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

 

“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.

AAA (A DIFFERENT ROAD MAP)

Wise people have observed that we all have legitimate, God-given needs for “the 3 As”: attention, affection and affirmation. God intends for children to receive them from their parents first, laying a foundation of a healthy sense of self, then from their peers.

The Attention need is met by being there, listening, watching, engaging and interacting. Ever hear the famous line, “Daddy, watch me!”? One wise father told another whose daughter kept clamoring for him to look at her as she played in the back yard, “If you don’t watch her now, soon she’ll look for another guy to give her the attention she wants from YOU.”

The Affection need is met both physically and verbally. We all need hugs and safe touch. And most boys need the rough-housing kind of physical affection from their dads that says, “You belong in the world of males.” We need to hear the verbal affection of “I love you,” terms of endearment, and other forms of communicating love.

The Affirmation need is met by validating people’s feelings, efforts, skills and gifting. Noticing and commenting when they do things right—or even try. It communicates, “I am for you” and “I believe in you.”

Jesus received the Three As at His baptism. His Father and the Spirit showed up [attention], and the Father pronounced, “This is My beloved Son [affection] in whom I am well pleased [affirmation]” (Matt. 3:17).

Much unhealthy, dysfunctional behavior is driven by trying to get these three needs met, usually without realizing what is driving us. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder than ever to get these needs met because of two things proliferating in our culture.

First, families seem to be growing more fractured and more dysfunctional than ever before. Fatherlessness is at epidemic stage. The National Fatherhood Initiative cites the U.S. Census Bureau’s statistic that one out of three American children live in homes without their biological father.{1} Parents in the home are often stressed, overwhelmed, and so self-focused, whether on selfishness or mere survival, that many children feel like they are on their own. Plus, the people God intends to fill their children’s emotional tanks with attention, affection and affirmation—parents—are often scrambling to try to get their OWN tanks filled. So there is a sense of disconnection at home.

Second, smartphone technology has moved into the hands—and heads—of the majority of Americans. Over half of adults own smartphones, and a recent report from the Pew Research Center revealed that 78% of young people ages 12-17 now have cell phones, and nearly half of those are smartphones.{2} That means continual connection to the internet. That means billions of text messages daily, which have virtually replaced phone calls for many people, especially youth.{3} The camera on most people’s cell phone means that many people view life’s experiences, from wedding processions to grade school concerts to street fights, through a 3-to-4-inch screen held away from the body.

In short, we’re doing life through a screen.

And that screen is an additional layer of disconnection between people. Technology has created a superficial degree of counterfeit connection, and relationships are suffering. People think they’re connected to other people through their phones, but in reality they’re connected to their phones and a counterfeit kind of “life.”

God knew what He was doing when He stressed the importance of staying in connection, continually engaging with each other: I count “one anothers” in scripture.{4} He knew what He was doing when He instructed believers to make sure and keep meeting together to encourage one another (Heb. 10:24).

God put needs for the Three A’s inside us, and He intends for us to meet them through connection to other people. Please, hug somebody. Tell them they’re important and valuable. Be there for them.

And you might want to put down your phone.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

OLD MAN

March 12, 2017

Image result for picture of neil young

OLD MAN

I’ve mentioned this song before by Neil Young, in some ways he reminds me of Bob Dylan, great song, so, so voice. I think of this song often when I swear to myself I will never do the same things my Dad did, yet I have. When I do I think of this song. But in context to today’s devotion it means something else.

Old man, look at my life

I’m a lot like you were

Old man, look at my life

I’m a lot like you were

Old man, look at my life

24 and there’s so much more

Live alone in a paradise

That makes me think of two

Love lost, such a cost

Give me things that don’t get lost

Like a coin that won’t get tossed

Rolling home to you

[Hook]

Old man, take a look at my life

I’m a lot like you

I need someone to love me

The whole day through

Ah, one look in my eyes

And you can tell that’s true

[Verse 2]

Lullabies, look in your eyes

Run around the same old town

Doesn’t mean that much to me

To mean that much to you

I’ve been first and last

Look at how the time goes past

But I’m all alone at last

Rolling home to you

[Hook]

Old man, take a look at my life

I’m a lot like you

I need someone to love me

The whole day through

Ah, one look in my eyes

And you can tell that’s true

[Verse 1]

Old man, look at my life

I’m a lot like you were

Old man, look at my life

I’m a lot like you were

“Put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man” (Eph. 4:22, ASV).

  Positionally, in the finished work of the Cross and resurrection, we have been cut off from the old man through death, and have been born into the new Man by the new birth. “Ye have put off the old man…and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him” (Col. 3:9, 10). Experientially, day by day, our part is to choose against the old (“put off”) in favor of the new (“put on”), thus allowing the Holy Spirit freedom to apply the finished work of the Cross (Rom. 6:11). “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20, ASV).

  “The flesh need not be an ugly form of life, indeed it can be apparently very nice, but it is alien to this new life in the Spirit. It belongs to another race; it is not the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. So we are told that the Holy Spirit is in open conflict against the self-life (Gal. 5:17).

