Father Love

July 25, 2017

  “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear” (Job 42:5).

  The heart that is hungry to have God’s purpose worked out in his life is going to be neither disappointed, nor pampered. When it comes to seeing self for what it is, there can be no pampering; when it comes to seeing the Lord Jesus Christ for who He is, there can be no disappointment.

  “Why are the people of God suffering?—that they may be conformed to the image of His Son. Of course, we may not need a world upheaval to do this, but God is going to use all conditions to that end, and, tragically enough, there are multitudes of the Lord’s people who do need a world shaking.

They are so bound up with the externalities of Christianity, with its whole structure and system, that nothing but that which will overthrow, disintegrate, destroy, and raise tremendous questions about the whole business, will bring them to the place where the Spirit of God can begin really to do the work He has come to do in them.

Job was a true servant of God; but he needed to learn himself, as we all do. He needed to have the roots of his moral being laid bare in his own sight so that he might really abhor himself, and repent in dust and ashes. And furthermore, he needed a truer and deeper sense of what God was, so that he might trust Him and justify Him under all circumstances.

  “But now mine eye seeth Thee” (Job 42:5).

And He cares about YOU!

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Bridge over the river Kwai

You may not be old enough to know this movie reference, if you haven’t seen this movie I suggest you move it up to things you need to do this week.

I don’t want to ruin the plot or the ending so I will only say this “don’t give up.”

As I’m writing this devotion I am at the point of saying I quit, no more, let me off, goodbye, sayonara, adios, you get my point.

I’m tired, fed up, frustrated, worried, anxious, fearful, depressed, again you get my point, not the fruits of the spirit.

You have no idea how my brain works, I have no idea how my brain works.   But you don’t want to be in my head. One reason I keep the radio on a Christian station all day everywhere, even in the shower is so I don’t hear what I’m thinking. Because when it gets quiet it gets crazy.

So here was my idea of solving my problems today, get a big refrigerator box, put a sign on it that says “Unwanted Merchandise” put it out on the Interstate and climb in and see who picks me and maybe they’ll keep me. (grade “A” pity party today)

Except right after I think that this song pops into my head;

1 I have a song that Jesus gave me,

It was sent from heav’n above;

There never was a sweeter melody,

‘Tis a melody of love.

2 I love the Christ who died on Calv’ry,

For He washed my sins away;

He put within my heart a melody,

And I know it’s there to stay.

3 ‘Twill be my endless theme in glory,

With the angels I will sing;

‘Twill be a song with glorious harmony,

When the courts of heaven ring.

Chorus;

In my heart there rings a melody,

There rings a melody with heaven’s harmony;

In my heart there rings a melody,

There rings a melody of love.

And like Paul Harvey, (another reference for the older crowd) is the rest of the story. Yes, tomorrow will still be hard, the pain, the difficulties, the realities of life and circumstances. But I will probably still be singing this song until I fall asleep tonight and then when I wake up tomorrow.

Don’t give up, don’t give in to the dark side, the sun will come up tomorrow and it still may suck in a major way, but hey I will sing this song until the Lord rescues me.

Seriously, smile!

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

hard times

July 13, 2017

Kind of really going through a rough period here at the ranch, tough times, I’d like to report that I’m a shining example, a paragon of virtue, steadfastness and a sterling example of Christian maturity, but that would be a lie. I’ve had my good moments, but this week I would have to say the dark side seems to be shining a little more brightly than I’d like. So keep me in prayer that things turn around and hopefully soon.

“He comforts us in our every affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction by means of the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Cor. 1:4, Weymouth Translation.).

 

  It is a great comfort to know that everything our Father takes us through—much of which may be hard and heartbreaking—has a dual purpose. That which He utilizes to cause us to grow spiritually is at the same time designed to prepare us for His service. He does nothing in vain; He wastes nothing.

 

In the very service itself God makes the servant fit to carry it out. A person is first disciplined for service, and then in the service he is made fit by it for the character of it. God has not servants ready made. He makes them fit for His own service in connection with the race they have to run. The word ‘chasten’ is the same as that used in Ephesians with respect to bringing up the children: it is nurture. We attach too much the idea of severity, or retribution, to it.

 

  “Why does God take some through such deep and trying experiences? Why is it that He does not allow some of His children to have an easy way and to be satisfied and gratified with elementary things? The needs of others—that is why.

 

  “We know quite well if any have been able really to help others, it is because they have gone through deep experience, they have pioneered this way, they have paid a great price for this freedom. It has been costly, but worthwhile if others can be really helped.” GW.

 

  “But to God be the thanks who in Christ ever heads our triumphal procession, and by our hands waves in every place that sweet incense, the knowledge of Him” (2 Cor. 2:14, Weymouth Translation.).

