AMBUSHED BY GOD

Is.30:18 – Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.

This is a very precious promise from Isaiah the prophet. In the original language there is a powerful shade of meaning in the word “wait”. This word implies some sort of ambush. Isaiah pictures the Lord waiting at strategic places in our lives to ambush us; He wants to ambush us with His compassion and mercy. It’s easy for us to get restless when we are waiting for some sort of breakthrough, the Lord uses those seasons to teach us why we are seeking Him after all. The breakthrough involves intimacy with Him, His gifts and provisions became secondary. I can imagine Him as the Lion of the tribe of Judah waiting in the bushes of the turns in our lives waiting to pounce on us to devour us with His love. Here is how Dick Mills sees this verse.

“The mercy in store for them is very affectingly expressed. He will wait to be gracious; he will wait till you return to him and seek his face, and then he will be ready to meet you with mercy. He will wait, that he may do it in the best and fittest time, when it will be most for his glory, when it will come to you with the most pleasing surprise. He will continually follow you with his favors, and not let slip any opportunity of being gracious to you. He will stir up himself to deliver you, will be exalted, will be raised up out of his holy habitation, that he may appear for you in more than ordinary instances of power and goodness; and thus he will be exalted, that is, he will glorify his own name. This is what he aims at in having mercy on his people.”

So maybe you feel like you have been forgotten or forsaken. Let this season in your life increase your hunger for Him. Rather than forgotten you are remembered. He is looking for the perfect moment to ravish you with His love and bring restoration to the broken places of your life. Let this verse be a word from the Lord for you, “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him”.

FAVOR AND VISITATION

Job 10:12 KJV – Thou hast granted me life and favor, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.

Job recognized the source of His prosperity in life. He attributed it to the favor and visitation of the Lord. There are some very important things we can learn from this short verse of scripture that can help us in every arena of our lives. First, recognizing the significance of the favor of God. Favor is closely associated with grace. The favor of God rested mightily upon the sons and daughters of God by faith in Christ Jesus. It is because of the forgiveness we find through His blood that we have access to this favor of God. We also see the importance of looking to the Lord rather than to our own talents and resources for our success in this life. The Lord is the creator, possessor, and distributor of all things. Look to Him and experience his favor. Next, Job acknowledged God’s visitation in His life. Visitations center us. When God comes down in our lives, we see His greatness and our need for Him. Times of visitation are essential in all of our lives. Here are some thoughts from Adam Clarke on today’s verse.

“Thou hast granted me life and favor. Thou hast brought me from my mother’s womb; given me an actual existence among men; by thy favor or mercy thou hast provided me with the means of life; and thy visitation-thy continual providential care, has preserved me in life-has given me the air I breathe, and furnished me with those powers which enable me to respire it as an agent and preserver of life. It is by God’s continued visitation or influence that the life of any man is preserved; in him we live, move, and have our being.”

The favor of God on our lives produces two major things. First, it glorifies the Lord. When we experience unusual favor and blessing on our family, business, and ministry people take notice. As we point them to the Lord His name is exalted. Secondly, we taste His goodness and experience unspeakable joy and satisfaction in our lives. Experiencing the favor and blessing of God is why we are created, discovering this finally brings us to a place of rest and contentment. What a blessing to be able to say with Job, “Thou hast granted me life and favor, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit”.

NO SHADOWS

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.

The sun is one of the great pictures of God that the Creator has placed in His creation. Everything in our world is totally dependent on the sun. There is a constant flow of light that rains down on the earth. It gives us light, and heat, and the energy that is the source of all plant and animal life. This is a great picture of the constant stream of life that flows to us from the Father of lights. James spoke about this continual giving nature of our Father pictured by the sun. James pointed out one major difference; with the Lord there is no shadow of turning. No nighttime, no winter seasons and no eclipsing of His nature. He is our constant source of life and provision. Here are some thoughts from Adam Clarke on this incredible Father of Lights.

