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“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? … hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him.” Psalm 42:5

 

Here’s an anchor for your soul in the storms of life: “I am growing by His plan.”

 The book of James contains more than fifty commandments, and none are more difficult to obey than the very first: “Be joyful in the midst of trials.” As believers in Christ, there should never be a question of “if” we will experience trials and hardship in life, only “when.” So we should prepare as best we can in the meantime. After all, if our leader was persecuted and executed, should we expect more favorable treatment?

The Bible is replete with examples of men and women who faced trials and responded in a variety of different ways. In fact, trials are almost the norm in Scripture, with days without testing being the exception. In order to properly endure and weather hardships, there is something we need to know and believe. This knowledge and perspective is so vital that James chooses to begin his letter with such insights. When trials come your way, will you persevere with a prolonged, appropriate response? This is the only route toward maturity. Or will you suffer the duration of the trial resisting what God wants to teach you?

What is God’s plan for you? He wants to enlarge you, not indulge you. God is not so interested in making you happy and healthy as He is in making you holy. And so God will allow troubles to make you more like Christ.

 

Think about the times when you have grown the most. It is when your friend “Trouble” came along. I have grown the most in my own life in times of deepest despair.

 

 

Can you look at the troubles in your life not as adversaries, but as friends? Take a second look and get a godly perspective of it. See how you can become holy through hardship.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

Is God dead?

April 29, 2016

the old pine box

 

Many of the current teachings on spiritual warfare promise great benefits to the church if they are followed. They promise a great hope in the area of evangelism—the greatest ingathering of souls in the history of the church. They also promise believers greater freedom and increased spiritual power. Unfortunately and tragically, when these teachings are examined in the light of Scripture, this new spiritual warfare seems closer to fitting the description of the final apostasy during the end times of the church age. In addition, the new spiritual-warfare theology increasingly appears to fit the description of the false religious system headed by the false prophet in the coming Tribulation.

 

Apparently, Satan and his demons are giving many advocates of the new spiritual warfare the types of “power” experiences they are seeking as a means to deceive them. Because these advocates tend to emphasize only the demonic realm (and that from a false perspective), they are open to Satan’s attacks in the realm of the flesh and, especially because of lack of discernment, the influence of the world system and its false teachings.

 

 

The apostasy of the last times during the church age leads up to and helps prepare the world for the coming false religion during the Tribulation. As we look at some of the passages describing characteristics of this final deception, many aspects of the new spiritual warfare apparently are increasingly similar to the characteristics of this coming false religion. Notice that these attributes that we are about to list could be called “occult sins.” The false teachers are not noted for wanting to take away from the Word of God by denying God’s Word, as evil as that error is, but for wanting to add to Scripture in the name of the Lord.

 

In Matthew 7:21–23 our Lord says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ ” will enter the kingdom of heaven” (v. 21a). This statement is followed by the response of the people who are condemned, who boasted of three activities that they thought should qualify them to go to heaven: “Did we not “prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” (v. 22). These are the very areas in which the new spiritual warfare claims achievements, and are major emphases in many of the teachings found within the new spiritual-warfare movement. However, our Lord’s sobering reply was a command to depart from Him because “I never knew you” (v. 23). According to Christ, true spirituality is evidenced not by power signs but by genuine Christian character (v. 20).

 

 

In 2 Corinthians 11:13–15, Paul warns believers that Satan and his demons are subtle and seductive in their dealings with Christians. Demons are able to disguise themselves as angels of light and servants of righteousness. Many people who are involved in the new spiritual-warfare movement give lip service to this notion, but they seem open to information learned from any experience with the supernatural realm or any person who claims to speak in the name of the Lord no matter how much his teachings and lifestyle differ from those of the Bible.

 

Next time you hear a preacher say; “the bible says”, look it up and see if it really does say that, and not from some sleazy version like the Message bible or Dakes, or if they really talk about repentance, which is a dirty word because it implies you can actually be wrong.

 

And let’s go for broke here, the magazine Christianity Today says that God has chosen Max Lucado to be the replacement for Billy Graham, if that’s true, then God is probably actually dead.  (go ahead and stone me).

see I do pick on someone other than Joel Osteen and Benny Hinn.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

3 stooges

Our third and final character is a “one-verse wonder”—a mere sound bite. Check out this amazing and unorthodox story in 3:31: “After him [Ehud] came Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad; and he also saved Israel.” I love this name Shamgar. You can tell that this man is one bad dude! Just say that name a few times out loud: Shamgar…Shamgar! That’s a stud! And notice as well he’s “the son of Anath!” This is obviously a manly man! Interestingly, Shamgar is not an Israelite name. Furthermore, “Anath” is the name of a Canaanite goddess of war. Perhaps “son of Anath” was a nickname that meant “son of battle”—that is, a mighty warrior. So here we have a non-Israelite delivering Israel. The point: God can use anyone to deliver His people.

 

Shamgar seems to be a professional soldier who is a bit impulsive. In this episode, Shamgar’s weapon of choice is an “oxgoad,” which is a stick about eight feet long with a sharpened iron point (1 Sam 3:21), used to train and drive oxen when plowing (cf. Eccl 12:11). He uses the oxgoad like a javelin or spear.

 

Shamgar is a man with inadequate weapons. Nevertheless, he is a man who obeys God and defeats the enemy even though his resources are limited. Instead of complaining about not possessing a sword or spear, Shamgar gives what he has to the Lord, and the Lord uses it. God makes His power obvious in human weakness. So give your education, experience, and talents to Him. Give whatever tools you have to the Lord, stand your ground courageously, and trust God to use what’s in your hand to accomplish great things for His glory.”

 

A woman walked to work past a pet store. One day a parrot called out to her as she passed and said, “Hey lady, you’re ugly.” She was upset but blew it off. Same thing happened the next day. She got a little angrier but went on. The third day the same thing happened. She went into the store and told the owner who had a talk with the parrot. The next day she passes by, “Hey lady.” She looks at him and says, “Yes?” The parrot said, “You know.”

