Come quickly Lord Jesus

November 9, 2017

Content and Complete

Our culture simply does not like to wait. Yet we wait less today than men have ever waited. We travel at high speed waiting less to arrive at a distant place. Communications which formerly took months now are completed in seconds. Meals which used to take hours to cook are now done in minutes in microwave ovens. People used to have to wait until they had cash to purchase a new car or home. Now these things are bought on credit. We do not have to wait. Fewer and fewer people are willing to wait until marriage to enjoy the pleasures of sex. We Americans are not accustomed to waiting.

Men do not enjoy waiting for anything, or anyone, including God. But the trust is men have been waiting on God all through history. Noah waited a good 100 years or so for the flood to come upon the earth (compare Genesis 5:32; 6:10; 7:6). Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for the birth of the son God had promised them (compare Genesis 12:4; 21:5). Abraham did not even possess the promised land in his lifetime, and it was more than 400 years until his descendants took possession of it (compare Genesis 12:1-3; 15:12-16). Asaph felt for a time that he had waited too long for God’s promised blessings (Psalm 73).

From their constant questions about the coming of our Lord’s kingdom, it was evident the disciples were not excited about waiting either. When Jesus tarried three days before going to the place Lazarus had fallen sick and died, both Martha and Mary cautiously chided Jesus for coming too late (see John 11:21, 32).

God’s promises never come too late; in truth, they are never “late” at all. When the Scriptures indicate a time for God’s actions, the fulfillment is always precisely on time (see Exodus 12:40-41). When Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would be expelled from the land and held captive in Babylon for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-12), the fulfillment of this prophecy would take place precisely at the end of 70 years. Knowing this, Daniel prayed accordingly (Daniel 9:1-3ff.). Likewise, the birth of the Lord Jesus came about exactly on schedule (see Daniel 9:24-27; Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:4-5; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).

God is never “late;” He is always “on time.” But there are mockers who seek to convince themselves and others that the promise of our Lord’s second coming is false based upon the passage of much time and compounded by no visible evidences that He will come at all. In the college classroom, students allow an instructor five minutes to arrive for class, and then they leave. A full professor, being more important, is given up to ten minutes to arrive after the bell has rung. Mockers believe they have given God plenty of time to fulfill His promise to return and thus have now concluded that His time is up. “If He hasn’t come by now,” they say, “He simply isn’t coming.”

It should come as no surprise that men would arise who deny the second coming of our Lord. One of the most common falsehoods referred to in the New Testament (see 1 Corinthians 15:32; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2), this false teaching had an adverse affect on some of the saints (2 Timothy 2:18). To deny the second coming is not only to deny the Christian’s future hope but also to deny the judgment of sinners at the return of Christ. No wonder these “mockers” denied the second coming. These were those who were “following after their own lusts” (2 Peter chapter 3 verse 3). How much more comfortable it was to practice sin with the false assurance that they would not give account to God.

Proverbs speaks of those who are simple, naive, and easily led astray due to their youth, thus a lack of knowledge and experience. Some are fools, who are more willfully ignorant and morally stupid. But the scoffer (mocker) is a hard-core fool, a fool who vehemently opposes truth and wisdom.

And that is what we are seeing today, in these the last days, hard core fools.

It’s the last days because the authority of the Bible says so. If you believe the bible to be inerrant, infallible, inspired by God, and now I add one more to that list, still relevant. Than we believe that these are the last days and things are going to get worse, our country is going to fall away from God.

This is just my personal opinion, but it is my answer to a common question; “why isn’t America mentioned in the bible as part of the last days.” I personally believe it is because we will become a nation of hard core fools outnumbering the Godly in our country. We will fall away just as England has fallen. Welcome to the Christian minority. Good news, Jesus IS coming again.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SIGN POST

November 3, 2017

Godly parents, who to the best of their ability seek to raise their children in the faith, can still have children who turn away. This will be the exception, not the rule. But it can and does happen. We have wrongly interpreted Proverbs 22:6, ”Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” to mean that if you train them properly, then it is guaranteed that they will follow the Lord. Thus if the child goes astray, the parent must be to blame. But the Proverbs are not ironclad promises. Rather, they state general maxims about life. It is generally true that if you train up children properly, they will follow the Lord as adults. But it is not a guaranteed promise, and therefore it is not necessarily a sign of parental failure when a child rebels. If there has been obvious parental failure, then we, as the church, should help a hurting parent to deal biblically with the area of failure. But it is wrong for us to be judgmental.

Ok, this may be way to much info but to be thorough here we go

This verse is a key to the whole responsibility of training children, but there is a particular focus in this verse that shows us a parent’s training must be based on knowing his or her child. This emphasis is not apparent in the English as it is in the Hebrew text. As seen previously, the word “train,” the Hebrew chanak, has as it primary meaning, “train, instruct, initiate,” and it can also mean, “to dedicate, throttle or discipline.” In this verb we see the primary responsibility. Parents are to train and so teach their children that it brings God’s control into the child’s life. And certainly, since their children are trusts from God, they need to dedicate these little ones to God and be dedicated themselves to the training process.

But what is the standard for the process? God’s Word is the standard, of course, but there is something else that must guide the process and this is seen in the words, “in the way he should go.” The Hebrew text is actually much stronger than this and literally reads, “according the measure of his way.” “According to,” the Hebrew ‘al pi, is literally according to the mouth of. This carries the ideas of “according to the command of, the evidence or sentence of, or according to the measure of.” The preposition ‘al denotes the norm, standard, or rule by which something is to be done. The noun pi is from pe, “mouth, opening, orifice.” Since mouths or apertures vary in size, it developed the concept of “measure” or “portion.” With this in mind, pe was often used with prepositions to mean “in proportion to.” A small child normally has a much smaller mouth than an adult and can’t begin to take in as large a portion as a man. The principle here should be obvious. Training should be done according to the measure, the capacity, or ability of something. But what is that? It is spelled out for us with the words “his way.”

Again, maybe a little to much info, but if you want to go from A to Z on the topic here we go;

The Hebrew text has the personal pronoun attached to the noun “way.” It reads, “his way” and not simply “in the way he should go.” “Way” is the Hebrew derek, “way, road, journey, manner.” It was used of (1) a way, path, journey, course of action, (2) mode, habit, manner as a customary experience or condition, and (3) of duty and moral action and character both good and bad. From the knowledge of Scripture and from an observation of our children, we know certain things about their way. First, we know that God, in His sovereignty, has a plan, a course He wants each child to follow—an orbit for him or her. Second, we know that every child has a specific make up as an individual with certain abilities, talents, and tendencies—a particular bent. Derek is from the verb darak, “to tread, march,” but it was often used metaphorically of launching something as in the bending of a bow in order to launch an arrow, or an assault, or bitter speech, or judgments in a certain direction (cf. Ps. 7:13; La. 2:4; 3:12; Ps. 57:7; 64:3; 1 Chron. 5:18; 8:40; Isa. 21:15). While darak does not have this specific meaning, the use of the verb form provides us with an interesting illustration considering the nature of children according to inheritance factors and as God has designed them.

With this in mind, let’s consider a few key ideas in training a child according to his way:

(1) Parents need to know their children as the unique individuals they are. To do this, they must prayerfully observe, study, and recognize the individual characteristics (or bent) of each of their children and train them accordingly.

