liar, liar

September 30, 2017

Ok, this particular devotion is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, however it is educational about how far even nations will go to discredit Jesus.

The vast literature proving the historic Jewish connection to the Land of Israel has been extensively manipulated and distorted as part of the Palestinian politics of nationalism. Propaganda, indoctrination, and socialization, both domestically and internationally, are essential parts of the strategy and tactics of asserting Palestinian nationhood and statehood. By appropriating to themselves the values, traditions, and historical facts that belong to the Jews, Palestinians have managed to fabricate a “legitimate” history and political traditions out of nothing while denying those of Israel.

The Palestinian Nation-building Strategy

A Palestinian flag emblazoned with “Jesus.” Not even Jesus’s origin as a Jew is safe from the Palestinian fabrication of their history. While Jesus was certainly viewed for centuries as a Muslim prophet (along with Abraham and Moses), only recently has he become a model Palestinian shahid, a martyr to their cause.

Nation-building often involves the invention of foundation myths although these normally require a certain relationship to historic facts, however tenuous. Palestinian leaders, under the leadership of Yasser Arafat and his successors, adopted a different tack: stealing the enemy’s heritage, history, and values, and denying its legitimacy as a people and a state. The Palestinian objectives are to disqualify Israel’s historical standing and to inherit its belongings by delegitimizing and even dehumanizing its national identity and personality.

Palestinian tactics are simple yet sophisticated: preaching and dispersing lies and distortions of reality. History proves that the bigger the lie and the more common its reiteration, the more it is accepted as authentic and genuine. Moreover, most people are unwilling to accept the idea that an entire national leadership would dare to totally distort and fabricate history in full. Part of the Palestinians’ success in doing so is also due to the fact that most people do not know the history of the Land of Israel and of Jerusalem.

Usurping the Jewish, Biblical, and Christian Pasts

Rewriting the history of the Land of Israel by erasing Jewish history and replacing it with a fabricated Palestinian history is a central goal of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and something that the early generations of Palestinian leaders, including the notorious Hajj Amin Husseini, who led the Palestinian Arabs to their 1948 defeat, dared not do. This fictitious history, which ignores all historical documentation and established historical methods, is based on systematic distortions of both ancient and modern history with the aim of denying Israel’s right to exist.

The Palestinian leaders claim lineage from ancient history, describing the Canaanites as their direct ancestors.[1] In the words of the PA president Mahmoud Abbas: “We said to him [Netanyahu], when he claimed the Jews have a historical right dating back to 3000 years B.C.E., we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7,000-year history. This is the truth that must be said: Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.”[2]

According to Palestinian Authority historians, the Palestinian people has been living in Palestine for over seven thousand years.[3] Another claim states that Palestinians were in the land since the beginning of creation.[4] According to Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, chairman of the Supreme Islamic Council of the Palestinian Authority, Palestinians have roots in this land originating from earlier than 7500 B.C.E.[5] Arab villages have allegedly existed since the days of the Canaanites.[6] The “Arab” Canaanites supposedly established ports on the coast of Canaan, known today as Palestine, and Jaffa is said to have been one of the cities whose Canaanite origins later invaders failed to erase.[7] Overall, the Palestinian people claim to be rooted in the region for thousands of years and long before Israel.[8]

According to this argument, some 6,000 years ago, the Palestinians of Canaan created a great civilization that, like the sun, was producing light and shining it on human beings as the Islamic religious basis of the world.[9] Palestinian scholars and media have touted the claim that the Palestinian Arab nation has been rooted in its land for thousands of years since the human settlement of the “Arab-Palestinian-Canaanite” city of Jericho—the oldest city in the history of human civilization. In their claim, the history and heritage of Jericho confirm the Arab-Palestinian-Canaanite narrative concerning the entire Palestinian land, from the sea to the river, and negate the false Zionist narrative. Jericho allegedly proves that the Palestinian nation is the most ancient and earliest of all, whose roots are the most deeply dug into history.[10]

Palestinians also declared themselves to have been the center of historical events and peoples found in the Bible in the form of the Edomites, Amorites, Midianites, Amalekites, Ibrahim bin Azar (biblical Abraham), and al-Khadir (Prophet Elijah).[11] In the view of the Palestinian ambassador to India, Adli Sadeq, to ignore the existence of the Palestinian people and its rights reflects a logic that mocks intelligence, culture, and the Bible itself, in which Palestine and its people are mentioned more than 250 times.[12] Of course, the term Palestine appears nowhere in the Bible. The assertion that the Palestinians are descended from the biblical Jebusites, who, according to the Bible, were the original inhabitants of Jerusalem, has also been frequently made.[13]

To claim that Palestinians are the original inhabitants of the Land of Israel not only goes against secular history and scientific knowledge, but it also flies in the face of Islamic religious history. Not only do the Islamic scriptures recognize the unique Jewish claims to the Land of Israel, but there is no reference whatsoever to any Palestinian people dwelling on any land called Filastin during any part of Islamic history until the twentieth century. The term Jund Filastin was used to describe a military district of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates and had no ethnic or national significance until the twentieth century.

The Qur’an declares that the Jews are the chosen people, exalted among the nations of the world.[14] It clearly declares the Jews (Bani Israil) as the only owners of the Land of Israel, which is al-Ard al-Muqaddasah; al-Ard al-Mubarakah; Ard Bani Israil (the sacred land; the blessed land; the land of the People of Israel), and they are not allowed to leave it, for otherwise they will be punished:[15] “It is the promise of God, and God does not go back on his promise.”[16] The Qur’an goes on to acknowledge that the Jewish first and second kingdoms existed but states that they were punished by God.[17] Arab ownership of Palestine is also critically connected to exegesis on the Qur’anic description of Muhammad’s Night Journey from Mecca to the “furthest mosque,” which is juxtaposed with a verse on the destroyed Temple of the Israelites.[18] The existence of that temple, however, though it had been acknowledged by officials of the Islamic religious endowment authority (waqf ) in their publicity materials from the 1920s and 1950s,[19] was famously denied by Arafat in an exchange with U.S. president Bill Clinton.[20]

Another Palestinian tactic is aimed at co-opting Christianity. For the PA leaders, Jesus is defined as a Palestinian who preached Islam, thus denying not only Jewish history and Christian legitimacy but also strengthening ancient Palestinian history. According to this narrative, Jesus was a Muslim prophet,[21] like all other Jewish-born figures,[22] who was born in Bethlehem, lived in Nazareth, and moved to Jerusalem.[23] Therefore, Jesus the messiah is a Palestinian par excellence, the son of Mary the Palestinian.[24] The Virgin Mary, the woman of love and peace, is of the nation of Palestine, whose roots are grounded in the depths of history.[25] Jesus is a shahid, a holy martyr of Islam, the only Palestinian prophet, and the first Palestinian shahid who was tortured in this land.[26]

Denying the Jewish Connection

In the official Palestinian narrative, the Palestinian people are authentic and indigenous while it is the Israelis who are the foreigners, invented, and sown in a land that is not theirs.[27] According to Nabil Alqam, a PA historian, the Israeli state concerns itself with cultural theft and with stealing, distorting, and erasing the Palestinian heritage, which has a historical depth of 4,000 to 5,000 years. The state of Israel attempts to steal Palestinian symbols and to create a fake Israeli identity.[28] In his book, Jerusalem, City of Allah, Yunes Amr, president of the al-Quds Open University, claims to disprove all Israeli connections and the history of the Jewish presence in Palestine, both historically and linguistically, by exposing the falsification of facts and affirming that the Palestinians are Arab Canaanites indigenous to the land.[29]

