Julian

December 1, 2018

Which calendar shapes your life?
If you’re a student (or a parent) the school calendar has a profound influence on your life. Much of your schedule will revolve around the semesters, spring and summer breaks, and other events that fill the year. Similarly, if you’re a worker your year might revolve around tax day, national holidays or fiscal-year planning.

Throughout history, people have aligned their lives around a communal schedule. For the Hebrews, the calendar centered on the appointed festivals of the Lord (see Lev 23:2), which included the Sabbath, Passover, and the Festival of Weeks, among others. (which also is calendar of all the major events of Christ’s life)

The Christian church followed a similar pattern, centering their calendar on feast days such as Epiphany and Christmas. The Gregorian calendar, the most widely used civil calendar, was even created in 1582 to make scheduling of Easter more consistent. Today, many churches follow the pattern of the Puritans, who believed following the Christian year calendar (also called the liturgical or church calendar) violated their liberty of conscience (many Puritans refused to celebrate any holidays besides the Lord’s Day).

But even if your particular tradition doesn’t follow the Christian calendar, here are two reasons you might want to observe it for your own spiritual benefit:
1. To center our focus on Jesus—Instead of having our calendar focus on national holidays or sports seasons, the Christian calendar shifts our focus to the key events in the life of Jesus.

“The Christian Year is fundamentally a way to sanctify time and define our lives according to the unfolding narrative of redemption by structuring the year around the central redemptive acts of God in the Messiah.”
2. To reorder our spiritual lives—The Christian calendar can serve as a helpful framework for our spiritual disciplines. By ordering our lives around the major seasons of the Christian year, our focus shifts from the temporal to the eternal. Spiritual formation activities, such as prayer and Bible reading, are easier to fit into a calendar that emphasizes Christ.

So there is a topic you may never thought of before in your spiritual walk.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

keep praying for Richard Perales, SR. and JR. his mom says that the changes occuring in them has been incredible.

Housekeeping note, questions, comments, prayer requests, send to our email address please.

Pray for Todd B, severe spinal degeneration.

 

Stay my soul on Him

November 30, 2018

Resurrection-Doubting-Thomas

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:18). For the last two months, I’ve been really trying to live up to this verse, easy in theory, tougher in reality.

  Relief from pressure may seem merciful, but support in the pressure produces growth and maturity.

There is a greater blessing for us than relief; there is the Father’s support, for it imparts to you an acquaintance with Himself which relief does not. Relief makes one more satisfied with things here. I have known some who could tell you of a long list of mercies, most touching, truly proof of the tenderness of God.

Thank God, we all know something of His tenderness. But then there is a greater blessing, namely, that He does not remove the pressure, but raises you above it, so that, though you are not relieved, you are better off than if you were merely relieved, because you know His heart who supports you in the pressure. You have made a deep acquaintance with your Father, and your heart is more attached to Him.

 It is not getting away from our circumstances, our environment, our associations, that we need, but the need for our Lord Jesus’ likeness where we are. The Father placed us there, permitted the trials for a purpose, and He stands ready to bring us out into a life of liberty, if we will stand with Him in trust and endurance while He works it out.”

Have you asked to be made like your Lord; that it might be ‘not I, but Christ’? Have you longed for the fruit of the Spirit, and have you prayed for patience and love? Then fear not the stormy tempest that is at this moment sweeping through your life. A blessing is in the storm, and there will be a rich blessing in the ‘afterward.’

  “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).

Steady on, stay the course, there are plenty of slogans of that ilk, but they pale to the bible verses God lays in our heart in the darkest hour of the soul.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Richard Perales, dad and son, great changes have come into their lives, pray the see the hand of God.

Pray for Karey P, that she sees the need for salvation and that Jesus is the only way.

Pray for Xonia, recovering from a hernia surgery. She’s doing better than anyone expected.

Pray for Steve L, dealing with his mom’s downward spiral.

Pray for all the families we know that have been touched by dementia.

the good and godly marriage

November 29, 2018

What are characteristics of a godly marriage? What should we be aiming for when we are looking for a wife or a husband for those who are single? Understanding what a godly marriage looks like is very important so we can prepare for it.

