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 ‘scott bailey’

Check out my new site….

Posted by Scott on January 22, 2010

Goto www.EnGhedi.com for the new blog post and incredible link buttons. This will become within a year the main blog site.

 

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

Who is God?

Posted by Scott on December 30, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Photobucket

The question of who God is comes up often. I was asked to write an article about the subject for a writers site I am a member of which caused me to think how I could describe who God is within such a brief span of time. Fact is, I can’t do that. However, people cannot see Him and most do not really know Him and any visual I can bring out on paper to help someone experience the slightest glimpse of our God is worth the attempt. Over the past several years I have developed a personal and in-depth relationship with my heavenly Father. It is from this thirty two year relationship I draw this small amount of commentary on who I believe God to be.

First, let’s look at the visible signs of who God is. We can see in His creation through nature God is the master painter and poet. The colors, the landscape, the variations of plants, animals, clouds, sky, and water are all a testimony to who God is. He is the creator of all things large and small. God is the sustainer of all things large and small. The Bible tells us God feeds the birds of the air, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” So, we can see just in one tiny aspect of nature a Creator who cares for His creation and sustains His creation.

Have you stood at a distance looking up at majestic mountains before? Some with snow caps, rocky ledges, and trees scattered about their slopes. Other mountains seem to be covered by low flying clouds or the image of smoke veiling their majestic peaks. Only a God who creates all things could possibly make something so beautiful. From a prayer of Moses we find this, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth or ever You had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God.” Here according to Moses, God has been God since before the formations of the earth. God created the heavens and the earth as Scripture tells us.

I remember picking up a very small rock one time to find on the bottom settled into the rock a tiny creature fossilized into the rock. The creature that made up this fossil was once alive, breathing, moving about the earth. Humanly speaking, I could only visualize what my finite mind could imagine this creature looked like and how it moved about only a few thousand years ago. I have no real way of knowing if what my mind would let me see was actually fact or not. However, God was the Creator of this tiny being and He saw it as it was moving about and breathing brand new on the earth. The fact is God gave that tiny creature its very breath and heartbeat to live by. God also, knew the very last breath it took and how it died. God in His vastness observed every living creature on this earth and knows were all of them from thousands of years ago are buried. Our God who reigns supreme over all the earth is also in the tiniest details of our life.

Since we have established Him as creator let’s look at something He created in His own image. This should, also, help us to understand who God is. In Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So, God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; both male and female He created them.” We find two interesting documentations of truth here. First, God is speaking in terms of “Us” making man in “our” image. Wow! The implications are huge in this fact of Scripture. This is not saying more than one God existed. What it is stating clearly is God comes in more than one part. We find the first concept of the Holy Trinity in these verses as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In plain English, the Father is speaking to His Son about the creation. Secondly, we find humanity is not an animal or a plant. God here has given man dominion over all the animals and mammals. God, our supreme authority, has endowed us humans with authority as well. We are to view God’s likeness through the example of the Son, Jesus Christ, as He walked and lived here on the earth.

This brings me to a main point of who God is. However, let me make something clear at this point. No human being can contain the depths or the heights as to who God really is within any volume of papers. God is beyond huge and there is no end to His depths. So, this is a small attempt to give the reader a mere glimpse at who God is. Now, Jesus taught His disciples if you have seen Him then you have seen the Father and vice versa. Many teach today a distorted view of Jesus. The portrayal of Jesus in most people’s eyes is a man without deity, without authority from God, and just one of us on a spiritual journey while leading others to do the same. I want to assure you Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was not merely just one of us. Sure He came to earth through the birth canal of His mother Mary. She conceived Jesus by a miraculous conception only to be understood by God Himself. However, Jesus was still full deity, fully God with our human skin wrapped around Him.

