Living Guilt Free

May 14, 2018

Guilt is that awful feeling that hits us in the pit of the stomach when we know we have done wrong, and we’ll do almost anything to get rid of it. Adam and Eve, our first parents, established a human pattern that continues to this day. First comes the cover-up. Then we play the blame game as we try to justify or rationalize our actions. We think that the more we can blame someone else, the less guilty we will feel.

Sometimes we try to escape from guilt through activities, alcohol, or drugs. Or we run to psychiatrists—but secular psychiatry has tried to solve the problem of guilt by saying there is no such thing as sin. Just ignore that guilty feeling, we’re told, because it has no basis in reality. We try, but somehow we just can’t pull it off. Why not?

We can’t escape these feelings by ignoring them because God built into our natures a knowledge of right and wrong—a moral code. God’s Word speaks of the moral conscience, which exists even within those who are not aware of His laws.

One example of this is described in Romans 2:14-15: “When Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.”

GOD GAVE US A CONSCIENCE TO MAKE US AWARE OF SIN

There has never been a civilization on earth that didn’t have laws—rules about right and wrong. Even though humankind hasn’t always worshiped the living God, the moral codes of every civilization prove that there is an objective authority who has set a standard. The human conscience is evidence of God’s existence and His standards for behavior.

God is the One we offend when we sin, and only He can provide a remedy for our sin and guilt. From the third chapter of Genesis on, He required animals to be sacrificed for human beings who wanted to have their sins forgiven. And the New Testament reminds us again, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22).

But the blood of these thousands of animals could not remove sin. It only covered it, until the one perfect Sacrifice was made that completely satisfied the holiness and justice of God. When John the Baptist pointed to Jesus, he said in one sentence the purpose for His coming to earth: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

God’s Only Remedy for Sin and Guilt Is Jesus

Jesus came to earth to die. He was the Substitute for us—He took our punishment in our place so we could be forgiven and made right with God. But what we don’t always understand is that God also wants us to be free from guilt. We learn this from His Word.

GOD’S FORGIVENESS INCLUDES A CLEANSED CONSCIENCE

Through Christ, God has wiped our record clean. He wants us to know it, and to live in that freedom. We’re told, “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Heb. 9:14).

When believers in biblical times put their faith in Christ, they acted like forgiven and cleansed people. Zaccheus, described in Luke 19, is a classic example. Everyone knew Zaccheus was a sinner—he worked for Israel’s oppressor, the Roman government. In fact, Zaccheus was head of the equivalent to the Roman Internal Revenue Service. He levied the taxes Caesar required, and he was free to add whatever he wanted for himself.

When Jesus invited Himself to Zaccheus’s house, He demonstrated publicly that He even accepted sinners as terrible as Zaccheus was perceived to be. Zaccheus responded by putting his faith in Christ as his Messiah. But notice how he gave evidence of it: “Zaccheus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8).

Zaccheus repented—he changed his way of life. He promised to make generous restitution to those he had cheated. The change was dramatic. That’s why Jesus could say in response, “Today, salvation has come to this house.” Zaccheus’s new conduct was evidence of his new faith.

THROUGH CHRIST, SIN IS GONE FOREVER

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s eternal remedy for human sin. When we trust Him, He not only forgives our sins, but He also cleanses our conscience of guilt. What happens to our sins? Once God has forgiven them, they are:

Out of sight: “You have put all my sins behind your back” (Isa. 38:17).

Out of mind: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jer. 31:34).

Out of reach: “You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:19).

Out of existence: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isa. 43:25).

Our sins are gone, removed from existence as if they had never happened in the first place. We can start our new life with a clean slate. And God gives us His Holy Spirit to empower us with new strength.

Have you been trying to make it on your own? Perhaps you have done things that have filled you with guilt, and you think if you’re sorry enough and if you do enough good things, you can make up for the bad. No way!

GOD FORGIVES US BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST

Scripture tells us we are washed clean and given new life through faith in Jesus Christ: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:4-6).

