COME TO THE TABLE

1Pet. 2:1 ¶ So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

1Pet. 2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—

1Pet. 2:3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Peter is making a major appeal to Christians in this passage to consecrate themselves to the Lord. He makes quite a demand; put off malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. Next He says to long for the pure milk of the Lord that we may grow. This reminds me of the famous quote of Augustine. He said ‘command what you will but give what you command” Wow! Could that really be true? The Lord places high demands on His people but then the miracle happens; He gives what He commands. He actually lives in us and empowers us to complete our assignments.  This is how it works; the Lord places a requirement on us and then, He actually steps in to fulfill the very command that He gave to us. Peter is describing our Christian life as putting off, like a garment; malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. These are just the descriptions of what bubbles out of our lives when we are in a carnal state. When we follow Peter’s advice and feast on the word, Christ intervenes and His life flows out of us. Rather than malice we have kindness, honesty replaces deceit, genuineness replaces hypocrisy, rather than envious we are generous, and slander is replaced with lips of grace.

Peter is explaining to us the beauty, simplicity, and joy of the consecrated life. Like an infant longs for his mother’s milk, we long for the milk of the Word. It is not our obligation but our joy to drink in His word.

Peter also talked about tasting the goodness of the Lord. This analogy is another example of the natural pleasures of life that extend to our spiritual life. Eating good food is one of the pleasures of life. Each food has its own unique taste. In the same way, tasting of the goodness of the Lord is part of our daily spiritual routine. It is not a burden but our delight to come to the table of the Lord. We can easily put off the old life if we have this enjoyable replacement. Start your day off with a gospel feast, it will be a lot easier to get control of your actions and your tongue.

SANCTIFY

Sanctify

2Th. 2:13 ¶ But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,

It’s funny how certain Biblical words have been overlooked, set aide, and just plain ignored. One of those awesome words is sanctify. I guess the carnal man doesn’t like that word because it is closely related to another forgotten word, holiness. The funny thing about ignoring sanctification is this, sanctification is the fruit of the joy of The Lord. Delighting in God above all the pleasures of this world is the highest form of joy and it leads us into a Christ like lifestyle. The joy of The Lord is our strength, strength to live above the temptations of this world. Rather than leaning on cheap grace to justify carnal living, we can move into the life of being sanctified by the Spirit. The word sanctify literally means to be set apart; we are set apart from the world for The Lord. He delights in us and we delight in Him. This is the life our heart really longs for. Here is something
Charles Spurgeon said about sanctification.
“Sanctification begins in regeneration. The Spirit of God infuses into man that new living principle by which he becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus. This work, which begins in the new birth, is carried on in two ways-mortification, whereby the lusts of the flesh are subdued and kept under; and vivification, by which the life which God has put within us is made to be a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. This is carried on every day in what is called perseverance, by which the Christian is preserved and continued in a gracious state, and is made to abound in good works unto the praise and glory of God; and it culminates or comes to perfection, in glory, when the soul, being thoroughly purged, is caught up to dwell with holy beings at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Before we were born again we all delighted in the foolish pleasures of this world. All of us had our pleasure of choice, mine was smoking pot. I often think of the day when my eyes were opened and I saw the emptiness of pleasures found in marijuana, suddenly I saw the contrast between carnal pleasures and the joy found in knowing The Lord. Actually there was no comparison, I laughed at myself as I gladly flushed that last bag of weed down the toilet. I had found a greater joy in Christ, there was no longer a need to get stoned. What is your pleasure of choice? Maybe it’s alcohol or pills, or maybe it’s immorality or pornography. Whatever your vice, there is a higher joy found in The Lord. Not only will you find a greater pleasure than anything sensual pleasures offer, there are no consequences that always manage to follow the pleasures of sin. So I have a word for you today; SANCTIFY.

STAMPED BY GOD

WE ARE STAMPED BY GOD!
Merry Friday! by Parris Bailey

“Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” 2 Cor.
1:22. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Eph.1:13

I love studying different words in the New Testament. Paul also seemed to love using interesting words to explain the mystery of the work of God in our lives. The word “sealed”, also means to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation; by implication to keep secret, security: from Satan, to mark a person, to impress, confirm authenticate, written document, and to prove one’s testimony.
Eph.4:30 “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” We have been sealed to the day of our redemption. I have preached it many times but will write it- we are not just a random blob floating out in outer space bumping randomly around. As a Christian we are bought, redeemed, stamped and covered all through our lives even throughout eternity. IN OTHER WORDS, CHRIST HAS US COVERED! “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His.” 2 Tim. 2:19
The Expositor’s Commentary says: “In the chamber of our spirit, while we abide in faith, the Spirit of the Father and the Son dwells with us, witnessing to us of the love of God and leading us into all truth and duty and divine joy, instilling a deep and restful peace, breathing an energy that is fire and fountain of life within the breast, which pours out itself in prayer and labor for the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit is no mere gift to receive, or comfort to enjoy, He is Almighty force in the believing soul and the faithful church.”
This seal from the Father guards them from evil and wrong while it ratifies our divine son-ship and guarantees our personal share in the promises of God. It stamps us for God’s possession, and his kingdom and glory as our possession. A sealed document speaks of secrecy: John Owen says; “God’s sealing of believers is His gracious communication of the Holy Ghost unto them, so to act by Divine power in them as to enable them unto all duties of their holy calling, evidencing them to be accepted with Him both to themselves and others, and asserting their preservation unto eternal salvation.” Our lives are “hid with Christ in God.” Col. 3:3 and we become “a garden enclosed”. SOS 4:12 Expositor’s goes on to say; “I am sure God, as He looks down upon us and sees the seal of the his Spirit upon their hearts anticipates this full emancipation.”
This seal also can have a meaning of a wedding ring- He will unite with us soon enough as His glorious Bride. COME LORD JESUS!

