En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘body’

The “Hound of Heaven”!

Posted by Scott on July 2, 2008

By: Greg Herrick Th.M., Ph.D.

The Hound of Heaven and a Young Russian Agnostic

Andrea Wolfe, on staff with the CoMission office in Raleigh, North Carolina tells the following story:

In the 1930’s Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles and all believers. In Stavropol, Russia, this order was carried out with vengeance. Thousands of Bibles were confiscated, and multitudes of believers were sent to the gulags-prison camps-where most died, unjustly condemned as “enemies of the state.”

The CoMission once sent a team to Stavropol. The city’s history wasn’t known at that time. But when the team was having difficulty getting Bibles shipped from Moscow, someone mentioned the existence of a warehouse outside of town where these confiscated Bibles had been stored since Stalin’s day.

After the team had prayed extensively, one member finally mustered up the courage to go to the warehouse and ask the officials if the Bibles were still there. Sure enough, they were. Then the CoMissioners asked if the Bibles could be removed and distributed again to the people of Stavropol. The answer was “Yes!”

The next day the CoMission team returned with a truck and several Russian people to help load the Bibles. One helper was a young man-a skeptical, hostile agnostic collegian who had come only for the day’s wages. As they were loading Bibles, one team member noticed that the young man had disappeared. Eventually they found him in a corner of the warehouse, weeping.

He had slipped away hoping to take a Bible for himself. What he did not know was that he was being pursued by the “Hound of Heaven.” What he found shook him to the core.

The inside page of the Bible he picked up had the handwritten signature of his own grandmother. It had been her personal Bible. Out of the thousands of Bibles still left in that warehouse, he stole the very one belonging to his grandmother-a woman, who throughout her entire life, was persecuted for her faith.

No wonder he was weeping-God had powerfully and yet tenderly made Himself known to this young man.1 Such was his divinely appointed meeting with the sovereign Lord of the universe, the “Hound of Heaven” who had tracked him down to that very warehouse! Remember Jeremiah’s words: “`Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. `Do not I fill both heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” (Jer 23:24).

The “Hound of Heaven” and You

Jesus is truly the ever-present, all-seeing “Hound of Heaven.” He can track us down wherever we’re hiding! And once on the trail, he sets his heart with relentless zeal and undivided focus to the pursuit-a zeal that originally led him directly to the ignominy of a Roman cross!

Choosing to leave behind the luxuries of Heaven’s golden palaces and the unrivaled joy of the Father’s presence, Jesus willingly descended into the ghetto of this present world-the realm of sin and Satan-in order to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). Through the brutality of his suffering, climaxing in his voluntary death, he secured a startling triumph over hostile forces arrayed in battle against Him (and us). Having earned a once-for-all victory for His people, and having been resurrected to an indestructible life, He has returned to Heaven and His Father, where he continues to seek and to save that which was lost (Heb 7:25). The young Russian man knows what this means. So does his grandmother. Do you?

You see, Jesus is still pursuing people through the message of the cross. The message of the cross rises above the myriad of voices and the noise in our culture, seizing our consciences by the throat and laying bare the depth of our selfishness and estrangement from God. If Jesus Christ was God Almighty incarnate, and His death was necessary to quell my rebellion, then I guess I know God’s estimate of my sinfulness. “Oh wretched man that I am,” says the apostle (Rom 7:24). But the good news is-for those who love Him-that all our filth has been transferred to Christ who willingly bore the guilt and pollution of our sin, death, and shame.

Thus, the message of the cross not only instructs me concerning the disastrous consequences of my rebellion, it also faithfully imparts the priceless knowledge of God’s “other worldly,” all conquering love-a love that changes “rebel” into “reconciled” and whose intensity can only be likened to a blood hound hot on the trail.

Like a major landmark enroute to the place where God lives, the cross shows you and me the way home into the arms of our Father. It does not repel us from Him; on the contrary, it leads us confidently into His presence. Surely if He would suffer to this extent for us, then He must love us thoroughly.

In short, the cross calms my agitated, nervous heart and is like a smiling, gracious butler, who sees plainly that I am not clothed properly, but who nonetheless incessantly pleads with me to enter God’s home where the real party never ends. Through the cross God himself has provided the wardrobe appropriate for the festivities! He called our young Russian friend and now he calls you. Won’t you come in?

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Hell…Eternal Torment or Annilation?

Posted by Scott on July 2, 2008

(Author: John Piper)

Resolved 08, which I spoke at a couple weeks ago, had a sobering theme: Heaven and Hell. In my preparation, I dug up this contrast between Clark Pinnock and Dorothy Sayers.

Clark Pinnock, a Canadian theologian who has moved far from his evangelical roots, wrote:

I was led to question the traditional belief in everlasting conscious torment because of moral revulsion and broader theological considerations, not first of all on scriptural grounds. It just does not make any sense to say that a God of love will torture people forever for sins done in the context of a finite life…. It’s time for evangelicals to come out and say that the biblical and morally appropriate doctrine of hell is annihilation, not everlasting torment. (Theological Crossfire: An Evangelical/Liberal Dialogue, 226-7)

Dorothy Sayers, who died in 1957, speaks a wise and faithful antidote to this kind of abandonment of truth.

