“The people that is sitting in darkness saw a great light, and to those sitting in a region and shadow of death — light arose to them.” Matt. 4:16

Did you ever wonder why the scripture said “those that sit in darkness”? Makes one think it’s saying “to those that habitually make it their lifestyle”. It was 46 years ago on my Christmas break in my sophomore year that the light of Christ began to dispel the darkness that I was sitting in. How great was that darkness! Nine months later I found myself born again, married and off to bible school! Christ comes small in our lives like the babe in the manger born in a obscure village but little do we realize how big he gets in us! The star is still speaking to so many today that there is hope for you, freedom for you and forgiveness. Advent is upon us beckoning us to draw near-for he always comes. John Calvin said every human being is “formed to be a spectator of the created world and given eyes that he might be led to its author …. to cast our eyes upon the very beautiful fabric of the world in which God wishes to be seen by us. When those, who lay in darkness, are said to have seen a great light, a change so sudden and remarkable is intended to enlarge our views of the greatness of the divine salvation.”

Expositor Bible says; “Heavenly light, heavenly power, heavenly healing-these are the weapons of the new warfare: these the regalia of the new kingdom. No stinting now of the heavenly power; it flows in streams of blessing. It is daybreak on the shores of Galilee. The Sun of Righteousness has risen with healing in His wings.”

Take this advent season all in! Christ comes he always comes!






The people that sat in darkness saw a great light-Resplendent!


In the vivid lifeless damp night came lustrous hope dancing-Effulgent!


Stretching through eternity flaming prophecy became ripe for beholding-Forceful!


Incandescent splendor overcame the ache erupting- Divine intervention!


They saw, they felt, they were changed- Bedazzled!


Shining Ears awakened to the song, glowing eyes reflecting the shine -Splendid!


Blazing Bethlehem star hangs in the sky pointing-Radiant!


Wherever the beam shone that night the shepherds saw a new world-Florescent!


Wise men ardent in their journey looked for another -Glowing!


Incandescent from the manger is a child found – SON OF GOD!


parris bailey



Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table. Matt.15:27

We’ve all read the story of when Christ didn’t respond to the Syrophonecian women, and when he did, it wasn’t very nice. Even the disciples were put off by her making a scene and just wanted Jesus to fix it. Make it all go away Lord please! Somehow women and hollering go together I suppose! We know there are two types of people in this world. The sick and the not so sick, as Mary’s Song says, “The hungry he hath filled with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away,” Lk 1:53. And if you have ever been in the “sick group” things can get just a little desperate. I like to call it “living in the world of the miraculous” when anything can happen.

This woman had quite an ear to the latest news at her village of hope and was desperate to find it. I am not sure just how many townsfolk knew of the condition of her little daughter. Imagine day after day being hit, punched, cursed at with a dark force inside your child. She was desperate and she just heard of a way out. Christ the son of David was coming to her town.

When she meets Christ he “answers her not a word”; and she cried all the more. If you read the passage at first she is crying for her daughter then she cries “Lord help me”-the more she looked at him the more she realized this was about her. His sharp reply was yet another push away. He will not give the food that is meant for the children to the dogs. What I love about this woman is that she is undaunted. The Bible even says, she followed him into the house. You know she could feel it in the atmosphere-hope swirling, love pouring down. The moment was for here and for now. She has learned as Jacob to wrestle for the blessing. She had heard to much about him and wasn’t giving up. Did she catch the twinkle in Christ’s eye or the gentle tone? Christ was creating a web that would entangle herself and take her faith captive! He was chasing her faith down developing it to its fullness. She takes the sword out of Christ’s hands and catches him with his own words. He was calling her a “little puppy” and thats when she caught it. The outside dogs were never allowed in but the children at the table always fed the little pups. She wasn’t asking for the children’s food but knew a crumb was amply enough to take care her of situation.

“Great is your faith”, Christ said. Let’s have great faith!



Mark 3:5

“And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”

The story of the man with the withered hand always gets to me. I believe it speaks of the spiritual atmosphere we find ourselves in. Sometimes things just dry up and we lose the ability to help ourselves. Your faith withers, prayers cease and you even lose your joy. Again what a story for us! Without the power of God in our lives on a daily basis we will find ourselves in a hopeless world! Christ needs to come breathe life into the dead soul.

Matthew Henry says; “He commands us to stretch forth our hands, to improve our natural powers, and do as well as we can; to stretch them out in prayer to God, to stretch them out to lay hold on Christ by faith, to stretch them out in holy endeavors. Now this man could not stretch forth his withered hand of himself, any more than the impotent man could arise and carry his bed, or Lazarus come forth out of his grave; yet Christ bid him do it. God’s commands to us to do the duty which of ourselves we are not able to do are no more absurd or unjust, than this command to the man with the withered hand, to stretch it forth; for with the command, there is a promise of grace which is given by the word.”

Did you hear that? With the command there is the promise of grace! He enables us to reach forth, stretch out and grab a hold on the anchor that will save our soul! Lord I believe, help my unbelief!

