Just Do It!

Sometimes I have people ask me, “how can I be a better Christian?”

They’re always surprised when I ask them questions about obedience. I know we are going to have problems when they say things like; “I didn’t know religion was so legalistic, or you’re bumming me out.” (what adult still says that?)

How do we know God? In 1 John 2:3 we find the surprising answer: “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.”

 We tend to think of “knowledge” as purely intellectual activity, but in Scripture knowledge is often gained through experiences. It’s the difference between knowing about something or someone and knowing because we’ve gained understanding through an experiential encounter. Think of the way we can have knowledge about swimming through books, but we don’t really know what swimming is like until we are immersed in water and flailing our limbs in an attempt to stay afloat. We only fully gain “knowledge” of swimming by swimming.

 Similarly we don’t come to know God through abstract speculation but through living our lives the way the Lord requires. Specifically, we come to know God by understanding and then doing what he commands.

 We gain the first part by searching Scripture to understand exactly what God commands of us (see, for example, “32 Commands of Christ”). Once we know what God wants us to do, we then come to know God by doing what he wants us to do.

 What that means, in light of 1 John 2:3, is that the process for Christians to know God occurs through the following steps:

  Step #1—We learn what God requires through reading and meditating on his Word.

 Step #2—Powered by God’s grace, we obey and keep his commands.

 Step #3—Through keeping God’s commands, albeit in our flawed way, we gain experiential knowledge of the One who kept the commands perfectly, Jesus Christ.

 Step #4—By increasing our knowledge of Christ, we grow in communion with the Father.

 Step #5—This knowledge, gained through the experience of keeping God’s commands, gives us assurance, as John wrote, that “we know that we have come to know him.”

 Step #6—This knowledge reveals God’s beauty and glory, motivating us to delve deeper into Scripture so we can gain a better understanding of how to obey him even more.

  Obedience thus becomes not just our means for knowing God but a motivation that drives us to know him more.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

my apologies for falling behind on email responses, hopefully i can get caught up this weekend.

Pray for Bobbie K, his wife slept with a homeless man, pray that as they go through counseling that the Lord will work on both their hearts.

Pray for Lauren M, 25, has a boyfriend that is pressuring her to have sex, they’ve been together 6 years and he’s never discussed marriage. She needs to keep vows to God and not succumb to his negative comments, i.e. like he’s going to bail. I asked her to ask him to see me, and he won’t, so I kind of know where this is going to go.

For S.K. he wants to stop using drugs and acting out in a very dangerous manner that could get him killed

For Sammie, she’s been cutting herself and just entered the hospital this afternoon of her own accord.

more than one day

July 17, 2017

A young man with a bandaged hand approached the clerk at the post office. “Sir, could you please address this post card for me?” The clerk did so gladly, and then agreed to write a message on the card.

He then asked, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” The young man looked at the card for a moment and then said, “Yes, add a PS: ‘Please excuse the handwriting.’”

We are an ungrateful people. Writing of man in Notes from the Underground, Dostoevsky says, “If he is not stupid, he is monstrously ungrateful! Phenomenally ungrateful. In fact, I believe that the best definition of man is the ungrateful biped.” Luke’s account of the cleansing of the ten lepers underscores the human tendency to expect grace as our due and to forget to thank God for His benefits. “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who turned back to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:17-18).

REMEMBER: GOD’S DELIVERANCE IN THE PAST

Our calendar allocates one day to give thanks to God for His many benefits, and even that day is more consumed with gorging than with gratitude. Ancient Israel’s calendar included several annual festivals to remind the people of God’s acts of deliverance and provision so that they would renew their sense of gratitude and reliance upon the Lord.

In spite of this, they forgot: “they became disobedient and rebelled against You . . . . they did not remember Your abundant kindnesses . . . . they quickly forgot His works” (Nehemiah 9:26; Psalm 106:7, 13). The prophet Hosea captured the essence of this decline into ingratitude: “As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, and being satisfied, their heart became proud; therefore, they forgot Me” (13:6). When we are doing well, we tend to think that our prosperity was self-made; this delusion leads us into the folly of pride; pride makes us forget God and prompts us to rely on ourselves in place of our Creator; this forgetfulness always leads to ingratitude.

