MOMENT BY MOMENT

October 20, 2018

  “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

 

  We receive life by reliance upon the Savior; we grow in that life by reliance upon the Spirit.

 

  “Many think that because of faith they are cleared of everything before God through the Cross, and therefore by faith they are clear of everything in themselves. But that is the error of ‘holiness by faith.’ The objective (position) is that we are clear before the Father; the subjective (condition) is that we are cleared from ourselves by the growth ministry of the Holy Spirit.”

 

As you by faith in the positional facts realize that you are in the Father’s presence. You know His presence because you know that your position in the Christian life is a life of faith in the facts, nothing else, a life based upon what the Word of God tells us. Not your feelings, not a message in tongues, just the facts.

 

We are, naturally, suspicious of any offer to make us happy in God. Because our moral sense, our natural conscience, tells us of our having lost all right even to His ordinary blessings. But in the Word of our Father, faith reads our abundant title to be near to Him and happy with Him, though natural conscience and our sense of the fitness of things would have it otherwise. Faith feeds where the moral sensibilities of the natural mind would count it presuming even to tread.

 

 The moment we walk by sight we are outside of faith. The Father would never have us outside of faith; hence, even in answering faith, He so answers it that we need it again the next moment, even while we are enjoying the results of it. The Christian life is indeed moment by moment, faith by faith.

  “Faith is. . . the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).

God bless from scumlikesuschurch@gmail.com

 

Pray for those struggling with cancer, Joe, Marybeth, Susan, Dave…

Pray for those struggling with depression

Pray for Susan, who just lost her husband in fatal car crash the funeral is tomorrow (Saturday)

HEY, STUD

October 9, 2018

A bishop who had just had a cup of tea with a parishioner commented, “I’m glad to see in what a comfortable way you are living.” The churchgoer replied, “Oh, bishop, if you want to know how we really live, you need to come when you’re not here.” (Reader’s Digest [3/84], p. 16)

Unfortunately, a lot of Christians live that way, keeping up a good front to impress others with their spirituality. But if you knew how they really live, you’d find that they are faking it. They don’t live as authentic Christians. We all value authenticity, especially when it comes to our faith. But how can we know if our faith is genuine? What are the marks of authentic Christianity?

Many of the Colossian Christians had been unsettled by some false teachers who had arisen in their midst. They were telling these relatively new believers that they needed to observe designated holy days, avoid certain foods, and keep certain rules in order to be spiritual. They implied that the gospel which Epaphras had taught the Colossians was not complete or accurate. They needed to add the insights and rules of the false teachers to be genuine believers.

Paul wrote to the church to assure them that the gospel they previously received through Epaphras was the genuine item. It proved its authenticity by the fruit that it had produced in them and was producing in others everywhere it went. In so doing, Paul emphasized, as he often did, three virtues that are essentials of authentic Christianity: faith in Jesus Christ, love for other believers, and the hope of heaven. Also, in Paul’s opening comments, he reflects the authentic Christian virtues of thankfulness and prayer. Putting it together, we learn that …

Authentic Christians are marked by thankfulness and prayer, faith in Christ, love for the saints, and the hope of heaven.

It’s obvious that the Colossians were very different after they heard and believed the gospel which Epaphras preached. If people have not changed, we can assume that either the true gospel was not preached or that it was not believed. Belief in the true gospel results in the changes that Paul himself embodied and that he mentions here.

In many Pentecostal churches you will find more women in the congregation than men. My church therefore is an anomaly, we have more men than women (55%). It’s not a huge difference but it is different.

What always interests me is how my men test me to see if I’m genuine. When our church went interdenominational, we received even more men. I think we have more than our fair share of cops, FBI, a secret something and a homeland security. Maybe one attracts the other. With my military and government background it’s maybe not so surprising.

And since I hunt, reload, and shoot often we get a lot of shooters in church. So our men’s prayer Saturday is usually prayer, breakfast and then shooting. We trade knives, stories and once a quarter we have a saints and sinner dinner. We encourage the guys to invite someone that has never been to church. We grill steaks, have a little bourbon (one glass limit) and a cigar and then bible study, we call it “the holy smokes bible study”.

We have guys that won’t come to church but they will come to bible study and the dinners.

What interests me the most is how they watch the Christian men like a hawk, just waiting for them to slip up. I tell them we do have a few rules always in play, you can’t take the Lord’s name in vain, no dope, don’t show up drunk or high, no jokes about sex, no wife bashing, and you don’t have to hold hands when you pray. That last one draws a big sigh of relief.

