En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘CHRIST’

“Truffles from Heaven” Moms Conference!

Posted by Scott on February 14, 2010

 

If you live in the North Dallas area please pass the word on about this great conference for moms. You can register online at Mom2Mom Ministry of Stonebriar Community Church!

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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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Check out my new site….

Posted by Scott on January 22, 2010

Goto www.EnGhedi.com for the new blog post and incredible link buttons. This will become within a year the main blog site.

 

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Who is God?

Posted by Scott on December 30, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lost in the Woods

Posted by Scott on November 30, 2009

Lost in the woods: An adventure of two old cowboys searching for lost calves!

It was the spring time of the year when Harold and I were working cattle for days without much sleep. Our job was to move over four hundred head of cows, calves, and bulls from one section of pasture to another which happened to be on the other side of the canyon. The distance between these two pastures was over thirty miles. Harold and I along with about fifteen other hired hands could move these “beeves” about 15 miles a day.  It could be dusty, wet, and sometimes sleepless, most of the time a thankless job. This particular morning it was briskly cold. A sharp chill would cut right through my jacket which seemed to pierce my skin going directly into my bones. At times the chill seemed to get into my blood stream and would make me shiver from my head to my toes. I shouted to Harold, “I can’t get warmed up this morning. I wish that north wind would calm down.” I spotted in the camp hot tar black coffee on the fire and I thought to myself, “That will warm me up for the long day ahead”. You see, a cowboy almost has coffee running through his veins rather than blood. We live off of coffee in order to stay awake, alert, and when it is cold, it provides warmth for our soul.

The pastures we were working were in the valley down below the Sunhill Mountain range in southwestern Colorado. You could travel through hot ninety degree days in the valleys and enter thirty degree nights in the mountain area. Great area to run cattle, but the weather could change on you within minutes it seemed. Mr. Garret owned this cattle ranch called “Running Bar Ranch” and the ranch has been in his family for three generations. So, we all took great pride in tending to Mr. Garret’s cattle.

It was Harold and I’s job to see to it that every single cow, calf, and bull made it safely to the next pasture. We did not leave one calf behind if it was at all possible. Leaving a calf behind to die was like losing money and Mr. Garret frowned on that, plus he would dock our pay one days wages if he found out we had not tried to retrieve a lost calf. From time to time a calf would stray off into the woods at the foot of the mountain range. When that happened we would go into the woods after them. However, the calves would do this when no one was watching and we would find a cow not wanting to go with the herd. She would stand at the edge of the herd bawling towards the woods. That was our indicator a calf was in the thickets of the woods. Sometimes the momma cows would bed them down in the woods and other times the calves would simply wonder off in curiosity. Either way, our job was to go in after them.

I remember one balmy late spring afternoon just after the morning chill had finally given into the sunny warmth. We were driving our beeves north to far end of the pasture. We noticed about five momma cows refusing to follow in with the rest of the herd. They kept running towards the thickets to our west bawling loudly, but no calves could be seen or heard. I looked at Harold and motioned for him head towards the thicket after the calves and I would be there shortly.

I road my big fifteen hand brown horse on up towards the front to let one of the hired hands know where Harold and I would be and to keep moving the herd forward and we would catch up with them later that evening. So, I caught up with Harold and we moved slowly and methodically into the thicket. The trees and vines were so thick at times we had to get off our horses and go further on foot. Harold hollered out to me, “Where in the world could those five calves be?” I looked at him and just shrugged my shoulders in bewilderment myself. I had no clue. What some of these momma cows will do is take their babies off into the woods and bed them down together. But usually one momma cow would stay with them like a baby-sitter. However, this time it seemed all the calves were alone.

My thoughts immediately started thinking about how wolves or mountain lions possibly could have gotten some or all of the calves. No matter though, Harold and I would not stop until we had found all of the calves safe and sound or what was left of them as proof of their whereabouts.

