Has your life been gripped by the agony caused by adultery? Has it been forever changed because of the snare of an affair? The “ditch of adultery” can cause countless lives—families, friends, even entire churches—to become mired in the muddy fallout.

Marriage was God’s idea…and He designed it to be a lifelong covenant commitment. Adultery violates that commitment, for it is voluntary extramarital sexual activity between a married person and another person who is not his or her lawful spouse.

Any impurity in marriage violates the law of God and grieves the heart of God. “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (HEBREWS 13:4).

You think this would be common sense, but here goes;

Confess the adultery and seek forgiveness from God and your spouse. To put the affair in the past, the truth must be revealed for God to bring healing. “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

Commit yourself completely to your covenant partner. Children are not the glue that holds a marriage together; commitment to the marriage covenant is the tie that binds a husband and wife. “Do not break faith with the wife of your youth” (Malachi 2:14-15).

 Cut all ties with the third party. Affairs are not “okay” as long as no one knows. Like any other sin, adultery cannot be hidden because God knows, the illicit partners know, and in time, others will know. Ultimately, the affair will burn the participants. “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?” (Proverbs 6:27).

Choose where to place your thoughts when tempted. People who have affairs can still love their spouses. It is possible to still feel a love for one person yet be infatuated with another at the same time.

“Whatever is true…noble…right…pure…lovely…admirable…excellent…praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). Consider the difference between love and lust. “How can it be wrong if it feels so right?” is the excuse many give. But love is not merely a feeling. The supreme test for determining if something is right is not how it feels, but what God says about it. If sin never felt good, no one would ever be tempted to sin.

Love is a choice—(the second biggest lie; “I couldn’t help myself, followed by “the heart wants what the heart wants.” For you to do what is best for another person, and for you to make a personal sacrifice. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).

Count the cost. The excuse “As long as no one knows, no one will be hurt” is a myth. Adultery hurts everyone involved. Guilt and God’s judgment is brought not only upon one person, but both parties involved. Adultery destroys truthfulness, credibility, and one’s testimony. “A man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32).

But take heart, you can be forgiven, marriages can be healed, and you can recover.

Thanks for all the prayers, we have weathered the storm, had to spend a night in a hotel but everything is fixed and the damage was minimal. We lost our power for 6 hours and had a small electrical fire, lost a few appliances, but we are all safe and sound, thank God for NH Electric that came out at 2 in the morning to help get us back on the grid, blessings fellows.

Pray for Doug, B, he broke his back in an accident

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

who manages who

May 28, 2017

Firefighters know the danger of letting a fire get out of control. They are trained to respond quickly. You, too, must respond quickly to control the flames of anger before they consume your life and leave a smoldering ditch of destruction. “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins” (PROVERBS 29:22).

 WHAT ARE THE DEGREES OF ANGER? Anger is an emotional agitation that occurs when a need or expectation is not met. Like heat, anger has many degrees, ranging from mild irritations to hot explosions. Indignation—simmering anger provoked by something unjust and often perceived as justified Wrath—burning anger accompanied by a desire to avenge Fury—fiery anger so fierce that it destroys common sense Rage—blazing anger resulting in loss of self-control, often to the extreme of violence and temporary insanity

WHAT ARE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ANGER? Is it a sin for a person to be angry? No, the initial feeling of anger is a God-given emotion. The way you express this emotion determines whether your anger becomes sin. Ephesians 4:26 says, “In your anger do not sin.” How can a person keep from feeling guilty when he is angry? Your anger is a signal that something is wrong. The purpose of the red warning light on a car dashboard is to propel you into action—to cause you to stop, evaluate, and do what is needed. For example, Jesus became angry at the hypocritical religious leaders who interpreted “resting on the Sabbath” to excess: “He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand’…and his hand was completely restored” (Mark 3:5).

WHAT ARE THE FOUR SOURCES OF ANGER?

Hurt—Your heart is wounded. Everyone has a God-given inner need for unconditional love. When you experience rejection or emotional pain of any kind, anger can become a protective wall that keeps people and pain away.

