En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

Thanksgiving!

Posted by Scott on November 27, 2008

In a time to be most thankful it brings me to Psalm 136.  We are to be most thankful to God in all things…why?  “His mercies endure forever.” 

Be thankful for His providence in our lives.

Be thankful for His love for His chosen ones before the foundations of the world.

Be thankful for His Son, Jesus, taking the punishment for His peoples sinfulness once and for all.

Be thankful for God’s love of His creation that He has provided a way unto salvation.

Be thankful for His revelation from Genesis to Revelation.

Be thankful for our God’s mighty hand that is our defense at all times.

Be thankful for each breath you take everyday.

Be thankful for sovereign grace on our life.

Be thankful that He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him during our most trying storms of life.

Be thankful that our God is good.

Be thankful that our God is above all others.

Be thankful that our God reigns supreme.

Be thankful that by His great wisdom the heavens were created.

Be thankful that He created the splendor of the colors in the Spring and Fall.

Be thankful that He gave us the Sun for both light and warmth.

Be thankful that He gave us the Moon and Stars to gaze upon at night.

Be thankful that our God is the one who sets Kings, Presidents, and other leaders in their positions and not man.

Be thankful that our God is the one who removes the same Kings, Presidents, and other leaders for His greater purposes.

Be thankful that our God gave us this land called America to worship Him freely and without hindrance.

Be thankful that our God rescues His people from their oppressors.

Be thankful that our God provides each and every meal that we will eat from beginning to end.

Be thankful that our God is the one Who brings about our salvation based on His Sovereign Will and not mans.

Be thankful to our God that He is firmly on His throne today and nothing surprises Him or is out of His control.

Be thankful in all things, for all people, at all times…for His mercy endures forever!

May anyone reading have a most blessed Thanksgiving!  May God’s blessings be upon your family this Holy season of the year.

(c) Scott Bailey 2008

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Does God Predestine Some to Hell? Great Video by Mark Kielar

Posted by Scott on October 29, 2008

Romans 9:17-18

17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[a] 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

Exodus 7:2-5

2 You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, 4 he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. 5 And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”

Exodus 9:12

12 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.


So, God either actively or passively intervenes in peoples lives.  The same opportunities to accept the gospel are present, but the intervention of God is different.  Remember also, God’s common grace that all men enjoy whether deserved or not.  Without the hand of God restraining this vile evil that exist in man, the world would not be tolerable by any human being or beast.  God is Sovereignly at work in the lives of His people for our greater good and ultimately His greater glory.   Praise the Lord He first loved me and sought me out like the hound on the trail of a rabbit…nothing will deter the will of God.


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“Not to Destruction, but to Salvation”

Posted by Scott on September 12, 2008

by Albert Mohler, Jr.

The most senior California bishops of the Episcopal Church came out in favor of same-sex marriage in the state on Wednesday.  The bishops then called on voters to defeat Proposition 8 — the constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

From the statement released by the bishops:

As Episcopal Bishops of California, we are moved to urge voters to vote “No” on Proposition 8.  Jesus calls us to love rather than hate, to give rather than to receive, to live into hope rather than fear.  On Tuesday, November 4th, voters in California will be given the opportunity to vote for or against Proposition 8, which would amend the state’s constitution to reserve marriage as only between a man and a woman.  Since the California Supreme Court’s ruling in May that civil marriage should be provided to all of the state’s citizens whether the genders of the couple are different or the same, faithful gays and lesbians have entered into marriage as the principle way in which they show their love, devotion and life-long commitment to each other.  Furthermore, marriage provides these couples the same legal rights and protections that heterosexual couples take for granted.

Proposition 8 would reverse the court’s decision and withdraw a right given.  Proponents of Proposition 8 have suggested that this amendment to the Constitution would protect marriage.  We do not believe that marriage of heterosexuals is threatened by same-sex marriage.  Rather, the Christian values of monogamy, commitment, love, mutual respect and witness of monogamy are enhanced for all by providing this right to gay and straight alike.  Society is strengthened when two people who love each other choose to enter into marriage, engaged in a lifetime of disciplined relationship building that serves as a witness to the importance of love and commitment.

The sweeping statement represented an unconditional support for same-sex marriage.  In one of the most revealing sections of the statement, the bishops celebrated the fact that the decision handed down by the California Supreme Court meant that “faithful gays and lesbians have entered into marriage as the principle way in which they show their love, devotion and life-long commitment to each other.”

The use of the term “faithful gays and lesbians” indicates that the bishops see active homosexual relationships as fully moral and thus to be celebrated.  They offered enthusiasm about the display of love, devotion, and commitment among homosexual couples.

“Society is strengthened,” they argue, “when two people who love each other choose to enter into marriage, engaged in a lifetime of disciplined relationship building that serves as a witness to the importance of love and commitment.”

Note that the bishops simply refer to “two people who love each other.”  Why two?  Once marriage is transformed from the union of a man and a woman into a union without respect to gender — and on the claim that marriage is a “fundamental right” — how can the number two be anything but arbitrary?

Tellingly, the bishops offered no substantial biblical or theological defense of their statement.  Instead, the bishops relied upon generalized language about “the Christian values of monogamy, commitment, love, mutual respect and witness of monogamy.”  They added that these should be celebrated and affirmed “to gay and straight alike.”  The Bible contains absolutely no generalized affirmation of monogamy.  Indeed, the Bible commands monogamy in marriage, defined without question as the union of a man and a woman.  The “Christian values” the bishops cite in favor of their support of same-sex marriage are aberrant abstractions from the biblical text, from the Christian tradition, and from the moral witness of the church.

The church is not to respect what the Bible clearly identifies as sin.  Furthermore, some loves are explicitly prohibited within the Scripture.  The bishops stood to endorse activities and relationships that every previous generation of Christians had understood to be sin.  No previous generation has been confused about the issue of gender with respect to marriage.  The bishops announced their defiant stance against Scripture, tradition, and the practices and beliefs of most Christians worldwide — including most within their own Anglican Communion.

In the majestic language of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, a prayer offered at the consecration of a bishop includes these words:  “Mercifully behold this thy servant, now called to the Work and Ministry of a Bishop; and so adorn him with innocency of life, that, both by word and deed, he may faithfully serve thee in this Office, to the glory of thy Name, and the edifying and well-governing of thy Church; through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Spirit, world without end.  Amen.”

Later, a prayer calls upon the Lord to grant the bishop grace to “use the authority given him, not to destruction, but to salvation; not to hurt, but to help: so that, as a wise and faithful servant, giving to thy family their portion in due season, he may at last be received into everlasting joy.”

Those beautiful words, “not to destruction, but to salvation,” take on a deadly significance in the case of these bishops.  They are leading their own church to destruction, and encouraging in the larger society what the Bible condemns as sin.  These are shepherds who are leading their own flocks right off a cliff.

 

My two cents worth is that these Bishops are nothing more than lip servicing their faith.  It is not embedded deep into their hearts.  These could be described as the ones that on the day of judgement come before Christ and say,

“Lord, Lord we performed miracles in Your name and did all these good works in Your name.”  Jesus will simply tell them, “depart from me, I never knew you.” 

This day is coming folks…the warnings are out there, but the people do not want to hear it, however, it is the duty of the pastors, preachers, Bishops, and teachers to tell the truth from God’s word and not be swayed by public opinion, public wants or what they say they need.  Helping them to live further in their sin by making it ceremonially “ok” is not a Christian act.