What is it that you have found yourself backing away from? Are you weary, discouraged or offended? Tired of reaching out the hand of faith? Lets read what McClaren say’s about that;

“But let us not miss the parable of the restoration of the maimed and shrunken powers of the soul, which the manner of the miracle gives. Whatever we try to do because Jesus bids us, He will give us strength to do, however impossible to our unaided powers it is. In the act of stretching out the hand, ability to stretch it forth is bestowed, power returns to atrophied muscles, stiffened joints are suppled, the blood runs in full measure through the veins. So it is ever. Power to obey attends on the desire and effort to obey.”




“As Paul thus made his defense, Festus exclaimed in a loud voice, “You are raving mad, Paul; and great learning is driving you mad.” Acts 26:24

I’m sure it has happened to you at some point, you were sharing your faith and you were rudely interrupted with a bunch of name calling. Congratulations my friend, You have just been inducted into the “raving mad” club. Keep speaking up my friend and don’t be disobedient to your heavenly vision, for someone needs to hear it. The prophets of the Old Testament were stigmatized; people were against them: “Wherefore came this mad fellow unto thee”. 2 Ki. 9:11. When Christ was on earth, everything he did drove the religious mad. Acts 4:13 says, “they were ordinary men with no special training in the scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” The apostles, who were fishermen, were despised because they had no learning; Paul; a university-man and a Pharisee, is despised as having too much learning, more learning than did him good. The New Translation says in Hebrews 11: 38,“They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.” Paul was compelled to share his heavenly vision to the “powers that be”. His life was revolutionized, he saw into the unseen while those of the earth only saw the seen. Matthew Henry said of Festus, “Much learning hath made thee mad, thou hast cracked thy brains with studying. This he speaks, not so much in anger, as in scorn and contempt. He did not understand what Paul said; it was above his capacity, it was all a riddle to him, and therefore he imputes it all to a heated imagination.”

There is so much mystery involved in redemption! Paul was once one who used to swear and curse, killing Christians, and is now talking of the heavenly vision! All it takes is one moment for the dear ear to open. Who will hear the voice of wisdom calling in the streets?! Can we undo the riddle to mankind? Would to God we could open the portal to let others see what we see, feel what we feel! We cannot reason men into eternity but we can certainly share “the heavenly vision” but you will be treated like you are “raving mad”.



“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”


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!




“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.




Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” GEN.28:16

I love getting outside. Finding outside places wherever I find myself becomes an adventure. Staying indoors, curtains closed, tv on, never knowing what the weather is or season makes one crazy and then eating bad to boot is just toxic! And we wonder why we are depressed! Christ comes to redeem the whole man and he went through so much trouble to create so many intricate things. I believe it will take a lifetime finding them all out! Christ wants to show off his creation to you and to me. Go out there in the big world and see for yourself!

Piper said in his book, THE PLEASURES OF GOD, “Being infinite, he is inexhaustibly interesting. And it gets very practical. Seeing and savoring the glory of God like this changes us profoundly. And when we are changed like this, all our attitudes and actions are affected”. Here’s the way the New Testament says it: “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another”.

When I combine the word of God to creation he reveals himself even more. You may ask yourself, where is he to be found and known? He tells us: “The LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD” (1 Samuel 3:21, ESV). God reveals himself by his Word. If we want him, we go through his Word. Do you know you are transformed when you read his word and then when your glorify him through creation well thats the cherry on top! How many times have you been overtaken by God while reading his word or out in creation (or in worship) and you realize Oh my goodness “God is in this place and I didn’t know!” For the divine promise is the best commentary to see God. A million Jacob ladders opens up to us when we learn to leave the gaze of earth and its woes to become fixated on another world. “The seen is but a thin veil to the unseen” says, McClaren, “Here is the secret of elevation of aim and thought above the mean things of sense. Earth, which we are too apt to make a workshop, or a mere garden of pleasure, is a Bethel,-a house of God. Everywhere the ladder stands; everywhere the angels go up and down; everywhere the Face looks from the top. Nothing will save life from becoming, sooner or later, trivial, monotonous, and infinitely wearisome, but the continual vision of the present God, and the continual experience of the swift ascent and descent of our aspirations and His blessings.”

Find your Jacob’s ladder its all around you!



