En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘sinful’

Serious Holiness in an Unholy World!

Posted by Scott on September 23, 2008

God takes worship towards Him from us very seriously.  The Israelites found this out some 2500 years ago.  In Malachi 3:16-18 God is stating His promise to return to His people if we will return to Him in unabashed holiness before Him.

Malachi 3:6, “I am the Lord, I do not change”.

God does not like to be cheated, lied to, lied about, or talked badly about from anyone.  Today we have many inside and outside the church that think God is an old man with a hearing and seeing problem.  However, I testify to you today that God is no old man with a hearing or seeing problem.  He is seeing and hearing everything we do for Him and against Him.  Rest assured, our heavenly Father will not be mocked.

16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.

 17 “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. [a] I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.   Malachi 3:16-18

What is God calling us to do today?  “Repent of wickedness, habitual sinful life styles, filthy minds and mouths, our prideful attitudes, money hungry habits, our spoiled selfishness, and the theft of what is rightfully His.”  His calling is to return to Him in holiness, purity, righteousness, and all godliness.  God will return to us in favor if we will return to Him in holiness.  God is looking for us to honor Him with our very best, not our rags.  He wants us to serve Him with our very best, not what is left over. 

The Lord has promised mercy for those that remain solidly pure and holy before Him as we walk this land today.  This is a time of great defection from the ways of God and towards a philosophy of man centered salvation.  God has always preserved a remnant that will stoke the fires of holiness for His chosen people.  In these final days, we will witness a return from the few to holiness and purity.  As that desire planted long ago is stirred into a raging inferno of godliness in the midst of a vile and crooked land.

Even as the judgement and wrath of God falls down upon our country and people around us, God’s protection will be magnified even more.  Those caught up in desparate turmoil will wonder how and why we come through unscathed.  The testimony of the saints will find greater opportunities to be exposed. 

As Ezekial 18:1-32 tells of the contract between God’s holy people who will live verses the wicked who will die…7 points emerge for the righteous men of God to observe:

The righteous man….

1….does not worship idols!  The righteous man lives each moment of every day to honor and glorify God with his all.  Money, cars, houses, vacations, loose women, Vegas, clothes, retirement plans, jobs, businesses, travelling, sports, etc…..anything that can become an idol, the righteous man forces himself to be focused on God.

2….is not an adulterer!  He does not sleep around with other women other than his wife.  This is that simple.  The righteous man is a one woman man with eyes and heart for his wife only.

3….is merciful in all things.  The righteous man is merciful is the way he extends credit to people.  He does not take advantage of people especially the poor.  He acts with dignity and integrity at all times with people.  He exudes grace upon the people he deals with.

4….does not rob from the poor.  He seeks to feed and cloth the poor if financially capable.  His heart has sympathy or empathy for those with less than him.  He does not seek out to take from them as easy prey.

5….when capable and asked to loan something to someone, he does so without interest.  The righteous man does not loan money to his brother and charge him interest…he extends grace to his brother in need without charging him into the poor house. 

6….is honest and fair when passing judgement on someone.  The righteous man looks at the entire circumstances, listens to the person and renders a judgement based on the truth and wisdom given to him.  The righteous man has a gift called discernment empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to sift through what is being said to see what is really being done.

7….faithfully obeys the commands or decrees of his God.  The righteous man is like a well trained soldier receiving his commands from his General and carrying them out without wavering.

As our times get grossly worse the holy ones of God will become even more obvious to all those around.  As God draws us to Himself the desire in our hearts to be holy will become stronger.  I can sense that in my own life and many of those around me.  God takes His hand and places it upon my head and turns me in the direction He desires….that direction is towards Him.  

In this time of great apostasy us men need to remember a few things:

1. Be careful not to live closely to the world’s ways.  Yes, we live here, but we are to be a strange people.  We are to be looked upon like we are aliens from another planet.  Living too closely to the world will alter our minds to thinking like the world and ultimately killing our zest for Christ and a life of holiness.

2. Commit to serve God and Him alone.  Choose truth over philosophical lies of this worldly system.  This takes commitment like you have never experienced. 

As Thomas Watson has written, “Hypocrites are good only out of worldly designs.  They embrace the gospel for secular advantage and these will in time fall away.” 