What wonderful words—kindness, love, and mercy! Have you trusted our kind and loving and merciful God alone to save you? If you haven’t, talk to Him in your heart and tell Him you’re through trying to earn your salvation. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness, eternal life, and a cleansed conscience. There is no other way.

SIN DAMAGES OUR FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

So now we understand what happens to our sin when we ask God for forgiveness—it vanishes! But most of us have to ask another question: What happens when we sin after we have trusted Christ? Can a believer, a child of God, lose his or her salvation? Do we have to be saved all over again? If all our sins—past, present, and future—are forgiven because of Christ’s death, why do we have to do anything at all?

The answer is this: When a believer sins, something happens that has to be dealt with. Our relationship with God cannot be broken, because we are His children by the new birth, but our fellowship with Him is damaged. Have you noticed that when you feel guilty because you’ve done something you know is wrong, you avoid praying or reading your Bible? You don’t feel like coming to church, and you may not even enjoy being with your Christian friends as much as usual. These feelings are evidence that your fellowship with God is broken.

Because He loves us, God wants our fellowship with Him to be restored. And He has provided a way for us to continue being cleansed from guilt for sins we commit after our salvation. The apostle John tells us how it’s done: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

The trouble is, we often don’t follow God’s directions for our cure. Sometimes we wait a very long time before agreeing with God that we have sinned. All that time guilt eats its corrosive way into our conscience. David’s story, in the Old Testament, is an excellent example of this process.

The Story of David and Bathsheba

God spoke of David as a man after His own heart; He chose David to be king over Israel. From his teen years, David was devoted to God in an extraordinary way. He followed God’s ways. He listened to godly counsel. And when he was a fugitive from King Saul for at least ten years, he constantly found his refuge in God, who rescued him again and again. David was a deeply spiritual man with a well-developed emotional capacity. He was also a man with normal human passions.

He was about fifty years old when he committed the sins that affected him for the rest of his life. Today this is called “going through midlife crisis.” David saw another man’s wife and lusted for her. It didn’t matter that her husband was one of his trusted soldiers who was out on the battlefield fighting for him. David sent for Bathsheba and slept with her. Then, when she let David know she was pregnant, he ordered her husband Uriah to come home so he could sleep with her and thus make it look like the child was his. That didn’t work, so David instructed his commanding general to put Uriah on the front of the battle lines so he would be killed.

Uriah died in battle, and after Bathsheba had finished her mourning period, David married her. The cover-up was in place. But then we read these ominous words at the end of 2 Samuel 11: “But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.”

God knew all about David’s behavior, and He would not let His beloved servant get away with such a flagrant and heartless abuse of power. During the unfolding of the story, about a year went by from start to finish—a year during which David seemed to be without a conscience at all. Remember, David was a believer, a man after God’s own heart, a man to whom God had promised a lasting dynasty. His would be the royal line from which the Messiah would come. Didn’t he feel guilty for sins as wicked as adultery and murder? Yes, but he had stifled his conscience. He wouldn’t listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. But he paid the price for his actions. Here’s how he described his experience: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer” (Ps. 32:3-4).

So God sent the prophet Nathan to waken David’s conscience with a story that appealed to his emotions. Nathan told him about a poor man who had only one little pet lamb, which he loved like a child. A rich man, who had many flocks of his own, stole this little lamb and made it into shish-kebabs for a dinner guest. Here’s how David reacted to Nathan’s story:

“David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing” (2 Sam. 12:5-6).

Nathan looked into the face of his angry king who had just passed judgment on himself and said to David, “You are the man!”

How would David respond to the accusation and the punishment? He tells us his response in Psalm 32:5: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD—and you forgave the guilt of my sin!”

CONFESSION IS REQUIRED FOR GUILT TO BE REMOVED

David made no excuses; he blamed no one else. He said, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

You may be asking, What about his sin against Bathsheba and against Uriah? No, David saw his sin for what all sin is—an offense against the Lord. And he knew the punishment was just, because he knew the truth of this spiritual principle:

Forgiveness does not cancel out the natural consequences of our sins.

Nathan told David, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Loin show utter contempt, the son born to you will die” (2 Sam. 12:13).

The death of the child was just the beginning. David lived to see his son Amnon rape his half-sister, Tamar. Then David’s son Absalom killed Amnon and later tried to seize David’s throne, and he was also killed. In fact, from this time on, David’s life deteriorated until the day he died. His one act of unbridled passion permanently marked his family and his kingdom. But his fellowship with God was restored. After Nathan came to him, David wrote Psalm 51, which eloquently describes his sin, his repentance, and his forgiveness.

read Hebrews 9:14 to her: “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (emphasis mine).

“we have to act with our wills to apply what God’s Word says. Then He will eventually take care of our emotions.”

We Need a Clean Conscience to Serve God

Hebrews 9:14 provides an interesting insight about the result of our cleansing and forgiveness. God does this, the writer of Hebrews explains, “that we may serve the living God.”

Guilt keeps us from serving God. Yet God can even use the sins we have committed to make us more effective in our work for Him. Only when we refuse God’s provision for forgiveness, for cleansing, and for a new beginning are we incapacitated by our past sins. That’s why it is important for us to remember:

Satan wants us to be immobilized by guilt.

We have an enemy whose main purpose is to keep us from serving the Lord. In Scripture he is called the “accuser” of believers. If you continue to feel guilty for forgiven sins, you are hearing the voice of the enemy, not the Holy Spirit. Satan is a liar. Reject the fiery darts he shoots at your mind by holding up the shield of faith in the finished work of your Savior, and the devil will flee from you.

If guilt is the obstacle that has kept you from growing in your spiritual life, won’t you lay down your burden at the cross? Accept God’s forgiveness. Let Him cleanse your conscience. And commit yourself to living in obedience to God’s Word and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who lives within you. Your burden of guilt will be lifted—once and for all.

With God there is always a way back, we just have to accept it.

Come on, give up the guilt and shame, no matter what you have done God is willing to forgive you, just the fact that you are thinking about God and wanting forgiveness is the first step.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Holy, Holy, Holy

May 5, 2018

Within the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, no object is mentioned in more verses than the tabernacle. A significant portion of the book of Exodus—the entirety of 25:1–31:18 and 35:1–40:38—deals with the tabernacle, its furnishings, its priesthood and related issues. Next to the exodus itself and the revelation of the law, the tabernacle forms the third great theme in the book.

 Why do the books of Moses put so much emphasis on and give so much attention to the tabernacle? Because it is a symbol of the Messiah and his salvation.

  The earthly tabernacle was a copy or a shadow of the true dwelling place of God in heaven (Heb 8:5; 9:24). It showed what God was like and what was needed to deal with sin. In this way it symbolized what the Messiah was to do for our salvation. We may say that it “foreshadowed” the Messiah and his work. It was like a shadow of the Messiah cast backward in time into the Old Testament period.

  As travelers in a desert region, the Israelites lived a nomadic life and dwelled in tents. So when God came to dwell among them he had the people make a sanctuary in the form of a tent (see Ex 25:8). The tabernacle foreshadowed the fact that Christ would become incarnate and dwell among us. As the Gospel of John says, ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us’ (1:14.)

 Many of the elements within the tabernacle also prefigured Christ.

Here are two:

  1. Jesus as the entrance—The courtyard to the tabernacle could only be accessed through one entrance (see Ex 27:16), foreshadowing how Jesus was the “gate” through which we enter to find salvation (see Jn 10:9).

  2. Jesus as the light—The tabernacle contained a lampstand of pure gold (see Ex 25:31) that served as the only light in the most holy of places and foreshadowed the “light of the world” (see Jn 12:46).

