En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘Theology’

Reassuring Voice of Psalms: Book Review!

Posted by Scott on February 20, 2010

This book is a wonderful early morning resource during prayer. I enjoy the Psalms and this book has a beautiful approach to them.

Each day as times seem to be tough I enjoyed reading another Psalm and then the commentary along with it. You can almost hear David singing praises to his God as he embarked on battles, hiding out in caves from his enemies, and times of rescue and much needed rest. Yes, the Psalms are just relivant today as they were when written several thousand years ago.

This is a great book to read along while drinking the morning coffee or just before turning out the lights at night. Start the day with the Word of God and hide the Psalms in your heart at nice.

After further review, however, I am not as sure about the need for such theological diversity. God’s Word is alway relevant regardless what society thinks and He has only one theology built around the saving grace of Jesus Christ. I did find the words easy to read and did not seem to water down the meaning too much. As long as the theology can be supported biblically I find this book a good read. My warning is to know your theology and know it well.

Overall, I would recommend the book as a resource, but be sure to keep reading your Bible as well.  Never replace the Scriptures for someone elses opinions or attempt at making it easier to read or understand.

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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.

All Rights Reserved to Scott Bailey, Dads Devoted, & En Ghedi sites!

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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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Lost in the Woods

Posted by Scott on November 30, 2009

Lost in the woods: An adventure of two old cowboys searching for lost calves!

It was the spring time of the year when Harold and I were working cattle for days without much sleep. Our job was to move over four hundred head of cows, calves, and bulls from one section of pasture to another which happened to be on the other side of the canyon. The distance between these two pastures was over thirty miles. Harold and I along with about fifteen other hired hands could move these “beeves” about 15 miles a day.  It could be dusty, wet, and sometimes sleepless, most of the time a thankless job. This particular morning it was briskly cold. A sharp chill would cut right through my jacket which seemed to pierce my skin going directly into my bones. At times the chill seemed to get into my blood stream and would make me shiver from my head to my toes. I shouted to Harold, “I can’t get warmed up this morning. I wish that north wind would calm down.” I spotted in the camp hot tar black coffee on the fire and I thought to myself, “That will warm me up for the long day ahead”. You see, a cowboy almost has coffee running through his veins rather than blood. We live off of coffee in order to stay awake, alert, and when it is cold, it provides warmth for our soul.

The pastures we were working were in the valley down below the Sunhill Mountain range in southwestern Colorado. You could travel through hot ninety degree days in the valleys and enter thirty degree nights in the mountain area. Great area to run cattle, but the weather could change on you within minutes it seemed. Mr. Garret owned this cattle ranch called “Running Bar Ranch” and the ranch has been in his family for three generations. So, we all took great pride in tending to Mr. Garret’s cattle.

It was Harold and I’s job to see to it that every single cow, calf, and bull made it safely to the next pasture. We did not leave one calf behind if it was at all possible. Leaving a calf behind to die was like losing money and Mr. Garret frowned on that, plus he would dock our pay one days wages if he found out we had not tried to retrieve a lost calf. From time to time a calf would stray off into the woods at the foot of the mountain range. When that happened we would go into the woods after them. However, the calves would do this when no one was watching and we would find a cow not wanting to go with the herd. She would stand at the edge of the herd bawling towards the woods. That was our indicator a calf was in the thickets of the woods. Sometimes the momma cows would bed them down in the woods and other times the calves would simply wonder off in curiosity. Either way, our job was to go in after them.

I remember one balmy late spring afternoon just after the morning chill had finally given into the sunny warmth. We were driving our beeves north to far end of the pasture. We noticed about five momma cows refusing to follow in with the rest of the herd. They kept running towards the thickets to our west bawling loudly, but no calves could be seen or heard. I looked at Harold and motioned for him head towards the thicket after the calves and I would be there shortly.

