En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

Posting on a new site!

Posted by Scott on December 9, 2009

Christmas Greetings-

I wanted to share with everyone who subscribes to this blog I will be posting on my new site effective today 12-9-2009. You can go to www.EnGhedi.com and subscribe for RSS feed and direct email notifications there. The new En Ghedi site is colorful and hopefully useful. I have added some of my favorite mentor’s site’s I have gleened so much from in my journey to know God in a much deeper way. I think you will enjoy the new look, the new content, and ease of use. In the future I will post book reviews on both sites, articles I think are important to be on both sites as well, but the main site will be www.EnGhedi.com .

Over the coming months I will be moving many of the post from this site over to the new site, so you may encounter a repeat message.

I pray you all have a wonderful Christmas and most blessed New Year.

Pressing on, Scott

www.EnGhedi.com

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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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Itching Ears and Liars Tongues!

Posted by Scott on November 4, 2009

The time will come (is here now) when people will not put up with sound doctrine & teaching. They will surround themselves with teachers & preachers who scratch their itching ears by telling them what they want to hear. They will not listen to the truth, but will embrace myths, philosophies of men, & other non-Christian religions.

“Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to from hearing. They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by His spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.” – Zech 7:11-12

God’s Word found in the Christian Bible are breathed out by God Himself & merely penned by writers of His choosing. This Word is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training people in righteousness. Why do we need this? So we may be completely ready, fully equipped for every good work God calls us to do.
Our charge, especially if in the ministry:
-Preach the Word, preach it when people want to hear it & receive it & preach it when they stick their fingers in their ears & want nothing to do with it.
-With great patience & careful handling of the Scriptures, correct, rebuke, & encourage the fellow Believer’s.
-Keep a steady head & attitude at all times….
-Endure suffering & hardships, because they will come.
-Evangelize always…share the gospel wherever you can.
-Stay with the ministry you are in until your life is over…no retirement from the ministry.

Parents, you can take this charge into your households & apply it to your family. The husband is to be the Priest of his home & handle the Word of God carefully & graciously towards his family. You want to make a difference in your kids lives? Teach them the Word of God daily. Take the opportunity during each day to teach a lesson from everyday situations in life. God gives us parents so many opportunities yet we fail to see them. Look for them everyday.

Correct the kids ills from the Word of God. This is our main authority anyway. They need to understand how important God’s Word is in our lives & how important it is to their lives.

Encourage the kids from God’s Word. Find ways to encourage them. We have the tendacy to say “NO” & correct them so them many times each day they hardly ever hear a positive word from our mouths. So, when one of our kids is feeling depressed or out of it, encourage them from the Word of God…it is full of encouragement.

Train them to be holy & righteous. Teach them little white lies are not alright. Take a paperclip from school or work is not alright if not done with the “ok” of the teachers or bosses. Teach them it is not “ok” to cheat on anything. However, teach them to seek out God’s holiness, His purposes, His ways, His instructions, His wisdom, His knowledge…teach them to go to the Word of God, first! Train them to do what is good at all times, to do what is right in every situation even if it hurts them.

 

-scott bailey (c) 2009

 

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Train the children to be virtuous citizens!

Posted by Scott on September 7, 2009

In reading from the 1599 Geneva Bible that I love to refer to, Proverbs 22:6 reads like this “Teach a child in the trade of his way and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Then I look to John Calvin’s commentary on that verse and he states “Bring him up virtuously and he shall so continue.” That is profound to this verse. Bringing up a child virtuously so he continues in the ways of his training is terrific.

What does virtuous training mean though. I looked deeper into this training to see what the possibilities are and this is what I found. Virtuous is to be morally excellent and righteous in the sense of this passage. It also relates to raising our children to be effectuous. Effectuous is to have the power produce a desired effect or remedies. I like this as well…we should be training our children to be effectual in their lives towards Christ. We want them to have great effect over others and situations to the point they desire to have a Believer around because of the great effect they have in their lives.

