GETTING READY FOR THE DAYS AHEAD

Matt. 25:13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Are you ready for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? As Jesus said, “No man knows the day or the hour”. Since His coming will be sudden and unexpected we have to stay ready. In our fast paced world there are many distractions and obstacles to our faith that can dull us spiritually and cause us to be unprepared for His coming. Without spiritual sharpness it is easy for us to give in to the attitudes, beliefs, and spirit of the age. We have to stay vigilant so that the great day does not catch us unprepared. I was recently reading a book on Bible prophecy by Tim LaHaye that gave some powerful suggestions to keep us ready for that next great prophetic event, here is a brief summary of those ideas.

A. Know your Bible! The Bible is the truth of God, so the better you know the Scriptures, the better prepared you will be to withstand Satan’s deceptive ways. The daily reading of the Scriptures, particularly the New Testament, is a must for every Christian who would know truth….

B. Test the spirits! Another important question to ask is, What do you believe about Jesus? Most false teachers have a faulty view of Jesus. Never trust any teacher who does not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, His sinless life, sacrificial death, bodily resurrection, and His promise to come again physically to this earth. Always ask, Does the message or teaching glorify Jesus?

C. Seek God’s guidance in life and teaching! The Lord wants to guide and direct His children. If you are willing to be led by God, He will guide you to truth.

D. Avoid immorality! Nothing clouds the mind like lust and sin. They impair the reasoning of the mind on matters eternal.

E. Share your faith aggressively with others! This world has never been more religiously confused. As you witness to others about your faith, you strengthen your own convictions and help many of those to whom you reach out.

F. Walk in the spirit! All Christians in every age should walk in the Spirit, for Paul says that is “the will of the Lord”. As the Spirit fills and uses your life, He will make you sensitive to both truth and error.”
So go ahead and check yourself.The only way you really know that you are ready is if you have a joyful expectancy for His coming. So look up, the signs of His coming are everywhere, our redemption is at hand !!!

LIGHT TO THEM THAT SIT IN DARKNESS

MERRY MONDAY – BY PARRIS BAILEY
“To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:79

It’s hard for an unbeliever to admit he is sitting in darkness. Jesus even said ” because you say you can see, you are blind”. Elliot said “it’s like the sunrise lighting up the path of those who had sat all night long in the dark ravine, and whose feet were now guided into “the way of peace”. I love the word being a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. It keeps me from falling into the ditch. He gives us the ability to discern the darkness from the light.
Spurgeon describes our frame of mind without Christ. “The gloom is thick and dense; not sun, nor moon, nor star appeareth, and there can be no light to illumine the understanding, the affections, the conscience. Man has no power to get light. He may strike the damp match of reason, but it will not yield him a clear flame. The candle of superstition, with its tiny glare, will but expose the darkness in which he is wrapped. Rise, morning star! Come, Jesus, come! Thou art the sun of righteousness, and healing is beneath thy wings. Without Christ there is no light of true spiritual knowledge, no light of true spiritual enjoyment, no light in which the brightness of truth can be seen, or the warmth of fellowship proved. The soul, like the men of Napthali, sits in darkness, and seeth no light.”
Psalm 119 is filled with delighting with Gods word. When we are hit with darkness, doubt and destruction, Christ can bring illumination. I pray you can find a quiet place to brood over his word. The more you read the more he will pierce asunder your soul and spirit and discern your thoughts and intent. He will expose the darkness by his powerful light!
Spurgeon again speaks to the faint at heart . “Are any of you at this time bowing down under the shadow of death? Has hell gaped wide, and opened her jaws for you? Have you in your despair made a league with death, and a covenant with hell? Thus saith the Lord, “Your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand;” for the Lord has come forth, and visited you in the person of his dear Son to deliver the captive.”
Open his word this morning and ask him to shine his grace upon you. He will guide your feet unto the way of peace. He has taken away your judgements and has come to shed his love upon you. The gospel is always good news!