Scott Bailey 2008

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Ishmael Must Go!

Posted by Scott on June 21, 2008

by Ray C. Stedman

READ: Genesis 21:8-13

But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned” (Genesis 21:12).

If Isaac represents the gladsome fullness of the fruit of the Spirit, then Ishmael represents some pet manifestation of our self-life in which we find comfort and delight and that we do not want to surrender. Some place value on what they have long suspected is not what God would have but that they were reluctant to give up. Perhaps it is some long-standing habit that we have been defending. There can be habits or values in our lives that are really some form of self-indulgence. God may allow them for a while, but the time comes when He says, “Now, these have to go.”

God says that Ishmael could never share in the inheritance with Isaac. This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:6). When the time comes for us to stand before our Lord at the judgment seat of Christ, our lives will be classified into two areas: works of wood, hay, and straw, which are of the flesh; and those of gold, silver, and precious stones, which are of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). The Lord says to us as he says to Abraham, “Ishmael must go.” If you refuse to expose, examine, and remove that which is born of the flesh, even though God has said that it hurts you and He has shown you the peace, joy, and love that is the fruit of the Spirit, then you must face this choice as Abraham did.

Dr. Barnhouse once wrote, “Early in my ministry, I had the idea that I must strike out against all error wherever I saw it… if error was in some fundamental leader with whom I was in 95% agreement, I swung hard at the 5%.” This made Dr. Barnhouse a highly controversial figure, often unmercifully sharp and dogmatic. This zeal for truth became an Ishmael in his life. Then he tells how there came a time when the Spirit of God taught him to love, and he faced the choice—Ishmael had to go. He had to learn to be more understanding and more tolerant of some of the variant views of others.

He wrote, “Some time ago, I published a New Year’s resolution expressing regret that I had had differences with men who are truly born again. The results of that resolution were astounding. In the years that followed its publication, my ministry has been transformed.” The closing years of his life show much of his mellowing and of the sweetness of the fruit of the Spirit in one who before had been so harsh, critical, and demanding.

I don’t know what form Ishmael may be taking in your life, but I know there are times when God says to us, simply, this must go. There can be no manifestation of the life of the Spirit any longer until this is dealt with. Abraham obeyed. Early in the morning, he got up and took bread and a skin of water and, though it cost him heartbreak to do it, sent Hagar and Ishmael out, so that he might have the fullness of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

Lord, I ask that I would sincerely long to be a completely yielded vessel of Your joy and strength and peace. May I have the grace to cast out Ishmael and find the fullness and joy of Isaac.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “Ishmael must Go! “ for more on this portion of scripture.

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The Suffering of Christ and Sovereignty of God!

Posted by Scott on June 20, 2008

 


By John Piper October 9, 2005 


What I would like to do this final session is magnify Christ in his suffering. And in the process I would like to venture the ultimate biblical explanation for the existence of suffering. And I would like to do it in such a way that you and I would be freed from the paralyzing effects of discouragement and self-pity and fear and pride so that we would spend ourselves—able or disabled—to spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things (including suffering) for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.

The Ultimate Biblical Explanation for the Existence of Suffering

I believe the entire universe exists to display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. I might have said more simply that the entire universe exists to display the greatness of the glory of God. That would be true. But the Bible is more specific. The glory of God shines most brightly, most fully, most beautifully in the manifestation of the glory of his grace. Therefore, this is the ultimate aim and the final explanation of all things—including suffering.

God decreed from all eternity to display the greatness of the glory of his grace for the enjoyment of his creatures, and he revealed to us that this is the ultimate aim and explanation of why there is sin and why there is suffering, and why there is a great suffering Savior. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came in the flesh to suffer and die and by that suffering and death to save undeserving sinners like you and me. This coming to suffer and die is the supreme manifestation of the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. Or to say it a little differently, the death of Christ in supreme suffering is the highest, clearest, surest display of the glory of the grace of God. If that is true, then a stunning truth is revealed, namely, suffering is an essential part of the created universe in which the greatness of the glory of the grace of God can be most fully revealed. Suffering is an essential part of the tapestry of the universe so that the weaving of grace can be seen for what it really is.

Or to put it most simply and starkly: the ultimate reason that suffering exists in the universe is so that Christ might display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God by suffering in himself to overcome our suffering. The suffering of the utterly innocent and infinitely holy Son of God in the place of utterly undeserving sinners to bring us to everlasting joy is the greatest display of the glory of God’s grace that ever was, or ever could be.

In conceiving a universe in which to display the glory of his grace, God did not choose plan b. This was the moment—Good Friday—for which everything in the universe was planned. There could be no greater display of the glory of the grace of God than what happened at Calvary. Everything leading to it and everything flowing from it is explained by it, including all the suffering in the world.

The Biblical Pathway That Leads to This Truth

Walk with me now, if you would, on the biblical pathway that has led me to this truth. To this point it just looks like high-sounding theology or philosophy. But it is far more than that. It is what the very words of Scripture clearly teach.

Revelation 13:8

Let’s begin with Revelation 13:8. John writes, “All who dwell on earth will worship [the beast], everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.” That is a good, careful, literal translation. This means that before the world was created there was a book called the “book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” The Lamb is Jesus Christ crucified. The book is the book of Jesus Christ crucified. Therefore, before God made the world he had in view Jesus Christ slain, and he had in view a people purchased by his blood written in the book. Therefore, the suffering of Jesus was not an afterthought, as though the work of creation did not go the way God planned. Before the foundation of the world God had a book called “the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” The slaying of the Lamb was in view before the work of creation began.

2 Timothy 1:9

Then consider 2 Timothy 1:9. Paul looks back into eternity before the ages began and says, “[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us [that is, he gave us this grace] in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” God gave us grace [undeserved favor—favor toward sinners, grace!] in Christ Jesus before the ages began. We had not yet been created. We had not yet existed so that we could sin. But God had already decreed that grace—an “in Christ” kind of grace, blood-bought grace, sin-overcoming grace—would come to us in Christ Jesus. All that before the creation of the world.

So there is a “book of life of the Lamb who was slain,” and there is “grace” flowing to undeserving sinners who are not yet created. And don’t miss the magnitude of that word “slain” (esphagmenou): “the Lamb who was slain.” It is used in the New Testament only by the apostle John, and means literally “slaughter.” So here we have suffering—the slaughter of the Son of God—in the mind and plan of God before the foundation of the world. The Lamb of God will suffer. He will be slaughtered. That’s the plan.

Why? I’ll give you the biblical text which tells the answer, but let me state it again: it’s because the aim of creation is the fullest, clearest, surest display of the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. And that display would be the slaughter of the best being in the universe for millions of undeserving sinners. The suffering and death of the Lamb of God in history is the best possible display of the glory of the grace of God. That is why God planned it before the foundation of the world.

Ephesians 1

Here’s the Biblical support, first from Ephesians 1 and then from Revelation 5. In Ephesians 1:4 Paul says, “[God] chose us in him [that is, in Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” The goal of the entire history of redemption is to bring about the praise of the glory of the grace of God.

But notice that twice in these verses Paul says that this plan happened “in Christ” or “through Christ” before the foundation of the world. He says in verse 4: God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world in order to bring about the praise of the glory of his grace. And he says in verse 5: God predestined our adoption through Christ before the foundation of the world to bring about the praise of the glory of his grace. What does it mean that “in Christ” we were chosen and that our adoption was to happen “through Christ”? We know that in Paul’s mind Christ suffered and died as a redeemer so that we might be adopted as children of God (Galatians 4:5). Our adoption could not happen apart from the death of Christ.

