En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

A New Year & A New Desire!

Posted by Scott on January 1, 2010

Originally posted Friday, January 1, 2010 at www.EnGhedi.com

A new year has begun. It snuck in last night in the darkness with innocence and striving to be better than the last one. Thinking over the past year’s struggles and lessons served as confirmation that man’s free will cannot remove us from sinning. Only God can direct our results to make the right choices. When we find ourselves in sin, it is a reflection of our human inability to make the right choices. We cannot “will” ourselves not to sin only God over time changes the inner the desires of the Believer’s heart towards holiness & us making the right choices. I am afraid this comes through painful growing wilderness journeys.

Refer to Romans 7:15-20 Paul struggled with the desire to do what was right yet ended up in sin. I can jump right in the middle of that one…it plagues me daily. Example Paul used: the 10Th commandment (by the way commandments are not suggestions). Thou shall not covet…Paul’s desire was not to covet, yet he ended up coveting anyway. Paul found that just based on his own will-power or free-will not to covet would not keep him from coveting…when he desired (in Christ) not to covet & allowed the Spirit of God to rule in his life’s desires, this is when he did not sin by coveting. Paul discovered our desires do drive our choices, but it is the God given desires which make for right choices, not the other way around.

Contemplating over the desires of the heart we need to ask ourselves “is the good I want to do really because it is something the Holy Spirit is prompting me to do, or is it for self-righteous reasons?” Make sure the reasons for our desires are pure and godly in order to find ourselves making the right choices. Over the year to come we can improve on making right choices, but it will require a daily diet of God’s Word & drinking a constant solution of prayer, but the main ingredient in our daily meal is the “will of God” being powerfully active in our lives. As our desires direct our choices, we need to make sure the results reflect a true godly desire to do what is right laced with holiness and God glorifying aroma.

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Lost in the Woods

Posted by Scott on November 30, 2009

Lost in the woods: An adventure of two old cowboys searching for lost calves!

It was the spring time of the year when Harold and I were working cattle for days without much sleep. Our job was to move over four hundred head of cows, calves, and bulls from one section of pasture to another which happened to be on the other side of the canyon. The distance between these two pastures was over thirty miles. Harold and I along with about fifteen other hired hands could move these “beeves” about 15 miles a day.  It could be dusty, wet, and sometimes sleepless, most of the time a thankless job. This particular morning it was briskly cold. A sharp chill would cut right through my jacket which seemed to pierce my skin going directly into my bones. At times the chill seemed to get into my blood stream and would make me shiver from my head to my toes. I shouted to Harold, “I can’t get warmed up this morning. I wish that north wind would calm down.” I spotted in the camp hot tar black coffee on the fire and I thought to myself, “That will warm me up for the long day ahead”. You see, a cowboy almost has coffee running through his veins rather than blood. We live off of coffee in order to stay awake, alert, and when it is cold, it provides warmth for our soul.

The pastures we were working were in the valley down below the Sunhill Mountain range in southwestern Colorado. You could travel through hot ninety degree days in the valleys and enter thirty degree nights in the mountain area. Great area to run cattle, but the weather could change on you within minutes it seemed. Mr. Garret owned this cattle ranch called “Running Bar Ranch” and the ranch has been in his family for three generations. So, we all took great pride in tending to Mr. Garret’s cattle.

It was Harold and I’s job to see to it that every single cow, calf, and bull made it safely to the next pasture. We did not leave one calf behind if it was at all possible. Leaving a calf behind to die was like losing money and Mr. Garret frowned on that, plus he would dock our pay one days wages if he found out we had not tried to retrieve a lost calf. From time to time a calf would stray off into the woods at the foot of the mountain range. When that happened we would go into the woods after them. However, the calves would do this when no one was watching and we would find a cow not wanting to go with the herd. She would stand at the edge of the herd bawling towards the woods. That was our indicator a calf was in the thickets of the woods. Sometimes the momma cows would bed them down in the woods and other times the calves would simply wonder off in curiosity. Either way, our job was to go in after them.

I remember one balmy late spring afternoon just after the morning chill had finally given into the sunny warmth. We were driving our beeves north to far end of the pasture. We noticed about five momma cows refusing to follow in with the rest of the herd. They kept running towards the thickets to our west bawling loudly, but no calves could be seen or heard. I looked at Harold and motioned for him head towards the thicket after the calves and I would be there shortly.