I tell them anything I say in front of them I would say in the pulpit.

They are looking for a very real, genuine walk, and they want to see forgiveness in action. We do confess our sins to each other, either to the group or you’ll see some guys on one of the hiking trails or on the gun range having a serious come to Jesus conversation.

The one side effect I never saw coming was the wives saying thank you. My response is always “it’s not the goal of the church to neuter your husband” you can be a man and a good Christian.

Well that’s it for now, God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ronnie S, life has been very hard for him and he needs a financial miracle.

the naughty list

October 7, 2018

THE ACTS OF THE SINFUL NATURE

No passage in the Bible draws a clearer contrast between the lifestyle of the Spirit-filled

believer and that of the person controlled by the sinful human nature than Gal 5:16-26.

Paul not only discusses general lifestyle differences by emphasizing that the Spirit and

the sinful nature are at war with each other, but he also includes a specific list of both

the acts of the sinful nature and the fruit of the Spirit.

THE ACTS OF THE SINFUL NATURE. “Sinful nature” (GREEK  sarx) pictures the human

nature with its corrupt desires. The sinful nature remains within Christians after their

conversion and is their deadly enemy (Ro 8:6-8,13; Gal 5:17,21). Those who practice the

acts of the sinful nature cannot inherit God’s kingdom (Gal 5:21). Therefore, this sinful

nature must be resisted and put to death in a continual warfare that the believer wages

through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:4-14; see Gal 5:17, note). The acts of the

sinful nature (Gal 5:19-21) include:

(1) “Sexual immorality” (GREEK  porneia), i.e., immoral sexual conduct and intercourse; it

includes taking pleasure in pornographic pictures, films or writings (cf. Lx 20:14; Mt

5:31-32; 19:9; Ac 15:20,29; 21:25; lCo 5:1);

(2) “Impurity” (Gk akatharsia), i.e., sexual sins, evil deeds and vices, including

thoughts and desires of the heart (Eph 5:3; Col 3:5);

(3) “Debauchery” (GREEK aselgeia), i.e., sensuality; following one’s passions and desires

to the point of having no shame or public decency (2Co 12:21);

(4) “Idolatry” (GREEK eidololatria) , i.e., worship of spirits, persons or graven images; trust

in any person, institution or thing as having equal or greater authority than God and his

Word (Col 3:5);

(5) “Witchcraft” (GREEK pharmakela), i.e., sorcery, spiritism, black magic, worship of

demons and use of drugs to produce “spiritual” experiences (Lx 7:11,22; 8:18; Rev 9:21;

18:23);

(6) “Hatred” (Gk echthra) , i.e., intense, hostile intentions and acts; extreme dislike or

enmity;

(7) “Discord” (Gk ens), i.e., quarreling, antagonism; a struggle for superiority (Ro

1:29; lCo 1:11; 3:3);

(8) “Jealousy” (Gk zelos), i.e., resentfulness, envy of another’s sllr.cess (Ro 13:13; lCo

3:3);

(9) “Fits of rage” (GREEK thumos), i.e., explosive anger that flames into violent words or

deeds (Col 3:8);

(10) “Selfish ambition” (Gk eritheia) , i.e., seeking of power (2Co 12:20; Php 1:16-17);

(11) “Dissensions” (GREEK dichostasia), i.e., introducing divisive teachings not supported

by God’s Word (Ro 16:17);

(12) “Factions” (GREEK hairesis) , i.e., division within the congregation into selfish groups

or cliques that destroy the unity of the church (iCo 11:19);

(13) “Envy” (Gkphthonos), i.e., resentful dislike of another person who has something

that one desires;

(14) “Drunkenness” (GREEK methel, i.e., impairing one’s mental or physical control by

alcoholic drink;

(15) “Orgies” (GREEK komos), i.e., excessive feasting and revelry; a party spirit involving

alcohol, drugs, sex, or the like.

Just how dark is humanity, well, you’ve read the list, we can be carnal, or we can be spiritual. In my sex addict counseling group, I don’t think I can be surprised and then I hear something that is beyond my imagination. It’s a good thing I have a great poker face. What is more surprising is that fact that these are supposed to be Christian people coming to me for counseling.

