do the math

May 22, 2017

The problem with setting your expectations too high is that we try to create what we believe is the perfect scenario for us (emphasis on “us”) and then hope God simply blesses our desires.  I think we forget that God’s plans, dreams and expectations for us may not always align up with ours. In fact, His plans may include us having to climb our way out of a valley for awhile before we reach victory.  When that happens then we get upset and tend to question God, feeling disappointed that he didn’t bless our big expectations for the year like we hoped.

What’s ironic is that God gave us the ability to dream in the first place.  He wants us to dream big and have high expectations about things in life but I also believe we have to taste disappointment from time to time to better appreciate and enjoy victory when it happens.  He wants us to be content when things don’t always go our way.  I would say and so would Paul that contentment is the key to a great life here on earth.  He has great plans for all of us that believe and follow Him.

One of the most dangerous places for our unrealistic expectations, though, is what we think God should do. Some of the most bitter and angry people I know, or who have loud voices in the culture (think of the “new atheists” like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris) are those who feel betrayed by God, so they decide He isn’t there.

That sense of betrayal and disappointment comes from having expectations of God according to how we think He should act:

  • Protect the innocent from pain and suffering

  • Protect the people who maybe-aren’t-so-innocent-but-not-as-bad-as-axe-murderers from pain and suffering

  • Show the same grace to all of us by treating us all the same

  • Give us an easy life

  • If I do all the right things to be “a good person,” God should do His part to make life work the way I want it to

When we pray fervently for what we want and He doesn’t answer the way we want, many of us get angry with Him.

Many times, we pray in faith, believing God will give us what we ask for, but we ask for things He never promised in the first place. Or even worse, we “claim” them on the basis of a scriptural promise wrenched out of context, such as “all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matt. 21:22). Jesus never promised that if we believe in our prayers, we would receive what we ask for. Believing in the Bible is all about trusting in and surrendering to the goodness and character of GOD, not our prayer list. We will always receive an answer to our prayers because God is good. Sometimes the answer is “No, beloved,” because we ask amiss. Psalm 84:11 promised, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” If God says “no,” it’s because it’s not a good thing for us. His “no” is a “yes” to something else. But because we have such a limited perspective, it is essential that we trust in the unlimited perspective of the God who sees everything.

When we feel disappointed in God, when we think, “God didn’t come through for me,” that’s the time to take a step back and ask, “What kind of unrealistic expectations did I have in the first place?” That may be a great question to talk through with a mature trusted friend who can see things more clearly. Then we can place the unrealistic part of our expectations into God’s hands as an act of worship and trust . . . and watch our anger and frustration subside.

You want less anger, less stress, less frustration?

Look at all the ways you have no control, not over anyone, not really, or situations, so what to do?

Try lowering your expectations.

No I haven’t lost my mind, but if your biggest problem is other people, lower your expectations. For example no one has esp, so why are you upset when the person you want to call and see if you’re ok doesn’t call. How will they know that’s want you want? Less expectations, less frustration. Like anything else don’t overdo it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ALL OR NOTHING

May 21, 2017

All or Nothing

  “Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” (2 Thess. 2:16).

  It has been well said that “it takes a lifetime to learn real dependence upon God, and to accept practically our own inadequacy.” We are going to learn this only through experience, and now is the time to settle down to this schooling—a day at a time.

We are to understand that God loves us, and that He justifies us by the work of His Son. We have no longer conscience of sins before God, because He Himself has taken them away before His eyes; we know that being united to the Lord Jesus Christ, who has fully glorified God in that which concerns our sins, we have been made the righteousness of God in Him. So the heart is free to enjoy His love in the presence of the Father.

I no longer attempt to produce that which will satisfy God from myself as originator. I know that even if I try I shall only fail. But I do seek to please God by faith in the activity of Another. The Son of God who indwells me by His Spirit is able and willing to carry out in me ‘those things that please Him’; and I count upon Him to do so. Consciously, day by day, I take the attitude that I trust Him to work the will of God in me, and in that attitude I go forward and serve Him. I do not trust myself. ‘I live by faith in the Son of God.’

  “Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work” (2 Thess. 2:17).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

inside out

May 20, 2017

Before I start this devotion, I want to point out one thing, there is not one unimportant word the bible, every syllable, every sentence, every word holds a blessing never forget that the bible is not literature to be studied, it is the Living Word of God and it is to be consumed.

Genesis 6, starting in verse one; “And it came to pass when men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born unto them that the sons of Gods saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives of all that they chose. And the Lord said, my Spirit shall not always strive with man for that he also is flesh, yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. And there were giants in the earth in those days and also after that when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth and it grieved Him at His heart. And the Lord said I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping thing and the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them.

“But”,  and I thank God for that little word but, “but, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” This is the first mention of the word grace in all of the Bible, and a marvelous mention, indeed it is. And we’re going to find some sweet truths about the Lord Jesus Christ as we study together.

First of all I want to say that the flood that took place in the days of Noah was an historical fact. As a matter of fact, the archaeologists tell us that all civilizations, everywhere have a record of the flood, they have their flood legends, their flood stories. Now, they do not come exactly as the story in the Bible because these legends have been handed down through the years and of course they’ve been corrupted. They’ve not been guided as the Holy Spirit guided the writers of the scripture, to record the precise story that took place. But, we know that all of these flood legends, all of these stories root to a common source. And someone might say, well, the Bible is just one more of those legends. No, the Bible reveals the truth out of which all of these other legends sprang and from whence they grew. And but not only does archeology tell us that there was a flood. Geology tells us that there was a flood and there is great geological evidence for the catastrophe of the flood. But, I want to tell you, I don’t believe in the flood because of archeology or geology. I believe it because of Christology. Jesus believed in the flood. Jesus said, in Matthew 24: “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the day of the coming of the Son of man.” And the Bible speaks of the time when the flood came in the days of Noah and Jesus utters these words from His own lips in Matthew 24:37 and following. Jesus Christ believed in the flood and Jesus said that the last days were going to be like the days that were before the flood—as it was in the days of Noah.

