“God, your God says so”

MERRY FRIDAY by Parris

– Amos 9:13-15 The Message (MSG)

“Yes indeed, it won’t be long now.” God’s Decree. “Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills. I’ll make everything right again for my people Israel: “They’ll rebuild their ruined cities.They’ll plant vineyards and drink good wine.They’ll work their gardens and eat fresh vegetables.And I’ll plant them, plant them on their own land.They’ll never again be uprooted from the land I’ve given them.” God, your God, says so.”

Last year I really pushed to get clarity on my voice-to lift it up like a trumpet. In Jer. 23:28 says, “Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces?” God want to breakthrough in your lives and others. Fire comes into our lives to refine and bring out the best, then after we are tested he uses our voice like a hammer to break up the fallow ground or the rocky soils in our lives and others! USE YOUR VOICE MY FRIEND!

Well 2020 is up and running just like that. Time doesn’t wait around for us but just keeps on with it. Frank and I, on a whim, brought a 19ft Airstream and took off after Christmas to explore the great outdoors with our two pups camping at Florida State Parks. It was hilarious, yet wonderful, cramped yet caught gazing at stars at night, exhausting but contending for joy. While on this trip we embraced 2020 in a trailer in a state park with a beagle and terrier when the word of the Lord came.

It won’t be long now that your head will swim, and things will follow you on the back of your heels. Seasons will overtake another, as we break off the fallow ground we will experience fresh harvest. This supernatural outbreaking will be both spiritual and with financial blessings that is wholly beyond nature. Each one of us will experience the fullness of God with unbroken continuance. Unceasing outpouring of riches tapping into hidden reservoirs of supply! There will be no break in the heavenly husbandry! The Work of Grace will work in harmony with every aspect of your life. God your God says so!

EL SHADDAI

Gen. 17:1 – When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.

Abraham is called the father of faith. We can see glimpses of why this is true in this passage from Genesis. First, Abraham had a revelation of God that was different from what others had previously. He was the Almighty to Abraham, El Shaddai, the all sufficient God. Abraham had learned total dependency on the Lord in all things, this is how he could leave everything and go to a strange country with no support systems. El Shaddai was his source. Here is how AdamClarke describes this.

“I am the Almighty God. El shaddai, I am God all-sufficient; to shed, to pour out. I am that God who pours out blessings, who gives them richly, abundantly, continually.”

Abraham had come to know that he could trust the Lord for absolutely everything. This brings us to the next glimpse, Abraham had learned to walk with God through whatever was thrown at him. Again, Adam Clarke shares about this.

“Walk before me, set thyself to walk — be firmly purposed, thoroughly determined to obey, before me; for my eye is ever on thee, therefore ever consider that God seeth thee. Who can imagine a stronger incitement to conscientious, persevering obedience?”

We can learn from Abraham that we are never alone. He is with us in every moment through every challenge in life. Abraham was carrying on the testimony of Enoch, they both walked with God. This leads us to the final goal, perfection. The Lord was calling Abraham to a new standard of life. Here again is Clarke on this verse.

“Be thou perfect. Be just such as the holy God would have thee to be, as the almighty God can make thee and live as the all-sufficient God shall support thee; for he alone who makes the soul holy can preserve it in holiness. Our blessed Lord appears to have had these words pointedly in view, Matt. v. 48. Ye SHALL BE perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”

The beauty of God’s call to perfection is this, total dependency allows the Lord to display His life in us. It is not us living this life, it is Christ in us. Our part is to walk with Him or yield to Him. After that, He does all the rest.

PORTAL TO EXTREME JOY

Acts 2:28 – For you have revealed to me the pathways to life,and seeing your face fills me with euphoria!’

Reading today’s verse in context, Peter is quoting a prophesy from Psalm 16 about the resurrection. It clearly says that Christ would not be abandoned to the grave but He would be raised up into the joy of God’s presence. If you think about it Christ had enjoyed the joy of His Father from eternity; so what is the point? Christ came to earth to rescue sinners like you and me. He became a man, died as a man, was raised from the dead as a man, and entered into the joy of heaven as a man. He did all of that so we too could enter the joy. Peter’s application of this verse in his preaching is astounding. He says that the outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh makes this joy available to us. In other words, we don’t have to wait until we die to access this joy. Supernatural joy is available to us now as we drink deeply of His Spirit. This is what the Passion Notes says about this joy.

“This Greek word (euphrosune) occurs only here and in Acts 14:17. It is the spirit of joy, an ecstasy that comes from God. The Aramaic is “You will fill me, O Sweetness, with your presence.”

