En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Archive for January, 2008

Guest Post by Dana Bailey…Joyful in Hope!

Posted by Scott on January 29, 2008

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction & faithful in prayer”. Romans 12:12

 

I read this verse a long time ago and while I really liked it & stuck it to my bathroom mirror to remember, I didn’t completely understand the first phrase, “be joyful in hope”.  The rest of the verse made perfect sense to me, but this first part was a little more difficult.  I felt like it would require more of me possibly than the later two statements.  I understood what it would take to me patent in affliction and faithful in prayer; but joyful in hope?

I began looking up the meaning for the words joyful & hope.  I really like doing this because there are so many times that I think I know what a verse means until I begin to search out the roots of the word.  I found this definition of joy.

  • Joy; “Happiness over an unanticipated or present good.”  

Joy is in the root of rejoicing which is how the Geneva and the King James both translate the Greek text to say.  And here is the definition of hope that I found.

  •  Hope ; “To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.”

So, according to these two definitions I am to be happy or cheerful as I trust in and wait for the Lord to do something outstanding in my life.  That sounds all good and biblical, but not very realistic to me.  If my life is falling apart, how am I to be happy?  How can I be happy that my life is falling apart?  (My life is not falling apart by the way; I just think it is sometimes)  Here is what I have come to realize about this part of the verse.  God NEVER expects me be happy that I am experiencing difficulties.  He’s not even happy that I am experiencing them.  What I am  to be happy or joyful about is…(for the rest of this post click here).  By Dana Bailey

-Scott Bailey 2008

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Seeking the Approval of Man?

Posted by Scott on January 29, 2008


A. W. Tozer
Read about A. W. Tozer

by A.W. Tozer

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. –2 Timothy 4:2

I cannot believe in the spirituality of any Christian man who keeps an eye open for the approval of others, whoever they may be. The man after God’s own heart must be dead to the opinion of his friends as well as his enemies. He must be as willing to cross important persons as obscure ones. He must be ready to rebuke his superior as quickly as those who may be beneath him on the ecclesiastical ladder. To reprove one man in order to gain the favor of another is no evidence of moral courage. It is done in the world all the time.

We’ll never be where we should be in our spiritual lives until we are so devoted to Christ that we ask no other approbation than His smile. When we are wholly lost in Him the frantic effort to please men will come to an end. The circle of persons we struggle to please will be narrowed to One. Then we will know true freedom, but not a moment before. The Price of Neglect, 141.

“Lord, does anyone ever really get over the desire to seek the approval of others? That is a battle for which we are totally dependent on You for victory. Help me today to be content with only the smile of Your approval. Amen.”


Today’s “Insight for Leaders” is taken by permission from the book, Tozer on Christian Leadership, published by WingSpread Publishers-Scott Bailey 2008

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Free Will?

Posted by Scott on January 29, 2008

This is a great short quote on mans “Free Will”:

“Free-will without God’s grace is not free at all, but is the permanent prisoner and bondslave of evil, since it cannot turn itself to good.”     -Martin Luther

-Scott Bailey 2008 

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Be Still My Soul-Great Hymn 1752!

Posted by Scott on January 28, 2008

Listen to Song here!

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

By Ka­tha­ri­na A. von Schle­gel & music added by Jean Si­bel­i­us

-Scott Bailey 2008

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Judging Judgment Judgmentally!

Posted by Scott on January 28, 2008

by Abraham Piper

When we’re dealing with people who are different than us (everybody?) and trying to decide how to interpret the things about them that baffle us, we sometimes forget how fundamental beliefs are to the way we all act. As Paul wrote, “We also believe, and so we speak.”Seth Godin points out that everyone has a tendency to misunderstand other people, because we don’t pay attention to what they believe. He notes that when you are dealing with someone “who is bitter, vindictive, loud and out to cost you your job,” it’s important to keep in mind that this probably does not stem from faulty judgment, but different beliefs.

He suggests that in these situations we should remind ourselves, “If I believed what [they] said when [they] wrote that angry blog post, I probably would have written the same thing.”

So before we judge others, accusing them of bad judgment, it’s good to consider what beliefs are motivating them. Then we can admit that if we believed like them we may very well have thought and acted that way, too.

This is humility, and it’s essential if we want to be compassionate (or even just tolerable to be around). It keeps the focus on what really matters when relating to others: understanding what they believe, instead of judgmentally judging their judgment.

-Scott Bailey 2008

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A New Voice in the Abortion Debate-Fathers!

