AS LONG AS IT TAKES

October 19, 2021

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels.com

We have very many prayer requests today, some of these folks I have known personally as their pastor for years. Some we have never met face to face, but they follow scumlikeuschurch.wordpress.com. we are blessed to have some very dedicated prayer warriors that take very seriously a sacred duty to pray for you at least once a day, some several times a day. We say, “God Bless you all”.

A common question I get asked often about prayer; “pastor, how long am I supposed to pray for this person or for this request”?

I have a couple of answers; one, until the prayer is answered, two, until the person is healed or passed away, three; God removes the burden to pray for the person, place or thing. fourth; God answers with a no.

I am sure there are more answers, but I feel like these are the most common ones.

Pray for Ray M. almost died of covid, only by getting Hydroxychloroquine did he recover, one more day and he probably would have died. He is a high-risk person and is fearful of getting a variant and is very fearful. So keep him in prayer.

Larry A, just diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Pray for Margie, still hanging in there dying what and when the doctors are saying about her dying, still smiling and still singing.

Keep Matthew in prayer, they are now saying a birth defect is what is causing all his hip pain.

Pray for Steve H, encouragement, guidance, a blossoming of his gifts. For his wife Pam, healing of her knees. pray the bid they put in for a home is accepted

Salvation for Lauren, Tara, Anne, Cheyenne, Cristina, Norma Perales, Hunter, Garrett, Tavon, Philip, Drew, Lubbock, Rick Perales and son Rick Jr. Oscar.

Allen says thank you for the prayers and the new pastor has been given a new spiritual heart.

Larry R, healing of cancer.

Dave I, as he battles his 5th cancer battle.

  1. C. Hickman, healing from cancer.

Pray hard, for Caliste Burt, problems with the last 2 brain tumors. This a great Christian warrior, surround her with prayer.

Pray for the Happy Zion Church in Missouri, looking for an exceptional pastor, fit just right for them.

WINNING THE BATTLE

October 15, 2021

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

The strategy for temptation targeting our spirit is to cultivate a deep, intimate, personal relationship with our Father God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. We must also learn to hate (i.e., completely separate from) sin even as God hates it (Psalms 97:10.Proverbs 8:13.Hebrews 1:9). Then when temptation comes, we will realize;

This temptation threatens everything I hold dear! (Romans 6:23)

Jesus died a bloody death on the cross to purchase all of me! (1 Corinthians 6:20)

I have no right or authority to even consider this sin! (Ephesians 5:3)

We must “reckon” ourselves dead to sin (Romans 6:11,12). We must live our Christian life based on the fact that sinful nature’s power was broken for us by Jesus at Calvary. Consequently, we are under no obligation to obey its orders (1 Corinthians 9:27). We have been set free from sin, and the proper response is to read God’s emancipation proclamation to the insistent demands of the Adamic nature!

We must realize we are responsible for all sins that we commit after salvation. The believer must know that before salvation, we could not help but sin. After salvation, we sin as a free choice (similar to Adam in the Garden of Eden) (Romans 6:14).

We must count on the fact of our possession of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). This will free us from depending upon our own strength to live sinless (1). We will then recognize the necessity of being moment by moment filled (i.e., lead) by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). The Holy Spirit will then do two things for us:

  • He will suppress the activities of the evil nature (Galatians 5:16).

  • He will produce in the believer a Christlike life (2 Corinthians 3:18).

There are just two things that the believer must do to be moment by moment lead by the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39):

  • Sincerely desire His leading demonstrated by living an obedient life (Acts 5:32).

  • Ask the Lord Jesus for that leading and believe that He will do it (Luke 11:13).

Three Tough Questions:

  • How long will you live as if you are free to do your will and not God’s?

  • How long will you fellowship with a sin that crucified our Lord?

  • How long will you continue to sin against our Holy God?

We can start today to win the victory over this sin in your life by praying the following:

Heavenly Father, I rebelled against You by committing the sin of ________.  I now see that You were right in forbidding it – this sin is destroying my life. I deeply regret this act of rebellion against you, my Holy and Loving Father. Please forgive me of my sin and cleanse me now from this defilement.  I ask for Jesus’ victory over this sin to be displayed in my life that you might be glorified. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the presence of the Holy Spirit in my heart.  Lord Jesus, may those seeing and hearing me see You – be glorified in and through my life today!  Holy Spirit, please reveal the thoughts, words, actions, and attitude of the Lord Jesus in and through my life today.  Let the world see in me the one they so desperately need – the Lord Jesus Christ!  Thank you for continually leading me in life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

(Please read in addition Proverbs 28:13.1 John 1:9.2 Corinthians 7:9,10)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Questions, comments, prayer requests, just want to say hello, please feel free to email us, blessings.

CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS

October 14, 2021

Some of you may think this is so elementary, so basic, that you can skip right over it. Well let me tell you something, in a church of 500 people only 4 families did this exercise religiously, every day.

Can you imagine going to work naked (you wish you perv) or to school. Yet we step out into a world that hates us without any defense at all. This is why stable whole families are so important, a dad, a mom and “x” number of kids. All working together with the dad setting the tone. Everybody up on time, everybody knows what they are wearing (it was laid out the night before) everyone in and out of the bathroom on time, no cell phones on (or in possession) everyone at the breakfast table. And the father praying on the armor of God, every day, whether your kids are 4 years old or 24-year-old. In your house by your rules.

Remember, in school, we learned things by heart by first memorizing them with our brain but then persisted in saying them until we could quote them without even thinking about it (i.e., we learned it by (spiritual) heart (1)). We must do the same thing with scripture that addresses these fundamental teachings. Realize that the Apostle Paul was in prison in Rome (Ephesians 3:1;4:1;6:20) while teaching on this subject, so he used a Roman soldier’s armor as an object lesson to help us understand its importance (Ephesians 6:11-18).

Again, we put this armor on by learning by (spiritual) heart Bible verses that support our understanding of the following six armor pieces that represent foundational teachings of the Bible. Note that each of these pieces of armor is designed to neutralize Satan’s most successful strategy, which is causing us to fear rejection by God (Genesis 3:1-8), fear rejection (1) by others (which can lead to us preemptively reject them before they can reject us) and ultimately self-rejection. If you fear rejection by God, rejection by others, and ultimately reject yourself, then you are without God and without hope in the world and indeed very vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks (Ephesians 2:12. 1 Peter 5:8).

Rejected people, reject people, and easily feel rejected by others. Rejected people look for something to comfort this feeling of rejection, and Satan offers more sin (realize sin is what caused us to feel rejected in the first place!). While this may provide false comfort via temporary pleasure (Hebrews 11:25), it does not remove the feelings of rejection and make us whole. God alone can bring us true comfort that removes the feelings of rejection and makes us whole! (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)

Belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14) The truth that holds everything together like a belt is that God is grace, mercy, and compassion, and He is for us and not against us (Exodus 34:6,7.Romans 8:31). That we are accepted not based on our performance but our FAITH in Jesus’ sinless performance (Ephesians 2:8,9). That we never have to hide from God when we sin but instead turn to Him to be cleansed of it (1 John 1:9). He is not holding out on us (i.e., not rejecting us) but has already given us everything He has, including Himself! (Romans 8:32.2 Peter 1:3,4). These things are always true, which means that they are TRUTH (Hebrews 13:8).

Breastplate of Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14. Isaiah 59:17) Our spiritual heart is protected knowing Jesus entered an exchange at the Cross of Calvary where He took our sin so that we might have His righteousness or right standing with God (i.e., we can stand right with God at His throne!) (2 Corinthians 5:21.Hebrews 4:16. 1 Thessalonians 5:8). This means we are as righteous as Jesus Christ is righteous! (1 Corinthians 1:30). This righteousness is not something we have earned but instead received by FAITH as a free gift (Romans 3:21-26;5:17;6:23). Consequently, we cannot lose this righteousness by our poor performance! Realize, when we sin, it is between Jesus and us and is none of Satan’s business! If we repent (i.e., realize that sin hurts our fellowship with God, change our mind to stop doing it with God’s help, and align with what God has said about it – that sin kills), then He is faithful to forgive the sin and to cleanse us from all the unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Nevertheless, the sin did not make us unrighteous, just like dirt that gets on sandaled feet does not make a freshly bathed body dirty – only the feet have dirt on them (John 13:10).

Sandals of the preparation that comes from the Gospel of Peace (Ephesians 6:15) We will not slip, trip or stumble due to wondering if God is angry with us because the war for mankind’s eternal fate is over! (Isaiah 54:8,9) God’s just wrath against sin has been fully satisfied having been released in full upon Jesus at the cross (Isaiah 53:4,5,10,11. Colossians 1:20). Consequently, the price for man’s sin has been paid in full by the God-Man Jesus Christ at the Cross of Calvary, thus canceling it (i.e., making it as if we never owed the debt!) (Colossians 2:13-15;1:13,14). We have peace with God, and the offer is available to all that will by FAITH accept it – the free gift of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ! (Acts 2:39. Ephesians 2:8,9. Romans 10:9,10,13)

Shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16) The shield of FAITH stops the fiery thoughts of Satan that attempt to undermine our relationship with God. Note that all the other pieces of this armor are worn by FAITH, too. So how do we put it into use? When a fiery thought of the enemy comes, such as God is not pleased with you because you are not doing enough for Him (i.e., a works-based “condemnation” message), the shield goes up by doing what Jesus did when He was tempted by Satan (Luke 4:1-13). That is to say: “It is written” and finish with scripture that addresses the area of temptation. In this temptation, the following scriptures would work nicely to run off the tempter: Romans 8:1. Ephesians 2:8,9. Hebrews 11:6 ,etc. However, we must remember that to operate in faith, we must be living in the love of God (Galatians 5:6). That is because fear is the opposite of faith in God, and it is chased away by living in the love of God (1 John 4:18).

Helmet of Salvation (Ephesians 6:17. Isaiah 59:17) Our minds are protected and can be kept in perfect peace knowing that we can trust God to always be there for us (Isaiah 26:3. 1 Thessalonians 5:8). We know that nothing can separate us from God and that He desires to be with us forever! (Romans 8:38,39. Hebrews 13:5,6) That we never have to be anxious because God is more than enough for any and all situations and has already made provision for all of our needs in Christ Jesus! (Philippians 4:6,7,19) By not being anxious, we avoid the side effect of depression (Proverbs 12:25). Because God has saved us completely through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), we can always have hope no matter the darkness of our personal situation in life (1 Thessalonians 5:8). Furthermore, what we have hoped for becomes a reality when activated by faith (Hebrews 11:1).

Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), The sword of the Spirit, is wielded by saying the word of God – that the Holy Spirit prompts us to say – from our spiritual heart (Ephesians 6:18. Luke 12:12. Revelation 19:15). Note this is the “Sword of the Holy Spirit,” not our sword. That is, the Holy Spirit attacks the enemy of souls when we say from our spiritual heart the Word of God He brings to our remembrance (2 Corinthians 10:4,5. John 14:26). This is the same way we operated the shield of faith; however, the sword is an offensive weapon where the shield is defensive. The sword of the Spirit is sharper than any two-edged sword, and this double-edged sword is designed for stabbing the enemy to their death. (Judges 3:16-22. Hebrews 4:12,13)

In conclusion, to have the armor of God on, we must spend time studying and memorizing the Bible until we know it by (spiritual) heart (2 Timothy 2:15). An excellent way to learn scripture by (spiritual) heart is to say it over and over to God out loud in prayer! (Isaiah 55:10,11) Over time, we will find that this will change how we think and respond to the events in our lives (Romans 12:2). We will also cultivate our relationship with the Holy Spirit, and it is He who will cause us to live according to the Word of God and not the flesh (Ezekiel 36:27. Galatians 5:16. Isaiah 58:8). It is He who empowers the Word of God coming out of our spiritual hearts to rout the enemy! (James 4:7. Psalms 149:5-9. Romans 16:19,20) Lastly, we have also learned that we must walk in love and have hope activated by faith to wear the armor of God! (1 Corinthians 13:13)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Four hours in the hospital for a 20 minute foot surgery, but it went great thanks for all the prayers and the immense pain relief.

Keep Margie in prayer, she is just about at the end of her journey. Still smiling but not as cheerful, she is waiting for the heavenly clouds to part and go home to heaven.

It has been a long time, but we heard from Tommy today, and all is well. Still praying his sister forgives him.

Keep Steve H in prayer, health, strength, vision, guidance and prayers for his wife Pam, chronic knee pain.

SWEET, SWEET SALVATION

October 12, 2021

God freely offers all people the gift of eternal life—the opportunity to know and have a personal relationship with God and to be with him forever—through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. But understanding the exact process by which that life becomes available to us is sometimes difficult. For this reason, God paints various pictures in the Bible to help us grasp the concept and reality of spiritual salvation, each one with its own unique emphasis. This article examines three of those pictures: salvation, redemption and justification.

Salvation. Salvation (Gk sötëria) means “deliverance,” “rescue,” “bringing safely through” or “keeping from harm.” Already in the OT God revealed himself as the One who saves his people (Ps 27:1; 88:1; see Dt 26:8, Ps 62:1, Isa 25:6, 53:5,). The means, or process, of salvation is described in the NT as “the way”—the road that leads through earthly life to eternal life with God in heaven (Mt 7:14; Mk 12:14; Jn 14:16; Ac 16:17; 2Pe 2:2, 21; cf. Ac 9:2; 22:4; Heb 10:20). In order to inherit a place in God’s eternal kingdom (Mt 25:34; Heb 1:14; 6:12), we must walk the road of salvation to the very end of our earthly life. We can describe salvation as one way with two sides and three stages:

(1) The one way of salvation. Jesus Christ is the way—the only way—to God the Father (Jn 14:6; Ac 4:12). God offers and provides salvation because of his grace (i.e., his undeserved favor, love, kindness, help), which he showed through his Son, Christ Jesus (Ro 3:24). God’s gracious gift of salvation is based on Christ’s sacrificial death (3:25; 5:8), miraculous resurrection (5:10) and continued intercession (i.e., mediation, representation) in heaven for us (Heb 7:25). His death paid the supreme and complete price for our offenses against God and provided the only means for us to be forgiven for that sin (Mt 26:28; Lk 24:46-47). His resurrection showed, confirmed and secured his power and authority over life and death. It also provided the means for us to be victorious over spiritual death (Ro 6:4; 8:11) and, in the end, to be raised to eternal life. His constant interceding for us in heaven (i.e., representing and pleading our case to our heavenly Father) assures us of access to God and his continued mercy and help (Ro 5:2; Eph 2:18).

(2) The two sides of salvation. Spiritual salvation is a gift of God’s grace that is received through faith in Jesus Christ (Ro 3:22, 24-25, 28). That is to say, salvation is extended to us by God as a result of his grace (Jn 1:16) and is received by us through the response of faith (Ac 16:31; Ro 1:17; Eph 1:15; 2:8).

(3) The three stages of salvation. (a) The past stage of salvation includes the personal experience that takes place at a point in time when we choose to receive God’s forgiveness for sins and yield our lives to Christ (Ac 10:43; Ro 4:6-8). At this point, we pass from spiritual death to spiritual life (1Jn 3:14; see article on Regeneration: Spiritual Birth and Renewal), from the power of sin to the power of the Lord (Ro 6:17-23), from Satan’s control to God’s control (Ac 26:18). In this way, we enter a new personal relationship with God (Jn 1:12) and are rescued from the final penalty of sin (Ro 1:16; 6:23; 1Co 1:18), which is spiritual death and eternal separation from God.

(b) The present stage of salvation saves us from the practice, pattern and control of sin in our daily lives, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit living within us. This side of salvation includes several elements: (i) It includes the privilege of a person-to-person relationship with God as our Father and Jesus as our Lord and Savior (Mt 6:9; Jn 14:18-23; see Jn 17:3, Gal 4:6,). (ii) It includes the challenge to consider ourselves “dead” to sin and its influence (Ro 6:1-14) and to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:1-17) and God’s Word (Jn 8:31; 14:21; 2Ti 3:15-16). (iii) It includes the invitation to be filled with the Holy Spirit and the command to keep being filled (see Ac 2:33-39; Eph 5:18). (iv) It includes the demand to separate ourselves from sin (Ro 6:1-14) and the corrupt beliefs, behaviors and lifestyles that are common among those who do not know Christ as Savior (Ac 2:40; 2Co 6:17). (v) It includes the call to engage in spiritual warfare for God’s kingdom against Satan and his demons (2Co 10:4-5; Eph 6:11, 16; 1Pe 5:8).

(c) The future stage of salvation (Ro 13:11-12; 1Th 5:8-9; 1Pe 1:5) also includes several elements: (i) It includes rescue and freedom from God’s coming wrath, or condemning judgment, against sin (Ro 5:9; 1Co 3:15; 5:5; 1Th 1:10; 5:9). (ii) It includes sharing in God’s glory (Ro 8:29; 1Co 15:49) and receiving a resurrected and transformed body (1Co 15:52). (iii) It includes receiving eternal rewards for faithfully following Christ and overcoming the trials of the world (see Rev 2:7). This future salvation is the goal toward which all Christians strive (1Co 9:24-27; Php 3:8-14). All present warnings, discipline and punishment prescribed in God’s Word are aimed at keeping Christ’s followers from forfeiting (i.e., giving up, losing) this future salvation (1Co 5:1-13; 9:24-27; Php 2:12, 16; 2Pe 1:5-11; see Heb 12:1, note).

Redemption. The root meaning of “redemption” (Gk apolutrösis) is to be ransomed or bought back or restored by the payment of a price. It also implies being rescued, liberated and set free. The term “redemption” points out the means by which salvation is obtained—by the payment of a ransom. The concept and teaching of redemption can be summarized as follows:

(1) Our sinful condition: The NT describes humans as alienated or separated from God (Ro 3:10-18) because our natural tendency is to defy him and go our own way. Apart from God we are under the influence and control of satanic and evil powers (Ac 10:38; 26:18), we are slaves to sin (Ro 6:6; 7:14) and we are in need of rescue from sin’s guilt, punishment and power (Ac 26:18; Ro 1:18; 6:1-18, 23; Eph 5:8; Col 1:13; 1Pe 2:9).

(2) The price paid to free us: Christ paid and secured the ransom by shedding his own blood and giving his life in our place (Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45; 1Co 6:20; Eph 1:7; Tit 2:14; Heb 9:12; 1Pe 1:18-19). Sin is so opposed to God’s perfect nature and character that it requires the most extreme penalty, which is death (Ro 6:23) and permanent separation from God. There is no escaping that penalty without God’s forgiveness, and “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb 9:22). But only God could provide the perfect and complete payment for sin. He did so through the willing sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death provided the complete payment, and it is sufficient to cover all sin for all time. Those who accept his sacrifice for themselves and surrender their lives to him receive his gifts of forgiveness and eternal life (Jn 3:16; 6:40; Ro 6:23; 1Jn 5:11).

(3) The result of being redeemed: By accepting Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness of sins and surrendering our lives to his authority and purpose, we are freed from Satan’s control and from the guilt and power of sin (Ac 26:18; Ro 6:7, 12, 14, 18; Col 1:13). This freedom from sin, however, does not mean that we can do as we please. Since God has paid the ransom for us, we become his property. Choosing Christ’s freedom from sin makes us willing slaves of God (Ac 26:18; Ro 6:18, 22; 1Co 6:19-20; 7:22-23).

(4) The NT teaching of redemption was foreshadowed and symbolized by various instances of redemption in the OT. The greatest OT redemptive event was the exodus—the miraculous rescue and mass departure of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt (see Ex 6:7, note; 12:26). In addition, through a system of sacrifices, the blood of animals was the price paid for the atonement (i.e., covering over, forgiveness) of sin (see Lev 9:8).

Justification. “To be justified” (Gk dikaioö) means to be “righteous in God’s sight” (Ro 2:13), to be “made righteous” (Ro 5:18-19), to “establish as right” or to “set or put something right.” In a judicial sense, it means to be acquitted or declared “not guilty.” In this respect, it is directly related to God’s forgiveness made available through Christ’s sacrifice. All people are sinners in rebellion and opposition against God. According to his perfect law, we are pronounced guilty and condemned to eternal death. But those who truly repent—who admit their sin, turn from their own way, surrender to Christ and begin following his purposes—enter a right relationship with God. From God’s perspective, when a person accepts Christ’s atoning (i.e., sin-covering, forgiveness-providing) sacrifice for himself or herself, in that moment it is as if that individual had never sinned. God credits Christ’s righteousness to those who receive and follow him (see Ro 4:24-25; Php 3:9). This is what allows God to accept mortal humans into heaven, since no one could ever be good enough to merit or earn a place in heaven on their own. The apostle Paul reveals several truths about justification and how it is accomplished:

(1) Justification (i.e., being put right with God) is only one part of the spiritual “conversion” experience. When a person accepts God’s forgiveness and yields his or her life to Christ, that person’s life is changed from being subject to spiritual death to being guided in a new direction toward eternal life. At that moment, several other things are taking place. First of all, a person receives a new life: he or she is spiritually “born again” (Jn 3:3). Christ comes to live in and through the believer (Gal 2:20). The Holy Spirit also lives in believers, giving the power to overcome sin and live by God’s standards (Ro 8:5-13). The Spirit also confirms that Christ’s followers are God’s children and have an eternal inheritance with Christ (8:16-17). There are many other blessings that come to a Christian at the instant of spiritual conversion. Justification is the part of this experience that makes us right with a completely pure and perfect God. From that point on, however, a Christian must continue to rely on God and obey his Word in order to overcome sin, grow spiritually and serve God’s purposes effectively. In this way, justification marks a starting point on a spiritual journey with Christ. Christians continue to live in a “justified” and right relationship with God as they look to him for forgiveness when they sin and as they rely on him for strength and guidance to accomplish his plans.

(2) Being put right with God is a gift (Ro 3:24; Eph 2:8). No one can make himself or herself right with God by keeping God’s law perfectly (which is impossible) or by performing good works (Ro 4:2-6), “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Ro 3:23).

(3) Being put right with God is grounded in the work of Jesus Christ. It happens “through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Ro 3:24). No one is justified who has not been redeemed by Christ (cf. Gal 2:16) and set free from sin and its power.

(4) Being put right with God comes “by his grace” (i.e., as a result of God’s undeserved favor, love and enablement) and is received “through faith in Jesus Christ” as Lord and Savior—the Forgiver of sins and the Leader of life (Ro 3:22-24; cf. 4:3-5).

(5) Being put right with God is related to the forgiveness of our sins (Ro 4:7). Sinners are declared guilty according to God’s law (Ro 3:9-18, 23) and condemned to eternal death (cf. Ro 3:9-18, 23; 6:23); but they are forgiven through faith in Christ because of his atoning (i.e., sin-covering) death and resurrection (see Ro 3:25 4:5, 4:25; 5:6-11). As a result, they receive God’s gift of eternal life (cf. Ro 6:23; 8:1-3).

(6) When we are put right with God through faith in Christ, we are “crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20) and Christ comes to live in us (Gal 2:16-21). That is to say, we identify with Christ’s death for our sins so that we also can identify with and receive his gift of life and his power to continually overcome our pull toward rebellion against God. Through this experience, we are not only made right with God, but we also continue to grow in righteousness as we continually submit to Christ and allow him to live through us (2:19-21). This ongoing, life-transforming work of Christ is accomplished in us through the Holy Spirit (cf. 2Th 2:13; 1Pe 1:2). Christ’s initial work of spiritual redemption cannot be separated from the Spirit’s ongoing work of spiritual sanctification, which involves purification, perfection, separation from evil, growth and development for God’s purposes. The work of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit are interdependent, cooperative and mutually supporting.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Questions, comments, prayer requests, just saying hello, drop us an email.

Almost forgot our bible quiz winner, Suzanne Meyers, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Elijah and then Elisha, easy way to remember who comes first, “J” before “S”

CLOUD RIDER

October 6, 2021

The last book of the New Testament is not a revelation of the anti-Christ (anti-Messiah), the Mark of the Beast, the False Prophet, the Rapture, the Tribulation, the meaning of 666, the New World Order, strange creatures, etc. While those things are mentioned, they are not the focus of this book. It is the Revelation of the glorified Jesus Christ.

While I was in seminary, a class I took on the book of Revelation, the professor had one assignment. Read the Book of Revelation at least once a day. It takes on average around 45 minutes.

The second thing he asked was to think of it as an opera and imagine it unfolding on stage. And the more you read it the better you would see the story unfolding into a panorama of visually stunning images unfolding before you like you were in a IMAX theater.

It was quite the experience. The final exam was how much of the book could you recite from memory, word for word or how much could you act out as scenes of a play. None of us new that this would be the final exam. We only knew that on a certain Saturday we were to show up at his house at 8am and take the test.

It was a memorable day and many students for the first time discovered if they were visual learners or auditory learners.

Imagine being in a little Amish town, in an old dairy barn and in it was built a stage. And on the stage was a giant scroll 8 feet tall and Lord knows how many feet long. A track ran along the top and the bottom of the scroll and a small lawn mower engine mounted outside the barn unwrapped the scroll. 27 years of painting by him and his wife Gerta. And there we were sitting on hay bales the scroll unwound and Professor Jay with his eyes closed quoted all of Revelation from the King James Version, dressed as the apostle John.

To my dying day I will never ever probably read a single commentary on the Book of Revelation.

Imagine.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

FRAGILE CHRISTIANS

October 2, 2021

“Be Not Anxious” Matt. 6:25, R.V.

“Glass, with anxiety!” Strange expression this! What does it mean? These words accompanied a parcel sent from Norway to England, and they were intended to indicate that the sender feared, from the fragile nature of the contents, that some mishap might befall it.

Is there not a lesson here for Christians? Might not some of us be rightly labelled, “Christians with anxiety?” In many instances there is no need for a label, as anxiety is only too plainly stamped upon the countenance, although the apostolic injunction is, “In nothing be anxious” (Phil. 4:6. R.V.). Some obey this command in certain circumstances only, while others reverse the reading, and live as though they were to be anxious for everything. The Lord wishes His children to carry their worries and anxieties to Him; and to leave them with Him. Here are seven things which He bids us cast upon Him, or commit unto Him.

  1. Commit Yourself unto Him. “He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12). Paul deposited himself in the hands of the Heavenly Banker; and, as the money in the Bank of England is kept safe in the strong-rooms within and by the guard without, so was the apostle, for he was kept by the Holy Spirit within, and by the Lord who encamped round about him.

  2. Commit Your Soul unto Him. “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19). Suffering we shall have, but if we commit the keeping of our souls unto the Lord in well-doing, as the three Hebrew young men did, we shall, like them, cut loose our bonds, and gain the company of Jesus.

  3. Commit Your Spirit unto Him. “Into Thine hand I commit my spirit” (Psa. 31:5). If the Lord has the control of our spirit, He will control us altogether.

  4. Commit Your Way unto Him. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass” (Psa. 37:5). If we commit our way unto Him, we shall never stray from Him.

  5. Commit Your Works unto Him. “Commit thy works unto the Lord” (Prov. 16:3). If the Lord controls the works and the workers, there will be no clashing in the working.

  6. Commit Your Burden unto Him. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord” (Psa. 55:22). If the Lord is our Burden-bearer, we shall be free to bear one another’s burdens.

  7. Commit Your Care unto Him. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). One, John Careless, a martyr, in writing to a friend, said: “Now my soul is turned to her old rest again, and has taken a sweet nap in Christ’s lap. I have cast my care upon the Lord, who careth for me, and will be careless, according to my name.” If we cast all our cares upon Him, He will take all care of us.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Thank you Patty for the pictures from Hungary, beautiful.

Jac, is doing great and she reiterates her thanks for the prayers.

Margie is not slowing down one bit.

Caliste is concerned and fearful, her brain scan is Monday.

NOT REALLY A GHOST

September 28, 2021

I read a staggering statistic this morning, “only 6% of evangelicals believe the Holy Spirit is real.”

WOW

6% of evangelicals, part of me wants to say how is that possible, but I know why. We are no longer a Christian nation and the church has failed miserably to be both salt (preserving) and light (evangelism) to the world. The United States is now a pluralistic nation. We are a nation of relativism. Hey, you believe what you want to believe but do not push your beliefs on me.

Well here are the Facts.

As early as apostolic times, false teachers doubted or denied the personhood of the Holy Spirit. Some pictured the Spirit as a force or influence exerted by God rather than a person. This tendency may derive in part from the word “spirit,” from the Latin spiritus, which means “breath.” The Greek word pneuma and the Hebrew word ruach both have the same meaning of “breath” or “wind,” as well as “spirit.” If we think of the Holy Spirit as merely the “breath” of God, then it is possible to perceive Him as an impersonal force rather than a distinct being having a separate identity from the Father. However, divine revelation is specific in its explanation that God is spirit (not material or physical). Like the wind, God exerts power and force while being invisible by nature. Observe the following proofs from Scripture (of which there are many) of the personhood of the Holy Spirit, as well as His separate identity from the Father:

  1. Personal pronouns are used in relation to the Holy Spirit: In spite of the fact that the Greek word for “spirit” is in neuter gender, the demonstrative pronoun ekeinos, “that One,” was used in John 16:13–14 to refer to the Holy Spirit. Paul used a masculine, relative pronoun to refer to the Spirit in Ephesians 1:13–14.

  2. Personal characteristics are ascribed to the Holy Spirit:

  3. a) Intelligence: The Holy Spirit is one who reveals the things of God (1 Cor. 2:10–12). Furthermore, “the word of wisdom” and “the word of knowledge” are gifts given by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:8).

  4. b) Emotion and feeling: The Holy Spirit loves (Rom. 15:30) and is grieved (Isa. 63:10; Eph. 4:30).

  5. c) A will: Gifts are distributed to people according to the will of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:11).

  6. Personal actions are attributed to the Holy Spirit:

  7. a) He speaks (Acts 13:2; Acts 21:11; Rev. 2:7; Rev. 2:11; Rev. 2:17; Rev. 2:29).

  8. b) He testifies (John 15:26).

  9. c) He teaches (John 14:26).

  10. d) He intercedes (Rom. 8:26–27).

  11. e) He guides (John 16:13; Acts 16:6).

  12. f) He gives commands and ordains (Acts 13:2; Acts 20:28).

  13. g) He works miracles (Acts 8:39; Rom. 15:19).

  14. Personal reactions are ascribed to the Holy Spirit: The feelings resulting from certain human actions reveal the personhood of the Holy Spirit:

  15. a) He may be tested (Acts 5:9).

  16. b) He may be resisted (Acts 7:51).

  17. c) He may be lied to (Acts 5:3).

  18. d) He may be insulted and blasphemed (Mark 3:29–30; Heb. 10:29).

  19. Personal relationships are maintained by the Holy Spirit:

  20. a) With the Father: In the baptismal formula, the Spirit is associated on an equal plane, in name and personal identity, with the Father and the Son (Matt. 28:19).

  21. b) With Christ: The Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ and declare truths that relate to Him (John 16:13–14).

  22. c) With believers: The apostles sought the will and good pleasure of the Holy Spirit in forming the policies of the local church (Acts 15:28).

  1. Additional names of the Holy Spirit

It was observed earlier that God’s names portray His character. The names of God are not mere designations or identifications; they reveal a facet of God’s nature, attributes, or works. This same concept holds true with the names of the Holy Spirit. There are about 350 passages in the Scripture that reference the Holy Spirit in which more than 50 names or titles are discernable. The list below, while not comprehensive, is intended to provide an overview of the titles that add to the understanding of the Spirit’s nature or activity:

    The Spirit of God (1 Cor. 3:16)

    The Spirit (John 3:6)

    The Spirit of the LORD, Yahweh (Isa. 11:2, ASV)

    The Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3)

    The Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9b)

    The Spirit of His Son (Gal. 4:6)

    The Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19)

    The Spirit of holiness (Rom. 1:4)

    The Spirit of truth (John 16:13)

    The Spirit of glory (1 Pet. 4:14)

    The eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14)

    The Holy Spirit of promise (Eph. 1:13)

    The Helper (John 16:7)

I hope this helps you understand more of the nature of the Holy Spirit and that your faith and knowledge allow you to believe in the very real personhood of that part of the trinity known as the Holy Spirt.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Please pray for Jac Spruce, she was taken to the emergency room today very ill and doctors are not sure what is wrong with her.

