Green and Mean

October 17, 2017

In the Marines they used to say, “there is no black, there is no white there is just green. And then there is the Law, you will follow every order…”

Semper Fi, just the Corp, all green, all Marine.

Wow, pretty simple, no Black Panthers, the Weathermen, Brown Berets, KKK, Aryan Army, no Black Lives matters. (half of you probably never heard of some of these terms, which is good thing).

Just folks, you and me, me and Jesus, you and Jesus. Christianity is and was the great equalizer. It was and is radical. No historical figure ever said, “come unto to me all that are heavy burdened.”

All, the gospel of Luke, follows the story through the genealogical trail of women. The book of Ruth, no direct mention of God, just His shadow.

In the book of Genesis, the first chapter “the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.” It is a feminine noun, in Egyptian it is the hieroglyphic of a mother bird, hovering over its nest.

No Race, no color, the bible says Jesus had no appearance or figure, shape, outward shape that was distinguished or notable. He was average.

Simple, we inhabit one planet, we are the human race, one family of being. Follow the law.

You want to not get shot by a cop, follow the law, when he says drop the gun, drop the gun, when he says get out of the car get out of the car. Respect and politeness goes a long way.

It’s not about race, it’s about obedience. We can have anarchy or we can have peace.

Follow God’s law and the same thing happens, peace.

Follow God’s plan, know peace.

Do you know that in the early history of America, you couldn’t become a lawyer until you had a Divinity Degree, because our laws are based on the bible. My how times have changed.

Well I told you no more questions, follow the plan.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

A SECRET AFFAIR

October 14, 2017

Here are three ways men are called to serve their wives:

  1. Sacrifice unto death—The most important way a husband can love his wife like Christ loved the church is to sacrifice himself for her sake. Consider the (negative) example of Abraham. When he moved into the region of the Negev, he feared that some man might kill him to take his wife, so he claimed Sarah was his sister (see Ge 20:2). This was the second time Abraham tried to pull this ruse (see Ge 12:10–13), putting his own safety ahead of his wife’s. Abraham had it backward; as Sarah’s husband, he should have been willing to die for his bride—just as Jesus died for his.

  1. Be Christ to her—Because of a misunderstanding of Biblical authority, many wives cringe at the idea of having to “submit” to their husbands. But as the husband is Christ to the wife (who represents the church), submission becomes a two-way street. “Jesus himself teaches that, at least for Christians, authority must manifest itself not in the exercise of power but in service that finds its ultimate expression in sacrifice.”

  1. Lead her into holiness—God’s intention for our lives is that we be made holy. One way he does that is by having a husband model and channel the love of Christ. A husband should therefore forgive, pray for and encourage his wife to engage in disciplines that lead to her sanctification (see Eph 5:25–27).

There are many things I fail at, but the one thing I’m really good at is being married and a good husband. We have a marriage and a friendship that is stellar. I can’t tell you how many times in restaurants people have come up and asked if we just got married. My wife is always pleased that we are romantic in public. Women have followed my wife into the restroom and asked if we were having an affair (which I find deeply disturbing on so many levels).

Our marriage seminars have great alumni, that keep coming back to make sure they are still kindling a fire.

I think we are particularly fortunate in that we were high school sweethearts, we dated almost 2 and half years. We spent every weekend with each other’s parents (or in our case grandparents, we were both raised by our grandparents, which gave us a little older value system). Completely different in temperaments but the same religious values and both wanted great marriages as we both saw our birth parents fail miserably.

As a marriage counselor and pastor let me tell you two danger signals I see in a marriage, and I’m not joking, separate bank accounts and separate vacations. I would have to check my records to be sure, but after 40 years in ministry and 43 years married, I see that being a path way to disaster.

One other thing, shortly after being married (3 months) we moved 1500 hundred miles away (military) we had nothing but each other and everything we owned fit into a 1962 Chevy impala, and I mean everything we owned.

Good marriages are from attention to detail. Appreciation and expression. I make sure I hug or kiss her at least 10 times a day. (probably a lot higher). We are strange in that we don’t watch TV so we talk a lot, we share books, so I guess we are really a cult with just two people in it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Roberta, hip surgery,

Remember Jennifer, oct 31 cataract surgery.

Pray of Bill O, he fell on a cruise and hurt himself pretty bad, one broke rib, and 3-4 ribs cracked.

 

ABIDING

October 7, 2017

  “The God of peace . . . working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ” (Heb. 13:20, 21).