The most confrontational moment in counseling was when I told a man I didn’t believe he was a Christian. Not because of the magnitude of what he was doing, but by the fact that there was no pause button, no gaps, it was habitual sinning. This was a deacon, the song leader, the largest gift giver (offerings) in church.

It would take to long to tell the whole story. He stepped down from his church duties, confessed to his pastor his wrong doings, he looked repentant. That was until he called me from jail arrested for solicitation of a prostitute.

So here’s my warning. If you are fighting and struggling with a sexual sin I will give you the benefit of doubt. But if you are indulging and only sorry you got caught, then I say “liar” you are lying to me and to God.

So this may be the last waring God gives you.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

GET OUT OF THE WAY

October 1, 2018

  “The Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and guard you from evil” (2 Thess. 3:3, R.V.).

 

  When once we see and accept His purpose for our lives to the extent that it becomes our will also, the details of His process cease to matter. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job. 13:15).

 

The one purpose our Father has in view, in all His ways, is to conform us to the image of His Son. This may explain our perplexities as to the past; it will govern our behavior in the present; it is to be our guide in the future. The chief concern of our Lord is not to instruct us about a multitude of details, not to explain to us the reason for the trials which we are called to pass through. He is working out everything to serve His one supreme aim in manifesting the character of His Son in His saints.

 

The God-given experiences of the Spirit’s working within many a time passes away, and leaves the believer apparently dull and dead. This is only until the double lesson has been fully learned: (1) that a living faith can rejoice in the Living God, even when all feeling and experience appear to contradict the truth (Rom. 8:28, 29); and (2) that the Divine life only predominates as the life of the old man is held in the place of death, inoperative, fully reckoned and experienced (Rom. 6:11a). The life of the Lord Jesus is revealed as His death works in us (2 Cor. 4:11, 12), and as in weakness and nothingness we look to Him (2 Cor. 3:18).

 

  “While our Father is dealing with someone in discipline, when He is applying the Cross in a life, be careful how you sympathize with that person. You may be taking sides with him against God. By such sympathy, you may, indeed, draw him away from the work of the Cross.”

 

  “For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4:11)

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Thank God for answered prayers. So praise reports.

 

Thank God for leading and guiding and providing.

OUR LIFE LIST

September 29, 2018

Quote; “Years ago I encountered a word of wisdom: “At the end of our lives, what we will regret is far more about what we didn’t do, than what we did.” And then recently, in a conversation about what “youngers” want to learn from “olders,” a colleague said he wanted to know what we regret so he can learn from our lessons the wiser way (observation) instead of the hard way (personal experience)” end of quote.

Like a previous post I don’t know the author of this quote, only that personally I disagree. I regret far more some of the things I did and their far reaching, lasting consequences versus the one thing I didn’t do and have regrets.

So for you what is it, things you didn’t do or things you did?

There’s a big difference, for the things I did do I need to repent and practice accepting the divine forgiveness of God. For the things I didn’t do, unless it was something the Lord asked me to do and I didn’t, I have only one regret in that column.

It doesn’t mean anything if your column doesn’t match mine. We are all unique and a we will all will be judged for our motives of everything we did.

The important thing is live your life. Practice being godly, holy, not only reckoning by faith but also by practice. The “put on” or “put off” category that the Holy Spirit calls us to do.

And this isn’t about your “bucket list” ( I hate that phrase) it’s about choices you make especially regarding relationships. Do what you’re supposed to do before it’s to late. Fix the things that will have consequences, even the hard ones, when you come under conviction from the Lord. It’s better to fix them the first time He asks.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Another phrase I’m not found of but it fits; “get it done” or get r dun. Whatever, do what you have to do. Peace of mind is a valuable commodity.

Pray for Dave H, good mental health.

Pray for Christina, tough decisions.

Praise report, my doctor called me today, no cancer.

Pray for Matthew W, very sick after being stung over a dozen time by red wasps. These are the giant, big as your thumb wasps.

3 n 1

September 23, 2018

The Christian doctrine of immortality cannot be understood apart from the right conception of the tripartite nature of men. Many think that man is a physical being only. There is a great danger of any man thinking thus of himself. In his desire to satisfy the needs of the body there is the tendency on man’s part to lose sight of the fact that he is immortal. There have been persons who have lived all of their lives either in ignorance or willful neglect of a life after death, but upon their death-bed they suddenly realized that they were more than physical beings.

I’m not a body with a spirit, I’m a spirit with a body. Think about that. (actually that’s a half truth and we will develop the whole idea) but the idea is the spiritual component of ourselves is more important than the physical component.

