THE FATHER’S BLESSING

Acts 1:4,5 ¶ And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now”.

Not every one admits it or is even in touch with it themselves but everyone wants their father’s blessing. I have some fond memories of my dad from my childhood. My father was old school, never told you he was proud of you or loved you and but he had very high expectations that he placed on all of his children. He taught me how to hit a baseball when I could barely walk. Actually he made the mistake of tossing a golf ball to me when I was about two. I had a little bat and hit a line drive into his Adam’s apple; that was the last batting practice we had with a golf ball. I remember him making it to a baseball game I played in when I was in high school, I was so proud when my dad told me I had played a great game.

The Bible is full of stories about the Father’s blessing. Abraham blessed Isaac, Isaac blessed Jacob, and Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph; Ephraim and Manasseh. Today’s verse describes the fulfillment of the Heavenly Fathers’ blessing. Of course Jesus had lived in His Father’s blessing from eternity as the Son of God. Something was changing now. Jesus had become a man and was about to receive the Father’s blessing as a man for all mankind. The Father had made His Son an eternal promise; if He would become a man and redeem fallen man with His blood, He would secure the blessing of the Father for all who believe in Him.

What exactly is the promise of the Father? Paul tells us in Gal. 3:13,14 ¶ Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith”. Do you see it now? The blessing of the Father is the Holy Spirit; He comes to live in us, immerse us in Himself, and cause us to experience all the benefits of being His Son. He is the Father’s promise and the blessing of the Father. Today, the favor and blessing of the Father is available for all who believe in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

OUR GOD

Psa. 67:5,6 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.

I think sometimes we may have a strange idea of praying to the Lord for help. We ask Him for all sorts of things, everything from strength to provision or deliverance from our troubles. What we often fail to see is that God Himself is the answer. He is our strength, He is our provision, and He is our victory. The disciples needed power to reach the world with the overwhelming great commission, they had no idea until Pentecost that God Himself would be there power. Abraham was wondering and asking for provision when he was asked to offer Isaac on the altar, He didn’t know that Jehovah Jireh was the provision as the ram in the bush. Paul faced enemies and challenges everywhere he went while preaching the gospel, suddenly he realized that God Himself was his victory. Just like he said, ” He always leads us in triumph.” Charles Spurgeon teaches how Christ Himself is our all in the following quote.

“Learn the divine skill of making God all things to thee. He can supply thee with all, or, better still, he can be to thee instead of all. Let me urge thee, then, to make use of thy God. Make use of him in prayer. Go to him often, because he is thy God. O, wilt thou fail to use so great a privilege? Fly to him, tell him all thy wants. Use him constantly by faith at all times. If some dark providence has beclouded thee, use thy God as a sun; if some strong enemy has beset thee, find in Jehovah a shield, for he is a sun and shield to his people. If thou hast lost thy way in the mazes of life, use him as a guide, for he will direct thee. Whatever thou art, and wherever thou art, remember God is just what thou wantest, and just where thou wantest, and that he can do all thou wantest.”
So maybe seeking answers and help isn’t the best way to approach God. Look to Him as the help you need. Seek Him and worship Him and you may find all the answers you need.
Psa. 91:15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble;

I will deliver him and honor him.

CREATOR OF ALL THINGS

He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
Jn.1:2,3

Paul talked about what he called “the mystery of godliness”. He was trying to comprehend the unthinkable, the Creator somehow entered His creation. That mystery is the glory of Christmas, the word became flesh and dwelt among us, there is nothing more astounding than that. Mary experienced the whole miracle from the conception to His birth, through His childhood years, and the years of His ministry. She was there at His death, burial, and even a witness of His resurrection. It was through her that He entered into His creation. The One who has lived from eternity burst on the scene that day in Bethlehem, born in a barn and sleeping in an animal’s food trough. Entering His creation didn’t diminish Him in any way. He is not only the Creator, He is also the Sovereign, ruling all things by His mighty word. Here are some thoughts from Martin Luther on Jesus the Creator.
“Whoever uses the term everything hasn’t left anything out. In other words, John was asserting that the Word existed before all creatures and that the Word was a coworker with the Father. He was an equal creator of everything along with the Father. Everything that exists has been made through the Word. The Word is the Creator of all creatures. There is no difference between the Word and the Father regarding the divine essence. The Word is the true God because he shares the divine essence with God the Father. The Word was with God in the beginning. He demonstrated this when he created the universe. He made heaven and earth, angels, and all creatures…This passage affirms that the Father created everything through his Son. This keeps us from having doubts about who the Son is. We can know and believe that our dear Lord and Savior, born of the Virgin Mary, is also the real, true, natural God and Creator together with the Father and the Holy Spirit.”
The Creator of black holes, galaxies, daisies, and even time itself has humbled Himself to come into our world. He came to restore the fallen crown of His creation. He came to seek and save the lost; He came to bring me out of the dark and into the light.

