black calendar close up composition

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you” (Isa. 30:18).

  Waiting upon the Father is not a matter of longsuffering, but of expectant faith—quiet, restful, confident dependence upon One who is fully trusted. Often the God of circumstances must teach this waiting by placing us in situations that offer no other alternative.

When the testing comes, does our faith prove true? Does our confidence in the Father become shaken and our hope prove uncertain? When the clouds have gathered and the thunder rolls and the lightning stabs the darkness and the roar of the storm is in our ears, can we keep our eyes and thoughts off the tempest and continue in the quiet and peace of the Father’s presence?

When the enemy of right and wrong has thrown down the gauntlet and is trampling ruthlessly upon that which affects the honor of our Lord, and when he seems about to bring ruin upon that which our Father has purposed, can we refrain from rushing in to strive with him, and wait for Him ‘in quietness and confidence,’ with a true sense both of our weakness and of His faithfulness and strength? When we have no word from the Lord except to wait and everything seems to be at a standstill, does the certainty of hope remain undimmed?

When you are in faith you will find that the Lord Jesus does not remove the pressure from off you until you are asleep in it, until you are able to take it quietly. You learn His grace first, and then His mercy.

Faith possesses all things, and hope stretches on to the fulness of the possession, yet in no restless mood, for patience sits by the side of hope in the believer’s soul, and teaches him to wait for the glory of his Father. ‘If we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.’ (Rom. 8:25).

  “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me” (Ps. 40:11)

Our calendar and God’s calendar never quite match up.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Bill Warneke in prayer, severe neck pain, chronic depression, the beginnings of Parkinson’s and extreme denial.

Pray for Little Danny, 5 year old with Leukemia, the most optimistic kid you’ll ever meet.

Baby Eli is doing much better.

Remember our salvation list. Cristina B and her husband Oscar. Barbara D and Mona R. Norma Perales and her husband Rick and her adult son Rick Jr.

Pray for Danny F, a prodigal who needs to come back to the Lord. After his divorce he went a little nuts.

Remember Steve H, strength and encouragement.

Please continue to pray for my wife Sharon that her back problems will get better without surgery.

Pray for Aueekea, just met her, she’s from Hawaii, she is one step from homeless, a victim mentality that’s going to get her hurt and very codependent.

IN THE NAME OF JESUS

June 22, 2019

ancient art black and white close up

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS

Well, to much excitement for today!

Stopped for gas on the south side of town. Then I did something I never do, went inside to get some lemonade.

You all know that gas stations are shark tanks, every conman, crook and bum is hanging out there.

The store was packed as temperatures have been in the 100’s with a heat index of 115+

So I’m standing in line and this kid (teenager) pulls a gun and starts yelling a bunch of things that don’t make any sense. I’m standing two people back and am thinking, run, duck, tackle or shoot in the back of the head.

Instead I just say out loud; “Holy Jesus, Son of God, Save us now” he turns around looks at me, steps up and hands me his gun and says he’s sorry and runs out.

I sit the gun down on the counter and all the ladies start crying and some guys start slapping me on the back and the cashier says the lemonades on the house anytime I want some. And then I have to wait 2 hours to explain 10 times (literally to the police what happened) and even they ask why I just didn’t shoot him.

Now I would like to tell you I’m the most spiritual guy in the world, but that’s simply not true.

So, I get home and tell my wife what happened, and she says; “you moron, what are you doing stopping on the southside for anything.”

Ah, got to love the little woman, always keeps me grounded.

So, praise God, no one got hurt, no huge lawyer fees and everyone went home in one piece.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Little Danny’s surgery went fine, he’s 5 with Leukemia, huge cancerous tumor on his leg. He folks all say thank you for the prayers.

Little Eli is gaining weight and the doctors have finally pronounced him well and the danger is passed.

Remember Bill Warneke in prayer.

And our Salvation list.

IN THE LORD’S ARMY

June 20, 2019

man holding bible

Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

  “Thou, therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3).

  What if there were conscientious objectors in the Lord’s army? Actually, our Lord does not have any noncombatant soldiers whatsoever in His service, since the battle line extends from the front all the way to the rear; to say nothing of the fact that we are all camped in enemy territory.

