COOPERATING WITH GOD

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”

Phil.1:6

The Apostle Paul wrote like no other. All throughout his books in the New Testament he kept an underlying theme. God is at work within us and will never stop throughout our lives. So many of us get caught up our “our own efforts” and begin to negate the work of God that happens in redemption. The word “cooperate” means to “act jointly; work toward the same end”. Yield – surrender – abide is your Merry Monday word for today!

Gill said, “it is wrought by the Spirit of God, and has its seat in the spirit of man; it is called the inward man, which is renewed day by day. The apostle was confident both for himself and others, that God who has, and wherever he has begun the good work of grace, will “perform”, finish it, or bring it to an end, as the word here used signifies: as from the nature of the work itself, which is called living water, because it always continues, a well of it, because of its abundance, and is said to spring up to eternal life; because it is inseparably connected with it, where there is grace, there will be glory; grace is the beginning of glory, and glory the perfection of grace; this work of grace is an incorruptible seed, and which remains in the saints, and can never be lost; it is a principle of life, the root of which is hid in Christ, and that itself is maintained by him, and can never be destroyed by men or devils: who is a rock, and his work is perfect sooner or later; who is faithful, and will never forsake the work of his hands, and has power to accomplish it; and who has promised his people, that they shall grow stronger and stronger, that they shall not depart from him, and he will never leave them”.

What a encouraging word my friend! The Trinity has been about their business the moment you received Christ as your Savior. They are endeavoring to finish the work of sanctification in you making you a victorious Christian. This isn’t about us striving and doing feats of purity to win his approval or gain eternity points! It becomes so easy to lose sight of our inheritance with the saints when we begin to strive with others and grow discouraged in the way our lives have turned out. He will finish the work he started in you! He will accomplish this work to the very end. The best thing you can do is to cooperate and listen to his voice!

 

SWEET REPENTANCE

Godly sorrow works repentance.

2 Cor. 7:10

 

Repentance is not something talked about too much today. Actually, sin is more often covered up or justified rather than repented of. ‘Who is to say what sin is anyway’ , seems to be the attitude of the day. I think the thing most people miss is that repentance is the path to freedom and the enjoyment of life. It is the way out of misery and depression and the way into incredible joy. It is our sinfulness that blocks us from fellowship with the Lord. Our sins keep us from even experiencing His reality in our lives. Sin also blocks our fellowship and friendship with others. Until we taste the sweetness of repentance we are walking around without a chance of enjoying life to it’s fullest.

The first work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to bring us to the conclusion that we are sinners in need of a Savior. His second work is to reveal the greatness of that Savior. Here is how Charles Spurgeon sees the sweetness of repentance.

 

“True repentance has a distinct reference to the Savior. When we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin and another upon the cross, or it will be better still if we fix both our eyes upon Christ and see our transgressions only, in the light of his love.

True sorrow for sin is eminently practical. No man may say he hates sin, if he lives in it. We shall be as much afraid of it, as a man who has lately been stopped and robbed is afraid of the thief upon the highway; and we shall shun it-shun it in everything-not in great things only, but in little things, as men shun little vipers as well as great snakes. True mourning for sin will make us very jealous over our tongue, lest it should say a wrong word; we shall be very watchful over our daily actions, lest in anything we offend, and each night we shall close the day with painful confessions of shortcoming, and each morning awaken with anxious prayers, that this day God would hold us up that we may not sin against him.”

Once we see the beauty and love of Christ our Savior, sin looses its attraction and power over us. The fleeting pleasures offered to us by sin, pale in comparison to the life we enjoy in Christ. No one who has experienced the sweetness of true repentance will go back to the misery of a life stained with sin.

