standing tall on our knees

September 18, 2017

STANDING TALL ON OUR KNEES

  “And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23)

  True spiritual experience will result from our standing immovable in our position “in Christ.” All too often believers allow certain “experiences” to move them from the faith-ground of their objective position, and they are soon adrift on the sea of subjective feelings and unscriptural influences. Which is why so many false teacher are able to manipulate and extort so many church people.

  “The Christian life is essentially a continuous dying, and a continuous living. Of course, there may come a particular crisis in experience where the Spirit of God brings the soul face to face with a definite issue as to a willingness for the Cross, and a yielding of the life to God. Yes, the first revelation of the secret of victory also may constitute a real crisis in the life of the believer, but that crisis or experience can never, in itself, avail for the future.

There is a subtle danger in relying upon some isolated experience of ‘sanctification,’ so-called. The victorious Christian life is a Person, not an experience. Following the crisis, whatever phase or landmark in the life that may represent, there must be the daily reckoning, the moment-by-moment abiding and the control of the Holy Spirit.

Whatever may have been our experience of holiness, and the measure of spiritual attainment in the past, or the teaching of a ‘second’ blessing; we can never get beyond the need of abiding in Christ and the continuous reckoning of faith.

  “For we, alive though we are, are continually surrendering ourselves to death for the sake of Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:11, Wey.).

Don’t let someone tell you that you are only ‘half’ blessed or you haven’t had the full gospel experience. The operative word being experience. We are followers of Christ and devoted to the Word of God guiding us in all things, not just spiritual realms. I’m always amazed at Christians who think the bible isn’t relative to every aspect of their life and only take God out of the box on Sundays.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Walter,, he is developing dementia and is becoming violent. Pray his kids step up their game in taking care of him.

Pray for Prura, a new Christian in S. America, she gave her life to the Lord today and as to face a family that is traditional and not supportive. Her parents have given her an ultimatum about getting her life “back to normal”

 

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

 

never 2nd best

September 10, 2017

Because all Scripture testifies about Jesus we shouldn’t be surprised to “see Jesus” in the first chapters of the Bible. Although we can find testimony about Jesus throughout Genesis, two aspects from chapters 1 and 2 deserve special consideration: creation and the second Adam. (you may or may not be familiar with this title for Jesus, but he is considered the second Adam, in that Adam was created without sin or a fallen nature, Christ was born without sin or a fallen nature, thus ‘the second Adam’ but unlike Adam, he never sinned. Imagine for that moment on the cross, forsaken by God, when he (Jesus) took on the weight of all our sin).Thank you Lord.

  ➤ Creation. Too often in considering the creation account we get distracted trying to figure out what the story means to us. We debate issues of evolution and creation or the age of the earth and overlook the fact that these chapters are about Jesus. As Paul writes, “All things have been created through him and for him” (Col 1:16). That “for him” is not only the main point of Genesis 1–2; it’s also the main reason for creation. Creation exists for Jesus. That’s a powerful thought, isn’t it? Does it change how we relate to our world? What about how we respond to God?

 ➤ Second Adam. Adam held three roles that would later become distinct offices in Israel: prophet, priest and king. As prophet he was the representative to speak about God and his creation. As priest he was anointed to directly offer prayer and praise to God. And Adam and Eve were king and queen in that they were given dominion and rule over creation. In Jesus we find the “second Adam” (or “last Adam”), who is the perfect prophet (fully declared God to us), the perfect priest (offered the supreme sacrifice on our behalf) and the perfect king (he will reign forever over the new heavens and new earth).

  We are called to imitate Christ in each of these roles. As prophets, we proclaim the gospel to a fallen world. As priests we offer our good works and our bodies as sacrifices pleasing to God (see Heb 13:16; Ro 12:1). As kings and queens we share in ruling over the earth as stewards of God’s creation (see Ge 1:28).

 In what other ways can we fulfill the role of prophet, priest and king?

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Continue to pray for Calvin and his eye.

Pray for Liam, from Dublin, wants to come and visit America, as he’s following his family tree.

STUMBLE AND FALL

September 9, 2017

Looking forward, thinking backward?

