Please forgive me

September 13, 2017

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Good news first, Calvin’s eye is fine, the surgery went well, no loss of sight, however the tear duct is going to have to have more surgery, so keep him in prayer.

The Spanish have a story about a father and son who had become estranged. The son left home and the father set out to find him. He searched for many months with no success. Finally, in desperation, the father took out a newspaper ad that read, “Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your father.” On Saturday, 800 men named Paco showed up looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.

In a fallen world, forgiveness is essential to maintain close relationships. We all need forgiveness and we all need to grant forgiveness, because we all sin and we all have been sinned against.

But asking for and granting forgiveness are not easy tasks! It’s not an easy subject to understand, as seen by the fact that different writers say conflicting things about forgiveness. It’s not an easy subject to practice, especially on the emotional level. The deeper you have been hurt, the more difficult it is truly to forgive. Some of you were abused emotionally, physically, or sexually as children by your parents or by trusted family members. Some of you have children who were abused by your mate or by a family member. Some have been betrayed by an unfaithful spouse whom you loved and cared for deeply. These kinds of wrongs are not easy to forgive.

But if you’re a Christian, seeking and granting forgiveness are not optional. Jesus said that if you do not forgive others, the heavenly Father will not forgive you (Matt. 6:15; Mark 11:25). Scholars are divided over whether that refers to being under God’s eternal judgment or to your relationship with the Father as His child. I favor the second option. But either way, you don’t want to miss out on the Father’s forgiveness! Jesus said that forgiving others is so important that if you are worshiping God when you remember that your brother has something against you, you should first go be reconciled to your brother and then come back to worship God (Matt. 5:23-24). So it is vital for you as a Christian to grapple with understanding and practicing forgiveness. Since many books have been written on this topic, I can only touch on some of the issues.

In the context, Paul is showing specific ways that we are to put on the new man, “which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (4:24). In one of our earlier devotions, we saw how we are to put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander (4:31). We are to replace these sins with kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (4:32). Now we want to focus on what it means to forgive and how we can practically apply it.

To forgive others, we must understand the nature of forgiveness and the perspective needed for it, and we must take action to demonstrate forgiveness.

  1. To forgive others, we must understand the nature of forgiveness.

What does it mean to ask forgiveness or to forgive someone? There is a lot of misunderstanding here. Jay Adams (From Forgiven to Forgiving [Calvary Press], pp. 58-60) argues that apologizing is the world’s substitute for forgiving. He points out that there is not a single reference in the Bible to apologizing. It is an unbiblical concept. It allows the wrongdoer to tell you how he feels (“I’m sorry”) without acknowledging his sin and it does not ask the one sinned against to grant forgiveness.

Adams also points out (pp. 112, 135) that biblical forgiveness does not mean accepting the other person in his sin, which often amounts to condoning sin. Again, this is often the world’s way. The world brushes aside the concept of sin by saying, “Hey, no problem! Don’t worry about it, we all make mistakes!” But there is no acknowledgement or confession of sin.

In biblical forgiveness, the wrongdoer admits, “I sinned against you,” and asks, “Will you forgive me?” The one wronged must respond by promising, “I forgive you.” This is very different than just saying you’re sorry or saying to the one who wronged you, “Hey, don’t worry about it!”

Paul says that we are to forgive each other “just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” God didn’t say, “Hey, don’t worry about it, we all make mistakes!” He didn’t just brush our sin aside. Rather, our sin renders us truly guilty before God’s holy justice. We have violated His holy law. He requires that the penalty be paid. But in love, He sent His own Son to bear the penalty that we deserved. When the guilty sinner repents of his sin and lays hold of Christ by faith, God graciously and totally forgives the debt of sin. He releases the sinner from the guilt of his sin. He promises not to remember those sins against him, in the sense of not bringing them up again for judgment. And, He is reconciled to the sinner through the blood of Christ. Extrapolating from God’s forgiveness of us, we can say the following about our forgiveness of others.

Before I tell you what this decision involves, let me underscore that it is a deliberate decision you must make. A friend of Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, once reminded her of an especially cruel thing that someone had done to her years before. But Miss Barton did not seem to recall it. “Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked. “No,” said Miss Barton, “I distinctly remember forgetting it.” Forgiveness is the decision to drop the offense, to let it go. It involves at least five aspects:

         To release the offender from the guilt of his sin.

When God forgives us, He brings down the gavel in His courtroom and declares, “Not guilty! Case dismissed.” And the guilty sinner bears his guilt no longer! When you choose to forgive someone, you let the matter drop, releasing him from his guilt.

         To refuse to bring up the offense to use against the offender.

When God says that He will not remember our sins any more (Heb. 8:12; 10:17), He does not forget them in the sense of amnesia. Rather, He means that He will not bring up any of our offenses against us in the future. We do not have to fear standing before Him someday, because there is now no condemnation for us in Christ (Rom. 8:1). To forgive someone is to promise not to bring the matter up again to use against him. Sometimes it is necessary to bring up a forgiven sin for the purpose of teaching or restoration. Sometimes it is proper to impose consequences to teach the seriousness of sin, as God did with David after his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 12:9-14). It may be proper for a forgiven offender to be required to make restitution. If he committed a crime, he may need to be prosecuted and spend time in prison. But when we forgive him, we should not bring up his sin to accuse or condemn him or to win an argument.

