CAN’T BUY ME LOVE

June 18, 2021

mickeys deadA person who I have counseled off and on for over 10 years was shocked when his wife had divorce paperwork served at his place of work. He called me almost in hysterics, “how can this be”, “why now” “I thought” everything was working out”.

Let’s call him ‘Mikey’.

“Mikey, do you not remember when I told you that once the kids were out of the house and through college and she goes back to work or finds a new vocation, you were going to be toast?”

Well, that is exactly what happened. He is a prominent, semi famous professional. We have taught at some of the same colleges, spoken together on the speaking tours. Wrote the forwards for each other’s books.

And in all that time, I have always told him, “Dude, one day your wife is going to drop a bomb on you.” I always thought she would just shoot him, seriously.

He is like a great English Sheepdog, looks like a college dropout, kind of sloppy. Lives on energy drinks, fidgets a lot. Always volunteers at church, every body likes him.

She is always jazzed up, talks a mile a minute, good hearted, would do anything for you.

Until you put them both in the same room. Can you say holocaust.

It is like putting a rabid cat and deaf, dumb dog in a room without windows or doors, a box or a cell. When people see them coming, they literally run out of the room. And that is not an exaggeration.

They live in a million-dollar home, she drives a Land Rover, he drives a Bentley, their 5 kids all went to private schools, Ivy League colleges. When I took a sabbatical to finish up a couple of books and do some lecturing, he flew me in a private jet twice just so I would have a relaxing time. When I went on a tour of the great cathedrals of Europe, he invited himself along, paid for almost everything and would not take a dime. I tried to be gracious and accepting but he told me I deserved it as I did so much for the community.

Here’s the rub, he never did anything gracious with his wife unless she begged him. He would send the kids any where in the world for the heck of it. But if she wanted anything she had to emotionally blackmail him.

She would key his car, let the air out of the tires. Sugar in the gas tank. I suspect that once she actually poisoned him.

In all the years I knew them I never heard them say I love you, never saw them kiss, they never had sex after the kids were born. She told him it was ok if he had an affair because she did not want him near her.

And like a beaten puppy, he just hung his head and took it.

We all went out to dinner one time, his family and mine, we got kicked out of the restaurant because of the bickering and fighting between them and their kids.

I had a pastor that called me one night because he felt bad that he told them they could not attend his church because of all the drama they brought with them. Plus, members of the church told him if they came then they were leaving. (nice loving church, right).

In counseling sessions they said the most horrible things about each other, I would not ever dare to list some of the things they said.

Yet he was surprised she asked for a divorce. And yet it happened just like I said it would, last kid out of college and she started a new career.

The one thing I remember saying to them at the end of each session was, “try to be nice to each other”. It never happened.

I deplore divorce, as a Christian Psychologist and Pastor I try to do everything I can to keep a marriage together, unless they are harming one or another. But after each session with them I would always schedule them last in the day because after they left there was not a shred of hope left in me.

So after all that what is the moral of the story. Be kind to one another, get married for the right reasons, have similar goals, dreams, expectations that are reasonable and discussed. And when the pastor says in the first pre-marital counseling session, “do not get married to each other”. It is not a joke.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

black steel helmet near black and gray handle sword

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Consider what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5:

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Like Matthew 5:29-30, this passage uses warfare terminology for our battle against sin. In order to be holy and pure, both in heart and body, we must fight. War isn’t easy. Our enemy is relentless in trying to conquer his prey, and lust is one of his most commonly used weapons. In this battle for our mind, Paul says we must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Satan always targets the mind—it is our primary battlefield. He bombards every believer’s mind with sexual images and thoughts. He does this through the world system which he rules and his myriads of demons. He understands that if he can control the mind, he can control the body. So, if we are going to “learn to control our bodies in a way that is pure and honorable,” (1 Thess 4:4) we must fight to control our mind.

Satan’s attack on our mind overlaps with his attacks on our eyes and ears. It is through the eyes and ears that input is given to the mind. Therefore, by guarding the first two, we guard the latter. However, that is not the only way we guard our mind.

How else should we guard our mind?

