Our Great Healer

January 31, 2015

crown of thorns

This is the first part in a series on divine healing, in my 40 years of ministry I’ve seen blind eyes open, cancerous tumors fall off, people delivered of demons, cancer gone, hearts literally rebuilt. I cannot explain nor can anyone why healing doesn’t always happen, I don’t believe it is fair to say someone lacked faith, or it was a secret sin. Nor do I believe (obviously) that the age of miracles has passed.  I do strongly recommend never stop taking your medicine until a doctor tells you and have the doctor confirm your healing. Sometimes healing is instant, sometimes it comes slowly.

Healing is part of the Atonement, therefore divine healing is only for believers. I know you all heard stories of backsliders being healed, your unsaved granny got healed.  We will deal with that in one of our installments. Feel free to agree to disagree, no one has all the answers. Opinions on what the bible says are as numerous as the grains of sand. This page is written in grace and I ask that grace be given.

Both the Old and New Testaments speak of a God who is concerned for his children’s welfare and who desires their health and wholeness.  Christ came that we might have abundant life (John 10:10), and his earthly ministry included much healing.  He indicated that the healings were a sign that the Kingdom of God was being instituted.

Diseases and infirmities are universal afflictions.  Their presence is often unexplainable, though the Scriptures mention instances where illness is a punishment for sin (Deut. 28:61; Mic. 6:13; 1 Cor. 11:30).  Often, as with Job, illness has no connection with sin.  Whatever the cause, we know that God in his mercy desires our wholeness and desires that we act and pray to bring that wholeness about.  We also know that marvelous works of healing still occur, in spite of the skepticism of many who reject the possibility of miracles.

Steps to healing:

  1. Believe and confess salvation (Rom. 10:10).

  2. Agree in prayer with others (Matt. 18:19).

  3. Take God at his word (Isa. 53:4,5).

  4. Receive healing by faith (James 5:14-16).

  5. Continue in the Lord, learning and growing (Exod. 15:26).

Agree together in prayer that God is going to answer. Counsel and pray in faith, reminding the each other to believe God’s Word rather than trust in symptoms (James 1:6-8).

Keep in mind that there are barriers to healing, such as harboring iniquity in the heart (Ps. 66:18), involvement in cult or occult activity (Deut. 18:10-13), not having a wholehearted desire to be healed (that is, using the illness as a security blanket), doubt, worry, anxiety, bitterness, and others.  These barriers need to be removed so the person can ask faithfully and confidently for God’s power to act.

You cannot guarantee that a healing will occur, even if it is a committed believer who has placed his confidence fully in God. You can provide assurance that God is merciful and just, and that all things-including both illness and health-work for good for those who love God.  If a person is healed, God is glorified. If a person patiently endures affliction and continues to confess faith in God, that also brings glory to God.

The biblical concept of healing means far more than relief from a set of physical symptoms.  It means wholeness of body and spirit.  The words healthy, whole, and holy all derive from the same old English root word.

Jesus questioned the man in John 5:6, “Wilt thou be made whole?”

Many medical scientist maintain that much of our sickness is due to emotional causes: tensions, fear, sorrow, envy, resentment, hatred, etc. Physical pains and problems may be real enough, but their causes are rooted in the emotions.

The lifelong smoker may develop a variety of illnesses such as emphysema, cancer, high blood pressure, etc., which affect the mouth, throat, esophagus, lungs, and heart.

Alcoholic consumption may lead to devastating consequences, both emotional and physical. Many of these are irreversible because of an ulcerated digestive tract, or a destroyed liver, or a damaged brain.

Overeating or nutritional deficiency over a long period of time will also result in bad health.

However, many illnesses are not the result of abuses, dissipation, or emotional problems.  Many people are just ill!  Jesus, referring to the man born blind, said: “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:3). Think of those with birth defects or genetic illnesses, accident victims, casualties of someone’s carelessness or abuse, infectious and viral diseases, etc.

