Great Praying

December 7, 2017

praying mom

  “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us” (1 John 5:14).

  In order for us to pray according to His will, we must first know His will; not only that, but His blessed will must become our will. “If ye abide in Me . . . ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). Prayer is the fellowship of an intimate, living union; as with all of the Christian life, it must be carried on in dependence upon the Holy Spirit. He is known as “the Spirit of grace and of supplications” (Zech. 12:10).

  “If I ask anything of God, and have received His answer, I then act with assurance, with the conviction that I am in the path of His will; I am happy and contented. If I meet with some difficulty, this does not stop me; it is only an obstacle which faith has to surmount.

  But if I have not this certainty before I begin, I am in indecision, I know not what to do. There may be a trial of my faith, or it may be that I ought not to do what I am doing. I am in suspense, and I hesitate; even if I am doing the will of God, I am not sure about it, and I am not happy. I ought therefore to be assured that I am doing His will before I begin to act.

  All flows from the soul being consciously in the place where it is set, in Christ risen. He can then trust us with the knowledge of His will; He can trust the sons of the family with the family affairs.

  “And if we know that He hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him” (1 John 5:15).

If you find yourself really wanting to learn how to pray read E. M. Bounds masterpiece on prayer, and Andrew Murray’s great work. These are the classics and best.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

A THANKFUL HEART

November 16, 2017

shout

A THANKFUL HEART

I want to talk about one of the most commonly tolerated sins among those professing to know God. It is a most serious sin, and yet I encounter it often and I find that it’s often excused or shrugged off as no big deal. In fact, many Christians aren’t even aware that it’s sin! I struggle with it myself. It rears its head in different forms: self-pity, grumbling, complaining, depression, anger, defiance. Often at the root of all these symptoms is the sin of ingratitude toward our gracious, sovereign God.

Ingratitude is a characteristic of those in rebellion against God. It was because of grumbling and ingratitude toward God that Israel was laid low in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:10; Ps. 95:8-11). In Paul’s treatment of human depravity, ingratitude is one of the sins which plunged the race further into sin: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; … Therefore God gave them over …” (Rom. 1:21, 24).

On the other hand, believers are commanded to give thanks in everything (1 Thess. 5:18). As those delivered from Satan’s domain of darkness, we are to be “joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12). A spirit of joyous, continual thankfulness ought to characterize us as Christians.

It’s not surprising to discover that the man whom God called “a man after My own heart” was a thankful man. I want to examine “the roots and fruit of a thankful heart” from David’s experience in 2 Samuel 7: How to sink down roots that will produce thankfulness in us at all times; and the fruit which thankfulness produces.

  1. The roots: A thankful heart stems from focusing on the sovereign grace of God.

David’s focus was upon God, His purpose, and His sovereign grace. A study of these verses reveals three characteristic roots of a thankful heart:

  1. A THANKFUL HEART IS FOCUSED ON GOD, NOT ON SELF.

Think of where David was at: He was king of Israel after years of hardship. He had defeated many enemy nations. He was established comfortably in his capital city in a nice palace. He was a famous, powerful man, with many serving him. He easily could have become self-focused. He could have got caught up with enjoying the good life and had no concern for the things of God. But he didn’t.

Instead, his thoughts turned toward the Lord and His purpose. He had a burden for God to be central in the nation, for God to be worshiped by His people. He wanted to build a temple which elevated the Lord to His proper place. David could not rest content while God’s house was not a reality. David’s heart was focused on God, not on himself. So even when God said no to David’s dream, David was overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s sovereign grace toward him.

One of the main reasons we wrestle with ungratefulness is that we’re self-focused. We tend to pursue our own fulfillment, comfort, and happiness. The dominant theology in American Christianity puts man and his happiness at the center instead of God and His glory. It teaches that God exists to meet our needs. We’re even being told that Christ died for us because we’re worthy! So we have people who by nature are self-centered coming to Christ to get an “abundant life” which they think is their right, which they assume will fulfill all their needs. But they’ve never repented of their self-centeredness. Then they become disappointed when God doesn’t do what they think He promised to do.