MEDITATE

I will meditate in thy precepts.Psalms 119:15

It’s too easy to stay satisfied with a surface level faith. Far too many of us have a basic set of beliefs that we hold to and may even use them to structure our lives to one degree or another. It takes time and effort to live our lives in a deeper place. It is the blessing of spiritual hunger that reveals the shallowness of our faith and calls us to that place of delighting ourselves at the banquet table of the Lord. Learning the art of Biblical meditation can be a huge part of this quest for more. Look at this interesting definition of the Bible word ‘meditate’ from the Mounce wordbook.
to utter a sound, moan, meditate; to mutter; from the base meaning of uttering a sound of any kind comes figure of meditation, the act of thoughtful deliberation with the implication of speaking to oneself
So if I want to practice Biblical meditation it involves the written word. Take a passage of scripture that ministers to you; think about it, say it out loud, and spend some time chewing on it. This is Biblical meditation and it can bring you into a deeper faith that is more alive in your life. Here is how Spurgeon describes it.
“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on his Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would have wine from it, we must bruise it; we must press and squeeze it many times. The bruiser’s feet must come down joyfully upon the bunches, or else the juice will not flow; and they must well tread the grapes, or else much of the precious liquid will be wasted. So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth, if we would get the wine of consolation therefrom.”
I love to read my Bible. Certain passages, like Ephesians 1 and John 1 and 15, have been my favorites and I have meditated on them hundreds of times in my spiritual journey. Take one of your favorites and chew on it for awhile. You may find yourself drinking some of heaven’s wine.

Effected by Love

tamara-menzi-58748.jpgRom. 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

We are all effected by the things we experience everyday. We are effected by kisses and hugs, and encouragement; the acts of endearment can carry us far in our daily grind. Being accepted and loved is a huge factor in our ability to be effective from day to day. But there is a totally different kind of love that goes way beyond what human encouragement can afford us. What might that be? Why it is the love of God of course. His love is lavishly poured on us through the refreshing and renewing of the Holy Spirit. When you experience His words of encouragement, His hugs that hold us tight and close in the darkest of days, and His kisses that will catch us totally off guard; then you will really know what it means to be loved. This love will arrest you, satisfy you, heal and deliver you, empower you, and change you into a different kind of person. Adam Clarke talks about this love in his comments on today’s verse.

“We have the most solid and convincing testimony of God’s love to us, by that measure of it which he has communicated to our hearts. It is poured out, and diffused abroad; filling, quickening, and invigorating all our powers and faculties. This love is the spring of all our actions; it is the motive of our obedience; the principle through which we love God, we love him because he first loved us; and we love him with a love worthy of himself, because it springs from him: it is his own; and every flame that rises from this pure and vigorous fire must be pleasing in his sight: it consumes what is unholy; refines every passion and appetite; sublimes the whole, and assimilates all to itself. And we know that this is the love of God; it differs widely from all that is earthly and sensual.”
So have you been stopped in your tracks by love recently? Have you awakened to His kisses in the morning or been held close when the storms of life begin to encircle you? This love is not a just a doctrine but it is very real. It was demonstrated at the cross and poured on us today by the precious Holy Spirit. Stop for a moment and look to the Lord for true love. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. You too can be enveloped in His arms of love.

Power of His Name

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By what power, or in what name, have ye done this?
Acts 4:7
Jesus said something just after His resurrection that used to confuse me. He said that all authority in heaven and earth had been given to Him. He was apparently saying He had authority after the resurrection that He did not have before. What bothered me was that I knew that Jesus has had authority over all things as the Son of God from eternity. What could He possibly mean? I finally understood it when it dawned on me what had changed. The Son of God had become the Son of Man. He gained authority over all things as a man by His death and resurrection. He had conquered sin, hell, death, and the grave. But here is the best part, He did that as a representative for me (and all mankind) giving us authority to act in His Name. We can now pray and act in the Name that has authority over all things. Here is how Watchman Nee explains it.

“Our eyes must be opened to see the mighty change wrought by the ascension. The name of Jesus certainly establishes the identity of the One in the throne with the Carpenter of Nazareth, but it goes further than that. It represents the power and dominion before which every knee in heaven and earth and beneath the earth must bow. Even the Jewish leaders recognized that there could be this kind of significance in a mere name, when they asked this question of the disciples concerning the lame man’s healing. Today the name tells us that God has committed all authority to His Son, so that in the very name itself there is power. But further, not only is it His, but it is “given among men.” He has placed that authority in our hands for us to use. In three passages in His last discourse, the Lord Jesus repeats the words “ask in my name.” What confidence He must place in us to say “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do”!”
This is one of those too good to be true promises from the Lord. I can preach in His Name, heal the sick in His Name, cast out devils in His Name, and pray and receive whatever I ask in His Name. Do you belong to Jesus? Have your sins been washed away in His precious blood? If so, you too can pray and live in the power of the Name of Jesus.

