En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘sovereign’

A New Year & A New Desire!

Posted by Scott on January 1, 2010

Originally posted Friday, January 1, 2010 at www.EnGhedi.com

A new year has begun. It snuck in last night in the darkness with innocence and striving to be better than the last one. Thinking over the past year’s struggles and lessons served as confirmation that man’s free will cannot remove us from sinning. Only God can direct our results to make the right choices. When we find ourselves in sin, it is a reflection of our human inability to make the right choices. We cannot “will” ourselves not to sin only God over time changes the inner the desires of the Believer’s heart towards holiness & us making the right choices. I am afraid this comes through painful growing wilderness journeys.

Refer to Romans 7:15-20 Paul struggled with the desire to do what was right yet ended up in sin. I can jump right in the middle of that one…it plagues me daily. Example Paul used: the 10Th commandment (by the way commandments are not suggestions). Thou shall not covet…Paul’s desire was not to covet, yet he ended up coveting anyway. Paul found that just based on his own will-power or free-will not to covet would not keep him from coveting…when he desired (in Christ) not to covet & allowed the Spirit of God to rule in his life’s desires, this is when he did not sin by coveting. Paul discovered our desires do drive our choices, but it is the God given desires which make for right choices, not the other way around.

Contemplating over the desires of the heart we need to ask ourselves “is the good I want to do really because it is something the Holy Spirit is prompting me to do, or is it for self-righteous reasons?” Make sure the reasons for our desires are pure and godly in order to find ourselves making the right choices. Over the year to come we can improve on making right choices, but it will require a daily diet of God’s Word & drinking a constant solution of prayer, but the main ingredient in our daily meal is the “will of God” being powerfully active in our lives. As our desires direct our choices, we need to make sure the results reflect a true godly desire to do what is right laced with holiness and God glorifying aroma.

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Who is God?

Posted by Scott on December 30, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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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.

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Posting on a new site!

Posted by Scott on December 9, 2009

Christmas Greetings-

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

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

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

Pressing on, Scott

www.EnGhedi.com

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Fit To Be Used by Ray C. Stedman

Posted by Scott on November 24, 2009

by Ray C. Stedman

2 Timothy 2:20-26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Bailey 2009

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My Light in the Wilderness

Posted by Scott on November 17, 2009

from “A Pilgrimage through the Wilderness” by Scott Bailey

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Scott Bailey (C) 2009

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The Rock that will not move!

Posted by Scott on October 23, 2009

“The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer.; my God is my Rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my Shield and the horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold.”  -Psalm 18:2

-God is my rock that cannot be moved.

-God is my fortress that cannot be penetrated by any human invention.

-God is my deliverer in times when it seems impossible.

-God is a refuge of rest and revival.

-God is a shield that covers me from above my head to my feet that no one can go through, over or around.

-God is my salvation!

-God is the stronghold of strongholds who will not let me go when the winds of the storms of life rage past me.

Who is this God?  This God is God Almighty, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ my Savior, the Faithful, the True, and the Lamb of God! This is the God I serve and put my trust in.

“They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers.”  -Revelation 17:14

Who is this King of Kings and what will He look like one day?

“…there before me was a white horse, whose rider is Faithful and True. With justice He judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. he has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven follow Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron sceptor,’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”  -Rev 19:11-16

That describes the Lord I serve.  Nothing whimpy, feminine, or sissified about my King. He will return someday as conqueror and ruler over all.

 

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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I sit in this pit and wait!

Posted by Scott on October 10, 2009

Adapted from Psalm 130

“Lord, I am down here in this deep dark pit, can you hear me?

My voice is weak and my heart even weaker, can you hear me, Lord?

I hope you can hear me as I cry out to you for mercy and forgiveness!

Lord, if you keep score of all my wrongs without mercy who can ever survive?

But Lord, I know you are full of forgiveness and mercy.

You are to be feared, because You are the Almighty God!

