En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

  • Grab My Button!

    BWS tips button
    <a href="http://dadsdevoted.com"><img src="http://i496.photobucket.com/albums/rr323/baileytribe/blog/blckwhite_button.jpg" alt="BWS tips button" width="125" height="125" /></a><div style="border: 1px solid #DDD; margin: auto; padding: 5px 10px; background: #F8F8F8 none repeat scroll 0pt 0pt; overflow: auto; height: 100px; line-height: 1.5em;">***</div>

Posts Tagged ‘providential’


Posted by Scott on November 27, 2008

In a time to be most thankful it brings me to Psalm 136.  We are to be most thankful to God in all things…why?  “His mercies endure forever.” 

Be thankful for His providence in our lives.

Be thankful for His love for His chosen ones before the foundations of the world.

Be thankful for His Son, Jesus, taking the punishment for His peoples sinfulness once and for all.

Be thankful for God’s love of His creation that He has provided a way unto salvation.

Be thankful for His revelation from Genesis to Revelation.

Be thankful for our God’s mighty hand that is our defense at all times.

Be thankful for each breath you take everyday.

Be thankful for sovereign grace on our life.

Be thankful that He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him during our most trying storms of life.

Be thankful that our God is good.

Be thankful that our God is above all others.

Be thankful that our God reigns supreme.

Be thankful that by His great wisdom the heavens were created.

Be thankful that He created the splendor of the colors in the Spring and Fall.

Be thankful that He gave us the Sun for both light and warmth.

Be thankful that He gave us the Moon and Stars to gaze upon at night.

Be thankful that our God is the one who sets Kings, Presidents, and other leaders in their positions and not man.

Be thankful that our God is the one who removes the same Kings, Presidents, and other leaders for His greater purposes.

Be thankful that our God gave us this land called America to worship Him freely and without hindrance.

Be thankful that our God rescues His people from their oppressors.

Be thankful that our God provides each and every meal that we will eat from beginning to end.

Be thankful that our God is the one Who brings about our salvation based on His Sovereign Will and not mans.

Be thankful to our God that He is firmly on His throne today and nothing surprises Him or is out of His control.

Be thankful in all things, for all people, at all times…for His mercy endures forever!

May anyone reading have a most blessed Thanksgiving!  May God’s blessings be upon your family this Holy season of the year.

(c) Scott Bailey 2008

Posted in devotion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

-From A Dad: Praying Dads Through Psalm 119-Week Two!

Posted by Scott on December 2, 2007

Here is week two of “Praying Dads Through Psalm 119!

-Day One-

Psalm 119:41-48

“O Lord, continue to pour out Your unfailing love as well as the salvation You have promised me.  I will then have a testimony for those who attempt to taunt me, because I trust in Your word.  Father, never take away Your word of truth from me, because my only hope is within Your scriptures.  I will continue to set the high goal of obeying Your commands forever and ever.  Upon Your merciful and gracious salvation i now walk in freedom and can nowbe devoted to Your word.  If You , O Lord, will permit I will speak to the people in high places about Your faithful instruction and will not be ashamed.  Almighty God, how I delight in Your commands as I find myself loving them as they keep me rooted in Your rich word.  Father, Your instructions i will love and honor and meditate all the days of my life.  AMEN!”

-Day Two-

Psalm 119:49-56

“Heavenly Father, remember the promises You made to me, this my only hope in this life.  Your promises are what keep me going each and every day.  They revive me so that I may accomplish Your great work.  Your promises comfort me in times of great trial.  Although the arrogant of this world look down upon me, I will not turn away from Your word of truth.  Lord, I will meditate on Your timeless truth for they comfort me.  The wicked of this world claim You are not real and do vile things in Your name which make me furious.  Lord, these have rejected Your holy word.  Dear Lord, my family and I have been on a pilgrimage for all these years and Your principles have been what has sustained us throughout.  Father, Your principles are like music to my ear.  As precious as the music of angels.  Father, at night I lie in my bed reflecting on who You are.  My desire to obey Your is ever increasing as my freedom in Christ becomes more and more real.  Obedience is the true joy maker as it is a blessing to You, Father, when Your children obey Your commands.  AMEN!”


-Day Three-

Psalm 119:57-64

“O Lord my God, as I set here in my distress I am reminded by the Holy Spirit that You, my Lord, are mine.  I say this with exuberance in my voice.  I want to obey Your word.  Father, with all my heart I want Your blessings.  As much as I want Your mercies and rescue I long for Your blessing on my life.  Please, be merciful on me and my family as You have promised.  This day, O Lord, I ponder and reflect back on the direction of my life.  I have had to turn many times from the way I was going in order to follow Your instructions.  From this day forward, I will hurry, without lingering, in order to obey You.  Many sinful people try to persuade me into disobedient schemes, but my feet are firmly anchored in Your word.  I wake up many nights to thank You for Your word.  People who respect You and obey Your laws are my friends as well.  Heavenly Father, everywhere I look is full of Your unfailing love, please, continue to teach me all of Your principles and decrees found in Your holy word.  AMEN!”


