solemn oath

July 31, 2015

thinking over feeling

The term gospel, while it means good news, is in this connection used only of that specific way of salvation which God publishes in His Word by which a meritless sinner may be perfectly and eternally saved on no other terms than that he believe on Christ as his Savior. The preacher is appointed the demanding task of an accurate presentation of that Gospel. On the basis of the fact that God has made his greatest effort (the gift of His Son) that sinners might be saved, it is reasonable to conclude that any inaccuracy in preaching, which misrepresents the truth and thus misleads the unsaved will be subject to divine censure. This is precisely the unrevoked warning given in Galatians 1:8,9.

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

This anathema, which is wholly justified, should cause every preacher to tremble with fear. Over against the notion that any person with zeal- whether they have knowledge or not- can preach the gospel, is the fact that many of the greatest orthodox scholars of the world have given their lives to the task of a right understanding of that which enters fundamentally into the Gospel. Some common errors in gospel preaching are listed here:

1. A failure to emphasize the difference between the saved and the unsaved. When exhorting the believers to a worthy manner of life and service, there is no statement made that such truths have no application to the unsaved, the result is that the unsaved are encouraged to believe that they need only to adopt the outward manner of life of the Christian to be a Christian. There is but one message to the unsaved and that does not concern his daily life, but rather his relation to Jesus Christ as Savior.

2. By careless language, giving the unsaved the impression that God is love and rich in mercy and that He forgives sin directly as an act of kindness, generosity, or leniency. God does forgive, but it is only on the righteous ground that the required penalty for sin is born by the Savior. It is for this reason that the sinner must come to God by Jesus Christ and that salvation is conditioned on faith in Christ. There is no need for Christ to die if God is free to make light of the sinner’s sin by a mere attitude of graciousness apart from satisfaction because of outraged holiness.

3. By demanding repentance as a separate act in addition to believing on Christ. This destructive error will not be committed by those who have given reasonable study to all that is involved. In the first place, repentance, according to the Bible, is a change of mind, which may, or may not, be accompanied with heart anguish. In the second place, the repentance required- and it is required- for the salvation of a soul is included in believing. The sinner cannot turn to Christ in confidence from any other dependence without a change of mind which is repentance (cf. I Thess. 1:9,10). No measurement will ever be made in this world of the harm to souls that has been wrought by their having been told that they must first repent and then believe. The preacher will do well to ponder three facts: (a) The Gospel by John, which is written that men may believe and be saved (John 20:31), never employs the word repentance; (b) that the Epistle to the Romans, written to provide the complete analysis of salvation by grace, does not use the word repentance, except 2:4, in relation to lost men; and (c) upwards of 115 times the salvation of a soul is made to depend upon believing, and 35 times on its synonym faith apart from any other requirement whatsoever. The one who insists that repentance is a separate act must face the question thus created as to whether the words of Christ and Paul, which restrict salvation to believing, are misleading because of their inadequacy (cf. John 3:16; Acts 16:31). Since repentance is a part of believing, the term might be used as a synonym of believing, or it may be mentioned separately- as it is in a very few passages; but always as a subdivision of the one all important theme of believing.

4. By the grace-shattering error of insisting that a public confession of Christ is required in addition to saving faith. But one passage in involved in this discussion:

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9,10).

A thoughtless use of this passage implies that the confession referred to is a confession to men; not remembering that a very considerable percentage of those who are saved accept Christ at a time and place where no public confession is possible. The confession is that of the soul electing Christ as Savior and is to God alone. As Abraham said Amen to the promise of God and was by faith counted righteous, so, in like manner, from his own heart and as the expression of his own confidence, the sinner acknowledges to God that Christ is his Savior. A sinner, having accepted Christ, may confess him as a testimony; but that is far removed from the notion that to be saved one must both believe and confess Christ before men. If this double requirement were really God’s will, he could not have left out the idea of confession from any one of the 150 passages which condition salvation by faith alone.

5. By requiring one to believe and be baptized. Again but one text is in evidence (Mark 16:16), and but half of that, for, when the negative side of the declaration is presented, the word baptize is omitted. In this consideration, the same arresting fact remains that, if water baptism is essential to salvation, every other New Testament declaration is woefully inadequate and to that extent misleading, and the thief on the cross (saved directly by the authority of Christ) was a notable exception. Certainly, according to human experience, the vast majority of people are saved before they are baptized with water and multitudes have never been thus baptized at all. There is much, indeed, to commend the contention that the baptism referred to in Mark 16:16 is not water baptism but is the baptism with the Spirit.

6. By requiring that one accept Christ and agree to a certain manner of life. The practice of confusing the Gospel with the manner of life a person should live after he is saved, is calculated not only to distract the attention of the unsaved from the Gospel, but to defeat the very power and effect of it. I cannot be too strongly urged that God is not calling on the unsaved to adopt a manner of life, but He is offering to them His gift, which is eternal life. Nor should the truth be overlooked that the unsaved have no spiritual capacity by which they can face the problems of a Christian’s daily life. Those problems belong to a Spirit-guided mind and demand for their solution the presence of those new desires, which come with regeneration.

