JINGLE BELLS, CHESTNUTS, AND OTHER SONGS

Is.9:6 – For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Are you singing this Christmas? If we are not careful, all of our troubles can steal the song from our heart. Are you stuck on roasting chestnuts and jingle bells or have you shifted over to What Child is This? One look, one real gaze at this infant King will awaken His song in your heart. This is the song that angels can’t sing because they will never know the joy of redemption. Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King. Take a look again at the ancient prophecies. Ponder the One Who is called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. Join the quest for the Desire of all Nations and the Seed of the woman. Go to Bethlehem longing for the One whose goings forth are from the days of eternity. You may find yourself on your face before Immanuel, God with us.

While everyone else seems to be caught up in the holiday excitement maybe you feel like you need a sign to push back the smothering cloud of disappointments and troubles. “All I want is a break in the action, a silver lining in the cloud – LORD, SHOW ME A SIGN”-Then it dawns on you – That’s exactly what Christmas is; the most beautiful sign of all. The child in the manger is a sign that Breakthrough is here now for all of us. As we stop for a moment and come again to Bethlehem- we too can find ourselves transported to a place beyond space and time. A place where our troubles get swallowed up by promises – our sicknesses are erased by scars – and our insecurities and shortcomings are washed away by the waves of love that encompass us.

All this talk of Christmas and where has it brought me? Am I still stuck on sleigh rides and candy canes or have I been captured by the eternal? If you have paused at the manger you have surely found yourself transported to another realm. In this realm our sorrows and worries disappear; as a matter of fact the person we were before disappears. We have found ourselves surprised by conception like Mary. Mary’s conception was Christ in her womb. Ours is Christ in our hearts. His presence in us guarantees that we can never be the same again. We have begun our transformation into the very image of Christ Himself.

BREAKER BREAKS US INTO THE PRESENCE

Micah 2:13 – The breaker goes up before them;

They break out, pass through the gate and go out by it.

So their king goes on before them,

And the LORD at their head.

What exactly is eating at all of us? No matter how successful we become, or how much stuff we accumulate, or even how much fame someone acquires; it never brings the peace or ultimate contentment we long for. The solution to this mystery lies beyond the veil of this dimension that we live in and is the ultimate reason God sent His only Son to become one of us. He became a man, took our curse on the cross, defeated death for us when He roe from the dead, and entered into heaven on our behalf opening up a whole new way of life that is now available to us. Jesus is the Breaker and He has broken us into the very presence of God. Here is how Maclaren describes this.

“And still further, in a yet higher fashion, that Saviour is the Path-breaker to the Divine Presence, in that He not only makes God known to us, and not only makes Him so known to us as to draw us to Him, but in that likewise He, by the fact of His Cross and passion, has borne and borne away the impediments of our own sin and transgression which rise for ever between us and Him, unless He shall sweep them out of the way…..Narrow understandings may know, and selfish hearts may love, and low-pitched confessions may reach the ear of the God who comes near to us in Christ, that we in Christ may come near to Him. The Breaker is gone up before us; ‘having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest of all . . . by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us . . . let us draw near with true hearts.”

We can not only draw near to the presence now, we can enter in to live in a new awareness of the glory of the Lord. This is the life we were meant to live. We were never supposed to look for satisfaction in jobs, houses, accomplishments, or possessions. We were made for much more than that. We have always been created to be satisfied by God alone. He is the greatest treasure and enjoyment that we can ever know. The Breaker has come to break the glom off of us that was blocking our way from the joy of His presence.

WORSHIP YOUR WAY INTO BREAKTHROUGH

Isa.54:1-3 “Rejoice with singing, you barren one!

You who have never given birth,

burst into a song of joy and shout,

you who have never been in labor!

For the deserted wife will have more children

than the married one,” says Yahweh.

“Increase is coming, so enlarge your tent

and add extensions to your dwelling.

Hold nothing back! Make the tent ropes longer and the pegs stronger.

You will increase and spread out in every direction.

