CLOSURE

CLOSURE
MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY

Closure: Merry Monday by Parris Bailey

“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” Matt. 6:1 Message
I have had a very interesting couple of weeks. My dad died a few months before Katrina after suffering from cancer. Many of you might remember that I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. So when my dad died, I guess you could say it was bittersweet. (Sweet that His suffering with cancer was over, but everything else was left hanging.) Even the estate, though small, was filled with painful memories of divorce, anger and disinherited children. Just recently, my stepmom decided that it was time to settle the estate. The last few weeks my sister and I, along with my brother, found ourselves, once again, reliving the good and bad about our family as the house was being sold and emptied. I am the youngest of the three, got married at 16, and moved away right after so I have felt distant to the sting of my childhood. Plus after raising 4 kids of your own, one does find themselves a lot more forgiving with their parents!
None of us expected to receive much of anything at the closing of the estate, but a series of circumstances happened and to all of our surprise, we received a monetary inheritance. The oldest had been struggling to make ends meet, the 2nd born had been disinherited, ended up getting his share and I bought something that our grandkids can enjoy for years to come. The unexpected came and we all were in tears! Today was Father’s Day, and words cannot begin to explain how the above scripture brings comfort to me. It may have taken a lifetime for me to understand all the “whys” and how “tos” about my up bringing but all along God did have it all under control, He had my back. Oh-how sweet it is to have closure on a very long chapter!
If that wasn’t enough, the Saturday after I received the news about our inheritance, I went outside to put the trash cans back for the trash men had come. I saw some trash that I assumed had dropped out of the garbage. It was all folded up and by instinct I opened it and found inside a huge gemstone. (You read right) Later that morning I had to go clean my rental apartment and was having to clean a dirty bathtub when I found a small diamond. The apartment had no electricity, and in the dark hot bathroom I stopped and found that quiet secluded place where I tried not to role-play. I said, “God you had me at Hello a long long time ago.” I could feel his grace upon my life in that little rental.
“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!
What have you been looking at lately? In service tonight I spoke to a soon to be graduate of MarySong. She was in deep thought and to me seemed distant and worried. If we don’t watch ourselves we get consumed with the issues and shift our focus off from God. Too many times we act like the older brother of the prodigal. Our glass is half empty instead of half full. Let’s settle in with our Father’s love, His comfort and presence in the good times and the bad. You never know you too could get “Closure”.

THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER

THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER

“Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me”.
Acts 1:4

There was a very important agreement made, it was made long before time began. It was a solemn, eternal covenant made between the Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son. What were the conditions of this covenant and what was the promise that was made? The agreement was this, that the Son of God would become a human, He would be born of a virgin and become part of the human race, permanently. As the representative of man before the Father, He would offer His life as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. What would be the results of this arrangement? The Father would give the Holy Spirit to all that would believe on His Son. As a result, the Father gave an incredible promise to the Son, we call this the Promise of the Father. This would bring redeemed man into an incredible spiritual fellowship, a place of intimacy previously only enjoyed by the Father and the Son. Here is how Jonathan Edwards explained the Promise of the Father.

“The Holy Spirit, in his indwelling presence, his influences and fruits, is the sum of all grace, holiness, comfort, and joy; or, in one word, of all the spiritual good Christ purchased for men in this world: and is also the sum of all perfection, glory, and eternal joy, that he purchased for them in another world. The Holy Spirit is the subject matter of the promises, both of the eternal covenant of redemption, and also of the covenant of grace. Therefore the Holy Spirit is so often called the Spirit of promise, and emphatically, the promise, the promise of the Father,”

When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, this heavenly, eternal covenant began to be fulfilled. Today, people on every continent, from every ethnic group, every age and gender are experiencing the fruit of this covenant. The Holy Spirit is being poured out on all flesh. We are no longer orphans, we have been purchased by the blood of our Savior. The Holy Spirit is being poured out on all who believe. How about you? Have you received the Promise of the Father? He said in the last days He would pour out His Spirit on His Sons and His daughters. This promise is for you, this promise is for today.