-Day Four-

Psalm 119:65-72

“My gracious Lord, You have done many good things for my family.  You have been so gracious to this servant just as You have promised for God always keeps His promises!  Father, I trust in Your commands totally.  They will only lead me closer to You, my Lord.  As You desire to increase my knowledge and good judgement, i will accept the training as hard as that can be at times.  In my former years I constantly went astray, lured out by the worlds wealth, fun, and ways.  I was like a calf untamed.  However, Lord, You touched me and disciplined me as a good father would.  Now, I desire to follow closely after Your word.  Father, You are so good and only good is found in You.  So, please, teach me Your ways.  Be my instructor so that I will gain Godly wisdom and knowledge.  Even though people around me that are so full of themselves may lie about me to others, it is Your truth I wish to obey with my whole heart.  Lord, Your precepts are richer than all the money in the world.  These arrogant people  puffed up by their own prosperity are so vain concerning their worth, but Lord, my delight is in You.  O merciful Father, the suffering I have experienced so far in life, sent by You, has been good for me.  The suffering has taught me to pay close attention to Your word and Your precepts.  It has proved to show me where my true priorities should be.  My enemies will always be around in this life, but my focus must remain on You, my sovereign God.  Lord, Your word is far more valuable to me than the finest gold and purest silver in the world and all of its worth.  AMEN!”


-Day Five-

Psalm 119:73-80

“Father, You are the One who created me and made me.  Please, dear Lord, give me the good sense to follow after Your commands and direction.  Lord, I pray that anyone who has a fond respect for You will find great joy in my testimony that You are faithful.  All of my hope in this life is in Your word.  Merciful Father, Your decisions are more than fair and I know this.  All the discipline I have received so far is because I needed it in order to stay on the right trail.  O my loving Savior, now I need Your unfailing love to comfort me this day.  I have many battles to fight and I cannot win them without You at the head of my life.  This is in accordance with Your promise to me, Lord.  Surround me this morning with fresh new mercies that will carry me all day so I may go on living without Your mercy I feel dead.  Your principles and precepts are the delight of my life.  Heavenly Father, bring disgrace on those arrogant souls who may lie about me and set their lives about ruining me.  Even so, I will attempt with all earnestness and strength to concentrate on Your holy word.  Help me to be rejoined with all who fear You and know Your word.  May I be found blameless in Your eyes in the keeping of Your principles made possible by accepting Your call to accept Jesus Christ into my life as my Savior and Lord some thirty years ago.  If so, I will never have to be ashamed.  Lord, there is o true fear of You without the true knowledge found in Your holy word.  AMEN!”


May the Lord bless each reader in direct proportion to the time they spend in God’s holy word. 

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

Posted in AAA Psalm 119 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

-From A Dad: Praying Dads Through Psalm 119-Week One!

Posted by Scott on November 29, 2007

Each day of our lives takes on new meaning.  As a dad of 10 children, each day for me is heavily weighed upon my back. In my efforts to make sure I pray according to God’s will I started using Psalm 119 as my guide.  I can identify with David in so many ways as he had a time in En Gedi running for his life from false accusers and slanderers.  This prompted me to pray through different sections of Psalm 119 each day in my words as I pray using Psalm 119 as a basic guide.  So, the prayers are based on the passages, but many of the words come from a groaning deep within my heart as the Spirit influenced them to be uttered.  I encourage any reader to use this as a simple guideline to utter your own prayers.  Remember, the prayer Jesus uses that is call “The Lord’s Prayer” is a model of prayer, not a prayer that needs to be recited word for word all the time, but as Christ said “pray like this”.  All the honor and glory belong to our Lord Jesus Christ.


Psalm 119:1-8

-Day One-

“Lord Most High, how joyful I am as You grow my integrity through the troubles of life You draw me into and as I strive to follow your word.  Anyone that obeys your commands and decrees will be happy and joyful all the days of our life.  Heavenly Father, I search for You with all my mind and heart.  Each day I work hard not to compromise with evil, for my hearts desire is only to walk the trails You have set before me.  Sovereign Lord, you have charged me to keep Your commandments carefully.  I pray that my actions and choices will consistently reflect Your principles.  When I compare my life to Your commands I will not be disgraced.  As I learn of Your righteous laws each day, Lord, I want to thank You by living as I am suppose to as I am now free to do.  I want to be to the praise of Your glory all the days of my life.  Gracious Father, I will obey Your principles, so, please don’t give up on me.  Lord, I look for Your new mercies each day.  AMEN.”


Psalm 119:9-16

-Day Two-

“O Glorious Lord, how can a young person stay pure?  By being obedient to Your word and following each of Your instructions carefully.  I am seeking after You with all my heart and soul.  Father, please, never let me wander away from Your commands and Your word.  It is daily I hide Your word deep into my heart, so that I can fight off the sin that wants to prevail against You, my Lord.  Bless You, my King, please, keep teaching me Your principles.  I recite each and everyday in my heart all the scripture You have hidden there.  I am rejoicing in Your mighty promises and instructions more than even in great wealth.  Sovereign Father, I will continue to meditate on Your ways.  It is so wonderful to be delighted in Your principles, Your instruction, and help me, O Lord, to not forget Your infallible word.  AMEN.”