Centuries earlier, Moses warned the children of Israel that they would be tempted to forget the Lord once they began to enjoy the blessings of the promised land. “Then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. . . . Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth’” (Deuteronomy 8:14, 17). The antidote to this spiritual poison is found in the next verse: “But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth” (8:18).

Our propensity to forget is a mark of our fallenness. Because of this, we should view remembering and gratitude as a discipline, a daily and intentional act, a conscious choice. If it is limited to spontaneous moments of emotional gratitude, it will gradually erode and we will forget all that God has done for us and take His grace for granted.

REMEMBER: GOD’S BENEFITS IN THE PRESENT

“Rebellion against God does not begin with the clenched fist of atheism but with the self-satisfied heart of the one for whom ‘thank you’ is redundant” (Os Guinness, In Two Minds). The apostle Paul exposes the error of this thinking when he asks, “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Even as believers in Christ, it is quite natural to overlook the fact that all that we have and are—our health, our intelligence, our abilities, our very lives—are gifts from the hand of God, and not our own creation. We understand this, but few of us actively acknowledge our utter reliance upon the Lord throughout the course of the week. We rarely review the many benefits we enjoy in the present. And so we forget.

We tend toward two extremes when we forget to remember God’s benefits in our lives. The first extreme is presumption, and this is the error we have been discussing. When things are going “our way,” we may forget God or acknowledge Him in a shallow or mechanical manner. The other extreme is resentment and bitterness due to difficult circumstances. When we suffer setbacks or losses, we wonder why we are not doing as well as others and develop a mindset of murmuring and complaining. We may attribute it to “bad luck” or “misfortune” or not “getting the breaks,” but it really boils down to dissatisfaction with God’s provision and care. This lack of contentment and gratitude stems in part from our efforts to control the content of our lives in spite of what Christ may or may not desire for us to have. It also stems from our tendency to focus on what we do not possess rather than all the wonderful things we have already received.

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We cannot give thanks and complain at the same time. To give thanks is to remember the spiritual and material blessings we have received and to be content with what our loving Lord provides, even when it does not correspond to what we had in mind. Gratitude is a choice, not merely a feeling, and it requires effort especially in difficult times. But the more we choose to live in the discipline of conscious thanksgiving, the more natural it becomes, and the more our eyes are opened to the little things throughout the course of the day that we previously overlooked. G. K. Chesterton had a way of acknowledging these many little benefits: “You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” Henri Nouwen observed that “every gift I acknowledge reveals another and another until, finally, even the most normal, obvious, and seemingly mundane event or encounter proves to be filled with grace.”

REMEMBER: GOD’S PROMISES FOR THE FUTURE

If we are not grateful for God’s deliverance in the past and His benefits in the present, we will not be grateful for His promises for the future. Scripture exhorts us to lay hold of our hope in Christ and to renew it frequently so that we will maintain God’s perspective on our present journey. His plans for His children exceed our imagination, and it is His intention to make all things new, to wipe away every tear, and to “show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” in the ages to come (Ephesians 2:7).

Make it a daily exercise, either at the beginning or the end of the day, to review God’s benefits in your past, present, and future. This discipline will be pleasing to God, because it will cultivate a heart of gratitude and ongoing thanksgiving.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

keeping it real

July 14, 2017

Mark 6:52

English Standard Version (ESV)

52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

 

This is not talking about just anyone, but specifically his disciples.

The thought seems to be that even after seeing the power of the Lord in the miracle of the loaves, they still did not realize that nothing was impossible for Him. They should not have been surprised to see Him walking on the water. It was no greater a miracle than the one they had just witnessed. Lack of faith produced hardness of heart and dullness of spiritual perception

I personally think it was because they were guilty of looking for a Literal King, a political Messiah to rescue them from the rule of the Romans. So, they missed the lowly Servant King.