 

In this life, there will be people who call you ugly. Others will say you don’t have what it takes. You will feel inadequate, incapable, and inferior. But if you bring all that you are to the Lord, He can do great things in and through you. Stop letting the enemy, your flesh, and others keep you from achieving all that God has for you. Yield yourself to the Lord and let Him fill you. Your responsibility is response to God’s ability.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

son-of-the-mask

Our second ordinary but different person is found in Judges 3:12–30, and it begins just like the first account. “Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. And he gathered to himself the sons of Ammon and Amalek; and he went and defeated Israel, and they possessed the city of the palm trees. The sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years” (3:12–14). This story begins, once again, with God firmly on the side of the pagans (3:12). Obviously, God is very unhappy with His people, so He decides to use idolaters (the Moabites) to discipline idolaters (the Israelites). Eglon & Co. possess the “city of the palm trees” (3:13). Now your mind may immediately think of Hawaii or some other tropical paradise. But the “city of the palm trees” was Jericho (Deut 34:3), which was the first town that Israel captured in Joshua 6. This is a telling picture of how far Israel has fallen. She did not continue to possess the land; instead, her enemies took the land back by force. Additionally, Israel suffers under Eglon for eighteen years. Under Cushan the Doubly Wicked, she only suffered for eight years. When God’s people fail to learn from His discipline, He may turn the heat up. The goal, then, must be to respond to God’s chastening and learn whatever lessons we can so that we don’t have to retake the test.

 

In 3:15, we come across a very important verse. “But when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab.” The Lord raises up Ehud to take on King Eglon and deliver Israel. The narrator states that Ehud is left-handed. This may seem like a small detail, but it is a key point. The whole story is built around Ehud being left-handed, which to the writer is a limitation. In Hebrew, being left-handed is described as “restricted in his right hand.” This can be understood in one of three ways: (1) Ehud was disabled. (2) Ehud was ambidextrous. (3) Ehud was left-handed, nothing more, nothing less. Although all of these views have merit and may shed some light on this account, the best interpretation seems to be the third option. Ehud is a left-handed man from the tribe of Benjamin, a name that means “son of my right hand.” Perhaps you’re still not convinced of the significance of this narrative insertion. Let me explain.

 

Historically, left-handedness has been seen as an oddity, almost a disability. People were encouraged to correct their left-handed children. Being left-handed was even seen by some as being a sign of evil! Language seems to bear out this meaning. A man who is awkward is called gauche, a French word meaning left-handed. Something that is wicked or evil we call sinister, the Latin word for the left-hand. I am married to a lefty so I have to be careful about what I say here. I recently asked my wife about the challenges of being a lefty and she rattled off several. When we go out to dinner, we often forget that if she sits at my right hand (the seat of power and authority) we have a hard time eating because our elbows are constantly colliding with one another. She can’t use scissors with her left hand because most scissors are manufactured for right-handed people. So she cuts with her right hand. she likes to journal, but she has a difficult time writing on the top pages. She typically smears the ink as she writes. She even tells me that people make fun of her and say that she writes upside down because of the way she positions her left hand as she writes. Being left-handed certainly has its disadvantages. You might say that left-handed people were discriminated against. At the very least, being left-handed was considered unnatural and peculiar in antiquity. Perhaps the left-handers of the world should form a “lefty lib.”

 

Ehud could have been devastated by this problem. “Why am I left-handed in a world of right-handers? Why am I different?” Many of us are defeated by things in our lives which may be no more significant than left-handedness. But if we do not accept our limitations, they can keep us from being usable. When we accept ourselves with our weaknesses and limitations, God can use us. That is exactly what Ehud did. Ehud uses his own physical limitations to carry out the work of God. In Ehud, the author is able to show that God’s leaders are those who use the talents and circumstances that God has given them to do His work, even when that entails some limitations.

 

In 3:16, we discover that Ehud is like an ancient James Bond. “Ehud made himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit [18’’, the distance between the elbow and the tip of the middle finger] in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his cloak.” This is the start of the ancient James Bond movie. Ehud makes himself a sword and binds it to his right thigh under his cloak. King Eglon’s security apparently assumed that Ehud was a right-handed man. They must have frisked him before allowing him to enter into Eglon’s chamber. If they did not frisk him, this suggests that Ehud was extremely unimpressive and unthreatening because the bodyguards and security allowed him entrance with seemingly no hesitation.

 

In 3:17a, Ehud enters the king’s chambers and presents a tribute (a form of taxation, probably largely agricultural produce) to Eglon. The paying of tribute added to the king’s wealth and acknowledged the king’s authority over Israel. This verse concludes with some very unusual words: “Now Eglon was a very fat man” (3:17b). Why does the narrator include this statement? It appears rather cruel. At the very least it is not politically or socially correct. It is important to understand that when the Bible refers to a person as “fat,” it points to an individual who is a lazy, selfish, hoarder. In this case, Eglon is indulging in the tributes. While it is real he is most likely hungry, Eglon is devouring everything in sight. Ironically, Eglon’s name means “fat ox.” Here he is portrayed as a fattened calf going to the slaughter.

 

In 3:18–20, our story picks up speed. “It came about when he had finished presenting the tribute, that he sent away the people who had carried the tribute. But he himself turned back from the idols which were at Gilgal, and said, ‘I have a secret message for you, O king.’ And he said, ‘Keep silence.’ And all who attended him left him. Ehud came to him while he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. [The man was chilling out without a care in the world.] And Ehud said, ‘I have a message from God for you.’ And he arose from his seat.” The Hebrew word translated “message” (dbr) means “word” or “thing.” This serves as a double entendre for the verbal message and for Ehud’s dagger. Ehud is not being deceptive when he declares that he has a “message” for Eglon. God’s messages are not always positive messages of well-being or of hope; they are, at times, messages of judgment and death.

 

In 3:21–23, our story moves into slow motion. “Ehud stretched out his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly. The handle also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the sword out of his belly; and the refuse came out. Then Ehud went out into the vestibule and shut the doors of the roof chamber behind him, and locked them.” This episode would have been on Israel’s newscast of sports highlights at 11:00. When Eglon stands, Ehud reaches for his dagger and plunges it into the fat king’s body. It must have been a powerful thrust because the point of the dagger came out the king’s back; and Eglon died instantly.