  Abiding involves a dual choice. We can abide in the old nature and thereby become the victims of the internal civil war as depicted in Romans Seven. Or, we can abide (rest) in the risen Lord Jesus, the Source of our new nature, and thereby become the glad recipients of His life and liberty, as depicted in Romans Eight. “The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).

  “How do we abide? ‘Of God are ye in Christ Jesus’ (1 Cor. 1:30). It is all the work of God to place you there, and He has done it. Now stay there! Do not be moved back onto the ground of the old nature. Never look at yourself as though you were not in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Look at Him and see yourself a new creation in Him. Look at Him as the very source of your Christian life. Abide in Him. Rest in the fact that God has placed you in eternal union with His Son, and let the Holy Spirit take care of His work in you. It is for Him to make good the glorious promise that sin shall not have dominion over you’ (Rom. 6:14).”

  “We should be spared years of struggle and failure if we learned at once—as the converts did in the days of Paul—that we ourselves were taken through the death of the Lord Jesus. The past blotted out, the pardoned sinner accounted crucified with the crucified Lord, henceforth joined as a new creation to the risen Lord and now sharing His life (Rom. 5:10).”

  “The Lord Jesus is all that we need for all that we are.”

  “Your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

This last bible verse, has yielded to me 32 sermons, study this verse Col 3.3 every day, every moment, let it not drift far from your thoughts and you will see great victory come into your life. Rest. Peace. Victory. Yours.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Kevin D, 15 years old, broke up with his first girlfriend, you’ve all been there.

Pray for Jennifer N, new born baby (literally today) a host of complications.

 

THE GOSPEL OF MARKED

September 28, 2017

THE GOSPEL OF MARKED

That’s not a misprint, I’m just curious, what does your bible look like?

Is it covered in dust? Has it been broken in, taken for spin, is your name in it?

Have you marked any passages?

My great grandmother a very godly woman, her bible had some newspaper clippings, obits, and wedding announcements, the presentation page had her name on it only because her mother filled it out. But there was not a mark in that bible other than being extremely worn from her daily bible reading.

Some people have their bible color coded, symbols, underlines, 50 bookmarks.

Being a preacher I have so many different bibles, some look untouched, some are collectible, rare, previously owned and filled with notes. Bibles and hymnals, bookshelves full. My preaching bible since 1987 is gray and held together with duct tape, I’ve thought of having it rebound by Leonard’s Book Binding, but the bible has a certain feel.

One time I was visiting a church while on vacation and the pastor didn’t show up, no one knew where he was. A deacon yelled out “where’s that guy with the duct taped bible, you need to get up here and preach.”

I joke that if I lost my bible I’d lose my salvation; all my notes are there and a sermon or two. It represents years of ministry and counseling, failures and victories.

My regular study bible looks like it’s pregnant, I’ve glued so many extra pages throughout it to hold all my Greek or Hebrew notes, word studies, illustrations, it’s 4 times thicker that its original shape.

My pocket bible or hospital bible has paper clips and post it notes that I’ve cut up in into quarter inch strips with just an 1/8th of an inch sticking up or out to find special verses for funerals, counseling, weddings, baptisms, just to name a few.

We had people ask if it’s ok to mark up a bible because it says ‘Holy Bible’ on it. something that’s not as common on the spine of the bible like it used to be.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

1 Peter 2:9–12

What are distinguishing marks of the people of God which separate them from the world?

Do you realize that like your bible you are supposed to be marked?

Christians should be drastically different from the world. Christ taught the same thing in Matthew 5:13, he said you are the salt of the earth. You preserve the world from decay. You have tremendous value. He said you are the light of the world (v. 14). Among the people of the earth, there are a people who are radically different.

I think Christians are to be marked by their speech, we should sound different than anyone else.

The believer’s job as a priest is to learn the Bible, to never let it depart from their mouths, to talk about it at dinner, to talk about it at work. One of the reasons you have been chosen to be a priests is to be a teacher of the Word of God. Most of the world will never read the Bible, but they should see and hear the Bible coming out of your mouth all the time. God told Joshua, “Never let it depart from your mouth” (1:8). God told Israel the same thing.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6–9

In spite of the electronic age we live in, I still think the number one thing you can do to show people your different, marked, is to still carry a bible with you, to work, to school, especially to lunch. Will you get teased, mocked, made fun of, talked about behind your back, YES. That’s the whole point to show the world that our walk with God is not private, not just for home and church and in private.