“The sun, the fountain of light to the whole of our system, may be obscured by clouds; or the different bodies which revolve round him, and particularly the earth, may from time to time suffer a diminution of his light by the intervention of other bodies eclipsing his splendor; and his apparent tropical variation, shadow of turning; when, for instance, in our winter, he has declined to the southern tropic, the tropic of Capricorn, so that our days are greatly shortened, and we suffer in consequence a great diminution both of light and heat. But there is nothing of this kind with God; he is never affected by the changes and chances to which mortal things are exposed. He occupies no one place in the universe; he fills the heavens and the earth, is everywhere present, sees all, pervades all, and shines upon all; dispenses his blessings equally to the universe; hates nothing that he has made; is loving to every man; and his tender mercies are over all his works: therefore he is not affected with evil, nor does he tempt, or influence to sin, any man.”
Why does it seem like the Lord is hidden from us and His blessings are blocked from us? All of God and His blessings are revealed in His Son Jesus Christ. Look to Him, bow before Him in worship, seek Him in His word. You too will soon find yourself swallowed up in His beams of light and life.

BLESSED

Matt. 5:3 ¶ “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
What a way to start a sermon. Jesus was all about the shock value of His ministry, His words were anything but safe or what would be called today, culturally relevant. He would go right up against the grain. He came right out and said it, the way to be blessed or extremely happy, was not in the pursuit of this present age, it would be found in the pursuit of the kingdom of heaven. Right off the bat, that is a hard sell. Many people aren’t remotely interested in heaven, it’s comfort and pleasure in the here and now that they are after. Man’s wisdom would try to sneak up on people with some cultural cliche or a promise of popularity. Not Jesus, He spoke of meekness, poverty of spirit, repentance (mourning), and even persecution as being linked to happiness, or as He said it; blessedness. The way to be blessed is found by the pure in heart, they are the ones that will see God. Here are some thoughts from Barclay on this word ‘blessed’.
“That is most important, for it means that the beatitudes are not pious hopes of what shall be; they are not glowing, but nebulous prophecies of some future bliss; they are congratulations on what is. The blessedness which belongs to the Christian is not a blessedness which is postponed to some future world of glory; it is a blessedness which exists here and now. It is not something into which the Christian will enter; it is something into which he has entered. True, it will find its fulness and its consummation in the presence of God; but for all that it is a present reality to be enjoyed here and now. The beatitudes in effect say, “O the bliss of being a Christian! O the joy of following Christ! O the sheer happiness of knowing Jesus Christ as Master, Savior and Lord!” The very form of the beatitudes is the statement of the joyous thrill and the radiant gladness of the Christian life. In face of the beatitudes a gloom-encompassed Christianity is unthinkable.”
So that very thing that we are all after but not willing to admit is happiness or joy. Jesus starts His very first sermon with that word that we are after, He called it ‘BLESSED’. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

ALL IN A WEEK

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
Last week the Louisiana District Council of the Assemblies of God gathered in our building. This is where AG pastors come from all over the state to assemble in meetings, voting, fellowship and praying. The newly elected Superintendent decided to reach out to us and meet in our building and we were so excited! We had spent weeks in preparation and in prayer.  It was told to us that the attendance hadn’t been that large in years and so many pastors came up to Frank and I thanking us for the 36 years we have stayed “at the post”.  It was a great Holy Ghost reunion and Victory was a part of it. The week ended with our last showing of Beyond the Grave with a record attendance and a huge altar call.
During the week we were invited to attend a breakfast with pastors of the largest AG churches in the state. Frank and I were shocked and completely humbled as the Superintendent apologized for the way we have been in his words—“knocked down, beat, squashed and so forth” from our denomination and promised that a new day has begun. Then another pastor basically gave us a prophetic word how airline hwy has been a place where ministries have fallen, and Victory was  placed right between addiction (Budweiser) and idolatry (Saints).  It’s funny how one can think about all the wrong doings and unfairness their whole life. Then when  “THE APOLOGY”  comes are we truly ready to move on?  I don’t want all my difficulties, rejection and set backs to define me. The above verse stresses a continual new life in Christ. He turns the bitter into sweet. What devils are you fighting this MONDAY? Listen to Gill as he shares on this scripture.

