En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘books’

Reassuring Voice of Psalms: Book Review!

Posted by Scott on February 20, 2010

This book is a wonderful early morning resource during prayer. I enjoy the Psalms and this book has a beautiful approach to them.

Each day as times seem to be tough I enjoyed reading another Psalm and then the commentary along with it. You can almost hear David singing praises to his God as he embarked on battles, hiding out in caves from his enemies, and times of rescue and much needed rest. Yes, the Psalms are just relivant today as they were when written several thousand years ago.

This is a great book to read along while drinking the morning coffee or just before turning out the lights at night. Start the day with the Word of God and hide the Psalms in your heart at nice.

After further review, however, I am not as sure about the need for such theological diversity. God’s Word is alway relevant regardless what society thinks and He has only one theology built around the saving grace of Jesus Christ. I did find the words easy to read and did not seem to water down the meaning too much. As long as the theology can be supported biblically I find this book a good read. My warning is to know your theology and know it well.

Overall, I would recommend the book as a resource, but be sure to keep reading your Bible as well.  Never replace the Scriptures for someone elses opinions or attempt at making it easier to read or understand.

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REVIEW: The Greatest Stories Bible of the Bible

Posted by Scott on January 25, 2010

I recently reviewed for Thomas Nelson Publishers “The Greatest Stories of the Bible”.

It was a magnificent book. The design makes you think of something printed one hundred years ago. Then the pages themselves have the old feel to them. Once you open the book and start reading you will be kept glued to the pages as you read each of the two hundred and fifty of the most cherished stories of the Bible.

Some of the classic stories included are Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, Jonah and the Big fish, Samson and Delilah, Paul meeting Jesus, Jesus teaching the disciples, and Paul and Silas in captivity. These are only a few representative of the stories included in this one volume book.

One of the great features of the book is it is easy to navigate through the story-book type format used. If you would like a story to read to the younger kids at night, you can pull this book out and quickly find a wonderful story. The stories are short, but straight to the point. Use the stories to lead the family into a much deeper devotional time as it peeks everyone’s interest.

One of my favorite stories was at Moses calling in the wilderness when he meets up with God at the burning bush. Before Moses could approach the bush the Angel of the Lord told Moses, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand in holy ground.” I love that. Further in the story we have God telling Moses, “I AM WHO I AM!”  All throughout the book we find these fantastic biblical accounts of God’s great actions towards His people.

I think this book is a great addition to anyones family library. We have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

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The Pilgrimage through the wilderness….

Posted by Scott on November 4, 2009

“God places us in humiliating situations in strange ways, but it is necessary in order for us to understand the importance of total denial to our self & total obedience to His commands. Self-denial is described in many ways, but most vivid is we are to murder everything about ourselves which gets in the way of obedience to God.” -A Pilgrimage Through the Wilderness by Scott Bailey

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Book Review: “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young

Posted by Scott on August 31, 2009

    This is a great little devotional book for every day of the year.  The devotional is written by long time missionary, Sarah Young and published by long time publishers, Thomas Nelson Publishing.   Jesus Calling is geared for both men and women with quick and short paragraphs that would be most desirable for someone on the run that needs to take five minutes to stop and reflect on God and reflect on Him speaking to them in that very moment.

Each daily devotional is done from the point of view that God is talking to them that very moment.  The fact is, He is talking to each of us Believers all the time if we would stop and listen.  This little devotional book brings that out in a unique way.  At the bottom of each page are great verses of Scripture to deepen the experience of that days devotional. 

Each days writings are from Sarah’s personal encounter with Jesus day by day as she recorded in her prayer journals.  Sarah would write down what she sensed the Lord telling her in her prayer time daily.  I believe Sarah does a fantastic job helping the reader to understand that Jesus is ever present with us and we can enjoy His peace on a daily basis.  This is not a deep book understandably at first glance, but it helps to get each of our minds and hearts turned back towards Him each day and learn to listen for His voice out of the hundreds of voices yelling around us taking us into a deeper walk with Christ.  Jesus does speak to us today through His Scripture and through daily time listening to Him.  This book is a great way to get back to or continue on in each Believer’s personal quiet time.  Our spiritual health depends on it.