You are a people on the earth whom God enjoys. You are his possession… If you truly understood this, if the eyes of your heart could really grasp this, it would deliver you from all your insecurities and fears. The world says you’re too short, too tall, not smart enough, not a great enough leader, not a great enough speaker, you don’t have enough money. No, you are perfect. You are perfect because you were created by God (cf. Psalm 139:13-14) and he can use even your weaknesses for his glory (cf. 2 Cor 12:9-10).

So, make your mark on your life, your world, your business, go ahead let someone call you a Jesus freak, what a compliment.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

yankee go home

September 19, 2017

Well continuing with the evangelist stories; when I was preaching in the Appalachians, I was accepted because I just moved from Ohio, so I was a mid-westerner. There was one church that kept calling me back to preach in Virginia, because they had a Yankee preacher.

He was near retirement and realized that the church wanted him out, but every time I came to preach it was like his sentence was commuted.

So this is a mountain church, deep Appalachian, Pentecostal church. You better bring matches and start a fire, because if you weren’t red hot the congregation would kill you with silence.

Problem was I spent most of the week doing revival meetings in Baltimore and Washington DC, in Black Pentecostal churches. Let me tell you, you try preaching a twenty minute to half hour sermon and they’ll hang you. And if you weren’t warmed up, believe me they would do some coaching. You better have your gospel wang dang doodle down and a pitcher of water.

So here’s this legalistic, hate their pastor, wife beating (seriously, they had a saying Virginia was heaven for hunting, coon dogs and men, but hell on women) church of some of the meanest, fighting folks you’ve ever met.

They wanted sermons full of fury, Moses coming down from the mountain, you better names sins and the person doing them or hey howdy you got the cold shoulder.

Funny thing was, and I don’t know to this day if it was psychological or really of God, but when you stood behind the pulpit while you were preaching and heaven came down. But step out and get on the floor and it felt like a heavy hand was grasping you by the throat. There was so much hate in that church I started having my wife and kids sitting on the platform with me.

One time I was preaching on love and forgiveness and how their pastor was chosen by God to serve them. After the service, five angry men pushed me against my car put a fist to my face and asked why I was siding with that no good Yankee pastor. Right then I knew I was truly saved and full of grace because I didn’t kill a single one of them. I marveled in that moment how far God had brought me in salvation and sanctification. From the monster, I was before God saved me to a calm, sane, completely forgiving person.

At that moment so much conviction fell on those men, they dragged me back into church, and for a moment I thought it was so no one would see them beat me. Instead they all fell to the floor up by the mourning bench (altar) and began to ask God to forgive them. (not for hating the pastor, but for turning on me, who they thought was as mountain born as they were. (Pennsylvania Ridge Runner, actually).

I asked the District supervisor to close that church down. Well I decided right there and then we weren’t going to live there or supplant the pastor so we moved. A month later the church was sold, torn down and a restaurant built in its place.

Give me a church full of grace any day.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

mason jars and God

September 17, 2017

I grew up in a bar, my dad went there every night after work. My mother would often tell me to go down and get him. So here is this 9 year old walking down the road at 11pm to drive his dad home. I’d walk in the door and my dad would turn to Bud the bartender and tell him to pour me a short one. I’d pull up to the bar and drink my little beer and listen to everyone talk.

What amazed me is you could say anything at all and they would just nod their heads or say; “I feel you man.”

I bring this up because when these men become Christians and leave the bar scene they will often come to me frustrated and overwhelmed because in church men can’t say what they’re really feeling or thinking because it’s usually carnal, earthy and lets say a bit crusty.

So how do you reach out to these, not raised in church, late bloomers about humility and obedience, or being godly men, when they feel they don’t have a voice to be heard in the church world?

As a pastor get ready to catch some flack when you are real and transparent about your own shortcomings and feelings. Believe the women of the church will crucify you for being a manly pastor. As an evangelist, I realized I could say just about anything because they knew I knew nothing about them personally. And being salty, crusty and genuine myself, I felt honored when after a sermon, men would come up and say “you’re the first preacher I’ve met I didn’t think was gay.”

Now you have to realize that most of my evangelistic days were spent in coal mining towns or lumber mills.

I soon realized that you could be more effective and believable if you were honest about your own short comings and used a little humor. Moonshine was big in the area and every church had a dinner on the ground when an evangelist came to town. After the service, the men would form a circle around me and offer a mason jay with a little ‘shine’ in it. there was always that moment of tension, now rather you agree with me or not I don’t really care, the apostle Paul said to be all things to all men. So I would take a little sip and usually say ‘damn that was really fine.’