LIGHT OF THE WORLD

John 8:12 ¶ Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

You often hear Christians say, “We live in a dark world”. Have you ever really thought about that statement? What is a ‘dark world’? All darkness is, is the absence of light. In this case, it is the absence of spiritual light. Jesus said that He is the light of the world. While He was present on earth, everywhere He went the light shined. It was shining through His words and shining through His actions. The light shone when He declared “I am the light of the world”. This radiant light maybe shined its brightest as He prayed on the cross, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”. When He multiplied the bread and fish, opened the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf, and when the lame danced for joy; His light was piercing the darkness. Here are some thoughts from Tyndale’s Commentary on today’s verse.

“Jesus presented himself as the light of the world at the Feast of Tabernacles; a festival during which great candles lit up the courtyards of Jerusalem every night. However, Jesus’ claim to be the light of the world contained more than allusions to the great illuminations of the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus promised, Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. Those who followed him by accepting his teaching would no longer walk in the darkness of ignorance under the power of the evil one. As the apostle Paul said, ‘he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves’. As life in the darkness culminates in death, life in the light of Christ culminates in eternal life; it is ‘the light of life’. In the Prologue the evangelist said of the Logos, ‘In him was life, and that life was the light of men’. To come to Christ means coming to the one in whom is found the life of God, and that life is the light of men, the light of life.”

Today that light shines through the faces of His sons and daughters. We are now the light of the world. He shines through our words and our actions. As we walk with Him, His love penetrates the world we live in. You effect your world more than you know.

BURNING ONES

Is. 6:1-2 ¶ In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

There are some very strange and unusual creatures in heaven. Isaiah described creatures that he saw in heaven as seraphs. They had six wings; two each covering face and feet, two others for flying. They were observed as proclaiming the glory of God to one another. The Fire Bible describes these seraphs as attendants of God. Here is that description.

“Seraphs are angelic beings with the awe-inspiring privilege of directly attending God. Seraphs could possibly be identified with heavenly creatures described elsewhere in Scripture (Rev 4:6–9). Their title (literally, “burning ones”) perhaps suggests their purity, since they are the ones who serve God around his throne and inspire those in God’s presence to worship him (4:10). They so directly reflect God’s glory that they seem to be on fire.”

They are called the burning ones. They live in the atmosphere of the Consuming Fire and reflect His glory. Isaiah was convicted of his apathy in their presence. Like the seraphs, we can be burning for God. Calvin talks about their brightness and how we may learn to adore His brilliance.

“And the seraphim stood upon it. Having declared that God appeared to him full of majesty and of glory, he adds, that God was attended by angels, whom the Prophet calls seraphim on account of their fervor. Though the etymology of this word is well known, yet various reasons are adduced. Some think that they are called seraphim because they burn with the love of God; others, because they are swift like fire; others, because they are bright. However that may be, this description holds out to us, as in sunbeams, the brightness of God’s infinite majesty, that we may learn by it to behold and adore his wonderful and overwhelming glory.”

Like Isaiah, when we find ourselves in the glory of God we see our inadequacy and apathy. As we yield to his visitation, like the seraphs, we begin to be lit up. Maybe your fire has grown dim, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Come to the house of The Lord, maybe just maybe, Isaiah’s God will visit you and you will become one of His burning ones.

BRIGHT AND SHINING LIGHT

Ye are the light of the world—Matthew 5:14

This scripture reminds me of one of my infamous tree-planting stories from Bible School days. For those they may not know; Parris, our infant son Jeremy, and I lived in the coastal mountains of Oregon and Washington for seven months planting trees. For several days it was too warm to plant during the day so we planted at night. How do you plant trees in the mountains in the dead of night? Weyerhaeuser put up big lights on the slopes and we had helmets with lights, kind of like you would see in a coal mine.
Of course without the lights you would be helpless. Once you got the hang of pointing your head in the right direction it wasn’t that bad. As we worked, the big light reminded me of the light of the glory of The Lord shining down upon us. The lights on our heads reminded us that we too are the light of the world. Not only do we see by that light but others also are attracted from their dark world into the light shining out from us. Here is how A. B. Simpson explains this powerful truth.

“We are called the lights of the world; light bearers, reflectors, candlesticks, lamps. We are to be kindled ourselves, and then we will burn and give light to others.

