TOUCHED

November 20, 2017

THE NEED FOR TOUCH

I’m always amazed by how unloved people in the church feel. In one church we mentioned in the bulletin that on Thursdays you could come to my office from 9am to 9pm and just be hugged. There would be two other people in the room, usually my wife and I.

I was amazed at how many people “snuck” in for a hug and a prayer. Now I’m a big hugger, you gonna know you were hugged. No sissy, barely held you, nope you’re gonna get the works. What amazed is how many people just wept when embraced.

The other comment was “thank you for hugging me like a real man.” That puzzled me at first, but I always ask, “what do you mean?”

The most common answer was from married women who said how their husbands barely touched them any more and if they did they felt like they were being hugged by their sister not their husband.

Well the church all on its own started a hugging revolution. All the services had everyone hugging, before during and after. And then it spread outside of church. How did I know that? People started coming to our church to be hugged. We actually roped off two front pews with a sign that said “need hugs.”

Those two pews began to fill up with the threshold crowd, mentally ill, homeless, broken, and they sat there with a childlike presence waiting for someone to reach out and hug them. We actually had some parolees with warrants and one escaped mental patient call and said they would turn themselves in at the church if they could get a hug first. The police were shocked, but they cooperated, and I’ve lost count of the people that came in to be arrested if they were hugged first. And never a problem.

I try to stop by my son’s business at least once a week, we always hug and he kisses me on the cheek and we say “we love you.” Clients there will ask if we will hug them as well. And then so many ask or say about how loving every one there is. Or that they haven’t seen an adult son and father hug and kiss in forever.

When I leave my son and daughter in law will shout out again; “we love you Pop.” And the whole place goes silent waiting for my heart felt and loud, “we love you too.”

Friends, it might take you a while to get used to invading someone’s space but start hugging. And spouses start hugging.

People are surprised but filled with joy over a hug.

I have a big Aryan ex-con friend, all tatted up and everything pierced, he never wears a shirt just his biker vest. This guy is a muscled bound steroid abuser (ex) we meet every other month at a nice restaurant. He always gets there first so he can sit in their real fancy bar. And when I come in the door he rushes at me like he’s going to kill me. (a few people actually screamed a few times) but we give these huge bear killer hugs and he picks me up off the floor and always says. “I love you man.”

People need the Lord, and everybody needs touched. That was the hallmark of Jesus’s ministry he touched the unwanted. We need to touch everyone.

So spread the love.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the fortress of solitude

November 14, 2017

I was going through a stack of old bibles that I’ve collected over the years and I’m always interested in the old sermons I find in them or notes scribbled on church bulletins, sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t. The same with sermons, I’ll read an old sermon of mine and think “oh my poor congregation” they sat there so feigning interest. This time the bible is one I bought from a collection and this sermon was in it. after reading it several times I thought I would share this gem that I found today.

“Beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. Instead, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 3:17-18)

Is there a path of steady growth in the presence and power of God for the one who has placed their confidence in Jesus? Should we assume that it is God’s intention our lives would be increasingly pervaded by the action of his hand, until “all we do in word or deed” would be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”? (Col. 3:11) Is this something we can arrange for, so that the command to grow in grace makes sense?

We are told repeatedly by Paul to put off the old person and to put on the new. How does one do that?

The answer is actually rather simple. One must intend to do it, and then one must sensibly implement the means. Putting on the new person, growing in grace, is something we must do. Appropriate action is the key. True, as Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) But it is also true that if we do nothing it will be without him.

The path of spiritual growth in the riches of Christ is not a passive one. Grace is not opposed to effort. It is opposed to earning. Effort is action. Earning is attitude. You have never seen people more active than those who have been set on fire by the grace of God. Paul, who perhaps understood grace better than any other mere human being, looked back at what had happened to him and said: “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” (I Cor. 15:10)

As to “means of grace” placed in our hands, well-directed action is the key. The disciplines of the spiritual life are simply practices that prove to be effectual in enabling us to increase the grace of God in our lives.

That grace is, of course, “unmerited favor.” But the form it takes is the action of God in our lives and with our actions. If we wish to know more of this and see the deliverance it works in and around us, we must do the things that will bring it to pass. These things are spiritual disciplines or the disciplines for the spiritual life.

A discipline in any area is something in my power that I do to enable me to do what I cannot do by direct effort. This is the general nature of discipline, and there is simply no area of human attainment–from playing a musical instrument, to sports, to speaking a language or being friendly–that does not require discipline.