Your sons and daughters will conquer nations

and revitalize desolate cities.”

At the risk of sounding like I am spitting out a formula for Christian success and breakthrough I want to acknowledge the connection between worship and spiritual enlargement and breakthrough. This passage is a prophetic promise describing a supernatural enlargement to the body of Christ in the last days and it is obvious in this passage that worship is closely associated with this season of expansion. Obviously people will shout for joy and sing after breakthrough but if you look in this passage the worship and joyful shouting comes first. We don’t worship and shout because we think that will bring breakthrough, we worship and shout because His promises are sure and because He is good. Dick Mills gives us some insight into joyful singing in his comments on this passage.

“joy, rinnah (ree-nah): A shout of rejoicing; shouting; loud cheering in triumph; singing. Rinnah describes the kind of joyful shouting at the time of a great victory. In Prov. 11:10, rinnah describes the jubilation of the righteous when the wicked are eliminated. Zeph. 3:17 literally says that God will dance over His beloved people with singing or a shout of joy. Rinnah may best be illustrated by the testimony of the redeemed, returning to Zion from captivity. Rinnah is the word for both singing and joy.”

Maybe you feel like you are stuck in the same spot and maybe treading water, in other words, going nowhere fast. It just may be time for a radical divine intervention in your life. Get your eyes on Jesus and not on the blockages. Sing and shout for joy (maybe a little dancing too) and you will soon find yourself spreading out in every direction because of the blessing of the Lord. Increase is coming in your world, its time to shout for joy to the Lord.

BREAKER

Mic.2:12,13 – Amp. – I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely collect the remnant of Israel. I will bring them [Israel] together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture. They [the fold and the pasture] shall swarm with men and hum with much noise. The Breaker [the Messiah] will go up before them. They will break through, pass in through the gate and go out through it, and their King will pass on before them, the Lord at their head.

Breakthrough, who doesn’t need a breakthrough. Everything from finance to health issues, work drama, to family emergencies; breakthrough is something all of us look for. What does breakthrough actually mean to you? For me it is a sudden, dramatic change in circumstances. It awakens visions of David killing Goliath and setting the Philistine army on the run, or maybe 185,000 Assyrian troops being killed when laying siege to Jerusalem. All of us pray for those sudden changes in our circumstances but it seems like real breakthrough is more like an elusive pipe dream. That’s why today’s verse is so critical. Did you read it? Did you catch the source of all breakthrough seen in this passage? Breakthrough does not come from some extra human effort, it is the work of the One Micah calls the Breaker. Jesus is the author of all breakthrough and I think He is preparing for a major breakthrough in our world today. Here is how the Expositor’s Commentary describes this verse.

“Suddenly a figure, called “the Breaker” (NIV, “One who breaks open the way”), appears in the narrative and goes up before the multitude. Led by the Breaker, the people burst through the gate of the enclosure to form a procession with their King at their head. Micah envisions a time when the kingdom of God will burst forth into sudden reality and the people of God will be manifested. He affirms that the strictures that now prevent the visible realization of the power and glory of God’s kingdom and that blur the identity of God’s people in the world will be shattered and the Breaker will lead his people to glory.”

I like that. Breakthrough is a corporate thing as well as a personal thing. How can I be sure that the needed Breakthgrough will happen in my life? It is really quite simple, get as close to the Breaker as possible and you will follow Him as He breaks down every wall of resistance in your world.

AMBUSHED BY GOD

Is.30:18 – Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.

This is a very precious promise from Isaiah the prophet. In the original language there is a powerful shade of meaning in the word “wait”. This word implies some sort of ambush. Isaiah pictures the Lord waiting at strategic places in our lives to ambush us; He wants to ambush us with His compassion and mercy. It’s easy for us to get restless when we are waiting for some sort of breakthrough, the Lord uses those seasons to teach us why we are seeking Him after all. The breakthrough involves intimacy with Him, His gifts and provisions became secondary. I can imagine Him as the Lion of the tribe of Judah waiting in the bushes of the turns in our lives waiting to pounce on us to devour us with His love. Here is how Dick Mills sees this verse.

