COW2We have had really long devotional posts lately so here is a short one.

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, The tooth fairy and pets go to heaven.

All the above is false, untrue, white lies, traditions fables, etc.

And I’m not against any of them, how could a guy that looks like Santa, and plays one every year for my VA hospital do so.

Yes, when the kids bunny died, or all the dozens of dogs we have had died. They all went to heaven. But the reality is only people go to heaven.

Humans, regardless of gender have a soul and a spirit. Animals have a spirit, it is what animates them. Making them a living being. But no soul. They will not go to heaven, not face a judgement, not get sent to hell or make heaven their home.

Except cats, cats will go to hell. (I’m kidding, don’t blow a gasket). I’m allowed once in a while to be naughty.

I’ve had dogs save my life, more than a couple of times. Horses that seemed to read my mind. As a kid I had a cow that followed me every where I went. So yes I love animals. Yes, I miss the great dogs we have had. But they won’t be in heaven. If a little kid asks me did his pet go to heaven I will say yes, even if it was a cat.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Yes, more rain, 3 inches, 60 mph hour winds. Cloud to ground lightning. One lightning strike blew my wife’s favorite bird to smithereens. So tomorrow will be chainsaw day.

Remember Caliste Burt in prayer. Hopefully mid-August she will have brain surgery. She is a very brave, Christian woman. Keep her in prayer.

Armor of God

July 30, 2020

man wearing gray and red armour standing on the streets

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

The Armor of God

Spiritually Dressed For Success

Pr 20:18 (NIV) Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.

The purpose of this Bible Study is to consider and meditate on the Scriptural meaning of each piece of the armor of God, so that we might stand firm in the battles of life.

Eph 6:10-17 (NIV) …Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Why Spiritual Armor?

Rom 13:12 (NIV) The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Jer 46:3-4 (NIV) “Prepare your shields, both large and small, and march out for battle! Harness the horses, mount the steeds! Take your positions with helmets on! Polish your spears, put on your armor!”

1 Cor 14:8 (GLT) For if a trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who will get himself ready for war?

Stand!

Luke 21:36 (NIV) “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

Mal 3:2 (NAS) But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears?..

1 Cor 10:12-13 (NIV) So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Jude 1:24 (Wey) But to Him who is able to keep you safe from stumbling, and cause you to stand in the presence of His glory free from blemish and full of exultant joy…

Jas 4:7 (NAS) Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

The Belt of Truth

Eph 6:14 (NRS) …fasten the belt of truth around your waist…

Isa 11:5 (NIV) Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash round his waist.

Ex 12:11 (NIV) This is how you are to eat it [the passover lamb]: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand…

1 Kings 18:46 (NIV) The power of the Lord came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

Eph 4:25 (NKJ) Therefore, put away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor.”

Ray Stedman: “No Christian has the right to a private life. Our lives are to be lived openly before all men, transparent, a spectacle unto all the world. We have no private lives and we must not expect to have. This is basically and fundamentally wrong. Christians are to be demonstrations of the truth.”

John 4:24 (NIV) “God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Col 3:8-10 (NIV) But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

2 Th 2:10 (NIV) …They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Php 3:9 (NRS) …Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.

Isa 59:16-17 (NAS) …Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, and His righteousness upheld Him. He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head…

Ex 28:15 (NIV) “Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions… Make it like the ephod…”

1Ki 3:9 (NIV) So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.

Ps 94:15 (NIV) Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.

Pr 2:7-8 (NIV) He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path.

Standing on The Gospel

Eph 6:15 (NIV) …your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

Eph 6:15 (Wey) …as well as the shoes of the Good News of peace–a firm foundation for your feet.

Rom 10:15 (KJV) …As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

Imagine yourself standing barefooted in a rocky climate, like in the Middle East. You could move–ever so carefully–but without shoes you would be useless in battle. The weight of the other pieces of armor would only make your feet more sensitive if you had no protection. You would be a “push-over” for the enemy, as you would have no agility and be wincing in pain every time you attempted to move. This is why it is essential to have our “feet shod with the gospel of peace”.

1 Cor 15:1-4 (Wey) But let me recall to you, brethren, the Good News [Gospel] which I brought you, which you accepted, and on which you are standing, through which also you are obtaining salvation, if you bear in mind the words in which I proclaimed it–unless indeed your faith has been unreal from the very first…– that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that He was buried; that He rose to life again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

This is the gospel as we have received it. It is foolishness to many, but life and light to those who believe in it and are willing to follow and be “included in” Christ’s death. In practice, the Gospel means we are dead to our self-life with all of its lusts and instincts, and alive with new life in Christ. The good news is that by considering ourselves “dead men” in Christ, we can be put at peace with God in Christ. If we have truly died to self, then over time our instincts will be “dead” to the rocks and glass and thorns of this world which used to move us. Those standing on the gospel will not react in the flesh. Instead, we will move by God’s Spirit with a protected disregard for such “fleshly” considerations, being “readied” by the “shoes” of the “death, burial, and resurrection of Christ”, which is the Gospel that brings peace.

1 Pet 2:11 (NAS) Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

Gal 5:16-17 (NAS) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

Rom 8:5-13 (NAS) For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. …the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God… But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Isa 52:6-7 (NIV) “Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I. How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation [Yeshua, Jesus!] who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'”

The Helmet Of Salvation [Jesus]

Isa 59:16-17 (KJV) And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation [Yeshua] upon his head…

1 Th 5:8 (NAS) But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love; and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

Ps 140:7 (NAS) “O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation [Yeshua], You have covered my head in the day of battle.”

Jesus–Yeshua in Hebrew–means “Salvation”. Salvation is Jesus Christ.

Col 1:18 (NKJ) And He is the head of the body, the church…

1 Cor 2:16 (NIV) “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Php 2:5 (NKJ) Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…

1 Pet 4:1 (NKJ) Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.

2 Cor 10:3-5 (NRS) Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Eph 4:14-16 (NKJ) …We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

The Sword of The Spirit – The Word of God

Isa 49:2 (NAS) He has made My mouth like a sharp sword, In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me; And He has also made Me a select arrow, He has hidden Me in His quiver.