There many great books on the Tabernacle, some of the really older books are great for devotional material. And today’s modern books with great graphics are phenomenal.

Plus there are some great places to visit that have recreated the tabernacle or even a full size replica of Noah’s ark.

All are worth a visit.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ROOTED

May 4, 2018

  “As ye have, therefore, received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him” (Col. 2:7).

If I had to preach on only one verse in the bible in church for the rest of my life, this might be the verse I would pick.

  We appreciate His benefits toward us, but are we appreciative—do we express to Him our appreciation?

  “Let us be very watchful that the inner life, communion with the Lord Jesus, be the true source of our activities.”

  The Lord Jesus longs for fellowship with us. He does not want patronage. It does not meet the desire of His heart to be followed, or admired, or gazed at, because of what He can do or give. He delights in a heart taught of the Spirit to appreciate His Person, for this glorifies and gratifies the Father. He retires from the gaze of an excited and tumultuous throng who would fain make Him a king, because they had eaten of the loaves and were filled; but He could turn with touching earnestness to the little band of disciples who still remained, and challenge their hearts with the question, ‘Will ye also go away?’

  Love could never be too near to its object. Nearness to the Lord Jesus is the instinct of divine life, as we see in the first question of the two disciples who followed Him, ‘Where dwellest Thou?’ Why is not this the first question now? Because there is not simple devotedness of heart to the Lord Jesus Christ.

  There is nothing in all the world so precious to the Father as a heart that, in any measure, appreciates His Son.

  “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for those that have long term illnesses, it won’t kill them, but can make their life miserable. Things like IBS or migraines, battle with vertigo, etc.

 

  “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27).

  One hears much today about “body life,” or the “social gospel” with its emphasis upon New Testament gathering, rather than Christ-centered growth. The Body is meant to manifest the Head, and that necessitates spiritual members. Many of our new day pastors’ are using bible wordage and not bible meaning.

Where there is no Cross there is no life, and no ministry of life. The object of suffering is that there may be a full and abundant ministry. . . . We are not to invite trouble, nor by austerity to ill-treat our bodies. The Holy Spirit Himself takes responsibility for our experience, leading us in paths where we encounter, in body, heart, or spirit, that measure of ‘the dying of Jesus’ that will mean enrichment of our ministry.

  “There are many today who seem to think that it is all or largely a matter of the order, technique, and form, and if we are to return to the ‘New Testament’ form or order of churches all would be well. The fact is that, while certain things characterize the N.T. churches, the Word does not give us a complete pattern according to which churches are to be formed!

There is no blueprint for churches in the N.T., and to try to form such churches is only to create another system which may be as legal, sectarian and dead as others. Churches, like the Church, are organisms which spring out of life, which life itself springs out of the Cross of Christ wrought into the very being of believers. Unless believers are crucified people, there can be no true expression of the Church.

  “God forbid that I should glory, except in the Cross” (Gal. 6:14).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

  That ye may be blameless and harmless, children of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

  There should be neither undergrowth, nor overgrowth, but balanced growth. Spiritual equilibrium alone will bring forth much fruit both in us and in others.

A popular notion that the first obligation of the Church is to spread the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. The first obligation is to be spiritually worthy to spread it. . . to spread a weak or worn out and degenerate brand of Christianity to pagan lands is not to fulfil the Great Commission.

 We were created for more than our own spiritual development; reproduction, not mere development, is the goal to mature being—reproduction in other lives. There is a tendency in some characters, running parallel to the high cultivation that spends its whole energy on the production of bloom at the expense of seed.

 The flowers (Christians) that are bent on perfecting themselves, by becoming double, (carbon copies, like a cult) end in barrenness, and a like barrenness comes to the soul whose interests are all concentrated upon its own spiritual well-being, heedless of the needs around. The true, ideal flower, (saint) is the one that uses its gifts as means to an end; their experiences are not for their own glory; but a godly, spiritual attractiveness, that draws others to the Lord, like a bee to a flower. That holy flame burning inside, lit by the Holy Spirit, draws strength from the Lord and produces a holy, sweet aroma, a life pleasing to God.

