Kairos-Moments of Grace

MERRY TUESDAY BY Parris

Eph. 5:15,16 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days of evil”

If there is any time to live in, I would say this is that time. If there is any segment of moments I would say this is that moment. Almost as if the page turned in history and the whole world was suddenly put on pause time moved into segments and we hopefully drew close to God. In the above verse the Apostle Paul warns us about making the best of this opportune moment because all around us evil lurks. Passion translation says, “take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes”.

God has given each and every one of us a purpose! One of the meanings of time (Greek “Kairos”) is realizing you are living in an extraordinary time, requiring interpretation. The capacity to read the signs of the times (kairos) and respond to it not in fear but by faith. Lord give us the ability to perceive the signs of this time! Jesus wept over Jerusalem because they didn’t recognize the day of his visitation. Kairos also means it’s a dangerous time. It is critical to recognize it, for if you allow it to pass, the loss will be immeasurable (Jesus wept because he foresaw the destruction of the city). There is a burden or responsibility tied up in the recognition of the kairos. God used Mordecai to warn Esther that if she kept silent at this extraordinary time God will use someone else and her life will not be spared.

Within these grace moments, these moments when we are stopped in our tracks, we are given the chance to reawaken to action, transformation, even a change of life. Whatever was hindering you in the past is not to hinder you now for the set time has come or the favored time. When others scatter, this is the time to draw near.

In these special moments of time, God will give us special opportunity to not just endure crisis but to create opportunity and favor. It is in these times God assists us with supernatural endurance, ability, agility, and insight to see what others cannot see or perceive.

In the Greek Chronos refers to minutes and seconds. Whereas Kairos refers to an opportune moment or due season. We are taught to number our days. I pray you will be alert and make the best of this moment!

“This thing called beauty!”

Merry Monday with Parris

Ps.19:1 – “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech where their voice is not heard”

When we see Christ face to face we will be without excuse in regard to his voice. For creation speaks everyday to us to look up and join in the great worship! What is so amazing to me is that even as a child I truly think God was calling out to me as I played in bubbly brooks, walked among green forests and swim in his mighty oceans. Beauty opened my eyes to his love! When Jonathan Edwards studied beauty he found the person of God. In other words, whatever he saw around him, he glanced microscopically into a world too great to fully comprehend. The pursuit of beauty leads us straight into God. Edwards made it a practice to ride his horse for hours or walk alone singing songs and it was there he found rich and perpetual treasuries for his soul. He discovered nothing less than the purpose of his life and the meaning of his existence. I pray you too will dive so deep into his beauty that you will never come out!

I feel like the Trinity set in motion such a love for each other that it spilled out into the world as we know it. They are intent to make their glory known and incite us to their beauty. Creating such a circle of love so compelling that began with Christ speaking creation into being, then Christ being made man, moving onto the church ending at the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is this dance of love that creates this beauty all around us beckoning us to join in. God is not careless of the world for it is the end for which God created the earth.

It is interesting to me that the Reformers drank deeply of the beauty of God and expressed their views passionately. Edwards says; “How soon do earthly lovers come to an end of their discoveries of each other’s beauty; how soon do they see all that is to be seen! . . . And how happy is that love, in which there is an eternal progress in all these things; wherein new beauties are continually discovered, and more and more loveliness, and in which we shall forever increase in beauty ourselves; where we shall be made capable of finding out and giving, and shall receive, more and more endearing expressions of love forever: our union will become more close, and communication more intimate.” Luther believed that all created things are really masks of God (larvae Dei). They are media through which God can speak to us. John Calvin regarded nature as a most beautiful theatre of God’s work. The important theme for Calvin is that the orderliness of nature shows us the wisdom and the goodness of God and natural beauty exhibits the glory of the Creator.

To many, they cannot see the glory of the Lord in natural beauty because they do not look at the world with the right spectacles, using the word of God and reading the world through redemption. Nature though beautiful to them never speaks the mysteries of Christ nor draws them to holiness.
I pray you are touched by his beauty in such a way that you will ever be thirsty for more!

