En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Archive for the ‘devotion’ Category

Who is God?

Posted by Scott on December 30, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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The question of who God is comes up often. I was asked to write an article about the subject for a writers site I am a member of which caused me to think how I could describe who God is within such a brief span of time. Fact is, I can’t do that. However, people cannot see Him and most do not really know Him and any visual I can bring out on paper to help someone experience the slightest glimpse of our God is worth the attempt. Over the past several years I have developed a personal and in-depth relationship with my heavenly Father. It is from this thirty two year relationship I draw this small amount of commentary on who I believe God to be.

First, let’s look at the visible signs of who God is. We can see in His creation through nature God is the master painter and poet. The colors, the landscape, the variations of plants, animals, clouds, sky, and water are all a testimony to who God is. He is the creator of all things large and small. God is the sustainer of all things large and small. The Bible tells us God feeds the birds of the air, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” So, we can see just in one tiny aspect of nature a Creator who cares for His creation and sustains His creation.

Have you stood at a distance looking up at majestic mountains before? Some with snow caps, rocky ledges, and trees scattered about their slopes. Other mountains seem to be covered by low flying clouds or the image of smoke veiling their majestic peaks. Only a God who creates all things could possibly make something so beautiful. From a prayer of Moses we find this, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth or ever You had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God.” Here according to Moses, God has been God since before the formations of the earth. God created the heavens and the earth as Scripture tells us.

I remember picking up a very small rock one time to find on the bottom settled into the rock a tiny creature fossilized into the rock. The creature that made up this fossil was once alive, breathing, moving about the earth. Humanly speaking, I could only visualize what my finite mind could imagine this creature looked like and how it moved about only a few thousand years ago. I have no real way of knowing if what my mind would let me see was actually fact or not. However, God was the Creator of this tiny being and He saw it as it was moving about and breathing brand new on the earth. The fact is God gave that tiny creature its very breath and heartbeat to live by. God also, knew the very last breath it took and how it died. God in His vastness observed every living creature on this earth and knows were all of them from thousands of years ago are buried. Our God who reigns supreme over all the earth is also in the tiniest details of our life.

Since we have established Him as creator let’s look at something He created in His own image. This should, also, help us to understand who God is. In Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So, God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; both male and female He created them.” We find two interesting documentations of truth here. First, God is speaking in terms of “Us” making man in “our” image. Wow! The implications are huge in this fact of Scripture. This is not saying more than one God existed. What it is stating clearly is God comes in more than one part. We find the first concept of the Holy Trinity in these verses as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In plain English, the Father is speaking to His Son about the creation. Secondly, we find humanity is not an animal or a plant. God here has given man dominion over all the animals and mammals. God, our supreme authority, has endowed us humans with authority as well. We are to view God’s likeness through the example of the Son, Jesus Christ, as He walked and lived here on the earth.

This brings me to a main point of who God is. However, let me make something clear at this point. No human being can contain the depths or the heights as to who God really is within any volume of papers. God is beyond huge and there is no end to His depths. So, this is a small attempt to give the reader a mere glimpse at who God is. Now, Jesus taught His disciples if you have seen Him then you have seen the Father and vice versa. Many teach today a distorted view of Jesus. The portrayal of Jesus in most people’s eyes is a man without deity, without authority from God, and just one of us on a spiritual journey while leading others to do the same. I want to assure you Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was not merely just one of us. Sure He came to earth through the birth canal of His mother Mary. She conceived Jesus by a miraculous conception only to be understood by God Himself. However, Jesus was still full deity, fully God with our human skin wrapped around Him.

