dark days

August 17, 2018

rainy-sleepy-snoopy-peanuts

“For you have had the privilege granted you on behalf of Christ—not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer on His behalf” (Phil. 1:29, Wey.).

  The Father prepares His sufferers, by means of their sufferings.

  “I believe in perpetual favor with God, but I do not believe in unbroken sunshine here. On the contrary, ‘we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake.’ I say this that you may not think it strange when the collar which you have rightly accepted becomes trying or difficult to you; for surely if it be service it must be so; the servant must be more or less a sufferer.”

  “The Lord grant you to be so assured in heart of His interest in you, that daily you may more and more answer to His pleasure; and not be in any way cast down because you apparently do so little. The fragrance of His name is a crown of glory to the greatest invalid.”

  “‘Unto you is given on the behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake’ (Phil. 1:29). Yea, ‘if we suffer, we shall also reign with him’ (2 Tim. 2:12). The gracious gift of suffering is as distinct and specific a gift as any other of God’s gifts. But this gift transforms the blessed recipient more surely perhaps than all the others into resemblance to Himself, and is for this fellowship, the highest, greatest, noblest of them all.”

  “We naturally shrink from trials and sorrow, but when we find ourselves enjoying the resources that are in our Father, to which our trials have caused us to have recourse, we remember no more the path of affliction which led us thereto.”

  “The child of God is ever in the light, though not always in the sunshine.”

  “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Tim. 2:12).

How different a message than what we hear from our popular authors and TV talking heads, that because they are false messengers. It will always be our lot to suffer sometime in some way. Think how oft you pray when in pain versus that shiny day.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

WALK THE WALK

August 16, 2018

This is one of those hot buttons on which there is a great deal of disagreement and what is given here by no means touches all the bases.

Summary: The Bible nowhere specifically forbids or denounces masturbation. It does, of course, denounce all forms of sexual impurity and fantasies that would involve adulterous relationships whether actual or mental. The problem with masturbation is that it not only can become habit forming and addictive, but men and women often engage in pornography and adulterous fantasies in order to reach a climax. Further, the difference in sex drive in a couple is often not the real problem or issue. It is rather a breakdown in the relationship and in an understanding of the role of sex in marriage as that which not only gives pleasure but expresses love, unity, and commitment to each other. Masturbation expresses the opposite unless done with the other partner. The husband may experience orgasm with his wife without actual intercourse. If away from his wife and he is experiencing strong sexual desire and he can have an orgasm by thinking about his wife, etc. then that could be appropriate.

More Detail: As mentioned, the Bible does not directly address the issue of masturbation or deliberate self-stimulation of the sexual organ to the point of orgasm. It does warn against all forms of self-indulgence, adultery of the mind, and fornication. One of the problems involved is that though God created sex for enjoyment and pleasure, it is to be confined to the marriage relationship because it is also designed to express love (not just sexual love), unity, and total commitment. Masturbation is an act of self-gratification rather than a part of giving gratification and pleasure to one’s partner. Here are a few of the dangers of masturbation that some have listed:

  1. Psychic effects. Masturbation has a tendency to isolate its captives psychologically and socially. In masturbation, the person is focused on self-alone even though he or she usually is fantasizing about someone else at the same time.

  1. Emotional deprivation. It is impossible for the one who is practicing this habit to experience the full extent of sex emotions. Therefore, in short-circuiting the emotions one can easily be removed from the world of reality.

  1. Damaged sensibility. The habit of masturbation has a tendency in numbing the mechanism of the sexual organs if practiced excessively. This lessens the sensibility and thus detracts from normal sexual relations of married life.

  1. Self-gratification. The emotional background of self-gratification is not the least bit healthy and usually militates against the home, wife and family because it is focused only on self.

  1. Control of the mind. Along with the act of masturbation comes the fantasy of the mind. When practiced often, a pattern or cycle seems to become established within the individual’s mind. Thus, perversion has a tendency to control the mind and this in turn initiates the act. The real danger lies in the guilt that increases as the individual dwells in this world of fantasy.

Much more could be said, but this will give you a few things to think about. There are plenty of theologians and pastors, etc., that I am sure would disagree with my comments on this, but here are some things for consideration.

The bible verse always quoted by those strongly opposed to any form of masturbation is always “you will not spill your seed upon the ground.” (genesis 38:6-10)wildly paraphrased. But you get the idea. Of course the topic in Genesis was not masturbation.

There are some biblical principles that can be applied to the issue of masturbation. Ephesians 5:3 declares, “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity.” It is hard to see how masturbating can pass that particular test. The Bible teaches us, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). If you cannot give God glory for something, you should not do it. If a person is not fully convinced that an activity is pleasing to God, then it is a sin: “Everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Further, we need to remember that our bodies have been redeemed and belong to God. “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” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This great truth should have a real bearing on what we do with our bodies. In light of these principles, the conclusion that masturbation is a sin is biblical. Clearly, masturbation is not glorifying to God; it does not avoid the appearance of immorality, nor does it pass the test of God’s having ownership over our bodies.

I’ve heard a great many respected preachers fall on both sides of the fence on this topic. The first principle to me is the issue of control, walking in the flesh (bible code for being carnal or selfish) or walking in the spirit (self control and spiritually minded).

One word I will say, if you consider it sinful it is a forgivable sin and does not and will not damn your soul. If you do think it is sinful then ask for forgiveness and move on.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

drowning?

