There is a phrase that just drives me nuts, “the heart wants what the heart wants” supposedly meaning that we are incapable of resisting this undeniable pull.

If we believe that than we are no more than rutting animals, incapable of any discernment or will power. And without any moral compass.

In both the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT) the word “heart” is used to refer to the whole of the innermost part of the human, NOT merely the emotions.

Culturally

However, in the twenty-first century English the word “heart” is used to express the emotions as an individual compartment of the inner part of the human.

It is common for Americans to divide humans into the physical and the metaphysical.

While this is a widespread insight, the way most Americans compartmentalize the internal (metaphysical) aspect of humans is diverse from many other cultures.

We Americans tend to see people as having two separate parts, wherein one part is the emotions, which we refer to as the heart, then a brain, which houses the mind.

The Bible does not divide man so easily – it focuses on all three making up the whole of a being – this is Biblically called the “heart.”

Biblically

When both the Old and New Testaments speak about the heart, it never means merely human feelings (emotions).

The Biblical word “heart,” is the inner aspect of a man, made of three parts all together, with the primary part: the,

1) Mental Process, which is the major part (where action & reaction take place), which is to lead a person in their life.

2) Emotions (which only process as reaction), as icing to enrich our lives.

3) Will, the seat of the will (discretionary, volitional, decision-making) where decisions are made between the rational and the emotive.

 The following excerpts, though thorough, are by no means exhaustive. 

Strong’s Dictionary

According to Strong’s, the Hebrew word lebab (3824) is rendered: “heart” (as the most interior organ); “beingthink in themselves,” “breast,” “comfortably,” “courage,” “midst,” “mind,” “unawares,” and “understanding.”

Strong’s Greek Dictionary, states that the Greek word kardia (2588) is rendered: “heart,” i.e. (figuratively), the thoughts or feelings (mind); also (by analogy) the middle.1

Ed Bulkley

According to Ed Bulkley, in his book, Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology, the Scriptures use at least four terms to describe the immaterial part of man: the heart, soul, spirit, and mind.  The descriptions and functions of these aspects of man seem to overlap.

Bulkley states:

The biblical term heart (lawbab or lebab in Hebrewkardia in Greek) is the clearest summary of the innermost center of the human being.

Perhaps the closest psychological term to the heart is the ego, the Latin word for “I,” borrowed by Freud to denote the “self.”

Peter describes the inner man as “the hidden man of the heart” (I Peter 3:4 KJV), or the “inner self” (I Peter 3:4 NIV).  It is the center of one’s being(Proverbs 4:23), where he believes and exercises faith (Luke 24:25; Romans 10:9,10).  It is the location of the human deliberation, where wisdom is employed.

Understanding is said to be the function of the mind (Job 38:36), yet the connection to the heart is undeniable.  The heart is where a person discerns the difference between right and wrong (I Kings 3:9).

Finally, Bulkley says, the heart is the center of courage, emotions, and will.

Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

The heart is the center of man’s character – who he really is (Matthew 15:18).

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).2 

Vine’s Old Testament Dictionary

According to Vine’s:

The Hebrew word Lebab (3824), rendered “heart” is the seat of desire, inclination, or will and can be the seat of the emotions.  The “heart” could be regarded as the seat of knowledge and wisdom and as a synonym of “mind.”  This meaning often occurs when ‘heart” appears with the verb “to know,” “Thus you are to know in your heart...” (Deut. 8:5, NASB); and “Yet the Lord hath not given you a heart to perceive[know]…” (Deut. 29:4, KJV; RSV, “mind”).  Solomon prayed, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad...” (1 Kings 3:9; cf. 4:29).  Memory is the activity of the “heart,” as in Job 22:22: “…lay up his [God’s] words in thine heart.”

The “heart” may be the seat of conscience and moral character.  How does one respond to the revelation of God and of the world around him?  Job answers: “…my heart shall not reproach me as long as I live” (27:6).  On the contrary, “David’s heart smote him…” (2 Sam. 24:10).  The “heart” is the fountain of man’s deeds: “…in the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this” (Gen. 20:5; cf. V. 6).  David walked “in uprightness of heart” (1 Kings 3:6) and Hezekiah “with a perfect heart” (Isa. 38:3) before God.  Only the man with “clean hands, and a pure heart” (Ps. 24:4) can stand in God’s presence.3

Vine’s New Testament Dictionary

According to Vine’s:

The Greek word kardia (2588), rendered “heart” (English, “cardiac,”), is the chief organ of physical life (“for the life of the flesh is in the blood,” Lev. 17:11), occupies the most important place in the human system.  By an easy transition, the word came to stand for man’s entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and the emotional elements.

 In other words, the heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life.  The Bible describes human depravity as in the “heart”, because sin is a principle which has its seat in the center of man’s inward life, and then ‘defiles’ the whole circuit of his action, Matt. 15:19, 20.  On the other hand, Scripture regards the heart as the sphere of Divine influence, Rom. 2:15; Acts 15:9….

The heart, as lying deep within, contains “the hidden man,” 1 Pet. 3:4, the real man.  It represents the true character but conceals it (J. Laidlaw, in Hastings’ Bible Dic.).  As to its usage in the NT it denotes (a) the seat of physical life, Acts 14:17; Jas. 5:5; (b) the seat of moral nature and spiritual life,the seat of grief, John 14:1; Rom. 9:2; 2 Cor. 2:4; joy, John 16:22; Eph. 5:19; the desires, Matt. 5:28; 2 Pet. 2:14; the affections, Luke 24:32; Acts 21:13; the perceptions, John 12:40; Eph. 4:18; the thoughts, Matt. 9:4; Heb. 4:12; the understanding, Matt. 13:15; Rom. 1:21; the reasoning powers, Mark 2:6; Luke 24:38; the imagination, Luke 1:51; conscience, Acts 2:37; 1 John 3:20; the intentions, Heb. 4:12, (cf.) 1 Pet. 4:1; purpose, Acts 11:23; 2 Cor. 9:7; the will,Rom. 6:17; Col. 3:15; faith, Mark 11:23; Rom. 10:10; Heb. 3:12.  The heart, in its moral significance in the OT, includes the emotions, the reason, and the will.3

Holman Bible Dictionary

Holman gives the most thorough explanation concerning the definition of the English word “heart,” when it states:

The heart is the center of the physical, mental, and spiritual life of humans.  This contrasts to the normal use of kardia (“heart”) in Greek literature outside the Scriptures. The New Testament follows the Old Testament usage when referring to the human heart in that it gives kardia a wider range of meaning than it was generally accustomed to have.

