KNOW TO GROW

August 13, 2017

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KNOW TO GROW

  “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

  The heartbreaking knowledge of self-brings a life-giving compensation, which is knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The needs generated by the realization of the sin of self-produce the necessary motivation and hunger which cause us to focus upon the Lord Jesus and become conformed to His image. “And we all, while with face unveiled we behold in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are ourselves transformed continually into the same likeness” (2 Cor. 3:18).

 Many a new believer has obtained relief in his conscience from his sins, because of faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ; that is, he does not see further than Romans 3. He has faith in the work of Christ, but has not yet come in faith to Christ. He is like the woman who touched the hem of His garment, assured of His work but not yet acquainted with Himself.

 It is one thing to believe on the Lord Jesus, to be born again, to be saved. That is a wondrous thing as a beginning or start, but it alone will not take you right through all you must meet, to grow into him; and if you are really in the Lord’s hands He will see to it that by virtue of need you are drawn into knowing more and more of His Son. It is the normal course of a true, Holy Spirit-governed Christian life that, in order to get through, an increase of Christ, a growing discovery of Christ, is necessary.

  “That I may know Him” (Phil. 3:10).

After your salvation, God has but one plan for your life, become like His Son, to grow into the image of Christ. Good news, it will happen, the other news, (not bad) it’s going to hurt. No one seems to preach much on the growing pains of being a Christian. The idea of us becoming more Christ like is the same idea of a hammer striking a die and the image being cut into the metal of the coin itself.

God is the hammer, Christ is the die, you got it, you’re the thing being struck.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

inside out part two

July 16, 2017

One of the great enemies of process spirituality is the craving to control our environment and the desire to determine the results of our endeavors. Many of us have a natural inclination to be manipulators, grabbers, owners, and controllers. The more we seek to rule our world, the more we will resist the rule of Christ; those who grasp are afraid of being grasped by God. But until we relinquish ownership of our lives, we will not experience the holy relief of surrender to God’s good and loving purposes. Thomas Merton put it this way in New Seeds of Contemplation:

This is one of the chief contradictions that sin has brought into our souls: we have to do violence to ourselves to keep from laboring uselessly for what is bitter and without joy, and we have to compel ourselves to take what is easy and full of happiness as though it were against our interests, because for us the line of least resistance leads in the way of greatest hardship and sometimes for us to do what is, in itself, most easy, can be the hardest thing in the world.

Our resistance to God’s rule even extends to our prayerful attempts to persuade the Lord to bless our plans and to meet our needs in the ways we deem best. Instead of seeking God’s will in prayer, we hope to induce Him to accomplish our will. Thus, even in our prayers, we can adopt the mentality of a consumer rather than a servant.

Perhaps the most painful lesson for believers to learn is the wisdom of being faithful to the process and letting loose of the results. (there is supposed to be a box or arrow pointing down from each “o” word, i,e. opportunity>Divine, but i can’t get it to format right in wordpress)

Opportunity

Obedience

Outcome

Divine Sovereignty

Human Responsibility

Divine Sovereignty

We have little control over opportunities we encounter and the outcomes of our efforts, but we can be obedient to the process.

Distorted dreams and selfish ambitions must die before we can know the way of resurrection. We cannot be responsive to God’s purposes until we abandon our strategies to control and acknowledge His exclusive ownership of our lives. At the front end, this surrender to the life of Christ in us appears to be the way of renunciation, but on the other side of renunciation we discover that it is actually the way of affirmation. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Luke 9:24). The better we apprehend our spiritual poverty and weakness, the more we will be willing to invite Jesus to increase so that we may decrease (John 3:30).

Another key to staying in the process is learning to receive each day and whatever it brings as from the hand of God. Instead of viewing God’s character in light of our circumstances, we should view our circumstances in light of God’s character. Because God’s character is unchanging and good, whatever circumstances He allows in the life of His children are for their good, even though they may not seem so at the time. Since His will for us is “good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2), the trials, disappointments, setbacks, tasks, and adversities we encounter are, from an eternal vantage point, the place of God’s kingdom and blessing. This Romans 8:28-39 perspective can change the way we pray. Instead of asking the Lord to change our circumstances to suit us, we can ask Him to use our circumstances to change us. Realizing that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18), we can experience “the fellowship of [Christ’s] sufferings” through “the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). Thus, Blaise Pascal prayed in his Pensees:

With perfect consistency of mind, help me to receive all manner of events. For we know not what to ask, and we cannot ask for one event rather than another without presumption. We cannot desire a specific action without presuming to be a judge, and assuming responsibility for what in Your wisdom You may hide from me. O Lord, I know only one thing, and that is that it is good to follow You and wicked to offend You. Beyond this, I do not know what is good for me, whether health or sickness, riches or poverty, or anything else in this world. This knowledge surpasses both the wisdom of men and of angels. It lies hidden in the secrets of Your providence, which I adore, and will not dare to pry open.

We are essentially spiritual beings, and each “today” that is received with gratitude from God’s hand contributes to our preparation for our glorious and eternal destiny in His presence. In “the sacrament of the present moment” as Jean-Pierre de Caussade described it, “It is only right that if we are discontented with what God offers us every moment, we should be punished by finding nothing else that will content us” (Abandonment to Divine Providence). It is when we learn to love God’s will that we can embrace the present moment as a source of spiritual formation.

As we grow in dependence on Christ’s life and diminish in dependence on our own, the fulfillment of receiving His life gradually replaces the frustration of trying to create our own. It is in this place of conscious dependence that God shapes us into the image of His Son. Here we must trust Him for the outcome, because we cannot measure or quantify the spiritual life. We know that we are in a formative process and that God is not finished with us yet, but we must also remember that we cannot control or create the product. Furthermore, we cannot measure our ministry or impact on others in this life. If we forget this, we will be in a hurry to accomplish significant things by the world’s standard of reckoning. Francois Fenelon noted that “the soul, by the neglect of little things, becomes accustomed to unfaithfulness” (Christian Perfection). It is faithfulness in the little daily things that leads to faithfulness in much (Luke 16:10). Henri Nouwen used to ask God to get rid of his interruptions so he could get on with his ministry. “Then I realized that interruptions are my ministry.” As servants and ambassadors of the King, we must be obedient in the daily process even when we cannot see what difference our obedience makes.

Blessings from God and Greetings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Dan and Leigh, they are trying to move into their new house and it caught on fire today.

true wealth

June 22, 2017

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16).

As believers we rejoice in the fact that the Lord Jesus died for us, but few are affected by the fact that He arose for us. Fewer still realize that we died and arose with Him. Learn the facts! There will be continual struggle and failure until we gain adequate understanding of the liberating truth.

“The Lord Jesus on the Cross removed the barriers which separated me from God—my guilt, my sin, the law; and He dealt with my enemies—the world, the flesh, the devil. These six things were dealt with, so that we need no longer be in bondage through fear and that we may come boldly to the throne of grace.

Have we given a hearty assent to these things which the Lord Jesus did for us? Or have we, as we read the Word, drifted by them, taking it all for granted? Let us lay hold of that for which God has laid hold of us. Let us gird up the loins of our mind and consent to that which He did for us. Let us enter into all that which being united to Christ as our Life means. Let us rejoice in all that was accomplished for us on Calvary.

It is necessary that the truth conferred by grace should be known as a possession and the virtue of it apprehended, before there can be any walk in keeping with it. For if there be ignorance or misapprehension, the truer the conscience, the more defective is the practice.

“Set your affection on things above” (Col. 3:2)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

Part two (the final battle)(pssst, this is better than Star Wars)

you will be deceived if you do not have a spiritual anchor. You see this man Nimrod. The first thing you see about him is his arrogance. The second thing you see about him is his ability, and, here’s the third thing I want you to see about him, his ambition. Look, if you will, in verse 10. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel. This is the first man who ever said, “I’m going to be king,” the beginning of his kingdom. He didn’t just want to build a city. He was not just an entrepreneur trying to build a high rise. This was the beginning of his kingdom. He wanted to rule. Now remember what 2 Thessalonians 2:4 says of the coming anti-Christ? He opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God so that he as God is worshiped. So that, or that is worshiped. So that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

Learn this about the devil. Learn this about the devil. The devil is not against religion. He uses religion. The temptation in the Garden was not for Adam and Eve to fall down. It was to fall up. Ha, ha, he said, “You can be like God. You’ll be like God.” Satan has always wanted to be like God. He always puts that into the hearts and minds of people. As a matter of fact, all of New Age religion is based upon the lie there in Genesis 3. You can be like God. You are your own God. And here was a man, Nimrod, who said, “I want to be worshiped like God. I’m going to exalt myself above God. It’s the spirit of Satan. It’s the spirit that’s in this world today that speaks of the so-called divinity in man. Learn this about Satan. Satan does not want casualties. He wants converts. Satan wants worship.

So you see this Babylonian beast, this Babylonian beast, Nimrod. Now people say, the evolutionist said, “We have come from the beast.” They’ve got it backward, friend. We’re headed toward the beast. I mean, there is coming, there is lurking in the shadows of this world, a beast, the anti-Christ, the man of sin, the son of perdition who is Satan’s superman. He may be alive on planet earth right now.

Now move to the second thing. Not only the Babylonian beast, but I want you to notice the Babylonian builders, these people who said, “We’re going to build this city.” Begin in verse 11 and notice some things chapter 11 rather verse 1. First of all, notice what I’m going to call their disobedience. And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land Shinar; and they dwelt there. Now what they did was to say, “We’re going to centralize power. Now God had told them to replenish the earth; if you go back to Genesis 9 after the flood.

Look in Genesis 9:1. And God blessed Noah and his sons and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. God did not tell them to gather up in one place. God’s plan was not for a centralized, one world government. But this is what they wanted to do. They were looking for somehow to centralize and consolidate the governments of this world. A one-world government is what Satan is after. We’re headed toward a one-world government a new world order, it’s being called today, and a new world order, a one-world government will be a disaster. Why?

Because that one world government will be headed up be someone. Power corrupts. Total power totally corrupts. All the liberals today and all of the humanists today, they all have a running romance with big government. Have you noticed that? They all believe in big government. You see. They have failed to understand that freedom is always in direct reverse proportion to the size and the power of government. The more government, the less freedom. There’s coming an enforcer in this world one of these days that’s going to turn this world into a worldwide system, the kingdom of Babylon, the kingdom of anti-Christ.

Now many of today’s liberals are one-worlders first. They are Americans second. Now this is not by chance. This is well thought out. Have you ever heard of the humanists? Do you know who the humanists are? Now don’t get the word humanist and humanitarianism confused. The humanists are a small cadre of highly intellectual and highly motivated persons who are steering this world toward a one-world government. And many of our national and international leaders are avowed card-carrying humanists.

