THIS IS OUR 2197 POST, WITH ONLY 3 DAYS EVER MISSED IN THAT TIME

This is from Chuck Swindoll’s Searching the Scriptures Study Guide.

OBSERVATION

Read the passage

thoroughly

When we observe our passage, we examine:

1) The who, what, where, when, why, and how

2) What you can see, touch, taste, hear, and smell

3) The logical connections, flow of thoughts, and range of subjects

4) What’s repeated, emphasized, related, alike, and unalike

INTERPRETATION

Understand the

passage deeply

When we interpret our passage, we study:

1) The author’s language and literary genre

2) The author’s culture

3) The historical events

4) The biblical context

5) The author’s beliefs about God and life

CORRELATION

Compare the passage

carefully

When we correlate our passage, we compare:

1) Our passage’s history with biblical texts addressing the same event

2) Our passage’s theology with biblical texts addressing the same core truths

3) Our passage’s application with biblical texts addressing the same principles

APPLICATION

Internalize the passage

personally

When we apply a passage, we:

1) Look for ways to pray in light of what the passage teaches

2) Ask questions about your behaviors or thoughts that need to change

3) Heed our Lord’s warnings

4) Obey our Lord’s commands

5) Believe our Lord’s promises

Remember: we study the Bible to cultivate our relationship with our risen Lord—and as the great reformer

Philip Melanchthon said, “To know Christ is to know his benefits.”

I would add a couple of other tools, a good bible dictionary, a good study bible like the Life Application Study Bible, available in just about any translation, a dictionary of theology. And a one volume commentary like Matthew Henry’s.

Also, Word Search software, is one of the most affordable bible study software there is and it comes with dozens if not a hundred free books.

And as the bible says; “we are to study to show ourselves approved… a workman not ashamed.”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Paul K, considering a career change.

Pray for Paul C, safety and protection.

Remember Caliste Burt, still in the hospital and still no answer to brain tumor number three.

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression

Remember Steve H, and the hunt for a great pastor.

Remember me in prayer, still in a lot of pain, and the doctors are going to have to come up with plan b, cause plan a, isn’t working. The medicine did not shrink the mass in my chest.

Pray for Kristal, our three now saved, former Adult film stars have led her to salvation in Jesus and the excitement is contagious. What a great encouragement for them all.

ALL’S WELL

February 11, 2019

shout

All’s Well!

Is the pathway dark and dreary?
God’s in His heaven!
Are you broken, heart-sick, weary?
God’s in His heaven!
Dreariest roads shall have an ending,
Broken hearts are for God’s mending.
All’s well! All’s well!
All’s … well!

Are life’s threads all sorely tangled?
God’s in His heaven!
Are the sweet chords strained and jangled?
God’s in His heaven!
Tangled threads are for Love’s fingers,
Trembling chords make heaven’s sweet singers.
All’s well! All’s well!
All’s … well!

Is the burden past your bearing?
God’s in His heaven!
Hopeless?–Friendless?–No one caring?
God’s in His heaven!
Burdens shared are light to carry,
Love shall come though long He tarry.
All’s well! All’s well!
All’s … well!

Is the light for ever failing?
God’s in His heaven!
Is the faint heart ever quailing?
God’s in His heaven!
God’s strong arms are all around you,
In the dark He sought and found you.
All’s well! All’s well!
All’s … well!

Is the future black with sorrow?
God’s in His heaven!
Do you dread each dark to-morrow?
God’s in His heaven!
Nought can come without His knowing.
Come what may ’tis His bestowing.
All’s well! All’s well!
All’s … well!

Peace and heaven lie all about us.
God’s in His heaven!
Peace within makes heaven without us.
God’s in His heaven!
God’s great love shall fail us never,
We are His, and His for ever.
All’s well! All’s well!
All’s … well!

What a great hymn, written by John Oxenham.

Recently we wrote how every culture has one thing in common, a taboo against incest. Well there is another common element in every culture; the sense of sin and misery and a need for hope and redemption.

Mankind may not use those exact words, but that is what the world feels. Since mankind was created in the image of God there is an innate desire for redemption. But blinded by the god of this world (Satan) mankind seeks redemption through sex, drugs, alternate lifestyles, gender confusion. All vain attempts to find meaning in life.

The irony is they rejected the Creator to try and create their own redemption and reconciliation.

The ultimate truth is no other religion can compete with the witness of Scripture, no other can match the power of Christ’s death to bring peace to the sinner.

Here is something to chew on; there is no Scriptural record or mention of God desiring a sacrifice. And yet Cain and Abel felt compelled to offer one. And today we find people still willing to sacrifice something; family, career, offer to sell their body and soul to anyone but God. That is how lost mankind has become since the fall of Adam and Eve.