Matthew Henry: “To the Christian armed for defense in battle, the apostle recommends only one weapon of attack; but it is enough, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. It subdues and mortifies evil desires and blasphemous thoughts as they rise within; and answers unbelief and error as they assault from without. A single text, well understood, and rightly applied, at once destroys a temptation or an objection, and subdues the most formidable adversary.”

Heb 4:12-13 (NKJ) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

2 Cor 6:7 (NIV) …in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…

Ps 149:4-6 (NIV) For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. Let the saints rejoice in this honour and sing for joy on their beds. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands.

The Shield of Faith

Eph 6:16 (Wey) …take the great shield of faith, on which you will be able to quench all the flaming darts of the Wicked one.

Ps 35:1-3,9 (NIV) Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”… Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation [yes, Yeshua again].

Ps 3:2-3 (GLT) Many are saying of my soul, There is no salvation for him in God. Selah. But You, O Jehovah, are a shield around me; [you are] my glory and He who lifts up my head.

1 Pet 1:5 (NAS) …who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Ps 33:20 (NIV) We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.

1 Tim 6:12 (NIV) Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 John 5:4-5 (Wey) For every child of God overcomes the world; and the victorious principle which has overcome the world is our faith. Who but the man that believes that Jesus is the Son of God overcomes the world?

Pr 30:5 (NIV) “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

Be Strong In The Lord, By the Power of Grace

1 Cor 16:13 (NIV) Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

2 Tim 2:1 (GLT) …Be empowered by grace in Christ Jesus.

Eph 3:7 (GLT) …I was made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me, according to the working of His power.

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

Col 1:11 (Wey) Since His power is so glorious, may you be strengthened with strength of every kind, and be prepared…

Php 4:13 (NAS) I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

The Battle is The Lord’s

1 Sam 17:47 (NKJ) [David, speaking to Goliath] “Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

Deut 20:3-4 (NIV) …”Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be faint-hearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

Ps 18:32-35 (NIV) It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.

Zec 4:6 (NIV) …”‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Rom 11:36 (GLT) Because of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Bill Warneke in prayer chronic pain.

Remember Sherry, our prodigal church daughter. She’s off the reservation again, doing who knows what.

Salvation list, Lisa M, Tara, Lauren, Nicole, Anne and Drew. Oscar and Cristina, Norma Perales and husband Rick and adult son, Rick Jr.

Pray for Christian growth and good mental health for Crissy M and Dawn.

ARE YOU READY??

July 29, 2020

John-Wayne-p15

The definition of cult varies depending on the source. The Latin word cultus originally meant worship of a god. In the twentieth century, it came to refer to a religious group—oftentimes considering itself Christian—that contradicted essential teaching of biblical Christianity. Alan W. Gomes, a professor of historical theology at Biola University in California, defines the word this way: “A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.” Among these central teachings are “the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the bodily resurrection, the atoning work of Christ on the cross, and salvation by grace through faith. These doctrines so comprise the essence of the Christian faith that to remove any of them is to make the belief system non-Christian.”

Although some think the word cult should be discarded altogether, Gomes believes it should be retained for several reasons. For example, it has an “established history of usage, long before the secular media or social sciences got hold of it,” and it is “well suited to describe theological heterodoxy, which is determined by an absolute, objective, and unchanging standard.” While the word has been used pejoratively, Gomes adds that a label, when applied objectively, can be “exceedingly helpful” because “the purpose here is objective classification. Of course, some or even many cults have unsavory aspects about them, but that must be determined on a case-by-case basis.”

While Mormonism certainly denies important doctrines of the Christian faith, the use of “cult” in a typical dialogue could unnecessarily offend the hearer and possibly hinder what otherwise might be a very positive conversation. At the same time, this hasn’t stopped past LDS leaders from using this term to describe others outside of their faith. Referring to the role of the Mormon leadership, Apostle Mark E. Petersen said, “They will protect you from the false teachings of cultists and splinter groups and from the misleading philosophies of men.” McConkie wrote, “Only when the Church is fed the bread of life are its members kept in paths of righteousness. It is the spiritually illiterate who become cultists and who forsake the faith.”

In a complaint about polygamous groups who call themselves “Mormon,” Apostle M. Russell Ballard told an October 2011 General Conference audience, “Others may try to use the word Mormon more broadly to include and refer to those who have left the Church and formed various splinter groups. Such use only leads to confusion.” How is Ballard’s effort to protect the word “Mormon” any different from professing Christians who want to protect the word “Christian” from those who are doctrinally outside the traditional definition? Regardless, we recommend using the word “cult” cautiously, as it should be used in a descriptive, not an accusatory, manner.

A common complaint among Christians is the difficulty they have trying to get Mormons to be completely candid about their faith. This frustration does not assuage the suspicion many have toward their claim of being Christian it is not uncommon for many Mormons to conceal or disguise their beliefs or, at the very least, insist that controversial teachings from past leaders are nothing more than mere opinion. Apostle Boyd Packer chided LDS Church teachers and historians who “want to tell everything, whether or not it is worthy or faith-promoting. Some things that are true are not very useful.” In his talk, Packer reminded them about their obligation to guard the LDS Church in public matters: “In the Church we are not neutral. We are one-sided. There is a war going on, and we are engaged in it. It is the war between good and evil, and we are belligerents defending the good. We are therefore obliged to give preference to and protect all that is represented in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we have made covenants to do it.”

Mormonism is not Christianity, some guidelines for believers must be followed. According to 2 John 10, anyone who preaches anything other than the true gospel should not be allowed to take a church’s pulpit. This includes ecumenical services where Protestant pastors think nothing is amiss by combining their and Mormon congregations to produce Christmas musicals and sharing the pulpit with leaders of Latter-day Saint congregations.