“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” 2 Cor. 12:9

Last week Frank and I were invited to a charity fund raiser in the Northwest. While he golfed and enjoyed fellowship with other pastors, I decided to do some exploring on my own after reading about a hill next to the resort that boasted of a 2.5 mile hike. The next morning I found myself in a forest of evergreen trees of verdant green against a backdrop of glacier lakes and mountains as far as the eye could see. The Lord even had it where I came across two fawns grazing in the rocks, ospreys feeding their young and little chipmunks running around. Talk about his abundance! He is the all sufficient one reminding us everyday that he has everything we need and more. More than what I saw, He was there bringing refreshment in overflowing proportions! Spurgeon says, “There is something in every Name of God which may breed faith in our souls. Whether we know him as Jehovah, Elohim, Shaddai, or Lord, or by whatsoever other name he has been pleased to manifest himself, that title becomes the ground of our confidence, and is the means of fostering faith in his people’s minds, when they come to understand its meaning. To a trembling people the Lord enlarges on his wonderful names. I think he also does it to excite our wonder and our gratitude. He that loves us so much is Jehovah: he that can create and destroy; he that is the self-existent God; he, even he, has set his heart upon his people, and loves them and counts them precious in his sight. It is a marvelous thing. The more one thinks of it, the more shall he be overwhelmed with astonishment, that he who is everything should love us who are less than nothing. It is the Holy One who has deigned to choose, and to love unholy men, and to look upon them in grace, and save them from their sins. That you may bow low in loving gratitude, God lets you see who He is.”

God is always showing us different angles of his glory and his love. He doesn’t want to go unnoticed nor be buried in the everyday. He waits to be needed, for someone to push away from life and reach upward. Way too many of us miss those special moments of his touch and it doesn’t have to be on some mountain. He comes in the everyday we just need to participate. To learn to move beyond the stuff that pulls away our attention and clamors to be heard. God is forever roaring as the All Sufficient One!



“Ζωὴ-The fountain of life”

John 1:4 “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

ROBERTSON WORD PICTURES said, “The power that creates and sustains life in the universe is the Logos.”

The Gospel of John mentions life (Ζωὴ) 36 times. If you think about the gospel of John he uses simple words to explain the most complex truths of Christ. Life, bread, light, water, are repeated over and over again. The Zoe life of God is “the peculiar mode of the divine operation upon men”. In other words redemption will always be summed up as supernatural and indescribable.

Pulpit Commentary has a great way of interrupting the Ζωὴ life of god. It says; “There is one impassable chasm which neither history, nor science, nor philosophy can span, viz. that between nothing and something. The evangelist has found the only possible method of facing it by the conception of One who from eternity has within himself the potency of the transition. The assertion now is that life, ζωή, with all its manifestations and in all its regions; that the life of plant, tree, and animal, the life of man, of society, and of worlds as such; that the life of the body, soul, and spirit, the life transitory and the life eternal (ζωὴ αἰώνιος), was in the Logos, “who was God and in the beginning with God, and he communicated to the Son his own Divine self dependence.”

Wow what a mouthful! Who can describe the life of God in the soul of Man! He breeches the chasm we created! We see Jesus giving life throughout his life and he continues to give us of himself now! “Life, in all its energies, past, present, and future, is an outcome, an effluence, of the Eternal Word.” (Pulpit) And we have all of that on a daily basis the rest of our lives! What a precious treasure we have indeed!

Again Pulpit commentary says, “John was reaching after something far more momentous even than that dogma of ancient faith and modern science.”The light of men” seems to be the faculty or condition, the inward and outward means, by which men know God. “The light of men” is the conscience and reason, the eye of the soul by which the human race comes into contact with truth and right and beauty. In the life of conscience and reason a higher and more revealing light is made to shine upon man, upon his origin, upon his Divine image, upon his destiny.”


We can call it divine illumination. My friend you need to give more credit to the divine within you and reach forth what your destined for! Christ himself has come to live within imparting the Ζωὴ (Zoe) kind of life!



Ro 12:3: “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith”.

There is nothing like having the faith of God. F.F. Bruce says, ”Faith is the organ which enables people to see the invisible order”.

The Greek word here for faith is Pistis. Faith is like the strong man that comes to lift anything out of the equation that stands in your way. Even when we are faithless he is faithful, are you joyless? He gives the joy! Faith is a gift that comes from God when our faith runs empty. It is never something that we can produce on our own by any human effort or set of religious works. When we bask in his word daily it will prepare the soil of our hearts for the supernatural! Strong’s word studies calls it; “GODS DIVINE PERSUASION” and goes onto to say, “for the Lord continually births faith in the yielded believer so they can know what He prefers.” As a believer we learn to pray according to His will for Jesus never did anything outside of the Father’s will. Strongs continues with , “Faith is God’s warranty, certifying that the revelation He in-birthed in us will come to pass. The Lord offers to in-birth faith in each scene of life – so that each matters equally in eternity . . . no matter how insignificant they seem.” I love that!

My friend, do you find yourself discouraged? Praying the same old prayers and feeling like it is cast into the wind? You can be Divinely persuaded by God himself to “stand still and see the salvation of God over your circumstances. He is the one giving you the ability to pray those prayers even though you are tired and weary. They come from above and move men by the holy ghost to believe for the impossible. Is your heart filled with promises? Christ births those promises in our hearts over the years and seals it with his guarantee! Keep burning the midnight oil, keep your lamps trimmed and burning. Everyday he brings his Divine Persuasion into our lives to get up and keep it a going. Yield to him today!