I road my big fifteen hand brown horse on up towards the front to let one of the hired hands know where Harold and I would be and to keep moving the herd forward and we would catch up with them later that evening. So, I caught up with Harold and we moved slowly and methodically into the thicket. The trees and vines were so thick at times we had to get off our horses and go further on foot. Harold hollered out to me, “Where in the world could those five calves be?” I looked at him and just shrugged my shoulders in bewilderment myself. I had no clue. What some of these momma cows will do is take their babies off into the woods and bed them down together. But usually one momma cow would stay with them like a baby-sitter. However, this time it seemed all the calves were alone.

My thoughts immediately started thinking about how wolves or mountain lions possibly could have gotten some or all of the calves. No matter though, Harold and I would not stop until we had found all of the calves safe and sound or what was left of them as proof of their whereabouts.

It started getting late as the sun was just barely peeking over the mountain peak and we had been hunting for these calves for hours. It was starting to get cold again and a small thunder shower had formed just above us over the mountain range. Fortunately, we had packed our rain slicks for such an occasion. As the rain pelted our heads and soaked our boots, Harold heard a faint bawl of a young calf. We hurried in the direction of the cry over large rocks and around enormous boulders. There just on the other side of a jagged boulder he found two of the calves hung up in some of the thickest vines and trees we had encountered. Since we found them, what would we do with them? It was no easy trip up into the mountain range to start with. Harold or I could take these two calves back, but what about the other three. About that time two of our riders from the herd came clapity-clopping up next to us. “Do you guys need any help finding the calves?” one of the hands yelled. “Yes, you can take these two calves back to their mommas with the herd while Harold and I look for the other three calves.” One of the hands yelled back, “We figured with it getting so late and we had not seen you guys yet, you probably needed help.” So, they put the calves across their saddles right in front of them and off on their horses they went.

As Harold and I climbed higher and higher into the mountain area the thicket was extremely dense. The darkness seemed to fall like dark chocolate running down the sides of an ice cream cone. It was thick and heavy darkness. I pulled out an old flashlight I had stuck in my saddle bag hoping it would still work. It has been at least 6 months since I last used it. Sure enough, the flashlight worked, when all of the sudden, Harold let out an “eek” loudly. I yelled over to him to find out what was the matter. When from high above us on rock cliff was the biggest mountain lion I had seen in decades. The sound from this mountain lion would make your skin crawl. The big cat was positioned to jump on top of Harold. I grabbed the 30-30 Winchester from my saddle holster took aim and fired. I nicked the cat right on his behind. The cat took off up the trail above the rock cliff out of sight. I hurried over to Harold to make sure he was alright and of course he was.

About the time we were starting to head up and around the rock cliff, I heard something off in the distance. A faint but steady bawl from a young calf. Apparently, Harold and I had gone too far up in the mountains not realizing where the calves might be. So, back down the trail we went and found the other three calves safe and sound. Harold grabbed one calf and stretched it across his lap while I took the other two smaller calves and stretched them across my lap on the saddle. Off towards the herd we went.

As we traveled down the mountain side we came across a good trail that lead us right out of the thicket in the valley below. The herd was bedded down for the night about twenty minutes ahead, so we should be able to get back in time for supper. I looked over to Harold and said, “You know Harold, you and I out searching for these five calves tonight through the thicket, the vines, the boulders, the jagged rocks, and all reminds me of how Jesus seeks us out to save us for eternity”. I quoted Jesus from Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Jesus’ mission all summed up in a few words. We came out into the mountain range to seek and to save that which was lost. The result was we found those calves and saved them from danger. Jesus does the same for his own people. “You see Harold; these calves were not looking for us. They may have known they were not in the right place, but did not know who to be looking for”, I spoke plainly to Harold. “People are the same way you know”. People don’t seek after to God. In their lost sinful state of being, they have not a clue they need Jesus”, I confidently exclaimed.

I pondered further about the subject for the next fifteen to twenty minutes until we got back to camp. Finally, arriving at the camp we put the calves back with their momma’s. All the bawling stopped as the calves and momma cows we joined together again. Thinking back over a Sunday-School lesson I heard about a son running off on his own lost to the world. The father speaking to the son’s brother quoting from Luke 15:32 says, “It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost and is found.” About that time one of the other hired hands came wondering up to me and asked what I was thinking about. So, I simply told about how Christ had come to seek and to save the lost of this world. How Jesus talked about in Luke 15:4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” I told the hand Jesus would come after the one lost no matter what. I then turned to him and asked him simply, “Have you put your complete trust in Jesus Christ as your only Lord and Savior?” He just wrinkled his face in an expression of “I don’t know”. We left it at that. But the day’s affairs had made me think more about Jesus seeking out His lost people and how He would go through the thicket, across the rocks and boulders engaging Mountain Lions and all in order to save His own.

by scott bailey (c) 2009

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Fit To Be Used by Ray C. Stedman

Posted by Scott on November 24, 2009

by Ray C. Stedman

2 Timothy 2:20-26

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).

Those with pure hearts are not sinless saints; they are not holier-than-thous who have never done anything wrong. They are not the kind of people who look down their noses at everyone else who gets into trouble. No, the word pure would be better translated “cleansed,” past tense–those with a cleansed heart, those who have already known what it is to be where you are. They do not put you down; they encourage you. They say, “I know how you feel. I’ve been there too, but God picked me up. I know what it means to lay hold of His great, forgiving love.” So one of the necessities of being used of God is that you keep company with those who are aiming in the same direction.

I had an occasion to spend a day at Vacaville Penitentiary. I had not been there before. It was a most remarkable experience to see Christian friends working in the prison as salt within a corrupt society. It was a rainy day, and no one was out in the yard. Everyone was in the halls, so it was like going into a high school that had just been let out for lunch. Among the inmates of that overcrowded prison, a Christian group is maintaining a testimony that is keeping that prison away from violence, acting as salt to preserve it in the midst of a very explosive situation.

In the chapel I sat next to a man who had been a murderer–a murderer several times. He had been one of the roughest, fiercest convicts in the prison system. He had stabbed several people while he was in prison, and he was a member of the gang that tried to rule the prison, a vicious loner who would not hesitate to take a human life. Yet God had reached him. Now he is the most gentle-spirited, gracious fellow, a teacher of the other prisoners, instructing them in the truth of God.

I met with others who had been rapists, murderers, and child abusers, men whose lives were changed, who were now listening to and rejoicing in the Scriptures. I asked the leader of the group what it was that most disappointed him in his work. Without hesitating he said, “it is those who are so dramatically changed here but who lose all they have gained when they get out”. I asked why that happened. “Because they go back to the same old crowd,” he said. We are not made to live alone. We are made to live with others; we need the support of others. Those who surround themselves with a non-Christian view of life and non-Christian friends are almost certain to go back at last into that way of thinking and living. So if we want to be used of God, the apostle urges us to seek the companionship of those of like mind.

Lord, grant me the strength to say no to the things I must and yes to the things that I should, that You may find me usable in Your hand, a vessel fit for the Master’s use.

For the complete message by the late Ray C. Stedman go to Ray Stedman.

Scott Bailey 2009

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My Light in the Wilderness

Posted by Scott on November 17, 2009

from “A Pilgrimage through the Wilderness” by Scott Bailey

John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world,  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” 

 

 

    One of the books that has had a remarkable impact on my life is William Manchester’s
    magnificent biography of Winston Churchill entitled The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill:
    Alone (1932-1940). In this book Manchester describes those years when Churchill was the single
    voice in the House of Commons who tried to warn his country against the impending threat of
    Nazi Germany. He begged his fellow citizens to arm their country and to prepare for what he
    knew would be a German takeover of Europe.
    Churchill later referred to these years as the “Wilderness Years.” He was alone. He was
    jeered, made fun of, and ridiculed in every imaginable fashion. For eight long years he was a
    lone voice in the wilderness, urging his people to wake up to the evil that surrounded them on
    every side.
    But in that terrible spring of 1940, when the Low Countries fell to the German
    Wehrmacht and France finally collapsed in defeat as well, the King of England, George VI,
    turned to Winston Churchill as the one person in England who had the power to unite his people.
    He was the one person who had warned England of what would happen with Hitler in power. On May
    10th Churchill was summoned to Buckingham Palace and invited by the king to form a coalition
    government. On his way from the palace back to his home Churchill commented to his driver
    that he believed that every event in his life had prepared him for this moment: every
    disappointment, every heartache, every ridicule, every set back had prepared him for the task that
    was now before him.
   
    History tells us Winston Churchill was prepared in the wilderness for such a time as WWII. Each event had prepared him for this special mission in history. God had exhibited light on Churchill to catch a vision for what the future would hold if two or three wild dictators were let loose on the world. Churchill was called on to come out of the wilderness into the foothills of a great mountain to climb in defeating the Nazi army and fascism. In similar

At some point in our life we all find ourselves in such a dark place spiritually. Cold and lifeless, quiet and without motion in a darkness difficult to explain can be one of the most fearful times in any Believer’s life. 

fashion, we should remain in God’s light while taking this pilgrimage through the dark wilderness. It is from His great light we need for the next step, not necessarily a lighted pathway revealing our entire future.
   
