the hard way

February 17, 2018

  “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).

  John 3:16: The Savior laid down His life for His enemies. Have you ever thought of John 3:16 in that light? God, knowing that there would be those that would turn their backs on the greatest gift ever and the few who would accept the gift.

 1 John 3:16: We are to “lay down our lives for the brethren.” The death of the Cross spells love for both friend and enemy.

  “If we get a wrong idea about the inward working of the Cross we shall lose our own enjoyment of God’s love and fail to manifest that love to others. We have no doubt that, for the sinner, the Cross is the outstanding expression of God’s love, but when we realize that it brings us, as believers, into a very personal experience of being crucified together with Christ, we are apt to lose sight of the love of God.

  “We set our teeth, as though making up our minds that from now on everything is going to be grim and harsh. It almost seems that the carnal Christian may be cheerful and happy, but the crucified ones must expect to pass into a gloomier experience. Nothing is farther from the truth. The Cross will always bring us back to the love of God in ever-increasing fulness.”

The challenge of the Cross, the insistence that we have been crucified with Christ, may sometimes appear to be a dark and forbidding message. The Cross is not the end: It is the way through to His end. God is working for something beyond the immediate; He is working towards the glory.

  “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jer. 29:11).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

THE WRONG WAY

February 3, 2018

The devil knows if he can get you thinking wrongly about God, he has you. The devil wants to get you thinking negatively about God so the devil slanders the character of God. Because if the devil can think you get you thinking negatively about God, fearing God, running from God or disbelieving God, he has you right where he wants you. He is the biggest liar. His lies are about the biggest subject. The biggest subject is Almighty God, himself.

The devil wants to control your mind. Because the devil knows that if he has your mind, he really has you. Because the Bible says as a man thinketh, so is he. You sow a thought, you reap a deed, sow a deed, you reap a habit, so a habit, you reap a character, sow a character and you reap a destiny and it all begins with a thought.

Some people are questioning the authorship of the Word of God. Others are questioning the accuracy of the Word of God. Others are questioning the authority of the Word of God. Others are questioning the acceptability of the Word of God.

There are seminaries that used to be the bastion of Christian thought, that taught the bible is infallible, inspired, inerrant and relevant to you and me today. But they allow professors to teach the opposite. Don’t send your kid to any bible college until you talk to the Dean of Theology or the president of that college and have a list of every professor and ask them point blank what each professor believes.

While we are at it, ask your pastor what he’s reading, drop by his house and see what’s on his tv. Ask to see his DVD collection. Ask him how comfortable he would be to have you look at his browser history.

I’m not joking, you have a right to peace of mind knowing that your spiritual mentor, leader, pastor is living a righteous life. It’s called accountability. I personally know several ‘mega’ pastors that would punch you in the nose just for you suggesting such a thing. The arrogant pastor is a guilty pastor. The unaccountable pastor is a dangerous pastor.

But check your Elders, Deacons, board members as well. We have a church in our small town that the pastor packed up in the middle of the night and left because the Board was so cruel, mean, disrespectful control freaks that made his life a living hell. So we need to be balanced in every aspect of our spiritual life.

The danger in all this is going the other way and be so narrow minded and legalistic, that we’re turning into either a cult or totally uninvolved or invested.

Hey, nobody said it was easy.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ryan, 9 years old and told he has cancer.

Pray for Bob L, 65, and an alcoholic, he looks like he’s 85, his liver looks like it’s 105. Doctor told him today it is quit drinking or die in 60 days.

 

the balanced life

January 31, 2018

So let me give you some rules for having a good fight, okay? Let me tell you how to confront and all of these things I can back up with Scripture. I mean, you’re going to have to confront your mate. You are. And I want to give you some principles here. Very quickly, I’m just going to name them off. And if you’ll do this, you’ll learn how to make up and not break-up. And you’ll learn really to have that super glue marriage and you’ll not be able to do these unless you have the first two already, which is that lifetime commitment and that loving communion, or communication. Then you can have that loyal confrontation.

First of all, isolate the problem. Pinpoint the problem. Know what it is that you’re truly arguing about because many times we’re hurting in one place and we’re grunting in another. For example, your wife, she may be scolding you and fussing at you, but maybe she’s tired. Maybe she’s sick. Maybe she’s afraid. Maybe you hurt her feelings over here with something else that you said or didn’t say, and you have no idea that you did it. And so what you’re really arguing about is not the point at all. Or maybe you come home and you find yourself in an argument with your wife and you’re not really mad at her. You’re mad at what happened to you on the freeway coming home, or what your boss said to you.

Zig Ziglar, who is a great communicator, tells a story about a Mr. Sparks who was going to the health club one day and he was a business executive. And he was stopped for speeding. Made him so angry that when he got back to the office he chewed out the sales manager because the sales were down. He wasn’t mad at the sales manager, he was mad at the highway patrolman. Got all over the sales manager. The Sales Manager took it, couldn’t say anything back, but he talked to his secretary and said, “Where are those five letter I gave you? How come they’re not in yet? Get those letters out!” Secretary began to burn to a slow burn. She went over to the switchboard operator, “Oh you sit there everyday and just answer the telephone. You don’t do anything else. Why don’t you help me? Why don’t you do something to help me get these letters out?” Chewed out the switchboard operator. Switchboard operator went home that day and her twelve year old son was sitting there watching television, had a little nick in his blue jeans. She said, “Look, you’ve torn your pants. You go upstairs. No more television for you and no more dinner for you.” About that time, the cat crossed this little boy’s path. That was a mistake for that cat to come past right then. And he kicks the cat. Now Zig asks this question, “Wouldn’t it have been a lot simpler if Mr. Sparks, the business executive had gone over to the switchboard operator’s house and kicked the cat himself and not disturbed so many people in the way?”

So many times we’re hurting in one place and grunting in another. Happy is the couple the can say “What is the problem?” What is the problem? Pinpoint the problem. Pinpoint the problem.

Number two, learn to attack the problem and not one another. If we could only do this, most arguments are ego against ego. Right? Trying to prove we’re right rather than attacking the problem. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: There are no problems too big to solve, just people too small to solve them. If we would learn that the mate may have done something wrong and that is the problem, but the mate is not the problem. It’s what the mate did. You say, “I can’t slice it that thin.” Oh yes you can. Listen, if you have a child for example and you need to confront your child, your child comes in with bad grades or stayed out too late, don’t say to that child, “You’re no good. You’re a bad child. You have no respect. You have no integrity.” Don’t talk to that child that way. You’ve attacked him. Don’t do that. Attack the problem. Say, “Son, grades are important and here’s way. Here’s what you did that’s wrong and here’s how we’re going to fix it.” So many times it’s ego against ego. And our rotten pride wants to be right.

Stay tuned for part two “how to have a good argument”.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

I REALLY CAN CHANGE

January 16, 2018

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of spiritual growth? Some picture a solitary individual meditating or praying. While that concept accurately portrays one aspect of Christian spirituality, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

The issue of spiritual transformation is not new in the Christian faith. It has been a primary issue, though perhaps given different labels, throughout church history. From the time the Spirit of God descended upon the believers in Jerusalem, God has been transforming the souls of individual believers in the context of local Christian communities.

Preaching has never been and never will be the only element needed for the transformation of Christians into Christ’s image. Nor are small-group Bible studies, personal Bible study, Sunday school classes, or even one-on one discipleship sufficient for growing Christians when they focus solely on communicating biblical information. Transformation of the believer’s inner and outer life must take place as well transformation of the intellect.  “As a man thinketh.”

What do you think about the most each day?

That is the true measure of where you are in your Christian growth.

So think on that.

Let’s begin with some basic concepts of what brings change in our lives.

There is the fellowship model which focuses on corporate prayer for one another, growth of interpersonal intimacy, and support for each other in times of need. This approach effectively connects believers within a church body.

Spiritual disciplines include communal elements (worship, service, and fellowship). Folks need a venue of private, public and personal development.

Dealing with those internal obstacles (habitual sins, addictions, temperament issues, traumas, abuse) that prevent spiritual growth. Dealing with the issues is a key component in spiritual transformation, often done through spiritual counseling.

The fellowship model can fail to guide believers toward growth. The spiritual disciplines model can neglect to emphasize authentic and intimate Christian community, which is necessary for growth. The counseling model can fail to value the role that spiritual disciplines can have in growth. It also risks focusing on deficiencies so much that the person never benefits from the resources of God’s grace. It can focus too intently upon the person’s sin and failure and not enough on God’s enabling power toward growth in holiness.