It started getting late as the sun was just barely peeking over the mountain peak and we had been hunting for these calves for hours. It was starting to get cold again and a small thunder shower had formed just above us over the mountain range. Fortunately, we had packed our rain slicks for such an occasion. As the rain pelted our heads and soaked our boots, Harold heard a faint bawl of a young calf. We hurried in the direction of the cry over large rocks and around enormous boulders. There just on the other side of a jagged boulder he found two of the calves hung up in some of the thickest vines and trees we had encountered. Since we found them, what would we do with them? It was no easy trip up into the mountain range to start with. Harold or I could take these two calves back, but what about the other three. About that time two of our riders from the herd came clapity-clopping up next to us. “Do you guys need any help finding the calves?” one of the hands yelled. “Yes, you can take these two calves back to their mommas with the herd while Harold and I look for the other three calves.” One of the hands yelled back, “We figured with it getting so late and we had not seen you guys yet, you probably needed help.” So, they put the calves across their saddles right in front of them and off on their horses they went.

As Harold and I climbed higher and higher into the mountain area the thicket was extremely dense. The darkness seemed to fall like dark chocolate running down the sides of an ice cream cone. It was thick and heavy darkness. I pulled out an old flashlight I had stuck in my saddle bag hoping it would still work. It has been at least 6 months since I last used it. Sure enough, the flashlight worked, when all of the sudden, Harold let out an “eek” loudly. I yelled over to him to find out what was the matter. When from high above us on rock cliff was the biggest mountain lion I had seen in decades. The sound from this mountain lion would make your skin crawl. The big cat was positioned to jump on top of Harold. I grabbed the 30-30 Winchester from my saddle holster took aim and fired. I nicked the cat right on his behind. The cat took off up the trail above the rock cliff out of sight. I hurried over to Harold to make sure he was alright and of course he was.

About the time we were starting to head up and around the rock cliff, I heard something off in the distance. A faint but steady bawl from a young calf. Apparently, Harold and I had gone too far up in the mountains not realizing where the calves might be. So, back down the trail we went and found the other three calves safe and sound. Harold grabbed one calf and stretched it across his lap while I took the other two smaller calves and stretched them across my lap on the saddle. Off towards the herd we went.

As we traveled down the mountain side we came across a good trail that lead us right out of the thicket in the valley below. The herd was bedded down for the night about twenty minutes ahead, so we should be able to get back in time for supper. I looked over to Harold and said, “You know Harold, you and I out searching for these five calves tonight through the thicket, the vines, the boulders, the jagged rocks, and all reminds me of how Jesus seeks us out to save us for eternity”. I quoted Jesus from Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Jesus’ mission all summed up in a few words. We came out into the mountain range to seek and to save that which was lost. The result was we found those calves and saved them from danger. Jesus does the same for his own people. “You see Harold; these calves were not looking for us. They may have known they were not in the right place, but did not know who to be looking for”, I spoke plainly to Harold. “People are the same way you know”. People don’t seek after to God. In their lost sinful state of being, they have not a clue they need Jesus”, I confidently exclaimed.

I pondered further about the subject for the next fifteen to twenty minutes until we got back to camp. Finally, arriving at the camp we put the calves back with their momma’s. All the bawling stopped as the calves and momma cows we joined together again. Thinking back over a Sunday-School lesson I heard about a son running off on his own lost to the world. The father speaking to the son’s brother quoting from Luke 15:32 says, “It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost and is found.” About that time one of the other hired hands came wondering up to me and asked what I was thinking about. So, I simply told about how Christ had come to seek and to save the lost of this world. How Jesus talked about in Luke 15:4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” I told the hand Jesus would come after the one lost no matter what. I then turned to him and asked him simply, “Have you put your complete trust in Jesus Christ as your only Lord and Savior?” He just wrinkled his face in an expression of “I don’t know”. We left it at that. But the day’s affairs had made me think more about Jesus seeking out His lost people and how He would go through the thicket, across the rocks and boulders engaging Mountain Lions and all in order to save His own.

by scott bailey (c) 2009

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Early One Thanksgiving Morning!

Posted by Scott on November 27, 2009

The sun was rising early one winter morning over the eastern horizon just barely peaking above the tall pine trees like the glitter of a shiny new diamond ring. The temperature was below 30 degrees, and it felt as though icicles could form on the end of our nose. Although, you could see the smoke from our breath it seemed once in the air it just stopped in midair for a moment before finally floating away. The morning was deadly still, no wind at all. With every heartbeat you could feel the pains of freezing cold run through your veins.