NEW AND LIVING WAY

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard,
so that you also may have fellowship with us.

And our fellowship is with the Father

and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

1 JOHN 1:3
When you ask people today why Jesus died on the cross people will always say something like, “to wash away my sins”. Even though that answer is correct it is not the ultimate reason Christ died. He died on the cross to bring us to God. It was our sins that were in the way of what God was really after and what we really needed. Some may think I am just being technical or playing word games but I have to disagree. You see many act as if the cross and forgiveness of sins are just a ticket to eternity in heaven and now we are here to live our best life now. Wrong!!! The blood brings us to God now. Access into His presence was purchased for this life as well as the life to come.The baptism in the Holy Spirit is available because of the cross. Walking in this light can change everything. Early in my Christian life I learned from Andrew Murray about what he called the ‘new and living way’ or ‘life behind the veil. This life in the Spirit is what calvary was all about. Here are some thoughts about this from Andrew Murray.
“Fellowship with God is the unique blessing of the gospel. By His blood He dedicated for us a new and living way into the Holy Place where we may walk in the light of God. The promise is, ‘The LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory’. Fellowship with God must be the preacher’s theme. Preachers will fail grievously in their work if they are satisfied to preach only of conversion, forgiveness of sin, and safety after death. Christians should be led into the practice of fellowship with God, for therein lies the secret of holy living. Fellowship with God is the preacher’s only source of power. If fellowship with God is the blessing of the gospel and the burden of the pastor’s preaching, then it follows that the preacher must show in his own life the possibility and blessing of such a walk with God. Experiencing it himself, he will be able to tell others about its wonder and joy, and will win them to the same happy fellowship with God.”
Enjoy this new and living way, you can start today. Look to Jesus in prayer and determine that today will be a day of basking in the glory of His presence in whatever you find yourself doing.

I AM IN HIM, YOU ARE IN ME, AND I AM IN YOU

John 14:20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

This was one of the first passages I was asked to memorize in my Bible School days. It is one of those simple, yet profound teachings of Jesus. He was able to say things in a few words that contained an entire theological system buried inside of them. This is one of those sayings.

First, He speaks of He Himself being in the Father. This is another glimpse of the profound mystery of the trinity. If we have seen Him, we have seen the Father. He is the radiance of the Father’s Glory. He is the very image of God Almighty. He is the very imprint of His nature. Jesus is absolutely God.

Secondly, He said that we would be in Him. We have been immersed into Him by the baptism in the Holy Sprit, that is the whole context of this teaching. We are in Christ. In Christ we find our identity, in Christ we are redeemed by His blood, in Christ we bear much fruit, in Christ we find our refuge and rest, by us being in Christ, God is glorified. This is David’s hiding place and the place Jesus was speaking about when He went to prepare a place for us. He is our dwelling place.

Finally, Christ said He would be inside of us. This is the very heart of why Jesus came. He said unless a man is born again He will never see the kingdom of God. When Christ comes into our lives we experience regeneration. Our whole life changes. We are no longer slaves of sin, Christ is inside of us now, living this brand new life in us that we can never live ourselves. The old life is over, a new life has begun.

Jesus said we would begin to see the depth of this powerful revelation in “that day”. What day was He speaking of? Of course He was talking about the day of the Holy Spirit that began on the day of Pentecost and continues up to now. It is His Spirit that gives us understanding of this profound divine revelation. So that’s it, Jesus is in the Father, I am in Him, and He is in me. That changes everything.