Jesus walked on this earth teaching grace, love for our neighbors, taking care of the poor and hungry, but most importantly He taught first we must repent of our sins and follow Him. Jesus spoke often about repentance, sin, hell, and the kingdom of God. We find here God is serious about sin. He wants sin out of our lives as far as having control over us. As part of our Christian life, God wants us to exemplify in our life the love of God for His people. We do this by feeding the poor, clothing them, and loving on them while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ at the same time. Food, clothing, and shelter is not the gospel nor will it get these people to heaven, however, it is a doorway by which you have the opportunity to share the gospel with them and glorify God by your testimony to them. The gospel is we are a sinfully depraved humanity in need of a Savior otherwise we are doomed to an eternity in hell. God is a righteous judge, but He loves His people so much He provided His Son as a sacrifice for our sins in order for us to be reunited in relationship to Him in a way He no longer would have to turn His back on our sinfulness. Jesus became for us the mediator between humanity and God the Father. By placing our trust in Jesus Christ as our perfect Savior and mighty Lord, and believing that Jesus Christ did come back to life on the third day as Scripture tells us, we are then saved from eternal damnation in hell and have the full power to be obedient to God. We are at that moment a son of the living God. God adopts us at the moment we place a total loyal trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Do you still wonder who God is? Well, without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ you will never have a good understanding of who God is. By knowing Jesus, the Son of God, over time you will start to understand just how vast God is. You will understand that for a Believer suffering is a part of life yet God directs every aspect of the suffering. Nothing in all His creation is out of His reach. God is a loving God, true! God is, also, a just, holy, and righteous God too. He hates sin and hates sin in His people’s life. God hates sin so much, He was willing to sacrifice His only begotten Son in order for those who believe His Son can have eternal life. In John 3:16 we observe both the wrath and judgment of God while at the same time we discover the grace, mercy and love of God.

In a one sentence statement to help someone begin to think about who God is: “God is loving, our creator, gracious, Almighty judge, perfectly righteous, completely holy, Sovereign over all things and events, full of mercy, our protector, supreme healer, omnipresent, Infinite, Immense, good, Immanent, and so much more”. As I said before, I cannot within the pages of any book explain who God really is. This is a very brief glance at who God is. The understanding of our finite glimpse at God comes only when our Infinite God has accepted us in a relationship with Him.

Colossians 3:1-4 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

To know God is to know the Son, Jesus Christ. Trust in the Son today and begin a tremendous relation with the Father you will never regret in all eternity.

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Seven Losses When A Christian Lives In Sin!

Posted by Scott on November 11, 2009

As a Believer, we are forced to face certain facts about sin. Whenever we sin we lose something within us which was intended to draw us back to our Lord.

Psalm 51:1-2

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”

Loss #1: LIGHT

1 John 1:6

“If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”

God is light. Not one pixel of darkness resides in Him or around Him.  Fellowship with Him is a deep, loving, communion with our heavenly Father. If we claim this kind of fellowship but are living in sin, we are liars, not being truthful. So, the first thing we lose in our sinfulness is Light.

Loss #2: JOY

1 John 1:3-4

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”

Having fellowship with our Father and our Savior makes our joy complete. However, we lose this joy when we decide to live in a sinful life style, relationship or any combination of sinfulness. We lose our light and our joy!

Reference John 15:11 & Galatians 5:22

A portion of living by the Spirit of God is Joy. In Psalm 51:12 we find a crying out for this joy to be restored…the joy of his salvation. To choice to live in sin comes at a high price by trading rebellion against God for His light and abundant joy.

Loss #3: RIGHTEOUSNESS

1 John 3:4-10

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness…No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him….He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous.”

This is reaching the dangerous category. Because to claim to be a Believer yet make a conscious decision to live in sin makes us  unrighteous. Sin is wrong and is unrighteous behavior. Those who are authentic Christians cannot remain in that sin for long. The guilt of destroying a relationship with our Savior is too deep to allow us to remain in it. The Scripture’s go so far as to tell us the one who does not do what is right is not a child of God. That is pretty point-blank and bold. So, we must be careful in our decisions…sin is hazardous and causes us great loss.

Loss #4: LOVE

1 John 2:5-6

“But if anyone obeys His Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”

Sin is disobedience to the Word of God. Simple enough, but we have a loss of the love of God when we are living in sin. Not saying God does not love us, but that kind of love He has for us, we no longer have for others or even give back to Him. This boils over into a lack of God’s kind of love for others around us. We cannot walk as Jesus did, because the love of the Father is not in us. When the decision to sin is made, whether subtle or slowly, enters the heart of a claiming Believer, and a person remains in that sinfulness day after day without repentance, we have traded this abiding love of our Lord for the lustfulness of sin. This trade-off is not good for any of us. The depths of sin only dig us into a hole that swallows us up, eeks out every hint of light and causes us to feel dirty, filthy, and completely lost to the world of darkness. You do not want to get this far.

Loss #5: FELLOWSHIP

1 John 1:3

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.”