Authentic community in which people come to trust each other. Though one-on-one relationships can be effective, we believe that multiple relationships are more effective. While one individual can spur another toward growth, that one individual has limited gifts and abilities. Also, though we value the spiritual disciplines, we see them as means toward the end of complete transformation of the believer’s inner and outer life. Disciplines aren’t ends in themselves. Finally, we think believers need to seek greater understanding of sin’s dynamic in their lives. They need to see potential blind spots or obstacles to their spiritual well-being and learn to deal with the root issues beneath their areas of struggle.

Next up; how to make real growth and changes in our lives.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ONCE IS ENOUGH

December 18, 2017

You are eternally secure because of the nature of your salvation. Your security comes from the nature of your salvation. Now, your salvation is rooted in the abundant mercy of God. Look at it again, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us…” (1 Peter 1:3). Do you see the words “abundant mercy?” Do you know why you were saved? Because of God’s abundant mercy.

Do you think you’re saved by your merit? No: you are saved by God’s mercy. And, that which is the gift of mercy can never be withdrawn because of the lack of merit. Do you understand that? Salvation is not in your merit, it’s in God’s mercy and that which is the gift of mercy can never be withdrawn from the lack of merit. How do you keep your salvation? You keep your salvation exactly the same way you got it.

How did you get it? By the mercy of God. How do you keep it? By the mercy of God. Now, my dear friend, it is rooted in abundant mercy, it results in a new birth. Look again in verse 3: “According to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again “—that’s just another way of saying born-again— “He hath begotten us again…” (1 Peter 1:3). Now, look at the word “begotten.” Do you see it? In verse 3. It is in the Aorist (original Greek) tense. You say, “What does that mean, pastor?” It means dear friend, that when you were born-again, you were born-again once and for all. Something that is in the Aorist tense means it happened never, ever to be repeated. How many times can a man be born physically? One time. How many times can a man be born spiritually? One time. Have you ever seen a human being who was born twice physically? Of course not. And, you will never see a child of God who is born twice spiritually. Never, ever.

Don’t confuse carnal living and revival with a false theology or believe you can backslide out of God’s love, you can’t. trust me I’ve heard all the stories, “preacher, you don’t know how bad I got, and then I got saved a second time.” Not going to happen. It’s either real or it wasn’t.

Trust me, I’ve been that person. I’ve done the carnal, crazy, screw up everything you can, it was an act of repentance not re-salvation.

No, you can became carnal, and backslide, but not out of God’s salvation.

Renewal, yes, repenting, (many, many times) yes, revival, yes. One TRUE salvation experience.

God’s love does it all.

Now there are people who are deceived about their salvation, there are preachers delivering sermons in evangelical, Pentecostal, Baptist, Cowboy churches, that have never truly been saved. And then pow, it hits the fan and they have their first real salvation experience, showing the marvelous grace of God.

If you have doubts about your faith, your walk with God please email us at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

I will arrange a chance for us to talk.

God bless.

 

Ok, I’m not sure I’ve ever endorsed a book before, I’ve certainly recommend some. And those on the inner circle know I have a thing about not reading living authors.

But if you are a parent you need to read this book “The Vanishing American Adult” by Senator Sasse. So here is the excerpt from Amazon about the book.

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In an era of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and an unprecedented election, the country’s youth are in crisis. Senator Ben Sasse warns the nation about the existential threat to America’s future.

Raised by well-meaning but overprotective parents and coddled by well-meaning but misbegotten government programs, America’s youth are ill-equipped to survive in our highly-competitive global economy.

Many of the coming-of-age rituals that have defined the American experience since the Founding: learning the value of working with your hands, leaving home to start a family, becoming economically self-reliant―are being delayed or skipped altogether. The statistics are daunting: 30% of college students drop out after the first year, and only 4 in 10 graduate. One in three 18-to-34 year-olds live with their parents.

From these disparate phenomena: Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse who as president of a Midwestern college observed the trials of this generation up close, sees an existential threat to the American way of life.

In The Vanishing American Adult, Sasse diagnoses the causes of a generation that can’t grow up and offers a path for raising children to become active and engaged citizens. He identifies core formative experiences that all young people should pursue: hard work to appreciate the benefits of labor, travel to understand deprivation and want, the power of reading, the importance of nurturing your body―and explains how parents can encourage them.

Our democracy depends on responsible, contributing adults to function properly―without them America falls prey to populist demagogues. A call to arms, you want to know why college age kids vote Democrat, they want the government to parent them.The Vanishing American Adult will ignite a much-needed debate about the link between the way we’re raising our children and the future of our country.

