THAT INEBRIATING CUP

August 20, 2015

Pas. 23:5 ¶ You prepare a table before me
  in the presence of my enemies;

  you anoint my head with oil;

  my cup overflows. 
That inebriating cup, so precious and so unexpected. I never dreamed in a million years that the anointing of the Lord would satisfy, equip, and intoxicate at the same time. What a shocking, yet welcome, blessing. The very tool that God used to equip us for the work goes so much farther. It adds the blessing of joy unspeakable to the equation. Here is how Augustine described it. 
 “Thou hast prepared a table in my sight, against them that trouble me. Now after the rod, whereby, whilst a little one, and living the natural life, I was brought up among the flock in the pastures; after that rod, I say, when I began to be under the staff, Thou hast prepared a table in my sight, that I should no more be fed as a babe with milk, but being older should take meat, strengthened against them that trouble me. Thou hast fattened my head with oil. Thou hast gladdened my mind with spiritual joy. And Thy inebriating cup, how excellent is it!”
The cup and the oil; oil for the head, wine for the glad heart. This is the double blessing of the anointing. Here is Matthew Henry’s description. 
“Thou anointest my head with oil. Samuel anointed him king, which was a certain pledge of further favor; but this is rather an instance of the plenty with which God had blessed him, or an allusion to the extraordinary entertainment of special friends, whose heads they anointed with oil. Nay, some think he still looks upon himself as a sheep, but such a one as the poor man’s ewe-lamb, that did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom; not only thus nobly, but thus tenderly, are the children of God looked after. Plentiful provision is made for their bodies, for their souls, for the life that now is and for that which is to come. If Providence do not bestow upon us thus plentifully for our natural life, it is our own fault if it be not made up to us in spiritual blessings.”
That is the power of David’s Psalm. On one hand he is talking about the natural blessings enjoyed by a simple farm animal. At the same time he is describing the unthinkable, seated as kings at the table of the Lord. 

WARRIORS, WORSHIPERS, AND KINGS

August 19, 2015

Psa. 23:5 ¶  You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

“Do you have any other sons?” The words of the Prophet Samuel to Jesse after he had checked out all the other sons. “The youngest is out in the fields with the sheep”, Jesse responded.

“Go get him!”, Samuel boomed.

When David walked through the door Samuel knew this was the one. In a moment he took out the oil and poured it over David’s head. The rest is history, The Bible says, “The Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David”. David would never be the same, his head had been anointed with oil.

Have you had your head anointed with oil? If you have, you would surely know. This oil of the Spirit is life changing. It turned David into a warrior, a worshipper, and a king. What has the anointing turned you into. This is where the work of the Lord begins in you. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon on this heavenly anointing oil.

“Thou anointest my head with oil.” May we live in the daily enjoyment of this blessing, receiving a fresh anointing for every day’s duties. Every Christian is a priest, but he cannot execute the priestly office without unction, and hence we must go day by day to God the Holy Ghost, that we may have our heads anointed with oil. A priest without oil misses the chief qualification for his office, and the Christian priest lacks his chief fitness for service when he is devoid of new grace from on high. “My cup runneth over.” He had not only enough, a cup full, but more than enough, a cup which overflowed. A poor man may say this as well as those in higher circumstances. “What, all this, and Jesus Christ too?” said a poor cottager as she broke a piece of bread and filled a glass with cold water. Whereas a man may be ever so wealthy, but if he be discontented his cup cannot run over; it is cracked and leaks. Content is the philosopher’s stone which turns all it touches into gold; happy is he who has found it. Content is more than a kingdom, it is another word for happiness.”

The Lord is still anointing warriors, worshippers, and kings; which one are you. Are you a warrior, advancing God’s kingdom on earth? Or maybe you are a worshipper, ushering His people into His glory. Or possibly you are a king, reining in life with Jesus our Lord.

LIVING STONES

August 18, 2015

MERRY TUESDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

“To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious” 1 Pet 2:4

Staying connected to the body of Christ is huge to me. For me it started way back after I met the Lord on the lakefront of New Orleans, I suddenly found myself living with a community of Believers. For four years we were surrounded with a community 24/7 and yes at times I wanted to punch a wall. After four years we moved to New Orleans and continued to live with people helping us to start the church. When I Walk into Victory, I feel it’s a part of my DNA.

We are indeed living stones. Once dead but made alive by Christ.