This commitment to serving God starts within our family first.  We have a living breathing mission field within our home’s walls, yet, we usually neglect it in order to travel to some foreign land (nothing wrong with foreign missionaries).  When we arrive in heaven before our Lord He will not mention at first the ministry outside our home….He will address our success or failure within our home.  It is important to Him that we nurture, teach, and father our children in the ways of God.  Living out the holiness we are called to live before their young eyes.  They will know us warts and all, but they need to an example of their heavenly Father shining through towards them daily.

3. Be sincere in our faith in Jesus Christ.  Speak the truth, but also live it out before the world.

4. Love the Lord with the same kind of love that held Him on the cross.  This is a love that carries the believer beyond the fear of death and is the deliverer of true life.  The love mentioned here is a love that is not deterred by suffering if it will honor and glorify God.

5. Harden our hearts towards evil and wicked desires.  The devil will throw out “reproaches” in our path.  These are temptations that are to draw us in. 

Thomas Watson puts it this way:  “Reproaches are but assulae crusis, splinters of the cross.”

These failed temptations or reproaches upon the believer are as “crowns around our heads”.  Remember it is far better that men condemn us for holy and righteous than to have God damn us to hell for being wicked and vile like the unbelieving world.

6. Become a solid wall of grace.  This is an exciting grace that is contagious to other believers around us.  This type of grace is firm yet on the truth, but gracious in its delivery to others.

Men, we have only two real choices in this short life on earth:

Godliness or Worldliness

Which one will we choose.  As Joshua stated in 24:15:

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

The calling is clear, but will you choose to serve the Lord?

Great 2 part message on the holiness of God by Pastor Paul Washer (enjoy)!

(c) Scott Bailey 2008

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True Salvation Is Through Jesus Christ Alone!

Posted by Scott on June 5, 2008

Easy believism taught by many mainstream churches today is not the true salvation taught in scripture.  This “gospel” being taught that God loves you just as you are and he wants to bless your life now…that you can have “your best life now” is a false gospel.  Until a person comes to terms with the fact that they are a sinner condemned to hell apart from a work of God in their life and that repentance is required they will not be truly saved.  You cannot just believe in Christ and not deal with the sin.  This is why so many churches today are racking up great numbers of so called “converts to Christ”…just believe and you are saved, but without repentance.  Anyone will come that kind of Jesus…just believe in Him and you have a ticket to heaven and yet you do not really have to change your life at all….this is wrong and heretical.  Jesus says we must deny ourselves and follow Him.  Was His life on earth easy?  No!  To follow the Jesus Christ of the Bible, to follow the God of the Bible, will not make you the most popular person on the street.  As a matter of fact it will most likely divide your street with most people being on the opposite side from you.  To believe, have faith in and follow the Jesus of the Bible, the true Christ, will require you to turn from the way you are going right now and go the way of Christ.  Our best life is in the future with Christ in the New Heaven for all eternity…it is not right now!  I encourage you to watch John MacCarthur speak on this very subject.  It is a great video.  Enjoy and search your heart today!

 

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Hell…is it a real place?

Posted by Scott on March 7, 2008

I got up early this morning looking for a nice positive word from the Lord.  As has been my daily readings for weeks now I was reading this morning from Psalm 8…great passage, but nothing really jumped out at me.  For whatever reason, the Holy Spirit lead me over to read quoting Jesus in Matthew 8:11-12, 13:38,42,50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30 and Luke 13:28.  This was not the topic I was necessarily looking for, but was drawn in by it as the reality of Hell is still so evident.  God’s word has never changed nor has the relevancy of what He is saying. 

As I read this it reinvigorated the call to teach the word of God with a heart for the lost.  Now, get one thing very clear…we do not draw people to Christ nor do we save anyone.  The call of each Christian is to teach, preach and live out the word of God daily…the regeneration of the soul and saving grace of God is the work of the Holy Spirit not ours nor is it the work of the lost themselves…we must deliver the message and step aside.  We must be ready in season and out of season to teach not only the positive upbeat messages of the scripture, but the messages that teach the realities of a sinful life apart from God and the consequence of rejecting His Son, Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  The reality of dying without Christ is eternity in Hell!  I cannot put it any simpler than this…Hell is a real place prepared for the wicked sinful unrepentant people of this world.  In the remainder of this post I will strive to describe from my studies what this place is like.  This is not to scare anyone into a decision…that is not my purpose.  It is to shake to life the Christian that is asleep in his or her relationship with Christ that is hiding their life in Christ and not sharing it with the world around them.  Wake up all you saints and share your faith and allow the Holy Spirit the opportunity to do His perfect work in those souls set apart before the foundations of the world were set in place.