“Has the Lord not taken the lead?”

Judges 4:14

I look back with a great deal of regret over wasted years and opportunities in my life. But Paul says that the only way to move forward is to put the past behind and focus on what is ahead: “Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13b-14). Forgetting the past means that I accept God’s forgiveness and grace; however, it does not that I overlook the lessons learned from those years. I hope to make the most of every opportunity God gives me now because of my regret over those missed in the past.

As you think through those in your own life, don’t wallow in them with guilt or regret but use them as bridges to the future where you take advantage of the circumstances into which God puts you.

This last week I was struck by how many times my mind wandered to the past. Have you ever done that? Why did this happen or that happen to me? Why didn’t I do better with that opportunity? Why didn’t I react differently to that person? I realized how easy it is to get stuck in that negative thinking. The worst part is it keeps you distracted and looking backwards.

When we are hurt or upset is our natural reaction to forgive and move forward?  Or is it our tendency to go back over the hurt? Do we accept the apology or do we dwell on the hurt and replay the event over and over? Do we keep going back to it? Or do we move forward?

When we keep looking backwards, we lose our ability to focus on what is right in front of us. It steals our ability to heal.  When we stay in the past and continue feasting on past hurt we perpetuate a cycle of unforgiveness and bitterness –and we are going to fall down.

By going over the injustice or the hurt we relive it over and over and that keeps us locked in a cycle of pain. How can we see what is ahead of us if we don’t ever face the right direction?

The Bible says in Psalm 103:12 (NIV) as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

What an example of forgiveness Christ is. There are instances that even though forgiveness is given there are consequences and even  serious punishment. In those extreme cases granting forgiveness can be very difficult. But by forgiving we are freeing ourselves and we are not excusing the hurt nor any injustice done.

The Bible says, Press on towards the prize. In Philippians 3:14 it says, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. I think that is an amazing promise to share with our children.

“Face forward child and look at the path in front of you because, God has called you! What is the reward? Well the reward is a life in him for all of eternity! Don’t let the pains of the past pull you down. Let those go so you can focus on all that God has for you.”

In Jeremiah 29:11 he tells us, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God tells us he has a plan for us. He tells us he has a future and a hope. He doesn’t tell us that he has a past. If we are striving towards a goal then we stay focused on the path ahead. But if we are looking backwards,  we can wander off course and can and often do fall down.

What do you do if your child is weighted down with unforgiveness? Or maybe they are stuck and angry because someone has been mean to them.

Teach them the joy and freedom of granting forgiveness. It will be a lesson that they will use the rest of their lives.

As I’ve said before I’m not a fan of the new “shortened” bible. Every word has some importance. Let me give you an example, ‘Ai’ or ‘Bethel’ Jacob is told to look toward Bethel, not Ai, why, several reasons, but do you know that the word Ai means rubble and Bethel means ‘house of God’ so we have a choice, we can look back at the rubble of our past or look forward to the promise.

“Stumble & Fall”

I heard that it was a really big deal

But then I found out it was just nothing at all

You always say it’s such a big deal

But we both know that that’s nothing at all

And I get over the breaks

And I, I stumble and fall

And I get over the breaks

And sometimes stumble and fall

You just wont admit that it’s all in your hands

So I have to try so hard to make you understand

But all you can say is “It’s just part of the deal”

And I never asked you to understand

How I keep myself to myself in the crush of the crowd

But all you can say is

“Who cares? It’s part of the deal”

And I get over the breaks

And I, I stumble and fall

And I get over the breaks

And sometimes stumble and fall

Well I, I get over the breaks

And I stumble and fall

And I get over the breaks

And sometimes stumble and fall

Yes I fall

Yes I fall

I stumble and fall (by Razorlight)

Keep praying for Calvin, they may have to do a series of eye surgeries.

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

ENTITLEMENT

Ouch, apparently, I hit a nerve with yesterday’s devotion. Look at it from this standpoint.

Are there bad marriages, yes, are there bad parents, yes; are there struggling marriages, and struggling parents? Yes, you need to see the difference. One situation is likely to possibly get corrected. The other is like syphilis, contact is going to infect you.