 

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Sorry I haven’t been keeping up on the emails and responses, we are in crisis mode and trying to not drop all the spinning plates. Which some folks may not be old enough to know what that means. Oh well, good thoughts y’all.

 

our trials

July 12, 2017

Our Trials

 “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 4:15).

  Since He is both my God and my Father, and since all of the hardships He takes me through are specifically designed to conform me to the image of the Lord Jesus, how can I help but trust Him and rejoice in His faithfulness?

It is well to remember that the deepest and truest spiritual qualities are not learnt or established in us by our happy or enjoyable times, but in the difficult ones! There is nothing wrong in times of great joy and spiritual blessing; in fact we long for more of them, and look back perhaps to some days of much blessing in our lives or in the work of the Lord; but in the securing of Christ in greater measure in our lives, we find that it is by the things which we suffer that we learn most. So let us give thanks for the joyful days, and learn all that the Lord intends by the days of waiting and difficulty.

Faith asks for no props from the men and things around it; it finds ‘all its springs’ in God; and hence it is that faith never shines so brightly as when all around is dark. It is when nature’s horizon is overcast with the blackest clouds, that faith basks in the sunshine of the divine favor and faithfulness.

  “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17).

We’ve had two deaths this week in the village, long time acquaintances, one only 19, a woman who ran a stop sign because she didn’t have to stop because it was a “man’s law” hit and killed a young man that was going to be married the end of this month. I wish our state still did hangings.

And then Vernon S, 49, dropped dead of a heart attack, doctor said he was probably dead before he hit the floor. Besides his death was the sad fact that he had just reconciled with his wife and was going to move back home today.

Life is a mist, a vapor, like a puff of smoke, the merest breath removes it from our sight, prayer for these two families. They never knew each other but their funerals are both tomorrow and in the same cemetery, less than 25 yards from each other.

I want to thank those that write and encourage this devotional page, those that pray for our prayer lists, you are a blessing, bigger than you will ever know.

questions, comments, prayer request to

scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ouch, man that hurt

July 9, 2017

Colossians 4:6

English Standard Version (ESV)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21)

Not-so-constructive criticism. For many of us this is a tough one, because we really mean for our criticism to be constructive. We want our little comments and suggestions to motivate our loved ones and inspire them to change (for the better, of course). But too often, they only devalue.  We say we just want our loved ones to be happy. But how can they be, when what they hear from us is that they are unacceptable and unlovable the way they are now? They get the message that they’re a disappointment to us; they’ve let us down.

It’s been said that some people find fault like there was a reward for it. I think it’s true. If we’re not careful, we can get in the habit of constantly criticizing other people, finding fault with them and tearing them down, for no good reason.

Truth not spoken in love. Just because something is true doesn’t mean it’s always loving or helpful to say it. This includes bludgeoning others with Scripture in a misguided attempt to set them straight. The family of a woman I know once found itself facing one crisis after another: loss of a job, death of an elderly parent, adult daughter attempting suicide, and adult son going through a divorce. To top it all off, she and her husband both came down with bronchitis.

When, for the first time in five weeks, they were finally able to attend church, they slipped into the pew exhausted and desperate for some spiritual nourishment. Within minutes they were accosted by a woman, barely more than an acquaintance, determined to take them to task for their recent absence. “I’ve noticed you haven’t been coming to church lately,” she began. “The Bible says we’re not supposed to ‘give up meeting together.’ We’re all busy, but we have to make it a priority. You need to make a commitment to be here.” She added, “I’m just telling you this because we’re supposed to ‘speak the truth in love.’” Seriously? There was no love behind her words. She was just being a busy-body. Love would have said, “It’s so good to see you. We’ve missed you. How have you been?” And later, “How can we help?”

“Humor” that gets out of hand. We were just teasing. Having a little fun. Then it got out of hand. Sarcasm has a place, for sure; it serves a purpose. It can be an effective tool to highlight hypocrisy and humble the proud and arrogant. (God uses a fair amount of it Himself.) But it’s not meant to be used to constantly ridicule and rip to shreds people we claim we love. Even when our quips are clearly intended to be funny, even when they’re accompanied by laughter, a daily barrage of snarky asides can be brutal to another person’s self-esteem. Even those of us who regularly enjoy a little “witty repartee” have to admit how quickly “cute” and “clever” can grow old.

Add a little sarcasm to a compliment and you can steal all the pride and joy, the enthusiasm, and the sense of accomplishment right out of someone else’s heart. “Wow! You cleaned your room for once. Too bad it doesn’t look this good every day.” Or, “Your teacher says you’re so organized and disciplined at school—wish you could be that way at home!” A favorite excuse: “We’re not laughing at you; we’re laughing with you.” Really?