There seems to be a kind of conspiracy, especially among middle-aged writers of vaguely liberal tendency, to forget, or to conceal, where the doctrine of Hell comes from. One finds frequent references to the “cruel and abominable mediaeval doctrine of hell,” or “the childish and grotesque mediaeval imagery of physical fire and worms.” …

But the case is quite otherwise; let us face the facts. The doctrine of hell is not “mediaeval”: it is Christ’s. It is not a device of “mediaeval priestcraft” for frightening people into giving money to the church: it is Christ’s deliberate judgment on sin. The imagery of the undying worm and the unquenchable fire derives, not from “mediaeval superstition,” but originally from the Prophet Isaiah, and it was Christ who emphatically used it…. It confronts us in the oldest and least “edited” of the gospels: it is explicit in many of the most familiar parables and implicit in many more: it bulks far larger in the teaching than one realizes, until one reads the Evangelists through instead of picking out the most comfortable texts: one cannot get rid of it without tearing the New Testament to tatters. We cannot repudiate Hell without altogether repudiating Christ. (A Matter of Eternity, 86)

by John Piper www.desiringGod.org

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If You Can Be Godly and Wrong, Does Truth Matter?

Posted by Scott on July 2, 2008



DadsDevoted!

Since there are some Arminians who are more godly than some Calvinists and some Calvinists who are more godly than some Arminians, what is the correlation between true knowledge of God and godliness?

The best of both groups have historically admired the godliness of those in the other group. Whitefield, the Calvinist, said of Wesley, the Arminian, “Mr. Wesley I think is wrong in some things; yet I believe…Mr. Wesley, and others, with whom we do not agree in all things, will shine bright in glory” (Wesley and the Men Who Followed, 71).

But the sad thing about our day, unlike the days of Whitefield and Wesley, is that many infer from this that knowing God with greater truth and fullness is not important, since it doesn’t appear to be decisive in what produces godliness. Those who know what the Bible says will be protected from that mistake.

Paul correlates knowing and doing in a way that shows that knowing profoundly influences doing. Fourteen times Paul implies that our sinful behavior would be different if we knew the truth more fully. For example,

  • You yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? (1 Corinthians 6:8–9)
  • Flee from sexual immorality…. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? (1 Corinthians 6:18–19)
  • Each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God. (1 Thessalonians 4:4–5)

All godliness is owing to truth, that is, to God as he is truly known. Truth, known with the mind and loved with the heart, is the way God produces all godliness. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

When a more godly person believes something erroneous about God, among other true things, it is not the error that God uses to produce the godliness.

And when a less godly person believes something true about God, among other false things, it is not the truth that his sin uses to produce the ungodliness. 

There are various reasons why a person with a more true view of God may be less godly, and the person with a less true view of God may be more godly:

1. The person with a less true view of God may nevertheless be more submissive and more powerfully influenced by the smaller amount of truth that he has, and the person with more truth may be less submissive and less influenced by the truth he has. The Holy Spirit (the Spirit of truth) always makes truth an instrument in his sanctifying influences, but he does not always do it in proportion to the amount of truth present in the mind.

God’s revealed will is that we grow in the knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18), because in that way the Spirit can make our holiness the manifest fruit of what we know of Christ, so that Christ is more clearly honored (John 16:14). But the Spirit is free to make little knowledge produce much holiness, lest those with much knowledge be proud.

2. Two persons with radically different personalities and backgrounds may have more or fewer obstacles to overcome in the process of sanctification. Therefore, the one with fewer obstacles may respond in godly ways to less truth, while the one with more obstacles may struggle more, even though he has more truth.

3. A person with much truth may lag behind in godliness because there are hindrances that arise between the truth in the mind and the response of the heart to that truth. These hindrances may include loss of memory; ease of distraction; blind spots that keep one from seeing how a truth applies to a long-held pattern of behavior; mental disorders (mild or profound) that create disconnects between thoughts and volitions; confusion and ignorance about the way sanctification is meant to work; or hidden rebellion of the heart that covers itself with a veneer of orthodoxy.

Therefore, let us humble ourselves. There are views so obscured by error that the God on the other side of the glass is not the true God. So the measure of truth in our views matters infinitely. But also, there is no guarantee that right thinking will produce right living. There is more to godliness than having clear views of God. Trusting him and loving him through those views matters infinitely.


© Desiring God

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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The Church is Still Being Built By God Himself!

Posted by Scott on June 25, 2008

DadsDevoted

by John MacArthur

The church is the New Testament counterpart of the Old Testament Temple. I’m not referring to a church building, but the body of all true believers.

It is a spiritual building (1 Pet. 2:5), the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16), the place where God’s glory is most clearly manifest on earth, and the proper nucleus and focal point of spiritual life and worship for the community of the redeemed.

God Himself is the architect and builder of this temple. In Ephesians 2:19-22, Paul writes,

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of the church in the eternal plan of God. The church is His building (1 Cor. 3:9). Moreover, He is the immutable, sovereign, omnipotent Lord of heaven. His Word cannot return void but always accomplishes what He says (Isa. 55:11). He is always faithful and cannot deny himself (2 Tim. 2:13). His sovereign purposes always comes to pass, and His will is always ultimately fulfilled (Isa. 46:10). His plan is invincible and unshakable, and He will bring to pass all that He has spoken (v. 11). And he has spoken about building the church in the most triumphant words.

For example, in Matthew 16:18 Christ said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” He who knows His sheep by name (John 10:3)—He who wrote their names down before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8)—He personally guarantees that the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church He is building.