THE FATHER’S BLESSING

THE FATHER’S BLESSING

From the God of your father who helps you, And by the Almighty who blesses you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
Gen. 49:25

Jesus had a clear purpose when He came to this earth, He came to bring man to a place where he could receive the Father’s Blessing. We had been separated from our Father by our sins, and Jesus came to remove sins so that we could come to the Father and receive His Blessing. In the Old Testament, the blessing of the Father was considered to be priceless. In today’s verse we see Jacob’s blessing proclaimed over his son Joseph. How much more should we value and pursue the blessing of our Heavenly Father.
Jonathan Edwards spoke about the blessing of the Father purchased by the blood of his Son. Listen to his words.
“This being the great blessing Christ purchased by his labors and sufferings on earth, it was that which he received of the Father when he ascended into heaven, and entered into the holy of holies with his own blood, that he might communicate it to those whom he had redeemed. John xvi. 7. “It is expedient for you, that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Acts ii. 33. “Being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.” This is the sum of those gifts, which Christ received for men, even for the rebellious, at his ascension; and of the benefits Christ obtains for men by his intercession; John xiv. 16, 17. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth.”
What an incredible picture of the trinity we see in the redemption of man and in the acquiring of the Promise of the Father. The agreement between the Father and Son, the death of Jesus as man’s representative, resulted in the purchase of the Holy Spirit on our behalf. This was the whole goal of redemption, to bring us to God. To provide a place of intimate fellowship for us with the Father, His amazing Son, and the beautiful Holy Spirit. Today, the Father has a blessing for you. Just like Jacob prophesied over Joseph, the Lord is speaking the blessings of “heaven above” and the “blessings of the deep” over our lives.

AM I ADOPTED?

ADOPTION AS SONS

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Gal.4:4-7

There are special privileges we enjoy because of who our earthly father is. Your inheritance, of course, is determined by the prosperity of your father. Parris recently received her inheritance from her father’s death. He wasn’t a wealthy man, but what he left her was a blessing and was able to do something special for her to remember her father by. Stanley Horton speaks about our adoption as sons and our inheritance from our Heavenly Father. Listen closely, it is quite substantial.
“By “adoption” he means entering into the privileges and responsibilities of sonship. Then, because you are sons, and because all the promised blessings of sonship now belong to you, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba, Father”. The Holy Spirit is probably called the Spirit of His Son here to remind us of the words of Jesus in Luke 24:29. There, Jesus used the same verb, “send,” to say, “I will send the promise of my Father upon you.” This sending of the Spirit is clearly the baptism in the Holy Spirit, as explained in Acts 1:4,5; 2:4. That Paul refers to it as the Spirit coming to their hearts is not strange.”
What exactly did we receive when we became sons. We received the inheritance which is more valuable than any earthly treasure. We received the Promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is the earnest, or foretaste, of our heavenly inheritance. That heavenly inheritance is so vast that it will take all of eternity to explore it. It is impossible for us to begin to comprehend the heavenly treasure we have inherited. It is far beyond our ability to describe with words or comprehend with our minds. The Holy Spirit, who is our inheritance, begins to give us glimpses of it’s wealth as He unfolds His glory to us and in us. As you taste His goodness for yourself, you will become more and more attracted to His love and unsatisfied with the treasures of this present world.

