No Exceptions

February 16, 2018

  Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7).

  Lincoln said that “a short speech requires great preparation; a long speech can be given anytime on short notice.” Now, are we going to “spend our years as a tale that is told” (Ps. 90:9); or are we going to settle down and grow in the image of our eternal Lord?

In our spiritual experience we often find that not least of our trials is the fact that God seems so slow to respond; sometimes it would appear that He is careless or indifferent—and that just when our needs are most acute. Two of the major elements in the spiritual life and experience of His own are the seemingly slow and hidden ways of God, and the demand for persistent faith in His servants.

  “The work of God in the lives of His people is designed to make them ‘partakers of His holiness.’ He undertakes their training in His school with the intention that, however difficult in practice the course may be, it will yield ‘the peaceable fruit of righteousness’ in the lives of those who undergo it.

This evidently represents His norm—no shortcuts and no exceptions. At least, He did not make an exception of Abraham, or Joseph, or Moses, or any of the great men and women whose names are listed in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. Their training lasted for decades and led them into painful situations and difficult places. But their lives, as a result, were incomparably fruitful.

  “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him” (Ps. 62:5).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Matthew who became quite ill yesterday and spent a large part of the day in the emergency room.

Pray for Barbara D, who also is rather ill.

The School of Faith part two

February 13, 2018

God wants you to know if your faith is real or whether it is bogus. Your faith is more precious than gold, 1 Peter 1:7, and again I want to tell you that a faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted.

Now, so many times we get the idea that if we’re trusting God—that if we are obeying God, if we’re doing what God has tell us told to be—it will be all milk and honey. As a matter of fact, that it’ll be all honey and no bees. That is not necessarily so. So many times when we get saved we say, “Now, wonderful, I’ve trusted God and He’s brought me into the land of plenty.” We think it’s all milk and honey, but it’s not necessarily so.

You’re going to meet the devil, you’re going to be tested in many, many ways. And, many of us are tested in ways after we got saved in ways that we never were before we got saved. Sometimes we get married and we think, “Oh, this is the land of milk and honey.” And, God brings heartaches and tears and trials right into the land of promise. And, you know, it is so. Sometimes in our prayer life we pray—and we’ve been told prayer is the land of promise—to trust God. And, we pray and people have simplified this matter of prayer. And they say, well, you know, God always answers prayer. Sometimes He says, “Yes,” and sometimes He says, “No,” but He always answers prayer. (make sure you keep reading).

Sometimes He doesn’t say anything. Have you noticed that? I mean, sometimes you just pray and you don’t seem to get an answer. And, I mean, it just seems to be darkness out there. Famine in the land of plenty. Sometimes we go to church and we get the idea that, you know over in church everything’s going to be wonderful. Oh boy! You know, all the sinners are out there and all the saints are in here. Ain’t necessarily so folks. I think it was one great theologian who said that, “The church is kind of like Noah’s ark,” he said “We wouldn’t be able to stand the stench if it weren’t for the storm outside.”

I’m not saying that the church is a failure. I’m not saying that at all. But friend, I’m going to tell you whether it be in your prayer life, whether it be in your marriage, whether it be in your salvation, whether it be in your church life, or wherever it is God will bring you into the land of plenty, but He’s going to test you there. He’s going to test you there in ways you’ve never thought. He’s going to see what your reactions are going to be. Go and read the book of Judges, just read chapter 2, a land filled with lots of ‘ites’, Hittites, Canaanites, all these ‘ites’ with just one idea, something more appealing to your 5 senses.

When testing comes don’t try to understand it. Learn something else. As Christians we do not live by explanation. We live by promises. We do not live by explanations. God has not promised to explain it to you. As a matter of fact, he says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8).

Real faith is obeying in spite of circumstances or consequences. Did you hear it? Real faith is obeying in spite of circumstances, a famine, or consequences. If I perish, I perish. I am going to go where God sends me, and I’m going to stay where God puts me until God moves me. I’m going to live by faith.

God will test your faith to find out whether you have the real thing. Now, God knows, but he wants you to know. God’s not trying to find out something about you, He wants you to find out something about you.

I’ve said this many times, being a Christian may be the hardest thing you ever do.

Stay tuned

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Nurses, especially Surgical Nurses in general, do you know they have one of the highest divorce rates. They harden themselves to not feel all the pain going on around them and they don’t realize they are shutting out their families as well.

We’ve started a group therapy for nurses to reconnect with their feelings and families and it has been amazing. And helping them to become better time managers and not get burned out if they want to stay in their career field.

 

Hee Haw

February 8, 2018

Hee Haw

Somebody asked me the other day why I preach more from the Old Testament

than the New Testament. My answer was instant, heartfelt and I don’t think I’ll

change my mind anytime soon.

It’s the same reason I’ve called this devotional site “scum like us church”

I personally relate better to the people of the O.T. their failures, their quirks, their

constant failing. When asked ‘whom am I more like in the O.T.’ my answer is

quick, simple and still probably not going to change; Balaam’s Ass, (because I’m

still surprised what comes out of my mouth) and Samson (a good looking woman

still turns my head, and physical strength has helped me get through a lot of

scrapes).

Most people just shake their head and walk away, a few will say “you’re kidding”

some will smile, some get insulted. I can’t see myself ever saying I’m like the

apostle Paul or like any other apostle for that much, even Thomas with all his

doubts still beats me at my best .

I love all the Greek word studies of the N.T. and the book of Romans and

Colossians will probably always be my favorites. But when it comes to the O.T.

flawed folks rock.

So like any good country song here’s to all the screwed up people we know.

God bless

Prayer request for me, pray for my neck, talk about screwed up, (no I didn’t twist

it looking at a pretty girl) I’m in some serious pain. Thank you to all the wonderful

people that keep encouraging me to keep writing these devotions.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

The next thing that we need to do if we’re going to have a successful argument—we need to deal with one problem at a time and deal with problems as they come up. Now the Bible says, “Don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath.” Many of us used to collect trading stamps. (I’m showing my age here) You used to go to the store and they give you these stamps after you buy something, the more you buy the more stamps you get, you put them in a little book, and then one day you go down and redeem them for anything the store carried. You collected enough stamps you could come out with new lawn mower or a new food processor.

 What you do is you just put them in the book. Now that’s the way a lot of marriages do. Your husband hurts you—you put it in the book. Say something else, late for the dinner—put it in the book. Forgot your anniversary—book it in the book. You don’t deal with those things as they come up and then one of these days, there’s an explosion. She comes in to cash all her stamps. I mean all at one time, or he comes in, and you wonder why, when did all of this happen? How did all of this happen?

You have failed to do what the Bible says to do and that is to deal with these things as they come up, when they’re small, when they can be dealt with. Trading stamp is not so big. It can be dealt with, but not the whole book all at once. “Don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath!” Stick to the subject. Know what it is. Don’t attack one another; attack the problem. Deal with these things as they come up.

(ok this is one giant pun) But you can lick the stamps, not the whole book. Deal with it when it comes up. This is why your church needs to do a seminar on Temperaments. If you understand your spouse’s temperament. The moody person that it’s always their fault, or the person who has no problems, it’s always ‘you’. Or how about the emotional handwringer it takes two days put them back together again or the let’s write this down and draw a chart to solve this.

None of these are wrong, but opposites attract and we need to know the emotional IQ of our spouses and how the God given temperament is a double edged sword it works great when the person is walking with God. But oh boy, when it’s the carnal nature leading the way watch out.

Homework assignment, seriously, read Tim LeHaye’s book on temperament and the book ‘please understand me’ these are great books and will help you as a spouse and as a parent.

Next learn to negotiate. Don’t get in a win-lose situation. Rather than having a war where both husband and wife lose, have a negotiation where both husband and wife win. Let both save face. Give in. Adjust. Compromise. Be gentle. Jesus does that. Jesus said, “I have many things to tell you; you’re not able to bear them.” He knows what we’re able to do. Learn not just to force your point all the way down to the bitter end.

And if you are one of these dim witted cavemen that with a bible in one hand and megaphone in the other yelling “submit” the bible says you have to submit woman. Well let me ask you one question Capt. Grunt, what have you sacrificed for your wife lately?

Golf on Saturday, out with the boys Friday, spending to much on toys, you know the big boy toys.

How about blessing your wife, do you touch her (non sexually) at least 10 times a day. How about kissing (non sexually) 10 times a day, holding the door open for her. Telling her how beautiful she is, saying thank you for dinner. No sniping and rude comments. You’d be surprised how the relationship changes.

Next, know how important this is, pray, pray, pray, pray and pray some more. It’s amazing how prayer will help you through these things. Sometimes Sharon and I will be in a disagreement. We’ll be sitting there at the kitchen table. It will get tense.

And she’ll say to me, “Greg, you’re wrong.” “Not me.” “Yes, you’re wrong.” “No, I’m not wrong.” “She says, you are wrong, but I can’t prove you’re wrong because you can talk better than I can. But I know you’re wrong.” I say, “No I’m not wrong.” “You’re wrong.” It gets tense I say, “Well let’s just stop for a while.” I go in my study and try and prepare a sermon. Ha. Try to read. Try to do something else. I can’t do it. So I say, “Lord, did you see what went on in there?” He says, “Yeah, you were wrong.” “Me?” “Yeah, you. You were wrong.” “Okay, Lord.” I have to go back, “Honey, I was wrong. Forgive me.” She says, “I forgive you.” We hug and kiss. Make up. Prayer will do that, friend. You be honest with God. Honest with God. Just honest and let God speak to you. And friend if you’ll do these things and they’re so simple, but so real, your marriage can be a marriage that can stay together as you have that commitment. That communion. That confrontation. All sheltered over with His great love. Would you pray for your home right now?

Which brings us to the most awkward thing I ask couples to do, kneel down next to the couch at least once a day and hold hands and pray together. Trust me the first few times it is going to feel weird and you might think your prayer didn’t go past the ceiling. But keep at it for at least 3 months and then you’ll see that time will become the most precious time of each day.

PS, no self-righteous, talking down to prayers. Husbands pray first, and the wife. You’ll be amazed what love and forgiveness, harmony and closeness develops.

Ding. This round is over.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember pray requests and comments to email address, ALSO IF WE NEED TO TALK BECAUSE YOU CAN’T FIND A GOOD CHRISTIAN COUNSELOR EMAIL ME YOUR PHONE NUMBER AND THE BEST TIME TO TALK.

ALWAYS LOVED

February 1, 2018

ok, i’m on my ipad and can’t get to the “part two” of having a good fight, sorry, it will have to come tomorrow.

ALWAYS LOVED

  “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph 3:19).

  God led the children of Israel into the desert with its thirst, that He might bless them. “For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4). It is for no less a reason that He takes us into the desert at times. “How shall He not with Him [Christ] also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:2).

Our Father disciplines us that we may be more fully free from the old nature, and find everything in the Lord Jesus. But He begins the lesson with the assurance, ‘I love you perfectly.’

‘I bring you into the desert to learn what you are, and what I am; but it is as those I have brought to Myself!’ He gives us a place with the Lord Jesus, but then shows us what He is and what we are. The discipline of the way teaches this; but if He, in His love, strikes the furrows in the heart, it is that He may sow the seed which shall ripen in glory.

Those who receive deliverance from their troubles never, grow like those who get strengthened in the difficulties.

How slowly one learns that His sympathy is not expressed in removing the affliction but in raising one above it to Himself, so that He becomes so endeared to the heart that He is more an object to the heart than oneself.

The hand of God never deals but in concert with His heart of infinite love towards us.

  “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are exercised by it” (Heb. 12:11).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the balanced life

January 31, 2018

So let me give you some rules for having a good fight, okay? Let me tell you how to confront and all of these things I can back up with Scripture. I mean, you’re going to have to confront your mate. You are. And I want to give you some principles here. Very quickly, I’m just going to name them off. And if you’ll do this, you’ll learn how to make up and not break-up. And you’ll learn really to have that super glue marriage and you’ll not be able to do these unless you have the first two already, which is that lifetime commitment and that loving communion, or communication. Then you can have that loyal confrontation.

First of all, isolate the problem. Pinpoint the problem. Know what it is that you’re truly arguing about because many times we’re hurting in one place and we’re grunting in another. For example, your wife, she may be scolding you and fussing at you, but maybe she’s tired. Maybe she’s sick. Maybe she’s afraid. Maybe you hurt her feelings over here with something else that you said or didn’t say, and you have no idea that you did it. And so what you’re really arguing about is not the point at all. Or maybe you come home and you find yourself in an argument with your wife and you’re not really mad at her. You’re mad at what happened to you on the freeway coming home, or what your boss said to you.

Zig Ziglar, who is a great communicator, tells a story about a Mr. Sparks who was going to the health club one day and he was a business executive. And he was stopped for speeding. Made him so angry that when he got back to the office he chewed out the sales manager because the sales were down. He wasn’t mad at the sales manager, he was mad at the highway patrolman. Got all over the sales manager. The Sales Manager took it, couldn’t say anything back, but he talked to his secretary and said, “Where are those five letter I gave you? How come they’re not in yet? Get those letters out!” Secretary began to burn to a slow burn. She went over to the switchboard operator, “Oh you sit there everyday and just answer the telephone. You don’t do anything else. Why don’t you help me? Why don’t you do something to help me get these letters out?” Chewed out the switchboard operator. Switchboard operator went home that day and her twelve year old son was sitting there watching television, had a little nick in his blue jeans. She said, “Look, you’ve torn your pants. You go upstairs. No more television for you and no more dinner for you.” About that time, the cat crossed this little boy’s path. That was a mistake for that cat to come past right then. And he kicks the cat. Now Zig asks this question, “Wouldn’t it have been a lot simpler if Mr. Sparks, the business executive had gone over to the switchboard operator’s house and kicked the cat himself and not disturbed so many people in the way?”

So many times we’re hurting in one place and grunting in another. Happy is the couple the can say “What is the problem?” What is the problem? Pinpoint the problem. Pinpoint the problem.

Number two, learn to attack the problem and not one another. If we could only do this, most arguments are ego against ego. Right? Trying to prove we’re right rather than attacking the problem. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: There are no problems too big to solve, just people too small to solve them. If we would learn that the mate may have done something wrong and that is the problem, but the mate is not the problem. It’s what the mate did. You say, “I can’t slice it that thin.” Oh yes you can. Listen, if you have a child for example and you need to confront your child, your child comes in with bad grades or stayed out too late, don’t say to that child, “You’re no good. You’re a bad child. You have no respect. You have no integrity.” Don’t talk to that child that way. You’ve attacked him. Don’t do that. Attack the problem. Say, “Son, grades are important and here’s way. Here’s what you did that’s wrong and here’s how we’re going to fix it.” So many times it’s ego against ego. And our rotten pride wants to be right.

Stay tuned for part two “how to have a good argument”.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

YEP, IT’S A SIN

January 30, 2018

YEP, IT’S A SIN

Faultfinding over trivial things. You didn’t put the top back on the toilet. You squeezed it in the middle. Or you hung your stockings again on the shower rail. Or you never pick up your clothes. Did you know the word “Nag” and the word “gnaw” are related? You ever have anybody gnaw on you? It ain’t funny. Here’s what the Bible says. Now these verses you can tell old Solomon knew what he was talking about. Proverbs 21:19, “It is better to dwell in the wilderness then with a contentious and an angry woman.”

Proverbs 27:15, “a continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.”

Drip. Drip. Drip. But it’s not only the women who nag. Men nag. You need to confess it, not as a weakness, but as a sin and break the habit.

Think about your speech, to yourself, your spouse, children, co-workers. Does your speech bless?

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Richard B, getting married this Sunday afternoon. First time, he’s 32 and she’s 28, both have been “saving” themselves. A very godly couple, it will be a pleasure to do their wedding.

Pray for Sarah L, February will be the anniversary of her mother’s suicide, 5 years ago during the superbowl. She’s a great Christian young woman and her mother missed a large part of her life past and present, but it’s still her mom.

Thank you to all that pray.

OLD ABE

January 25, 2018

OLD ABE

Stored in a safe place at the Library of Congress is a small blue box. The label reads: “Contents of the President’s pockets on the night of April 14, 1865.” As you probably know, that was the fateful night on which President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

The box contains five things: (1) A handkerchief embroidered “A. Lincoln”; (2) A country boy’s pen knife; (3) A spectacles case repaired with string; (4) A purse containing a $5 bill—in Confederate money! (5) Some old and worn newspaper clippings.

The clippings are concerned with the great deeds of Abraham Lincoln. One of them reports a speech by John Bright, a British statesman, saying that Abraham Lincoln is one of the greatest men of all time.

That is not news for us who live over a century later. We all know that Lincoln was a great man. But in 1865, the jury was still out. The nation was divided and Lincoln had fierce critics on both sides as he made decisions that he hoped would restore the Union. Remember, Lincoln hadn’t read the history books on himself!

There is something poignantly pathetic about picturing this lonely figure in the Oval Office reaching into his pocket and spreading out these newspaper clippings as he re-read the encouraging words of a man who believed that Lincoln was a great man. It gave him the courage and strength to go on. People, especially leaders, need encouragement! (From an article by Charles Swindoll in the newsletter of the First Evangelical Free Church, Fullerton.)

Shift the scene from the Oval Office of Abraham Lincoln to a dungeon in Rome. It is dark and cold. A dim ray of light filters in through the opening at the top. Inside sits an aged, weathered little Jewish man, chained to a guard. It is Paul of Tarsus awaiting execution. Keep in mind that Paul didn’t know that his life and teachings would radically change the course of world history. All he knew was that the end was near and that many of those whom he had loved and taught were abandoning him like sailors jumping off a sinking ship.

Suddenly, there was a noise above as the guard opened the hatch to his cell. The old man squinted into the light, but couldn’t see who was climbing down the ladder to visit him. But he recognized the friendly voice, “Paul, Paul, I’ve found you at last!”

“Onesiphorus! Is that you, my good friend?” The two men embraced warmly in spite of the stench of the prisoner and his squalid cell. Then Onesiphorus, whose name means “bringing help or profit,” opened his bag and gave Paul fresh bread, fruit, cheese, and wine. He stayed a long time and he came back often, bringing good news of the progress of the gospel across the Roman Empire. Each time he came, Paul was refreshed in body and spirit.

Onesiphorus could have thought, “Paul is strong. After all, he’s the great apostle, who has suffered often. This isn’t his first time in prison. Who am I to try to minister to someone like him?”

But the reality is that everyone needs the ministry of refreshment at times. Even the Lord Jesus, in His hour of agony in Gethsemane, took His three closest disciples with Him and asked them to watch and pray with Him there. If Christ needed it and if Paul needed it, then we all need it. That means that we all need to look for those in need of refreshment and minister to them.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SLOW AND STEADY

January 12, 2018

Slow and steady

  “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself” (Ps. 37:7).

  Our Father moves on the basis of His finished work, therefore hurry is not a factor with Him nor should it be with us. We are to ‘walk in the Spirit,’ and the blessed Holy Spirit will see to it that we obtain all that our Father has for us, step by step. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in His way” (Ps. 37:23). Don’t be discouraged—Enoch walked with God for three hundred years before he was translated!

We cannot become spiritual all at once; we must be content to begin as babes. Spiritual maturity and strength do not come by effort but by growth; and growth is the result of being nourished by proper food. But if we do not grow by effort it is important to remember that we do not grow without exercise.

  “God begins by giving our hearts a sense of the blessedness of the grace in which He has called us, that we may be awakened and enhungered to pursue the knowledge of all this with purpose of heart and prayerful study.

 Whatever we do accurately must take time and collectedness of mind, and there is no accuracy in all the world like keeping company with God, and yet nothing so free from bondage or tediousness. By going slow with the Lord we accomplish more than by going with a rush, because what we do is done so much better and does not have to be undone. It is done in a better spirit, with deeper motives, and bears fruit far out in the future, when all mushroom performances have been dissipated forever.

  “Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Ps. 37:4).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

RESOLVE

January 11, 2018

RESOLVE

R=reach the lost

E=edify the saints

S=study the word

O=obey His commandments

L=live for eternity

V=visualize the future

E=expect great things

You may have seen this acrostic before, but this is the first time for me (I think).

There is a basic and yet often overlooked principle: a leader cannot deal with problems that he is not aware of. Sometimes he cannot deal with problems even when he is aware of them, of course. But without exception, it is impossible to deal with problems when you do not know about them.

To resolve conflicts or problems biblically, go directly to the person responsible and talk about the problem. If someone comes to you with a complaint, ask if he has talked to one of the pastors or elders. If not, direct him to do so before he talks to anyone else. Many misunderstandings can be resolved at this level without causing larger problems in the church.

It’s easy to get angry but then to cool off and do nothing. After all, it is difficult and uncomfortable to confront those who are causing a problem. It is especially difficult to confront those who happen to be rich and powerful.

I had a young pastor travel all the way across the U.S. to ask me how to solve a problem. He was pastoring a very rich congregation, every one was at least a millionaire. Everytime there was a problem they tried money first. When he complained they bought him a Cadillac. They wanted to have coffee during the service, they bought fine china and some waiters to serve. Then they bought him a bigger house. My advice to him was to resign. He had already quit leading.

It doesn’t matter what job you’re in, but if you are the leader you’re going to get shot, wounded and hurt, attacked and smeared. How you respond is the mark of what kind of leader you are going to be.

Many Christian leaders fall into the trap of thinking that their position gives them certain rights and power. We should follow the example of the Lord Jesus, who laid aside His rights to take on the form of a servant and be obedient even to death on a cross. Pastors can never (or should never) be dictators. But church is also not a democracy. A two headed goat is never going to go anywhere.

Leaders need to hold people accountable to their promises before God and others. If there has been marital unfaithfulness or financial misdeeds, the guilty party needs to reestablish trust. The only way to do that is through very close accountability.

Thus to resolve conflicts biblically, people must air complaints to the proper authorities. Leaders must deal with those complaints in a biblical manner.

Sadly, when leaders confront people with wrongdoing, all too often the people either react with anger and defensiveness, or they just move on to another church or drop out of church altogether without dealing with their sin.

 From 40 years as a pastor, I can say that to see people respond readily to correction is rare! But it shouldn’t be. Hebrews 13:17 gives an exhortation that sounds strange in our day when people have no concept of being under spiritual authority: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

What a foreign concept that is today.

Someone has said that in a church quarrel, Satan remains neutral and supplies ammunition to both sides. That may not always be true, but he does like to divide God’s people by getting them to wrong one another and then not to deal biblically with problems. We must be committed to resolve conflicts God’s way. Then His work will go forward.

Pray for those in authority over you, (first admit there are people in authority over you.) and accountability breeds responsibility.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com