So, I sit here in this deep dark pit, reading Your Word, patiently waiting.

It is in my Lord’s Word I am hoping to find peace and comfort always.

 

Every morning I wake up anticipating what You will do that I can be a part of.

I do this every single morning, watch and wait for You!

 

People, rest assured all hope is in the Lord.

In the Almighty God is a love unimaginable!

In the Almighty God is a love that never ceases!

In Him, is a restoring love that never grows cold!

 

Everyone, our Lord and Savior will restore His own.

All of our sins will be forgiven, be patient, be repentful!

God will hear your cry from any dark pit you find yourself in!”

-by scott bailey (c) 2009

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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

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PART TWO…Living in continual sin is not a characteristic of a true Believer!

Posted by Scott on August 1, 2009

This is the second part of this article. The first article can be a jolt to us to make us setup and say “What?” The main point of the first article is we need to take sin very serious…God does. If we find ourselves living in it we need to be extremely concerned, because God hates sin.

Sin has different effects and outcomes depending on whether we are a Believer or not a Believer:

For the Believer in sin:

-God’s wisdom will not come
-His favor will be lifted from your life
-You are spitting on the cross of Christ
-It is Disobedience to God’s call for us to be holy
-Hurts your testimony that God has given
-Severs your relationship with God
-Creates uneasiness in your prayer life
-Creates a stinch from us to the nostriles of a holy God

For the Non-Believer:

-Loves sin much of the time
-Condemns a non-Believer to death
-Puts the non-Believer’s life in peril
-Will be judged based on his or her sin to finality
-Cannot stop sinning…it is a non-Believer’s nature to sin
-Creates hurt in your life and those around you
-Creates confusion in life
-Leads to final destruction
-Cannot recognize sin at times
-Ends up in hell forever, separated from God in turmoil forever

Now, that I have provided such encouraging words (just kidding-I know these are hard words), let me tell there is still hope for both sides of this issue of sin.

For true Believers, we can repent, ask God to forgive us of our sinfulness and to restore to us the joy of our salvation. We can get on our knees in real brokenness before God confessing our sin(s) to Him. God will examine our heart, clean it out, fill it back up with His wonderful hope, joy, and peace. God can take our past sin and use it for His greater glory. We can be forgiven for our sins, but God does not necessarily allow us to forget them (He can take away the hurt and pain of that sin though)…having that memory helps us to not go down that road again, helps us to mentor someone else not to go down the road we have alaready been on, and more. God can and will provide relief from the guilt of that confessed sin. So, for the Believer our lives are not a total loss, but it is certainly stressful times and a life lived in constant sin is not a characteristic a Believer wants to be known for…if that is possible.

For the Non-Believer, if you feel a weightiness pulling your heart that is heavy, if you have a compulsion towards loving Jesus Christ, but your sin is pulling you apart inside, all the sudden your sinfulness has caused you to feel ashamed to the point you want to hide your face, because all of the sudden you realize there is a God and He hates sin and your sin is keeping you separated from Him yet you are torn as to what to do about it, I have a some good news…Jesus Christ wants you to put your complete trust in Him. Today, if what i have described or a variation of it is going on in your life, then God is coming after you…He is drawing you to Himself. You can fight for a while, but eventually God’s will is going to overcome your resistance. Get on your knees in total repentance of the sin filled life no matter how minor or bad it has been, ask Him to forgive you, tell Him you are ashamed, remorseful and cannot stand that you have sinned before Him. Tell Jesus that today, you are putting your complete trust in Him for salvation and eternal life. Ask Jesus to save you today. I believe that if you do this with all sincerity under conditions similiar to this, you will from this day forward be changed as a new Believer in Christ Jesus. Will this new life be easy…No! Will you ever sin again…Yes! Does God still forgive us when we ask for it…Yes! God’s love is still more powerful than our sin and He desires that none of His people end up in eternal punishment in hell, so He is patient with us and comes after us and will overcome us in order to save us. Nothing greater than when the Light comes on and you realize the mighty grace and infinite mercy of our awesome God.