         To refuse to think about the offense.

Thankfully, God is not in heaven rehearsing our forgiven sins every day! For us, this is one of the most difficult aspects of forgiveness, especially when the wrong was serious. But, like Clara Barton, we must distinctly remember to forget past wrongs that we have chosen to forgive. You must deliberately direct your thoughts to other things, such as how much God has forgiven you. To dwell on an offense that you have forgiven is to break your promise to forgive.

         To refuse to talk to others about the offense.

If you say that you forgive someone and then tell others about the offense, you are trying to make the offender pay, which is not forgiveness. Or, you’re trying to evoke sympathy or admiration from others at the offender’s expense. When you forgive, you choose to drop the matter. The only exception would be if you fear that the offender may be trying to repeat his sin toward another person, who needs to be warned of the danger. For example, if someone has molested your child and you see him hanging out with another family with young children, it is appropriate to warn them to be on guard.

         To be reconciled with the offender as far as is biblically possible.

God forgives us so that we may be reconciled to Him and enjoy a close relationship with Him. When we forgive others, we should also seek to restore the broken relationship. This does not always mean becoming best of friends, but it should at least mean that we are cordial and friendly towards the person. To say, “I forgive you, but I never want to see your ugly face again,” is not to forgive as God forgives! Of course, if the offender does not truly repent of his sin, we cannot be truly reconciled or in a close relationship. But even then, we are still commanded to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us (Luke 6:27-28).

So, biblical forgiveness is a decision to release the offender from the guilt of his sin, to refuse to bring up the offense to use against him, to refuse to think about the offense, to refuse to talk to others about the offense, and to be reconciled to the offender if possible.

When someone wrongs you, it helps to control your anger, root out bitterness, and make you ready to forgive if you remember that God has allowed this to happen for His purpose and your ultimate good (Rom. 8:28). When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, he could have become a very bitter young man. Instead, he chose to forgive his brothers. After their father died, they feared that now he would use his position of power to get revenge. But Joseph acknowledged God’s sovereignty and goodness when he said to them (Gen. 50:19-20), “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” By the way, it is blasphemous to say that we must sometimes forgive God. We only must forgive those who wrong us, and the Judge of the earth always does what is right!

Also, while we should not wish for or pray for God to judge our enemies, but rather to save them, we can take comfort in the fact that if they do not repent, they will face God’s justice someday (1 Pet. 4:17-19; Rev. 18:20; 19:1-3). Vengeance belongs to the Lord and He will repay; so we are free to forgive (Rom. 12:19). Vengeance is mine says the Lord. Deuteronomy 32:35

Paul tells us to be kind and tenderhearted toward those who wrong us, rather than bitter and angry. One way to do that is to realize that you don’t know all that the other person has gone through in his life. Perhaps his parents abused him. That isn’t an excuse for his sin, but realizing that he may have had a difficult life may mitigate your anger and put you in the frame of mind to forgive. Also, it helps to realize that if I had been born in the ghetto to a drug-using mother who didn’t even know who my father was, I could be committing horrible sins today. In other words, the person who has wronged me is just like me, a sinner in need of God’s grace. So I need to be kind and forgiving towards him. That leads to the final step towards implementing forgiveness:

When someone sins against you, he destroys trust in the relationship. Forgiveness is granted freely and graciously, but trust is earned over time. If a husband is unfaithful to his wife, she may forgive him freely, but she doesn’t trust him. That is not a contradiction! He must demonstrate repentance and integrity to earn back her trust and it will take time.

We are to forgive others as God has forgiven us. Question: Does God forgive sinners apart from their repentance and confession of sin? Answer: No. God is ready to forgive sinners the instant they repent. He has made provision so that any sinner that repents is promised mercy and abundant forgiveness (Isa. 55:6-7). He shows kindness towards sinners to lead them to repentance. But God does not forgive sinners unless they repent.

Thus I conclude that as imitators of God (Eph. 5:1), we must forgive in our hearts those who have wronged us. We must be praying for their repentance and be ready to forgive the instant that they do repent. Like the father of the prodigal son, we should be looking for their repentant return and when we see them on the horizon, we run joyously to welcome them back. But, we should not extend forgiveness verbally until they actually do repent.

It’s hard to be tender hearted and kind when we have been wronged, but we are never to let bitterness creep into our hearts.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

STUMBLE AND FALL

September 9, 2017

Looking forward, thinking backward?

“Has the Lord not taken the lead?”

Judges 4:14

I look back with a great deal of regret over wasted years and opportunities in my life. But Paul says that the only way to move forward is to put the past behind and focus on what is ahead: “Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13b-14). Forgetting the past means that I accept God’s forgiveness and grace; however, it does not that I overlook the lessons learned from those years. I hope to make the most of every opportunity God gives me now because of my regret over those missed in the past.

As you think through those in your own life, don’t wallow in them with guilt or regret but use them as bridges to the future where you take advantage of the circumstances into which God puts you.