 

We now come to an amusing verse that is filled with bathroom humor. (Sorry ladies, but I have to be as biblical as possible.) In 3:24, the author of Judges writes, “When he [Ehud] had gone out, his servants came and looked, and behold, the doors of the roof chamber were locked; and they said, ‘He is only relieving himself in the cool room.’” If you have a center or single-column reference Bible, you will see that the Hebrew phrase “relieving himself” literally means “covering his feet.” This is a wonderful word picture. This afternoon if you want to be really biblical you can tell your spouse or children that you need to go “cover your feet.” Apparently, Elgon’s men thought that their king left his throne to go sit down on his other throne. I’m sure even in Eglon’s day men took magazines and books into the throne room. No doubt these ancient men took twenty, thirty, or even sixty minutes like many contemporary men do today. This is what makes 3:25a so amusing: “They waited until they became anxious; but behold, he did not open the doors of the roof chamber.” This must be one of the greatest understatements of the Bible. As indicated above, these men must have waited quite a while. But the length of time and the stench of Eglon’s bowels made them anxious, literally “ashamed.” Can’t you just envision this episode? You know how men are. These guys were no doubt coarse in their jesting. They must have been laughing their heads off, then crying over the stench at the same time. In 3:25b, the men said enough is enough: “Therefore they took the key and opened them, and behold, their master had fallen to the floor dead.”The three “behold” statements in 3:24–25 indicate the three surprises that the men experience: the doors are locked, the king doesn’t respond to their knocks and calls, and the king is dead. All of this took time and gives Ehud opportunity to escape, much like James Bond.

 

Our story concludes in 3:26–30. “Now Ehud escaped while they were delaying, and he passed by the idols and escaped to Seirah. It came about when he had arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was in front of them. He said to them, ‘Pursue them, for the LORD has given your enemies the Moabites into your hands.’ So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan opposite Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross. They struck down at that time about ten thousand Moabites, all robust and valiant men; and no one escaped. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land was undisturbed for eighty years. ” Ehud leads his people to annihilate 10,000 of God’s enemies. Consequently, God grants Israel peace for eighty years! Some scholars assume that Ehud is guilty of treachery and murder. However, the question is: Did God call His people to exterminate the Canaanites? If so, it is a holy war, and all is fair in love and war The author of Judges portrays Ehud as a hero. Indeed, Ehud the courageous lefty does lefties proud! The name “Ehud” may be derived from the Hebrew word “one,” playing off the fact that our champion stands alone. Alternatively, the name may be derived from a word meaning “majesty,” in which case it serves to applaud him. When no one else in Israel was willing to fight God’s enemies, Ehud stepped up in a big way.

 

What gave Ehud this type of boldness and courage? The clue is found in 3:19 and 26. Ehud may have been worshiping idols like the rest of Israel, but one day he said, “I’m turning my back on idolatry and I’m going to destroy God’s enemies. If the Jews had been asked to vote on a leader, Ehud probably would have lost on the first ballot. But he was God’s choice, and God used him to set the nation free. Moses was slow of speech and Paul was not imposing in his appearance, but Moses and Paul, like Ehud, were men of faith who led others to victory. Ehud turned a disability into a possibility because he depended on the Lord.

So lefties unite, different is good, God uses everybody someway.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Lord, why am I different

April 26, 2016

churtch

Lord, why am I different (part one)

 

Have you ever wondered, “How could God use someone like me?” Perhaps you are consumed with guilt over sin and failure. You may suffer with the scars of your family history or personal background. Perhaps you have physical problems and limitations. Maybe you have difficulty accepting yourself and bear the burden of a poor self-image. Maybe you feel inadequate due to a lack of education, skills, or spiritual gifts. I don’t know about you but when I think of myself I’m not impressed. There are many physical features I dislike about myself. There are many personality quirks, I wish I could change. When I think of myself from the world’s perspective, underwhelmed comes to mind. Yet, over the course of my life, the Lord has taught me that He loves to use weak and foolish people like me.

 

 

The introduction to Judges (1:1–3:6) revealed what devastating consequences occur when God’s people rebel against Him. Now the author is going to focus on three judges whom God uses in a powerful way. In Judges 3:7–31 we will see, “Our responsibility is response to God’s ability.” In these twenty–five verses, the term “Lord” (Yahweh) occurs thirteen times. That’s every other verse! Even though God dominates this passage, these three stories remind us that He uses people like you and me to accomplish His purposes in the world.

 

 

Our first story in 3:7–11 begins on an ominous note. “The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot [abandoned] the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth [female Canaanite deities…Baal’s girlfriends]” (3:7). The opening phrase “the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD” is repeated throughout Judges (3:7, 12; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6; 13:1). Each time the phrase is used, it marks a period of oppression by Israel’s enemies. In spite of the amazing grace that God showed His people in Judges 1–2, Israel walked away from God. These people weren’t just having a bad spiritual day. They didn’t skip their devotions or forget to pray, they actively rebelled against the one true God whom they were in covenant with!

 

 

In 3:8, God gets ticked!“Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim [“Doubly-Wicked”] king of Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.” The phrase “the anger of the Lord was kindled” literally reads “the Lord’s nose became hot.” This is a figurative way of describing God’s wrath. We tend to get angry to benefit ourselves; God gets angry because His holiness elicits a response. In His anger, the Lord sells His people to the enemy. Israel acts like slaves, so God sells them like slaves. God will not allow His people to sin successfully. God will use whatever form of discipline is necessary to restore His children to fellowship.

 

 

Although God is angry, 3:9–11 demonstrates His grace. “When the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer [a savior] for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. Then the land had rest [no war] forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.” Despite Israel’s rebellion, God listens to their cries and delivers them. What’s interesting is the word translated “cried” (za‘aq) does not refer to repentance. Rather, the word denotes crying for help out of distress. This is an important conclusion, for it shows that when the Lord raises up a judge for Israel He is not reacting to any repentance on Israel’s part. If anything, He is responding to their misery rather than to their sorrow, to their pain rather than their penitence. Who then can ever plumb the depths of the Lord’s compassion for His people, even His sinful people who are more moved by their distress than by their depravity? Truly, God delivers out of sheer grace. Today, will you express your great love and appreciation to God for His tremendous mercy and grace?

 

 

 

In our story, the judge God raises up is Othniel—the man who captured Kiriath Sepher and married Caleb’s daughter, Achsah (1:12–13). Othniel, the first judge, is exemplary in every way. Samson, the twelfth and final judge, is deplorable in almost every possible way. The progression downward, even in Israel’s leaders, is clear. Yet, God uses each of His judges in unique and powerful ways. Please note in 3:10 that God’s Spirit empowers Othniel. This is true of all the judges, though the writer does not always mention it. No one can accomplish anything significant spiritually without the Holy Spirit’s enablement (cf. John 15:5). However, with God’s assistance His people can be the agents of supernatural change and can carry out His will. Never underestimate the good that one person can do who is filled with the Spirit of God and obedient to the will of God. It is so easy to accomplish ministry in the flesh—through our own abilities, knowledge, or personality. You can pull this off and even fool a lot of people. But if you want your work for the Lord to stand the test of time (1 Cor 3:10–15), you need to rely upon Him. Our responsibility is response to God’s ability. God wants you and me to know that we can’t do anything apart from Him.

 

 

After reading this first story, you should be struck by the colorless nature of Othniel. There is no flash and dash about Othniel. In fact, this entire story just reveals the bare essentials, which consist of what the Lord has done. It is likely that this first story about a judge is stripped down so that we will see clearly what is most essential—the activity of the Lord. God’s victories are, to a greater degree, stories about God than stories about human heroes. In other words, God wants us to learn about Himself more than about Othniel. Sometimes interesting people can obscure that, and we end up watching these fascinating folks but never see what our God is doing.

Othniel is a man of anonymity. People didn’t know much about him. But what is clear is that Othniel was a Kenizzite—a foreigner. This serves as an example that background should not limit your service to Christ. Regardless of your family of origin, ethnicity, or nationality, God wants to use you powerfully. Your responsibility is response to God’s ability.

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Part two tomorrow. Blessings.

 

Pray Art, his wife of 55 years passed today.

Betty, going to doctor tomorrow for tests

Misconceptions

April 25, 2016

the bible

The Two Resurrections (this is a very long post and you may want to print it out)

The Great Misconception….

 

The resurrection of the human body from the grave is clearly taught in God’s Word. Job, the oldest of the patriarchs, said: “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25-26). It is evident that Job was firm in his belief in the resurrection of his body and a future life beyond the grave.

 

Abraham, the founder and father of his race, lived to be one hundred seventy-five years old, and “died in a good old age” (Genesis 25:7-8), but “he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). He never saw that city in his earthly pilgrimage, for earth to him was a “strange country.” The godly old patriarch shared with others who “desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:16). But Abraham believed that the heavenly city would be inhabited by a fleshly body, “accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead . . .” (Hebrews 11:19).

 

David was confident of a future life. He said: “My flesh also shall rest in hope” (Psalm 16:9), and “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness” (Psalm 17:15). These words of the man of God refute the erroneous teaching that the resurrection refers to the spirit of man, and not to his body. Neither the soul nor the spirit of man dies, but it is his body which dies and is buried. Therefore it must be the body that is raised from the dead, and not the soul or spirit.

 

When our Lord Jesus was here upon earth, He taught that all men who die will be raised again at some future date. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth . . .” (John 5:28, 29). We affirm and avow our belief in the resurrection of the human body from death and the grave. But so clear is the Bible on the subject of the resurrection that we admit no confusion or doubt. However there has been some misconceptions about the Resurrection.

A Wrong Conception

 

Many people, among them some Christians, have been taught to believe that there is only one “general” resurrection of all the dead at the end of the world. This is a serious error which has robbed many believers of joy and victory in this life. Nowhere in the Scriptures are we taught that the bodies of all men will be raised at the same time. It is true that all the dead will be raised and brought into judgment, but neither the time, the place, nor the judgments are the same. The Bible clearly distinguishes between a first and a second resurrection.

 

. . . All that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).

 

When men are raised, not all will be raised at the same time nor in the same condition. There will be two resurrections for two classes of men. One will be raised to eternal life and immortality, while the other will be raised to condemnation and banishment from the presence of the Lord. There is a “resurrection of life” and a “resurrection of damnation.”

 

And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:14).

 

There is, then, a “resurrection of the just,” and since “all shall come forth,” there must of necessity be a resurrection of the unjust. Since the dead in Christ shall rise first, the implication is that the dead out of Christ (or without Christ) will be raised afterwards. Luke makes no mention in the above passage about a resurrection of the unsaved. Indeed the unsaved shall be raised, but not for a considerable length of time after the saved have been raised. When Paul testified before Felix, he said, “that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (Acts 24:15). The Apostle John makes a clear distinction between the two. He speaks of the redeemed who “lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:4-5).

 

Every believer has passed out of death into life (John 5:24). His life “is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), and the exceeding greatness of God’s power in resurrection toward us who believe is the same “mighty power which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20). And by that same power will all the unbelieving dead be brought out of their graves to stand before the judgment of the Great White Throne.

The First Resurrection

 

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

 

Surely language could be no clearer than this–“The dead in Christ shall rise first.” We see first that the time of the First Resurrection is the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of Heaven to rapture all of the saints to Himself. Here we must distinguish between Christ’s coming for His own before the millennium and His coming again to raise the rest of the dead (unbelievers) who remained in their graves during the thousand years. Let there be no misunderstanding that it is a settled fact that there is at least a one thousand year interval between the First and the Second Resurrection. The Apostle John, by Divine inspiration, confirms this,

 

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. (Revelation 20:4-5).

 

At the consummation of the First Resurrection there are three companies of believers who will have been raised at different times. Let us say, for clarity, there are three stages of the resurrection of believers:

 

(1) When our Lord was crucified on the Cross, we read: “And, behold the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose” (Matthew 27:51-52).

 

(2) There is the second stage of the First Resurrection to which we already have made mention (1 Thessalonians 4:16), when all true believers are raised at the first appearance of Christ. To this we add the Apostle Paul’s word in First Corinthians: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).

 

(3) The third and final stage of the First Resurrection occurs about seven years after the resurrection of saints at Christ’s coming at the rapture. “Those resurrected near the close of the seven years’ period of the tribulation are the multitude of believers who were led to the truth through the witness of the 144,000.” Because they would not receive the mark of the beast in their hands and foreheads, they were martyred. These are brought forth from the dead at the end of the Tribulation just before Christ comes to earth to reign for one thousand years.

Christ the Firstfruits

 

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

 

The word “Firstfruits” is a significant one. In the ceremony of the Israelites there were certain national feasts kept annually. The third order of these was the Feast of Firstfruits, an annual occasion of consecration that was solemnized at the beginning of harvest time.

 

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest. (Leviticus 23:9-10).

 

Dr. Martin DeHaun points out that the harvest was divided into three parts. It was one harvest, the fruit of one season, presented on three different occasions. First, there was the sheaf of firstfruits, the earnest or pledge of the greater harvest that would follow. This beautifully typifies the Resurrection of Christ who, by coming forth from the tomb, accomplished the work of the redemption and guaranteed for all who believe in Him a greater resurrection when He returns. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept”(1Corinthians15:20). Just as the firstfruits were a pledge of the coming harvest that would be presented to Jehovah, so our Lord’s Resurrection is a promise that all who are in their graves who have died trusting Him will be raised and brought into the presence of the Father. Speaking to believers, the Apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit says: “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

 

After the firstfruits followed the harvesting of the larger part of the crops. We read: “Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Corinthians 15:23). Our risen Lord is now in Heaven. Even so “Our conversation is in Heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Philippians 3:20, 21). Our physical bodies have in them sickness, weakness and death, but our all-powerful, all-victorious Saviour has said: “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18). He will come again even as He said. Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.

 

But the harvest is not ended as yet. It is not completed until the gleanings are added. Always there are loose ears that fall by the way, and these must be gathered up. This is called the gleaning. We recall how Ruth “came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers” (Ruth 2:3). The gleanings are those tribulation saints who had not heard and believed the Gospel before the rapture of the Church. So we have Christ the firstfruits, then we have the harvest or the resurrection of the saved at the rapture, and finally the gleanings or the saved of the seven years’ tribulation period. Then follows the millennial age during which all the saints of every age will reign with Christ a thousand years. What bright prospect for those who put their trust in the Son of God! But tell me, are you prepared for the coming of the Lord and the first Resurrection?

The Second Resurrection

 

When the thousand years are expired, Satan will be loosed for a season and will carry on his rebellion where he left off before the millennium when he was cast into the bottomless pit. Then God will have done with Satan forever, for “the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). We shudder at this unceasing torment without intermission, this never-ending existence in painful agony.

 

But the devil’s doom is not the blackest page in the Biblical records of God’s dealings. There is yet an account to be settled with all those who died in rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. A Great White Throne has been erected. We are about to view the greatest assize ever conducted. The Judge is our Lord Jesus Himself, for “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22). Here the hated and despised Nazarene will sit in righteous judgment of all who refused to acknowledge His Messiahship and Saviourhood. It is the gloomiest hour for that part of the human race that spurned the love of God and denied His only begotten Son. This is the resurrection of the unbelieving dead. There are those who remained “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Though they are spiritually dead having not eternal life, they are standing before God physically alive in their resurrection bodies. From every part of the earth the bodies of the wicked dead are raised to receive the final sentence, banishment from the presence of God and eternal punishment in the lake of fire.

 

The final resurrection occurs, John says: “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; . . . The sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works” (Revelation 20:12, 14). Who will be judged here? The answer is that there will not be one single believer in Christ that will appear before the judgment of the Great White Throne. Only the unsaved will be there, appearing in a physical body to be condemned to Hell. All will be there by their own personal choice. “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11). “The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). You had your opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, but you turned from Him, and by so doing you have chosen eternal torment in the lake of fire. “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:17-18).

 

Many unbelievers seek to stifle their conscience by uttering their unbelief in a physical resurrection. They count it a thing incredible that God could raise a physical body that had been trampled under the dust for more than one thousand years. Certainly God knows where the dust is, and since He fashioned the body of Adam out of particles of dust, it is only reasonable to believe that He can fashion it again. The world is His, and the fullness thereof. He fixed the stars in their courses and named them all; the wind and waves obey His will; the innumerable grains of sand by the seashores are under His divine control; He numbers every hair on our heads. The logical reasoning of any thinking mind and the inner convictions of the honest man tell us plainly how foolish one is to deny the existence of life after death.

 

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the confirmation of the resurrection of the human body and future judgment. When the mighty Apostle Paul preached his sermon to the Athenians on Mars’ hill, he said that God commands all men everywhere to repent, “because He hath appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). It is true that man died here, but since both his Judge and his day of judgment already have been appointed, he must be raised after death if the purposes of God are to be fulfilled. Certainly they are not dead men whom God will arraign before his solemn tribunal. They will be alive and conscious of that great hour. So in order that man might be assured of a future judgment, Christ arose as the criterion of the law of resurrection. The living Christ is a positive attestation of the fact that there is a day of judgment. We are not intimating nor are we presuming a day of judgment, but we are merely standing with the Apostle Paul in affirming a positive assurance God gave to the world when He raised Jesus Christ from the dead. We read in “The Apostles’ Creed” how Christ “. . . was crucified, dead and buried; the third day He arose again from the dead, He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead . . .”

 

The last judgment in the Bible will be that of the unsaved dead who will stand before the Great White Throne in living, resurrected bodies to receive their final sentence of doom and be cast into the lake of fire. This will not be a judgment to see if sinners are lost, for they are lost already because “he that believeth not is condemned already” (John 3:18). Christians will be present, but only as witnesses. The judged will be those of the Second Resurrection whose bodies have been brought out of the grave and whose spirits brought back from Hell.

 

All of the unsaved, “small and great, stand before God” (Revelation 20:12). In our human courts of law it is often the case that the defendant does not appear. Sometimes a witness, a juror, or a judge can be bribed, and the guilty one escapes trial and the passing of sentence. Sometimes false witnesses can turn court’s evidence and the guilty one goes free. But in that day, the books are opened, including the Book of Life, “and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works” (Revelation 20:12). While it is true that millions have lived and died of whom the world knows nothing, their thoughts and deeds are divinely written where the memory of them can never perish. An accurately guided hand has recorded the biography of all, and all evil will be accounted for in that dreadfully solemn hour. If you have despised Jesus here, it will mean judgment there. If you have belittled the invitation to Heaven while here, you will be cast into Hell then.

A Literal, Physical Body

 

God has said by the prophet Isaiah: “Unto Me every knee shall bow every tongue shall swear” (Isaiah 45:23). The Apostle Paul quoting Isaiah, said: “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, ever knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:11). Then the Apostle adds: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him (Jesus), and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). Only a part of the human race has agreed with the testimony of God the Father which He has given concerning His Son. But at the final judgment, every unbeliever of every age will bow the knee that once he refused to bend, and confess with the tongue that once he refused to confess Christ with. Yes, literal knees and tongues of every Christ-rejecting sinner will bow and confess in utter humility the Christ they spurned and scoffed at here on earth.

 

Again we repeat that God finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He would rather save than have them die in unbelief, but whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire. They shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. This is the second death (Revelation 20:15; 21:8). If you die in your sins, the judgment is sure and certain. You will not escape! No, you cannot escape. If, while you read this message, you realize your need of Christ as your personal Saviour from sin, confess that you are a sinner and trust Christ to save you. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:6).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

NOW

April 24, 2016

growth marks

<PAST________________PRESENT_______________FUTURE>

………………………………………GOD………………………………………………

 

………………………………..ALL MY SIN……………………………………………..

 

Okay way simplistic, God is Omnipresent (ever present, always present and everywhere) he is in the past (now) he is in the present (now)and in the future (now). There is no timeline with God. So He can see our whole timeline in His present (now).

So the sacrifice that Christ made covers all our sins, so when we confess Him as Lord and Savior, he forgives all our sins, past, present and future. So as Christians we should ( in theory) not feel shame or guilt over our sins as in failure, but sorrow that we stepped out of the spirit and into the flesh.

It is the chief aim of satan to make us feel like failures and just like Adam and Eve want to hide from God and feel ashamed. When the exact opposite is true, like the Good Shepherd he wants us to run to him and confess and accept our position in Christ as saved and redeemed and forgiven.

So we need to live like the redeemed persons’ we are, even though all our sins are forgiven still confess them to restore us in our relation not our salvation as we cannot lose that.

So when you stumble and fall, realize you’ve only stepped out of harmony not eternity.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

RURPLE PAIN

April 23, 2016

balance

Number 3 on the most frequently asked questions.

What do the following people have in common: the drunk on skid row; the student flunking out of college because he never studies; the person who is always late for appointments; the compulsive eater; the smoker; the man who frequently looks at pornography on the Internet; the drug addict; and, the Christian who never grows because he doesn’t spend time alone with God? Answer: They all lack the fruit of the Spirit, which is self-control.

 

In my almost 45 years of pastoral ministry, I would say that the presence or absence of self-control is one of the most determinative factors in whether you will do well or have serious problems in your Christian life. It affects how you manage your time; your money; your ability to overcome temptation; your development of godly character qualities; controlling your temper and your tongue; regulating your health (through proper diet, exercise, and rest); and, most importantly, whether or not you spend consistent time in the Word and prayer.

 

I thought that it would be helpful to look at what God’s Word says about this often-neglected fruit of the Holy Spirit, self-control. I have a tough sales job on my hands, because we’re all suckers for the quick fix for problems that require sustained discipline. An ad promises, “Just pop a pill and you can eat chocolates all day long and lie around on the couch watching TV, but you’ll lose 50 pounds!” People actually spend their money on such gimmicks! But you can promise them a sure-fire way to lose weight that won’t cost them a dime, but they won’t do it: Eat healthy food in the proper amount and exercise for an hour every day. Why won’t they do it? Because it requires self-control!

 

The spiritual fruit of self-control, while guaranteed to be effective, is not a quick fix. It requires a lifetime habit of discipline for the purpose of godliness (1 Tim. 4:7). You will be tempted by spiritual snake-oil hucksters, who tell you that if you will just get slain or baptized in the Spirit, all of your temptations will evaporate. Don’t believe them! Discipline for the purpose of godliness is God’s prescribed means to godliness. Our text shows that…

 

God wants you to learn to control your life under the control of His Holy Spirit.

 

We will examine the subject by answering three questions: What is self-control? How do you get it? Where do you need it?

What is self-control?

 

    Self-control is the inward rule or regulation of every area of your life under the ultimate authority and control of God’s Spirit in line with His Word.

1. Self-control is primarily inward and only secondarily outward.

 

Jesus said (Mark 7:21-23), “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” It follows that if we only control such evil desires in order to look good in front of people or to avoid being prosecuted by the law, we are just putting a Band-Aid on the cancer of the heart. The control of the Holy Spirit extends to the heart level, allowing us to deal with temptation before it goes any farther.

2. Self-control operates under Spirit-control.

 

There is a paradox here: to be Spirit-controlled results in being self-controlled. As we walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), He produces in us the ability to control every area of our lives in line with His holy purposes. This implies active responsibility on your part. Sometimes, speakers on the spiritual life state that you are to be completely passive: “Just let go and let God.” “If you’re striving, you’re not trusting.” This is clearly unbiblical. Paul wrote (Col. 1:29), “For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” Both are true. The fruit of the Spirit is self-control.

3. Self-control is not self-willed, but it is connected with your will.

 

In Titus 1:8, Paul says that an elder is to be self-controlled, but in the previous verse, he says that an elder must not be self-willed. Clearly, both are connected with our responsibility to choose (our will). But the difference is, the self-controlled person is submitting himself to God’s will as revealed in His Word, whereas the self-willed person is acting for his own selfish desires, disregarding what God wills. Because God has given us new life in Christ and has given His Holy Spirit to indwell us, we have both the responsibility and the ability to yield our self-will to His revealed will.

4. Self-control is not legalism.

 

If you develop this fruit of the Spirit, some Christians will label you as legalistic. But this quality appears in the Book of Galatians, which was written to combat legalism. Legalism is the attempt to earn standing with God by performing certain duties or behavior. Also, legalists attempt to look spiritual to others by keeping their man-made rules and they judge those who do not keep their rules. To live as a godly Christian, you must live openly before God, who examines the heart (1 Thess. 2:4).

 

Living under God’s grace, by the way, does not mean that God gives you a bunch of free passes on sin each day, or that you can live a, hang-loose, sloppy, unproductive life. Paul wrote (1 Cor. 15:10), “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them [the other apostles]; yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”

5. Self-control is not asceticism.

 

Asceticism means denying yourself certain legitimate comforts and imposing certain hardships for some spiritual value. Join a monastery where you eat a meager diet, sleep on a hard mat in a cold room, and take a vow of poverty in order to control the flesh. Paul describes that approach (Col. 2:20-22) and concludes (2:23), “These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”

 

At the same time, Paul does mention the example of an athlete, who exercises self-control in all things in order to win (1 Cor. 9:25). He goes on to say that he disciplines his body so that he will not be disqualified from preaching the gospel. Thus your motive for controlling yourself is crucial. For example, a missionary to the Muslims may not eat pork, because to do so would be a needless offense to Muslims. But not to eat pork because you think it will make you more spiritual would be asceticism.

6. Self-control is not rigid, but flexible.

 

There is the danger of being so self-controlled that you lose the ability to relate spontaneously to others in love. For example, it is good to be disciplined to read your Bible and pray every day. But suppose you’re in the middle of your quiet time, and your two-year-old exuberantly jumps into your lap to show you his picture that he colored for you. I would suggest that you are not properly self-controlled under the Spirit’s control if you push him away, saying, “Can’t you see that I’m reading the Bible!” The fruit of self-control is also accompanied by the fruits of love, patience, kindness, and gentleness. The aim of self-control is always to enable us to love God and to love others. If we use self-control merely for selfish purposes, we are not exercising this fruit of the Spirit.

How do you get self-control?

 

Some, by natural temperament and perhaps by upbringing, are more inclined to self-control than others are. If you are not so inclined, then you will have to fight harder to develop it. Paul does not say that those who by nature are more free-spirited or disorganized are exempt from this quality! A study of both Paul and Jesus will show that they exhibited this fruit. To be godly, you must be self-controlled. In one sentence:

 

    You get self-control by walking in the Spirit’s control as you live in accordance with God’s purpose for your life.

 

Here is how to implement this step by step:

1. Write a one-sentence purpose statement for your life.

 

Granted, there is no verse in the Bible that specifically tells you to do this. But many verses show that Jesus and Paul both were clear about their purpose for living. Consider:

 

Matthew 6:33: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

 

Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

 

John 17:4: “I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”

 

1 Corinthians 9:23: “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.”

 

Philippians 3:8a, 12b: “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…. I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”

 

1 Timothy 4:7b: “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.”

 

These and many other verses show that Jesus and Paul were men of godly purpose. Picture yourself on your deathbed and ask, what do you want to have accomplished with your life? Here is my personal purpose statement: “To glorify God by being a godly husband and father, and by using my gift of pastor-teacher for the building up of the body of Christ and the furtherance of the gospel.” Every Christian will desire to glorify God. Beyond that, your statement will vary, depending on your personality and gifts. But write it down and look at it often, so that you are clear on why God has you on this earth.

2. Establish biblical goals for every area of your life to help move you towards your life purpose.

 

Paul illustrates this with the analogy of an athlete who wants to win (1 Cor. 9:24-27). To get to that goal, he brings every area of his life under that purpose. He controls his diet, he gets the proper rest, and he schedules regular workouts to move him towards the goal of winning the prize.

 

Again, this will vary with each person, depending on where you most need to grow. You should determine these goals from the Bible, not from some worldly self-help book. They will include biblical character qualities that you need to develop, and biblical activities that you need to practice. Your goals should include developing loving relationships, properly managing your time and money in light of God’s purposes, and being a good steward of the spiritual gifts that He has given you. Write down your goals.

3. Commit yourself to these goals.

 

Biblical goals provide the motivation to change, but you must count the cost and be willing to commit yourself to them. I’ve often wished that I could speak a foreign language, but I’ve never committed myself to achieve that goal. As you know, there are no easy ways to learn a language. It takes time and discipline to do it well. Before you commit to some spiritual goal, think about what it will require and whether you are willing to commit to follow through. Your motive has to be to please God.

4. Plan specifically how to reach these goals.

 

You need to prioritize and schedule your goals. If your marriage is falling apart because you have a bad temper, you should make controlling your temper a top goal! If your life is dominated by drug or alcohol abuse, you can’t begin to glorify God until you get those sinful practices under control. Prioritize them!

 

Also, you must rearrange your schedule to put these new priorities in place. It will mean getting up in time to spend time in the Word, in Scripture memory, and in prayer. It may mean scheduling a weekly time to meet with a small group for growth and accountability. It may mean breaking off certain harmful habits that pull you down, whether ungodly friendships at the local bar or watching TV shows that defile you. You may have to limit computer use.

5. Implement, evaluate, and correct your goals as necessary.

 

Put your plan into action and then take a few minutes every week or two to evaluate your progress and make necessary corrections. You may decide that some of your original goals need to be modified or changed altogether. When you get certain things into place as godly habits, you can add new goals.

6. Walk by means of the Holy Spirit every day.

 

This undergirds the whole process. Note Galatians 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” He goes on to talk about the strong desires of the flesh that war against the Spirit. If you do not conquer these desires, you will not grow in godliness. You don’t win wars accidentally! You must devote yourself to the battle, committed to fight with everything you’ve got. Anything less will result in defeat.

 

To walk by the Spirit means to depend upon and yield to the indwelling Holy Spirit moment by moment every day. Walking is not as spectacular as leaping or flying, but if you keep at it, you’ll get where you’re going. Also, the picture of fruit implies a slow, deliberate process. There will be setbacks and difficulties along the way. The question is, are you actively, purposefully walking by the Spirit, coming back to dependence on Him when you have fallen, so that over the long haul, the fruit of the Spirit, including self-control, is growing in your life?

Where do you need self-control?

 

If you haven’t been convicted yet, this ought to do it! In a nutshell,

 

    You need self-control in every aspect of your life.

 

Let me briefly mention seven areas. Rather than being overwhelmed because you need to improve in all seven, prayerfully evaluate where you most need to grow and prioritize these.

1. Control your body.

 

Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and you are to glorify God with your body (1 Cor. 6:19-20). This includes getting proper rest (avoiding the extremes of laziness and being a workaholic). It means getting proper exercise and eating a healthy diet of moderate proportions, so as to avoid the problems that come from eating junk food and being overweight. This will vary from person to person, but none of us can do it without self-control.

 

Controlling your body also requires godly control over your sexual desires. God made you with those desires, but He also designed them to be restricted to the marriage relationship.

2. Control your mind.

 

Our culture, more than any other in history, bombards us through the media with ungodly ways to think and live. To be godly, you must control your mind (Phil. 4:8; Col. 3:1-4). What do you think about? You cannot engage in a secret life of lust after sex or greed and become godly. To control your thought life, control what you read. Saturate your mind with the Bible and with books that help you grow in godliness. Set some goals, such as reading through the Bible in a year, or reading a certain number of Christian books this year. Put these things in your schedule.

 

Control what you expose your mind to (TV, movies, Internet, etc.). You cannot watch certain types of movies without those evil images embedding themselves in your brain.

3. Control your emotions.

 

You are not the helpless victim of your emotions! If you are genetically prone to depression or anxiety or impulsiveness or lust, you may have to battle harder to gain control than someone else will. But these fruits of the Spirit are promised to all that walk by the Spirit, not just to certain personality types. If you live by constantly yielding to your emotions, you will not grow in godliness. Self-control means controlling your emotions for a higher goal.

4. Control your time.

 

Often we excuse our ungodliness by saying, “I don’t have time.” But we all have time to do what we want to do. The question is, do you want to be godly? If so, cut out of your schedule the unnecessary things that hinder spending time with the Lord.

5. Control your finances.

 

We often complain that we don’t have enough money to pay bills, let alone to give consistently to the Lord’s work. But usually the problem is that we do not properly manage what the Lord has entrusted to us. Let me put it bluntly: Cable TV, dinners out, and expensive entertainment are not necessities! If you can pay your bills and give generously to the Lord’s work, those things may be permissible. Unless you need it for work, believe it or not, a cell phone is not a necessity! Running up credit card debt is almost always due to poor financial management.

6. Control your tongue.

 

Abusive speech or words that tear down others (even in jest) are sinful (Col. 3:8). Angry words and name-calling are sins (Eph. 4:29-32). Lying is sin (Eph. 4:25). Talking inappropriately about sex and telling dirty jokes are sins (Eph. 5:3-4). Gossip and slander are sins (Eph. 4:31; James 4:11). Taking the Lord’s name in vain is sin (Exod. 20:7; Matt. 6:9). Paul wrote (Eph. 4:29), “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” To please God, you must learn to control your tongue (James 3:1-12).

7. Control your relationships.

 

I do not mean to act in a controlling manner towards others! I mean that you must take the initiative to distance yourself from anyone that pulls you towards the world or the flesh. Be careful about relationships with unbelievers, especially those that yoke you unequally, whether in marriage or in business (2 Cor. 6:14-18). If you are single, do not date unbelievers, even to witness to them. If you develop friendships with unbelievers, be careful to keep in mind the aim of being a godly witness, so that you do not join them in godless pleasure (Luke 5:29-32; 1 Pet. 4:1-5).

 

Positively, work on developing godly, loving relationships, beginning with your mate and children. Practice biblical love on a daily basis. Ask God for a more mature person (men with men, women with women) who can help you grow in Christ.

 

The danger of a message like this is that you will feel so overwhelmed by all that you need to do that you will be paralyzed by procrastination. My advice is to pray through the areas that I’ve mentioned, asking God to help you prioritize them. Work on the one or two areas that would bring the most needed results. If you fall, get up and keep walking by the Spirit. As you do, He will work in you the fruit of self-control for His glory.

lies, lies and more lies

April 22, 2016

sugar coating

many people today are engaging in a form of “spiritual warfare” that involves carrying on conversations and discussions with demons. In fact, some such people are teaching as fact information that they have learned from demonic sources, whether explicitly from a demonic statement or implicitly from the way they operated. Some people are being told the names of demons, the hierarchical order of demons, and how many and which demons supposedly rule over certain territories. Other examples of information learned from demons sometimes include what the demon is doing, why he is inhabiting a particular person, his intents and purposes, and general conversations. Because demons are liars and deceivers, how can anyone ever trust anything a demon would say? To engage in such practice is to come close to being involved in spiritism.

 

Walter Martin described spiritism as “the masquerade of demonic forces, who pretend to be departed spirits with the intent of deceiving through the power of Satan those foolish enough to believe the testimony of demons in preference to the authority of the Word of God Himself.” Because spiritism involves unauthorized communication with demons, this abomination is a very real possibility for those who are practicing the new spiritual warfare. This approach seems twice as risky in light of the many biblical warnings for believers to stay away from such things (Exod. 22:18; Lev. 19:26, 31; 20:6, 27; Deut. 18:9–12; Isa. 8:19).

 

 

My wife’s family was heavily involved in Spiritism and the havoc that it created in their lives was staggering. They got to the point where they would not consult a doctor unless “the spirits” told them it was ok; and the worst case was demonic possession of several relatives. It did not end well. Out of a very large family only three people came to know the Lord.

 

 

Don’t mess with it, don’t play with it, it’s not a game, stay away from everybody and anything even ministries that claim they’ve “talked” to spirits.

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

 

Radio One

April 21, 2016

1 Corinthians 2:15-16J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

14-16 But the unspiritual man simply cannot accept the matters which the Spirit deals with—they just don’t make sense to him, for, after all, you must be spiritual to see spiritual things. The spiritual man, on the other hand, has an insight into the meaning of everything, though his insight may baffle the man of the world. This is because the former is sharing in God’s wisdom, and ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ Incredible as it may sound, we who are spiritual have the very thoughts of Christ!

The mature believer has a receiver for spiritual radio waves and his receiver is tuned in. He can therefore discern, appreciate, and understand the essence of spiritual truth. That means that we really can exercise moral judgment, because we have thoroughly studied the mind of the Lord in the Old and New Testaments. We have prayed about difficult issues and have examined them from every side; we have put them through the grid of biblical absolutes. Therefore, we have the courage to take a position on values and issues that the natural world is totally confused about. We have the courage to speak out on the wrongness of abortion, the destructiveness of the homosexual lifestyle, and the sins of materialism, racial bigotry, and oppression of the poor and needy.

Yes we get criticized by non-believers, and yes Christians still do stupid things, but because of the Word of God being a vital part of our lives we have an insight into our own human nature that the non-believer will never understand; because to them everything is relative, whereas to us it is written in stone and absolute.
But we need to make sure that we never come across as arrogant or sanctimonious, we are still struggling with sin in our lives and none of us are perfect, that’s why we need saved every day and our relation with God renewed every day.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com