THE BURNING BUSH

October 21, 2018

I think this quote is from an Issac Watts, but I’m not sure; “I would fail neither man not Thee.”

Failure, not a real popular topic. People that recover from great failures are forged in a fire that makes them greater in faith, purpose and forgiveness than those that have never failed greatly.

A promising junior executive with IBM involved the company in a risky venture that resulted in a $10 million loss. When Tom Watson, IBM’s founder, called the nervous executive into his office, the young man blurted out, “I guess you want my resignation?” Watson replied, “You can’t be serious. We’ve just spent $10 million educating you!” (Christianity Today [8/9/85], p. 67)

God is in the business of using people who have failed. The Bible doesn’t paper over the failures of its heroes. Noah got drunk and exposed himself. Abraham lied twice about his wife being his sister. Isaac did the same. Jacob deceived his father and cheated his brother out of the birthright. David sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered. The disciples all abandoned Jesus at His crucifixion and then doubted the resurrection. Peter denied Jesus and later waffled on the gospel out of fear of the Judaizers. Mark bailed out on the first missionary journey. And in our text, Moses murders an Egyptian, is rejected by his countrymen, flees for his life, and lives in the desert for the next forty years. This story gives us hope that God can use us even after we’ve failed.

  1. L. Moody said, “Moses spent his first forty years thinking he was somebody. He spent his second forty years learning he was a nobody. He spent his third forty years discovering what God can do with a nobody.” (Henrietta Mears, What the Bible is All About [Gospel Light], p. 33, in Charles Swindoll, Moses [Thomas Nelson], p. 20.) It is from Stephen’s testimony before the Sanhedrin (Acts 7:23) that we learn that Moses was about forty when he killed the Egyptian taskmaster and that he spent forty years in the land of Midian before the encounter with the burning bush (Acts 7:30). We joke about students who cram a four-year degree program into five years. Moses stretched his education out to forty years!

Stephen also gives us some insight into what Moses was like when he went out to visit his brethren and killed the Egyptian taskmaster (Acts 7:22): “Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.” Although it’s not inspired Scripture, the Jewish historian, Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews [Baker], 2:9:7), says that Moses was being groomed to be the next king, since Pharaoh didn’t have a son. Josephus also reports (ibid. 2:10) that Moses led a victorious Egyptian force against the Ethiopians. Perhaps that’s why Stephen calls Moses “a man of power in words and deeds.”

Why would Moses side with the Hebrew slaves and risk his place in the Egyptian court by killing this taskmaster? This action caused Pharaoh now to see Moses as a traitor who needed to be killed. Hebrews 11:24-26 tells us why Moses did this: “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.”

So Moses’ intentions were right when he went out to help his suffering Hebrew people. He had given up position, pleasure, and prosperity to take his stand with God’s people (Philip Ryken, Exodus [Crossway], p. 62). But he went about his mission in the wrong way, resulting in a forty year detour. From a prince in the palace of Egypt, Moses became a shepherd in the barren wilderness of Midian. From being in the limelight of Pharaoh’s government, Moses went into isolation and obscurity. From being a “somebody,” he instantly became a “nobody.” The text does not tell us what he felt, but he must have battled depression and confusion. His first attempt at leadership had been a dismal failure.

Some believe that Moses was right to kill this Egyptian oppressor (see Calvin’s Commentaries [Baker], on Exod. 2:12, p. 47). Calvin believed that Moses was not impelled by rash zeal, but rather acted because he knew that God had appointed him to be the deliverer of his nation (Acts 7:25). But I agree with the majority of scholars who believe that Moses’ action was not in submission to God’s will at that time. And even Calvin (p. 51) acknowledges that the forty years in the desert was God’s school to prepare Moses for his later more difficult assignment. This story teaches us that …

Our failures cannot thwart God’s gracious covenant faithfulness toward His people.

That is one reason the bible has such great appeal to me, it is a catalog of men that have failed and often failed again. And yet God uses them, changes them. A quote that I am fond of and don’t know the author; “When you pray remember God will often do something to you before He does something for you.”

So, the fiery furnace you are in right now, it probably won’t last 40 years like Moses in the wilderness, good news, right?

The one important thing to cut a trial short, learn the lesson God is trying to teach you the first time. And it’s ok to ask, “what the heck are you doing to me.”

Sickness, pain, hardships, no money, friends leaving, disease, cancer, divorce, they are all like the burning bush, you just have to listen to hear the voice of God.

And don’t get me wrong, God doesn’t cause these things to happen, but He will use them to temper the metal, the trial will make you a better person once you get over your anger, your declaring your rights, submission to God, the breaking before the mending, never any fun, but the lesson learned, the time of closeness to Him, it’s sad we forget and have to learn it over and over again.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for the family of A.G. Russell, the knife community has lost a great man, remember the family and all the lives he touched.

