FIX IT OR LOSE IT

October 2, 2017

SORRY GIRLS THIS IS JUST FOR MEN; ALTHOUGH YOU MAY WANT TO PASS IT ON.

WOMEN MAY HAVE A HARD TIME UNDERSTANDING THIS BUT YOU MAY KNOW SOMEONE IN THIS SITUATION. I’M NOT MAKING EXCUSES BUT THIS IS REALLY MOSTLY A GUY THING; AND I HELP THIS HOPES SOME GUY OUT THERE.

BECAUSE I GREW UP TO BE A VERY VIOLENT PERSON I BECAME THE GUY THAT WAS ALWAYS GETTING IN FIGHTS ALWAYS STARTED THEM AND PRETTY MUCH ENDED THEM, I THOUGHT VIOLENCE WAS THE ANSWER TO PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING; I MEAN SCREW DÉTENTE.

NOW I WAS NEVER PHYSICALLY VIOLENT WITH MY FAMILY BUT I ALL TO FREQUENTLY SCARED THEM WITH MY RAGE AND VERBAL OUTBURSTS. EVEN AFTER ACCEPTING JESUS AS MY SAVIOR SOMETIMES THE ANIMAL JUST CAME OUT. I’M NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPENED BUT I DID GET A HANDLE ON IT, AND I WANT TO SHARE WITH ANY ONE THAT IS STRUGGLING WITH RAGE, ESPECIALLY IN A FAMILY SETTING TO HELP YOU GET OVER IT.

NOW DON’T DISMISS THIS AS TO SIMPLISTIC BUT IT REALLY CAN HELP. I READ THIS STORY IN READERS DIGEST ABOUT 40 YEARS AGO AND IT WAS A LIGHT BULB MOMENT.

A PLUMBER GOES TO A LADY’S HOUSE TO DO SOME WORK AND ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG DOES, BUT HE DOESN’T LOSE HIS COOL. BUT WHEN LEAVES THE HOUSE TO GO HOME HE LEAVES A WRENCH THERE. THE WOMAN OF THE HOUSE REALIZES THAT HE MIGHT NEED IT AND FOLLOWS HIM HOME TO GIVE HIM THIS WRENCH.

WHEN HE GETS TO HIS HOUSE BEFORE SHE CAN GET OUT OF THE CAR SHE SEES HIM GO UP TO A TREE IN HIS YARD AND HE STARTS PULLING INVISIBLE THINGS OUT OF HIS POCKET AND TIES THEM TO THE TREE; AND SHE’S THINKING ‘GREAT I’VE JUST HAD A PSYCHO IN MY HOUSE’.

THEN HE GOES TO HOUSE KIND OF GIVES HIMSELF A SHAKE LIKE A DOG DOES AND GOES IN THE HOUSE.

WELL SHE’S FASCINATED AND HAS TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON SO SHE GOES TO THE HOUSE WITH THE WRENCH AND RINGS THE DOORBELL. THE PLUMBER ANSWERS THE DOOR WITH A BIG SMILE AND SHE CAN HEAR CHILDREN LAUGHING AND SMELLS DINNER COOKING AND SHE HOLDS UP THE WRENCH.

(WHICH HE IMMEDIATELY TAKES AND KILLS HER DEAD; SORRY JUST KIDDING, SEE WHY YOU HAVE TO KEEP PRAYING FOR ME.)

SHE JUST HAS TO KNOW WHAT WAS THE DEAL WITH TYING INVISIBLE THINGS TO THE TREE OUTSIDE, SO SHE ASKS HIM. HE GRINS RATHER SHEEPISHLY AND STEPS OUTSIDE AND WALKS OVER TO THE TREE, AND HE SAYS; “I TIE TO THE TREE EVERYTHING THAT WENT WRONG TODAY, EVERYTHING THAT BROKE, DIDN’T GOES AS PLANNED, MY ANGER MY FRUSTRATION AND I TIE IT THERE SO I DON’T TAKE IT IN THE HOUSE WITH ME.” AND SHE ASKS “WHAT ABOUT THE SHAKE YOU DID ON THE DOORSTEP.” HE SMILES AND SAYS I’M JUST MAKING SURE NOTHING BAD IS COMING IN THE HOUSE WITH ME AND I TELL MY SELF I LOVE MY FAMILY.”

NOW IF YOU ARE SERIOUSLY SCREWED UP AND THINK THIS IS TO SIMPLISTIC SCREW YOU IT WORKS.

BUT FOR YOU DIE HARD VIOLENT PSYCHOPATHS THAT ARE DIE HARD SKEPTICS I HAVE PART TWO.

I TOLD MY WIFE THAT WHEN I GET HOME I NEEDED 20 MINUTES ALONE TIME TO READJUST TO A ROLE CHANGE. SO I WOULD STAY IN THE GARAGE AND THE KIDS WERE TOLD NOT TO COME OUT AND BOTHER ME; AND IN THAT 20 MINUTES I WOULD PRAY; “GOD DON’T LET A MONSTER WALK THROUGH THAT DOOR, THESE PEOPLE LOVE YOU AND CARE FOR YOU; YOU CAN’T BE MEAN, OR SCARY OR ROUGH OR MEAN SPIRITED BECAUSE YOU LOVE THEM. DON’T BE AN A$$HOLE, WALK IN THERE AND BE A GODLY, LOVING CARING MAN.”