We have churches filled with people who are there to get God to solve their problems and make them happy. Do they want their problems solved so that they can more effectively glorify and serve God? No, they want their problems solved so that they can enjoy a happy life. Unlike David, they have no burden for God and His purpose. Instead of being focused on God, they’re focused on trying to get God to meet their own needs for their own gratification. They’re focused on self.

Let me shoot real straight, since Jesus did. He didn’t say, “If anyone wants to follow Me, I’ll meet his every need so that he can live a happy, comfortable life.” He said, “If anyone wishes to follow Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it” (Mark 8:34-35). If you want to be a thankful person, get your focus off yourself and your happiness and put your focus on God and His great purpose in the gospel. If we focus on God and His purpose, He graciously meets our needs. If we focus on self, we come up empty.

  1. A THANKFUL HEART IS SUBMISSIVE TO GOD’S SOVEREIGN PURPOSE.

David wanted to build the temple; God said, “No.” That answer would have been especially difficult to accept because David’s desire was right. He didn’t want something for himself. He didn’t want a new addition on the palace or a higher salary. He wanted to build a house for God. His motives were pure. But God said no. True, God wrapped His denial in some other wonderful promises. But nevertheless, it was a denial.

What did David do in response? First, let’s think about what he could have done but did not do. He could have allowed his disappointment to grow into depression. He could have sulked and felt sorry for himself. He could have angrily thought, “See if I ever try to do anything again for the Lord!” He could have turned to self-indulgence to soothe his hurt feelings.

Instead, he worshiped God. He was overwhelmed with gratitude for all that God had done. He submitted to God’s sovereign purpose, and was willing to be used however God wanted to use him.

The key to David’s response is seen in the way David viewed God and how he viewed himself in God’s sight. Eight times (27:18, 19 [twice], 20, 22, 25, 28, 29) in this short prayer David calls God, “O Lord God” (NIV = “Sovereign Lord”; Hebrew = Adonai Yahweh). In addition, David repeatedly extols God’s greatness (27:22, 26, 27) and His sovereign choice of Israel as His people (27:23, 24). And ten times David refers to himself, not as “the King,” but as “Your servant” (27:19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27 [twice], 28, & 29 [twice]). Because he saw God as the Sovereign of the universe and himself simply as God’s servant, he could submit and be thankful when God’s plans were contrary to David’s plans.

How about you? What do you do when God’s plans run counter to your plans? The test of thankfulness is not when God does what you want Him to do. That’s easy! The test of being thankful is when God says no to your plans, even when they are plans to further His purpose. To be thankful then you’ve got to see God as the Sovereign and yourself as His servant so that you submit to Him.

Thus, a thankful heart is focused on God, not self. A thankful heart submits to God’s sovereign purpose.

  1. A THANKFUL HEART IS OVERWHELMED BY GOD’S SOVEREIGN GRACE.

When Nathan outlines God’s covenant promises to David, David is overwhelmed. In today’s slang, he is “blown away.” He goes into the tabernacle and sits before the Lord (27:18). As far as I know, it’s the only time in the Bible when a person sits down to pray. I think he was stunned, like when a lawyer calls you and says, “You had better sit down. A rich uncle has left you a million dollars.” David had wanted to build a house for God; but God says, “No, I want to build a house for David” (27:11). David’s response was, “Who am I?”

Grace means God’s unmerited favor. Don’t let anybody tell you anything else! Grace has two sides:

First, Grace is unmerited, which means, I do not deserve it. “Who am I …?” (27:18). I am totally unworthy to receive it. If I get it because I’m worthy, it’s not grace. If I can do anything to earn it or deserve it, it’s not grace. Grace is a sovereign act of God, totally apart from human effort or human will. Grace is hard for us to grasp, because it is not the custom or manner of man (27:19). In life, we are conditioned to a system of work and wage, of effort and reward. But grace is not a wage or reward. It stems from the nature of God, not at all from the efforts of man.

You cannot understand or appreciate God’s grace until you are overwhelmed with a sense of your own unworthiness to approach God in any way. Your good works cannot commend you to God. If God dealt with you according to your merit, He would justly send you to hell. Grace is totally unmerited. When that thought grips you, it fills you with thankfulness toward God!

