LOVE

1 Jn.4:8 – Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

The simplest truths in the Bible actually open up bottomless oceans of revelation. To put it bluntly, it is impossible to understand the One who is eternal. Take the last part of today’s verse for example, “God is love”. Now the natural man may think that love is God in some metaphysical way but that is not the case. Love that originates from a human is created and limited at best. Others may take this to mean that God will overlook our sins and accept us like we are. That is only partially true. He doesn’t overlook our sins He cleanses them by the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross. Being holy He cannot overlook sin, He had to deal with it. That was the whole point of Calvary. So what is this God is love thing? The Lord loves His uncreated Son. He has loved Him from eternity. This love between the Father and the Son is actually so profound that it is actually a person, the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus is the Word of God the Holy Spirit is the love of God. Here are some thoughts from Dane Ortlund describing Jonathan Edwards view on the love of God.

“For Jonathan Edwards, the fountain for all Christian loving is the love of God himself. This love has existed within the Godhead from all eternity, ultimately spilling out in the divine act of creation, an act that filled no need on God’s part but was simply the natural overflow of God’s own joyous intratrinitarian refulgence….. Reflecting on the two places in 1 John where we are told that “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16), Edwards argues that this assertion “shows that there are more persons than one in the Deity: for it shows love to be essential and necessary to the Deity, so that his nature consists in it.” Love is who God is. For God to love is for God to be God. “The very nature of God is love. If it should be enquired what God is, it might be answered that he is an infinite and incomprehensible fountain of love.”

God loves His Son. How does that impact me? If I am a purchased son of God, Christ is in me and I am in Him. The love that the Father has for His only Son is now focused directly on me. This love is beyond imagination. This is that bottomless ocean.

When God advances His larger plan through us!

Merry Monday by Parris

“Hannah prayed unto the Lord” I Sam. 1:10

I had mentioned last time I wrote that the Lord spoke to me while praying for my family that I was in fact praying over the city all these years. I tell you I was undone! He was in fact using my earnest prayers for the great city of New Orleans. I had a hard time connecting it with scripture until someone reminded me about the story of Hannah who was barren and then conceived and gave her son Samuel to the Lord who impacted the nation of Israel. Hannah prayed unto the Lord.

But listen to what Jack Hayford says,

“For Hannah, she gave birth to Samuel, who became one of the greatest prophets of the Bible. 

God uses the burden of Hannah’s heart to bring a surprisingly larger solution to a burden of His own heart.  Barrenness was not only Hannah’s condition, but Israel’s condition as well.  It was a season of spiritual need and with little prophetic activity, and God sought a voice to speak on His behalf to His people.  Hannah could not know that her intense intercession for a child was moving in concert with God-brining her a son, but also bringing forth the will and blessing of God for a whole nation.  As she entrusts the longings of her heart to God, He moves on her behalf, but also advances His larger plan through her at the same time.”

If we don’t watch out we get caught up with the have nots rather than the God that has and is working on our behalf that we can completely lose sight of God’s nature and who he is. As Hannah prayed God had it all under control, he was just looking for that mouthpiece that was willing to lift up her voice and live surrendered to God. Hannah lived grace, actually her name meant grace. The divine weaver of our lives always manages to take the bad, the disgraced, the dark in our world and weave in his beauty. What I love about Hannah was that her pain brought her to worship and that’s when our world changes. When we are confused worship, in pain worship, lonely worship, criticized worship! When we move in concert with God the world around us begins to change.

Then Hannah prayed and she just took her time to glorify God and his mighty power!

“There is no one holy like the Lord;

    there is no one besides you;

    there is no Rock like our God.

The Lord brings death and makes alive;

    he brings down to the grave and raises up.

 The Lord sends poverty and wealth;

    he humbles and he exalts.”

So when you cry out to God, just realize he is working on such a much larger scale than you could ever imagine!