Maclaren says, “that if we draw near to Jesus Christ, life from Him will pass into our hearts and minds, which life will show itself in kindred fashion to what it wore in Jesus Christ, and will shape us into the likeness of Him from whom we draw our life, because to Him we have come. You draw life from Jesus Christ if you keep close to Him, and that life makes you, in derived and subordinate fashion, but in a very real and profound sense, what Jesus Christ was in the world. As ‘living stones’ they, too, share in the life which flows from Him. Touch Him, and His quick Spirit passes into our hearts. Rest upon that foundation-stone and up from it, if I may so say, there is drawn, by strange capillary attraction, all the graces and powers of the Savior’s own life. The building which is reared upon the Foundation is cemented to the Foundation by the communication of the life itself, and, coming to the living Rock, we, too, become alive. Let us keep ourselves near to Him, for, disconnected, the wire cannot carry the current, and is only a bit of copper, with no virtue in it, no power. Attach it once more to the battery and the mysterious energy flashes through it immediately. ‘To Whom coming,’ because He lives, ‘ye shall live also.’”

I love being with the body of Christ in corporate fellowship! Such amazing things happen in that place of joy. Redemption does its work in us over and over again because Christ comes when we are in one accord. Staying at home alone and trying to survive on my own is not appealing to me and I know myself far to well that in time I would despair. When I’m with my brothers and sisters I sense heaven coming down and that’s when I feel I’ve come home at last.

COUNSELOR

August 17, 2015

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.
John 14:16
Have you ever needed counseling? Sometimes you just don’t know what to do, what steps to make, or who to turn to. The natural man is limited. He has only natural resources at his disposal, sometimes that is simply not good enough. The decisions we make often times effect ourselves as well as many others, often for a very long time. That’s why counsel is essential. That is one of the primary roles of the Holy Spirit. He has everything of God at His disposal; He is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. His eternal nature puts Him outside the limits of time. His omnipotence says all powerful, His omniscience gives Him all information. His omnipresence removes any secrets, He is everywhere. Here is how Luther describes our Counselor.   
“It’s correct to say that the Holy Spirit is our Counselor, because that’s what he does and is supposed to do. Right now, I don’t want to debate about his divine being or substance. Christ indicates here that the Spirit is a distinct person—the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. But in John 15, we also see that the Spirit is God—the Holy Spirit is one in essence with the Father and the Son. For now, it’s enough to learn that he is called a counselor for us. Whoever understands what it means for the Spirit to be our Counselor will have already won the battle. That person will find nothing but pure comfort and joy in heaven and on earth. Because the Father is the one who sends him to help us, and because Christ is the one who asks him to do so, this sending is certainly not done out of anger. Instead, it flows from a fatherly, heartfelt love. So Christians should remind themselves of this name for the Holy Spirit. He is a counselor, and we are the troubled and timid ones whom he helps.”
So what kind of counsel do you need? There is no human counselor that can help some of the tight spots we find ourselves in. Where can I meet this God Counselor? He speaks to us from His written word. Remember, that book is alive, active, and sharper than a two edged sword. Today, He has every answer you need. You can trust Him and lean powerfully on His word. 

CHRIST OUR LIFE #2

August 16, 2015

Col. 3:4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

It seems like I always come back to that fateful day in August of 1994 when the Lord spoke to me while I was lying on the floor of our church. I was basking in His glory, overcome by the power and intimacy of His presence. That’s whenI heard the clear impression in my spirit posed as a question. “Am I enough for you?” I clearly heard the Lord say to me. “If you never have a great church, if you never rise to a greater level of success am I enough?”

I was starting to get it. The Lord was a jealous God. There would be no room for other gods, whatever form they took, in my life. He clearly made a distinction between the work of the ministry and Himself. He wanted my affection, not my performance or accomplishments. God was revealing Himself to me as a lover, not a professional. He wants to be our life itself, not just a part of our lives. Charles Spurgeon understood this and expressed it in his comments about today’s verse.

“Christ is the object of our life. As speeds the ship towards the port, so hastes the believer towards the haven of his Savior’s bosom. As flies the arrow to its goal, so flies the Christian towards the perfecting of his fellowship with Christ Jesus. As the soldier fights for his captain, and is crowned in his captain’s victory, so the believer contends for Christ, and gets his triumph out of the triumphs of his Master. For him to live is Christ. Christ is the exemplar of our life. Where there is the same life within, there will, there must be, to a great extent, the same developments without; and if we live in near fellowship with the Lord Jesus we shall grow like him. We shall set him before us as our Divine copy, and we shall seek to tread in his footsteps, until he shall become the crown of our life in glory. Oh! how safe, how honored, how happy is the Christian, since Christ is our life!”