AND THERE IS A PART THREE; “CUES” ONE REASON I GOT MAD WAS I HAD A SCENARIO IN MY MIND OF WHAT WOULD HAPPEN WHEN I GOT HOME, MY EXPECTATIONS; PROBLEM WAS I NEVER TOLD ANYONE WHAT THOSE EXPECTATIONS WERE. I WANTED MY WIFE TO KISS ME AND TELL ME SHE MISSED ME (I TRAVEL A LOT DOING SEMINARS) I WANTED THE KIDS TO STOP WHAT EVER THEY WERE DOING AND JUST HUG ME FOR A SECOND, THAT’S ALL, JUST THAT LITTLE BIT.

YOU KNOW WHAT? IT WORKED, I WOULD WALK IN THE HOUSE SAYING MY LITTLE MANTRA; “YOU LOVE THESE PEOPLE DON’T SCARE THEM.” AND THEY WOULD TAKE THE 5 SECONDS JUST TO GIVE ME WHAT I NEEDED, CRAVED FROM THEM A MOMENT OF LOVE AND IT WOULD ALL WORK OUT.

SO IF YOU ARE A SCARY DAD, HUSBAND, FATHER, PLEASE WORK IT OUT, GIVE THIS A TRY.

DON’T BE SCARY

AND N0W THE GOOD NEWS, I’M NOT SURE HOW LONG WE HAD TO HAVE THESE LITTLE RITUALS, A FEW YEARS MAYBE, BUT IT ALL PASSED. YOU CAN BE A CHRISTIAN MAN AND STILL HAVE SOME SERIOUS ISSUES, ONE; GET COUNSELING FROM SOMEONE YOU RESPECT, TWO; BE ACCOUNTABLE, THREE; DON’T IGNORE THE WARNING SYMBOLS (YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN). AND REST ASSURED IT DOES PASS AND YOU BECOME SOMEWHAT NORMAL. (TILL DEMENTIA SETS IN AND YOU BECOME A RAVING LUNATIC AGAIN, OH, DID I TELL YOU I’M WORKING ON BEING MORE POSITIVE?)

BUT IT WON’T GET FIXED ON ITS ON, THERE IS NO CHRISTIAN MAGIC, FIX IT.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

 

who manages who

May 28, 2017

Firefighters know the danger of letting a fire get out of control. They are trained to respond quickly. You, too, must respond quickly to control the flames of anger before they consume your life and leave a smoldering ditch of destruction. “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins” (PROVERBS 29:22).

 WHAT ARE THE DEGREES OF ANGER? Anger is an emotional agitation that occurs when a need or expectation is not met. Like heat, anger has many degrees, ranging from mild irritations to hot explosions. Indignation—simmering anger provoked by something unjust and often perceived as justified Wrath—burning anger accompanied by a desire to avenge Fury—fiery anger so fierce that it destroys common sense Rage—blazing anger resulting in loss of self-control, often to the extreme of violence and temporary insanity

WHAT ARE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ANGER? Is it a sin for a person to be angry? No, the initial feeling of anger is a God-given emotion. The way you express this emotion determines whether your anger becomes sin. Ephesians 4:26 says, “In your anger do not sin.” How can a person keep from feeling guilty when he is angry? Your anger is a signal that something is wrong. The purpose of the red warning light on a car dashboard is to propel you into action—to cause you to stop, evaluate, and do what is needed. For example, Jesus became angry at the hypocritical religious leaders who interpreted “resting on the Sabbath” to excess: “He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand’…and his hand was completely restored” (Mark 3:5).

WHAT ARE THE FOUR SOURCES OF ANGER?

Hurt—Your heart is wounded. Everyone has a God-given inner need for unconditional love. When you experience rejection or emotional pain of any kind, anger can become a protective wall that keeps people and pain away.

 Injustice—Your right is violated. Everyone has an inner moral code that produces a sense of right and wrong, fair and unfair, just and unjust. When you perceive that an injustice has occurred against you or others (especially those whom you love), you may feel angry. If you hold on to the offense, the unresolved anger can begin to make a home in your heart.

Fear—Your future is threatened. Everyone is created with a God-given inner need for security. When you begin to worry, feel threatened, or get angry because of a change in circumstances, you may be responding to fear. A fearful heart reveals a lack of trust in God’s perfect plan for your life.

Frustration—Your effort is unsuccessful. Everyone has a God-given need for significance. When your efforts are thwarted or do not meet your own personal expectations, your sense of significance can be threatened. Frustration over unmet expectations of yourself or of others is a major source of anger.

WHAT IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF ANGER? When we feel that our real or perceived rights have been violated, we can easily respond with anger.

 Wrong Belief: “Based on what I believe is fair, I have the right to be angry about my disappointments and to stay angry for as long as I feel like it. I have the right to express my anger in whatever way is natural for me.”

Right Belief: “Because the Lord is sovereign over me and I trust Him with my life, I have yielded my rights to Him. My human disappointments are now God’s appointments to increase my faith and develop His character in me. I choose to not be controlled by anger, but to use anger to motivate me to do whatever God wants me to do” (see 1 Peter 1:6-7).

HOW CAN PAST ANGER BE RESOLVED? Unresolved anger is a bed of hidden coals burning deep wounds into your relationships with God and with others. This powerful emotion robs your heart of peace and steals contentment from your spirit. So how is this anger resolved? Realize Your Anger — Willingly admit that you have unresolved anger. — Ask God to reveal any anger buried in your heart. — Seek to determine the primary reason(s) for your past anger. — Talk out your anger with God and with a friend or counselor. (Proverbs 21:2)

We need to remember that it is not a sin to get angry, it’s what we do while we are angry that is important. Good, godly responses are what important.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember all those on our prayer lists, especially Joe and his shoulder, a great deal of pain.

And Dave as his fights his 5th battle prostate cancer. He’s a brave guy.