We touched on fellowship before. It is lost in our sinfulness. Living in sin has nothing in common with the righteous. Living in sin has nothing to profit us and pulls us away from the table of fellowship with other Believers. The one living in sin has no light, no joy, no righteousness, no godly love, and now has lost their fellowship with others. Another high price to pay for consciously being disobedient to God.

On the flip side of this, unholy living places us at the table of an unholy fellowship. Those a person in sin will fellowship with are evil, ungodly to the core and feed each a bowl of lies that will make your stomach turn. Ungodliness attracts to worst of people in your life. Your waywardness will take you down a road which God is not on and render you helpless apart from a miraculous merciful act on God’s part. A sinful life style has only as their hope God’s grace, a merciful action on God’s part, and ultimate true salvation. That is a great hope, but it is the only hope for those choosing to live separated from God.

Loss #6: CONFIDENCE

1 John 3:19-22

“This then is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts and He knows everything. If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.”

Sin is an indictment on our confidence. We will not enter His presence in honorable prayer because our hearts filled with sin condemns us before Him. A proud heart full of ourselves speaking in the presence of a holy God does not go together. We cannot hide our sinful condition because God knows everything.

Also, besides the loss of confidence, it causes us to lose the ability to obey and receive what we come to Him for because of the wall of sin we have built between us and God. Sin is a loosely built wall that tightens up with age if not confessed quickly and repented from immediately.

Loss #7: HEALTH & POSSIBLE PHYSICAL LIFE

1 Cor 11:30

Partaking of the communion services with a sinful heart brings about contrition before a holy and mighty God. If a Christian continues to live in their sin, know ing it is wrong, but refusing to do anything about in total rebellion and disobedience to God, their health can began to fail sometimes even to the point of death. The most dangerous activity we can encounter as Believers is to enter a sinful lifestyle in the face of Almighty God and think we can manipulate God the way we do our friends and family. God detest this and so do other Believers who recognize you are living in sin.

I have seen sinfulness poke its ugly head above the ground in so many ways. Wives and moms leaving their families because they do not want to be in that relationship anymore and live in sin with another woman’s husband. I have seen it rare up with two people shacking up together before getting married, denying the sinfulness of their ways and pushing forward to matrimony which end in a disputed divorce. It shows up in great ugliness as men and women turn to the gay lifestyle and excuse it away. On and on I could go.  Bottom line is this, for a Believer to call themselves a Christian and live as though they are not in blasphemous at the core. You are lying to God and man about your faith. If a person continues in this life style of sin for the rest of their life or jumping for one to another without a moment of repentance and returning to a strong faith in Jesus Christ, I would contend they are not a Believer to start with.

Sin is a destructor of people both Believers and non-Believers alike. However, it is more tragic for the Believer who knows better.

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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What is Eternal Life?

Posted by Scott on April 22, 2009

I read a verse of Scripture this morning in context of course, but John 17:3 jumped out at me like I had never seen it before….isn’t that how it works much of the time? We can read a verse of Scripture all our lives, but one day it seems to be brighter than it was the previous 30 years.

The question was posed “What does a Christian mean when he testifies that he has eternal life? Now, that seems easy enough doesn’t it? I mean, could it be “living forever”, “nothing but existence, going on and on forever”, “life on cloud nine playing our golden harp”? “Is it our spirit just living eternally on earth through regeneration after regeneration, but not individually”? Lots of possibilities, lots of stuff we have been taught throughout the years. The answer to the question, however, is found in that very verse of John 17:3 as told by Jesus himself. Our tendacy is to think of eternal life as a quantity of time, but Jesus is telling us it is a quality of relationship in our heavenly Father, the One true God.

Eternal life starts here with the knowledge of an etermal Person, God, with intimacy of communion and fellowship with this Person of God. Think of marriage for a moment. What is marriage? Is it cooking, cleaning up after someone, having children, tv, three square meals a day? No, marriage is that intimacy in knowing that other person called our spouse. Eternal life is much the same way except much greater than our imagination can fathom.