Therefore, what Paul means is that to choose us “in Christ” and to plan to adopt us “through Christ” was to plan the suffering and death of his Son before the foundation of the world. And verse 6 and 12 and 14 make plain that the goal of this plan was to bring about “the praise of the glory of the grace of God.” That is what God was aiming at. And that is why he planned the suffering and death of his Son for sinners before the creation of the world.

Revelation 5:9-12

Now consider the second biblical support for this from Revelation 5:9-12. Here the hosts of heaven are worshiping the Lamb precisely because he was slain—killed, slaughtered.

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” . . . Then I looked, and I heard around the throne . . . myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

The hosts of heaven focus their worship not simply on the Lamb, but on the “Lamb who was slain.” And they are still singing this song in Revelation 15:3. Therefore we can conclude that the centerpiece of worship in heaven for all eternity will be the display of the glory of the grace of God in the slaughtered Lamb. Angels and all the redeemed will sing of the suffering of the Lamb forever and ever. The suffering of the Son of God will never be forgotten. The greatest suffering that ever was will be at the center of our worship and our wonder forever and ever. This is not an afterthought of God. This is the plan from before the foundation of the world.

Everything else is subordinate to this plan. Everything else is put in place for the sake of this plan: the display of the greatness of the glory of the grace of God in the suffering of the Beloved is the goal of the creation and the continuing of the universe.

The Mystery of God Ordaining But Not Doing Sin

Do you see what this implies about sin and suffering in the universe? According to this divine plan, God permits sin to enter the world. God ordains that what he hates will come to pass. It is not sinful in God to will that there be sin. We do not need to fathom this mystery. We may content ourselves by saying over the sin of Adam and Eve what Joseph said over the sin of his brothers, when they sold him into slavery: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).

As for you, Adam and Eve, you meant evil against God as you rejected him as your Father and Treasure, but Oh what an infinite good he planned through your fall! The Seed of the woman will one day bruise the head of the great Serpent, and by his suffering he will display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. You have not undone his plan. Just as Joseph was sold sinfully into slavery, you have sold yourselves for an apple. You have fallen, and now the stage is set for the perfect display of the greatness of the glory of the grace of God.

For not only did sin enter the world, but through sin came suffering and death. Paul tells us that God subjected the world to futility and corruption under his holy curse. He put it like this in Romans 8:20-23:

The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

When sin entered the world, horrible, horrible things followed. Diseases, defects, disabilities, natural catastrophes, human atrocities—from the youngest infant to the oldest codger, from the vilest scoundrel to the sweetest saint—suffering is no respecter of persons. That’s why Paul said in Romans 8:23, “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Ezekiel tells us that God does not delight in this suffering. “As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11). But the plan remains, and Jeremiah gives us a glimpse into the mysterious complexity of the mind of God in Lamentations 3:32-33, “Though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.” Literally: “He does not from his heart [millibbô] afflict or grieve the children of men.” He ordains that suffering come—“though he cause grief”—but his delight is not in the suffering, but in the great purpose of creation: the display of the glory of the grace of God in the suffering of Christ for the salvation of sinners.

The stage has been set. The drama of redemptive history begins to unfold. Sin is now in its full and deadly force. Suffering and death are present and ready to consume the Son of God when he comes. All things are now in place for the greatest possible display of the glory of the grace of God.

Therefore, in the fullness of time God sent his Son into the world to suffer in the place of sinners. Every dimension of his saving work was accomplished by suffering. In the life and death of Jesus Christ, suffering finds its ultimate purpose and ultimate explanation: suffering exists so that Christ might display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God by suffering in himself to overcome our suffering.

Everything—everything—that Christ accomplished for us sinners he accomplished by suffering. Everything that we will ever enjoy will come to us because of suffering.

The Display of the Glory of the Grace of God in the Achievements of Christ by His Suffering

Consider the display of the glory of the grace of God in the achievements of Christ by his suffering.

1. Christ absorbed the wrath of God on our behalf—and he did it by suffering.

Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’” The wrath of God that should have caused our eternal suffering fell on Christ. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

2. Christ bore our sins and purchased our forgiveness—and he did it by suffering.

1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” Isaiah 53:5, “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” The sins that should have crushed us under the weight of guilt were transferred to Christ. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

3. Christ provided a perfect righteousness for us that becomes ours in him—and he did it by suffering.

Philippians 2:7-8, “He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” The obedience of Christ by which many are counted righteous (Romans 5:19) had to be an obedience unto death, even death on a cross. This is the glory of grace, and it would come only by suffering.

4. Christ defeated death—and he did it by suffering death.

Hebrews 2:14-15, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” “‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55). This is the glory of grace and it would come only by suffering.

5. He disarmed Satan—and he did it by suffering.

Colossians 2:14-15, “[The record of debts against us] he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” With the record of all our lawbreaking nailed to the cross and cancelled, the power of Satan to destroy us is broken. Satan has only one weapon that can damn to hell. Unforgiven sin. This weapon Christ stripped from Satan’s hand on the cross. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

6. Christ purchased perfect final healing for all his people—and he did it by suffering.

Isaiah 53:4, “Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” “The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17). The Lamb was slaughtered and the Lamb was raised from the dead, and the Lamb together with the Father will wipe every tear from our eyes. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

7. Christ will bring us finally to God—and he will do it by his suffering.

1 Peter 3:18, “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. The ultimate achievement of the cross is not freedom from sickness but fellowship with God. This is what we were made for: seeing and savoring and showing the glory of God. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering.

The Ultimate Reason Why Suffering Exists

The ultimate purpose of the universe is to display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. The highest, clearest, surest display of that glory is in the suffering of the best Person in the universe for millions of undeserving sinners. Therefore, the ultimate reason that suffering exists in the universe is so that Christ might display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God by suffering in himself to overcome our suffering and bring about the praise of the glory of the grace of God.

O Christian, remember what Carl Ellis and David Powlison and Mark Talbot and Steve Saint and Joni Eareckson Tada said: they all, in their own way, said that whether we are able or disabled, enduring loss or delighting in friends, suffering pain or savoring pleasure, all of us who believe in Christ are immeasurably rich in him and have so much to live for. Don’t waste your life. Savor the riches that you have in Christ and spend yourself no matter the cost to spread your riches to this desperate world.


© Desiring God  By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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The distinctives of the Lord Jesus-Christ in the Koran!

Posted by Scott on June 18, 2008

What Does the Koran Say about Jesus?

 

 

1. Jesus was the only person to be born of a virgin, distinguished from all humans and prophets without any exception: “She said, How shall I have a son, whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchased. He said, Even so thy Lord has said: Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us. It is a thing determined.”(19) (Mary 16-24).

2. Jesus Christ alone was distinguished from all humans by being the Word of God, who is the very expression of the Self of God end His eternal Being: “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, God’s Messenger, and His Word…” (4)The Women 171; (3)House of Imran 40).

3. Jesus Christ alone emanated from the spirit of God; for this reason He did not need a sexual, genetical birth. “The Messiah, Jesus Son of Mary, God’s Messenger, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him.” (4)The Women 169)

4. Jesus Christ alone, in exception to all humans, spoke while in the cradle (19)Mary 22-32). The Koran tells us that Christ needed no one to teach Him anything, not even how to speak. The Bible says: “Who hath directed the spirit of the Lord, or being His counselor hath taught Him knowledge and showed to Him the way of understanding.” (Isaiah 40:1,13-14). Naturally, no one can teach the One who emanated from God’s Spirit for He is the All-knowing.