There is an idea also that prevails largely today that man consists of only two component parts: namely, body and spirit. In the thinking of the writer this view appears to be one that might create confusion in the minds of any Christians. While soul and spirit are so closely related that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish accurately between them, there seems to be only one logical conclusion: namely, that “soul” and “spirit” are not the same. The Bible does make a distinction.

Man is a triune being because he is created in the image of God. “God said, Let us make man in Our image” (Genesis 1:26). We know that God is a Trinity. The Holy Trinity is clearly set forth in the Apostle Paul’s benediction that closed his Second Corinthian Epistle: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13:14). Our Lord Himself said, in what we call “The Great Commission”: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). Created in the image of God, man is likewise a trinity. He has a spiritual nature that is separate and distinct from the body in which it dwells.

The two following passages from the Bible clearly establish the fact that man is a triune being composed of spirit, soul, and body:

I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow (body), and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

The threefold nature of man might be illustrated in several ways. Dr. Clarence Larkin uses three circles (Rightly Dividing The Word, page 86). The outer circle stands for the body of man, the middle circle for the soul, and the inner for the spirit. At this point it will be well to quote a portion from Dr. Larkin’s book:

In the outer circle the ‘Body’ is shown as touching the Material world through the five senses of ‘Sight,’ ‘Smell,’ ‘Hearing,’ ‘Taste’ and ‘Touch.’

The Gates to the ‘Soul’ are ‘Imagination,’ ‘Conscience,’ ‘Memory,’ ‘Reason’ and the ‘Affections.’

The “Spirit” receives impressions of outward and material things through the soul. The spiritual faculties of the ‘Spirit’ are ‘Faith,’ ‘Hope,’ ‘Reverence,’ ‘Prayer’ and ‘Worship.’

In his unfallen state the ‘Spirit’ of man was illuminated from Heaven, but when the human race fell in Adam, sin closed the window of the Spirit, pulled down the curtain, and the chamber of the spirit became a death chamber and remains so in every unregenerate heart, until the Life and Light giving power of the Holy Spirit floods that chamber with the Life and Light giving power of the new life in Christ Jesus.

Well we are going to stop right there for now.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Please remember April and Makala in your prayers. Life has been tough for them and they need a lot of prayer and help. Pray they accept counseling and not self-destruct.

Heavenly Places

September 21, 2018

  “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).

  It is sad to have to say that the present-day Church is so earthy that it is of little earthly good. “Sir, we would see Jesus”! (John 12:21). The agony and the ugliness or the old rugged cross is now a golden bejeweled cross. There is no longer in most hymn books songs about the blood or phrases like; “such a worm as I.”

No, we sing praise songs about how great we are.

  The great failure of the Modern Church was in giving up the Apostle Paul. Many pulpits haven’t heard a sermon from the book of Romans in years. Or the second coming of the Lord and how it could be at any moment.

  It is essential that a believer have a clear understanding of his position before the Father—his place in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. This alone will give true peace of mind, joy and comfort of heart, strength for conflict and power for service. We will never be able to properly understand or fill our place for God on earth if we do not realize our God-given standing before Him in heaven.

  And never forget that our place before the Father is His gift, and a gift worthy of the Giver; not a gift according to the measure of our worth but a gift intended to display the exceeding riches of the grace of the Giver. The greatness of the Giver then is the measure of the blessings that are mine in the Lord Jesus Christ, not what I am or what I deserve.

 When you see and stand on your heavenly ground, you come to rest, just as the Father rests. You need not worry—only keep on that ground by your attitude of heart. If you are going to worry—if you must worry—worry lest you get down on earthly ground, for that is the ground of worry. Abide above! Heavenly things are in safe keeping—in the keeping of One who is ‘far above all.’.

  “For ye have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3, ASV.).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember to pray for Gwen and her economic struggles

Continue to pray for Maureen and her shingles.

Dave I, and his battle with prostate cancer.

OUGHT NAUGHT TO BE

September 17, 2018

OUGHT NOUGHT TO BE

I’ve mentioned this before but want to revisit the situation.

I can walk into any bar or tavern. And say; “I’m cheating on my wife, my taxes, my boss, I’ve shot the neighbor’s cat and I just found out my mistress is HIV positive.”

And someone will come over and by me a drink. Or someone will come over and say; “I know what you’re saying.”

But have any failure in a Christian environment and well they shoot horses don’t they.

Mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, brotherhood, fraternity, grace, support, join AA because you may not get it from church.

Doesn’t seem to happen. It’s seems the membership for church is perfect people getting saved and leading perfect lives. Don’t dare tell them your past, you’ll find yourself not asked for dinner after the Sunday service.

Yet Jesus live and visited with the worst of his day, sinners. He laughed with them, broke bread with them and invited them to know Him better.

How can we expect a body of believers to grow intimate with each other when we hide our past, keep secret our current struggles and shove out anyone that fails?

So by pretending to be perfect we become false. And the brother or sister in Christ is afraid to share their struggles and failures, because on Sunday morning everyone is lying and saying, “all is well” and “I’m just fine.”

We don’t have an actual church plan in place to help the brother or sister to restoration, just condemnation and forced out of fellowship.

There must be a balance in church, yes, the mature believers acknowledging the less mature and their failures. And the saint that falls, needs support not an exodus.

Let’s pray that we as believers are gentler, more forgiving, and willing to acknowledge we are forgiven but still fall short of perfection.

There is a time for the rod, but we are to quick to use it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Maureen in your prayers as she deals with shingles.

Pray for Gwen that is struggling financially.

More than a muscle part four (the end).

Thanks for all your encouragement and especially your patience to read through these long posts. this series on the heart was a real blessing to me. I hope you have been encouraged as well. God Bless.

The Heart Needs Prostrating

Over and over again, we are told in Scripture to worship God with all the heart. This stresses the need of total involvement with God, an involvement that includes the mind, emotions, and the will. So, note the following passages of Scripture: With all our heart we are to:

  • Love God (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30).

  • Search for God (Deut. 4:29; Jer. 29:13).

  • Return to the Lord (Joel 2:12).

  • Rejoice and exult in the Lord (Zeph. 3:14).

  • Give thanks. This means learning to live by praise and thanksgiving with one’s focus purely on the Lord (Ps. 9:1; 86:12; 119:7; cf. Rom. 1:21).

  • Believe God and His Word (Acts 8:37).

The Heart Needs Pouring

Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

We need to go to the Lord in prayer in order to pour out our hearts and burdens to the Lord. The command here is based on the promise that He cares and wants to hear from us.

The Heart Needs Centering

Proverbs 4:21 Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.

God is never to be just a side issue. In this passage, the word “midst” is the Hebrew tawek which means “the middle, the center.” We need to keep God’s truth on center stage in our hearts. When the Word of God is not central to life, God will also get pushed aside by other cares, desires, and issues. We become like ships without a harbor, or an anchor, or rudder only to be pushed about by the varying winds and storms of life.

We need God’s truth center stage because of the importance of His truth to our relationship with God, our ambitions, our values and pursuits. When God is not center stage, we ignore Him and His purposes, principles, and promises (cf. Isa. 40:9; Heb. 2:9; 12:1-2). In fact, people often try to sanctify their self-centeredness into a kind of self-centered godliness. Concerning this problem, J. I. Packer writes:

Modern Christians tend to make satisfaction their religion. We show much more concern for self-fulfillment than for pleasing our God. Typical of Christianity today, at any rate in the English-speaking world, is its massive rash of how-to-books for believers, directing us to more successful relationships, more joy in sex, becoming more of a person, realizing our possibilities, getting more excitement each day, reducing our weight, improving our diet, managing our money, licking our families into happier shape, and whatnot. For people whose prime passion is to glorify God, these are doubtless legitimate concerns; but the how-to-books regularly explore them in a self-absorbed way that treats our enjoyment of life rather than the glory of God as the center of interest.

The Heart Needs Exposing and Convicting

Proverbs 5:12 And you say, “How I have hated instruction! And my heart spurned reproof!”

John 16:8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment;

Jude 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

2 Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. For this cause reprove them severely that they may be sound in the faith,

Titus 2:15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

Ephesians 5:11 And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;

One of the purposes for centering our hearts on the Word is that of reproof.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

Also, one of the purposes for testing the heart with trials is to bring about conviction with repentance that will lead to confession and changed living.

Jeremiah 17:10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

The Heart Needs Cheering, Encouraging, Comforting

Proverbs 15:13,15 A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. … All the days of the afflicted are bad, But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.

John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me …

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

Life is full of pain and disappointments which bring sorrow and discouragement, so the heart needs to be cheered, comforted, and encouraged. But our tendency is to seek to cheer and comfort our hearts with the methods of the world—through our strategies for happiness, through the details of life as with the pursuit of power, pleasure, possessions, position, and the like. God has given us all things to enjoy, but God’s plan for lasting joy and encouragement comes from a heart that has been prepared and fixed to trust the Lord (Jn. 16:27; Ps. 37:4).

The Heart Needs Strengthening

Psalm 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart.

Psalm 119:11 Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee.

Psalm 19:7-9 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.

(1) The absolutes of God’s Word provide a sure FOUNDATION that promotes right thinking and attitudes, direction and choices, values, priorities, and pursuits, etc. (Matt. 6:21f).

(2) Strength of heart comes through humility of heart. A humble person is one who walks in dependence on the Lord rather than in proud self-trust (Ps. 10:17; 31:23-24).

(3) Strength of heart comes through waiting on the Lord and trusting God for needs. What exactly does the Bible mean when it calls us to wait on the Lord? In essence, from the use of this challenge in Scripture, to wait on the Lord is a summary term for living by faith or living dependently on the Lord as explained for us in the Word. On the one hand, it calls us to throw ourselves on the Lord in childlike trust. On the other hand, it calls us to turn away from all forms of independent living whereby we seek to handle life by our methods and means.

In the Bible, waiting on the Lord stands opposed to running ahead and taking matters into our own hands by turning to our own human solutions. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD!” (RSV).

(4) Strength of heart comes through making God our portion. This means God is the reward or greatest possession and companion of the heart (Ps. 73:26; 119:56-57). “Portion” in Ps. 119:57 is the Hebrew cheleq. It was used of a reward or profit, but also of a chosen portion as a habitual mode of life. As a contrast, compare Psalm 50:18b, “and you associate with adulterers.” The NIV reads, “you throw in your lot with adulterers (i.e., you have chosen this as your portion, your way of life, the companionship of adulterers).”

The Heart Needs Biblical Desires and Longings

One of the most fundamental and life changing needs of the heart is to have biblical desires and longings. Please note the emphasis in the following passages:

(1) Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart

Though this passage is filled with commands, we can summarize it into four key responsibilities:

  • Look up: get your eyes off of people and circumstances and trust the Lord. Do not fret, do not be envious, but trust, delight, commit.

  • Look ahead: Rest and wait on the Lord and what He is doing. Know that the way of life of evil doers is only temporal and unstable or insecure. God will bring forth your righteousness, you will one day dwell in the land, you will have eternal rewards.

  • Be productive: While resting in God’s provision for our needs and committing our way and our circumstances to the Lord, ever delighting in Him, we are to do good, cultivate faithfulness, and dwell in the land.

  • Be content: Compare Ps. 37:16f. with 1 Tim. 6:6f.

At the core or heart of all this is verse 4 and the words, “delight yourself in the Lord.” This is the basis of trust, commitment, and rest in the Lord.

First, the Command. “Delight” is anag which means (1) “to be soft, delicate, dainty.” In Arabic, a sister language, it meant “to allure” and “to entice” and was used of the amorous gestures of women in their looks and walk. There is a certain feminine quality to this word and it fits with the nature of God’s dealings with believers. Israel was the wife of the Lord and the church is the bride of Christ. As it was with Israel, so we are to respond to the Lord as His chaste bride and to be sensitive to His love and care. Knowing Him as such should build our trust and commitment and keep us from being lured away from Him. In the Hebrew text, the verb “delight” is in a reflexive stem which came to mean, “to take exquisite delight, to delight yourself in an exquisite manner.” So the Psalmist says in effect that God is to be our most exquisite source of joy. We are to delight in His person and being. He is calling us to pursue God that we might know and revel in His divine person and being.

Second, the Promise. “Desires” is the Hebrew mishalab which may mean, “prayers, requests, petitions.” Our requests are usually based on our desires, wants, or what we see as our needs, though this is not one of the major Hebrew words for desire. “Of your heart” points us to the source of the requests, our inner person through the function of the mind, emotions, and will. “Desires of your heart” refers to the results of the function of the mind, emotions, and will in the formation of aspirations, desires, and longings.

When our delight is genuinely in the Lord, our requests, the product of our desires, will be transformed and conformed to the will of God. When we start truly delighting in the Lord and trust in Him for our needs and desires, we will then stop depending on our own devices for security or significance. It is then that our desires and requests will naturally begin to change.

Therefore, God promises to give us those requests, as the context suggest, according to His timing.

(2) Psalm 94:19: “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Thy consolations delight my soul.”

Anxious thoughts multiply when a man’s delight is off the Lord. When this occurs, his trust will also be off the Lord and on his own devices and solutions to life. So what does the Psalmist say? “Thy consolations delight my soul.” What is God’s greatest consolation or source of comfort? It is God Himself. When Christians fail to delight their heart in the Lord by seeking Him as their number one source of comfort, they will begin to unravel and they will turn to their own devices.

Note also the emphasis of the following passages:

Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for Thee, O God.

Psalm 62:10 Do not trust in oppression, And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.

Psalm 73:25-28 Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For, behold, those who are far from Thee will perish; Thou hast destroyed all those who are unfaithful to Thee. 28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Thy works.

Such Psalms do not just express the desire of a highly spiritual man, but they acknowledge man’s need as a human being created with a vacuum that only God can fill. They acknowledge the fact that nothing else can truly satisfy.

Finally, compare Psalm 86:11 with Matthew 6:21-24. The greatest indication of man’s fallenness is his capacity to try to handle life, or to seek satisfaction, significance, and security apart from clinging to the Lord.

Psalm 86:11 Teach me Thy way, O LORD; I will walk in Thy truth; Unite my heart to fear Thy name.

Matthew 6:21-24 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Even at his best, such a person is guilty of a divided heart trying to walk with one foot stationed on the Lord and the other one stationed on his own solutions. So what does the Psalmist say? “Unite (remove any division of trust) my heart to fear Thy name.” To fear the Lord is ultimately to trust the Lord or to turn to Him in complete trust (Ps. 40:3; 115:11).

Problems of the Heart

(1) A wrong focus or thought pattern.

  • In Psalm 19:14 the Psalmist prayed for a right focus and thought pattern. He recognized the danger of a wrong focus or center.

  • The heart, when dominated by the sinful nature and man’s viewpoint, gathers wickedness to itself like impure imaginations, slander, false beliefs, false aspirations and solutions, impure desires, and deceit, etc. (Psalm 41:6).

  • Because the heart is the wellspring of life, and because the heart is incurably wicked, unrighteousness begins in the heart (cf. Ps. 36:1; 58:2; Matt. 15:18-19). Remember, the flaming missiles of the evil one, as with Eve, are aimed at the heart (the mind, emotions, and will) (Eph. 6:16).

(2) An unbelieving heart (Heb. 3:12). An unbelieving heart is what causes us to pursue our own solutions to life. This is what happened to Eve.

(3) Fear and anxiety (Isa. 35:4; 51:7). Fear or anxiety is removed through a believing heart or trust in God’s plan and supply regardless of the problems or how things look from our perspective (Ps. 112:7; 13:5; 27:3).

(4) Agitation, frustration of heart. The absence of peace because the heart is not truly centered on the Lord (Ps. 38:8-10).

(5) Fainting, depression, losing heart. The absence of endurance (Ps. 40:12; Lk. 18:1).

(6) Turning away from the Lord. Turning away into sin, unfaithfulness, backsliding (Deut. 17:17; Ps. 44:18; Pro. 7:25; Heb. 3:12).

(7) Trusting in the wrong sources of hope as human strategies for security, significance, or happiness (Ps. 62:10; cf. 64:6 with vs. 10; 73:25f. Also cf. Ps. 81:12, “to walk in their own devices”).

(8) Loneliness and brokenness of heart (Ps. 69:20; Pro. 15:13; 17:22).

(9) Bitterness of heart (Ps. 73:21; Pro. 14:10; Ja. 3:14).

(10) Stubbornness of heart (Ex. 7:14; Ps. 78:8; 81:12; Jer. 3:17).

(11) Divided heart, the opposite of singleness of devotion (2 Chr. 25:2; Ps. 86:11; Matt. 6:21-24; Ja. 1:6-8).

(12) Arrogance or pride of heart, the opposite of a humble heart (2 Chr. 32:26; Isa. 9:9; Ps. 101:5).

(13) False values of the heart (Matt. 6:21; Phil. 3:8).

(14) Hardness of heart (Pr. 28:14; Heb. 3:7-13).

Is it any wonder then, that Solomon challenges us: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV).

