basic training

May 24, 2017

BASIC TRAINING

 

I met a young man todayt hat by 19 years of age had pretty much screwed up his life way beyond the chance of getting it back on track. So he went and joined the Navy, now one year later and home visiting his grandmother for the first time, the structure missing from his life has been found and he has never been happier.

 

 

We know we should read the Bible. We know we should want to read the Bible. But almost all of us find there are times when we can’t find the motivation to read the Bible.

 

 Fortunately, we can turn to the Bible itself to regain the motivation we need.

 Here are five verses that can stimulate our desire to read Scripture:

  1. To clarify the thoughts and attitudes of your heart (Heb 4:12)—When we find we’re not eager to read the Bible, our first question ought to be, “Why not?” The answer is likely to be revealed when we search the Scriptures. As Hebrews says, God’s Word “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

  2. To experience joy (Ps 119:111)—The cure for a lack of motivation to read Scripture is to read more Scripture. The more we read the more it sinks into the marrow of our hearts and becomes for us, like for the psalmist, a source of joy.

  3. To build up our ability to stand firm against evil (Eph 6:11–17)—If we are not currently forced to confront evil, we soon will be. The only way to be ready is to prepare now by having the “belt of truth buckled around your waist” (v. 14).

  4. To become more hopeful (Ro 15:4)—The Bible is filled with stories of men and women who have endured suffering and been faithful in the face of adversity. They are examples for us of how we can be hopeful, knowing we, too, can endure.

  5. To show our love for Jesus (Jn 14:23–24)—As Jesus said, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching” (v. 23). To love Jesus requires obeying his teachings, which requires that we have them embedded in our hearts through God’s Word.

  Still need more motivation? Other motivations to read the Bible are so we can: be set free (see Jn 8:32), know how to please God (see 1Th 4:1–8), become equipped for every good work (see 2Ti 3:16–17), know what God says is valuable (see 2Pe 1:21), grow with other believers into a mature community (Eph 4:14–16) and reject conformity to the world as we renew our minds (see Ro 12:1–2).

We can’t have a fulfilled life if we don’t have basic training, and only the serious study of the bible can do that.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Aimee, she entered hospice today

For Raymond, 23, and is a new dad today

Remember Joe and his shoulder

Dean and his battle with alcoholism

 

overlooked?

May 14, 2017

Our new birth means that each one of us is a new creation in Christ, at which time the Comforter (The Holy Spirit) enters our spirit to abide forever (John 14:16). Spirit to spirit joined, we are “partakers of the divine nature.” At birth we are “babes in Christ,” but as we grow in Him we develop in likeness of life—thus glorifying the Son.

Thank God that we are new creatures, our legal identity has changed. Every single wrong that we’ve ever done is gone, forgiven, wiped away, and buried. When God looks at us He sees His Son, not the sinner.

The Apostle Paul called himself the chief of sinners. For some much is forgiven, some lives were more wrecked by sin than others. There should be a higher sense of the gift to those who were forgiven so much.

It seems as the devil spends more time harassing this type of believer. The memories are more painful, the nightmares worse.  Because of the damage we’ve done to others and ourselves we often believe his lies, that we are less than other believers.

We may struggle more than those who didn’t stain their souls to almost black. But the cure is the same for all. Simple trust in the love of God.

There are no second-class Christians.

Prayer requests at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com as well as comments to the email address please.

God bless

 

a life of pain

May 13, 2017

There’s “sad,” and then there are those times when sorrow seeps down into your soul and collects there into an aching pool of grief. You sleep. You wake up. And for a minute it’s better. Then the drip… drip of pain begins again. After thirty-two years with rheumatoid arthritis I would rather spend a day in significant physical pain than a day in significant emotional pain, although sometimes the two are inextricably linked. When we find ourselves in that kind of pain, how might we find relief? If you believe that the Universe has randomly arranged itself and there is no ultimate goal of history or relationships or our own lives, then neither is there any comfort in the ultimate sense. If life is a cosmic lottery then you have simply drawn a losing ticket and there’s nothing to be done about it. In the face of such bleakness, when sorrows come it’s understandable that so many self-medicate themselves into addiction or spend most non-working hours in some kind of escapist diversion. I wonder if this view of life could ever have gained credibility in any times but these, so rich in resources and options for entertainment and diversion.

If you believe in the Eastern view of things then you might seek relief in the conviction that all suffering, indeed all pain and everything attached to this world is illusion. What is needed is more detachment from this world and its sorrows, more enlightenment and becoming one with the impersonal life force that has created all things. Become less of your individual self and more of the One.