Second, Grace is favor. That is, grace reflects God’s abundant goodness. God, who is infinitely wealthy, has opened the treasures of heaven and poured out heaps of blessings upon us. Like Scrooge McDuck swimming in his money pile, so believers are awash in God’s blessing. David here considers:

* God’s favor in the past (27:8-9, 18). Brothers and sisters, stop for a moment and consider God’s grace toward you in the past. For some of you, it may be the very recent past; for others of us, that past goes back a number of years. But for all of us, whether we were raised in Sunday School or in a tavern, as we look at the past we must say, “God has been gracious. He rescued me from a miry pit.” We were dead in trespasses and sins, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),… (Eph. 2:4-5).

* God’s favor in the present (27:8b). David was now the ruler over God’s people Israel. Think of God’s present grace toward you. Perhaps you’re thinking, “King! I’m not even the boss! I’m low man on the totem pole.” But as Paul continues in Ephesians 2:6, “[God] raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, …” That is our present! We are called to exercise the authority of our risen Head here on earth over the spiritual forces of darkness!

* God’s favor in the future (27:10-16, 19). God makes the astounding promise to establish David’s kingdom forever. This promise was only partially fulfilled in Solomon and the other kings of David’s lineage. It was and will be yet completely fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ, born of the lineage of David, who will rule on the throne of David in His millennial kingdom.

And what of our future? Paul continues Eph. 2:7, “in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” We cannot even fathom the good things that God has stored up for us in the future!

It’s all of grace! We’re surrounded by it: Grace rescued us from a sinful past; grace sustains us in an exalted calling in the present; and grace will preserve us for a glorious future!

God’s grace ought to knock us over at times. Do you ever spend time sitting before the Lord, overwhelmed by His tremendous grace? There ought to be frequent times (the Lord’s Supper [“Eucharist,” giving of thanks] ought to be one such time) when we sit before the Lord and turn over and over in our minds every facet of God’s unmerited favor as if we were examining a rare cut jewel. A thankful heart is overwhelmed by God’s sovereign grace.

Thus a thankful heart is rooted in focusing on the sovereign grace of God. The thankful heart focuses on God, submits to His sovereign purpose, and revels in His sovereign grace.

 

Thank you for tolerating a long post, every time I say they are going to get shorter, bam, here we are. Blessings for you all is our prayer

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

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November 3, 2017

Godly parents, who to the best of their ability seek to raise their children in the faith, can still have children who turn away. This will be the exception, not the rule. But it can and does happen. We have wrongly interpreted Proverbs 22:6, ”Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” to mean that if you train them properly, then it is guaranteed that they will follow the Lord. Thus if the child goes astray, the parent must be to blame. But the Proverbs are not ironclad promises. Rather, they state general maxims about life. It is generally true that if you train up children properly, they will follow the Lord as adults. But it is not a guaranteed promise, and therefore it is not necessarily a sign of parental failure when a child rebels. If there has been obvious parental failure, then we, as the church, should help a hurting parent to deal biblically with the area of failure. But it is wrong for us to be judgmental.

Ok, this may be way to much info but to be thorough here we go

This verse is a key to the whole responsibility of training children, but there is a particular focus in this verse that shows us a parent’s training must be based on knowing his or her child. This emphasis is not apparent in the English as it is in the Hebrew text. As seen previously, the word “train,” the Hebrew chanak, has as it primary meaning, “train, instruct, initiate,” and it can also mean, “to dedicate, throttle or discipline.” In this verb we see the primary responsibility. Parents are to train and so teach their children that it brings God’s control into the child’s life. And certainly, since their children are trusts from God, they need to dedicate these little ones to God and be dedicated themselves to the training process.

But what is the standard for the process? God’s Word is the standard, of course, but there is something else that must guide the process and this is seen in the words, “in the way he should go.” The Hebrew text is actually much stronger than this and literally reads, “according the measure of his way.” “According to,” the Hebrew ‘al pi, is literally according to the mouth of. This carries the ideas of “according to the command of, the evidence or sentence of, or according to the measure of.” The preposition ‘al denotes the norm, standard, or rule by which something is to be done. The noun pi is from pe, “mouth, opening, orifice.” Since mouths or apertures vary in size, it developed the concept of “measure” or “portion.” With this in mind, pe was often used with prepositions to mean “in proportion to.” A small child normally has a much smaller mouth than an adult and can’t begin to take in as large a portion as a man. The principle here should be obvious. Training should be done according to the measure, the capacity, or ability of something. But what is that? It is spelled out for us with the words “his way.”