“The gates of Hades” was a Jewish expression for death. Hades is the place of the dead, and the gates of Hades represent the portal into that place—death itself. Hades is also the domain of the devil. Hebrews 2:14 refers to Satan as the one “who had the power of death,” and verse 15 says he used that power to keep people in fear and bondage all their lives. But now Christ has broken that power, and liberated His people from Satan’s dominion—in essence, he has broken down the gates of Hades. And therefore even the power of death—the strongest weapon Satan wields—cannot prevent the ultimate triumph of the church He is building.

There’s still more significance to the imagery of “the gates of Hades.” Gates are a walled city’s most vital defensive safeguards. Christ’s words therefore portray the church militant, storming the very gates of hell, victoriously delivering people from the power of death. Thus Christ assures the triumph of the church’s evangelistic mission. He is building the church, and the work will not be thwarted.

Christ’s promise in this passage should not be misconstrued. He does not suggest that any particular church will be infallible. He does not teach that any of the bishops of the church will be error-free. He does not guarantee that this or that individual church will not apostatize. He does not promise success and prosperity to every congregation. But He does pledge that the church—that universal body of believers under Christ’s headship—the spouse, the body, and the fullness of him that filleth all in all—will have a visible being and a testimony in this world as long as the world itself lasts. And the all the enemies of truth combined shall never secure the defeat or destruction of the church.

Notice also that the church is a work in progress. Christ is still building His church. We are still being joined together (Eph. 2:21). The church is still under construction (v. 22). God is not finished yet. The imperfections and blemishes in the visible church are still being refined by the Master Builder.

And here’s something remarkable: The plan for the finished product is a blueprint that was drawn in eternity past.

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Listen Up Guys….Appropriate Relationships!

Posted by Scott on February 3, 2008

Appropriate Relationships

Guys, if you’re going to succeed in living a God-pleasing life, keep your distance from women apart from your wife. 

I’m not saying that you become rude to women or stand-offish. What I am saying is that we keep an appropriate distance in our relationships with the women with whom we work and associate. You know what I’m talking about. We must keep our distance emotionally, and we must keep our distance physically. And if we will do that, we’ll be just fine. 

One of the reasons a vast majority of guys don’t finish strong can be found right here. Why? Because Satan takes them out with his all-time, numero-uno, time-proven tactic for snaring men and keeping them from living successfully: sexual immorality. Be on the alert and remember, ministry begins at home. My first responsibility before God is to my wife.

–Steve Farrar

Steve Farrar is the author of ten books, including the
best-sellers Point Man and Finishing Strong.
Learn more at SteveFarrar.com

-Scott Bailey 2008

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-Fierce Warriors in the Hands of God!

Posted by Scott on January 5, 2008

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth”
–Psalm 127:4

You may be thinking right now that I am crazy for using Spartan Warrior within Christianity, but read the entire piece before passing judgment.  Spartan Warriors were fierce fighters.  They would fight to the death for their family, king, and kingdom.  They were ruthless and unconventional in their process and training.  However, my research on Spartan Warriors turned up better qualities for these fighters that many of us as Christian men need to pay attention to. These warriors were trained from the very young age of 7 to be fierce in battle.  The meaning of Spartan is to be “totally devoted to one cause, self-deprived or stripped down to nothing, but the bare essentials, undoubting and courageous”.  They were trained to give their lives without hesitation.  These warriors did not think anything about danger and always expected to win or die trying to win.  These were dreaded men in battle. 

 Gentlemen, I am here to inform you that if you did not know this before now, we are in the battle of our lives and the lives of our families…time to wake-up!  I am afraid that unless we as Christian fathers do not began to train our young men to be like these Spartan Warriors, the future looks very dim.  We need to be training up our boys to be fierce when in battle and this battle takes place daily.  Young men that will not back down from authority that makes rulings in direct conflict with the scriptures.  We need young men that do not mind being ridiculed when they stand up for the under-dog or under-privileged or as they share the gospel to a neighbor or friend.  In some cases this may mean taking up arms to defend our nation and our families from the enemies abroad or even within our midst.  On a daily basis, we need to equip these young fighters with the Truth of God’s Holy Word above all else… God’s Holy Word is not found in the Koran! 

Within the pages of the Bible are many fierce warriors who fought bravely like King David as one example.  The Lord helped him fight with full control of himself and bravely.  David fought mightily with the hand of God on his life…”And David became greater and greater, for the Lord God of hosts was with him.”  2 Samuel 5:10 (NAS)  He as a warrior for the Kingdom of God and Spartan Warriors in ancient Greece were courageous and self-sacrificing.  The crusade I am speaking of today is for the minds and hearts of our young people.  Many Christians have already given up this crusade long ago and have decided to just blend in with the rest of the world in order to have peace.  They may go to church and bible study, but nothing  is different in their lives or the lives of their kids.  We have bought into the society belief that we can be immersed in the life style of the world and still maintain an effective evangelical witness. 

