LIONS, TIGERS, AND GIRAFFES

Ro.8:20,21 – For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility resulting from the consequences of human sin. But now, with eager expectation, all creation longs for freedom from its slavery to decay and to experience with us the wonderful freedom coming to God’s children.

My wife Parris and I recently went to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about going to zoos. My feelings about zoos got more complicated a number of years ago when my family was able to go to the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya while we were on a missions trip to Tanzania and Uganda. To see the African animals in their natural habitat kind of ruined going to zoos. The animals in the wild were alive and excited about life. When I went to zoos after that Africa trip it was never the same. The animals at the zoo seemed to be depressed and aware of their slavery, it just wasn’t the same.

That’s why my recent zoo excursion was so differently exciting. I knew something was up when we went to the lion exhibit. This lion, his name is Arnold, was very active wandering all over his enclosed area eyeing every person that came by. His eyes were intense and exciting, not like the sleepy, depressed lion I was accustomed to. It was as if Arnold was expecting his circumstances to change at any moment. He exhibited a wonderful display of anticipation.

Next we saw the giraffes. There were three males in the exhibit acting in very aggressive ways. They were slamming each other with their horns, swinging their necks at a high velocity. So much for the lazy animals at the zoo, something was up with these animals. Next we were at the elderly elephant area. Two females were entertaining us by climbing in and out of the water, spraying water in the dirt to make mud. Then they would spray themselves with mud. They were enjoying their daily mud bath. That’s when one of these girls let out a tremendous trumpet blast with her trunk. The animals seemed to be talking to us, or maybe the unseen One was speaking through His creation.

Then there was the tiger. He was going from roaring to swimming to attacking his barrel as if it was a prey of some sort. Finally we saw the jaguar, you know the one who made the news not long ago with his late night escapade and rampage as he killed multiple animals in other enclosures. He was ramped up, pacing, growling, and roaring. The animals were all speaking in concert.

What were they saying? Better yet, what is the Lord of creation saying? If you were paying attention you saw it in today’s verse. Creation itself is groaning in prophetic declaration about the coming kingdom and the releasing of the sons and daughters of God from the corruption of the fallen world. If the animals sense something then what about us?

TONGUES, PROPHESY, AND MIRACLES

Acts 19:6,7 – And when Paul laid his hands on each of the twelve, the Holy Spirit manifested and they immediately spoke in tongues and prophesied.

Acts 19:10,11 – Every day for over two years, he taught them in the lecture hall of Tyrannus, which resulted in everyone living in the province of Asia, Jews and non-Jews, hearing the prophetic word of the Lord. God kept releasing a flow of extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul.

The prayer language is seen all throughout the book of Acts. At the birthing of the church in Ephesus Paul lays his hands on twelve men who all began to speak in tongues and prophesy. There is a close connection to the prayer language and the other vocal gifts. Here are some comments from the Passion Notes on this passage.

“They spoke tongue by tongue and gushed out prophecies.” The impartation of the Holy Spirit and his gifts are here being transferred from Paul to these believers. Jesus taught that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, it is to impart power for our lives and ministries.”

Paul spent two years teaching these new believers and the growing church in Ephesus. The power and gifts of the Spirit increased through those daily saturation meetings. The whole region was impacted. Here are the Passion Notes on Acts 19:10,11.

“This “school of ministry” exploded as many came to hear Paul and then went out to preach, expanding the reach of the gospel into all the “province of Asia” (Asia Minor). The province of Asia would have covered no less than one-third of Turkey. Many multitudes heard the gospel in the two-year period when Paul taught in Ephesus. The teaching of the apostles resulted in the expansion of God’s kingdom realm.”

I believe an emphasis of the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit is desperately needed and I also believe there will be an increased restoration of these gifts in the days ahead. In vs.11 Luke described unusual miracles breaking out in Ephesus. Maybe that is what it will take to break open this generation to the gospel, unusual miracles. I say its time to focus on the power of the Spirit. Speak in tongues for extended times, soak in worship music, meditate on scripture. Before you know it unusual miracles will begin to follow after you.

LORD OF SHINING GLORY

1 Cor.2:8 – None of the rulers of this present world order understood it, for if they had, they never would have crucified the Lord of shining glory.

Have you ever noticed the title Paul gives to the Lord Jesus in this passage? I had never really caught it until I was digging into Corinthians recently preparing for my class. Paul refers to Jesus as the Lord of glory. This is another example of Paul acknowledging the absolute deity of Christ. Paul saw the shining glory of the Lord that day on the Damascus Road. He had been smitten by the radiance of the glory shining out from the Lord. Paul was speaking from experience, He is the Lord of glory. Here is a comment from the Passion Notes on this verse.