The larger picture, however, is the results of knowing God. This result of really knowing God for all eternity is an intimate fellowship or communion with God which gives us a life meaningful, rich and enjoyable that does not start in heaven, but right here on earth…it will be perfect when we finally with our Father in heaven someday. To know God means the end of lonliness forever. Think about that for a moment….before you knew God, what was the prevailing thought…for many it is lonliness. But this new found eternal life found in Christ abolishes this eternal lonliness. By knowing God intimately, we can share our joys and sorrows with Him, He sympathizes with our hearts desires….there is no other quality of life that can compare to this. The benefits of knowing our God in this way goes far beyond all the limits and boundaries our feable minds can imagine. “Knowing God is fullness of enjoyment, the richest of experiences, the enlargement of life beyond our ability to imagine.” This knowledge of God broadens the entire perspective of life and we can begin to really life for the first time in our earthly lives.

“God is our ultemate reality and we are inteded to know Him and experience Him on a daily basis. When we do so, life becomes vibrant, exciting, and awesome.” Stedman

A story Billy Graham always told was about a Scotland woman in this pastor’s parish who was behind on her rent and going through very difficult times. The pastor got together with other members of the church and took up a love offering for her. The pastor went to the ladies door to give her the money but never answered. One day the pastor ran across the lady in the market and told her he had come by to give her the money to help pay her rent up. She stated, “Was that you at the door, I thought it was the landlord.” You know that story teaches a profound lesson to us as Believers. Jesus stands at the door and knocks wanting this intimate relationship with us. He wants us to experience what real eternal life is. But many of us are afraid to open the door for Him to step into our lives beyond our mere salvation and have fulfilling communion with Him.

Eternal life, is to know God intimately and completely forever.

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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I’m In Need of Resurrection-Nicole Sponberg

Posted by Scott on March 14, 2009

I’’m at a loss for words, there’’s nothing to say
I sit in silence wondering what led me to this place
How did my heart become so lifeless and cold
Where did the passion go?

When all my efforts seem like chasing wind
I’’ve used up all my strength and there’’s nothing left to give
I’’ve lost the feeling and I’’m numb to the core
Can’’t fake it anymore

Here I am at the end I’’m in need of resurrection
Only you can take this empty shell and raise it from the dead
What I’’ve lost to the world what seems far beyond redemption
You can take the pieces in your hand and make me whole again

I’’m at a loss for words, there’’s nothing to say
I’’ve used up all my strength and there’’s nothing left to give
How did my heart become so lifeless and cold
Can’’t fake it anymore

Here I am once again I’’m in need of resurrection
Only you can take this empty shell and raise it from the dead
What I’’ve lost to the world what seems far beyond redemption
You can take the pieces in your hand and make me whole again

You can take the pieces in your hand and make me whole again

by Nicole Sponberg

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Why Do We Struggle With Prayer?

Posted by Scott on March 9, 2009

Studying into the prayer life of Christ, we find that prayer was not a struggle for Him. It was a neccessity of life and was also natural. I have found no references to Jesus ever struggling to get away and pray. He was always ready to pray about everything. Interestingly I found 4 areas Christ used prayer for:

1. Thanksgiving! He was already to give thanks to God in everything. He always thanks His Father for the food they were eating. Thanks for circumstances, the people He had given to Jesus, victories, and He gave thanks at the Last Supper which would be His last before He suffered on the cross.

2. Counsel! He always went to the Father for counsel. In Luke 6:12-13 He went before the counsel of His Father in choosing the 12 Disciples. I can imagine the discussion over Judas, but in Jesus’ case, He always obeyed the will of His Father. In prayer for counsel from God He was seeking His guidance in every situation. Asking that the Father would light up the right path to be taken. Yes, Jesus was God, but at this time on earth He put that aside and relied on His Father, God for power and direction.

3. Intercession! He prayed for His disciples as they set out to spread the gospel. Not only for them, but also for those who would hear the gospel and believe. He prayed for Peter many times, but in particular at the time Jesus told him that satan had asked to sift him and Jesus told Peter, “I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail.” He also prayed for Peter before he denied even knowing Jesus during the time of His crucifiction. He prayed for those that placed Him on the cross that fatal day…because they really did not know who they were nailing to the cross, but He asked for their foregiveness.

4. Communion! Prayer to Jesus was His communion with the Father on an hourly basis. In the garden with sweat of blood coming from his pores, anguish over the impending torturous death, Jesus experienced communion when the Father sent angels to minister to Him at that time. He also experienced a great communion with the Father at His transfiguration. His appearence changed, His robe became bright and shiny. As Ray Stedman said, “In prayer, He experienced such a communion so rich that the glory of the Father, the indwelling glory broke through the tent of His body in which it was hidden.” Reference John 1:14.

