thinking over feeling

The last words uttered by the Savior just before He died on the cross were, “It is finished.” He was not referring to the end of His life or ministry, but of His substitutionary sufferings on the cross which He would complete by His death which occurred immediately following His shout, “It is finished.” He was declaring He had finished the special work of salvation which the Father had given Him to accomplish.

We speak of “the finished work of Christ” because there is nothing left to be done to provide man’s salvation. God has done it all in the person and work of His Son and He raised Him from the dead as the proof of that very fact. The work of God in Christ is a once-and-for-all work of God accomplished in total by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Christ’s death was distinctly a work accomplished for the entire world (John 3:16; Heb. 2:9) and, provisionally speaking, it provided redemption (1 Tim. 2:6), reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19), and propitiation (the appeasement or satisfaction of God’s holiness) (1 John 2:2) for every person in the world.

Salvation is a done proposition. Man’s responsibility is to accept this by faith, faith alone in Christ alone. The finished work of Christ includes not only deliverance from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin. Faith in Christ for salvation means coming to Him as the source of salvation from every aspect of sin through trusting in the accomplished work of Christ.

When Christ cried out, “It is finished” (Greek, telesthai, the perfect tense of teleo, “to complete, finish” expressing completed action with continuing results), He was affirming the fact of the finished nature of what He had accomplished on the cross for the world. Regarding Christ’s work as a finished work, Lewis Chafer wrote:

The fact that Christ died does not in itself save men, but it provides the one and only sufficient ground upon which God in full harmony with His perfect holiness is free to save even the chief of sinners. This is the good news which the Christian is appointed to proclaim to all the world. (any book by Dr. Chafer is good to read)

In all the other religions of the world, salvation is a work that man does for God. This is what makes biblical Christianity distinct from all the religions of the world because in the Bible, salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:0); it is the work of God for man and Christ’s final shout of victory affirmed this truth.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember our prayer list, pray especially for Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression. He has fallen several times over the last few years and his balance is getting worse.

Remember Steve H, and the hunt for a pastor.

How Great our Salvation

January 22, 2019

thinking over feeling

In spite of all man’s expectations of a new society in which he is able to bring about peace and prosperity, the world remains shattered and torn by the ravages of sin locally, nationally, and internationally. The Bible speaks, however, of God’s gracious plan to provide a solution to man’s problem. We call it salvation or soteriology.

Soteriology, the doctrine of salvation, must be the grandest theme in the Scriptures. It embraces all of time as well as eternity past and future. It relates in one way or another to all of mankind, without exception. It even has ramifications in the sphere of the angels. It is the theme of both the Old and New Testaments. It is personal, national, and cosmic. And it centers on the greatest Person, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Salvation in Christ, which begins in eternity past according to the predetermined plan of God and extends into the eternal future, has three observable phases in the Bible. Understanding this truth can relieve a lot of tension from the standpoint of security and enable the believer to relax in the Lord and His grace while simultaneously moving forward in spiritual growth.

Phase I. This is the past tense of salvation—saved from sin’s penalty. Several passages of Scripture speak of salvation as wholly past, or as accomplished and completed for the one who has believed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This aspect views the believer as delivered once and for all from sin’s penalty and spiritual death (Luke 7:50; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 2:15; Eph. 2:5, 8; Tit. 3:5; Heb. 7:25; 2 Tim. 1:9). So complete and perfect is this work of God in Christ that the believer is declared permanently saved and safe forever (John 5:24; 10:28, 29; Rom. 8:1, 37-39; 1 Pet. 1:3-5).

Phase II. This is the present tense of salvation and has to do with present deliverance over the reigning power of sin or the carnal nature’s power in the lives of believers (Rom. 6:1-23; 8:2; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 2:19-20; 5:1-26; Phil. 1:19; 2:12-13; 2 Thess. 2:13). This phase of salvation in Christ is accomplished through the ministry of the indwelling Spirit, but it is based on the work of Christ and the believer’s union and co-identification with Christ in that work.