“Or a genitive of quality, “the Lord, to whom glory belongs.” This is the only place in the New Testament with the term “Lord of shining glory.” The church father Augustine translated this “the Lord who dispenses glory”.

I love what Augustine said, “He is the Lord Who dispenses glory”. Jesus is the Lord of shining glory. Everywhere He goes is filled with light. He is the light of the world and literally the light of the whole world. Adam Clarke said this about today’s verse.

“Or the glorious Lord, infinitely transcending all the rulers of the universe; whose is eternal glory; who gave that glorious Gospel in which his followers may glory, as it affords them such cause of triumph as the heathens had not, who gloried in their philosophers.”

Think about what Paul is teaching in this letter. He is saying that the gospel has nothing to do with human reason. The gospel is a hidden mystery only revealed by revelation. Revelation flows out from Christ, the light of the world. Jesus is the radiance or outshining of the glory of the Father. This radiance is the very life and power of God. In His light we see light. There is not only revelation but healing power in this light. Remember this last chapter of the Old Testament, “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall”.

Draw near to the Lord of shining glory. In His light you will see light; in His light you will be made perfectly whole.

MYSTERY

1 Cor.2:1,4,5 – My brothers and sisters, when I first came to proclaim to you the secrets of God, I refused to come as an expert, trying to impress you with my eloquent speech and lofty wisdom….The message I preached and how I preached it was not an attempt to sway you with persuasive arguments but to prove to you the almighty power of God’s Holy Spirit. For God intended that your faith not be established on man’s wisdom but by trusting in his almighty power.

Paul knew better than anyone that the gospel was indeed the mystery of God. Paul had studied from his childhood at the feet of the great teacher in Israel, Gamalial. He called himself a Pharisee of the Pharisees. If anyone knew the scriptures it was Saul of Tarsus. The problem is that sin blinds the minds of all of us. We are born with a fallen nature. Sin blinds our minds to the reality and truth of God. The only way any of us can ever grasp God’s love for us and His amazing plan is by revelation. Saul of Tarsus experienced that on the Road to Damascus. In a moment of time his eyes were opened and Saul received a revelation of Jesus Christ. In other words Saul the Pharisee was transformed into Paul the Apostle. That’s why Paul calls his message a mystery. You can’t see it until God calls you and opens your heart to the mystery of His grace. Here is a quote from the Passion Notes on this verse.

“As translated from the Aramaic. Some Greek manuscripts have “testimony.” Paul, as a steward of the mysteries of God, comes to them bringing a clear revelation of God’s mysteries. The Greek word mustērion (secret, or mystery) is found twenty-eight times in the New Testament.”

The Expositor’s Commentary also speaks about the mystery of God in this verse.

“He did not depend on overpowering oratory or philosophical argument. He rather came preaching the “mystery” of God–the message not fully understood by them before, but now explained by him and illuminated by the Holy Spirit.”

Because the gospel can’t be grasped by human reasoning or understanding we are totally dependent on the power of God to give people understanding. Preaching the gospel becomes an exercise of faith. The first message preached in the New Testament by anyone other than Jesus is seen on the Day of Pentecost itself. Peter had just been filled with the Spirit and had been praying in other tongues. Then he began to preach to the gathering crowd about the phenomenon of speaking in tongues. He called it a fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy. Peter’s message was unrehearsed and is recognized as being supernatural in nature. All true preaching is that, supernatural. Supernatural preaching carries within it the power to unfold the mystery of God.

CARRY THE ARK

Josh.3:17 – Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

Everyone wants to carry the ark of God, at least they think they do. That often changes when the cost of carrying the ark becomes clear. In today’s passage the priests were called to walk into death itself to prepare the way for the rest of God’s people to enter the land of promise.

Years ago I was planting tree in Coos Bay, Oregon raising money for our Bible College. I remember one day being discouraged to the point of giving up. I felt like the sacrifices of living in the mountains and planting trees was more than I could bare. The Lord encouraged me that day by these priests in Joshua. I was reading a devotion by Watchman Nee and the Lord strengthened me to finish what I had started. Looking back at that dilemma I was in makes me laugh today. At the time it is was enormous and the Lord met me powerfully. Here is that devotion that I still remember almost fifty years later.

“We must have faith to see all God’s people brought into their inheritance. That is His purpose, and it will be carried through. But as a means to realizing that purpose, God needs those willing to step right into death if need be, and to stand there steadfast until all are safely over. Because that little band of priests did so, holding firm with the ark in the place where death threatened, a whole nation passed dry-shod clean through Jordan. Not one soul remained behind! Of course it was not they but the ark of God that opened the way into a land of promise. Never forget that. But note this too: it was they who took it there and held it there. By their act of faith in standing with the Lord amidst death, others passed into abundant life. Am I ready for this?”

