En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Archive for November, 2008

Americans have gone crazy over Christmas!

Posted by Scott on November 29, 2008

Alright, the title is strong, but after you read the story you will understand.  Of course not all of us are crazy over Christmas, but I would say the majority are.  For Christians, this time of year should hold a very special meaning for us, but does it really for all the right reasons?

I watched and listened to a news report this afternoon about a security guard being trampled to death in a Walmart in America this morning.  A group of about 2000 people rushed the store this morning wanting in and the most popular item was TVs.  I could not believe this actually happened. 

Folks, our materialistic society that has been produced over the past 100 years is now coming full circle.  People so obsessed with “things” killed a 34 year old man storming a Walmart for TVs!  Can you believe this?  People, we must return to our forefathers way of thinking and living.  Money is something you need in order to eat, keep a roof over your head, provide for your kids and grand-kids, and possibly help out a neighbor that has fallen on hard times.  Our grandparents put the money aside…you would have never experienced them storming a store for any item with the exception of food.  Our grandparents saved their money, paid their bills, and did not run up debt.  What is wrong with the TV you have?  What is wrong with going without a TV for a while?  If Christmas gifts was the purpose for the purchases these Walmarters were rushing for, what is wrong with everyone simply enjoying family for Christmas one year rather than buying a bunch useless, depreciating “things”?  I am not saying if you buy a TV you are wrong…you have missed my point if you think that.

Ok, stay with me folks for just a moment more.  Christmas has always been taught as a celebration for Jesus’ birthday, right?  Well, Christmas for the past 50 plus years has been very little about Jesus or His birthday.  Sure, He gets a token prayer here and there, or maybe a nativity scene put up in peoples traditions with little acknowledgment to what it really means.   As Christians we need to stop dead in our tracks today before we move forward in a pagan society acting as they do, going into debt as they do, buying things we really don’t need as they do, serving no one but ourselves and our family.  These thoughts have been floating around in my head for days, but the fact that a fellow human being was killed trying to do his job at Walmart because selfish ignorant people trampled him like sheep running into the slaughter pen, just boiled these comments and thoughts to the forefront this afternoon.

Here are some thoughts from John MacArthur about questioning our typical American Christmas:

“Questioning the typical Christmas celebration isn’t unreasonable.  After all, mistletoe, holly, Yule logs and ivy were all ancient, pagan symbols.  Even the date we celebrate Christmas does not originate from Scripture, but rather is tied to an ancient pagan Roman holiday honoring winter – not the person of Christ.

Then there’s the insane, commerce-driven, marketing machine that gets cranked up earlier and earlier every year.  It’s no secret that secular culture continues to use Christmas as a vehicle to drive a shameful celebration of the worst kinds of self-indulgences and materialism.  Even the more refined aspects of our culture’s Christmas traditions are often little more than sappy sentimentalism.  You’re not alone if you wonder if we’re doing the right thing in our celebrations with our families, friends and churches.

Over the next few months you’ll hear many attempts to justify all the indulgence, wtih much said about the “real meaning of Christmas.”  Unfortunately, almost none of it will focus on the birth of CHrist or the reason for His incarnation.  And what little does focus on Christ, is such a tiny part, that it’s overshadowed by the massive emphasis the rest of the time on decidedly un-Christ like behavior and practices!  At best, the “Christmas” emphasis becomes peace, sharing, family, togetherness, or some other humanistic value.  Those values aren’t wrong, of course, but considered apart from the incarnation of Christ, they have nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas.”

Now, here is the dilema.  We as Believers have an opportunity to show those around us who Christ is and what He is about.  Gorging ourselves on a steady diet of “things” especially at Christmas does not show anyone who Christ is…rather the opposite opinion occurs.  I am as guilty as anyone in years past for over spending on gifts to my kids and other family members….but, in the past few years we have been pulling back the reigns to get Christmas back into focus as Who the “Holy-Day” is suppose to be about.  The world needs to see that we as Believers are more about celebrating Christ coming to earth, dying for our sins, and defeating death to rise again.  We are to prove by our life actions that we serve an almighty sovereign God that is in full control of all that we do.  It is hard to put into words the disgust I have right now with this retail-Christmas.  This borders on blasphemy to the name of Christ in what this holiday has become, but I will not go that far…yet.

I want to share an eye opening short story by an unknown author concerning Christ birth:

Mary’s Dream

author unknown

“I had a dream, Joseph. I don’t understand it, not really, but I think it was about a birthday celebration for our son. I think that was what it was all about. The people had been preparing for it for about six weeks. They had decorated the house and bought new clothes. They’d gone shopping many times and bought elaborate gifts.