(2) Parents should never think that seeing that a child gets plenty of Bible training or gets to church will be enough. Bible teaching, church, and growing up in a Bible-teaching home are all vital and a necessary part of the process, but each child needs to be dealt with as a unique individual and nothing should be taken for granted. Parents need to take special note of what is happening in each child’s life—responses, weaknesses, habits, attitudes, etc. The same environment does not mean that each child will respond in the same way. A blanket approach may not work. Some biblical illustrations of the different ways children will respond to the same environment and teaching within the same home are Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, and Absolom and Solomon.

(3) Parents should never try to force their children into the way they want their children to go. By this I mean parents often try to pour a child into some preconceived mold they’ve dreamed of for their child. This is often nothing more than a parent’s attempt, through the accomplishments of their child, to attain the applause or praise or whatever it was they wanted for themselves, but never received. For instance, a parent may have a dream of seeing their child become a great athlete or artist and do everything they can to manipulate and push their child in that direction when that may not at all be in keeping with the child’s aptitude, talents, abilities, or desire—let alone what God wants for that child.

(4) A bow is made by its designer to bend in one direction, according to its bent. We saw that the verb form of “way” was used of bending a bow to launch something. If the person using the bow does not recognize the way the bow is bent and tries to bend it differently, he will not only face a difficult task, but he may break the bow. In like manner, parents need to recognize the way their child is bent, both by the way God has designed them and by the way sin has affected them. If a parent fails to recognize this, they may also fail to help their child get launched into God’s orbit or plan for their life. This would suggest that children are not like a pliable piece of clay that may be molded anyway the parent chooses. Rather, they are unique individuals with a way already established that needs to be recognized, acknowledged, and reckoned with by means of the truth of Scripture and a parent’s careful observation.

So training a child in the way he should go really means helping them discover their temperament and uniqueness of character and going in a way that compliments their gifts and abilities, the verse should be interpreted “according to his (the child’s way)” that they should live a life that complements their strengths and talents and not be forced into a mold. So if you have two kids you may have to raise each one differently according to their temperaments.

I hope this helps those parents that have used this verse to beat themselves up because their child was “wayward” in the faith and they feel they have failed. That’s not what this verse has ever meant, not in its literal sense.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SHAPE UP

October 27, 2017

This is not an epistle of shame, it’s just the way things are. If we as Christians do not make personal holiness an issue, then we can kiss the America most of us grew up with goodbye.

Yes, we all make mistakes, yes we all fail, but ask any boxer that getting back up is more important than fancy footwork. Most street fighters will tell you that the guy with the most will power almost always win. But getting up, getting over it and going on is more important. And that’s what we need to do, stop looking at past failures, that internal tape that says you will never be good enough. And believe in the fact that your name is in the book of life and all your sins, past, present and future are forgiven.

And yes, pastors are now rated at the bottom of the list right after car salesmen. Thanks to scandals, stupid fake tv Christians making outrageous claims, living like sheiks and sleeping with anything that walks, we have to rebuild our names and get back up. It’s not enough that we preach forgiveness. We need to get back to preaching holiness 24/7.

A lot of churchgoing Americans. They put on a good front when they know someone is watching, but the rest of the time they let down their standards. There’s not much difference between them and those in the world, except that they go to church a little more. The divorce rate among Christians is about the same as in society at large. In fact, the third highest divorce rate occupationally, after doctors and police, goes to pastors! Christians watch the same TV shows and movies for the same number of hours weekly as everyone else. Christian youths are involved in sexual immorality to the same extent as those not naming Christ as Savior. Many Christian businessmen have a bad reputation. It would seem that our Christianity doesn’t have much effect on the way we live.

I know of no text that needs to be burned into the thinking of American Christians more than 1 Peter 1:13-16. 1:13 Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, 15but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, 16 for it is written, “You shall be holybecause I am holy.”Writing to many who had come from pagan backgrounds, living in a pagan society where there was great pressure to conform, Peter calls his readers to holiness in light of the coming of Jesus Christ and the holy character of the God who calls us to salvation. He makes three points:

When God calls us to holiness, it means that we are to be set apart from the world unto God, separate from all sin. But since sin dwells in the very core of our being as fallen creatures, how can we ever hope to be holy?

There are three senses in which we are holy (or “sanctified”) as God’s people. The moment we put our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, we are positionally sanctified or set apart unto God. Then we must be progressively sanctified by growing in holiness. This process will not be complete as long as we’re in this body, but we must actively work at it (Gal. 5:16; Rom. 8:13). When we meet the Lord we will be perfectly sanctified, made completely like Him (1 John 3:2).

Dr. Ryrie illustrates these three aspects of sanctification with a little girl with a new lollipop. She sees her friend coming and knows that she should share her lollipop, but she doesn’t want to. So she sets apart that lollipop unto herself by licking it all over. Now it’s hers. Then she starts licking it to make it progressively hers. Finally the process is over when the lollipop is completely gone. If we belong to God, He has set us apart unto Himself. He is progressively making us like Him. And someday we will be completely like Him.

Let me make it plain at the outset that you cannot get to heaven by striving to be holy. Good works cannot pay the penalty for our sins. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can satisfy the justice of God. We must put our trust in Him, not in our good works. But, if our faith in Christ to save us is genuine, it will result in a life of progressive holiness. If a person is not striving against sin and seeking to grow in holiness, it is doubtful whether his faith was saving faith. Scripture says, “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14, NIV).

Peter shows us three ways that we can be developing a holy lifestyle as those who have trusted in Christ:

  1. To be holy people, we must be focused on Christ’s coming (1:13).

The Greek text has only two commands in 1:13-16: “Fix your hope”; and, “Be holy.” The other action words are participles which are dependent on the main verbs. Thus the sense of 1:13 is, “Girding your minds for action, keeping sober, fix your hope completely on the grace being brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Thus the command is to have a determined focus on the grace that will come to us when Christ returns. There are three aspects of this focus:

  1. HOLY LIVING IN LIGHT OF CHRIST’S COMING BEGINS IN THE MIND.

“Gird up the loins of your mind” is a figure of speech stemming from the fact that the men in that day wore long outer robes which got in the way when they needed to run, work or fight in a battle. So they would tuck their robes into a belt so that they wouldn’t be a hindrance. We might use the expression, “Roll up your sleeves.” The idea is, be mentally prepared for combat or action in the realm of holiness. One commentator puts it: “We must begin to act as those who mean business” concerning this matter of holiness (Alan Stibbs, The First Epistle General of Peter, Tyndale N.T. Commentaries [Eerdmans], p. 85).

The point is, holiness begins in your thought life. What you think determines how you live. One of the most practical things I can tell you about living the Christian life is: Deal with sin on the thought level! Judge wicked thoughts the instant you have them, confess them to God and replace them with thoughts of Him and His Word. If you are envious of someone, judge it, confess it, and ask God to replace it with His love for that person. If you are lusting after a woman (or man), deal with it instantly. Flee from it, both mentally and physically! As Paul put it, take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

It’s on the thought level that your Christianity is either real or fake. You can fool everyone else, but God knows your thoughts. If you’re faking it and not cultivating a holy thought life, sooner or later it’s going to come out in the open in some form of sin that everyone can see. There isn’t anyone who ever committed adultery who didn’t first entertain the thought in his mind.

