christ on cross

  “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ” (Phil. 3:7).

  Our Father has many reasons for administering trial —all good. Trial teaches us the futility of the old life, and the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus—our new life.

  “The Christian suffers the same calamities as others, perhaps even worse; he faces difficulties and losses in the things of this life; he has to be prepared to meet death itself. In all these circumstances he is calm and trustful; he is not only sure of ultimately going to heaven, but already abides there and enjoys something of it in his own heart.

 God is real to him and ever near. He knows a peace which passes all understanding, and he experiences a joy which no man can take from him. This, surely, should be our testimony in the world, but it can only be as the Lord Jesus Himself lives out this life in us.

  The world is divided into two things—pleasures and afflictions; I am more afraid of the pleasures than the afflictions. In afflictions you turn to the Lord. The danger is of being carried away by the very favors God has given to man.

  Those who suffer from chastening ought to be before the Father, owning His hand; and He who has wounded will heal. The Lord Jesus did not take the cup which He had to drink from us, from man, nor from Satan; but from His Father’s hand.

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

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Charlie, what he calls ‘man cancer’ he always has had a wicked sense of humor.

Pray for Paul C, a lost sheep,

Learning Christ

May 12, 2018

Ephesians 4:20-21

20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus.

“Learning Christ” is not the typical way of referring to one’s coming to Christ in the Bible. It most certainly is not the normal way of referring to conversion today. Biblical terms such as “born again” are sometimes used, but more often unbiblical expressions are the norm. We talk, for example, of “inviting Christ into our lives,” which is both existential and self-oriented. We talk little of “learning” and we think that doctrine and evangelism are not closely related. “Let them first get saved, and then let them learn doctrine,” is the way many Christians seem to think.

Paul assumes otherwise, perhaps because some of those to whom Paul was writing came to faith directly or indirectly through his ministry at Ephesus (see Acts 19). Coming to Christ, as Paul believed and practiced, was not just an experience. It was learning. It was learning Christ.

One of the most foolish statements I have ever heard is, “I don’t worship doctrine, I worship Jesus.” Paul would never tolerate such mindless talk. How does one “learn Christ” without learning the doctrines which tell us who He is? Is Christ only a man, or is He also God? The difference is of great importance, and it is only from learning the doctrines of Christ in the Scriptures that we will know the answer.

I wonder how biblical our evangelism is, compared to that which we find in the Scriptures. Our method of evangelizing seems to be more of a sales presentation, which seeks to get as quickly as possible to the “bottom line”—some kind of assent to trusting in Christ. When Jesus evangelized, He taught. Everywhere we find Jesus speaking in the gospels, He taught. It often took a considerable period of time for the truth He was teaching to be grasped, and this was only through the ministry of God’s Holy Spirit (see Matthew 16:17). When Paul went to the synagogues, he taught from the Scriptures, demonstrating that Jesus was the promised Messiah (see Acts 9:19-22; 13:5, 14ff.).

As I understand Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:20 and 21, Paul assumes that those who have come to Christ have already learned much about Him, and about the nature of the Christian life which should result from trusting in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Suffering should come as no surprise, if our evangelism has been true to the teaching of God’s Word (see Luke 9:23-26; Acts 14:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12). There is no “small print” left out of our gospel, which comes unexpectedly after conversion.

There is a reason why faith in Christ and learning are closely related. This is explained in verse 21: “If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, …”

Jesus is not just a teacher; He is even more than the teacher. Jesus is the truth: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me’” (John 14:6). Jesus is the truth. To come to Him in faith is to come from death to life, from condemnation to justification, from sin to sanctification, and from ignorance to true wisdom. You cannot come to faith in Jesus Christ without changing your thinking. This is what true repentance is all about—changing your mind, and coming to see things as God does. And so it is that Paul links evangelism and discipleship. Coming to Christ by faith is the result of learning about Him (see Romans 10:13-17), just as it is also the beginning of learning.

The lifestyle which Paul sets out as God’s standard for Christians should come as a surprise to no convert to Christ, as radically different as it is from our former way of life. Our relationship to the world and to our own flesh is simply the outworking of the gospel which we should already have learned in coming to Christ. If, as may be the case today, some have not learned these general things of which Paul speaks in verses 17-24, then the gospel has not been fully or faithfully proclaimed.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Rayna, she is trying very hard to conceive, her body is a wreck from all the “procedures” the doctors have tried.

Pray for Bob Lee K,. his cataract surgery went sideways and he will have to have more surgery.

 

Enter into His rest!

May 8, 2018

  “Rejoice in the Lord always!” (Phil. 4:4)

  Exhaustive effort brings home the necessity of strengthening rest. The believer will not be ready to enter into his spiritual rest until he is utterly worn out by his unsuccessful efforts to conquer sin and the old man. There is no rest for the “wretched man” of Romans 7—that struggle must lead to the rest of Romans 8.

  “Grace is sufficient for favorable circumstances, but they are by far the most trying (spiritually) to the believer. There is an easy way of going on in worldliness, and there is nothing more sad than the quiet comfortable Christian going on day by day, apart from dependence upon the Lord.

  “It must be as with Israel and the manna; there must be the daily gathering and daily dependence upon God. If circumstances come between our hearts and God, we are powerless. If the Lord Jesus is nearer, circumstances will not hinder our joy in God “

  “The heart of man naturally seeks rest, and seeks it here. Now, there is no rest to be found here for the believer; but it is written, ‘There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God’ (Heb 4:9).

 To know this is both full of blessing and full of sorrow: sorrow to the flesh; because it is always seeking its rest here, it has always to be disappointed; blessing to the spirit, because the spirit, being born of God, can only rest in God’s rest, as it is said, ‘If they shall enter into My rest’ (Heb. 4:5). What God desires for us is to bring us into the enjoyment of all that which He Himself enjoys.

  “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7).

Waiting that’s the hard part.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ronnie S, hurt his back

Pray for Benjamin C, eye problems, going to need surgery.

Praise from Colin, his eye has completely healed.

Pray for Lisa and Matt, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a marriage with this many problems. Pray especially for Lisa that she would come to her senses, spiritually and emotionally.

 

ROOTED

May 4, 2018

  “As ye have, therefore, received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him” (Col. 2:7).

If I had to preach on only one verse in the bible in church for the rest of my life, this might be the verse I would pick.

  We appreciate His benefits toward us, but are we appreciative—do we express to Him our appreciation?

  “Let us be very watchful that the inner life, communion with the Lord Jesus, be the true source of our activities.”

  The Lord Jesus longs for fellowship with us. He does not want patronage. It does not meet the desire of His heart to be followed, or admired, or gazed at, because of what He can do or give. He delights in a heart taught of the Spirit to appreciate His Person, for this glorifies and gratifies the Father. He retires from the gaze of an excited and tumultuous throng who would fain make Him a king, because they had eaten of the loaves and were filled; but He could turn with touching earnestness to the little band of disciples who still remained, and challenge their hearts with the question, ‘Will ye also go away?’

  Love could never be too near to its object. Nearness to the Lord Jesus is the instinct of divine life, as we see in the first question of the two disciples who followed Him, ‘Where dwellest Thou?’ Why is not this the first question now? Because there is not simple devotedness of heart to the Lord Jesus Christ.

  There is nothing in all the world so precious to the Father as a heart that, in any measure, appreciates His Son.

  “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for those that have long term illnesses, it won’t kill them, but can make their life miserable. Things like IBS or migraines, battle with vertigo, etc.

 

OH My Queen

May 3, 2018

So I’m making my rounds on the psych ward and I have a new patient. Unless I’m told their excessively violent I usually don’t read their chart and go in and get a fresh, new perspective.

First warning Is she is on the criminal (forensic) ward. Second she is in a locked padded room and slightly sedated.

I have the floor nurse unlock the door and let me in, there is only a bed and a chair bolted to the floor; seated is a young woman, age 22, about 5 foot tall and a little pudgy. (not judging just saying she’s overweight)

As I enter the room and sit in the chair she sits up and says; “you didn’t bow, you are supposed to bow in the presence of royalty.” So I apologized and said I’m new here and didn’t recognize her. So I did a little bow and she said thank you.

I asked her that since I was new to the area could she tell me about herself so I would know how to address her. Very calmly (could be the drugs) she stands and curtsies and says; “you are addresses the royal queen of Mars, you may call me your queen or your majesty.”

Wow the queen of Mars, didn’t see that one coming. ‘So your majesty how did you end up here?’ She put her hands to her head the way you do when you have a headache, she grimaced slightly and then smiled. ‘I just saved your life and all the lives of Earth, you may thank me.”

‘Thank you very much your Majesty but how did you save my life just now?’

Simple she says, I have the most powerful brain in the world and I’m stopping the invasion from Mars by my most powerful thoughts.

‘So how did you end up here on earth’ I asked? She replied; “I came back to protect my family here on earth, they needed my protection.”

I would like to visit you again my queen may would tomorrow be alright?

She said that would be fine.

So I went out to read her case file. Turns out she came from a large family and was physically abused by all the family, as she was slightly retarded and the youngest of the family. There were x rays of her skull to show the damage to her skull and ct scans to show the brain trauma (tbi) she was living with.

Seems that on their last vacation the family car got a flat tire and the family insisted she change the tire as it was to hot for them to do it. When she couldn’t get the lug nuts off the wheel her father hit her in the head with the tire iron. (yes he is in prison).

Suffering physical and mental and even sexual abuse she had a psychotic break and ended up here in the mental ward because she stabbed her youngest brother when he climbed into her bed the night before.

Why the queen of Mars, we never figured out why that specific story. But we do know the why of such a story. She needed to be important and some way of finding value and humanity. She needed an explanation as to why she was being made a victim and by a family that was supposed to be loving her and protecting her.

So a queen in exile, being hunted by people masquerading as her family, because she couldn’t believe that her own family could be this cruel.

So she built this elaborate story and then moved into it. This was the only way her damaged brain and hurt psyche could cope with all the pain.

I wish the story had a happy ending, but the brain damage was to severe and the psyche to injured to undo the story, the story was all she had, in order to live at peace with herself and the world.

But there are two questions I have for you, 1. Are you safe, if something bad is happening to you, keep telling someone until you are believed. 2. Are you important, don’t let anyone destroy your self-worth, not boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, family.

Believe you are loved by God and have infinite worth and value, so much so that He sent his son to die for you.

Psalm 24:14 be of good courage and wait upon the Lord.

As he will rescue you.

And in the words of Winston Churchill, ‘never give up, fight, fight fight keep fighting. Because you do have worth and fighting for your dignity is a noble purpose.

God bless.

Reach out to us at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

We are praying for you all.

answer the call

March 14, 2018

On my business card, it mentions all the counseling services I offer.

Sex Addictions

Anger Management

Drug and Alcohol Addictions

Marriage Counseling

Family Counseling

Biblical Counseling

Psychological Testing

Expert Court Witness (Sex offenders and Counseling)

Plethysmograph or SAST (Sexual Addiction Testing)

(yes it fits on a business card-Duofold)

Here’s the interesting part, when I hand the card to a woman, 80% of the time she’s going to say, “oh could you test my husband?”

For what I don’t know.

When I hand the card to a man 80% of the time he says, “could you fix my wife?”

Again for what?

10% of the time someone will say “oh my God, can you help me!”

5% will say, “ah, I’ve never needed counseling.”

And the last 5% will say something not listed on the card and usually weirder than what I can think of. Which in my line of work that is a surprise!

For a few years, I did cult abductions and deprogramming, more dangerous than high-risk warrant serving.

Yes, I have done a few exorcisms.

Had a face off, square off, whatever you want to call with a witch doctor.

I always leave my card with a tip in it at restaurants. The number of “over the phone can you fix me anonymously calls is interesting.”

If I remember, tomorrow I will tell you of the millionaire sex addict that wanted “help” over the phone, but to famous to risk coming in to my office.

So if you are looking for a career in the bizarre, become a counselor or psychologist.

Most rewarding? Maybe trauma counseling for surviving police officers of shootings or fatal encounters.(This was before we had the term ‘PTSD’).

Anyway, always say yes to people that God brings into your life when you are a minister. You will never be bored or rich for that matter, but you will feel blessed.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Jesus is tough

March 1, 2018

MY JESUS IS TOUGHER THAN YOUR JESUS

PSALM 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

OK, so here’s the deal, the verb “leadeth in verse two and the verb “leadeth” in verse in three are two completely different words (verbs).

In verse 2 it’s the common idea we have of how the Lord leads.

But verse 3 the word “lead” means to drive, push, trample, guide by pressure.

So when we think of “The Lord’s Psalm or the Shepherd’s Psalm, we need to see that sometimes he is the gentle shepherd (verse 2) and sometimes he has the rod and staff and has to conk us on head or drive us with pressure to go in the right direction (verse 3).

And he is the one who chooses, the carrot or the stick.

So chew on that, just something to think about.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Roger S, back pain, going need surgery.

Pray for Sally H, super Christian, usually the happiest person you’ve ever met. She make Job, look like a sissy sometimes. Man oh man has she suffered. Keep her in prayer, for strength and endurance and to make a hard decision.

Pray for Randy K, religious, nice guy, but has no personal relationship with God, he’s at a crossroad and it might be one of his last chances.

 

Hee Haw

February 8, 2018

Hee Haw

Somebody asked me the other day why I preach more from the Old Testament

than the New Testament. My answer was instant, heartfelt and I don’t think I’ll

change my mind anytime soon.

It’s the same reason I’ve called this devotional site “scum like us church”

I personally relate better to the people of the O.T. their failures, their quirks, their

constant failing. When asked ‘whom am I more like in the O.T.’ my answer is

quick, simple and still probably not going to change; Balaam’s Ass, (because I’m

still surprised what comes out of my mouth) and Samson (a good looking woman

still turns my head, and physical strength has helped me get through a lot of

scrapes).

Most people just shake their head and walk away, a few will say “you’re kidding”

some will smile, some get insulted. I can’t see myself ever saying I’m like the

apostle Paul or like any other apostle for that much, even Thomas with all his

doubts still beats me at my best .

I love all the Greek word studies of the N.T. and the book of Romans and

Colossians will probably always be my favorites. But when it comes to the O.T.

flawed folks rock.

So like any good country song here’s to all the screwed up people we know.

God bless

Prayer request for me, pray for my neck, talk about screwed up, (no I didn’t twist

it looking at a pretty girl) I’m in some serious pain. Thank you to all the wonderful

people that keep encouraging me to keep writing these devotions.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

YEP, IT’S A SIN

January 30, 2018

YEP, IT’S A SIN

Faultfinding over trivial things. You didn’t put the top back on the toilet. You squeezed it in the middle. Or you hung your stockings again on the shower rail. Or you never pick up your clothes. Did you know the word “Nag” and the word “gnaw” are related? You ever have anybody gnaw on you? It ain’t funny. Here’s what the Bible says. Now these verses you can tell old Solomon knew what he was talking about. Proverbs 21:19, “It is better to dwell in the wilderness then with a contentious and an angry woman.”

Proverbs 27:15, “a continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.”

Drip. Drip. Drip. But it’s not only the women who nag. Men nag. You need to confess it, not as a weakness, but as a sin and break the habit.

Think about your speech, to yourself, your spouse, children, co-workers. Does your speech bless?

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Richard B, getting married this Sunday afternoon. First time, he’s 32 and she’s 28, both have been “saving” themselves. A very godly couple, it will be a pleasure to do their wedding.

Pray for Sarah L, February will be the anniversary of her mother’s suicide, 5 years ago during the superbowl. She’s a great Christian young woman and her mother missed a large part of her life past and present, but it’s still her mom.

Thank you to all that pray.

These marks

January 26, 2018

MARKS, SCARS AND IDENTIFICATION

So I went to a new dermatologist today. Mine had retired. I forget what taking off my shirt does to people. That sharp intake of breath. The look on their face; “are those scars from bullets, are those stab marks?”

My first dermatologist was Marine medic, Vietnam Veteran, so he didn’t ask.

This guy is fresh out of college.

“Yep” I reply, “Thailand, Nicaragua, El Salvador, New York city, Toronto Canada.” It’s the last two that always get the raised eyebrows.

Knife scars, bullet wounds, shrapnel, fractured vertebrae, broken back, fractured hip, dislocated retina and scalped. (that was with a crowbar swung at my head and catching me just right, tore my scalp back about 5 inches, they just glued it back on and told me not to wash my head for a week or so. Staples, my wife, God bless had the duty of pulling 17 of them out of my back after spinal surgery. She still shudders when she picks up a stapler.

In my old age I can tell you when it’s going to rain, have a temperature drop, if it’s below 70 degrees I have to where a coat or my joints ache to much. Forget aftershave it won’t cover the Absorbine Junior menthol rub.

But that all pales to nothing, not barely worth mentioning compared to the scars some folks deal with that are on the inside. Incest, rape, sexual abuse, beating, emotional abuse. Whipped with extension cords, locked in cupboards, closets. The shame and guilt piled on by the abuser, locking their lips into silence. The Apostle Paul said there are some things so shameful they shouldn’t be mentioned. Things we were forced or cajoled into doing, emotional blackmail, survival in your own family.

But then we need to remember the marks and the scars on our Savior. So important to identification that even in his glorified body he still bears those marks.

For us, he bore them, for us he bears them, for our future, our past, the present, He will always be known and recognized by the scars on His body. The most important scars in the universe because they are for us.

So for a moment, we bear this light affliction, to then see all our Savior bore for us and the forgiveness, grace and restoration to sanity.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com