En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘time’

Men: Some Thoughts on Facebook! Be Careful!

Posted by Scott on February 25, 2009

I was forwarded the below post one day and thought I would pass it along.  Men, we need to really pay attention to our time, especially if we have a wife, family, and/or ministry.  Our adversary, satan, would love nothing more than to use something like Facebook to get us off track and even destroy our very lives.  Read with an awareness that our time here is short…use what you have to the glory of God.

Slice of Laodicea

“An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this morning raises the issue of Facebook use among adults. Reportedly, some who observe Lent are giving up their Facebooking for the 40 days prior to Easter. Facebook addiction, and the snares and pitfalls of social networking sites are the larger issues that deserve some attention.

Not long ago, I was invited to try Facebook by a friend who enjoyed the ability to stay in touch with other like-minded believers. I signed on. I didn’t feel I was doing anything particularly hip and up-to-date. I didn’t even really know what Facebook was. The thought of having contact with other Christians on a more casual and friendly basis was attractive. The work I do is often so serious in nature that a lighter opportunity to interact seemed like a great idea.

Within hours, I was into the Facebook vortex. People began “friending” me, most of whom I did not know, but who knew of me only through the Crosstalk Show or Slice. After initially struggling for a week or more to figure out how the site worked, I got a second wave of “friends” who discovered me online: people I hadn’t seen since the day I graduated from high school, college Republican acquaintances, even a former fiance all showed up asking to be Facebook friends. That’s where things began to get interesting.

Facebook has something called a news feed which updates you on nearly everything your “friends” do on their pages. You can control this feed, something I did not initially realize, as photos, videos and status reports from strangers began coming through. One “friend”, a woman I had known briefly in high school shared photos of herself in a tattoo parlor. I’ll leave the description off there. One male friend from years ago, identifying now as an “anarchist”, began showing off his new beliefs by posting blasphemous statements on my Facebook page or “wall” as it is called. I quickly had to locate the “de-friend” button to remove these individuals, including another acquaintance from the past who decided to share drinking adventure stories.

Meanwhile, the lure of the news feed became clear. With the click of a mouse, you can end up in somebody else’s personal photo album, read the comments on their wall, find out what someone is doing through their “status updates” and so forth and so on. I now had a window into the personal lives of people I barely knew, or in some cases, did know. Somebody changed her profile photo to a glamor shot, hmmm, interesting. Friend X has posted photos of herself in evening attire! Oh look at that new photo. Hmmm, I don’t know if that outfit is all that attractive in that color…Hey, an old boyfriend is making suggestive comments on my married friend’s site. She’d better hit the “de-friend” button on that guy. I’ll bet her husband wouldn’t be pleased. Yikes!…And so it went.

Welcome to the world of Facebook. Yes, these social networking sites can be an asset in some ways. I found that I connected with a busy teen niece for the first time because of my Facebook presence. I got in contact with extended family members I hadn’t seen in years and exchanged family photos. But. At least speaking for myself, I found that the site was a minefield spiritually. I started out checking the site a couple of times a day. As my “friend” list grew, however, I found myself checking it multiple times a day. Can you say “time wasting?” I offended several “friends” by not answering their Facebook messages quickly enough. The drama had started. My email in box started getting hit with notifications that people had tagged me in photographs. I awoke one morning to find that a man I had known in high school had started scanning his yearbook and tagged me in an embarrassing photo that could be seen by all “friends” on my list. In short, the entire experience ended up being a return to adolescence. I pulled the plug and not a moment too soon.

My experience is certainly not everybody’s. Because of my presence on Christian radio and the Internet through Slice and my Hope blog, I did manage to attract a higher number of Facebook trolls and those with malicious intent, in addition to the usual mixed assortment of former friends, family, acquaintances, etc. Those who use a social networking site and who limit their “friend” list strictly to those they genuinely know and care about probably would have an easier experience. I did not know what “friend requests” to approve and who not to approve, and I didn’t want to offend someone who was genuinely friendly.

The primary problem I found was the voyeuristic behavior that the site encourages. What business is it of mine what photos somebody has in their personal albums online? With Facebook, however, whenever anybody adds a new photograph, you are sent a thumbnail of it and by clicking on it, you are taken directly into somebody’s personal life. That’s the whole point of the site!

While I am in NO way accusing all Facebookers of engaging in sin (some even use the site strictly for ministry purposes and I salute that!), I found that without care taken, the site can engender a host of sins like envy, gossip, judgmental thinking, exhibitionism, pride, boundary issues with the opposite gender, and above all, time wasting. The latter issue was the biggest issue for me. There are only so many minutes in a day. With the flesh’s natural resistance to prayer and Bible study, I couldn’t justify my interest in the lives of other people. If God isn’t receiving the worship, time and fellowship He deserves, how could I justify spending all the energy on a social networking site, even with fellow Christians?

Everyone has to come to their own conclusions on this. Technology affords so many opportunities now to communicate with others and the world that can be used for good. It also offers us many new snares and opportunities to sin. Whether a given technology is worth the struggle of fighting pitfalls is something each person must decide. Above all, we need to be ready to examine ourselves and honestly look at our motives and behavior in light of God’s Word. If we can’t control the temptation a technology brings, we need to do rapid surgery and get rid of it so that Satan does not gain a foothold in our lives. If we can use a technology for God’s glory with a clear conscience, we need to carry on and thank God for the opportunity.”

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The Desires of Our Heart!

Posted by Scott on April 30, 2008

In my morning studies it was wonderful to come across this passage of scripture again.  I have read this passage many times before, but this morning the meditation on this passage was fruitful in my life.

Psalm 1:2-3  “But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yield its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.”

Delighting ourselves in the Lord requires daily meditation upon the word of God.  Think of the requirement for our physical health by eatting numerous times per day.  The mediatation of God’s word is the same way.  We need to feast upon God’s word in order to sustain a healthy and growing spiritual life. 

This is like the tree mentioned in the passage.  We are like this tree to God.  A tree planted by a stream of water grows slowly but surely over time.  It has a fresh supply of water daily that never runs dry.  As the tree grows slowly as we grow slowly it will yield its fruit in its season.  We too will yield fruit that glorifies God in its proper season as well.  This tree’s leaves never wither due to lack of nurishment or water.  As we are planted near God always, He is our constant source of nurishment and fresh water. 

The scriptures have only one true authentic meaning or translation, yet it yields numerous applications for our lives.  As we study on God’s word daily and come across the same passage from time to time, we will find a different application many times within the same verse of scripture.  The depth to the well of God never ends.  The well on top looks the same as always, but the water drawn from it is just as rich as the first water ever drawn…God’s word is the same, rich with every reading.  God knows exactly what we need in application of His word at each moment of our life. 

Other scriptures to meditate on about “Delighting in Him” are:  Joshua 1:8  Meditate on God’s word constantly and be careful to obey what you read as it applies.  1 Timothy 4:15 Be very diligent in meditating on the word of God.  Be sure to give yourself completely to the Word of God and be careful to obey what you have read as it applies.  Isaiah 58:13-14 Keep one day holy as the Sabbath to honor Him, Glorify Him, and worship Him.  In this we will delight in Him even more.  Psalm 63:5-6 The evening is an especially good time to meditate on His word taking us into the night.  God calls evening the first day in Genesis 1:5.  What we meditate on in the evening that takes us into our rest at night effects how we start our next morning.  Pslam 119:23 Do not be bothered by those around you who may redicule or slander you.  Just keep meditating on God’s word.  Look to the Bible for counsel.  Meditate on the decrees and statutes.  Psalm 119:99-100 Wisdom comes from meditating on the word of God.  This produces a better understanding of this life and the life to come.  You wil find yourself witha better understanding than your teachers and counselors and elders.  Continue to be odedient to His word and the understanding you now have.  1 Samuel 13:14 We find God calling David “a man after His own heart”.  Why?  David meditated on the word of God, he would wake up in the middle of the night to meditate on the word of God and was always thinking upon the ways of God and His awesomeness in his life.  Psalm 37:4 We are to make the Lord the delight of our life.  In this way He will give us the desires of our heart because we now have the desires He wants in our heart.  Through meditating on the word of God constantly we will understand what it is God intends for us to desire.  God transforms us through His word.  If we do not spend much time in the scriptures how can we expect to know what it is God desires for us? 

Truth to apply:

1. Meditation on the word of God transforms our thoughts to God’s thoughts and desires. 

2. Begin our day in the evenings as our last thoughts being on God’s word.  This will influence the dreams and rest we have at night to assist in the start of a brand new morning.