My brother, Jake and I was up early at the edge of the woods watching down a small natural clearing between the pines for the largest Tom Turkey we had ever seen on the last hunt we took. Jake, my younger brother, had caught a quick glimpse of him once before and the last hunt in September, both of us saw him up closer. This turkey would feed a large family for days we thought. So, this morning, the day before Thanksgiving, we were determined to bag this old Tom and bring him home to feast on for Thanksgiving. Both of us had twelve gauge shotguns and three loaded shells total between us. So, we must be accurate and selective with our shots.

As we waited next to a couple of huge pine trees almost frozen to the tree from the cold, we heard a noise coming from behind us. It was a noise we had not ever heard before. It was the sound of a large giant grunting through the woods, bouncing off the trees, tumbling in the leaves, and splashing in the creek bed. At times it sounded as though there was more than one, but then at other times only one of whatever this was. Jake and I would watch intently behind as we tried to keep a corner of one eye down the lane for the old Tom Turkey.

In a brief moment of silence, we could hear in the distance the gobble call of a wild turkey. We rubbed the frozen fog out of our eyes to make sure our sight was as clear as possible in order to see the turkey. The sound seemed to get closer to the lane, but nothing was in sight yet. Behind us the noise was also getting closer. Jake and I were perplexed at what we should do…it seemed as though what was behind us would collide with us head-on about the time the turkey would come into the clearing just 50 yards down the lane.

I told Jake to move to his right just behind the tree next to the one near the clearing in order to get a better look behind us to see whatever was tumbling, grunting, and somewhat squeeling down the hillside. We could not imagine what it could be. One thought crossed my mind maybe it was another big turkey. Jake said it may be a stray cow wondering through the woods trying to get back to its herd. Neither of us were satisfied with those ideas, because the noises did not sound like a turkey or a cow. We had to focus on the turkey. Our main goal was to get the biggest Tom Turkey from those woods for our Thanksgiving feast.

All of the sudden the racket behind us finally stopped. We finally took a deep breath which almost froze our lungs as our focus went back to clearing and the call from a turkey. “Still no sign of a turkey”, Jake whispered. We looked all around as far as we could see through the clearing in order to spot the first sign of a turkey. The gobbling noise was getting closer, but still we could not even see the hint of a turkey. By this time, the smoke from our heavy breath seemed to freeze midair as it clouded our vision of the clear lane in anticipation of the wild turkey entering the lane with what we supposed would be splendor. As it seemed like a decade of time waiting for that turkey to come out into the clearing, Jake tapped me on the shoulder with a shaky kind of tap.

I shrugged off his attempts to get my attention for a moment as to indicate to him “stop and watch the clearing”. A few seconds went by when the tap on my should was more forceful and now quivering. So, in disgust I turned to give Jake a stern look of disgust, when I caught a whiff of a smell that was undescribable. The smell was similar to a packing plant, but the stinch was even worse than that. As I peaked over Jake’s shoulder I caught a glimpse of the largest nostriles I had ever been eye to nostrile with attached to one of the biggest, stinkiest, angriest wild hogs we had ever put our eyes on. There it was peering down at us on the ground, with a half cocked grin on its face, teeth gleeming just a bit, its breath fogging out the sides of its mouth like a steam engine train about to leave the station and with a glare in its red glowing eyes as though it had found fresh meat for its own winter feast. It was not moving, but my thoughts were “this beast is definately trying to decide which one of us to eat first”.

Jake was frozen in fear on the ground. He had a huge hunting knife on his belt, but could not move towards it for fear this wild beast would attack. To my surprise the wild hog was not attacking. It was glaring at us, mouth half cocked open, and breathing hard with a labored breath. I was not sure the smelly pig could even see us, but I was not willing to just set there and find out either. Knowing we could not get up and out run the horrible pig, very carefully and slowly I raised my twelve gauge shotgun just above Jake’s shoulder. Working carefully to move it forward so the end of the barrel of the gun was clear of the side of Jake’s face while pointing it directly in the face of this wild beast. What seemed to be huge chunks of time slowly passing by was only a few seconds. As I was trying hard to steadily pull the trigger, all of the sudden without warning something startled the hog and the hog jumped backwards and my shot fired directly through the left ear of the stinking beast. The hog ran off tumbling on the ground and bouncing off the trees grunting and squeeling as it ran the opposite direction up the clearing. Our guess at the time was the hog weighed in around 155 pounds. This was a big hog. “We could have eaten that big hog”, Jake confidently exclaimed. I told Jake the hog was much closer to eating us than we were of eating him. Let us just be thankful the hog is gone. We came to get a turkey anyway.