No religion offers free salvation, with the death of the very God who offers it. None, they all demand works, sacrifices, none offer grace and mercy.

I can’t tell you how many testimonies I’ve heard in 40 years of ministry of how all alone in a motel room or driving down a road, or plowing a field or lying in a gutter, drunk or shot, and hearing God say; “come home, I am the Lord your God.” And they did, they found a Gideon Bible or walked into a mission house or heard a street preacher and began their walk home, back to God.

I had a friend get saved in the midst of a Satanic Ritual, the power of God invaded the room and drove him to his knees.

So if you are wondering why everything you have owns you instead of you owning it, if in the midst of the party, the sex fling, what ever you are doing to numb the pain and it never goes away, consider Jesus and the free gift of salvation. Jesus said; “in my Father’s house are many mansions” there is room at the cross for you, come home to Jesus and find peace.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Caliste Burt, still no word on what they are going to do about the third brain tumor. And they’re not sure she can stand another surgery so soon.

Remember Carly T, got saves when she was 16, became a super saint, excelled in bible memorization, witnessing, a steady church goer. Married a non believer, now divorced, pretty much wrecked her body and mind. Attended church today for the first time in over 20 years. It was a great reunion. Welcome Home Carly.

Bill and Lois Warneke, Bill is suffering with chronic pain, deep depression. And now showing signs of Parkinson’s.

Pray for the Perales family, Norma, Rick Sr her husband and Rick Jr. they all need salvation. They are addicted to gambling.

Pray for Bob L, eyesight problems. Will see a doctor this week.

Remember Steve H, and the hunt for a great pastor.

Remember me in prayer, the antibiotics are having no positive affect on the mass in my chest and the pain is increasing. They are thinking about steroid injections into my chest and I said no way you’re sticking a needle into an already painful area. So we will see what the doctors come with next.

Remember Crissy, Sherry and Cherry. All have met Jesus and left the adult film world. They are now trying to live the suburban lifestyle and doing ok right now. They are in church every time the doors open, and the ladies of the church are keeping them busy and active in bible study.

every jot or tittle

February 9, 2019

the bible

In the time of Adam and Eve, such close unions were perfectly safe genetically, even though later the accumulation of genetic mutations over many generations would make them sufficiently dangerous so that actual legal prohibitions against incest (Leviticus 18:6) had to be imposed by God. Nothing, of course, is mentioned about 4th and 5th cousins which would not be considered a close relative.

You might also be interested in this comment from “The Bible Has the Answer,” by Henry Morris and Martin Clark.

In later generations, brother-sister marriages would come to be recognized as genetically dangerous and would be prohibited as “incest.” Not only the Bible but also most other legal codes refuse to sanction marriages of close relatives. The scientific reason for this restriction is that children of such marriages are more likely to be deformed or sickly or moronic than those of other marriages. The genetic basis for this probability is that inherited mutant genes, producing such unwholesome characteristics, are more likely to find expression in the children if they are carried by both parents.

In all the world, in every culture there is one universal taboo, and that is against incest.

Cannibalism, ok, head shrinking, ok, elongating the necks of the women, ok, in some countries it’s ok, not everywhere and not for everyone. But the taboo against incest is in effect everywhere.

As a Christian, there are some things you are going to find that you cannot do, the Apostle Paul mentions that there are different degrees contingent upon your maturity or lack of. This does not mean you can break the rules of the bible, if the bible calls it sin it will always be sin. And no matter how our culture changes it does not change the do’s and don’ts of the bible.

Know I can already hear someone protesting and coming up with an argument. But we are talking sin, not something like the issue of slavery.

The one thing the devil wants you to believe is that the bible doesn’t matter to you. You are culturally exclusive, it’s amazing how the militant anti-god folks have changed the rules in society. That still does not make the bible non relevant.

Like the old gospel song says, “every line in the bible is true.’

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 Caliste Burt, keep her in prayer, they can’t operate on the third brain tumor and they don’t know what happens if they can’t find a way to do it.

Olivia, due in April, the big worry is the meds she has to take to function and be healthy, then don’t know what they will do to the baby.

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression, the law of diminishing returns.

Pray for Steve H and the search for a great pastor.

David P, an alcoholic, the maintenance kind.

Remember Paul K in your prayers, great Christian friend, two cysts on his pancreas.

Willie S, never expected to outlive his wife, kids are estranged, a Christian man who is very lonely.