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

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ann and her battle with abusing prescriptions.

Pray for Sharon as she fight vertigo, pray for a swift healing.

Workers United

April 6, 2018

I’ve lost count how many times this has been my sermon text, I know at least over 100 times in 45 years of preaching.

So, 101 here we go.

  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:10).

  The Holy Spirit creates within us a hatred for the old nature, and a hunger for the new nature. Without a rejection of the old, there cannot be a projection of the new.

  “I want a testimony that delivers me from the things I am occupied about in myself when I am suffering from them. I get it from God’s gift that is perfect. I am ‘accepted in the Beloved’ (Eph. 1:6). You say, There is something about myself I cannot get over. Remember, the testimony of the Spirit in us is the contrary of the testimony of the Spirit to us. In me, He takes notice of every fault that is not righteousness; but the testimony to us is, ‘Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more’ (Heb. 8:12).”

  “If we make morality our standard, we will be sure to fall below what we purpose. Whatever we put before us as our criterion, there will be always a falling short. If we have the Lord Jesus Christ risen and in heaven as our Object, we shall prove the power of His resurrection, not only in lifting us up when we are conscious of our exceeding short-comings, but in strengthening us to ‘press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 3:14).”

  “The Word of God teaches me union, but the Person of Christ brings out all that I derive from union with Him. The Word is always my authority for my position, but acquaintance with the Person confirms and manifests my position.”

  “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord” (Eph 6:10)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Hank, a 6 year German Shepherd, who’s been abandoned and needs a good farm home.

Pray for Sarah S. second year of marriage, they’re both having employment problems in the Christian market (ministry) turns out it’s harder than they thought.

Pray for Jennifer, needs strengthening of body and soul and spirit.

Pray for Ronnie, 66 years old and is a day laborer, plumber and A/c and he’s still doing the grunt work.

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The Jesus Narrative (part three)

Jesus was now very active in His public ministry. He was traveling through the villages and towns proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand and His ministry was authenticated by the many miracles He performed. He had chosen His 12 disciples and they traveled with Him. They were back in Galilee and crowds were increasingly following him from all over Israel and neighboring countries

Luke 6:17-19

No one had ever seen a man do the miracles He did or heard the words He spoke. Yet busy as He was He always had time to stop and care for that one person with a special need. The crowd was not just a faceless mob to Him. They were individuals in whom He had a personal interest. They were like sheep without a shepherd and He had come to be their Shepherd.

Luke 7:11

Jesus left Capernaum where He had healed a centurion’s servant from a distance, without even seeing him. Now He and his disciples traveled on down to Nain, a town about 25 miles southwest of Capernaum.

Luke 7:12

Try to imagine the scene. Jesus and His disciples were approaching the town gate, followed by a large, excited crowd. Suddenly a hush fell on the crowd. There was a funeral procession coming out of the town. A litter with a dead body on it was being carried out to the cemetery. A weeping mother, dressed in widow’s clothes followed. She was accompanied by a large crowd of friends mourning with her. This was a noisy crowd in a different way. They were wailing, weeping and some had torn their clothes to indicate their grief.

The dead man was the only son of his mother and she was a widow. (NIV)

This poignant sentence tells a sad story. This woman had lost her husband, now her son was gone. In that day, parents depended upon their children to care for them in their old age. The death of her only son meant that she would not only be lonely but possibly destitute. Now the Mosaic Law provided for widows, orphans and the poor. They could glean in the fields after the reapers and gather their grain and fruit. There was also a special tithe taken every third year to be distributed to the poor. God warned his people that they were never to oppress or exploit the poor or the widows and orphans.

Ex. 22:22-23 (NIV) Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.

Deuteronomy 10:18 (NIV) He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow.

