En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Posting on a new site!

Posted by Scott on December 9, 2009

Christmas Greetings-

I wanted to share with everyone who subscribes to this blog I will be posting on my new site effective today 12-9-2009. You can go to www.EnGhedi.com and subscribe for RSS feed and direct email notifications there. The new En Ghedi site is colorful and hopefully useful. I have added some of my favorite mentor’s site’s I have gleened so much from in my journey to know God in a much deeper way. I think you will enjoy the new look, the new content, and ease of use. In the future I will post book reviews on both sites, articles I think are important to be on both sites as well, but the main site will be www.EnGhedi.com .

Over the coming months I will be moving many of the post from this site over to the new site, so you may encounter a repeat message.

I pray you all have a wonderful Christmas and most blessed New Year.

Pressing on, Scott

www.EnGhedi.com

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What holds the substance of your kids heart? Part I

Posted by Scott on September 10, 2009

In keeping with my series on Training up the Children or “Which way did they go?” it is imperative that we as parents know who has the heart of our child.  This is an individual glimpse not corporate.  Each child will give their heart to someone, something, or a multitude of someone’s and/or things whatever that is, their heart does not remain dormant once alive on this planet.  Our job as caring parents is to know just who owns our child’s heart in order to help them grow into that fact or away from that fact.  Parents must use the Scriptures such as this in order to deal with the deepest core of the child.  Sinful prostitutes are positioning themselves to lure the heart of our children away.  These prositutes are not limited to just female or male, but the television, movies, cars, trucks, money, houses, vacations, video games, sports, clothes, the “in” crowd, the latest fads, and so on….these can all be prositutes to the heart of our children.

Proverbs 23:26 “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes observe my ways.”

Wisdom is speaking in this instance.  Wisdom is another name for God or the Lord Jesus who is the incarnate wisdom.  Wisdom calls out, demands that we give Him our heart.  To train our children to be wise is a very important lesson.  As our kids get older all kinds of activities, events, people, and obsessions will make every attempt at luring them away from God. 

Why does God call us out and demand our heart?  As Spurgeon so eloquently put it “Only love will thus seek love.”  He is not calling for our heart in order to spoil our lives.  God knows that the heart of man is an evil destructive machine and without us giving Him our heart this destructive vessel will destroy not only our own lives, but the lives of others.  Wisdom is greatly increased by one giving their heart to God in totality.

The saying goes “He who has the heart has the man.”  Whatever object, person, or place that enjoys being the king or queen of our child’s heart will lead them down a destructive path.  As parents we need to be sure that we are training our sons and daughters to refuse by the power of God to allow their hearts to be given away or even taken away by anything that would pull us from the feet of Christ.

They must see in us a heart that belongs to Christ.  Our actions speak of what is in the heart…from our mouths gives a picture in words of the scene going on in our hearts.  We must be careful to exhibit from our actions and our speech a reflection of God living vibrantly in our lives.  Our children will know the owner of our hearts by who they hear and see us to be.  A quick study was done recently about this very thing.  The study was done on children to see if their parent’s actions spoke louder than their words or visa versa.  The results are astounding.  The test was done concerning charitable giving.  The parents that would say to their kids, “Don’t give too much, keep your money” yet would always end up giving much more themselves resulted in children that would give very much of their time and money.  However, the results from the parents who taught their children in word “Give much of your time and money to these great causes” yet they themselves never gave much money or time, those children became the worse givers of all. 

As parents our actions really do speak loudly.  If we are going to train our children it must be done from the position of action not just words.  Whenever we mess up, a training opportunity was created and they can learn from our mistakes as well.  We must let the kids know that our hearts belong to God and then be transparent on that.  Make sure our actions even in a mistake prove to our children that we belong to God.  God called David “A man after His own heart”.  We all know that David was not perfect and sinned violently…yet, when confronted about his sin, immediate repentance and crying out before God.  This is the transparency we want to pass to the kids.  This is the training that will build wise respectable young adults someday.

Hugh Stowell said this:

“For two reasons we should give God our heart:  1) unless the heart be given, nothing is given.  Read further in Hosea 7:14, Matthew 15:8-9 and 2) if the heart be given, all is given.  Read further in 2 Chronicles 30:13-20

So, in the daily event called “life” we are training our children in a direction to go.  An important part of this training is that they give their hearts over to God completely without holding back anything.  Many o the greatest missionaries of the past 200 years would tell you that without the giving of themselves over to God 100% their mission work would have been in vain.

 Spurgeon went even further to say “At once-give God your heart. Delay is wicked and injurious.”

 God desires not half a heart or trust nor does He want a divided loyalty or trust.  He commands total obedience which requires a complete heart.  Great training is done when they understand they should give their heart or trust to God.

 

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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A good name is more desirable than great riches!

Posted by Scott on September 9, 2009

In today’s society, our children hardly hear anything about keeping a good name.  I grew up understanding that the preservation of my name was important.  We are to correct the ills that have infected our names from the past if we can.  Our kids today may think, “What does having a good name have to do with anything?”  Well, I can tell you that God says is should be more desirable than silver or gold, more desirable than great riches.  A good name requires training, sacrifice, and daily discipline.

Four areas I will touch on that come to mind on keeping a good name:

1) Do not settle to do something illegal or unethical in order to gain great riches.

2) Strive to improve the family name and honor as we represent not only our family, but also the name of Jesus Christ.

