thinking over feeling

The last words uttered by the Savior just before He died on the cross were, “It is finished.” He was not referring to the end of His life or ministry, but of His substitutionary sufferings on the cross which He would complete by His death which occurred immediately following His shout, “It is finished.” He was declaring He had finished the special work of salvation which the Father had given Him to accomplish.

We speak of “the finished work of Christ” because there is nothing left to be done to provide man’s salvation. God has done it all in the person and work of His Son and He raised Him from the dead as the proof of that very fact. The work of God in Christ is a once-and-for-all work of God accomplished in total by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Christ’s death was distinctly a work accomplished for the entire world (John 3:16; Heb. 2:9) and, provisionally speaking, it provided redemption (1 Tim. 2:6), reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19), and propitiation (the appeasement or satisfaction of God’s holiness) (1 John 2:2) for every person in the world.

Salvation is a done proposition. Man’s responsibility is to accept this by faith, faith alone in Christ alone. The finished work of Christ includes not only deliverance from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin. Faith in Christ for salvation means coming to Him as the source of salvation from every aspect of sin through trusting in the accomplished work of Christ.

When Christ cried out, “It is finished” (Greek, telesthai, the perfect tense of teleo, “to complete, finish” expressing completed action with continuing results), He was affirming the fact of the finished nature of what He had accomplished on the cross for the world. Regarding Christ’s work as a finished work, Lewis Chafer wrote:

The fact that Christ died does not in itself save men, but it provides the one and only sufficient ground upon which God in full harmony with His perfect holiness is free to save even the chief of sinners. This is the good news which the Christian is appointed to proclaim to all the world. (any book by Dr. Chafer is good to read)

In all the other religions of the world, salvation is a work that man does for God. This is what makes biblical Christianity distinct from all the religions of the world because in the Bible, salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:0); it is the work of God for man and Christ’s final shout of victory affirmed this truth.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember our prayer list, pray especially for Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression. He has fallen several times over the last few years and his balance is getting worse.

Remember Steve H, and the hunt for a pastor.

How Great our Salvation

January 22, 2019

thinking over feeling

In spite of all man’s expectations of a new society in which he is able to bring about peace and prosperity, the world remains shattered and torn by the ravages of sin locally, nationally, and internationally. The Bible speaks, however, of God’s gracious plan to provide a solution to man’s problem. We call it salvation or soteriology.

Soteriology, the doctrine of salvation, must be the grandest theme in the Scriptures. It embraces all of time as well as eternity past and future. It relates in one way or another to all of mankind, without exception. It even has ramifications in the sphere of the angels. It is the theme of both the Old and New Testaments. It is personal, national, and cosmic. And it centers on the greatest Person, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Salvation in Christ, which begins in eternity past according to the predetermined plan of God and extends into the eternal future, has three observable phases in the Bible. Understanding this truth can relieve a lot of tension from the standpoint of security and enable the believer to relax in the Lord and His grace while simultaneously moving forward in spiritual growth.

Phase I. This is the past tense of salvation—saved from sin’s penalty. Several passages of Scripture speak of salvation as wholly past, or as accomplished and completed for the one who has believed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This aspect views the believer as delivered once and for all from sin’s penalty and spiritual death (Luke 7:50; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 2:15; Eph. 2:5, 8; Tit. 3:5; Heb. 7:25; 2 Tim. 1:9). So complete and perfect is this work of God in Christ that the believer is declared permanently saved and safe forever (John 5:24; 10:28, 29; Rom. 8:1, 37-39; 1 Pet. 1:3-5).

Phase II. This is the present tense of salvation and has to do with present deliverance over the reigning power of sin or the carnal nature’s power in the lives of believers (Rom. 6:1-23; 8:2; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 2:19-20; 5:1-26; Phil. 1:19; 2:12-13; 2 Thess. 2:13). This phase of salvation in Christ is accomplished through the ministry of the indwelling Spirit, but it is based on the work of Christ and the believer’s union and co-identification with Christ in that work.

Phase III. This is the future tense of salvation which refers to the future deliverance all believers in Christ will experience through a glorified resurrected body. It contemplates that, though once and for all saved from the penalty of sin and while now being delivered from the power of sin, the believer in Christ will yet be saved into full conformity to Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29; 13:11; 1 Pet. 1:5; 1 John 3:2). This recognizes and shows that the Christian in his experience never becomes perfect in this life (Phil. 3:12-14). Full conformity to the character of Christ, experientially speaking, awaits ultimate glorification. However, the fact that some aspects of salvation for the one who believes are yet to be accomplished in no way implies that there is ground for doubt as to the outcome of eternal salvation because all three phases are dependent upon the merit and the work of God in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Salvation as the saving work of God so completely provides for the believer that believers are declared “complete in Christ” and “blessed with every spiritual blessing” (Col. 2:10; Eph. 1:3). A fathomless source of blessings become the possession of all believers when they trust in Christ as their Savior. The Apostle Paul refers to these blessings as “the unfathomable riches of Christ” in Ephesians 3:8. “Unfathomable” is the Greek anexichniastos which means “past finding out, unsearchable, not to be tracked out.” The idea is that our blessings in Christ are “too deep to be measured.”

