SWEET, SWEET SALVATION

October 12, 2021

God freely offers all people the gift of eternal life—the opportunity to know and have a personal relationship with God and to be with him forever—through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. But understanding the exact process by which that life becomes available to us is sometimes difficult. For this reason, God paints various pictures in the Bible to help us grasp the concept and reality of spiritual salvation, each one with its own unique emphasis. This article examines three of those pictures: salvation, redemption and justification.

Salvation. Salvation (Gk sötëria) means “deliverance,” “rescue,” “bringing safely through” or “keeping from harm.” Already in the OT God revealed himself as the One who saves his people (Ps 27:1; 88:1; see Dt 26:8, Ps 62:1, Isa 25:6, 53:5,). The means, or process, of salvation is described in the NT as “the way”—the road that leads through earthly life to eternal life with God in heaven (Mt 7:14; Mk 12:14; Jn 14:16; Ac 16:17; 2Pe 2:2, 21; cf. Ac 9:2; 22:4; Heb 10:20). In order to inherit a place in God’s eternal kingdom (Mt 25:34; Heb 1:14; 6:12), we must walk the road of salvation to the very end of our earthly life. We can describe salvation as one way with two sides and three stages:

(1) The one way of salvation. Jesus Christ is the way—the only way—to God the Father (Jn 14:6; Ac 4:12). God offers and provides salvation because of his grace (i.e., his undeserved favor, love, kindness, help), which he showed through his Son, Christ Jesus (Ro 3:24). God’s gracious gift of salvation is based on Christ’s sacrificial death (3:25; 5:8), miraculous resurrection (5:10) and continued intercession (i.e., mediation, representation) in heaven for us (Heb 7:25). His death paid the supreme and complete price for our offenses against God and provided the only means for us to be forgiven for that sin (Mt 26:28; Lk 24:46-47). His resurrection showed, confirmed and secured his power and authority over life and death. It also provided the means for us to be victorious over spiritual death (Ro 6:4; 8:11) and, in the end, to be raised to eternal life. His constant interceding for us in heaven (i.e., representing and pleading our case to our heavenly Father) assures us of access to God and his continued mercy and help (Ro 5:2; Eph 2:18).

(2) The two sides of salvation. Spiritual salvation is a gift of God’s grace that is received through faith in Jesus Christ (Ro 3:22, 24-25, 28). That is to say, salvation is extended to us by God as a result of his grace (Jn 1:16) and is received by us through the response of faith (Ac 16:31; Ro 1:17; Eph 1:15; 2:8).

(3) The three stages of salvation. (a) The past stage of salvation includes the personal experience that takes place at a point in time when we choose to receive God’s forgiveness for sins and yield our lives to Christ (Ac 10:43; Ro 4:6-8). At this point, we pass from spiritual death to spiritual life (1Jn 3:14; see article on Regeneration: Spiritual Birth and Renewal), from the power of sin to the power of the Lord (Ro 6:17-23), from Satan’s control to God’s control (Ac 26:18). In this way, we enter a new personal relationship with God (Jn 1:12) and are rescued from the final penalty of sin (Ro 1:16; 6:23; 1Co 1:18), which is spiritual death and eternal separation from God.

(b) The present stage of salvation saves us from the practice, pattern and control of sin in our daily lives, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit living within us. This side of salvation includes several elements: (i) It includes the privilege of a person-to-person relationship with God as our Father and Jesus as our Lord and Savior (Mt 6:9; Jn 14:18-23; see Jn 17:3, Gal 4:6,). (ii) It includes the challenge to consider ourselves “dead” to sin and its influence (Ro 6:1-14) and to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:1-17) and God’s Word (Jn 8:31; 14:21; 2Ti 3:15-16). (iii) It includes the invitation to be filled with the Holy Spirit and the command to keep being filled (see Ac 2:33-39; Eph 5:18). (iv) It includes the demand to separate ourselves from sin (Ro 6:1-14) and the corrupt beliefs, behaviors and lifestyles that are common among those who do not know Christ as Savior (Ac 2:40; 2Co 6:17). (v) It includes the call to engage in spiritual warfare for God’s kingdom against Satan and his demons (2Co 10:4-5; Eph 6:11, 16; 1Pe 5:8).