  “Luther, speaking to the young preachers of his day, said: ‘I did not learn to preach Christ all at once. The devil has been my best professor of exegetical and experiential theology. Before that great schoolmaster took me in hand, I was an unweaned child, not a grown man. It was my combats with sin and with Satan that made me a true minister of the New Testament. It is always a great grace to me, and to my people, for me to be able to say to them: “I know this text is true! I know it for certain to be true!” Without incessant combat, and pain, and sweat, and blood, no ignorant stripling of a student ever yet became an effective preacher.’“

 Every bit of truth we receive, if we receive it in faith, will take us into conflict and will be established through conflict. It will be worthless until there has been this process. Take any position the Lord calls you to take, and, if you are taking it with Him, you are going through things in it, and there will be an element added by reason of the pressure. You have taken a position, yes; but you have not really received as yet, the true value of it has not yet been established. You have not come into the real significance of the truth until there has been some sore conflict in relation to it.

I bear willing witness that I owe more to the fire, and the hammer, and the file, than to anything else in my Lord’s workshop. When my schoolroom is darkened, I see most.

  “We also exult in our sufferings, knowing as we do, that suffering produces fortitude; fortitude, ripeness of character” (Rom. 5:3).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Keep young Daniel in prayer, this young boy is as courageous as any soldier.

Remember baby Eli, just over 2 months old, that he would continue to put on weight and be a healthy baby boy.

For Caliste and Stephanie, both living with inoperable brain tumors.

Salvation for Barbara d and Mona R, Norma Perales and her husband Rick and her adult son Rick Jr. and Cristina B, she and her husband Oscar need salvation, his dabbling in witchcraft has scared her into thinking about heaven and hell.

Remember Tommy, he is doing well on parole.

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement.

Remember Bill Warneke, the beginnings of Parkinson’s, chronic depression and chronic neck pain.

Pray for my wife Sharon, she is struggling with back pain.

THE RIGHT AGE???

June 19, 2019

thinking over feeling

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed” (2 Tim. 2:15).

There is an entirely baseless sentiment abroad which assumes that every teaching of the Lord Jesus must be binding upon the believer during this age simply because He said it. The fact is forgotton that He, while living under, keeping, and applying the Law of Moses, also taught the principles of His future earthly kingdom, and, at the end of His ministry and in relation to His Cross, He also anticipated the teachings of grace. If this threefold division of His teachings is not recognized and maintained, there can be nothing but confusion of mind and consequent contradiction of truth.

 Because the thing is in the Bible does not warrant the conclusion that it is God’s will for the Christian. We must seek rightly to divide the Word of truth. What was formerly right for the Jews is for us nothing but the elements of the world. These forms pointed to a reality that is now come; the Body is of Christ. The blessed position of a Christian is, that he has died even to the best things of the world, religious and otherwise, and he is alive to the highest things in the presence of the Father; for the Lord Jesus Christ is his life, in whom he is hidden (Col. 3:3).

 The Gospels are complex almost beyond any other portion of Scripture, since they are a composite of the teachings of the law, of grace, and of the coming kingdom. (Operative word ‘coming’ kingdom) it is unfortunate especially in Pentecostal circles, that kingdom principles are taught above almost everything else. Yet we need to remember that the kingdom was offered to the Jews and they rejected it. Therefore the Kingdom will not be offered again until the 2nd coming of Christ.

  “We realize our privileges and possessions in the Lord Jesus by faith; we enjoy them by the Spirit.”

  “Rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Daniel, 5 years old and battling Leukemia. I met his grandparents today as they were on their way to John Hopkins Hospital. Daniel is receiving radiation treatments everyday. And the number of chemo treatments he has been through is staggering. Yet, his grandparents can only speak about how resilient he is and brave. Be in prayer please for this family who is going through so much.

THE MIND OF GOD

June 18, 2019

D.L. MOODY, THAT GREAT PREACHER OF LONG AGO ONCE WROTE; “I felt I had the Lord’s mind for the message.

MANY GREAT PURITANS FELT THAT IF YOU WERE NOT READING THE BIBLE LOOKING FOR CHRIST, AND DOING SO PRAYERFULLY, ONE WOULD FIND NOTHING.

