IN THE LORD’S ARMY

June 20, 2019

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  “Thou, therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3).

  What if there were conscientious objectors in the Lord’s army? Actually, our Lord does not have any noncombatant soldiers whatsoever in His service, since the battle line extends from the front all the way to the rear; to say nothing of the fact that we are all camped in enemy territory.

  “Luther, speaking to the young preachers of his day, said: ‘I did not learn to preach Christ all at once. The devil has been my best professor of exegetical and experiential theology. Before that great schoolmaster took me in hand, I was an unweaned child, not a grown man. It was my combats with sin and with Satan that made me a true minister of the New Testament. It is always a great grace to me, and to my people, for me to be able to say to them: “I know this text is true! I know it for certain to be true!” Without incessant combat, and pain, and sweat, and blood, no ignorant stripling of a student ever yet became an effective preacher.’“

 Every bit of truth we receive, if we receive it in faith, will take us into conflict and will be established through conflict. It will be worthless until there has been this process. Take any position the Lord calls you to take, and, if you are taking it with Him, you are going through things in it, and there will be an element added by reason of the pressure. You have taken a position, yes; but you have not really received as yet, the true value of it has not yet been established. You have not come into the real significance of the truth until there has been some sore conflict in relation to it.

I bear willing witness that I owe more to the fire, and the hammer, and the file, than to anything else in my Lord’s workshop. When my schoolroom is darkened, I see most.

  “We also exult in our sufferings, knowing as we do, that suffering produces fortitude; fortitude, ripeness of character” (Rom. 5:3).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Keep young Daniel in prayer, this young boy is as courageous as any soldier.

Remember baby Eli, just over 2 months old, that he would continue to put on weight and be a healthy baby boy.

For Caliste and Stephanie, both living with inoperable brain tumors.

Salvation for Barbara d and Mona R, Norma Perales and her husband Rick and her adult son Rick Jr. and Cristina B, she and her husband Oscar need salvation, his dabbling in witchcraft has scared her into thinking about heaven and hell.

Remember Tommy, he is doing well on parole.

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement.

Remember Bill Warneke, the beginnings of Parkinson’s, chronic depression and chronic neck pain.

Pray for my wife Sharon, she is struggling with back pain.

THE MIND OF GOD

June 18, 2019

D.L. MOODY, THAT GREAT PREACHER OF LONG AGO ONCE WROTE; “I felt I had the Lord’s mind for the message.

MANY GREAT PURITANS FELT THAT IF YOU WERE NOT READING THE BIBLE LOOKING FOR CHRIST, AND DOING SO PRAYERFULLY, ONE WOULD FIND NOTHING.

IT WOULD BE A TOME, AND NOT A BRIEF DEVOTION, IF ONE WERE TO ATTEMPT TO ELUCIDATE ON KNOWING THE MIND OF GOD. SO LET’S SEE WHAT WE CAN EXAMINE IN A BRIEF SPOT, AND A SHORT TIME.

1 CORINTHIANS 2:16 For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ

LIKE DR. MOODY ARE WE COMFORTABLE ENOUGH WITH SCRIPTURES AND OUR PRAYER LIFE TO SAY WE UNDERSTAND GOD, SCRIPTURES SAYS WE CAN.

WE HAVE DONE A GRAVE INJUSTICE TO THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO AS A PART OF THE TRINITY, IS TO LEAD US INTO ALL THINGS ABOUT GOD. BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS GOTTEN A BAD RAP, BECAUSE OF PENTECOSTALS, CHARISMATICS AND OTHER ‘FULL GOSPEL’ LUNATICS. THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES IS USUALLY ONE OF EXTREMES; WE EITHER PAY TO MUCH ATTENTION TO HIM OR NOT ENOUGH.

YET WE ARE TO TRUST HIM AS HE IS THE ONE GIVEN TO US TO LEAD, GUIDE, FILL, AND BLESS. One of those purposes for the indwelling of the Spirit is so He can search what is going on inside of us, take our needs to the Father, and then bring back to us the answer to what our Father’s will is about this specific situation

AND SO THEN WE WOULD HAVE THE MIND OF GOD. SEEMS EASY DOESN’T IT?

The Holy Spirit is that part of the trinity who has the ability to see into all the dark places of our lives! And since he also is the only one who knows what our heavenly Father’s will is in all situations, he can help us make sense out of life by communicating to us what God wants us to do. That is why frequent bible reading and bible memorization is so important. Since the bible is God’s letter to us, the Holy Spirit uses the bible to lead us into God’s will. What if someone told you that you can only enjoy heaven based on how much scripture you know? Well, thankfully that’s not the case but for a moment there I had you worried.

1 Corinthians 2:10-16

New International Version (NIV)

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[a] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”[b]

But we have the mind of Christ.

WELL I PROMISED BRIEF SO I HAVE TO STOP, BUT PLEASE THINK ABOUT THIS, YOU CAN KNOW THE MIND OF GOD.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Pray for Brent W, a pastor that just confessed to his church a serious problem that he has. He is in counseling with his wife and the church is doing all to help him.

Pray for Bill Warneke, chronic neck pain, depression and the beginnings of Parkinson’s.

For Caliste and Stephanie, pray for peace and no fear in their lives.

Salvation for Cristina B, and her husband Oscar, who has been dabbling in witchcraft.

Salvation for Mona R, Barbara D, Larry R, Elena’s daughter Yolanda.

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement.

Remember baby Eli, weight gain and good health.

ANOINTED TO PREACH

June 17, 2019

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THANKS TO STEVE H, FOR GIVING ME THE TOPIC FOR TODAY’S DEVOTION.

We need to ensure that we maintain biblical balance concerning the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for any preacher to be effective, fruitful, or balanced in his ministry without acknowledging, and giving place to, the lordship, leading, illumination, and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can transform all your preparation (study of the text, outline of your sermon etc.) into a message from God that is accompanied by the power of God. You may rightly divide the word of truth; you may correctly study and analyze the text (the subject, structure, and substance of a text) and you may preach what you have prepared logically and flawlessly, but only God through the Holy Spirit can give your sermon the power to effect a spiritual transformation in someone’s life.

This is sometimes called the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit, or the “unction” of the Spirit, or the “empowerment” of the Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to enable us to conduct thorough, scholarly study of the text in preparation for preaching, and we must also seek the blessing and power of the Holy Spirit to use the message to accomplish His work.

So, what is anointed preaching? What does it mean to preach with “unction”? How does a preacher obtain this empowerment of the Spirit?