The humanists said back as far as 1966 this, quote, “Internationally what do the humanists purpose? Nationalism rooted, as it is, in arbitrary geographical units must be superseded by a globalism based on the oneness of man. There must be a worldwide organization to which national sovereignty could be relinquished in all international affairs.” That is give up America as a sovereign nation, and be a part of a world nation. Let our boys fight under the banner of the UN, no longer under the command of American commanders. They’re, we’re coming to this one world government and the…

An editorial in the Humanist said this, quote, “If there is one principal upon which all humanists are united, it is the continued commitment to a world order based upon world law.” So what we have to do is lay down our arms set aside our laws, let people go over to Beijing China and other places and tell us how we’re going to raise our children, how we’re going to have families, what we’re going to do, put our troops under the control of somebody or something else, and join up with atheists, bandits, cut throats, and murderers, and all of the rest of it, and have a global village.

Now folks it is coming. It is coming everywhere, monetarily. It is coming organizationally. It is coming militarily. It is coming philosophically. It is coming. It roots back in the same thing that motivated old Nimrod so long ago. I wish I had more time to talk about that, but notice their disobedience, and notice their depravity. Look in verses three and four. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto Heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered upon the face of the whole earth. That’s exactly what God said to do. Be scattered. Replenish the earth, but they said, “We’re not going to do this.”

What you have here is the beginning of all organized forms of false religion and apostasy. They said, “Let us build a tower, whose top may reach unto Heaven.” If you have the King James’ version like I’m reading from, you notice the words whose top the words may reach are italicized. That is, they’re not in the original, only supplied there by the translator to make it read more smoothly. In this case, it doesn’t make it read more smoothly. What it literally says is, “We’re going to build a tower, whose top unto Heaven.” That is, this was, the top of this tower was given to the Heavens. They, it was a place for worship. They would go up on top of these towers to worship their false God. It was dedicated to the worship of the stars. This is the beginning of astrology.

Zodiacs have been found on top of these ancient ziggurats. That’s what these towers were called in Babylon, where they there worshiped the stars. The very name of the place Babel, means gate to God. El is the Hebrew word for God. For example Bethel means the house of God. Israel means prince of God. Emmanuel means God with us. Babel was the gate to God. They said, “This is the Gate to God. We’re going to show people how to get to God.” Of course we know that there’s only one gate to God and his name is Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. And no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” But here is new age religion. Learn this about new age religion folks. It ain’t new. It’s one of the mustiest things around. It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when Satan first came. And we have a world today that is getting ready for the coming kingdom of anti-Christ and the spirit of anti-Christ is already in the world.

Now this was the beginning of astrology. Are you so foolish as to pick up your newspaper and read the astrological comments concerning you, so they say? You, my friend, are practicing witchcraft when you do that. You say, “Pastor, that makes me angry.” Well come up to me after the service, and apologize, and I’ll forgive you. Now listen to me. Listen to me. I say, listen to me. Astrology is idolatry. The word astrologos, which we get, means astrology. Astra is a star. Logos is the word. It’s the word of the stars. That’s why they call it astrology. You have substituted the word of the stars for the word of God. Rather than getting into the Bible, you’ve gotten into new age religion. The purpose of the stars is to declare the glory of God, not the destiny of man.

Put this in your margin, Isaiah 47. God is speaking about Babylon and Babylonian religion. Isaiah 47:12-15. Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries. Now what he’s doing here, let me say this. He’s showing Babylon that all of her new age religion will not save her. This is a challenge that God has given to Babylon. That had it’s inception here at Babel. Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast labored from they youth. That is, way back to the tower of Babel you’ve been doing this. If so be that thou shall if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.

Now what is God saying? God is saying, “These things are wrong.” Deuteronomy 18, God knew. God knew of the abomination of the Canaanites. God knew of all this new age garbage that was not new way back in that time. And this is what God said in Deuteronomy 18:9 and following. When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abomination of those nations. Now notice God calls it a national abomination. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or daughter to pass through the fire. That is they were murdering their babies, sound familiar?… Or he that useth divination… That is they were going to fortunetellers….Or and observer of times… That friend, is astrology…. Or an enchanter or a witch. That’s a channeler. That’s all new age religion, an enchanter, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits… Shirley McLain or anyone else. Or a wizard, or a necromancer. That is contact with the dead. For, listen in verse 12. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord. Can’t you read my precious friend? Actually the seedbed of all-Satanic, demonic religion, all false religion, is found in Babylon. It’s the seedbed of all it.

Now Babylon from the outside may seem beautiful, but take your Bibles now. Keep your thumb where we are in Genesis 11, and turn with me to Revelation 17. In case you get you get carried away with new age religion and cultism, listen to Revelation 17. John the apostle has a vision. And there came one of the seven angels, which had the seven vials, and talked with me saying unto me, come hither; and I will show thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters. In the Bible an impure woman is a symbol of false religion. The many waters we’re told speak of peoples, nations, and kingdoms…. With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornications.

Now how can the kings of the earth commit fornication? This is the marriage of church and state. This is a world church and a world state. The kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the world have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. This wine has been bottled and fermented for over 6,000 years. It goes all the way back to the tower of Babel. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and there I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of the names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. Seven is the number of perfection. Ten is the number of completeness. The heads speak of wisdom. The horns speak of power.

And the woman… She speaks of false religion…. Was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon here forehead was a name written, (watch it) MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND THE ABOMINATION OF THE EARTH.

Babylon is the mother of all false religion. We heard of the bully of Baghdad, old Sodam Husain, talk about the mother of all Babels. Friend, it’s out of that area comes the all-filthiness of false religion. Mystery, Babylon… MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of saints, and with the blood of martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. It doesn’t mean he thought she was wonderful. He says, “I just stood back, and I could not take it in.” You talk about a classic story of beauty and the beast. Here is the Babylonian mother and the blab, Babylon monster. The Babylonian mother is false religion. The Babylonian monster is the beast, and they come together. Now as she looks outwardly, she’s beautiful, but beneath her smiles is a heart that is wicked, unspeakably wicked. Her hands drip with blood, and her intoxicating wine has been brewing for 6,000 years.

