turn it up

April 18, 2017

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Paul told Timothy to “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” (1Ti 4:13) That’s a passage about preaching,, “but it’s also a passage about just plain reading the Bible out loud.” Here are a number of practical reasons why reading the Bible aloud is a beneficial habit to adopt:

  ➤ Reading aloud is multisensory—Outside worship services, our engagement with Scripture tends to involve only one of our five senses—sight. When we add hearing to seeing, we stimulate different areas of our brain, providing a multisensory experience that can help us have a more meaningful experience with the Word of God.

 ➤ Reading aloud improves retention—When we read aloud, the words we speak are translated into speech, giving us two types of memories—the knowledge of producing the spoken words as well as the memory of hearing them. This makes our memory for the spoken word more distinct from the verses we read silently.

 ➤ Reading aloud slows us down—Our eyes and brains are faster than our mouths. When we read silently we see and process the words rapidly. Reading aloud forces us to read more slowly, which gives us more time to process what we’re reading and broadens our opportunity to hear God speak through Scripture.

  It is also valuable to read aloud to several individuals and groups. Here are some tips for making reading aloud part of your routine.

  ➤ You and your family—It might feel odd at first, but try reading aloud to yourself regularly during your individual Bible reading sessions. Or add reading aloud to your family night or family devotional time.

 ➤ Your church and small group—Most churches and small groups already include corporate Scripture reading into their services or meetings. If yours does not, talk to your worship or small group leader about adding regular readings to the program.

 ➤ The young and the old—Offer to read to children who might only hear about God during Sunday school class. Or perhaps volunteer to read to the elderly, who because of infirmity or advanced age might no longer be able to read the Bible for themselves. Every believer, whether young or old, benefits from being frequently engaged with Scripture.

Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. The only time the bible says that “reading and hearing” the Word is a blessing. The implication is that of reading and hearing at the same time will bless.

If you can afford only one Commentary on the Bible get the one volume of Matthew Henry, here is a sample; “On all who read or hear the words of the prophecy, a blessing is pronounced. Those are well employed who search the Bible. It is not enough that we read and hear, but we must keep the things that are written, in our memories, in our minds, in our affections, and in practice, and we shall be blessed in the deed. Even the mysteries and difficulties of this book are united with discoveries of God, suited to impress the mind with awe, and to purify the soul of the reader, though he may not discern the prophetic meaning. No part of Scripture more fully states the gospel, and warns against the evil of sin.”

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

 

SUNDAY MORING 02_19 LIAR LIAR

February 19, 2017

Four things that Satan did to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Look, if you will, in 3:1: “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field [the word subtle means crafty and sly], more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

Spiritual flaw number one is to despise God’s goodness and to think negatively about God, to think negatively about God. That’s what the devil wants you to do. He wants you to think negatively about God. Satan came crawling his slimy, corroding path into the pages of history, and he said, “Did God say that you shall not eat of the fruit of every tree of the garden?” Now, what was that? It was an attempt to get Eve to doubt God’s goodness, God’s love, God’s amazing grace, He wanted Eve to think negatively about God. What it was was a slander of the character of God. It was Satan’s way of saying God is not good. God is some sort of a cosmic killjoy. God doesn’t want you to have all of this good fruit. Now, of course, that was a lie. God had not said that she could not eat of that fruit. As a matter of fact, just put in your margin Genesis 2:16: “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden  thou mayest freely eat.”

“It’s there! It’s for you! Adam, Eve, I made it for you! Help yourself!” But what did Satan say? “O, hath God said ye shall not eat of the fruit of every tree of the garden?” The truth of the matter is there was only one tree that they were forbidden to take of. But what Satan was trying to do was to get Eve to think negatively about God. God is so straight-laced. God is so cruel that anytime He sees anyone having any pleasure, He just sort of moves in to break up the party. Everything good and pleasurable is a no-no. The truth of the matter is that God has said a resounding yes to your pleasure. God loves you. Don’t get the idea that being a Christian is some sort of a penalty that you pay in order to get to heaven. I would be a Christian is there were no heaven. There is. I would be a Christian if there were no hell, just to know the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.

Can you imagine what all God made for Adam and Eve? Can you imagine the glories, the splendor of Eden and what it must have been like? The most beautiful place you’ve ever seen would not even begin to compare with Eden. And God made it for Adam and Eve, and God said, “Help yourself.”