However, if you believe in a personal God then a very different kind of comfort is possible. When I am hurting, when the pool of grief and loss grows deeper until I feel that I am drowning, then the thing that I long for most is the loving presence of another person.

When I was sad this week I called a friend and shared my sorrow. The empathy in her voice soothed me. Her loving presence, even on the phone, cheered me. She has known deep sorrow as well and she really understands me. Her tangible love and prayers for me comfort me. And the fact that she is probably in more physical pain than any one I know. Soon you forget your pain as you begin to remember hers.

In the same way, God longs to comfort us because he longs for relationship with us. The reason we long for the presence and touch of another person when we are hurting is because it is the image of a personal God in them that is able to comfort us. Love desires personality. The wit, the courage, the honesty, the tenderness of another person that comforts and delights us points us to the personality of our Creator. The Bible says that “God is near the broken hearted.” God’s presence, especially in our pain, is real. And it is not the presence of one who is remote emotionally.

In the person of the Son God knows what it is like to suffer. And when we are suffering, that matters.

“I have come to give you life.” “I will never leave you or forsake you.” “I will work all your suffering together for your good.” Jesus does not simply offer us pretty words of comfort. He knows what it is to be abandoned and betrayed by his closest friends. For his family to misunderstand him to the extent that they plan an intervention. Jesus knows what it is like to be homeless, tired, thirsty, hungry. He knows what it’s like to stay up all night, sick at heart, sorrowful, even to the point of death. He knows what it’s like to be tortured and die a slow, excruciating death. He knows what it means to become sin—selfishness, greed, lust, murderous anger, pride, jealousy and the rest. So when he comes near the brokenhearted he can deeply, truly empathize. More than that, he can bear our griefs and carry our sorrows. “Cast all your care upon me,” he invites us, “because I care for you.”

When we are aching God can comfort us. He can heal that which is broken. He may not always change our circumstances, but he can change us. If we give up our claim to our right to ourselves, he will fill us with his life and his joy. When we can thank him for the life we live, the air we breathe and the songs we sing then there is hope beyond imagining. Because…not only can he comfort with his presence and deep empathy, he can, through the power that raised Jesus from the dead, do more than we can possibly imagine to restore us to life. We needn’t give up our individuality. We remain very much ourselves yet more fully alive. We don’t retreat from this world but find the power to live and love joyfully with hearts of thanksgiving, fully engaged with the people and happenings around us.

At least, after thirty-two years this month of rheumatoid arthritis, that has been my experience. I’ve learned a very hard lesson, that is saying to God, “Father, I love you. I thank you for all the pain and all the good you have accomplished through it, mainly, giving me yourself, I know I really never ever experience pain like my Savior, your Son ever experienced, but I know you understand and I remind myself time and time again that it is not punishment, it’s just life.”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

And speaking of pain, remember Joe R, in your prayer for his shoulder pain from a torn ACL and a bone spur.

Remember Liz and her mother Sara as her mom goes through chemo.

Please pray for Virginia Mc. She is in terrible pain and is wondering why God hasn’t taken her home yet.

AAA (A DIFFERENT ROAD MAP)

Wise people have observed that we all have legitimate, God-given needs for “the 3 As”: attention, affection and affirmation. God intends for children to receive them from their parents first, laying a foundation of a healthy sense of self, then from their peers.

The Attention need is met by being there, listening, watching, engaging and interacting. Ever hear the famous line, “Daddy, watch me!”? One wise father told another whose daughter kept clamoring for him to look at her as she played in the back yard, “If you don’t watch her now, soon she’ll look for another guy to give her the attention she wants from YOU.”

The Affection need is met both physically and verbally. We all need hugs and safe touch. And most boys need the rough-housing kind of physical affection from their dads that says, “You belong in the world of males.” We need to hear the verbal affection of “I love you,” terms of endearment, and other forms of communicating love.

The Affirmation need is met by validating people’s feelings, efforts, skills and gifting. Noticing and commenting when they do things right—or even try. It communicates, “I am for you” and “I believe in you.”

Jesus received the Three As at His baptism. His Father and the Spirit showed up [attention], and the Father pronounced, “This is My beloved Son [affection] in whom I am well pleased [affirmation]” (Matt. 3:17).

Much unhealthy, dysfunctional behavior is driven by trying to get these three needs met, usually without realizing what is driving us. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder than ever to get these needs met because of two things proliferating in our culture.