    “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turn my darkness into light.” -Psalm 18:28 (NIV)
   
    Have you ever been out after midnight or later without a glimmer from the moonlight, or even street lights? It is a deep dark and scary place. It is so dark you cannot even see your hand in front of your face at first. At some point in our life we all find ourselves in such a dark place spiritually. Cold and lifeless, quiet and without motion in a darkness difficult to explain can be one of the most fearful times in any Believer’s life. Matthew Henry states:
   
    “Let those who walk in darkness, and labor under discouragements, take courage; God Himself will be a Light to them.”
   
    In those darkest hours of our life, when all hope seems to be lost, our Lord will pierce through the darkness with the purest Light of the Son of God. Jesus presents us with hope for those long waiting periods for the dawn of day and He conquers our darkened fears with the Light of His Word.

Go to the Word of God
   
    I hear and see so many people find themselves deeply troubled in finances, marriage, health problems, unemployment, with friends, neighbors, family, and enemies. Troubles will find us no matter who we are and each day has many issues, rest assured. When those times clearly present themselves our reaction shows who we are and the character our foundation is built upon. Today, I would say most run to another person, mentor, counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or minister. This is not all bad, but most people want some kind of quick fix to deep rooted issues. If these professionals or willing volunteers will point people to God’s Word for direction, encouragement, answers, and healing our psych-wards would be empty today. Fact is these people take a “worldly” approach to advising people which only serves to compound the problems even more. Go to the Word of God and immerse yourselves in it. I cannot stress this enough. All of the answers, guidance, encouragement, revelation, healings, and courage can be found there. Make God your counselor, your healer, your mentor, and the light for the pathway through the darkest hours of each day.
   
    An unknown author once quipped, “Faith is the light that guides you through the darkness.” We must understand something here, many people around us face dark times. Some commit suicide to escape this unbearable darkness in the wilderness. Others get on drugs or alcohol to escape the dark world. Some use sexual encounters, whether real or fantasy, in an attempt to forget those dark sorrows for a moment. Whatever the release you can think of people use it, but the sad part is they have no faith in Jesus Christ and are never healed from their darkest season of life.
   
    Those of us claiming to be trusted Believers, should face our darkest moments with a faith that sheds a bright light which pushes the darkness away. The awesome power of the Word of God cannot be encroached by any darkness. If this is what we believe then why do we make every excuse and effort to stay away from God’s Word? Do we find it too hard to obey? Is it that we cannot commit ourselves into the waiting arms of Jesus and admit we cannot fix our problems and neither can anyone else? One of the biggest struggles I see in the world today is people refuse to trust in the Light only Jesus Christ offers. They would rather set in the dark, cultivating self-pity, feeding their sinful desires, pumping up their own egos, rather than living victoriously in the Light of Christ. This shows just how sinfully depraved people are by refusing the Light in order to stay in their own darkness.
   
    David sings a song in 2 Samuel 22:29:
   
    “You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.”
   
    This great verse in Psalm goes much further to describe what David would do because of God’s tremendous enablement. This would be the Old testament version of Philippians 4:13. David understood his abilities were possible because of God’s blessing and favor on his life. The same song is found in 2 Samuel repeated in Psalm 18:28. David knew the light was in his life. He knew who his sustainer was. David did not mind singing about it either.

When the time comes to do what God has asked us to do, the strength will be there. When we find ourselves in a hole and not able to get out, the help will be there. When our body feels week and it seems we cannot take another step, God will uphold us.