God heals through the new birth:

When a person becomes a “new creature” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), he finds that Jesus can meet every need.  Many testify that when they made things right spiritually, and began to live in proper perspective and relationship to God, their illnesses were taken away. The hymn writer, William B. Bradley, refers to this new perspective.

“Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;

Sight, riches, healing of the mind,

Yea, all I need in Thee I find,

O, Lamb of God, I come.”

God heals through the confession of sin:

Many Christians live miserable, weakened and often sickly lives because of disobedience and unconfessed sin.  Such persons can become completely well if they will deal with this sin.  The Psalmist said: “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crownest thee with loving kindness and tender mercies. . .”  (Psalm 103:3,4).

God heals through miraculous intervention in keeping with His own sovereign will and purpose:

The Bible contains many such examples. There is present day evidence as well.  However, God does not heal all who call on Him or who are prayed for by others. “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), but He heals some and not others with a divine selectivity which reflects His own ;eternal wisdom and divine will. “His ways are higher than our ways” (cf., Isaiah 55:8). This divine selectivity may be seen in the example of Paul who prayed long for the removal of an affliction (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). God didn’t heal Paul. He provided grace and strength- not that Paul might endure, but that he might learn the joy and glory of utter dependence!  God is trying to teach His own that in all instances we must learn the “the excellency of the power (is) of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). The glorious will and ways of God came into focus in Paul’s life when he learned “for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

None of this, however, should discourage us from praying in faith for the sick – or for anything else.  God may answer our prayer of faith in ways that will amaze us. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5: 17) is His command.

“Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. . .Is any sick among you?  Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

                                                                                                                            James 5:15-16, KJV

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”                                                                                                                                                                  James 1:6, KJV

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”

                                                                                                                               Psalm 66:18, KJV

“And lest I (Paul) should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  For this thing I besought the Lords thrice, that it might depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”                         2 Corinthians 12:7-9, KJV

“Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”                                        Matthew 18:19, KJV

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

sing about it

January 30, 2015

christ on cross

One of the most beautiful words in the human vocabulary is forgiveness. How much pain and unhappy consequences could be avoided if we all learned the meaning of this word.  The Sweet Singer of Israel shared some of the emotion he personally experienced after he asked God to “wash away  my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2, NIV). “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1,2, NIV). In one bold stroke, forgiveness obliterates the past and permits us to enter the land of new beginnings.

The Basis for Forgiveness:

  1. Reconciliation. When God forgives, there is an immediate and complete change in relationship. Instead of hostility, there is love and acceptance. Instead of enmity, there is friendship. “God . . .reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19, NIV).

  2. Purification. The very essence of forgiveness is being restored to our original standing before God. “Purge me. . .and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7, KJV). (See also 1 John 1:9, Romans 4:7.)

Another aspect of purification is that God forgets our sin when He forgives it. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12, NIV). (See also Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 38:17.)

  1. Remittance. Forgiveness results in God’s dropping the charges against us. He will not enforce judgment because of our sins.  Jesus said to the woman taken in adultery,” . . . Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11, KJV). (See also Romans 8:1.)

What a great privilege the counselor has in sharing the joy of God’s forgiveness!

 

 

FORGIVING OTHERS

 

  1. We must forgive our debtors.

Matt. 6:12. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

  1. Forgiving others is an absolute necessity.

Matt. 6:14-15. If you forgive men when the sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

  1. Jesus says we must forgive often.

Matt. 18:21-22. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times (or seventy times seven).”

Luke 17:3-4. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, “I repent,” forgive him.

  1. The parable of the unmerciful servant shows how sinful it is not to forgive; God sends judgment on this sin.

Matt. 18:23-25.

  1. Put away bitterness and anger; forgive as God forgives.

Eph. 4:31-32. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

  1. Be imitators of God.

Eph. 5:1-2. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us a  fragrant offering and sacrifices to God.

  1. The father of the prodigal son forgave him and accepted him as completely as if he had not sinned. This father represents God. Thus Jesus reveals how God treats repentant sinners.

Luke 15:20-24.

