ABIDING

October 7, 2017

  “The God of peace . . . working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ” (Heb. 13:20, 21).

  Abiding involves a dual choice. We can abide in the old nature and thereby become the victims of the internal civil war as depicted in Romans Seven. Or, we can abide (rest) in the risen Lord Jesus, the Source of our new nature, and thereby become the glad recipients of His life and liberty, as depicted in Romans Eight. “The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).

  “How do we abide? ‘Of God are ye in Christ Jesus’ (1 Cor. 1:30). It is all the work of God to place you there, and He has done it. Now stay there! Do not be moved back onto the ground of the old nature. Never look at yourself as though you were not in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Look at Him and see yourself a new creation in Him. Look at Him as the very source of your Christian life. Abide in Him. Rest in the fact that God has placed you in eternal union with His Son, and let the Holy Spirit take care of His work in you. It is for Him to make good the glorious promise that sin shall not have dominion over you’ (Rom. 6:14).”

  “We should be spared years of struggle and failure if we learned at once—as the converts did in the days of Paul—that we ourselves were taken through the death of the Lord Jesus. The past blotted out, the pardoned sinner accounted crucified with the crucified Lord, henceforth joined as a new creation to the risen Lord and now sharing His life (Rom. 5:10).”

  “The Lord Jesus is all that we need for all that we are.”

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

This last bible verse, has yielded to me 32 sermons, study this verse Col 3.3 every day, every moment, let it not drift far from your thoughts and you will see great victory come into your life. Rest. Peace. Victory. Yours.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Kevin D, 15 years old, broke up with his first girlfriend, you’ve all been there.

Pray for Jennifer N, new born baby (literally today) a host of complications.

 

hhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm,

October 5, 2017

PROMPTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, ARE YOU SURE?

 

OPPORTUNITIES COME TO THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY SERVING, NOT TO THOSE WHO ARE DOING NOTHING.

Sometimes people don’t serve the Lord because they’ve never experienced a dramatic “call” to ministry. You can turn the steering wheel of your car all day long, but if the car isn’t moving, you won’t get anywhere. You can sit around and pray for God’s direction for service, but you won’t get it if you’re not already serving Him. Start doing something to serve Jesus Christ, and He will redirect you if He needs to.

GOD SOMETIMES LEADS US TO THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITIES BY HINDERING US FROM THE WRONG ONES.

We read (Acts 16:6) that these men were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia” (a province in western Turkey). Next, they tried to go north into Bithynia (near the Black Sea), but “the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them” (Acts 16:7). What’s going on here? Didn’t the Lord want those in Asia or Bithynia to hear the gospel? Yes, later He did (Acts 18:19-21, 24-19:41; 1 Pet. 1:1), but not now. All we know is that the Holy Spirit is sovereign over His work, and that He stopped these faithful men from going into these two regions and redirected them into Europe at this time. He did not do it because of anything that He saw in the Europeans that was more worthy than what He saw in the Asians or Bithynians. The gospel does not come to people based on their merit, but rather based on God’s sovereign, unmerited grace.

I’m going to raise a couple of questions that I cannot answer, but you can chew on them with me. First, how did the Holy Spirit forbid these men from going into these areas? It could have been through an audible voice. It may have been through circumstances that blocked the way. It may have been a lack of inner peace. It may have been physical illness on Paul’s part, which was why he linked up with Luke at this point. The bottom line is, we don’t know how the Spirit communicated these prohibitions, since the text does not say. But He uses many different ways of hindering us from heading in the wrong direction. We’re not talking here about doing something that is against God’s Word, but rather about doing good things that simply are not His will for us at this time.

GOD’S LEADING US TO THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITIES IS USUALLY A PROGRESSIVE MATTER, NOT AN INSTANT REVELATION OF THE BIG PICTURE.

Paul was feeling his way along at this point. After these two hindrances, if you had asked him what his plans were, he probably would have said, “I honestly don’t have a clue!”

Usually, knowing God’s will is like driving in the fog. God just gives us enough light to see the next few feet. As we follow, He gives us the light we need to keep moving ahead.

The second question is, how did these men know that the hindrances were from the Holy Spirit and thus to be obeyed; and not from some other source and thus to be overcome? In 1 Thessalonians 2:18, Paul says that Satan had hindered him from visiting the Thessalonians. But here, it was the Spirit of God who hindered them. How did he know the difference? Sometimes God wants us by faith to keep knocking until closed doors are opened. At other times, the closed doors are His way of saying no. All I can say is, we need His wisdom and discernment to know the difference. I don’t have any formulas for figuring it out!

WHEN GOD REVEALS HIS WILL TO US, WE MUST MAKE SURE THAT IT IS FROM THE LORD, AND THEN BE QUICK TO OBEY.

The word “concluding” (16:10) indicates that the missionary team discussed the meaning of Paul’s vision before taking action. The word means to join or knit together, or unite. As they talked, it all came together. As soon as they were sure of what God was saying, immediately they sought to go into Macedonia. They didn’t form a committee and deliberate for months. They figured out what God wanted and went down to the harbor to buy tickets.