CHOSEN FOR HIS GLORY

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Eph. 1:5,6 – He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

God Has a plan, He has always had a plan. Redemption is not His response to man’s rebellion, the plan for redemption has been in place before He even created man. Jesus is referred to as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. So what about this plan? What does the Lord really have up His sleeve? You can see it in today’s verse. It is a short, simple phrase that is easy to pass over if you are not paying attention. It is the phrase “to the praise of the glory of His grace”. That’s it? Absolutely. The whole purpose behind creation is to reveal His glory. From the beauty of our world, to the complex creativity seen in the human body, to the vast expanse of the universe; it all proclaims the glory of God. Redemption and election, being chosen by the Lord magnifies one of His attributes. Election magnifies the glory of His grace. Here is how Albert Barnes describes this.

“God chooses men to be holy, not sinful; to be happy, not miserable; to be pure, not impure; to be saved, not to be lost. For these things he should be praised. He should be praised that he has not left the whole race to wander away and die. Had he chosen but one to eternal life, that one should praise him, and all the holy universe should join in the praise. Should he now see it to be consistent to choose but one of the fallen spirits, and to make him pure, and to readmit him to heaven, that one spirit would have occasion for eternal thanks, and all heaven might join in his praises. How much more is praise due to him, when the number chosen is not one or a few, but when millions which no man can number, shall be found to be chosen to life.”

So your purpose is bigger than you think. It’s not about accomplishments or titles, its not about performance or influence. It is about your story, rather it is about the testimony of Jesus in your life. We were once miserable people, following our own purposes and living just for ourselves until all of that changed. We became His story the moment our eyes were opened. Now we have discovered our eternal purpose; to glorify God simply by enjoying His grace in our lives.

LION, CALF, MAN, AND EAGLE

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Rev. 4:6,7 ¶ And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.

This verse is part of an amazing glimpse into the scene in heaven where the Lord is being worshipped by the angels and those redeemed from sin from every tribe on the earth. John gives us a glimpse into the function of the mysterious seraphim that are closely connected to the throne of God. In Isaiah’s vision, as well as the one in Revelations, these “burning ones” are caught up in worship. They apparently lead the worship in heaven. Once there was five of these creatures before one of them fell. You know the one; Lucifer, the chief worship leader in heaven. These amazing angelic beings are totally caught up with the holiness of God. You can almost hear them if you stop and listen, “Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory. Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty; the One who was and is and is to come”.

The early church fathers used to connect these four creatures to the four gospels. I like Augustine’s version. He said that Matthew corresponded to the lion, Mark to the man, Luke to the calf, and John to the eagle. These comparisons are quite interesting.

Matthew was the gospel written for the Jewish people. Think about it, the lion of the tribe of Judah. The first verse in Matthew refers to Jesus as the Messiah, the son of David. Of course Jesus is that messianic king portrayed by the lion and He rules all things with His mighty word. Mark is said to correspond with the creature with the face of a man. Mark’s gospel was written for the gentiles, the people of the nations. In Mark’s gospel we see Jesus as a man, the Son of Man. We also see Him moved with compassion as He ministers to the hurting members of humankind.

Next is Luke. His gospel starts in the temple and ends in the temple. The calf, the sacrifice of blood for the cleansing of sin, is the picture of Luke’s gospel. Luke gives us a portrayal of Jesus praying in Gethsemane, sweating great drops of blood. He is surely our heavenly high priest. Finally there is John pictured by the eagle. The eagle is known for soaring to the heights and for his incredible vision. This unveils the revelation of Jesus we find in John’s gospel. John takes us to the heights as we see Jesus as the Son of God from eternity clothed with human flesh. In John we find the pinnacle of the Father’s revelation, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.

“We have been given a new identity”

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MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS

Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified WITH Christ”

Most of us grow up self-conscious. People point out our speech patterns and try to locate where we are from. Classmates at school pick out any so called irregularities in us. I still remember one of my children coming home saying they had small teeth! I had never heard of such of thing. Even at the office we feel we wore the wrong outfit, said the wrong thing and can’t seem to get our game on. Without us even knowing it we all seem to be self-conscious. But thanks be unto God, Christ has given us a new identify.

“What does identification mean?” It means our complete union with Him in his substitutionary Sacrifice. The Apostle Paul preached that Christ makes all things new and his own life was but dung! We have been given a new identity but walking in it is our struggle. Today try to meditate on these truths.

I died with Christ

I was buried in Christ.

I was made alive in Christ.

Now I am seated in heavenly places in Christ.

Christ became sin so that I became Righteousness.

He became one with me in death, that I might be one with Him in life.

He became as I am, so that I might become as He is.

He died to make me live.

He became weak to make me strong.

He suffered shame to give me glory.

