SEENG THE INVISIBLE

SEEING THE INVISIBLE

Rom. 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

There is an entire other realm, Jesus called it the kingdom of God, that our natural senses cannot see. Our hearts know it is there, but the conditions that resulted from the fall of man keep us from perceiving this eternal world that is all around us. We are deaf, dumb, and blind when it comes to this spiritual realm. Paul said that the Lord reveals His attributes in everything He has made, “His invisible attributes are clearly seen” what an amazing concept, seeing the unseeable. Albert Barnes spoke about those invisible things in his comments on this verse, listen to the words from another century reaching for the invisible in Christ.

“The expression ‘his invisible things’ refers to those things which cannot be perceived by the senses. It does not imply that there are any things pertaining to the divine character which may be seen by the eye; but that there are things which may be known of him, though not discoverable by the eye. We judge of the objects around us by the senses, the sight, the touch, the ear, etc. Paul affirms, that though we cannot judge thus of God, yet there is a way by which we may come to the knowledge of him. What he means by the invisible things of God he specifies at the close of the verse, ‘his eternal power and Godhead.’ The affirmation extends only to that; and the argument implies that that was enough to leave them without any excuse for their sins.”

Did you catch what he said, “there is a way by which we may come to the knowledge of Him”. Those invisible attributes, which we catch glimpses of in creation, are most clearly seen in the person of Jesus Christ. The awesome characteristics of God, hidden away for so long, are shining out from the face of Jesus Christ. In Christ we see God’s love for Himself in Christ’s passion for His Father’s glory. We see His love for fallen man as He willingly gave his Son as a representative of man to suffer and die in His place. We see His love for the sick and hurting as His miracle power flowed freely throughout the ministry of Christ. His power over creation is seen as He stilled the storms and multiplied the fish and the loaves of bread. His authority over all the works of the devil is revealed as He casts out demons with His word. Jesus is the outshining of the Father’s glory, in Him we begin to see the invisible world. Still, many people remain blind, the words of Christ fall on deaf ears. How can these blind eyes see and these deaf ears begin to hear? That is where the miracle begins. Just as it happened in the gospels, we come to Him, blinded by our sins, He loves us, forgives us, and opens our hearts so that our perception of His realm comes alive. Look to Him now, there is a beautiful unseen world beckoning you home.

ALL THINGS NEW

ALL THINGS NEW

Rev. 21:5 ¶ And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

I will never forget certain scenes from the movie, “The Passion of the Christ”, Gethsemane, the whipping post, and the crucifixion scenes remain seared in my mind. Of all the images, one stands out above all others, it was when Christ had fallen as He carried His cross through the streets of old Jerusalem. As He gathered His strength, His eyes met the eyes of His mother Mary. In that moment, a million unspoken words were exchanged between them. In the movie, Jesus spoke the words which come from the book of Revelation, “Mother, I am making all things new”. Those words always haunt me, Jesus is always there speaking into my life, “Frank, I am making all things new”. Those of us who have experienced conversion know that that is not the end of the Lord’s work in our hearts, it is just the beginning. He is always making all things new in our hearts through the washing and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Paul spoke of this renewal in Romans 12 as well as in Titus 3. The word Paul used was the word only found in the New Testament, never in secular literature. It is a Bible word describing the spiritual change happening in our heart. Dick Mills said “the word suggests a renovation, restoration, transformation, and a change of heart and life. In Rom.12:2 it indicates a complete change for the better, an adjustment of one’s moral and spiritual vision. In Titus it stresses the work of the Holy Spirit in transforming the life”.
What a beautiful description of the continued work of renewal of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Many times, in renewal services, individuals will be overcome by the Spirit and end up on the floor, caught up in His amazing love. At this point, people will lay in His presence, resting and receiving from His Spirit. For Christians experiencing renewal, this is a precious time. It is a time of healing, correcting, redirecting, and empowering, the Lord is making all things new during those intimate times. For those who have never experienced this profound touch of the Spirit, this can be quite intimidating. Many are afraid to let the Lord get that close and others fear anything supernatural, afraid of the power of the enemy. Those who have not encountered the Lord in this way, many times will criticize this outpouring of the Spirit. That is nothing new, people have accused Spirit baptized believers of everything from drunkenness to emotionalism since the day of Pentecost. For those who have experienced this, it is precious, for those who have not experienced this renewal of the Spirit, it can become a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.
All I know is I love the touch of God. Every time His presence moves upon my life I am reminded of His words to me, “Frank, I am making all things new”.