 Titus 2:12(NIV) says, “It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…”  In John 15:9(NIV)  it states, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”   

Just hoping our kids will turn out alright is not the answer.  Our adversary, Satan, would like nothing else than for parents to take this approach.  Of course by the grace of God some do turn out alright and frankly that is how we all turn out alright. However, these kids are placed in our hands for a short time for training and preparation for the future and we do not want to let them down if at all possible.  The battle for the heart and mind of our children today include homosexuality, pornography, drunkenness, illegal drug usage, over eating, moral relativism, unfaithfulness, theft, lying, and so on.  This corruptness is being taught in nearly every public forum and institution in America as being “right”.  Our children are being taught that there is no sin and there is no right or wrong.  Their cry is that we all need to be more tolerant of each other.  They are taught that Adam can marry Robert and Eve can marry Laura and it is “ok”.  The truth is that homosexuality is sin and it is not “ok”.  This sin is as forgivable as over eating, as is drunkenness and so on. Glory to God that they are forgivable, but I do not want this deviant trash taught to my children and grandchildren as being “ok”.  Pornography is down played as just a natural thing that men and women desire and it is “ok”.  Christian men are not immune to this.  Men it is not “ok” even in the privacy of your own home.  What we put in our minds has a direct impact on what comes out of our life each day.  Much of the violence against women today stems from pornography.  If this kind of trash goes into the mind then I can guarantee you that vile trash will come out in some form of your life.  Drunkenness is very accepted these days as well, although it is nothing new to the ages.  Drunkenness is mind altering and you will do and say things that will not honor God in any way and will bring shame upon your family. 

Psalm 23:33 says about too much wine, “Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind will utter perverse things.” 

God has always spoken out against drunkenness in His Word.  I said here, “drunkenness”, not a glass of wine at dinner…I just wanted to clarify that.  A trendy activity nowadays is to go to church on Sunday and raise your hands and sing in what is perceived to be praising and worshipping God.  Then the rest of the week live as you wish and on the weekend get stumbling drunk with your buddies and come to church on Sunday to be holy again.  Is this truly grace in action?  What a mockery to the glory of Jesus Christ!  Does this show a deep love for our Savior?  Does raising our hands to the “bouncy” music in the churches today that stirs up the emotions really make us spiritual and holy?  I am not attacking praise worship music entirely, but in observing the true impact of this movement that has forgotten the testimony of the hymns of old, I have witnessed people actually growing more vile in their lives rather than a closeness to the Lord as the music stirs up emotions rather than a deep seeded devotion to worshipping Christ in the music and message of the pastor. 

Men, take a hard look into your heart….is that burning desire to know Jesus and love Jesus really there?  What is your reason for going to church or reading your Bible?  Another hot trend within the world today is embracing the Muslim or Hindu or Buddhism religion as another way to heaven…that we should be tolerant.  We are told that there are many ways to God. 

 Matthew 7:13-14 speaks of those broad roads and narrow gates, “Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.  For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” 

We are taught to believe they should have equal access to the minds of our children, our culture, and we should move over for their ways and embrace their teachings.  I will make this statement as clear as I can, men, NO ONE has the right to access the mind and heart of my children other than God Himself.  God gave those children to me and my wife to love, nurture, train and protect.  The liberal left does not have the right to them, the Communist left wingers do not have a right to them, the Muslims, Hindu’s, or Buddhist do not have rights to them, the homosexuals do not have rights to them or the legalist within the church today do not have the rights to them, or any other kind of evil that permeates this dark world we live in today.  If I sound a bit combative in this, I am combative.  This is no powder puff football game we are in, people. 

So, I am declaring today that we must start raising our sons ,as the Spartan Warriors of the 21st century, that will carry on these truths that are in God’s Word and do it unashamedly.  We need a crusade where young men will give their lives so that our future generations can survive without having to bow to the vile images that are so prevalent in our culture today or be subject to the horrific views and taunting by the homosexual leftist agenda.  A desire must exist for young men to train themselves to be satisfied with only the bare essentials as Spartan Warriors were disciplined to be and not raised under pampered lives like so many of the Christian and worldly kids of today.  These young men need training to buffet their bodies and keep their actions under control regarding women, children, money, alcohol, politics, and the things of this world.  Our world is groaning for young men who have a deep seeded desire to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

   Can we train up young men that will carry as their motto, “Give me Christ and Christ alone”?  We long for young men who are willing to die for the cause of Christ.  This does not come naturally…it comes as we battle forward immersing ourselves in God’s word and let Him develop in our hearts and minds a “biblical world view”.  God is sovereign!  He has never moved or changed His mind.  He is not surprised by the darkness that envelops the world we live in today.  He created this universe and every living or non-living being in it.  He is not bashful about war, battle, death or even love.  So, our challenge today as fathers of sons is to bring up a new generation of young men that will fit the image of God, like a warrior for truth, justice and become a loving family man.  Steve Farrar put it very plainly with this quote from his book, “Standing Tall”:

“Gentlemen, we are raising our kids in this sewer of moral relativism.

If your kids buy into this philosophy, it will ruin their lives.

Here’s the deal, guys.  Our kids won’t know anything unless they see it in our lives.  Our kids won’t know that there are moral absolutes unless they absolutely see those truths lived out in our lives.”

-Steve Farrar, “Standing Tall” 1994

 

This is what I am talking about.  The training is about walking and talking God’s truth daily.  It does not mean we are perfect, but that we are able to show our weaknesses as well as our strengths.  We need to show our kids that God creates strength from our weaknesses.  There is a loud voice trying to wake up our countries Christian fathers.  I am afraid though we have ear plugs in or are ignoring this loud call.

“The Christian world is in a deep sleep. 

Nothing but a loud voice can waken them out of it.”