IT WOULD BE A TOME, AND NOT A BRIEF DEVOTION, IF ONE WERE TO ATTEMPT TO ELUCIDATE ON KNOWING THE MIND OF GOD. SO LET’S SEE WHAT WE CAN EXAMINE IN A BRIEF SPOT, AND A SHORT TIME.

1 CORINTHIANS 2:16 For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ

LIKE DR. MOODY ARE WE COMFORTABLE ENOUGH WITH SCRIPTURES AND OUR PRAYER LIFE TO SAY WE UNDERSTAND GOD, SCRIPTURES SAYS WE CAN.

WE HAVE DONE A GRAVE INJUSTICE TO THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO AS A PART OF THE TRINITY, IS TO LEAD US INTO ALL THINGS ABOUT GOD. BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS GOTTEN A BAD RAP, BECAUSE OF PENTECOSTALS, CHARISMATICS AND OTHER ‘FULL GOSPEL’ LUNATICS. THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES IS USUALLY ONE OF EXTREMES; WE EITHER PAY TO MUCH ATTENTION TO HIM OR NOT ENOUGH.

YET WE ARE TO TRUST HIM AS HE IS THE ONE GIVEN TO US TO LEAD, GUIDE, FILL, AND BLESS. One of those purposes for the indwelling of the Spirit is so He can search what is going on inside of us, take our needs to the Father, and then bring back to us the answer to what our Father’s will is about this specific situation

AND SO THEN WE WOULD HAVE THE MIND OF GOD. SEEMS EASY DOESN’T IT?

The Holy Spirit is that part of the trinity who has the ability to see into all the dark places of our lives! And since he also is the only one who knows what our heavenly Father’s will is in all situations, he can help us make sense out of life by communicating to us what God wants us to do. That is why frequent bible reading and bible memorization is so important. Since the bible is God’s letter to us, the Holy Spirit uses the bible to lead us into God’s will. What if someone told you that you can only enjoy heaven based on how much scripture you know? Well, thankfully that’s not the case but for a moment there I had you worried.

1 Corinthians 2:10-16

New International Version (NIV)

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[a] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”[b]

But we have the mind of Christ.

WELL I PROMISED BRIEF SO I HAVE TO STOP, BUT PLEASE THINK ABOUT THIS, YOU CAN KNOW THE MIND OF GOD.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Pray for Brent W, a pastor that just confessed to his church a serious problem that he has. He is in counseling with his wife and the church is doing all to help him.

Pray for Bill Warneke, chronic neck pain, depression and the beginnings of Parkinson’s.

For Caliste and Stephanie, pray for peace and no fear in their lives.

Salvation for Cristina B, and her husband Oscar, who has been dabbling in witchcraft.

Salvation for Mona R, Barbara D, Larry R, Elena’s daughter Yolanda.

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement.

Remember baby Eli, weight gain and good health.

ANOINTED TO PREACH

June 17, 2019

silhouette and grayscale photography of man standing under the rain

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels.com

THANKS TO STEVE H, FOR GIVING ME THE TOPIC FOR TODAY’S DEVOTION.

We need to ensure that we maintain biblical balance concerning the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for any preacher to be effective, fruitful, or balanced in his ministry without acknowledging, and giving place to, the lordship, leading, illumination, and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can transform all your preparation (study of the text, outline of your sermon etc.) into a message from God that is accompanied by the power of God. You may rightly divide the word of truth; you may correctly study and analyze the text (the subject, structure, and substance of a text) and you may preach what you have prepared logically and flawlessly, but only God through the Holy Spirit can give your sermon the power to effect a spiritual transformation in someone’s life.

This is sometimes called the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit, or the “unction” of the Spirit, or the “empowerment” of the Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to enable us to conduct thorough, scholarly study of the text in preparation for preaching, and we must also seek the blessing and power of the Holy Spirit to use the message to accomplish His work.

So, what is anointed preaching? What does it mean to preach with “unction”? How does a preacher obtain this empowerment of the Spirit?

