Ok this is 10 pages, I would print it out.

The Jesus Narrative part two

Just before He ascended to heaven, Jesus told his disciples, Go and make disciples of all nations. We know that this is a command for all Christians in each successive generation. Yet I think most of us feel guilty because we hardly ever tell anyone about the greatest gift in the world (salvation through Jesus Christ). But usually our problem is to know how do to do it.

One of the ways is through Friendship Evangelism. The premise is that as we try to win people to Jesus Christ, we must attempt first to become their friends, talk to them, listen to them, invite them to our homes, go places with them, show them love, help them in their need. Then when they see that we really are different, they will want what we have and we can share Christ with them.

We are learning that Jesus Christ was God living here in a human body, fully God and fully man. He revealed the invisible God, our heavenly Father to us in His words, attitudes and actions. He told his disciples He wanted them to be His friends and He showed what true friendship looked like.

Since He is now in heaven, He has given us the responsibility to reveal God, our heavenly Father, through our lives so that others may be born into His family, and He modeled for us in His many relationships how to be a true friend to others.

As we work through our lesson today we will discover principles He modeled that still work in being a true friend.

Jesus’ ministry had begun in earnest and it was attracting attention. He had gone to Jerusalem for the Passover and the religious leaders were beginning to ask questions about him. In order to avoid a direct clash with them at this time He started back to Galilee.

John 4:4-6

He did not have to go through Samaria. This was a deliberate choice other Jews never made. They hated the Samaritans, they considered them to be racial and religious half breeds. So they went around two longer routes to avoid them. But Jesus went through Samaria because there was someone He had to see there.

TO MAKE FRIENDS, GIVE PRIORITY TO PEOPLE AND BE AVAILABLE

I think we often give priority to activities, schedules and programs. But people must come first.

They arrived at the little village of Sychar about noontime. The road ran through a valley and the town was up on a hill. The well that Jacob had dug 2000 years before was still supplying water. The disciples went into the town to buy food, but Jesus sat alone by the well. He was tired, hungry, and thirsty, a clear indication of his humanity.

John 4:7-9

Imagine this woman’s surprise when a Jewish man spoke to her and asked her for a drink. Jesus did something we can learn from.

USE A COMMON POINT OF INTEREST OR CONTACT

They were both at the well needing water. She had a jar, He did not. He asked a favor of her, put himself in a position of need. This is not usually our approach, is it? What was even more unusual was that Jews would not use the same utensils as a Samaritan, because they considered them unclean, but this man wanted to use her waterpot. Not only that but a Rabbi never spoke to a woman in public, not even his own wife and he certainly never would have spoken to a Samaritan woman. But man made rules never controlled Jesus. This woman had a heart’s need and He knew he could meet it. There is a lesson for us here.

DO NOT DISCRIMINATE BECAUSE OF RACE, GENDER, RELIGION OR SOCIAL CLASS

Do we let social, racial or religious barriers keep us from befriending people who need to know the Lord Jesus and who could enrich our lives and broaden our understanding of the love of God for all people.

John 4:10

If you knew the gift of God and WHO it is… (NIV)

Now Jesus began to reveal who He was to her.

REVEAL YOURSELF GRADUALLY

We cannot make true friendships when we always wear a mask to protect ourselves and hide our real self. I know we can do this from fear of rejection. But people want to know the real you. We must be authentic and vulnerable. Sure, there is a risk involved. On the other hand, we do not want to dump the whole truck load at our first encounter. It is wise to reveal ourselves gradually depending on the person’s response, just as Jesus did.

He constantly exposed himself to rejection, but He never let rejection change His confidence or His worth.

You see, this woman had to trust Him before she could receive His gift. And people have to trust us before they will trust the Savior we say we believe in. Notice how He stimulated her curiosity. What was the gift? Who was He? What was living water?

John 4:11-14

Living water to her meant a fresh spring in contrast to a pool or cistern. Her answer shows that they were on different wave lengths. She was literal. He used terms that had deep spiritual significance. But he was not discouraged by her cluelessness. Living water was used symbolically in the O.T. to refer to God.

Jer. 2:13 (NIV) My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Many references in the Bible to water do not mean H2O, but refer to the Word of God or salvation. Just as we cannot live physically without H2O, we cannot live spiritually without God, who is the Source of living water. Jesus wanted to satisfy the thirst of her soul. That thirst we were all born with.

GOD BUILT A THIRST WITHIN US TO DRIVE US TO HIMSELF.

But instead we spend our time and energy drinking water from the world’s broken cisterns and wonder why we are still thirsty. Wealth, beauty, art, education, power, pleasure, career, even marriage –all are finally meaningless in the effort to find the essential values of life, to find personal fulfillment, to quench our thirst. Nothing material or earthly can satisfy the thirst of our spirits. Jesus claims to give one drink that will satisfy our heart’s thirst forever. To drink is another way of saying, “to believe.”

Later on Jesus made clear how that thirst for God would be satisfied.

John 7:37-38

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S INDWELLING PRESENCE SATISFIES OUR THIRST FOR GOD

Here Jesus identifies living water with the Holy Spirit who indwells each person the moment that we put our faith in Christ. In the O.T. the Spirit came upon people to enable them to accomplish specific tasks, then He could leave. But now He lives permanently in each one of us who belong to Jesus. That is why we will not be thirsty for God again.

Many of us, even believers spend our lives expecting another human being to satisfy that thirst –a husband, either present or future, a parent, a child, a friend. No human being, no matter how wonderful can fill the place meant only for God. There are needs people can meet, and there are needs only God can meet and we should know the difference. This will save us from unrealistic expectations and constant disappointment.

John 4:15

The woman was interested. She was entirely literal. She had a wrong understanding and wrong motives. Cannot you hear her thinking: Would not it be wonderful to never have to come to the well again, never to run the risk of woman gossiping about her. What a deal. But Jesus did not lose patience with her.

ACCEPT PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE. DO NOT JUDGE BY EXTERNALS

We must show that we are interested in them, accepting them without demanding that they change first. This is hard to do, but if we are going to tell them that God loves them, it might be a good idea to let God demonstrate that love through us from the start.

Now Jesus abruptly seemed to change the subject.

John 4:16-18

Jesus knew all about her before he met her. (Omniscience) He accepted her just as she was. This does not mean he approved of her life style. She was either widowed or divorced 5 times. Only men could initiate divorce. Can you imagine what her self image was. The only man that would stay with her was one who would not marry her. Jesus just stated the facts, but He teaches us something important here.

DO NOT ASK SOMEONE TO TRUST CHRIST UNLESS THEY KNOW THAT THEY ARE A SINNER.

The first step towards recognition of a need for salvation is for a person to acknowledge that she is a sinner. Each of us was born a sinner. That is why we sin.

Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (Ps. 51:5, NIV)

The sins we commit are just the evidence that we have a sinful nature. We all need forgiveness and Jesus is the only One who can give it. Many times human pride will keep us from admitting our sin. That is why this is important.

John 4:19-20

Now she sidetracked him into a religious discussion. This will often happen when we try to share our faith.

E.g. If Jesus is the only way, what about the heathen who never heard? Why would a good God let such evil happen?