They tell a little story of Cain and Abel after Adam and Eve had been put out of the garden because of their sin. Cain and Abel came to a wall, climbed up that wall and looked over and saw Eden. Went back to Adam and said, “Daddy, we have just seen the most beautiful place in the world. Hey, hey, dad, you think we could ever live in a place like that?” Adam said, “We did once, boys, before your mother ate us out of house and home”. Well, it was a beautiful and a glorious place, and God made it, and God said to Adam and God said to Eve, “Help yourself.”

Do you know what the devil will do to many of you? He will put negative thoughts in your hearts concerning the goodness of our God. Listen to Psalm 37:4.

The Bible says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desire of your heart.” Listen to Psalm 84:11: “The Lord thy God is a sun and a shield: the Lord will give grace and glory [now, listen to this]: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Isn’t that great? “… no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Listen to 1 Timothy 6:17. The Bible says, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches [but now, listen to this], but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” “… the living God, who has given to us richly all things to enjoy.” The dirty devil wants you to think negatively about God. Now, listen to me. God is good all of the time (amen). And anything that causes pain and suffering and moan and moan and groan and woe and heartache and tears is the fruit of sin. It is not because of God. God made a beautiful, wonderful paradise and He put man and woman in that paradise. And so, Satan’s spiritual flaw, number one, is to get you to doubt the goodness of God and to think negatively about God. And, friend, it’s a foolish thing if you think negatively about our great God, who has given us richly all things to enjoy. When I invite you to Jesus Christ, I’m not inviting you to a funeral; I’m inviting you to a feast (amen) to know the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Spiritual flaw number two is to deny God’s truthfulness and to think skeptically about God. Now, notice verses 2, 3: “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden [Eve knew better than that]: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.” You know how I think he said it? I wasn’t there, but I, you know how I think he said it? (noise) “… Ye shall not surely die.” I mean, what he is doing here is denying God’s truthfulness. “How do you know that you’re going to surely die?” And what he did was to make a skeptic, to make a doubter about God’s truthfulness. You see, what he did, first of all, was to question God’s goodness, and now he is questioning God’s truthfulness. Now, I want to say this: anybody who causes a question mark concerning the Word of God, or anybody who denies the veracity and the truth of the Word of God is doing the work of the devil. I don’t care what university he teaches in, or what seminary he may teach in. I don’t, I care not how many degrees he has after his name. If he inculcates in the hearts and minds of anybody a doubt or a denial of the Word of God, that man is an emissary of Satan (amen). It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. “Yea, hath God said ye shall not eat? Oh, come on! You will not surely die. Oh, no. Why, your eyes will be open.”

You see, modern man today will do anything except believe the truth. We have so many substitutes for the truth. We have today, relativism. Hagel, the philosopher, began relativism, and relativism in our society, and so everything is relative. And our kids are going to school today being taught there are not absolutes. All truth is relative truth, and if that doesn’t go, then others.

And especially in some churches today, have been given to subjectivism. Not relativism, but subjectivism. They say, “Well, this is what I feel is truth. This is what I think. This is what it means to me. Well, what is true for me may not be true for you, but isn’t it wonderful that we all have our own truth.” And that’s, that’s subjectivism. Truth is what we experience.

And, and for others, the answer is not necessarily relativism or subjectivism, but rationalism. They somehow have the idea that all that is truth is what we call empirical truth, what they can put into the laboratory. If they can put God in a test tube, then they might believe in God. Puny man thinks that he can prove God through rationalism, and so he substitutes “Thus saith the mind of man,” for “Thus saith the Word of God.”

And another substitute for God’s truth is pragmatism, and this is the one that’s working in America today. In America today we don’t ask, “Is it true?” We want to know, “Does it work?” Does it work! And so, we’re not all that interested in pragmatism.

But, you know, the most damning assault on truth today is a word you may not have heard much, but if you’ve read or been in theology, you’ll hear this word, and it’s post-modernism. What on earth is post-modernism? You say, “Pastor, I’ve been longing all morning to hear something about post-modernism”. Post-modernism. These folks, they don’t believe there is a truth. They won’t argue about truth to you because it’s not even an issue with them. It’s just, there is no real truth, and so it’s a hodgepodge of all of these other things that I have talked about—rationalism and relativism and emotionalism and all of these things. But when they finally finish, they just simply say, “Nobody knows truth. There never has been truth. Never will be truth. We make up truth as we go along.” Now, that kind of thinking, which is one of Satan’s spiritual flaws, leads people with no rationale basis as to say what is right and what is wrong.