SOMEONE IS THINKING ABOUT YOU

SOMEONE IS THINKING ABOUT YOU

Psa. 139:17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!

One of the amazing phenomenons of the twenty-first century is the social networks available to all of us. Of course there are many reasons for their success, but surely one of those reasons is the ability to find out what people think of you. We don’t want to be thought of badly, all of us want respect and love, and social networking provides an avenue for us to snoop or fish for what others are thinking (not that you ever do that). When we discover that the most incredible being of all, the Creator of all things, actually has thoughts about us, that can become quite encouraging and quite frankly, hard to understand. Charles Spurgeon spoke powerfully about this concept in his comments on Palm 139:17. Check this out.

“How great is the sum of them! When we remember that God thought upon us from old eternity, continues to think upon us every moment, and will think of us when time shall be no more, we may well exclaim, “How great is the sum!” Thoughts such as are natural to the Creator, the Preserver, the Redeemer, the Father, the Friend, are evermore flowing from the heart of the Lord. Thoughts of our pardon, renewal, upholding, supplying, educating, perfecting, and a thousand more kinds perpetually well up in the mind of the Most High. It should fill us with adoring wonder and reverent surprise that the infinite mind of God should turn so many thoughts towards us who are so insignificant and so unworthy! What a contrast is all this to the notion of those who deny the existence of a personal, conscious God! Imagine a world without a thinking, personal God! Conceive of a grim providence of machinery! — a fatherhood of law! Such philosophy is hard and cold. As well might a man pillow his head upon a razor edge as seek rest in such a fancy. But a God always thinking of us makes a happy world, a rich life, a heavenly hereafter.”

The Lord not only has thoughts about you, He literally can’t get you off His mind. Even our most beloved friends and family don’t think of us constantly. You may frequently be in their thoughts, but with the Lord, we are constantly before Him. His plans are full of grace, well thought out, eternal, and certain to be fulfilled. His plans are higher than our plans and are never disappointing. His thoughts and plans for you have a two fold thrust. First, you were chosen before the foundation of the world so that your testimony will bring glory to the Lord and also glorify His plans of redemption. Secondly, He saw you in your misery, the results of your sinful behavior, and He determined to rescue you. This rescue not only frees us from our sins, but also brings us into relationship with Him. That is the place where we find our satisfaction, our purpose, and unspeakable joy. His plan never changes. He get’s the glory, we get the joy.

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW

Rom. 1:1-4 ¶ Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

Inside of every human heart there is a desire and a knowing that there is more to our existence than what we can see. We know that we were created to experience something of eternity. From our earliest childhood memories we are captivated by stories like Peter Pan or the Wizard of Oz, eternity is in our hearts, like the scripture teaches. One of my earliest memories as a child was watching the Wizard of Oz and watching “Dorothy” sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. This movie would come on once a year when I was a child. I remember being riveted to the television. Thinking back, I believe it was the longing for heaven and the supernatural world that made this movie so attractive. We are all on the journey down the “yellow brick road” until we find our rest in the city of God. Adam Clarke spoke about spiritual horizons declared and revealed in Christ. Listen to his words.