Well go back to Genesis 11. We’ve talked about these people, these that we’ve talked about their disobedience. We’ve talked about their depravity. I want you to see their defiance. Look, if you will, again in verse 3, 4. And they said one to another… Now folks I want to remind you. Listen. We’re not just talking about ancient history. We’re talking about what is happening in our world today. This is history and prophecy at the same time. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top unto Heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered upon the face of the whole earth.

Now I want you to notice the personal pronouns. There are six times they use pronouns like they, us, and we. Six is the number of man. This is religion with man at the center and man in the circumference. That is humanism and new ageism. Rather than saying, “Our Father which art in Heaven hallowed be Thy name,” they’re saying, “Our brothers who are on the earth, hallowed by our name. Let us make for us a name.” Now their in sheer defiance against God.

look again, if you will, in verse 4. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto Heaven; let us make us a name. And go back to verse 3. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. Now when God builds his church, does he build it of brick or stone? Builds it of stone. Stone is not hand made. The Bible says we’re built up as living stones, but these people took mud, bricks, with their own hands, and they fashioned brick, and then they put that brick together with slime that oozed out of the ground there, there in the plain of Shinar. And there they began to build this high rise to Hell, fashioned from their own wit, their own wisdom, their own ingenuity. And you notice what it, as verse 3 begins, “And they said one to another.” They don’t consult God. What they do is they pool their wickedness, and they pool their ignorance. They have dethroned God. They have enthroned their own intellect.

Now you say, “Well that’s them.” Well, folks we’re still trying to do it with brick and slime, only our slime and brick today are computers. We are traveling down the information superhighway, getting the idea that somehow we are going to build our utopia. And we’ve substituted our own wit and wisdom for God, and we’re trying to build a golden age with minds, and machinery, and money, and it can’t be done.

Now what were they trying to do? They said let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto Heaven. What they’re saying is this, “We’re going to start here and we’re going to build toward Heaven.” Now that is completely, totally, antithetically contradictory to all that God does. What is the difference between manmade religion, new age religion, humanism, and the true salvation that comes from God? Man tries to build from earth to Heaven. True salvation reaches down from Heaven to man. That’s the difference. You could, you could, you could just sum it all up in that. Whether it begins with man and builds toward Heaven, or whether it begins in Heaven and reaches down to man. You see. God moved in mercy by the pitiful plight of simple man, said, “I will go down,” and God became a man to lift us to Heaven. And the Bible says we must be born again. Literally that says in the Greek language we must be born from above, born from above.

Now the new agers say man needs a boost from beneath. God says man needs a birth from above. Here was the Babylonian blunder. They just took their own wit, their own wisdom, their own words. They pooled their ignorance. They pooled their wickedness. They began to make brick and slime to build a tower, and, folks, the world is full of that today. You would be amazed at how many people are new agers, who don’t even know they’re new agers. As a matter of fact, these are not just stupid people or dumb people in the, in the vernacular.

Nesbitt says this, “95% of the readers of the New Age Journal are college educated with average household incomes of 147,500 dollars. New agers represent the most affluent, well-educated, successful segment of the baby boom.” Did you know that many of the fortune 500 companies when they bring the sales agents in, or their personnel in, or their executives in, to give them a sharpening course, do you know who they bring in to lecture? A new ager. It’s an amazing thing.

David Jeremiah reminds us of this, “Corporations spend an estimated four billion per year on new age consultants.” A California business survey of 500 companies found that more than 50% had used consciousness-raising techniques. He mentioned such companies as TRW, Ford Motor Company, AT&T, IBM, and General Motors who have all signed on new age trainers. It’s an old lie repackaged. It is human wit, human ingenuity. It is finding the God, the power within yourself. And it engenders an independence from almighty God. Folks it is here. It is with us.

Now I have talked to you. I have talked to you about the Babylonian beast, and he pictures the anti-Christ that’s going to come. And he may be alive, and well, and in the world today. I’ve talked to you about the Babylonian builders, how they in defiance against God are trying to build a new world order. And it is coming. One day it will be here, and this will be an amalgamation of the new world order and a one-world church. And everybody’ll say, “Isn’t it wonderful.” I’ve talked to you about the Babylonian blunder against the idea that man can lift himself by his own bootstraps, and by his brick, and slime build his tower to Heaven, and in that he inculcates all false religion.

Now I want you to see what I’m going to call the Babylonian burial. I want you to see what’s going to happen to it. You say, “Pastor, I thought you were talking about the coming kingdom of Christ.” I’m getting there. I’m almost there. I want you to notice now beginning in 11:5. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. You know in the Bible says in the last days knowledge shall increase, and, friend, we’re seeing it. We are amazed at what is happening, what comes out of the imagination of man. And we’re being told today what man can imagine, man can achieve. And for the first time we’re really believing it. Well, God says in verse 7, “Go to, let us go down.” Now who’s God talking to? This is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in counsel together, and God says, “Let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

