life is like tissue paper

September 30, 2014

i am convinced

Author Frederick Buechner said, “In the holy flirtation with the world, God occasionally drops a handkerchief. These handkerchiefs are called saints.”

This is a really short devotion, one of a more contemplative manner. For whatever reason I’ve been thinking of all the persons God has brought into my life and the impact they have had.

Some were freaking crazy, some were beautiful in spirit but wracked in mental torment. Mean, kind, genius, simple, I hope I learned from all of them.

For my time spent with The Desert Fathers and the solitude and quiet that was enforced in various forms, not all which were pleasant.

For an old man that in the peak of my violent life spoke peace and convinced me that I could be gentle.

That passion is both a blessing and a curse.

That prayer is the greatest form of worship there is, and that the bible is worth fighting for.

For my adopted parents who brought sanity and refuge.

And for my wife, a jewel and as hard a diamond (no enabling) but also my great love.

God bless everyone that has been a part of scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

September 29, 2014

crown of thorns

Third most asked question I get; “why does God allow suffering?” here is just one perspective.

Are you suffering in some way? There may be people—people whom you love and have been praying for—that may be drawn to God as a result of seeing you walk with the Lord through the valley you’re in. This is one of the reasons that God allows suffering (to advance the gospel).And believer, what’s the worst thing that could happen to you from a human perspective? You die? Death is humanity’s most feared enemy isn’t it? But as Christians we have a totally different perspective on death than nonbelievers.

For us, death is no longer something to be feared. We’ve been given everlasting life (John 3:16)! The Bible says to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). “To depart and be with Christ,” Paul said, “is very much better” (Phil. 1:23).

So, we don’t look at death like the world does. Do we sorrow when one of our children dies? Of course, but not like the world sorrows because we realize this child has gone into the presence of God and we will see him again.

As a Christian, in the face of death, we need to keep a Biblical perspective: Believers in Jesus Christ are leaving this world behind for a much better one! Hallelujah for that!

C.S. Lewis, in his book The Problem of Pain, wrote: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” [1962 edition, p. 93]

Romans 5:3-4
“And not only that, but we also rejoice in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

As you endure adversity, you are trained to persevere, your character is changed and your hope (confidence) in God is strengthened.

God is more interested in you knowing Him and in your character than your comfort! The greatest goal of the Christian life is not happiness and freedom from pain, but knowing God and Christlikeness. Your character has eternal ramifications and God will use tribulation to shape and mold it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

follow the light grasshopper

September 28, 2014

light vs darkness

I’m not sure this is the number one question I get but it is probably tied for first place; “how can I know the will of God, or how do I know I’m living in the will of God?”

Here is one simple way to know, it’s not real spooky or mystical but very practical and easy to follow.

To the casual observer the world around us is an orderly world. I do not think I’m too wrong in referring to it as the monotony of order. Anyone can see that day follows night, winter follows summer and there has been no change since the beginning of time. God’s world is a world that is orderly. This monotony of order is quite crucial to everything in nature. Without it all of nature would crumble in a pile of chaos.

A world of uncertainty would be uncharacteristic of God, for the Scriptures clearly state, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Cor. 14:33). Wherever you see confusion, you can be sure that something is wrong. Disorder in the world implies that something is out of place. Usually, at the heart of all disorder you will find a person in rebellion against God.

The more order in your life the more you know that you are living a life pleasing to God. God is not chaotic so our lives should not be that way. God is never late, He never forgets or gets lost.

God is never immoral nor does he have to ask “is this ok;” when people ask me if its ok to do something I usually say that by the very fact you are asking there must be some doubt.

I don’t want to sound like your dad, but get out of bed on time, show up, do your job, be courteous and you have about ¾ of your life done right.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

We had 41 prayer requests yesterday, they have been divided between 9 people. No prayer requests goes unanswered or forgotten. Thank you for entrusting us and the prayer team for those requests.

We just gave away our 100th bible in 2 years, thank you for all the help with that.  We are working on a list of top bible verses you should know and hope to have that available soon.

Love and harmony and blessings.