  1. In order to guard our mind, we must recognize ungodly thoughts and ideas by testing them against God’s Word.

David said this in Psalm 19:7: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”

The Hebrew word for “simple” has the meaning of “open-minded.” “The ancient Jews described it as someone whose mind was like an open door: everything went in and everything went out.” This person is gullible and will believe anything. His mind is open even to thoughts and images that should be rejected. However, David says that by filling the mind with God’s Word, one becomes wise to discern what is not of God (cf. Heb 5:14). Wisdom in Scripture primarily refers to knowledge of God and obedience to him (cf. Prov 9:10). That is why Scripture describes the “fool” as one who says there is no God (Psalm 14:1).

A person who does not know the Word of God will have difficulty testing what is not good and therefore have difficulty protecting himself. His mind will continually be saturated by ungodly thoughts, sexual images, and lusts meant to control and destroy him. He will lack the power and discernment to close the door on sexual thoughts and many times will not only accept them but also cultivate them.

If we are going to protect our mind, we must recognize what is not godly. When watching TV shows, listening to music, or engaging in risqué conversations that cultivate and stir lust, the simple accepts what pollutes his soul, while the wise recognizes what would dishonor God’s temple (1 Cor 6:19).

With all that said, guarding our mind does not stop at recognizing what is ungodly by testing it against God’s Word.

  1. In order to guard our mind, we must reject the ungodly by using God’s Word.

While the simple opens the door, the wise closes the door. Again, this is done first by recognizing what is wrong and then using Truth to combat what is false and sinful. When Christ was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he quoted Scripture to reject Satan and his lies. We should do the same. Arm yourself by memorizing Bible verses related to lust and purity such as:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV)

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)

For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

1 Thessalonians 4:2-8 (ESV)

Personally, when attacked by lust, I quote relevant Scriptures, confess wrong thoughts, lusts, and images before the Lord, and ask him to take them away. In our war for our mind, we must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

  1. In order to guard our mind, we may at times need to command the devil to leave in Jesus name.

Again, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he initially responded to the temptation with quoting Scripture, but ultimately he commanded the devil to leave. Matthew 4:10-11 describes this:

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Similarly, at times you may need to do this. When battles with lust, pornography, and illicit sex are especially difficult, we can be sure that the enemy has set up camp in these areas, and we may need to pray in authority over these demonic strongholds to be broken in the name of Jesus.

Some struggle with this idea of demonic involvment, arguing that authority over the demonic was exclusively for Christ and his apostles. However, I believe there are many evidences that demonstrate this is for every believer. For instance:

Christ is our perfect model for everything in life, including spiritual warfare (cf. Phil 2:5-11, Heb 12:2-4. 1 Peter 2:21-24).

We should model his life as the perfect example of humanity. His example in defeating the devil in the wilderness is not only descriptive but prescriptive.

Other believers commanded demons to leave throughout the New Testament.

In Acts 16:18, Paul commanded a spirit of divination to leave a slave girl in the name of Jesus. And in Acts 8:6-7, Philip, who was possibly one of the early deacons, also cast out demons. Yes, Paul was an apostle but Philip was not. This was practiced by the early church.

First, don’t be quick to blame in on a demon. We are our own worst enemy.

Second, don’t be lax, and think there can’t be possible demonic involvement. I want to say it takes great spiritual maturity to know when something like that is actually occurring.

Third, it will depend on the church you go to, Pentecostals see demons everywhere and never take personal responsibility. Liberals churches scoff at the idea of demons, or even the devil and everyone is going to heaven. Even some Evangelical churches reject the idea.

Fourth, demonic strongholds if they exist does not imply demonic possession. Christians cannot be possessed of a demon, or cursed, or have a bloodline curse.

This is was covered in our spiritual warfare series. If you have questions about it email me.

Finally, Scripture indicates that Christ has given us his authority based on our union with him.

Ephesians 1:20-22 describes his position of authority at the right hand of the Father seated above powers and principalities (the demonic) in the heavenly realm. And then Ephesians 2:6 describes how believers are seated with him. Again, this seating is not primarily a location but a position of authority which believers have in Christ. In fact, one day we will judge fallen angels with him because of this position (1 Cor 6:3). We have authority over the demonic just as the apostles and the early church, and we are called to conquer them with the spiritual weapons God has given us (cf. Eph 6:10-19).

