IDEAS LIKE SEEDS FROM HEAVEN

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Sometimes, let’s rephrase that, most all of the time, humans get confused with the whole idea of giving to God. Some get stuck in a religious bondage of rules like i am indebted to God. Others see giving as some sort of get rich quick scheme. Both ideas miss the mark and can cause us to miss the harvest of blessing that the Lord wants to release into our lives. What if God’s harvest on our giving were to come back to us in creative ideas. We sew into God’s work and then He floods our hearts with His kingdom plans. Here is how Oral Roberts describes it.

“God was talking about multiplying our tithes—as seed sown—back to us. He was talking about ideas, concepts , and insights. Everything begins with an idea. God had an idea to create the world. He had an idea to create man. He had an idea to send Jesus. Everybody does what they do with an idea. God begins by pouring an idea out of Heaven. Then it becomes a concept. Once the concept becomes a way of life, God gives you insight or wisdom in how to apply the idea. As a consistent tither who expects miracle harvests from my seed sown, ICI (ideas, concepts, & insights) has been at the center of my life and ministry.”

That’s how all ministries are birthed, a simple idea from the Lord. Feed the Multitudes is a great example of what Oral Roberts called seed faith living. The Lord gave us an idea to give to the poor with a free food festival in 1990 when our church faced financial crisis. FTM became the seed the Lord used to touch the hurting as well as bring financial return into our ministry. We still put on FTM every year to remind us that it is in giving that we step into God’s plan of miracle harvest. Maybe you are struggling financially today. Sew a financial gift into the work of God. Don’t be surprised if the harvest comes in the form of a creative idea that will launch you into a new season of harvest.

REFINER’S FIRE – FULLER’S SOAP

Mal. 3:2-4 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.

I first really began to think of this verse one Christmas after seeing a production of Handel’s Messiah. I kept thinking of the power of Christ’s first appearing and the unimaginable Second Coming. Who can abide the day of His coming ?! As you read this verse you think of the beautiful comparison of the work of a refiner and the work of a fuller (clothes washer). The fuller scrubs the stains from the garment with something like lye, he makes it spotless and clean. The refiner passes the gold through the fire for purification of the metal. This pictures the work of Christ in us. He washes us from our guilty stains with His blood. Then the work of the refiner begins. We have become like precious gold by the washing of His blood, now He begins to pass us through His fire to remove the impurities, all that remains of us begins to be consumed by fire. Matthew Henry has some powerful comments on this passage.
“Christ is the great refiner. Who are they that he will purify?—the sons of Levi, all those that are devoted to his praise and employed in his service, as the tribe of Levi was, and whom he designs to make unto our God spiritual priests, a holy priesthood. All true Christians are sons of Levi, set apart for God, to do the service of his sanctuary… How he will purify them? He will purge them as gold and silver, that is, he will sanctify them inwardly; he will not only wash away the spots they have contracted from without, but will take away the dross that is found in them; he will separate from them their indwelling corruptions, which rendered their faculties worthless and useless, and so make them like gold refined, both valuable and serviceable. He will purge them with fire, as gold and silver are purged, for he baptizes with the Holy Ghost and with fire… That they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness,”
Now that the Fuller and the Refiner has done His work on us, we are ready to offer our spiritual sacrifices back to Him. We are His priests, let’s bring Him a sacrifice of praise.

OPEN HEAVEN

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.

Test me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and

pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

MALACHI 3:10

Those of you that know me know that 1994 was a critical year in my life and ministry. It was the year of God’s visitation for thousands of people. For those that embraced and continued in that outpouring, their lives have never been the same. One of the impacts that took place right away is described in today’s verse. Our church began to see the profound connection between our tithing, God’s provision, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The prophetic word given by Malachi describes this phenomenon as an open heaven. Could it be that there is an intimate connection between the outpouring of the Spirit and supernatural provision? Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray on that very point.

“This last promise in the Old Testament tells us how abundant God’s blessing will be. Pentecost was only the beginning of what God was willing to do. The promise of the Father, as Christ gave it, still waits for its perfect fulfillment.

What is it that we have to ask for, and what should we expect? Christ’s great command to go and preach the gospel was not only meant for the disciples, but for us, too. Christ’s last promise to His disciples, that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit, was also meant for us. It is the grounds for the confident assurance that our prayers will be heard”

In Malachi’s prophesy, he is speaking about returning to the Lord. He says that one of the signs of a heart turning from the Lord is the withholding of their tithe. His passionate word is for Israel to turn back to the Lord, bring the tithe into the storehouse, and the Lord will open the windows of heaven. Malachi ends his prophesy with quite an amazing prediction. He said that the days are coming when the Spirit of God would turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the hearts of the children back to the fathers. Come on Lord! Think about it; open heaven, supernatural outpouring of the Spirit, supernatural financial provision, our families coming to Christ; sounds like a Great Awakening to me!!!