And that’s, we’re, we’re still thinking about the kids in the high schools these days. What has happened in America? Well, one thing: there’s a famine for the Word of God. There’s a famine for the Word of God. If you listened to

P-A-V-L-O-V, the Russian who worked with animals in what we call “conditioned response.” That is, he could, he would ring a bell and feed the dogs and the dogs would salivate after a while just at the ringing of a bell because they associated the ringing of a bell with food. But another thing Pavlov did was this, and I’d not heard this before. He would put a dog down and over here and put in front of the dog a perfect circle. And when the dog would see the perfect circle, he taught the dog to jump to the right. And if the dog would see the circle and jump to the right, the dog would be rewarded. And so the dog learned—circle = jump = food.

And then, after he got the dog trained this way, he put in front of the dog an oval. Not a circle, but an oval. And then, at the sign of the oval, he taught the dog to jump to the left. Jump to the left = oval = food. Circle—jump to the right = reward. And the dog was trained this way. And the dog had it down perfectly.

And then Pavlov began to do something. He began to take the circle and morph it just a little bit so it began to look like an oval. He took the oval and began to change it a little bit so it looked like a circle. And the dog was getting confused and still trying, as best he could, to get the reward and to do what was right. And, finally, Pavlov had a figure on the ground that the dog would not tell whether it was a circle or an oval, and the dog went mad.

Now, folks, that’s where our kids are today! They don’t know whether it’s a circle or an oval. They do not know that there is a fixed standard because that dirty devil has gotten people to think skeptically about God and cannot believe the fixed Word of God. Parents are having difficulty today raising children. Well, let me tell you how to raise them. “Child, it’s wrong to steal because God says so. It’s wrong to commit adultery because God says so. You’re to obey your parents because God says so. We’re to worship one because God says so.” But if the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do.

Now, here’s the third spiritual flaw. First of all, Satan wanted Eve to think negatively about God, to doubt the goodness of God. Secondly, he wanted Eve to think skeptically about God, and to doubt the truthfulness of God. Thirdly, third spiritual flaw was to defy God’s righteousness and to think carelessly about God. To think carelessly about God. Look in verse 4 again. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.” That is, “Eve, you don’t have to worry about judgment. I mean, you can be cavalier about this thing. You don’t need to fear God. God is not all that righteous. Now, don’t worry about God’s laws.” Well, friend, God is righteous and God is holy. Not only is God good, but God is righteous. God will punish sin. God had forbidden them to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And God said, “In the day that you eat thereof, you will die.” That was God’s holy law. And law without penalty is only advice. And God wasn’t giving advice. You see, it’s, it’s the devil’s gospel, the devil’s gospel that God will not punish sin, but God sent me here to tell you that God is a holy God—God is a righteous God—and God will punish sin. And whatever happened to hell? If you disobey God and refuse the gospel of Jesus Christ, you’re going to die and go to hell. You’re going to die and go to hell. There is a hell. You say, “Well, Pastor, today people don’t believe in hell anymore.” Well, that doesn’t change it at all. Jesus Christ had more to say about hell than any preacher in the Word of God. Jesus Christ, the loving Jesus, had more to say about hell than any other preacher in the Word of God.

Abraham Lincoln, who was wise in old fashion kinda homey ways, said to a little boy one time, said, “Son, I want to ask you a question. If a dog has four legs and you call his tail a leg, then how many legs would he have?” The little boy said, “He’s have 5.” And Abe said, “No, he’ll only have four. No matter what you call his call, it’s still a tail. You can call his tail a leg if you want to, but he only has four legs.” And no matter what people say about hell, they do not take away God’s truth concerning the punishment of sin.

Now, Satan knows that man fears death. Satan knows that. And so he says to Eve, “You will not surely die.” And, by the way, I said, you know, this is not new or old. It’s, it’s up to date. It’s all New Age religion. Everything that I have given you, everything, is all New Age religion.

How do the New Agers deal with this idea, “You shall not, you will not surely die?” Well, it’s re-incarnation. What is re-incarnation? Well, you just, you just keep going around and around. You get recycled. You get as many chances at perfection as you need. And in re-incarnation there’s no judgment. There’s no personal God. And you know who the high priestess of this New Age religion is? Do you remember Shirley MacLaine, an actress of sorts. She said, listen to this, and I quote her, “We can eliminate all fear of death.” And she said she had discovered that once she was a princess in Atlantis, and then she was an Inca in Peru, and then one time she was a child raised by elephants. That’s in her past lives that she’s had. And, you know, Shirley MacLaine said, “It’s like show business. You keep doing it until you get it right.” And so there are a lot of kids today who, while they cannot be taught biblical truth, eastern mysticism and New Ageism has come in like gangbusters into the church and they believe that. The idea is that we have something called karma. And if your karma is good, next time you go through, you keep on going up and you get higher and higher and higher. But if your karma is bad, you’re degraded in the next life.  And so, it just all depends. So, you just keep going through and through. And that’s the reason many of them are vegetarians, because they believe that animals and humans are all interrelated, and so when you go to McDonalds, you might be eating your grandmother. And so, they believe this—that that cow has been re-incarnated from something else, re-incownated , and so this is what they believe. I believe re-incarnation is putting the milk back in the can, but you won’t get that till after the service.