1 PETER 3:1-2;Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives

We must consider 1 Peter 3:1-2: “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” “Disobedient to the word” primarily refers to an unbelieving husband, but it may include a professing believer who is difficult, cantankerous, or disobedient.

What should the wife do? First, she should to make sure that her behavior, attitude, and words, are “chaste and respectful,” and that she has a “gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Pet. 3:4). “Chaste” means, “pure, undefiled.” She should never retaliate to abusive speech with abusive speech or punish her husband with the silent, angry treatment, but rather, give a blessing instead (1 Pet. 3:9). If she is angry and bitter, she needs to repent and show him God’s love (Matt. 5:44-46; Luke 6:27-28, 32-33). “Gentle” means “strength under control.” “Quiet” means not being contentious or argumentative.

A wife should never join her husband in sinful behavior. If he makes a profession of faith or is a church member, but insists that she join him in sinful behavior, after appealing to him, if he persists she should go to the elders of the church to seek godly counsel. They need to confront his sin. If he is not a believer, she should gently explain the reason that she cannot join him in disobedience to the Lord (1 Pet. 3:13-16).

If the disobedient husband is being verbally but not physically abusive, the wife needs to make sure that she does not provoke him by her words or behavior (unless he is provoked by her godly behavior!). She should gently explain that she would like to be close to him, but his abusive speech is creating distance. If he threatens violence or is violent against her or the children, she should flee to a place of safety. If he has been physically violent or he’s using illegal drugs in the home, she should report him to the police. God ordained the government to punish evildoers and protect law-abiding citizens. No man should be allowed to bully his family and cause them to live in constant fear because of his violent temper.

But, coming back to 1 Peter 3, winning the disobedient husband without a word means being a godly example in the face of his ungodly behavior (1 Pet. 3:8-17 goes on to explain this). Sometimes (but not always) God will use a wife’s godly behavior to bring her disobedient husband to repentance and faith. But whatever his response, she will know that she is pleasing the Lord.

If you’re in a difficult situation, I encourage you to seek godly counsel. Find a mature woman of God, to confide in and pray with. The command for a wife to submit is never license for a husband to be abusive. An abusive husband needs to repent. A wife’s submissive, gentle, and quiet spirit is God’s way to win a disobedient husband to repentant faith in Christ (1 Pet. 3:1-4). It follows the example of the Lord Jesus, who, while being reviled, “did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Pet. 2:23). Submission to God-ordained authority is not easy, especially when the authority is not godly. But it is “fitting in the Lord.”

So it’s our choice, man or woman, follow the pattern for a godly, biblical marriage and be blessed. Or choose your own way and create a living hell, never feeling satisfied, always envious of someone else’s marriage, which usually leads to infidelity.

God has given us free will, not necessarily the smarts to go with it. That’s why we have the bible as a road map to success.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Karey, she is wanting the whole family to go to church together. Now they have young teens (2) and she regrets not keeping them active in church.

Pray for Dallas W, 66 years old, he just gave his heart to the Lord (Salvation, born again, new Christian) and his family (wife and grown sons) are saying he’s nuts or having an identity crisis. Pray for him to be a godly husband and father and servant and to lead by example.

the godly couple

October 15, 2018

Ok, I sort of got sidetracked from the discussion of submission, so here is part two.

What is submission?

  1. Submission is to put oneself under another’s authority.

The Greek word Paul (Colossians 3:18) uses here is a military term meaning to put oneself in rank under another. God has ordained the principle of authority and submission in a number of different spheres: Citizens are to be subject to civil authorities (Rom. 13:1; Titus 3:1); slaves to their masters (Col. 3:22; Titus 2:9); church members to their leaders (1 Cor. 16:16; Titus 2:15; Heb. 13:17); children to their parents (Col. 3:20); and wives to their husbands (Eph. 5:22, 24; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1). Every time the New Testament speaks to the role of wives, the command is the same: “Be subject to your husband.”

We don’t like the idea of submission to authority. But before you react against this command, consider some mitigating factors. First, whenever God grants authority, it is always for the blessing and protection of those under authority and never for the advantage of the ones in authority. God loves people and in His wisdom He has ordained proper authority for the benefit of the human race. If those in government authority use their position to further their own interests at the expense of those under them, they are corrupt and will answer to God, who delegated authority to them. Likewise, any husband who uses his authority in the home to lord it over his family for his own advantage is liable before God for abusing his authority. To be in authority does not mean greater perks, but rather greater responsibility and accountability before God.

