En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘power’

Our Sovereign God is exceedingly and abundantly powerful!

Posted by Scott on January 12, 2009

Ephesians 3:20-21 is a doxology Paul places in this letter to the Ephesians.  A doxology you might ask is a praise or glory given to Almighty God.  Every prayer should have a doxology if not entire prayers most of the time.  Think about our prayers for a minute.  How much time do we honestly spend in praise and glorifying our God compared to the amount of time we spend asking for something.  It is absolutely amazing the time spent in “asking”.

Of course, God wants us to come to Him and ask.  He already knows what we will ask for, but He still wants that open line of communication with us to ask for anything in accordance with His will.  As true Believers we should have in mind that which God wants not really what we want in the flesh.  In taking a closer look at this doxology at the end of chapter 3 from Paul to the Ephesians we find out much more than we might imgaine.

When we ask or confirm something of God, in accordance with what we believe He wants for us, it would be good to do so with this mindset: 

1. God has the power to do whatever He wants to do…He is our Sovereign Lord.

2. God can produce, make, or fashion in us whatever He desires…He is our Sovereign Lord.

3. God can go far beyond in delivering what we have ask or begged for.  He can go exceedingly, unthinkably far beyond anything we can even dream up or think in our minds.  Think of asking in these terms:  desiring, craving, begging, calling out for that which God has placed on our hearts to ask for…He is our Sovereign Lord.

4. God does this in accordance with His power, His unending ability that He has put on display within our lives..He is our Sovereign Lord.

5. God’s exceeding abundance is a great reflection of His inexhaustible fullness of mercy and grace.  The “well” can never be overdrawn.  The “well” of God’s grace and mercy will never go dry.  We are always welcome at this “well”.  Remember Psalm 81:10 “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it with good things.” (NLT)  He is our Sovereign Lord.

6. God’s power is all-sufficient and almightly powerful that He has saved each of us as Believers.  This same power (awesome ability) is the power that was able to take a spiritually dead bag of bones like me and bring it to Himself in salvation.  No one has this kind of power except God…no one!  He is our Sovereign Lord.

7. God is looking for excellencies and praises  to be ascribed towards Him in our prayers…He is our Sovereign Lord.

8. God provided us with a mediator in Jesus Christ His Son…He is our Sovereign Lord.

9. All of the praises and glories that we garble towards God goes through the hand of Jesus Christ our great mediator (high priest)…He is our Sovereign Lord. 

10. All of graces, mercies, and gifts that come to us from our heavenly Father comes through that same hand of Jesus Christ our Lord…He is our Sovereign Lord. 

So, this is how I offer up this doxology personally for me this morning:

“Finally, O Sovereign God, who has the awesome ability to produce unthinkably far beyond what I have desired or begged for or can even fathom in my small mind to ask for, according to Your great power that is constantly on display in my life daily, it is to You, my Almighty God that all the honors and glory and praises through my perfect Lord Jesus Christ be lifted up and may they be lifted up from every generation for ever and ever! AMEN.”

Just remember while praying to give God the praise and glory for your life today…He is our Sovereign Lord.

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

References: 

-Matthew Henry Commentaries

-Logos Strong’s Lexicon Greek guide

-NIV Bible, NLT Bible, KJV Bible, & NASB Bible

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Decisionism vs Repentance!

Posted by Scott on June 2, 2008

The church must wake up to the fact that about 95% of those setting in the church pews or seats today are lost and hell bound.  Most of these have made a “decision” for Christ in their past, but live as though they have never known of Jesus before.  Paul Washer gives a great talk on this very subject.

 

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Salvation Not By Asking Jesus Into Your Heart!

Posted by Scott on June 2, 2008

“There are so many people, especially in my own denomination (Southern Baptist). . . because of the pathetic theology and pathetic preaching . . . the people on our church membership rolls—are as lost as they can be. Because we have forgotten that salvation does not come by praying and asking Jesus to come into your heart; salvation does not come by going through four spiritual laws and saying a prayer at the end; salvation does not come by all these silly little mechanisms we’ve developed (that are unbiblical). It comes as a supernatural work of God through which God regenerates, makes the heart alive (Born Again), He gives the man repentance, He gives the man faith, the man repents, man then believes and is saved. And it is a supernatural work of God that manifests as much if not more of the power of God than when God stood on the first day and said, ‘Let there be light’.”

Comment by Paul Washer and agreed to by me.

&

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Giving Thanks for ALL Things! by Dave Stallings

Posted by Scott on December 11, 2007

Giving Thanks for ALL Things

Ephesians 6:18-20 says “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father

My prognosis remains the same today. I still carry around with me, blood cells labeled “Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (in fact, in two more weeks I will have finished my 2 year maintenance program). At that point I go on a “Wait & Watch” program where they do nothing until my symptoms resurface. I try to wear a smile every single day. I am grateful to my God for the blessings He has shared with me throughout this ordeal. My family has never been closer in our 37 years of existence. All of the studies to date indicate that I will have fewer years on this earth than most men my age and I remain grateful for the experiences that have been given to me over the last 2 1/2 years. These are blessings that could have never come without this particular difficulty in my life.

I think of Sandy and her probing questions while sitting in the chemotherapy room time and again. Today I feel confident that Sandy has her own personal relationship with God because he brought both Sandy and I together one day. As I knelt there in front of her chemo chair with a needle stuck in my chest, I remember that it was that day that she asked Jesus to control her life. I think of Steve who today wears a different pair of shoes because someone wanted to be a blessing to him through Barb and I.

I think (quite often) of my good friend Mike, who left us in December of 2005, to go and be with the Lord. My wife and I were at his bedside two days before he went home to be with the Lord. He was sleeping peacefully, little if any expression on his face. I walked into the room, bent over his bed and kissed him on the forehead and spoke his name. He never opened his eyes, but he smiled. I don’t believe it was a smile brought on by his facial muscles but rather his heart as he recognized my voice. I talked to him, I read about God to him and prayed (I’m sure) with him and within the next 48 hours he was sitting at the feet of Jesus without any pain, without any tears other than perhaps tears of joy as he was ushered into his heavenly home. I remember saying to Mike during that time, “Michael, when we come to the edge of all the light we know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen; either there will be something solid to stand on, or we will be taught how to fly,” and I truly believe that Michael learned to fly that day.