Again, maybe a little to much info, but if you want to go from A to Z on the topic here we go;

The Hebrew text has the personal pronoun attached to the noun “way.” It reads, “his way” and not simply “in the way he should go.” “Way” is the Hebrew derek, “way, road, journey, manner.” It was used of (1) a way, path, journey, course of action, (2) mode, habit, manner as a customary experience or condition, and (3) of duty and moral action and character both good and bad. From the knowledge of Scripture and from an observation of our children, we know certain things about their way. First, we know that God, in His sovereignty, has a plan, a course He wants each child to follow—an orbit for him or her. Second, we know that every child has a specific make up as an individual with certain abilities, talents, and tendencies—a particular bent. Derek is from the verb darak, “to tread, march,” but it was often used metaphorically of launching something as in the bending of a bow in order to launch an arrow, or an assault, or bitter speech, or judgments in a certain direction (cf. Ps. 7:13; La. 2:4; 3:12; Ps. 57:7; 64:3; 1 Chron. 5:18; 8:40; Isa. 21:15). While darak does not have this specific meaning, the use of the verb form provides us with an interesting illustration considering the nature of children according to inheritance factors and as God has designed them.

With this in mind, let’s consider a few key ideas in training a child according to his way:

(1) Parents need to know their children as the unique individuals they are. To do this, they must prayerfully observe, study, and recognize the individual characteristics (or bent) of each of their children and train them accordingly.

(2) Parents should never think that seeing that a child gets plenty of Bible training or gets to church will be enough. Bible teaching, church, and growing up in a Bible-teaching home are all vital and a necessary part of the process, but each child needs to be dealt with as a unique individual and nothing should be taken for granted. Parents need to take special note of what is happening in each child’s life—responses, weaknesses, habits, attitudes, etc. The same environment does not mean that each child will respond in the same way. A blanket approach may not work. Some biblical illustrations of the different ways children will respond to the same environment and teaching within the same home are Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, and Absolom and Solomon.

(3) Parents should never try to force their children into the way they want their children to go. By this I mean parents often try to pour a child into some preconceived mold they’ve dreamed of for their child. This is often nothing more than a parent’s attempt, through the accomplishments of their child, to attain the applause or praise or whatever it was they wanted for themselves, but never received. For instance, a parent may have a dream of seeing their child become a great athlete or artist and do everything they can to manipulate and push their child in that direction when that may not at all be in keeping with the child’s aptitude, talents, abilities, or desire—let alone what God wants for that child.

(4) A bow is made by its designer to bend in one direction, according to its bent. We saw that the verb form of “way” was used of bending a bow to launch something. If the person using the bow does not recognize the way the bow is bent and tries to bend it differently, he will not only face a difficult task, but he may break the bow. In like manner, parents need to recognize the way their child is bent, both by the way God has designed them and by the way sin has affected them. If a parent fails to recognize this, they may also fail to help their child get launched into God’s orbit or plan for their life. This would suggest that children are not like a pliable piece of clay that may be molded anyway the parent chooses. Rather, they are unique individuals with a way already established that needs to be recognized, acknowledged, and reckoned with by means of the truth of Scripture and a parent’s careful observation.

So training a child in the way he should go really means helping them discover their temperament and uniqueness of character and going in a way that compliments their gifts and abilities, the verse should be interpreted “according to his (the child’s way)” that they should live a life that complements their strengths and talents and not be forced into a mold. So if you have two kids you may have to raise each one differently according to their temperaments.

I hope this helps those parents that have used this verse to beat themselves up because their child was “wayward” in the faith and they feel they have failed. That’s not what this verse has ever meant, not in its literal sense.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SOVEREIGN

November 1, 2017

On July the sixteenth in the year seventy-nine, a madman named Nero burned the city of Rome. He only meant to burn the slums because he wanted to rebuild the slums and he was an ego-manic who wanted to build things for his glory and honor. And, in order to get rid of the slums he set fire to them. The people reacted in ways that he didn’t expect them to react and they turned on Nero the Emperor.