First, let’s look at a definition of the term itself. “Unction” is an old fashioned word that is synonymous with “anointing.” For the purposes of this article, we will refer to “anointing” as the special empowerment of the Holy Spirit on the preacher. This is not the general empowerment of the Spirit that enables us to live the Christian life. This is the preacher’s access to special power for preaching through the Holy Spirit such that what we preach has supernatural consequences. Or, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones puts it: “It is God-given power … that lifts it (what we preach) up beyond the efforts and endeavours of man to a position in which the preacher is being used by the Spirit and becomes the channel through whom the Spirit works.” 3 E.M. Bounds puts it this way: “(Divine unction) supports and impregnates revealed truth with all the energy of God. Unction is simply putting God in His own Word and on His own preacher.” 4

Now, let’s look at some key biblical references. Luke 4:18-19, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Here, Jesus is in the synagogue reading from Isa. 61:1-2. In what sense does Jesus mean that the Spirit of the Lord had “anointed” him?

There was no evidence of any particular bodily change in him, no change in his manner of speaking, nor any sort of spiritual experience. It appears to have been a normal reading of Scripture. The only difference from any other Scripture reading in the synagogue was his characterization of the text as prophetic of his ministry, and the claim that the prophecy was that day fulfilled.

In the way Luke has constructed his narrative, however, it becomes apparent that this event (Lk. 4:18-19) is directly connected to the infancy narrative (Lk. 1:35) and the baptism (Lk. 3:21-22), all three of which are designed to emphasize that Jesus is the anointed Son of God – the One sent by God, the One set aside by God, the One empowered by God to proclaim (and, indeed, to inaugurate) his kingdom. 5

This seems to be, then, the nature of Jesus’ anointing here – namely, the affirmation of Jesus as the one whom God has specially set apart for the task of preaching the good news and specially empowered for his ministry. What is most striking about this is that even the Lord Jesus himself received special anointing from the Holy Spirit to carry out his earthly mission.

Luke 24:49, “Tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Here the disciples, who had followed the Lord for three years (they had heard him preach, learned his teaching, imbibed his commands, witnessed his miracles, observed his death and burial, and seen him after his resurrection) are now promised that they will be “endued” (invested) with power by the Holy Spirit, which, of course, took place at Pentecost as Acts 2:4 records: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

You would not think that men such as this would need any special empowerment for their ministry. They didn’t need any additional knowledge or conviction of the truth about Jesus. What they needed was the power and ability to carry out their ministry and mission (the extension of Jesus’ ministry) now that Jesus had gone. And this is what they were endued with in Acts 2 – a special power from the Holy Spirit specifically to enable their witness and work to have supernatural effect.

The effect of this special empowerment is astounding. Peter, who had previously denied the Lord with oaths and curses, is now able to preach with boldness and authority such that 3000 people are converted in one day.

Acts 4:7-8, “And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, ‘By what power or by what name have you done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel…’”. Clearly, Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit” at Pentecost. So, why did he need to be filled again? Because the filling of the Spirit is a repeated process by which the Spirit empowers God’s servants to accomplish specific ministry. Once again he received a fresh supply of the Spirit of God that filled him for the particular task on hand here in this chapter – namely, his trial for healing the lame man in ch. 3. There are many more references to this same phenomena in Acts (e.g. Acts 4:31; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52), but these will suffice for our purposes.

1 Cor. 2:1-5, 1 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

This is Paul’s self-testimony concerning the manner of his preaching and teaching which shows us that spiritually powerful preaching is not accompanied with outward evidences and inward subjective experiences of some sort of mystical power. Indeed, neither the content of Paul’s message nor the manner of his preaching were designed, at least at a human level, to be manifestations of power.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for salvation for Mona R, Barbara D, Norma Perales, her husband Rick  and her adult son Rick Jr. also Bonnie W, Sherri Jones, Cristina B and Gena G.

Healing for Caliste Burt and Stephanie Taylor. Inoperable brain tumors.

Bill Warneke, chronic neck pain

Eli, Olivia and Tim’s baby, he needs to put on weight.

Staci C, salvation, and the marriage she has just put on the rocks.

accessory blur close up cloth

Photo by Mat Brown on Pexels.com

I have counseled with many women who profess to be Christians, but they are engaged to be married to unbelievers. I always ask, “Do you want God’s blessing on your marriage?” They always say, “Yes.” I’ve never had one say no. I show them in God’s Word that He commands us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. This creates a trial for the young woman! She wants to marry this nice (they’re all “nice”!) unbelieving man, but God’s Word says, “Don’t do it.” Not only would it be very difficult to break up with him, it would also mean being single with no prospect for marriage in sight. That’s a trial! The test is, “Will she obey God, or choose her own selfish ways?”

