THE ANOINTED ONE

THE ANOINTED ONE

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Lk 3:21

There was an excitement in the air. It was like nothing people in Israel had ever experienced in their lifetime. There was a real prophet in the land. People from all over Israel were coming to hear, and coming to see this unusual man. They were calling him “John the Baptist”. He was dressed like one of the prophets of old, and the hand of God was upon him.
“REPENT!”, his voice was like thunder in the wilderness. “The kingdom of God is at hand.” No one was quite sure what he meant, but everyone knew that a change was in the wind, you could feel it in his words. A new day had come.
And then it happened. Jesus of Nazareth came to be baptized. Some said that it thundered when Jesus came up out of the water, others felt a wind they described as the “breath of God”. But somehow the people knew, John’s purpose had been fulfilled. He was the voice crying in the wilderness, but now, the ANOINTED ONE had come.
From that day, the anointing was upon Jesus. Everywhere He went, signs and wonders followed Him. It was an amazing three years of ministry, but it was over as soon as it started. But at the end, He promised, ” I will not leave you as orphans, the Holy Spirit will come upon you. The things that I have done, will you do also”.
Shortly after His death and resurrection, the same anointing came upon His followers. They walked in the same power that He had. As a matter of fact, that same anointing is falling from heaven today. Everyone who is thirsty, can be filled with His powerful anointing today, and can begin to experience the supernatural power of God. Are you tired of just hearing about things the Lord has done in the past? Do you want to live in the anointing yourself? Jesus said it was simple to receive this powerful life. He said, ” if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink, out of his innermost being will flow rivers of LIVING WATER.” Today, the ANOINTED ONE, is seated at the right hand of God, everyone who comes to Him steps into this powerful new kind of life.

SPRINGS OF LIVING WATER

SPRINGS OF LIVING WATER

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
JOHN 4:13,14

Will never thirst, how could that possibly be? What is Jesus speaking of? He is describing a thirst for spiritual things that replaces our thirst for the things of this world. He said that if we drink the water He has to give, this water will become a perpetual fountain bubbling up inside of us. The results is not only a spiritual awakening, but a passion for the things of God. Jesus is describing an incredible spiritual revolution that flows from God Himself. Jonathan Edwards spoke of this fountain in his “Treatise on Grace”. He said, ” the sum of all good which the saints have in this world, is that spring of living water within them which we read of in John 4:10 and those rivers of living waters flowing from within them which we read of in John 7:37,38 which we are there told is the Holy Spirit. And the sum of all happiness in the other world, is that river of living water which flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb, which is the river of God’s pleasures, and is the Holy Spirit, which is often compared in sacred Scripture to water, to the rain and dew, and rivers and floods of waters”.
I love the phrase Edwards used, “the sum of all good”. He was saying all that we have of true value in life comes from the Lord. How is it that most of us value other things more than the things of God? If we are honest with ourselves, we tend to have stronger feelings for life’s plesures and expierences than for God Himself. How can our “value system” be changed. Look again at what Jesus said, “whoever drinks of this water that I have to give shall never thirst.” Did you get it? There is something in the living water itself that effects us, it actually changes our thirst, or our value system, so that we begin to agree with Edwards that this living water is ” the sum of all good which have in this world”.
We can start this new life today, all it takes is a little drink. There is so much life in this living water that just one taste can begin this new thirsting for God. As you spend time in His word or in prayer today, drink in, receive the love that He has for you. Before you know it, you will know what it means to never thirst again.

THE GREATEST OF ALL JOYS

THE ENJOYMENT OF GOD

4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.

Psalm 43:4

God and joy don’t come in the same thought for most people. Spiritual matters are serious matters. We find our joy somewhere else. It may be in buying nice things, going on vacation, or just the weekly football game. All of us are on the hunt, looking for pleasure in created things. This was not the case for Jonathan Edwards. He said that God was his good and that the only joy that can satisfy a man’s heart is spiritual joy. Many years ago I read his biography, and in it I found this statement that has effected me more than any words outside of the scripture.
“The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the ocean.”
Those words rocked my world. Suddenly, I saw it. My life wasn’t about His gifts, it was about Him. He was the source of all happiness, the enjoyment of God Himself was the purpose that I was born to fulfill. It wasn’t about money, houses, numbers, success, or even about family. It was all about Him. He wanted to reveal His greatness to me and through me for my pleasure and His Glory. The horrible yoke of human achievement was broken from off of my neck, I was free for the pursuit of real pleasure, pleasure found only in Him. No more chasing shadows, no more worries about accomplishments, no longer needing to please man. Today, this freedom can be yours. Where can you find it? You find it by leaving behind the pursuit of “shadows” and start enjoying the substance. All of those good things in life are from Him, they are not the source of our pleasure, all they are, are signs pointing us toward God, our exceeding joy.