Second, it’s important to recognize that husbands are never commanded, “Exercise authority over your wife!” The headship of the husband is stated as a fact, but the commands to submit are always given to the wife. The husband is commanded to love his wife sacrificially. Almost always when couples come for marriage counseling, they are pointing the finger at each other. The wife complains that the husband is unloving and insensitive. He complains that she isn’t submissive and doesn’t meet his needs. But Paul tells husbands (Eph. 5:25), “Love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” He tells wives (Eph. 5:22), “Be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord.” When husbands and wives each focus on their God-ordained responsibilities toward each other, there will be harmony, not abuse.

Third, to be in authority does not in any way imply the superiority of the husband or the inferiority of the wife. A wife may in fact be superior in intellect and spiritual maturity to her husband. Paul affirms elsewhere (Gal. 3:28) that she is just as much a member of Christ as her husband is. Peter calls the wife a “fellow-heir of the grace of life” (1 Pet. 3:7). She is in every way equal as a person to her husband. But God has ordained the principle of authority for the orderly functioning of government, the church, and the home. To resist it is to resist God who ordained it (Rom. 13:1-2).

To put oneself under the authority of another does not imply passivity. A submissive wife is not one who meekly goes along with her husband, while keeping her thoughts and feelings to herself. Close relationships are built on truthfulness and openness in a context of love. If a wife withholds her viewpoint or feelings under the guise of submissiveness, she is creating distance in her relationship with her husband.

Also, a submissive wife should properly confront her husband’s sin. When 1 Peter 3:1 says that a wife should win a disobedient husband “without a word” by her godly behavior, it is not prohibiting her from speaking. Peter means that the main emphasis of the wife’s way of changing her husband should be her behavior, not sermons. A disobedient husband will not be won over by a preaching, nagging wife. But that does not mean that in the context of living a godly life, a wife cannot lovingly speak to her husband about his disobedience and how it is damaging their relationship. If a wife does not speak the truth in love, she is not fulfilling her responsibility in the marriage.

True submission is communicated both by attitudes and actions. A wife can be strong and even outspoken and yet be submissive in spirit if she respects her husband and backs his leadership even when she disagrees. Or she can be outwardly submissive but inwardly defiant, using deception and manipulation to get her own way. God doesn’t want grudging compliance, where a wife says, “I’ll submit; but I know you’re wrong and I’ll never let you forget it when it doesn’t work out.” True submission means that after an open sharing of thinking and feelings, with prayer, if there is still a disagreement, a wife yields to her husband’s authority and seeks to help him in his responsibility to lead under God. In our over 44 years of marriage, My wife and I would be hard pressed to come up with a single instance where we haven’t come to mutual agreement.

When a marriage is one of equality in God, trusting the roles He has laid out for us. And the husband and wife respect and accept the gifts each spouse has, then there is more harmony in a marriage.

I usually give two words of advice to marriage couples; 1, be nice, friendly and loving to each other. 2; Speak only kind words to each other. Yelling and accusations, finger pointing and blaming never solves anything.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Xonia, she will not accept that she has dementia and needs some help in her day to day life.

Pray for Karla, she’s been married 30 years and her older sister is getting a divorce and the older sister is trying to wreck Karla’s marriage to justify her own situation.

Ilene,

October 11, 2018

christ on cross

Well yesterday was about Juan, today I met a brave woman that is a seeker, she was born in Mexico, married the man of her dreams who turned out to be a heroin dealer/user.

The fairy tale marriage quickly turned into a nightmare, after having 3 children, he didn’t want anymore and nor, did he want her to ever bear children again. So he stomped and kick her until breaking her hips and permanently damaging her uterus.

She comes to in the hospital, where he has taken the kids and fled back to Mexico. It takes 15 years before she gets her kids back. Thanks to her new husband a lawyer in International Law. It’s not the law that gets the kids back but his connection.

Reunited with her 3 kids. A new marriage and no drugs. She has been listening to BBN radio (Bible Broadcasting Network) and has become an avid reader of everything I give her. Her spiritual hunger for God is drawing her to read the bible and everyday she has questions about God, Jesus and how to see how everything that has happened in her life brought her to this point.

This weekend she is bring her husband to their first couples bible study and I believe she is just on the cusp of accepting the Lord as Savior.

Pray for Ilene that she will accept Christ and her husband will soon follow.

What a week this has been for meeting new Christians, growing Christians and the spiritually hungry.

God bless from scumlikesuschurch@gmail.com

First to Ms. Elliot, yes you can correct my grammar and thanks for your prayers.

Pray for Virginia M. that the Lord will take her home.

Pray for Gwen, very religious but not a Christian, somedays I think she is ready, only to hit a brick wall. Pray that the right people come into her life and not the wrong ones.

HEY, STUD

October 9, 2018

A bishop who had just had a cup of tea with a parishioner commented, “I’m glad to see in what a comfortable way you are living.” The churchgoer replied, “Oh, bishop, if you want to know how we really live, you need to come when you’re not here.” (Reader’s Digest [3/84], p. 16)

Unfortunately, a lot of Christians live that way, keeping up a good front to impress others with their spirituality. But if you knew how they really live, you’d find that they are faking it. They don’t live as authentic Christians. We all value authenticity, especially when it comes to our faith. But how can we know if our faith is genuine? What are the marks of authentic Christianity?

Many of the Colossian Christians had been unsettled by some false teachers who had arisen in their midst. They were telling these relatively new believers that they needed to observe designated holy days, avoid certain foods, and keep certain rules in order to be spiritual. They implied that the gospel which Epaphras had taught the Colossians was not complete or accurate. They needed to add the insights and rules of the false teachers to be genuine believers.

Paul wrote to the church to assure them that the gospel they previously received through Epaphras was the genuine item. It proved its authenticity by the fruit that it had produced in them and was producing in others everywhere it went. In so doing, Paul emphasized, as he often did, three virtues that are essentials of authentic Christianity: faith in Jesus Christ, love for other believers, and the hope of heaven. Also, in Paul’s opening comments, he reflects the authentic Christian virtues of thankfulness and prayer. Putting it together, we learn that …

Authentic Christians are marked by thankfulness and prayer, faith in Christ, love for the saints, and the hope of heaven.

It’s obvious that the Colossians were very different after they heard and believed the gospel which Epaphras preached. If people have not changed, we can assume that either the true gospel was not preached or that it was not believed. Belief in the true gospel results in the changes that Paul himself embodied and that he mentions here.

In many Pentecostal churches you will find more women in the congregation than men. My church therefore is an anomaly, we have more men than women (55%). It’s not a huge difference but it is different.

What always interests me is how my men test me to see if I’m genuine. When our church went interdenominational, we received even more men. I think we have more than our fair share of cops, FBI, a secret something and a homeland security. Maybe one attracts the other. With my military and government background it’s maybe not so surprising.

And since I hunt, reload, and shoot often we get a lot of shooters in church. So our men’s prayer Saturday is usually prayer, breakfast and then shooting. We trade knives, stories and once a quarter we have a saints and sinner dinner. We encourage the guys to invite someone that has never been to church. We grill steaks, have a little bourbon (one glass limit) and a cigar and then bible study, we call it “the holy smokes bible study”.

We have guys that won’t come to church but they will come to bible study and the dinners.

What interests me the most is how they watch the Christian men like a hawk, just waiting for them to slip up. I tell them we do have a few rules always in play, you can’t take the Lord’s name in vain, no dope, don’t show up drunk or high, no jokes about sex, no wife bashing, and you don’t have to hold hands when you pray. That last one draws a big sigh of relief.

I tell them anything I say in front of them I would say in the pulpit.

They are looking for a very real, genuine walk, and they want to see forgiveness in action. We do confess our sins to each other, either to the group or you’ll see some guys on one of the hiking trails or on the gun range having a serious come to Jesus conversation.

The one side effect I never saw coming was the wives saying thank you. My response is always “it’s not the goal of the church to neuter your husband” you can be a man and a good Christian.

Well that’s it for now, God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ronnie S, life has been very hard for him and he needs a financial miracle.

Freedom yet bondage

October 3, 2018

  “The law is not of faith” (Gal. 3:12).

  The law will break you; grace will make you.

 Nothing can be more sure than the steps of one guided by the Spirit of God and the Word of God, and yet nothing more complicated than to have to walk in ‘separation’ from all that exists around. It is indeed difficult to have to wind one’s way through things so perplexing and so complex as the religious systems of our own day. We have to avoid on the one hand organizations formed in imitation of things past (the legalistic church), and on the other systems more characterized by anticipation of things future (Kingdom-law and standing on principles only meant for the millennial period).

With many Christians, it may be almost thought that the Lord Jesus was but the introduction to Moses. That His death procured the payment of sin’s debt, so that the debt being paid, the believer might be in a position to keep the law, and that, accordingly, the law, and not the ‘Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,’ might be the believer’s rule of life.(you know the type of church, that everything is a sin and there is no grace, if you fall you move to another church).