We can try to answer those questions if they are answerable, but do not let them get us off point.

John 4:21-24

DO NOT COMPROMISE THE TRUTH TO WIN FAVOR.

Jesus was very honest with her. Notice how He used her detour to enlighten her further. He revealed something about God that is nowhere else stated so clearly in the NT.

A time is coming and now has come… (NIV)

His own death and resurrection would bring in a new access to God.

  1. The worship of God would no longer be located in a certain place, like the temple in Jerusalem.

  1. Samaritans worshiped ignorantly. They had a corrupt mixture of Jewish and pagan religions. He did not use soft soap to win her favor.

  1. Salvation is from the Jews. All the O.T. promises about a Savior coming from the Jewish people were true. Jesus in His humanity was descended from Abraham, the father of the Jews.

  1. God is Spirit and seeks people who worship Him in spirit and in truth. Worship would not be in man made temples or churches, but in the inner sanctuaries of people’s hearts. God would not be the exclusive property of one race or one denomination. He fills the universe and is everywhere present. But He is also our heavenly Father.

In this exchange Jesus introduces a dimension to friendship we cannot ignore.

TRUE FRIENDSHIP NURTURES THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

All friendships for believers must have a spiritual aspect, either for evangelism or for encouraging and building others up. Friendships will not be deep and intimate that do not nurture the spirit as well.

John 4:25

Well, she did not know a lot, but this was one thing she did know. Samaritans expected a Prophet like Moses to come. Since they did not accept anything but the first 5 books of the O.T. as their scriptures, they did not know the other prophecies about Messiah. They just looked for this Messiah to be a teacher who would explain everything.

John 4:26

This is total self revelation. This the only time before His trial that Jesus stated this so clearly. He revealed His identity to this immoral Samaritan woman, not to the religious leaders or even to His own disciples. This was remarkable in a day when the rabbis taught that to teach a woman spiritual truth was like teaching a dog; that it was better to burn the Scriptures than to teach a woman. But He also models something very important.

BE WILLING TO RISK REJECTION

He had offered Himself to her as the One who could satisfy her soul’s thirst, the Messiah. What would her response be?

She had two choices: faith or rejection. Those are really the only two options anyone has and as we befriend people and witness for Christ, we must make this clear. There is no safe fence to sit on.

But do you realize that we who have trusted Him already must make the same choice daily?

Do we believe or reject Him when He promises to guide us concerning our future?

Do we believe or reject him when He says that suffering is a major instrument used by God to build into us the character of Jesus Christ?

Do we believe or reject him when He says He unconditionally loves us and will meet our every need?

Do we believe or reject Him when He warns us that the love of money is the root of every kind of evil?

Do we believe or reject Him when He tells us that knowing, memorizing and obeying his word will keep us from sin?

Do we believe or reject Him when He says that no one comes to the Father except through him?

What would this woman’s response be: Faith or rejection?

John 4:27-30

The disciples attitude towards women reflected that of the culture, but Jesus never obeyed the traditions of men that violated God’s value system and they did not dare to question him.

The woman was so excited about her encounter with him that she just left her waterpot and hurried back into the town. Notice what was most impressive to her about their conversation.

“He told me everything I ever did.”

TELL YOUR FRIEND WHAT JESUS HAS DONE FOR YOU

All any of us have to really share is what Jesus Christ has done for us personally. That is why it is so essential to keep growing in our experience with him and in our knowledge of His Word so that we have something fresh to share with others. We cannot give others water from a dry well.

This could not be the Messiah, could it?

It is interesting to see how her perception of Jesus had progressed as He gradually revealed himself. He went from being a man by the well to a Jew to a prophet to the Messiah.

CULTIVATE THE RELATIONSHIP BY INCREASING SELF-REVELATION

Friendships and love grow as we reveal ourselves, accept and trust each other and challenge each other. Friendships are pretty sterile if all you do is talk about surface stuff. We all need friends who know who we really are and love us anyway.

John 4:39-41

Look at the impact this immoral woman had on her community. The disciples had gone into the town and only brought back bread. She went in and brought back the town. She was someone none of us would want to represent us. But Jesus was not ashamed to be identified with her.

Jesus stayed with these Samaritans for 2 more days at their request. What did he teach them in those 2 days? Their conclusion is revealing.

John 4:42

This man really is the Savior of the world. (NIV)

Jesus had given them a world view. Not just the provincial idea that the Jews had that the Messiah would deliver Israel from Roman rule. The world needs a greater deliverance than that from political or economic oppression. The world needs deliverance from sin. Maybe Jesus even told them He would die for the sins of the world and rise again from the dead and they believed in Him. But how did it all start?

It started with Jesus truly reaching out in friendship to this outcast woman. He initiated the contact. He revealed himself to her because she needed what He had to offer, and He accepted her as she was. He did not compromise the truth to win her favor. She believed him and he quenched her thirst for a secure relationship with a Person, a heavenly Father who would love her unconditionally forever. And her witness to her townspeople resulted in their conversion as well.

Now I would like to go back to the conversation Jesus had with His disciples while she was telling the good news back in town.

John 4:31-34

The disciples were as literal in their understanding as the woman was. Jesus spoke of the complete satisfaction that comes from doing what God wants us to do. Many of you know the unparalleled joy it is to see a person trust the Savior because of your efforts.

Now as they were gathered by the well, Jesus turned their attention to the town on the hill. A stream of people was already coming down. This was the harvest ready to be gathered in.

TRUE FRIENDS SHARE JESUS CHRIST WITH OTHERS

He tells us here, as he told them, that we all are to be working at gathering in a crop for eternal life. That means we are to be involved in evangelism. One will sow the seed, another water it, another cultivate it and another reap it. But we will all rejoice together. All around us are fields of people ripe for harvest. But we must gather them in. We must learn how to make friends, and be a true friend to them just as Jesus was. Remember, He was called the Friend of sinners.

What does Jesus reveal to us about God, our heavenly Father?

Our heavenly Father is a seeking God. He initiates relationships

He knew all about her life. He is omniscient

Our heavenly Father is Spirit, He fills the universe (omnipresent),

He values women as much as He does men. He cares for us individually

He is patient with our ignorance and blindness.

He leads us gently into light.

He makes us confront our sins not to condemn but to deliver us.

Our Father loves us and proved it by sending his Son to be the Savior of the world

Our heavenly Father wants our worship to be in spirit and truth.

He wants to use us to bring others into his family.

He wants to be our Friend as well as our Father.

Jesus said,

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13, NIV)

That is exactly what he did when He died on the cross and rose from the dead.

He also said,

You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:14, NIV)

If sharing your faith is difficult for you, tell your heavenly Father that you want to be obedient, but you need His help. He will show you how to approach a person and what to say.

Let us be true friends to others and introduce them to the greatest Friend of all, our Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the only reason

March 30, 2018

  “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace” (John 16:33).

  Great will be the day when you come to realize that the sole reason for the existence of your Bible, your soul and your spirit is to glorify—and share—the Lord Jesus Christ.

