BUT GOD!

May 19, 2017

Isaiah 55:1-3

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Compassion of the Lord

55 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.

55:1, 2 In ch. 55 the Lord issues a general call to all who would call themselves by His name, to abandon the Babylons of this world and to find their satisfaction and their security in Him alone, and in that city of joy and peace that He will build. This passage is a call to revival for all who have wandered far from the Lord or from that grace which is the basis for our relationship with Him.

The human condition, we chase after things that won’t satisfy, that don’t bring any lasting satisfaction.

 

 

I remembering counseling a guy one time that was dealing with sexual addiction. The reason he came in was he just had fulfilled his ultimate sex fantasy, and as he was leaving the apartment where this act had taken place he understood that in 10 minutes he was wondering what he would do to top that, and all of a sudden he realized the lust was still there; it hadn’t been satisfied at all.

Sin is like that, lust of the flesh, the eyes, the mind; drugs, booze, sex, shopping; it never ends.

 

But God.

 

One of the greatest sermons in the bible; “But God.”

 

Only He can give us satisfaction, rest, peace, and end to self-destruction.

Come all that are weary, and He will give you rest.

 

The first move is up to us, come, seek, then He does His part.

 

It’s your move

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Pray for all those searching for a good church home

 

Only God can give real happiness and lasting joy, everything else is artificial.

 

DO THE HARD PART

May 16, 2017

There are no secrets and there is no easy path.

Do the work, get the reward, that’s the only answer.

When we read or hear the words of Scripture, do we “pay the most careful attention” (Heb 2:1)? How often have you noticed that by the end of the week, you’ve forgotten the Bible reading you did only a few days earlier?

 Too often we attempt to build a framework for scriptural knowledge without first gathering the lumber and cement needed to create a solid foundation. To lay that groundwork check out this simple four-step process that could transform your life by, quite literally, changing your mind:

  1. Choose a book of the Bible.

  2. Read it in its entirety.

  3. Repeat step #2, 20 times.

  4. Repeat this process for all books of the Bible.

  The benefits of following this process will become obvious. By fully immersing yourself in the text, you’ll come to truly know the text. You’ll deepen your understanding of each book, as well as your knowledge of the Bible as a whole.

 This method is adapted from the book How to Master the English Bible by James M. Gray, so we’ll let him explain the benefits in his own words:

  The first practical help I ever received in the mastery of the English Bible was from a layman . . . One day I ventured to ask him how he had become possessed of the experience, when he replied, “By reading the epistle to the Ephesians.” . . . He had gone into the country to spend the Sabbath with his family on one occasion, taking with him a pocket copy of Ephesians, and in the afternoon, going out into the woods and lying down under a tree, he began to read it; he read it through at a single reading, and finding his interest aroused, read it through again in the same way, and, his interest increasing, again and again. I think he added that he read it some twelve or fifteen times, “and when I arose to go into the house,” said he, “I was in possession of Ephesians, or better yet, it was in possession of me, and I had been ‘lifted up to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,’ in an experimental sense in which that had not been true in me before, and will never cease to be true in me again.”

  Here are three suggestions for putting this reading plan into practice:

  1. Choose shorter books—Because you’ll be reading an entire book of the Bible and not just a chapter or two, you’ll want to choose books you feel are manageable. You might want to start with a short book that has only a few chapters that can be read several times in one sitting. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and help develop the reading habit. For example, a short book like John or Jude can be read four or five times in one sitting, allowing you to finish the entire 20 readings in less than a week. And then you always have the option to work your way up to more extensive readings.

  2. Read at your normal pace—Treating the material reverently does not require reading at a slower than normal speed. Read for comprehension, ignoring the division of chapters and verses and considering each book as one coherent unit.

  3. Stick with the process—After the eighth or ninth reading you’ll hit a wall similar to what runners face in marathons. The text will become dry and lose its flavor. You’ll want to move on to the next book or abandon the program altogether. Stick with it. Persevere and you’ll discover the treasures that repeated readings can provide.

  Keep in mind that not every book will be equally rewarding. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you if during one of your readings you find 2 John a bit redundant or Jude just plain boring. The Bible tells us “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching” (2Ti 3:16–17). Keep reading, and you’ll fully understand the truth of those verses.