One woman told me that she had prayed about marrying her unbelieving fiancé, and she “had a peace about it.” I told her that she had sinned by praying about this situation, because God has clearly revealed His will about marrying unbelievers. She didn’t want to know God’s will; she only wanted to do her will. So if we want God’s wisdom in any decision or in any trial, we must be fully committed to obey Him and His Holy Word.

I’ve never quite figured out why this is more of a problem for women than it is men.  Maybe it’s their biological clock ticking. What I see in men is ‘missionary’ dating. We’ll just date for a longer time and pray she gets saved before we get to the altar.

Or my all-time favorite, we can’t have sex (mister) until you accept Jesus. Talk about quick trip to an altar call. So the conversation goes like this; “well last night I accepted Jesus as my Savior, will you have sex with me now?” followed shortly by a pregnancy because we can’t’ use condoms because that would mean we planned on having sex and that would be wrong, versus “it just happened”. (of course, the brushing teeth and shaving the legs and taking a shower and putting on deodorant and cologne or perfume was planned either ‘it just happened’).

Folks, it’s pretty simple; ‘all the bible all the time’ you can’t pick and choose what parts you will follow and which you will ignore.

Yes, that right folks, God still expects us to be sexually pure, before marriage and after the marriage. It’s not old fashion it’s the bible.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember emails, prayer requests, questions or comments to the email address.

WISDOM FROM ABOVE

June 15, 2019

silhouette and grayscale photography of man standing under the rain

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels.com

To ask God for wisdom implies that He can deliver. The Bible plainly states, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6). It warns, “There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30). In other words, if worldly “wisdom” contradicts or goes against God, it is false “wisdom.” Only God’s wisdom stands.

Paul contrasted the so-called wisdom of this world with God’s wisdom as seen in the cross of Christ (1 Cor. 1:18-30). He sarcastically asks (1:20-21), “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”

The point is, if you have not come as a sinner to the cross of Christ to obtain God’s mercy through faith, you do not know God and thus you cannot obtain the wisdom that comes only from Him. But, how does God impart the wisdom that we need?

God’s wisdom comes directly from God and is revealed in His Word. It especially centers in the knowledge of Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3; see also, Col. 1:9; Eph. 1:16-17). God reveals His wisdom by the Holy Spirit to those who are spiritual (1 Cor. 2:6-16). That wisdom has to do with knowing how to apply biblical truth to particular situations in life. Thus if you are not spending consistent time learning God’s Word, you will not have the wisdom that you need when trials hit. The time to seek wisdom from God is before the calamity hits (Prov. 1:20-33).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Bill Warneke, chronic depression and neck pain.

Pray for Steve H, encouragement and strength.

Patty R, married 8 times. She is staying married this time because she thinks her looks are failing and couldn’t “catch” the big fish. (PS, needs salvation)

Jeremy L, several years ago lost his wife and baby to a drunk driver. To his family’s chagrin he’s dating the woman that killed them. Says it’s part of the healing process.

Pray for Eli, Olivia and Tim’s little baby boy, he needs to gain more weight.

Caliste and Stephanie, faith and no fear, as they manage their lives with inoperable brain tumors.

Remember our salvation list.

MATURITY PART 1

June 14, 2019

growth marks

It should be stressed at the outset that this subject is being addressed, not because this writer sees himself as the perfect example of a Christian leader or of maturity, but because this is one of the most lacking elements in the church today, and because the qualities of spiritual maturity are so determinative to the life of the church and society as a whole. This series of studies was originally developed because I recognized the need of these qualities in my own life and ministry as one in a position of leadership as a pastor or teaching elder and leader of men.

As we consider these marks of maturity, we are confronted with the reality that they are qualities that should be found in the life of every believer—man or woman. So let it be emphasized that this study has application to all of us regardless of our particular roles in the church or in society. As members of the body of Christ, we are all potential leaders to some degree whether a husband or wife, a father or mother, or a fellow worker in an office. As Christian men and women, we have a leadership role as we seek to lead others to Christ and as we seek to function as salt and light within society. For men or women these are qualities which will enhance their capacity as husbands or wives, as fathers or mothers, or as co-laborers in the gospel of Christ.