SLEEP LAUGHING

SLEEP-LAUGHING

“But let me run loose and free, celebrating God’s great work, Every bone in my body, laughing, singing, “God, there’s no one like you.”
Ps.35:9,10 The Message

It happened night after night, I would wake up in the morning and Parris would say, “You were doing it again.” “Doing what?” I asked. “You were laughing in your sleep.” It is pretty hard to fake laughing in your sleep. I mean, I was asleep, you can’t control anything when you are sleeping. The Lord was visiting me at night, touching me, healing me, preparing me for things to come. What kinds of things, things like “Beyond the Grave” and things like Katrina. Things that were way beyond human control or human ability.
Charles Spurgeon spoke about laughing in your sleep, he remembered Bunyan’s character, Mercy who was a sleep-laugher. Check this out.
“Bunyan tells us that Mercy laughed in her sleep, and no wonder when she dreamed of Jesus; my joy shall not stop short of hers while my Beloved is the theme of my daily thoughts. The Lord Jesus is a deep sea of joy: my soul shall dive therein, shall be swallowed up in the delights of his society. Sarah looked on her Isaac, and laughed with excess of rapture, and all her friends laughed with her; and thou, my soul, look on thy Jesus, and bid heaven and earth unite in thy joy unspeakable.”
Joy is far beyond our circumstances, our accomplishments, or our possessions. Real joy is not connected to things but is a spiritual reality that flows from God Himself. For Sarah, it was a belated pregnancy, for Abraham, it was an unexpected circumcision, for Peter it was joy unspeakable and tongues of fire in the upper room, for me it was in my sleep.
Spurgeon says that we can find this joy when we we look upon Jesus. We have spent most of our lives looking upon everything else, hoping for joy. We have looked to the economic climate, the political climate, and even the religious climate hoping for joy, but we didn’t find it there. Joy is not a principle, a position, or a possession, joy is a person. Have you seen Him lately? So where will we find Him? As for me He seems to delight in catching me by surprise. I guess that’s why I found Him, or rather He found me in my dreams.

SURPRISED BY JOY

SURPRISED BY JOY

Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Ps.37:4

I had quoted this scripture for years, “delight yourself in the Lord”, but had no clue to what it meant. I thought I knew, it kind of meant to try harder, to work on my attitude, to “get my heart right”, I really had no idea what the joy of the Lord really was. That all changed suddenly when I found myself, unexpectedly stuck to the floor in the front of a church in 1994. I tried my best to get up, but I was stuck, hopelessly stuck to the floor. That’s when it happened, the joy of the Lord caught me by surprise. Have you ever been surprised by joy? This was not just ordinary joy. This was not laughing at a funny joke, there was something supernatural about this. There was a strange presence that seemed to get stronger the more I laughed. It was like medicine, like therapy. It was cleansing, it was empowering, it was transforming. This was the life changing presence of the Holy Spirit, “so this is what Pentecost is all about”. The joy of the Lord was becoming my strength. The carnal man and the religious man cannot comprehend the joy of heaven, this is what Charles Spurgeon had to say about it.
“Ungodly persons and mere professors never look upon religion as a joyful thing; to them it is service, duty, or necessity, but never pleasure or delight. If they attend to religion at all, it is either that they may gain thereby, or else because they dare not do otherwise. The thought of delight in religion is so strange to most men, that no two words in their language stand further apart than holiness and delight.
We fear not God because of any compulsion; our faith is no fetter, our profession is no bondage, we are not dragged to holiness, nor driven to duty. No, our piety is our pleasure, our hope is our happiness, our duty is our delight.”
So that is how the Lord changes us, it is by His heavenly joy. If you have not figured it out yet, it is hard to fight pleasure. All of us are hopelessly trapped in the pursuit of pleasure, that is the way we are wired. Who made us like that? Of course it is the Lord, the fountain and source of all pleasure. So don’t be shocked when you are caught off guard by the Lord. The greatest of all pleasures comes as the greatest surprise, you haven’t really lived until you are surprised by joy.