 Injustice—Your right is violated. Everyone has an inner moral code that produces a sense of right and wrong, fair and unfair, just and unjust. When you perceive that an injustice has occurred against you or others (especially those whom you love), you may feel angry. If you hold on to the offense, the unresolved anger can begin to make a home in your heart.

Fear—Your future is threatened. Everyone is created with a God-given inner need for security. When you begin to worry, feel threatened, or get angry because of a change in circumstances, you may be responding to fear. A fearful heart reveals a lack of trust in God’s perfect plan for your life.

Frustration—Your effort is unsuccessful. Everyone has a God-given need for significance. When your efforts are thwarted or do not meet your own personal expectations, your sense of significance can be threatened. Frustration over unmet expectations of yourself or of others is a major source of anger.

WHAT IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF ANGER? When we feel that our real or perceived rights have been violated, we can easily respond with anger.

 Wrong Belief: “Based on what I believe is fair, I have the right to be angry about my disappointments and to stay angry for as long as I feel like it. I have the right to express my anger in whatever way is natural for me.”

Right Belief: “Because the Lord is sovereign over me and I trust Him with my life, I have yielded my rights to Him. My human disappointments are now God’s appointments to increase my faith and develop His character in me. I choose to not be controlled by anger, but to use anger to motivate me to do whatever God wants me to do” (see 1 Peter 1:6-7).

HOW CAN PAST ANGER BE RESOLVED? Unresolved anger is a bed of hidden coals burning deep wounds into your relationships with God and with others. This powerful emotion robs your heart of peace and steals contentment from your spirit. So how is this anger resolved? Realize Your Anger — Willingly admit that you have unresolved anger. — Ask God to reveal any anger buried in your heart. — Seek to determine the primary reason(s) for your past anger. — Talk out your anger with God and with a friend or counselor. (Proverbs 21:2)

We need to remember that it is not a sin to get angry, it’s what we do while we are angry that is important. Good, godly responses are what important.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember all those on our prayer lists, especially Joe and his shoulder, a great deal of pain.

And Dave as his fights his 5th battle prostate cancer. He’s a brave guy.

 

  “Always guarded by the power of God through faith…. In such a hope keep on rejoicing, although for a little while you must be sorrow-stricken with various trials” (1 Peter 1:5, 6, Williams Translation, as you’ve guessed, my favorite New Testament Translation, although not as popular today as it was 40 years ago.).

  There are testimonies, and there are testimonies. Some can testify as to how God cleared up adverse circumstances for the victory; but others can testify to the triumph God gave in the midst of difficult circumstances. The essential consideration is that our Father be glorified in all His dealings with and for us. How He brings it all about should be secondary to us.

  “If there is a great trial in your life today, do not own it as a defeat, but continue, by faith, to claim the victory through Him who is able to make you more than conqueror, and a glorious triumph will soon be apparent. Let us learn that in all the hard places our Father brings us into, He is making opportunities for us to exercise such faith in Him as will bring about blessed results and greatly glorify His Name.”

  “God has put you in exactly the right crucible to burn up what He sees needs to be burnt up. Many think ‘victory’ means getting your circumstances put right. No! true triumph is within—when in the midst of your circumstances the Spirit of God can so energize you and strengthen you in spirit, that you can stand quiet in the thick of it all, and say, ‘God is God,’ and know that you are held by Him—which is infinitely better than all your trying to hold things steady.”

  “Therefore, my brethren . . . stand fast in the Lord” (Phil. 4:1).

God bless from scumlikeschurch@gmail.com

 

knock on wood

May 25, 2017

When was the last time you were “hewned”???

  “Hearken unto Me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord; look unto the rock from which ye are hewn” (Isa. 51:1).

  If we care for His glory, we will want to serve. If we care for others, we will want to be well prepared for that service. And that care will enable us to hold still and trust Him through all that is entailed in the preparation.

When a certain breaking down of self takes place in a believer’s life, it produces a marked change in him; but afterwards he has to learn it all in detail.