The women folk were always amazed that I was asked back more often than any other evangelist. And I made sure the second time back the sermon would be a barn burner. These same women would also comment how ‘so and so’ had never responded to an altar call before, but this time…

Men in church are looking for pastors that can relate and be real. If I’m in a hunting church, I go hunting, fish and trap, coon dog hunting, even went to a pit fight once. But I never compromised the message. Oh, the stuff shirt would complain because the men were in the parking lot smoking.

I will never forget a guy who always dropped his wife and kids off for church and then went to a Bob Evans restaurant and drink coffee, he started coming to church. One day he came up to me and said; ‘you’re the first pastor that would let me come to church with cigarettes in my shirt pocket and not say anything.’

A month later he came down to the altar and later that month he got baptized.

Well I don’t know how I got to this point in the devotion. But pastors be manly, love your wife in public, be a strong parent to your children, don’t embarrass them in church. And stop shaking hands like a pansy and talking that gospel whisper like your Joel Osteen or sex phone operator.  And keep a good tactical knife in your back pocket and at least clean your nails with it. some guy will ask to look at it and then show you his. It’s a start.

Change comes slowly, but lets at least get the men in the church.

Send your rants, complaints, prayer requests to scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

RAMBLING MAN

September 16, 2017

Consider the difference between love and lust. “How can it be wrong if it feels so right?” is the excuse many give. But love is not merely a feeling. The supreme test for determining if something is right is not how it feels, but what God says about it. If sin never felt good, no one would ever be tempted to sin. Love is a choice—for you to do what is best for another person, and for you to make a personal sacrifice. “Husbands, love

your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Count the cost. The excuse “As long as no one knows, no one will be hurt” is a myth. Adultery hurts everyone involved. Guilt and God’s judgment is brought not only upon one person, but both parties involved. Adultery destroys truthfulness, credibility, and one’s testimony. “A man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32).

I’ve lost count of the number of pastors that have fallen to lust and believed they had a right, or even it was biblical, or God told them it was all right. One pastor actually convinced his congregation it was biblical for a pastor to have a concubine, which he did. Thank goodness, his denomination found out and kicked him out.

I was asked many years ago to counsel a famous TV evangelist and the denomination told me that if he didn’t make himself accountable to me and follow through with one year of counseling as well as absent himself from the pulpit for that same period, they would defrock him.

In no uncertain terms, he told me his ministry was to important, and God had already forgave him and he didn’t believe the denomination would shut him down. Well it did and today what’s left of his ministry is a shadow of what it was. And he’s still as arrogant and unteachable as always. The funny thing is you will never meet a more legalistic, unforgiving man than him.

A church with a sweet spirit usually has a sweet pastor and vice versa, but there must be accountability. Besides all the bad theology Pentecostals have caused they have created a even bigger monster with the independent pastor, accountable to no one, not in finances or in theology. And thus gave birth to the toxic church.

Friends if your church is causing you harm, or is legalistic or the pastor is accountable to no one, I seriously suggest you examine its viability, and your own spiritual wellbeing. I get phone calls all the time wondering if I can recommend a church and to be honest, finding a church that is theologically sound, full of grace and not legalism, a pastor that is not a tyrant or just padding his bank account and truly evangelical. Well let’s say it’s harder than you think.

A few years back some well-known pastors got together and asked some pastors if they would take a survey and submit one month of sermons to be examined by a well-respected group of elders and pastors. In a city of 2 million, only one church went along with the plan. That church is a thriving, well regulated, healthy church and has gone through 4 building programs and didn’t build until they had the cash and would not go into debt.

Once when on a sabbatical, I visited a dozen or so churches and I always asked the pastor if I could see his bible. If the bible was blank (no notes) usually so was the pastor.

So good luck in your church hunting.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

potato chips

September 15, 2017

MOST REQUESTED DEVOTIONAL FOR REPOSTING, WHICH WE ONLY DO ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR.

SO BECAUSE YOU ASK, WE RESPOND, BLESSINGS AND PEACE

SO WHO’S WITH ME, YOU WANT TO GROW UP AND BE A POTATO CHIP.

BETTER LET ME EXPLAIN, LAYS POTATO CHIPS THEY HAVE ONE THAT’S LABELED, ‘LIGHTLY SALTED; IN A WEIRD WAY IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT THAT EXPLAINS THE FOUR GOSPELS AND THE BOOK OF ACTS (NOT COMPLETELY BUT ALMOST).