COME AND WALK ON THE WATER WITH ME

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COME AND WALK ON THE WATER WITH ME

Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Matt.14:28,29

It was Sunday morning and revival was in the air. I had just returned from Rockwall, Texas and rumors had already been spreading. “You know pastor has been to ‘those’ meetings and I heard he has been laughing”. Now that would be a sign and a wonder, I had a reputation of being rather serious or let’s say “intense”. People who had been away from church for awhile showed up that morning, if for nothing else, they wanted to see me laugh. The service got started as usual, but normal was about to go out the door. As I began to go to the platform I could hear the Lord gently saying to me, “Come on and walk on the water with Me.” In just a moment of time, the atmosphere in the room distinctly changed. I knew what this was, this was the presence I had been enjoying all week in Texas, now that very same presence was in my church. As I began to speak that morning, it was all I could do to tell about what had happened that week, as I tried to tell my story, the joy began to well up inside of me until it exploded, like a levee breaking before the flood waters, the joy began to flood the room. All over the building pockets of laughter began to break loose until the whole church was overcome with the sounds of joy and celebration. All I could remember was Isaiah’s word, “With joy you will draw waters from the wells of salvation.” The joy of the Lord was visiting New Orleans, the Holy Spirit was in the house.I managed to get through something like a message and gave a salvation altar call and people were responding and giving their hearts to the Lord. Afterwards, I began to have a prayer line and prayed for people to receive a touch from the Lord. The Lord began to visit people as many fell to the floor overflowing with unspeakable joy. We were at the beginning of something that would redefine our lives and the future of Victory Fellowship, permanently. When we left the service that morning, many people were still on the floor, “under the power of the Holy Spirit”. Actually, to my surprise, some were still “out” 6 hours later when we returned for our Sunday evening service. I had never seen anything like this, we had fallen right into a revival. As of this writing, 17 years have passed. Many of us who experienced history that morning are still captivated by His love. What can I say, God came down and this “intense” preacher could never be the same. Did the people get what they came for that Sunday? Yes, I think they did. 17 years later I am still laughing and doing my best to walk on the water with Jesus.

A TRIP TO CARLA ROACH’S TRAILER

A TRIP TO CARLA ROACH’S TRAILER

MERRY MONDAY By Parris Bailey

A Trip to Carla Roach’s Trailer-Merry Monday by Parris Bailey

“For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” Acts 2:17,18

The day I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was a special day for me. I was 16 living far away in Calfornia attending my 11th grade while Frank went to Bible School. Next door to our trailer on the property of God’s Army was another trailer in which a girl named Carla lived. Every Saturday I saw kids go into her trailer and heard her praying in tongues over them. It was then that I decided I too needed to take a trip to Carla’s house. I was having a hard time receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Funny how you can remember things so long ago. There I was sitting in Carla’s trailer next to her, and within a few minutes I was out the door heading out into the fields worshiping in a unknown language. The Holy Spirit came inside and changed my life. I have spent the rest of my life thanking Carla Roach and learning to lean, wait and converse with the Holy Spirit.
I have found that speaking in tongues has kept me out of trouble, delivered me from depression and guided me from serious setbacks and attacks. How is your prayer language? Afraid of it? Feeling a little awkward with it? Press on my dear, into the realms of the heavenlies and hear things you never dreamed.
A.B. Simpson says, “God wants us to wait upon Him also that we may realize not only our need, but His fullness and His will for us. He wants to show us the vision of the future as well as of the past. He wants to open to us the treasures of His grace, and make us know all the riches of the glory of His inheritance in us.
He wants to give us the vision of the King in His beauty and the land of far distances. He wants to reveal to us yet unexplored regions of glorious advances in the life of faith. He wants to call us to higher service, and show us mightier resources and enabling for the work of life.”
He then goes on to say, “Without the Holy Ghost you are unequal to the journey of life; you are unfit for the service of the Master; you are unwarranted in attempting to preach the gospel, or to win a soul for Christ, and you are unprepared for the future which He is immediately opening to you. Oh, let us wait at His feet; let us learn our weakness; let us realize our nothingness; let us get emptied for His filling, and then baptized with the Holy Ghost or filled anew with His utmost fullness; and we shall go forth not to our work, but to His, and find that “He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. To whom be glory now and forever. Amen.”
He will give you power, insight, deliverance in this present age and in the one to come. He will equip you to do impossbile tasks, beleive with supernatural faith and press on with unbeleiveable endurance. Oh, let us join in with Paul when he says, “I speak in tongues more than ye all”! Happy Pentecost!!