5. Jesus Christ alone was distinguished from all prophets with His infallibility and was the only one to be singled out for His perfection; for all the prophets had sinned, and their sins were mentioned in the Koran. However, Christ was the only exception, for “High honored shall be in this world and the next.” (3)House of Imran 45). Also, the Arab prophet (El-Bukhari) testified for the perfection of Christ and His infallibility, saying: “Satan pokes with his finger the side of every human at birth, except Jesus, son of Mary; when he went to poke Him, he poked the curtain.”

6. Jesus Christ alone was distinguished from all others in the sense that He was the Creator: “I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it and it will be a bird.” (3)House of  Imran 42).

7. Jesus Christ alone was uniquely incomparable in knowing men’s secrets: “I will inform you too of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely, in that is a sign for you if you are believers.” (3)House of Imran 48).

8. Jesus was matchless in making the miracles and the wonders which no other could make: “And I will also heal the blind and the leper…” (3)House of Imran 48).

9. Jesus Christ alone could raise the dead with the word of His blessed mouth: And I will bring life to the dead…”  (3)House of Imran 48; (5)The Table 110).

10. Jesus Christ alone exclusively enjoyed the prophetical title of “the Messiah”: “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was God’s Messenger, and His Word committed to Mary…” (4)Women 169). The Old Testament made known the real identity of the Messiah, saying: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth… and this is the name whereby He shall be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

11. Jesus Christ alone exchanged responsibility of authority with God: “And I was a witness over them, while I remained among them; but when thou didst take me to thy self, Thou wast Thyself the watcher over them.” (5)Table 117).

12. Jesus was the only one to become a Sign unto men and Mercy from God (19)Mary 20) unto men who fell under the burden and the shackles of sin; for which, God’s justice and holiness condemned them to eternal perdition. For this reason the only Savior, who can offer eternal salvation to men came to be a Mercy from God.

13. Only Jesus Christ could give His followers high honors and assurances concerning the day of Resurrection: “I will cause thee to die, and I will raise thee to Me, and I will purify thee of those who believe not. I will set thy followers above the unbelievers till the resurrection Day,”  (3)House of Imran 55)

14. Only Jesus will be the Judge who will come to this world to judge the living and the dead; the Arab prophet (El-Bukhari) confirmed this fact, saying: “The Last Hour will not come until the Son of Mary come down as the just Judge.”

 

Who is Christ Indeed?

If you meditated on any of the Koran verses that portray the Lord Jesus Christ, you find that they are inherent attributes that are exclusively distinctive of God; and that He did not share any of them with any human at all. Moreover, you find that the Lord Jesus Christ did not enjoy only one of these attributes, but He included all of them in His blessed person, so that He may leave no doubt concerning His deity and divinity.

The New Testament recorded that the All-mighty God became a perfect man (something that was easy for Him to do) and came from heaven to our earth to save men. The Bible says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God … and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14). Then the Bible continues the portrayal of Christ, saying:”And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16).

 

The Doctrine of the “SON OF GOD” in the Old Testament.

The Jews believe, as many of the Muslims do, that the idea of “The Son of God” was an innovation of Christianity, brought as a heresy against the faith in the One God. But if you study the Tenach, which is the Jewish Torah or Old Testament, you will find that the doctrine of God’s Son is braided, fused, and embedded in the very foundations of the Tenach. And in these few coming lines, we will present the strongest proofs that support this doctrine and prove that the Jews have rejected the very doctrine of their Holy Tenach concerning God’s Son. The second Psalm says: “Now therefore be wise, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, For his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.” (Psalms 2:10-12).

Who is this Son that God is admonishing the kings, the judges, and the people of the earth to give Him loyalty, honor, homage, and reverence? Which human son is worthy of having the whole world putting their trust in him? For certainty, there is no human who is worthy or capable to accept the responsibility of all humans putting their trust in him. For this reason, the wisest human that ever lived, king Solomon, made known that that Son is the Son of the Omni-potent Creator to whom nothing is impossible: “Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in his garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou knowest? ” (Proverbs 30:4)

Salomon excelled in proclaiming the truth when God revealed to him that that Son who became unto us wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:31), and who is the Word of God, was with God since the beginning, exactly as the Asharite group deducted in their argument concerning the Word or God and the eternality thereof; he said: ” The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, Before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, Before the earth was … While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, Nor the beginning of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there: When he set a circle upon the face of the deep, When he made firm the skies above, When the fountains of the deep became strong, When he gave to the sea its bound, That the waters should not transgress his commandment, When he marked out the foundations of the earth; Then I was by him, as a master workman; And I was dailhis delight… ” (Proverbs 8:22-30)

Then came Isaiah, the greatest of the Jewish prophets, to dissipate all the clouds of doubts concerning the identity of the Son of the All-mighty God, he said: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel; [which is, being interpreted, God with us.]”(Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6-7). Who is this Son who is worthy of homage, loyalty and honor as well as being entitled to be called The mighty God, the Everlasting Father? No one except the only and unique One, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin, in exception to all humans for genetical birth did not become to Him.

If you studied the Tenach in depth, you find that the central theme of its entirety is the Lord Jesus Christ. It also contains more than three hundred prophecies about the expected Messiah. The prophets were given the privilege of predicting the details of every aspect of His birth, life, death, and resurrection. All those prophecies were precisely fulfilled in Jesus’ birth, its time, its place, and the events that related to it; and in His forerunner, and in His life, ministry, miracles, preaching, disciples, the Jews treating Him, crucifixion, burial, the period of His staying in the grave, glorious resurrection from the dead, and ascension to heaven. All that was done so that He could prove to men that He was not an ordinary human, but the God who forged history and fashioned the events so that the prophecies could be fulfilled, to prepare men to meet the True God who loved them.

 

Why Did Christ Come?

Christ came to save us from our sins and from the eternal torment that our sins brought upon us. We are sinners by nature and by choice: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one … They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one … For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:10-23). Moreover, we cannot save ourselves neither by our money nor by our good works, for the Lord’s salvation is by the grace of God; and there fore, it is a free gift: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Whereas God is most holy and pure, and whereas His holiness does not accept sin, our sins brought upon us the wrath of God, and we have become worthy of eternal perdition: “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). Furthermore, we cannot save ourselves with self efforts, nor can we buy our eternity with a fistful of money or good works no matter how good they are. If a man condemned to death for breaking human laws cannot satisfy human justice with a fistful of money nor can he settle his debt by performing good works, how then can we expect to satisfy the absolute justice of God with a handful of money and some good works? God’s justice requires the most severe punishments, which led man to the fire of hell.

But the love of God for us is far greater than what we can imagine. Consequently, He sent His only Holy and Pure Son, to satisfy the divine justice which cannot accept other than the most severe punishment. For without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sin. For this reason, God demanded of man to offer the sacrifices for sins; but all those sacrifices would have meant nothing, nor would they have any effect, had they not been the symbol of the precious blood that was shed on the cross upon Mount Calvary: “… the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins … Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”(Hebrews 10:11; 9:12).