Phase III. This is the future tense of salvation which refers to the future deliverance all believers in Christ will experience through a glorified resurrected body. It contemplates that, though once and for all saved from the penalty of sin and while now being delivered from the power of sin, the believer in Christ will yet be saved into full conformity to Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29; 13:11; 1 Pet. 1:5; 1 John 3:2). This recognizes and shows that the Christian in his experience never becomes perfect in this life (Phil. 3:12-14). Full conformity to the character of Christ, experientially speaking, awaits ultimate glorification. However, the fact that some aspects of salvation for the one who believes are yet to be accomplished in no way implies that there is ground for doubt as to the outcome of eternal salvation because all three phases are dependent upon the merit and the work of God in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Salvation as the saving work of God so completely provides for the believer that believers are declared “complete in Christ” and “blessed with every spiritual blessing” (Col. 2:10; Eph. 1:3). A fathomless source of blessings become the possession of all believers when they trust in Christ as their Savior. The Apostle Paul refers to these blessings as “the unfathomable riches of Christ” in Ephesians 3:8. “Unfathomable” is the Greek anexichniastos which means “past finding out, unsearchable, not to be tracked out.” The idea is that our blessings in Christ are “too deep to be measured.”

Thank God for this great gift, I mean literally thank God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Kim Lee, a Korean Missionary, sent here to start a new church here in the hill country of Texas. Christians from Korea are concerned that America is lost and becoming to pluralistic.

Pray for Olivia, that she carries her miracle baby to full term. And the medicine she has to take for a life threatening disease won’t harm the baby. So we are praying for mommy and baby.

Remember the Perales family, Norma, Rick Sr. and Rick Jr, they all need salvation.

Pray for Barbara D, cancer and several back fractures.

Pray for Stan L, a wonderful Christian man, lost his wife of 54 years.

Remember Frank N. lost in dementia, a chemical engineer, he has suffered many years over the death of his wife, deep dark depression. Now he weeps and wonders why he feels this great sadness. It is tragic. Frank is a Christian and it is so sad to see him like this.

Pray for Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression. New meds are helping a bit. Pray he will go to counseling.

Remember Steve H, and the church’s hunt for a pastor.

  “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain” (Phil. 2:16).

  Many Christians are bogged down between the nursery and the schoolroom; between the playpen and the workshop. These resist the weaning period; but the spiritually hungry-hearted are eager to have their feelings replaced by faith.

It is true that the Father does take up those who are spiritually immature and permit them to speak His words years before they fully understand their import; but He does not wish any of us to stop there. We may go on that way for awhile, but is it not true that from the time when He begins in us His work of formation through discipline and chastening, it slowly dawns on us how little in fact we know of the true meaning of what we had been saying?

Our Lord intends that we should reach the place where we can speak, with or without manifest gifts, because we are that which we share. For in Christian experience the spiritual things of God are less and less outward, that is, of gift, and more and more inward, of life. In the long run it is the depth and inwardness of a work that counts. As the Lord Jesus Himself becomes more and more to us, other things—and this must include even gifts—matter less and less. Then, though we teach the same doctrine, speak the same words, the impact on others is very different, manifesting itself in an increasing depth of the Spirit’s work within them also.

Our Father’s hand is on the helm. We are being guided, even when we feel it least. The closed door is as much His Providence as the open, and equally for our good and the accomplishment of His own great ends. And one learns at last it is not what we set ourselves to do that really tells in blessing so much as what He is doing in and through us.”

  “Thou wilt show me the path of life” (Ps. 16:11).

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Caliste is doing great and says thanks for the prayers

 

Bill W, new medicine is helping somewhat.

 

Paul K, pray for healing of the two cysts on his pancreas

 

Olivia is doing great, appreciates our prayers.

 

Pray for Barbara D, the list of her illness and the hosts of other physical problems is amazing she can function, her cancer is back and we need to keep her in prayer.

 

Pray for the Perales family, salvation for Norma, Rick Sr. and Rick Jr.

 

Remember Steve H, and the church’s search for a pastor.

 

Pray for me as I am seeking new employment.

NAME CALLING

January 18, 2019

praying mom

  “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5).

  Resting in His glory there will manifest His humility in us here.

Our hearts have such a tendency to turn back to legalism, and to think it humility. The only real humbleness and strength and blessing is to forget ourselves in the presence and blessedness of the Father. We may be brought forth by a humbling process but it is not in merely thinking evil of the old man that we are truly humble; we have the privilege of forgetting ourselves in the love of our Father.

It is as knowing the Lord Jesus to be precious to our souls, with our eyes and hearts being occupied with Him, that we will be effectually kept from being taken up with the vanity and sin around. And this too will be our strength against the sin and corruption within. Whatever I see in myself that is not in Him, is sin. It is not in thinking upon my own sins that will humble me, but thinking of the Lord Jesus and dwelling upon the excellencies in Him. (there is a great old book called “Christ Precious” published by Klock and Klock, if you can find it buy it, it is not the new book put out by John Fawcett).

