KINGDOM, POWER, AND GLORY

KINGDOM, POWER, AND GLORY

Matt. 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

What an incredible ending to an incredible prayer. The Lord incorporates the various aspects of His prayer model in a form of worship. We are being taught to reinforce our petitions by giving thanks to God in worship. We start off by acknowledging His kingdom. This kingdom is a sovereign kingdom being led by our sovereign King. As we abide in Him and He abides in us, we ask what we desire and He answers us. As we return to worship and declare before the Lord, “Yours is the kingdom”, we are acknowledging His sovereignty and are exercising our faith as we worship the Lord. Next we begin to worship as we say, “Yours is the power”. As David said, “power belongs to God”. As we acknowledge and glorify His power, His supernatural power begins to encompass our prayer. Worship becomes supernatural, the power of God is being displayed on earth. We continue as we begin to honor the glory of the Lord. The glory is the manifest presence of God. Often times, our prayer is confirmed by the very presence of the Glory of the Lord. Matthew Henry taught about this portion of the Lord’s prayer. Have a look at his thoughts.

“It is our duty to plead with God in prayer, to fill our mouth with arguments not to move God, but to affect ourselves; to encourage the faith, to excite our fervency, and to evidence both. Now the best pleas in prayer are those that are taken from God himself, and from that which he has made known of himself. We must wrestle with God in his own strength, both as to the nature of our pleas and the urging of them. The plea here has special reference to the first three petitions; “Father in heaven, thy kingdom come, for thine is the kingdom; thy will be done, for thine is the power; hallowed be thy name, for thine is the glory.” And as to our own particular errands, these are encouraging: “Thine is the kingdom; thou hast the government of the world, and the protection of the saints, thy willing subjects in it;” God gives and saves like a king. “Thine is the power, to maintain and support that kingdom, and to make good all thine engagements to thy people.” Thine is the glory, as the end of all that which is given to, and done for, the saints, in answer to their prayers; for their praise waits for him. This is matter of comfort and holy confidence in prayer.”

Have you followed Henry’s advice lately? You know, the part about affecting yourself encouraging your faith, and exciting fervency. This is what prayer is ultimately about. In it, we make contact with our Maker; our heart is enflamed, our soul is purified, and our resolve is strengthened. So today would be a good day to pray the Lord’s prayer again, after all; His is the kingdom, His is the power, and His is the glory. Amen!

LIVING BY THE POWER OF GOD

LIVING BY THE POWER OF GOD

2Cor. 13:4 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.

Paul also said, “the weakness of God is stronger than men”. The Lord has chosen an unusual display of His power to save mankind. It wasn’t an open, blatant blast of His power; instead it was a hidden, veiled power revealed through the weakness of crucifixion. Christ suffered and died, appearing to be defeated by His enemies with the hidden message that His power was being displayed through weakness. The cross has overwhelmed the power of sin and disease, His apparent defeat was His greatest conquest. Today, the message of the cross is the strongest, most liberating message known to man. Through it, drug addicts and pimps, athletes and musicians, business people and the homeless are being changed by the weakness of God. Adam Clarke spoke powerfully about the power of God being displayed through the weakness of the cross.

“For though he was crucified through weakness. It is true Christ was crucified, and his crucifixion appeared to be the effect of his weakness; yet even this was not so; he gave up his life, none could take it away from him; and in his last struggle, had he even been deficient in power, he could have had more than twelve legions of angels to support him against the high priest’s mob; but how then could the Scripture be fulfilled? And had he not died, how could the human race have been saved? Though he appeared to be crucified through his own weakness, yet he now liveth by the power of God; exerting an almighty energy by which all things are subject to him.
We also are weak in him. Because we are on Christ’s side we appear to you as weak as he did to the Jews; but it is not so, for we live with him-under the same influence, and partaking of the same life; manifesting by our preaching and miracles the power of God towards you. While I do not use the rod, I appear to you weak; I will use it, and then you shall find me to be strong.”

Did you catch that? We also appear as weak in this world. We may not be the richest, or the most talented, or the best educated. There may be others who are more “qualified” to effect their world. But, at the end of the day, He has chosen the foolish to confound the wise, He has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong, He has chosen the common and ordinary, the things that are not that He may nullify the things that are. Why does He do all of this, that no man can boast and take credit for anything. So if you feel ill equipped, not properly trained or insufficiently talented, you are a candidate for the power of God. We may be weak but we live by the power of God.