How did this tower of blunders end in Genesis, and what does it prophesy or what’s going to happen in our day? Well, it climaxed, it ended with the coming down of almighty God to earth. The thing that we’re waiting for is the coming of the Savior. The only hope, the only hope for this world is the coming of Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ, the true Christ comes, he is coming to destroy the kingdom of anti-Christ. As I’ve told you before 777 is going to deal with 666. And you can put it down, and be certain there’s coming a time when lawlessness comes to it’s climax that in Heaven God is going to say, “It is time. Let us go down.” Now, not only the coming of the Savior, but the confusion of the speech. Notice again in verse 7. Let us go down, and there confound their language. Now these people had one language at this time. They all, spoke the same language. But God always when he judges, sends confusion into the camp of the enemy. When God’s people pray even in this day if we will pray, we don’t have to go to war against the enemies. God goes to war against the enemies. When we pray, God sends confusion into the camp of the enemies. And so God confounds the speech. They can’t understand one another. They’re building this tower and a man says, “Hand me a brick.” He says, “What did you say?” He says, “What did you say?” “Uh, what did you say?” He says, “What did you say?” And the boss says, “Will you two quit babbling?” And they say, “What did he say?” And nobody understands anything. They whole thing begins to get confused, and it really would be comical. And the Bible says in Psalm 2, “He that sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh. The Lord shall have them in derision.” And we’re going to see the false unity of the ecumenical movement, and United Nations, and all of this. It’s going to come apart, and then there’s going to be the collapse of the whole system.

And so the Bible says in verses seven, eight and nine rather, “So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of the earth: and they left off to build the city.” And there they set, in the crumble ruins, in the unfinished tower of their high rise to Hell, their tower of blunders. Well, what does this mean to us? Go to Revelation 18, and I’ve got about three minutes to share this with you. Revelation 18.

There are three things I want to lay on your heart. The first, listen here very carefully. Those of you in the balcony, you teenagers listen to me very carefully. The very first word is the word separation. Begin with me, Revelation 18:1. And after these things I saw another angel come down from Heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. Now here’s God’s Word to you. Are you listening? Folks on television, are you listening to this? And I heard another voice from Heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

If you’re practicing any kind of the occult, any kind of new age religion, any astrology, any dabbling with witchcraft, get out and get out quick. For God says concerning Babylon, “Her sins have reached unto Heaven.” She’s going to be bring a tower to Heaven. God says, “It’s her sins that have reached to Heaven.” And God hath remembered her iniquities. So the first thing I say to you is separation. Get out. Get clean. Repent. Renounce. Get rid of all of that.

The second thing I want you to see is anticipation. Jesus Christ is coming, and He’s coming soon. Look in chapter 19. After these things I heard a great voice of much people in Heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.

What is happening is this, friend, we need to anticipate the time. The time is coming soon when our Lord is going to step down from glory, and God is going to come down, and He’s going to judge Babylon. So there’s separation, anticipation, and here’s the part I love, jubilation.

Look in 19:5. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were (oh I love this) the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

The good news is Jesus has already won the war, we have to do very little, we are not passive believers but faithful soldiers. So rally the troops and rescue the perishing, build up the saints and win the lost.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ALL OR NOTHING

May 21, 2017

All or Nothing

  “Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” (2 Thess. 2:16).

  It has been well said that “it takes a lifetime to learn real dependence upon God, and to accept practically our own inadequacy.” We are going to learn this only through experience, and now is the time to settle down to this schooling—a day at a time.

We are to understand that God loves us, and that He justifies us by the work of His Son. We have no longer conscience of sins before God, because He Himself has taken them away before His eyes; we know that being united to the Lord Jesus Christ, who has fully glorified God in that which concerns our sins, we have been made the righteousness of God in Him. So the heart is free to enjoy His love in the presence of the Father.

I no longer attempt to produce that which will satisfy God from myself as originator. I know that even if I try I shall only fail. But I do seek to please God by faith in the activity of Another. The Son of God who indwells me by His Spirit is able and willing to carry out in me ‘those things that please Him’; and I count upon Him to do so. Consciously, day by day, I take the attitude that I trust Him to work the will of God in me, and in that attitude I go forward and serve Him. I do not trust myself. ‘I live by faith in the Son of God.’

  “Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work” (2 Thess. 2:17).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

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

 

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

 

SHOCKER???

January 5, 2017

Image result for picture of bob dylan

SHOCKER??? (how many people don’t know whose picture this is???) (no it’s not Adam Sandler, although they’re both Jews)

            If I could pick one Christian album to recommend, not a worship album but a record for new believers to listen to and more mature Christians as well, you may be shocked.

But wait, before I tell you, I’m a hard-core rock and roller, my parents took me with them to Woodstock, (by accident we weren’t planning on going), I was at the Watkins Glen concert the largest outdoor rock concert in America. Then name any rock group but the Beatles, (don’t consider them a rock group). I’ve probably been at their concert, from Janis Joplin to Jethro Tull, Atomic Rooster to Moby Grape, Billy Idol to Led Zeppelin.

So the number Christian album……Bob Dylan, Slow train. Now I know his voice will peel glass, but listen to the message, the theology and I don’t believe there is a better album of theology out there.

So moral of the story, God uses the strangest messengers to carry the gospel, hey why do you think we are called scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Peace Out.

Blessings

 

INJUSTICE

January 3, 2017

THIS IS 10 PAGES LONG, YOU MAY WANT TO PRINT IT OUT. DECIDED TO GIVE YOU THE WHOLE ENCHILADA AND NOT DO IT IN PARTS.

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The pledge of allegiance to the flag claims that ours is a nation where every human being, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, or social standing, receives fair and equal treatment. One of the purposes for the United States Constitution, as stated in its preamble is to “establish justice”; that is, to provide every individual with equal rights before the law, without partiality or favoritism.

 

Some people in this country feel that we have failed to achieve that goal. They point to blatant instances of inequity, such as people with money, power, or position securing more favored treatment under the law than the poor, the friendless, or the obscure. They enumerate examples of discrimination against minorities or against women which demonstrate to their satisfaction that injustice persists in our society.