First, the word heart refers to the physical organ and is considered to be the center of the physical life. Eating and drinking are spoken of as strengthening the heart (Gen. 18:5; Judg. 19:5; Acts 14:17). As the center of physical life, the heart came to stand for the person as a whole.

The heart became the focus for all the vital functions of the body; including both intellectual and spiritual life. The heart and the intellect are closely connected, the heart being the seat of intelligence: “For this people’s heart is waxed gross … lest at any time they should … understand with their heart, and should be converted” (Matt. 13:15).

The heart is connected with thinking: As a person “thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). To ponder something in one’s heart means to consider it carefully (Luke 1:66; 2:19). “To set one’s heart on” is the literal Hebrew that means to give attention to something, to worry about it (1 Sam. 9:20). To call to heart (mind) something means to remember something (Isa. 46:8). All of these are functions of the mind, but are connected with the heart in biblical language.

Closely related to the mind are acts of the will, acts resulting from a conscious or even a deliberate decision. Thus, 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give.”  Ananias contrived his deed of lying to the Holy Spirit in his heart (Acts 5:4). The conscious decision is made in the heart (Rom. 6:17). Connected to the will are human wishes and desires. Romans 1:24 describes how God gave them up “through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies.”  David was a man after God’s “own heart” because he would “fulfill all” of God’s will (Acts 13:22).

Not only is the heart associated with the activities of the mind and the will, but it is also closely connected to the feelings and affections of a person. Emotions such as joy originate in the heart (Ps. 4:7; Isa 65:14). Other emotions are ascribed to the heart, especially in the Old Testament.  Nabal’s fear is described by the phrase: “his heart died within him” (1 Sam. 25:37; compare Ps. 143:4). Discouragement or despair is described by the phrase “heaviness in the heart” which makes it stoop (Prov. 12:25).

Again, Ecclesiastes 2:20 says, “Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labor which I took under the sun.” Another emotion connected with the heart is sorrow. John 16:6 says, “because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.” Proverbs 25:20, describes sorrow as having “an heavy heart.” The heart is also the seat of the affection of love and its opposite, hate. In the Old Testament, for example, Israel is commanded: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him” (Lev. 19:17RSV).

A similar attitude, bitter jealousy, is described in James 3:14 as coming from the heart. On the other hand, love is based in the heart. The believer is commanded to love God “with all your heart” (Mark 12:30; compare Deut. 6:5). Paul taught that the purpose of God’s command is love which comes from a “pure heart” (1 Tim. 1:5).

Finally, the heart is spoken of in Scripture as the center of the moral and spiritual life. The conscience, for instance, is associated with the heart. In fact, the Hebrew language had no word for conscience, so the word heart was often used to express this concept: “my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live” (Job 27:6). The Revised Standard Version translates the word for “heart” as “conscience” in 1 Samuel 25:31 (RSV). In the New Testament the heart is spoken of also as that which condemns us (1 John 3:19-21).

All moral conditions from the highest to the lowest are said to center in the heart. Sometimes the heart is used to represent a person’s true nature or character.  Samson told Delilah “all his heart” (Judg. 16:17). This true nature is contrasted with the outward appearance: “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7 RSV).

On the negative side, depravity is said to issue from the heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Jesus said that out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness,  slander (Matt. 15:19). In other words, defilement comes from within rather than from without.

Because the heart is at the root of the problem, this is the place where God does His work in the individual. For instance, the work of the law is “written in their hearts,” and conscience is the proof of this (Rom. 2:15). The heart is the field where seed (the Word of God) is sown (Matt. 13:19; Luke 8:15). In addition to being the place where the natural laws of God are written, the heart is the place of renewal. Before Saul became king, God gave him a new heart (1 Sam. 10:9). God promised Israel that He would give them a new spirit within, take away their “stony heart” and give them a “heart of flesh” (Ezek. 11:19). Paul said that a person must believe in the heart to be saved, “for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Rom. 10:10). (See also Mark 11:23; Heb. 3:12.)

Finally, the heart is the dwelling place of God. Two persons of the Trinity are said to reside in the heart of the believer. God has given us the ernest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Cor. 1:22). Ephesians 3:17 expresses the desire that “Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” The love of God “is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:5).4

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Easton’s states:

According to the Bible, the heart is the center not only of spiritual activity, but also of all the operations of human life.  “Heart” and “soul” are often used interchangeably (Deut. 6:5; 26:16; compare with Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30, 33), but this is not generally the case.  The heart is the “home of the personal life,” and hence a man is designated, according to his heart, wise (1 Kings 3:12, etc.), pure (Ps. 24:4; Matt. 5:8, etc.), upright and righteous (Gen. 20:5, 6; Ps. 11:2; 78:72), pious and good(Luke 8:15), etc.  In these and such passages the word “soul” could not be substituted for “heart.”

Easton’s goes on to say, the heart is also the seat of the conscience (Rom. 2:15).  It is naturally wicked (Gen. 8:21), and hence it contaminates the whole life and character (Matt. 12:34; 15: 18; compare Eccl. 8:11; Ps. 73:7).  Hence, the heart must be changed, regenerated (Ezek. 36:26; 11:19; Ps. 51:10-14), before a man can willingly obey God.  The process of salvation begins in the heart by the believing reception of the testimony of God, while the rejection of that testimony hardens the heart (Ps. 95:8; Prov. 28:14; 2 Chr. 36:13).5

Elwell’s Theological Dictionary

Elwell’s states:

The Hebrew and Christian views on the nature of man were developed in a religious setting: there is no systematized or scientific psychology in the Bible.  Nevertheless, certain fundamental conceptions are worthy of note:

  1. In the OT there is no very marked emphasis on individuality but, rather, on what is frequently now termed corporate personality.  Yet

  2. A. R. Johnson has shown that a fundamental characteristic of OT anthropology is the awareness of totality.  Man is not a body plus a soul, but a living unit of vital power, a psychophysical organism.

  3. The Hebrews thought of man as influenced from without, by evil spirits, the devil, or the Spirit of God, whereas in modern psychology the emphasis has tended to be placed on dynamic factors operating from within (though at the present time, fresh interest is being evoked in the study of environmental forces as factors influencing human behavior).

  4. The study of particular words in the OT and NT affords a comprehensive view of the underlying Hebrew and Christian conceptions of man.

