En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

Reassuring Voice of Psalms: Book Review!

Posted by Scott on February 20, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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“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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Posting on a new site!

Posted by Scott on December 9, 2009

Christmas Greetings-

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

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

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

Pressing on, Scott

www.EnGhedi.com

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Itching Ears and Liars Tongues!

Posted by Scott on November 4, 2009

The time will come (is here now) when people will not put up with sound doctrine & teaching. They will surround themselves with teachers & preachers who scratch their itching ears by telling them what they want to hear. They will not listen to the truth, but will embrace myths, philosophies of men, & other non-Christian religions.

“Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to from hearing. They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by His spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.” – Zech 7:11-12

God’s Word found in the Christian Bible are breathed out by God Himself & merely penned by writers of His choosing. This Word is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training people in righteousness. Why do we need this? So we may be completely ready, fully equipped for every good work God calls us to do.
Our charge, especially if in the ministry:
-Preach the Word, preach it when people want to hear it & receive it & preach it when they stick their fingers in their ears & want nothing to do with it.
-With great patience & careful handling of the Scriptures, correct, rebuke, & encourage the fellow Believer’s.
-Keep a steady head & attitude at all times….
-Endure suffering & hardships, because they will come.
-Evangelize always…share the gospel wherever you can.
-Stay with the ministry you are in until your life is over…no retirement from the ministry.

Parents, you can take this charge into your households & apply it to your family. The husband is to be the Priest of his home & handle the Word of God carefully & graciously towards his family. You want to make a difference in your kids lives? Teach them the Word of God daily. Take the opportunity during each day to teach a lesson from everyday situations in life. God gives us parents so many opportunities yet we fail to see them. Look for them everyday.

Correct the kids ills from the Word of God. This is our main authority anyway. They need to understand how important God’s Word is in our lives & how important it is to their lives.

Encourage the kids from God’s Word. Find ways to encourage them. We have the tendacy to say “NO” & correct them so them many times each day they hardly ever hear a positive word from our mouths. So, when one of our kids is feeling depressed or out of it, encourage them from the Word of God…it is full of encouragement.

Train them to be holy & righteous. Teach them little white lies are not alright. Take a paperclip from school or work is not alright if not done with the “ok” of the teachers or bosses. Teach them it is not “ok” to cheat on anything. However, teach them to seek out God’s holiness, His purposes, His ways, His instructions, His wisdom, His knowledge…teach them to go to the Word of God, first! Train them to do what is good at all times, to do what is right in every situation even if it hurts them.

 

-scott bailey (c) 2009

 

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Be My God in the Wilderness

Posted by Scott on June 25, 2009

In 1823, Glass signed on with a crew of trappers heading up the Missouri River to Ft Henry, in southwestern Montana.  Halfway to their destination, Glass, who was about 40 years old, was tracking game when he stumbled upon a mother grizzly and her two cubs.    The bear reared up and dug her teeth deep into his flesh, ripping off large chunks of raw flesh.  His companions came down the path and shot the large six-foot creature through the head and the bear collapsed dead on top of Glass.  The hunters, thinking there was no way the man could live through the night, made him a bed out of buffalo hide and watched for him to die.  However, the next morning, Glass was still alive.  The leader of the mission, Major Andrew Henry, decided that the trappers needed to move out of the hostile Arikara Indian territory and paid two men to stay with Glass in what they thought was his final hours of life.  Glass, however, held on to life.  After three more days, the men paid to stay with Glass abandoned the trapper, taking his knife and his gun.

Glass woke up and found himself alone and unable to stand up and walk.  he began to crawl on his belly the estimated 100 plus miles back to Ft Kiowa.  This crawl was through the middle of the feared Arikara Indian territory.  So, inch by grueling inch, Glass, crawled along and had learned as a young man from the Pawnee Indians how to survive off the land.  He dragged himself through the rough rugged land, getting his strength by eating wild berries and rotting meat from carcusses of buffalo calves killed by wolves.  After nearly six months, Glass crawled into the town of Ft Kiowa.  After a lengthy time of healing, Glass, resumed his life as a trapper again.  It would be a nice ending if he lived happily ever after right, but ten years later while on a trip along the Yellowstone Rive, the feared untamed Arikara Indians killed Glass dead.