Do not fear
   
    Many times darkness will come over me and the tendency is to fear it. At times I can identify the darkness and at other times it comes from out of nowhere like a thick fog dense fog around a swampy pond. I have to remind myself God will turn this dark moment into His precious light. I look at it like this; I am on a journey in this life, on a narrow road or pathway, with dark places covering the road. My reliance is found with the Lord. He becomes the lamp for my feet and the light on my path. So, this darkness pushes me to watch the light my Lord provides me in order to go another step on this pilgrimage through it. Notice I said “through it”? We will go through dark valleys, dark wildernesses, or even dark deserts. These dark dry times are not going to be easy. Remember, anyone’s pilgrimage through the wilderness is through a dark, lonely, dry place, where the snakes are venomous and nights are cold, but God tells us in His Word:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”(Isaiah 41:10)

God tells us over and over throughout Scripture, “Do not fear” or “Do not be afraid”. If God is the One who is telling us this, we can rest on the promises He has made concerning our situations in life. He says, “I am with you”. He also tells us, “I am your God.” So, why do we serve other gods at times? Why do put fame, fortune, and our own selfish desires ahead of God? He tells us here in these verses, “I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you…all with His righteous right hand.” Believer’s have nothing to fear in this world. When the time comes to do what God has asked us to do, the strength will be there. When we find ourselves in a hole and not able to get out, the help will be there. When our body feels week and it seems we cannot take another step, God will uphold us. Folks God’s righteous right hand is mightier than the mightiest armies on earth-past, present or future. Learn to live on the promises of God; this is why God gave us promises, they are like food for the mind and body.

To borrow a story that Dale Carnegie used in his famous book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, which was published in the 1940’s, Dale described a young medical student anxious about his formidable future.  His thoughts were on graduating high school, then graduating from med school, and then on to making a living. In actuality he was working himself into a nervous breakdown.  Then one spring day in 1871 this young man read twenty-one words from the writings of Thomas Carlyle that changed his entire way of thinking.  This young doctor became the most famous physician of his era.  He organized the John Hopkins School of Medicine and became Regis Professor of Medicine at Oxford.  His name was Sir William Osler and the words he read:  “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” 

We will experience times filled with darkness, temptations to fear and give up, attacks by our enemies, heavy burdensome tasks and more. The seasons of refinement are not easy to endure, but each Believer must experience a time like this in their life. Not all seasons of life are the same, but the lessons to be learned are for God’s greater honor and glory. Do what you can see is clearly before you and stop worrying about what you can only see vaguely out in the future.  We do not need to be anxious about what tomorrow has for us, what lies in that dusky darkness, but let God take care of the tomorrows while we take one small step at a time as God lights each step of the way for us. An old saying goes like this, “Step into the light.” As Believers in Jesus Christ, we are to step into His wonderful light.

Humiliated into usefulness
   
    The darkness exists to bring humility into our lives. God uses this time to teach us humility and then raising us back up to glorify Him. Being humbled takes time and usually dark harsh circumstances. Moses spent forty years enduring humiliation while in the desert to the point when God called him out to deliver His people, Israel, Moses thought he was unable for the task. Moses has been proud and fearless, but God transformed over a 40 year time period this arrogantly educated man into a bumbling, stumbling, speechless, sheep-herder. God would not use the Moses at forty years old, but He would use the Moses of 80 years old.

…we serve a God who is willing to submerse us into the desert wilderness and humiliate us to the point of submitting to His commands in order to raise us up another day to victory.

Why does God choose people with little to no influence on the world, the nobodies to carry His message forward? I believe for the most part it is because of what God teaches us in the Bible that we have nothing we can boast in of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9). We have not created anything apart from His work in our lives, we did not save ourselves, and we cannot save others. However, we can give glory where glory is due…to God the Father! It is Him who sustains us, gives us strength, and guides us through those dark wilderness valleys. Nothing comes from us; everything is from God and Him alone. Without God’s Light in the darkness we will never succeed or go forward. Churchill was humbled tremendously in the years between WWI and WWII. They refined him, humbled him and prepared to finish the race strong. He led the British Empire to an over whelming victory against the greatest odds England had ever known. We too are up against those same odds, however, we serve a God who is willing to submerse us into the desert wilderness and humiliate us to the point of submitting to His commands in order to raise us up another day to victory.

In a story told by Isobel Kuhn, missionary to China some 60 plus years ago, as she ran from Communist who were over taking China with her son Danny in tow.  She ended up in upper Burma stranded at what she called “the worlds end”.  She had no money and could not speak the language and was half a globe away from home, she later wrote, “I cannot tell you the dismay and alarm that filled me.”  In her perplexity, in her wilderness, feeling very helpless at that moment, she made two decisions.  “The first thing is to cast out fear, because the only fear a Christian should entertain is the fear of sin.”   Isobel’s second determination was to “seek light for the next step.” 