Thank God for this great gift, I mean literally thank God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Kim Lee, a Korean Missionary, sent here to start a new church here in the hill country of Texas. Christians from Korea are concerned that America is lost and becoming to pluralistic.

Pray for Olivia, that she carries her miracle baby to full term. And the medicine she has to take for a life threatening disease won’t harm the baby. So we are praying for mommy and baby.

Remember the Perales family, Norma, Rick Sr. and Rick Jr, they all need salvation.

Pray for Barbara D, cancer and several back fractures.

Pray for Stan L, a wonderful Christian man, lost his wife of 54 years.

Remember Frank N. lost in dementia, a chemical engineer, he has suffered many years over the death of his wife, deep dark depression. Now he weeps and wonders why he feels this great sadness. It is tragic. Frank is a Christian and it is so sad to see him like this.

Pray for Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression. New meds are helping a bit. Pray he will go to counseling.

Remember Steve H, and the church’s hunt for a pastor.

ALL OVER THE MAP

January 21, 2019

lgtg

Coffee and theology; it was his first visit to our church, first he said he was Bapticostal, what that means is that he was somewhere between traditional Southern Baptist beliefs and what’s known as Pentecostalism.

In some respects at least, I can see myself somewhere in that range. As a youngster I was raised Lutheran, than in the military became Pentecostal, than Church of Christ, than independent and nondenominational. The last 3 churches I’ve pastored would be called “non denominational”. It seems most non-denominational churches in Texas have come out of either the Southern Baptists or from Pentecostalism, but, for one reason or the other, they no longer want to retain the name of being Baptist or Pentecostal. But much of their fundamental beliefs are founded in those of their basic foundation.

In church growth seminars I tell people to choose their church name carefully because of what people will read into it. I had one start up church that just by choosing a more vanilla name. double the attendance in 2 weeks; as people didn’t want to be labeled.

Most independent churches believe in being saved, born again, and in eternal life through the saving work of Jesus on the Cross. They believe that the Bible is the Word of God and most every Sunday you’ll hear in both Baptist and non-denominational churches a sermon preached which is based around the Bible. Another thing both Baptists, Pentecostals and most non-denominational churches believe is in sharing their faith with others, “witnessing” as it’s called.

Pentecostal churches usually are more or less in agreement with these things. But the Pentecostals lay a strong emphasis on the presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believers. In fact, the reason it’s called Pentecostal is because of the place in the book of Acts where the presence of the Holy Spirit was first strongly manifested, in Acts chapter 2 and that all the spiritual gifts are in use and present in this current age.

So a major difference between Baptists and Pentecostals is in the way they worship, although that is changing. In the nondenominational church I pastor we will all sing some songs together before the sermon. And at the end of a song, everyone will applaud, rather like at a sports event or music event. In Pentecostal churches, they don’t do that; there will be a combination of clapping and lifting  up their hands and verbal praising the Lord. In African American Pentecostal churches expect more noise, longer singing and longer services all together.

When I was an Evangelist on the east coast and was preaching in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and the D.C. area I was always encouraged in these Black churches to “turn it up”. In one church, I preached my normal 27 minutes and when I told them I was done, I was forced (encouraged) to dig up more and go at least another hour. In another church the Elders came up and anointed me with oil, laid hands on me (vigorously) and “encouraged” to get a fresh anointing and ‘turn it up’ and keep on preaching.

This is like what Paul said, “I will that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and without doubting.” (I Thessalonians 2:8) It was very normal to worship this way in Old Testament times. The Psalms are full of things like “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.” (Psalm 134:2). How many of you have been in church and had to do the “Jericho March in the Middle of a worship time?

I feel that the freedom and depth of worship that the Pentecostals have is what I need in order to have a closer relationship with the Lord. I feel the emphasis on the Bible, on winning souls, missionary work and being firmly rooted in the historical body of Christ are all positive, needful things that make up the nondenominational church. One thing that nondenominational churches often lose is the Altar call or what we used to call the Mourner’s Bench. A literal bench the length of a pew, one on each side. You would come to that bench for salvation’s call, healing services, deliverance services. There were times that a prayer time at the altar would last hours after the service ended.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN.

50% of the nondenominational churches do not have a Baptist background. They have a Pentecostal background. But left the denomination, mainly Assembly of God, when back in the 80’s the Vineyard (Toronto Canada) and Brownsville (Florida) quote revivals started. The worst form of heresy and the lie that God was doing a new thing and it may not fit bible standards. Lines were drawn and some pastors and churches were slaughtered by this cult movement.

There were many church splits. And many left the Assembly of God churches to find life in some other Evangelical church. Because of the confusion and betrayal, they felt their home church was no longer their home church. Many nondenominational churches started taking root as the backlash against the vineyard/Brownsville cult. This new church was Pentecostal in worship and flavor but stopped having healing services, deliverances services and “the moving of the Holy Spirit”.

Worship was Pentecostal, standing, hands raised, a mix of old gospel songs and some traditional songs. Then a biblical sermon and some had altar calls, others had a moment of recognition (head bowed, eyes closed, raise a hand) then the pastor would seek out those that raised their hands and delve deeper into the persons’ needs, or in larger church have care counselors or ‘pew captains’

But these new Pentecostals stopped the speaking in tongues and prophesying not as a formal rule but as a common assent. Because of all the abuse that had taken place under the vineyard/Brownsville movement.

