the power of 3

August 21, 2017

What if I told you I know the secret to joy, happiness and success?

Some would scoff, others would doubt. But a few would think, “hey, it might be possible.”

Look how many people write books, or blog or have their own TV shows. Surely, they must know the secret. Well here’s the problem; you must define what joy, happiness and success really mean.

Since we believe in God and His Holy Word, we know the answers or parameters should come from there.

Of the three God only promises Joy.

Happiness and success are not biblical promises but they can be a byproduct of us having joy.

So here’s the secret, commit to God that you want to be pleasing to Him in three areas, how you think, how you feel and what choices you make each day.

If those three items are Spirit controlled, then you will have joy, and you’ll feel happier and life will turn out to be truly successful (biblically successful not Joel Osteen successful) and not tied to possessions or health or to another person.

So start with this; any sin you keep confessing over and over, even though you’re not committing or repeating the act. STOP, CONFESSING. That is false guilt, fear and failure to trust and believe you are forgiven. If there are consequences to this act/sin you did commit, accept the consequences, stop hiding them, which causes more guilt and take your lumps. You can be forgiven and still have fallout from what you did.

If most people would start with that one truth, the burden of guilt would lift as you move on. Remember there is no biblical stand on forgiving yourself, just you ACCEPTING God’s forgiveness.

So no secret knowledge, no $19.95 for the book limited to the first 100 callers, just peace and that wasn’t even in the list, so a freebie.

Ask God to help with your thinking, your feelings and your choices. Your life will change right now, literally just by knowing that.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Go to hell

August 20, 2017

Great question from Dave B, of Ithaca, New York, first a simple answer.

Question: “Where was Jesus for the three days between His death and resurrection?”

Answer: First Peter 3:18–19 says, “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison” (ESV). The word spirit refers to Christ’s spirit. The contrast is between His flesh and spirit, and not between Christ’s flesh and the Holy Spirit. Christ’s flesh died, but His spirit remained alive.

First Peter 3:18–22 describes a necessary link between Christ’s suffering (verse 18) and His glorification (verse 22). Only Peter gives specific information about what happened between these two events. The KJV says that Jesus “preached” to the spirits in prison (verse 19). However, the Greek word used is not the usual New Testament word for preaching the gospel. It simply means “to herald a message”; the NIV translates it as “made proclamation.” Jesus suffered and died on the cross, His body being put to death. But His spirit was made alive, and He yielded it to the Father (Luke 23:46). According to Peter, sometime between Jesus’ death and His resurrection Jesus made a special proclamation to “the spirits in prison.”

In the New Testament, the word spirits is used to describe angels or demons, not human beings. In 1 Peter 3:20, Peter refers to people as “souls” (KJV). Also, nowhere in the Bible are we told that Jesus visited hell. Acts 2:31 says that He went to Hades (New American Standard Bible), but Hades is not hell. Hades is a term that refers, broadly, to the realm of the dead, a temporary place where the dead await resurrection. Revelation 20:11–15 in the NASB and the NIV makes a clear distinction between the Hades and the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the permanent, final place of judgment for the lost. Hades is a temporary place for both the lost and the Old Testament saints.

Our Lord yielded His spirit to the Father, died physically, and entered paradise (Luke 23:43). At some time between His death and resurrection, Jesus also visited a place where He delivered a message to spirit beings (probably fallen angels; see Jude 1:6); these beings were somehow related to the period before the flood in Noah’s time (1 Peter 3:20). Peter does not tell us what Jesus proclaimed to the imprisoned spirits, but it could not be a message of redemption since angels cannot be saved (Hebrews 2:16). It was probably a declaration of victory over Satan and his hosts (1 Peter 3:22; Colossians 2:15). Ephesians 4:8–10 also seems to give a clue regarding Jesus’ activities in the time between His death and resurrection. Quoting Psalm 68:18, Paul says about Christ, “when he ascended on high, he took many captives” (Ephesians 4:8). The ESV puts it that Christ “led a host of captives.” The reference seems to be that, in paradise, Jesus gathered all the redeemed who were there and took them to their permanent dwelling in heaven.

All this to say, the Bible isn’t entirely clear what exactly Christ did for the three days between His death and resurrection. From what we can tell, though, He comforted the departed saints and brought them to their eternal home, and He proclaimed His victory over the fallen angels who are kept in prison. What we can know for sure is that Jesus was not giving anyone a second chance for salvation; we face judgment after death (Hebrews 9:27), not a second chance. Also, He was not suffering in hell; His work of redemption was finished on the cross (John 19:30).

Now something a little more complex, if you’re fine with the first answer stop.

It not here’s part two.

The different terms used in the Bible for heaven and hell—sheol, hades, gehenna, the lake of fire, paradise, and Abraham’s bosom—are the subject of much debate and can be confusing.

The word “paradise” is used as a synonym for heaven (2 Corinthians 12:3–4; Revelation 2:7). When Jesus was dying on the cross and one of the thieves being crucified with Him asked Him for mercy, Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Jesus knew that His death was imminent and that He would soon be in heaven with His Father. Therefore, Jesus used paradise as a synonym for heaven, and the word has come to be associated with any place of ideal loveliness and delight.