7. By demanding that one believe and ask for salvation. Since God is propitious (I John 2:2), it is wholly out of order to ask Him to save, as though he must be persuaded to do what He, at infinite cost, has prepared to do. The incident of the publican in the temple is too often assumed to be the norm for the sinner who would be saved under grace. The setting is before the death of Christ and reflects the relationships that existed in the Jewish era. Though the English version makes the publican to say “God be merciful to me a sinner,” he really said, God be propitiated to me a sinner. At no time, either in the Old Testament or the New, may one reach God on the ground of mere mercy as such apart from needful sacrifice. The publican asked for propitiation, which was a justifiable request before the cross, but wholly unjustified now. To ask for mercy as such is to assume that God may deal with sin apart from adequate sacrifice. To ask for propitiation is to discard what Christ has done and to ask that something more effective be provided. Men are not saved by getting God to do something; they are saved when they dare to believe that God has done something.

money money money

July 30, 2015

Treasure after

Understanding and correctly handling finances should be a high priority for all persons. Much of our tension, family friction, strife and frustrations are caused, directly or indirectly, by money. High on the list for causes of divorce is financial disagreement. The Christian family is not immune. If a family cannot or does not pay its bills, or is beset by other problems related to money, it is a poor testimony. Too few churches offer training for their people in the area of financial accountability.

Chief Causes of Financial Problems:

  1. Wrong attitudes toward money. Greed and covetousness quickly lead to all kinds of evil (see 1 Timothy 6:10, NIV). The “get rich quick” syndrome of speculative investment often leads to disaster.

  2. Living beyond one’s income. Failure to “count the cost” will result in chronic overspending. (See Luke 14:28-30). Some seem to have a great susceptibility to advertising, succumbing to attractive products and seemingly advantageous credit offers.

  3. Credit buying. The best possible advice for those in financial troubles is to stay away from stores and showrooms and to destroy all their credit cards.

  4. Self-indulgent living. Purchase of unnecessary things, consumption of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and junk or gourmet foods are selfindulgent habits. By way of example, in a home where both husband and wife smoke heavily, upwards of $1,500 per year can be spent on cigarettes.

  5. The fallacy that accumulating material things leads to contentment and happiness. “Then he (Jesus) said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions'” (Luke 12:15, NIV).

  6. Lack of a budget: projecting and monitoring expenses. Our income will go just as so far.

Biblical Principles for Handling Money:

  1. It is basically a spiritual matter, thus an understanding of the Lordship of Jesus Christ is essential. Handling finances brings into perspective the totality of life as it relates to God’s will and the issues of eternity.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (1 Corinthians 10:26, NIV).

“You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV).

“Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. . . Do not conform any longer to the pattern of his world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then ;you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1,2, NIV).

  1. An understanding of the principle that we are stewards (managers) of all that God has put under our care is also essential. We are not owners! Our lives, our time, and our assets are gifts from God.  We are responsible to God for them, and He willhold us accountable (See Matthew 25:14-30.)

  2. God wants us to depend upon Him, not on material possessions. “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant, not to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17, NIV). (See also Proverbs 3:5,6; Philippians 4:19; and Psalm 37:25.)

  3. It is God’s plan that stewards give a portion of their income to Him and to His work. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10, KJV). (See also Luke 12:34; and Proverbs 3:9.)

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”                                                                                                                            Matthew 6:33, KJV

“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.  Offer unto God thanksgiving: and pay thy vows unto the most High: and call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”                                                                                                 Psalm 50:10, 14,15, KJV

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

                                                                                                                         Philippians 4:19, KJV

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”                                                                                                                    1 John 5:14,15 KJV

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even his whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

                                                                                                                           Malachi 3:8-10, KJV

Pray for Kim and her ongoing battle with cancer

Susan H. and vertigo

Wilma who had a “light” stroke today and fell

Olivia is doing great and thanks everyone who has prayed for her

are you drunk

July 29, 2015

i am a christian

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”Ephesians 5:18 

God tells us to be filled with His Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit of God means first, repentance, then resistance of the devil, and then renewal. It means there’s not one room in your temple where God is off limits. There’s not one closet He doesn’t have a key to. You are filled with the Spirit in your church life, in your business life, in your sex life, in your political life, and in your social life. In the big things and the little things, in your money, in your exercise, in your sleep, in your eating, in your lying down, and in your waking up. You give Jesus the keys to it all. Then when you are filled with the Spirit, there’s no more room for Satan.

If there’s room for Satan, the Spirit is grieved and I am not filled with the Spirit. Repentance, resistance, renewal! Don’t try to repent until you’re honest and face your sin. Don’t try to resist until you’ve repented. And don’t try to be filled until you resist, until you choose against Satan and yield to God’s blessed Holy Spirit.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

sewer mouth

July 28, 2015

sugar coating

The evangelical church is in a crisis today. Some see it as teetering on a precipice, its demise merely decades away unless severe counter-measures are taken. The overt pragmatism, separation of “religious truth” from “real truth,” and marginalization of the Lordship of Christ and the authority of scripture are a large part of the reason for this crisis. At bottom, the church has moved to the back of the intellectual bus by elevating personal experience as the ultimate measure of truth. All of this is playing into the hands of the god of this world. A growing number of evangelical (and even non-evangelical and non-Christian) voices are being raised against such cultural forces, asking us to return to a worldview that is more balanced. Too many Christians are either unaware of their assimiliation into culture or else do not have ready access to viewpoints that sufficiently counter it.

  1. C. Sproul: “We live in what may be the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western civilization. . . . We must have passion—indeed hearts on fire for the things of God. But that passion must resist with intensity the anti-intellectual spirit of the world.”

1980 Gallup Poll on Religion: “We are having a revival of feelings but not of the knowledge of God. The church today is more guided by feelings than by convictions. We value enthusiasm more than informed commitment.”

 “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind” (p. 3). Mark Noll

Any attempted reconciliation between contemporary critical theory and biblical theology is radically misguided there is no dialogue possible between the liberal left and the strong conservative Christian right. Our only option is to stop being silent. The church has failed miserably at fulfilling the great commission and saving souls. We now only make excuses for our failures, we are still “equipping” or “I haven’t had enough training”

We know the name of every check out person at the grocery store, every barista at the coffee shop, everyone at the bus stop, but none of them know we are believers.