“The mercy in store for them is very affectingly expressed. He will wait to be gracious; he will wait till you return to him and seek his face, and then he will be ready to meet you with mercy. He will wait, that he may do it in the best and fittest time, when it will be most for his glory, when it will come to you with the most pleasing surprise. He will continually follow you with his favors, and not let slip any opportunity of being gracious to you. He will stir up himself to deliver you, will be exalted, will be raised up out of his holy habitation, that he may appear for you in more than ordinary instances of power and goodness; and thus he will be exalted, that is, he will glorify his own name. This is what he aims at in having mercy on his people.”

So maybe you feel like you have been forgotten or forsaken. Let this season in your life increase your hunger for Him. Rather than forgotten you are remembered. He is looking for the perfect moment to ravish you with His love and bring restoration to the broken places of your life. Let this verse be a word from the Lord for you, “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him”.

MASTER OF THE BREAK THROUGH

MERRY TUESDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

“And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then bestir yourselves, for then has the Lord gone out before you to smite the army of the Philistines.”

(2 Samuel 5:24 AMP)

Have you ever been backed up against the wall? Sometimes life takes unexpected turns and you find yourself questioning and turning over ever rock possible to find the answer. Sometimes we get dealt a blow that levels us. The Apostle James told us to “count it all joy” when these things happen to us. When this happens we need to get off the “busy wheel” and allow Him to speak. I have good news to tell you! THE LORD GOES BEFORE US AND HAS PREPARED THE WAY! David always seem to find himself in a pickle, I think that’s why the Psalms speak to us because he is always begging God to HELP, DELIVER OR DO WHATEVER IT TAKES! On one of these occasions God is telling David to wait until he hears a sound in the mulberry trees and then and only then attack. In other words, God will go before us and get it sorted.

Clark said, ‘Who believe that God see all things and is everywhere? Who supposes that he concerns himself with the affairs of his creatures? Who acknowledges him in all his ways? Who puts not his own wisdom, prudence, and strength,in the place of God Almighty? Reader, hast thou faith in God? Then exercise it, cultivate it, and thou mayest remove mountains.” Yes, the God of the Breakthrough breaks through as if it were a dam breaking.

Interpreter’s Bible puts it this way; “The tragedy of the kingdom of God on earth is that half the time we fail to discern that The Lord has gone out before us. When God has already gone out, who are we to lag behind? The ultimate factor in strategy is not the pre pondering of hindering forces in any given direction, but “where is God, what direction has he taken”? Over and over again in human history there has been the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees. So it was in the days of the early church, when suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind”. (Acts 2:2) So it was at the time of the reformation so it is today. God has obviously gone out before us toward a deepening of vital spiritual integrity within the church.

Jesus asked us if discern the times of this age. When the Holy Ghost wind stirs, God speaks and then we must act. God is speaking to someone that feels all alone and surrounded by bad news and hopelessness. The Master of Breakthrough has gone before you and is marching above the circumstances and will bring a mighty deliverance.

THE BREAKER

The breaker is come up before them.

Micah 2:13

This world is full of obstacles. Even though you are now saved, there are many challenges and potholes along our path. It seems that we often expect a life with no trials or problems as a Christian; that is just not true picture of life. As this scripture tells us, the Breaker, the Lord Jesus Christ, has gone before us to defeat all of our enemies. Our greatest enemy was sin itself. Our nature was intertwined with sinfulness. Christ has not only forgiven us, the Breaker has broken the chains of sin off of our souls.

There are also many distractions and setbacks along our path. Unexpected financial disaster, health challenges, turmoil within our very own families; we face all sorts of situations in our daily lives.  No, Christians are not immune to the problems of this world, but Jesus is the Lord of the break through. He has answers for every problem that comes against us. Here is a powerful excerpt from Charles Spurgeon on the Lord our Breaker.