Keep in prayer Mary A, her husband is also quite ill and his family have never taken to her and are treating her horribly.

Remember to pray for Steve H, vim and vigor, guidance and encouragement. Keep his wife Pam in prayer, complete healing of her knees is our prayer.

Pray for Cheyenne, salvation and a better self image.

Prayer is a surprising strategy for changing the world. Sometimes our prayers feels weak. We feel awkward trying. So we neglect prayer.

if we feel inept at prayer, it is because of our relationship to God. If we have been distant and negligent in our prayers, then they will feel the same way. We may need to have an individual revival in order to draw nearer to God. The best way to do this is to get a bible promise book and start reading all the promises God has made to us. He made those promises because He loves us and desires nothing more than to be close to us.

The second thing we need to do is discover a lost art in prayer. I can not remember a living preacher broaching this subject. Waiting on God in prayer. If you prayed 5 minutes than you should be silent and wait on God for Him to answer. Imagine talking to a loved one on the phone and asking a bunch of questions and then hanging up before they could ever answer.

Third, we need to plan, execute, evaluate, adjust, get better at it, and keep going in our prayer life. Like lifting weights. You will not gain strength or muscle if you do not increase the weight and intensity. We should do the same in prayer. We should also pray before, during, and after everything else we do. I am always amazed at the resistance I get in my prayer seminars from Christians who refuse to believe or put into practice praying about everything we do. The example I always give is, “do you pray before you go grocery shopping, that you do not over spend and the things you buy are actually good for you.” When I mention idea I hear “that is utter nonense.” But yet the bible says we are to bring all things to Gd in prayer. People who resist this idea are the same ones that have a boxed in God, He is allowed into some parts of our lives but not all.

Why so much prayer? For two reasons.

First, we’re picking a fight with demons: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness” (Eph. 6:12). What would you think of soldiers who go up against enemy tanks with squirt guns? That’s us—without prayer. We’re not just fighting websites. We’re fighting the unseen forces that put their dazzling, blinding powers on the surface of porn’s hideous evils.

In a way, I find the Bible’s teaching about Satan comforting. It means that we human beings aren’t responsible for all the evil in this world. But it’s also sobering. It’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “Deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13). Washington can’t do that for us. But God can. Only God can.

Which gives us a second reason for saturating every effort with prayer: we’re fighting our battles by God’s strategies. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4 NIV). We don’t have to get mean. We have prayer. The early Christians understood that, and it’s why they kept winning—against the odds. For example, the apostle Paul wrote, “Strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf” (Rom. 15:30). And this “striving” language means fighting, struggling. It’s how we call on God to send in the reinforcements only he commands against powers only he can defeat.

Think of your King this way, and you’ll pray more confidently.

The Lord Jesus Christ reigns today. He is in the control room of the universe. All the sins of man and machinations of Satan ultimately have to enhance the glory and kingdom of our Savior. We have become too enemy-conscious. We need to be more God-conscious, knowing that we have power over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). He has already lost control because of Calvary, where the Lamb was slain.

So let’s pray not just against the allure of porn but also for the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13). We think, The better the gift, the less God is willing to give it. But the truth is the opposite. “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit . . .” We don’t have to deserve the Holy Spirit, but we do have to ask: “. . . to those who ask him!” God is calling us into a lifestyle prayer so that we experience lifelong power. Real kingdom advance isn’t mechanical or automatic, like an assembly line with us pushing buttons and in control.

Real kingdom advance is personal—our King himself drawing near to you and your brothers, sensitive to you, listening to you. It’s you guys asking him for his power again and again. What he’s after is not just a whole new world of nobility but a whole new world of nobility so obviously miraculous that you’re blown away by what only he can do. Prayer is where that miracle keeps happening.

You can start each day with a simple prayer for yourself. Like this: “Lord, I needed you yesterday. I need you again today. You’ve given me a task that’s beyond me. So please increase my faith both right now and that it will grow, however you see my need. Thank you. In your holy name. Amen.” It isn’t complicated. It’s just the Lord’s Prayer—“Your kingdom come”—in your own words. It will work, not because you’re twisting God’s arm but precisely because you don’t have to twist his arm. Not because your words are convincing but because your Father is willing.

You can pray also for worldwide awakening. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see the next historic revival starting deep inside the porn industry? I have no time for “revival” if all it means is some nice suburban church improving its comfortable lifestyle while easing into heaven on cruise control. The revival I’m praying for is the risen King coming down into the lowest hell of porn and gently forgiving the bosses, the investors, the videographers, the performers, the website managers, the advertisers, the users, and everyone driving that engine of oppression. Our King can pour out upon anyone a joy they’ve never known. And I will never stop praying for that. Will you join me?

If we ask for that mighty blessing, I’ll be shocked if Jesus says no.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Questions, comments, prayer requests, testimonies, just want to say hello, I’m always excited to get pictures of where you live or pictures of how you mark your bible.

YOUR BATTLE AGAINST PORN

September 25, 2021

Photo by Maria Pop on Pexels.com

I became a licensed sexual addiction counselor in 1991. Since then I’ve seen hundreds of men gain victory over pornography. I believe the battle against porn is tougher than the battle against heroin or any other drug addiction. And please do not think I am just some Ivy League theorist, I have conquered both wars through my relationship with Christ. It is a winnable war. But it is a war that you must wage forever, and it means a complete change in lifestyle to win.

Here’s your biggest contribution to God’s new world. Just be a man of growing integrity. Who you are deep in your heart empowers what you do out in the public eye.