Satan, Satan does not want people to believe that there is a death, and a holy and a righteous God, and a judgment to face, and so they, you come up with these silly ideas, like re-incarnation. People don’t like the idea of judgment, and they’re glad to listen to this third spiritual flaw that you can deny the righteousness of God and think carelessly about God.

Do you know one of the worst things people say about preachers today? He’s a hell-fire preacher, hell, fire, and damnation preacher, like you don’t want to go there to hear him. I want to say again—you would not have wanted to hear Jesus. I have an idea, I have a suspicion, it’s almost a conviction, if the Supreme Court of the United States of America could vote on it, they would outlaw hell and cruel and unusual punishment. They would say, “Well, that’s certainly an un-American thing. You cannot have eternal punishment.”

You see, this is a lie out of hell. The devil wants you to think negatively about God. The devil wants you to think skeptically about God. The devil wants you to think casually and lightly about God.

Fourth spiritual flaw is this: that Satan debases God’s greatest and he wants you to think suspiciously about God. He wants you to think suspiciously about God. Now, notice how clever he was. Look in verse 5: “For God doth know that in the day that ye eat thereof, ha, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Now, you know what he’s saying here? “Look, you can’t trust God. Ha, Eve, you’re a babe in the woods. Your eyes are not even open. You don’t know what’s right. You don’t know what’s wrong. You don’t know what’s good. You don’t know what’s bad. All you have is His word for it. That’s all you have, is His word for it. You’ve never experienced it. How do you know it’s bad? How do you know? After all, Eve, experience is the best teacher.” Have you ever heard that? Experience is the best teacher. So we get the idea today that in order to find out whether something is good or bad, we have to experience with it. That’s the reason why so many young people have their lives that are wrecked and ruined and are sucked down in the swirling sewers of sin because of experimentation. They say, “Well, I want to experiment a little bit with drugs. I want to experiment a little with eastern meditation. I want to experience, experiment a little bit with pre-marital sex. I want to experiment a little bit with sexual perversion.” “I mean, just try it, Eve. You might like it. Hey, Eve, if it’s good, then you can do it some more. If it’s bad, you don’t have to do it anymore. But, Eve, your eyes are not even open. Why, listen, if you’ll do it, then your eyes will be open. You’ll be like He is. You will know the difference between good and bad. You see, He’s got a monopoly on being God. Ha, He’s trying to head you off at the pass. He doesn’t want you to have fulfillment. He doesn’t want you to be liberated. He wants to keep you under His thumb. Eve, experience is the best teacher, not somebody’s word.” Let me tell you something, folks, when it comes to sin, experience is a very poor teacher. And those who know the least about sin are those who are the deepest into it, did you know that?

The Bible speaks of the deceitfulness of sin, the deceitfulness of sin. And those who know the very least about sin are those who have been blinded and they’re into sin, and they come to the place where they get a reprobate mind. They cannot tell up from down, good for bad. They put bitter for sweet, sweet for bitter, light for darkness, darkness for light, good for evil, and evil for good because they try to make themselves the sum, the substance, the total decider of what is good and bad. And, folks, I’m going to tell you, the world is full of that today. These kids who are ruining their lives through experimentation.

WHAT LIES HAVE YOU BELIEVED? ONLY THE WORD OF GOD CAN CHASE THOSE LIES OUT OF YOUR LIFE

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

 

two legs to stand on

February 18, 2017

TWIN PILLARS

 

But now that you have been set free from the tyranny of Sin, and have become the bondservants of God, you have your reward in being made holy” (Rom. 6:22, Weymouth Translation.).

When the believer truly sees Calvary he says, “There, through the work of the Cross, I died with the Lord Jesus unto sin.” When the believer truly sees Pentecost he says, “There, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, I was baptized into the risen Lord Jesus.” Here are the two mighty pillars of our freedom from the power and domination of sin.

The believer is to rejoice in the double blessing of Calvary and Pentecost. He is freed from condemnation because of the Blood shed, and he is set free from the law of sin and death by the indwelling Spirit that he received when he came to the Lord Jesus. It is not only that there is no condemnation, but there is liberty.