“The Great Sacrifice” that was mentioned by the Koran in (The Rangers 37:109), quoting the Torah, and telling the story of Abraham, when he was about to offer his son as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah, but God stopped him and gave him a lamb to redeem his son; was but a symbol of the redemptive work of Christ on Calvary. Here, we see the Koran calling it “the Great Sacrifice”, because that lamb was not an ordinary lamb, similar to the other lambs that were offered daily; but was a unique lamb, a gift from heaven to Abraham to redeem his son who was under the judgement of a sure death. Also, because God wanted to teach us, that: what happened on Mount Moriah (which is Mount Calvary), was but a symbol; first, of man’s situation and his sins that brought God’s judgement of eternal death in the fire of hell, upon him. Secondly, of the love of God who sent the Gift of Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29). Then Christ died on the same spot where Abraham offered the lamb to redeem his son; symbolizing the death of Christ for man to forgive the sins of everyone that believes: “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:18).

Therefore, Abraham’s “Great Sacrifice” which was offered by Christ with His own blood, to redeem man and to nullify all other sacrifices, seeing that we need them no more: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God … For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (1 Peter 3: 18; John 3:16). And whereas Jesus Christ is the Word of God and His Spirit; i.e., His Son, He could not be held back by death in the grave; but He arose the third day from the dead with great glory, to prove His clam, and to establish His message: “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:25).

 

Who is a Christian?

 

 

 

 

Not everyone that is labeled as a Christian is a Christian. A person might be pious, or religious, but not a real Christian; the Bible says: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7 :21). Unfortunately, most of those who are labeled as Christian, are not even religious let alone real Christians. Moreover, in real Christianity, no nation can be considered a Christian nation, because Christianity is a personal relationship between God and the individual: “For many be called, but few chosen… Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 20:16; 7:13-14).

Therefore, a true Christian is a Christian neither by birth nor by heritage, nor by coercion, nor by force. But rather, he is the person who responds to God’s call and the working of the Holy Spirit in his heart, inviting him to eternal salvation. For this reason God excluded governments, states, and organizations from His salvation plan; because man always tends to abuse his powers, and then tries to justify his oppressive actions by claiming that he is acting on God’s behalf (And that is an excuse worse than the misdeed); as if God is unable to avenge. We should never forget what the almighty God said: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19). In contrast, Christ sent his followers as lambs in the midst of wolves. However, this does not mean that kings, governors and statesmen do not have the same chance like everyone else to be saved, for they are born sinners like the rest of us, and they surely need God’s salvation: (God) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4). Moreover, the true Christian lives the godly life, in obedience to god, so he may be a light in the midst of this world of darkness. Also, the true Christian obeys the Lord’s commandment concerning baptism. A follower of Christ would find a fundamental group of believers with whom he would have fellowship, for mutual edification.

 

 

 

Necessity of Faith!

Even though God has completed the work of salvation and offered it to us as a free gift, we cannot enjoy God’s salvation unless we repent from our sins, and accept the lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior: “Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions… But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (Ezekiel 18:30; Acts 3:19; John 1:12).

Here we find that the calling of God unto repentance was built upon love, compassion and mercy, with no intimidation, scare, unnerving or coercion, whatsoever. For the love of God inspires a respect to man and gives him the opportunity to make an important decision for himself. Consequently, God says: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life…” (Deut. 30:19-20).

The Bible stresses upon the center of faith, saying: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31). Without this faith in Christ, there is no possibility to please God, nor receive eternal salvation or eternal bliss. Therefore, the answer to the most important question that faces man concerning the place where he will spend his eternity, is based in its entirety upon the individual’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. The Bible says: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9,13).

Therefore, as a sinner who desires and seeks to receive the forgiveness of your sins, eternal life, and the assurance of your eternity, [you can pray something like this]: “Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. [I know that I am a dreadful sinner condemned unclean a part from Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.  Now I am praying asking you to forgive my sins once and for all and to give me eternal life. Thank you because you have heard [my] prayer.  In [the name above every name-Jesus Christ] I pray.  Amen.”

 

An Imperative Word

How may a guilty man have any hope from the justice of the legal code if he is brought before a judge who happened to be his opponent? The Bible confirms the fact that Christ will come as the Judge, saying: “The Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” (2 Tim.4:1). Islam has supported this fact as Mohammed said: “The Last Hour will not come until the son of Mary come down as the just Judge.” Then the Bible says that the Lord Jesus Christ “will judge the world in righteousness… For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” (Acts 17:31; John 5:22). Therefore, we see here a fact that does not allow questioning or argument; first, that “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27); secondly, that the Lord Jesus Christ will come back as the righteous Judge of the living and the dead.

Here, we have to ask what is the account that man would give before the Judge? As the Bible teaches, Christ died for our sins, to give us complete forgiveness. But what happens if we reject that forgiveness? The Bible says: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18). Therefore, the most serious charge that man will face before the Great Judge is the answer we will give in response to the redemptive work of Christ for you. What will your answer be to His question: “Did you accept the redemptive work that I accomplished on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins?” The Bible replies, saying: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God, which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:7-12).

Therefore, the great case before the righteous Judge is based upon the fact whether you accepted or rejected God’s testimony concerning His son and His redemptive work on the cross. This means that if you rejected that testimony, you have discredited the testimony of God concerning His Son, and you will find yourself without excuse in the hands of an angry Judge, reaping the wrath that you have treasured for yourself against the Day of Wrath, whereon the righteous judgement of god will be given against every one that had decided not to believe the Word of God nor to accept His testimony. The prayer of my heart is that you have accepted the redemptive word of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, and have received Christ as your personal Savior, so that you will be found among the saved and the faithful. God Bless you. Amen.

Excerpt from: The gospel of Christ Jesus according to Saint John – As reviewed by the Koran and Muslim scholars, By: Dr. Ben Malik Jamil

Prepared for the Internet by:

www.TheGrace.com

 

 

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Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose! Eckhart Tolle

Posted by Scott on April 11, 2008

“I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth…for the first heaven and first earth had passed away”.     Revelation 21:1

I have been watching and listening intently at many actors and actresses as they describe what this New Earth book by Eckhart Tolle means to them.  With such terms as “a new conscienceness” or “a new earth” being thrown around.  I watched and listened to the sincerity of each of them including other people who are simply a follower of Oprah.  I even have studied Oprah through all of this and how she is changing daily because of this “new revelation” from this book.  So, I wanted to try to be brief and clear about what is taking place here.  As many people are looking for the meaning of life, true peace, true happiness, and true joy.  Many of these same people are also looking for riches, glory, honor, and influence that they have never had before.  I would ask that anyone contemplating turning their hearts and eternity over to this “new conscienceness” to listen and meditate closely on what is presented within this text.

Galatians 1:6 [ There Is Only One Good News ] I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News.”

