February 19, 2015
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard,
so that you also may have fellowship with us.
And our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
1 JOHN 1:3
When you ask people today why Jesus died on the cross people will always say something like, “to wash away my sins”. Even though that answer is correct it is not the ultimate reason Christ died. He died on the cross to bring us to God. It was our sins that were in the way of what God was really after and what we really needed. Some may think I am just being technical or playing word games but I have to disagree. You see many act as if the cross and forgiveness of sins are just a ticket to eternity in heaven and now we are here to live our best life now. Wrong!!! The blood brings us to God now. Access into His presence was purchased for this life as well as the life to come.The baptism in the Holy Spirit is available because of the cross. Walking in this light can change everything. Early in my Christian life I learned from Andrew Murray about what he called the ‘new and living way’ or ‘life behind the veil. This life in the Spirit is what calvary was all about. Here are some thoughts about this from Andrew Murray.
“Fellowship with God is the unique blessing of the gospel. By His blood He dedicated for us a new and living way into the Holy Place where we may walk in the light of God. The promise is, ‘The LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory’. Fellowship with God must be the preacher’s theme. Preachers will fail grievously in their work if they are satisfied to preach only of conversion, forgiveness of sin, and safety after death. Christians should be led into the practice of fellowship with God, for therein lies the secret of holy living. Fellowship with God is the preacher’s only source of power. If fellowship with God is the blessing of the gospel and the burden of the pastor’s preaching, then it follows that the preacher must show in his own life the possibility and blessing of such a walk with God. Experiencing it himself, he will be able to tell others about its wonder and joy, and will win them to the same happy fellowship with God.”
Enjoy this new and living way, you can start today. Look to Jesus in prayer and determine that today will be a day of basking in the glory of His presence in whatever you find yourself doing.
February 18, 2015
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
JOHN 1:14, 16
We are enjoying our “Mardi Gras Saturation Services” at Victory Fellowship this year. Sunday was an amazing day of worship with Leeland. Sunday night the Lord came down and ministered powerfully to me. I don’t really have words to express what I received, I felt His incredible nearness and love and an incredible sense of expectancy. Monday night our brother Mitko from Bulgaria ministered to us. He shared about an expectancy of something new in the body of Christ. He described a fresh move characterized by a deep rooted joy and satisfaction in God. The kind of joy that keeps you and empowers you in whatever circumstances you may find yourself in. I guess if I had to label what I am hearing with a word I would have to say ’fullness’. I am being drawn to another degree of fullness in my experience of Christ. Here is how Andrew Murray explained this fulness available to us in Christ.
“Some receive Christ in terms of the forgiveness of sin and the hope of heaven, yet know little of His fullness and the wealth that is to be found in Him. Others will sacrifice everything in order to be able to say, “From the fullness of his grace we have … received one blessing after another.” Paul was such a one. He said, ‘I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord’. Such is the Christian who perceives and desires to be united to the Christ who, in His fullness and love, was utterly devoted to the Father and humankind. Have you come to know the Christ in whom such fullness dwells? Or do you live as a pauper, largely dependent on the world for your joy? It is God’s will that Christ should fill all things, including your heart and its needs! Allow the Holy Spirit to imprint deeply upon your heart the words of our text in all its fullness.”
The world is becoming less and less stable, and to me, less inviting. My heart cries out for another measure of Christ and His joy. Don’t get me wrong, I have drunk deeply from His fountain but I know there is more. He is calling us and this increasing thirst I feel in His body confirms there is more of God on the way.
February 17, 2015
Heb. 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
Have you ever wondered what makes the new covenant better? First it has a better sacrifice; rather than animal blood the new covenant is secured by the blood of the Son of God. It is also based on better promises. What is the better promise? The new covenant deals with the heart. Our heart is where all of our problems stem from, the new covenant not only cleanses our heart, it changes our heart. In the new covenant God’s Word is inscribed on our heart. Our very desires are changed, we actually begin to desire to know God, to love God, and to follow after His plan for our life. Andrew Murray taught about the blessing of the new covenant, here is some of what Murray said.
“The better covenant spoken of here was promised in Jeremiah: “This is the covenant I will make … I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts: (Jeremiah 31:33) and “I will make an everlasting covenant with them … to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me” (Jeremiah 32:40). The Lord also declared, “I will cleanse you from all your impurities. I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:25, 27). The promises contained in these Scripture passages are more than clear: God Himself will do the work. He will plant the desire in the hearts of His children to never depart from Him, and He will cause them to follow His laws. This is the New Covenant of which Jesus is the Mediator. Through the Holy Spirit, He lives in us to keep us from sin, so that we shall have the desire and the power to do God’s will in all things.”