Unfortunately, many believers neglect this authority not only to their own detriment but also to the detriment of others. When Christ sent believers into the world to proclaim the gospel, he sent them in all the authority given to him (Matt 28:18-20). We need this authority not just to spread the gospel but also for spiritual warfare.

Christ’s authority is important in battling lust because some strongholds and temptations are not just of the flesh, they are demonic. Like Christ in the wilderness, Paul, at times, recognized certain obstacles and temptations were not just of the flesh and of the world, but of the devil. Paul said this in 1 Thessalonians 2:18: “we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us” (ESV). We need to discern this as well and resist the devil.

James says this: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (4:7). As we submit to God through his Word, prayer, and the ministry of other saints, we can resist the devil, and he will flee from us. However, at times, resistance may include commanding the demonic to leave in the name of Jesus as demonstrated by Christ and the early church.

It is not God’s will for us to live bound to lust and sexual immorality, and God has given us all the resources to walk in freedom, including his Word and his authority. Thank you, Lord, for giving us everything needed for life and godliness (cf. 2 Peter 1:3). Thank you, Lord, for your grace. Thank you, Lord, that you are creating a pure and blameless Bride for your pleasure (cf. Eph 5:25-27).

Are you guarding your mind? Are you taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ? Are you filling your mind with God’s Word? Are you resisting the devil’s attacks so that he flees?

Reflection

Why is the mind so important in our battle for purity?

In what ways does the enemy bombard our mind with sexual images and thoughts?

How can a person tell when certain strongholds, especially sexual ones, are also demonic?

How should we resist the devil so he flees? In what ways is God calling you to better guard your mind?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Questions, comments, feel free to email us.

Pray for Caliste Burt, brain surgery 14 hours, two tumors in September.

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression.

The Perales family, they need salvation and a good church.

Keep my wife Sharon in prayer, spinal surgery on Friday at 10am. She is in great pain.

Remember Steve H in prayer, vim and vigor, guidance for the church and him as they look for a pastor. God has the perfect man for them. Pray for Pam his wife, chronic knee pain.

I do not know if I mentioned this before, but Mona who was on our salvation list has accepted Jesus. I think I mentioned this before but I do not remember is I mentioned it.

Lauren is s car on fire, if she does not get saved then I see her life ending in tragedy.

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Words are tremendously powerful. In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says, “The power of life and death is in the tongue.”

Words spoken over a person’s life has the ability to direct him—drawing him into a good and wise direction or an evil direction. It can build a person up or destroy him. If one sits under godly parents who faithfully teach God’s Word and attend a good church that teaches the Truth, the “power of the tongue” will help direct him into what is good. But if one sits under ungodly teaching and ungodly conversations, it will affect his life negatively. This is especially true when it comes to sexual immorality.

Adrian Rogers had a quote that fits right in, he was quoting a famous football legend that is a great Christian who does a lot of prison ministry. The quote was made while in a prison speaking to about 100 men. “How many of you did your father say you would probably end up in jail.” The majority of the men raised their hands.

No doubt, one of Satan’s greatest tactics is to influence people sexually through the music industry. Much of today’s songs are full of sexual overtones and graphic language. Some of it is essentially lyrical pornography—meant to control and guide people away from God and into sexual strongholds.

Sadly, many Christians fall prey to this tactic of the devil. They listen to ungodly, sexually charged music all day, then wonder why they can’t control their lust and don’t desire to read the Bible. The tongue is directing their lives—leading them away from God into lusts.

Psalm 1:1 says this: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” (ESV). Some have called this the pathway of depravity. A person starts off listening to the “counsel” of the wicked, then he is standing in the way of sinners—practicing the same thing sinners do, and then they are in the seat of scoffers. Biblically, “scoffer” or “fool” is used of those who mock holy things. Psalm 14:1 says the fool says in his heart that there is no God. First, these people were just listening. Maybe like some Christians who listen to ungodly music, they say, “I only like it because of the beat; I don’t even listen to the lyrics.” The next thing you know, they are practicing sin, and one day they are mocking God and the practice of holiness. Satan led these poor souls astray by simply getting a hold of their ears.