If the Bible is taken seriously, the flock should not be addressed by false teachers who, according to Jesus in Matthew 7:15, are “ravenous wolves” dressed as sheep. Meanwhile, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:14 that Christians should not be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers; there needs to be a separation between Christianity and other religions. Among other things, this admonition could include the importance of not mixing and matching marriages, business partnerships, and the like, because, as Paul asks, what fellowship “has light with darkness?” Of course, this doesn’t mean that Christians should have an arrogant attitude toward Latter-day Saints. Positive relationships with Mormon family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers are important. Paul associated with Jews and Gentiles alike in order to have the opportunity to share the truth. As 1 Corinthians 9:22 puts it, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”

When it comes to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, we cannot compromise. The word Christian is an important title held dear by many followers of the biblical Jesus. Brigham Young University professor Daniel Peterson summed it up well when he wrote, “Cherry-picking similarities while failing to mention major differences is a powerful way to misrepresent and mislead.” And because words do have meaning, we agree with Princeton theologian B. B. Warfield when he declared, “People who set upon calling unchristian things Christian are simply washing all meaning out of the name. If everything that is called Christianity in these days is Christianity, then there is no such thing as Christianity. A name applied indiscriminately to everything, designates nothing.”

Mormons are elitists, they believe they have a higher revelation and themselves are high priests.

The problem comes down to one thing, the Jesus of Mormonism is not the Jesus of the Bible.

Don’t be deceived.

IS THIS IMPORTANT?

Yes if we care about those that are lost, those that have been deceived will not enter heaven.

Yes, if we believe hell is real and eternal punishment awaits those that do not know the Jesus of the bible.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

We are all called to give an answer, to be a light to those that are lost.

Pray for Colleen and Brittany, salvation.

The Greatest List Ever

July 28, 2020

crown of thorns

WELL WE ALL KNOW HOW I LIKE LISTS, THIS MAY BE THE ULTIMATE LIST.

  1. What is the human condition?

Though created good and made for fellowship with our Creator, humanity has been cut off from God by self-centered rebellion against him, leading to lawless living, guilt, shame, death, and the fear of judgment. This is the state of sin. (Genesis 3:1–13; Psalm 14:1–3; Matthew 15:10–20; Romans 1:18–23; 3:9–23) 2.

  1. What is the Gospel?

The Gospel is the good news that God loves the world and offers salvation from sin through his Son, Jesus Christ. (Psalm 103:1–13; Isaiah 53:4–5; John 3:16–17; 1 Corinthians 15:1–5) 3.

  1. How does sin affect you?

Sin alienates me from God, my neighbor, God’s good creation, and myself. Apart from Christ, I am hopeless, guilty, lost, helpless, and walking in the way of death. (Genesis 3:14–19; Psalm 38; Isaiah 53:6; 59:1–2; Romans 6:20–23)

  1. What is the way of death?

The way of death is a life without God’s love and Holy Spirit, a life controlled by things that cannot bring me eternal joy, leading only to darkness, misery, and eternal condemnation. (Genesis 2:16–17; Deuteronomy 28:15–19; Proverbs 14:12; John 8:34; Romans 1:24–25)

  1. Can you save yourself from the way of sin and death?

No. I have no power to save myself, for sin has corrupted my conscience, confused my mind, and captured my will. Only God can save me. (Psalm 33:13–19; Isaiah 43:8–13; John 3:1–8; Ephesians 2:1–9)

  1. How does God save you?

God forgives my sins and reconciles me to himself through his Son, Jesus Christ, whom he has given to the world as an undeserved gift of love. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ( John 3:16; see also Psalm 34; Zechariah 12:10–13:2; Romans 3:23–26)

  1. Why does God save you?

Because he loves me, God saves me from sin and judgment, so that I may love and serve him for his glory. (Psalm 98; Isaiah 42:5–9; John 3:17; Romans 5:8–10; 2 Corinthians 5:18–21; Ephesians 1:3–14)

  1. Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus is the eternal Son of God, the Savior of the world. Fully divine, he took on our human nature, died on the Cross for our sins, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now rules as Lord and King over all creation. (Numbers 21:4–9; Psalm 110; John 3:13–15; Philippians 2:5–11; Colossians 1:15–20)

  1. Is there any other way of salvation?

No. The apostle Peter said of Jesus, “There is salvation in no one else” (Acts 4:12). Jesus is the only one who can save me and reconcile me to God. (Psalm 2; Isaiah 42:1–4; John 14:5–6; 1 Timothy 2:5–6)

  1. How should you respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

As soon as I receive and believe the Gospel, I should repent of my sins, put faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, and prepare to be baptized. “Now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2; see also Psalm 32; Isaiah 55:6–7; Acts 2:37–39)

  1. What does it mean for you to repent?

To repent means that I have a change of heart, turning from sinfully serving myself to serving God as I follow Jesus Christ. I need God’s help to make this change. (Psalm 51:16–17; Isaiah 57:15–19; Acts 3:19–21; 1 John 2:1–2)

God forgives my sins and reconciles me to himself through his Son, Jesus Christ, whom he has given to the world as an undeserved gift of love. But only believing there is no other way of salvation, faith in the sacrifice of Jesus that He made upon the cross, dying in my place.

  1. What does it mean for you to have faith?

To have faith means that I believe the Gospel is the truth: that Jesus died for my sins, rose from the dead, and rules over my life. Therefore, I entrust myself to him as my Savior, and I obey him as my Lord. (Psalm 40:1–10; Proverbs 3:5–8; John 1:9–13; Romans 10:9–10; Hebrews 11:1, 6)

  1. How can you repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ?

With God’s help, I can acknowledge and turn from my sins, receive the gift of God’s grace in Jesus Christ, and embrace the new life he freely gives me. (Psalm 86:1–7; Joel 2:32; Acts 16:30–34; Romans 10:11–13; Hebrews 12:1–2)

  1. What should you do as the sign of your repentance and faith?

After receiving instruction in the faith, I should be baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, thus joining his Body, the Church. If I have already been baptized, I should confess my sins, seek the guidance of a minister, affirm the promises made at my Baptism, and take my place as a member of the Church. (Psalm 51:5–7; Ezekiel 36:25–27; Matthew 28:19–20; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Peter 3:18–22)

  1. What does God grant in your new life in Christ?

God grants me reconciliation with him (2 Corinthians 5:17–19), forgiveness of my sins (Colossians 1:13–14), union with him in Christ (Romans 6:3–5), adoption into his family (Galatians 4:4–7), citizenship in his kingdom (Ephesians 2:19–21; Philippians 3:20), new life in the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4–5), and the promise of eternal life ( John 3:16; 1 John 5:12).