“And the children of the kingdom shall be cast

into utter darkness:  there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

-Matthew 8:12 (Geneva)

For the Jews, they must enter the narrow gates of heaven just like any Gentile does.  They cannot get into heaven based on what they are called…referencing Matthew 8:11 as the “sons of the kingdom”.  Unless they be born again they will not enter the kingdom of heaven but perish in the dark burning fire that is all consuming, but never consumes the soul away from the torment.  Folks, there is only one way into heaven to be with our heavenly Father and Lord Jesus Christ…it is directly through Christ.  Jesus stated that “no one comes to the Father except by Him…”  The fact that our parents or grandparents were Christians will not enroll us into the book of life.  We each must stand on our own to account for our acceptance or rejection of the Savior without any regard for those aroud us.  We will not be able to say to God that our mother or father was a Christian, so that makes us a Christian….it does not.  We will not be able to tell God that we were baptized with water as an infant and enter into heaven, that is not the way to heaven.  The only way is by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.  Throughout the rest of your life the Lordship will become more and more real as you show the fruits of your salvation in the good deeds or works presented throughout the remainder of your life.  We will not be able to present good deeds as the reason for our entrance into heaven either…it is only by the surrendering of ones life to Christ.

“The Son of man shall send forth His angels and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity.  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire.  There shall be wailing andgnashing of teeth.”

-Matthew 13:41-42 (Geneva)

I must tell you that I do not like delivering such a narrow message, but this is the biblical truth of the matter.  In my obedience to Christ I cannot deliver a message that would say otherwise.  Jesus mentions “weeping and gnashing of teeth” at least 5 times in Matthew alone.  Consequences of sin is death…consequences of living out your life in that sin without turning away from it and accepting Jesus Christ is eternal damnation in Hell.  Why else would Jesus mention this in so many sections of the scriptures. 

I want to paint a very real picture for you as I have discovered from God’s word and the help of many great theologians of the past and their commentaries.  In Hell there is no light, only absolute utter darkness.  This is at the extremity of darkness.  It is always said the darkest moment of each day is right before the sun comes up or dawn…think of that darkness except that light or dawn will never come…never!  This is an eternity knowing that Christ is just beyond this darkness that He was once the dawn of each persons day with great hope, but now you will NEVER be able to see this light again or have the hope of seeing this light…ever!  You will never experience a dawn again for all eternity.  Folks, this is the highest degree of darkness that will ever exist and that which none of us know or can fathom.  In this darkness there is absolutely no hope..no hope of light or even a mixture of some light not even a glimmer of light…ever!  In this darkness your eyes will not adjust in order to bring about some shadow of light…those in this place will never see again in this darkness….eternally alive with full site, but not the ability to see in that darkness, not blindness, but the inability to adjust ones sight at all.  This will create in the damned soul a panic that cannot be relieved…ever!  You will never be able to take a deep breath to calm your panic in order to allow time to adjust your eyes for it will be without success…there will be no adjustments to see in this darkness.  Darkness that is forever dark without any breech of light…ever!  Think about forever for a moment…can you visualize an end to forever?  I don’t think so…I sure can’t.  Forever is as far as your mind can go and then it still keeps going without end.

“..But he will answer, I don’t know you or where did you come from.  Then you will say, We ate and drank wtih you and you taught in our streets.  But Jesus will reply, I don’t know you or where did you come from.  Away from me, all you evil doers!  There will be weeping there, adn gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.”

-Luke 13:25-28(NIV)

You might be thinking as I was that this darkness is unbearable, however, this is the least worse portion of this place called Hell.  Hell is a place of horrific grief with a flood of tears that results in no purpose or sympathy or salvation or hope.  Grief stricken tears that will never end in joy or happiness.  This grief will have the wailing cry of a hopeless state of being.  Hopelessness with endless tears.  This is a place without sympathy and hope.  The anguish will prey eternally upon the lost soul in Hell…forever!  The emptiness this anguish and grief brings will only get deeper for all eternity, without end. 