  “This is a fact borne out in the case of every servant of God in history who has really come under the hand of God—that the real values of their lives for all time have been those which correspond to the wine of the grape, the thing trodden out in the winepress, the agony of heart; and you know that it is true in your case that if ever you have had anything at all which you knew to be worthwhile and which has helped someone else, it has been born out of some travail in your own experience.”

If we knew the heart of our Father we would never question any of His dealings with us, nor should we ever desire His hand lifted off us till we had learnt all He would teach us.

  “Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:19, 20).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Susan N, 2 months left to live, pancreatic cancer, knows the Lord, but is leaving behind a husband and 2 small kids

Rhonda F, 19, and in college, is going to Peru on her first missions trip, wants to be used of the Lord. (this is her first time out of the USA.

 

do the math

May 22, 2017

The problem with setting your expectations too high is that we try to create what we believe is the perfect scenario for us (emphasis on “us”) and then hope God simply blesses our desires.  I think we forget that God’s plans, dreams and expectations for us may not always align up with ours. In fact, His plans may include us having to climb our way out of a valley for awhile before we reach victory.  When that happens then we get upset and tend to question God, feeling disappointed that he didn’t bless our big expectations for the year like we hoped.

What’s ironic is that God gave us the ability to dream in the first place.  He wants us to dream big and have high expectations about things in life but I also believe we have to taste disappointment from time to time to better appreciate and enjoy victory when it happens.  He wants us to be content when things don’t always go our way.  I would say and so would Paul that contentment is the key to a great life here on earth.  He has great plans for all of us that believe and follow Him.

One of the most dangerous places for our unrealistic expectations, though, is what we think God should do. Some of the most bitter and angry people I know, or who have loud voices in the culture (think of the “new atheists” like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris) are those who feel betrayed by God, so they decide He isn’t there.

That sense of betrayal and disappointment comes from having expectations of God according to how we think He should act:

  • Protect the innocent from pain and suffering

  • Protect the people who maybe-aren’t-so-innocent-but-not-as-bad-as-axe-murderers from pain and suffering

  • Show the same grace to all of us by treating us all the same

  • Give us an easy life

  • If I do all the right things to be “a good person,” God should do His part to make life work the way I want it to

When we pray fervently for what we want and He doesn’t answer the way we want, many of us get angry with Him.

Many times, we pray in faith, believing God will give us what we ask for, but we ask for things He never promised in the first place. Or even worse, we “claim” them on the basis of a scriptural promise wrenched out of context, such as “all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matt. 21:22). Jesus never promised that if we believe in our prayers, we would receive what we ask for. Believing in the Bible is all about trusting in and surrendering to the goodness and character of GOD, not our prayer list. We will always receive an answer to our prayers because God is good. Sometimes the answer is “No, beloved,” because we ask amiss. Psalm 84:11 promised, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” If God says “no,” it’s because it’s not a good thing for us. His “no” is a “yes” to something else. But because we have such a limited perspective, it is essential that we trust in the unlimited perspective of the God who sees everything.

When we feel disappointed in God, when we think, “God didn’t come through for me,” that’s the time to take a step back and ask, “What kind of unrealistic expectations did I have in the first place?” That may be a great question to talk through with a mature trusted friend who can see things more clearly. Then we can place the unrealistic part of our expectations into God’s hands as an act of worship and trust . . . and watch our anger and frustration subside.

You want less anger, less stress, less frustration?

Look at all the ways you have no control, not over anyone, not really, or situations, so what to do?

Try lowering your expectations.

No I haven’t lost my mind, but if your biggest problem is other people, lower your expectations. For example no one has esp, so why are you upset when the person you want to call and see if you’re ok doesn’t call. How will they know that’s want you want? Less expectations, less frustration. Like anything else don’t overdo it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

BUT GOD!

May 19, 2017

Isaiah 55:1-3

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Compassion of the Lord

55 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.