(c) The future stage of salvation (Ro 13:11-12; 1Th 5:8-9; 1Pe 1:5) also includes several elements: (i) It includes rescue and freedom from God’s coming wrath, or condemning judgment, against sin (Ro 5:9; 1Co 3:15; 5:5; 1Th 1:10; 5:9). (ii) It includes sharing in God’s glory (Ro 8:29; 1Co 15:49) and receiving a resurrected and transformed body (1Co 15:52). (iii) It includes receiving eternal rewards for faithfully following Christ and overcoming the trials of the world (see Rev 2:7). This future salvation is the goal toward which all Christians strive (1Co 9:24-27; Php 3:8-14). All present warnings, discipline and punishment prescribed in God’s Word are aimed at keeping Christ’s followers from forfeiting (i.e., giving up, losing) this future salvation (1Co 5:1-13; 9:24-27; Php 2:12, 16; 2Pe 1:5-11; see Heb 12:1, note).

Redemption. The root meaning of “redemption” (Gk apolutrösis) is to be ransomed or bought back or restored by the payment of a price. It also implies being rescued, liberated and set free. The term “redemption” points out the means by which salvation is obtained—by the payment of a ransom. The concept and teaching of redemption can be summarized as follows:

(1) Our sinful condition: The NT describes humans as alienated or separated from God (Ro 3:10-18) because our natural tendency is to defy him and go our own way. Apart from God we are under the influence and control of satanic and evil powers (Ac 10:38; 26:18), we are slaves to sin (Ro 6:6; 7:14) and we are in need of rescue from sin’s guilt, punishment and power (Ac 26:18; Ro 1:18; 6:1-18, 23; Eph 5:8; Col 1:13; 1Pe 2:9).

(2) The price paid to free us: Christ paid and secured the ransom by shedding his own blood and giving his life in our place (Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45; 1Co 6:20; Eph 1:7; Tit 2:14; Heb 9:12; 1Pe 1:18-19). Sin is so opposed to God’s perfect nature and character that it requires the most extreme penalty, which is death (Ro 6:23) and permanent separation from God. There is no escaping that penalty without God’s forgiveness, and “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb 9:22). But only God could provide the perfect and complete payment for sin. He did so through the willing sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death provided the complete payment, and it is sufficient to cover all sin for all time. Those who accept his sacrifice for themselves and surrender their lives to him receive his gifts of forgiveness and eternal life (Jn 3:16; 6:40; Ro 6:23; 1Jn 5:11).

(3) The result of being redeemed: By accepting Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness of sins and surrendering our lives to his authority and purpose, we are freed from Satan’s control and from the guilt and power of sin (Ac 26:18; Ro 6:7, 12, 14, 18; Col 1:13). This freedom from sin, however, does not mean that we can do as we please. Since God has paid the ransom for us, we become his property. Choosing Christ’s freedom from sin makes us willing slaves of God (Ac 26:18; Ro 6:18, 22; 1Co 6:19-20; 7:22-23).

(4) The NT teaching of redemption was foreshadowed and symbolized by various instances of redemption in the OT. The greatest OT redemptive event was the exodus—the miraculous rescue and mass departure of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt (see Ex 6:7, note; 12:26). In addition, through a system of sacrifices, the blood of animals was the price paid for the atonement (i.e., covering over, forgiveness) of sin (see Lev 9:8).

Justification. “To be justified” (Gk dikaioö) means to be “righteous in God’s sight” (Ro 2:13), to be “made righteous” (Ro 5:18-19), to “establish as right” or to “set or put something right.” In a judicial sense, it means to be acquitted or declared “not guilty.” In this respect, it is directly related to God’s forgiveness made available through Christ’s sacrifice. All people are sinners in rebellion and opposition against God. According to his perfect law, we are pronounced guilty and condemned to eternal death. But those who truly repent—who admit their sin, turn from their own way, surrender to Christ and begin following his purposes—enter a right relationship with God. From God’s perspective, when a person accepts Christ’s atoning (i.e., sin-covering, forgiveness-providing) sacrifice for himself or herself, in that moment it is as if that individual had never sinned. God credits Christ’s righteousness to those who receive and follow him (see Ro 4:24-25; Php 3:9). This is what allows God to accept mortal humans into heaven, since no one could ever be good enough to merit or earn a place in heaven on their own. The apostle Paul reveals several truths about justification and how it is accomplished:

(1) Justification (i.e., being put right with God) is only one part of the spiritual “conversion” experience. When a person accepts God’s forgiveness and yields his or her life to Christ, that person’s life is changed from being subject to spiritual death to being guided in a new direction toward eternal life. At that moment, several other things are taking place. First of all, a person receives a new life: he or she is spiritually “born again” (Jn 3:3). Christ comes to live in and through the believer (Gal 2:20). The Holy Spirit also lives in believers, giving the power to overcome sin and live by God’s standards (Ro 8:5-13). The Spirit also confirms that Christ’s followers are God’s children and have an eternal inheritance with Christ (8:16-17). There are many other blessings that come to a Christian at the instant of spiritual conversion. Justification is the part of this experience that makes us right with a completely pure and perfect God. From that point on, however, a Christian must continue to rely on God and obey his Word in order to overcome sin, grow spiritually and serve God’s purposes effectively. In this way, justification marks a starting point on a spiritual journey with Christ. Christians continue to live in a “justified” and right relationship with God as they look to him for forgiveness when they sin and as they rely on him for strength and guidance to accomplish his plans.