“Material”

A MOTHERS DAY THOUGHT

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS –

Acts 9:40,41 – Peter made them all leave the room. Then he got down on his knees and prayed. He turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her eyes and looked at Peter and sat up. He took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then he called in the faithful followers and the women whose husbands had died. He gave her to them, a living person.

My childhood memories were lived in Texas full of adventures in woods, rushing streams and even walks to my school greeting horses along the way. But my fondest memories were the frequent road trips to Gainesville, Texas to see my grandmother who was a widow. Her house took on the noise of the busy street and the railroad nearby but the home cooked meals and the outside screened porch where we slept all made up for it. My grandmother made her meager living sewing. One of the joys of being there was going through boxes of scrap material or the many quilt squares of varied designs. My mother took up the same gifting and made many of my sister’s and my clothing. To this day I have one of my grandmother’s special quilts that she made.

The book of Acts portrays the same, a woman sewing for the good of others. Her name was Dorcas who was a widow and the scripture isn’t quite clear about how she died only that several widows gathered around her as she lay lifeless and the news eventually got to the Apostle Peter. They showed Peter her material and what she did with it. I am not sure how long she suffered with her illness-did she die quickly or did the dream within her die first? Was she shut down during her illness that made her silent? Whatever the case was, Peter traveled from another town and found her upstairs lifeless with her material laying all around her. There was garments yet to be made, dreams yet to birthed and Peter was there to bring resurrection to all that fell silent within her. She wasn’t a preacher, nor married to one, she performed no miracles that we know of but she used those scraps of material to change lives. Peter prayed for her and told her to get up and she did and that is where the story ends with others giving glory to God. I believe she found more scraps to use for the glory of God! Maybe she started a whole society with widows from all over the region, pulled all the their pieces together and more garments were made for the poor! Something tells me the more she used God’s material, the more her strength came back! Dorcas inspires us to re-frame how we see ourselves and the impact we can have on our city no matter how insufficient we feel or shut down we become. Reach for that box of scraps and you just might feel a fresh wind blow within you!

Oh I forgot to mention my grandmother’s name was Jewel.

Daily Encounters with Jesus

Merry Monday by Parris-

“Then they drew near unto the village where they were going, and He made as though He would have gone further. But they constrained Him, saying, Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And He went in to stay with them.” Luke 24:28,29.

We all have to walk the road to encounters that change us. What starts out as horrible, tragic with disbelief can turn around into joy, excitement and devotion. Those disciples on the road to Emmaus had such an encounter. Like all of us, the two disciples that left Jerusalem that day had their story. It was seared into their memory and they pack up quickly to leave it all behind. Their dreams went dead and their hopes vanished. It was just the two of them walking the many miles back to Emmaus sharing about the cross and the Christ until a stranger met up with them. They didn’t know it was Jesus nor could they see if they tried. Sometimes the wool gets pulled right over our eyes and our whole world turns cloudy. What makes this so unusual is that Jesus surely had a full agenda after he got resurrected! But here he is taking the time to meet up with these two. Then, He takes the time to walk with them patiently instructing them through the Bible concerning himself. It wasn’t until Christ breaks bread at the house that they realize its Jesus. Christ vanishes, leaving behind new hope, zest for life and understanding of the scripture like never before. In a flash their world had come back alive to them so much that they went back into Jerusalem to tell the brethren. I would call that a major encounter! Where will you come out on the other side of this season?
I love the part in the passage where they beg the stranger to abide with them and stay. They urged him inside for Jesus was intending to go on. Jesus says to all, “Open to Me, My sister, My love, My dove, for My head is filled with dew, and My locks with the drops of the night”?
There is always times when season change that we distance ourselves from intimacy. Throughout the scriptures we see examples of people pressing on the Lord. Abraham pleaded with the angels to stay, the Syro-Phoenician woman sought for the healing of her daughter, the blind men cried unto Him for sight so He cried out louder and louder, and the nobleman, when he came with his son, pleaded with tears till he cried, “Lord, come down before my child dies.”
So many have read their bibles yet have no encounters with Christ! Did not our hearts burn within us while He spoke with us by the way? Let’s not treat baptism, or the Lord’s Supper, or the reading of the Word, or the hearing of it, in a casual way during this season. Let’s come out of this with hearts burning and minds shining with encounters of Christ!