He was condemned in order to justify me.

He was made sick in order that healing might be mine.

Rom 6:6 “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin.” You see our past has been eradicated, done away with, never to be exhumed up from the grave again. Stop digging around the graveyard! Christ went through a whole lot of work NOT to have us re-digging the old wells of pain, sorrow and sin that got us in the predicament we are in. The great gavel of redemption, redeemed, bought with a price rang through the halls of justice that day you became a new creature! We have been given a new identify. You are not the same person! The old is gone and the new has come! Why are you acting as if this hasn’t happened!

When we recognize this, we will no longer struggle for faith, for righteousness and holiness, because we will know that we were nailed to the Cross and died with Him, were buried with Him, suffered with Him, were made alive with Him, were justified with Him, conquered the devil with Him, were raised with Him and finally were seated with Him. All these things are ours now. What a great day to shout this MONDAY! Glory to God!

THE WIND AND WAVES KNOW HIS NAME

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Mark 4:41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Here we are with another hurricane, this one is called Nate. Nate sounds too friendly for a storm! Think about all the plans and people’s lives that have been interrupted this year with hurricanes. There was the catastrophic flooding with Harvey in Texas, the devastation of some Caribbean islands with Irma (not to forget Florida and the Keys), and then the utter destruction of Puerto Rico with Maria. This time we are dealing with Nate. At this writing Nate seems to have its sights set on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, another near miss for New Orleans. The gulf coast doesn’t need another hurricane. Is it possible that in the midst of all the storms the Lord is looking for our attention? I don’t want to start a theological battle about the devil or the judgement of God, but in the midst of these storms maybe He is looking for us to look to Him and acknowledge our need for Him in all life’s drama. At the end of the day, “the waves and wind still know His Name”. Here are the words to an awesome song by Kristine Dimarco. Enjoy!

“Grander earth has quaked before

Moved by the sound of His voice

Seas that are shaken and stirred

Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

Through it all, through it all

It is well

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

It is well with me

Far be it from me to not believe

Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me

Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

Through it all, through it all

It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him

The waves and wind still know His name

It is well with my soul

It is well with my soul

It is well with my soul

It is well with my soul

It is well it is well with my soul

ahhhhhhh

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You Lord

Through it all, through it all

It is well with me.”

So I have to say; I mean shout;

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL !!!

Psa. 50:14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,

and perform your vows to the Most High,

Psa. 50:15 and call upon me in the day of trouble;

I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

LION, CALF, MAN, AND EAGLE

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Rev. 4:6,7 ¶ And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.

This is verse is part of an amazing glimpse into the scene in heaven where the Lord is being worshipped by the angels and those redeemed from sin from every tribe on the earth. John gives us a glimpse into the function of the mysterious seraphim that are closely connected to the throne of God. In Isaiah’s vision, as well as the one in Revelations, these “burning ones” are caught up in worship. They apparently lead the worship in heaven. Once there was five of these creatures before one of them fell. You know the one. Lucifer, the chief worship leader in heaven. These amazing angelic beings are totally caught up with the holiness of God. You can almost hear them if you stop and listen, “Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory. Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty; the One who was and is and is to come”.

The early church fathers used to connect these four creatures to the four gospels. I like Augustine’s version. He said that Matthew corresponded to the lion, Mark to the man, Luke to the calf, and John to the eagle. These comparisons are quite interesting.

Matthew was the gospel written for the Jewish people. Think about it, the lion of the tribe of Judah. The first verse in Matthew refers to Jesus as the Messiah, the son of David. Of course Jesus is that messianic king portrayed by the lion and He rules all things with His mighty word. Mark is said to correspond with the creature with the face of a man. Mark’s gospel was written for the gentiles, the people of the nations. In Mark’s gospel we see Jesus as a man, the Son of Man. We also see Him moved with compassion as He ministers to the hurting members of humankind.

Next is Luke. His gospel starts in the temple and ends in the temple. The calf, the sacrifice of blood for the cleansing of sin, is the picture of Luke’s gospel. Luke gives us a portrayal of Jesus praying in Gethsemane, sweating great drops of blood. He is surely our heavenly high priest. Finally there is John pictured by the eagle. The eagle is known for soaring to the heights and for his incredible vision. This unveils the revelation of Jesus we find in John’s gospel. John takes us to the heights as we see Jesus as the Son of God from eternity clothed with human flesh. In John we find the pinnacle of the Father’s revelation, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.