Then I dug deeper into this virtuous training of our kids and discovered they are to be trained to be potent which to have great authority or influence. How great is that? By training our children in a virtuous life in the ways they go we want them to have a godly influence over the people they encounter. Our children will be good honorable citizens by way of virtue in the ways of Christ. This is why God instructs us parents to train them while we have them under our roof.

However, another category under the virtuous topic stunned my thinking on training. It is a reference to training them to be chaste. This is an old word, but still applies today. Training our young men, especially, to be chaste is training them to be pure in thoughts and actions (modesty). Further commentary on this for them to be “innocent of unlawful sexual intercourse”. Now, that puts it pretty point blank to me. We are to be instructing our kids from very young to they leave the home in many righteous ways, but surfacing to the top would be training them in sexual purity both in mind and action. Now, training this way is not what stunned me, but what stunned me was that it so specifically surfaced as a very important training for our kids. When you look at our culture, even within some church circles, sex is taken so lightly that our kids do not take it seriously either. Yet, from the very research I have done, this specifically was pointed out in the training. We have much to train our kids, but along with biblical truths, we need to be specific to the kids on each virtue especially sexual morality. Kids can find this battle difficult as the internet has brought every sexual perversion ever thought of right into our homes many times undetected, but we as parents are to do battle with this if we are to give our kids the proper training. Warning: DO NOT expect your public school to give this kind of training to our kids…please, DO NOT think they are going to be trained to be pure in thought and action at school.

Parents’, training our kids is not easy, but it is an area we need to take serious. Food to ponder on isn’t it?

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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Who do you want in your army? (From the Train up our children series)

Posted by Scott on September 7, 2009

My studies and research into Training our children is an eye opening experience.  We as parents too often have regarded this training too lightly and without any personal sacrifice.  We have expected other institutions and someone else to do most of the scholastic training, the church to do much of the spiritual training, and that has left us parents with too little time to train our children properly in the way the Lord intends that we train them.

 

In Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (NIV) To “Train…” could also be translated “Start a child in the way he should go…”  It is our job to start our kids from birth to the time they are out of the house in the way they go.  We are to point them in the right direction based on their inclinations, their bents, their personalities, their characteristics that God has planted in them from birth.  The instruction we give them in order to accomplish this endeavor for some 18 years or so cannot be done in one thirty minute interval each day throughout the week.  It requires that we spend time understanding how they are made and build this training around what God has wired them to do.

 

The daily 30 minutes (30 minutes may be too generous) each parent gets with a child to possibly inject something serious, something educational, something spiritual becomes impossible.  The first task a parent has to do each day is deprogram the humanistic worldliness that has been injected into them for 8 hours each day to start with.  Then deprogram the extra-curricular hours spent with others daily.  By the end of each day a parent may have 15 to 30 minutes to give the child something meaningful to remember.  My question is, can that short period of time overcome the barrage of hours they are being fed something contrary to what us parents should be teaching them?  The government run institutions by law cannot inject Christianity into our kid’s lives.  By virtue of the laws it has passed these institutions must teach secular humanism as the religion of the land which leads to socialistic attitude which will soon embrace socialism as the better way…all this will come from our kid’s public education.  While the church slept our country moved away from God into secular humanism decades ago.  Now, you are not allowed to pray in the schools without trouble.  You cannot bring a Bible to school without trouble.  You cannot inject any kind of bold Christian verbiage without possibly being disciplined, expelled, or fired from the school system.  You must teach evolution as proven fact while not even mentioning creationism as a possibility.  This is because the schools no longer hold to any kind of godliness at all even with Christian’s within its walls which is having no real measurable impact for the kingdom of God and will not as our time here draws to a close.