Now, Jake and I figured the shot of the gun would have destroyed our chances with the old turkey down the lane. Jake looked down the clearing and saw the head of a turkey picking something up off the ground through the tall tickle weeds lining the clearing. He rubbed his eyes again to make sure he was seeing what he was seeing and sure enough, it was that huge Tom Turkey. About the same time as our shot a big gust of wind came up from the direction of the turkey. Apparently the shot of our gun had been muzzled by a number of factors including the strange wind and the turkey had not heard the shot.

About the time I got a good glance at the turkey, he started moving up towards us just outside the tickle weeds and johnson grass pecking pebbles and seeds off the ground on his way towards us. My thoughts going through my mind was, “Lord, on this day will You deliver this turkey into our hands?” “You, Lord, always know our needs and You know this Thanksgiving my family has nothing to eat. You always make a way for Your people don’t You?” I knew in the back of my mind the wild hog that got away would have supplied meat for our family too, but Jake and I were especially wanting that turkey.

We are now down to two loaded shells for this turkey. My thoughts went towards mom back home with our three younger sisters and my grandfather who is in bed ill from cancer. My dad had died in an accident at the local mill several years before and the old farm house was cold, drafty and musty. It seems when the wind picks up from the north it comes right into our old house without any trouble, swirling around everyone’s head and does not stop going through our house until it exits the other side. The living room is where most of the family stays all day and the cold wind always seems to swirl vigorously around the room as we cover in blankets and huddle closely to the fire built in the little pot bellied stove. The vinyl on the kitchen flooring would raise up from wood as the wind tried to get into the house from underneath. What wallpaper was left on the walls flapped to the breeze of the strong north winds. The lighting in the old house was minimal at best. The owner of the home was an elderly man at the next farm and he could not afford to replace anything in the home and really we were grateful he was allowing us to rent the place in return for taking care of some of his cows and a few pigs on the old farm.

Today, however, if this old turkey continues in the direction he is moving, we will feast tomorrow with enough food to warm our bellies and help us to celebrate in true thankfulness for what God has given to us this day. Sure, we have lots to be thankful for already, but would it not be nice to say grace over a big turkey God provided for Jake and I to hunt down?

My thoughts cleared up and I could refocus on the turkey still moving up the lane was within twenty feet of us. Jake told me to take the first shot and he would back me up if I missed. I zeroed in on the old Tom Turkey, placed my steady trigger finger firmly on the trigger. What seemed to take me hours I knew was only split seconds in pulling the trigger, calmly and methodically I aimed at the head of the Tom Turkey, when all of the sudden out of the brush with a fluttering motion and noise from within itself a fine looking ringneck shot up right next to the turkey causing the old Tom to run off into the weeds while at the same split second I fired off my shot. I could not believe Jake and I had been out in that clearing since before the dawn of the day, in the bitter cold, nearly eaten by a wold hog, and now this old turkey was getting away again. Jake and I never recall seeing many pheasant in that area of the woods before. For that matter we do not recall ever seeing any wild hogs roaming those woods either. What a disappointment this morning has been. Such anticipation on getting that big old turkey and now it is gone. I quietly exclaim, “Could that old turkey just be a ghost turkey or something? No one seems to be able to kill it.”

Jake and I packed up our stuff and headed back towards the house empty-handed with one final loaded shell in Jake’s gun. We were extremely disappointed. With our heads dropped low and our walk kind of dragging we made our way back towards the house. Our family would not eat very well this Thanksgiving. My mind began to wonder as I began to remember the promises I had heard from the stories momma told us about God. Promises like He would never leave me alone by myself or forget about me. Other promises like our Lord would feed us when we were hungry, give us clothing when we need clothing, and shelter from the elements when we needed it. Momma always said no matter what, God would take care of His own and we needed to be found faithful and obedient to Him above eerything else. The further we walked towards home I took great comfort and peace in those promises. I could tell Jake was not as convinced as I was, but he would learn. I reminded Jake about those promises momma had read to us from the big Bible in the living room about how God would provide food for us and put food on the table this Thanksgiving and probably even better food than what we were hunting for that morning. Discussing this for a moment it seemed to lift our spirits and we raised our heads as we picked up the pace heading home.