Jesus walked on this earth teaching grace, love for our neighbors, taking care of the poor and hungry, but most importantly He taught first we must repent of our sins and follow Him. Jesus spoke often about repentance, sin, hell, and the kingdom of God. We find here God is serious about sin. He wants sin out of our lives as far as having control over us. As part of our Christian life, God wants us to exemplify in our life the love of God for His people. We do this by feeding the poor, clothing them, and loving on them while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ at the same time. Food, clothing, and shelter is not the gospel nor will it get these people to heaven, however, it is a doorway by which you have the opportunity to share the gospel with them and glorify God by your testimony to them. The gospel is we are a sinfully depraved humanity in need of a Savior otherwise we are doomed to an eternity in hell. God is a righteous judge, but He loves His people so much He provided His Son as a sacrifice for our sins in order for us to be reunited in relationship to Him in a way He no longer would have to turn His back on our sinfulness. Jesus became for us the mediator between humanity and God the Father. By placing our trust in Jesus Christ as our perfect Savior and mighty Lord, and believing that Jesus Christ did come back to life on the third day as Scripture tells us, we are then saved from eternal damnation in hell and have the full power to be obedient to God. We are at that moment a son of the living God. God adopts us at the moment we place a total loyal trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Do you still wonder who God is? Well, without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ you will never have a good understanding of who God is. By knowing Jesus, the Son of God, over time you will start to understand just how vast God is. You will understand that for a Believer suffering is a part of life yet God directs every aspect of the suffering. Nothing in all His creation is out of His reach. God is a loving God, true! God is, also, a just, holy, and righteous God too. He hates sin and hates sin in His people’s life. God hates sin so much, He was willing to sacrifice His only begotten Son in order for those who believe His Son can have eternal life. In John 3:16 we observe both the wrath and judgment of God while at the same time we discover the grace, mercy and love of God.

In a one sentence statement to help someone begin to think about who God is: “God is loving, our creator, gracious, Almighty judge, perfectly righteous, completely holy, Sovereign over all things and events, full of mercy, our protector, supreme healer, omnipresent, Infinite, Immense, good, Immanent, and so much more”. As I said before, I cannot within the pages of any book explain who God really is. This is a very brief glance at who God is. The understanding of our finite glimpse at God comes only when our Infinite God has accepted us in a relationship with Him.

Colossians 3:1-4 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

To know God is to know the Son, Jesus Christ. Trust in the Son today and begin a tremendous relation with the Father you will never regret in all eternity.

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

Posting on a new site!

Posted by Scott on December 9, 2009

Christmas Greetings-

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

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

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

Pressing on, Scott

www.EnGhedi.com

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

Early One Thanksgiving Morning!

Posted by Scott on November 27, 2009

The sun was rising early one winter morning over the eastern horizon just barely peaking above the tall pine trees like the glitter of a shiny new diamond ring. The temperature was below 30 degrees, and it felt as though icicles could form on the end of our nose. Although, you could see the smoke from our breath it seemed once in the air it just stopped in midair for a moment before finally floating away. The morning was deadly still, no wind at all. With every heartbeat you could feel the pains of freezing cold run through your veins.

My brother, Jake and I was up early at the edge of the woods watching down a small natural clearing between the pines for the largest Tom Turkey we had ever seen on the last hunt we took. Jake, my younger brother, had caught a quick glimpse of him once before and the last hunt in September, both of us saw him up closer. This turkey would feed a large family for days we thought. So, this morning, the day before Thanksgiving, we were determined to bag this old Tom and bring him home to feast on for Thanksgiving. Both of us had twelve gauge shotguns and three loaded shells total between us. So, we must be accurate and selective with our shots.

As we waited next to a couple of huge pine trees almost frozen to the tree from the cold, we heard a noise coming from behind us. It was a noise we had not ever heard before. It was the sound of a large giant grunting through the woods, bouncing off the trees, tumbling in the leaves, and splashing in the creek bed. At times it sounded as though there was more than one, but then at other times only one of whatever this was. Jake and I would watch intently behind as we tried to keep a corner of one eye down the lane for the old Tom Turkey.

In a brief moment of silence, we could hear in the distance the gobble call of a wild turkey. We rubbed the frozen fog out of our eyes to make sure our sight was as clear as possible in order to see the turkey. The sound seemed to get closer to the lane, but nothing was in sight yet. Behind us the noise was also getting closer. Jake and I were perplexed at what we should do…it seemed as though what was behind us would collide with us head-on about the time the turkey would come into the clearing just 50 yards down the lane.

