power trips

December 31, 2013

I don’t think we ever mention politics in our devotions, we never talk about conspiracy theories. Yet there is a spiritual side to politics. 

The power to control and manipulate. On the national level, this characteristic is expressed through the accumulation of military and political strength, which our modern world uses not merely to restrain evil but to keep people under captivity to the state and its goals. Ancient Egypt and Babylon were perfect examples of nations that were trusting in great military and political strength, but God humbled them both.

The more your government tells you it can fix everything, or the more you need them, the more spiritually corrupt your government.

Any corporate retreat that tells you that we can ‘empower you’ is spiritually bankrupt and evil.

All power belongs to God and we must recognize that truth or we fall victim to anyone or any teaching that claims otherwise.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

As I mentioned yesterday about prayer for a particular devotional thought keep praying about it.

it all comes out in the wash

December 30, 2013

An excellent note from commentator Matthew Henry on Colossians 3:25

 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

There is a righteous God, who, if servants wrong their masters, will reckon with them for it, though they may conceal it from their master’s notice. And he will be sure to punish the unjust as well as reward the faithful servant: and so if masters wrong their servants.—And there is no respect of persons with him. The righteous Judge of the earth will be impartial, and carry it with an equal hand towards the master and servant; not swayed by any regard to men’s outward circumstances and condition of life. The one and the other will stand upon a level at his tribunal.

So when you are wronged by someone don’t worry that they got away with it. There is a final judgment on all.  No one gets away with anything.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Please be in prayer about a certain devotion I want to do that could strike a discordant note with some. My motivations are pure, it’s just a hard topic and I wish to not offend anyone; but it is an area of truth I feel is being sadly misrepresented by well-meaning persons; and is interfering with true evangelism.

 

 

 

a better father

December 29, 2013

Hebrews 13:5

New International Version (NIV)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you

Paul Tournier, a Christian physician, wrote in his Doctor’s Case Book,

There was one patient of mine, the youngest daughter in a large family which the father found it difficult to support. One day she heard her father mutter despairingly, referring to her, “We could well have done without that one.” That is precisely what God can never say. He is a loving Father to every one of His children (cited in William Barclay, The Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer for Every Man [New York: Harper & Row, 1963], 172)

What a great promise, to have a better father. For those whose father wasn’t stellar, or absent. We have the promise of a father that will never leave us or forsake us, or mistreat us.

It is a great promise.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

 

disaster planning

December 28, 2013

Wisdom in the Bible means “skill in living.” It includes not only intellectual insights but also the element of knowing how to put knowledge into practice skillful and successfully. Worldly wisdom excels at instructing us on how to solve problems in life and gain happiness and stability in this life. Many of these systems work, for a time, and provide a measure of happiness.

Proverbs 14:12

New King James Version (NKJV)

12 There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

Yet it is clear that continuing in our own wisdom and plans without including God will ultimately end in failure.

Fail to plan, plan to fail.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

i hate you

December 27, 2013

1 John 3:13

New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

It is a basic principle in human life that the wicked of this world (non-believers) will always hate the righteous of this world (true believers), and this explains why the world hates the believer. The righteous life of the Christian shows the wickedness of the unbeliever into sharp contrast and a harsh light. The latter hates this exposure and instead of changing their wicked behavior, they seek to destroy what shows their lifestyle up so clearly.

No Christian should be surprised therefore in being attacked, ridiculed, or called intolerant. It is only the wicked of this world continuing in rebellion to all that is Righteous in Christ.

I will go one step farther in understanding how wicked the unbeliever is. If you have a friend that is a non-believer, then either your testimony is weak and you pose no threat to them and their belief system or they are curious about your walk with Christ and are possibly a seeker. 

So how offensive are you? Hopefully to some you are detestable.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

you’ve just won!

December 26, 2013

Martin Luther used to counsel every Christian to answer all temptations with the words, “I am a Christian.”