First, let’s look at a definition of the term itself. “Unction” is an old fashioned word that is synonymous with “anointing.” For the purposes of this article, we will refer to “anointing” as the special empowerment of the Holy Spirit on the preacher. This is not the general empowerment of the Spirit that enables us to live the Christian life. This is the preacher’s access to special power for preaching through the Holy Spirit such that what we preach has supernatural consequences. Or, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones puts it: “It is God-given power … that lifts it (what we preach) up beyond the efforts and endeavours of man to a position in which the preacher is being used by the Spirit and becomes the channel through whom the Spirit works.” 3 E.M. Bounds puts it this way: “(Divine unction) supports and impregnates revealed truth with all the energy of God. Unction is simply putting God in His own Word and on His own preacher.” 4

Now, let’s look at some key biblical references. Luke 4:18-19, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Here, Jesus is in the synagogue reading from Isa. 61:1-2. In what sense does Jesus mean that the Spirit of the Lord had “anointed” him?

There was no evidence of any particular bodily change in him, no change in his manner of speaking, nor any sort of spiritual experience. It appears to have been a normal reading of Scripture. The only difference from any other Scripture reading in the synagogue was his characterization of the text as prophetic of his ministry, and the claim that the prophecy was that day fulfilled.

In the way Luke has constructed his narrative, however, it becomes apparent that this event (Lk. 4:18-19) is directly connected to the infancy narrative (Lk. 1:35) and the baptism (Lk. 3:21-22), all three of which are designed to emphasize that Jesus is the anointed Son of God – the One sent by God, the One set aside by God, the One empowered by God to proclaim (and, indeed, to inaugurate) his kingdom. 5

This seems to be, then, the nature of Jesus’ anointing here – namely, the affirmation of Jesus as the one whom God has specially set apart for the task of preaching the good news and specially empowered for his ministry. What is most striking about this is that even the Lord Jesus himself received special anointing from the Holy Spirit to carry out his earthly mission.

Luke 24:49, “Tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Here the disciples, who had followed the Lord for three years (they had heard him preach, learned his teaching, imbibed his commands, witnessed his miracles, observed his death and burial, and seen him after his resurrection) are now promised that they will be “endued” (invested) with power by the Holy Spirit, which, of course, took place at Pentecost as Acts 2:4 records: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

You would not think that men such as this would need any special empowerment for their ministry. They didn’t need any additional knowledge or conviction of the truth about Jesus. What they needed was the power and ability to carry out their ministry and mission (the extension of Jesus’ ministry) now that Jesus had gone. And this is what they were endued with in Acts 2 – a special power from the Holy Spirit specifically to enable their witness and work to have supernatural effect.

The effect of this special empowerment is astounding. Peter, who had previously denied the Lord with oaths and curses, is now able to preach with boldness and authority such that 3000 people are converted in one day.

Acts 4:7-8, “And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, ‘By what power or by what name have you done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel…’”. Clearly, Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit” at Pentecost. So, why did he need to be filled again? Because the filling of the Spirit is a repeated process by which the Spirit empowers God’s servants to accomplish specific ministry. Once again he received a fresh supply of the Spirit of God that filled him for the particular task on hand here in this chapter – namely, his trial for healing the lame man in ch. 3. There are many more references to this same phenomena in Acts (e.g. Acts 4:31; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52), but these will suffice for our purposes.

1 Cor. 2:1-5, 1 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

This is Paul’s self-testimony concerning the manner of his preaching and teaching which shows us that spiritually powerful preaching is not accompanied with outward evidences and inward subjective experiences of some sort of mystical power. Indeed, neither the content of Paul’s message nor the manner of his preaching were designed, at least at a human level, to be manifestations of power.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for salvation for Mona R, Barbara D, Norma Perales, her husband Rick  and her adult son Rick Jr. also Bonnie W, Sherri Jones, Cristina B and Gena G.

Healing for Caliste Burt and Stephanie Taylor. Inoperable brain tumors.

Bill Warneke, chronic neck pain

Eli, Olivia and Tim’s baby, he needs to put on weight.

Staci C, salvation, and the marriage she has just put on the rocks.

WISDOM FROM ABOVE

June 15, 2019

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To ask God for wisdom implies that He can deliver. The Bible plainly states, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6). It warns, “There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30). In other words, if worldly “wisdom” contradicts or goes against God, it is false “wisdom.” Only God’s wisdom stands.

Paul contrasted the so-called wisdom of this world with God’s wisdom as seen in the cross of Christ (1 Cor. 1:18-30). He sarcastically asks (1:20-21), “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”

The point is, if you have not come as a sinner to the cross of Christ to obtain God’s mercy through faith, you do not know God and thus you cannot obtain the wisdom that comes only from Him. But, how does God impart the wisdom that we need?

God’s wisdom comes directly from God and is revealed in His Word. It especially centers in the knowledge of Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3; see also, Col. 1:9; Eph. 1:16-17). God reveals His wisdom by the Holy Spirit to those who are spiritual (1 Cor. 2:6-16). That wisdom has to do with knowing how to apply biblical truth to particular situations in life. Thus if you are not spending consistent time learning God’s Word, you will not have the wisdom that you need when trials hit. The time to seek wisdom from God is before the calamity hits (Prov. 1:20-33).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Bill Warneke, chronic depression and neck pain.

Pray for Steve H, encouragement and strength.

Patty R, married 8 times. She is staying married this time because she thinks her looks are failing and couldn’t “catch” the big fish. (PS, needs salvation)

Jeremy L, several years ago lost his wife and baby to a drunk driver. To his family’s chagrin he’s dating the woman that killed them. Says it’s part of the healing process.

Pray for Eli, Olivia and Tim’s little baby boy, he needs to gain more weight.

Caliste and Stephanie, faith and no fear, as they manage their lives with inoperable brain tumors.

Remember our salvation list.

ROCKET FUEL

June 12, 2019

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James 1:5-8 “5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” — NIV

James 1:5-8 “5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” — KJV

James 1:5-8 “5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” — ESV

Lk 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Although this passage from Luke’s gospel is talking about money, the principle of double-mindedness is well expressed. Jesus says you can’t have it both ways. One who is double-minded is a person who believes they can have it both ways in spite of the Truth that they cannot.

Jn 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” James use of the phrase “in all his ways” is the most compelling part of the passage for the argument that he speaks of a prolonged condition of doubt being the root cause of instability and unanswered prayer. We are instructed to ask God questions, seeking Him and His wisdom, so it is important not to confuse doubt (skepticism) with questioning. A question is asked when the answer isn’t known. Doubt is disbelief of the answer. A moment of doubt may be thought of as a brief reluctance to accept an answer, and in some cases this may be true. The doubt which James speaks of, however, is certainly a state of mind which permeates the conscious mind and renders their faith null. Just as an instability in a bridge will cause it to fracture and collapse, doubt causes faith to become unstable and collapse.