It is good to remember that when God made man in his image (Gen 1:27), he made a husband and wife yoked together as one flesh (2:24). This means that the marriage relationship is a model of God and specifically the Trinity. When a marriage does not function properly, it mars the image of God and it breaks down every aspect of society.

For this reason, from the very beginning of creation, the home has been under attack. Satan attacked the home by tempting Adam and Eve in the garden. He attacks the home because it destroys the image of God, and therefore, our societies become farther and farther away from God, as the family decays and erodes. The family is the foundation of society, so when the home falls, the church falls, and when the church falls, the nation falls.

It’s not enough to have just a good marriage, it must be good, and it must be godly.

After being married for 44 years and being a pastor and marriage counselor for 40 years, let me give you a few tips.

  1. Do everything together, no separate vacations, no separate bank accounts, no secret post office boxes or secret credit cards. Trust me, this can be the straw that breaks the camels back.

  2. Your spouse is your best friend, you enjoy each other’s company, you have great conversations, learn hobbies to do together

  3. Respect the differences.

  4. Keep your sex life sacred, holy, godly. No porn, no sex toys, no acting out fantasies, no kinks. You cross a sexual boundary and your marriage will begin to crumble.

  5. To the newlyweds, or yet to be wed. your past sex life is your past sex life. You don’t lie about your virginity or lack of, but don’t share sex stories of your past. You can be honest but not vivid.

  6. Pray together, read your bibles together. Men be the godly leaders that God intended you to be. You the man, you do family devotions, you don’t skip church because you played to hard on Saturday.

  7. Don’t run you family like a democracy, kids don’t get to vote.

  8. Eat dinner at the table all together, no tv on.

  9. Set a time when all electronics are in a box.

There are hundreds of more tips but start there.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Karey, that she would find the Lord and be led out of the JW’s

Pray for Ron P, upcoming heart surgery

Pray for Glenda and Stacey, they just lost their brother.

I FORGIVE YOU

November 26, 2018

christ on cross

In relation to forgiving others, there are always two dimensions involved: the Godward or vertical element, and the manward or horizontal element.

In relation to God: All sin against others is first of all a sin against God because it is a transgression against the law of God to love one another. Therefore, when we sin against another human being, we must first confess the sin to God.

In relation to men: In the horizontal relationship, we have a dual set of obligations: those of the offended party (the one sinned against), and those of the offending party (the one sinning against another).

THE OFFENDING PARTY

THE OFFENDED PARTY

Vertical responsibility—Confess to God the sin against the other party

Responsibility—Forgive the offending party

Horizontal responsibility—Ask forgiveness and seek reconciliation with the person offended. This can include making restitution.

Responsibility—If necessary for unity, healing, restoration, etc., go to the offending party to seek reconciliation and restoration.

The offended party, as a forgiven person in Christ, has a two-fold obligation. First, he or she is to show the same unqualified forgiveness they received from Christ. This is the point of the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:23-35. Second, if the offending party does nothing, then in obedience to Scripture and for the purpose of unity, restoration, and healing, the one offended should go to the offending party to correct the problem even if it means rebuke (Luke 17:3-4). If the offending party does not repent, then the offended party may need to follow the procedures of Matthew 18. This, however, never means the right to harbor resentment or anger.

If God by His grace and mercy has forgiven us such an enormous debt, one we could never pay because of our own sinfulness, how much more shouldn’t we forgive others the debts or sins against us as mere fellow-servants regardless of how much we have been hurt. What we suffer cannot compare to what Christ suffered for us. But forgiving others is never to be viewed as a work by which we seek forgiveness for our own sins because our debt is too great for any of us to pay by what we do.

On the part of the offending party the obligation is also twofold: First, to deal with the wrong done by repentance or confession before God. This reestablishes the vertical relationship. Then go to the offended party and correct the problem by asking their forgiveness and by doing the right thing as called for by the circumstances. Compare the following passages on forgiveness: (Cf. also 18:21-35; Luke 17:3-4; and 1 Peter 3:7.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Matthew 5:23-26 “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. 25 “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, in order that your opponent may not deliver you to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 “Truly I say to you, you shall not come out of there, until you have paid up the last cent.

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Principles to keep in mind:

  • Failure to forgive demonstrates our unwillingness to treat others on the same basis of grace that God has treated us. We must be willing to extend forgiveness as freely to others as God has freely extended it to us (Matt. 18:21-35; Eph 4:32).