The two biggest differences in the nondenominational church is if there is a practice of Holiness standards. If saved, born again, whatever term you want to use. You quit drinking, smoking, cussing, gambling, whatever. The other side was well I’m saved I can drink or smoke in moderation.

We’ve had bible studies for men in cigar lounges and called it the “Holy Smokes Men group”, these were all men that had never gone to church but the setting appealed to them. A few years later all these men are in church and growing spiritually.

Then we started men’s meetings in more nontraditional ways, shooting clubs followed by bible studies, archery bible studies, a man’s real picnic, bourbon, steaks and potatoes, no vegetables and then bible studies. And then the saint and sinner dinners, each man had to bring someone they knew that wasn’t a Christian to an all-male dinner, outdoors, maybe some shooting, axe throwing, whittling, arm wrestling and then a sermon, short and to the point about being a godly man. Our last dinner had over 100 people in attendance.

So the boundaries and definitions of nondenominational has morphed.

Now we have Cowboy Churches, jeans and boots, guitars instead of pianos. These have had great growth in Texas. The only problem I see is the pastor usually has no formal training and there is no emphasis on godliness. Salvation yes, but little transformation.

Today there is so many flavors of independent churches you can hunt for the right church for 20 years and never find the “just right” one. And in the end, you have no accountability. So, we have Christians with no depth and just when our country needs a revival, we are fighting amongst ourselves over to loud music, or singing off the wall, of no sermons ever about hell or damnation; or sermons so filled with sugar you’ll get a cavity before you ever get salvation.

And a new independent church has sprouted, the Social Conscious Church, where evangelism is really socialism. Where they think they are living the last part of Acts chapter 2, and you have to invite a homeless guy to live with you and bring a homeless person to church day.

Well I’ve got to stop there or I will unload some double ought buck shot into this and really go on a tear.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Guy M, motorcycle accident, serious road rash.

Jim H, a couple a years ago he made a left turn and ran over a motorcycle, they were riding at dusk with no lights or helmets, both riders were killed. The police never pressed charges. But like PTSD, he is haunted by it and dealing with anger.

Randy S, pray for someone to encourage him and lead him to the Lord.

George K, 91 and still rides a motorcycle(trike) he called today and couldn’t remember how to get home from where he was.

Remember the Perales family, all in need of salvation

Remember Steve H, and his church looking for a pastor.

questions, comments, counseling, please use the email

SEXUAL PURITY PART ELEVEN

January 17, 2019

hand sign

Finally, we must understand that we are not fighting to win the battle against lust. The battle has already been won by Christ. We are trying to walk in the victory that Christ already accomplished. This is important to understand because one of Satan’s greatest tactics is lying. After a failure, he tells a believer many lies: it is impossible to be free from lust and that he or she will never be a man of God or woman of God.

By accepting lies, we get caught in Satan’s trap, and it’s easy to become discouraged, defeated, and bound. Jesus said this in John 8:34-36:

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Christ set us free from slavery to sin, and we must understand and appropriate this to walk in victory. Romans 6:6 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”

On the cross, Christ did not just pay for our sins; He also broke the power of sin. He took our sin nature and crucified it so we no longer would be slaves to it. Yes, we can still submit to our sin nature, but we no longer have to because the power of sin has been broken. Like God delivering the Israelites, he not only took them out of Egypt but destroyed the power of Egypt in the Red Sea. Our deliverer, Christ, did no less. We are no longer slaves to sin. However, like Israel, we can still choose to return to Egypt.

How can we walk in this victory? In Romans 6:11, Paul says, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” The word “count” is an accounting term. This means the debt has been paid, and we are no longer responsible for it. In the same way, Paul says that we are no longer slaves of sin—including our lusts. We owe it no allegiance, and we don’t have to obey its cravings. However, we must mentally accept this reality instead of accepting the lies of the devil and our flesh.

Therefore, when Satan tempts us or makes us feel like we have to fall or that we can’t get back up after falling, we must recognize that it’s all a lie. It’s not true! Christ set us free from sin and now we are slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18). Our allegiance is now to God.

In my spiritual youth, I didn’t fully understand Christ’s work on the cross and the extent of what he had done for me. Therefore, I often fought without hope. But now, I fight because the victory has already been won—which gives me great confidence. Christ already defeated Satan and my lust (cf. Col 2:13-15). But, I must reckon this as true (Rom 6:11).

This theological reality is important for many reasons. (1) It means if we stumble, we can get back up. We don’t have to accept the lies and condemnation of the devil. Proverbs says the righteous falls seven times and gets back up (Prov 24:16). That’s what separates the righteous from the ungodly. They will not stay down. If you have failed in the past, if you failed today, you can start over now because you died to sin with Christ on the cross. Sin no longer identifies you—your identity is in Christ.

(2) But this doctrine is also essential in maintaining our victory. We are no longer slaves of sin but slaves to righteousness. My debt and allegiance is to God. So, I must strive to use the members of my body as instruments of righteousness leading to holiness (Rom 6:13, 19). First Corinthians 6:19-20 says it this way:

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

We have been bought with a price and are now slaves of God. Therefore, we must faithfully serve God in purity and holiness.

