En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘moses’

REVIEW: The Greatest Stories Bible of the Bible

Posted by Scott on January 25, 2010

I recently reviewed for Thomas Nelson Publishers “The Greatest Stories of the Bible”.

It was a magnificent book. The design makes you think of something printed one hundred years ago. Then the pages themselves have the old feel to them. Once you open the book and start reading you will be kept glued to the pages as you read each of the two hundred and fifty of the most cherished stories of the Bible.

Some of the classic stories included are Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, Jonah and the Big fish, Samson and Delilah, Paul meeting Jesus, Jesus teaching the disciples, and Paul and Silas in captivity. These are only a few representative of the stories included in this one volume book.

One of the great features of the book is it is easy to navigate through the story-book type format used. If you would like a story to read to the younger kids at night, you can pull this book out and quickly find a wonderful story. The stories are short, but straight to the point. Use the stories to lead the family into a much deeper devotional time as it peeks everyone’s interest.

One of my favorite stories was at Moses calling in the wilderness when he meets up with God at the burning bush. Before Moses could approach the bush the Angel of the Lord told Moses, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand in holy ground.” I love that. Further in the story we have God telling Moses, “I AM WHO I AM!”  All throughout the book we find these fantastic biblical accounts of God’s great actions towards His people.

I think this book is a great addition to anyones family library. We have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

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Be My God in the Wilderness

Posted by Scott on June 25, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-scott bailey (c) 2009

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Be My Patience in the Wilderness!

Posted by Scott on June 24, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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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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The Old Cross vs The New Cross!

Posted by Scott on July 22, 2008

The business of the Church is God. She is purest when most engaged with God and she is astray just so far as she follows other interests, no matter how “religious” or humanitarian they may be.


 

A. W. Tozer
Read about A. W. Tozer

The Church: The Old Cross and the New Cross

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. –Galatians 6:14

The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter. The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before that cross it bows and toward that cross it points with carefully staged histrionics–but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear.

I well know how many smooth arguments can be marshalled in support of the new cross. Does not the new cross win converts and make many followers and so carry the advantage of numerical success? Should we not adjust ourselves to the changing times? Have we not heard the slogan, “New days, new ways”? And who but someone very old and very conservative would insist upon death as the appointed way to life? And who today is interested in a gloomy mysticism that would sentence its flesh to a cross and recommend self-effacing humility as a virtue actually to be practiced by modern Christians? These are the arguments, along with many more flippant still, which are brought forward to give an appearance of wisdom to the hollow and meaningless cross of popular Christianity. The Pursuit of Man, 53,54.

“Lord, it’s not popular today to be ‘old-fashioned.’ But I commit myself today to the old cross. Help me today to deny myself, to take up my cross, and to follow You. Amen.”

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The Goal of God’s Love May Not Be What You Think It Is!

Posted by Scott on July 22, 2008

by John Piper


 


Do people go to the Grand Canyon to increase their self-esteem? Probably not. This is, at least, a hint that the deepest joys in life come not from savoring the self, but from seeing splendor. And in the end even the Grand Canyon will not do. We were made to enjoy God.

We are all bent to believe that we are central in the universe. How shall we be cured of this joy-destroying disease? Perhaps by hearing afresh how radically God-centered reality is according to the Bible.

Both the Old and New Testament tell us that God’s loving us is a means to our glorifying him. “Christ became a servant … in order that the nations might glorify God for his mercy” (Romans 15:8-9). God has been merciful to us so that we would magnify him. We see it again in the words, “In love [God] destined us to adoption … to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:4-6). In other words, the goal of God’s loving us is that we might praise him. One more illustration from Psalm 86:12-13: “I will glorify your name forever. For your lovingkindness toward me is great.” God’s love is the ground. His glory is the goal.

This is shocking. The love of God is not God’s making much of us, but God’s saving us from self-centeredness so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. And our love to others is not our making much of them, but helping them to find satisfaction in making much of God. True love aims at satisfying people in the glory of God. Any love that terminates on man is eventually destructive. It does not lead people to the only lasting joy, namely, God. Love must be God-centered, or it is not true love; it leaves people without their final hope of joy.

Take the cross of Christ, for example. The death of Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of divine love: “God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Yet the Bible also says that the aim of the death of Christ was “to demonstrate [God’s] righteousness, because in the forbearance of God he passed over the sins previously committed” (Romans 3:25). Passing over sins creates a huge problem for the righteousness of God. It makes him look like a judge who lets criminals go free without punishment. In other words, the mercy of God puts the justice of God in jeopardy.

So to vindicate his justice he does the unthinkable – he puts his Son to death as the substitute penalty for our sins. The cross makes it plain to everyone that God does not sweep evil under the rug of the universe. He punishes it in Jesus for those who believe.

But notice that this ultimately loving act has at the center of it the vindication of the righteousness of God. Good Friday love is God-glorifying love. God exalts God at the cross. If he didn’t, he could not be just and rescue us from sin. But it is a mistake to say, “Well, if the aim was to rescue us, then we were the ultimate goal of the cross.” No, we were rescued from sin in order that we might see and savor the glory of God. This is the ultimately loving aim of Christ’s death. He did not die to make much of us, but to free us to enjoy making much of God forever.

It is profoundly wrong to turn the cross into a proof that self-esteem is the root of mental health. If I stand before the love of God and do not feel a healthy, satisfying, freeing joy unless I turn that love into an echo of my self-esteem, then I am like a man who stands before the Grand Canyon and feels no satisfying wonder until he translates the canyon into a case for his own significance. That is not the presence of mental health, but bondage to self.

The cure for this bondage is to see that God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is the most loving act. In exalting himself – Grand Canyon-like – he gets the glory and we get the joy. The greatest news in all the world is that there is no final conflict between my passion for joy and God’s passion for his glory. The knot that ties these together is the truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Jesus Christ died and rose again to forgive the treason of our souls, which have turned from savoring God to savoring self. In the cross of Christ, God rescues us from the house of mirrors and leads us out to the mountains and canyons of his majesty. Nothing satisfies us – or magnifies him – more.

Originally published in Dallas Morning News.


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

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Book Recommendation!

Posted by Scott on July 7, 2008

I am currently reading through Jeremiah Burroughs’ “Gospel Worship” first published in 1648.  For anyone not satisfied with your churches worship experiences, for a church worship leader, or a layman wanting to grow deeper in what true worship is this book is a must read.  I have thoroughly enjoyed what I have read so far.

God does not have to write down every do and don’t in the Bible.  He has put forth in His word enough for us to discover His mind.  If we are studying His word on a daily basis we will know the mind of God and thus understand what He expects from His people without it being spelled out within His word.  The excuse that the Bible does not directly say anything about certain subjects does not mean we are excused to do whatever however we please.  God has  given us enough information for us to make the right choices in accordance with His word.  This is evident as you will discover from God’s dealing with Aaron’s two newly Priest sons.  On their first temple worship experience they tried to worship with “strange fire” and God took them immediately by fire.  This is how serious God feels about worship to Him. 

Many churches today feel that they can worship ever how they feel like worshipping because they think it does not matter to God as long as it is for Him.  I have news for anyone who thinks that way…God does care how you worship Him and much of today’s worship is not pleasing to Him.

Read with anticipation of understanding what God is truly looking for is the real Gospel Worship.

-Scott Bailey 2008

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A Strange Fire In Worship Services Today!

Posted by Scott on June 30, 2008

The church today, possibly the Emerging Church and even many that do not claim the emerging title to their name are using “strange fire” in their services and calling it “worship”.  I want to speak about this topic in this post on a very serious note.  Our churches today have lost the seriousness, holiness, purity, and worthiness in the worship of God with our church services today.

Psalm 29:2 “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.”

God is worth our time, our efforts, our best, our minds, our hearts, our bodies, and our all.  Today’s church has reduced this to something very strange that is called “worship”, but resembles that of a Saturday night program on the Las Vegas strip.  The church has so diluted “worship” that true worship seems strange to most people.  The “seekers” certainly do not know what true worship is, because in these Emerging or similar churches true “worship” has never existed.

If you are at all concerned about the about truly honoring God in “worth-ship” worship, then read on.

In Leviticus 10:3 “Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is that the Lord spoke saying, ‘I will be sanctified in them that come near Me, and before all the people I will be glorified…then Aaron held his peace.'”

This was what Moses told Aaron after Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu were struck down by God in the temple.  Why did God strike the two upstanding young men to their death?  They entered the temple and worshiped with “strange fire”.  The sin these two committed according to all we find in scripture is that they offered upon the burning alter “strange fire”.  THe command was that the alter would burn constantly without going out…the same fire all the time.  Now, in Exodus 30:9 we see that they were forbidden from offering strange incense, but nothing concerning “strange fire”.  Could it have been the strange incense that created the strange fire?  The claim is they brought the proper incense to the fire, but the fire was not right.