FATHER OF LIGHT

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

There is a river of cascading light flowing down from the Father above. He is the fountainhead and giver of all life. This river of light effects us powerfully once our eyes have been opened. Before Christ opened our eyes we were blind; blind to His goodness and to all His gracious work all around us. We were blind to the glory of the Lord; our lives were flooded with the darkness of this generation. This darkness effected the way we talked, the way we thought, the way we viewed the world, and was the source of all of our actions. When Christ came the darkness disappeared suddenly from our lives. First, we saw the beauty of Christ from this light. We began to be overwhelmed with the beauty of His nature; His kindness, His holiness, His wisdom and His love. Next, we begin to see our lives from this light. We saw our sinfulness and His offer of salvation. Then, as we embraced this light, our whole being was flooded with light. We are different people now, the glory of God has changed us into different people. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on today’s verse.

“What the sun is in nature, God is in grace, providence, and glory; aye, and infinitely more. For every good gift is from him. As the Father of lights, he gives the light of reason. The inspiration of the Almighty giveth understanding. He gives also the light of learning: Solomon’s wisdom in the knowledge of nature, in the arts of government, and in all his improvements, is ascribed to God. The light of divine revelation is more immediately from above. The light of faith, purity, and all manner of consolation is from him. So that we receive from God, as there is no evil or sin in us, or done by us, but what is owing to ourselves.”
Now, we see everything differently, the Lord appears beautiful to us, we also see ourselves in a different manner, and we see our purpose in life very differently. We are awakened by Him, transformed by Him, inspired by this light, empowered by it, and consoled and strengthened as we embrace His light. The world lies in darkness, unable to see the goodness of God. We are no longer part of this darkness, we have become children of light.

COME TO THE THRONE OF GRACE

Heb. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

What a promise from the Lord! We have free access into our Father’s presence all of the time. Our access is not dependent on our own righteousness or goodness, I am thankful for that. Our access is based on the righteousness and goodness of Christ. We can come into His very presence and find help in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. This promise is shocking. There are plenty of important people that we could never get access to (unless you are willing to pay a huge price). To have access to our Creator is really unthinkable. I can come before Him with boldness because the blood of God’s Son was poured out for me, the blood of Jesus washes away all of my sin. Here is how Charles Spurgeon described this privilege that belongs to all of God’s children.
“It is the believer’s privilege to have access at all times to his heavenly Father. Whatever our desires, our difficulties, our wants, we are at liberty to spread all before him. It matters not how much we may have sinned, we may ask and expect pardon. It signifies nothing how poor we are, we may plead his promise that he will provide all things needful. We have permission to approach his throne at all times-in midnight’s darkest hour, or in noontide’s most burning heat. Exercise thy right, O believer, and live up to thy privilege. Thou art free to all that is treasured up in Christ-wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. It matters not what thy need is, for there is fulness of supply in Christ, and it is there for thee. O what a freedom is thine! freedom from condemnation, freedom to the promises, freedom to the throne of grace, and at last freedom to enter heaven!”
So what condition do you find yourself in this morning? Are you worried or confused? Are you being tempted to return to the sins of the past? There is real help for you whatever you may be facing. There is not only help, there is well timed help. The Lord brings our answer and our provision at the appointed time. Look to Him, draw near with confidence to the arms of your Father. He cares for you deeply, He has provided the way of escape.

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-”

“Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.” Song of Solomon 6:13
The Song of Solomon’s always anchor’s me back to the love of the Father. It is a guiding light through this world’s haze. Ps.1 in the Message Bible says, we are blessed because we don’t hang out in Sin Saloon, don’t slink down Dead-End Road, or go to Smart Mouth College! He grabbed us out of those hell holes! The Shulamite is the bride of Christ and she has a name full of meaning. Salome or Solyma has been called the fairest of all women by the King, who has put his name upon her. Spurgeon says, she is “peace-crowned, peace-laden” because she is espoused to Christ. Yes, I feel better already!

