WHERE DO I FIT?

December 9, 2018

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Where do I belong? What am I to do? How can I change the world? God has a plan for your life. You may think you have no talent, nothing God could use, but He made us all unique and we can be used in ways that we would never imagine.

 We tend to think of these as modern questions, but people have been asking them since the beginning of time. In earlier ages, though, the answers were often limited and easier to discover. For example, the 12 tribes of Israel were arranged in a way that allowed everyone in the community to know their place and how they would faithfully follow the commands of the Lord (see Nu 2:34).

  The people of Israel were a community that had their essential meaning in relationship to God and to one another. But ever in the community was the continuing stress on the individual to know where he belonged in the larger grouping.

  We, too, find our essential meaning in relationship to God and to one another. Here are a few places we should look to help us discover how we as individuals can find our place to serve our communities:

  ➤ Look at your gifts—The first place we should look is to the specific gifts the Spirit gives us to build up the church. Every gift is important for building up the body of Christ. As Paul says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord” (1Co 12:4–5).

 ➤ Look at your resources—What resources do you have at your disposal? The resources we have can often be a clue to how we can serve. You might have transportation—whether a single bicycle or a fleet of semi-trailer trucks—that helps you recognize the ability to deliver goods to those in need.

 ➤ Look at your context—The tribe of Simeon didn’t have to go to the tribe of Asher to find neighbors to serve. Every community has people who need our help. God might lead us to help those far away, but he often puts us in a specific place so we can help those nearby. Our closest neighbors are often the ones we are called to serve.

God bless from scumlikuschurch@gmail.com

So our prayer for today is to be open to God using you, sending you, who knows what wonderful thing could happen next.

a prayer with weight

December 6, 2018

not ashamed

If our prayers are but habit, or rote, then we have failed to pray effectively. According to Puritan pastor John Preston, “God takes our prayers not by number but by weight.”

If 90% of human communication in person to person dialogue is by physical cues, then how much is the weight of our prayers measured by our physical posture; i.e. the groaning, sighing, laying prostrate upon the floor, have you torn your garments, thrown ashes, if the God who lives inside our being is affected by posture, then why do we pray so casually?

Why would we read the prayers of others and think they are greater than our own. Is prayer better if done 5 times a day because of ritual?

Weight vs. number, heart vs. rote, maybe we’ve grown bored with praying and the lack of answers because it doesn’t really mean anything. If we are only praying because we are told that’s what Christian’s do.

Should prayer become a circus act, ‘prayer du Solei’ that’s not what I’m recommending, but maybe we should stop the steering wheel prayer, the now I lay me down to sleep, the quickie, whatever term you want to use and think about the physical act of prayer, literally.

God bless

Physical prayer requests taken at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Good reading “the theology of the Puritans” the edited version, only 1500 pages long. Now you know how they prayed so long. One puritan author wrote over 100 books on the “love of God”

Kittle’s theological dictionary, 65 pages on the word love

Deep thinking develops deep prayers? Maybe, maybe not. But great desires do birth great prayers. I know that you will pray more if you desire to pray more. That desire is placed there by God. Like Brother’s Lawrence great book, “practicing the presence of God” the key word is practice. Guitar lessons, piano lesson, karate lessons, you get my drift, the more we practice the better we get at anything including prayer.

Pray for Marilyn A, depression

Pray for Barbara D, her slow growing cancer isn’t so slow any more.

Pray for Mona, new job. Great demands

Pray for Butch, he’s blind in one eye and is now having trouble with his good eye.

This Ground

December 4, 2018

  “Ye have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

  When we rely upon and cater to the old man, that ground produces “the works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19–21). But as we abide in the risen Lord Jesus, that new ground of our position, His life will be manifested in “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22, 23).

 God’s Word declares that we are ‘dead indeed unto sin,’ but nowhere does it say that we are dead in ourselves. We shall look in vain within to find death there. We have died to sin; not in ourselves, but ‘in Christ,’ and our death with Him is as sure as His death, and since we died with Him it is impossible for His death to be certain and ours uncertain.

 We were crucified with Him because we were in Him (Gal. 2:20). We are raised in Him (Eph. 2:6); we are complete in Him (Col. 2:10); we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Him (Eph. 1:3); the entire work regarding us is not done in us but in the Lord Jesus—the Father has done all in His Son. If you stand on the ground of what the Lord Jesus is (abide), you will find in your growth that all that is true of Him is becoming true of you; but if you remain on the ground of what you are in yourself, you will find that all that is true of the old man is true of you in life and walk.

The purpose of Paul, in Romans Six, is to show how completely the believer is identified with the Lord Jesus when ‘He died unto sin.’ To enter fully into the meaning of that death is to see that He has emancipated us from any further dealings with our old master, sin. The believer is privileged thus to take his position in the risen Lord Jesus, who is now ‘alive unto God.’ From that ground he is henceforth to regard sin.

  “Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5:1).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

We have a really long prayer list today

Pray Andrea and Todd, finances

Karey P, salvation

Olivia, lyme’s disease, this can be as bad as any cancer

Richard Perales, SR and Jr. salvation

Stan R, stomach cancer

Sherrie, our prodigal girl

Paul C our prodigal guy

Mel L, Parkinson

Charmaine, alcoholism

Randy H, finances

Terry K, sever arthritis

Larry D, dementia

Sally H, burn out, emotionally, mentally, everyway

Jeff H, newly married and found out he has an STD, wife is denying anything

Virginia Mc. Wants to go home to Jesus.

Matt W, severe upper respiratory infection

Whew. Forgive me if I forgot any one.

Julian

December 1, 2018

Which calendar shapes your life?
If you’re a student (or a parent) the school calendar has a profound influence on your life. Much of your schedule will revolve around the semesters, spring and summer breaks, and other events that fill the year. Similarly, if you’re a worker your year might revolve around tax day, national holidays or fiscal-year planning.

Throughout history, people have aligned their lives around a communal schedule. For the Hebrews, the calendar centered on the appointed festivals of the Lord (see Lev 23:2), which included the Sabbath, Passover, and the Festival of Weeks, among others. (which also is calendar of all the major events of Christ’s life)

The Christian church followed a similar pattern, centering their calendar on feast days such as Epiphany and Christmas. The Gregorian calendar, the most widely used civil calendar, was even created in 1582 to make scheduling of Easter more consistent. Today, many churches follow the pattern of the Puritans, who believed following the Christian year calendar (also called the liturgical or church calendar) violated their liberty of conscience (many Puritans refused to celebrate any holidays besides the Lord’s Day).

But even if your particular tradition doesn’t follow the Christian calendar, here are two reasons you might want to observe it for your own spiritual benefit:
1. To center our focus on Jesus—Instead of having our calendar focus on national holidays or sports seasons, the Christian calendar shifts our focus to the key events in the life of Jesus.

“The Christian Year is fundamentally a way to sanctify time and define our lives according to the unfolding narrative of redemption by structuring the year around the central redemptive acts of God in the Messiah.”
2. To reorder our spiritual lives—The Christian calendar can serve as a helpful framework for our spiritual disciplines. By ordering our lives around the major seasons of the Christian year, our focus shifts from the temporal to the eternal. Spiritual formation activities, such as prayer and Bible reading, are easier to fit into a calendar that emphasizes Christ.

So there is a topic you may never thought of before in your spiritual walk.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

keep praying for Richard Perales, SR. and JR. his mom says that the changes occuring in them has been incredible.

Housekeeping note, questions, comments, prayer requests, send to our email address please.

Pray for Todd B, severe spinal degeneration.

 

Stay my soul on Him

November 30, 2018

Resurrection-Doubting-Thomas

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:18). For the last two months, I’ve been really trying to live up to this verse, easy in theory, tougher in reality.

  Relief from pressure may seem merciful, but support in the pressure produces growth and maturity.

There is a greater blessing for us than relief; there is the Father’s support, for it imparts to you an acquaintance with Himself which relief does not. Relief makes one more satisfied with things here. I have known some who could tell you of a long list of mercies, most touching, truly proof of the tenderness of God.

Thank God, we all know something of His tenderness. But then there is a greater blessing, namely, that He does not remove the pressure, but raises you above it, so that, though you are not relieved, you are better off than if you were merely relieved, because you know His heart who supports you in the pressure. You have made a deep acquaintance with your Father, and your heart is more attached to Him.

 It is not getting away from our circumstances, our environment, our associations, that we need, but the need for our Lord Jesus’ likeness where we are. The Father placed us there, permitted the trials for a purpose, and He stands ready to bring us out into a life of liberty, if we will stand with Him in trust and endurance while He works it out.”

Have you asked to be made like your Lord; that it might be ‘not I, but Christ’? Have you longed for the fruit of the Spirit, and have you prayed for patience and love? Then fear not the stormy tempest that is at this moment sweeping through your life. A blessing is in the storm, and there will be a rich blessing in the ‘afterward.’

  “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).

Steady on, stay the course, there are plenty of slogans of that ilk, but they pale to the bible verses God lays in our heart in the darkest hour of the soul.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Richard Perales, dad and son, great changes have come into their lives, pray the see the hand of God.

Pray for Karey P, that she sees the need for salvation and that Jesus is the only way.

Pray for Xonia, recovering from a hernia surgery. She’s doing better than anyone expected.

Pray for Steve L, dealing with his mom’s downward spiral.

Pray for all the families we know that have been touched by dementia.

the secret garden

November 22, 2018

praying mom

It has been rightly said, “the secret of all failure is our failure in secret prayer.” Not just our failure to pray, but our failure in prayer. In the story of the Pharisee and the publican the Pharisee is one who prayed long and often, but he was a miserable failure. His prayers were never heard by God because neither he nor his prayers were ever right with God.

I think it was Oswald Smith who said, “when we work, we work, when we pray, God works.” Throughout history, the men and women that God has used mightily have been people who knew how to pray and for whom prayer was both a priority and a necessity. As we study the gospels and the training of the disciples by the Lord, we find that prayer is to be a vital part of a disciple’s life. For a couple of illustrations compare the following verses:

John 14:12-13 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. 13 “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.

An electronic concordance quickly shows the importance of prayer in the Word of God. Variations of the word “pray” such as “prayer” and “praying,” etc., occur 331 times in the NASB, 545 in the KJV, and 375 times in the NIV. The difference in numbers is caused by the fact some Greek and Hebrew words are translated differently in the different translations. For instance, the KJV might use the word “pray” while the NASB or NIV might use “ask.”

Most Bible believing Christians recognize and accept, at least intellectually, the need and importance of prayer. We read books on prayer, we talk about it, we ask for prayer from time to time, but somehow, the church today is anything but a praying church. We may have a few real prayer warriors, but the VISION AND DISCIPLINE of biblical praying as committed disciples of the Lord Jesus has somehow escaped the body of Christ. We talk of its necessity, but too often we fail to accomplish its reality.

I’ve found in my own life that my prayer life was based on my situation. Good situation, not much prayer; bad situation, lots of prayer.

It wasn’t until I started working with Oral Roberts, that my prayer life really began to be consistent and practiced. He never did anything without praying about it. We never went anywhere without praying about it. And when we choose a city for an Evangelism Tour. The hours of praying and days of fasting were rooted in everything we did.

It was Oral’s insistence that we read E.M.Bounds books on prayer that really shaped my prayer life. Then the works of Tozer and Vance Havner cemented the necessity and discipline of daily pray.

Next came the lesson of praying the Scriptures. Which made daily bible reading mandatory.

If this sound like hard work, it is. But then you discover the power of secret prayer, the time in your prayer closet. (a term almost never used anymore). The set times of prayer, the spontaneous moments of prayer.

And then the hardest lesson. Learning to be silent, to listen. If you prayed 20 minutes you listened 20 minutes. Nothing was harder to do. Then came the books of Thomas Merton, and the lesson of listening. Finding time to go away somewhere, where everyone was silent, listening. It started with weekend retreats and then a week and finally a month.

Maybe it’s my age, but I find more enjoyment now then ever before in bible reading and praying. Maybe I’m less compulsive. The need to collect things stopped.

I don’t want to discourage anyone but it took many years to get to this spot.

Like they say, “every journey begins with the first step.”

So don’t be discouraged with the gaps, the starting and stopping. It eventually comes together.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Well tomorrow is Thanksgiving, praise God for all that he has given us.

THE GREAT CONNECTION

November 20, 2018

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  “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).

  We must be truth-centered if we are to be Christ-centered.

 With an increase of knowledge and apprehension of the truth, there is a constant sense that we are not practically up to what we have received; and hence the measure of our strength is not the enjoyment of a truth, but the extent to which we maintain what we believe in spite of every obstacle. It is the way in which we surmount the difficulties in our path, and not the enjoyment of the truth, which defines our position.

We will not learn truth correctly excepting in the deepening knowledge of the Lord Jesus. It is the lack of this which is the cause of weakness among us: bare doctrine is not connected with Him. When the vine is separated from that which is its source, its sustenance and support, it is henceforth doomed to decay. We have that which is pleasant and full of blessing in the Lord Jesus; but if we are to know it as such, to prove its truth, to enjoy it practically, it must be in taking these things as connected with Him. All we have is a gift from Him.

The Lord Jesus Himself, and not just the truth about Him, must be filling our hearts if we are to grow. This is no unnecessary admonition in a day when knowledge of the most sacred truths may be intellectually attained by so small an effort. It is a happy and necessary thing to understand the Word of God, but, when that Word is treasured, the aim of the believer’s affections should be, ‘That I may know Him.’ Desires after the Lord Jesus, desires to live with Him in heaven now, and to manifest Him on earth, make the growing believer separate from the world, and separate him unto the glorified Lord.

  “That I may know Him” (Phil 3:10).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Praise God, I’m even alive today. I should have been killed or seriously injured, but the grace and mercy of God miraculously spared me. It was divine intervention.

Today must be that kind of day, praise report from Dave I, his cancer is in remission.

Praise from Norma, her husband came to church for the first time in 17 years.

Praise from Todd, he got a great job today.

Must be miracle Monday.

Remember Steve H and his family

Remember Bob L, his surgery went fine

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The deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envyings, drunkenness, carousings, and things like these.

—Galatians 5:19–21

The flesh, the rebel within, is the major and most influential enemy facing the Christian today. Sure there are things that can fuel the fire, pornography, booze, drugs, no boundaries on our life, bad relationships, the list could go on forever. But the real danger isn’t ‘stranger danger’ but the enemy within.

Sure, we have a million excuses, the Pentecostal gets resaved, the Catholic confesses, the Baptist repents, everybody else just says, ‘screw it’.

The silence of the bible in some areas speaks volumes. For example, demons (or evil spirits) are mentioned only ten times, and most of these instances simply relate to certain factual truths about demons. On the other hand, these same books of the New Testament contain more than fifty references to the flesh as the primary enemy of the Christian (and flesh is only one term used to describe this sin nature). Obviously, the New Testament perspective emphasizes that the major source of our problem stems from our own sin nature.

The question today is, “are you ready to face yourself?”

In a society where it is always someone else’s fault, as Christians we must own up to our own short comings.

The next time you let the flesh win, and you give into your personal bad habits (sin). Try praying this scripture, Psalms 51. It’s a good test to see if your heart is still tender to God.

Be gracious to me, God,
according to Your faithful love;
according to Your abundant compassion,
blot out my rebellion.
Wash away my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I am conscious of my rebellion,
and my sin is always before me.
Against You—You alone—I have sinned
and done this evil in Your sight.
So You are right when You pass sentence;
You are blameless when You judge.
Indeed, I was guilty when I was born;
I was sinful when my mother conceived me.

Surely You desire integrity in the inner self….

If you have any twinge of conscience, any pricking of your soul, there will be a quelling of the rebellious self. (Maybe for only a short time) but still there is dawning of hope, for a moment, an hour, a day, we see the power of the Word and a true prayer of repentance restore our hope.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Caroline, having a real battle with depression

Pray for Kathy, Lisa, Debbie, Barbara, so many others dealing with cancer.

Pray for Sherrie, it’s the weekend, I would like one weekend when she doesn’t call saying she’s in trouble. And shows up for church not a wreck, pray for her 29 year old daughter that is following in her mother’s footsteps.

Pray for Lenny, new Christian, he has really changed, he’s going home for a week, none of his family are believers. He wants to be strong and a good witness.

the door to your heart

November 15, 2018

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Ernie Isley, of the Isley brothers hall of fame musicians has a great song called; ‘diamond in the rough’. And there’s one line in that song I want to use to start us off for our daily devotion. ‘There’s only broken glass around my heart’s door.’