 

WILD FIRE

May 23, 2017

James 3:1-12

James has gone from preaching to meddling! He has just made it clear that genuine faith works. If God has changed your heart through the new birth, the saving faith that He granted to you will inevitably show itself in a life of good deeds. But now he moves from the generality of good deeds to the specifics of the words that you speak. Genuine faith yields to Christ’s lordship over your tongue. With David (Ps. 141:3), all true believers will pray, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” While the monster may never be totally tamed, if you know Christ as Savior, you are engaged in the ongoing battle to tame the terrible tongue.

In building his case that all have sinned, the apostle Paul zeroes in on the sins of the tongue (Rom. 3:13-14):

“Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness….”

It would be nice if conversion resulted in a total makeover of the mouth, but it is not so! Although we become new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), we also carry around with us the old nature or the flesh, which wars against the Spirit (Gal. 5:17). The tongue is one of the major battlegrounds in the war. To become godly people, we must wage war daily on this front.

James is a savvy pastor who knows that we won’t gear up for the battle and face our own sins of the tongue unless we recognize the magnitude of the problem. We all tend to justify ourselves by pointing to others who are notoriously bad. In comparison with how they talk, I’m doing okay. But James comes in with vivid illustrations to open our eyes to just how serious our problem is. It’s interesting that he never gives any advice on how to control the tongue. He just leaves you reeling from his portrait of how huge this problem is. He’s saying,

To tame the terrible tongue, we must recognize the tremendous magnitude of the battle that we face.

It’s difficult to outline this section, but we can organize it under four truths that we must recognize to tame our terrible tongues:

  1. To tame the tongue, we must recognize that we will be held accountable for what we say (3:1-2).

Apparently the churches to which James was writing had too many men who were self-appointed teachers. In the Jewish synagogues, rabbis were highly respected and the office was often one that parents coveted for their sons. It was proper to respect the rabbis because of the sacred Scriptures that they expounded, but it was wrong to give men the honor that God alone deserves. Jesus confronted the Jewish leaders on this account (Matt. 23:6-11):

“They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant.”

There’s a certain inherent prestige in becoming a teacher. Presumably, you know more than those that you teach, which means that in some way they should look up to you. Because of this, there is the built-in danger that some will take upon themselves the office of Bible teacher for the wrong reasons, or that those who took the position for the right reason later will fall into pride. If a man goes into teaching the Bible because of a secret desire for status or recognition, he is doing it for self and not for the Lord.

Because of the Matthew 23 passage, for many years I was uncomfortable with people addressing me as “Pastor.” Why not call me by my name, like everyone else? While I’ve grown accustomed enough to the title now that I don’t ask everyone to call me by my name, I hope that if they call me Pastor, they are respecting the office. But I’m also quite comfortable with being called Steve! I’m only a member of Christ’s body whom He called to shepherd His flock and teach His Word. Christ is the Leader!

James’ point is that a man should not take on the role of teacher unless God has called him to it, because teachers will incur a stricter judgment. We who teach God’s Word will be more accountable, because our words affect more people. Any time that we teach, we should keep in mind the serious fact that we will stand before the Lord to give an account!

Verse 2 further explains verse 1 (“For”). James includes himself when he says, “For we all stumble in many ways.” We’re all prone to sin! One popular author and Bible teacher emphasizes that we should not view ourselves as sinners, but as saints who occasionally sin. Well, by God’s grace I’m a saint, but I’m a saint who stumbles in many ways, not just occasionally!

James then zeroes in on the tongue, saying, “If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.” Perfect does not mean sinlessly perfect, but rather, mature. We can never achieve sinless perfection in this life, but we can grow to spiritual maturity. One important gauge of that is our speech.

One way to tame the tongue is to recognize that we all will be held accountable for our speech. Jesus said (Matt. 12:36-37), “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Jesus was not teaching justification by works. But, like James, He was teaching that our works reveal whether our faith is genuine faith. Our words either validate that we are true believers or reveal that we do not know God. If we sin with our speech, we need to ask God’s forgiveness and also the forgiveness of the one we sinned against. Genuine believers have this sense of being accountable for their speech.

  1. To tame the tongue, we must recognize its power for good or for evil (3:3-5a).

James uses two analogies here to make the point that the tongue is small, but mighty: the bit and the rudder. A bit is a relatively small instrument, but when you put it into a horse’s mouth, you can control the entire horse. The same thing is true of a ship’s rudder. It is relatively small compared to the size of the ship, but with his hand on the wheel or tiller, the pilot can steer a mammoth ship, even in a strong wind.

James’ point of comparison is not so much the matter of control (the tongue does not really control the body), but of the inordinate influence of such a small part (3:5a): “So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.” James is saying, “Don’t underestimate the power of the tongue, because if you do, you won’t be able to tame it.” There may be a comparison in the sense of influencing direction. If you control your tongue, it can direct your whole life into what is acceptable in God’s sight. If you don’t control your tongue, it will get you into great trouble!

Both the bit and the rudder must overcome contrary forces to direct the horse and the ship. A horse is a powerful animal that can do much useful work, but only if it can be directed. A ship is a useful means of transporting cargo or people, but if the rudder is broken, it will be at the mercy of the wind and waves, and could result in a shipwreck causing the loss of life and cargo. To work properly and accomplish good things, both bit and rudder must be under the control of a strong hand that knows how to use them properly. In the same way, the tongue must overcome the contrary force of the flesh and be under God’s wise control if it is to accomplish anything good.

James would vigorously disagree with the familiar children’s taunt, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” James is steeped in the Old Testament, and it (especially the Book of Proverbs) has much to say about the power of the tongue, either for good or for evil. Proverbs 12:18 states, “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Imagine that all of us here today were carrying into church an unsheathed, razor-sharp, two-edged sword. It would be a miracle if we got through the morning without anyone getting cut! The fact is, we all have a razor-sharp, two-edged sword—in our mouths! We should use them with the greatest care to bring healing, not injury.

