KNOWING HIM

October 19, 2018

  “That. . . the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Christ)” (Eph. 1:17).

  The object of the Christian life is that we may center in the Object of the Father—His Beloved Son.

If we go on with the Father, sweet as is the assurance that we belong to Him, yet the uppermost thought will in the long run be Himself. We shall come back to His Person. We shall in our praises weave with them what the Lord Jesus has done, suffered, and won for us; but the primary thought in our hearts is, not what we have gained, however true, but what He has been for us and what He is for us, yes, what He is in Himself.

There is usually only occupation with the Lord Jesus for the relief of the conscience, and if so, where does it stop? It stops when the relief is gained. But if He is the object of the heart, you will never be satisfied but in fellowship with Him where He is.

I know of no arguments, and I am acquainted with no power, that will move the heart to devotedness except the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Himself and His love. It is possible to read books by the score, and to listen to the most faithful and blessed ministry for years on end, and yet never know the Lord Jesus as a present loving Object in heavenly glory. It is nigh impossible to see and know Him there by faith without a resulting intense desire to be wholly devoted to Him here.

We have a new Person before us as the Object of our faith and affections; and as we drop ourselves and have the Lord Jesus as our Object, He is formed in us. What has been judicially accomplished at the Cross has its fruition by the Spirit in our souls, and it is by that principle that we grow.

  “For it pleased the Father that in Him (Christ) should all fullness dwell” (Col. 1:19).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Chris R, 22 years old and charged with vehicular manslaughter. DUI while driving at 9am in the morning. His parents are Christians and Chris was raised in church. At 15 he got involved in drugs and drinking. When his parents prayed; “Lord whatever it takes” they never imagined this.

Husbands and Wives part four. Don’t worry about the titles, I mis-numbered where we are, so some will think this is part 3. (we are almost done, hang it there).

It’s interesting that while Titus 2:4 mentions a wife’s loving her husband in the context of submission, neither Ephesians nor 1 Peter (nor Colossians) mention a wife’s love. Instead Ephesians (5:33) and 1 Peter (3:2, 6) both mention respect in connection with submission. Respect is a crucial element of biblical submission.

But what often happens is that a couple starts marriage with high expectations. They’re in love and they think that love will conquer all their problems. But not too far into the marriage, the honeymoon wears off and there are disappointments as expectations are not met. Often this takes place unconsciously, since many of the expectations are not consciously identified. The husband, who may not be as relationally tuned in as his wife, deals with his marital disappointments by burying himself in his job.

The disappointed wife tries to remodel her husband by nagging him about his shortcomings and about not meeting her emotional needs. He’s clueless about how to meet her needs, but he’s pretty confident in his job, so he pours himself into work. When he makes feeble attempts to lead spiritually or relationally at home, she resists his efforts, because she doesn’t respect his relational skills or his spiritual leadership. The end result is emotional distance, relational hurts, and sometimes the disintegration of the marriage.

If, instead of that downward cycle, a wife will work at showing her husband respect, acceptance, and appreciation for anything she can possibly affirm, and she responds to his attempts at leadership, it will lead to greater unity and intimacy in the marriage. Wives, make note of this: Men react to nagging either by flight or by fight. A nice husband will run for cover; a more belligerent husband will fight back. But neither leads to greater marital intimacy. But 1 Peter 3:1-4 says that even a disobedient husband may be won by a wife’s gentle and quiet spirit.

Part of submitting to your husband involves looking for things that please him and doing them. But some of you may be thinking, “If I do that, how will my needs be met?” Or, “I’d meet more of his desires and needs if he weren’t so selfish and would meet more of my needs!” But marriage is not a 50-50 deal (even though that’s what every book and two bit counselor says). Each partner needs to give 100 percent in the way God has ordained and leave their partner’s response up to the Lord. When that happens, God often changes the partner and the needs of the one who stepped out first in obedience to God are met.

Many years ago a wife on the verge of divorce came to me, along with two of our deacons’ wives, who were counseling her to leave him (needless to say, we had several training sessions with deacons and their wives on giving biblical counseling). Her husband, who professed to be a Christian, left early each morning for a long commute to work and returned late in the evening, after stopping off to have a couple of beers at a bar. He would eat dinner, watch some TV, and hit the sack. Except for providing for them, he was completely disengaged from the family. She had to do it all and she was extremely frustrated and constantly let him know about it.

I explained 1 Peter 3 and advised that rather than criticizing and nagging her husband for his lack of involvement, she should thank him for his hard work and for anything else that she honestly could affirm. I told her to make her home a refuge for him so that there was nowhere else that he would rather be. She took my advice and stopped nagging him. Instead, she cheerfully greeted him when he got home, telling him how much she appreciated his hard work. She focused on meeting his needs. He started coming home earlier, eating dinner with the family, and even leading them in family devotions. When I left that church, with tears streaming down her cheeks she thanked me for holding to God’s Word that day. She said, “I wouldn’t have my family together today if you had compromised what God’s Word says.”

So the practice of submission involves an attitude of respect and a response to the husband’s leadership.

If there is one word about what destroys a marriage, it’s “selfishness”. And it is rampant in the church. I don’t get it, because the ‘servant’ mentality that teaches all we are to be should kill selfishness. I have to confess that I was shocked that our deacons’ wives would offer this kind of counseling. I had both the deacons’ step down for one year. To examine their leadership in the home and sent them out of the church to another biblical counselor to work on their marriages.

Counseling almost ender their marriages, because each wife was a ‘liberated’ Christian woman. There is no such thing. Yet, it is one of the biggest obstacles to a healthy, loving marriage. Husbands need respect, women need security. Husbands that don’t come home after work or golf all weekend, simply don’t want to be their wives. It’s vicious circle.

To all believers, lead a biblical life and you will find peace and harmony in all you do. Don’t compromise biblical principals and God will bless you in ways you can’t imagine. And best of all, when the storms of life hit you there will be no doubt about your relation to God. Give God the respect He deserves, and you will have peace of mind and joy.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Susan and her 3 children. Her husband was killed today on the way to work. His pickup truck was hit so hard by another truck, that his truck split in two. The cab and the pickup bed were 45 feet apart. His body burst like a balloon. His dog left only a shadow on the dashboard. If they family didn’t say he traveled with his dog, no one would have even known. The driver that hit him is dead as well and we still don’t know what happened, heart attack, fell asleep, we don’t know.

Life is like a mist; one puff of air and we are gone.

Live every day for the Lord.

HUSBANDS AND WIVES

October 16, 2018

Well, this is really part three with some stuff in between. After the topic of tithing, this seems to be the next most volatile sermon I can preach. I’ve never got death threats from this topic, but I do get some interesting comments from husbands and especially the wives. The fact that it’s biblical doesn’t seem to matter to some folks, “I’m still messing with their marriage”.

Submission is valid for all times and cultures because it is fitting in the Lord.

In God’s original creation, the man and woman together were to reflect God’s image which, in part, involves the voluntary submission of the Son to the Father in order to carry out the divine plan of salvation. Though the Son is co-eternal and co-equal with the Father, Jesus submitted Himself to the cross so that Satan’s dominion would be broken. The husband and wife are to relate to one another as the Father and Son relate to each other. The wife, though equal with her husband, submits to him to reflect God’s image and His relation with Christ the Son and our relation to Christ our Savior.

Paul develops this theme in Ephesians 5 where he states that Christian marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so wives ought to be to their husbands (Eph. 5:24). Why? Because through Christ and the church, which Paul calls the new man, created in God’s image (Eph. 2:15; 4:24; Col. 3:10), God is recovering what was lost in the fall of the first creation. Christian marriage, as the unit of the church, is to reflect God’s image through the sacrificial love of the husband for his wife and the voluntary submission of the wife to her husband in a context of equality as they exercise dominion over God’s enemy.

One way that an enemy can defeat its foe is to instill discontent and insurrection among the ranks. If you can get the enlisted men complaining about their lot, fighting against the officers, and trying to grab authority, you’ve just about won the war. That’s why Satan first approached Eve, not Adam, and got her to usurp his authority. Today his strategy is the same: to promise greater happiness to wives if they will get out from under their husbands’ authority. Many Christian wives do not realize that we are engaged in combat against the unseen forces of darkness in heavenly places and that Christian marriage is to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church. So they cast off the idea of authority in marriage—and play right into Satan’s hand!

So the principle of the headship of the husband and the submission of the wife is not cultural. In creation God’s order was to create the man first and then to create Eve as his helper. At the fall, the authority of the husband, which the wife had usurped, was specifically decreed (Gen. 3:16). Paul’s analogy of Christ and the church is the basis of his appeal for the proper order in marriage. Thus it is fitting in the Lord for the wife to submit herself to her husband to uphold God’s purpose for creating human beings, namely, to reflect His image and to crush Satan’s dominion. It’s not up for grabs if a culture believes differently.

Beyond the theological reasons, I believe there are other reasons to follow the biblically ordained roles for husbands and wives. God has made us as male and female with distinctive strengths, weaknesses, and needs. When each partner dies to his or her pursuit for self-fulfillment and lives in obedience to God to fulfill the needs of his or her mate, both partners are fulfilled. A godly, loving husband provides protection and support, both financially and emotionally, for his wife, which she lacks if she is independent of him.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Richard C, 91 years old, he came to Jesus late in life. (60’s) because of a Gideon bible in his hotel room. Doesn’t go to church (never has) he feels that reading his bible 2 hours a day is more than enough. We finally got him enrolled in a online bible study and I’m hoping as he “chats” online he will feel the need for personal fellowship. Although at his age he’s pretty set in his ways.

Pray for Betty K, she will bury her husband of 56 years this Wednesday, no kids and a very small circle of friends. She also is sporadic in church attendance, I’m hoping we can help fill the void.

Pray for Kyle, a church worship leader that does coke, I don’t even know where to begin with this prayer request. His pastor won’t make him step down because Kyle is semi famous. So pray for the pastor, the church and Kyle.

HEY, STUD

October 9, 2018

A bishop who had just had a cup of tea with a parishioner commented, “I’m glad to see in what a comfortable way you are living.” The churchgoer replied, “Oh, bishop, if you want to know how we really live, you need to come when you’re not here.” (Reader’s Digest [3/84], p. 16)

Unfortunately, a lot of Christians live that way, keeping up a good front to impress others with their spirituality. But if you knew how they really live, you’d find that they are faking it. They don’t live as authentic Christians. We all value authenticity, especially when it comes to our faith. But how can we know if our faith is genuine? What are the marks of authentic Christianity?

Many of the Colossian Christians had been unsettled by some false teachers who had arisen in their midst. They were telling these relatively new believers that they needed to observe designated holy days, avoid certain foods, and keep certain rules in order to be spiritual. They implied that the gospel which Epaphras had taught the Colossians was not complete or accurate. They needed to add the insights and rules of the false teachers to be genuine believers.

Paul wrote to the church to assure them that the gospel they previously received through Epaphras was the genuine item. It proved its authenticity by the fruit that it had produced in them and was producing in others everywhere it went. In so doing, Paul emphasized, as he often did, three virtues that are essentials of authentic Christianity: faith in Jesus Christ, love for other believers, and the hope of heaven. Also, in Paul’s opening comments, he reflects the authentic Christian virtues of thankfulness and prayer. Putting it together, we learn that …

Authentic Christians are marked by thankfulness and prayer, faith in Christ, love for the saints, and the hope of heaven.

It’s obvious that the Colossians were very different after they heard and believed the gospel which Epaphras preached. If people have not changed, we can assume that either the true gospel was not preached or that it was not believed. Belief in the true gospel results in the changes that Paul himself embodied and that he mentions here.

In many Pentecostal churches you will find more women in the congregation than men. My church therefore is an anomaly, we have more men than women (55%). It’s not a huge difference but it is different.

What always interests me is how my men test me to see if I’m genuine. When our church went interdenominational, we received even more men. I think we have more than our fair share of cops, FBI, a secret something and a homeland security. Maybe one attracts the other. With my military and government background it’s maybe not so surprising.

And since I hunt, reload, and shoot often we get a lot of shooters in church. So our men’s prayer Saturday is usually prayer, breakfast and then shooting. We trade knives, stories and once a quarter we have a saints and sinner dinner. We encourage the guys to invite someone that has never been to church. We grill steaks, have a little bourbon (one glass limit) and a cigar and then bible study, we call it “the holy smokes bible study”.

We have guys that won’t come to church but they will come to bible study and the dinners.

What interests me the most is how they watch the Christian men like a hawk, just waiting for them to slip up. I tell them we do have a few rules always in play, you can’t take the Lord’s name in vain, no dope, don’t show up drunk or high, no jokes about sex, no wife bashing, and you don’t have to hold hands when you pray. That last one draws a big sigh of relief.

I tell them anything I say in front of them I would say in the pulpit.

They are looking for a very real, genuine walk, and they want to see forgiveness in action. We do confess our sins to each other, either to the group or you’ll see some guys on one of the hiking trails or on the gun range having a serious come to Jesus conversation.

The one side effect I never saw coming was the wives saying thank you. My response is always “it’s not the goal of the church to neuter your husband” you can be a man and a good Christian.

Well that’s it for now, God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ronnie S, life has been very hard for him and he needs a financial miracle.

the naughty list

October 7, 2018

THE ACTS OF THE SINFUL NATURE

No passage in the Bible draws a clearer contrast between the lifestyle of the Spirit-filled

believer and that of the person controlled by the sinful human nature than Gal 5:16-26.

Paul not only discusses general lifestyle differences by emphasizing that the Spirit and

the sinful nature are at war with each other, but he also includes a specific list of both

the acts of the sinful nature and the fruit of the Spirit.

THE ACTS OF THE SINFUL NATURE. “Sinful nature” (GREEK  sarx) pictures the human

nature with its corrupt desires. The sinful nature remains within Christians after their

conversion and is their deadly enemy (Ro 8:6-8,13; Gal 5:17,21). Those who practice the

acts of the sinful nature cannot inherit God’s kingdom (Gal 5:21). Therefore, this sinful

nature must be resisted and put to death in a continual warfare that the believer wages

through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:4-14; see Gal 5:17, note). The acts of the

sinful nature (Gal 5:19-21) include:

(1) “Sexual immorality” (GREEK  porneia), i.e., immoral sexual conduct and intercourse; it

includes taking pleasure in pornographic pictures, films or writings (cf. Lx 20:14; Mt

5:31-32; 19:9; Ac 15:20,29; 21:25; lCo 5:1);

(2) “Impurity” (Gk akatharsia), i.e., sexual sins, evil deeds and vices, including

thoughts and desires of the heart (Eph 5:3; Col 3:5);

(3) “Debauchery” (GREEK aselgeia), i.e., sensuality; following one’s passions and desires

to the point of having no shame or public decency (2Co 12:21);

(4) “Idolatry” (GREEK eidololatria) , i.e., worship of spirits, persons or graven images; trust

in any person, institution or thing as having equal or greater authority than God and his

Word (Col 3:5);

(5) “Witchcraft” (GREEK pharmakela), i.e., sorcery, spiritism, black magic, worship of

demons and use of drugs to produce “spiritual” experiences (Lx 7:11,22; 8:18; Rev 9:21;

18:23);

(6) “Hatred” (Gk echthra) , i.e., intense, hostile intentions and acts; extreme dislike or

enmity;

(7) “Discord” (Gk ens), i.e., quarreling, antagonism; a struggle for superiority (Ro

1:29; lCo 1:11; 3:3);

(8) “Jealousy” (Gk zelos), i.e., resentfulness, envy of another’s sllr.cess (Ro 13:13; lCo

3:3);

(9) “Fits of rage” (GREEK thumos), i.e., explosive anger that flames into violent words or

deeds (Col 3:8);

(10) “Selfish ambition” (Gk eritheia) , i.e., seeking of power (2Co 12:20; Php 1:16-17);

(11) “Dissensions” (GREEK dichostasia), i.e., introducing divisive teachings not supported

by God’s Word (Ro 16:17);

(12) “Factions” (GREEK hairesis) , i.e., division within the congregation into selfish groups

or cliques that destroy the unity of the church (iCo 11:19);

(13) “Envy” (Gkphthonos), i.e., resentful dislike of another person who has something

that one desires;

(14) “Drunkenness” (GREEK methel, i.e., impairing one’s mental or physical control by

alcoholic drink;

(15) “Orgies” (GREEK komos), i.e., excessive feasting and revelry; a party spirit involving

alcohol, drugs, sex, or the like.

Just how dark is humanity, well, you’ve read the list, we can be carnal, or we can be spiritual. In my sex addict counseling group, I don’t think I can be surprised and then I hear something that is beyond my imagination. It’s a good thing I have a great poker face. What is more surprising is that fact that these are supposed to be Christian people coming to me for counseling.

The most confrontational moment in counseling was when I told a man I didn’t believe he was a Christian. Not because of the magnitude of what he was doing, but by the fact that there was no pause button, no gaps, it was habitual sinning. This was a deacon, the song leader, the largest gift giver (offerings) in church.

It would take to long to tell the whole story. He stepped down from his church duties, confessed to his pastor his wrong doings, he looked repentant. That was until he called me from jail arrested for solicitation of a prostitute.

So here’s my warning. If you are fighting and struggling with a sexual sin I will give you the benefit of doubt. But if you are indulging and only sorry you got caught, then I say “liar” you are lying to me and to God.

So this may be the last waring God gives you.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

ALL SERVE

October 4, 2018

  “Put on the whole armor of God “ (Eph. 6:11a).

  My sovereign Father gives me a subservient Satan.

Walter Wink, professor of Theology at Union Seminary, a liberal seminary, was the first author and professor that I’ve read that had a chapter on the servanthood of Satan. He can do nothing unless allowed by God, one of the first teachings of Job, which chronologically is the first book of the Bible. So probably a good concept to remember

 Our Father has better thoughts for us than a portion here. He is educating us for a blessed and eternal rest, free from evil and all that could cause it, and He is bent on the blessing of His children; and moreover He is bound by His holiness to purge us suitably (though most graciously) for the place He has called us to. How often He lets Satan do this painful work, and try to sift us as Job! But the Father’s hand and will are behind it all. He gives His saints up to Satan’s hand to a certain point, but only so far as to bring the heart fully to a bearing before Himself.

  “It is a wonderful thing to see the way in which through the overruling power of the Father, the efforts of Satan against His people only bring them out the more distinctly in their own place of blessing.” GW

We cannot judge God’s ways without judging God: we may love Him in His ways, but the moment we judge or question that which He has revealed, we get above God, we make ourselves gods, and we put Him in the place of the creature as subject to us. This brings our souls under the power of everyone that is more clever than ourselves: we are in their hands, and they can do what they please with us.

Now the devil is more clever than we are. Therefore we ought to keep God ever in His place of God in our souls, lest Satan should make gods of us, and set us judging God Himself. If God be displaced, we get into the place of those who are irresponsible, and as creatures the prey of any more cunning than ourselves.

  “That ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11b).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Had a few interesting comments on me talking about “bad girls” in our church. The bible has several “bad girls”. I’m blessed as a pastor that our church is loving and caring enough that we get a wide range of people that are in different walks in their journey of faith. Just as we get some that are unsaved but curious as to why they see “different” folks come out of our church. When I had a radio show it attracted a lot of curious people to church. Now it’s “different people” drawing curious people. One fellow last Sunday told me that he was in a bar and heard one of the patrons talking about his pastor. And he wondered how the two fit together; a heavy drinker and a pastor, hopefully we’ll see him again this Sunday.

So to those who are curious, seeking, wandering, wondering, pondering, stay with us here at scumlikeuschurch.

Pray for Chris, kidney stones

Pray for Doreen, hard times

Pray for Nadine, abandoned by her husband, left with a huge mortgage and car payments, two kids and a husband that seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth.

(WELL I’M DOWN WITH THE CRUD, SO I REPOSTING MY PERSONAL FAVORITE DEVOTION)

SO WHO’S WITH ME, YOU WANT TO GROW UP AND BE A POTATO CHIP.

BETTER LET ME EXPLAIN, LAYS POTATO CHIPS THEY HAVE ONE THAT’S LABELED, ‘LIGHTLY SALTED; IN A WEIRD WAY IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT THAT EXPLAINS THE FOUR GOSPELS AND THE BOOK OF ACTS (NOT COMPLETELY BUT ALMOST).

GOD IS LIGHT, HIS SON IS LIGHT, AND WE ARE CALLED TO BE LIGHT. IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN IT SAYS THAT DARKNESS (EVIL, THE DEVIL) CANNOT OVERCOME THE LIGHT OR EVEN UNDERSTAND IT. THAT’S HOW POWERFUL LIGHT IS.

SO WE ARE CALLED TO LIGHT.

WE ARE ALSO CALLED TO BE SALT

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW 5:13 SAYS WE ARE TO BE THE SALT OF THE EARTH. WE ARE TO BRING FLAVOR AND BE A PRESERVATIVE TO THE WORLD. BUT IF THE SALT LOSES ITS FLAVOR IT IS NO GOOD; AND THERE IS THE PROBLEM.

FOUR THINGS WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO AS CHRISTIANS.ONE, BE LIGHT, TWO BE SALT, THREE BE CHRIST LIKE, AND FOUR BE MATURE.

WE CAN’T LEAVE ONE PART OUT, WE ARE TO SHINE IN DARKNESS AND LET THE WORLD KNOW A RESURRECTED CHRIST; WE ARE TO HAVE AN INFLUENCE IN THE WORLD THAT ACTUALLY STOPS OR RETARDS THE PEOPLE AND THEIR SINS (CONVICTION AND THAT GOD LOVES THEM). BE CHRIST LIKE IN ALL WE DO SO THE LIGHT SHINES FROM US. AND GROW UP SO WE CAN GROW OUT.

SO HERE’S MY PROPOSITION, SPEAKING JUST ABOUT AMERICA, WE HAVE PRETTY MUCH FAILED IN EVANGELISM, WITNESSING AND SPREADING THE HOPE OF GOD. SO EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG IN OUR COUNTRY IS PRETTY MUCH THE CHURCHES FAULT AND OF COURSE THE SINFULNESS OF MAN.

ONE WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER, THE OTHER WE DO. DON’T BLAME THE GOVERNMENT, OR POLITICIANS, THE QUESTION WE HAVE TO ASK IS ‘HAVE OUR LIGHTS GONE OUT AND IS THE SALT GONE FROM OUR LIVES.

HOW MANY FAMOUS TV AND BOOK PASTORS ARE SAYING THE BIBLE ISN’T HISTORICALLY RELEVANT, IT HAS NO PLACE IN THE PLACE OF MODERN MAN. HOW ABOUT ALL THE CHURCHES THAT HAVE ONE GOAL ON SUNDAY, TO MAKE YOU FEEL HAPPY AND GOOD ABOUT YOUR SELF (BIG NEWS FLASH, GOD DOESN’T ACTUALLY CARE IF YOUR HAPPY).

THERE IS A WELL KNOWN PASTOR NEAR HERE THAT TOLD ME HE HASN’T PREACHED A MESSAGE ABOUT SIN IN OVER 15 YEARS AND WOULDN’T BECAUSE HE THINKS THAT MESSAGE WOULD DRIVE THE CROWDS AWAY.

ASK YOUR SELF ‘WHY DO I GO TO CHURCH?’ HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU’VE WITNESSED TO SOMEONE, OR TRIED TO HOLD A BROTHER OR SISTER ACCOUNTABLE FOR SOMETHING THEY ARE HAVING A PROBLEM WITH.

BE BIG

BE BOLD

BE BRAVE

SO TODAY WILL YOU RENEW YOUR VOW TO BE A POTATO CHIP, VOTE YES.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

KEEP ME IN PRAYER, I’M NOT A GOOD PATIENT

ATOMIC ROOSTER

September 26, 2018

Voted the number one rock song on an album by leading Rock and Roll Experts, not based on fame, or money, but solely of the merits of what a rock song should be; Death Walks Behind You, by Atomic Rooster. I wish I still had the album.

this is a long devotion so print it out or set aside some time. I found these notes in one of my older bibles, probably when i was in Seminary. I don’t remember the source or where I found the quotes. But it is topic that no person can avoid.

The valley of the shadow of death is the longest valley in the world. It began with Adam and has continued through six thousand years of human history. Men like to postpone that dreadful moment when they must pass through the dark valley, but death underscores each life and refuses to accept the person of any man. Death does not take into account whether we have been profitable or detrimental to society. Every step that we take brings us nearer to the grave, and it is but a matter of time until we must bid farewell to every earthly tie. With all of the wisdom of the medical profession and the use of scientific discoveries, we must agree with the wise preacher of old who said; “For the living know that they shall die” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).

The Bible contains much warning about death, speaking as frequently on this subject as it does about any other. In the garden of Eden where death had never entered, Adam and Eve were instructed by God to refrain from the forbidden fruit with the accompanying warning:

In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:17).

We know that they did eat; and at the very moment the judgment of God passed upon them, their bodies commenced the process of death and decay. “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died” (Genesis 5:5).

On one page of our Bible we have the genealogy from Adam to Noah and with only one exception, Enoch, the man who walked with God and was translated, the refrain is repeated– “and he died.”

The Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles did not hesitate to declare that death is certain. Noah preached righteousness and the judgment of God. He warned men that if they would not repent, the Lord would destroy them from the face of the earth (Genesis 6:7). Men only mocked at the old preacher’s sermon, and then God struck the whole earth with death and destruction. The divine record has it that the waters prevailed for forty days on the earth until every hill was covered. And then we read:

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man (Genesis 7:21).

Abraham faced the grim reality of death when he offered Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord. Though Isaac was spared, a ram died in his stead. Then we read: “And Sarah died” (Genesis 23:2). “And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die” (Deuteronomy 31:14).

Isaiah said to Hezekiah: “Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live” (2 Kings 20:1).

Jeremiah warned Hananiah: “This year thou shalt die” (Jeremiah 28:16).

Ezekiel preached the Word of the Lord: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). “That wicked man shall die in his iniquity” (Ezekiel 33:8).

When Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus, He said: “The beggar died . . . The rich man also died” (Luke 16:22).

When Christ was brought before the multitude, the Jews said: “We have a law, and by our law He ought to die” (John 19:7).

Of Dorcas, Luke writes: “She was sick, and died” (Acts 9:37).

How full the Bible is of the subject of death! We cannot study the life of any Bible character, save Enoch and Elijah, without being reminded that they all died. Life insurance companies become rich simply by pointing out that all men must die, and the agents have little difficulty in selling a policy by merely saying that death may come suddenly and unexpectedly. Any undertaker who conducts a respectable business is assured of a comfortable living with those values that money can buy. Even architects and builders take death into account when they plan a structure. Dr. John Rice tells that when his congregation in Dallas was preparing plans for a new church building the architect insisted on discussing the stairways, for, said he: “One rule we architects try to remember is that every stairway and every bedroom door must be large enough to admit a coffin!”

The Bible speaks of: “The law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

The Apostle Paul says: “We had the sentence of death in ourselves” (2 Corinthians 1:9). “So then death worketh in us” (2 Corinthians 4:12).

The Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of men “Who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15).

There is no escaping death. Try as hard as we can, the rider on the pale horse will pay his visit to each of us. He is blind to all tears and deaf to all prayers and pleadings. He must come to us, for he is sent by appointment. “It is appointed unto men once to die.” It is the judgment of the Almighty, it is by divine appointment. The death-bed, the crepe, the funeral, the grave, and the broken-hearted sighs and tears of the bereaved all tell us that “man dieth.”

The first time that the subject of death is mentioned in the Bible is given as a warning to our first parents. There man in his primitive state was enjoying blissful communion with God:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:16-17).

Adam knew that he was alive, but he was a stranger to the subject of death until he heard this word from the Lord. Now he is on his own. He has a knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. He knows that to obey God will mean continuous and unending life and to disobey will bring the sentence of death. The power of choice and the right to decide is now left with man. However, Satan would not allow the situation to go unchallenged. Though he taunted and tempted Eve he could not force her to eat the fruit. Both she and her husband partook of it by their own choice, and in so doing they incurred the displeasure of the Lord. The warning He gave was plain: “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Being holy and righteous in all of His judgments, God could do nothing other than pass the sentence of death. Hence Adam listened to what the consequences of his own wrong-doing had brought upon himself:

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return (Genesis 3:19).

God never acts in judgment nor does He allow anything to come to pass unless there is a just cause. So when He pronounced death upon the human race it was because Adam and Eve had disobeyed God and turned from the truth. Though the warning of the Lord had come in soundness and simplicity man chose to sin, knowing all the while that it meant death. Man cannot plead innocency on the ground of the sovereignty of God. He is appointed to die because he has transgressed the Law of God, and the Lord’s justice in the sentence of death is so undeniable that every mouth is stopped and all the world is guilty before Him. Man can offer no legitimate reason why the death sentence should not have been passed, for:

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

The soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4).

Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:15).

By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin (Romans 5:12).

So then death worketh in us (2 Corinthians 4:12).

For all have sinned (Romans 3:23).

Every time that death strikes and a loved one is suddenly taken away, it is as if we hear the cachinnation of sin and Satan. Sin plays with man for a time just as a cat plays with a mouse. Sin will allow us to run here and there, to pursue happiness, worldly pleasure and power; but the game of life is brief. In the end sin has tracked down each of us, and each pays with his life. Inasmuch as “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), we search in vain in our efforts to discover the secret of victory over death, for “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death?” (Psalm 89:48).

Death is still in our midst holding the whole world in fear and subjection. The reason men shrink from it is because “the sting of death is sin” (1 Corinthians 15:56). Because our nature is sinful and our hearts wicked, death continues to prick us and drive us toward the grave as the goad drives an ox to slaughter. Jesus said that ours is a wicked and an adulterous age. Until Christ comes back with His Church to rule the earth, “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Even to the end of the millennium death will hold within its grasp all the wicked dead. Until Satan and all unbelievers are cast into the lake of fire, death will have a vise-like grip upon sinners. But how comforting and consoling for the Christian when he looks for Him, even our blessed Lord Jesus who, when He comes the second time with His own, will subdue all things, even the power of death!

Death does not affect all men in the same way simply because it does not lead all men in the same direction. We realize that here we are assuming that death is not the consummation of all existence. Furthermore we are aware of the fact that there are a great many people in the world today who do not believe in an existing consciousness after death. Only recently I talked with a gentleman who believes that death is the cessation of man’s existence. He compared the death of a man to a leaf falling from a tree in October. Disregarding the positive proof of immortality, we will content ourselves with a brief consideration of one of two courses that death must take.

In one hospital ward two patients may die at exactly the same moment. While the root cause of these deaths may be the same in each case, the dying of one can be something altogether different from the dying of the other. We have seen how that death was the only real satisfaction for sin. It was the only punishment for sin that could satisfy the righteous demands of God. Since all men, who were at one time in the loins of Adam, possess Adam’s fallen nature, it stands that all must die the physical death of the body. However as Abraham Kuyper has said: “In the valley of the shadow of death, the great highway on which people walk divides itself, and continues on one side upward unto eternal life, and on the other with a declining path downward into eternal death.”

We can understand this only as we know something of the true purpose of the death of Jesus Christ. Since sin must be punished by death, Jesus went to the cross and died as the punishment for sin and thus at the same time offered Himself as the satisfaction for sin. Peter declares that “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh” (1 Peter 3:18). Here we are told that Christ was put to death for sins “that He might bring us to God.” Those who fall asleep in the Lord take the upward course to Heaven and to God. Having accepted Jesus Christ as their Sin-Bearer and Savior from sin they are brought to God by virtue of His sacrificial and vicarious death. Believers are able to say: “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). As Jesus hung dying upon the Cross, He was the true sin-offering for His people. We were, by nature, on the downward course, doomed to be separated from God; but Jesus, by virtue of His death, provided a new destiny. Dr. Harry Rimmer has said, “When Jesus died to change the trend of human thought, He also died to change the road of human history. Through a false philosophy, mankind was pursuing a fatal destiny. The impact of the cross bent human history out of the course in which it was flowing, and directed mankind toward God.” Whenever a true believer dies he is said to have fallen “asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 15; 1 Corinthians 15:6), and immediately his soul takes the upward course to be with the Lord.

But what course does death pursue in the case of an unbeliever? We have already stated that the only other course remaining is the declining path into eternal death. Once again we must make an assumption, that of belief in a literal place of endless torment for all who reject the atoning work of Christ when He died on Calvary’s Cross.

Since the death of Christ paid for the believer the punishment of sin, and death to him is a pleasant ascension into the Father’s presence, it follows that the death of the unbeliever is an unpleasant descent away from the presence of God. When the unbeliever gives up the ghost, breathing his last breath, he passes from this world into a spiritual and eternal death and Hell. Both are conscious, but death was forced to pursue a different course for each. Both the rich man and Lazarus died in the story told by our Lord. Lazarus was carried into Abraham’s bosom while the rich man was sent to Hell (Luke 16:19-24).

Dear Reader, where are you? Yes, you are still alive in this world; but remember, death is slowly but surely overtaking you. Soon you must say farewell to every earthly tie and enter into an endless eternity. Since Christ died to bring you to God, it is self-evident that you are far from God, and unprepared and unfit for Heaven. Will you trust the Saviour now? “He that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Terri, as she is facing a momentous decision

Pray for Randy H, heart issues

Pray for Steve C, 66 years old raised in church and won’t go into one for anything. Pray for his salvation.

Heavenly Places

September 21, 2018

  “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).

  It is sad to have to say that the present-day Church is so earthy that it is of little earthly good. “Sir, we would see Jesus”! (John 12:21). The agony and the ugliness or the old rugged cross is now a golden bejeweled cross. There is no longer in most hymn books songs about the blood or phrases like; “such a worm as I.”

No, we sing praise songs about how great we are.

  The great failure of the Modern Church was in giving up the Apostle Paul. Many pulpits haven’t heard a sermon from the book of Romans in years. Or the second coming of the Lord and how it could be at any moment.

  It is essential that a believer have a clear understanding of his position before the Father—his place in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. This alone will give true peace of mind, joy and comfort of heart, strength for conflict and power for service. We will never be able to properly understand or fill our place for God on earth if we do not realize our God-given standing before Him in heaven.

  And never forget that our place before the Father is His gift, and a gift worthy of the Giver; not a gift according to the measure of our worth but a gift intended to display the exceeding riches of the grace of the Giver. The greatness of the Giver then is the measure of the blessings that are mine in the Lord Jesus Christ, not what I am or what I deserve.

 When you see and stand on your heavenly ground, you come to rest, just as the Father rests. You need not worry—only keep on that ground by your attitude of heart. If you are going to worry—if you must worry—worry lest you get down on earthly ground, for that is the ground of worry. Abide above! Heavenly things are in safe keeping—in the keeping of One who is ‘far above all.’.

  “For ye have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3, ASV.).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember to pray for Gwen and her economic struggles

Continue to pray for Maureen and her shingles.

Dave I, and his battle with prostate cancer.

OUGHT NAUGHT TO BE

September 17, 2018

OUGHT NOUGHT TO BE

I’ve mentioned this before but want to revisit the situation.

I can walk into any bar or tavern. And say; “I’m cheating on my wife, my taxes, my boss, I’ve shot the neighbor’s cat and I just found out my mistress is HIV positive.”

And someone will come over and by me a drink. Or someone will come over and say; “I know what you’re saying.”

But have any failure in a Christian environment and well they shoot horses don’t they.

Mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, brotherhood, fraternity, grace, support, join AA because you may not get it from church.

Doesn’t seem to happen. It’s seems the membership for church is perfect people getting saved and leading perfect lives. Don’t dare tell them your past, you’ll find yourself not asked for dinner after the Sunday service.

Yet Jesus live and visited with the worst of his day, sinners. He laughed with them, broke bread with them and invited them to know Him better.

How can we expect a body of believers to grow intimate with each other when we hide our past, keep secret our current struggles and shove out anyone that fails?

So by pretending to be perfect we become false. And the brother or sister in Christ is afraid to share their struggles and failures, because on Sunday morning everyone is lying and saying, “all is well” and “I’m just fine.”

We don’t have an actual church plan in place to help the brother or sister to restoration, just condemnation and forced out of fellowship.

There must be a balance in church, yes, the mature believers acknowledging the less mature and their failures. And the saint that falls, needs support not an exodus.

Let’s pray that we as believers are gentler, more forgiving, and willing to acknowledge we are forgiven but still fall short of perfection.

There is a time for the rod, but we are to quick to use it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Maureen in your prayers as she deals with shingles.

Pray for Gwen that is struggling financially.