It is equally true that the flesh lusts (strives) against the Spirit, but He is well able to take up the challenge. He will not quietly accept this rival to the rule of Christ, so He stands, with His great weapon of the Cross, to render inoperative everything which is a menace to the life of Christ in us. He calls us to cooperate with Him in this matter by reckoning, for only so can the excellency of Christ be manifested in the believer.

  “Put on the new man” (Eph. 4:24)

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

 

Senior Couple At Home

 

Here is a really great prayer it has humor, it has humility, and it is an age appropriate prayer for those of us that are either entering our senior years or are already there.

“Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will be someday old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody. Helpful, but not bossy with my vast store of wisdom; it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point swiftly. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tails of others’ pains, but help me to endure them with patience. I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that I occasionally may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a sour old person. Some of them are so hard to live with and each one a crowning work of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so. Amen.”

From an anonymous author.

I hope you enjoy that prayer and actually feel led to pray it yourself.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

more food for thought

February 24, 2017

Image result for picture of devil's food cake

HAVE YOU EVER ASKED, “WHY AM I GOING THROUGH THIS?”

It is often only through pain that we can see all the pieces of the puzzle, that we have the big picture of what life is all about laid out so clearly in front of us, that we can finally understand. But pain does not automatically do this: our response to pain does—and even then, not immediately. Atheists and saints are both often ‘born’ in the aftermath of a tragedy.

When we ask, “How could God let this happen?”, we are on to something. What we do and feel next is of utmost importance. Some people decide that it is blasphemous even to raise such a question in the first place, that to ask ‘Why?’ is itself sinful. I do not share that sentiment, for this reason: it is neither human nor biblical. The books of Job and the Psalms ask this question at least sixty times—almost regardless of which translation one reads—and a very large portion of these questions are on the lips of godly men as they wonder about God’s ways. It is no sin to ask why. Indeed, I think it may well be wrong not to ask that question! When your suffering, be sure that some friends will try to console you with this kind of  “how can you ask God why “attitude”. They comfort by quoting precious verses—especially Romans 8:28(“All things work together for good for those who love God…”)—and then they walked away. Scripture became for them a way to deny the grief, to deny the pain. They loved us at an arm’s distance.

To be sure, in the midst of suffering the human soul cries out for answers. But it cries out for more than that. It cries out for comfort, for love, for someone to share the burden of grief.

All of this is not to say there are no answers. But the answer that we seek is too often elusive; we never really know in this life— we cannot possibly know in this life—the details of the answer to our question. Now, to be sure, we sometimes do get a partial answer to the ‘Why?’

“How could God let this happen?” two things are presupposed about God: he is good and he is sovereign. And therein lies the crux of the problem. If we think about it a little while, we might even articulate it this way, “If God is good, isn’t he also powerful enough not to have let this happen?” Or, put another way, “If God is in control, isn’t he good enough not to have let this happen?” Either way, the goodness of God or the sovereignty of God seems to be on trial.

Perhaps you can see why atheists are born at a time like this: their image of God is shattered at the paradox of the situation. “God wasn’t there for me” becomes the mantra that leads to atheism or, in the least, to a marginalization of God in one’s thinking. The scary thing is that we are all atheists at heart when we sanitize and shrink-wrap the majesty and grandeur of God into manageable proportions.

So two questions; 1. How big is your God and 2. How much do you trust Him when everything is going wrong?

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

oh yes you are

February 15, 2017

As a husband and wife are united through marriage and a parent and a child are united through birth. “so we are united to Christ through the Spirit’s baptism.” Union with Christ is one of the most important doctrines for sanctification (see “What Is ‘Union With Christ’?”). As Paul writes, because of this union believers have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3)

.
In the first two chapters of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul outlines 20 of these blessings. Schedule a time for meditation, then choose one or more of these statements to meditate and reflect on the spiritual blessings Christ has given you

.
➤ In Christ I was chosen to be holy and blameless (1:4).
➤ In Christ I was adopted as a son/daughter in God’s family (1:5).
➤ In Christ I am blessed by the glorious grace of God (1:6).
➤ In Christ I have been redeemed; my sins have been forgiven (1:7).
➤ In Christ the mystery of God’s will has been made known to me (1:9).
➤ In Christ all things will be united in the fullness of time (1:10).
➤ In Christ I have an inheritance, one that is incorruptible (1:11).
➤ In Christ I am able to worship and praise to his glory (1:12).
➤ In Christ I have been sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit (1:13).
➤ In Christ I have the immeasurable power of the greatness of God (1:19).
➤ In Christ I have been made alive, even though I was once dead in my sin (2:5).
➤ In Christ I have been put in the heavenly places with him (2:6).
➤ In Christ I will find the immeasurable riches of God’s grace and kindness (2:7).
➤ In Christ I was created for good works (2:10).
➤ In Christ I have been brought near by the blood of Jesus, though I was once far away (2:13).
➤ In Christ I find reconciliation, breaking down a wall of hostility (2:14).
➤ In Christ I have been created as a new man/woman (2:15).
➤ In Christ I have access to the Father (2:18).
➤ In Christ I grow in holiness (2:21).
➤ In Christ I am being built into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (2:22).