3) Guard our testimonies with our good names.  Guard the reputation in all family affairs both in pleasure and in business.

4) Guard the gospel as a great treasure as Paul instructed Timothy (2 Tim 1:13-14) with a good name.  Do not allow our names to be tainted if possible, so that people will listen to us as we share the good news.

In light of these four points, it takes a lifetime sometimes to have a good name, but it only takes one mistake, one moment in lapse of judgement to destroy decades of work.  Many times we can never recover the name for many generations when this happens. 

Our children need to be trained that the choices they make in life have consequences that attach themselves to their name and can survive even death.  It is important that our children be taught this from a very young age not to compromise their integrity and honor not just for their preservation, the family name, but the honor and integrity of the Lord Jesus of whom we serve and claim as our Lord and Savior. 

Keeping a good name is important.  God has given us each a name and placed us in a particular family in order to serve Him to greater heights within that family.  Before the beginning of time our names were chosen and written in His book of life.  So, guard the name to which God has given you.  John 10:3 tells us:

“…He (Jesus) calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.”

As a part of God’s elect or sheep as it states here, when Jesus comes calling for us to believe and place our trust in Him, He calls us by name.  How awesome is that?  The name given to us is very important to God and should be important to us.

Kids today are being drawn over to a very evil side of the world.  Constantly being encouraged to do activites that may not be illegal, but are very unethical.  Finding money or a valuable of someones and keeping it, because they can.  Petty theft is huge in our young peoples lives today, lying in order to stay out of trouble, cheating on test and homework, etc.  Great riches are exploited constantly on the television and radio.  Our professional athletes lead the way in showing what power great instant wealth can provide for a person, but also the destructive power that has as well.  Use these moments to train the kids that setting their eyes on being rich and famous is not God’s plan.  Money and fame are something God can give to them, but that is not the ultimate goal and most are not ready for it for decades to come.  Our ultimate goal as parents should be to train our kids to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, mind, and actions.  God will promote each of the kids as He has ordained, but the focus should be to serve the Lord at a greater capacity in order to keep themselves away from boredom of an idle hand and the lure of a harlot named “money”.  It is tough for parents today as the information highway means we have to be on our guard at every turn, no time for relaxation as long as our little ones are awake.

” A good name, like good will, is got by many actions and lost by one.”  -Lord Jeffery

Train the children to build a good name and guard it from the enemies desire to destroy it.

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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Secular Humanism…the stuff public education is built on!

Posted by Scott on September 8, 2009

*Very good article written about the plight of todays public education system. No wonder is struggles to educate the kids. A godless institution will not be blessed by the God of this universe and its success will always be a dream, but never a reality. 

A side note here:  After a recent testing was done based on the same testing system from public schools, private schools, and homeschoolers the results were astonishing. Homeschool kids ranked in all catagories at about the 85% level. Private School kids ranked at the 81% level. Public School kids ranked at the 50% level. To see the complete article on the Home-School testing result go to Home-Schooling.

Now, read this article written by the Hamilton-Wentworth Family Action Council in Canada:

“If our education system is to be secular, we need to understand what secular means and identify the foundational principles guiding the decisions being made in our education system. How does a secular system co-exist with the values and worldviews of the communities of the larger society that it serves? There are two common types of secularism – ‘secular humanism’ and ‘secular pluralism’.

Secular Humanism

Secular humanism is a secular philosophy based upon humanistic principles. Secular Humanists became a significant force in public education after the original Humanist Manifesto I was published in 1933. John Dewey, ” father of progressive education, ” is reputed to have been the author. Public education often reflects secular humanistic worldview. Secular humanism was founded upon humanistic and atheistic philosophies and is often identified as ‘without religion’. A secular humanistic worldview is based upon the beliefs outlined in the Humanist Manifesto l (1933), Humanist Manifesto ll. (1972), and The Secular Humanist Declaration (1980).

The fundamental proclaimed beliefs are:

-That the nature of the universe, as depicted by science, makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values;

-Morals are rooted in the human experience and that supernatural beliefs are, at best an irrelevant diversion;

-The universe is regarded as self-existing and not created;

-Man is part of nature and has emerged as part of a continuous process (evolution);

-As there is no life after death, man will take the path of mental hygiene and discourage sentimental and unreal hopes and wishful thinking;

-Religious institutions, their ritualistic forms, ecclesiastical methods, and communal activities must be reconstituted as rapidly as possible as experience allows, in order to function effectively in the modern world;

-This is the only life of which we have certain knowledge and we owe it to ourselves and others to make the best life possible for ourselves and all those whom share this fragile planet;

-We find the traditional views of the existence of God either are meaningless, have not yet been demonstrated to be true, or are tyrannically exploitive.

-We reject the divinity of Jesus… Secular Humanism places trust in human intelligence rather than in divine guidance. Humanist Manifesto II

There is a broader task that all those who believe in democratic secular humanist values will recognize, namely the need to embark upon a long-term program of public education and enlightenment concerning the relevance of the secular outlook to the human condition. Further, the Secular Humanist Declaration (1980) states:

” The authors of the first two manifestos declare that humanism is a religion and the manifestos are their ‘theses of religious humanism “.

In other words… their doctrine. The Supreme Court of the United States in Torches vs. Watkins, 1961, upheld the view that secular humanism is a religion. When other religious guidelines (that were used to help us make decisions about curriculum) were removed, the default value system was secular humanism where decisions are made strictly upon rational human thought. If public education is operating, intentionally or by default, upon secular humanistic principles, and this philosophy is singularly imposed upon all families from the various culture and belief systems, it could be legally argued that such a system is discriminatory. This is not inclusive and/or accommodating of people who possess other value systems and worldviews.”

**I will post the new Secular Pluralism article next!

Scott Bailey 2009

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The New Testament Manuscript Evidence is Reliability Superior!

Posted by Scott on January 18, 2009

 

     The New Testament is constantly under attack and its reliability and accuracy are often contested by critics.  But, if the critics want to disregard the New Testament, then they must also disregard other ancient writings by Plato, Aristotle, and Homer.  This is because the New Testament documents are better preserved and more numerous than any other ancient writing.  Because the copies are so numerous, they can be cross checked for accuracy.  This process has determined that the biblical documents are extremely consistent and accurate.
   There are presently 5,686 Greek manuscripts in existence today for the New Testament.
1  If we were to compare the number of New Testament manuscripts to other ancient writings, we find that the New Testament manuscripts far outweigh the others in quantity.  

Author2 Date
Written
Earliest Copy Approximate Time Span between  original & copy

Number of Copies

Accuracy of Copies
 Lucretius died 55 or 53 B.C.   1100 yrs 2 —-
 Pliny 61-113 A.D. 850 A.D. 750 yrs 7 —-
 Plato 427-347 B.C. 900 A.D. 1200 yrs 7 —-
 Demosthenes 4th Cent. B.C. 1100 A.D. 800 yrs 8 —-
 Herodotus 480-425 B.C. 900 A.D. 1300 yrs 8 —-
 Suetonius 75-160 A.D. 950 A.D. 800 yrs 8 —-
 Thucydides 460-400 B.C. 900 A.D. 1300 yrs 8 —-
 Euripides 480-406 B.C. 1100 A.D. 1300 yrs 9 —-
 Aristophanes 450-385 B.C. 900 A.D. 1200 10 —-
 Caesar 100-44 B.C. 900 A.D. 1000 10 —-
 Livy 59 BC-AD 17 —- ??? 20 —-
 Tacitus circa 100 A.D. 1100 A.D. 1000 yrs 20 —-
 Aristotle 384-322 B.C. 1100 A.D. 1400 49 —-
 Sophocles 496-406 B.C. 1000 A.D. 1400 yrs 193 —-
 Homer (Iliad) 900 B.C. 400 B.C. 500 yrs 643 95%
 New
 Testament
1st Cent. A.D. (50-100 A.D. 2nd Cent. A.D.
 (c. 130 A.D. f.)
less than 100 years 5600 99.5%

      As you can see, there are thousands more New Testament Greek manuscripts than any other ancient writing.  The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure.  That is an amazing accuracy.  In addition there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages.  The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000.  
      Almost all biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the first century.  If Jesus was crucified in 30 A.D., then that means that the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years.  This is important because it means there were plenty of people around when the New Testament documents were penned who could have contested the writings.  In other words, those who wrote the documents knew that if they were inaccurate, plenty of people would have pointed it out.  But, we have absolutely no ancient documents contemporary with the first century that contest the New Testament texts.
     Furthermore, another important aspect of this discussion is the fact that we have a fragment of the gospel of John that dates back to around 29 years from the original writing.  This is extremely close to the original writing date. This is simply unheard of in any other ancient writing and it demonstrates that the Gospel of John is a first century document. 
     Below is a chart with some of the oldest extant New Testament manuscripts compared to when they were originally penned.  Compare these time spans with the next closest which is Homer’s Iliad where the closest copy from the original is 500 years later.  Undoubtedly, that period of time allows for more textual corruption in its transmission.  How much less so for the New Testament documents?

Important
Manuscript
Papyri
Contents

Date
Original Written

MSS
Date
Approx.
Time Span
Location
p52
(John Rylands
Fragment)3
John 18:31-33,37-38 circa
96 A.D.
circa
125
A.D.
29 yrs John Rylands Library, Manchester, England
P46 
(Chester Beatty Papyrus)
Rom. 5:176:3,5-14; 8:15-25, 27-35, 379:32; 10:1-11, 22, 24-33, 3514:8,915:9, 11-33; 16:1-23, 25-27; Heb.; 1 & 2 Cor., Eph., Gal., Phil., Col.; 1 Thess. 1:1,9-10; 2:1-3; 5:5-9, 23-28 50’s-70’s circa
200
A.D.
Approx.
150 yrs
Chester Beatty Museum, Dublin & Ann Arbor, Michigan, University of Michigan library
P66 
(Bodmer Papyrus)
John 1:16:11,3514:26; fragment of 14:29-21:9

70’s

circa
200
A.D.
Approx.
130 yrs
Cologne, Geneva
P67  Matt. 3:9,15; 5:20-22, 25-28   circa
200
A.D.
Approx.
130 yrs
Barcelona, Fundacion San Lucas Evangelista, P. Barc.1

     If the critics of the Bible dismiss the New Testament as reliable information, then they must also dismiss the reliability of the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, Homer, and the other authors mentioned in the chart at the beginning of the paper.  On the other hand, if the critics acknowledge the historicity and writings of those other individuals, then they must also retain the historicity and writings of the New Testament authors; after all, the evidence for the New Testament’s reliability is far greater than the others.  The Christian has substantially superior criteria for affirming the New Testament documents than he does for any other ancient writing.  It is good evidence on which to base the trust in the reliability of the New Testament.

 

*I did not check the math on each of these, but the point is the NT 
manuscript accuracy is so great that no arugment should be taken 
against its accuracy.

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Skepticism Over Tony Blair and Rick Warren Interfaith Group!

Posted by Scott on June 10, 2008

by Jim Brown – OneNewsNow  

 

Christian broadcaster and author Dave Hunt says born-again Christians should be more than skeptical of a new religious education group started by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. 

 

Blair recently launched an interfaith group designed to promote a “peaceful coexistence” between the major religions and “encourage interfaith initiatives to tackle global poverty and conflict.” The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is backed by some high-profile Americans, including former President Bill Clinton and evangelical mega-church pastor Rick Warren, who serves on the group’s advisory board. (See earlier article)
 
Blair says the group will counter religious extremists, whom he defines as “people who want to exclude the other if someone is of a different faith.” Hunt, founder of
The Berean Call ministry, says Blair is undertaking an impossible task.
 
“How are you going to unite Christians and Muslims, for example?” Hunt asks. “I mean, that is an anathema to Islam.”

 

The ministry leader explains that Islam is as “anti-Christian” as a religion can be. “The Quran says [that] Jesus is not God, [that] he’s not the son of God, [that] he didn’t die on the cross, even; [that] someone died in his place; [that] he was taken alive to heaven – just to begin with the contradictions between Christianity and Islam,” he says.
 
According to Hunt, Blair and Pastor Warren are operating under the mistaken notion that Islam at its heart is a peaceful, tolerant religion.
 
“But you can’t compromise, you can’t forget that it’s not just al-Qaida; it’s not just some ‘extremists,’ as they’d like to say. No, this is Islam,” he points out. “There are more than 100 verses in the Quran declaring [regarding] pagans … [that you’ve got to] cut their heads off – [that] you’ve got to kill them,” Hunt contends.
 
Hunt believes Blair and others behind the interfaith effort are unknowingly laying the foundation for the coming world religion under antichrist.

*This article was presented on this blog not as a political alert, but to alert the readers not to fall for the Purpose Driven world that Rick Warren and Tony Blair are now promoting.  If your church is moving into the Purpose Driven program…run as fast as you can away from it.  I say that to be somewhat funny, but it is serious as it can be.  Ask your pastor, elder board, and deacons to push for Scripture Alone to be taught and not integrate these worldly philosophies into the pukpits across America.  This mindset and philosophy is not biblical or God honoring in any way…the pastorates have strayed away from the truth to follow their own hearts.  The Lord tells us in the scriptures that our hearts are wicked and cannot be trusted…so do not go the way of your heart.  These pastors like Rick have been blinded into believing this garbage they call the gospel and to pal around with other religions in order for there to be world peace and stamp out poverty around the world.  Well, Christianity is a separated religion from the rest and true believers will stand out and not follow anyone into the One World Religion-Church that will usher in the anti-christ.  Just be aware of what is going these days as these serious events are starting to take place in a very fast pattern.     -Scott

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Profitable Bible Study!

Posted by Scott on April 4, 2008

  By Reuben Archer Torrey There are many profitable methods of Bible Study. There is something, however, in Bible study more important than the best methods, that is, the fundamental conditions of profitable study. He who meets these conditions will get more out of the Bible, while pursuing the poorest method, than will he who does not meet them, while pursuing the best method. Many a one who is eagerly asking, “What method shall I pursue in my Bible study?” needs something that goes far deeper than a new and better method.

      1. The first of the fundamental conditions of the most profitable Bible study is that the student must be born again.

      The Bible is a spiritual book, it “expresses spiritual truths in spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:13), and only a spiritual man can understand its deepest and most characteristic and most precious teachings. “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Spiritual discernment can be obtained in but one way, by being born again. “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3).

      No mere knowledge of the human languages in which the Bible was written, however extensive and accurate it may be, will qualify one to understand and appreciate it. One must understand the divine language in which it was written as well, the language of the Holy Spirit. A person who understands the language of the Holy Spirit, but who does not understand a word of Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic, will get more out of the Bible than one who knows all about Greek and Hebrew and cognate languages, but is not born again, and, consequently, does not understand the language of the Holy Spirit. It is a well-demonstrated fact that many common men and women who are entirely ignorant of any knowledge of the original tongues in which the Bible was written have a knowledge of the real contents of the Bible, its actual teaching, in its depth and fullness and beauty, that surpasses that of many learned professors in theological faculties.

      One of the greatest follies of the day, is to get unregenerate men to teach the Bible because of their rare knowledge of the human forms of speech in which the book was written. It would be as reasonable to set a man to teach art because he had an accurate technical knowledge of paints. It requires esthetic sense to make a man a competent teacher of art. It requires spiritual sense to make a man a competent teacher of the Bible. The man who has esthetic discernment but little or no technical knowledge of paint would be a far more competent critic of works of art than a man who has a great technical knowledge of paint but no esthetic discernment; and so the man who has no technical knowledge of Greek and Hebrew but has spiritual discernment is a far more competent critic of the Bible than he who has a rare technical knowledge of Greek and Hebrew but no spiritual discernment. It is exceedingly unfortunate that, in some quarters, more emphasis is laid on a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew in training for the ministry than is laid on spiritual life and its consequent spiritual discernment.

      Unregenerate men should not be forbidden to study the Bible, for the Word of God is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses in the New Birth (1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18); but it should be distinctly understood that, while there are teachings in the Bible that the natural man can understand, and beauties which he can see, its most distinctive and characteristic teachings are beyond his grasp, and its highest beauties belong to a world in which he has no vision. The first fundamental condition of the most profitable Bible study is, then, “You must be born again.” You cannot study the Bible to the greatest profit if you have not been born again. Its best treasures are sealed to you. 

      2. The second condition of the most profitable study is a love for the Bible.

      A man who eats with an appetite will get far more good out of his meal than one who eats from a sense of duty. It is good when a student of the Bible can say with Job, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread” (Job 23:12), or with Jeremiah, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty” (Jeremiah 15:16). Many come to the table God has spread in His Word with no appetite for spiritual food, and go mincing here and there and grumbling about everything. Spiritual indigestion lies at the bottom of much modern criticism of the Bible.

      But how can one get a love for the Bible? First of all, by being born again. Where there is life there is likely to be appetite. A dead man never hungers. This brings us back to the first condition. But going beyond this, the more there is of vitality, the more there is of hunger. Abounding life means abounding hunger for the Word. Study of the Word stimulates love for the Word. The author can well remember the time when he had more appetite for books about the Bible than he had for the Bible itself, but with increasing study there has come increasing love for the Book. Bearing in mind who the author of the Book is, what its purpose is, what its power is, what the riches of its contents are, will go far toward stimulating love and appetite for the Book.

      3. The third condition is willingness to do hard work.

      Solomon has given a graphic picture of the Bible student who gets the most profit out of his study, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:1-5). Now, seeking for silver and searching for hidden treasure means hard work, and he who wishes to get not only the silver but the gold as well out of the Bible, and find its “hidden treasure,” must make up his mind to dig. It is not glancing at the Word, or reading the Word, but studying the Word, meditating on the Word, pondering the Word, that brings the richest yields.

      The reason why many get so little out of their Bible reading is simply because they are not willing to think. Intellectual laziness lies at the bottom of a large percent of fruitless Bible reading. People are constantly crying for new methods of Bible study, but what many of them wish is simply some method of Bible study by which they can get all the good out of the Bible without work. If someone could tell lazy Christians some method of Bible study whereby they could put the sleepiest ten minutes of the day, just before they go to bed, into Bible study, and get the profit out of it that God intends His children shall get out of the study of His Word, that would be just what they desire. But it can’t be done. Men must be willing to work, and work hard, if they wish to dig out the treasures of infinite wisdom and knowledge and blessing which God has stored up in His Word.

      A business friend once asked me in a hurried call to tell him “in a word” how to study his Bible. I replied, “Think.” The Psalmist pronounces that man “blessed” whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). The Lord commanded Joshua to meditate on it day and night, and assured him that as a result of this meditation, “you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).

      Of Mary, the mother of Jesus, we read, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). In this way alone can one study the Bible to the greatest profit. One pound of beef well chewed and digested and assimilated will give more strength than tons of beef merely glanced at; and one verse of Scripture chewed and digested and assimilated will give more strength than whole chapters simply skimmed. Weigh every word you read in the Bible. Look at it. Turn it over and over. The most familiar passages get a new meaning in this way. Spend fifteen minutes on each word in Psalm 23:1 (“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”), or Philippians 4:19 (“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”), and see if it is not so.

      4. The fourth condition is a will wholly surrendered to God.

      Jesus said, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17). A surrendered will gives that clearness of spiritual vision which is necessary to understand God’s Book. Many of the difficulties and obscurities of the Bible rise wholly from the fact that the will of the student is not surrendered to the will of the author of the Book. It is remarkable how clear and simple and beautiful passages that once puzzled us become when we are brought to that place where we say to God, “I surrender my will unconditionally to You. I have no will but Yours. Teach me Your will.” A surrendered will will do more to make the Bible an open book than a university education. It is simply impossible to get the largest profit out of your Bible study until you do surrender your will to God. You must be very definite about this.

      There are many who say, “Oh, yes, my will, I think, is surrendered to God,” and yet it is not. They have never gotten alone with God and said intelligently and definitely to him, “O God, I here and now give myself up to You, for You to command me, and lead me, and shape me, and send me, and do with me, absolutely as You will.” Such an act is a wonderful key to unlock the treasure house of God’s Word. The Bible becomes a new book when a man does that. Doing that brought a complete transformation in the author’s theology and life and ministry.

      5. The fifth condition is very closely related to the fourth. The student of the Bible who would get the greatest profit out of his studies must be obedient to its teachings as soon as he sees them.

      It was good advice James gave to early Christians, and to us, “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). There are a good many who consider themselves Bible students who are deceiving themselves in this way today. They see what the Bible teaches, but they do not follow it, and they soon lose their power to see it. Truth obeyed leads to more truth. Truth disobeyed destroys the capacity for discovering truth. There must be not only a general surrender of the will, but specific, practical obedience to each new Word of God discovered. There is no place where the law, “Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him,” is more gloriously certain on the one hand and more sternly unavoidable on the other than in the matter of using or refusing the truth revealed in the Bible.

      Use, and you get more; refuse, and you lose all. Do not study the Bible for the mere gratification of intellectual curiosity, but to find out how to live and please God. Whatever duty you find commanded in the Bible, do it at once. Whatever good you see in any Bible character, imitate it immediately. Whatever mistake you note in the actions of Bible men and women, scrutinize your own life to see if you are making the same mistake, and if you find you are, correct it immediately. James compares the Bible to a mirror (James 1:23, 24). The chief good of a mirror is to show you if there is anything out of order about you; if you find there is, you can set it right. Use the Bible in that way. Obeying the truth you already see will solve the mysteries in the verses you do not yet understand. Disobeying the truth you see darkens the whole world of truth. This is the secret of much of the skepticism and error of the day. Men see the truth, but do not follow it–then it is gone.

      I knew a bright and promising young minister. He made rapid advancement in the truth. He took very advanced ground on one point especially, and the storm came. One day he said to his wife, “It is very nice to believe this, but we need not speak too much about it.” They began, or he, at least, to hide their testimony. The wife died and he drifted. The Bible became to him a sealed book. Faith reeled. He publicly renounced his faith in some of the fundamental truths of the Bible. He seemed to lose his grip even on the doctrine of immortality. What was the cause of it all? Truth not lived and stood for flees. Today that man is much admired and applauded by some, but daylight has given place to darkness in his soul.

      6. The sixth condition is a childlike mind.

      God reveals His deepest truths to babes. No age needs more than our own to lay to heart the words of Jesus, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children” (Matthew 11:25). We must be babes if God is to reveal His truth to us, and we are to understand His Word. A child is not full of its own wisdom. It recognizes its ignorance and is ready to be taught. It does not oppose the ideas of its teachers to those of its own. It is in that spirit we should come to the Bible if we are to get the most profit out of our study.

      Do not come to the Bible full of your own ideas, and seeking from it a confirmation of them. Come rather to find out what are God’s ideas as He has revealed them there. Come not to find a confirmation of your own opinion, but to be taught what God may be pleased to teach. If a man comes to the Bible just to find his ideas taught there, he will find them; but if he comes recognizing his own ignorance, just as a little child to be taught, he will find something infinitely better than his own ideas, even the mind of God. We see why it is that many persons cannot see things which are plainly taught in the Bible. The doctrine taught is not their idea, of which they are so full that there is no room left for that which the Bible actually teaches.

      We have an illustration of this in the apostles themselves at one stage in their training. In Mark 9:31, we read, “He was teaching his disciples. He said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.'” Now, that is as plain and definite as language can make it, but it was utterly contrary to the ideas of the apostles as to what was to happen to the Christ. So we read in the next verse, “But they did not understand what he meant.” Isn’t that amazing? But is it any more amazing than our own inability to comprehend plain statements in the Bible when they run counter to our preconceived ideas?

      Problems many Christians find with portions of the Sermon on the Mount would be plain enough if we just came to Christ like a child to be taught what to believe and do, rather than coming as full-grown men who already know it all, and who must find some interpretations of Christ’s words that will fit into our mature and infallible philosophy. Many a man is so full of an unbiblical theology he has been taught that it takes him a lifetime to get rid of it and understand the clear teaching of the Bible.

      “Oh, what can this verse mean?” many a bewildered man cries. Why, it means what it plainly says; but what you are after is not the meaning God has manifestly put into it, but the meaning you can by some ingenious trick of exegesis twist out of it and make it fit into your scheme. Don’t come to the Bible to find out what you can make it mean, but to find out what God intended it to mean. Men often miss the real truth of a verse by saying, “But that can be interpreted this way.” Oh, yes, so it can, but is that the way God intended it to be interpreted? We all need to pray often if we would get the most profit out of our Bible study, “Oh, God, make me a little child. Empty me of my own ideas. Teach me Your own mind. Make me ready like a little child to receive all that You have to say, no matter how contrary it is to what I have thought before.” How the Bible opens up to one who approaches it in that way! How it closes up to the wise fool, who thinks he knows everything, and imagines he can give points to Peter and Paul, and even to Jesus Christ and to God Himself! Someone has well said the best method of Bible study is “the baby method.”

      I was once talking with a minister friend about what seemed to be the clear teaching of a certain passage. “Yes,” he replied, “but that doesn’t agree with my philosophy.” This man was sincere, yet he did not have the childlike spirit, which is an essential condition of the most profitable Bible study. But there are many who approach the Bible in the same way. It is a great point gained in Bible study when we are brought to realize that an infinite God knows more than we, that, indeed, our highest wisdom is less than the knowledge of the most ignorant babe compared with His. But we so easily and so constantly forget this that every time we open our Bibles we would do well to get down humbly before God and say, “Father, I am but a child, teach me.”

      7. The seventh condition of studying the Bible to the greatest profit is that we study it as the Word of God.

      The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Church of the Thessalonians, thanked God without ceasing that when they received the Word of God they “accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the Word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Well might he thank God for that, and well may we thank God when we get to the place where we receive the Word of God as the Word of God. Not that one who does not believe the Bible is the Word of God should be discouraged from studying it. Indeed, one of the best things that one who does not believe that the Bible is the Word of God can do, if he is honest, is to study it. The author of this book once doubted utterly that the Bible was the Word of God, and the firm confidence that he has today that the Bible is the Word of God has come more from the study of the Book itself than from anything else. Those who doubt it are more usually those who study about the Book, than those who dig into the actual teachings of the Book itself. But while the best book of Christian evidences is the Bible, and while the most utter skeptic should be encouraged to study it, we will not get the largest measure of profit out of that study until we reach the point where we become convinced that the Bible is God’s Word, and when we study it as such.

      There is a great difference between believing theoretically that the Bible is God’s Word and studying it as God’s Word. Thousands would tell you that they believe the Bible is God’s Word who do not study it as God’s Word. Studying the Bible as the Word of God involves four things.

      (1) First, it involves the unquestioning acceptance of its teachings when definitely ascertained, even when they may appear unreasonable or impossible.

      Reason demands that we submit our judgment and reasonings to the statements of infinite wisdom. There is nothing more irrational than rationalism, which makes the finite wisdom the test of infinite wisdom, and submits the teachings of God’s omniscience to the approval of man’s judgment. It is the sublimest and absurdest conceit that says, “This cannot be true, though God says it, for it does not agree with my reason.” “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?” (Romans 9:20). Real human wisdom, when it finds infinite wisdom, bows before it and says, “Speak what You will and I will believe.” When we have once become convinced that the Bible is God’s Word its teachings must be the end of all controversy and discussion. A “thus says the Lord” will settle every question. Yet there are many who profess to believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and if you show them what the Bible clearly teaches on some disputed point, they will shake their heads and say, “Yes, but I think so and so,” or “Doctor —–, or Professor this, our church doesn’t teach that way.” There is little profit in that sort of Bible study.

      (2) Studying the Bible as the Word of God involves, in the second place, absolute reliance on all its promises in all their length and breadth.

      He who studies the Bible as the Word of God will not discount any one of its promises one iota. He who studies the Bible as the Word of God will say, “God, who cannot lie, has promised,” and will not attempt to make God a liar by trying to make one of His promises mean less than it says. He who studies the Bible as the Word of God will be on the lookout for promises, and as soon as he finds one he will seek to ascertain just what it means, and as soon as he discovers what it means, he will step right out on that promise and risk everything on its full meaning. That is one of the secrets of profitable Bible study.

      Search for promises and appropriate them as fast as you find them, which is done by meeting the conditions and risking all on them. That is the way to make your own all the fullness of blessing God has for you. This is the key to all the treasures of God’s grace. Happy is the man who has so learned to study the Bible as God’s Word that he is ready to claim for himself every new promise as it appears, and to risk everything on it.

      (3) Studying the Bible as the Word of God involves, in the third place, obedience–prompt, exact obedience, without asking any questions to its every precept.

      Obedience may seem hard, it may seem impossible, but God has commanded it and I have nothing to do but to obey and leave the results with God. If you would get the very most profit out of your Bible study resolve that from this time you will claim every clear promise and obey every plain command, and that as to the promises and commands whose intent is not yet clear you will try to get their meaning made clear.

      (4) Studying the Bible as the Word of God involves, in the fourth place, studying it in God’s presence.

      When you read a verse of Scripture hear the voice of the living God speaking directly to you in these written words. There is new power and attractiveness in the Bible when you have learned to hear a living, present Person, God our Father, Himself talking directly to you in these words. One of the most fascinating and inspiring statements in the Bible is, “Enoch walked with God” (Genesis 5:24). We can have God’s glorious companionship any moment we please by simply opening His Word and letting the living and ever-present God speak to us through it. With what holy awe and strange and unutterable joy one studies the Bible if he studies it in this way! It is heaven come down to earth.

      8. The eighth and last condition of the most profitable Bible study is prayerfulness.

      The Psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18). Every one who desires to get the greatest profit out of his Bible study needs to offer that or a similar prayer every time he undertakes the study of the Word. Few keys open so many strong boxes that contain hidden treasure as prayer. Few clues unravel so many difficulties. Few microscopes will disclose so many beauties hidden from the eye of the ordinary observer. What new light often shines from an old familiar text as you bend over it in prayer! I believe in studying the Bible a good deal on your knees. When one reads an entire book through on his knees–and this is easily done–that book has a new meaning and becomes a new book. One ought never to open the Bible to read it without at least lifting the heart to God in silent prayer that He will interpret it, illumine its pages by the light of His Spirit.

      It is a rare privilege to study any book under the immediate guidance and instruction of its author, and this is the privilege of us all in studying the Bible. When one comes to a passage that is difficult to understand or difficult to interpret, instead of giving it up, or rushing to some learned friend, or to some commentary, he should lay that passage before God, and ask Him to explain it to him, pleading God’s promise, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt” (James 1:5-6). It is simply wonderful how the seemingly most difficult passages become plain by this treatment.

      Harry Morehouse, one of the most remarkable Bible scholars among unlearned men, used to say that whenever he came to a passage in the Bible which he could not understand, he would search through the Bible for some other passage that threw light on it, and lay it before God in prayer, and that he had never found a passage that did not yield to this treatment. The author of this book has had a quite similar experience. Some years ago, accompanied by a friend, I was making a tour of Franconian Switzerland, and visiting some of the more famous zoolithic caves. One day a rural letter carrier stopped us and asked if we would like to see a cave of rare beauty and interest, away from the beaten tracks of travel. Of course, we said, yes. He led us through the woods and underbrush to the mouth of the cave, and we entered. All was dark and uncanny. He discussed greatly on the beauty of the cave, telling us of altars and fantastic formations, but we could see absolutely nothing. Now and then lie uttered a note to warn us to have a care, as near our feet lay a gulf the bottom of which had never been discovered. We began to fear that we might be the first discoverers of the bottom. There was nothing pleasant about the whole affair.

      But as soon as a magnesium taper was lighted, all became different. There were the stalagmites rising from the floor to meet the stalactites as they came down from the ceiling. There were the beautiful and fantastic formations on every hand, and all glistening in fairy like beauty in the brilliant light. So I have often thought it was with many a passage of Scripture. Others tell you of its beauty, but you cannot see it. It looks dark and intricate and forbidding and dangerous, but when God’s own light is kindled there by prayer how different all becomes in an instant. You see a beauty that language cannot express, and that only those can appreciate who have stood there in the same light. He who would understand and love his Bible must be much in prayer. Prayer will do more than a college education to make the Bible an open and a glorious book. Perhaps the best lesson I learned in a German university, where I had the privilege of receiving the instruction of one of the most noted and most gifted Bible teachers of any age, was that which came through the statement of one who knew him that Professor Dehtzsch worked out much of his teaching on his knees.  

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Parental Rights in Education…by Al Mohler Jr.

Posted by Scott on October 18, 2007

Parental Rights in Education — Constant Vigilance Needed

Who makes the crucial decisions about the education of your children? The rights of parents to make these essential decisions must be asserted and defended in every generation. There are others who would wish to make those decisions concerning your children.

Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe begins a recent column with these words, drawn from a national party platform:

“Freedom of education, being an essential of civil and religious liberty . . . must not be interfered with under any pretext whatever. . . . We are opposed to state interference with parental rights and rights of conscience in the education of children as an infringement of the fundamental . . . doctrine that the largest individual liberty consistent with the rights of others insures the highest type of American citizenship and the best government.”

Those impressive words are taken from a resolution adopted by the 1892 Democratic National Convention. Can you imagine the Democratic Party adopting similar language today? Not hardly.

In the years since 1892, teacher unions have grown in membership and influence, now representing one of the most powerful political forces in Washington and state capitals. The teacher unions and the educational establishment continually press for more government control of education and against innovations such as charter schools. Both national parties are, at least in part, captive to the educational establishment. The teacher unions are one of the most powerful forces within the Democratic Party, but the educational bureaucracies also hold at least some sway over Republicans. President Ronald Reagan ran for office in 1980 calling for the abolition of the U.S. Department of Education. Nevertheless, even after the so-called “Reagan Revolution,” the department grew larger than ever.

With reference to the 2008 race for the presidency, Jacoby notes:

Today, on education as on so much else, the Democrats sing from a different hymnal. When the party’s presidential candidates debated at Dartmouth College recently, they were asked about a controversial incident in Lexington, Mass., where a second-grade teacher, to the dismay of several parents, had read her young students a story celebrating same-sex marriage. Were the candidates “comfortable” with that?

“Yes, absolutely,” former senator John Edwards promptly replied. “I want my children . . . to be exposed to all the information . . . even in second grade . . . because I don’t want to impose my view. Nobody made me God. I don’t get to decide on behalf of my family or my children. . . . I don’t get to impose on them what it is that I believe is right.” None of the other candidates disagreed, even though most of them say they oppose same-sex marriage.

Then:

Thus in a little over 100 years, the Democratic Party – and much of the Republican Party – has been transformed from a champion of “parental rights and rights of conscience in the education of children” to a party whose leaders believe that parents “don’t get to impose” their views and values on what their kids are taught in school. Do American parents see anything wrong with that? Apparently not: The majority of them dutifully enroll their children in government-operated schools, where the only views and values permitted are the ones prescribed by the state.

As Jacoby rightly observes, no one would want government to control 90% of housing or 90% of entertainment, but the government does control 90% of primary and secondary education.  Furthermore, most parents seem unconcerned about this. 

Jacoby responds:

But we should be concerned. Not just because the quality of government schooling is so often poor or its costs so high. Not just because public schools are constantly roiled by political storms. Not just because schools backed by the power of the state are not accountable to parents and can ride roughshod over their concerns. And not just because the public-school monopoly, like most monopolies, resists change, innovation, and excellence.

In several states, forces including the teacher unions are pushing for universal preschool programs reaching down as young as 3-year-olds.  Most of the candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination are fully supportive of these proposals. The government will, if allowed, extend its reach and control into younger and younger ages — and will include additional millions and millions of children.

Parents do have choices, and parental choice in education is a necessary precondition for a free society.  Beyond this, parents bear a responsibility before God to make wise and responsible decisions concerning the education of their children.  Indeed, parents cannot evade this responsibility.

Jeff Jacoby’s column is a timely reminder of the fact that the rights of parents must be protected in every generation.  Otherwise, other forces with other agendas will run roughshod over the convictions and worldviews of parents.  It is happening all around us even now.

________________________

READ ON:  Evidence of the governmental subversion of parental rights over children in public schools comes just last night as a Maine school district voted to provide contraceptives to students ages 11-13 in a Portland-area middle school — without parental notification.  As The Associated Press reported late on Wednesday:

Pupils at a city middle school will be able to get birth control pills and patches at their student health center after the local school board approved the proposal Wednesday evening.

The plan, offered by city health officials, makes King Middle School the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available to students in grades 6 through 8, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Further:

At King Middle School, birth control prescriptions will be given after a student undergoes a physical exam by a physician or nurse practitioner, said Lisa Belanger, who oversees Portland’s student health centers.

Students treated at the centers must first get written parental permission, but under state law such treatment is confidential, and students decide for themselves whether to tell their parents about the services they receive.

This is a post by Al Mohler Jr. 10-18-2007  visit his site at www.AlbertMohler.com

-Scott Bailey 2007

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