The joy of the Lord is the Spirit of joy. Praying in the Spirit will transport you into this incredibly happy place. Here is today’s verse from the Message followed by the Amplified version.

“You’ve got my feet on the life-path, with your face shining sun-joy all around.”

“You have made known to me the ways of life; You will enrapture me [diffusing my soul with joy] with and in Your presence.”

The Message Bible connects the joy to the face of God. That is exactly right. The Hebrew word for face is the word for presence. As we seek His face, we come into His presence of unspeakable joy.

The Amplified Bible describes being enraptured. Enraptured literally means to be delighted beyond measure ! Wow ! Unmeasured joy is what my soul longs for. The Amplified also uses the word diffusing. Diffusing means “ to spread or cause to spread over a wide area or among a large number of people”. When we begin to tap into this unspeakable joy it fills every part of us and overflows to others. What I think is amazing is that we were created with an enormous appetite and capacity for joy. Tapping into the anointing by praying in the Spirit will bring you there.

CALLED OUT

1 Cor. 1:1,2 – Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

These first two verses in 1 Corinthians are aimed at one of the challenges the church in Corinth was dealing with that we can understand in our secular world today. Corinth was a very worldly city overrun with drunkenness, idolatry and sexual immorality. Sound familiar? Living in a dark world either effects us or we become lights in the midst of darkness. I want to touch on some key words in this verse that may help us make a clean break from worldly behavior. The first word is called – kletos in the greek. Here is how Thayer defines this word –

“called, invited (to a banquet); in the N.T. a. invited (by God in the proclamation of the gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God through Christ”

Paul is saying that we are called, as christians, out of the world’s party into the banquet feast of the Lord. The next word is the word church. The greek word is ekklesia. Here is how Thayer defines that.

“properly, a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly;”

The word church literally means the called out ones. We are called from the community of the world into the community of Jesus. The next word is a beautiful Bible word, sanctified. It is hagiazo in the original text. Mounce describes this word like this:

“to separate, consecrate; cleanse, purify, sanctify; regard or reverence as holy”

The implication is obvious, we are set apart for the Lord. The last word is the word saints; it comes from the greek word hagios. This is how Mounce defines this word.

“separate from common condition and use; dedicated –

character of the God who has thus set them apart. Thus holiness forms part of God’s intention in saving his people. Paul’s concept of holiness regularly entails observable behavior.”

So this is what Paul is getting at; we are God’s called out people. We are called to a better life and we are called into a relationship with an amazing and holy God. We are no longer part of the community we used to live in, we are called into the church of God.

FIRE-HEADS

Acts 2:1-3 – On the day Pentecost was being fulfilled, all the disciples were gathered in one place. Suddenly they heard the sound of a violent blast of wind rushing into the house from out of the heavenly realm. The roar of the wind was so overpowering it was all anyone could bear! Then all at once a pillar of fire appeared before their eyes. It separated into tongues of fire that engulfed each one of them.

Fire has always been a picture of the Holy Spirit. The author of Hebrews actually said, “For our God is a holy, devouring fire!” Heb.12:29. On the Day of Pentecost there was an actual physical manifestation of the fire of God appearing as a tongue, or pillar, of fire upon each of those gathered in the upper room. Reminiscent of the pillar of fire in the Old Testament or the fire that fell at the dedication of Solomon’s temple, this fire was falling on the followers of Jesus. This would change everything. Here are some comments from the Passion Notes on this passage.

“This was the pillar of fire that led Israel from bondage into the promised land. The same pillar of fire manifested here to initiate a new beginning from dead religious structures into the powerful life of the Spirit. Each believer received an overpowering flame of fire, signified by the shaft of light that engulfed them. It was as though each one received his own personal pillar of fire that would empower him and lead him throughout his life. This was the promise Jesus gave to his disciples of “the one like me”, who would be sent by the Father and never leave them. Today every believer is indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. This was the birthday of the church of Jesus Christ.”

The fire of God speaks to us about several functions of the Holy Spirit. His fire purifies us. The more we are effected by the anointing the more His holiness permeates our lives. The fire speaks of God’s power. Like Jesus said, we would be filled with power after the Holy Spirit comes upon us. The fire of the Spirit empowers us to do the works of the Spirit. Fire also illuminates. The Holy Spirit fire begins to bring new revelation into our lives. Fire also warms our hearts filling us with passion for the Lord and a passion for souls.

Send your fire Lord!!! Light us up like pillars of fire to penetrate the darkness.

GUSHING AND SPLASHING

Acts 2:15-17 – These people are not drunk like you think they are, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. This is the fulfillment of what was prophesied through the prophet Joel, for God says:

‘This is what I will do in the last days —I will pour out my Spirit on everybody and cause your sons and daughters to prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will experience dreams from God.