A story like this keeps us glued to each sentence does it not?  The trauma, the pain, the desolation, the coldness, then the heat, the spilled blood, loss of flesh, the fear, the loneliness and more are all a part of the wilderness.  People who have survived such traumatic situations in the wilderness have experienced some or all of the traits I mentioned before.  Nearly anyone who found themselves in the wilderness would tell us they really did not think they would come out of it alive.

All of us probably could tell of a story of wondering in the wilderness while setting in the middle of our living rooms, setting in a pew at church, at our desk at the office, or any other day to day place we go.  The wilderness does not have to be hundreds of miles from us, it can be right where we are at this very moment.  The lonely feeling in the middle of twenty friends, the coldness on a ninety five degree day, or the depression before the sun comes up over what most would seem is a great life, all of these expressions and more can infect our very souls when captured in a desolate wilderness that no one can drag us out of or possibly even find us there.

This takes us to another true story from the Old Testament of the Bible.  We find Moses as a young man in his late thirties living life large.  He has everything he could ever want or need.  He has the finest education in the land, can go wherever he so desires.  I would say that Moses was not found “wanting” for anything by today’s worldly standards.  However, Moses found himself growing deeply troubled by the treatment of his blood kinsmen in the land.  He could sense God’s calling on his life to get his people out of Egypt, but how or where.  After the death of an Egyptian soldiers at the hands of Moses, he ran…he ran so far the Egyptians could not find him. 

Moses found himself in the desert wilderness, desolate and starving at a sheep ranch.  The smelly, dirty, rank life of a sheep herder was before him.  So, for forty years Moses went from the top of the business world to tending the backsides of nasty sheep.  The arrogance, self-determination, and self-reliance faded away over the forty years in the desert wilderness.  Moses learned a great deal while in this desolate dry land, but most of all he was pressed down to total obedience to God and ready to take commands and do things God’s way in the release of the Israelites from Egyptian captivity.

God places us in humiliating situations in strange ways, but it is necessary in order for us to understand the importance of total denial of our self and total obedience to His commands.  Self-denial is described in many ways, but most vivid is we are to murder everything about our selves that gets in the way of obedience to God.  Whatever we do, say or think that draws our desires from doing what God wants us to do should be spiritually mortified.  The wilderness experiences of professional trapper, Hugh Glass and God’s commander on the ground in Egypt, Moses, came at what they would tell you a “strange time”.  As Believers, however, we must embrace the wilderness experiences as a purposeful part of God’s sovereign plan.  God’s plan is to use us in the advancement of His kingdom and His greater glory.  We must yield ourselves to this season of life when we feel lonely, traumatized, in horrific pain, bleeding from exposed flesh, so hungry our ribs are showing or thirsty.  The strength, direction, and ability to learn are planted deep within us by God Himself and when needed, He will draw out of that well.

The wilderness in my own life has been a time that God has revealed, through His Word, just how big He really is.  He has pulled me beyond my comforts, pummeled my arrogance to the ground, humiliated me into a corner, and jerked all of my securities not founded in Him from underneath my feet putting me on my back looking straight up to Him.  He uprooted my family, taking our home and placed us in another land.  At times it does get lonely, desolate, jobless, food-less, painful, and emotionally draining.  I have been jerked awake many mornings in a sweat in fear of the unknown followed by days of deep debilitating depression.  I hope to show in future writings just what God taught me in my travels through the spiritual & financial wilderness.  The training ground found in the wilderness yielded such rich spiritual food directly from the hand of God that no silver spoon found in this lush plentiful land of the world are not worthy to deliver it to my mouth. 

I have a favorite saying that I have internalized that has been adapted from John Piper, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him in the deepest parts of the wilderness.”  I must be found totally satisfied in His glory, His presence, His Being even in the middle of the most traumatic depressing wilderness I could ever imagine. 

The wilderness is not easy, it is not a time of pampered rest.  The wilderness is a working season of life that we are required to trust God more, listen to God more, lay our souls bare, mortify our sinfulness daily, and speak only when God prompts us to do so.  It is a working ranch that smells foul at times, causes us to be sick to our stomachs, can leave your wondering, and may cause blisters on your heart, but at the end of the wilderness is where we meet the foot of the mountains and start our ascent to better lands…our climb to the higher ground of God’s greatest pleasure, His own glory.

-scott bailey (c) 2009

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Be My Patience in the Wilderness!

Posted by Scott on June 24, 2009

A billboard once said, “Lord, please make me patient-and do it right now.”

This statement speaks volumes for most of us does it not? We want to be patient as long as we can learn to be patient right now. You know, when we find ourselves in the “wilderness” spiritually it is our tendency to want to hurry about and learn what we need and get back to the fluffy way of life we had before. Our human nature is to tell God “thanks but no thanks” to getting away from our daily routine. We tend to look at the trial as a punishment or a vindication by God for not learning a secret lesson previously. I can tell you from experience in the wilderness myself the trial is not a punishment necessarily, but is a training ground in order to bring our spiritual lives into submission to obeying God in all situations in order to glorify Him and further His kingdom.  The wilderness gets rid of pride, arrogance, and self-promotion leading us to obedience to Christ, submission to the will of God, and a vessel in which God can now use for His purposes.

God is not in a hurry to speed us through these wilderness lessons. Look to Moses as a prime example. He spent 40 years tending sheep in the desert with gritty sand in his hair and chapped lips. Then Moses spent another 40 years wondering around in the desert listening to thousands of complaining grumbling Israelites before he came to the promise land and never was allowed in. So, Moses spent 80 years in the wilderness at the beckoning of God Almighty. I will go out on a limb here to say that God is not in any hurry when teaching us what we need to know.

David is another example of spending a long time in the wilderness running from King Saul trying to stay alive. He ran from cave to cave in the En Gedi region high in the mountains. He moved from desert to desert.  In En Gedi if you remember he was in a cave hiding and while Saul came in to take make waste David had an opportunity to kill Saul, but he was living in obedience to his God.  Then while hiding and running in the desert of Ziph he passed up an opportunity to take Saul then.  Here again David knew that he was not to kill Saul, but took Saul’s spear and water jug as proof he was there.  Even in the desert David was discerning to the obedience God had called him to.  The lessons he learned during this time were priceless to him during his reign as King. David discovered who his God really was during this time. He discovered the ability to trust his sovereign God and that his God was bigger than anyone could ever imagine.

I came across a great statement one time that an older believer once angrily asked his pastor a question, “Why is it God has made me this way? The pastor cracked a gentle smile and replied, “God has not made you-He is still making you”. What a wise statement by the pastor.  As Believers we are all in the the same process…in the wilderness is when it is revealed to us just who our God is and why we must trust and obey Him. The pain and many times the humiliation of the wilderness is where true godly character is formed.  This truth about God’s ways can escape us during these menacing days and weeks or even months we find ourselves circling in the wilderness. However, we can trust that God is patiently and gently molding us into His image and for His greater purposes.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts , neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord….so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

It is in the wilderness that I have found a God that is interested in my obedience to Him. He is actively involved in shaping my thoughts in accordance to His. He is actively guiding me in the direction He intends for me to go. God does work strangely, but it is all in accordance with His sovereign purposes to do as He wills. The wilderness is all a specific part of the training we must go through in this life. Much of the time we do not even discover until much later in life what the wilderness was for, but it was not a time God wasted. He never waste time or events not knowing the end result…He created the end result from the beginning.  He created us and the events we are involved in for a specific task in the future for His greater glory.  We are called out to trust and obey.  If we knew the desert we had to cross to get to the promised land most likely we would never get out of bed in the mornings.  Faith and trust are a must in order to get through each and every day we spend in this life, especially while travelling through a dirty dusty wilderness.

So, patiently and methodically move through this wilderness on the trail God is laying out before you. Try not to rush through each day without at least stopping to place a marker occasionally for future generations to know about your wilderness trip.  As humans we try to escape the pain, humiliation, and the thought of being reconstructed, but remember Who it is that is doing the reconstruction of your life.  To be singled out for such a personal one on one training from God Himself is of the highest privilege we as a Believer could be called to other than preaching and teaching the Word of God. He is specifically tending to your needs, while molding, carving, and shaping your thoughts, reactions, character, and testimony for His future use. Your purpose could be as large as the task Moses undertook with the Israelites or as simple as witnessing to a small child in a remote area of south Africa with no fanfare or anyone knowing about it. Both are worthy of the obedience and sacrifice in order to bring glory to our heavenly Father and the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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Prayer Time Starts with God!

Posted by Scott on March 11, 2009

Jesus told the disciples to start their prayers off by addressing our heavenly Father, our Dad! He should be first in our prayer life, always. By doing this it often exposes a few flaws or weaknesses in our own prayers, because how often do they start with us rushing in immediately spewing out before God our laundry list of troubles. Here are a few things to remember in the beginning of our prayers:

1. Slow down, stay calm and gaze upon our Father in all His greatness, holiness, and glory. By doing this, we receive an immediate calm spirit to go throughout the rest of our prayer time. He is our Father, our heavenly Dad, but remember He is holy most of all.

2. By starting out as Jesus taught by addressing our holy Father it helps to eliminate several misconceptions about God up front. Real authentic prayer is never coming to God as the Chairman of the Benevolence Committee, the Priest behind the vail during our confession session, or our personal Banker to help finance our latest projects or concerns. He is our Father and we must come to Him as a child comes to their earthly father, but with much more respect I might add.

3. Our God possesses a father’s heart, love, power, and concern for his children. This is an intimate conversation with our holy Dad, our heavenly Father. A child will isten for their father and run to him in complete trust and simplicity. But a young child is also very frank with their dad as well. God wants us to come to Him like a young child, with a young child’s faith…otherwise it is not faith nor is it true prayer.

4. By understanding that we are coming to our heavely Father, this shows us one of the truest natures of our God. He is a father, not some old blind man floating on a cloud or a force behind a curtain pulling levers and trying to keep everything on track, or an impersonal spirit that comes and goes. Our heavenly Father is very personal with us. He is all about love and relationships. He gives a careful listening ear to His children and what we say.

5. He is a patient and tender father we can really believe in. By addressing Him as our Father from our entire being not just our lips, it is saying we believe He is our Father and we are trying to relate to Him as our Father. Understand this belief is not some intellectual agreement with God, but we are actually committed in our entire life to Him from deepest parts of our soul.

This is where true authentic earth shaking prayer begins. Jesus taught His disciples to begin their prayer time like this and we should do no less. Start off as though you are setting down beside your dad and going to have an intimate, loving conversation with him…it is the same with our heavenly Father.

Scott Bailey 2009

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Cry Out to God or Lose Heart!

Posted by Scott on February 26, 2009

Luke 18 Jesus was telling the disciples how to pray and not give up. Some other translations say “not lose heart” or “not faint”. Jesus was simply putting it to them “..we are to pray and not quit…be persistent in our prayer life.

Here is Jesus confronting the disciples and us with a vivid contrast and choice: Either we pray or give up, we are to move closer to God in prayer or we will faint…we have to choose one or the other. Learn to cry out to our heavenly Father, who we cannot see, but we know that He is always with us, or else we will lose heart.

Jesus is telling these hand picked men to move deeper in the heart of God, deeper into a meaningful relationship with our heavenly Father or they will lose heart and faint. We cannot stand up to the trials, the bending, the twisting, the uncertainties in life without crying out to “Abba Father”. Cry out like a little child does to his daddy…a little child does not always know what to say, but from a deep growning cry call on our God, who is faithful to listen and come to our side. Jesus tells us one key to the heart of God is persistent perpetual prayer…not demands, but persistent crys to the heart of God for His will to be done.

Remember, our heavenly Father has the heart of a daddy and the compassion of a daddy. He hears the crys of His children. Jesus tells us that the persistent prayer of one of His children stirs the heart of God…God is actively waiting on a cry from us many times before He acts on our behalf. He loves us too much not to come to act upon our crying out to Him.

This does not mean God gives us what we demand…He is our Father and will act according to His own will and plans. However, He will act. God our heavenly Father will never leave any of His children grieved and alone in a time of genuine need. He is our faithful Father in whom we can trust.  Will our Father let us go without a job for a while….yes.  Will He let a house or car be repossessed…yes.  Will He let death or sickness come into our lives…yes.  Will He let bills go unpaid…yes.  But He will not let any of this happen to us and have us go through it alone.  It is all about His greater purposes…not our fleeting circumstances that He is most concerned about and we need to understand the same and fight through the fear and disgust with our circumstances.

“God’s answer may be the squeeze of His hand on ours, the quiet comfort of a Father’s voice, the steady reassurance of a Father’s presence even though the woods around us are dark and echoing with fearsome night-sounds. If we listen, we will hear an immediate answering reassurance that the Father is with us and in His own time and way, He will lead us home to a place of light, warmth, and He will put us safely, comfortably in our beds.” -Ray C. Stedman

When Jesus comes will He find faith in us? Remember true prayer is not begging to a reluctant God! True prayer is confidence, trust and absolute faith in God. Prayer is thanking God instead of complaining to God for our ills. True prayer is the rejoicing, receiving, accepting of whatever God wills our life to be. Pray persistently to our Father who is listening.  “He is most glorified in us, when we are most satisifed in Him.” –John Piper.  Will we glorify Him by being satisfied in Him during our most trying times?

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Men: Some Thoughts on Facebook! Be Careful!

Posted by Scott on February 25, 2009

I was forwarded the below post one day and thought I would pass it along.  Men, we need to really pay attention to our time, especially if we have a wife, family, and/or ministry.  Our adversary, satan, would love nothing more than to use something like Facebook to get us off track and even destroy our very lives.  Read with an awareness that our time here is short…use what you have to the glory of God.

Slice of Laodicea

“An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this morning raises the issue of Facebook use among adults. Reportedly, some who observe Lent are giving up their Facebooking for the 40 days prior to Easter. Facebook addiction, and the snares and pitfalls of social networking sites are the larger issues that deserve some attention.

Not long ago, I was invited to try Facebook by a friend who enjoyed the ability to stay in touch with other like-minded believers. I signed on. I didn’t feel I was doing anything particularly hip and up-to-date. I didn’t even really know what Facebook was. The thought of having contact with other Christians on a more casual and friendly basis was attractive. The work I do is often so serious in nature that a lighter opportunity to interact seemed like a great idea.

Within hours, I was into the Facebook vortex. People began “friending” me, most of whom I did not know, but who knew of me only through the Crosstalk Show or Slice. After initially struggling for a week or more to figure out how the site worked, I got a second wave of “friends” who discovered me online: people I hadn’t seen since the day I graduated from high school, college Republican acquaintances, even a former fiance all showed up asking to be Facebook friends. That’s where things began to get interesting.

Facebook has something called a news feed which updates you on nearly everything your “friends” do on their pages. You can control this feed, something I did not initially realize, as photos, videos and status reports from strangers began coming through. One “friend”, a woman I had known briefly in high school shared photos of herself in a tattoo parlor. I’ll leave the description off there. One male friend from years ago, identifying now as an “anarchist”, began showing off his new beliefs by posting blasphemous statements on my Facebook page or “wall” as it is called. I quickly had to locate the “de-friend” button to remove these individuals, including another acquaintance from the past who decided to share drinking adventure stories.

Meanwhile, the lure of the news feed became clear. With the click of a mouse, you can end up in somebody else’s personal photo album, read the comments on their wall, find out what someone is doing through their “status updates” and so forth and so on. I now had a window into the personal lives of people I barely knew, or in some cases, did know. Somebody changed her profile photo to a glamor shot, hmmm, interesting. Friend X has posted photos of herself in evening attire! Oh look at that new photo. Hmmm, I don’t know if that outfit is all that attractive in that color…Hey, an old boyfriend is making suggestive comments on my married friend’s site. She’d better hit the “de-friend” button on that guy. I’ll bet her husband wouldn’t be pleased. Yikes!…And so it went.

Welcome to the world of Facebook. Yes, these social networking sites can be an asset in some ways. I found that I connected with a busy teen niece for the first time because of my Facebook presence. I got in contact with extended family members I hadn’t seen in years and exchanged family photos. But. At least speaking for myself, I found that the site was a minefield spiritually. I started out checking the site a couple of times a day. As my “friend” list grew, however, I found myself checking it multiple times a day. Can you say “time wasting?” I offended several “friends” by not answering their Facebook messages quickly enough. The drama had started. My email in box started getting hit with notifications that people had tagged me in photographs. I awoke one morning to find that a man I had known in high school had started scanning his yearbook and tagged me in an embarrassing photo that could be seen by all “friends” on my list. In short, the entire experience ended up being a return to adolescence. I pulled the plug and not a moment too soon.

My experience is certainly not everybody’s. Because of my presence on Christian radio and the Internet through Slice and my Hope blog, I did manage to attract a higher number of Facebook trolls and those with malicious intent, in addition to the usual mixed assortment of former friends, family, acquaintances, etc. Those who use a social networking site and who limit their “friend” list strictly to those they genuinely know and care about probably would have an easier experience. I did not know what “friend requests” to approve and who not to approve, and I didn’t want to offend someone who was genuinely friendly.

The primary problem I found was the voyeuristic behavior that the site encourages. What business is it of mine what photos somebody has in their personal albums online? With Facebook, however, whenever anybody adds a new photograph, you are sent a thumbnail of it and by clicking on it, you are taken directly into somebody’s personal life. That’s the whole point of the site!

While I am in NO way accusing all Facebookers of engaging in sin (some even use the site strictly for ministry purposes and I salute that!), I found that without care taken, the site can engender a host of sins like envy, gossip, judgmental thinking, exhibitionism, pride, boundary issues with the opposite gender, and above all, time wasting. The latter issue was the biggest issue for me. There are only so many minutes in a day. With the flesh’s natural resistance to prayer and Bible study, I couldn’t justify my interest in the lives of other people. If God isn’t receiving the worship, time and fellowship He deserves, how could I justify spending all the energy on a social networking site, even with fellow Christians?

Everyone has to come to their own conclusions on this. Technology affords so many opportunities now to communicate with others and the world that can be used for good. It also offers us many new snares and opportunities to sin. Whether a given technology is worth the struggle of fighting pitfalls is something each person must decide. Above all, we need to be ready to examine ourselves and honestly look at our motives and behavior in light of God’s Word. If we can’t control the temptation a technology brings, we need to do rapid surgery and get rid of it so that Satan does not gain a foothold in our lives. If we can use a technology for God’s glory with a clear conscience, we need to carry on and thank God for the opportunity.”

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Can A True Christian Lose Their Salvation?

Posted by Scott on January 31, 2009

1. Classic Arminianism

  One must persevere in faith to be saved.

  True believers can lose their faith.

  Those dying without faith in Christ are condemned.

“The believer who loses his faith is damned.”


 

2. Antinomianism

  One need not persevere in faith to be saved.

  True believers can lose their faith.

  Those who lose their faith are saved, since they once believed.

“The believer who loses his faith is saved.”

 

3. Classic Calvinism

  One must persevere in faith to be saved.

  True believers cannot lose their faith, since it’s God’s gift.

  Those dying without faith in Christ are condemned.

  Those who “lose” their faith never had it to begin with.

  God will preserve true believers and they will be saved.


“The ‘believer’ who loses his faith never really had it—or at least it wasn’t in Jesus.”

 

 

 

                Proponents of the first two approaches quote biblical references, but each must strain to explain away the other group’s biblical data.  How can an Arminian read Romans 8, then tell true believers that they may screw up and go to hell???  Then again, how can Charles Stanley read Hebrews 6 and 10 and tell unbelievers who once professed faith not to worry, that they will be saved???  Any true biblical teaching must “fit” with ALL the biblical data, without pitting one text against another and without having to explain away a single “jot or tittle” of God’s inerrant Word.  I believe that only the classical Calvinist model takes into account all of the biblical data.

                Arminians are right when they say the Bible teaches that only those who persevere will be saved, and they’re right in accusing Antinomians of easy-believism and cheap grace.  Antinomians (they wouldn’t use the term) are right in telling committed believers that they are secure in Christ and “once saved, always saved.”  But both of these views are wrong is assuming that a true believer can lose his faith and fall away from Christ.  Faith is “a gift of God—not by works, lest any man boast.”  Paul was confident that, since Christ had begun a good work in believers, He would continue that work until completion (Phil. 1).  John said that those who fell away were never really true Christians, since true believers don’t leave the faith (1 John 2:19).

 

                Scripture teaches that believers must persevere until the end, but also that believers will persevere until the end by God’s grace.  As the Westminster Assembly concluded, Christians might temporarily yield to Satan’s temptations, even to excess, but like Peter when he denied Christ three times, God will still restore and preserve the faith of the Christian, a faith which God gave in the first place!  Peter went on to be chief among the apostles!  Two biblical principles must be held side-by-side:

 

 

 

1.  You Must Persevere until the End:  God’s Requirement of His People

God does not merely command us to begin to believe for a time, and then fall away.  He requires us to continue to believe until the end, living lives of repentance and covenant faithfulness.  Granted, He does not ask for a perfect faith, but He does ask for a real faith, one that produces real, lasting change.

  Colossians 1:21-23

  1 John 1:5-10; 3:3-6

  Hebrews 10:26-31

  Hebrews 12:1

 

2.  You Will Persevere Until the End:  God’s Preservation of His People

We will persevere because God preserves us.  God will keep us from falling—not one will be lost of all those who belong to the Son.  True believers are not able to leave Christ, for Christ is at work within them.


  John 6:38-40

  John 10:28-29

  Romans 8:28-39

  Philippians 1:4-6

  Philippians 2:12-13

  1 John 2:19


 

 

 

                This first set of texts cannot be used to refute the second (Arminianism); nor can the second set of texts be used to refute the first (cheap grace).  The point that makes the two compatible is the biblical teaching that faith (while commanded of everyone) is a gift from God to His elect.  If faith is simply a human action of a free will, then it can be lost.  But if saving faith is God’s gift, then it cannot be lost.  Can professing Christians fall away?  Yes, and they will perish.  Can true Christians fall away?  No, for they are kept by the invincible power of God in Christ. The Bible teaches us that professing Christians who leave the faith were never truly believers (1 John 2:19; and notice the qualification even in Hebrews 10:39).

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