These are just words on a page, they are truths that need to discovered in our lives and honestly realized.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Our bible winner was Bethany J from Kansas city

“a rabbit doesn’t really carrot a lot”

Ok, this is someone that really gets my sense of humor,

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

February 6, 2017

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Was Jesus Christ just a great man? To some He was the founder of a new religion. Others consider Him a prophet. But Jesus Himself claimed that He was God.

He also authenticated that He was God. If this claim were not true, He could not be called even a good man, but would be an imposter and a liar.

  1. The writer of Hebrews describes Christ’s deity in chapter 1. Read Hebrews 1 before answering questions 1-4. Jesus’ superiority to the angels is shown by:

Verses 4-5

Verse 6

Verses 13-14

  1. Look again at Hebrews 1:8-12. In the blank next to each statement below, write the number of the verse that brings out the truth stated.

  • Jesus is the Creator ___________________________

  • Jesus is unchangeable__________________________

  • Jesus is eternal _______________________________

  • Jesus is righteous _____________________________

  1. In Hebrews 1:3 what encourages you about Jesus’ ability to reveal God?

  1. How does God view Jesus in Hebrews 1:8 and 1:10?

  1. From John 10:27-30, what does Jesus promise to those who follow Him? How does that make you feel?

  1. While on earth, Jesus performed many miracles that clearly demonstrated His divine power. From the following verses in Matthew 8, list the ways Jesus showed supernatural power.

Verse 3

Verses 6,13

Verses 16-17

Verses 23-27

  1. Imagine that you were there to see Jesus performing these miracles. How would you describe to a friend what happened?

  1. Read John 11:38-44. How do you think this unique unleashing of Jesus’ power affected those who were there?

  1. After observing Jesus’ life, power, and preaching, what did Peter conclude about Him? (Matthew 16:13-16)

And later in Acts 4:12?

  1. Jesus was born, lived, died, rose from the dead, and ascended back into heaven. But what is He doing today and into the future? Consider the passages below as you reflect on Jesus today.

Romans 8:34

Philippians 2:9-11

Revelation 5:11-12

  1. Review questions 1-10. Give three reasons why you believe Jesus Christ is God.

god bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

YAK, YAK, YAK

January 20, 2017

Plain fact, Christians talk to much, the sign of an amateur, talk to much, sign of no confidence, talk to much. Sometimes the best message is short, concise and to the point.

One of the most powerful, yet underappreciated, tools of communication is the summary. Summaries allow us to condense large quantities of information into smaller pieces that are easier to remember and simpler to communicate to others.

 Scripture frequently uses summaries, such as when Paul distills the essence of the Mosaic Law in five words: “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Gal 5:14).

 Summaries, both those in the Bible and those we create, can be helpful for our spiritual formation. Memorizing brief summaries of the books of the Bible can help us to understand how the Bible fits together as a whole. And being able to explain the theme of the Bible in a short summary can be useful in our efforts to share the gospel with others.

Little exercises like this are not a replacement of reading the Bible itself in all its contours or big books that trace out the Bible in detail, but a pointer to the Bible and to such books. Here are a few examples of one-sentence summaries of the Bible:

  ➤ A holy God sends his righteous Son to die for unrighteous sinners so we can be holy and live happily with God forever.

 ➤ God glorifies himself in the redemption of sinners.

 ➤ God has made promises to bring His people to Himself and He is fulfilling them all through Christ.

 ➤ God reigns over all things for his glory, but we will only enjoy his saving reign in the new heavens and the new earth if we repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the crucified and risen Lord and who gave himself on the cross for our salvation.

  How would you summarize the message of the Bible in a single sentence?

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

RED MEAT

January 19, 2017

Image result for picture of a steak

  “And He shall stand, and shall feed His flock in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God: and they shall abide” (Micah 5:4, ASV).

  To an overwhelming degree “we are what we eat”—spiritually as well as physically. “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jer. 15:16).

  “The best merely human literature that was ever written will not feed the new nature. You may bring the noblest thoughts which ever sprang from a human mind, you may couch them in the most fragrant rhetoric that ever distilled the perfume of literature in the book lover’s nostrils and you will not quicken a single pulse of the new and spiritual life. Shakespeare may analyze, Milton soar, Bacon lead us step by step up the royal stairway of induction to the throne of logic, yet not a gleam of light or pulse of strength will be added to the Christ within.” (hopefully your education can identify all of these great writers, that’s not sarcasm, it’s a lament about education and the illiterate pulpit.)

  “With God all is uncultured which is not in accord with the likeness of Christ—of Him in whose image man was first created. Christ is the typical Man, and all in our education which is not after the pattern, after His likeness, is uncultured—only a caricature. We have only that degree of culture which results from the measure in which the image of the Lord Jesus Christ has penetrated us.”

  “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com