Now, what were the days of Noah like? Well, all of this is by means of introduction but the days of Noah were days of apostasy and the days of Noah were days of anarchy and the days of Noah were days of apathy. Those were the days of Noah. They were days of apostasy. I read here in the Genesis 6:1-3 how the sons of God took the daughters of men and there was an inter marrying between the sons of God and the daughters of men. Now, theologians, some theologians, say that these sons of God were demon spirits that actually took human wives and their offspring were giants, Nephilim, a mighty men of renown, grotesque, half demon, half human person. Others say that the sons of God were the descendants of the godly line of Seth, who intermarried with the ungodly line of Cain and that there was no longer separation and there was a unholy mixture and I do not have time or space in this devotion to go into that except to say this, that it was a time of apostasy. It was a time of unholy alliances. But not only was it a time of apostasy. It was a time of anarchy. I want you to notice verses four and following. The Bible says, “there were giants in the earth in those days and after, also after that when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they, there bare children unto them, the same became mighty men which were of old men of renown.” But, mighty to do what? Renown in what? Well, look in verse 5, and you’ll see. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth.” Why, these were mighty men to do wickedness. They were renown for their sin and for their lasciviousness.

And then it goes on to say that, “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Now, that word imagination is an interesting word. The scholars tell us that it comes from a root, a Hebrew root word which means to shape as a potter would shape things with his hands. That is, there were new philosophies that were being spawned. There were new ideas that were being molded. Actually, men were fashioning, they were molding wicked philosophies. And with these wicked philosophies, they were espousing filthy causes. What they were doing was trying to reshape and remold society. They were trying to get perversion and vice and immorality to become the acceptable norm. To say what was good was bad, and what was bad was good and to get the people of that day to be molded into their mold. And so it was a day of anarchy. And the same sins that produced the flood are reaching to heaven in our day and in our age. For Jesus said, “As it was in the time of Noah, it will be in the end of the age.” But, not only was there apostasy and anarchy, the time of Noah, but there was apathy.

Jesus there in the scripture that we referred to in Matthew 24:37 said, that just before the flood, I mean to the very day that the flood came, they were eating, and drinking, they were marrying, and giving in marriage, and knew not until the flood came. That is, in spite of the preaching of the prophet Noah, they joist simply yawned in the face of God. Oh, these were days when nothing seemed to shake them. They were just as assured as they could be that tomorrow was going to come just like yesterday had come. Well, after, in the context of these days the Bible says in verse 8, there was a man named Noah, he found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

 Now, the ark is a wonderful object lesson. And there are perhaps hundreds, and even thousands of things that we could say about the ark, but I’ll be content if God the Holy Spirit will help me to put three of them in your heart today. First of all, I want you to see this ark and it’s symbolism. I want you to see how the ark is a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ. I want you to see the symbolism of the ship And then the second thing I want you to see is the salvation through the ship. I want you to see how the ark is a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore what Noah did is a wonderful of what we must do if we want to be saved through the Lord Jesus Christ. So, the symbolism in the ship, or of the ship, the salvation through the ship and then I want you to see the security in the ship. I want you to see that we are as secure and even more secure in the Lord Jesus Christ than, Noah was in good ship grace.

A very simple outline, there’s some marvelously wonderful truths that we’re going to see together. Now, the ship, the ark if you will, was a magnificent Old Testament type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter tells us that in 1 Peter 3. I’m not reading into this. The apostle Peter himself tells us that Old Testament ark was a prophesy, Peter uses the word type, a type of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And I had a good time just thinking and studying and of how this ark pictures and portrays in the Old Testament here, the Lord Jesus Christ because reminder, all of the Bible is about Jesus, all of it. The Old Testament, the New Testament. Jesus is the hero of the Bible.

Now, lets notice several things about this ark as we’re talking about the symbolism of the ship. Notice, well, lets begin reading here in verse 12 now, “And God looked upon the earth and behold it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, the end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them. And behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood.” Now, lets just stop right there and talk about the substance of the ship—the substance of the ship. It was made of gopher wood. And what is gopher wood? Most scholars and commentaries tell us that gopher wood is cypress. And cypress, you know, is a wood that does not easily rot. Sort of an indestructible wood, and it has become a symbol of the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, in the Bible wood is a symbol of humanity. And here I think, if the ark is a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ, the very fact that it was made of cypress wood speaks of the indestructible humanity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You know, a righteous man is spoken of as a tree planted by the rivers of water and the Lord Jesus Christ himself is prophesied in Isaiah 53 as a root out of a dry ground and another place He is prophesied as a rod, a stem out of the stump of Jesse and so forth. All of these are figures of the Lord Jesus Christ who was God’s mighty tree who though was cut down in His prime, cut down in His youth. ‘And so, we see something of the Lord Jesus Christ right here in the substance of the ark but not only the substance the ark, I want you to notice the safety of the ark. Look again in verse 14, the last part. And the Bible says, “And thou shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” Now, what is pitch? That’s just sticky tar. And God said to Noah, now Noah, when you make this boat, not only do I want you to make it out of cypress, very durable wood that can take the water, but I want you just to go on the outside of it, I just want you to cover it all over on the outside with pitch. Then, I want you to go on the inside. And all over on the inside, I want you to put pitch. And of course, that was there to caulk the seams, to keep the water from coming in because you don’t want the ship to leak.