“The word which we render declared, comes from to bound, define, determine, or limit, and hence our word horizon, the line that determines the farthest visible part of the earth, in reference to the heavens. In this place the word signifies such a manifest and complete exhibition of the subject as to render it indubitable(unquestionable or undoubtable). The resurrection of Christ from the dead was such a manifest proof of our Lord’ s innocence, the truth of his doctrine, and the fulfillment of all that the prophets had spoken, as to leave no doubt on any considerate and candid mind.”

The limitations of this life without Christ are frustrating, always searching but never coming to our destination. Paul said these limitations are shattered by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the first fruits or the first man to experience resurrection from the dead. You might say,”Wait a minute, Jesus wasn’t the first”. There was the widow’s son raised by Elijah and of course Lazarus. These men were raised from the dead in their mortal bodies only to die again at a later date. Christ was different, He was resurrected. He was the first man to receive His immortal body, a body that will never die again. That is the anticipation inside of all of us, we long to be clothed with this immortality. That is the searching inside of all of us. Christ “declared” it by His resurrection opening up to us the unseen world. There is a place “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. We all know it even as young children. We can find this place in Christ. That is where the journey down the “yellow brick road” finds its completion.

BLAZING LAMPS OF FIRE

BLAZING LAMPS OF FIRE

Rev. 4:4-5 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;

The book of Revelation is an credible book, sometimes it seems even intimidating to read, but it is an unveiling of Jesus Christ and His plan of the ages. It was given as a vision to the Apostle John as he was rapt in the Spirit while in exile on the Isle of Patmos. One of his visions was a vision of the throne of God. He described the worshipping angels, the prostrate elders, and the glorified Son of God. John also saw the seven lamps of fire, the seven fold Holy Spirit, blazing in revelation before this glorious throne. This gives us a glimpse of the glorious ministry of the Holy Spirit in the earth today. One of the forerunners of the Pentecostal movement was Pastor A.B. Simpson. Listen to some of his observations about this verse.

“He gives to us the light of the Holy Scriptures, revealing the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation, and the will of God for our conduct. He is the light of life, giving guidance in our pathway, and showing us how to walk through the tangled mazes of life. He is the Light that searches and reveals our heart, and then shows us the precious blood that cleanses, and the promise suited for every time of need. He is the perfect Light that never deceives, that never exaggerates, that never evades or hides the most painful truth, that never changes, fails or leaves us in darkness.
And He is not only the Light, but He is also Peace and warmth, He is “a burning,” as well as “a shining Light.” He gives life as well as light, power as well as direction, love as well as truth, and when we receive His light we become also “burning and shining lights,” and our lives will be living illustrations of the truths that we profess and the principles that we hold.”

This describes for us this twofold work of the Spirit in the life of His church. First, the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of revelation. He opens up for us spiritual truth. He makes the unclear, cloudy mysteries of the unseen world crystal clear to us. He unveils the glory of Jesus Christ to our hearts. It is through the Spirit we begin to comprehend the mystery of godliness, the mystery of deity and humanity joined together in Christ. At the same time we begin to have a new love for the Lord. This same fire of revelation is also the fire of spiritual passion. Cold, apathetic hearts begin to combust into flame as the fire of Pentecost begins to burn within our hearts. Today, take a look with the beloved Apostle John as he looks into the fire of God, don’t be surprised if you get burned.

THE LION AND THE LAMB

THE LION AND THE LAMB

Rev. 5:6 ¶ And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Several years ago I was flying back across the Pacific ocean after an international ministry trip. It was shortly after I had been introduced to the ministry of Jonathan Edwards, and I was reading one of his sermons, “The Excellency of Christ”. I was caught by surprise by his description of the diverse excellencies seen in the person of Jesus Christ. I was literally undone as I read his thoughts about the lion and the lamb described in John’s vision. He spoke of the mercy and the justice, the weakness and the power, the sovereignty and the resignation, the sufficiency and the dependency found in Christ. Edwards described the almost conflicting characteristics found in the person of Christ. What an amazing Savior we have in Christ. Pastor A.B. Simpson also has some powerful observations on this vision.

