REDEEMING THE TIME – AGAIN

REDEEMING THE TIME – AGAIN

redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Eph.5:16

Time is one of our most precious of all commodities. Our time is not unlimited, we have a fixed amount of time on this earth given to us by the Lord. Our wise use of time is one of the things about our lives that will be evaluated at that great day when each of us will stand before the Lord. Our lives are all a series of “times” allotted to us by the Lord, these times are viewed, by the Lord, as treasures, or opportunities given to us for the advancement of His kingdom. There will come a day when time is no more, time will be swallowed up by eternity, and all of us will be instantly standing and living in the fruit of our labors here on earth. Dick Mills has some valuable insight into this phrase “redeeming the time”. Listen carefully to his words.

“This verse contains an illuminating Greek word for time: kairos (kahee-ros’). This is time adapted to circumstances. Kairos can be defined as: 1) A set time for action, 2) the right moment, 3) the opportune point of time when a thing should be done, or 4) the time appointed to accomplish a certain task.
In Ephesians 5:16 we are admonished by Paul to “redeem” the time (kairos) appointed to us by the Lord. Newer translations render this phrase, “buying up the opportunity,” indicating we need a natural acumen (understanding) to help us to interpret our spiritual opportunities.”

All of us live in a world screaming for our time. The Lord is different, He is quietly waiting for us to turn our attention to Him and to see the value of the time He has given to us. Seeing the value of something is the key to wise stewardship, especially of our time. We give ourselves to the things we perceive as important. How can I redeem the time and why would I want to? One glimpse of Him and His greatness will answer all of those questions. When you “see” Christ for yourself, your value system is radically upended, what you deem as important will change. When that happens, you will immediately see the value of one of the Lord’s greatest gifts to you, your time. In light of what Paul said about living in the evil day, we have to redeem the time, frankly, we don’t know how much of it we have.

IS ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR GOD

IS ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR GOD #2

Mary Monday by Parris Bailey
“Is there anything too hard for God” Part Two

Sarah laughed! No one heard her laugh. But in Gen. 18:12 “ Sarah laughed to herself, saying, after I have become aged shall I have pleasure and delight, my lord being old also? And the Lord asked Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I really bear a child when I am so old? Is anything too hard or too wonderful for the Lord?”
What amazes me about Sarah’s laugh is that she named her son laughter. “And Sarah said, God has made me to laugh: all who hear will laugh with me.” The very laugh she started in unbelief becomes the laugh that brings the child of promise. I think we can all relate to Sarah. When we look back at our lives did we ever think we would actually be a Christ lover- a Christian! Did we ever think we could be as happy as this?
God asked, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” The word hard in Hebrew means “wonderful or impossible”. In the New Testament the same wording is used when the angel visited Mary with the news that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her; and that Holy One who is to be born would be called the Son of God. Then the angel went on to say-For with God nothing will be impossible. (Luke 1:37) This word has a similar meaning- that we are impotent, crippled so to speak, and not able. Only one thing is needed here: that is for us to believe, and when we believe the child of promise will come! Can any thing be too great of a miracle for him to perform? Human wisdom, prudence and energy fail, but God has full sway doesn’t He?
Jeremiah also was amazed by God- “Ah, Lord God behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched-out arm; and there is nothing too hard for Thee.” Look, from faith to the promise and from the promise to the Promiser, and yes, laugh with God as He performs in us His purrpose!
One of the girls at Mary’s Song was one of 15 children, raised in the back woods of Louisiana, she became pregnant at 14 and went on to have 4 more children by the time she was 29. She dropped out of school in her 8th grade and started a downward slide into drugs and alcohol. She is now finishing her 10 months at Mary’s Song and is going 4 days a week to get her GED. She will be the first of her brothers and sisters to graduate. She plans to wear a cap and gown at her GED graduation. She has found that nothing is impossible with God. What others considered a throw away; God laughs and breathes his life into us.
What is your “child of promise” waiting to be birthed through you?

