En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘paul’

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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The “Hound of Heaven”!

Posted by Scott on July 2, 2008

By: Greg Herrick Th.M., Ph.D.

The Hound of Heaven and a Young Russian Agnostic

Andrea Wolfe, on staff with the CoMission office in Raleigh, North Carolina tells the following story:

In the 1930’s Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles and all believers. In Stavropol, Russia, this order was carried out with vengeance. Thousands of Bibles were confiscated, and multitudes of believers were sent to the gulags-prison camps-where most died, unjustly condemned as “enemies of the state.”

The CoMission once sent a team to Stavropol. The city’s history wasn’t known at that time. But when the team was having difficulty getting Bibles shipped from Moscow, someone mentioned the existence of a warehouse outside of town where these confiscated Bibles had been stored since Stalin’s day.

After the team had prayed extensively, one member finally mustered up the courage to go to the warehouse and ask the officials if the Bibles were still there. Sure enough, they were. Then the CoMissioners asked if the Bibles could be removed and distributed again to the people of Stavropol. The answer was “Yes!”

The next day the CoMission team returned with a truck and several Russian people to help load the Bibles. One helper was a young man-a skeptical, hostile agnostic collegian who had come only for the day’s wages. As they were loading Bibles, one team member noticed that the young man had disappeared. Eventually they found him in a corner of the warehouse, weeping.

He had slipped away hoping to take a Bible for himself. What he did not know was that he was being pursued by the “Hound of Heaven.” What he found shook him to the core.

The inside page of the Bible he picked up had the handwritten signature of his own grandmother. It had been her personal Bible. Out of the thousands of Bibles still left in that warehouse, he stole the very one belonging to his grandmother-a woman, who throughout her entire life, was persecuted for her faith.

No wonder he was weeping-God had powerfully and yet tenderly made Himself known to this young man.1 Such was his divinely appointed meeting with the sovereign Lord of the universe, the “Hound of Heaven” who had tracked him down to that very warehouse! Remember Jeremiah’s words: “`Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. `Do not I fill both heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” (Jer 23:24).

The “Hound of Heaven” and You

Jesus is truly the ever-present, all-seeing “Hound of Heaven.” He can track us down wherever we’re hiding! And once on the trail, he sets his heart with relentless zeal and undivided focus to the pursuit-a zeal that originally led him directly to the ignominy of a Roman cross!

Choosing to leave behind the luxuries of Heaven’s golden palaces and the unrivaled joy of the Father’s presence, Jesus willingly descended into the ghetto of this present world-the realm of sin and Satan-in order to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). Through the brutality of his suffering, climaxing in his voluntary death, he secured a startling triumph over hostile forces arrayed in battle against Him (and us). Having earned a once-for-all victory for His people, and having been resurrected to an indestructible life, He has returned to Heaven and His Father, where he continues to seek and to save that which was lost (Heb 7:25). The young Russian man knows what this means. So does his grandmother. Do you?

You see, Jesus is still pursuing people through the message of the cross. The message of the cross rises above the myriad of voices and the noise in our culture, seizing our consciences by the throat and laying bare the depth of our selfishness and estrangement from God. If Jesus Christ was God Almighty incarnate, and His death was necessary to quell my rebellion, then I guess I know God’s estimate of my sinfulness. “Oh wretched man that I am,” says the apostle (Rom 7:24). But the good news is-for those who love Him-that all our filth has been transferred to Christ who willingly bore the guilt and pollution of our sin, death, and shame.

Thus, the message of the cross not only instructs me concerning the disastrous consequences of my rebellion, it also faithfully imparts the priceless knowledge of God’s “other worldly,” all conquering love-a love that changes “rebel” into “reconciled” and whose intensity can only be likened to a blood hound hot on the trail.

Like a major landmark enroute to the place where God lives, the cross shows you and me the way home into the arms of our Father. It does not repel us from Him; on the contrary, it leads us confidently into His presence. Surely if He would suffer to this extent for us, then He must love us thoroughly.

In short, the cross calms my agitated, nervous heart and is like a smiling, gracious butler, who sees plainly that I am not clothed properly, but who nonetheless incessantly pleads with me to enter God’s home where the real party never ends. Through the cross God himself has provided the wardrobe appropriate for the festivities! He called our young Russian friend and now he calls you. Won’t you come in?

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Hell…Eternal Torment or Annilation?