The sad part is that parents and families that are failing, falling apart and flailing, are most often isolated by members of the church. No one wants to go to dinner after church with a family that always fights before they leave the church parking lot; or at the restaurant the kids are flinging food, pouring the salt shakers into their little siblings’ plate or screaming at a siren volume and the parents acting like zombies.

We have two choices, we walk away or step in.

We are called to be bold, decisive, teachers, mentors, or what I like to think of as “divine interrupters”.

We step in and help, have compassion, yes, sometimes we scold, spank, discipline and in rare occasions we cut off fellowship as a means of discipline if they are unrepentant.

Not what we here from the Name It and Claim It or prosperity group.

Fact, if your family doesn’t behave or your talking divorce at Joel Osteen’s church you are asked to leave. Why? Because they don’t like messy. In their world everything is perfect. Well the world you and I live in is messy.

So what steps do we take to intervene?

Firmly, but with love we step and be the mature, loving, stern adult.

First deal with what  seems to be the most contagious disease in the world today.

THE SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT

THE CULTIVATION OF GOOD THINKING

Aren’t we whining when we focus on what is hard in our lives rather than God’s gracious provision? That response reveals an attitude of entitlement: “I deserve to have ____ (health, perfect children, good things, no struggles, etc.).” Shouldn’t we be thankful for what we do have rather than gripe about what we don’t?  Do I make that choice when faced with trials or even a difficult day? Do you?

I appreciate storm victims who express gratitude for their homes, their lives, and for the hard-working people trying to help them. I am sad for all the victims, even those who whine, recognizing how hard their situations must be.

“In everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).

It’s biblical to express our grief and sorrow. Don’t think that joy precludes sadness. When we lament our losses, however, we should do so with thanksgiving for God’s sovereign work in the midst of our pain. When we focus on trusting him for the greater good, our perspectives change. We begin to recognize that all of life is grace; we aren’t entitled to anything. As we give thanks in everything, we begin to walk in joy, blessing others, giving glory to God, and in the process becoming witnesses to a watching world.

THE ONE THING WE HAVE FORGOTTEN TO TEACH ABOUT THREE GENERATIONS OF PEOPLE IS TO RECOGNIZE THE ADVANTAGE OF CHOOSING TO WAIT FOR THE BEST, BETTER AND BEAUTIFUL OF ALL THINGS BEING FULFILLED IN GOD’S TIMING AND NOT OUR OWN. AND THAT PUTTING OFF SHORT TERM IMMEDIATE FULFILLMENT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO HAVE THE BEST THAT GOD WANTS FOR OUR LIVES BY WAITING.

SO WE NEED TO TEACH…….

the dog house

Decision-making often involves choosing between short-term pleasure or short-term pain. (Usually it’s more like short-term inconvenience.)

Short-term pleasure often leads to long-term pain, and short-term pain often leads to long-term pleasure. What doesn’t work, and is a horribly unrealistic expectation for life, is short-term pleasure leading to long-term pleasure! (Wouldn’t THAT be nice?!)

Maturity and wisdom is displayed by the choices we make, especially when we exercise patience and self-control, not insisting on the instant-gratification jolt of “I want it NOW!!!” Many of our choices for pleasure in the right-now end up costing us down the road, causing pain later. You know, like that fourth brownie that tastes soooooo good in the moment, but then you can’t zip up your jeans a few days later. Or indulging your child’s demands and whims today because you want to be the “cool parent” and you want them to like you, but then you start to notice the ugliness of that child’s sense of self-absorbed entitlement. Short-term pleasure, even when that pleasure is simply trying to avoid pain, results in long-term unpleasant consequences.

But when we recognize the value of self-control and self-denial in the present, so that we can reap the harvest of pleasure in the future, that’s wisdom. Mark Twain advised, “Do one thing every day you don’t want to do.” That’s good advice, but of course God thought of that much earlier! Using self-control and self-denial is how we fulfill the biblical idea of not indulging the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Getting up early to spend time in God’s word costs you in the moment, but when it has become a habit, that daily time ingesting divine truth and wisdom transforms you. Putting a percentage of your income into savings is a discipline of self-denial in the present day, but it (literally) pays great dividends in the future. Even better, giving generously to Christ’s Kingdom now means you’re sending every penny ahead into your heavenly bank account where God will reward you!