Isobel did make it home safely with her son, but she had to travel trusting God for His guidance each small step she took under the guiding light of her Lord.  We, too, have to take each step of our pilgrimage in the wilderness in small increments as God shines His light on the steps…if no light shines then stop and wait.  He will give us the ability to withstand the waiting as He prepares to shed glorious light on our next step.

by Scott Bailey (C) 2009

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Seven Losses When A Christian Lives In Sin!

Posted by Scott on November 11, 2009

As a Believer, we are forced to face certain facts about sin. Whenever we sin we lose something within us which was intended to draw us back to our Lord.

Psalm 51:1-2

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”

Loss #1: LIGHT

1 John 1:6

“If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”

God is light. Not one pixel of darkness resides in Him or around Him.  Fellowship with Him is a deep, loving, communion with our heavenly Father. If we claim this kind of fellowship but are living in sin, we are liars, not being truthful. So, the first thing we lose in our sinfulness is Light.

Loss #2: JOY

1 John 1:3-4

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”

Having fellowship with our Father and our Savior makes our joy complete. However, we lose this joy when we decide to live in a sinful life style, relationship or any combination of sinfulness. We lose our light and our joy!

Reference John 15:11 & Galatians 5:22

A portion of living by the Spirit of God is Joy. In Psalm 51:12 we find a crying out for this joy to be restored…the joy of his salvation. To choice to live in sin comes at a high price by trading rebellion against God for His light and abundant joy.

Loss #3: RIGHTEOUSNESS

1 John 3:4-10

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness…No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him….He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous.”

This is reaching the dangerous category. Because to claim to be a Believer yet make a conscious decision to live in sin makes us  unrighteous. Sin is wrong and is unrighteous behavior. Those who are authentic Christians cannot remain in that sin for long. The guilt of destroying a relationship with our Savior is too deep to allow us to remain in it. The Scripture’s go so far as to tell us the one who does not do what is right is not a child of God. That is pretty point-blank and bold. So, we must be careful in our decisions…sin is hazardous and causes us great loss.

Loss #4: LOVE

1 John 2:5-6

“But if anyone obeys His Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”

Sin is disobedience to the Word of God. Simple enough, but we have a loss of the love of God when we are living in sin. Not saying God does not love us, but that kind of love He has for us, we no longer have for others or even give back to Him. This boils over into a lack of God’s kind of love for others around us. We cannot walk as Jesus did, because the love of the Father is not in us. When the decision to sin is made, whether subtle or slowly, enters the heart of a claiming Believer, and a person remains in that sinfulness day after day without repentance, we have traded this abiding love of our Lord for the lustfulness of sin. This trade-off is not good for any of us. The depths of sin only dig us into a hole that swallows us up, eeks out every hint of light and causes us to feel dirty, filthy, and completely lost to the world of darkness. You do not want to get this far.

Loss #5: FELLOWSHIP

1 John 1:3

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.”

We touched on fellowship before. It is lost in our sinfulness. Living in sin has nothing in common with the righteous. Living in sin has nothing to profit us and pulls us away from the table of fellowship with other Believers. The one living in sin has no light, no joy, no righteousness, no godly love, and now has lost their fellowship with others. Another high price to pay for consciously being disobedient to God.

On the flip side of this, unholy living places us at the table of an unholy fellowship. Those a person in sin will fellowship with are evil, ungodly to the core and feed each a bowl of lies that will make your stomach turn. Ungodliness attracts to worst of people in your life. Your waywardness will take you down a road which God is not on and render you helpless apart from a miraculous merciful act on God’s part. A sinful life style has only as their hope God’s grace, a merciful action on God’s part, and ultimate true salvation. That is a great hope, but it is the only hope for those choosing to live separated from God.

Loss #6: CONFIDENCE

1 John 3:19-22

“This then is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts and He knows everything. If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.”

Sin is an indictment on our confidence. We will not enter His presence in honorable prayer because our hearts filled with sin condemns us before Him. A proud heart full of ourselves speaking in the presence of a holy God does not go together. We cannot hide our sinful condition because God knows everything.

Also, besides the loss of confidence, it causes us to lose the ability to obey and receive what we come to Him for because of the wall of sin we have built between us and God. Sin is a loosely built wall that tightens up with age if not confessed quickly and repented from immediately.

Loss #7: HEALTH & POSSIBLE PHYSICAL LIFE

1 Cor 11:30

Partaking of the communion services with a sinful heart brings about contrition before a holy and mighty God. If a Christian continues to live in their sin, know ing it is wrong, but refusing to do anything about in total rebellion and disobedience to God, their health can began to fail sometimes even to the point of death. The most dangerous activity we can encounter as Believers is to enter a sinful lifestyle in the face of Almighty God and think we can manipulate God the way we do our friends and family. God detest this and so do other Believers who recognize you are living in sin.