  1. What does God desire to accomplish in your life in Christ?

God desires to free me from captivity to sin and transform me into the image of Jesus Christ, by the power of his Holy Spirit. (Exodus 33:18–23; 34:29–35; Psalm 27:4, 7–14; Matthew 17:1–9; Romans 6:5–11; 2 Corinthians 3:12–18)

  1. By what means will God transform you into the image of Jesus Christ?

The first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). Following this pattern, I will be transformed within the life of the Church through reading Scripture and receiving the sacraments, through worship and prayer, and through fellowship with God’s people and loving witness to the world. (Deuteronomy 6:1–9; 2 Chronicles 7:1–3; Psalm 1; Acts 2:42–47; Hebrews 10:23–25).

Well, there you go, another great list

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Denny, first day out of prison, in a half way house, got saved while doing a nickel in prison. He’s feeling a little overwhelmed.

Pray for Paul K, he’s at a new stage in his life, many decisions, pray they are all godly decisions.

Pray for Don Q, young Christian college guy, he’s on the front lines of a Marxist, Liberal college, being harassed for being a Christian. September he will be going back, maybe.

Remember Caliste Burt, possible brain surgery in August. A 14 hour surgery. 4 brain tumors, 2 have been removed, 2 they are not sure they can be removed. A great Christian lady.

self control part two

July 27, 2020

first aid case on wall

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

SELF CONTROL PART TWO

(THIS IS A LONG DEVOTION, PARTLY BECAUSE I’VE INCLUDED A LOT OF BIBLE VERSES INCLUDED IN THE TEXT SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOOK THEM ALL UP. AND SECOND, I’M TRYING TO BE AS COMPREHENSIVE AS POSSIBLE SO THERE IS NO MISUNDERSTANDING OF WHO IS RESPONSILBE FOR SELF CONTROL)

In view of both the inward (the cravings of the flesh) and external stimuli (the worldly appeals and temptations from without), it is easy for people to develop life-dominating patterns that literally rule or have mastery over their lives. In the New Testament, two more significant and related terms come into play. These are basileuo, “to reign, have control over, rule” and kurieuo, “to be master over, rule over.” These word are used in Romans 6:12-14 where, based on the Christian’s identification with Christ in His death and resurrection by the baptizing work of the Spirit, the apostle Paul exhorts believers have rule over the appetites of the flesh.

Romans 6:12-14 Therefore do not let sin reign ( basileuo) in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, 13 and do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no mastery over ( kurieuo) you, because you are not under law but under grace.

OTHER TERMS OF SIGNIFICANCE

While the above terms deal specifically with the concepts of control, restraint, rule, and self-mastery, there are many other terms that should perhaps be mentioned because they are related to self-control in some manner, often as cause and effect or root and fruit. These include terms like abstain (1 Pet. 2:11), obey or obedience (Rom. 6:16; 2 Cor. 10:5), submit or be subject (1 Pet. 2:13; 3:1), keep or maintain good conduct (1 Pet. 2:12), lay aside and put on (Eph. 4:22). In essence, any command for obedience to God or conduct that is in keeping with biblical Christianity or godliness is really a call for inward controls by the grace and provision of God found for us in Christ.

For instance, when insulted or treated in an unfair or evil manner, the natural and sinful impulse is to react in some form of retaliation—insult for insult, evil for evil. But God calls upon us to control such impulses by turning the situations over to Him through the application of biblical truth and faith. The following passage from 1 Peter illustrates this for us in two passages:

1 Peter 1:21-25 2:18 Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the perverse. 2:19 For this finds God’s favor, if because of conscience toward God someone endures hardships in suffering unjustly. 2:20 For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God.2:21 For to this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in his steps. 2:22 He committed no sin nor was deceit found in his mouth.2:23 When he was maligned, he did not answer back; when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation, but committed himself to God who judges justly. 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may leave sin behind and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed.2:25 For you were going astray like sheep but now you have turned back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

1 Peter 3:8-12. Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble. 3:9 Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing. 3:10 For the one who wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from uttering deceit. 3:11 And He must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the Lord’s face is against those who do evil.

The essence of self-control, then, is the growing manifestation of the holy qualities and character of the Lord Jesus as Christians seek to exchange their lives, which were formerly dominated by the cravings of the old life, with the new and glorious life of Christ. The means for this is a Word-filled and Spirit-filled life (Col. 3:17; Eph. 5:18).

The Forces Within and the Issue of Control

Below the surface of our lives are certain forces at work, which, if not controlled, can suddenly erupt causing various degrees of damage, depending on the nature and build-up of the pressure. Similarly, earthquakes occur when a build-up of pressure between sections of rocks within the earth’s crust is suddenly released, causing minor or severe vibrations on the surface of the land. The point at which layers of rock shift and reposition in relation to one another is called the focus; this is the energetic center of the earthquake. Directly above the focus, a second point called the epicenter marks the corresponding point of highest-intensity shock on the surface. Shock waves propagate like ripples from the focus and epicenter, decreasing in intensity as they travel outward. Unfortunately, though scientists sometimes can discern the presence of problems and predict the probability of earthquakes, there is nothing they can do to prevent the shifting of the plates of the earth.

The Bible not only points to the presence of inner pressures at work below the surface, but emphatically predicts the problem of constant eruptions in the heart of man. This is spoken of as “doing the will of the flesh and of the mind” according to the cravings of the flesh, a condition that is the result of being dead in sin and by nature, the children of wrath (Eph. 2:1-3). This struggle is spoken of as a continuous struggle in the heart of man. It is an on-going problem that results in misery, defeat and domination (see Rom. 6:12-14; 7:13f; Gal. 5:16; 1 John 2:16).