Posted by Scott on July 2, 2008

(Author: John Piper)

Resolved 08, which I spoke at a couple weeks ago, had a sobering theme: Heaven and Hell. In my preparation, I dug up this contrast between Clark Pinnock and Dorothy Sayers.

Clark Pinnock, a Canadian theologian who has moved far from his evangelical roots, wrote:

I was led to question the traditional belief in everlasting conscious torment because of moral revulsion and broader theological considerations, not first of all on scriptural grounds. It just does not make any sense to say that a God of love will torture people forever for sins done in the context of a finite life…. It’s time for evangelicals to come out and say that the biblical and morally appropriate doctrine of hell is annihilation, not everlasting torment. (Theological Crossfire: An Evangelical/Liberal Dialogue, 226-7)

Dorothy Sayers, who died in 1957, speaks a wise and faithful antidote to this kind of abandonment of truth.

There seems to be a kind of conspiracy, especially among middle-aged writers of vaguely liberal tendency, to forget, or to conceal, where the doctrine of Hell comes from. One finds frequent references to the “cruel and abominable mediaeval doctrine of hell,” or “the childish and grotesque mediaeval imagery of physical fire and worms.” …

But the case is quite otherwise; let us face the facts. The doctrine of hell is not “mediaeval”: it is Christ’s. It is not a device of “mediaeval priestcraft” for frightening people into giving money to the church: it is Christ’s deliberate judgment on sin. The imagery of the undying worm and the unquenchable fire derives, not from “mediaeval superstition,” but originally from the Prophet Isaiah, and it was Christ who emphatically used it…. It confronts us in the oldest and least “edited” of the gospels: it is explicit in many of the most familiar parables and implicit in many more: it bulks far larger in the teaching than one realizes, until one reads the Evangelists through instead of picking out the most comfortable texts: one cannot get rid of it without tearing the New Testament to tatters. We cannot repudiate Hell without altogether repudiating Christ. (A Matter of Eternity, 86)

by John Piper www.desiringGod.org

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If You Can Be Godly and Wrong, Does Truth Matter?

Posted by Scott on July 2, 2008



DadsDevoted!

Since there are some Arminians who are more godly than some Calvinists and some Calvinists who are more godly than some Arminians, what is the correlation between true knowledge of God and godliness?

The best of both groups have historically admired the godliness of those in the other group. Whitefield, the Calvinist, said of Wesley, the Arminian, “Mr. Wesley I think is wrong in some things; yet I believe…Mr. Wesley, and others, with whom we do not agree in all things, will shine bright in glory” (Wesley and the Men Who Followed, 71).

But the sad thing about our day, unlike the days of Whitefield and Wesley, is that many infer from this that knowing God with greater truth and fullness is not important, since it doesn’t appear to be decisive in what produces godliness. Those who know what the Bible says will be protected from that mistake.

Paul correlates knowing and doing in a way that shows that knowing profoundly influences doing. Fourteen times Paul implies that our sinful behavior would be different if we knew the truth more fully. For example,

  • You yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? (1 Corinthians 6:8–9)
  • Flee from sexual immorality…. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? (1 Corinthians 6:18–19)
  • Each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God. (1 Thessalonians 4:4–5)

All godliness is owing to truth, that is, to God as he is truly known. Truth, known with the mind and loved with the heart, is the way God produces all godliness. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

When a more godly person believes something erroneous about God, among other true things, it is not the error that God uses to produce the godliness.

And when a less godly person believes something true about God, among other false things, it is not the truth that his sin uses to produce the ungodliness. 

There are various reasons why a person with a more true view of God may be less godly, and the person with a less true view of God may be more godly:

1. The person with a less true view of God may nevertheless be more submissive and more powerfully influenced by the smaller amount of truth that he has, and the person with more truth may be less submissive and less influenced by the truth he has. The Holy Spirit (the Spirit of truth) always makes truth an instrument in his sanctifying influences, but he does not always do it in proportion to the amount of truth present in the mind.

God’s revealed will is that we grow in the knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18), because in that way the Spirit can make our holiness the manifest fruit of what we know of Christ, so that Christ is more clearly honored (John 16:14). But the Spirit is free to make little knowledge produce much holiness, lest those with much knowledge be proud.

2. Two persons with radically different personalities and backgrounds may have more or fewer obstacles to overcome in the process of sanctification. Therefore, the one with fewer obstacles may respond in godly ways to less truth, while the one with more obstacles may struggle more, even though he has more truth.