First, families seem to be growing more fractured and more dysfunctional than ever before. Fatherlessness is at epidemic stage. The National Fatherhood Initiative cites the U.S. Census Bureau’s statistic that one out of three American children live in homes without their biological father.{1} Parents in the home are often stressed, overwhelmed, and so self-focused, whether on selfishness or mere survival, that many children feel like they are on their own. Plus, the people God intends to fill their children’s emotional tanks with attention, affection and affirmation—parents—are often scrambling to try to get their OWN tanks filled. So there is a sense of disconnection at home.

Second, smartphone technology has moved into the hands—and heads—of the majority of Americans. Over half of adults own smartphones, and a recent report from the Pew Research Center revealed that 78% of young people ages 12-17 now have cell phones, and nearly half of those are smartphones.{2} That means continual connection to the internet. That means billions of text messages daily, which have virtually replaced phone calls for many people, especially youth.{3} The camera on most people’s cell phone means that many people view life’s experiences, from wedding processions to grade school concerts to street fights, through a 3-to-4-inch screen held away from the body.

In short, we’re doing life through a screen.

And that screen is an additional layer of disconnection between people. Technology has created a superficial degree of counterfeit connection, and relationships are suffering. People think they’re connected to other people through their phones, but in reality they’re connected to their phones and a counterfeit kind of “life.”

God knew what He was doing when He stressed the importance of staying in connection, continually engaging with each other: I count “one anothers” in scripture.{4} He knew what He was doing when He instructed believers to make sure and keep meeting together to encourage one another (Heb. 10:24).

God put needs for the Three A’s inside us, and He intends for us to meet them through connection to other people. Please, hug somebody. Tell them they’re important and valuable. Be there for them.

And you might want to put down your phone.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

biblios lover

April 29, 2017

In 1863 Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon on 2 Timothy 4:13 (“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.”) In the sermon he said,

 

  The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “Give thyself unto reading.” The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people.

 

 

 You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritan writers, and expositions of the Bible.

 

 We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books”—join in the cry.

 

  Many of us recognize that reading is a key way to gain wisdom and insight. But it’s not always easy to find the time to read books. If this is a problem for you, here are a few tips that can help you read more:

 

  ➤ Set aside 15 minutes—Make a commitment to read for a minimum of 15 minutes every day. No matter how busy our lives might be, we can find a quarter of an hour out of the 24 we are given daily to find time to read.

But what can be accomplished in that amount of time? Quite a lot, actually. The average adult reads prose text at 250 to 300 words per minute. With 15 minutes a day you could read 3,750 words. In one year (365 days) you would read for 5,475 minutes. Multiply that times 250 words per minute and you get 1,368,750 words per year. Most books have between 300 and 400 words per page.

 If we take 350 words per page and divide that into 1,368,750 words per year, we get 3,910 pages per year. This means that at 250 words a minute, 15 minutes a day, you could read about 20 average-sized books a year. In five years you could read 100 books; 200 in a decade. All with only 15 minutes per day.

 

 ➤ Make a reading list—After you finish a book, you want to have another one ready to start. Make a proposed reading list of the books you want to read. Be sure to include a variety in case you decide that the next book on the list isn’t the next one you want to read. You don’t have to use the list as a rigid schedule, but it will help prevent you from losing days or weeks while you search for new reading material.

 

 ➤ Use audiobooks—Yes, audiobooks count as “reading” (don’t let print snobs tell you differently). Audiobooks might not be the best fit for topics you are unfamiliar with or that require close concentration, but they can be a refreshing way to help you “read” more books. They can also help you add more fiction or other imaginative literature to your daily reading.

 

 

 ➤ Have vegetables and dessert—If the only time you read is when you force yourself to “eat your cultural vegetables” (i.e., read books that require serious focus, attention and thought), you might soon grow tired of reading and give it up altogether. For every “vegetable” book you read, add a “dessert” book to read on the side. Light reading (as long as it’s not corrosive to the soul) can help keep our minds fit and limber for the heavy lifting of more serious texts.

 

 

Redeem the time—Make a list of all the activities you do every day. Look for areas where you can trade some time spent on unproductive leisure activity (such as watching television or playing video games) for time to develop wisdom and insight by reading more.

 

 

One of the questions I get asked quite often is how can I write a devotion every day. The answer is simple, I read a lot. I only watch television one day a week and then only for two hours, that’s for a week. I spend 4 hours every day reading. My wife who was never a reader, now reads one book per week. I average several per week. I love multivolume sets, it took me twenty years but I finally read the complete Harvard set of Classics. Did I enjoy every book, not all, I’ve read the “100 books you have to read in your lifetime,” and frankly I really didn’t like 20 of them, but there were nuggets in each one.

 

 

I can remember when reading 5 verses of the bible each day was hard, now 5 chapters in the morning, 5 in the evening. My wife kids me because I have books stacked up everywhere including one on the tractor, and I can read while walking (city walking). You CAN learn to love reading.

 

 

One word of advice, make your kids read real books not just electronic versions, science has proven that electronic reading only doesn’t develop the brain like the printed page. And teach your kids from age 2 to be at least bilingual.

 

 

Read every kind of book, hard to read, ones that make you think, there are several books that I read once every year and there are some books that take me a year to read as there is to much so absorb.

 

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

Remember in prayer

Joe R, and his shoulder

Randy H and his knew

Leslie and her mother’s battle with cancer.

Quinton and his recovery from surgery.

NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR. TOUGH NUGGIES.

One of the most popular ideas to emerge in Christian circles is that we all need to build and maintain proper self-esteem. Dozens of best-selling Christian books are laced with this theme. It is frequently mentioned in sermons and on Christian radio shows. It is a fundamental assumption underlying most Christian counseling. For example, one well-known Christian treatment program, endorsed by top Christian leaders, states in a promotional brochure, “Part of [this program’s] success is found in the unique ability to target and resolve problems of low self-esteem. At the core of all emotional problems and addictive disorders is low self-worth. It is never the only problem; but it is so major an issue that, if not dealt with adequately, one is kept from experiencing lasting, positive results.”

An article by a Christian psychologist on the problem of pastors who commit adultery stated that one reason pastors fall into sexual sin is low self-esteem. If they would just love themselves properly, they wouldn’t have a need to find “love” from another woman. Another article asserts that low self-esteem is a major factor behind homosexual behavior. A popular Christian author even used the story of Lee Harvey Oswald to illustrate how low self-esteem led this man to shoot President Kennedy!

The question Christians need to ask is, does the Bible teach this? Does it teach that we need to build our self-esteem? Those who say yes usually support it with the verse, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). They say that you must properly love yourself in order to love your neighbor. But that is not the meaning of the verse. It assumes that we all love ourselves just fine, thank you. If we would show the same regard for others that we do in fact show for ourselves, we would be loving them as God commands. Even those who go around dumping on themselves don’t need to focus on loving themselves. Their problem is precisely that they are too self-focused. They need to consider the needs of others ahead of themselves. The mark of biblical love is self-sacrifice, not self-esteem (see Eph. 5:25).

Even in the case of a suicidal person, the problem is not that he does not love himself. Rather, he loves himself more than he loves anyone else. He is not considering what his death will do to family or friends. He is only considering himself: he is in pain and he wants out of his pain.

Consider the adulterous pastor. He was esteeming himself above everyone else. He certainly was not esteeming God or he would not have dragged His name through the mud by committing adultery. Nor was he loving and esteeming his wife, his children, or the woman he defiled. He was esteeming his “needs” above all else.

The Bible teaches that love of self is at the root of all our sins. It warns that “in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self” (2 Tim. 3:1, 2). This is followed by a list of terrible sins. You can’t find a single command in the Bible that even hints that we need to esteem and love ourselves more than we do. To the contrary, Jesus explicitly said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34). Many Bible verses tell us to humble ourselves and not to think too highly of ourselves (see James 4:6-10; 1 Pet. 5:5-6; Rom. 12:3), but none tell us to focus on how wonderful or worthy we are. In fact, God operates on the principle of grace, and grace is for the unworthy, not for the worthy.

In his devotional classic, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, William Law writes of the “monstrous and shameful nature of sin” and then asks rhetorically, “Shall we presume to take delight in our worth, we who are not worthy so much as to ask pardon for our sins without the mediation and intercession of the Son of God?” (Westminster Press, pp. 106-107).

My analysis is that most American church-goers need to grow in a sense of their unworthiness, not their supposed worthiness. They need to see what the old Puritan writers called “the exceeding sinfulness of sin.” Then perhaps we would see how much we need the Savior. Being forgiven much, we would love much.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

my first love

April 27, 2017

Genesis 22: why the O.T. is so great. First love

Two episodes in the life of Abraham stand out with special prominence. The first, when against all natural hopes, he “believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Rom. 4: 3). In the second he was, “justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar” (Jas. 2: 21). To this second great event we come in Genesis 22.

“After these things,” we read, God put Abraham to the test, and this is ever His way. Peter speaks of “the trial of your faith,” and declares that it is “much more, precious than of gold that perisheth” (1 Pet. 1: 7). At the outset Abraham’s faith laid hold of God as One who was able to raise the dead. Under test he was now to demonstrate that such was his faith, in a way that would be apparent to any thoughtful observer. He showed his faith by his works.