You need to guard what enters your mind as carefully as you guard what you eat. You wouldn’t think of eating garbage from the gutter because it would make you sick. If you feed your thoughts daily on the sensual, materialistic garbage on TV and in the other media and you seldom feed on God’s Word, you will not become a holy man or woman. Peter says that we must fix our hope completely on the grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Holiness begins in our minds as we think often of our Savior and the gracious salvation we will fully experience when He returns and we are changed into His likeness!

  1. HOLY LIVING IN LIGHT OF CHRIST’S COMING REQUIRES SPIRITUAL ALERTNESS.

“Being sober” (1:13) is a favorite word for Peter (he uses it 3 of its 6 uses in the New Testament– 1:13; 4:7; 5:8). It literally means “not drunk,” but obviously has a spiritual application, meaning to be alert and self-controlled. It refers to clarity of mind and the resulting good judgment. The noun is used as a qualification of elders and women who serve as deaconesses (1 Tim. 3:2, 11, “temperate”).

Peter uses it in 5:8: “Be sober, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” If a literal lion were on the loose outside, it wouldn’t be wise to go for a stroll out there! You wouldn’t be goofing off. You’d be on the lookout for any sign of it. You’d make sure your kids were indoors. You’d warn them sternly of the dangers. You’d take every precaution so that you wouldn’t become his next meal!

The point is, we live in enemy territory. If you feed your mind on the garbage of the world and don’t feed on God’s Word, it’s like getting drunk and staggering outside when there’s a lion on the prowl. You’re dead meat! You’re not going to be a holy person. Maybe you’re thinking, “This sounds kind of legalistic!” But notice:

  1. HOLY LIVING IN LIGHT OF CHRIST’S COMING IS MOTIVATED BY GRACE.

“Fix your hope completely on the grace being brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” God’s grace is the motivation for holy living. As I mentioned last week, the word here and in 1:10 is used as a synonym for our salvation. The “therefore” in 1:13 also points us back to the great salvation Peter talks about in 1:3-12. The present participle, “being brought to you” hints at the fact that we’ve already begun to enjoy what God is going to unveil completely when Christ returns. The word “brought” “underscores the sovereign action of God in bringing grace to his people” (J. Ramsey Michaels, Word Biblical Commentary 1 Peter [Word], p. 56).

Why does Peter tell us to focus on the grace that will be brought to us when Christ returns rather than on the grace we’ve already received? I can’t be dogmatic, but I think it’s because his readers were going through intense trials. Peter is telling them, “You’ve already tasted of God’s salvation in Christ, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Just hang on through the trials and focus on the fact that God is going to bless you beyond what you can imagine, not based on what you deserve, but based on His undeserved favor!” That future grace should motivate us to live holy lives right now, no matter how much we suffer.

Thus the first aspect of developing a holy lifestyle is to focus on Christ’s coming, being alert in our thinking, motivated by God’s grace.

  1. To be holy people, we must be obedient to the Father in all of life (1:14, 15b).

There are three things involved in such obedience:

  1. WE MUST MAKE A BREAK WITH OUR PAST LIFESTYLE.

“Do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance” (1:14). The word “conformed” is used only one other time in the New Testament, by Paul in Romans 12:2: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind [there’s that concept again!] that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Phillips paraphrases it, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within …”

Our past lifestyle was marked by our efforts to fulfill selfish desires. The word “lusts” (1 Pet. 1:14) refers not only to sexual lust, but “to all kinds of self-seeking, whether directed toward wealth, power, or pleasure” It brings out the strong emotional tug of temptation and sin. These lusts have full sway in unbelievers because they are ignorant of God and His holiness and grace as revealed in His Word. But as Christians, growing in our knowledge of God, we don’t have to be controlled by selfish desires. We make a break with the self-centered living that marked us before we met Christ and now live under His lordship and for His purposes.

I think this explains much of the shallow Christianity of our day. People “invite Jesus into their heart” because they’re told that He will give them an abundant life. If they like what Jesus is doing for them, if they feel that their lives are happier now than before, they’ll let Jesus “stay in office.” But they’ve never made a break with their past life. They’ve never repented of sin or yielded to Christ as Lord. They’re still running their own lives, living for the same selfish desires they formerly lived for. The only difference is that now they’re trying to “use Jesus” to fulfill selfish desires. That’s not saving faith. Saving faith involves repentance. It makes a break with the past lifestyle and seeks to follow Jesus as Lord.

  1. WE MUST ESTABLISH A HABIT OF OBEDIENCE.

“As obedient children” (1:14) is a Hebrew expression that means “characterized by obedience,” or “habitual obedience.” The implication is that God is our Heavenly Father whom we obey. His Word tells us how He wants us to live. We ought to obey God as a conditioned response. Such obedience is not legalism, but rather should characterize those under grace. Peter quotes from the Law (Lev. 19:2) and applies it directly to his readers under grace: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” We are not under the ceremonial or civil laws of Israel. But God’s moral law stems from His holy nature and is just as applicable under grace as it was under law (see 1 Cor. 9:21). As God’s children, we need to get in the habit of asking, “What does God’s Word say?” Then we obey it.

  1. WE MUST ERASE THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN SACRED AND SECULAR.

“Be holy yourselves in all your behavior” (1:15b). The word behavior is another favorite for Peter (6 of 13 New Testament uses are in 1 Peter, with two more in 2 Peter). It refers to conduct or, what we would call “lifestyle.” That Peter here links “holiness” with “behavior” and adds the word “all” is significant because many pagan religions of that time separated “cultic holiness” from everyday life. Peter is saying that our separation unto God is to affect every area of life, both private and public. There is no such thing as secular life that is not sacred for the Christian.

  1. I. Packer, in his excellent book, A Quest for Godliness [Crossway], subtitled, “The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life,” makes the point that the Puritans did a good job of integrating their Christianity into every aspect of life, from the most intimate aspects of married life to the most public aspects of political and social life. He writes (pp. 23-24), “There was for them no disjunction between sacred and secular; all creation, so far as they were concerned, was sacred, and all activities, of whatever kind, must be sanctified, that is, done to the glory of God.”

That kind of integrated living eliminates hypocrisy. There’s nothing that turns people off more than to see someone who professes to be a Christian, but whose lifestyle denies it. Kids read it loud and clear in their parents. This doesn’t mean that you must be perfect. It means that you live with integrity, confessing sin when you blow it, making your Christianity practical in every aspect of life. We’re the only “Bible” many unbelievers will ever read. Just as we can learn quite a bit about a father by watching his children, so the world learns about our Heavenly Father by watching His children. That means that we must learn to obey our Father in all of life.

Thus, to be holy people we must be focused on Christ’s coming and obedient in all of life.

  1. To be holy people, we must be growing in our personal knowledge of God’s holiness (1:15, 16).

“Like the Holy One who called you,” and “You shall be holy for I am holy,” imply that we know something about who this Holy God is. The Christian life is a process of growing to know God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture. This knowledge of the Holy One has a transforming effect on our lives. We can never be as holy as God is holy, since such absolute holiness belongs to God alone. But we can and must grow in personal holiness as we grow to know our Holy God.

Both Stephen Charnock, in his classic work, The Existence and Attributes of God ([Baker], 2:112) and, more recently, R. C. Sproul, in his The Holiness of God ([Tyndale], p. 40), point out that no other attribute of God is elevated to the third degree. The Bible never says of God, “Eternal, eternal, eternal,” or “Love, love, love,” or “Mercy, mercy, mercy.” But it does say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isa. 6:3).