This last week I was struck by how many times my mind wandered to the past. Have you ever done that? Why did this happen or that happen to me? Why didn’t I do better with that opportunity? Why didn’t I react differently to that person? I realized how easy it is to get stuck in that negative thinking. The worst part is it keeps you distracted and looking backwards.

When we are hurt or upset is our natural reaction to forgive and move forward?  Or is it our tendency to go back over the hurt? Do we accept the apology or do we dwell on the hurt and replay the event over and over? Do we keep going back to it? Or do we move forward?

When we keep looking backwards, we lose our ability to focus on what is right in front of us. It steals our ability to heal.  When we stay in the past and continue feasting on past hurt we perpetuate a cycle of unforgiveness and bitterness –and we are going to fall down.

By going over the injustice or the hurt we relive it over and over and that keeps us locked in a cycle of pain. How can we see what is ahead of us if we don’t ever face the right direction?

The Bible says in Psalm 103:12 (NIV) as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

What an example of forgiveness Christ is. There are instances that even though forgiveness is given there are consequences and even  serious punishment. In those extreme cases granting forgiveness can be very difficult. But by forgiving we are freeing ourselves and we are not excusing the hurt nor any injustice done.

The Bible says, Press on towards the prize. In Philippians 3:14 it says, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. I think that is an amazing promise to share with our children.

“Face forward child and look at the path in front of you because, God has called you! What is the reward? Well the reward is a life in him for all of eternity! Don’t let the pains of the past pull you down. Let those go so you can focus on all that God has for you.”

In Jeremiah 29:11 he tells us, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God tells us he has a plan for us. He tells us he has a future and a hope. He doesn’t tell us that he has a past. If we are striving towards a goal then we stay focused on the path ahead. But if we are looking backwards,  we can wander off course and can and often do fall down.

What do you do if your child is weighted down with unforgiveness? Or maybe they are stuck and angry because someone has been mean to them.

Teach them the joy and freedom of granting forgiveness. It will be a lesson that they will use the rest of their lives.

As I’ve said before I’m not a fan of the new “shortened” bible. Every word has some importance. Let me give you an example, ‘Ai’ or ‘Bethel’ Jacob is told to look toward Bethel, not Ai, why, several reasons, but do you know that the word Ai means rubble and Bethel means ‘house of God’ so we have a choice, we can look back at the rubble of our past or look forward to the promise.

“Stumble & Fall”

I heard that it was a really big deal

But then I found out it was just nothing at all

You always say it’s such a big deal

But we both know that that’s nothing at all

And I get over the breaks

And I, I stumble and fall

And I get over the breaks

And sometimes stumble and fall

You just wont admit that it’s all in your hands

So I have to try so hard to make you understand

But all you can say is “It’s just part of the deal”

And I never asked you to understand

How I keep myself to myself in the crush of the crowd

But all you can say is

“Who cares? It’s part of the deal”

And I get over the breaks

And I, I stumble and fall

And I get over the breaks

And sometimes stumble and fall

Well I, I get over the breaks

And I stumble and fall

And I get over the breaks

And sometimes stumble and fall

Yes I fall

Yes I fall

I stumble and fall (by Razorlight)

Keep praying for Calvin, they may have to do a series of eye surgeries.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ALWAYS

September 8, 2017

We are starting out our devotion with a prayer request up front, one of my friends just called for prayer, her husband was on his tractor and going through some trees and didn’t see a branch, it caught him in the eye, it completely tore out his tear duct and did some damage to his eye. Calvin Crane is his name and at 630am Friday morning he will have surgery, please keep him in prayer.

Luke 15:31-32New International Version (NIV)

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours…

This is from the parable of the prodigal son and it is the father speaking to the son that didn’t wander off. For some reason this verse never stood out to me or hit me until my morning bible study.

What a great thought, we already know it but we haven’t let it sink down into our heart and mind.

Our heavenly father says; “YOU are always with Me!

That’s promise number one. And secondly everything The Lord of the Universe has, is also yours. WOW!

Now it you have followed me for any time at all you know that I am not a “name and claim it” preacher, nor am I a prosperity, wealth and God will jump through hoops because of my faith. BUT, I have to say, ‘all the love of God’ is mine, all His grace and forgiveness, mercy is mine.

People ask me all the time about how to pray, this is it, when you start to wrap your head around one phrase, one word in the bible and it really takes hold, you can’t do anything but pray. And the one area I fall short in is telling God I love him.

I don’t know why it’s so hard a thing for me to do, perhaps it’s because of my falling short, the sin in my heart, the curse word to quick to leap from my lips. The people I say I have forgiven and maybe I really haven’t. Maybe because sometimes my only prayer is “God please love me” that I forget to tell him thank you and I love HIM.

Well something we all have to work on, probably.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

cuts like a knife

September 7, 2017

I was asked to do some counseling at a major college today, and do a group therapy session and then presentation to an auditorium full of young girls. The reason, cutting and self mutilation has become epidemic on the campus.

For the most part, she’s like any other teenage kid. Sometimes brash, sometimes sweet; sometimes mature, sometimes childlike; sometimes carefree, sometimes melancholy. It’s those melancholy times that set her apart. She carves her pain into her arms with a razor blade, or burns it into her flesh with a lighter.