 The walk of the believer should ever be the natural result of realized privilege, and not the constrained result of legal vows and resolutions—the proper fruit of a position known and enjoyed by faith, and not the result of one’s own efforts to reach a position ‘by works of law.’ All true believers are a part of the Bride of Christ; hence, they owe Him those affections which become that relation. The relationship is not obtained because of the affections, but the affections flow out of the relationship.

  “For I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I might live unto God” (Gal. 2:19

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Sherrie, she is playing at church, she knows all the lingo, but she is not even pretending outside of church. Pray she would feel the need to live a pleasing life to the Lord. The problem is she has been playing church for so long she doesn’t remember all the great things the Lord has done in her life.

Thanks for all the prayer for me, I’m feeling much better.

Pray for Randal, a bad case of gout.

Pray for Veronica, another church bad girl. She plays fast and loose on Friday and Saturday, but Sunday is the model of a proper Christian. The problem is her teen girls are now following in her footsteps.

Pray for our youth, that they will discover the bible is relevant.

(WELL I’M DOWN WITH THE CRUD, SO I REPOSTING MY PERSONAL FAVORITE DEVOTION)

SO WHO’S WITH ME, YOU WANT TO GROW UP AND BE A POTATO CHIP.

BETTER LET ME EXPLAIN, LAYS POTATO CHIPS THEY HAVE ONE THAT’S LABELED, ‘LIGHTLY SALTED; IN A WEIRD WAY IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT THAT EXPLAINS THE FOUR GOSPELS AND THE BOOK OF ACTS (NOT COMPLETELY BUT ALMOST).

GOD IS LIGHT, HIS SON IS LIGHT, AND WE ARE CALLED TO BE LIGHT. IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN IT SAYS THAT DARKNESS (EVIL, THE DEVIL) CANNOT OVERCOME THE LIGHT OR EVEN UNDERSTAND IT. THAT’S HOW POWERFUL LIGHT IS.

SO WE ARE CALLED TO LIGHT.

WE ARE ALSO CALLED TO BE SALT

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW 5:13 SAYS WE ARE TO BE THE SALT OF THE EARTH. WE ARE TO BRING FLAVOR AND BE A PRESERVATIVE TO THE WORLD. BUT IF THE SALT LOSES ITS FLAVOR IT IS NO GOOD; AND THERE IS THE PROBLEM.

FOUR THINGS WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO AS CHRISTIANS.ONE, BE LIGHT, TWO BE SALT, THREE BE CHRIST LIKE, AND FOUR BE MATURE.

WE CAN’T LEAVE ONE PART OUT, WE ARE TO SHINE IN DARKNESS AND LET THE WORLD KNOW A RESURRECTED CHRIST; WE ARE TO HAVE AN INFLUENCE IN THE WORLD THAT ACTUALLY STOPS OR RETARDS THE PEOPLE AND THEIR SINS (CONVICTION AND THAT GOD LOVES THEM). BE CHRIST LIKE IN ALL WE DO SO THE LIGHT SHINES FROM US. AND GROW UP SO WE CAN GROW OUT.

SO HERE’S MY PROPOSITION, SPEAKING JUST ABOUT AMERICA, WE HAVE PRETTY MUCH FAILED IN EVANGELISM, WITNESSING AND SPREADING THE HOPE OF GOD. SO EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG IN OUR COUNTRY IS PRETTY MUCH THE CHURCHES FAULT AND OF COURSE THE SINFULNESS OF MAN.

ONE WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER, THE OTHER WE DO. DON’T BLAME THE GOVERNMENT, OR POLITICIANS, THE QUESTION WE HAVE TO ASK IS ‘HAVE OUR LIGHTS GONE OUT AND IS THE SALT GONE FROM OUR LIVES.

HOW MANY FAMOUS TV AND BOOK PASTORS ARE SAYING THE BIBLE ISN’T HISTORICALLY RELEVANT, IT HAS NO PLACE IN THE PLACE OF MODERN MAN. HOW ABOUT ALL THE CHURCHES THAT HAVE ONE GOAL ON SUNDAY, TO MAKE YOU FEEL HAPPY AND GOOD ABOUT YOUR SELF (BIG NEWS FLASH, GOD DOESN’T ACTUALLY CARE IF YOUR HAPPY).

THERE IS A WELL KNOWN PASTOR NEAR HERE THAT TOLD ME HE HASN’T PREACHED A MESSAGE ABOUT SIN IN OVER 15 YEARS AND WOULDN’T BECAUSE HE THINKS THAT MESSAGE WOULD DRIVE THE CROWDS AWAY.

ASK YOUR SELF ‘WHY DO I GO TO CHURCH?’ HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU’VE WITNESSED TO SOMEONE, OR TRIED TO HOLD A BROTHER OR SISTER ACCOUNTABLE FOR SOMETHING THEY ARE HAVING A PROBLEM WITH.