Elena O, hard working woman, very religious, but not saved, and is becoming bitter over how hard life is getting. Working two jobs and is always tired

the-man-in-the-arena2

A good lesson for life

  1. Reality never meets up with your dreams

  2. Learn this lesson early, it is never your way, but only His way.

  3. Accept the new reality

  4. Bring God into your reality, ask Him to help you grow up

  5. Pray your anxiety, honestly acknowledge your emotions to God.

  6. Don’t edit your prayers, talk to God like you would your best friend.

  7. Don’t believe you can keep anything secret from God.

  8. Live in the moment, your past, and your future don’t matter.

  9. Make your life an adventure, ask God for an adventure

  10. You are never to old to be used by God.

Long time since we’ve done a list. This is the list you print out and keep in your bible or your favorite devotional book or prayer journal.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Caliste Burt, keep her in prayer, they can’t operate on the third brain tumor and they don’t know what happens if they can’t find a way to do it.

Olivia, due in April, the big worry is the meds she has to take to function and be healthy, then don’t know what they will do to the baby.

Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression, the law of diminishing returns.

Pray for Steve H and the search for a great pastor.

David P, an alcoholic, the maintenance kind.

Remember Paul K in your prayers, great Christian friend, two cysts on his pancreas.

Willie S, never expected to outlive his wife, kids are estranged, a Christian man who is very lonely.

Elena O, hard working woman, very religious, but not saved, and is becoming bitter over how hard life is getting. Working two jobs and is always tired

thinking over feeling

In Ephesians 2:14-16 Paul speaks of the barrier of separation which exists between God and man. As long as this barrier exists, there is no possibility of fellowship between God and man. The barrier, or literally the dividing wall mentioned in Ephesians 2:14, referred historically to the dividing wall in the temple in Jerusalem. This wall separated the court of the Gentiles from the rest of the temple and excluded the Gentiles from the inner sanctuaries. But this wall was a picture of the spiritual barrier that stands between God and man which precludes man’s access into God’s presence. The Jews could go beyond the dividing wall, but this was only because they had access through their God-given sacrificial system which pointed to the person and work of Christ, the Messiah, the One who would make peace and remove the barrier.

The study of the Bible reveals there are several spiritual factors which go together to make up this barrier of separation between God and man. Though sin is the root problem, it is not the only issue. A combination of factors make up this wall of separation. So just what constitutes the barrier between God and man?

BARRIER 1: THE HOLINESS OF GOD

We often think of God as a God of love—which He is—but more is said in the Bible of God’s holiness than of God’s love. In fact, Isaiah 57:15 even declares that His “name is holy.” In Isaiah 6:3, the holy cherubim continuously proclaimed the holiness of God. After seeing this in the vision of God’s absolute holiness given to the Prophet, Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Habakkuk spoke of the holiness of God and said, “Thine eyes are too pure to approve evil, and thou canst not look on wickedness with favor …” (Hab. 1:13). John wrote, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Abraham confessed God as the Judge of all the earth who had to act in accordance with His holy justice (Gen. 18:25). In 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul called God the righteous Judge. In Deuteronomy 32:4, Moses spoke of God’s holy character:

Deuteronomy 32:4 The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.

These and many other passages point to the perfect holiness of God and stress the fact that God cannot and will not act contrary to His holy character. If He is without injustice and completely righteous in all that He is and does, how can He have fellowship with sinful man or anything less than His perfect holiness?

The holiness of God has two branches: perfect righteousness and perfect justice. God is absolute righteousness and perfection. It is impossible for God to do anything wrong or to have fellowship with anything less than His perfect righteousness. Since God is also perfect justice, which acts in accord with His perfect righteousness, He cannot be partial or unfair to any creature and He must deal with the creature in perfect justice. This means all that is unrighteous or sinful must be judged and separated from Him (cf. Ps. 119:137-138; 145:17 with Hab. 1:13; Rom. 2:5-6, 11; 1:18; 14:11-12; 1 Pet. 4:5).

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

pray for Marilyn A, depression

Olivia says thanks for all the prayers, being 1500 miles away from home, a husband who is on a submarine often, and knowing she is in our prayers is a real encouragement.

Pray for Chrissy, that’s she strong enough to resist the temptations of her old lifestyle.

remember Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression.

pray for Barbara D and her cancer, there’s no beating it this time, just a matter of how strong her will and body is.

  “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain” (Phil. 2:16).

  Many Christians are bogged down between the nursery and the schoolroom; between the playpen and the workshop. These resist the weaning period; but the spiritually hungry-hearted are eager to have their feelings replaced by faith.