The silent treatment. Strangely enough, one of the ways we wound with our words is to withhold them! When we refuse to communicate, when we won’t say what it is we’re upset about or what people have done wrong, we shut them out. We fill their hearts with anxiety and frustration and even dread. We make them feel isolated and rejected—without saying a single word. And that is after all, what the silent treatment is for. Not to be confused with taking time out or having a cooling off period, the silent treatment is all about manipulation and control. It’s a form of punishment or revenge that somehow feels more righteous than an angry outburst. But throwing this kind of tantrum is not the mark of an emotionally healthy, spiritually mature woman. It certainly isn’t biblical (see Matthew 18:15-17).

These are just a few of the weapons at our disposal; they go on and on.

So speak in love, be careful what you say and think before you speak.

I always stop at stop signs and say one Alabama, two Alabama, after getting stopped by the police for rolling through a stop sign. If only I practiced the same way before opening my mouth.

What we say can bless or harm.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Praise report, well this is the second time in last year that someone seriously ill, and mean you can’t get any more sick has been misdiagnosed with the wrong disease, been given the wrong medicine for several years and guess what, it’s Lyme disease, no cure but there is medicine that helps tremendously. So if you’ve been told you have MS, Lou Gehrig’s or even IBS, get a second opinion and tested.

 

HOPE FOR DEPRESSION

July 8, 2017

DEALING WITH DEPRESSION

Psalm 42:5

New International Version (NIV)

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

DEPRESSION, IT HAPPENS TO EVERYONE SOMETIME.

THE BIG DEAL IS DEAL WITH IT, DON’T LET IT GO( I’m not treating this lightly, nor am I dismissing it, as someone that has dealt with depression personally these are things that helped me).

HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO DEAL WITH IT

1.REALIZE THAT DEPRESSION IS NOT NECESSARILY CAUSED BY SIN OR BY WRONG DOING, IT IS JUST A SYMPTOM THAT SOMETHING IS WRONG

  1. IT CAN BE CAUSED BY EXHAUSTION, ELIJAH THE PROPHET FELL INTO DEPRESSION AFTER A GREAT SPIRITUAL BATTLE 1 KINGS 19:4; IT IS NOT UNUSUAL TO ACCOMPLISH A GOAL AND THEN FALL INTO DEPRESSION, SO REST AND EXERCISE.

3.VENT YOUR ANXIETIES IN PRAYER, BE HONEST WITH GOD AND TELL HIM HOW YOU REALLY FEEL, RELAX HE CAN TAKE IT. ONCE I WAS SO MAD AT “THINGS” I WAS THROWING ROCKS AT HIM. (HE DIDN’T STRIKE ME DEAD)

  1. WORSHIP HIM, PRAISE HIM IN PRAYER, KEEP A HYMNAL WITH YOU EVERYWHERE YOU GO SO YOU CAN SING YOUR FAVORITE HYMNS. ITS HARD TO MAD OR DEPRESSED WHEN YOUR SING TO THE LORD.

5.LOOK AT OTHERS AROUND YOU, FOCUS LESS ON YOURSELF AND DOING SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE

  1. FOCUS ON SOMETHING NEW IN YOUR LIFE, GET A NEW HOBBY, REWARD YOURSELF WITH SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO AND HAVENT’ DONE IT IN AWHILE

  2. CALL A FRIEND, DON’T GO THROUGH IT ALONE

HEBREWS 13:5 “I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU”

  1. GET COUNSELING, BIBLICAL COUNSELING, NOT SOME HACK WITH A SOCIAL DEGREE CLAIMING THEY INTEGRATED THEIR TECHNIQUES WITH THE BIBLE).

  2. STILL NOT BETTER SEE A REAL DOCTOR, NOT A CHIROPRACTOR; I KNOW PEOPLE THAT SEE A CHIROPRACTOR FOR MENSTRUAL PROBLEMS OR MIGRAINES, SEE A REAL DOCTOR, AM I DISSING CHIROPRACTORS’, YES, THEIR NOT NUTRIONALISTS, OR THEY BELONG TO THE NEWEST NATURAL PRODUCT, SOME OIL THAT YOU CAN RUB ON THE BOTTOM OF YOUR FOOT AND MAKE YOUR EARS FEEL BETTER. AND WHILE I’M AT IT, ROLFING, BALONEY, SCENTS, HYPNOSIS, HUMMING, WHISPERING, ASM, IF YOU HAVE RUN OUT OF ROPE SEEK A REAL DOCTOR.  