I road my big fifteen hand brown horse on up towards the front to let one of the hired hands know where Harold and I would be and to keep moving the herd forward and we would catch up with them later that evening. So, I caught up with Harold and we moved slowly and methodically into the thicket. The trees and vines were so thick at times we had to get off our horses and go further on foot. Harold hollered out to me, “Where in the world could those five calves be?” I looked at him and just shrugged my shoulders in bewilderment myself. I had no clue. What some of these momma cows will do is take their babies off into the woods and bed them down together. But usually one momma cow would stay with them like a baby-sitter. However, this time it seemed all the calves were alone.

My thoughts immediately started thinking about how wolves or mountain lions possibly could have gotten some or all of the calves. No matter though, Harold and I would not stop until we had found all of the calves safe and sound or what was left of them as proof of their whereabouts.

It started getting late as the sun was just barely peeking over the mountain peak and we had been hunting for these calves for hours. It was starting to get cold again and a small thunder shower had formed just above us over the mountain range. Fortunately, we had packed our rain slicks for such an occasion. As the rain pelted our heads and soaked our boots, Harold heard a faint bawl of a young calf. We hurried in the direction of the cry over large rocks and around enormous boulders. There just on the other side of a jagged boulder he found two of the calves hung up in some of the thickest vines and trees we had encountered. Since we found them, what would we do with them? It was no easy trip up into the mountain range to start with. Harold or I could take these two calves back, but what about the other three. About that time two of our riders from the herd came clapity-clopping up next to us. “Do you guys need any help finding the calves?” one of the hands yelled. “Yes, you can take these two calves back to their mommas with the herd while Harold and I look for the other three calves.” One of the hands yelled back, “We figured with it getting so late and we had not seen you guys yet, you probably needed help.” So, they put the calves across their saddles right in front of them and off on their horses they went.

As Harold and I climbed higher and higher into the mountain area the thicket was extremely dense. The darkness seemed to fall like dark chocolate running down the sides of an ice cream cone. It was thick and heavy darkness. I pulled out an old flashlight I had stuck in my saddle bag hoping it would still work. It has been at least 6 months since I last used it. Sure enough, the flashlight worked, when all of the sudden, Harold let out an “eek” loudly. I yelled over to him to find out what was the matter. When from high above us on rock cliff was the biggest mountain lion I had seen in decades. The sound from this mountain lion would make your skin crawl. The big cat was positioned to jump on top of Harold. I grabbed the 30-30 Winchester from my saddle holster took aim and fired. I nicked the cat right on his behind. The cat took off up the trail above the rock cliff out of sight. I hurried over to Harold to make sure he was alright and of course he was.

About the time we were starting to head up and around the rock cliff, I heard something off in the distance. A faint but steady bawl from a young calf. Apparently, Harold and I had gone too far up in the mountains not realizing where the calves might be. So, back down the trail we went and found the other three calves safe and sound. Harold grabbed one calf and stretched it across his lap while I took the other two smaller calves and stretched them across my lap on the saddle. Off towards the herd we went.

As we traveled down the mountain side we came across a good trail that lead us right out of the thicket in the valley below. The herd was bedded down for the night about twenty minutes ahead, so we should be able to get back in time for supper. I looked over to Harold and said, “You know Harold, you and I out searching for these five calves tonight through the thicket, the vines, the boulders, the jagged rocks, and all reminds me of how Jesus seeks us out to save us for eternity”. I quoted Jesus from Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Jesus’ mission all summed up in a few words. We came out into the mountain range to seek and to save that which was lost. The result was we found those calves and saved them from danger. Jesus does the same for his own people. “You see Harold; these calves were not looking for us. They may have known they were not in the right place, but did not know who to be looking for”, I spoke plainly to Harold. “People are the same way you know”. People don’t seek after to God. In their lost sinful state of being, they have not a clue they need Jesus”, I confidently exclaimed.