 

Most of us believe that we have been treated unfairly at some time or other. We have been blamed for things we have not done, denied things we feel we deserve, overlooked when we should have been recognized, treated in an inferior manner, or have otherwise suffered without just cause. Some have lost their jobs, their savings, their homes, their friends, their spouses, and even their lives unjustly. Some have languished in prisons for crimes they never committed. Others have endured the poverty, squalor, and disease of slums through no fault of their own. Where is the justice in all of that?

 

We believe in a sovereign God who controls all things. On one occasion He said, “There is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour” (Isaiah 45:21 KJV). How can a just God allow injustices to exist? We learn from the Bible that people who have not trusted Christ as Saviour from sin are condemned to eternal separation from God, even if they have never heard the message of salvation. Some may protest rather indignantly, “How can a just God allow that?” Maybe we need to find out what God’s justice involves.

 

The Meaning of God’s Justice

 

While the most common Old Testament word for just means “straight,” and the New Testament word means “equal,” in a moral sense they both mean “right.” When we say that God is just, we are saying that He always does what is right, what should be done, and that He does it consistently, without partiality or prejudice. The word just and the word righteous are identical in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Sometimes the translators render the original word “just” and other times “righteous” with no apparent reason (cf. Nehemiah 9:8 and 9:33 where the same word is used). But whichever word they use, it means essentially the same thing. It has to do with God’s actions. They are always right and fair.

 

God’s righteousness (or justice) is the natural expression of His holiness. If He is infinitely pure, then He must be opposed to all sin, and that opposition to sin must be demonstrated in His treatment of His creatures. When we read that God is righteous or just, we are being assured that His actions toward us are in perfect agreement with His holy nature.

 

Because God is righteous and just, He has established moral government in the world, laid down principles which are holy and good, then added consequences which are just and fair for violating those principles. Furthermore, He is totally impartial in administering His government. He does not condemn innocent people or let guilty people go free. Peter says He is a God “who impartially judges according to each man’s work” (1 Peter 1:17). His treatment is never harsher than the crime demands.

 

For example, when Ezra the scribe returned to Israel after the Babylonian captivity, he was distressed to find that the people had intermarried with the unbelieving inhabitants of the land. He was appalled at their sin and proceeded to lead them in a prayer of confession in which he enumerated the discipline they had experienced. He concluded his prayer with these words: “O LORD God of Israel, Thou art righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before Thee in our guilt, for no one can stand before Thee because of this” (Ezra 9:15). God is fair. His discipline is never more severe than our sin deserves. He allowed those disobedient Jews to remain as an escaped remnant in spite of their sin and guilt.

 

Daniel ministered during Israel’s exile in Babylon. He knew from Jeremiah’s prophecy (25:11) that the captivity was to last seventy years, but he was concerned lest the nation’s disobedience prolong it. He, like Ezra, offered a great prayer of confession to God, and in it he made this statement: “Therefore, the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice” (Daniel 9:14). Their captivity was the perfectly just discipline for their sin. All calamity is not necessarily discipline for sin, but we can be sure that if it is, it will be uniquely tailored to our particular situation by an infinitely wise God to teach us the lessons we need to learn. It will be perfectly fair. What God does is always right. As the psalmist put it,

 

The LORD is righteous in all His ways And kind in all His deeds (Psalm 145:17).

 

We can never accuse Him of injustice. Everything He does is fair.

 

The Requirements of God’s Justice

 

If God is truly just and always acts in harmony with His holy nature, then He must show His displeasure with sin by opposing it and punishing it wherever it exists. He cannot enact a holy law, threaten a penalty, then take no action when His law is broken. Scripture makes that quite clear. God “will by no means leave the guilty unpunished” (Exodus 34:7). “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). “There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil” (Romans 2:9). Since the violation of God’s infinitely holy nature demands an infinite punishment, eternal condemnation can be the only just penalty for sin. Jesus said, “And these will go away into eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46).

 

God takes no pleasure in punishing the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). But it is the only response which is consistent with His holy nature. However, God loves sinners and since He finds no delight in punishing them, He has devised a plan by which they can be delivered from the just penalty of their sin.

 

Justice allows for one person to substitute for another, so long as no injustice is done to the rights of any person involved. So God provided a substitute. When His Son voluntarily offered Himself to die in our place, our sin was punished and God’s justice was forever satisfied. The Apostle Paul explained how God publicly displayed Jesus Christ as a propitiation and thus demonstrated His righteousness (Romans 3:25). A propitiation is a sacrifice that satisfies a justly pronounced sentence. Christ’s death on the cross completely satisfied God’s just judgment against our sin. The penalty has been paid. Now God can forgive the sins of those who will accept His payment, and still maintain His own justice. He can at the same time be both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

 

Justice also demands that when the penalty has been paid by one, it never needs to be paid by another who has accepted that payment. There can never be any condemnation for the person who has trusted Jesus Christ as Saviour from sin (Romans 8:1).

 

My children used to listen to a recorded story about a wise and just king who ruled over a nation of wicked people. In order to curtail their wickedness, the king decided that anyone breaking the law of the land would have his eyes put out. A young man was apprehended for violating the law, and when he was brought in the king was dismayed to discover that the lawbreaker was his own son. What could he do? If he were merely a just king, he could exact the punishment and forget about the incident. If he were merely a loving father, he could overlook the crime and let his son go free. But he was both a just king and a loving father. So he said, “You have broken the law, and the punishment is the forfeiture of two eyes. That is what it shall be—one of yours and one of mine.” From that day on, the appearance of both the king and his son reminded the people of the king’s justice and his love.