The Hiding of His Power-

The Prayer of Shigionoth

MERRY THURSDAY BY PARRIS

“And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.” Habakkuk 3:4

My goal is to live by faith in unprecedented days for in them we might see his power.

In the book of Habakkuk, one steps in on a conversation that Habakkuk is having with God. In the first chapter the prophet is flustered as to why God hasn’t answered him. By the way, his name means the embracer. One who embraces or who sees ahead. May we too embrace or be the “just who walk by faith”.

The 2nd chapter lays this out; “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart,

And watch to see what He will say to me,

And what I will answer when I am corrected.”

When God’s answer comes in Chapter 3, he realizes that God’s wrath is not a matter of if, but when. He prays three things; “O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid. And revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known and lastly in your wrath remember mercy. ”

I believe each of these verses are being played out today in our current crisis. Each of us are being forced to “dial it down” and hopefully arrange our lives to allow God to move the hands of the clock upon our lives and revive us again. And last but not least—-in his wrath remember mercy.

The next verse speaks of how God hides his power. This is the fun part. We can find him in nature where the finite takes on infinite. We can experience fresh revelations for his mercy is new every morning. I mean when is the last time you have felt his presence? And we see his power hiding in providence which is going on right now. He has pulled the curtain off again on Job and begun his great instruction of “where were you?”

“Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior!” Isaiah 45:15

God is still present with his church to do wonders; this is what the world dreads, and what the church wants. Pray for it, pray to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. O Lord, send forth this unconquerable spirit! O God, revive thy work!

“The LORD has made bare His holy arm In the eyes of all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our God.” Is. 52:10

YET WILL I! I pray you too can say…….YET WILL I.

It is in his prophecy he writes- “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the ‘God of my salvation.’”

“To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.” These final lines are not only a prayer. They are a song for others to join.

I AM JOSEPH!

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-“ Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” Gen.45:3

One cannot read this passage of Joseph and move on. Octavius Winslow says; “the whole scene is inimitably beautiful and richly instructive, such as neither the pen of the poet, the pencil of the painter, or the orator can adequately depict.”

Joseph’s life speaks of injustice and I would even say horror. He spent his entire life suffering and in a land that wasn’t his home. Joseph forgave and kept forgiving. Spurgeon said, “Masters of divinity are not to be made by shallow experience. We make not sailors on dry land, nor veterans in times of peace. Christ’s rugged warriors who shall do great exploits for him, must be like the Spartan youths, they must be brought up by a Spartan training, and flogged, and made to bear the yoke in their youth, that afterwards they may be good soldiers of Christ, able to endure hardness and to achieve great victories.”

When he exclaimed ‘I am Joseph” it must have brought fresh terror upon the brothers. The memories of yesterday buried deep within them were quickly brought up to be weighed in the balance. Jesus takes each of us to our own hell to bring us back up to life. We must come to this scene over and over again so as to never forget his love for us!

“I am Joseph” speaks to us of letting go all the pain of the past. “I am Joseph” speaks of forgiving all who took away our homes, our families and our livelihood. “I am Joseph” speaks of a better day when you can look at the future and say “God has made me forget”. “I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt says to draw near to him! “I am Joseph” says, “do not be angry with yourself” and “weep no more” over the things that you have done.

Do you remember the moment when “your Joseph the Christ” took off his disguise, closed the doors behind you where no eye could see nor ear hear what Christ discussed with you concerning the condition that you found yourself in?

Winslow says again, “the Church of God is hidden and invisible. Her divine life, her spiritual conflicts, her joys, and sorrows, are, for the most part concealed from the rude gaze of an ungodly world. And what transpires between the child of God and his Father in heaven, is cognizant only to Him who have experienced the most confiding and gracious interviews.”