Does God direct us through visions in our day? The answer is, He can, but be careful! There are all sorts of crazy visions that people have that are not from the Lord. Benny Hinn (a total nut job) told an audience on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (10/19/99) that the Lord had revealed to him that thousands of people from all over the world would be raised from the dead when people put their caskets in front of their TV sets tuned to that station. I don’t know of any funeral homes that have been lacking for business yet!

On the other hand, Bill Bright tells of how late one night as he was studying with a friend for a Greek exam in seminary, he suddenly sensed God’s presence in a way that he had never known before. He had the overwhelming impression that the Lord had unfolded a scroll of instructions of what he was to do with his life. Specifically, he knew that he was to devote his life to help fulfill the Great Commission by winning and discipling the students of the world for Christ. When he shared it with his Bible professor, Dr. Wilbur Smith, he paced back and forth in his office, saying, “This is of God. This is of God. I want to help you. Let me think and pray about it.” The next day, Dr. Smith handed Bill a piece of paper on which he had scribbled, “CCC.” He explained that God had provided the name for Bill’s vision, Campus Crusade for Christ

The balance we need is on the one hand not to quench the Spirit, but on the other hand to examine everything carefully and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thess. 5:19-21). An obstinate apostle Paul could have plowed ahead into Asia or Bithynia against God’s promptings not to do so. But the obedient apostle obeyed God’s promptings and waited until the Spirit showed him where to go. Then he went immediately. The world has never been the same.

OFTEN, WHEN WE OBEY, THE REALITY DOES NOT MATCH THE VISION.

Paul saw a man of Macedonia calling for help. He got there and found a small group of women gathered by the river, and one of these became the first convert. The second convert was a demon-possessed slave girl. Her conversion landed Paul and Silas in prison with their backs shredded by whips. It wasn’t a glorious beginning, to say the least! But it’s how the gospel began to take root in Europe, and we now know that the history of Europe has been forever different. Often when we obey God’s leading and launch out into His work, the reality doesn’t match the vision. But we must continue to obey what we know He called us to do.

6) THE GREATEST HELP THAT WE CAN GIVE TO PEOPLE IS TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL TO THEM.

“Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:10). Paul went and gave them the best help in the world: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved” (16:31). That is the most helpful message that we can give to anyone. It is the most helpful thing that we can do for anyone.

If you were walking down the street and heard someone cry, “Help me! Help me!” you would be stirred to action. If you could not provide help yourself, you would at least make sure that the proper help got to this needy person. Ask God to burden your heart with the cry of the lost: “Come over and help me!” If you cannot go yourself, at least you will give and pray for missionaries to go. That’s the best help we can give to a desperately lost world.

Do you have a burden for lost souls, if not you need to do some real soul searching (pardon the pun). The Gospel is good news only if we share it.

 

FIX IT OR LOSE IT

October 2, 2017

SORRY GIRLS THIS IS JUST FOR MEN; ALTHOUGH YOU MAY WANT TO PASS IT ON.

WOMEN MAY HAVE A HARD TIME UNDERSTANDING THIS BUT YOU MAY KNOW SOMEONE IN THIS SITUATION. I’M NOT MAKING EXCUSES BUT THIS IS REALLY MOSTLY A GUY THING; AND I HELP THIS HOPES SOME GUY OUT THERE.

BECAUSE I GREW UP TO BE A VERY VIOLENT PERSON I BECAME THE GUY THAT WAS ALWAYS GETTING IN FIGHTS ALWAYS STARTED THEM AND PRETTY MUCH ENDED THEM, I THOUGHT VIOLENCE WAS THE ANSWER TO PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING; I MEAN SCREW DÉTENTE.

NOW I WAS NEVER PHYSICALLY VIOLENT WITH MY FAMILY BUT I ALL TO FREQUENTLY SCARED THEM WITH MY RAGE AND VERBAL OUTBURSTS. EVEN AFTER ACCEPTING JESUS AS MY SAVIOR SOMETIMES THE ANIMAL JUST CAME OUT. I’M NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPENED BUT I DID GET A HANDLE ON IT, AND I WANT TO SHARE WITH ANY ONE THAT IS STRUGGLING WITH RAGE, ESPECIALLY IN A FAMILY SETTING TO HELP YOU GET OVER IT.

NOW DON’T DISMISS THIS AS TO SIMPLISTIC BUT IT REALLY CAN HELP. I READ THIS STORY IN READERS DIGEST ABOUT 40 YEARS AGO AND IT WAS A LIGHT BULB MOMENT.

A PLUMBER GOES TO A LADY’S HOUSE TO DO SOME WORK AND ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG DOES, BUT HE DOESN’T LOSE HIS COOL. BUT WHEN LEAVES THE HOUSE TO GO HOME HE LEAVES A WRENCH THERE. THE WOMAN OF THE HOUSE REALIZES THAT HE MIGHT NEED IT AND FOLLOWS HIM HOME TO GIVE HIM THIS WRENCH.

WHEN HE GETS TO HIS HOUSE BEFORE SHE CAN GET OUT OF THE CAR SHE SEES HIM GO UP TO A TREE IN HIS YARD AND HE STARTS PULLING INVISIBLE THINGS OUT OF HIS POCKET AND TIES THEM TO THE TREE; AND SHE’S THINKING ‘GREAT I’VE JUST HAD A PSYCHO IN MY HOUSE’.

THEN HE GOES TO HOUSE KIND OF GIVES HIMSELF A SHAKE LIKE A DOG DOES AND GOES IN THE HOUSE.

WELL SHE’S FASCINATED AND HAS TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON SO SHE GOES TO THE HOUSE WITH THE WRENCH AND RINGS THE DOORBELL. THE PLUMBER ANSWERS THE DOOR WITH A BIG SMILE AND SHE CAN HEAR CHILDREN LAUGHING AND SMELLS DINNER COOKING AND SHE HOLDS UP THE WRENCH.

(WHICH HE IMMEDIATELY TAKES AND KILLS HER DEAD; SORRY JUST KIDDING, SEE WHY YOU HAVE TO KEEP PRAYING FOR ME.)

SHE JUST HAS TO KNOW WHAT WAS THE DEAL WITH TYING INVISIBLE THINGS TO THE TREE OUTSIDE, SO SHE ASKS HIM. HE GRINS RATHER SHEEPISHLY AND STEPS OUTSIDE AND WALKS OVER TO THE TREE, AND HE SAYS; “I TIE TO THE TREE EVERYTHING THAT WENT WRONG TODAY, EVERYTHING THAT BROKE, DIDN’T GOES AS PLANNED, MY ANGER MY FRUSTRATION AND I TIE IT THERE SO I DON’T TAKE IT IN THE HOUSE WITH ME.” AND SHE ASKS “WHAT ABOUT THE SHAKE YOU DID ON THE DOORSTEP.” HE SMILES AND SAYS I’M JUST MAKING SURE NOTHING BAD IS COMING IN THE HOUSE WITH ME AND I TELL MY SELF I LOVE MY FAMILY.”

NOW IF YOU ARE SERIOUSLY SCREWED UP AND THINK THIS IS TO SIMPLISTIC SCREW YOU IT WORKS.

BUT FOR YOU DIE HARD VIOLENT PSYCHOPATHS THAT ARE DIE HARD SKEPTICS I HAVE PART TWO.

I TOLD MY WIFE THAT WHEN I GET HOME I NEEDED 20 MINUTES ALONE TIME TO READJUST TO A ROLE CHANGE. SO I WOULD STAY IN THE GARAGE AND THE KIDS WERE TOLD NOT TO COME OUT AND BOTHER ME; AND IN THAT 20 MINUTES I WOULD PRAY; “GOD DON’T LET A MONSTER WALK THROUGH THAT DOOR, THESE PEOPLE LOVE YOU AND CARE FOR YOU; YOU CAN’T BE MEAN, OR SCARY OR ROUGH OR MEAN SPIRITED BECAUSE YOU LOVE THEM. DON’T BE AN A$$HOLE, WALK IN THERE AND BE A GODLY, LOVING CARING MAN.”

AND THERE IS A PART THREE; “CUES” ONE REASON I GOT MAD WAS I HAD A SCENARIO IN MY MIND OF WHAT WOULD HAPPEN WHEN I GOT HOME, MY EXPECTATIONS; PROBLEM WAS I NEVER TOLD ANYONE WHAT THOSE EXPECTATIONS WERE. I WANTED MY WIFE TO KISS ME AND TELL ME SHE MISSED ME (I TRAVEL A LOT DOING SEMINARS) I WANTED THE KIDS TO STOP WHAT EVER THEY WERE DOING AND JUST HUG ME FOR A SECOND, THAT’S ALL, JUST THAT LITTLE BIT.

YOU KNOW WHAT? IT WORKED, I WOULD WALK IN THE HOUSE SAYING MY LITTLE MANTRA; “YOU LOVE THESE PEOPLE DON’T SCARE THEM.” AND THEY WOULD TAKE THE 5 SECONDS JUST TO GIVE ME WHAT I NEEDED, CRAVED FROM THEM A MOMENT OF LOVE AND IT WOULD ALL WORK OUT.

SO IF YOU ARE A SCARY DAD, HUSBAND, FATHER, PLEASE WORK IT OUT, GIVE THIS A TRY.

DON’T BE SCARY

AND N0W THE GOOD NEWS, I’M NOT SURE HOW LONG WE HAD TO HAVE THESE LITTLE RITUALS, A FEW YEARS MAYBE, BUT IT ALL PASSED. YOU CAN BE A CHRISTIAN MAN AND STILL HAVE SOME SERIOUS ISSUES, ONE; GET COUNSELING FROM SOMEONE YOU RESPECT, TWO; BE ACCOUNTABLE, THREE; DON’T IGNORE THE WARNING SYMBOLS (YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN). AND REST ASSURED IT DOES PASS AND YOU BECOME SOMEWHAT NORMAL. (TILL DEMENTIA SETS IN AND YOU BECOME A RAVING LUNATIC AGAIN, OH, DID I TELL YOU I’M WORKING ON BEING MORE POSITIVE?)