August 14, 2018

Have you ever saved some one from drowning? Or have you ever taken a course on being a life guard? One of the first things they teach you is that you must get the drowning person to stop struggling. Second they teach you that you might have to get a little physical so the drowning person doesn’t drown you as well.

So this devotion isn’t about drowning it’s about why we need to cease struggling with God. This isn’t the same as wrestling with God, this is about the all to frequent struggle that believers have with God.

It’s frequently expressed through the thoughts like; “does God really love me?” “Am I really saved?”

Let’s look at some scripture that if you are struggling, hopefully you will find solace in the following scripture, these are some of the verses that are what I call “foundation verses” meaning you will build a solid Christian life if these are memorized or marked in your bible as ‘emergency verses.

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” ( Eph. 1:5 , 6 ).

See it was a pleasure for God to adopt us, and we are accepted.

The problem that I see in most struggling Christians is that because they are conscious of sin, they think they must do something more to please God, and the devil traps them in a snare of repetitive getting saved, going down to altar again, some good works, praying through. The fact is we must stand on the work that Christ has done and not try to add anything to our salvation of our own initiative.

Please read Romans 5:1-11 to get a great view of what has been done for us. This is another foundation set of verses that we should ‘get to know’ in order to not be persuaded by those well-meaning but seriously wrong Christians that tell you the problem is you’re not doing enough good works, or you are not enjoying the fruits of the spirit. The best thing you can say to all these well-meaning advisors supposedly sent from God to help you is ‘NUTS.’ (or swear at them; pick one its really multiple choice)

In order for our souls to find rest and have peace we must always understand that as long as we live on earth in these very carnal bodies, we will wrestle with failure and feel like we have failed God. The Holy Spirit shows us what we really are, not to make us feel condemnation, but to remind us that every day I need a Savior, that every day I awake I must accept the fact that today is a good day to die. That is what dying to self is about.

I am washed, cleansed redeemed accepted, loved and can be totally at peace with God even though I know I still sin and have my battles and failures.

Yet we are loved, with the greatest unfailing love from God.

God bless from scumlikuschurch@gmail.com

I WANT YOUR MIND

August 11, 2018

IT’S A LONG DEVOTION SO YOU MAY WANT TO PRINT IT OUT.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:1–4).

How can we develop a heavenly mindset?

Some have said it is possible to be “so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.” However, when you look at the history of the church, it was those who were the most heavenly minded who did the most good. Listen to what Christ said: “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it” (Matt. 11:12).

The people who forcefully grabbed hold of the kingdom of heaven are the ones advancing it. Though on the earth, they had a heavenly mindset. Having a heavenly mindset is very important for advancing the kingdom, not only in our lives but on this earth as well.

It is for this reason that Satan is always attacking the believer’s mind with doubts, fears, worldly thoughts, etc. Satan wants to keep believers from focusing on what really matters, and that is God and his kingdom.

This is what Paul is primarily referring to when he says to the Colossians, “set your hearts on things above.” He is primarily referring to God and his kingdom. In the Lord’s Prayer, we are taught to be consumed with God’s name being hallowed, and his kingdom and his will being done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:9–10). The believer’s mind should be consumed with heavenly things.

In Scripture, those who practice right thinking receive tremendous blessings. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” It also can be translated, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on you” (ESV).

The person whose thoughts are consumed with God and his kingdom will have perfect peace instead of anxiety and worry. When we find ourselves anxious or worried, we can be sure that we have lost a God–centered mindset.

What are some other benefits of God–centered thinking? Listen to Philippians 4:8–9:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Paul says thinking on right things and practicing them brings the God of peace—the very presence of God in our lives (v. 9). Many are missing the manifest presence of God in their lives because they have ungodly thinking, which eventually leads to ungodly practice.

In fact, Paul says that the way a person thinks is an indicator both of his salvation and his fruitfulness. Listen to what he says:

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace (Rom. 8:5–6).

The secular person thinks only about the “desires” of his carnal nature. The carnal person may be spiritual, but he only wants things of the spirit that satisfy or glorify him:

“God, give me an ‘A’ on this test.”

“God, get me into grad school.”

“God, give me this promotion.”

“God, take away this sickness.”

A carnal person may believe in God and pray for things, but God is only a means to his “desires.” James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

However, a truly born-again person desires what the Spirit of God desires. He ultimately wants God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. This doesn’t mean that we don’t pray for our desires; it means we are not consumed with our desires. The desires of the redeemed should be and must become that of the Spirit of God.

Paul says the one who continually thinks on the desires of their sinful nature will bring the fruits of death and destruction, but the one consumed with the things of the Spirit brings the fruits of life and peace (Rom. 8:6).

The mind is very important. What does your mind say about you? It will tell you who you are—a believer or an unbeliever—a person led by the sinful nature or a person led by the Spirit. It will also tell you what type of fruits you will produce. A person that thinks on the things of God receives life and peace.

Paul in Colossians 3:1 is calling these believers, who are tempted like all of us to think on carnal things, to set their heart and mind on things above. He says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above.”

Again, when he says “above,” he really means God and his kingdom (cf. Matt. 6:9–10). How do we develop a heavenly mindset, a mind consumed with the things of God? We will learn principles about developing a heavenly mindset in this text.

Big Question: How do we develop a heavenly mindset consumed with the things of God according to this text?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Focus On Our Resurrected Position

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).

Interpretation Question: What does Paul mean by the believer being raised with Christ, and why is it an encouragement to think on things above?