3. A person with much truth may lag behind in godliness because there are hindrances that arise between the truth in the mind and the response of the heart to that truth. These hindrances may include loss of memory; ease of distraction; blind spots that keep one from seeing how a truth applies to a long-held pattern of behavior; mental disorders (mild or profound) that create disconnects between thoughts and volitions; confusion and ignorance about the way sanctification is meant to work; or hidden rebellion of the heart that covers itself with a veneer of orthodoxy.

Therefore, let us humble ourselves. There are views so obscured by error that the God on the other side of the glass is not the true God. So the measure of truth in our views matters infinitely. But also, there is no guarantee that right thinking will produce right living. There is more to godliness than having clear views of God. Trusting him and loving him through those views matters infinitely.


© Desiring God

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

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The Church is Still Being Built By God Himself!

Posted by Scott on June 25, 2008

DadsDevoted

by John MacArthur

The church is the New Testament counterpart of the Old Testament Temple. I’m not referring to a church building, but the body of all true believers.

It is a spiritual building (1 Pet. 2:5), the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16), the place where God’s glory is most clearly manifest on earth, and the proper nucleus and focal point of spiritual life and worship for the community of the redeemed.

God Himself is the architect and builder of this temple. In Ephesians 2:19-22, Paul writes,

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of the church in the eternal plan of God. The church is His building (1 Cor. 3:9). Moreover, He is the immutable, sovereign, omnipotent Lord of heaven. His Word cannot return void but always accomplishes what He says (Isa. 55:11). He is always faithful and cannot deny himself (2 Tim. 2:13). His sovereign purposes always comes to pass, and His will is always ultimately fulfilled (Isa. 46:10). His plan is invincible and unshakable, and He will bring to pass all that He has spoken (v. 11). And he has spoken about building the church in the most triumphant words.

For example, in Matthew 16:18 Christ said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” He who knows His sheep by name (John 10:3)—He who wrote their names down before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8)—He personally guarantees that the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church He is building.

“The gates of Hades” was a Jewish expression for death. Hades is the place of the dead, and the gates of Hades represent the portal into that place—death itself. Hades is also the domain of the devil. Hebrews 2:14 refers to Satan as the one “who had the power of death,” and verse 15 says he used that power to keep people in fear and bondage all their lives. But now Christ has broken that power, and liberated His people from Satan’s dominion—in essence, he has broken down the gates of Hades. And therefore even the power of death—the strongest weapon Satan wields—cannot prevent the ultimate triumph of the church He is building.

There’s still more significance to the imagery of “the gates of Hades.” Gates are a walled city’s most vital defensive safeguards. Christ’s words therefore portray the church militant, storming the very gates of hell, victoriously delivering people from the power of death. Thus Christ assures the triumph of the church’s evangelistic mission. He is building the church, and the work will not be thwarted.

Christ’s promise in this passage should not be misconstrued. He does not suggest that any particular church will be infallible. He does not teach that any of the bishops of the church will be error-free. He does not guarantee that this or that individual church will not apostatize. He does not promise success and prosperity to every congregation. But He does pledge that the church—that universal body of believers under Christ’s headship—the spouse, the body, and the fullness of him that filleth all in all—will have a visible being and a testimony in this world as long as the world itself lasts. And the all the enemies of truth combined shall never secure the defeat or destruction of the church.

Notice also that the church is a work in progress. Christ is still building His church. We are still being joined together (Eph. 2:21). The church is still under construction (v. 22). God is not finished yet. The imperfections and blemishes in the visible church are still being refined by the Master Builder.

And here’s something remarkable: The plan for the finished product is a blueprint that was drawn in eternity past.

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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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Thinking Christianly!

Posted by Scott on November 28, 2007

Thinking Christianly

by Ray C. Stedman

READ: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

. . . continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of . . . (2 Timothy 3:14b).

Timothy acted upon what he had learned. You do not really believe something until you practice it. James says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). It does not do a bit of good to say you believe the Bible from cover to cover, like some people do. Do what it says. Practice the truth; act on it; take it to heart. The process begins with the mind’s being instructed, then the heart’s being fully convinced. Then you practice what you believe.

I do not know what it was that may have helped Timothy, but I am sure that when he read a statement like, “Do not lie to each other” (Colossians 3:9), he was careful to watch his words and stop lying, if that was what he was doing. When he read, “Bless those who persecute you” (Romans 12:14), he realized that even though he, like everyone else, felt anger rising within him and he wanted to strike back when he was mistreated, that was the wrong thing to do. The Word of God taught that it was necessary for him to lean on the grace of God, to pray for people and find a way to do something good rather than evil in return. The apostle suggests two factors here that helped Timothy believe the Scriptures.