BUT IT WON’T GET FIXED ON ITS ON, THERE IS NO CHRISTIAN MAGIC, FIX IT.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

 

the true mark

September 29, 2017

The subject of positive self esteem, love yourself, self love, our self-concept or self-image creates a kind of paradox. The Bible-believing Christian knows that he is a sinner, that in himself dwells no good thing, and that in himself he has no merit with God; yet, like a paradox, at the same time, he also knows, as a creation of God, created in God’s image and redeemed by His grace, he has value and purpose in life.

So how do we hit a proper balance? How do we avoid the self-centered approach and focus of the world and at the same time have a biblical concept of self, a proper viewpoint of our own value and purpose that sets us free to serve the living God, that sets us free from those thoughts and feelings that tie us in knots and ruin our personalities, create false agendas and motives that so people are incapacitated for ministry?

That we think properly about ourselves is important and is even commanded in Scripture. In Romans 12:3, the apostle wrote, “For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith.”

The basic word for “think” in this passage is proneo, which means “think, form or hold an opinion, judge.” “Sober discernment,” is sophroneo, “be of sound mind.” It means “to be in one’s right mind, be reasonable, keep one’s head.” But first, the apostle warns us against thinking more highly of ourselves than we should.” The Greek word here is huperphroneo, “to think too highly of oneself, to be haughty.” Ironically, quite contrary to our society today, the apostle does not warn against thinking too little of ourselves. Regardless, the sound thinking Paul is calling for is grounded in biblical revelation and faith in the work of God for us in Christ. Paul is calling for thinking and personal evaluation based on the authority of God’s revelation and on the facts of God and His grace. It means we are to look at ourselves through the lenses of Scripture.

To Timothy, whom some expositors have nick named “Timid Tim” because he seems to have been having problems with his self-confidence (or confidence in God’s gifts and ministry for his life), Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a Spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (or sound-mind thinking). The Greek word for “discipline” here is related to the word used for thinking in Romans 12:3. It is sophronismos from sophron, “sensible, prudent.” It comes from sos, “safe, sound, and phren, “the heart, the mind, or the inner man.” Sophronismos refers to “control, self-discipline, prudence” that stems from right thinking. A controlled life, one that demonstrates self-discipline stems from soundness of mind, from knowing and acting on the truth of Scripture in the light of God’s grace in Christ. In both passages, Romans 12:3 and 2 Timothy 1:7, the context deals with God’s gifts to us and the bold expression of those gifts in loving ministry for the sake of the body of Christ.

Thinking properly about ourselves stems from right thinking about God, but then that extends to right thinking about others so that it results in a freedom to serve according to the grace of God.

Now, let’s ask some questions: What am I worth as a person? Do I feel good about who I am or do I wish I was someone else? Have I accepted who I am as a person, not my sin or sinful habits, but the uniqueness God has created in me as a person (Ps. 139:13-14)? How we answer these questions may play a key role in what we do with our lives, how we live our lives, in the joy we experience in life, in the way we treat others, and in how we respond to people and to God. “Research has shown that we tend to act in harmony with our mental self-portrait. If we don’t like the kind of person we are, we think no one else likes us either. And that influences our social life, our job performance, our relationships with others.”

A biblical concept of self developed out of our concept of God and His grace is important to solid spiritual maturity, to ministry, to our ability to lead others, and especially to our ability to be servants. Without a biblical concept of self, we end up playing spiritual king-of-the-mountain and engage in promoting personal agendas to build up a sagging ego. We seek from position, power, and praise what we should get from resting in God’s grace.

Thus, in order to effectively lead or minister to others we must think biblically about who we are. This means two key things: (a) we need to know our abilities and limitations while (b) always keeping in mind a biblical view of God, His grace to us in Christ, and knowing our sufficiency is always in God regardless of our abilities or weaknesses (see 2 Cor. 2:16-3:6).

Why is thinking in these terms so important? Because without it we will vacillate between fear and pride or between insecurity and overconfidence. Without this we will become either withdrawn and introverted or we will find ourselves running around in a hubbub of activity trying to feel good about ourselves because of our achievements. Paul’s spiritual maturity and qualification as a leader is seen in his freedom to serve others because, resting in who he was in Christ as a servant called of God by grace, he was not seeking to protect a poor self-image or to impress men with his greatness (cf. 1 Cor. 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:1-6).

It’s all about balance, self identity, who am I, and why am I here. Talk about this topic with teens, young adults and college students; and not give empty rhetoric and blasé platitudes and you will pack out the house. Add to that have the meeting in a non-traditional place and wow, you will have people come that will never walk into a church. (until you show them it’s relevant.)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Roger D, and Jennifer, cataract surgery coming up soon, they’re both a little bit afraid.

Susanna B, against all advice from all her family, she went and had face surgery, (plastic) it went really wrong. The emotional damage done right now is epic.

 

SPIRITUAL STEROIDS

September 27, 2017

  If [since] ye, then, be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).

  The growth truths seem complicated and difficult to understand on first encounter. However, with progress in grace we find them to be as clear and logical as the truth of justification. For both time and eternity, all is summed up in John 17:3: “And this is life eternal. . . [to] know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ.”

  “The marvel of divine grace is that not only has everything according to the heart of God been secured for me through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, but that I, a child of Adam, should be, not only in peace with God where I was under His judgment, but that I am transferred from Adam to Christ, and I am to have Christ formed in me now.