We are a bit flippant and shallow in our knowledge of God in our day. Many Christians talk about God without any fear of the awesomeness of His absolute holiness. John MacArthur tells about a well-known charismatic pastor who told him that sometimes in the morning when he’s shaving, Jesus comes into his bathroom and puts His arm around him and they talk together. I like John’s incredulous reply: “And you keep shaving?!” Every time in the Bible someone gets a glimpse of Christ in His resurrected glory, the person falls on his face!

It was Isaiah who had that vision of God on His throne with the angels crying, “Holy, holy, holy.” As both A. W. Tozer (The Knowledge of the Holy [Harper & Row], p. 110) and Sproul (pp. 41-44) point out, it was an emotionally violent, personally disintegrating experience. Sproul writes (p. 45), “In the flash of a moment Isaiah had a new and radical understanding of sin. He saw that it was pervasive, in himself and in everyone else.” To whatever extent we gain insight on the holiness of God, we will gain equal insight on the magnitude of our sin. At the same time, we will revel in the amazing grace of God who saved us through the cross of Jesus Christ. That knowledge will make us more holy in all our behavior.

Today I’m probably speaking to some whom God is calling to repent of sin and put their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I may be speaking to others who are faking the Christian life outwardly, but inwardly, you’re not living in holiness. You’re not dealing with sin in your thought life. It’s only a matter of time until you fall outwardly. I may be speaking to yet others who have fallen outwardly. Your life is not right before God, even though you profess to know Christ as Savior.

The solution is the same for all: To turn to God from your sin and appeal to Him for a clean conscience and an obedient heart, based on the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for you. Listen to what God says in Isaiah 57:15: “For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” That’s good news! God, though He is altogether holy and exalted, condescends to dwell with those who humble themselves before Him! Like the father of the prodigal son, God joyfully welcomes all who turn back to Him!

Leonard Ravenhill has written (source unknown), “The greatest miracle that God can do today is to take an unholy man out of an unholy world, and make that man holy and put him back into that unholy world and keep him holy in it.” He does it as we focus on Christ’s coming, as we’re obedient in all of life, and as we grow in our personal knowledge of God’s holiness.

I pray you take this personally and start today, yes you will fail, yes there will be people hurt by your failing, but starting again is about you and God and not contingent on a human relationship that may have come to an end by your actions. Accept that and move on with God become a real Christian in thought and habits as well as speech and behavior all day, everyday.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ONE WAY IN

October 12, 2017

It’s a real pity that the Word of Faith movement, lying tv evangelists, screwed up Pentecostals, whacked out charismatics, have made talking about faith seem like leprosy. Now for those that don’t know or forgot, I’m eminently qualified to talk about this particular group, as I pastored a Pentecostal church for over 27 years before I had a complete change of mind about how important or should I say less important the “the second blessing” was.

Now don’t get me wrong I still believe in the gifts of the spirit and have seen to many miracles to throw out the baby with the bath water. But I’ve also seen the toxic faith, cult like control and hyper faith movement gone off the track and wreck lives and derail the faith of many folks.

The key word is balance.

The most important thing in the believing Christian’s life isn’t’ speaking in tongues, it’s a biblically centered, sound theological understanding of faith.

The measure of your life’s accomplishment and your victory is your faith. The Bible clearly, concisely, convincingly, and compellingly tells us that, “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29). Now, let me tell you something, the identifying mark of a Christian is his faith. As a matter of fact, Christians were called believers before they were called Christians. Faith is the identifying mark of a Christian. But, not only is it his identifying mark it is his chief duty. You have no greater duty than to just simply believe God. John 6:29: “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe.” Isn’t that something? This is the work of God that ye believe.

Glorifying God, by our faith in Him. That’s your chief and main duty. That’s it, that’s the cake, everything else is just frosting.

Now, if faith is the chief duty, then unbelief is the greatest evil. There is no greater sin than the sin of unbelief. As a matter of fact, that’s the sin that will consign you to Hell for eternity. The Bible says in John 3:18: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Not because he steals, not because he murders or lies, not because of his lust of pride, but because he believes not. Unbelief is the mother sin, the father sin, the parent sin, and the sin out of which all other sins grow.

What determines your eternal home is either faith in Christ, go to heaven or unbelief in Christ, you condemn yourself to hell. It’s that simple.

You can stand on the highest platform and yell to the top of your lungs that there is no God. You can get a PhD in philosophy and sound smart. You can say your prayers were never answered, the list goes on. The fact is unbelief is a sin and the mark of a fool.

The Bible makes one statement four times. In Habakkuk 2:4, in Hebrews 10:38, in Galatians 3:11, and in Romans 1:17 there is one verse that is repeated four times. Do you want me to tell you what it is? “The just shall live by faith.” Do you have it? The just shall live by faith. Four times God says that the just shall live by faith. The just shall live by faith, the just shall live by faith, the just shall live by faith. Do you get the idea God is trying to tell us something? Yes, He is and I’ll tell you what it is. The just shall live by faith. My dear friend, the way that you live the Christian life is by faith.

If you are in the heavenly choir shout amen, if there is a large hole in your heart and you are the most miserable of all people, pray to God that Jesus is real and you’d like to have it, believe it. bend your stubborn neck and look at the mess you’ve made of your life and ask Jesus, the Son of God, THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN. Into your heart.

Friend I hope you make that decision, if you have questions or need to talk, email me at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Just so you know I check my emails late at night so don’t be discouraged if it takes me a day to get back to you.

God bless and have faith.

hope monkey junkie

September 23, 2017

Lyrics by Aldo Nova – Monkey On Your Back

“let me tell you a story about two kids in the city

 see they both have a problem with life and it isn’t very pretty

there’s a kid called timmy he used to be pretty witty but then too many rides on the horse got him hooked and it’s a pity

 cause now he’s got a monkey he’s got a monkey can’t fight it monkey on his back he can’t deny it monkey he found a dragon that bites a hole in his arm at night where all the monney goes monkey,monkey on his back monkey,monkey on his back a dirty monkey

well there’s a girl called sally she walks the streets in the city she works down on the corner every night gives her money up to willy

you see her man’s big willy and when he met her she was pretty but he gave her a habit that she didn’t want now that’s a pity cause now she’s got a monkey….”

 Aldo Nova – Monkey On Your Back (not an endorsement of this band)

THE HOPE MONKEY JUNKIE

Two small words. When heard on the battlefield, in the hospital waiting room, or in our darkest thoughts, they bring despair. Two words that carry such anguish that no one can withstand their power. What, then, are these two unbearable words?

“No hope.”

Proverbs 18:14 tells us, “The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but a broken spirit who can bear?” A broken spirit is a spirit without hope. The loss of hope is a terrible thing. Without hope, life’s troubles bring discouragement, depression, despair, and even death. We can bear the doctor’s frightful diagnosis with hope for a cure. We can endure the separation from a loved one with hope for a reunion. We can endure certain death with the hope of eternal life and infinite joy in the presence of God forever. But where no hope exists—we are undone.