She’s not alone.  As its publicity grows through movies, TV shows, books and music, so do the number of teens (and preteens) who try it.  CNN now reports that 1 in 5 teens have intentionally harmed themselves at least once. Many try it initially because it’s trendy (especially in goth and emo subcultures), but move on.

A portion continue the behavior as stress management or punishment or because of the addictive high they get.

Most of the habitual self-injurers are girls. Many of them are high achievers, have eating disorders, and/or have been abused. Most feel high levels of pressure, stress or expectations. The most prevalent self-mutilation is cutting, but behaviors like burning, choking, and throwing oneself down stairs aren’t uncommon. Though violent, self-injury is not a suicide attempt.

Unfortunately, because awareness of the behavior is so new, medical and mental health professionals often don’t know what to do with these patients. Parents bring their kids to a professional for hope, but end up even more discouraged when that expert tells them she or he can’t help their child. Think of it as the early days of AIDS. Most doctors were as confused as anyone else. It’s the same here. Most organizations specializing in cutting, self-injury and self-mutilation are created by laypeople directly affected by the problem. The medical community has pockets of advancement, but they’re slow in coming.

Behavior to watch for includes trouble dealing with stress, has an eating disorder, covers their arms or legs in all weather (wearing long-sleeved shirts, wide bracelets or sweatbands on their wrists, avoids swimming, etc) and explains away injuries.

If someone you know is a self-injurer, getting specialized help quickly is key. Find experts who deal specifically with this problem. They may need to be removed from people and media that encourage the behavior. They will also need your prayer support, unconditional love and a shame-free safe environment. For most habitual self-injurers, the problem won’t go away on it’s own. Our kids are under attack, and they need people to stand up and rescue them.

you need to check your kids social networks on a regular basis. Put a software program on your computer that will track and also keep them from web sites that can promote this behavior.

Don’t be shocked, Girls as young as nine years old are being pressured to have sex. I’m just going to be blunt here, let your young girl dress like a slut at age 7 and up and you are putting them at risk. Seriously,  get rid of your TV. no computer in the bedroom, have a community computer in the kitchen or dining room. Put locks on your kids bedroom windows to keep them from sneaking out. Put tracking programs on their cellphones.

It’s 1984 and your Big Brother. don’t be naive, talk to your kids everyday, about every topic in the world so they will talk to you about anything and everything.

Don’t put your head in the sand. My daughter was raped at church camp, cutting became her way of dealing with it. It’s taken 30 years for her to deal with it and be a healthy young woman physically, mentally and spiritually.

if you feel your in over your head get help.

God Bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

lasso that horse, partner

September 2, 2017

the Bible never says that the way to deal with lust is to pray about it. It commands me to flee (1 Cor. 6:18). It says that I should cleanse myself from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7:1). It commands me to walk in the Spirit so that I won’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). Pray, yes! But don’t just pray: Obey!

God puts the active responsibility for obedience in sexual purity on me. Somehow we’ve gotten the mixed‑up idea that actively to deny lust in obedience to the Lord involves the flesh. So we pray for deliverance and go on disobeying as if we can’t help it until that magic moment happens. But Paul never says, “Let go and let God give you victory over lust.” He says, “Run!” He says that the grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires (Titus 2:11‑12). I need to do it and can do it! Otherwise, God wouldn’t command me to do it.

Part of fleeing is guarding myself in advance. I used to play games with this. I would go into a store to look at the news magazines (so I told myself). After a few minutes of doing that, I would find myself thumbing through Playboy or Penthouse, which were always conveniently nearby. (“How could I help it, Lord?”) But now I avoid stores where I could be tempted to browse through sexually explicit magazines. The man in Proverbs 7 wouldn’t have wound up in bed with the loose woman if he hadn’t first gone near the corner where she lived (see Prov. 7:8).

I’ve heard Christian speakers say that one way to guard against sexual sin is to be satisfied with your wife. It’s true that being sexually satisfied with her helps me not to be lured by lust for others. But I’m uncomfortable with the approach which puts the focus on my needs rather than on my responsibility.

My responsibility as a Christian husband is not to satisfy myself, but to satisfy my wife. I’ve found that my sexual satisfaction is the result of seeking to meet her needs on every level—spiritual, emotional, and physical. When I focus on that, she responds and my sexual needs are met.

A lot of men are sexually frustrated in their marriages because they approach sex to meet their own needs. Jesus’ words about seeking your life and losing it and losing your life to find it (Mark 8:35) apply to sex in marriage. If I approach my wife to satisfy my needs, neither of us feels fulfilled. But if I work at pleasing her, then I’m deeply satisfied. The best sexual times for me are when my wife is pleased.

I’ve had to tear down my sexual expectations which were built from Hollywood and Playboy and rebuild them from Scripture. The world promotes my needs above all else. It knows nothing of the self‑sacrifice which our Lord taught. Many Christians have unwittingly bought into this philosophy: “If my wife can’t meet my sexual needs, then I’ll have to meet them some other way. But my needs must be met.” But the Lord’s way is that I am to love my wife sacrificially as Christ loved the church. The blessed irony is that when I work at that, my needs are abundantly met. I can honestly say with gusto, “They have been!”