This makes following Christ very simple. It is not ‘trying’ really hard to live right and to follow Christ, it is yielding our heart to the Lord. It is in yielding that the blessing of the New Covenant kicks in. What is the blessing of the New Covenant? It is the anointing of Christ within us. He writes His word in our hearts and begins to live this new life in and through us.
February 16, 2015
MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY
“To see God is to sail to the horizon: when you arrive, the horizon is as far in front as ever; but you have gained a new consciousness of infinitude.” Expositor Bible
“And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.” Ex. 24:10,11
How precious it is when the saints see God! Yes, He is all around! This Exodus story is a foretaste of our communion with God. We see God when we drink his blood and eat his flesh among a list of things. These very same elders that saw God were terrified of him when they saw the law and the fire. Christ fulfilled the law but do we approach him or do run in terror when we feel the fire? Soon we shall be gathered unto Him at the heavenly table where He makes a ‘feast of fat things and wines on the lees well refined,’ and there shall we sit, for ever beholding His glory, and satisfied with the provisions of His house. Have you sailed the horizons of late? Sometimes we get up too earthy, caught up in so many entanglements. Just think to see God! Ask him to interrupt you today!
Spurgeon gives us a good rebuking when he says; “Keep the great gates of your soul always open, expecting your Lord to come. It is idle to talk about looking for his coming if we never set our house in order, and never put ourselves in readiness for his reception. Looking for him means that you stand in a waiting attitude, as a servant who expects his master to be at the door presently. Do not say, “The Lord will not yet come, and therefore I shall make my plans irrespective of him for the next twenty or thirty years.” You may not be here in the next twenty or thirty minutes, or, if you are, your Lord may be here also. He cometh; he is on the road; he started long ago, and he sent on a herald before him to cry, “Behold, I come quickly.” He has been coming quickly over the mountains of division ever since; and he must be here soon. If you look for his appearing you will be found in an attitude of one who waits and watches, that when his Lord cometh he may meet him with joy. Christ is coming, Christ is coming, I must not be rooted to the world. Are you thus expecting him? I am afraid I shall only be speaking the truth, if I say that very few Christians are in the highest sense waiting for the appearing of the Lord.”
Infinitude is awaiting you!
February 15, 2015
Psa. 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
I was shocked by the suddenness and the dramatic degree of the change I experienced in the summer of 1973. Christ came into my life and He began His amazing work just like He said, He was making all things new. One of the changes that surprised me the most was the change in the music that I listened to. For years, my life had been centered around music. I was consumed by the likes of Dylan, Joplin, Zeppelin, Clapton, Cocker and a list too long to remember. It was suddenly replaced with Barry McGuire, the Second Chapter of Acts, Love Song, and Phil Keaggy. I lost my attraction to the music of the world, it was empty and uninviting to me. This Jesus music was passionate and had a substance or presence in it that agreed with the new thing that was happening in me. I didn’t know how to say it back then but God was transforming my life and His new song was playing a huge role in the process. Jonathan Edwards talked about how music played a huge role in their revival experiences in Northampton. Here are some of his insights about renewal and this new song.
“By this work of God in renewing the heart, the man that is the subject of it becomes a new creature or is a new man, as it is often said in Scripture. And therefore no wonder that his song is new: for we are told that “old things are passed away” and “all things become new with him”. [The] hearts of the redeemed are new. He has a new spirit put within him. Their natures are new. In some sense their bodies are new. They have new eyes. They are renewed in the whole man. They are said to be “a new lump,” having put away “the old leaven”. They are newborn babes. They have new garments, for their filthy garments are taken away and they are clothed with change of raiment. And they have a new name. “He that overcometh I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” And ch. Revelation 3:12, “I will write upon him my new name.”
Yep, God is doing a new thing and here is the best part, He is doing it inside of you. Yield to His new song, soon you will find that the song is not only all around you but is actually bubbling up from deep within your heart.