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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A Pastor Believes in hell-Alert the Media!!!!

Posted by Scott on September 10, 2008

Written by Albert Mohler Jr.

Hell just emerged as an issue in Election 2008, and the campaign now enters a zone where politics and theology collide.

The catalyst for this emergence of eternal punishment as an issue is a “Belief Watch” column in this week’s edition of Newsweek magazine.  In “A Religious-Right Revival,” Lisa Miller suggests that the nomination of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee for Vice President represents a resurgence of the so-called “Religious Right.”

There is something to this argument, of course, given Gov. Palin’s record and positions on key controversial issues.  Her pro-life credentials, even taken alone, would be enough to encourage many evangelical Christians, as the response to her nomination now demonstrates.

But what makes Lisa Miller’s article most interesting has nothing directly to do with abortion, marriage, or any social issue.  The most interesting (and revealing) part of her article is a sentence that does not refer to her campaign, nor to her role as Governor, but to her church:

The senior pastor of that church, in sermons that circulated online before they were taken down last week, preaches hell for anyone who isn’t saved by Jesus.

In the event a reader might miss that sentence, the magazine put the words, “The senior pastor of Palin’s church preaches hellfire for anyone who isn’t saved by Jesus” in large type in both print and electronic editions.  In other words, these words are intended to catch a reader’s eye as newsworthy — an attention grabber.

Miller went on to explain that the fact that her pastor preaches such a message “puts her squarely in the tradition of the old-school religious right.”

Of course, belief in hell as the just punishment of the impenitent is part and parcel of historic biblical Christianity.  Taken at face value, the belief that “anyone who isn’t saved by Jesus” faces the verdict of hell is as normative as any other Christian belief.

There is no way to read the New Testament without encountering the very clear message about the reality of hell.  “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul,” Jesus warned.  “Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” [Matthew 10:28].

True, there are those who have denied both the reality of hell and the exclusivity of the Gospel.  Some attempt to deny that those who do not believe in Christ will spend eternity in hell.  Nevertheless, even those who propose doctrinal theories such as universalism and inclusivism (or those who promote annihilationism with reference to hell) must admit that their position does not represent what most Christians throughout the centuries have believed — or believe now.  We should be concerned that these theories may be spreading in influence, but it should hardly be surprising to find that an evangelical pastor preaches historic Christianity.

What this article in Newsweek represents is the absolute confidence that discovering people who believe that those who do not believe in Christ will go to hell is supposed to be shocking.

So we find in Sarah Palin’s pastor an evangelical who believes in hell and preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only means of escaping hell.  In other words, he is an evangelical preaching like an evangelical.  Alert the media.

_________________________

See my articles “Hell Under Fire,” Parts One and Two, and my chapter in the book, Hell Under Fire.

See also my review of Richard Florida’s new book, Who’s Your City, at The Reading List, here.

Join us today for “Ask Anything Wednesday” on The Albert Mohler Program.

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Great Reading List for Layman, Teacher, and Preachers!

Posted by Scott on June 19, 2008

APOLOGETICS

Stanley Jaki, The Savior of Science (Scottish Academic Press)

Philip Johnson, Darwin on Trial (IVP)

Philip Johnson, Objections Sustained (IVP)

Philip Johnson, Reason in the Balance (IVP)

Francis Schaeffer, Escape from Reason (IVP)

Michael J Wilkins and J.P. Moreland, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Zondervan)

 

Biography

Courtney Anderson, To the Golden Shore: The Life of

Adoniram Judson (Zondervan)

Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Abingdon)

Iain Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 2 vols. (Banner of Truth)

Iain Murray, Jonathan Edwards (Banner of Truth)

C.H. Spurgeon, Autobiography (Banner of Truth)

 

CATECHISMS

Tom Nettles, Teaching Truth, Training Hearts (Calvary)

John Piper, ed., A Baptist Catechism (Desiring God Ministries)

 

THE CHURCH

Jay Adams, Handbook on Church Discipline (Zondervan)

John Armstrong, ed., The Compromised Church (Crossway)

J.L. Dagg, Manual of Church Order

Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (booklet; Center for Church Reform)

Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (book; Crossway)

Mark Dever, ed., Polity: Biblical Arguments on How to Conduct Church Life (CCR)