Paul says believers can develop a heavenly mindset by understanding their resurrected position in Christ. When Christ died, we died with him, and when he resurrected and went to heaven, we went with him. Listen to how Paul talks about this in Ephesians: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).

When Paul says, “seated us with him in the heavenly realms,” he is primarily referring to “authority” and “rulership.” Listen to how Paul uses a similar phrase in relationship to Christ in Ephesians 1:19–22:

And his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church.

Paul, in talking about the power that is in believers and was at work in Christ in the resurrection, says this power seated Christ in heavenly realms far above all authority, power, and dominion. God placed all things under his feet.

Therefore, when Paul says the Ephesians have been seated with Christ by this great power, he wants them to see their authority and position in Christ. They are rulers with Christ over all things. Now at this present time, not everything in heaven and on the earth submits to Christ in the way it is supposed to, but one day it will at his coming. First Corinthians 15:24–26 says,

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

At Christ’s second coming he will bring all things into full submission to his will. All will bow and call him Lord (Phil. 2:10–11). All things will be put under his feet.

The incredulous thing about Christ’s rule is that we will rule with him. Romans 8:17 says we are “co–heirs with Christ.” Everything that is his is ours. In John 17:22, Christ said in his high priestly prayer that he has given us his glory.

Paul in Colossians 3:1 is telling us that we must think about our resurrected position with Christ. Again he says: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

Paul says our thinking should reflect our resurrection in Christ, the one who is seated at the right hand of God and will rule all things. In fact, Paul uses this same argument at Corinth where the believers were arguing and suing one another. Look at what he says:

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! (1 Cor. 6:2–4).

He rebukes them for arguing and then bringing their church disputes before the world in civil cases. He essentially says, “Don’t you know your resurrected position? Don’t you know you will judge the world and angels?” God has given judgment over to the Son (John 5:22), and because we are seated with him, we will judge the world and angels in his coming kingdom. Paul says, “Because of this reality, shouldn’t you be able to judge these small disputes in the church?”

Now, none of these Christians were probably thinking about their future rule with Christ while they were disputing with one another. They were concerned about what they had lost and how they had been cheated. However, Paul essentially says that they should be thinking about their position in Christ. One day they would judge the world and angels. Paul taught that having a heavenly mind should have affected how they handled their disputes in the church.

If we are going to have a heavenly mind, we must first start with understanding our position in Christ. We have been raised with Christ who is seated at the right hand of God. Everything that is the Son’s is ours. As mentioned before, this seating reflects our unity with Christ and the authority that comes with it. And this reality should affect how we think and live. Consider what Jesus told his disciples:

Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matt. 28:18–19).

When Christ told them to go and make disciples, he told them to do this based on his authority, which he had essentially given them. The disciples worked on behalf of Christ and the kingdom of heaven. Paul, in fact, calls himself an ambassador of Christ in 2 Corinthians 5:20. He says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

An ambassador goes somewhere with the message and the authority of the person he represents. Paul is not only saying that he had the message of God, but also the authority of God in saying it.

Many Christians are scared to evangelize, scared to share their faith, scared to counsel, scared to serve God, etc. If they just understood their position and their authority, it would drastically affect their ministry. When Paul cast out the demon in Acts 16, he didn’t act on his authority, but on the authority of Christ whom he was seated in.

She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!’ At that moment the spirit left her (Acts 16:18).

Did Paul have special authority in himself? No, this authority came from whom he represented, whom he was seated in. He told the demon to leave “in the name of Jesus Christ.” Paul was an ambassador walking in the authority of Christ. If we are going to have the right mindset, we must focus on our resurrected position. We are different from the rest of the world because of our position in the heavenly realms, and we must live like it.

What else is needed to develop a heavenly mindset?

Application Question: What other applications can we take from the importance of knowing our resurrected position in Christ?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Life Of Continual Discipline

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above” (Col. 3:1).

The word “set” is an active word. It can also be translated as “seek.” The KJV says, “Seek those things above.” This does not happen by accident; it only happens through rigorous discipline. If you are not actively seeking things above, then you won’t be thinking in a heavenly manner. This is what Paul said in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

When he says, “Do not conform any longer,” it implies that the members of the Roman church were already being conformed. It has the sense of stop conforming, or stop being pressed and molded into the pattern of this world. If you are not seeking things above, you are already being pressed and molded to look and think like the rest of the world.

You will be molded in how you view yourself:

“I must have this body.”

“I must have this type of skin.”

“I must dress like this.”

“I must have this degree, and this type of job.”

The world will control how you think, how you dress, what type of job you seek, and the type of school you go to. Christ said, “You cannot have two masters, you will love one and hate the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matt. 6:24).

Most Christians have the world as their master. It tells them what to do, where to go, and how to do it. Christians must understand that they are no longer part of this world, and they must actively “seek” to think the way God has called them to think. They must seek things above.

How do we practice and develop this discipline of thinking on things above?

Application Question: How can we actively seek those things above as a discipline?

This discipline is developed in several ways.

  1. The Believer Actively Seeks Heavenly Things By Impressing Scripture Upon His Heart.

It is through Scripture that we renew our minds and start to think on things that are noble, good, and righteous—we start to think more like God. How do we impress Scripture upon our hearts? Listen to what Moses said to Israel:

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (Deut. 6:6–9).

He gives them several ways to put God’s Word on their hearts.

They were to teach the Word of God to their children.

If you are going to think on heavenly things, you must be a teacher. You must teach it to your friends; teach it in small groups; teach it to strangers. When you have to teach something, you can’t help but think upon it all the time.