So let me give you some personal examples from my own experiences and some friends. I worked for one of the largest businesses in the world and in our particular department we only hired people over 50 years of age. No one else younger would last more than a month, some quit in a one week period.

A good friend of mine recorded his Texas Big Bend spring break trip with his math high school kids. The video is hysterical because they get off the bus in Big Bend and there is no cell phone reception. The kids just stand there with their cell phones up in the air frozen because they can’t get a signal. He has to blow a whistle to get their attention and then show them how to get their luggage and how to do everything to survive their camping trip. On one trip the park rangers had to evac a girl because she couldn’t text and had a tantrum/seizure so scary they were afraid she would hurt herself. As soon as the hit a cell zone she calmed down.

We’ve tried to tell employees no cell phones while working the showroom. We tell them we have video cameras and they will lose their jobs if they are on their phone. You guessed it “fired”.

You know the best part, then the parents come in screaming and yelling because you traumatized their little snowflake.

Here’s one for you, good friend of mine has coached little league for over 30 years, not any more, when he called a kid out, the kid’s father came up from behind and hit him in the neck with a baseball bat. 50k dollars later and 10 months lost in labor. He finally won the court case and damages because the parents later changed their statement and made it a race suit. Funny thing is my pal is American Indian and was told he couldn’t bring that up in court to defend himself.

Or how about the high school kids that were supposed to change the letters on their High School sign and didn’t do it because it was to hot. You know how many kids showed up for school that didn’t have to.

Oh, wait, one more, there tore down a school, rebuilt is 4 miles away and the parents still dropped their kids off at an empty lot, drove off and left their little tykes there.

So you get my point, I’m not being negative, I’m trying to sound an alarm. We can’t let teens raise teens, peers raising peers. We can’t let kids raise kids.

So here’s step one, no kid gets a cell phone until he/she is 16 and driving and working the summers.

Hey don’t stone me, both my kids are millionaires. You know why? They were raised and birthed into adulthood.

Ok, I’ve got to quit, my blood pressure is zooming.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Candy, she is 37 and just got a promotion that means she has to move. She’s a brave woman, and she’s going to leave her home town of 37 years. But she really wants our prayers

Pray for Randall, he is having knee surgery.

Pray for the Tomasini family, their 7 year old has Leukemia, Jason is one tough, brave booger, (that’s his family pet name, long story).

Pray for Raysene, she is having back surgery on next Monday.

Housekeeping, prayers and comments, questions and such to the email address. And If I remember, Saturday will be our bible quiz and our bible give away. I’ve lost track of how many bibles we’ve given. This will be the NIV Study Bible.

 

Come quickly Lord Jesus

November 9, 2017

Content and Complete

Our culture simply does not like to wait. Yet we wait less today than men have ever waited. We travel at high speed waiting less to arrive at a distant place. Communications which formerly took months now are completed in seconds. Meals which used to take hours to cook are now done in minutes in microwave ovens. People used to have to wait until they had cash to purchase a new car or home. Now these things are bought on credit. We do not have to wait. Fewer and fewer people are willing to wait until marriage to enjoy the pleasures of sex. We Americans are not accustomed to waiting.

Men do not enjoy waiting for anything, or anyone, including God. But the trust is men have been waiting on God all through history. Noah waited a good 100 years or so for the flood to come upon the earth (compare Genesis 5:32; 6:10; 7:6). Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for the birth of the son God had promised them (compare Genesis 12:4; 21:5). Abraham did not even possess the promised land in his lifetime, and it was more than 400 years until his descendants took possession of it (compare Genesis 12:1-3; 15:12-16). Asaph felt for a time that he had waited too long for God’s promised blessings (Psalm 73).

From their constant questions about the coming of our Lord’s kingdom, it was evident the disciples were not excited about waiting either. When Jesus tarried three days before going to the place Lazarus had fallen sick and died, both Martha and Mary cautiously chided Jesus for coming too late (see John 11:21, 32).

God’s promises never come too late; in truth, they are never “late” at all. When the Scriptures indicate a time for God’s actions, the fulfillment is always precisely on time (see Exodus 12:40-41). When Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would be expelled from the land and held captive in Babylon for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-12), the fulfillment of this prophecy would take place precisely at the end of 70 years. Knowing this, Daniel prayed accordingly (Daniel 9:1-3ff.). Likewise, the birth of the Lord Jesus came about exactly on schedule (see Daniel 9:24-27; Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:4-5; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).

God is never “late;” He is always “on time.” But there are mockers who seek to convince themselves and others that the promise of our Lord’s second coming is false based upon the passage of much time and compounded by no visible evidences that He will come at all. In the college classroom, students allow an instructor five minutes to arrive for class, and then they leave. A full professor, being more important, is given up to ten minutes to arrive after the bell has rung. Mockers believe they have given God plenty of time to fulfill His promise to return and thus have now concluded that His time is up. “If He hasn’t come by now,” they say, “He simply isn’t coming.”

It should come as no surprise that men would arise who deny the second coming of our Lord. One of the most common falsehoods referred to in the New Testament (see 1 Corinthians 15:32; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2), this false teaching had an adverse affect on some of the saints (2 Timothy 2:18). To deny the second coming is not only to deny the Christian’s future hope but also to deny the judgment of sinners at the return of Christ. No wonder these “mockers” denied the second coming. These were those who were “following after their own lusts” (2 Peter chapter 3 verse 3). How much more comfortable it was to practice sin with the false assurance that they would not give account to God.

Proverbs speaks of those who are simple, naive, and easily led astray due to their youth, thus a lack of knowledge and experience. Some are fools, who are more willfully ignorant and morally stupid. But the scoffer (mocker) is a hard-core fool, a fool who vehemently opposes truth and wisdom.

And that is what we are seeing today, in these the last days, hard core fools.

It’s the last days because the authority of the Bible says so. If you believe the bible to be inerrant, infallible, inspired by God, and now I add one more to that list, still relevant. Than we believe that these are the last days and things are going to get worse, our country is going to fall away from God.

This is just my personal opinion, but it is my answer to a common question; “why isn’t America mentioned in the bible as part of the last days.” I personally believe it is because we will become a nation of hard core fools outnumbering the Godly in our country. We will fall away just as England has fallen. Welcome to the Christian minority. Good news, Jesus IS coming again.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

I want to tell you that 1 Peter verse 2 is one of the greatest verses in the Bible; that shows you just how much God loves you. And, what a wonderful salvation that you have. And, this salvation is the work of the triune (trinity)God. For example, God the Father planned it. The Bible says that you are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God…” (1 Peter 1:2)

Now, when did this take place? When did God choose you? When did God set His love upon you? In the counsel halls of eternity, before you knew anything about it, before He’d swung this world into space, before anything was. Before the foundation of the world, God loved you. Ephesians 1:4 says, “… he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).

 I want to tell you, you are a wanted child. What a great feeling it is for me to know that I was in the heart and the mind of God before the foundation of this world.

Good news, abortion rates are dropping at a whopping percentage, we are at the lowest rate ever since 1970 and Woe vs. Wade.

More good news, Millennials are considered more conservative.

More good news, more people consider a fetus to be a viable human being.

More good news, over half the women having abortions already had an abortion, why is that good news, because the rate of first time abortions is dropping by over 45%. Some women have had up to 15 abortions, the majority of women having abortions are on Medicaid and already had abortions.

Not so good news, in Florida you have to give a reason for the abortion, 93% of women said; “because”. That’s it.

More good news all the statistics that Planned Parenthood give are fake, over inflated and just lies. Just like the lies that 50% of marriages fail. The truth is 25% of failed marriages are already failed. That’s right, the same 25% of marriages are failing over and over again, they are repeat offenders of the sanctity of marriage. Planned Parenthood says 1 in 3 women will have an abortion, the truth is that for 2017 the ratio is really 1 in 9 and the rate of abortions will drop by 2-3% per year if the trend holds.

So dear friend, the sanctity of life as a concept is increasing well.

Not so good, the rate of sexually active people outside of marriage is not dropping. Good news it’s not increasing.

We have to preach and teach not only the sanctity of life but of marriage.

Build a better life, wait for marriage. Build a better marriage by abstaining from premarital sex.

Remember God has chosen you before time, you had a name and a heart beat in the mind of God before the earth was created. There is a sanctity of life.

The reason you are here is because God chose you to have life and to know him. Our chief purpose in life is to worship and glorify Him who planned your existence before time.

Choose life, choose God, choose Jesus.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

If you think about it, you will have to agree that sex is a subject frequently addressed in the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New. Though the Bible handles this subject matter much differently than the secular world, it does have much to say on the subject. I can only think of one reason for matters pertaining to sex to be so frequently discussed in the Bible—sexuality must be very closely related to spirituality.