55:1, 2 In ch. 55 the Lord issues a general call to all who would call themselves by His name, to abandon the Babylons of this world and to find their satisfaction and their security in Him alone, and in that city of joy and peace that He will build. This passage is a call to revival for all who have wandered far from the Lord or from that grace which is the basis for our relationship with Him.

The human condition, we chase after things that won’t satisfy, that don’t bring any lasting satisfaction.

 

 

I remembering counseling a guy one time that was dealing with sexual addiction. The reason he came in was he just had fulfilled his ultimate sex fantasy, and as he was leaving the apartment where this act had taken place he understood that in 10 minutes he was wondering what he would do to top that, and all of a sudden he realized the lust was still there; it hadn’t been satisfied at all.

Sin is like that, lust of the flesh, the eyes, the mind; drugs, booze, sex, shopping; it never ends.

 

But God.

 

One of the greatest sermons in the bible; “But God.”

 

Only He can give us satisfaction, rest, peace, and end to self-destruction.

Come all that are weary, and He will give you rest.

 

The first move is up to us, come, seek, then He does His part.

 

It’s your move

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Pray for all those searching for a good church home

 

Only God can give real happiness and lasting joy, everything else is artificial.

 

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.

We all experience disappointment for different reasons. In itself, feeling disappointed is not a sin. How we handle it is the crucial issue. Disappointment is so common to humanity that it was difficult to choose which biblical characters to best illustrate it. The Bible is full of disappointed people!

Think of the years of disappointment experienced by Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth. Month after month, year after year, they saw the evidence of their childlessness. Job and Joseph had good reason to be disappointed, too, both in people and in God. Elijah the prophet expected the great evidence of God’s power on Mount Carmel would bring revival. Instead, it only put a price on his head. He was so disappointed he asked to die.

Moses—A Man Who Understood Disappointment

If anyone was ever faced with a repeated disappointment, it was Moses. In infancy he was rescued from death by the faith of his parents and the ingenuity of his mother. God arranged for him to be adopted by the princess of Egypt. But he spent the first formative years of his life being raised by his own parents. From them he learned of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was taught that the Israelites were God’s people, chosen to bless the world, and that God would make them a nation and give them a land.

Moses was never able to forget what his parents had taught him, even after he went to live with Pharaoh’s daughter, his foster mother, in the palace. This double identity must have caused him a great deal of tension. As he grew, he saw the Hebrew slaves struggling under terrible bondage while he lived luxuriously, enjoying all the privileges of royalty. Finally, Moses tried to do something to help his people.

“When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not” (Acts 7:23-25).

Many years before God called him to do so, Moses longed to be a deliverer of his people. He was willing to use his power and influence to change their desperate situation. But they rejected him. In fact, he had to flee for his life from Egypt to live in the backside of the desert for another forty years after the murder incident. Talk about disappointment!

TWO KEY REASONS FOR DISAPPOINTMENT

Moses had two reasons to be disappointed. First, he was disappointed in people—because his expectations that his people would understand what he wanted to do for them and would accept him were not fulfilled.

Second, he was disappointed in his circumstances. After years of privilege and education in Egypt, he certainly had never dreamed that he would spend the rest of his life tending sheep in a desert. What a discouraging future!

Today, we become disappointed for precisely the same two reasons. When we set our hearts on people or on circumstances, we are usually disappointed. God wants us to set our hearts only on Him. He wants us to trust in His goodness, even in the midst of our deepest disappointments.

Moses was leading a flock of sheep around the Sinai wilderness when God spoke to him from the burning bush. What a shock it was to hear that this was the time for him to do what he had once wanted to do—to deliver his people from Egypt.

“The LORD said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey. . . . And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt’

“But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’

“And God said, ‘I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain” (Exod. 3:7-8a, 9-12).

Despite the thrilling experience of hearing God’s voice coming from the burning bush, all of Moses’ self-confidence was gone. For the rest of Exodus 3 and half of Exodus 4, God patiently answered each of Moses’ objections and insecurities. He promised to be with him. He gave him the power to perform miracles. He assured him that the Israelites would follow him this time and that God would compel the Egyptians to let them go by His great power.