Mark Dever, A Display of God’s Glory: Deacons, Elders, Membership, and Congregationalism (CCR)

John Piper, Elders (Desiring God Ministries)

Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines within the Church (Moody)

 

CHURCH HISTORY

Mark Dever, Richard Sibbes (Mercer)

Tom Dowley, ed., Handbook to Church History (Fortress)

Greg Wills, Democratic Religion (Oxford)

 

DATING

Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye (Multnomah)

Joshua Harris, Boy Meets Girl (Multnomah)

 

Devotional

Augustine, Confessions (Henry Chadwick translation, Oxford World Classics)

Horatius Bonar, Longing for Heaven (Christian Focus)

John Bunyan, Grace Abounding (Anchor)

John Bunyan, Holy War (Christian Focus)

John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress (Penguin)

D.A. Carson, For the Love of God, 2 vols. (Crossway)

Jonathan Edwards, Charity and its Fruits (Banner of Truth)

Carolyn Mahaney, Feminine Appeal (Crossway)

Jerry Marcellino, Rediscovering the Lost Jewel of Family Worship (Audobon Press)

J.I. Packer, Knowing God (IVP)

Elizabeth Prentiss, Stepping Heavenwards (Calvary)

J.C. Ryle, Holiness (Baker)

C.H. Spurgeon, Faith’s Checkbook (Whitaker)

C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening (thin ones; Christian Focus)

Donald S. Whitney, How Can I Be Sure I’m a Christian? (Navpress)

Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Navpress)

 

DISCIPLESHIP

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (Harper & Row)

Elyse Fitzpatrick & Carol Cornish, Women Helping Women (Harvest House)

John Stott, Basic Christianity (Eerdmans)

 

EVANGELISM

Joseph Bayly, The Gospel Blimp (Lifejourney Books)

D.A. Carson, ed., Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns (Zondervan)

Jonathan Edwards, Works on Revival (including Distinguishing Marks) (Banner of Truth)

Val Grieve, Your Verdict on the Empty Tomb (Paternoster)

Patrick Johnstone, Operation World (Zondervan)

Will Metzger, Tell the Truth (IVP)

Iain Murray, The Invitation System (Banner of Truth)

Iain Murray, Revival and Revivalism (Banner of Truth)

J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (IVP)

Mack Stiles, Speaking of Jesus (IVP)

Christianity Explained (Narrowgate Press, UK)

 

MARRIAGE & DIVORCE

John Murray, Divorce (Presbyterian & Reformed)

 

PARENTING

Ted Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Shepherd Press)

 

Prayer

Arthur Bennett, ed., Valley of Vision (Banner of Truth)

D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation (Baker)

Samuel Prime, The Power of Prayer (Banner of Truth)

 

STUDY TOOLS

Handbook to the Bible (Zondervan)

New Bible Commentary (IVP)

New Bible Dictionary (IVP)

Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, Bold Love (Navpress)

Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, Bold Purpose (Navpress)

D.A. Carson, Doug Moo, Leon Morris, Introduction to the New Testament (Zondervan)

Raymond Dillard and Tremper Longman, Introduction to the Old Testament (Zondervan)

Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All it’s Worth (Zondervan)

 

Suffering

D.A. Carson, How Long, O Lord? (Baker)

Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Banner of Truth)

 

Theology

Louis Berkhoff, Systematic Theology (Banner of Truth)

F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Eerdmans)

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Westminster/John Knox)

D.A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Crossway)

D.A. Carson, Love in Hard Places (Crossway)

D.A. Carson, Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility (Wipf and Stock)

J.L. Dagg, Manual of Theology (Gano/Sprinkle)

John Flavel, They Mystery of Providence (Banner of Truth)

Timothy George, The Theology of the Reformers (Broadman)

Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom (Paternoster)

Wayne Grudem and John Piper, eds., Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Crossway)

Martin Hengel, Crucifixion (Fortress)

Carl F.H. Henry, Toward a Recovery of Christian Belief (Crossway)

Robert Letham, The Works of Christ

Fred Malone, A String of Pearls Unstrung (Founders)

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression (Eerdmans)

Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will (Westminster/John Knox, or SCM

Leon Morris, The Atonement (IVP)