  • Failure to forgive others stems from our failure to turn the matter over to the Lord and trust in His sovereign purposes and control. The Lord who rested totally in the Father’s love and plan is our perfect example in this (1 Pet. 2:21-25).

  • Failure to forgive others keeps the Lord from forgiving us, not because our act of unforgiveness becomes the basis for our own forgiveness, but because unforgiveness, like any known sin, stands as a barrier to fellowship. The basis for our forgiveness is always the cross and Christ’s presence before the Father as our advocate (1 John 1:9-2:2). It is important for us to understand, however, that failure to forgive others is not only sin, but a sin which is a contradiction to the heart of the gospel message (cf. Matt. 5:23-24; 1 Pet. 3:7; Ps. 66:18).

  • Failure of people to forgive one another results in a sick church—one without the power and blessing of God on it’s ministry and life.

Forgiveness is paramount in order to keep bitterness at root in your heart.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Olivia in your prayers, that she carries to full term and her health is ok, pray that the medication she takes will not have any side effects.

Pray for Richard Perales, to find the Lord.

Pray for Paul K, help him to deal with his mom’s declining health.

AH HAH!

November 9, 2018

 shout

“He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit (with Him)” (1 Cor. 6:17).

1 Corinthians 6:17 New International Version (NIV)

17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

  We are one spirit with the Lord Jesus by the one and only Holy Spirit.

  “I can always know when the Holy Spirit is leading me, because He ever occupies me with the Lord Jesus. True, He may have to call attention to my own condition, but if He does, He turns me to the Lord Jesus, not merely to convict me, but to relieve me.

Spiritual growth is the Holy Spirit engraving the Lord Jesus on a man’s heart, putting Him into his thoughts, his words, and his ways, just as the Law was engraved upon stones. It is not that there is no failure. A man who is seeking to make money does not always succeed; but everybody knows what his object is. Just so, the Lord Jesus Christ is the object of the believer’s life.

 The believer is not to clamor for the solution of perplexities or for intellectual mastery of divine mysteries. What knowledge he has in this realm is his because the Holy Spirit has declared it to him; and for the Spirit’s declaration he must wait.

 None of us is ever beyond the work of the Spirit in us. What amazes me the most is that after 42 years of pastoring and counseling, each day I’m blessed by some new nugget, a kernel, a different facet to the Word of God. It truly is new every day.

And all those “ah hah” moments, brought to you by The Holy Spirit.

  “He (the Holy Spirit) shall glorify Me” (John 16:14).

Remember Richard Perales, that he comes to saving knowledge, hopefully before the bottom falls out.

Pray for Barbara D, for strength and encouragement during her very long battle with cancer.

Pray for Danny F, it’s time to come home.

Pray for all the prodigals’ and give hope to the parents.

  “Study to show thyself approved unto God” (2 Tim. 2:15a).

  There is as much error produced in failing to divide the Word at all, as there is in wrongly dividing it.

 Covenant Theology, at the utmost, is forgiveness of sins and divine favor enjoyed; and all that concerns their position in the Lord Jesus is ignored, or alas! guarded against as dangerous. Men are placed under the New Covenant which does not go beyond remission of sins and the law written in the heart. But being in Christ, and knowing it by the Holy Spirit, and what it involves now has dropped out of their creed altogether.

We are come ‘to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant’ (Heb. 12:24). We are not come to the new covenant, but to Jesus the Mediator of it. I am associated with Him who is the Mediator; that is a much higher position than if we merely come to the covenant. He will make this new covenant with Israel on the millennial earth.

  “Non-dispensational teachers have endeavored to bring over the many promises of the physical and material aspects of kingdom salvation into the present dispensation, giving hope of material prosperity and physical health, as well as political peace. Failure to realize these promised goals has caused many to lose faith and to become bitter toward God Himself. The failure, of course, is not of God, but of teachers who have refused to rightly divide the Word of Truth.”

  “Calvin attempted by discipline of Church and State to make everyone live like a Christian—as did the Puritans as a result. This effort resulted in the need to use the Old Testament rather than the New as an ethical guide.”