Certainly not a ship that has such a precious cargo. But now, the interesting thing, about this word pitch. It’s the Hebrew word kaphar, is that it is translated over seventy times in the Bible and other places atonement, atonement. Now, this is very important. What God said to Noah is, Noah, I want you to put atonement on the outside of the ark and atonement on the inside of the ark. It’s a wonderful, beautiful prophesy of the blood atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now, just keep your bookmark there in Genesis 6 and turn with me to Leviticus 17 and I’ll show you what I’m talking about. Leviticus 17:11. Here our Lord is speaking of the blood atonement. And he says in Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” That’s the reason the Bible says without shedding of blood is no remission of sin. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood. And I have given it to you upon the alter to make an atonement for your souls.” Now, that’s exactly the same word that we just found over here in verse 14 that is rendered pitch. And I could just as well read it. I have given it to you upon the altar to make a pitch for your souls. For it is the blood that maketh an atonement or a pitch for the soul.

 The word atonement and pitch both mean covering, covering. It’s the blood that covers our sins. Oh, thank God, this is what He’s talking about. It is a covering, a seal, you see, what did the flood represent? What did the waters of that flood represent? God’s judgment. God was judging the world. And what was this atonement, therefore, to keep the waters of judgment out, you see. Oh, thank God, Noah was safe inside because not one of judgment could come through God’s atonement. I believe that’s what He’s talking about here, right here in the very first part of the, of this bookThank God for the atonement. Thank God for the covering. Thank God that not one drop of water, not one drop of judgment can come to anyone who is in the Lord Jesus Christ, the judgment cannot penetrate. But, not only do I want you to see the substance of the ship and not only do I want you to see the safety of the ship, but, I want you to see the size of the ship. Continue to read here, in verse 14, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood rooms shalt thou make in the ark,” just underscore that rooms shalt thou make and then verse 15, “And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of. The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the eight of it thirty cubits.” Now, folks, it was a large ship—three million cubit feet of space inside the good ship grace. Rooms shalt thou make in it. What is the lesson here? It was amply sufficient for all that it was intended to do. Now, what I’m trying to say here, is this dear friend, that the size, the immensity of this great ship is just God’s way of saying to you today, I believe, there’s room at the cross for you. There is room. There is plenty of room for those who will come. If you want the Lord Jesus Christ today, I say come and take because out of His infinite riches in Jesus He giveth and giveth and giveth again. Thank God for the size of the ship. Let’s go on and notice the shape of the ship, in verse 15. And He goes on to say or let me repeat, “And this is the fashion which thou shalt make of it. The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits. The breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it, thirty cubits.” Now, notice not only the cubit volume, but the length, the height, and the breadth. Now this was not built like an ocean liner. The pictures that you see in the children’s storybook of boat with a prow that it comes to a point, that’s not what it was at all. It was built like a box. Built like a box. As a matter of fact, it was shaped like a coffin. That was the shape of the ship. It was shaped as a coffin.

The ancient people use to make their coffins out of cypress wood and I believe that it is suggestive of a coffin, because you see, when, if the ark represents the Lord Jesus Christ, He was born to die and not only that, when we receive Him as our personal Savior and Lord, we die with Him. We’re crucified with Christ. We are buried with Christ. This ark is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But, we die with Him, that we might live with Him. Jesus didn’t come to give us death, He came to give us life, and life abundant full and free. John 10:10 tells us. But, not only do I want you to notice the shape of it, I want you to notice the structure of it. Look in verse 16. “A window shalt thou make in the ark,” and “in a cubit shalt thou finish it and the door of the ark shalt thou set on the side thereof with lower second and third stories shalt thou make it.” That was the structure of it. And in the first place, I want to talk about the door and the window. God was to control the door. Noah was to control the window. It was God, as we’re going to see who shut the door. They entered into the door, which again is illustrative of the Lord Jesus Christ who said I am the door, by me, if any man enter in, he’ll be saved, and that again pictures the Lord Jesus Christ but there was a window. And Noah could look out of the window but the window was on top and when Noah looked out he looked up. You see, God closed Noah in and God shut Noah in that Noah might look up to God. He was closed in to look up. He wasn’t to have his eyes on all of the death and the degradation and the putrefication that was going on. He had a view of heaven.

 The Bible says that we are set our affection on things above, not on things of the earth. But, you see, if that ark pictures the Lord Jesus Christ, it was in the ark and through the ark and by the ark that he knew the Lord. You see, that he worship the Father. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life and no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” I want to tell you the Lord Jesus is God’s window to heaven. I want to tell you it is through the Lord Jesus that you can worship, that you can praise, that you can look up to Him and set your affection on things above. Oh, how God’s people today aboard the good ship grace ought to be heavenly minded. But not only the structure, and incidentally, there were three stories—one, two, three stories in the ark. I believe that speaks to me of the body, soul, and spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ. It speaks to me of the triune God—God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Well, there’s the structure of the ark and then there was the sustenance on the ark. If you will look here in chapter 6, and let’s look in verse 21: “And thou shalt take unto thee all food that is eaten.” Notice, that all food that is eaten. Not just the just the black eyed peas but the strawberries. “And thou shalt gather it to thee and it shall be for food for thee and for them.” Oh, the sustenance of the ark. You see, not only did Noah find shelter, he found sustenance. For Jesus not only saves, bless God, He satisfies

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom. 7:23).
Self is the believer’s indwelling enemy; its degrading bondage is his deepest heartache. However, the reign of self is overthrown by its own enmity, since it creates the needs that cause us to hunger for and appropriate Christ’s life and liberty.