One of Paul’s primary personal goals and ministry objectives was to reach greater and greater levels of spiritual maturity and to see all Christians do the same. The goal of evangelism is never just seeing people come to Christ. Indeed, the primary command of the Great Commission is not evangelism, but making disciples. Making disciples naturally includes evangelism, but it goes far beyond that.2

That spiritual maturity was a major concern and a key objective of Paul and other writers of the New Testament epistles is clearly seen in the following passages (see Eph. 4:12f; Phil. 3:12f; Col. 1:28; 4:12; 1 Cor. 2:6, 16f; Jam. 1:2; Rom. 8:28-29; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18).

One of the key Greek words used here is teleios, “having attained the end, purpose, complete, perfect.” It was used of a full-grown, mature adult. A comparison of Hebrews 5:13 with 14 and 1 Corinthians 2:6 with 3:1 we find an instructive contrast. Teleios, “mature,” is contrasted with the word for “babe,” nepios in both of these passages. Thus, in a spiritual sense, teleios speaks of one who is fully developed, spiritually mature according to the spiritual qualities detailed in the New Testament.

Thus, spiritual growth and greater and greater levels of maturity are key objectives of Scripture and a key responsibility for church leaders (Eph. 4:11) and for individuals to be concerned about in their own lives (1 Pet. 2:2; Jam. 1:2).

Growth and maturity do not occur by naturally. The babe in Christ requires sound and consistent ‘spiritual pediatrics’ and there are certain agents God uses to bring about spiritual growth to bring us to deeper and deeper maturity in Christ:

  1. The Word is obviously a key and necessary element for spiritual growth (1 Pet. 1:23-2:3; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; 3:18; John 17:17). In John 17:17 the Lord prayed for the church and said, “sanctify them through your word, your word is truth.” The reference to “sanctify” or sanctification is fundamentally a synonym for growth and maturity and expresses the Lord’s objective for all believers.

  2. Church leaders (Eph. 4:11ff; 1 Thess. 5:12; Jam. 5:14).3

  3. The care and concern of the body of Christ as a whole (Eph. 4:16; 1 Thess. 5:11ff).

  4. Suffering or the trials of life (Jam. 1:2-5; 1 Pet. 1:6; Ps. 119:67, 71, 75, 92)

  5. Last, but not least, the indwelling and teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 3:16f; 1 Cor. 2:6-3:4)

So, exactly what does a mature Christian look like? A mature Christian is a believer whose life begins to take on the character of Christ-likeness. But what exactly is that? What are the specific qualities that mark out a person as Christ-like? This is the focus and point of this study, but before we begin to consider some of these qualities, there are a number of other things that we want to cover as a foundation before actually defining and looking at the qualities of maturity.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Sherrie J, she has lived life as a high profile celebrity, well she has crashed and burned for the last time, all her contracts are cancelled. Pray for her salvation and lesson she is learning about humility.

Pray for Steve P, motocross, lost a spleen and has a concussion. (out of the hospital, had some complications from the surgery and had to go back in for 3 days.)

Remember Caliste and Stephanie, both fine Christian women, inoperable brain tumors, Caliste is dealing better with it than Stephanie.

Jeremy b, pray for his 9 year old son, diagnosed with Leukemia. He has begun his cancer treatment and like most 9 year old’s we could learn a lesson from him about courage and faith.

Remember Bill Warneke, depression, degenerative disks in his neck and the beginnings of Parkinson’s.

Pray for Eli, Olivia’s 2-month-old son, he needs to gain more weight.

Pray for Steve H, strength, encouragement, a blessing.

Remember pastor Paul K, a healing touch from God.

Pray for Tara, salvation, Barbara D, Mona R, the Perales family.

STRAIGHT FROM ABOVE

June 13, 2019

clouds

Photo by Emma Trewin on Pexels.com

James the Apostle knew that it’s relatively easy to live as a Christian when things are calm. But it’s a much more difficult prospect when the storms of life hit with full force. At such times, it’s easy to get off course or even to make shipwreck of your faith. His readers were facing various difficult trials. They were dispersed abroad (1:1), mostly due to persecution. They had suffered the loss of their homes and possessions. Many were not able to escape persecution even in the places to which they had fled. James wanted them to know how to navigate through these trials so that they could not only endure, but joyfully endure (1:2).