Unlike earthquakes over which we have no control, people (especially Christians) can have control over the pressures that exist below the surface of their lives. If no control was available, then we might excuse a lack of self-control with the often-heard excuse, “That’s just the way I am.” Such an excuse implies we are not truly responsible for our actions.

The cause of this underlying struggle is spoken of by a number of New Testament terms as outlined below.

THE PROBLEM OF INDWELLING SIN

The term sin is sometimes used by the apostle Paul as a power or force or energy within the heart of man that seeks to rule or control (see Romans 6 and 7).

THE PROBLEM OF LUSTS OR INTENSE DESIRES OF THE FLESH

Another term used by Paul is the lusts or intense desires of the flesh. In this case, flesh refers to that sinful propensity in all of us to attempt to handle life (find happiness, significance, security, etc.) by our own resources apart from God. In Ephesians 2:1-3 and again in 4:16-19, Paul gives us a graphic picture of the unregenerate condition of man under the domination of the flesh. Being dead in sin and without God, man is ruled by the desires or cravings of the flesh.

Ephesians 2:1-3 And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest…

Ephesians 4:17-19 So I say this, and insist in the Lord, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. 19 Because they are callous, they have given themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

THE PROBLEM OF WORLDLY DESIRES

In Titus 2:12, Paul spoke of these inner forces as “worldly desires.” “Desires” is epithumia, “desire, passionate longing.” Though sometimes translated “lusts,” this word in itself is neutral. Desire or passionate longing is not in itself evil. It is the context that determines the nature of the desire. Thus, the apostle qualifies it here with the adjective “worldly.” “Worldly” is kosmikos, which carries the idea of “pertaining to or deriving its standards, values, and motivations from the kosmos, the world system. This is a reference to the organized system in the world that operates under the deception and power of Satan and stands opposed to God and His kingdom, values, and purposes. The significance of this can be seen if we compare kosmikos with pneumatikos, a derivative of pneuma, spirit. Pneumatikos means “activated or controlled by the Spirit.” It speaks of a life patterned or controlled or directed by God’s Spirit rather than by the flesh ( sarkikos) or by the world ( kosmikos).

THE DISTORTION OF PASSION, PLEASURE, PRIDE

In 1 John 2:16, the apostle John described and divided these internal forces into three powerful energies of the inner man or the heart: “the lusts of the flesh,” passion, intense desire, “the lusts of the eyes,” pleasure, and “the boastful pride (arrogance) of life, pride. But again, the problem is not with the presence of passion, pleasure, or even pride which are all God-given, but with their misuse and function within the human heart. The issue is one of management and the objectives involved in their use. This is even true with pride (see Jer. 23:24; Rom. 5:11 [rejoice or boast, take pride in verbally]; 2 Cor. 12:5-7).

THE PRIMARY ISSUE IN SELF-CONTROL

Sometimes the secular and religious world recognize the need of some form of self-restraint to bring the appetites of the flesh under control. This often takes the form of human practices like asceticism (extreme forms of self-denial believing the ascetic life releases the soul from bondage to the flesh) or legalism (keeping a set of human taboos or do’s and don’ts and observing certain ritualistic practices in the vain belief that such is an evidence one has his appetites under control). In essence, no matter what the form (asceticism or legalism or religionism) they all involve the flesh trying to overcome the flesh.

I remember reading about a monk who, while attempting to mortify himself from fleshly indulgences would lie prostrate on the floor for hours on end all the while proudly entertaining the thought of how good and above average he was because of his self-denial. The Lord Jesus Himself warned the religious Pharisees in Mark 7:15: “There is nothing outside the man which going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.”

Thus, the apostle Paul, recognizing such practices are futile to man’s problem and faithless in the completed work and provision of God in Christ, wrote:

Colossians 2:20-23 If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits of the world, why as though you lived in the world do you submit to them? 2:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” 2:22 These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are on human commands and teachings.2:23 They have the appearance of wisdom with their self-imposed worship and false humility, by an unsparing treatment of the body, but they are thoroughly useless when it comes to restraining the indulgences of the flesh.

The issue in self-control from a biblical standpoint is never a matter of (1) denying the legitimacy of passion, pleasure, or pride, or (2) despising these God-given energies, or (3) seeking to obliterate them by some form of self denial. Rather, the issue is their spiritual management, control, and direction by the truth of Scripture, by spiritual union with Christ, and by the enablement of the Spirit. In pointing to the fundamental issue of the way man distorts these energies within, Augustine wrote:

Sin comes when we take a perfectly natural desire or longing or ambition and try desperately to fulfill it without God. Not only is it sin, it is a perverse distortion of the image of the Creator in us. All these good things, and all our security are rightly found only and completely in Him.

This is why covetousness or greed, extreme desire for something, is identified as a form of “idolatry” in Scripture (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5). Greed or covetousness treats the thing coveted (possession, position, praise, pleasure, etc.) as though is has the capacity to do what only God can do.

But even when exercising some degree of self-restraint, Scripture teaches us that the unbelieving world and the carnal Christian live under the domination of the cravings of the flesh (Eph. 2:1-3; 4:16-20). The reason is simply because at the root of the restraint other cravings will be operative as seen in the illustration of the proud monk. Search hard and honestly and one will always find certain selfish or self-centered reasons for the controls that are exercised. An actress or an athlete may exercise extreme self-control or discipline, but the objective is usually for some form of personal glory or prize that is coveted (see 1 Cor. 9:24-25). In other words, some form of worldly craving is really at the core of such self-discipline. Of course, Christians are also not exempt from exercising self-control from the same kinds of selfish motivations. If we were, we would never find admonitions that warn us against worldly behavior like those in Titus 2:11-12 or Ephesians 4:17-21.