The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death’ (Rom. 8:2). ‘…hath made me free….’ Let me walk in it; let me enjoy it, and I am free. I am not struggling to get free; I have been set free in the Spirit, and I am bidden to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made me free (Gal. 5:1). I am not struggling for victory; I am standing in victory. I have not to struggle to get out of the horrible pit. He lifted me out; set my feet on the Rock and established my goings; and He bids me, ‘Stand fast in the victory that I have gained for you.’ Believe and rejoice in it, and you will know what it is to be free.

“Walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4)

PRAY FOR MARCUS MARTINEZ, 64, FELL AND STRUCK HIS HEAD AND THEY FOUND BLOOD CLOTS IN HIS NECK, CHICKEN OR THE EGG, THEY DON’T WHICH HAPPENED FIRST.

PRAY FOR DEBBIE LIGHTFOOT’S DAUGHTER HER LIVER IS POISONING HER BABY, THEY HAVE TO DO AN EMERGENCY “C” SECTION THE BABY WILL BE DELIVERD 3 MONTHS EARLY

 

bite the bullet

December 29, 2016

I felt that it was important to post this devotion about suicide again, I wrote it for counselors, yet it is for any one that struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts. Tonight I write again for myself, the holidays are always murder on me and I thought this year I had slipped through them, but late today and into the evening I am being hounded with these very thoughts. Part of the reason is I have been struggling with long some term illness and chronic pain, part of it is I tried to go through the day without all my medication and that was a big mistake. I know tomorrow the sun will shine and I’ll probably feel better. There are to many people that love me to keep me from the actuality, but the effort it takes is monumental. God bless and lift up someone today, call that person you’ve been meaning to call.

The desire or decision to kill oneself is in most cases the result is in most cases the result of a state of acute depression. It may be brought on by health problems, pain, or the inability to handle frustration. Irresponsible behavior may produce the strong desire to destroy oneself or to leave the world. Demon influences may be involved, as may cultic teaching that results in brainwashed behavior.

Our hopes in God and our strength is in him (Ps. 42:11). There are times when God seems far away and our prayers go unanswered, but the Bible teaches that God brings deliverance, healing, and eternal hope. Despair seems to be inevitable in every human life, but it need not persist, for we are assured that God loves us and gives our life meaning and purpose.

A suicidal person feels he has exhausted all his options. Life has no meaning, no purpose, no future, so why continue to endure its extreme unhappiness, anguish, hopelessness and despair? The obsession that nothing will ever change for the better leaves him feeling helpless, with the conviction that death is the only way out.

Such a person is a victim of depression, tortured with feelings of unworthiness, sin and failure, deep guilt, and the need to be punished. Many things condition this person for the depressed state that can lead to suicide or its attempt: anger, envy, jealousy, fear, guilt, self-pity, sexual deviation, drugs, alcohol, etc. It should be obvious to the counselor, then, that root causes leading to such a crisis are likely to be deep and possibly of long duration. Many of these do, in fact, reflect back to childhood and therefore point to the need for prolonged professional counseling with a Christian psychologist or psychiatrist.

In this situation we feel that although not all the problems involved are spiritual, the ultimate problem in life is separation from God, solved only through a personal relationship to Jesus Christ. Without this relationship to Christ, there can be no real solutions or healing. As a person experiences all that is involved in the “new life in Christ” (cf., 2 Corinthians 5:17) – forgiveness, freedom from guilt and fear, a sense of fulfillment and well-being, new orientations and motivations to live, etc. – forces for radical change are set in motion. This is where the counselor can be of real service: guiding the inquirer into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Some persons threaten suicide in order to get attention and sympathy. They want someone to listen to their hurts and frustrations. Others are beyond this point and seriously have self-destruction in mind.

It is only natural if you feel inadequate when confronted with this kind of challenge; however, you should attempt to help, remembering that our resources come from the Lord. He will be reaching out in love and power through you. Be motivated by the promises of Scripture that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, KJV), and “if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God. . .and it will be given to him” (James 1:5, NIV).

Christians are not immune to suicidal thoughts or attempts. Unresolved or unconfessed sin, or a crisis situation such as a deep disappointment, the death of a loved one, a divorce, loss of employment, loss of health, a nervous breakdown, etc., can precipitate depression severe enough to lead to such and attempt.

  1. Remind the Christian that God always loves and cares.”. . .for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5, KJV).