TAKE A WALK WITH MARYSONG GIRLS

Walking with the Marysong Girls!
Merry Thursday with Parris Bailey

Jude 1:20-23 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”
Did I ever tell you that I have the best job in the universe?
When the weather and my schedule cooperate I like to take the girls out of their “compound setting” to either City Park or Audubon. We all pile into the green van and off we go on another adventure. If I am feeling “angelic” there is usually a refreshment stop in a New Orleans cafe to cap off the day. For many of them, this will be their first time to step foot into a coffee shop- be it Starbucks, PJ’S, or CC’s. The last two Wednesdays have been especially meaningful to me. In case you don’t know who the Marysong girls are I will introduce you. Three years ago we started, by the grace of God, a restoration center for women. We exist by your donations (haha) and of the course the Holy Spirit. It is a ten month “microwave” program where the girls step out of their negative environments and learn to live with God in their life. It has been AMAZING!
So last week I took them all to City Park, where every Wednesday you can visit the museum and the sculpture garden for free. The day was brisk but sunny and the girls always love the fresh air. I keep them at a fast pace, teaching them various stretches and talking to them about learning to enjoy God’s creation and the importance of exercise vs. a negative lifestyle. As we went into the sculpture garden I challenged them to look at each piece of art and share a scripture or spiritual significance about that particular piece. We all had a blast, each of the girls really came up with deep spiritual truths that not only related to the artwork but triggered something in their own lives. I just love the statue of Ruth and Naomi holding on to each other! Ruth found her Boaz!
At the end of the walk through the garden we came across stepping stones that led us across a pond full of fountains and bubbling water. One shared about the river in the book of Revelations proceeding from the throne, others shared about the stepping stones being a walk of faith. I then encouraged the girls to proclaim over themselves what God will do in their lives. “I’m never going back to my old life”, “Lord, help me to be obedient to your will in my life”, we all yelled something out standing on those stepping stones in the garden at City Park. I can’t really say something dramatic happened but I felt something change in the Spirit. Today, we walked around Audubon Park, one of the girls had to stop and tell me how she has never felt so much peace and happiness in her life before. (She started taking drugs at eleven years old) Another literally preached to me from Frank’s message last Sunday about being a surfer about catching the wave then she went to preach about the triumphant procession of Christ!
John Gill said about: Praying in the Holy Ghost – “Holding fast the Divine influence which ye have received, and under that influence making prayer and supplication to God. The prayer that is not sent up through the influence of the Holy Ghost is never likely to reach heaven.”
Our job is to pull people “out of the fire”, even their garments are likely to be tainted with sin. But there is nothing like the resurrection power of God!

THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

Acts 15:15-17 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: “After this I will return, and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the LORD who does all these things.’

What a strange prophesy, restore the tabernacle of who? Everyone knows about the tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness, but the tabernacle of David? Actually their is quite a lot said in the Bible about David’s tabernacle. David pitched a tent on Mount Zion to house the ark of the covenant. Over the centuries, Moses’ tabernacle had been neglected and fallen into disrepair. when David became king, he wanted to build a permanent dwelling place for the Lord’s presence in Jerusalem. As you know, this never was fulfilled in David’s life, his son Solomon built the temple. The Lord had other plans, better plans for David. You see, David pitched that tent, brought the ark to Jerusalem, and experienced a life of revival as the Lord granted David access into His presence, no one since Moses had this kind of favor. David was overwhelmed by the Glory of His presence, David spent hours in this tent worshipping the manifest glory of the Lord.
Now this brings us back to the prophesy James gave in the book of Acts (today’s scripture passage). James was declaring that the ministry of Paul to the gentiles was the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophesy by the prophet Amos. He was saying that the churches being planted amongst all of the gentile nations was the rebuilding of David’s tabernacle, actually a provision by the Lord for the lost people of the world to have access to the powerful presence of the Lord.
That is powerful, James is actually declaring to us the purpose of the Church. What could that be? It is the opportunity for everyone everywhere to experience the incredible power of His presence. The actual purpose of the church is to be the habitation of God. The Lord doesn’t live in buildings made by hands, He lives in the gathering of His people from every tribe and every tongue.
After David pitched this tent and brought the ark into Jerusalem, revival began to break out in Jerusalem. David was flooded with songs, his tongue became the pen of a ready writer, he spent his life shaping the river into words. David began to organize choirs and musicians whose entire life was devoted to ministry to the Lord. This was a foreshadowing of New Testament worship. David was living out the first New Testament church, a place where the power of God’s presence is evident, a place dedicated to the worship of the Lord. Today, we live in the times foretold by the prophets. The Tabernacle of David fell into disrepair over the ages, but today, he is restoring this place,his local church, to display the power of His presence.

WORK IT OUT

WORK IT OUT

Phil. 2:12-13 ¶ So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

It is impossible to understand spiritual truth with just our rational mind. Bible truth can only be comprehended by spiritual revelation. The Lord has to open our understanding or we cannot possibly “get it”. This verse of scripture is a prime example. Paul seems to be contradicted himself. Is our spiritual life dependent on us or is it dependent on God. How can I work out my salvation if my salvation is in the hands of God? Actually, this passage gives us a look into the mystery of the Christian life. It is a picture of the struggle for man in serving the Lord, and at the same time, being in a state of rest because God is working in us. Which is it, working or resting? Actually, Christianity is a strange combination of both. Here is what Jonathan Edwards had to say about this passage.

“Man is, in different senses, entirely active, and entirely passive: God producing all, and we acting all. What He produced is our own acts. It is not that God does some, and we the rest. God does all, and we do all. God is the only proper author, we the only proper actors. Thus the same things in Scripture are represented as from God, and from us. God makes a new heart, and we are commanded to make us a new heart; not merely because we must use the means in order to the effect, but the effect itself is our act and our duty.”

What is Edwards saying, or better yet, what was Paul saying? The work of man and the work of God come together in the Christian life. As Paul, said, “it is God who is at work in you”. What is this work of God? It is the resurrection power of the Lord infused into our human soul. What about our work? Aren’t we supposed to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling”? Exactly, our part is to work as hard as we can to embrace the power of God. We are not passive, we press into God. As we do, we begin to touch the unlimited power and resources of our Lord. When that happens, the supernatural life we all long for begins to erupt into our lives.
What will that look like? It looks like Jesus. We begin to experience His peace, love, joy, kindness, generosity, and holiness in our lives. Faith becomes second nature to us. Worship becomes our entertainment. Ministry becomes our food. Compassion for the needy becomes our life. The church becomes our family and Christ becomes our friend. Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling, Christ is working in you for His glory and your enjoyment.

THE POWER OF GOD

THE POWER OF GOD

Luke 6:19 And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.

Have you ever experienced the power of God? That is exactly what these people experienced that day as Jesus was preaching His Father’s word. The power of God was upon Him and flowing out from Him to such a degree that many people were being healed. Many ministries today are afraid to allow the power of God to be demonstrated in their services. I suppose that some are afraid of the criticism that follows the ministry of the Spirit. Obviously Jesus, and later His apostles, were not ashamed of the power of God. It was the demonstration of the signs and wonders that caused such a great impact on their society and also brought persecution and ultimate martyrdom into their lives. Anytime we begin to move with God in the supernatural there will be those two responses. There will be many lives touched and blessed and there will be others who resist and mock the move of the Spirit. There are some interesting observations in Robertson’s Word Pictures about the power of the anointing, enjoy his comments.

“power was coming out from him – This is the reason for their continual approach to Jesus.
And healed them all, was healing all, kept on healing all. The preacher today who is not a vehicle of power from Christ to men may well question why that is true. Undoubtedly the failure to get a blessing is one reason why many people stop going to church. One may turn to Paul’s tremendous words in Phil.4:13: “I have strength for all things in him who keeps on pouring power into me”. It was at a time of surpassing dynamic spiritual energy when Jesus delivered this greatest of all sermons so far as they are reported to us. The very air was electric with spiritual power. There are such times as all preachers know.”

Have you ever been in a service when the power of God began to minister to people in unmistakeable ways? Recently I was in a service when God’s power fell in an incredible demonstration of His signs and wonders. There were several undeniable healings, a number of people baptized in the Spirit, and a whole congregation jubilant in the manifest presence of the Lord, while others were “stuck to the floor”, overwhelmed at His majestic presence. When the power of God falls amongst His people, the same things happen that have happened since the early days of the church. There will be praying in other tongues, prophetic utterances, trances with visions and dreams, shaking, crying and various other displays of spontaneous celebration. How do you know if it is real or just human emotion? The way you know is by the fruit. Are these people reading their Bibles more, is their conversation about spiritual things, has their lifestyle become more Christ like? If so, you can believe that the power of God is on display. All of us were created with a need to experience the supernatural in our lives. Without God’s power, we are left with human reasoning and the philosophies of man. Like the Apostle Paul said, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” Don’t settle for a form of godliness without His power. You were created for far better than that.

TOUCH OR TOUCHED

The Difference between a touch and a touch-
Merry Monday by Parris Bailey

“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” Mark 5:25-34

There is a difference between a touch and a touch. The disciples got a bit annoyed with Jesus that day, when He asked who had touched him. They answered back, “The multitude is thronging Thee.” The verb used is sunthlibō which means “to press hard.” It is used of the pressing of grapes in the making of wine by crushing them. The Bible also implies that the crowd was suffocating them. They wanted to just get through the crowd and were hoping that Jesus could just leave well enough alone. But He perceived that virtue or power had gone out of Him so much that it overcame a present existence to effect a change. He began to look about Him, “Who was the one that touched Me on My clothes?”
The women felt something different start to take place in her body. The word used for her bleeding, was fountain. Can you imagine walking around with a flowing fountain for twelve years? No wonder she had spent all she had looking for a remedy. When she touched Him she felt by experience that the fountain had finally dried up.
The women finally came forward. I love the words, “Daughter, they faith hath made thee whole; go in peace and be whole of they plague.” He gave her the promise. He was telling her to go in peace, that she would no longer be tormented of this plague (which also means to whip, scourge or misfortune). She was healed in her spirit, soul and body and that continually. When Christ power touches our lives, we are healed not only physically but in our soul and spirit. This woman faced much more than just phyiscal sickeness. She needed to be made whole-totally and continually.
I believe it is the same today. While the world crushes in, who is actually touching Jesus? What a difference a touch can be! He can dry up your fountain of depression, disease and despair. It’s time to get out of the things that suffocate you and press into the only one that can set you free. This woman was at the end of her rope and we should all thank God that she got to the place of desperation. She pushed through the ordinary touch into the extraordinary. Others had been touching Him or should I say crushing Him all along. How has your touch been lately? Reach out to Hiim today, He has everything that you have need of. Touch Him and you will never be the same! The whippings, the scourgings and the misfortune can come to an end. All it takes is just one touch!