  “I am born of God—of new and divine origin—a new creation to be here on earth now where I was a child of Adam, in the grace and beauty of Christ, led by His own power to stand for Him; daily more and more transformed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (2 Cor. 3:18).”

“I used to study this passage and that passage to obtain guidance and light. I see now that if I were really near Him beholding His glory (2 Cor. 3:18), I should be transformed, this glory should come from His throne so impressed upon myself that with Jesus living in my heart that His interests would, as it were, naturally control me, guide me and the growth process would occur naturally in the normal course of me growing more Christ like.

  “When the heart has found its rest and satisfaction in Him, it can turn to Him naturally and continually in every circumstance.”

  “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).

God bless from scumlikuschurch@gmail.com

 

THE GRAND PARADOX

September 24, 2017

  “You were set free from the tyranny of Sin, and became the bondservants of Righteousness” (Rom. 6:18.).

  The principle underlying resurrection life is, of all things, death. “For since we have become one with Him by sharing in His death, we shall also be one with Him by sharing in His resurrection. Surrender your very selves to God as living men who have risen from the dead” (Rom. 6:5, 13). Let the facts of your position overwhelm the feelings of your condition.

  “By exercising faith in the Word, apart from any feelings, be ‘planted together with Him in the likeness of His death’ (Rom. 6:5). Only by thus standing in your position will you begin to experience ‘the likeness of His resurrection.’ Reckon on your life-union with Him. Reject the old life on the basis of your death in Christ on the Cross, and count yourself alive in Him until He makes experiential your resurrection position. Do not forget that you must stand firmly upon the specific truths: ‘dead indeed unto sin—alive unto God in Christ Jesus’ (Rom. 6:11).

The sharing of His life is our blessed experience just in the measure in which we share His death. So many of us are content merely that the Cross should be the power to save us from the penalty of sin, but death was not the end of the manifestation of Christ. It was resurrection, and it is the risen life, shining forth in the believer, that alone can carry out the purpose of God in redemption. The believer, in whose daily attitude the mark of resurrection is seen, becomes what the world is looking for, a convincing witness to the power of the Living Redeemer.

  “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Phil. 3:10).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Paul C, he’s kinda of gone off the reservation since his wife died and we are praying he’ll get back to being accountable and checking in and get back to church and godly living.

 

hope monkey junkie

September 23, 2017

Lyrics by Aldo Nova – Monkey On Your Back

“let me tell you a story about two kids in the city

 see they both have a problem with life and it isn’t very pretty

there’s a kid called timmy he used to be pretty witty but then too many rides on the horse got him hooked and it’s a pity

 cause now he’s got a monkey he’s got a monkey can’t fight it monkey on his back he can’t deny it monkey he found a dragon that bites a hole in his arm at night where all the monney goes monkey,monkey on his back monkey,monkey on his back a dirty monkey

well there’s a girl called sally she walks the streets in the city she works down on the corner every night gives her money up to willy

you see her man’s big willy and when he met her she was pretty but he gave her a habit that she didn’t want now that’s a pity cause now she’s got a monkey….”

 Aldo Nova – Monkey On Your Back (not an endorsement of this band)

THE HOPE MONKEY JUNKIE

Two small words. When heard on the battlefield, in the hospital waiting room, or in our darkest thoughts, they bring despair. Two words that carry such anguish that no one can withstand their power. What, then, are these two unbearable words?

“No hope.”

Proverbs 18:14 tells us, “The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but a broken spirit who can bear?” A broken spirit is a spirit without hope. The loss of hope is a terrible thing. Without hope, life’s troubles bring discouragement, depression, despair, and even death. We can bear the doctor’s frightful diagnosis with hope for a cure. We can endure the separation from a loved one with hope for a reunion. We can endure certain death with the hope of eternal life and infinite joy in the presence of God forever. But where no hope exists—we are undone.

There are those that have hope taken from them so often the thought of having hope scares them, for fear it will be stolen from them again. So they fight ‘the hope monkey’ it scares the crap out them. They live lives of quiet desperation, hoping to fly below the radar at church, work, even home. They had hope at one time, but that hope was based on something or someone fallible, transient, gone, died of cancer, aids, suicide, walked out the door, left them. They now feel betrayed because they lost hope and rather than hope again they throw off the hope monkey every time it comes around.

So now it’s one-night stands, or bar flys, no commitments, it’s just sex. Not sure I even caught your name, get thee behind me hope monkey. I won’t be hurt again.

Problem is the hope monkey junkies think it’s their fault, if only I had been richer, faster, taller, more pretty, spoke better, chose better, had better, lived better, been in the moment, not taken for granted, stopped at the red light, didn’t drink that beer. Been a better mother, father, son, sister brother, pal, hope monkey get off my back.

So with lowered expectations they are constant victims of no hope, they live in hopelessville, and have nothing but bad dreams, it’s like PTSD without shooting someone. They can’t tell you the last time they slept well or didn’t cry without provocation. Over eat, under eat, behavior disorders, gambling, acting out. Hope monkey junkies always sing the blues.

But the hope monkey junkie can kill the monkey.

As believers, we can easily fall prey to discouragement in a world of bad news and blasphemy of the excellence of Christ and the Gospel. But, despite our difficulties and bouts of gloom, we can’t afford to neglect Scripture, prayer, worship, fellowship, and ministry to others, because hope grows by an active love and pursuit of God in these things. Like faith and assurance, hope must be cultivated: “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end” (Hebrews 6:11). Perseverance and Bible study strengthen hope, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

We know for certain He will work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). This has to be more than a cliché, it has to be a core believe, a foundation of true thought and belief and practice. In the midst of the most hopeless moment, that verse has to live in your heart, on your lips and in your brain. Write it on the wall, tape it to the dashboard, write it in shower.

As believers, we often have uncertain and certain hope at the same time. For instance, we may pray and hope for deliverance from a present trouble and not know if, when, or how God will answer our prayer (uncertain hope), while knowing He will ultimately deliver us and that our eternal destiny remains secure in Christ (certain hope). “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Uncertain hope involves the “secret things,” while our sure hope rests on the “things revealed.”

“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5: 1-5).

“A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength” (Psalm 33:17). Hope can be uncertain when it stands on something or someone that may not be able or willing to fulfill it. And hope is sure when it rests in something or someone absolutely able and willing to fulfill it (Christian hope). Like faith, the object of our hope is Christ: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1).

There are Christian hope monkey junkies as well as non-believers. Every life is fraught with pitfalls, more rainy days than sunshine. Mental illness can hit anyone. Death robs us of loved ones, jobs are lost, relations falter, faith wanes. Doubt creeps in, and for some it’s better to manage a level of pain, like cutting yourself, I’m in control.

But I’m here to tell you that the hope monkey can be nailed to the Cross. There is one body piercing that saves your life. Christ on the Cross killed the monkey. And brought us all to a living hope.

Bury the hope monkey, live free in Christ.

You have to choose a different lifestyle, say goodbyes to the pills, booze, sex, fights, debt, overspending, binging on donuts, secret stashes of food, secret lifestyles, double lives, risk taking, being a live hand grenade, this isn’t the complete list, so don’t think if I left you out you’ve escaped notice.

Kill the hope monkey junkie syndrome!!

By having a living hope!!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16). “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you, who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:20-21).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Comments, questions, prayer requests to the email address please.

crown of thorns

Yes, You Can

September 12, 2017

It goes without saying that unbelievers pounce all over Christian hypocrisy and judgment. A Hindu professor once found out that a man in his class was a Christian. The professor said to this student, “If you Christians were like Jesus Christ, India would be at your feet tomorrow.” A learned Muslim who recently became a Christian said, “If Christians were truly Christians—like Christ—there would be no Islam.” A USA Today poll shows 72% of unchurched Americans agree that a God exists, but the same percentage says “the church is full of hypocrites.” 44% say Christians get on their nerves. People flat-out don’t like Christians. Yet, when is the last time you heard someone say, “Man, Jews, Muslims, or Buddhists get on my nerves!” It doesn’t happen, does it? People show respect and honor to these religions. Now it’s easy to object, “This just isn’t fair. The media has turned Christians into cultural punching bags.” Yet, we must ask, “Have we brought some of this pain upon ourselves?” If we’re honest and humble, we would probably have to say, “Yes, guilty as charged.” Just stop and think for a moment. Are you notorious for criticizing the media? Politicians? Your teachers? Your pastors? Your boss? Your coworkers? Your neighbors? Your friends? Seriously, can you even watch a football game without being critical of the quarterback, the coach, or the referee? Most Christians are critical. Some are even bold enough to boast that their spiritual gift is criticism. Yet Jesus says, “Be slow to judge others and quick to judge yourself.” In Matthew 7:1–12, Jesus gives two exhortations dealing with judicious judgment.

  1. Judge with humility not superiority (7:1–5). In this first section, Jesus clarifies how you should relate to other believers in the matter of judgment. In 7:1, Jesus tells you what you shouldn’t do: “Do not judge.” No sentence in the Bible is more familiar, more misunderstood, and more misapplied than Matt 7:1. Therefore, we must first determine what this verse doesn’t mean. “Do not judge” doesn’t mean you can’t say anything critical or pointed to another person. In this context, Jesus Himself alludes to certain people as dogs and pigs (7:6). He also warns His disciples, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (7:15). In both of these examples, Jesus makes a judgment about various individuals. Later in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus requires His disciples to confront believers who are in sin (18:15–17). Furthermore, the New Testament is clear that Christians are to judge both error and sin. So despite what many people believe, the ideal Christian is not an undiscerning, all-accepting jellyfish who lives out the misinterpretation of “judge not.” Christians can and should judge.

So what does this verse mean? First, you are not to pass final judgment on any person. Final judgment belongs to the Lord. You are not in the condemning business. If anyone needs to be condemned, God Himself can take care of that. You should have no part in it. This is why curses like “God damn you” or “Go to hell” are so wicked! The one who utters these curses is attempting to play God! Second, you are not to judge the motives of others. The Bible says, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). Often we are quick to come to negative conclusions about others based on why we think they did something. But try as we might, we see only the outside. God alone sees the heart. What Christ means when He says “Do not judge” is that we are to refrain from hypercritical, condemning judgment. There is a universe of difference between being discerningly critical and hypercritical. A discerning spirit is constructive; a hypercritical spirit is destructive. All of this means you can judge what people do; you cannot judge why they do it. You can judge what people say; you cannot judge why they say it.