GOD IS LIGHT, HIS SON IS LIGHT, AND WE ARE CALLED TO BE LIGHT. IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN IT SAYS THAT DARKNESS (EVIL, THE DEVIL) CANNOT OVERCOME THE LIGHT OR EVEN UNDERSTAND IT. THAT’S HOW POWERFUL LIGHT IS.

SO WE ARE CALLED TO LIGHT.

WE ARE ALSO CALLED TO BE SALT

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW 5:13 SAYS WE ARE TO BE THE SALT OF THE EARTH. WE ARE TO BRING FLAVOR AND BE A PRESERVATIVE TO THE WORLD. BUT IF THE SALT LOSES ITS FLAVOR IT IS NO GOOD; AND THERE IS THE PROBLEM.

FOUR THINGS WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO AS CHRISTIANS.ONE, BE LIGHT, TWO BE SALT, THREE BE CHRIST LIKE, AND FOUR BE MATURE.

WE CAN’T LEAVE ONE PART OUT, WE ARE TO SHINE IN DARKNESS AND LET THE WORLD KNOW A RESURRECTED CHRIST; WE ARE TO HAVE AN INFLUENCE IN THE WORLD THAT ACTUALLY STOPS OR RETARDS THE PEOPLE AND THEIR SINS (CONVICTION AND THAT GOD LOVES THEM). BE CHRIST LIKE IN ALL WE DO SO THE LIGHT SHINES FROM US. AND GROW UP SO WE CAN GROW OUT.

SO HERE’S MY PROPOSITION, SPEAKING JUST ABOUT AMERICA, WE HAVE PRETTY MUCH FAILED IN EVANGELISM, WITNESSING AND SPREADING THE HOPE OF GOD. SO EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG IN OUR COUNTRY IS PRETTY MUCH THE CHURCHES FAULT AND OF COURSE THE SINFULNESS OF MAN.

ONE WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER, THE OTHER WE DO. DON’T BLAME THE GOVERNMENT, OR POLITICIANS, THE QUESTION WE HAVE TO ASK IS ‘HAVE OUR LIGHTS GONE OUT AND IS THE SALT GONE FROM OUR LIVES.

HOW MANY FAMOUS TV AND BOOK PASTORS ARE SAYING THE BIBLE ISN’T HISTORICALLY RELEVANT, IT HAS NO PLACE IN THE PLACE OF MODERN MAN. HOW ABOUT ALL THE CHURCHES THAT HAVE ONE GOAL ON SUNDAY, TO MAKE YOU FEEL HAPPY AND GOOD ABOUT YOUR SELF (BIG NEWS FLASH, GOD DOESN’T ACTUALLY CARE IF YOUR HAPPY).

THERE IS A WELL KNOWN PASTOR NEAR HERE THAT TOLD ME HE HASN’T PREACHED A MESSAGE ABOUT SIN IN OVER 15 YEARS AND WOULDN’T BECAUSE HE THINKS THAT MESSAGE WOULD DRIVE THE CROWDS AWAY.

ASK YOUR SELF ‘WHY DO I GO TO CHURCH?’ HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU’VE WITNESSED TO SOMEONE, OR TRIED TO HOLD A BROTHER OR SISTER ACCOUNTABLE FOR SOMETHING THEY ARE HAVING A PROBLEM WITH.

BE BIG

BE BOLD

BE BRAVE

SO TODAY WILL YOU RENEW YOUR VOW TO BE A POTATO CHIP, VOTE YES.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com for questions, comments or prayer requests.

 

MUCH, MUCH, MORE

September 14, 2017

MUCH, MUCH, MORE

  I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord” (Phil. 3:8).

Our Father subjected our old nature to the Cross and its resultant death. Experientially, He applies the work of the Cross to our old life, thereby progressively holding it in the grip of that death. He is “unforming” the old nature in death, and conforming the new nature in life.

Living a life more abundant requires that what He did for us shall be made good in us. In the Cross He dealt with our sins, and He also dealt with ourselves; but that is something which has to be made good progressively. It is as we ourselves are dealt with in the power of the Cross that the way is made for His life to express itself in ever deepening fulness.

The fact is that it is the old life which is in the way of the new life and its full expression. It is the natural life which obstructs the course of the divine life. Thus what has been done for us has to be done in us, and as it is done in us that life becomes more than a deposit, more than a simple, though glorious possession; it becomes a deepening, growing power, a fulness of expression.