“This is the most sublime vision of the Lord Jesus Christ in the whole book of Revelation. As the evangelist stands looking into heaven, he beholds a scroll containing, it would seem, the purpose and the will of God for the future ages, sealed. No man in earth or heaven was able to open the scroll, or loose the seals. Suddenly an angel turning to him, explained that the mystery was about to be solved and that One had been found that was able to loose the seals and open the scroll. It was the Lion of the tribe of Judah, who had prevailed to loose the seals “and open the book.” As John stood looking for the Lion, lo! it was a Lamb, bearing the crimson marks of suffering and death, and yet, on closer inspection, wearing also the insignia of infinite power and wisdom, for he had seven horns and seven eyes, the types of perfect power and perfect knowledge.”

What an incredible picture of our Lord. I need Him to be a lion and I need Him to be a lamb. How often do I need His tenderness, compassion, mercy and understanding portrayed in the Lamb of God. He leads us like a flock of sheep and wipes away the tears from our eyes. I need His healing touch when I am sick and I need His compassionate counsel in my times of trouble. I also desperately need the Lion of the tribe of Judah. I need His strength to uphold me, empower me, defend me and correct me. I need Jesus Christ, I need His humanity and I need His deity. In this same vision John described the seven fold manifestation of the Spirit. It is through the person of the Holy Spirit that the Lord opens our eyes and our hearts so that we can see and receive this precious Savior. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

RAPT UP OR JUST TICKED OFF

RAPT UP OR JUST TICKED OFF
Merry Monday by Parris Bailey
Rev. 1:10 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.” John made a special effort to inform us that he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day while a prisoner on the island of Patmos. This meant there were times that he wasn’t in the Spirit. In my Spirit, Soul and Body class I am attempting to teach the class to be aware whether they are in the Spirit or in the flesh. Our whole Christian life must be sustained and maintained by the Holy Ghost through the same simple faith by which we first began. Paul even had to remind the church in Galatians 3: 3: “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” I believe many of us live our everyday lives totally unaware whether we are in the flesh or the carnality of our mind or living in the spirit. Jesus said “having eyes you cannot see, having ears, but not hearing.” This is how offenses come into our lives.
There is a song that we sing here at Victory, “I want to be more heavenly minded”. Being earthly minded I find gets me into trouble every time. In fact the majority of the offenses I have seen in the body of Christ happen over being earthly minded. Somehow they allowed their soul man to override their spirit man, and if they don’t watch out they begin to have layers of offenses build up in their lives. I wonder how Frank would feel if one day I walked in and begin to drag up from 38 years ago to the present every thing that I felt that he had done wrong? Wouldn’t it be obvious that I have not been “living in the spirit”. One of the chief characteristics of the spiritual man is to have his abode with the Heavenly Spirit. It is not so much the man, as the addition to the man, which constitutes his high character and heavenly power. We should not grow discouraged when we realize that at times we have allowed ourselves to be offended or led away into our carnal natures. For the Holy Spirit will come to us in his very loving and gentle way when we are ready to expose our carnality and fill us again with His Holy Spirit. When He does, wow the world becomes beautiful again. At the moment, John the apostle became “filled with the Spirit or wrapped in His power” he saw a whole new world around him. The Holy Spirit will always fill us up with his infinite supply for all our need.
We can learn to “love in the Spirit”. Let’s read what A.B. Simpson says about this love- “The apostle had just been visited by Epaphras, one of the ministers of the Colossian Church, and he had reported to him the condition of that Church. It was all summed up in one sentence, “He declared unto us your love in the Spirit.” This seems to have been the one characteristic of this Colossian Church; it was full of love. Its fellowship was perfect, its union unbroken; its members were filled with charity, unselfishness and consideration for one another. There were no gossiping tongues; there were no slanderous rumors; there were no misunderstandings and quarrels; there were no criticisms, murmurings and bad feelings, but all were joined together in harmonious love and beautiful cooperation in the testimony, work and worship of the Church. And this was manifestly a divine unity. It was “love in the Spirit.” It was not mere partisanship, nor personal friendship; it was not because they were clannish, and united in little cliques of personal favoritism, but it was all so heavenly, so holy, so Christ-like that it was evidently the prompting of the Holy Ghost. And so, as the apostle hears of it, he exclaims with thanksgiving and deep joy, “We give thanks to God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven.” WOW! THAT’S A LIFE IN THE SPIRIT!
I encourage you to join the many others that have put down the “axe of offense” and decided to live a life in the Spirit. You can begin to live in Him and move in Him and have your being and then every day will be “the Lord’s day”; then will all life be one ceaseless Sabbath of holy rest and heavenly fellowship, and every place be a sanctuary, every season a Sabbath, and every moment a heaven of peace and joy and love. Amen and amen……

