Bliss

November 10, 2017

“The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time.”

It takes some maturity to realize that the Lord delights in breaking into your life and totaling upsetting the apple cart, or if you’re younger, lets say, “really seem to turn your life upside down.”

Christian Growth comes through trials, temptation and trying times. God wants to see how you react, how far off the reservation, how totally nuts you go in your plan to fix things before you surrender to asking for his help.

Older Christians usually get this because they’ve been through the fire enough to have learned this lesson, it’s to our younger brothers and sisters in the Lord who have yet to have learned this.

It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. Until other people become shadows to us, clouds and darkness will be ours every once in a while. Is our relationship with God becoming more simple than it has ever been?

There is a connection between the strange providential circumstances allowed by God and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God. Until we can come face to face with the deepest, darkest fact of life without damaging our view of God’s character, we do not yet know Him.

The bible says, “to everything there is a season” times of bounty and then some lean times. Bliss and serenity and then sheer panic and maybe even some doubt and despair.

There is part of a poem I memorized years ago that has served me well.

Sometimes I say, on days like these

I get a sudden gleam of bliss.

Not on some sunny day of ease

He’ll come…but on a day like this.

Panic attacks, quiet desperation, loneliness, depression, debt, trials, failures, faults, sin, asking forgiveness and them 5 minutes later doing the same stupid thing, cutting, risk taking, dark clouds, gloom, incarceration, our Lord God knows how we struggle and the greatest blessing, the most calm you will ever feel is right after you stop struggling and say “God help me” he arrives.

A bible verse I never remember preaching from but that has blessed me today from Nahum 1:3b, …. ‘and the Clouds are the dust of his feet’, weird right, but the thought that God is so big, so great that I can look up and see a cloud (rainbows are rare) and it is God walking by me, always watching, always seeing me.

Psalm 97:2

Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.

Thank you Lord.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Bond Servant

November 7, 2017

shackles

  THE BOND SERVANT

  “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:4).

  God has a unique plan concerning each one of us. The secret of realizing our personal calling is not to look at others, but simply to walk in close fellowship with the Father. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him” (Ps. 62:5).

  “No one Christian has a right to stop on his way for another; he must go forward himself in individual faithfulness. The effort to drag others along with us is in reality but a device of Satan to keep ourselves back. Note Jehovah’s word to Jeremiah, ‘Let them return unto thee; but return not thou to them’ (Jer. 15:19). Are any desirous of going forward, let them not stop to carry along with them ‘the men of Ephraim.’ Far better is it to go on with but a few to follow, than to get numbers with us who are only halfhearted.”

  “You may say, ‘Show me a pattern man.’ We all like to copy; but there is no gain in copying. You have to learn the Lord for yourself. All you learn for yourself will remain, and nothing else. Every one has his own history.”

It is plain enough that every believer is called of God to something definite. The real difficulty is to ascertain the specialty, and this I do not think can be discovered but in nearness to the Lord, and when you are interested in His interests. We first learn that He is interested in us, and then we gradually become interested in His interests. It is then you apprehend your mission in life.

  “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

BREATHE

November 2, 2017

BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE WE’VE DONE A ROCK TUNE TO START OUT A DEVOTION SO;

FREAK OUT

All that pressure got you down

Has your head spinning all around

Feel the rhythm, check the rhyme

Come on along and have a real good time

Like the days of stopping at the Savoy

Now we freak, oh what a joy

Just come on down, to fifty four

Find a spot out on the floor

PANIC ATTACKS, ANXIETY ATTACKS, JUST BREATHE.

First thing my boxing coach told me, breathe, breathe while your punching, breathe when you get hit. Just breathe. One time while rock climbing I took quite a fall, I remember the EMT saying; ‘come on guy breathe’.

The curious thing to consider is how much waiting seems to be a part of what God asks of his children – both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Biblical waiting has to do with hope, expectation, patience, rest and deep trust and dependence on God and His sovereign path. Waiting as a paradigm is actually designed to help us and give us an alternative way to handle difficulties. Instead of all out panic, God wants us to trust Him, to rest in Him and to wait for Him. He does not disappoint.