(2) Being put right with God is a gift (Ro 3:24; Eph 2:8). No one can make himself or herself right with God by keeping God’s law perfectly (which is impossible) or by performing good works (Ro 4:2-6), “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Ro 3:23).

(3) Being put right with God is grounded in the work of Jesus Christ. It happens “through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Ro 3:24). No one is justified who has not been redeemed by Christ (cf. Gal 2:16) and set free from sin and its power.

(4) Being put right with God comes “by his grace” (i.e., as a result of God’s undeserved favor, love and enablement) and is received “through faith in Jesus Christ” as Lord and Savior—the Forgiver of sins and the Leader of life (Ro 3:22-24; cf. 4:3-5).

(5) Being put right with God is related to the forgiveness of our sins (Ro 4:7). Sinners are declared guilty according to God’s law (Ro 3:9-18, 23) and condemned to eternal death (cf. Ro 3:9-18, 23; 6:23); but they are forgiven through faith in Christ because of his atoning (i.e., sin-covering) death and resurrection (see Ro 3:25 4:5, 4:25; 5:6-11). As a result, they receive God’s gift of eternal life (cf. Ro 6:23; 8:1-3).

(6) When we are put right with God through faith in Christ, we are “crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20) and Christ comes to live in us (Gal 2:16-21). That is to say, we identify with Christ’s death for our sins so that we also can identify with and receive his gift of life and his power to continually overcome our pull toward rebellion against God. Through this experience, we are not only made right with God, but we also continue to grow in righteousness as we continually submit to Christ and allow him to live through us (2:19-21). This ongoing, life-transforming work of Christ is accomplished in us through the Holy Spirit (cf. 2Th 2:13; 1Pe 1:2). Christ’s initial work of spiritual redemption cannot be separated from the Spirit’s ongoing work of spiritual sanctification, which involves purification, perfection, separation from evil, growth and development for God’s purposes. The work of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit are interdependent, cooperative and mutually supporting.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Questions, comments, prayer requests, just saying hello, drop us an email.

Almost forgot our bible quiz winner, Suzanne Meyers, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Elijah and then Elisha, easy way to remember who comes first, “J” before “S”

JUST A LITTLE PRICK

October 11, 2021

Why is America (and the World) not experiencing revival even though many are praying for it?

Ask 10 different preachers, professors, and bible scholars the reason and you might possibly get 10 different answers.

Some believe that man can do nothing to bring about revival. That it is strictly in the providence of God, His schedule, His calendar, and nothing we can to can change that. And there is some truth in that.

Charles Finney one of the greatest American Evangelists that ever lived felt that way but with a plus. If a church, each and every member would deeply repent of their sins, then God might grant such a revival.

Therefore, if a person believes there can be human participation working hand in hand with God, then there can indeed be a revival.

Since there has not been a revival and people every where are praying for one there is only two possible answers. One, it is not in God’s calendar, perhaps we have gone to far in the wrong direction and/or two, people (Christians) are not genuinely repenting of their sins.

Many understand the term repentance to mean “a turning from sin.” Regretting sin and turning from it is related to repentance, but it is not the precise meaning of the word. In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.” The Bible also tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8–14; Acts 3:19). In summarizing his ministry, Paul declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20). The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.

Repentance involves recognizing that you have thought wrongly in the past and determining to think rightly in the future. The repentant person has “second thoughts” about the mindset he formerly embraced. There is a change of disposition and a new way of thinking about God, about sin, about holiness, and about doing God’s will. True repentance is prompted by “godly sorrow,” and it “leads to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10) and in our thinking it can also lead to Christians having a revival.

In the Bible, repentance results in a change in behavior. That is why John the Baptist called people to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). A person who has truly repented of his sin and exercised faith in Christ will give evidence of a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:19–23; James 2:14–26).

No repentance, no revival.

Here is the dangerous part, not soul damning, but soul hardening.

If God has called us as a nation, meaning first of all YOU as an individual and the Holy Spirit told you which specific sin to give up and you did not become obedient, then you/we have hardened our heart and we will reap what we sow and it will not be a revival.