Some may say, “I am a baby Christian. How can I teach?” Find somebody you know more than and share with that person, even if it’s an unbeliever. That’s what the parents were doing when they taught their children. They taught somebody they knew more than. We should do the same. Every Christian is called to be a teacher, and one can’t set his heart upon things above without doing this.

They were to talk about the Word of God everywhere: at home, when walking, when lying down, when getting up.

This didn’t mean that they were to only have theological conversations. This meant that they needed to view everything from the mindset of God and what God thought about things. Christians should automatically think about what Scripture says when they see movies, watch the news, or are asked a simple question. And yes, you will be considered narrow when you do this, but this is the type of mind that pleases God—a mind that is set on God’s Word.

They were to develop reminders to help them memorize it; they were to tie it on their hands, foreheads, door frames, and gates.

Certainly this may be done very literally as Israel did, with memory flash cards, pictures, and paintings, but, even more so, you should set up places and times in your daily life where you will always encounter the Word of God. This includes things like daily meditation, small groups, or accountability meetings. Every morning you are going to encounter the Word of God here. Every Tuesday you are going to encounter the Word of God there. Every Friday you are going to encounter the Word of God when you meet with brother or sister so-and-so.

By tying it on their hands, head, and doors, they constantly saw the Word of God. This is important because if we don’t do this, we may sometimes go a week and realize, “I haven’t read the Word of God.”

This is a lot of work. But in order to “set,” to have a mind that is immovable from the things of God, it takes discipline. Many Christians know nothing of a mind that has “set the Lord before them at all times and they will not be shaken” (Ps. 16:8). Many Christians are shaken by every little event. A mind that is “set” happens only by rigorous acts of discipline, and we must seek to develop this through study of the Word of God.

How else do we discipline our mind?

  1. The Believer Actively Seeks Heavenly Things By Rejecting Everything That Is Not From God.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col. 3:2).

Paul said we should not only seek things above but also turn away from earthly things. In order to think heavenly thoughts, we must get rid of or keep away from things that would draw us away from God. We are called to get rid of anxieties. Scripture says, “Be anxious for nothing” (Phil. 4:6). We are called to get rid of lust, anger, envy, jealousy, and anything else that is not of God (cf. Col. 3:5–9).

Practically, this may mean not watching certain TV shows, reading certain magazines or books, listening to certain music, or hanging around certain people, especially when we find they contribute to drawing us away from God and godly thoughts. We must zealously protect our minds. Paul said,

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 (2 Cor. 10:4–5).

We must take captive every thought and bring it into submission to Christ. Make no mistake here, brethren. Our thoughts are not neutral, innocent, or harmless. Our minds are either lorded by Christ or someone or something else. Is Christ Lord of your thoughts?

  1. The Believer Actively Seeks Heavenly Things By Developing A Consistent Prayer Life.

“Be joyful always; pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:16–17).

It is through the discipline of prayer that we develop a heavenly mindset. We must learn how to pray at all times, bringing every thought before our Father.

  1. The Believer Actively Seeks Heavenly Things By Fostering Healthy Fellowship.

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Prov. 13:20).

Again, our thinking is often affected by our friends. The fool in Scripture is a person who says there is no God or does not live for God (cf. Ps. 14:1). Therefore, the wise are people who fear and honor God (Prov. 9:10). We must develop friendships with wise, godly believers who help us seek spiritual things.

Application Question: What type of thoughts do you have to commonly reject to keep a heavenly mindset? How is God calling you to practice these disciplines to develop a heavenly mindset?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Focus On Our Crucified Position

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 2:3).

Interpretation Question: In what way have believers died, and how should this affect our thinking?

Paul says we died with Christ and our life is now hidden in Christ. For many, instead of thinking on the things of God, they are consumed with ungodly things like lust, anger, bitterness, jealousy, covetousness, etc. In order to have a heavenly mindset, we must reckon our death with Christ. But, we must ask the questions, “What exactly did we die to?” and “How did we die?”

  1. The Believer Died To Sin.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 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—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin (Rom. 6:5–7).

On the cross, our old nature was crucified with Christ. It was crucified so that we could be freed from sin. We must understand this doctrine to walk in victory over lust, anger, depression, and any other sin that tries to control us. Paul says this should be our response to our death to sin: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11).

He says to “count” or think about yourself differently. You are dead to sin but alive to God. This means that I can break habitual strongholds of sin. It means that I can start over when I fail because Christ paid the penalty for my sins and broke the power of it.

For many, instead of thinking on the things of God they are consumed with ungodly things like lust, anger, bitterness, jealousy, covetousness, etc. In order to have a heavenly mindset, we must reckon our death to sin. We died with Christ.

  1. The Believer Died To Self.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26–27).

Christ says to follow him as a disciple, we must hate our life and take up our cross. This is a daily discipline. We die to ourselves, our desires, and our wants in order to submit to Christ. We get a good picture of this with Christ before going to the cross. He says, “Take this cup from me but nevertheless, your will be done” (Luke 22:42). He submitted his will to that of the Father and so must we.

Listen to Paul’s testimony of this: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

For many people, they can’t have a heavenly mind because they are consumed with self instead of God. In order to develop a heavenly mindset, we must continually crucify ourselves—we must daily reckon ourselves dead to self and alive to God.