Nero was looking for a scapegoat and so he was looking around for someone to blame and they said, “Why don’t you blame the Christians, after all the Christians are a strange sect. They meet underground. They have a ceremony that they call the Lord’s Supper where they think they’re drinking blood. And, they also are talking about a judgment of fire. It would be easy to say that these people are cannibals who set the city of Rome on fire.” And, so they blamed the burning of Rome on the Christians.

Therefore, it was open season on the Christians and Christians in this day were nailed to crosses. Many of them were set on fire as human candles to light the gardens of Nero and for his wild parties and banquets. Many of them were dressed in animal skins and set loose in the forest to be hunted like wild beasts.

Now here we are over 2000 years later, and I want to ask you a question, could this happen again? Impossible you say, we are more civilized, more advanced, you really think so?

Hebrews 13:3, which instructs us to “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

 Persecution has always made the church stronger. It burns impurity out of the church. It drives away the nominal, worldly attenders, and separates the church from the world. It drives the church to prayer. It unites the church in brotherly love. It often causes the church to expand numerically, as seen in China under Communism.

I’m not ready to pray for persecution, because I’m not fond of suffering! I’ll leave it to the sovereignty of God, who knows what we need. But we do need to be ready for persecution in case it comes. Our religious freedom in America is on thin ice. It is not inconceivable that we could face imprisonment or have our children taken from us for insisting on the moral teachings the Bible. So we need to know in advance how to respond to persecution.

(Acts 4:23-35)

I’m speaking here about something that most of us have not experienced firsthand. Sure, I’ve faced opposition as a pastor; but I’ve never been imprisoned or beaten or had my property taken away because I am a Christian. But these principles also apply to the subject of how to respond to trials in general. I’ve encountered many American Christians who do not have an adequate theology of suffering. When trials hit, they rage at God, rather than submit to Him. They think that they have a right to prosperity and good health. So they grow bitter when trials hit.

Our text reveals the response of the early church to persecution. Peter and John had been arrested, put in jail, and then threatened by the Jewish leaders because they had healed a lame man and had preached the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the crowd. This snapshot shows them responding by drawing near to God in prayer. It also shows the care that the church had for its members and their continuing witness to the world. It teaches us to …

Persecution will either drive you away from God and cause you to become bitter, or it will drive you closer to God and cause you to become better. We see four ways that these early Christians affirmed their commitment to God:

The Bible clearly affirms the absolute sovereignty of God. Nothing happens apart from God’s ordaining it to happen. The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 (rewritten in modern English as A Faith to Confess [Carey Publications], p. 20) puts it this way:

From all eternity God decreed all that should happen in time, and this He did freely and unalterably, consulting only His own wise and holy will. Yet in so doing He does not become in any sense the author of sin, nor does He share responsibility for sin with sinners. Neither, by reason of His decree, is the will of any creature whom He has made violated; nor is the free working of second causes put aside; rather is it established. In all these matters the divine wisdom appears, as also does God’s power and faithfulness in effecting that which He has purposed.

“He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them” (Ps. 2:4). It is utterly futile and foolish to fight against the Sovereign Lord! God’s enemies thought that they won when they killed Jesus. But God triumphed by raising Him from the dead. He is coming again to judge the living and the dead and to reign as God’s anointed on David’s throne.

The best prayers always are based on Scripture, applying it directly to our present situation and needs. But we won’t be able to apply God’s Word in a time of crisis unless we are saturating our minds with it on a daily basis. In Proverbs 1:24-33, God’s wisdom warns fools and scoffers that because they had neglected wisdom when she cried out to them, later in a time of crisis when they cry out to her, she will be silent. In other words, the time to seek God’s wisdom through His Word is before the crisis hits. If we know God’s Word through a daily time with Him, we will be able to apply it when we face persecution or trials.

Thus we reaffirm our commitment to God in a time of persecution through corporate prayer, by having a high view of His sovereignty over all, and by knowing and applying His Word.

So what’s my point? First God is sovereign, second fear is not of the Lord.

I once pastored a church where a small percentage of folks got involved in the survival/militia movement, this was in the mid 80’s. they spread fear through that congregation like wild fire. I had to take strong issue with several members and spent many an evening in their homes trying to get them to balance their lives between common sense and practicality. Most of them put themselves into debt buying coins and guns, jeeps and one guy even bought a half track.