Proverbs has many other references to the tongue. For example (16:24), “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” If we all would read Proverbs frequently and pay attention to its wisdom, we would be a source of sweetness and healing in our homes and our church!

So James wants us to recognize that we will be held accountable for how we use our tongues, especially those of us who teach God’s Word. He wants us to recognize the inordinate power of the tongue, either for good or for evil, so that we use it carefully.

  1. To tame the tongue, we must recognize that it is a humanly untamable source of terrible evil (3:5b-8).

James uses two more word pictures for comparison and contrast: a forest fire and tamed animals. Living here in Flagstaff in the midst of the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world, we are very much aware of the potential danger and damage of forest fires. All it takes is one tossed cigarette or one campfire that is not totally extinguished and thousands of acres of beautiful forest can be destroyed. Under control, fire is useful; out of control, it is frightening and devastating!

In verse 6, James states directly, “And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” Scholars debate as to how to translate and punctuate that verse, but however it is done, the point is clear: the tongue is a deadly, powerful source of evil that taints every part of our being. If we do not use our tongues with great caution, we are like spiritual arsonists, lighting careless fires that cause widespread destruction.

James says that the one who is careless with his tongue is the first to be defiled. An unchecked tongue is “the very world of iniquity,” that “defiles the entire body.” This goes back to James 1:26-27, where he said that true religion requires bridling the tongue and keeping oneself unstained by the world. “The sense is simply that since speech is the hardest faculty to control it is there that one first observes ‘the world’ in a person’s heart” (Peter Davids, New International Greek Testament Commentary on James [Eerdmans], p.142). Like a spark that lights a bigger fire, it not only defiles us, but also it “sets on fire the course of our life.” If you have a careless tongue it damages your entire life!

Then James goes one step further and identifies the ultimate source of the problem, “and is set on fire by hell.” Hell translates the Greek gehenna, which is a transliteration of two Hebrew words meaning, “Valley of Hinnom.” This valley, just outside the walls of Jerusalem, was where the Jewish worshipers of Molech burned their children as sacrifices to appease this pagan idol (Jer. 32:35). It later became a place to burn trash. The only other New Testament use is by Jesus (11 times) to refer to the place of eternal torment. James means that an evil tongue is set on fire by Satan himself.

Most Christians would shrink back from sins like homosexuality, molesting children, or murder as being satanically depraved. Yet we tolerate gossip, slander, deceit, half-truths, sarcastic put-downs, and other sins of the tongue as if they were no big deal. James says that all such sins have their origin in the pit of hell. They defile the one committing them. They destroy others. As a believer in Christ, you must confront these sins in yourself and you must be bold enough to confront them in others.

James goes on to use an analogy from the animal world. If you’ve been to Sea World, you’ve seen trained whales, dolphins, and seals. At the circus, you’ve seen trained elephants, lions, and tigers. But James says that there is one beast that cannot be tamed: the human tongue! He adds, “it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Being restless means there is never a time when it sleeps. You must always be on guard against it. Being full of deadly poison, you should handle it as cautiously as you would a vial of anthrax.

James does not say that the tongue is untamable. He says that no one can tame it. It is humanly untamable. Only God can tame it. James does not state that because he wants us to get a clear view of the horrible monster that we must do battle with. When the Holy Spirit controls your heart on a daily basis, over time the fruit of the Spirit will appear. These include love, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control, which all relate to the control of the tongue. To tame this terrible tongue, you must daily walk in the Spirit, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Ultimately, an evil tongue is the tool of an evil heart. That is James’ final point:

  1. To tame the tongue, we must recognize that its inconsistencies are rooted in its source (3:9-12).

James points out a gross inconsistency that he no doubt had observed. Christians say, “Praise the Lord” in one breath, and in the next breath they say evil things about another person, made in the likeness of God. They sit in church singing hymns to God and no sooner get out the door than they whisper, “Did you see so-and-so? She makes me sick! She’s such a hypocrite. Why do you know what she did?” Etc., etc. James gets very direct (3:10b): “My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.”

Then he points out that what often happens among Christians is contrary to all of nature. The same spring does not send out fresh water one minute and bitter water the next. He asks rhetorically (3:12), “Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Neither can salt water produce fresh.”

His point is the same as that of Jesus (Matt. 12:34), “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Jesus also said (Matt. 15:18), “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.” The mouth is simply the opening that vents whatever is in the heart. If there’s raw sewage in the heart, there will be raw sewage gushing from the mouth! That’s why Proverbs 4:23 exhorts us, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Have you ever thought about how terribly embarrassing life would be if there were a direct open line between your thoughts and your mouth, so that you blurted out loud whatever you were thinking? Instead of your polite, “I’m pleased to meet you,” out comes, “I couldn’t care less about meeting you!” After listening to someone drone on about something, instead of, “Yes, that’s very interesting,” you blurt out, “How can I get away from this bore?”

I’m not suggesting that we should abandon politeness and become brutally blunt. I’m only pointing out that even if you control your tongue, you often have a heart problem. If you want to tame the terrible tongue, the place to start is with your heart. Work daily at taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Walk daily under the control of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:18). Renew your mind by memorizing Scripture (Rom. 12:1-2; Ps. 119:11). Memorize James 1:19-20: “This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” Memorize Ephesians 4:29: “Let no unwholesome [lit., rotten] word proceed from you mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

FIGHT’N WORDS

May 2, 2017

Jesus Christ has today almost no authority at all among the groups that call themselves by His name.