That day my life changed. I like to call it my second conversion. From that day I have endeavored to be a lover of God and no longer a professional minister. At the end of the day the work belongs to the Lord. All He really wants from me is my heart.

HE IS MY GOOD

August 15, 2015

Psa. 118:1 ¶  Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever.

My Mom taught me a prayer as a child to pray over my food. Sometimes the simplest prayers can be quite profound. It went like this,

‘God is great

God is good

Let us thank Him for this food

By His hand we are fed

Thank the Lord for daily bread’

The very essence of the Lord is goodness. This goodness is clearly seen in the person of Jesus Christ, it is manifest to us in the person of the Holy Spirit. God not only does good for us, He is Himself good. That is why Jonathan Edwards would often say, ‘The Lord is my good’. Once you get beyond His gifts and begin to see Him as the real treasure, your perspective of life and what really matters will change. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon on this powerful verse.

“This is reason enough for giving him thanks; goodness is his essence and nature, and therefore he is always to be praised whether we are receiving anything from him or not. Those who only praise God because he does them good should rise to a higher note and give thanks to him because he is good. In the truest sense he alone is good, “There is none good but one, that is God”; therefore in all gratitude the Lord should have the royal portion. If others seem to be good, he is good. If others are good in a measure, he is good beyond measure. When others behave badly to us, it should only stir us up the more heartily to give thanks unto the Lord because he is good; and when we ourselves are conscious that we are far from being good, we should only the more reverently bless him that “he is good.” We must never tolerate an instant’s unbelief as to the goodness of the Lord; whatever else may be questionable, this is absolutely certain, that Jehovah is good; his dispensations may vary, but his nature is always the same, and always good.”

This was one of the famous lines repeated throughout the Psalms of David. Obviously David had tasted the goodness of the Lord for himself. He had discovered the key to life. No wonder we still sing David’s psalms 3000 years later. They are permeated with the goodness of God.

SHOCKED BY A KISS

August 14, 2015

Psa. 118:1 ¶ Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever.

Our life starts at mercy. Before mercy came we were exposed and helpless before the Lord. The problem was this, we were unaware of our great need. Many of us had listened so long to the wisdom of man, touting its own independence and self worth, that we were blind to our great need. We were drowning in our own sea of sins, thinking that all we needed was self esteem. What changed all of that? Jesus Christ. In His presence several things happen. First, we see what righteousness looks like in His life. It is breathtaking. He is the only righteous man that has ever lived. Secondly, we see how far short of the mark we fall. We are sinners in need of a Savior. Finally, we are met with a shocking kiss, the kiss of mercy. We are accepted and loved because of His great love for us. Goodness and mercy meet in Christ, here is how Spurgeon describes it.

Mercy is a great part of his goodness, and one which more concerns us than any other, for we are sinners and have need of his mercy. Angels may say that he is good, but they need not his mercy and cannot therefore take an equal delight in it; inanimate creation declares that he is good, but it cannot feel his mercy, for it has never transgressed; but man, deeply guilty and graciously forgiven, beholds mercy as the very focus and centre of the goodness of the Lord. The endurance of the divine mercy is a special subject for song: notwithstanding our sins, our trials, our fears, his mercy endures for ever. The best of earthly joys pass away, and even the world itself grows old and hastens to decay, but there is no change in the mercy of God; he was faithful to our forefathers, he is merciful to us, and will be gracious to our children and our children’s children. The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the grand incarnation of the mercy of God, calls upon us at every remembrance of him to give thanks unto the Lord, for “he is good.”

What else can we do, we have to join in with David and all the rest of those who have tasted His mercy and sing the song of the ages,

‘Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever.’

NEVER ALONE

August 13, 2015

LUTHER – PS 118 — NEVER ALONE
Psa. 118:1 ¶ Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

 For His mercy endures forever. 

Luther said that this was his favorite Psalm. That is saying a lot, he wrote several volumes of books displaying his love for all of the Psalms. This one was special. It seems that the Lord used this Psalm to encourage Luther during his three years of exile, being hidden away from the pope and church officials who were determined to get rid of Luther. This proved again the message of Luther’s life. That God speaks to us today, He speaks to us from His written word. 