I have seen sinfulness poke its ugly head above the ground in so many ways. Wives and moms leaving their families because they do not want to be in that relationship anymore and live in sin with another woman’s husband. I have seen it rare up with two people shacking up together before getting married, denying the sinfulness of their ways and pushing forward to matrimony which end in a disputed divorce. It shows up in great ugliness as men and women turn to the gay lifestyle and excuse it away. On and on I could go.  Bottom line is this, for a Believer to call themselves a Christian and live as though they are not in blasphemous at the core. You are lying to God and man about your faith. If a person continues in this life style of sin for the rest of their life or jumping for one to another without a moment of repentance and returning to a strong faith in Jesus Christ, I would contend they are not a Believer to start with.

Sin is a destructor of people both Believers and non-Believers alike. However, it is more tragic for the Believer who knows better.

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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The Rock that will not move!

Posted by Scott on October 23, 2009

“The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer.; my God is my Rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my Shield and the horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold.”  -Psalm 18:2

-God is my rock that cannot be moved.

-God is my fortress that cannot be penetrated by any human invention.

-God is my deliverer in times when it seems impossible.

-God is a refuge of rest and revival.

-God is a shield that covers me from above my head to my feet that no one can go through, over or around.

-God is my salvation!

-God is the stronghold of strongholds who will not let me go when the winds of the storms of life rage past me.

Who is this God?  This God is God Almighty, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ my Savior, the Faithful, the True, and the Lamb of God! This is the God I serve and put my trust in.

“They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers.”  -Revelation 17:14

Who is this King of Kings and what will He look like one day?

“…there before me was a white horse, whose rider is Faithful and True. With justice He judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. he has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven follow Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron sceptor,’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”  -Rev 19:11-16

That describes the Lord I serve.  Nothing whimpy, feminine, or sissified about my King. He will return someday as conqueror and ruler over all.

 

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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Cry Out to God or Lose Heart!

Posted by Scott on February 26, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Men: Some Thoughts on Facebook! Be Careful!

Posted by Scott on February 25, 2009

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

Slice of Laodicea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A “Shift” in the Wrong Direction…The Shift…a critique!

Posted by Scott on January 21, 2009

The Shift is a book on a supposedly new awareness, a new reality, etc.  This shift as the book tells us that everything we see and experience is from a higher “Infinite Being is the all-encompassing consciousness from which the universe was created.”  I don’t mean to rain on The Shift parade, but it is all man-made “hog-wash”.  The only Infinite Being is the sovereign God, creator of this universe and beyond.  This Infinite Being was not thought up in human minds under some new consciousness, but God has always been from eternity past, still is, and always will be in eternities future.  The God Almighty is the only infinite being that is immeasurably awesome, inconceivably great, inexhaustible, endless, and greater than any preassigned finite value no matter how large.
The Shift tells us that it is the spiritual and creative awakening of humanity. This trans-formative movement has gained momentum in recent years to the point where, today, more than one in four adults (25%) have moved forward towards this new stage of cultural awareness. 2 John 1:5 “I am not writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning.  I ask that we love one another (believers), and this is love, that we walk in obedience to His commands.”  2 John 1: 9 “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teachings of Christ does not have God.”  So, there is no new stage or new awareness.  The things we have been taught from the beginning about Christ is to be carried forward to the end, not the new awareness or The Shift. 

 

New Reality consciousness means to experience new vistas of awareness and new levels of creativity. It means following your heart to express your inner joy through making your own meaningful contribution towards the betterment of the world.   Colossians 2:8 tells us this, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”  “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.”  -John Piper  Also, what does God tell us about our hearts in Psalm 64:6b “…we have devised a perfect plan!  Surely the mind and heart of man are cunning.”  We cannot trust the heart.  Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God!'”  Our hearts need to be examined often by God in order to remain pure at heart…Psalm 26:2 “Test me, O Lord and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” 

 

 

In “The Shift: The Revolution in Human Consciousness,” Owen Waters has woven together leading-edge cultural studies with his own discoveries about the human energy system in order to demonstrate that we are in the midst of the biggest cultural shift of all times.