“Something new is implanted into the soul, which never was there before. It is not a working upon, and improvement of the old principles of nature, but an implantation of new principles of grace and holiness, here is a new heart and a new spirit and in them new light and life, new affections and desires, new delights and joys, here are new eyes to see with, new ears to hear with, new feet to walk, and new hands to work and act with. Old things are passed away, the course of living, the old way of serving God, the legal righteousness, old companions and acquaintance are dropped, and all external things as riches, honors, learning, knowledge are relinquished. Because all thing s are new, there is a new course of life both of faith and holiness, a new way of serving God through Christ by the Spirit.” Gill

BEHOLDING HIS BEAUTY

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY- “One thing have I desired of The Lord, that will I seek after” Psalm 27:4

I am sure many of us can relate to traveling for hours on end. I am talking about flying overseas, across the world to those far away places, going through airport security and sitting in endless uncomfortable airplane seats. And I could go on about eating fish eye soup, or some snail, or other nasty food that the culture insists we eat. Bathing out of a trashcan (it was clean) jumping into planes that had flies, trains with animals on board and armed guards pointing rifles at us. Sometimes, a lot of times, I would just close my eyes and pretend I was back in my own bed however far away I was. Despite all the hassle and insanity, God would always show up somewhere somehow. I smile when I think of all the countries that Frank and I have been. It wasn’t the beauty of the place, the artwork or necessarily the edifice. He always showed up! He broke through time, place and people in all the weirdness and exhaustion. David desired that one thing and he was captivated by His beauty. Oh to have the abiding consciousness of the Divine presence! It is what we live for or are you living out of your “soul realm”? Learning how to commune with God is vital to our Christian way of life. Listen to this quote: “Blessed are they who are delivered from the misery of multiplied and transient aims which break life into fragments. But by steadfastly and continually following that one great desire, which binds all the days each to each, and in its single simplicity encloses and hallows and unifies the else distracting things” (Expositor’s)
Sooner or later, you as a Christian, will have to lay aside all your anger that “this didn’t happen or God didn’t come through. Maybe you spend everyday striving and facing unrest over past regrets. Why don’t you just push all that stuff from all the table and begin to just say, “give me one thing LORD, to see your beauty! He will surely come!
“There have been many bereavements in my life. I have been emptied from vessel to vessel. But one thing has never failed — one thing makes me feel that my life has been one; it has calmed my joys, it has soothed my sorrows, it has guided me in difficulty, it has strengthened me in weakness. It is the presence of God — a faithful and loving God. Yes, brethren, the presence of God is not only light, it is unity. It gives unity to the heart that believes it — unity to the life that is conformed to it. It was the presence of God in David’s soul that enabled him to say, “One thing have I desired of the Lord; “and in St, Paul’s that enabled him to say, “This one thing I do.” George Wagner, in the “Wanderings of the Children of Israel,” 1862. (Treasury of David)
Give us such an appetite!

BLESSED

BLESSED

Matt. 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

What does it mean to be blessed? I think humans often think of being blessed in terms of physical blessings. That kind of blessed would refer to unexpected financial provision, extra paid vacation days, even the unexpected parking spot. “Boy, did I get blessed today.” The word blessed in the Bible is much more significant than just physical provision (even though it includes that). In the greek New Testament the word is makarios. It means happiness specifically speaking of happiness in the other world. There is a place of extreme, radical happiness that is found in God alone. It’s not in His gifts or provisions; although there are plenty of those. This happiness comes from being satisfied and complete in the enjoyment of God. That is blessedness. Here is how Thomas Watson describes it.

“Let us so conduct ourselves—that we may express to others that we do believe a blessedness to come—and that is by seeking an interest in God. For the beams of blessedness shine only from his face. It is our union with God, the chief good—which makes us blessed. Oh, let us never rest until we can say, ‘This God is our God forever and ever’ (Psalm 48:14). Most men think because God has blessed them with an estate, therefore they are blessed. Alas, God often gives these worldly things in anger. ‘God grants a thing when he is angry—which he does not will to give when he is tranquil.’ God often loads his enemies with gold and silver—the weight whereof sinks them into hell. Oh, let us pant after heavenly things! Let us get our eyes fixed, and our hearts united to God, the supreme good.”