I told Jake to move to his right just behind the tree next to the one near the clearing in order to get a better look behind us to see whatever was tumbling, grunting, and somewhat squeeling down the hillside. We could not imagine what it could be. One thought crossed my mind maybe it was another big turkey. Jake said it may be a stray cow wondering through the woods trying to get back to its herd. Neither of us were satisfied with those ideas, because the noises did not sound like a turkey or a cow. We had to focus on the turkey. Our main goal was to get the biggest Tom Turkey from those woods for our Thanksgiving feast.

All of the sudden the racket behind us finally stopped. We finally took a deep breath which almost froze our lungs as our focus went back to clearing and the call from a turkey. “Still no sign of a turkey”, Jake whispered. We looked all around as far as we could see through the clearing in order to spot the first sign of a turkey. The gobbling noise was getting closer, but still we could not even see the hint of a turkey. By this time, the smoke from our heavy breath seemed to freeze midair as it clouded our vision of the clear lane in anticipation of the wild turkey entering the lane with what we supposed would be splendor. As it seemed like a decade of time waiting for that turkey to come out into the clearing, Jake tapped me on the shoulder with a shaky kind of tap.

I shrugged off his attempts to get my attention for a moment as to indicate to him “stop and watch the clearing”. A few seconds went by when the tap on my should was more forceful and now quivering. So, in disgust I turned to give Jake a stern look of disgust, when I caught a whiff of a smell that was undescribable. The smell was similar to a packing plant, but the stinch was even worse than that. As I peaked over Jake’s shoulder I caught a glimpse of the largest nostriles I had ever been eye to nostrile with attached to one of the biggest, stinkiest, angriest wild hogs we had ever put our eyes on. There it was peering down at us on the ground, with a half cocked grin on its face, teeth gleeming just a bit, its breath fogging out the sides of its mouth like a steam engine train about to leave the station and with a glare in its red glowing eyes as though it had found fresh meat for its own winter feast. It was not moving, but my thoughts were “this beast is definately trying to decide which one of us to eat first”.

Jake was frozen in fear on the ground. He had a huge hunting knife on his belt, but could not move towards it for fear this wild beast would attack. To my surprise the wild hog was not attacking. It was glaring at us, mouth half cocked open, and breathing hard with a labored breath. I was not sure the smelly pig could even see us, but I was not willing to just set there and find out either. Knowing we could not get up and out run the horrible pig, very carefully and slowly I raised my twelve gauge shotgun just above Jake’s shoulder. Working carefully to move it forward so the end of the barrel of the gun was clear of the side of Jake’s face while pointing it directly in the face of this wild beast. What seemed to be huge chunks of time slowly passing by was only a few seconds. As I was trying hard to steadily pull the trigger, all of the sudden without warning something startled the hog and the hog jumped backwards and my shot fired directly through the left ear of the stinking beast. The hog ran off tumbling on the ground and bouncing off the trees grunting and squeeling as it ran the opposite direction up the clearing. Our guess at the time was the hog weighed in around 155 pounds. This was a big hog. “We could have eaten that big hog”, Jake confidently exclaimed. I told Jake the hog was much closer to eating us than we were of eating him. Let us just be thankful the hog is gone. We came to get a turkey anyway.

Now, Jake and I figured the shot of the gun would have destroyed our chances with the old turkey down the lane. Jake looked down the clearing and saw the head of a turkey picking something up off the ground through the tall tickle weeds lining the clearing. He rubbed his eyes again to make sure he was seeing what he was seeing and sure enough, it was that huge Tom Turkey. About the same time as our shot a big gust of wind came up from the direction of the turkey. Apparently the shot of our gun had been muzzled by a number of factors including the strange wind and the turkey had not heard the shot.

About the time I got a good glance at the turkey, he started moving up towards us just outside the tickle weeds and johnson grass pecking pebbles and seeds off the ground on his way towards us. My thoughts going through my mind was, “Lord, on this day will You deliver this turkey into our hands?” “You, Lord, always know our needs and You know this Thanksgiving my family has nothing to eat. You always make a way for Your people don’t You?” I knew in the back of my mind the wild hog that got away would have supplied meat for our family too, but Jake and I were especially wanting that turkey.

We are now down to two loaded shells for this turkey. My thoughts went towards mom back home with our three younger sisters and my grandfather who is in bed ill from cancer. My dad had died in an accident at the local mill several years before and the old farm house was cold, drafty and musty. It seems when the wind picks up from the north it comes right into our old house without any trouble, swirling around everyone’s head and does not stop going through our house until it exits the other side. The living room is where most of the family stays all day and the cold wind always seems to swirl vigorously around the room as we cover in blankets and huddle closely to the fire built in the little pot bellied stove. The vinyl on the kitchen flooring would raise up from wood as the wind tried to get into the house from underneath. What wallpaper was left on the walls flapped to the breeze of the strong north winds. The lighting in the old house was minimal at best. The owner of the home was an elderly man at the next farm and he could not afford to replace anything in the home and really we were grateful he was allowing us to rent the place in return for taking care of some of his cows and a few pigs on the old farm.

Today, however, if this old turkey continues in the direction he is moving, we will feast tomorrow with enough food to warm our bellies and help us to celebrate in true thankfulness for what God has given to us this day. Sure, we have lots to be thankful for already, but would it not be nice to say grace over a big turkey God provided for Jake and I to hunt down?

My thoughts cleared up and I could refocus on the turkey still moving up the lane was within twenty feet of us. Jake told me to take the first shot and he would back me up if I missed. I zeroed in on the old Tom Turkey, placed my steady trigger finger firmly on the trigger. What seemed to take me hours I knew was only split seconds in pulling the trigger, calmly and methodically I aimed at the head of the Tom Turkey, when all of the sudden out of the brush with a fluttering motion and noise from within itself a fine looking ringneck shot up right next to the turkey causing the old Tom to run off into the weeds while at the same split second I fired off my shot. I could not believe Jake and I had been out in that clearing since before the dawn of the day, in the bitter cold, nearly eaten by a wold hog, and now this old turkey was getting away again. Jake and I never recall seeing many pheasant in that area of the woods before. For that matter we do not recall ever seeing any wild hogs roaming those woods either. What a disappointment this morning has been. Such anticipation on getting that big old turkey and now it is gone. I quietly exclaim, “Could that old turkey just be a ghost turkey or something? No one seems to be able to kill it.”

Jake and I packed up our stuff and headed back towards the house empty-handed with one final loaded shell in Jake’s gun. We were extremely disappointed. With our heads dropped low and our walk kind of dragging we made our way back towards the house. Our family would not eat very well this Thanksgiving. My mind began to wonder as I began to remember the promises I had heard from the stories momma told us about God. Promises like He would never leave me alone by myself or forget about me. Other promises like our Lord would feed us when we were hungry, give us clothing when we need clothing, and shelter from the elements when we needed it. Momma always said no matter what, God would take care of His own and we needed to be found faithful and obedient to Him above eerything else. The further we walked towards home I took great comfort and peace in those promises. I could tell Jake was not as convinced as I was, but he would learn. I reminded Jake about those promises momma had read to us from the big Bible in the living room about how God would provide food for us and put food on the table this Thanksgiving and probably even better food than what we were hunting for that morning. Discussing this for a moment it seemed to lift our spirits and we raised our heads as we picked up the pace heading home.

As we climbed up a small hill on the path back to our house, we heard something strange coming towards us on the path just behind a patch of dried up sunflowers. All of the sudden out of nowhere a much larger Tom Turkey was pecking around on the lane right in front of us. The turkey had not seen us or heard us yet, but as soon as the turkey rounded the corner I had my eyes on him. Jake was not bashful either. He knew exactly what he needed to do and he confidently put his finger on that trigger without much of a thought and he fired of his gun. The last loaded shell we had was now spent towards this big old turkey. For me, it seemed like I could see each and every little ball of BB’s from that shell move through the air towards the turkey. All of our hopes was in that last shot. Jake had nailed the Tom Turkey dead. Feathers fluttered up into the air like dust from a storm. Both of us looked towards each other with a confident smile as though we had never doubted this moment would come. As Jake was picking the old turkey up, he looked at me with a strange, but satisfied look. “Well, we can eat well tomorrow”, Jake said loudly.

Jake further said, “God knows exactly what He is doing. This turkey is far bigger, younger, and better than the other one was”. Looking back I started to see God’s providential hand in the entire hunting experience. We only had three loaded shells on us. I started to conclude that God caused that old hog to come right on top of us, but did not allow the hog to attack us, yet He had us waste a shell trying to kill the beast. Then He directed the big Tom Turkey up the path right beside a pheasant and allowed that turkey to get away. God knew we were down to one bullet shell and was disappointed in our failure on the hunt. All the time God knew He had a bigger and better turkey up that path for us. He wanted me down to my last bullet so I had to rely on Him for the provisions for our Thanksgiving dinner. God is His infinite wisdom was building a faithful character in Jake and I that morning unlike any other time in our lives. As Jake and I took off half way running towards home, I simply looked up to the sky and quietly spoke, “Thank You my God for providing for us this Thanksgiving. Thank You, Lord, for proving my momma right as she told us about the promises you make to us when we are faithful to You”.

Our family was humbly thankful to God for providing us with such a treat as that big delicious turkey. It had so much meat on it we ate turkey for three weeks savoring each bite. I can tell you Jake and I have never doubted God’s hand on our lives from that day forward. We trust He always is working His perfect plan to the end and we need to step in and take part in whatever He is doing.

scott bailey (c) 2009

Posted in family, Short Stories by Scott | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fit To Be Used by Ray C. Stedman

Posted by Scott on November 24, 2009

by Ray C. Stedman

2 Timothy 2:20-26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Bailey 2009

Posted in Ray Stedman-Devotional | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

My Light in the Wilderness

Posted by Scott on November 17, 2009

from “A Pilgrimage through the Wilderness” by Scott Bailey

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Scott Bailey (C) 2009

Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Book Review: Voices of the Faithful Book 2

Posted by Scott on September 26, 2009

09-08-19BG_Voices_of_the_Faithful_Book_2This is a wonderful devotional. Over 366 stories of the mission field from all over the world that will encourage your day.  The stories are inspiring as Christians who serve around the world tell their accounts of wonderful encounters with God.

This series of books were created by Beth Moore and in Book 2 were compiled by Kim Davis.  Beth Moore has a way with putting together a book and this one in up there with the rest.  If you wonder what goes on from the front lines of our faith in this spiritual battle we are in, then this devotional book will certainly meet your intrigue.

Each day is filled with danger, anticipation, heartache, triumph, and miracles.  You will witness on each page the glorious details God has provided in the lives of those in the middle of the battle.  You’ll meet children that are boisterous, parents who worry about their kids, teens, and situation, curiosity, and much more. 

At the end of each days devotional you will be encouraged by the leading prayer which will help you get into an even more intense prayer time.  Remember to pray for those in foreign countries contending for the faith on a daily basis.  Remember to pray for those being persecuted around the world for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  God is sustaining these Believers all around the world through His Word, the suffering they experience, and His glorious timing to be their rescuer.

Get this devotional and include it in your daily devotional time…it could enhance your prayer life immensely.

Scott Bailey 2009

Posted in Christian Book Reviews 2009, Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Holiness…new concept to many, but older than the Scriptures!

Posted by Scott on September 12, 2009

In todays selfish climate even in the evangelical movement of the day “holiness” is a new thought to many. Holiness seems not to enter into the thought process of masses of those calling themselves “evangelical”.

I started reading back through a book I read through a few years ago to touch base with someone who was passionate about the subject as I am. JC Ryle, born in 1816, died in 1900. He had a life long ministry to the young and old of the day in and around England. However, Ryle could see a movement, mostly coming from America, that greatly disturbed him. This movement was taking away the holiness found in our sanctification. The mantra was just believe and you are justified, which is the requirement to trust in Christ, however, they were taking this further to even say that sanctification was merely to believe and the sanctification was given to us. This is the rub between the two and holiness was then as it is today being pushed out of Believers lives and thus people could see no real change between those calling themselves Believers and those than admittedly denied Christ.

Quickly and briefly:

1) Justification is only to trust in Christ, believe

2) sanctification must be to guard, pray and fight against sin in our lives on a daily basis.

From Ryle:

“There is an amazing ignorance of Scripture among many and a consequent want of established, solid religion.”

Willowcreek church in Chicago experienced this recently as they admittedly have been wrong for twenty years in their “seeker” focus without establishing among the congregants solid biblical growth…in other words, those true Believers were starving to death for real biblical meat from the pulpit of the church.

Ryle says further after quoting Eph 4:14:

“There is an Athenian love of novelty abroad, and a morbid distaste for anything old and regular and in the beaten path of our forefathers.”

Again, I can show you contempt after contempt from so many young, Scripturally ignorant pastors today that viciously preach against the old, established religion of the day. This is not completely unfounded of course, but overall it causes their listeners to distaste all, when really the focus should be on the few unholy older established religions that are NOT true to the Word of God, but are pretenders to the faith.

Ryle continues:

“Thousands will crowd to hear a new voice and new doctrine, without considering for a moment whether what they hear is true. There is an incessant craving after any teaching with sensational, exciting, and rousing to the feelings. These are an unhealthy appetite for a sort of spasmodic and hysterical Christianity. The religious life of many is little better than spiritual dram-drinking, and the “meek and quiet spirit” which Peter commends is clean forgotten (1 Peter 3:4). Crowds and crying and hot rooms and high-flown singing and an incessant rousing of the emotions, are the only things which many care for. Inability to distinguish differences in doctrine is spreading far and wide, and so long as the preacher is “clever” and “earnest”, hundreds seem to think it must be all right, and call you dreadfully “narrow and uncharitable” if you hint that he is unsound!”

Sounds like much of what we see today going on the “Seeker-sensitive” & “Emergent” movements.

Ryle starts out the book:

“Sin is the transgression of the law.” -1 John 3:4

Ryle “…to attain right views about Christian holiness must begin by examining the vast and solemn subject of sin. He must dig down very low if he would build high.”

I compare this depth as we must build a faithfully true theology as we build a faithfully holy life. Unless we get our mind right on sin, we will do little good in building a Christian life. Think of a 100 story building. Do they just set it on top of the ground? Absolutely not if they intend the building to last and not sink into the ground. The first activity is to go down deep into the earth to set up the foundation and then they start building above the ground. The same is true of the Christian life…dig into the Word of God deeply, developing the truths of God’s Word in doctrine and theology. Then a holy life can be built. Remember, the holy life is not built over night or with a little prayer. The holy life is built over our lifetime by being on guard against the adversaries lies and distortions that cause sin, by spending great moments of time in prayer with our heavenly Father, and fighting against sin at every turn which is the mortification of sin…the murder of sin in our lives daily is required.

One final note from Ryle on what thoughts and actions about sin can cause:

“Dim or indistinct views of sin are the origin of most of the errors, heresies, and false doctrines of the present day. If a man does not realize the dangerous nature of his soul’s disease, you cannot wonder if he is content with false or imperfect remedies.”

The danger the church faces today and the problems the identity of the church has today from centuries of not viewing sin as serious is our witness has diminished to the point people do not take Christians serious anymore. The dim view of sin in the Believer’s life has been tampered with to the point that many cannot even recognize their sin as being sin anymore. I can assure you that sin is still prevalent today as it was 200 years ago….even more so. The internet has brought far more filth and sinful opportunity into peoples homes and lives than one would have ever thought. So, the need to be on guard, pray and fight sin is all the more necessary.

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

Posted in Christianity, holiness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A good name is more desirable than great riches!

Posted by Scott on September 9, 2009

In today’s society, our children hardly hear anything about keeping a good name.  I grew up understanding that the preservation of my name was important.  We are to correct the ills that have infected our names from the past if we can.  Our kids today may think, “What does having a good name have to do with anything?”  Well, I can tell you that God says is should be more desirable than silver or gold, more desirable than great riches.  A good name requires training, sacrifice, and daily discipline.

Four areas I will touch on that come to mind on keeping a good name:

1) Do not settle to do something illegal or unethical in order to gain great riches.

2) Strive to improve the family name and honor as we represent not only our family, but also the name of Jesus Christ.

3) Guard our testimonies with our good names.  Guard the reputation in all family affairs both in pleasure and in business.

4) Guard the gospel as a great treasure as Paul instructed Timothy (2 Tim 1:13-14) with a good name.  Do not allow our names to be tainted if possible, so that people will listen to us as we share the good news.

In light of these four points, it takes a lifetime sometimes to have a good name, but it only takes one mistake, one moment in lapse of judgement to destroy decades of work.  Many times we can never recover the name for many generations when this happens. 

Our children need to be trained that the choices they make in life have consequences that attach themselves to their name and can survive even death.  It is important that our children be taught this from a very young age not to compromise their integrity and honor not just for their preservation, the family name, but the honor and integrity of the Lord Jesus of whom we serve and claim as our Lord and Savior. 

Keeping a good name is important.  God has given us each a name and placed us in a particular family in order to serve Him to greater heights within that family.  Before the beginning of time our names were chosen and written in His book of life.  So, guard the name to which God has given you.  John 10:3 tells us:

“…He (Jesus) calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.”

As a part of God’s elect or sheep as it states here, when Jesus comes calling for us to believe and place our trust in Him, He calls us by name.  How awesome is that?  The name given to us is very important to God and should be important to us.

Kids today are being drawn over to a very evil side of the world.  Constantly being encouraged to do activites that may not be illegal, but are very unethical.  Finding money or a valuable of someones and keeping it, because they can.  Petty theft is huge in our young peoples lives today, lying in order to stay out of trouble, cheating on test and homework, etc.  Great riches are exploited constantly on the television and radio.  Our professional athletes lead the way in showing what power great instant wealth can provide for a person, but also the destructive power that has as well.  Use these moments to train the kids that setting their eyes on being rich and famous is not God’s plan.  Money and fame are something God can give to them, but that is not the ultimate goal and most are not ready for it for decades to come.  Our ultimate goal as parents should be to train our kids to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, mind, and actions.  God will promote each of the kids as He has ordained, but the focus should be to serve the Lord at a greater capacity in order to keep themselves away from boredom of an idle hand and the lure of a harlot named “money”.  It is tough for parents today as the information highway means we have to be on our guard at every turn, no time for relaxation as long as our little ones are awake.

” A good name, like good will, is got by many actions and lost by one.”  -Lord Jeffery

Train the children to build a good name and guard it from the enemies desire to destroy it.

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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

Obama is telling our kids what?

Posted by Scott on September 4, 2009

Today, the water dam broke as parents all over the country realized President Obama is making a speech to their children from the White House. A tremendous tidal wave is moving swiftly across the land.

I want to share some positive thoughts concerning this along with some that are not so flattering. I am not an Obama fan at all and do not trust him and what he says for one second. However, his speech next Tuesday will not deliver anything profound or new. It is not the speech content itself that really has the people turned upside down.

 What disturbs the masses and myself is lack of trust we have for this man and his administration. Look back into history, the history that no one learns anything from, and many of us can see socialism quickly on the rise. From socialism stems the mistreatment of our elderly, doctor assisted suicides, mercy killings, massively high taxation, religious right dissolved, freedoms to worship and speak freely about our God gets less and less….we know of past countries that have been swayed by flattering speech and new directions that ended in disasters.

However, I can get past all that. Even if Obama came out next Tuesday and said lets stand and state a new pledge of allegiance to one nation under Obama it would not surprise me nor cause me to flinch. As a parent of kids from 2 yrs old to 18 yrs old I have a God given responsibility to protect my children from any potential danger in word or deed. It is my responsibility to make sure my younger children are trained in the way they should go not merely told.

I have heard for years the “missionary” factor as to why Christian kids need to be in the public schools, yet what most dont understand is that our kids are not missionaries yet. Most missionaries go through alot of training and understanding before embarking out into the jungle to minister to unchurched tribes. So, that excuse never holds up. Another good one I hear on a regular basis is the public schools are “burning hospitals and our kids are the doctors”. Sounds great in theory, but again it will not hold water biblically. Think about it for a moment, do we really think these little kids are ready to be doctors in a burning hospital? From K-6 they are no where ready for this type of mission work or doctoring using those analogies…God does not tell us to train our kids this way. Do we give a doctor a manual, stethoscope, and white rob and say now get in there and start doctoring those people? Do we send missionaries into the jungles where people speak an unknown language before first training them in the ways of these people and getting to know their language. We dont send them into these jungles to figure it out for themselves with a Bible and backpack. Some have had to pioneer the way, but they also have been thoroughly trained.

Proverbs 22:6 God tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

This means so much to us as parents and yet most of us fail miserably at it, including me. However, I must keep striving to train my children on a daily basis. Sending the kids in the socialistically run government indoctrinated schools is not what God called us to do and call it training. Why do we think our youth are leaving their faith in such huge numbers…88% by the time they are in college all but denounce their Christian faith. Truth be known, mentally and spiritually they left the Christian faith well before they leave high school, they just do not have the freedom to say so.

Training a child in the godly way they should go requires countless hours and quality of time to make the impact that will last until these children are old. I am afraid the impact already made on many that have left the faith may not be reversible. However, we do not have to give up on them, but we certainly do not have to allow this same fate happen to our children if we will see the dangers that are ahead and many dangers are ahead for our children when they are teens and adults.

Going back to the topic at hand about Obama’s speech brings me to two simple yet profound verses that address a portion of how we are to train our children in the way they should go. Proverbs 22:3 (ESV) tells us “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Now, tell me, if we are to train our children, do we honestly think that setting them down and explaining the dismay we have for what Obama is doing will help when we pat them on the backside next Tuesday morning signalling that it is important, but not so important that we will not remove them from any danger. The training in this case is when we say “Obama is dangerous and you little ones need to realize he is dangerous, but it will be ok, go on to school and try not to listen to him much.” How ridiculous is that? Is that training our children? Training requires choices on our part as parents that go directly against most of our peers beliefs and decisions. Training our children requires that we live a most different life from the rest of the world especially our peers. Training matches the talk…training is not just talk.

Training is to dedicate ourselves to teaching our children…this will require sacrifices on our part most of the time. It may require less money, less “worldly” success, but it will result in children that will not depart from their training when they are older. God is looking for our kids to be devoted to Him and His cause, not this new worldly gospel of moral-ism, world hunger, and aids awareness. Those things will always be around us and we must address them in the love of Christ, but that is not to be our all consuming fire. The gospel is repent for the kingdom of God is at hand, God made a way for us to be forgiven for those sins, trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior saves us, and drastically change our lives to one of striving for holiness rather than grooviness.

One final thought to wrap it all up. Training our children is taking Proverbs 22:5 to heart “In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them.” It is our job to help guard our little ones hearts and flee with them from these snares and thorns, not send our children off in their direction. This issue with Obama will come and go without much incident I am sure, however, it has proved to be a festering sore in the Christian camp that is set to burst its creamy off-white nastiness all over the world and when it does it will not be a pretty sight. But what is festering is many parents is guilt over how to deal with this issue by not dealing with it. “Send my child to school and look irresponsible before God for putting them in possible harms way” or ” if I don’t send little Oscar to school tomorrow my friends will laugh and call me too religious or a fear mung-er”. No matter what the excuses are the decision for each of our families rest with us parents. Send them off to school and pray is one way you can do it. Send them school after you have thoroughly told them how not to listen to the speech is another way. Both ways keep the parent from having to explain their decision. Another response is to keep their child home in protest and use that is an opportunity to teach those around you why little Oscar did not attend…it gives both the child and the parent the opportunity to present a godly way of life that is not compromising in any way from the Word of God. For the parent it even an opportunity to share the true gospel of Jesus Christ as most lost people will not understand what this is all about.

Understand, this is not all about politics, but as our first item of business we are to spare the children from the jaws of satan at every opportunity and respond to the challenges from God’s Word not against it. This is not over sheltering them, but taking God at His word and removing them from danger. Some of them need sheltering, but are exposed to every gross ungodliness imaginable and it is called freedom and faith.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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