  1. Jesus commands us to forgive others.

Mark 11:25. When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

  1. Love keeps no record of wrongs.

1 Cor. 13:5. . (Love) keeps no record of wrongs.

  1. Love covers (overlooks) a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

  1. Restore with gentleness on who has fallen into sin.

Gal. 6:1. Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

  1. Paul tells us we must forgive and restore one who has sinned against us.

2 Cor. 2:5-11.

  1. Forgive a repentant sinner and affirm your love.

2 Cor. 2:7-8. Now, instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

  1. When we forgive others, we outwit Satan.

2 Cor. 2:10-11. If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven – if there was anything to forgive – I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us.  For we are not unaware of his schemes.

  1. Joseph forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery and treated them kindly.

Gen. 45.

Gen. 45:4-5. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ” Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.”

Gen. 45:9 – 11. “Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘. . .You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me  – you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have.  I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come.  Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.'”

Gen 50:15-21.

Gen. 50:19-21. Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of may lives. So then, don’t be afraid.  I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

FORGIVENESS OF SINS (God’s Forgiveness)

  1. Believers are made as white as snow.

Isa. 1:18. “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

  1. David sang joyfully after he repented of adultery and God forgave him.

Ps. 32:1-2. Blessed is he whose transgression are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.

  1. David was depressed until he repented and was forgiven.

Ps. 32:3-4. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.

  1. God readily forgave David when he repented and confessed his sin.

Ps. 32:5. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

  1. David’s confession of sin and his cry for forgiveness occurred only by God’s grace.

Ps. 51:1-17.

  1. God will not despise a broken spirit and contrite heart.

Ps. 51:17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

  1. How great is God’s forgiveness!

Ps. 103:12. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgression from us.

  1. The Lord is kind and forgiving.

Ps. 86:4-7. Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.  You are kind and forgiving. O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.  Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.

  1. God call sinners to seek him and promises them forgiveness when they repent.

Isa. 55:6-7. See the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

  1. Jesus extends a loving invitation.

Matt. 11:28-30. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

  1. Jesus forgave the penitent woman.

Luke 7:36-50.

Luke 7:47-50. “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven- for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

  1. Jesus forgave the murderer on the cross (an example of one saved only by grace).

Luke 23:43. Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.

  1. Sinners are forgiven when they repent and believe in Jesus.

Luke 15:11-32. (the parable of the prodigal son)

  1. Jesus tells us to pray for forgiveness.

Matt. 6:12. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

  1. We are justified (cleared of all guilt) by faith in Jesus; in him we find peace.

Rom. 3:21-25. Now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.

Rom. 5:1. Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. . .

Rom. 8:1, 4. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. . .(for those) who not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

  1. In love Jesus died to make us holy; we are without blemish.

Eph. 5:25-27. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Heb. 10:10. By that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Heb. 10:14. By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

  1. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin.

1 John 1:17. If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sins.

  1. God graciously forgives when we confess our sins before him.

1 John 1:19. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Prov. 28:13-14. He who conceals his sins does not proper, but who ever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.

  1. God forgives and saves all kinds of sinners, no matter how bad they are; he changes them.

1 Cor. 6:9-11. Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves not he greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

  1. Zechariah had a vision of the high priest in filthy clothes, which were removed and replaced with pure white garments.

Zech. 3:1-5.

  1. The Samaritan woman, an adulteress, was saved by Jesus; she received living water.

John 4:4-26.

  1. Peter, who denied Jesus, was forgiven and reinstated in his office.

John 21:15 – 19. (Jesus even entrusted Peter with his precious people, for whom he died on the cross.) Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” . . . “Take care of my sheep.”

  1. Jesus gave us the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.

Luke 18:9-14. The tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

  1. Troubled sinners cry out for mercy, and God graciously forgives; he restores us to his love and favor.

Ps. 130:3-4. If you, O lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.

  1. Believers are rescued from the dominion of darkness. They are brought in to Jesus’ eternal kingdom and are forgiven of all their sins.

  2. God has lavished his grace on us, choosing us, forgiving us of all our sins through the shed blood of Christ.

Eph. 1:3-10.