God had never warned these two men nor can we find anything concerning this prior to this account.  God simply made His judgement known on the spot when the “strange fire” emerges from the temple.  What could this strange fire have been I have often wondered.  Is God this specific about worship towards Him that He will kill someone for worshipping Him in a wrong way?  Is this Old Testament account obsolete with the ushering in of the New Testament?  What does God think about the so called “worship” that goes on in many churches today?  What is true worship anyway?  Is God really this serious about how we worship Him?  If God an orderly God or does He just allow us the freedom to worship Him however we see fit?

God has told us here in the Old Testament that “I will be sanctified…”  The Greek form of this is “hallowed” which is “holy”.  He alone is to be worshiped.  He is to be worshiped correctly, not by any means we humans think we want to worship Him.  He is not immused by the entertainment styles of worship today.  He is not amused at all in the entertainment musicial worship of today’s churches.   So, how are we to worship as to not create this “strange fire” in the prescence of God Almighty?  We need to be very careful in our quest to be relevant in church services.  Creating worship services that are “user friendly” or “seeker friendly” is not biblical from what I can find.

“I will be sanctified.”  This means that God will have His people demean themselves and carry themselves so as to hold forth their acknowledgement of His holiness, so that by their  carriage God may appear to be a holy God.  If we are not willing to sanctify God with our worship, if we are not willing to make God’s name appear to be holy, and if we are holding back His glory due Him, then God says He will demean us and carry Himself towards us so that by His actions He will make it very clear what a holy God He really is.  God is not willing that we go through life living unholy lives while supposedly worshipping Him as well. 

I have heard it often put this way, “He will be glorified in our life or He will be glorified in our death..either way He will be glorified.”

God is sanctified by the holiness of His people in their actions and worship towards Him by holding forth the glory of God’s holiness.  Remember that the saints of God snactify the Lord in their hearts by fearing God as a holy God with reverence to Him as a holy God. 

God also sanctifies Himself in ways of judgement on those who do not want to sanctify His holiness or His name in holiness.  Read Ezekiel 28:22 as God speaks.  God wants His people to draw near to Him which is far better, but He will draw near to us as well in order for His sanctification to be fulfilled.

Now, dealing with worship in church these days we must realize that we are there to honor a most holy and righteous God.  We are not there to feel better!  We are not there to worship in whatever manner we fill we can!  We are not there to let loose and be ourselves!  When at worship we are there to lift up the holy name of God, Elohim and Adonai.  We are to approach the throne of God in holy reverence with the highest fearful respect that God requires and deserves.  God is not to be mocked, yet many thinking they are worshiping God are merely mocking the name of Christ with the entertaining games, rock n roll music, and flipent ways of worship.  Music is not exclusive to worship.

You can worship in praise music, you can certainly worship in hymns, you can worship with only the message of God presented by the pastor, you can worship simply in prayer.  Music is not the only act of worship.  This seems to be an issue with churches today as the music must take up an hour of the service, then leave about 15 minutes for a very surface topical message that does little to sustain the listener for more than a one hour lunch on Sunday. 

Something everyone needs to understand is that God killer two upstanding young men that were the sons of Aaron and Nephews of Moses for worshipping with a “Strange Fire”…what would we think if God treated those worshipping in the church today this way?  We have the Word of God to stand firm upon.  We do not have to wonder what direction we are to take.  We do not have to wonder what the truth is.  We can rest upon the truth that is found in the Holy Bible from our youth into eternity.

Be very careful presenting ourselves before God in holy worship to Him.  Although Aaron’s sons came with the right incense to present to God, but it was the strange fire that God was not accepted by God.  Worship is not to be altered to be more seeker friendly folks.  Worship is about God not the worshiper per say.  Worship is our expression of bringing holiness to the name of God because He is worthy.

Each week we can go to church to hear glorious music, sing glorious music, and hear a wonderful message.  Is it near the same “routine” each week?  That is perfectly fine.  There is nothing wrong with it being similiar week in and week out. 

Worship:

-Music

-Instruments

-Expository message each week

-Glorious Special music in service

-Focus on God not seekers or believers

Draw  near to God and He will draw near to you.  Worship in truth-worship in faith!

Scott Bailey 2008

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Powerful Testimony on Suffering!

Posted by Scott on May 30, 2008

Jeremiah 29:11 says:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

click here for video Wretch Testimony!

 

sent to me by a good friend of mine Bill Saunders!  By the way…I am not Bob Schuller fan, but he does not say much really, so, this guys testimony is still entact.  Watch and listen!

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How is Your Heart?

Posted by Scott on May 12, 2008

Proudness and arrogance explains most of the hearts that are unrepentent today.  Let me ask a few questions:

What attracts us to go to the church we attend?

What messages bring the throngs of people to our churches today?