“A sense of spiritual poverty is necessary to spiritual growth. This awareness of failure becomes acute to the believer during those days when he is attempting to attain holiness of heart through self-effort. Knowing what he ought to be and do, he proceeds to try to reach those goals. He purposes, resolves, promises, struggles, weeps, and fails again. His testimony, with Paul, is, ‘The things that I want to do, I do not do, and the things that I do not want to do, I do’ (Rom. 7:15).

What a delightful day it is for him when he realizes that ‘in him, that is, in his flesh, dwelleth no good thing’ (Rom. 7:18). Only then does he, in his failure, cry out, ‘Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ ‘I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom. 7:24, 25) comes back the reply. He begins to recognize that God expects only failure from the flesh, never success, but that ‘in Christ’ is his sanctification, his growth. Thus it is that freedom comes through bondage, life through death.

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

prayer requests to the email sight please, blessings.

Deep inside every man there is a private sanctum where dwells the mysterious essence of his being. This far-in reality is that in the man which is what it is of itself, without reference to any other part of the man’s complex nature. It is the man’s “I am,” a gift from the I AM who created him.

The deep-in human entity of which we speak is called in the Scriptures the spirit of man, (1 Cor. 2:11). As God’s self-knowledge lies in the eternal Spirit, so man’s self-knowledge is by his own spirit, and his knowledge of God is by the direct impression of the Spirit of God upon the spirit of man. The importance of all this cannot be overestimated as we think and study and pray.

From man’s standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God. There God planned to rest and glow with moral and spiritual fire. Man by his sin forfeited this indescribably wonderful privilege and must now dwell there alone.

By the mysterious operation of the Spirit in the new birth, that which is called by Peter “the divine nature” enters the deep-in core of the believer’s heart and establishes residence there. Such a one is a true Christian, and only such.

An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.

One cause of the decline in the quality of religious experience among Christians these days is the neglect of the doctrine of the inward witness.

One distinguishing mark of those first Christians was a supernatural radiance that shined out from within them. The sun had come up in their hearts and its warmth and light made unnecessary any secondary sources of assurance. They had the inner witness. It is obvious that the average evangelical Christian today is without this radiance. Instead of the inner witness we now substitute logical conclusions drawn from texts.

The world’s own prophets, the unbelieving psychologists (those eyeless seekers who seek for a light which is not God’s light) have been forced to recognize at the bottom of religious experience this sense of something there. But better far is the sense of Someone there. It was this that filled with abiding wonder the first members of the Church of Christ. The solemn delight which those early disciples knew sprang straight from the conviction that there was One in the midst of them. How wonderful is this sense of Someone there. It makes religion invulnerable to critical attack. It secures the mind against collapse under the battering of the enemy. They who worship the God who is present may ignore the objections of unbelieving men. What they see and hear overwhelms their doubts and confirms their assurance beyond the power of argument to destroy. Nothing can take the place of the touch of God in the soul and the sense of Someone there. Where true faith is, the knowledge of God will be given as a fact of consciousness altogether apart from the conclusions of logic. The spiritual giants of old experienced God.

We are only now emerging from a long ice age during which an undue emphasis was laid upon objective truth at the expense of subjective experience.

Wise leaders should have known that the human heart cannot exist in a vacuum. If Christians are forbidden to enjoy the wine of the Spirit they will turn to the wine of the flesh for enjoyment. Our teachers took away our right to be happy in God and the human heart wreaked its terrible vengeance by going on a fleshly binge from which the evangelical Church will not soon recover, if indeed it ever does. Christ died for our hearts and the Holy Spirit wants to come and satisfy them.

One quality belonging to the Holy Spirit, of great interest and importance to every seeking heart, is penetrability. He can penetrate matter, such as the human body; He can penetrate mind; He can penetrate another spirit such as the human spirit. He can achieve complete penetration of and actual inter-mingling with the human spirit. He can invade the human heart and make room for Himself without expelling anything essentially human. The integrity of the human personality remains unimpaired. Only moral evil is forced to withdraw.

A man by his sin may waste himself, which is to waste that which on earth is most like God. This is man’s greatest tragedy, God’s heaviest grief.

Sin has many sides and many ramifications. It is like a disease with numberless complications, any one of which can kill the patient. It is lawlessness, it is a missing of the mark, it is rebellion, it is perversion, it is transgression; but it is also waste—a frightful, tragic waste of the most precious of all treasures. The man who dies out of Christ is said to be lost, and hardly a word in the English tongue expresses his condition with greater accuracy. He has squandered a rare fortune and at the last he stands for a fleeting moment and looks around, a moral fool, a wastrel who has lost in one overwhelming and irrecoverable loss, his soul, his life, his peace, his total, mysterious personality, his dear and everlasting all.

When God infuses eternal life into the spirit of a man, the man becomes a member of a new and higher order of being.

We who live in this nervous age would be wise to meditate on our lives and our days long and often before the face of God and on the edge of eternity. For we are made for eternity as certainly as we are made for time. To be made for eternity and forced to dwell in time is for mankind a tragedy of huge proportions. All within us cries for life and permanence, and everything around us reminds us of mortality and change. Yet that God has made us of the stuff of eternity is both a glory and a prophecy.