In 7:1b–2, Jesus tells you what God will do. He says the reason that you shouldn’t judge is “so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” When Jesus says “Do not judge so that you will not be judged,” He uses a future passive verb. He is referring to being judged at the judgment seat of Christ. In other words, God will use the same basic standard you use to evaluate others when He evaluates you! In Matt 5:7 Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy.” If you are gracious in your dealings with other people’s failures and shortcomings now, you will receive mercy in the future when the Lord evaluates your life. As the old saying goes, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” The longer I am in pastoral ministry, the greater my empathy for the struggles of my pastoral colleagues. The longer I walk with Christ, the more I empathize with my fellow believers. The longer I am married and strive to raise a family, the more I can empathize with other couples and parents. It is hard to be who you want to be, isn’t it? I want to grant grace and extend mercy to others. I want to believe the best and be kind. But when necessary I want to love brothers and sisters enough to call them on sin.

In 7:3–5, Jesus tells you what you should do. He uses an illustration that comes from His background as a carpenter’s son (13:55). He puts it like this: “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Undoubtedly, Jesus didn’t say this with a straight face. He must have been smiling and giggling as He said this. Visualize a man with a plank in his eye walking through the lobby of the church trying to find a person with a speck of sawdust in his eye that he might remove it! But the very image of such a man looking into a mirror but unable to see the plank in his eye because he is blinded by the plank is funny indeed. Again, Jesus did not say that Christians are not to judge under any circumstances. His warning was against hypocritical judgment—someone with a “log” in his eye passing judgment on someone with a “speck” in his eye (7:3). He was warning disciples not to make the mistake of the Pharisees! Jesus’ concern was making sure that we are qualified to judge. This is why He said, “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (7:5). Thus, believers are to judge error and sin, but in a gracious and non-judgmental fashion.

We naturally tend to exaggerate. We often inflate the faults of others while at the same time underestimating our own. You could say we are perfectionists when it comes to other people, but extremely tolerant when it comes to ourselves. We find it so easy to turn a microscope on another person’s sin while we look at ours through the wrong end of a telescope! Yet, when we let Jesus convict us of our sin, we will be able to judge others with humility, sensitivity, and compassion.

Have you ever had someone attempt to help you remove something from your eye? If so, you can readily understand the amount of gentleness and tenderness that’s required. The eye is very sensitive. It takes a compassionate hand and a delicate touch to do surgery in the eye. When you have eye trouble, you need a doctor who knows what he is doing because even the slightest mistake can have catastrophic consequences. In the same way, when we minister to one another in the Christian community, we must do so only after careful introspection to make sure our own motives are pure. Then we can proceed with appropriate care and humility. Sometimes in our haste to help others, we can cause more damage than the original speck of dirt caused. This doesn’t mean you must be perfect before you can correct another Christian. However, Jesus’ words do require you to have dealt as decisively as possible with any obvious areas of disobedience in your own life before you attempt to correct someone else. Otherwise, it is as if you are attempting to perform surgery blindfolded. In that situation, neither the patient nor the doctor feels confident! Moreover, if you are committing the same sin, the judgment you pass on someone else boomerangs on you. And you definitely don’t want that! Remember, be slow to judge others and quick to judge yourself.

There are a number of ways you can lovingly confront a person.

  1. Make sure your own heart is right with God before you confront someone.

  1. Pray for the person that needs to be confronted.

  1. Set up a time with the person to talk, in private without interruption, but don’t put it off.

  1. When the occasion calls for it, confront immediately.

  1. Don’t take out your own anger on someone.

  1. Begin with a word of encouragement.

  1. Ask the person, “If I could share something with you that would help you, would you want me to?”

  1. State the issue as you see it. Give your perspective on the issue. Say, “This is the way I see it, please help me to understand.” Admit that maybe you misunderstood or got the wrong perspective.

  1. Ask how you can help the person.

  1. Be confidential.

  1. Pray for the person.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

LOOK UP

September 3, 2017

crown of thorns

Look Up!

  “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).

  Our Father allows the believer to struggle with self, not for victory, but for defeat. Then the “wretched man” learns to rest in the Victor.

Once you have begun the Christian walk, and know the blessedness of it, you are not trying to correct yourself, for you know that all has been removed from the eye of God; and you insist on the fact that self has been to the Cross, and that Christ is your life. The old man was crucified, and you cannot reform him; all attempts of amiable people to reform him are only denying the fact that he has been dealt with in judgment. The responsible (law) man is not before God now. It is now the day of grace. Everyone who receives His grace is set free from the domination of the old man. The appeal to the believer now is not to do, but to look.

  “The believer is never told to ‘overcome sin,’ but to reckon, on the ground of his death with Christ, that he has died to it. On the basis of death, he is told not to ‘let’ sin reign in his life. It is to be dealt with by an attitude of death, not by ‘overcoming.’ The believer therefore is not to be spending his whole life in getting victory over sin, but understanding his position as having died unto sin.”