Jn 20:27-28 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Thomas confessed his doubt before this encounter with Jesus. Jesus responded by taking away Thomas’ excuse for doubting. Jesus commanded him to not disbelieve, but believe. Thomas then responded to Jesus in the only way that makes any sense at all. He exclaimed the divinity of Jesus and the full impact of Jesus’ identity must have struck him to the quick. I can only imagine Thomas falling to his knees in abject humility. Jesus wasn’t scolding Thomas in this encounter, rather he demonstrated incredible grace by giving Thomas the very thing he was bold enough to ask for: proof of Jesus authority, divinity, power, and mercy. In that moment Thomas came to know Jesus as his Lord. Is Jesus that real to you? Do you bow humbly before him as your Lord and Master? Yes, he is our friend. Yes, we are granted permission to cry Abba Father. But with that familiarity we must not loose perspective and forget that Jesus is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

The object of faith is God, unlike the majority of the ‘faith teachers’; the object of faith is not faith, neither is the object of faith ourselves. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and believing. You believe what God says and you will have faith.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

CONGRATS TO KERRI WINSTON, STATIONED AT ROTA AIR BASE IN SPAIN, SHE CORRECTLY ANSWERED OUR BIBLE QUESTION; 2 CHRONICLES 35:18, WHAT IS THE LENGTH OF TIME MENTIONED IN THIS VERSE BETWEEN THE LAST PASSOVER CELEBRATED BY SAMUEL AND THE FIRST PASSOVER CELBRATED IN THIS VERSE. THE CORRECT ANSWER AS GIVEN BY KERRI IS -400 YEARS. WE WILL SHIP YOUR NEW NIV STUDY BIBLE TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE AND A DVD OF OUR TOP 100 BOOKS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD READ. GREAT CHRISTIAN CLASSICS, PROVEN BY THE TEST OF TIME.

Visited with Caliste today, she brought six women with her to get her hair styled. She was afraid the hair stylist was going to have to shave her head and start all over once her hair grows back for the two brain surgeries and the huge scars. But the stylist was able to style her hair and not shave her head more and she looked very cute. So she came in crying over what might be the outcome and left crying because of the good outcome. No wonder the Apostle Paul said the glory of a woman is her hair.

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement.

Bill Warneke, healing from depression and pray he takes his medicine.

Ricky R, still Sober,

Candy C, has recovered nicely from surgery and is back to her normal activities.

Eli, Olivia’s baby (and Time) is slowly gaining weight, pray he grows up strong and healthy.

Elena, she gets sucked in by her adult daughter and then devasted later, pray she realizes toxic relations with anybody never works.

Salvation for Barbara D and Mona R, Salvation for Norma Perales and her husband Rick and her adult son Rick Jr. Salvation for Cristina B, her husband has recently got interested in witchcraft and this has made her more curious about the bible.

Tommy says; “hey” and thanks you for praying for him.

DRAWING NEAR TO GOD

June 10, 2019

thinking over feeling

  “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22).

  The darkness of this place will in time turn us to the light of His face—”the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

 When the believer has a real understanding that he belongs to that new place in glory, the Holy Spirit delights his heart with the things of that place. ‘Set your affection on things above.’ I used to pity those who are alone in the world. I pity no one now who has a room where he can find himself isolated from everyone, to be with the Lord Jesus where He is; where he can have his spirit renewed, to come out and face all the roughness here.

  “May the Lord lead us into the shelter of His holy presence, that we may daily grow in the elevation to which He has raised us, and consequently into moral distance from the old man which is so entirely estranged from the light and perfection of the Father’s presence.”

  “If I am risen with the Lord Jesus, I must occupy myself with Him where He is, or I shall fall back to the things out of which He has risen; and the very fact that I am in the scene where He is not makes it the more necessary that I should be fellowshipping with Him where He is.”

 We are conversant with man in death and sin and distance from the Father, for that is our state by nature; but to know the Man in glory, One in acceptance with the Father according to all His moral greatness, is new to us and magnificent. And according as we know Him there we become not only superior to, but distanced from, our own state with which we are associated.

  “For. . . your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement

Little baby Eli, not quite 2 months old, pray he continues to put on weight and is healthy.

Pray for Bill Warneke, chronic depression, severe neck pain, the beginnings of Parkinson’s

Remember our salvation list.

Pray for Caliste and Stephanie, only divine healing and intervention by God is going to ‘fix’ everything.

LOWER THAN LOW

June 9, 2019

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A familiar legend tells how the devil had put his tools up for sale, each marked with the appropriate price. Hatred, lust, jealousy, deceit, lying and pride were all there. Apart from these and marked with a ridiculously high price was a harmless looking but well-worn tool. A buyer asked, “What tool is this?” “Discouragement,” replied the devil. “And why is it priced so high?” asked the man. “Because it is more useful to me than the others. I can pry open a man’s heart with that when I can’t get near to him with anything else. It’s so badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since few people know it belongs to me.”

We’ve all known discouragement to varying degrees. Even the giants in the faith, such as the Apostle Paul, knew times of deep despair. He wrote, “We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Cor. 1:8). But perhaps the worst form of despair is when you realize that you’re reaping the consequences of your sin; that you’re responsible for the mess you’re in. Add to that the accusations of those you thought were your friends, who now are blaming you for problems they’re having because of your failure. You feel alone, rejected, and as if everything you’ve been working toward has gone up in smoke.

That’s where we find David in 1 Samuel 30:6. But it’s at this moment of utter despair and gloom that we read one of the most encouraging sentences in all the Bible. It breaks through the storm clouds like a ray of sunshine: “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” It teaches us that

No matter how low you go, the way back to the Lord is always open.

Failure is not final. Even failure due to our sin is not the final chapter for a Christian. Even though, like the prodigal son, you find yourself in the muck of a pigsty, polluted by the corruption of the world, and even though those circumstances are the direct result of your own rebellion against the heavenly Father, His grace can still break through the gloom and find you there. Even in the pigsty you can say, “I will get up and go to my father and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned ….’” (see Luke 15:18). And you can be assured that the gracious Father will see you from afar, will feel compassion for you and will run to you and welcome you back into His presence! Note first,

  1. How low can believers go?

Remember the old Chubby Checkers song, “Limbo Rock,” with the line, “How low can you go?” The answer, even for believers, is, “Pretty low!” David was in the lowest place he had ever been in his life.

I want us to feel David’s utter despair and gloom because when we feel down, we all have a tendency to think that no one else has ever been in as bad a situation as we’re in. And if the enemy can make us think that our situation is uniquely bad, then we will despair of thinking that there is any way back.