 

 

This book demonstrates that the future of mankind is not just bright… it is brilliant!  Read Revelation and we will know that the future of mankind is anything but bright or brilliant.  The future for God’s people is very bright to perfect, but for unbelievers, the future is nothing but death, torment, and eternal damnation.  This is the reality of what is to come.  This tormenting future may be closer than all of us want to believe.  In Daniel we see that in the prophecy chapter 12 that the many dead will awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.  He further talks about the people that would go here and there seeking out to increase their knowledge.  The implications are as we have it today, people are meandering around all over seeking a new awareness, The Shift. 

Who should we ask for knowledge?  Ask our Lord, “Teach me knowledge and good judgement, for I believe in your commands.” Psalm 119:66  It is not that we look within for great knowledge or awareness, but go to our Creator, our heavenly Father…He will give us knowledge and wisdom for each day.  Proverbs 1:7 “ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
       but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” 

So, I will conclude that knowledge and wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord.  If we want knowledge we need to ask of our great Lord and He will supply us with all knowledge we can handle.  We do not need to make a mindless shift anywhere…stay with what is true from the old teachings.  God’s Word is never changing, always fresh today as it was yesterday.  I leave you with a reminder directly from God’s Word:

“Don’t be deceived , my dear brothers.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  -James 1:17

If you are looking for answers, looking for peace, looking for something far beyond what you have ever experienced, I encourage you to consider your life now.  As most people do not think they need a savior and certainly do not want anyone or anything being a lord over their life, however, the Bible tells us we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  A sinful act does not just have to be something that we have actually done, if we think it, Jesus tells us, we have committed a sin against God.  Any sin, even just one sin is punishable by death…our God is a “just” God.  However, Jesus came to this earth as God and as a man.  He voluntarily died a punishing death to atone for the sins of the saints.  This death gives us a way to God the Father forever.  The call is for each of us to fall on our knees in admittance of sin before a holy and pure God.  Ask for forgiveness of all your sins today admitting that you have been an enemy of God.  Tell Jesus you are not worthy of the salvation He offers, but you want it by His gracious will.  Ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life once and for all.   Receive by the power of the Holy Spirit a new life in Christ.  This life is not a posh easy life, but it is the greatest life.  This new life is one of hardships, sacrifices and obedience before our heavenly Father.  I warn you now that a life lived for Christ could cost you your physical life, it could cost you some of your friends, could cost you your job.  Are you willing to pay the price?  Are you willing to accept the cost of the only true life to live which is found in Christ Jesus?  I beg you to think on this hard today and if you sense a pricking in your soul, that could be the Holy Spirit drawing you in…do not resist this drawing of the Spirit, just obey and follow Him.

Scott Bailey 2009

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Coming Presidential Inaugural Makes Christ a Minister of Condemnation!

Posted by Scott on January 17, 2009

How Barack Obama Will Make Christ a Minister of Condemnation

 

(Author: John Piper)

At Barack Obama‘s request, tomorrow in the Lincoln Memorial, Gene Robinson, the first openly non-celibate homosexual bishop in the Episcopal Church, will deliver the invocation for the inauguration kick-off.

This is tragic not mainly because Obama is willing to hold up the legitimacy of homosexual intercourse, but because he is willing to get behind the church endorsement of sexual intercourse between men.

It is one thing to say: Two men may legally have sex. It is another to say: The Christian church acted acceptably in blessing Robinson’s sex with men.

The implications of this are serious.

It means that Barack Obama is willing, not just to tolerate, but to feature a person and a viewpoint that makes the church a minister of damnation. Again, the tragedy here is not that many people in public life hold views (like atheism) that lead to damnation, but that Obama is making the church the minister of damnation.

The apostle Paul says,

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves , nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

What is Paul saying about things like adultery, greed, stealing, and homosexual practice? As J. I. Packer puts it, “They are ways of sin that, if not repented of and forsaken, will keep people out of God’s kingdom of salvation.” (Christianity Today, January 2003, p. 48).

In other words, to bless people in these sins, instead of offering them forgiveness and deliverance from them, is to minister damnation to them, not salvation.

The gospel, with its forgiveness and deliverance from homosexual practice, offers salvation. Gene Robinson, with his blessing and approval of homosexual practice, offers damnation. And he does it in the name of Christ.

It is as though Obama sought out a church which blessed stealing and adultery, and then chose its most well-known thief and adulterer, and asked him to pray.

One more time: The issue here is not that presidents may need to tolerate things they don’t approve of. The issue is this: In linking the Christian ministry to the approval of homosexual activity, Christ is made a minister of condemnation.

By John Piper

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