You must have a biblical opinion and speak out, even if crudely done. Bruce Jenner is still a man, still has testicles, the department of health is telling all child workers, no longer ask if someone has a girlfriend or boyfriend ask them if they are seeing someone because we don’t want to force them into a stereotypical dating relationship. NBC is going fine any talking head if they get it wrong on transgender identification.

What we are seeing is the gagging of America, the pressing grind of censorship, lewdness can fill our television but righteousness can’t pass our lips.

God is not silent and neither should we, protest filth.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

crystal ball

July 27, 2015

binoculars

When looking at the sheer weight of unseen glories to come, my troubles seem light by comparison; and when looking at the staggering length of eternity, my troubles seem fleeting by comparison.  It is only against the backdrop of a glorious eternity that my circumstances can be seen in such a manner; and the promise of this glorious eternity is part and parcel of the gospel itself.

2 Corinthians 4. “(16) Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. (17) For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, (18) while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Colossians 1: 5. “. . . the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel . . .

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace. (song by Helen Lemmel).

Are you in pain? Are your suffering? Has living became a burden? Then you are to focused on today and not on your future glory with God. Sound to simple? It’s not, we must trust in all the promises of a different future when we depend upon God for that future.

Continue to pray for Olivia whom God is healing everyday with new strength and hope.

Pray for Susan H. as she continues her battle with vertigo.

Pray for Heather for complete healing

Pray for Kim and her battle with cancer.

Pray for Vickie that just lost her father.

Pray for families that would rather keep secrets than know the truth, and they are living a lie.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

change

July 26, 2015

the sky is the limit

The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire.

If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drugs and booze, sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a pig sty because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a vacation at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

It is not a bad thing to desire our own good. In fact, the great problem of human beings is that they are far too easily pleased.

So here we are, fat, dumb and deliriously happy, yet we are naked, blind and without the glory of God filling our lives. We want our church services to be dynamic and entertaining, preachers to be funny and worship services that make us feel good but please no conviction, no challenging our morals, and for heaven sake don’t talk about religion because the media and our government has convinced us that religion is private. Along with the lie that what happens in our bed rooms is our own business and how dare someone tell us there is to be moral behavior in our own homes.

Porn on your laptops, it’s to be expected, off color, dirty jokes, no loyalty to work or respect to elders or submission to those in authority, ha that’s a laugh.

I’m always amazed at the guy driving his car with Christian bumper stickers all over it is the same guy that gives you the finger if you pass him or honk your horn.

Let me ask you a question; ‘How deep is your commitment to God?’

Will you let him change your behavior?

Would you seek him for help, believing that he wants to.

When is the last time you even tried to change?

Let me make one suggestion to change your life; make it your mission, your life’s goal to start praising God, be thankful, count your blessings, stop praying to  God like he’s a giant rabbit’s foot.

That’s it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

aaaahhhhh

July 25, 2015

sound sleep

1. Faith in Christ’s person will comfort your troubled heart (John 14:1, 4-11).

Faith is only as good as its object. Trusting in a faulty airplaine won’t make it fly! As we’ve seen repeatedly, everything in the Christian life depends on the correct answer to Jesus’ question (Matt. 16:15), “Who do you say that I am?” If Jesus is who He claimed to be and who all of Scripture proclaims Him to be, then He is absolutely trustworthy in every trial that you encounter. If He is not who He claimed to be, then eat and drink, for tomorrow you will die (see 1 Cor. 15:12-19, 32). Or, as church historian Jaroslav Pelikan said just before he died, “If Christ is raised, nothing else matters. If Christ is not raised, nothing matters.” (Cited by David Calhoun, in Heaven [Crossway], ed. by Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson, worldmag.com/2014/11/the_hope_of_heaven.) In our text, Jesus makes four claims that show that He is trustworthy:

A. Jesus claims to deserve equal faith with God (John 14:1).

John 14:1: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” There are several legitimate ways to translate that verse because in Greek, “believe” in both instances can be either indicative or imperative. A few versions translate the first verb as indicative, “you believe in God,” and the second as imperative, “believe also in Me.” But most versions translate them both as imperatives: “believe in God, believe also in Me.” Since Jesus’ opening words are an imperative, “Do not let your heart be troubled,” it’s likely that He is commanding them both to believe in God and to believe in Him.

But either way that you translate it, Jesus is claiming to be on exactly the same level as God when it comes to trusting Him! What mere man could claim, “You need to trust in God, and to the same degree, you need to trust in Me”? Alexander Maclaren wrote (Expositions of Holy Scripture [Baker], on John 14:1, p. 257, italics his):

The peculiarity of His call to the world is, “Believe in Me.” And if He said that, or anything like it … then, one of two things follows. Either He was wrong, and then He was a crazy enthusiast, only acquitted of blasphemy because convicted of insanity; or else—or else—He was “God manifest in the flesh.”

As Jesus will go on to affirm, because to see Him is to see the Father, you cannot separate faith in God from faith in Jesus. And since Jesus is the eternal Son of God, who created all things (John 1:3), and who was in control over all the events surrounding His death, then you can trust Him in whatever overwhelming circumstances you are facing. Nothing is too difficult for Him and no one can thwart His sovereign will (Jer. 32:17; Job 42:2).