“Consider it all joy” (1:2). We can do this if we understand a reassuring truth, “that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (1:3). But it is necessary to submit to the refining process: “let endurance have its perfect result” (1:4). But there is a further ingredient that we need to endure trials joyfully so as to bring glory to God, namely, God’s wisdom. So James tells us how to obtain wisdom from God:

When James says, “If any of you lack wisdom,” he is not suggesting that some have it together so well that they have no need of wisdom. The Greek conditional sentence implies that we all lack wisdom when we face difficult trials. But, we don’t always see our need for God’s wisdom. Thus,

  1. To obtain wisdom to endure trials joyfully, see your need.

We need to be clear about the terms that James uses here:

  1. JAMES IS TALKING ABOUT GOD’S WISDOM THAT ENABLES US TO ENDURE TRIALS JOYFULLY.

When you study the Bible, it is crucial to study the text in its context, and also to understand how the words are used in Scripture. In the context of James 1, wisdom refers to the wisdom that we need to endure trials with God’s joy, so that we will be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (1:4). James realizes that in a time of trials, God’s people often do lack His wisdom on how to endure those trials with joy. Thus he adds verses 5-8. Of course, we can ask God for wisdom in any matter in life that we face, but in the context here, it is focused on asking God for the wisdom that we need to endure trials joyfully.

Enduring trials with joy goes against our natural inclination. When trials hit, we’re all prone to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” But that is usually the wrong question. Sometimes, God graciously reveals to us the reason for our suffering, but not always. Often the answer to why we suffer must wait until we’re in heaven. The important questions to ask when a trial hits are, “How can I understand this trial from God’s perspective? How can I navigate through this storm in such a way as to bring glory to God? How can this trial help me grow in maturity?”

Pastor Warren Wiersbe (Be Mature [Victor Books], p. 29) tells about a secretary of his who was going through difficult trials. She had had a stroke, her husband had gone blind, and then he had to be taken to the hospital where, as far as they knew, he would die. Wiersbe saw this woman in church one Sunday and assured her that he was praying for her.

She startled him by asking, “What are you asking God to do?” He replied, “I’m asking God to help you and strengthen you.”

“I appreciate that,” she said, “but pray about one more thing. Pray that I’ll have the wisdom not to waste all of this!” Wiersbe observed, “She knew the meaning of James 1:5.”

It also helps to understand the meaning of the Old Testament word for wisdom (my sources here include, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament [Moody Press], ed. by R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke, 1:282-284; and New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology [Zondervan], ed. by Colin Brown, 3:1026-1029). James is steeped in the Old Testament. The main idea of Old Testament wisdom is that of skill. It includes the skill of workers who made garments for the high priest and who were able to work with metal, stone and wood (Exod. 28:3; 31:3-5; 36:1-2). It also extends to those who are able to execute a battle plan (Isa. 10:13), lead in government (Deut. 34:9), and shrewdly assess a difficult situation and persuade others to take necessary action (2 Sam. 20:22). It refers to those who speak prudently (Ps. 37:30) and use their time carefully (Ps. 90:12).

Rather than just theoretical understanding, biblical wisdom focuses on practical living in obedience to God’s revealed will. The fool in Proverbs is not the man who is mentally deficient, but rather the man who is morally deficient. He ignores God’s commandments and lives according to human wisdom. The wise man lives in obedience to God. Thus he skillfully puts together a life that is beautiful from God’s perspective. Thus the Bible affirms (Job 28:28), “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (see also, Ps. 111:10)

So, by wisdom, James is talking about the skill that enables us to live obediently before God in the midst of trials. The result will be a truly beautiful life that glorifies God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for our salvation list.

Remember Bill Warneke in prayer, chronic depression, neck pain and the beginnings of Parkinson’s.

Pray for Steve H, encouragement and strength.

Pray for Debbie G, battling breast cancer (4th time).

Stacey Keebs, welcome to America.

Remember Paul K, pastor, spot on his lung and cysts on his pancreas.

Olivia and Tim’s baby boy Eli- strength, growth, wellness, weight gain.

Yolanda V, her mom was hit by a scooter, downtown, you know those things that you rent in the city. The person never stopped, then his compadre, ran over her hand. They were both clotheslined about 10 seconds later by 2 attorneys. So yes hell has frozen over.