It was the responsibility of the community to care for the poor in that day. Jewish people today still care for their own to a greater extent than other ethnic groups usually do.

Now Jesus knew all this. He could have just passed by and assumed that this town would rally around the widow and see that she at least had food and clothes.

Luke 7:13

When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, “Do not cry.” (NIV)

Cannot you picture Him? He leaves His followers, walks up to her and with tenderness and compassion says just two words. They would have been unrealistic and unkind coming from anyone else. She had plenty to cry about. To me there is something very comforting in knowing that when I am in pain, God’s heart goes out to me. He is the One who really feels my pain, He cares for me and wants to comfort me. He is not a cold, distant, helpless deity. He is a loving, compassionate Father.

Psalm 103:13

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. (NIV)

In 2 Corinthians 1:4-5 He is called the “Father of mercies” and the “God of all comfort.”

But that is not all Jesus said and did. Now He walked over to the litter and touched it. The pallbearers stopped. Imagine what they must have thought. Touching the dead made a person ceremonially unclean. Here was a rabbi, a teacher, doing it. But that still was not all. Jesus then spoke directly to the dead man.

“Young man, I say to you, get up” (NIV)

Jesus stood and faced our worst enemy, Death. And with the ring of divine authority He exercised His power over it. This is the first time He raised a person from the dead. In each of the three recorded cases, He spoke to the corpse. And the dead heard His voice and obeyed. John 5:28.

Luke 7:15

The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. (NIV)

Cannot you sense the gentleness, the understanding, the personal interest in her that these words reveal? Can you imagine the joy Jesus felt being able to do this for her. I wonder if we realize what it meant to Him to reverse in a tangible way, the curse which is the result of human sin. I think He smiled as He saw her tears turn to unbelievable joy. Her son was alive. She would not be left alone. She would see her grandchildren, her future was secure.

What impact did this miracle have on the crowd?

Luke 7:16-17

They were filled with awe, reverence, fear of God. They praised God. (NIV)

Surely they were reminded of the dead child that Elisha raised from the dead over 800 years before in the town of Shunem which was just on the other side of the hill from Nain. But did they actually realize that God really had come and was living among them? They may have remembered the Scripture:

Isaiah 35:4-6 (NIV) Be strong, do not fear; your God will come…He will come to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.

This was what the Messiah would do when He came. And that was exactly what Jesus was doing! This miracle also illustrated some important truths. We have seen that God is deeply concerned with our grief and pain. Jesus actively did what He had the power to do to alleviate this woman’s suffering. In this he modeled for us what we are supposed to do to relieve human suffering today.

All around us are people who are hurting, without the essentials to sustain life, lonely, or disabled. Some have suffered broken marriages, or estranged children. Some are homeless, jobless, hopeless, and lost. There is something each of us can do. It may be very small in comparison to their degree of need, but that is not the issue. We can bring a meal, make a visit, bring clothes, blankets, listen to their troubles, pray with them and for them. We can counsel and support women in crisis pregnancies. We can give money so that ministries like Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, the largest men’s shelter in the world or The Mission Shelter program or Veterans Cause who minister to the down and out so they can continue their work. We can share the Gospel. Remember we are Christ’s Body on earth. He works through us to show God’s love and concern.

We all can and must do something. We cannot close our eyes and pretend there is no one out there that needs our help.

We find the next effect of this miracle in the following verses. John the Baptist had been in prison for quite a long while and he may have expected that Jesus coming would have different results. In his uncertainty he sent directly to Jesus.

Luke 7:18-23

The purpose of miracles in the Bible is always to accredit the messenger and the message. Jesus was saying to John:

Remember the prophecies in Is. 35 and 61, see what I am doing, and put it all together.

Thus he reassured John that He was the Messiah.

But I believe this miracle also illustrated visibly what the Lord Jesus came to accomplish by His death on the cross and His resurrection.