NEVER BELIEVE THE DEVIL OR ANYONE THAT WOULD TELL YOU GOD DOESN’T CARE.

BLESSINGS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

 

what the hell

July 6, 2017

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

WE INTERRUPT THIS REGULAR SCHEDULE BROADCAST FOR THIS EMERGENCY BROADCAST.

REMEMBER THAT SOUND ON THE RADIO, ANNOYING ISN’T IT, WELL THIS IS AN EMERGENCY DEVOTIONAL.

I RECEIVED AN EMAIL ON SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM THAT WAS SUCH AN IMPORTANT TOPIC THAT I FELT IT MUST BE COVERED HERE RIGHT NOW.

FIRST LET ME SAY THIS, REMEMBER A FEW DEVOTIONALS BACK WHEN I MENTIONED THE SHORT LIST VERSUS THE LONG LIST AND THAT ONE WAS WORTH FIGHTING OVER, WELL I JUST ADDED ONE MORE ITEM TO THE SHORT LIST AND SERIOUSLY I WILL FIGHT OVER THIS ONE.

NOW YOU NEED TO KNOW A LITTLE EXTRA ABOUT ME SO I CAN PUT THE FEAR OF GOD INTO YOU, I’VE BEEN SHOT ONCE, STABBED TWICE AND LITERALLY SCALPED WITH A CROWBAR. I’VE BEEN IN 3 CONFRONTATIONS THAT COULD HAVE ENDED IN MY DEATH BESIDES THE ONES MENTIONED ABOVE.

SO MY POINT, I THINK VIOLENCE HAS A VALID POINT TO CONVINCING SOMEONE I’M SERIOUS. I KNOW ALL YOU SUGAR CONE CHRISTIANS ARE FROTHING AT THE MOUTH AND TALKING ABOUT LOVE AND HARMONY BUT LET ME TELL YOU WHAT HAS ME ALL WORKED UP.

BACK TO THE EMAIL, SO BASICALLY IT GOES LIKE THIS, “PASTOR, I WAS JUST AT A BIBLE STUDY AND WAS TOLD THAT I WAS POSSESSED BY AN UNCLEAN SPIRIT AND THAT IT NEEDED TO BE DEALT WITH AND THEY PRAYED IT OUT OF ME.”

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGEEEE, (RAGE, IF YOU HAVE DYSLEXIA)

THIS IS A CHRISTIAN PERSON BEING TOLD BY A CHRISTIAN LEADER THAT CHRISTIANS CAN BE POSSESSED.

FIRST LET ME START WITH THIS BIBLE VERSE AND ITS ONE YOU LIKELY WON’T BE THINKING OF STARTING WITH. THE APOSTLE PAUL SAYS; “WE ARE TO MARK THOSE WHO DISTORT THE TRUTHS OF THE BIBLE.” THE WORD “MARK” IN GREEK LITERALLY MEANS TO PUNCH OR STRIKE SOMEONE IN THE FACE SO THAT THEY ARE BRUISED AND PEOPLE CAN SEE IT AND KNOW WHAT HAS HAPPENED.

WAY TO GO APOSTLE PAUL, YOUR SPEAKING MY LANGUAGE, IF I RAN INTO A CHRISTIAN LEADER, PASTOR, ETC AND HEARD THIS KIND OF THING COMING OUT OF THEIR MOUTH, I WOULD WARN THEM TO STOP VERY STRONGLY WARN THEM TO STOP.

I ONCE HAD A HUSBAND WHO WAS BEATING HIS BLIND WIFE, I WENT TO HIS HOUSE AND WHEN HE OPENED THE DOOR I PUNCHED HIM IN THE FACE, AND THEN SAID TO HIM, “YOU DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING, DID YOU, WELL NEITHER DOES SHE.” THEY HAVE NOW BEEN MARRIED 55 YEARS AND THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANOTHER ACT OF VIOLENCE, AND HE COMES TO CHURCH ON A REGULAR BASIS. SO MAYBE A PUNCH IN THE NOSE REALLY WORKS.

WELL LETS PRETEND I’M REALLY SPIRITUAL AND REAL MATURE AND HANDLE IT LIKE A REGULAR, NORMAL PASTOR (YOU CAN’T HEAR THIS BUT I’M LAUGHING MY A$$ OFF RIGHT NOW, ME NORMAL, STOP IT YOUR KILLING ME.)

SO BIBLE VERSES TO HELP

 2 Corinthians 1:22-23

New English Translation (NET)

22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment

 

Ephesians 1:13

New English Translation (NET)

13 And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)—when you believed in Christ—you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit,

 

Ephesians 4:30

New English Translation (NET)

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR A CHRISTIAN TO BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, SEALED FOR CHRIST, MARKED FOR CHRIST, AND TO BE POSSESSED BY ANY OTHER EVIL OR DEMONIC SPIRIT.