Eph. 1:7-8. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

  1. The prayer for forgiveness must be accompanied by repentance.

1 Kings 8:33-36; 46-53. (Solomon, at the dedication of the temple, prayed that God would forgive his people if  and when they should repent of their sin and sincerely serve him.)

1 Kings 8:33-36. when your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, and when they turn back to you and confess your name, praying and making supplication to you in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to their fathers.  When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and confess your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.

  1. Nehemiah wept and confessed the sins of God’s people.

Neh.1:6-7. Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you.  We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

  1. God sweeps our sins away and wants us to sing for joy!

Isa. 44:22-23. “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Sing for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel

I was going to break this up in three parts but figured what the heck.

Forget your past, forgive yourself, forgive others, rejoice in being forgiven.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

yes I do

January 29, 2015

lightbulb

Those whose relationships honor God’s design receive the benefits God built into that design. Christian men find themselves driven to communicate if they love their wives. There’s more vulnerability and trust found in a committed relationship under God’s covenant design.

It’s not just about two people; Christ is the center of a Christian marriage. It’s also true that contrary to popular opinion, sex is far more than technique. Satisfying sex is built and thrives in a safe and loving environment of vulnerability, trust, and serving one’s partner rather than focusing primarily on what one can “get.” The principle of “give and it will be given unto you” really works! As a husband cares and loves his wife she feels nurtured and, as one author says, she opens up like a flower.

 

 

Here are some basic tips in making stronger marriages.

  1. Be protective of your marriage. Avoid risky situations such as long lunches with a co-worker or drinks for two after work. Most people do not plan to be unfaithful.

  2. Be positive. Look for what is right in your spouse and tell him or her daily. People who have love affairs are often looking for appreciation and affirmation.

  3. Be polite. Always talk to your spouse with respect. Be careful what you say to each other and how you say it. Show courtesy and caring in the way you treat one another.

  4. Be playful, and make fun, sex, and humor a mainstay in your marriage. Schedule time to play with one another, and have a ‘date night? at least once a week.

Show your love, my wife loves public affection, she always comments how she is happy that we kiss in public, we hold hands, I open or hold the door for her, while dining we always sit next to each other.

 

While I was sick for about a week we couldn’t kiss or even hold hands, it drove her nuts, today we resumed our kissing, she said she figured we kiss an average of at least 20 times per day and a least 10 hugs a day. I was told in no uncertain terms I have 100 kisses to make up and 50 hugs. I’ve also run out of chapstick.

 

Want to make your children better students, let them know their parents have a strong marriage, the security that adds to their lives makes them more secure and stable.

 

I’ve been married over 41 years, and it is still getting sweeter.

 

God bless our families, our marriages, a stable home is the background for a stable country.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Saddle up

January 28, 2015

John-Wayne-p15

In our modern age, we tend to identify courage with soldiers who stand firm on the battlefield when the bullets are flying over their head. But it takes just as much courage to stand firm against the myriad temptations we encounter in our everyday lives. To remain chaste in the face of the sexualized media blitz with which we are daily assaulted takes courage. To remain honest when it would be so easy to plagiarize a paper or change a few numbers on a balance sheet takes courage. To remain merciful in a society where most social and political issues have become polarized takes courage.

 

 “Courage of the highest order is demanded of a spiritual leader—always moral courage and frequently physical courage as well.” But courage is not only a necessary quality in a leader, it is a quality needed in every Christian’s life if he or she is going to be able to boldly follow and persist in the will of God. Ultimately it becomes a mark of maturity where it is consistently evident. Oftentimes pursuing the will of God calls on the Christian to take a stand that may put him or her at risk, at least emotionally if not physically or financially or socially or politically.

 

Mark 15:43New American Standard Bible (NASB)

43 Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.