We see the importance of this doctrine in Augustine’s walk with God after his conversion. Before Augustine became a Christian, he was very promiscuous. However, at his conversion, everything changed. One day, he ran into a former fling. When he saw her, he turned and ran in the other direction. The lady saw him and was confused. She yelled, “My love! My love! Where are you going? It is I!” He replied, “I know! But it is not I anymore!” and he continued to run away. Augustine recognized this reality—he was not the same. He had been crucified with Christ and he no longer lived—Christ lived within him (Gal 2:20). He was no longer a slave of sin but now a slave of righteousness.

We similarly must reckon this a reality if we are going to walk in victory over lust. We must declare our victory in Christ and walk in it.

Have you declared victory? Or have you declared failure—that you can’t win or be free from bondage to lust? If that is you, then you have believed Satan’s lie instead of Christ’s truth. He who the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36). Christ has set you free. Declare your victory and fight to walk in it. Don’t give up until your life represents your position in Christ—free from bondage to sin to serve God.

Reflection

How did Christ break the power of sin over our lives? Why is understanding this reality—our new identity in Christ—so important to walking in victory?

In what ways have you experienced the lies and condemnation of Satan in regards to battling lust?

How should we count or reckon our death to lust and freedom from its slavery a reality as Paul teaches (Rom 6:11)?

What are the primary strategies from God’s Battle Plan for Purity that you feel pressed to implement in your life and/or in mentoring others?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Praise from Caliste Burt, the surgery went well, they are now waiting to see how she heals up and some swelling goes down.

Pray for Cindy K. just became a believer, living on and off the streets. A nice Christian family has taken her in. what’s remarkable is she said she knew her grandmother was always praying for her and it stopped her from crossing a line.

Bill Warneke, says thanks for praying, he’s still resisting counseling. Chronic pain and depression.

Carl I, going away for college soon. Young Christian, first time away from home, asks that he will stay the course.

Continue to pray for Steve H, and the church finding the right pastor.

SEXUAL PURITY PART TEN

January 16, 2019

Chess_board_opening_staunton

Confession of sin both to God and to others is crucial. One of Satan’s schemes is encouraging believers to hide sin, instead of confessing it. Through spiritual hypocrisy, strongholds are developed and fortified in a believer’s life. This is the kind of Christian that Satan will destroy. They have closet addictions—closet lusts—that they never share with anyone.

When Christians don’t confess before God and others, they become desensitized to their sin—opening the door for greater strongholds. Paul talks about false teachers who have a “seared conscience” and are deceived by demons in 1 Timothy 4:1-2. Listen to what he says:

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

Paul called them “hypocritical liars”—meaning they professed godliness while living in unconfessed sin. Because of this, their consciences stopped working—making them more susceptible to demonic deception. Living in unconfessed sin opens the door for the devil in our lives.

This happens to Christians all the time. How does a pastor who preaches every week continually steal money from the church and live in an adulterous relationship? This type of stumbling doesn’t happen all at once. It’s typically a process of living in unrepentant sin while professing godliness. The hypocrisy slowly silences the conscience of the believer and further opens the door for the enemy.

This is what Satan aims to do in the area of sexual immorality. By continually living in unconfessed sexual sin. You lose the ability to be convicted by the Holy Spirit. Believers quickly find themselves bound to pornography addictions, sexual fantasies, homosexual desires, illicit sex, etc. This is the pathway to destruction, and it typically begins with Christians walking alone—with no accountability and confession in their lives.

Solomon, one of the wisest men to ever live, said this:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)

“Pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Who are your spiritual warriors who fight beside you? Who picks you up when you fall? Are there strongholds in your life that you haven’t confessed to anybody? He who walks with the wise becomes wise—they start to live a victorious, godly life.

In a battle, the one fighting alone is the most vulnerable and susceptible to attack.

Why do some fight alone? Some fight alone because of shame—the enemy makes them feel ashamed of their sin. They feel like nobody else struggles with it, and therefore, they never tell anyone. However, Scripture says, “There is no temptation taken you but that which is common to man” (1 Cor 10:13). This battle is something that we all share to various degrees. Don’t let the enemy lie to you and keep you from getting the support needed. Some fight alone because they think they can win the battle without help. However, 1 Corinthians 12:21 says, “The eye can’t say to the hand, I don’t need you.” God created the body of Christ in such a way that we are interdependent—meaning we need one another. We need one another to accomplish the works God has called us to do including gaining victory over lust.

Proverbs 13:20 says this: “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Find wise, godly soldiers to pray with, to confess to, and to gain wisdom from in order to obtain and sustain victory against lust. These wise soldiers will include those who are battle tested and successful in winning the battle against lust. As a college student, I didn’t really start getting victory until I began to be mentored and held accountable by an older, spiritually mature man. Previously, my accountability partners were primarily young men like myself who wanted to be pure but were losing the battle. This was not wrong, but it wasn’t enough. Find wise, godly soldiers to help you win the victory.

This is a strategy every soldier must employ: Find other godly soldiers to fight with—to confess your sins to, to pray with, and to encourage. Also, be willing to let go of those who are not calling on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Reflection

Why is it important to have spiritual accountability in the battle for purity?

How should one select and initiate an accountability relationship?

Who are your accountability partners and how have these relationships helped you?

In what ways do worldly friendships and worldly dating relationships lead to suffering harm, especially in the area of sexual purity?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

We are waiting to hear about Caliste Burt’s surgery, keep her in prayer

Remember Steve H. and his church is looking for a pastor.