So, why do we struggle with prayer so much. It should be a neccesary action in our life and over time become our first natural response throughout the day, not something we feel is a last ditched effort. Stay in constant communion, intercession, counsel and thanksgiving with our heavenly Father…it will transform our lives.

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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Cry Out to God or Lose Heart!

Posted by Scott on February 26, 2009

Luke 18 Jesus was telling the disciples how to pray and not give up. Some other translations say “not lose heart” or “not faint”. Jesus was simply putting it to them “..we are to pray and not quit…be persistent in our prayer life.

Here is Jesus confronting the disciples and us with a vivid contrast and choice: Either we pray or give up, we are to move closer to God in prayer or we will faint…we have to choose one or the other. Learn to cry out to our heavenly Father, who we cannot see, but we know that He is always with us, or else we will lose heart.

Jesus is telling these hand picked men to move deeper in the heart of God, deeper into a meaningful relationship with our heavenly Father or they will lose heart and faint. We cannot stand up to the trials, the bending, the twisting, the uncertainties in life without crying out to “Abba Father”. Cry out like a little child does to his daddy…a little child does not always know what to say, but from a deep growning cry call on our God, who is faithful to listen and come to our side. Jesus tells us one key to the heart of God is persistent perpetual prayer…not demands, but persistent crys to the heart of God for His will to be done.

Remember, our heavenly Father has the heart of a daddy and the compassion of a daddy. He hears the crys of His children. Jesus tells us that the persistent prayer of one of His children stirs the heart of God…God is actively waiting on a cry from us many times before He acts on our behalf. He loves us too much not to come to act upon our crying out to Him.

This does not mean God gives us what we demand…He is our Father and will act according to His own will and plans. However, He will act. God our heavenly Father will never leave any of His children grieved and alone in a time of genuine need. He is our faithful Father in whom we can trust.  Will our Father let us go without a job for a while….yes.  Will He let a house or car be repossessed…yes.  Will He let death or sickness come into our lives…yes.  Will He let bills go unpaid…yes.  But He will not let any of this happen to us and have us go through it alone.  It is all about His greater purposes…not our fleeting circumstances that He is most concerned about and we need to understand the same and fight through the fear and disgust with our circumstances.

“God’s answer may be the squeeze of His hand on ours, the quiet comfort of a Father’s voice, the steady reassurance of a Father’s presence even though the woods around us are dark and echoing with fearsome night-sounds. If we listen, we will hear an immediate answering reassurance that the Father is with us and in His own time and way, He will lead us home to a place of light, warmth, and He will put us safely, comfortably in our beds.” -Ray C. Stedman

When Jesus comes will He find faith in us? Remember true prayer is not begging to a reluctant God! True prayer is confidence, trust and absolute faith in God. Prayer is thanking God instead of complaining to God for our ills. True prayer is the rejoicing, receiving, accepting of whatever God wills our life to be. Pray persistently to our Father who is listening.  “He is most glorified in us, when we are most satisifed in Him.” –John Piper.  Will we glorify Him by being satisfied in Him during our most trying times?

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A “Shift” in the Wrong Direction…The Shift…a critique!

Posted by Scott on January 21, 2009

The Shift is a book on a supposedly new awareness, a new reality, etc.  This shift as the book tells us that everything we see and experience is from a higher “Infinite Being is the all-encompassing consciousness from which the universe was created.”  I don’t mean to rain on The Shift parade, but it is all man-made “hog-wash”.  The only Infinite Being is the sovereign God, creator of this universe and beyond.  This Infinite Being was not thought up in human minds under some new consciousness, but God has always been from eternity past, still is, and always will be in eternities future.  The God Almighty is the only infinite being that is immeasurably awesome, inconceivably great, inexhaustible, endless, and greater than any preassigned finite value no matter how large.
The Shift tells us that it is the spiritual and creative awakening of humanity. This trans-formative movement has gained momentum in recent years to the point where, today, more than one in four adults (25%) have moved forward towards this new stage of cultural awareness. 2 John 1:5 “I am not writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning.  I ask that we love one another (believers), and this is love, that we walk in obedience to His commands.”  2 John 1: 9 “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teachings of Christ does not have God.”  So, there is no new stage or new awareness.  The things we have been taught from the beginning about Christ is to be carried forward to the end, not the new awareness or The Shift. 