Think it over, is all that you do, think and act, pleasing to God?

NO REPENTANCE, NO REVIVAL.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Keep Margie in prayer, still in great spirit, still smiling, but her body is losing the fight, slowly but gradually. But what a testimony is shining through her. Many nurses have been touched by her sweet spirit and quoting of so many bible verses for each person.

Pray for Kaylee, a young (19) run away woman. Such a tale of sorrow. Needs salvation, needs healing, needs to let law enforcement do its part. Heartbreaking. We have her staying with Crissy, who is no stranger to abuse and will let Kaylee stay as long as she wants.

Less pain today, thank you for your prayers. I could actually walk today with out a cane or a walker.

Keep Steve H in prayer, guidance, encouragement, vim and vigor. For his wife Pam, we are praying for God to completely heal her knees.

KNOW AND OBEY

October 1, 2021

Know and Obey to Be Happy in Jesus

1 JOHN 2:3–11

Main Idea: True followers of Jesus will have assurance in their salvation because they know, love, and obey Him.

  1. Obey Christ’s Commands and Enjoy the Assurance of Salvation (2:3–6).

  2. You will know that you know Him (2:3–4).

  3. You will know His love perfectly (2:5).

  4. You will know you are abiding in Christ (2:6).

  5. Love One Another and Walk in the Light of Salvation (2:7–11).

  6. God’s love has been with us since conversion (2:7).

  7. God’s love is seen most truly in Jesus and His followers (2:8).

  8. God’s love exposes the darkness of hatred (2:9–11).

Is it possible to know God and to live like the Devil? Is it possible to truly know God and have no life change? Adrian Rogers answered these questions this way: “Study the Bible to know about God. Obey the Bible to really know God” (Adrianisms, 33). The apostle John would agree. He explained in 1 John that it is one thing to say you know God, but it is another to really know Him. To help us be “sure that we have come to know Him” (2:3), John provides a threefold test that he returns to again and again in this letter. We can put them in the form of three questions. First, do I believe the right things about Jesus? We may call this the theological test. Second, do I obey the commands of God? This is the moral test. Third, do I love others? This is the ethical test. John addressed the theological test in 1:5–2:2. Now he will address the moral test in 2:3–6 and the ethical test in 2:7–11. His goal is that you and I would live in the assurance of our salvation and thereby be happy in Jesus all the days of our lives.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Keep Caliste Burt in prayer, she has been having headaches, with 2 inoperable brain tumors it is not always easy to tell allergies from something more serious. So more testing is coming up.

Remember Margie in prayer, according to the doctors she was supposed to be dead by now, well she is not out playing golf, but neither is she dead. Still up and around and still has that great sense of humor.

Keep Steve H, in prayer, vim and vigor, encouragement, guidance. We are all believing God to heal Pam of her knee pain.

Prayer is a surprising strategy for changing the world. Sometimes our prayers feels weak. We feel awkward trying. So we neglect prayer.

if we feel inept at prayer, it is because of our relationship to God. If we have been distant and negligent in our prayers, then they will feel the same way. We may need to have an individual revival in order to draw nearer to God. The best way to do this is to get a bible promise book and start reading all the promises God has made to us. He made those promises because He loves us and desires nothing more than to be close to us.

The second thing we need to do is discover a lost art in prayer. I can not remember a living preacher broaching this subject. Waiting on God in prayer. If you prayed 5 minutes than you should be silent and wait on God for Him to answer. Imagine talking to a loved one on the phone and asking a bunch of questions and then hanging up before they could ever answer.

Third, we need to plan, execute, evaluate, adjust, get better at it, and keep going in our prayer life. Like lifting weights. You will not gain strength or muscle if you do not increase the weight and intensity. We should do the same in prayer. We should also pray before, during, and after everything else we do. I am always amazed at the resistance I get in my prayer seminars from Christians who refuse to believe or put into practice praying about everything we do. The example I always give is, “do you pray before you go grocery shopping, that you do not over spend and the things you buy are actually good for you.” When I mention idea I hear “that is utter nonense.” But yet the bible says we are to bring all things to Gd in prayer. People who resist this idea are the same ones that have a boxed in God, He is allowed into some parts of our lives but not all.

Why so much prayer? For two reasons.

First, we’re picking a fight with demons: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness” (Eph. 6:12). What would you think of soldiers who go up against enemy tanks with squirt guns? That’s us—without prayer. We’re not just fighting websites. We’re fighting the unseen forces that put their dazzling, blinding powers on the surface of porn’s hideous evils.