3. Psalm 1:2-3 He tells us that we will prosper in all that we do if we constantly meditate and read His word.  Why is this?  Because the word of God is a light to our path.  He guides us by His word.  This leads us away from evil counselors and unfruitful activities.  It is important to our faithfulness to meditate on His word daily.  “Prosper” in the Hebrew is tsalach or tsaleach meaning to “push forward” or “come mightily”…it is also to be “profitable” to make “profitable”.  God intends to supply us and use us for His purposes.  For some that could mean financial wealth to be used to further His kingdom and for others it could mean a wealth of knowledge and wisdom beyond our years that can be used to further His kingdom.  Prosperity comes in different shapes and sizes.  I do not think it means many cars and houses, but the wealth is to be given out as God directs and may be needed to further ministries that struggle to keep going or supply families with needed resources during difficult times in their lives.  We are simply to stay in His word constantly in order to know the direction we are to take and how to use that which He prospers us with.

4. Meditation can assist in helping us go to sleep easier.  However, at times it may dislodge impure thoughts in our minds that results in a bad dream.  This is simply purifying our minds and hearts for the fresh new morning ahead.  Refer to John 15:3..the word provided by Christ cleans us and restores our hearts for His greater use on a daily basis.

2 Timothy 3:16-17  “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Continue in the reading and meditating of God’s word regardless of the direction of this world.  Only His word has sustaining power that leads us into eternity.

Scott Bailey 2008

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Our Father who is in heaven…!

Posted by Scott on April 25, 2008

Over the past few days I have spent some time researching Matthew 6:9-13 to which Jesus shows us how we should pray.  This followed Jesus explaining to us how “not” to pray.  I love the words of my Savior and take great heed to His words telling me how to pray.  He is telling the believers how to pray, not the general public mind you.  Think of it, how could someone pray like this who does not know the heavenly Father…the only way to know the heavenly Father is through the Son…Jesus Christ!  Refer to Matthew 11:27.

Prayer is no doubt something that is to be very personal and this model prayer is only to be used as a guide to enter into a very personal time with your heavenly Father.  Immediately in the beginning we are to make known exactly who it is we are speaking to.  This is not our earthly father.  No matter how frail or how great our earthly fathers where or are, we are still speaking in this moment with our most perfect parent of all…our heavenly Father.  He will never let us down.  He always loves His own.  He will carry us as an earthly father carries his own child.  We can count on our heavenly Father no matter what the circumstance we are in.  Do not think that He will spoil us, but He will give us exactly what we need and when we need it.  He never gives us too much or too little…it is always exact.  He listens to His children when they pray.  He longs to hear from us in this most intimate way…prayer!

After doing my early research on these words of Jesus a very personal and intimate prayer flows out from the text of verses 9-10 something like this:

“My dearest heavenly Father in all eternity, Your name is the holiest of all.  May Your royal kingdom come here, may Your pleasure be fulfilled here in my world as it is where You live in all eternity, the abode of heaven.”

The “abode” of heaven is a place elevated above all other places.  It is a place of dwelling in continuance.  This is where our self-existant heavenly Father lives…our God lives on high.  He has always been and always will be.  He lives in a place that has continued always without beginning or end.  Our heavenly Father right now is longing for the time in the future when He will share all eternity with His chosen people…this will be in the New Heaven…that is another subject by itself.  Think of your heavenly Father like what I have described above.  He is not a tyrant looking for someone to pounce on.  He is not an old judge without grace.  Our God is full of grace, mercy and love.  Our God is a “just” God.  He loves His chosen people and did so to the point He was willing to sacrifice His only Son on the cross for our sins.  Our heavenly Father is longing to be with us forever, but time is not an issue with Him, so He waits for His elect to accept Him.

In the meantime we have this beginning of Jesus’ model prayer.  I will continue later with the latter part of this prayer.  For now, just meditate on Matthew 6:9-10…these two verses alone once you understand and take into your mind the full meaning of Who you are praying to should be enough to leave you in awe of our wonderful heavenly Father.  Pray with great intimacy to our God in heaven.  He is waiting for His children to call upon Him.

In Christ,

Scott 2008

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He Leads Me Beside Still Waters!

Posted by Scott on March 28, 2008

Psalm 23:1-6 is a short chapter.  However, the Lord has it jam packed with meat that each of us guys can live on.

We have a God that is our Shepherd.  This means He watches over us as sheep.  Whether we like to think about it this way or not we are all like sheep prone to wonder away and get into trouble unless our Shepherd keeps us in line.  A Shepherd makes sure we are in the right places to eat and drink, so we will want for nothing.  This does not mean we will have everything we want, but everything we need…there is a difference.

Our great God gives us green lush pasture grass to lie down in…nothing greater to a sheep than tall luscious green grass in the morning with a bit of cool watery dew on top, yum-yum.  With us it is the same way.  Our gracious Lord gives us a place to lie down in peace at night.  It is our Shepherd that gives us this sweet rest. 

Then we are lead by the crystal clear calm waters that are quiet and peaceful.  These can be described like small ponds with not even a ripple across them, like looking at glass.  Come to think of it I have not seen sheep drink from a running brook or stream…as sheep they are probably too scary to drink from such a source.   Mostly I have seen sheep drink from is a still, quiet, pond or lake only.  Could it be this way for real..I will have to research further on that?  Anyway, in the middle of a hard day, God will calm us and quiet us with His presence.  Just knowing He is beside me is all I need to know in order to gain a steady hand with my problems.  Even if my issues are not going my way just having my Jesus beside me is all I need.  It is in this moment beside the calm quiet waters that He restores my aching troubled soul.   My Lord brings about the stability in my soul so that rest and peace can take place.  He gives us the steady hand to accomplish our work.  He gives us the steadiness to calm our families during the storm.  As Jesus leads us we can lead our families as well.  It is our job as dads and husbands to help our families to drink from these calm quiet ponds and find rest there.  We are to lead our families to the Shepherd.

You know guys, God is our personal guide leading us on the right paths in this life.  It is for His glorious name that He guides us back over to a righteous road away from the treacherous way we can be headed.  You know us sheep are prone to wonder and not recognize when we are going the wrong way that leads to our tragic end…God as our Shepherd knows this.  Thankfully we can count on His beautiful guidance each and every day.  It is hard for any man to give up ourselves in order to allow God to rule our lives, but guys, we must.  We must be the example of obedience to His word to show our families it is “ok”.  They will gain trust in our Shepherd if they see us trusting and obeying Him.

Throughout life each one of us will walk through the deepest darkest valley.  As the scripture puts it “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”.  It is appointed that every man die once a physical death.  However, in this instance we can apply this “darkest valley” as death, financial ruin, spiritual upheaval, major health issues, etc.  In our lifetime we will walk through many dark valleys in order to get to the next mountain top and we have to climb this huge mountain just to get there.  Mountain tops are not that long compared to the valley below them and the sides leading up to them.  This is why we see far more valleys and find ourselves climbing mountains most of the time than we experience standing on top of the mountain.  Each mountain top experience I have had was absolutely wonderful…I never wanted to leave there, however, in order to continue to grow closer to my Lord and be obedient to His calling, I had to leave the mountain top and begin that long decent down the other side towards yet another valley.  This is tough to do.  God never promised us it would be an easy life, but that it would be one worth living in the end.  You see, we can count on our Lord to walk with us through these darkest valleys.  We need not fear any kind of evil since He is with us.  He has two big sticks to beat off anything that might try to keep us in that valley or ruin our time there…it is His rod and staff.  We can take great comfort in knowing this as we follow God along the right path through the valley.  Guys, these valleys are never where we want to stay, but the wisdom gained there is absolutely irreplacable.  I like to be beside a calm lake, with beautiful greenery all around.  I love watching the birds fly in and animals roam around those areas.  It can be great sometimes.  If we are not careful, guys, we will get accustom to living in the valley and not want to start climbing the mountain again.  These valleys have tremendous purpose, but we must continue on.  That mountain top is still the best place to be even if for a short period of time.  You see, it is there we can actually see all of God glorious wonder.  It is there we can shout the praises of our great King and see where it is we have been.  It is hard to see where we have been in the valley, but on the mountain top we can see it all that is behind us and much of what we have coming before us.  This is not saying we can see each trouble still to come…we can see much of the terrain we have to cross in order to get to the other side.  Hey, like my kids, I love a good adventure and in that valley below is adventure guaranteed.

Each of us no matter how gracious or good we are will have enemies.  Even if this enemy is satanic in nature, it is still our enemy.  As a matter of fact if anyone is against God they are an enemy of God making them our enemy as well.  So, regardless how hard we work to make sure no one is our enemy, we will still have enemies.  Our gracious Lord prepares a table that is fit for a king to eat at right in the presence of our enemies.  He intends that the enemy see that we belong to Him.  God wants our enemies to know that He is our God, our Guide, our Shepherd, Our Leader, and our Redeemer.  At the same time He anoints us or honors us before our enemies, which is one of the highest forms of affection and honor He will bestow on us.  Our cup will run over with the affection of our great sovereign Lord.  While the enemy can only grumble and look on…God is loving us and taking care of us each step of the way. 