 

New Reality consciousness means to experience new vistas of awareness and new levels of creativity. It means following your heart to express your inner joy through making your own meaningful contribution towards the betterment of the world.   Colossians 2:8 tells us this, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”  “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.”  -John Piper  Also, what does God tell us about our hearts in Psalm 64:6b “…we have devised a perfect plan!  Surely the mind and heart of man are cunning.”  We cannot trust the heart.  Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God!'”  Our hearts need to be examined often by God in order to remain pure at heart…Psalm 26:2 “Test me, O Lord and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” 

 

 

In “The Shift: The Revolution in Human Consciousness,” Owen Waters has woven together leading-edge cultural studies with his own discoveries about the human energy system in order to demonstrate that we are in the midst of the biggest cultural shift of all times.

 

 

This book demonstrates that the future of mankind is not just bright… it is brilliant!  Read Revelation and we will know that the future of mankind is anything but bright or brilliant.  The future for God’s people is very bright to perfect, but for unbelievers, the future is nothing but death, torment, and eternal damnation.  This is the reality of what is to come.  This tormenting future may be closer than all of us want to believe.  In Daniel we see that in the prophecy chapter 12 that the many dead will awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.  He further talks about the people that would go here and there seeking out to increase their knowledge.  The implications are as we have it today, people are meandering around all over seeking a new awareness, The Shift. 

Who should we ask for knowledge?  Ask our Lord, “Teach me knowledge and good judgement, for I believe in your commands.” Psalm 119:66  It is not that we look within for great knowledge or awareness, but go to our Creator, our heavenly Father…He will give us knowledge and wisdom for each day.  Proverbs 1:7 “ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
       but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” 

So, I will conclude that knowledge and wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord.  If we want knowledge we need to ask of our great Lord and He will supply us with all knowledge we can handle.  We do not need to make a mindless shift anywhere…stay with what is true from the old teachings.  God’s Word is never changing, always fresh today as it was yesterday.  I leave you with a reminder directly from God’s Word:

“Don’t be deceived , my dear brothers.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  -James 1:17

If you are looking for answers, looking for peace, looking for something far beyond what you have ever experienced, I encourage you to consider your life now.  As most people do not think they need a savior and certainly do not want anyone or anything being a lord over their life, however, the Bible tells us we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  A sinful act does not just have to be something that we have actually done, if we think it, Jesus tells us, we have committed a sin against God.  Any sin, even just one sin is punishable by death…our God is a “just” God.  However, Jesus came to this earth as God and as a man.  He voluntarily died a punishing death to atone for the sins of the saints.  This death gives us a way to God the Father forever.  The call is for each of us to fall on our knees in admittance of sin before a holy and pure God.  Ask for forgiveness of all your sins today admitting that you have been an enemy of God.  Tell Jesus you are not worthy of the salvation He offers, but you want it by His gracious will.  Ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life once and for all.   Receive by the power of the Holy Spirit a new life in Christ.  This life is not a posh easy life, but it is the greatest life.  This new life is one of hardships, sacrifices and obedience before our heavenly Father.  I warn you now that a life lived for Christ could cost you your physical life, it could cost you some of your friends, could cost you your job.  Are you willing to pay the price?  Are you willing to accept the cost of the only true life to live which is found in Christ Jesus?  I beg you to think on this hard today and if you sense a pricking in your soul, that could be the Holy Spirit drawing you in…do not resist this drawing of the Spirit, just obey and follow Him.

Scott Bailey 2009

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Disturbing Words From Christian’s!