Have you ever been in a really tight spot? Maybe one of those times when there is just no way out? That’s often when God’s word speaks to us most clearly and His written word becomes more significant in our lives. The word of the Lord in this Psalm sustained Luther and encouraged him to finish his course with joy. Listen to Luther’s own description of this precious passage, you will see how important it was to him. 
“This is my Psalm, my chosen Psalm. I love them all; I love all holy Scripture, which is my consolation and my life. But this Psalm is nearest my heart, and I have a peculiar right to call it mine. It has saved me from many a pressing danger, from which nor emperor, nor kings, nor sages, nor saints, could have saved me. It is my friend; dearer to me than all the honors and power of the earth… But it may be objected, that this Psalm is common to all; no one has a right to call it his own. Yes; but Christ is also common to all, and yet Christ is mine. I am not jealous of my property; I would divide it with the whole world… And would to God that all men would claim the Psalm as especially theirs! It would be the most touching quarrel, the most agreeable to God—a quarrel of union and perfect charity.”
It is in the written word that Jesus Himself becomes alive and precious to us. There was more than just words in a book with Luther in his hiding place. Jesus Himself was there forming a profound relationship in Luther’s life. Don’t be too disturbed if you are in one of those tight spots. Open up the book and you too will realize you are not alone. 

BACK FROM THE DEAD

August 12, 2015

Col. 3:4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

The one miracle that stands out amongst all the others in the ministry of Jesus to me is raising Lazarus from the dead. Just like most of His other miracles (if not all of them) there is a spiritual lesson just behind the miracle itself. Lazarus represents fallen man. He is a picture of each of us; hopeless, helpless, and unable to help ourselves out of the quagmire of life. Just as Lazarus lay helpless in the tomb, we were dead in our transgressions and sins, there was no human way out of our dilemma. Lazarus was raised from the dead by the command of Jesus, “Lazarus come forth !!!” In the same way the voice of the Lord pierced the darkness of our lives as we were called back from the dead by the call of Christ. We couldn’t help ourselves any more than Lazarus could but Christ raised us from the dead. He became our life. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon on today’s verse.

“Paul’s marvelously rich expression indicates, that Christ is the source of our life. You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins. That same voice which brought Lazarus out of the tomb raised us to newness of life. He is now the substance of our spiritual life. It is by his life that we live; he is in us, the hope of glory, the spring of our actions, the central thought which moves every other thought. Christ is the sustenance of our life. What can the Christian feed upon but Jesus’ flesh and blood? This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. O wayworn pilgrims in this wilderness of sin, you never get a morsel to satisfy the hunger of your spirits, except ye find it in him! Christ is the solace of our life. All our true joys come from him; and in times of trouble, his presence is our consolation. There is nothing worth living for but him; and his lovingkindness is better than life!”

Jesus is now our source of life and the spring of our actions. We have a life, we have a purpose. Maybe you feel like your life has no meaning. If that is the case listen carefully for His voice. When you finally come to the conclusion that this world has nothing for you that’s when His voice calls you out of your darkened tomb.

FINALLY FREE

August 11, 2015

May your will be done.

MATTHEW 26:42

What actually happened that day in the Garden of Eden? How did things that started so promising go so bad so fast? What exactly happened to man in that garden? The Bible teaches that we literally became enslaved to sin on that fateful day. Man who was bubbling over with promise suddenly lost his bearings. What was damaged and imprisoned that day was our will, our ability to make right choices. We became somehow ensnared to the promise of the pleasures offered by sin. Knowing to do right, we always seemed to choose the bad. The promise of the pleasure of sin seemed too much for us to overcome. So the battle for man was the battle of free will. Christ had to become a man and win this battle for us, that is what Calvary and Gethsemane were all about. Not my will but your will be done. Here are some thoughts about the freedom that Christ purchased for us from Andrew Murray, freedom to follow God from our hearts.

“When God made man in His image it was, above all, with the purpose that the desires of man would be in harmony with the desires of God. This is the high honor of being made in the likeness of God—that we are to feel and wish just as God. In human flesh man was to be the embodiment and fulfillment of God’s desires.

But God created man with a will of his own and the power to choose and make decisions for himself. And after man had fallen and yielded himself to the will of God’s enemy, God in His infinite love set about the great work of winning man back, that man would make the desires of God his own once more. As in God, so in man, desire is the great moving power. And just as man had yielded himself to a life of desire after the things of the earth and the flesh, God had to redeem him into a life of harmony with Himself. And so the Son came into this world to reproduce the divine desires in His human nature….”

So there you have it, “he that the Son sets free is free indeed.” Finally in Christ our eyes are opened. We finally see that there is a better way, a better life, and a sweeter pleasure. Christ Himself become our passion, the foolish pleasures of this world have finally been broken from off our lives.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 421 other followers