read my mind

October 21, 2017

If you could read my mind love

What a tale my thoughts could tell

Just like an old time movie

About a ghost from a wishing well

In a castle dark or a fortress strong

With chains upon my feet

You know that ghost is me

And I will never be set free

As long as I’m a ghost you can see

If I could read your mind love

What a tale your thoughts could tell

Just like a paperback novel

The kind the drugstore sells

Gordon Lightfoot.

first thoughts.

Number one; God can read your thoughts

Number two, the devil cannot read your thoughts.

Number three your spouse can’t read your thoughts

Number four, all tv mind readers, spirit guides, palm readers, horoscopes, mediums, they are all fake and or demonic.

Number five we are commanded to know the mind of God.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9).

We are also told to “be of the same mind toward one another” which means essentially that we must develop and maintain the mind of Christ or God’s thoughts. We are to “stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Rom. 12:16; Phil. 2:5; 1:27). But if my thoughts are contrary to God’s, then I must exchange my thinking with God’s and for that process, He has given us His inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word. So what is our need? We are to study the Scripture, but for that to be effective, we also need to develop the art of biblical meditation.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 4:4 Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.

The bible has quite a bit to say about our minds, thoughts, intents, feelings. More than we may think (pardon the pun).

Possibly the third most asked question; “how can I be a better Christian?”

Here’s the short answer;

Psalm 63:6 When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches,

Psalm 77:11 I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Thy wonders of old.

Psalm 78:42 They did not remember His power, The day when He redeemed them from the adversary,

Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Thy doings; I muse on the work of Thy hands.

Spend more time thinking about God and less about yourself.

One thing that amazes me about social media is how often people take pictures of themselves. Get over yourself.

He (God) must increase, I must decrease. Pretty simple.

Well I promised myself this would be a short devotion.

Think about God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SPIRITUAL STEROIDS

September 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless from scumlikuschurch@gmail.com

 

steppin out

September 20, 2017

This is a really long devotion, you may want to print it out and read it in parts.

Let me give you seven reasons why faith is so important, and all of this is just by way of introduction, but just to put this in your heart. Listen, folks, faith is the distinguishing mark of the Christian. Did you know that the Christians were called believers before they were ever called Christians? Believers—that is the distinguishing mark of a Christian is that he’s a believer.

Number two, to exercise faith is our chief duty. Who said so? Jesus. Put in your margin John 6:29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” This is the work of God that you believe. It’s the, chief duty. Therefore, unbelief is the supreme evil. There is no greater evil than unbelief. To aim the gun of unbelief at Almighty God and to pull the trigger.

You see, how did man get into sin to begin with? Eve did not believe God. She fell into sin because of unbelief and, men don’t go to hell today because they steal or because they lie or because they commit adultery, for those sins have been paid for with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says to the contrary in John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed.” Think about it. The reason that men go to hell today and women is they have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.

And, once you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, how you gonna live the Christian life? By trying? No. By trusting. The Christian life is lived by faith. Four times in the Bible, the Bible says “the just shall live by faith.” You find that in Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38. All of these say the just shall live by faith. One, two, three, four times God says it. Do you think he’s trying to tell us something? I’m telling you, the way to live the Christian life is by faith.

Number five, your success in the Christian life is going to be measured by your faith. Matthew 9:29, “According to your faith be it unto you.” Not according to your feeling, your fame, your fortune, your friends, your fate, but according to your faith be it unto you.

Number six, faith above all things pleases God and if you please God, it doesn’t matter whom you displease, and if you displease God it doesn’t matter whom you please, amen? And, how you gonna please God? Well, the Bible says in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him.” Doesn’t say hardly possible, but impossible to please him, “for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Number seven, the only way that you’re gonna overcome this world is by faith. John 5:4, “And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” When we greet one another here in church, rather than saying, How you feeling? We ought to say, How you faithing? Amen? I, we live by faith.