THE SHINING LIGHT OF REVELATION

THE SHINING LIGHT OF REVELATION

He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
Jn 5:35 KJV

Jesus said, in this verse, that the prophet John was a bright and shining light. His heart was burning with the fire of passion for God. There was an anointing upon his life that was drenched in the love for God. Jesus also said that John was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. What did Jesus mean by that? His measurement of greatness was based on revelation. John was a “shining light”, shining with the revelation of Christ. John’s message of Christ was twofold. He said that Jesus was the Lamb of God. He had grasped the purpose of the messiah, He would give His life for a sacrifice for man’s sin. The second part of his message was that He would baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire. This was a glimpse into the heavenly ministry of Jesus. Today, Jesus is the heavenly high priest, His heavenly ministry to us is the “baptizer in the Holy Spirit”.
What a powerful revelation, John was “shining” like no one before him, he was “shining” with the light of divine revelation. This is what Jesus had said of John, “he was a burning and shining light”. Burning in his heart with love for God and shining in his mind with the revalation of Jesus Christ. Jonathan Edwards spoke about the burning and shining nature of Christians in his sermon THE EXCELLENCY OF A GOSPEL MINISTER. Here is something he said about the shining nature of the christian life.

“That he be pure, clear, and full in his doctrine. A minister ( a christian) is set to be a light to men’s souls, by teaching, or doctrine: and if he be a shining light in this respect, the light of his doctrine must be bright and full; it must be pure without mixtures of darkness, and therefore he must be sound in the faith, not one that is of a reprobate mind; in doctrine he must show uncorruptness; otherwise his light will be darkness.”

This is the balance we need in our lives today. Our hearts on fire, burning, for Jesus and our minds enflamed with the revelation of Jesus Christ. This is normal Christianity, lives impacted by the fire of God. Lord, baptize us again in the fire of God, consume the wood, hay, and stubble, make us burning and shining lights.

BURNING AND SHINING LIGHT

BURNING AND SHINING LIGHT

He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
Jn.5:35 KJV

Jonathan Edwards preached a message called THE TRUE EXCELLENCY OF A GOSPEL MINISTER at an ordination service in 1744. In this message we see the qualities that are evident, not only in ministers, but in Christians who have been touched by the fire of God’s Spirit. This verse of scripture is part of some remarks Jesus made about the prophet John the Baptist. Jesus said that John was a burning and shining light. What did He mean by that statement? Can I be a burning and shining light in this season of darkness that we live in today?
In Edwards sermon he explained the burning and shining that Jesus spoke of. Here is something Ewards said of the burning nature of a man of God.

“That his heart be full of much of the holy ardour of a spirit of true piety. We read of the power of godliness. True grace is no dull, inactive, ineffectual principle; it is a powerful thing; there is an exceeding energy in it; and the reason is, that God is in it; it is a divine principle, a participation of the divine nature, and a communication of divine life, of the life of a risen Saviour, who exerts himself in the hearts of the saints, after the power of an endless life. They that have true grace in them, they live; but not by their own life; but Christ lives in them: his Holy Spirit becomes in them a living principle and spring of divine life; the energy and power of which is in Scripture compared to fire.”

Powerful words, a man or woman effected by the touch of God will begin to carry that burning nature in their hearts. Like Jeremiah, it will become like a fire shut up in your bones. Today, our world is in need of Christians who, not only speak about spiritual things, but also have this fire burning in their hearts.
We have heard the teachings, we have seen the orchestrated ministries but where is the fire? Mankind is in need of the fire of God that burns with strong affection in our soul. How can we become burning lights in our modern world? There is only one way. If you want to catch on fire you have to get close to the flame.

THE COAT DIPPED IN BLOOD

THE COAT DIPPED IN BLOOD

Then they took Joseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood.
Gen.37:31

This is one of the beautiful pictures of Christ painted for us in the Old Testament by the Holy Spirit. Of course this is the famous “coat of many colors”, Joseph’s coat that was given to him by His Father. It is a picture of the bloody coat of Jesus that the soldiers gambled for at the foot of the cross. What is the hidden meaning of this coat? What does it mean for us today?
Joseph’s coat of many colors was a picture of the calling of God on Joseph’s life. The calling of God is performed and confirmed by the invisible coat, the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This anointing is despised by the natural man and will bring persecution upon anyone who wears it. Joseph’s brothers hated Joseph because of this coat, rather they hated what this coat represented.
Have you received a coat of anointing from your Heavenly Father? If so, do you wear it proudly in respect of your Father? In today’s world, even in the Christian world, wearing a supernatural coat is not very popular. Christians are more comfortable with popular empowerment slogans rather than walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. Cliche’s and man centered messages have replaced the bloody coat in most churches today. Most of us would be more comfortable walking with Joseph’s brothers than wearing that unpopular coat.
Why should I bear the stigma of this bloody coat, why did Joseph wear it despite the criticism it brought? We choose to wear this coat because of the supernatural nature of it. When Joseph put on this coat, he stepped into the world of spiritual visions and dreams. When I wear the mantle of the presence of the Lord, I too step into the world of the supernatural.
Do you want to experience the power of God in your life and ministry? Would you like to see people you are praying for come to Christ? Would you like to be used by the Lord to win someone to Christ? If your answer is yes, you must put on the coat. Jesus said we would be “clothed with power from on high” Lk.24:49. He was describing the effect of the multi-colored coat upon our lives.
This coat is valuable, after all it was purchased with the price of blood, purchased with the precious blood of Jesus. While others may be playing games at the foot of the cross, like the Roman soldiers, but many Christians are deciding to put on the coat. Even though I can’t buy this coat, it was already purchased for me, it will cost me to wear it. It may cost me friends or even more, but the benefits far exceed the costs.