In the same way, many raised in Christian homes with godly morals, such as waiting to have sex until marriage, are now sexually promiscuous just like the world. And it all started with the wrong counsel—sexually charged musical lyrics, sexual dialogue from movies, and sexually flirtatious conversations. Now, instead of following God, they mock what is holy and practice the sexual ethics of the world.

Who is speaking into your ears, and what are they saying? Are your conversations with friends full of sexual jokes and innuendo? Are your TV shows and movies promoting casual sex? If so, you won’t be able to remain pure.

Paul said this in Ephesians 5:3: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”

He said that there should not even be a “hint” of sexual immorality in our lives. Many desire to be pure but their mouths and the mouths of those they listen to are full of sexual hints that eventually bear fruit in their lives.

Are you guarding your ears? Satan keeps many Christians in bondage to lust by flooding their ears with sexual garbage.

Lord, help us to take out the garbage so we can be clean.

Reflection

In what ways does the enemy flood sexual temptation into our ears?

How have you seen or experienced the power of words, especially sexual words, in guiding one’s life?

How is God calling you to better guard your ears?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember our prayer list.

Caliste Burt, brain surgery in September

Continue please to keep my wife in prayer, her spinal surgery is this Friday and she is in great pain. Surgery time has been moved up to 10am.

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression

Steve H, encouragement, strength, vitality, guidance in finding a new church pastor. Keep his wife Pam in prayer, chronic knee pain.

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SEXUAL PURITY PART THREE

The next strategy in God’s Battle Plan for purity is identifying sexual temptations and being ruthless in getting rid of them. Listen to what Christ said in the context of teaching on adultery:

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Matthew 5:29-30

After teaching that a man who lusts after a woman who is not his wife has already committed adultery in his heart (v. 27-28), Christ says that one should be violent in removing temptations towards sexual sin.

The plucking out of one’s eye and cutting off one’s hand are hyperbole or symbolism for war time tactics. In ancient wars, when an army conquered another, they would at times pluck out the eyes and cut off the hands of the conquered so that they would never rise up and fight them again. This cruel tactic was used on Samson. When the Philistines defeated him, they blinded him with the intent of disabling him from ever harming them again (Judges 16:21).

By using this hyperbole, Christ shares how we must similarly declare war in order to be pure. He shows us how severely we must deal with sexual temptations. If our eyes—what we look at—are causing us to lust, we must get rid of it. If our hands—what we do—are causing us to sin, we must cut it out of our life.

The eye and the hand represent things dear to us—things that may seem essential for life. However, even these must not be spared in our efforts to be holy and pure. Is an intimate relationship tempting us? It must be severed. Is it our reading or TV watching? Let us discard it. We must be violent in our task of remaining pure and holy.

This violence will be demonstrated in various ways. I have had friends get rid of their TVs in order to be holy. Personally, as a seminary student and youth pastor, I wouldn’t own the Internet at home because I wanted to protect myself from temptation. I would only use it at work or school. I even had to end relationships that went too far physically to protect the person and myself, but most importantly, to honor God.

With this said, we can understand why many cannot remain pure. The reason is simple. They just don’t hate their sin enough. Purity is not a big enough priority to get rid of things that are dear to them. They love their eye and their hand too much. Friendships, TV shows, a dating relationship, the convenience of the Internet, etc., are too much to part with in their quest to be holy.

If we are going to win the battle against lust, we must declare war on it. Are you willing to go to war in order to be pure? For those who have opened sexual doors, this battle may be especially difficult and costly. But God will help as you are faithful.

I have no Tv service, haven’t for almost 30 years. One it’s a huge waste of time, to it pollutes your mind. I only read good books, yes, I do real mystery novels, but again. Clean. I only listen to full time Christian Radio, BBN radio, it is the best Christian radio station in the world. Listen to it on the internet or the app or see if it plays in your area.

Reflection

What types of cherished things commonly hinder a believer’s quest for sexual purity? Why is it often so hard to let go of these things?

What things have you had to cut out of your life in order to be pure? Are there any things God is calling you to let go of currently?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Remember all our prayer requests;

Caliste Burt, brain surgery in September

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression

Steve H, the church finds the right pastor, the length of time it takes is a test not a reflection on the church. Strength and health. Healing of his wife’s Pam, knee pain.

Keep my wife in prayer, Sharon, she has to be off all meds as of yesterday as she preps for her spinal surgery Friday the 11th at 830am. She is in great pain.

