really needy

June 30, 2017

God’s basic ingredient for growth is need. Without personal needs, we would get nowhere in our Christian life. The reason our Father creates and allows needs in our lives is to turn us from all that is outside of Christ, centering us in Him alone. “Not I, but Christ” ( Gal. 2:20 ).

He makes Himself known to us through our needs; necessity finds Him out. I doubt much if we have ever learned anything solidly except we have learned it from experiencing needs.

Think about your prayer life, (this is not a negative comment) but how much of our prayer is centered around our needs. There’s an old song we used to sing way back when that really illustrates this well; real real real; he so real to me, he’s my doctor when I’m sick, he’s so real to me. Real real real he’s so real to me, he’s my banker when I’m broke, he’s so real to me. (ok not the greatest song in the world but you get my point).

When we prayer for others we are praying for their needs, prayer requests at church, needs.

So God allows needs to come into our life to shows us we can depend on him and that he really desires to show himself able and willing to meet our needs.

The problem is often the waiting period, another old saying; “God’s calendar and our calendar probably will never match; ah there’s the rub. We will be tempted to solve it in our own capacity, thus never seeing the deliverance of God; or we allow something or someone else to meet that need and they become an idol.

I’ve used that term before, “idol” and you can see how it’s a bigger issue than we think, its not just something pagans or folks from the old testament did. It’s very real today, we could be practicing idolatry today and not even realize it.

Sure we are not bowing down to some carved image, but we can be making an offering of our desire, need and wants to someone or something else.

 Without a bitter experience of our own inadequacy and poverty we are quite unfitted to bear the burden of spiritual ministry. It takes a man who has discovered something of the measures of his own weakness to be patient with the foibles of others. Such a man also has a first-hand knowledge of the loving care of the Chief Shepherd, and His ability to heal one who has come humbly to trust in Him and Him alone. Therefore he does not easily despair of others, but looks beyond sinfulness, willfulness, and stupidity, to the might of unchanging love. The Lord Jesus does not give the charge, ‘Be a shepherd to My lambs … to My sheep,’ on hearing Peter’s self-confident affirmation of undying loyalty, but He gives it after he has utterly failed to keep his vows and has wept bitterly in the streets of Jerusalem.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Genuine Longing

June 29, 2017

True, real longing,

 I long to know Christ and the power which is in His resurrection” (Phil. 3:10, Weymouth Translation. If you can find a printed copy of this translation do so, it will really bless you).

  The difficult thing for most hungry-hearted believers is to wait in dependence upon the Lord for everything. Truth is not to be grasped, but received—received by faith, mainly through study. How true this is concerning reckoning! Many seek to reckon before they understand the scriptural facts upon which to count, and that adds up to failure. The secret is to learn the truth of our identification with the Lord Jesus so thoroughly that reckoning and its resultant growth will come as a matter of course, just as in our justification.

The death of our Lord on the Cross has depths of meaning that can only be plumbed by way of discovered need, but then reveals ‘unsearchable riches.’ To the believer who still has hopes of ‘attaining’ in the Christian life, a verse such as Romans 6:11 is a rather meaningless jargon used by those who give messages on the ‘deepening of the spiritual life.

To the believer who has been taught by the Holy Spirit something of his own utter, inbred sinfulness, it comes as a message from God full of hope and encouragement. He grasps the rescue rope flung to him by the right hand of Omnipotence, and with humble thankfulness sets out to learn how he can reckon himself dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord. When he looks at the Cross he sees there the fact that not only did the Lord Jesus die for him, but that he himself was taken down into His death, in order that the practical reality of His resurrection life might transform him into the divine likeness.

  “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. 6:5).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

NOTE: If you live in the Boerne, Comfort, Waring area of Texas and are interested in becoming part of a new church start up email me and let me know.

And as a housekeeping note, questions, comments, and prayer requests also to the email address please, blessings.

also having a problem tonight with posting to my twitter account. sorry about that.

 

Among God’s characteristics, as he has revealed himself, none is more significant than his holiness (see Lev 11:44–45; 19:2; 20:7). The words holy and holiness occur more than 900 times in Scripture, and both the Old and New Testaments speak more about God’s holiness than any other attribute. Because of this characteristic God is not able to tolerate our sin. As Habakkuk 1:13 says: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.”

 Christ does not just save us from our sin, though; he saves us so we can become holy (see Eph 1:3–4). And as Peter says, “Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’ ” (1Pe 1:15–16).