But Moses was a discouraged and defeated man. Even God’s wonderful promises didn’t convince him.

“Moses said to the LORD, ‘O LORD, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue!

“The LORD said to him, ‘Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go: I will help you speak and will teach you what to say’

“But Moses said, ‘O LORD, please send someone else to do it” (Exod. 4:10-13).

This time God was angry; nevertheless He agreed to allow Moses’ brother Aaron to accompany him and be his mouthpiece. Then Moses and Aaron told the elders about Israel God’s message.

“Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, and Aaron told them everything the LORD had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped” (Exod. 4:29-31).

This time the people accepted him and worshiped God, and Moses was encouraged. Things were working out as God had said they would. Now it was time to tell Pharaoh.

‘Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: “Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.”‘

“Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go” (Exod. 5:1-2).

With these words, the battle lines were drawn between God and Pharaoh. Pharaoh oppressed his slaves even more, until life became unbearable for them. And who was to blame? Moses, of course.

“When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, ‘May the LORD look upon you and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us” (Exod. 5:20-21).

Can you imagine the disappointment Moses felt when he heard their words? He had told them God would deliver them. Instead, their circumstances were worse than ever. Naturally, Moses was disappointed too. But in handling his disappointment he showed us what to do when our own expectations are not realized.

“Moses returned to the LORD and said, ‘O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all” (Exod. 5:22-23).

Moses blamed God for all the trouble. He accused God of not keeping His promises. But the important thing is that he came to God and expressed his doubts, fears, and feelings. God can handle that; He knows how we’re feeling anyway. When we honestly tell Him of our disappointments and heartaches, He can reassure and comfort us and give us strength to go on.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country’ . . .

“But Moses said to the LORD, ‘If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”‘ (Exod. 6:1, 12).

Poor Moses! He was in the pits! He was depending on his own ability instead of realizing that he was simply the instrument in God’s hands. God would accomplish the deliverance of his people, not Moses. His faith had a lot of growing to do, and God was very patient. He let him suffer disappointments because they drove him to know God, enabling Moses to trust Him to a greater degree. Of course, He does the same with us.

We’re all familiar with this story describing how God displayed his mighty power in the devastating plagues that ruined Egypt. Ultimately, on that first Passover night, while the Egyptians mourned the deaths of their firstborn, Israel marched triumphantly out of the land of their long and cruel bondage.

God opened the Red Sea for them to pass on dry ground. In the days that followed, He led them with a pillar of cloud and fire. He fed them with manna. He gave them water from the rock. He supplied their every need. The Israelites heard God’s voice at Sinai when He gave them His law to live by.

But over and over, the people complained. They were disappointed about one thing and then another. Even though Moses increased in his faith and dependence on God, the people’s constant griping drained his strength. In Numbers 11 they complained about the monotony of eating manna every day. Again, Moses was disappointed and discouraged.

“Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. He asked the LORD, ‘Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, “Give us meat to eat!” I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin” (Num. 11:10-15).

Moses was worn out. Instead of a grateful, joyful people, willing to endure anything to get to the wonderful homeland God had promised, he had to play nursemaid to a bunch of babies who were never satisfied, no matter what he or God did.

“The LORD said to Moses: ‘Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone” (Num. 11:16-17).

First, God gave Moses seventy men to help him carry the burden of all these people. He didn’t punish him; He helped him. God still uses other people to encourage and help us. But God wasn’t finished. He told Moses to tell the Israelites, “Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!’ Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him saying ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?'” (Num. 11:18-20).

God gave the people the change in diet they craved. But He showed His displeasure about their constant complaining and ingratitude by sending death with the quail He provided. For many, their first bite of quail was the last thing they ever ate.

MOSES’S FINAL DISAPPOINTMENT

Moses wasn’t through with disappointments. How his heart must have broken when the people refused to go into the Promised Land because of the bad report of the ten spies. When God punished them with thirty-eight more years in the wilderness, Moses had to endure it with them, even though he had wanted to go forward and possess the land.