The good news, it’s get easier and more exciting and more rewarding.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

  Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

  Beware! The world, both secular and religious, is seeking to destroy your individuality by conforming you to the mass of faceless ones. But our heritage and destiny in the Lord Jesus Christ is to be conformed to His image—not at the loss of our individual personality, but by the gain of His nature and character. “I in you”; “Christ liveth in me” (John 15:4; Gal. 2:20).

Something has got to be done in us as well as for us. We want to proceed on the line of having things done for us, heaven intervening for us, our difficulties removed for us, having a straight path made for us. Heaven may be ready to come in, the Lord may be prepared to work for us, but it is not sufficient for Him—and it would not prove good enough for us—if that were all. The very principle of spiritual growth and maturity demands that He keep the objective and the subjective balanced; that is, that something is done in us as well as for us.

  “We are apt to think that if and when the circumstances and conditions of our lives are changed and we are in another position than the one we now occupy, then something will happen, the purpose of God will begin to be fulfilled. But the Lord says, ‘No, it is not circumstances, not conditions, at all; it is you.’“

  “Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for me, my right foot is twice its normal size and as red as a beet , very painful, it has been like this since Friday, went to the emergency room Saturday and the medicine they gave me spiked my blood pressure and some other problems; hopefully I’ll get in to see my doctor tomorrow.

 

overlooked?

May 14, 2017

Our new birth means that each one of us is a new creation in Christ, at which time the Comforter (The Holy Spirit) enters our spirit to abide forever (John 14:16). Spirit to spirit joined, we are “partakers of the divine nature.” At birth we are “babes in Christ,” but as we grow in Him we develop in likeness of life—thus glorifying the Son.

Thank God that we are new creatures, our legal identity has changed. Every single wrong that we’ve ever done is gone, forgiven, wiped away, and buried. When God looks at us He sees His Son, not the sinner.

The Apostle Paul called himself the chief of sinners. For some much is forgiven, some lives were more wrecked by sin than others. There should be a higher sense of the gift to those who were forgiven so much.

It seems as the devil spends more time harassing this type of believer. The memories are more painful, the nightmares worse.  Because of the damage we’ve done to others and ourselves we often believe his lies, that we are less than other believers.

We may struggle more than those who didn’t stain their souls to almost black. But the cure is the same for all. Simple trust in the love of God.

There are no second-class Christians.

Prayer requests at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com as well as comments to the email address please.

God bless

 

DON’T TURN OUT THE LIGHT

  My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19).

  A ministry of life, whether it be at the kitchen sink, or from the First Church pulpit, must flow from the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. That life must be developed in and shared through the growing believer, by the Holy Spirit. We are to rest in Him for spiritual growth, and He will work through us for spiritual service.

He, whom the Lord cannot trust with the faithful care of his own vineyard, will not be trusted with the tending of God’s Vineyard of living, immortal souls. How shall we face the Owner of the Vineyard, if we have neglected our own lives; if we have not entered into that which God has shown us; if we must say, when He asks us about the lack of fruit and the neglect which is so sadly evident: ‘Lord, I was so busy tending Thy Vineyard, that my own vineyard I have not kept’ (Song Solomon. 1:6).

Our Lord is more concerned for a testimony than for a work. We need to get clear on that. A good deal of confusion comes in when you begin to think of things in the light of a work. When you get a lot of people leaving their employment to go into ‘the work,’ all kinds of complications arise. It is not that we aren’t to serve the Lord, but in the first place it is not the work the Lord is after, it is a testimony, it is a bright light.

  “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Joe R in prayer

Caroline T and the temptation to drink

Robert P, 35 years today of not sexually acting out.

Tammy T, 14 years old and dealing with a serious drug addiction.

Pray for all the runaways, so many are into some form of crime to stay on the street and out of shelters. You’re more likely to get shot by an 11 year old than a 22 year old.

 

Deep inside every man there is a private sanctum where dwells the mysterious essence of his being. This far-in reality is that in the man which is what it is of itself, without reference to any other part of the man’s complex nature. It is the man’s “I am,” a gift from the I AM who created him.

The deep-in human entity of which we speak is called in the Scriptures the spirit of man, (1 Cor. 2:11). As God’s self-knowledge lies in the eternal Spirit, so man’s self-knowledge is by his own spirit, and his knowledge of God is by the direct impression of the Spirit of God upon the spirit of man. The importance of all this cannot be overestimated as we think and study and pray.

From man’s standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God. There God planned to rest and glow with moral and spiritual fire. Man by his sin forfeited this indescribably wonderful privilege and must now dwell there alone.

By the mysterious operation of the Spirit in the new birth, that which is called by Peter “the divine nature” enters the deep-in core of the believer’s heart and establishes residence there. Such a one is a true Christian, and only such.

An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.

One cause of the decline in the quality of religious experience among Christians these days is the neglect of the doctrine of the inward witness.

One distinguishing mark of those first Christians was a supernatural radiance that shined out from within them. The sun had come up in their hearts and its warmth and light made unnecessary any secondary sources of assurance. They had the inner witness. It is obvious that the average evangelical Christian today is without this radiance. Instead of the inner witness we now substitute logical conclusions drawn from texts.

The world’s own prophets, the unbelieving psychologists (those eyeless seekers who seek for a light which is not God’s light) have been forced to recognize at the bottom of religious experience this sense of something there. But better far is the sense of Someone there. It was this that filled with abiding wonder the first members of the Church of Christ. The solemn delight which those early disciples knew sprang straight from the conviction that there was One in the midst of them. How wonderful is this sense of Someone there. It makes religion invulnerable to critical attack. It secures the mind against collapse under the battering of the enemy. They who worship the God who is present may ignore the objections of unbelieving men. What they see and hear overwhelms their doubts and confirms their assurance beyond the power of argument to destroy. Nothing can take the place of the touch of God in the soul and the sense of Someone there. Where true faith is, the knowledge of God will be given as a fact of consciousness altogether apart from the conclusions of logic. The spiritual giants of old experienced God.

We are only now emerging from a long ice age during which an undue emphasis was laid upon objective truth at the expense of subjective experience.

Wise leaders should have known that the human heart cannot exist in a vacuum. If Christians are forbidden to enjoy the wine of the Spirit they will turn to the wine of the flesh for enjoyment. Our teachers took away our right to be happy in God and the human heart wreaked its terrible vengeance by going on a fleshly binge from which the evangelical Church will not soon recover, if indeed it ever does. Christ died for our hearts and the Holy Spirit wants to come and satisfy them.

One quality belonging to the Holy Spirit, of great interest and importance to every seeking heart, is penetrability. He can penetrate matter, such as the human body; He can penetrate mind; He can penetrate another spirit such as the human spirit. He can achieve complete penetration of and actual inter-mingling with the human spirit. He can invade the human heart and make room for Himself without expelling anything essentially human. The integrity of the human personality remains unimpaired. Only moral evil is forced to withdraw.

A man by his sin may waste himself, which is to waste that which on earth is most like God. This is man’s greatest tragedy, God’s heaviest grief.

Sin has many sides and many ramifications. It is like a disease with numberless complications, any one of which can kill the patient. It is lawlessness, it is a missing of the mark, it is rebellion, it is perversion, it is transgression; but it is also waste—a frightful, tragic waste of the most precious of all treasures. The man who dies out of Christ is said to be lost, and hardly a word in the English tongue expresses his condition with greater accuracy. He has squandered a rare fortune and at the last he stands for a fleeting moment and looks around, a moral fool, a wastrel who has lost in one overwhelming and irrecoverable loss, his soul, his life, his peace, his total, mysterious personality, his dear and everlasting all.

When God infuses eternal life into the spirit of a man, the man becomes a member of a new and higher order of being.

We who live in this nervous age would be wise to meditate on our lives and our days long and often before the face of God and on the edge of eternity. For we are made for eternity as certainly as we are made for time. To be made for eternity and forced to dwell in time is for mankind a tragedy of huge proportions. All within us cries for life and permanence, and everything around us reminds us of mortality and change. Yet that God has made us of the stuff of eternity is both a glory and a prophecy.

Just here the sweet relevancy of the Christian message appears. “Jesus Christ … hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” For every man it must be Christ or eternal tragedy. Out of eternity our Lord came into time to rescue his human brethren whose moral folly had made them not only fools of the passing world but slaves of sin and death as well.

What is the supreme benefaction, the gift and treasure above all others which even God can give? He gives Christ to be in our nature forever. This is God’s supreme and final gift. Not the pearly gates, not the golden streets, not heaven, not even the forgiveness of sins, although these are God’s gifts too. Not a dozen, or two dozen, or a thousand, but countless hundreds of thousands of gifts God lays before His happy people, and then bestows this supreme gift. He makes us the repository of the nature and person of the Lord Jesus. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:19–29.)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

biblios lover

April 29, 2017

In 1863 Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon on 2 Timothy 4:13 (“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.”) In the sermon he said,

 

  The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “Give thyself unto reading.” The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people.

 

 

 You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritan writers, and expositions of the Bible.

 

 We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books”—join in the cry.

 

  Many of us recognize that reading is a key way to gain wisdom and insight. But it’s not always easy to find the time to read books. If this is a problem for you, here are a few tips that can help you read more:

 

  ➤ Set aside 15 minutes—Make a commitment to read for a minimum of 15 minutes every day. No matter how busy our lives might be, we can find a quarter of an hour out of the 24 we are given daily to find time to read.

But what can be accomplished in that amount of time? Quite a lot, actually. The average adult reads prose text at 250 to 300 words per minute. With 15 minutes a day you could read 3,750 words. In one year (365 days) you would read for 5,475 minutes. Multiply that times 250 words per minute and you get 1,368,750 words per year. Most books have between 300 and 400 words per page.

 If we take 350 words per page and divide that into 1,368,750 words per year, we get 3,910 pages per year. This means that at 250 words a minute, 15 minutes a day, you could read about 20 average-sized books a year. In five years you could read 100 books; 200 in a decade. All with only 15 minutes per day.

 

 ➤ Make a reading list—After you finish a book, you want to have another one ready to start. Make a proposed reading list of the books you want to read. Be sure to include a variety in case you decide that the next book on the list isn’t the next one you want to read. You don’t have to use the list as a rigid schedule, but it will help prevent you from losing days or weeks while you search for new reading material.

 

 ➤ Use audiobooks—Yes, audiobooks count as “reading” (don’t let print snobs tell you differently). Audiobooks might not be the best fit for topics you are unfamiliar with or that require close concentration, but they can be a refreshing way to help you “read” more books. They can also help you add more fiction or other imaginative literature to your daily reading.

 

 

 ➤ Have vegetables and dessert—If the only time you read is when you force yourself to “eat your cultural vegetables” (i.e., read books that require serious focus, attention and thought), you might soon grow tired of reading and give it up altogether. For every “vegetable” book you read, add a “dessert” book to read on the side. Light reading (as long as it’s not corrosive to the soul) can help keep our minds fit and limber for the heavy lifting of more serious texts.

 

 

Redeem the time—Make a list of all the activities you do every day. Look for areas where you can trade some time spent on unproductive leisure activity (such as watching television or playing video games) for time to develop wisdom and insight by reading more.

 

 

One of the questions I get asked quite often is how can I write a devotion every day. The answer is simple, I read a lot. I only watch television one day a week and then only for two hours, that’s for a week. I spend 4 hours every day reading. My wife who was never a reader, now reads one book per week. I average several per week. I love multivolume sets, it took me twenty years but I finally read the complete Harvard set of Classics. Did I enjoy every book, not all, I’ve read the “100 books you have to read in your lifetime,” and frankly I really didn’t like 20 of them, but there were nuggets in each one.

 

 

I can remember when reading 5 verses of the bible each day was hard, now 5 chapters in the morning, 5 in the evening. My wife kids me because I have books stacked up everywhere including one on the tractor, and I can read while walking (city walking). You CAN learn to love reading.

 

 

One word of advice, make your kids read real books not just electronic versions, science has proven that electronic reading only doesn’t develop the brain like the printed page. And teach your kids from age 2 to be at least bilingual.

 

 

Read every kind of book, hard to read, ones that make you think, there are several books that I read once every year and there are some books that take me a year to read as there is to much so absorb.

 

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

Remember in prayer

Joe R, and his shoulder

Randy H and his knew

Leslie and her mother’s battle with cancer.

Quinton and his recovery from surgery.

NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR. TOUGH NUGGIES.