The need for discipline does not change when we come to all that is involved in walking in the holiness and power of Christ. Would we do the things that Jesus himself did and taught? Then there is a way. It is the way of disciplined grace: discipline under grace and grace in the midst of discipline.

What are some of these disciplines? A primary one is solitude, which must go hand in hand with silence to be complete. In solitude I arrange to be alone, out of human contact, for lengthy periods of time. This allows my inner compass to stop whirling in response to the demands of others. The elasticity and wholeness of my soul is restored as I grow “still and know that God is God.” (Ps. 46:10)

Only solitude and silence, extensively practiced at wisely allotted intervals, can take the world off my back and forever release me from both hurry and loneliness. They open the door to productive engagement with other disciplines. I begin to find myself increasingly before God in such a way that he can safely fill me with himself.

Study and worship, fasting and sacrifice (of time, energy, money), journaling and prayer, confession and service are also among the disciplines. Some disciplines may be freely chosen. But often our circumstances will impose activities on us which, if taken as such, can be marvelous disciplines enabling us to receive extraordinary grace. “Tribulation works patience” is only one illustration of this principle.

But there is no such thing as a complete list of spiritual disciplines, chosen or imposed. Many different activities might be entered into with the aim of finding the manifest grace of God which enables us to do what we cannot do–and be what we cannot be–by direct effort. But the ones that emerge as most beneficial in Christian history should all be considered very seriously.

And of course “what we cannot do by direct effort” covers all that Jesus taught us. We cannot keep his teachings on our own. He never intended it. But by whole life training in the well-known disciplines of the spiritual life we can become inwardly the kinds of persons who naturally (supernaturally of course) do what he said and did. That is how the gift of a holy and powerful life comes to us.

Now disciplines are not law, they are wisdom. We have to learn how to do them, and we always fail at the outset. But to fail here is not to sin. The sin would be in not adopting and following up on a wise program of disciplines under grace. For then we are not really intending to do what Jesus said. We are planning to fail.

Also, disciplines are for disciples–apprentices–of Jesus, not for dabblers or mere consumers of religious services. They are for people who intend to learn from Jesus how to live their whole lives in the kingdom of God as he would live their lives if he were they. Such people are serious about this and will not be denied.

Thus they are prepared to experiment and learn from their failures until, under their constant teacher, they find that disciplines truly are full of grace and strength.

Fasting becomes feasting on God, meditation on scripture becomes celebration. Religion is no longer an additional burden to be carried in an already overburdened life, but is replaced by a joyous confidence that God is present and prevailing in every situation of life and death.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Jennifer she has her second eye surgery at 7am Tuesday morning.

really faith based

November 12, 2017

WHAT FAITH BASED REALLY MEANS

  Let him ask in faith and have no doubts; for he who has doubts is like the surge of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed into spray. A person of that sort must not expect to receive anything from the Lord—such a one is a man of two minds, undecided in every step he takes” (James 1:6–8).

  First, we are to rest in the fact that our Father has made full provision for all our needs; positionally, we are complete in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then it is that we can trust Him daily for His “exceeding abundantly above.” “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19)

  “It is true that all God requires of us we lack; but it is also true that all we need He supplies. The believer can give thanks that God has supplied all his need as to standing, and He engages to supply all his need as to walk. But while we see our Father’s requirement, and recognize His provision, let us not overlook our responsibility.

When we fail it is to this our failure may be traced. It is not because the provision has been insufficient, or unavailable, or afar off—but because the channel has been obstructed, the avenues of the soul have been closed, so that the need has remained unsupplied. Our responsibility lies in the exercise of faith.

I will not think of the infinities of my need, except to lead me to the divine simplicity of the infinity of His supply.

  “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us; and if we know that He hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him” (1 John 5:14, 15)

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Remember Laurie R. in prayer, 9 years old and just diagnosed with cancer

Pray for Loid L. crippling arthritis, she usually is flying all over the country, at 73, now she can barely walk.

Praise for Jerome, a year ago he started out in counseling, he’s now been drug free, violence free and he is off parole and tomorrow we do his wedding, or re-wedding. His wife has been in counseling also and they are going to get hitched again.

Pray for Lisa, her 5 year old marriage is in trouble and they are both spiraling out of control in their behavior. Right now we just want her self-destructive behavior you end.

Bond Servant

November 7, 2017

shackles

  THE BOND SERVANT

  “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:4).

  God has a unique plan concerning each one of us. The secret of realizing our personal calling is not to look at others, but simply to walk in close fellowship with the Father. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him” (Ps. 62:5).