I live every day of my life in pain and if you are reading this blog you probably experience the same thing. It is tough and sometimes it looks as though there is “no way out”. And for some of us, this is true. However, just the mention of our Lord, Jesus Christ, brings a smile to my face because I know with every confidence that He is building a mansion for me and if it is tomorrow or 5 years from now, He will just be placing the last nail in my home in glory. That’s is REALLY something to look forward to.

Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might“!

About the Author
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Dave Stallings lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife of 36 years, Barbara, Who also suffers a serious chronic illness, and their dog, Captain Jack…along with their kids and grand kids ! Dave is a semi-retired pastor and loves to blog on his personal web page since being diagnosed with Stage IV incurable non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma two and a half years ago..his motto is “It is what it is and God is not surprised”….his blog is http://www.nowwhataz.blogspot.com/, his personal testimony can be read at http://www.nowwhataz.org/

-Scott Bailey 2007

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-From A Dad: Conquering Self!

Posted by Scott on November 18, 2007

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow after me.”  -Luke 9:23

Make a Definite Decision to Follow Christ!

For us men this is not easys we tend to battle pride in our hearts more than anyone else.  To make a definite decision to follow Christ rather than our selfish desires takes a strength that only the Holy Spirit can produce in us.  We try to hold on to God on the one hand, but on the other hand our sinful wants and desires.  As the Holy Spirit prompts us to make this decision it is a wise thing to accept Christ and follow after Him with our entire being.  In Joshua 24:15 Joshua made a profound definite decision as he said, “….as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua was being used by God and was not about to rebel against his God, so, to make such a definite decision should have been expected.  As us dads move forward with the decision to follow hard after Christ it is wise to burn the bridges of our old life.  You might ask why in the world would anyone burn their bridges?  Burning bridges give you only one direction to go…forward!  God lead the Israelites through the desert straight for the Red Sea and through more wilderness into the promise land.  However, there was a route that was much faster and was an actual road.  God knew, though, that these people could turn back as times got rough, so He took them in a direction they could not turn back to.  This is the same way with us burning our bridges…we do not need the opportunity to go back to old life style.  Make that decision and march forward in Him.  God will give us the strength and courage to stay the course through His work with Holy Spirit.  Our decision needs to be firm like that of Joshua.

Be a Daring Disciplined Warrior For Christ!

Guys for our families sake we need to deny ourselves of some indulgances.  No matter how much money we make or don’t make, power comes through having the courage to deny ourselves of some of life’s best activities and things.  Many of us battle this as well.  We battle self-denial and restraints on our lives, because the world is doing some much around us we are tempted daily to join in.  Alot of great leaders have fallen because they failed to deny themselves of anything.  Men, beautiful women are bountiful in our land today.  However, we need to commit ourselves to deny the fleshly urge to “mess around” and be a “one woman man”.  This requires discipline and daily denial.  Everyday when we get up mentally tell yourself not to look upin another woman in want.  In our prayer time each day we can ask the Lord for the strength to resist these temptations.  Ask the Lord, if we find ourself in a tempting situation and trust me we all will, to provide us a clear and quick escape route.  With each temptation will come with a way of escape.  the Holy Spirit is not going to leave us alone out there to battle the multiple temptations we see and experience everyday.  As a body builder buffets his body daily by working out, eatting the right foods, and staying away from activities that will break his body down, we too must buffet our bodies in a holy sense.  Our workout is praying, meditating on the scriptures, listening to God, and being obedient to His calling on our lives daily.  This is how we prepare ourselves to be a God glorifying warrior for Christ.

We Must Be Devoted By Taking Up Our Cross…Daily!

If us dads are not deeply immersed in God’s word on a daily basis we will find ourselves in utter defeat.  We cannot neglect God each day and expect to win this battle over selfishness.  To be devoted to Christ requires commitment, daily activities that push us closer to our heavenly Father, and obedience to the word of God.  In Matthew 6:33 Jesus addresses the needs of our lives.

“…and He will give you all you need from day to day if you will live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.”

Keeping our eyes on Kingdom of God is the goal.  That is to be our primary devotion from today on.  It takes diligence and devotion to accomplish this through Christ Who is our strength.  Making sure we attend a local church the Lord has lead us to, daily prayer and bible study with meditation and listening are all ways to win the war over self.  You really want to get over yourself?  Give someone that needs help whatever you can….make it sacrificial whatever it is.  This brings stuff and self in check everyday.  We realize that we are not anything apart from Christ.  Continue with our daily devotion in order rid ourselves of “self”.

Following Christ Will Take Unabashed Determination!

Taking a stand for what you strongly believe in is not easy.  Failure must not be an option when it comes to following Christ.  He will give us the courage to reject wrong decisions if we will prepare ourselves daily for that courage.  This determination I speak of only comes with the help of our heavenly Father.  This battle that wages within us over cratering in to self can be won with the bold tenacity of an attitude like Winston Churchill…an attitude that says we will not give in to our lustful desires with God’s mighty assistance. 

Dads, following Christ will be the hardest road we travel.  This is especially made tougher because we have a family to think about now.  When we were single, it did not take much to make a decision in standing firm for Christ and our beliefs.  Now, with a family we may not think too long about Who we believe in, but we do think longer on most of our decisions as to how it will effect our kids and wife.  Following Christ could require our lives someday in this world.  Many missionaries have to make these same decisions all the time and many have lost their lives and the lives of their families to horrible deaths.  Be prepared to accept whatever plight the Lord takes us to.  Be encouraged and stay the course.  Heaven is our final goal, in glory with our savior we so valiantly fought for.  The example of devotion, desire, decisions, and discipline is found in the very One we are to worship and glorify.  Men, make the tough decisions and make the right decisions in the power of our almighty God.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

 

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Puritan Evangelism-Did They Really?

