En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘men’

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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Preaching the True Gospel!

Posted by Scott on January 7, 2009

Paul Washer Preaches the True Gospel in Americus, Georgia

I’ve heard the man preach on the internet. I’ve heard clips of his preaching on the radio. But it is quite a different experience to hear Paul Washer preach live and in person.

Americus is a small town in west central Georgia that I truly believe is being prepared for an incredible move of God. Last year, Ray Comfort and his ministry team of Kirk Cameron, Todd Friel, and Emeal Zwayne were here in Americus at Central Baptist Church for Transformed. Many believers were awakened to the truth of biblical evangelism. What is amazing to me about Ray’s ministry is that it is incredibly simple, yet incredibly profound. He teaches the church to share the Gospel biblically, using the Law before the Gospel, as Jesus did. Discovering that this truth has only recently disappeared from the teaching of the modern church is quite eye-opening, in that it opens the eyes to the terrible results of the natural result of the neglect of the teaching of the Law…”seeker” sensitive, carnal, and ultimately false churches. That’s where Paul Washer picks up.

Brother Paul was invited to the historic Rylander Theatre here in Americus, preached the true Gospel, and revealed the tragic results of the errors of the church….to the shock and awe of a couple hundred students and adults. One ironic thing is this: The theatre that he preached in was built during a time when his preaching would have been quite ordinary….that is, before the church departed from the truth and began catering to itching ears.

I had every intention of interviewing a few of the students who attended for Way of the Master Radio, choosing two or three before the event to ask questions before and after the event. So before, I had three interviewed with appointments to meet them again after the preaching. But it never happened…..

I’ve listened to tons of sermons, been in hundreds of church services, and saw who knows how many preachers preach. All were ordinary compared to this one. I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced the power of God on a man as when Paul Washer preached here in Americus.

A band played for about 45 minutes or so, then Brother Paul came to the stage to preach. His prayer was that of a broken man, weeping over the dry, dead bones in the audience. I had the privilege of joining a few others before he preached to pray over him, and I can say that his brokenness was genuine. Paul Washer is a man who is passionate for the glory of God, and broken for the conditions of the Church of his Lord Jesus.

So Paul preached. For an hour and eleven minutes. Almost no one moved, and no one had any idea that his preaching exceeded the traditional thirty minutes. His sermon shocked the congregation. Bewildered would be a better word. Yes, this modern-day prophet spoke the truth of the condition of the church today….and the people were bewildered when he was done. The power of God had descended on the Rylander Theatre, and the people had no idea what to do.

Back to the radio interviews…the second part never happened. Paul preached, he prayed, and he walked off the stage. Silence descended upon the theatre. You could hear a pin drop. A person or two coughed, breaking the silence for a couple of seconds. After a few moments, counselors who were ready to attend to those “responding to the invitation” slowly shuffled from among the disorientated congregation to the front, many themselves not knowing what had just happened. Nobody said a word. Someone got on the stage and attempted to get people to come forward. No one moved. People who had never seen the power of God had witnessed it, and they didn’t have a clue how to respond. After at least five minutes of silence and bewilderment, it was apparent to me that God had plans that did not involve interviews….

I don’t know if anyone came to the front. It didn’t matter. God had descended in power, and He had done work in many hearts, I pray. God glorified Himself through brother Paul’s preaching. I am quite certain that many were gnashing their teeth. I am also quite certain that there will be more to the story in coming days.

Saturday morning, it was a great privilege to be invited join my friends Chase Ostrander and Gary Gill to have breakfast with Paul, his two sons, and his Peruvian missionary friend. What an honor it was to spend time with this man of God.

The sermon brother Paul preached was not recorded by the Rylander….but I was able to record a “bootleg” on my digital recorder (something I first learned to do at rock concerts before I was saved). You can download and listen to it below…legally, of course.

Download the sermon now, and please pray for this little town of Americus and the surrounding communities. There are a few pastors here who are preaching these truths, and some at the cost of their pulpits. Paul Washer left us with one statement that I will never forget…

Church history demonstrates that when preachers begin to see the errors of the church, and begin to proclaim against it, it is nearly always a precursor to either national catastrophe or intense persecution of the church. (paraphrased as I remembered it)

May God embolden us to continue to proclaim boldly, and prepare us to endure the persecution that is to come!

–MJ

click here to go directly to this blog “Following Jesus”

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Holiness A Way of Life…For the Authentic Believer!

Posted by Scott on September 16, 2008

A couple of mornings in my quiet time I was reading and studying through the Heroes of the Faith in Hebrews 11:1-40 and continuing on into chapter 12 as well.  Something interesting was shining through each verse and my awareness of God’s strong calling for us men to return to a holiness the world has not seen or heard of for centuries…these men of old lived by a faith in someone that was unknown in that day and time and unseen…the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.  These early faithful fathers considered a strange life to be worth more than all the wealth in the world.  Many were willing to sacrifice everything they had in order to follow the commands of God.  We must ask ourselves if we are willing to give up our wealth, our job, our golf game, our constant trips away from the family, our social life, and so on in order to be obedient to call of God on our lives.  Not many are willing, but some are.

All these people spoken of here were living out their faith in God and the coming Messiah at the time of their death.  They did not waiver in their faith.  They desired to be holy and not compromise their holiness for anything less than their very best for God.  Each one of them considered themselves to be strangers or aliens while on earth.  They had not conformed to the world’s way of living…they stayed the course.  These men and women understood their role as being made after the image of God. 

Any of us that are today striving to live our lives in holiness, set apart for the service and work of God our Father must ask ourselves if we are really walking in faith daily?  We live in the greatest nation on the face of the earth in the way of safety, security, freedom to worship as we please and where we please and even the ease of life.  However, conformity to the world is even easier here.  It is much easier to live as everyone else does.  It is much easier just to go along with what everyone else is doing.  Send the kids to public school that teach them to be everything but a holy Christian, so you don’t have to answer those questions that homeschool parents get asked.  Put the kids in every sport and activity known to man so they don’t have be pressured by their peers at school or church..just conform to the world’s way of life and it will be much easier.  Remember, only have two children…if you have a boy and a girl you now have the “perfect” family…I mean you must know better than God how man kids you can handle…us guys we surely know what is best for our families, God just pushes us out here and kind of lets us go in all directions and hopes we end up where He planned.  Play golf every weekend because your buddies do and they might laugh at you for being a “family man” if you did not join them.  Guys, it is much easier to just conform to the ways of our society than it is to live a holy life…we must admit this to ourselves.  Now, guys you you know all that sounds absurd, but that is how many Christians live and wonder why they have no impact for Christ.  Let’s stop and think about the early Christian’s and what they went through for the cause of Christ.  Stop and think about your life and whether it is pleasing to our heavenly Father who has told us to be “holy”.

“…others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[a]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated…”  Hebrews 11:35-37

These early Christians were our examples of how an authentic Christian should live.  The difference Christ has made in our lives should be obvious to those around us.  It could lead to beatings, ridicule, imprisonment, torture, etc., but in our society today most likely just very opinionated people lashing out is what will happen.  How may of us are willing to live in holiness with a threat hanging over our heads, because of our faith.  The Scriptures tell us that “the world was not worthy of these.”  Can this be said of you and me?  Are we living such a life that we are willing to take the jeers from others including other so called believers?  Are we willing to be an alien in this world to the point of being taken to court over it or even imprisoned for the Christ sake?  These are serious questions we all must ask ourselves.

Holiness was worth going through some of the most horrible torture the world could think of to many of the early Christians.  Moses regarded disgrace for the sake of the coming Messiah of greater value than all the treasure in all of Egypt.  Rahab was willing to risk her and her families life to assist the godly men of God.  Enoch was rewarded for being the one who pleased God and was taken away to heaven without experiencing death…holiness was evident in his obedience to God’s word.  He understood that it was impossible to please God without being obedient to Him.  Noah built the ark in holy fear of God who commanded him to build it.  Each of these people and many more were considered holy before a perfectly holy God.  They understood the risk, but also believed in the reward…God Himself!

To be disciplined by God is to be loved by God.  He must sanctify us before He uses us and He is disciplining us to experience in His holiness.  These hardships and disciplines are brought upon us to produce a holy righteousness and a peace that surpasses the masses understanding.  In this quest for holiness, God intends on training us so that we can share in His holiness.  He intends the bride of Christ (the Elect, the Sheep, the Chose ones) to be holy when He returns.

In conclusion, this life is worth living only if it is lived out for God and Him alone.  Everything we do in this life should be for the glory and honor of our most holy God.  Our holiness is important to God in pointing the way for others to an authentic faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  We must ask ourselves a question each and everyday…what am doing today that is showing my holiness before our almighty God?

“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”   -Hebrews 12:14

(c) Scott Bailey 2008

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Can I be frank with you men?

Posted by Scott on September 10, 2008

I have been away studying through some great Bible studies the past several weeks.  Over this time politics has really become volatile and the true church is not as visible as it once was.  One observation over the years and especially this year I have listened to men especially Christian men whine, groan, and moan about wimpy stuff.  Today, Christian men are so feminized they complain about the littlest things and whine about things they should be embracing as a man.  The men are now acting like the females while the women are acting like the men.  It is really a messed up world we live in.

Areas I hear the wimpiness coming through for instance is from Sarah Palin’s speech at the Republican Convention.  Come on guys, she did not take some things far enough, but was gracious yet “manly” in her address.  She could have said some truthfully nasty things about the opposite side, but refrained.  She was firm on her convictions as us men are suppose to be.  She was combative to challenge the other side like us men are suppose to do.  She spoke the truth unabashedly as us men are suppose to do.  If Sarah Palin is elected as the VP, it is an indictment on us men for failing to rise up and be the men we are called to be.  We are to be tougher.  We are to be unabashedly truthful in all things.  We are to be firm about our convictions.  We are to be supportive of life from the moment of conception and not bat an eye when telling others our convictions.  It is us men that are to live with integrity all the days of our lives so our kids can see this in us and glorify our God.  This great nation is in need of men that hold to the truth, integrity, and convictions that Sarah Palin has exhibited, but He cannot find any, so He will raise a woman up to accomplish this.

Men, we must get a grip on this life.  It is not easy nor did God ever promise it would be.  We must stop worrying about what the Muslim will think about the truth from God’s Holy Word when presented.  We must speak the truth to them without fail.  We must not shrink back into our shell because of some arrogant atheist point of view…a lost person cannot understand the things of God.  Their intelligence is no match for the wisdom and knowledge of God.  Men must take back their children from the government run schools.  If you want your children to grow up in a godly manner then stop sending them to the most ungodly institutions for instruction.  If we want to raise the next generation to honor our God and bring Him glory then you will have to spend more time with them developing a Biblical World View rather than letting the world develop a secular world view.  This will not come about if you give “Caesar” over 40 hours per week with your children teaching them everything but Biblical truth verses your 5 to 6 hours per week talking about everything else and maybe the Bible…if Romans are teaching them then do not expect them to turn out to be anything but Romans.  Our children need to be indoctrinated on the Scriptures not science and social studies.  Our children need to know the Word of God from beginning to end rather than evolution and that two married men can make up a family.  I am tired of hearing these wimpy Christian men with tales between their legs whining about a woman being a bit too rough on a liberal or the preacher in the pulpit is speaking about the reality of hell too much so his friends will not want to come to church.  Either return to being a man as God made you or stop calling yourself a man.

“He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil-this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.  His bread will be supplied and water will not fail him.”   Isaiah 33:15-16

Guys, the calling is back to righteousness.  God wants us to be a holy and righteous remnant for Him when He returns.  It will not matter how rich you are, what legacy you have left if righteousness and holiness were not a part of it.  At work we need to strive for righteousness.  Do not listen to the nasty jokes.  Be a blessing to those around you looking out for your fellow man rather than yourself.  Be in communion with God all day long whether good time or bad.  are you building your home on the mountain fortress as a refuge based on the Scriptures?  Is your faith growing daily as God stretches your faith with events of life you could not imagine?  Is your life a breath of fresh air to God and those around you?  Does your family think of you as a godly man or a work driven person striving for riches?  How much time do you spend with your wife and kids on a weekly basis compared the amount of work you do?  These are tough questions only for real men….if you are wimpy and whiny right now just reading this then you may not want to read further.

Men, read this next passage very carefully.  Read it over and over.  Understand that this is still in effect today as it was when it was written a few thousand years ago.  Read as though your life depends on it, which it really does.  Read it to your children and to your wife.  Read everyday until it becomes so en-grained into your mind you will never forget it.

Deuteronomy 6:3-19 (New International Version)

3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.

 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

 10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

 13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the LORD your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the LORD said.

One final blast here.  Notice that we men really do not accomplish anything, it is God who accomplishes the success through us for His glory.  We can be a great part of life for our families, friends and most of all-God  We are tools used by the Master to accomplish His greater perfect will.  So, men this is gut check time.  I pray that all those reading will be prompted to step back and take a hard look at their lives to see if you are really being the man you are suppose to be or just whining, wimpy, feminized followers of the world’s secular system.  I have to give myself a gut check often as well to make sure I am “maning up” rather than “wimping out”.

(c) Scott Bailey 2008

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Starving at the Father’s Table!

Posted by Scott on May 3, 2008

from The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” –John 21:15

There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy.

I trust I speak in charity, but the lack in our pulpits is real. Milton’s terrible sentence applies to our day as accurately as it did to his: “The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.” It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table. The Pursuit of God, 8.

“Lord, I trust I’m not being critical, but it seems to me that there are more and more churches where people are starving at the Father’s table. I sense the lack in our pulpits of which Tozer speaks, and pray that You might bring a refreshing. Amen.”

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The Desires of Our Heart!

Posted by Scott on April 30, 2008

In my morning studies it was wonderful to come across this passage of scripture again.  I have read this passage many times before, but this morning the meditation on this passage was fruitful in my life.

Psalm 1:2-3  “But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yield its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.”

Delighting ourselves in the Lord requires daily meditation upon the word of God.  Think of the requirement for our physical health by eatting numerous times per day.  The mediatation of God’s word is the same way.  We need to feast upon God’s word in order to sustain a healthy and growing spiritual life. 

This is like the tree mentioned in the passage.  We are like this tree to God.  A tree planted by a stream of water grows slowly but surely over time.  It has a fresh supply of water daily that never runs dry.  As the tree grows slowly as we grow slowly it will yield its fruit in its season.  We too will yield fruit that glorifies God in its proper season as well.  This tree’s leaves never wither due to lack of nurishment or water.  As we are planted near God always, He is our constant source of nurishment and fresh water. 

The scriptures have only one true authentic meaning or translation, yet it yields numerous applications for our lives.  As we study on God’s word daily and come across the same passage from time to time, we will find a different application many times within the same verse of scripture.  The depth to the well of God never ends.  The well on top looks the same as always, but the water drawn from it is just as rich as the first water ever drawn…God’s word is the same, rich with every reading.  God knows exactly what we need in application of His word at each moment of our life. 

Other scriptures to meditate on about “Delighting in Him” are:  Joshua 1:8  Meditate on God’s word constantly and be careful to obey what you read as it applies.  1 Timothy 4:15 Be very diligent in meditating on the word of God.  Be sure to give yourself completely to the Word of God and be careful to obey what you have read as it applies.  Isaiah 58:13-14 Keep one day holy as the Sabbath to honor Him, Glorify Him, and worship Him.  In this we will delight in Him even more.  Psalm 63:5-6 The evening is an especially good time to meditate on His word taking us into the night.  God calls evening the first day in Genesis 1:5.  What we meditate on in the evening that takes us into our rest at night effects how we start our next morning.  Pslam 119:23 Do not be bothered by those around you who may redicule or slander you.  Just keep meditating on God’s word.  Look to the Bible for counsel.  Meditate on the decrees and statutes.  Psalm 119:99-100 Wisdom comes from meditating on the word of God.  This produces a better understanding of this life and the life to come.  You wil find yourself witha better understanding than your teachers and counselors and elders.  Continue to be odedient to His word and the understanding you now have.  1 Samuel 13:14 We find God calling David “a man after His own heart”.  Why?  David meditated on the word of God, he would wake up in the middle of the night to meditate on the word of God and was always thinking upon the ways of God and His awesomeness in his life.  Psalm 37:4 We are to make the Lord the delight of our life.  In this way He will give us the desires of our heart because we now have the desires He wants in our heart.  Through meditating on the word of God constantly we will understand what it is God intends for us to desire.  God transforms us through His word.  If we do not spend much time in the scriptures how can we expect to know what it is God desires for us? 

Truth to apply:

1. Meditation on the word of God transforms our thoughts to God’s thoughts and desires. 

2. Begin our day in the evenings as our last thoughts being on God’s word.  This will influence the dreams and rest we have at night to assist in the start of a brand new morning.

3. Psalm 1:2-3 He tells us that we will prosper in all that we do if we constantly meditate and read His word.  Why is this?  Because the word of God is a light to our path.  He guides us by His word.  This leads us away from evil counselors and unfruitful activities.  It is important to our faithfulness to meditate on His word daily.  “Prosper” in the Hebrew is tsalach or tsaleach meaning to “push forward” or “come mightily”…it is also to be “profitable” to make “profitable”.  God intends to supply us and use us for His purposes.  For some that could mean financial wealth to be used to further His kingdom and for others it could mean a wealth of knowledge and wisdom beyond our years that can be used to further His kingdom.  Prosperity comes in different shapes and sizes.  I do not think it means many cars and houses, but the wealth is to be given out as God directs and may be needed to further ministries that struggle to keep going or supply families with needed resources during difficult times in their lives.  We are simply to stay in His word constantly in order to know the direction we are to take and how to use that which He prospers us with.

4. Meditation can assist in helping us go to sleep easier.  However, at times it may dislodge impure thoughts in our minds that results in a bad dream.  This is simply purifying our minds and hearts for the fresh new morning ahead.  Refer to John 15:3..the word provided by Christ cleans us and restores our hearts for His greater use on a daily basis.

2 Timothy 3:16-17  “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Continue in the reading and meditating of God’s word regardless of the direction of this world.  Only His word has sustaining power that leads us into eternity.

Scott Bailey 2008

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Breaking the Silence of the Morning!

Posted by Scott on March 24, 2008

Have you ever gone through a period of time not knowing what to pray?  Deep from within yourself your body groans and aches for an answer from the Lord or even to come up with words to express your heart to God, but those words just do not come about!  I think almost everyone that is honest about their spiritual lives experience this at different times in their lives.  This very morning was such a morning for me.  As I woke up early in the darkness of the morning still looking for God to answer several prayers yet today I just did not feel I knew what to pray, ask for, or even meditate on.  In the way the Lord usually takes my inner hurts and springs forth life in me, He showed me a chapter in Psalm that continues to sustain me through some of the darkest hours, loneliest days, and still of nights.  The following passage was such a joy and direct answer to prayer I wanted to share it with you. You can certainly read it in whatever version you wish, I included two versions as I usually study from several different versions in order to fully take it all in…I don’t like to miss anything from God’s word.  May you enjoy it and may it take your breath away if you have been looking for direction, answers, words, and for our Lord to break His silence in your life.  May the God of this very hour be honored by the reading and sharing of His holy word!

  

Psalm 20 (The Message)

A David Psalm

 1-4 God answer you on the day you crash, The name God-of-Jacob put you out of harm’s reach,
   Send reinforcements from Holy Hill,
   Dispatch from Zion fresh supplies,
   Exclaim over your offerings,
   Celebrate your sacrifices,
   Give you what your heart desires,
   Accomplish your plans.
 5 When you win, we plan to raise the roof
      and lead the parade with our banners.
   May all your wishes come true!

 6 That clinches it—help’s coming,
      an answer’s on the way,
      everything’s going to work out.

 7-8 See those people polishing their chariots,
      and those others grooming their horses?
      But we’re making garlands for God our God.
   The chariots will rust,
      those horses pull up lame—
      and we’ll be on our feet, standing tall.

 9 Make the king a winner, God;
      the day we call, give us your answer.

Psalm 20 (NIV)

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

 1 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
       may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

 2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
       and grant you support from Zion.

 3 May he remember all your sacrifices
       and accept your burnt offerings.
      
Selah

 4 May he give you the desire of your heart
       and make all your plans succeed.

 5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious
       and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
       May the LORD grant all your requests.

 6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
       he answers him from his holy heaven
       with the saving power of his right hand.

 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
       but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

 8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
       but we rise up and stand firm.

 9 O LORD, save the king!
       Answer [a] us when we call!

May this chapter of scripture be a blessing to all who read and meditate on it.  God’s never ending blessings upon us today!

“Heavenly Father, we humbly pray that You will teach us to draw upon Your well of spiritual water, to know that every demand made upon us as husbands, dads, and men is a direct demand made upon You as well, and Lord, we know that as these demands pile upon us You are ready to live Your life through each of us in all situations and at last to magnify Your grace.  AMEN!”

-Scott Bailey (c) 2008

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A Living and Holy Sacrifice! By Guest Blogger Dave Stallings

Posted by Scott on March 12, 2008

by Dave Stallings

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1, 2).

It’s 5:15 in the morning and I am still awake from the pain in my back from the cancer lesion that was removed from my back yesterday morning. They said that I would experience some pain after the local numbing medication wore off and they were right. I am, indeed, wide awake, and unable to sleep from that experience, however it seems to be yet another opportunity in my life to allow God to be glorified. I cannot, on my own, endure the difficulties that go on in my defective “tent” so I sit here at my laptop, attempting to present my body, as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God…”  and allow Him to minister to my needs even now at another inconvenient time. And as the scripture says, Paul reminds us to NOT be “…conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds”.

I have seen that over the past 3 years now, nothing outshines God in my life, nothing is more important and nothing is capable of “calming” my mind and spirit the way that just thinking of God is able to do. So I think of God a lot in these times. “…being transformed” and “…renewing my mind” makes me think that I am, daily getting closer to God and farther from the securities (or perhaps insecurities) of this world. I seem to be reminded every day, by something that this world is not our home and I am simply just passing through. This is the thought process that helps us shake off the fears of life and know that our God is preparing us for an eternity in the presence of His Glory. Makes me wonder how it is that others can endure some of life’s hardships without His Spirit residing in them.

The passage of scripture goes on to say “…so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is GOOD and ACCEPTABLE and PERFECT.” It is words from God like that which take me all the way back to the beginning when God created this world for us and He said, upon completion of each event that “it was good” (Genesis 1). Can you look at a “thorn in your flesh” this morning and see that it is good? If you can, then perhaps you are being transformed and renewed in mind and spirit by the only force that can give you true peace. After all, isn’t true peace what we are all looking for in this life? Paul says earlier in Romans that he is “…not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Ro. 1:16). Are you listening close enough to God to have the power to be transformed and renewed, in spite of the difficult and sometimes, near impossible situations in this life? Next Thursday I get the opportunity to have another PET SCAN for the Lymphoma and I really expect the cancer to still be sleeping. I believe that God has done that for me. He can do that for you, too. Take the time, each day to be transformed and renewed, and know that God is the only tool you need.

About the Author
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Dave Stallings lives in Phoenix , Arizona with his wife of 36 years, Barbara, who also suffers a serious chronic illness, and their dog, Captain Jack…along with their kids and grand kids ! Dave is a semi-retired pastor and loves to blog on his personal web page since being diagnosed with Stage IV incurable non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma almost three years ago now and his motto is “It is what it is and God is not surprised”…. His personal testimony can be read at http://www.nowwhut.org/ and he can be reached by email at mailto:dstallings2@qwest.net
.

www.nowwhut.org

www.nowwhataz.blogspot.com

dstallings2@qwest.net

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Hell…is it a real place?

Posted by Scott on March 7, 2008

I got up early this morning looking for a nice positive word from the Lord.  As has been my daily readings for weeks now I was reading this morning from Psalm 8…great passage, but nothing really jumped out at me.  For whatever reason, the Holy Spirit lead me over to read quoting Jesus in Matthew 8:11-12, 13:38,42,50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30 and Luke 13:28.  This was not the topic I was necessarily looking for, but was drawn in by it as the reality of Hell is still so evident.  God’s word has never changed nor has the relevancy of what He is saying. 

As I read this it reinvigorated the call to teach the word of God with a heart for the lost.  Now, get one thing very clear…we do not draw people to Christ nor do we save anyone.  The call of each Christian is to teach, preach and live out the word of God daily…the regeneration of the soul and saving grace of God is the work of the Holy Spirit not ours nor is it the work of the lost themselves…we must deliver the message and step aside.  We must be ready in season and out of season to teach not only the positive upbeat messages of the scripture, but the messages that teach the realities of a sinful life apart from God and the consequence of rejecting His Son, Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  The reality of dying without Christ is eternity in Hell!  I cannot put it any simpler than this…Hell is a real place prepared for the wicked sinful unrepentant people of this world.  In the remainder of this post I will strive to describe from my studies what this place is like.  This is not to scare anyone into a decision…that is not my purpose.  It is to shake to life the Christian that is asleep in his or her relationship with Christ that is hiding their life in Christ and not sharing it with the world around them.  Wake up all you saints and share your faith and allow the Holy Spirit the opportunity to do His perfect work in those souls set apart before the foundations of the world were set in place.

“And the children of the kingdom shall be cast

into utter darkness:  there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

-Matthew 8:12 (Geneva)

For the Jews, they must enter the narrow gates of heaven just like any Gentile does.  They cannot get into heaven based on what they are called…referencing Matthew 8:11 as the “sons of the kingdom”.  Unless they be born again they will not enter the kingdom of heaven but perish in the dark burning fire that is all consuming, but never consumes the soul away from the torment.  Folks, there is only one way into heaven to be with our heavenly Father and Lord Jesus Christ…it is directly through Christ.  Jesus stated that “no one comes to the Father except by Him…”  The fact that our parents or grandparents were Christians will not enroll us into the book of life.  We each must stand on our own to account for our acceptance or rejection of the Savior without any regard for those aroud us.  We will not be able to say to God that our mother or father was a Christian, so that makes us a Christian….it does not.  We will not be able to tell God that we were baptized with water as an infant and enter into heaven, that is not the way to heaven.  The only way is by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.  Throughout the rest of your life the Lordship will become more and more real as you show the fruits of your salvation in the good deeds or works presented throughout the remainder of your life.  We will not be able to present good deeds as the reason for our entrance into heaven either…it is only by the surrendering of ones life to Christ.

“The Son of man shall send forth His angels and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity.  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire.  There shall be wailing andgnashing of teeth.”

-Matthew 13:41-42 (Geneva)

I must tell you that I do not like delivering such a narrow message, but this is the biblical truth of the matter.  In my obedience to Christ I cannot deliver a message that would say otherwise.  Jesus mentions “weeping and gnashing of teeth” at least 5 times in Matthew alone.  Consequences of sin is death…consequences of living out your life in that sin without turning away from it and accepting Jesus Christ is eternal damnation in Hell.  Why else would Jesus mention this in so many sections of the scriptures. 

I want to paint a very real picture for you as I have discovered from God’s word and the help of many great theologians of the past and their commentaries.  In Hell there is no light, only absolute utter darkness.  This is at the extremity of darkness.  It is always said the darkest moment of each day is right before the sun comes up or dawn…think of that darkness except that light or dawn will never come…never!  This is an eternity knowing that Christ is just beyond this darkness that He was once the dawn of each persons day with great hope, but now you will NEVER be able to see this light again or have the hope of seeing this light…ever!  You will never experience a dawn again for all eternity.  Folks, this is the highest degree of darkness that will ever exist and that which none of us know or can fathom.  In this darkness there is absolutely no hope..no hope of light or even a mixture of some light not even a glimmer of light…ever!  In this darkness your eyes will not adjust in order to bring about some shadow of light…those in this place will never see again in this darkness….eternally alive with full site, but not the ability to see in that darkness, not blindness, but the inability to adjust ones sight at all.  This will create in the damned soul a panic that cannot be relieved…ever!  You will never be able to take a deep breath to calm your panic in order to allow time to adjust your eyes for it will be without success…there will be no adjustments to see in this darkness.  Darkness that is forever dark without any breech of light…ever!  Think about forever for a moment…can you visualize an end to forever?  I don’t think so…I sure can’t.  Forever is as far as your mind can go and then it still keeps going without end.

“..But he will answer, I don’t know you or where did you come from.  Then you will say, We ate and drank wtih you and you taught in our streets.  But Jesus will reply, I don’t know you or where did you come from.  Away from me, all you evil doers!  There will be weeping there, adn gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.”

-Luke 13:25-28(NIV)

You might be thinking as I was that this darkness is unbearable, however, this is the least worse portion of this place called Hell.  Hell is a place of horrific grief with a flood of tears that results in no purpose or sympathy or salvation or hope.  Grief stricken tears that will never end in joy or happiness.  This grief will have the wailing cry of a hopeless state of being.  Hopelessness with endless tears.  This is a place without sympathy and hope.  The anguish will prey eternally upon the lost soul in Hell…forever!  The emptiness this anguish and grief brings will only get deeper for all eternity, without end. 

You will read in several locations in the New Testament such as Matthew 8:12, 13:42 and Luke 13:28 about the “gnashing of teeth”.  This description alone would be enough for me.  Think about gnashing of teeth….people grinding and snapping their teeth at one another forever.  The indignation before those other lost souls as they gnash their teeth for spite and vexation.  All this as the result of the fury of the Lord Almighty.  For those in Hell, their memory will torment them forever as they remember the happiness of their past even though God was not a part of their life.  They will exist with an eternal memory of the opportunity to accept Christ, but the hardness of their heart would not give in.  Now, all they have is this memory in the darkest darkness with grieving and wailing beyond comprehension and no opportunity ever again to accept Christ.  They will never experience a happy moment ever again….never! 

As the reality goes on, Hell is a furnace of fire that will never burn up.  As the scripture describes in Jesus words that the fire is for the “tares” in the field that exist among the wheat.  Think about people setting around you in church that look like everyone else or may even appear to be believers, but may be the very soul that will keep the fires of this furnace burning hotter.  The fire of Hell is kindled by the wrath of God with the lives of these lost souls.  This fire is all consuming, but never consumes those within the flames.  This is a dark, tearful, grieving, hot place to spend eternity.  Within these flames are those in comfortless sorrow and incurable indignation at God, themselves, and those around them.  People in Hell will not be able to comfort one another….they will not have the ability to do this as there is no comfort for themselves.  This is a horrific never ending torment within the fires of Hell.  Many of the hypocrites of the past, present and future will enter the never ending torments of Hell.  Hypocrites are those that live in a daily routine of sinfulness all the while telling others not to do what they know they are doing is wrong…all in the name of Christ.  They do this without really having Christ in their hearts only on their lips.

One final aspect of Hell I will describe here as I wipe tears from my own eyes to think of the number of people that will spend eternity in this aweful place.  This is another degree of the torment which is the one final moment with those that accepted Christ and His salvation seeing the joy of those called into the sheep fold and see their happiness of the fact that their greatest hopes in Christ are fulfilled, but then suddenly have God turn to you and cast you into eternal darkness in Hell, because you failed to accept that last great hope in Jesus Christ and the final words of God to you is that He never knew you…never!  Do NOT believe the lies that our God cannot do this as He the one who created us all and He will cast those into Hell that are not of His chosen (elect) people, those hypocrites, those wicked vile people who tortured His remnant, the devil and his followers.  This is not to scare someone into heaven, but is a real part of God’s word that is not preached or taught anymore from the pulpits…because it might “offend” someone.  Hell is a real place!

This is not an easy message to write about…nor is one that I really wish to deliver, but at the obedience of the prompting of the Holy Spirit I cannot wish it away.  Many in the church today will tell you that Hell is not a literal place and that the God of the bible would never send anyone to a place like this.  All I can tell you is you had better be absolutely sure they are right before going through life living on that message.  The scriptures are pretty clear to the degree of the wrath of God for those that reject His Son and the work He did on the cross.  God is love…He also has wrath for the sinfulness that exist on this earth.  God hates sin and only Jesus can wash this sin in our lives away for good.  Although this message seems depressing and sorrowful, the great message that survives it all is to accept a life in Jesus Christ…those who belong to Jesus will not see this dark eternity without hope.  Jesus has made it clear throughout His life on earth as to the realities that await those who reject Him…do not be one of those! 