Gutter Snipe

September 27, 2014

full custody

To my chagrin and shame there is one area of my life that never ceases to measure up; and that is in the taming of the tongue.  I cuss like a drunken sailor with syphilis, see it’s not only the cussing it’s the colorful part of the language. It’s seems to be woven into the very fiber of my existence.

Sure I can give you a lot of excuses and reasons, we talked like that at home. I’ve said it before, I thought my name was little bastard until my first day of kinder garden.  With a rent whore for a mother and drug addict father, biker gang friends, prison buddies and drunken years in the military it seems to be in my genes.

Drunkenness, gone, drug use, gone, violence, gone, but swearing and inappropriate comments, just give me a minute.

I pray, I fast, I read my bible, Study, discipleship, I do  works of mercy, and contemplation are my constant homework assignments; I try to  worship and pray, fellowship together with likeminded saints.

But in this one area I don’t think I can go a full day without cussing.

The Apostle Paul had his thorn in the flesh, he said before salvation he was arrogant and proud. Maybe it’s one of the crosses I have to bear. I know it pricks my heart. I have good friends that hold me accountable for my language and will jump on my case. I have great Christian friends that are role models of wholesome speech.

The legalistic Christian tells me I’m not really saved, the liberal Christian says what the hell, the moderate Christian I never know what they are thinking they are just vanilla and background noise. (see offensive).

Our speech and our conduct is to be the outward ministry of ourselves. We are to strive to have a truthful tongue, a humble heart, a listening ear, and a shoulder that is to bear the burdens of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Thus I share with you both my victories and my shortcomings.

Striving to be more Christ like your *&&^(_^%56 friend in the Lord.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Leslie who walked in on her husband with her sister. Pray for Bob and his Alzheimer’s, and for John that got a good word from the doctor, no cancer. Susan whose father had a heart attack. And Jackie who is having surgery tomorrow to remove a brain tumor. And Mai Li S. who is praying for a soulmate.

Roots

September 26, 2014

not ashamed

God is a plurality of oneness. God has “lived in community” from eternity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God as Trinity is the core reality of the universe, and that means that the core of reality is community.

Yes, I believe in the literal words of the bible as being true and inerrant and inspired by God. I believe in the Holy Trinity, the three in one, the best descriptions I have ever heard was from a young missionary while I was living in Africa, during a children’s campaign in the village.

He explained the trinity in the simple analogy, you see the sun, and he pointed towards the sun, you see the light and know how different it is from darkness and you feel the warmth of the sun.

The Father (God) is the Sun, Jesus is the Light and the Holy Spirit is the warmth (love) from the Sun.

Pretty simple, but as we mentioned in the opening paragraph, God since eternity has fellowship in an eternal community. Father, Son, Holy Spirit, it would make sense therefore that His plan for us is found in the community of the saints.

It’s easy to cut the single strand of a rope, it’s much harder to cut through the entire rope.  We do better when we are not alone. Even if you are introverted by nature, God never intended us to live, love and exist in a vacuum. As much as people can drive you nuts they are also our sounding board and tether to reality.

You need to share your thoughts and feelings with other people to get feedback on the reality of what you think and speak. (social media doesn’t count).  We need to take comfort in the fellowship of others. Before I found the church I always had AA, before AA there was always a gang or the military or believe it or not scouts. Community brings sanity and reality.

Find a group, a church, some roots, establish a sense of belonging it’s healthy and it’s God’s plan for your life.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

THE GOOD BOOK

September 25, 2014

the bible

TRUST YOUR BIBLE

In 1889 a schoolteacher told a ten-year-old boy, “You will never amount to very much.” That boy was Albert Einstein. In 1954 a music manager told a young singer, “You ought to go back to driving a truck.” That singer was Elvis Presley. In 1962 a record company told a group of singers, “We don’t like your sound. Groups with guitars are definitely on their way out.” They said that to the Beatles. Man is prone to make mistakes. Those who reject the Bible should take the time to look at the evidence before they come to a verdict.