  2. Remind him also that we are God’s children. (Quote John 1:12.)

  3. Tell him that God still forgives. Share “Restoration.” Emphasize Proverbs 28:13 and 1 John 1:9. Confession results in forgiveness and restoration fellowship.

  4. Suggest that he look only to the Lord and not at the problems and circumstances around him. (See Matthew 14:27-32 and Proverbs 3:5, 6.)

  5. Suggest that it is important to get into God’s Word: hear, read and study, meditate, and memorize.

  6. Suggest that prayer is a valuable resource and forms and essential part of a Christian’s life. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and Philippians 4:6,7.)

  7. Remind him that identity with a Bible-teaching church is an important factor in recovering emotional stability. Such identity permits fellowship with caring people who worship and work together.

  8. Pray with the person that God will come to him with new meaning, filling him with hope and renewed trust.

Remember the sun does come up tomorrow, you don’t have to be alone, walk into an all night diner, police station, fire station, but reach out. If you have planned you suicide get rid of the object that is going to be used, the gun, the knife, the poison, the car.

It’s important during the holidays to not be alone.

Remember if you have been talking to someone that has been depressed and suicidal and suddenly they are euphoric, that is the most critical moment to intervene.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ouch, it hurts so good

December 26, 2016

“Before I was afflicted l went astray: but now have I kept Thy word” (Ps. 119:67)

The head-knowledge of Spirit-taught study becomes the heart-knowledge of Spirit-led life, via Romans 8:28 and 29. How good it is to have a sovereign Father controlling all!

“You will find that no one learns truth easily. He who built on the rock was not secure merely because he built on the rock; but he also digged deep. What springs up quickly has no root. The more you understand the nature and scope of the Word, the more will you see the demand it makes on you and how unreserved must be your subjection to it; while as you are subject to it, you learn the blessedness and virtues of it.

The true value of anything is known only when it is wanted. For this reason bright days must be succeeded by dark ones. In the dreary and desolate hour to nature, we begin to know the value of the truth communicated to us in the bright day. The learning is at one time, and the proving at another. In fact, we ought to be prepared for the dark hour; so that, though it be dark, there is something so blessed, so suited, pouring its comfort and sustenance on our souls, that, after all, the dark and dreary hour becomes a more really festive time to the heart, because of the virtues of the truth now made known, than the time of its reception, which was so happy and exhilarating.

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while . . . stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Pet. 5:10).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Simply Put

December 20, 2016

One of the most profound and important theological principles of the Christian faith is built on a simple preposition: in.

The expression “in Christ” occurs 216 times in the letters of Paul and 26 times in the writings of John. “In” is the connective hinge of the doctrine referred to as “union with Christ.”

Union with Christ, is a phrase used to summarize several different relationships between believers and Christ, through which Christians receive every benefit of salvation. These relationships include the fact that we are in Christ, Christ is in us, we are like Christ and we are with Christ. These four aspects of the union affect our relationship both with Jesus and with other believers.

  1. We are in Christ—Paul says “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come” (2Co 5:17). This connection has implications not only for the future (the resurrection of our bodies) but also for the life we live now. Every action in our lives can be done “in Christ,” if it is done in the power of his kingdom and in a way that brings honor to him.

  2. Christ is in us—The reality that Christ dwells within believers has many profound consequences for how we treat other Christians, particularly those in need. This doctrine helps us to better understand what Jesus meant when he said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40).

  3. We are like Christ—Our union with Christ is the primary motivation for our imitation of him. Paul frequently admonishes us to act in a way that models the behavior of Jesus (e.g., Ro 15:7, Eph 5:25, Col 3:3).

  4. We are with Christ—Even though his body ascended to heaven, Jesus assures us that he is still with us (see Mt 28:20). Our Savior does not remain outside of us, simply leading the way to a better life, says Michael S. Horton. Rather, “we live in him and therefore in and for each other.”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

UPBEAT

September 23, 2016

Image result for picture of a music staff

ON MY IPOD THERE ARE OVER 1500 SONGS, EVERYTHING FROM JETHRO TULL TO BILL GAITHER, OZZY OSBORNE TO THE BLIND LEMON JOHNSON, CLASSICAL TO SMOOTH JAZZ, PUNK ROCKERS TO OPERA. MY POINT, GOD USES MUSIC TO BLESS, TO MOVE TO GIVE PAUSE FOR THOUGHT TO ENCOURAGE. SO HERE’S SOME THOUGHTS ON MUSIC. ROCK ON.