B. Jesus claims to be the exclusive way to God (John 14:4-6).

We’ll come back to verses 2 & 3, where Jesus promises that He is going to prepare a place for us and that He will come again. Then, He says (John 14:4-6),

“And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

I’m glad for the disciples’ dense comments and questions (we’ll see another one from Philip in verse 8), because they resulted in some wonderful answers from Jesus that we otherwise might not have! The word “way” is emphasized by being repeated in verses 4, 5, & 6; it refers to the way to heaven or to the Father (John 14:3, 6). Significantly, Jesus doesn’t say, “I know the way to heaven and I can point you to it.” Rather, He says, “I am the way.”

A missionary hired a guide to take him across a vast desert. When they arrived at the edge of the desert, the missionary saw before him trackless sands without a single footprint or road of any kind. He asked his guide with a tone of surprise, “Where is the road?” With a reproving glance, the guide replied, “I am the road.” Jesus is the way to heaven. We must trust Him to take us there.

This is the sixth of Jesus’ seven “I am” statements in John (6:48; 8:12; 10:9, 11; 11:25; 15:1). It’s another claim to deity. Jesus is saying that we can have access to God only through Him. Just as in the Old Testament, the only way for the Jews to come to God was through the high priest, who could only enter the holy of holies on the Day of Atonement, so Jesus is our high priest through whose sacrifice of Himself we can come into God’s very presence without fear of being consumed. He Himself is the way.

Jesus also claimed, “I am the truth.” Again, He did not say, “I can teach you the truth,” although He did that. He said, “I am the truth.” In this context, He means not only that He is totally dependable, but also that He Himself is the only true way of salvation (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John [Eerdmans], p. 641). He alone is the manifestation of the eternal God of truth. We can only know ultimate reality through knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Jesus also claimed, “I am the life.” Again, He doesn’t say, “I can tell you how to have life,” but rather, “I am the life.” In John 5:26, Jesus claimed, “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.” Having life in Himself, Jesus “gives life to whom He wishes” (John 5:21). Because of sin, the entire human race is under the curse of eternal death, or separation from God. We can have eternal life only in Christ. Eternal life means knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom He sent (John 17:3).

The three articles, the way, the truth, and the life imply the exclusivity of Christ’s claims. But His final statement cinches it (John 14:6b): “no one comes to the Father but through Me.” He isthe only way to God. Peter underscored this fact to the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts 4:12), “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (See, also, 1 Tim. 2:5).

Jesus’ claim to be the way, the truth, and the life, the only way to the Father, confronts our postmodern era in two ways: First, there is such a thing as absolute truth in the spiritual realm; second, Jesus only is the absolute truth; all other ways are wrong. People today don’t have a problem if you say that Jesus is a way to God or that you personally believe in Him, as long as you don’t say that all other beliefs are false. But when you claim that Jesus is the exclusive way to God; that He is the only spiritual truth, so that all other beliefs are false; and that He alone can impart eternal life—you will be accused of being intolerant and arrogant!

R. C. Sproul (in Tabletalk, date unknown) points out that the notion that all religions are valid is logically impossible because, if all religions are valid, then Christianity is valid. But Jesus said that He is the only way to God, which eliminates all other ways. So either He was right or He was wrong. Sproul concludes, “If He was wrong, then Christianity has no validity at all. If He was right, then there is no other way.”

Here’s how Jesus’ claim in verse 6 can comfort you when you’re troubled: Believing that Jesus is the way will comfort your troubled heart because you have access to the gracious Father through Him. Through Jesus you can bring all your troubles into the very presence of the God who spoke the universe into existence. Believing that Jesus is the truth will comfort your troubled heart because all else is subjective, shifting, and uncertain. You can stand securely in the truth of who Jesus is. Believing that Jesus is the life will comfort your troubled heart because trusting in Him gives assurance of eternal life and escape from the second death.

Thus Jesus claims to deserve equal faith with God. He claims to be the exclusive way to God.

C. Jesus claims to be the unique revealer of God (John 14:7-9).

John 14:7-9:

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

There is a variant in verse 7 supported by some early manuscripts, which reads, “If you have come to know Me [as you do], you shall know My Father also.” If this is the original reading, then Jesus is emphasizing the truth of John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” To know Jesus is to know the Father. Jesus alone reveals the Father to us. Jesus’ words, “from now on,” refer to the events that will transpire shortly, especially to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The Spirit will guide them into all the truth (John 14:17, 26).

But Jesus’ comment that the disciples have seen the Father prompts Philip to ask (John 14:8), “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” He may have been thinking that if Jesus was going to leave them, some vision of God such as Moses had on Mount Sinai would sustain them in Jesus’ absence. Jesus’ reply is a rebuke that reflects some personal grief (John 14:9), “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

Again, I’m thankful for Philip’s inappropriate request, because Jesus’ reply is another clear claim to be God. As Leon Morris states (p. 644), “These are words which no mere man has a right to use.” Jesus is the visible representation of the invisible God. As Paul wrote (Col. 2:9), “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” This claim of Christ can comfort your troubled heart because often in a time of trouble, God seems distant. The fact that He is invisible makes it difficult to trust in Him. At such times, look to Jesus, who was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15). He reveals to us the tender mercies of the Father.

D. Jesus claims to be in intimate union with the Father (John 14:10-11).

John 14:10-11: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.”

This brings us back full circle to verse 1: To believe in Jesus is to believe in the Father, because the two are in inseparable union. God is one God who subsists in three co-equal, eternal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (John 14:10, 17). Jesus reveals the Father to us. The Spirit reveals Christ to us (John 16:13-15). To know Jesus is to know God.

Jesus gives two reasons to believe that He is in intimate union with the Father: His words and His works. Jesus says that He didn’t make up what He taught, but rather His words came directly from the Father. This is a repetition of Jesus’ earlier claims. In John 8:26, He told His enemies, “I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” He repeated (John 8:28), “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” (See, also, John 5:19, 30.) Jesus’ words confirm that He is in intimate union with the Father.