As we climbed up a small hill on the path back to our house, we heard something strange coming towards us on the path just behind a patch of dried up sunflowers. All of the sudden out of nowhere a much larger Tom Turkey was pecking around on the lane right in front of us. The turkey had not seen us or heard us yet, but as soon as the turkey rounded the corner I had my eyes on him. Jake was not bashful either. He knew exactly what he needed to do and he confidently put his finger on that trigger without much of a thought and he fired of his gun. The last loaded shell we had was now spent towards this big old turkey. For me, it seemed like I could see each and every little ball of BB’s from that shell move through the air towards the turkey. All of our hopes was in that last shot. Jake had nailed the Tom Turkey dead. Feathers fluttered up into the air like dust from a storm. Both of us looked towards each other with a confident smile as though we had never doubted this moment would come. As Jake was picking the old turkey up, he looked at me with a strange, but satisfied look. “Well, we can eat well tomorrow”, Jake said loudly.

Jake further said, “God knows exactly what He is doing. This turkey is far bigger, younger, and better than the other one was”. Looking back I started to see God’s providential hand in the entire hunting experience. We only had three loaded shells on us. I started to conclude that God caused that old hog to come right on top of us, but did not allow the hog to attack us, yet He had us waste a shell trying to kill the beast. Then He directed the big Tom Turkey up the path right beside a pheasant and allowed that turkey to get away. God knew we were down to one bullet shell and was disappointed in our failure on the hunt. All the time God knew He had a bigger and better turkey up that path for us. He wanted me down to my last bullet so I had to rely on Him for the provisions for our Thanksgiving dinner. God is His infinite wisdom was building a faithful character in Jake and I that morning unlike any other time in our lives. As Jake and I took off half way running towards home, I simply looked up to the sky and quietly spoke, “Thank You my God for providing for us this Thanksgiving. Thank You, Lord, for proving my momma right as she told us about the promises you make to us when we are faithful to You”.

Our family was humbly thankful to God for providing us with such a treat as that big delicious turkey. It had so much meat on it we ate turkey for three weeks savoring each bite. I can tell you Jake and I have never doubted God’s hand on our lives from that day forward. We trust He always is working His perfect plan to the end and we need to step in and take part in whatever He is doing.

scott bailey (c) 2009

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Fit To Be Used by Ray C. Stedman

Posted by Scott on November 24, 2009

by Ray C. Stedman

2 Timothy 2:20-26

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).

Those with pure hearts are not sinless saints; they are not holier-than-thous who have never done anything wrong. They are not the kind of people who look down their noses at everyone else who gets into trouble. No, the word pure would be better translated “cleansed,” past tense–those with a cleansed heart, those who have already known what it is to be where you are. They do not put you down; they encourage you. They say, “I know how you feel. I’ve been there too, but God picked me up. I know what it means to lay hold of His great, forgiving love.” So one of the necessities of being used of God is that you keep company with those who are aiming in the same direction.

I had an occasion to spend a day at Vacaville Penitentiary. I had not been there before. It was a most remarkable experience to see Christian friends working in the prison as salt within a corrupt society. It was a rainy day, and no one was out in the yard. Everyone was in the halls, so it was like going into a high school that had just been let out for lunch. Among the inmates of that overcrowded prison, a Christian group is maintaining a testimony that is keeping that prison away from violence, acting as salt to preserve it in the midst of a very explosive situation.

In the chapel I sat next to a man who had been a murderer–a murderer several times. He had been one of the roughest, fiercest convicts in the prison system. He had stabbed several people while he was in prison, and he was a member of the gang that tried to rule the prison, a vicious loner who would not hesitate to take a human life. Yet God had reached him. Now he is the most gentle-spirited, gracious fellow, a teacher of the other prisoners, instructing them in the truth of God.

I met with others who had been rapists, murderers, and child abusers, men whose lives were changed, who were now listening to and rejoicing in the Scriptures. I asked the leader of the group what it was that most disappointed him in his work. Without hesitating he said, “it is those who are so dramatically changed here but who lose all they have gained when they get out”. I asked why that happened. “Because they go back to the same old crowd,” he said. We are not made to live alone. We are made to live with others; we need the support of others. Those who surround themselves with a non-Christian view of life and non-Christian friends are almost certain to go back at last into that way of thinking and living. So if we want to be used of God, the apostle urges us to seek the companionship of those of like mind.