Throughout Palestinian media and education, all Israeli cities and areas are featured as Palestinian in origin, including Haifa, Acre, Ashkelon, Jaffa, Safed, Tiberias, Tel Aviv, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, Kiryat Shmonah, and the Negev. These are the “Palestinian homeland” or “occupied Palestine.”[30] Instilling these assertions and psychological worldview as facts among youth and in the political arena requires a multilevel process of socialization and indoctrination, beginning with the education system. Reinforcement is constant and all-pervasive: Palestine is continually represented as an area of 27,000 sq km, and an overwhelming Palestinian majority believes this is the truth.[31]

The Palestinians also portray Israelis of today as having no genetic, religious, cultural, or historical connections to the Jews of the past, who are supposed to have disappeared long ago. Issam Sissalem of the Islamic University in Gaza further claims that the biblical Hebrew tribes were in fact Bedouin. As such they were Arab tribes, and there is no connection between them and today’s Israeli Jews, who are the descendents of Eurasian Khazars who converted to Judaism. The original Hebrew tribes were erased and ceased to exist, leaving no traces.[32] Likewise, Jarir al-Qudwa, once educational advisor to Arafat, holds that the Israelites of the Bible were not only Arab tribes but were among the purest. Fathi Buzia, a PA political commentator, argues that Europe, led by Britain, founded Israel, creating and implanting a thieving, fabricated entity upon the Palestinian land, in order to get rid of Jews at home.[33]

Israelis are described as religious groups of imposters who were never Jews but part of a Zionist plot to occupy Palestinian lands and steal the Palestinian identity and cultural heritage. This is derided as the greatest crime ever committed against humanity with the aim of the Judaization of Palestine.[34] Even the Hebrew language is said to be stolen from Palestinian Aramaic.[35] The Israeli state creates “false names” for sites to “erase the Palestinian facts.” It steals everything it lays its hands on “by means of terror,” including music, food, clothing, and folk traditions, even falafel and humus.[36] All the territory held by the state of Israel is occupied, and the Palestinians will not compromise on it.[37]

In the light of this, Palestinian commentators demand that Zionists must acknowledge publicly before the world that Jews have no connection to Palestinian Arab land. Zionist history is nothing more than invention and falsification, constituting a crude form of colonialism.[38] Zionists are trying to create a fake history at the expense of a real Palestinian history so as to steal the history and the culture of the Palestinians.[39]

The Palestinian “Nation’s” Modern Foundations

The alleged Zionist process of theft and usurpation is, in fact, precisely the official Palestinian policy toward Jewish history.

The paradoxical fact is that Palestinian nationalism effectively owes its creation to Zionism, the Jewish national movement.[40] Stimulated partially by the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the search for Arab national identities, the main lines of Palestinian nationalism developed during the 1920s and 1930s in reaction to and in contrast with Zionism.

Though Palestinians claim descent from Canaanites, the fact is that there has never been any historical Palestinian state, nor any indigenous political system and institutions. The Land of Israel witnessed many conquerors over the course of its history, but in the last two thousand years since most of the people of Israel went into exile—albeit not without leaving an uninterrupted presence in the land—it was not the home of any indigenous political entity. Not only has there never been a Palestinian state and a Palestinian people, but there were no other political entities besides those established by invading forces, such as the crusading statelets or district capitals created by Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs.

Most of the population now known as Palestinian descended from migrants originating from the surrounding Arab countries and from local Bedouins. Many migrated in waves from the middle of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century. Others were imported by the Ottoman Empire and by the British for infrastructure and agricultural projects, or migrated to the region following Zionist economic success, which produced a staggering population growth.[41] Palestinians are perhaps the newest of all peoples, comprising many scattered groups. In fact, in origin they are more Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese, and mainly Bedouin, than Palestinian.

Perhaps the most conspicuous fact regarding the novelty of the Palestinian nation is that when it was within their power, the Arab leaders never seriously sought to create a Palestinian state during the 1940s, and after the establishment of the State of Israel, from 1948 until 1967, when the West Bank and Gaza were under Egyptian and Jordanian direct rule. Moreover, during that time all Arab leaders referred to the Palestinian issue as a refugee problem. They did not call for the creation of a Palestinian state for the Palestinian nation. Even after the 1967 Six-Day War, United Nations Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967, mentions only “refugees,” not even “Arab refugees”—let alone a Palestinian people and a Palestinian state.[42] Calls in earnest for a Palestinian state did not begin in the United Nations or elsewhere until the late 1960s or the early 1970s.[43]

Even today, as all Arab states pay lip service to the idea of a Palestinian state, and Palestinian leaders are treated as equals by their Arab counterparts, it is far from clear that a Palestinian state is a real priority. If the Palestinians are a people today, they are indeed a new invention. However, do they deserve a state? Establishment of a Palestinian state would rightly open the floodgates for the creation of numerous states based on both new and old national identities. The Kurds and the Berbers, for example, have lived for centuries in the Middle East. They are distinct and ancient peoples that were not invented in the full light of history, but unfortunately, their existence does not translate automatically into statehood. If it did, such a process of granting statehood to all peoples would begin to unravel the fabric of the modern Arab world. Arab leaders, especially under pressure from the Arab upheavals of 2011 show no enthusiasm for this.

What Do Palestinians Want?

The important question is what Palestinians really want. What are the Palestinians’ political objectives, and how do they wish to realize them? All their leaders’ declarations and policies clearly show that they have never moderated their primary objective, which is to eliminate the State of Israel. From the Abadan (“never”) rhetoric of the 1920s through 1948 to Arafat’s “phased strategy,” adopted at the June 1974 Palestinian National Congress,[44] Palestinians still lay claim to a land “from the river to the sea.” Palestinians appear unwilling to compromise, to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, or to accept an Israeli state on any territory they call Filastin.

It is also evident that Palestinian political evolution is closely tied to Israel’s territorial and political development in two continuous phases. The first emerged after Israel’s independence in 1948 and differentiated the Palestinians as a social group of Arab refugees, also called “Palestine Arabs,” and lacking obvious cultural, social, or political characteristics that distinguished them from their Arab kin, who largely reviled them. The second phase developed after the 1967 Six-Day War; Palestinians then became a political group seeking to develop a national identity during the period of global anti-imperial and anti-colonial ferment. But even as a Palestinian national identity has been developed and marketed, it is overwhelmingly founded on the negation of its rival, namely Jewish and Israeli identity, rather than on positive attributes or real history.

Given this, how have Palestinians been so successful in disseminating their message in the international arena? What brings them the overwhelming political and financial support at the expense of so many nations and other peoples, such as the Kurds and the Berbers, who are denied the chance to establish a state?[45]

Part of the answer is perhaps the Palestinians’ sophisticated ploy of telling all players what they want to hear. In the international arena, the Palestinians emphasize the ideologies of post-colonialism, post-modernism, and multiculturalism. They depict themselves as the victims of colonial Zionism that has stolen their land and express the wish to establish Palestine as a small or even a multicultural state.[46] In Europe, where there is a high level of guilt and remorse about its own colonialist past, the Palestinians depict Israel as the last remnant of the bygone European colonialist era and directly blame Europe for the creation of the Jewish state.[47] Israel is accused of occupying the land that belongs solely to the Palestinian people, and worse, Israel is accused of perpetuating Nazi methods and committing genocide against the Palestinians.[48] These Palestinian accusations are supported by European intellectuals and leftists who feel remorse about the colonial era and who do not wish to be reminded any further about the Nazi atrocities.