 

According to Matthew 27:57, Joseph was a wealthy and reputable member of the Council, a non-Jewish designation used by Mark for the Jewish Sanhedrin. Though a member of the Sanhedrin, Luke 23:51 tells us that he had not approved of the Sanhedrin’s decision to put Jesus to death. Further, in both Mark 15:43 and Luke 23:51, we are told that Joseph waspersonally waiting for the kingdom of God. This suggests he was a devout Pharisee who had come to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Previously, however, according to John 19:38, Joseph had been a secret disciple who had feared the Jewish authorities. In other words, up to that point, he lacked courage.

But seeing the death of the Savior, a monumental evidence of who He was—the Son of God bearing the sin of the world—Joseph gathered up his courage and went boldly to Pilate.

 

 

So the question is; “do you hide your faith?”

 

Jesus drew his courage from His faith in His purpose and in what the Father had promised to do.

 

So the second question would be; “do you know what your purpose is in the kingdom of God?”

 

Spiritual growth and greatness in God’s kingdom does not come through ease and luxury as those promoting the health and wealth gospel claim. Rather, it comes through pain and tears, tools God uses to draw us closer and closer to Himself. Even the Lord Jesus was perfected by the things which He suffered.

 

 

Third question; “are you willing to pray with all honesty, ‘thy will be done’ where ever, whatever, however?”

 

 

Against whatever we might face in this life, our capacity for courage rests in the historical events of the person, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ who now sits enthroned at the right hand of the Father. Here is the Christian’s basis for ultimate victory; Christ’s victory is the foundation for courage and the ability to live victoriously in life.

 

 

In fact, it is probably true that courage is doing what one is afraid to do. Indeed, courage is the capacity to resist fear, to master it, not its absence. Thus, courage is that quality of the heart or mind that gives one the ability to encounter danger and difficulty with firmness and resolve in spite of the presence of fear. “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” (John Wayne no less)

 

 

Do you want to be irreplaceable? Be the person who always steps up and does the hardest things first, the unlovely, the thankless, who always speaks the truth and does the right thing.

 

That takes courage.

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

crown of thorns

The divine dealings with the sins of the saved are similar to the divine dealings with the sins of the unsaved in one particular, namely, what God does in either case is done on the ground of the cross of Christ. By that cross all sin, whether it be that of saint or sinner, has been righteously judged, and the ransom price, which satisfies every demand of infinite holiness, has been paid. By His death, Christ provided the sufficient ground for both the salvation of the unsaved, and the restoration of the saved. It is because of what has already been accomplished in the cross concerning the sin of the world, that the unregenerate are freely forgiven and justified.

This is a part of God’s saving grace, and is wrought on the sole condition that they believe; while the regenerate are forgiven and cleansed on the sole condition that they confess. These two requirements indicated by these two words, it will be noted, are wholly different. The human obligation as represented by each word is exactly adapted in each case to the precise relationships which, on the one hand, exist between God and the unsaved, and, on the other hand, exist between God and the saved. The salvation of the sinner is unto union with God: the restoration of the saint is unto communion with God. Believing and confessing are two widely differing human conditions, or obligations, and should never be confused or interchanged. The lost are never saved by confessing, and the saved are never restored by believing.

        That there is no greater demand imposed upon the unsaved than that he believe, and no greater demand imposed upon the saved than that he confess, is due to that which Christ accomplished on the cross. He wrought in behalf of sinner and saint in bearing the sin of the world, and every requirement of infinite justice is met for all in the finished work of Christ. In the one case, there is nothing left to be done but to believe; while in the other case, there is nothing left to be done but to confess.

        The revealed attitude of God toward all men is that of grace alone. Therefore He does not need to be coaxed or persuaded. With His hand outstretched to bestow all that His grace can offer, it is highly inconsistent to plead with Him to be gracious, or to coax Him to be good. By the unvarying teaching of God’s Word, and by the inexorable logic of the accomplished value of the cross, the forgiveness and blessing of God to the unsaved is conditioned upon believing, and to the saved it is conditioned upon confessing.