John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Banner of Truth)

Tom Nettles, By His Grace and For His Glory (Founders)

J.I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness (Crossway)

J.I. Packer, Fundamentalism and the Word of God (Eerdmans)

J.I. Packer, God Has Spoken: Revelation and the Bible (Baker)

A.W. Pink, The Attributes of God (Baker)

John Piper, Future Grace (Multnomah)

John Piper, God’s Passion for His Glory (Crossway)

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad (Baker)

John Piper, The Pleasures of God (Multnomah)

John Piper, TULIP: What We Believe about the Five Points of Calvinism (Desiring God Ministries)

Ernest Reisinger, What Should We Think of the Carnal Christian? (Banner of Truth)

Thomas Scott, The Articles of the Synod of Dort (Sprinkle)

B.B. Warfield, The Plan of Salvation (Simpson)

David Wells, The Bleeding of the Evangelical Church (Banner of Truth)

David Wells, God in the Wasteland (Eerdmans)

David Wells, Losing our Virtue (Eerdmans)

David Wells, No Place for Truth (Eerdmans)

John Wenham, Christ and the Bible (Baker)

George Whitefield, Selected Sermons (Banner of Truth)

 

WORSHIP

Most Hymnals

Horton Davies, Worship of the American Puritans (Soli Deo Gloria)

Michael Horton, In the Face of God (Word)

Leonard Payton, Reforming Our Worship Music (Crossway)

David Petersen, Engaging with God (Eerdmans)

 

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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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A New Beginning! by Ray C. Stedman

Posted by Scott on January 1, 2008

by Ray C. Stedman

READ: Job 42:16-17

After this Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years (Job 42:16-17).

The book of Job ends on a note of contentment and peace. Job was probably about seventy when the book opens, so he is an old man. What a picture of peace, a contented man. God had greatly blessed him.

Before us stretches a new year, a new beginning. The old is past, put away forever. God invites us always to forget about all the distrust and fears, all the anxieties of the past, all the resentments we have been holding against others, all the grudges, all the criticisms–to put them away and begin again.

The question that hovers over us as we close this book (and I feel it deeply in my own heart) is, “On what basis am I going to live in this new year? Will it be on the old basis of it-all-depends-on-me, do-it-yourself goodness before God, trying my best to be pleasing to God and meaning it with all my heart but never realizing the depths of evil with which I have to deal?” Or will I accept the gift of God that is waiting for me every day, fresh from His hand, a gift of forgiveness, of righteousness already mine, of a relationship in which He is my dear Father and I am his cherished, beloved son, and in which I therefore have provided for me all I need, all day long, so that I may say no to evil and yes to truth and right?

Will it be on that basis? If it is, this will be a year in which my life will be characterized by peace, fragrance, and beauty. And so will yours. Or, if we insist on living it on the same old basis, we will find ourselves like these friends of Job, arousing the anger and the wrath of God. Though He is patient and merciful, our only escape will be to repent of our evil and rest upon the righteousness of our perfect substitute and return to God for the blessing that He is waiting to give. That is the choice before us, every one of us. How are we going to live in this new year?

Lord, thank You for this new year that lies before me. I choose You. I choose to depend on You, trust You, and accept from Your hand all that You would give me.

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

-Scott Bailey 2007

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Ten Great Christian Biographies!

Posted by Scott on November 28, 2007

Dr. Albert Mohler Jr. recommends: 

  

 We read biographies because worthy portraits of our fellow human beings help us to make sense of the world. We are especially fascinated by the lives of those who have made a difference in the world — whose mark remains visible even now. The lives of the famous and the infamous make for compelling reading.

As Benjamin Disraeli, a famous author as well as Queen Victoria’s favorite Prime Minister, once remarked, biography is “life without theory.” In other words, at their best biographies take us into the real lives of real persons as they were really lived. No life can be reduced to a written biography, of course, and no biography can consider all aspects of even a single life. Every biographer picks and chooses from the available data of a life. Nevertheless, we are drawn into these lives as we read compelling biographies.

Reading the biographies of persons whose lives represent a significant influence on the Christian church is especially enriching. Each of the biographies listed below invites the reader into an adventure that is both literary and theological. These are ten of the biographies I consider most important from recent decades. They are listed in chronological order rather than by ranked importance.

Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (Berkeley: University of California Press), 1967, revised edition 2000.

Brown’s rendering of Augustine is essential reading for the Christian serious about the history of the church. His revised edition makes use of valuable materials discovered since the book’s first edition was published in 1967. Rollins Professor of History at Princeton University, Brown reveals the genius of Augustine and takes us into his inner life and historical context. One cannot understand the Reformers without understanding the influence of Augustine on their theology and, specifically, their understandings of sin and grace.

Excerpt:

Not every man lives to see the fundamentals of his life’s work challenged in his old age. Yet this is what happened to Augustine during the Pelagian controversy. At the time that the controversy opened, he had reached a plateau. He was already enmeshed in a reputation that he attempted to disown with characteristic charm: “Cicero, the prince of Roman orators,” he wrote to Marcellinus in 412, “says of someone that ‘He never uttered a word which he would wish to recall.’ High praise indeed! — but more applicable to a complete ass than to a genuinely wise man . . . . If God permit me, I shall gather and point out, in a work specially devoted to this purpose, all the things which justly displease me in my books: then men will see that I am far from being a biased judge in my own case. . . . For I am the sort of man who writes because he has made progress, and who makes progress — by writing.”

G. K. Chesterton, Saint Thomas Aquinas — “The Dumb Ox” (New York: Doubleday, 1933/1956).

Chesterton’s biographical portrait of Aquinas is masterful — as such because Chesterton wrote it as well as because it is about the most significant figure in medieval Christianity. This is a brilliant exercise in biography, and the most accessible way to understand Aquinas and his thought.

Excerpt:

Of the personal habits that go with the personal physique, we have also a few convincing and confirming impressions. When he was not sitting still, reading a book, he walked round and round the cloisters and walked fast and even furiously, a very characteristic action of men who fight their battles in the mind. Whenever he was interrupted, he was very polite and more apologetic than the apologizer. But there was that about him, which suggested that he was rather happier when he was not interrupted. He was ready to stop his truly Peripatetic tramp: but we feel that when he resumed it, he walked all the faster.

Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1950).

If just starting to read Christian biography, start here. Bainton has written what must be the last century’s most popular and accessible biography of a Christian figure — at least among evangelicals. Luther comes alive through Bainton’s words, and in Here I Stand we find Luther in all his greatness, warts and all.

Excerpt:

Katie soon had more than Luther to think about. On October 21, 1525, Luther confided to a friend, “My Katherine is fulfilling Genesis 1:28.” On May 26, 1526, he wrote to another, “There is about to be born a child of a monk and a nun. Such a child must have a great Lord for a godfather. Therefore I am inviting you. I cannot be precise as to the time.” On the eighth of June went out the news, “My dear Katie brought into the world yesterday by God’s grace at two o’clock a little son, Hans Luther. I must stop. Sick Katie calls me.” When the baby was bound in swaddling clothes, Luther said, “Kick, little fellow. That is what the pope did to me, but I got loose.” The next entry in Han’s curriculum vitae was this: “Hans is cutting his teeth and beginning to make a joyous nuisance of himself. These are the joys of marriage of which the pope is not worthy.” On the arrival of a daughter Luther wrote to a prospective godmother, “Dear lady, God has produced from me and my wife a little heathen. We hope you will be willing to become her spiritual mother and help make her a Christian.”

David Daniell, William Tyndale: A Biography (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994).

This is a remarkable biography of a remarkable man. As Daniell recounts, we all stand in Tyndale’s debt in ways most of us never consider. A martyr for the faith, a translator of incalculable genius, and a life at the center of a great epoch — in William Tyndale we meet a man who literally gave his life for the furtherance of the Word. Incredibly, no biography of Tyndale emerged in the six decades prior to Daniell’s work. His biography was worth the wait.