In the United States, where many feel guilt and remorse over historic racism, the Palestinians depict Israel as a racist state, which treats them in the same way as African Americans were treated.[49] For human rights organizations, Israel is a cruel occupier that violates all human rights and freedoms of the Palestinians.[50] In world public opinion, Israel is depicted as an oppressive society that perpetuates systematic extermination and ethnic cleansing.[51] And to Palestinians and other Muslims, the prospect of a Palestinian state is represented as the creation of another proud Arab or pious Muslim state.

The question remains why the international community accepts the Palestinians’ claims regarding their fabricated past and the corresponding negation of the Jews. Oil, ignorance, anti-Semitism, and a politically correct unwillingness to offer any challenge to such falsehoods, all play a role. Still, it is difficult to recall a time in modern history when one group of people openly expressed such visceral animosity and hatred and declared its eagerness to eliminate a neighboring state and its people while the international arena ignored and, in fact, enabled and legitimized it.

Conclusion

Palestinian Arabs, as opposed to Arabic-speaking residents, have not been in the area west of the Jordan River from the Islamic occupation, from the Ottoman Empire, or even from British rule since 1917. No Palestinian state has ever existed, and so, no Palestinian people has ever been robbed of its land. There is no language or dialect known as Palestinian; there is no Palestinian culture distinct from that of surrounding Arab ones; and there has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians at any time in history. For these reasons, Palestinians have been driven to fabricate a past by denying and expropriating that of Jews and Israel.

Only after the Palestinian leadership comes to terms with Israel’s legitimacy and recognizes it as a Jewish state can one begin discussing the emergence of a Palestinian state that lives in peace beside the State of Israel.

Thank you David Bukay who is a lecturer at the School of Political Science in the University of Haifa, peace and blessings my friend.

[1] All references from Palestinian Authority media are taken from Palestinian Media Watch.

[2] Palestinian al-Fath TV, May 14, 2011.

[3] Al-Ayyam (Ramallah), Sept. 11, 2006.

[4] Palestinian al-Fath TV, July 25, 2004.

[5] Al-Hayat al-Jadida (Ramallah), July 3, 2010.

[6] Ibid., Dec. 3, 2010.

[7] Palestinian al-Fath TV, repeatedly from 2005-07.

[8] Al-Hayat al-Jadida, Mar. 17, 2009, Dec. 11, 2011.

[9] Palestinian al-Fath TV, Feb. 20, 2011.

[10] Al-Hayat al-Jadida, Oct. 21, 2010.

[11] Ibid., July 8, 2011.

[12] Ibid., Nov. 18, 2005, Dec. 19, 2011.

[13] David Wenkel, “Palestinians, Jebusites, and Evangelicals,” Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2007, pp. 49-56.

[14] Qur: al-Baqarah, 2:47; ad-Dukhan, 44:32.

[15] Qur: al-Maidah, 5:21; al-A’araf, 7:137; Bani Israil, 17:104.

[16] Qur: ar-Rum, 30:6.

[17] Qur: Bani Israil, 17:104-7.

[18] Ibid., 17: 1, 7.

[19] Philip Mattar, “The Role of the Mufti of Jerusalem in the Political Struggle over the Western Wall, 1928-1929,” Middle Eastern Studies, Jan. 1983, pp. 104-18; Muhammad Amin al-Husseini, Haqa’ik An Qadiyat Filastin (Cairo: n.p., 1957), pp. 115-9.

[20] See Yitzhak Reiter, Jerusalem and Its Role in Islamic Solidarity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), pp. 1-2.

[21] Qur: al-Imran, 3:51-2; an-Nisa, 4:171; al-Maidah, 5:111.

[22] Qur: al-Baqarah, 2:127-8, 133; al-Imran, 3:84; Yunus, 10:71-2, 84.

[23] Palestinian al-Fath TV, Apr. 21, 2006; al-Hayat al-Jadida, Mar. 9, Oct. 28, 2006.

[24] Al-Hayat al-Jadida, Nov. 18, 2005; Palestinian al-Fath TV, May 12, 2009.

[25] ,com.Palvoice Mar. 17, 2010.

[26] Al-Hayat al-Jadida, June 24, Dec. 11, 2000, June 17, 2005, Oct. 28, 2006, Apr. 30, Nov. 18, 2008; Palestinian al-Fath TV, June 9, Dec. 24, 2009.

[27] Al-Hayat al-Jadida, Dec. 11, 2011.

[28] Palestinian al-Fath TV, Oct. 22, 2009.

[29] Al-Ayyam, Apr. 7, 2009.

[30] Palestinian al-Fath TV, Apr. 11, June 14, 24, Sept. 2, Nov. 1, 2011; al-Hayat al-Jadida, Jan. 31, June 17, 20, 2011.

[31] Palestinian al-Fath TV, May 16, June 11, 25, July 5, Aug. 12, 13, 19, 2010.

[32] Ibid., July 25, 2004.

[33] Ibid., June 17, 2009.

[34] Al-Hayat al-Jadida, Apr. 4, May 26, 2011; Palestinian al-Fath TV, May 23, 2011.

[35] Palestinian al-Fath TV, Dec. 7, 2010, Feb. 8, July 15, 2011; al-Hayat al-Jadida, May 15, July 1, 2011.

[36] Al-Hayat al-Jadida, Dec. 16, 2010, Apr. 4, May 16, July 5, Dec. 8, 2011; Palestinian al-Fath TV, Dec. 23, 2010.

[37] Al-Hayat al-Jadida, Aug. 18, 2011.

[38] Ibid., May 27, 2011.

[39] Palestinian al-Fath TV, May 23, 2011.

[40] Daniel Pipes, “Mirror Image: How the PLO Mimics Zionism,” National Interest, Fall 1994; idem, “Mirror Image: Palestinians Continue to Mimic Zionism,” DanielPipes.org, Jan. 10, 2008.

[41] See, for example, Efraim Karsh, Palestine Betrayed (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), pp. 2-16; Fred M. Gottheil, “The Smoking Gun: Arab Immigration into Palestine, 1922-1931,” Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2003, pp. 53-64; Arieh L. Avneri, The Claim of Dispossession, Jewish Land Settlement and the Arabs, 1878-1948 (Edison, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1982), pp. 162-80.

[42] U.N .Security Council, “Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967.”

[43] See, for example, “10 Point Program,” Palestine National Council, Cairo, June 8, 1974.

[44] “Political Program for the Present Stage Drawn up by the 12th PNC, Cairo, June 9, 1974,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Summer 1974, pp. 224-5.

[45] James Minehan, Nations without States (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1996), index.

[46] Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian legislator, al-Hayat al-Jadidah, Dec. 27, 2011; Issa Karake, minister of prisoners’ affairs, al-Hayat al-Jadidah, Nov. 24, 2011; Bassam Eid, “Can a Bi-National State Be a Solution to the Middle East Conflict,” Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, Jerusalem, 2009.

[47] Fayez A. Sayegh, “Zionist Colonialism in Palestine,” Research Center Palestine Liberation Organization, Beirut, Sept. 1965; Gilbert Achcar, “The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives,” Open Democracy, London, Apr. 19, 2010.