 

That is essentially what God did. However, instead of making us pay part of the penalty, He paid it all. The death of His sinless Son was sufficient to pay for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Now those who accept His payment can go free. Who then can accuse God of injustice for condemning people to hell? He would be just if He assigned everyone to hell. Yet He satisfied His own justice and provided forgiveness for all. Those who refuse His forgiveness choose His wrath of their own volition. They have expressed their desire to live apart from God and He simply confirms them in their choice. That hardly can be labeled injustice.

 

What about those who have never heard? The Apostle Paul assured us that God has not left Himself without a witness in the world (Acts 14:17), and that lost men have willfully rejected His witness (Romans 1:18, 32). But whether or not we can explain every problem and answer every objection, we accept God’s revelation of Himself as a just God, and we believe Him when He says He will not act wickedly or pervert justice (Job 34:12).

 

The Expression of God’s Justice

 

It should be obvious by now that God’s justice has little relationship to the suffering we observe in the world around us. That suffering is the natural consequence of the sin which Satan introduced into God’s creation. In a sinful world, where sinful men have the will to choose their own sinful ways, injustices are going to exist.

 

There is coming a day when the infinitely just Son of God will physically return to the earth and will rule it with a rod of iron. No sin will be tolerated in that day. Zechariah predicted that the King will be just (Zechariah 9:9). Jeremiah assured us that He will execute justice on the earth (Jeremiah 23:5). We can expect no injustices to exist in that day (cf. Isaiah 11:3-5). But for now we can count on many inequities to exist. However, God wants us to do what we can to reduce them. He shows a concern for social justice throughout Scripture—fair treatment of the poor, the orphans, the widows, the hungry, the needy, foreigners, and underprivileged of all kinds. He encourages us to share His concern. The needs of other people should move our hearts to compassion and motivate us to make some personal sacrifices for their good. That is a major evidence of true faith in Christ (cf. 1 John 3:17-19). But try as we will, we are not going to eliminate all injustice from the earth. It is the natural by-product of living in a sinful world.

 

God’s justice relates not so much to the suffering in the world as to His attitude toward and treatment of the sin that causes suffering. He will deal with all sin with perfect justice, without a trace of partiality or favoritism. He says that He “will render to every man according to his deeds” (Romans 2:6). That almost sounds like salvation by works, although actually it has nothing to do with salvation. It establishes again the principle of God’s justice. Entrance into Heaven is dependent solely upon faith in Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary. But God is going to treat every person in accord with the quality of his life—believers and unbelievers alike. Unbelievers will be punished in hell on the basis of their works and believers will be rewarded in Heaven on the basis of their works.

 

Scripture clearly teaches degrees of punishment for unbelievers: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you” (Matthew 11:21-24). If it will be more tolerable, more bearable, or more endurable for some than for others, then there are obviously degrees of suffering. The issue on which they are judged seems to be the light they received. Those who saw the greater demonstration of God’s power and rejected it will experience greater punishment than those who saw less of God’s power and rejected it.

 

Some of our Lord’s most scathing denunciations were reserved for the scribes and Pharisees, men who enjoyed some of the greatest spiritual privileges yet exhibited some of the least of God’s love. They “devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation” (Mark 12:40). Greater condemnation can mean nothing less than degrees of punishment.

 

To illustrate this truth, Jesus told a story in which he contrasted two servants—one who knew his master’s will and did not do it, and one who did not know it. “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of flogging, will receive but few. And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more” (Luke 12:47-48).

 

Again, we have a clear reference to degrees of punishment—many stripes and few stripes. And again, the issue is their response to the knowledge they had.

 

A native in the jungle who has never heard the gospel does not have the same degree of responsibility as an American who can hear the gospel any day of the week. Therefore that native will not receive the same degree of punishment. A person who was raised in a secular home and taught to be nonreligious may not have the same degree of responsibility as a person who was raised in a Christian home and taught the truth of God’s Word yet rejected it. That less privileged person will not receive the same degree of punishment (cf. also 2 Peter 2:20-21).

 

When unbelievers stand before the great white throne, they will be consigned to the lake of fire because their names are missing from the book of life. But at the same time they will be judged “according to their deeds” (Revelation 20:12-13). That makes very little sense unless those works make some difference in the degree of their punishment. We do not know what the difference will be, but the justice of God will be expressed by different levels of punishment. There finally will be justice for all.

 

On the other hand, believers will be rewarded in Heaven on the basis of their works. Works will have nothing to do with their entrance into Heaven. That is based solely on their acceptance of the merits of Jesus Christ and His provision of eternal life. But believers’ works will be tested by fire at the judgment seat of Christ to determine their quality. “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

 

Everybody knows the difference externally between gold and hay, but the fire reveals something the eye cannot see—motivation and enablement. Were the works performed for the glory of God or to fulfill some personal ambition? Were they performed by the power of the Holy Spirit or in the energy of the flesh? Those done for the glory of the Lord and by the power of the Holy Spirit will become the basis for reward. So it seems likely that everyone’s reward will be different.

 

We are not told here what the rewards will be, but several things are mentioned in other passages. The New Testament speaks of crowns that are cast before the throne of God (Revelation 4:10), a probable reference to our capacity to glorify Him (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10). Nothing will bring us greater satisfaction in eternity than our ability to exalt the Lord Jesus.

 

In addition to crowns, Biblical writers refer to the ability to shine (cf. Matthew 13:43; Daniel 12:3), a probable reference to our capacity to reflect the glory and radiance of our Lord, another source of great pleasure in eternity. Some have likened it to a great chandelier containing some twenty-five-watt bulbs, some fifty, some seventy five, and some one hundred, each shining to the peak of his ability, but all magnifying the Lord.