In a way, I find the Bible’s teaching about Satan comforting. It means that we human beings aren’t responsible for all the evil in this world. But it’s also sobering. It’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “Deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13). Washington can’t do that for us. But God can. Only God can.

Which gives us a second reason for saturating every effort with prayer: we’re fighting our battles by God’s strategies. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4 NIV). We don’t have to get mean. We have prayer. The early Christians understood that, and it’s why they kept winning—against the odds. For example, the apostle Paul wrote, “Strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf” (Rom. 15:30). And this “striving” language means fighting, struggling. It’s how we call on God to send in the reinforcements only he commands against powers only he can defeat.

Think of your King this way, and you’ll pray more confidently.

The Lord Jesus Christ reigns today. He is in the control room of the universe. All the sins of man and machinations of Satan ultimately have to enhance the glory and kingdom of our Savior. We have become too enemy-conscious. We need to be more God-conscious, knowing that we have power over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). He has already lost control because of Calvary, where the Lamb was slain.

So let’s pray not just against the allure of porn but also for the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13). We think, The better the gift, the less God is willing to give it. But the truth is the opposite. “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit . . .” We don’t have to deserve the Holy Spirit, but we do have to ask: “. . . to those who ask him!” God is calling us into a lifestyle prayer so that we experience lifelong power. Real kingdom advance isn’t mechanical or automatic, like an assembly line with us pushing buttons and in control.

Real kingdom advance is personal—our King himself drawing near to you and your brothers, sensitive to you, listening to you. It’s you guys asking him for his power again and again. What he’s after is not just a whole new world of nobility but a whole new world of nobility so obviously miraculous that you’re blown away by what only he can do. Prayer is where that miracle keeps happening.

You can start each day with a simple prayer for yourself. Like this: “Lord, I needed you yesterday. I need you again today. You’ve given me a task that’s beyond me. So please increase my faith both right now and that it will grow, however you see my need. Thank you. In your holy name. Amen.” It isn’t complicated. It’s just the Lord’s Prayer—“Your kingdom come”—in your own words. It will work, not because you’re twisting God’s arm but precisely because you don’t have to twist his arm. Not because your words are convincing but because your Father is willing.

You can pray also for worldwide awakening. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see the next historic revival starting deep inside the porn industry? I have no time for “revival” if all it means is some nice suburban church improving its comfortable lifestyle while easing into heaven on cruise control. The revival I’m praying for is the risen King coming down into the lowest hell of porn and gently forgiving the bosses, the investors, the videographers, the performers, the website managers, the advertisers, the users, and everyone driving that engine of oppression. Our King can pour out upon anyone a joy they’ve never known. And I will never stop praying for that. Will you join me?

If we ask for that mighty blessing, I’ll be shocked if Jesus says no.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Questions, comments, prayer requests, testimonies, just want to say hello, I’m always excited to get pictures of where you live or pictures of how you mark your bible.

Do you actually believe you are changing?

You have to believe in change, you have to believe that God can change you. You have to delete unbelief from your life.

Now, you believe in change, you can see it, measure it. It may be small victories at first but they are still victories.

Along the way, how are you changing? Where were you before, and where are you now? That story deserves to be told.

Why not compose a simple narrative of your before-and-after—not how Jesus saved you in the past but how Jesus is helping you in the present. Be ready to share it with anyone at any time. Your story—the more vulnerable, the better—might earn you a longer conversation at another time.

Your experience will give hope to men who are drifting. They feel stuck. They want out. But they can’t see an exit sign anywhere in their world. That’s where you come in. Tell them how you’re breaking free. Many men will join you and your brothers. It starts with small talk—which is a big deal. How about sitting down at your laptop and thinking it through? Your goal is “a good story well told.” So make your words modest, few, and from the heart. When a friend does you the honor of listening, just tell him, in a forthright, gentle way, how Jesus is surprising you. It is very loving to open a new door for someone else, whether or not he decides to walk through it.

And humor helps. Laughter can’t be pompous. And surely your story has some hilarity built into it. Capitalize on that. Who expects a Christian story to include laughing at ourselves? But it should. I speak at a lot of men’s meetings and conventions. I always dress down a little bit and make my speech a little rough or course, no swearing, just honest, guys in the garage talking. No church speak. It is amazing how many men come up and say; “if you are a pastor,, then how come our pastor never talks to us this candidly?”

Doesn’t everyone need a hope bigger than their own idiot moments? And how can the porn industry thrive in a world where more and more men are talking Jesus up—and enjoying it—rather than dragging women down?