The Perales family, mom, dad and son, all need salvation.

Bill Warneke is doing better, chronic pain and depression, pray he will go to counseling.

Remember Olivia, pray she carries to full term this miracle baby, and Olivia and baby do fine.

SEXUAL PURITY PART NINE

January 15, 2019

Senior Couple At Home

Many enter marriage thinking that lust will no longer be a problem; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Satan is even more diligent in attacking marriages because the consequences of failure are greater. Moral failure in marriage not only affects the husband and wife but also the friends, the extended family, the children, and the children’s children. The consequences are drastic.

As a pastor and counselor, I’ve lost track of the number of marriages that have been plagued with sexual problems. Almost all of them started the marriage out on a lie. The truth was not told about porn, prior sex habits, even not telling their spouse about a previous marriage. If the foundation is rotten right from the start then there is little hope of it ever correcting.

That’s why its so important to protect your virginity and your moral code.

First Corinthians 7:2, 4-5 says this about sexual temptation in marriage:

But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband…. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Paul teaches that sex in marriage protects from immorality. For that reason, married couples are called to faithfully serve one another sexually. When couples are not consistent sexually, it opens the door for Satan’s temptations.

Here, I believe we learn something about Satan’s strategy in the marriage union. Before marriage, Satan works overtime to tempt couples into “sexual intimacy,” but in marriage, he works overtime to keep them from “sexual intimacy.” The strategy changes. Often, right after the wedding, couples find it difficult to be consistent sexually. The husband and wife are often busy at work during the day, and in the evening, they are too tired to cultivate physical intimacy. Temptation to neglect the sexual union becomes even greater when children enter the picture. Couples tend to focus on their children to the neglect of marital relations. In some cultures, the wives co-sleep with the children for several years which also tends to hinder the frequency of sex.

This lack of consistency opens the door for Satan to attack the marriage in many ways. Sometimes, women feel unattractive and less desired by their husband, especially after having a baby. Insecurities begin to creep in and negatively affect the relationship. If the husband is neglected sexually, the enemy often tempts him to find pleasure elsewhere—whether through pornography or through an emotional or physical relationship with another woman.

One way for couples to be more consistent in the sexual union is to talk openly about it and plan for it. The fact that it is not spontaneous doesn’t mean that it is not romantic. Just as in any area of life, “to fail to plan is to plan to fail.” Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”

If you’ve taken a time management course, you know if you don’t plan it’s not going to happen. I’ve found that having a regular date night, planning for sex, planning family trips, not answering the phone at dinner, which is be ate at the table with no tv on. Plan it and it does happen. (and if you’re married put a lock on that bedroom door.)

In marriage, couples protect themselves by faithfully practicing physical intimacy and closing the door on sexual temptation. In fact, Paul says if couples neglect physical intimacy, it should only be by mutual agreement for spiritual reasons—to fast and seek the Lord together.

Reflection

Why is it important for married couples to practice sexual intimacy?

What type of temptations does the enemy often bring when there is a lack of sexual intimacy?

How can married couples strategically cultivate sexual intimacy?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Bill is doing better and says thanks for all the prayers.

Caliste’s surgery is tomorrow at 6am.

Remember the Perales family and their need for salvation.

SEXUAL PURITY PART EIGHT

January 14, 2019

Senior Couple At Home

THIS COUPLE IS HAPPY AND TOGETHER IN MARRIAGE BECAUSE THEY STARTED OUT THE RIGHT WAY.

Since we consider the Bible to relevant, and God’s inspired word, than we consider the instructions and principles to be applied to how we live today.

Consider what Paul said to Timothy, a young single pastor in Ephesus:

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

1 Timothy 5:1-2

Essentially, Paul says that outside of marriage, one’s interactions with the opposite sex should look like a natural brother and sister relationship. In fact, he says it should be identified by “absolute purity.”

Again, most Christian dating relationships follow the pattern of the world. When I was a student, they called it first-base, second-base, third-base, and home. Couples went from holding hands, to kissing, to heavy petting, to sex. Now days it sex on the first date.

However, Scripture presents a very different picture—a familial one. A dating relationship, in many ways, should resemble a sibling relationship. We have forgotten a great principle, dating should be like being with a family person. Friendship, companionship, nothing crossing a boundary.

Once the boundaries of Scripture have been eclipsed, it is often like a slippery slope. First it’s OK to hold hands, then it’s OK to kiss, then it’s OK to cuddle and touch one another, then it’s OK to have sex because eventually you’re going to get married anyway—one reasons. This is a pathway to destruction.

I always encourage couples to declare their boundaries when initially considering dating someone. If that person is not willing to keep those boundaries, then move on. It is a lot harder to pull somebody up, than to pull somebody down. In dating and courtship, it’s important to be equally yoked, especially when it comes to purity.

A Warning about Clothing

In guarding your brother or sister, one of the things that must be considered is clothing. This is especially true for a woman since her body is more alluring than a man’s. That is why in many cultures, it is socially acceptable for a man to have his shirt off and not a woman. It seems that God made the woman’s body that way—it is the more delicate vessel (1 Peter 3:7). Also, this is especially important for women because men are typically more visually stimulated, while women are more emotionally stimulated.

In 1 Timothy 2:9-10, Paul said,

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

This means that a Christian woman should avoid extremes in her clothing. She should not be known for dressing haggardly nor with expensive clothing, as is so common amongst the world. Peter, similarly, said this:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

1 Peter 3:3-4

However, this modesty, especially, applies to provocative dress, which can cause others to stumble. It will be very hard for a woman to avoid provocative clothing, as Satan is the ruler of this world (John 12:31), which includes the fashion industry. Sex drives the fashion industry. Shorts and skirts continue to get shorter, tops reveal more cleavage, and pants are tighter. For a woman to dress modestly, she will have to go against the flow and be very strategic and particular in her purchases.

Dressing modestly is important to maintain purity and to protect a dating relationship. As a female, you don’t want to open the door for the enemy into your courtship. Also, you don’t want a man who is primarily attracted to you because of your figure. Solomon’s mother said “charm” or “form” is deceitful, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Prov 31:30). You should want a man who is primarily attracted to you because of your love and obedience to the Lord, which includes modesty. Be careful of your clothing, as it can be a stumbling block to your brothers, and it will make it harder to stay pure in a courting relationship.

With that said, this is also true for men. Men need to consider their clothing in order to not be a stumbling block to their sisters. Men should be careful of wearing t-shirts that are 3X too small and pants or shirts that are also to tight.

How is your clothing? Could it potentially be a stumbling block to others?

If you are going to win the battle for purity, you must guard members of the opposite sex by treating them as brothers and sisters with all purity and being modest in your dress.

Reflection

What are the common sexual practices of the world in regards to dating/courting?

Do you know the difference between dating and courting?

What type of Christian instruction did you receive in regards to one’s conduct in dating/courtship relationships? What did that instruction include?

How would you apply Paul’s exhortation to treat younger members of the opposite sex as siblings with absolute purity to dating/courting relationships (1 Tim 5:2)?

Do you feel as though Christian brothers and sisters often model the clothing standards of the world in regards to immodesty? How can we better hold one another accountable in regards to dress?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Please remember Caliste Burt, her brain surgery is this week.

Bill Warneke, we will be checking up on him this week, chronic pain and depression.

The Perales family, mom, dad and son, all need salvation.

Thank you for your prayers for me I am feeling much better.

SEXUAL PURITY PART SEVEN

January 13, 2019

full custody

The next strategy is guarding our free time. One of the major reasons people engage in sexual sins, such as pornography and masturbation, is simply boredom—not having anything else productive to do. The Bible seems to provide evidence of this. Unwise stewardship of time probably contributed to David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba. Consider the narrative:

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home.

2 Samuel 11:1-4

In this story, the events occurred in the spring when kings typically went off to war; however, instead of going to battle, David sent the entire Israelite army while he stayed home. Next, David had a sleepless night and then decided to walk on the roof of his palace. While walking, he noticed a beautiful woman bathing. He saw, he lusted, and then he committed adultery with her.

Temptation, Time, opportunity, wherewithal (money, booze, drugs, etc.)it’s at that moment you have to be on guard. The fact is that if you haven’t had a spiritual controlled response to the temptation, you’ve already failed.

Many men and women have had similar experiences. They were up late with nothing productive to do. They found themselves watching a show they shouldn’t be watching, in a chatroom they shouldn’t be in, on a website they shouldn’t be on, or having a conversation they shouldn’t be having. Like David, many are led into lust by not guarding their time.

There is more biblical evidence of the temptations associated with boredom. First Timothy 5:13 says this about widows and idleness: “Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.” Not having a husband leads the widows to idleness, and in turn, the widows become gossips and busybodies. There is a lot of truth to the saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” When we have free time, it is often then that our enemy attacks. Loneliness, boredom, and procrastination are times when we are especially prone to lust, depression, addiction, and other temptations.

In addition, Paul says this in Ephesians 5:15-17: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Why should we be careful to use our time wisely? Paul says because the days are evil—meaning that if we make poor choices with our time, there is a tendency to fall into the evil of the day. There is a tendency to fall into sin.

This is not only true about lust but any sin. When do people typically get drunk? In their free time. When do people typically struggle with pornography? In their free time. When do people indulge in addictions? In their free time. Satan realizes that our free time is prime real estate for temptation. Therefore, we must make the best use of our time.

In fact, “making the best use of the time” can be translated “redeeming the time” or “buying back the time.” The word redeeming “was used of buying a slave in order to set him free.”i We must redeem our time from the slavery of evil and instead use it for God.

How do we redeem our time and make “the best” use of it? Paul said that we must know and do God’s will (v. 17).

For example, in the story of David’s fall into adultery, he probably should have been at war instead of at home. As the king of Israel, he was called to fight the battles of Israel and to, specifically, conquer all of Canaan, as it was promised by God to Abraham’s descendants. Therefore, during David’s temptation, he was not using his time to do God’s will—he was missing God’s will. This is true for many Christians. Instead of using their time to get involved in church, small group, or youth group, instead of using their summer to grow in the Lord or do missions, they waste it and open doors to fall into the evil of the day. If we are going to walk in victory over lust (and any other sin for that matter), we must redeem the time and use it to know and do God’s will.

How are you using your time? Are you redeeming it for God and his purposes? Or are you falling into the evil of the day?

Reflection

How have you found yourself more prone to lust and other temptations in your free time?

How can you better redeem your time and use it to do God’s will?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember our prayer list, and keep me in prayer, I’m a little under the weather.

SEXUAL PURITY PART SIX

January 12, 2019

thinking over feeling

Consider what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5:

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Like Matthew 5:29-30, this passage uses warfare terminology for our battle against sin. In order to be holy and pure, both in heart and body, we must fight. War isn’t easy. Our enemy is relentless in trying to conquer his prey, and lust is one of his most commonly used weapons. In this battle for our mind, Paul says we must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Satan always targets the mind—it is our primary battlefield. He bombards every believer’s mind with sexual images and thoughts. He does this through the world system which he rules and his myriads of demons. He understands that if he can control the mind, he can control the body. So, if we are going to “learn to control our bodies in a way that is pure and honorable,” (1 Thess 4:4) we must fight to control our mind.

Satan’s attack on our mind overlaps with his attacks on our eyes and ears. It is through the eyes and ears that input is given to the mind. Therefore, by guarding the first two, we guard the latter. However, that is not the only way we guard our mind.

How else should we guard our mind?

  1. In order to guard our mind, we must recognize ungodly thoughts and ideas by testing them against God’s Word.

David said this in Psalm 19:7: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”

The Hebrew word for “simple” has the meaning of “open-minded.” “The ancient Jews described it as someone whose mind was like an open door: everything went in and everything went out.” This person is gullible and will believe anything. His mind is open even to thoughts and images that should be rejected. However, David says that by filling the mind with God’s Word, one becomes wise to discern what is not of God (cf. Heb 5:14). Wisdom in Scripture primarily refers to knowledge of God and obedience to him (cf. Prov 9:10). That is why Scripture describes the “fool” as one who says there is no God (Psalm 14:1).

A person who does not know the Word of God will have difficulty testing what is not good and therefore have difficulty protecting himself. His mind will continually be saturated by ungodly thoughts, sexual images, and lusts meant to control and destroy him. He will lack the power and discernment to close the door on sexual thoughts and many times will not only accept them but also cultivate them.

If we are going to protect our mind, we must recognize what is not godly. When watching TV shows, listening to music, or engaging in risqué conversations that cultivate and stir lust, the simple accepts what pollutes his soul, while the wise recognizes what would dishonor God’s temple (1 Cor 6:19).

With all that said, guarding our mind does not stop at recognizing what is ungodly by testing it against God’s Word.

  1. In order to guard our mind, we must reject the ungodly by using God’s Word.

While the simple opens the door, the wise closes the door. Again, this is done first by recognizing what is wrong and then using Truth to combat what is false and sinful. When Christ was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he quoted Scripture to reject Satan and his lies. We should do the same. Arm yourself by memorizing Bible verses related to lust and purity such as:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV)

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)

For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

1 Thessalonians 4:2-8 (ESV)

Personally, when attacked by lust, I quote relevant Scriptures, confess wrong thoughts, lusts, and images before the Lord, and ask him to take them away. In our war for our mind, we must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

  1. In order to guard our mind, we may at times need to command the devil to leave in Jesus name.

Again, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he initially responded to the temptation with quoting Scripture, but ultimately he commanded the devil to leave. Matthew 4:10-11 describes this:

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Similarly, at times you may need to do this. When battles with lust, pornography, and illicit sex are especially difficult, we can be sure that the enemy has set up camp in these areas, and we may need to pray in authority over these demonic strongholds to be broken in the name of Jesus.

Some struggle with this idea of demonic involvment, arguing that authority over the demonic was exclusively for Christ and his apostles. However, I believe there are many evidences that demonstrate this is for every believer. For instance:

Christ is our perfect model for everything in life, including spiritual warfare (cf. Phil 2:5-11, Heb 12:2-4. 1 Peter 2:21-24).

We should model his life as the perfect example of humanity. His example in defeating the devil in the wilderness is not only descriptive but prescriptive.

Other believers commanded demons to leave throughout the New Testament.

In Acts 16:18, Paul commanded a spirit of divination to leave a slave girl in the name of Jesus. And in Acts 8:6-7, Philip, who was possibly one of the early deacons, also cast out demons. Yes, Paul was an apostle but Philip was not. This was practiced by the early church.

First, don’t be quick to blame in on a demon. We are our own worst enemy.

Second, don’t be lax, and think there can’t be possible demonic involvement. I want to say it takes great spiritual maturity to know when something like that is actually occurring.

Third, it will depend on the church you go to, Pentecostals see demons everywhere and never take personal responsibility. Liberals churches scoff at the idea of demons, or even the devil and everyone is going to heaven. Even some Evangelical churches reject the idea.

Fourth, demonic strongholds if they exist does not imply demonic possession. Christians cannot be possessed of a demon, or cursed, or have a bloodline curse.

This is was covered in our spiritual warfare series. If you have questions about it email me.

Finally, Scripture indicates that Christ has given us his authority based on our union with him.

Ephesians 1:20-22 describes his position of authority at the right hand of the Father seated above powers and principalities (the demonic) in the heavenly realm. And then Ephesians 2:6 describes how believers are seated with him. Again, this seating is not primarily a location but a position of authority which believers have in Christ. In fact, one day we will judge fallen angels with him because of this position (1 Cor 6:3). We have authority over the demonic just as the apostles and the early church, and we are called to conquer them with the spiritual weapons God has given us (cf. Eph 6:10-19).