  “You may have been in the fires and have been having a pretty hard and painful time in your spiritual life, but that only means that God has been preparing you for something more. No, God is not a God who believes in bringing everything to an end. He is always after something more. And if He has to clear the way for something more by devastating methods (Cross), well, that is all right, for it is something more that He is after. There is so much more, far, far transcending all our asking or thinking.”

  “I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Tim A. in prayers, a person new to the faith and is dealing with the “old” crowd that don’t believe he’s changed.

Elena I. had gastric bypass surgery and is having some severe problems.

STUMBLE AND FALL

September 9, 2017

Looking forward, thinking backward?

“Has the Lord not taken the lead?”

Judges 4:14

I look back with a great deal of regret over wasted years and opportunities in my life. But Paul says that the only way to move forward is to put the past behind and focus on what is ahead: “Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13b-14). Forgetting the past means that I accept God’s forgiveness and grace; however, it does not that I overlook the lessons learned from those years. I hope to make the most of every opportunity God gives me now because of my regret over those missed in the past.

As you think through those in your own life, don’t wallow in them with guilt or regret but use them as bridges to the future where you take advantage of the circumstances into which God puts you.

This last week I was struck by how many times my mind wandered to the past. Have you ever done that? Why did this happen or that happen to me? Why didn’t I do better with that opportunity? Why didn’t I react differently to that person? I realized how easy it is to get stuck in that negative thinking. The worst part is it keeps you distracted and looking backwards.

When we are hurt or upset is our natural reaction to forgive and move forward?  Or is it our tendency to go back over the hurt? Do we accept the apology or do we dwell on the hurt and replay the event over and over? Do we keep going back to it? Or do we move forward?

When we keep looking backwards, we lose our ability to focus on what is right in front of us. It steals our ability to heal.  When we stay in the past and continue feasting on past hurt we perpetuate a cycle of unforgiveness and bitterness –and we are going to fall down.

By going over the injustice or the hurt we relive it over and over and that keeps us locked in a cycle of pain. How can we see what is ahead of us if we don’t ever face the right direction?

The Bible says in Psalm 103:12 (NIV) as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

What an example of forgiveness Christ is. There are instances that even though forgiveness is given there are consequences and even  serious punishment. In those extreme cases granting forgiveness can be very difficult. But by forgiving we are freeing ourselves and we are not excusing the hurt nor any injustice done.

The Bible says, Press on towards the prize. In Philippians 3:14 it says, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. I think that is an amazing promise to share with our children.

“Face forward child and look at the path in front of you because, God has called you! What is the reward? Well the reward is a life in him for all of eternity! Don’t let the pains of the past pull you down. Let those go so you can focus on all that God has for you.”

In Jeremiah 29:11 he tells us, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God tells us he has a plan for us. He tells us he has a future and a hope. He doesn’t tell us that he has a past. If we are striving towards a goal then we stay focused on the path ahead. But if we are looking backwards,  we can wander off course and can and often do fall down.

What do you do if your child is weighted down with unforgiveness? Or maybe they are stuck and angry because someone has been mean to them.

Teach them the joy and freedom of granting forgiveness. It will be a lesson that they will use the rest of their lives.

As I’ve said before I’m not a fan of the new “shortened” bible. Every word has some importance. Let me give you an example, ‘Ai’ or ‘Bethel’ Jacob is told to look toward Bethel, not Ai, why, several reasons, but do you know that the word Ai means rubble and Bethel means ‘house of God’ so we have a choice, we can look back at the rubble of our past or look forward to the promise.

“Stumble & Fall”

I heard that it was a really big deal

But then I found out it was just nothing at all

You always say it’s such a big deal

But we both know that that’s nothing at all

And I get over the breaks

And I, I stumble and fall

And I get over the breaks

And sometimes stumble and fall

You just wont admit that it’s all in your hands

So I have to try so hard to make you understand

But all you can say is “It’s just part of the deal”

And I never asked you to understand

How I keep myself to myself in the crush of the crowd

But all you can say is

“Who cares? It’s part of the deal”

And I get over the breaks

And I, I stumble and fall

And I get over the breaks

And sometimes stumble and fall

Well I, I get over the breaks

And I stumble and fall

And I get over the breaks

And sometimes stumble and fall

Yes I fall

Yes I fall

I stumble and fall (by Razorlight)

Keep praying for Calvin, they may have to do a series of eye surgeries.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com