[48] See, for example, Marwan Bishara, Palestine/Israel: Peace or Apartheid. Occupation, Terrorism and the Future (London: Zed Press, 2003); Ziyad Abu Ein, Palestinian Authority deputy minister of prisoners’ affairs, interview, Palestinian Fatah TV, Oct. 6, 2011; al-Hayat al-Jadidah, Apr. 17, July 5, Oct. 3, 2011.

[49] See, for example, Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law (Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, 2009); Jamal Dajani, “Israel: Occupation or Apartheid?” The Huffington Post (New York), Feb. 5, 2010; Uri Davis, Israel: An Apartheid State (London: Zed Books, 2002), pp. 55, 61.

[50] See, for example, “Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories: The 2011 Report,” Amnesty International, New York, accessed Mar. 12, 2012; “Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Events of 2009,” World Report 2010, Human Rights Watch, New York, accessed Mar. 12, 2012.

[51] See, for example, Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), Oct. 31, 2009; Inter Press Service (Rome), Mar. 23, 2011; Asia News (Bangkok), Mar. 22, 2011.

the true mark

September 29, 2017

The subject of positive self esteem, love yourself, self love, our self-concept or self-image creates a kind of paradox. The Bible-believing Christian knows that he is a sinner, that in himself dwells no good thing, and that in himself he has no merit with God; yet, like a paradox, at the same time, he also knows, as a creation of God, created in God’s image and redeemed by His grace, he has value and purpose in life.

So how do we hit a proper balance? How do we avoid the self-centered approach and focus of the world and at the same time have a biblical concept of self, a proper viewpoint of our own value and purpose that sets us free to serve the living God, that sets us free from those thoughts and feelings that tie us in knots and ruin our personalities, create false agendas and motives that so people are incapacitated for ministry?

That we think properly about ourselves is important and is even commanded in Scripture. In Romans 12:3, the apostle wrote, “For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith.”

The basic word for “think” in this passage is proneo, which means “think, form or hold an opinion, judge.” “Sober discernment,” is sophroneo, “be of sound mind.” It means “to be in one’s right mind, be reasonable, keep one’s head.” But first, the apostle warns us against thinking more highly of ourselves than we should.” The Greek word here is huperphroneo, “to think too highly of oneself, to be haughty.” Ironically, quite contrary to our society today, the apostle does not warn against thinking too little of ourselves. Regardless, the sound thinking Paul is calling for is grounded in biblical revelation and faith in the work of God for us in Christ. Paul is calling for thinking and personal evaluation based on the authority of God’s revelation and on the facts of God and His grace. It means we are to look at ourselves through the lenses of Scripture.

To Timothy, whom some expositors have nick named “Timid Tim” because he seems to have been having problems with his self-confidence (or confidence in God’s gifts and ministry for his life), Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a Spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (or sound-mind thinking). The Greek word for “discipline” here is related to the word used for thinking in Romans 12:3. It is sophronismos from sophron, “sensible, prudent.” It comes from sos, “safe, sound, and phren, “the heart, the mind, or the inner man.” Sophronismos refers to “control, self-discipline, prudence” that stems from right thinking. A controlled life, one that demonstrates self-discipline stems from soundness of mind, from knowing and acting on the truth of Scripture in the light of God’s grace in Christ. In both passages, Romans 12:3 and 2 Timothy 1:7, the context deals with God’s gifts to us and the bold expression of those gifts in loving ministry for the sake of the body of Christ.

Thinking properly about ourselves stems from right thinking about God, but then that extends to right thinking about others so that it results in a freedom to serve according to the grace of God.

Now, let’s ask some questions: What am I worth as a person? Do I feel good about who I am or do I wish I was someone else? Have I accepted who I am as a person, not my sin or sinful habits, but the uniqueness God has created in me as a person (Ps. 139:13-14)? How we answer these questions may play a key role in what we do with our lives, how we live our lives, in the joy we experience in life, in the way we treat others, and in how we respond to people and to God. “Research has shown that we tend to act in harmony with our mental self-portrait. If we don’t like the kind of person we are, we think no one else likes us either. And that influences our social life, our job performance, our relationships with others.”

A biblical concept of self developed out of our concept of God and His grace is important to solid spiritual maturity, to ministry, to our ability to lead others, and especially to our ability to be servants. Without a biblical concept of self, we end up playing spiritual king-of-the-mountain and engage in promoting personal agendas to build up a sagging ego. We seek from position, power, and praise what we should get from resting in God’s grace.

Thus, in order to effectively lead or minister to others we must think biblically about who we are. This means two key things: (a) we need to know our abilities and limitations while (b) always keeping in mind a biblical view of God, His grace to us in Christ, and knowing our sufficiency is always in God regardless of our abilities or weaknesses (see 2 Cor. 2:16-3:6).

Why is thinking in these terms so important? Because without it we will vacillate between fear and pride or between insecurity and overconfidence. Without this we will become either withdrawn and introverted or we will find ourselves running around in a hubbub of activity trying to feel good about ourselves because of our achievements. Paul’s spiritual maturity and qualification as a leader is seen in his freedom to serve others because, resting in who he was in Christ as a servant called of God by grace, he was not seeking to protect a poor self-image or to impress men with his greatness (cf. 1 Cor. 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:1-6).

It’s all about balance, self identity, who am I, and why am I here. Talk about this topic with teens, young adults and college students; and not give empty rhetoric and blasé platitudes and you will pack out the house. Add to that have the meeting in a non-traditional place and wow, you will have people come that will never walk into a church. (until you show them it’s relevant.)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Roger D, and Jennifer, cataract surgery coming up soon, they’re both a little bit afraid.

Susanna B, against all advice from all her family, she went and had face surgery, (plastic) it went really wrong. The emotional damage done right now is epic.

 

THE GOSPEL OF MARKED

September 28, 2017

THE GOSPEL OF MARKED

That’s not a misprint, I’m just curious, what does your bible look like?

Is it covered in dust? Has it been broken in, taken for spin, is your name in it?

Have you marked any passages?

My great grandmother a very godly woman, her bible had some newspaper clippings, obits, and wedding announcements, the presentation page had her name on it only because her mother filled it out. But there was not a mark in that bible other than being extremely worn from her daily bible reading.

Some people have their bible color coded, symbols, underlines, 50 bookmarks.

Being a preacher I have so many different bibles, some look untouched, some are collectible, rare, previously owned and filled with notes. Bibles and hymnals, bookshelves full. My preaching bible since 1987 is gray and held together with duct tape, I’ve thought of having it rebound by Leonard’s Book Binding, but the bible has a certain feel.

One time I was visiting a church while on vacation and the pastor didn’t show up, no one knew where he was. A deacon yelled out “where’s that guy with the duct taped bible, you need to get up here and preach.”

I joke that if I lost my bible I’d lose my salvation; all my notes are there and a sermon or two. It represents years of ministry and counseling, failures and victories.

My regular study bible looks like it’s pregnant, I’ve glued so many extra pages throughout it to hold all my Greek or Hebrew notes, word studies, illustrations, it’s 4 times thicker that its original shape.

My pocket bible or hospital bible has paper clips and post it notes that I’ve cut up in into quarter inch strips with just an 1/8th of an inch sticking up or out to find special verses for funerals, counseling, weddings, baptisms, just to name a few.

We had people ask if it’s ok to mark up a bible because it says ‘Holy Bible’ on it. something that’s not as common on the spine of the bible like it used to be.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

1 Peter 2:9–12

What are distinguishing marks of the people of God which separate them from the world?

Do you realize that like your bible you are supposed to be marked?

Christians should be drastically different from the world. Christ taught the same thing in Matthew 5:13, he said you are the salt of the earth. You preserve the world from decay. You have tremendous value. He said you are the light of the world (v. 14). Among the people of the earth, there are a people who are radically different.

I think Christians are to be marked by their speech, we should sound different than anyone else.

The believer’s job as a priest is to learn the Bible, to never let it depart from their mouths, to talk about it at dinner, to talk about it at work. One of the reasons you have been chosen to be a priests is to be a teacher of the Word of God. Most of the world will never read the Bible, but they should see and hear the Bible coming out of your mouth all the time. God told Joshua, “Never let it depart from your mouth” (1:8). God told Israel the same thing.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6–9

In spite of the electronic age we live in, I still think the number one thing you can do to show people your different, marked, is to still carry a bible with you, to work, to school, especially to lunch. Will you get teased, mocked, made fun of, talked about behind your back, YES. That’s the whole point to show the world that our walk with God is not private, not just for home and church and in private.

You are a people on the earth whom God enjoys. You are his possession… If you truly understood this, if the eyes of your heart could really grasp this, it would deliver you from all your insecurities and fears. The world says you’re too short, too tall, not smart enough, not a great enough leader, not a great enough speaker, you don’t have enough money. No, you are perfect. You are perfect because you were created by God (cf. Psalm 139:13-14) and he can use even your weaknesses for his glory (cf. 2 Cor 12:9-10).

So, make your mark on your life, your world, your business, go ahead let someone call you a Jesus freak, what a compliment.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SPIRITUAL STEROIDS

September 27, 2017

  If [since] ye, then, be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).

  The growth truths seem complicated and difficult to understand on first encounter. However, with progress in grace we find them to be as clear and logical as the truth of justification. For both time and eternity, all is summed up in John 17:3: “And this is life eternal. . . [to] know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ.”

  “The marvel of divine grace is that not only has everything according to the heart of God been secured for me through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, but that I, a child of Adam, should be, not only in peace with God where I was under His judgment, but that I am transferred from Adam to Christ, and I am to have Christ formed in me now.

  “I am born of God—of new and divine origin—a new creation to be here on earth now where I was a child of Adam, in the grace and beauty of Christ, led by His own power to stand for Him; daily more and more transformed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (2 Cor. 3:18).”

“I used to study this passage and that passage to obtain guidance and light. I see now that if I were really near Him beholding His glory (2 Cor. 3:18), I should be transformed, this glory should come from His throne so impressed upon myself that with Jesus living in my heart that His interests would, as it were, naturally control me, guide me and the growth process would occur naturally in the normal course of me growing more Christ like.

  “When the heart has found its rest and satisfaction in Him, it can turn to Him naturally and continually in every circumstance.”

  “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).

God bless from scumlikuschurch@gmail.com

 

THE PRODIGAL CHILD

September 26, 2017

THE PRODIGAL CHILD

Kids are born naked and no instructional manual. I’m sure as parents we’ve all made mistakes and some of the stuff we’ve done as parents is borderline crazy.

Being a preacher and having you kids labeled PK’s (preacher’s kids) I was always amazed at the stories congregations would tell us about previous pastors and the behavior of their kids.

I had two kids, or I should say my wife had two kids, one was an angel and one was a demon. I kept telling my wife it was ok if she would admit the bad kid wasn’t mine, I’d actually feel better. This kid broke our hearts, I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I would go to bed and just weep over the things our one kid did.

As she got older the behavior got worse, as a pastor and marriage and family counselor I was extremely frustrated. What advice I gave to other parents that seemed to work had no effect on her.

Finally in a fit of desperation we arranged our clothes on the floor, my wife’s in the kitchen and mine in my study as though we’ve been “raptured” up and away. And then went and walked down to some neighbors.

We saw our daughter drive home from school and watched as we saw her pull in and go into the house. We waited 20 minutes and then walked in the house.

Well, like Paul Harvey, there is a rest of the story.

We walked in and she was on the phone, we thought she might be calling church folks to see who else might have got “caught up”. Nope, not our kid, she figured the rapture did happen and was calling her friends to come over for a party.

Tough nut to crack, hard row to hoe, whatever the phrase. In long talks to our daughter as an adult I’ve told her I would not have changed one single thing we did as parents. Now that she has had 3 kids and now has grandchildren the shoe is on the other foot. Grandkids are a great payback.

Let me end with this, you can be a good parent and still have a child wander off the reservation. We will trust the Lord until the day we die that she will invite the Lord into her heart and have a good relation with him, whether that includes us or not isn’t as important as that.

I sleep fine at night knowing that God is more concerned, caring and compassionate than I can be and He can do more to influence her life than I can.

So today I have one prayer request, pray for parents that have adult children that are not living a biblical lifestyle, that God will bring people into their lives that can reach out to them and guide them and trust that the Holy Spirit is very active in their lives.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

step up your game

September 25, 2017

These are all quotes about prayer, I just finished a great book on prayer, you can find it free online, written in the late 60’s I think, by Levi Strauss, “Sense and Nonsense about prayer”, 138 pages you can read in about an hour or so, his comments and illustrations is what makes this a fun book to read and hopefully encourage you to step up your prayer life.

Also, Saturday, September 23 Ravi Zechariahs opened his part one series about prayer with the first quote here, I encourage you to listen to the broadcast.

We all are up and down and all around on prayer, we are either prayer warriors or garden gnomes and then somewhere in between. The best part of Strauss’s book it will at least keep you from praying wrong, stupidly or even just wasting your time. Besides bible reading there is nothing more important than bible reading. Bible reading comes first, you can’t pray correctly or effectively without reading your bible.

So I hope the following quotes will inspire you and Strauss’s book will guide you.

A person that reads and prays  frequently will stand out in any group by not standing out, humble, quiet, caring and thoughtful are those that have found the pathway to intimacy in God, questions, doubts and fears all disappear to the obedient of these disciplines. For no other reason than should you neglect such a blessing.

The potency of prayer hath subdued the strength of fire; it had bridled the rage of lions, hushed the anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. Prayer is an all-efficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a mine which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by clouds, a heaven unruffled by the storm. It is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings. – Chrysostom

The prayers of holy men appease God’s wrath, drive away temptations, resist and overcome the devil, procure the ministry and service of angels, rescind the decrees of God. Prayer cures sickness and obtains pardon; it arrests the sun in its course and stays the wheels of the chariot of the moon; it rules over all gods and opens and shuts the storehouses of rain, it unlocks the cabinet of the womb and quenches the violence of fire; it stops the mouths of lions and reconciles our suffering and weak faculties with the violence of torment and violence of persecution; it pleases God and supplies all our need. — Jeremy Taylor

More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of. wherefore,

let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats,

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friend? For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God. — Tennyson

Perfect prayer is only another name for love. — Fenelon

It was said of the late C. H. Spurgeon, that he glided from laughter to prayer with the naturalness of one who lived in both elements. With him the habit of prayer was free and unfettered. His life was not divided into compartments, the one shut off from the other with a rigid exclusiveness that barred all intercommunication. He lived in constant fellowship with his Father in Heaven. He was ever in touch with God, and thus it was as natural for him to pray as it was for him to breathe.