If you are struggling with sin, you are not ‘reckoning’ or looking at the cross, just as you say, “I’m born again and Jesus is my Savior” you say the same thing to sin, “I’ve been crucified with Christ.”

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T BELIEVE ANY SERMON OR BOOK THAT TELLS THE STORY OF THE WHITE DOG AND THE BLACK DOG. AND THEY FIGHT, AND THE ONE THAT IS FEED THE BEST, WINS

IN THE GOSPEL, BOTH DOGS ARE DEAD. DON’T BELIEVE IT’S ALL LAID UPON YOUR SHOULDER AND YOU ARE MASTER OF YOUR FATE, CAPTAIN OF YOUR DESTINY. YOU CAN DO NOTHING BUT GAZE UPON THE CROSS.

It took faith to be saved, it takes faith to be in the right place.

Faith to believe “We are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Be safe, be blessed, believe. Be changed.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

I received a phone call today from an old Marine pal of mine who spends a lot of time calling into talk radio shows as he is pretty much home bound and like me lives off the grid and hard to get to. So to pass the time he calls into these shows and very courteously disagrees with most of what they say.

What put a burr up his saddle today was the lady talk show host who claims she is Christian, has a Christian Tattoo artist on the show and if you came to the station they would have a “Christian Inking” discount and “film at 11” soiree.

Well this old Marine jumps into his handicapped equipped pickup and drives to the radio station with his tattered bible on the seat. Surprisingly the station manager takes him into the studio and the debate begins live and on the air.

Now I have to tell you this Marine was at Iwo and Guadalcanal, Tarawa, he’s fought with nothing but rocks and his helmet, he’s done Island clean up with a flamethrower. He’s spent a large part of his life fighting demons, nightmares and the bottle, and now with about 40 years sober and spending almost every waking moment reading his bible. He takes bible correspondence courses and is one smart cookie.

So I get roped into a radio conference call because he doesn’t want to surrender to a fast talking pseudo Christian radio talk show host. I say pseudo because her defense of tattoos is the Old Testament isn’t relevant as she’s a “New Covenant believer. And since Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament it’s no longer relevant to New Testament believers and is only considered ancient history good for its mythical stories.” Well I’m the guy that sincerely believes in not casting pearls to swine, so I tell my friend to leave and let’s meet up at a Jim’s Restaurant and give him moral support. And a good answer.

So part one, you have to have the whole bible to be a whole Christian. Can you get saved and be a Christian after hearing only John 3:16, certainly, but if you are going to develop into a complete, mature Christian, then it’s going to take the whole bible to grow you to completeness. Jesus and the Apostles quoted from the Old Testament, there was no New Testament while the Apostles walked the earth. Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not to do away with it.

Ok, part two, tattoos;

Houston pastor Chris Seay told the Associated Press last year, after asking his

followers to get inked for Lent, “there are definitely some Old Testament

passages that have something to say about (tattooing), but we don’t think they

have weight in this contemporary circumstance. If we thought the Scriptures were

prohibiting it, we wouldn’t be doing it.”

Leviticus 19:28 ” Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor

print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”

These pagan practices were most likely associated with Egyptian idolatry and

were therefore to be avoided. The practice of making deep gashes on the face

and arms or legs, in times of grief, was universal among pagans.

Mutilation of the body created by God was incompatible with holiness, for the

holy God is perfect life.

Holiness requires Israel not to act like the pagans in any areas of life.

Getting back to Pastor Seay; “we don’t think (the scripture) has relevance or

weight in our modern times.”

And that my friends is what is wrong with the modern church today, that popular

culture is more important than the Holy Word of God. Because 1/3 of young

Americans have tattoos we should deem it ok, and ignore what the Word of God

says.

Is it a sin, I personally wouldn’t go there, we should not preach condemnation.

But if someone came in for counseling and asked me if it was ok to get their first

tattoo I would say no.

One of the things I told my kids a lot was; “I’m not here to be your best friend, I’m

Here to be your father not win a popularity contest.” That hasn’t changed, popular is not what I’m going for.

I think pastors that want to be cool, hip and drive Harleys and ignore what

Scriptures teach in EVERY area are IDIOTS and HYPOCRITES. (I’m kidding about the

Harley, (almost, I drive a Gold Wing).

You cannot choose what parts of scripture to follow or ignore. It is all or nothing.

God bless.

Sorry if I’m not cool enough for you. Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t change a thing. And to all my “inked” brothers and sister you are loved by God and myself. Just don’t expect me to give you my approval, I will also give you respect and love but will ask you to not give counsel to other church members to violate what the bible teaches.

The basic history of tattoos is that it is to give unchanging stability to a person’s life, i.e. that the tattoos are static, everything else in the world and even my body may change, but the tattoo is constant. Well I can trump that with a bigger, better constant. God; never changing, also constant and the word of God, inspired, inerrant, and infallible. If Christians are seeking a constant in their life other than that, they are in rebellion.

So let’s agree to disagree, because this is on my long list of things that don’t affect salvation.

Blessing and regards from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com