BE BIG

BE BOLD

BE BRAVE

SO TODAY WILL YOU RENEW YOUR VOW TO BE A POTATO CHIP, VOTE YES.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

KEEP ME IN PRAYER, I’M NOT A GOOD PATIENT

WHERE IS THE LOVE

September 30, 2018

As a pastor it grieves me that someone leaves the church because they felt unforgiven or marginalized within their own home church. Yes, they did something wrong, but where is the love.

It is important to understand the difference between being judgmental and discerning truth from error. In Matt. 7:1, the Lord said, “Do not judge lest you be judged.” Then, in verses 2-5 he warns against trying to correct others without first correcting what is wrong in our own lives. If we deal honestly deal with our own hearts, etc., then we have the responsibility to help others. But there is also a warning in verse 6. He said, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine” (vs. 6). How can we know that someone, in their spiritual condition, is like a dog or a pig (i.e., someone who is incapable of appreciating the truth—apathetic, cold, indifferent), unless you judge, discern their character or their spiritual condition?

This passage does not teach that judgments should never be made. In fact, Matthew 7:5 specifically speaks of removing the speck from your brother’s eye. But the Lord’s point is that no one is qualified nor able to do that if they are habitually critical or condemnatory of the specks in someone else’s eye when they themselves have a plank—a hyperbole for effect—in their own eye. Such are not truly interested in righteousness, only in playing spiritual king of the mountain.

So, as in selecting elders and deacons for office (1 Tim. 3), judgment is sometimes needed, but those making the distinctions (krino„, judge, means “to distinguish” and thus “to decide”) must first be certain of their own lives and their motives. We need to ask questions like, Am I doing this to show how much I know? Am I trying to play spiritual king of the mountain? Do I think I am better than they are because I know something they do not know? These are some of the logs that we must remove from our own eyes (hearts). We are not judging people when we discern behavior or beliefs that are clearly unbiblical. For an excellent passage on having a judgmental spirit versus a discerning spirit, read Paul’s teaching on the problem of doubtful or questionable things in Romans 14.

Furthermore when seeking to help others, we must exercise care to discern their spiritual appetites and do what would be appreciated and beneficial. We need to test the waters, so to speak. Ask a question in a non-threatening way to see if they might be open to discussion. “Would you be interested in what the Bible has to say about astrology?” We do this because one should never entrust holy things (what is sacred) to unholy people (dogs; cf. “dogs” in Phil. 3:2) or throw … pearls to pigs. Dogs and pigs were despised in those days. This is one of the reasons the Lord spoke in parables. He did so to hide truth from the indifferent and to reveal it to those who were hungry and prepared.

Finally, remember that the ultimate issue is not seeking to get people to change their behavior, but come to know and believe in Christ. This includes biblical repentance, but in a salvation context, that means recognizing their sinful condition and need and turning from their sources of trust (religion, human will power, cultism, astrology, etc.) to trust in Jesus and His death for their sin. It does not mean cleaning up their lives and then trusting in Christ. Only Christ can change lives in a way that is significant.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Sharon W, respiratory problems

ATOMIC ROOSTER

September 26, 2018

Voted the number one rock song on an album by leading Rock and Roll Experts, not based on fame, or money, but solely of the merits of what a rock song should be; Death Walks Behind You, by Atomic Rooster. I wish I still had the album.

this is a long devotion so print it out or set aside some time. I found these notes in one of my older bibles, probably when i was in Seminary. I don’t remember the source or where I found the quotes. But it is topic that no person can avoid.

The valley of the shadow of death is the longest valley in the world. It began with Adam and has continued through six thousand years of human history. Men like to postpone that dreadful moment when they must pass through the dark valley, but death underscores each life and refuses to accept the person of any man. Death does not take into account whether we have been profitable or detrimental to society. Every step that we take brings us nearer to the grave, and it is but a matter of time until we must bid farewell to every earthly tie. With all of the wisdom of the medical profession and the use of scientific discoveries, we must agree with the wise preacher of old who said; “For the living know that they shall die” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).

The Bible contains much warning about death, speaking as frequently on this subject as it does about any other. In the garden of Eden where death had never entered, Adam and Eve were instructed by God to refrain from the forbidden fruit with the accompanying warning:

In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:17).

We know that they did eat; and at the very moment the judgment of God passed upon them, their bodies commenced the process of death and decay. “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died” (Genesis 5:5).

On one page of our Bible we have the genealogy from Adam to Noah and with only one exception, Enoch, the man who walked with God and was translated, the refrain is repeated– “and he died.”

The Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles did not hesitate to declare that death is certain. Noah preached righteousness and the judgment of God. He warned men that if they would not repent, the Lord would destroy them from the face of the earth (Genesis 6:7). Men only mocked at the old preacher’s sermon, and then God struck the whole earth with death and destruction. The divine record has it that the waters prevailed for forty days on the earth until every hill was covered. And then we read:

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man (Genesis 7:21).

Abraham faced the grim reality of death when he offered Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord. Though Isaac was spared, a ram died in his stead. Then we read: “And Sarah died” (Genesis 23:2). “And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die” (Deuteronomy 31:14).

Isaiah said to Hezekiah: “Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live” (2 Kings 20:1).

Jeremiah warned Hananiah: “This year thou shalt die” (Jeremiah 28:16).

Ezekiel preached the Word of the Lord: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). “That wicked man shall die in his iniquity” (Ezekiel 33:8).

When Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus, He said: “The beggar died . . . The rich man also died” (Luke 16:22).

When Christ was brought before the multitude, the Jews said: “We have a law, and by our law He ought to die” (John 19:7).

Of Dorcas, Luke writes: “She was sick, and died” (Acts 9:37).

How full the Bible is of the subject of death! We cannot study the life of any Bible character, save Enoch and Elijah, without being reminded that they all died. Life insurance companies become rich simply by pointing out that all men must die, and the agents have little difficulty in selling a policy by merely saying that death may come suddenly and unexpectedly. Any undertaker who conducts a respectable business is assured of a comfortable living with those values that money can buy. Even architects and builders take death into account when they plan a structure. Dr. John Rice tells that when his congregation in Dallas was preparing plans for a new church building the architect insisted on discussing the stairways, for, said he: “One rule we architects try to remember is that every stairway and every bedroom door must be large enough to admit a coffin!”

The Bible speaks of: “The law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

The Apostle Paul says: “We had the sentence of death in ourselves” (2 Corinthians 1:9). “So then death worketh in us” (2 Corinthians 4:12).

The Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of men “Who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15).

There is no escaping death. Try as hard as we can, the rider on the pale horse will pay his visit to each of us. He is blind to all tears and deaf to all prayers and pleadings. He must come to us, for he is sent by appointment. “It is appointed unto men once to die.” It is the judgment of the Almighty, it is by divine appointment. The death-bed, the crepe, the funeral, the grave, and the broken-hearted sighs and tears of the bereaved all tell us that “man dieth.”

The first time that the subject of death is mentioned in the Bible is given as a warning to our first parents. There man in his primitive state was enjoying blissful communion with God:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:16-17).

Adam knew that he was alive, but he was a stranger to the subject of death until he heard this word from the Lord. Now he is on his own. He has a knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. He knows that to obey God will mean continuous and unending life and to disobey will bring the sentence of death. The power of choice and the right to decide is now left with man. However, Satan would not allow the situation to go unchallenged. Though he taunted and tempted Eve he could not force her to eat the fruit. Both she and her husband partook of it by their own choice, and in so doing they incurred the displeasure of the Lord. The warning He gave was plain: “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Being holy and righteous in all of His judgments, God could do nothing other than pass the sentence of death. Hence Adam listened to what the consequences of his own wrong-doing had brought upon himself:

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return (Genesis 3:19).

God never acts in judgment nor does He allow anything to come to pass unless there is a just cause. So when He pronounced death upon the human race it was because Adam and Eve had disobeyed God and turned from the truth. Though the warning of the Lord had come in soundness and simplicity man chose to sin, knowing all the while that it meant death. Man cannot plead innocency on the ground of the sovereignty of God. He is appointed to die because he has transgressed the Law of God, and the Lord’s justice in the sentence of death is so undeniable that every mouth is stopped and all the world is guilty before Him. Man can offer no legitimate reason why the death sentence should not have been passed, for:

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

The soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4).

Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:15).

By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin (Romans 5:12).

So then death worketh in us (2 Corinthians 4:12).

For all have sinned (Romans 3:23).

Every time that death strikes and a loved one is suddenly taken away, it is as if we hear the cachinnation of sin and Satan. Sin plays with man for a time just as a cat plays with a mouse. Sin will allow us to run here and there, to pursue happiness, worldly pleasure and power; but the game of life is brief. In the end sin has tracked down each of us, and each pays with his life. Inasmuch as “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), we search in vain in our efforts to discover the secret of victory over death, for “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death?” (Psalm 89:48).