  1. It is unique in its continuity.

    If just 10 people today were picked who were from the same place, born around the same time, spoke the same language, and made about the same amount of money, and were asked to write on just one controversial subject, they would have trouble agreeing with each other. But the Bible stands alone. It was written over a period of 1,600 years by more than 40 writers from all walks of life. Some were fishermen; some were politicians. Others were generals or kings, shepherds or historians. They were from three different continents, and wrote in three different languages. They wrote on hundreds of controversial subjects yet they wrote with agreement and harmony. They wrote in dungeons, in temples, on beaches, and on hillsides, during peacetime and during war. Yet their words sound like they came from the same source. So even though 10 people today couldn’t write on one controversial subject and agree, God picked 40 different people to write the Bible—and it stands the test of time.

  1. It is unique in its circulation.

    The invention of the printing press in 1450 made it possible to print books in large quantities. The first book printed was the Bible. Since then, the Bible has been read by more people and printed more times than any other book in history. By 1930, over one billion Bibles had been distributed by Bible societies around the world. By 1977, Bible societies alone were printing over 200 million Bibles each year, and this doesn’t include the rest of the Bible publishing companies. No one who is interested in knowing the truth can ignore such an important book.

  1. It is unique in its translation.

    The Bible has been translated into over 1,400 languages. No other book even comes close.

  1. It is unique in its survival.

    In ancient times, books were copied by hand onto manuscripts which were made from parchment and would decay over time. Ancient books are available today only because someone made copies of the originals to preserve them. For example, the original writings of Julius Caesar are no longer around. We know what he wrote only by the copies we have. Only 10 copies still exist, and they were made 1,000 years after he died. Only 600 copies of Homer’s The Iliad exist, made 1,300 years after the originals were written. No other book has as many copies of the ancient manuscripts as the Bible. In fact, there are over 24,000 copies of New Testament manuscripts, some written within 35 years of the writer’s death.

  1. It is unique in withstanding attack.

    No other book has been so attacked throughout history as the Bible. In A.D. 300 the Roman emperor Diocletian ordered every Bible burned because he thought that by destroying the Scriptures he could destroy Christianity. Anyone caught with a Bible would be executed. But just 25 years later, the Roman emperor Constantine ordered that 50 perfect copies of the Bible be made at government expense. The French philosopher Voltaire, a skeptic who destroyed the faith of many people, boasted that within 100 years of his death, the Bible would disappear from the face of the earth. Voltaire died in 1728, but the Bible lives on. The irony of history is that 50 years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society moved into his former house and used his printing presses to print thousands of Bibles.

The Bible has also survived criticism. No book has been more attacked for its accuracy. And yet archeologists are proving every year that the Bible’s detailed descriptions of historic events are correct.

You can mock, you can laugh in derision, but the only people being martyred today are people who believe in the bible. It is estimated that over 100,000 people per year are killed for their faith in Jesus Christ. No other religion is being attacked like Christianity, the simple reason is it is the only true way to God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Continue to pray for Joe, pray for Courtney and her failing health, for Greg M. and his battle with addiction. Melissa and sobriety and abstinence. And for Beth Ann as she battles with an eating disorder and for Olivia, 19 and facing the removal of her stomach, ovaries and a large part of her colon.

Thank you all for your prayer support, send your prayer requests and comments to  scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com God bless.

Rock On

September 24, 2014

sugar coating

God has ceased to look for any good in me at all and instead has put Christ before Him, the perfect and only infinitely acceptable Object of His heart; and I, in my nothingness, have ceased to look for any good in myself, and not until I realized I cannot improve myself spiritually, not one iota, will I ever taste the deep joy of being in CHRIST, and finally find myself set free to have Him (my Savior)as my object all of my faith and hope; while, as to this current life, I find in spiritual maturity to finally have entered in some degree into the blessedness of knowing that it was “not I, but Christ liveth in me.”

The Hope of Glory, is finding that there is no good thing within me and all that is now good is what God has placed within.