-George Whitefield, 1739

 

Guys, I cannot tell you what to do or how to raise your kids.  I cannot make you do anything you are not entirely willing to do from your heart.  This is not a legalistic set of rules or point of view even though it is my opinion.  I abhor legalism in all of its form when it comes to the scriptures and the life God would have each of us live.  However, I am simply challenging you to rethink how you are training your children, especially the boys and how you are living as an example for them today.  Is it with sacrifice or from a life of pure luxury?  At the age of 7, are you training warriors to do battle for their future wives, children, countrymen, and ancestry or just over educated athletes in hopes of landing that multi-million dollar contract so they can buy more boats, larger houses, more jewelry and filthier women?  What is their view of supporting the ministries that abound in their area today?  Do they have a worldly view or a biblical world view?  Can you see a servant’s heart or a future adult that will be demanding and hard to live with?  Think about what is important in this life that enhances your eternal life and the eternal life of others.  Out of your actions and training which of those give glory to the Lord?  Does baseball, football, basketball, the finest schools, dances, an exotic vacation, or other activities like these have an eternal purpose?  They could have, but just think for a moment how it is coming across to the kids.  Does giving them every single toy they ask for prepare them for the battles ahead in life?  Does saying yes to their every plea really give them a proper outlook on the future?  Does taking their side in every argument truly help them in preparation for debating the liberal left wing of this world?  Do they see you react to a problem with prayer and digging into your Bible or do they observe you speaking harshly of that person or problem and vow your revenge? 

Men, I am not bringing this message from an attitude of having all the answers or that I always do it right, because that would be a bold face lie.  I battle the same sins and problems you do.  I battle the same pride and ego that every man fights.  But the truth is what it is, guys.  I cannot speak totally from example, but simply from God’s truth.  We need fighters, warriors, kids that grow up knowing the Bible and believing that the Bible is completely true as the inspired word of God and fall in love with their Lord Jesus Christ.  Our world can stand young men that will be devoted to their wives, children, and country and see them as a blessing upon their lives rather than a curse. 

 Today, I encourage you to pray sincerely about all that you have read here.  Reach down deep into the pit of your heart to find that which God placed in your heart years ago.  Lift up your family, co-workers, in-laws, and enemies in prayer.  Dress down spiritually and put it all on the table, guys.  Leave it with the Lord…all of it…the hurt, the pain, the tears, the stress, the financial problems, sexual problems, weaknesses, family problems…all of it.  Leave nothing behind to carry on with you.  Then take a long deep breath and set there for a while in silence to listen to hear if God will speak to you.  It may take Him days, weeks, months or years to speak, but He will speak to you.  See if He speaks, not audibly, but spiritually, through His word, through His people, and through the circumstances.  It is better to not move a muscle until you hear God speak then to do anything that would be in direct disobedience to His calling upon your life. 

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.”    Philippians 4:8-9 (NAS)

 

Guys think on a few questions this very day:

-Would the Lord have you change anything about your life, the treatment of your wife and children and then the training of your children?

-What change can you make today that would be positively noticeable to your family when you got home from work that would inspire them to want to follow you and serve the Lord more? 

What changes would bring glory to Christ today?

-Do you have a servant’s heart like Christ or is pride and ego in the way?

-Why do you go to church, bible studies, and other “religious” functions?

-What kind of men do you hang around with everyday?

-Most importantly, do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or are you just playing church or religion because it is the cultural thing to do? 

This is serious guys…your life and the lives of our children and grand-children depend on the decisions we make today….tomorrow may be too late.

Scott Bailey 2007 ©  

*Disclaimer:  In no way am I against sports, athletes, vacations, or money.  Joe Lewis, the late great boxer, once said that “no, money isn’t everything, but it sure ranks right up there with air…try to live without for a day.”  Each of us have a God given purpose in life and is according to what God’s desire for our lives are and we should be obedient to Him in that purpose if we want to live a successful life.  That could mean a pro baseball career for example or using your income to provide for families in need that live around you.  So, please reread this with an open heart and mind and look at it from God’s side as to what He might be seeing in us right now.  He wants us to be completely devoted to Him in all things and my heart felt belief is that we have missed this as dads on nearly all accounts…I am as convicted of this in my heart as anyone else. 

May God bless you as you go out each day to provide for your family and as you work hard to make that much needed time to spend with your wife and children.

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-From A Dad: Night Time Can Minister to Us!

Posted by Scott on December 22, 2007

Psalm 30:5 we read, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

I read this verse over and over this morning.  Thinking about the difficulties I have faced over the past several years.  The financial difficulty has been tremendous.  The affects on me and my family have been uncomprehending.  As a man and dad I would never wish pain upon myself or my family.  I really do not think any man would that is in his right mind. 

The night times seem to be the worse, especially, very early in the morning as my mind begins to crank out the negatives of my coming day.  Worry would set in and anxiety began to well up in my chest.  This is not as it should be, but guys let’s be honest…we all have times that the strain and the stress just over takes us for a moment.

Each day of my life I have to look to the “joy” of my salvation.  This life is not going to be trouble-free for the righteous by any means.  As I grow in my faith in Christ I have come to the realization that I must embrace the pain and understand that God is at work in my life.  Christ endured the cross because He understood the joy that His heavenly Father set before him and the work that was being accomplished through Him.  In the same way, the pain that drives us through sleepless nights, anxious hearts, and even worry at times, is the same pain that is completing a God given work that will glorify our Lord.

God knows the length to which He can stretch us.  He understands better than we do what our hearts can endure.  As A.W. Tozer has said, “The strongest steel breaks if kept too long under unrelieved tension.”  Our God brings the sweet relief just in time for our souls to rest.  Night is never perminent, it must give way to the light of the morning…it just must.  The darkness cannot keep out the light once it is present. 