But there’s always a way back! You can never go so low but that the grace of God is sufficient to bring you back. There is always hope in the Lord! The only reason He allows His children to despair, even of life itself, is so that they learn not to trust in themselves, but in God who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9).

Perhaps some here feel overwhelmed with discouragement. It may be due to a health problem or a family problem. Maybe you can’t find work or you’re in debt so deeply that you can’t see your way out. Maybe you’re lonely, without family or friends who seem to care about you. Perhaps you’ve sinned and you feel like God has cast you off. But to you especially God put David’s terrible situation in the Bible to say, “There is a way back! In times of deepest despair, there is hope in the Lord!”

  1. The way back

David’s experience teaches us a number of things about the way back to the Lord from our deep despair:

  1. THE WAY BACK IS AN INTENTIONAL WAY.

“But David …” This is one of the many great “buts” in the Bible. Everything around David was gloom and doom. His property was either destroyed or stolen. His wives were gone and he didn’t know at this point if he would ever see them again. His men were talking of killing him. “But David!” He intentionally, deliberately rejected the faithless gloom and doom of his men. He intentionally looked beyond the smoldering ruins of Ziklag to the greatness of his God.

David’s strong intention is also seen in the Hebrew verb, “strengthened himself.” It implies persistent and continuous effort. There is nothing passive about coming back to the Lord at a time of despair. It doesn’t happen accidentally. Sometimes, like the psalmist, you have to grab yourself by the lapels and talk to yourself: “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance, and my God” (43:5; see 42:5, 11). Like the prodigal son, you have to determine, “I will get up out of this pigsty and go back to my father!” The way back is always intentional.

  1. THE WAY BACK IS A PERSONAL WAY.

“David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” David knew God in a personal way. God was not just the God of David’s country, though he lived in the covenant nation of Israel. God was not just the God of David’s father, though he was raised in a God-fearing home. God was David’s personal God. David had enjoyed personal fellowship with God as he watched his father’s sheep out in the fields as a boy. David had composed and sang many psalms, such as Psalm 23, which show that he knew the Lord as his personal shepherd who cared for his every need.

You do not know God if you do not know Him personally. You can know about God, but not know God. You can use a lot of religious language and attend worship services and even say eloquent prayers, but not know God personally. We come to know God in a personal way through personal faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins. Jesus said, “For this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

  1. THE WAY BACK IS A REPENTANT WAY.

To repent means to turn around or change direction. As we saw last week, David hadn’t sought God’s direction in his decision to go over to Achish, king of Gath. In fact, this move violated God’s explicit prohibitions for His people not to form alliances with the pagans in the land. But now David is very careful to seek God’s direction and to obey it.

In David’s day, a person could seek God’s will through the Urim and Thummim which were contained in the ephod, a vest-like garment in the possession of the high priest. Though scholars differ in their understanding of exactly what this was, it seems to have been some sort of God-ordained system of drawing lots. David now sought God’s direction in this way. The point is, this was a change from David’s earlier self-willed decision. He repented.

The way back to the Lord always involves acknowledging that I was wrong, turning from that wrong, and doing what God wants. Just as David now called for the ephod in front of all his men, so that they could see that David was not calling the shots, but rather that he was seeking and submitting to the Lord, so repentance often needs to be acknowledged in front of others, so that those who saw us going our own way realize that now there is a change.

  1. THE WAY BACK IS A SUBMISSIVE WAY.

Note 30:8: “Shall I pursue this band?” Many would not have bothered to ask the question: “These guys stole our families and our possessions. Let’s go get ‘em!” But David deliberately stopped to ask the Lord if he should pursue this band to try to recover what they had taken.

What if God had said, “No, David, your wives and your possessions are gone”? It would have been hard, but I think David would have submitted. You can’t write your own terms when you come to the Lord. You can’t say, “Lord, I’ll come back if You will do what I want.” He is the Lord, which means that He does what He wants, which doesn’t always fit with what I want. Submission means that I let Him call the shots. Whether He says, “It’s all gone,” or whether He graciously gives it back, I submit.

  1. THE WAY BACK IS A TRUSTING WAY.

God told David that he would recover everything and David took God at His word. He believed God and acted upon that belief in pursuing this band and fighting to take back what had been lost. It would not have done for David to sit around the ruins of Ziklag saying, “I’m just trusting the Lord.” He had to go and fight to recover what had been stolen.

Genuine faith is always active and obedient. Faith doesn’t passively sit around saying, “I believe.” Faith is taking God at His Word, often in the face of overwhelming circumstances to the contrary, and then obediently acting upon that Word until what is promised is reality. If you are recovering from a situation caused by your sin, you often have to believe what God says concerning your sins (that they are charged to Christ’s account, not to yours) and act upon it in spite of your feelings.

  1. THE WAY BACK IS A GENEROUS WAY.

On the way to pursue this enemy, 200 of David’s men were too exhausted to continue, so they stayed behind with the baggage (30:9-10). After they had defeated the enemy and recovered more than they had lost, some of the 400 men who had fought didn’t want to share the spoils with those who had stayed behind (30:22). But David would not let them act in this greedy way. He gave the men who stayed behind an equal share and he sent generous gifts to his countrymen in the surrounding towns (30:23-31).

The point is, the Lord doesn’t restore you to Himself so that you can live a comfortable, happy, self-centered life, hoarding all the blessings He has graciously given. The problem with David’s greedy men was that they thought they had recovered the spoil (30:22). But David’s reply makes it clear that he knew it was the Lord who had given them what they had recovered (30:23). If the Lord has given, then we must give an account to Him as stewards for how we dispense His gifts. The Lord never gives us His blessings just to make us happy. He gives us His blessings so that we can share them with others so that He is glorified.

So believers can go pretty low when they take the path away from the Lord. But, praise God, the way back is always open, even in our deepest despair! It is an intentional, personal, repentant, submissive, trusting, and generous way.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Eli, Olivia’s baby, normal weight gain and health.

Pray for Caliste and Stephanie, inoperable brain tumors, both had an emotional setback this weekend.

Our salvation list, Barbara D, Mona R, Salvation prayers for Norma Perales, her husband Rick and her adult son Rick Jr. and that they would be delivered from gambling.

Remember Steve H, strength and encouragement.

Ricky r, still sober.

Sherry M, surprisingly still behaving.

PRAY FOR Bill Warneke, healing for his neck, depression and that he would take his meds and go see a doctor.

THE FATHER’S WAY

June 8, 2019

medieval-blacksmith

 THE CORRECT ORDER

 That you may be filled with a clear knowledge of His will accompanied by thorough wisdom and discernment in spiritual things” (Col. 1:9).