Unfortunately, many believers neglect this authority not only to their own detriment but also to the detriment of others. When Christ sent believers into the world to proclaim the gospel, he sent them in all the authority given to him (Matt 28:18-20). We need this authority not just to spread the gospel but also for spiritual warfare.

Christ’s authority is important in battling lust because some strongholds and temptations are not just of the flesh, they are demonic. Like Christ in the wilderness, Paul, at times, recognized certain obstacles and temptations were not just of the flesh and of the world, but of the devil. Paul said this in 1 Thessalonians 2:18: “we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us” (ESV). We need to discern this as well and resist the devil.

James says this: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (4:7). As we submit to God through his Word, prayer, and the ministry of other saints, we can resist the devil, and he will flee from us. However, at times, resistance may include commanding the demonic to leave in the name of Jesus as demonstrated by Christ and the early church.

It is not God’s will for us to live bound to lust and sexual immorality, and God has given us all the resources to walk in freedom, including his Word and his authority. Thank you, Lord, for giving us everything needed for life and godliness (cf. 2 Peter 1:3). Thank you, Lord, for your grace. Thank you, Lord, that you are creating a pure and blameless Bride for your pleasure (cf. Eph 5:25-27).

Are you guarding your mind? Are you taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ? Are you filling your mind with God’s Word? Are you resisting the devil’s attacks so that he flees?

Reflection

Why is the mind so important in our battle for purity?

In what ways does the enemy bombard our mind with sexual images and thoughts?

How can a person tell when certain strongholds, especially sexual ones, are also demonic?

How should we resist the devil so he flees? In what ways is God calling you to better guard your mind?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Questions, comments, feel free to email us.

Pray for Caliste Burt, brain surgery next week.

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression.

The Perales family, they need salvation and a good church.

Pray for me, the nursing home I work in just downsized because of State regulations and myself and 4 others were let go, bam, just like that. And because it is a nonprofit organization there is no unemployment.

SEXUAL PURITY PART FIVE

January 11, 2019

32ec6-raisins

Words are tremendously powerful. In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says, “The power of life and death is in the tongue.”

Words spoken over a person’s life has the ability to direct him—drawing him into a good and wise direction or an evil direction. It can build a person up or destroy him. If one sits under godly parents who faithfully teach God’s Word and attend a good church that teaches the Truth, the “power of the tongue” will help direct him into what is good. But if one sits under ungodly teaching and ungodly conversations, it will affect his life negatively. This is especially true when it comes to sexual immorality.

Adrian Rogers sermon today had a quote that fits right in, he was quoting a famous football legend that is a great Christian who does a lot of prison ministry. The quote was made while in a prison speaking to about 100 men. “How many of you did your father say you would probably end up in jail.” The majority of the men raised their hands.

No doubt, one of Satan’s greatest tactics is to influence people sexually through the music industry. Much of today’s songs are full of sexual overtones and graphic language. Some of it is essentially lyrical pornography—meant to control and guide people away from God and into sexual strongholds.

Sadly, many Christians fall prey to this tactic of the devil. They listen to ungodly, sexually charged music all day, then wonder why they can’t control their lust and don’t desire to read the Bible. The tongue is directing their lives—leading them away from God into lusts.

Psalm 1:1 says this: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” (ESV). Some have called this the pathway of depravity. A person starts off listening to the “counsel” of the wicked, then he is standing in the way of sinners—practicing the same thing sinners do, and then they are in the seat of scoffers. Biblically, “scoffer” or “fool” is used of those who mock holy things. Psalm 14:1 says the fool says in his heart that there is no God. First, these people were just listening. Maybe like some Christians who listen to ungodly music, they say, “I only like it because of the beat; I don’t even listen to the lyrics.” The next thing you know, they are practicing sin, and one day they are mocking God and the practice of holiness. Satan led these poor souls astray by simply getting a hold of their ears.

In the same way, many raised in Christian homes with godly morals, such as waiting to have sex until marriage, are now sexually promiscuous just like the world. And it all started with the wrong counsel—sexually charged musical lyrics, sexual dialogue from movies, and sexually flirtatious conversations. Now, instead of following God, they mock what is holy and practice the sexual ethics of the world.

Who is speaking into your ears, and what are they saying? Are your conversations with friends full of sexual jokes and innuendo? Are your TV shows and movies promoting casual sex? If so, you won’t be able to remain pure.

Paul said this in Ephesians 5:3: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”

He said that there should not even be a “hint” of sexual immorality in our lives. Many desire to be pure but their mouths and the mouths of those they listen to are full of sexual hints that eventually bear fruit in their lives.

Are you guarding your ears? Satan keeps many Christians in bondage to lust by flooding their ears with sexual garbage.

Lord, help us to take out the garbage so we can be clean.

Reflection

In what ways does the enemy flood sexual temptation into our ears?

How have you seen or experienced the power of words, especially sexual words, in guiding one’s life?

How is God calling you to better guard your ears?

What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?

In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember our prayer list.

Caliste Burt, brain surgery next week

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression

Remember Richard Perales Jr. he’s kind of slipped up this month. He needs salvation.