We are the only light the world has. The Lord could come down Himself and give light to the world, but He has chosen differently. He wants to send it through us, and if we do not give it the world will not have it. God does not put a meteor in the sky to tell us when to shine. We are to be giving light continually wherever we are-at home, among friends or in church. We should have the attitude that we may never have another opportunity, and so we should always be shining for Him. Let our lamps be trimmed and full of the oil of the Spirit. Above all, let us be a steady light to those without Christ.”

We live in a dark world that appears yo be getting darker all of the time. The only light people can see who are living in darkness is the light that shines out from God’s people. We really are the light of the world. This dark age will be over soon and the whole earth will be filled with the glory of The Lord. In the meantime, put on your helmet of light and shine, shine as we labor through this season of darkness.

NEW WAVE OF PERSECUTION AGAINST CHRISTIANS

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NEW WAVE OF PERSECUTION AGAINST CHRISTIANS

Matt. 24:9-10 ¶ “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.

Make no mistake about it, there is a new wave of persecution of Christians in our world today. In Syria, there are reports of burning historic churches and beheading average Christians. In Pakistan, there was the bombing of an ancient church this weekend with a death toll in the seventies. In Egypt, over eighty churches have been burned in the last several months. In Iran, pastors have been sought out , arrested and imprisoned for many years. In Nigeria, many reports of kidnapping of Christian girls to be raised in the homes of Muslim leaders and being forced to renounce their faith. In Kenya, Christians were targeted in the mall uprising, that death toll is still being tallied up. If we think these things are unrelated we are just fooling ourselves. Christianity is under attack because the end is drawing near. Here is an excerpt from a recent news article by Raymond Ibrahim.

“Teachers who teach western education? We will kill them! We will kill them in front of their students, and tell the students to henceforth study the Quran.” — Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, which has slaughtered Christian teachers and students, but has not been designated a terrorist group.

On July 4th, the day after the Egyptian military liberated its nation from Muslim Brotherhood rule, Christian Copts were immediately scapegoated and targeted. All Islamist leaders—from Brotherhood supreme leader Muhammad Badi, to Egyptian-born al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri, to top Sunni cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi—made a point to single out Egypt’s Copts as especially instrumental in the ousting of former Islamist president Morsi, a claim that ushered in a month of slaughter against the nation’s Christian minority.”

Among other events in July, unprecedented numbers of Christian churches were attacked, plundered, desecrated, and torched. According to one Egyptian human rights lawyer, “82 churches, many of which were from the 5th century, were attacked by pro-Morsi supporters in just two days.” Al-Qaeda’s flag was raised above some churches; anti-Christian graffiti littered the sides of other churches and Coptic homes. Due to extreme anti-Christian sentiment, many churches ceased holding worship services until recently. Dozens of Coptic homes and businesses were also attacked, looted and torched.”

The point of this blog is to awaken Christians to the world we live in. We cannot pretend like everything is fine, its not. Of course I understand that The Lord has everything covered, but who will He use to fulfill His purposes in these days? Can He use you? Are you available to pray? Are you available to share His love with the lost? As our world gets darker, the truth of the gospel shines even brighter. What a contrast between the hostility in the world to the love displayed to the world through Christ. Let His love deepen in you, let His light shine through you.

BURNING AND SHINING

BURNING AND SHINING

John 5:35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.

Christianity is more than having right beliefs (though our doctrinal accuracy is essential), but it also consists of a heart aflame with God’s love. In today’s scripture verse Jesus is describing John the Baptist as a prophet burning and shining with the light of God’s glory. His mind had a great revelation of the coming Messiah and his heart was consumed with God’s love for mankind. Jesus said that John was burning and shining with the glory of God. Jonathan Edwards preached from this verse speaking about the excellency of a gospel minister. Not only should our ministers be burning and shining, all Christians should carry those traits; a mind shining with the revelation of God and a heart consumed with His love. Here is how Edwards said it.