But also Jesus’ works prove that He is in intimate union with the Father. This refers to all that He did, but especially to His miracles. Skeptics, of course, challenge Jesus’ miracles because they claim that they have never seen a miracle. But Jesus’ miracles are reported by credible eyewitnesses, most of whom were willing to lose their lives because they believed Jesus to be the truth. At the heart of a skeptic’s rejection of Jesus’ miracles is not science, but rather his love of his sin and his refusal to submit to Jesus as Lord.

Note that Jesus challenges us (John 14:11), “Believe Me that …” Faith in Jesus isn’t a vague, “I believe for every star that falls, a flower grows.” Rather, we are to believe specifically what Jesus claimed: that He deserves equal faith with God; that He is the exclusive way to God; that He is the unique revealer of God; and that He is in intimate union with the Father. Jesus adds that if you can’t believe His words alone, at least believe because of His works. Believing in the person of Christ will comfort your troubled heart.

2. Hope in Christ’s promise will comfort your troubled heart (John 14:2-3).

John 14:2-3: “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

Biblical hope is closely allied with faith. Someone has described it as faith standing on tiptoe. It looks ahead to the promised, but yet unrealized future. It’s not like saying, “I hope my favorite team wins their big game today.” You don’t know whether they will win or lose. Biblical hope is like watching the video replay of the game after your team won. You know the outcome, but you eagerly watch the game unfold. Here Jesus makes two promises that are certain because He is the truth:

A. Christ is making a reservation for us in heaven.

The picture is an Oriental house where the father would add rooms to accommodate his grown children and their families so that they all lived in the same compound. There are several comforting truths in this picture. First, heaven is a real place, not just an immaterial state of being.

Second, going to heaven is like going home. It’s not like traveling to a foreign country, where you don’t know the language, geography, people, or customs. It’s like going to a familiar, comfortable place where you are welcomed by a Father who loves you and by brothers and sisters whom you know.

Third, Jesus is there right now preparing a place for us. This doesn’t mean that He is working with His carpenter’s tools to add rooms for us. Rather, it looks at His present ministry of intercession for us, of being our advocate, and of keeping us for that day.

It’s always comforting when you travel to know that you have a confirmed reservation when you arrive. Jesus promises that if you believe in Him, you have such a reservation in heaven.

B. Christ will make a return for us on earth.

He promises to come again and receive us to Himself, that where He is, there we will be also. When Christ comes or when we go to heaven, we will be reunited with our loved ones who have gone before us. But being with Jesus Himself will be the best part of His coming and our going to heaven. As Martin Luther said (cited by Randy Alcorn, Heaven [Tyndale], p. 187), “I had rather be in hell with Christ, than be in heaven without him.”

The certainty of Christ’s bodily return means terror for those who reject Him, because He will come to “tread the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty” (Rev. 19:15). But His return means comfort for all that believe in Him, because we will always be with the Lord. Paul concludes his discussion of Christ’s return by saying (1 Thess. 4:18), “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Conclusion

Jesus’ words (John 14:1), “Do not let your heart be troubled,” mean that we can do something about our troubled hearts. It’s a command, indicating that we have volitional control over our emotions. We don’t need to be victimized by our feelings. We can do something to deal with anxiety or a troubled heart, namely, believe in Jesus as God and hope in His promise of heaven. As the psalmist told himself when he was in despair (Ps. 43:5), “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” And, since Jesus was troubled on our behalf (John 14:21), we don’t need to be troubled by life’s problems. God is now on our side!

So the next time you’re troubled and anxious, before you do what the world does and pop a pill to calm your soul, do something radical: Believe in God; believe also in Jesus Christ. Faith in His person and His promise will comfort your troubled heart.

Dos Equis

July 24, 2015

knock you down

Everything is made to center upon the initial act of “accepting” Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls. We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him. This is set before us as the last word in orthodoxy, and it is taken for granted that no Bible-taught Christian ever believed otherwise. Thus the whole testimony of the worshiping, seeking, singing Church on that subject is crisply set aside. The experiential heart-theology of a grand army of fragrant saints is rejected in favor of a smug interpretation of Scripture which would have sounded strange to an Augustine or Watchman Nee or to Billy Graham.

How do we find the balance in our lives between dynamic versus ordinary, sound doctrine versus extraordinary, the Sacraments versus a gut crying soul wrenching plea for more from God.

Moses used the fact that he knew God as an argument for knowing Him better. “Now, therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight”; and from there he rose to make the daring request, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” God was frankly pleased by this display of ardor, and the next day called Moses into the mount, and there in solemn procession made all His glory pass before him.

For some there is still the desire to hunt some lonely place and pray, “O God, show me thy glory.” They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with their inner eyes the wonder that is God. To those who by temperament or passion still want to have a “God Experience” I salute you, do not let the ‘normal’ staid tastes of those who quench all emotion from salvation attempt to quell and staunch the quest you seek.

I know that there are many who have suffered in the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement and you have adopted the position of just wanting to set in the pew and never be stirred again. I apologize for those that have suffered from toxic faith, raving pastors, false prophets, phony apostles, and nut jobs like Joel Osteen that tell you just to believe you deserve happiness. The New Testament and our Savior says it is our lot to suffer and suffer we will, but we can do it with joy, peace and longsuffering and a nearness to God that burns white hot within us.

I hate to quote a beer commercial but oh well; “stay thirsty my friends”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Please continue to pray for Susan H, Heather, Kim and Frank N.

Pray for Issac who just gave his heart to Jesus, today in public on the sidewalk outside of Luby’s.