  “The moment we begin to rest our peace on anything in ourselves, we lose it. And this is why so many saints have not settled peace. Nothing can be lasting that is not built on God alone. How can you have settled peace? Only by having it in God’s way. By not resting on anything, even the Spirit’s work within, but on what the Lord Jesus has done entirely outside you. Then you will know peace—conscious unworthiness, but yet peace.

  “In the Lord Jesus alone, God finds that in which He can rest concerning us, and so it is with His saints. The more you see the extent and nature of the evil that is within, as well as without, the more you will find that what the Lord Jesus is and did, is the only ground at all on which you can rest.

  “Alas!(I don’t get to use that word very often) the freedom which the Gospel brings may be used to take things easy, and, more or less, retain or gain in the world; but where this is the case, it is seldom a soul possesses any large measure of spiritual enjoyment, and it is never accompanied by solid peace. The soul becomes thus unsettled and uncertain. These oscillations may go on for a certain time, until God carries on the work more deeply in the heart.”

  “As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God” (1 Pet 2:16).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

The Jesus Narrative (part one) (this is a long post, you may want to print it out)

God was here! Walking this planet. He lived in an obscure village in a tiny country on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. From the age of 12 till Jesus was about 30 there are no incidents recorded about Him in the Bible. So any stories you hear about the miracles he supposedly performed as a child are the product of someone’s imagination. But there are things we can know about his family life.

Mark 6:3 tells us that Mary and Joseph had at least 6 other children, 4 sons and 2 daughters. Jesus knew what it was to live in a large family and be the only half-brother. Joseph taught him the trade of carpentry and he supported his family by working as a carpenter, because by the time he began his public ministry, Joseph was dead. Jesus knew what it was to work with his hands to earn his daily bread. All the time Jesus lived on earth He never used his power to make life easy for himself.

But now the time had come to begin his public ministry. For months John the Baptist had been preaching that the Messiah was coming and people were being baptized to indicate that they repented of their sins and were waiting for the Messiah (Christ) Jesus started his ministry by going to John to baptize him.

When he came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove.

John 1:32-34

Now John knew for sure that Jesus was the promised Christ. That was the sign he had been told to look for. After his baptism Jesus went into the wilderness and successfully endured 40 days and nights of fasting while Satan tempted him. He proved his qualifications to be our sinless Savior when he defeated Satan and would not sin.

John 1:19-21 gives us a rapid sequence of events that took place just before the occasion we are studying today.

When Jesus returned from the wilderness John pointed his own disciples to Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Son of God. So these men followed Jesus and brought others. By the time the chapter ends Jesus had about 5 men with him who believed on Him because of John’s testimony and their own experience. These 5 were the first of that special group of 12 ordinary men who lived with Him and were trained by him for over 3 years.

In John 1 we have many titles and names for Jesus:

The Word, the Light, the One and Only from the Father, God, the One and Only, Lord, Lamb of God, Son of God, Messiah or Christ, the Prophet like Moses, Jesus of Nazareth, King of Israel, Rabbi, Son of Man.

Theses titles had tremendous significance for the Jews familiar with OT promises about the coming Messiah. They meant that Jesus was the one they had been eagerly waiting for. What spectacular thing would Jesus use to reveal who he was? Where would he start? Can you imagine what Hollywood would do with an opportunity like that? But Jesus revealed His glory for the first time in a very strange but meaningful way.

John 2:1-2

Cana was a village in the hills of Galilee. Its location is not certain, but scholars believe it was located about nine miles north of Nazareth. I think it is worth noticing that the human race began with God officiating at a wedding between a man and a woman and the ministry of Jesus, God on earth began with His presence at a wedding. This tells us something about God’s view of marriage which we need to hear in a day when marriage is being avoided or destroyed by abuse, infidelity, lack of commitment and divorce. Actually, when it is in danger of being redefined to allow same sex marriage to be equally normal.

Jesus obviously was not a recluse. He was a social person. He was willing to take time out of his busy schedule to share in the joy of others. This was not just going to a ceremony and reception for a few ours. The wedding celebration lasted seven days. In that day a couple would become betrothed, usually for about a year. This betrothal was as binding as a marriage and could only be broken by divorce. The wedding was celebrated when the bridegroom came to take his bride and escort her to his home, where there would be a great time of feasting, singing, dancing and general rejoicing for a week. At the end of the week the bride would be escorted by her parents to the nuptial chamber and marriage would be consummated. This was obviously a time of great joy.

God wants us to enjoy life, to share other people’s joy, to smell the flowers along the way. He has given us all things richly to enjoy and Jesus modeled that for us.

John 2:3

Mary must have been visiting with their hosts or helping out when she was in on an embarrassing discovery. The wine had run out! Lavish hospitality in the east was a sacred duty. Either they had underestimated the number of guests or they had been skimpy in their provisions. This was not just an embarrassment, it was a disgrace. It was a never-to-be-forgotten social faux pas.

Mary knew where to go for help. She depended upon her oldest Son and he had never failed her yet. This request tells us a little about Mary. She was concerned about other people’s problems. She was not aloof or quick to pass judgment. She wanted to help her friends. Maybe she also thought this would be a super time for Jesus to do something spectacular to reveal who he really was. After all, she of all people knew where He came from. So she simply came to him and stated the problem. His answer seems strange to us.

John 2:4

Jesus knew His timetable. There is a sense of order and destiny in the measured way He moves through the Gospel records. He was not going to do the showy, spectacular miracle to draw attention to himself. He also in a gentle way let his mother know that he was no longer under her authority. Mary did not question him or go away disappointed. She just left it to him to do as he pleased. She trusted him to solve the problem and the next verse records the only command she ever gives in the Bible.

John 2:5

Do whatever he tells you. (NIV)

These words are as relevant to us today as they were to the servants then. You will notice that Mary never focused on herself, but on Jesus. He is the one we come, He is the one who has the power to help, He is the one to obey.

John 2:6-7

These large stone water jars were used for the ceremonial washing required by religious Jews. Their religion had become almost entirely external with very little impact on their spiritual lives. Can you imagine what the servants must have thought when a guest told them to fill all six water jars with water. That is from 120-180 gallons of water that had to be drawn from the well. But they filled them to the brim and came back for further instructions.

John 2:8

What do you think they thought? They knew these just were just filled with water. How could they take them to the master of the feast as wine? But the lady had said to do whatever this man said and they just obeyed. We would do well to follow their example. Jesus speaks to us today through the Bible. We have in our hands the written record of what he expects his followers to do. It is not necessary for us to know ahead of time just how everything will work out. Our responsibility is to simply do what He says to do.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Who is Jesus, part four

March 28, 2018

JESUS IS GOD THE SON. HE REVEALED THE NATURE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD TO US. HE SPOKE GOD’S WORDS, THOUGHT GOD’S THOUGHTS, FELT AND EXPRESSED GOD’S EMOTIONS, DID GOD’S WORKS.

Malachi 3:6 (NIV) I the Lord do not change.

Hebrews 13:8 (NIV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

The loving, gracious, righteous, compassionate God Jesus Christ revealed is the same today. He is our heavenly Father if we have trusted His Son Jesus Christ.

What he thought then, He thinks now.

What He felt then, He feels now.

What he did then, He would do now.

Maybe you are thinking, So What? What does this mean to me?

It means that your heavenly Father still has compassion for the poor, the oppressed, the helpless and the sorrowing. Your heavenly Father cares for you in the situation you are in right now. Your heavenly Father knows your heart is aching because of the failure of your marriage or the disappointment of children who have turned from the truth and bought the world’s lies. Your heavenly Father knows that your husband has been without a job for a long time. Your heavenly Father knows your needs and He cares. Your heavenly Father knows what sickness has done to your family and He cares. Your heavenly Father knows the difficulties in caring for an aged parent and He cares for both of you. He may not bring relief in the spectacular ways Jesus did while here on earth, but He does give strength, the ability to endure, moment by moment. And that is a quiet miracle, is it not?

Your heavenly Father does send provision for material needs in many unexpected ways, does not He? The anonymous gift of money, the friends who bring meals, who come and relieve you from the constant care of a loved one, the people who pray for you, who drive you to the doctor, who babysit your children. These are just a few of the ways your heavenly Father meets your needs today.

His heart is the same, His power is the same, but his method is different. Instead of Jesus Christ living in one human body on earth as He did 2000 years ago, He sent the Holy Spirit to live in each one of us who have trusted Him as our Lord and Savior. He lives in millions of human bodies. We together are His body on earth.

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV) Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (Not an option)

He lives in us and through us to touch the hurting world around us.

He said that we would be the light of the world when He went back to heaven. How can people see God revealed in our lives today? How can we let God’s glory shine through our bodies?

Matthew 5:16 (NIV) Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Is it really possible to live in such a way at home and in the community that other people will see our heavenly Father in our everyday actions? That is precisely the reason for which we have been saved. We were not saved to just go on living self-centered, self-serving lives. We have been given a new motivation, a new reason for living and a new power to live.

2 Corinthians 5:15 (NIV) And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

How do we live for Him in practical ways? How can our lives reveal our heavenly Father to others? By doing what Jesus did.

By showing compassion

By actively relieving the distress of those around us, first in God’s family, then the community.

By helping those widowed by death or divorce. Caring for orphans.

By visiting the sick and sorrowing.

By showing love and mercy for the aged.

By feeding the hungry, listening to the confused, sharing our material possessions with the needy.

By praying for the deliverance of those in bondage.

By moving out of our own tight circle of friends who buy their clothes at the same shops, drive the same kind of cars and become friends with people out of your social class.

By helping an unwed mother go through with her pregnancy, providing emotional, spiritual and practical support. It is not enough just to be against abortion.

Most of all, by bringing the good news of the Gospel to those who dont know Jesus Christ, the only way to God the Father. Jesus is the Bridge from earth to heaven, the giver of eternal life.

Here’s a prayer you may have not thought of, “Lord, make me a bridge between my world and You, help me to bring You to others, especially those outside my circle.”

Now I’m not proposing selling all your goods or putting your life in danger carrying little Gideon bibles to crack houses. Start by saying God bless you to everyone you encounter, the clerk at the gas station, the waitress at Luby’s. that’s assuming you’ve been polite enough and not an a$$ hat to everyone you meet.

Just food for thought.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Keep Karen in prayer, she is going on 13 hours of labor and the doctors will say in another hour it’s time to go to plan ‘b’.

 

WHO IS JESUS (PART 3)

March 27, 2018

THE SON IS THE RADIANCE OF GOD’S GLORY (Hebrews 1:3)

Radiance means outshining of the brightness of God’s glory. You cannot separate the brilliance of the sun from the sun itself. And you cannot separate the glory of the Son from His deity. He is God. The disciples saw His glory when he was transfigured before them on the mountain.

Representation is the word, “charakter,” only here in NT. It means a mark stamped on something, like an image on a coin. When we see Jesus we see what God’s nature really is like.

Col. 1:15 (NIV) says “He is the image of the invisible God.”

SUSTAINING ALL THINGS BY HIS POWERFUL WORD.

Col. 1:17 (NIV) says, “in Him all things hold together.”

Scientists have never been able to discover the force that keeps the protons and electrons in the atom spinning in perfect order. What keeps the planets and stars in orbit? The Bible says that God the Son is not only the Creator, but the Sustainer of this immense universe.

THINK: If He cares about the atom and the stars, how much more do you think He must care about sustaining our lives, of holding our lives together. We are the ones for whom He came to die. The next statement brings us to that.

AFTER HE HAD PROVIDED PURIFICATION FOR SINS:

Seven words, but what a story they tell.

How did the Son make it possible for us to be forgiven and cleansed from our sins?

He, God in human form, suffered and died on the cross to satisfy God’s justice. He himself took the penalty for the sins of his fallen creation, so that those who believe on Him might have eternal life and fellowship with God. Then He rose from the dead to prove that He was truly the Son of God and to prove that all the sins of everyone who has ever lived were paid for. 40 days after his resurrection he went back to heaven and

HE SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE MAJESTY IN HEAVEN.

This is a very important statement. He sat down because the work of redemption was finished. Do you remember He said precisely that when He hung on the cross?

“It is finished” meant penalty for sin was paid in full.

There were no chairs in the OT tabernacle. The priests never finished their work because there were always sacrifices to be made for sins. Animal blood could not pay for people’s sins. Every animal slain on every altar in the OT just pointed to the future One who would be the one sacrifice for all sins forever, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Heb. 10:11-12 gives us the contrast.

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. (NIV)

It is absolutely essential for your spiritual life that you understand that when you study the Bible it is not for the purpose of just learning all kinds of facts about the Bible. You can go to seminary or any other kind of study and learn the facts and stories from the Bible. But if that is all you do you miss the point entirely.

Donald Barnhouse:

“Suppose a friend had a hotel room in Acapulco overlooking the ocean on his vacation. He comes back and tells you about the wonderful window in his room. It had one large pane of glass, and 4 smaller panes on either side. It was 6 feet long and 4 feet high. Its framework was made of steel that resists corrosion. In fact, he even had the glass analyzed chemically. Would you not think he had missed the point? The window was there for him to see the ocean, not to study the window.”

The Bible is a window. We look through it to see Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And when we see Him we see God in His essential nature. We see our heavenly Father.

Have you realized before today that the One who died in your place on the cross is really God the Son, your Creator and Sustainer? Have you put your faith in Him alone to forgive your sins, give you eternal life and make you a child of God.

Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6, NIV)

You may, with an act of your will, put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today, right where you are sitting. Just tell God:

I know I am a sinner. I believe that your Son died for me and rose again. I put my faith in Him alone to forgive my sins, bring me to God and give me eternal life.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Who is Jesus part two

March 26, 2018

We in God’s family must examine ourselves to answer honestly 2 questions:

Do I believe the Bible is the inerrant, authoritative Word of God and totally true?

Do I believe what the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ, that He was the fully human and fully divine Son of God?

John 1:1 calls the Son of God, the Word for good reason. Words reveal our invisible thoughts. In the same way Jesus made the invisible God visible. How did He do it?