Conclusion, sin is an abomination before our holy God. He hates sin to the core and does NOT overlook our sin…a holy God cannot overlook our unholiness, our disobedience to His calling for Believer’s to be holy…yet Jesus is there to make our case before God that we are one of His once we have come to Him in total repentance, when we have murdered that sin in our life and are looking for a clean start again…God will graciously give us that clean fresh start for His mercies are fresh and new each morning. For those not in the Believer catagory, sin continues to lead you to the pits of hell and unless a mighty work of God happens in your life, eternity is very bleak for you…your sins are your ultimate dstruction. However, for the non-Believer that today discovered that sin is not good, you cannot stand to live that way any longer, you have realized you have a true need to be saved, because sin has made you guilty before God, and you want desparately to fix that situation, but just do not know how…Jesus will save you! Begin calling out to Him for salvation. Trust that He is the Savior, the Messiah. Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He did rise from the grave 3 days after His horrible death on the cross, and that He is at the right hand of God the Father. Believing is a life changing moment that is eternal…whosoever will come, Believe, Trust in Jesus Christ to save you and He will.

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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Living in continual sin is not a characteristic of a true Believer!

Posted by Scott on August 1, 2009

Romans 8:5-8

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”

Might I say that we live in a world that sometimes puts Sodom & Gomorah to shame. The constant justification of sin over and over. It is utterly unsettling at times.

For the Believer, sin should upset us to the point of tears and a broken heart while putting us on our knees asking God for forgiveness. I must ask, “Where is the brokenness over sin these days?” When David was confronted with his sexual sin which led to murder he was broken immediately. His sin tore into his heart like a 90 lb sword thrust through the cartiledge of his chest bones. He did not blame his sin on anyone else, nor did he state the sin was just against someone else either…David admitted that his sin was against God and God alone.

Today, we find many in the churches excusing homosexuality away. Trying to rewrite the Bible or reinterpret the Bible to fit their own agenda. Also, many guys and gals are basically “shacking up” (living together) yet to justify their life they call it marriage by “common law”. The justification goes on and on, but it boils down to this…it is sin!

I want to use an old analogy about a pig. You can take the pig out of the barnyard and dress it up. You can feed it different food. You can call it something else like a dog or cat or even a pet anything but a pig. You can possibly even train the pig to do tricks just like a dog. However, underneath the clothing, the new life style, the new name, and all the tricks…it is still a pig. When you let that pig out of the house and that pig finds mud or dirt, that pig will go straight for it and roll in it with everything it has. Sin is the same way. You can call it whatever you want, you can feed it something new, you can dress it up so the world cannot recognize that it is sin, but to the One who sees all things and knows all things it is still a muddy, smelly, selfish, ruthless sin and God hates sin!

It states it clearly in the first verse above from Romans that a life lived in the sinful nature have their minds set on its own desires rather than the nature of God. This is a pattern to be watched. I would dare say that someone living constantly in sin is defying God’s law and is not acting in character with Scripture by sinning. In my opinion, most caught in this situation and openly defy what is right, openly speak of their sin, openly live happily in their sin, consistantly justifying their sin (dressing the sin up to be something it is not)…are not true Believers in Jesus Christ!

In Romans 8:8 Paul tells us how this effects our relationship with Christ if living an openly sinful life. “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” Living in unrepentant sin will not please God. Do not ask God for His wisdom, because it will not come. God will not listen to anyone living in their sin willfully. Sin separates us from God either permently as an enemy of His or relationally as a wayward son or daughter…either way our sin grieves the holy living God.

Think again next time we try to justify any sin that is present in our life. If we have no remorse, or do not feel compelled to ask for forgiveness for any particular sin, then one should ask “am I really a Christian”. Ask God to examine our hearts daily to make sure we are found in true faith in Him.

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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