  1. The Believer Died To This World.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

Paul said his death on the cross with Christ also brought death to this world. He essentially said, “I am dead to the world and the things of the world. They no longer satisfy me. They no longer are my passions in life. My passion is to honor and to know Christ. I am alive to God and dead to the world.”

John said, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

The very reason many cannot think on things above is because of worldliness. They are consumed with the things of this world: gaining them, enjoying them, and keeping them. If we are going to think on heavenly things, we must continually reckon ourselves dead to the things of this world so we can seek the things above.

  1. The Believer Died To The Power Of The Devil.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved (Eph. 2:1–5).

In a very real sense, we died to Satan as well. Before salvation, Scripture says that we were children of the devil (1 John 3:10) and were following his ways (Eph. 2:2). But now, as believers, we have become children of God and followers of his Word. We are dead to the devil and alive to God.

Satan, who works through sin, the flesh, and the world to tempt us, has no dominion over us anymore because we died to him. We should no longer submit to him or live in fear of him because he was defeated by Christ (cf. Col. 2:15).

However, it must be known that a person is a slave to whomever he submits to. We can still submit to sin, self, the world, and the devil. Paul said,

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Rom. 6:16).

Therefore, as an act of the will, we must reject sin, selfishness, the world, and the devil to develop a heavenly mindset. We died with Christ and now are hidden in him.

What does this crucified life look like?

The crucified life says, “Life is not about me. My life is not bound any longer to sin or my desires. Life is not about the things of the world. It is about Christ.” Paul said, “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). If we don’t understand the crucified life, then we will be consumed with the things of this world. We will find ourselves feverishly running after every fad that comes out. If we don’t understand the crucified life, we will become enslaved to our wants and desires and other things we were delivered from.

It has been said that, “Dead men don’t get offended.” This means that a person who is living a crucified life is not consumed with fighting for his rights every time somebody hurts him. Like Christ, a person who has reckoned his death has become the meek who will inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5). He recognizes that this world and his life is not his anymore. He was crucified with Christ.

Application Question: In what ways do you need to apply the crucified life practically?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Focus On Our Hidden Life In Christ

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 2:3).

Another aspect of the crucified life is that we are hidden in Christ. There are many ramifications of this we must daily internalize if we are going to develop a heavenly mindset.

Application Question: What does Paul mean by our lives being hidden in Christ? From whom are we hidden?

  1. To Be Hidden In Christ Is A Reflection Of Protection; We Are Protected By Him.

Listen to what John says about the experience of a believer:

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 (John 10:27–29).

Because of our relationship with Christ, Jesus places us in his hand and the Father’s hand for protection. This speaks of our eternal security and Christ’s constant protection of us. We get a picture of the protected life in Psalm 23. Listen to what David says about God as his shepherd:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows (Ps. 23:4–5).

David said he had comfort even when confronted by death because the Shepherd protected him with his rod and staff. Even when his enemies surrounded him, he ate in peace. His Shepherd provided food, drink, and oil for healing and refreshment. He never lacked or wanted for anything because his Shepherd met all of his needs (Ps. 23:1).

In order to have peace in a world of constant trials and sometimes persecution, we must understand our hidden life. We must understand the Shepherd who protects us with his staff, feeds us even amidst our enemies, anoints our wounds, and never lets us leave his hand.

This is the hidden life of every true believer regardless of circumstances, and it must be our focus to have peace, especially in the midst of trials. We must know we are hidden in Christ.

What else does the hidden life represent?

  1. To Be Hidden In Christ Is A Reflection Of Identity; It Means The World Will Not Recognize Us.

To be hidden in Christ is essentially a reflection of how we are dead to the world. The world doesn’t recognize who we truly are in Christ, and they will commonly misunderstand us because our life is hidden in him. They may ask, “How come you are not all about partying, drinking, sex, career, wealth, etc.? Why are you so into church? Why are you so different?” Peter said, “They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you” (1 Peter 4:4).

The hidden life not only means being protected by Christ, it also means being different and therefore misunderstood by the world. Our life is different and at times these differences may cause persecution. We should not be alarmed at this because our life is in Christ who was similarly mistreated. However, now he is exalted at the right hand of God, and one day our exaltation with him will be manifest to all (cf. Rom. 8:19). A heavenly mindset understands and finds encouragement in the hidden life.

Application Question: In what ways does the hidden life encourage you? How is God calling you to make this more of your focus?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Focus On Our Future In Christ

“When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:4).

In order to develop a heavenly mindset, the believer must also understand his future in Christ. Whatever you think about the future will affect how you live today. If you are consumed with being a doctor then you will constantly be thinking about your grades, preparing for exams to get into med school, or considering the best college to go to. Your thoughts about the future affect how you live today.

In the same way, this heavenly mindset is developed through constantly thinking on our future in Christ. Paul says, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” The believer who truly understands this and focuses on Christ’s second coming and our future glory with him will be consumed with it. Listen to Philippians 3:20–21:

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

He says that we eagerly await a Savior from there. Eagerly await “is strong language (in the original) to express the earnest expectation of something believed to be imminent. It means literally to thrust forward the head and neck as in anxious expectation of hearing or seeing something.”1 It means to focus on something to the exclusion of everything else. Those who understand the second coming are consumed with it. Developing a focus on the second coming is crucial to a heavenly mindset.

When Paul talks about Christ’s coming, he also mentions our appearance in glory. This glory is probably not just a reflection of heaven but our glory. We will have glorified bodies when Christ comes. Listen to what 1 Corinthians 15:42–44 says about this:

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

How should the reality of Christ’s second coming and our appearance with him in glory affect us? John said,

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure (1 John 3:2–3).

Everyone who has this hope purifies himself. The second coming of Christ and our future glory should make us purify our thoughts, our conversations, and our daily endeavors. It transforms us.

This is probably the reason many Christians do not have a heavenly mindset and do not have holy lives. They have lost (or never had) hope in the second coming of Christ. Listen to how Christ described this unfortunate reality in a parable about a master and his unfaithful servant:

The Lord answered, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, “My master is taking a long time in coming,” and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked’ (Luke 12:42–48).

The problem with this servant was he lost an expectation of the master’s coming. This encouraged him to cast off restraint as he lived in discord, waste, and blatant sin. This parable is about the fruits we will find in our lives if we lose our expectancy of Christ’s coming. Discord, wasteful living, and blatant sin will mark our lives as well.

For this reason Satan is always after our minds. He realizes that if he can turn them away from heavenly things, he can turn us towards earthly things. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 23:7 NASB). The more earthly we think, the more earthly we become. Our enemy is especially after the believer’s mind as it concerns the future. He will have one think about graduate school, marriage, retirement, and anything else rather than Christ’s return and our future glory with him. Satan understands that anybody who has this hope purifies themselves (cf. 1 John 3:2–3). What you think about the future affects how you live today.

Application Question: How do we keep an unwavering focus on Christ’s coming?

  1. The Believer Develops An Unwavering Focus On Christ’s Coming By The Study Of Eschatology, The Study Of The End Times.

Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

Eschatology is very important because God has given it to us to help us prepare for and have an eager expectation of the future. John says that there is a blessing on the one who reads, hears, and takes to heart the words of prophecy in the book of Revelation. Those who study Revelation and the doctrine of the end times have a double blessing. It helps them keep a heavenly a mind, a mind consumed with and prepared for Christ’s coming.

Sadly, the enemy has sown so much disagreement over the end times that many pastors never teach on it. And therefore, the members of the church miss out on the blessing it brings to our lives—they live with no eager expectation. Like the servant who thought his master delayed his coming, we often cast off restraint and become consumed with our earthly life instead of our heavenly one. These doctrines are very important for us to drink deeply from so we can be ready for our Lord’s return. Christ said, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12).

  1. The Believer Develops An Unwavering Focus On Christ’s Coming By Practicing The Lord’s Supper.

Paul said, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).

The Lord’s Supper is not only a look back at the cross, but it is also meant to be a look forward. We are looking forward to the coming of our Savior. We should practice this often to keep our hearts ready for our Lord’s appearance.

Application Question: When you think about the future, what do you constantly think about? Do you struggle with staying focused on Christ’s coming, his kingdom, and our glory with him? How is God calling you to develop an eager expectation on these things so you can be more effective for his kingdom?

Conclusion

Paul wants this church to develop a heavenly mindset. It will deliver them from much of the earthly teaching filled with deceptive philosophy that was threatening the church (cf. Col. 2:8).

Developing a heavenly mindset, one that thinks on God and his kingdom, is very important to us as well. “As a man thinks, so he is” (Prov. 23:7, paraphrase). Right thinking leads to having the manifest presence of God in our lives (Phil. 4:8–9). Godly thinking brings peace and life to us and identifies us as true believers (Rom. 8:5–6). More importantly, if we are going to live a godly life it starts with a godly mind (Col. 3:1–5). This is why Satan is always attacking the believer’s mind and thoughts. He wants them to live like the world instead of living like a citizen of heaven waiting for their coming King.

How do we develop a heavenly mindset so we can live the effective Christian life God has called us to?

A heavenly mindset is developed by a focus on our resurrected position.

A heavenly mindset is developed by a life of continual discipline.

A heavenly mindset is developed by a focus on our crucified position.

A heavenly mindset is developed by a focus on our hidden life in Christ.

A heavenly mindset is developed by a focus on our future in Christ.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCURCH@GMAIL.COM

New Dwelling Place

August 10, 2018

Resurrection-Doubting-Thomas

  “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).

  Few see and stand upon the fact that our history in Adam ended on the Cross. Our past will plague us until we acknowledge that we are now clear of Adam and safely hidden in the risen Lord Jesus—newly-born creations in Him. One of the penalties of self-occupation is self-pity and corroding remorse.

 Regret for a sinful past will remain until we truly believe that for us in the Lord Jesus that sinful past no longer exists. The man in Christ has only His past and that is perfect and acceptable to the Father. In the Lord Jesus he died, and in Him he rose, and he is now seated in Him within the circle of the Father’s favored ones. He is no longer angry with himself because he is no longer self-regarding, but Christ-regarding: hence there is no place for regret.

  The knowledge of our union with the Lord Jesus is what will deliver the believer from all that is low and feeble, and will lift him to a life of joy and peace. To gaze upon our risen Lord in the Father’s presence, to whom all things are subject, will transform us into heavenly Christians, dwelling all the day in the Father’s presence.

The believer shares the Lord Jesus’ Cross (‘knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him’ Rom. 6:6); His death (‘ye died and your life is hid with Christ in God’ Col. 3:3); His burial (‘we were buried with him by baptism into death’ Rom. 6:4); His resurrection (‘as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we’ Rom. 6:4); His ascension (‘made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ Eph. 2:6).