As emphasized previously, the heart is where our character is formed and maintained, the place that determines who we are, and what we do. As Scripture warns us, issues of life flow from the heart. It alone holds the secrets of true success or meaning in life. If our heart is filled with what is good, our actions and words will follow. If it is filled with what is evil, so will be our actions and words.

So then, the treasures of our hearts are priceless, but as stressed, they can be stolen. We face three thieves, the world, the flesh, and the devil, and these three stalk us always seeking ways to steal the good treasures of the heart and to replace them with what is evil and worthless, or at least, with those that are not the best.

How well am I guarding my heart? Is the condition of my heart my greatest concern? It should be because it is so determinative of every aspect of life. It ultimately determines my love for God and for others. It determines who I am and what I do.

Conclusion

As we have seen, God is terribly concerned about our hearts. But the thing that makes this even more difficult is the fact, as Jeremiah 17:9 warns us, the heart is deceitful above all things and incurably evil. Part of the deceitfulness comes from the self-protective nature of the heart and its commitment to trust in its own solutions. We would rather trust ourselves than someone else, even God.

Because of this, even our worship of God is suspect and needs to be cleansed or purified of selfish pursuits. Remember, God warns us in His Word that we can be very religious while we withhold our hearts from true faith and worship of the Lord (Isa. 29:23).

Since most people spend an enormous amount of time working, their time in church must be only a fraction of their involvement with God. As a result, unless we are challenged and equipped to live all of life for God from a heart fixed and prepared to trust in Him in the daily routine of life, Christianity degenerates into mere external religiosity in which people play church.

Unless we really deal with our hearts, our religious striving or our worship of God becomes egocentric. And though this can be purified and brought into the service of God through the Word, too often true religion is corrupted and nullified by cravings and striving for self-centered concerns like power, comfort, and security. The Word of God is more than a handbook of doctrine and a set of prescriptions for proper living that we can apply to make life work out the way we want. It is a God-breathed book designed to involve us passionately with the living God so that we trust Him even when life doesn’t seem to make sense. All we can do is trust God that He is in charge and a good and eternal plan continues fully in place.

What we often try to do is develop “trust in God by understanding why things happen and how to organize our lives to rule out severe misfortune. If we understood the whys and hows of life, of course, there would be no need for trust. A predictable world would require nothing other than conformity to its principles.”

Christianity and the promises of the Bible are matters of trust, and trust is a matter of the heart

Like the old song goes; “Trust and obey, For there’s no other way, To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Ronne and Tim, they knew their daughter was devoted to being a missionary to Africa. So, they will travel to Africa to bury her there.

the mighty R’s

September 9, 2018

When it comes to prayer, a primary stumbling block is the idea that when speaking to God we should be original and impromptu, that our prayers should be spoken “from the heart” and done without preparation.

 But when we look in the Bible we find, as in Acts 4:24–26, Christians praying the Psalms (in this case, Psalm 2). Even Jesus himself prayed using the Psalms: His dying prayer on the cross was a quotation of Psalm 22:1 (see Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34). As Charles Spurgeon said, “If Christ thus lived upon the Word of God, should not you and I do the same!”

 While almost any passage of Scripture can be used for prayer, the best place to start is in the Bible’s own prayer book: the Psalms. Here are a couple of ways we can incorporate the Psalms into our own prayers:

  ➤ Use the “Three R’s” Method—I recommends an approach to praying the Psalms that can work for other Bible passages: Rejoice, Repent, Request. To pray using Scripture, ask the following three questions: (1) What about a passage gives you reason to rejoice, to give thanks and praise? (2) Is there something about this passage that reveals sin in my own life that should lead me to repentance? (3) Does the passage lead me to make a request of God for myself or others?

   ➤ Pray with Jesus—The German martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us that when we pray Scripture, we are praying with Jesus:

  All prayers of the Bible are such prayers which we pray together with Jesus Christ, in which he accompanies us, and through which he brings us into the presence of God. Otherwise there are no true prayers, for only in and with Jesus Christ can we truly pray. If we want to read and to pray the prayers of the Bible and especially the Psalms, therefore, we must not ask first what they have to do with us, but what they have to do with Jesus Christ.

We are our worst enemy when it comes to prayer. Because we know our weaknesses and failures. Thus we think we are unqualified to pray. Nothing could be farther than the truth. It’s because of knowing our failures, that like King David, we present ourselves to God, fatigued, failed, fighting, foolish, false ideation, we can start our prays always saying thank you God for putting up with me, loving me and being merciful.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com