ALL

July 23, 2015

christ on cross

According to expert hymnist Alfred Smith, more men responded to this song as an altar call than any other song. This was the time of the railroad and lumberjacks, long periods at sea, men gone from home for long periods of time, falling into sin. This song reminded them of what they were, not what they had become.

 

When I was but a little child how well I recollect
How I would grieve my mother with my folly and neglect;
And now that she has gone to Heav’n I miss her tender care:
O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!

Refrain

Tell mother I’ll be there, in answer to her prayer;
This message, blessèd Savior, to her bear!
Tell mother I’ll be there, Heav’n’s joys with her to share;
Yes, tell my darling mother I’ll be there.

Though I was often wayward, she was always kind and good;
So patient, gentle, loving when I acted rough and rude;
My childhood griefs and trials she would gladly with me share:
O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!

Refrain

When I became a prodigal, and left the old rooftree,
She almost broke her loving heart in mourning after me;
And day and night she prayed to God to keep me in His care:
O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!

Refrain

One day a message came to me, it bade me quickly come
If I would see my mother ere the Savior took her home;
I promised her, before she died, for Heaven to prepare:
O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!

Refrain

An important message here, so many embellish their ‘testimony’ of how bad they were before finding Jesus. The bible doesn’t grade sinners, all were bad, all were unworthy, and all needed a savior. We need to remember nothing has changed, man is still a sinner, all have fallen and all need to witnessed to.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

the pursuit of

July 22, 2015

shout

The stress of modern life challenges the hearts of Christians. Each day can be a battle. Dr. Clinton shows how Christians can find joy and encouragement from Scripture. The Bible “provides insight into what it means to understand God’s compassion and his care. . . . His presence and his power are available to us.” The Scriptures reveal God’s healing and grace.

Christians are instruments of God’s grace—God comforts us so that we can comfort others. Dr. Clinton reminds Christians of the importance of letting “God use us as a vessel through which he communicates his message of hope and grace to others.” The Scriptures provide the tools we need to encourage and equip others who are hurting and in search of God.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

I don’t know why it is but so many Christians struggle with happiness.

Everyone wants happiness, but most people seek it in the wrong way. They assume that happiness comes through good circumstances, so they set out to improve their circumstances. If they’re single, they seek a spouse and a happy marriage. If they’re married, but unhappy, they get a divorce and look for someone else who can make them happier. If they’re married and childless, they seek to have children. If they’re married with children who are giving them problems, they don’t know what to do (since murder is not legal)! If they’re poor, they seek to get rich. If they’re rich, they discover that money doesn’t give them what they’re looking for. One wag said, “They say it’s better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable. But couldn’t something be worked out, such as being moderately wealthy and just a little moody?” (Reader’s Digest, 9/82.)

Jesus explained how we can find lasting happiness, but in so doing He stood the world’s way on its head: Lose your life for His sake and the gospel’s and you’ll find it. He said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it” (Mark 8:34, 35). He made the same point in the Sermon on the Mount, where He contrasted the pagans, who eagerly seek after the material comforts of life, with believers, who are to “seek first His kingdom and righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).

The Apostle Paul was a man who proved Jesus’ words in the crucible of life. In our text, we find Paul in circumstances in which we could not fault him for being unhappy. Think of who he was–God’s chief apostle to the Gentiles. He was well-educated, experienced, and influential. He had founded churches all over the Roman Empire. He had been used of God to pen much of our New Testament. He had endured much persecution and hardship in his labors for the Lord. By now he was over 60, at a time in life when a man looks forward to enjoying the fruits of his lifelong labors. Many American pastors by this time are looking forward to a relaxed schedule, a little more golf. If you’re as successful in ministry as Paul was, you could expect to live off your book sales and speak at a lot of conferences and retreats.

But where was Paul? Instead of being out on the links or speaking under the pines at a retreat center, he was in prison in Rome, awaiting a trial that could result in his execution. He was not in the strictest confinement, in a dungeon (as he later was). He was in his own rented quarters, and his friends were allowed to visit him (Acts 28:30, 31). But he was chained to a Roman guard 24 hours of every day. He had already spent two years being confined in Caesarea without any crime on his part. He had suffered a shipwreck and near death on his trip to Rome. Not only that, but he was being unfairly criticized by a number of jealous pastors in Rome, who probably were saying things like, “If Paul had God’s blessing in his life, do you think he would be in prison?” They were promoting their ministries at Paul’s expense.

Paul’s circumstances were enough to make any man unhappy, and yet we find him abounding with joy (1:18). What was his secret? How could Paul be filled with joy in these dismal circumstances? The answer is, he had put into practice the words of Jesus, that the way to find true life is to lose your life for the sake of Jesus and the gospel.

True happiness comes by proclaiming Christ in every situation.

Now maybe you’re thinking, “That’s a nice idea, but it doesn’t apply to me. I’m not called to be an evangelist or preacher or missionary. I’m a simple layman. I try to earn a decent living and raise my family. But I’m not called to proclaim Christ as Paul was.” But I contend that Jesus’ words apply not only to the Apostle Paul, but to every Christian in every stratum of life. Whether you are a construction worker, a business executive, a housewife, a student, or whatever you do, your objective should be to lose your life for the sake of Christ and the gospel. In so doing, you will find the key to true life and happiness, no matter what trials or hardships you face. There are two steps toward applying Jesus’ words to your life, as Paul did:

  1. Say no to the self-life.

“Deny yourself and take up your cross” (Mark 8:34). “Lose [your] life for [Jesus’] sake and the gospel’s” (Mark 8:35). Or, as Paul explains it (Gal. 2:20), “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” In Romans 8:12, 13 Paul put it this way: “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh [the old self], to live according to the flesh–for if you are living according to the flesh, you are about to die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

The Christian life is decidedly not a life lived for self, for personal fulfillment, for doing what we think will bring us pleasure and happiness. That is the way toward death! The Christian life is a life of daily, constant submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ in which, by the indwelling Holy Spirit, we say no to selfish desires and yes to the will of God. It means that we learn to submit every thought, desire, decision, attitude, action, and relationship to the question, “Does this please God?”