February 14, 2015
special guest – Chandler Veasey
A couple months before taking this class, God had given me a word from Joshua 1. It was about worship at our church and how he is bringing restoration and healing to our church and also doing something very new and fresh in my own heart. God was speaking to me about leading the congregation to the river, and many things from class jumped out at me. But one major thing God has done in me recently is opened up for me what I am calling a “river of music”. This is something new that a death to self in music in the natural realm has opened up a river in the spiritual realm. God is taking me to a brand new place personally, a place I have tasted of small here and there. God is teaching me how to make music in the spirit realm. This is true music! What a joy to throw off earthly and fleshly strivings and talents and embrace the sweetest death to self and humble myself to hear Jesus singing over me. We talk about it all the time, but how often do we just take a moment to let jesus sing over us? I remember practicing my instrument years ago for hours upon hours each day. What song is Jesus singing? It is the song of heaven. Heaven comes and makes its home inside of us, it becomes part of our DNA. The spirit of God is my music, he is my song, and the prayer language has become my way of making music. My heart comes alive and I feel the breath of God blow through my soul. There is a harp in my heart, and only God can play it. When I pray in the spirit, there is something awesome happening in my heart, God is singing and making music over me and I am receiving it all and he is becoming more and more a part of who I am, until this song is a part of my very being and overtakes me. God is beginning to teach me how to truly make music with my heart. The main difference is that making music in the spirit realm is all about the presence of God and delighting in his manifest glory with our heart. No instruments, but the instrument of my heart. The presence of God is the music of heaven, and I want to have an open heart to allow this music to be a part of me. This love, his presence wrapping around me, its like a symphony or a beautiful melody. The sounds of heaven , the rhythms of heaven, the pulse of heaven is living inside of me. This is my promised land; Jesus is my worship leader, and he is leading me in a beautiful song. When I hear it, it brings healing, I am being tuned to the song of heaven. The song of heaven, this eternal worship is my inheritance, my promised land, the precious holy spirit. The music of heaven, this eternal worship, is more and more making its home inside of me. There is only one song, the presence of God. There is only one worship leader, only one minister of the house, Jesus, and he is ministering and leading me in worship, he is my worship leader. I opening up my heart to receive his river, this is how I make music now, I am delighting myself in this river of music flowing from heaven.
February 13, 2015
Psa. 144:9 ¶ I will sing a new song to you, O God;
upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
Singing praise to God is about more than words, true worship flows out of the heart. The new song that David spoke so often of was spontaneous worship flowing out of a heart that had been made brand new. The newness of a fresh touch from heaven demands a song. These heavenly words are carried along by heavenly melodies. There is a divine flow from God all throughout His creation, it is displayed most powerfully in His unified church. This heavenly melody flows in and through the hearts of His sons and daughters. Anyone who is caught up in His divine flow will find themselves moving with the rhythm and melody of heaven on display in His church. This song cannot be faked, it is God’s stamp of authenticity on His people. Here are some thoughts from Jonathan Edwards on this heavenly new song.
“The melody of the heart with which they sing is new. Before they knew but how to sing praise to God: they were unlearned; they could make no melody in God’s ear; they had no skill in divine music; they had not learned the tune, nor could they sound one harmonious note. Their hearts were like an instrument that is unstrung and broken, wholly out of tune. The notes were most jarring and discordant. If they pretended to sing praise to God, it was howling and not singing in God’s ears. But now God has put their hearts in tune. Now there is some inward harmony. Now there is divine harmony that is melodious unto God. Thus the song that the saints sing is new with respect to what went before, as ’tis later, and as it succeeds and is introduced on the decay and removal of it. Tis called a new song, as ’tis more excellent than what preceded. Old things are removed, and new ones introduced, for the sake of their preferableness and superior excellency.”
Pretending to praise God is a waste of time. Edwards says that those who have not stepped into the reality of the new song and try to worship anyway sound atrocious. He says that they can howl but they can’t sing. I think I heard some gospel howlers recently. You can’t fake authentic worship, the very presence of God displays what is real and what is not. So how do I learn this new song? You have to draw near to God, declare His greatness and your neediness. Before long you too will be taken over by heaven’s song.
February 12, 2015
John 4:13 ¶ Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,
John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Humans have a huge thirst for pleasure. It is often misguided but the thirst is very real. The Bible says we were created in the image of God. Our God knows about pleasure (He created it) and He has an infinite thirst for pleasure. Now this is where the problem starts. The Lord’s thirst is a holy thirst. He enjoys purity and holiness that flow from wholesome relationships and pursuits. Even though man was once like that, we were created that way, our thirst for pleasure has been tainted. Our capacity for pleasure is still God sized, its just that our vision has been blurred and our heart has been corrupted. We now try to drink from the cup of lust and immorality or medicate ourselves with alcohol or drugs. Still the God sized thirst remains, nothing of this created world can ever fill our insatiable thirst. Here is how Jonathan Edwards explains it.