One of the most popular ideas to emerge in Christian circles is that we all need to build and maintain proper self-esteem. Dozens of best-selling Christian books are laced with this theme. It is frequently mentioned in sermons and on Christian radio shows. It is a fundamental assumption underlying most Christian counseling. For example, one well-known Christian treatment program, endorsed by top Christian leaders, states in a promotional brochure, “Part of [this program’s] success is found in the unique ability to target and resolve problems of low self-esteem. At the core of all emotional problems and addictive disorders is low self-worth. It is never the only problem; but it is so major an issue that, if not dealt with adequately, one is kept from experiencing lasting, positive results.”

An article by a Christian psychologist on the problem of pastors who commit adultery stated that one reason pastors fall into sexual sin is low self-esteem. If they would just love themselves properly, they wouldn’t have a need to find “love” from another woman. Another article asserts that low self-esteem is a major factor behind homosexual behavior. A popular Christian author even used the story of Lee Harvey Oswald to illustrate how low self-esteem led this man to shoot President Kennedy!

The question Christians need to ask is, does the Bible teach this? Does it teach that we need to build our self-esteem? Those who say yes usually support it with the verse, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). They say that you must properly love yourself in order to love your neighbor. But that is not the meaning of the verse. It assumes that we all love ourselves just fine, thank you. If we would show the same regard for others that we do in fact show for ourselves, we would be loving them as God commands. Even those who go around dumping on themselves don’t need to focus on loving themselves. Their problem is precisely that they are too self-focused. They need to consider the needs of others ahead of themselves. The mark of biblical love is self-sacrifice, not self-esteem (see Eph. 5:25).

Even in the case of a suicidal person, the problem is not that he does not love himself. Rather, he loves himself more than he loves anyone else. He is not considering what his death will do to family or friends. He is only considering himself: he is in pain and he wants out of his pain.

Consider the adulterous pastor. He was esteeming himself above everyone else. He certainly was not esteeming God or he would not have dragged His name through the mud by committing adultery. Nor was he loving and esteeming his wife, his children, or the woman he defiled. He was esteeming his “needs” above all else.

The Bible teaches that love of self is at the root of all our sins. It warns that “in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self” (2 Tim. 3:1, 2). This is followed by a list of terrible sins. You can’t find a single command in the Bible that even hints that we need to esteem and love ourselves more than we do. To the contrary, Jesus explicitly said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34). Many Bible verses tell us to humble ourselves and not to think too highly of ourselves (see James 4:6-10; 1 Pet. 5:5-6; Rom. 12:3), but none tell us to focus on how wonderful or worthy we are. In fact, God operates on the principle of grace, and grace is for the unworthy, not for the worthy.

In his devotional classic, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, William Law writes of the “monstrous and shameful nature of sin” and then asks rhetorically, “Shall we presume to take delight in our worth, we who are not worthy so much as to ask pardon for our sins without the mediation and intercession of the Son of God?” (Westminster Press, pp. 106-107).

My analysis is that most American church-goers need to grow in a sense of their unworthiness, not their supposed worthiness. They need to see what the old Puritan writers called “the exceeding sinfulness of sin.” Then perhaps we would see how much we need the Savior. Being forgiven much, we would love much.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

STAND

April 26, 2017

Image result for picture of a viking guard

ONE THING

  Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:4).

  Romans Six reveals our position as having died unto the principle of sin; Romans Seven teaches us our position as having died unto the principle of law. Both must be counted upon if we are to abide in Christ, and walk in the Spirit, as set forth in Romans Eight.

  “We have to look at ourselves and see how far we are devotedly following the Lord Jesus, with full purpose of heart—how we can say, ‘This one thing I do’; but we must take care at the same time not to get into legal bondage by this standard. If I say, ‘Here is a rule of conduct: follow it,’ this cannot reach the heart, the affections. The ministration of the letter brings only failure, and condemnation; for it prescribes a rule which man, being a sinner, can never follow. It does not change a man; it proves him ‘ungodly and without strength.’

  “We may turn even Christ into that letter of condemnation; we may take His life, for instance, and make it our law. Nay, we may turn even the love of Christ into our law; we may say, ‘He has loved me, and done all this for me, and I ought to love Him, and do so much for Him, in return for this love,’ etc. Thus if we turn His love into a rule of life, it becomes the ministration of condemnation.”