Just here the sweet relevancy of the Christian message appears. “Jesus Christ … hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” For every man it must be Christ or eternal tragedy. Out of eternity our Lord came into time to rescue his human brethren whose moral folly had made them not only fools of the passing world but slaves of sin and death as well.

What is the supreme benefaction, the gift and treasure above all others which even God can give? He gives Christ to be in our nature forever. This is God’s supreme and final gift. Not the pearly gates, not the golden streets, not heaven, not even the forgiveness of sins, although these are God’s gifts too. Not a dozen, or two dozen, or a thousand, but countless hundreds of thousands of gifts God lays before His happy people, and then bestows this supreme gift. He makes us the repository of the nature and person of the Lord Jesus. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:19–29.)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR. TOUGH NUGGIES.

One of the most popular ideas to emerge in Christian circles is that we all need to build and maintain proper self-esteem. Dozens of best-selling Christian books are laced with this theme. It is frequently mentioned in sermons and on Christian radio shows. It is a fundamental assumption underlying most Christian counseling. For example, one well-known Christian treatment program, endorsed by top Christian leaders, states in a promotional brochure, “Part of [this program’s] success is found in the unique ability to target and resolve problems of low self-esteem. At the core of all emotional problems and addictive disorders is low self-worth. It is never the only problem; but it is so major an issue that, if not dealt with adequately, one is kept from experiencing lasting, positive results.”

An article by a Christian psychologist on the problem of pastors who commit adultery stated that one reason pastors fall into sexual sin is low self-esteem. If they would just love themselves properly, they wouldn’t have a need to find “love” from another woman. Another article asserts that low self-esteem is a major factor behind homosexual behavior. A popular Christian author even used the story of Lee Harvey Oswald to illustrate how low self-esteem led this man to shoot President Kennedy!

The question Christians need to ask is, does the Bible teach this? Does it teach that we need to build our self-esteem? Those who say yes usually support it with the verse, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). They say that you must properly love yourself in order to love your neighbor. But that is not the meaning of the verse. It assumes that we all love ourselves just fine, thank you. If we would show the same regard for others that we do in fact show for ourselves, we would be loving them as God commands. Even those who go around dumping on themselves don’t need to focus on loving themselves. Their problem is precisely that they are too self-focused. They need to consider the needs of others ahead of themselves. The mark of biblical love is self-sacrifice, not self-esteem (see Eph. 5:25).

Even in the case of a suicidal person, the problem is not that he does not love himself. Rather, he loves himself more than he loves anyone else. He is not considering what his death will do to family or friends. He is only considering himself: he is in pain and he wants out of his pain.

Consider the adulterous pastor. He was esteeming himself above everyone else. He certainly was not esteeming God or he would not have dragged His name through the mud by committing adultery. Nor was he loving and esteeming his wife, his children, or the woman he defiled. He was esteeming his “needs” above all else.

The Bible teaches that love of self is at the root of all our sins. It warns that “in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self” (2 Tim. 3:1, 2). This is followed by a list of terrible sins. You can’t find a single command in the Bible that even hints that we need to esteem and love ourselves more than we do. To the contrary, Jesus explicitly said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34). Many Bible verses tell us to humble ourselves and not to think too highly of ourselves (see James 4:6-10; 1 Pet. 5:5-6; Rom. 12:3), but none tell us to focus on how wonderful or worthy we are. In fact, God operates on the principle of grace, and grace is for the unworthy, not for the worthy.

In his devotional classic, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, William Law writes of the “monstrous and shameful nature of sin” and then asks rhetorically, “Shall we presume to take delight in our worth, we who are not worthy so much as to ask pardon for our sins without the mediation and intercession of the Son of God?” (Westminster Press, pp. 106-107).

My analysis is that most American church-goers need to grow in a sense of their unworthiness, not their supposed worthiness. They need to see what the old Puritan writers called “the exceeding sinfulness of sin.” Then perhaps we would see how much we need the Savior. Being forgiven much, we would love much.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

turn it up

April 18, 2017

Image result for picture of a mouth and a ear

Paul told Timothy to “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” (1Ti 4:13) That’s a passage about preaching,, “but it’s also a passage about just plain reading the Bible out loud.” Here are a number of practical reasons why reading the Bible aloud is a beneficial habit to adopt:

  ➤ Reading aloud is multisensory—Outside worship services, our engagement with Scripture tends to involve only one of our five senses—sight. When we add hearing to seeing, we stimulate different areas of our brain, providing a multisensory experience that can help us have a more meaningful experience with the Word of God.

 ➤ Reading aloud improves retention—When we read aloud, the words we speak are translated into speech, giving us two types of memories—the knowledge of producing the spoken words as well as the memory of hearing them. This makes our memory for the spoken word more distinct from the verses we read silently.

 ➤ Reading aloud slows us down—Our eyes and brains are faster than our mouths. When we read silently we see and process the words rapidly. Reading aloud forces us to read more slowly, which gives us more time to process what we’re reading and broadens our opportunity to hear God speak through Scripture.

  It is also valuable to read aloud to several individuals and groups. Here are some tips for making reading aloud part of your routine.

  ➤ You and your family—It might feel odd at first, but try reading aloud to yourself regularly during your individual Bible reading sessions. Or add reading aloud to your family night or family devotional time.

 ➤ Your church and small group—Most churches and small groups already include corporate Scripture reading into their services or meetings. If yours does not, talk to your worship or small group leader about adding regular readings to the program.