  “A workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15b)

Ask God for wisdom and read His word and you will work out a lot on your own. If you have questions about something being taught, ask others and study for yourself. As I have recommended before, “The Application Study Bible” is one of the best study bibles to start with.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Questions, comments or prayer requests please feel free to use our email address.

And one common question about prayer requests; “is it ok to ask us to pray for someone and not give a name”, yes of course.

So for all those “unspoken” requests and private prayer requests, they are being prayed for but please tell us the good news when the prayers are answered.

EUTYCHUS

October 30, 2018

Luke relates the peculiar tale of a young man who fell asleep during Paul’s sermon and tumbled three stories to his death. Fortunately, the anecdote has a cheerful ending as God used Paul to restore Eutychus back to life.

 While many preachers have likely used the story as a warning against falling asleep during their sermons, there is probably another explanation for the accident. Eutychus was a common slave name, so it’s possible the young man came to hear Paul after a long day of work. That would account for the apostle “talking until midnight” (Ac 20:7).

 Although he came to feed his soul by hearing the Word of God proclaimed, Eutychus’s body could not overcome his exhaustion. He serves as a reminder that our spiritual formation can be impeded by a lack of rest.

 Obviously it can suggest to us that we need rest to function at a capacity that allows us to serve the Lord. But the story also points to how we can be a blessing to others: by giving the gift of rest.

   Many of us have offered to help a fellow believer with other spiritual disciplines, such as prayer or Bible study. Yet how many of us have offered to help our neighbor get some much-needed sleep?

 For example, parents of newborns and infants are constantly in need of sleep and rest. We could offer to come by their home and watch their kids for a few hours on the weekend, giving them time to nap or simply enjoy some peace and quiet.

 Similarly, caretakers of invalid family members have work that keeps them in a constant state of busyness. By offering to spend time each week caring for their loved one while they rest, we can help carry their burden.

 Many of us could also open our homes, especially on the weekends, to college students who need a quiet place away from the noise and distraction of campus life and roommates.

Do you like to cook, offer a meal to a busy single working mom. Mow the pastor’s lawn.

To many kids are over tired, between school, homework, karate classes, swimming classed, scouting or 4H, hobbies. When do the kids get a rest? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen moms conked out, dead to the world asleep in the church parking lot, picking their kids up from daycare or choir practice.

 To whom in your congregation or neighborhood can you give the gift of rest? Imagine the impact you could have by helping the “Eutychus” in your life.

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Pray for Jimmie C, 34, and they just discovered a brain tumor, will decide tomorrow about surgery.

 

Remember Randi, she is taking her citizenship test on Thursday.

 

Pray for Lisa, trying to get her husband to come to marriage counseling, she’s tired that she’s doing “all the lifting.”

 

Pray for Connie, her son is having legal problems.

 

Pray for Veronica, ever since her divorce she has been “the wild child” everyone thought it was just a phase, but she is neglecting her kids, ruining her health and her first scare with the law.

SO SWEET

October 29, 2018

One of the most beautiful words in the human vocabulary is forgiveness. How much pain and unhappy consequences could be avoided if we all learned the meaning of this word. The King David shared some of the emotion he personally experienced after he asked God to “wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2, NIV). “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1,2, NIV). In one bold stroke, forgiveness obliterates the past and permits us to enter the land of new beginnings.

God’s forgiveness is not just a casual statement; it is the complete blotting out of all the dirt and degradation of our past, present, and future. The only reason our sins can be forgiven is that, on the Cross, Jesus Christ paid their full penalty. (But) only as we bow at the foot of the Cross, in contrition, confession, and repentance, can we find forgiveness.

 The Basis for Forgiveness: 1. Reconciliation. When God forgives, there is an immediate and complete change in relationship. Instead of hostility, there is love and acceptance. Instead of enmity, there is friendship. “God . . .reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19, NIV).

  1. Purification. The very essence of forgiveness is being restored to our original standing before God. “Purge me. . .and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7, KJV). (See also 1 John 1:9, Romans 4:7.) Another aspect of purification is that God forgets our sin when He forgives it. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12, NIV). (See also Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 38:17.)

  2. Remittance. Forgiveness results in God’s dropping the charges against us. He will not enforce judgment because of our sins. Jesus said to the woman taken in adultery,” . . . Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11, KJV). (See also Romans 8:1.) What a great privilege the counselor has in sharing the joy of God’s forgiveness!