Posted by Scott on January 28, 2008

A new voice is emerging in the abortion debate, and this voice is a powerful witness to the tragedy of killing the unborn. This voice is the voice of the fathers of abortion.

“We had abortions. . . . I’ve had abortions,” says Mark B. Morrow, a Christian counselor and participant in arranging four abortions. Morrow was speaking to a gathering of men who have become antiabortion activists through reflection on their own experiences and their own lost children.

Stephanie Simon of The Los Angeles Times provides a report on this new movement in “Changing Abortion’s Pronoun,” published in the January 7, 2008 edition of the paper. Here is her introduction to the story:

Jason Baier talks often to the little boy he calls Jamie. He imagines this boy — his son — with blond hair and green eyes, chubby cheeks, a sweet smile.  But he’ll never know for sure. His fiancee’s sister told him about the abortion after it was over. Baier remembers that he cried. The next weeks and months go black. He knows he drank far too much. He and his fiancee fought until they broke up. “I hated the world,” he said.  Baier, 36, still longs for the child who might have been, with an intensity that bewilders him: “How can I miss something I never even held?”

That question haunts many men, as Simon’s report makes clear. These men are raising their voices against abortion and the Culture of Death, and they call themselves “post-abortive men.” As Simon explains, “Abortion is usually portrayed as a woman’s issue: her body, her choice, her relief or her regret. This new movement — both political and deeply personal in nature — contends that the pronoun is all wrong.”

The concept of “post-abortion syndrome” has gained currency in recent years as women who have experienced abortions speak of their trauma and pain. As the paper’s report acknowledges, these reports of post-abortion pain and deep distress were cited in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing the government to ban partial-birth abortions.

The focus on the voices of men is new, but it reveals again that abortion takes a toll on all concerned, including those who are the fathers of aborted babies. The stories vary with the individuals involved. Some of these “post-abortive men” demanded and facilitated the abortion, others never knew of the pregnancy until it was too late.

More from Mark Morrow:

Morrow, the counselor, described his regret as sneaking up on him in midlife — more than a decade after he impregnated three girlfriends (one of them twice) in quick succession in the late 1980s. All four pregnancies ended in abortion.  Years later, when his wife told him she was pregnant, “I suddenly realized that I had four dead children,” said Morrow, 47, who lives near Erie, Pa. “I hadn’t given it a thought. Now it all came crashing down on me — look what you’ve done.”  A few months ago, Morrow reached out to the ex-girlfriend who aborted twice. They met and prayed together, seeking peace. After they parted, she spilled her anger in a letter: “That long day we sat in that God-forsaken clinic, I hoped every moment that you would stand up and say, ‘We can’t do this’. . . but you didn’t.”

“Look what you’ve done.” Those words come with a haunting sense of reality, guilt, and grief. These voices are also causing concern among abortion rights advocates. As Simon reports:

Abortion rights supporters watch this latest mobilization warily: If anecdotes from grieving women can move the Supreme Court, what will testimony about men’s pain accomplish?  “They can potentially shift the entire debate,” said Marjorie Signer of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an interfaith group that supports abortion rights.

We can only respond with the hope that she is right. While the primary focus of the pro-life movement should be on the unborn baby who deserves to be born, a focus on the effects of abortion on both the women and the men involved holds the potential of reaching more minds and hearts.

A new voice is being heard in the abortion debate — and it’s about time.

Albert Mohler Jr.

-Scott Bailey 2008

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Does Marriage Matter?

Posted by Scott on January 28, 2008

The “My Turn” column in each week’s issue of Newsweek is always one of the most interesting features in the magazine, and it is often the first page I read. The January 14, 2008 edition featured a column that demands attention — and has attracted plenty.

In her article, “Yes to Love, No to Marriage,” Bonnie Eslinger writes of choosing love but insists that she has absolutely no need of marriage. “I am a 42-year-old woman who has lived life mostly on my own terms,” she explains. “I have never sought a husband and have still experienced intense, affirming love. I have explored the world and myself and sought understanding, knowledge and a sense of how I can best contribute. Ten years ago I left a New York career to return to California and pursue a writer’s life.”

She also became a foster mom to a teenage girl . . . and then she met Jeff. As she recalls, “Meeting Jeff–an intelligent, creative, thoughtful man–became the icing on the rich cake of a life not wasted cruising singles bars and pining over lost loves.”

As the relationship moved forward, Jeff thought of marriage and then asked Bonnie to marry him. Here is how she tells the story:

Last year Jeff asked me to marry him, and I willingly gave my heart to the intent of his question. We are committed to spending our future together, pursuing our dreams and facing life’s challenges in partnership.