Have you been wounded by someone? Of course you have, you can’t live long on this planet without someone either with malice and cruel intent or just stupidity saying or doing something to hurt you.

I wish all churches had a Sunday School Class for adults based on the AA curriculum. Then we might be better at taking inventory of ourselves and practicing acceptance and forgiveness. Seems like the church doesn’t always do a good job of teaching us to understand. We are well schooled at understanding that God forgave us. But we have a hard time practicing forgiving those that have made us victims of cruelty and abuse.

And even when we have gone to the altar of prayer, we can have a hard time with the painful memories that have left deep scars in our hearts and minds.

One practical truth that seems to be overlooked or actually miss-taught is that forgiveness is contingent on relationship, you know the old phrase, ‘forgive and forget’. Nothing could be more untrue, forgiveness between ourselves and our human relations is not based on relationships, but completely on the truthfulness of our genuine forgiveness of that person.

And sometimes because of the painful memories we have to go back in our hearts and say we forgive them again ( in our heart not over and over to them). But let me stress this, you can forgive someone and completely lose the relationship, and that forgiveness is complete, genuine and done. So stop stressing or believing that forgiveness is based on having the relationship restored. That only works between God and ourselves.

Which brings to mind something I said in a previous devotion, think before you act, because cannot a man heap coals into his lap and not be burned. Proverbs 6:27, (totally out of context here)once the act is done it’s done.

I had a man come to me one time and he confessed that over the weekend he had slept with a hooker and then felt guilty and went home and slept with his wife. Then he found out he may have contracted a venereal disease. His question was since he asked God to forgive him, how could God let him pass a venereal disease on to his wife.

Simple answer, you murder someone and then confess and ask forgiveness, is God going to bring that dead person back to life, not even. This man was furious at my answer and said that God wasn’t being fair. I don’t know what god he was talking about but not the one from the bible..

So our prayer today is that God would sweep the glass from around our heart and let’s forgive those that need to be forgiven and have an open loving heart towards God and toward those that need to be forgiven. But don’t think you have to have a relationship with those that are toxic or continue to abuse and cause harm. Forgive and then move on and away.

Be safe as well as blessed.

God bless.

Pray for Karey, a seeker, lots of questions, hopefully the ones that will lead her to Christ.

Pray for Paul C, still has slipped his leash, a true prodigal. We pray he comes to his senses.

Pray for Carey A, will have both knees replaced next Monday

Pray for John W, pray he finds the Lord.

Learning to Lean

November 14, 2018

  “(God) hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6)

  We are to settle down to live and grow precisely where we have been re-born: in Christ Jesus above.

Do we not often harbor the thought that something yet remains to be done—either by ourselves or by Him—in order to our drawing near? Do we not often thus become occupied with the circumstantials of worship rather than with the Lord Jesus—the substance? Are we not often false to Him in questioning our title to draw near, because we find distance in our own hearts, as if it was the warmth of our affections, instead of the Blood of the Lord Jesus, which brought us near?

Our being perfectly cleansed by the Blood of the Lord Jesus, the Holiest of All is our place before the Father, and it is so simply upon the ground of what His sacrifice has effected. Our dwelling place is in the light, not by reason of our subjective condition, but because the Lord Jesus has made the position ours by the putting away of our sins, and by bringing us to the Father.

The heart must enter into something more than the look behind into those waters of judgment, out of which the Lord Jesus rose, having left our sins, and death, and judgment forever! Such a joy would never carry us through the desert where faith and patience are tried and tested every day. It needs that the heart be carried into the glory of Canaan beyond; in the present sense of peace with the Father, and the consciousness of standing in His present favor—the favor that is better than life.

  “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the Blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil” (Heb. 10:19, 20).

I’m taking this verse out of context; “we wrestle not…..” you get the idea right?

A heart peace, a heart rest, a heart haven, may our hearts be full.

Enter into his rest.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ernst, he is going deaf at 56, the doctor gives him a year left to have any hearing.

Pray for Virginia, this once bright saint, has grown bitter with slowness of death, why hasn’t the Lord taken her home. We could write a book on this topic, suffice it to say she has one more test. This is the last straining out of the dross. I pray she learns quickly and passes into peace first and then the final rest.