JOINING GOD’S CHORUS

JOINING GOD’S CHORUS

2Cor. 9:10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;

All of God’s creation is in constant movement, responding to the chorus leader, the Lord, in heaven. The ocean, sky, trees, the flowers of the field, and even the animals are engaged in God’s song which sometimes even resembles a holy dance. In today’s verse Paul uses a very descriptive word trying his best to describe the Lord’s provision for his sons and daughters. He describes it with the word epichoregeo. Look at the interesting definitions of this beautiful Bible word.

Clarke
The word – he that ministereth, is very emphatic; it signifies he who leads up the chorus, from to, and to lead the chorus; it means also to join to, associate, to supply or furnish one thing after another so that there be no want or chasm.
Strong’s
to be a dance leader,
Thayer
1) to be a chorus leader, lead a chorus
2) to furnish the chorus at one’ s own expense
3) to procure and supply all things necessary to fit out a chorus

It seems as if the scriptures point to a harmony of all of God’s creation, responding to God and responding to the needs of His creatures. We see the mom responding to the cries of her baby, the clouds responding to the parched earth below. We hear the cardinal crying out to the song of his mate in the early morning and the baby birds chirping out it’s cries for the morning worm from it’s mom. My beagle, Phoebe joins in this song every morning as she begins to sing out her morning song, knowing I will respond with her breakfast (she has me trained well).
Recently I watched a documentary about the African cats. One of the story lines was a cheetah raising her cubs. What an amazing relationship they had, the mom going to extreme measures to protect and care for her little tribe. She would cry out to her cubs, and they would respond with their cries of dependency to their mom. She continually risked her life against predators to care for her own.
This brings us back to our main story or song. All of creation responds to the directions of our Lord. The most amazing thing about all of this is His infinite care and concern for us, His children. He has gone to extreme measures to care for us. How extreme, He became a man and suffered and died for us on the cross. Today, He is listening for our cries. He is our heavenly high priest and His ears are open to our prayers. Just as the mom respond to her baby, the cardinal sings back to his mate, the cheetah calls out for her young, our Lord is calling out and responding to us. How can we stay silent? His silent song is almost deafening. Today, He is responding to every cry, creation itself is on call for His directions. If the animals respond to their young, how much more will our Heavenly Father respond to us? I think it’s time to join the heavenly chorus.

YOU GOTTA EAT

YOU GOTTA EAT

John 6:55-57 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.

If you live in New Orleans, you are all about good food. As we all know, “You gotta eat!” We love our gumbos, our red beans, jambalaya, blackened red fish, you get the picture. All of us become self proclaimed experts on good food. I am partial to gumbo. I tend to judge a good New Orleans restaurant by their gumbo (the coffee is important too!). Obviously we eat for more than just nourishment, we also eat for pleasure. Of course the ultimate purpose for eating is to sustain our healthy life. The enjoyment of the rest of our life depends on being healthy, which is majorly determined by our eating habits. Charles Spurgeon spoke about today’s scripture, listen to his thoughts about feeding on Christ.