You will read in several locations in the New Testament such as Matthew 8:12, 13:42 and Luke 13:28 about the “gnashing of teeth”.  This description alone would be enough for me.  Think about gnashing of teeth….people grinding and snapping their teeth at one another forever.  The indignation before those other lost souls as they gnash their teeth for spite and vexation.  All this as the result of the fury of the Lord Almighty.  For those in Hell, their memory will torment them forever as they remember the happiness of their past even though God was not a part of their life.  They will exist with an eternal memory of the opportunity to accept Christ, but the hardness of their heart would not give in.  Now, all they have is this memory in the darkest darkness with grieving and wailing beyond comprehension and no opportunity ever again to accept Christ.  They will never experience a happy moment ever again….never! 

As the reality goes on, Hell is a furnace of fire that will never burn up.  As the scripture describes in Jesus words that the fire is for the “tares” in the field that exist among the wheat.  Think about people setting around you in church that look like everyone else or may even appear to be believers, but may be the very soul that will keep the fires of this furnace burning hotter.  The fire of Hell is kindled by the wrath of God with the lives of these lost souls.  This fire is all consuming, but never consumes those within the flames.  This is a dark, tearful, grieving, hot place to spend eternity.  Within these flames are those in comfortless sorrow and incurable indignation at God, themselves, and those around them.  People in Hell will not be able to comfort one another….they will not have the ability to do this as there is no comfort for themselves.  This is a horrific never ending torment within the fires of Hell.  Many of the hypocrites of the past, present and future will enter the never ending torments of Hell.  Hypocrites are those that live in a daily routine of sinfulness all the while telling others not to do what they know they are doing is wrong…all in the name of Christ.  They do this without really having Christ in their hearts only on their lips.

One final aspect of Hell I will describe here as I wipe tears from my own eyes to think of the number of people that will spend eternity in this aweful place.  This is another degree of the torment which is the one final moment with those that accepted Christ and His salvation seeing the joy of those called into the sheep fold and see their happiness of the fact that their greatest hopes in Christ are fulfilled, but then suddenly have God turn to you and cast you into eternal darkness in Hell, because you failed to accept that last great hope in Jesus Christ and the final words of God to you is that He never knew you…never!  Do NOT believe the lies that our God cannot do this as He the one who created us all and He will cast those into Hell that are not of His chosen (elect) people, those hypocrites, those wicked vile people who tortured His remnant, the devil and his followers.  This is not to scare someone into heaven, but is a real part of God’s word that is not preached or taught anymore from the pulpits…because it might “offend” someone.  Hell is a real place!

This is not an easy message to write about…nor is one that I really wish to deliver, but at the obedience of the prompting of the Holy Spirit I cannot wish it away.  Many in the church today will tell you that Hell is not a literal place and that the God of the bible would never send anyone to a place like this.  All I can tell you is you had better be absolutely sure they are right before going through life living on that message.  The scriptures are pretty clear to the degree of the wrath of God for those that reject His Son and the work He did on the cross.  God is love…He also has wrath for the sinfulness that exist on this earth.  God hates sin and only Jesus can wash this sin in our lives away for good.  Although this message seems depressing and sorrowful, the great message that survives it all is to accept a life in Jesus Christ…those who belong to Jesus will not see this dark eternity without hope.  Jesus has made it clear throughout His life on earth as to the realities that await those who reject Him…do not be one of those! 

*This is in no way an extensive look at this subject, but to be a quick read, a jolting read to get those of us in Christ back to the reality of sin (not bad choices) and for those without Christ to understand what is at stake if they remain in their sinful life style.  May the Lord use each of us that know Him to reach the many that are lost in need of a savior.  May the Lord use Jesus’ very words from Matthew to Luke to prick the hearts of the lost and bring those lost souls into His kingdom family by His saving grace.  Remember, the Holy Spirit does the regenerating work not His followers.  We are mere servants and messengers of the faith…go and spread the true gospel.

“For many are invited, but few are chosen”.

-Matthew 22:14(NIV)

-Scott Bailey (c) 2008

Enjoy Ravi Zacharia on the reality of Hell!

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-From A Dad:After All the Punishment…God’s Mercy! Micah 7

Posted by Scott on January 2, 2008

 After all the punishment, the refinement, the sifting as wheat…our God desires to stop His wrath and heap upon us His mercy and grace to His elect, His chosen people, the remnant of exiles because of our failed humanity.  Micah 7 is a great conclusion for God’s people.

Whenever we find ourselves in the middle of such a sinful and wicked people, it is necessary to look to our Lord and wait on Him for relief, direction, and restful peace. 

In the events that surround our sinfulness, we must work through the punishing refinement that is necessary until the Lord in His gracious love subdues His wrath and begins to restore us, rebuild us, and expand the borders to which we are now confined.  During this refining period much like silver, all the impurities, the froth are burned away by an intense fire.  This fire brings us to .999% pure.  We will only be 100% pure at the time that our bodies are returned to our souls at the time of Christ second coming when we meet Him in the air. 

In the refining periods of our lives, the world watches with its sneering glow at how the God we claim to worship finishes His work in us.  This is the testimony that we lay hold of in our Lord. In Micah 7 we read the witness account of the world as it sinks to about the lowest point in its history at the time when even fathers and sons could not trust each other, because of the vile sinful wickedness that existed in that day.  In the midst of this time the world was watching to see if the God of Israel would spare His people.  At the height of His wrathful punishing restoration, the aroma of the Lord’s compassion fills the air like freshly blooming roses after a spring rain.  It is so strong that all people in existence in that area of the world could smell it.  His chosen people, the remnant, His elect were the recipients of this compassion.  The Lord’s tremendous unfailing love was blossoming again towards His people.  In amazement the others around witnessed this miraculous love and commented about this great testimony. 

The Lord promises His restful peace and prosperity to return to His people. 

          “I will do mighty miracles for you, like those I did when I

          rescued you from slavery in Egypt.”

This was a display for all that were watching this love affair between the Lord and His chosen people.  This was in order for God to be mightily glorified and honored in the day of His remnant’s restoration.  All the soulless arrogant people would be shown how insignificant they really are in the light of the larger providential plan of our sovereign Lord. 

In grand amazement the people could only wonder who this God was that put blinders on and pardon the sins of His people.  To their surprise the Israelite’s God did not remain angry for very long nor did He punish them completely for all their sins…His grace is always intervening shortly after His wrath has fallen when His people cry out to Him and call our Lord by name.  In a short period of time they realized all the events that took place was to rebuild His remnant and destroy those wicked proud sinful people who had taken Israel hostage.  They thought they could do as they pleased and get richer and richer off the backs of God’s people, but His wrath would soon fall upon them with no reprieve.  God can and will use people and events for His purposes, both the good and bad.  As this has played out, because God “delights in showing mercy”. 

We finish the story to find God, the almighty one, the sovereign Lord of us all with His arm open wide spreading His faithful and unfailing love out like a table cloth adorning a grand oak table with a feast fit for only the family of the King.  For those of us in the 21st century this promise of faithfulness and unfailing love remains.  This feast is still spread upon His table for us.  Our greatest need as believers is to turn back towards our holy and majestic God.  We will witness the most magnificent transformation in our lives as God pours out His fresh mercies, faithfulness, and unfailing love upon His chosen people.  The Lord wants us to move in the direction of holiness…a purified vessel ready for daily use by our awesome Creator.

 For You, O God, tested us, You refined us like silver.  You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.  You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance.”  -Psalm 66:10-12

For those of us that are a part of this remnant, His chosen people, we will be refined, purified, and stretched.  However, the promise of God is that our ultimate end is not destruction.  We need to hold onto what God has promised us even though everyone around us including voices in our heads may tell us differently.  Difficulties will come our way…this is a part of the suffering we as believers must endure.  Many times as we march forward as we sense God would have us do, things may get worse before they get better, just count on it.  God is doing a far greater work in us than we could ever imagine.  In just a short time, our sovereign Lord will bring us into that “place of abundance”, as He promises.

Just as the Lord promised Israel He would rebuild their cities and extend their borders, He intends to do the same with us.  Although we may be surrounded by pitch darkness, the Lord will be our light. 

Are we ready to be rebuilt by an awesome God?  Are we ready to have our borders extended beyond our sight?  In the quest for His holiness we will experience His righteousness soon.

-Scott Bailey © 2008

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