WAIT, BREATHE

Seems like the only thing you can do, in the military they teach about breathing and shooting, martial arts, breathing. Snorkeling, breathing. About the only thing you can control. So breathe in, breathe out, don’t freak out.

Lamaze class, birthing class, I can remember to this day the breathing exercises they gave us for natural child birth. I also remember my wife screaming “what the hell were we thinking” in the middle of her delivery. Oh well to late for an epidermal.

BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT.

Calmly wait on God, the trial you’re going through, it’s about His timing not yours.

It is active, not passive and is part of the calling of a believer to wait for God’s timing and for His instructions. He asks His beloved children to trust Him enough to be willing to quietly wait. And then, for example, in the exact right time –in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4-5), God delivers what He has Promised. God became man and invaded the very creation He created.

Read in a bible commentary what that phrase means; ‘in the fulness of time’ you will be amazed.

There is a natural waiting period. You cannot rush God. This biblical metaphor of farming illustrates that waiting is necessary in God’s economy to produce what He has designed – the farmer has to be patient for the seed to germinate. Abraham and Sarah had to wait for what God promised, and when it was announced, they still had to wait nine months for the baby inside of Sarah to grow.

There is something important about “waiting on the Lord.”

    Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

    Psalm 62:1 “For God alone I patiently wait; He is the one who delivers me.”

    Psalm 62:5 “Patiently wait for God alone, my soul! For he is the one who gives me confidence.”

    Proverbs 8:34 “Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching at my doors day by day, waiting at  the posts of my doorway.”

    Lamentations 3:26 “It is good to wait patiently for deliverance to come from the Lord.”

The Holy Spirit is the breath of God, breathe in, relax, God really does have it under control. There are very few things you actually have control over. Even your thoughts, think about how erratic they are sometimes, want a good example, pray and watch all the crazy thoughts that come into your mind.

Just breathe, trust God, breathe out, it may be the only thing you’ve done today that was under control.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

I want to tell you that 1 Peter verse 2 is one of the greatest verses in the Bible; that shows you just how much God loves you. And, what a wonderful salvation that you have. And, this salvation is the work of the triune (trinity)God. For example, God the Father planned it. The Bible says that you are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God…” (1 Peter 1:2)

Now, when did this take place? When did God choose you? When did God set His love upon you? In the counsel halls of eternity, before you knew anything about it, before He’d swung this world into space, before anything was. Before the foundation of the world, God loved you. Ephesians 1:4 says, “… he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).

 I want to tell you, you are a wanted child. What a great feeling it is for me to know that I was in the heart and the mind of God before the foundation of this world.

Good news, abortion rates are dropping at a whopping percentage, we are at the lowest rate ever since 1970 and Woe vs. Wade.

More good news, Millennials are considered more conservative.

More good news, more people consider a fetus to be a viable human being.

More good news, over half the women having abortions already had an abortion, why is that good news, because the rate of first time abortions is dropping by over 45%. Some women have had up to 15 abortions, the majority of women having abortions are on Medicaid and already had abortions.

Not so good news, in Florida you have to give a reason for the abortion, 93% of women said; “because”. That’s it.

More good news all the statistics that Planned Parenthood give are fake, over inflated and just lies. Just like the lies that 50% of marriages fail. The truth is 25% of failed marriages are already failed. That’s right, the same 25% of marriages are failing over and over again, they are repeat offenders of the sanctity of marriage. Planned Parenthood says 1 in 3 women will have an abortion, the truth is that for 2017 the ratio is really 1 in 9 and the rate of abortions will drop by 2-3% per year if the trend holds.

So dear friend, the sanctity of life as a concept is increasing well.

Not so good, the rate of sexually active people outside of marriage is not dropping. Good news it’s not increasing.

We have to preach and teach not only the sanctity of life but of marriage.

Build a better life, wait for marriage. Build a better marriage by abstaining from premarital sex.

Remember God has chosen you before time, you had a name and a heart beat in the mind of God before the earth was created. There is a sanctity of life.

The reason you are here is because God chose you to have life and to know him. Our chief purpose in life is to worship and glorify Him who planned your existence before time.

Choose life, choose God, choose Jesus.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

real world

October 28, 2017

1 Peter 1:1-9

1 Peter 1:1-9King James Version (KJV)

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

The way to overcome the world is never to fight worldliness. If you fight worldliness, you are bound to fail. The Bible never tells us to fight worldliness. The Bible says, “This is the victory, even our faith,” not our fight, but our faith. We fight the devil, but we do not fight the world. We flee from fornication, but we cannot flee from the world. The victory that overcomes the world is our faith. Now, people have to understand what they have in the Lord Jesus Christ, and if they don’t understand what they have in the Lord Jesus Christ, they have a hunger that they will try to fill with the world.

the Bible says, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Now, it doesn’t say that he doesn’t love the Father because he loves the world, but it says if he loves the world, it is because the love of the Father is not in him. The love of the world is only the indication that you don’t know and love God; that your faith has not brought you into a vital relationship with the Lord. The victory that overcomes the world is your faith to understand what you have in the Lord Jesus

it always come down to a choice, choose at that moment of temptation, I can fulfill the lust of the flesh (sex, porn, masturbation, a larger piece of cake, looking to long at the checkout girl etc.) or exercise faith, remember your fight is in your mind, ‘capture all thoughts’ profess your death and resurrection, pray at that moment for the way of escape, like doing the laundry, rinse repeat, don’t sin.

 See the love of the Father. You have to see what you have in the Lord Jesus Christ. And, friend, when you understand what you have in the Lord Jesus Christ, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. When you’ve been feasting on Jesus, then you don’t have to hunger after the things of this world. And that’s the key, are you feasting on the things of heaven, listening to gospel music, reading wholesome books, one good thing about you tube I can watch all the old sermons of great preachers. (none were ever on Trinity Broadcasting Network). I like a real bible in my hands, but if it’s the electronic version you have and you will use it, then do so. One reason I like a real bible is that way I stay off ipads, and computers and anything else that would help me step off in the wrong direction.

The Bible teaches that the reason that people love the world is the love of the Father is not in them. They have never found satisfaction in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Have you really had a salvation experience? Did everyone assume you are saved because you’re the pastor’s kid, or you grew up in church. Do you know really know that Jesus is your savior? Does your life say you are?

Think about which you love most.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Karen and her husband, they had a huge argument and walk into his study pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head. HE IS STILL A LIVE AND ALREADY BACK HOME.  They’re coming in for counseling. Really, you waited until this to get marriage counseling. Who knows, he said while he was in the hospital; “pastor, I’ve never given my heart to Jesus, is it to late?”

Talk about a second chance.

the complete Christian

October 25, 2017

This is the most unpopular topic a preacher can preach on, I hear that all the time. That statement is only true to pastors that haven’t taught wisely and don’t live by example. Yes money has been abused by a church or a pastor, but it doesn’t negate God’s teaching on money, which after the topic of hell, money was talked about by Jesus more than any other topic.

Here are five questions that will help us give God’s way: (1) Who should give? (2) Why should I give? (3) How should I give? (4) To whom should I give? (5) What will happen when I give?

And since this devotion never asks for money, that can’t be my motive.

  1. Who should give? All believers, but not unbelievers, should give to the Lord.

Giving is a privilege and responsibility for those who have received from God the gift of eternal life. But it is wrong for churches or other Christian ministries to appeal to unbelievers for funds. Third John 7 mentions Christian workers who “went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.” Unbelievers cannot offer good works to God. It is wrong to give an unbeliever any basis for thinking that he can gain merit before God by giving or any other good deed.

Unbelievers frequently gripe that the church is always after their money. They are right in one sense: God is after their money, because their hearts are bound up with their treasure, and God wants their hearts to be devoted to Him. The fact that they resent giving shows the condition of their hearts. But we need to make it clear that if a person has not given his heart to God in response to God’s giving His Son on the cross to pay the penalty for his sins (2 Cor. 8:5), then we do not want him to give to the Lord’s work. Giving should be a thank offering to God, and a person outside of Christ cannot properly give such an offering (Heb. 13:16).