 

If we were to go into battle as families based on a holy war…in other words Christians vs. Secular Humanism or socialism, who would you want in your army?  Would you want someone on your team that has been trained 75% of their early life from say 6 yrs old to 18 yrs old in socialism, worldliness, humanism, and anti-Christianity?  In Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”  This type of training is first and foremost in the ways of the Lord, not how to get a good college education, how to become a good little employee or how to be model prisoners (another subject in and of itself).  I will not get into the other trainings that are coming from government education, but most of all, we as parents must make every effort and time to inject as much biblical training as we can on a daily basis if our kids must remain in a public school.  This may mean that we men stop playing golf as much or at all, stop fishing or as much, stop hunting or as much, stop spending so much time at the bars with the buddies having a beer (another subject all by itself), etc.  It may require we make tremendous sacrifices during our children’s adolescent years and teen years in order to be sure we have exhausted every chance to inject the proper training in the ways of the Lord, even if the kids must remain in the public school system, which I pray that many will reconsider.

 

Going back to who would you bring to battle with you, I refer to this training that is cross referenced to Abram in Genesis 14:14 where a relative, Lot and his family, was captured and Abram (future Abraham) called out for the 318 trained men born in his household and pursued the enemy with them.  These 318 men had been born under his roof and trained by him, not someone else.  He entrusted a serious situation with those whom he could trust, those trained and born under his roof.  This was an important mission for Abram and he could not depend on just anyone, but relied on those he could depend on and that was those men trained by him.  It was a long and difficult journey that required men that Abram knew their character, their bents, their personalities, their inclinations, their trainings, and most importantly, Abram could depend on who their allegiance was too, the Sovereign God.  Abram knew these men would perform, he did not worry for a moment that something a government school had taught them could come back to compromise this mission…Abram took this mission serious and Abram had taken these 318 men’s training serious years before.  Abram had not sent them off for someone else to raise, to train, to inject ungodly thoughts into…Abram sacrificed his time to train them or someone within his household he trusted to train.  This is why it is even more important that we as parents do the training of our children now and take the majority of every available moment with them to train them in the ways of the Lord above anything else. 

 

The training referred to in Genesis 14:14 crosses over to Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only be careful and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”   The Word of God does not leave much for discussion when it comes to training and teaching the children.  We are commanded to train our children in the way should go.  Whatever direction we send them daily, whatever actions we take on a daily basis more so than what we say on a daily basis will influence the way they will go.  How important do we really see our children and the future of Christianity in the world?  Do we see our children as true blessing of God to be cherished, watched over, trained, and even guarded?  I am afraid the message most kids get from parents today is that they are burden, parents can’t wait until the kids go back to school to get out of their hair, the parent(s) are always travelling while someone else keeps the kids, time spent with them is secondary to the parents work, golf, hunting, fishing, workout at 24 hour fitness, ladies night out or men’s night out, etc.  I know this will smash some toes and I am not saying any of these activities are wrong in and of themselves, but the message sent by many that I have encountered over the years is not far off from what I am talking about…that “kids are a necessary evil God has put upon them as punishment for some sin in their past”.  I have heard this on more than one occasion or some variation of that.  I am sorry, but that is the message coming across.  The kids are reacting to the message from the actions of their parents far more than the message coming from their parent’s mouths.

 

We have an 88% failure rate in our future young people.  That is huge and if it is continued will result in catastrophic events in our country in the near future.  Parents will find themselves as the enemy of their own children when it comes to Christ vs. humanism or socialism.  It will put dads against their sons and mothers against their daughters.  Jesus said He did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  Jesus is the sword that will divide households, families, friendships, and even churches.  If we as parents do not take our job in the training of our children more serious, we are going to see more and more households divided by the very subject of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior vs. worldliness, secular humanism, socialism, entitlement, riches, self-glorification and gratification, etc.  Not all kids will turn out this way, but an alarming 88% of them have the potential and in my humble opinion it is because of the failure of us parents not training our children in the ways of the Lord while turning our heads away and allowing the world to have all the time it wanted in training them in the way it wanted them to go.  Satan’s world wants your children to love to be rich, to want more stuff, to more entitlements, to want more government security, to desire to be a pro athlete, super model, world scholar, to want to look good all the time, to be more educated socially, to be a social party person, to want to be healthy all the time, to want more and more of this world while pulling them seriously away from the ways taught in the Scriptures. 