The OT English versions of the Bible, several Hebrew expressions are translated “heart,” the main words being leb and lebab.  In a general sense, heart means the midst, the innermost or hidden part of anything.  Thus,the midst (or heart) of the sea (Ps. 46:2); of heaven (Deut. 4:11); of the oak (II Sam. 14:18).  In the physiological sense, heart is the central bodily organ, the seat of physical life.  Thus, Jacob’s heart “fainted” (Gen. 45:26); Eli’s heart “trembled” (I Sam. 4:13).

However, like other anthropological terms in the OT, heart is also used very frequently in a psychological sense, as the center or focus of man’s inner personal life.  The heart is the source, or spring, of motives; the seat of the passions; the center of the thought processes; the spring of conscience.  Heart, in fact, is associated with what is now meant by the cognitive, affective, and volitional elements of personal life.

The book of Proverbs is illuminating here: The heart is the seat of wisdom(2:10; etc.); of trust (or confidence) (3:5); diligence (4:23); perverseness (6:14);wicked imaginations (6:18); lust (6:25); subtlety (7:10); understanding (8:5);deceit (12:20); folly (12:23); heaviness (12:25); bitterness (14:10); sorrow(14:13); backsliding (14:14); cheerfulness (15:13); knowledge (15:14); joy(15:30); pride (16:5); haughtiness (18:12); prudence (18:15); fretfulness (19:3);envy (23:17).

The NT word for heart is kardia.  It, too, has a wide psychological and spiritual connotation.  Our Lord emphasized the importance of right states of heart.  It is the pure in heart who see God (Matt. 5:8); sin is first committed in the heart (Matt. 5:28); out of the heart proceed evil thoughts and acts (Matt. 15:19); forgiveness must come from the heart (Matt. 18:35); men must love God with all their heart (Matt. 22:37); the word of God is sown, and must come to fruition, in the heart (Luke 8:11-15).

Paul’s use of Kardia is on similar lines.  According to H. W. Robinson, in his book “The Christian Doctrine of Man,” in fifteen cases heart denotes personality, or the inner life, in general (e.g., I Cor. 14:25); in thirteen cases, itis the seat of emotional states of consciousness (e.g., Rom. 9:2); in eleven cases,it is the seat of intellectual activities (e.g., Rom. 1:21); in thirteen cases, it is the seat of the volition (e.g., Rom. 2:5).  Paul uses other expressions, such as mind, soul, and spirit, to augment the conception of man; but, on the whole, it may be said that the NT word Kardia reproduces and expands the ideas included in the OT words leb and lebab.6

Harris’s Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

Harris’s states:

lebab is rendered heart, understanding, and mind (also used in idioms such as “to set the heart upon” meaning “to think about” or “to want”).  Concrete meanings ofleb referred to the internal organ and to analogous physical locations.  However, in its abstract meanings, “heart” became the richest biblical term for the totality of man’s inner or immaterial nature.

In biblical literature, it is the most frequently used term for man’s immaterial personality functions as well as the most inclusive term for them since, in the Bible; virtually every immaterial function of man is attributed to the “heart.”

By far the majority of the usages of leb refer either to the inner or immaterial nature in general or to one of the three traditional personality functions of man; emotion, thought, or will.  Thought functions may be attributed to the heart.  In such cases it is likely to be translated as “mind” or “understanding.”

To “set the heart to” may mean to “pay attention to” (Ex 7:23) or to “consider important” (II Sam 18:32).  Creative thought is a heart function.  Wicked devices originate in the heart (Gen 6:5).  The RSV translates “which came upon Solomon’s heart” as “all that Solomon had planned” (II Chr 7:11).

Wisdom and understanding are seated in the heart.  The “wise heart” (I Kgs. 3:12; RSV, “wise mind”) and “wise of heart” (Prov 16:23) are mentioned.  This idiom can be so strongly felt that “heart” virtually becomes a synonym for such ideas as “mind” (II Chr 9:23; RSV) or ‘sense” (Prov 11:12; RSV).  The heart functions in perception and awareness as when Elisha’s heart (i.e. Elisha’s perceptive nature; RSV “spirit”) went with Gehazi (II Kgs 5:26).

As the seat of thought and intellect, the heart can be deluded (Isa 44:20; RSV “mind”).  The heart is the seat of the will.  A decision may be described as “setting” the heart (II Chr 12:14).  “Not of my heart” expresses “not of my will” (Num 16:28).  The “hearts” of the Shechemites inclined to follow Abimelech (Jud 9:3).  Removal of the decision-making capacity is described as hardening the heart (Ex 10:1; Josh 11:20).  Closely connected to the preceding is the heart as the seat of moral responsibility.  Righteousness is “integrity of heart” (Gen 20:5).7

The New Testament Word Psyche

According to Vine’s the NT word psuche (5590), which can be translated “soul,” or “life,” is rendered “heart” in Eph. 6:6, “doing the will of God from the heart.”  In Col. 3:23, a form of the word psuche preceded by ek, literally, “from (the) soul,” is rendered “heartily.”

See the following (RV) Scriptures: Col. 3:12 (NASB, NJ); Philem. 7, 12, 20 (NKJV, NASB); 2 Cor. 3:3 (KJV, NKJV, NASB, RS, AS); Eph. 1:18 (AS, RS, NASB); Heb. 8:10, 10:16 (RS, AS, KJV, NKJV, NASB); Luke 21:26 (KJV, NKJV); 2 Cor. 7:2 (KJV, NKJV, RS, AS, NASB).3

Conclusion

Hopefully from the plethora of references cited, it is beyond dispute that when the Bible refers to the heart it is not referring to the emotions solely.  While the emotions are a blessing of God, that lend exuberance and passion, both in the negative and positive aspects of sensation; they are never meant as the sole device of discretion.

This is the place of the seat of the will, but always according to the intellect in response to what God has said.  And while we should consider the emotions in any decisions we make, this is always in a subservient role, never taking preeminence.

There is an abundance of references to the heart as having the lead role in decision-making.  Both the Old and New Testaments present the word “heart” as always used to include the mental process (rational and reason), and the will(volition), as well as the emotions.

Final Definition

Personally, I believe the best definition of heart, is the focus and determination of the mind, and the response of the emotions.

The Bible never instructs us to be led by our emotions, but rather by our minds.

It is with our minds that we focus our attention and choose to obey God, and it is those actions that first are decided with our mind in consideration of what we focus on – that is what God holds us accountable for.