Posted by Scott on January 13, 2009

I was just wondering a few things as I have read over the past few days Christians, Pastors, and others using certain words a great deal that I wonder if they have the same meaning or really if the onces using them even understands the meanings?  I read a status from a pastor the other day and I quote:  “He…is so lucky to be alive and serving a freaking great God”  I am not trying to be legalistic, trust me in that, but I expect this kind of word use or terminology from people in the casual congregation or new believers that have not been around the Word of God much…for baby Christian’s this would be a normal thing and over time God will purge from them that which takes away His holiness from their mouths…He is still purging my mouth and most likely will until He takes me on to be with Him, but I am learning.  Now,  for a pastor who is speaking to 4000 to 7000 people each week, come on.  Let’s take a look at these two words…we could look at many words and people will argue I am being legalistic, but really on the scheme of things words are serious…God made sure His Words were accurate in the Bible…we should make sure ours are right too.  This is all taken in consideration of each of us making a mistake now and then…that is a given, but for it to be the daily norm…we have no excuses.

1. Lucky: is this equal to “blessed
2. Freaking: is this equal to “awesome

Lucky means happening by chance. Does a Christian’s life operate by chance or providence?
Blessed means bringing great pleasure or contentment to, held in favor by God, held in reverence for…  Are we as Believers blessed by God…does He give us pleasures, contentment, does He favor His own, and expect our reverence for Him in this?  I think so.  So, let’s say so!

freaking “you need to google this for yourself…I cannot repeat here the meaning…it is another “F***” word used as a very negative cuss word…also negatively used as “frigging” which is the same meaning as the “F***” word.   Use the Mariam-Webster dictionary online and put in “freaking”. This word certainly should not be used in context with a holy God….pick a better word with a positive meaning when in context with describing our God.  I don’t even allow my kids to say this once I figured out the true meaning behind it.
awesome means inspiring, tribute to, terrific, extraordinary.  Is our God an awesome, extraodinary, terrific, inspiring God? I do believe the word “awesome” is far better fit here.

I just found these two words in context with Christian’s conversations interesting and then the amount of their use in the Christian conversations over time became disturbing to me. So, I wanted to check it out and if we put the words meanings into context with a holy God is it really was a good fit? My conclusion is they don’t work at all. As Believers, the lost world listens to what we say just as much as what we do…contrary to many’s belief. They do listen and will put this back in our faces when times get tough not to mention the dishonor it brings to our God. I am not innocent in this either and have had to constrain my use of certain words and I am still working on a few as well…hard for a hard-headed man to correct sometimes.  So, we need to make sure we as Believers raise the bar on our vocabulary and how we talk to our audience.  Let’s help those we are ministering to raise the level of their vocabulary and words…help them to understand the meaning of bigger and/or better words.  Don’t move down to a lower level just so you can communicate with them in other words using “gutter talk” in order to communicate, raise them up in love to a higher level…bring their language up higher than the world’s standard.   This is not easy, but God will honor your efforts to do so.  Honor God in words and deeds today.

Later, I will post a 3 part series on a further disturbing trend within many Evangelicals dialogue in churches that consider themselves evangelical today.  Stay tuned.

Pressin on in Christ,
Scott

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Our Sovereign God is exceedingly and abundantly powerful!

Posted by Scott on January 12, 2009

Ephesians 3:20-21 is a doxology Paul places in this letter to the Ephesians.  A doxology you might ask is a praise or glory given to Almighty God.  Every prayer should have a doxology if not entire prayers most of the time.  Think about our prayers for a minute.  How much time do we honestly spend in praise and glorifying our God compared to the amount of time we spend asking for something.  It is absolutely amazing the time spent in “asking”.

Of course, God wants us to come to Him and ask.  He already knows what we will ask for, but He still wants that open line of communication with us to ask for anything in accordance with His will.  As true Believers we should have in mind that which God wants not really what we want in the flesh.  In taking a closer look at this doxology at the end of chapter 3 from Paul to the Ephesians we find out much more than we might imgaine.

When we ask or confirm something of God, in accordance with what we believe He wants for us, it would be good to do so with this mindset: 

1. God has the power to do whatever He wants to do…He is our Sovereign Lord.

2. God can produce, make, or fashion in us whatever He desires…He is our Sovereign Lord.

3. God can go far beyond in delivering what we have ask or begged for.  He can go exceedingly, unthinkably far beyond anything we can even dream up or think in our minds.  Think of asking in these terms:  desiring, craving, begging, calling out for that which God has placed on our hearts to ask for…He is our Sovereign Lord.

4. God does this in accordance with His power, His unending ability that He has put on display within our lives..He is our Sovereign Lord.

