En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘education’

Secular Humanism…the stuff public education is built on!

Posted by Scott on September 8, 2009

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

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

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

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

Secular Humanism

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

The fundamental proclaimed beliefs are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Bailey 2009

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Train the children to be virtuous citizens!

Posted by Scott on September 7, 2009

In reading from the 1599 Geneva Bible that I love to refer to, Proverbs 22:6 reads like this “Teach a child in the trade of his way and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Then I look to John Calvin’s commentary on that verse and he states “Bring him up virtuously and he shall so continue.” That is profound to this verse. Bringing up a child virtuously so he continues in the ways of his training is terrific.

What does virtuous training mean though. I looked deeper into this training to see what the possibilities are and this is what I found. Virtuous is to be morally excellent and righteous in the sense of this passage. It also relates to raising our children to be effectuous. Effectuous is to have the power produce a desired effect or remedies. I like this as well…we should be training our children to be effectual in their lives towards Christ. We want them to have great effect over others and situations to the point they desire to have a Believer around because of the great effect they have in their lives.

Then I dug deeper into this virtuous training of our kids and discovered they are to be trained to be potent which to have great authority or influence. How great is that? By training our children in a virtuous life in the ways they go we want them to have a godly influence over the people they encounter. Our children will be good honorable citizens by way of virtue in the ways of Christ. This is why God instructs us parents to train them while we have them under our roof.

However, another category under the virtuous topic stunned my thinking on training. It is a reference to training them to be chaste. This is an old word, but still applies today. Training our young men, especially, to be chaste is training them to be pure in thoughts and actions (modesty). Further commentary on this for them to be “innocent of unlawful sexual intercourse”. Now, that puts it pretty point blank to me. We are to be instructing our kids from very young to they leave the home in many righteous ways, but surfacing to the top would be training them in sexual purity both in mind and action. Now, training this way is not what stunned me, but what stunned me was that it so specifically surfaced as a very important training for our kids. When you look at our culture, even within some church circles, sex is taken so lightly that our kids do not take it seriously either. Yet, from the very research I have done, this specifically was pointed out in the training. We have much to train our kids, but along with biblical truths, we need to be specific to the kids on each virtue especially sexual morality. Kids can find this battle difficult as the internet has brought every sexual perversion ever thought of right into our homes many times undetected, but we as parents are to do battle with this if we are to give our kids the proper training. Warning: DO NOT expect your public school to give this kind of training to our kids…please, DO NOT think they are going to be trained to be pure in thought and action at school.

Parents’, training our kids is not easy, but it is an area we need to take serious. Food to ponder on isn’t it?

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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Who do you want in your army? (From the Train up our children series)

Posted by Scott on September 7, 2009

My studies and research into Training our children is an eye opening experience.  We as parents too often have regarded this training too lightly and without any personal sacrifice.  We have expected other institutions and someone else to do most of the scholastic training, the church to do much of the spiritual training, and that has left us parents with too little time to train our children properly in the way the Lord intends that we train them.

 

In Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (NIV) To “Train…” could also be translated “Start a child in the way he should go…”  It is our job to start our kids from birth to the time they are out of the house in the way they go.  We are to point them in the right direction based on their inclinations, their bents, their personalities, their characteristics that God has planted in them from birth.  The instruction we give them in order to accomplish this endeavor for some 18 years or so cannot be done in one thirty minute interval each day throughout the week.  It requires that we spend time understanding how they are made and build this training around what God has wired them to do.

 

The daily 30 minutes (30 minutes may be too generous) each parent gets with a child to possibly inject something serious, something educational, something spiritual becomes impossible.  The first task a parent has to do each day is deprogram the humanistic worldliness that has been injected into them for 8 hours each day to start with.  Then deprogram the extra-curricular hours spent with others daily.  By the end of each day a parent may have 15 to 30 minutes to give the child something meaningful to remember.  My question is, can that short period of time overcome the barrage of hours they are being fed something contrary to what us parents should be teaching them?  The government run institutions by law cannot inject Christianity into our kid’s lives.  By virtue of the laws it has passed these institutions must teach secular humanism as the religion of the land which leads to socialistic attitude which will soon embrace socialism as the better way…all this will come from our kid’s public education.  While the church slept our country moved away from God into secular humanism decades ago.  Now, you are not allowed to pray in the schools without trouble.  You cannot bring a Bible to school without trouble.  You cannot inject any kind of bold Christian verbiage without possibly being disciplined, expelled, or fired from the school system.  You must teach evolution as proven fact while not even mentioning creationism as a possibility.  This is because the schools no longer hold to any kind of godliness at all even with Christian’s within its walls which is having no real measurable impact for the kingdom of God and will not as our time here draws to a close.