*This is in no way an extensive look at this subject, but to be a quick read, a jolting read to get those of us in Christ back to the reality of sin (not bad choices) and for those without Christ to understand what is at stake if they remain in their sinful life style.  May the Lord use each of us that know Him to reach the many that are lost in need of a savior.  May the Lord use Jesus’ very words from Matthew to Luke to prick the hearts of the lost and bring those lost souls into His kingdom family by His saving grace.  Remember, the Holy Spirit does the regenerating work not His followers.  We are mere servants and messengers of the faith…go and spread the true gospel.

“For many are invited, but few are chosen”.

-Matthew 22:14(NIV)

-Scott Bailey (c) 2008

Enjoy Ravi Zacharia on the reality of Hell!

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Praying through Difficult Times…Psalm 5!

Posted by Scott on March 5, 2008

Guys, if you are like me praying can be difficult to do sometimes.  I mean, just to set down with enough time to effectively pray from our heart and mind.  Many times just finding the words to say can be difficult as we are down or depressed.  As easy as many preachers and teachers will tell you praying is, it is not that easy sometimes.  Throughout the past several years I have found it fruitful to spend a great deal of time studying and meditating on the Psalms.  This is especially true after studying about the life of David so intensely over the years.  Before David was on the throne, he spent numerous years fighting his enemies, running from them, stressed out over his situation, in trouble, in constant song and prayer, but all the while growing in His faithfulness to God.

Praying for our families, job situations, friends, our health, the health of others, and even our enemies can be a task if we desire to pray effectively.  This morning, a pattern became clear to me in my plight to pray effectively and purely before my God.  This is not true of every single time we are to pray, but I can imagine most dads, husbands, or men in general are much like me and are dealing with such a load on their shoulders that the simple opportunity to pray seems like one more piece of luggage upon their back.  The chore of prayer I speak of has nothing to do with our love for God, just our state of being…I still love my Lord more today than I ever have in my entire life and cherish what I am learning from Him.  If this is you, listen closer.

As David prayed throughout Psalms it started many times with a deep groaning, agony or a plea for God to hear his cry (prayer).  “O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning.  Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God…” Have you ever sat down to pray really not knowing what to say, but just from the bottom of your gut this growl or hurtful groan came up?  This is the depth agony that I am speaking of here…that deep groan which was many times holding back tears and shaking as it came forth.  You and I may think we said absolutely nothing, but God heard it loud clear.  He understands exactly what we are going through.  He knows exactly what we said even though we do not know what we said.  Understand He put His only Son here on earth, to be watched over by a very young couple, in a world He knew would be hostile towards His Son, a couple that was not sure why this came about on them, and eventually this world or society would e so hostile it would kill Him.  So, do not think that God does not understand what we go through as a dad, because He really understands sacrificially. 

There has been numerous mornings that I have gotten out of bed at 5 am in the morning from a restless night of sleep as something was bothering me or (I hate to admit it but) something was worrying me.  As a dad of 10 children I can fill that weight of responsibility all too well jump on my back early every morning.  However, I have learned to take this load with me to the place I pray, meditate and study in God’s word each morning so that I can unload it there on my Lord.  He wants it, so I try to leave it with Him.  Guys, I am as human as anyone else and must admit that I am not 100% successful in leaving my sorrows, my load, my cares at the cross each day.  I find myself tying a string to it and dragging along with me although I was suppose to leave it with the Lord.  This is just a part of life that we must continually battle and fight through. 

As I continued to observe David’s prayer here in chapter 5 after he groaned and pleaded with God in his struggle David simply states  “Each morning I bring my request to you and wait expectantly.”  This is exactly as we should do.  Once we have spilled our guts to God and unloaded that pile of junk that was clinging to our backs, we need to be confident in our God to go about our day knowing in the back of our minds that God will answer our prayers in His time.  What joy, peace and rest we can obtain if we can practice our faith this way. 

Other quick observances in Psalm 5 that are tremendous to me starts with the fact that God hates sin as it states “He cannot tolerate the slightest sin”.  So, we need to deal with that first and foremost each day.  Now, for those of us who are repentant of our sins daily we can trust in His unfailing love…always, trust Him to be our guide…always, trust He will show us which way to go…always, trust He is our refuge…always, trust He is our protector…always, trust that God is our shield…always, and trust that the Lord blesses the godly…always!

So, as you go about your day today remember you can trust in the “always” of God and those deep groanings you have had lately in your prayers or even as you are just going about your day really do speak volumes with God.  He is listening and God is looking in the hearts of men all over for those willing to groan before Him and then listen expectantly for His answer.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2008

 

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