“I am Joseph”……

Progressively seeing God

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS

“What bliss you experience when your heart is pure! For then your eyes will open to see more and more of God.” Matt.5:8

Something got on me a few months ago and Ive been running in the overflow of that. I guess you could say a fresh mantle, wind or anointing. To speak even more openly I saw another view of God. Becoming a Christian isn’t a one time act but a continual series of supernatural events that are life changing. He loves to expand your vision of himself! We find his presence all around us, it just gets a little deeper with divine clarity and begins to spill out all around you. You can learn to see the beauty of life even in dead things. In fact the more you see God in your present, you will see God in the future and he will take you back to the past to see him there. Are you seeing more of more of God?

When we walk in innocence we begin to see more of the works of God, when we walk squinty eye we stumble at everything. In the Passion Translation it says, “They see God” or the future tense (“They will see God”). The Greek is “They will progressively see God.” The Bible speaks of being blessed and again in the Passion it quotes; The Aramaic word toowayhon means “enriched, happy, fortunate, delighted, blissful, content, blessed.” Toowayhon means great happiness, prosperity, abundant goodness, and delight! Toowayhon means to have the capacity to enjoy union and communion with God. Have you drawn the curtains in your life to stay in the darkness? My friend he wants union and communion with you and everyday your capacity for God can be enlarged! No matter how discouraging the events of the day unfold, God has the bigger view!

Lange says; “Purity of heart consists in that steady direction of the soul toward the divine life which excludes every other object from the homage of the heart. They behold God. The term refers to a life pure in the inmost tendency and direction of the heart, because it is entirely set upon what is eternally and absolutely pure. Hence it applies to walking in the Spirit, or to a life of sanctification, or to being born of God When thus the inmost heart is pure. its outgoings in life will also be pure. The inner life will ever manifest itself more and more clearly as “seeing God. This vision of God commences when the eye of the soul opens, or when spiritual vision begins in the regenerate heart; it is perfected when in eternity we shall see Him face to face.”

Gill says, “for they shall see God; in this life, enjoying communion with him, both in private and public, in the several duties of religion, in the house and ordinances of God; where they often behold his beauty, see his power and his glory, and taste, and know, that he is good and gracious: and it will be an appropriating and transforming one, and will last for ever.”

God alone can open our eyes of purity so that we enter into his bliss and will forever see so many aspects of Christ. I pray you dive in! It’s truly a life of wonder.

ANGELS WITH WATERMELONS

MERRY WEDNESDAY BY PARRIS

“With joy you will draw water from the springs of salvation”

Isaiah 12:3

Lately I have been seeing our church services filled with angels carrying watermelons. They must know it’s that time of the year when the miraculous happens, the hungry get fed and Christ walks among us because he goes where the hurting are. Our 30th year of Feed the Multitudes is upon us. Each year we watch wide eyed as we see the heavens open and people come from far and wide to offer “their 5 loaves and 2 fish” for the biggest free food festival held in New Orleans ever! Presently our pews are filled with bags of groceries, empty shoe boxes lay scattered in disarray, red white and blue wave all over the property. Latrines, tents, barricades, and the sound of chopping sausage for the red beans are all repeated sights. But who sees the angels flying around with watermelons in their hands?

Mark Twain once said about watermelons, “It is chief of this world’s luxuries, king by the grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat.” Somewhere in this chaos Victory and our church lays aside all talk of business, conference updates, church growth principles and our own real life issues and we begin to watch the angels swirl over our heads. The watermelons are necessary because from days of old these delicious vegetables have an unbelievable root system that makes it 96% water. The angels come to bring us living water because without the living water we become just another meal for just another day.

July 4th is not only about our great country remembering its roots in God and coming together in celebration of our freedom but July 4th, to Frank and Parris, is a reminder that Christ really comes to bring life and as we pour, he pours back into us. I have had my stormy days and will continue to have them. The angels with the watermelons always remind me to pause, laugh and look up to join in the sweetness of all that God has to offer. Just maybe as you wash someone’s feet that day or serve them food you can find something to be thankful about and love on your brother/your sister. Oh don’t forget to grab yourself a watermelon.

GODS LIBARY

MERRY SATURDAY BY PARRIS-

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” Ps.8:11

I learned an amazing fact the other day about beetles. That God must have loved beetles because they end up being the largest variety of species on the earth. There are 400,000 different kinds of beetles that they have classified and scientists are still finding more of them. Tell me, how does one make 400,000 different kinds of beetles? In fact one could be so bold to say, that without beetles the earth would be in big trouble. The ecosystem would become unbalanced. From bringing pollen to flowers, breaking down dung to masquerading as ants, beetles rock in my world.

Joseph Caryl, the English Puritan Bible commentator, proclaimed that “All creatures have a teaching voice, they read us divinity Lectures of Divine Providence.” He taught that every particular beast, or every single creature is able to give instruction . . . the least as well as the greatest, the Mouse as well as the Elephant or the Lyon; the Shrimp as well as Leviathan; the Hysop on the wall, as well as the Cedar in Lebanon; the Grasses of the field, as well as the oaks of Bashan. John Flavell’s reflections on “spiritual husbandry” resembled Francis of Assisi when he affirmed, “It’s an excellent Art to discourse with Birds, Beasts and Fishes, about sublime and spiritual Subjects, and make them answer to our questions.” “Believe me,” he said, thou shalt find more in the Woods than in a [library] corner; Stones and Trees will teach thee what thou shalt not hear from learned Doctors.

“Our five senses are so many Doors whereby . . . External Objects are conveyed to us, and the Soul is to take notice of them.” We hear God speaking in each of these. “From the Sun, to the Stone; from the Cedar, to the Violet; every creature hath a voice to teach us something of God. This whole World is a School of man. All the Creatures spell this to us. . . .” John Bailey of Connecticut spoke of everything in creation as constituting a part of “God’s library,” a vast resource from which people could “read their fill.” From the beauty of open fields to the hard-working faithfulness of a good horse, the natural world provided entry to the mystery of God’s glory. For the person of discerning spirit, the tiniest creature witnesses to the source of its amazing life in God’s providential care. But don’t stop with the creature, he said, go on to the source. “The Fountain must needs have more than the Stream.” In the same way, John Flavell of Dartmouth urged his congregation to “Make a ladder out of earthly materials,” using matter—even cattle and corn fields—to ascend to God. He described “the World below [as] a Glass to discover the World above; Seculum est speculum.”

I pray you take the time to examine God’s library. Take out the God glasses and see, lean forward with your ears and he just might have something to say to you.

HEART TEARS

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-

“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.  As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” Luke 7:37

What a picture of redemption! It shows how much our emotions are to overflow toward our Savior! When He walks into the room do we treat him as ordinary? Or even better when our brothers and sisters come for a visit! My oh my how many times did I turn my head away! Some historians say that this woman was no stranger in this Pharisees house. We of course don’t know but everyone seems to know what her occupation was! It was also indicated that she had an encounter with Jesus earlier and came to this house to give thanks. Whatever the case is, her encounter was timely and newsworthy. Her life was turned upside down and instead of using her precious oil on men, she poured out her life onto Christ. All the feelings inside of her became white as fullers soap and she knew the old ways were finished. Her repentance filled the washbowl and poured over! The same hair that she used on others she used for the Son of God. The Pharisee on the other hand showed no common courtesy to Christ because he thought he was just another fixture in the room. In fact it sounds like he didn’t show any attention to Jesus at all. But this woman begin to cry and cry and kiss his feet over and again using her hair as a towel and wiping away the oil and the tears. We will call them heart tears! What a spectacle she must have been in the room! To those that know where they have been and know where they are, they have no trouble being a spectacle all the days of their lives. The alabaster box of devotion breaks out in all of us. We give him back what was meant for him in the first place. We can never diminish the guilt of sin and the amount of grace that it took to free us from it!

Christ turns to the annoyed Pharisee and demands him to “look at the woman”! Christ chides him by saying, ‘You gave Me no water for My feet; but she has washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.'” What a changing of places there is now! The Lord has made the first to be last and the last to be first! Simon the Pharisee thought himself far more advanced than this woman. Where are your heart tears?