  “No one Christian has a right to stop on his way for another; he must go forward himself in individual faithfulness. The effort to drag others along with us is in reality but a device of Satan to keep ourselves back. Note Jehovah’s word to Jeremiah, ‘Let them return unto thee; but return not thou to them’ (Jer. 15:19). Are any desirous of going forward, let them not stop to carry along with them ‘the men of Ephraim.’ Far better is it to go on with but a few to follow, than to get numbers with us who are only halfhearted.”

  “You may say, ‘Show me a pattern man.’ We all like to copy; but there is no gain in copying. You have to learn the Lord for yourself. All you learn for yourself will remain, and nothing else. Every one has his own history.”

It is plain enough that every believer is called of God to something definite. The real difficulty is to ascertain the specialty, and this I do not think can be discovered but in nearness to the Lord, and when you are interested in His interests. We first learn that He is interested in us, and then we gradually become interested in His interests. It is then you apprehend your mission in life.

  “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

RINNNNNG! RRRRIINNNNNGGGGG!

November 4, 2017

Okay first thing to remember is that this is not a crash course on demonology or even theology it’s just a story; although it’s a true story and even though my theology has changed (matured), none of that is relevant.

So it’s one of those oh my God I’ve answered the phone again, and a little old lady says, “pastor would you come over to my house I think it’s possessed.”

So what the heck, yes ma’am, I will come over. So this is a lady that does not go to my church, I’ve never heard of her before, oh yeah and she says she talked to the pastor next door and he says; I’m just some crazy old lady”.

So that’s all the information that I had, so I’m  going to visit a possible crazy woman who thinks her home is possessed. So first of all it is a nice neighborhood, and she does have a lovely home And Everything Is well kept.

I knock on the door, and this woman answers the door and she looks perfectly sane and in her right mind. And she is all “you must be the pastor, please come in” (cue creepy music). So I go in the house it is very well kept, very clean, no weird smells everything appears to be normal.

So she says, “well pastor let me tell you there is some kind of ghost living in my basement and at night when I’m asleep he comes up bothers me, then my bottom dresser draw slides open and all these little naked people come out and dance all around me. Would you go down in the basement and do whatever it is you do and get it out of here?”

So I go to the door that leads down to the basement and I flicked the light switch, and just like every good horror movie, the light does not does not come on. I look at her and she says oh he always does that he unscrews the light bulb. You will have to go down the steps and open the door reach out screw in the light bulb and pull on the cord”.

Okay is it just me or is my heart hammering like a 12 air hammer?

I asked her do you have a flashlight, you already know what the answer is, “no the batteries are dead.”

So, here I am walking down the stairs and I am praying, “sweet Jesus do not let there be anybody down here, demonic or otherwise.” (you also have to remember tactical flashlights have not been invented, just the giant cop mag light that I don’t have.)

I push open the door, it is pitch black, I cannot see a thing. I look over my shoulder and see that the lady is standing there at the top of the stairs wringing her hands. And you know what I’m thinking of right now, you just know something is going to happen.

So I’m trying to keep the door open with my right foot, and reach out with my left hand and try to find this light bulb that’s hanging from the ceiling so I can screw it in and pull on the cord and oh sweet Jesus let there really be light down here and nothing else not even a mouse.

Well what I did not know is that it was a swinging door because right then when I found the light bulb the door swings shut. At least I thought it was swinging shut, actually it was swinging towards me, and as I rushed back toward it, it was at the apex of its swing and bam I get slammed in the head like a sledge hammer as whacked me. I thought I was attacked by whatever was down in the basement; and man I am freaking out.

Forget about spiritual warfare, calling the name of Jesus, I’m in fight mode, out comes the Emerson combat knife and I looking for something to cut. I hear the lady at the top of stairs calling out; “are you okay, you have to watch out for the door it swings both ways.”

Foolishly I realize what has happened and I calm down and realize how glad I am she didn’t see the very unspiritual, totally freaked out Holy Roller going all Rambo.

I turn on the light and you guessed it, nothing down there. I’m praying to calm down, relax, take a deep breath and somebody taps me on the shoulder, I can instantly tell you it’s not the lady, its someone taller and bigger than her and I’m thinking you already freaked out once is it time to do it again?

The problem in most fights if you are not the attacker you are behind the power curve and catching up will usually get you cut, shot, or worse. But I think that moment I just felt calm and settled just long enough to not just lash out. Good thing it was the pastor from next door, he was worried because I’d been in the house a long time and remember he thinks his neighbor is crazy.

He sees the goose egg on my forehead and is asking if I’m alright and did she throw me down the stairs, is there somebody really down here. I tell him what happens and we both have a good laugh.