‘Dost thou dread sin? He has nailed it to his cross. Dost thou fear death? He has been the death of Death. Art thou afraid of hell? He has barred it against the advent of any of his children; they shall never see the gulf of perdition. Whatever foes may be before the Christian, they are all overcome. There are lions, but their teeth are broken; there are serpents, but their fangs are extracted; there are rivers, but they are bridged or fordable; there are flames, but we wear that matchless garment which renders us invulnerable to fire. The sword that has been forged against us is already blunted; the instruments of war which the enemy is preparing have already lost their point. They are beaten, they are vanquished; all you have to do is to divide the spoil. You shall, it is true, often engage in combat; but your fight shall be with a vanquished foe. His head is broken; he may attempt to injure you, but his strength shall not be sufficient for his malicious design.

Proclaim aloud the Savior’s fame,

Who bears the Breaker’s wondrous name;

Sweet name; and it becomes him well,

Who breaks down earth, sin, death, and hell.’

Yes, we are fighting a vanquished foe. Though the challenges are real, the outcome is certain. No weapon formed against us shall prosper. So cheer up weary pilgrim, the battle is the Lord’s and the victory is yours.

SING O BARREN

SING O BARREN

MERRY MONDAY with Parris Bailey

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. (Isaiah 54:1-3 KJV)

Sometimes God just comes down! He fills the room! Recently I bought one of my grandchildren, who was enamored with the planets, a light that cast stars on the ceiling. No matter where it shines you will see stars on it. Did you ever notice how the whole room seems to change? I had a night like that and it changed my life. I have probably told the story dozens of times so forgive me if you hear it one more time. I was pregnant with my last child and at that time we as a family would go every Friday to church prayer at 6:00am. To this day, I don’t know how we all did this, but the reward for going to prayer was breakfast at Burger KIng so the kids didn’t complain much. I was hugely pregnant and overdue to have our baby. When I woke up that early morning I realized I had a amazing dream or even a vision for it seemed so real. I saw as it were angels flying back and forth in front of my face and throughout the room and when they came close they would scream ‘BREAKTHROUGH”! BREAKTHROUGH TO THE RIGHT AND TO THE LEFT!” Then all would grow quiet as if they were traveling in a circuit, then would come straight up to my face again and repeat the process. “BREAKTHROUGH, BREAKTHROUGH TO THE RIGHT AND TO THE LEFT, STRETCH OUT YOUR TENT PEGS. ENLARGE THE PLACE OF YOUR TENT.” Later on that day, I went into labor and had our last child, we named her Grace. The wonderful thing about a God giving dream is that it lives on throughout your whole life. That dream has taken on many facets and meanings. It has now been 25 years later. Breakthrough is another name for my name PARRIS or Parez in Hebrews- it was also used in labor meaning the breaking through the waters. Many of you will at times be at a crossroad where God wants to bring deliverance and enlargement. The process is never fun but the reward is more than worth it. Maybe when you go to sleep tonight angels will begin to minister and blow grace and mercy over your life and your loved ones. God always changes the natural into the supernatural, we just need to allow Him to work and do his breaking over us! He will indeed give us GRACE for the long journey ahead. Many times Frank and I have found ourselves pinned in so to speak, but as we begin to shout GRACE at our mountains he always comes leaping and bouncing to us! Yes, he can bring BREAKTHROUGH in unbelievable circumstances.

ALL IN A DAY

“ALL IN A DAY”