Lord, grant me the strength to say no to the things I must and yes to the things that I should, that You may find me usable in Your hand, a vessel fit for the Master’s use.

For the complete message by the late Ray C. Stedman go to Ray Stedman.

Scott Bailey 2009

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Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World-Book Review

Posted by Scott on November 21, 2009

 “Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World” by Dr. David Jeremiah. What on earth should we do now?

Today, we are living in difficult times. Corrupt administrations, rumors of wars, famines, disease, joblessness, and more. With carnage all around us, our friends and family loosing their jobs and begging for answers, what will do.

Dr. Jeremiah has written a terrific book addressing from a biblical point of view how we can cope in the midst of such trials. Our future does not look any better, but how we respond to the future is the key. Dr. Jeremiah tells us how we can weather the storms by calming the heart. He also addresses an common question on what it means to wait on the Lord. But most appropriately how in the world did we get in this situation…how did the world end up in such a horrible mess.

In this book, Dr. Jeremiah explores ten scriptural prophecies that describe what the future return of Jesus Christ means to us. In the meanwhile, we must know how to respond to the trials, the wilderness around us.

I recommend the book if you need answers to these questions and more. Dr. Jeremiah very smoothly and calmly puts todays world into perspective for Believers of all walks of life.

Scott Bailey 2009

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My Light in the Wilderness

Posted by Scott on November 17, 2009

from “A Pilgrimage through the Wilderness” by Scott Bailey

John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world,  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” 

 

 

    One of the books that has had a remarkable impact on my life is William Manchester’s
    magnificent biography of Winston Churchill entitled The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill:
    Alone (1932-1940). In this book Manchester describes those years when Churchill was the single
    voice in the House of Commons who tried to warn his country against the impending threat of
    Nazi Germany. He begged his fellow citizens to arm their country and to prepare for what he
    knew would be a German takeover of Europe.
    Churchill later referred to these years as the “Wilderness Years.” He was alone. He was
    jeered, made fun of, and ridiculed in every imaginable fashion. For eight long years he was a
    lone voice in the wilderness, urging his people to wake up to the evil that surrounded them on
    every side.
    But in that terrible spring of 1940, when the Low Countries fell to the German
    Wehrmacht and France finally collapsed in defeat as well, the King of England, George VI,
    turned to Winston Churchill as the one person in England who had the power to unite his people.
    He was the one person who had warned England of what would happen with Hitler in power. On May
    10th Churchill was summoned to Buckingham Palace and invited by the king to form a coalition
    government. On his way from the palace back to his home Churchill commented to his driver
    that he believed that every event in his life had prepared him for this moment: every
    disappointment, every heartache, every ridicule, every set back had prepared him for the task that
    was now before him.
   
    History tells us Winston Churchill was prepared in the wilderness for such a time as WWII. Each event had prepared him for this special mission in history. God had exhibited light on Churchill to catch a vision for what the future would hold if two or three wild dictators were let loose on the world. Churchill was called on to come out of the wilderness into the foothills of a great mountain to climb in defeating the Nazi army and fascism. In similar

At some point in our life we all find ourselves in such a dark place spiritually. Cold and lifeless, quiet and without motion in a darkness difficult to explain can be one of the most fearful times in any Believer’s life. 

fashion, we should remain in God’s light while taking this pilgrimage through the dark wilderness. It is from His great light we need for the next step, not necessarily a lighted pathway revealing our entire future.
   
    “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turn my darkness into light.” -Psalm 18:28 (NIV)
   
    Have you ever been out after midnight or later without a glimmer from the moonlight, or even street lights? It is a deep dark and scary place. It is so dark you cannot even see your hand in front of your face at first. At some point in our life we all find ourselves in such a dark place spiritually. Cold and lifeless, quiet and without motion in a darkness difficult to explain can be one of the most fearful times in any Believer’s life. Matthew Henry states:
   
    “Let those who walk in darkness, and labor under discouragements, take courage; God Himself will be a Light to them.”
   
    In those darkest hours of our life, when all hope seems to be lost, our Lord will pierce through the darkness with the purest Light of the Son of God. Jesus presents us with hope for those long waiting periods for the dawn of day and He conquers our darkened fears with the Light of His Word.