It is true that the Father does take up those who are spiritually immature and permit them to speak His words years before they fully understand their import; but He does not wish any of us to stop there. We may go on that way for awhile, but is it not true that from the time when He begins in us His work of formation through discipline and chastening, it slowly dawns on us how little in fact we know of the true meaning of what we had been saying?

Our Lord intends that we should reach the place where we can speak, with or without manifest gifts, because we are that which we share. For in Christian experience the spiritual things of God are less and less outward, that is, of gift, and more and more inward, of life. In the long run it is the depth and inwardness of a work that counts. As the Lord Jesus Himself becomes more and more to us, other things—and this must include even gifts—matter less and less. Then, though we teach the same doctrine, speak the same words, the impact on others is very different, manifesting itself in an increasing depth of the Spirit’s work within them also.

Our Father’s hand is on the helm. We are being guided, even when we feel it least. The closed door is as much His Providence as the open, and equally for our good and the accomplishment of His own great ends. And one learns at last it is not what we set ourselves to do that really tells in blessing so much as what He is doing in and through us.”

  “Thou wilt show me the path of life” (Ps. 16:11).

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Caliste is doing great and says thanks for the prayers

 

Bill W, new medicine is helping somewhat.

 

Paul K, pray for healing of the two cysts on his pancreas

 

Olivia is doing great, appreciates our prayers.

 

Pray for Barbara D, the list of her illness and the hosts of other physical problems is amazing she can function, her cancer is back and we need to keep her in prayer.

 

Pray for the Perales family, salvation for Norma, Rick Sr. and Rick Jr.

 

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

 

Pray for me as I am seeking new employment.

SEXUAL PURITY PART ONE

January 7, 2019

WARNING, ADULT CONTENT AND LANGUAGE, EXTREME SEXUAL TOPIC(s)

I have been a counselor for sex addicts for over 35 years. I’ve been a co-founder of citizen’s against pornography and co-founder of The Pure Life Deliverance Ministries.

So we are going to run a series about immorality and how to lead a pure life. This is going to be a very frank discussion, so if you are easily offended or embarrassed about this topic please take care.

In order to win the battle for purity, believers must first answer this question: “What is sexual immorality?” If we are going to avoid it and flee from it, we must know what it is. I think many Christians are failing simply because they don’t know what sexual immorality is. It has never been defined for them. Some would even say that it is just “intercourse.”

Many believe that oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, heavy petting, etc., are not part of sexual immorality. Such belief leads then to open these doors as avenues of fulfilling their lust while trying to maintain their “virginity.”

I’ve had numerous college girls coming for counseling over how they have wrecked their lives and their bodies believing that anal sex would protect their virginity. And once the word got out that they were willing to that then the doors opened to abuse in all kinds of forms. An now they have physical problems as a result of this. And are unable to have healthy relationships with men in general.

However, by doing this, they are really committing sexual immorality and opening the door for the enemy to attack them and bring them under greater sexual bondage. Therefore, this is an important question to answer. What is sexual immorality?

In order to answer this question, let’s consider 1 Corinthians 7:1-3:

Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

Paul, the author, said that it is good for a man to stay single and not marry. But because of temptation towards sexual immorality, each person should consider marriage as a spiritual protection. In marriage, the husband and the wife fulfill each other’s sexual desires.

From this, we can gain this basic definition of sexual immorality: Sexual immorality is the attempt to fulfill natural sexual desires outside of the marriage union between a man and a woman. This includes things like sex, oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, heavy petting, pornography, and sexual imaginations. In short, sexual immorality encompasses all acts and thoughts designed to fulfill sexual desire outside of marriage.

In fact, Jesus said this about sexual immorality in Matthew 5:27-28: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” In other words, a person has already committed adultery when lusting, since he went outside of the marriage union to fulfill his sexual desires.

This might seem unrealistic to some. “How can anyone keep themselves from sexual thoughts?” And some might ask, “Why would they?” The reality is that God created sex and he has given us ethics for its use. If we pursue these desires outside the marriage union, we do it at our own peril. We sin against our own bodies, and most grievously, we sin against God.

How then should a single person respond to his natural desires? Scripture uses the analogy of sleeping for those desires. Listen to what Solomon’s fiancée said in the Song of Solomon: “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (3:5). She exhorts the young ladies in Jerusalem to keep their desires asleep until it is time.

Well, the next question we must ask is, “How can we keep those desires asleep?” or “How can we put them back to sleep after they have been awakened?” We will consider this in the following strategies.

Reflection

What was your previous understanding of sexual immorality?

Define sexual immorality. Why is it important to know its definition?

How commonly do you think people open sexual doors simply because of lack of truly understanding the definition?

Why is it important to keep sexual desires asleep?

When should churches and parents start instructing children about sexual immorality?

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

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

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

You can recover from sexual addictions, and from sexual abuse, self-committed or committed against you. But there is recovery and healing.

Remember Bill Warneke, depression and chronic pain, noticed I’ve changed the order of this prayer, I’m more concerned about the depression than the pain.

Remember Caliste Burt, brain surgery in 2 weeks.

And Olivia, she has been bed ridden for many years and then better, but under heavy medication, she was told she could never get pregnant and she has, we are praying the medicine and her illness doesn’t jeopardize her life of the baby she is carrying.

DIVINE HEALING

January 6, 2019

Resurrection-Doubting-Thomas

I just want to be up front about where I stand on divine healing. I believe that God can and does offer us divine healing. I think the best book written on the subject is by Andrew Murray. You can find this book free online.

I will also say I don’t understand why it happens one time and not another, only that it is the providence of God. I don’t believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit disappeared just because we got the bible as some teach. The idea that “that which is perfect” is a reference to the bible.

And as long as 1 Corinthians 1:7 is in the bible then all the gifts are still here.

So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: (KJV)

I have seen first hand divine healing that was immediately proven by a doctor. A man was being rolled into surgery for lung cancer, as they wheeled him into surgery, he cried out that he felt warm all over and for the first and only time started speaking in tongues. His doctor was a Christian man who didn’t believe in spiritual gifts but was so curious he had the man x-rayed again and there was no cancer. I know this story to be true as I was there when it happened.

And yet I know a dear old Pentecostal lady that is suffering greatly at this moment, who has had numerous healings in her life. But now she is suffering greatly and there has been no healing.

Then one more example, my best friend had a huge mass on his spine, the doctors looking at the x-ray told him it was cancer and they didn’t believe they could operate. I laid hands on him and prayed for healing. His doctor a skeptical Hindu, wanted to humiliate me and ordered x-rays to prove me wrong. The x-rays came back and no mass. Several more x-rays and still no mass. The pain was gone and he was released from the hospital.

Friends, God still heals, I do not know why it happens the way it does. China right now is experiencing an out pouring of the Holy Spirit and missionaries are saying it’s like the Book of Acts is happening all over. Hundreds being saved daily and great miracles with it.

God heals in many different ways.

God first revealed Himself as the Healer of His people in a strange little Old Testament incident described in Exodus 15. After four hundred years of bondage, the Israelites had just been delivered from Egypt by the mighty hand of God. They had seen plagues devastate the greatest civilization on the face of the earth. They’d had the exhilarating experience of passing through the Red Sea on a dry path while the waters stood firm as walls on either side. They had watched Pharaoh’s elite corps of horsemen and chariots drown—the enemies who had terrorized them all their lives had been defeated. In this dramatic way God gave us a picture of the first step we experience today as He begins our emotional healing: freedom from the bondage of our past.

GOD OFFERS HEALING FRONT THE PAST

When the Israelites saw that their bondage in Egypt was over and their former masters were powerless to enslave them again, they no longer had any reason to fear their former masters or obey them.

Much like those Israelites, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ we are freed from bondage to our old master, Satan. This liberation should also deliver us from the influence of the past on our emotions as well. But while this can happen right away, for most of us, it is a more gradual process. The first part of Exodus 15 is a song of praise to the Lord for His great victory over the Israelites’ enemies. The people were on an emotional high. Then began their journey toward the Promised Land.

As the book of Exodus tells us, “Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying ‘What are we to drink?” (Exod. 15:22-24).

Three days in the desert without water, then the disappointment of undrinkable water, and God’s people soon forgot His power and care for them. They could have said, “Look what God has already done for us! After all that, He’ll surely find a way to provide water for us. We’ll keep on trusting Him.” But they didn’t.

Instead the Israelites grumbled, a habit that persisted all through their journey. The text says they grumbled against Moses, but in reality, they were grumbling against the God who was leading them in the pillar of cloud and fire that moved before them. They were babies in their walk with their God. Fortunately, He understood that and was very patient with them. Despite their complaining attitude He responded to their spokesman’s plea: “Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet” (Exod. 15:25).

Such a simple solution. So easy for God to do. And then: “The LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you” (Exod. 15:26-27).

In the original language, God said, “I am Yahweh-Rapha, the Lord who heals you.” Rapha means “to mend, to cure, to repair, to make whole.”

God gave this promise to the ancient nation of Israel, but it includes a principle that still applies to us today:

Emotional and spiritual health are by-products of obedience.