There are those that have hope taken from them so often the thought of having hope scares them, for fear it will be stolen from them again. So they fight ‘the hope monkey’ it scares the crap out them. They live lives of quiet desperation, hoping to fly below the radar at church, work, even home. They had hope at one time, but that hope was based on something or someone fallible, transient, gone, died of cancer, aids, suicide, walked out the door, left them. They now feel betrayed because they lost hope and rather than hope again they throw off the hope monkey every time it comes around.

So now it’s one-night stands, or bar flys, no commitments, it’s just sex. Not sure I even caught your name, get thee behind me hope monkey. I won’t be hurt again.

Problem is the hope monkey junkies think it’s their fault, if only I had been richer, faster, taller, more pretty, spoke better, chose better, had better, lived better, been in the moment, not taken for granted, stopped at the red light, didn’t drink that beer. Been a better mother, father, son, sister brother, pal, hope monkey get off my back.

So with lowered expectations they are constant victims of no hope, they live in hopelessville, and have nothing but bad dreams, it’s like PTSD without shooting someone. They can’t tell you the last time they slept well or didn’t cry without provocation. Over eat, under eat, behavior disorders, gambling, acting out. Hope monkey junkies always sing the blues.

But the hope monkey junkie can kill the monkey.

As believers, we can easily fall prey to discouragement in a world of bad news and blasphemy of the excellence of Christ and the Gospel. But, despite our difficulties and bouts of gloom, we can’t afford to neglect Scripture, prayer, worship, fellowship, and ministry to others, because hope grows by an active love and pursuit of God in these things. Like faith and assurance, hope must be cultivated: “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end” (Hebrews 6:11). Perseverance and Bible study strengthen hope, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

We know for certain He will work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). This has to be more than a cliché, it has to be a core believe, a foundation of true thought and belief and practice. In the midst of the most hopeless moment, that verse has to live in your heart, on your lips and in your brain. Write it on the wall, tape it to the dashboard, write it in shower.

As believers, we often have uncertain and certain hope at the same time. For instance, we may pray and hope for deliverance from a present trouble and not know if, when, or how God will answer our prayer (uncertain hope), while knowing He will ultimately deliver us and that our eternal destiny remains secure in Christ (certain hope). “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Uncertain hope involves the “secret things,” while our sure hope rests on the “things revealed.”

“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5: 1-5).

“A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength” (Psalm 33:17). Hope can be uncertain when it stands on something or someone that may not be able or willing to fulfill it. And hope is sure when it rests in something or someone absolutely able and willing to fulfill it (Christian hope). Like faith, the object of our hope is Christ: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1).

There are Christian hope monkey junkies as well as non-believers. Every life is fraught with pitfalls, more rainy days than sunshine. Mental illness can hit anyone. Death robs us of loved ones, jobs are lost, relations falter, faith wanes. Doubt creeps in, and for some it’s better to manage a level of pain, like cutting yourself, I’m in control.

But I’m here to tell you that the hope monkey can be nailed to the Cross. There is one body piercing that saves your life. Christ on the Cross killed the monkey. And brought us all to a living hope.

Bury the hope monkey, live free in Christ.

You have to choose a different lifestyle, say goodbyes to the pills, booze, sex, fights, debt, overspending, binging on donuts, secret stashes of food, secret lifestyles, double lives, risk taking, being a live hand grenade, this isn’t the complete list, so don’t think if I left you out you’ve escaped notice.

Kill the hope monkey junkie syndrome!!

By having a living hope!!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16). “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you, who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:20-21).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Comments, questions, prayer requests to the email address please.

crown of thorns

steppin out

September 20, 2017

This is a really long devotion, you may want to print it out and read it in parts.

Let me give you seven reasons why faith is so important, and all of this is just by way of introduction, but just to put this in your heart. Listen, folks, faith is the distinguishing mark of the Christian. Did you know that the Christians were called believers before they were ever called Christians? Believers—that is the distinguishing mark of a Christian is that he’s a believer.

Number two, to exercise faith is our chief duty. Who said so? Jesus. Put in your margin John 6:29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” This is the work of God that you believe. It’s the, chief duty. Therefore, unbelief is the supreme evil. There is no greater evil than unbelief. To aim the gun of unbelief at Almighty God and to pull the trigger.

You see, how did man get into sin to begin with? Eve did not believe God. She fell into sin because of unbelief and, men don’t go to hell today because they steal or because they lie or because they commit adultery, for those sins have been paid for with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says to the contrary in John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed.” Think about it. The reason that men go to hell today and women is they have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.

And, once you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, how you gonna live the Christian life? By trying? No. By trusting. The Christian life is lived by faith. Four times in the Bible, the Bible says “the just shall live by faith.” You find that in Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38. All of these say the just shall live by faith. One, two, three, four times God says it. Do you think he’s trying to tell us something? I’m telling you, the way to live the Christian life is by faith.

Number five, your success in the Christian life is going to be measured by your faith. Matthew 9:29, “According to your faith be it unto you.” Not according to your feeling, your fame, your fortune, your friends, your fate, but according to your faith be it unto you.

Number six, faith above all things pleases God and if you please God, it doesn’t matter whom you displease, and if you displease God it doesn’t matter whom you please, amen? And, how you gonna please God? Well, the Bible says in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him.” Doesn’t say hardly possible, but impossible to please him, “for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Number seven, the only way that you’re gonna overcome this world is by faith. John 5:4, “And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” When we greet one another here in church, rather than saying, How you feeling? We ought to say, How you faithing? Amen? I, we live by faith.

Now there are several things I want you to learn from Abraham in the school of faith, and the very first thing I want us to learn is what I’m going to call the root of biblical faith. Genesis 12:1. Look at it. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house into a land that I will show thee.” Now this is the preamble to his faith. This is the basis to his faith. God had spoken to him. The root of biblical faith is divine revelation—it is to hear from God. Notice how this says, “And the Lord hath said”—just underscore that.

Friend, there are a lot of people who misunderstand faith and the source of faith. Faith is not rooted in human will. Faith is not rooted in human will. Let me show you something interesting. Go back to a Genesis 11. Now you’re in 12, just turn left. Go one page. Look in Genesis 11. You see there the building of the tower of Babel, this colossal high-rise to hell. And notice how, it says, it describes what happened. “And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech and it came to pass as they journeyed from the east that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and they dwelt there,” now watch this and count with me, “and they said one to another, Go to let us,” underscore the word us, that’s one, “make brick and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone and slime had they for mortar and they said, Go to let us,” underscore the word us again, “build us,” underscore the word again, “a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven and let us make us a name.” Us, us, us, us. This is man’s will. This is man’s attempt to establish his own kingdom through his own will. As a matter of fact, in that one verse, verse 4, you have four us’s right there. You have four let us, let us, let us.

Now, go back over to where we were in Genesis 12, and notice the difference. Look in these verses here. In 12:1, God says unto Abraham, “unto a land that I will show thee,” underscore I will. Look in verse 2, “And I will make of thee a great nation and I will bless thee and make thy name great and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee.” Man says, I will, I will, I will. God says I will, I will, I will. Man says, Let us, God says, I will. Now faith is not rooted in man’s I will’s but in God’s I will’s. Not in man’s let us, but in God’s sovereign will.

Now why, what were people in Babel trying to do? Well, they were trying to make themselves a name. Look if you will in verse 4, “Let us make us a name.” They’re trying to make themselves a name. They failed miserably. Tell me, anybody here can tell me the name of any of those people who built that tower? We know the name of one whose name was Nimrod who’s a type of the Antichrist—the name is despised. They wanted to make a name—they failed miserably. God said to Abram, I will give you a name, and the name Abraham is revered throughout the entire world.

Now, what I’m trying to say is this—that faith is not rooted in human will. Say human will. That’s very important that you understand this because, we have so many people today who have sort of a tower of Babel mentality, trying to make for themselves a name and they call it name it and claim it. You don’t do that. You have to hear from God. Faith is not rooted in human will.

Secondly, faith is not rooted in human worth, in human worth. Look again if you will in verse 1. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country.” Now we’re going to learn something right there. He was living, he was a pagan, living in pagan idolatry, in an idolatrous land and, go back to Genesis 11 and look if you will in verse 31 again, in this same chapter. “And Tara took Abram, his son, and Lot, the son of Haran, his son’s daughter and Sarai, his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go into the land of Canaan.” Now, they’re coming, they’re coming out of Ur, which was the center of idolatry.

Now, on top of all of that, listen to me now, this pagan was seventy-five years old. When Abram first heard God, he was seventy-five years old. What does that tell us? Nobody’s too bad, nobody’s too old, amen? God chooses a man who is a raw pagan and he became a believer. Faith is not rooted in human will—it is not rooted in human worth. Say human worth. It’s not rooted in your worth.

Now thirdly, it’s not rooted in human wisdom. Look again in 12:1. “And the Lord said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house unto a land that I will show thee.” There wasn’t something that Abram figured out. He went under sealed orders. What is faith? Faith is not positive thinking, it’s not following a hunch, it’s not hoping for the best, it’s not figuring out and then trying to make it work, it’s not a feeling of optimism, it’s not believing what you know isn’t so. Abraham, when he went out, did not know why and he did not know where, he only knew whom.

Faith is not rooted in human worth. Faith is not rooted in human will, faith is not rooted in human wisdom. True faith comes from the Word of God. Abraham had a word from God, that’s very important because the Bible tells us clearly and plainly that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Faith therefore does not rest on a road map or any road map, but in a relationship with Almighty God. You think of Abraham now. He’s seventy-five years of age, he’s well established, he’s rich, he has a beautiful wife, he’s living in comfort and God says, Get up, let’s go. And he did not know where he was going, he did not know why he was going at this time. All he knew was that God had spoken. Now that must’ve been very exciting. If your life is dull and insipid, perhaps you ought to do what Abraham does, did, and live by faith and that’ll turn the monotonous to the momentous.

Faith is obeying God’s Word in spite of circumstances or consequences. Now that’s worth saying again and, it’ll be on the test, so listen to it now. All right, faith is not believing in spite of evidence—that is superstition. Faith is obeying God’s Word in spite of circumstances or consequences. We do not live by explanations—we live by promises.

Now what is the root of faith? God said. Abram heard from God. Are you hearing from God? Do you have a quiet time? Are you connected to God? Is God speaking to you? If God is not speaking to you, you’re not living by faith—it’s impossible. You’re going here and there, doing whatever you think you ought to do. Faith is hearing the Word of God and acting on it.

Number two, we talk about the root of faith, let’s talk a little bit about the requirement of faith. Look again in Genesis 12:1. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house into a land that I will show thee.” Now what he said, in shorthand, is get thee out unto. Come out of where you are and go to where you need to be. As I told you this morning, real faith not only brings us out, real faith brings us in.

Now, you cannot really have faith as you continue to live in the land of idolatry. You have to forsake. I’m talking about spiritually, a spiritual application now. You cannot live in your old way of life and think at the same time you can live by faith. It cannot be done. Remember the scripture that I gave you this morning from Deuteronomy 6:23? “And he brought us out from thence that he might bring us in, to give us the land.” God said to Abraham similarly, Come out of Ur that I might bring you in.

Now do you want to have a life of faith? Have you forsaken idolatry? Well, you say, I’m not an idolater. Maybe. You say, You mean I have idols in my life? I don’t know, I hope you don’t, but you may. Anything you love more, serve more, fear more, trust more than God is an idol. And some love money more than God. Some, fear man, more than God. Some trust ability more than God. You see, you can’t have faith unless you are willing to come out. And you have to turn from that idolatry which is sin. Do you know the reason that many people don’t have faith? They’re not willing to leave Ur of the Chaldees. They try to have faith right where they are in their same old lifestyle and they wonder why it doesn’t work. There’s nothing more damning, more stultifying to faith than sin in the heart.

Let me give you some scriptures. I pray God that he will rivet these upon your soul. Hebrews 3:12, “Beware, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.” Unbelief never comes out of the head—it comes out of the heart. “Beware, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.” You say, I have intellectual problems. No you don’t, you have dirty, rotten sin. Beware, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.

Notice Hebrews 12:1, 2, “Wherefore seeing we also compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” How do you look to Jesus? By laying aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us. There’s no way that you can pray with unconfessed, unrepented of sin in your heart and pray in faith.

the requirement of faith, the root of faith is the Word of God. But the requirement of faith is that you come out of that land of idolatry, you leave it. God brought us out that he might bring us in. I mean, many people say, Well I just doubt my salvation, I’m not sure I’m saved, I have doubt about my salvation, I have doubt, I have doubt and you talk to them about their theology and so forth and they’ll nod their head, but they still have their doubts. If you stay there long enough, you’ll find out that that person has that doubt has sin in his or her life. Idols that they’ve not forsaken, things that they’re doing. What right would you have to have absolute assurance if you’re living with sin in your heart and in your life. And if you’re having trouble with faith, try repentance. If you know, if you’re having trouble with faith.

You ever notice how God puts certain things in order in the Bible? For example, he says, grace and peace be multiplied unto you. He doesn’t say peace and grace, but grace and peace. Why? Grace comes before peace. He says believe and be baptized. He never says be baptized and then believe. That’s never the order. Real baptism follows real belief. I was so grateful tonight, to see a young lady who came for believer’s baptism because she’d gotten it settled and she’d given her heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and she wanted believer’s baptism. To be baptized before you believe would be like having your funeral before you die.

Now, just, listen, just as grace comes before peace, just as belief comes before baptism, repentance comes before faith. The Bible speaks of repentance and faith, not faith and repentance—repentance and faith. Are you listening? Say yes. If you’re having trouble with faith, try repentance. The requirement of faith, when God says, Get thee out, I’m gonna bring you into the land of Canaan, you have to leave that idolatrous relationship and come to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you’re having doubts, it just may be unconfessed sin in your heart and in your life.

Third thing I want you to see, not only the root and the requirement of faith, I want you to see the reward of faith. Look now beginning in verses 2, 3, we’re still in Genesis 12, God says, “And I will make of thee a great nation.” Now watch this. “And I will bless thee and make thy name great and thou shalt be a blessing.” I love it. I’ll bless you, you’ll be a blessing. “And I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curseth thee and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Now, by faith Abraham received a blessing. God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. Remember the verse I gave you in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” You see, by faith man gives God pleasure and by faith God give man treasure. We please God when we believe God. And God said, Abraham, I’m going to bless you, I’m going to give you a land, and God gave him the land. God said, I’m gonna make your name great, his name is great.

God’s promises are a sure bet, the school of faith is sometimes hard, and we need to remember if we fail one test, God will make sure you have another test. The length of our faith journey is marked by mile markers. Some are the scene of victories and others are the mark of accidents, crashes and blowouts. But the road is already mapped out for us. The ‘speed’ in which we travel is based on how thorough we are in cleaning ‘idols’ out of our life.

Think long and hard about what is still in your life that is not pleasing to God. We have a choice, tear down the idols ourselves or we have a “wreck” in our life that will need to be cleared up before we go on.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Yes, You Can

September 12, 2017

It goes without saying that unbelievers pounce all over Christian hypocrisy and judgment. A Hindu professor once found out that a man in his class was a Christian. The professor said to this student, “If you Christians were like Jesus Christ, India would be at your feet tomorrow.” A learned Muslim who recently became a Christian said, “If Christians were truly Christians—like Christ—there would be no Islam.” A USA Today poll shows 72% of unchurched Americans agree that a God exists, but the same percentage says “the church is full of hypocrites.” 44% say Christians get on their nerves. People flat-out don’t like Christians. Yet, when is the last time you heard someone say, “Man, Jews, Muslims, or Buddhists get on my nerves!” It doesn’t happen, does it? People show respect and honor to these religions. Now it’s easy to object, “This just isn’t fair. The media has turned Christians into cultural punching bags.” Yet, we must ask, “Have we brought some of this pain upon ourselves?” If we’re honest and humble, we would probably have to say, “Yes, guilty as charged.” Just stop and think for a moment. Are you notorious for criticizing the media? Politicians? Your teachers? Your pastors? Your boss? Your coworkers? Your neighbors? Your friends? Seriously, can you even watch a football game without being critical of the quarterback, the coach, or the referee? Most Christians are critical. Some are even bold enough to boast that their spiritual gift is criticism. Yet Jesus says, “Be slow to judge others and quick to judge yourself.” In Matthew 7:1–12, Jesus gives two exhortations dealing with judicious judgment.

  1. Judge with humility not superiority (7:1–5). In this first section, Jesus clarifies how you should relate to other believers in the matter of judgment. In 7:1, Jesus tells you what you shouldn’t do: “Do not judge.” No sentence in the Bible is more familiar, more misunderstood, and more misapplied than Matt 7:1. Therefore, we must first determine what this verse doesn’t mean. “Do not judge” doesn’t mean you can’t say anything critical or pointed to another person. In this context, Jesus Himself alludes to certain people as dogs and pigs (7:6). He also warns His disciples, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (7:15). In both of these examples, Jesus makes a judgment about various individuals. Later in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus requires His disciples to confront believers who are in sin (18:15–17). Furthermore, the New Testament is clear that Christians are to judge both error and sin. So despite what many people believe, the ideal Christian is not an undiscerning, all-accepting jellyfish who lives out the misinterpretation of “judge not.” Christians can and should judge.

So what does this verse mean? First, you are not to pass final judgment on any person. Final judgment belongs to the Lord. You are not in the condemning business. If anyone needs to be condemned, God Himself can take care of that. You should have no part in it. This is why curses like “God damn you” or “Go to hell” are so wicked! The one who utters these curses is attempting to play God! Second, you are not to judge the motives of others. The Bible says, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). Often we are quick to come to negative conclusions about others based on why we think they did something. But try as we might, we see only the outside. God alone sees the heart. What Christ means when He says “Do not judge” is that we are to refrain from hypercritical, condemning judgment. There is a universe of difference between being discerningly critical and hypercritical. A discerning spirit is constructive; a hypercritical spirit is destructive. All of this means you can judge what people do; you cannot judge why they do it. You can judge what people say; you cannot judge why they say it.

In 7:1b–2, Jesus tells you what God will do. He says the reason that you shouldn’t judge is “so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” When Jesus says “Do not judge so that you will not be judged,” He uses a future passive verb. He is referring to being judged at the judgment seat of Christ. In other words, God will use the same basic standard you use to evaluate others when He evaluates you! In Matt 5:7 Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy.” If you are gracious in your dealings with other people’s failures and shortcomings now, you will receive mercy in the future when the Lord evaluates your life. As the old saying goes, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” The longer I am in pastoral ministry, the greater my empathy for the struggles of my pastoral colleagues. The longer I walk with Christ, the more I empathize with my fellow believers. The longer I am married and strive to raise a family, the more I can empathize with other couples and parents. It is hard to be who you want to be, isn’t it? I want to grant grace and extend mercy to others. I want to believe the best and be kind. But when necessary I want to love brothers and sisters enough to call them on sin.

In 7:3–5, Jesus tells you what you should do. He uses an illustration that comes from His background as a carpenter’s son (13:55). He puts it like this: “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Undoubtedly, Jesus didn’t say this with a straight face. He must have been smiling and giggling as He said this. Visualize a man with a plank in his eye walking through the lobby of the church trying to find a person with a speck of sawdust in his eye that he might remove it! But the very image of such a man looking into a mirror but unable to see the plank in his eye because he is blinded by the plank is funny indeed. Again, Jesus did not say that Christians are not to judge under any circumstances. His warning was against hypocritical judgment—someone with a “log” in his eye passing judgment on someone with a “speck” in his eye (7:3). He was warning disciples not to make the mistake of the Pharisees! Jesus’ concern was making sure that we are qualified to judge. This is why He said, “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (7:5). Thus, believers are to judge error and sin, but in a gracious and non-judgmental fashion.

We naturally tend to exaggerate. We often inflate the faults of others while at the same time underestimating our own. You could say we are perfectionists when it comes to other people, but extremely tolerant when it comes to ourselves. We find it so easy to turn a microscope on another person’s sin while we look at ours through the wrong end of a telescope! Yet, when we let Jesus convict us of our sin, we will be able to judge others with humility, sensitivity, and compassion.

Have you ever had someone attempt to help you remove something from your eye? If so, you can readily understand the amount of gentleness and tenderness that’s required. The eye is very sensitive. It takes a compassionate hand and a delicate touch to do surgery in the eye. When you have eye trouble, you need a doctor who knows what he is doing because even the slightest mistake can have catastrophic consequences. In the same way, when we minister to one another in the Christian community, we must do so only after careful introspection to make sure our own motives are pure. Then we can proceed with appropriate care and humility. Sometimes in our haste to help others, we can cause more damage than the original speck of dirt caused. This doesn’t mean you must be perfect before you can correct another Christian. However, Jesus’ words do require you to have dealt as decisively as possible with any obvious areas of disobedience in your own life before you attempt to correct someone else. Otherwise, it is as if you are attempting to perform surgery blindfolded. In that situation, neither the patient nor the doctor feels confident! Moreover, if you are committing the same sin, the judgment you pass on someone else boomerangs on you. And you definitely don’t want that! Remember, be slow to judge others and quick to judge yourself.

There are a number of ways you can lovingly confront a person.

  1. Make sure your own heart is right with God before you confront someone.

  1. Pray for the person that needs to be confronted.

  1. Set up a time with the person to talk, in private without interruption, but don’t put it off.

  1. When the occasion calls for it, confront immediately.

  1. Don’t take out your own anger on someone.

  1. Begin with a word of encouragement.

  1. Ask the person, “If I could share something with you that would help you, would you want me to?”

  1. State the issue as you see it. Give your perspective on the issue. Say, “This is the way I see it, please help me to understand.” Admit that maybe you misunderstood or got the wrong perspective.