Psalm 119:17-24

-Day Three-

“Almighty God, please be gracious to Your humble servant, so that I can  llive and obey Your word.  Please, help me to open the eyes to my heart and see Your wonderful truths that are all throughout the scriptures.  As a chosen child of Yours, my heavenly Father, I am a stranger in this world.  Daily I am in great need  of Your guidance from the commands in Your word.  O my Providential God, please never hide Your word from me.  Today, I am so overwhelmed with a deep desire for Your word.  Lord, You are holy to the point of rebuking those proud people who have rejected Your word and Your truth.  My Lord, please don’t let them ridicule and insult me, for I have labored to obey Your commands.  Although people in high places may speak out against me, even so I will continue to meditate on Your truth and Your principles.  Sovereign Father, Your word is pleasing to my soul.  Your word gives me the wise advice I need on a daily basis.  AMEN.”


Psalm 119:25-32

-Day Four-

Merciful Father, I set here as though in a heap of ashes and dust completely discouraged and depressed.  Please, revive me with Your comforting word.  My plans have been revealed to You from within my own heart and You have answered me.  O Lord, teach me Your principles and truth.  Help me to understand what You are saying within Your word and I will meditate on Your wonderful miracles of the past along with each beautiful event.  This day, I just caught up with tears and grief over my current troubles.  Lord, please send me encouragement by Your wonderful word.  Keep me from beating myself up everyday, and grant me the privilege of knowing and experiencing Your truth.  I have chosen in my mind to be faithful, I have decided to live by Your awesome instructions as I cling to Your every word.  Glorious Father, please, don’t let me be put to shame.  If You will give me the help I need, I will certainly run with all my might and speed to follow Your commands.  AMEN!”


Psalm 119:33-40

-Day Five-

“My Majesty on high, teach me to follow closely after You.  Teach me to follow every single one of Your principles and instructions.  Lord, please help me to understand Your commands, so, I will be obedient to You; For I strive to practice Your ways with my whole heart.  Push me along the trails of Your commands, this is the place I will find true joy.  Father, I want a desire and eagerness for Your word that cannot be quenched.  Help me not to seek out after money and materialism so that nothing can come between our relationship!  Lord, place blinders on my eyes so that I cannot focus on worthless worldly ideas, but do grant me a life that is solidly founded on Your holy word.  Father, show me with reassurance of Your ways, which will bring about honor to Your name.  My gracious Lord, I do not want to live in my former selfish ways with shameful desires.  All I desire is to live in accordance to Your clear instructions.  Father, I so long to be obedient to Your commands.  Please, renew my life today with all of Your graciousness and goodness that is in You.  May the life I live be to the praise of Your glory always. AMEN!”


This is the first week of prayers in Psalm 119:1-40.  The second week is forth coming.  I do hope that someone can be blessed by it and that it may in some way help you to pray when words are hard to come by.  I have been through the dry spells before when words just were not there and I did not know what to pray.  I understand what it is like to set there early in the morning wanting to speak wtih God, but nothing comes out…our Lord understands this as well.  The Holy Spirit can draw prayers out of us and God’s word is full of model prayers to help us get out what we are trying to say or to simply get started.  Do not be discouraged, God is there waiting to hear from you when your heart is so inclined to speak with Him.  May the Lord bless and answer each prayer.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007



Posted in devotion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted in J I Packer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

-From A Dad: Broken…but Not Finished!

Posted by Scott on November 9, 2007

Why is it that we resist being broken?  I think it is the pain, the affliction, the unknown, the stretching, the worry, the ruin, the humbleness, the running and the pulling that it takes to break us down…this is what keeps us from desiring brokenness.  This all makes sense doesn’t it?  Who in their right mind would invite death and pain and destruction into their lives on purpose?   Does God intend on doing this purposefully?  Absolutely yes!  For different reasons and for different time periods those God uses most he will hurt most deeply.

As I have contemplated Dana and I’s last 10 years we have been through which has included a tremendous amount of brokenness.  God has lead us into all kinds of situations and He has lead us out of them as well.  We have experienced pain, stretching, deep hurt, ruined lives, the very hand of a providential God molding our vessels into something that He can use.  The pain and hurt that yields  the most results for a gracious God does not come through light weight trials. 

Moses was a successful leader throughout all Egypt from a young age to about 40 years of age.  He had been trained by some of the finest minds in all the world at that time.  Moses had access to the highest authorities in the land.  He could run and play through that palace whenever it pleased him.  Then at a time of his choosing he was going to free the Israelites, however, the key words are “his choosing”.  In order for God to accomplish all He wanted for the Israelites and the leader He wanted to use for the task, He had to scrap every single last bit of selfish, arrogant, confident, man made success, and ambitious blood from within his body.  When Moses was about 80 years of age he had been a sheep herder in the desert for 40 years.  Moses was depleted as a man.  Moses most likely felt that God would never use him again for anything.  At this time, Moses was barely  a shell of the man he was at 40.  The best university Moses had attended was on the potters wheel of life.  For Moses, he was extremely humbled, no arrogance, no confidence in himself at all, worldly success was no longer a thought within his mind and heart, and the only ambition was to make through another day alive.  Now, after 40 years God had designed, molded, shaped, beat, and created a man He could use for His greater glory.  This would be the shell of a man that He would fill with Himself to free the Israelites from slavery.  Did Moses go through a two week training period and then was thrust into the lime-light?  I don’t think so…it took around 40 years to get Moses to the point God wanted Him.