Giving is for believers, and it should be done by all believers. Poor Christians as well as rich should give to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:2; Luke 21:1-4). That is one reason it is wrong to be in debt, because you aren’t free to give generously when you owe creditors. But even if you can’t give much, you aren’t exempt from giving. Those who are supported in Christian ministry are not exempt either. In fact, they should set the example (Acts 20:35).

  1. Why should I give? I should give because God has first given to me and I want to please Him.

In giving, motivation is crucial. There are many …

  1. WRONG MOTIVES FOR GIVING:

(1) Pride. If you give to be honored by men for your great generosity, you are giving for the wrong reason. Giving is to be done in secret before God (Matt. 6:1-4). Naming buildings or putting up plaques in honor of donors violates this principle.

(2) Guilt. We should not give because we feel guilty about having so much. If we’re not being good stewards of what God has entrusted to us, then we should repent and give from the right motivation.

(3) Greed. Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you,” is wrongly used to motivate people to give so that they will get. Jesus is not promising that if you give, God will give you more in return. He is stating the principle that if you are a generous person, others will be generous toward you. But you may give and be impoverished because you gave.

(4) Pressure. Responding to high-pressure tactics of Christian fund-raisers is another wrong motive. We are not to give “under compulsion” (2 Cor. 9:7).

(5) Gimmicks. This is related both to greed and pressure. All sorts of gimmicks are used to get people to give: “For your donation, I’ll send you my latest book.” I get fund-raising phone calls, where I’m told I can charge it on my Visa! I’ve been told that if I will give, the names of my loved ones will be entered in a special book to be placed in the lobby of the new building! Or, the worst is, “We’ll send you a special prayer cloth, blessed by brother so-and-so.” These are all worldly gimmicks, opposed to biblical giv-ing.

(6) Power. Money is power. Some people threaten to take their large gifts elsewhere if you don’t do what they want. That may be how politics operates, but that isn’t how God’s church operates. It’s wrong to show preference to the wealthy (James 2:1-9). It’s sin to use your money to try to buy spiritual influence (Acts 8:18-24).

  1. RIGHT MOTIVES FOR GIVING:

(1) I give because God has given to me. I mentioned this last week, but it bears repeating because it is the prime motive in grace giving. God has given us everything (James 1:17). He gave His Son to provide for our salvation. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3). He “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). Because He has given so abundantly to us, we should respond by giving generously back to Him.

(2) I give because I want to please God. Out of response to God’s grace in my life, I will want to please God by pursuing various spiritual goals:

*I want God to be glorified. God is glorified when we give from the right motives and in the right way (2 Cor. 9:13). God’s glory is the overarching goal of the Christian life.

*I want my heart to be right before God. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21). Your heart follows your treasure. If I want my heart concerned with the things of God, then I must invest in His work.

*I want God to be my master. “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). Generous giving loosens your grasp on money.

*I want my life to be used by God (2 Cor. 9:10). God could have chosen to work apart from us, but He did not. He could have used angels or loudspeakers from heaven to spread the gospel, but He chose to use us. And it takes money to further God’s work. If you don’t give, God will use someone else and you’ll miss the blessing of being used of God.

*I want to lay up treasures in heaven. Investments on earth are insecure and transitory. Investments in heaven are secure and eternal. There is no more sound investment than that of reaching people with the good news of Christ. God credits money which we give to further His kingdom as fruit to our account, and He will reward us for it someday (Matt. 6:4; 19-20; 1 Tim. 6:19).

*I want my faith to grow (2 Cor. 9:8-11). God will provide money for you to give if you will trust Him for it. If you are willing to be a channel for God’s resources, He will give you money to give. But if you bottle it up and keep it for your own comforts, the flow will dry up. Ask God to give you money to give. Then make sure you give it!

*I want to be a compassionate person (1 John 3:17; James 2:15-16). In a day like ours, when we’re hit with so many needs from all over the world, it’s easy to close up your heart and not give at all. I know we can’t respond to every poor person around the world, but we need to do all we can to show compassion in the name of Christ (Matt. 25:31-46).

*I want to be a worshiper of God. Giving is a sacrifice that pleases God (Phil. 4:18; Heb. 13:16). King David knew the connection between giving and worship. He said, “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing” (2 Sam. 24:24). I like to give enough that it pinches our lifestyle. If it’s convenient, it’s not worship. Worship is costly.

Thus because God has given so abundantly to me, and because I want to please Him, I am motivated to give cheerfully and generously to His work.

  1. How should I give? I should give in accordance with biblical principles.

There are several basic principles of giving:

  1. I SHOULD GIVE IN A PRE-PLANNED, SYSTEMATIC WAY.

(1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:7). “As he may prosper” implies that whenever I receive income, I should give. “The first day of the week” implies regular giving as an act of worship. “Just as he has purposed” implies advance planning, not giving on impulse. In response to God’s grace, each household ought to sit down and determine a fixed amount they believe God wants them to give, and then follow through systematically. You should not wait until the offering plate is coming down the aisle and then think, “Oh no! I haven’t given for a while. I’d better drop something in.”

How do you arrive at the percentage? Pray about it and start with something above ten percent. Then trust God by increasing the percentage each year, especially if you get a raise. Warning: You’ll be tempted to spend the extra on yourself! Give it as the firstfruits, off the top, and trust God to meet your other needs.

  1. I SHOULD GIVE IN SECRET TO THE LORD, NOT IN PUBLIC BEFORE MEN.

As I already mentioned, giving because of pride, power, or human recognition are wrong. Jesus says that we are to give in secret, but with the awareness that God is watching (Matt. 6:1-4). Every time you give, do it before the Lord.

  1. I SHOULD GIVE SACRIFICIALLY AT TIMES.

The norm is, “as God has prospered.” But at times God wants us to give more than we think we can afford (2 Cor. 8:2-3, “beyond their ability”). Perhaps you systematically give 15% of your income. An opportunity to give comes along and the Lord says, “I want you to dip into your savings and give $2,000.” Or some extra money comes your way, and the Lord says, “Instead of 15%, I want you to give it all.”

I read of a church of 400 members in Thailand where every member tithes. In their case, tithing is sacrificial giving, because the members all make only the U.S. equivalent of 20 cents a week, plus their rice! But because they give sacrificially, they support their own pastor, they have sent two missionary families to other hard-to-reach areas, and they generously help other poor. One other fact: each member of this church has leprosy!

Thus all believers are to give from biblical motives in line with biblical principles.

  1. To whom should I give? I should give to destitute family members, to spiritual ministries, and to the needy.

We’re all inundated with so many requests for giving. How do we sort them out and determine which ones to give to and which ones to ignore? I can’t answer that question completely, but I can give some guidelines:

  1. GIVE TO DESTITUTE FAMILY MEMBERS.

This is your first priority in giving, since to fail to do it makes you worse than an unbeliever (1 Tim. 5:8). “Your own” refers to your immediate family: children, aged parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters. This does not include a lazy, irresponsible family member who doesn’t work and who squanders money on alcohol and drugs (2 Thess. 3:10). A “widow indeed” (1 Tim. 5:3-16) refers to a godly woman without any family members to look after her. The church must help these, but widows with families were to be cared for by their families. It is not right to deprive your own family of the necessities of life in order to give to others.

  1. GIVE TO SPIRITUAL MINISTRIES.

Since the local church is God’s ordained means for evangelism and discipleship, it ought to be next in priority for giving after destitute family members are cared for. Those who labor at preaching the Word are worthy of financial remuneration (Gal. 6:6; 1 Tim. 5:17-18). The church is also to support workers sent out to evangelize and plant new churches in places where the gospel has not penetrated (3 John 7; 1 Cor. 9:3-14).

You need to be wise about giving to Christian organizations. Here are some questions you can ask to get maximum effectiveness from your giving:

What does the organization believe? Do you know and agree with their statement of faith, their objectives, program, and methods? Is it strategic in completing the Great Commission?

Financial questions: Is there an audited financial statement available? Is the organization a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability? How much do they spend on program versus overhead? (More than 25% on administration and fund-raising is suspect.) Does your gift go where you intended? Is your gift tax-deductible? (This may affect the amount you can give.) Does the organization have a standard of excellence along with freedom from waste and extravagance?

What do you know about the people involved with the organization or the person you may support? Are they people of biblical conviction and integrity? Do they depend on the Lord for their ministry and support or do they use high-pressure appeals for money? Are they clear in their objectives? Are they accountable for their ministries?

  1. GIVE TO NEEDY PERSONS.

We should give to help meet physical needs: food, shelter, medicine, etc. (Matt. 25:35-40; Luke 10:30-37; Rom. 12:13; 15:26-27; 1 John 3:17-18). There is an order of priority here (Gal 6:10): First we help believers, locally and in other areas. Second, we help others (“all men”) as a part of our witness, offering assistance in the name of Christ. If you want, you may designate part or all of your offering to our church “SOS” fund, which goes to help the needy. We use this fund almost every week.

Thus the general priority for giving moves outward from your immediate family, to your extended family, to the local church (including needy saints), to the outreach of the church through missions (including helping needy unbelievers).

  1. What will happen when I give? When I give, God will bless with His results.

I cannot be exhaustive, but let me mention five results:

  1. I and my family will be blessed. God blesses faith and obedience which are at the heart of biblical giving. If you give, God promises to supply your needs (not your wants!–Phil. 4:17-19).

  1. Others’ needs will be met (Phil. 4:16, 18; 2 Cor. 8:13-14; 9:12). God’s work and workers will not be hindered. The needs of the poor will be met.

  1. God will be thanked and glorified (2 Cor. 9:11-13, 15). He will get the praise if we give His way.

  1. The Body of Christ will be united in prayer and fellow-ship (2 Cor. 9:14). Since your heart follows your treasure, you will be concerned about and will pray for those to whom you give.

  1. People will spend eternity with God because of your giving. How can you put a price tag on that? What could possibly be more important?

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

RED MEAT

October 19, 2017

three basic questions arise when discussing the divine election of the saints by God:

Is God fair?

Doesn’t this make us robots?

Why should I evangelize?

All three questions are answered in Romans 9-11, (hopefully this makes you curious enough to read past chapter 8, where so many people seem to stop.)the great passage in the Bible which deals with this doctrine. Romans 9 answers the question of our choice, Rom 10 answers the question of the need for evangelism, and Rom 11 answers the question of God’s fairness. It should be noted as well that Paul’s theology here is not in a vacuum; he begins (vv 1-3) by almost wishing that he could go to hell if it would mean that just one of his Jewish brothers would get saved!

Many folks want to seek a balance between God’s sovereignty and human free will. A balance needs to be sought, but this is not the place. Nowhere do we read in the Bible that God is not sovereign over our wills. Further, we have the explicit testimony of Romans 9 to the opposite effect. As well, there is an inherent imbalance between a creature’s will and the Creator’s will. What right do we have to claim that these two are equal?

The real balance comes between the two broad categories of God’s attributes. God has moral attributes (goodness, love, mercy, justice, etc.) and amoral attributes (he is infinite, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, etc.). In short, the balance is between his sovereignty and his goodness. If God only had amoral attributes, he may well be a tyrant. If he only had moral attributes, he would be incapable of effecting change in the world; he would be impotent.

Putting all this together we see the majesty and mystery of God. God’s attributes cannot be compartmentalized. That is, he is good in his sovereignty, infinite in his mercy, loving in his omnipotence. However, we as mere finite creatures cannot comprehend the grandeur of his plan. Isaiah 55:8-9 says: “My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts; but just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” There is no contradiction in God, but there is finite understanding in us.

The mystery of election is that God can choose unconditionally, yet our wills are not coerced. We are persuaded by the Holy Spirit to believe. Further, we have the sense of free will in the process.

the biblical doctrine of election is that it is unconditional, irresistible, and irrevocable. All this to the glory of God–without in any way diminishing the dignity or responsibility of man. To put this another way: A large part of maturing in the faith is this: we each need to make the progressively Copernican discovery encapsuled in the words, “I am not the center of the universe.” Or, as John the Baptist put it, “That he might increase and I might decrease.

God bless scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

A SECRET AFFAIR

October 14, 2017

Here are three ways men are called to serve their wives:

  1. Sacrifice unto death—The most important way a husband can love his wife like Christ loved the church is to sacrifice himself for her sake. Consider the (negative) example of Abraham. When he moved into the region of the Negev, he feared that some man might kill him to take his wife, so he claimed Sarah was his sister (see Ge 20:2). This was the second time Abraham tried to pull this ruse (see Ge 12:10–13), putting his own safety ahead of his wife’s. Abraham had it backward; as Sarah’s husband, he should have been willing to die for his bride—just as Jesus died for his.

  1. Be Christ to her—Because of a misunderstanding of Biblical authority, many wives cringe at the idea of having to “submit” to their husbands. But as the husband is Christ to the wife (who represents the church), submission becomes a two-way street. “Jesus himself teaches that, at least for Christians, authority must manifest itself not in the exercise of power but in service that finds its ultimate expression in sacrifice.”

  1. Lead her into holiness—God’s intention for our lives is that we be made holy. One way he does that is by having a husband model and channel the love of Christ. A husband should therefore forgive, pray for and encourage his wife to engage in disciplines that lead to her sanctification (see Eph 5:25–27).

There are many things I fail at, but the one thing I’m really good at is being married and a good husband. We have a marriage and a friendship that is stellar. I can’t tell you how many times in restaurants people have come up and asked if we just got married. My wife is always pleased that we are romantic in public. Women have followed my wife into the restroom and asked if we were having an affair (which I find deeply disturbing on so many levels).

Our marriage seminars have great alumni, that keep coming back to make sure they are still kindling a fire.

I think we are particularly fortunate in that we were high school sweethearts, we dated almost 2 and half years. We spent every weekend with each other’s parents (or in our case grandparents, we were both raised by our grandparents, which gave us a little older value system). Completely different in temperaments but the same religious values and both wanted great marriages as we both saw our birth parents fail miserably.

As a marriage counselor and pastor let me tell you two danger signals I see in a marriage, and I’m not joking, separate bank accounts and separate vacations. I would have to check my records to be sure, but after 40 years in ministry and 43 years married, I see that being a path way to disaster.

One other thing, shortly after being married (3 months) we moved 1500 hundred miles away (military) we had nothing but each other and everything we owned fit into a 1962 Chevy impala, and I mean everything we owned.

Good marriages are from attention to detail. Appreciation and expression. I make sure I hug or kiss her at least 10 times a day. (probably a lot higher). We are strange in that we don’t watch TV so we talk a lot, we share books, so I guess we are really a cult with just two people in it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Roberta, hip surgery,

Remember Jennifer, oct 31 cataract surgery.

Pray of Bill O, he fell on a cruise and hurt himself pretty bad, one broke rib, and 3-4 ribs cracked.

 

chasing our tails

October 13, 2017

Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for Thee, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?

Matthew 5: 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

John 4:13-14 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Revelation 7:16-17 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.

A word loaded with figurative meaning is the word, “thirst.” In the Bible, “thirst” is a translation of the Hebrew sama, and the Greek dipsos. We have an English word that is derived from dipsos, the word dipsomania used of extreme thirstiness, but especially of the insatiable craving for alcoholic beverages. Thirst refers to the sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat caused by the lack of fluids which results in a desire to drink. From this sensation it seems that people of almost any language use the word thirst as a synonym for a strong desire or craving for whatever the object, like a thirst for knowledge, or a thirst for wealth.

Have you ever really been truly thirsty? To some degree we all know the sensation of thirst and the longing for a drink especially when expending a lot of energy. In the heat of summer when our bodies do a lot of perspiring they cry out for more fluids. But very few of us have ever been in the desert without water to the point of serious life-threatening dehydration and known the real pain of thirst or a craving for water like Hagar and her son in the wilderness of Beersheba (Gen. 21:14).

But I would ask you this, what will it take for you and me to stop chasing our tails. Or in the more common vernacular ‘three steps forward, two steps back” and that’s being wildly optimistic.

Why do we keep screwing up?

Why do we have pornographic thoughts in the middle of our prayers? Or have you ever thought of all the money you’ve spent on things you don’t really need? Oh, that’s right we call it a collection.

Or how about the time the offering plate is going by and you’re going to put in a twenty and see you have a five and grab that instead. The plate goes by and there’s a twinge of guilt and you do what you always do, ‘next time’.