So we go back upstairs and I tell this lady there is nothing down there. Her response “maybe you should go there at night because that’s when they come out.” Guess what I said, “sure thing.” (Maybe I do need to have my head examined.)

Well no suspense, went back at her bedtime, sat in the basement with all the lights on and two flashlights and nothing.

So is she crazy who knows, is her house possessed, not that night. I never heard from her again. Hopefully she’s alright.

Do I still answer the phone and get sucked into crazy situations, yes I do. Moral of the story I don’t go into strange houses by myself. And I always have a flashlight.

Some time I’ll have to you about the time I was asked to do a cult abduction from a vampire cult. See I still answer the phone.

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

 

SHEEPDOGS’

October 31, 2017

Romans (16:17-20)

17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 19 For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil. 20 And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

I’m a church planter, for a large part of my ministry it has been my role to start churches from scratch. In hotels, store fronts, street preaching, house churches, fire stations.

After getting a church up and going and mentoring a young man, when there is a core of mature believers and a sound financial base I turn the church over to this young pastor. My final words have always been the same, “preach your way through Romans” make it your life’s work to grasp this book and you will never stray after any false doctrine.

Paul’s intention throughout this epistle has been to carefully expound the truth of the gospel and to explain its practical implications and obligations. Early in the epistle he alluded to those who would encourage others to live in a way that offends the righteousness of God:

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:28-32).

Our Lord Jesus warned about those who would come as “sheep in wolves’ clothing.” His words apply to those of whom Paul speaks in our text:

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-20).

In order to identify those whom the saints at Rome are to “keep an eye on” Paul indicates three “fruits of falsehood” which characterize those who pose a threat to the saints.

The first fruit of falsehood is strife. Paul says we are to “keep an eye on those who cause dissensions” (verse 17). The old adage, “divide and conquer,” seems to be one of the fundamental tenants of those aligned with falsehood. In Romans and elsewhere in Paul’s teaching, strife is condemned, and Christian unity is upheld. While retaining the distinct identity of the Jews and their future hope, Paul has sought to demonstrate the unity which Jews and Gentiles experience in Christ. In Romans 14 and 15, Paul has forbidden debate and tension which can arise out of differing convictions. But just as communism has sought to expand by fomenting strife, so Satan seeks to further his cause by adding fuel to the flames of friction and discord.

Teachers who depart from sound doctrine engage in speculation and argumentation which results in strife and friction:

If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain (1 Timothy 6:3-5).

But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels (2 Timothy 2:23).

In his Epistle to the Galatians, Paul contrasts the fruit of the Spirit with the fruit of the flesh. He shows that strife and discord are the fruit of the flesh, while unity and harmony are the fruit of the Spirit:

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another (Galatians 5:13-26).

The second fruit of falsehood is stumbling. Our Lord Jesus had severe words for any who would be the cause of the stumbling of another, especially one of His “little ones”:

“And whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea” (Mark 9:42).

In Romans, Paul has just taught that we dare not be the cause of a brother’s stumbling:

So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin. Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification (Romans 14:19–15:2).

The strong should help the weak, and they should not cause them to stumble. Those who are promoters of falsehood are a cause of stumbling. The weak are their prey, those not well versed in Scripture or alert to the dangers of false teaching.

The third fruit of falsehood is the attack against biblical teaching. The Scriptures are the standard by which all teaching must be evaluated and to which all teaching must be subordinate:

“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).

“Every cult is either the Bible plus or the Bible minus.” False teaching either seeks to subtract from the Bible or to add to it. Paul warns the Romans that the peddlers of error will always be recognized by their departure from the doctrines the Scriptures teach, which now includes Paul’s epistles.

Bring your bible to church, get copies of the pastor’s sermon, if you have doubts about a sermon call an elder brother or a pastor you’ve known from before and ask. Go to your pastor and ask him to clarify. A mature pastor will not be offended. A young pastor or hypocrite might attack you or belittle you. Don’t be intimidated. Churches that have sound preaching, expository preaching, and sound full gospel messages are in my opinion rare.

Be a sheepdog and help guard the flock, study to show yourself approved isn’t just a bible verse for pastors.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Jennifer in prayer, Tuesday morning 5:45 am, surgery for her eye, pray she has peace and no fear and the doctor’s hand guided by the Lord.