 

First John 1:1 to 2:2 is the central passage in the Bible wherein the divine method of dealing with the sins of Christians is stated. A portion of this most important passage is as follows: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

        According to this Scripture, four vital elements enter into that divine forgiving and cleansing which constitutes the restoration of a sinning saint: (1) Confession is the one and only condition on the human side; (2) Absolute forgiveness and cleansing is promised on the divine side; (3) The Christian, while sinning, has been safe as to divine condemnation, because of his Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and (4) Divine forgiveness and cleansing is exercised toward the believer in unchallenged faithfulness and justice because Christ is “the propitiation for our sins.”

        In this transaction, as it is thus disclosed, the believer makes no disposition of his own sin; that has been made for him. So, also, the Advocate makes no excuses for the sinning Christian, nor does He plead for the clemency of the Father in behalf of the believer who has sinned. The Advocate presents the sufficiency of His own blood to meet the condemnation of every sin. The Father does not act in gracious kindness when forgiving and cleansing the believer: He acts in strict faithfulness to His covenant and promise of eternal keeping, and in strict justice because of the shed-blood. Such is the unchanging value of the propitiation which Christ made in His blood.

 

It should also be noted that, according to this revelation, the sinning saint is never before any tribunal other than that of his own Father. The eternal relationship between the Father and His child can never be set aside. The Father may correct and chasten His erring child (1 Cor 11:31, 32; Heb 12:3-15), and through confession the child may be restored to the place of fellowship; but all of this is wholly within the inner circle of the family and household of God. Condemnation, which would expel the child from the place of a son, is forever past. Nor does the sinning Christian draw on the mercy and favor of God when he is restored to fellowship in the household of God.

How easily mercy and favor might be exhausted and overdrawn! On the contrary, the Christian, sheltered under the blood of propitiation, and standing in the merit of his Advocate, is on a basis where no past offenses have accumulated against him; for he is cleansed and forgiven under the legal justice of the Father. The justice of God is made possible and is righteously demanded in view of the shed-blood of His own Son.

        Let it not be supposed that this divine plan of restoration of the child of God to the Father’s fellowship will react in an attitude of carelessness on the part of the Christian. The sufficient answer to this challenge is three-fold:

(1) True confession is the expression of a very real repentance, or change of mind, which turns from the sin. This is the exact opposite of becoming accustomed to the sin, or becoming careless with regard to it.

 

(2) This very revelation is given, we are told, not to encourage, or license us to sin; but rather that “you may not sin” (be not sinning). According to the Scriptures and according to human experience, the believer’s safety in the faithfulness and justice of the Father and the advocacy and propitiation of the Son, is the greatest incentive for a holy life. It is clearly revealed that God has, by other and sufficient means, guarded against all careless sinning on the part of those whom He has eternally saved through the merit of His Son.

 

And (3) God can righteously deal with sin in no other way than through the absolute value of the blood of His Son; but when sin has been laid on the Substitute, it can never be laid back on the sinner, or on any other. In the cross of Christ, the question of a possible condemnation because of sin is adjusted forever. Mercy and grace can never be co-mingled with divine justice. Boundless grace is disclosed in the provision of a perfect propitiation for the sins of the believer; but the application of the propitiation is never gracious; it is none other than the faithfulness and justice of the Father. Therefore grace does not appear in the forgiving and cleansing of the Christian’s sins.

 

Well that is the end of our series on grace, thank you for all the kind and supportive comments, God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Mercy Mercy

January 26, 2015

thinking over feeling

Mercy and grace are often confused. While the terms have similar meanings, grace and mercy are not the same. To summarize the difference: mercy is God not punishing us as our sins deserve, and grace is God blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Mercy is deliverance from judgment. Grace is extending kindness to the unworthy.

According to the Bible, we have all sinned (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). As a result of that sin, we all deserve death (Romans 6:23) and eternal judgment in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:12-15). With that in mind, every day we live is an act of God’s mercy. If God gave us all what we deserve, we would all be, right now, condemned for eternity. In Psalm 51:1-2, David cries out, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” A plea to God for mercy is asking Him to withhold the judgment we deserve and instead grant to us the forgiveness we in no way have earned.