GOD IS SPEAKING

GOD IS SPEAKING

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
Ps.19:1,2 ESV

God is speaking, He has always been speaking. He speaks everyday through our circumstances, the little, or big things that don’t go right, or the things that somehow just seem to work out, He is speaking through them all. He is speaking through the Bible, those passages that just seem to “stick out”. He is speaking through your friends, He has stored up His wisdom in the multitude of counsel. He is speaking through your pastor, His anointing ministers through His leaders to bring instruction to His body. As Augustine taught us, He is speaking through the “chance conversations” never really intended for our ears. And as David taught us, He is speaking through His creation. This is what Spurgeon said about David’s words in Psalm 19.

” Any part of creation has more instruction in it than human mind will ever exhaust, but the celestial realm is peculiarly rich in spiritual lore. The heavens declare, or are declaring, for the continuance of their testimony is intended by the participles employed; every moment God’s existence, power, wisdom and goodness, are being sounded abroad by the heavenly heralds which shine upon us from above. It is not merely glory that the heavens declare, but the “glory of God,” for they deliver to us such unanswerable arguments for a conscious, intelligent, planning, controlling, and presiding Creator, that no unprejudiced person can remain unconvinced by them…”

Incredible, His divine characteristics are revealed in what His hands have made, His wisdom seen in it’s order, His infinite nature seen in His seemingly endless creation, His power displayed in the energy stored up in the basic ingredient of creation, the atom. All around us we see His handiwork, He is speaking to us from day to day. Sometimes my “eyes” become dull to His glory all around me and then suddenly I am caught by surprise when I hear His voice in the singing bird or see His artistry in the sunset, or see His compassion displayed by one of His creatures. He is speaking all right. I guess the question should be, “can I hear His voice?”

TOTAL RESTORATION

RESTORED

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Ps.51:10-12

Most of us, when we think of restoration, think of things we have lost being restored. Things like jobs, houses, relationships and so on, but what is David talking about? When we fall into a lethargic spiritual state, what do we really lose? David mentions things like joy, salvation, and God’s presence. Is it possible in those so called “dry seasons” we have lost more than we have realized? Matthew Henry spoke about the things we really lose when our hearts draw cold towards the Lord, observe his powerful comments.

“It had made him sad, and therefore he prays, Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. A child of God knows no true nor solid joy but the joy of God’s salvation, joy in God his Saviour and in the hope of eternal life. By wilful sin we forfeit this joy and deprive ourselves of it; our evidences cannot but be clouded and our hopes shaken. When we give ourselves so much cause to doubt of our interest in the salvation, how can we expect the joy of it? But, when we truly repent, we may pray and hope that God will restore to us those joys. Those that sow in penitential tears shall reap in the joys of God’s salvation when the times of refreshing shall come.”

David began to realize his incredible loss when he could not enjoy the intimacy with God he enjoyed so much. Sometimes we don’t realize we have lost access to God until He gets our attention when we begin to experience loss in the natural world. What have you lost recently, I mean what have you really lost? You might see it first in the loss of possessions, jobs, or relationships. When things go that far, we are in a dangerous spiritual place. If you find yourself in that position, begin to pray David’s prayer, “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation…”.

Joy is one of the signs of God’s presence, have you lost your joy? If so, this devotion is for you today. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. In His presence is fullness of joy. Pray David’s prayer and like David you will find yourself again overcome with the joy of your salvation.