EVEN CREATION FINDS ITS VOICE-

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS

You crown the year with your bounty;

your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,

the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy” Ps.65

I’ve been learning to sing with the whales and the stars of late. What’s so sad about that is I’ve been so stopped up for so long that I never heard them before or the many other thousand of creatures singing at me everyday. Recently in my morning devotions while walking I was overcome with some intense praying. I just couldn’t shake it, my universe was calm at the moment so there was no need for all of that drama. It was as if I heard the Lord speak to me, “what if all these tears through the years about your loved ones was really me praying through you for the city. You see Parris, I create hunger, I create the prayer within you.” I tell you I was undone. Ps.19 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto day utter speech, and night unto night shows knowledge.There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” Did you pick up how the day pours forth his speech? Everyday we are given a cornucopia of beautiful images that declare their speech along with ours back unto their maker. These creatures in fact take on a life all of their own as each created thing “dress” for the day’s celebration. Don’t you too want to be a part of the production that is all around you? But it just doesn’t stop with the voice or the many variety of species for in Ps.19 it talks about how the pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy! We can become a part of the harmonious praise back to God because we are recipients of his great bounty. I mean the mountains are singing and the valleys are shouting! The psalmist has hit upon something of immense theological and ecological significance: that “all creatures of our God and king” have a God-given voice to “lift up and sing.” They have been given back their voice and can you imagine what they are singing? HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD FOR STARTERS! There are a hundred billion galaxies all making noise about just how great is our God. I better join in with them for if the stars are made to worship, so will I!

HEART TEARS

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-

“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.  As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” Luke 7:37

What a picture of redemption! It shows how much our emotions are to overflow toward our Savior! When He walks into the room do we treat him as ordinary? Or even better when our brothers and sisters come for a visit! My oh my how many times did I turn my head away! Some historians say that this woman was no stranger in this Pharisees house. We of course don’t know but everyone seems to know what her occupation was! It was also indicated that she had an encounter with Jesus earlier and came to this house to give thanks. Whatever the case is, her encounter was timely and newsworthy. Her life was turned upside down and instead of using her precious oil on men, she poured out her life onto Christ. All the feelings inside of her became white as fullers soap and she knew the old ways were finished. Her repentance filled the washbowl and poured over! The same hair that she used on others she used for the Son of God. The Pharisee on the other hand showed no common courtesy to Christ because he thought he was just another fixture in the room. In fact it sounds like he didn’t show any attention to Jesus at all. But this woman begin to cry and cry and kiss his feet over and again using her hair as a towel and wiping away the oil and the tears. We will call them heart tears! What a spectacle she must have been in the room! To those that know where they have been and know where they are, they have no trouble being a spectacle all the days of their lives. The alabaster box of devotion breaks out in all of us. We give him back what was meant for him in the first place. We can never diminish the guilt of sin and the amount of grace that it took to free us from it!

Christ turns to the annoyed Pharisee and demands him to “look at the woman”! Christ chides him by saying, ‘You gave Me no water for My feet; but she has washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.'” What a changing of places there is now! The Lord has made the first to be last and the last to be first! Simon the Pharisee thought himself far more advanced than this woman. Where are your heart tears?

THE GREATNESS OF MARY’S SON

Lk.1:31,32 – And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,

This young teenager had to be totally overwhelmed by the events that day. First, angelic visitation? How could she deal with that? Then she hears that she would have a baby as a virgin! Unthinkable! Next, she would become pregnant before her marriage? Scandalous! To top things off, the most amazing news of all. This child would be great, the very Son of God. Hear is how Adam Clarke explains the greatness of Mary’s Son.

“He shall be great. Behold the greatness of the man Christ Jesus: 1st. Because that human nature that should be born of the virgin was to be united with the Divine nature. 2dly. In consequence of this, that human nature should be called in a peculiar sense the SON of the most high God; because God would produce it in her womb without the intervention of man. 3. He shall be the everlasting Head and Sovereign of his Church. 4thly. His government and kingdom shall be eternal. Revolutions may destroy the kingdoms of the earth, but the powers and gates of hell and death shall never be able to destroy or injure the kingdom of Christ. His is the only dominion that shall never have an end.The kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory form the endless government of Christ.”

Clarke shares four reasons for the greatness of Mary’s Son. First, He would be fully man and fully God at the same time. This has offended everyone from the Pharisees to the modern day Muslims. This is truly the mystery of God; God Himself clothed as a human. Secondly, the most unimaginable concept, He would be born of a virgin. This is impossible without the direct intervention of God Himself. That is exactly what happened, Mary conceived in her womb through the power of the Holy Spirit. Next, He would be the head of His church. Today, He is known as our chief Shepherd, He leads His church in all nations. Finally, His kingdom will last forever; it is not like any other kingdom. His kingdom is not something that can be seen with human eyes. It does not consist of buildings or organizations. His kingdom is the secret, unseen kingdom characterized by righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

MARY’S SONG

Lk.1:46,47 – And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior”.