Posted by Scott on November 9, 2007

Puritan Evangelism
How the Puritans evangelized in contrast to the modern age we now live in. How did they accomplish their evangelistic efforts to win souls?

by Dr. J. I. Packer
           M.A., Lecturer at Tyndale Hall, Bristol              

In the report of the Archbishop’s Committee on Evangelism, published in 1945 under the title: Towards the Conversion of England, the work of evangelism is conveniently defined as follows: “so to present Christ Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Savior, and serve Him as their King in fellowship of His Church.”             Did the Puritans tackle the task of evangelism at all? At first sight, it might seem not.  They agreed with Calvin in regarding the “evangelists” mentioned in the New Testament as all order of assistants to the apostles, now extinct; and as for “missions,” “crusades” and “campaigns,” they knew neither the name nor the thing.  But we must not be misled into supposing that evangelism was not one of their chief concerns.  It was.  Many of them were outstandingly successful as preachers to the unconverted.  Richard Baxter, the apostle of Kidderminster, is perhaps the only one of these that is widely remembered today; but in contemporary records it is common to read statements like this, of Hugh Clark: “he begat many Sons and Daughters unto God;” or this, of John Cotton, “the presence of the Lord…crowning his labors with the Conversion of many Souls” (S.  Clarke, Lives of 52…Divines, pp.131, 222, etc.)  Moreover, it was the Puritans who invented evangelistic literature.  One has only to think of Baxter’s classic Call to the Unconverted, and Alleine’s Alarm to the Unconverted, which were pioneer works in this class of writing.  And the elaborate practical “handling” of the subject of conversion in Puritan books was regarded by the rest of the seventeenth-century Protestant world as something of unique value.   “It hath been one of the glories of the Protestant religion that it revived the doctrine of Saving Conversion, and of the New Creature brought forth thereby…But in a more eminent manner, God hath cast the honor hereof upon the Ministers and Preachers of this Nation, who are renowned abroad for their more accurate search into and discoveries hereof.”  (T.  Goodwin and P. Nye, Preface to T.  Hooker, The Application of Redemption, 1656).             The truth is that two distinct conceptions and types of evangelism have been developed in Protestant Christendom during the course of its history.  We may call them the “Puritan” type and the “modern” type.  Today we are so accustomed to evangelism of the modern type that we scarcely recognize the other is evangelism at all. In order that we may fully grasp the character of the Puritan type of evangelism, I shall here set it in contrast with the modern type, which has so largely superseded it at the present time.             Let us begin, therefore, by characterizing evangelism of the modern type.  It seems to presuppose a conception of the life of the local church as an alternating cycle of converting and edifying.  Evangelism almost takes on the character of a periodical recruiting campaign.  It is all extraordinary and occasional activity, additional and auxiliary to the regular functioning of the local congregation.  Special gatherings of a special sort are arranged, and special preachers are commonly secured to conduct them.  Often they are called “meetings” rather than “services;” in any case, they are thought of as something distinct in some way from the regular public worship of God.  In the meetings, everything is directly aimed at securing from the unconverted all immediate, conscious, decisive act of faith in Christ.  At the close of the meeting, those who have responded or wish to do so are asked to come to the front, or raise a hand, or something similar, as an act of public testimony to their new resolutions.  This, it is claimed, is good for those who do it, since it helps to make their “decision” definite, and it has the further advantage of making them declare themselves, so that they may be contacted individually by “personal workers.”  Such persons may then be advised and drafted forthwith into local churches as converts.             This type of evangelism was invented by Charles G. Finney in the 1820’s.  He introduced the “protracted meeting,” or, as we should call it, the intensive evangelistic campaign, and the “anxious seat,” a front pew left vacant where at the end of the meeting “the anxious may come and be addressed particularly…and sometimes be conversed with individually.”  At the end of his sermon, he would say, “There is the anxious seat; come out, and avow determination to be on the Lord’s side.”  (See Revivals of Religion, especially chapter xiv).  These were Finney’s much opposed “new measures.”             Now, Finney was a clear-headed and self-confessed Pelagian in his doctrine of man; and this is the reason why his “new measures” were evolved.  Finney denied that fallen man is totally unable to repent, believe or do anything spiritually good without grace, and affirmed instead that all men have plenary ability to turn to God at any time.  Man is a rebel, but is perfectly free at any time to lay down his arms in surrender.  Accordingly, the whole work of the Spirit of God in conversion is to present vividly to man’s mind reasons for making this surrender – that is to say, the Spirit’s work is confined to moral persuasion.  Man is always free to reject this persuasion: “Sinners can go to hell in spite of God.”  But the stronger the persuasion is, the more likely it is to succeed in the breaking down of man’s resistance.  Every means, therefore, of increasing the force and vividness with which truth impinged on the mind – the most frenzied excitement, the most narrowing emotionalism, the most nerve-racking commotion in evangelistic meetings – was a right and proper means of evangelism.  Finney gave expression to this principle in the first of his lectures on Revivals of Religion.  “To expect to promote religion without excitements is unphilosophical and absurd…until there is sufficient religious principle in the world to put down irreligious excitements, it is in vain to try to promote religion, except by counteracting excitements…There must be excitement sufficient to wake up the dormant moral powers…”  And, since every man, if he will only rouse up his “dormant moral powers,” can at any time yield to God and become a Christian, it is the evangelist’s work and duty always to preach for immediate decision, to tell men that it is their duty to come to Christ that instant, and to use all means – such as the rousing appeal and the “anxious seat” – for persuading them to do so.  “I tried to shut them up,” he says of a typical mission sermon, “to present faith and repentance, as the thing which God required of them: present and instant acceptance of His will, present and instant acceptance of Christ” (Autobiography, p. 64).  It is hardly too much to say that Finney regarded evangelistic preaching as a battle of wills between himself and his hearers, in which it was his responsibility to bring them to breaking point.             Now, if Finney’s doctrine of the natural state of sinful man is right, then his evangelistic methods must be judged right also, for, as he often insisted, the “new measures” were means well adapted to what he held to be the end in view.  “It is in such practices that a Pelagian system naturally expresses itself if it seeks to become aggressively evangelistic” (B. B. Warfield).  But if his view of man is wrong, then his methods, as we shall see, must be judged disastrous.  And this is an issue of the first importance at the present time; for it is Finney’s methods, modified and adapted, which characterize most evangelism today.   We do not suggest that all who use them are Pelagians.  But we do raise the question, whether the use of such methods is consistent with any other doctrine than Finney’s, and we shall try to show that, if Finney’s doctrine is rejected, then such methods must be judged inappropriate and, indeed, detrimental to the real work of evangelism.  It may be said that results justify their use; but the truth is that the majority of Finney’s “converts” backslid and fell away, and so, it seems, have the majority of those since Finney’s day whose “decision” has been secured by the use of such methods.  Most modern evangelists seem to have given up expecting more than a small percentage of their “converts” to survive.  It is not at all obvious that results justify such methods.  We shall suggest later that they have a natural tendency to produce such a crop of false converts as has in fact resulted from their use.             The Puritan type of evangelism, on the other hand, was the consistent expression in practice of the Puritans’ conviction that the conversion of a sinner is a gracious sovereign work of Divine power.  We shall spend a little time elaborating this.             The Puritans did not use “conversion” and “regeneration” as technical terms, and so there are slight variations in usage.  Perhaps the majority treated the words as synonyms, each denoting the whole process whereby God brings the sinner to his first act of faith.  Their technical term for the process was effectual calling; calling being the Scriptural word used to describe the process in Rom. 8:30, 2 Th.  2:14, 2 Tim. 1:9, etc., and the adjective effectual being added to distinguish it from the ineffectual, external calling mentioned in Mt. 20:16, 22:14.  Westminster Confession, X. i., puts “calling,” into its theological perspective by an interpretative paraphrase of Rom. 8:30: “All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ.” The Westminster Shorter Catechism analyses the concept of “calling” in its answer to Q. 31: “Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.”             Concerning this effectual calling, three things must be said if we are to grasp the Puritan view:                (i) It is a work of Divine grace; it is not something a man can do for himself or for another.  It is the first stage in the application of redemption to those for whom it was won; it is the time when, on the grounds of his eternal, federal, representative union with Christ, the elect sinner is brought by the Holy Ghost into a real, vital, personal union with his Covenant Head and Redeemer.  It is thus a gift of free Divine grace.                (ii) It is a work of Divine power. It is effected by the Holy Ghost, who acts both mediately, by the Word, in the mind, giving understanding and conviction, and at the same time immediately, with the Word, in the hidden depths of the heart, implanting new life and power, effectively dethroning sin, and making the sinner both able and willing to respond to the gospel invitation.  The Spirit’s work is thus both moral, by persuasion (which all Arminians and Pelagians would allow), and also physical, by power (which they would not).