God’s word is very descriptive and can often be seen as we focus in on key words in the scripture. In this passage the phrase “pour out” is very descriptive and and gives us a glimpse into the way the Holy Spirit works as He falls on us in fresh outpourings. Here is how the Passion Notes describe this phrase.

“Or “gush forth,” or “run greedily.” The Aramaic can be translated “I will be splashing my Spirit-Wind over all flesh” (humanity).”

So this phrase describes the Holy Spirit as gushing and splashing over all flesh. This awakens pictures of a dam that has been breached and is flooding over everything in its path. It also causes pictures of the splashing of the Spirit, everyone who gets close will end up getting wet.

The Kittel Word Book adds some more insight into this passage.

“Lavishing divine gifts or powers in fulfillment of Joel 3:1-2 is the point in Acts 2:16. As in the OT the outpouring of the Spirit means both ecstatic inspiration and inner renewal, so the same word occurs both for the giving of tongues (Acts 10:45) and the granting of the Spirit in baptism (Tit. 3:5). In Rom. 5:5-6 the overflowing love of God shown in Christ’s death brings us constant assurance by the Holy Spirit.”

I love this connection to the Old Testament. Kittel says that the Old Testament outpouring on the prophets would cause ecstatic inspiration and inner renewal. That’s exactly what we are in need of today. I need daily renewal by the Spirit to keep me satisfied, filled, and walking in the ways of the Lord. We need inspiration by the Spirit to walk in His plan for our lives as well as to have a message to impact our world. That’s exactly what the Spirit does; He gushes and splashes all over us that we may have inspiration and renewal.

BEGINNING GOD’S NEW DAY

1 Cor.15:20,21 – But the truth is, Christ is risen from the dead, as the firstfruit of a great resurrection harvest of those who have died. For since death came through a man, Adam, it is fitting that the resurrection of the dead has also come through a man, Christ.

The resurrection of Christ marked the beginning of God’s new day. Since the first day of the fall and its horrific effect on God’s creation the Lord has been orchestrating the events of our world to prepare for His glorious new day. The resurrection of Christ is the firsfruits of God’s glorious plan of renewal in a brand new world. This is a quote from the Passion Notes on this verse.

“The first part of the harvest is called the firstfruits. Jesus’ resurrection is the firstfruit of those who will be raised in resurrection power, never to die again.“

As we start a new calendar year my thoughts turn to spiritual renewal. When Christ returns we will be like Him, transformed in the twinkling of an eye. In the meantime we experience continual renewal by the word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. Again, Christ’s resurrection marked the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s amazing plan. Here is a quote from Gordon Fee on today’s passage.

“Christ’s resurrection marks the turning of the ages; the subsequent gift of the eschatological Spirit (last day Spirit) is certain evidence that the End has begun. But the fact that we still live in bodies subject to decay, and that there is yet a future Parousia of the Lord (coming of the Lord) with a subsequent resurrection is also clear evidence that what has begun has not yet been fully brought to consummation. Thus for Paul, believers are thoroughly eschatological (end time) people, determined and conditioned by the reality of the future that has already begun, but still awaiting the final glory. We are therefore both “already” and “not yet.”

So as we begin a new year I think its time to press in to the Holy Spirit. The mark of God’s end time people is the power and the presence of the Lord. Our world is being dominated by spiritual darkness, confusion, and fear. The power of His presence and the evidence of His renewal in our lives has a major and lasting impact on our society. Don’t underestimate the power and influence of Christ in you. Your world needs Christ to be unleashed in and through your life.

INSIDE AND OUTSIDE

Acts 1:1-4 – On the day Pentecost was being fulfilled, all the disciples were gathered in one place. Suddenly they heard the sound of a violent blast of wind rushing into the house from out of the heavenly realm. The roar of the wind was so overpowering it was all anyone could bear! Then all at once a pillar of fire appeared before their eyes. It separated into tongues of fire that engulfed each one of them. They were all filled and equipped with the Holy Spirit and were inspired to speak in tongues—empowered by the Spirit to speak in languages they had never learned!

I love praying for people to be filled with the Spirit or to experience renewal or fresh fillings with the Spirit. The laying on of hands is more than symbolic or even a point of contact, it is a time of impartation of the wonderful anointing of the Holy Spirit. Often times while praying for people in the prayer lines I can hear the Holy Spirit clearly saying, “Inside and outside”. I love this, the work of the Spirit effects our whole being. He changes us on the inside, restores and makes whole our outward circumstances, and also equips us with powerful ministry giftings. Here is some interesting insight from the Passion Notes.