King David is another human specimen that God stripped down, molded, beat, and reshaped for His glory.  As our culture today might think, when David was pronounced “King” a huge party should have taken place…parade him through town.  Be sure to send him on a book signing tour.  He should have been commended for such great achievement.  However, the streets were not lined people shouting his name as King.  This new king could not even live in a palace or the Kings tent.  For 10 years David was running for his life.  He planted himself in the land of En Gedi where God lead a team of undesirables to be David’s mighty men, his warriors.  In En Gedi, David found rest and peace for the long haul.  During that 10 years David was prodded, shaken, stripped down, and molded into “a man after God’s own heart”.  It was a time of God’s chosing that David became the King he was intended to be.   Kings are made by God and put on their thrones.

None of us that want to be used by God will get to that point without the narrow, dark tunnel of pain seemingly enveloping our lives.  Darkness tries to block us from God, but each time dark must yield to the light of our loving Lord Jesus.  As Steve Farrar has experienced it, “For the broken the Lord is very near and saves those in distress.”  Only someone that has been through a deep hurt, deep pain, deep trials, deep worries can express such profound wisdom in a time of great turmoil in others lives.  We must always remember what this life is about.  The very root of our very existence.  What the true success of our lives really is.  It is to bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ with all that we are and all that we have.  It is not about us in the least.  We are mere vessels to be broken and spilled out.   If we think for one moment that any one thing within this lifetime is about us, we have missed the mark entirely. 

Brokenness is the best thing that can happen to all of us.  To be probed to the depths of our being and scooped out.  To be snapped in half when we think everything is going so great.  To have a child born with a disease that will require a lifetime of care.  To lose a spouse in the prime of our lives.  To lose our business, savings, house, cars, and identity will prove to be an emptying experience.  At the end of the day we have nothing left of ourselves.  As a person once said that “we do not know how much we need God until God is all we have.”  Can we know who God really is if we are enjoying nothing but the best of life now on this earth?  Sure, each of us can convince ourselves we can, but when you dive deep into God’s word and look back on your life, what is there that sustains us?  What is there that has glorified God?  What have we experienced that will draw people unto Himself?   What kind of education have we really locked into our minds and hearts?  Do we really seek out the joy fo the Lord in order to make it our strength?

Looking back at Dana and I’s past 10 years I have some regrets on decisions made, but the Lord lead me all the way to that point and did not condemn me.  One thing we have both learned is that no matter how broken we are before our awesome God, He is not finished with us, but actually He is just getting us started.  The deep love of a God that chose (adopted/elected) me from before the foundations of the world and took the time to break me down to the core of my being, I could not and would not trade for all the money and success this world can offer.  A relationship that has been drawn out by Him…patiently waited upon by Him…new mercy each morning for us, demands my life, my soul and my all.

David said, “It was good for me that I was afflicted.”

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

Posted in Christianity, devotion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

-Seasons of Life in God’s Creation!

Posted by Scott on October 21, 2007



Don’t you enjoy the smell of clean fresh cool Fall air early in the mornings?  The feel of that cool breeze against your face and that still calmness the early mornings bring.  Each day comes to us innocent and full of life for us to experience true joy in God.  In the house the fresh smell of hot coffee in the kitchen.  What a great time to reflect on God’s greatness in the seasons.  He is the creator of every season.  He placed within us a desire for these changes in the seasons.  For some it is the sign of highschool, college, and pro football.  For others it is the leaves turning and falling…the little animals rushing around preparing for winter. At Thanksgiving the wonderful aroma of pecan and pumpkin pie baking, a large turkey cooking in the oven and the smells of all the trimmings fuming its glorious vapor in the air to draw us to the table.  It is just one of my favorite times of the year along with Spring.

“And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs and tokens [of God’s provident care], and [to mark] seasons, days, and years…”  -Genesis 1:14 AMP

God set the seasons in place over 6,000 years ago.  The seasons we witness each year in and year out are very reflective of the seasons of life.  In life we have our baby years, toddler years, childhood years, which resemble the Spring of life.  The teenage years  and young adulthood years are the Summer years of our life.  The middle age, golden years, and senior years would be the Fall and Winter Years.  Each season of life holds within it numerous opportunities to bring glory to God.  Each season has different circumstances that the Lord has drawn us to.  Each season is designed for His purposes and with His ultimate glory in mind.

“The Wisdom [godly Wisdom, which is comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] of the prudent is to understand his way…”  -Proverbs 14:8  AMP