We deserve nothing from God. God does not owe us anything. Anything good that we experience is a result of the grace of God (Ephesians 2:5). Grace is simply defined as unmerited favor. God favors, or gives us good things that we do not deserve and could never earn. Rescued from judgment by God’s mercy, grace is anything and everything we receive beyond that mercy (Romans 3:24). Common grace refers to the sovereign grace which God bestows on all of mankind regardless of their spiritual standing before Him, while saving grace is that special dispensation of grace whereby God sovereignly bestows unmerited divine assistance upon His elect for their regeneration and sanctification.

Mercy and grace are best illustrated in the salvation that is available through Jesus Christ. We deserve judgment, but if we receive Jesus Christ as Savior, we receive mercy from God and we are delivered from judgment. Instead of judgment, we receive by grace salvation, forgiveness of sins, abundant life (John 10:10), and an eternity in Heaven, the most wonderful place imaginable (Revelation 21-22). Because of the mercy and grace of God, our response should be to fall on our knees in worship and thanksgiving. Hebrews 4:16 declares, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Thanks to Chip for asking the question, prayer requests and questions, comments to scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Keep Don in your prayers on his mission trip to Nepal.

 

Pray for those who need guidance in where they think God wants them to be in this stage of life.

 

Thanks for all the prayers for my health and e-cards, I’m glad folks know I have a whacked since of humor.

God bless.

 

 

 

Abounding Grace

January 25, 2015

lightbulb

Abounding Grace Part IV

Stick with me as we go through this series on grace, it is probably one of the least taught virtues of God, frequently mentioned but often neglected as the touchstone of salvation.

Grace Cannot Incur a Debt

        An act is in no sense gracious if under any conditions a debt is incurred. Grace, being unrecompensed favor, is necessarily unrecompensed as to obligations which are past, unrecompensed as to obligations which are present, and unrecompensed as to obligations which are future. Grace must always remain unadulterated in its generosity and benefit. How emphatically this is true of the grace of God towards sinners! Yet how often this aspect of divine salvation is perverted! Infinite and eternal transformations are wrought by the power of God when He exercises His grace. He is thereby glorified and sinners are saved.

Such far-reaching results cannot fail to satisfy and delight Him eternally; but He remains unrecompensed for His salvation through grace. What He does He bestows as a gift. Rightfully a benefit cannot be called a gift if it is paid for before, at the time, or after. This is a fundamental truth of the Word of God, and it is imperative that it be kept free from all confusing complications.

        When a recompense for the gift of God is proposed, every element of salvation is obscured, and the true motive for Christian service is sacrificed as well. The Scriptures everywhere guard these two truths from such perversion; for, in the Bible, salvation is always presented as a gift, an unrecompensed favor, a pure benefit from God (John 10:28; Rom 6:23). And, in like manner, no service is to be wrought, and no offering is to be given, with a view to repaying God for His gift. Any attempt to compensate God for His gift is an act so utterly out of harmony with the revealed Truth, and exhibits such a lack of appreciation of His loving bounty, that it cannot be other than distressing to the Giver.

All attempts to repay His gift, be they ever so sincere, serve only to frustrate His grace and to lower the marvelous kindness of God to the sordid level of barter and trade. How faithfully we should serve Him, but never to repay Him! Service is the Christian’s means of expressing his love and devotion to God, as God has expressed His love to those whom He saves by the gracious things He has done. Christian service for God should be equally gracious.

        It therefore becomes those who have received His gifts in grace to be jealous for the purity of their motives in service for Him. Unwittingly the grace of God is too often denied by well-meaning attempts to compensate God for His benefits. No semblance of the most vital facts about divine grace can be retained unless salvation is, in its every aspect, treated as a gift from God, and Christian service and faithfulness is deemed to be only the expression of love and gratitude to God.

 

According to the Scriptures, salvation is never conditioned on human faithfulness, or on the promise of human faithfulness. There is no payment required, past, present, or future. God saves unmeriting sinners in unrelated, unrecompensed, unconditioned, sovereign grace. Good works should follow; but with no thought of compensation. Christians are “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph 2:10); they are to be a “special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14); and “those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:8). Thus, and only thus, are “good works” related to the gracious salvation from God through Christ Jesus. Grace is out of question when recompense is in question.