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth….No one has ever seen God but God, the One and Only, who is at the Fathers side, has made him known. John 1:14, 18 (NIV)

When did the Word become flesh? When did God become a human being? God the Son left heaven for a few short years to become a man. The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and placed in her womb the Holy one who was the Son of God. When Jesus Christ was born 2000 years ago, God entered this physical world and lived among us. No one has ever seen God’s essence but God the Son has made him visible and knowable. He said Himself, Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. John 14:9.

The Son revealed that we have a heavenly Father. And what do we see when we see Jesus? The glory of a God who is full of grace and truth. Our God is not a cosmic ogre waiting to destroy us but a merciful, gracious Father who welcomes us into His family.

This is the distinctive difference between the OT and the NT. The almighty, sovereign God of the OT is the personal heavenly Father of those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. In the NT God is called Father over 240 times as compared to a small handful of times in the OT.

“You sum up the whole of the New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. Father is the Christian name for God.” (J. I. Packer)

This is hard for some of us. If you had a loving, caring earthly father, it is easy to transfer that image to a heavenly Father, just multiply it by a million. But if you had a distant, absent or abusive father, you will have a problem. You will have to disconnect everything you experienced with your earthly father and learn how wonderful your heavenly Father is and choose to believe it.

That is why Jesus spoke so often of God as our heavenly Father. Then His life showed us what the Father is like. But why was Jesus Christ able to reveal the invisible God? Because of who He is. We cannot disconnect Jesus from God. He was not just a perfect man or an ideal example. He was God in a human body. Immanuel, God with us.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Rhianna, lung infection

Pray for Paul C, kind of wandering away from the flock

Pray for Jimmie H, anger issues, Vietnam Vet, PTSD, on full disability, pray for peace of mind.

 

Who is Jesus

March 25, 2018

What do we really know about Jesus? Who is Jesus anyway?

Why is this such an important question? Because the answer determines life on earth and life in eternity.

God has always been the eternal mystery. God created the human heart with an inner longing to know God, even though it cannot always identify that longing. Pascal called it a God shaped vacuum. But how can a person come to know God? Does the universe give us any evidence that God really exists?

Rom. 1:19-20 tells us that God has revealed His existence, divine power and His divine nature through His created world. And Rom. 2 tells us that He has revealed His moral nature through the conscience that all people have that sense of right and wrong. So just from this evidence every person on earth can believe that there is a great and powerful God who has righteous moral standards.

But we still do not really know Him, do we? What is He like? What does He think? How does He feel about people? Is He distant and unreachable? Is He sitting up there waiting to zap us when we sin? Is it possible to know Him personally? God knew our need and the impossibility of our reaching Him through human reason or human effort, so He revealed Himself in two powerful ways.

Heb. 1:1-3 tells us the lengths God went to so that we might not only know He exists but that we may have a personal relationship with Him.

Hebrews 1:1

God spoke verbally to men in OT times, either directly or through visions and dreams. He gave these prophets His message to give to His people. Over a period of about 1500 years His Words were written down by about 40 human authors inspired by the Holy Spirit, the divine Author. The Bible is God’s written revelation, inerrant in the original manuscripts. It is our only source for the true knowledge of God

The central message of the OT is that God created men and women for a relationship with Himself. But our sin separated us from God. So God promised to come Himself to redeem His fallen creatures and make it possible for us to be reconciled to Him. God promised that a divine Savior would come to earth and reveal God’s glory to us.

The NT tells us that He kept his promise and the Savior came. He not only spoke God’s Word to us but He revealed God’s nature.

Hebrews 1:2

The Son of God is God’s final revelation to us. He is the fullest revelation of God that we will ever have here on earth. Do you not see why Satan has tried through the centuries to distort and deny who Jesus really is?

The sad thing is that one of the greatest distorters of the truth about Jesus is today’s church. The false prophets, the Joel Osteen’s with their god of plenty or Max Lucado, who is so afraid to preach about hell in his own church. Or the countless other preachers whose goal is to line their own pockets, I mean do you really need to have a 14k gold toilet, come on Kate.

Fame and preachers seems to be a recipe for disaster. The better known you are the more letters you get from women who claim God told them they would bear your baby. It’s really disturbing when you get sent a pair of women’s underwear in your mail and a letter telling you that God has revealed to them they will be your next concubine. Next? Whoa, I must have missed the first one.

Then there’s the $19.95 book about a secret that God revealed.

All of this could be ended by one thing, personal attention to the bible, but that’s not sexy enough.

Oh well, for only $9.99 I will tell you who the now living Anti-Christ is, no, it’s not Donald Trump.

 Blessing from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Shawn and Brittany, who got married today. Pray for their families who hopefully won’t lead them down the wrong path.

 

the marriage list

March 24, 2018

been a long time since I’ve done a list, since I’m well known in the area for doing weddings not held in a church and have one tomorrow this is befitting.

I have two rules (besides the list) one, be sober, and two, show respect or I will either leave or jack you up. best behaved group of people I’ve ever had was a L.A. gang wedding. They flew out to the ranch so they wouldn’t have to worry about gun play.

MIXED MARRIAGES

  1. Don’t be yoked with an unbeliever.

2 Cor. 6:14-16. Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

  1. Two cannot walk together unless they are agreed.

Amos 3:3. Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?

  1. There were sad results of mixed marriages prior to the flood.

Gen. 6:1-4.

  1. God’s people are warned against mixed marriages; unbelievers will lead them to sin.

Exod. 34:16. When you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.

  1. God will reveal his anger if and when his people marry unbelievers.

Josh. 23:12-13. If you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the LORD your God has given you.

  1. In Ezra’s time many did intermarry. This led to much sin, and Ezra confessed the guilt of God’s people.

Ezra 9:1-15.

Ezra 9:2. The leaders came to me (Ezra) and said, “The people of Israel. . .have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness.”

  1. Men of Judah intermarried and were led into deep sin. God was angry with them.

Neh. 13:23-27. Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God’s name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for your sons or for yourselves. Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?”

MARRIAGE, HUSBAND/WIFE RELATIONSHIPS

  1. Marriage was instituted and designed by God.

Gen 2:18-25.

  1. At the heart of marriage is companionship and intimacy, which both husband and wife must promote.

Gen. 2:18, 24. The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”. . .For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

  1. The relationship between husband and wife is similar to that between Christ and the church. Eph. 5:23. The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

Eph. 5:31-32. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church.

  1. The husband is the head of the wife and the home.

Eph. 5:23. The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

  1. Husbands must love their wives as Christ loved the church.

Eph. 5:25. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

  1. Husbands must exercise headship in love.

Eph. 5:25-33.

Col. 3:19. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

  1. Husbands must treat their wives with the respect and as equal heirs of God’s gifts.

1 Peter 3:7. Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

  1. The husband must manage his own home well; he is the manager.

1 Tim. 3:4. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.

  1. The husband and father is primarily responsible for training the children.

Eph. 6:4. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

  1. God’s design for the wife is that of a helper suitable for man.

Gen. 2:18. The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

  1. Both husband and wife must seek to reflect the relationship between Christ and his church. Eph. 5:25, 32.

  2. A wife is to submit to her husband, as the church submit to Christ.

Eph. 5:22-24. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Col. 3:18. Wives, submit to your husbands in everything.