 

While the world and its system train the kids to be good socialist, God’s Word has commanded a different training…training in the ways of God which are drastically different than the ways of the world.  Why are we considered as aliens in this world?  Does much of the church today look foreign to you?  Do we teach our children any differently than the world does?  It is hard to see much light in this world of darkness even in the church today.  As parents our job is far too important to leave to the world.  God is using us to train the kids away from the world…yes, we have to live in this world and He did not say that would be easy either, but while we are to obey the laws of the land, we also to obey God’s holy Word in training our kids.  Our kids are future missionaries no matter what they do for a living.  They need to be taught that their job first and foremost is serving God. For our young men, when they have a family their first mission field is their wife, then their children then they can minister to those outside their homes…not the reverse.  The same can be said for the young women.  Individually, their first goals should be in service to Christ…God will take care of their living if they will work honoring God in all they do and that requires they be a very good employee yet knowing making money is not their priority, but serving God is.

 

In conclusion,  does training those hours per day in the ways of the Lord guarantee our children will turn out godly, no!  Only God can guarantee anything.  However, this sacrificial training us as parents is commanded to do give the proper tools to work with.  It is this training that the Holy Spirit uses in order to take them deeper into a relationship with God, making it harder for Satan to take them away.  Chances are greater, even if they do move away for a short period of time from the ways of God, in returning to their faith someday to grow in godliness and serve their Lord from then on into eternity.  The old saying “you can pay me now or you can pay me later” can be translated in this situation “you can pay the price now in training your children or you will pay a hefty price later for not training your children”.  The challenge is this; will you consider a different way of educating your children by seeking the face of God on this matter?  Can we commit to giving up activities in our own lives that take time away from a deeper training of the children in the ways of the Lord?  Are we willing to admit that all the excuses we as parents use in order to not change anything we are doing in regards to the lack of training our children get is sin and needs to be repented of?  This challenge is strong I know, but the future results of us having a godless generation is at stake here.  True Christian parenting does not resemble the world, the public schools, the social institutes in our country or anything else…Christian parenting has specific instructions from Scripture and we will be all the better for being obedient to it.

 

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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Train up a child to:

Posted by Scott on August 29, 2009

 
What is it we as parents are suppose to train up our children to do, be, want, or come back to? Have you as a parent ever wondered that? I know I have numerous times.

The entire verse goes like this:

“Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will come back to it” -Proverbs 22:6

I have seen the numerous wayward children just like everyone else has that so far has never come back to anything their parents taught them or have they gone the exact direction their parents taught them? Interesting subject I know. I have started exploring exactly what it is we are to teach our children growing up that when they are “seasoned” rather than just old they can come back to it and it be of some profit to them.

Proverbs 22 builds around this verse 6 it seems. It tells us some of what we are to teach our children as they are growing up. Each stage of their life we can teach them more and more, going deeper and deeper into each subject. I want to warn you that very little has to do with what job they will have, what college they will attend to what degree they should get. God has placed within each child a “bent” that they are moving towards regardless of what us parents really think or desire for them. It is our job as parents, in tune with our heavenly Father, in the power that He entrust to us, to learn over time what our children’s personality traits are, what kind of character God is moving them to be, and build that training around this.

One example I will share:

Train up the child to: (Proverbs 22:3 “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”)
-exercise sound, good judgement and to use their God given common sense on a daily basis.
-be careful about their conduct around other people
1. be cautious in their decisions on what they are doing from what they eat, to what they are wearing, to what they say, to how they act, to the people they hang out with, to how they spend their money and time and so on.
2. look for the danger signs, the warning signs around them of doom that might be coming if the continue in a direction they are going. Teach them to seek out shelter and refuge in the Lord if they can see those danger signs.
-provide carefully for the future
1. not be frivolous with their time, financial spending and actions
2. learn to save not only spend
3. budget their time, resources, and money at all times
4. be looking ahead as best they can to be sure they are not caught off guard
5. be a person worthy to be trusted by others and accountable

This is one example of our parental training. This example of course can go as deep as anyone would want to take it of course. Most of us parents can teach this from past experiences, from what our parents taught us, and most importantly from what the Word of God instructs us in these areas of life.