So maybe you feel like throwing in the towel, the sacrifice just doesn’t seem worth it. What does it take to change all that? Just a glimpse of God’s harvest and your connection to it changes everything. Let’s carry the ark down into the rivers of death, supernatural harvest is the sure result.

JOYOUS GRACE – ENDLESS PEACE

1 Cor.1:3 – May joyous grace and endless peace be yours continually from our Father God and from our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!

I love the writings of the Apostle Paul. Even his introductions are filled with revelation and blessing. In this greeting Paul is proclaiming joyous grace and endless peace over our lives. First there is this thing called grace. Many call it unmerited favor; that doesn’t take us nearly far enough. I think of grace as the influence of Sovereign Joy on our lives that attracts us and satisfies us with Christ. Grace is the beginning and the completion of my faith. Here is a thought from the Passion Notes on grace.

“The Greek word charis, in its original sense, is descriptive of that which brings pleasure and joy to the human heart, implying a strong emotional element. God’s grace includes favor and supernatural potency, and it is meant to leave us both charming and beautiful. In classical Greek it was meant to convey the attitude of favor shown by royalty.”

This grace introduces us into the endless, supernatural peace of God. Paul says it like this, in Romans 5:1 – “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. The Passion Bible says it like this – “Our faith in Jesus transfers God’s righteousness to us and he now declares us flawless in his eyes. This means we can now enjoy true and lasting peace with God, all because of what our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, has done for us.”

Grace opens the door to endless supernatural peace in our lives. I see peace in three major ways flowing from God’s grace. First, I have peace with God. My sinful life and sinful condition had kept me separated from the Lord. His work of grace has reconciled me to God. Because my sins are gone I am at peace with God. Next, I am at peace with myself. It is easy to be filled with strife when you are living in darkness. Now that I have come out of the dark and into the light I am actually at peace with myself. If I am accepted by God I can surely accept myself. Because I have been reconciled to God my very being is flooded with the Lord Himself. His presence is my peace. So I receive Paul’s prayer over my life today, I receive joyous grace and endless peace as my inheritance.

ACCELERATED LIFE

Jn.4:38 – I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.

The blessing of the Lord has an accelerating effect on everything it touches. In this passage Jesus is using the move of God in Samaria as a glimpse into the day when the whole earth would experience supernatural harvest. He had ministered to the woman at the well in Samaria and her amazing testimony served as a catalyst for many other Samaritans to come to Christ. The Lord takes that situation and begins to apply the word from Amos about sowers overtaking the harvesters. He was speaking about the harvest that would come to its peak at the end of the age. I believe we are experiencing the beginning of that Amos 9 prophesy in our world today. Here is a description of this verse from Barclay’s Commentary.

“Jesus went on to show that the incredible had happened. The sower and the harvester could rejoice at the same time. Here was something no man might expect….There is something else hidden below the surface here. The Jews had their dreams of the golden age, the age to come, the age of God, when the world would be God’s world, when sin and sorrow would be done away with and God would reign supreme. Amos paints his picture of it: “Behold the days are coming, saith the Lord, when the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed” (Amos 9:13). …It was the dream of that golden age that sowing and reaping, planting and harvesting, would follow hard upon the heels of each other. There would be such fertility that the old days of waiting would be at an end. We can see what Jesus is gently doing here. His words are nothing less than a claim that with him the golden age has dawned; God’s time is here; the time when the word is spoken and the seed is sown and the harvest waits.”

This is a word of prophesy I have been standing on and experiencing for over forty years. I think the full manifestation of this word is beginning to break out among us now in the year 2020. Put yourself in a position to be part of this exciting word. Get involved with your talents and your resources in the Lord’s harvest and watch favor, unprecedented favor, break into your world.

“RAISE THE DEAD!”

Merry Monday by Parris:

Matthew 10:8 “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!” NLT

Funny how you can read a scripture a million times but all of a sudden something pops out almost as if you have never heard it before. That my friend is called a Rhema word or God’s word to you. My word from the Lord that came to me is RAISE THE DEAD. Or in other words, “ones dying, awaken”.

Funny most of the commentaries looked over it. Some said it wasn’t in the original manuscripts, others said only Jesus did that or didn’t even give it a second thought. But they forgot about the book of Acts. I do believe we will see this more and more in our day because the dead are all around us and literally their breath is being taking away suddenly! I am talking about both physically and most certainly spiritually we will be RAISING THE DEAD for they are all around us.