Col. 3:18. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

1 Peter 3:1-2. Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without talk by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

  1. A woman is not to exercise authority over a man.

1 Tim. 2:11-14. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adams was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

  1. The Bible gives a description of a wife of noble character, who uses her gifts faithfully.

Prov. 31:10-31.

Prov. 31:10-11. A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lack nothing of value.

  1. The fear of the Lord is more important than physical beauty.

Prov. 31:30. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

  • Peter 3:3-4. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

  1. Husbands and wives must not fight and destroy each other.

Gal. 5:15. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

  1. Both husband and wife must quickly pursue peace when trouble arises.

Matt. 5:23-24. If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift.

Rom. 12:18. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

  1. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Matt. 12:25. Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

  1. Keep loving those who are wayward.

  • 18:33. (David never lost his love for his son Absalom, who tried to kill him. When he learned of his death, he wept.) The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you – O Absalom, my son, my son!”

MARRIAGE

(Winning One’s Mate to Christ)

On a certain occasion, Jesus startled His disciples with a paradox. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. for I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36, NIV).

In no situation is the cost of discipleship more evident than in marriage where one partner is a Christian and the other is not. Life sometimes becomes complicated because the interests, activities, and goals are at variance. The conversion to Christ of one’s mate should receive the highest priority, but extreme caution should be exercised as to methods followed in pursuit of this goal. Many marriages end in divorce because of the insensitivity and overzealousness of the Christian partner in attempting to witness.

Counseling Strategy:

  1. Congratulate the inquirer for the concern in wanting to share the most wonderful of life’s experience with someone so dear. The caller must be aware, however, of the “sword” in the above quotation.

  2. Counsel the individual not to attempt to play God. He or she cannot force the mate to accept Christ, nor can one do it for the other. Those who attempt to take things into their own hands may be headed for disaster.

  3. Counsel him not to come on too strong but to maintain a humble attitude rather than a judgmental one. Attitude is extremely important.

  4. Counsel the Christian to devote himself or herself to personal spiritual maturity through the reading and studying of God’s Word, to learn to pray, and to practice it faithfully. Prayer is of great value. Commit the mate to the Lord and by faith claim conversion. It would be wise not even to reveal the prayer concern. Trust God. He has a wonderful way of working things out.

  5. Example is powerful! Let the mate see Jesus in the other’s attitudes and actions.

Let love overflow. True love cannot be counterfeited. Paul says: “Love is patient, love is kind. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4,8, NIV). Make an attempt to demonstrate that “God has poured out his love into our hearts. . .” (Romans 5:5, NIV).

  1. Never try to win the day through argument or sermonizing. This will usually produce antagonism and deepen resistance. Peaceful co-existence is a method suggested by the Apostle Paul. See 1 Corinthians 7:12-15.

Billy Graham touches on this: “The Apostle Peter had something to say about this. He said: “Ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they may without the word be won by the (behavior) of the wives’ (1 Peter 3:1). This is no easy assignment, but the responsibility is upon you, not on your husband, to live a life that will challenge him to make his own decision. This cannot be done by nagging or lecturing, but by the manifestation of a spirit of meekness and submission that he had not discovered in you before. Whether it is the husband or the wife who is the Christian, as a Christian he must always accept and expect some ridicule and even mistreatment for the faith. Just bear this in mind: no one is in a better relationship to win the other to Christ than a life partner.”

  1. Do not insist that the mate attend church or special Christian services unless there seems to be a disposition to do so. An alternative to church would be introducing Christian friends into the home on social occasions. The husband or wife is bound to see the difference in their lives. The opportune moment for sharing Christ will come.

  2. Pray with the inquirer for perception, wisdom, and patience to await the right moment, putting into practice all the above as indicated.

SCRIPTURE

“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without talk by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

1 Peter 3:1-4, NIV

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

James 1:5, KJV

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”                                                                                James 3:17, KJV

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6, 7, NIV

MARITAL RELATIONS PROBLEM

The person’s marriage may be on the verge of breaking up; separation may have already occurred. In marital conflict, disagreement and mistrust are the rule rather than the exception.

BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

The scriptural ideal is that two shall become one flesh (Gen. 2:24). God intended the man and the woman to be bound together until death (Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:10, 11; Mark 10:9).

COUNSEL

Try to find the root cause of the marital conflict, i.e., inability to accept the other person as he is, unforgiveness, lack of submission to the other, etc. Intercede on behalf of the couple, praising God for what he will do. Denounce Satan (Matt. 18:18) He is a liar and a deceiver and desires to destroy marriages.

Pray for God’s grace on the persons involved (Ps. 103:8). The Lord desires to shine his face upon them and be gracious to them (Num. 6:4-6). He wants to ground them and plant their roots deep. He is keeping them according to his power working in them (Eph. 3:17-20).

Therefore, at each encouragement, praise God for restoring and blessing the marriage (Heb. 13:15).

If a person chooses to fast in behalf of the people involved, interceding in prayer and standing for the spiritually weak partners, God has promised to honor such a fast and repair the breach (Isa. 58:6-12).

Do not take sides yourself, creating a three way conflict.

Refer the person(s) to a pastor for counseling at a Christ-centered church that clearly teaches the Bible.

PRAYER

Offer thanks and praise to God for working out the rough places and giving hope and renewal.

FOLLOW-UP

Make a list of all the things for which you can honestly praise your spouse. Each day share five of these, instead of criticizing, for at least one week. Continue until your list runs out.

MARRIAGE, ANTICIPATING Background

Marriage is the most serious long-term contract a couple will make in their lifetime, but many enter into it with a lack of maturity and knowledge. The growing number of divorces shows how imperative it is that young people be adequately prepared for marriage.

Here are a few helpful marriage principles for all who anticipate repeating their wedding vows:

A good marriage is not made in heaven, but on earth. Love is a fragile commodity which needs to be cultivated and nourished constantly. Of course, those intending to marry should look to God for His guidance, but the success of their marriage will be largely dependent on the couple and their efforts in response to God’s leading.

A good marriage is not based on idealism, but on reality. The Cinderella syndrome where every girl finds a prince and “lives happily ever after” is usually a fairy tale. Far too many marry with unrealistically high expectations, and then spend years suffering and adjusting – if they stay together at all.

A good marriage is based on respect for one’s self and for the partner.

A poor self-image, inherited from a stressful home background or immaturity, can lead to stormy seas. A solid relationship with Jesus Christ and an understanding of one’s self in the light of that relationship are very important.

A poor understanding of each other can also lead to misunderstanding and conflict. It doesn’t take too much discernment to realize that male and female are different physically, but how many anticipate that their partner-to-be is just as different emotionally and mentally? Each partner must realize this and be prepared to make the necessary allowances and adjustments. “Male and female created He them; and blessed them. . .” (Genesis 5:2, KJV).

A marriage where there are similarities in the partners has a better chance to succeed. This means:

The same religious background.

Similar cultural and social backgrounds.

Comparable economic levels.

Equal educational advantages.

A stable home situation.