  Service does not come first; neither does life! The proper sequence for the believer is death to the old, from which emerges newness of life and fruitful service.

It is a sad thing when service interferes with soul-prosperity. It is possible to be so engrossed with service that one’s meditations are colored by it, one’s prayers are full of it, and the Word of God becomes simply a quarry out of which material for sermons can be dug up. This is a serious loss to the soul and many are thereby hindered from making spiritual progress.

 Very often new believers who have not even peace with God are encouraged to take up service, and they become so occupied with what they are doing that they are not at leisure to learn or to take their place in the favor of the Father. Hence, so long as the service prospers, and they get on pretty well with it, they are happy. The service is their life! But when there is no success, and the whole thing seems to be a failure, their joy collapses. They have to discover how little they have really got, and in many cases to find that they are perfect strangers to the liberty and joy of acceptance.

There must be a profound and genuine experience of Divine things; a cultivation of the highest possibilities of godliness if the witness is to be really effective and fruitful. There must be a man behind the message—a saint behind the service. There must be the nameless effectiveness that comes from true fellowship with the Father.

  “So that your lives may be worthy of the Lord and perfectly pleasing to Him while you manifest the results of right action of every sort and grow into a fuller knowledge of God” (Col 1:10).

Remember baby Eli, Olivia and Tim’s baby, that he would put on weight and be a healthy baby.

Remember Steve H, strength and encouragement.

David P, his prayer list is so long, pray for everything, every part, every role, every aspect.

Remember our salvation list.

Have you ever sat in church, listening to the soaring music or the impressive sermon, and your thoughts were all turned inward?

 

Here I am in church, 200 people, 4 friends, God how could I be so alone?

 

Thoughts like: No one here cares that I am hurting desperately. When I first was widowed or divorced or when this illness first was diagnosed, or when my child became a problem, people prayed for me, called me on the phone, visited me, sent me notes. But now that time has passed and everyone is used to me, I guess they expect that I do not need anyone, that I am coping with my problem and that I not really hurting anymore. Maybe they even think that if I were really depending on the Lord, I would be able to handle my situation without any difficulty. But I am in pain and I do not think anyone cares. I sometimes wonder if even God cares!

 

There was a woman in the synagogue one Sabbath morning when Jesus was teaching there that might have been feeling just like that.

 

Luke 13:10-11

Think about her a little. She was probably middle-aged. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. She had been crippled like this for 18 years! Can you imagine what her life was like? She could not stand at all, could not sit comfortably, could not lie down except on her side. Walking was difficult. Eating could not have been pleasant. Her appearance was pitiful, her face etched with pain. But what had caused her illness? She was crippled by a spirit? This was not a form of arthritis. This was a Satanic attack that affected her body. But do not you think that she also suffered emotionally and spiritually as well? She must have often felt discouraged, depressed, and even abandoned by God. Yet she still worshipped, she still was there in the synagogue on the Sabbath. She still listened to Gods Word. She still had faith. I have to give her credit for just being there.

 

It is interesting that her condition was caused by a demon. There are many different symptoms mentioned in the Bible that were caused by demon activity: Matthew 9:32-33, dumbness; Matthew 12:22, blindness; Matthew 17:14-18, seizures; Luke 4:33, 8:26, mental disorders, insanity, and abnormal strength. This of course does NOT mean that these conditions are ALWAYS demonic in source. But the Bible clearly says that this condition was. This should teach us that Satan is a real and very busy enemy. Over and over it is recorded that Jesus cast out demons of all kinds. He came to defeat Satan and to make him powerless against believers, and he clearly demonstrated his ability to do this while here on earth. We have to realize that His power and authority over the spirit world has not diminished one iota.

 

Ephesians 1:19b and 21

That is why we can have confidence that Jesus will protect us. He has authority over everything in heaven and earth. But we must be alert and armored, because Satan does not play fair or come out in the open. He masquerades, sets traps, hides behind fun games, self, development philosophies, even religion. He actively works to fragment our families, to destroy relationships, to cultivate selfishness and independence from God, to make us doubt God’s Word and distrust God’s character.

 

Peter warns us of that: 1 Peter 5:8. Likewise, Paul tells us about our armor—our protection— in Ephesians 6:10-14.

 

This woman had been the target of demonic attack for 18 years, but it had not destroyed her faith. She was still worshipping God on the Sabbath. As she stood there, bent over, with her head lifted as far as she could, listening to Jesus, and looking at Him, suddenly he noticed

 

Luke 13:12-13

He stopped in the middle of His teaching, pointed to her and called to her to come forward. She shuffled up to Him, surely wondering what He wanted her for. Then He spoke: “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”

 

He spoke these few words, He touched her and she straightened up instantly. She was totally healed and she immediately praised God. Did you notice the word Jesus used? He did not say healed. He used a word that is translated in other places, “loosed, put away, let go, set at liberty and released.” She had been bound by Satan and Jesus set her free.

 

Can you not imagine the joy she felt and the excitement that ran through the spectators as they realized what had happened? The noise level must have risen as the people turned to each other in their enthusiasm. Suddenly a stern cold voice broke through the furor.

 

Luke 13:14

The chairman of the board of elders was very displeased and scolded the people. I think he was just a little afraid of openly attacking Jesus directly after such a display of supernatural power. God had made the Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week, our Saturday, a holy day, set apart to worship Him. There were 3 major reasons given for Israel to keep the Sabbath.

 

Exodus 20:8-11 (10 Commandments)— It followed God’s example of doing the work of creation in 6 days and resting on the seventh.

 

Deuteronomy 5:12-15— It commemorated their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Egypt— where they never had a day off and could not worship their own God. God gave them the Sabbath to show them that they were a free people, free to rest from their labor and free to worship their God.

 

Exodus 31:13— It was a sign of the covenant given from Sinai between God and Israel. God had given them a day off a week for worship, joy, freedom and rest. 1500 years later it had evolved, by the addition of hundreds of restrictions, into a legalistic bondage that was more concerned with external behavior than with human need. The religious leaders watched Jesus like a hawk because He was always violating their manmade rules about the Sabbath. They had had several sharp confrontations with Him and had always come out the losers. In one incident when He healed a man with a withered arm, He reminded them that they would rescue a sheep who had fallen into a pit and a man was more valuable. Then He said: “Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:11-12, NIV)

 

Another time He reminded them that, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27, NIV)

 

God gave the day of rest because people need time to relax, regroup, change their routine, worship and serve God without the pressure of other responsibilities.