Health is related to obedience both spiritually, physically, and emotionally. If we obey the commands against sexual immorality, we will not be infected by the sexually transmitted diseases that are rampant in our modern world. Meanwhile, our self-worth will not suffer from being used, cast off, and rejected.

If we obey the command to not covet, we will have a healthy attitude toward both relationships and possessions. We will be grateful for all that God has given us, whether much or little, and be immune to discontent, which works like acid in our emotions.

If we obey the commands against stealing, we will have healthy self-respect, a good name, and no criminal record.

If we honor our parents instead of rebelling against them, we will protect our family relationships.

There are innumerable healthy benefits to having a clear conscience. And God challenged His people to test Him and experience Him in a tangible way—He specifically said He would bless them with health if they obeyed His commands. But there’s more to the incident at Marah for us to learn . . .

THE POWER OF THE CROSS

The instrument God used to heal the bitter waters was a piece of wood. Why not salt, the substance Elisha used hundreds of years later? Why not just a spoken word? Instead God directed Moses to throw a piece of wood into the water because that piece of wood pointed to another—the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross is the only way the bitter waters of our lives can be healed. In other words:

The cross is God’s remedy for emotional pain.

God’s Additional Instruments of Healing

Hundreds of years before Christ’s birth, the prophet Isaiah, who was prophesying about the work of the Messiah, said, “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isa. 53:4-6).

Isaiah said that Jesus would be taken up, carried, pierced, crushed, and wounded for our infirmities, our sorrows (emotions), our transgressions, our iniquities, our punishment.

Why did He do it? To bring us peace and healing: As

God, Our Healer

Isaiah said, “By His wounds we are healed.” Some people teach that this means physical healing is guaranteed by Christ’s atonement. But Peter interpreted this passage differently. He wrote, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Pet. 2:24-25).

Peter applies Isaiah’s words to our salvation. God knew that we have to be healed spiritually for there to be emotional healing. The cross of Jesus Christ, where He bore our sins and took our punishment, made it possible for us to be reconciled to our God. It enabled us to come back to Him, cleansed and forgiven. His sacrifice for us brings us peace. That’s spiritual and emotional healing, isn’t it?

Maybe you’re thinking, What about physical healing?

Remember that all healing is from God, whether it’s through rest, sunshine, a healthy diet, the God-given skill of physicians or surgeons, or the miracles of prayer.

And as far as our emotions are concerned, God uses, in addition to the cross of Jesus Christ, at least four “instruments” to heal us: His Word, the power that comes from praising Him, the encouragement of His people, and the gift of a godly self-image. Let’s look at each of these components of spiritual healing.

GOD’S WORD BRINGS HEALING TO THE PRESENT

The healing power of God’s Word is shown in, among other passages, Psalm 107, a song of praise to the Lord for His unfailing love for His people. He demonstrated this love by His deliverance when they called upon Him in their need: “Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his Word and healed them” (Ps. 107:17-20).

Here we have people who were suffering affliction and physical, emotional, and spiritual sickness as a consequence of persistent rebellion against the Lord. Yet when they cried out to Him, He “sent forth His word and healed them.”

How does God use His Word to heal?

Jesus demonstrated this godly gift beautifully when He was here on earth. He healed every possible affliction that humanity suffers, and He did so to demonstrate that He was the only One who could heal us from the root cause of all our troubles—sin.

Let’s take a look at one specific incident. Luke 7 describes a Roman centurion whose servant had fallen ill and was near death. The centurion had heard about Jesus, and he had sent some elders of the Jews to ask Him for help.

Jesus responded to the request for healing by making His way toward the centurion’s home, but before He could get there, another message from the centurion was brought to Him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (Luke 7:6-8).

Jesus listened to this statement in amazement and told the crowd that He had never seen that kind of faith among the Jews. When the messengers returned to the centurion’s house, they found that the servant had been healed.

This Roman warrior understood authority, and he knew Jesus had the authority to heal from a distance. Jesus could send forth His Word and heal, and that’s just what He did.

But does He do it today? And if He does, how? What relation does the Word have to healing our emotions? To answer these questions, we need to look at the ways God uses His Word to heal us: our praise of Him.

THE HEALING POWER OF PRAISE

One of the instructions we’ve received from the Lord says, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4). This is God’s Word. But how can it heal?

Suppose you are filled with anxiety, fear, discouragement, or grief. Your future is uncertain. You have no job. There is terminal illness in your family. Your children have turned away from the Lord and are estranged from you. You are in deep grief because of the loss of someone you love.

In the midst of your troubles, this word is sent from God to heal you: “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

You see, God is the only unchanging constant in our lives. When all else is gone—health, family, friends, money, position—God remains. “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Isn’t that something to rejoice about? Not only is God present with us, but His Word also tells us that He loves us and nothing can separate us from that great unconditional love.