            Owen said, “There is not only a moral, but a physical immediate operation of the Spirit…upon the minds or souls of men in their regeneration…The work of grace in conversion is constantly expressed by words denoting a real internal efficacy; such as creating, quickening, forming, giving a new heart…Wherever this work is spoken of with respect unto an active efficacy, it is ascribed to God.  He creates us anew, he quickens us, he begets us of His own will; but when it is spoken of with respect to us, there it is passively expressed; we are created in Christ Jesus, we are new creatures, we are born again, and the like; which one observation is sufficient to avert the whole hypothesis of Arminian grace.” (Works, ed.  Russell 1,1, II. 369).  “Ministers knock at the door of men’s hearts (persuasion), the Spirit comes with a key and opens the door” (T. Watson, Body of Div., 1869, p. 154).  The Spirit’s regenerating action, Owen goes on, is “infallible, victorious, irresistable, or always efficacious” (loc cit.); it “removeth all obstacles, overcomes all oppositions, and infallibly produceth the effect intended.” Grace is irresistible, not because it drags man to Christ against his will, but because it changes men’s hearts so that they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.” (West.  Conf.  X. i). The Puritans loved to dwell on the Scriptural thought of the Divine power put forth in effectual calling, which Goodwin regularly described as the one “standing miracle” in the Church.  They agreed that in the normal course of events conversion was not commonly a spectacular affair; but Goodwin notes that sometimes it is, and affirms that thereby God shows us how great an exercise of power every man’s effectual calling involves. “In the calling of some there shoots up very suddenly an election-conversion (I use to call it so).  You shall, as it were, see election take hold of a man, pull him out with a mighty power, stamp upon him, the divine nature, stub up corrupt nature by the roots, root up self-love, put in a principle of love to God, and launch him forth a new creature the first day … He did so with Paul, and it is not without example in others after him.” (Works, ed.. Miller IX. 279). Such dramatic conversions, says Goodwin, are “visible tokens of election by such a work of calling, as all the powers in heaven and earth could not have wrought upon a man’s soul so, nor changed a man so on a sudden, but only that divine power that created the world (and) raised Christ from the dead.”     

            The reason why the Puritans thus magnified the quickening power of God is plain from the passages quoted:it was because they took so seriously the Bible teaching that man is dead in sin, radically depraved, sin’s helpless bondslave.  There is, they held, such a strength in sin that only omnipotence can break its bond; and only the Author of Life can raise the dead.  Where Finney assumed plenary ability, the Puritans taught total inability in fallen man.             (iii)   Effectual calling is and must be a work of Divine sovereignty. Only God can effect it, and He does so at His own pleasure.  “It is not of him that willith, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. 9:16).  Owen expounds  this in a sermon on Acts 16:9, “A vision of unchangeable, free mercy in sending the means of grace to undeserving sinners” (XV, I ff.). He first states the following principle: “All events and effects, especially concerning the propagation of the gospel, and the Church of Christ, are in their greatest variety regulated by the eternal purpose and counsel of God,” He then illustrates it.  Some are sent the gospel, some not.  “In this chapter…the gospel is forbidden to be preached in Asia or Bithynia; which restraint, the Lord by His  providence as yet continueth to many parts of the world;” while “to some nations the gospel is sent…as in my text, Macedonia; and England…”  Now, asks Owen, why this discrimination?  Why do some hear and others not? And when the gospel is heard, why do we see “various effects, some continuing in impenitency, others in sincerity closing with Jesus Christ?…In effectual working of grace…whence do you think it takes its rule and determination . . . that it should be directed to John, not Judas; Simon Peter, not Simon Magus? Why only from this discriminating counsel of God from eternity…Acts 13:48…The purpose of God’s election, is the rule of dispensing saving grace.”             Jonathan Edwards, a great Puritan evangelist, often makes the same point.  In a typical passage from a sermon on Rom. 9:18, he lists the following ways in which God’s sovereignty (defined as “His absolute right of disposing of all creatures according to His own pleasure”) appears in the dispensations of grace:” (1) In calling one nation or people, and giving them the means of grace, and leaving others without them. (2) In the advantages He bestows upon particular persons” (e.g. a Christian home, a powerful ministry, direct spiritual influences, etc.); (4) In bestowing salvation on some who have had few advantages” (e.g. children of ungodly parents, while the children of the godly are not always saved); “(5) In calling some to salvation, who have been heinously wicked, and leaving others, who have been very moral and religious persons… (6) In saving some of those who seek salvation and not others (i.e., bringing some convicted sinners to saving faith while others never attain to sincerity) (Works, 1838, II, 849 f.).”  This display of sovereignty by God, Edwards maintained, is glorious: “it is part of the glory of God’s mercy that it is sovereign mercy.”             It is probably true that no preacher in the Puritan tradition ever laid such sustained stress on the sovereignty of God as Edwards.  It may come as a surprise to modern readers to discover that such preaching as his was evangelistically very fruitful; but such was the case.  Revival swept through his church under his ministry, and in the revival (to quote his own testimony) “I think I have found that no discourses have been more remarkably blessed, than those in which the doctrine of God’s absolute sovereignty, with regard to the salvation of sinners, and his just liberty, with regard to answering prayer, and succeeding the pains, of natural men, continuing such, have been insisted on” (I. 353).  There is much food for thought here.