Now there are several things I want you to learn from Abraham in the school of faith, and the very first thing I want us to learn is what I’m going to call the root of biblical faith. Genesis 12:1. Look at it. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house into a land that I will show thee.” Now this is the preamble to his faith. This is the basis to his faith. God had spoken to him. The root of biblical faith is divine revelation—it is to hear from God. Notice how this says, “And the Lord hath said”—just underscore that.

Friend, there are a lot of people who misunderstand faith and the source of faith. Faith is not rooted in human will. Faith is not rooted in human will. Let me show you something interesting. Go back to a Genesis 11. Now you’re in 12, just turn left. Go one page. Look in Genesis 11. You see there the building of the tower of Babel, this colossal high-rise to hell. And notice how, it says, it describes what happened. “And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech and it came to pass as they journeyed from the east that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and they dwelt there,” now watch this and count with me, “and they said one to another, Go to let us,” underscore the word us, that’s one, “make brick and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone and slime had they for mortar and they said, Go to let us,” underscore the word us again, “build us,” underscore the word again, “a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven and let us make us a name.” Us, us, us, us. This is man’s will. This is man’s attempt to establish his own kingdom through his own will. As a matter of fact, in that one verse, verse 4, you have four us’s right there. You have four let us, let us, let us.

Now, go back over to where we were in Genesis 12, and notice the difference. Look in these verses here. In 12:1, God says unto Abraham, “unto a land that I will show thee,” underscore I will. Look in verse 2, “And I will make of thee a great nation and I will bless thee and make thy name great and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee.” Man says, I will, I will, I will. God says I will, I will, I will. Man says, Let us, God says, I will. Now faith is not rooted in man’s I will’s but in God’s I will’s. Not in man’s let us, but in God’s sovereign will.

Now why, what were people in Babel trying to do? Well, they were trying to make themselves a name. Look if you will in verse 4, “Let us make us a name.” They’re trying to make themselves a name. They failed miserably. Tell me, anybody here can tell me the name of any of those people who built that tower? We know the name of one whose name was Nimrod who’s a type of the Antichrist—the name is despised. They wanted to make a name—they failed miserably. God said to Abram, I will give you a name, and the name Abraham is revered throughout the entire world.

Now, what I’m trying to say is this—that faith is not rooted in human will. Say human will. That’s very important that you understand this because, we have so many people today who have sort of a tower of Babel mentality, trying to make for themselves a name and they call it name it and claim it. You don’t do that. You have to hear from God. Faith is not rooted in human will.

Secondly, faith is not rooted in human worth, in human worth. Look again if you will in verse 1. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country.” Now we’re going to learn something right there. He was living, he was a pagan, living in pagan idolatry, in an idolatrous land and, go back to Genesis 11 and look if you will in verse 31 again, in this same chapter. “And Tara took Abram, his son, and Lot, the son of Haran, his son’s daughter and Sarai, his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go into the land of Canaan.” Now, they’re coming, they’re coming out of Ur, which was the center of idolatry.

Now, on top of all of that, listen to me now, this pagan was seventy-five years old. When Abram first heard God, he was seventy-five years old. What does that tell us? Nobody’s too bad, nobody’s too old, amen? God chooses a man who is a raw pagan and he became a believer. Faith is not rooted in human will—it is not rooted in human worth. Say human worth. It’s not rooted in your worth.

Now thirdly, it’s not rooted in human wisdom. Look again in 12:1. “And the Lord said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house unto a land that I will show thee.” There wasn’t something that Abram figured out. He went under sealed orders. What is faith? Faith is not positive thinking, it’s not following a hunch, it’s not hoping for the best, it’s not figuring out and then trying to make it work, it’s not a feeling of optimism, it’s not believing what you know isn’t so. Abraham, when he went out, did not know why and he did not know where, he only knew whom.