 

If we were to go into battle as families based on a holy war…in other words Christians vs. Secular Humanism or socialism, who would you want in your army?  Would you want someone on your team that has been trained 75% of their early life from say 6 yrs old to 18 yrs old in socialism, worldliness, humanism, and anti-Christianity?  In Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”  This type of training is first and foremost in the ways of the Lord, not how to get a good college education, how to become a good little employee or how to be model prisoners (another subject in and of itself).  I will not get into the other trainings that are coming from government education, but most of all, we as parents must make every effort and time to inject as much biblical training as we can on a daily basis if our kids must remain in a public school.  This may mean that we men stop playing golf as much or at all, stop fishing or as much, stop hunting or as much, stop spending so much time at the bars with the buddies having a beer (another subject all by itself), etc.  It may require we make tremendous sacrifices during our children’s adolescent years and teen years in order to be sure we have exhausted every chance to inject the proper training in the ways of the Lord, even if the kids must remain in the public school system, which I pray that many will reconsider.

 

Going back to who would you bring to battle with you, I refer to this training that is cross referenced to Abram in Genesis 14:14 where a relative, Lot and his family, was captured and Abram (future Abraham) called out for the 318 trained men born in his household and pursued the enemy with them.  These 318 men had been born under his roof and trained by him, not someone else.  He entrusted a serious situation with those whom he could trust, those trained and born under his roof.  This was an important mission for Abram and he could not depend on just anyone, but relied on those he could depend on and that was those men trained by him.  It was a long and difficult journey that required men that Abram knew their character, their bents, their personalities, their inclinations, their trainings, and most importantly, Abram could depend on who their allegiance was too, the Sovereign God.  Abram knew these men would perform, he did not worry for a moment that something a government school had taught them could come back to compromise this mission…Abram took this mission serious and Abram had taken these 318 men’s training serious years before.  Abram had not sent them off for someone else to raise, to train, to inject ungodly thoughts into…Abram sacrificed his time to train them or someone within his household he trusted to train.  This is why it is even more important that we as parents do the training of our children now and take the majority of every available moment with them to train them in the ways of the Lord above anything else. 

 

The training referred to in Genesis 14:14 crosses over to Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only be careful and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”   The Word of God does not leave much for discussion when it comes to training and teaching the children.  We are commanded to train our children in the way should go.  Whatever direction we send them daily, whatever actions we take on a daily basis more so than what we say on a daily basis will influence the way they will go.  How important do we really see our children and the future of Christianity in the world?  Do we see our children as true blessing of God to be cherished, watched over, trained, and even guarded?  I am afraid the message most kids get from parents today is that they are burden, parents can’t wait until the kids go back to school to get out of their hair, the parent(s) are always travelling while someone else keeps the kids, time spent with them is secondary to the parents work, golf, hunting, fishing, workout at 24 hour fitness, ladies night out or men’s night out, etc.  I know this will smash some toes and I am not saying any of these activities are wrong in and of themselves, but the message sent by many that I have encountered over the years is not far off from what I am talking about…that “kids are a necessary evil God has put upon them as punishment for some sin in their past”.  I have heard this on more than one occasion or some variation of that.  I am sorry, but that is the message coming across.  The kids are reacting to the message from the actions of their parents far more than the message coming from their parent’s mouths.