When I do group therapy for violent sex offenders in prison, I record the conversations. They all know it will not be used in court; I give them a contract which I sign declaring my confidentiality. Then I play it back and make one comment, “when you were seven, would you ever describe your mom like this?” It is like hitting a guy upside the head with a hammer, they realize they have devalued women.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Betty C. her son who is mentally ill, was shot and killed by the police today because he did not understand their commands to put the gun down.

Remember J.C. Hickman in prayer, fellow biker, battling cancer.

Pray for Lauren, salvation and the most self destructive person I have ever met. She is on the edge and does not realize it.

Keep Steve H in prayer, vim and vigor, guidance at a new phase in his life or we should say assurance and encouragement. Pam his wife needs healing of her knees.

Linda, salvation, and very simple, if she does not stop drinking she will die and soon.

YOUR BATTLE AGAINST PORN

September 25, 2021

Photo by Maria Pop on Pexels.com

I became a licensed sexual addiction counselor in 1991. Since then I’ve seen hundreds of men gain victory over pornography. I believe the battle against porn is tougher than the battle against heroin or any other drug addiction. And please do not think I am just some Ivy League theorist, I have conquered both wars through my relationship with Christ. It is a winnable war. But it is a war that you must wage forever, and it means a complete change in lifestyle to win.

Here’s your biggest contribution to God’s new world. Just be a man of growing integrity. Who you are deep in your heart empowers what you do out in the public eye.

Your personal goal is nothing less than to be “a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21). As your Master shapes you into that vessel for honorable use, the devil’s world of oppression loses ground, more than you can see. The crucial battle is won deep within you. Then you’ll be ready for whatever public impact he plans to give you.

Not that it’s easy. This old poem tells us, in blunt language, how the Lord hammers on us for his royal purposes:

When God wants to drill a man

And thrill a man

And skill a man

When God wants to mold a man

To play the noblest part

When He yearns with all His heart

To create so great and bold a man

That all the world shall be amazed,

Watch His methods, watch His ways!

How He ruthlessly perfects

Whom He royally elects!

How He hammers him and hurts him

And with mighty blows converts him

into shapes and forms of clay

Which only God can understand!

How He bends but never breaks

When his good He undertakes

How He uses whom He chooses

And with mighty power infuses him

With every act induces him

To try His splendor out!

God knows what He’s about.

Stay there on his anvil, Son, however his hammer falls. It’s a hard place. But it won’t make you hard. It’s where God reshapes you for the gentle authority that moves history.

The men who chip away at the porn industry will be the men who’ve had their own rough edges knocked off.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Scumlikeuschurch has one goal, spiritual growth.

There are only three things you need to grow as a Christian.

KNOWLEDGE

BELIEF

OBEDIENCE

Short and sweet, there is a level of ignorance never seen before. In the bible, the book of Hosea, 4:6, “my people perish from a lack of knowledge.”

To many churches today are making the bible non-relative to the congregation, it is now being presented as fables, allegories, myths, vague instructions from a limpid god.

I am always amazed when people come in for counseling and I say, “let’s see what the bible has to say about this.”

The most common response, “we did not know the bible talked about this.”

Because of a lack of knowledge about God’s word the world is believing every lie and untruth out there.

After consuming the Word of God, we must believe it is true and the path to righteous living. I know orators that can quote whole books of the bible, but amazingly do not believe any of it to be relative to today’s world.

Adam and Eve real, Noah and the Arc, real, angels and demons, real. Crossing the Red Sea, real.

Jesus dying on a cross for you, a substitution for you, the gift of salvation, real.

And last but not least, and here is the world’s biggest problem, OBEDIENCE.

We will do anything but be obedient. Because being obedient means being submissive to a higher power. It means being held accountable for our actions.

In my over 45 years of ministry I have heard this more than a couple of times; a husband is sexually abusing his wife, I confront him, his response, “you and God have no right to interfere with what goes on in the bedroom.” Really, the bible says the opposite.

Three simple terms, knowledge, belief and obedience. Without them we will never see a revival.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

SINNER MAN

September 21, 2021

  “I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8).

  When the believer first becomes aware of the sinful self-life, he often makes the mistake of attempting to deal with its symptoms. He struggles to curb his sins and tries to live righteously. The resultant failure (hopefully)leads him to reliance upon the work of the Cross and not more legalism, which is effectively applied to the root of the matter by the Holy Spirit. The old life is crucified; the new life is manifested.

We are apt to think that what we have done is very bad, but that we ourselves are not so bad. God is taking pains to show us that we ourselves are wrong, fundamentally wrong. The root trouble is the sinner; he must be dealt with. Our sins are dealt with by the Blood, but we ourselves are dealt with by the Cross. The Blood procures our pardon for what we have done; the Cross procures our deliverance from what we are.