 

Jesus told a parable that implied different levels of governmental authority in God’s kingdom. A nobleman leaving for a far country entrusted the same amount of money to each of ten servants, and they were to invest it for his benefit. When he returned he called them into account. The first gained ten times the original amount and was commended by his master: “because you have been faithful in a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities” (Luke 19:17). The second gained five times the original amount and was likewise commended by his master: “And you are to be over five cities” (Luke 19:19). Our rewards will not be trophies to put on a shelf, but greater responsibilities and greater authority.

 

There will be no jealousy between us, but clearly there will be differences—a different number of crowns, a different capacity to shine, a different level of authority. God’s justice does not require Him to reward us. Everything worthwhile we ever accomplish is by His power and through His grace, so at best we deserve nothing, and He does not owe us anything. The rewards He gives us will be out of His store house of grace. But since He has decided to reward us, He will do it with perfect justice in accord with our works—not just what shows on the outside, but what is in our hearts! Not just what we did, but how and why we did it! There will be justice for all.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

BAH HUMBUG STRIKES

December 19, 2016

bad santa

I thought this was the year I wouldn’t write this, but today it hit me, my wife saw it on my face like I had wrote it on my forehead, she started making up Christmas songs with nonsense verses to make me laugh, a few minutes and it passed. Whew!

But for those who suffer in the holidays, know it can get better, but don’t suffer in silence, share with someone.

It time for my annual Christmas story, the reason it’s an annual story is from Thanksgiving until about March, I suffer from seasonal affect disorder (SAD) winter depression. The worst part about it is the feeling of not being connected to anyone or anything. I have one word in my vocabulary, actually it’s two, “I quit”, but I get through it and some years are worse than others. Its Christmas time, and I hate the songs, and I hate the sentiments, and the best thing for me is to keep my mouth shut. Here is my version of a Christmas Carol.

Our trip to cut down a Christmas tree starts out as a normal family time. Everyone in the car, my sister and I hoping and praying for a pleasant day. “One stop at MacDonald’s Bar and Grill for a quick one. You guys sit tight,” Dad says.

And a few hours later a neighbor or a state cops comes by and takes you home.

Its three days before Christmas and there’s a knock on the door. In come three giants in police uniform. They set up the tree that you never got and decorate it, and they put down the toys and candies and bring in bags of groceries because somehow they know you have been eating nothing but cheerios and spam. You can’t believe someone cares, and as they leave, they tousle your hair, saying “Be the man, hold it together.”

It’s Christmas Eve, and you and your sister huddle in bed without any visions of sugarplums in your head. All you can hear are the sound of your drunken father, shooting his gun in the air, laughing and saying, “That fat SOB isn’t stopping here tonight so get your asses to bed.”

Christmas morning dawns, and you race down the stairs. But there’s no Christmas tree, no toys, no decorations. Nothing is said, but you and your sister are packed up to grandma’s house, where you can get a semblance of Christmas, where you can feel safe and can be a child again.

The Christmas tree is sold with all the toys and decorations right there in your home. Maybe it’s because your father owes someone money, or maybe it’s just because he thinks it’s funny.

Oh, but everyone has to love Christmas.   Not me!

I never shot the gun into the air. I never sold the goods out from under your nose. I never got drunk and laid in a stupor for the holidays.

I just bitch about everything.   Why do I have to do it? Why ask me to participate? Oh, well, the martyr syndrome kicks in, and I say just get it over with. I create the tension, I crate the threats, and it’s me who hates Christmas.

I am fully saved. I am fully justified and sanctified. But I can’t get through the depression that falls upon me. It hovers all year and descends in full force at Thanksgiving time.

Ho, Ho, Ho. I can’t do it. My first full time position as an associate pastor, I try to play the Christmas Pastor.   I reach the point of thinking if I hear another Christmas carol or poem or get invited to another church Christmas party I’m going to puke.

It can’t be hidden. Finally I get called into the office two days before New Year’s Eve and asked what’s wrong with me. Must be a “seasonal effect disorder.”

And so in a wind blown field, all is lost, all is gone; the holidays have robbed me of everything. No one can love me, no one comes near, they are afraid of the anger, the tempest. The depression is black, the Gallic curse is full blown, and a berserker mentality is taking root. A siege engine is gripping my thoughts.   Why surrender? Why strive? Give up, give in, stop fighting.  Give it up!

The lies and seduction call you to rest. The serpent is whispering, “Pull the trigger, stop fighting, you’ve lost. There is no shame, it’s the family curse.”

And the hammer starts to fall, and the laughter gets louder. Everything slows to a crawl.

“Does He matter more than this, a voice whispers, God still speaks

You fall to your knees, and weep, tears freeze on your face.   You think all is lost, all is gone, never to regain.

I live through Christmas. The trigger is not pulled. I know by March all will be well, and winter will be gone. Easter will come and the depression that has been with me most of the year, the weight like going down the mine, crushing, suffocating, the blackness, rage, and desperation will disappear for awhile.

And the epiphany always comes. Christ Precious. “Is Christ precious to you?” It’s more than saying you love Him. It’s more than calling him Lord. It’s a fact that you must lose all, watch everything crumble, but there is no companion, no possession worth anything more than Christ.

On bended knee the cry escapes my lips, “Take it all, you’ve taken it all, and you are precious. With this and no more I crave, not one thing can be added, and I will say you are most precious to me.

You shout, “Yes, He is more precious, nothing else matters, if all I have is this moment, it is enough, because He is most precious.”

He is most precious, and with His arms of grace about you, you fall asleep. It is lifted.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

And Merry Freak’n Christmas