First, the Scriptures came to him through certain loved and trusted people. “You know those from whom you learned it,” Paul says. One of the things that makes believing the Bible much easier is when it comes to us through people we trust. In Timothy’s case, his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, were the channels by which he was taught the Word of God. Being of Jewish background, they may have followed the exhortation of Deuteronomy 6, where Moses taught the people how to teach their children. Moses did not say to have a classroom in the home where children were to learn something by rote. Rather, he said, “Teach them when they rise up (when they get up in the morning), when they sit down (at mealtime), and when they go to bed at night.” Those are the teachable moments. Use the experiences of a young child’s day to reflect truth from the Scriptures that will lock itself into their hearts. What a powerful impact this mighty apostle made upon Timothy! He never forgot what he had learned, because it came through one whom he deeply respected, one whom he saw had answers to the difficulties and problems of life.

The second factor is that this came to Timothy at a very early age. “From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures,” Paul says. Parents should not miss that emphasis. It indicates that childhood is a wonderful time to get the truth of the Scriptures into a young person’s heart. As a young boy, ten or eleven years old, I was given many memory verses in Sunday school and Vacation Bible School that I committed to memory. I remember those verses yet today. What a wonderful thing to have learned from early childhood the truth of the Word of God through those most precious and trusted.

Father, I thank You for this amazing book. I confess to You how infrequently I open it up and let it speak to me. Help me to let this book minister to my heart and mind.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “Thinking Christianly” (or listen to the audio file  Listen to Ray) for more on this portion of scripture.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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Preach the Word! By Ray Stedman

Posted by Scott on November 28, 2007

Preach The Word

by Ray C. Stedman

READ: 2 Timothy 4:1-4

Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:2).

This verse speaks of the great essentials that must be carried on to fulfill the prayer of our Lord and to advance the kingdom of God, to bring to fulfillment that amazing work that began by His first appearing upon the earth. When we read the phrase “Preach the Word,” however, most of us think that this is addressed to preachers like myself, that one has to do this in church, on a platform, or behind a pulpit.

This word is not addressed to preachers only. It includes all the people of God, for Paul does not merely mean to preach; the word is really “announce, proclaim, set it forth, deliver the truth, make it known.” It is not something you argue about; you declare it because God Himself has said it. This can be done over a cup of coffee, in an office, or in a car while you are driving to work. It is something that can come up any place, any time. Where human hearts are open, seeking, longing, and hurting, there is the place, there is the opportunity to “preach the word.”

“Proclaim the good news,” Paul says. It is not news of what we have to do for God. That distortion has been widely peddled across the world and in this country, and it has resulted in a phony Christianity. The gospel is the story of what God has already done for us. That is what ministers to the aching heart. The gospel is the news that God loves us, pities us, and sees us in our hurt, our agony, our failure, and our weakness. The gospel is that He sees us in our strutting boldness and pride, and still He loves us. And He has already done something about it–through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In that amazing series of events that came through Jesus’ appearing on earth, He broke the stranglehold of evil upon human hearts–He found a way to set aside His own just sentence of death. Through those who open their hearts to the Savior, He has found a way not only to die for us but to come and live in us and start the process of renewing us, remaking us, and restoring us to our lost inheritance. That is the word we are to proclaim. That is to be done by every Christian in every conceivable circumstance of life.

I hope that comes through clearly, because this is what the apostle Paul is seeking to bring to Timothy’s mind. Against this impressive background of the watching heavens and in view of the paramount importance of continuing the redemptive work of Christ, Paul lays this solemn charge on Timothy’s heart as he does upon us: “Preach the Word.”

Grant to me that I will commit myself afresh to be a purveyor of the truth, preacher of the Word, and herald of the good news that is in Jesus Christ.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “The Majesty of Ministry” (or listen to the audio file  Listen to Ray) for more on this portion of scripture.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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How to Fight the Good Fight by Ray Stedman!

Posted by Scott on November 19, 2007

How To Fight

READ: 1 Timothy 6:11-16, 20-21

Fight the good fight of the faith . . . In the sight of God who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession . . . (1 Timothy 6:12a, 13).

Nothing will help to steel you more for the fight than the vision of God. This is what Paul sets before Timothy. Notice the encouraging things here. First, God is the giver of life.