SEXUAL PURITY PART II

June 4, 2021

two fig leaves isolated on a white background

two fig leaves isolated on a white background

Just as with any battle plan, one must count the cost of failure. What will be the cost of being overcome by sexual temptation? We see this strategy used when Solomon counseled his son in Proverbs about the lure of the adulterous woman. Solomon, who had many wives and concubines, knew the consequences of sexual immorality well. His father’s marriage began from an adulterous affair, and he struggled with his father’s lust. Consider the costs of sexual immorality in Proverbs 6:27-35:

Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.

Although Solomon is talking about adultery specifically, many of these consequences apply to lust in general. Solomon said, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?” The answer to the rhetorical question is, “No!” In considering adultery, he said a person “destroys himself” and blows and disgrace will be his lot, and the shame will never be wiped away. The consequences last forever. Can anyone escape the penalties of indulging in lust? No. It is impossible. As mentioned, sexual immorality is a sin against one’s body (1 Cor 6:18). It always affects one’s body, mind, and spirit. It leads to mental and emotional baggage that is later carried into one’s marriage. Personally, I still struggle with explicit images and thoughts from things I saw and experienced before marriage, but I don’t act out because I don’t want to lose my intimacy with God, nor with my wife. Plus I don’t do well with guilt, it tears me up way to much. I carry those as baggage with me from the sins of my youth. Sometimes, the consequences are physical sickness such as STDs. Other times, it is an unplanned pregnancy—potentially leading to an abortion. When married, the costs become greater. Marital unfaithfulness leaves brokenness and carnage in its trail. A brokenhearted spouse and emotionally damaged children are just a few of the consequences.

As a married pastor with two adult children, I always think of the consequences of falling to my lust. I think of the pain it would cause my wife, the destruction I would be causing my children and grandchildren, believers who might fall away from Christ because of my example and being disqualified from ministry (cf. 1 Tim 3:2, 1 Cor 9:27). The consequences would be devastating, and like Solomon said, the “shame will never be wiped away” (Prov 6:33). Certainly, forgiveness is available, but forgiveness does not eliminate the consequences. God forgave David for his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, but the consequences were the sword never departing from his home and losing his first child with Bathsheba (2 Sam 12:9-14).

Another consequence of sexual immorality that must be considered is its effect on our relationship with God. In the Beatitudes, Christ said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God” (Matt 5:8). The word “pure” means unmixed. When we allow lust and other wrong desires to enter our heart, it hinders our relationship with God. It separates us from him. David said, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18).

Have you counted the cost of failure to sexual temptation? Fifty-six percent of divorce cases involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic sites. The seeds cultivated in a man or woman’s youth often bear destructive weeds in marriage. If we are going to win the battle against lust, we must count the cost. It is simply not worth it. I will say this, no matter what you did in your past with pornography and lustful behavior. One can lead a victorious life and not fail in those areas again.

O Lord, keep us from dishonoring your name, damaging ourselves, and damaging others. Make our feet like hinds’ feet and keep us from stumbling (Psalm 18:33). Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us (Psalm 51:10).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Paul C. in your prayers he has really messed up his back.

Pray for Steve H, and his church searching for the right pastor, for his wife Pam, chronic knee pain.

Pray for Caliste Burt, 2 brain tumors, surgery in September, and the anxiety is setting in.

Remember Olivia, health and well being.

Pray for Christina, 8 years old and suffering chronic pain, doctors are not sure what is causing it. Since birth this young girl has had an uphill battle to live and stay alive.

Pray for Mikala, 18 years old, depression and anger, her father left and has broken every promise he made to stay in touch. We are talking zero contact.

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As every psychiatrist knows, unresolved guilt and brooding regret are significant blocks to healthy living. The Bible emphasizes self-analysis and awareness (Ps
139:1–24), confession and repentance (Ps 32:1–11; 51:1–19; Jas 5:16), and forgiveness (Mt 6:14) as elements of a sound spiritual lifestyle.