PLEASURES EVERMORE

PLEASURES EVERMORE

John 4:10,14 ¶ Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Let’s face it, sin is pleasurable. As a matter of fact, the Bible confirms it. But it also reveals sin’s flaw, the pleasures of sin are fleeting, they don’t last. Hebrews 11:25 ESV “choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” No matter how much you enjoy your sinful pleasures, one day the music stops,and as they say, you have to pay the band. The problem with these carnal pleasures is their addictive nature. Sin always takes you further and keeps you longer than you intended. There is a way out but it is different than most people would ever imagine. How can one escape, why the solution is a greater pleasure of course. We must fight fire with fire. The only sure, permanent escape from the snares of carnal bondage is the pleasure found in Christ Himself. He is altogether lovely and there is joy and contentment found in Him. Sam Storms wrote about this freedom found in the pleasures of God. Check out these powerful words.

“How do you fight the pleasure of sin? I’ll tell you: with another pleasure. Holiness is not attained, at least not in any lasting, life-changing way, merely through prohibitions, threats, fear, or shame-based appeals. Holiness is attained by believing in, trusting, banking on, resting in, savoring, and cherishing God’s promise of a superior happiness that comes only by falling in love with Jesus. The power that the pleasures of sin exert on the human soul will ultimately be overcome only by the superior power of the pleasures of knowing and being known, loving and being loved by God in Christ. Or again, the only way to conquer one pleasure is with another, superior, more pleasing pleasure!”

Maybe this all sounds strange and foreign to you. That’s okay, the natural man can never imagine joy that is real and lasting outside of his physical experiences. But all of us know, there is more to life than what we see. There is a real spiritual world. Your heart was made for that world and nothing else and nothing less could ever satisfy your heart. Christ came to earth, He suffered and died to restore us to God. That is the place of ultimate contentment, in the presence of the Lord. So if you are trapped in one of this world’s snares of sin there is a way out for you. The way out is not human will power or just trying to do better. The way out is through yielding your heart totally to the Lord.

THE ROSE OF SHARON

I AM THE ROSE OF SHARON AND THE LILY OF THE VALLEY
SONGS OF SONG 2:1

Mary Monday by Parris Bailey

Years ago Frank and I traveled to a certain city in the country of Bulgaria. We went because there was a gypsy pastor that wanted us to come and minister to his gypsy church. We had been there before so I was quite aware of what I was getting into. Gypsies are a nomadic people that are much despised in every country across Europe. They speak their own language and have their own belief system and yes the majority of them are trained at an early age to steal. Their living conditions are deplorable and they lack the basic necessities to live. We had a good service, all of us crammed into a small room and in fact, I remember sharing about the woman who pressed into the crowd and got healed. Upon hearing me say, she got healed, the crowd all jumped up and started dancing and playing music and screaming. I guess I had finished preaching! That’s a great way to stop a preacher for sure!
After we left that night we walked back into the town to eat. I was feeling overwhelmed about those gypsies and how they live from day to day. Fourteen-year-old girls carrying around babies, men sniffing glue, and I could go on and on, but an unbelievable smell grabbed my attention. It was heavenly and upon inquiring I was told that the time of the rose harvest was there.
Our guest took me to the roses the next day. There we were, all picking the rose petals and laughing with the gypsy pastor, getting that precious smell on our clothes, our hands and all over us. I heard a gentle voice, telling me “I am the Rose of Sharon”. I laughed, because He has a way to get across his point in our life doesn’t he? He had to drag me across the world, to this city in Bulgaria and shout into my spirit, “I am the Rose of Sharon”. I saw the contrast between how the gypsies live with open sewerage and just across the way, is the loveliest smell and sight one could ever imagine. But as C.S. Lewis says, “we would rather make mud pies in the slums, then take a holiday out at sea, we are far too easily pleased.” I really don’t see much of a difference between the way the gypsies live and our carnality. How soon we forget His smell!
I pray that you hear his shout today-“I am the Rose of Sharon”! This rose is the smell we should smell; this rose is the fragrance that gets us through life. His beauty allures us and keeps us safe from the nomadic spirit of the world. This rose brings life to dead things. Spurgeon said, ”Lets walk through the fields of heavenly contemplation and say O blessed rose, bloom in my heart forever!”

PUTTING TO DEATH THE OLD LIFE

PUTTING TO DEATH THE OLD LIFE

“For I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”(Romans 7 vs.21-23)

We should not be discouraged by the natural tendencies that still try to dominate our lives. Rather, this struggle pushes us to the Lord. Transformation does not come from human will power, human wisdom or determination. Transformation into the heavenly man comes by the Holy Spirit. Paul talks about this ability to overcome the natural man in Romans 8. In verse 12 and 13 he gives us some important revelation. “So then brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, (the natural man), to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Did you get that? We can put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit or by the anointing. Practically, we yield to the anointing several ways to cooperate with this work of God in our lives. We pray in tongues regularly, putting to death the natural tendencies. We saturate ourselves in worship, drinking in the heavenly presence that produces change. Finally, we spend time in Holy Ghost services, this brings destruction to the sinful tendencies. The anointing is the manifest presence of the Lord. The natural man does not want to live in the anointing, he wants to watch football and eat chips. The new man, loves the anointing. Spend time in His presence, especially if you are struggling with temptation. Start your journey now, destroy the natural man by walking in the Spirit.