Do you sometimes feel beaten and dejected, buffeted by more things than you can handle, at the end of your strength? What you need is renewed vigor, vitality, and strength, and that is what you get when you turn to your God and see Him there with you to infuse strength and vitality back into you again. This is the part that prayer plays in our lives. We all have experienced the infusion of new strength and courage from God when we have turned to Him in prayer in a moment of pressure. God is given to us that we might not lose heart when the times of discouragement come. Turn to him as the author of life.

Then, as Paul points out, there is the encouragement of the example of Jesus. Do you find it hard to admit your Christian faith at times in certain groups? Then think of Jesus, “who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession.” Pilate examined Jesus and found no fault in Him. Then Pilate asked him a question, and Jesus’ answer determined whether He would live or die. Pilate was anxious to set him free if he could because he recognized Jesus to be a righteous, innocent man whom the chief priests had delivered up for jealousy.

“Are you the king of the Jews?” (Matthew 27:11), Pilate asked Him. Jesus could have said no, but thereby He would have denied that He was the Messiah; He was the king of the Jews. Had Pilate set Jesus free, the Jews would then have charged him with befriending a traitor to Caesar. Answering yes would seal Jesus’ fate. He knew it, but He answered with the strongest affirmative Hebrew idiom: “Yes, it is as you say” (Matthew 27:11b). That cost Him His life.

Paul is reminding Timothy, “There will be times when you will have to say no; you will want to say yes, and everybody around you wants you to say yes. There will be times when it will be embarrassing to admit you are a Christian, but remember Jesus. He set the good example; he was the ‘faithful witness’ (Revelation 1:5) to the truth.”

Lord, teach me to fight, knowing that You are the giver of life. By Your Spirit who lives in me, grant me the same courage to be a faithful witness that Jesus demonstrated.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “O Man of God!” (or listen to the audio file  Listen to Ray) for more on this portion of scripture. \

-Scott Bailey 2007

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The Cost of Riches by Ray C. Stedman!

Posted by Scott on November 17, 2007

The Cost Of Riches

READ: 1 Timothy 6:6-10,17-19

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction (1 Timothy 6:9).

Paul is telling us how, in every age, this subtle peril lays hold of our hearts. First it comes in the form of simple temptation. Open a magazine, and there is a picture of a gorgeous automobile. It makes you drool to look at it. Walk into the mall, and it is sitting on display in the center. You can go up and touch it, sit in it, and imagine yourself driving it. Your neighbors have one sitting in their driveway. Every Sunday morning they are out washing it, lifting up its hood, and spending a great deal of money on expensive accessories.

That is temptation, and that is what we are up against. It creates in us a hunger to have what others have. We all feel the force and power of this. It would feel so natural for us to own a car like this, especially when we are constantly being told that we deserve it; we are “that kind” of people. It is amazing how easily we can convince ourselves that we, like everybody else, have a right to things.

But that is not the worst. There is another stage. Paul says that those who want to be rich “fall into a… trap.” Notice where the emphasis is: It is on the desire to be rich. It is the love of money, not money, that is the root of all evil. We hear all the time that money is the root of all evil, but it is not. Money is a very necessary commodity in life; it is impossible to get along without using money in one form or another. It is “the love of money” that the Scripture is talking about, the desire to have more and more of it, the craving for riches, the constant planning of how to get another buck.

You say, “What is a young man with a family supposed to do? Isn’t he supposed to try to provide for them?” Yes, he is, but what is his objective? Is it to earn money, or is it to be a good, faithful worker, using his gifts and abilities to the fullest degree for the glory of God in the scene in which he is placed? That is something the world never thinks about.

Paul says that when you fall into temptation and give way to this lust for more things, you create a trap for yourself. By that, he means that your possessions will soon begin to possess you. Everyone who has had any success in obtaining some of the things they desire soon discovers this, because their possessions demand that they take care of them.

Possessions also change your relationship with others. You discover that people are treating you differently because you have something that is a symbol of prestige or status. People no longer treat you for who you are; they are treating you for what you have, so you become suspicious of your friends and your friendships. All these complications occur when the love of money starts to possess you. That is the trap involved.

Thank You, Lord, for the practicality of these words. May they help me correct my viewpoints and resist the badgering, bloated misconceptions of the world around me.

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “The Cost Of Riches” (or listen to the audio file  Listen to Ray) for more on this portion of scripture.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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