Among the gospel churches Christ is now in fact little more than a beloved symbol. “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” is the church’s national anthem and the cross is her official flag, but in the week-by-week services of the church and the day-by-day conduct of her members someone else, not Christ, makes the decisions.
In the conduct of our public worship where is the authority of Christ to be found? The truth is that today the Lord rarely controls a service, and the influence He exerts is very small. We sing of Him and preach about Him, but He must not interfere; we worship our way, and it must be right because we have always done it that way.
For the true Christian the one supreme test for the present soundness and ultimate worth of everything religious must be the place our Lord occupies in it. Is He Lord or symbol? Is He in charge of the project or merely one of the crew? Does He decide things or only help to carry out the plans of others? All religious activities may be proved by the answer to the question, Is Jesus Christ Lord in this act?
There are a great many bogus Christs among us these days. John Owen, the old Puritan, warned people in his day: “You have an imaginary Christ and if you are satisfied with an imaginary Christ you must be satisfied with imaginary salvation.”
There is only one Christ and the truly saved man has an attachment to Christ that is intellectual in that he knows who Christ is theologically. For you know there is the romantic Christ of the female novelist and there is the sentimental Christ of the half-converted cowboy and there is the philosophical Christ of the academic egghead and there is the cosy Christ of the effeminate poet and there is the muscular Christ of the ail-American halfback. But there is only one true Christ, and God has said that He is His Son.
We are under constant temptation these days to substitute another Christ for the Christ of the New Testament.
Even among those who acknowledge the diety of Christ there is often a failure to recognize His manhood. We are quick to assert that when He walked the earth He was God with men, but we overlook a truth equally as important, that where He sits now on His mediatorial throne He is Man with God. The teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a man in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us. He is as certainly a man as was Adam or Moses or Paul. He is a man glorified, but His glorification did not dehumanize Him. Today He is a real man, of the race of mankind.
Salvation comes not by “accepting the finished work” or “deciding for Christ.” It comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord Who as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as His own and paid it, took our sins and died under them and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ, and nothing less will do.
But something less is among us, nevertheless, and we do well to identify it so that we may repudiate it. That something is a poetic fiction, a product of the romantic imagination and maudlin religious fancy. It is a Jesus, gentle, dreamy, shy, sweet, almost effeminate, and marvellously adaptable to whatever society He may find Himself in. He is used as a means to almost any carnal end, but He is never acknowledged as Lord. These quasi Christians follow a quasi Christ. They want His help but not His interference. They will flatter Him but never obey Him.
The argument of the apostles is that the Man Jesus has been made higher than angels, higher than Moses and Aaron, higher than any creature in earth or heaven. And this exalted position He attained as a man. As God He already stood infinitely above all other beings. The apostles were not declaring the preeminence of God, which would have been superfluous, but of a man, which was necessary.
Those first Christians believed that Jesus of Nazareth, a man they knew, had been raised to a position of Lordship over the universe. He was still their friend, still one of them, but had left them for a while to appear in the presence of God on their behalf. And the proof of this was the presence of the Holy Spirit among them.
One cause of our moral weakness today is an inadequate Christology. We think of Christ as God but fail to conceive of Him as a man glorified. To recapture the power of the early Church we must believe what they believed. And they believed they had a God-approved man representing them in heaven.
Let us look out calmly upon the world; or better yet, let us look down upon it from above where Christ is seated and we are seated in Him.
The discredited doctrine of a divided Christ goes like this: “Christ is both Savior and Lord. A sinner may be saved by accepting Him as Savior without yielding to Him as Lord.” Christ’s saviorhood is forever united to His lordship. Christ must be Lord or He will not be Savior.
To teach that Christ will use His sacred power to further our worldly interests is to wrong our Lord and injure our own souls. We modern evangelicals need to learn the truths of the sovereignty of God and the lordship of Christ. God will not play along with Adam; Christ will not be used by any of Adam’s selfish brood. We had better learn these things fast if this generation of young Christians is to be spared the supreme tragedy of following a Christ who is merely a Christ of convenience and not the true Lord of glory after all.
The Spirit never bears witness to an argument about Christ, but He never fails to witness to a proclamation of Christ crucified, dead and buried, and now ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Jesus Christ has today almost no authority at all among the groups that call themselves by His name.
The present position of Christ in the gospel churches may be likened to that of a king in a limited, constitutional monarchy. The king is in such a country no more than a traditional rallying point, a pleasant symbol of unity and loyalty much like a flag or a national anthem. He is lauded, feted and supported, but his real authority is small. Nominally he is head over all, but in every crisis someone else makes the decisions

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the third guy

April 3, 2017

Is it not strange that so much is made of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament and so little in Christian writings supposed to be based upon the New Testament? One of the church fathers, in a treatise on the Trinity written in the third century, devotes to the Holy Spirit but six pages of a book 140 pages in length. While defending the deity of the Spirit, he yet says twenty times as much about the Father and the Son as about the Spirit.

I think it would be only fair to admit that there is more in the New Testament about the Son than about the Spirit, but the disproportion is surely not so great as in the writings referred to above, and certainly the all but total neglect of the Spirit in contemporary Christianity cannot be justified by the Scriptures. The Spirit appears in the second verse of the first book of the Bible and in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, as well as hundreds of times between the first and the last.

It is not, however, the frequency of the Spirit’s mention in the Bible or in other writings that matters most, but the importance attached to Him when He is mentioned. And there can be no doubt that there is a huge disparity between the place given to the Spirit in the Holy Scriptures and the place He occupies in popular evangelical Christianity. In the Scriptures the Holy Spirit is necessary. There He works powerfully, creatively; here He is little more than a poetic yearning or at most a benign influence. There He moves in majesty, with all the attributes of the Godhead; here He is a mood, a tender feeling of good will.