Marriage was never intended to be a “reform school”! One who marries another with the hope of “correcting” problem behavior is courting a disastrous future. What could not be changed before marriage is not likely to change at all. This should be taken seriously in those instances where alcohol, drugs, or immorality are involved.

Couples who “marry in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39) have the potential for a much better relationship than those outside of Christ.

Billy Graham advises: “The home only fulfills its true purpose when it is God controlled. Leave Jesus Christ out of your home and it loses its meaning. But take Christ into your heart and the life of your family, and He will transform your home.”

Counseling Strategy

  1. Congratulate the inquirer on his or her initiative in seeking counsel about a forthcoming marriage. Share the following Scriptures:

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him: (Genesis 2:18, KJV).

“Whoso findeth a wife (husband) findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22, KJV).

  1. Advise him that in order to have God’s presence and guidance in life and marriage, he or she would do well to commit his or her heart and life to Jesus Christ. Share “Steps to Peace with God,” page 5.

  2. Counsel the inquirer to take a firm stand for Jesus Christ whether previously a Christian, or having just received Christ. He or she should also begin to read and study God’s Word, to pray about all matters, ant to become involved in a Bible-teaching church. All these things will deeply enrich life, enabling him or her to offer much more to the marriage.

  3. When the individual marries, be sure that it is “in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14, KJV).

  4. Before marriage, the inquirer should improve the chances for making it a success by:

  5. Seeking God’s blessing and control over his or her own life and that of the partner

through prayer.

  1. Assimilating all the knowledge possible about a Christ-centered home and marriage.

Search the Scriptures for passages on marriage and the home.

Read books by Christian counselors and pastors. Such materials are available at a local Christian bookstore. Many church libraries are well stocked with books on marriage and the home.

Take advantage of seminars, courses, and films prepared for this purpose.

Seek counseling from a qualified pastor, marriage counselor, or Christian psychologist. Such counseling should include a comprehensive approach to marriage, including personal, spiritual, financial and sexual mattes.

  1. After marriage, practice the following:

Become grounded in a local Bible-teaching church where the marriage will be able to flourish spiritually, and where the future family can be received and nurtured in eternal things.

Resolve to communicate freely and honestly with the partner on all levels of life: mental, emotional, and physical. Such a practice will help greatly in problem solving as issues arise in the marriage.

  1. Pray with the inquirer for God’s blessing, presence and leading in his or her life and coming marriage.

Scripture

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”                                                          Ephesians 5:21, 22, NIV

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”       1 Peter 3:7, NIV

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

Proverbs 24:3, 4, NIV

“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to so?”                                                                                                             Amos 3:3, NIV

2 Corinthians 6:14,15, NIV

MARRIAGE PROBLEMS Background

When two lives are bonded together in a long-term intimate relationship, there is bound to be an occasional problem. Many couples go into marriage with very little preparation for it. Sometimes they lack sufficient emotional maturity, stability, or flexibility – which a successful union must have.

What are the components of a good marriage?

Mutual Respect

Respect means that each accepts the partner as he or she is, not attempting to manipulate, and unselfishly nourishing the partner in such a way that he or she may become the person God intended. Respect distinguishes between the ideal and the real, and does not demand too much. “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33, NIV).

Genuine Commitment.

The marriage vow says, “Forsaking all others.” The Scriptures state, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they twain shall be one flesh” (Matthew 19:5, KJV). Time and experience in marriage reveals that being “one flesh” does not mean an abdication of personality or personal rights. Rather, it is a fulfillment. Good Commitment.

In order to communicate, there must be understanding of the emotional, mental and physical differences between men and women. There must be companionship. “I’d rather be with my spouse than with anyone else.” There must be conversation, not only a discussion of differences when such arise, but a meaningful exchange on the intellectual and emotional levels.

Time and Effort

Love must be given the opportunity to mature. The climate for this is set in God’s Word. When the going gets rough, a couple just doesn’t “fall out of love”; they stay together and work things out. They do not consider themselves a martyrs of a “bad bargain,” but “heirs together of the grace of life” (Peter 3:7, KJV). “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33, NIV).

Problems and differences are resolved through forgiveness. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32, NIV).

Cliff Barrows often gives a message to Christian couples, entitled, “Ten Words that Will Safeguard a Marriage.” They are:

I was wrong.

I’m sorry.

Forgive me.

I love you.

This same formula will work to safeguard one’s spiritual life as well. Couples need to learn to clean up issues as soon as they develop and to erase the slate every day. See Ephesians 4:26.

Spiritual Unity.

Understanding the spiritual dimension in marriage has profound implications. Paul compared marriage – the union of husband and wife to the eternal relationship between Christ and the Church. (See Ephesians 5:22-33.)

Billy Graham writes: “The perfect marriage is a uniting of three persons – a man, a woman and God! That is what makes marriage holy. Faith in Christ is the most important of all principles in the building of a happy marriage and a happy home.”

Counseling Strategy

  1. Be supportive and encouraging. Listen carefully with understanding. Don’t judge. Don’t take sides. Sometimes the inquirer is at fault.

  2. Attempt to discover reasons for disagreements and problems. Ask questions, if necessary. Does the inquirer feel that he or she has any responsibility in any of the negative developments?

Ask how the inquirer would rate the marriage in the light of “What Constitutes a Good Marriage” found in the BACKGROUND. How has he or she fallen short? What might be done to improve the relationship? In humility he or she could ask forgiveness for insensitivities, hurts and offenses. It may take time, but it is worth the effort.

  1. Ask if God has ever been brought into their life and marriage. Share “Steps to Peace with God,” page 5.

  2. Where does the individual go from here? Share follow-up steps.

  3. Get into the Word of God, reading, studying and applying it to his or her life and

marriage.

  1. Learn to pray daily. Pray for each other. Pray about existing or potential problem areas.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV). Better attitudes lead to a deeper sensitivity as to the needs of one’s mate, producing better relationships. This is one of the values of Bible study and prayer: it will help us to anticipate problems as it makes us more spiritually sensitive.

  1. Become involved with spouse and family in a Bible-teaching church. Active

participation in a dynamic church can revolutionize a marriage and family. Spiritual resources and support can be found in fellowship with committed Christians and in consultation with a committed pastor.

  1. Should further counseling be needed, and it often is in troubled marriages, help could be

found through contacting a qualified pastor or a Christian psychologist or marriage counselor.

If the inquirer is a Christian, encourage him to start serious counseling with a Christian marriage service or qualified pastor. Often many concessions and adjustments have to be made on the part of each partner, requiring prolonged professional sessions. The important thing is for them to honestly and sincerely face their situation in the light of the Word of God. A good place to start might be an application of the Cliff Barrows formula from the BACKGROUND.

Scripture

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem (the) other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of the others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 2:3-5, KJV

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”                                                                  1 Corinthians 7:3,4, KJV

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”                       1 Peter 3:7, KJV

Ephesians 5:22-23

MARRIAGE

(Pressure to do Wrong in Matters of Conscience)

Background

When a person is converted to Christ, his body becomes the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19,20), and his conscience is subject to the Word and will of God.

The Christian’s conscience is cleansed from the sins and disobedience of the past in order that he may serve the living God (Hebrews 9:14).