Yet I do not need a piece of paper from the state to strengthen my commitment to Jeff. I do not believe in a religion that says romantic, committed love is moral only if couples pledge joint allegiance to God.

Bonnie Eslinger willingly gave her heart to “the intent of his question,” she insists, but not to marriage. Her explanation is straightforward — she has no need of “a piece of paper from the state” and is not a believer in any religion that would demand that romance, sex, and “committed love” be restricted to marriage — a couple’s “joint allegiance to God.”

In one sense, the column is not shocking. Rates of heterosexual cohabitation are growing annually. Marriage has been subverted by easy divorce, pummeled in the mass culture and in entertainment, confused through debates over same-sex relationships, and sidelined by a generation that is extending adolescence past age thirty.

In another sense, Bonnie Eslinger’s column is surely noteworthy for its candor — and its evasions.

Her candor is bracing at points.  Consider this section:

I don’t need a white dress to feel pretty, and I have no desire to pretend I’m virginal. I don’t need to have Jeff propose to me as if he’s chosen me. I don’t need a ring as a daily reminder to myself or others that I am loved. And I don’t need Jeff to say publicly that he loves me, because he says it privately, not just in words but in daily actions.

Few paragraphs offer such eloquent testimony to the absolute victory of personal autonomy as an ideal.  The first-person pronoun appears no less than eleven times in that short paragraph.

Where is Jeff?  Bonnie Eslinger argues that she responded positively to “the intent of his question” when he proposed marriage.  But, if marriage was his question, how can his “intent” be so easily reduced to cohabitation?

Marriage is not primarily about what we as individuals think we want or need.  It is about a central public commitment that the society needs, that couples need, that children need, and yes, that the spouses need.  Marriage is a public institution, not merely a private commitment.  It identifies the couple as a pair committed to lifelong marriage and thus to be respected in this commitment.  The fact that our society has weakened marriage offers only further incentive to get it right and to strengthen this vital institution.

The traditions of the wedding ceremony are important as a part of solemnizing and recognizing this covenanted relationship — but the traditions are expendable.  Marriage is not.  There is a universe of difference between a private promise and a public pledge.  Marriage is about a public vow made by the man to the woman and the woman to the man whereby they become now husband and wife.

Bonnie Eslinger’s column has sparked controversy on both sides of the cultural divide.  Ironically, one interesting piece of testimony to the enduring power of marriage is the fact that, even in 2008, this column has met resistance as well as agreement.  There are things we really cannot not know, and one of these truths is that marriage really does matter.

__________________

We discussed this issue on Monday’s edition of The Albert Mohler Program [listen here].

-Scott Bailey 2008

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Choices!

Posted by Scott on January 28, 2008

by A.W. Tozer

I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me. I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame! –Psalm 119:30-31

The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is compelled to go, but where he goes when he is free to go where he will….

A man is absent from church Sunday morning. Where is he? If he is in a hospital having his appendix removed his absence tells us nothing about him except that he is ill; but if he is out on the golf course, that tells us a lot. To go to the hospital is compulsory; to go to the golf course, voluntary. The man is free to choose and he chooses to play instead of to pray. His choice reveals what kind of man he is. Choices always do….

I think it might be well for us to check our spiritual condition occasionally by the simple test of compatibility. When we are free to go, where do we go? In what company do we feel most at home? Where do our thoughts turn when they are free to turn where they will? When the pressure of work or business or school has temporarily lifted and we are able to think of what we will instead of what we must, what do we think of then?

The answer to these questions may tell us more about ourselves than we can comfortably accept. But we had better face up to things. We haven’t too much time at the most. Man: The Dwelling Place of God, 158-161.

“Lord, as a pastor or teacher I can’t choose to play golf on Sunday morning, but I can choose a lot of other things that are just as revealing of my inner character. Help me to make choices today that are pleasing to You. Amen.”


Today’s “Insight for Leaders” is taken by permission from the book, Tozer on Christian Leadership, published by WingSpread Publishers


This Insight for Leaders devotional is also available in a print-friendly format here on the LMI web site.-Scott Bailey 2008

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Look Again and Think!

Posted by Scott on January 28, 2008

Take no thought for your life.

Click link below to study this verse: Matthew 6:25
http://www.studylight.org/desk/?query=mt+6:25

A warning which needs to be reiterated is that the cares of this world,
the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in,
will choke all that God puts in. We are never free from the recurring
tides of this encroachment. If it does not come on the line of clothes
and
food, it will come on the line of money or lack of money; of friends or
lack of friends; or on the line of difficult circumstances. It is one
steady encroachment all the time, and unless we allow the Spirit of God
to
raise up the standard against it, these things will come in like a
flood.

“Take no thought for your life.” “Be careful about one thing only,”
says
our Lord – “your relationship to Me.” Common sense shouts loud and says

“That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, I must
consider
what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says you must not. Beware of
allowing the thought that this statement is made by One Who does not
understand our particular circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our
circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about
these
things so as to make them the one concern of our life. Whenever there
is
competition, be sure that you put your relationship to God first.

“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” How much evil has begun
to
threaten you to-day? What kind of mean little imps have been looking in
and saying – Now what are you going to do next month – this summer? “Be
anxious for nothing,” Jesus says. Look again and think. Keep your mind
on
the “much more” of your heavenly Father.

————————————————————————-

Taken from ‘My Utmost for His Highest’, by Oswald Chambers. © l935 by
Dodd
Mead & Co., renewed © 1963 by the Oswald Chambers Publications
Assn.,
Ltd., and is used by permission of Barbour Publishing, Uhrichsville,
Ohio
.
All rights reserved.

-Scott Bailey 2008

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-From A Dad: Come to the Lord With An Obedient Heart!

Posted by Scott on January 25, 2008

Selfishness has invaded our society unlike we have ever seen or heard of.  However, selfishness is not anything new.  It is refreshing as the fresh whitest snow in the middle of a cold winter day in the Rockies to speak with or read about someone that was absolutely selfless in his prayers and actions.

King Solomon was such a man.  Although he was king, Solomon did not take that position lightly.  As God said He would give Solomon anything he asked for.  With that opportunity I can only imagine the thoughts running through your minds as you read this.  “Oh boy, I want riches, glory, honors galore, houses, land, cars, stuff, stuff, stuff…that is what I would ask for.”  King Solomon simply asked that God would grant him the wisdom to lead and advise His chosen people.  He thanked God for trusting him with day to day judgements upon His people.  Solomon did not ask for any possessions, honors, glory or anything of the such.  Solomon even equated himself to a mere servant of the Lord. 

I found four ideas rolled out before us in King Solomon’s prayer that can be a guide for us when we set down to pray in the morning.  By no means is this a system of praying or some magical list of do’s.  However, we can use Solomon’s great example of praying selflessly to our most sovereign Lord.

1. Come to the Lord thankfully, full of praise, and with a sincerely humble heart.  Picture in your mind that you are prostate before your almighty sovereignn God.  He listens to the hearts of His people as they cry out to Him in humble adoration.

2. Pray to the Lord in true humility.  We cannot come to God with an ounce of arrogance on our breath or it will be a sour stench to the nostrils of our most holy Lord.  He is looking to favor those who’s heart has the truth that flows freely, trust worthiness, humility, and honesty to pour out what God wants to hear.  He is looking for that desire of an obedient heart…He can see straight through our outward actions to the heart.  God is looking for those David like hearts…not perfection.

3. Come to God as we really are…servants of the most awesome Lord.  It does not matter our title, whether that be President of this great country, president of a large company, King of some distant country, pastor of mega-church, house keeper, house wife, trashman, doctor or whatever the title….before our God we are all mere servants called out to serve Him.  We cannot for one instance boast to this world or God of something we have done or said that is of our own power that is of any good to God.  Our glory and honor rest in our Savior and Lord.  Anything that is good and glorious that our energy has done was from the power of the Holy Spirit at God’s instruction.

4. Ask how we can bless God’s elect, His chosen people with our gifts, talents and life.  This is all we have to offer…this empty vessel that needs to be filled with God’s mighty power on a daily basis.  Pray for wisdom, courage, strength, and knowledge that comes only from God Himself.  When someone puts you on a pedestal, get right back down again.  Never allow yourself to stay up on that pedestal for long or you will start to believe what everyone is telling you and somehow inch your way to feeling as though God cannot live without you.  You will receive many praise from caring people, but always divert that praise to God immediately so that your head does not swell with greatness.

We need to all remember that obedience is what delights our Lord…obedience from His chose ones is the sweetest smell He loves.  He looks all across our world looking for those souls that are His, with humble tender hearts, that want nothing less than to be obedient to Him regardless of the cost.  Obedience will not be easy, glorifying, and many cases joyful….no matter, it is in pleasing our sovereign Lord with our obedience that is of most importance.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2008

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