According to the Scriptures everything God did in creation and redemption He did by His Spirit. The Spirit was found brooding over the world at the moment God called it into being. His presence there was necessary. The life-giving work of the Spirit is seen throughout the entire Bible; and it is precisely because He is the Lord and giver of life that the mystery of the Incarnation could occur. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

It is highly significant that our Lord, though He was very God of very God, did not work until “God anointed [him] with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 10:38). The Son did His work of love as a Spirit-anointed Man; His power derived from the Spirit of power.

It has been wisely suggested that a more revealing title for The Acts of the Apostles would be The Acts of the Holy Spirit. The men whose mighty deeds are recorded there could have done not one lone act of power if they had not been filled with the Spirit. Indeed the Lord specifically forbade them to try to do anything in their own strength. “But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem,” He told them, “until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

The only power God recognizes in His church is the power of His Spirit whereas the only power actually recognized today by the majority of evangelicals is the power of man. God does His work by the operation of the Spirit, while Christian leaders attempt to do theirs by the power of trained and devoted intellect. Bright personality has taken the place of the divine afflatus (inspiration).

Everything that men do in their own strength and by means of their own abilities is done for time alone; the quality of eternity is not in it. Only what is done through the Eternal Spirit will abide eternally; all else is wood, hay, stubble.

It is a solemn thought that some of us who fancy ourselves to be important evangelical leaders may find at last we have been but busy harvesters of stubble.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Keep Lori in pray as she goes through chemo

Remember Joe R, he sees the doctor Tuesday, pray the insurance company changes its mind and lets him have the surgery.

Remember Daphne, she has throat surgery on Thursday.

Roger E and his prayers for his grand daughters salvation

 

smile

April 1, 2017

From facebook site:  Old Paths w/a Twist of Time.

Of all the heavenly gifts we have to be thankful for, one of the most frequently overlooked is the gift of gratitude. From ants to elephants, God has poured out his blessings on all his creatures. But to humankind alone he has reserved the ability to combine reason and imagination to express thankfulness. G. K. Chesterton even claimed that giving thanks is the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

 Here are three practices to help develop this God-given ability to “always thank God” (1Th 1:2):

  1. Count your blessings—Honing your skill of thanksgiving requires that you expand your capacity to pay attention. I doubt that there is such a thing as a measure of spirituality, but if there is, gratitude would be it. Only the grateful are paying attention. They are grateful because they pay attention, and they pay attention because they are so grateful.

 Make a list every week of five to ten blessings you’ve noticed in your life, numbering each item and listing them only once. Review your list and say a prayer of thanksgiving for each item.

  1. Say grace—Throughout history, Christians have made a habit of “saying grace,” a short prayer recited before a meal to give thanks for their food. While you should continue that discipline (or take it up anew), you might find it helpful to expand the range of when you “say grace.” To quote Chesterton again,

  You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

  1. Say thanks for your neighbor—Want to make others feel appreciated and share the power of gratitude? Make a habit of contacting someone each week—in person, by phone or through email or social media—and let them know you are grateful they are in your life. The results might surprise you!

Let me heartily reading G.K. Chesterton, the Victorian references and people quoted are dated but the material is priceless. You can even join the Chesterton Society if you get full tilt into it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Joe and his shoulder, pray for insurance approval for surgery

Remember Steve L and peace and calmness

Paul K, surgery this June.

God Mind

March 27, 2017

Image result for picture of wise man

It has been said, “Any idiot can be complicated; but it takes genius to be simple.”Indeed, the most effective oral and written communicators are those who take profound truths and make them simple. This has bearing on every area of our lives. When we communicate with others either individually or corporately, we must be clear and simple. The well-known acronym K.I.S.S. (“Keep It Simple Stupid”) applies here.

Although the apostle Paul is a deep thinker, he always strives to bring his great learning down to common folks like you and me. However, the passage that we will be looking at has endured a most unfortunate history of application in the church. Almost every form of spiritual elitism, “deeper life movement,” and “second blessing” doctrine has appealed to this text; however, each of these is nearly 180 degrees the opposite of Paul’s intent. Unfortunately, this trend continues today. By appealing to “the deep things of God” and “secret wisdom” all kinds of false doctrines are being perpetuated and widely accepted. Therefore, we must be on the alert against this passage and others like it being abused. Our goal must be to understand why Paul has written this section of 1 Corinthians and how it applies to our lives.

The book of 1 Corinthians expresses Paul’s heart for a disunified church to become unified (1:10). Thus far, Paul has humbled everyone including himself. He has said to the Corinthians, “Your message is foolish (1:18-25), you yourselves are foolish (1:26-31), and I am foolish (2:1-5).” Outside of that everyone and everything is just fine. Now in 2:6-16, Paul states that the only way the Corinthians and you and I can live a wise life is by having the right perspective and power. He will argue that without the light of God’s Spirit, we’ll be in the dark. Paul begins by addressing the right perspective in 2:6-9.

  1. True wisdom is cross-centered (2:6-9). In order to be truly wise and to consistently exercise a wise perspective, we must have a proper view of wisdom. Throughout this overarching section (1:18-2:5), Paul has declared that wisdom is found in “the word of the cross.” Thus, in 2:6-9, Paul can write, “Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, ‘THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.’” If you are a Bible student it is worth underlining the word “wisdom.” The word “wisdom” (sophia) is repeated five times in the first three verses. The apostles (“we”) speak the message of the cross to those who are “mature.” The “mature” are those believers who recognize and embrace God’s wisdom in the cross. Since Paul does not divulge who among them is “mature,” the readers must decide for themselves whether they qualify or not. This same principle applies to us today. Are you a mature Christian? If so, how have you arrived at that conclusion? Paul argues that we are only mature if we have the right perspective on the cross. Is the cross your solution to church conflict? Is it the means of unity? Then you are mature. Is the cross your solution to your marriage and family difficulties? Is it the means of reconciliation? Then you are mature. Is the cross your solution to work conflict? Is it the means of getting along with your boss and coworkers? Then you are mature. We never move on from the cross of Christ—only into a more profound understanding of the cross.

Although in the next chapter (3:1-4) Paul will discuss those who are immature and fleshly in their Christian walk, his expectation is that all Christians will live according to the right perspective. We cannot make excuses for ourselves and assume that maturity belongs to the spiritually elite. God’s heart for you is that you press on to a cross-centered life. Will you refuse to settle for stale Christianity?

In these four verses, Paul will tell us three aspects of God’s wisdom:

The wisdom of God is eternal (2:6). The wisdom that Paul declares is “not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away.” It is not like the wisdom that may come from Oprah, Dr. Phil, or influential political officials. The wisdom they utter is here today and gone tomorrow. However, God’s wisdom is eternal. Isaiah the prophet said it best, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isa 40:8). Since God’s wisdom revealed through His Word is eternal, how can we not invest in it?

The wisdom of God is beneficial (2:7). Paul informs us that God’s wisdom is a “mystery.” The word “mystery” refers to truth that God had not revealed previously. The message of the cross is a further unfolding of God’s plan and purpose beyond what He had revealed and what people had known previously. Paul makes this clear when he writes that the cross is “the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory.” This stresses the plan and sovereignty of God. It also demonstrates that God has our good in mind—our glorification.

The wisdom of God is supernatural (2:8-9). The Jewish and Roman rulers responsible for Jesus’ death did not understand the purpose and significance of the cross, so they crucified “the Lord of glory.” The phrase “Lord of glory” implies the divine fullness. It also ties in with the saints’ glory (2:7). It is through union with Him that we will experience glory. Paul explains that the reason these authorities crucified Christ was because they lacked the supernatural wisdom of the Spirit. Paul then cites Isa 64:4. This passage is not about heaven, although it’s often used at funerals. It is clear in the context of Isaiah 64 that it means life, here and now. God wants to reveal these things to us. He has done so out of love. Trusting Him for understanding and cultivating this love relationship with Him means that we will grow in greater and greater understanding of wisdom. Yet, without the light of God’s Spirit, we’ll be in the dark.

[Paul has just said that the right perspective is to recognize that true wisdom is cross-centered. He goes on to share with us the right power in 2:10-16.]

  1. True wisdom is Spirit-directed (2:10-16). Paul will state that it is the Holy Spirit who reveals deep things to Christians. Therefore, if we want to grow to maturity in Christ we must rely upon the Holy Spirit’s power. In 2:10-11 Paul writes, “For to us [the apostles and mature Christians] God revealed them [deep thoughts] through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.” The wonderful mysteries God has prepared for those who love Him are not knowable only by a select group of Christians. Any and every believer can understand and appreciate them because the indwelling Holy Spirit can enlighten us. However, without the light of God’s Spirit, we’ll be in the dark.

Paul informs us that the Holy Spirit searches the very depths of the heart and mind of God. He can do this because He is God—the third member of the Trinity. Paul’s point is that the Holy Spirit functions within the Trinity the way our human spirit functions within us. Our spirit is the innermost part of our being. It’s where our deepest, most private thoughts reside. To put it another way, no one knows you better than you! The reason is that you live with you. I don’t care how well your spouse knows you or how long you have been married, no one knows you like you do. No one knows your private thoughts and those deep internals struggles you keep hidden. Because we have a spirit, we are usually our own best interpreter. That’s why when two people get into an argument, one of them will often say, “Don’t try to tell me what I mean. I know what I am saying!”

Therefore, if you really want to know someone perfectly you would have to tune into his or her spirit. The Holy Spirit is tuned in to the deepest thoughts of God. He has access to the innermost workings of the Godhead. So just as no one knows the deepest thoughts of a person better than his own spirit, no one knows the deepest thoughts of God better than the Holy Spirit.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Image result for picture of an empty whiskey bottle in the street

Standing at the back door

She tried to make it fast

One tear hit the hard wood

It fell like broken glass

She said sometimes love slips away

And you just can’t get it back

Let’s face it

For one split second

She almost turned around

But that would be like pouring rain drops

Back into a cloud

So she took another step and said

I see the way out, and I’m gonna take it

I don’t wanna spend my life jaded

Waiting to wake up one day and find

That I let all these years go by

Wasted

Another glass of whiskey but it still don’t kill the pain

So he stumbles to the sink and pours it down the drain

He said it’s time to be a man and stop living for yesterday

Gotta face it

‘Cause I don’t wanna spend my life jaded

Waiting to wake up one day and find

That I let all these years go by

Wasted

Oh, I don’t wanna keep on wishing, missing

The still of the morning, the color of the night

I ain’t spending no more time

Wasted

She kept drivin’ along

Till the moon and the sun were floating side-by-side

He looked in the mirror and his eyes were clear

For the first time in a while, hey, yeah

Oh, I don’t wanna spend my life jaded

Waiting to wake up one day and find

That I let all these years go by

Wasted

Oh, I don’t wanna keep on wishing, missing

The still of the morning, the color of the night

I ain’t spending no more time

Wasted

Oh, I don’t wanna spend my life jaded

Waiting to wake up one day and find

That I let all these years go by

Wasted, yeah, yeah

Oh, I don’t wanna keep on wishing, missing

The still of the morning, the color of the night

I ain’t spending no more time

Wasted (for a free bible, tell who wrote this song)

Time flies and time passes. We make time, keep time and lose time. We take time and have time. And all too often we waste time and kill time. “Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them.”