 

We have an 88% failure rate in our future young people.  That is huge and if it is continued will result in catastrophic events in our country in the near future.  Parents will find themselves as the enemy of their own children when it comes to Christ vs. humanism or socialism.  It will put dads against their sons and mothers against their daughters.  Jesus said He did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  Jesus is the sword that will divide households, families, friendships, and even churches.  If we as parents do not take our job in the training of our children more serious, we are going to see more and more households divided by the very subject of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior vs. worldliness, secular humanism, socialism, entitlement, riches, self-glorification and gratification, etc.  Not all kids will turn out this way, but an alarming 88% of them have the potential and in my humble opinion it is because of the failure of us parents not training our children in the ways of the Lord while turning our heads away and allowing the world to have all the time it wanted in training them in the way it wanted them to go.  Satan’s world wants your children to love to be rich, to want more stuff, to more entitlements, to want more government security, to desire to be a pro athlete, super model, world scholar, to want to look good all the time, to be more educated socially, to be a social party person, to want to be healthy all the time, to want more and more of this world while pulling them seriously away from the ways taught in the Scriptures. 

 

While the world and its system train the kids to be good socialist, God’s Word has commanded a different training…training in the ways of God which are drastically different than the ways of the world.  Why are we considered as aliens in this world?  Does much of the church today look foreign to you?  Do we teach our children any differently than the world does?  It is hard to see much light in this world of darkness even in the church today.  As parents our job is far too important to leave to the world.  God is using us to train the kids away from the world…yes, we have to live in this world and He did not say that would be easy either, but while we are to obey the laws of the land, we also to obey God’s holy Word in training our kids.  Our kids are future missionaries no matter what they do for a living.  They need to be taught that their job first and foremost is serving God. For our young men, when they have a family their first mission field is their wife, then their children then they can minister to those outside their homes…not the reverse.  The same can be said for the young women.  Individually, their first goals should be in service to Christ…God will take care of their living if they will work honoring God in all they do and that requires they be a very good employee yet knowing making money is not their priority, but serving God is.

 

In conclusion,  does training those hours per day in the ways of the Lord guarantee our children will turn out godly, no!  Only God can guarantee anything.  However, this sacrificial training us as parents is commanded to do give the proper tools to work with.  It is this training that the Holy Spirit uses in order to take them deeper into a relationship with God, making it harder for Satan to take them away.  Chances are greater, even if they do move away for a short period of time from the ways of God, in returning to their faith someday to grow in godliness and serve their Lord from then on into eternity.  The old saying “you can pay me now or you can pay me later” can be translated in this situation “you can pay the price now in training your children or you will pay a hefty price later for not training your children”.  The challenge is this; will you consider a different way of educating your children by seeking the face of God on this matter?  Can we commit to giving up activities in our own lives that take time away from a deeper training of the children in the ways of the Lord?  Are we willing to admit that all the excuses we as parents use in order to not change anything we are doing in regards to the lack of training our children get is sin and needs to be repented of?  This challenge is strong I know, but the future results of us having a godless generation is at stake here.  True Christian parenting does not resemble the world, the public schools, the social institutes in our country or anything else…Christian parenting has specific instructions from Scripture and we will be all the better for being obedient to it.

 

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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Skepticism Over Tony Blair and Rick Warren Interfaith Group!

Posted by Scott on June 10, 2008

by Jim Brown – OneNewsNow  

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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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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Older Kids Want to Learn About God, too!

Posted by Scott on November 19, 2007

And For Older Children . . . Respect Their Desire to Read and to Learn

Several readers of these articles and listeners to the radio program responded to the article on Bible story books for young children by asking about a book for older children as well. Thankfully, there is (as several readers pointed out) a wonderful resource in The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos.

The Child’s Story Bible goes far beyond the picture book format and will appeal to school-age children. The book is older than virtually all of the parents who will be reading it to their children. The enduring popularity of the book is at least partly due to the fact that Vos did not write in a childish manner, but instead assumed that children will want to learn and that they can handle a substantial story from the Bible — not just a story summary with pictures.

In other words, Vos had the ability to tell the story to children without writing in a condescending manner. The stories are wonderfully written and parents will enjoy reading them as much as children will enjoy hearing them.

Of course, many children will be able to read these stories for themselves — or at least to try. Let your children cut their teeth on this collection of stories from the Bible.

Most children will hear these stories for the first time as a parent or other adult reads to them. This is a truly special time for both parent and child.

Here are a few suggestions for maximizing the reading experience for school-age children.

1. Read at a specific time set as part of the ritual of the child’s life. Children thrive on structure and are motivated by anticipation. Make a special reading time part of the family’s day. The obvious time for this is bedtime, and for good reason. The child senses the end of the day is near, knows sleep is coming, and is more likely to be both calm and attentive.

Furthermore, the child is more likely to anticipate a special time of closeness with Mom or Dad (or both) at bedtime, dressed for bed and gathered with parents to end the day. There is nothing wrong with reading to the child at any hour of the day, but bedtime is undeniably special.

2. Read in a clear voice and avoid both excessive drama and a lifeless reading. A listless and lazy reader will lose the child’s attention, but an excessively dramatic reader will make the child grow accustomed to drama — often at the expense of thoughtful content and retention. You want the child to be fully drawn into the story, but you also want the child to be thinking about the story and its meaning.

3. When reading a Bible story, help the child to find the actual text of the account in the pages of the Bible. The child needs to learn to read the Bible itself — not just Bible story books, and to know that the Bible is God’s perfect and sufficient Word.

4. Place the story in its context within God’s plan and within the Bible. Help children to understand how every word of the Bible is fulfilled in Christ and finds its meaning within God’s plan to redeem His people from sin.

5. Recognize that many of the stories of the Bible teach a clear moral lesson — a lesson that children clearly need to learn and take to heart. At the same time, recognize that these accounts are never merely morality tales. Point your child to the big picture.

6. Never read down to your children, treating them as dull. Instead, give them a substantial story, lay out the narrative, and then trust that they will want to learn and to push themselves toward understanding. Then, be the human agent of that understanding by explaining the story with patience, creativity, and insight based in the fact that you know both the story and the child or children hearing it.

7. Be as honest as the Bible in revealing the strengths and weaknesses of God’s people. Children need to know that God loves us in spite of who we are as sinners, not because of our supposed worth. Children need to learn moral honesty and to know that all (even you, dear parents) are sinners.

8. Ask your children questions about the story to measure understanding, and make sure to see if they have any questions. Ask questions the next morning, during the day, on the playground, in the car, and when the child is in the bathtub. Encourage conversation about the Bible and Bible stories.

9. Ask older children to help with the reading and to grow accustomed both to reading for themselves and to reading aloud.  There is much too little reading of the Bible aloud to the congregation in many churches.  Let the recovery of reading aloud the Word of God begin in your home. 

10. Finally, teach them to pray the Scriptures, talking about the story just read and its biblical text as you pray. Pray that God will apply His Word to their hearts, thank God for His Word and for His love, remind them of Christ and His promises, and entrust them to God for the night and for eternity.

No moment invested in teaching your child the Bible and reading Bible stories is ever wasted time. If your reading of a story is interrupted by circumstances (or by a child who has lost the fight against sleep), just pick it up the next time and move on. Enjoy every moment while your children are at this precious and promising stage of life.

By Dr Albert Mohler Jr.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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

Posted by Scott on November 13, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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-From A Dad: Broken…but Not Finished!

Posted by Scott on November 9, 2007

Why is it that we resist being broken?  I think it is the pain, the affliction, the unknown, the stretching, the worry, the ruin, the humbleness, the running and the pulling that it takes to break us down…this is what keeps us from desiring brokenness.  This all makes sense doesn’t it?  Who in their right mind would invite death and pain and destruction into their lives on purpose?   Does God intend on doing this purposefully?  Absolutely yes!  For different reasons and for different time periods those God uses most he will hurt most deeply.

As I have contemplated Dana and I’s last 10 years we have been through which has included a tremendous amount of brokenness.  God has lead us into all kinds of situations and He has lead us out of them as well.  We have experienced pain, stretching, deep hurt, ruined lives, the very hand of a providential God molding our vessels into something that He can use.  The pain and hurt that yields  the most results for a gracious God does not come through light weight trials. 

Moses was a successful leader throughout all Egypt from a young age to about 40 years of age.  He had been trained by some of the finest minds in all the world at that time.  Moses had access to the highest authorities in the land.  He could run and play through that palace whenever it pleased him.  Then at a time of his choosing he was going to free the Israelites, however, the key words are “his choosing”.  In order for God to accomplish all He wanted for the Israelites and the leader He wanted to use for the task, He had to scrap every single last bit of selfish, arrogant, confident, man made success, and ambitious blood from within his body.  When Moses was about 80 years of age he had been a sheep herder in the desert for 40 years.  Moses was depleted as a man.  Moses most likely felt that God would never use him again for anything.  At this time, Moses was barely  a shell of the man he was at 40.  The best university Moses had attended was on the potters wheel of life.  For Moses, he was extremely humbled, no arrogance, no confidence in himself at all, worldly success was no longer a thought within his mind and heart, and the only ambition was to make through another day alive.  Now, after 40 years God had designed, molded, shaped, beat, and created a man He could use for His greater glory.  This would be the shell of a man that He would fill with Himself to free the Israelites from slavery.  Did Moses go through a two week training period and then was thrust into the lime-light?  I don’t think so…it took around 40 years to get Moses to the point God wanted Him.

King David is another human specimen that God stripped down, molded, beat, and reshaped for His glory.  As our culture today might think, when David was pronounced “King” a huge party should have taken place…parade him through town.  Be sure to send him on a book signing tour.  He should have been commended for such great achievement.  However, the streets were not lined people shouting his name as King.  This new king could not even live in a palace or the Kings tent.  For 10 years David was running for his life.  He planted himself in the land of En Gedi where God lead a team of undesirables to be David’s mighty men, his warriors.  In En Gedi, David found rest and peace for the long haul.  During that 10 years David was prodded, shaken, stripped down, and molded into “a man after God’s own heart”.  It was a time of God’s chosing that David became the King he was intended to be.   Kings are made by God and put on their thrones.

None of us that want to be used by God will get to that point without the narrow, dark tunnel of pain seemingly enveloping our lives.  Darkness tries to block us from God, but each time dark must yield to the light of our loving Lord Jesus.  As Steve Farrar has experienced it, “For the broken the Lord is very near and saves those in distress.”  Only someone that has been through a deep hurt, deep pain, deep trials, deep worries can express such profound wisdom in a time of great turmoil in others lives.  We must always remember what this life is about.  The very root of our very existence.  What the true success of our lives really is.  It is to bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ with all that we are and all that we have.  It is not about us in the least.  We are mere vessels to be broken and spilled out.   If we think for one moment that any one thing within this lifetime is about us, we have missed the mark entirely. 

Brokenness is the best thing that can happen to all of us.  To be probed to the depths of our being and scooped out.  To be snapped in half when we think everything is going so great.  To have a child born with a disease that will require a lifetime of care.  To lose a spouse in the prime of our lives.  To lose our business, savings, house, cars, and identity will prove to be an emptying experience.  At the end of the day we have nothing left of ourselves.  As a person once said that “we do not know how much we need God until God is all we have.”  Can we know who God really is if we are enjoying nothing but the best of life now on this earth?  Sure, each of us can convince ourselves we can, but when you dive deep into God’s word and look back on your life, what is there that sustains us?  What is there that has glorified God?  What have we experienced that will draw people unto Himself?   What kind of education have we really locked into our minds and hearts?  Do we really seek out the joy fo the Lord in order to make it our strength?

Looking back at Dana and I’s past 10 years I have some regrets on decisions made, but the Lord lead me all the way to that point and did not condemn me.  One thing we have both learned is that no matter how broken we are before our awesome God, He is not finished with us, but actually He is just getting us started.  The deep love of a God that chose (adopted/elected) me from before the foundations of the world and took the time to break me down to the core of my being, I could not and would not trade for all the money and success this world can offer.  A relationship that has been drawn out by Him…patiently waited upon by Him…new mercy each morning for us, demands my life, my soul and my all.

David said, “It was good for me that I was afflicted.”

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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-From A Dad: Devoted to Christ!

Posted by Scott on November 5, 2007

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

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

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

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

“Now thank we all our God,

with heart and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things hath done,

in Whom this world rejoices;

Who from our mother’s arms

hath blessed us on our way

with countless gifts of love,

and still is ours today.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

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

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

-William Cowper 1774

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

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

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

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

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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