 ➤ The young and the old—Offer to read to children who might only hear about God during Sunday school class. Or perhaps volunteer to read to the elderly, who because of infirmity or advanced age might no longer be able to read the Bible for themselves. Every believer, whether young or old, benefits from being frequently engaged with Scripture.

Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. The only time the bible says that “reading and hearing” the Word is a blessing. The implication is that of reading and hearing at the same time will bless.

If you can afford only one Commentary on the Bible get the one volume of Matthew Henry, here is a sample; “On all who read or hear the words of the prophecy, a blessing is pronounced. Those are well employed who search the Bible. It is not enough that we read and hear, but we must keep the things that are written, in our memories, in our minds, in our affections, and in practice, and we shall be blessed in the deed. Even the mysteries and difficulties of this book are united with discoveries of God, suited to impress the mind with awe, and to purify the soul of the reader, though he may not discern the prophetic meaning. No part of Scripture more fully states the gospel, and warns against the evil of sin.”

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

you move me

April 17, 2017

Image result for dancing man pictures

THREE STYLES OF RELATING

We must understand the principle that every man is moving (towards God or away from God). Movement defines a man’s existence. If we are not moving in a good direction, then we will move in a bad direction. Good movement, means moving through personal unhappiness toward God. Bad movement is movement aimed at nothing higher than relieving personal unhappiness. The things we just talked about, dulling the pain, being a tyrant, getting on with life, and recipe theology are all examples of bad movement – of an attempt to relieve the pain.

Because men are fundamentally relational beings, all movement will be seen most clearly in the way a man relates.

THE NEEDY MAN

The needy man knows that he needs relationships to be happy, but his is a distorted view of relationships. What he wants is for others to come through for him and meet his needs, without them requiring good movement from him. He is actually looking for happiness in people and not from God. He is expecting people to provide those pleasures we talked about earlier.

This is the man who comes home every evening and lets out a heavy sigh when he walks in the door so that the family will know how hard he has been working all day for them (That’s a lie. He is working for himself.). He wants them to take care of him but he is sending out his signal hoping that they will not expect anything from him.

This is the man who feels like a martyr because he’s married to a woman who has no interest in sex. The reality is that she doesn’t respond to him, because he is not moving toward her and so there is nothing to respond to. When she doesn’t meet his needs, he feels like a martyr and feels justified in lusting after other women or having an affair, because it is his right to have his sexual needs fulfilled and his wife isn’t meeting them.

What this man needs to do is see his bad movement—see his evil—and repent. But the needy man doesn’t see it.

King Saul is a good example. He had a need for respect. When he failed to kill all the Amalekites and their animals as God had commanded (he left the king and the cattle and sheep alive) and was caught by Samuel, he starts scrambling and says that they saved them for sacrificing to God. When Samuel says it is better to obey than to sacrifice, Saul says, I have sinned, but then immediately asks Samuel to return with him to the capitol city and stand beside him in public worship. When Samuel turns to leave, Saul grabs Samuel’s robe and it tears. Then Samuel says, that the tearing of his robe is an illustration that God is going to tear the kingdom away from Saul. Saul again says, “I have sinned,” but quickly adds, “but please honor me now before the elders and the people of Israel …” He was more concerned with appearances and keeping the respect of the people than with his sin. 1Sam 15:13-30.

THE TOUGH MAN

Shallow but stable describes this man. He has the “get on with life” attitude we discussed earlier. This is the “strong silent type” we talked about last week. He rarely talks about personal struggles and tends to quickly “resolve” whatever relational tensions he can’t avoid or dismiss. He focuses his energy on things he is good at and is unwilling, even for a moment, to entertain involving himself in something he is not good at—i.e. relationships. He wants to stay where he is comfortable. He wants to dispel the mystery.

Being tough doesn’t necessarily mean being mean or cruel. He doesn’t have to be abusive. He can be cordial all the time – and usually is. He is nice, above reproach, just emotionally uninvolved. He has lots of acquaintances, but no close friends.

He just doesn’t let himself feel anything. The needy man feels the pain, and is preoccupied with it. The tough man ignores it.

THE GODLY MAN

The godly man is sensitive, but it does not lead to self-preoccupation or complaint. He is hurt by broken relationships, but instead of demanding others to come through for him or running away, he uses the hurt to more sharply define and energize his call to move toward relationship. He is willing to sacrifice his pleasure (legitimate or illegitimate) so that he can help others. He releases other from his control and encourages them so that they are free to struggle with their loneliness and selfishness and pain. He’s been there through the struggles and has made it through to the other side—to God. He wants to help them find God too.

So, there are three styles of relating – You can be a needy man, always pulling on others to meet your needs. Or you can be the tough man and ignore your feelings and the feelings of others and focus your energy on things you are good at. Or you can be a godly man and feel your pain and the pain of others, but use it to grow personally, and then use your growth to help others grow.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

speak up man

April 15, 2017

thinking over feeling

MAN’S RESPONSIBILITY: TO WALK IN GOD’S IMAGE

Genesis 1:26 says that man was created in God’s image and one purpose was to rule over the rest of creation. Man was to help keep the order. One of the first things Adam did was to name the animals. That did three things:

It demonstrated his superiority over them, and fulfilled the command to rule over creation.

It helped fulfill his role of being in God’s image and taking part in creating order out of chaos.

Adam was also “like” God because naming the animals involved speaking into the disorder.

I imagine that naming all those animals was not easy. Imagine if someone brought a few hundred species of animals to you and asked you to name them. Would you be overwhelmed? Sure you would. It was probably all you could do to think of a name for your baby. And if you’re like us, you didn’t decide until they were rolling mom and baby out of the hospital.