If you take it straight from the Greek, the scripture lays it out this way.

“One being sick, serve! Ones dying, awaken! Rough ones, cleanse! Demons, toss out! Freely, you get. Freely, give!”

When Christ tells his disciples this, it was as if this sudden turn of events must have made them wonder. In a moment they were going to be able to do things they had never done. These are the gifts that have freely been given to us so we ought to give to others freely. What an amazing gift! RAISE THE DEAD – ONES DYING AWAKEN! Have you ever been around the rough? God gives us the ability to transform them? What about people that have darkness inside of them? Christ tells us to expose it. What a ministry that we all have been given! The more we glorify Christ in our lives the gift just keeps giving! You can’t tell me God can’t bring the dead back to life. They will awaken and God will give them their voice back to praise him all the days of their life. Every human being has the right to experience resurrection from the dead.

Rev. 5:12 “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain and hath redeemed us to God by his blood to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

REAPERS, PLOUGHMEN, AND SOWERS

Amos 9:13 – Sept. – Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when the threshing will overtake the harvest, and grapes will ripen at the time the seed is sown, and the mountains will drip sweetness, and all the hills shall share in it.

I will never forget how fast things happened when we experienced revival outpouring in our church beginning in 1994. We saw the same kinds of things as before but there was a huge acceleration on everything. There was an acceleration in financial provision, souls being saved, and major increases in the area of miracle healings and deliverances. It seemed that things that would take weeks, months, and years would happen in a moment of time. We saw healings of all sorts from blindness, HIV, cancer, heart ailments, and many others. We had seen these things over the years but now there was a distinct acceleration. We saw Beyond the Grave begin with its 20+ years of a surge of souls being saved. We saw Mary’s Song begin with its radical display of supernatural restoration of broken lives and families. That’s what this Amos prophesy is all about, a season of shocking supernatural miracles in every arena of our lives. This last week the Lord has been reminding me of this amazing passage and speaking a word of acceleration of miracles over our lives in 2020. Here is a word from Adam Clarke on this prophesy.

“The ploughman shall overtake the reaper. All the seasons shall succeed in due and natural order: but the crops shall be so copious in the fields and in the vineyards, that a long time shall be employed in gathering and disposing of them; so that the seasons of ploughing, sowing, gathering the grapes, & treading the wine-press shall press on the heels of each other; so vast will be the abundance, and so long the time necessary to gather and cure the grain and fruits.”

I believe there is a surge of miracles, financial provision, and harvest of souls for those engaged in His work in these last days. The only way you can miss it is by putting down your harvesting tool or by stop sowing into His work. The Lord is serious about His church and He will bring unprecedented glory on His bride in fulfillment of the Amos prophesy to close out the age. I am in a state of unprecedented expectancy. Put in the cycle and reap, the ploughman is about to overtake us.

INSPIRED SPEECH

Acts 2:4 – And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

I am grateful to the people the Lord used to disciple me in my early Christian walk. They were young men and women who had been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit in the charismatic renewal; more particularly the Jesus movement back in the early 1970’s. Praying in the Spirit was a huge part of our experience. We understood that the word utterance in today’s verse is describing something totally supernatural. Speaking in tongues is not babbling in some incoherent, insignificant tongue. When we pray in tongues we are praying heavenly mysteries and intimacies from the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. The word utterance describing this prayer language is the Greek word apotheggomai. It has an interesting meaning described in these definitions listed below.

Passion Notes

“The Greek word apotheggomai literally means “to ring out” (like a bell). It can also mean “carried along” or “inspired.”

Kittel

“To speak out loudly and clearly, or with emphasis” (of philosophers, ecstatics, prophets, singers, and prophets)”

Thayer

“to speak out, speak forth, pronounce, not a word of everyday speech, but one belonging to dignified and elevated discourse”

What I have discovered by praying in tongues daily for the last forty-six years is that this supernatural gift opens up the world of the supernatural to me. The more I pray in tongues the more the world of the Spirit becomes real to me.

One of the results of this initial outpouring of the Spirit and the one hundred and twenty disciples praying in tongues was the supernatural message that Peter preached. It begins to describe this event in Acts 2:14.

“But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.”

Here is the amazing thing about this event, where it says Peter “addressed” them the word is the same used in vs. 4, apotheggomai, to describe the supernatural prayer language. In this verse Peter is describing what the prayer language was, a supernatural sign to this generation. The powerful prophetic message that Peter preached that day began to release the harvest of the earth that continues today. Peter’s preaching was supernatural in the same way our prayer language is supernatural. So I say pray in tongues. Pray in tongues a lot. Pray in tongues everyday and you will also be caught up in the supernatural visitation that is touching our world today.