            God’s sovereignty appears also in the time of conversion.  Scripture and experience show that “the great God for holy and glorious ends, but more especially…to make appear His love and kindness, His mercy and  grace, hath ordained it so” that many of His elect people “should for some time remain in a condition of sin and wrath, and then He renews them to Himself” (Goodwin, VI, 85).  It is never man, but always God, who determines when an elect sinner shall believe.  In the manner of conversion too, God is sovereign.  The Puritans taught that, as a general rule, conviction of sin, induced by, the preaching of the Law, must precede faith, since no man will or can come to Christ to be saved from sin till he knows what sins he needs saving from. It is a distinctive feature of the Puritan doctrine of conversion that this point, the need for “preparation”  for faith, is so stressed.  Man’s first step toward conversion must be some knowledge, of God, of himself, of his duty and of his sin.  The  second step is conviction, both of sinfulness and of particular sins; and the wise minister, dealing with enquirers at this stage, will try to deepen conviction and make it specific, since true and sound conviction of sin is always to a greater or less degree particularised.  This leads to contrition (sorrow for and hatred of sin), which begins to burn the love of sinning out of the heart and leads to real, though as yet ineffective, attempts to break off the practice of sin in the life.  Meanwhile, the wise minister, seeing that the fallow ground is now ploughed up, urges the sinner to turn to Christ.  This is the right advice to give to a man who has shown that with all his heart he desires to be saved from sin; for when a man wants to be saved from sin, then it is possible for him genuinely and sincerely to receive the One who presents Himself to man as the Saviour from sin. But it is not possible otherwise; and therefore the Puritans over and over again beg ministers not to short-circuit the essential preparatory process.  They must not give false encouragement to those in whom the Law has not yet done its work.  It is the worst advice possible to tell a man to stop worrying about his sins and trust Christ at once if he does not yet know his sins and does not yet desire to leave them.  That is the way to encourage false peace and false hopes, and to produce “gospel- hypocrites.” Throughout the whole process of preparation, from the first awakening of concern to the ultimate dawning of faith, however, the sovereignty of God must be recognised.  God converts no adult without preparing him; but “God breaketh not all men’s hearts alike” (Baxter).  Some conversions, as Goodwin said, are sudden; the preparation is done in a moment.  Some are long-drawn-out affairs; years may pass before the seeker finds Christ and peace, as in Bunyan’s case.  Sometimes great sinners experience “great meltings” (Giles Firmin) at the outset of the work of grace, while upright persons spend long periods in agonies of guilt and terror.  No rule can be given as to how long, or how intensely, God will flay each sinner with the lash of conviction. Thus the work of effectual calling proceeds as fast, or as slow, as God wills; and the minister’s  part is that of the midwife, whose task it is to see what is happening and give appropriate help at each stage, but who cannot foretell, let alone fix, how rapid the process of birth will be.             

            From these principles the Puritans deduced their characteristic conception of the practice of evangelism.  Since God enlightens, convicts, humbles and converts through the the Word, the task of His messengers is to communicate that word, preaching and applying law and gospel.  Preachers are to declare God’s mind as set forth in the texts they expound, to show the way of salvation, to exhort the unconverted to learn the law, to meditate on the Word, to humble themselves, to pray that God will show them their sins, and enable them to come to Christ.   They are to hold Christ forth as a perfect Saviour from sin to all who Heartily desire to be saved from sin, and to invite such (the weary and burdened souls whom Christ Himself invites, Mt. 11:28) to come to the Saviour who waits to receive them.  But they are not to do as Finney did, and demand immediate repentance and faith of all and sundry.  They are sent to tell all men that they must repent and believe to be saved, but it is  no part of the word and message of God if they go further and tell all the unconverted that they ought to “decide for for Christ” (to use a common modern phrase) on the spot.  God never sent any preacher to tell a congregation that they were under obligation  to receive Christ at the close of the meeting.  For in fact only those prepared by the Spirit can believe; and it is only such whom God summons to believe.  There is a common confusion here.   The gospel of God requires an immediate response from all; but it does not require the same response from all. The immediate duty of the unprepared sinner is not to try and believe on Christ, which he is not able to do, but to read, enquire, pray, use the means of grace and learn what he needs to be saved from.  It is not in his power to accept Christ at any moment, as Finney supposed; and it is God’s prerogative, not the evangelist’s, to fix the time when men shall first savingly believe.  For the latter to try and do so, by appealing to sinners to begin believing here and now, is for man to take to himself the sovereign right of the Holy Ghost.  It is an act of presumption, however creditable the evangelist’s motive’s may be.  Hereby he goes beyond his commission as God’s messenger; and hereby he risks doing incalculable damage to the souls of men.  If he tells men they are under obligation to receive Christ on the spot, and demands in God’s name that they decide at once, some who are spiritually unprepared will try to do so; they will will come forward and accept directions and “go through the motions” and go away thinking they have received Christ, when all the time they have not done so because they were not yet able to do so.  So a crop of false conversions will result from making such appeals, in the nature of the case.  Bullying for “decisions” thus in fact impedes and thwarts the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart. Man takes it on himself to try to bring that work to a  precipitate conclusion, to pick the fruit before it is ripe; and the result is “false conversions,” hypocrisy and hardening.  “For the appeal for immediate decision presupposes that men are free to “decide for Christ” at any time; and this presupposition is the disastrous issue of a false, un-Scriptural view of sin.   