His worst and final disappointment came when he was forbidden to enter the land himself. This happened because of an outburst of pride and anger. He begged God to allow him to go across the Jordan. After all, hadn’t he been a faithful servant for forty years? But God’s answer was a resounding “No.”

“The LORD was angry with me and would not listen to me. ‘That is enough,’ the LORD said. ‘Do not speak to me anymore about this matter” (Deut. 3:26).

Imagine God forbidding Moses even to pray about it anymore! Moses had to be satisfied with a bird’s-eye view of the land from a mountain before he died, but he did not lead his people into it. There are some circumstances that will never change. We have to learn to accept them and to keep trusting God in spite of our disappointment. Only in doing so are we able to experience life at its fullest.

Disappointment: The First Seed of Doubt

Disappointment is the first seed of doubt that intrudes on our faith. Disappointment sounds so harmless, but it’s the tip of a wedge that will stop our spiritual growth and make us bitter and defeated (more about that soon). Think of disappointment as a test permitted by God to see if you’ll continue trusting Him, obeying Him, and believing that He is good. That brings us back to those two sources of most disappointment: people and circumstances.

HAS A PERSON DISAPPOINTED YOU?

When we place our expectations on people, we are usually disappointed. Has a close friend turned away from you? Has someone betrayed you? If you have set your hopes on your children being all you want them to be, you could be headed for a huge letdown. Did you marry, thinking your husband would meet all your needs? I have to tell you something: No man can meet all of a woman’s needs, and no woman can meet all of a man’s needs. God made us with a vacant space in our innermost being that only He can fill. So He will always let us experience disappointment with people so that we are driven to find fulfillment in Him.

ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED IN YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES?

If our joy depends on circumstances, we are in trouble, because circumstances are always changing. There are too many variables for them to remain the same. Did you expect a promotion, and someone less qualified got the job instead? Has illness interrupted and permanently altered the plans you had for your family? Has a divorce you never wanted radically changed your circumstances? Disappointment works in our lives like the wedge illustrated  bellows.

Satan has a strategy to invade our spirits and bring us down until we are defeated. The tip of the wedge seems so harmless. It is simply disappointment.

But if we let our disappointment fester, the wedge is driven in a little farther, and we experience discouragement.

Unchecked, discouragement because disillusionment.

Then the wedge invades even more territory as it proceeds to depression.

Ultimately, we end in defeat.

How do we prevent the penetration of this deadly wedge into our spirits? We find the answer in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances.”

Thanksgiving—the Antidote to Disappointment

No matter what we are going through, we can find something to be thankful for. First and foremost, we can be thankful because we belong to God. If we have trusted Jesus Christ, God is our heavenly Father. He knows everything we are going through, and He is the only one in the universe who can make bad things work together for our good. So we can thank Him for His presence, His love, His blessings. We can rejoice that He has good plans for our future and that we receive His daily care, no matter how dark our circumstances seem.

Take another look at the wedge and you’ll see that the best place to give thanks is at the disappointment level. If we break the progression there, we won’t go on to experience the other emotions that stunt our spiritual growth and drag us down to defeat.

The secret is to “nip it in the bud” if you don’t control your thoughts, your thoughts will control you. Your emotions will then be in charge and then you’ll make horrible decisions. You can see how this will spiral downward into despair and you lack faith to believe God will lift you up.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (Amplified Version)            [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

FIGHT’N WORDS

May 2, 2017

Jesus Christ has today almost no authority at all among the groups that call themselves by His name.