So, Gen. 1:3 says God spoke and then in Gen. 2:19-20 man spoke. There is a logical connection between the two. Man was reflecting the image of God by speaking into the chaos and creating order.

That is the theological basis for our study. God spoke into chaos and created life and order. Man is created in God’s image and part of man’s responsibility is to speak into chaos and create life and order. (don’t read to much into this statement, I’m not quoting Derek Prince or some other wackado spouting name it or claim it nonense).

How does that apply to us today? We don’t need to name the animals.

For me, that means that when life is chaotic, I need to speak. I need to say something and I need to do something. I need to get involved. I should not remain silent. If I remain silent, I am like Adam in the garden. I am sinning.

But man’s natural tendency is to remain silent. That takes us to the next topic.

MAN’S NATURAL TENDENCY: TO BE SILENT

If Adam were the only man in the Bible who was silent, then perhaps one could say that this conclusion is doubtful. But, there are several examples in the Bible of men who were silent. Let’s look at them and see where it got them.

THE EXAMPLE OF ADAM

We’ve already looked at this one, but I just wanted to make it a part of the list so I could ask you what were the consequences of Adam’s silence? The result was that billions of people have lived miserable lives and then died and most have gone to hell.

THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM

Everyone probably knows of God’s promise to Abraham (Gen 15)—that he would have a son and be the father of a multitude, through whom God would bless the world. After ten years, and no children, Sarah comes to Abraham and says, take my slave, Hagar, and have children with her so that God’s promise can come true. What did Abraham say to that? Nothing. Gen 16:2 says He listened to the voice of Sarah.

Then later after Hagar has Ishmael, Sarah is jealous and Abraham tells her to do what she wants to her slave. And he lets her treat Hagar harshly.

So, Abraham was silent and did what Sarah said. What was the result? The Arab/Israeli conflict that still rages today.

THE EXAMPLE OF LOT

We know from 2 Peter 2:7f that Lot was a righteous man, but you would never know it from the Genesis account. He stayed in Sodom and Gomorrah and was silent about the evil around him. When he offered his two daughters to a crowd of men to protect God’s messengers, that was not the action of a strong man. At the end of that account, when they are fleeing the city, and Lot’s wife looks back at Sodom and turns into a pillar of salt, it becomes obvious who it was that wanted to live in Sodom and Gomorrah and who was in really running the family. If Lot was tormented in his soul by the evil around him (2 Pet 2:8), then why didn’t he leave? Because his wife didn’t want to. Lot remained silent and passive.

Some time later Lot’s daughters commit incest with Lot while he is drunk and they get pregnant. So, we see further damage result from Lot’s silent passive life.

THE EXAMPLE OF BETHUEL

Do you remember the story of how Isaac got his wife? His father, Abraham, sent a servant back to the home country to get a wife for his son, Isaac. In the account in Gen. 24, the servant goes to a well, meets Rebekah, follows her home, and then proceeds to bargain with her brother Laban for her hand in marriage for Isaac. At the end of the account, (24:50) it says Bethuel agreed to the arrangement. It seems to me that Laban was the one who was involved, and Bethuel was along for the ride. I can’t swear to it, but nothing is said about him, and he doesn’t speak until the end of the account.

What was the result? He had two very controlling children. Laban and Rebekah. We know that Rebekah was very involved with the deception of Isaac when Jacob deceived his father out of the family blessing. And we know that Laban made life miserable for Jacob when he tried to marry Rachel and got Leah instead. So, by being a silent and uninvolved father, Bethuel helped create at least two manipulative and very controlling children.

THE EXAMPLE OF ISAAC

We don’t have to read much further in Genesis before we come to the next silent man — Isaac. He was a very passive man. If you read through Genesis, you see that he didn’t do anything right except allow his father to almost sacrifice him.

Isaac knew the prophecy of God that his older son, Esau, would serve the younger son, Jacob, but he preferred Esau who appeared to be a strong, manly man always out hunting. And at the end of his life, he was going to go ahead and bless Esau in spite of the prophecy. Why? I think it was easier to go along with the tradition of blessing the oldest son than to trust God and bless Jacob. Why? Perhaps he was afraid of Esau’s reaction? After all, Esau was the hunter. Perhaps he was afraid of what others might say when they found out. Because he was afraid to act, his wife tried to take over and handle the problem. It backfired and the family was split up and Isaac and Rebekah never saw Jacob again.

CONCLUSION

Here we have five examples of men who were silent. In each situation the result was much harm to others. We might say the result was chaos.

When God spoke, He made order out of chaos. When man fails to act in God’s image, and speak, the result is more chaos. And very important to recognize: It brings the severing of relationship. And that is what this is all about – relationships. How is my silence going to affect my relationship with others? The Bible shows that it wll definitely destroy them.

Adam’s silence destroyed his relationship with God and his wife.

Abraham’s silence resulted in the Arab/Israeli conflict.

Lot’s relationship with his daughters and his wife was not good.

Isaac had almost no relationship with his wife or son, Jacob. This is obvious when you read the story of Isaac’s deception at the blessing. Isaac never talks to Rebekah. He never talks to Jacob (except when he thinks Jacob is Esau). Rebekah never talks to Esau. And Jacob never talks to Esau. You see a family divided right down the middle.

Notice also that in each of these situations, when the man was silent, the women stepped in and took control. God said that was going to be the woman’s natural tendency in Gen. 3:16, and we can see it happening over and over again.

So, man’s natural tendency is to be silent. But what we’ve seen so far ought to do away with the description of a man as “The Strong Silent Type.” When you understand these principles, it makes you want to change it to “The Weak Silent Type.”