The beliefs and practices of the Corinthian saints seem to vary greatly when it comes to matters of sexual values and conduct. We have already been introduced to the liberal extreme in chapters 5 and 6. In chapter 5, Paul rebukes the church at Corinth for failing to exercise church discipline on a man living in an incestuous relationship with his father’s wife. In the second half of chapter 6 (verses 12-20), Paul confronts those who feel that having sex with a prostitute is not contrary or detrimental to one’s spiritual life. There are those in Corinth whose sexual values are shocking, even to the pagan Corinthians (see 5:1).

What is so sad today is the idea that you can screw your brains out before marriage and then get married and have a great marriage and a normal sex life and a long healthy, happy marriage.

Well here’s the kicker, you can’t. having been a sex addictions counselor and marriage counselor for longer than I like to think. You can screw up your sex life so bad before marriage that you will never be normal. Why lie about it or try to convince yourself it’s all going to work out. It seldom does.

So here’s my advice, 1; protect your virginity. 2; absolutely no pornography. 3; no “other” kinds of sex, like thinking because it’s oral or anal “I’m saving myself.” 4; if you are not married and sexually active STOP. Also stop role playing, it starts our harmless and quickly leads to trouble.

Sex within the confines of marriage, without any kinky weird crap can be beautiful, satisfying and a blessing you will never regret.

No sex toys, no videos that are supposed to ‘help’ your sex life, no Karma Sutra, really you want sex advice from a country steeped in demonism.

Get real counseling from a godly pastor, ignore 99% of those billing themselves as Christian counselors, (they’re not).

And believe this; a person devoted to God can have a great marriage, with lots of help and accountability.

Well this isn’t what I planned but, hey must be for someone.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

UFC 19061

October 23, 2017

In one of the Bible’s strangest tales, Jacob wrestles with God. Jacob was headed home to face his brother Esau, whom he hadn’t seen in the 20 years since Esau wronged him (see Ge 32:4). Although Jacob had reached out to God for help, he was still resisting fully submitting to his will. That’s when God confronted him face-to-face.

 The wrestling match lasted throughout the night, and yet Jacob wouldn’t let go. God crippled Jacob’s hip, and Jacob still wouldn’t let go. He remained persistent throughout the great struggle and refused to let go until God blessed him. Because Jacob acknowledged God as the source of the blessings, the Lord honored his request. Through this account we see Jacob coming to a point of true faith.

  Here is a reminder that undergoing the great change—becoming a Christian—is not always quick and easy. It is not just a matter of repeating a prayer, making a decision, or filling out a card. True conversion often comes only after intense wrestling with God. A new identity in Jesus often comes only after a period of persistently praying like Jacob, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

  Want to cultivate persistence that rivals Jacob’s? Check out these three ways to prepare:

  1. Understand your desire—What motivates you to become more like Christ? What does a truly honest answer look like? What are the desires of your heart that you want the Lord to give you (see Ps 37:4)?

  1. Outline your steps—Persistence in your journey will come easier when you understand what you need to do next. Consider the spiral of spiritual formation What are the next steps? How are you fine-tuning your choices to make spiritual formation integral to your daily routine?

  1. Expect difficulties—At some point during his struggle, Jacob realized that while he couldn’t overcome the stranger, he could at least hang on. Then the stranger did something unexpected and made “the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched” (Ge 32:25). At that point, the pain was likely overwhelming and Jacob was surely ready to concede. Yet he refused to give up.

  Persistence doesn’t require overcoming every difficulty; it merely requires that you refuse to give up. It is through such difficulties that God strengthens your character. Difficulties are inevitable, so be prepared. You don’t have to know what challenges you’ll face to know that if you refuse to give up you can endure. Hang on until God blesses you.

Not every situation with God is going to be painful or agonizing. So don’t measure your salvation or walk with suffering. Realize though that God does bring detours into our lives that can make the way seem longer. But persistence in building your spiritual life will always pay off.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Tim S, he is struggling with urges he thought were long gone and have come back.

Pray for Sam E, she is asking for prayer for her mom who they just found out she has cancer of the thyroid.

Edie, she wants to say thanks for prayer and for her new bible.

Kurt, is asking for prayer that he would step up his walk with the Lord. He is thinking that maybe God is calling him to be a missionary.