Among the gospel churches Christ is now in fact little more than a beloved symbol. “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” is the church’s national anthem and the cross is her official flag, but in the week-by-week services of the church and the day-by-day conduct of her members someone else, not Christ, makes the decisions.
In the conduct of our public worship where is the authority of Christ to be found? The truth is that today the Lord rarely controls a service, and the influence He exerts is very small. We sing of Him and preach about Him, but He must not interfere; we worship our way, and it must be right because we have always done it that way.
For the true Christian the one supreme test for the present soundness and ultimate worth of everything religious must be the place our Lord occupies in it. Is He Lord or symbol? Is He in charge of the project or merely one of the crew? Does He decide things or only help to carry out the plans of others? All religious activities may be proved by the answer to the question, Is Jesus Christ Lord in this act?
There are a great many bogus Christs among us these days. John Owen, the old Puritan, warned people in his day: “You have an imaginary Christ and if you are satisfied with an imaginary Christ you must be satisfied with imaginary salvation.”
There is only one Christ and the truly saved man has an attachment to Christ that is intellectual in that he knows who Christ is theologically. For you know there is the romantic Christ of the female novelist and there is the sentimental Christ of the half-converted cowboy and there is the philosophical Christ of the academic egghead and there is the cosy Christ of the effeminate poet and there is the muscular Christ of the ail-American halfback. But there is only one true Christ, and God has said that He is His Son.
We are under constant temptation these days to substitute another Christ for the Christ of the New Testament.
Even among those who acknowledge the diety of Christ there is often a failure to recognize His manhood. We are quick to assert that when He walked the earth He was God with men, but we overlook a truth equally as important, that where He sits now on His mediatorial throne He is Man with God. The teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a man in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us. He is as certainly a man as was Adam or Moses or Paul. He is a man glorified, but His glorification did not dehumanize Him. Today He is a real man, of the race of mankind.
Salvation comes not by “accepting the finished work” or “deciding for Christ.” It comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord Who as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as His own and paid it, took our sins and died under them and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ, and nothing less will do.
But something less is among us, nevertheless, and we do well to identify it so that we may repudiate it. That something is a poetic fiction, a product of the romantic imagination and maudlin religious fancy. It is a Jesus, gentle, dreamy, shy, sweet, almost effeminate, and marvellously adaptable to whatever society He may find Himself in. He is used as a means to almost any carnal end, but He is never acknowledged as Lord. These quasi Christians follow a quasi Christ. They want His help but not His interference. They will flatter Him but never obey Him.
The argument of the apostles is that the Man Jesus has been made higher than angels, higher than Moses and Aaron, higher than any creature in earth or heaven. And this exalted position He attained as a man. As God He already stood infinitely above all other beings. The apostles were not declaring the preeminence of God, which would have been superfluous, but of a man, which was necessary.
Those first Christians believed that Jesus of Nazareth, a man they knew, had been raised to a position of Lordship over the universe. He was still their friend, still one of them, but had left them for a while to appear in the presence of God on their behalf. And the proof of this was the presence of the Holy Spirit among them.
One cause of our moral weakness today is an inadequate Christology. We think of Christ as God but fail to conceive of Him as a man glorified. To recapture the power of the early Church we must believe what they believed. And they believed they had a God-approved man representing them in heaven.
Let us look out calmly upon the world; or better yet, let us look down upon it from above where Christ is seated and we are seated in Him.
The discredited doctrine of a divided Christ goes like this: “Christ is both Savior and Lord. A sinner may be saved by accepting Him as Savior without yielding to Him as Lord.” Christ’s saviorhood is forever united to His lordship. Christ must be Lord or He will not be Savior.
To teach that Christ will use His sacred power to further our worldly interests is to wrong our Lord and injure our own souls. We modern evangelicals need to learn the truths of the sovereignty of God and the lordship of Christ. God will not play along with Adam; Christ will not be used by any of Adam’s selfish brood. We had better learn these things fast if this generation of young Christians is to be spared the supreme tragedy of following a Christ who is merely a Christ of convenience and not the true Lord of glory after all.
The Spirit never bears witness to an argument about Christ, but He never fails to witness to a proclamation of Christ crucified, dead and buried, and now ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Jesus Christ has today almost no authority at all among the groups that call themselves by His name.
The present position of Christ in the gospel churches may be likened to that of a king in a limited, constitutional monarchy. The king is in such a country no more than a traditional rallying point, a pleasant symbol of unity and loyalty much like a flag or a national anthem. He is lauded, feted and supported, but his real authority is small. Nominally he is head over all, but in every crisis someone else makes the decisions

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com