It is for want of a complete or adequate realization of the meaning of the Cross, that so many Christians are carnal, or try to live for God out of themselves. This goes to the root of the ever-present weakness and poverty of spiritual life. There is much prayer for ‘revival,’ and much effort for ‘the deepening of the spiritual life.’ The only answer to this is a new knowing of the Cross, not only as to sins and a life of victory over them, but as to Christ as supplanting the natural man.

Temptation is conquered by practicing the faith in our crucifixion on the cross. Not of works, nor restrictions, but knowing I have died to sin on the cross.

  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Keep Steve H in prayer, encouragement and development, blessing and vim and vigor. Healing of this wife Pam’s knees.

Did not hear from the doctor today regarding Matthew’s MRI and blood work.

Pray for Lauren, salvation before self destruction

Remember Nicole in prayer, 31 weeks pregnant and in hospital with covid.

Pray for Kimberly, her husband of 61 years finally passed into glory. how he did suffer these last 4 years. Not that I enjoy funerals, but I rather remember the passing of a saint than trying to paint a better picture of an outright rank sinner that the family paid you “extra” to  get him into heaven. wink wink

OH, LORDY I’M SO TIRED

September 15, 2021

I’m So Tired, I want To Get Home

by E.M. Bartlett

1922, Stamps Baxter music

  1. 34 in Favorite Songs and Hymns

1 I am on my way to the land of day, I am going there I know,

I have journeyed long in this pilgrim way, I have suffered here below,

Now my time has come to enter in, Soon on earth no more I’ll roam,

I have come so far on this gospel road, I’m so tired, I want to get home.

chorus

I’m so tired, I want to get home, To that land of rest and peace,

Where I’ll live with loved ones forever more, ‘Mid the joys that never cease;

I have come so far on this gospel road That I long for Heaven’s dome,

I have borne these years, such a heavy load, I’m so tired I want to get home.

 

2 Long has been my stay and my work for God, He has blest me in the way,

He has kept me straight in the narrow road, Has been with me ev’ry day;

Now my voice to me is sweet indeed As He calls for me to come,

I am ready, waiting to leave this world, I’m so tired, I want to get home.

 

3 I have fought the fight, I have kept the faith, And my course is finished now,

This tired soul of mine longs for rest, sweet rest, To His will I can but bow;

Jesus calls for me and I must go, Soon I’ll land in Heaven’s dome,

These tired feet of mine will find sweet relief, I’m so tired, I want to get home.

Weariness, it is the curse of those in the ministry, first responders, nurses and doctors. Who refreshes us?

We hear a lot today about stress and burnout, especially in ministry. It’s a complex problem that includes many factors that I cannot delve into in this message. Sometimes burnout stems from faulty time management or from being over-committed. Sometimes it results from trying to do it all yourself and not delegating properly. Our text does not deal with these aspects of the problem, nor will I. But it does give us two principles that offer significant help in preventing spiritual burnout:

The work that God gives us is to be His lampstand, both corporately and individually. The only way that we can fulfill that task is by depending on the continual supply of the oil of God’s Spirit. In that way, we will burn for God without burning out.

Zechariah’s fourth vision (chapter 3) encouraged Joshua the high priest with the message: “God will cleanse His chosen people through Messiah and use them to serve Him.” His fifth vision (chapter 4) encouraged Zerubbabel, the civic leader, with the message: “The temple that you have begun will be completed and My people will become a light unto the nations under Messiah. This will not be accomplished by human effort, but by My Spirit.” In the fourth vision we saw the cleansing that is necessary before anyone can serve God. In the fifth vision we see the testimony that results from a cleansed and Spirit-filled life. While our text will ultimately be fulfilled with Israel in the Millennium, it also applied to God’s people in Zechariah’s day and it applies to us as we seek to be God’s light to the nations.

Zechariah saw a lampstand of gold with seven lamps and a bowl at the top, which served as a reservoir for the oil. Two olive trees, each with a branch, stood beside the lampstand. A golden pipe extended from each branch to the bowl so that the golden olive oil poured from the tree. Out of the reservoir or bowl (according to most commentators) came 49 spouts or pipes, seven to each of seven lamps on the lampstand. This lampstand was similar to the one that stood in the holy place of the tabernacle, with three exceptions: (1) the bowl on top of it; (2) the seven pipes to each lamp; and, (3) the two olive trees. These additions point to the abundant, continual supply of oil to the lamps. In the temple, the priests had to keep the lamps full of oil, but in this vision, the supply of oil flowed constantly without help from any man.