“What a fine time we have had; let us thank God for it,” he said to a friend on one occasion, when, out under the blue sky and wrapped in glorious sunshine, they had enjoyed a holiday with the unfettered enthusiasm of schoolboys. Prayer sprang as spontaneously to his lips as did ordinary speech, and never was there the slightest incongruity in his approach to the Divine throne straight from any scene in which he might be taking part.

That is the attitude with regard to prayer that ought to mark every child of God. There are, and there ought to be, stated seasons of communication with God when, everything else shut out, we come into His presence to talk to Him and to let Him speak to us; and out of such seasons springs that beautiful habit of prayer that weaves a golden bond between earth and heaven. Without such stated seasons the habit of prayer can never be formed; without them there is no nourishment for the spiritual life. By means of them the soul is lifted into a new atmosphere — the atmosphere of the heavenly city, in which it is easy to open the heart to God and to speak with Him as friend speaks with friend.

Thus, in every circumstance of life, prayer is the most natural out-pouring of the soul, the unhindered turning to God for communion and direction. Whether in sorrow or in joy, in defeat or in victory, in health or in weakness, in calamity or in success, the heart leaps to meet with God just as a child runs to his mother’s arms, ever sure that with her is the sympathy that meets every need.

Dr. Adam Clarke, in his autobiography, records that when Mr. Wesley was returning to England by ship, considerable delay was caused by contrary winds. Wesley was reading, when he became aware of some confusion on board, and asking what was the matter, he was informed that the wind was contrary. “Then,” was his reply, “let us go to prayer.”

After Dr. Clarke had prayed, Wesley broke out into fervent supplication which seemed to be more the offering of faith than of mere desire. “Almighty and everlasting God,” he prayed. “Thou hast sway everywhere, and all things serve the purpose of Thy will, Thou holdest the winds in Thy fists and sittest upon the water floods, and reignest a King for ever. Command these winds and these waves that they obey Thee, and take us speedily and safely to the haven whither we would go.”

The power of this petition was felt by all. Wesley rose from his knees, made no remark, but took up his book and continued reading. Dr. Clarke went on deck, and to his surprise found the vessel under sail, standing on her right course. Nor did she change till she was safely at anchor. On the sudden and favourable change of wind, Wesley made no remark; so fully did he expect to be heard that he took it for granted that he was heard.

That was prayer with a purpose — the definite and direct utterance of one who knew that he had the ear of God, and that God had the willingness as well as the power to grant the petition which he asked of Him.

Major D. W. Whittle, in an introduction to the wonders of prayer, says of George Muller, of Bristol: “I met Mr. Muller in the express, the morning of our sailing from Quebec to Liverpool. About half-an-hour before the tender was to take the passengers to the ship, he asked of the agent if a deck chair had arrived for him from New York. He was answered, “No,” and told that it could not possibly come in time for the steamer. I had with me a chair I had just purchased, and told Mr. Muller of the place nearby, and suggested, as but a few moments remained, that he had better buy one at once. His reply was, “No, my brother. Our Heavenly Father will send the chair from New York. It is one used by Mrs. Muller. I wrote ten days ago to a brother, who promised to see it forwarded here last week. He has not been prompt, as I would have desired, but I am sure our Heavenly Father will send the chair. Mrs. Muller is very sick on the sea, and has particularly desired to have this same chair, and not finding it here yesterday, we have made special prayer that our Heavenly Father would be pleased to provide it for us, and we will trust Him to do so.” As this dear man of God went peacefully on board, running the risk of Mrs. Muller making the trip without a chair, when, for a couple of dollars, she could have been provided for, I confess I feared Mr. Muller was carrying his faith principles too far and not acting wisely. I was kept at the express office ten minutes after Mr. Muller left. Just as I started to hurry to the wharf, a team drove up the street, and on top of a load just arrived front New York was Mr. Muller’s chair. It was sent at once to the tender and placed in my hands to take to Mr. Muller, just as the boat was leaving the dock (the Lord having a lesson for me). Mr. Muller took it with the happy, pleased expression of a child who has just received a kindness deeply appreciated, and reverently removing his hat and folding his hands over it, he thanked the Heavenly Father for sending the chair.”

One of Melancthon’s correspondents writes of Luther’s praying: “I cannot enough admire the extraordinary, cheerfulness, constancy, faith and hope of the man in these trying and vexatious times. He constantly feeds these gracious affections by a very diligent study of the Word of God. Then not a day passes in which he does not employ in prayer at least three of his very best hours. Once I happened to hear him at prayer. Gracious God! What spirit and what faith is there in his expressions! He petitions God with as much reverence as if he was in the divine presence, and yet with as firm a hope and confidence as he would address a father or a friend. “I know,” said he, “Thou art our Father and our God; and therefore I am sure Thou wilt bring to naught the persecutors of Thy children. For shouldest Thou fail to do this Thine own cause, being connected with ours, would be endangered. It is entirely thine own concern. We, by Thy providence, have been compelled to take a part. Thou therefore wilt be our defence.” Whilst I was listening to Luther praying in this manner, at a distance, my soul seemed on fire within me, to hear the man address God so like a friend, yet with so much gravity and reverence; and also to hear him, in the course of his prayer, insisting on the promises contained in the Psalms, as if he were sure his petitions would be granted.”

Of William Bramwell, a noted Methodist preacher in England, wonderful for his zeal and prayer, the following is related by a sergeant major. “In July, 1811, our regiment was ordered for Spain, then the seat of a protracted and sanguinary war. My mind was painfully exercised with the thoughts of leaving my dear wife and four helpless children in a strange country, unprotected and unprovided for. Mr. Bramwell felt a lively interest in our situation, and his sympathising spirit seemed to drink in all the agonised feelings of my tender wife. He supplicated the throne of grace day and night in our behalf. My wife and I spent the evening previous to our march at a friend’s house, in company with Mr. Bramwell, who sat in a very pensive mood, and appeared to be in a spiritual struggle all the time. After supper, he suddenly pulled his hand out of his bosom, laid it on my knee, and said: “Brother Riley, mark what I am about to say! You are not to go to Spain. Remember what I tell you, you are not; for I have been wrestling with God on your behalf, and when my Heavenly Father condescends in mercy to bless me with power to lay hold on Himself, I do not easily let Him go; no, not until I am favoured with an answer. Therefore you may depend upon it that the next time I hear from you, you will be settled in quarters.” This came to pass exactly as he said. The next day the order for going to Spain was countermanded.”

These men prayed with a purpose. To them God was not far away, in some inaccessible region, but near at hand, ever ready to listen to the call of His children. There was no barrier between. They were on terms of perfect intimacy, if one may use such a phrase in relation to man and his Maker. No cloud obscured the face of the Father from His trusting child, who could look up into the Divine countenance and pour out the longings of his heart. And that is the type of prayer which God never fails to hear. He knows that it comes from a heart at one with His own; from one who is entirely yielded to the heavenly plan, and so He bends His ear and gives to the pleading child the assurance that his petition has been heard and answered.