Go to the Word of God
   
    I hear and see so many people find themselves deeply troubled in finances, marriage, health problems, unemployment, with friends, neighbors, family, and enemies. Troubles will find us no matter who we are and each day has many issues, rest assured. When those times clearly present themselves our reaction shows who we are and the character our foundation is built upon. Today, I would say most run to another person, mentor, counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or minister. This is not all bad, but most people want some kind of quick fix to deep rooted issues. If these professionals or willing volunteers will point people to God’s Word for direction, encouragement, answers, and healing our psych-wards would be empty today. Fact is these people take a “worldly” approach to advising people which only serves to compound the problems even more. Go to the Word of God and immerse yourselves in it. I cannot stress this enough. All of the answers, guidance, encouragement, revelation, healings, and courage can be found there. Make God your counselor, your healer, your mentor, and the light for the pathway through the darkest hours of each day.
   
    An unknown author once quipped, “Faith is the light that guides you through the darkness.” We must understand something here, many people around us face dark times. Some commit suicide to escape this unbearable darkness in the wilderness. Others get on drugs or alcohol to escape the dark world. Some use sexual encounters, whether real or fantasy, in an attempt to forget those dark sorrows for a moment. Whatever the release you can think of people use it, but the sad part is they have no faith in Jesus Christ and are never healed from their darkest season of life.
   
    Those of us claiming to be trusted Believers, should face our darkest moments with a faith that sheds a bright light which pushes the darkness away. The awesome power of the Word of God cannot be encroached by any darkness. If this is what we believe then why do we make every excuse and effort to stay away from God’s Word? Do we find it too hard to obey? Is it that we cannot commit ourselves into the waiting arms of Jesus and admit we cannot fix our problems and neither can anyone else? One of the biggest struggles I see in the world today is people refuse to trust in the Light only Jesus Christ offers. They would rather set in the dark, cultivating self-pity, feeding their sinful desires, pumping up their own egos, rather than living victoriously in the Light of Christ. This shows just how sinfully depraved people are by refusing the Light in order to stay in their own darkness.
   
    David sings a song in 2 Samuel 22:29:
   
    “You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.”
   
    This great verse in Psalm goes much further to describe what David would do because of God’s tremendous enablement. This would be the Old testament version of Philippians 4:13. David understood his abilities were possible because of God’s blessing and favor on his life. The same song is found in 2 Samuel repeated in Psalm 18:28. David knew the light was in his life. He knew who his sustainer was. David did not mind singing about it either.

When the time comes to do what God has asked us to do, the strength will be there. When we find ourselves in a hole and not able to get out, the help will be there. When our body feels week and it seems we cannot take another step, God will uphold us.

Do not fear
   
    Many times darkness will come over me and the tendency is to fear it. At times I can identify the darkness and at other times it comes from out of nowhere like a thick fog dense fog around a swampy pond. I have to remind myself God will turn this dark moment into His precious light. I look at it like this; I am on a journey in this life, on a narrow road or pathway, with dark places covering the road. My reliance is found with the Lord. He becomes the lamp for my feet and the light on my path. So, this darkness pushes me to watch the light my Lord provides me in order to go another step on this pilgrimage through it. Notice I said “through it”? We will go through dark valleys, dark wildernesses, or even dark deserts. These dark dry times are not going to be easy. Remember, anyone’s pilgrimage through the wilderness is through a dark, lonely, dry place, where the snakes are venomous and nights are cold, but God tells us in His Word:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”(Isaiah 41:10)

God tells us over and over throughout Scripture, “Do not fear” or “Do not be afraid”. If God is the One who is telling us this, we can rest on the promises He has made concerning our situations in life. He says, “I am with you”. He also tells us, “I am your God.” So, why do we serve other gods at times? Why do put fame, fortune, and our own selfish desires ahead of God? He tells us here in these verses, “I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you…all with His righteous right hand.” Believer’s have nothing to fear in this world. When the time comes to do what God has asked us to do, the strength will be there. When we find ourselves in a hole and not able to get out, the help will be there. When our body feels week and it seems we cannot take another step, God will uphold us. Folks God’s righteous right hand is mightier than the mightiest armies on earth-past, present or future. Learn to live on the promises of God; this is why God gave us promises, they are like food for the mind and body.