  “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Annissa, she is HIV positive, tests just came back

Pray for Dave I, still battling prostate cancer

Pray for Andrea and Todd, really struggling with finances.

a shot of courage

August 9, 2018

John-Wayne-p15

Courage

Adrian Rogers tells about the man who bragged that he had cut off the tail of a man-eating lion with his pocket knife. Asked why he hadn’t cut off the lion’s head, the man replied: “Someone had already done that.”

Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared. Eddie Rickenbacker, Bits & Pieces, April 29, 1993, p. 12Edward Vernon Rickenbacker was an American fighter ace in World War I and Medal of Honor recipient. With 26 aerial victories, he was America’s most successful fighter ace in the war world I.

David, a 2-year old with leukemia, was taken by him mother, Deborah, to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, to see Dr. John Truman who specializes in treating children with cancer and various blood diseases. Dr. Truman’s prognosis was devastating: “He has a 50-50 chance.”

The countless clinic visits, the blood tests, the intravenous drugs, the fear and pain—the mother’s ordeal can be almost as bad as the child’s because she must stand by, unable to bear the pain herself. David never cried in the waiting room, and although his friends in the clinic had to hurt him and stick needles in him, he hustled in ahead of him mother with a smile, sure of the welcome he always got. When he was three, David had to have a spinal tap—a painful procedure at any age. It was explained to him that, because he was sick, Dr. Truman had to do something to make him better. “If it hurts, remember it’s because he loves you,” Deborah said.

The procedure was horrendous. It took three nurses to hold David still, while he yelled and sobbed and struggled. When it was almost over, the tiny boy, soaked in sweat and tears, looked up at the doctor and gasped, “Thank you, Dr. Tooman, for my hurting.”

Miracles of Courage, Monica Dickens, 1985

And now the Duke: Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.

Or ; don’t pick a fight, but if you find yourself in one, I suggest you damn well make sure you win.

Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from today.

And lastly from the Duke; When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it.

John 16:33 I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering; but have courage, I have conquered (overcome) the world.

The Original Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases lists boldness and fearlessness as synonyms of courage, but courage often exists in spite of the presence of fear. In fact, it is probably true that courage is doing what one is afraid to do. Indeed, courage is the capacity to resist fear, to master it, not its absence. Thus, courage is that quality of the heart or mind that gives one the ability to encounter danger and difficulty with firmness and resolve in spite of the presence of fear. “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”

  1. S. Lewis wrote, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.” Without courage, men and women will fail to be loving, to sacrifice, to count the cost, to tackle the challenges or take on the responsibilities that God calls them to.

What ever your trial, Jesus is with you going before you, alongside you, and He is interceding for you to the Father.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

AS HE WILLS

August 7, 2018

  “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7)

John 13:7 New International Version (NIV)

7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

  When our Lord takes us down into an area of processing and trial it seems as though He deliberately takes away our understanding, and we often react as though we had never gone through anything before. One of His reasons for this is that we may receive the full effect and benefit of the training as a child learning to obey his father.

 We should give our consent to our Father when He seeks to lead us through devastating processes. And we need have no fear, for He knows how to apportion our suffering. He exactly matches the suffering to our condition. He measures all things with unfailing accuracy and selects the particular trial suited to our particular need.

 He invariably chooses the lot of each with this in view—an increase of the divine content in our lives. If He chastens us, it is always ‘for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness.’ And ‘all things work together for good to them that are called according to his purpose.’ What good? What purpose? This, ‘that we may be conformed to the image of his Son.’

  “Let suffering come from any cause in the universe, if we give it over entirely into the hand of our Father, and sink ourselves into His divine will, with the desire for Him to work His purpose in us, He will make every pain, every tear, every particle of our suffering work in us a death to sin and to the old man, and to all things on earth which will be for our highest development and for His glory.” -G.W.

If we lay claim to the blessing of our Father, we must not fear what may lie in the path of blessing. It is ever through suffering to glory, through the Cross to the Crown.

  “In every circumstance of life be thankful; for this is God’s will in Christ Jesus respecting you” (1 Thess. 5:18, Wey.).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for those that suffer from depression

Pray for Sally H, she is concerned about her husband’s prescription abuse.

Pray for Dan F, that he forgives and comes back to the straight and narrow.

Pray for Harry S, a master carpenter, who is loosing the use of his hands.

Pray Janell, fear rules her life

AH, THE LIST!

August 6, 2018

growth marks

In John 14 we find one of the most significant verses for spiritual formation: “If you love me, keep my commands” (v. 15). To love Christ means keeping his commands—which entails knowing what it is he commands. Listed below is a sampling, 32 commands of Christ found in the Gospels. Learning these will help you in your journey to becoming more like Christ.