 

Bach Gave God the Glory

  1. S. Bach said, “All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul’s refreshment; where this is not remembered there is no real music but only a devilish hubbub.” He headed his compositions: “J. J.” “Jesus Juva” which means “Jesus help me.” He ended them “S.D.G.” “Soli Dei gloria” which means “To God alone the glory.”

Theology and Music

Martin Luther said, “The devil takes flight at the sound of music, just as he does at the words of theology, and for this reason the prophets always combined theology and music, the teaching of truth and the chanting of Psalms and hymns.” “After theology, I give the highest place and greatest honor to music.”

THE MUSIC OF THE REST

There’s no music in a rest, but there is the making of music in it. In our whole life melody the music is broken off here and there by ‘rests,’ and we foolishly think we have come to the end of the tune. Not without design does God write the music of our lives. Be it ours to learn the tune, and not be dismayed at the ‘rests.’ They are not to be slurred over, not to be omitted, not to destroy the melody, not to change the keynote. If we sadly say to ourselves, ‘There is no music in a rest,’ let us not forget that there is the making of music in it.

THE LANGUAGE OF MUSIC

The status of music as a universal language offers an outstanding vehicle for the communication of any message, and more particularly, for the message of the eternal Gospel. Lawrence Bixler says that this universal language appeals first to the emotions and then to the intellect. The emotions serve as a doorway to the throne room of the mind.

ALL TOGETHER NOW

At a meeting of the American Psychological Association, Jack Lipton, a psychologist at Union College, and R. Scott Builione, a graduate student at Columbia University, presented their findings on how members of the various sections of 11 major symphony orchestra perceived each other. The percussionists were viewed as insensitive, unintelligent, and hard-of-hearing, yet fun-loving. String players were seen as arrogant, stuffy, and unathletic. The orchestra members overwhelmingly chose “loud” as the primary adjective to describe the brass players. Woodwind players seemed to be held in the highest esteem, described as quiet and meticulous, though a bit egotistical. Interesting findings, to say the least! With such widely divergent personalities and perceptions, how could an orchestra ever come together to make such wonderful music? The answer is simple: regardless of how those musicians view each other, they subordinate their feelings and biases to the leadership of the conductor. Under his guidance, they play beautiful music.

SO GET UPBEAT, GOD WILL PUT A SONG IN YOUR HEART.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

CONTINUE to remember Vickie J in prayer as she goes through cancer treatment.

Pray for “little joey” street punk who gave it up for Jesus on Wednesday

Tim p, marriage problems, she’s from a rich family and he’s from the other side of the tracks, they need to move and get away from her suffocating, nagging parents, (my words not his).

a little secret, shhhh

September 15, 2016

shackles

Somewhere in the world right now, a mother is discovering that her 14-year-old

son has been looking at porn online for three years, and she was totally unaware

up until now.

Somewhere else a man sits quietly in his home, engaging in a three-hour porn

binge while his family is sleeping.

In another place, a single 25-year-old woman is clicking back and forth between

porn videos and anonymous erotic chat sessions.

Next door, a pastor is sitting up late with his laptop, with his mouse arrow

hovering over the words “I am at least 18 years old,” praying to God he will have

the strength to resist the urge.

These are the kinds of stories I would hear every day when I was a pastor.

Men and women call day in and day out asking the same question: how can I

resist temptation online?

I have come up with what I believe are three keys to success.

  1. Know your helplessness

It is a step we often miss, but it is critical: we must cry out to God for help. God

promises to be near to all who call on Him in truth (Psalm 145:18). To really “cry

out” to God means we must first feel a sense of our own desperation. It is the

brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) and the humble (James 4:6) who receive God’s

grace and nearness.

Crying out to God does not mean stewing over our sin in our minds. Nor is it just

complaining about our sin or wallowing in self-pity. Crying out to God is about

lifting our souls to Him and pleading with Him for help.

For many people who struggle with porn, there’s a desire to get to a place where

they feel they don’t need to lean on God as much. These people believe freedom

is about being strong enough to resist temptation. These people believe “growth”

in the Christian life is about graduating from grace and becoming more self-reliant. In reality, growth is the exact opposite: it is about becoming more reliant

on God, realizing our need for grace every minute of every day.

  1. Know who you really are

Still living with our fallen bodies in a fallen world, we are weak, but we are no

longer defined by our sin. As Christians, we have a new identity.

The apostle John says that those who are truly motivated to purify themselves are

motivated by hope. “We know that when he appears we shall be like him,

because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). This is our ultimate hope: the day

Jesus returns and remakes us completely in His image, full of purity. This is our

destiny.