57 You are my portion, O Lord;
I have said that I would keep Your words.
58 I entreated Your favor with my whole heart;
Be merciful to me according to Your word.
59 I thought about my ways,
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
60 I made haste, and did not delay
To keep Your commandments. Ps 119:57-60

If we would remember that we have all we need in God, then there would be no temptation powerful enough to entice. But because we have forgotten our inheritance, we fall prey to the lust of the eyes, and the flesh.

How many people went shopping Christmas day because they didn’t get what they wanted?

When is enough really enough?

He is my inheritance.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2013

God has been intellectually, socially and institutionally excluded from the college campus, the marketplace and even our recreational time. We are socialized into unbelief and spiritual darkness. It is as if we are standing on an escalator that is constantly moving downward. Educated into a one-dimensional reality, it is hard for people to believe in the existence of anything beyond the five senses. Heaven, hell, God, the soul, prayer—these things aren’t tangible, so we doubt that they are real.

Today is Christmas, and most people don’t even believe that’s it’s about Christ and birth of our Savior.

So merry Christ day, celebrate the birth of Jesus and the perfect gift that was given to us this day, the gift of Hope.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Thanks so much for all the e-cards for Christmas.

 

IMPLANTS

December 24, 2013

IMPLANTS   

Get you mind out of the gutter this is a different kind of implant.

James 1:21

James 1:21

New King James Version (NKJV)

Doers—Not Hearers Only

21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

James speaks of the Scriptures as the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. The thought is that the word becomes a sacred deposit in the Christian’s life when he is born again. The margin of the RV reads “the inborn word.” This word is able to save your souls. The Bible is the instrument God uses in the new birth. He uses it in saving the soul not only from the penalty of sin, but from its power as well. He uses it in saving us not only from damnation in eternity, but from damage in this life.

The Word of God living in us as Christians undoes the damages of living in this world. It is a cure for what we commonly say as “what ails you.”

So you can see how the enemy our soul makes us so busy we can’t find time to read the Word. Then his second prong of attack ‘you aren’t smart enough or spiritual enough to understand it’  and last of all we keep dumbing down the bible till it reads more like a good book than what it really is. Which is why I always ask people to read an easy version, and then a hard version and see the difference. For example, New living translation and king james version or the New international and then New American standard version. Bible study and reading isn’t supposed to be easy, it’s surgery rooting out the stain of sin in our lives.

The Word of God kills the cancer of Sin.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

cookies and Jesus

December 23, 2013

Romans 14:17

New King James Version (NKJV)

17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Ok so yesterday’s devotion was dark, depressing, but it did have a happy ending. But let’s start out happy and end happy.

So I’ve been married 39 years, and as we found out yesterday in our devotions, I avoid participating in Christmas.

Oh, I buy presents and my son and daughter in law come over and we have a great time opening presents and eating. But up to that point I pretend Christmas doesn’t exist.

Now I’m married to a woman that makes our house look like the North Pole. We have one tool shed devoted just to Christmas.

So imagine my wife’s surprise when today for the first time in our marriage I participate in one of her Christmas traditions. Cookie baking and decorating.

So after breakfast she says; “so you going to go upstairs and read while I bake right?”

To her surprise I say no, I’m going to help you bake and decorate and l will even listen to Christmas music. So I even rolled out the dough, cut cookies, frosted them and listened to Christmas music. We baked 100 cookies.

As we were washing up my wife with tears in her eyes said she couldn’t believe that I actually participated and had fun. She was so happy and I felt like this is the best time I’ve ever had about helping out with Christmas.

So even Scrooge can be converted.

Joy to the World

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

Midnight’s Past

( i don’t repeat past devotions, but this will be the one exception. i wrote this in 1991 and my life has changed so much since then. my walk in the faith is deeper, richer. But for those who struggle through the holidays this is for you. ) Pastor Greg 

Its 2am, the field is wind blown, with stubble like an old man’s beard sticking out of the blown snow. It’s cold, below freezing and the sky is clear, the moon just waning, leaving a frost halo in midnight’s past night. All is quiet, starkly monochromatic, chilled, frozen, sterile, not a sound, even the wind has stopped blowing. The taste of the gun barrel in my mouth is foul, dirty; the sense of the trigger pulled just to the last pressure point. All it will take is twitch and the laughter starts.