Excerpt:

That is Tyndale’s first page; it is possible for a late twentieth-century reader to see it as unexceptional, even mild, and ever rather over-obvious, and to begin to patronise Tyndale. Yet the page, printed in English in 1525, contained high explosive. Inside the reasonableness of tone, stating the need for a New Testament in English as, to borrow a phrase, a truth universally acknowledged; a truth so obvious that it would be superfluous to explain, and only those who were blind or malicious or mad could deny it, as it would be mad to say that the Bible in English would cause evil, darkness and lying — inside that mildness was an attack on the Church so dangerous that it could only be countered by the most vicious burnings, of books and men and women. These first sentences of Tyndale have a calm that suggests that Tyndale himself does not understand yet that this work, and he himself, will be answered with hatred and burning.

Alister E. McGrath, A Life of John Calvin (London: Blackwell, 1993).

Oddly enough, John Calvin has not attracted the same volume of biographical attention that has collected around Martin Luther. This is a lack that cries out for attention, especially given the grotesque distortions of Calvin’s life and thought that prevail in so many quarters. Alister McGrath’s A Life of John Calvin is the best biography available at present, and it is well crafted for both academic and non-academic readers.

Excerpt:

His importance lies primarily, but by no means exclusively, in his being a religious thinker. To describe him as a ‘theologian’ is proper but misleading, given the modern associations of the term. A theologian is one who is generally seen to be marginalized as an irrelevance by church and academy alike, whose public is limited to a severely restricted circle of fellow theologians, and whose ideas and methods are generally derived from other intellectual disciplines. The originality, power and influence of Calvin’s religious ideas forbid us to speak of him merely as a ‘theologian’ — though that he certainly was — in much the same way it is inadequate to refer to Lenin as a mere political theorist. Through his remarkable ability to master languages, media and ideas, his insights into the importance of organization and social structures, and his intuitive grasp of the religious needs and possibilities of his era, Calvin was able to forge an alliance between religious thought and action which made Calvinism a wonder of its age.

George M. Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003).

Yale University Press continues its invaluable service in publishing the collected works of America’s greatest theologian — a project that continues to amaze, volume by worthy volume. With George Marsden’s biography of Edwards, the press has now published the most important biographical work on Edwards to be released in recent decades as well. The work is massive (How could it be otherwise?) and bold.

Excerpt:

Jonathan’s exhilarating reading of Locke, Newton, and a host of other modern thinkers convinced him that he stood at a pivotal point in New England’s history. This sense grew out of his personal experience. During the early years of such reading, his orthodoxy stood on shaky ground. Almost all modern thinkers professed a defended Christianity; yet virtually all, like Locke, endorsed a broader, more tolerant, and more “reasonable” religion than Jonathan had learned in Connecticut. As a young teenager he had thought of many reasons to doubt the Calvinist teaching of the total sovereignty of God, and these new authors may have reinforced those doubts.

Soon, however, the effect became almost the opposite. Somehow in the midst of his study and his agonizing spiritual searching, his doubts about divine sovereignty dissolved without his quite knowing why. By the time of the electrifying ecstasies of his conversion experience in the spring of his first graduate year, he was also enthralled by a sense of a special calling. He felt called to use the new learning in defense of God’s eternal word.

Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, 2 volumes (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Banner of Truth Trust, 1970).

Dallimore’s biography of Whitefield is among the greatest in terms of sheer inspiration and the urgency of Whitefield’s example. Lessons from Whitefield are worth this two-volume biography and more, and Dallimore takes his readers into the heart of Whitefield’s life and ministry.

Excerpt:

Open-air preaching is now so commonplace that it is difficult to realize how outlandish it seemed then.  There had long been propaganda to the effect that any display of spiritual earnestness might lead to trouble — even to civil disorder — and the generality of Englishmen believed it.  Public opinion confined the clergyman to a narrow area of activity, and though this might include such things as drunkenness and gambling, it left no room for evangelistic fervor.  Whitefield knew that were he to preach in the fields his enemies would make loud outcry, hurling the word enthusiast, ridiculing him personally and using his action as a means of bringing the whole revival movement into disrepute.

But, being soon to return to America, Whitefield could not long delay his decision.  Accordingly, shortly after his correspondence with Harris, he made up his mind:  he would take the momentous step, making at least one attempt at the open-air preaching.

Robert Moats Miller, Harry Emerson Fosdick: Preacher, Pastor, Prophet (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).