Finally, we find ourselves with goodness, mercy, and love following us all the days of our lives.  This is a promise.  Men, understand that we can live off the promises of God…this t-bone steak for us!  This promise is not that we will spend our entire lives on the mountain peaks, but that even in the darkest valleys goodness and mercy and love will follow us there.  We can count on our God to provide that for us.  In the end of it all is really no end at all.  For we will live in the house of God forever.  For all eternity we will rest with our great God in heaven livign life to the fullest in thegreatest sense that God intended us to live.  These valleys, the shadow of death, the financial turmoil, the marital problems, the health issues, the pain, the suffering, the depression, the unclear direction, the uncertainty..this will all pass away someday into a new morning that is crystal clear with the light of the glory of our Lord Jesus with His hands open wide for each of us.  As God has said, “though I walk THROUGH the valley”.  It does not say we are staying there or how long we will be there.  We are only walking through it…there is another mountain peak coming…there is a new day dawning.  His mercies are fresh and new each morning, guaranteed!  After all is said and done in this life, we have eternity waiting…stop and imagine eternity or forever…what will that be like?  What a glorious picture we can make of this.  Those without Christ have no picture to visualize.  Those of us in Christ, oh what a wonderful day it will be.  AMEN!

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Listen Up Guys….Appropriate Relationships!

Posted by Scott on February 3, 2008

Appropriate Relationships

Guys, if you’re going to succeed in living a God-pleasing life, keep your distance from women apart from your wife. 

I’m not saying that you become rude to women or stand-offish. What I am saying is that we keep an appropriate distance in our relationships with the women with whom we work and associate. You know what I’m talking about. We must keep our distance emotionally, and we must keep our distance physically. And if we will do that, we’ll be just fine. 

One of the reasons a vast majority of guys don’t finish strong can be found right here. Why? Because Satan takes them out with his all-time, numero-uno, time-proven tactic for snaring men and keeping them from living successfully: sexual immorality. Be on the alert and remember, ministry begins at home. My first responsibility before God is to my wife.

–Steve Farrar

Steve Farrar is the author of ten books, including the
best-sellers Point Man and Finishing Strong.
Learn more at SteveFarrar.com

-Scott Bailey 2008

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-Fierce Warriors in the Hands of God!

Posted by Scott on January 5, 2008

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth”
–Psalm 127:4

You may be thinking right now that I am crazy for using Spartan Warrior within Christianity, but read the entire piece before passing judgment.  Spartan Warriors were fierce fighters.  They would fight to the death for their family, king, and kingdom.  They were ruthless and unconventional in their process and training.  However, my research on Spartan Warriors turned up better qualities for these fighters that many of us as Christian men need to pay attention to. These warriors were trained from the very young age of 7 to be fierce in battle.  The meaning of Spartan is to be “totally devoted to one cause, self-deprived or stripped down to nothing, but the bare essentials, undoubting and courageous”.  They were trained to give their lives without hesitation.  These warriors did not think anything about danger and always expected to win or die trying to win.  These were dreaded men in battle. 

 Gentlemen, I am here to inform you that if you did not know this before now, we are in the battle of our lives and the lives of our families…time to wake-up!  I am afraid that unless we as Christian fathers do not began to train our young men to be like these Spartan Warriors, the future looks very dim.  We need to be training up our boys to be fierce when in battle and this battle takes place daily.  Young men that will not back down from authority that makes rulings in direct conflict with the scriptures.  We need young men that do not mind being ridiculed when they stand up for the under-dog or under-privileged or as they share the gospel to a neighbor or friend.  In some cases this may mean taking up arms to defend our nation and our families from the enemies abroad or even within our midst.  On a daily basis, we need to equip these young fighters with the Truth of God’s Holy Word above all else… God’s Holy Word is not found in the Koran! 

Within the pages of the Bible are many fierce warriors who fought bravely like King David as one example.  The Lord helped him fight with full control of himself and bravely.  David fought mightily with the hand of God on his life…”And David became greater and greater, for the Lord God of hosts was with him.”  2 Samuel 5:10 (NAS)  He as a warrior for the Kingdom of God and Spartan Warriors in ancient Greece were courageous and self-sacrificing.  The crusade I am speaking of today is for the minds and hearts of our young people.  Many Christians have already given up this crusade long ago and have decided to just blend in with the rest of the world in order to have peace.  They may go to church and bible study, but nothing  is different in their lives or the lives of their kids.  We have bought into the society belief that we can be immersed in the life style of the world and still maintain an effective evangelical witness. 

 Titus 2:12(NIV) says, “It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…”  In John 15:9(NIV)  it states, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”   

Just hoping our kids will turn out alright is not the answer.  Our adversary, Satan, would like nothing else than for parents to take this approach.  Of course by the grace of God some do turn out alright and frankly that is how we all turn out alright. However, these kids are placed in our hands for a short time for training and preparation for the future and we do not want to let them down if at all possible.  The battle for the heart and mind of our children today include homosexuality, pornography, drunkenness, illegal drug usage, over eating, moral relativism, unfaithfulness, theft, lying, and so on.  This corruptness is being taught in nearly every public forum and institution in America as being “right”.  Our children are being taught that there is no sin and there is no right or wrong.  Their cry is that we all need to be more tolerant of each other.  They are taught that Adam can marry Robert and Eve can marry Laura and it is “ok”.  The truth is that homosexuality is sin and it is not “ok”.  This sin is as forgivable as over eating, as is drunkenness and so on. Glory to God that they are forgivable, but I do not want this deviant trash taught to my children and grandchildren as being “ok”.  Pornography is down played as just a natural thing that men and women desire and it is “ok”.  Christian men are not immune to this.  Men it is not “ok” even in the privacy of your own home.  What we put in our minds has a direct impact on what comes out of our life each day.  Much of the violence against women today stems from pornography.  If this kind of trash goes into the mind then I can guarantee you that vile trash will come out in some form of your life.  Drunkenness is very accepted these days as well, although it is nothing new to the ages.  Drunkenness is mind altering and you will do and say things that will not honor God in any way and will bring shame upon your family. 

Psalm 23:33 says about too much wine, “Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind will utter perverse things.” 

God has always spoken out against drunkenness in His Word.  I said here, “drunkenness”, not a glass of wine at dinner…I just wanted to clarify that.  A trendy activity nowadays is to go to church on Sunday and raise your hands and sing in what is perceived to be praising and worshipping God.  Then the rest of the week live as you wish and on the weekend get stumbling drunk with your buddies and come to church on Sunday to be holy again.  Is this truly grace in action?  What a mockery to the glory of Jesus Christ!  Does this show a deep love for our Savior?  Does raising our hands to the “bouncy” music in the churches today that stirs up the emotions really make us spiritual and holy?  I am not attacking praise worship music entirely, but in observing the true impact of this movement that has forgotten the testimony of the hymns of old, I have witnessed people actually growing more vile in their lives rather than a closeness to the Lord as the music stirs up emotions rather than a deep seeded devotion to worshipping Christ in the music and message of the pastor. 

Men, take a hard look into your heart….is that burning desire to know Jesus and love Jesus really there?  What is your reason for going to church or reading your Bible?  Another hot trend within the world today is embracing the Muslim or Hindu or Buddhism religion as another way to heaven…that we should be tolerant.  We are told that there are many ways to God. 

 Matthew 7:13-14 speaks of those broad roads and narrow gates, “Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.  For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” 

We are taught to believe they should have equal access to the minds of our children, our culture, and we should move over for their ways and embrace their teachings.  I will make this statement as clear as I can, men, NO ONE has the right to access the mind and heart of my children other than God Himself.  God gave those children to me and my wife to love, nurture, train and protect.  The liberal left does not have the right to them, the Communist left wingers do not have a right to them, the Muslims, Hindu’s, or Buddhist do not have rights to them, the homosexuals do not have rights to them or the legalist within the church today do not have the rights to them, or any other kind of evil that permeates this dark world we live in today.  If I sound a bit combative in this, I am combative.  This is no powder puff football game we are in, people. 