Abraham’s bosom is referred to only once in the Bible—in the story of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31). It was used in the Talmud as a synonym for heaven. The image in the story is of Lazarus reclining at a table leaning on Abraham’s breast—as John leaned on Jesus’ breast at the Last Supper—at the heavenly banquet. There are differences of opinion about what exactly Abraham’s bosom represents. Those who believe the setting of the story is a period after the Messiah’s death and resurrection see Abraham’s bosom as synonymous with heaven. Those who believe the setting to be prior to the crucifixion see Abraham’s bosom as another term for paradise. The setting is really irrelevant to the point of the story, which is that wicked men will see the righteous in happiness, and themselves in torment, and that a “great gulf” exists between them (Luke 16:26) which will never be spanned.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word used to describe the realm of the dead is sheol. It simply means “the place of the dead” or “the place of departed souls/spirits.” The New Testament Greek equivalent to sheol is hades, which is also a general reference to “the place of the dead.” The Greek word gehenna is used in the New Testament for “hell” and is derived from the Hebrew word hinnom. Other Scriptures in the New Testament indicated that sheol/hades is a temporary place where souls are kept as they await the final resurrection. The souls of the righteous, at death, go directly into the presence of God—the part of sheol called “heaven,” “paradise,” or “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23).

The lake of fire, mentioned only in Revelation 19:20 and 20:10, 14-15, is the final hell, the place of eternal punishment for all unrepentant rebels, both angelic and human (Matthew 25:41). It is described as a place of burning sulfur, and those in it experience eternal, unspeakable agony of an unrelenting nature (Luke 16:24; Mark 9:45-46). Those who have rejected Christ and are in the temporary abode of the dead in hades/sheol have the lake of fire as their final destination.

But those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life should have no fear of this terrible fate. By faith in Christ and His blood shed on the cross for our sins, we are destined to live eternally in the presence of God.

Recommended Resource: Heaven by Randy Alcorn, I highly recommend this book and especially recommend Irwin Lutzer’s book, “one minute after you die.

I don’t know if it’s only Pentecostals and Charismatic’s that preach Christ going to hell and ripping off chains and flogging demons and rebuking the devil; it makes a great sermon, to bad it’s not biblical. But hey these are the same people that preach Christians can be possessed, bloodline curses exit and Christians need delivered. BUNK.

One salvation, one act of regeneration, and an ongoing life of sanctification (it’s a process) and one Lord and Savior (not one of each).

Ok, I’ve got to calm down this week. Blessings.

For those that took my recommendation and read the free book/biography of Lucius B. Compton. It’s a great book, but the sermon at the end of the book is incorrect in theology and thus the purpose of this devotional. Still read the book, skip the sermon at the end it is riddled with theological problems typical of those who follow an Armenian/(early)Wesleyan theology.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

THE BIG READ

August 19, 2017

the bible

People use the Bible in all sorts of weird ways. You’ve probably heard the story of the guy who felt he needed some guidance from the Bible, so he opened it at random, closed his eyes and put his finger on a verse: “Judas went out and hanged himself.” He thought, “That can’t be God’s will for me,” so he tried again: “Go thou and do likewise.” He knew there must be some mistake, so he tried once more: “What thou doest, do quickly!” It can be dangerous to use the Bible in the wrong way!

While we chuckle, it’s no laughing matter when people really use the Bible improperly. In 2 Timothy 2:14, Paul tells Timothy to solemnly charge those under his pastoral ministry “in the presence of God” that if they misuse the Bible, it will lead to ruin. We get our word “catastrophe” from the Greek word for “ruin.” Paul means, ultimate spiritual ruin! He names Hymenaeus and Philetus, who had gone astray from the truth, upsetting the faith of some with their misuse of the Bible! Paul is saying that…

I’ve lost count of the bible hucksters that misuse the word of God, and it’s not a new phenomenon as is indicated by our text.

I was visiting a church while I was traveling and as my custom I always take my bible to church. I was actually stopped at the door by two deacons. They wanted to know what I had under my arm. Now I admit my bible is pretty worn out, it’s gray leather and it’s a perfect match for the multiple strips of gray duct tape that hold it together. And it looks pregnant, as I have all sort of notes, illustrations, letters from old parishioners that have passed on and their family wrote me a particularly nice word about how they’ve appreciated my pastorate. There is the one and only letter I have ever received from my dad in it and some obit notices. But still what else would I be carrying into church that looks like a bible.

 I took it out from under my arm and said; “it’s my bible” and their response is memorable; “why would you bring a bible to church, do you think our pastor is going to say something wrong?” Well, DUH.

When I was in Seminary, if you went to church near the college and didn’t have your Greek New Testament with you, you often would be asked why on Monday.

I know that I have written several devotions about versions of the bible and I still stick to the idea that you read the KJV if you are studying Theology, the NASB if you’re studying languages, and for reading for devotional, well just about anything goes. (except the Message,, which is not a bible and not a version)

Or so I thought until today. I got a catalog in the mail today advertising ‘bible reading light’, that’s not an error. They know people are (these are their actual words) lazy, inept, undisciplined, untrained, to busy, to careless, to intimidated and not motivated.

So they have two versions where they (again their words) have cut out all the boring bits, traditionalism and historical flotsam.

To say I almost had a stroke would be putting it mildly. You know the old saying; “those that don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it?”

Obviously, they have forgotten the great Reader’s Digest version of the bible. The worst selling bible to ever come out. Or how about the outrage when the RSV came out for the first time, ‘one word’ capsized that version, In the book of Isaiah they said ‘he’d be born of a maiden’ not virgin. I still have articles from all sorts of publications saying this might be the work of the anti-Christ and it’s the devil’s bible, all that over just one word.

So know there’s an entire curriculum where the idea is that we are not reading the bible as God’s word, but it’s now to be treated (in their own words) as a book club. All the hard bits left out, all the begats and therefores, no chapter headings, no verses, no read letters, no references, just what they consider the bible lite version, oh and guess what it’s not called the bible just “the big read”.

Slap my mother and bite my a$$. You can’t make this stuff up. I guess all the verses in the bible saying it’s inspired, worthy, a blessing to read and hear aloud, not one jot or tittle will pass away, heaven and earth may pass away but not the word. I guess all that doesn’t matter.

You know how I’m always making lists, well now I have another bible version, whoops excuse me ‘the big read’ to add to my list of bibles I won’t read.

But when you see the authors in this catalog it really comes as no surprise. So the BIG READ,  brought to you by all the so called pastors that have brought all our modern heresies and only warm fuzzies, puppies and unicorns and faith in yourself matter. Ok I’ve got to quit or have another stroke.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Dear Prayer Partners, thank you for praying for Richard, he passed today. This guy literally spent his whole life on a boat, and when he retired guess what he did, yep  sea cruises, but not like you and me, he took 60 day cruises and 90 day cruises with only 2 weeks in between. The hospice called me today and asked if I could talk to him and help him let go and pass on. So I told him, “Richard this is it, the final cruise, the best cruise you’ve ever been on, it’s time to let go and get on board. And he did.

 

Giving to God

August 18, 2017

Put your money where your mouth is.

Phil 4:14-20

 

Whenever I speak on the subject of giving, I’m aware that I’m dealing with a sensitive area where people are easily offended. “The church is always after my money,” is the common complaint. I’m also reminded of the comment a preacher made, that when you throw a rock at a pack of dogs and one of them yelps, you know which one got hit. So before you yelp about this sermon, you’d better think about whether the Word of God may be hitting you where it hurts!

I’ve been a pastor for 40 years and no matter what you say, I can tell you one truth. I can tell you everything I need to know about you as a person and your walk with God by how you treat money. I know when a person tries to convince me how spiritual they are, yet they are stingy with their money. Then they are stingy with God and usually quick tempered and manipulative. Although they never see it that way. But they are difficult people to have as mates or parents.

The Bible speaks very plainly about money because our hearts and our wallets are tightly bound up together, and God is after our hearts. Jesus talked often about money: 16 of His 38 parables deal with how to handle money and possessions. In the Gospels, one out of ten verses (288 in all) deal directly with money. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions. Next to hell, Jesus spoke about money more than any topic. Yet the most unpopular sermons or series is about money. I used to have all of October devoted to stewardship, I stopped after several years because of the steep decline in attendance. .

 If you think I’m talking to you because you don’t give very much, it’s just your guilty conscience! If you fake it and smile back at me, I’ll probably think you’re a big giver! But it won’t fool God. Paul wrote to the Philippians who had given sacrificially to meet his need. In it he gives us one of the most comforting promises in the Bible:

If we give faithfully to the Lord’s work, He will supply all our needs.

In the context, it’s a conditional promise; you can’t divorce verse 19 from what goes before. It is to people who have given faithfully and generously that Paul says, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” If we meet the condition–give faithfully, God will fulfill His part–supply all our needs. So what is faithful giving? There are many more principles than the ones found here, but these four we all must learn:

The principles for faithful giving:

  1. FAITHFUL GIVING SHOULD BE ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS WE ESTABLISH IN OUR CHRISTIAN WALK.

Paul commends the Philippian church by reminding them of how, at the first preaching of the gospel, after he departed from their region (Macedonia), they shared with him in the matter of giving and receiving (4:15-16). At that point, they were the only church that took the initiative to send support to Paul. Even when he was still in Macedonia, at Thessalonica, more than once they sent gifts to him. Apparently those gifts were not enough to provide full support, because he reminds the Thessalonians how he worked with his hands to provide for his needs when he was with them (2 Thess. 3:7-9). But right from the start of their Christian experience, the Philippians had given.

Paul taught that it is proper for a man who labors in the gospel to receive his support from the gospel (1 Cor. 9:1-18; 1 Tim. 5:17-18). But for the sake of avoiding the charge that he was preaching for the money, Paul chose not to receive support from a new church where he was ministering while he was there. Instead, he supported himself by making tents. But if the funds came from another church outside the area, he would stop making tents and devote himself full time to the work of the ministry (compare Acts 18:1-11, 2 Cor. 11:7-12). As I mentioned last week, Paul never seemed to make his needs known, even as prayer requests, but trusted in the sovereign God to provide. When funds ran low, he would go back to work until God met the need.

But Paul must have taught the Philippians early on the importance of faithful giving to support those in Christian ministry, because soon after he left town, they sent gifts after him. They would have been just a few months old in the Lord, but they were already practicing faithful giving.

Jesus taught the same principle in Luke 16:10-13. After giving the parable of the unrighteous steward, which has to do with money, He said, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much.” He goes on to show that the “little thing” is our use of “unrighteous mammon,” or money. If we are faithful in how we use our money to advance His kingdom, the Lord will then entrust “true riches” to us (16:11) which, in the context, are souls. If we want God to entrust us with souls, we begin by proving our faithfulness in what to us is a “big thing,” but to God is a “little thing,” the use of our money. That’s His test. So financial faithfulness, which includes giving, but also how we manage all the material goods God has entrusted to us (earning, spending, saving), should be one of the first lessons we learn in our Christian walk.

One of the first lessons on giving should be that we learn to take the initiative in looking for faithful Christian workers who are focused on the glory of God and the work of the gospel (as Paul was) and support them without being pressured to give. It’s a sad commentary on the American church that we live in relative luxury while faithful servants of the Lord are being held up from going to the field because of a lack of funds, or they have to return from the field to raise more support. Many American Christians are so used to the pressured appeals of TV preachers, that “if you don’t give right now, this ministry will go off the air,” that we overlook the faithful servants of the Lord who are not so forceful in their appeals for funds.

  1. FAITHFUL GIVING SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON THE FURTHERANCE OF THE GOSPEL.

Paul was “preaching the gospel” (4:15). He had given each church where he worked an example of his hard work and his freedom from greed (Acts 20:33-35; 1 Thess. 2:5; 2 Thess. 3:7-9). There are those who claim to be serving the Lord, but they are lazy and greedy. Don’t give to them. If a TV or radio preacher pleads for money, saying that his ministry will go under if you don’t send your gift today, let him go under. He’s not trusting God. Look at his lifestyle. If he’s living in luxury, let him sell some of his junk and give it to his ministry. The Scriptures warn us about men who are in ministry for the money (1 Tim. 6:5; Titus 1:11; 2 Pet. 2:3, 14, 15).

The famous British preacher, C. H. Spurgeon, once received a request from a wealthy man to come to their town and help them raise funds for a new church building. He told Spurgeon he could stay in his country home there. Spurgeon wrote back and told him to sell the home and give the money to the project.

Give to those who emphasize ministry, not money. Paul’s focus was on preaching the gospel, not on his need for money. While he genuinely appreciated the gift from the Philippians, he was more excited about what it signified about their heart for God, that it represented fruit accruing in their account in heaven (4:17). As for himself, Paul lived by faith and was content with whatever God provided. But he never made strong appeals for funds for himself.

Paul did, by the way, make a strong appeal for funds for others. In 2 Corinthians 8 & 9, he appealed strongly to them to give generously to meet the need of the poor Christians in Judea. Of course he would never stoop to some of the fund-raising gimmicks used by various ministries and churches in our day–sending out “prayer cloths” in exchange for your contribution, church raffles, bingo games, and the like. He appealed to them to give based on God’s gracious gift of His Son for us (2 Cor. 8:9; 9:15). He was always scrupulous not to take advantage of anyone in financial matters, but to keep his focus on ministry (2 Cor. 7:2; 11:7-12; 12:18; 2 Thess. 3:8). So look for faithful servants or ministries who are focused on the furtherance of the gospel and give faithfully to them.

Hopefully you’ve noticed in the over 1600 posted devotions I’ve posted I’ve never asked for money. There is one reason, I remain pretty much anonymous. That way I’m never tempted to “back off” on a message, we cover the water front when it comes to topics and sometimes I can’t help but indulge my sarcasm, and plain nuttiness, in ways I can’t always do in the pulpit.

We do strive on one thing though, we are grateful for your prayers, support and encouragement just in words and “likes”. There are times after a rough day of counseling and visiting the most difficult of people and problems, I look forward to the simplicity of you all just saying hello.

So God bless and thanks from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Do support your home church faithfully and cheerfully and you will be blessed.

Questions? Comments, and prayer requests to the email address.

For those of you praying for Richard, this is day 6 of days he’s lived way beyond what the doctors have predicted. And amazingly everything is the same, blood pressure, heart rate, I keep reading my bible to him every day and am amazed by his silent strength, I know he will never come out of this coma and he is deteriorating rapidly, but he continues to struggle. Every day the doctor says this will be his last. Just goes to show how little doctors really know about the divine spark in each of us.

WHEN GOD SAYS NO

August 16, 2017

WHEN GOD SAYS NO

Everybody knows I’m big reader because we don’t watch TV, we read and listen to music. I often will hear a person’s trouble and suggest a certain book to help. Not everyone is a reader and so now I ask; “would you care to read…..”.

So with that in mind, I would like to suggest a book that will lift you up, stir you and lead you to desire a deeper walk, and set before you a great example of God leading our lives. The book is the biography of Lucius Bunyan Compton, Mountain Preacher, by John Patty, you can download it for free, it sets a beautiful example of God leading. make sure you get the free book written by Patty and not biography written by Rev. Compton himself, they are very similiar but the biography by John Patty is much better.

God says NO, when there is….

  1. Sin in our lives.

Confess and repent!

The psalmist wrote, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the LORD would not have listened” (Ps. 66:18). Not that God is unable to hear, for He is omniscient, but that He maintains His distance when we allow sin to be a wall between us.

Major disobedience sets us up for long-term unanswered prayer: When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.” (l Sam. 8:18)

A loving God is in control!

  1. To say yes would bring us harm we don’t foresee.

B.M. Palmer in Theology of Prayer, tells of a woman who had spent the summer away from her children, and was quite anxious to get back to them. When she learned that all the rooms on a certain steamer were taken, she wept bitterly. Because she couldn’t get a passage on any other ship, she was detained two weeks in NYC. But the sorrow of being delayed was turned into thanksgiving when, within a few days, she learned that the vessel that denied her passage was buried at the bottom of the Atlantic. She didn’t see the “no” as a wonderful answer to prayer until the whole story unfolded.

A loving God is in control!

  1. God has something far greater in store for us.

Mary and Martha wanted Jesus to heal Lazarus, but He had resurrection in mind.

We ask for health, but often sickness and suffering or something less than wealth is the best way to produce holiness and maturity in us.

A loving God is in control!

  1. We pray at cross purposes with other believers.

  • Two Christians on opposing teams, praying for their team to win.

  • Two Christians applying for the same job or to get their child in the same preschool spot.

God has to say “no” to one to say “yes” to the other.

A loving God is in control!

  1. We pray for things where a “yes” is impossible.

  • That a child

    be

    found alive when they’ve been murdered.

  • We pray for lost things that are not found.

A carpenter was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to an orphanage in China. On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but they were gone. He remembered putting them there that morning, so he drove back to the church. His search proved fruitless. When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what happened. The glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His brand new glasses were heading for China!

The Great Depression was at its height, and the man had six children. He had spent twenty dollars for those glasses that very morning. “It’s not fair,” he told God as he drove home in frustration. “I’ve been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this.”

Several months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday night at this small church in Chicago. The carpenter and his family sat in their customary seats among the sparse congregation.

The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage.

“But most of all,” he said, “I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate.

“Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses. Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches every day, so my coworkers and I were much in prayer about this. Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed the covers, they found a pair of glasses lying on top.”

The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued: “Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as though they had been custom-made just for me! I want to thank you for being a part of that.”

The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas.

But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter realized the Master Carpenter had used him in an extraordinary way.

A loving God is in control!

  1. We pray for things that are already determined.

  • Praying for a boy or girl that’s already been conceived.

  • Praying for the salvation of someone who’s already dead.

A loving God is in control!

  1. We get discouraged in prayer by thinking God has said no when in fact He’s said nothing at all.

“Wait” is an answer. Delay is not denial.

God often delays His answer to cultivate patience and persistence, and build our faith.

Or to bring our will around to conform to His own.

A loving God is in control!

  1. God’s “No” is not rejection, but redirection

Close a door—open a window? No!

God’s “no” to one thing is a “yes” to another.

2 Sam 7 – God said “no” to David’s desire to build a temple.

A loving God is in control!

  1. God’s “no” isn’t punishment, it’s preparation

Rom 5:2a-5 – “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

God is preparing us to be His Son’s bride. We will reign with Him; we must be made into a bride worthy of our position. He develops perseverance, character, and hope as we trust Him in prayer. Prayer and spiritual warfare is His means of preparing us for bridehood.

A loving God is in control!

  1. God’s “No” will sometimes bring greater glory to God.

Joni Eareckson Tada. (A Zondervan publishing rep says: “Joni is the only successful Christian writer he knows who has stayed the same person after gaining fame.”)

Focus on the Family : A pastor’s throat/voice was healed while being recorded. The tape was aired on Focus; he has now written a book.

A loving God is in control!

  1. God’s “No” opens the door to an adventure with God.

Elijah, 1 Kings 19. He prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life. I am no better than my ancestors.” God said “no” because He had an adventure planned for Elijah!

2 Kings 2:11, “Suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out. ‘My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!’ And Elisha saw him no more.”

Most times, 99% of the time we will never know the answer to why he said no. but in faith abiding we know He loves us and knows best.

A loving God is in control!

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

I am often blessed by people responding to a day’s devotion by saying; it was the right message at the right time. Even when I feel like I’m swinging way off the mark and feel like I’m way out of bounds, I get that email that says thanks.

Thank you also to those that encourage and pray and inspire us with your notes and “likes” we appreciate it more than you know.

NOTE; those praying for my friend Richard, miraculously he has made through the night and the day, but he is slipping away. There are no relatives and at his request he’ll be cremated and other than you all, no one will know he passes. Pray he goes quickly his Alzheimer has taken any semblance of the guy I used to know. Blessings on all that pray for him. Regards.

Christian Lampoon

August 13, 2017

Chevy Chase/Billy Joel Poster

It seems there is much misunderstanding of the developing Christian life. For fear of one cause we run from another, much disinformation is abounding, and we have now developed “Box Christians”.  We read the labels and have “Christian Lite” vs. “Full Gospel” and “Dominion Christians” the “Tongue Waggers” and the “Lord, Your lucky to have me group” and let’s not forget the “Lord fill my Wallet” group (which is a twofer group) the cheats and the swindlers preachers and the dumb as a stone pew warmer that swallows it all. Then we have the “puffers and fluffers” they always have a ‘special’ word from the Lord and look down their noses at you because you’ll never reach their level. The interesting thing about them is there is a whole herd of these swine, and as they look down their noses at you as they roll in their own filth. They’ll cast the first stone, yet their computers are filled with porn, they lie and gossip and rob pastors of time and effort and make them weary and discouraged because nothing ever changes and they run off every visitor. Then there are dung heap Christians, as they lie in their own filth they claim in loud voices how excellent and shiny they are.

Is it any wonder why we have over 2000 different denominations in America, and a new church (always built on a split) on every corner.

So we choose churches like we choose cereals, we look at the cover and does something appeal to some innate sense of inner peace. Earth tones that calm or bright colors that attract us like a magpie. Or the pastor is famous and doesn’t take a salary because his sugar-coated books lull each one into a sleep coma so deep they’ll never hear the trumpet sound.

Then we read the ingredients, no tithing expected, sin never spelled out, little faith needed, padded pews or padded chairs (even better so we can move them and not sit too close to those not enlightened as we are group). There’s no counseling provided because we don’t need no stinkin counseling, the bible is the latest Jesus is homogenized version that you could substitute any one’s name in. oh and in the parking lot there is a drive through lane for communion, a happy meal and your prescriptions refilled.

Then there’s the mid week bible study, where the rich go to the rich homes and the poor stay home as they don’t have the gas to spare.

And the latest trend the social do-gooders, these are one of the fastest growing churches in America. They specialize in “threshold people” (we used to call them homeless). We don’t have any problems and can’t abide any sermon directed at us. But with enough air fresheners and we make sure we pee before we go to church so we won’t set on the same toilet and catch something or see them in the restroom peddling drugs, blowjobs and smokes. Ok, we lost all our old folks from church because they smell funny too and talk about the way it used to be and the good old days. So between the unwashed and 18 piece hyper amplified band with two drum sets, choreographed fat women in spandex and banners wiggling out with their rumps “oh how we love Jesus” 47 times. The hymnals are gone and we’re paying a worship director twice what the pastor is paid to give us a light show and colors and unicorns dancing on the walls as we sing songs that might be about Jesus or some gay guy, honestly, we can’t tell any more only somebody loves somebody a lot.

Welcome to the new, extra crunchy, won’t get soggy, varnished Clark Griswold totally non-nutritious church service.

Isn’t Jesus wonderful, just like a warm blanket just pulled from the dryer. (sorry I have to puke now)

I don’t have a migraine or a brain tumor and there is no rancor or sour grapes. Just deep sorrow as we have a religion one inch deep 3000 miles wide and the nation is going to hell in a handbasket as we have no roots and religion is like being gay, we just have to keep it private and in our bedrooms and oh wait, only Christian have to hide, the gays are out and teaching your kids in boy scouts how to camp, crochet and start a fire with a Bic.

scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com probably fighting the crowd out front with torches and pitch forks now, oh, and by the way, it’s not really Frankenstein anymore, it is really the Freudian version of a confused transgender guy. And the gospel is a hate crime.

I’m playing Jimi Hendrix’s Manic Depression right now, turn it up!

Questions, comments, prayer requests to the email address please.

KNOW TO GROW

August 13, 2017

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KNOW TO GROW

  “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

  The heartbreaking knowledge of self-brings a life-giving compensation, which is knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The needs generated by the realization of the sin of self-produce the necessary motivation and hunger which cause us to focus upon the Lord Jesus and become conformed to His image. “And we all, while with face unveiled we behold in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are ourselves transformed continually into the same likeness” (2 Cor. 3:18).

 Many a new believer has obtained relief in his conscience from his sins, because of faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ; that is, he does not see further than Romans 3. He has faith in the work of Christ, but has not yet come in faith to Christ. He is like the woman who touched the hem of His garment, assured of His work but not yet acquainted with Himself.

 It is one thing to believe on the Lord Jesus, to be born again, to be saved. That is a wondrous thing as a beginning or start, but it alone will not take you right through all you must meet, to grow into him; and if you are really in the Lord’s hands He will see to it that by virtue of need you are drawn into knowing more and more of His Son. It is the normal course of a true, Holy Spirit-governed Christian life that, in order to get through, an increase of Christ, a growing discovery of Christ, is necessary.

  “That I may know Him” (Phil. 3:10).

After your salvation, God has but one plan for your life, become like His Son, to grow into the image of Christ. Good news, it will happen, the other news, (not bad) it’s going to hurt. No one seems to preach much on the growing pains of being a Christian. The idea of us becoming more Christ like is the same idea of a hammer striking a die and the image being cut into the metal of the coin itself.

God is the hammer, Christ is the die, you got it, you’re the thing being struck.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

shouldn’t we be better?

August 12, 2017

I meant to ask…how’s that constant state of self-criticism going? Not like you don’t get enough of it from your boss. It helped that your parents used humiliation tactics to discipline you and your siblings. Mother does know best—you can’t do anything right.

You always were insignificant. No wonder kids teased you in grade school, and why they always chose you last in P.E. My favorite: the time you peed your pants in first grade near the end of recess, and you had to walk down the hall with wet pants to the restroom in front of all those laughing finger-pointing fifth graders. Poor thing. Since then, you can’t shake the sense that you possess a fundamental flaw.

If it had ended in grade school, one could chalk it up to kids being mean. But what do you make of those unkind words people say about you even now? Of course, you have no proof. But the whispers and giggles from co-workers who stop talking the moment you approach speak for themselves. Those bits of gossip make you stew for hours at home, thinking about what you’ll say the next time you see them. (Who needs school bullies when you can bully yourself?) You could also employ character assassination—works for politicians.

Now don’t worry. I know you think anger will damage you more than anything else. Not true. Shame will. Why else do you think you partied so much in college? I never understood why you humans try so hard to make people like you. In my opinion, you are pretty easy to influence. Consider Adam and Eve. But like all praise whores, your self-worth depends on outside validation. Ironic. Because despite all your commendable religious, educational, and professional achievements your pain refuses to depart. Hey, I’m not complaining. I dig your shallow Christianity. My advice? Keep busting your tail to look competent and acceptable. Forget God’s message of grace. Through success and works your shame may actually disappear for a while—just long enough for you to think it’s working.

I get it. Your past so injured your developing psyche that it permeates your view of yourself today. That’s my job—to keep reminding you of things you’d like to forget. Because that’s what keeps you hiding your true self from your spouse, friends, and my favorite—your church. We both know if your church knew the real you they’d kick you out faster than a divorced woman. So maintain that impenetrable fortress around your heart. Avoid intimate relationships. (Except the codependent ones.)

They say the first step to healing is talking about your pain. I’ll spare you the humiliation by making sure that never happens. Anyway, Christians are discouraged from exhibiting even a hint of struggle. Besides, you lack exposure to the types of things that will set you free: God’s love and compassion. You wouldn’t recognize if it punched you square in the face. So let’s keep it all locked safely inside you where no one can touch it

how is it that Christians, who have the unsearchable riches (Ephesians), fullness of the Holy Spirit (Acts), the Love of God (John), Godly wisdom (Corinthians) and the full Revelation of Christ, just plain suck at having any positive thing to say about themselves?

we have all probably said; “we don’t need the devil when I have myself.”

I know there are some people with shame issues and low self-worth that can’t read their bibles because the parts that paint the worst pictures they apply to themselves.

but the Lord has given us wonderful freedom to realize we are each unique, and each of us has a design and purpose only we can fill. so stop the the self-flagellation and tearing yourself apart and celebrate yourself. God has given us freedom, not chains.

I know this sounds all touchy feeling, but give yourself a gift today and tell someone you love them and let some one tell you that you are loved.

ok, that’s about as mushy as I can get, I’m pulling out my Popular Mechanics Magazine and some power tools.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Hebrews 13:4; (NIV) Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Over the past 60 years, our culture has taken a U-turn away from the Christian view of marriage and sexual morality that was prevalent before that time. While divorce and sexual immorality are not new, they used to be frowned upon and marital faithfulness was viewed as desirable. But beginning in the 1960’s, our culture threw off Christian standards and openly embraced “free” sex and easy divorce. Openness toward homosexuality began to make inroads, so that now it is widely promoted as a way of life that should not only not be condemned, but be accepted as normal.

It would be naïve to think that the church is insulated from these powerful cultural trends. Frances Shaeffer observed, “People drift along from generation to generation, and the morally unthinkable becomes thinkable as the years move on” (cited by Erwin Lutzer, The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage [Moody Press], p. 57). It is a commonly known fact that the divorce rate among evangelical Christians is no different than that of our culture at large. We used to say “wait 10 years and then the church will be doing it, and then 5 years and now I’m not sure there is any lag time.”

Also, evangelicals are not doing well in the area of sexual purity. In a recent journal for pastors, commissioned a poll to determine how common is pastoral indiscretion. They found that since entering local church ministry, 33 percent of pastors had done something with someone other than their spouse that they considered sexually inappropriate. Twelve percent admitted to having extra-marital intercourse. Among those who were not pastors, the figures doubled! Also, 40 percent of pastors admitted to looking at sexually oriented media at least once a month!

Because of the importance of godly marriages as the foundation of our church and society, our text is extremely important. The connection with the preceding context is that love of the brethren (13:1) must start in the home, between Christian couples. To practice biblical love, husbands and wives must guard themselves against sexual infidelity. To restrict sex to marriage was a novel idea to many in the first century. Men often had mistresses or could go to temple prostitutes. To call people to lifelong fidelity to a single spouse was radically counter-cultural. It has become so again in our culture. We have an opportunity, through moral purity and godly marriages, to shine in the darkness around us for Jesus Christ. We can sum up our text:

Since God ordained marriage and sex within marriage, He will judge those who practice sex outside of marriage.

It’s really simple, if you’re married you can have “normal” sex. If you’re not married you can’t have sex.

I put normal, because of all the Christian couples I’ve counseled that have “not kept the marriage bed undefiled.”

The Apostle Paul says there are things so vile that they shouldn’t be openly discussed. So I’m not going to put an explicit list up of the “no-no’s” if you have a question email me at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

And again let me say this; if you have faltered, failed, fouled up, God forgives, don’t keep repeating the same mistake over and over again and wonder why you feel guilty.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

DOES IT MATTER

August 10, 2017

praying mom

DOES IT MATTER

Think about all the times you’ve prayed. Think about the situations that you were in when you’ve prayed a certain way. I can remember not having enough money to take my very sick infant son to the doctor or having enough money to even purchase the prescription. Literally no food to eat, I can tell you that for 2 years every meal, every penny was prayed in. I will also tell you that most of my prayers were lying face down on the floor in what I now call “praying the carpet lint prayers.” So it does make a difference, the situation and the prayer. But it’s more about our psychological make up and personalities, to God it may make little difference or it might mean a great deal, you decide.

  1. Bowing

To bow is a physical expression of honor and allegiance. The action of bowing is associated with worship. Even just the bowing of our heads communicates to our mind that we’re addressing the One to whom we’ve pledged our complete loyalty. When the Lord came down in a cloud around Moses on Mount Sinai, “Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship” (Exod. 34:8). King David, centuries later, said, “As for me . . . I will bow down in reverence for You” (Ps. 5:7). Bowing is an appropriate posture of prayer.

  1. Kneeling

Many other biblical references speak of dropping to our knees in prayer. Solomon’s monumental prayer at the dedication of the temple was given while he “knelt down in front of the entire congregation of Israel” (2 Chron. 6:13). Daniel, even at the risk of death for defying the king’s order against praying to anyone other than the king himself, continued kneeling three times a day at the open window of his home, “praying and giving thanks before his God” (Dan. 6:10). And one day, we’re told, “every knee will bow” before Christ—”in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Phil. 2:10)—even those who refused to kneel before Him.

  1. Lying Prostrate

Sometimes bowing our heads or bowing on our knees still doesn’t quite reflect the devotion we intend. When Ezra the priest gave an all-morning, public reading of the law to the returned exiles in Jerusalem, “they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground” (Neh. 8:6). Jesus, agonizing in the Garden of Gethsemane before His torture and death, “fell on His face and prayed” (Matt. 26:39). And when John later saw Him in His resurrected, glorified form — as described in the apostle’s Revelation on the island of Patmos — he admitted he “fell at His feet like a dead man,” totally prostrate before the power of God (Rev. 1:17).

  1. Lifted Hands

Many prayers from Scripture were made with uplifted hands. The idea of folding our hands, while meaningful, is actually more recent in history. But the Bible does talk about raising our hands—”the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering” (Ps. 141:2). Paul said, “I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” (1 Tim. 2:8). Both Solomon and Ezra, whom we mentioned earlier, prayed while falling to their knees and lifting their hands—at the same time—a position of total physical worship and praise.

  1. Lifted Eyes

While closing our eyes is a good way of limiting distractions and maintaining focus in prayer, a common biblical expression was lifting the eyes toward heaven, like when Jesus “raised His eyes” before praying at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:41), or when “looking up to heaven” as He blessed the five loaves and two fish before multiplying them for the crowd of five thousand (Luke 9:16).

  1. Silence

Beyond physical postures, what we do with our voices in prayer is also important. Sometimes the best thing we can do in prayer is be still and know that He is God, without saying a word (Ps. 46:10). When awed and amazed, one is often in silence. When Hannah prayed in anguish for God to give her a child, “she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard” (1 Sam. 1:13). No one could hear her silent prayer, but God heard and answered.

  1. Lifted Voices

Along with lifted hands and lifted eyes, the Bible also exhorts us to lift our voices to the Lord in prayer. “Give ear to my voice when I call to You,” David prayed (Ps. 141:1). “My voice rises to God, and He will hear me” (Ps. 77:1).

  1. Crying Out

“Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud” (Ps. 55:17). This crying out is a frequent descriptor of prayers spoken in the Bible. Jesus, we’re told, during His life on the earth, “offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence” (Heb. 5:7). Various translations of the original words for crying out carry the idea of shrieking in pain, or making a sound like an animal in danger or wailing with deep emotion of spirit. It’s intense and loud. Heavy and heartfelt. Nearly half of the times when John’s Revelation talks about words being spoken in heaven, they’re explicitly identified as a “loud voice”—20 times in its 22 chapters.

If you’ve never felt the need to pray in a different position, think about it, there’s nothing magical or mystical about it, but there might be a time that it seems to make a great difference to you. Just don’t make it into a lucky rabbit’s foot that will always give you the result you want.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com