Content

CONTENT

for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
PHIL. 4:11-13

These words were written by the Apostle Paul from prison. He said he had learned the secret of happiness and was content regardless of his outward circumstances. He had discovered that our life does not consist in our possessions, titles, accomplishments, or our station in life. Paul had learned that life itself was found in Christ and he could be satisfied despite adverse circumstances. Paul had found contentment in Christ alone.
Jonathan Edwards often spoke of the happiness that is only available from the Lord. In his sermon “God Amongst His People” he says, “When so great a holy God dwells among a people, he not only is able to supply them with all good, God is theirs, and therefore they are happy, if they have nothing else. If all other things fail, the enjoyment of God is sufficient to make them completely happy”.
This is one of the greatest, and yet, hardest lessons to learn in our Christian walk. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s our ministry went through some very painful experiences. Our local economy was suffering and it was effecting the church members as well as the church itself. The in suing problems caused anxiety and fear to set into my life. To me, it seemed as if all of the years of work were in vain, and there was a real possibility of losing everything. I had to take a real look at the possibility that ,that could take place. That was not a fun time. During this season, the Lord visited me and our church with an unusual outpouring of His Presence. What a contrast, in the physical world, nothing but trouble. In the spiritual world incredible, unspeakable joy. Then the Lord posed the question, “If you lose everything, am I enough for you?” What a question! I grappled with that thought for weeks, but came to the inevitable conclusion. “Lord, You are more than enough.” That was it. I was dealing with the greatest of all questions, “Could I be satisfied with Christ alone?”
This is the question we answer everyday, “Is Jesus enough?” Maybe you have not yet discovered the secret of total contentment, if that is the case, your greatest discovery and greatest joy in life is just ahead.

THE CLEFTS OF THE ROCK

THE CLEFTS OF THE ROCK

“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret places of the cliff,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely.”

SONG OF SOLOMON 2:14

One of the famous hymns of all time was written in the 1700’s by Augustus Toplady called Rock of Ages. In this song, Toplady describes protection from life’s storms, hidden away in the cleft of the rock. He had obviously found the protection and safety found only in this place of intimacy with God. Listen to these famous, timeless words, as they ring through the centuries.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

This world we live in is an extremely dangerous place. There is trouble, sometimes hidden trouble, facing us on a regular basis. We are threatened with disease, troubled by financial woes, endangered by violent attacks, increasingly worried about terrorists, not to mention the unusual natural calamities that seem to be happening on a much more frequent basis. We need a place of refuge that we can run to in this increasingly, hostile world.

In his song, Rev. Toplady tells us of this place,”Rock of ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee”. He had discovered the intimacy, that brings shelter, in the clefts of the Rock. Who is that Rock? Of course, it is our precious Savior. What are the clefts? They are the wounds that Jesus suffered in our place. Jesus suffered and died, to bring us intimacy with Himself. This place of intimacy is the source of all life. Flowing from the wounds of Christ is life itself, all we need for security and satisfaction in this crazy world. As we begin our day today, let’s go in to the place of safety, this is where we will see His face, this is where we will hear His voice, for His voice is sweet and His face is lovely. Just as Toplady discovered in the 1700’s, Christ is our hiding place. We can find a place of refuge, rest, and refreshing in the clefts of the Rock.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

THE FRAGRANCE OF THE BRIDE

THE FRAGRANCE OF THE BRIDE

SONG OF SOLOMON 4:9,10

9 You have ravished my heart,
My sister, my spouse;
You have ravished my heart
With one look of your eyes,
With one link of your necklace.
10 How fair is your love,
My sister, my spouse!
How much better than wine is your love,
And the scent of your perfumes
Than all spices!