Your personal goal is nothing less than to be “a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21). As your Master shapes you into that vessel for honorable use, the devil’s world of oppression loses ground, more than you can see. The crucial battle is won deep within you. Then you’ll be ready for whatever public impact he plans to give you.

Not that it’s easy. This old poem tells us, in blunt language, how the Lord hammers on us for his royal purposes:

When God wants to drill a man

And thrill a man

And skill a man

When God wants to mold a man

To play the noblest part

When He yearns with all His heart

To create so great and bold a man

That all the world shall be amazed,

Watch His methods, watch His ways!

How He ruthlessly perfects

Whom He royally elects!

How He hammers him and hurts him

And with mighty blows converts him

into shapes and forms of clay

Which only God can understand!

How He bends but never breaks

When his good He undertakes

How He uses whom He chooses

And with mighty power infuses him

With every act induces him

To try His splendor out!

God knows what He’s about.

Stay there on his anvil, Son, however his hammer falls. It’s a hard place. But it won’t make you hard. It’s where God reshapes you for the gentle authority that moves history.

The men who chip away at the porn industry will be the men who’ve had their own rough edges knocked off.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

STAY THIRSTY

September 16, 2021

You will always encounter a mountain of problems when you seek to build God’s temple. Commenting on this point, Dr. James Boice said, “As I counsel with people in our day, many of them young people, I am convinced that one of their biggest problems is that they expect shortcuts” (The Minor Prophets [Baker], 2:510). He goes on to say that people want some simple principle to understand all the Bible apart from diligent study. They want some experience that will transport them effortlessly to a higher spiritual plateau, without daily discipline. They want a nearly perfect church, without the hassle of working through difficulties. But that is not the way God gets His work done.

Zerubabbel must have been thinking the exact same thing, “This project will never get done!” The work had begun over 20 years before. It would still take another four years. But God assures Zerubbabel (Zechariah 4:9) that his hands, which had laid the foundation of the temple, would finish it. Eventually, it was completed.

As I read the Bible I am amazed at how long God takes to accomplish His work through His people. God appeared to Abraham and promised to make him the father of many nations and to bless all nations of the earth through him. I wonder if Abraham thought, “Wow, I’d better start building a baby crib and Sarah needs to start sewing some baby clothes.” If they did that, those baby items sat around collecting dust for 25 years before Isaac was born! Isaac spent his life digging some wells out in the desert and raising Esau and Jacob. Jacob spent about 20 years working for Laban before he finally got back to the land of Canaan. But then the small clan moved to Egypt where they were enslaved for 400 years. Then came 40 more years in the wilderness. Later there was the Babylonian captivity and then 400 years without a word from God. He didn’t send His Messiah until 2,000 years after His promise to Abraham! Obviously, God isn’t in the hurry that we are in!

There are two ways to work for God. One is “by might and by power” (Zechariah 4:6). This refers to human energy and effort. G. Campbell Morgan paraphrases it, “Not by resources, not by resoluteness” (The Westminster Pulpit, Vol. VI, p. 53).

That is to say, you can utilize your human talent and be as determined as a bulldog and you will see some results. But when you stand before Christ, it will be as wood, hay, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12), because it came from the flesh. When you work in the power of the flesh, you get the credit because the results were due to your ability and your hard work. God may get a tip of the hat, but He was not at the center and so He is robbed of glory.

The other way to work for God is “‘by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). This does not imply that there is no toil and sweat when you labor in the power of the Holy Spirit. Zerubbabel and his men still had to clear away the same mountain of rubble and lay the same heavy stones. But when God’s Spirit motivates and energizes the work, there is conscious dependence on Him, and He gets the glory.

A woman asked D.L. Moody once, “Why do you talk so often about the need for being filled with the Holy Spirit. You always are stressing the need to be filled again and again. Why isn’t once enough to be filled?” Moody replied, “I leak.”

Every Christian receives the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:2,3). But we must learn to walk by means of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), continually, repeatedly depending on Him.

Dr. Charles Feinberg (God Remembers [American Board of Missions to the Jews], pp. 74-75) points out the appropriateness of oil as a symbol for the Holy Spirit. He lists seven functions of oil. First, oil lubricates, thus minimizing friction and wear. Second, oil heals. The Spirit of God heals hearts wounded by sin and the sorrows of life. Third, oil lights. The Spirit illumines God’s Word and gives us direction in life. Fourth, oil warms. The Spirit melts cold hearts that are unresponsive to God. Fifth, oil invigorates. The Spirit gives divine energy and strength. Sixth, oil adorns. In the Old Testament, it was used to adorn the body at a time of joy. Even so, the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is God’s joy. Seventh, oil polishes. The Spirit smoothes the rough edges from our lives as He produces His fruit of kindness and gentleness in us.

As we continually open ourselves up to the abundant supply of God’s Spirit, we will be used of God to impart the benefits of the Spirit of God to others.

If we stayed filled with the oil of God our lamps will never burn out.

Like the beer commercial, “stay thirsty my friend.”

God’s commercial, “stay filled my friend.”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Many prayer requests; Anne, not only salvation but guidance for her doctors, she is seriously ill and it is a stack of illness and physical problems. The medicine is doing both harm and good. A necessary evil.

Pray for my son Matthew, a great Christian son, 3 weeks ago he went in for a MRI for lower back problems, nothing really wrong. Saw his doctor today and says he has a large mass in the same spot he was complaining about before. Very much in pain. Tuesday, hopefully we will see what the ‘mass’ really is.

Keep Steve H in prayer, bless his studies, bless his eyesight, vim and vigor. Keep praying for healing of Pam, his wife’s knees.