First items I heard was the different words used that you will hear in Christianity and other religions.  This can throw many people off are not versed in the scriptures.  Psalm 26:2-3 it tells us “Test me, O Lord, and try me.  Examine my heart and my mind, for your love is ever before me…”  I would encourage you to first ask God to examine your heart and mind to see if it is of a sound doctrine.  God will show us through His word, the Bible, if we are on the right track or not.  We know that many will come say they have found a “new way”, “new light”, new revelation”, or even the way to a “new earth”…however, this does not mean it is the truth.  God’s word tells us also that our ways are not God’s ways nor is our thoughts God’s thoughts.  So, we cannot believe for a moment that we have discovered anything new or discovered the secret to God.  For a few thousand years now we have found in the bible the true way to a personal relationship with God.  This personal relationship is as real as two people setting across from each other at a table talking.  This “new earth” way is not a personal realtionship with God…there is no God in the Tolle philosophy.  Do you want a rock you can stand on?  Do you want someone that has felt your pain and died for your depraved mind and heart?  Would you like to settle the issue of eternity while you live your life on earth?  Would you like to be able to get through those lowest times in your life with a spiritual being carrying you through?  This is all found in Jesus Christ.  He will deliver true peace, true joy, true happiness, true prosperity…not this feel good methodology.  God never ask that you empty your mind like Tolle tells his people and meditate.  God wants you to meditate on His word…He will direct you and teach you something from that, not an empty mind listening to whatever spirit blows across your mind.  The most dangerous thing in the world is emptying your minds to nothing.  Look to the authority of the scriptures, the holiness of a sovereign God and to the loving righteousness of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Jesus tells us in John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” 

Now, I would ask Eckhart Tolle and Oprah from what authority they preach and teach this book to millions of people?  One must have authority before they can make such claims as they do.  The Bible is time tested and has survived each test…however, this new book has not survived the test of even a years time yet.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “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.”  Now, I ask again, by what authority does Oprah and Eckhart preach and teach the themes within Tolle’s new book?  They have no authority from heaven, but possible from the millions of people that have cleared their minds to winds of any spirit travelling by at the moment.  This is not authority, but it is mindless popularity.  Millions of people are willing to place their eternity in the hands of a paperback book written by a non-authority in eternal things.  This puzzles me somewhat, that this many people are willing to empty their minds to something that is not proven nor will it be proven unless it is to be false.

Many people have been taught incorrectly in churches for decades by unholy men or unknowledgable men.  These men did not convey the love within the pages of God’s word.  They did not expound on the word correctly for the most part either to the point that legalism took the place of true Christianity.  C.S. Lewis plainly spoke one time, “It is Christ Himself not the Bible who is the true Word of God.  The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good leaders, will bring us to Him.”  The mistake for decades has been worshipping the words on a page or a book rather than the power behind the words on those pages which is found in Jesus Christ.  John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.”  Who is the Word?  It is Jesus Christ.  Who was with God in the beginning?  Jesus! 

What is our life’s purpose?  It is to bring glory and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ in all things.  The beauty of the earth was to bring glory to God.  The suffering of Jesus was to glorify the Father in heaven.  Our life is to honor and love Christ regardless what we are going through.  God wants you and I to delight in Him.  Not when we are buying a new car, house, or clothes neccessarily, but when we are walking through the dark valley of death, when we are sick and dying in a hospital, when a child or loved one is killed suddenly, or when we are bankrupt financially with no end in sight….this is when God wants us to delight in Him in all things.  “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:4.  Does this mean if we desire a new car then we call out to our magic Geni and He will deliver a new car?  No, it means that if we will delight in Him, then our hearts can be tested and found to be one with Him…this results in our desires matching up with God’s.  Our desires will then want nothing less than honor and glory for Him…new cars, new houses, new clothes, and new things will not even be in the picture…our personal relationship with Jesus will replace those earthly, selfish desires.

Throughout all of scripture, if we are at one with our Lord, we can find our loving Jesus in every book of the bible from Genesis to Revelation.  It is more than inspiring…it is life transforming.  Read the list below of who Christ is throughout the entire Bible:

HE IS!

In Genesis He is the breath of life

In Exodus He is the Passover Lamb

In Leviticus He is our high priest

In Numbers He is the fire by night

In Deuteronomy He is Moses’ voice

In Joshua He is salvation’s choice

In Judges He is the law giver

In Ruth He is our kinsmen-redeemer

In First & Second Samuel He is our trusted prophet

In Kings & Chronicles He is sovereign

In Nehemiah He is the re-builder of broken walls and lives

In Esther He is Mordecai’s courage

In Job He is the timeless redeemer

In Psalms He is our morning song

In Proverbs He is wisdom’s cry

In Ecclesiastes He is the time and seasons

In Solomon He is the lover’s dream

In Isaiah He is the Prince of Peace

In Jeremiah He is the weeping prophet

In Lamentations He is the cry for Israel

In Ezekial He is the call from sin

In Daniel He is the stranger in the fire

In Hosea He is forever faithful

In Joel He is the spirit’s power

In Amos He is the arms that carry us

In Obadiah He is the Lord our Savior

In Jonah He is the great missionary

In Micah He is the promise of peace

In Nahum He is our strength and our shield

In Habakkuk & Zephaniah He is pleading for revival

In Zechariah He is our fountain

In Malachi he is the sun of righteousness rising with healing in His wings

In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John He is God, Man, Messiah

In Acts He is the fire from heaven

In Romans He is the grace of God

In the Corinthians He is the power of love

In Galatians He is freedom from the curse of sin

In Ephesians He is our glorious treasure

In Phillipians He is the servant’s heart

In Colossians He is the Godhead Trinity

In Thessalonians He is our coming King

In Timothy, Titus and Philemon He is our mediator and our faithful pastor

In Hebrews He is the everlasting covenant

In James He is the One who heals the sick

In Peter He is our Shepherd

In John and Jude He is the lover coming for His bride

and In Revelation He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, The Son of Man, the Lamb of God, the Great “I AM”…He is the alpha and omega, Our God and Savior….He is Jesus Christ the Lord.

You see there is no new conscienceness or new revelation…the only new earth will be after Jesus comes back after He has defeated the wicked on this earth…after the old heaven and earth are gone away then comes the new Jerusalem here on earth.  God has and always will be the same yesterday, today, and in the future.  He is outside of time and is not bound by our time.  He is the awesome God of the Universe and beyond.  If you want to awaken to your life’s purpose…then give your heart and soul to Christ, not some new age philosophy out of a book that really has no meaning at all.  Do not trust your eternity to mindless talk and philosophies…trust your eternity to the God who created you and wants you to be with Him for all eternity.

Oprah and Eckhart, there is only one way to heaven, to the heavenly Father, to a true relationship with God…that is through Jesus Christ our Lord Who sets at the right hand of the Father today.  There is no other way regardless of what any man walking this earth from past to present tells you.  Jesus tells us “Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate  and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”  Further He tells us “I Am the gate, whoever enters through Me will be saved.”  This New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and is being taught by its new false prophet, Oprah Winfrey, is the broad road….it looks good, sounds great, is just what man thinks in his own depraved heart he is looking for….how could it be bad when it does so much good?  I tell you now that this broad road, this new earth, this new conscienceness only leads to destruction.  Oprah said in public and denied that Jesus Christ was the only way…this was a public denial of the deity of Jesus Christ and will lead to her ultimate destruction.  I plead with anyone listening to not fall for it or travel down that path…stay with the narrow way, the small gate which is Jesus!

To read more about the real New Heaven and New Earth just click here!

-Scott Bailey 2008

 

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-Can I Get A Witness Here? Holiness is Our Calling!

Posted by Scott on January 8, 2008

After all is said and done, the comment I received to a post of mine did not seem to fit the article. Fierce Warriors or Raise a Spartan Warrior is not a judgemental piece towards certain people although it brings up certain sins of people…sin is not exclusively for those mentioned…as I am chief of sinners. This is an article that challenges dads to raise their sons to do battle in this world for the cause of Christ. Yes, we are to be very forgiving to our neighbors and of their sin…not to the point that we just keep over looking our brothers and sisters in Christ living in sin though. They need help if that is the case…we are to lift them up as God would lead us to do. However, that is not what is spoken about in these articles.