Paul said that we are a fragrance of Christ unto God the Father. When we are born again, we are clothed with His wedding garments, the righteousness of God that comes by grace through faith. The Father sees , and smells, Christ when He thinks of us. At the same time there is a smell about Christians that is attractive, or honestly, quite repulsive to the people we are around every day. To those who are being saved, an irresistible fragrance of life, to those who are lost, we have the smell of death upon us.
Practically speaking, how can I have more of this fragrance on me? Have you noticed the aroma of Christ is stronger on some Christians than others? Why is this? The fragrance comes from spending time with Him. The more contact we have with the Lord, the more His aroma becomes part of our lives.
In the scripture verse for today, Solomon is describing the attraction the bride has for the bridegroom. Can you imagine that Jesus is enamored with you, He is effected by the fragrance that comes from you. What a strange thing, the fragrance that attracts Him is actually His own. Our only attraction is the imparted life of Christ Himself. As I feast on Him, drinking in HIs Spirit and feeding on His word, His life becomes intwined in mine. His aroma begins to emanate from our lives. The fragrance not only ascends to the Lord as a sweet smelling sacrifice, it is diffused everywhere we go bringing people into contact with Christ Himself in His bride.
As we go about our daily routine, we are spreading an aroma. We carry the fragrance of the very atmosphere we live in from day to day. As we surrender to His love on a consistent basis, the life of Christ begins to settle in upon us. When that happens, we begin to fulfill the words of the Apostle,
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing”.

LOVE BETTER THAN WINE

LOVE BETTER THAN WINE

10 How fair is your love,
My sister, my spouse!
How much better than wine is your love,
And the scent of your perfumes
Than all spices!
SONG OF SOLOMON 4:10

In this passage, the bridegroom (Christ), is speaking about the preciousness of the love of his bride (the church). He is obviously delighted with the affections she is pouring out upon her spouse. In the same way, the Lord is delighted with the love of His children. He says that our love is better than wine.
Jonathan Edwards quoted this verse in one of his sermons in 1741. He said that this was true of Mary’s act of worship as she poured out her perfume from her broken, alabaster box. Edwards said that “the sweet ointment poured forth out of Mary’s box on the head of Christ, was a type of true divine grace and divine love flowing forth out of the heart of the true believer towards Jesus Christ.” What he was saying is that all true worship is us pouring back on Christ what we have received from Him. What have we received? All things that pertain to life and godliness. We have received an infusion of His incredible love, we have received Christ Himself. Our hearts have been filled to overflowing with the oil of gladness. Our hearts are bursting with His love. What is the outcome? Worship flowing out of our innermost being, our love being poured out on our Lord.
Actually, this is what Mary was doing, she was only returning a portion of this incredible love that she had received. Even though her actions seemed strange and were misunderstood, later they would all understand. After Pentecost, all of the disciples found themselves pouring out their love back on Christ. They received more than they thought possible as the Holy Spirit begin to pour down upon them from heaven. What was their response to this incredible filling? Why, it was the only possible recourse. They begin to pour out their love in worship to the Lord. They had also tasted the love that is better than wine, now their praise was like the fragrant aroma of Mary’s ointment, being returned to the Lord. What have you received from Him? If your heart is full, it is time to pour out your worship. Like Mary, you can begin to pour back upon the Lord a portion of His goodness that you have received.