But the past cannot be altered. Therefore it is also important to accept what has happened and learn how to live with the consequences of our choices and
decisions. Once the consequences are acknowledged and dealt with (Ps 51:1–19), and the lessons are learned (Ps 107:1–43), we must be able to forgive ourselves
because God forgives us. We need to forgive ourselves so that we can move ahead with hope into the future.
Forgiving ourselves is not always easy, nor is it a matter only of individual concern. The teachings of the Bible indicate that self-forgiveness is a spiritual journey that takes place best in community.

It is often within the faith community that we come to understand that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Ro 8:1). It is there that we find the grace, forgiveness and comfort of both God and others (2Co 1:3–7; 2:7). It is there that we can confess our sins to God and others and be healed (Jas 5:16; 1Jn 1:9). And “community” isn’t limited to church congregations.

There are many communities of faith working to help people heal from the consequences of their past choices. The “Twelve Steps” of Alcoholics Anonymous were formed on the basis of Biblical teachings and spiritual insights; as such, they often help people respond constructively to the tortures of an imperfect past.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember our salvation prayer list.

Drew and Anne, Hunter and Tara, Nicole, Lauren, Oscar and Cristina. Norma P, and her husband Rick and adult son Rick Jr.

Keep 18 year old Mikala in prayer, depression and anger over her father divorcing and now marrying another woman 10 years younger with 3 kids. He promised he would stay close and she has not heard from him in months, almost a year.

brown cardboard robot artwork

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God is the creator and controller of the universe and all that is in it, whether animate or inanimate. Any use or disposition He chooses to make of any part of His creation is His sovereign right. God is accountable only to Himself. He reports to nobody. He is not required at any time to give to any person any explanation for anything He says or does. He is the superpower above all powers in every area of His creation

We do not expect to understand fully the purpose for our trials until our Lord calls us home to be with Him. But we do know that He loves us too much to harm us, and that He is far more concerned with our welfare than we are. God’s choices are always right. He is capable of carrying out any project to a successful conclusion without the possibility of fault or failure. Nothing in His universe happens by chance or accident. For every effect there is a cause. God “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:11-12). Yes, God is in control.

This is one of the reasons a careful study of Genesis is so important. The first book of the bible lets us know that we have an omnipotent God, that just by Him thinking of creation it comes into being. (no we do not have that power).

We Christians affirm our belief in the sovereignty of God, but our faith is challenged in times of natural upheaval, national disaster, or personal affliction. Pain and poverty, disease and death, sorrow and suffering all tend to cause us to think seriously about God as creator and controller of the world of which we are a part. It is not always easy to believe that God is in control.

Just as important as knowing God is in control of everything it is doubly important you realize you have control over almost nothing. Thinking you do have control is an illusion. You can not control anything outside your body. You may think you can control someone else but in reality that only happens if they let you. And be honest how in control of yourself do you really think you are.

How good are you at controlling your thoughts, your speech, your behavior. This is why we need a Savior. Because the good that we should we don’t and the bad we shouldn’t we should.

Now do not freak out. I know there are people who their very sanity is based on the illusion that they have more control than they actually have in reality. The mere thought of not having control scares them spitless.

That is why we have faith in God, that he is in control of everything or nothing. It can not be any other way. We do not need to understand why, we just need to understand who. Who is in control in reality, that is not a question it is a statement.

God is in control because He is sovereign. The word sovereign comes from the Latin word super. It conveys the idea of superior and supreme, primary and paramount, unequaled and unexcelled. The God of the Bible is eternal and self-existent. He is supreme in excellence and perfect in all His ways. He is the one and only autonomist, self-contained and self-controlled, with the right and power of self-government. God is infinite in His imperial independence. His capacities and capabilities far surpass the scope of human reasons.

In addition to being sovereign, God is righteous. This means that He can do no wrong. If God could do wrong, He would cease to be God. When those two cities were destroyed, God was in control. He was doing what He wanted to do, when He wanted to do it, in the way He wanted to do it, and for the purpose He wanted to accomplish. And in so doing, He did right.

The book of Amos teaches the sovereign control of God over all the affairs in heaven and on earth. The nation of Israel had willfully disobeyed God. Divine judgment came to the people in several ways: war, drought, famine, and plagues of grasshoppers. Read chapter 4 carefully and note the seven times God said to Israel that He was responsible for every disaster that befell the nation. Observe the use of the first person singular: “I also have given you . . . want of bread” (v. 6); “I have withholden the rain from you” (v. 7); “I have smitten you with blasting and mildew” (v. 9); “I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt” (v. 10); “I have overthrown some of you” (v. 11). God here informed the nation that He was the motivating force behind disease, death, drought, and destruction.