Faith is not rooted in human worth. Faith is not rooted in human will, faith is not rooted in human wisdom. True faith comes from the Word of God. Abraham had a word from God, that’s very important because the Bible tells us clearly and plainly that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Faith therefore does not rest on a road map or any road map, but in a relationship with Almighty God. You think of Abraham now. He’s seventy-five years of age, he’s well established, he’s rich, he has a beautiful wife, he’s living in comfort and God says, Get up, let’s go. And he did not know where he was going, he did not know why he was going at this time. All he knew was that God had spoken. Now that must’ve been very exciting. If your life is dull and insipid, perhaps you ought to do what Abraham does, did, and live by faith and that’ll turn the monotonous to the momentous.

Faith is obeying God’s Word in spite of circumstances or consequences. Now that’s worth saying again and, it’ll be on the test, so listen to it now. All right, faith is not believing in spite of evidence—that is superstition. Faith is obeying God’s Word in spite of circumstances or consequences. We do not live by explanations—we live by promises.

Now what is the root of faith? God said. Abram heard from God. Are you hearing from God? Do you have a quiet time? Are you connected to God? Is God speaking to you? If God is not speaking to you, you’re not living by faith—it’s impossible. You’re going here and there, doing whatever you think you ought to do. Faith is hearing the Word of God and acting on it.

Number two, we talk about the root of faith, let’s talk a little bit about the requirement of faith. Look again in Genesis 12:1. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house into a land that I will show thee.” Now what he said, in shorthand, is get thee out unto. Come out of where you are and go to where you need to be. As I told you this morning, real faith not only brings us out, real faith brings us in.

Now, you cannot really have faith as you continue to live in the land of idolatry. You have to forsake. I’m talking about spiritually, a spiritual application now. You cannot live in your old way of life and think at the same time you can live by faith. It cannot be done. Remember the scripture that I gave you this morning from Deuteronomy 6:23? “And he brought us out from thence that he might bring us in, to give us the land.” God said to Abraham similarly, Come out of Ur that I might bring you in.

Now do you want to have a life of faith? Have you forsaken idolatry? Well, you say, I’m not an idolater. Maybe. You say, You mean I have idols in my life? I don’t know, I hope you don’t, but you may. Anything you love more, serve more, fear more, trust more than God is an idol. And some love money more than God. Some, fear man, more than God. Some trust ability more than God. You see, you can’t have faith unless you are willing to come out. And you have to turn from that idolatry which is sin. Do you know the reason that many people don’t have faith? They’re not willing to leave Ur of the Chaldees. They try to have faith right where they are in their same old lifestyle and they wonder why it doesn’t work. There’s nothing more damning, more stultifying to faith than sin in the heart.

Let me give you some scriptures. I pray God that he will rivet these upon your soul. Hebrews 3:12, “Beware, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.” Unbelief never comes out of the head—it comes out of the heart. “Beware, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.” You say, I have intellectual problems. No you don’t, you have dirty, rotten sin. Beware, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.

Notice Hebrews 12:1, 2, “Wherefore seeing we also compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” How do you look to Jesus? By laying aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us. There’s no way that you can pray with unconfessed, unrepented of sin in your heart and pray in faith.

the requirement of faith, the root of faith is the Word of God. But the requirement of faith is that you come out of that land of idolatry, you leave it. God brought us out that he might bring us in. I mean, many people say, Well I just doubt my salvation, I’m not sure I’m saved, I have doubt about my salvation, I have doubt, I have doubt and you talk to them about their theology and so forth and they’ll nod their head, but they still have their doubts. If you stay there long enough, you’ll find out that that person has that doubt has sin in his or her life. Idols that they’ve not forsaken, things that they’re doing. What right would you have to have absolute assurance if you’re living with sin in your heart and in your life. And if you’re having trouble with faith, try repentance. If you know, if you’re having trouble with faith.

You ever notice how God puts certain things in order in the Bible? For example, he says, grace and peace be multiplied unto you. He doesn’t say peace and grace, but grace and peace. Why? Grace comes before peace. He says believe and be baptized. He never says be baptized and then believe. That’s never the order. Real baptism follows real belief. I was so grateful tonight, to see a young lady who came for believer’s baptism because she’d gotten it settled and she’d given her heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and she wanted believer’s baptism. To be baptized before you believe would be like having your funeral before you die.

Now, just, listen, just as grace comes before peace, just as belief comes before baptism, repentance comes before faith. The Bible speaks of repentance and faith, not faith and repentance—repentance and faith. Are you listening? Say yes. If you’re having trouble with faith, try repentance. The requirement of faith, when God says, Get thee out, I’m gonna bring you into the land of Canaan, you have to leave that idolatrous relationship and come to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you’re having doubts, it just may be unconfessed sin in your heart and in your life.

Third thing I want you to see, not only the root and the requirement of faith, I want you to see the reward of faith. Look now beginning in verses 2, 3, we’re still in Genesis 12, God says, “And I will make of thee a great nation.” Now watch this. “And I will bless thee and make thy name great and thou shalt be a blessing.” I love it. I’ll bless you, you’ll be a blessing. “And I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curseth thee and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Now, by faith Abraham received a blessing. God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. Remember the verse I gave you in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” You see, by faith man gives God pleasure and by faith God give man treasure. We please God when we believe God. And God said, Abraham, I’m going to bless you, I’m going to give you a land, and God gave him the land. God said, I’m gonna make your name great, his name is great.

God’s promises are a sure bet, the school of faith is sometimes hard, and we need to remember if we fail one test, God will make sure you have another test. The length of our faith journey is marked by mile markers. Some are the scene of victories and others are the mark of accidents, crashes and blowouts. But the road is already mapped out for us. The ‘speed’ in which we travel is based on how thorough we are in cleaning ‘idols’ out of our life.

Think long and hard about what is still in your life that is not pleasing to God. We have a choice, tear down the idols ourselves or we have a “wreck” in our life that will need to be cleared up before we go on.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

yankee go home

September 19, 2017

Well continuing with the evangelist stories; when I was preaching in the Appalachians, I was accepted because I just moved from Ohio, so I was a mid-westerner. There was one church that kept calling me back to preach in Virginia, because they had a Yankee preacher.

He was near retirement and realized that the church wanted him out, but every time I came to preach it was like his sentence was commuted.

So this is a mountain church, deep Appalachian, Pentecostal church. You better bring matches and start a fire, because if you weren’t red hot the congregation would kill you with silence.

Problem was I spent most of the week doing revival meetings in Baltimore and Washington DC, in Black Pentecostal churches. Let me tell you, you try preaching a twenty minute to half hour sermon and they’ll hang you. And if you weren’t warmed up, believe me they would do some coaching. You better have your gospel wang dang doodle down and a pitcher of water.

So here’s this legalistic, hate their pastor, wife beating (seriously, they had a saying Virginia was heaven for hunting, coon dogs and men, but hell on women) church of some of the meanest, fighting folks you’ve ever met.

They wanted sermons full of fury, Moses coming down from the mountain, you better names sins and the person doing them or hey howdy you got the cold shoulder.

Funny thing was, and I don’t know to this day if it was psychological or really of God, but when you stood behind the pulpit while you were preaching and heaven came down. But step out and get on the floor and it felt like a heavy hand was grasping you by the throat. There was so much hate in that church I started having my wife and kids sitting on the platform with me.

One time I was preaching on love and forgiveness and how their pastor was chosen by God to serve them. After the service, five angry men pushed me against my car put a fist to my face and asked why I was siding with that no good Yankee pastor. Right then I knew I was truly saved and full of grace because I didn’t kill a single one of them. I marveled in that moment how far God had brought me in salvation and sanctification. From the monster, I was before God saved me to a calm, sane, completely forgiving person.