            What, then, were the principles that should govern evangelistic preaching?  In the first place, the Puritans would insist, it must be clearly understood that evangelistic preaching is not a special kind of preaching, with its own distinctive technique.  It is a part of the ordinary public ministry of God’s Word.  This means,  first, that the rules which govern it are the same rules which must govern all public preaching of God’s Word; and, second, that the person whose task it primarily is is the local pastor.  It is his duty in the course of his public and private ministry of the Word, “diligently to labour for the conversion of souls to God” (Owen).  What God requires of him is that he should be faithful to the content of the gospel, and diligent in imparting it.  He is to seek by all means to make his sermon clear, memorable and relevant to the lives of his hearers; he is to pray earnestly for God’s blessing on his preaching, that it may be “in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power”; but it is no part of his business to study to “dress up” the gospel and make it “appeal” to the natural man.  The preachers calling is very different from that of the commercial traveller, and the “quick sale” technique has no place in the Christian pulpit.  The preacher is  not sent of God to make a quick sale, but to deliver a message.  When he has done that, his work in the pulpit is over.  It is not his business to try and extort “decisions.” It is God’s own sovereign prerogative to make His Word effective, and the preachers’s behaviour must be governed by his recognition of, and subjection to, Divine sovereignty in this matter.             Does not the abjuring of appeals, and the other devices of high-pressure salesmanship which have intruded into the modern type of evangelism, make the preaching of the gospel a somewhat forlorn undertaking? Not at all, said the Puritan; those who argue so have reckoned without the sovereignty of God.   The  Puritan pastor had the same quiet confidence in the success of his evangelistic preaching as he had in the success of all his preaching.  He was in no feverish panic about it.  He knew that God’s Word does not return void; that God has His elect everywhere, and that through the preaching of His Word they will in due course be called out-not because of the preachers’s gifts and ingenuity, but by reason of God’s sovereign operation.  He knew that God always has a remnant faithful to Himself, however bad the times-which means that in every age some men will come to faith through the preaching of the Word.  This was the faith that sustained such Puritan pioneers as Richard Greenham, who after twenty years of faithful ministry, ploughing up the fallow ground in a Cambridgeshire country parish, could not point to any converts bar a single family.  This was the faith that God honored in Richard Baxter’s Kidderminster ministry, during which, over a period of seventeen years, by the use of no other means but sermons twice a week and catechetical  instruction from house to house, well over six hundred converts were gathered in; of whom Baxter wrote, six years after his ejection, that, despite constant exposure to ridicule and obloquy for their “Puritanism,” not one that I know of has fallen off from his sincerity.   Soli Deo gloria!

                        The issue with which we are confronted by our study of Puritan evangelism is clear.  Which way are we to take in our endeavours to spread the gospel to-day? Forward along the road of modern evangelism, the intensive big-scale, short-term “campaign,” with its sustained wheedling for decisions and its streamlined machinery for handling shoals of “converts?”  Or back to the old paths of  Puritan evangelism, the quieter, broader-based, long-term strategy based on the local church, according to which man seeks simply to be faithful in delivering God’s message and leaves it to the sovereign Spirit to draw men to faith through that message in His own way and at His own speed?  Which is loyal to God’s Word?  Which is consistant with the Bible doctrine of sin, and of conversion?  Which glorifies God?  These are questions which demand the most urgent consideration at the present time.

by J I Packer

-Scott Bailey 2007

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Christianity or Pluralism by Doug Phillips!

Posted by Scott on October 17, 2007

You shall have no other gods before Me. (Exodus 20:3)
By Me kings reign, and rulers decree justice. (Proverbs 8:15)

The Church is at a crossroads philosophically. To be determined is whether we believe that the Lordship of Christ is comprehensive, extending to all spheres and jurisdictions of life, or whether Jesus is Lord over our private lives but does not even want His people to declare His Lordship over this nation. We must determine whether it is our goal to acknowledge the God of the Bible, or just to join hands with the many gods of the world in common cause against “secular liberalism.”

We must determine whether He wants Christians to shelve the Bible in their public discourse and argue for general principles based on the consensus morality of the many gods of the world’s religions, be they satanic or occult, or whether we may boldly mention the name of Jesus Christ in the public square and proclaim the God of Christianity as the only true foundation of our laws and the only true God to be honored in our national landmarks.

We must decide if Messiah is THE King upon whose shoulders the government will be established, or if we are resigned to the ancient Roman notion that all gods are acceptable as long as none demand exclusivity.

One well-known writer has recently suggested that America has no claim to a distinctively Christian law system. In his view, we are a land of many gods. From his perspective, God actually wants there to be many gods running this country. He has even suggested that pluralism is “providential.”

As to the issue of what God has allowed, there is a sense in which this man is absolutely right. God has providentially allowed different influences to arise in our nation. This is providence. Providence refers to the Lord Jesus’ sovereign direction and control over His creation and man. God providentially directs all events. He is Lord over every detail of time, space, matter, and reality. He literally upholds the universe by the power of His word.

In another sense, this brother has made several key mistakes: First, he has wrongly concluded that, because God has providentially allowed evil to prosper, that therefore we are to work to maintain the status quo. Second, he has confused the claims of the many gods with the rights of Jesus Christ over our land. If every man in America was a raging Zoroastrian, Christians would still have to declare that our government is required by the higher law, as revealed in Scripture, to “kiss the son.” Furthermore, the fact that fewer Americans are Christian in the twenty-first century than in the nineteenth century does not mean that our distinctively Christian charters, common law, law systems, and covenants are null, void, or unenforceable.

Providence — there is a great mystery here that we may never fully understand. Though God is not the author of sin, yet he allows for sin and directs every sin and act of evil for His own glory. He is sovereign! So when somebody says that pluralism is providential, we may respond: “In one sense, yes. But only in the sense that the rise of the Nazi Third Reich, the death of Able, the boils of Job, the presidency of Bill Clinton, and the horror of 9/11 were also providential events.”