There is a great book written by a German woman the grand daughter of one of the great theological writers ’which one I don’t remember; Keil and Delitzsch, I’ve read this book several times but no longer own it, as when I gave my 25, 000+ books to a university. But it was a great book on the wholeness and soundness of a psychology that binds the heart of God and the mind of Man. And as God works in both our heart and mind we become one (more like him). If you have a copy of this book I would love to borrow it from someone.

Touch my hand and you’ve touched my soul, romantic words, not really, a divine reality of why we must protect the treasure, the divine creation that is God’s. We are a divine temple created by God, to be filled by His Holy Spirt. A Hebrew would say; “if you touched my heart, you’ve touched my sou. So what we do morally affects our relationship of heart and mind and soul with God. Therefore we need the Christian God to be our moral compass, to give us a godly heart, a loving heart, and be loving people.

Guard your treasure.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ARE WE THERE YET?

June 25, 2018

  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet. 5:6).

  The Blesser sends trials because the trials are blessings. Most covet the “blessing” of having the trial removed.

 I find the brightest summer is when the winter has been longest and most severe. The wheat, the best grain, passes a winter in the soil. The bud, the blossom, or fruit, most fragrant of Christ, is the one which nobody knows what it cost me but Himself; and where one had hardly noticed it; like the beautiful wild flowers in the meadows, contending with bushes and briars, to shed their fragrance on the unthankful or unthinking traveler going by.

I think we are sometimes ready to say to the Lord—Could you not have taught me without subjecting me to so much sorrow and humiliation? The answer I have had is, You could not be effectually taught any other way. The Lord knows the nature of the obstacle in me which He has to overcome: a less efficient hand might think that it could be dealt with in some other way.

A weakness be it bodily or otherwise, is sometimes allowed to continue in order that there may be dependence, and when there is dependence, the weakness becomes a gain; the grit—the trying thing—is superseded by a pearl of great price.

  “The God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect [mature], establish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Pet. 5:10).

Yet, though he slay me (Job) are you there yet.

Please continue you keep my wife, Sharon in your prayers, it’s going to be a week of tests and doctors wagging their chins.

Pray for Connie W. she wants to stay married and work things out.

Pray for Bob C, just lost his wife of 38 years.

Praise from Marilyn A, all her tests came back negative.

Pray for Midge, a dear saint in the Lord for many years, and this last year has been the worst trial of her life. The pain is robbing her of a victory. We pray she feels encouraged by all our prayers.

 

THE BREAD OF LIFE

What do people all over the world spend most of their time and energy doing? What are the barest necessities of life? Food, shelter and clothing. We spend most of our waking hours working to obtain these necessities. But of them all, food is the most important. Physical hunger is so consuming that we cannot think of anything else until it is satisfied.

Jesus used the legitimate cravings of the body for food to describe a deeper hunger the hunger of the soul for God and the longing for eternal life. And He demonstrated vividly His ability to satisfy that hunger forever. The disciples had been on the road with Jesus for over 2 years. They had heard His teaching and seen His miracles. He had been training them and now it was time to send them out in teams of two.

Luke 9:1-6

Do you see what He did? He delegated His power to them to do the same miracles he did. But He also sent them out by faith. They were to take nothing for their material needs. They were to trust God to supply their needs through other people day by day.

Can you imagine how excited they were when they returned? They had cast out demons and healed many sick people. And all of their personal needs had been supplied. What an experience!

Mark 6:30-32

Rest and refreshment. Time to be alone with Jesus. Time to relax and shareand be restored. How important that is for all of us. Have you ever had an exciting and productive experience and when it was over, there was a letdown? This is the remedy. Time alone with the One who made you fruitful and gave your life an impact.

Mark 6:33

The people ran around the northern shore of the lake and when the boat landed at Bethsaida, there was a large milling crowd waiting for Jesus. They wanted to see more miracles. This certainly was an interruption in His plans, was not it? How would Jesus react?

Mark 6:34

He welcomed them and had compassion on them. They were like sheep with out a shepherd. That does not mean much to us today, because very few of us have flocks of sheep. But a sheep without a shepherd has a very short life span. On its own a sheep cannot find safe pasture to feed on or still pools of water to drink. It cannot clean itself, defend itself or find its way home. Without a shepherd a sheep is totally helpless and hopeless and in peril for its life.

Jesus had come to be their Shepherd. So He healed their diseases and taught them God’s Word. This was what they needed most.

The hours went by as the crowd listened attentively. But the disciples began to worry about some practical matters. This was a very large crowd, 5000 men plus women and children; over 10,000 people. There were no Krogers or Tom Thumbs, and no Holiday Inns. How could these people be fed and find shelter for the night? They had better tell Jesus to quit preaching and send them home.

Mark 6:35-36

They were right to be concerned, but they had the wrong solution. The answer for anyone’s need is not to send them away from Jesus but to send them to Him. He is the only One who can meet any need we have, physical or spiritual.

But Jesus really surprised them with His answer:

They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat. (Matt. 14:16, NIV)

Who? Us? Surely Jesus did not expect them to buy bread for a crowd like this. Now remember, they had just come back from an extended tour during which all their needs had been supplied as God had motivated others to share with them. Surely they should have considered the supernatural in their equation. But they did not. Are we not like that? We do not remember God’spast provision when faced with a new crisis. Our faith for the new trials we face in the future will remain sturdy if we deliberately remember God’s provision in the past. Each experience should build on the last.

The disciples looked at the impossibilities, not at Jesus’ proven ability. They looked at their own inadequate finances and not at His limitless resources. They looked only to their helplessness and not at His power to work through them. Jesus was giving them the opportunity to be part of a great miracle, the only one that is recorded in all four Gospels besides the resurrection. He wanted to use them and all they could think of was their checkbook balance.

Are they really so different from us? God gives us a challenging child to raise, a difficult marriage, a job that stretches us, a family of origin that was unhealthy, an illness that saps our strength, finances that end before our expenses do. And we look at our inadequacies and poverty and say, “How can I do this? Surely God, you do not expect me to get through this.” And that is true.

He does not intend for you to find the strength you need from within yourself. 2 Co. 1:9 tells us that these things happen so that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God.

Mark 6:38

John tells us that a boy gave his lunch to Jesus: his five little barley loaves and two small fish. I wonder as the disciples went through the crowd asking for food, if there were others who had food but hung on to it selfishly. This little boy gave everything he had to Jesus and Jesus accepted his gift and used it. I think that children still respond this way to Jesus. That is why we must not wait till they get hardened and unbelieving as adults are before we tell them that Jesus loves them, died for them and wants them to trust Him. In fact, Matt. 18 says that adults must come to Christ humbly as little children do.

