THE GREATEST OF ALL GLORIES

THE GREATEST OF ALL GLORIES

1Cor. 1:30-31 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”

Recently, I have been having some unusual impressions of the nearness of God’s kingdom. Sometimes I feel like the powers of the world to come were breaking in on me.
During our recent class on the theology of Jonathan Edwards, we read his sermon on God Glorified in Redemption. Edwards spoke of being redeemed or delivered from the misery brought about because of our sins. It was quite a striking message, God is glorified by taking the most miserable sinners and transforming them into men and women of God. That is why He wanted us despite all of our baggage. To Him, the more baggage the better. The deeper in sin we were mired, the greater glory God receives through our deliverance. George Whitefield spoke about being overcome by the message of redemption. Check out this powerful excerpt from Whitefield’s sermon.

“But I must stop, the glories of the upper world crowd in so fast upon my soul, that I am lost in the contemplation of them. Brethren, the redemption spoken of is unutterable; we cannot here find it out; eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of the most holy men living to conceive, how great it is. Were I to entertain you whole ages with an account of it, when you come to heaven, you must say, with the Queen of Sheba, ‘Not half, no, not one thousandth part was told us! All we can do here, is to go upon Mount Pisgah, and, by the eye of faith, take a distant view of the Promised Land; we may see it, as Abraham did Christ, afar off, and rejoice in it; but here we only know in part. Blessed be God, there is a time coming, when we shall know God, even as we are known, and God be all in all. Lord Jesus, accomplish the number of thine elect! Lord Jesus, hasten thy kingdom!”

We can see God’s glory everywhere we look. After all, David said the heavens were declaring the Glory of our God. That is actually the first purpose of creation, it points us to the greatness of our God. But here is the shocking truth of redemption. The Lord has reserved the greatest display of His glory in the redemption of fallen man. We were all without hope, slaves of our own passions and lusts when Christ came to us. He not only forgave us from our sins, He also delivered us from the power of sin that controlled us. It was not enough that He declared us righteous by faith in His blood, He also imparted a new nature into us so that we could actually become righteous. We have changed, I mean really changed. Now all of your acquaintances that know who you used to be can be amazed by the power of redemption in your life.

PERFECTLY CONSISTENT 3

PERFECTLY CONSISTENT 3

Is. 60:1-2 Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.

For the last few days I have been pondering the amazing glimpses of some of the characteristics of our God seen in creation. Specifically, I have been meditating on the sun and the many parallels seen between it and the glorious Sun of Righteousness that Malachi spoke of. Today, I will complete my thoughts about this beautiful picture of our Lord seen in creation. We haven’t begun to scratch the surface of this great reality of the glory of The Lord mirrored in the sun.

8. HEALING- The sun has within it’s nature healing characteristics. I am not a scientist and do not understand the science behind it, but the sun is a major source of life and healing, which is the very essence of these powerful beams of light. Often you can see a “sick plant” and the diagnosis is that the plant needs more sunlight. The plant is moved into the light and recovery begins. The healing power of the sun seems to work wonders on all of His creation. In the the same way, the Sun of Righteousness has risen with healing in His beams. Everywhere His presence flows healing is the result. We saw the effects of the light of His glory everywhere Jesus went in His earthly ministry. The blind would see, the deaf would hear, and the lame would leap for joy. Has His power abated or waned? Impossible! Jesus Christ is the same: yesterday, today, and forever. His healing virtue is still healing the sick today. The beams of His healing light are flowing out from Him who is seated on the throne of God.

9. SUSTAINING- The sun holds our entire solar system in place. All the planets in this solar system are held in line perfectly. The earth is held in an orbit of perfection to sustain life on this planet. Our world is sustained by the sun. In the same way, Jesus is the radiance of the Father’s glory. He sustains all things by the Word of His power. He not only holds creation in place, He holds everything in place. He sustains the countries of the world, the cities, the families, our churches; He even sustains you. He holds your past, your present, and your future. He is upholding all things.

10. TRANSFORMING- The sun is also transforming. The effects of the sun reaches to everything; from the flowers to the trees, from the animals to the oceans. The power of the sun is constantly effecting, changing, and transforming everything it touches. In the same way, The Lord is transforming His sons and daughters. When we first come to Him, we are filled with our problems and issues. He not only forgives us but begins His overhaul in our lives. We are transformed into other creatures, into sons and daughters, through the power of the rays of His glory. As we read His word and soak in His presence, change is imminent. We are being transformed from glory to glory into the image of His Son.

LOST 2012

2012 “LOST”