WE ARE ONLY CAPABLE AS A VESSEL DEDICATED TO GOD TO BE ENTERED INTO BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, NONE OTHER SPIRIT THAT IS EVIL CAN ENTER INTO US. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THIS NUT JOBS SAY, THEY WILL TYPICALLY USE THE FOLLOWING TWISTED LOGIC; “WELL YOU MUST HAVE USED A OUIJAS BOARD BEFORE YOU GOT SAVED AND THAT’S’ HOW IT GOT IN, OR YOU READ HOROSCOPES, OR SAW A MEDIUM OR MESSED WITH BLACK MAGIC; AND WHEN YOU GOT SAVED THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS BEEN STRUGGLING WITH THIS OTHER SPIRIT AND THAT’S WHY YOU ARE HAVING THESE PROBLEMS.”

REALLY, ANOTHER CONFESSION, (OH DEAR) I WAS IN A BLACK SATANIC CULT, DRANK URINE, HAD HOLY WAFERS OF COMMUNION SPREAD WITH MENSTRUAL BLOOD, DID ALL THE WEIRD SEX, MAGIC BULLSH!T. AND I CAN TELL YOU WHEN I GOT SAVED, BORN AGAIN, BLOOD WASHED, WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT THERE WAS NO PROBLEM WITH BEING 100% FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE LIVING IN ME BESIDES THE SPIRIT OF GOD AND THE STUPID PART OF ME THAT TRIPS ME UP MORE THAN I LIKE.

SO WATCH OUT,, SPEAK SUCH LIES IN FRONT OF ME AND I MAY NOT BE VERY PASTORAL. 

SORRY IF YOUR OFFENDED BY MY CARNAL ANGER AND TALK OF VIOLENCE, BUT REALLY IF YOU ARE ONE OF THESE LYING, DEGRADING, CHURCH LEADERS I WILL CALL YOU OUT TO FACE THE MUSIC.

One morning Death was walking into a city when a man stopped him and asked what he was doing. Death answered, “I’m going into the city to kill 10,000 people.” The man replied, “That’s terrible that you would kill 10,000 people.” Death responded, “Taking people when their time has come is my job. Today I have to get my 10,000.” Later, as Death was coming out of the city, the man met him. Again, he was furious. He said, “You told me this morning that you were going to take 10,000 people, but 70,000 died today.” Death answered, “Don’t get mad at me. I only took 10,000. Worry killed all the rest.”

Worry has an uncanny knack for killing people. The poet Robert Frost (1874–1963) wrote, “The reason why worry kills more people than work is because more people worry than work.” Seriously, worry has become an American pastime. For many people, worry has become so ingrained in their personalities that once the old worries are gone they search for new ones. They’ve become dependent on worry as a lens through which to view life, and they’ve forgotten any other way to live. Is there reason to be worried today? Most people would say there is. High energy costs, a worsening economy, rogue nuclear nations, threats of terrorism, widespread job layoffs, and tension in the Middle East—all these make for uncertain times. Economic stress is taking its toll on Americans’ emotional and physical health. Surveys show that more than half of Americans report irritability, anger, fatigue, or sleeplessness. Almost half say they self-medicate by overeating or indulging in unhealthy foods. Money and the economy topped the list of stressors for at least 80 percent of those surveyed. Finances now overshadow the more typical daily stressors of work and relationships.

Fortunately, in the midst of a world of “worry-warts,” Jesus isn’t worried. Even better, He has a definitive Word for you. In Matthew 6:25–34, He says, “Don’t worry, be hopeful.” Now there are some passages in the New Testament that are difficult to interpret, but this is not one of them. Jesus uses the word “worry” six times and He says, “Don’t worry” three times. Jesus is against high anxiety and unhealthy worry. Consequently, He provides two reasons you shouldn’t worry.

  1. Worry is an exercise in futility (6:25–30). Jesus promises to meet your needs because He cares for you. He begins this section with a negative command: “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on” (6:25a). The phrase “For this reason” ties back to 6:24. Jesus’ point is: If you can’t serve God and money, then you can’t worry about the material things that money can buy. The phrase “do not be worried” can be literally translated “stop worrying.” Jesus wants His followers to stop worrying over food, drink, and clothes because He will meet their basic material needs. Now, I need to put forth two disclaimers. First, don’t worry doesn’t mean don’t plan. The King James Version translates the phrase “do not be worried” as “take no thought.” This is misleading because it gives the impression that future planning is unnecessary. Over the years, many people have mistakenly assumed that this is a prohibition against career ambition, financial planning, and life insurance. But this is not what Jesus is saying. Jesus is pro-planning! He wants you to work hard and plan for your future. To do otherwise is to be foolish. Second, don’t worry doesn’t mean don’t be concerned. If you’re not concerned about your children playing near traffic, you’re a terrible parent.