In the Proverb to train our children, this comes as no easy task, but it is commanded to us by our heavenly Father as instructed to us in His Word. So, if we only teach our children worldly things without any of the important points here, we are setting our children on the path of doom to never to stay on the path of godliness or to return to it if they get off track.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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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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Can A True Christian Lose Their Salvation?

Posted by Scott on January 31, 2009

1. Classic Arminianism

  One must persevere in faith to be saved.

  True believers can lose their faith.

  Those dying without faith in Christ are condemned.

“The believer who loses his faith is damned.”


 

2. Antinomianism

  One need not persevere in faith to be saved.

  True believers can lose their faith.

  Those who lose their faith are saved, since they once believed.

“The believer who loses his faith is saved.”

 

3. Classic Calvinism

  One must persevere in faith to be saved.

  True believers cannot lose their faith, since it’s God’s gift.

  Those dying without faith in Christ are condemned.

  Those who “lose” their faith never had it to begin with.

  God will preserve true believers and they will be saved.


“The ‘believer’ who loses his faith never really had it—or at least it wasn’t in Jesus.”

 

 

 

                Proponents of the first two approaches quote biblical references, but each must strain to explain away the other group’s biblical data.  How can an Arminian read Romans 8, then tell true believers that they may screw up and go to hell???  Then again, how can Charles Stanley read Hebrews 6 and 10 and tell unbelievers who once professed faith not to worry, that they will be saved???  Any true biblical teaching must “fit” with ALL the biblical data, without pitting one text against another and without having to explain away a single “jot or tittle” of God’s inerrant Word.  I believe that only the classical Calvinist model takes into account all of the biblical data.

                Arminians are right when they say the Bible teaches that only those who persevere will be saved, and they’re right in accusing Antinomians of easy-believism and cheap grace.  Antinomians (they wouldn’t use the term) are right in telling committed believers that they are secure in Christ and “once saved, always saved.”  But both of these views are wrong is assuming that a true believer can lose his faith and fall away from Christ.  Faith is “a gift of God—not by works, lest any man boast.”  Paul was confident that, since Christ had begun a good work in believers, He would continue that work until completion (Phil. 1).  John said that those who fell away were never really true Christians, since true believers don’t leave the faith (1 John 2:19).

 

                Scripture teaches that believers must persevere until the end, but also that believers will persevere until the end by God’s grace.  As the Westminster Assembly concluded, Christians might temporarily yield to Satan’s temptations, even to excess, but like Peter when he denied Christ three times, God will still restore and preserve the faith of the Christian, a faith which God gave in the first place!  Peter went on to be chief among the apostles!  Two biblical principles must be held side-by-side:

 

 

 

1.  You Must Persevere until the End:  God’s Requirement of His People

God does not merely command us to begin to believe for a time, and then fall away.  He requires us to continue to believe until the end, living lives of repentance and covenant faithfulness.  Granted, He does not ask for a perfect faith, but He does ask for a real faith, one that produces real, lasting change.

  Colossians 1:21-23

  1 John 1:5-10; 3:3-6

  Hebrews 10:26-31

  Hebrews 12:1

 

2.  You Will Persevere Until the End:  God’s Preservation of His People

We will persevere because God preserves us.  God will keep us from falling—not one will be lost of all those who belong to the Son.  True believers are not able to leave Christ, for Christ is at work within them.