  1. Repent (see Mt 4:17)

  2. Rejoice when men revile and persecute you for Jesus’ sake (see Mt 5:11–12)

  3. Let your light shine before men (see Mt 5:16)

  4. Be reconciled to fellow believers (see Mt 5:23–25)

  5. Do not lust (see Mt 5:28–30)

  6. Do not swear falsely or break an oath (see Mt 5:37)

  7. Do not take revenge on someone who has wronged you (see Mt 5:38–42)

  8. Love and pray for your enemies (see Mt 5:44–46)

  9. Grow to be like Jesus (see Mt 5:46–48)

  10. Let your righteous behavior be seen by God and not done for others (see Mt 6:1–18)

  11. Store up treasures in heaven by doing good works (see Mt 6:19–21)

  12. Seek God’s kingdom before all things (see Mt 6:33)

  13. Do not render negative evaluations of others (see Mt 7:1–3)

  14. Use discernment when sharing the gospel (see Mt 7:6)

  15. Petition God with the expectation that he’ll answer (see Mt 7:7–8)

  16. Treat others as you want to be treated (see Mt 7:12)

  17. Pray for gospel missions (see Mt 9:37–38)

  18. Be shrewd, but pure of intention (see Mt 10:16)

  19. Fear nothing but God (see Mt 10:28)

  20. Honor your parents (see Mt 15:4)

  21. Deny your self-interest and follow the will of Christ (see Lk 9:23–25)

  22. Seek reconciliation with believers who have sinned against you (see Mt 18:15–17)

  23. Forgive those who seek our forgiveness (see Mt 18:21–22)

  24. Respect the permanency of marriage (see Mt 19:4–6)

  25. Serve fellow believers (see Mt 20:26–28)

  26. Give to the government what is due that authority (see Mt 22:19–21)

  27. Love God with all your heart, soul and mind (see Mt 22:37–38)

  28. Love your neighbor as yourself (see Mt 22:39–40)

  29. Be ready for Christ’s return (see Mt 24:42–44)

  30. Partake of the Lord’s Supper/communion (see Mt 26:26–28)

  31. Be born again (see Jn 3:5–7)

  32. Teach the gospel and make disciples (see Mt 28:19–20)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

GROWING DOWNWARD

August 3, 2018

the old pine box

“Death working in me works life in you” (2 Cor. 4:12,).

“The great lack in servants is not having a sufficiently self-less walk, because you cannot lead anyone beyond where you have been led yourself. Moses was himself many years in the wilderness before he led the people. I cannot ask anyone to leave anything that I have not left myself. It is not the man who sees defects, but the man who removes them who is being used of God.”

Would you like the Apostle Paul choose the path of death that others may have life? Will you choose to ‘fill up the afflictions of Christ for His Bride’s sake’? But what does it mean? It means living, weeping, suffering, loving with infinite patience, infinite tenderness, unwearyingly love for every member of the Body of Christ. It means the whole being bound up, not in your own progress, but in the progress of the Body of Christ. It means sinking all the personal element into the service of God, wanting neither credit, nor notice, nor recognition. It means an utter dropping of yourself, and a handing over of yourself to God to be poured out for His Body’s sake, the Church. It’s a growing downward.

Our joy in the Father’s presence, as He Himself and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, are made manifest to our hearts, gives us the character of the joy of true fellowship one with another.

“I, Paul. . . rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the church” (Col. 1:23, 24).

The downward path is the path to death. It is the constant act of putting off the flesh. Are you actively seeking to end bad habits? Have you stopped giving in to temptations? As I’ve said many times, the Christian life is the hardest life there is to lead, yet the easiest, a contradiction of our life, loosing it but gaining it. Only in Christendom.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for our country, that this liberal, left wing plan to socialize our nation doesn’t succeed.

Pray for Veterans, especially those that are homeless.

curses, foiled again

August 2, 2018

This topic “generational curses” has come up in counseling everyday this week. It is crossly exaggerated, and the term is not exactly carried out in it’s true biblical context.

The Bible does not mention “generational curses” it does however mention sins of a family being continued in its lineage for generations, not curses; several places (Exodus 20:5; 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9). God warns that He is “a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”

It sounds unfair for God to punish children for the sins of their fathers. However, there is more to it than that. The effects of sin are naturally passed down from one generation to the next. That is after all what we call the Federal Headship Theory, of how all we in Adam sinned. And how it is the blood that carries this stain. Thus Jesus had to be borne of a virgin, without sin.

When a father has a sinful lifestyle, his children are likely to practice the same sinful lifestyle. Implied in the warning of Exodus 20:5 is the fact that the children will choose to repeat the sins of their fathers. A Jewish Targum specifies that this passage refers to “ungodly fathers” and “rebellious children.” So, it is not unjust for God to punish sin to the third or fourth generation – those generations are committing the same sins their ancestors did and are not saved, Christian people, but idolatrous and not following the Lord.

There is a trend in the church today to try to blame every sin and problem on some sort of generational curse. This is not biblical. God’s warning to visit iniquity on future generations is part of the Old Testament Law. A generational curse was a consequence for a specific nation (Israel) for a specific sin (idolatry). The history books of the Old Testament (especially Judges) contain the record of this divine punishment meted out.

The cure for a generational curse has always been repentance. When Israel turned from idols to serve the living God, the “curse” was broken and God saved them (Judges 3:9, 15; 1 Samuel 12:10-11). Yes, God promised to visit Israel’s sin upon the third and fourth generations, but in the very next verse He promised that He would show “love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:6). In other words, God’s grace lasts a thousand times longer than His wrath.

For the Christian who is worried about a generational curse, the answer is salvation through Jesus Christ. A Christian is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). How can a child of God still be under God’s curse, simple answer, you can’t (Romans 8:1). The cure for sin is repentance from sin and believe in the life-giving promise of faith in Christ, and a life consecrated to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2).

Let me just repeat this so I’m crystal clear. A Christian cannot be cursed, under a curse, plagued by a generational curse, nor can a Christian be possessed of a demon or a bloodline demon (no such thing).

You can be affected by your family’s lifestyle choice. Nature versus Nurture. You might have to unlearn family habits, like violence or lying. But it’s not a curse. You are free in Christ, under a new bloodline, a son of God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Linda H, hip problems

For Dave I, prostate cancer

For Matthew, going in for tests.

For Marilyn waiting for test results.