Dwight Eisenhower once said, “War is a terrible thing. But if you’re going to get into it, you’ve got to get into it all the way.” That’s true in the war against lust. You won’t win by being halfway into it. But if you’ll get into the battle all the way—God’s way, using His strategy—you can win!

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ENTITLEMENT

Ouch, apparently, I hit a nerve with yesterday’s devotion. Look at it from this standpoint.

Are there bad marriages, yes, are there bad parents, yes; are there struggling marriages, and struggling parents? Yes, you need to see the difference. One situation is likely to possibly get corrected. The other is like syphilis, contact is going to infect you.

The sad part is that parents and families that are failing, falling apart and flailing, are most often isolated by members of the church. No one wants to go to dinner after church with a family that always fights before they leave the church parking lot; or at the restaurant the kids are flinging food, pouring the salt shakers into their little siblings’ plate or screaming at a siren volume and the parents acting like zombies.

We have two choices, we walk away or step in.

We are called to be bold, decisive, teachers, mentors, or what I like to think of as “divine interrupters”.

We step in and help, have compassion, yes, sometimes we scold, spank, discipline and in rare occasions we cut off fellowship as a means of discipline if they are unrepentant.

Not what we here from the Name It and Claim It or prosperity group.

Fact, if your family doesn’t behave or your talking divorce at Joel Osteen’s church you are asked to leave. Why? Because they don’t like messy. In their world everything is perfect. Well the world you and I live in is messy.

So what steps do we take to intervene?

Firmly, but with love we step and be the mature, loving, stern adult.

First deal with what  seems to be the most contagious disease in the world today.

THE SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT

THE CULTIVATION OF GOOD THINKING

Aren’t we whining when we focus on what is hard in our lives rather than God’s gracious provision? That response reveals an attitude of entitlement: “I deserve to have ____ (health, perfect children, good things, no struggles, etc.).” Shouldn’t we be thankful for what we do have rather than gripe about what we don’t?  Do I make that choice when faced with trials or even a difficult day? Do you?

I appreciate storm victims who express gratitude for their homes, their lives, and for the hard-working people trying to help them. I am sad for all the victims, even those who whine, recognizing how hard their situations must be.

“In everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).

It’s biblical to express our grief and sorrow. Don’t think that joy precludes sadness. When we lament our losses, however, we should do so with thanksgiving for God’s sovereign work in the midst of our pain. When we focus on trusting him for the greater good, our perspectives change. We begin to recognize that all of life is grace; we aren’t entitled to anything. As we give thanks in everything, we begin to walk in joy, blessing others, giving glory to God, and in the process becoming witnesses to a watching world.

THE ONE THING WE HAVE FORGOTTEN TO TEACH ABOUT THREE GENERATIONS OF PEOPLE IS TO RECOGNIZE THE ADVANTAGE OF CHOOSING TO WAIT FOR THE BEST, BETTER AND BEAUTIFUL OF ALL THINGS BEING FULFILLED IN GOD’S TIMING AND NOT OUR OWN. AND THAT PUTTING OFF SHORT TERM IMMEDIATE FULFILLMENT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO HAVE THE BEST THAT GOD WANTS FOR OUR LIVES BY WAITING.

SO WE NEED TO TEACH…….

the dog house

Decision-making often involves choosing between short-term pleasure or short-term pain. (Usually it’s more like short-term inconvenience.)

Short-term pleasure often leads to long-term pain, and short-term pain often leads to long-term pleasure. What doesn’t work, and is a horribly unrealistic expectation for life, is short-term pleasure leading to long-term pleasure! (Wouldn’t THAT be nice?!)

Maturity and wisdom is displayed by the choices we make, especially when we exercise patience and self-control, not insisting on the instant-gratification jolt of “I want it NOW!!!” Many of our choices for pleasure in the right-now end up costing us down the road, causing pain later. You know, like that fourth brownie that tastes soooooo good in the moment, but then you can’t zip up your jeans a few days later. Or indulging your child’s demands and whims today because you want to be the “cool parent” and you want them to like you, but then you start to notice the ugliness of that child’s sense of self-absorbed entitlement. Short-term pleasure, even when that pleasure is simply trying to avoid pain, results in long-term unpleasant consequences.

But when we recognize the value of self-control and self-denial in the present, so that we can reap the harvest of pleasure in the future, that’s wisdom. Mark Twain advised, “Do one thing every day you don’t want to do.” That’s good advice, but of course God thought of that much earlier! Using self-control and self-denial is how we fulfill the biblical idea of not indulging the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Getting up early to spend time in God’s word costs you in the moment, but when it has become a habit, that daily time ingesting divine truth and wisdom transforms you. Putting a percentage of your income into savings is a discipline of self-denial in the present day, but it (literally) pays great dividends in the future. Even better, giving generously to Christ’s Kingdom now means you’re sending every penny ahead into your heavenly bank account where God will reward you!

One of my family members really resonated with “the doghouse” when he faced his alcoholism and made many, many decisions to choose the short-term pain of saying no to his desire to drink, and every day he now enjoys the long-term pleasure of a life he can fully enjoy in sobriety and self-control. Another man I know was faced with the decision to choose the short-term pain of integrity, owning and confessing his selfish behavior over several years, or the short-term pleasure of excusing and dismissing his choices that had hurt other people. He chose the short-term pleasure, and now lives in the long-term pain of diminished character and the loss of his family’s trust.

“The doghouse” is helpful for training children (and ourselves!) to think beyond the moment to what they want down the road. Do you want less stress in the morning by taking the time to get your books and clothes and lunch ready tonight? Short-term pain, long-term pleasure. If you give into the temptation to procrastinate (short-term pleasure), how much will you pay for it later (long-term pain)?

Jesus said, “If anyone wants to become My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) Denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Jesus are all about short-term pain with major long-term pleasures!

“The doghouse” is a simple but powerful life-skills tool for your toolbox. What do you want to end up with, long-term pleasure or long-term pain? Choose well today.

SO GOD IS CALLING SOME OF YOU TO MENTOR, TO BE THE FUNCTIONAL ADULT.

PLEASE STEP UP TO THIS CALLING.

BLESSINGS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

PRAY FOR ANNE WHO IS ONE OF THE MOST SELFISH ADULT’S I’VE EVER MET, IF SHE DOESN’T CHANGE SHE IS GOING TO LOSE HER HUSBAND, HER CHILD AND HER SANITY.

PRAY FOR BENJAMIN, A NEW USA CITIZEN TODAY FROM NORWAY

PRAY FOR ELIZABETH G, LEFT HER MARRIAGE OF 35 YEARS, TO LEAVE FOR A 27 YEAR OLD POT SMOKING, GRANOLA,, MOTHER EARTH, UNEMPLOYED MALE NUT JOB, WHO ACCORDING TO HER “UNDERSTANDS HER”

PRAY FOR ED, THROAT CANCER.

BETTY GREEN, NEWLY SAVED CHRISTIAN AT AGE 23, GOING TO AN IVY LEAGUE COLLEGE AND IS PRAYING SHE SURVIVES HER FIRST SEMESTER BACK AS A CHRISTIAN. SHE LEAVES BEHIND HER FAMILY, CHURCH AND SUPPORT GROUP. WE HAVE CALLED A PASTOR NEAR HER AND HOPE AND PRAY SHE IS BRAVE.

 

STANDING ON THE PROMISES

August 31, 2017

STANDING ON THE PROMISES.

One of my favorite modern gospel tunes. It’s been sung by great country artist and old-time gospel singers. I hope you know it.

  1. Standing on the promises of Christ my King,

    Through eternal ages let His praises ring,

    Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,

    Standing on the promises of God.

    • Refrain:

      Standing, standing,

      Standing on the promises of God my Savior;

      Standing, standing,

      I’m standing on the promises of God.

  2. Standing on the promises that cannot fail,

    When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,

    By the living Word of God I shall prevail,

    Standing on the promises of God.

  3. Standing on the promises I now can see

    Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;

    Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,

    Standing on the promises of God.

  4. Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,

    Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,

    Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,

    Standing on the promises of God.

  5. Standing on the promises I cannot fall,

    List’ning every moment to the Spirit’s call,

    Resting in my Savior as my all in all,

    Standing on the promises of God.

Long time since I’ve used this phrase; “but here’s the rub.”

A promise is a declaration that reaches ahead of its speaker and its recipient, to mark an appointment between them in the future. A promise might be an assurance of continuing or future action, an announcement of a future event or a solemn agreement of lasting, mutual (if unequal) relationship.

 Scripture is filled with promises made by God to man (about 8,000 by some counts). We find the first promise in Genesis 3:15 (and its fulfillment in Gal 4:4; Lk 2:7; Rev 12:5) and the last in the second to last verse of the Bible: “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:20).

 Many of God’s promises are intended for us (general promises), while many others are not (specific promises). And some statements that look like promises aren’t promises at all. How can we know which of God’s promises are for us?

 Here are a few guidelines to help you determine which are for you:

  ➤ Don’t mistake a principle for a promise—One of the most oft-quoted Bible passages about child rearing is Proverbs 22:6: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Yet all of us know godly parents whose children have turned from the path of righteousness. Do such cases disprove such proverbs? Of course not. Proverbs are principles, not promises. “Aphorisms and proverbs give insight as to how culture under God works, how relationships work, what our priorities should be; they do not put in all the footnotes as to whether there are any individual exceptions, and under what circumstances, and so forth.”

 ➤ Don’t mistake answered prayer in the Scripture for a promise to you—Some Christians read prayers in the Bible—such as the prayer of Jabez (see 1Ch 4:9–10)—and assume they are promises to us. They are not.

 ➤ Make sure you understand the context—We can often determine if a promise is general or specific merely by looking at the context. For instance, the promises made in Genesis 12:1–3 are specific to Abraham.

 ➤ Recognize conditional promises—Many of God’s promises are unconditional—there are no conditions required for him to do what he promises. But other promises are conditional and dependent on the choice or actions we make. Most conditional promises take an “If . . . then . . .” form. “Promises that contain an ‘If’ require some form of obedience before we can expect them to come to pass in our lives, they are conditional. If we want to claim them, we had better be ready to act in obedience to what they require. A prime example is God’s promise to forgive our sins if we forgive others (see Mt 6:14–15).

 ➤ Don’t twist the meaning of a promise—God’s promises mean only what God intended them to mean. When we subvert the meaning of a promise, it ceases to be a promise at all.