Mark 6:39-41

The crowd was now seated in orderly groups on the green grass. Jesus stood before them, took the tiny little lunch in His hands, and looked up to heaven. He thanked God and then divided the loaves and the fish. The disciples stood before Him with their empty baskets and he started putting bread and fish in each one. Before their astonished eyes the bread and fish just kept on multiplying till all of their baskets were full. Then they turned and distributed the food to the crowd.

I believe that even as the people reached in and took as much as they wanted, that the bread and fish in their baskets never ran out. Jesus took what was given to Him and multiplied it to feed all of these people. He used the little boy’s lunch and He used the disciples to meet the needs of over 10,000 people. You see, He never expects our resources to be adequate. He just wants us to give what we have and what we are to Him and He will multiplyour resources and use us to feed those who are dying of spiritual hunger all around us. But of course, the catch lies with us. How much will we give Him of our resources and ourselves? What was the result?

John says “Everyone had as much as they wanted.”

Mark 6:42

They all ate and were satisfied. Is not that the way it always is with Jesus? Just as He satisfied their physical need, He is the only One who can completely satisfy our spiritual hunger. This does not mean just the initial act of receiving Him as our Savior. This means that our spiritual life is sustainedand constantly renewed by Him alone.

John 6:12-13 (NIV) When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”

We never come to the end of what He wants to give us. He supplies more than enough. He came to give us an abundant life, not just mere subsistence. Nothing wasted: always enough for us to share with others. (One way to measure this is to see what God does with our money when we give it to Him. There is always enough there.)

As wonderful as this story is, there is significant meaning behind it that the Gospel of John goes on to explain. This miracle, in contrast to the others affected everyone there.

John tells us the crowd was so excited by this miracle that benefited all of them that they wanted to take Jesus by force and make Him King. This was not His timetable for that, so he withdrew from them and went back to Capernaum. The next day the people found Him there.

John 6:25-27

Jesus knew that they were there to get their stomachs full every day. That is how shallow their interest was. But he used their desire for food to teach them that He could give them something permanent-eternal life.

John 6:28

No different than millions of people today. They were so sure that if they just knew that special formula of works they could do, then they could do it and earn eternal life. Jesus answered them in words that could not be clearer.

John 6:29

There is only one work that will give you eternal life and it is not a work at all. It is simply to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. And God will give eternal life as a free gift.

To show you how materialistic and obtuse they were, listen to their next demand.

John 6:30-31

What miraculous sign will you do for us? Incredible! These were the same people who had all been fed just the day before. Now they challenged Him. They really meant, Moses gave our forefathers manna, bread from heaven, for 40 years. Can you top that? We will follow you if you feed us every day like you did yesterday! Jesus’ answer to this arrogant demand was very revealing.

John 6:32-35

Jesus here makes the first of seven claims about himself in John beginning with the words I Am. Surely this should have reminded them of the name God revealed to Moses at the burning bush, I AM WHO I AM. He is the Bread of life, (bread that is living/or gives life). Really saying to them: Do not compare me to Moses. Compare me to the manna. The rest of his conversation with them shows how God was giving them something greater than the manna that He sent their forefathers every day but Saturday for 40 years in the wilderness.

MANNA

JESUS CHRIST

Picture

Reality

Sent by the Father

Sent by the Father

For All

For all

Bread from Heaven

True bread

They had to pick and eat

We have to believe

They hungered again.

We will never hunger

Physical/temporal

Spiritual/eternal

They died

We live

Picture

Reality

The manna was just a picture of what Jesus Christ would be when He came to earth. He is the reality.

Sent by the Father.

Over and over Jesus states that the Father sent Him to give eternal life to everyone who believed in HIM.

For ALL

Just as the manna was for all the 3 million people of Israel. Just as the bread and fish were for all the 10,000 so Jesus Christ was sent for all the people in the world.

Bread from heaven/True Bread from heaven

The manna was bread from heaven. Ex. 16:4I will rain down bread from heaven for you. But Jesus was the genuine, real Bread from heaven. Six times in this chapter alone He claims heavenly origin.

They had to pick and eat. We have to believe

The manna did not keep them alive just by being on the ground. They had to eat it. It is not enough to know that Jesus came into the world, that He did miracles and that He died for sins. We each personally must put our faith in Him. That is why He kept using terms like eating, drinking, coming to Him. They all involved an act of the will to believe in His Person and His work.

They hungered again. We will never hunger or thirst

They picked the manna every morning for the day. They ate breakfast each day from it. After a few hours they were hungry again and had to eat again and the next morning had to gather it again. Jesus claims to completely satisfy the hunger of the human heart for God forever.

Physical-Temporal/Spiritual-Eternal

The manna kept them alive physically for 40 years in the wilderness. Though it was bread from heaven, its purpose was earthly and temporal. Jesus is the One Who gives life to our spirits, eternal life. Eternal life is a new quality of life as well as quantity.

They died/We live

The wilderness became one vast cemetery. The manna was just food for their bodies. Jesus gives us eternal life for our spirits now and resurrection for our bodies when He returns. Then we will be with Him in heaven forever.

Now He explained how He was the Bread of Life.

John 6:51-54

This bread is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. (NIV)

Can you imagine how repulsive this was to the Jewish mind? Blood was forbidden and human flesh! They missed the point entirely.

You see, again here that Jesus used material and physical things to explain spiritual truth. He used physical digestion to illustrate the process of faith. When you eat food, your body digests it and assimilates it and the food actually becomes part of your body. Jesus was telling them ahead of time that He would die for the world. That death and resurrection is an historical fact. But it does not apply to you unless you believe that Jesus Christ died in your place and you receive Him by faith. Eating and drinking are just another way of explaining what it is to believe. When you do that He comes to live in you and you live in Him.

Gal. 2:20 (NIV) I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

This means that He not only gives us eternal life when we initially trust Him, but He actually lives in us. He is our life. He exchanges our sinful, failing, inadequate life for His holy, powerful, fruitful life. He gives us the strength to endure suffering, He continues to change us and bring us to maturecharacter. In using the term Bread of life, Jesus is really saying that He alone is all that we will ever need to have eternal life, to know God, to be kept secure, to experience resurrection.

What was the result of this revealing discourse with was preceded just the day before by a spectacular miracle that illustrated it so powerfully?