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Pray for Don on his mission trip to Nepal.

thanks for all the prayers, the antibiotics have broke the fever and in theory I’m no longer delusional or seeing rabbits with cigars and plaid skirts.

Grace upon Grace

January 24, 2015

praying mom

Grace Cannot Be Lessened Because of Demerit (part III)

        God cannot propose to do less in grace for one who is sinful than He would have done had that one been less sinful. Grace is never exercised by Him in making up what may be lacking in the life and character of a sinner. In such a case, much sinfulness would call for much grace, and little sinfulness would call for little grace.

The sin question has been set aside forever, and equal exercise of grace is extended to all who believe. It never falls short of being the measureless saving grace of God. Thus grace could not be increased; for it is the expression of His infinite love: it could not be diminished; for every limitation that human sin might impose on the action of a righteous God has, through the propitiation of the cross, been dismissed forever.

        God does not ignore or slight the fact of human guilt and sin; for He has met these issues perfectly and finally for all men in the death of His Son. There remains no demerit, nor degrees of demerit, to be considered or recognized. By grace there is now offered alike to all men all the infinite resources of the saving power of God. The grace of God is, therefore, exercised in perfect independence of human sin, or any degree of human sin.

 

When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award—yet receives such a gift anyway—that is a good picture of God’s unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.

 

Well I’ve got pneumonia and taking a boatload of antibiotics, hope to be feeling better soon.

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Grace, part two

January 23, 2015

the bible

Grace Is Not Withheld Because of Demerit (part II)

        This fact about grace is more evident, perhaps, than any other. It is the sense of demerit more than anything else which impels a soul to cry out for the kindness and benefits of grace. So, also, grace finds its greatest triumph and glory in the sphere of human helplessness.

Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to withdraw it in the presence of human failure and sin. In fact, grace cannot be exercised where there is the slightest degree of human merit to be recognized. On the other hand the issue of human sin must be disposed of forever. Christ the Lamb of God, having taken away the sin of the world, has by His cross forever disposed of the condemnation of sin. He has by the cross created an entirely new relation between God and man.

 

 

Consequently, men are now either accepting or rejecting Christ who has borne their sins. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). There is no middle ground. All questions of demerit have been banished. Thus God is righteously free to exercise grace in every case. Salvation is by grace alone.

 

Kind of short devotion today, I’m really under the weather.

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

oh no Bono

January 22, 2015

christ on cross

Irish rock star Bono has said, “Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.”

 

The exact and discriminate meaning of the word grace should be crystal clear to every child of God. With such insight only can he feed his own soul on the inexhaustible riches which it unfolds, and with such understanding only can he be enabled clearly to pass on to others its marvelous, transforming theme. Here is a striking illustration of the fact that very much may be represented by one word.

When used in the Bible to set forth the grace of God in the salvation of sinners, the word grace discloses not only the boundless goodness and kindness of God toward man, but reaches far beyond and indicates the supreme motive which actuated God in the creation, preservation, and consummation of the universe. What greater fact could be expressed by one word?

        The meaning of the word grace, as used in the NT, is not unlike its meaning as employed in common speech—but for one important exception, namely, in the Bible the word often represents that which is limitless, since it represents realities which are infinite and eternal. It is nothing less than the unlimited love of God expressing itself in measureless grace.

        The word favor is the nearest biblical synonym for the word grace. In this connection it may be observed that the one thought which is almost exclusively expressed in the NT by the word grace, is, in the OT, almost exclusively expressed by the word favor. Grace is favor, and favor is grace. Thus, in considering the Bible teaching on this great theme, equal attention should be given to all passages wherein either the word grace is used or favor is found.

Grace means pure unrecompensed kindness and favor. What is done in grace is done graciously. From this exact meaning there can be no departure; otherwise grace ceases to be grace.

 

Thank God for his Grace, can I get an amen?