MERRY TUESDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 8:12

It’s crazy how things can change in a week or even in a day. Last Monday kicked off a rough week for me and our church family. We had two funerals with loved ones that died suddenly way before their time. On top of that we as a church were fasting for the killings of Christian’s worldwide (Kenya, Pakistan and Syria). Then Beyond the Grave 2013-14 opening season performance was due to show last Friday for the 15th year going and revival meetings would start this week. I guess you could call it a “HOLY GHOST GUMBO” of prayer, intensity, sorrow and warfare. Paul talks about this in 2 Cor.11:27 “In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”
Adam Clarke says of this verse in John: “Like the sun, it is my business to dispense light and heat every where; and to neglect no opportunity that may offer to enlighten and save the bodies and souls of men.”
All this pressure culminated Friday night at a packed house of Beyond the Grave. In the middle of the production I sensed that this was a grand slam by the grace of God. All new cast filled with teenagers being used by God. I knew that altar call would be huge with over 400 young people rushing to the altar; 30 got water baptized. One of the girls I talked to was threatening to lose her child, said the father of the baby was “no good” and when I asked about her parents, she replied “my father shot my mother”. Yes, the night will come soon enough but as for now we work with all of our might. The next night was the beginning of our revival with Tim Hall. One of the Marysong girls brought her unbelieving father to the meetings who had been on disability for back pain. He made it clear to his daughter that he wouldn’t do “anything weird”. He gets called out of his seat and ends up on the floor—-healed of back pain. He comes back the next night still healed and gives his life over to The Lord along with his girlfriend. Now they want to get married.
This Monday I found myself almost all by myself in Audubon Park because of the light rain. I felt His presence all around me, so different from the week before. Sometimes, well all the time, we must remain at our posts. He is the God of the breakthrough—-there is always a payoff. That Marysong girl just saw the beginning of it. Yes, I like the rain…….

LOVE LIFTED ME

-LOVE LIFTED ME

MERRY TUESDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY

“I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVETH, AND THAT HE SHALL STAND AT THE LATTER DAY UPON THE EARTH, AND AFTER MY SKIN WORMS DESTROY MY BODY, YET IN MY FLESH SHALL I SEE GOD.”JOB 19:25-26

I pray that none of us ever have to experience what Job went through. The loss of his entire family, his entire source of income and then bodily health. Plus his wife and his friends basically pushed him “off the bridge”. It is hard for me to imagine worms eating my flesh for nine months, in fact it’s hard for me to imagine any of what he went through. The redeeming factor of course is that Job not only made it but had a encounter with God. This verse speaks volumes to all of us, our redeemer Christ himself is able to bring us through whatever situation we may be facing. In JER. 17:7-8 it says, “BLESSED IS THE MAN THAT TRUSTETH IN THE LORD, AND WHOSE HOPE THE LORD IS. FOR HE SHALL BE AS A TREE PLANTED BY THE WATERS, AND THAT SPREADETH OUT HER ROOTS BY THE RIVER, AND SHALL NOT SEE WHEN HEAT COMES, BUT HER LEAF SHALL BE GREEN, NEITHER SHALL CEASE FROM YIELDING FRUIT.” Despite our setbacks Christ brings a redeeming effect on our sorrows. In 1912 James Rowe wrote the words to this hymn and his friend Howard Smith so crippled in his hands with arthritis wrote the music.

LOVE LIFTED ME

“I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
Refrain:
Love lifted me!
Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me!
All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling,
In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing,
Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
Faithful, loving service, too, to Him belongs.
Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves,
He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves.
He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.”

Let’s read what the Interpreter Commentary says about Job, “WAS IT NOT SOME WHISPER IN THE SOUL THAT LED HIM TO KEEP KNOCKING ON THE DOOR OF GRACE, DESIRING A CONFERENCE WITH HIS MAKER? (SOMETIMES HE LEFT OFF KNOCKING AND WENT TO KICKING) WAS IT NOT THAT CRY THAT BROUGHT HIM TO CRY OUT FOR A MEDITATOR? SOMEONE TO PLEAD HIS CAUSE, TO STAND BETWEEN HIM AND GOD? A DAYS-MAN, AN UMPIRE? THAT MOMENT HE HAMMERED OUT HOT THE ANVIL OF HIS DESPAIR. HIS PAIN GOT HIM VAST WINGS. I KNOW THAT REDEEMER LIVES!”
Our circumstances may or may not change, but at some point we all just need an encounter with the God. After all, He is the God of the breakthrough.