How many ‘next times’ will there be.

The broken promises to God.

Oh, God it was an accident I never was planning on having sex when I left the house.

The cursing you promised you’d quit and the quick not really meaning it “I won’t do it again God” prayer. And since you don’t really plan on stopping, there isn’t even an apology to God anymore.

When did God become a habit or just a religious routine?

And if you are a person without any accountability, you are actually shocked at how far you’ve drifted.

Well someday there has to be a reckoning. You can either do it now, with real intent or just let the carnal cocoon keep spinning its soft web around you, hey there’s always tomorrow.

And    BAM, YOUR DEAD, WHOOPS TO LATE.

Oh well I hope I’ve at least given you indigestion.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

rabble?

October 10, 2017

Numbers 11:4-35

One would expect that God’s response to Israel’s grumbling (fire from heaven) in verses 1-3 would have silenced any future protest, but this was hardly the case. The “mixed multitude” (some translations say “rabble”) who accompanied the Israelites when they left Egypt (Exodus 12:38) began to complain. Was it due to some very unpleasant or dangerous circumstance? Hardly. These folks complained that their food wasn’t as good as the food they had eaten in Egypt:

4 Now the mixed multitude who were among them craved more desirable foods, and so the Israelites wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we used to eat freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6 But now we are dried up, and there is nothing at all before us except the manna.” 7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color like the color of bdellium. 8 And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it with mills, or pounded it in mortars; they baked it in pans, and made cakes of it. Its taste was like the taste of fresh olive oil. 9 And when the dew came down on the camp in the night, the manna fell with it (Numbers 11:4-9).

Isn’t it amazing that the mixed multitude grumbled because they could not eat the very things that the doctor tells some folks to avoid – things that make you burp! I must confess that I’m a bit of an expert on grumbling about food. When I was a student in college, one of the items the cafeteria served for breakfast was “oatmeal.” As I recall, that “oatmeal” tasted about like I think manna did. Well, anyway, one day as I was waiting in line, I wrote in a “g” in front of the “oatmeal” sign: = “goatmeal.” When I was teaching in a medium security prison, we ate in the prison cafeteria, and it was better (more expensive) food that my wife and I ate at home. I can still remember going to class after lunch and hearing one of the inmates complain about how his steak was cooked. We’re all grumblers when it comes to food.

It must have been the mixed multitude who grumbled because I find it difficult to imagine that the Israelite slaves ate as the grumblers claimed to have eaten in Egypt. Nevertheless, the complaining that began with the mixed multitude spread to the rest (11:10-14). If this is not bad enough, the grumbling of the Israelites prompted Moses to grumble as well:

10 And Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and when the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, Moses was also displeased. 11 And Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you afflicted your servant? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? 12 Did I conceive all this people? Did I produce them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a foster father bears a nursing child,’ to the land which you swore to their fathers? 13 From where shall I get meat to give to all this people, for they cry to me, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat!’ 14 I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me! 15 But if you are going to deal with me like this, then kill me immediately. If I have found favor in your sight then do not let me see my trouble” (11:10-15).

If you read this text in NASB (New American Standard Bible) it distinctly says the grumblers were the ‘mixed multitude’ and not the Israelites (not at first).

Who were these rabble as the NASB says? They were foreigners, who decided to follow Israel into the desert, why, because they saw the wealth given them in Egypt and wanted to exploit it. Two, they didn’t want a ruler (or rules) like Pharaoh, and three they were curious about this “new” God. Neither had they loyalty, nor faith and only personal motives as they followed Israel into the desert.

It reminds me of our nation today, the divisiveness we see in our country today. You have the Christian and the Patriot, who our media says we are to hate. Then the men and women that work every day and earn a living. Then the Front Line people, Police, Firemen, Soldiers. The left is saying the NRA is racist. The hate for our President is unprecedented in all of American history.

And then you have the rabble, bickering, snapping and churlish, rude, ungrateful.

So I said this is question week, draw your own conclusions, this is not a political rant, I’m just saying look at the parallel to the this part of the Bible and how in just 3 days of not having their own way ‘the rabble’ stop the forward progression of Israel.

Something to think about.

We have to stop the hate.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com