The fact that God allows and providentially directs even Satan himself does not mean that He approves of or will tolerate the behavior of Satan. Similarly, the fact that, providentially, many gods have emerged as “pretenders” seeking to displace the One True God from His throne as Lord over this nation certainly does not mean that we should declare the defeat of Christianity in America, and theologically, philosophically, and practically cop-out, capitulating to the claims of these false gods. Truth is not determined by majorities. Covenants, charters, and law systems are not rendered invalid by the fiat claim of the invading worshippers of false gods.

God has providentially allowed America to suffer for our sins. An evidence of this providential judgment is the surrender by Evangelical leaders of the rights of Messiah the King, in favor of their desire to sit at the table with the petty potentates who think they are running the show, and to give obeisance to the many gods of popular culture. These Evangelical pluralists claim that they can privately worship Jesus Christ, but that it would be wrong to mention His name in the public square or declare His exclusive Lordship over the nation, unless such references are merely historical that in no way, shape, or form are meant to imply exclusivity.

We must pray that God will providentially wake up our brothers in the Church so that they will no longer be ashamed of the Gospel when it comes to the history, leadership, and the laws of this land. We must pray that, instead of sounding retreat or making common cause with philosophies utterly foreign to Christianity, these men will once again earnestly call for our nation to acknowledge the God of our charters and our covenants and honor the faith of our fathers.

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me. And who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; yes, let him recount it to Me in order, from the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming and the events that are going to take place.’ (Isaiah 44:6,7)

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-Waiting Instruction…Boys!

Posted by Scott on October 15, 2007

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“In 1800, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned a national survey conducted by Dupont de Numours to determine the status of literacy in America.  The results were phenomenal.  Better than ninety-seven percent of American citizens could read and write.  The stated reason for this success was  that, from Boston to Atlanta, American fathers practiced daily Bible reading with their children around the breakfast table.  Long before the creation of government schools (public schools) or the National Education Association, faithful fathers proved that the simple act of teaching the Holy Scriptures to their children at home would lead our nation to become the most literate in the world.”   

-Quote by Doug Phillips, Esq. publisher taken from the book

“The Bible Lessons of John Quincy Adams for His Sons”

The title “Awaiting Instruction…Boys!” is not a story with a twist.  Guys, it is reality.  Our boys are waiting for their dads instruction on life.  They want to know how to be a real man.  They really want to know our imput on dating,  girls, bullies, sports, God, the Bible, making money, working, pain, family, friends, our boyhood, family history, who we admire, our heroes, places we have been, and so on.  The boys are starving to have the proper instructions on what we call “life”.  Of course they may not react as though they care, but inside they are spell bound to every word.  For one, it is a conversation with dad which in most homes that is rare these days.  Most importantly, we need to help fill their minds and hearts with God’s truth.  If we can do nothing more, speak God’s word into their ears whether they seem to be listening or not will be enough.

 

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Something I struggle with and sense that many other dads struggle with as well is finding that time during our day to spend with each child.  It is tough, but something we must work hard to do.  I am still trying to work through that issue.  What I have found is taking the time whenever possible to ask them questions and listen to their answers.  This usually occurs in the strangest places.  In the car, working in the flower beds, mowing the yard, setting on our bed “shooting the breeze “, at my office on the days I take one of the kids with me and many other opportunities.  Sometimes you have several minutes to an hour of opportunity for a healthy discussion and other times is may only be a few minutes….in either case the time is invaluable.  As I now have four teenagers, one preteen, two nearly to the preteen stage, two toddlers, and a baby, I find each moment I can get with them is precious time.  It seems like only yesterday my oldest was trying to walk and now she has her driving permit and I am sweating this driving thing out with her.  With her I have interesting conversation while I am driving with her.  My others we catch a moment anytime we can.  If I am going to the store I will select one of the kids to take with me alone.  This way they have my undivided attention.  I will ask them what they have been doing, thinking about, books they are reading, their friends, etc.  You might ask what the  kids think about only one getting to go with dad?  Well, they each have to understand that I am only one daddy and each of the kids must wait their turn.  This works well with them because each of them know their turn is coming.  I did not say it was a perfect system, but for now it is an efficient one.

For sometime now I have also been trying to figure a way to slow down our lives enough to actually eat one meal a day as a family….altogether.  To this day it is still in the works, but as long as we keep working on it we will figure it out…we might have to make it one time per week to start with, but we are going to work it out.

Guys, these are just a few suggestions from my experiences.  Each day my goal is to improve on what I can and try not to stress out over what I cannot improve on today.  You have different schedules and different jobs from me possibly, but God wants our attention and He wants us to give our boys the attention they deserve.  These sons of ours are waiting for our instructions.  Read the bible to them daily…quote scripture to them as much as possible.  This is the type of instructions our boys need.  Tell them how your God is a providential God with a plan for their lives.  Teach them that His plan for them is the greatest plan they could ever imagine.  Express to them that God is all knowing, all powerful, all loving merciful, judging, forgiving, and gracious.  You might tell them stories about how the Israelites left Egypt for the promised land and found themselves facing the Red Sea to the front, Pharaoh’s army behind and desert mountains on the sides.  With their backs to wall so to speak God provided the way out and it was the most unlikely answer to their prayers.  You can tell them stories of God’s providential power in your own lives or the lives of family or people you know.  Contrary to popular belief these kids do not have to rebel if we will instruct them properly now.  Stories about how God provided for George Mueller’s orphanages in England…he never ask a person for anything.  George Mueller always asked God for the provision as He willed and God always without fail provided.  These are the kinds of stories and instruction these guys are looking for.  As my wife and I strive to instruct our children I hope you will pray for success in that and our prayer will be that your family is blessed with success as you strive to instruct your children, especially those boys.  Think of that young lady that God has planned for your son…she would like a young man that has been properly instructed rather than someone with no direction and no way to get direction.

“I advise you. my son, in whatever you read, and most of all in reading the Bible, to remember that it is for the purpose of making you wiser and more virtuus.”

-John Quincy Adams

Awaiting Instruction is our opportunity as dads to give it to our boys straight in the truth of God’s Holy Word.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

 

 

 

 

 

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-Handy Chart!

