other than the house of God, the gate of heaven; the provisions that are here made, and the company that is here enjoyed”. 
The key to the beauty of these places of worship is what they pointed to. Every piece of furniture, every article of priestly clothing, every act of worship all pointed to one thing. It was all pointing to Christ. Christ is altogether lovely and it is His presence that is beautiful. 

FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH 

June 18, 2015

Psa. 84:7 They go from strength to strength;

  each one appears before God in Zion. 
This short little verse has two powerful revelations. First, it describes the Christian walk as going from strength to strength. Our walk is a journey, a life long journey that will end in the glory of God’s kingdom. Just as we go from glory to glory we also go from strength to strength. Of course this is not talking about natural human strength, this is talking about the spiritual strength that is ours in Christ. As we press on to know the Lord we are daily filled with His power. Just as Paul admonished us, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might”. The Lord is causing us to grow up in Him that He might be exalted, the power of God is His testimony. The second revelation is this, our whole purpose, the destination of our journey is the presence of God. We catch glimpses of His presence in this life, this is where we experience ‘strength to strength’. But the final destination is that day we final appear before Him in heaven. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon on this verse. 

“They go from strength to strength. So far from being wearied they gather strength as they proceed. Each individual becomes happier, each company becomes more numerous, each holy song more sweet and full. We grow as we advance if heaven be our goal. If we spend our strength in God’s ways we shall find it increase. Every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. This was the end of the pilgrim’s march, the centre where all met, the delight of all hearts. Not merely to be in the assembly, but to appear before God was the object of each devout Israelite. Would to God it were the sincere desire of all who in these days mingle in our religious gatherings. Unless we realize the presence of God we have done nothing; the mere gathering together is nothing worth.”
The day of His appearing is drawing near. No one can put the date on their calendar yet the great day draws near. This life is like a shadow compared to what’s coming. The light of His glory will soon split the sky and we will find ourselves suddenly before Him. The question begging to be asked, are you prepared for that day?

THE BALANCE OF GOD

June 17, 2015

Ps 36:8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,

  And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
The Lord has a way of taking care of our whole life, the spiritual and the natural are covered by the blessing of the Lord. David spoke here of the blessing of his Father’s house. I am sure he had his Father Jesse’s house as well as His heavenly Father’s house in mind. David came from a prominent family in Bethlehem. He had great memories of his father’s house. I can remember having those feelings, especially when I was struggling to make ends meet with my young family. My father’s house was like a refuge, a place of blessing and abundance. Parris and I would load the kids into the van and head to my father’s house, we knew the fridge would be full. David was also thinking of the abundance of His heavenly Father’s house. The spiritual blessings flow like a river, a river of life that never runs dry. Here are some thoughts from John Calvin on the blessings of the Father’s house. 
“I have no doubt that by the fatness of God’s house the prophet means the abundance of good things which is not designed for all men indiscriminately, but is laid up in store for the children of God who commit themselves wholly to his protection. Some restrict the expression to spiritual graces; but to me it seems more likely, that under it are comprehended all the blessings that are necessary to the happiness and comfort of the present life, as well as those which pertain

to eternal and heavenly blessedness. It ought, however, to be observed, that in the style of speaking which the prophet here employs, the use of earthly blessings is connected with the gracious experience of faith, in the exercise of which we can alone enjoy them rightfully and lawfully to our own welfare. When the ungodly glut themselves with the abundance of God’s benefits, their bodies indeed grow fat like the flesh of cattle or swine, but their souls are always empty and famished. It is the faithful alone, as I have said, who are satisfied with the goodness of God towards them, because it is to them a pledge of his fatherly love.”
There is a carnal ‘fatness’ that comes from carnal indulgence. There is also a spiritual ‘fatness’ that comes from delighting in the abundance of our Father’s house. What kind of ‘fat’ are you?