Another word from the Lord says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).

How can we apply this in a practical way? How about praying something like this:

“Lord, I feel terrible. I’m fearful, worried, lonely, rejected, grieving. [You put in your own words.] But Your Word assures me that nothing here on earth, whether past, present, or future, can break my relationship with You through Jesus Christ.

“Since I’m going to live forever, my time on earth is a very small dot on the pages of eternity. I can rejoice in You because You will never abandon me. You will never stop loving me. You hear my prayers when I cry to You just as You did for Your people long ago.

“You have given me Your Word, and I choose to obey it. I rejoice in You. I praise You. I thank You for who You are and for what You have done for me.”

Pray this prayer consistently, and I can practically guarantee there will eventually be a change in your emotions. But God knows we need help, both divine and human. And He provides that help.

GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT LIVES IN US

When we trusted Jesus Christ, He forgave our sins and called us to a new life of obedience to Him. He didn’t say, “Now that I’ve forgiven you, clean up your act. Do your best. Try harder. You’ll be able to change yourself.” How hopeless that would be!

The wonderful fact is that He knew we couldn’t change or heal ourselves in our own strength. He gave us Someone to help us. He gave us His Holy Spirit to take up residence in our hearts. He is the One who gives us new birth, makes us a new creation, and places us into the body of Christ. He is the One who makes us able to understand and apply Scripture (see 1 Cor. 2:12-13).

Romans 8 teaches us that the Spirit sets us free from slavery to sin. He is our new Master. He leads us in God’s ways. He gives us assurance that we are God’s children and can come into His presence with freedom and intimacy. He helps our weaknesses. He interprets our prayers, and He intercedes for us. Our part is to yield to His control, have our minds and hearts set on what He desires. Our part is to keep in step with His leading and trust Him to give us the ability to live to please God. He is the One who will work in our innermost being to give us the character of Jesus Christ, which is God’s ultimate purpose for saving us and adopting us into His family. The family of God, other believers, is God’s provision of the human help and companionship we need.

GOD’S FAMILY HELPS US HEAL

While I want to mention Christian friendship here as an instrument of God’s healing, we’ll postpone until chapter 18 an in-depth discussion. For now, it’s sufficient to say that friends and support groups are keys to emotional healing; they are effective because we humans were created to need each other.

The Bible tells us that God loves and accepts us, yet we need the tangible demonstration of love and acceptance from people we can see, hear, and touch. If one part of the Christian body suffers, every other part suffers with it. So if you are in difficulty, don’t be a loner. Reach out to Christian friends, support groups, or counselors, and allow them to help you. Give them the privilege and opportunity to pray for you.

A GODLY SELF-IMAGE ENCOURAGES EMOTIONAL HEALTH

God also uses another powerful tool to keep us emotionally healthy. When we accept Jesus Christ into our lives, God gives us a new self-image in Christ. This healthy view of ourselves is only possible when we stop believing what our emotions tell us and start believing what God says about us.

For example, our emotions may tell us: “I don’t think anyone has ever really loved me, so something in me must be unlovable. I feel like a loser. I don’t feel that I’m a good Christian. I don’t feel God’s love.”

In contrast, if we have a relationship with God because we have trusted Jesus Christ, this is what He wants us to hear: “I love you. You are now My child. I know all about you—past, present, and future—and I accept you. You are united with Christ. You are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. I will never abandon you, either in time or eternity.”

Faced with those opposing kinds of self-talk, who are you going to believe, your feelings or God’s Word? Not only must we believe God’s evaluation of us, but we need to reject what our own faulty experiences and emotions tell us. As we consistently reject the negative impressions that we have believed for years and accept our new status as those whom God loves as He loves His own Son, our self-images will change.

Self-image doesn’t change because we focus on pleasing ourselves, saying, “I’m doing something good for myself,” and following all the other suggestions that feed self-centeredness. It changes because we choose with our wills to believe God and accept His love for us.

Yes, God can heal our emotions. He is our Healer. He wants to heal us. He wants to free us from the crushing emotional obstacles that hinder our growth to maturity. The wonderful fact is that He has the power to heal, and He has provided everything necessary for our healing:

The cross of Christ,

His Word,

Rejoicing and praise,

The Holy Spirit,

His body, the church, and

A new self-image in Christ.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Caliste Burt, brain surgery is coming up soon.

Pray for Bill Warneke, chronic pain and depression

Remember Olivia, that she carries this miracle baby to full term.