That is the shortest summary of the book of Romans chapter 6 and 7 you will ever read; and it does not do justice to what is really written. But every Christian should read those two chapters at least every week until you pass these mortal coils. (life)

Pray for Joe as he is having a minor surgery procedure, for Bobby who (she) has after many attempts has finally carried a baby full term. For Alicia on her first missionary trip.

God Bless

Send your prayer requests to scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

you old dog

September 23, 2014

jesus is my savior

Remember the old saying; “you can’t teach an old dog, new tricks”?

Well I learned a new trick today or I should say a new truth (new to me, anyway).

I’ve taught or preached so many times about the Lord’s Prayer, but I never saw this until today.

There is a reason the Lord’s Prayer is a communal prayer to “our” Father, asking for “our” daily bread and asking God to forgive us “our” sins as we forgive others. Our God is a communal God. It is not enough to pray for “my” daily bread alone.

I meet so many people every day that used to go to church, and for many reasons they have stopped; or they are religious and just never started going to church.

Yet here we have the Lord’s Prayer and it is not a private prayer, but a prayer for all believers, but it’s not a self-centered prayer. There is no “I” in this prayer, there is only a group mentality.

We are not alone and the Christian walk is not about doing it by ourselves.

There are others praying for us, thinking about us, believing in us and telling us we are loved and appreciated.

I have a friend that calls me about once a week and says; “don’t give up, you have helped so many people, you’re never forgotten.”

A community of believers, like minded, forged upon the fires of common adversity.

I mentioned the other day if you believed in the devil and gave some reasons why I do believe in a very real devil. Here’s another reason, he likes to make you think you are all alone. But “our” heavenly Father never forgets you.

God bless, you are not alone, nor forgotten, and never forsaken.

scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

look at all the bright lights

September 22, 2014

crown of thorns

The day the “world changed” was not September 11 but way back in 33 AD. ( the date of the crucifixion) The most significant event in our pasts is not our most shameful transgressions but the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our pasts are defined not by our sins but by Christ’s victory.

Even though we might bear physical scars on our body, psychic scars in our minds and have more nightmares than rainbows. If we belong to Christ Jesus, than we must count ourselves more fortunate and more worthy than our low self esteem casts us.

Our God sent his only begotten son to die for us in lieu of us paying the penalty for sin. Words like mercy, grace, forgiveness, love, should be in our mind constantly and upon our lips.

If you gain only one truth from the reams of words written on this blog then please let it be this. Our most unfortunate past is not what defines us, what defines us is the victory of Christ in our lives and our future.

If you want one proof of whether there is a real Satan, a tempter, a deceiver, a thief, than look at how often you let your past define you and not the victory of the Resurrected Savior.

Scripture tells us that as the children of God we are new creatures, old things have passed away.

Many things amaze me, but one that stands in the forefront is how in the new life with Christ, all the old cravings, the drugs, the violence, the destruction, inner and outward have gone, as the gospel song goes; ‘hope and a bright future’.

I have recommended this book before but if you struggle with your past please read the book by Watchmen Nee, ‘the normal Christian life’.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

knock knock

September 21, 2014

knock you down

You will be a miserable Christian if you don’t learn the difference between Holy Spirit conviction and satanic accusation.

When the Holy Spirit convicts you of a sin, He will not make you just “feel bad all over.” He will put His finger right on the sore spot and push. He will convict you specifically and He will convict you legitimately.

Now if the devil doesn’t convict you of all your sins in general, he will try to accuse you of a specific sin for which you have already been forgiven. And he will fight a losing battle, because if you put your sin under the blood of Jesus Christ and it comes up again, it’s not God bringing it up.

The Holy Spirit operates like a surgeon, accurately and precisely, the devil works like a butcher, chopping away at everything.

The Holy Spirit says “give in” the devil says; “give up”.

You need to say: “thank you Jesus for your Word that says I’m am forgiven and I can stand on that in faith, regardless of feelings.

We’ve had so many prayer requests today we couldn’t list all of them. All of them are important. We do have some great prayer partners and all of them are praying for you all. So don’t despair. I would ask you all to especially pray for John and for Lisa, it is the last days for each of them. They have no family and are in hospice.

Prayer requests to scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com