  3. It doesn’t matter what you have done, God’s love is so amazing that He will forgive anything you’ve done. You can’t claim to be worse than anyone else. the very fact that you want to have God’s forgiveness is His way of showing all you have to do is ask.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

CUTS LIKE A KNIFE

October 26, 2018

Bitterness is the product of intense animosity, characterized by cynicism and ill-will.

Resentment is indignant displeasure and ill-will which results from a wrong, an insult or injury, either real, imagined, or unintentional. They often go together and are the result of unresolved anger.

The Bible does not forbid displeasure, but it sets up two controls. The first is to keep anger clear of bitterness, spite and hatred. The second is to check daily to see if you have handled malevolent feelings. There’s an old Latin proverb: “he who goes angry to bed has the devil for a bedfellow.

Of course, there are many irritations in life. They become prime opportunities for Satan to lead us into evil passion.

Pastoral counselors reveal that a large percentage of those being counseled today are angry, embittered, and resentful. Bottled-up feelings eat away until some become emotional cripples and physically ill. Their ability to function is impaired, diminishing their effectiveness. They often have difficulty sleeping, and their personal relationships, both within and without the family, erode. Some become so obsessed with the urge to “get ever” that they may kill someone.

The individual who has deep-seated, unresolved anger is not a whole person. A classic case of the “grudge and get even” syndrome is found in the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-16). Cain was angry because his offering was not accepted but his brother’s was. It really wasn’t a matter between Cain and Abel at all, but between Cain and God. It was God who rejected his offering. But Cain became resentful and depressed (“his face fell”). Instead of repenting and asking forgiveness of the Lord, he turned on his brother.

Many times people will share problems of this nature because they are seeking sympathy or reinforcement. They will tell you how they have been misunderstood, maligned, and mistreated, never realizing the sinful implications behind their own behavior. As they story unfolds and you detect resentment and bitterness, treat it as sin. God’s Word says, “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips” (Colossians 3:8, NIV).

When I was a young pastor and psychologist, I expected my Christian clients to have any problem but bitterness. And I expected all my secular clients to have bitterness at the top of their list.

Well, of course I was wrong.

So what other poisonous fruit have we allowed into our lives?

Thank God, he is the keeper of the vineyard and the pruner of all men’s souls.

We are to quick to blame the devil for every trial and problem in our life. When it is really the pruning shear of the Holy Spirit, cutting away to be burned the unattended and unconfessed sin and negative emotions and unforgiveness.

Good news, if you are reading this then God may be telling someone to bend the knee and pray for that part of your life you haven’t turned over to Him.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Vinnie D, he’s been coming to church every Sunday for a year but has never accepted the Lord. This devotion was sparked by our recent conversation.

the posture of prayer

October 23, 2018

praying mom

If our prayers are but habit, or rote, then we have failed to pray effectively. According to Puritan pastor John Preston, “God takes our prayers not by number but by weight.”

If 90% of human communication in person to person dialogue is by physical cues, then how much is the weight of our prayers measured by our physical posture; i.e. the groaning, sighing, laying prostrate upon the floor, having torn your garments, thrown ashes, if the God who lives inside our being is affected by posture, then why do we pray so casually?

Why would we read the prayers of others and think they are greater than our own. Is prayer better if done 5 times a day because of ritual?

Weight vs. number, heart vs. rote, maybe we’ve grown bored with praying and the lack of answers because it doesn’t really mean anything. If we are only praying because we are told that’s what Christian’s do.

Should prayer become a circus act, ‘prayer du Solei’ that’s not what I’m recommending, but maybe we should stop the steering wheel prayer, the now I lay me down to sleep, the quickie, whatever term you want to use and think about the physical act of prayer, literally.

God bless

Physical prayer requests taken at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Thank you for all that pray for our list of prayer requests, it is a blessing to many, both the prayer and the prayee, (and yes I know that is a bad sentence, but it works pardon my pun so well in the physical sense.

Housekeeping, prayer requests, questions, comments, use the email address if possible.

Pray for Marlene, 66, and has started to go blind, it’s hereditary in her case. And the worry and fretting about it has more damage than the actual blindness.

Remember Gwen in your prayers, money troubles