That is certainly another way to look at things. Just as the children of Israel lusted after the quail and had so much that it was literally coming out of their noses, Watson says that sometimes excessive provision is a form of the judgement of God. The Lord supplies excessively to the greedy that their hearts can be exposed, that is a terrifying thought.

True happiness comes from God alone. The other things that we take pleasure in are only shadows pointing us to the fountain of all goodness. The world is desperately searching for this happiness. Today they are looking for it in the bars, in the arms of some illicit lover, in the casinos or powerball, some are searching for it on the golf course or at the football game, or in some form of substance abuse. As Thomas Watson said, “A man can no more extract blessedness out of sin—than he can suck health out of poison!” No, blessedness only comes from the fountain of all good.
Jesus’ greatest sermon could be titled “The Search For Happiness”. He started it with a list of actions that lead to blessedness. As He said, “Blessed ( makarios – happy) are the pure in heart for they shall see God”.

VICTORY CELEBRATION 2013

 

VICTORY CELEBRATION 2013

This is a very special year for Parris and I. We have declared the whole of 2013 as a year of celebration. Forty years ago our lives were drastically and permanently changed. What happened? First of all we were born again. Christ revealed His amazing love for us to us. We saw it the first time in the strangest way. We were watching the movie “Jesus Christ Superstar” when Jesus walked into our lives for the first time. We saw what calvary was about in a moment of time. As Christ was shown suffering and dying on the screen, our hearts began to break under the conviction of our sins. Christ had died for us. His love won our hearts. Within two weeks of that experience we were baptized in water and called into the ministry. During that same span of time we were married. We have a lot to celebrate. Salvation, calling into the ministry, and marriage. This is quite a forty year anniversary!
Today we are celebrating another anniversary. Thirty four years ago we started Victory Fellowship here in the New Orleans area. We had finished our Bible School in 1977, made our way to NOLA, and the rest is history. The Lord has done amazing things for us. Here is a short list of some of the highlights of the last thirty-four years.

Jan. 28, 1979 Victory Fellowship was born at Kawanee Avenue

March 1983 moved into our facility on Transcontinental Drive

Sept 1984 Victory Academy began

Sept 1985 Bethesda College

January 1989 moved into our Airline Drive campus

July 4 1990 Feed the Multitudes starts

August 1994 Historic revival begins at Victory Fellowship

Oct 31 1999 First performance of Beyond the Grave

August 29 2005 Hurricane Katrina

June 2006 Broad Street Mission

January 2007 Victory North-shore

March 2009 Marysong 2009

The Lord has done exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond all we can ask or think. You could just look at one of the ministries and be amazed at what God has done. Beyond the Grave has seen thousands of people harvested into the kingdom. There are pastors, worship leaders, businessmen and women, missionaries teachers; the list is almost endless, people who came to Christ through Beyond the Grave. Victory Academy has graduates serving in schools, churches, universities, and businesses all over the planet. Bethesda has graduated pastors, church leaders and missionaries that are serving The Lord in Tanzania, Uganda, China and the USA. Feed the Multitudes has been used to open the hearts of thousands to the message of the gospel. Many struggling with poverty and homelessness have found their way back to The Lord, back to church, and back into the job market as their lives have been transformed by The Lord.
Then there are the many churches that have been planted, ministries that have been birthed, and lay leaders that have impacted their world powerfully. So I say, let’s join in the celebration. The Lord has done above and beyond what we could have imagined, but I don’t think it is finished. How do I know? The joyful anticipation of coming revival is building in our hearts.

BLESSED!

BLESSED!

MERRY FRIDAY! BY PARRIS BAILEY

Eph.1:3″Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”.