  1. Ask how you can help the person.

  1. Be confidential.

  1. Pray for the person.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

LOOK UP

September 3, 2017

crown of thorns

Look Up!

  “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).

  Our Father allows the believer to struggle with self, not for victory, but for defeat. Then the “wretched man” learns to rest in the Victor.

Once you have begun the Christian walk, and know the blessedness of it, you are not trying to correct yourself, for you know that all has been removed from the eye of God; and you insist on the fact that self has been to the Cross, and that Christ is your life. The old man was crucified, and you cannot reform him; all attempts of amiable people to reform him are only denying the fact that he has been dealt with in judgment. The responsible (law) man is not before God now. It is now the day of grace. Everyone who receives His grace is set free from the domination of the old man. The appeal to the believer now is not to do, but to look.

  “The believer is never told to ‘overcome sin,’ but to reckon, on the ground of his death with Christ, that he has died to it. On the basis of death, he is told not to ‘let’ sin reign in his life. It is to be dealt with by an attitude of death, not by ‘overcoming.’ The believer therefore is not to be spending his whole life in getting victory over sin, but understanding his position as having died unto sin.”

If you are struggling with sin, you are not ‘reckoning’ or looking at the cross, just as you say, “I’m born again and Jesus is my Savior” you say the same thing to sin, “I’ve been crucified with Christ.”

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T BELIEVE ANY SERMON OR BOOK THAT TELLS THE STORY OF THE WHITE DOG AND THE BLACK DOG. AND THEY FIGHT, AND THE ONE THAT IS FEED THE BEST, WINS

IN THE GOSPEL, BOTH DOGS ARE DEAD. DON’T BELIEVE IT’S ALL LAID UPON YOUR SHOULDER AND YOU ARE MASTER OF YOUR FATE, CAPTAIN OF YOUR DESTINY. YOU CAN DO NOTHING BUT GAZE UPON THE CROSS.

It took faith to be saved, it takes faith to be in the right place.

Faith to believe “We are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Be safe, be blessed, believe. Be changed.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

TINA THE EXOTIC DANCER

August 26, 2017

TINA THE EXOTIC DANCER

NO WAIT THAT’S REALLY THE TITLE

So there’s Mark, nice guy, shy, quiet and a young Christian. He meets this girl online, she cute, perky and funny. They start dating, she has more experience than he, they start having sex, it’s his first time, bang (pardon the pun) and he’s in love and proposes. She realizes he’s a nice guy, good job and he thinks he’s in love.

She starts coming to church knows the Christian lingo, he thinks she’s a Christian. Tell them marriage counseling is mandatory, bang they elope. Come back and his excuse for not following through “love can’t wait”.

Bang, six months into the marriage Mark comes in he’s shattered, she wants to go out dancing, have some drinks, seems a lot of guys at this club know her; he’s ashamed, for the first time ever he drinks, dances, gets a little drunk, and bang, she wants to bring home another guy to ‘spice things up’.

Bang, he wants a divorce, but hey in a Pentecostal church that’s like practicing birth control in a catholic church (sorry old school). Now he’s really ashamed that he’s gotten into this situation, she moves out, he’s heart broken and hears from a ‘friend’ at work his wife is already sleeping with someone else.

He comes in for counseling and here’s where we get controversial. (now thanks to google you can look this up, I did and I have to say there are some people that are twisting what I am about to talk about right out into outer space, so filter this through your theology and pray about this, don’t take this principle to far, and don’t over apply it to some sort of spiritual warfare and setting blockades against satan, because this isn’t about that.)

The prophet Hosea is told to marry a prostitute and she runs away and here is what God says he will do.

Hosea 2:6-7

Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’
She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.

“Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens,
and my new wine when it is ready.
I will take back my wool and my linen,
intended to cover her naked body.
10 So now I will expose her lewdness
before the eyes of her lovers;
no one will take her out of my hands.

I told this story to Mark, and told him that if what he was saying was true and he really wanted her back to pray this prayer; a prayer of hedges around his wife and wait for God to do something; nothing less nothing more, just pray and wait.

The real principle here is believing God can do something, the second principle is to not feel powerless and try to do something in your own strength, the third is if God did this for Hosea cannot he not do it for you.

So we prayed that she would be unseen to other lovers, she would get no benefits from other lovers, no one would take care of her, and that as verse 7 says she will go back to her husband.

So what did Tina do, she went back to stripping (exotic dancing if you are more sensitive) and guess what, she was hired right back by her old boss because she used to be a great ‘producer’ (read cash cow, ouch that seems rather insensitive).

Six weeks later she’s fired, reason given by her boss, and I quote; “Tina, it’s like you are invisible, no one tips you, no one asks for lap dances (you are blessed if all this is foreign to you) it’s like you don’t even exist.

Ok no binding dominions, no commanding spirits or satan to let go just believing God can do his thing.

She comes back to Mark begs forgiveness and asks him to take her back. I caution him (because sometimes after being a prison chaplain I can really be cynical and I confess a skeptic, not always but sometimes).

Mark believes its God’s will to honor his vow he takes Tina back, it’s a bit bumpy at first but a year later she truly gives her heart to the Lord and is baptized (full immersion, still old school).

Guess what, they are still married and she’s expecting their first child.

Like an old time radio show, will it work out, will she truly stay ‘saved’. Stay tuned, and wait.

So also being a hopeless romantic and having some measure of faith I think it will.

And don’t believe that old saw about 50% of marriages failing, it’s the same 10 people getting divorced all the time.

God Bless

Stay in touch at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

PS, it’s five years later, they are still married, still coming to church and she’s a Sunday school teacher and he’s the principle at a Christian school. So for skeptics and cynics like me, it’s good to remember that God never changes but he can change us. No matter what.

It’s why we called this devotional site, scumlikeuschurch, because, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

KNOW TO GROW

August 13, 2017

last_nail

KNOW TO GROW

  “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

  The heartbreaking knowledge of self-brings a life-giving compensation, which is knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The needs generated by the realization of the sin of self-produce the necessary motivation and hunger which cause us to focus upon the Lord Jesus and become conformed to His image. “And we all, while with face unveiled we behold in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are ourselves transformed continually into the same likeness” (2 Cor. 3:18).

 Many a new believer has obtained relief in his conscience from his sins, because of faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ; that is, he does not see further than Romans 3. He has faith in the work of Christ, but has not yet come in faith to Christ. He is like the woman who touched the hem of His garment, assured of His work but not yet acquainted with Himself.

 It is one thing to believe on the Lord Jesus, to be born again, to be saved. That is a wondrous thing as a beginning or start, but it alone will not take you right through all you must meet, to grow into him; and if you are really in the Lord’s hands He will see to it that by virtue of need you are drawn into knowing more and more of His Son. It is the normal course of a true, Holy Spirit-governed Christian life that, in order to get through, an increase of Christ, a growing discovery of Christ, is necessary.

  “That I may know Him” (Phil. 3:10).

After your salvation, God has but one plan for your life, become like His Son, to grow into the image of Christ. Good news, it will happen, the other news, (not bad) it’s going to hurt. No one seems to preach much on the growing pains of being a Christian. The idea of us becoming more Christ like is the same idea of a hammer striking a die and the image being cut into the metal of the coin itself.

God is the hammer, Christ is the die, you got it, you’re the thing being struck.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com