“There are two Greek words used here for “filled.” In v. 2, it is pleroo, which means “filled inwardly.” In v. 4 it is pletho, which means “filled outwardly” or “furnished and equipped.” This was the anointing of the Spirit for ministry. Every believer needs the filling of the Spirit both inwardly for life and outwardly for ministry.”

It is easy for us to get fixated on our outward circumstances because that is the world we are comfortable with. Just trying to change our outward behavior will only prove to be a short term solution to whatever we are facing. Our outward circumstances and our outward actions are a reflection of what is happening on the inside of us. Being filled with the Spirit initiates the needed changes. Being continually filled helps us to walk in the needed changes in our lives. Everything from poverty, addictive lifestyle behavior, depression, and even physical sickness is effected by the anointing of the Spirit.

As we begin this new year and we all think about change, determine to stay filled with the Spirit. Pray in the Spirit often and worship the Lord as a lifestyle. Also, don’t forget to get into a prayer line and let Him do something fresh in you. As we start the year I say “Lord touch my life inside and outside”.

CALLED INTO LOVE

1 Cor.1:8,9 – He will keep you steady and strong to the very end, making your character mature so that you will be found innocent on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is forever faithful and can be trusted to do this in you, for he has invited you to co-share the life of his Son, Jesus, the Anointed One, our King!

At the end of the day all we all really want is to be loved. That’s what makes the gospel and all its promises so attractive and ultimately rewarding. The whole point of the message of Christ is His calling out to us. He is calling us out of the world’s darkness and rejection and right into His world of love. We are the church, the called out ones, called into a life of intimacy with God and a partnership with fellow believers sealed by His love. This love is communicated to us by the Holy Spirit. Look at today’s verse in the Passion Translation, we are called to co-share the life of His Son. There could be no greater honor or no greater joy. I am loved by God and am called to enjoy Him forever beginning right now. Here are some comments from the Passion Notes.

“Or “a life of communion with his Son.” That is, a co-participation (communion, fellowship) of the Son. The Aramaic can be translated “You have been called to the (wedding) feast of his Son.” We see a clear picture here that believers are called to share in the sonship of Jesus. By God’s grace, we will share in the Son’s standing and position before the Father. We are not only blameless but made holy by the co-sharing of the life of God’s Son.”

Throughout the earthly ministry of Christ we see Him calling individuals to follow Him. He was calling these chosen ones to be with Him in His day to day fellowship. He is still doing that today. Adam Clarke say He is calling us into a participation with Christ

“Into the communion or participation of Christ, in the graces of his Spirit and the glories of his future kingdom.”

Wow! Wow! Wow! We are called to enjoy the graces of His Spirit and actually begin to participate into the glories of His future kingdom. What are you waiting for? Let the enjoyment of His love begin today.

CONTINUALLY BRAND NEW

Titus 3:4-6 – When the extraordinary compassion of God our Savior and his overpowering love suddenly appeared in person, as the brightness of a dawning day, he came to save us. Not because of any virtuous deed that we have done but only because of his extravagant mercy. He saved us, resurrecting us through the washing of rebirth. We are made completely new by the Holy Spirit, whom he splashed over us richly by Jesus, the Messiah, our Life Giver.

This passage in Titus describes our salvation experience through the Biblical image of God’s new day. Creation is groaning in anticipation of what’s next. Anyone with an open heart and mind recognizes the signs all around us. The best part of all this is that you and I, God’s sons and daughters are at the center of God’s great masterpiece. We are His work of art. From the first day our hearts were opened to Him and He came into our lives He began His work of renewal and beautification. We are being formed into His masterpiece to display the glory of His grace. Paul uses the word renewal in this passage to describe this continual, supernatural work in us. This is how Dick Mills describes this word.

“renewing, anakainōsis; A combination of ana, “again,” and kainos, “new.” The word suggests a renovation, restoration, transformation, and a change of heart and life. In Romans 12:2, it indicates a complete change for the better, an adjustment of one’s moral and spiritual vision. Here it stresses the work of the Holy Spirit in transforming the life.”

How exactly does the Lord do this in our lives on a continual basis? It begins by the application of His precious blood to our lives by faith. By His blood we are forgiven and begin this walk of faith. By His blood we have daily access into His presence where renewal takes place. Secondly, His word is alive and active in our lives. Now that we are clean by His blood we can hear His voice. Daily reading the Word of God activates this continual renewal in our lives. Finally we now experience the power of His presence on a continual basis. As we draw near to the Lord by His blood we are washed and renewed constantly by the Holy Spirit. This is His process of renewal. As we walk with Him we are being made new. This is God’s work on display in us in this dark, backward world.