At that moment so much conviction fell on those men, they dragged me back into church, and for a moment I thought it was so no one would see them beat me. Instead they all fell to the floor up by the mourning bench (altar) and began to ask God to forgive them. (not for hating the pastor, but for turning on me, who they thought was as mountain born as they were. (Pennsylvania Ridge Runner, actually).

I asked the District supervisor to close that church down. Well I decided right there and then we weren’t going to live there or supplant the pastor so we moved. A month later the church was sold, torn down and a restaurant built in its place.

Give me a church full of grace any day.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

mason jars and God

September 17, 2017

I grew up in a bar, my dad went there every night after work. My mother would often tell me to go down and get him. So here is this 9 year old walking down the road at 11pm to drive his dad home. I’d walk in the door and my dad would turn to Bud the bartender and tell him to pour me a short one. I’d pull up to the bar and drink my little beer and listen to everyone talk.

What amazed me is you could say anything at all and they would just nod their heads or say; “I feel you man.”

I bring this up because when these men become Christians and leave the bar scene they will often come to me frustrated and overwhelmed because in church men can’t say what they’re really feeling or thinking because it’s usually carnal, earthy and lets say a bit crusty.

So how do you reach out to these, not raised in church, late bloomers about humility and obedience, or being godly men, when they feel they don’t have a voice to be heard in the church world?

As a pastor get ready to catch some flack when you are real and transparent about your own shortcomings and feelings. Believe the women of the church will crucify you for being a manly pastor. As an evangelist, I realized I could say just about anything because they knew I knew nothing about them personally. And being salty, crusty and genuine myself, I felt honored when after a sermon, men would come up and say “you’re the first preacher I’ve met I didn’t think was gay.”

Now you have to realize that most of my evangelistic days were spent in coal mining towns or lumber mills.

I soon realized that you could be more effective and believable if you were honest about your own short comings and used a little humor. Moonshine was big in the area and every church had a dinner on the ground when an evangelist came to town. After the service, the men would form a circle around me and offer a mason jay with a little ‘shine’ in it. there was always that moment of tension, now rather you agree with me or not I don’t really care, the apostle Paul said to be all things to all men. So I would take a little sip and usually say ‘damn that was really fine.’

The women folk were always amazed that I was asked back more often than any other evangelist. And I made sure the second time back the sermon would be a barn burner. These same women would also comment how ‘so and so’ had never responded to an altar call before, but this time…

Men in church are looking for pastors that can relate and be real. If I’m in a hunting church, I go hunting, fish and trap, coon dog hunting, even went to a pit fight once. But I never compromised the message. Oh, the stuff shirt would complain because the men were in the parking lot smoking.

I will never forget a guy who always dropped his wife and kids off for church and then went to a Bob Evans restaurant and drink coffee, he started coming to church. One day he came up to me and said; ‘you’re the first pastor that would let me come to church with cigarettes in my shirt pocket and not say anything.’

A month later he came down to the altar and later that month he got baptized.

Well I don’t know how I got to this point in the devotion. But pastors be manly, love your wife in public, be a strong parent to your children, don’t embarrass them in church. And stop shaking hands like a pansy and talking that gospel whisper like your Joel Osteen or sex phone operator.  And keep a good tactical knife in your back pocket and at least clean your nails with it. some guy will ask to look at it and then show you his. It’s a start.

Change comes slowly, but lets at least get the men in the church.

Send your rants, complaints, prayer requests to scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

RAMBLING MAN

September 16, 2017

Consider the difference between love and lust. “How can it be wrong if it feels so right?” is the excuse many give. But love is not merely a feeling. The supreme test for determining if something is right is not how it feels, but what God says about it. If sin never felt good, no one would ever be tempted to sin. Love is a choice—for you to do what is best for another person, and for you to make a personal sacrifice. “Husbands, love

your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Count the cost. The excuse “As long as no one knows, no one will be hurt” is a myth. Adultery hurts everyone involved. Guilt and God’s judgment is brought not only upon one person, but both parties involved. Adultery destroys truthfulness, credibility, and one’s testimony. “A man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32).