“It is the glory of the sun that such a bright and glorious light, and such a powerful, refreshing, vivifying heat, are both together diffused from that luminary. When there is light in a minister, consisting in human learning, great speculative knowledge, and the wisdom of this world, without a spiritual warmth and ardor in his heart, and a holy zeal in his ministrations, his light is like the light of an ignis fatuus, and some kinds of putrefying carcasses that shine in the dark, though they are of a stinking savor. And if on the other hand a minister has warmth and zeal, without light, his heat has nothing excellent in it, but is rather to be abhorred; being like the heat of the bottomless pit; where, though the fire be great, yet there is no light. To be hot in this manner, and not lightsome, is to be like an angel of darkness. But ministers by having light and heat united in them, will be like the angels of light; which for their light and brightness are called morning stars. Job xxviii. 7. “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” And because of that holy ardor of divine love and zeal with which they burn, they are compared to a flaming fire. Psalms civ. 4. “Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flaming fire,” and are therefore called seraphim, which is a word that is derived from a root that signifies to burn.”

John the Baptist had a clear revelation of the true ministry of Christ. He saw Him as the sacrificial lamb slain for the sins of man. John also saw Jesus in His heavenly ministry, He would be the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit when He took His place at the Father’s right hand. Today, those two revelations will cause us to be burning and shining lights. We see Him as the lamb of God and our hearts are consumed with His love. We then see Him in His present heavenly role as our heavenly Baptizer, this causes us to be literally overcome with with His love. Lord make us all burning and shining lights.

STAR OF WONDER

STAR OF WONDER STAR OF BRIGHT

Merry Tuesday by Parris Bailey

Numbers 24:17: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

Jonathan Edwards said: “There is a kind of infinite power in the light of this heavenly star to fill the heart with gladness and rejoicing. Its light in the soul is holiness and happiness itself. The star that I speak [of] is Christ as held forth in the doctrine [of the] Word of God, and in the glorious gospel, which is to be seen, not with bodily eyes, not in the imagination, but in the understanding and sense of the heart. If you find this star, then will you come out of darkness into marvelous light. You’ll find the brightest light in the universe. You will find the pleasantest and sweetest light that is to be seen in heaven itself, the most beautiful object that ever the eyes of angels beheld. If you find Christ, this glorious star, this excellent heavenly jewel, will be yours. He will be your own, your Savior, your Lord, your portion. Then may you say, as in Chronicles 2:16, “My beloved is mine, and I am his.” O how rich and happy will you be then! If you find Christ, you will find that precious balm that will heal all the wounds of your soul; he’ll pour in the oil of comfort into your heart. He will be to you as a light shining in a dark place. It would be a pleasant sight to behold, the most beautiful and lovely object that ever your eyes beheld. It would scatter your darkness and will find it a pleasant light to your soul, filling it with a sweet calm and excellent refreshment.”

I wrote this poem last year at Christmastime, I pray that it will minister to you. He is the bright and morning star to you and to me.

O STAR!

O BEAUTIFUL STAR
HOW BRILLIANT YOU ARE
THE PLACE I SEE YOU SEEMS SO FAR
WILL YOU HEAR MY CALL?

O STAR, STAR DIVINE
HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR FACE TO SHINE?
IF WE FOLLOW THE STAR WHAT WILL IT SAY?
“GO TO THE MANGER”
WHERE CHRIST THE BABE LAY
FAR AWAY FROM PRESENT DANGER

STAR OF AMAZING SHINE
FULL OF HOLY LOVE DIVINE
SHEPHERDS AWOKE IN THE NIGHT
THERE WAS A GREAT LIGHT
THEY HEARD THE ANGELS SING
GLORY TO GOD, PEACE TO ALL
FIELDS AND VALLEYS DO RING
THE NEWS OF THE NEW BORN KING

O STAR, SHINE ON ME!
SHOW ME THIS WONDERFUL MYSTERY
IN YOU, HIS FACE I WILL SEE
FROM NOW TO ETERNITY
YOUR SHINE BRINGS CLARITY

BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR
FAIREST OF TEN THOUSANDS
GUIDE TO ME TO THE DISTANT SHORE
WHERE I WILL BE WITH HIM FOREVERMORE
UNTIL THE DAYSTAR COMES WITH HEALING IN HIS WINGS.

Parris Bailey

LIGHT OF THE SON

LIGHT OF THE SON

Acts 26:12-13 ¶ “While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me.