He Maketh No Mistake

My Father’s way may twist and turn,
My heart may throb and ache,
But in my soul I’m glad I know
He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I’ll trust my Lord to lead,
For He doth know the way.

Though night be dark and it may seem
That day will never break,
I’ll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He maketh no mistake.

There’s so much now I cannot see,
My eyesight’s far too dim;
But come what may, I’ll surely trust
And leave it all to Him.

For by and by the mist will lift
And plain it all He’ll make;
Through all the way, though dark to me,
He made not one mistake.

(A. M. Overton)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

All to Jesus I surrender all to Him I gladly give…

We can doubt, we can think about walking away from God, but I cannot imagine letting go of the rope and stop believing in God. Keep in prayer those that are suffering, physically, mentally, emotionally, those who’s faith is being stretched to the breaking point.

Let people know they are not alone, don’t tell them you understand if you don’t. a shoulder to lean on, a hand to hold onto is more important that platitudes.

Remember Caliste Burt, September, brain surgery on 2 impossible tumors.

Pray for Dan O, and his wife and kids, going through a rough patch.

Keep Steve H in prayer, strength and encouragement, guidance, the right man is out there to be their pastor. Pray for Pam his wife, healing for chronic knee pain.

Keep Mikaela in prayer, 18 years old, a young Christian girl that is seriously hurt by her parents divorce and her father’s indifference. He has shut her out of his life and it is killing her.

WHO ME?

March 29, 2021

culture club

Ok, I have an answer to a question, and my answer may surprise you. But before I give you the question let me give you a quick bio to see where I’m coming from.

I was raised by my grandparents, dairy farmers, Lutherans. My wife was raised by her grandparents, Mill workers, also Lutherans. Our value system was from depression era folks.

My wife and I have been married 47 years this year and we dated for 2 years before we got married, so we have been together 49 years.

Next, for 45 years I’ve been a pastor. For 40 years I’ve been a marriage and family counselor, in that time frame also 30 years a Christian Psychologist. Ten years in private practice treating exclusively sexual addiction and sexual dysfunction.

Military veteran, author, conference speaker, professor of theology and psychology, prison chaplain.

The list goes on, but my point that I’m trying to make is I know something about marriage and people.

Here is the question; ‘what is the number one cause of failure in a marriage’?

You may disagree with my answer, but that is ok, because you are wrong.

The number one reason marriages suffer, become dysfunctional and fail, is because of selfishness.

Sure you had an affair, it was a selfish thing to do. You became addicted to porn, selfishness. You hoarded money, hid money away for ‘the day’, selfishness. Believe you have a right to stop at a bar before coming home to the family, selfishness. Have to take separate vacations, selfishness. I could go on like this forever but the problem, the root cause is always going to be selfishness.

So when I hear a person in counseling say, “I just fell out of love wither her”. All I hear is “I want to be selfish.

Keep in mind that the main goal of marriage is not our happiness, but rather God’s glory. Our marriages are a picture of Christ and His bride, the church (Eph. 5:32). We are to display to the world (and even to the angelic hosts, Eph. 3:10!) the faithful, holy love that Christ has for His church.

In order to save a marriage both parties have to stop being selfish.

And, as John Piper has often pointed out, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” And thus every Christian marriage must aim at being a God-glorifying marriage. (not a ringing endorsement for John Piper, just a good quote).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Pam K, severe shoulder damage.

Pray for Paul C, our prodigal.

Pray for children that have fallen away.

Pray for those that suffer chronic pain.

Remember Caliste Burt in prayer, very complicated brain surgery coming up in September.

Remember Steve H in prayer, strength, encouragement, vitality, and keep praying the church finds the right person to pastor. Pray for Pam and her knee problems.

Pray for Candice M, epileptic seizures off the charts, they have literally drilled holes in her skull and inserted wires to drain the electricity out of her brain to keep her brain from being fried. (very unscientific explanation to a complicated process).