 

Jesus claimed authority over even the interpretation and observation of the Sabbath. Why not? Was not He the One who had established it in the first place? His restoration of the true spirit of the Sabbath had enraged these men so much that they plotted to kill Him because of it. (Mark 3:6)

 

Now here He was doing it again! The ruler had rebuked Jesus by scolding the people and Jesus answered him. He is a wonderful Defender. Have you ever been unjustly accused or misunderstood and the only thing you could do was to say to Him, Lord, You must be my Defender. You must reveal the truth. There is nothing I can do but trust You. HYPOCRITES! (Originally, a “hypocrite” was an actor who wore masks in amphitheatre plays.) They pretended to be zealous for God, to be righteous. But they were not interested in what God could do in their lives. Their hearts were cold in the face of human need. They had more compassion on their oxen and donkeys than on this poor woman. They released their animals so they could drink but objected when Jesus released this woman, a Jewess, from the bondage of the enemy on the day that commemorated their freedom from bondage. How wrong these men were! They claimed to represent God, but they were completely the opposite. Jesus revealed the true heart of God. Jesus exposed their hypocrisy by His true revelation of the invisible God. He hated their pretense and they hated Him for exposing it.

 

Earlier in Luke He gave a stinging analysis of the Pharisees and experts in the law where He accused them of being only concerned with being externally clean, but inwardly they were full of wickedness. He accused them of injustice and pride. Then He said,

 

“Woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. …you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering. (Luke 11:46-53, NIV)

 

Do not you have to wonder what He must think of the greed, lust, and crimes that have been done and are being done in His name today? He still hates hypocrisy. Yet closer to home. Do we make a distinction between what the Bible actually says and what other people say it means? Do we make our application as binding as God’s? That is how legalism flourishes. Always check to see if our applications are consistent and Biblical. When we have a lot of rules about what we can or cannot do in order to make little loopholes that violates the very spirit of God. The religious rulers did that. For instance, they had a rule that you could not journey farther from home than 3000 feet (1/2 mile) on the Sabbath. So the day before, they would go ahead and deposit some food by a stone a half-mile away. That would then become their home temporarily and they could go another half mile, where they had deposited another sandwich, so they could travel another half mile. In this way they found ways around God’s law about the Sabbath, and violated the spirit of this holy day. This is just one example. They had 60 columns of regulations about the Sabbath.

 

Maybe you are wondering at this point if we should keep the Sabbath today. The Sabbath was given to Israel. It is the ONLY ONE of the Ten Commandments that is NOT repeated in the New Testament. The disciples and the early church worshiped on Sunday, the first day of the week to commemorate the Lord’s resurrection. Sunday is the Lord’s day.

 

We do not have rules about it in the New Testament. But we do know what they did on the Lord’s Day. They met together, studied God’s word, prayed, celebrated communion, and gave their offerings. Surely the Lord’s Day should have some special meaning for us. It should be a day of worship, learning God’s Word, service, praise and thanksgiving, giving our offerings, joy and rest and a time with family and friends. It should be different from the other six days of the week. After all, we have so much more to commemorate than Israel did: the resurrection of our Savior from the dead.

 

Look at the effect Jesus had on the people in the synagogue.

 

Luke 13:17

Can you imagine what His power and His authority meant to the common people who were under the burden of religious oppression as well as political oppression.

 

What Did He Reveal About God?

Jesus revealed the compassionate heart of God in this story. He initiated this woman’s healing.

He demonstrated that God knows everything, the cause and the cure!

He revealed some of God purposes for the Sabbath. It was not a day for misery and bondage, but a day for praise and freedom.

He revealed that God knows the motives of the heart and is not impressed with external behavior that masks unbelief, jealousy, and hatred. GOD HATES HYPOCRISY.

He revealed that God is greater than Satan and has authority over him.

But now I want to go back to verse 12. Woman, you are set free from your infirmity. The word for “infirmity” is translated in other places as “diseases, sickness, weakness.” It means literally, “without strength.” Very few of us are sick all the time, but all of us know what it is to be without strength.

 

We ALL have weaknesses. Do not you have things that fill you with dread when you have to face them? Fear of flying, fear of anything. Do not you have areas where you have consistently failed? Are there not relationships that you just cannot handle, people that rub you the wrong way? Maybe your weakness is a sense of worth that you have let someone else impose on you. Maybe your weakness is a habit you have not been able to break. Maybe your weakness is a disposition that always sees the bad side of everything.

 

Maybe your weakness is a crippling sin that keeps you from going on to maturity in your Christian life. Is it love of money and the things money can buy? Is it a desire to please people more than God? Is it a thought life that you would be ashamed to have projected on a screen for all to see? Is it a selfishness that keeps you from making a commitment to anything that will interfere with your own plans? Is it self-pity, pride, hypocrisy, a violent temper? I have suggested a lot of things to stimulate your thinking, and I may have missed your issue. But you just thought of it, did you not? Jesus came to set us free from our weaknesses. How does He do it?

 

First, we must come to Him for help.

 

Hebrews 4:14-16

We come to one who can sympathize with our weaknesses. He was a human being living on this earth, subject to all the temptations we face and He did not sin. He will give mercy and grace to overcome.

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

He may not remove our weakness, because then we would be independent. My weakness is given me to teach me to depend moment by moment on His power. His power is demonstrated where I am powerless. This changes my attitude towards my weakness.

 

Instead of hating myself for failing, I can see this as God’s opportunity to work in my life. God becomes real. Jesus really does live out His life in me. But it is only when I admit my weakness and depend on Him that I will experience His strength.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ wants to say to each of us today, “Woman, you are set free from your weakness.” He calls you to come to Him for freedom and strength. Will you come?

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

pray for Tina Miller, young mother, 32, three children, her husband Todd was shot yesterday at an ATM, he survived, shot in the back for 50 dollars, he has a long recovery period. The perp was caught by a legally armed permit holder, as soon as he saw a man with a gun he literally threw his gun on the ground and fell down begging not to be shot. COWARD. Turns out he was only out of prison 6 days. Guess what for? Yep, you guessed it, the exact same thing.

 

Remember Caliste Burt, inoperable brain tumor, pray for divine healing and/or a lack of fear of what could happen.

 

Visited with Stephanie she says thanks for your prayers and asks for continued support. She is a very private person and sharing and asking for help in not really in her wheelhouse.

 

Remember those on our salvation prayer list, Barbara d, Mona R, Norma Perales, husband Rick and her adult son Rick Jr. and pray they are not only saved but delivered from gambling.

 

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement.

 

Bill Warneke pray he takes his medicine, it would help with 80% of his problems, chronic neck pain, chronic depression and the beginning of Parkinson’s.