Until then, we rest in the fact that we are already God’s children. “See what kind

of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and

so we are” (1 John 3:1). We are God’s children, and one day that new identity will

be put on display for all to see. “Everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself

as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).

For the porn lover, this means reckoning within our own minds that we are in fact

dead to the sin of lust and alive to God, even if our lives don’t reflect it yet

(Romans 6:11). We are united to the One who is dead to this sinful world, who

lives in perfect, resurrection life (Romans 6:1–10). We have the Spirit of the

resurrected Christ within us, and though that Spirit he marks us as His own.

Because He is dead to the slave master sin, we too are dead to sin: we now have

the freedom to obey God. We must reckon that to be true.

  1. Know the power of accountability

Nothing destroys the sense of our true identity like a double life. The Internet

offers that to us. It promises us an “anonymous” browsing experience where no

one has to know about what we see, who we talk to, or what we do—including

God.

Paul links sexual sin to secrecy. He says the works of darkness—sexual immorality,

impurity, and covetousness—are done “in secret” (Ephesians 5:12) and

“darkness” (Ephesians 5:11) because the light exposes us for who we really are.

When we allow secret corners to develop in our lives, we are carving out a fantasy world of our own making—a place where God’s rules don’t apply to us, where our

decisions are our own.

This is why we need accountability: we need the regular discipline of talking to

others we trust about our temptations, sins, and the state of our hearts. We must

practice nonsecrecy.

For the porn user, this is why accountability software is so powerful: it demolishes

secrecy. It does not allow sin to fester in the dark.

I felt like this is a timely post and one of the frequent counseling sessions I have

with people. A secret has no power once it’s not a secret.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

good_shepherdblacksheep

COMFORT
1. The Lord is our shepherd, always leading us in the best way and protecting us.
Ps. 23.

  1. As an eagle stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, so God cares for his own.

    Deut. 32:10 – 12. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his

    eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hover over its young, that spreads its wings to

    catch them on its pinions. The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him.

  1. As a father cares for his children, so God cares for his own; his love is everlasting.

    Ps. 103:8-18.

  1. God always shelters those who put their trust in him.

    Ps. 91:1-2. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the

    Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I

    trust.”

  1. God know us most intimately; he holds and guides us by his hand.

    Ps. 139:1-12.

    Ps. 139: 1-3. O Lord, you have search me and you know me. You know when I sit and

    when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying

    down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Ps. 139:9-10. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even
there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

  1. The wicked appear to prosper for a time, while the righteous suffer; but actually God is

    always leading us in the best way; he comforts us with his presence. Ps. 73.

    Ps. 73:23-24. I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with

    your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

  1. The sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the coming glory.

    Rom 8:18. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory

    that will be revealed in us.

  1. God works all things together for our good.

    Rom 8:28. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who

    have been called according to his purpose.

  1. If God is for us, nothing can separate us from his love.

    Rom 8:31-39.

    Rom 8:31. What, then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against

    us?

    Rom 8:38-39. I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither

    the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all

    creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  1. Jesus, the good shepherd, died for his sheep; he knows, leads, and protects each one; he

    gives us eternal security.

    John 10:11. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

    John 10:14-15. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as

    the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.

    John 10:27-29. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them

    eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My

    Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my

    Father’s hand.

  1. God’s grace is sufficient for every need.

2 Cor. 9:8. God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

  1. Paul had a thorn in the flesh; God’s promise: My grace is sufficient for you.

    2 Cor. 12:7-10.

    2 Cor. 12:9. He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in

    weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s

    power may rest on me.

  1. Jesus rebuked the disciples for their little faith and calmed the storm.

    Matt. 8:23-27.

  1. God directs all things by his infinite wisdom and his ways are beyond tracing out.

    Rom 11:33-36. Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How

    unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has know the mind of

    the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “For from him and through him and to him are

    all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

  1. One day this life of suffering will be over and all will be made new.

    Rev. 21:1-4.

    Rev. 21:3-4. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with

    men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with

    them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and their God. He will

    wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or

    pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

  1. Cast your concerns on the Lord, for he will support you.

    Ps. 55:22. Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the

    righteous fall.

  1. God is the source of all comfort.

    2 Cor. 1:3-4. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of

    compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can

    comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

There is no situation to big, to bad, to horrible for God, he always has a plan and always is in control.

Theirs is a sermon by Erwin Lutzer, I wish I could recall it, but in its simplest form, either your believe God is in control over everything, or he’s not of control of anything.

Pray for those that have lost much, health, jobs, fortunes, loved ones, friends. Pray that like Job, God will restore.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com