In the life my wife and I are in is nearing early mid-life which I would compare to late Summer.  With this season comes the challenges of teaching our 16 year old to drive a car, teaching many of the boys to play ball and do those manly activites all the way down to a one year old climbing on everything and getting into everything.  We have been at this for along time and it seems that each season has a certain crisis of its own.  With us raising the kids and ministering to moms and dads plus trying to make a living we are experiencing a host of changes.  For us it comes in the way of faithfulness.  For me to make a living these days is tough.  We have our bills down ot the basics and that is hard to make.  It seems that we are always down to the wire every month as to whether we will have enough to make it.  I hear this same situation from others.  Many dads out there just trying to make it and are stressed beyond their wildest imaginations.  This stress can manifest into many different problems if we don’t watch it.  Depression can creep up on us, heart problems, cancers, heavy drinking, heavy smoking, nervousness, total lost-ness, hopelessness, and many other issues.  God is there in the midst of this.  He is sovereign over the affairs of His people.  As you can read in other post I am a big believer that God has a plan for each (Predestination) and everyone of us.  Each crisis is for a purpose to continue on the plan God formulated from the beginning.  We are not shocking Him or altering that plan by one second.  He has each and every millisecond under control.  Not one molecule has strayed out of His reach, not a bullet in any war or murder has been fired that He did not know about before hand, or one hair on our heads that is not accounted for.  If this is the way we really believe why do we fret over these temporary crisis we find ourselves in here?  Could it be the fear of the unknown that bothers us so much?  Our heavenly Father is all about our unknowns.  He is all about our fears and crisis.  Our rest is in the faith that He will take care of us no matter what happens.  How quickly we forget this.

Each of these seasons of our lives change us.  All along the way we find the challenges of the season, the fun and happiness of the season and we grow and learn throughout each season.  As we enter each different season of life we need to embrace the changes.  Our prayer life is the main area of our life that has hopefully grown the most.  This has been an area that my wife and I have grown the most over the years.  Early on we do as most Christians do….pray to God with a list of wants and needs.  We lay out our hearts before Him, but we have a hard time listening to His call.  As the next season sails quickly towards us we find ourselves conforming to His will.  The attitude of the prayer is more praise and less complaint.  Dana and I are in such “awe” of our Lord that He would have favor on our lives in any situation.  Favor is not necessarily riches, but favor is His hand forever evident in our lives.  When we have nothing in the bank He faithfully feeds us…our needs get met in His way rather than mans.   Our vision becomes much clearer as Dana and I see His plan barreling forward through each storm of our life.  I love the seasons of life, but it can grow weary if we start to live it in our own power.




“You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,O God our savior.You are the hope of everyone on earth,even those who sail on distant seas.”  -Psalm 65:5 NLT

Finally, our prayers are answered when we are praying according to God’s sovereign will.  It is an enjoyable time to experience answers to prayer that we know was in direct obedience to His will.  Our is in God.  Our prayers rest in Him.  As we take time out to listen to God first and then meditate on His word we find ourselves praying more and more as though we know exactly what God wants to hear from us.  As I stated above, we pray with more praise and less complaint.  It is not that God does not want to hear everything that is burdening our hearts, but He wants us to be in completely in tune with His will, plan and desires for us.  He know better than we do what our season of life will hold for us.  He knows exactly how we should pray at each moment.  He is constantly waiting for us to stop and listen.  In this Fall time of the year it is a great time to stop and listen to what God is trying to tell us.  Let us move forward in our prayer lives in a pleasing and aromatic fragrance that fills the nosterals of God with exactly what He is has been waiting for.  Thankfully, we serve a merciful and patient God.  He never tires of waiting on us to come and listen to Him.

“He knows the way He taketh,” even if for the moment we do not.  -J.I. Packer

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

Posted in encouragement | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Kindling for Christian Hedonism by John Piper!

Posted by Scott on October 20, 2007

By John Piper October 30, 1983

Psalm 19:7-11

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

Christian Hedonism is very much aware that every day with Jesus is not “sweeter than the day before.” Some days with Jesus our disposition is as sour as raw persimmons. Some days with Jesus we are so sad we feel our heart will break open. Some days with Jesus fear turns us into a knot of nerve ends. Some days with Jesus we are so depressed and discouraged that between the garage and the house we just want to sit down on the grass and cry. Every day with Jesus is not sweeter than the day before. We know it from experience and we know it from Scripture. For the text says (Psalm 19:7), “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” If every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before, we wouldn’t need to be revived.

The Bible Kindles Joy

The reason David praised God with the words, “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul,” is because he had bad days. There were days when his soul needed to be restored. It’s the same phrase used in Psalm 19:7—”the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” Normal Christian life is a repeated process of restoration and renewal. Our joy is not static. It fluctuates with real life. It is as vulnerable to Satan’s attacks as a Lebanese marine compound to a suicide bomber. When Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:24, “Not that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy,” we should emphasize it this way: “We are workers with you for your joy.” The preservation of our joy in God takes work. It is a fight. Our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, and he has an insatiable appetite to destroy one thing: the joy of faith. But the Holy Spirit has given us a shield called faith and a sword called the Word of God and a power called prayer to defend and extend our joy. Or, to change the image, when Satan huffs and puffs and tries to blow out the flame of your joy, you have an endless supply of kindling in the Word of God. And even though there are days when we feel that every cinder in our soul is cold, yet if we crawl to the Word of God and cry out for ears to hear, the cold ashes will be lifted and the tiny spark of life will be fanned, because, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” The Bible is the kindling of Christian Hedonism.

My aim this morning is to motivate you to wear the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and to wield it for the preservation of your joy in God. There are three steps we need to climb together. First, we need to know why we accept the Bible as the word of God. Almost everybody in the world would agree that if the one and true God has spoken, then there will be no lasting happiness for people who ignore his word. But very few people really believe that the Bible is the word of the living God. Nor should they believe it without sufficient reasons. Second, we need to see some encouraging examples of how the Bible kindles and preserves our joy. Finally, we need to hear a practical challenge to renew our daily meditation in the Word of God, and to bind that sword so close around our waist that we are never without it.