Have we not all had some such experience when with set and undeviating purpose we have approached the face of our Father? In an agony of soul we have sought refuge from the oppression of the world in the anteroom of heaven; the waves of despair seemed to threaten destruction, and as no way of escape was visible anywhere, we fell back, like the disciples of old, upon the power of our Lord, crying to Him to save us lest we perish. And then in the twinkling of an eye, the thing was done. The billows sank into a calm; the howling wind died down at the Divine command; the agony of the soul passed into a restful peace as over the whole being there crept the consciousness of the Divine presence, bringing with it the assurance of answered prayer and sweet deliverance.

“I tell the Lord my troubles and difficulties, and wait for Him to give me the answers to them,” says one man of God. “And it is wonderful how a matter that looked very dark will in prayer become clear as crystal by the help of God’s Spirit. I think Christians fail so often to get answers to their prayers because they do not wait long enough on God. They just drop down and say a few words, and then jump up and forget it and expect God to answer them. Such praying always reminds me of the small boy ringing his neighbour’s door-bell, and then running away as fast as he can go.”

When we acquire the habit of prayer we enter into a new atmosphere. “Do you expect to go to heaven?” asked someone of a devout Scotsman. “Why, man, I live there,” was the quaint and unexpected reply. It was a pithy statement of a great truth, for all the way to heaven is heaven begun to the Christian who walks near enough to God to hear the secrets He has to impart.

This attitude is beautifully illustrated in a story of Horace Bushnell, told by Dr. Parkes Cadman. Bushnell was found to be suffering from an incurable disease. One evening the Rev. Joseph Twichell visited him, and, as they sat together under the starry sky, Bushnell said: “One of us ought to pray.” Twichell asked Bushnell to do so, and Bushnell began his prayer; burying his face in the earth, he poured out his heart until, said Twichell, in recalling the incident, “I was afraid to stretch out my hand in the darkness lest I should touch God.”

To have God thus near is to enter the holy of holies — to breathe the fragrance of the heavenly air, to walk in Eden’s delightful gardens. Nothing but prayer can bring God and man into this happy communion. That was the experience of Samuel Rutherford, just as it is the experience of every one who passes through the same gateway. When this saint of God was confined in jail at one time for conscience sake, he enjoyed in a rare degree the Divine companionship, recording in his diary that Jesus entered his cell, and that at His coming “every stone flashed like a ruby.”

Many others have borne witness to the same sweet fellowship, when prayer had become the one habit of life that meant more than anything else to them. David Livingstone lived in the realm of prayer and knew its gracious influence. It was his habit every birthday to write a prayer, and on the next to the last birthday of all, this was his prayer: “O Divine one, I have not loved Thee earnestly, deeply, sincerely enough. Grant, I pray Thee, that before this year is ended I may have finished my task.” It was just on the threshold of the year that followed that his faithful men, as they looked into the hut of Ilala, while the rain dripped from the eaves, saw their master on his knees beside his bed in an attitude of prayer. He had died on his knees in prayer.

Stonewall Jackson was a man of prayer. Said he: “I have so fixed the habit in my mind that I never raise a glass of water to my lips without asking God’s blessing, never seal a letter without putting a word of prayer under the seal, never take a letter from the post without a brief sending of my thoughts heavenward, never change my classes in the lecture-room without a — minute’s petition for the cadets who go out and for those who come in.”

James Gilmour, the pioneer missionary to Mongolia, was a man of prayer. He had a habit in his writing of never using a blotter. He made a rule when he got to the bottom of any page to wait until the ink dried and spend the time in prayer.

In this way their whole being was saturated with the Divine, and they became the reflection of the heavenly fragrance and glory. Walking with God down the avenues of prayer we acquire something of His likeness, and unconsciously we become witnesses to others of His beauty and His grace. Professor James, in his famous work, “Varieties of Religious Experience,” tells of a man of forty-nine who said: “God is more real to me than any thought or thing or person. I feel His presence positively, and the more as I live in closer harmony with His laws as written in my body and mind. I feel Him in the sunshine or rain; and all mingled with a delicious restfulness most nearly describes my feelings. I talk to Him as to a companion in prayer and praise, and our communion is delightful. He answers me again and again, often in words so clearly spoken that it seems my outer ear must have carried the tone, but generally in strong mental impressions. Usually a text of Scripture, unfolding some new view of Him and His love for me, and care for my safety … That He is mine and I am His never leaves me; it is an abiding joy. Without it life would be a blank, a desert, a shoreless, trackless waste.”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

THE GRAND PARADOX

September 24, 2017

  “You were set free from the tyranny of Sin, and became the bondservants of Righteousness” (Rom. 6:18.).

  The principle underlying resurrection life is, of all things, death. “For since we have become one with Him by sharing in His death, we shall also be one with Him by sharing in His resurrection. Surrender your very selves to God as living men who have risen from the dead” (Rom. 6:5, 13). Let the facts of your position overwhelm the feelings of your condition.

  “By exercising faith in the Word, apart from any feelings, be ‘planted together with Him in the likeness of His death’ (Rom. 6:5). Only by thus standing in your position will you begin to experience ‘the likeness of His resurrection.’ Reckon on your life-union with Him. Reject the old life on the basis of your death in Christ on the Cross, and count yourself alive in Him until He makes experiential your resurrection position. Do not forget that you must stand firmly upon the specific truths: ‘dead indeed unto sin—alive unto God in Christ Jesus’ (Rom. 6:11).

The sharing of His life is our blessed experience just in the measure in which we share His death. So many of us are content merely that the Cross should be the power to save us from the penalty of sin, but death was not the end of the manifestation of Christ. It was resurrection, and it is the risen life, shining forth in the believer, that alone can carry out the purpose of God in redemption. The believer, in whose daily attitude the mark of resurrection is seen, becomes what the world is looking for, a convincing witness to the power of the Living Redeemer.

  “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Phil. 3:10).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Paul C, he’s kinda of gone off the reservation since his wife died and we are praying he’ll get back to being accountable and checking in and get back to church and godly living.

 

hope monkey junkie

September 23, 2017

Lyrics by Aldo Nova – Monkey On Your Back

“let me tell you a story about two kids in the city

 see they both have a problem with life and it isn’t very pretty

there’s a kid called timmy he used to be pretty witty but then too many rides on the horse got him hooked and it’s a pity

 cause now he’s got a monkey he’s got a monkey can’t fight it monkey on his back he can’t deny it monkey he found a dragon that bites a hole in his arm at night where all the monney goes monkey,monkey on his back monkey,monkey on his back a dirty monkey

well there’s a girl called sally she walks the streets in the city she works down on the corner every night gives her money up to willy

you see her man’s big willy and when he met her she was pretty but he gave her a habit that she didn’t want now that’s a pity cause now she’s got a monkey….”

 Aldo Nova – Monkey On Your Back (not an endorsement of this band)

THE HOPE MONKEY JUNKIE

Two small words. When heard on the battlefield, in the hospital waiting room, or in our darkest thoughts, they bring despair. Two words that carry such anguish that no one can withstand their power. What, then, are these two unbearable words?

“No hope.”

Proverbs 18:14 tells us, “The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but a broken spirit who can bear?” A broken spirit is a spirit without hope. The loss of hope is a terrible thing. Without hope, life’s troubles bring discouragement, depression, despair, and even death. We can bear the doctor’s frightful diagnosis with hope for a cure. We can endure the separation from a loved one with hope for a reunion. We can endure certain death with the hope of eternal life and infinite joy in the presence of God forever. But where no hope exists—we are undone.