The Bible could not be any clearer, The reason for your entire salvation, the design behind your deliverance, the purpose for which God chose you in the first place is holiness.

 Holiness is associated with separation from the ordinary or the profane on the one hand and connection with God or the divine on the other. Holiness is not only being separated from sin and worldliness but being set apart for God’s purposes. Sanctification is the process by which we become holy.

  ➤ Make it your purpose—Of all the goals we might have for our lives, the most important is to pursue holiness, for it is God’s goal for us. As Oswald Chambers said,

  God has only one intended destiny for mankind—holiness. His only goal is to produce saints. God is not some eternal blessing-machine for people to use . . . He came to save us because He created us to be holy.

  If we love God, then we will commit to making holiness the primary purpose of our life.

 ➤ Don’t resist the Holy Spirit—Sanctification is by the Holy Spirit and is part of our conversion (see 1Pe 1:2). In this form, known as definitive sanctification, the Spirit sets us apart in Christ so we can be saved. The Spirit also works in us so we can be obedient to Christ, a process referred to as progressive sanctification because we are progressing toward holiness.

 In this latter sanctifying role, the Spirit (1) exposes our sin so we can recognize and turn away from it, (2) illuminates Scripture so we can understand its meaning and (3) helps us to see the glory of Christ. The Spirit is always willing to do this for us, which is why we must not “resist” (Ac 7:51) or “quench” (1Th 5:19) the Spirit.

 ➤ Commit to obedience—There is no holiness without obedience. As Peter hints at in verse 2, the Spirit’s sanctifying work is done so we can be obedient to Christ. As Jerry Bridges notes, “Obedience is the pathway to holiness.”

 ➤ Pursue Jesus, not moralism—As we become holy we will naturally become more moral. But that is not the goal of growing in godliness. Our pursuit is of Jesus, not moralism. “Holiness is not ultimately about living up to a moral standard,” says Kevin DeYoung. “It’s about living in Christ and living out of our real, vital union with him.”

 ➤ Expect improvement, not perfection—Too often Christians don’t strive to be holy because they consider it an impossible standard. But God is not leading us to an unattainable level of perfection, for someday when Christ appears we will be like Jesus (see 1Jn 3:2). Our lack of perfection in the meantime should remind us of our dependence on God and motivate us to continually strive to improve. John Calvin writes,

  As even the most perfect are always very far from coming up to the mark, we ought daily to strive more and more. And we ought to remember that we are not only told what our duty is, but that God also adds, “I am he who sanctifies you.” (Lev 20:8 ESV)

 

Remember Donovan P in your prayers, surgery on Friday

 

Keep Paul K, in prayer his up coming cancer surgery

 

Susie R, grieving widow, it’s been her first week after the death of her spouse of 55 years

 

Susan R, having ear surgery on her cochlear transplant

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

miles from home

June 27, 2017

The apostle Paul said that the entire Christian faith rests on this single foundation, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Cor. 15:13-19). If that fact of history is true, then our faith has a solid footing in spite of difficult matters that we may never understand fully in this life. But, if Jesus Christ is not risen from the dead, then the strongest faith in the world is useless, because it rests on a faulty foundation. In Paul’s words (1 Cor. 15:17), “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”

If you want to examine a subject, it’s best to go to an expert. The most famous expert on doubt is the man whose name is always linked with it, Doubting Thomas. Perhaps it’s unfair that he has to wear that label, since all the apostles doubted the resurrection of Jesus at first (Mark 16:11; Luke 24:10-11). But, Thomas was the last holdout, so he gets the title. His story shows us that…

To overcome our doubts, we must rest upon the reality of the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

Thomas was what I would call a sincere doubter. Not all doubters are sincere. Some use their doubts as a smoke screen to hide behind their sin, which is the real issue. If one area of doubt is cleared up, they will quickly duck behind another, because they don’t want to submit to the Lord. These people do not need more evidence to believe. They need to turn from their sin.

But some doubters are sincere. They truly believe in Christ, but they are plagued by honest questions. They are submissive to God and want to do His will, but they can’t just close their eyes and take a leap of faith. They need evidence to clear up the doubts. Thomas was that kind of sincere doubter. His story reveals that…

  1. Sincere doubt can arise from multiple causes.

There are many causes of doubt. I am going to limit myself to exploring some of the causes of Thomas’ doubts. Perhaps you can relate to these sources of doubt as well.