One of my family members really resonated with “the doghouse” when he faced his alcoholism and made many, many decisions to choose the short-term pain of saying no to his desire to drink, and every day he now enjoys the long-term pleasure of a life he can fully enjoy in sobriety and self-control. Another man I know was faced with the decision to choose the short-term pain of integrity, owning and confessing his selfish behavior over several years, or the short-term pleasure of excusing and dismissing his choices that had hurt other people. He chose the short-term pleasure, and now lives in the long-term pain of diminished character and the loss of his family’s trust.

“The doghouse” is helpful for training children (and ourselves!) to think beyond the moment to what they want down the road. Do you want less stress in the morning by taking the time to get your books and clothes and lunch ready tonight? Short-term pain, long-term pleasure. If you give into the temptation to procrastinate (short-term pleasure), how much will you pay for it later (long-term pain)?

Jesus said, “If anyone wants to become My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) Denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Jesus are all about short-term pain with major long-term pleasures!

“The doghouse” is a simple but powerful life-skills tool for your toolbox. What do you want to end up with, long-term pleasure or long-term pain? Choose well today.

SO GOD IS CALLING SOME OF YOU TO MENTOR, TO BE THE FUNCTIONAL ADULT.

PLEASE STEP UP TO THIS CALLING.

BLESSINGS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

PRAY FOR ANNE WHO IS ONE OF THE MOST SELFISH ADULT’S I’VE EVER MET, IF SHE DOESN’T CHANGE SHE IS GOING TO LOSE HER HUSBAND, HER CHILD AND HER SANITY.

PRAY FOR BENJAMIN, A NEW USA CITIZEN TODAY FROM NORWAY

PRAY FOR ELIZABETH G, LEFT HER MARRIAGE OF 35 YEARS, TO LEAVE FOR A 27 YEAR OLD POT SMOKING, GRANOLA,, MOTHER EARTH, UNEMPLOYED MALE NUT JOB, WHO ACCORDING TO HER “UNDERSTANDS HER”

PRAY FOR ED, THROAT CANCER.

BETTY GREEN, NEWLY SAVED CHRISTIAN AT AGE 23, GOING TO AN IVY LEAGUE COLLEGE AND IS PRAYING SHE SURVIVES HER FIRST SEMESTER BACK AS A CHRISTIAN. SHE LEAVES BEHIND HER FAMILY, CHURCH AND SUPPORT GROUP. WE HAVE CALLED A PASTOR NEAR HER AND HOPE AND PRAY SHE IS BRAVE.

 

STANDING ON THE PROMISES

August 31, 2017

STANDING ON THE PROMISES.

One of my favorite modern gospel tunes. It’s been sung by great country artist and old-time gospel singers. I hope you know it.

  1. Standing on the promises of Christ my King,

    Through eternal ages let His praises ring,

    Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,

    Standing on the promises of God.

    • Refrain:

      Standing, standing,

      Standing on the promises of God my Savior;

      Standing, standing,

      I’m standing on the promises of God.

  2. Standing on the promises that cannot fail,

    When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,

    By the living Word of God I shall prevail,

    Standing on the promises of God.

  3. Standing on the promises I now can see

    Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;

    Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,

    Standing on the promises of God.

  4. Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,

    Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,

    Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,

    Standing on the promises of God.

  5. Standing on the promises I cannot fall,

    List’ning every moment to the Spirit’s call,

    Resting in my Savior as my all in all,

    Standing on the promises of God.

Long time since I’ve used this phrase; “but here’s the rub.”

A promise is a declaration that reaches ahead of its speaker and its recipient, to mark an appointment between them in the future. A promise might be an assurance of continuing or future action, an announcement of a future event or a solemn agreement of lasting, mutual (if unequal) relationship.