Death is still in our midst holding the whole world in fear and subjection. The reason men shrink from it is because “the sting of death is sin” (1 Corinthians 15:56). Because our nature is sinful and our hearts wicked, death continues to prick us and drive us toward the grave as the goad drives an ox to slaughter. Jesus said that ours is a wicked and an adulterous age. Until Christ comes back with His Church to rule the earth, “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Even to the end of the millennium death will hold within its grasp all the wicked dead. Until Satan and all unbelievers are cast into the lake of fire, death will have a vise-like grip upon sinners. But how comforting and consoling for the Christian when he looks for Him, even our blessed Lord Jesus who, when He comes the second time with His own, will subdue all things, even the power of death!

Death does not affect all men in the same way simply because it does not lead all men in the same direction. We realize that here we are assuming that death is not the consummation of all existence. Furthermore we are aware of the fact that there are a great many people in the world today who do not believe in an existing consciousness after death. Only recently I talked with a gentleman who believes that death is the cessation of man’s existence. He compared the death of a man to a leaf falling from a tree in October. Disregarding the positive proof of immortality, we will content ourselves with a brief consideration of one of two courses that death must take.

In one hospital ward two patients may die at exactly the same moment. While the root cause of these deaths may be the same in each case, the dying of one can be something altogether different from the dying of the other. We have seen how that death was the only real satisfaction for sin. It was the only punishment for sin that could satisfy the righteous demands of God. Since all men, who were at one time in the loins of Adam, possess Adam’s fallen nature, it stands that all must die the physical death of the body. However as Abraham Kuyper has said: “In the valley of the shadow of death, the great highway on which people walk divides itself, and continues on one side upward unto eternal life, and on the other with a declining path downward into eternal death.”

We can understand this only as we know something of the true purpose of the death of Jesus Christ. Since sin must be punished by death, Jesus went to the cross and died as the punishment for sin and thus at the same time offered Himself as the satisfaction for sin. Peter declares that “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh” (1 Peter 3:18). Here we are told that Christ was put to death for sins “that He might bring us to God.” Those who fall asleep in the Lord take the upward course to Heaven and to God. Having accepted Jesus Christ as their Sin-Bearer and Savior from sin they are brought to God by virtue of His sacrificial and vicarious death. Believers are able to say: “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). As Jesus hung dying upon the Cross, He was the true sin-offering for His people. We were, by nature, on the downward course, doomed to be separated from God; but Jesus, by virtue of His death, provided a new destiny. Dr. Harry Rimmer has said, “When Jesus died to change the trend of human thought, He also died to change the road of human history. Through a false philosophy, mankind was pursuing a fatal destiny. The impact of the cross bent human history out of the course in which it was flowing, and directed mankind toward God.” Whenever a true believer dies he is said to have fallen “asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 15; 1 Corinthians 15:6), and immediately his soul takes the upward course to be with the Lord.

But what course does death pursue in the case of an unbeliever? We have already stated that the only other course remaining is the declining path into eternal death. Once again we must make an assumption, that of belief in a literal place of endless torment for all who reject the atoning work of Christ when He died on Calvary’s Cross.

Since the death of Christ paid for the believer the punishment of sin, and death to him is a pleasant ascension into the Father’s presence, it follows that the death of the unbeliever is an unpleasant descent away from the presence of God. When the unbeliever gives up the ghost, breathing his last breath, he passes from this world into a spiritual and eternal death and Hell. Both are conscious, but death was forced to pursue a different course for each. Both the rich man and Lazarus died in the story told by our Lord. Lazarus was carried into Abraham’s bosom while the rich man was sent to Hell (Luke 16:19-24).

Dear Reader, where are you? Yes, you are still alive in this world; but remember, death is slowly but surely overtaking you. Soon you must say farewell to every earthly tie and enter into an endless eternity. Since Christ died to bring you to God, it is self-evident that you are far from God, and unprepared and unfit for Heaven. Will you trust the Saviour now? “He that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Terri, as she is facing a momentous decision

Pray for Randy H, heart issues

Pray for Steve C, 66 years old raised in church and won’t go into one for anything. Pray for his salvation.

MY CONFESSION

September 18, 2018

My Confession;

Today I was cruel, masochistic, harsh, punishing, relentless, unforgiving, unfeeling and totally misused and abused to the point of death, finally killing; My Weed Eater.

Well now that I feel cleansed, how about you. How long has it been that you confessed your dirty little secret, or nasty habit or just said; “I’m sorry.”

Confession is good for the soul, and having someone to hold you accountable is a good thing.

That’s it, short and sweet, and if I don’t see you in church, I will see you at Home Depot.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Rick I, IBS

Pray for Carla and Sid, she’s about to become a new mom, any day now.

Pray for Jimmy W, he is just now coming to group meetings and should tell his story some day soon. He hasn’t hit the sobriety point yet, but he has a couple of meetings under his belt.