By revealing their ever-growing fear and self-dependence they were denying the Sovereignty of God and faith in His ability to provide and protect.

Now don’t get me wrong I have a bug out bag, and all the other high speed, low drag stuff, extra water, but I deal in reality, long droughts, storms, ice storms have kept me locked up for a week. But I’m not getting ready for zombies, and SHTF world ending scenarios or a plague altering the human race. Balance, faith, trust in God is more than a motto.

Special thanks to all those that got up and prayed for Jennifer at 5 this morning and all morning, her surgery went great.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

rest in peace

October 18, 2017

  “I, the Lord, search the heart” (Jeremiah 17:10).

Feeling convicted by the Holy Spirit is good news, it means your heart is still soft and the painful piercing of your heart means you are still capable of repentance and genuine Godly sorrow.

We are afraid to face up to the sinful nature within, not fully realizing that it was dealt with in condemnation to God’s full satisfaction at Calvary. When we come to see that all the old nature was taken down into the death of the Cross, and in Christ Jesus we are completely clear of its penalty and power, then it is that we begin to welcome the work of the Cross upon all that of which the Holy Spirit convicts us. Just as we trust God for Salvation, it is by faith we accept regeneration, sanctification and the new being in Christ.

The next time you are tempted tell that temptation there is no one to work on in you, as you are crucified in Christ, buried and resurrected. You will find it is easier to deal a death blow to that temptation than wrestling with it.

The natural man cannot bear the thought of being searched by God; he cannot stand to think of being found out in his true condition and character. But to the truly hungry believer it is a positive comfort to be assured that God knows everything about us; He knows the very worst that can be discovered. He has searched out all that we are, and in spite of all He has thoughts of blessing concerning us. There is, therefore, no fear of anything coming to light that might cause Him to change or reverse His thought of blessing and acceptance.

Our acceptance with God in Christ is perfect, and therefore unimprovable. It never alters; never varies. And it is very important for us not to mix the acceptance itself with our enjoyment of it. Our acceptance is ‘in Christ,’ and therefore eternal; the enjoyment is ‘by the Spirit,’ and therefore (because of the working of the flesh) often hindered.

The sense of His goodness removes the guile of heart that seeks to conceal its sin.

  “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Think victoriously, and accept your total forgiveness, past, present and future.

Truly rest in peace.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Walter L, throat cancer

Pray for Betty C, 84 years old today, widowed for 15 years, today is bitter sweet as her husband Charles died on her birthday.

Pray for Ronald D, he can’t leave the house anymore because of phobias.

 

the wrong way

October 11, 2017

Ok a little something you should know about me, I love jokes, quotes and statistics, they just stick in my mind. So here is a great quote I heard today from famed evangelist (deceased) Billy Sunday; “the Rev. Sunday was in a town known for its whiskey drinking, so he preached a hellfire message against liquor, a important town person came up to him and said; ‘Dr. Sunday you are rubbing a lot of folks the wrong way’ where Billy Sunday said; ‘then turn the cat around the other way.”

Anyway

  Rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3).

  There are two ways in which God reveals to us the true condition of the natural man. The first is via the Word: “In me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). The second is via experience: years of struggle with the constant sinfulness and failure of that old nature. If we were more willing to face up to the incorrigibility of the Adamic life within, it might not take us so long to be freed from its domination.

It is quite possible for every one of us to have a perfectly good conscience. A happy state to be in! Have you a good conscience? Are you under accusation, under condemnation? Are you fretting and worrying about the badness of your own heart? That means that you have not the answer of a good conscience to God. What is the matter? You are still looking for something from nature, from the old man. You had better give it up, as that is the only way out; repudiate it.

Tell yourself and tell the accuser once for all that in you, that is, in your flesh, dwelleth no good thing, and you never expect to find anything. The enemy knows it, and yet he is trying to get you on an impossible quest for something he knows you will never find, and that is how he worries you. Years of it! Then why not come onto the Lord’s ground and out-maneuver him? Let us settle it that we can never expect to find any good in our old nature. All our good is in another, even our Lord Jesus. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:2).

  “Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5:1).

So stop rubbing the cat the wrong way!

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Be in prayer for Jennifer, she is having cataract surgery October 31, and she is scared spitless.