Regardless, self-control or its absence is never merely the product of chance or of conditions beyond one’s control for the believer in Christ. Rather, it is the product of certain spiritual dynamics at work through one’s thinking processes involving belief structures, biblical insight, values, priorities, and objectives. Of the terms used in the New Testament for self-control, one such word group ( sophron, sophroneo, sophronos, etc.) suggests this very idea. Sophron, for instance, means “prudence, discretion, thoughtful,” and then “self-controlled.” Sophrosune means (1) “reasonableness, rationality, mental soundness,” or (2) “good judgment, moderation, self-control.” This word group in the New Testament teaches us that self-control is brought about through good judgment, sound thinking or the thinking processes. Though the motives and sources of control should be different for believers, such a dynamic process can be observed in anyone—an athlete, actor, student, or a professional of any kind—who competes or strives for earthly rewards or objectives. Speaking of the sacrifices he was willing to make and the self-restraint he was willing to undergo for the sake of the gospel, the apostle Paul likened his behavior to the dynamic processes that motivated athletes who performed in the stadium:

1 Corinthians 9:23-27 I do all these things because of the gospel, so that I can be a participant in it. 24 Do you not know that all the runners in a stadium compete, but only one receives the prize? So run to win. 25 Each competitor must exercise self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. 26 So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air. 27 Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified.

Ultimately, then, the issue is the self-management of the motivations that direct and control these inward dynamic processes. This leads to a consideration of a key problem that is important in the issue of biblical self-control that is in keeping with the power and kingdom of God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Please pray for Ray M, dementia and heart problems. He is a believer

Pray for salvation for Tara, Lauren and Anne, very unruly, divisive, and will disagree with you on any and all things including the topic of salvation.

There’s Nicole, a very nice young lady, where we have to make sure she’s not agreeing with you just to make you happy.

Remember Bill W, dementia, and chronic pain.

Pray for Candace, severe seizures, they never thought she would live this long without serious brain damage. It is truly a miracle she has lived this long. They are getting less frequent but more severe. A great Christian young lady.

Prayer requests, comments, questions, please feel free to send us an email.

self control

July 26, 2020

3 stooges

In a department store a young husband was minding the baby while his wife was making a purchase. The infant was wailing, but the father seemed quite controlled and unperturbed as he quietly said, “Easy now, Albert, control your temper.” A woman passing by remarked, “Sir, I must congratulate you! You seem to know just how to speak to a baby.” “Baby nothing!” came the reply. “MY name is Albert!”

The mention of the term self-control undoubtedly brings to mind different images for people depending on their particular circumstances. Many probably think of combating dominating habits that can range from the simple to the more complex and debilitating. It may be as simple as a poor diet or a tendency to overeat at Thanksgiving, or to talking too much. It may also be something far more serious like chain smoking, drunkenness, drug abuse, sexual sins (pornography and adultery), a quick temper, a pattern of exaggerating or lying, etc. Others may think of dealing with an abusive spouse, parent, or employer or of dealing with their own tendencies toward losing control and becoming abusive. Others need self-control because they are lazy or have poor work habits while others are workaholics and need self-control to back off and learn to relax.

Regardless, self-control is very much an important part of maturity. One of the basic characteristics of infancy is a lack of self-control. Not only do babies need diapers, they must be carried because they lack the necessary control and muscle coordination to sit up much less walk or run. If a babies are healthy and normal, in time they will develop more and more self-control—a sure sign of growth and maturity.

In our society where so much emphasis is placed on one’s physical appearance, many exercise extreme self-control to maintain a beautiful appearance, but exercise little self-control when it comes to moral issues such as sexual fidelity or honesty in business. For self-control to branch out into every compartment of one’s life, one needs the spiritual dynamics of a deep relationship with the living God as seen in such passages as 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12. Just a casual reading of this passage dramatically demonstrates how faith in Christ, biblical instruction, and the reality of God’s activity, including His discipline on those who disobey, is to transform all avenues of a Christian’s life. This is contrasted with lustful passions of an unbelieving world that does not know God.

4:1 Finally then, brothers and sisters, we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received instruction from us about how you must live and please God (as you are in fact living) that you do so more and more. 4:2 For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 4:3 For this is God’s will: for you to become holy, for you to keep away from sexual immorality, 4:4 for each of you to know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor, 4:5 not in lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God. 4:6 In this matter no one should violate the rights of his brother or take advantage of him, because the Lord is the avenger in all these cases, as we also told you earlier and warned you solemnly. 4:7 For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. 4:8 Consequently the one who rejects this is not rejecting human authority but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

4:9 Now on the topic of brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. 4:10 And indeed you are practicing it toward all the brothers and sisters in all of Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more,4:11 and to aspire to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, as we commanded you. 4:12 In this way you will live a decent life before outsiders and not be in need.

It should be noted that our true spiritual condition is to be measured first and foremost by the inner person, the heart, and not by the external person, the habits. Why? Because habits or overt behavior are the product of the condition of the heart.

Fundamentally, self-control is the ability or power to rule or regulate one’s personal life so that we are neither driven nor dominated, as the apostle John puts it, by the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, or the pride of life (1 John 2:16; see also Gal. 5:19-21). These three, passion, pleasure, and pride, are those forces in the heart of man that energize his behavior patterns. It is to these inner forces that Satan and a fallen world appeal in order to promote a way of life that seeks to exist apart from God. The essence of such self-regulation is the ability to delay or refuse an impulse in the service of biblical truth, values, beliefs, and objectives.

Self-control means to be in control of one’s attitudes or thought processes, desires or passions, and patterns or habits so they do not dictate one’s behavior.

Speaking scripturally, self-control is a matter of the control of the self-life from within by spiritual means, i.e., by God’s weapons of spiritual warfare as described in the Word of God (2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-18; Col. 2:20-23).

This is why Biblical Counseling is so important. Beware the advertisement for ‘Christian Counseling’ 99% are frauds. They will have masters in social work and no biblical training at all. And if they are from a church background it is usually liberal and not evangelical.

To them there is no spiritual power, they equate self control with either will power or good habits or discipline.

As a counselor, when I see a person who’s life is out of control, I know that no matter what they tell me about their spiritual life is almost always a lie or a delusion. A proper spiritual life is marked by self control.