 

It starts out low, almost beyond hearing, and it’s growing louder, wilder; it’s not my voice, it’s not my laughter it’s demonic, it’s the prince of darkness, he knows that he won. In a flash, a heart beat, a pulse beat I’ll be in hell. What the f_____ the difference I already rent there. Every male member in my family on my father’s side, dead by suicide, it’s inevitable, it’s only a matter of time and the pact is fulfilled.

 

It’s almost Christmas, seems a funny time to want to pull the trigger; but it’s a noble idea, I’m going to spare my family another Christmas from hell. You’ve said it; I’ve said it countless times. Something your parents did, something you mother said all the time, something your father did. You’ve sworn on all that’s holy you wouldn’t say it, you’d never do it. But you do, the revelation and shock the first time it hit’s you, leaves you stunned. You can’t believe it happened. You know you will never do it again, it was a freak thing, a moment of weakness, God, don’t let it happen again.

 

How the Grinch stole Christmas, or Christmas at my house. That’s why there is a gun in my mouth; I can’t go through another Christmas. I can’t torture my family again. I can’t stand to see the pain and disappointment in my wife’s eye as I act like a total ass. Eleven months out of the year I’m reasonable, calm, not a cuss word escapes my mouth. I’m a Christian gentleman. Its starts about a week after thanksgiving. The holiday of fighting and tension and whispers and hiding in the closet begins.

 

At my house when I was a child, Christmas was hell, the undertones of bickering and fighting between my mother and father. How many times have my sister and I practiced the drill, you know the self defense movement that has been taught to you. “Kids, when you hear us fighting, run into the bathroom (with it’s solid oak door) and lock the door and not matter what you hear don’t open the door. Look under the door and if you see you boots or jackets wait till you hear us in another part of the house fighting and then carefully open the door and grab the clothes and the car keys will be there. Slip out the window and get in the car and start it up and turn on the heater and make sure you lock the car doors. And no matter what don’t open the doors, if I’m not out in 30 minutes drive the car down to the IGA and part there and flash the lights and blow the horn until Mr. Boltz comes out and he’ll take care of you. Make sure he calls the cops.”

 

And so it would start, my father crawling into my bed, telling me lies about my mother, telling me about how only he loved me and the pain would start. The worst fight was when my mother came into the bedroom and ordered him out of the top bunk bed and she grabbed him and dragged all 6’2 of him out of the bed and she began hitting him and then he hit her and it sounded like an axe hitting an oak stump. She slid to the floor and my sister would come out from under the bed or from the closet and lay over the top of my mother crying uncontrollably. My father would stomp out of the bedroom and leave the house not to return for days, ahh Christmas you got to love it.

 

How about waking up Christmas morning and the tree that’s been up all week is gone, disappeared, no toys, no tree. Nothing was said, but I knew we were going to grandma’s house and stay there, where the house was filled with baking and gifts and a tree and you felt safe and like a kid.

 

Or it’s Christmas Eve and your father goes out about 9pm and shoots a shotgun in the air and comes back in laughing and says, “that fat red sob isn’t stopping here tonight so get your assess to bed.”

 

Or we get in the car to go cut down a Christmas tree and dad stops at MacDonald’s bar and grill and say I’m going in for a quick one so just sit tight. And a few hours later a neighbor or one of the state cops comes by and takes you home. Speaking of state troopers, God bless every one of them, New York’s finest. Its three days before Christmas and there’s a knock on the door and in come 3 giants, in there police uniform and they set up a tree and decorate it and put down toys and candy and bring in bags of groceries because somehow they know you’ve been eating nothing but cheerios and spam.  The biggest of them tousles your hair and makes you look up and say’s “be the man, hold it together.”