2 Timothy 1:9-10

This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed (abolished) death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (NIV)

How did death become a part of human existence. It was not part of God’s original design. Adam and Eve were created to live forever. In that beautiful garden God gave them every provision and perfect freedom to enjoy each other, to enjoy life and to enjoy their Creator. There was one prohibition.

Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the day you eat of it you will surely die. (NIV)

We all know the story. Satan tempted them and they ate the fruit and experienced spiritual death immediately, which is separation from God. We know this because for the first time they were afraid and hid from Him when He came to walk with them in the Garden. Then their bodies began to die and death has been the expectation and experience of every human being since. The penalty for sin is death, both physical and spiritual. Since were each born with a sinful nature, we all sin and we all will die unless the Lord returns first and takes us home.

God commanded an approach to him that constantly reminded his people of that truth. Israel could never worship God without a blood sacrifice. When they sacrificed a lamb, goat or bull, they were offering a substitute to die for their sins in their place. When Jesus began His public ministry it was John who identified him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

He was the only substitute God would accept. When Jesus hung on that cross He took the full penalty for our sin in His own person. When he cried out, My God, why have you forsaken me? It meant he experienced spiritual death, which is separation from God. And of course, He died physically. But then he rose from the dead. If there was even one sin that could not be forgiven by the sacrifice of Christ, He would still be in the grave. His resurrection proved that every sin ever committed since the world began has been paid for in full.

Thank God for the Gift of His Son, our Savior and Risen Lord.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

WHO IS JESUS (PART 3)

March 27, 2018

THE SON IS THE RADIANCE OF GOD’S GLORY (Hebrews 1:3)

Radiance means outshining of the brightness of God’s glory. You cannot separate the brilliance of the sun from the sun itself. And you cannot separate the glory of the Son from His deity. He is God. The disciples saw His glory when he was transfigured before them on the mountain.

Representation is the word, “charakter,” only here in NT. It means a mark stamped on something, like an image on a coin. When we see Jesus we see what God’s nature really is like.

Col. 1:15 (NIV) says “He is the image of the invisible God.”

SUSTAINING ALL THINGS BY HIS POWERFUL WORD.

Col. 1:17 (NIV) says, “in Him all things hold together.”

Scientists have never been able to discover the force that keeps the protons and electrons in the atom spinning in perfect order. What keeps the planets and stars in orbit? The Bible says that God the Son is not only the Creator, but the Sustainer of this immense universe.

THINK: If He cares about the atom and the stars, how much more do you think He must care about sustaining our lives, of holding our lives together. We are the ones for whom He came to die. The next statement brings us to that.

AFTER HE HAD PROVIDED PURIFICATION FOR SINS:

Seven words, but what a story they tell.

How did the Son make it possible for us to be forgiven and cleansed from our sins?

He, God in human form, suffered and died on the cross to satisfy God’s justice. He himself took the penalty for the sins of his fallen creation, so that those who believe on Him might have eternal life and fellowship with God. Then He rose from the dead to prove that He was truly the Son of God and to prove that all the sins of everyone who has ever lived were paid for. 40 days after his resurrection he went back to heaven and

HE SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE MAJESTY IN HEAVEN.

This is a very important statement. He sat down because the work of redemption was finished. Do you remember He said precisely that when He hung on the cross?

“It is finished” meant penalty for sin was paid in full.

There were no chairs in the OT tabernacle. The priests never finished their work because there were always sacrifices to be made for sins. Animal blood could not pay for people’s sins. Every animal slain on every altar in the OT just pointed to the future One who would be the one sacrifice for all sins forever, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Heb. 10:11-12 gives us the contrast.

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. (NIV)

It is absolutely essential for your spiritual life that you understand that when you study the Bible it is not for the purpose of just learning all kinds of facts about the Bible. You can go to seminary or any other kind of study and learn the facts and stories from the Bible. But if that is all you do you miss the point entirely.