In our text, what is striking is Paul’s almost total disregard of himself. The Philippians were rightly concerned about Paul’s situation. They had sent Ephaphroditus to find out how Paul was doing. Was he suffering terribly in prison? Would he be acquitted and set free? Yet, as James Boice puts it, “In one deft sentence Paul shifts the legitimate interest of the Philippians from himself to the great undeterred purposes of God in history” (Philippians: An Expositional Commentary [Zondervan], p. 60). With Paul the main question was not, “What is happening to me?” but rather, “What is happening to the gospel?” His focus was not on self, but on Christ and the gospel.

It’s amazing that Paul does not speak a word of complaint about his situation. He’s not asking, “Why is this happening to me? I’ve served God faithfully all these years! I’ve always sought to do His will. Why this?” The modern approach would be to urge Paul to get in touch with his feelings: “How do you feel about the way God is treating you? Go ahead and be honest. Get out your anger and rage. God can take it! Tell Him how you feel!” If Paul answered, “I’m rejoicing and I’m determined to keep on rejoicing” (1:18) he would be accused of being in denial!

He would also be accused of being “in denial” about his feelings toward his critics! “How do you feel about the Christian leaders who are criticizing you, Paul? Don’t you feel hurt, wounded? Don’t you want to lash out at them?” “If they’re preaching Christ, I rejoice that the gospel is going forth.”

Who were these critics? Some commentators say that they were the Judaizers, those Jewish legalists who dogged Paul’s steps, seeking to bring his converts under the Jewish law, especially circumcision, for salvation. Paul warns against this sect in Philippian 3. But these men Paul speaks of in 1:15a, 17 (the KJV reverses verses 16 & 17, but the strong weight of evidence is for the order in the NASB) could not have been the Judaizers, for several reasons.

These critics preached Christ (1:15a, 17), but the Judaizers preached another gospel, which is not a gospel (Gal. 1:6-9; 5:11). Paul rejoices in the message these critics were preaching (their message was true, even though their motives were wrong), but he wishes the Judaizers to be accursed because of their heresy (Gal. 1:8-9). Paul calls these men brethren, but he calls the Judaizers “false brethren” (Gal. 2:4). So these critics were apparently Christian pastors in Rome whose doctrine was correct, but whose hearts were wrong. They were jealous of Paul and selfishly ambitious to promote their own ministries. But, at least the message they preached was the true gospel. Paul would never rejoice at the preaching of false doctrine concerning something as crucial as the gospel.

I have found over the years that the most stinging criticism comes from fellow believers, not from the world. You expect the world to be hostile, but you also expect Christians to be on your side. Yet I have encountered the most hostility from those in the church, not from those outside. The Greek word translated “selfish ambition” was used of politicians building a personal following. Many in the church play politics to build a following. But it’s not the way of self-denial and living for Christ.

So Paul was not complaining to God, and he shrugged off the criticism of these jealous preachers, because he was denying self. Also, as we’ll see in our text for next week (1:20, 21), Paul didn’t even have a concern for whether he lived or died! If he got acquitted and lived, that would mean more useful service for Christ. If he got executed, he would be with Christ, which is better. But, he didn’t consider his life of any account as dear to himself (Acts 20:24). Paul had said “no” to his self-life.

Lest you think that Paul was some sort of super-Christian, with a level of dedication that very few attain, I remind you that Jesus’ words about denying yourself and taking up your cross apply to every person who wants to follow Him (Mark 8:34). Discipleship isn’t an option for those who feel called to a life of hardship, who like a challenge. Discipleship is the only option for those who believe in Jesus. The only path for the true Christian is that of learning daily to say no to selfish desires and yes to the lordship of Jesus. The first step to happiness is to say no to the self-life.

  1. Say yes to the gospel as first in your life.

Paul told the Corinthians, “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it” (1 Cor. 9:23). The progress of the gospel must be our goal (note, “gospel” in 1:5, 7, 12, 16, 27 [twice]). If the progress of our happiness (comfort, success, etc.) is our goal, we will miss true happiness. With Paul, the progress of the gospel should be our main concern. Seek first to fulfill your own needs, and you’ll come up empty. “Seek first the kingdom of God,” and you will find that God meets your needs.

  1. SAYING YES TO THE GOSPEL AS FIRST REQUIRES UNDERSTANDING AND BELIEVING THE GOSPEL.

I’m amazed at how many people who attend evangelical churches cannot begin to explain the basics of the gospel to another person. It makes me wonder if they even understand, let alone believe in, the gospel. The gospel is not, “If you’re having some problems in your life, invite Jesus into your heart and He will help you work out your problems.” Nor is the gospel, “If you’d like a happier life, try Jesus.” That kind of approach trivializes the gospel by missing the key problem the gospel addresses.

The main problem every person faces is that his sin has alienated him from a holy God and that he is under God’s wrath or judgment. If he dies in this condition, he will spend eternity in hell, under the just condemnation of God. The good news (“gospel”) is that God has not left us in this terrible situation. Nor does He expect us to earn our way back to Him, which no one can do, because it requires perfect righteousness. Rather, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, met the requirement of God’s Law in His perfect obedience to the Father. He went to the cross as the Lamb of God, to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). God did not leave Jesus in the tomb, but raised Him bodily from the dead, victorious over sin, death, and hell. God offers to every person a full pardon from sin and total reconciliation to Himself based on what Christ did on the cross. The only way to receive this deliverance from God’s judgment is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8, 9).