I pondered further about the subject for the next fifteen to twenty minutes until we got back to camp. Finally, arriving at the camp we put the calves back with their momma’s. All the bawling stopped as the calves and momma cows we joined together again. Thinking back over a Sunday-School lesson I heard about a son running off on his own lost to the world. The father speaking to the son’s brother quoting from Luke 15:32 says, “It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost and is found.” About that time one of the other hired hands came wondering up to me and asked what I was thinking about. So, I simply told about how Christ had come to seek and to save the lost of this world. How Jesus talked about in Luke 15:4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” I told the hand Jesus would come after the one lost no matter what. I then turned to him and asked him simply, “Have you put your complete trust in Jesus Christ as your only Lord and Savior?” He just wrinkled his face in an expression of “I don’t know”. We left it at that. But the day’s affairs had made me think more about Jesus seeking out His lost people and how He would go through the thicket, across the rocks and boulders engaging Mountain Lions and all in order to save His own.

by scott bailey (c) 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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Seven Losses When A Christian Lives In Sin!

Posted by Scott on November 11, 2009

As a Believer, we are forced to face certain facts about sin. Whenever we sin we lose something within us which was intended to draw us back to our Lord.

Psalm 51:1-2

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”

Loss #1: LIGHT

1 John 1:6

“If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”

God is light. Not one pixel of darkness resides in Him or around Him.  Fellowship with Him is a deep, loving, communion with our heavenly Father. If we claim this kind of fellowship but are living in sin, we are liars, not being truthful. So, the first thing we lose in our sinfulness is Light.

Loss #2: JOY

1 John 1:3-4

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”

Having fellowship with our Father and our Savior makes our joy complete. However, we lose this joy when we decide to live in a sinful life style, relationship or any combination of sinfulness. We lose our light and our joy!

Reference John 15:11 & Galatians 5:22

A portion of living by the Spirit of God is Joy. In Psalm 51:12 we find a crying out for this joy to be restored…the joy of his salvation. To choice to live in sin comes at a high price by trading rebellion against God for His light and abundant joy.

Loss #3: RIGHTEOUSNESS

1 John 3:4-10

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness…No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him….He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous.”

This is reaching the dangerous category. Because to claim to be a Believer yet make a conscious decision to live in sin makes us  unrighteous. Sin is wrong and is unrighteous behavior. Those who are authentic Christians cannot remain in that sin for long. The guilt of destroying a relationship with our Savior is too deep to allow us to remain in it. The Scripture’s go so far as to tell us the one who does not do what is right is not a child of God. That is pretty point-blank and bold. So, we must be careful in our decisions…sin is hazardous and causes us great loss.

Loss #4: LOVE

1 John 2:5-6

“But if anyone obeys His Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”

Sin is disobedience to the Word of God. Simple enough, but we have a loss of the love of God when we are living in sin. Not saying God does not love us, but that kind of love He has for us, we no longer have for others or even give back to Him. This boils over into a lack of God’s kind of love for others around us. We cannot walk as Jesus did, because the love of the Father is not in us. When the decision to sin is made, whether subtle or slowly, enters the heart of a claiming Believer, and a person remains in that sinfulness day after day without repentance, we have traded this abiding love of our Lord for the lustfulness of sin. This trade-off is not good for any of us. The depths of sin only dig us into a hole that swallows us up, eeks out every hint of light and causes us to feel dirty, filthy, and completely lost to the world of darkness. You do not want to get this far.

Loss #5: FELLOWSHIP

1 John 1:3

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.”

We touched on fellowship before. It is lost in our sinfulness. Living in sin has nothing in common with the righteous. Living in sin has nothing to profit us and pulls us away from the table of fellowship with other Believers. The one living in sin has no light, no joy, no righteousness, no godly love, and now has lost their fellowship with others. Another high price to pay for consciously being disobedient to God.

On the flip side of this, unholy living places us at the table of an unholy fellowship. Those a person in sin will fellowship with are evil, ungodly to the core and feed each a bowl of lies that will make your stomach turn. Ungodliness attracts to worst of people in your life. Your waywardness will take you down a road which God is not on and render you helpless apart from a miraculous merciful act on God’s part. A sinful life style has only as their hope God’s grace, a merciful action on God’s part, and ultimate true salvation. That is a great hope, but it is the only hope for those choosing to live separated from God.

Loss #6: CONFIDENCE

1 John 3:19-22

“This then is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts and He knows everything. If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.”

Sin is an indictment on our confidence. We will not enter His presence in honorable prayer because our hearts filled with sin condemns us before Him. A proud heart full of ourselves speaking in the presence of a holy God does not go together. We cannot hide our sinful condition because God knows everything.