SIZE MATTERS # 3

March 12, 2021

growth marks

How about the fact that I can tell you the perfect size church to attend. Because we are near a city with 5 military bases, we get a lot of rotation of families. It is not unusual to get a phone call saying pastor we are still looking for a good church do you know someone here we can go and visit. Sometimes I can help with a couple of phone calls, but more often than not there is nobody I can recommend.

Now what may surprise you is one of the factors I choose in recommending a church to someone, it is size. I have pastored mega churches and store front churches, street preaching to tiny Appalachian churches with around 10 people.

The perfect size church is a church with 75-115 people. Less than that and you will have a problem having all the programs you need and burn out will be a huge problem. More than that and you lose accountability and unity.

There is one other factor that no one seems to discuss about church size. When you are preaching at the perfect sized church, no one ever gets divorced. I have seen it to many times. Tiny church well than it’s meddling, perfect church it’s a friend helping out, large church, who the hell cares or even knows what is going on.

So to all you pastors that are dreaming of turning your perfect church into a show stopping mega church, pull your head out of your butt and realize it really is perfect.

You think having 10 pastors on staff is blessing? It is like herding kittens. Then there are 5 secretaries, 5 counselors, a day care with 15 staff and 200 kids. Nothing will tear down a physical building like a daycare. 5 janitors and the list goes on. Soon all you are thinking about is making payroll and salaries. Once that happens you need to get out of dodge. When the church is just a business, you need to burn down the church.

A large church will kill you. Stick with that perfect church. Oh, I know there are always exceptions. I was doing a 2-week revival at a perfect sized church and there were more demons in that church than congregates.

Well that’s my rant, I mean devotion for the day.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Steve H in prayer, vim, vigor, strength, encouragement, help with finding a new pastor. Pray for his wife Pam, chronic knee problems.

Remember Mikaelah, just turned 18, we’ve seen good changes in her this year but still some on going problems.

JoAnn S, is home from the hospital, covid and pneumonia is being beat by a lot of prayer.

Remember Sylvia Tuma, super cross fit mom. Almost died of a heart attack. Congenital defect. No one could see it happen.

Remember our salvation list, Anne and Drew, Tara and Hunter, Lauren, Nicole, Oscar and Cristina. Norma Perales and her husband Rick and adult son Rick Jr.

HELL IS STILL HOT

March 2, 2021

GRIM REAPER

I think it is clearly taught by Scripture, that a great many careless Christians will get into heaven. There will be a great many who will get in “by the skin of their teeth,” or as Lot was saved from Sodom, “so as by fire.” They will barely get in, but there will be no crown of rejoicing. But everybody is not going to rush into heaven.

It saddens me to hear careless talk about heaven. There is nowhere taught in the bible that salvation is universal. All roads do not lead there, there is indeed a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.

The bible states that broad is the path to destruction. How many foolish people state that because ‘they’ don’t believe it, then it must be so?

Today the word evangelism is almost a dirty word, in this age of tolerance and multi-culturism, we are told we are wrong about the bible, and heaven and Christ because we are no longer the majority and that we must change. Stating you are a Christian today can actually get you placed on FBI list as a suspected terrorist.

Wow, how did we come to that?

Yet the bible still says that Christ is the only way. Good thing He’s not affected by statistics or census.

So offend someone today and tell them they might be going to hell.

(no I’m not kidding)

Jesus spoke about hell more than any other topic. It is not a joke, nor a punch line. The torment will unimaginable and eternal, there is no purgatory and there is no getting out of hell. AND NO, God doesn’t send any body to hell, they all get to choose it all on their own.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Stacy A, she will be have cataract surgery tomorrow.

Pray for Caliste Burt, 14 hour brain surgery coming up in September.

Remember Stacie N, 2 inoperable brain tumors.

Remember Steve h, health, strength, guidance, encourage and help in finding a new pastor. Pray for Kim, his wife, chronic knee pain.

Pray for Brad K, Brad is a good Christian man, a good father, and a good police officer, he just sucks at one thing, choosing a wife, he is devasted that wife number 2 is divorcing him. Even though in marriage counseling we talked about the long hours, weird times, and the stress of being a cop’s wife. Even had her in a support group for wives of police officers. We find out today she has been having an affair of 2 months now. Thankfully no kids involved.