The lampstand signifies the important task that God gives to His people to be a light to the nations, to reveal God and His truth to those who walk in darkness. The oil that flows in continual abundant supply so that the lamps can go on burning symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The two olive trees represent the priestly and kingly offices in Israel, with the two branches being Joshua and Zerubbabel. Together these two anointed ones were a type of the Lord Jesus Christ in His offices of Priest and King. Jesus is God’s Anointed One (that’s what “Messiah” or “Christ” means), who provides the Holy Spirit in abundant supply to His people.

The Lord encourages Zerubbabel (4:7-9) by assuring him that in spite of the mountain of problems in rebuilding the temple, he would finish the task. This would confirm to all of God’s people that He had sent His Messiah-Servant (“me” in 4:9b), in the person of the angel of the Lord, to His people. The old timers, who were disparaging this temple in comparison to the former one, should not despise the day of small things (4:10). Under God’s perfect providence (the seven eyes of the Lord, which range over the earth to watch over His people), the project will be completed.

We tend to burn out when we lose motivation, and we lose motivation when we lose perspective on the importance of the work to which God has called His people. That work involves being God’s lampstand to the world (see Rev. 1:12-20). It involves building God’s temple where His light shines forth. The world ought to see Christ, the light of the world, both in Christians individually and in the church corporately.

We burn out when we run out.

The oil of God, the anointing work of the Holy Spirit, being filled with the Spirit.

  1. Vernon McGee said it best, “sin will keep you from your bible and the bible will keep you from sin.”

I have a weird collection of antique yard sticks (rulers). Every hardware store in the nation had a yard stick with advertisements on them. Portable billboards.

Keeping a constant awareness of how full we are keeps us from burnout. An honest assessment, do we do devotions, do we do bible study, do we go to church, do we give generously to God, do we witness. Each one of those statements could have been a question. They are all increments of our spiritual life.

To me witnessing is the touchstone of all measurements. If you are full of the Holy Spirit, your mind filled with bible verses, an active and vibrant relationship with your Savior, then you will be overflowing with encouragement, and you cannot help but be witness to Christ.

One task of being a minister that I sincerely disliked was doing funerals for strangers. I did not do them often but occasionally it would happen. I had a family I did not know, who said they attended my church years before I came there, said their grandfather died and here was $200 to preach him into heaven.

You know you are in trouble when you have the mourners passing by saying things like; “did you know he was a Christian?”

So is your cup running over or is it half full or completely dried up?

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for salvation for Anne, Drew, Oscar, Cristina, Tara, Lauren, Cheyenne, Nicole, Tavon, Philip, Lubbock, James, Hunter, Garrett.

Pray for Caliste Burt, 4 brain tumors, 2 removed, 2 inoperable, for the first time in 5 years she is not smiling and unwillingly to talk about what is happening. Think about how well you would be doing with a time bomb in your brain.

BOMBS AND ROSES

September 11, 2021

First let me apologize to the folks who follow on twitter, I just now figured out how to respond to certain messages. And this is my standard response, “hi, I’m a pastor and husband of 47 years, and I am still trying to figure out how to use twitter, if you have seen our scumlikeuschurch devotions I hope they are a blessing.”

I still do not know what all the abbreviations mean and have no desire to find out. I am on the internet maybe 15-20 minutes top each day.

Number one non spiritual question asked, “how do you manage to write everyday, for over 8 years a daily devotion with hardly ever missing a day.”

First, I have been a professional writer for over 30 years. Text books, encyclopedia articles, mentoring Ph.D.’s with their dissertations.

Second I have styles of writing, professional, staid, straitlaced, academic, (no mistakes). Works of fiction or biographies a little more casual, less formal. Devotional works, kind of sloppy, I do not always check them for grammar or even spelling, because I do not want to over think what I am writing because it is more from the heart and less from the head (not really) but kind of.

As a good friend of mine has said about my devotionals they cover the good, the bad and the ugly in content. Meaning some of the devotions are gems, some are coal, and others just stink.

Having read back through 40+ years of sermons, I some times think “oh, these dear poor folks, that had to sit through these.”

The wonderful thing about spiritual writings such as sermons or devotionals, you can think you have bombed, I mean really gutted the cat, and someone will come up to you and say “you have no idea how that blessed me” or “I feel like you have been looking in my windows”.

I have shared a pulpit with some powerful, famous, even legendary preachers and it is humbling and a blessing when a mentor or a leader comes up and says, “do not ever stop, you have the gift.”

So for all you folks just getting started I have one word of advice, “learn to be a perpetual student of all that is holy and of the Lord and your well will never run dry.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com