Luke 19:10 “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

We at Victory Fellowship have named the year 2012, “LOST”. We feel the Lord intensifying His call to follow Him in seeking and saving the lost. Have you ever been led by the Lord to pursue the unsaved aggressively? In our tolerant, seeker sensitive, relevant world; evangelism can be considered intolerant or narrow minded. How dare us impose our beliefs and values on anyone else. Don’t you know that everyone’s opinions and beliefs are valid and just as significant as yours? At least that is what the world believes. For those who know Christ and listen to His voice, you know the time is now to reach out to the hurting, confused, and disillusioned who are around us every day.
How would one know that the Lord is calling you to reach out to the lost? Its really quite simple. It often starts with a growing compassion for an individual or a group of individuals. Every time you see this person (or persons) or even think about them there is a growing compassion for them. Sometimes its as if you can even feel their pain. This is a sure indication that the Lord is calling, equipping, and anointing you for this opportunity for evangelism.
This reminds me of my wife Parris and her love for hurting young women. All throughout our Christian journey, Parris has talked about having a ministry for these hurting young girls. This compassion (some would call it a burden from the Lord) resulted in the forming of a rehab ministry called Mary’s Song. The result of yielding to this affection and passion for hurting young women has been a steady stream of girls giving their lives to Christ, being nurtured and discipled 24 hours a day, and finally reentering their world with a new faith, a new confidence, and frankly, a brand new life. There is nothing that compares to the joy of seeing the lost found, to see them discovering a love for Christ and beginning a brand new life.
Have you ever felt a love for someone or a group of someones that you do not know? If you have, be assured that this is the work of the Holy Spirit. All that is left for you to do is to yield. This compassion from the Lord is supernatural in nature and is a guarantee for success in the area that the Lord is calling you to. Rest assured, if you yield to this calling from the Lord, you will not be alone. You may be surprised at others who are feeling the same thing. Obviously, if the Lord is involved in this strange kind of love, He is speaking to others as well. Maybe He is calling you to work with young women, Mary’s Song always needs help. Maybe, He is calling you to reach out to the homeless, there is a group of people that do that on a regular basis here at Victory. Could it be evangelism in the inner city that is pulling at you, every Friday night there is a team on the streets at Broad Street in New Orleans. The opportunities are endless; from prisons to hospitals, from child evangelism to ministry in the retirement homes, there is a place for you to reach the lost.

WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE

Paradigm Shift- “Christ in you the Hope of Glory”

Merry Monday by Parris Bailey

“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col.1:27

Having a “Holy Discontent”-
Last Friday we had our women’s “one day retreat”. This year the theme was based on “The Wizard of Oz”. The women pastors had been meeting for weeks discussing the food, decorations, costumes and, most of all, praying that the Holy Spirit would show up. To put more heat on that day, I had all of the women pastors meet at a house on the river the day before so we could just pray, try to focus and fast. Our preparations paid off, the north shore was filled with women hungry for the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of life filled the air. God was among us and we will never be the same.
While studying about Dorothy, I found out her name means “gift of God”, I am glad Dorothly blew out of Kansas. Her world needed to get much bigger than Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. She needed a paradigm shift. A paradigm shift is a change from one way of thinking to another, it’s a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change. She was having a “Holy Discontent”. I respect the fact that she went looking for the Emerald City, that beats sitting around Kansas and staying the same. God brings each of us to a place where we begin to itch, I call it the “Holy Discontent”.
In Dorothy’s case, a tornado blew in, not just in the physical, but also people all around her were rocking her world. It appears that she not only lost her parents, but she was also getting ready to lose her one and only constant companion, Toto. Dorothy was having a revolution, a transformation, a metamorphosis that was brought about by agents of change. I pray that you too can join in the revolution.
While we all shared at the retreat, I began to see each of us going through the same transformation- a pardigm shift, so to speak, throughout the day. I saw the Marysong girls step up and sing, share, serve and worship like they had never done before. They too have had a change in their lives that caused a shifting. Then I watched the women pastors preach their sermons with annointing and boldness. I know firsthand that God had visited them in their brokeness and heartbreak. Instead of holding on to all of their Totos and their Auntie Ems in life, they too “have been looking for a city whose builder and maker is God”.
C. S. Lewis said, “We may ignore, but we can’t evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.” How about you? Are you still hung up with Kansas and Toto? Still looking around to see if the Witch will come and tear out all your stuffing? Or are you like the Tin man who got all rusted out because of offenses. (He didn’t treasure the anointing within him!) Last of all the lion, he always had a excuse why he couldn’t be a lion (we refuse to put on Christ!)
I pray that you will have a “HOLY DISCONTENT, a PARADIGM SHIFT! That you have an explosive power of new affection swelling up within you! Christ in you the hope of glory! No, Dorothy we are not in Kansas anymore!

TRANSFORMED

Transformed

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:1,2

Transformed is a powerful word. It is the Greek word “metamorphoo” and it means to change into another form. Paul is describing a spiritual transformation. We see the same word describing Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus changed into another form before the disiples eyes, He began to radiate with the Glory of God. He was transfigured by the manifestation of the cloud of God’s Presence. Paul uses the same terminology describing the transformation of a Christian. He says to be changed, or transformed, from the natural man to the spiritual man. This is the great need in our lives, to hunger after this change. An urgency, a hunger, a desire to become that spiritual man.

How does that change take place? Paul used another powerful word in this verse. “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Renewal is the word “anakainosis”. This word means a complete change for the better. Again to be changed from the natural man to the heavenly man. How does this renewal take place? First it takes place as we begin to saturate in the truth clearly presented by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1-11. In light of what you have heard, let your mind be renewed that you might change. Today spend some time in God’s Word. As you do, that Heavenly Man begins to come alive, renewal is taking place. You are being conformed to the image of Christ.

THE HEAVENLY MAN

THE HEAVENLY MAN

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Many Christians today are bored, bored with life and definitely bored with spiritual things. There is a belief in the Bible and basic Christian tenets but an uninterested apathy when it comes to the things of God. Apathy is the opposite of what we hear coming from the pen of the apostle Paul. “I beseech you therefore brothers and sisters”. There is a passion, an urgency, and yes, a desperation in his cry. In view of the mercies of God, in light of what he had taught in the first eleven chapters of Romans, be transformed, be changed, into the heavenly man. That change can begin or continue in your life today. How can that happen? Simply offer yourself to the Lord. As Paul said, offer yourself as a living sacrifice. In this place of yielding, the transformation begins. Your change into the Heavenly man begins as you yield to the Lord. How does this yielding “look” ?
It appears as you simply spend time with Him. Time in His Presence is precious and priceless . Draw near today as you read His Word. Draw near as you spend time in prayer and worship. As you draw near to God, He draws near to you. This is the place of transformation.