Mary is describing supernatural utterance as she begins this prophetic song. She says ‘My soul magnifies the Lord’. This is exactly how Luke describes the supernatural utterance in tongues when describing what happened to the gentiles in Cornelius’s house. He said that the Jewish believers were shocked when they heard the gentiles speak in tongues and magnify God. This is how Luke described it, Acts 10:46,47 – “And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God”. The prayer language is a vocal, supernatural language declaring the magnificence of the Lord. Mary was so full of God that she too broke out in a prophetic song magnifying the Lord. This is how Adam Clarke describes Mary’s song.

“This is the only way in which God can be magnified, or made great; for, strictly speaking, nothing can be added to God, for he is infinite and eternal; therefore the way to magnify him is to show forth and celebrate those acts in which he has manifested his greatness.”

Mary’s prophetic song is an example of how people respond when they are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The prayer language and the gift of prophesy is how we pour out this blessing. Mary was a picture of the church about to be birthed through the ministry of her Son. Her angelic visitation and the overshadowing with the Holy Spirit marked her for the rest of her life. She was totally consumed, inside and outside, with the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit. Here is Clarke speaking about Mary being filled with God.

“My spirit hath rejoiced. Exulted. These words are uncommonly emphatical, they show that Mary’s whole soul was filled with the Divine influence, and wrapped up in God.”

This would not be the last encounter Mary would have with the mighty anointing of the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts, Luke lists Mary as being in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came upon everyone in the room. He said that everyone there spoke in other tongues. Here again we see Mary magnifying the Lord with her Spirit songs. The good news for us, we can all be overshadowed with the Holy Spirit and pour out our hearts in prophetic songs.

TRUST COMPLETELY

Pro.3:5 – TPT – Trust in the Lord completely,

and do not rely on your own opinions.

With all your heart rely on him to guide you,

and he will lead you in every decision you make.

I want to share a passage from Proverbs 3 from the Passion Translation today. Verse 5 has two short but extremely powerful thoughts. First, trust in the Lord completely. What exactly would that look like? I have actually been working on this for the last forty-five years. I think I still need to sort out what trusting completely looks like. Trusting Him when everything seems to be going my way is one thing, trusting Him when Katrina comes knocking at your door is another thing entirely. The second thought in this verse is don’t rely on your own opinions. I would say that is definitely easier said than done. What helps me with both of these instructions is this, draw close to the Lord, get to know Him intimately, then I will see His love for me and trust Him to sort out the intricacies of my life. Actually the next verse says exactly that.

VS.6 – “Become intimate with him in whatever you do,

and he will lead you wherever you go.”

That is the solution, intimacy with God. From that place of intimacy we trust Him more. From that place of trust it is easier to follow His lead.

The next verse I want to share is verse 9 and 10.

“Glorify God with all your wealth,

honoring him with your very best, with every increase that comes to you. Then every dimension of your life will overflow with blessings from an uncontainable source of inner joy!”

So this is where the Lord gets extremely personal with us. He wants that intimacy to include the financial part of your life. We all know that we don’t just bring anybody into our financial world. Allowing intimacy with God to extend to our possessions is extremely important and rewarding. When He comes on the scene He brings His wisdom, His influence, and His unlimited source of provision. Knowing Him intimately makes tithing a no-brainer. I bring in the first portion of my harvest and He takes it and multiplies it back into my life. Then that last part of verse 10 comes into play, “every dimension of your life will overflow with blessings from an uncontainable source of inner joy!”

WHAT A SAVIOR

Jn.14:16 TPT – And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Savior, the Holy Spirit of Truth, who will be to you a friend just like me—and he will never leave you.

This verse has been very important in my life for many years. It marked the first time Jesus began to teach the disciples extensively about the Holy Spirit. He used a powerful phrase in this passage to describe Him, allos Paracletos. Jesus would not be on earth physically after His death and glorification, this would be the beginning of the age of the Paraclete, the precious Holy Spirit. He would continue the ministry of Jesus; He would work in and through His followers. He would also apply the saving work of Jesus accomplished by His death and resurrection to our lives. As always, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are working in unison. Here are some powerful thoughts from the notes in the Passion Translation on this verse.

“The Greek word used here is paráklētos, a technical word that could be translated “defense attorney.” It means “one called to stand next to you as a helper.” Various translations have rendered this “Counselor,” “Comforter,” “Advocate,” “Encourager,” “Intercessor,” or “Helper.” However none of these words alone are adequate and fall short in explaining the full meaning. The translator has chosen the word Savior, for it depicts the role of the Holy Spirit to protect, defend, and save us from our self and our enemies and keep us whole and healed. He is the One who guides and defends, comforts and consoles. Keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, our Savior. The Aramaic word is paraqleta, which is taken from two root words: (1) praq, “to end, finish, or to save,” and (2) lyta, which means “the curse.” What a beautiful word picture, the Holy Spirit comes to end the work of the curse (of sin) in our lives and to save us from its every effect! Paraqleta means “a redeemer who ends the curse.”