The daughters of Jerusalem begged her to return to them. While their motive is unclear we know that the Bride returns so they can see her beauty but only the beauty that Christ adorned her with. He crowns us and causes our light to shine in a world of hopelessness. She answers back to the daughters and says, “What will you see in me but the dance of the two armies? Because the more we walk with Christ, the more we understand the two natures. Christ bids us to return to “our city, our friends” and not be afraid of them seeing our shortcomings. Augustine said, “I am not the man I wish to be, and I am not the man I hope to be, but by the grace of God, I am not the man I used to be.” God has put his nature within us to testify to the world our redemption story. Return oh Shulamite and tell it! There is a ‘Parris’ out there waiting to hear my story, lost as she was and needs me to return. Today in church service, a girl came up to me and said, Thank you for being obedient-“I would have been dead if Christ hadn’t found me.”

Again the Message Bible states: “even though on the outside it looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.There is far more here than meets the eye”. 2 Cor. 4:16-17

OLYMPIC GLORY

Heb. 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Lots of folks, me included, love watching the Olympics. It is great to watch athletes give their all to try to be the best in the world at what they do. My favorite Olympic story of all time is the story of the Scottish sprinter, Eric Lidell, who ran for the United Kingdom in the early 1900’s.The movie, Chariots of Fire, tells his story. One of my favorite lines in the story was something like this, “God has made me to run fast. When I run I feel His pleasure”. Eric Lidell got it, glorifying God with your life brings you the highest pleasure because ultimately, we were created to display His glory in our lives. What a deal, He gets the glory and I get the joy. Watching any kind of sports shows clearly not many competitors understand this. Most of the time, the only one smiling at the end of the event is the one with the gold medal. Jesus was the ultimate display of the glory of God. His life, His ministry, and His death and resurrection all displayed the glory of God. Here is how Jonathan Edwards describes the glory of the Lord.
“The word “glory” is used in Scripture often to express the exhibition, emanation or communication of the internal glory. Hence it often signifies a visible exhibition of glory; as in an effulgence or shining brightness, by an emanation of beams of light. Thus the brightness of the sun and moon and stars is called their “glory”. But in particular, the word is very often thus used when applied to God and Christ. As in Is. 6:1-3, “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims…And one cried to another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Today, the man Jesus is seated at the right of the Father. His current ministry as our heavenly High Priest brings glory to the Lord. He lives to intercede for us, baptize us in the Holy Spirit, and usher us into a new life in the presence of God. Discovering this new life is where you will taste His glory. This is the place you too can begin to glorify God with your life.

FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT

Sanctified by God the Father.
Jude 1:1
Sanctified in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 1:2
Through sanctification of the Spirit.

1 Peter 1:2
I love to read those old books. Jonathan Edwards uses a phrase that describes today’s verses, he speaks about the economy of the Godhead. What he is describing is the amazing way that these three-in-one work in harmony. Jesus said that He and the Father were one and He also said that He only does the things He sees the Father doing. They are inseparable and always work together. Today’s scripture describes their “economy” in the work of sanctification. This reminds us how important He sees holiness as in our lives. He is not content with our forgiveness alone, He is looking for change. The Father loves us and sent His Son so that we could be set apart (sanctified) for Himself. Jesus died for us to make this separation a possibility, the Holy Spirit works in us to accomplish this work. Here is how Spurgeon describes it.
“How unwisely do those believers talk who make preferences in the Persons of the Trinity; who think of Jesus as if he were the embodiment of everything lovely and gracious, while the Father they regard as severely just, but destitute of kindness. Equally wrong are those who magnify the decree of the Father, and the atonement of the Son, so as to depreciate the work of the Spirit. In deeds of grace none of the Persons of the Trinity act apart from the rest. They are as united in their deeds as in their essence. In their love towards the chosen they are one, and in the actions which flow from that great central source they are still undivided. Specially notice this in the matter of sanctification….And you, believer, as the follower of Christ, must also set a high value on holiness-upon purity of life and godliness of conversation. Value the blood of Christ as the foundation of your hope, but never speak disparagingly of the work of the Spirit which is your meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Let’s face it, our God loves us and wants to separate us from this world. He loves us with a jealous love and is working on our hearts to separate us from the world for Himself. What is our part? All we need to do is yield to His love.