If considered typically the chapter has remarkable significance. Here we get father and son both going up together to the sacrifice. In a figure the son is sacrificed and raised from the dead. We have already seen the death of Christ typified (1) as atonement, covering the guilty sinner, in the coats of skins (Genesis 3); (2) as the basis of approach to God, in Abel’s sacrifice (Genesis 4); (3) as the ground of acceptance, in Noah’s burnt offering (Genesis 8). Now we find a fourth and fuller type in the offering up of the son, and this brings in not only death but resurrection also. Consequently we find in this story details of very striking significance.

In verse 2 Isaac is mentioned as Abraham’s “only” son, which is rendered in Hebrews as, “his only begotten son” (11: 17) . ‘This makes it abundantly clear that Isaac was a type of our Lord, and further, it sheds light on the meaning of the words “Only begotten” as applied to Him. Ishmael indeed sprang from Abraham but being after the flesh he did not count in the Divine reckoning, and Isaac was quite unique. So our Lord Jesus Christ was Son of God in a perfectly unique sense.

It was God who declared Isaac to be Abraham’s “only” son, and He also added, “whom thou lovest.” Now this is the first time that love is mentioned in the Bible, which is remarkable, seeing it prefigures the love in the Godhead of the Father for the Son. Not until we reach the New Testament and such a statement as, “Thou lovest Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17: 24), do we get that love fully revealed; but now that it is revealed, we can better understand the great statement that, “God is love.” How fitting that the first mention of love should be typical of that supreme love, which is the fountain from which flows all true love of which we have any knowledge.

The command of God was that this only son of Abraham’s love should be offered by him as a sacrifice upon a mountain, chosen of God in the land of Moriah. He was to deliver to death the son, in whom all the promises were vested. This, was indeed a tremendous test of faith, as is made so plain in Hebrews 11: 17-19. That he did not fail under it was due to the fact that he believed that God was able and prepared to raise him from the dead.

The spot chosen for the sacrifice was that whereon, centuries after, the temple was built, and where Jewish sacrifices were made at the altar of burnt offering. Though Abraham cannot have known it the circumstances were divinely arranged to complete the typical picture. What we do see in Abraham is the energy with which he responded, rising up early in the morning, and’ the preparation he made to act in obedience. He departed with son, servants and wood for sacrifice.

On the third day Abraham saw the chosen spot; this was significant, for in after days he would look back to it not so much as the place of sacrifice as the place where in figure he received him as from the dead — the place of resurrection, in fact. That the faith of Abraham embraced resurrection is borne witness to by the closing words of verse 5. The sacrifice of Isaac was contemplated as “worship,” and the lad as well as his father was to “come again.” Abraham’s confidence as to this coming again is the more striking as he carried both a knife and the fire, as the next verse records. The wood was laid on Isaac. We may see in this a foreshadowing of that which is recorded in John’s Gospel — “He, bearing His cross, went forth into a place called . . . Golgotha.”

The sacrifice commanded was to be a burnt offering, hence to the eyes of Isaac the fire and the wood were perfectly natural, and the only question raised in his mind was, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham’s answer, though he may not have known it, was prophetic of something far beyond his own days: “God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” No lamb that ever died on any altar, patriarchal or Jewish, was other than provisional, and in view of that which was to come. The question, “Where is THE lamb?” was unanswered until John the Baptist was able to declare, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Abraham, however, was fully persuaded that God would provide the lamb for this occasion, and in that faith both father and son went together.

Verses 9 and 10 relate how full was the measure of Abraham’s obedience. Nothing was lacking up to the point where the death stroke would have taken place. At the last possible moment the Angel of the Lord intervened. His obedience had been tested to the full and had stood the test. He had not withheld his only son. This not only proved beyond question that he believed in God as the God of resurrection, but also furnished a foreshadowing of the infinitely greater moment when God “spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.”

Though not stated in the narrative, we must not fail to notice the submission of Isaac. No word of remonstrance on his part is mentioned. He typifies the One of whom the prophet testified, “As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth” (Isa. 53: 7). His experience must have typified that which our Lord passed through, in infinitely greater measure, in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The voice from heaven arrested the death stroke that was to have fallen on Isaac, and now Abraham’s eyes were directed to God’s immediate provision; not a lamb merely but a ram. If we desired to have the strongest and most vigorous specimen from among the sheep, we should have to select a ram. This one moreover was caught in the thicket by its horns, symbolic of its strength, and it was offered as a burnt offering “in the stead of his son.” Though the actual words, substitute, or substitution, do not occur in our English Bible, here we have exactly that which the words mean. A substitute is one who stands in the stead of another.

So in this incident, which presents to us the fourth type of the death of our Saviour, we have before us salvation by a substitutionary sacrifice. And further, since the ram was detained to be the sacrifice by its horns, the strongest part of its frame, we may see how our blessed Lord was held to His sacrificial work by the strength of His love. No nail that ever was forged could have detained him on the cross. What held Him there was love to the Father, and love to us. (See John 14: 31; 13: 1).

Abraham recognized the wonderful way in which God had provided the lamb for a burnt offering, and signalized it by naming the place Jehovah-Jireh, meaning, ”The Lord will provide.” And out of that sprang a saying which was still current when some four centuries later Moses wrote these things: “In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen,” or “shall be provided.” That was the language of faith, for another four centuries, or so, after Moses, there stood on Moriah the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite, and years after that Solomon’s temple was built there, and so it became the place for Jewish sacrifices. That to which all these sacrifices pointed took place “without the gate,” for the Lord Jesus was the rejected One.

The first call out of heaven had acknowledged the completeness of Abraham’s obedience: the second call pronounced great blessing, confirmed by an oath. This is the occasion referred to in Hebrews 6 when God, “because He could swear by no greater,” “swear by Himself.” The extent of the blessing might well have staggered Abraham. His seed was to be multiplied (1) “as the stars of the heaven,” (2) “as the sand which is upon the sea shore;” it was (3) to “possess the gate of his enemies,” and in it (4) “shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” It is not surprising, therefore, that God reinforced His bare word by His oath, that there might be “two immutable things” on which to rest.

The ancients knew but the stars that are visible to the naked eye. Only in our day has it been discovered that they are literally as numerous as the grains of sand on the sea shore. But we think we may see in (1) his spiritual seed, whose destiny is heaven (see, Galatians 3: 7); in (2) and (3) his earthly seed who, born again and redeemed, will enjoy millennial blessing and victory; and in (4) a prediction to be fulfilled in Christ, who is the Seed — in the singular, as Galatians 3: 16 points out — in whom all nations shall be blessed. All this blessing is guaranteed by the mighty oath of God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

right thoughts

April 23, 2017

SO WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND?

Think of all the things that preoccupy your thoughts, how many of them are of God?

We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God.

God is spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Only the Holy Spirit can enable a fallen man to worship God acceptably. As far as that’s concerned, only the Holy Spirit can pray acceptably; only the Holy Spirit can do anything acceptably.

Man was made to worship God. God gave man a harp and said, “Here above all the creatures that I have made and created I have given you the largest harp … you can worship Me in a manner that no other creature can.” And when he sinned man took that instrument and threw it down in the mud.

Why did Christ come? In order that He might make worshippers out of rebels. We were created to worship. Worship is the normal employment of moral beings. Worship is a moral imperative. Worship is the missing jewel in modern evangelicalism.

I want to define worship, and here is where I want to be dogmatic. Worship means “to feel in the heart.” A person that merely goes through the form and does not feel anything is not worshipping.

Worship also means to “express in some appropriate manner” what you feel. And what will be expressed? “A humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder.” It is delightful to worship God, but it is also a humbling thing.

Now what are the factors that you will find present in worship? First there is boundless confidence. You cannot worship a Being you cannot trust. Then there is admiration, that is, appreciation of the excellency of God. Fascination is another element in true worship; to be filled with moral excitement; to be captivated and charmed and entranced with who God is, and struck with astonished wonder at the inconceivable elevation and magnitude and splendor of Almighty God. Next is adoration; to love God with all the power within us; to love God with fear and wonder and yearning and awe. At times this will lead us to breathless silence.

The God of the modern evangelical rarely astonishes anybody. He manages to stay pretty much within the constitution. Never breaks over our bylaws. He’s a very well-behaved God and very denominational and very much one of us, and we ask Him to help us when we’re in trouble and look to Him to watch over us when we’re asleep. The God of the modern evangelical isn’t a God I could have much respect for. But when the Holy Ghost shows us God as He is we admire Him to the point of wonder and delight.

Worship … rises or falls with our concept of God; that is why I do not believe in these half-converted cowboys who call God the Man Upstairs. I do not think they worship at all because their concept of God is unworthy of God and unworthy of them. And if there is one terrible disease in the Church of Christ, it is that we do not see God as great as He is. We’re too familiar with God.

Worship is pure or base as the worshipper entertains high or low thoughts of God. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.

We’re here to be worshippers first and workers only second. We take a convert and immediately make a worker out of him. God never meant it to be so. God meant that a convert should learn to be a worshipper, and after that he can learn to be a worker. The work done by a worshipper will have eternity in it.

Labor that does not spring out of worship is futile and can only be wood, hay and stubble in the day that shall try every man’s works.

It is rarely that we find anyone aglow with personal love for Christ. This love as a kind of moral fragrance is ever detected upon the garments of the saints. The list of fragrant saints is long. It includes men and women of every shade of theological thought within the bounds of the orthodox Christian faith. This radiant love for Christ is to my mind the true test of catholicity, the one sure proof of membership in the church universal.

He’s not our papa, or sugar daddy, he’s not the God in the shack, he’s not a warm blanket just from the dryer, He’s THE ALMIGHTY GOD, and needs to be treated as such, especially in worship.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for those Christians that struggle with mental illness and wonder what bad thing they’ve done in their life to be so cursed, help them to remember who they are in Christ; and once they step over the threshold of heaven their mind, their thoughts will also be redeemed.

 

DIRTY TOWELS AND JESUS

April 21, 2017

DIRTY BATH TOWELS AND JESUS

WARNING ADULT THEME, MATURE DISCUSSION, PLEASE DON’T READ IF YOU ARE EASILY SEXUALLY OFFENDED.

OK, THESE ARE JUST THE FACTS, NO BITTERNESS, NO FREUDIAN SLIPS JUST SOMETHING THAT CAME TO MIND.

MY WIFE CHANGES THE BATH TOWELS TWICE A WEEK (THAT I NOTICE, IT MIGHT BE MORE). I BRING THIS UP BECAUSE FOR SOME REASON WHEN I CAME OUT OF THE SHOWER AND WAS DRYING OFF, I THOUGHT OF MY MOTHER’S WEIRD HABIT ABOUT WASHING TOWELS.

EVERY TIME YOU TOOK A BATH OR A SHOWER THE TOWELS HAD TO GO RIGHT INTO THE WASHING MACHINE AND BE IMMEDIATELY WASHED.

I ALWAYS CHALKED THIS UP TO MY MOTHER BEING A PROSTITUTE. NOT THE KIND THAT STOOD ON THE CORNER AND HAD A PIMP; BUT A RENT WHORE. SHE SLEPT WITH GUYS THAT WOULD PROVIDE THE BOOZE OR THE DRUGS OR THE RENT OR WHEN THINGS GOT BAD AND REALLY WENT TO HELL A ROOF OVER OUR HEADS.

SOME MIGHT THINK THIS WAS AN ULTIMATE SACRIFICE AS OUR FATHER HAD LEFT US HIGH AND DRY. IT JUST PISSED ME OFF. SHE PUT MY LITTLE SISTER AT RISK AND IT MADE AN ALREADY VIOLENT SON EVEN MORE VIOLENT. ESPECIALLY WHEN I WOULD TAKE AN AXE HANDLE TO SOME CLOWN TRYING TO GO INTO MY SISTER’S BEDROOM.

AND THEN I WOULD GET YELLED AT BY HER FOR RUINING THE NIGHT OR THE GUY LEAVING WITHOUT LEAVING A LITTLE CASH BEHIND.

SO HERE’S THE DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT.

MY MOTHER WAS CONSTANTLY CLEANING THE HOUSE OR HERSELF, SHE WOULD TAKE SEVERAL BATHS AFTER THE GUYS LEFT, IF SHE WASN’T PASSED OUT OR DOPED UP ON PILLS. AGAIN, I DON’T LOOK AT THIS AS THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE OF A MOTHER FOR HER CHILDREN. I WAS  14 AND ALREADY DRIVING TRACTOR TRAILERS OUT OF STATE AND MAKING GOOD MONEY. I COULDN’T GET HER TO STOP. I WOULD GET ESPECIALLY PISSED WHEN SHE SAID “THIS ONE IS GOING TO MARRY HER AND WOULD THE TWO OF US CALL HIM DAD.”

AGAIN THE DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, COMING FROM A PENTECOSTAL BACKGROUND AND THE ARMINIAN THEOLOGY OF BACKSLIDING AND ALWAYS COMING “BACK INTO THE FOLD”. I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW LIFE CHANGING IT WAS TO REALIZE HOW GREAT THE SACRIFICE THAT GOD MADE AND THE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND THE SECURITY OF A SALVATION I COULDN’T LOSE.

NO MORE 6 BATHS A DAY, NO MORE FEARING DYING IN SIN, NO MORE DIRTY TOWELS. JESUS’S BLOOD, TOTALLY CLEANING, WHOLLY, COMPLETELY SAVING.

SO, IN HEAVEN THERE’S A GIANT SUDS SAVING BATH, THAT WASHES ME WHITER THAN SNOW. IT’S QUITE AN IMAGE, THAT I HAVE TO BE COVERED IN BLOOD TO BE WHITER THAN SNOW.

JUST ONE TOWEL PLEASE

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

PLEASE NO PSYCHOANALYZING, JUST READ AND THINK.

PRAY FOR JOE R AND HIS SHOULDER

STEVE AND THE FAMILY LOSS

ROGER E. AND HIS BORDER COLLIE ANNIE PASSING

you move me

April 17, 2017

Image result for dancing man pictures

THREE STYLES OF RELATING

We must understand the principle that every man is moving (towards God or away from God). Movement defines a man’s existence. If we are not moving in a good direction, then we will move in a bad direction. Good movement, means moving through personal unhappiness toward God. Bad movement is movement aimed at nothing higher than relieving personal unhappiness. The things we just talked about, dulling the pain, being a tyrant, getting on with life, and recipe theology are all examples of bad movement – of an attempt to relieve the pain.

Because men are fundamentally relational beings, all movement will be seen most clearly in the way a man relates.

THE NEEDY MAN

The needy man knows that he needs relationships to be happy, but his is a distorted view of relationships. What he wants is for others to come through for him and meet his needs, without them requiring good movement from him. He is actually looking for happiness in people and not from God. He is expecting people to provide those pleasures we talked about earlier.

This is the man who comes home every evening and lets out a heavy sigh when he walks in the door so that the family will know how hard he has been working all day for them (That’s a lie. He is working for himself.). He wants them to take care of him but he is sending out his signal hoping that they will not expect anything from him.

This is the man who feels like a martyr because he’s married to a woman who has no interest in sex. The reality is that she doesn’t respond to him, because he is not moving toward her and so there is nothing to respond to. When she doesn’t meet his needs, he feels like a martyr and feels justified in lusting after other women or having an affair, because it is his right to have his sexual needs fulfilled and his wife isn’t meeting them.

What this man needs to do is see his bad movement—see his evil—and repent. But the needy man doesn’t see it.

King Saul is a good example. He had a need for respect. When he failed to kill all the Amalekites and their animals as God had commanded (he left the king and the cattle and sheep alive) and was caught by Samuel, he starts scrambling and says that they saved them for sacrificing to God. When Samuel says it is better to obey than to sacrifice, Saul says, I have sinned, but then immediately asks Samuel to return with him to the capitol city and stand beside him in public worship. When Samuel turns to leave, Saul grabs Samuel’s robe and it tears. Then Samuel says, that the tearing of his robe is an illustration that God is going to tear the kingdom away from Saul. Saul again says, “I have sinned,” but quickly adds, “but please honor me now before the elders and the people of Israel …” He was more concerned with appearances and keeping the respect of the people than with his sin. 1Sam 15:13-30.

THE TOUGH MAN

Shallow but stable describes this man. He has the “get on with life” attitude we discussed earlier. This is the “strong silent type” we talked about last week. He rarely talks about personal struggles and tends to quickly “resolve” whatever relational tensions he can’t avoid or dismiss. He focuses his energy on things he is good at and is unwilling, even for a moment, to entertain involving himself in something he is not good at—i.e. relationships. He wants to stay where he is comfortable. He wants to dispel the mystery.

Being tough doesn’t necessarily mean being mean or cruel. He doesn’t have to be abusive. He can be cordial all the time – and usually is. He is nice, above reproach, just emotionally uninvolved. He has lots of acquaintances, but no close friends.

He just doesn’t let himself feel anything. The needy man feels the pain, and is preoccupied with it. The tough man ignores it.

THE GODLY MAN

The godly man is sensitive, but it does not lead to self-preoccupation or complaint. He is hurt by broken relationships, but instead of demanding others to come through for him or running away, he uses the hurt to more sharply define and energize his call to move toward relationship. He is willing to sacrifice his pleasure (legitimate or illegitimate) so that he can help others. He releases other from his control and encourages them so that they are free to struggle with their loneliness and selfishness and pain. He’s been there through the struggles and has made it through to the other side—to God. He wants to help them find God too.

So, there are three styles of relating – You can be a needy man, always pulling on others to meet your needs. Or you can be the tough man and ignore your feelings and the feelings of others and focus your energy on things you are good at. Or you can be a godly man and feel your pain and the pain of others, but use it to grow personally, and then use your growth to help others grow.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com