 

You try, man oh man you try but little boys aren’t supposed to “be the man” they aren’t supposed to see their mother with other men having sex, and the money being left on the table, or the lewd comments they make to you on their way out the door. You’re not supposed to be the man when your father comes home drugged out, spent out, vacant eyes the stench of pot, or hash. The pill bottles in his jacket. You take jobs anywhere they’ll hire a boy. Sweep floors, stack boxes. You look a lot  older by ten years and you start working shoulder to shoulder with men. And you have to prove you’re a man, and your own personal hell begins to open, because your not a man, you look like one, fight like two, work like three. But it’s a boy who falls asleep at night, sleeping in warehouses, buses and truck stops.

 

How about seeing your Christmas tree being sold with all the toys and everything right there in your home. Some strange guy is in your home and your father is selling him everything right there, because he owes this guy money, or maybe just because he thinks it’s funny.

 

Oh you got to love Christmas. I never shot the gun into the air, never sold the goods out from under your nose. Never got drunk and laid in a stupor for the holidays. I just bitched about everything. Why ask me to do it, the martyr symptom, oh all right let’s get it over with. Or just then tension I created, veiled threats, Scrooge lives, he lives in me oh how I hate Christmas.

 

My first full time position as an associate pastor, I have to have the Christmas Pastor. This guy and his wife act like Santa Claus is coming to town, ho, ho, ho, crap. The Christmas parties, the gifts, the ho, ho, ho, if I here another Christmas carol, poem or get invited to another church Christmas party I’m going to puke. Finally I get called into the office its two days before New Year’s Eve and what’s wrong with me. “I don’t know I think its seasonal affect disorder, not enough son shine, etc. (pretty good one, heh)”

 

My family were coal miners, and the weight of the depression is like going down the mine, its crushing me, suffocating, blackness, rage, desperation sets in. This time there’s no escape, my back has gone out from weight lifting. I’m in bed barely able to move. There’s no doctor, no pain pills, can’t afford either. I have a book I want to read, might as well read it now; “Klock and Klock, Christ precious” one reverberating theme in the book as the author constantly drives home the preposition “Is Christ Precious to you.”  It has to be more than saying you love him, it’s more than calling him “Lord” it’s a fact that all else can slip away but the realization that Christ is precious, lose all, watch everything crumble, but there is no companion, no possession worth anything more than Christ.

 

When on bended knee will the cry escape your lips, “you’ve taken all, and yes you’re precious. With this and no more I crave, not one thing can be added and I will say “you’re most precious to me.

 

And so in a wind blown field, all is lost, all is gone; the holidays have robbed me of everything. No one can love me, no one comes near, they are all afraid of the anger, the tempest, the depression is black, the Gallic curse is full blown, and a berserker mentality is taking root. A siege engine is gripping my thoughts, why surrender, why strive, give up, give in, stop fighting. Your not a man, give in.

 

Can you feel the seduction, there is a rest being promised, it’s a lie but all lies are seductive. They all promise something. The serpent is whispering, take this, will it not….. Yes it will. Pull the trigger, stop fighting, you’ve lost, there’s no shame, every will understand, it’s the family curse you can’t fight it, you’ve fought it longer, harder now rest. And as the hammer starts to fall, the laughter get louder and there’s a burst of light, an epiphany, a moment and everything slows to a crawl. And another voice says; “is He precious, does He matter more than all this.

 

You fall to your knees, and weep, tears freeze on your face and even though you think all is lost, all is gone never to regain. You shout, yes, He is more precious, nothing else matters, if all I have is moment, its enough, because He is most precious.

 

You trudge back to the house and lie down on the couch, He is most precious and you fall asleep.

 

I still don’t like Christmas. But that’s another matter.

God bless and never give up, God uses all the pain and suffering of your life to create a new life, with a new plan. just don’t pull the trigger.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com