5. God’s exceeding abundance is a great reflection of His inexhaustible fullness of mercy and grace.  The “well” can never be overdrawn.  The “well” of God’s grace and mercy will never go dry.  We are always welcome at this “well”.  Remember Psalm 81:10 “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it with good things.” (NLT)  He is our Sovereign Lord.

6. God’s power is all-sufficient and almightly powerful that He has saved each of us as Believers.  This same power (awesome ability) is the power that was able to take a spiritually dead bag of bones like me and bring it to Himself in salvation.  No one has this kind of power except God…no one!  He is our Sovereign Lord.

7. God is looking for excellencies and praises  to be ascribed towards Him in our prayers…He is our Sovereign Lord.

8. God provided us with a mediator in Jesus Christ His Son…He is our Sovereign Lord.

9. All of the praises and glories that we garble towards God goes through the hand of Jesus Christ our great mediator (high priest)…He is our Sovereign Lord. 

10. All of graces, mercies, and gifts that come to us from our heavenly Father comes through that same hand of Jesus Christ our Lord…He is our Sovereign Lord. 

So, this is how I offer up this doxology personally for me this morning:

“Finally, O Sovereign God, who has the awesome ability to produce unthinkably far beyond what I have desired or begged for or can even fathom in my small mind to ask for, according to Your great power that is constantly on display in my life daily, it is to You, my Almighty God that all the honors and glory and praises through my perfect Lord Jesus Christ be lifted up and may they be lifted up from every generation for ever and ever! AMEN.”

Just remember while praying to give God the praise and glory for your life today…He is our Sovereign Lord.

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

References: 

-Matthew Henry Commentaries

-Logos Strong’s Lexicon Greek guide

-NIV Bible, NLT Bible, KJV Bible, & NASB Bible

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The Scandal Maker!

Posted by Scott on January 5, 2009

Daily Devotions

From the Writings of Ray Stedman

 

The Scandal Maker

READ: Mark 2:13-3:6

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him (Mark 2:15).

This evidently was a farewell dinner Matthew gave for his friends, his tax-collecting buddies. He was saying farewell to his work and friends and leaving to follow Jesus, the one who would travel from place to place. It was also an opportunity to introduce them to his newfound Lord.

What a collection of rascals must have been there that day! All the tax collectors of the city, all the sinners, all the despised social outcasts were sitting there. As the scribes of the Pharisees passed by, they saw that right in the midst of it all, among the “beer bottles” and the “poker chips,” sat Jesus. And they were absolutely scandalized! It was obvious that He was the friend of these men. He was not lecturing them. He was sitting among them and eating and drinking with them. The scribes were simply appalled at this and called the disciples aside: “Why does he do things like that? Doesn’t he know who these people are?”

Jesus’ answer is very revealing. He actually agrees with their remarks. He says, in effect, “You’re right, these are sick, hurting, troubled men. Their style of life has damaged them deeply.

They don’t see life rightly; they are covering up many evils; they are false in many ways. You’re right, these are sick men. But where else would a doctor be?”

He says something to them that rightly focuses their attention and turns their gaze back toward themselves. He says, “I came

to call not the righteous, but sinners.” That is, those who think they are righteous, as these Pharisees did, are actually more needy than those they regard as social outcasts. These Pharisees were actually more deeply disturbed than the tax collectors and sinners, but they did not know it. But Jesus was saying to them, “To those who think they’re righteous, I have absolutely nothing to say. But to these who know they’re sick and are open for help, I am fully available as a minister to their souls.”

Our Lord made several things emphatically clear by this reply. First, He indicated strongly that when people think they have no need of help from God, they are in no position to be helped. There is nothing to say to them. But our Lord always put His efforts where men and women were open to help, where they were hurting so much they knew they needed help.

The second thing our Lord reveals is that people are more important than prejudice. Prejudices are preconceived notions formed before we have sufficient knowledge, usually mistaken or distorted ideas with which we have grown up. When prejudices are in opposition to the needs of people, they are to be swept aside without any hesitation. We Christians must learn to treat people like this–regardless of what their outward appearance may be. That is the way Jesus approached people everywhere.

Father, thank You for Jesus’ courage, which dared to challenge human traditions. Grant that I may see myself and others as You see us–sick people in need of a physician.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “The Scandal Maker” (or listen to the audio file  Listen to Ray) for more on this portion of scripture.

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