Also, besides the loss of confidence, it causes us to lose the ability to obey and receive what we come to Him for because of the wall of sin we have built between us and God. Sin is a loosely built wall that tightens up with age if not confessed quickly and repented from immediately.

Loss #7: HEALTH & POSSIBLE PHYSICAL LIFE

1 Cor 11:30

Partaking of the communion services with a sinful heart brings about contrition before a holy and mighty God. If a Christian continues to live in their sin, know ing it is wrong, but refusing to do anything about in total rebellion and disobedience to God, their health can began to fail sometimes even to the point of death. The most dangerous activity we can encounter as Believers is to enter a sinful lifestyle in the face of Almighty God and think we can manipulate God the way we do our friends and family. God detest this and so do other Believers who recognize you are living in sin.

I have seen sinfulness poke its ugly head above the ground in so many ways. Wives and moms leaving their families because they do not want to be in that relationship anymore and live in sin with another woman’s husband. I have seen it rare up with two people shacking up together before getting married, denying the sinfulness of their ways and pushing forward to matrimony which end in a disputed divorce. It shows up in great ugliness as men and women turn to the gay lifestyle and excuse it away. On and on I could go.  Bottom line is this, for a Believer to call themselves a Christian and live as though they are not in blasphemous at the core. You are lying to God and man about your faith. If a person continues in this life style of sin for the rest of their life or jumping for one to another without a moment of repentance and returning to a strong faith in Jesus Christ, I would contend they are not a Believer to start with.

Sin is a destructor of people both Believers and non-Believers alike. However, it is more tragic for the Believer who knows better.

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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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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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

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Train the children to be virtuous citizens!

Posted by Scott on September 7, 2009

In reading from the 1599 Geneva Bible that I love to refer to, Proverbs 22:6 reads like this “Teach a child in the trade of his way and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Then I look to John Calvin’s commentary on that verse and he states “Bring him up virtuously and he shall so continue.” That is profound to this verse. Bringing up a child virtuously so he continues in the ways of his training is terrific.

What does virtuous training mean though. I looked deeper into this training to see what the possibilities are and this is what I found. Virtuous is to be morally excellent and righteous in the sense of this passage. It also relates to raising our children to be effectuous. Effectuous is to have the power produce a desired effect or remedies. I like this as well…we should be training our children to be effectual in their lives towards Christ. We want them to have great effect over others and situations to the point they desire to have a Believer around because of the great effect they have in their lives.

Then I dug deeper into this virtuous training of our kids and discovered they are to be trained to be potent which to have great authority or influence. How great is that? By training our children in a virtuous life in the ways they go we want them to have a godly influence over the people they encounter. Our children will be good honorable citizens by way of virtue in the ways of Christ. This is why God instructs us parents to train them while we have them under our roof.

However, another category under the virtuous topic stunned my thinking on training. It is a reference to training them to be chaste. This is an old word, but still applies today. Training our young men, especially, to be chaste is training them to be pure in thoughts and actions (modesty). Further commentary on this for them to be “innocent of unlawful sexual intercourse”. Now, that puts it pretty point blank to me. We are to be instructing our kids from very young to they leave the home in many righteous ways, but surfacing to the top would be training them in sexual purity both in mind and action. Now, training this way is not what stunned me, but what stunned me was that it so specifically surfaced as a very important training for our kids. When you look at our culture, even within some church circles, sex is taken so lightly that our kids do not take it seriously either. Yet, from the very research I have done, this specifically was pointed out in the training. We have much to train our kids, but along with biblical truths, we need to be specific to the kids on each virtue especially sexual morality. Kids can find this battle difficult as the internet has brought every sexual perversion ever thought of right into our homes many times undetected, but we as parents are to do battle with this if we are to give our kids the proper training. Warning: DO NOT expect your public school to give this kind of training to our kids…please, DO NOT think they are going to be trained to be pure in thought and action at school.

Parents’, training our kids is not easy, but it is an area we need to take serious. Food to ponder on isn’t it?

Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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