I’ve lost count of the number of pastors that have fallen to lust and believed they had a right, or even it was biblical, or God told them it was all right. One pastor actually convinced his congregation it was biblical for a pastor to have a concubine, which he did. Thank goodness, his denomination found out and kicked him out.

I was asked many years ago to counsel a famous TV evangelist and the denomination told me that if he didn’t make himself accountable to me and follow through with one year of counseling as well as absent himself from the pulpit for that same period, they would defrock him.

In no uncertain terms, he told me his ministry was to important, and God had already forgave him and he didn’t believe the denomination would shut him down. Well it did and today what’s left of his ministry is a shadow of what it was. And he’s still as arrogant and unteachable as always. The funny thing is you will never meet a more legalistic, unforgiving man than him.

A church with a sweet spirit usually has a sweet pastor and vice versa, but there must be accountability. Besides all the bad theology Pentecostals have caused they have created a even bigger monster with the independent pastor, accountable to no one, not in finances or in theology. And thus gave birth to the toxic church.

Friends if your church is causing you harm, or is legalistic or the pastor is accountable to no one, I seriously suggest you examine its viability, and your own spiritual wellbeing. I get phone calls all the time wondering if I can recommend a church and to be honest, finding a church that is theologically sound, full of grace and not legalism, a pastor that is not a tyrant or just padding his bank account and truly evangelical. Well let’s say it’s harder than you think.

A few years back some well-known pastors got together and asked some pastors if they would take a survey and submit one month of sermons to be examined by a well-respected group of elders and pastors. In a city of 2 million, only one church went along with the plan. That church is a thriving, well regulated, healthy church and has gone through 4 building programs and didn’t build until they had the cash and would not go into debt.

Once when on a sabbatical, I visited a dozen or so churches and I always asked the pastor if I could see his bible. If the bible was blank (no notes) usually so was the pastor.

So good luck in your church hunting.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

potato chips

September 15, 2017

MOST REQUESTED DEVOTIONAL FOR REPOSTING, WHICH WE ONLY DO ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR.

SO BECAUSE YOU ASK, WE RESPOND, BLESSINGS AND PEACE

SO WHO’S WITH ME, YOU WANT TO GROW UP AND BE A POTATO CHIP.

BETTER LET ME EXPLAIN, LAYS POTATO CHIPS THEY HAVE ONE THAT’S LABELED, ‘LIGHTLY SALTED; IN A WEIRD WAY IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT THAT EXPLAINS THE FOUR GOSPELS AND THE BOOK OF ACTS (NOT COMPLETELY BUT ALMOST).

GOD IS LIGHT, HIS SON IS LIGHT, AND WE ARE CALLED TO BE LIGHT. IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN IT SAYS THAT DARKNESS (EVIL, THE DEVIL) CANNOT OVERCOME THE LIGHT OR EVEN UNDERSTAND IT. THAT’S HOW POWERFUL LIGHT IS.

SO WE ARE CALLED TO LIGHT.

WE ARE ALSO CALLED TO BE SALT

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW 5:13 SAYS WE ARE TO BE THE SALT OF THE EARTH. WE ARE TO BRING FLAVOR AND BE A PRESERVATIVE TO THE WORLD. BUT IF THE SALT LOSES ITS FLAVOR IT IS NO GOOD; AND THERE IS THE PROBLEM.

FOUR THINGS WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO AS CHRISTIANS.ONE, BE LIGHT, TWO BE SALT, THREE BE CHRIST LIKE, AND FOUR BE MATURE.

WE CAN’T LEAVE ONE PART OUT, WE ARE TO SHINE IN DARKNESS AND LET THE WORLD KNOW A RESURRECTED CHRIST; WE ARE TO HAVE AN INFLUENCE IN THE WORLD THAT ACTUALLY STOPS OR RETARDS THE PEOPLE AND THEIR SINS (CONVICTION AND THAT GOD LOVES THEM). BE CHRIST LIKE IN ALL WE DO SO THE LIGHT SHINES FROM US. AND GROW UP SO WE CAN GROW OUT.