So, I am declaring today that we must start raising our sons ,as the Spartan Warriors of the 21st century, that will carry on these truths that are in God’s Word and do it unashamedly.  We need a crusade where young men will give their lives so that our future generations can survive without having to bow to the vile images that are so prevalent in our culture today or be subject to the horrific views and taunting by the homosexual leftist agenda.  A desire must exist for young men to train themselves to be satisfied with only the bare essentials as Spartan Warriors were disciplined to be and not raised under pampered lives like so many of the Christian and worldly kids of today.  These young men need training to buffet their bodies and keep their actions under control regarding women, children, money, alcohol, politics, and the things of this world.  Our world is groaning for young men who have a deep seeded desire to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

   Can we train up young men that will carry as their motto, “Give me Christ and Christ alone”?  We long for young men who are willing to die for the cause of Christ.  This does not come naturally…it comes as we battle forward immersing ourselves in God’s word and let Him develop in our hearts and minds a “biblical world view”.  God is sovereign!  He has never moved or changed His mind.  He is not surprised by the darkness that envelops the world we live in today.  He created this universe and every living or non-living being in it.  He is not bashful about war, battle, death or even love.  So, our challenge today as fathers of sons is to bring up a new generation of young men that will fit the image of God, like a warrior for truth, justice and become a loving family man.  Steve Farrar put it very plainly with this quote from his book, “Standing Tall”:

“Gentlemen, we are raising our kids in this sewer of moral relativism.

If your kids buy into this philosophy, it will ruin their lives.

Here’s the deal, guys.  Our kids won’t know anything unless they see it in our lives.  Our kids won’t know that there are moral absolutes unless they absolutely see those truths lived out in our lives.”

-Steve Farrar, “Standing Tall” 1994

 

This is what I am talking about.  The training is about walking and talking God’s truth daily.  It does not mean we are perfect, but that we are able to show our weaknesses as well as our strengths.  We need to show our kids that God creates strength from our weaknesses.  There is a loud voice trying to wake up our countries Christian fathers.  I am afraid though we have ear plugs in or are ignoring this loud call.

“The Christian world is in a deep sleep. 

Nothing but a loud voice can waken them out of it.”

-George Whitefield, 1739

 

Guys, I cannot tell you what to do or how to raise your kids.  I cannot make you do anything you are not entirely willing to do from your heart.  This is not a legalistic set of rules or point of view even though it is my opinion.  I abhor legalism in all of its form when it comes to the scriptures and the life God would have each of us live.  However, I am simply challenging you to rethink how you are training your children, especially the boys and how you are living as an example for them today.  Is it with sacrifice or from a life of pure luxury?  At the age of 7, are you training warriors to do battle for their future wives, children, countrymen, and ancestry or just over educated athletes in hopes of landing that multi-million dollar contract so they can buy more boats, larger houses, more jewelry and filthier women?  What is their view of supporting the ministries that abound in their area today?  Do they have a worldly view or a biblical world view?  Can you see a servant’s heart or a future adult that will be demanding and hard to live with?  Think about what is important in this life that enhances your eternal life and the eternal life of others.  Out of your actions and training which of those give glory to the Lord?  Does baseball, football, basketball, the finest schools, dances, an exotic vacation, or other activities like these have an eternal purpose?  They could have, but just think for a moment how it is coming across to the kids.  Does giving them every single toy they ask for prepare them for the battles ahead in life?  Does saying yes to their every plea really give them a proper outlook on the future?  Does taking their side in every argument truly help them in preparation for debating the liberal left wing of this world?  Do they see you react to a problem with prayer and digging into your Bible or do they observe you speaking harshly of that person or problem and vow your revenge? 

Men, I am not bringing this message from an attitude of having all the answers or that I always do it right, because that would be a bold face lie.  I battle the same sins and problems you do.  I battle the same pride and ego that every man fights.  But the truth is what it is, guys.  I cannot speak totally from example, but simply from God’s truth.  We need fighters, warriors, kids that grow up knowing the Bible and believing that the Bible is completely true as the inspired word of God and fall in love with their Lord Jesus Christ.  Our world can stand young men that will be devoted to their wives, children, and country and see them as a blessing upon their lives rather than a curse. 

 Today, I encourage you to pray sincerely about all that you have read here.  Reach down deep into the pit of your heart to find that which God placed in your heart years ago.  Lift up your family, co-workers, in-laws, and enemies in prayer.  Dress down spiritually and put it all on the table, guys.  Leave it with the Lord…all of it…the hurt, the pain, the tears, the stress, the financial problems, sexual problems, weaknesses, family problems…all of it.  Leave nothing behind to carry on with you.  Then take a long deep breath and set there for a while in silence to listen to hear if God will speak to you.  It may take Him days, weeks, months or years to speak, but He will speak to you.  See if He speaks, not audibly, but spiritually, through His word, through His people, and through the circumstances.  It is better to not move a muscle until you hear God speak then to do anything that would be in direct disobedience to His calling upon your life. 

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.”    Philippians 4:8-9 (NAS)

 

Guys think on a few questions this very day:

-Would the Lord have you change anything about your life, the treatment of your wife and children and then the training of your children?

-What change can you make today that would be positively noticeable to your family when you got home from work that would inspire them to want to follow you and serve the Lord more? 

What changes would bring glory to Christ today?

-Do you have a servant’s heart like Christ or is pride and ego in the way?

-Why do you go to church, bible studies, and other “religious” functions?

-What kind of men do you hang around with everyday?

-Most importantly, do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or are you just playing church or religion because it is the cultural thing to do? 

This is serious guys…your life and the lives of our children and grand-children depend on the decisions we make today….tomorrow may be too late.

Scott Bailey 2007 ©  

*Disclaimer:  In no way am I against sports, athletes, vacations, or money.  Joe Lewis, the late great boxer, once said that “no, money isn’t everything, but it sure ranks right up there with air…try to live without for a day.”  Each of us have a God given purpose in life and is according to what God’s desire for our lives are and we should be obedient to Him in that purpose if we want to live a successful life.  That could mean a pro baseball career for example or using your income to provide for families in need that live around you.  So, please reread this with an open heart and mind and look at it from God’s side as to what He might be seeing in us right now.  He wants us to be completely devoted to Him in all things and my heart felt belief is that we have missed this as dads on nearly all accounts…I am as convicted of this in my heart as anyone else. 

May God bless you as you go out each day to provide for your family and as you work hard to make that much needed time to spend with your wife and children.

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-From A Dad: What Does the Holy Spirit Do?

Posted by Scott on November 13, 2007

 2″Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.”  -Acts 2:2-4 NLT

-Convicts:  The Holy Spirit is there to prick at our hearts when we have sinned…He will try to draw us away from that sinful situation.  If we are to mortify sin we must know that we are sinning.  Today’s emerging church movement speaks nothing of sin.  I have heard numerous church leaders state that everyone knows they sin so we do not need to be reminded of sin.  Well, without this reminder we will drive a huge wedge between us and God with our sin.  We need to know when an area of our life needs to be changed…if it is stifling our relationship with God we need to change it.  Our goal should be to buffet ourselves in order to remain holy before our God.  Our purposes should be that God be glorified even it means tremendous suffering for ourselves.  This is hard to do, but we are created to glorify our heavenly Father.  Whatever we do in this life that is dishonoring must go if we are seeking the deepest relationship with Christ possible on earth.  So, the Holy Spirit plays the part in the relationship to take the word of God and give it power within us as we read it and digest it.  The conviction is a good thing although looked upon as something embarrassing and bad.  The conviction is what keeps us from straying away from God to a point of dishonoring and shaming God. 

John 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.”  NLT

-Converts:  Our salvation is of the work of the Holy Spirit working within us.  He draws us to Christ by our chosen status before a holy God.  It is the Holy Spirit’s job to take the word of God deep within the cracks of our minds and hearts in order to draw us into a loving saved relationship with our Lord.  It is not just say a simply prayer and you will be saved.  The words you speak to God may be simple, but much work by the Spirit has been done prior to that salvation moment.  I believe many people on this earth that have said a simple prayer, but life never changed for them…their way of thinking and acting never changed is an example of a false salvation.  The Holy Spirit was not in that transaction just because they said a prayer.  Many will say “Lord Lord, but Christ will say ‘Get away, I never knew you'”.   Do not fall for the false teaching that has permeated our churches with this easy say a few words salvation.  It is the Holy Spirit that takes the word of God to the person that is to be saved.  We are to deliver the gospel and the Holy Spirit does the work from that point on.  In this way man cannot boast of saving anyone…it is all for the glory of Christ.

Acts 2:38  Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  NLT 

-Cleanses:  We can visualize from the words to purifying their hearts by faith, that justification by faith, and sanctification by the Holy Spirit, cannot be separated and both are the gift of God. We have reason to bless God that we have heard the gospel. May we have that same faith which the great Searcher of hearts approves.  May we also attests by the stamp of the Holy Spirit. At this point our hearts and minds will be purified from the guilt of sin, and we shall be freed from the burdens of sin that is tempted upon us.

Acts 15:9  He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith.”

-Comforts:  In all our life we are drawn into trials and temptations.  God has placed the Holy Spirit for a specific role of comforting us during those times.  He knows that we go through these times in our lives with great difficulty and He has provided our great comforter.  I came remember a time when my dad was having a stressful time in his life.  Life just seemed to be falling apart around him and he was very upset one day out on the farm.  As his temper flared in a moments notice two men appeared and begin to comfort my dad and quote scripture to him.  These two men we used by the Holy Spirit to breath spiritual life back into my dad.  As dad calmed down and began to get his composure the two men vanished without a trace.  God knows our human limits to the trials we are going through.  He does not pull back on His plan, but He will provide the need comfort to assist us with getting beyond that terrible pain.   Click here for a great old message by Spurgeon for the year 1855 called “The Comforter”. 

It is interesting as the amplified bible puts it the Comforter equals Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby.  The Holy Spirit provides that great counsel we need every day when facing grave difficult decisions.  He helps us get through each day and bring glory to God our Father.  The Holy Spirit Intercedes on our behalf before God as we really do not know what we are trying say when speaking to God.  He is advocate who cheers us on to succeed in this life and to bring Him ultimate glory.  The Lord uses the weak to bring about glory.  He will strengthen us in anytime we need to be strong.  The Spirit is always there standing by when we need Him.  This need is almost hourly in many of our lives and mine included.

John 14:16  “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever–”  AMP

-Controls:  The Holy Spirit will not loose control of our lives or us.  He provides the truth that we hear and place deep within our hearts.  He guides us into all truth.  One thing you will not see the Holy Spirit do is to act upon his only skill.  However, He is prepared to carry out God’s work.  He controls what we hear from the Lord so that we are not swept away by the wrong movement.  Many of us fail to allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives.

Controlling our lives makes some us cringe…especially us high “D” personality types.  But when we are really seeking to live an obedient life unto the Lord then many areas of our life that we have a hard time leaving to God must be turned over to Him.  This is most likely the most difficult area that us “D” types struggle with is obedience and control.  One area is the number of kids one bares.  God calls children a blessing.  why don’t we see it that way.  Many will say that God can have every area of life, but the number of kids is our determination.  This is tragic the number of blessings many parents have missed out on over the years do to our selfish desires.  Another area of struggle is financial matters.  We are merely stewards of Gods provisions not the owners, however, strong-willed people want to take ownership of it all.  So, many times we strut around as though we made the money or own it when in reality God is the one that provides.  We have made nothing on our own.  God in His vast wisdom knows best and draws us into each moment of our life.  For us to experience the absolute blessings of God we must relinquish control to Him.

John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”   NAMS

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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-From A Dad: Broken…but Not Finished!

Posted by Scott on November 9, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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-From A Dad: Devoted to Christ!

Posted by Scott on November 5, 2007

Years ago a reformation started in the church.  For those of us that hold to the fact that the bible is the inspired infallible word of God, that God is sovereign over all things, and we must take God seriously see the reformation as a great blessing.  This may not be the view of others, but it happens to be my belief.

In my growing devotion to Christ I have found the reading of the messages by many of the great theologians of the past refreshing and challenging.  Especially in light of the fact that many of today’s churches receive no such theology or doctrine from their pulpits.  I have enjoyed getting to know B.B. Warfield, Charles Spurgeon, John Owen, Thomas Bouston, Thomas Watson, Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Hugh Binning, Martin Luther, A.W. Tozer, Warren Weirsbe, John Calvin, and Ray Stedman.  I have also enjoyed setting under the education and ministry of Dr. Charles Swindoll and Dr. Steve Farrar.  That enjoyment has not stopped there, but has expanded to several other men that are keeping the torch of the true church alive such as R.C. Sproul, John Piper, John MacArthur, the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, and John Stott.   These men have had a huge impact on my self-education (God directed) in the scriptures. 

Never have I experienced in the course my Christian life a love and devotion for Christ as I do now.  I am experiencing the hymns of old like I have never before.  Many of these hymns make sense to me now after digging deeply into God’s word and I can recognize the theology that is written there for our singing praise to God.   This may be one of the many issues that Christians and church goers that have fallen into the emerging church movement so ardently.  The scriptures and the love of the scriptures is where you development the interest in the things of God.  The hymns are dripping rich with the theology of God to the point that truly amazing worship can take place each time they are presented when the words are read and understood.  I understand it is difficult to know the meaning of these hymns if you cannot understand their meaning.  The challenge is to get involved in the study of God’s word to help you grasp the rich theology and doctrine that is presented as inspiration by God in these hymns. 

Many of the old hymns are personal testimonies that are presented to us in song.  One such hymn is by Martin Rinkart written in the 1600’s:

“Now thank we all our God,

with heart and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things hath done,

in Whom this world rejoices;

Who from our mother’s arms

hath blessed us on our way

with countless gifts of love,

and still is ours today.”

Martin Rinkart had lived out a rough period in his life when in the end this particular trial the Lord inspired within him this hymn.  Much of the hymn writers experiences are of suffering.  Amazingly they all have nothing but praise for our God.  His mercies new each morning and His grace abounds forever more.  Many of the hymns are a far cry from the prosperity and good feeling worship services seen today.  Christians will experience suffering if they are living for the Lord.  Charles Spurgeon gave a wonderful little bit of advice for each day:

“Wash your face every morning in a bath of praise.”  -C.H. Spurgeon

Each day we are breathing here on this earth is worthy of praise.  Yes, I know heaven would be far better, but God has an appointed time for each us in regard to death, so for now we are to enjoy living here to be to the praise of God’s glory.

Another great hymn written in our historical past was by William Cowper:

“God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.

You fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds you so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace,

Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work is vain;

God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.”

-William Cowper 1774

You understand that God in His providential power pulls us into each crisis we find ourselves in.  The order of the day is to follow Him into the canyon and as He lead you in He will certainly lead you out.  As Psalm 34:19 tells us that “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But the Lord delivers them out of them all.”  We can prepare our hearts that afflictions are coming, but can also set our hearts on the fact that God made a promise her to deliver us from them all.  The deliverance may not be as we would have chosen, but it will work directly into the plan God has for us.  

In my devotion to Christ I take it very seriously.  After years of playing the part of a Christian…playing at church I found my Lord patiently preparing me for a love of Him that I never knew could be found.  “He is the first and the last and we are gathered up between, as in great arms of eternal loving-kindness” by Amy Carmichael.  This devotion has increased over time and with the daily help of my wife and kids who challenge me to grow and grow deeply.  As our ministry to husbands and wives grow this devotion to Christ grows as well. 

Would you like to be devoted beyond your current level?  I challenge you to go beyond the norm in your relationship to Christ Jesus.  This does not come easy or over night.  Reading the bible daily, meditating on it, and prayer are the major keys to this growing devotion.  Challenge anyone that preaches a different message other than what the bible tells us.  Read about the past theologians, their messages, and be encouraged…these guys have gone on before us and have traveled down the same paths we are now experiencing.  God’s sovereign will is already ahead of us and He knows what this heart really needs. 

Challenge yourself to study more heart-felt, pray God’s word, listen to God’s word, sing the hymns prayerfully, read the hymns, study the testimony of the hymns, read and study the great theologians of the past, and be obedient to the calling no matter where that takes you.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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What Mean These Stones?

Posted by Scott on November 5, 2007

‘What mean these stones?’

(Joshua 4.21)

by: Dr D MARTYN LLOYD-JONES

Words spoken at the dedication of a church building. I would like to call your attention, on this occasion, to the words that are to be found in the book of Joshua, in chapter 4, beginning to read at verse 21 and going on to the end of the chapter. ‘And he spoke to the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then you shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until you were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up from before us, until we were gone over. That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you might fear the Lord your God for ever.’

Now these words come in this chapter which, of course, is a very important and vital chapter in the history of the children of Israel. You remember how the children of Israel had had to go down to Egypt because of a famine that had arisen in their land and they had dwelt there. For a while they had been very prosperous. But times had changed and they had become slaves in the land of Egypt and were completely helpless.

But God had raised a man called Moses and he had led them out of the bondage and the captivity. It was a very precarious enterprise because they were soon face to face with the Red Sea. They had to cross it and they could not do so. There was the Red Sea before them and the armies of Pharaoh behind them, and the situation seemed not only desperate but impossible. And God worked a miracle. He divided the Red Sea, as we are reminded here, and the children of Israel crossed on dry land. But the moment that Pharaoh, his hosts and chariots and horses, tried to do the same, the waters closed in again and they were all drowned and finally discomfited.

Then God had led these people for forty years through a wilderness, and had fed them in a miraculous manner, by giving them the manna. And now here comes in many ways the climactic point. They are on the verge of entering Canaan, the chosen land, but they have got to cross the river of Jordan and it seems to have been in flood at this particular time. But God again worked a miracle. He divided the river Jordan exactly as he had divided the Red Sea and the people were able to cross over on dry land and enter into the Promised Land.

But God did a very interesting thing here. He commanded Joshua to call out twelve leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was to command these men, each one of them, to pick up a stone from the middle of the bed of the river Jordan, and each man was to carry this stone on his shoulder into the new land, Canaan. Then they were to set up these stones as pillars outside a place called Gilgal. And this was done.

In the verses I am going to consider with you we are given the reason why this was to be done. The reason why these men were to take up a stone each and why these twelve stones were to be set up outside Gilgal. The reason is this. It was to be done because ‘when your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then you shall let your children know, saying, Israel come over this Jordan’ (which was quite near there) ‘on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until you were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up from before us, until we were gone over.’ Why? ‘That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you might fear the Lord your God for ever.’

Well now I feel that this is an appropriate incident in the life and the story of the children of Israel for us to consider on this interesting occasion. Here is a new building, and people will be walking round here and passing by and in a few days probably and in the years to come people will stand outside and look at the building and at the notice board and they will say, ‘What is this? What is this building? What does it mean? What is it about?’ There are many buildings in Emgland, and there are many new buildings that have been put up in England in these last years. And people pass by and they look and they say ‘Well, what is this for?’ One is called a Masonic Lodge, another is called an Institute, and so on. But here is this building, this new building, and they will ask the question, ‘What mean these stones? What is the message of this building?’ If any of you who are members here should be asked by somebody passing by ‘What mean these stones?’, what is to be the answer?

Well I suggest that the answers are these, and they are all here. I am not going to import any. I am simply going to expound what we are told in these verses. For I believe that what we are told here is exactly what we should be saying in reply to the same question that is put to us at this present time. What does this building represent?

Well, the first answer is exactly like those stones outside Gilgal, they point to history, to certain historical events and happenings. And this, I sometimes think, is perhaps one of the most important things of which we need to remind ourselves at the present time. Our Christian faith is based entirely upon history. This is where the Christian faith differs from everything else that is being offered to men and women in the midst of our modern troubles.

Let me put it to you like this. Christianity is not a philosophy. What is a philosophy? Well, a philosophy is made up of ideas put forward by men, in an attempt to try to understand life and our problems and how to deal with them and how to solve them. It is a matter of ideas, of thoughts and of teachings. My point is that while there is obviously a teaching and a doctrine which is a vital part of Christianity, that is not the first thing. What differentiates this is that it is first and foremost a record of historical events and historical facts.

What mean these stones outside Gilgal? All that they mean is that certain things happened to these people – history. Let us be clear about this. There are so many people today who talk about the Christian attitude towards war and peace, a Christian attitude towards education, a Christian attitude towards art, drama and literature. Now all that tends to turn it into a philosophy, into a teaching, into a theory, into a point of view. But that is really not to be true to our position. So Christianity, we must remember, is not one of a number of theories and ideas and philosophies with respect to life. It is quite unique because it is teaching which is based on history.

I can go further and I can say this. That this is the thing that differentiates the Christian faith from religion, from any kind of religion. You take these religions that people, some of them, are turning to at the present time. Buddhism or Confucianism or Hinduism, or any one of these ‘isms’. What are they? Well, they are all something invented by men. They are all teachings. They involve a kind of worship, but they are not based upon facts and upon events. They are all based upon ideas – and they are ideas that are supposed to lead you and to help you to arrive at the particular deity that you want to worship.

Now here again, you see, our Christian faith is entirely different. It calls attention to facts. And that is why this building in a sense is going to do exactly the same as the bread and the wine do in a communion service. They again are calling attention to facts. So, we must start with this all important matter, this principle, and realise that it is vital to our whole situation. The uniqueness of the Christian faith depends upon a series of historical facts and events and the teaching which results from them.

But let me hurry to the second point, which is this. These facts, these events, on which our whole position is based, are not the result of man’s action but God’s action. You see, the stones outside Gilgal are not to call attention to anything the children of Israel did. They are to call attention to what God did with the children of Israel. They are memorials – pointing people, reminding people, of actions, events, historical happenings, which have been produced by Almighty God. The whole emphasis is upon that.

And so, you see, we need to be reminded of this and we need to remind others of this. People still persist in thinking that you can make yourself a Christian, and that it is as the result of certain good actions and deeds that you have done that you become a Christian. That if a man is going to arrive in Heaven, well, it is going to be the result of the life he has lived and what he has done.

This, of course, is the great characteristic of the age in which we live. It not only forgets and does not believe in God – it does not believe in the supernatural at all. The whole emphasis is upon man and the achievements of man. We are glorying in what man does scientifically. Putting people on the moon, these wonderful discoveries. Man, great man!-and what man has done!

That is the whole trouble with the world today, is it not? That it is only interested in man and interested in what man has done and what man is doing and what man can do and what man, we hope, is going to do. The whole emphasis is upon man and his actions. The uniqueness of our position, the unique message of this building, is this, that though men have erected this building, what it is pointing to is what God has done, what the Almighty has done, not man. It is a record of the activities of God. So the Bible, you see, starts by saying ‘In the beginning, God’. Not ‘In the beginning, man’ but ‘In the beginning, God’. And the Bible is really nothing but a great record of what God has done. So this building is to point to that.

And you see this building can be a very powerful evangelistic force, therefore, if we only give the right answer to the questions. When the man or the boy asks outside, ‘What is the meaning of this building? What mean these stones?’ ‘Ah’, you say, ‘this is a monument to what God has done!’ The activity of God, in the midst of this evil present world, as in the past!

But let us go further. Let us go on, let us analyse what we are told in our statement. It is a record in particular of God’s redemptive acts. Not only His acts in general. It does, as I have just quoted, it does tell you about creation, but you know the real theme of the Bible is not creation, it is redemption! You have the preliminary account, of course, of creation and the Fall, as I am going to show you, in order, in a sense, that you might know why redemption has ever become necessary. The glory of the message in this book, and what this building is going to proclaim, is God’s acts of redemption, deliverance and of salvation.

That is what we are told here. ‘Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over.’

What does it mean? Well, as I told you in my brief synopsis at the beginning, it is the story of the deliverance and the redemption of the children of Israel from the bondage of the captivity of Egypt. It is customary, and rightly so, for us to regard that story as a kind of picture and a fore-shadowing of the great redemption in Christ Jesus. You remember the essence of that story. Here, as I say, were these children of Israel. They had become slaves. They were suffering under a cruel bondage. The cruel taskmasters with their whips were whipping them, getting them to produce more and more bricks without providing the straw that was necessary. It was a sad, it was a sorry condition. They were helpless and they were hopeless, they could do nothing at all.

They were under a very powerful monarch, the Pharaoh, with all his chariots and his horses and his military men and all their great culture. Here were these poor people, the children of Israel, completely helpless, absolutely hopeless. But the story is that God intervened. God did something. What He did was to deliver them and to bring them out of that and to take them through the Red Sea and the Jordan and to put them in the land of promise, the land flowing with milk and honey.

Now then, that is what these stones are saying outside Gilgal, and you and I must make clear that people understand that that is what this building is announcing. This building is a proclamation of the fact that God has acted and intervened in this world in the salvation of men and women.

But we do not merely make a statement. We have got to start by saying why has God done this? Why was it ever necessary that it should be done at all? It is no use just going to people and saying ‘Jesus loves you. Jesus saves you.’ They do not know that they need to be saved. The Bible is very careful to tell us this. You know how the children of Israel had got into their miserable condition of bondage and of captivity, and it is our business to tell the modern man why he is in such grievous trouble. Why his world is tormented this afternoon. Why we are in a state of great crisis. What is it due to?

Well, our answer is that all this is due to the fact that men and women are the slaves of the Devil, that they are being governed and controlled by ‘the god of this world’, ‘the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.’

How have they ever got into this condition? For this is their condition. Men and women are not free. They talk about freedom. Never have they been such slaves! Slaves to the newspapers. Slaves to the television. Slaves to the radio. Slaves to the thing to do. Slaves to advertising. Like sheep all doing the same thing. That is sheer slavery!

Well how did they ever get into that condition? The history gives us the answer. It was because man, whom God had created in His own image and likeness, in his folly, in his arrogance and pride, rebelled against God and wanted to be equal with God, and thereby fell and put himself in bondage to Satan. He listened to the suggestion and the temptation of Satan and so he became the slave of Satan. The whole of humanity is born in sin and shapen in iniquity. This has been the sad story of the human race, conscious of some strange bondage, anxious to get out of it but never able to do so. The whole world is in slavery to the Devil and sin. The world, the flesh and the Devil!

We must tell them further that we, by nature, are all as helpless as the children of Israel were in their physical bondage in Egypt. No man can conquer the Devil. Our Lord describes him as ‘the strong man armed who keepes his goods at peace’! Men have tried to liberate themselves from the Devil. Men try to put an end to bad habits and practises. You can make your New Year resolutions but you cannot keep them. We are weak. None of us can do this. The law was given to the children of Israel but they could not keep it. The law could not do what it should because it was weak in the flesh. Try as it will mankind cannot emancipate itself. Oh the tragedy of the last hundred years when people in their folly thought that education would set us free, that emancipation was to be found in greater knowledge and greater travel facilities and so on. But it has all proved to be useless. The slavery and the bondage are as great this afternoon as they have ever been!

Well, now, here is a world in an apparently hopeless condition. Governed by what? Greed and envy and jealousy. We are seeing it today! It is true of everybody. It is not true of one class of society only. There are politicians who would have us believe that it is only the working man and woman who are greedy and want more money. The others at the other end are equally guilty! They all love money. The millionaire loves money. The man who would like to be a millionaire loves money also! And the whole trouble is that we are in bondage to sin and to Satan. We are slaves to the lusts and the passions of the flesh and of the mind and we cannot set ourselves free!

What is this building for, what is it announcing? The message of this building is this, that God has done something about this bondage of ours, exactly as he did with the physical bondage of the children of Israel of old. This is Christianity. God’s acts of redemption. God’s eruptions into time. God coming in and delivering us there amongst the fleshpots of Egypt and in the utter hopelessness of our spiritual despair. And this is the great message, of course, and the great record of the Bible, as I have said.

Let me just note to you some of these great acts of God. What mean these stones? Oh, what these stones mean is this, that God brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry land. He has brought them through this Jordan on dry land. God has done it. The facts!

What are the facts of God’s redemption in a spiritual sense? Well, the first of course, happened in the garden of Eden itself. The woman and the man have listened to the subtle temptation of the devil and they have acted and they have rebelled, and at once they know that they are wrong. Then they suddenly hear the voice of the Lord God in the garden in the cool of the day. And He called out to them ‘Adam, where are you?’ God has come down to man in his folly, his shame, his misery, his bondage. God has come down. He did not leave it there. He did not say ‘Very well, carry on. Let things go on as they are!’ They would have festered to putrefaction! God came down!

Why did He come down? Well He came down, not only to tell them the punishment He was going to mete out upon their sin and their folly. He came down to tell them that He had got a plan of redemption for the whole race. There was not only going to be warfare and strife between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. The great promise, the Protevangel, the first intimation of God’s salvation, ‘the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.’ God came down. He came into history to make the declaration. Now that is the first one. I am only going to pick out some of the most striking ones.

Do you remember the history of the flood? That is fact. That is history. The ancient world had got into such a state that God said there is nothing to be done but to judge it. And the whole world was condemned and destroyed apart from eight souls, one family. God condemned, destroyed. Then God gave a new start, a new beginning in this great story. And on it goes. Think then of what happened at the Tower of Babel. When men thought again they were going to be equal with God and they could arrive in heaven, God shattered it all and confused their languages, and the whole world was in a state of confusion.

But God again did an amazing thing. He acted, He intervened. He took hold of a man whose name was Abram, who lived in Ur of the Chaldees and who was a pagan. He took hold of this man and He said ‘I am going to turn you into a nation. I am going to make my own people out of you and you are going to represent Me. You are going to bear a message and ultimately through you and your seed, all the nations of the world are going to be blessed!’ God intervening! This is salvation. This is Christianity. God is now going to form a nation, so that through this nation He can teach all other nations, and condemn them, and eventually offer them His great salvation. So it is again, you see, an act and an action of God. This is Christianity, not some vague philosophy or some ideas or some attitude, but God coming down and coming in. I am simply picking out the salient features.

The children of Israel came into being – God’s people. They were different from every other nation. But as I have reminded you, in their folly they did not appreciate that. They wanted to be like the others, and they became like the others. The result of that was that God not only abandoned them, but He raised an enemy to conquer them and they were carried away as captives to Babylon. There they are again in utter and complete helplessness and hopelessness and bondage-slaves in Babylon. You would have thought that that was the end of them, and it would have been, were it not that God acts. God delivered them. He brought back a remnant. It is the action of God once more. Then He raised those great prophets to encourage them and to tell them that a great Deliverer was going to come.

God sent them. These men did not have a sudden idea. The prophets were not philosophers. They did not suddenly have a brilliant theory. God gave them a message, ‘the burden of the LORD came to me.’ This is what they all say. It is God acting, and it leads up, of course, to that amazing man, John the Baptist. Do you remember the way in which the Bible introduces John the Baptist, emphasising the point I made at the beginning, that we are dealing with history, my friends? This is how John the Baptist is introduced: ‘In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar…’

This is not a theory, this is not a story, this is not a fairy-tale or a romance. It is something that happened in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, ‘…Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea…,’ and you get all these other men, tetrarchs in Galilee, Ituræa and Trachonitis, ‘…the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.’ God spoke. It is God acting. He gave that man that message. He was the great fore-runner.

But that is entirely eclipsed by something else. ‘When the fullness of the time was come, God…’ -it is always God – ‘God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.’ We are not here to say what man has arrived at in his thinking and theorising, as to how we can serve God and please Him. It is the exact opposite. It is God seeking lost men. It is God bringing and putting into operation His plan of redemption and of salvation. And here is the supreme act. He sends His own Son into the world ‘in the fullness of the time.’ It was all predetermined, but it has arrived. God so loved the world that He gave – He sent into it – His only begotten Son. I must not keep you, my friends, but I am so anxious that we should realise that our whole position depends on these facts. It is not a teaching. It is facts, primarily, historical events, which inevitably have their teaching.

So you must go through all the facts about our Lord. When a man asks what is the meaning of this building, what is the meaning of the word ‘Evangelical’? Ah, you say this is the only hope of the world today! It is all about that man called Jesus of Nazareth. Do you know who He was? This was the only begotten Son of God. This was the perfect likeness and image of God, the eternal Father. This was God’s own Son. This is the most amazing thing that has ever happened in the whole course of human history, that God has been manifest in the flesh and has dwelt among us. This is fact. That is why you call this 1979. It is a fact. And the facts of His perfect life, His miracles, His teaching. Yes, but above all the fact of the Cross. The event that took place on a hill called Calvary. What is that?

‘Ah,’ says the world, ‘that was the death of a pacifist, wasn’t it? He was a pure man and He didn’t believe in war, or in force, or in strife. The world did not understand Him, as they had not understood Socrates, as they never understand their own greatest men. And they put Him to death. The death of a great pacifist or a great teacher. ‘

No, no! ‘God has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.’ What was happening? ‘God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ It was God acting on Calvary. It was men with their hands who actually nailed Him, but He did not die because of that! It was God. He was ‘the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world’. It was God smiting Him instead of us. It was God reconciling the world to Himself. It is God acting on Calvary – as He acts everywhere. Ah, but He died and they took down His body and they buried it in a grave. And it would have been the end of the story, but for one thing. God raised Him from the dead! God raised Him! Then He ascended into Heaven and took His seat at the right hand in the Glory everlasting.

Well, now, these you see are the facts to which this building is to bear witness. That is its purpose – to tell men and women that this has happened, and why it has happened. It is a part of God’s way of delivering us and of saving us and of giving us a new life. But you know, it did not stop even there.

There was a great event on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. And we must not forget this. The Christian Church in a sense was inaugurated on the day of Pentecost. What happened then? Well, here were these men. They had got the message, and they knew who He was. God sent the Spirit on them! They had met together to pray; that was what they could do. But, you know, we are here this afternoon because of this. While these men were praying and were waiting, suddenly, there was the sound of a mighty, rushing wind! What is this? Oh, it is God! It is the Spirit coming. God has shed forth His Spirit, sent forth His mighty power. He had promised to do so and He does so. And so the Spirit came down on the Church and these simple ignorant men were enabled to preach with authority and power. Three thousand converted in one day, on the day of Pentecost, and added to the church. The joyful story of the early Christian Church!

It did not stop at that. They got into difficulties. God came in, intervened, and the miracles follow – the miraculous escapes from prisons and various other places. And the whole thing is alive with the activity of God. ‘The Acts of the Apostles’, we say. In a sense it is right, but I agree with the man who suggested that that book should be called ‘The Acts of the Holy Spirit’! The Spirit came on Peter and he spoke, and with authority. The Spirit came on Paul and he healed a man. It is the action of God.

We do not stop even at the end of the New Testament canon. Do you know why we are here this afternoon? I can tell you. It is entirely due to the activity of God. The church, like the children of Israel of old, constantly goes astray. They forget their origin; they forget their message. They even deny it! They want to become like the world and we have known that in this century. Churches having whist drives and dances and wanting to be like clubs and institutions. And the church would long ago have ceased to exist were it not for one thing. What is that? The interventions of God in history in what we call revivals.

Look at it! The Protestant Reformation! Suddenly into the midst of the chaos and deadness God comes, raises up a Martin Luther, and many others. This is how the cause has been kept going and I say that is why we are here this afternoon. It is this series of interventions of God. He has come in and He has carried on these great acts of redemption. And so we find ourselves here this afternoon. That is what these stones are saying. That is the message of this building.