I have endured a great deal of pain throughout the year.  Most likely this has been the toughest my family has endured.  Although, I do pray for relief and rest, I would not trade the experience of trusting in my gracious Father for all the money in the world.  I would not trade watching God provide for us each day for anything the world could offer.  Suffering is not easy…it is downright terrorizing at times.  My Lord has never left me alone to suffer in my sleep without His restful presence there with me.

So, as life goes on a discovery is made that God’s loving kindness is always present in the midst of our suffering.  We will begin to embrace the pain, because it is God Who placed it in our life.  In the painful days ahead what we will discover about ourselves cannot be replaced by all the scholarly education in the world from the finest schools.  You see, it is in the pain that many things are accomplished that joy could not accomplish.  I have discovered that the world and its ways are mostly vain.  Much of society flops around wishing for “things” hoping for more “money” without ever finding the true peace and joy that surpasses all understanding.  That true “joy” can only be found in Christ Jesus.

I thank my God for each lesson I have learned this past year.  I look forward to being able to pass those lessons along.  I do desire a period of rest…I am still human.  Even though my body feels tired, God somehow keeps it going.  The night always seems to come quickly, but that just helps me to long for the light of morning climbing above the horizon all the more.

-Scott Bailey (C) 2007

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-From A Dad: Conquering Self!

Posted by Scott on November 18, 2007

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow after me.”  -Luke 9:23

Make a Definite Decision to Follow Christ!

For us men this is not easys we tend to battle pride in our hearts more than anyone else.  To make a definite decision to follow Christ rather than our selfish desires takes a strength that only the Holy Spirit can produce in us.  We try to hold on to God on the one hand, but on the other hand our sinful wants and desires.  As the Holy Spirit prompts us to make this decision it is a wise thing to accept Christ and follow after Him with our entire being.  In Joshua 24:15 Joshua made a profound definite decision as he said, “….as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua was being used by God and was not about to rebel against his God, so, to make such a definite decision should have been expected.  As us dads move forward with the decision to follow hard after Christ it is wise to burn the bridges of our old life.  You might ask why in the world would anyone burn their bridges?  Burning bridges give you only one direction to go…forward!  God lead the Israelites through the desert straight for the Red Sea and through more wilderness into the promise land.  However, there was a route that was much faster and was an actual road.  God knew, though, that these people could turn back as times got rough, so He took them in a direction they could not turn back to.  This is the same way with us burning our bridges…we do not need the opportunity to go back to old life style.  Make that decision and march forward in Him.  God will give us the strength and courage to stay the course through His work with Holy Spirit.  Our decision needs to be firm like that of Joshua.

Be a Daring Disciplined Warrior For Christ!

Guys for our families sake we need to deny ourselves of some indulgances.  No matter how much money we make or don’t make, power comes through having the courage to deny ourselves of some of life’s best activities and things.  Many of us battle this as well.  We battle self-denial and restraints on our lives, because the world is doing some much around us we are tempted daily to join in.  Alot of great leaders have fallen because they failed to deny themselves of anything.  Men, beautiful women are bountiful in our land today.  However, we need to commit ourselves to deny the fleshly urge to “mess around” and be a “one woman man”.  This requires discipline and daily denial.  Everyday when we get up mentally tell yourself not to look upin another woman in want.  In our prayer time each day we can ask the Lord for the strength to resist these temptations.  Ask the Lord, if we find ourself in a tempting situation and trust me we all will, to provide us a clear and quick escape route.  With each temptation will come with a way of escape.  the Holy Spirit is not going to leave us alone out there to battle the multiple temptations we see and experience everyday.  As a body builder buffets his body daily by working out, eatting the right foods, and staying away from activities that will break his body down, we too must buffet our bodies in a holy sense.  Our workout is praying, meditating on the scriptures, listening to God, and being obedient to His calling on our lives daily.  This is how we prepare ourselves to be a God glorifying warrior for Christ.

We Must Be Devoted By Taking Up Our Cross…Daily!

If us dads are not deeply immersed in God’s word on a daily basis we will find ourselves in utter defeat.  We cannot neglect God each day and expect to win this battle over selfishness.  To be devoted to Christ requires commitment, daily activities that push us closer to our heavenly Father, and obedience to the word of God.  In Matthew 6:33 Jesus addresses the needs of our lives.

“…and He will give you all you need from day to day if you will live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.”

Keeping our eyes on Kingdom of God is the goal.  That is to be our primary devotion from today on.  It takes diligence and devotion to accomplish this through Christ Who is our strength.  Making sure we attend a local church the Lord has lead us to, daily prayer and bible study with meditation and listening are all ways to win the war over self.  You really want to get over yourself?  Give someone that needs help whatever you can….make it sacrificial whatever it is.  This brings stuff and self in check everyday.  We realize that we are not anything apart from Christ.  Continue with our daily devotion in order rid ourselves of “self”.

Following Christ Will Take Unabashed Determination!

Taking a stand for what you strongly believe in is not easy.  Failure must not be an option when it comes to following Christ.  He will give us the courage to reject wrong decisions if we will prepare ourselves daily for that courage.  This determination I speak of only comes with the help of our heavenly Father.  This battle that wages within us over cratering in to self can be won with the bold tenacity of an attitude like Winston Churchill…an attitude that says we will not give in to our lustful desires with God’s mighty assistance. 