Read the rest of my post on this blog and guest post I have included to discover my complete heart…a heart that loves Christ dearly, serves Him as valiantly as one can, wishes that all could know the God I know, believes that the God who created this world is far bigger than any God we can think of, believes that God is sovereign over all.  A heart that believes God delights in showing grace and mercy upon His people, but uses events in our lives to shape us into the vessel He can use for the furthering of His Kingdom.

I am not qualified to judge anyone, because I do not have the complete picture for others attitude or reasons for acting the way they do. However, the few sins mentioned are mentioned in the bible in a big way, so I cannot water that down or dismiss it. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 tells us “Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers (could be abuse of food or abuse of people), and swindlers-none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God.” This is not to say that if a person commits adultery they cannot go to heaven if they repent of their sins and turn their lives over to Christ…however, a person that “indulges” in this type of lifestyle without any regard to a life with Christ or points a finger at God as though to defy Him will not inherit the Kingdom of God….many of these will never come to Christ no matter how much you love them or witness to them…God is not in them….that spark is non-existent in the corner of their heart that is needed for the Holy Spirit to prompt them with and draw (drag) them to Jesus. We as Christians do make mistakes and God looks through that to see our hearts and He pardons our sins as we come back to Him asking forgiveness…our mistakes are most of the time not an indulgence, but a lack of fellowship with Christ, a lack of spending time in His Word and falling back into a sinful life or simply a case of very bad choices.

Acts 2:40 speaks like this “Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, ‘Save yourselves from this generation that has gone astray!’” I do believe Peter’s message would be even more direct today than ever before. We have a generation of Christians now that feel they can mingle and live as the non-believers do, but love them to death and win them over to Christ all the while sacrificing their own holiness before God in the process. This will not be acceptable before our holy God. We as believers need to live a life that is so astonishingly different that the world wants what we have. As should be the case when they come around us is to experience and see the holiness of God on our lives. This is a life that the non-believing world senses is authentically loving, caring, holy, and God honoring…something they would love to experience themselves. However, the world has witnessed a sham Christianity for decades now that has tried to condemn everyone into heaven, scare the “hell” out of people, judge them into heaven, make them feel shameful, and so on…this has been a shameful time from the witness of God’s people. Now, we are experiencing the “emerging church” philosophy that tells you to get out there and entertain them into heaven, embrace their sinfulness as to not offend them and love them for who they are not helping them out of their sinful lifestyle, don’t speak about their sin, go to the bars like they do because God doesn’t really care how you achieve this witness as long as you do it in His name, whatever feels right must be from God, water down and dumb down the message in order to not offend the people, don’t meet in buildings that look like churches because that offends people, get rid of the theologically sound doctrines found in hundreds of hymns and replace that with rock in roll chants and choruses and so on. This is as big a sham Christianity as the earlier days of the legalistic judgemental church. One judges people into hell because they develop a hatred for the church and the other tries to convince people into heaven and allows them to “feel good” all the time to the point they never meet Christ and end up in hell because no one confronted their sinfulness as Christ would have.

God’s holy word tells the church exactly how we are to be. Christians are to in part: steady, non-judging, sin haters, lovers of the Word, Christ followers, believers, giving, merciful, gracious, loving people, teachers/preachers of the entire truth of God’s word not just the good feeling parts of it. This is not everything an authentic Christian should be, but this is a good test of who is living it and who is not. So, I wanted to clarify further my heart, the purpose for the articles mentioned, and God’s calling for us to come back to holiness before Him in our lifestyles…that is determined between you and the Lord not me, your neighbor or anyone else.

 I could rattle on and on about my Lord and will in more post as the Lord impresses His thoughts and word upon my heart, but I really want anyone reading this post and any of the other post on this “Dads Devoted” blog to know that I do love each one of you regardless of your beliefs.  I cannot save anyone, that is God’s job.  It is not my place to judge anything you do, God has reserved that position for Himself.  However, I can love you as commanded by my Lord Jesus and live a life of holiness before you as the scriptures would instruct us to do.  May God richly bless the reading of His holy word whether in voice or in print

Pressing on in Him,
Scott

-Scott Bailey (c) 2008

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-Mercy and Grace For God’s Chosen People!

Posted by Scott on January 5, 2008

After all the punishment, the refinement, the sifting as wheat…our God desires to stop His wrath and heap upon us His mercy and grace to His elect, His chosen people, the remnant of exiles because of our failed humanity.  Micah 7 is a great conclusion for God’s people.Whenever we find ourselves in the middle of such a sinful and wicked people, it is necessary to look to our Lord and wait on Him for relief, direction, and restful peace. 

In the events that surround our sinfulness, we must work through the punishing refinement that is necessary until the Lord in His gracious love subdues His wrath and begins to restore us, rebuild us, and expand the borders to which we are now confined.  During this refining period much like silver, all the impurities, the froth are burned away by an intense fire.  This fire brings us to .999% pure.  We will only be 100% pure at the time that our bodies are returned to our souls at the time of Christ second coming when we meet Him in the air. 

In the refining periods of our lives, the world watches with its sneering glow at how the God we claim to worship finishes His work in us.  This is the testimony that we lay hold of in our Lord. In Micah 7 we read the witness account of the world as it sinks to about the lowest point in its history at the time when even fathers and sons could not trust each other, because of the vile sinful wickedness that existed in that day.  In the midst of this time the world was watching to see if the God of Israel would spare His people.  At the height of His wrathful punishing restoration, the aroma of the Lord’s compassion fills the air like freshly blooming roses after a spring rain.  It is so strong that all people in existence in that area of the world could smell it.  His chosen people, the remnant, His elect were the recipients of this compassion.  The Lord’s tremendous unfailing love was blossoming again towards His people.  In amazement the others around witnessed this miraculous love and commented about this great testimony. 

The Lord promises His restful peace and prosperity to return to His people. 

          “I will do mighty miracles for you, like those I did when I

          rescued you from slavery in Egypt.”

This was a display for all that were watching this love affair between the Lord and His chosen people.  This was in order for God to be mightily glorified and honored in the day of His remnant’s restoration.  All the soulless arrogant people would be shown how insignificant they really are in the light of the larger providential plan of our sovereign Lord. 

In grand amazement the people could only wonder who this God was that put blinders on and pardon the sins of His people.  To their surprise the Israelite’s God did not remain angry for very long nor did He punish them completely for all their sins…His grace is always intervening shortly after His wrath has fallen when His people cry out to Him and call our Lord by name.  In a short period of time they realized all the events that took place was to rebuild His remnant and destroy those wicked proud sinful people who had taken Israel hostage.  They thought they could do as they pleased and get richer and richer off the backs of God’s people, but His wrath would soon fall upon them with no reprieve.  God can and will use people and events for His purposes, both the good and bad.  As this has played out, because God “delights in showing mercy”. 

We finish the story to find God, the almighty one, the sovereign Lord of us all with His arm open wide spreading His faithful and unfailing love out like a table cloth adorning a grand oak table with a feast fit for only the family of the King.  For those of us in the 21st century this promise of faithfulness and unfailing love remains.  This feast is still spread upon His table for us.  Our greatest need as believers is to turn back towards our holy and majestic God.  We will witness the most magnificent transformation in our lives as God pours out His fresh mercies, faithfulness, and unfailing love upon His chosen people.  The Lord wants us to move in the direction of holiness…a purified vessel ready for daily use by our awesome Creator.