  John 6:38-40

  John 10:28-29

  Romans 8:28-39

  Philippians 1:4-6

  Philippians 2:12-13

  1 John 2:19


 

 

 

                This first set of texts cannot be used to refute the second (Arminianism); nor can the second set of texts be used to refute the first (cheap grace).  The point that makes the two compatible is the biblical teaching that faith (while commanded of everyone) is a gift from God to His elect.  If faith is simply a human action of a free will, then it can be lost.  But if saving faith is God’s gift, then it cannot be lost.  Can professing Christians fall away?  Yes, and they will perish.  Can true Christians fall away?  No, for they are kept by the invincible power of God in Christ. The Bible teaches us that professing Christians who leave the faith were never truly believers (1 John 2:19; and notice the qualification even in Hebrews 10:39).

visit Eternal Security

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The Impossible: You Must Be Born Again…Part 1!

Posted by Scott on January 31, 2009

IMPOSSIBLE – You Must Be Born Again, Part 1

visit http://theoparadox.blogspot.com/ for more from Derek!

This is the first post in a new series called “THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE: Rediscovering the Words of Jesus” In this series, we will examine commands of Jesus that are impossible for fallen man to obey, and impossible for man to accomplish apart from God’s grace. Let’s start things off with a look at the famous conversation that took place between Jesus and Nicodemus under the cover of darkness . . .

John 3:1-3 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Notice how our Lord uses the language of impossibility. Cannot. He does not say it is very difficult, or that it will take a long time if you really try hard. He does not say, “You can do anything you set your mind to,” or, “Just visualize the kingdom of God, and it will be yours.” He does not even imply that because God commands something, we are able to do it. In fact, He states the opposite. He says we “cannot.”

Jesus is answering Nicodemus’ assertion that “no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with Him.” Jesus says, in essence, “You can see the signs well enough, but it will require a miracle of God for you to see His kingdom.”
With this answer, Jesus points to the basic blindness of our fallen human nature. We are naturally blind to the things of God. We use our physical eyes all day long, looking at books, billboards, cars, trees, people, websites, nature, art, this blog. Some put their eyes up to microscopes and look at the tiny, hidden world of microorganisms. Others put their eyes up to telescopes and view the vastness of space with its quietly whirling fire-balls and stony, barren planets. We delight in our seeing, as we use our eyes to discover, to perceive, to examine, to scrutinize, to KNOW what is around us. Our eyes aid us in navigation, interpreting language, making judgments and even sinning. They are an entry way to our hearts. We use them like spiritual doors to take in the objects and images of worship that are most passionately cherished within. We are natural idolaters. Sometimes our eyes fill with tears as we witness the tragedies of a sin-saturated world. Sometimes they are wide with wonder as we watch someone perform an amazing stunt. But apart from the new birth, our eyes cannot perceive the kingdom of God. We’re not just shortsighted, we’re not merely in need of enlightenment, we’re not even simply blind. We lack the faculties needed to see it. We have physical eyes, but no spiritual eyes.
Jesus uses His flaming eyes of judgment and compassion to look directly at us. He tells us the truth: “You cannot see the kingdom of God.” With omniscient realism, He tells us what we can’t do, but He offers us the ONE HOPE that enlivens the hearts of His chosen ones. He says the beautiful little word, “unless.” Unless one is born again. Unless a second birth happens. Unless GOD intervenes for us.

We need something, but what we need is out of our reach. How does a person who can’t even SEE cause himself to be born? Causing one’s own birth is physically impossible the first time, and spiritually impossible the second time. Only the Sprit gives birth to spirit, and fallen man does not have the Spirit. Yet Jesus’ earthly mission was intended to bring about a second birth in some of the fallen sons and daughters of Adam.

John 1:11-13 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

One cannot be born again by the will of the flesh, and one cannot be born again by the will of man. The point is emphatic. It is God alone Who can accomplish this.

Jesus calls us to the new birth, but it is a call which He alone can accomplish in us. Is this humbling? It’s meant to be.

Cannot do what? The person who has not been born again cannot SEE something. See what? The kingdom of God. Someone could be standing right in the middle of it, surrounded by its greatness and majesty, but still he would not be able to SEE it – let alone enter into it. Why? He CANNOT.

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