Dads, following Christ will be the hardest road we travel.  This is especially made tougher because we have a family to think about now.  When we were single, it did not take much to make a decision in standing firm for Christ and our beliefs.  Now, with a family we may not think too long about Who we believe in, but we do think longer on most of our decisions as to how it will effect our kids and wife.  Following Christ could require our lives someday in this world.  Many missionaries have to make these same decisions all the time and many have lost their lives and the lives of their families to horrible deaths.  Be prepared to accept whatever plight the Lord takes us to.  Be encouraged and stay the course.  Heaven is our final goal, in glory with our savior we so valiantly fought for.  The example of devotion, desire, decisions, and discipline is found in the very One we are to worship and glorify.  Men, make the tough decisions and make the right decisions in the power of our almighty God.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

 

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-From A Dad: What Does the Holy Spirit Do?

Posted by Scott on November 13, 2007

 2″Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.”  -Acts 2:2-4 NLT

-Convicts:  The Holy Spirit is there to prick at our hearts when we have sinned…He will try to draw us away from that sinful situation.  If we are to mortify sin we must know that we are sinning.  Today’s emerging church movement speaks nothing of sin.  I have heard numerous church leaders state that everyone knows they sin so we do not need to be reminded of sin.  Well, without this reminder we will drive a huge wedge between us and God with our sin.  We need to know when an area of our life needs to be changed…if it is stifling our relationship with God we need to change it.  Our goal should be to buffet ourselves in order to remain holy before our God.  Our purposes should be that God be glorified even it means tremendous suffering for ourselves.  This is hard to do, but we are created to glorify our heavenly Father.  Whatever we do in this life that is dishonoring must go if we are seeking the deepest relationship with Christ possible on earth.  So, the Holy Spirit plays the part in the relationship to take the word of God and give it power within us as we read it and digest it.  The conviction is a good thing although looked upon as something embarrassing and bad.  The conviction is what keeps us from straying away from God to a point of dishonoring and shaming God. 

John 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.”  NLT

-Converts:  Our salvation is of the work of the Holy Spirit working within us.  He draws us to Christ by our chosen status before a holy God.  It is the Holy Spirit’s job to take the word of God deep within the cracks of our minds and hearts in order to draw us into a loving saved relationship with our Lord.  It is not just say a simply prayer and you will be saved.  The words you speak to God may be simple, but much work by the Spirit has been done prior to that salvation moment.  I believe many people on this earth that have said a simple prayer, but life never changed for them…their way of thinking and acting never changed is an example of a false salvation.  The Holy Spirit was not in that transaction just because they said a prayer.  Many will say “Lord Lord, but Christ will say ‘Get away, I never knew you'”.   Do not fall for the false teaching that has permeated our churches with this easy say a few words salvation.  It is the Holy Spirit that takes the word of God to the person that is to be saved.  We are to deliver the gospel and the Holy Spirit does the work from that point on.  In this way man cannot boast of saving anyone…it is all for the glory of Christ.

Acts 2:38  Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  NLT 

-Cleanses:  We can visualize from the words to purifying their hearts by faith, that justification by faith, and sanctification by the Holy Spirit, cannot be separated and both are the gift of God. We have reason to bless God that we have heard the gospel. May we have that same faith which the great Searcher of hearts approves.  May we also attests by the stamp of the Holy Spirit. At this point our hearts and minds will be purified from the guilt of sin, and we shall be freed from the burdens of sin that is tempted upon us.

Acts 15:9  He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith.”

-Comforts:  In all our life we are drawn into trials and temptations.  God has placed the Holy Spirit for a specific role of comforting us during those times.  He knows that we go through these times in our lives with great difficulty and He has provided our great comforter.  I came remember a time when my dad was having a stressful time in his life.  Life just seemed to be falling apart around him and he was very upset one day out on the farm.  As his temper flared in a moments notice two men appeared and begin to comfort my dad and quote scripture to him.  These two men we used by the Holy Spirit to breath spiritual life back into my dad.  As dad calmed down and began to get his composure the two men vanished without a trace.  God knows our human limits to the trials we are going through.  He does not pull back on His plan, but He will provide the need comfort to assist us with getting beyond that terrible pain.   Click here for a great old message by Spurgeon for the year 1855 called “The Comforter”. 

It is interesting as the amplified bible puts it the Comforter equals Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby.  The Holy Spirit provides that great counsel we need every day when facing grave difficult decisions.  He helps us get through each day and bring glory to God our Father.  The Holy Spirit Intercedes on our behalf before God as we really do not know what we are trying say when speaking to God.  He is advocate who cheers us on to succeed in this life and to bring Him ultimate glory.  The Lord uses the weak to bring about glory.  He will strengthen us in anytime we need to be strong.  The Spirit is always there standing by when we need Him.  This need is almost hourly in many of our lives and mine included.

John 14:16  “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever–”  AMP

-Controls:  The Holy Spirit will not loose control of our lives or us.  He provides the truth that we hear and place deep within our hearts.  He guides us into all truth.  One thing you will not see the Holy Spirit do is to act upon his only skill.  However, He is prepared to carry out God’s work.  He controls what we hear from the Lord so that we are not swept away by the wrong movement.  Many of us fail to allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives.

