TOO MUCH TO DRINK?

TOO MUCH TO DRINK?

Song 5:1 ¶ “I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh along with my balsam.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.
Eat, friends;
Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers.”

That is a question people always ask, especially when it refers to driving, “Have you had too much to drink?” Or even worse, the police officer asking “Have you been drinking sir (or ma’am)?” Everyone knows it is possible to drink too much alcohol, everyone has a different measure for what is defined as too much. For me, I think any amount is too much. But there is a different kind of drinking that can cause a kind of intoxication. Actually, on the day the church was born, that first prayer meeting ended with accusations of public drunkenness. Actually, those disciples had been drinking, but not like everyone had supposed, they had been drinking the new wine of the Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit began to be poured out on all of mankind, everyone who was in that prayer meeting was filled with the Spirit and began to come under the influence of the Spirit. Some of the characteristics of spiritual intoxication can easily be mistaken for people drinking alcoholic beverages. Sometimes the symptoms are extreme joy, loud singing and rejoicing, and in extreme cases, individuals unable to stand. You can easily see how one could come to the wrong conclusions. Jonathan Edwards spoke about this strange phenomenon he had seen in his church. Check this out.

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be ye filled with the Spirit”. As much as to say, in this there is no excess. It is no matter how full you are of the Spirit. A being full of wine, or being “drunk with wine” were expressions of the same import in those days. Thus when the apostles were filled with the Spirit at Pentecost, some ” mocking said, these men are full of new wine”. There is excess in being full of wine, but no excess in being filled with the Spirit. There is no excess in spiritual enjoyments. We may be drunken with the Spirit and there is no excess in that, as said in SOS 5:1, “Drink and be drunken, O beloved.”

I love that, there is no excess in spiritual enjoyments. Edwards was describing one of the most attractive aspects of Christianity, it is okay to pursue joy. Actually, it is more than okay, it is our duty. A Christian is charged to be as happy as he can, the only stipulation is this, our pursuit of joy is the pursuit of joy in God. We can find happiness and extreme occasions of joy in the person of the Holy Spirit. Throughout church history there have been outpourings of this extreme joy. I think of Wales in 1904, Northampton in 1734, Azusa in 1906, and New Orleans in 1994. There may be seasons when there is a more widespread outpouring on certain regions, but He is always available for the thirsty. So I join with Solomon and Jonathan Edwards and say “Drink and be drunken, o beloved”.

A TRIP TO CARLA ROACH’S TRAILER

A TRIP TO CARLA ROACH’S TRAILER

MERRY MONDAY By Parris Bailey

A Trip to Carla Roach’s Trailer-Merry Monday by Parris Bailey

“For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” Acts 2:17,18

The day I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was a special day for me. I was 16 living far away in Calfornia attending my 11th grade while Frank went to Bible School. Next door to our trailer on the property of God’s Army was another trailer in which a girl named Carla lived. Every Saturday I saw kids go into her trailer and heard her praying in tongues over them. It was then that I decided I too needed to take a trip to Carla’s house. I was having a hard time receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Funny how you can remember things so long ago. There I was sitting in Carla’s trailer next to her, and within a few minutes I was out the door heading out into the fields worshiping in a unknown language. The Holy Spirit came inside and changed my life. I have spent the rest of my life thanking Carla Roach and learning to lean, wait and converse with the Holy Spirit.
I have found that speaking in tongues has kept me out of trouble, delivered me from depression and guided me from serious setbacks and attacks. How is your prayer language? Afraid of it? Feeling a little awkward with it? Press on my dear, into the realms of the heavenlies and hear things you never dreamed.
A.B. Simpson says, “God wants us to wait upon Him also that we may realize not only our need, but His fullness and His will for us. He wants to show us the vision of the future as well as of the past. He wants to open to us the treasures of His grace, and make us know all the riches of the glory of His inheritance in us.
He wants to give us the vision of the King in His beauty and the land of far distances. He wants to reveal to us yet unexplored regions of glorious advances in the life of faith. He wants to call us to higher service, and show us mightier resources and enabling for the work of life.”
He then goes on to say, “Without the Holy Ghost you are unequal to the journey of life; you are unfit for the service of the Master; you are unwarranted in attempting to preach the gospel, or to win a soul for Christ, and you are unprepared for the future which He is immediately opening to you. Oh, let us wait at His feet; let us learn our weakness; let us realize our nothingness; let us get emptied for His filling, and then baptized with the Holy Ghost or filled anew with His utmost fullness; and we shall go forth not to our work, but to His, and find that “He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. To whom be glory now and forever. Amen.”
He will give you power, insight, deliverance in this present age and in the one to come. He will equip you to do impossbile tasks, beleive with supernatural faith and press on with unbeleiveable endurance. Oh, let us join in with Paul when he says, “I speak in tongues more than ye all”! Happy Pentecost!!