Jesus—The Foundation for Confidence in the Bible

1) In the limitations of time that we have, perhaps the best way to take the first step is for me to commend to you why I accept the Bible as the word of God. The foundation of my confidence is Jesus Christ. You don’t need to believe first that the Bible is infallible in order to know that it presents you with a historical person of incomparable qualities. The possibility that the historical Jesus was a con artist or a lunatic is to me so remote that I am drawn to confess that he is true. His claims are not the propaganda of a deceiver or the presumption of a schizophrenic. He speaks with authority, forgives sin, heals the sick, casts out demons, penetrates the hearts of his opponents, loves his enemies, dies for sinners, and leaves behind an empty grave, not because he pulled the wool over the eyes of the world but because he is the ever-living Son of God who came to save the world. He has won my trust through his words and deeds.

From Jesus I move backward to the Old Testament and forward to the New Testament. All four gospels present different evidence that Jesus considered the Old Testament to be the word of God. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says he came not to abolish but to fulfill the law and the prophets, and in Matthew 22:29 he says that the Sadducees err because they don’t know the Scriptures. In Mark 7:8–9 Jesus contrasts man-made traditions with the commandment of God in the Old Testament. In Luke 24:44 he tells the disciples that everything written about him in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled. And in John 10:35 he said simply, “Scripture cannot be broken.” Therefore, I read the Old Testament as the word of God because Jesus did.

Six Observations on the New Testament as God’s Word

But Jesus did not stay on earth to endorse the New Testament. My confidence in the New Testament as God’s word rests on a group of observations which taken together provide a reasonable ground of confidence.

1) Jesus chose twelve apostles to be his authoritative representatives in founding the church. He promised them at the end of his life, “The Holy Spirit . . . will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said” (John 14:26; 16:13). 2) Then the apostle Paul, whose stunning conversion from a life of murdering Christians to making Christians demands some special explanation, explains that he (and the other apostles) have been commissioned by the risen Christ to preach “in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:13). Christ’s prediction is being fulfilled through this inspiration. 3) Peter confirms this in 2 Peter 3:16 by putting Paul’s writings in the same category with the inspired (2 Peter 1:21) Old Testament writings. 4) All the New Testament writings come from those earliest days of promised special revelation and were written by the apostles and their close associates. 5) The message of these books has the ring of truth because it makes sense out of so much reality. The message of God’s holiness and our guilt on the one hand, and Christ’s death and resurrection as our only hope on the other hand—that message fits the reality we see and the hope we long for and don’t see. 6) Finally, as the Baptist Catechism says, “The Bible evidences itself to be God’s word by . . . its power to convert sinners and edify saints.”

For these reasons, when I read the Old and New Testaments, I read them as the word of God. God is not silent in my life. He is uncomfortably vocal and precise about all kinds of things. I count it as a singular act of grace on his part that he has appointed for me that my life work is to understand his word and teach his church. When the Bible speaks, God speaks. Which means that the things said about the word of God in the Bible apply to the Bible. And I have been simply overwhelmed in preparing for this message by how much the Bible has to say about the value of the word of God. What a treasure we have in the very words of God! “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10).

The Word of God Is Your Life

2) That leads us to the second step this morning, namely, some examples of how the Bible has so much value for us. Why is a life of meditation on Holy Scripture a life of joy? Most of the specifics I want to give you may soon be forgotten, but I hope the total impact of the Bible’s value will make you want to read it more regularly, more deeply, and more joyfully. Consider these benefits.

In Deuteronomy 32:46–47 Moses says, “Lay to heart all the words which I enjoin upon you this day, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no trifle for you, but it is your life.” The Bible is not a trifle; it is a matter of life and death. If you treat the Word of God as a trifle, you forfeit life. Our physical life depends on God’s Word because by his word we were created (Psalm 33:9; Hebrews 11:3), and “he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). Our spiritual life begins by the Word of God: James 1:18, “By his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth.” “You have been born anew . . . through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). And not only do we begin to live by God’s Word, we go on living by God’s Word: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). Our physical life is created and upheld by the word of God, and our personal-spiritual life is born anew and lived by the word of God. Therefore, the Bible is “no trifle for you, it is your life!”

The Word of God Begets Faith and Hope

The Word of Christ begets and sustains life because it begets and sustains faith. “These things are written,” John says, “that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). “Faith comes by hearing,” writes the apostle Paul, “and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). The faith that starts our life in Christ and the faith by which we go on living come from hearing the Word of God. If faith is of eternal importance for your daily life, so is the Bible.

Sometimes faith and hope are virtually synonyms in Scripture. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1). Without this hope for the future we get discouraged and depressed and our joy drains away. Hope is absolutely essential to Christian joy (Romans 15:13). And how do we maintain hope? The psalmist puts it like this (78:5–7), “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children . . . so that they might set their hope in God.” Paul puts it so plainly: “Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by the steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). The whole Bible has this aim and this power: to create hope in the hearts of God’s people.