To believe the gospel is not merely to give intellectual assent to the facts of the gospel. To believe the gospel means to commit your life, both now and for eternity, to the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin. You can say that you believe that an airplane will carry you from Phoenix to Los Angeles, but you don’t truly believe it until you get on board. Only then is your faith effective in transporting you from Phoenix to L.A. You can give mental assent to the truth of the gospel, but it is not effective in transferring you from Satan’s domain of darkness to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son, in whom you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13, 14) until you fully commit yourself by faith to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Thus saving faith necessarily includes repentance (turning) from sin. It means entrusting yourself to Jesus as Savior and Lord. Saving faith is a commitment of all of myself of which I’m aware to all of Jesus whom I know. From that point, I grow in awareness of my own selfishness and sin, which I relinquish to Christ’s lordship; and I grow in my awareness of the person and work of Christ, to which I yield. But there is no such thing as believing in Jesus as my Savior, and then living the rest of my life to please myself. We must understand and believe that the gospel is absolutely free, but it rightly demands total commitment.

  1. SAYING YES TO THE GOSPEL AS FIRST REQUIRES PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL THROUGH YOUR WALK AND WORDS IN EVERY SITUATION.

Here was Paul, under arrest, chained to Roman guards. Most of us would have thought, “What a restriction for proclaiming Christ!” But Paul thought, “What an opportunity! I’ve got a captive audience!” Every four hours or so the guard changed. They thought Paul was their captive, but Paul saw them as his captives!

These were rough, worldly Roman soldiers, used to guarding tough, accused criminals. Imagine the difference they saw in this prisoner! For one thing, his attitude was different. He never complained! He never bad-mouthed the system. Instead, he was always singing, praying, and praising God. All sorts of interesting people came to visit him, some from the far corners of the empire. They heard him dictate letters to churches, answering their questions with wisdom. They heard him talk about God and how God wants us to live. They heard him pray specific, heartfelt, personal prayers to a God who was very alive.

Besides, this prisoner took an interest in the guards as persons. He asked about their families, their backgrounds, and their thoughts about various issues. He prayed for their needs. And he told them how they could know the living God and have their sins forgiven through faith in His risen Son. Some of these rough soldiers began getting saved, and they talked to other guards. Word spread beyond the Praetorian Guard even to the members of Caesar’s household, some of whom believed (Phil. 4:22).

Paul’s proclamation of Christ through his attitude and words in this difficult situation not only resulted in witness to these lost soldiers, but it also encouraged many of the Roman Christians. Previously, they had lacked the courage to bear witness of Christ for fear of being laughed at or persecuted. But when they saw the power of the gospel for salvation to these soldiers, and even to those in Caesar’s household, they took courage and began to talk fearlessly to others about God’s Word (1:14).

Our walk (especially, our attitude) always has an effect, not only on the lost, but also on the Lord’s people. If we’re cheerfully trusting in the loving sovereignty of God in the midst of trials, as Paul did, we proclaim the reality of faith in Christ both to the lost and to the saved. Lost people will want to know why we’re different, why we don’t complain like everyone else. The Lord’s people who are discouraged will see our faith in God in the midst of trials and be encouraged to trust Him and bear witness for Him.

Many years ago I was praying for more of God’s power in my life. I had in mind things like speaking in tongues, the power to see God do miraculous healings, and that sort of thing. In my Bible reading I came across Colossians 1:10-12, where Paul prayed (verse 10) that his readers would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. Then I read in verses 11 & 12, “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all miracles, signs, and wonders”? Wait a minute! That’s not what it says! “For the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.”

I thought, “The only time you need steadfastness and patience is when you’re going throughtrials, not when you’re instantly, miraculously delivered.” God is saying that His mighty power is manifested by our having a thankful, joyous attitude in the midst of trials, not by being miraculously delivered from them.

Conclusion

Some of you, like Paul, are in situations you never planned to be in. He planned to go to Rome, but not in chains! Maybe you’re in a confining situation where you feel bound by chains. It may be a difficult marriage which you didn’t plan on. Maybe you’re chained to a house full of kids. It may be a family problem. It could be a boring or a difficult job or the lack of a job. It could be a personal problem over which you have no control–a health problem or a situation that you’ve been thrust into with no choice on your part.

What should you do? Make your chains a channel for proclaiming Christ. How? First, say no to the self life, to seeking your own way, your own happiness, your own will. Say no to a grumbling, complaining spirit. Second, say yes to the gospel as first in your life; by understanding and believing it; and, by proclaiming Jesus Christ in every situation by your cheerful attitude of trust in Him and, as He gives opportunity, by your words of witness. You’ll find that by so losing your life for the sake of Christ and the gospel, you’ll find true happiness both for time and for eternity.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Continue to pray for Susan H. she is getting better, slowly but surely.

Pray for Kim and her battle with cancer

Pray for Heather, better health.

Pray for Steve L. knee problems

Pray for Stephanie K. a young seeker, wanting to know if Christ is for her, she has never read a bible until this week. 14 years old and didn’t even know the books of the bible, to her Jesus was a myth. Continue praying that my wife and Stephanie will be able to meet often and pray for Stephanie.

Pray for Ron, from Africa, here preaching on the streets and living homeless, I’m not sure if he’s mentally ill or what, I run into him about once a month always in a different spot, today I gave him a case of water and pray he doesn’t get sun stroke.