 

On things above

October 6, 2017

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” What a relief. God never labels me a Loser. He never dismisses me. Writes me off. Withdraws from relationship. But it is one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs to convict us all of sin. And we’ve all felt his sharp elbows in our guilty little ribs. So what is the difference here? How can we live the difference between conviction that brings a proper response to the grave reality of our sin without getting sucked out to sea in an undertow of self-condemnation and regret?

Understand the difference between condemnation and conviction.

What is condemnation? To condemn is to pass sentence, to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil. (John 3:18 Whoever believes in [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.)

What is conviction? To convict is the act of convincing a person of error or wrongdoing or compelling the admission of a truth.

It is Nathan, David’s prophet, telling him a story about a rich man who takes his neighbor’s beloved lamb. “You are the man.” It is the Holy Spirit using the story to penetrate the hardness of David’s rationalization of his adultery with Bathsheba. “I am the man.”

Condemnation brings a sentence. You are guilty. You are damned. It is a sea of regret. Endless replays of failure and disappointment in ourselves. It is worldly grief. Satan says your whole life is worthless.

Conviction brings repentance. A fresh start. New life. Joy in the morning. Restored intimacy. The Holy Spirit says that moment, or event was sinful.

A lifetime condemned or a moment convicted, always keep that in mind.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

When I try and fail, it can be a golden opportunity for God to expose the pride that hides. I had placed more confidence than I realized in myself and my abilities.

When we focus on our brokenness and indulge our grief, when we want to hide because we are focused on our shame, or we fear rejection, when we cannot forgive ourselves because we have fallen so short of our longing and vision of who we want to be, we can become just as consumed with ourselves as when we are bent on rising.

John Piper wrote, “Self-pity is the voice of pride in the heart of the weak…. The need self-pity feels does not come from a sense of unworthiness, but from a sense of unrecognized worthiness. It is the response of unapplauded pride.”

Faith admits the need for help. Pride won’t. Faith depends on God to give help. Pride won’t.

The only way I have found to quiet the dark voices that results in self-pity and anxiety is to let Christ heal the wounds of my heart, Read the simple truths of Scripture into the depths of my soul. “He forgives your sins every one.” “There is therefore now no condemnation” from God. “Why are you condemning yourself?” It helps to imagine the battle. I see that it is the enemy who is hurling the accusations of failure and worthlessness.  I turn my thoughts to Christ on the cross—his passion for me, his intense desire to forgive me and his promise never to leave me. Christ on the throne always, my salvation a sure thing. I just need to set my mind on heavenly things not just my feelings or thoughts of hurt or feeling wounded.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for our nation, pray for the haters that are dividing us, pray for revival.

 

THE GOSPEL OF MARKED

September 28, 2017

THE GOSPEL OF MARKED

That’s not a misprint, I’m just curious, what does your bible look like?

Is it covered in dust? Has it been broken in, taken for spin, is your name in it?

Have you marked any passages?

My great grandmother a very godly woman, her bible had some newspaper clippings, obits, and wedding announcements, the presentation page had her name on it only because her mother filled it out. But there was not a mark in that bible other than being extremely worn from her daily bible reading.

Some people have their bible color coded, symbols, underlines, 50 bookmarks.

Being a preacher I have so many different bibles, some look untouched, some are collectible, rare, previously owned and filled with notes. Bibles and hymnals, bookshelves full. My preaching bible since 1987 is gray and held together with duct tape, I’ve thought of having it rebound by Leonard’s Book Binding, but the bible has a certain feel.

One time I was visiting a church while on vacation and the pastor didn’t show up, no one knew where he was. A deacon yelled out “where’s that guy with the duct taped bible, you need to get up here and preach.”

I joke that if I lost my bible I’d lose my salvation; all my notes are there and a sermon or two. It represents years of ministry and counseling, failures and victories.

My regular study bible looks like it’s pregnant, I’ve glued so many extra pages throughout it to hold all my Greek or Hebrew notes, word studies, illustrations, it’s 4 times thicker that its original shape.

My pocket bible or hospital bible has paper clips and post it notes that I’ve cut up in into quarter inch strips with just an 1/8th of an inch sticking up or out to find special verses for funerals, counseling, weddings, baptisms, just to name a few.