  Even when we rightly recognize a promise as intended for us, we often impose our own understanding of exactly how it will be fulfilled. Or we are tempted to impose our own timeline on its fulfillment. Yes, God does have a plan to prosper you and not to harm you (Jer 29:11), but as in the case of the people to whom those words were originally written, that “you” is more likely a collective reference to the body of believers, and that plan may play out across centuries in ways we can’t possibly predict. To recognize this intent does not diminish the beauty of the promise at all. It actually enhances it.

  ➤ Some promises intended for us are collective, not individual, a promise can apply to us as members of a collective body, such as the church. We should be open to seeing how such promises could be applicable and yet not necessarily applicable to us individually, at least not at all times or in all contexts.

One of the greatest truths you can learn about the bible is the promises that apply to you and the principles that we are to live by.

Blessings are something also promised, to the obedient.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

DO NO THING

August 30, 2017

SELF HELP IS NO HELP

  “If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to ordinances?” (Col. 2:20, R.V.).

  When it comes to spiritual growth and walk, any help from ourselves is a hindrance to us. The source is wrong. On the death side, we are to receive deliverance from sin’s power through the Spirit from the Cross; on the life side, we are to receive growth through the Spirit from the Lord Jesus. It is a matter of receiving, not contributing. We are branches, not vines.

The old elementary legal rudiments of a legal age are for those ‘living in the world’ (having an earthly temple and worship). Believers are seated in the heavenlies in Christ, and are spiritual people with a sanctuary in Heaven. ‘Touch not,’ ‘taste not,’ ‘handle not’; such commandments of men have no value. They perish with the using.

‘Voluntary humility,’ ‘neglecting of the body,’ ‘fasting,’ etc., have a show of wisdom. They gratify religious pride and self-righteousness, they ‘puff up the fleshly mind,’ but they are ‘not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.’ The flesh is not subdued by fasting, nor pride by whipping, nor worldliness by neglect of the body. These are of ‘no avail’ though men glory in them. Only the Holy Spirit brings one into liberty—and that via the Cross. ‘The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death’ (Rom. 8:2).

  “Stand fast, then, in the freedom which Christ has given us, and turn not back again to entangle yourselves in the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).

The hardest thing to do is do nothing, there is no ‘pulling yourself up by the bootstrap’ nor “putting your nose to the grindstone” or giving it all you’ve got. As our salvation is by faith so is our liberty.

Give yourself a rest.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

I received a phone call today from an old Marine pal of mine who spends a lot of time calling into talk radio shows as he is pretty much home bound and like me lives off the grid and hard to get to. So to pass the time he calls into these shows and very courteously disagrees with most of what they say.

What put a burr up his saddle today was the lady talk show host who claims she is Christian, has a Christian Tattoo artist on the show and if you came to the station they would have a “Christian Inking” discount and “film at 11” soiree.

Well this old Marine jumps into his handicapped equipped pickup and drives to the radio station with his tattered bible on the seat. Surprisingly the station manager takes him into the studio and the debate begins live and on the air.

Now I have to tell you this Marine was at Iwo and Guadalcanal, Tarawa, he’s fought with nothing but rocks and his helmet, he’s done Island clean up with a flamethrower. He’s spent a large part of his life fighting demons, nightmares and the bottle, and now with about 40 years sober and spending almost every waking moment reading his bible. He takes bible correspondence courses and is one smart cookie.

So I get roped into a radio conference call because he doesn’t want to surrender to a fast talking pseudo Christian radio talk show host. I say pseudo because her defense of tattoos is the Old Testament isn’t relevant as she’s a “New Covenant believer. And since Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament it’s no longer relevant to New Testament believers and is only considered ancient history good for its mythical stories.” Well I’m the guy that sincerely believes in not casting pearls to swine, so I tell my friend to leave and let’s meet up at a Jim’s Restaurant and give him moral support. And a good answer.

So part one, you have to have the whole bible to be a whole Christian. Can you get saved and be a Christian after hearing only John 3:16, certainly, but if you are going to develop into a complete, mature Christian, then it’s going to take the whole bible to grow you to completeness. Jesus and the Apostles quoted from the Old Testament, there was no New Testament while the Apostles walked the earth. Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not to do away with it.

Ok, part two, tattoos;

Houston pastor Chris Seay told the Associated Press last year, after asking his

followers to get inked for Lent, “there are definitely some Old Testament

passages that have something to say about (tattooing), but we don’t think they

have weight in this contemporary circumstance. If we thought the Scriptures were

prohibiting it, we wouldn’t be doing it.”

Leviticus 19:28 ” Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor

print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”

These pagan practices were most likely associated with Egyptian idolatry and

were therefore to be avoided. The practice of making deep gashes on the face

and arms or legs, in times of grief, was universal among pagans.

Mutilation of the body created by God was incompatible with holiness, for the

holy God is perfect life.

Holiness requires Israel not to act like the pagans in any areas of life.

Getting back to Pastor Seay; “we don’t think (the scripture) has relevance or

weight in our modern times.”

And that my friends is what is wrong with the modern church today, that popular

culture is more important than the Holy Word of God. Because 1/3 of young

Americans have tattoos we should deem it ok, and ignore what the Word of God

says.