Posted by Scott on October 5, 2007

sarah1.jpg  My daughter, Sarah, passed along this handy little chart for everyday life and I wanted to share it with anyone that comes by the blog.  Enjoy!

  HANDY LITTLE CHART  
God has a positive answer:

YOU SAY GOD SAYS BIBLE VERSES
You say: “It’s impossible” God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)
You say: “I’m too tired” God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: “Nobody really loves me” God says: I love you (John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )
You say: “I can’t go on” God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
You say: “I can’t figure things out” God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5- 6)
You say: “I can’t do it” God says: You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)
You say: “I’m not able” God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)
You say: “It’s not worth it” God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )
You say: “I can’t forgive myself” God says: I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say: “I can’t manage” God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)
You say: “I’m afraid” God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)
You say: “I’m always worried and frustrated” God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)
You say: “I’m not smart enough” God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)
You say: “I feel all alone” God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

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-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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-The POWER of God’s Word!

Posted by Scott on September 27, 2007

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As men we often may wonder how to combat the sinful, fleshy everyday life we may live in and how to teach our kids to combat the flesh as well.  If we look at the world for the answers it would seem there is no weapon we have to fight off bombardment of scenes, excuses, attacks, and lies we are faced with daily.  It is amazing to me how absolutely weak the church in our day has become.  The dumbing down of God’s word is one of the many culprits.  People are fascinated with prosperity gospels that are heresies for the most part.  People want more of life….privileged lives!  

“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”   (Hebrews 4:11-12 RSV)

The word of God has Penetrating Power….it can penetrate the heart of the most vile of sinners.  It penetrated my heart years ago and is still penetrating it today.  It has the power to bring about forgiveness for those that read God’s word, repent of sins and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  God’s word has the power to penetrate the most burdened heart of those of who are believers.  It can provide comfort and guidance in such times.  Our first response should be to cry out to God and spend time in His word.  The word of God tells us that His word is “living and active“.  If His word is living and active then no matter what time in history we are living, His word is still just as powerful and true as the day it was breathed into mans heart and mind and printed on paper.  His word requires action on our part….we can either reject it or obey it, but we will take action one way or another. We find that although the new life of Jesus Christ is in us we are still caught up living partially in the old life.  We catch ourselves reacting towards people with bitterness, impatience, anger, frustration, anxiety, worry, fear, and uncertainty.  What can assist us in our transformation into the new life that Jesus has given us?  The word of God!  The Holy Spirit uses the word to strip away falseness of our lives.  It penetrates deep into our hearts to areas we had no clue was infected by the old virus of sin we had prior to knowing Christ.  Something I have discovered in long-time believers and even in my own life is that the power of the flesh can be entrenched deep within us…..it doesn’t raise its ugly head all the time, but at crucial times it can surface. 

God’s word is here to strip away the pretenses in our life.  Not only does God’s word strip away the scales of sin that has flaked up in our lives, but it will unveil that which is true.  Whenever faced with a question in our life as to what is true or not….go to the Word.  It will reveal what is true and as it is always said, “the truth shall set you free.”    It is no longer necessary to go forward in this life “doggedly, wearily, fighting a battle that is already lost”.  It is God’s will that we step out each day with His glory in our lives unto victory..the victory that is already won. 

Jesus Overcame temptations by the Power of God’s word….And Jesus answered….Get thee behind me satan; for it is written….”  (Luke 4:8Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, tired and hungry, but still was able to fight off our adversaries darts of sin.  We need to force ourselves to spend time in God’s word in order to be able to fight off these temptations that are thrown at us daily.  It amazes me at the number of pastors and ministers that think they can stay on top of their ministries without meditating, studying and chewing on God’s word…..daily!  The falls that we have experienced around the country is due to this misguided effort to do God’s work out of the flesh rather than from a holiness that can only be developed through God’s word with the Holy Spirit’s directions.   Men, don’t think for a minute that we are immune to the same temptations that take down famous leaders.  We are equally in danger….be in the word daily!

God’s word has Wonder-working Power…..remember when Peter was out fishing and could not catch anything and as they were coming in Jesus told to throw their nets on the other side of the boat?   Peter could not believe his ears, but rather than argue at Jesus words, he throw the net over the other side and filled two boats with fish.  That is power…wonder-working power.  Another example would be Jesus calming the sea when the disciples were afraid.  The storm immediately calmed….even the weather listens to God’s word and obeys. 

God’s word has Everlasting PowerHeaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”  (Matthew 24:35)  That is a promise and very strong words.  Today we have few things that are eternal….our souls and God’s word.   Other than that, everything else is simply temporal.  Listen guys, our fine cars, elaborate houses, expensive clothes, watches, diamonds, and money will all be consumed someday by fire…what do we have right now that can survive that kind of heat?  Are we planting the word of God in our children’s hearts and minds?  Survival in the future like now will require that we plant this everlasting power into our kids minds and hearts.  Do not think for a minute the godless public institutions like public schools and colleges are going to do that.  As a matter of fact, these godless, vile institutions are going to put things in your kids minds that will go against the word of God.  Look at the drug problems within our schools now.  How about the sexual problems….kids as young as 12 having sexual intercourse at school in plain view of the students.   Oh, I understand, that is somewhere else, but not the school your kid goes to…uh huh.  Well, God’s word planted in your childs mind and heart is all that will help them in time of temptation to follow what they are being taught 40 hours plus per week.   God’s everlasting power is in His word.

God’s word has Revealing Power…through His word we are directed down a path He has designed for us to travel.  “The word of God…is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  (Hebrews 4:12)  It reveals God’s heart to us.  It shows us His mercies and kindness.  His word offers the promise of salvation for those who repent and call out to Christ to save them and believe in Him.  The Holy Spirit cleanses, empowers and directs us in our commitment to Christ.  John 16:13 tells us that “…He will guide you into all truth…”  What a way to live…in His truth.  The world is so full of lies that even believers have a hard time recognizing the truth anymore.  Our business practices and dealings suffer, because we think something is right and when placed on top of the word of God it does not stand.    

I want to encourage each of us men/dads/husbands to dig into God’s word deeper.  Allow the Holy Spirit to draw you closer to the word, and to the truth found in it…a much richer relationship with God will be found there.  Do not give in to the worlds way of doing things or get caught up in what the world calls “truth”…..match it up to the word!

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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