Now I can here some howling from some folks right now that are screaming ‘I have a good spiritual life but I have some control issues how dare you’.

My answer is ‘depends,’ for example; if you are out of control sexually, and yet tell me you are a great Christian, really spiritual, you are either a liar or delusional. Because one of the fruits of the  Holy Spirit is self control.

I’m not saying you are some gross sinner. Most of the people I counsel the number one problem in their life or in their spouse is selfishness. Looking out only for their own wants or needs.

The forgotten message of our day is surrender. To do everything out of love. Marriage problems, selfishness. Rebellious youth, selfishness. Having to win every argument, selfishness.

You see where I’m going with this right?

Good spiritual life, self control. Surrendering your life, self control.

Easy concept, tough to always do.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Thanks to all who are praying for my wife, she is feeling much better today. Blessings.

knowledge, good and bad

July 25, 2020

thinking over feeling

  The most prevalent factor is that many Christians do not know the truth concerning their union with the Lord Jesus in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. All know about His substitution for them, but too few realize their identification with Him. This is mainly due to the fact that the identification truths have long been a neglected teaching in schools, churches and homes.

  Misapplied Knowledge

  There are others, less numerous, who do know their participation in this aspect of the work of the Cross. How ever, after reckoning upon their identification with Christ, they set about to produce its results by self-effort.

  It is not readily understood that only the Holy Spirit can make experiential in us that which is already true of us in Christ. It is His specific ministry to apply the death of the Cross to the old man, and develop the life of the Lord Jesus in the new man. Our responsibility and privilege is to exercise faith in the facts of our identification and to walk in (dependence upon) the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1, 2). “Walk and live habitually in the (Holy) Spirit—responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit; then you will not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16, Amp.)

  Unbalanced Knowledge

  Still others are saying in their hungry hearts, “I know now that I died to the old nature on the Cross of the Lord Jesus, and I confidently reckon upon that liberating truth. But I am not so clear about the second half of the reckoning. I seem to know more about the work of the Cross than I do about my new life in the risen Christ.”

  Be encouraged! Take one thing at a time. The Cross comes first: death to the old precedes the manifestation of life in the new. The years of struggle and failure have not been wasted, but have been governed by His loving hand to prepare the hungry heart for the blessed exchange. By means of His processing there comes a time when the failing believer begins to realize that living in and relying upon the old nature is sin, not just a disappointing inconvenience.

  Living in the old Adam-life is illegal cohabitation; it is spiritual adultery. The believer has been “married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:4). He has to learn that in the old fleshly nature “dwelleth no good thing,” and that even its so-called “righteousness are as filthy rags” (Rom. 7:18; Isa. 64:6).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Hooray, 100 days of no rain ended today and more to come.

Remember my wife Sharon, unfortunately for her major weather changes like we had today affect her vertigo, so she spent a good part of the day hugging the toilet. Hopefully she will wake tomorrow and be weary but balanced.

WHAT IS PRAYER

July 24, 2020

praying mom

Have you ever had a question about prayer that seemed so obvious (at least to everyone else) that you were afraid to seek an answer? If so, you’re not alone. At some point in their spiritual journey every Christian has had questions about prayer. We should not be afraid to search the Bible or ask knowledgeable believers the questions we have about communicating with God.

Here are a few examples of questions you might have been too embarrassed to ask:

➤ What exactly is prayer?—Prayer is an encounter with God and initiated by God when we humbly communicate and worship the Lord, confess our sins and transgressions and ask him to fulfill both our needs and the desires of our heart.

➤ Do I have to get on my knees or close my eyes to pray?—When we look to the Bible, we find that God’s people engage in a variety of positions when they pray. There is no Biblically required position for prayer. Certain postures, however, can be useful aids for prayer because they help us to express reverence and humility when we encounter God.

➤ Are we required to pray?—Yes, Scripture commands that we pray (cf., 1Sa 12:23; 1Th 5:17; Lk 18:1). To fail to pray . . . is not to merely break some religious rule—it is a failure to treat God as God.

➤ Should we pray to the Father, to the Son or to the Holy Spirit?—All prayer should be directed to our triune God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that we can pray to one or all three because all three are God. In Scripture we find examples of believers praying to the Father (see Ps 5:2) and to the Son (see Ac 7:59). We never, however, see an instance in the Bible where anyone prays to the Holy Spirit. Why is that? Because the Holy Spirit does not bear witness of himself but to the Son (Jn 15:26). Nevertheless, because the Holy Spirit is God, we can pray to the Spirit directly.

➤ Does God refuses to hear any prayers?—Yes, God refuses to hear at least a dozen types of prayer, such as prayers of idol worshipers (see Eze 8:18) and prayer requests made by those who refuse to pay attention to God’s law (see Pr 28:9, Zec 7:11–13).

➤ Is it acceptable to repeatedly pray for the same thing?—Yes. In fact, as long as what you are praying for is within the will of God, you are encouraged by Scripture to repeatedly petition God with your request (see Lk 11:5–12; Lk 18:1–7).

➤ What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name?—In John 14:13–14, Jesus teaches us to pray in his name: “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Merely adding the words “in Jesus’ name” to our prayers has no special effect. Jesus is not giving us a magic formula that will force God to answer our prayers. What praying in Jesus’ name means is praying with the Son’s authority and asking God the Father to act upon our prayers because we come in the name of Jesus. Praying in Jesus’ name means the same thing as praying according to the will of God.

➤ What is intercessory prayer?—Intercession is the act of intervening on behalf of someone who is in difficulty or trouble, pleading or petitioning for their case. Intercessory prayer is merely the act of praying—interceding to God—on behalf of someone other than yourself. Just as Jesus prayed for his disciples and other believers (see Jn 17:6–25), Scripture makes it clear that all Christians are to pray for others John 17:6.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Please pray for Kate T, she’s a relatively new Christian and is 19 and wonders what God has in store for her and what direction to go.

Pray for Bob R, just back from the mission field and not sure he’s going back.