John 6:60-66

REJECTION! It was a hard teaching to them to “eat flesh and drink blood.” Even though Jesus explained that He was talking about spiritual realities, not literal flesh and blood, they did not believe. And these uncommittedfollowers left Him.

Can you not hear the pathos in His voice as He turned to the Twelve?

John 6:67-69

FAITH These men did not understand everything Jesus said and did, but they trusted Him and were committed to Him. This sequel to the great miracle tells us something important. Miracles do not necessarily produce faith.That is why it is so important not to be presumptuous and demand of God that He do something spectacular for you to believe. Jesus Christ has already done everything miraculous that needed to be done for us to believe that the Father sent Him to reveal God to us and to give us eternal life. There are only two responses we can have to the claims of Christ.

Belief or unbelief. This applies to our daily walk with Him as well as our initial birth into God’s family.

What does Jesus reveal to us about God, our Heavenly Father?

  • That our Father’s heart is moved with compassion for us as we wander in our hopeless, lost condition.

  • That our Father knows both our physical and spiritual needs and provides for both.

  • That our Father is not impatient with us even when He knows our motives are self-serving.

  • That our Father will multiply what we give Him and use us to have an eternal impact on those around us.

  • That our Father will put us in situations that stretch our faith.

  • That our Father supplies abundantly, not skimpily.

  • That our Father always knows the degree of our commitment from the start.

  • That our Father sent Jesus to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. This is the only “work” we can do to be saved. We cannot earn eternal life by our own efforts.

  • That our Father gives us to Jesus and he will never drive us away. We are safe forever.

  • That it is our Father’s will that believers have eternal life and resurrection.

  • That our Father requires that we make a decision. We can choose to not believe in Jesus Christ. But there is no other way to God.

  • That our Father provides for our spiritual life to be sustained daily by “feeding on Christ.”

Are you feeding on Christ? How?

Matthew 4:4 (NIV) “Man does not live on bread alone…”

Reading His Word, obeying it, talking to Him, depending on Him and letting Him be our life. Jesus is the one who gives us the strength to face the trials and inequities of life. He is the One who gives us joy that is unrelated to our circumstances. He is the One who will take us all through this life with all of its uncertainties and then take us to be safe at home with Him. He is the Bread of Life and all we need.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

The next thing that we need to do if we’re going to have a successful argument—we need to deal with one problem at a time and deal with problems as they come up. Now the Bible says, “Don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath.” Many of us used to collect trading stamps. (I’m showing my age here) You used to go to the store and they give you these stamps after you buy something, the more you buy the more stamps you get, you put them in a little book, and then one day you go down and redeem them for anything the store carried. You collected enough stamps you could come out with new lawn mower or a new food processor.

 What you do is you just put them in the book. Now that’s the way a lot of marriages do. Your husband hurts you—you put it in the book. Say something else, late for the dinner—put it in the book. Forgot your anniversary—book it in the book. You don’t deal with those things as they come up and then one of these days, there’s an explosion. She comes in to cash all her stamps. I mean all at one time, or he comes in, and you wonder why, when did all of this happen? How did all of this happen?

You have failed to do what the Bible says to do and that is to deal with these things as they come up, when they’re small, when they can be dealt with. Trading stamp is not so big. It can be dealt with, but not the whole book all at once. “Don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath!” Stick to the subject. Know what it is. Don’t attack one another; attack the problem. Deal with these things as they come up.

(ok this is one giant pun) But you can lick the stamps, not the whole book. Deal with it when it comes up. This is why your church needs to do a seminar on Temperaments. If you understand your spouse’s temperament. The moody person that it’s always their fault, or the person who has no problems, it’s always ‘you’. Or how about the emotional handwringer it takes two days put them back together again or the let’s write this down and draw a chart to solve this.

None of these are wrong, but opposites attract and we need to know the emotional IQ of our spouses and how the God given temperament is a double edged sword it works great when the person is walking with God. But oh boy, when it’s the carnal nature leading the way watch out.

Homework assignment, seriously, read Tim LeHaye’s book on temperament and the book ‘please understand me’ these are great books and will help you as a spouse and as a parent.

Next learn to negotiate. Don’t get in a win-lose situation. Rather than having a war where both husband and wife lose, have a negotiation where both husband and wife win. Let both save face. Give in. Adjust. Compromise. Be gentle. Jesus does that. Jesus said, “I have many things to tell you; you’re not able to bear them.” He knows what we’re able to do. Learn not just to force your point all the way down to the bitter end.

And if you are one of these dim witted cavemen that with a bible in one hand and megaphone in the other yelling “submit” the bible says you have to submit woman. Well let me ask you one question Capt. Grunt, what have you sacrificed for your wife lately?

Golf on Saturday, out with the boys Friday, spending to much on toys, you know the big boy toys.

How about blessing your wife, do you touch her (non sexually) at least 10 times a day. How about kissing (non sexually) 10 times a day, holding the door open for her. Telling her how beautiful she is, saying thank you for dinner. No sniping and rude comments. You’d be surprised how the relationship changes.

Next, know how important this is, pray, pray, pray, pray and pray some more. It’s amazing how prayer will help you through these things. Sometimes Sharon and I will be in a disagreement. We’ll be sitting there at the kitchen table. It will get tense.

And she’ll say to me, “Greg, you’re wrong.” “Not me.” “Yes, you’re wrong.” “No, I’m not wrong.” “She says, you are wrong, but I can’t prove you’re wrong because you can talk better than I can. But I know you’re wrong.” I say, “No I’m not wrong.” “You’re wrong.” It gets tense I say, “Well let’s just stop for a while.” I go in my study and try and prepare a sermon. Ha. Try to read. Try to do something else. I can’t do it. So I say, “Lord, did you see what went on in there?” He says, “Yeah, you were wrong.” “Me?” “Yeah, you. You were wrong.” “Okay, Lord.” I have to go back, “Honey, I was wrong. Forgive me.” She says, “I forgive you.” We hug and kiss. Make up. Prayer will do that, friend. You be honest with God. Honest with God. Just honest and let God speak to you. And friend if you’ll do these things and they’re so simple, but so real, your marriage can be a marriage that can stay together as you have that commitment. That communion. That confrontation. All sheltered over with His great love. Would you pray for your home right now?

Which brings us to the most awkward thing I ask couples to do, kneel down next to the couch at least once a day and hold hands and pray together. Trust me the first few times it is going to feel weird and you might think your prayer didn’t go past the ceiling. But keep at it for at least 3 months and then you’ll see that time will become the most precious time of each day.

PS, no self-righteous, talking down to prayers. Husbands pray first, and the wife. You’ll be amazed what love and forgiveness, harmony and closeness develops.

Ding. This round is over.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember pray requests and comments to email address, ALSO IF WE NEED TO TALK BECAUSE YOU CAN’T FIND A GOOD CHRISTIAN COUNSELOR EMAIL ME YOUR PHONE NUMBER AND THE BEST TIME TO TALK.

ALWAYS LOVED

February 1, 2018

ok, i’m on my ipad and can’t get to the “part two” of having a good fight, sorry, it will have to come tomorrow.

ALWAYS LOVED

  “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph 3:19).

  God led the children of Israel into the desert with its thirst, that He might bless them. “For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4). It is for no less a reason that He takes us into the desert at times. “How shall He not with Him [Christ] also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:2).

Our Father disciplines us that we may be more fully free from the old nature, and find everything in the Lord Jesus. But He begins the lesson with the assurance, ‘I love you perfectly.’

‘I bring you into the desert to learn what you are, and what I am; but it is as those I have brought to Myself!’ He gives us a place with the Lord Jesus, but then shows us what He is and what we are. The discipline of the way teaches this; but if He, in His love, strikes the furrows in the heart, it is that He may sow the seed which shall ripen in glory.

Those who receive deliverance from their troubles never, grow like those who get strengthened in the difficulties.

How slowly one learns that His sympathy is not expressed in removing the affliction but in raising one above it to Himself, so that He becomes so endeared to the heart that He is more an object to the heart than oneself.

The hand of God never deals but in concert with His heart of infinite love towards us.

  “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are exercised by it” (Heb. 12:11).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Inspired to change

One area where I have found the most help is reading biographies of great Christians from the past. Don’t bother with the biographies of some modern Christian athlete or movie star. Read the lives of men like Calvin, Martin Luther, George Whitefield, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, George Muller, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Francis Schaeffer. Read missionary biographies of men like William Carey, Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor, David Livingstone, and Jim Elliot. I always come away with some helpful insights, some inspiring challenge, or a better understanding of myself through reading such books.

Recognize who you are in Christ Jesus and ask yourself how are you doing in these roles and how is it reflected in your life and especially to others.

Fellow heir with Christ (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7)

 Justified (Romans 5:1)

 Friend of Christ (John 15:15)

 Citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20)

 Temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19)

 Ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20)

 Coworker of God (1 Corinthians 3:9)

 Saint (1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2)

 One spirit with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17)

 One with the Father and Son (John 17:11,21-22)

 New creature (2 Corinthians 5:17)

 Righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)

 One with all believers (Galatians 3:28)

 Free (Galatians 5:1)

 Blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)

 Chosen, holy, and blameless before God (Ephesians 1:4)

 Loved and chosen (1 Thessalonians 1:4)

 Redeemed (Ephesians 1:7)

 Forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)

 Sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)

 Alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5)

 God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)

 Complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)

 Raised with Christ (Colossians 3:1)

 Christ is life (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4)

 Child of God (John 1:12; Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:7; Ephesians 1:5)

Finally the two things you can do to change is read your bible more and pray more.

Not good at reading, stop reading junk books and turn to serious literature. It will take awhile to get with it. keep a dictionary at hand (not the internet or you’ll get distracted to look at something else). And there are some great books to read about how to read and speed reading. I would often take one speed reading course a year while in seminary, it helped that much.

Pray more by praying everywhere, in the car, walking, working. Read the classics on prayer.

Pray out loud.

Praise, praise God out loud every time and everywhere, you’ll be surprised who chimes in or comments. (positively).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

The Crown

December 27, 2017

  “The God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect (mature), establish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Pet. 5:10).

  At first, the old nature hides from us. Then, we try to hide from it. But when we begin to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, we are able to face up to the awful facts concerning the old man and his condemnation at the Cross. As the Holy Spirit reveals the old man (Col. 3:9), we count upon death; as He reveals the new man (Col. 3:10), we count upon life (Rom. 6:11).

The believer, at the opening of his new course of life, never knows his own heart; indeed, he could not bear the full knowledge of it; he would be overwhelmed thereby. He graciously leads us by a circuitous route, like Moses in the wilderness, we are on a journey of self discovery. And because of His grace we are led slowly into the understanding of how great our sin and fallen nature as corrupted, in order that our apprehension of His grace may keep pace with our growing self-knowledge.

It was not for nothing that God let Satan loose upon His dear servant, Job. God loved Job with a perfect love; a love that could take account of everything, and, looking below the surface, could see the deep moral roots in the heart of His servant—roots which Job had never seen, and, therefore, never judged. What a mercy to have to do with such a God!

To be in the hands of One who will spare no pains in order to subdue everything in us which is contrary to Himself, and to bring out in us His own blessed image!

  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:6, 7).

We to shall wear a crown of sorrows before we wear a crown of joy. Like Job we will all be tested, bear up under it because it is the mark of kinship with Christ.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Thank you with all my heart those that comment,, hit the like button and pray. Thank you for all the bibles donated for our bible quizzes.

We have so many people emailing to be put on our prayer list, sometimes I can’t list them all. We had one guy that drove over 900 miles to hand us his prayer request, so he could be prayed over before surgery. I wept so deeply that this guy was so disconnected from any sort of community. God not only healed him but blessed him with a new heart and he is getting “plugged in” here in our little town. He’s now the unofficial greeter at Denny’s, handing out tracts and bibles and asking people if they need prayer.

God bless you all so much.

HIJACKED

December 4, 2017

HI-JACKED

Susan Smith drowned her two toddlers by strapping them in their car seats and aiming her driver-less car into a lake. Political cartoonist John Deering drew a cartoon showing her car being hauled out of the lake, complete with a South Carolina license plate, a Baby-on-Board sign in the back window, and a Pro-Choice sticker on the rear bumper. There was no caption; there didn’t need to be. His point was clear: If it is wrong for a mother to choose to kill her toddlers, why is it not wrong to kill them a few months before?

A Planned Parenthood newsletter earlier this year ran an article titled, “Help Stop the Violence and Defend the Right to Choose.” The violence referred to was not killing babies, but killing abortion doctors. I’m against killing abortion doctors, but I’m also against Planned Parenthood which kills babies! Pro-choice means the choice to kill children who just aren’t as old as other children. The right to choose to kill your children should not be legal because it is not moral. Let’s drop the rhetoric.

The latest Planned Parenthood brochure says they are a good choice when it’s not convenient for you. Don’t wreck your plans your life call us when it’s inconvenient.

I want to recommend that you listen to Pastor Steven Davies, at Wisdom for the Heart ministries. And today’s sermon. 12/03/2017

He reads a speech by the president of Planned Parenthood, declaring that the services they provide are holy, sacred, and divine. That they are providing a sacred gift.

Ok, right now your blood pressure should have shot up, your fists curled and maybe a little cussing. Really, we can’t talk about our faith at work if you are a Christian, but an abortion clinic is holy, sacred and divine.

Dr. Walter Martin, the excellent author of the book “kingdom of the Cults.” Writes a great thesis in the beginning of his book, “we must agree what words mean.”

It started with Bill Clinton defining what sex meant, and now the language of God, of the Judeo-Christian world is being hijacked by abortionists. Do you want to know why? It because they are defying God, they are reprobates, their minds are darkened and they blaspheme God. It’s not politics it’s about the tower of Babel. What men think in their mind and imagination they will carry out against the wishes of their Creator.

Friends we need to pray for our country like never before and stop these ungodly people and their agenda.

if you have had an abortion, God loves you and forgives you.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the truth about forgivness

November 28, 2017

I am amazed at all the “teachers” out there that say they are “biblical” or I’m a Christian whatever. Unfortunately so many people don’t know what the bible really teaches, so they don’t know they are being duped with distorted truths and just plain nonsense. These new fads come up with “secrets revealed” and yet they either got their so called training off a cereal box or don’t have any discernment at all. And in a bid to be famous or trendy the come up with sayings that really don’t mean anything. But hey put a pretty face on it and a package with great graphics and you have a best selling falsehood.

Which brings us to forgiveness, biblical forgiveness, not some new age, touchy feely nonsense.

Joseph had a solid reason for wanting revenge against his brothers: They planned to kill him but instead sold him into slavery and told his parents he had died. And then, to his surprise, their paths crossed again. Now he was in a position of power and authority; he could have had his brothers executed or sold as slaves. Instead, he forgave them (see Ge 45:4–7).

 Joseph understood that God had used the crime to save the lives of others (v. 5). But knowing God used the situation for good probably didn’t remove all of Joseph’s hurt and pain. Forgiveness is necessary, but it isn’t always easy. Knowing what is and is not required of us can help us through the process of forgiving those who have wronged us.

 Forgiveness requires that:

  ➤ You understand what it is—Forgiveness is a decision and a promise to release a person by canceling the real debt the person has with you. It’s returning to God the right to take care of justice.

 ➤ You focus on how God has forgiven you—The starting point of our willingness and ability to forgive is God’s forgiveness of our sins. Reflect on the many ways you have sinned against your Creator and then think about the price he paid so that you could be forgiven and restored. Focusing on your gratitude for what God has done in forgiving your sins often makes it easier to forgive the hurts caused by others.

 ➤ You accept that it is not optional—Gratitude to God will often motivate us to forgive others. But when the hurt and pain is too deep and forgiveness seems impossible, we might need to remind ourselves that forgiving others is not optional—it’s a prerequisite for our own forgiveness. As Jesus said, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Mt 6:14–15).

 ➤ You separate your feelings from forgiveness—If you rely on your feelings to let you know when it is “time” to forgive, you might never do it. The time to forgive is always now, not when our feelings catch up or the hurt has passed.

 ➤ You realize psychological relief is not the reason—Often when we forgive someone who has wronged us we will eventually feel a sense of relief or peace. While this is a welcome benefit of forgiveness, it is not the reason we forgive.

 ➤ You know the initiative is on the forgiver—May we wait until someone seeks our forgiveness before we forgive them? No, we may not. Jesus expects us to forgive those who sin against us even before they request it or take responsibility for what they have done (see Mk 11:25).

 ➤ You realize it is an ongoing process—We tend to want a “once and for all” forgiveness event, but Jesus reminds us that with some people or situations, we will need to forgive over and over and over again (see Mt 18:21–22).

  Forgiveness does not require that:

  ➤ You forget—We can forgive without forgetting the situation that caused the debt. For instance, if someone has physically abused you in the past, you can forgive them without putting yourself into a situation where they can continue to harm you. Forgiveness might lead us to seek reconciliation, but we are not required to put ourselves in danger. While God commands us to forgive others, he never told us to keep trusting those who violated our trust or even to like being around those who hurt us.

 ➤ You necessarily have a face-to-face meeting or restoration of relationship with the offender—(you do not)

  Though we are called to forgive those who sin against us, and we must be ready and willing to do so (attitudinal forgiveness), pursuing relational reconciliation is complex and not automatic. As a general rule, if the offender has not repented, has not acknowledged the sin, and does not ask for forgiveness (transactional forgiveness), reconciliation is not warranted. The decision to reconcile is also impacted by the duration and severity of the sin involved.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

MY DEAR SON

November 24, 2017

My Dear Son;

I’m not sure how to write this letter or to talk about the burden in my heart in such a way that you are encouraged to repent because of your relation to Christ and not based on your relation to me. In that I have failed to be the godly role model that should have guided you to a deeper walk with Christ.

You are correct in that when I took a hiatus from the church pulpit and left the ministry for a while I became very carnal and course in my speech and habits. I know that for both of us leaving a very strict Pentecostal culture, we were in uncharted territory in both of our lives.

And I’m so sorry that it took me as long as it did to get back to that well spring of holiness and sanctification that God was renewing in my life. And that my waywardness has affected you more deeply than I feared. It is my most fervent wish that you would renew your walk in leading a life pleasing to Christ in every area of your life. That specifically your choice of entertainment was filtered by asking yourself if this would be pleasing to the Lord.

You are the best son a father could have, you are like me in so many areas that is why I am warning you not to repeat the same mistakes I’ve made in my life. I am so proud of you and wish only the best for you. But please consider a godlier walk in every area of your life and not use me as an excuse to be vulgar.

It may not be a great failing, but it is a failing none the less and the sorrow I feel that my example would be the root of this is so painful to my heart. Especially now in the midst of this great trial I’ve been enduring for so long, and my renewed closeness to God and the deep restoration of a truly faithful walk with Him, I feel the blame more keenly as I’ve grown close again to God.

I love you so much and you are a great son but please take this to heart.

DAD.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com