GALILEAN FISHERMAN OR A VOICE FROM HEAVEN

Acts 2:7 – They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

Peter was on fire that day, he was speaking like a man from another world. He was actually speaking a new language rather than the language of this earth. Many in the crowd that day didn’t get it. All they could hear was the Galilean twang in Peter’s voice. He had the smell of a fisherman (even though he had left his nets years before). All the crowd could see was an uneducated yahoo, what good could possibly come out of this.

But something was going on that these bystanders couldn’t quite get. Twice in this passage Peter is said to be speaking in what we would call elevated or supernatural speech. First it was the speaking in other tongues. To those with deaf ears, it sounded like the babbling of a drunken man. Paul called it the language of angels, I like to call it my heavenly language. This prayer language is supernatural and flows out of what Jesus called our innermost being. Paul said it was praying in the Spirit. To the natural man this language is foolish, to the spiritual it is the very power of God. After the mocking and accusations of drunkenness Peter stepped forward to give a word of explanation. This too was called elevated speech in the original language. Peter was speaking in the language of the people by the power of the Spirit. Acts 2:14-16 describes it, “But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel…”

Even though he spoke by the Spirit only a portion of the crowd could “hear” Peter’s message. Thousands heard the voice of heaven and were filled with the Spirit, many others could only hear the voice of a Galilean fisherman. Peter had been changed by the Baptism in the Spirit, he was now speaking the language of heaven. Things haven’t changed much today. Many are still offended by the language of the Spirit, to many others that language just makes them feel right at home.

HE PRAYS FOR YOU! 

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MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-

“I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22.32

What a picture we have of Jesus praying over His disciples during His prayer in the garden. “I have prayed for you” He tells the hurting and confused but He too needs prayer before he faces His greatest battle. I don’t think we can ever understand the depths of the love of God and what Jesus did on the cross for us. He prays for us even now before the throne of God that we would finish our race and see His glory! He prays for us! What an amazing treasure to have and to hold as we walk it out on planet earth.

Spurgeon writes, “I will be their God – Here is a deep sea of bliss, a shoeless ocean of delight, come bathe thy spirit in it, swim and thou shalt find no shore; dive throughout eternity, and thou shalt find no bottom. I will be their God”.

Do you not realize that even now you are not alone? That He who moves the galaxies isn’t put off when he calls you out by name before his heavenly father? He holds us firmly in his grasp and prays!

Expositor Bible says, “Nor are the prayers of Jesus limited by any such narrow circle; they compassed the world, lighting up all horizons; and even upon the cross, amid the jeers and laughter of the crowd, He forgets His own agonies, as with parched lips He prays for His murderers, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Thus, more than any son of man, did Jesus “pray without ceasing,” “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” making request unto God. Shall we not copy His bright example? shall we not, too, live, labour, and endure, as “seeing Him who is invisible”? He who lives a life of prayer will never question its reality. He who sees God in everything, and everything in God, will turn his life into a south land, with upper and nether springs of blessing in ceaseless flow; for the life that lies full heavenward lies in perpetual summer, in the eternal noon.”
When we learn to see God in everything we join into His prayer and we see the unfolding plan of God upon this vast universe. Our steps flow into His and we live out a perpetual summer of eternal bliss hearing/seeing/feeling the echo of his prayer casting its shadow upon the earth! He prays for you my friend! He assures us that there is no department of our being, no circumstance of our life, which does not lie within its range of His prayer! He is praying for you right now!

PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT

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Eph. 6:16-8 – In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Praying in the Spirit is the source of our power as Christians. Being filled with the Spirit, or walking in the Spirit, is not something that happens in moments of crisis or only special seasons of spiritual revival, it is our normal way of life as Christians. This is where we are strengthened for every aspect of our lives. That is where we are infused with moral courage and strength, power for ministry, grace to live in peace, and the supernatural ability to walk in love. Without this spiritual dynamic in our lives we are left to our own resources to “try” to be Christians. Here is how Andrew Murray describes the importance of praying in the Spirit.

“The Holy Spirit does not come to us just at times when we think we need Him or at times when we think we need His help. The Spirit comes to us as our lifelong companion. He wants to view us as His possession, completely and at all times. Many Christians do not understand this truth. They desire that the Spirit of God help and teach them, but they do not grasp that He wants to live within them continually and have full possession of their lives. Once we understand this, we will realize that it is possible to live while we continually pray through the Spirit. By faith, we will have the certainty that the Spirit will lead us to a prayerful attitude and make us aware of the presence of God, so that our prayer will be an exercise in our fellowship with God and His great love. As long as we limit the working of the Holy Spirit to certain times like Pentecost, it will remain an unsolved riddle to us.”
Praying in the Spirit can take on different forms. We can pray in the Spirit in our natural language, in praying scripture, and also praying in our heavenly language. Praying in the Spirit acknowledges our need for God in every area of our lives. We especially need His help when it comes to prayer. Pray in the Spirit, this is where we find God’s help in all our weaknesses.

THE WORLD WITHOUT END 

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Thankful Tuesday by Parris

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.” Eph. 3:20
Once again I’m compelled to turn to the book of Ephesians. I think Paul took ink and paper and became an artist in this book. He loved to paint a picture with words. This scripture has continued to challenge me throughout my life. What I failed to realize is that he is talking about our prayer life and the power of God working through us.

You see God goes beyond our thinking and our asking. He likes to transcends all powers of the mind. We can never ask too much, and can never think too much, He wants us to ask beyond God’s ability till I have thought beyond God’s ability, which is of course impossible. But yet Paul challenges us to enlarge our prayer life to take on petitions beyond our human understanding!

When is the last time you stretched out your dreams and visions and cry to even greater depths and greater heights, until we say, “thou hast done exceedingly above all that we ask.” Another commentary states, “The finite can never grasp the infinite and our poor mortal capacities cannot hold God’s idea of pardon. We may have some notion of forgiveness, but not until you yourself have entered personally into the mystery of this forgiveness, can you understand or have any hint of the depth of the sea into which God has cast the sins of which we have repented.”

You see there are so many facets of the Christian life that goes beyond everything we could have dreamed of, forgiveness being one of them and holiness and the mercy of God just to name a few. It’s time to open up the gates and let the King of Glory come in.

How do we tap into this power? Well by being filled with the fulness of God to overflow capacity. Reach out to grasp the heights, plunge into the depths and live in its breath. Have you gotten yourself into a rut? Did you attempt to do something for God and fail? My friend get yourself back up because even in your so called failures God works mysteriously and miraculously. Believe again trust again and stretch again.

You never know, you just might meet the Jesus of today, yesterday, and forever!

HE HEARS OUR PRAYER

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Psa. 65:1,2 ¶ Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed. O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
Did you ever think that prayer was a little unusual? You talk to someone who is unseen as if He knows everything and can do anything. Actually, He can and He does. He knows our struggles, our worries, our doubts, and even our temptations. He can actually relate because He has been there, He became a man and was tempted in all ways like we are. He is still a man praying for you every day. Somehow, even with 7 billion people, He listens to our individual prayers. He not only listens but He answers. He hears and answers your prayers. Here are some powerful thoughts on prayer from Charles Spurgeon.

“All the bread your soul has eaten has come down from heaven, and all the water of which it has drank has flowed from the living rock-Christ Jesus the Lord. Your soul has never grown rich in itself; it has always been a pensioner upon the daily bounty of God; and hence your prayers have ascended to heaven for a range of spiritual mercies all but infinite. Your wants were innumerable, and therefore the supplies have been infinitely great, and your prayers have been as varied as the mercies have been countless. Then have you not cause to say, I love the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplication? For as your prayers have been many, so also have been God’s answers to them. He has heard you in the day of trouble, has strengthened you, and helped you, even when you dishonored him by trembling and doubting at the mercy-seat. Remember this, and let it fill your heart with gratitude to God, who has thus graciously heard your poor weak prayers. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
So what do you stand in need of today? God loves our need of Him. He delights in answered prayer, He is glorified and our joy is made complete by answered prayer. Do you need strength to overcome temptation? Tell Him. Are you facing health challenges or financial distress? Call upon Him in your time of trouble, He will answer. Do you feel all alone and abandoned? This is where the Lord really shines, He loves to come to you Himself, He is a very present help in times of trouble.

ETERNAL PRAYERS

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MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS

“Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”

ACTS 10:4
God never forgets his prayers he puts within us. He needs our voice to utter his promises over the earth. Each season that passes he sends his rain to water our precious seeds. His word says we plant them into the ground weeping but there will be a time or a season that we will rejoice over the harvest of our prayers. I bet if you close your eyes you can remember specific places in time where you uttered a new prayer over your circumstances or over someone’s life. They became eternal prayers.
“Our prayers don’t die when we do. God answers them forever. You never know when His timeless answer will reenter the atmosphere of our lives, and that should fill us with holy anticipation. Never underestimate His ability to answer anytime, anyplace, anyhow. He has infinite answers to our finite prayers. He can answer them more than once. And He answers them forever.” (Excerpt From: Batterson, Mark. “Draw the Circle.”)

Your mouth can become a huge instrument for the Father speaking life into the next generation. The scriptures you’ve been given are not for naught, they are life and will change this present darkness. His words to us and our prayers back to him are memorials. Eternal prayers that are more far reaching than we could ever imagine.

One of the girls at Mary’s Song recalls a story of her mother attending in the early years here at Victory and during this time her mother died of cancer. The Mary’s Song girl was separated from her mother for years so never really knew she was a Christian, much less that she attended our church. At some point in this girl’s life she tried to take her life and shot herself. Instantly she found herself falling when a hand from heaven grabbed her and pulled her back. Years later she found herself at Mary’s Song and when she walked into the door she felt like “she came home”. I believe her mothers prayers circled her for years and became a memorial. One long eternal prayer from the breath of God. He needed her mothers mouth to utter hope over her daughter while she sat in the hard victory pews weeping over her estranged daughter. He knew the day would come that she would take the gun and take her life. I would love to think Jesus turned to her mother and said, “I got this”, then grabbed her daughter back from the dead places.

So my friend keep circling and keep loosing your mouth to join in heaven’s song. He never forgets nor ever sleeps.

Alone with God

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Jn. 6:15
One of the mysteries of the humanity of Christ is seen in His prayer life. Here is the creator of all things in utter dependency on His Father. Jesus could have commanded stones to be turned to bread but He didn’t, He had chosen another way to live His life. He showed us by example what it means to be in total dependency on our Heavenly Father. Jesus taught us about the necessity of private prayer. To glimpse into the prayers of Jesus would be the most amazing of all mysteries. To see Him worship the Father when He was deserving of worship and adoration. To see Him praying for wisdom and guidance when He is the very wisdom of God. To seeing Him crying out for strength when He is the very Rock of our salvation. All sufficient yet dependent on the Father, all knowing yet looking to the Father for guidance; the mystery of the incarnation gets even deeper as we watch Jesus pray. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray on the private prayers of Jesus.
“Humankind needs God. God made us for His own possession, to find our life and happiness in Him alone. As sinful beings, we have been subject to the desires of the human nature and the world. We have been brought under the power of the visible and temporal. Our restoration in Christ is meant to bring us back into the Father’s presence, love, and fellowship. We have been saved to love and delight in the presence of God. We need to be alone with God. Even Christ Himself, during His time on earth, needed this. He could not live the life of the Son of God here in an earthly form without at times isolating Himself to be alone with the Father. How much more you and I need it! When Jesus instructed us to enter our inner sanctuary, to shut the door, and spend time alone with the Father, He also promised that God would hear our prayers and answer them.”
Jesus prayed on earth, He is also praying at the Father’s right hand in heaven. Today He is our heavenly high priest interceding on our behalf. This really gives me hope, Jesus is praying for me, is it possible for His prayers to fail? I have a feeling everything is going to turn out just fine.

RENEWED

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Let the people renew their strength.
Isa. 41:1
Renewal is all around us. Our air is renewed by the grass and the trees, the earth is renewed with the four seasons, the water is renewed as it is drawn up into the sky and falls as fresh rain on the earth. All of creation is in a constant state of renewal, this speaks to us about a healthy spiritual life. All of us Christians need daily renewal. How does it come? For me it comes from soaking in God’s word and reading old spiritual books, it comes by worship and prayer, it comes by singing and praying in my heavenly language, it comes by soaking in some good Holy Ghost services and getting in the prayer line. I don’t want to be a dry, dead, crusty old Christian. The good news? I don’t have to be; daily renewal is available for all of us. Jesus said it like this, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Living water is our source of life. Here is how Spurgeon describes renewal.

“All things on earth need to be renewed. No created thing continueth by itself. Thou renewest the face of the year, was the Psalmist’s utterance. Even the trees, which wear not themselves with care, nor shorten their lives with labour, must drink of the rain of heaven and suck from the hidden treasures of the soil. The cedars of Lebanon, which God has planted, only live because day by day they are full of sap fresh drawn from the earth. Neither can man’s life be sustained without renewal from God. As it is necessary to repair the waste of the body by the frequent meal, so we must repair the waste of the soul by feeding upon the Book of God, or by listening to the preached Word, or by the soul-fattening table of the ordinances. How depressed are our graces when means are neglected! What poor starvelings some saints are who live without the diligent use of the Word of God and secret prayer! If our piety can live without God it is not of divine creating; it is but a dream;”
So, have you had a good drink of living water lately? You can drink right now: open up your Bible, turn on some worship, pray in the Spirit, before you know it you too will be caught up in the streams of renewal.

GOOD THING

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Psa. 92:1 ¶ It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;

Why should we praise God? We praise Him because it is right and good to praise Him. Not to praise Him is dishonest; His goodness and greatness demand worship. Anything less is unwillingness to acknowledge the excellency of who He is. Giving thanks with our voices of praise brings us into alignment and harmony with all that He is. As we move into this life of worship and thanksgiving our lives begin to be consumed by His goodness. As we acknowledge and magnify His goodness our whole being begins to be filled with the goodness of His nature. Yes, it is good to give thanks unto the Lord. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes this blessing.
“It is good ethically, for it is the Lord’s right; it is good emotionally, for it is pleasant to the heart; it is good practically, for it leads others to render the same homage. When duty and pleasure combine, who will be backward? To give thanks to God is but a small return for the great benefits wherewith he daily loadeth us; yet as he by his Spirit calls it a good thing we must not despise it, or neglect it. We thank men when they oblige us, how much more ought we to bless the Lord when he benefits us. Devout praise is always good, it is never out of season, never superfluous, but it is especially suitable to the Sabbath; a Sabbath without thanksgiving is a Sabbath profaned. And to sing praises unto thy name, O most High. It is good to give thanks in the form of vocal song. Nature itself teaches us thus to express our gratitude to God; do not the birds sing, and the brooks warble as they flow? To give his gratitude a tongue is wise in man. Silent worship is sweet, but vocal worship is sweeter.”
Spurgeon obviously connected the dots. He said that duty and pleasure meet in worship and thanksgiving. This is an incredibly important truth, the enjoyment of God in worship, brings us into the life of goodness. How blessed is the person who’s duty becomes his joy. This is a dream come true, we worship Him because it is right and the results is joy unspeakable in our lives. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.

“The Divine Hallel”

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-

“Praise the Lord, my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, my soul,

and forget not all his benefits—

who forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit

and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” Ps.103:1-3
When New Orleans goes into a dry season the river where I live becomes beautiful. It is clear, shallow, bubbly, happily singing its way down to meet with two other rivers in Covington. It becomes a perfect prayer walk downstream. There virtually are no houses or humans, but looming over me are tall pines, wild magnolias, and bamboo rustling as the seasons change. The river becomes a whole world itself. The kingfisher flies ahead patrolling the waters, the herons call out above me, the snakes slithers away (thank God) and I stop along the sandy banks looking for odd shaped driftwood and different kinds of animal’s prints. The depth changes ever so often pooling in fishes and darkness that I care not to walk into. Fallen trees of recent storms always interest me. There is also a beautiful red wildflower that blooms along the banks during this time of year. One does get lost in the moment and I, like the river, begin to spill over in gratitude of a wonderful God. I like to call it the Divine Hallel or supernatural praise!

David knew about stirring up his inmost self to magnify the Lord. Spurgeon, says, “He soliloquizes, holds self-communion and exhorts himself, as though he felt that dulness would all too soon steal over his faculties, as, indeed, it will over us all, unless we are diligently on the watch.” All of us need continue expansion and ways to express ourselves deep within our soul. Why you may ask? David answers this with; “so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”. Our soul needs to be empty to be full. And when it is filled with “God things” we experience a renewal of strength compared to an eagle who learns to soar above the storm. The Lord continues an ongoing supernatural change within us as we praise Him in the divine Hallel. Praising him in the inward parts with all of our outward parts- our mind our will and our emotions. Won’t you join all creation as they sing unto the Lord!

Living in the “divine Hallel” requires a thanksgiving all within you! John Stevenson in the Treasury of David said, “Let your conscience bless the Lord by unvarying fidelity. Let your judgment bless him, by decisions in accordance with his word. Let your imagination bless him, by pure and holy musings. Let your affections praise him, by loving whatsoever he loves. Let your desires bless him, by seeking only his glory. Let your memory bless him, by not forgetting any of his benefits. Let your thoughts bless him, by meditating on his excellencies. Let your hope praise him, by longing and looking for the glory that is to be revealed. Let your every sense bless him by its fealty, your every word by its truth, and your every act by its integrity.”

So let’s have a praise the lord Monday!