There are those that have hope taken from them so often the thought of having hope scares them, for fear it will be stolen from them again. So they fight ‘the hope monkey’ it scares the crap out them. They live lives of quiet desperation, hoping to fly below the radar at church, work, even home. They had hope at one time, but that hope was based on something or someone fallible, transient, gone, died of cancer, aids, suicide, walked out the door, left them. They now feel betrayed because they lost hope and rather than hope again they throw off the hope monkey every time it comes around.

So now it’s one-night stands, or bar flys, no commitments, it’s just sex. Not sure I even caught your name, get thee behind me hope monkey. I won’t be hurt again.

Problem is the hope monkey junkies think it’s their fault, if only I had been richer, faster, taller, more pretty, spoke better, chose better, had better, lived better, been in the moment, not taken for granted, stopped at the red light, didn’t drink that beer. Been a better mother, father, son, sister brother, pal, hope monkey get off my back.

So with lowered expectations they are constant victims of no hope, they live in hopelessville, and have nothing but bad dreams, it’s like PTSD without shooting someone. They can’t tell you the last time they slept well or didn’t cry without provocation. Over eat, under eat, behavior disorders, gambling, acting out. Hope monkey junkies always sing the blues.

But the hope monkey junkie can kill the monkey.

As believers, we can easily fall prey to discouragement in a world of bad news and blasphemy of the excellence of Christ and the Gospel. But, despite our difficulties and bouts of gloom, we can’t afford to neglect Scripture, prayer, worship, fellowship, and ministry to others, because hope grows by an active love and pursuit of God in these things. Like faith and assurance, hope must be cultivated: “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end” (Hebrews 6:11). Perseverance and Bible study strengthen hope, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

We know for certain He will work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). This has to be more than a cliché, it has to be a core believe, a foundation of true thought and belief and practice. In the midst of the most hopeless moment, that verse has to live in your heart, on your lips and in your brain. Write it on the wall, tape it to the dashboard, write it in shower.

As believers, we often have uncertain and certain hope at the same time. For instance, we may pray and hope for deliverance from a present trouble and not know if, when, or how God will answer our prayer (uncertain hope), while knowing He will ultimately deliver us and that our eternal destiny remains secure in Christ (certain hope). “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Uncertain hope involves the “secret things,” while our sure hope rests on the “things revealed.”

“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5: 1-5).

“A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength” (Psalm 33:17). Hope can be uncertain when it stands on something or someone that may not be able or willing to fulfill it. And hope is sure when it rests in something or someone absolutely able and willing to fulfill it (Christian hope). Like faith, the object of our hope is Christ: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1).

There are Christian hope monkey junkies as well as non-believers. Every life is fraught with pitfalls, more rainy days than sunshine. Mental illness can hit anyone. Death robs us of loved ones, jobs are lost, relations falter, faith wanes. Doubt creeps in, and for some it’s better to manage a level of pain, like cutting yourself, I’m in control.

But I’m here to tell you that the hope monkey can be nailed to the Cross. There is one body piercing that saves your life. Christ on the Cross killed the monkey. And brought us all to a living hope.

Bury the hope monkey, live free in Christ.

You have to choose a different lifestyle, say goodbyes to the pills, booze, sex, fights, debt, overspending, binging on donuts, secret stashes of food, secret lifestyles, double lives, risk taking, being a live hand grenade, this isn’t the complete list, so don’t think if I left you out you’ve escaped notice.

Kill the hope monkey junkie syndrome!!

By having a living hope!!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16). “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you, who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:20-21).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Comments, questions, prayer requests to the email address please.

crown of thorns

go ahead laugh

September 22, 2017

4 R UMAX     PL-II            V1.4 [5]MOUNTAIN LIONS, COYOTES AND SCORPIONS, OH MY!

THE BIBLE SAYS A MERRY HEART DOES ONE GOOD, SO HERE WE GO.

So I live in South Texas, in the middle of nowhere. We have an occasional mountain lion go through, scorpions everywhere, bobcats, coyotes (4 legged), one pit viper (now dead) thanks to my Bond Derringer with 7.5 shot. Javelinas, Russian Boar hogs, you get my point.

So our garage is attached to the house and during the summer we leave all the doors open so the dogs can come and go and get out of the heat.

So it’s not unusual to see the dogs starring at their food bowls and not eating, usually it means a tarantula is in the bowl. Not a big deal. We will be sitting in the house and see a tarantula going across the picture window or sitting on the picnic table. Go out at night with dogs and the spotlight will show the holes in the ground and you guessed what pops out, tarantula.

So I’m at the carwash driving through, kinda of day dreaming and I look up at the rearview mirror and there just behind my head on the rear driver’s side window a big ol’ tarantula.

Not thinking tactically, I jump out of the car and run right into a giant red vertical, twirling brush, soap everywhere, water everywhere and for some dumb reason instead of moving out of the way I tackle that brush just like in football practice and bang, everything stops, sirens start blowing, I’m drenched, out runs the gas station attendant. And of course he wants to know what in the world am I doing.

So explain about the tarantula, I drive my car out of the carwash and open the rear driver side door to find the tarantula, there ain’t one, just the giant brown embroidered flower on my wife’s sweater on the hanger. Ok, you had to be there in the dark, with sunglasses on and limo tinted windows to get the affect. Still not my greatest moment of poise under fire.

Oh, I did get a free car wash.

And thank the Lord for bug out bags, changed my clothes and went on my more humble way.

Roger, out. .

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

NOW

September 21, 2017

hand sign

The Bible mentions many people whose obedience to God came from their faith and love for him (see Heb 11). For example, Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice (see Ge 6:4); Abraham left Ur at God’s direction, not knowing his destination (Ge 6:8); and Moses refused the privileges of being called Pharaoh’s son, choosing rather to identify with Israel, God’s people (see Ge 6:24–25). In each case their faith motivated their action.

 One of the most astounding exemplars of faith in action was Noah. God tells Noah to build an ark and stock it with animals, and “Noah did everything just as God commanded him” (Ge 6:22). Noah provides an example not only of obedience but of immediate obedience.

 Here are five ways to begin practicing immediate obedience in your own life:

  1. Fill your heart with love for Christ—Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commands” (Jn 14:15). Our love for Christ is our motivation for obedience. Reflect on your love for Jesus to motivate you to want to undertake acts of immediate obedience.

  1. Commit to immediate obedience—Make a commitment today that you will obey God immediately in whatever he requires. Ask the Lord to give you the strength necessary to act without hesitation.

  1. Look for commands to obey—During your daily Bible reading, make a list of the commands applicable to all believers. Not sure which commands are meant for you? Start with the most obvious, such as the command of Jesus to forgive others (see Mt 6:14–15).

  1. Look for ways to obey—After identifying a command, think of ways you can apply it within the next 24 hours. If a command seems difficult to implement, consider whether you are facing a genuine obstacle to timely obedience (e.g., you won’t be able to help a widow or orphan today) or are merely looking for an excuse to disobey.

  1. Look for unique opportunities—If in your daily Scripture reading you come across a specific command, be watchful for unique circumstances God might provide for you to obey. Have a plan for obedience, but be open, ready and willing to obey in whatever ways God provides.

Praise report, Calvin is doing great, his eye has been saved, the tear duct repaired and he says thanks.

Pray for Gavin, he hasn’t been feeling well and things are strapped financially and his wife said; “surprise I’m pregnant.” His response wasn’t ecstatic enough and then the fight started. Plenty there to pray for.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com