WHEN GOD HIDES HIS FACE

WHEN GOD HIDES HIS FACE

The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.
Jn.6:18,19

Has the Lord ever hidden Himself from you? Sometimes He comes to us at the strangest times and in the most unusual ways. He is always there, satisfying and sustaining us, but sometimes we just don’t “feel it”. That’s how it was for the disciples the night Jesus came to them, walking on the water. There He was, totally in control, right in the middle of the storm. Peter actually walked on the water, that is until he saw the wind and the waves. Does that strike you as odd? When you see God’s power displayed by walking on the water, what difference does it make if the wind is blowing? I have never walked on water on a calm day, I don’t think the wind would make much of a difference. But maybe this is how we all respond. The Lord is always there, providing all of our need, and somehow we take all of that for granted. But when a storm blows in, we become anxious and wonder where the Lord is. Maybe He was in the storm all along, walking on the water, calling us to join Him in this walk of faith.
David displays a similar response in Psalm 55, he is crying out to the Lord because of his enemy’s attacks, David seems to think the Lord has gone into hiding.
“Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me…”
David sorts through his circumstances, and then He remembered the goodness of the Lord, in a moment of revelation, he gives us the solution to our dilemma.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Ps.55:22
Cast your troubles on the Lord, He is there in the calm and in the storm, there is no difference with Him. As you roll your troubles over on the Lord, you may catch a glimpse of His sweet face, smiling at you as He walks on the water in the midst of the storm. It seems the storm is not only the place where He hides Himself, but it is the place where He shows Himself to His friends.

IS THERE ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD?

Mary Monday!

Parris Bailey Executive Director Mary’s Song

“Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” Gen. 18:14

“God took one good look and me and look what happened, I’m the most fortunate women on earth!

Luke 1:48 The Message

While away on vacation, I went walking with my Iphone listening to the Word of God. I had decided to listen to Genesis seeing it was the beginning of a New Year. I love the story of Abraham and Sarah. Can you imagine getting pregnant at 80 years old? What is most amazing, not only did she get pregnant, her body, her looks changed for the younger. That is truly a miracle.

I was so enjoying the story when the verse “is there anything too hard for the Lord?” jumped out at me. (Genesis 18:14) It was as if I was Sarah laughing to myself about the absurdity of seeing me pregnant at 80 years old and looking like a 25 year old. The next thing you know I found myself crying at the unbelief of years past and laughing over the expectation of what He will do. Yes, there is truly nothing too hard for him!

This is the same wording the angel used when he spoke to Mary when visiting her with the announcement that she too would be overshadowed and conceive a child and his name would be called Jesus. “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37 This word in Greek and in Hebrew means, humanly speaking, this is impossible, that we are impotent, weak, not capable. But there is nothing too hard for Him! In Micah 2:7 it say’s “is the Lord straitened?” I had to ask myself if I have restricted him or put him into a box? Maybe I backed off from “the word of promise”? (Romans 9:9)

All this year, I want to send you a Mary Monday message. We at Mary’s Song see God doing something big everyday in the girls that decided to “get off the bus” and begin a whole new life with Jesus. Since the New Year we have gotten 6 new girls into the program all ranging from 17-55 years old. Pray with us that each day these girls will hold onto the promise that “ there is nothing too hard for the Lord.” What are you believing God for in 2011?

TENDER MERCIES

TENDER MERCIES

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Ps.51:1

David is crying out to the Lord for mercy, we have all been there. He knew that his only hope was the undeserved favor of God, actually that is always our only hope. This is an amazing verse of scripture, David appeals to God’s mercy using three different hebrew words (see the previous two devotions). The phrase translated “tender mercies” is the most powerful of all. This word is racham and is connected to God’s eternal love for us, a love that existed before we were born. Strong’s word dictionary brings out the subtle beauty of this verse.

“racham * rakh’-am – compassion (in the plural); by extension the womb (as cherishing the foetus); by implication a maiden”

David is describing a love comparable to a mother’s love for her child, a love that began as the mom carried her child in her womb for nine months. What an incredible picture, He has loved us from our mother’s womb, this kind of love has no bounds. This description of the matriarchal bond of love describes the most powerful human relationship imaginable, the physical and emotional bond between a mother and a child. How far would a mom go to help her child in trouble, what obstacle would keep her from her liitle one in his time of need? Nothing, a mom would give her everything to take care of her child. This love just begins to portray the powerful love the Lord has for His children. David used this terminology to show us the depths of our Father’s love for us.
In this portrayal of His love, we begin to see the eternal nature of our Father’s love for us. Before we did anything, before we were even conceived, He loved us. This is the kind of tender mercy that carried David in his darkest hour. He had sinned, The Lord seemed far, far away, but David remembered this “racham”. He remembered the love of God that had no conditions, the love that called him from his youth could bring him back to that place of intimacy. Not only could he be forgiven, he could be restored.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Ps.51:10-12