 

Pray for Pastor Paul K. health concerns and he’s really sad about seeing his mom 90+ years begin her decline into dementia. Plus he has 2 cysts on his pancreas, not cancer or growing right now and they found spots on his lung.

 

Resurrection-Doubting-Thomas

To all the patient readers, doing this short series on “The Jesus Narrative” has been a personal blessing and for those that have ‘waded’ through thank you, we only have 2 more to go after this devotion and we will return to a shorter format. In this hurry up world it has been hard to find the time to post these and for those that have kept steady I hope this has been a light for you on the precious Son of God.

The Bible has hundreds of references to light and darkness. God’s first recorded words were Let there be light. God is Light. Satan is the prince of darkness. Sin is hidden by darkness and exposed by light. We were born in darkness and born again into light. The contrasts are sharp, unmixed, with no shadows. Light is good, darkness is evil. We must have light to live. Today’s lesson is about two kinds of darkness—physical and spiritual. Of the two the worst is spiritual darkness.

Jesus and His disciples had just celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles which celebrated their years in the wilderness. One of the features of this celebration was the lighting of giant lamps in the women’s court of the temple enclosure. The people sang and danced before the Lord as they remembered that He was their Light in the pillar of cloud and fire all through their wilderness wanderings. During this celebration Jesus had declared the second of His great “I AM” statements.

John 8:12 (NIV) I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

There can be no physical life without the light of the sun, and no spiritual life without JESUS.

This was a claim to be both God and Messiah. The O.T. called both God and Messiah Light. He promised light for all of life to those who believed in Him. But instead of seriously considering Jesus’ claim, the Pharisees challenged and argued with Him for the rest of the Chapter. They were determined to not believe regardless of the evidence.

Their discussion ended with an attempt to stone Him. But Jesus slipped away from them and as He and His disciples went along they saw a blind man sitting there by the side of the road. Blindness is one of the most dreaded afflictions that can happen to a person. And this man had been born blind. He had never seen his parent’s faces, never seen a flower or tree, a river or mountain. Never seen any colors at all. He lived in constant unrelieved darkness. The only thing he could do was beg for a living.

Notice the difference in the way Jesus and His disciples viewed this man.

John 9:2

To the disciples this man was just the trigger for a theological discussion. There was no compassion, no expectation or even a request that Jesus heal him. Jesus had healed blind people before. One of the signs of the Messiah was that He would make the blind see. (Is. 35:5, 42:7) but all they could think of was a question with just two alternatives!

“Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (NIV)

There was a popular assumption that some sin before birth was responsible for congenital blindness. This idea came from pagan sources which believed in reincarnation. This man had sinned in another life. Their other suggestion was that this man had reaped the consequences of his parents’ sins. This of course is possible. (Venereal disease, drugs)

We can see from this that the idea that all sickness or affliction is the result of personal sin is not a new idea. We often believe or hear the same thing today. Jesus gave them an answer that can help us today in trying to sort out the reasons for the trials we may be going through.

John 9:3

Jesus did not mean that this man and his parents were sinless, but that the blindness was not a direct consequence of their personal sin. Really said, “This man is blind so that I might come and cure him and God might receive the glory.”

That is pretty heavy stuff. Think of all the years he had suffered in the darkness. For this moment!

Time does not mean to God what it does to us. If you and I could look at the suffering we are going through and say, ALord, you know all about this. You can change this situation immediately if you want to. But if not, all I ask is that my response and the outcome will bring glory to you. Let other people know that it is only Jesus who enables me to endure this day by day. What a difference that would make.

John 9:4-5

Day meant the time He had left on earth to finish the work God sent Him to do. Night was coming. His death and the time He would no longer be in the world. Now was the time for Him to do the miracles that proved He was the Messiah. He had said He was the Light of the world and now He would prove it.

John 9:6-7

Imagine the blind man. He did not know who Jesus was, had never seen him or heard his voice before. Suddenly he felt some wet heavy clay being placed over his eyes. And an authoritative but kind voice said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.”

The pool was a good distance away. Jesus did not even tell him why He was sending him there, gave no promise of healing. Would he do it? The man got up and groped his way there with his eyes covered with mud. When he reached the pool he bent down and splashed water on his face. When he opened his eyes he could see for the first time in his lifeClight, color, beauty and human faces. Can you not see him running home, shouting for joy! But notice the reaction of his neighbors.

John 9:8-12

First they questioned his identity and he had to insist that he really was the blind beggar. Then they were just interested in the mechanics of his healing. There was no sharing his joy in being healed, just one question after another. But all he knew was that a man called Jesus had given him his sight. So they brought him to the Pharisees for further questioning.

John 9:14-16

Talk about missing the point! The only thing some of these Pharisees focused on was that Jesus had violated their Sabbath rules. They had added hundreds of restrictions defining work on the Sabbath. Making clay was forbidden. And healing someone was also forbidden unless their condition was life threatening. But they argued among themselves because some of the others had sense enough to reason that miracles like this could only be from God.

John 9:17

Even though this man was illiterate, he knew something about the Scriptures and he could think for himself. The Old Testament prophets performed miracles, so this man must be a prophet. This made sense to him. Notice the fact that he had not even seen Jesus yet, but his perception of him was gradually increasing. But the Pharisees were relentless in pursuing their investigation.

“Maybe we are dealing with a fraudulent healing here. Let us find out from the man’s parents if this really is their blind son, and no one else has been substituted for him.”

John 9:18-23

Notice the parent’s cautious answer. They knew only three things. Their son had been born blind, he now could see, and he was of age to speak for himself. They really did not know how he had been healed and they did not want to be excommunicated from the synagogue. They knew that was the predetermined penalty for believing that Jesus was the Messiah. This was a kangaroo court. Who would have ever thought that being healed from congenital blindness could cause so much trouble?

John 9:24-25

Put him under oath to tell the truth. “We know this man is a sinner.” (NIV)

But he was not going to be drawn into their argument. He knew one thing, “I was blind, but now I see.” He stuck to his guns. No one could obliterate the evidence or nullify his experience. All the theological discussions in the world could not erase the reality of what had happened to him. There is no argument that can win against a personal experience. That is why we must always share what Jesus Christ has done for us personally with others–not just give cold facts.

John 9:26-27

Now they provoked him to the point that he lost his fear of them and became sarcastic. This illiterate beggar had the nerve to challenge them, the strict keepers of the law, and actually imply that they would want to be Jesus’ disciples!

John 9:28-33

They were the authorities, unused to having their word questioned and here this ignorant nobody dared to stand up against their decision. But the former blind man’s logic was wonderful.

  1. Even they knew that God did not listen to sinners but to the godly.

  1. But no one had ever given sight to a man born blind.

No record in Old Testament of miracle like this.

  1. Therefore this man must be from God.

And you smart people cannot figure that out!

Nobody was going to tell him that this miracle was not from God. He did not care what these influential men with all of their degrees had decided. He was the one who had been blind and now he could see.

Sometimes we have to stand alone against rigid positions people take because of the way they interpret the Bible. We must stand firmly that the only way to God is through faith in Jesus Christ.

I remember when I was about 12 and my mother, sister and I moved to a new apartment. We had a landlady who believed you must worship on Saturday. One day after her efforts to convince us seemed to be getting nowhere, she told me, “You will never go to heaven unless you worship on Saturday.” But I knew she was not right. My mother had shown my sister and me the truth from the Bible and I was able to stand in the truth without doubting.

We must not believe that because something is legal that it is moral (abortion).

We have to help our children in school to realize that they do not have to believe in evolution, just because some scientists with a lot of degrees say that it is the way life came into being. The Bible says God created the world and everything in it.

The Bible says sex before or outside of marriage is wrong even if everyone else says it is OK. Teach them to stand for truth while young.

The Pharisees’ dishonesty, pride and hostility to Jesus were revealed by their response.

John 9:34

How could a person be “steeped in sin” at birth? These experts were sure that his blindness was for personal sin even before he was born. How dare he lecture the righteous! So they excommunicated him. He was cut off from fellowship with the community of his people. This was really serious!

Can you not see him as he started back home. He was mystified, angry and probably a little glum. The day had started with him in his usual place, blind and begging. Now he was penalized because he could see. He was alone. Even his parents had been wishy-washy instead of sharing his joy. Just did not make sense.

This should not surprise us. When we take a firm stand for Jesus Christ the results are not always trouble-free for us. You may not be given a promotion at work. You may be rejected by members of your family. You may lose some old friends. Your children may not be invited to some parties. You may have your good name slandered. Jesus warned that these things would happen.

Matthew 5:11-12

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (NIV)

This man had received his physical sight instantly, and his spiritual sight was increasing gradually. He first called Jesus, “a man they call Jesus,A prophet, then a man from God, but He still did not know Him.

Now Jesus took the initiative again to bring him full spiritual sight. For the first time He actually saw Jesus.

John 9:35-38

Son of Man was a title for Messiah to the Jews. Daniel the prophet saw all men and nations worship Him. (Dan. 7:13-14) Jesus asked this man, “Do you personally believe in the Son of Man?”

His response was so open. “Tell me who He is so that I may believe.”

Jesus completely revealed His identity. “You have now seen Him; in fact, He is the one speaking with you.”

“Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him.

He now had both physical and spiritual sight. He had responded to light and was given more light until he could fully see. Rejected by religious leaders. Welcomed by Jesus.

John 9:39-41

This confrontation is explained by

John 3:16-21

What a great illustration this incident was. The blind man received his physical sight through the touch of Jesus. When he received further light he believed on the Lord Jesus as his Messiah and his spiritual eyes were also opened.

The Pharisees, on the other hand, claimed to have spiritual sight, but they rejected Jesus, the Light of the world, as their Messiah, so they were spiritually blind. They condemned themselves and remained in darkness.

God is very patient with ignorance. He gives further light. But He will not tolerate arrogance. They remained guilty before God because they claimed to have light while still in darkness. They claimed to be righteous when they were sinners. They rejected the true Light of the world.

Have you ever noticed how many false religions and self-development courses claim to have light? Light from the eastern religions, light from the mystics, light from within, light from the energy of the universe and on and on. This is because “Satan masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14)

How many followers would he get at the start if he really exposed himself as the prince of darkness? Do not fall for any of these seductive appeals. Light from any source other than Jesus Christ is darkness. He is the True Light that gives light to every man 1:9.

John 9:5

But He is not physically in the world now. Who is the light of the world now?

Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV) You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Do you see the responsibility that the Lord has placed on you and me? In our daily lives, at home, at work, at leisure, at hobbies, at church, whatever we do—we are to be light bearers. Christ’s light should shine through our words, attitudes, and actions. There is a distinguishable difference between light and darkness. Have you ever noticed how a very small light can overcome a very great darkness? You do not have to be a famous person reaching thousands to be light to the world. You have an area of influence, a place where others are in darkness, where you can shine as light. That is why we must have this as our goal.

John tells us something more in his first epistle.

1 John 1:5-7

In the days when light was given by oil lamps, the wicks had to be trimmed and the glass kept clean for the light to shine clearly. The same is true of us. What part of your life, your thought, attitudes, actions are in darkness? In God there is no darkness at all. When we hang on to favorite sins, we do not have fellowship with God or with other believers. We may say we do, but we are lying. Our light is not shining brightly. Our Father wants us to be in warm, close fellowship and He has provided for our cleansing from these sins that hurt us. The blood of Jesus Christ keeps on cleansing us from all sin. The Pharisees remained in darkness because they would not confess their blindness, their sin. Let us not let that happen to us.

Is there a particular sin that God has convicted you about? Will you confess and let Him cleanse you? Then as you carefully follow the Lord, you will see the impact you can have on others as His light shines through you to overcome the darkness of the world around you.

What does Jesus reveal about our heavenly Father in this story?

Our Father is omnipotent.

Our Father notices and cares for each individual.

Our Father has a purpose for our lives, even through suffering, that will bring Him glory.

Our Father takes the initiative to give us both physical and spiritual light.

Our Father can act in our behalf without a requestCthat He knows our needs.

Our Father is not limited by wrong human perceptions or bound by man-made rules about what He can or cannot do.

Our Father is patient with ignorance and intolerant of arrogance.

Jesus revealed that those who do not respond to His light condemn themselves to greater darkness.

Have you responded in faith to the Son of God as the only one who can guide you into the light you need for time and eternity?

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

pray for Tina Miller, young mother, 32, three children, her husband Todd was shot today at an ATM, he survived, shot in the back for 50 dollars, he has a long recovery period. The perp was caught by a legally armed permit holder, as soon as he saw a man with a gun he literally threw his gun on the ground and fell down begging not to be shot. COWARD. Turns out he was only out of prison 6 days. Guess what for? Yep, you guessed it, the exact same thing.

Visited with Stephanie today, she says thanks for your prayers and asks for continued support. She is a very private person and sharing and asking for help in not really in her wheelhouse.

Remember those on our salvation prayer list.

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement.

Bill Warneke, pray he takes his medicine, it would help with 80% of his problems.

Pray for Pastor Paul K. health concerns and he’s really sad about seeing his mom 90+ years begin her decline into dementia.