“We live by virtue of our union with the Son of God. As God-man Mediator, the LORD Jesus lives by the self-existent Father who has sent Him, and in the same manner we live by the Savior who has quickened us. He who is the source of our life is also the sustenance of it. Living is sustained by feeding. We must support the spiritual life by spiritual food, and that spiritual food is the LORD Jesus. Not His life, or death, or offices, or work, or word alone, but Himself, as including all these. On Jesus Himself we feed.”

One of our American holidays is Thanksgiving. This celebration is centered around the family meal, all of us gathering with our loved ones to give thanks to the Lord for His bounty. This annual celebration is something we look forward to, we reconnect with family, and for many, we reconnect with our Lord. We all stop to remember that we are sustained everyday from His hand. The Thanksgiving meal reminds me of the jewish Passover feast. The jews are taught to gather with their family to celebrate God’s goodness and to remember their deliverance from Egypt. Instead of turkey, they serve a lamb. This lamb is a picture of what Spurgeon was saying and what Jesus was teaching in today’s word. We must feed on the Lamb of God. Our Thanksgiving is not that different. We also stop to remember the goodness of God and to celebrate our deliverance from spiritual bondage that our forefathers left behind in Europe.
Our daily nourishment is on Christ Himself. He is our daily bread. As we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we are feeding our souls on food that will nourish us and produce spiritual health in our whole being. At the same time, there is no greater enjoyment than the joy found in this incredible spiritual feast. As we eat His body and drink His blood, we find ourselves in His presence. This is the place of total satisfaction, the place of intense, eternal joy. Remember, YOU GOTTA EAT!

PHYSICAL MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SPIRIT

PHYSICAL MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SPIRIT

Gal. 5:25 ¶ If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Over the years there have been outpourings of the Spirit in every generation. There have been many different outward manifestations at different times. Some have been quiet and serene and others quite loud and demonstrative. There have been reports over the years of many various types of outward signs of God’s outpourings. There have been swoonings, shaking, laughing, crying, jumping for joy, running, trances, jerks, and various other types of physical tokens of God’s presence. Some people love these holy interruptions, others not so much. The Bible neither condemns or encourages such things, there is not clear instructions or rules governing these outward signs.
Historically, many prominent men and women of God have experienced some profound interruptions in their lives. I think of Jonathan Edwards and the sudden appearance of God’s manifest presence in his services. Many meetings were interrupted with crying out to God, weeping, laughing, and what he called “faintings”. There were times when young people were incapacitated and could not make it to their homes, many staying the night at their host homes, after Bible study, because they were too overcome by the Glory of God. Then there was the sudden appearance of God at Azusa Street where lives were disrupted internationally by God’s visitation. Missionaries, ministers, and hungry Christians came from all over the world (quite an accomplishment in 1906) to experience the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
These interruptions were not over when the meetings stopped or the people returned home. The people who really “got it” would never be the same. Charles Spurgeon spoke of three characteristics in the life of someone touched by this fire. First, he said there would be a new humility in the person’s life. Anyone touched by the greatness of God becomes painfully aware of their own deficiencies and at the same time, they recognize the greatness of God. Next, there is a new profound happiness in their life. To be touched by God is to taste the edge of the joy of heaven, it is impossible to ever be the same. Heaven will be a place of ever increasing joy that will increase in intensity throughout eternity. To to be touched by even the edge of this realm is beyond description. Finally, there is a new holiness. The presence of God is like a refiner’s fire. He convicts, cleanses, and transforms us, our lives are more than interrupted, they are transformed. The old habits and sinful pursuits will begin to disappear.
When it comes to physical manifestations, we should probably hold back our assessments until we see the fruit in the lives of the participants. Rather than saying “that is surely not God” or even “I know that is the Lord” it is better to wait. Usually you don’t have to wait long. Usually the fruit starts to grow pretty soon after the encounter.