This Sunday Victory Fellowship will be celebrating 34 years. Frank and I are also celebrating 40 years of our Christianity and marriage. I pray you will be patient with me because you will hear me allude to this through out the year. I am amazed by the grace and mercy of God. I have always said, my life is like “Cinderella meeting her knight in shiny armor”. I have yet to grow tired of Christ and my precious husband who both have loved me since I was a very young and a obnoxious 15yr old. When I wake up every morning I have the pleasure of being able to go walking in a beautiful parklike setting. (Audubon Park)I usually go around the fly and watch the sun come up along the Mississippi. At this time of year the mist is hugging the fields and most of the time you cannot see across the river. It is very quiet except for the howl of the monkeys and the morning roar of the lion. It’s funny how I can feel the burdens of the night before weigh me down but when I put forth the effort of walking I get renewed, refreshed, restored. You see His blessings are not partial or limited, He withholds nothing that would enrich us. God has given us a foretaste of our heritage in this world. His spiritual blessings can lift us up beyond the world of sense into the unseen world. His spiritual blessings poured on us create heaven within and around us. When Christ comes near so does His world and our world begins to take on the divine. We can be surrounded in heavenly places everyday of our lives for wherever His light and love are we feel His presence. My problems that once seems to smother me, leave just like the sun melting away the fog. His presence begins to diffuse “my issues” and we can smell the fragrance of Christ all around us. Yes, it is a good morning indeed! Thank you Jesus! This scripture resounds within me, “all spiritual blessing in heavenly places”.
“The Father blesses his children when he lavishes gifts upon them in his favor so that these bounties or these experiences, of whatever nature, work together for their good. Together with the gift he imparts himself.” Critical Commentary
Lightfoot says: “The heaven which lies within and about the true Christian'”. “In Him lay the cause that God blessed us with every spiritual blessing, since His act of redemption is the meritorious cause of this divine bestowal of blessing.” (Meyer.)
Go ahead, go out and take your walk, bask in His creation and let His spiritual blessings soak into your spirit. You can be enriched and changed! There is a fountain just for you!

MY FRIEND DICK MILLS -Parris Bailey

My friend Dick Mills
by Parris Bailey

Psalm 32: 7 “Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” Selah

Dick Mills homecoming at the age of 90 is a God story. I am sure he was special to all of us, but somehow he made Frank and I feel like we were the only people on the earth. He ended up being one of the very few folks that “stuck it out” with the Baileys for over 40 years. I first met him when I was seventeen, newly born again, newlyweds and attending bible school with Frank (yes, the 70’s). He gave me a beautiful word about having songs in the night and songs of deliverance. I had just left everything I knew, my family, the south and headed to the west coast. Peace describes exactly God’s word to me. Dick found us again when we went to New Orleans in 1978 and I would easily say came to visit us every year or so at our church for THIRTY YEARS! His typical question was always this, “Frank, where do you see yourself in 5 years?” By the end of his visit he would treat us and our kids to a gift from the local Bible book store and say, “I am so proud of you guys.”
He could really embarrass me with comments like that dress looks really good on you. He meant well of course but it was just Dick. One evening while at dinner, he grabbed a paper napkin and drew a house and simply said in one year, God is going to give you a house like this and worth a certain
amount. I wish I still had that paper napkin. Exactly within the year, someone gave us a house just like the diagram and worth the amount he said. We really didn’t think much of that little napkin drawing, but Dick always seemed to nail it right on the head.
In January 2005 while at Copeland’s Restaurant in Metairie, he started talking about a prophecy that someone said about a great flood destroying much of this region. I remember that I really challenged him and basically said “thanks a lot” and I remember really having to sort it out in my spirit if such a thing like he described happened I would have to “just trust Jesus”. Once again we really didn’t think much of it, until Hurricane Katrina burst the levees and yes we had to “trust Jesus”. You just had to know Dick.
One of our children really had a rough time in life, and Dick and Betty said they begin to pray for him daily in their prayer time. This particular child went through years of bad choices. I am thankful for those prayers, I believe those prayers kept my child not only alive, but brought salvation.
Just over a year ago, Frank and I were able to fly to Hemet, California to personally visit with Dick and Betty and family. They wanted our church to purchase his library. I wish he could see his books in our “Dick Mills Research Library and Laymen’s Library” that we have made available to so many to study, research and enjoy. In fact, Frank and I made it our offices!
He has gone home, but the moment we open those doors into that precious library, in our world, Brother Dick is larger than life.