 If you’re not concerned about your health, you’re a fast-food junkie. You need to have some degree of healthy concern. Otherwise you won’t meet deadlines or go in for medical checkups. The root idea of the verb “worry” (merimnao) means “to be pulled apart.” There’s a difference between concern and worry. Concern is when you can do something to help a situation, so you do what you can do. Worry is when you can’t do something, but you don’t want to leave it up to God. In other words, worry is concern gone haywire. You can spiritualize it all you want, but worry is a sin. If you are a worrying Christian, you are a sinning Christian. It doesn’t carry much weight with Jesus that He’s your first love, then you act like you can’t trust Him to look after you. Worry is a hideous sin to God because it is an indictment against Him, a slap at His love. So don’t worry, be hopeful.

Jesus now gives four reasons why you shouldn’t worry.

God will ensure your survival. Jesus says, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (6:25b) Jesus provides an argument from the greater to the lesser. Since God gave you life, He can surely sustain that life. Almost tongue-in-cheek Jesus says, “If you are going to worry, at least worry about something important, such as your life.” We worry whether we are going to have enough to eat. Jesus says we better worry about whether we are going to be alive to chew. God says, “If I’m going to wake you up tomorrow, I’m going to feed you. Now which is easier? Feeding you or waking you up? Don’t worry about breakfast tomorrow. Worry about whether your heart is going to stop tonight. Worry about whether I’m going to keep your brain working and your heart pumping. If you’re determined to worry, worry about that.” Now most of us don’t worry about stuff like that. We assume when we go to bed at night that we are going to wake up the next day.

 Jesus says, “If God has the power to keep you alive and wake you up tomorrow, then He will see to it that you have something to eat and something to wear tomorrow.” If you buy into a Creator God, you must buy into a Sustainer God—or you’re simply inconsistent. On a much smaller scale, if a jeweler gives you an expensive diamond ring as a gift, will he give you a box to put it in? Of course he will! The gift of the ring assumes a box. Similarly, if the Lord gives you life, He will take care of that life. Jesus anticipates a follow-up question: God can provide, but will He provide?

God will meet your material needs. Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (6:26) Jesus now moves from the lesser to the greater. The word translated “look” (emblepo) is a compound verb that can be translated “take a good look at.” Since humankind is created in the image of God, men and women are far more valuable to God than birds (Matt 10:31; 12:12). Birds expend energy in doing what is natural, such as building nests and collecting food for their young, yet it is actually God who feeds and clothes them (cf. Ps 104:10–16). The point is that when Jesus’ disciples are responsible to carry out the proper ways of life as ordained by God, God is faithful to carry out His responsibilities.

Our family has four bird feeders outside of our living room and dining room windows. We like to watch birds eat. Lori and the kids spent the better part of a year studying birds, after a friend gave us the book Birds of Texas. Since that time, we have identified nearly twenty birds that come and feed in our feeders. A pair of juncos come year after year to nest in one of our hanging baskets. We have observed first-hand that God provides for the birds because He loves them. At one time or another, you have likely heard from a parent, a sibling, a teacher, employer, or spouse the message, “You are unlovable.” Words like, “Can’t you do anything right?” or “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” or “What’s wrong with you anyway?” or “I’ve found someone else.” These words erode your sense of value until you start to doubt whether even God loves you. Yet, the last phrase of 6:26 demonstrates your value to God. If He cares for the birds, how much more valuable are you? Don’t worry, be hopeful.

God will grant your allotted days. Jesus says, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (6:27). Worrying may actually shorten your life. Are you worrying so much that you’re losing sleep? God stays up all night, so why should you? You’re the one who needs to sleep! There was a man who began to worry that he would get cancer. The serious disease had been prevalent in his family, so he began to worry about it. He worried about it for thirty years and then suddenly died of a heart attack. Worrying is such a waste of time. Should you be concerned about your health? Absolutely. Should you do the best you can to stay healthy? Absolutely. But after you’ve done all that you can do, don’t worry. To worry is to insult the God who has your life under control.

 The word worry comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word that means “to choke” or “to strangle.” That’s an apt description of what worry does to us. Worry won’t stretch our savings account, bring back that prodigal son or daughter, or keep cancer or senility at bay. But it will cause us to lose sleep. It will give us ulcers, high blood pressure, and headaches. It will sour our mood and distance our friends and eventually stifle our relationship with God. It not only has physical consequences, it has spiritual consequences as well.

God will cover your external appearance. Jesus says, “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if30 God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” (6:28–30) Jesus says, “Don’t be worried about what you will wear. Just look at the flowers.” At first glance, Jesus’ words about the lilies, like the birds, are lovely, but they are not very compelling. Sure, birds and lilies don’t worry about life, but they also don’t have mortgages, car payments, grocery bills, and college tuitions to keep them awake at night. Yet, here, Jesus says, “God will meet your need for clothing.” You may not be decked out in designer wear, but you’ll have what you need. The verb “observe” is a strong word. It means more than just a mere casual glance. It means to study the beauty of the flowers. The emphasis shifts slightly in 6:30 where Jesus speaks of the clothing of “the grass of the field.” Like flowers, grass is transient and even less impressive. Yet, God clothes the grass whether we fertilize it or not. Jesus longs for you to learn a lesson from the flowers and grass. He closes with a rebuke: “You of little faith,” which is an expression only directed to Jesus’ disciples. It indicates not an absence of faith but deficiency of faith. Jesus is saying, “Trust God to meet your needs.” God’s trustworthiness is the issue. Did God take care of you yesterday? What about the day before? What about the day before that? Then, how come you’re worried today? What kind of Father do you have? Some people have sufficient faith to believe God will get them to heaven but not enough to believe He will get them through the next twenty-four hours. They are absolutely confident of the sweet-by-and-by but are terrified of the nasty here-and-now.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

miles from home

June 27, 2017

The apostle Paul said that the entire Christian faith rests on this single foundation, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Cor. 15:13-19). If that fact of history is true, then our faith has a solid footing in spite of difficult matters that we may never understand fully in this life. But, if Jesus Christ is not risen from the dead, then the strongest faith in the world is useless, because it rests on a faulty foundation. In Paul’s words (1 Cor. 15:17), “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”

If you want to examine a subject, it’s best to go to an expert. The most famous expert on doubt is the man whose name is always linked with it, Doubting Thomas. Perhaps it’s unfair that he has to wear that label, since all the apostles doubted the resurrection of Jesus at first (Mark 16:11; Luke 24:10-11). But, Thomas was the last holdout, so he gets the title. His story shows us that…

To overcome our doubts, we must rest upon the reality of the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

Thomas was what I would call a sincere doubter. Not all doubters are sincere. Some use their doubts as a smoke screen to hide behind their sin, which is the real issue. If one area of doubt is cleared up, they will quickly duck behind another, because they don’t want to submit to the Lord. These people do not need more evidence to believe. They need to turn from their sin.

But some doubters are sincere. They truly believe in Christ, but they are plagued by honest questions. They are submissive to God and want to do His will, but they can’t just close their eyes and take a leap of faith. They need evidence to clear up the doubts. Thomas was that kind of sincere doubter. His story reveals that…

  1. Sincere doubt can arise from multiple causes.

There are many causes of doubt. I am going to limit myself to exploring some of the causes of Thomas’ doubts. Perhaps you can relate to these sources of doubt as well.

Some Reasons For Thomas’ Doubts:

  1. PERSONAL FAILURE COUPLED WITH OUR PERSONALITY MAY LEAD TO DOUBT.

All of the disciples had failed Jesus on the night of His arrest and trial. Most notorious was Peter, who denied the Lord three times. All of the eleven had promised Jesus their loyalty, but they all deserted Him when He was arrested.

Thomas, along with Peter, had been outspoken in his loyalty to Jesus before the crucifixion. In John 11:16, when Jesus wanted to go to Bethany, near Jerusalem, to raise Lazarus from the dead, the disciples objected that it was too dangerous. But Thomas said, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” He was a pessimist, but at least he was loyal to the point of challenging the others to be committed to the point of death. But then he had joined the others in running away when Jesus was arrested. That failure led Thomas into depression and doubt.

It wasn’t just Thomas’ failure, but failure coupled with his personality, that led him into deep doubts. Peter had failed in a big way, too. But Peter was a buoyant, optimistic sort who felt badly about his mistakes, but who could bounce back more quickly. But Thomas was a conscientious, loyal, but gloomy type who did not commit himself to something lightly. To commit himself to Jesus and then go back on his word affected Thomas deeply.

We’re all wired differently and so it’s important to know yourself so that you can be on guard against your areas of weakness. Usually, by the way, our areas of greatest strength are also our areas of greatest weakness. A man such as Thomas, who is loyal and conscientious, who takes commitments seriously, is also more prone to depression and doubt when he fails.