DRAW ME AND I WILL RUN

DRAW ME AND I WILL RUN

4 Draw me away!
We will run after you.

SONG OF SOLOMON 1:4

It feels like I have I always been running. Running after childhood dreams, chasing after adolescent lusts, pursuing the ambitious dreams of my youth, running and running but never catching my prize. Man has been running since the beginning of time. Chasing after his prey, running after (or from) his enemies, stalking down his national or personal ambitions, or expending his energy and his fortunes in pursuit of the fame and fortune success brings. All of us have been running, and will continue, until divine interruption stops us in our tracks. Isn’t that the way love is, doesn’t it stop us in the midst of our activities and refocuses the passions and the pursuits of our lives? Have you ever been surprised by love? Suddenly the important becomes insignificant, the urgent becomes meaningless, love captures our heart and changes our course, sometimes in the middle of the race.
This is what Solomon is describing in his song. “Draw me and I will run after you.” He calls us out of one race just to join another, but this race is quite different. Rather than the rat race of life which never satisfies, we are strangely attracted into another pursuit. This is the pursuit of love. The drawing that King Solomon describes in his love song is quite enticing. He uses the picture of two young lovers hopelessly drawn into the pursuit of one another, a pursuit that seems to overpower every other concern in their lives. This, of course, is a picture of the spiritual attraction that Christ has upon His own. When He begins to draw us with His love, we fall hopelessly into His intoxicating love,. Nothing else seems to matter because of the incredible treasure we have discovered in Christ.
I will never forget those early days when I first tasted the Savior’s love. I would go anywhere or do anything to hear about Him or experience His touch. Driving to Metairie or to New Orleans from Slidel for a Bible study, inconvenience was non-existent. Driving to California to go to Bible School, it meant nothing. I was caught in His heavenly embrace, my life of running was just getting started. Today, I am still on the run. I am caught in the heavenly pursuit. I want to run this race to win, to finish my course with joy. Come on, join the race, step out of the rat race of worldly pursuits, come join with me in the race of love.

LITTLE CHILDREN

LITTLE CHILDREN

And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet.

Mk 7:24,25

When your children are hurting, you are hurting. This gentile mom was at her wits end. Her child was tormented, there was no rest for anyone in their home. Their only hope was a miracle. When Jesus came into her region, she took immediate action, even an apparent denial from the Lord wasn’t going to stop her. She wanted nothing less than a miracle.
We recently met a lady and her son with a similar problem, her little boy had not slept more than three hours in any night for ten years. Her son was tired, she was tired, and their whole world was captive to this dilemma. This mom needed a miracle. Her pastor announced our revival meetings in her church in Bendigo, Australia. She decided to take action. She began three weeks of fasting and prayer in anticipation of these meetings. When the meetings started, night after night they were in the prayer lines. From the very first night he began to sleep. His mom testified that she had to wake him each morning, he was catching up on some much needed rest. For the first time in ten years, this whole family is getting some sleep.
Maybe you are at the end of yourself, or maybe you feel like you need some rest. Just as Jesus met the gentile from Tyre and the little boy and his mom from Bendigo, He will meet you in the midst of your struggle. What will it take? In both cases it required persistence. Many times lifes delays appear like denials from the Lord. That is the time to take action. In Bendigo, it was three weeks of fasting preparing for a meeting, for the Caananite woman it was an intrusion into the Lord’s time of rest. Both acts of persistent faith did not go unrewarded. The little girl was freed in Tyre, and in Bendigo a young boy is sleeping. Today is the day for you to put feet to your faith. Get under the anointing in church, soak yourself in prayer and worship, recruit your friends to fast and pray. As you do, you will enter into the Lord’s rest.

CHANGED INTO ANOTHER MAN

CHANGED INTO ANOTHER MAN

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
Acts 2:14-16

This would be a day no one would soon forget. It began as the last nine days had begun, waiting. The followers of Jesus were waiting for “the Promise of the Father”. They were not quite sure what kind of promise that was, but they waited none the less. That tenth day, suddenly the very atmosphere in that upper chamber seemed to come alive. The room began to swirl with a wind that was more than a wind. It was the breath of God. Next, strange languages began to flow from deep within, these were not ordinary languages, these were the very words of God. As this strange blessing began to spread, the sound of celebration and joy began to attract a crowd in the streets below.
” These people are all drunk!” someone shouted. Before you knew it, Peter was in the street, lifting up his voice, ” These men are not drunk as you suppose, this is the fulfillment of what the prophet Joel said”.
Peter had been turned into another man. Just a few days earlier, Peter had denied ever knowing Christ, but now things were different, now Peter was different. He was speaking like a man from another world.
What had changed? Where had this new courage come from? Peter had received the “Promise of the Father”. Peter had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. He was a different man. He had been transformed by the touch of God into an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter’s life would never be the same. Is this blessing still available today? Can we experience this same transformation? In this very same message, Peter gives us the answer.

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call”.
Acts 2:38,39
Yes, you too can be turned into another man. How will it happen? When you are clothed with power from on high. Ask the Lord today for this change, listen carefully, you just might hear the sound of a rushing, mighty wind.