If we make our religion a political affair and not a spiritual one, we will be guilty of the same fate. Look at the mess Jerry Falwell created with his brand of political Christianity. But a word of warning, Christianity is not a private, keep it at home religion, we need to be recognized as public Christians, with a public faith, not haters of those who are lost, but actively engaged in sharing the importance of the eternal choice people are making.

Keep Jesus real, personal and King of our hearts, not a political figure and you won’t miss the miracles.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

grow or die

July 11, 2017

It is a law of nature that where there is no growth, there is no life. That principle applies as much to our spiritual lives as it does to plants and children. The way we grow in our spiritual formation is to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2Pe 3:18) But what does that mean? If grace is entirely God’s gift to us, how can we take the initiative to “grow in grace”?

 As any soul increases in spiritual knowledge, in the same degree it grows in grace.” To grow in grace requires that we be diligent in the acquisition of spiritual knowledge, both experiential and intellectual, that allows us to grow in wisdom—knowledge of our spiritual state, knowledge of God’s Word and knowledge of Christ.

 Here are a few suggestions how to grow in grace:

  1. Recognize that it will take sustained effort—“As growth in grace is gradual, and the progress from day to day imperceptible, we should aim to do something in this work every day. We should die daily unto sin and live unto righteousness.”

  2. Do the work, but rely on the Holy Spirit—Our progress in spiritual formation requires that we “do the work” by diligently practicing spiritual disciplines. But even as we add our human efforts toward sanctification, we should realize that any progress is the work of the Holy Spirit. A good rule of thumb is to “use the means as vigorously as if you were to be saved by your own efforts, and yet trust as entirely to the grace of God as if you made use of no means whatsoever.”

  3. Study Scripture for spiritual benefit rather than for curiosity and controversy—“Avoid curious and abstruse speculations respecting things unrevealed and do not indulge a spirit of controversy.” Our efforts in studying Scripture should lead us to become more like Jesus, not toward becoming better theological debaters or curators of obscure speculation.

Grow or die, growth is a part of any living organism.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

A special to Ron at our local Veteran’s Association, he’s been a big help.

Remember Dion; 9 years old and bravely battling cancer, quite the little trooper

Pray for Frank K, 97 years old today and is going RV-ing with his nephew up to Vancouver from Texas. He’s in great shape for his age and he’s the one asking for prayer that his nephew doesn’t chicken out of the trip.

 

THE LAW OF FREEDOM

July 10, 2017

Well we just did a week of my favorite posts, from 2009 until 2016, but now it’s back to work, blessings

The Law of Freedom

  For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

  We need not submit to the law, nor do we need to struggle against it. It is now a matter of our standing on heavenly ground in our risen Lord, free from the influence and demands of the entire principle of law. In Christ Jesus we are motivated by a higher law, ‘the law of the Spirit of life’ (Rom. 8:2).

There is no way of deliverance from the law and its bondage, into that liberty for which Christ set us free except to believe, and to keep reckoning, that we died to the law with Him, and are now risen, and joined to Another, the Risen One—even as Romans 7:4 asserts: ‘Ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, even Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God.’

In man the law and the flesh always go together. The Cross was the end for both in the sight of God. The flesh was judged and condemned there; it was treated as a dead thing before God—dead and buried; and the law which deals with the flesh we are dead to. We have passed out of both; we are not in the flesh (Rom. 8:9), and we are not under the law (Gal. 2:19).

  “But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you—directs and controls you” (Rom. 8:9, Amp.).

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

ouch, man that hurt

July 9, 2017

Colossians 4:6

English Standard Version (ESV)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21)

Not-so-constructive criticism. For many of us this is a tough one, because we really mean for our criticism to be constructive. We want our little comments and suggestions to motivate our loved ones and inspire them to change (for the better, of course). But too often, they only devalue.  We say we just want our loved ones to be happy. But how can they be, when what they hear from us is that they are unacceptable and unlovable the way they are now? They get the message that they’re a disappointment to us; they’ve let us down.

It’s been said that some people find fault like there was a reward for it. I think it’s true. If we’re not careful, we can get in the habit of constantly criticizing other people, finding fault with them and tearing them down, for no good reason.

Truth not spoken in love. Just because something is true doesn’t mean it’s always loving or helpful to say it. This includes bludgeoning others with Scripture in a misguided attempt to set them straight. The family of a woman I know once found itself facing one crisis after another: loss of a job, death of an elderly parent, adult daughter attempting suicide, and adult son going through a divorce. To top it all off, she and her husband both came down with bronchitis.

When, for the first time in five weeks, they were finally able to attend church, they slipped into the pew exhausted and desperate for some spiritual nourishment. Within minutes they were accosted by a woman, barely more than an acquaintance, determined to take them to task for their recent absence. “I’ve noticed you haven’t been coming to church lately,” she began. “The Bible says we’re not supposed to ‘give up meeting together.’ We’re all busy, but we have to make it a priority. You need to make a commitment to be here.” She added, “I’m just telling you this because we’re supposed to ‘speak the truth in love.’” Seriously? There was no love behind her words. She was just being a busy-body. Love would have said, “It’s so good to see you. We’ve missed you. How have you been?” And later, “How can we help?”

“Humor” that gets out of hand. We were just teasing. Having a little fun. Then it got out of hand. Sarcasm has a place, for sure; it serves a purpose. It can be an effective tool to highlight hypocrisy and humble the proud and arrogant. (God uses a fair amount of it Himself.) But it’s not meant to be used to constantly ridicule and rip to shreds people we claim we love. Even when our quips are clearly intended to be funny, even when they’re accompanied by laughter, a daily barrage of snarky asides can be brutal to another person’s self-esteem. Even those of us who regularly enjoy a little “witty repartee” have to admit how quickly “cute” and “clever” can grow old.

Add a little sarcasm to a compliment and you can steal all the pride and joy, the enthusiasm, and the sense of accomplishment right out of someone else’s heart. “Wow! You cleaned your room for once. Too bad it doesn’t look this good every day.” Or, “Your teacher says you’re so organized and disciplined at school—wish you could be that way at home!” A favorite excuse: “We’re not laughing at you; we’re laughing with you.” Really?

The silent treatment. Strangely enough, one of the ways we wound with our words is to withhold them! When we refuse to communicate, when we won’t say what it is we’re upset about or what people have done wrong, we shut them out. We fill their hearts with anxiety and frustration and even dread. We make them feel isolated and rejected—without saying a single word. And that is after all, what the silent treatment is for. Not to be confused with taking time out or having a cooling off period, the silent treatment is all about manipulation and control. It’s a form of punishment or revenge that somehow feels more righteous than an angry outburst. But throwing this kind of tantrum is not the mark of an emotionally healthy, spiritually mature woman. It certainly isn’t biblical (see Matthew 18:15-17).

These are just a few of the weapons at our disposal; they go on and on.

So speak in love, be careful what you say and think before you speak.

I always stop at stop signs and say one Alabama, two Alabama, after getting stopped by the police for rolling through a stop sign. If only I practiced the same way before opening my mouth.

What we say can bless or harm.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Praise report, well this is the second time in last year that someone seriously ill, and mean you can’t get any more sick has been misdiagnosed with the wrong disease, been given the wrong medicine for several years and guess what, it’s Lyme disease, no cure but there is medicine that helps tremendously. So if you’ve been told you have MS, Lou Gehrig’s or even IBS, get a second opinion and tested.

 

I guess we are on a kick about lies told in church, especially in the Pentecostal/Charismatic vein. I’m always surprised when I talk to someone in the mainline denominations and they’ve never heard this crap, so for all us lunatics in the fringe crowd, this is for you.

Don’t believe this lie

Two lies you don’t want to believe and again this may be foreign theology for some but that’s why we are covering it because it’s bad theology.

Lie number one; bloodline curses.

Lie number two; nation curses, or nationality curses.

There are actually spiritual idiots out there that as the apostle Paul says are preaching for the sound of their own voices, and to tickle the ears of the foolish or vain.

One favorite preacher/teacher now long time departed Donald Barnhouse who  preached a great sermon about Jack Ass preachers, with long ears with bells on them, love to hear themselves talk, or as he said listen to their own ‘braying’.

The two lies are similar versions of the same lie and can sneak into your life and cause you much needless suffering.

First the bloodline curse, this is the lie that you are prone to sin, a particular sin because of your parents, especially if you look like one of them or have learned negative traits that are similar to theirs.

So If your father was a rageaholic ( I know spell check is going nuts) then it make sense that you are also cursed to be a rageaholic. (rage + addicted to rage), it’s a learned behavior pattern, not a curse of bloodline. Sounds simple but unlearn the negative behavior; don’t blame it on a curse, or that demons can taunt you and hound you because it’s a family curse, you need deliverance, no such thing, it’s simply not true.

Reason number uno, and primary reason why its not true, is when you accepted Christ as your savior His bloodline became your bloodline and even if the curse was true it was broken by His resurrection and the fact that His sacrifice (blood) was acceptable as final payment to God.

The nationality curse, i.e. I’m Irish so I’m supposed to fight and drink, demons encourage it, they haunt me, tempt me, prompt me because the Irish are cursed, prone to depression, etc. very similar to the bloodline curse but it’s still hooey.

Never blame your actions on something external, never blame your actions on something like your race, nationality etc. yes some nationalities are more prone to alcoholism then others but that’s genetics not a curse.

The problem with curses, (even though Lon Chaney in the wolfman is probably my favorite movie) they have one purpose and that is to make you feel helpless or not in control, more hooey, you and you alone will stand before almighty God and give account for all your actions and motivations, and believe me there is no scripture to support a bloodline curse, (except that of being related to Adam and the sin of all mankind).

The other problem there is always some high and mighty super Christian snob, goody goody know it all that thinks they have super powers and have a deliverance ministry, more hooey, only you and your relation to Christ can deliver yourself. You don’t have to ‘take authority’ over anything, just believe in the work of God through his Son and bang, instant deliverance (speaking of deliverance and movie themes, absolutely hated the movie, I wouldn’t go canoeing or camping for years).

So don’t believe the lie, if you are a Christian then there is no demonic ties to your behavior, which as a bonus I going to throw in a free lie, if you are a Christian you cannot be cursed because you touched a crystal, or touched a Ouija board at a garage sale, etc. because we are blood bought, purchased and sealed, kept by God; so stop struggling so much and relax in Christ, not RIP, but RIC , hey maybe that will become as popular as WWJD.

God Bless,

Give us a shout at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Pampero Firpo

July 4, 2017

ok, in order to get the title you have to probably be at least 60 years old, live above the Mason Dixon line and probably the east coast. he played a number of characters, but as the great Firpo he used to say “I see the light and the light sees me”. without googling him, guess who he is; give me the answer at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

1 john 1:7-10

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Walking in the light, through the Word of God, the indwelling Holy Spirit shows the Christian the he;

1; still possesses the old nature (vs 8)

2; still needs the forgiveness of sin (vs 9-10)

The very blood of Christ is the divine solution for the both problems.

To walk in the light is to have constant fellowship with God and his Son. It is our sin that interrupts this fellowship, we must choose whether we want to be carnal believers and have no regular fellowship, no direction or guidance in our lives because of sinning, or have the regular benefit and joy of constantly being in his presence and feeling led and blessed.

The choice is ours, regular daily blessings or a life of grief and carnal benefit, but still saved.

Sin interrupts fellowship but cannot alter the relationship. Confession restores fellowship and immediately confessing after carnal acts keeps the fellowship unbroken.

You would think we would always make the wise choice, alas we often don’t; and unfortunately we are told to ‘get saved again’ when the problem is realizing that a simple prayer of confession and a contrite heart will fix the feeling of separation, which we often confuse with being lost and out of the economy of God. When nothing could be farther from the truth, we have strayed, not fallen out of His Grace.

My sheep hear my voice, you can always come back home, you are already there, just turn around; that’s the marvelous story of God’s grace.

 

As one veteran to another, God bless and thank you.

God Bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

One morning Death was walking into a city when a man stopped him and asked what he was doing. Death answered, “I’m going into the city to kill 10,000 people.” The man replied, “That’s terrible that you would kill 10,000 people.” Death responded, “Taking people when their time has come is my job. Today I have to get my 10,000.” Later, as Death was coming out of the city, the man met him. Again, he was furious. He said, “You told me this morning that you were going to take 10,000 people, but 70,000 died today.” Death answered, “Don’t get mad at me. I only took 10,000. Worry killed all the rest.”

Worry has an uncanny knack for killing people. The poet Robert Frost (1874–1963) wrote, “The reason why worry kills more people than work is because more people worry than work.” Seriously, worry has become an American pastime. For many people, worry has become so ingrained in their personalities that once the old worries are gone they search for new ones. They’ve become dependent on worry as a lens through which to view life, and they’ve forgotten any other way to live. Is there reason to be worried today? Most people would say there is. High energy costs, a worsening economy, rogue nuclear nations, threats of terrorism, widespread job layoffs, and tension in the Middle East—all these make for uncertain times. Economic stress is taking its toll on Americans’ emotional and physical health. Surveys show that more than half of Americans report irritability, anger, fatigue, or sleeplessness. Almost half say they self-medicate by overeating or indulging in unhealthy foods. Money and the economy topped the list of stressors for at least 80 percent of those surveyed. Finances now overshadow the more typical daily stressors of work and relationships.

Fortunately, in the midst of a world of “worry-warts,” Jesus isn’t worried. Even better, He has a definitive Word for you. In Matthew 6:25–34, He says, “Don’t worry, be hopeful.” Now there are some passages in the New Testament that are difficult to interpret, but this is not one of them. Jesus uses the word “worry” six times and He says, “Don’t worry” three times. Jesus is against high anxiety and unhealthy worry. Consequently, He provides two reasons you shouldn’t worry.

  1. Worry is an exercise in futility (6:25–30). Jesus promises to meet your needs because He cares for you. He begins this section with a negative command: “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on” (6:25a). The phrase “For this reason” ties back to 6:24. Jesus’ point is: If you can’t serve God and money, then you can’t worry about the material things that money can buy. The phrase “do not be worried” can be literally translated “stop worrying.” Jesus wants His followers to stop worrying over food, drink, and clothes because He will meet their basic material needs. Now, I need to put forth two disclaimers. First, don’t worry doesn’t mean don’t plan. The King James Version translates the phrase “do not be worried” as “take no thought.” This is misleading because it gives the impression that future planning is unnecessary. Over the years, many people have mistakenly assumed that this is a prohibition against career ambition, financial planning, and life insurance. But this is not what Jesus is saying. Jesus is pro-planning! He wants you to work hard and plan for your future. To do otherwise is to be foolish. Second, don’t worry doesn’t mean don’t be concerned. If you’re not concerned about your children playing near traffic, you’re a terrible parent.

 If you’re not concerned about your health, you’re a fast-food junkie. You need to have some degree of healthy concern. Otherwise you won’t meet deadlines or go in for medical checkups. The root idea of the verb “worry” (merimnao) means “to be pulled apart.” There’s a difference between concern and worry. Concern is when you can do something to help a situation, so you do what you can do. Worry is when you can’t do something, but you don’t want to leave it up to God. In other words, worry is concern gone haywire. You can spiritualize it all you want, but worry is a sin. If you are a worrying Christian, you are a sinning Christian. It doesn’t carry much weight with Jesus that He’s your first love, then you act like you can’t trust Him to look after you. Worry is a hideous sin to God because it is an indictment against Him, a slap at His love. So don’t worry, be hopeful.

Jesus now gives four reasons why you shouldn’t worry.

God will ensure your survival. Jesus says, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (6:25b) Jesus provides an argument from the greater to the lesser. Since God gave you life, He can surely sustain that life. Almost tongue-in-cheek Jesus says, “If you are going to worry, at least worry about something important, such as your life.” We worry whether we are going to have enough to eat. Jesus says we better worry about whether we are going to be alive to chew. God says, “If I’m going to wake you up tomorrow, I’m going to feed you. Now which is easier? Feeding you or waking you up? Don’t worry about breakfast tomorrow. Worry about whether your heart is going to stop tonight. Worry about whether I’m going to keep your brain working and your heart pumping. If you’re determined to worry, worry about that.” Now most of us don’t worry about stuff like that. We assume when we go to bed at night that we are going to wake up the next day.

 Jesus says, “If God has the power to keep you alive and wake you up tomorrow, then He will see to it that you have something to eat and something to wear tomorrow.” If you buy into a Creator God, you must buy into a Sustainer God—or you’re simply inconsistent. On a much smaller scale, if a jeweler gives you an expensive diamond ring as a gift, will he give you a box to put it in? Of course he will! The gift of the ring assumes a box. Similarly, if the Lord gives you life, He will take care of that life. Jesus anticipates a follow-up question: God can provide, but will He provide?

God will meet your material needs. Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (6:26) Jesus now moves from the lesser to the greater. The word translated “look” (emblepo) is a compound verb that can be translated “take a good look at.” Since humankind is created in the image of God, men and women are far more valuable to God than birds (Matt 10:31; 12:12). Birds expend energy in doing what is natural, such as building nests and collecting food for their young, yet it is actually God who feeds and clothes them (cf. Ps 104:10–16). The point is that when Jesus’ disciples are responsible to carry out the proper ways of life as ordained by God, God is faithful to carry out His responsibilities.

Our family has four bird feeders outside of our living room and dining room windows. We like to watch birds eat. Lori and the kids spent the better part of a year studying birds, after a friend gave us the book Birds of Texas. Since that time, we have identified nearly twenty birds that come and feed in our feeders. A pair of juncos come year after year to nest in one of our hanging baskets. We have observed first-hand that God provides for the birds because He loves them. At one time or another, you have likely heard from a parent, a sibling, a teacher, employer, or spouse the message, “You are unlovable.” Words like, “Can’t you do anything right?” or “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” or “What’s wrong with you anyway?” or “I’ve found someone else.” These words erode your sense of value until you start to doubt whether even God loves you. Yet, the last phrase of 6:26 demonstrates your value to God. If He cares for the birds, how much more valuable are you? Don’t worry, be hopeful.

God will grant your allotted days. Jesus says, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (6:27). Worrying may actually shorten your life. Are you worrying so much that you’re losing sleep? God stays up all night, so why should you? You’re the one who needs to sleep! There was a man who began to worry that he would get cancer. The serious disease had been prevalent in his family, so he began to worry about it. He worried about it for thirty years and then suddenly died of a heart attack. Worrying is such a waste of time. Should you be concerned about your health? Absolutely. Should you do the best you can to stay healthy? Absolutely. But after you’ve done all that you can do, don’t worry. To worry is to insult the God who has your life under control.

 The word worry comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word that means “to choke” or “to strangle.” That’s an apt description of what worry does to us. Worry won’t stretch our savings account, bring back that prodigal son or daughter, or keep cancer or senility at bay. But it will cause us to lose sleep. It will give us ulcers, high blood pressure, and headaches. It will sour our mood and distance our friends and eventually stifle our relationship with God. It not only has physical consequences, it has spiritual consequences as well.

God will cover your external appearance. Jesus says, “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if30 God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” (6:28–30) Jesus says, “Don’t be worried about what you will wear. Just look at the flowers.” At first glance, Jesus’ words about the lilies, like the birds, are lovely, but they are not very compelling. Sure, birds and lilies don’t worry about life, but they also don’t have mortgages, car payments, grocery bills, and college tuitions to keep them awake at night. Yet, here, Jesus says, “God will meet your need for clothing.” You may not be decked out in designer wear, but you’ll have what you need. The verb “observe” is a strong word. It means more than just a mere casual glance. It means to study the beauty of the flowers. The emphasis shifts slightly in 6:30 where Jesus speaks of the clothing of “the grass of the field.” Like flowers, grass is transient and even less impressive. Yet, God clothes the grass whether we fertilize it or not. Jesus longs for you to learn a lesson from the flowers and grass. He closes with a rebuke: “You of little faith,” which is an expression only directed to Jesus’ disciples. It indicates not an absence of faith but deficiency of faith. Jesus is saying, “Trust God to meet your needs.” God’s trustworthiness is the issue. Did God take care of you yesterday? What about the day before? What about the day before that? Then, how come you’re worried today? What kind of Father do you have? Some people have sufficient faith to believe God will get them to heaven but not enough to believe He will get them through the next twenty-four hours. They are absolutely confident of the sweet-by-and-by but are terrified of the nasty here-and-now.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

AA has 12 steps

Alfred Hitchcock had 39

Judaism has 613

Lynyrd Skynyrd has 3

We have 8

Peter tells us the life of godliness is rooted in and dependent on God’s grace. We should live in way that is pleasing to God because Christ has given us all we need to live a life of godliness (see 2Pe 1:3–4).

 But Peter also makes clear that we are expected to put forth effort, and connects together a chain of eight essential virtues (vv. 5–8):

  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  So how do we go about incorporating these 8 virtues into our lives? The most practical and powerful way to get believers headed in the direction of spiritual maturity is to help them establish habits that promote spiritual growth.

 In other articles we examine specific ways we can develop habits related to each of these virtues (“Developing the Habit of Faith”, “Developing the Habit of Goodness”, “Developing the Habit of Knowledge”, “Developing the Habit of Self-Control”, “Developing the Habit of Perseverance”, “Developing the Habit of Godliness”, “Developing the Habit of Mutual Affection” and “Developing the Habit of Love”). For now, though, let’s consider the role of the Holy Spirit in forming virtuous habits.

 The role of virtue in the life of the Christian is to help us become the sort of person who has certain dispositions to respond to certain situations in characteristic ways that illustrate the essence of true humanity, which is “true” only when in relation to God.

 The Spirit guides us from the lack of virtue to the source of all virtues, producing in us by this relationship the “fruit of the Spirit” (see Gal 5:22–23). Because God is the origin, there is a coherence of the virtues in God himself: If God is the unifying element of the virtues, then none of the virtues are secondary. The Spirit not only distributes the different virtues to each individual, but also helps us to resolve any apparent dilemmas between specific virtues.

 The Holy Spirit also plays a role in developing the virtues by mediating them through our interactions with the divine Trinitarian community (the Trinity), with the community of faith (the church), the Word of God (the Bible) and the individual self (the believer’s conscience). The Spirit works through these means both to develop our ethical understanding (i.e., illuminate the moral requirements outlined in Scripture) and to help us live and act virtuously.

 “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’ ” (1Pe 1:15–16). This task of making us holy—sanctification—is reserved for the Holy Spirit, who helps us conform to the image of Christ.

 Sanctification, though, is a cooperative work that involves both the Spirit and the individual Christian. Unlike regeneration, we have an active role to play in the process. Every ethical and moral action is a step forward or backward on the road to becoming sanctified. Fortunately for us, the Spirit also plays an essential role when we fail to live virtuously: forgiving our sins and trespasses.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Peter, who has a stalker and is making family life stressful

Pray for Paul K. cancer surgery just around the corner

Pray for those seeking employment

Pray for Richard who is in that last stages of dementia,