Unexpected little blessings

December 31, 2018

Image result for picture of a robin

Today we received an unusual blessing. We live-in South-Central Texas and we are on a migratory path of birds going south and birds going north. So imagine our surprise at lunchtime to see over 100 red breasted robins sitting in our yard and pecking away. for over two hours we were blessed to see something we used to take for granted when we lived in New York.

All of a sudden there was a great rustling of wings and all the robins took to the trees. Our family of foxes came out to enjoy a little sunshine (very little). About 20 minutes later back in the woods goes the foxes and back came the robins.

Unexpected blessings.

From the scriptures the most frequent Old Testament word used for blessed, baruk, when applied to God, has the sense of praise – “Blessed be the Lord”. When used of man it connotes favor, happiness, living according to God’s ways of approval. It was tied to God leading the children of Israel forward and taking refuge in the Lord.

Consider Psalm 89:15 “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you; who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord…for you are their glory and strength…indeed our shield belongs to the Lord.”

In the New Testament use of blessed, makarios, it generally has a strong spiritual content as seen in Matthew 5 in the Beatitudes- plus the idea of happy, fortunate, to be envied, congratulated.

In the New Testament Jesus speaks of being blessed in ways we might not typically associate with blessing.

Matthew 5:7-11:

    Blessed are the poor in spirit

    Blessed are those who mourn

    Blessed are the meek

    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

    Blessed are the merciful

    Blessed are the pure in heart

    Blessed are the peacemakers

    Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness

    Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Matthew 11:6 “blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

James 5:11 “ blessed are those who have persevered.”

I Peter 3:14 “but even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.”

It is obvious when one looks at the many passages of scripture that blessed, blessings and bless connote much deeper meanings than might be apparent on the surface when hearing “Bless you”. Run a quick concordance word check on “blessed/bless/blessing” and it is over 25 pages.

For sure I come away with these certainties:

It is good and right to bless the Lord. He is worthy of all my praise. “Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, all that is within me, Bless His holy name.” Psalm 103:1

It is biblical to offer a blessing to another. “May you be blessed of the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 115:15

It is a blessing in God’s economy to suffer for Him. “But even if you suffer for what is right, you are blessed” 1Peter 3:1

AND, I am blessed because of who Christ is in me. “…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

Now when I hear “bless you” or “God bless you” I can thank the person and say,”He has”. And according to the scripture if I am having a hard time it may not be self induced but simply because we live in a fallen world.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember “gramps” in your prayers chronic pain

Prayer for my Dad, whom I haven’t seen in over 45 years, his health is failing, I have kept in touch through his youngest sister.

Remember Olivia, carrying to full term her miracle baby.

Pray for Caliste Burt, brain surgery in mid January. She’s a Christian, married, 3 children.

Remember to pray for the Perales family, Norma, Rick Sr. and Rick Jr. salvation.

  “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27).

  The Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Lord Jesus, and fills us with Him.

  “The one spiritual baptism positions the believer ‘in Christ’ (Rom. 6:3, 4; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12), and into His Body (1 Cor. 12:13). Since this position in the Lord Jesus is unchangeable, and eternal, the baptizing work of the Spirit is not repeatable. One ‘in Christ’ positionally, can never again through all eternity be ‘out of Christ’ positionally, as that position depends wholly upon the efficacy of the finished redemptive work of the Son, and does not hinge upon human merit or faithfulness.

The filling with the Spirit, on the other hand, is repeatable (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17), and is, in fact, a continuous process, as it conditions variable experiences, and has nothing whatever to do with immutable position. Christian position is effected by the baptism of the Spirit at the moment of the new birth. Christian experience is affected by the filling with the Holy Spirit. One effects our position, the other affects our condition.

 

The Holy Spirit gives a living knowledge; His light is the light of life; He is the ‘Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.’ We see the Father and the Son as seeing us. When we behold them by the ministry of the Spirit it is as beholding us with infinite love, and bestowing upon us the blessings of grace. We know because we are known. ‘Thou Father, Thou Son, seest me’ is the immediate consciousness of the soul, when there is spiritual perception of the Father. In other words, love, petition, listening to the Father’s voice, receiving the love and peace of the Lord Jesus, fellowship, are invoked in this knowledge.

 

  “The communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14).

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Pray for “gramps” a neighbor of my son that has become a grandfather to him. ‘gramps’ is in horrible, never ending pain. And shared with us that he cannot go on any longer, the pain has brought with it great depression. He is a Christian, but is in so much pain he can’t imagine lasting any longer. I can relate because I suffer from chronic pain and know the effects upon me mentally as well as physically. Pray that in pain he sees the handiwork and beauty of God and a focus that some will never know.