SUMMARY

What we’ve seen is that God speaks into disorder and creates order and life.

Man is created in God’s image and should also speak into disorder and create order and life.

But man’s natural tendency is to avoid the chaos and to be silent.

When he does that he creates even more chaos and destroys relationships.

Do you know why the African American community is in chaos? Simple, no dads.

Men need to fulfill their roles at home, at work and in their community.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

John-Wayne-p15

I read a book a couple of months ago that really changed my thinking on a few things and helped me understand a lot more about myself. The book was The Silence of Adam by Larry Crabb. (not a new book).It was so good, that I read it twice. It is called The Silence of Adam because he starts off by asking where Adam was when Eve was talking to the serpent.

Tradition has always taught, and I had always assumed that Eve was alone at that time, and that after she was deceived and ate the fruit, she went in search of Adam and gave him some to eat. But Crabb pointed out that Adam was right there with Eve during the conversation with the serpent. When I read that, I immediately got off the couch and went to get my Bible to read the verse for myself.

Genesis 3:6 says,

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, (imah) and he ate.

Wow! Adam was with her! I don’t know about you, but that blows away my categories. We always talk about how Eve was deceived, (In fact we read that three weeks ago in 1 Tim 2:14 right here in class.) And I think deep down, we sort of blame Eve for getting us all in this mess in the first place, even though we know technically that Adam was responsible.

But what if Adam was standing right there the whole time that Eve was talking to the serpent? I think this sheds new light on just how responsible Adam was for what happened. What does this say to us about not doing anything when we are not sure exactly what we should do or say? It sure makes inactivity look more sinful to me

If Adam was there, then why didn’t he say something? Why didn’t he tell the serpent to get lost? Why didn’t he correct Eve when she misquoted the command not to eat of the tree? Why didn’t he suggest they go somewhere else to talk about the situation? Why didn’t he stop Eve when she reached for the fruit?

Why Adam was silent? I’m not going to answer that right now. The answer will become obvious as we work through several concepts.

We are going to divide our study into the following topics:

The Search for Real Men

Man’s model—God’s role in creation, because man is created in God’s image and we need to see what that entails.

Man’s responsibility—to walk in God’s image.

Man’s natural tendency—to be silent.

————————————–

What Speaking is Not.

The Reasons for Silence

The Solution

Woman’s responsibility

THE SEARCH FOR “REAL MEN”

I think the first time I ever heard any talk about “real men” was in college when someone said, “Real men don’t eat quiche.” I think there was a whole string of “real men” jokes going around then, but that is the only one I remember.

The traditional view of a real man is one who is broad-shouldered, self-confident, tough, unemotional and successful. If you ever read any Louis L’Amour books, the main character was always tall, dark and invulnerable and he didn’t talk much. John Wayne and Clint Eastwood always played that kind of man in their movies.

But for the past ten years there has been a call for men to be more sensitive, to be vulnerable, to share their feelings, to cry more. Men are supposed to be more concerned with connecting with others than with trying to achieve and conquer the world. I remember my dad once making the comment that there didn’t seem to be any actors rising on the scene to replace John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Maybe that is the reason. Their character type was out of style. John Wayne has been replaced with Billy Crystal.

I think the John Wayne tough guy image is a warped model of what a man should be. But I also think that the soft, vulnerable, almost homo-sexual image that we are bombarded with in the secular media is a pendulum swing too far in the other direction.

There is obviously a problem, but what is the solution? What constitutes a real man?

In the Christian world, we’ve been trying to come up with the answer. We have Family Life Seminars, Promise Keepers conventions, hundreds of self-help books on how to be a good father, how to be a good husband, how to be a good whatever. The list of self-help books is endless.

I think that phrase “self-help” is significant. I don’t mean to discredit any of those things I just mentioned, because they all have their place. In fact, many of them were started because people felt like churches weren’t dealing with the issues. But our tendency, when we realize there is a problem, is to go find a book written by some expert with the answers or go to a “professional counselor” or go to some conference to learn some neat steps to follow or principles to apply, to get motivated to work hard, and then we go home and try really hard to follow those steps. We do them for the next few weeks or months. But eventually, we slip back into our old habits and wait for the next conference. Perhaps that is why the Promise Keepers have to come back each year. We don’t keep our promises. The problem is that we were doing all these things out of our own energy, not God’s energy.

In our day, too many men are seeking more diligently for their manhood, than for God. However, if you read the biographies of the great Christians of the past, like Dwight L. Moody, Hudson Taylor, etc., it becomes obvious that they sought God first. They spent hours in the word and in prayer. They were very godly men. And look what God did through them. They are remembered as great men. Therefore, I think it is safe to say, “The only way to be manly is to be godly.” (Crabb, p. 32)

How do we become godly? By reflecting the image of God. We can’t do that unless we know what God is like. So we need to study what God is like. That by the way is theology. I almost hesitate to say that because most people think of theology as booooooring, but you will see that is very relevant. It is relevant because if we are to be godly, we have to know what God is like.

Men have a lot of baggage, and the feminization of men by feminists isn’t helping. Not the top of the list but I get frequent comments from Christian men about they don’t respect their pastor because he’s a metro-sexual or to effeminate and why all these touchy feeling songs and sermons.

Men need for a lack of a better term, rugged male leaders, ask yourself when was the last time your church sang; “rise up O men of God”, it’s probably been awhile because apparently, we are the root of all that’s wrong with the world.

Well let’s see where this series goes.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com