Is it a sin, I personally wouldn’t go there, we should not preach condemnation.

But if someone came in for counseling and asked me if it was ok to get their first

tattoo I would say no.

One of the things I told my kids a lot was; “I’m not here to be your best friend, I’m

Here to be your father not win a popularity contest.” That hasn’t changed, popular is not what I’m going for.

I think pastors that want to be cool, hip and drive Harleys and ignore what

Scriptures teach in EVERY area are IDIOTS and HYPOCRITES. (I’m kidding about the

Harley, (almost, I drive a Gold Wing).

You cannot choose what parts of scripture to follow or ignore. It is all or nothing.

God bless.

Sorry if I’m not cool enough for you. Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t change a thing. And to all my “inked” brothers and sister you are loved by God and myself. Just don’t expect me to give you my approval, I will also give you respect and love but will ask you to not give counsel to other church members to violate what the bible teaches.

The basic history of tattoos is that it is to give unchanging stability to a person’s life, i.e. that the tattoos are static, everything else in the world and even my body may change, but the tattoo is constant. Well I can trump that with a bigger, better constant. God; never changing, also constant and the word of God, inspired, inerrant, and infallible. If Christians are seeking a constant in their life other than that, they are in rebellion.

So let’s agree to disagree, because this is on my long list of things that don’t affect salvation.

Blessing and regards from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

TINA THE EXOTIC DANCER

August 26, 2017

TINA THE EXOTIC DANCER

NO WAIT THAT’S REALLY THE TITLE

So there’s Mark, nice guy, shy, quiet and a young Christian. He meets this girl online, she cute, perky and funny. They start dating, she has more experience than he, they start having sex, it’s his first time, bang (pardon the pun) and he’s in love and proposes. She realizes he’s a nice guy, good job and he thinks he’s in love.

She starts coming to church knows the Christian lingo, he thinks she’s a Christian. Tell them marriage counseling is mandatory, bang they elope. Come back and his excuse for not following through “love can’t wait”.

Bang, six months into the marriage Mark comes in he’s shattered, she wants to go out dancing, have some drinks, seems a lot of guys at this club know her; he’s ashamed, for the first time ever he drinks, dances, gets a little drunk, and bang, she wants to bring home another guy to ‘spice things up’.

Bang, he wants a divorce, but hey in a Pentecostal church that’s like practicing birth control in a catholic church (sorry old school). Now he’s really ashamed that he’s gotten into this situation, she moves out, he’s heart broken and hears from a ‘friend’ at work his wife is already sleeping with someone else.

He comes in for counseling and here’s where we get controversial. (now thanks to google you can look this up, I did and I have to say there are some people that are twisting what I am about to talk about right out into outer space, so filter this through your theology and pray about this, don’t take this principle to far, and don’t over apply it to some sort of spiritual warfare and setting blockades against satan, because this isn’t about that.)

The prophet Hosea is told to marry a prostitute and she runs away and here is what God says he will do.

Hosea 2:6-7

Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’
She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.

“Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens,
and my new wine when it is ready.
I will take back my wool and my linen,
intended to cover her naked body.
10 So now I will expose her lewdness
before the eyes of her lovers;
no one will take her out of my hands.

I told this story to Mark, and told him that if what he was saying was true and he really wanted her back to pray this prayer; a prayer of hedges around his wife and wait for God to do something; nothing less nothing more, just pray and wait.

The real principle here is believing God can do something, the second principle is to not feel powerless and try to do something in your own strength, the third is if God did this for Hosea cannot he not do it for you.

So we prayed that she would be unseen to other lovers, she would get no benefits from other lovers, no one would take care of her, and that as verse 7 says she will go back to her husband.

So what did Tina do, she went back to stripping (exotic dancing if you are more sensitive) and guess what, she was hired right back by her old boss because she used to be a great ‘producer’ (read cash cow, ouch that seems rather insensitive).

Six weeks later she’s fired, reason given by her boss, and I quote; “Tina, it’s like you are invisible, no one tips you, no one asks for lap dances (you are blessed if all this is foreign to you) it’s like you don’t even exist.

Ok no binding dominions, no commanding spirits or satan to let go just believing God can do his thing.

She comes back to Mark begs forgiveness and asks him to take her back. I caution him (because sometimes after being a prison chaplain I can really be cynical and I confess a skeptic, not always but sometimes).

Mark believes its God’s will to honor his vow he takes Tina back, it’s a bit bumpy at first but a year later she truly gives her heart to the Lord and is baptized (full immersion, still old school).

Guess what, they are still married and she’s expecting their first child.

Like an old time radio show, will it work out, will she truly stay ‘saved’. Stay tuned, and wait.

So also being a hopeless romantic and having some measure of faith I think it will.

And don’t believe that old saw about 50% of marriages failing, it’s the same 10 people getting divorced all the time.

God Bless

Stay in touch at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

PS, it’s five years later, they are still married, still coming to church and she’s a Sunday school teacher and he’s the principle at a Christian school. So for skeptics and cynics like me, it’s good to remember that God never changes but he can change us. No matter what.

It’s why we called this devotional site, scumlikeuschurch, because, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.