Controlling our lives makes some us cringe…especially us high “D” personality types.  But when we are really seeking to live an obedient life unto the Lord then many areas of our life that we have a hard time leaving to God must be turned over to Him.  This is most likely the most difficult area that us “D” types struggle with is obedience and control.  One area is the number of kids one bares.  God calls children a blessing.  why don’t we see it that way.  Many will say that God can have every area of life, but the number of kids is our determination.  This is tragic the number of blessings many parents have missed out on over the years do to our selfish desires.  Another area of struggle is financial matters.  We are merely stewards of Gods provisions not the owners, however, strong-willed people want to take ownership of it all.  So, many times we strut around as though we made the money or own it when in reality God is the one that provides.  We have made nothing on our own.  God in His vast wisdom knows best and draws us into each moment of our life.  For us to experience the absolute blessings of God we must relinquish control to Him.

John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”   NAMS

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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-From A Dad: Devoted to Christ!

Posted by Scott on November 5, 2007

Years ago a reformation started in the church.  For those of us that hold to the fact that the bible is the inspired infallible word of God, that God is sovereign over all things, and we must take God seriously see the reformation as a great blessing.  This may not be the view of others, but it happens to be my belief.

In my growing devotion to Christ I have found the reading of the messages by many of the great theologians of the past refreshing and challenging.  Especially in light of the fact that many of today’s churches receive no such theology or doctrine from their pulpits.  I have enjoyed getting to know B.B. Warfield, Charles Spurgeon, John Owen, Thomas Bouston, Thomas Watson, Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Hugh Binning, Martin Luther, A.W. Tozer, Warren Weirsbe, John Calvin, and Ray Stedman.  I have also enjoyed setting under the education and ministry of Dr. Charles Swindoll and Dr. Steve Farrar.  That enjoyment has not stopped there, but has expanded to several other men that are keeping the torch of the true church alive such as R.C. Sproul, John Piper, John MacArthur, the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, and John Stott.   These men have had a huge impact on my self-education (God directed) in the scriptures. 

Never have I experienced in the course my Christian life a love and devotion for Christ as I do now.  I am experiencing the hymns of old like I have never before.  Many of these hymns make sense to me now after digging deeply into God’s word and I can recognize the theology that is written there for our singing praise to God.   This may be one of the many issues that Christians and church goers that have fallen into the emerging church movement so ardently.  The scriptures and the love of the scriptures is where you development the interest in the things of God.  The hymns are dripping rich with the theology of God to the point that truly amazing worship can take place each time they are presented when the words are read and understood.  I understand it is difficult to know the meaning of these hymns if you cannot understand their meaning.  The challenge is to get involved in the study of God’s word to help you grasp the rich theology and doctrine that is presented as inspiration by God in these hymns. 

Many of the old hymns are personal testimonies that are presented to us in song.  One such hymn is by Martin Rinkart written in the 1600’s:

“Now thank we all our God,

with heart and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things hath done,

in Whom this world rejoices;

Who from our mother’s arms

hath blessed us on our way

with countless gifts of love,

and still is ours today.”

Martin Rinkart had lived out a rough period in his life when in the end this particular trial the Lord inspired within him this hymn.  Much of the hymn writers experiences are of suffering.  Amazingly they all have nothing but praise for our God.  His mercies new each morning and His grace abounds forever more.  Many of the hymns are a far cry from the prosperity and good feeling worship services seen today.  Christians will experience suffering if they are living for the Lord.  Charles Spurgeon gave a wonderful little bit of advice for each day:

“Wash your face every morning in a bath of praise.”  -C.H. Spurgeon

Each day we are breathing here on this earth is worthy of praise.  Yes, I know heaven would be far better, but God has an appointed time for each us in regard to death, so for now we are to enjoy living here to be to the praise of God’s glory.

Another great hymn written in our historical past was by William Cowper:

“God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.

You fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds you so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace,

Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work is vain;

God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.”

-William Cowper 1774

You understand that God in His providential power pulls us into each crisis we find ourselves in.  The order of the day is to follow Him into the canyon and as He lead you in He will certainly lead you out.  As Psalm 34:19 tells us that “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But the Lord delivers them out of them all.”  We can prepare our hearts that afflictions are coming, but can also set our hearts on the fact that God made a promise her to deliver us from them all.  The deliverance may not be as we would have chosen, but it will work directly into the plan God has for us.  

In my devotion to Christ I take it very seriously.  After years of playing the part of a Christian…playing at church I found my Lord patiently preparing me for a love of Him that I never knew could be found.  “He is the first and the last and we are gathered up between, as in great arms of eternal loving-kindness” by Amy Carmichael.  This devotion has increased over time and with the daily help of my wife and kids who challenge me to grow and grow deeply.  As our ministry to husbands and wives grow this devotion to Christ grows as well. 

Would you like to be devoted beyond your current level?  I challenge you to go beyond the norm in your relationship to Christ Jesus.  This does not come easy or over night.  Reading the bible daily, meditating on it, and prayer are the major keys to this growing devotion.  Challenge anyone that preaches a different message other than what the bible tells us.  Read about the past theologians, their messages, and be encouraged…these guys have gone on before us and have traveled down the same paths we are now experiencing.  God’s sovereign will is already ahead of us and He knows what this heart really needs. 

Challenge yourself to study more heart-felt, pray God’s word, listen to God’s word, sing the hymns prayerfully, read the hymns, study the testimony of the hymns, read and study the great theologians of the past, and be obedient to the calling no matter where that takes you.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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