 Scripture is filled with promises made by God to man (about 8,000 by some counts). We find the first promise in Genesis 3:15 (and its fulfillment in Gal 4:4; Lk 2:7; Rev 12:5) and the last in the second to last verse of the Bible: “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:20).

 Many of God’s promises are intended for us (general promises), while many others are not (specific promises). And some statements that look like promises aren’t promises at all. How can we know which of God’s promises are for us?

 Here are a few guidelines to help you determine which are for you:

  ➤ Don’t mistake a principle for a promise—One of the most oft-quoted Bible passages about child rearing is Proverbs 22:6: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Yet all of us know godly parents whose children have turned from the path of righteousness. Do such cases disprove such proverbs? Of course not. Proverbs are principles, not promises. “Aphorisms and proverbs give insight as to how culture under God works, how relationships work, what our priorities should be; they do not put in all the footnotes as to whether there are any individual exceptions, and under what circumstances, and so forth.”

 ➤ Don’t mistake answered prayer in the Scripture for a promise to you—Some Christians read prayers in the Bible—such as the prayer of Jabez (see 1Ch 4:9–10)—and assume they are promises to us. They are not.

 ➤ Make sure you understand the context—We can often determine if a promise is general or specific merely by looking at the context. For instance, the promises made in Genesis 12:1–3 are specific to Abraham.

 ➤ Recognize conditional promises—Many of God’s promises are unconditional—there are no conditions required for him to do what he promises. But other promises are conditional and dependent on the choice or actions we make. Most conditional promises take an “If . . . then . . .” form. “Promises that contain an ‘If’ require some form of obedience before we can expect them to come to pass in our lives, they are conditional. If we want to claim them, we had better be ready to act in obedience to what they require. A prime example is God’s promise to forgive our sins if we forgive others (see Mt 6:14–15).

 ➤ Don’t twist the meaning of a promise—God’s promises mean only what God intended them to mean. When we subvert the meaning of a promise, it ceases to be a promise at all.

  Even when we rightly recognize a promise as intended for us, we often impose our own understanding of exactly how it will be fulfilled. Or we are tempted to impose our own timeline on its fulfillment. Yes, God does have a plan to prosper you and not to harm you (Jer 29:11), but as in the case of the people to whom those words were originally written, that “you” is more likely a collective reference to the body of believers, and that plan may play out across centuries in ways we can’t possibly predict. To recognize this intent does not diminish the beauty of the promise at all. It actually enhances it.

  ➤ Some promises intended for us are collective, not individual, a promise can apply to us as members of a collective body, such as the church. We should be open to seeing how such promises could be applicable and yet not necessarily applicable to us individually, at least not at all times or in all contexts.

One of the greatest truths you can learn about the bible is the promises that apply to you and the principles that we are to live by.

Blessings are something also promised, to the obedient.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

DO NO THING

August 30, 2017

SELF HELP IS NO HELP

  “If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to ordinances?” (Col. 2:20, R.V.).

  When it comes to spiritual growth and walk, any help from ourselves is a hindrance to us. The source is wrong. On the death side, we are to receive deliverance from sin’s power through the Spirit from the Cross; on the life side, we are to receive growth through the Spirit from the Lord Jesus. It is a matter of receiving, not contributing. We are branches, not vines.

The old elementary legal rudiments of a legal age are for those ‘living in the world’ (having an earthly temple and worship). Believers are seated in the heavenlies in Christ, and are spiritual people with a sanctuary in Heaven. ‘Touch not,’ ‘taste not,’ ‘handle not’; such commandments of men have no value. They perish with the using.

‘Voluntary humility,’ ‘neglecting of the body,’ ‘fasting,’ etc., have a show of wisdom. They gratify religious pride and self-righteousness, they ‘puff up the fleshly mind,’ but they are ‘not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.’ The flesh is not subdued by fasting, nor pride by whipping, nor worldliness by neglect of the body. These are of ‘no avail’ though men glory in them. Only the Holy Spirit brings one into liberty—and that via the Cross. ‘The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death’ (Rom. 8:2).

  “Stand fast, then, in the freedom which Christ has given us, and turn not back again to entangle yourselves in the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).

