Merry Monday – Parris Bailey

“There is a river the streams whereof make glad the city of God.” Ps.46:4

Twenty years ago, Frank and I stepped into an unbelievable river- the river of God. We were like those that dream. I still remember hearing The Lord say to me, that “my religion would not sustain me for the years to come” (something that I didn’t really want to hear). I started the long trek into the bottom of the river where He began to change me from the inside out. It is not pleasant when you have to take a long look at yourself and your belief system. It was time for me to rekindle my first love. Marriage, raising all those wonderful kids of mine, and pastoring had caused me to drift from my source. I found myself full of dead works and a hardened heart. Spurgeon says, “Believers drink of that river and thirst not for carnal delights. They are made “to lie down in green pastures,” and are led “beside the still waters.” Now this solid, lasting joy and peace of mind sets the Christian so on high above all others, that I boldly testify that there are no people in the world to compare with him for happiness. But do not suppose that our joy never rises above this settled calm; for let me tell you, and I speak experimentally, we have our seasons of rapturous delight and overflowing bliss. There are times with us when no music could equal the melody of our heart’s sweet hymn of joy. It would empty earth’s coffers of every farthing of her joy to buy a single ounce of our delight. Do not fancy Paul was the only man who could say, “Whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth,” for these ecstasies are usual with believers; with their sunshiny days when their unbelief is shaken off and their faith is strong.”
I began a life long quest to have God “become my all in all” and I was determined to let nothing “separate me from the love of God”. As I reflect back on the twenty years of river walking I am thankful that He brought me back to my first love and put an unspeakable joy into my heart. Many times circumstances come my way (Hurricane Katrina, death of a love one, family problems and the care of the church) and weigh on my mind. THERE IS A RIVER that is always before me and it’s up to me to take the dip into His presence and drink again. He told us if we drink of Him, “out of our belly shall flow rivers of living water springing up into everlasting life”. Have you found this river my friend? Have you continued drinking of Him or have you gone back into dead works? He beckons us to enjoy His beauty, partake the communion of His presence. The cares of this world aren’t worth it, HIS PRESENCE IS EVERYTHING. THERE IS A RIVER!

6 Replies to “WHEN THE RIVER CAME”

  1. Thank you Pastor Paris. I’m so happy that I have such wonderful Leaders at Victory. May God continue to reveal His Truth, and Bless you with His Spirit. Some may back down, because it doesn’t fit with today’s idea of what the Church is suppose to be. Some may desire growth in numbers, without regard to that which is Spiritual. However, I’m so glad to say, that weather wading or swimming, I want to stay in this River – Forever.

  2. The River completely took my by surprise. While Y’all were in Texas in late August my Mom was having open heart surgery at East Jefferson. She lived 9 days in ICU but never made it out. We took her back to NC for Burial and taking care of things at the house. I had been told by a friend that I would not recognize church when I came back. Of course, I had no idea. I came back after 3 weeks away and man there was some strange stuff going on. I got in the prayer line after service because I REALLY NEEDED a touch from the Lord. I was in the 2nd section so I had observed all of the activity going on. Any time before the River if I was in the prayer line and people were being slain in the Spirit I was always standing. It seemed I couldn’t open up to that. When Pastor Frank brushed by me moving fast I went down along with everyone else in line. I started laughing and then I thought “why am I laughing? Mom just died.” and then I went instantly from joy to tears for probably less than a minute and laughter took over again. I loved my Mom as much as I loved breathing but I KNOW she is in heaven. That was my entire grieving process. I remember telling Margaret S that I wish my Mom could have experienced this and she told me she was at the head of The River. Such JOY. I can’t even tell of the many things the Joy and The River did for me in the years that followed. There were some rough times in the road with issues….kids and things going on in their lives. I don’t know where I would be without the blessing of The River. I will be Forever Grateful for what God has done in my life. I wish everyone could experience what we have experienced at Victory Fellowship and other River Churches.

  3. I too have been drinking from the river of god.But it won”t be 20 yrs until October 2014. Because of my job(I work the night shift) my making the services are somewhat erratic at best. But I thank the lord for the river,because it helps me to deal with everyday life,without turning to the booze or liquor, that everybody else in the world does.Thank u pastor Parris,for u insights,and thoughts. It did take me quite a while before I started reading your posts. But like everything else,the Holy Spirit had to start dealing with me,about certain things. Thank god for u and pastor Frank. And for the river,and for his mercy and grace.


  5. You and Pastor Frank’s HONESTY with us is very encouraging and REWARDING !!!! It is GREAT to realize F WE KEEP WALKING there WILL BE water to swim in !!! Thank you !!!

  6. My wife likes to look up words frequently on dictionary.com and she came across this one. “Recrudescence” It had a picture of a rushing wave of water on top of the definition to show as a visual. We thought it perfectly fit and described the RIVER OF GOD. Especially since we are in the season of discovering a “lifestyle of renewal”.

    Coming from a Latin term meaning “become raw again,” recrudescence means “breaking out afresh or into renewed activity.” As the Latin root suggests, this word was first used in medical contexts to describe a recurrence of symptoms after a period of remission, but it later took on a more rosy sense referring to the revival of something good.

    What a joy it is to get on God’s operating table and let his rushing river renew us again and again.

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