“They that have found Christ have a fountain that is exceeding full, full of that which they stand in need of for the supply of the wants, and satisfying the cravings of their souls; a fountain of that happiness that is true happiness, that which is exquisitely sweet, a fountain of living waters from whence rivers are continually flowing. They that find him find rivers of waters in a dry place. Here they find an inexhaustible treasure. Here they find balm to heal the wounds of their souls, excellent food, “fat things full of marrow, and wines on the lees well refined”. Here they find that fruit that is sweet to the taste. Here they find gold tried in the fire. Here is white raiment to clothe them. Here are crowns of glory. Here they have enough, enough to live upon as long as they live in this world, and to all eternity. Here is enough; they can desire no more. The fountain is inexhaustible and never can be diminished.”
There is a fountain filled with life that can quench the longings of our heart. This is the very heart of the gospel message and the ultimate reason Christ came. He came to give us life. Not the kind of life offered by riches, fame, or accomplishments; He came to give us the kind of life He has enjoyed with His Father from before time began. So if your thirsty, come to His fountain and have a drink.
February 11, 2015
Rev. 14:3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.
We live in a world of songs and melodies. From country to rock, from classical to rap music; we live in a musical world. We sing about love gone wrong and love gone right. There are songs about cars, surf boards, drug use, politics, and social issues. Everybody is singing about something. If you really think about it, song is the expression of what we feel strongly about or what we love. It is the natural vent created by God to express our feelings. With that it mind, maybe the Lord intended our best and most passionate songs to have a heavenly theme. He does say He is a jealous God. I wonder if that means He wants to be the subject of our strongest feelings? If that is true, Maybe He wants to be the subject of our songs. Heaven is filled with songs. It may be that the very atmosphere is melodic. If that’s the case, when we taste heaven through the infilling of the Holy Spirit our heart is filled with heaven’s song. The melody and the lyrics become part of our makeup, we have no choice, we just have to sing. Here are some thoughts by Jonathan Edwards on singing heaven’s song on earth.
“The melody of this song is most acceptable to God. The great God is delighted with it. ‘Tis acceptable to Jesus Christ. He accepts of such praise, and never rejects it. If we sing this new song in our hearts when we are alone and retired from the world, to spend some time in secret between God and our own souls, Christ will come to us and will as it were listen to the melodious notes, and will reward us with some token of his favor. If we sing this new song in our public assemblies, it will be to worship God in the beauty of holiness, and will be the way to have God delighting to be in the midst of us. In singing this new song to God and the Lamb, our thanksgiving days will be acceptable to God. This song is more pleasing to God than the offering up of thousands of rams and ten thousands of rivers of oil.”
Maybe there is a song welling up in you today. Don’t hold it in, let it out. You won’t be singing alone, you will be joining in with the angels and the redeemed singing heaven’s song.
February 10, 2015
Luke 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Human beings can be just plan weird. You would think that we would be concerned about our spiritual condition but far too often it takes a catastrophe to bring us to our knees. Our country, our church, and our family can be in a sorry spiritual state and we just don’t seem concerned about it to really pray. It may take a semi-catastrophic event to get our attention. Loss of job, devastating doctor’s report, lawsuits or arrests may lead to prayer; but what about spiritual apathy, moral corruption in our highest government offices, and churches that focus on success in this life and seem to blur the lines between the profane and the sacred. Jonathan Edwards dealt with the same problems in his community in the 1700’s. In this sermon segment he appeals for his church to pray simply for spiritual renewal.
“But there is another sort of blessing that the children of men are capable of and that they stand in need of, which are through the influences of the Holy Spirit: such as the sanctification of our natures, our being made partakers of the divine nature, having the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, being united to the Son of God, being the children of God, having the presence of God, the light of his countenance and communion and fellowship with him, having divine peace and joy and living a divine life, and being hereafter possessed of eternal life and glory— which are more excellent things than the other, as high above all the temporal enjoyments of princes as heaven is high above the earth. They are infinitely the most necessary, the most profitable, the most honorable, the most pleasant and delightful and satisfying, and the most durable blessing.”
So I think it is time to pray again. Our schools have strayed from their moorings that made our country great, our political leaders are floundering in the land of political correctness, our preachers are caught up in serving peoples’s perceived need for their best life now rather than challenging them to prepare for eternity. It’s time to seek the Lord so that He can send showers of blessing upon our land once again.