We had people ask if it’s ok to mark up a bible because it says ‘Holy Bible’ on it. something that’s not as common on the spine of the bible like it used to be.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

1 Peter 2:9–12

What are distinguishing marks of the people of God which separate them from the world?

Do you realize that like your bible you are supposed to be marked?

Christians should be drastically different from the world. Christ taught the same thing in Matthew 5:13, he said you are the salt of the earth. You preserve the world from decay. You have tremendous value. He said you are the light of the world (v. 14). Among the people of the earth, there are a people who are radically different.

I think Christians are to be marked by their speech, we should sound different than anyone else.

The believer’s job as a priest is to learn the Bible, to never let it depart from their mouths, to talk about it at dinner, to talk about it at work. One of the reasons you have been chosen to be a priests is to be a teacher of the Word of God. Most of the world will never read the Bible, but they should see and hear the Bible coming out of your mouth all the time. God told Joshua, “Never let it depart from your mouth” (1:8). God told Israel the same thing.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6–9

In spite of the electronic age we live in, I still think the number one thing you can do to show people your different, marked, is to still carry a bible with you, to work, to school, especially to lunch. Will you get teased, mocked, made fun of, talked about behind your back, YES. That’s the whole point to show the world that our walk with God is not private, not just for home and church and in private.

You are a people on the earth whom God enjoys. You are his possession… If you truly understood this, if the eyes of your heart could really grasp this, it would deliver you from all your insecurities and fears. The world says you’re too short, too tall, not smart enough, not a great enough leader, not a great enough speaker, you don’t have enough money. No, you are perfect. You are perfect because you were created by God (cf. Psalm 139:13-14) and he can use even your weaknesses for his glory (cf. 2 Cor 12:9-10).

So, make your mark on your life, your world, your business, go ahead let someone call you a Jesus freak, what a compliment.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

RAMBLING MAN

September 16, 2017

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—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).

I’ve lost count of the number of pastors that have fallen to lust and believed they had a right, or even it was biblical, or God told them it was all right. One pastor actually convinced his congregation it was biblical for a pastor to have a concubine, which he did. Thank goodness, his denomination found out and kicked him out.

I was asked many years ago to counsel a famous TV evangelist and the denomination told me that if he didn’t make himself accountable to me and follow through with one year of counseling as well as absent himself from the pulpit for that same period, they would defrock him.

In no uncertain terms, he told me his ministry was to important, and God had already forgave him and he didn’t believe the denomination would shut him down. Well it did and today what’s left of his ministry is a shadow of what it was. And he’s still as arrogant and unteachable as always. The funny thing is you will never meet a more legalistic, unforgiving man than him.

A church with a sweet spirit usually has a sweet pastor and vice versa, but there must be accountability. Besides all the bad theology Pentecostals have caused they have created a even bigger monster with the independent pastor, accountable to no one, not in finances or in theology. And thus gave birth to the toxic church.

Friends if your church is causing you harm, or is legalistic or the pastor is accountable to no one, I seriously suggest you examine its viability, and your own spiritual wellbeing. I get phone calls all the time wondering if I can recommend a church and to be honest, finding a church that is theologically sound, full of grace and not legalism, a pastor that is not a tyrant or just padding his bank account and truly evangelical. Well let’s say it’s harder than you think.

A few years back some well-known pastors got together and asked some pastors if they would take a survey and submit one month of sermons to be examined by a well-respected group of elders and pastors. In a city of 2 million, only one church went along with the plan. That church is a thriving, well regulated, healthy church and has gone through 4 building programs and didn’t build until they had the cash and would not go into debt.

Once when on a sabbatical, I visited a dozen or so churches and I always asked the pastor if I could see his bible. If the bible was blank (no notes) usually so was the pastor.

So good luck in your church hunting.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

potato chips

September 15, 2017

MOST REQUESTED DEVOTIONAL FOR REPOSTING, WHICH WE ONLY DO ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR.

SO BECAUSE YOU ASK, WE RESPOND, BLESSINGS AND PEACE

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

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

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

SO WE ARE CALLED TO LIGHT.

WE ARE ALSO CALLED TO BE SALT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BE BIG

BE BOLD

BE BRAVE

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

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com for questions, comments or prayer requests.