  1. DISAPPOINTED EXPECTATIONS MAY LEAD TO DOUBT.

A second factor that caused Thomas such deep doubts was the disappointment and shock he felt as he watched Jesus die. Even though Jesus repeatedly told the disciples in advance that He would be crucified, it didn’t sink in. When Thomas saw the badly mangled body of Jesus on the cross, it sent him into shock. His emphasis on the wounds of Jesus (John 20:25) shows how deeply it affected him. The bloody holes in Jesus’ hands and feet, the gory spear wound in His side, and Jesus’ disfigurement from the scourg­ing and the crown of thorns, haunted Thomas in the week after the crucifixion and fed his doubts.

In the same way, whenever we face deep disappointment and shock because of some tragedy or unanswered prayer or something that doesn’t go as we had expected, we’re vulnerable to doubts. You begin to think, “If God is a God of love, then why did this happen? Why didn’t He answer my prayers?” Before long, you’ve joined Thomas in doubting the Lord.

  1. WHEN GOD WORKS IN WAYS THAT WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND, IT CAN LEAD TO DOUBT.

Thomas lacked understanding with regard to the Lord’s departure (see John 14:5). On the night before the crucifixion, Jesus told the disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them and that He would come again to take them to be with Him. He told them that they knew the way where He was going. But Thomas wasn’t the type to keep quiet if he didn’t understand. So he blurted out, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”

I’m glad he asked because Jesus’ reply was, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (14:6). But if you put yourself back into that situation, with all of the confused emotions of that night, and with the disciples’ still limited insight into Jesus’ death and resurrection, you can see how Thomas would still be confused about what Jesus had meant. He lacked understanding, which led to doubt.

John 20:9 states, “For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” In fact, none of them understood why Jesus had to die, let alone rise from the dead. Jesus rebuked the men on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:25-27), “And He said to them, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”

Many of our doubts stem from the same cause: we do not understand the Scriptures. Frankly, there are many hard teachings in the Bible, some of which we won’t resolve until we are with the Lord. We have to trust God, even when we don’t understand. In John 6:60, many of those who had followed Jesus turned away when He taught some hard things. Jesus even asked the twelve if they would go away also. Peter gave the great answer (John 6:68-69), “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” I have come back to that answer many times when I have struggled with doubt due to a lack of understanding. If Jesus is who He claimed to be, where else can I go?

  1. SEPARATING OURSELVES FROM FELLOW BELIEVERS, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE ARE DEPRESSED, CAN DEEPEN OUR DOUBTS.

Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared to them. We don’t know for certain why he was gone, but a likely reason was his depression. The last thing he wanted at a time like that was to be around other people. So he wandered off by himself to brood over the horrible events of the previous few days.

Then to add to his misery, when he finally did see the others, they told him that they had seen the risen Lord! How would you feel if you missed church because you were depressed and doubting and we all told you, “Hey, you really missed a blessing! It was the greatest church service in the history of FCF!” Great! That really encourages you, doesn’t it! But even though other believers may irritate us, the fact is, we need them. Whenever we separate ourselves from the fellowship, we make ourselves vulnerable to doubt.

I’ve not covered all the causes that cause us to doubt. But whatever the source of your doubts, the solution is the same: to come back to the basic fact of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. If that is true, then even though you may not understand everything, with Thomas you still must bow and acknowledge Jesus to be your Lord and God.

God bless you in your trials, your battles, in your darkest hours, hold up your bible in front of your eyes (literally) and tell yourself you really believe.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the old fashion truth

June 26, 2017

The old fashion secret (the alternate title)

“My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in [your] weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

  In self we are crippled; in Christ we conquer. The secret is to face up to the former, and rest in the latter. The disadvantaged believer has all the advantage—he knows it must be “not I, but Christ.”

  “It is a great step when the believer fully consents to his own weakness, and the abiding consciousness of it, and so works faithfully on, fully assured that his Lord is working through him. He rejoices that the excellence of the power is of God, and not of us. Realizing his oneness with his Lord, he considers no longer his own weakness, but counts on the power of Him of whose hidden working within he is assured.

 It is this secret assurance that gives the believer a brightness to his look, and an assured firmness to his tone, and a perseverance to all his efforts, which of themselves are great means of influencing those he is seeking to win. He goes forth in the spirit of one to whom victory is assured; for this is the victory that overcometh, even our faith. He no longer counts it humility to say that God cannot bless his unworthy efforts. He claims and expects a blessing, because it is not he, but Christ in him, that worketh. The great secret of abiding in Christ is the deep conviction that we are nothing, and He is everything.

  “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God”. (2 Cor. 3:5).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com