WORK FOR WHAT

June 16, 2015

John 6:27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.
Thousands of people were following Christ for the wrong reasons. They were looking for a king. They wanted someone who would take care of their temporal problems. Just think about it, Moses had ‘provided bread’ for their forefathers for forty years. This was what they were looking for, follow Jesus; He will get rid of the Romans, give everyone a great job, life would be good with this kind of king. There was only one little problem, Jesus was not that kind of king. His kingdom was not of this world. He was providing a different kind of bread. He was even asking them to work for a kingdom they couldn’t even see. You heard Him, “Don’t work for food that perishes. Work for that other kind of food”. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on this passage. 

“Labour not for the meat that perishes. This does not forbid honest labour for food convenient but we must not make the things of this world our chief care and concern. The things of the world are meat that perishes. Worldly wealth, honor, and pleasure, are meat; they feed the fancy (and many times this is all) and fill the belly. These are things which men hunger after as meat, and glut themselves with, and which a carnal heart, as long as they last, may make a shift to live upon… It is therefore folly for us inordinately to labour after them. We must not labour in religion, nor work the works thereof, for this perishing meat, with an eye to this; we must not make our religion subservient to a worldly interest, nor aim at secular advantages in sacred exercises. It is meat which endures to everlasting life; it is a happiness which will last as long as we must, which not only itself endures eternally, but will nourish us up to everlasting life.”
We have all seen it, politicians and business minded people love a good crowd. For them, the church exists to further their agenda. That is exactly the trap Judas fell into, he got caught in the politics of church business. Not exactly what Jesus had in mind. He didn’t stop at working for the true bread, He went on to demand that they eat His body and drink His blood. Jesus had His attention on another world, the one many people are totally unaware of. Which kingdom are you working for? 

ENLIGHTENING, ENLARGING AND STRENGTHENING 

June 15, 2015

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY -“He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth” Ps.72:8

For years I never realized that my engine was running low spiritually. I had all the basic training down as a Christian. I was given a solid salvation experience, received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in my life that helped me tremendously, and had a love for the word of God. When I found myself self-absorbed and fighting personal devils, I reached out to others and attended church every time the door opened. Worship was a part of my life, and my Christianity was my most treasured commodity. But somewhere along the line, somewhere in the great Christian journey, I had left the intimacy of Christ far behind. Sure, there are lots of reasons why it happened to me, but still how shocking it is when you realize that He is not to be found near! I am so thankful that God does indeed come near, He will step on your boat, rain on your parade or the Rock will fall on you. You can count on that, He will come and bring His refreshing rain over and over again in your dry seasons. 
Come let us return unto the Lord

For He has torn us

But He will heal us

For He has wounded us

But He will bandage us

And he will come

He will come to us like rain, spring rain

If we ask, He will come
Send His rain on everyone

For every child (soul) needs rain, spring rain by Kevin Prosch

 

Getting caught up with the everyday hassles of life, raising children, making ends meet, bad relationships, dead churchs, angry bosses or customers-all of this and more cause us to leave “the beauty of the Lord” and start sweating and toiling all over again. Are you able to recognize the signs of dehydration? Grumpy, negative and critical just to name a few wonderful sure tell-tale signs. Get “under the spout where the glory comes out”, find your drinking hole, your secret place in the most high, asap! 

“O how pleasant are the effects of rain to languishing plants, to make them green and beautiful, lively and strong, fragrant and beautiful! So the effects of Christ’s influences are most desirable to drooping souls, for enlightening and enlivening them, for confirming and strengthening them, for comforting and enlarging them, for appetizing and satisfying them, transforming and beautifying them. A shower from Christ would soon make the church, though withered, turn green and beautiful, and to send forth a smell as of a field that the Lord hath blessed; and likewise some drops of this shower, falling down upon the languishing graces of communicants, would soon make them vigorous and lively in showing forth their Saviour’s death at his table.” John Willison.

If we ask Him, He will come, let the spring rains come and heal my soul! 


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