To borrow a story that Dale Carnegie used in his famous book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, which was published in the 1940’s, Dale described a young medical student anxious about his formidable future.  His thoughts were on graduating high school, then graduating from med school, and then on to making a living. In actuality he was working himself into a nervous breakdown.  Then one spring day in 1871 this young man read twenty-one words from the writings of Thomas Carlyle that changed his entire way of thinking.  This young doctor became the most famous physician of his era.  He organized the John Hopkins School of Medicine and became Regis Professor of Medicine at Oxford.  His name was Sir William Osler and the words he read:  “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” 

We will experience times filled with darkness, temptations to fear and give up, attacks by our enemies, heavy burdensome tasks and more. The seasons of refinement are not easy to endure, but each Believer must experience a time like this in their life. Not all seasons of life are the same, but the lessons to be learned are for God’s greater honor and glory. Do what you can see is clearly before you and stop worrying about what you can only see vaguely out in the future.  We do not need to be anxious about what tomorrow has for us, what lies in that dusky darkness, but let God take care of the tomorrows while we take one small step at a time as God lights each step of the way for us. An old saying goes like this, “Step into the light.” As Believers in Jesus Christ, we are to step into His wonderful light.

Humiliated into usefulness
   
    The darkness exists to bring humility into our lives. God uses this time to teach us humility and then raising us back up to glorify Him. Being humbled takes time and usually dark harsh circumstances. Moses spent forty years enduring humiliation while in the desert to the point when God called him out to deliver His people, Israel, Moses thought he was unable for the task. Moses has been proud and fearless, but God transformed over a 40 year time period this arrogantly educated man into a bumbling, stumbling, speechless, sheep-herder. God would not use the Moses at forty years old, but He would use the Moses of 80 years old.

…we serve a God who is willing to submerse us into the desert wilderness and humiliate us to the point of submitting to His commands in order to raise us up another day to victory.

Why does God choose people with little to no influence on the world, the nobodies to carry His message forward? I believe for the most part it is because of what God teaches us in the Bible that we have nothing we can boast in of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9). We have not created anything apart from His work in our lives, we did not save ourselves, and we cannot save others. However, we can give glory where glory is due…to God the Father! It is Him who sustains us, gives us strength, and guides us through those dark wilderness valleys. Nothing comes from us; everything is from God and Him alone. Without God’s Light in the darkness we will never succeed or go forward. Churchill was humbled tremendously in the years between WWI and WWII. They refined him, humbled him and prepared to finish the race strong. He led the British Empire to an over whelming victory against the greatest odds England had ever known. We too are up against those same odds, however, we serve a God who is willing to submerse us into the desert wilderness and humiliate us to the point of submitting to His commands in order to raise us up another day to victory.

In a story told by Isobel Kuhn, missionary to China some 60 plus years ago, as she ran from Communist who were over taking China with her son Danny in tow.  She ended up in upper Burma stranded at what she called “the worlds end”.  She had no money and could not speak the language and was half a globe away from home, she later wrote, “I cannot tell you the dismay and alarm that filled me.”  In her perplexity, in her wilderness, feeling very helpless at that moment, she made two decisions.  “The first thing is to cast out fear, because the only fear a Christian should entertain is the fear of sin.”   Isobel’s second determination was to “seek light for the next step.” 

Isobel did make it home safely with her son, but she had to travel trusting God for His guidance each small step she took under the guiding light of her Lord.  We, too, have to take each step of our pilgrimage in the wilderness in small increments as God shines His light on the steps…if no light shines then stop and wait.  He will give us the ability to withstand the waiting as He prepares to shed glorious light on our next step.

by Scott Bailey (C) 2009

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Seven Losses When A Christian Lives In Sin!

Posted by Scott on November 11, 2009

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

Psalm 51:1-2

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

Loss #1: LIGHT

1 John 1:6

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

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

Loss #2: JOY

1 John 1:3-4

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

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

Reference John 15:11 & Galatians 5:22

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

Loss #3: RIGHTEOUSNESS

1 John 3:4-10

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

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

Loss #4: LOVE

1 John 2:5-6

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

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

Loss #5: FELLOWSHIP

1 John 1:3

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

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

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

Loss #6: CONFIDENCE

1 John 3:19-22

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

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

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

Loss #7: HEALTH & POSSIBLE PHYSICAL LIFE

1 Cor 11:30

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

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

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

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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