The Christians conscience is made holy and sincere, according to the Word of God, so that he may walk with integrity in this world. “Now this is our boast: our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace” (2 Corinthians 1:12, NIV).

If a Christian has a weak conscience, he is apt to submit to evil and thereby become defiled. (See 1 Corinthians 8:7.)

Our goal as Christians should be that of the Apostle Paul: “And herein do I exercise (exert) myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16, KJV).

Many Christians have problems in the area of conscience. For example, one may be married to a nonbeliever or have become converted to Christ after marriage and find that he or she is pressured to submit or to act contrary to the Scriptures in conduct, worldly involvements and even sexual practices. This can lead to unhappy conflicts in marriage.

The Bible teaches that the role of a wife is to be submissive, but it also enjoins a husband to love his wife as his own body (see Ephesians 5:22,28). Thus, neither mate has the right to order his or her partner to do something contrary to the Scriptures that would offend conscience.

Counseling Strategy

  1. If this problem is presented, commend the inquirer for being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in his or her life, and for wanting to do right.

  2. Encourage a firm stand for Christ, in the light of Romans 12:1,2.

  3. Urge the individual to keep the lines of communication open with his or her mate in order to discuss freely and fully the problems involved and the reasons why it is not possible to agree to such requests.

Make an effort not to be critical or judgmental. “We catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” If one is not careful at this point, the point of no-return could quickly be reached, bringing conflict and hostility.

  1. Love covers a multitude of sins. Counsel the caller to love sincerely, demonstrating it through word and action. The Christian partner should express appreciation, admiration, and praise as much as possible in those areas where it is due.

  2. Encourage the inquirer to pray, first for wisdom and guidance in both the discussion and suggested action (see James 1:5), and then for the partner’s obedience to the Word of God and commitment to personal faith in Christ. Caution: One should not be too aggressive in attempting to win a husband or wife to Christ. Please see chapter on MARRIAGE (Winning One’s Mate To Christ).

  3. Pray with the inquirer in order to encourage and fortify his or her resolve.

Billy Graham comments: “Complete fulfillment in marriage can never be realized outside the life in Christ. It is written in the Scriptures that Christ came into the world to destroy the works of the devil. Christ’s power over the devil is available to the Christian, and the destroyer of the ideal home can only be routed (put to flight) through the power of Christ.”

Scripture

“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

Hebrew 9:14, NIV

“We must obey God rather than men.”                                                  Acts 5:29, NIV

“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without talk by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. . .For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. . .Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. . .

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

1 Peter 3:1,2,5,7,815,16 NIV

Rolling Stone

March 23, 2018

A patient of mine came in for counseling and immediately started crying, turns out her younger brother had been arrested for public intoxication. She went on to tell how between drugs and booze this seemingly bright kid with a stellar career ahead of him had tanked and bombed.

Now he was living on the streets panhandling for booze and weed. She asked if we could spend her counseling session praying for her brother; after a while she asked if I would pray for him.

My prayer for him went basically like this; “God make his pillow a stone, may he find no rest, no peace, no ease until he confronts his personal demons and seeks help and becomes sober.”

When I looked up I could see a smile on her face, she said; “I’ve known you for years and your prayers have always been on the strange side, but I also know that they seem to work out amazingly well, so I will believe this prayer with you.”

Cut forward 9 months later and Christmas is coming up, she has not heard from her brother in all this time and doesn’t know if he’s in jail, drunk or dead. But she keeps praying that prayer; ‘make my brother’s pillow a stone’.

So she makes a Christmas gift for him and keeps it a secret from everyone, it’s in a plain brown bag and hidden in the closet.

Imagine her surprise when he shows up Christmas Eve, sober but ragged and looking like death warmed over. He comes into the house and says; “Sis, I am totally at the end of my rope, I haven’t slept in months and I think I am going crazy from the lack of sleep, it’s as though my pillow is made of stone and the mattress like rock.”

So she jumps up, runs out of the room and comes back with the gift in the plain brown bag, she hands it to him and he pulls out a pillow that she has embroidered with the following words. ‘Come unto me and I will give you rest’.

End of story, she leads him to Jesus and now 24 years later he’s still sober and still a street preacher and Men’s shelter Director, serving the Lord.

For those of us that had to reach rock bottom first, thank God that He is patient and long suffering and we didn’t die before His grace won our hearts and saved us from our sin and addictions.

Stay sober, stay strong in the faith.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

My son and our daughter in law, just got back from a week in Chicago, while there for fun they visited the Pacific garden mission, largest, oldest men’s mission in the nation, look it up, check it out, and on your next vacation don’t leave Jesus out of it.

 

evil and the word

March 22, 2018

‎Evil (Heb. ra’; Gk. kakos, ponēros, phaulos). Evil has a broader meaning than *sin. The Heb. word comes from a root meaning ‘to spoil’, ‘to break in pieces’: being broken and so made worthless. It is essentially what is unpleasant, disagreeable, offensive. The word binds together the evil deed and its consequences. In the NT kakos and ponēros mean respectively the quality of evil in its essential character, and its hurtful effects or influence. It is used in both physical and moral senses. While these aspects are different, there is frequently a close relationship between them. Much physical evil is due to moral evil: suffering and sin are not necessarily connected in individual cases, but human selfishness and sin explain much of the world’s ills. Though all evil must be punished, not all physical ill is a punishment of wrongdoing (Lk. 13:2, 4; Jn. 9:3; cf. Job).

Have you ever had someone tell you that you are ill or sick because of ‘secret sin’?

We’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating about well-meaning and sometimes not so well meaning Christians trying to convince us that we are sick or ill because of sin.

Well guess what, we all sin, and we all live in a body that is riddled with sin, so I don’t know why so many people keep falling for this.

I guess my other pet peeve is non-Christians that are one step above ignorant savages who want to know how God who is supposed to be so loving; could possibly create Satan and evil if He’s so good.

Who’s that comedian who says; “here’s your sign” stupid?

Free will, choices, wow, we let that one out of the bag, guess they have never really read the bible, or I guess more importantly they don’t believe the bible.

So this devotional isn’t really about sin or evil it’s about belief, the question today is do you really believe the bible? That it is literal, alive, life changing and relative to our lives today. Inerrant, inspired, Holy, still good for giving the truth about God and ourselves, a road map for Holy living.

Well here’s another great quote from Rev. J. Vernon McGee; “sin will keep you from prayer (and bible reading) but prayer (and bible reading) will keep you from sin.” (Parenthesis mine)

And speaking of bibles, I’ve been reading the CSB (Christian Study Bible) which used to be the HCSB, or as some call it “the official southern Baptist bible.”

So far I’ve only read Acts and Genesis, next I’ll read Romans and let you know. I like it better than the NIV, but less than the NLT. How’s that for bible code. Their Pastor’s Edition has placed right in the middle of the bible, Funerals, Weddings, Baptisms and other stuff, at the end, before the concordance(which is pretty good) they have a topical section and it’s in goatskin, which is really durable, but they put in a stiffener, which ruins the whole point of goatskin and it’s more natural ‘rolling’. All in all so far I’m pretty impressed, though no red Words of Christ in the leather editions.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com