 

I want to tell you that 1 Peter verse 2 is one of the greatest verses in the Bible; that shows you just how much God loves you. And, what a wonderful salvation that you have. And, this salvation is the work of the triune (trinity)God. For example, God the Father planned it. The Bible says that you are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God…” (1 Peter 1:2)

Now, when did this take place? When did God choose you? When did God set His love upon you? In the counsel halls of eternity, before you knew anything about it, before He’d swung this world into space, before anything was. Before the foundation of the world, God loved you. Ephesians 1:4 says, “… he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).

 I want to tell you, you are a wanted child. What a great feeling it is for me to know that I was in the heart and the mind of God before the foundation of this world.

Good news, abortion rates are dropping at a whopping percentage, we are at the lowest rate ever since 1970 and Woe vs. Wade.

More good news, Millennials are considered more conservative.

More good news, more people consider a fetus to be a viable human being.

More good news, over half the women having abortions already had an abortion, why is that good news, because the rate of first time abortions is dropping by over 45%. Some women have had up to 15 abortions, the majority of women having abortions are on Medicaid and already had abortions.

Not so good news, in Florida you have to give a reason for the abortion, 93% of women said; “because”. That’s it.

More good news all the statistics that Planned Parenthood give are fake, over inflated and just lies. Just like the lies that 50% of marriages fail. The truth is 25% of failed marriages are already failed. That’s right, the same 25% of marriages are failing over and over again, they are repeat offenders of the sanctity of marriage. Planned Parenthood says 1 in 3 women will have an abortion, the truth is that for 2017 the ratio is really 1 in 9 and the rate of abortions will drop by 2-3% per year if the trend holds.

So dear friend, the sanctity of life as a concept is increasing well.

Not so good, the rate of sexually active people outside of marriage is not dropping. Good news it’s not increasing.

We have to preach and teach not only the sanctity of life but of marriage.

Build a better life, wait for marriage. Build a better marriage by abstaining from premarital sex.

Remember God has chosen you before time, you had a name and a heart beat in the mind of God before the earth was created. There is a sanctity of life.

The reason you are here is because God chose you to have life and to know him. Our chief purpose in life is to worship and glorify Him who planned your existence before time.

Choose life, choose God, choose Jesus.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

real world

October 28, 2017

1 Peter 1:1-9

1 Peter 1:1-9King James Version (KJV)

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

The way to overcome the world is never to fight worldliness. If you fight worldliness, you are bound to fail. The Bible never tells us to fight worldliness. The Bible says, “This is the victory, even our faith,” not our fight, but our faith. We fight the devil, but we do not fight the world. We flee from fornication, but we cannot flee from the world. The victory that overcomes the world is our faith. Now, people have to understand what they have in the Lord Jesus Christ, and if they don’t understand what they have in the Lord Jesus Christ, they have a hunger that they will try to fill with the world.

the Bible says, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Now, it doesn’t say that he doesn’t love the Father because he loves the world, but it says if he loves the world, it is because the love of the Father is not in him. The love of the world is only the indication that you don’t know and love God; that your faith has not brought you into a vital relationship with the Lord. The victory that overcomes the world is your faith to understand what you have in the Lord Jesus

it always come down to a choice, choose at that moment of temptation, I can fulfill the lust of the flesh (sex, porn, masturbation, a larger piece of cake, looking to long at the checkout girl etc.) or exercise faith, remember your fight is in your mind, ‘capture all thoughts’ profess your death and resurrection, pray at that moment for the way of escape, like doing the laundry, rinse repeat, don’t sin.

 See the love of the Father. You have to see what you have in the Lord Jesus Christ. And, friend, when you understand what you have in the Lord Jesus Christ, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. When you’ve been feasting on Jesus, then you don’t have to hunger after the things of this world. And that’s the key, are you feasting on the things of heaven, listening to gospel music, reading wholesome books, one good thing about you tube I can watch all the old sermons of great preachers. (none were ever on Trinity Broadcasting Network). I like a real bible in my hands, but if it’s the electronic version you have and you will use it, then do so. One reason I like a real bible is that way I stay off ipads, and computers and anything else that would help me step off in the wrong direction.

The Bible teaches that the reason that people love the world is the love of the Father is not in them. They have never found satisfaction in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Have you really had a salvation experience? Did everyone assume you are saved because you’re the pastor’s kid, or you grew up in church. Do you know really know that Jesus is your savior? Does your life say you are?

Think about which you love most.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Karen and her husband, they had a huge argument and walk into his study pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head. HE IS STILL A LIVE AND ALREADY BACK HOME.  They’re coming in for counseling. Really, you waited until this to get marriage counseling. Who knows, he said while he was in the hospital; “pastor, I’ve never given my heart to Jesus, is it to late?”

Talk about a second chance.

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