 Scripture commands that we take an alternative approach: redeeming time. The phrase “redeeming the time” originated in the King James Version of the Bible, while the New International Version translates this phrase as “make the most of every opportunity” (Col 4:5). What does this concept mean?

 The New Testament uses two different words for time, one to represent a succession of moments and the other for a definite portion of time when work or other activity is to be done. When Paul uses the word in this latter sense (see Col 4:5; see also Eph 5:16), he’s referring to “opportune” times of special work.

 As the Scottish minister Alexander Maclaren explained:

  And so here “redeeming the time” does not merely mean making the most of moments, but means laying hold of, and understanding the special significance of, life as a whole, and of each succeeding instant of it as the season for some specific duty. It is not merely “time,” it is “the time”; not merely the empty succession of beats of the pendulum, but these moralised, as it were, heightened, and having significance, because each is apprehended as having a special mission, and affording an opportunity for a special work.

  Our time on earth is a precious gift from our Creator. We “redeem the time” when we use this limited resource in ways that bring glory to God and help us conform to the likeness of Christ.

 Redeeming the time, though, does not mean we wear ourselves out in a legalistic attempt to maximize our efficiency in “serving God.” Instead, it’s a call to respond to God’s goodness by living intentionally and being effective stewards of the time we’ve been given.

One day you will stand in front of God and give an account for every second of your life. How did you spend it? unfortunately some of you will say, “damn, I’ve squandered so much, it’s to late to change.”

No! it’s never to late to make a good change.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

COURAGE

March 7, 2017

The Prussian king Frederick the Great was widely known as an agnostic. By contrast, General Von Zealand, one of his most trusted officers, was a devout Christian. Thus it was that during a festive gathering the king began making crude jokes about Christ until everyone was rocking with laughter—all but Von Zealand, that is. Finally, he arose and addressed the king:

“Sire, you know I have not feared death. I have fought and won 38 battles for you. I am an old man; I shall soon have to go into the presence of One greater than you, the mighty God who saved me from my sin, the Lord Jesus Christ whom you are blaspheming. I salute you, sire, as an old man who loves his Savior, on the edge of eternity.”

The place went silent, and with a trembling voice the king replied, “General Von Zealand—I beg your pardon! I beg your pardon!”

And with that the party quietly ended.

It took courage for General Von Zealand to stand and proclaim his allegiance to the Savior in circumstances like that, but of course, here was a man who was no stranger to courage. One of the required character qualities in any leader is courage. “Courage of the highest order is demanded of a spiritual leader—always moral courage and frequently physical courage as well.”

But courage is not only a necessary quality in a leader, it is a quality needed in every Christian’s life if he or she is going to be able to boldly follow and persist in the will of God. Ultimately it becomes a mark of maturity where it is consistently evident. Oftentimes pursuing the will of God calls on the Christian to take a stand that may put him or her at risk, at least emotionally if not physically or financially or socially or politically.

I’m not sure courage can be taught, just my opinion, I’ve seen men that I thought would be great in battle, fail and guys I thought were weenies, dinks, dweebs, rise to the occasion and kick butt. Training helps, discipline helps, knowing there’s backup helps. But for many it seems to be lacking.

But the bible implores, encourages us to be of men of courage,

1 Chronicles 28:20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.

The ultimate backup, knowing God is with us, for us, fighting for us. So we can pray for courage and it will be given. Was it there all along and God stirred it up or does He give birth to it in our spirit.

Simply put I don’t know.

Deuteronomy 31:6-8;  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” 7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

So our courage can be based on confidence in God.

So is lack of courage, lack of faith?

You be the judge.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

give a hoot

December 4, 2016

Image result for woodsy owl

Between Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and the Military a couple of things were permanently etched in my brain, one of them was don’t litter.

Psalm 89: 11: “The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it.”

And not just the physical world, but its inhabitants belong to God: “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine” (Exod. 19: 5). In other words, we’re all God’s possession but He chose a people (Israel) to be His “treasured possession.”

Whatever we do to the earth and with the earth, we must be aware that we are handling what belongs to God. The implication of God’s ownership creates a duty for us to honor His creation. The very first thing we read in the Bible is, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1: 1). Scripture goes on to describe the creation process. While He was creating the world, God repeatedly declared, “It is good. It is good!” Later, when He made the pinnacle of creation, which is you and me, He said, “It’s very good.”

So how do you honor God? He’s the greatest artist and the greatest architect— infinite, all-wise, all-powerful, and all-knowing. One of the great ways we can honor Him is by respecting what He has made. We study what He has made. And we give Him honor, credit, and praise for the beauty and the provision in all He has made for us.

Psalm 115: 16 says, “The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind.” Note the two words “belong” and “given.” God has basically said, “I’ve created this magnificent planet and I’ve entrusted it to the human race.” What does that mean? Here’s the implication: we are the earth’s vice-regents. We are the caretakers, managers, and stewards of creation. God says, “I’ve created all this but I’m putting you in charge.” The Scripture records the “hand-off” to humans in Genesis 1: 28: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” The two key words for our discussion are “subdue” and “rule.” The Hebrew words are very strong and are used elsewhere to describe absolute control. God says, “You are fully in charge on My behalf.”

Now I’m not a liberal, tree hugging, save the salamander guy, I hunt, fish, trap and shoot. I do one of those every day. To me littering is disrespecting God and me as a manager of earthly resources.

So, show respect to the owner please. And the next time you see someone litter realize this is a chance to read your bible (which you always have with you) about God as creator.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com