balance

If you say you are, then you ain’t

In the mountains of Vietnam and Laos lives the Saola, one of the rarest animals in the world. A forest-dwelling cousin to cows, the species was discovered in 1992 based on finding three skulls with unusual, long, straight horns. Researchers searched for 20 years but never saw the animal in the wild. It was only after a motion-sensitive camera captured its image on film that scientists caught a glimpse of one alive in nature.

 

 If virtues were animals, humility would be the Saola. Like the Saola, humility is rarely found in nature—and nearly impossible to catch by searching for it directly.

 

 So how do we become humble? In Philippians 2:3–4 Paul provides the key. Humility is a virtue acquired by repeatedly putting aside our sinful nature—selfish ambition and vain conceit—and valuing others above ourselves by putting the interests of others ahead of our own.

 

 Of course developing humility is about as easy as corralling a herd of Saola. But acquiring humility can—and must—be done if we want to grow closer to God. Here are three suggestions for developing humility:

  1. Recognize sin—Even as followers of Christ, we continue to sin. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1Jn 1:8). Recognizing our sinfulness increases our dependence on God and makes us more forgiving of others.

  2. Look to Jesus—Paul tells us that in our relationships with one another we must have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (see Php 2:5). Jesus’ meekness and gentleness is our model for how we should engage our neighbor. We need to consider how Jesus would treat someone—and then treat them that way.

  3. Put others first in prayer—One key test of humility is to examine the focus of our prayers. When we talk to God, do the needs and concerns of others take priority, or do we start with our own interests and requests? We can change this by rearranging our prayers so that we make a habit of praying for others first.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

never quit

August 30, 2016

John-Wayne-p15

As you move into ministry,or life in general expect to be down, but don’t let it take you out. Don’t let disappointment and discouragement lead you to defeat.

The apostle Paul’s ministry brought difficulties, disappointments, and even discouragement, but he never quit; he never let it take him out of the work that God had called him to do. At the end of his life he was able to write these words in 2 Tim. 4:6-7: “For I am already being poured out as an offering, and the time for me to depart is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith!”

Knowing that he would soon be executed by Nero, Paul wrote this final epistle to prepare his protégée Timothy to fulfill and complete his own ministry after the passing of his mentor. Through this letter to his young friend, Paul helps prepare us to meet the difficulties, disappointments, and discouragements of ministry as well.

In this letter Paul advised Timothy to expect disappointing and even discouraging situations in the future.

So how is that encouraging? Why would Paul refer to the difficulties of ministry when Timothy needed encouragement? I suggest that unrealistic expectations are often the cause of later discouragement and even defeat. In order to be truly prepared for ministry in the real world—whether on a church staff, as a layperson, or perhaps as a missionary—we must expect ministry to be often difficult and sometimes discouraging.

Rob Bell describes the problem: “To be this kind of person—the kind who selflessly serves—takes everything a person has. It is difficult. It is demanding. And we often find ourselves going against the flow of those around us.”iPerhaps that is why Warren Wiersbe observed: “Depression and discouragement are occupational hazards of the ministry.”

When our expectations are unrealistic, we risk losing hope and giving up!

Craig Brian Larson says: “Unrealistic expectations curtail the joy and often the longevity of ministry. They can cause me to give up either in deed or in heart. I don’t have to resign to quit. I can simply decide this job is impossible and it is foolish to try.”

Instead of telling Timothy to be encouraged because his ministry would be a great success, Paul did just the opposite. In 2 Timothy 1:8 he called Timothy to embrace the same kinds of experiences that he was having: “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me, a prisoner for his sake, but by God’s power accept your share of suffering for the gospel.”

What kinds of suffering was Paul calling Timothy to accept and share?

If we had time to study the entire book, we would see that Paul was not only dealing with the difficulty of persecution, but he also faced disappointment with believers who let him down. 1:15 says that everybody in Asia turned away from him. 4:10 mentions that Demas deserted him because he loved the present age, and 4:16 says that all deserted him when he went to court. How discouraging it must have been to look around and see that his co-laborers were no longer there, that his friends were missing in action when the situation became risky!

There were other difficulties as well. Paul warned Timothy about people such as Alexander, Hymaneus, and Philetus who opposed him or strayed from the truth. Ministry was hard; there were people who disappointed him and others who obstructed the work. At the beginning of both chapters 3 and 4 Paul alerted Timothy that things would get even worse in the future.

Hardships confronted Timothy from every side —persecution from outside the church, disappointment with believers—even co-workers, and opposition from within the church. Paul called him to expect them and to be ready to face them.

What about today? What happens in ministry to discourage those of us ministering to others in any capacity? What should you expect in your future ministry?

I asked some co-workers and other friends in ministry this question so that I could help prepare you. In my very unscientific poll, I asked for the 3 most discouraging things in ministry. The #1 answer was disappointment with other Christians. Their lack of commitment, misplaced priorities, self-centered attitudes, and refusal to serve within the church community were very discouraging to those who answered my questions. The conflict and criticism that comes from other believers appears widespread, if those in my survey are representative.

Ranking behind the disappointment with other Christians was the lack of visible fruit in ministry. The people in my friends’ congregations, Bible studies, or small groups act like the rest of the world. It can be hard to believe that God is doing anything when all we can see of the person’s life looks no different year after year.

We believe that Jesus’ promise in John 15:5 is real and will come to pass: we will bear much fruit when we abide in Him. So what is happening when we are walking with Him and yet don’t see the fruit of our work?

Larson says, “The fruit may take a year, three years, thirty years. But if I am spiritually vital, if I work hard and pray with faith, sooner or later God will build his church. . . God has an interesting perspective on life—eternity—and he has a way of working with that perspective in mind. Sometimes, even often, we’ll hear that God used us in someone’s life, but that can’t be the condition for our service. At this age in my life I meet people who tell me that God used me years ago to invest in their lives, so we have to live long in the same place for this, I guess!!

So great! When we don’t see fruit, the answer is to stay put and live long enough to finally see it!

My friends and co-workers say that ministry is discouraging because people let us down, because we don’t see any fruit, and because of a number of other disappointments. Ministers are often let down by the mounds of administrative work they must do when they feel called to love on people. The overwhelming needs of the people in our churches and nation discourage us. Some of the women have encountered a lack of respect and value by male staff members. Both men and women are disappointed when they have no voice in decisions or are micro-managed by domineering people. Some are devastated by the lack of support and interest given their particular area of ministry by the other staff or elders. One friend who finally quit said, “It makes ministry discouraging to return to day after day when your ministry is viewed as insignificant and irrelevant in the whole scheme of the church.”

Timothy faced many of the same challenges we face today: disappointment with church people, even leaders; lack of support when we need it; and lack of visible results. Paul didn’t simply tell Timothy to expect ministry to be hard and disappointing, he also encouraged him to persevere. Over and over he essentially said—it may appear hopeless and you may get down but don’t be out.

How? How was Timothy to make it through such hard times and not give up?

In 2 Tim. 1:6-7 Paul said, “I remind you to rekindle God’s gift that you possess through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Here at the outset of his letter, Paul reminded Timothy of God’s gifting and calling. When we face the expected difficulties, disappointments, and discouragements in ministry, we, too, should review our unique missions.

I asked my friends how they are encouraged when they faced discouragement. Several said that they, too, go back to God’s call on their lives.

“Years ago I made a very personal decision and commitment to Christ: I AM NOT going to quit. Lord willing I will be in ministry until the day I die. I will never consider a different job, with higher pay and better benefits. I will not look for a way out when things get hard. My decision about ministry has been made so it removes the ‘you don’t have to do this anymore’ option and helps me get on to other positive options for problem solving. I pray regularly that I will not do something along the way to disqualify me from ministry. And when I am tired, afraid and uncertain I have already decided to just DO IT SCARED!”

Paul had that kind of commitment to his call in the face of persecution and hardship:

In 2 Tim. 1:11-12 he said: “For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher. Because of this, in fact, I suffer as I do.  But I am not ashamed, because I know the one in whom my faith is set and I am convinced that he is able to protect what has been entrusted to me until that day.”

Paul’s call resulted in his suffering, but he did not allow that to discourage him to the point of quitting. Instead of focusing on his own circumstances, he looked to Jesus: “I know the one in whom my faith is set.” It is essential to know God intimately when facing criticism, conflict, and opposition.

Almost everyone I polled said that when disappointments come, they turn to Jesus and walk with Him. They meet Him in prayer and in His word and are encouraged by His character and His promises to continue to follow His call rather than being out.

Paul knew His God so well that he expected God to turn any situation, no matter how much it looked like a loss and use it as a victory. That meant that he not only remembered his call and the One who called him, he also entrusted the disappointing or discouraging situation to God, expecting Him to use it.

We see this in 2 Tim. 2:8-10: “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David; such is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship to the point of imprisonment as a criminal, but God’s message is not imprisoned! So I endure all things for the sake of those chosen by God, that they too may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus and its eternal glory.”

When you face discouragement, do what Paul did, remember your call and know the one who called you. Then, you, too, can entrust your situations to God, knowing His character and promises so that you are down but not out.

Finally, Paul relied upon the friendship and encouragement of others to help him make it to the end. A primary purpose in writing Timothy was to ask him to come to Paul in Rome. Just as Paul wanted the personal encouragement that the presence of his co-laborers and friends would bring, the respondents to my survey turn to prayer teams and others in ministry when they are down and close to being out.

Ministry can be tough, disappointing, and even discouraging. But God is bigger than our perspective of the situation.

As Churchill said, never, never, never give up

Questions, comments or prayer requests to:

scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

think your way healthy

August 29, 2016

thinking over feeling

I was going through some old notes and journals today while cleaning up my desk and found some quotes I wrote down about emotions. Some of you may not be old enough to remember mood rings, they were a quickly passing fade. They were supposed to turn colors to suit your moods or emotions.

So here’s the quote; “I feel like a mood ring, tossed into a bowl of skittles.”

Emotions can be like a roller coaster ride, only the brakes are out on mine.

If emotions can be worn on your sleeve, who stole my shirt.

Emotions are closer to us than air. They are the ever present current within us: they define the inner world and give us continual commentary on the outer world. Awareness of life even starts with emotions. Life demands an understanding of emotions. Setting aside the biblical realities and the evangelical scene, simple existence demands an understanding of the place of emotions. They are closer to us than our skin, than the air we breathe. Emotions are as constant and present as the weather surrounding us. We need to understand and manage them.

Second, emotions come with great intensity. Most of us struggle with our emotions. A thought may be put out of the mind; it is not necessarily so with a fearful emotion. When a person is filled with dread, the source may be a fearful thought or situation, yet the force of the emotions is what makes the individual preoccupied. We cannot flee from our feelings; therefore, we must deal with them.

Third, the evangelical’s approach to emotions may be the weakest part of our “system” of spirituality. Note just the differences between charismatics and the Bible movement with reference to emotions. Time after time all of us have heard the biblically-oriented evangelical question the validity of emotions. At the same time the charismatic often elevates emotional experiences to the level of definitive spiritual reality. We desperately need clarity in the area.

Fourth, not only is the place of emotions a significant issue in the evangelical movement, but the place of the emotions is a significant issue within the pages of the Bible. For example, as we shall see, the management of the emotions is critical to the spiritual life. One of the ministries of the Spirit of God is to mold the human ability to have emotions into an instrument for the display of Christ’s character. A very practical understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role relative to our emotions will lead to a deeper understanding of the spiritual life.

Fifth, with the counseling revolution going on in our circles, clarity is needed concerning the place of emotions. The doorway to the inner life is not the world of dreams as it was with Freud, but among contemporary counselors it is the experience of emotions. Since emotions are where the counselor begins, a proper understanding of them will help define the relationship between the pastor and counselor.

Sixth, whether the counseling revolution occurred or not, pastors in their teaching and leading need to understand the function of emotions. Many view pastors as having nothing to say about the world of emotions. We will see that pastors of all people in the helping professions should have the most to say. The pastor is not playing a pivotal role, however, in the church’s understanding of emotions. Many believe that more evangelicals with significant emotional problems are going to Christian and non-Christian counselors rather than their pastors.

Seventh, effective preaching demands a clear understanding of emotions. A misconception exists in many places that a deeply emotional sermon striking the congregation with power is, on the face of it, suspect because “it is emotional.” That may be a mistaken understanding. Deeply emotional sermons and a strongly felt response may just mean that the preacher has communicated clearly. The emotions exist because both the preacher and the congregation apprehended the perceived existential greatness of what was being taught.

Finally, emotions do not authenticate truth; emotions cannot verify the historicity of the resurrection of Christ or other historical and theological realities. Emotions, however, do authenticate our understanding of the truth. A happy heart is the greatest evidence of the apprehension of spiritual truth. In the Bible, truth is supposed to strike the life with positive emotional force. Truth without effect is an unknown within scripture.

So it is vitally important to control our emotions, our imagination and our thoughts. The Christian who has managed this is far ahead in the race of maturity, stability and good mental health as well as good spiritual health. Your emotions are a good barometer.

The most important truth I can leave you right now is this; it is ALWAYS thinking first, emotions second, it is NEVER the other way around. Don’t like your emotions, change your thinking.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

ashes to ashes

August 28, 2016

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God drives his plowshare through cities, and they are upheaved like furrows in the field. “Behold,” says Isaiah, “the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance; behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing.… All nations before Him are as nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity.” (reminds me of that line from an old rock tune;”fire, I’ll teach you to burn…”)

Think of this, if you are a student of history, all the great cities of the world that have once existed are gone. Cities that would put our modern cities to shame. The queen of Babylon had over two million men build her city.

Ephesus in Paul’s day had buildings bigger than the white house.

All that man can boast of God can destroy, but Heaven that eternal city that waits for all believers will never grow old, never tarnish, I guess because I’m older I think of it more, death is the doorway to eternity.

A city where our Savior lives and greets us, there will be no break in our conscious thought when we cross over (sorry I know I said I hate that term, but it fits so well).

It should be one of our chief thoughts, we are pilgrims, sojourners, aliens, this is not our home, hopefully you’re not to comfortable here because like the cities of old, earth is going to fade away.

God bless

Prayer requests  or comments or questions at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Steve as he moves

Jessica and her new marriage, (started today at 130p)

Vickie and healing and rest

Pray for those that suffer with fear

Pray for Matt and Rosie as they go through some severe trials of their faith

Robin M, spent most of her life on drugs, wasted a lot of talent, still doesn’t know Jesus as Savior and is still just living her life like water poured out, (that’s the only polite way I can say it).

pure

August 27, 2016

marshmallow

How important is this topic, the bible mentions orphans 44 times, it might be important

 

James 1:27

26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. — KJV

26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. — NIV

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worth less. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. — ESV

The last verse in Chapter 1 contrasts the worthless religion of verse 26 with an example of religion acceptable to God. Numerous key words and concepts are sources of questions as we explore the pieces of the picture of an acceptable religion.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. — ESV

1.27.1 What is pure and undefiled?

In context with James 1:27 the “what” is religion. Religion, as explained in question 1.26.1, is a behavior pattern designed to exhibit one’s beliefs. Pure is an adjective that basically means free of defilement or pollution, unmixed, or faultless. The phrase “religion that is pure” would then seem to imply a consistent behavior pattern based on a clear, concise, and specific belief system.

Undefiled is another adjective that carries a meaning almost identical to pure, but it reinforces the concept of purity with the idea of being untouched by an external pollutant. When one thinks of undefiled religion before God the Father, one would immediately think of a religion devoid of idols and immorality. The balance of James 1:27 bears this out and then some.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. — ESV

1.27.2 What does “visit” mean?

The Greek episkeptomai literally means to look in on, look after, or otherwise examine; specifically to check on those who have needs to attend to them and see to their needs.

In context with James 1:27, it seems that the right behavior pattern in God’s eyes includes checking on and caring for the needs of others, especially those who have special needs such as widows and orphans. To me visiting represents a practical implementation of what Jesus meant when he said we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mt 19:19 – quoting Lev 19:18; Gal 5:14).

Now it is my opinion and my opinion only, but it seems to me that this passage does not imply that we must all seek a vocation that involves full-time care giving. It does, however, mean to me that all believers, regardless of their Spirit given gifts, talents, and callings, should have a desire in their heart to check in on those they know who have needs, to volunteer, and to give whatever they can whenever they see a specific need. We are to look for opportunities to do these things. We can only give a dim reflection of the gift Jesus gave us by giving basic necessities to those in need around us. It isn’t the responsibility of a nameless institution to take care of the masses, it’s the responsibility of individuals to love other individuals by showing care, consideration, respect, and compassion one on one.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. — ESV

1.27.3 What kinds of afflictions do orphans and widows have?

Eph 3:14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, Orphans and widows share a particular affliction. They’ve both lost the support system of their family and especially their main providers. I will not attempt to catalog all the problems orphans and widows could face because they are largely the same problems we all face, but are multiplied because they lack the support of a father and husband in the house. Without help, a child or orphan may loose every physical support, get turned out, starve, face ridicule, and suffer any number of cruelties beyond what self-sustaining adults face. These issues are no different today than when Paul or Moses walked the earth.

Ex 22:22-24 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless. YHWH speaks specifically about widows and orphans in the law given to Moses as recorded in this passage. God recognizes man’s capacity for picking on those who cannot fend for themselves and provides a stern warning toward those who would.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. — ESV

1.27.4 What do orphans and widows represent?

Lam 5:1-5 Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us; look, and see our disgrace! Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners. We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows. We must pay for the water we drink; the wood we get must be bought. Our pursuers are at our necks; we are weary; we are given no rest. Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations shortly after the fall of Jerusalem (586 BC). The Jews were defeated, uprooted, displaced, driven from their homes and property, and moved hundreds of miles away to Babylon. Any desperate soul is like a widow or orphan in the big scheme of things.

Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed God chooses the poor to exalt. Widows and orphans have no income. Without help they are destitute. The good news is that Jesus came to give them life, eternal and abundant.

Luke 7:6b When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. In this passage a hearty man, respected and high ranking in Caesar’s guard, demonstrated the kind of humility we all should have. We are all miserable wretches, orphans of the world, widows of the current system of things, if only we will see our rags for what they are. If only we will see our lowly state and know we need a benefactor, we can humble ourselves and receive God’s love, his mercy and forgiveness. Only when we reach our knees can we look up into that face have so much given to us we can’t help but give it to others.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. — ESV

1.27.5 What makes visiting orphans and widows a religion pure and undefiled before God?

Gal 5:19-23 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. This passage provides an excellent list of things which are corrupt and things which are good. Looking after and caring for those who need help fall into the latter. To bring them a kind word, a loaf of bread, a warm hug, and some good news is just what the Great Physician ordered.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. — ESV

1.27.6 What is the significance of being unstained?

1 Pe 1:14-16 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” We are commanded to be holy. Being holy means that we are not corrupt or in other words unstained. None are righteous (Ro 3:23), but we can be redeemed and deemed righteous (Heb 11:4) and therefore holy by our faith. Only that which is holy can come into the presence of God (Lev 22:3).

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. — ESV

1.27.7 What stains us?

The study verse speaks for itself in answer to this question. The world stains. The world is fallen and will pass away. A stain is a sin of any kind for sin is what makes us unclean.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. — ESV

1.27.8 If we become stained after once being clean, can we become clean again?

Jn 13:10a Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. In Jn 13 we see the event where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. Peter probably thought Jesus was just talking about humility at first. When Peter protests, Jesus explains an even deeper meaning. The clean body represents the cleansing of sin by Jesus’ atoning blood sacrifice. That cleansing was once and for all. Even so, we must live in the world and we are constantly exposed to sin. The dirt on the feet represents sins committed after we are cleansed. Our feet represent our walk in the world. Dirty feet represent sins we pick up along the walk, but which don’t completely cover or consume us. By coming to Christ and only by coming to Christ we can wash our feet and restore our completely clean status. We don’t get born again and again and again, so we don’t need to be washed all over more than once. We do need clean feet, it seems, to walk in the streets of heaven.

Personally, I find this passage of scripture a great comfort. I am but a man who lives in the world and I “step in it” daily. I could never clean myself. It is only with supernatural living water that I can ever be cleansed.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. — ESV

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Keep us in prayer, our website is going off the chart in Amsterdam, I don’t know why but we are blowing up huge.

Keep Vickie in your prayers as she recovers from breast surgery (cancer)

Unequally yoked, pray for those that need delivered from this form of self-imposed oppression.

Remember Ray K, in your prayers, off the streets and into rehab, day 21

good_shepherdblacksheep

COMFORT
1. The Lord is our shepherd, always leading us in the best way and protecting us.
Ps. 23.

  1. As an eagle stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, so God cares for his own.

    Deut. 32:10 – 12. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his

    eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hover over its young, that spreads its wings to

    catch them on its pinions. The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him.

  1. As a father cares for his children, so God cares for his own; his love is everlasting.

    Ps. 103:8-18.

  1. God always shelters those who put their trust in him.

    Ps. 91:1-2. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the

    Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I

    trust.”

  1. God know us most intimately; he holds and guides us by his hand.

    Ps. 139:1-12.

    Ps. 139: 1-3. O Lord, you have search me and you know me. You know when I sit and

    when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying

    down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Ps. 139:9-10. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even
there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

  1. The wicked appear to prosper for a time, while the righteous suffer; but actually God is

    always leading us in the best way; he comforts us with his presence. Ps. 73.

    Ps. 73:23-24. I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with

    your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

  1. The sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the coming glory.

    Rom 8:18. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory

    that will be revealed in us.

  1. God works all things together for our good.

    Rom 8:28. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who

    have been called according to his purpose.

  1. If God is for us, nothing can separate us from his love.

    Rom 8:31-39.

    Rom 8:31. What, then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against

    us?

    Rom 8:38-39. I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither

    the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all

    creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  1. Jesus, the good shepherd, died for his sheep; he knows, leads, and protects each one; he

    gives us eternal security.

    John 10:11. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

    John 10:14-15. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as

    the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.

    John 10:27-29. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them

    eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My

    Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my

    Father’s hand.

  1. God’s grace is sufficient for every need.

2 Cor. 9:8. God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

  1. Paul had a thorn in the flesh; God’s promise: My grace is sufficient for you.

    2 Cor. 12:7-10.

    2 Cor. 12:9. He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in

    weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s

    power may rest on me.

  1. Jesus rebuked the disciples for their little faith and calmed the storm.

    Matt. 8:23-27.

  1. God directs all things by his infinite wisdom and his ways are beyond tracing out.

    Rom 11:33-36. Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How

    unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has know the mind of

    the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “For from him and through him and to him are

    all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

  1. One day this life of suffering will be over and all will be made new.

    Rev. 21:1-4.

    Rev. 21:3-4. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with

    men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with

    them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and their God. He will

    wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or

    pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

  1. Cast your concerns on the Lord, for he will support you.

    Ps. 55:22. Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the

    righteous fall.

  1. God is the source of all comfort.

    2 Cor. 1:3-4. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of

    compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can

    comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

There is no situation to big, to bad, to horrible for God, he always has a plan and always is in control.

Theirs is a sermon by Erwin Lutzer, I wish I could recall it, but in its simplest form, either your believe God is in control over everything, or he’s not of control of anything.

Pray for those that have lost much, health, jobs, fortunes, loved ones, friends. Pray that like Job, God will restore.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

who in hell cares

August 25, 2016

not ashamed

Who in hell cares

I took an evangelist out to lunch today, we have known each other a long time and got to telling jokes to each other and I told him a joke about hell. He got very silent, and his face got very stern; “Brother, I don’t know if I can come and preach for you if you can joke about hell like that.” I looked at him and realized he was not joking. He went on to say that he could joke about anything, but hell was never funny. I apologized and he gave me his business card and on the back was the following.

1; God cares: John 3:16New International Version (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

2; Jesus cares: Matthew 18:11King James Version (KJV)

11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

3; All the people in heaven care: Luke 15:7King James Version (KJV)

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

4; all saved people care; Revelation 22:17King James Version (KJV)

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

5; I care; Romans 1:16King James Version (KJV)

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

6;all of us from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com care:

Pray for Matt, he is dealing with both body and business troubles

Pray for Leah S; trying to conceive.

For Sammy C. trying to find his lost brother, they haven’t spoke in 44 years.

For Ray M, dementia and death of a spouse

Wilma is going to physical rehab tomorrow, no broken bones after her fall at 87 years of age.

 

all the way in

August 24, 2016

John-Wayne-p15

Have you ever struggled to stay focused while you pray? I often begin to pray with great expectations of unhurried, undistracted time before God. But, inevitably, my mind dredges up urgent requests, inconsequential facts, or mundane tasks that seem to demand my immediate attention. Then, having been sidetracked by the temporal, it seems even harder to concentrate on the eternal.

We might be tempted to think that such distractions are simply symptoms of the frenzied times we live in. But saints throughout the ages have wrestled with wandering thoughts during prayer. F. W. Faber, a 19th-century hymn writer, wrote about his struggle with such “unmannerly distractions.”

Ah dearest Lord! I cannot pray,

My fancy is not free;

Unmannerly distractions come,

And force my thought from Thee.

My very flesh has restless fits;

My changeful limbs conspire

With all these phantoms of the mind

My inner self to tire.

I cannot pray; yet, Lord! Thou knowst

The pain it is to me

To have my vainly struggling thoughts

Thus torn away from Thee.

The disciples also struggled to stay vigilant in prayer. When Jesus took them to the garden, He asked them to keep watch with Him. When He arose from prayer and found them sleeping, He said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mt. 26:40-41, RSV).

What can be done to overcome the flesh in prayer? What can we do to stay attentive during communion with the Lord? Here are a few suggestions to consider.

Shut the Door.

Jesus gave His disciples specific instructions on how to pray: “But when you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, and shut the door behind you and pray to your Father secretly, and your Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you” (Mt. 6:6, LB).

“Shutting the door” is one of the most important keys to undistracted prayer. I must find a quiet place, free from distractions and interruptions. But shutting the door means more than barricading myself in my bedroom. When I spend time in this secret place with the God of the universe, I close the door on everything that would disturb or hinder me. I set my heart’s attention on the living God. This is an act of the will, a decision to be quiet, to listen, and to be sensitive to the Spirit and His presence.

When I shut the door, I recognize the high privilege and blessing of intimacy with my Lord. I am not in a hurry, but have made a commitment to slow down and allow myself to experience His peace and rest. Shutting the door insulates me from the world and enables me to focus on the Lord.

Read Scripture First.

George Mueller, a great man of prayer, wrote that he would often spend up to a half hour suffering from wandering thoughts before he really began to pray. Then he made a simple discovery that helped him eliminate distractions during prayer.

I saw that the most important thing was to give myself to the reading of God’s Word, and to meditation on it… Now prayer, in order to be continued for any length of time in any other than a formal manner, requires, generally speaking, a measure of strength or godly desire, and the season therefore when this exercise of the soul can be most effectually performed is after the inner man has been nourished by meditation on the Word of God, where we find our Father speaking to us, to encourage us, to comfort us, to instruct us, to humble us, to reprove us… Thus there is far less to be feared from wandering of mind than if we give ourselves to prayer without having had time previously for meditation.

Reading the Bible provides spiritual nourishment and is the best preparation for communion with the Lord. Listening intently to God’s Word is a major part of prayer. Through the Scriptures, God speaks to us. When we read His Word before we pray, our hearts are prepared to respond in prayer to what He has already shown us.

Pray Out Loud.

One of the quickest ways to eliminate distractions in prayer is to pray out loud. The act of speaking forces us to articulate our thoughts, anxieties, and requests more clearly. Praying out loud also causes us to slow down. It has been said that the average person thinks at about 1,300 words per minute but can only speak about 50 words per minute. If your heart is heavy with the pressures of life, your thought life may be an ongoing flood of anxiety. Speaking your prayers instead of just thinking them allows you to address one issue at a time and can help stem this torrent of anxious thoughts by bringing them before the throne of grace one by one.

Pray Scripture.

Often as I read Scripture, I find myself praying several verses for myself or for others. I enjoy praying through the psalms, particularly Psalm 145. It helps me to praise God for His attributes and graciousness toward us. For example, verse 14 says, “The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” Verses such as these help me battle distraction by taking my thoughts off myself and fixing them on God. As I pray sections of this psalm and other Scriptures back to the Lord, I rarely have wandering thoughts.

We can also emulate the prayers of the New Testament. Paul’s prayers for believers in his epistles have transformed my intercession. Paul prayed the following for the Colossians: “We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what He wants to do in your lives, and we ask Him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom” (see Col. 1:9). This is just one verse out of the many great prayers that can be found in the epistles (see Eph. 1:17-21, 3:14-21; Phil. 1:9-11; Col. 1:9-12; 2 Thess. 1:11-12). Jesus’ intercession in John 17 is another passage I often use as a model to help me pray for family and friends: “Lord, keep them in Your name. Keep them from the evil one. Sanctify them in the truth. May Your love be in them. May they behold Your glory.”

Pray with Thanksgiving.

Scripture encourages believers to “devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Col. 4:2). Thanksgiving has the power to transform our attitudes and perspective. Choosing to give thanks helps me remember God’s blessings and faithfulness instead of just dwelling on the difficulties in my life. Those who are truly thankful for gracious acts cannot help but express their thankfulness earnestly and repetitively.

A few years ago I began to ask the Lord to show me His goodness. I realized that often I did not acknowledge God’s hand in my life. I was oblivious to His loving attention to me, and, as a result, I did not have an attitude of thanksgiving—especially in my prayer life. Slowly, I have been able to come to the Lord with a more thankful heart. I am now more likely to recognize and give thanks for small blessings, the ones that can be easy to miss or take for granted: a friend who calls to encourage, a new thought from Scripture, protection while driving, a sense of His presence. There are countless opportunities to thank the Lord as we remember His goodness toward us. Recounting God’s goodness is a good antidote to restlessness in prayer.

eliminate distractions, it also creates a unique written record of our struggles and God’s faithful responses.

Pray while Walking. (this is by far my favorite, but I live out in the middle of nowhere and there are few distractions)

I greatly enjoy praying while walking. Something about the active nature of walking helps me concentrate as I pray. Most of the time, very few things disturb me while I am on a walk. I feel very comfortable with any silences while I’m praying, and I’m not bothered by any physical distractions that a room might bring—such as dust! As I observe and enjoy God’s creation, I tend to have a more relaxed conversation with Him.

Pray for Wilma, she is still in ICU,, but is doing better

Ann making a great recovery

Paul and victory in his thinking

Sally Ann, a pastor’s wife who is struggling with all that entails.

Tim P, having a mid-life crisis and now is paying the cost

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

FLIPPIN FROGS

August 23, 2016

shout

Flippin frogs,

No, that’s not a misprint, I spent a good 20 minutes tonite flippin frogs. Here’s the back story.

So it’s 1030 at nite, I’m out walking the dogs around the property for their bedtime stroll; it’s supposed to be about a 10 minute walk. But oh no, with all the rain we’ve had I’ve got frogs everywhere. And instead of the dogs “doing their duty” their frog watching.

The American Bulldog lays down and stares at them, the Belgium Malinois puts them in her mouth until she sees the next one and repeat, and our Neapolitan Mastiff, sits on them. I get to laughing and then frustrated because nobody has done their business and I can’t go in until they do.

So what do I do, I get my garden shovel and flip the frogs over the fence. You have no idea how hard that is or how many tries to get them to the fence. I can’t bend over and just pick them up because of my back; and trust me frogs don’t want to get on a shovel and get tossed into space.

And there’s my wife looking out the upstairs window about to go blind from laughing so hard.

Flipping frogs, it’s a lot like our prayer life, call it frogs or your mind wandering or distractions. But how often have you been in the middle of prayer and your mind goes from; “oh God your…..frogs, health, payments, tasks, people….God your so……, you get my point. Is there an answer, nope, it’s never going away, just flip faster and get back to prayer.

I’m sure God is laughing too!

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

right worship part 1000

August 22, 2016

praying mom

There are many kinds of worship that God cannot accept. Cain’s worship in the Old Testament was not accepted because he did not acknowledge the necessity of an atonement for sin in the relationship between God and fallen man.

 

 

Cain hoped to please God in worship, but he brought no blood sacrifice. He came instead with an offering “of the fruit of the ground,” probably beautiful flowers and a basket of fruit.

 

 

When God frowned on his gift, Cain’s attitude and answer seemed to be, “I don’t know anything about this sin-and-atonement idea.” God’s rejection of his offering and His acceptance of Abel’s “firstlings of his flock” made Cain so angry that he went out and killed his brother.

 

 

The kind of worship Cain offered to God has three basic and serious shortcomings.

 

 

First is the mistaken idea that God is a different kind of God than what He really is. This has to do with the person and the character of the sovereign and holy God. How can anyone ever worship God acceptably without knowing what kind of God He really is? Cain surely did not know the true character of God. Cain did not believe that the matter of man’s sin was eternally important to God.

 

 

Second is the mistake of thinking that man holds a relationship to God that in fact he does not. Cain casually assumed that he was deserving of acceptance by the Lord without any intermediary. He refused to accept the judgment of God that man had been alienated from his God by sin.

 

 

Third, Cain in the Old Testament record, and with him an unnumbered multitude of men and women since, have mistakenly assumed that sin is far less serious than it really is. The record is plain, if men and women would only look at it and consider it. God hates sin because He is a holy God. He knows that sin has filled the world with pain and sorrow, robbing us of our principal purpose and joy in life, the joy of worshiping our God!

 

 

The kind of worship offered by Cain is inadequate, without real meaning. Bringing it as an issue to our own day under the New Testament, I assure you that I would not knowingly spend an hour in any church that refuses to teach the necessity of the blood atonement for sin through the cross and the merits of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ!

 

 

Which brings us to what do you worship in church? Is it yourself, or one chorus sung 11 times, of “gee God you’re lucky to have me”. The early church only sung the psalms, you can’t go wrong there. It was the Wesley brothers that started the church off the path of psalms and into a new form of worship. Their one criteria; biblical soundness, theologically correct songs.

 

 

We have strayed far from that, some worship songs sound more like generic love letters written by kindergarten kids. No depth, no meaning but they make a great video. Well I have to stop, I could write 100 pages on all the lousy, worthless worship, and church marketing and we can’t sing unless we’re paying some guy 100k a year to set it to power point and have a coordinated light show. Shame on us for needing entertained than humbleness. (ok, I’m stopping).

 

 

Right worship, right reason, right spirit, right meaning.

 

 

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com