Some Reasons For Thomas’ Doubts:

  1. PERSONAL FAILURE COUPLED WITH OUR PERSONALITY MAY LEAD TO DOUBT.

All of the disciples had failed Jesus on the night of His arrest and trial. Most notorious was Peter, who denied the Lord three times. All of the eleven had promised Jesus their loyalty, but they all deserted Him when He was arrested.

Thomas, along with Peter, had been outspoken in his loyalty to Jesus before the crucifixion. In John 11:16, when Jesus wanted to go to Bethany, near Jerusalem, to raise Lazarus from the dead, the disciples objected that it was too dangerous. But Thomas said, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” He was a pessimist, but at least he was loyal to the point of challenging the others to be committed to the point of death. But then he had joined the others in running away when Jesus was arrested. That failure led Thomas into depression and doubt.

It wasn’t just Thomas’ failure, but failure coupled with his personality, that led him into deep doubts. Peter had failed in a big way, too. But Peter was a buoyant, optimistic sort who felt badly about his mistakes, but who could bounce back more quickly. But Thomas was a conscientious, loyal, but gloomy type who did not commit himself to something lightly. To commit himself to Jesus and then go back on his word affected Thomas deeply.

We’re all wired differently and so it’s important to know yourself so that you can be on guard against your areas of weakness. Usually, by the way, our areas of greatest strength are also our areas of greatest weakness. A man such as Thomas, who is loyal and conscientious, who takes commitments seriously, is also more prone to depression and doubt when he fails.

  1. DISAPPOINTED EXPECTATIONS MAY LEAD TO DOUBT.

A second factor that caused Thomas such deep doubts was the disappointment and shock he felt as he watched Jesus die. Even though Jesus repeatedly told the disciples in advance that He would be crucified, it didn’t sink in. When Thomas saw the badly mangled body of Jesus on the cross, it sent him into shock. His emphasis on the wounds of Jesus (John 20:25) shows how deeply it affected him. The bloody holes in Jesus’ hands and feet, the gory spear wound in His side, and Jesus’ disfigurement from the scourg­ing and the crown of thorns, haunted Thomas in the week after the crucifixion and fed his doubts.

In the same way, whenever we face deep disappointment and shock because of some tragedy or unanswered prayer or something that doesn’t go as we had expected, we’re vulnerable to doubts. You begin to think, “If God is a God of love, then why did this happen? Why didn’t He answer my prayers?” Before long, you’ve joined Thomas in doubting the Lord.

  1. WHEN GOD WORKS IN WAYS THAT WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND, IT CAN LEAD TO DOUBT.

Thomas lacked understanding with regard to the Lord’s departure (see John 14:5). On the night before the crucifixion, Jesus told the disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them and that He would come again to take them to be with Him. He told them that they knew the way where He was going. But Thomas wasn’t the type to keep quiet if he didn’t understand. So he blurted out, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”

I’m glad he asked because Jesus’ reply was, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (14:6). But if you put yourself back into that situation, with all of the confused emotions of that night, and with the disciples’ still limited insight into Jesus’ death and resurrection, you can see how Thomas would still be confused about what Jesus had meant. He lacked understanding, which led to doubt.

John 20:9 states, “For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” In fact, none of them understood why Jesus had to die, let alone rise from the dead. Jesus rebuked the men on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:25-27), “And He said to them, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”

Many of our doubts stem from the same cause: we do not understand the Scriptures. Frankly, there are many hard teachings in the Bible, some of which we won’t resolve until we are with the Lord. We have to trust God, even when we don’t understand. In John 6:60, many of those who had followed Jesus turned away when He taught some hard things. Jesus even asked the twelve if they would go away also. Peter gave the great answer (John 6:68-69), “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” I have come back to that answer many times when I have struggled with doubt due to a lack of understanding. If Jesus is who He claimed to be, where else can I go?

  1. SEPARATING OURSELVES FROM FELLOW BELIEVERS, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE ARE DEPRESSED, CAN DEEPEN OUR DOUBTS.

Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared to them. We don’t know for certain why he was gone, but a likely reason was his depression. The last thing he wanted at a time like that was to be around other people. So he wandered off by himself to brood over the horrible events of the previous few days.

Then to add to his misery, when he finally did see the others, they told him that they had seen the risen Lord! How would you feel if you missed church because you were depressed and doubting and we all told you, “Hey, you really missed a blessing! It was the greatest church service in the history of FCF!” Great! That really encourages you, doesn’t it! But even though other believers may irritate us, the fact is, we need them. Whenever we separate ourselves from the fellowship, we make ourselves vulnerable to doubt.

I’ve not covered all the causes that cause us to doubt. But whatever the source of your doubts, the solution is the same: to come back to the basic fact of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. If that is true, then even though you may not understand everything, with Thomas you still must bow and acknowledge Jesus to be your Lord and God.

God bless you in your trials, your battles, in your darkest hours, hold up your bible in front of your eyes (literally) and tell yourself you really believe.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the old fashion truth

June 26, 2017

The old fashion secret (the alternate title)

“My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in [your] weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

  In self we are crippled; in Christ we conquer. The secret is to face up to the former, and rest in the latter. The disadvantaged believer has all the advantage—he knows it must be “not I, but Christ.”

  “It is a great step when the believer fully consents to his own weakness, and the abiding consciousness of it, and so works faithfully on, fully assured that his Lord is working through him. He rejoices that the excellence of the power is of God, and not of us. Realizing his oneness with his Lord, he considers no longer his own weakness, but counts on the power of Him of whose hidden working within he is assured.

 It is this secret assurance that gives the believer a brightness to his look, and an assured firmness to his tone, and a perseverance to all his efforts, which of themselves are great means of influencing those he is seeking to win. He goes forth in the spirit of one to whom victory is assured; for this is the victory that overcometh, even our faith. He no longer counts it humility to say that God cannot bless his unworthy efforts. He claims and expects a blessing, because it is not he, but Christ in him, that worketh. The great secret of abiding in Christ is the deep conviction that we are nothing, and He is everything.

  “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God”. (2 Cor. 3:5).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

better yet

June 25, 2017

19 ways to say I will

Since his death in 1758, Jonathan Edwards has become recognized as one of America’s greatest pastors, theologians and thinkers. But there was a time, says church historian Sean Lucas, when Jonathan Edwards wasn’t the Jonathan Edwards we know.

 At 19, Edwards began writing a list of 70 resolutions. His goal in making and keeping resolutions wasn’t self-fulfillment but the glory of God. Edwards would later write, “I felt in me a burning desire to be in everything a complete Christian.”

 In a list similar to the one created by Edwards, Scottish theologian Sinclair Ferguson compiled 19 suggested resolutions from the book of James that can help shape our own lives:

  1. Ask God for wisdom to speak and with a single mind (see 1:5)

  2. Boast only in exaltation in Christ (see 1:9–10)

  3. Set a watch over your mouth (see 1:13)

  4. Be constantly quick to hear, slow to speak (see 1:19)

  5. Learn the gospel way of speaking to the poor and the rich (see 2:1–4)

  6. Speak always in the consciousness of the final judgment (see 2:12)

  7. Never claim as reality something you do not experience (see 3:14)

  8. Resist quarrelsome words (see 4:1)

  9. Never speak evil of another (see 4:11)

  10. Never boast in what you will accomplish (see 4:13)

  11. Always speak as one subject to the providences of God (see 4:15)

  12. Never grumble (see 5:9)

  13. Never allow anything but total integrity in your speech (see 5:12)

  14. Speak to God in prayer whenever you suffer (see 5:13)

  15. Sing praises to God whenever you are cheerful (see 5:13)

  16. Ask for the prayers of others when you are sick (see 5:14)

  17. Confess it freely whenever you have failed (see 5:15)

  18. Pray with and for one another when you are together with others (see 5:15)

  19. Speak words of restoration when you see another wander (see 5:19)

  Want a tip for how to apply these resolutions to your own life? Over the next five to six weeks, highlight three or four of these resolutions and add them to your daily routine. Continue the process until you’ve added all 19. Mark off a date 90 days from today on your calendar or journal to reflect and pray about how these resolutions have changed your heart and character.

I’m not sure where this fits on the list of questions I get asked, but it has to be near the top 10, “how can I be a better Christian?”

This would be a good start, blessing y’all

From scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the Big 3 P’s

June 24, 2017

This has been taped into the back cover of the bible that was given to me at ordination. It has always blessed me, hope it blesses and strengthens you as well.

Purpose, Provision, Process

  “I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory” (Ex. 33:18).

  There are three vital factors that will keep us on the path, and in the power, of spiritual growth: (1) study to know that God’s purpose in saving us is to conform us to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:28, 29); (2) learn to reckon upon the finished work of the Cross as His provision for that purpose (Rom. 6:11); (3) yield to the Holy Spirit as He carries out the daily process of that purpose (2 Cor. 4:11).

Christ Jesus’ earthly life showed the path, His heavenly life gives the power, in which we are to walk. What God hath joined together no man may separate. Whosoever does not stand in the full faith of the Redemption, has not the strength to follow the Example. And whosoever does not seek conformity to the Image as the great purpose of Redemption, cannot fully enter its power. Christ lived on earth that He might show forth the image of God in His life; He lives in heaven that we may show forth the image of God in our lives.

God has but one way of revealing Himself, it is ‘Christ in you.’ He has no other way of showing Himself to men except as Christ lives in us; not by the Shekinah glory in the temple built with hands of men, but in lives redeemed and freed and cleansed as they walk about in this dark world with Christ living in them.

  “And we all, while with face unveiled we behold in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are ourselves transformed continually into the same likeness; and the glory which shines upon us is reflected by us, even as it proceeds from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18,

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Keep growing in God, blessings

the fools among us

June 23, 2017

I had the opportunity to talk to two people this week who said they were atheist’s.

Being my normal blunt self, when they asked me what I thought about that I pulled out my little Bible (a real bible not an app) and read the following to them.

Romans 1:20-32

King James Version (KJV)

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

They both said they didn’t believe that nonsense, I said; “of course not, you are fools, what else would you believe but your own opinion.”

This is where you stop talking to someone like this because to give them more scripture is actually harmful.

As painful as it is to accept, not all will believe. It is more painful when these are your own family.

We can only pray.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Don B, 68 years old, tore his left bicep, his right ACL, and got a hernia and then just about sliced his forearm off working at my house.

Pray for Dan B, unsaved, 78, and just got out of jail for not paying his attorney, the court costs and bail costs, he’s broke, drunk, and kinda of mean spirited. There’s a warrant out for his arrest and he’s lit out.

Remember Paul K and his upcoming cancer surgery

And Joe R, and his upcoming shoulder surgery

 

true wealth

June 22, 2017

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16).

As believers we rejoice in the fact that the Lord Jesus died for us, but few are affected by the fact that He arose for us. Fewer still realize that we died and arose with Him. Learn the facts! There will be continual struggle and failure until we gain adequate understanding of the liberating truth.

“The Lord Jesus on the Cross removed the barriers which separated me from God—my guilt, my sin, the law; and He dealt with my enemies—the world, the flesh, the devil. These six things were dealt with, so that we need no longer be in bondage through fear and that we may come boldly to the throne of grace.

Have we given a hearty assent to these things which the Lord Jesus did for us? Or have we, as we read the Word, drifted by them, taking it all for granted? Let us lay hold of that for which God has laid hold of us. Let us gird up the loins of our mind and consent to that which He did for us. Let us enter into all that which being united to Christ as our Life means. Let us rejoice in all that was accomplished for us on Calvary.

It is necessary that the truth conferred by grace should be known as a possession and the virtue of it apprehended, before there can be any walk in keeping with it. For if there be ignorance or misapprehension, the truer the conscience, the more defective is the practice.

“Set your affection on things above” (Col. 3:2)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

the tongue

June 21, 2017

The best devotion I’ve ever read on taming the tongue was in the late 70’s and it was written by Christian song writer Keith Green, if I can find that devotion I will post it for you, until then…..

Taming is a process by which a wild beast is subdued into adapting and submitting to human control. As James notes, “all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind” (Jas 3:7). But despite mankind’s success in taming the animal kingdom, there is one wild thing, James says, that we haven’t been able to subdue and adapt: “No human can tame the tongue” (v.8).

 While we might never fully tame our tongues, with God’s help we can learn to use our words in a manner that is increasingly more edifying and Christlike.

 In what way does your tongue most often get you in trouble? Look over the following list of verses that address how we are to use our words. Choose two or three verses to memorize and reflect on daily:

 Watch what you say and speak only after careful consideration.

  “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin” (Pr 13:3).

   “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity” (Pr 21:23).

  Sometimes the most becoming speech is silence.

  “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues” (Pr 17:28).

  Seek first to understand what someone is saying before attempting to respond.

  “To answer before listening—that is folly and shame” (Pr 18:13).

  Be slow to speak your mind.

  “Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them” (Pr 29:20).

  Be wary of making trivial or casual remarks that reflect ungodly attitudes.

  “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken” (Mt 12:36).

  Avoid obscenities, profanities and blasphemy; instead, speak words that build up others.

  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph 4:29).

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com