Remember Caliste Burt in prayer, she’s had 4 brain tumors, 2 removed, 2 maybe inoperable. Possible surgery in August depending on Covid.

Remember our salvation list.

Allen, our Aryan friend, he’s resigned his church, we are trying to get him into a PTSD, Men’s Retreat, so he can recoup for 30 days.

Pray for Kisnah, she’s got an undiagnosed illness, doctors are stumped.

OUR BIBLE WINNER IS TARANI, FROM AUSTRALIA.

what is faith

July 23, 2020

FAITH PICTURE

What Is Faith?

The word faith is used elusively and does in truth mean different things to different people, though this fact often goes unrecognized.

Some churches—in an effort to be unitive—constantly refer to the faith as a common property held by all who worship, without defining or analyzing its substance, so that worshippers can go for years without any clear notion of what their church stands for.

Theologians rise up to affirm that, in idea at least, faith goes beyond mere orthodoxy (belief of truth) to orthopraxy (living out that truth in worship and service, love to God and man)—and in saying this they are right so far. But when some think orthodoxy sanctions behavior that others see orthodoxy as ruling out, it is clear that agreement about the truth we live by is lacking, and that is what we have to look at now.

Complicating our task is the fact that all varieties of the dimension of life we call religion (Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i, Voodoo, Sikh, New Age, Scientology, and the rest) are regularly lumped together with all the versions of Christianity (Roman Catholic, Orthodox, conservative Protestant, liberal Protestant) as so many faiths. This usage makes it seem that all religions should be seen as essentially similar—which is probably how most post-Christian Westerners do in fact see them, though in the church this is very much a minority idea.

Then, too, we use the word faith for whatever hopes about the future individuals cherish and live by (e.g., that science will save the planet from ruin; that there will not be another economic crash like 1929; that this or that missing person will be found alive; that this or that cancer can be beaten; that every cloud will have a silver lining; and so on). These broader uses of the word grew up as its former Christian precision dissolved away, so that in modern Western speech faith has become a vague term, a warm fuzzy slipping and sliding from one area of meaning to another all the time.

How the Bible Defines Faith

In the New Testament, however, faith is a Christian technical term, specific in meaning as our secular technical terms (computer, dividend, airplane, spanner, appendectomy, syllabus, for example) are specific in meaning, and its New Testament meaning remained specific for Christians till about a century ago. It is something we need to get back to.

What did the apostolic writers have in mind when they spoke of faith? Nothing less than what they took to be the distinctive essence of Christianity: namely, a belief-and-behavior commitment to Jesus Christ, the divine-human Lord, who came to earth, died for sins, rose from death, returned to heaven, reigns now over the cosmos as his Father’s nominated vice-regent, and will reappear to judge everyone and to take his own people into glory, where they will be with him in unimaginable joy forever.

This was “the faith” that was taught and defended against Gnostic syncretists from the start (we see Paul in Colossians and John in his letters actually doing that); soon it was enshrined in creeds, which began as syllabi for catechetical instruction of enquirers; and, with its Trinitarian implications made explicit, it has since then been at the heart of mainstream Christianity everywhere. (The Reformers debated with Roman Catholics as to whether faith brings present justification directly, but no one in the debate doubted that real faith includes all that we have described.)

So faith, that is, believing, is in the New Testament a “two-tone” reality, a response to God’s self-revelation in Christ that is both intellectual and relational. Mere credence—assent, that is, to “the faith”—is not faith, nor is commitment to a God or a Christ who is merely a product of human imagination. Christian faith is shaped, and its nature is determined, entirely by its object, just as the impression on a seal is shaped entirely by a die-stamp that is pressed down on the hot wax.

Not everyone has the same amount of faith, the bible says we are given a measure of faith. Faith can be strengthened, built up, Diminished.

Surprise bible quiz, where in the bible does it say “we are given a measure of faith” try not to use google. Email us at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com and you will win a NIV Men’s Study Bible or a NIV Study Bible.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Salvation prayers for Tara, Lauren, Nicole, Anne and Drew, Oscar and Cristina, Mona, Norma Perales and her husband Rick and adult son Rick Jr.

Remember Caliste Burt in prayer, brain surgery is looking iffy, if the virus doesn’t die down.

Pray for Janet W, not a Christian, started coming to church because she is in much emotional anguish, she is a serial adulterous. Now just ended her 7th marriage. This is the one guy that knew it all and would have stuck it out. But she has done her usual disappearance trick.

July 22, 2020

a garden hoe

  When the Holy Spirit has our root system (as He is the Vine, we are the branches) well enough established, when we begin to exercise faith in the put-down of the old life by the Cross, and when we learn enough of the sin and danger of trafficking with the old nature, then it is that He turns our faith to the True Vine. “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).

  In general, Christians focus upon the death of the Lord Jesus—He died for me. But for the growing believer, His life must be the focal point of faith—“Christ, who is our life.” His is a “justification of life” (Col. 3:4; Rom. 5:18).

  Emphasis upon His death gives assurance of the new birth, but what the believer needs is growth. Growth comes from life, resurrection life. “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection” (Phil. 3:10). My position is in Him at the Father’s right hand, and it is there that I find life and fellowship. Christians who dwell mainly upon His death know little of life—His life.

  Looking upon Him as our life, the Holy Spirit enables us to exchange the old for the new. “And have put on the new man, which is renewed [recreated] in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” “That ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24). In this risen position, hidden and resting in the Lord Jesus, I am on the ground of growth, free to grow up in Him. “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19).

      Dead and crucified with Thee, passed beyond my doom;

Sin and law forever silenced in Thy tomb.

Passed beyond the mighty curse, dead, from sin set free;

Not for Thee earth’s joy and music, not for me.

Dead, the sinner past and gone, not the sin alone;

Living, where Thou art in glory on the Throne.

      If I selfishly cultivate the old ground there will be nothing but a grim harvest of wood, hay, and stubble, “for he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption…” (Gal. 6:8).

      If I sacrificially cultivate the new ground there will be an eternal life-giving harvest, for, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest” (John 12:24, Amp.)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com