It is well to be done with ourselves and to be taken up with the Lord Jesus. We are entitled to forget ourselves—we are entitled to confess and forget our sins—we are entitled to forget all but the Lord Jesus. It is by looking unto Him that we can give up anything, and can walk as obedient children.

 Many think that talking badly of ourselves is the ideal of humility; whereas the simplest and more real humility is to feel unaffectedly that we are too bad to be worth talking about. Only One is worthy of all our thoughts and words and ways, even the Lord Jesus Christ.

  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet. 5:6).

“Humility, you can never claim to have it, it must be seen by others.” GW

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Praise from Caliste Burt she is doing well, continue to pray for 100% recovery.

Remember Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression. Trying some new meds. Pray for healing.

Pray for Candy S, to walk the straight and narrow.

Pray for Sherrie, our prodigal church daughter

Pray for Paul K, found more cysts on his pancreas, a good Christian man and a good friend.

pray for Steve H, and a pastor for his church

SEXUAL PURITY PART ELEVEN

January 17, 2019

hand sign

Finally, we must understand that we are not fighting to win the battle against lust. The battle has already been won by Christ. We are trying to walk in the victory that Christ already accomplished. This is important to understand because one of Satan’s greatest tactics is lying. After a failure, he tells a believer many lies: it is impossible to be free from lust and that he or she will never be a man of God or woman of God.

By accepting lies, we get caught in Satan’s trap, and it’s easy to become discouraged, defeated, and bound. Jesus said this in John 8:34-36:

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Christ set us free from slavery to sin, and we must understand and appropriate this to walk in victory. Romans 6:6 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”

On the cross, Christ did not just pay for our sins; He also broke the power of sin. He took our sin nature and crucified it so we no longer would be slaves to it. Yes, we can still submit to our sin nature, but we no longer have to because the power of sin has been broken. Like God delivering the Israelites, he not only took them out of Egypt but destroyed the power of Egypt in the Red Sea. Our deliverer, Christ, did no less. We are no longer slaves to sin. However, like Israel, we can still choose to return to Egypt.

How can we walk in this victory? In Romans 6:11, Paul says, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” The word “count” is an accounting term. This means the debt has been paid, and we are no longer responsible for it. In the same way, Paul says that we are no longer slaves of sin—including our lusts. We owe it no allegiance, and we don’t have to obey its cravings. However, we must mentally accept this reality instead of accepting the lies of the devil and our flesh.

Therefore, when Satan tempts us or makes us feel like we have to fall or that we can’t get back up after falling, we must recognize that it’s all a lie. It’s not true! Christ set us free from sin and now we are slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18). Our allegiance is now to God.

In my spiritual youth, I didn’t fully understand Christ’s work on the cross and the extent of what he had done for me. Therefore, I often fought without hope. But now, I fight because the victory has already been won—which gives me great confidence. Christ already defeated Satan and my lust (cf. Col 2:13-15). But, I must reckon this as true (Rom 6:11).

This theological reality is important for many reasons. (1) It means if we stumble, we can get back up. We don’t have to accept the lies and condemnation of the devil. Proverbs says the righteous falls seven times and gets back up (Prov 24:16). That’s what separates the righteous from the ungodly. They will not stay down. If you have failed in the past, if you failed today, you can start over now because you died to sin with Christ on the cross. Sin no longer identifies you—your identity is in Christ.

(2) But this doctrine is also essential in maintaining our victory. We are no longer slaves of sin but slaves to righteousness. My debt and allegiance is to God. So, I must strive to use the members of my body as instruments of righteousness leading to holiness (Rom 6:13, 19). First Corinthians 6:19-20 says it this way:

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

We have been bought with a price and are now slaves of God. Therefore, we must faithfully serve God in purity and holiness.

We see the importance of this doctrine in Augustine’s walk with God after his conversion. Before Augustine became a Christian, he was very promiscuous. However, at his conversion, everything changed. One day, he ran into a former fling. When he saw her, he turned and ran in the other direction. The lady saw him and was confused. She yelled, “My love! My love! Where are you going? It is I!” He replied, “I know! But it is not I anymore!” and he continued to run away. Augustine recognized this reality—he was not the same. He had been crucified with Christ and he no longer lived—Christ lived within him (Gal 2:20). He was no longer a slave of sin but now a slave of righteousness.

We similarly must reckon this a reality if we are going to walk in victory over lust. We must declare our victory in Christ and walk in it.

Have you declared victory? Or have you declared failure—that you can’t win or be free from bondage to lust? If that is you, then you have believed Satan’s lie instead of Christ’s truth. He who the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36). Christ has set you free. Declare your victory and fight to walk in it. Don’t give up until your life represents your position in Christ—free from bondage to sin to serve God.

Reflection

How did Christ break the power of sin over our lives? Why is understanding this reality—our new identity in Christ—so important to walking in victory?

In what ways have you experienced the lies and condemnation of Satan in regards to battling lust?

How should we count or reckon our death to lust and freedom from its slavery a reality as Paul teaches (Rom 6:11)?

What are the primary strategies from God’s Battle Plan for Purity that you feel pressed to implement in your life and/or in mentoring others?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Praise from Caliste Burt, the surgery went well, they are now waiting to see how she heals up and some swelling goes down.

Pray for Cindy K. just became a believer, living on and off the streets. A nice Christian family has taken her in. what’s remarkable is she said she knew her grandmother was always praying for her and it stopped her from crossing a line.

Bill Warneke, says thanks for praying, he’s still resisting counseling. Chronic pain and depression.

Carl I, going away for college soon. Young Christian, first time away from home, asks that he will stay the course.

Continue to pray for Steve H, and the church finding the right pastor.

SEXUAL PURITY PART NINE

January 15, 2019

Senior Couple At Home

Many enter marriage thinking that lust will no longer be a problem; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Satan is even more diligent in attacking marriages because the consequences of failure are greater. Moral failure in marriage not only affects the husband and wife but also the friends, the extended family, the children, and the children’s children. The consequences are drastic.

As a pastor and counselor, I’ve lost track of the number of marriages that have been plagued with sexual problems. Almost all of them started the marriage out on a lie. The truth was not told about porn, prior sex habits, even not telling their spouse about a previous marriage. If the foundation is rotten right from the start then there is little hope of it ever correcting.

That’s why its so important to protect your virginity and your moral code.

First Corinthians 7:2, 4-5 says this about sexual temptation in marriage:

But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband…. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Paul teaches that sex in marriage protects from immorality. For that reason, married couples are called to faithfully serve one another sexually. When couples are not consistent sexually, it opens the door for Satan’s temptations.

Here, I believe we learn something about Satan’s strategy in the marriage union. Before marriage, Satan works overtime to tempt couples into “sexual intimacy,” but in marriage, he works overtime to keep them from “sexual intimacy.” The strategy changes. Often, right after the wedding, couples find it difficult to be consistent sexually. The husband and wife are often busy at work during the day, and in the evening, they are too tired to cultivate physical intimacy. Temptation to neglect the sexual union becomes even greater when children enter the picture. Couples tend to focus on their children to the neglect of marital relations. In some cultures, the wives co-sleep with the children for several years which also tends to hinder the frequency of sex.

This lack of consistency opens the door for Satan to attack the marriage in many ways. Sometimes, women feel unattractive and less desired by their husband, especially after having a baby. Insecurities begin to creep in and negatively affect the relationship. If the husband is neglected sexually, the enemy often tempts him to find pleasure elsewhere—whether through pornography or through an emotional or physical relationship with another woman.

One way for couples to be more consistent in the sexual union is to talk openly about it and plan for it. The fact that it is not spontaneous doesn’t mean that it is not romantic. Just as in any area of life, “to fail to plan is to plan to fail.” Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”

If you’ve taken a time management course, you know if you don’t plan it’s not going to happen. I’ve found that having a regular date night, planning for sex, planning family trips, not answering the phone at dinner, which is be ate at the table with no tv on. Plan it and it does happen. (and if you’re married put a lock on that bedroom door.)

In marriage, couples protect themselves by faithfully practicing physical intimacy and closing the door on sexual temptation. In fact, Paul says if couples neglect physical intimacy, it should only be by mutual agreement for spiritual reasons—to fast and seek the Lord together.

Reflection

Why is it important for married couples to practice sexual intimacy?

What type of temptations does the enemy often bring when there is a lack of sexual intimacy?

How can married couples strategically cultivate sexual intimacy?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Bill is doing better and says thanks for all the prayers.

Caliste’s surgery is tomorrow at 6am.

Remember the Perales family and their need for salvation.

SEXUAL PURITY PART SIX

January 12, 2019

thinking over feeling

Consider what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5:

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Like Matthew 5:29-30, this passage uses warfare terminology for our battle against sin. In order to be holy and pure, both in heart and body, we must fight. War isn’t easy. Our enemy is relentless in trying to conquer his prey, and lust is one of his most commonly used weapons. In this battle for our mind, Paul says we must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Satan always targets the mind—it is our primary battlefield. He bombards every believer’s mind with sexual images and thoughts. He does this through the world system which he rules and his myriads of demons. He understands that if he can control the mind, he can control the body. So, if we are going to “learn to control our bodies in a way that is pure and honorable,” (1 Thess 4:4) we must fight to control our mind.

Satan’s attack on our mind overlaps with his attacks on our eyes and ears. It is through the eyes and ears that input is given to the mind. Therefore, by guarding the first two, we guard the latter. However, that is not the only way we guard our mind.

How else should we guard our mind?

  1. In order to guard our mind, we must recognize ungodly thoughts and ideas by testing them against God’s Word.

David said this in Psalm 19:7: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”

The Hebrew word for “simple” has the meaning of “open-minded.” “The ancient Jews described it as someone whose mind was like an open door: everything went in and everything went out.” This person is gullible and will believe anything. His mind is open even to thoughts and images that should be rejected. However, David says that by filling the mind with God’s Word, one becomes wise to discern what is not of God (cf. Heb 5:14). Wisdom in Scripture primarily refers to knowledge of God and obedience to him (cf. Prov 9:10). That is why Scripture describes the “fool” as one who says there is no God (Psalm 14:1).

A person who does not know the Word of God will have difficulty testing what is not good and therefore have difficulty protecting himself. His mind will continually be saturated by ungodly thoughts, sexual images, and lusts meant to control and destroy him. He will lack the power and discernment to close the door on sexual thoughts and many times will not only accept them but also cultivate them.

If we are going to protect our mind, we must recognize what is not godly. When watching TV shows, listening to music, or engaging in risqué conversations that cultivate and stir lust, the simple accepts what pollutes his soul, while the wise recognizes what would dishonor God’s temple (1 Cor 6:19).

With all that said, guarding our mind does not stop at recognizing what is ungodly by testing it against God’s Word.

  1. In order to guard our mind, we must reject the ungodly by using God’s Word.

While the simple opens the door, the wise closes the door. Again, this is done first by recognizing what is wrong and then using Truth to combat what is false and sinful. When Christ was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he quoted Scripture to reject Satan and his lies. We should do the same. Arm yourself by memorizing Bible verses related to lust and purity such as:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV)

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)

For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

1 Thessalonians 4:2-8 (ESV)

Personally, when attacked by lust, I quote relevant Scriptures, confess wrong thoughts, lusts, and images before the Lord, and ask him to take them away. In our war for our mind, we must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

  1. In order to guard our mind, we may at times need to command the devil to leave in Jesus name.

Again, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he initially responded to the temptation with quoting Scripture, but ultimately he commanded the devil to leave. Matthew 4:10-11 describes this:

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Similarly, at times you may need to do this. When battles with lust, pornography, and illicit sex are especially difficult, we can be sure that the enemy has set up camp in these areas, and we may need to pray in authority over these demonic strongholds to be broken in the name of Jesus.

Some struggle with this idea of demonic involvment, arguing that authority over the demonic was exclusively for Christ and his apostles. However, I believe there are many evidences that demonstrate this is for every believer. For instance:

Christ is our perfect model for everything in life, including spiritual warfare (cf. Phil 2:5-11, Heb 12:2-4. 1 Peter 2:21-24).

We should model his life as the perfect example of humanity. His example in defeating the devil in the wilderness is not only descriptive but prescriptive.

Other believers commanded demons to leave throughout the New Testament.

In Acts 16:18, Paul commanded a spirit of divination to leave a slave girl in the name of Jesus. And in Acts 8:6-7, Philip, who was possibly one of the early deacons, also cast out demons. Yes, Paul was an apostle but Philip was not. This was practiced by the early church.

First, don’t be quick to blame in on a demon. We are our own worst enemy.

Second, don’t be lax, and think there can’t be possible demonic involvement. I want to say it takes great spiritual maturity to know when something like that is actually occurring.

Third, it will depend on the church you go to, Pentecostals see demons everywhere and never take personal responsibility. Liberals churches scoff at the idea of demons, or even the devil and everyone is going to heaven. Even some Evangelical churches reject the idea.

Fourth, demonic strongholds if they exist does not imply demonic possession. Christians cannot be possessed of a demon, or cursed, or have a bloodline curse.

This is was covered in our spiritual warfare series. If you have questions about it email me.

Finally, Scripture indicates that Christ has given us his authority based on our union with him.

Ephesians 1:20-22 describes his position of authority at the right hand of the Father seated above powers and principalities (the demonic) in the heavenly realm. And then Ephesians 2:6 describes how believers are seated with him. Again, this seating is not primarily a location but a position of authority which believers have in Christ. In fact, one day we will judge fallen angels with him because of this position (1 Cor 6:3). We have authority over the demonic just as the apostles and the early church, and we are called to conquer them with the spiritual weapons God has given us (cf. Eph 6:10-19).

Unfortunately, many believers neglect this authority not only to their own detriment but also to the detriment of others. When Christ sent believers into the world to proclaim the gospel, he sent them in all the authority given to him (Matt 28:18-20). We need this authority not just to spread the gospel but also for spiritual warfare.

Christ’s authority is important in battling lust because some strongholds and temptations are not just of the flesh, they are demonic. Like Christ in the wilderness, Paul, at times, recognized certain obstacles and temptations were not just of the flesh and of the world, but of the devil. Paul said this in 1 Thessalonians 2:18: “we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us” (ESV). We need to discern this as well and resist the devil.

James says this: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (4:7). As we submit to God through his Word, prayer, and the ministry of other saints, we can resist the devil, and he will flee from us. However, at times, resistance may include commanding the demonic to leave in the name of Jesus as demonstrated by Christ and the early church.

It is not God’s will for us to live bound to lust and sexual immorality, and God has given us all the resources to walk in freedom, including his Word and his authority. Thank you, Lord, for giving us everything needed for life and godliness (cf. 2 Peter 1:3). Thank you, Lord, for your grace. Thank you, Lord, that you are creating a pure and blameless Bride for your pleasure (cf. Eph 5:25-27).

Are you guarding your mind? Are you taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ? Are you filling your mind with God’s Word? Are you resisting the devil’s attacks so that he flees?

Reflection

Why is the mind so important in our battle for purity?

In what ways does the enemy bombard our mind with sexual images and thoughts?

How can a person tell when certain strongholds, especially sexual ones, are also demonic?

How should we resist the devil so he flees? In what ways is God calling you to better guard your mind?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Questions, comments, feel free to email us.

Pray for Caliste Burt, brain surgery next week.

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression.

The Perales family, they need salvation and a good church.

Pray for me, the nursing home I work in just downsized because of State regulations and myself and 4 others were let go, bam, just like that. And because it is a nonprofit organization there is no unemployment.

SEXUAL PURITY PART FIVE

January 11, 2019

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Words are tremendously powerful. In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says, “The power of life and death is in the tongue.”

Words spoken over a person’s life has the ability to direct him—drawing him into a good and wise direction or an evil direction. It can build a person up or destroy him. If one sits under godly parents who faithfully teach God’s Word and attend a good church that teaches the Truth, the “power of the tongue” will help direct him into what is good. But if one sits under ungodly teaching and ungodly conversations, it will affect his life negatively. This is especially true when it comes to sexual immorality.

Adrian Rogers sermon today had a quote that fits right in, he was quoting a famous football legend that is a great Christian who does a lot of prison ministry. The quote was made while in a prison speaking to about 100 men. “How many of you did your father say you would probably end up in jail.” The majority of the men raised their hands.

No doubt, one of Satan’s greatest tactics is to influence people sexually through the music industry. Much of today’s songs are full of sexual overtones and graphic language. Some of it is essentially lyrical pornography—meant to control and guide people away from God and into sexual strongholds.

Sadly, many Christians fall prey to this tactic of the devil. They listen to ungodly, sexually charged music all day, then wonder why they can’t control their lust and don’t desire to read the Bible. The tongue is directing their lives—leading them away from God into lusts.

Psalm 1:1 says this: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” (ESV). Some have called this the pathway of depravity. A person starts off listening to the “counsel” of the wicked, then he is standing in the way of sinners—practicing the same thing sinners do, and then they are in the seat of scoffers. Biblically, “scoffer” or “fool” is used of those who mock holy things. Psalm 14:1 says the fool says in his heart that there is no God. First, these people were just listening. Maybe like some Christians who listen to ungodly music, they say, “I only like it because of the beat; I don’t even listen to the lyrics.” The next thing you know, they are practicing sin, and one day they are mocking God and the practice of holiness. Satan led these poor souls astray by simply getting a hold of their ears.

In the same way, many raised in Christian homes with godly morals, such as waiting to have sex until marriage, are now sexually promiscuous just like the world. And it all started with the wrong counsel—sexually charged musical lyrics, sexual dialogue from movies, and sexually flirtatious conversations. Now, instead of following God, they mock what is holy and practice the sexual ethics of the world.

Who is speaking into your ears, and what are they saying? Are your conversations with friends full of sexual jokes and innuendo? Are your TV shows and movies promoting casual sex? If so, you won’t be able to remain pure.

Paul said this in Ephesians 5:3: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”

He said that there should not even be a “hint” of sexual immorality in our lives. Many desire to be pure but their mouths and the mouths of those they listen to are full of sexual hints that eventually bear fruit in their lives.

Are you guarding your ears? Satan keeps many Christians in bondage to lust by flooding their ears with sexual garbage.

Lord, help us to take out the garbage so we can be clean.

Reflection

In what ways does the enemy flood sexual temptation into our ears?

How have you seen or experienced the power of words, especially sexual words, in guiding one’s life?

How is God calling you to better guard your ears?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember our prayer list.

Caliste Burt, brain surgery next week

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression

Remember Richard Perales Jr. he’s kind of slipped up this month. He needs salvation.

SEXUAL PURITY PART FOUR

January 10, 2019

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The next strategy in our battle for purity is guarding our eyes. Jesus said this, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is good your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23).

What did Christ mean by the whole body being filled with light or darkness based on one’s eye? In Scripture, light typically refers to what is righteous, good, and true, and darkness refers to what is evil, bad, and perverse (cf. Ephesians 5:9). To have a good eye means for a person to continually view what is godly, and therefore, a bad eye refers to continually viewing what is ungodly. Though the context of this passage is riches, it can refer to being filled with anything that is good or bad.

The eyes are a doorway to the mind and whatever one’s mind continually thinks upon, a person will eventually do. If a person is going to be pure, he must be intentional about guarding his eyes. This will affect the types of movies watched, books read, and Internet sites visited. It will also affect how one looks at the opposite sex. For many, when they view the opposite sex, it is hard to not view them from a sexual standpoint. Their eyes continually trigger lustful thoughts and intentions, and if not combated, these eventually trigger lustful actions.

When a person views what is good or evil, it begins to “fill” them. To be filled means to be controlled by. In Ephesians 5:18, believers are called to be filled with the Spirit—controlled by it. When one is full of darkness, it means they are controlled by evil. In reference to lust, a person’s lust can become out of control, even leading to tragic acts such as sexual harassment, rape, molestation, etc.

Sexual abuse statistics are frightening! One out of three American women will be sexually abused during their lifetime. One out of four women and one out of six men will be sexually assaulted by the age of eighteen.i Four out of five sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.ii Why is sexual abuse so pervasive and overwhelming? No doubt, it in part has to do with the increased access to erotic material in books, on TV, and on the Internet. The result of people viewing these materials is that eventually they can’t control themselves—they are filled and controlled by the darkness their eyes continually engage in.

Conversely, a person whose eyes are continually engaging with the Word of God and godly things will be controlled by them. Fruits of the Spirit will be born in their lives—love, joy, peace, and self-control.

What are you filled with? Are you filling yourself with light which creates righteousness or darkness which creates uncontrollable, evil urges?

How can we practically guard our eyes?

Bouncing Our Eyes

Let’s consider what Job said about disciplining his eyes. In Job 31:1, he said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” In order to remain pure, Job guarded his eyes from looking at a woman lustfully. This was his continual discipline.

Some have called this “bouncing” one’s eyes. When seeing an attractive female, instead of cultivating lustful thoughts and intentions, a man quickly bounces his eyes to something else. When seeing seductive images on the TV or the Internet, instead of taking a second look, one bounces his eyes by turning the channel or closing the webpage. I had a professor in seminary who used to say; “the first look is free, the second look is sin, so make the first look fast.”

I remember one time in seminary seeing a young lady who was very attractive. I closed my eyes and prayed to God: “Lord, that woman is sooooo attractive—she will never get a second look from these eyes.” This was the type of discipline Job implemented, and it is the type of discipline we must implement as well if we are going be pure. Remember Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to “learn” how to control their bodies in a way that is holy and honorable (1 Thess 4:4). No doubt, “bouncing” their eyes in a sexually charged culture was one of those disciplines.

How else can we guard our eyes?

Praying Over Our Eyes

Another discipline we should practice is prayer. David, a man who struggled with lust and pornography, often prayed over his eyes. In Psalm 119:37, he prayed this: “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.”

He prayed for God to turn his eyes from the darkness of what is worthless to the light of God’s Word. Whatever we practice becomes a habit. If we’ve practiced sizing up members of the opposite sex and looking at alluring images, then we will need even more grace to break those habits. Prayer is one of the ways that God changes our eyes from being dark to light.

Lord, turn our eyes from what is worthless to what is good.

Reflection

Why is it so hard to guard our eyes in this culture?

How is your struggle with your eyes? In what ways is God calling you to better guard them?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Gwen, financial difficulties.

Pray for Caliste Burt, upcoming brain surgery, anxiety is weighing heavy on them

Pray of Bill Warneke, depression and chronic pain

Pray for Paul K, depression

SEXUAL PURITY PART THREE

January 9, 2019

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SEXUAL PURITY PART THREE

The next strategy in God’s Battle Plan for purity is identifying sexual temptations and being ruthless in getting rid of them. Listen to what Christ said in the context of teaching on adultery:

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Matthew 5:29-30

After teaching that a man who lusts after a woman who is not his wife has already committed adultery in his heart (v. 27-28), Christ says that one should be violent in removing temptations towards sexual sin.

The plucking out of one’s eye and cutting off one’s hand are hyperbole or symbolism for war time tactics. In ancient wars, when an army conquered another, they would at times pluck out the eyes and cut off the hands of the conquered so that they would never rise up and fight them again. This cruel tactic was used on Samson. When the Philistines defeated him, they blinded him with the intent of disabling him from ever harming them again (Judges 16:21).

By using this hyperbole, Christ shares how we must similarly declare war in order to be pure. He shows us how severely we must deal with sexual temptations. If our eyes—what we look at—are causing us to lust, we must get rid of it. If our hands—what we do—are causing us to sin, we must cut it out of our life.

The eye and the hand represent things dear to us—things that may seem essential for life. However, even these must not be spared in our efforts to be holy and pure. Is an intimate relationship tempting us? It must be severed. Is it our reading or TV watching? Let us discard it. We must be violent in our task of remaining pure and holy.

This violence will be demonstrated in various ways. I have had friends get rid of their TVs in order to be holy. Personally, as a seminary student and youth pastor, I wouldn’t own the Internet at home because I wanted to protect myself from temptation. I would only use it at work or school. I even had to end relationships that went too far physically to protect the person and myself, but most importantly, to honor God.

With this said, we can understand why many cannot remain pure. The reason is simple. They just don’t hate their sin enough. Purity is not a big enough priority to get rid of things that are dear to them. They love their eye and their hand too much. Friendships, TV shows, a dating relationship, the convenience of the Internet, etc., are too much to part with in their quest to be holy.

If we are going to win the battle against lust, we must declare war on it. Are you willing to go to war in order to be pure? For those who have opened sexual doors, this battle may be especially difficult and costly. But God will help as you are faithful.

I have no Tv service, haven’t for almost 30 years. One it’s a huge waste of time, to it pollutes your mind. I only read good books, yes, I do real mystery novels, but again. Clean. I only listen to full time Christian Radio, BBN radio, it is the best Christian radio station in the world. Listen to it on the internet or the app or see if it plays in your area.

Reflection

What types of cherished things commonly hinder a believer’s quest for sexual purity? Why is it often so hard to let go of these things?

What things have you had to cut out of your life in order to be pure? Are there any things God is calling you to let go of currently?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Remember all our prayer requests;

Olivia, a healthy pregnancy and carries to full term, and that her health continues to improve.

Caliste Burt, brain surgery next week

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression

Steve H, the church finds the right pastor

Paul C, back problems