A biography of twentieth-century America’s most notorious liberal pastor belongs on this list?  Yes — precisely for that reason.  Evangelicals need to understand why Modernism and Liberalism attracted so many followers, and what happened to the liberal churches and denominations as a result.  All of the other figures on this list would be in agreement in judging Harry Emerson Fosdick to be a heretic — and they would be right.  In his fascinating biography of Fosdick, Miller takes us into the culture and mind of liberal Protestantism through the life of its most influential preacher.  Evangelicals reading this biography will recognize that many of Fosdick’s most dangerous ideas are appearing once more, sometimes from the mouths and pens of some who claim to be evangelicals — as Fosdick also claimed to be.

Excerpt:

For Fosdick, the Bible cannot always be taken literally, but it should always be taken seriously.  For Fosdick, the Bible is not a revelation from God, but it is a revelation of God.  He maintained that the Bible contains the Word of God, but not that it is the Word of God.  It is an “invaluable laboratory manual which records all phases of man’s life with God and God’s dealing with men.”  It is “a priceless treasury of spiritual truth, and from it have come the basic ideas and ideals on which the best of our democratic culture is founded.”  It is “an amazing compendium of every kind of situation in human experience with the garnered wisdom of the ages to help in meeting them.”  Many critics found these statements appallingly sub-Christian.

D. G. Hart, Defending the Faith: J. Gresham Machen and the Crisis of Conservative Protestantism in Modern America (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 1994).

Gresham Machen is the perfect character to follow Harry Emerson Fosdick, for in Machen we find orthodoxy’s greatest defender against the Modernist assault.  D. G. Hart provides a brilliant analysis of Machen’s life and impact in this interpretive biography.  Most importantly, Hart places the life of Machen in the context of Machen’s times and the crisis that conservative Protestantism faced in the early twentieth century — and in so many ways faces still.

Excerpt:

An extreme example of Machen’s concern for language came in the sermon that sent Henry Van Dyke looking for another church.  Here Machen parodied the liberal notion that each generation had to interpret the Bible or the creed according to its own time and place.  Did not the modernist preacher, Machen wondered, hold to a static view of language when it came to such questions as whether six times nine equaled fifty-four or whether the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia? Why, then, was the theological affirmation of Christ’s resurrection any different?  According to Machen, the standard liberal response was “Of course we accept the proposition that ‘the third day he arose again from the dead'” but because each generation has a right to interpret the creed in its own way “we interpret that to mean ‘the third day He did not rise again from the dead.'”  Machen’s own rejoinder was to fear for the future of language.  “If everything that I say can be “‘interpreted’ to mean its exact opposite, what is the use of saying anything at all?”

Iain H. Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years, 1899-1939 and D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith, 1939-1981 (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Banner of Truth Trust, 1982, 1990).

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, for decades pastor at London’s Westminster Chapel, was one of the greatest expositors of the twentieth century.  Beyond this, he stood at the center of the century’s great events and controversies.  In Iain Murray’s wonderful two-volume biography “The Doctor” and his ministry are presented and interpreted by one who worked alongside Dr. Lloyd-Jones and knew him well.

Excerpt:

Parallel with Lloyd-Jones’ observance of the world around him, but ultimately more decisive, was the growing recognition which came to him of his own sinfulness.  He began to recognise that sin was much more profound than such acts are commonly recognised as immoral: there is a wrongfulness in man’s very desires.  What the Apostle Paul calls ‘the lusts of the mind’ — pride, jealousy, envy, malice, anger, bitterness –are all part of the very same disease.  Even in the mind, his highest faculty, man has become a fool.  As this fact slowly dawned on Lloyd-Jones at about the age of twenty-three, his estimate of his own life was changed.  The very debates which he had so enjoyed on religious subjects he discovered to be nothing but evidence of his own depravity. Preaching in later years on the ‘lusts of the mind,’ he made one of his rare personal allusions when he declared:  ‘As I was preparing this sermon it filled me with a loathing and a hatred of myself.  I look back and I think of the hours I have wasted in mere talk and argumentation.  And it was all with one end only, simply to gain my point and to show how clever I was.

More lists to follow.  Read, learn, enjoy . . . and suggest yet other biographies worthy of the serious Christian’s attention and reading.

ALSO RECOMMENDED READING BY SCOTT BAILEY 2007

-Scott Bailey 2007

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