It was peculiar, though, because the presents weren’t for our son. They wrapped them in beautiful paper and tied them with lovely bows and stacked them under a tree. Yes, a tree, Joseph, right in their house. They’d decorated the tree also. The branches were full of glowing balls and sparkling ornaments. There was a figure on the top of the tree. It looked like an angel might look. Oh, it was beautiful.

Everyone was laughing and happy. They were all excited about the gifts. They gave the gifts to each other, Joseph, not to our son. I don’t think they even knew him. They never mentioned his name. Doesn’t it seem odd for people to go to all that trouble to celebrate someones birthday if they don’t know him? I had the strangest feeling that if our son had gone to this celebration he would have been intruding.

Everything was so beautiful, Joseph, and everyone so full of cheer, but it made me want to cry. How sad for Jesus – not to be wanted at his own birthday celebration. I’m glad it was only a dream. How terrible, Joseph, if it had been real. “

So, I will leave us with the thought here out of 2 Corinthians 6:14-15,17:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?  What does a Believer have in common with an unbeliever?  Therefore, come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.  Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”

 

Listen up closely now, I am not saying don’t celebrate Christmas, however, when or if you do this year, keep the focus on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord…all of it.  Give something to Him first and foremost…take nothing away from Him.  Make each get-to-gether a celebration honoring the Lord above all others.  Keep Christ on every breath you take…in every prayer uttered.  This can be the most memorable Christmas your family has ever experienced if we would all cut down on the spending for ourselves and make a tremendous increase in the honor and celebration of Jesus as Lord.  If you want to spend, help someone that needs your help and cannot help themselves.  Invite someone over this year for a Christmas meal that you would not normally invite over.  Give someone some clothes that really needs clothes.  Serve at a homeless shelter, food line or something of this kind.  This is the real Christmas story if we get right down to it.  Being about the Fathers work has nothing to do with us and especially us getting “things”.  Take time out to explore the Scriptures thoroughly about who Christ is, who our God is, what is it that our heavenly Father really wants from us, what this life is really all about.  We need clothes, food, shelter, possibly medical attention, and transportation…everything else is really wants more than needs.  I encourage you to get out of a small section of the New Testament and explore the entire Bible…this is the only way you will understand just how BIG our God really is this Holy season.

Merry Christmas to all of you…may the Lord richly bless your efforts to know Him better this holiday season.

 

(c) Scott Bailey 2008

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving!

Posted by Scott on November 27, 2008

In a time to be most thankful it brings me to Psalm 136.  We are to be most thankful to God in all things…why?  “His mercies endure forever.” 

Be thankful for His providence in our lives.

Be thankful for His love for His chosen ones before the foundations of the world.

Be thankful for His Son, Jesus, taking the punishment for His peoples sinfulness once and for all.

Be thankful for God’s love of His creation that He has provided a way unto salvation.

Be thankful for His revelation from Genesis to Revelation.

Be thankful for our God’s mighty hand that is our defense at all times.

Be thankful for each breath you take everyday.

Be thankful for sovereign grace on our life.

Be thankful that He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him during our most trying storms of life.

Be thankful that our God is good.

Be thankful that our God is above all others.

Be thankful that our God reigns supreme.

Be thankful that by His great wisdom the heavens were created.

Be thankful that He created the splendor of the colors in the Spring and Fall.

Be thankful that He gave us the Sun for both light and warmth.

Be thankful that He gave us the Moon and Stars to gaze upon at night.

Be thankful that our God is the one who sets Kings, Presidents, and other leaders in their positions and not man.

Be thankful that our God is the one who removes the same Kings, Presidents, and other leaders for His greater purposes.

Be thankful that our God gave us this land called America to worship Him freely and without hindrance.

Be thankful that our God rescues His people from their oppressors.

Be thankful that our God provides each and every meal that we will eat from beginning to end.

Be thankful that our God is the one Who brings about our salvation based on His Sovereign Will and not mans.

Be thankful to our God that He is firmly on His throne today and nothing surprises Him or is out of His control.

Be thankful in all things, for all people, at all times…for His mercy endures forever!

May anyone reading have a most blessed Thanksgiving!  May God’s blessings be upon your family this Holy season of the year.

(c) Scott Bailey 2008

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What is faith and salvation to you? All to Jesus….

Posted by Scott on November 7, 2008

Watch this 3 part video from great preachers of old:  Tozer, Ravenhill, & Reidhead.  The lettering is hard to read, but the messages from these men are timely and just as relevant as they were the day they were spoken as God’s Word is still relevant today as it was 2000 plus years ago.  Let the messages with God’s Holy Word pierce you deep.


PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

We should have no other plans or purposes in this life other than to glorify our Almighty God!

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