Paul loved to tell his story. Here he is telling King Agrippa about the day he first saw Jesus. Paul said the light shining out from Him was “brighter than the sun”. For three days Paul couldn’t see anything in the physical world; but he could see. He was in touch with the invisible world of the Spirit for the first time. His spiritual eyes had been opened by the radiance of God’s Glory that always shines from the Face of Jesus Christ. He was now seeing his whole world from a different perspective. He was viewing all things in the light of the Glory of The Lord. Here is a quote from Jonathan Edwards’ message on “Christ Our Spiritual Sun”.

“There is no one thing so extensively pleasant and beneficial in the natural world as the influence or beams of the sun. Herein is an image of the great benefit of the beams of the spiritual Sun to all that believe on him. They are exceeding beneficial to them many ways: Hereby their souls are enlightened and divine things are discovered to them. The conversion of one that is brought to believe savingly on the Lord Jesus Christ is like the dawning of the day, {the} first shining of the light of the Sun in a soul that before was filled with the greatest darkness. Now divine things are discovered and made manifest that before were totally hid and covered as with a thick veil of darkness. Now things are seen as they be, in their proper forms and colors, in their true situations and relations. Now many glorious objects are discovered. When the Sun rises in the heart, then the Sun of righteousness, the most glorious object of all, is seen by its own light.”

I often walk my dogs in a nearby park early in the morning before the sun comes up. The park looks different in the dark. But inevitably, the sun comes up. Immediately, as the sun peeks over the horizon, the park is flooded with light. In those few moments everything changes. Instead of a scary walk in the dark wondering what may be lurking in the shadows, now everything is clearly seen. The squirrels are rushing about, the ducks come alive and begin to fly all around, and the beauty of the oak trees replace the haunting shadows of the darkness.
That is what happens when we first glimpse the light found in Christ. We see Him for the first time and recognize the power and beauty that flow out from Him. But then, something amazing happens, we see the whole world from a different perspective. We not only see Jesus as a result of His glorious radiance, we see our life and everything in it bathed in the light, this changes everything.

HEALING IN HIS WINGS

HEALING IN HIS BEAMS

Mal. 4:2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.

This is one of the beautiful prophetic pictures of Christ in the Old Testament. Actually it is the last picture from the last chapter of the last book in the Old Testament. It gives us a glimpse of the incredible healing virtue that flows from Jesus. The word translated beams in this verse is a descriptive hebrew word kanaph which refers to a bird’s wings but in this passage is describing the wings or beams radiating from the messiah. Jonathan Edwards preached a message entitled ‘Christ Our Spiritual Son’. In it, he describes the centrality of the sun to the solar system and the centrality of Christ in our lives. Jesus is the Sun of righteousness and there is healing in His “beams”. Here is some of what Edwards said about Christ our spiritual sun.

“The beams of this spiritual Sun don’t only refresh but restore the souls of believers. Thus it is said that the Sun of righteousness {shall arise} with healing {in his wings}. These beams heal the souls of believers. As we often see that when the trees or plants of the earth are wounded, the beams of the sun will heal the wound and by degrees restore the plant, so the sweet beams of the Sun of righteousness heal the wounds of believers’ souls. When they have been wounded by sin and have labored under the pain of wounds of conscience, the rays of this Sun heal the wounds of conscience. When they have been wounded by temptation and made to fall to their hurt, those benign beams, when they come to shine on the wounded soul, restore and heal the hurt that has been received. The sick soul by these beams is restored, as plants that have grown in shady and cold places appear sickly and languishing, if the shade be removed and the sunbeams come to shine down upon them, will revive and flourish; or as the clear shining of the sun after the rain.”

All of us have been wounded and damaged by the effects of sin. From the original sin that has crippled our will, to our own personal sinful behavior that has wounded us in so many ways; we all stand in dire need of the healing beams of Jesus to flow over us. I often think of what it might have been like to be in one of the Lord’s services. I imagine myself pushing through the crowd to get closer to the warmth of His healing presence. Basking in His presence, healing would flow through my whole being; my spirit, soul, and body would receive those healing rays. Here is the good news! Christ is still the Sun of Righteousness, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, His healing beams are flowing out today to whosoever will. Maybe it’s time to bask in the Sun for a little while.