The hardest thing to do is do nothing, there is no ‘pulling yourself up by the bootstrap’ nor “putting your nose to the grindstone” or giving it all you’ve got. As our salvation is by faith so is our liberty.

Give yourself a rest.

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

 

TINA THE EXOTIC DANCER

August 26, 2017

TINA THE EXOTIC DANCER

NO WAIT THAT’S REALLY THE TITLE

So there’s Mark, nice guy, shy, quiet and a young Christian. He meets this girl online, she cute, perky and funny. They start dating, she has more experience than he, they start having sex, it’s his first time, bang (pardon the pun) and he’s in love and proposes. She realizes he’s a nice guy, good job and he thinks he’s in love.

She starts coming to church knows the Christian lingo, he thinks she’s a Christian. Tell them marriage counseling is mandatory, bang they elope. Come back and his excuse for not following through “love can’t wait”.

Bang, six months into the marriage Mark comes in he’s shattered, she wants to go out dancing, have some drinks, seems a lot of guys at this club know her; he’s ashamed, for the first time ever he drinks, dances, gets a little drunk, and bang, she wants to bring home another guy to ‘spice things up’.

Bang, he wants a divorce, but hey in a Pentecostal church that’s like practicing birth control in a catholic church (sorry old school). Now he’s really ashamed that he’s gotten into this situation, she moves out, he’s heart broken and hears from a ‘friend’ at work his wife is already sleeping with someone else.

He comes in for counseling and here’s where we get controversial. (now thanks to google you can look this up, I did and I have to say there are some people that are twisting what I am about to talk about right out into outer space, so filter this through your theology and pray about this, don’t take this principle to far, and don’t over apply it to some sort of spiritual warfare and setting blockades against satan, because this isn’t about that.)

The prophet Hosea is told to marry a prostitute and she runs away and here is what God says he will do.

Hosea 2:6-7

Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’
She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.

“Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens,
and my new wine when it is ready.
I will take back my wool and my linen,
intended to cover her naked body.
10 So now I will expose her lewdness
before the eyes of her lovers;
no one will take her out of my hands.

I told this story to Mark, and told him that if what he was saying was true and he really wanted her back to pray this prayer; a prayer of hedges around his wife and wait for God to do something; nothing less nothing more, just pray and wait.

The real principle here is believing God can do something, the second principle is to not feel powerless and try to do something in your own strength, the third is if God did this for Hosea cannot he not do it for you.

So we prayed that she would be unseen to other lovers, she would get no benefits from other lovers, no one would take care of her, and that as verse 7 says she will go back to her husband.

So what did Tina do, she went back to stripping (exotic dancing if you are more sensitive) and guess what, she was hired right back by her old boss because she used to be a great ‘producer’ (read cash cow, ouch that seems rather insensitive).

Six weeks later she’s fired, reason given by her boss, and I quote; “Tina, it’s like you are invisible, no one tips you, no one asks for lap dances (you are blessed if all this is foreign to you) it’s like you don’t even exist.

Ok no binding dominions, no commanding spirits or satan to let go just believing God can do his thing.

She comes back to Mark begs forgiveness and asks him to take her back. I caution him (because sometimes after being a prison chaplain I can really be cynical and I confess a skeptic, not always but sometimes).

Mark believes its God’s will to honor his vow he takes Tina back, it’s a bit bumpy at first but a year later she truly gives her heart to the Lord and is baptized (full immersion, still old school).

Guess what, they are still married and she’s expecting their first child.

Like an old time radio show, will it work out, will she truly stay ‘saved’. Stay tuned, and wait.

So also being a hopeless romantic and having some measure of faith I think it will.

And don’t believe that old saw about 50% of marriages failing, it’s the same 10 people getting divorced all the time.

God Bless

Stay in touch at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

PS, it’s five years later, they are still married, still coming to church and she’s a Sunday school teacher and he’s the principle at a Christian school. So for skeptics and cynics like me, it’s good to remember that God never changes but he can change us. No matter what.

It’s why we called this devotional site, scumlikeuschurch, because, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.