Are these messages concerning our self-esteem, anger management, better sex with our spouses, how to overcome depression, creating a better marriage, cooking healthy, and so on?  

Would you be attracted to a church that did not feature all the above attractions, but simply ask that you show to hear God’s word expounded and that God would show up?

A person attending the same church that President Lincoln attended once asked the pastor if the President would be attending the service today?  The pastors reply was, “No, but the Almighty God will.”

In coming to grips with the powerful jagged truth of Psalm 50 and its application to us in the 21st century we need to understand a simple fact:  God still desires to have a relationship with His people.  This Psalm is directed today as it was several thousand years ago to the church going, hand waving, scripture quoting, chorus singing, person with a strong head knowledge of who God is, but none of this activity is from the heart.  God calls these people wicked.  I mean, they look religious…they sound religious…they speak all the religious lingo, however, God calls them wicked.  Because God remains silent many times as we worship Him falsely, we should not think He is like us.  God tells us in Psalm 50:21

“…you thought I was altogether like you.  BUT, I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.”

God is nothing like us.  He does not come to us with a cold heart, lying tongue, deceitful motives, and a stained sinful heart.  God comes to us desiring our hearts be in total obedience to Him, worshipping Him with truly humble hearts that have pushed aside the pride and ego to know our Almighty God.  Sadly, today we have churches being filled with filthy sin stained people that do not mind entering the church this way and do not mind leaving the church in the same condition.  Nothing they heard or witnessed at this church challenged their sin or called out for repentence before God.  All the worship was a lying, dirty, shameful display of religious philosophy that does not even come close to honoring or glorifying God.  During the time of the writing about Asaph and the Israelites they sacrificed animals to God.  In reality God cared nothing about the sacrifices, but cared deeply about the hearts that brought forth the sacrifices.  The same goes today.  He cares little about the actual event, but care greatly about the heart that is worshipping Him.  Now, do not take this to mean it does not matter how we worship…God is very clear as to how He wants us to conduct worship to Him, but in the end of it all we must come to Him with repentant humble saddened hearts about our sinfulness before Him.  This creates in us a true authentic worshipful heart.

I can find nothing wrong with addressing many of the topics in the questions above, but it should not be the attraction or the focus.  God’s word many times will draw out these themes, but a good pastor who expounds on them will not make this the attracting headline.  Understand, we are called to attend church to hear the word of God regardless of the specific topic or passages.  It is a heart that is attracted to the word of God that understands true worship and comes to God with something to hide, but still begs forgiveness for their uncleanness and sinfulness.  This gets the attention of our Almighty God.

Many of the Israelites of yester-year worshipped from a shameful heart.  They worshipped with empty repetitious rituals.  God desires from us righteousness not empty rituals that you will observe still today in many churches.  Communion is taken with unclean, unrepentant, heartless people that take it as a symbol rather than worship.  Over 50% of the marriages today make a mockery of the wedding ceremony.  This has become a fruitless ritual that neither honors God nor means anything other than a ritualistic gesture to make the consummation of the couple legal.  The wedding was designed to be a ceremony to honor God in light of the marriage, yet, today it is all about the couple and their selfish desires and little to with God at all.  Man looks at the outside and thinks the people involved in these rituals as righteous and true, yet, God looks at the heart and would call most “wicked liars”.  He knows our intentions before we even are close to thinking of them. 

2 Peter 3:9 speaks of the patience of God.  He is long-suffering concerning our sin.  If He was not patient we all would have been vaporized at the first hint of sin within our hearts, and still He waits patiently for us to repent and come to Him seeking forgiveness for the filthiness guilt and sin has placed on us.  He does not desire that we parish, but He will not tolerate our sin stained lives forever.

“He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me and He prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”

My encouragement to everyone is to fall in love with God’s instruction.  Welcome His Word in your heart.  Be forever thankful for His patience and long-suffering with us and His forgiveness of our sins.  Become the delight of God’s eye and yearn for a great new relationship with our heavenly Father coming to Him in truth and faith.  God is not like us.  He is holy, righteous, and patient, but He desires for us to be like Him.

 Heart Specialists’ Heart Exam

“Some years ago, during the annual convention of the American Medical Association, a small group of doctors were listening to a lecture on a highly-specialized facet of their task as “heart men.” The lecturer asked how many of them had had a heart examination in the previous twelve months. If Time’s reporter can be relied on, not a man was able to lift his hand!”
 

Tan, Paul Lee: Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers. Garland TX : Bible Communications, 1996, c1979

So, how is your heart?  Have you had it examined spiritually lately?

-Scott Bailey 2008

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