A RUSHING MIGHTY WIND

RUSHING MIGHTY WIND

AND WHEN the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place,
When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting.
Acts 2:1,2 Amp.

There are many visual pictures of God in His creation. One of the most incredible glimpses of God is the wind. In the hebrew Bible the word for wind is ruwach which is used for breath and spirit also. In the greek New Testament, pnuma, is the word for spirit, wind, and breath. In the first verses of the Bible, we see the “wind of God”, moving on the surface of the deep, He was intimately involved in creation. We see the “breath” of God in the creation of Adam. In today’s scripture verse, we see the “rushing mighty wind” filling the believers in the upper room, God was breathing His creative life into His church.
The wind of His presence has some dramatic effects on our lives as we experience His renewal. Peter preached about the influence of the wind in his message in Acts 3:19 Amp. Peter knew what stress and spiritual exhaustion were all about. He was facing the Sanhedrin, the men who had killed Christ, the very day he preached this message. He lived in the heat, he was in constant need of the winds of renewal.
“So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of *reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord;”
I love that translation, “recovery from the effects of heat”. Have you ever experienced spiritual exhaustion? Sometimes, the circumstances of this life seem way beyond our ability to cope with them. Spiritual exhaustion sets in and we need the refreshing winds of renewal in order to carry on. Maybe you are in one of those places right now. Your own strength is not enough to face the incredible obstacles in this complicated world. You need the recovery that is only found in the “WIND OF GOD”. How can you experience these winds of refreshing? Many times it happens when you gather together with His church. How good and pleasant it is for the brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity, it is like the oil poured out on Aaron’s beard, it is the place of commanded blessing.

FIERY TONGUES

FIERY TONGUES

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Acts 2;1-4 NASB

Fire has always been connected to the presence of God. We remember Moses’ burning bush, the pillar of fire in the wilderness, the fire that fell when Elijah prayed, the fiery chariot of Elijah, and the fiery creatures in Ezekiel’s vision. Our God is a consuming fire. Fire fell in Solomon’s temple when it was dedicated and tongues of fire came upon the heads of the believers gathered in the upper room. John the baptist prophesied that Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire. Have you felt the fire lately?
Bishop Ellicott spoke about these fiery tongues in his commentary on Acts, here is what he said.
“What the disciples saw would, perhaps, be best described in modern phrases a shower of fiery tongues, coming they knew not whence, lighting for a moment on each head, and then vanishing”.
John Owen also spoke of the fire as a picture of the Holy Spirit, referring to the baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River “The shape thereof that appeared was that of a dove, the substance itself, I judge, was of a fiery substance, shaped into the form or resemblance of a dove, but not the appearance of feathers, colors, or the like. This also rendered the appearance the more visible, conspicuous, heavenly, and glorious.”
What is the fire of God all about? How does it effect our lives? Fire speaks of purification. The fire of God comes upon us and begins to burn away the past. All that remains of our past wickedness begins to be purged from us. Fire also speaks of assimilation. That means everything fire touches becomes like it, everything fire touches becomes fire. The fire of God is God’s transforming agent, making us like Him. Fire also speaks to us about power, the baptism of the Spirit fills us with power to live a supernatural life, a life marked by signs and wonders. Fire also teaches us about revelation. The Holy Spirit brings light or revelation into our lives. We begin to have eyes wide open, the darkness of this world no longer blinding our eyes. Finally, the fire of God fills us with a passion. Our hearts literally get set on fire with a passion for God Himself.
Have you stepped into the fire lately? Maybe today is the day you hear God say, “Take the shoes off of your feet, you are standing on holy ground.”