 For You, O God, tested us, You refined us like silver.  You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.  You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance.”  -Psalm 66:10-12

For those of us that are a part of this remnant, His chosen people, we will be refined, purified, and stretched.  However, the promise of God is that our ultimate end is not destruction.  We need to hold onto what God has promised us even though everyone around us including voices in our heads may tell us differently.  Difficulties will come our way…this is a part of the suffering we as believers must endure.  Many times as we march forward as we sense God would have us do, things may get worse before they get better, just count on it.  God is doing a far greater work in us than we could ever imagine.  In just a short time, our sovereign Lord will bring us into that “place of abundance”, as He promises.

Just as the Lord promised Israel He would rebuild their cities and extend their borders, He intends to do the same with us.  Although we may be surrounded by pitch darkness, the Lord will be our light. 

Are we ready to be rebuilt by an awesome God?  Are we ready to have our borders extended beyond our sight?  In the quest for His holiness we will experience His righteousness soon.

-Scott Bailey © 2008

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-Can We Be Holy?

Posted by Scott on January 5, 2008

Can I be frank with you, Guys?  God is calling His people back to holiness.  Our families are looking to us as husbands, fathers, and leaders to usher in this holiness to our homes, churches, and even the workplace.  Are we inadvertently losing our desire to be holy?  This is not the direction the majority of the churches are moving today either.  As a matter of fact, the church in general is moving as far away from holiness as it can all in the name of progress in winning the lost to Christ.  We see the great hymns that testify to His holiness and sovereignty pushed aside for more upbeat, rock style chants.  Such old hymns as “Take Time to be Holy” by William D. Longstaff of 1882 with such words as

“Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; abide in Him always, and feed on His word.  Make friends of God’s children; help those who are weak; forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek”

are missing within the walls of churches of today.  Preachers are not standing in the pulpits anymore with the Holy Scriptures in front of them proclaiming God as holy and that we should be moving in that holy direction ourselves as the Spirit of God prompts us.  We cannot embrace success until we have successfully embraced the suffering of Christ as a part of Christianity.   

Here in Micah 5:1-15 we find a special treat as the coming birth of Christ is foretold.  The coming of Christ was the great hope for the oppressed people of this day and time.  This is not much different than the hopes we have today of Christ second coming.  My concern is the condition of “the bride of Christ” when He returns.  The task at hand for us is a return to the holiness of God.  Micah 5:4 states “He will stand to lead His flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God”.  Verse 5 “He will be the source of our peace”. God always uses a remnant for His purposes.  As the Israelites of this day and time were captured and hauled off to captivity, God promises to keep a remnant for His use.  He promises to restore and redeem this remnant for His greater glory.  This remnant is a people with little significance to the world from an earthly point of view.  These are people God strips bare and purifies with His mighty hand deep into the core of their being, and rebuilds them to accomplish His work here on earth.  The remnant is a people striving to live a holy life before God with little regard for the opinions of the masses including those within their on Christian circles.  As we look around, so many “play” at Christianity with little power in their lives.  For some reason it is “hip” in the Bible-Belt of America to tag yourself with the label of “Christian”.  To live this life out with a holy humble calling does not enter their thought process.  The church wonders why it does not have an effect on lives in their communities.  The church has left its first love, Christ, for a false doctrine of prosperity and feeling good.  The church has become in many circles the Oprah or Doctor Phil show with a Christian twist.  People are entertained by rock bands, skits, and celebrity preachers into the pits of hell, but are convinced in their own hearts that it is the work of God.  Holiness is not an easy task nor is it an easy topic to explore.  This will not be a deep search into holiness, that article will come later. 

This is a holiness called out by God from the prophet Micah years ago to a people that had been warned to turn back to God and seek His holiness in their lives.  This same holiness is welling up again within the groaning’s of this fallen world.  Being purified for His holy calling on our lives requires a painful, sometimes stressing, and bloody process.  God wants absolutely nothing between Him and us.  I am convinced that He will not stop short of destroying each and every security we have on this earth in order to achieve the holiness in us He intends.  Our finances are of no concern to Him if that must be taken in order to get our attention.  Many of us find great security in our jobs and family, yet that is not safe from this purification process.  Our toys are certainly at risk of rust and disaster if any chance exists they would get in the way of our walk with Christ.  As we see His awesome work in Micah and His people as he purifies His remnant by destroying the idols in their lives.  He was destroying anything that they may have held in greater confidence than His Majesty.  He will banish all items and concepts that pushed them away from His work within their hearts.  God would not allow anything to be left of their old life within them.  Any education that penetrates our mind and heart on the contrary to Him must go.  Micah 5:13 “…never again worship the work of your own hands.”  

In order to rebuild something you must gut it out.  Have you ever seen a home that is being remodeled?  Typically, if it is a complete remodel you take the inside of the home down to the studs of the walls.  You get rid of the old countertops, the old kitchen cabinets, the old flooring, the old musty walls and ceilings in order to restore the home and update it for better use.  In the same way, the Lord guts us out inside and rebuilds us to His specifications. 

I found in this passage of Micah 5:7 that this remnant of God is like “dew sent by the Lord or rain falling on the grass, which no one can hold back”.  I can picture thirsty, parched, brown grassland that once the dew or rain has touched it comes back to life.  Within a few days that grass greens up again and becomes vibrant and healthy for cattle, sheep, or horses to eat.  Today, I read all over the internet and listen to people I am around moan in thirst for God’s truth.  These dry, parched, famished people look at everything for the truth that will satisfy their void for truth.  They long for someone to drench their tongue with the dew of God’s holy word.  Yet what they find is a message that merely tickles their ears and is little more than a mist that evaporates before than can even swallow.  For ministers that are trusted with the word of God to water down this gospel of Christ or only deliver a message that never requires anything of God’s people is a sinful act of their own will.  This is having tragic effects on the people that God is calling to His holiness, but how can they understand His holiness when they are never told how to be holy?   

In an act of obedience I deliver this message that God is calling us as layman and leaders of the church back to “holiness”.  I am not speaking of perfection here, but holiness.  This is a life that is lived for Christ against every possible oddity that can be found.  This holy life is one that mirrors God Himself.  This is a life that is not lived out for ones self, but surrendered to a Holy God that is majestic in every way.  God deserves nothing less than our entire lives and the best the Holy Spirit can wrench out of us. 

This is the straight forward truth.  This is the rain that revives and helps us to grow.  His holiness is found within the pages of the bible.   God is looking for obedient followers that march forward to His calling and His instructions, and sense the calling to be holy and work at it with every ounce of energy they have.  Disobedience will be met with God’s vengeance and stamped out.  It is better to obey than to sacrifice, however, in the quest for holiness sacrifice is also a large part of it as we rid ourselves of selfish desires and selfish activities. 

C.S. Lewis has written: 

“If I have read the New Testament right it leaves no room for our ‘creativeness’…Our whole destiny seems to lie in the opposite direction, in being as little as possible ourselves, in acquiring a fragrance that is not our own but borrowed, in becoming clean mirrors filled with the image of a face that is not ours.” 

Just remember that God does not usually work through the majority in order to accomplish His work, but a special few called “His remnant” that are set aside for His special use.  How will those of us hearing this call respond?  Will we pursue God and His holiness in order to be of greater use to Him?  Again, this is not a call to perfection…this is a call to change and bend at the will of our holy God in unabashed obedience to Him. 

-Scott Bailey © 2007

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