Donald Barnhouse:

“Suppose a friend had a hotel room in Acapulco overlooking the ocean on his vacation. He comes back and tells you about the wonderful window in his room. It had one large pane of glass, and 4 smaller panes on either side. It was 6 feet long and 4 feet high. Its framework was made of steel that resists corrosion. In fact, he even had the glass analyzed chemically. Would you not think he had missed the point? The window was there for him to see the ocean, not to study the window.”

The Bible is a window. We look through it to see Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And when we see Him we see God in His essential nature. We see our heavenly Father.

Have you realized before today that the One who died in your place on the cross is really God the Son, your Creator and Sustainer? Have you put your faith in Him alone to forgive your sins, give you eternal life and make you a child of God.

Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6, NIV)

You may, with an act of your will, put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today, right where you are sitting. Just tell God:

I know I am a sinner. I believe that your Son died for me and rose again. I put my faith in Him alone to forgive my sins, bring me to God and give me eternal life.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

THE ACT

February 24, 2018

As God made plans to appear before the people in the form of a cloud, he said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people” (Ex 19:10–11).

 Consecration means making holy, making acceptable to be close to God. The consecration demanded of the Israelites for this encounter involved becoming spiritually ready to get close to God (thus the two days of preparation indicated in the words “be ready by the third day”).

 Like the Israelites, we, too, must consecrate ourselves when we gather to worship the Lord. Here are four ways you can prepare your heart for worship:

  1. Prepare before you go—On Sunday mornings, many of us find ourselves rushing to get dressed and out the door so we can get to church on time. The result is that we enter the worship service without having adequately prepared for an encounter with a holy God.

  1. Prepare to listen—During the worship service we hear God’s Word read, his message proclaimed and ymns sung to his glory. Prepare your mind by ensuring you are focused, mentally alert and ready to engage in active listening.

  1. Prepare to respond—In worship we enter into real and direct encounter with God. Prepare yourself to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit by expecting that the presence of God will move you in some way.

  1. Prepare to edify others—We join together in worship in part to bless others.

  take two minutes to pray for a friend, or greet a new person, or encourage a child. You have a part to play. This Sunday, prepare for gathering with your church family by asking God how he might use you to edify his church.

And the best way to be ready for church is by your worshipping and praising God during the week.

Originally I thought this idea was a little flaky, but it has produced some interesting results; any time something good happened in the presence of others I have said out loud, “well thank you Jesus.” What happens next is a real eye opener. The self-professed false believer shuts up, the true believer says ‘amen’ and the unconfessed either get verbal or walk away disclaiming my sanity or my Lord. Think about it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

think it, do it

February 20, 2018

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR YOU

1 TIM 1:5, A PURE HEART, A GOOD CONSCIOUS, A SINCERE FAITH ( THE GOLDEN RULE FOR CHRISTIANS)

TITUS 2:12

SELF CONTROL

RIGHT CONDUCT

DEVOTION TO GOD

THIS IS CYCLICAL, IF I PRACTICE TITUS AS A DISCIPLINE, THEN 1 TIM WILL DEVELOP AND IF 1 TIM HAPPENS THEN TITUS BECOMES HABITUAL.

BREAK THE CYCLE TOP OR BOTTOM OUT AND OUR LIFE FALLS APART

SO 1 TIM IS OUR INTERNAL REGULATOR AND TITUS IS OUR OUTWARD MANIFESTATION

SO I PRAY FOR A PURE HEART, A GOOD CONSCIOUS, AND A SINCERE FAITH

BUT I WORK ON AND BELIEVE FOR IN FAITH PRACTICING SELF CONTROL, RIGHT CONDUCT, AND A VISIBLE OUTWARD DEVOTION TO GOD.

I’VE NEVER SAID THE VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN LIFE WAS EASY.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Charles S, him and the wife are going through empty nest syndrome.

pray for Harold P, his wife just passed away, 51 years of marriage, the are Rv’er’s and she passed in her sleep in their favorite state park.

Pray for Jennifer, her dad passed away, they had a rocky relationship.