The Word of God Sets Free and Provides Wisdom

Another essential element of life is freedom. None of us would be happy if we were not free from what we hate and free for what we love. And where do we find true freedom? Psalm 119:45 says, “I shall walk in freedom, for I sought thy precepts.” And Jesus says, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). And lest we miss the point, he says later in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.” The word of God is divine truth that frees us from deception. It breaks the power of counterfeit pleasures, and keeps us free from stumbling into the stupidity of sin. “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). “I have laid up thy word in my heart that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11; cf. v. 9). The promises of God are the liberating, guiding power of godliness: “Through his precious and very great promises you escape from the corruption that is in the world . . . and become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4; cf. John 15:3). Freedom, guidance, likeness to God—all these come to us as we meditate upon and trust the Word of God, the Bible.

Of course, the Bible does not answer every question about life. Every fork in the road does not have a biblical arrow. We have need of wisdom in ourselves. But that, too, is a gift of Scripture. As the text says, “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple . . . the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:7–8; cf. 119:98). People whose minds are saturated with God’s Word and submissive to his thoughts have a wisdom that eternity will prove to be superior to all the secular wisdom in the world.

The Word of God Restores and Comforts

Nevertheless, our bent will and imperfect perceptions lead us time and again into foolish acts and harmful situations. That day is not sweeter than the day before, and we need restoration and comfort. Where can we turn for comfort? We can follow the psalmist again: “This is my comfort in my affliction, that thy promise gives me life . . . When I think of thy ordinances from of old, I take comfort, O Lord” (Psalm 119:50, 52). And when our failures and our afflictions threaten our assurance of faith, where do we turn to rebuild our confidence? John invites us to turn to the Word of God: “I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). The Bible is written to give us assurance of eternal life.

Satan’s number one objective is to destroy your joy of faith. You have one offensive weapon: the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). But what many Christians fail to realize is that you can’t draw the sword from someone else’s scabbard. If you don’t wear it, if the Word of God does not abide in you (John 15:7), you will reach for it in vain. If you don’t wear it, you can’t wield it. But if you do, what a mighty warrior you will be! “I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (1 John 2:14).

Devote Yourselves to the Word of God

3) So the Bible is the Word of God, and the Word of God is no trifle. It is the source of life and faith and hope and freedom and guidance and wisdom and comfort and assurance and victory over our greatest enemy. Is it any wonder, then, that those who knew best said, “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:8)? “I will delight in thy statutes, I will not forget thy word” (Psalm 119:16). “Oh, how I love thy law, it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). “Thy testimonies are my heritage for ever, yea, they are the joy of my heart” (Psalm 119:111). “Thy words were found, and I ate them, and thy words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by thy name” (Jeremiah 15:16). But are we to pursue this joy like Christian Hedonists? Are we to throw the kindling of God’s Word on the fire of joy? Are we to pursue our holy pleasure by meditating on the Word of Christ? Indeed, we are. For the Lord himself has said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and your joy may be full” (John 15:11).

On this Reformation Sunday I beseech you not to let the blood of the martyrs be spilled in vain. Don’t let the labors of Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin, and Zwingli be spent out in vain. God raised them up to free the Holy Scriptures for us. We despise God and insult his saints if we treat the Bible as a trifle in our lives. Martin Luther knew as well as any man who ever lived that every day with Jesus is not sweeter than the day before. And according to Roland Bainton, he wrote these words in the year of his deepest depression:

And though this world with devils filled
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God has willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for him—
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure:
One little word shall fell him.

© Desiring God

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

-Scott Bailey 2007

Posted in Theology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

-Waiting Instruction…Boys!

Posted by Scott on October 15, 2007


“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.




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






Posted in About Boys! | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

-The Providential Power of God Helps His People!

Posted by Scott on September 25, 2007

“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 (purposes).  He is sovereign!”

“…the rise of the Nazi Third Reich, the death of Able, the boils of Job, even the presidency of Bill Clinton and the horror of 9/11 were all providential events.”

-Doug Phillips 2003

I know that today many of us are experiencing troubles that we never thought we would ever have to deal with.  In such a time it is such a great comfort to know and understand that we serve a providential God.  He works all things for good for those of us in Christ Jesus. 

“Our love to God arises out of our want:  His love to us is out of His fullness.”

-C.H. Spurgin

God speaks through prevailing prayer!  “He will call upon me, and I will answer HIm.” (Psalm 91:15)

In the Webster dictionary it defines prevail as “to produce or achieve the desired effect; to be effective; succeed.”  How do we achieve this desired effect with God….by being in good fellowship with Him.  In this way He speaks to us and answers our prayers.  Something that we don’t think about much is listening to God first and then pray based on what He said.  This will change the perspective of our prayers.  We might find that when we first kneeled down to pray it was all about us.  However, after listening to God and meditating on His word, we direct the focus of the prayer on Him and His glory no matter what our circumstances are.

As Christian dads and husbands we must continue in a spirit of prayer at all times.  Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray and not to faint…” (Luke 18:1)  This does not mean we walk around with our hands folded, but just in each quiet moment whether it is short or long we can simply just speak to God about that moment…whatever that may be.

God assures us through His precious promises!  “Whereby are given unto us exceedingly great and precious promises:  that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature.”  (2 Peter 1:4)

Many of us tend to forget the promises of God for some reason.  We trod along daily without much thought of His promises.  He has promised not to forget about us, yet we set around whining about how God has forgotten us.  We are forfeiting the benefits of God by doing this.  Memorize the promises of God on a daily basis.

Some of His greatest and most used promises are His protection and provision.  His provision is every moment of our lives, men.  He has not seen anything that shocks Him or catches Him by surprise.  If you find yourself today without a job, He knew about it before the foudnations of the earth.  This was not an event that caught Him off guard and now He must react to it…..He is working His perfect plan in our lives at all times.  God never sleeps!

Review, reflect, and rely on the promises of God.  This is what gives us men our assurance for our families success.  He helps us at every turn of our lives. 

Our personal peace in God is calming!  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.”  (John 14:27)

Guys we are all searching daily for meaning and purpose.  We are searching for that personal peace.  If we are not searching God’s word for this peace then we will come up empty everytime.  Our world is overrun with illicit sex, drug abuse, and even terrorism.  These are unsuccessful attempts to find that peace.   Real and lasting peace is found in Jesus Christ and only in Jesus Christ.  He offers us this peace if we are obedient to His calling and trust Him for all the results of our lives.  Guys our kids will turn out alright by God’s grace inspite of us.  We are all bent out of shape trying to make sure we do everything right.  Dads we are simply to do as God would have us do and leave the results of our kids up to Him. 

Jesus said, “My peace I give to you.”  (Joh 14:27)  We need to accept His personalized peace in our lives today.  This seems much easier to say than do, I know, but it is the only way.

God assist us through His providential power!  “And we know tha tin all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”  (Romans 8:28)

All of us dads and husbands are subject to various trials, troubles, and testings just like anyone else.  We are not exempt from this.  As a matter of fact God has told us we will encounter various trials and tribulations.  Why is it that we are constantly trying to escape them as though we should be put above everyone else on a cloud?  The trial is not evidence that God hates us…He is shaping us as a tool for His kingdoms glory. 

God works by helping His people through providential means.  He works everything, good or bad, together for their benefit and His glory.   We miss out on His benefits if we do not encounter trials and testings.  This is when we see our God at His most powerful it seems.  Bringing each us through these times as we labor and suffer through the pain is a means to display His massive providential power.

Often we will experience God’s rescue of His saints.  He uses His angels to assist us and rescue us many times.  I can remember numerous times that I have been about at the end of my rope and ready to check out when this peaceful ringing in my head will calm me down so I can think rational and focus back on His promises to me.  It is a battle, a struggle.  This is not a cake walk, gentlemen.  This is life as a Christian.  (Psalm 91:11)

God is at work, guys!  You can trust this statement.  He has not forgotten any of us that are laboring here and it will not be a labor in vain.We can trust in His word at a time when the world seems to have checked out on His word, including the church.  Sing His praises.  Sing the Hymns of old and study the deep transforming testimonies that are embedded in those hymns.  God inspired those like any other song written to Him.  I encourage you to read the songs, read God’s word and meditate on His promises for a successful life in Christ.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

Posted in Life Examples! | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

-God Expands Our Territory!

Posted by Scott on September 10, 2007

   In the 1970’s and 1980’s my father farmed cotton, milo and wheat along with his father, my grand-father.  During these years I observed the tremendous amount of faith my dad had.  While other farmers in the area would politic to accumulate more leased land from retiring farmers, my dad or grand-father never took part in that kind of business.  As I remember, my dad would be up at around 5:30 am each morning studying his bible and deep in prayer.  As my dad’s farming operation expanded I later learned that none of the land he had came from politics at all.  My dad simply prayed that God’s will be done in his family, business, and spiritual life.  The Lord always expanded his territory to many of the other farmers surprise much of the time.  It was my dad’s faith in God that the expansion came about not his faith in himself.  You see my dad understood something that has taken me years to understand and that is that it is not about us or for, but all about God and for Him.  This should be our way of life as we strive to be authentic Christians in a fallen depraved world.

As I said before this has been a tough lesson for me to learn, but as I get older I can see that God does not expect us to act in the same way as the world does nor does He want us “believing” in ourselves to do anything…apart from Christ we cannot do anything.  He expects us to carry more faithfulness in Him into our every day lives.  This is one way He receives glory for everything we do.  Our God is sovereign.  He expands his people’s territory.  It is God for whom we ultimately work for each day not our worldly employers, our friends, or anyone else. 

As a dad now myself, I want to commit myself to showing my children that kind of faith.  This is a long hard battle and my faith has not always been that strong, but as I look back upon a strong faithful dad I can see the nuggets of truth that were lived out each day in his life.  Although the farming operation no longer exist in our family, I am striving to bring that same faith into my current business.  My faith has lacked the punch it should have had all these years, but the Lord has taught me so much over the past few years.  I can now look back and see how His hand has been directly involved in each avenue of my life and the life of my family.  Now, I want my children to be able to look back and see God’s mighty hand at work in our family.  This is a far greater legacy in my opinion than that of a super sport star, business mogul, multi-million dollar investor, or any kind of achievement that the world calls success.  To be authentic Christians we need not look to the approval of men….I am striving to apply this truth to my life, too.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

Posted in Life Examples! | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »