MY ADVOCATE

1 John 2:1 – My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

What an amazing promise, Jesus is my Advocate. If you dig into this word, Advocate, it is the Greek word Paracletos. Paracletos means ‘the one called alongside to help’. This is the word that Jesus used to refer to the Holy Spirit. John used this word to refer to Jesus Christ. He is my help in every circumstance. Think about this, when Steven was being stoned for preaching the gospel he saw the heavens opened. What he saw was amazing. He saw the man, Jesus Christ, standing at the right hand of God supporting and standing with Steven. Paul said that “there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus”. Today’s verse says it plainly, “we have an Advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous”. He also says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. He is with us when we are surrounded with trouble, He is also our Advocate when we sin. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes our heavenly Advocate.

“He is Christ, and therefore authorized; he is Christ, and therefore qualified, for the anointing has fully fitted him for his work. He can plead so as to move the heart of God and prevail. What words of tenderness, what sentences of persuasion will the anointed use when he stands up to plead for me!…Jesus Christ the righteous, this is not only his character BUT his plea. It is his character, and if the Righteous One be my advocate, then my cause is good, or he would not have espoused it. It is his plea, for he meets the charge of unrighteousness against me by the plea that he is righteous. He declares himself my substitute and puts his obedience to my account. My soul, thou hast a friend well fitted to be thine advocate, he cannot but succeed; leave thyself entirely in his hands.”

He is my Advocate and my Friend. He is my help in everything I face. He helps me in my prayers, He helps me when I am tempted, He helps me when I am attacked, He even stands with me and helps me if I sin. I have an Advocate at the right hand of the Father who understands me because of His humanity and can help me because of His deity. He is my heavenly Paraclete.

THE WHAT IFS

Matt.6:26 – Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

I think too often fear of the future effects our actions. How many wanted to go into the ministry but the what ifs got them? “What if the Lord doesn’t open the doors for ministry? Maybe I should get a business degree just in case.” Then there is the impression to start a business to create wealth for a mission project or a ministry but the what if’s step in again. “What if I fail? What if I go bankrupt?” That’s probably why the Lord said “Make your calling and election sure”. Then there is the desire to start tithing and giving offerings. You guessed it, the what ifs showed up again. “What if the Lord doesn’t give back like the word says He will?” What is the answer to these “what ifs”? Soaking yourself in the promises of God is the sure answer. He says things like “even a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground without your Father knowing it” and “I have been young and now I am old and I have never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging bread”. Here is how Charles Spurgeon explains this verse.

“Thought we may take; but anxious, carking care we must not know. Our most pressing bodily wants are not to engross our minds. Our life is more important than the food we eat, or the clothes we wear. God who gives us life will give us bread and raiment. We should much more care how we live than how we eat: the spiritual should go before the bodily, the eternal before the temporal. What we wear is of very small importance compared with what we are. Therefore let us give our chief care to that which is chief, yea, our sole thought to the one all-absorbing object of all true life, the glory of God.”

What if the Lord does come through? What if He opens the door for ministry and thousands are effected? What if He puts His hand on your business idea and millions of dollars actually go into ministry endeavors? What if you begin to tithe and you start to see unexpected income coming your way: raises, checks in the mail, inheritances, and new unexpected sources of income? You will never really know until you respond by faith; launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.

THE ELIXIR OF GRACE

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS –

“In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus”

Eph.1:7,8

I am always amazed at us human folk walking around the earth and never seeing or savoring Christ. With heads bent down we scuffle along drinking what this world dishes out. As a young child I loved to be outdoors but never “saw” the God who created it all. He was screaming but his voice fell to deaf ears. Thanks be unto God the day that I saw, I touched and felt his Love! But brother what pain and suffering I endured pre-Christ!

McClarens says, “God is Love, and therefore delights in imparting that which is His creatures’ life and blessedness. He, too, is capable of being touched and gladdened by the joy of expression. Creation is divine self-revelation, and we might say, with all reverence, that God acts as birds sing, and fountains leap, and stars shine.” God is like an artist that loves to show his works off to others and finds so much joy in doing so. We too become objects of his love- his artwork so to speak.

His work of Grace is at the top of the in God’s work of art. While the deer leap, fishes jump and the turkeys gobble, the “Grace of God continually communicates and operates unspent” (McClaren says) and “that self-communicating love pours out in no narrower stream to its last recipient than to its first. All ‘eat and are filled,’ and after they are satisfied, twelve baskets full of fragments are taken up. These riches are exceeding; they surpass all human conception, all parallel, all human needs; they are properly transcendent.”

When we are born-again we taste this elixir of grace the rest of our lives and into eternity he will keep pouring it out. We throughout, our lives learn to lean into this grace to trust its fullness and witness it daily in its exhaustible abundance.

McClaren ends with “God reveals because He loves, and His love is that which He reveals”. I pray you too will taste this precious grace!

TWO PARACLETES

Jn.14:26 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

This has to be the greatest promise mankind has ever received. It was given on the last night Jesus was with His disciples, probably just after He washed their feet and served them the last supper. The greatest promise? Absolutely, this is why Jesus came, to restore the relationship with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit that we tragically lost when our first parents fell into disobedience. What He was saying is really too good for words. The phrase that He chose to use was allos Paracletos. This phrase means another helper exactly like the former helper. In other words, this mysterious guest, the Holy Spirit, would be identical to Jesus.

To gain a little bit of an understanding of the magnitude of this promise we can see the way John used the term, Paracletos, in referring to Jesus in 1 John 2:1. “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”. The word ‘advocate’ in this verse is that word paracletos. If we take a look at the heavenly ministry of Jesus we can see something of the ministry of the Spirit in our lives today.

First, we see the humility of Jesus in His humanity. He became a man to represent us before the Father in heaven. He is the only righteous man that can abide in the Father’s presence by His own holiness. The good news, His righteousness is credited to me so that I too can abide in His presence. The Holy Spirit helps us by giving us a glimpse of this heavenly Helper, Jesus Christ. Jesus is also my heavenly High Priest. He mediates for me. When I sin, I confess my sins to this Heavenly Priest and He washes me clean. The Holy Spirit convicts me of my sin and then communicates the reality of my forgiveness and my righteousness that I receive by faith. Jesus is also interceding for me before the Father. The Holy Spirit works in perfect unity with the Son of God. As I pray in the Spirit, He releases the prayers of Jesus in and through my life. Jesus is also the Heavenly Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. As I glorify Him, He pours the presence of the Comforter on me. We have been given this double Helper, the man, Jesus Christ, reigns on the throne and the Comforter has come.

WINDOWS OF HEAVEN

Acts 2:2 – Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.

Have you ever been in a place when it seemed that the windows of heaven seemed to be suddenly wide open? I am the first to say that Jesus opened the heavens for us by His death on the cross but it is apparent that there are special seasons when the windows of heaven fling open and the wind of God begin to blow. On the day of Pentecost this is apparently what happened. The disciples had been praying and waiting on the Promise of the Father (they didn’t have any idea what that was) when suddenly the wind of God begin to blow from heaven into the room where they had gathered. This was the first New Testament outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Thankfully it would prove not to be the last. Arthur Wallis describes the source of spiritual awakening in his comments from “THE DAY OF HIS POWER”.

“With the brevity and simplicity characteristic of Scripture, we are shown in four words the source of the outpouring: “There came from heaven . . .” (Acts 2:2)…. (revival) is spontaneous, because it is “not forced or suggested or caused by outside agency.” It is the result of a divine and not a human impulse. In language plain to all, it cannot be “worked up.” It is true that spiritual conditions must be met before revival can be expected, but fulfilled conditions do not provide the motive force of revival. At Pentecost it was “the windows of heaven,” not the windows of the Upper Room, that were opened. The source of the blessing was the heart of God, not the heart of man. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that such “seasons of refreshing” have always come “from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). We may believe that during those ten days of waiting, there were revived hearts in that Upper Room, but there was no revival; there were empty vessels but no outpouring. When it came, it came direct from heaven and found in that waiting band a channel through which to flow.”

I remember when those windows opened in our church in August of 1994. Our church nor I have ever been the same. Another generation is now in that upper room phase; something unprecedented is about to blow into the room.

NOT LIKE WE THOUGHT

1 Thes.5:19 – Do not quench the Holy Spirit.

I still remember the rumors of revival I heard all throughout the first part of 1994. People were talking about unusual manifestations at various meetings in the United States, Argentina, and in Canada. There were even rumors of revival happening in the Church of England in London. There were stories bout trances, drunken behavior, unusual noises, and laughing. I think the laughing bothered me the most. I had been praying for revival for years but laughter, drunkenness, and trances were not on my radar. I was skeptical at best and possibly a little offended. Like most other Christians, I had a certain way I thought revival should look and this certainly wasn’t it. It wasn’t until I went to the meetings myself and felt the presence of the Lord and tasted the depths of His love that my defenses began to come down. Before you knew it, I too was laughing, shouting, and displaying intoxicated behavior under the influence of the Spirit. Preconceived ideas of what a move of God should look like have blocked many from experiencing His mighty power. Here is how Arthur Wallis describes this roadblock.

“Let us not put our views of decorum and of order above the mighty operations of the Spirit. When He comes forth in His glory, it is as it were a judgment day; there is an overwhelming revelation of sin and of danger; and we can no more expect men to act under such circumstances in accordance with ordinary rules of decorum, than we could expect men aroused from their beds by an earthquake to avoid every demonstration of a noisy or alarming character. Perhaps it behooves us all to surrender our very imperfect views of the power and majesty of the Holy Spirit, and prepare for something grander, more awful and more revolutionary than we have yet witnessed.”

The Lord often starts things in unexpected places and unexpected ways. Who would have thought of Nazareth, a supposed carpenter’s son, and animal stall in Bethlehem? Or what about the one eyed son of a slave in a former horse stable on Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California? Then there was the coal mine worker in Wales, the angry Pharisee in Damascus, and the shepherd with a slingshot. The icing on the cake; speaking in unknown languages. Thousands of people speaking in languages they had never learned and as Paul said some of the languages were angel languages. The Lord does some strange things, hopefully I won’t be too dry and rigid to move with the cloud in these last days.

THE REVIVAL IN LEWIS ISLAND

Before you get turned sideways this article has nothing to do with politics. By some divine, strange occurrence, it seems President Trump’s mom had two elderly nieces that were connected to a revival on Lewis Island which spread to the New Hebrides. They had been praying for God to come down and apparently their prayers were answered. Lewis Island and the New Hebrides were swept into a move of the Spirit that lasted for several years. President Trump bought the house where these prayer meetings were held. Here is an account of the beginning of that move of God from an article written by Colin Melbourne.

“Duncan Campbell was preaching his heart out, and getting nowhere. The congregation were quite content in their stiff, cold, and dead, religious routines.

What could he do?

He noticed a young lad near the front, weeping quietly, only recently saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit, a pool of tears around his farmer’s boots. Campbell, in humility, recognized that the youth was closer to God than he was, so stopped preaching, and asked him to stand and pray.

Just three sentences of prayer from the new believer prompted the power of God to fall upon the whole assembly. Those formal Scottish Presbyterian churchgoers began crying out for mercy to God. Half of them stood arms outstretched to Heaven, transfixed in the Glory for two hours, the other half slumped to the floor calling on the Lord in heartfelt repentance. At the same time, the Spirit of God swept through a village seven miles away, and practically every household in the village had someone saved that night. That’s revival!”

From this you can see that the Lord is not impressed with titles or reputations. When He wants to move He can use two old ladies and a child. Actually He said if the child won’t speak He might decide to use rocks. Again, the Lord proves that His ways are not our ways. I wonder if He is planning another outbreak in these last days? Throughout history there have been regional moves of the Spirit such as the Welch Revival, the Great Awakening, and this one in the New Hebrides. The Azusa Street Revival, which birthed the Pentecostal movement, is the closest to a world wide awakening. The good news is that the Lord has saved the best for last. So if you think you are too old or too young maybe you are exactly what the Lord is looking for. Maybe, just maybe, the wind is starting to blow again.

THE DAY OF HIS POWER

So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD.

His going forth is as certain as the dawn;

And He will come to us like the rain,

Like the spring rain watering the earth.

Hosea 6:3

Are there special seasons when the Lord moves on the earth in unusual ways? Because I am a Christian and have some sort of spiritual experience is it still possible that there are outpourings way beyond anything I have ever known? If you believe the testimony of men and women of God from history the answer to both questions is a resounding yes. Jonathan Edwards lived in one of those seasons known as the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening took place from the late 1730’s until the 1770’s, it was closely connected to the birthing of the United States of America. Here is a quote from Edwards describing revival.

“God hath had it much on his heart, from all eternity, to glorify his dear and only-begotten Son; and there are some special seasons that he appoints to that end, wherein he comes forth with omnipotent power to fulfill his promise and oath to him. Now these are times of remarkable pouring out of his Spirit, to advance his kingdom; such is a day of his power.”

People have all sorts of ideas about what revival is. Ask Christians and the answers will range from a series of evangelistic meetings to an outpouring of fanaticism. Here is a definition of revival from Arthur Wallis, the author of the book “THE DAY OF HIS POWER”.

“Numerous writings on the subject that have been preserved to us will confirm that revival is divine intervention in the normal course of spiritual things. It is God revealing Himself to man in awful holiness and irresistible power. It is such a manifest working of God that human personalities are overshadowed and human programs abandoned. It is man retiring into the background because God has taken the field. It is the Lord making bare His holy arm and working in extraordinary power on saint and sinner.”

With this definition in mind we obviously need an outpouring like this in our generation. Think about it; holiness, irresistible power, human personalities overshadowed, and human programs abandoned. This is exactly what we need today. Lord, would you glorify your dear and only begotten Son with a remarkable and undeniable outpouring of your Presence in our day?

THE HOLY SPIRIT FELL UPON ALL…

Acts 10:44 – While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.

Have you ever experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Before you answer that question think about what that means. In Acts 10 Peter’s sermon was interrupted by a houseful of Italians praying in other tongues. Peter and his Jewish friends were shocked when these gentiles were receiving the Holy Spirit in the same way they had. I have been in services where the Spirit was poured out and entire congregations were being overcome with laughter and crying at the same time. When God comes down in His power our whole being is exposed before Him and our attraction to the things of this world melts like butter before Him. There is nothing in this world that comes even close to His manifest presence. Here is a powerful quote talking about a spiritual outpouring from Arthur Wallis.

“True revivals have ever been marked by powerful and often widespread outpourings of the Spirit. Many, many times the preaching had to cease because the hearers were prostrate or because the voice of the preacher was drowned by cries for mercy. Who will deny that these were outpourings of the Spirit? Who could find a more appropriate description of such scenes than the words of Luke: “The Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word” (Acts 10:44)? David Brainerd recorded the beginning of the wonderful movement among the American Indians in 1745 thus:

The power of God seemed to descend upon the assembly “like a mighty rushing wind,” and with an astonishing energy bore down all before it. I stood amazed at the influence, which seized the audience almost universally; and could compare it to “nothing more aptly, than the irresistible force of a mighty torrent. . . . Almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together, and scarcely one was able to withstand the shock of this surprising operation.”

David Brainerd was a missionary to the Native Americans during the Great Awakening. The language barrier seemed to be irrelevant as the power of God fell upon this precious people in that early American wilderness. Our country was birthed by a mighty outpouring of the Spirit in the 1700’s. Three hundred years later we stand in need of another Great Awakening. This is beyond human effort, this is a mighty invasion of God.

“GO GET A SHOVEL”

WHEN HIS TREASURE MATCHES OUR DEEPEST POVERTY

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS –

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.” MATT. 13:44

There is a treasure that meets our deepest poverty. I still can remember it, or should I say FEEL IT. The deep, dark cavern of my soul, it always wanted yet was never full, reached out and came up with empty, screamed but the cry never was heard. That described the BC of my life. Futile, empty and worthless.

Somehow all along Christ was leading me to the greatest pearl of all, the one hidden in the field that was worth selling out for. My deepest poverty was met with his greatest treasure. I pray it doesn’t take a life time to find that which you already know.

McClaren Commentary says, “There are a great many other precious things in this world-human loves, earthly ambitions of noble and legitimate kinds. No one but a fool will deny the convenience and the good of having a competency of this world’s possessions. But all these have this miserable defect, or rather limitation, that they each satisfy some little corner of a man’s nature, and leave all the rest, if I may so say, like the beasts in a menagerie whose turn has not yet come to be fed, yelping and growling while the keeper is at the den of another one.” The sky to-night may be filled with galaxies of stars but better one sun than a million twinkling stars that fill the heavens, and yet do not scatter the darkness. Oh, brethren, to have one aim, one love, one treasure, one Christ, one God-there is the secret of blessedness. Thus, the unity of the treasure is the supreme excellence of the treasure.There is but one wealth which meets the whole of human nature!”

Sometimes I pity those that have “grown up in church” hearing about God yet the treasure seems concealed. God’s treasure comes to the world in a form which to a great many people veils or hides its preciousness. One can go through their whole life hearing sermons about what God can do for you, what you should do for him, and worst of all your familiarity with the word blinds you to his power in the here and now. Jesus! In whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! What a pearl that is hidden right before us! We treat his ways, his words as insignificant.

Go buy the field my friend, the one you found the treasure in. Sell all the other cheap imitations, the glam, the glitter! Go get a shovel and start digging.

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