SO HERE’S MY PROPOSITION, SPEAKING JUST ABOUT AMERICA, WE HAVE PRETTY MUCH FAILED IN EVANGELISM, WITNESSING AND SPREADING THE HOPE OF GOD. SO EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG IN OUR COUNTRY IS PRETTY MUCH THE CHURCHES FAULT AND OF COURSE THE SINFULNESS OF MAN.

ONE WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER, THE OTHER WE DO. DON’T BLAME THE GOVERNMENT, OR POLITICIANS, THE QUESTION WE HAVE TO ASK IS ‘HAVE OUR LIGHTS GONE OUT AND IS THE SALT GONE FROM OUR LIVES.

HOW MANY FAMOUS TV AND BOOK PASTORS ARE SAYING THE BIBLE ISN’T HISTORICALLY RELEVANT, IT HAS NO PLACE IN THE PLACE OF MODERN MAN. HOW ABOUT ALL THE CHURCHES THAT HAVE ONE GOAL ON SUNDAY, TO MAKE YOU FEEL HAPPY AND GOOD ABOUT YOUR SELF (BIG NEWS FLASH, GOD DOESN’T ACTUALLY CARE IF YOUR HAPPY).

THERE IS A WELL KNOWN PASTOR NEAR HERE THAT TOLD ME HE HASN’T PREACHED A MESSAGE ABOUT SIN IN OVER 15 YEARS AND WOULDN’T BECAUSE HE THINKS THAT MESSAGE WOULD DRIVE THE CROWDS AWAY.

ASK YOUR SELF ‘WHY DO I GO TO CHURCH?’ HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU’VE WITNESSED TO SOMEONE, OR TRIED TO HOLD A BROTHER OR SISTER ACCOUNTABLE FOR SOMETHING THEY ARE HAVING A PROBLEM WITH.

BE BIG

BE BOLD

BE BRAVE

SO TODAY WILL YOU RENEW YOUR VOW TO BE A POTATO CHIP, VOTE YES.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com for questions, comments or prayer requests.

 

MUCH, MUCH, MORE

September 14, 2017

MUCH, MUCH, MORE

  I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord” (Phil. 3:8).

Our Father subjected our old nature to the Cross and its resultant death. Experientially, He applies the work of the Cross to our old life, thereby progressively holding it in the grip of that death. He is “unforming” the old nature in death, and conforming the new nature in life.

Living a life more abundant requires that what He did for us shall be made good in us. In the Cross He dealt with our sins, and He also dealt with ourselves; but that is something which has to be made good progressively. It is as we ourselves are dealt with in the power of the Cross that the way is made for His life to express itself in ever deepening fulness.

The fact is that it is the old life which is in the way of the new life and its full expression. It is the natural life which obstructs the course of the divine life. Thus what has been done for us has to be done in us, and as it is done in us that life becomes more than a deposit, more than a simple, though glorious possession; it becomes a deepening, growing power, a fulness of expression.

  “You may have been in the fires and have been having a pretty hard and painful time in your spiritual life, but that only means that God has been preparing you for something more. No, God is not a God who believes in bringing everything to an end. He is always after something more. And if He has to clear the way for something more by devastating methods (Cross), well, that is all right, for it is something more that He is after. There is so much more, far, far transcending all our asking or thinking.”

  “I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Tim A. in prayers, a person new to the faith and is dealing with the “old” crowd that don’t believe he’s changed.

Elena I. had gastric bypass surgery and is having some severe problems.

Yes, You Can

September 12, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Begin with a word of encouragement.

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

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

  1. Ask how you can help the person.

  1. Be confidential.

  1. Pray for the person.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

LOOK UP

September 3, 2017

crown of thorns

Look Up!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be safe, be blessed, believe. Be changed.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com