I love that, the power of the curse is broken. We are liberated through the power of the Spirit to live totally free lives. We are free from sin and the issues that held us back in the past. We are made whole by the work of the Spirit. The beauty of this can’t be kept back, we have to share it with everyone who will listen to us. We are now carriers of the Holy Spirit to this needy world.

THE NEW JERUSALEM

Rev. 19:7,8 – Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.

John’s description of the church is quite a contrast to the Babylonian harlot, the one world church. The church on earth has bought in totally to the spirit of the world, the spirit of antichrist. They act like the world, think like the world, talk like the world; all because the spirit of the world is in them. This weekend Egon Falk, a Danish Evangelist who ministers in Tanzania, told me about the spiritual condition of the church in Europe. He said that many European Christians are socialist in their belief system and have no problem with abortion. Our country is speeding down the same path being led by the broken academic world; our schools and colleges are swallowing up the path toward socialism. This big government approach is paving the way for a last day universal government that tries to run our whole society. Man is arrogantly trying to build a utopia without the Lord in it. The judgement of the antichrist, the false prophet, the one world government, and the false church are all imminent. Christ will return Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on today’s passage.

“The occasion of this song; and that is the reign and dominion of that omnipotent God who has redeemed his church by his own blood, and is now in a more public manner betrothing her to himself: The marriage of the Lamb has come…..You have here a description of the bride, how she appeared; not in the gay and gaudy dress of the mother of harlots, but in fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of saints; in the robes of Christ’s righteousness, both imputed for justification and imparted for sanctification—the stola, the white robe of absolution, adoption, and enfranchisement, and the white robe of purity and universal holiness. She had washed her robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; and these her nuptial ornaments she did not purchase by any price of her own, but received them as the gift and grant of her blessed Lord.”

The rejoicing in heaven was spontaneous. The world system was finally being judged and Christ was about to return. I think all of us become distant and lukewarm, the time for repentance and renewal has come.

THE ESSENCE OF THE TRINITY

MERRY MONDAY

Parris Bailey

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen 2 Cor. 13:14

Years ago I had what I define as an open vision when we were facing one of the darkest trials in our lives. I have spoken of it many times through the years and recently I read a book that describes more or less the vision I had when it was speaking of the Trinity. What I saw was a huge boarded room filled with books and heavy wood paneling. I realized that I was standing outside the door of this room and saw three people sitting at the table beckoning me to come in. It’s hard to describe but I could tell by revelation that I was standing without and all I needed was to open the door and go in. When I sat down at the table I knew it to be the Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit. The fellowship of what they shared with each other was overwhelmingly strong and it began to fall upon me. They had scrolls in their hands which I perceived to be my life and I began to feel alarmed. But the presence of the three in operation of their gifts began to communicate to me that they would be with me throughout my life. The vision closed with all of us agreeing in prayer together as the rolls began to unwind. I was left with a feeling of overwhelming peace.

Little did I realize that there was a painting (circa 1600) that describes what I saw. The Trinity sitting at a round table in divine fellowship. You will notice the cup is being passed- the one that Jesus agreed to take. He too knew there was a plan for his life. The fellowship we have with the Trinity is eternal and they come with an eternal plan and it is a good one! In fact the world is caught up in their eternal plan. Every plant, animal, and human being placed upon this earth works in harmony with the dance of the Trinity. Their essence spills over onto us and we learn to celebrate the life of the trinity!

Calvin says “There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice and every human being is “formed to be a spectator of the created world and given eyes that he might be led to its Author by contemplating so beautiful a representation. You are not a shooting star or a floating asteroid orbiting through the universe non-existent and without purpose or notice. Your world is much bigger than you think”. Calvin also said, “Satan so much endeavors to accomplish as to bring on mists with the view of obscuring Christ, because he knows, that by this means the way is opened up for every kind of falsehood. This, therefore, is the only means of retaining, as well as restoring pure doctrine—to place Christ before the view such as he is with all his blessings, that his excellence may be truly perceived.”

So go ahead open the door and sit down at the table around the eternal fellowship of the Trinity!