POWER FAILURE

POWER FAILURE

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Acts 1:8

Power, or energy, is part of everything we do, electric power to power our computers, televisions, and air conditioners. Then there is fuel for our cars and natural gas for stoves and heaters, without power we would be living back in the stone age overnight. Recently, we have been stunned by the crisis in Japan and the unfolding drama in the middle east. Both of these situations are deeply effected by “power”. The middle east is where most of our oil comes from. Problems there always end up with higher fuel prices here, which always leads to higher prices in almost everything. In Japan, we have been shocked by the horrific, unfolding, nuclear crisis. What an ironic dilemma. The nuclear plant that provides power for millions of people has lost power itself. Not only has its power failed, its backup generators failed, leaving them dependent on a long cable (an extention cord?) to try to power up their pumps to cool off their reactors, talk about a power crisis.
That brings us to our spiritual power failure. Our churches seem to be operating in a brown out, if not total black out, in our modern “relevant church” age. Our lives are designed to operate on the power of God, not catchy slogans, or trendy success tactics. We were designed for much more than that. Jesus told his disciples they would be filled with power, dunamis, to fulfill His plans on the earth. Without this dunamis, we are reduced to living off of human ingenuity and and natural abilities. That pretty much describes what most churches are working with today. This power that Jesus described is the God given ability to live the Christian life, the power to bring healing to the sick, the power to bring freedom to the alcoholics and deliverance to those bound by substance abuse. This power can free a man’s soul from sex addictions, depression, and fear. This power from on high is what separates Christianity from all of the other religions and philosophies of the world. Without God’s power, we are like the darkened nuclear plant in Japan trying desperately to deal with damage control with no tools to work with.
The good news is that this supernatural power is available for us today. Jesus is seated at the Father’s right hand, He is pouring out His glory upon all who are thirsty. Why wait another day, why try to live a supernatural life with only natural resources? Look to Jesus, He is the “Baptizer in the Holy Spirit”. He is pouring out His Spirit on all who look to Him today.

LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT

AN AFRICAN TALE

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
1 Thes.5:1,2

Things can change quite suddenly, our world, as we know it, can be dramatically changed in a day. A number of years ago, I went on a ministry trip to a beautiful town in Tanzania called Mtwara. It was in quite a remote region just north of Mozambique, located on the Indian Ocean. There was a beach located near the house where I was staying that I would go to between the morning and evening meetings. On this beach, I observed a phenomenon that illustrated how quickly everything could change. Just below the beach was a tidal flat that separated the beach area from the water, it was about a quarter of a mile from the beach to where the water actually began. I would relax on this beach thinking it was impractical to go to the water for a swim. One afternoon this suddenly changed. There was a strange tidal phenomenon that happened when the tide began to come in, the area that was a dry tidal flat would be filled with several feet of water in a matter of just a few minutes, it was quite a dramatic change. Suddenly the water was right at my feet, going for a swim was now a whole different proposition.
From time to time I think of this beach and the spiritual lesson it teaches. Our world can change in a moment of time. I can think of several times in the Bible, where everything was changed in a day. There was the day Jesus was baptized, the upper room experience, the crucifixion, the resurrection, Paul’s encounter on the Damascus Road, these events, and many others, remind us how the landscape of our lives can be rearranged in a day.
In our world, our lives can be altered instantly. I think of events like, 911, Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, the Indonesian tsunami, the threefold disaster in Japan ( 9.0 eartquake, tsunami, and nuclear catastrophe), unexpected historical events can alter our lives suddenly and permanently.
Spiritual encounters can also change your world. I think of the day I was born again, the day I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, the day God came down in our church, each of these moments altered everything in my life. We live in a time of changing seasons. I think the tide is coming in, don’t be surprised when your dry tidal flat is suddenly filled with water.