WHO CAN STAND BEFORE HIM?

WHO CAN STAND BEFORE HIM?

Mal. 3:2 “But who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears?
For He is like a refiner’s fire
And like launderers’ soap.

Several yeas ago I went to a performance of Handel’s Messiah. That night had a profound impact on me. For the first time, I took a look at Handel’s life. He was converted in the awakening that rocked England in the 1700’s. After his conversion, Handel locked himself up for several weeks where he had a God encounter that resulted in his masterpiece. I’ll never forget the singer that night singing this verse from Malachi, “Who shall abide the day of His coming?” His deep, strong voice felt like it went right through my body, I felt the terror and joy associated with the coming of The Lord. When He returns, no one will be able to stand before Him. Like John on the Isle of Patmos, we will fall at His feet before His majesty. Here is something Spurgeon said about this verse.

“His life on earth was a winnowing fan, which tried the great heap of religious profession, and few enough could abide the process. But what will his second advent be? What sinner can endure to think of it? He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. When in his humiliation he did but say to the soldiers, I am he, they fell backward; what will be the terror of his enemies when he shall more fully reveal himself as the I am? His death shook earth and darkened heaven, what shall be the dreadful splendor of that day in which as the living Savior, he shall summon the quick and dead before him? Though a lamb, he is yet the lion of the tribe of Judah, rending the prey in pieces; and though he breaks not the bruised reed, yet will he break his enemies with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. None of his foes shall bear up before the tempest of his wrath, or hide themselves from the sweeping hail of his indignation; but his beloved blood washed people look for his appearing with joy, and hope to abide it without fear: to them he sits as a refiner even now, and when he has tried them they shall come forth as gold.”

Many people have an unrealistic mental image of The Lord, only an encounter with Him for yourself will clear things up. Just as the soldiers approached Christ in Gethsemane and found themselves knocked to the ground by His power, absolutely no one can stand before Him now. Today, Jesus is clothed in power. He is still in a human body, but He is glorified. The Bible says one day every one of us will see Him for our selves. What will that day be like for you?

WHO CAN STAND WHEN HE RETURNS

WHO CAN STAND WHEN HE RETURNS

Mal.3:2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.

The last prophet of the Old Testament spoke about the overwhelming effect the coming of the Lord would have upon the earth. At His first appearing, Christ came to this earth clothed in humility. From the day of His birth, His appearance brought upheaval on the earth. From the trembling shepherds to the amazed magi. From the religious leaders to King Herod, everyone was impacted by His humble birth. Throughout His ministry, from His teaching to His miracles, the world stopped and took notice of this humble prophet from Nazareth. Charles Spurgeon spoke of that coming great day of the Lord, hear His words about the great and terrible day of the Lord.

“His life on earth was a winnowing fan, which tried the great heap of religious profession, and few enough could abide the process. But what will his second advent be? What sinner can endure to think of it? He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. When in his humiliation he did but say to the soldiers, I am he, they fell backward; what will be the terror of his enemies when he shall more fully reveal himself as the I am? His death shook earth and darkened heaven, what shall be the dreadful splendor of that day in which as the living Saviour, he shall summon the quick and dead before him.”

One of the songs in Handel’s Messiah was from this verse, “WHO SHALL ABIDE THE DAY OF HIS POWER”. I can remember going to a performance of Messiah several years ago. I can still remember feeling the fear of the Lord come on me as one of the singers sang out that verse, “WHO CAN ABIDE THE DAY OF HIS POWER?” I remember wondering what it would be like for the lost in that great day. As Spurgeon said, the earth trembled in fear at the death of our great King. How will creation respond to His glorious return? Today, creation is groaning and calling out in anticipation of the greatest of all days, the day when the heavens will be split in two and the earth will tremble and heave at the appearing of King of the Universe. Who can endure the day of His power? The answer to that question is the most important answer of all the questions ever asked. Those who are hidden in the “cleft of the Rock”, like Moses was when God’s Glory passed over him, only the hidden ones can endure that day. To be naked, without Christ will be the most terrifying of all experiences. I remember the line in the song, “Hide Me Away In the Cleft of the Rock” being sung by Joe Cruise in a revival meeting at our church. As Joe sang, you could feel the cloud of His Glory filling the building. That presence is our place of refuge in the great and terrible day of the Lord. There is nothing like the safety found hidden away in Christ. Will you be able to endure the day of His coming?

THE BROKEN SAND DOLLAR

Sand Dollars– by Parris Bailey (Frank is driving)

“Who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Mal.3:2

The trip to Destin in mid-winter was perfect timing. I loved the solitary walks on the beach listening to my headphones to worship music. The year was 1997 and I had just recovered from a biopsy from a bad mammogram. I had other things on my mind, sure the ordeal of the cancer scare was crazy but deep inside I knew something was wrong. I was angry, the kind of anger that comes from focusing on all the negatives and “who did me wrongs”. Name it and we probably had the problem– all of them going on at once. The biggest one of all screamed inside of me- it’s name was betrayal. We all have had that one, certainly even I knew I wasn’t being singled out, but it had to be dealt with plain and simple.
I can still remember the song that day on the beach, it was Rita Springer singing “Ask of me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance”. Yes I was crying because I had gotten so off course from His precious presence.
The waves begin to crash upon my scribbling on the sand and also tearing away the sand castles in my head. I found myself rededicating my commitment back to Him. Our lives were meant for the nations and our quest is souls. Funny how we always ask for a sign of His love and how sweetly He must laugh and go along with our childish requests.
As I walked along I was seeing the usual broken shells and sand dollars. Then out of nowhere I saw a rather large broken sand dollar. At first I passed it up, but soon noticed that this sand dollar was broken exactly in half. Somehow I knew that this sand dollar represented my life in Christ. Yes it was broken and making a sweet smelling sacrifice to him. He would keep the other half in heaven where He would give me the assurance that the work he started, He would certainly finish. By now I knew that it was operation time in the Holy Spirit. I asked Him to get this anger out and He came to do just that.
Back to the feelings of betrayal. We had been in revival a few years and as much as it brought life, healing and joy in the Holy Ghost, well let’s just keep it nice and say not everybody was happy. I found myself holding that silly broken sand dollar that day and crying-” please take this anger and betrayal out of me for I simply cannot do it.” In one instantaneous moment I felt a fire shoot through my belly and purge out all the voices and scenes of the people who, in my world, had done me wrong. I cannot recall any other time in my life that I literally felt something leave me. His peace and presence returned, and I had experienced a supernatural work!
I still have that sand dollar. In fact it sits on my mantle in my office forever reminding me of the power of the love of God. He upholds all things by the word of His power. He is holding on to the other half of me. It is not unusual for me to find broken sand dollars for other wayfarers on God’s highway.
What a great way to live! I believe Joseph, while living in that dungeon for so many many years, went through a major soul cleansing transformation. He even named one of his children Manassah expressing the thought “forgotten”.
What about you? How long will you allow the root of bitterness to corrode the very life of God out of you? Take the walk, face your brokenness and release it back to God. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring refiner’s fire and the fuller’s soap (CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S BLOG ).
Sand Dollars anyone?

FIRE IN THE WAX MUSEUM

FIRE IN THE WAX MUSUEM-
MERRY MONDAY — PARRIS BAILEY

“Who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Mal.3:2

Years ago, during the revival, we met a great guy who was an Episcopal priest who wrote a book bearing that title. His name was Father Bud and all I can say is that fire came into his wax museum (his church) and he was asked to leave.
Last week we had our summer saturation meetings. For eight days straight we had day and night meetings soaking in his presence. (The youth had extreme camp during the day) And like always when we have extended meetings, fire comes to our wax museums. Everything that man has built over the year gets a good dousing with fire from the Holy Ghost and what is left standing is Christ. As much as I hate the burnings it’s always good at the end. I had prayed last week for FIRE to come back into my life and my church. I am one of those ones that want the bandaid to come off faster rather than slower. Just let it rip Lord, bend me, change me, do what you want with me. It’s staying the same that is terrifying!
A.B.Simpson had a good take on the different types of Christians: “There are atmospheres in Christian life that greatly differ. Some of God’s children live in a cellar all their days, where the light is dim and the air damp; others live in shaded rooms and dim light, where the sun seldom shines; but others dwell in the very sunlight of God’s perfect love. The element of their being is not duty, conscience, doctrine, intellectual conviction or even Christian work, but divine love–the sweet, mellow, warm air of the Father’s house and the Father’s heart, the love of God poured out into the heart like the warm sunshine by the Holy Spirit abiding in the heart, and dwelling ever on God’s glorious gift and everlasting pledge of His perfect love.”
We need the fire of the Holy Ghost! Have you set up a wax museum? Have you been living in a dark rank moldy cellar in your walk? Well, you will know when the fires falls! All we need is to be delivered from self and sin, to see it, recognize it, call it by its right name, throw off the disguise of compromise and let God slay it!
Refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap stress both it’s thoroughness and it’s severity. The heat of the refiner’s fire was intense in order to separate the dross from the molten pure metal. Similarly, the fuller used strong lye soap on the cloth then he would beat it. You see the Holy Spirit performs a double work on us, soap for outward cleansing and the fire for inward transformation. Fire penetrates where water and soap cannot break through. Fire cleanses and changes everything it touches besides the gold and silver. The more you burn them, they only improve. Do not fear the fire. Only as we partake of the divine nature does the fire refine us. So Holy Spirit Come! For it is then “the King’s daughter” shall be “all glorious within, her clothing of wrought gold,” which no flame can deface or destroy. Amen