But let me say just a word about the character of these acts of God. It is emphasised here. They are the acts of God. ‘The wonderful works of God’ that the Apostles were speaking about on the day of Pentecost. And the people could hear them in their various languages. But think of the character of the acts, – and here this is emphasised, – miraculous, supernatural.

What mean these stones? The answer is ‘Israel came over this Jordan on dry land’. What? Can you come over a river on dry land? Israel, came through the Red Sea on dry land? Impossible! Yes, with men. But it happened! Why? Because it was a miracle. The acts of God are supernatural and they are miraculous acts. These were phenomena and we are to tell people that our faith is based upon phenomena and it is a phenomenon in and of itself.

What does this mean? Well, we have got to tell people this quite plainly. Our position as Christians differs from that of everybody else. Your politician, he addresses a company of people, and he puts his programme before them and he appeals to their reason and asks them to vote for it. He has demonstrated it. He has shown it to them and they are capable of understanding and following the argument, and they vote for him.

We have got to start by telling people that our message is such that they cannot understand it! It is entirely different from everything that is confronting mankind this afternoon. It is a spiritual message, a supernatural message. We say to them, Look here, you won’t understand this. A great man called Nicodemus thought he could understand it and he went to see our Lord to have an explanation of it. The Lord answered him at once, and said, ‘ Verily, verily, I say to you’ – though you are a great teacher of Israel. ‘Verily, verily, I say to you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ All you have got is useless. ‘…That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I say unto you, You must be born again.’

Do not be surprised at this! Why? Well here is the answer, ‘The wind blows where it wills, and you hear its sound, but cannot tell whence it comes, and whither it goes. So is every one that is born of the Spirit.’ The whole thing is miraculous. It is supernatural. It is God intervening. It is not man striving, it is God coming down. It is not human ingenuity, it is divine wisdom. And ‘the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.’ We have got to tell people this. It is a supernatural, it is a miraculous message. It is God acting, above nature, not contradicting it, acting above it and showing His lordship over it.

And this is true of the whole story of the church. You see the people of Israel, the nation of Israel, it was a miracle nation. Israel was unlike every other nation. It had been created out of one man. That was not true of any other nation. Their whole history is miraculous and supernatural. So is the life of our Lord. So is the origin of the Church. So is the continuation of the church, as I have been showing you, and so is the case with everyone of us who is truly Christian.

You can take up religion. You cannot take up Christianity. It takes you up. It apprehends us, as Paul tells the Philippians. He was apprehended, arrested. God, in Christ, intervened in his life on the road to Damascus. He would never have understood it. He was opposed to it. But something was done to him. He was made a new man. He was a miracle. Every Christian is a miracle.

And so that is what this building is to proclaim. Not only the acts and the works of God, but their character – that they are miraculous and supernatural. And this comes out again in those revivals to which I have been referring. Every Christian is a phenomenon. And every revival is a great phenomenon. You cannot explain it. You cannot understand it. People have tried to do so, but they cannot do so. William Sargeant thought he could do it, but he could not – he completely failed. He does not understand this. He says it is a sort of conditioned reflex. You do this and that will happen. It is not so.

I have known many men who acting on that principle thought they could produce revival, by having all nights of prayer or something else. Poor fellows, they have died exhausted and the revival has not come! No, it is God alone who can do it, and it is miraculous and it is supernatural. It is a phenomenon. It is something that amazes men and causes them to cry out as those people did on the day of Pentecost – ‘What is this? What is this?’ They asked that question there as these people ask the questions about the stones outside Gilgal – and as they should ask about this building.

Very well, this brings me to my last point, which is this. What then is all this to convey to people? What is the message that this building is to convey, the answer that we give to them to the question , ‘What mean these stones’? And do you know it is all summarised here in a very terrifying manner – ‘that all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord that it is mighty.’ And that you children of Israel, Christian people, ‘might fear the Lord your God for ever’.

What is this building proclaiming here? Well, I think we have got to put it first – it is proclaiming judgment. It is to remind this godless generation that God still is and that this world is His, not ours. And to tell them that it is under judgment. Well, you say, where is that in your text? Oh, I can tell you. Go back to the incident at the Red Sea which is emphasised here. Pharaoh and his people had been maltreating the children of Israel and they had all power. And who were these people, these nobodies? But suddenly these nobodies are led out by this man Moses. Here they are at Pi-hahiroth and Baal-zephon, one each side of them – the hosts of Pharaoh behind them, the Red sea in front of them. God divides the Red sea and in they go and through. And Pharaoh in his confidence said to himself, ‘What they can do, I can do.’ He thought he was only dealing with men, and he did not listen to their warnings, the warnings of Moses about this Almighty God. They went boldly into the sea. And what happened to them! They were all destroyed. The judgment of God!

The deliverance of the children of Israel miraculously through the Red Sea is not only indicative of God’s power to save. It is equally indicative of God’s power to judge and to condemn. And the whole world is under His judgment at this moment. We are here to tell the people to ‘flee from the wrath to come’. We are here to tell them that judgment is abroad in the land. That is why everything is breaking down and is failing, approximating to the condition before the Flood, when God intervened in the Flood and in destruction. Judgment! God is again saying this.

‘You are going to be asked’, said Joshua, ‘what mean these stones?’ Well, tell them, tell those children that God manifested the glory of His power on Pharaoh and his hosts. And he will do the same to any who are opposed to His people, and opposed to Him – the evil of simply waiting for the day of destruction. There are many reserved in chains of darkness waiting for the great day when the Son of God will come again and judge the whole world in righteousness. The hand of the Lord – and it is a mighty hand, and nobody can withstand it. Nobody can avoid death. Nobody can avoid the judgment that is to follow. Tell people when they ask ‘What is the meaning of this?’, say, ‘This is announcing the judgment that is about to come on the whole world’. Judgment.

But, thank God, there is another element here. ‘That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty.’ Thank God it is, and because salvation depends on God, there is power sufficient to save anybody. ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ’, says Paul. Why? ‘It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.’ You see before you can be a philosopher, you must have some brains, because before you can derive benefit from Plato, Socrates etc., you have got to have the capacity to follow them. The glory of this salvation is this, it depends upon the power of God. Not on our power, not on our understanding, not on our goodness. Not on anything in us. It is the power of God.

So what if a poor fellow, drunk, stands outside this building, and asks one of you members of this church, ‘What is the meaning of this building? What does it mean?’ You can say to him, ‘My friend, it means this, that there is a power that can deliver you from the slavery of drink. There is a power that can make you not only a new man, a sober man. It can turn you into a saint.’ That is the message! That it is the power of God! That when education and culture and all medicine and everything else fail to deal with your alcoholics and your drug addicts and things which are even worse, God can do it! He has been doing it through the centuries. He is still doing it. So you tell them ‘Believe in this God! Come to Him!’

The power of God! This is what it is proclaiming! ‘The hand of the Lord, that it is mighty!’ So we have got a gospel that we can offer to all and sundry. It is not a place for respectable, nice people only. The vilest sinner can come in. We can say to him:

‘E’er since by faith, I saw the stream, Your flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, And shall be till I die.
The dying thief rejoiced to see, That fountain in his day,
And there may I, though vile as he, Wash all my sins away.’We preach a hope to all, in a hopeless world, as it is this afternoon.

And the last note is this. The certainty of the completeness of God’s plan and purpose. All these actions and activities of God, of course, have been the carrying out of a great plan and purpose which He determined before He had even created the world. And this is but the record of how He has been carrying it out in parts and portions throughout the centuries. But He is going to finish it. It is going to be complete.

But you say is there any hope for Christianity, with militant communism and atheism and the materialism and the humanism, and all the learning of today. And all these things that keep people from churches today. Is there any future? Are these people here mad to put up this building? The answer is – if it were their activities it would be sheer madness and a tragic waste of money. But they are here because it is God’s work, and God’s work no-one can frustrate, no-one can spoil. God is Almighty. ‘The hand of the Lord it is mighty!’ The moment He arises He will blow upon men’s aristocracy, humanism, every ‘ism’, and they will just vanish out of sight. They will pass away. There will be nothing left with God. The God who has acted, as the history tells us, and has worked miracles, and has done the impossible, and has destroyed the Pharaohs and every other enemy, He will destroy every enemy. As certain as we are here this afternoon, the day is coming when:

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore, Till moons shall wax and wane no more.Christian people lift up your heads, lift up your hearts, lift up your voices. Rejoice in the Lord God Almighty, and in His mighty, almighty hand. That is the message of this building.

So that whenever anybody asks you, ‘What is this? What does it mean?’ That is what you will say. It is God – what He has done – what He is doing – and what He is going to do.

Do you know Him? Have you submitted and fallen under His almighty hand, to escape judgment and to receive His great salvation?

Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones

-Scott Bailey 2007

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