  “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).

YOU WHO ARE CALLED CHRISTIAN, NEVER FORGET THE DEBT PAID THAT MAKES US FREE.

            GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Remember Joe R in prayer for his shoulder

Paul k, and his surgery in June, he has to spend two weeks in the hospital before the actual surgery.

Pray for Leslie and her mom as the mom goes through chemo

 

Image result for picture of stevie wonder

WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?

KNOCK ON WOOD, DON’T STEP ON CRACK, WEARING LUCKY JEWELRY. .

Very superstitious, writings on the wall,

Very superstitious, ladders bout’ to fall,

Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass,

Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,

Then you suffer,

Superstition ain’t the way

Very superstitious, wash your face and hands,

Rid me of the problems, do all that you can,

Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin’ strong,

You don’t want to save me, sad is my song

When you believe in things you don’t understand,

Then you suffer,

Superstition ain’t the way, yeh, yeh (Stevie Wonder)

I am puzzled by something. As I was visiting with a friend recently, I noticed on her kitchen counter a card with a prayer to some guy named St. Anthony on it. We started chatting about this prayer. My friend had been looking for a missing wallet full of cash for about 2 weeks. As a Christian, she asked Jesus to help her find it. After a few days when nothing happened, a Christian neighbor suggested to her that she pray this special prayer to a “Saint” because he was “good at finding lost things.” So, my friend did. Immediately, she looked in front of her and found the wallet. She told me, “I have never done anything like this before, but it worked.” Or, seemed to work. Maybe coincidence?

That reminded me of a news article I read several years ago describing how burying a statue of someone named Joseph upside down near your “for sale” sign gives you an edge when trying to sell your house. So, people—even professing Christians—began buying “St. Joe” kits and trusting this method to get their houses sold quickly. It seems to work. But, work to do what?

I understand traditions like that. Sometimes we do things without even thinking about why or what impact they have on our faith. But, placing our faith in some ordinary man named Joseph who died hundreds of years ago, believing there is magic associated with his statue or Anthony’s “prayer” has got to lead to trouble somewhere.

I read the Bible and see that all the power in the universe is directly available to each of us through our relationship with Jesus Christ. And, Jesus is more powerful than ANYTHING we can substitute for Him. We are fused together with Him by the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:5) who comes to live inside us (Romans 8:11). We cannot get any closer to God. We have a direct pipeline to our Lord’s ear (Romans 8:26). Nothing and no one (alive or dead) is closer to Him than we are as His child. Why would we go elsewhere?

So, I have been puzzled by this—why some Christians choose to settle for a substitute power source to meet their needs rather than relying on the real thing—Jesus Christ. Could the reason be that some Christians are losing patience or confidence in the one true God to get what they want so they rely instead on the aid of other “powers?” I know my own weaknesses and realize it is not that hard to get caught up in superstitious behavior without realizing it when we try something someone recommends for “quicker action from God.” And, it “seems to work.”

That’s what bugs me—it seems to work. It dawned on that this “seems to work” outcome could be a deception from our enemy. My friend kept that card on her counter after she found the wallet. I bet she’ll use it again because it “seemed to work” to get what she wanted. I know if she had waited on Jesus, she would have found that wallet anyway. Does she believe that now? The one who buried the statue and sold her house quickly will likely use that approach again to get what she wants “from God.” My friend’s Christian neighbor certainly has used her “pray to the saint method”—and recommends it to others!

It dawned on me that Satan, the enemy, could be using our tendency to superstition (and impatience!) to get believers away from a life of dependence on Christ. Could that be why prayers to saints/burying statues “seem to work”? Paul said that Satan can masquerade as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Could reliance on “prayers to saints” be one way he does this? It certainly makes those Christians depend less on Jesus Christ’s power on their behalf and replace Him with a power substitute.

I am confident that the treasure we have in Jesus Christ is more powerful and valuable than anything I could substitute for Him. He hears my prayers instantly—no intermediary needed. I must choose to trust in His goodness in whatever He chooses to do. That means trust His timing, too. I choose to wait on my God’s timing than be drawn away from Him by any saintly superstition that “seems to work.”

SO BURY THE LUCK PENNY, SHOOT THE BLACK CAT (KIDDING) GO AHEAD SMASH THE MIRROR.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM