Living Guilt Free

May 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

GOD GAVE US A CONSCIENCE TO MAKE US AWARE OF SIN

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

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

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

God’s Only Remedy for Sin and Guilt Is Jesus

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

GOD’S FORGIVENESS INCLUDES A CLEANSED CONSCIENCE

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

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

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

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

THROUGH CHRIST, SIN IS GONE FOREVER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOD FORGIVES US BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST

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

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

SIN DAMAGES OUR FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

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

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

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

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

The Story of David and Bathsheba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONFESSION IS REQUIRED FOR GUILT TO BE REMOVED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Need a Clean Conscience to Serve God

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

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

Satan wants us to be immobilized by guilt.

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

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

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

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

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

If we are going to understand the Word of God, we must have a spiritual

attitude toward it. The Lord said that “the natural man receiveth not the

things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he

know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14). God

refuses to reveal Himself to just any casual passer-by. The Lord indicated

this when He said in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before

swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you”

(Matthew 7:6). This same thought must have been in His mind when He

prayed, saying, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, be because

thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them

unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Matthew

11:25, 26).

The fact that one must have a spiritual attitude that comes from

spiritual life in order to understand the deep things of the Word of God is also

the true meaning of the great verse which we quote in paraphrase: “For

whosoever hath [new life in Christ], to him shall be given [knowledge of the

divine plan and revelation], and he shall have more abundance: but

whosoever hath not [the new life in Christ], from him shall be taken away

even that [common sense and deep learning that might make him one of the

world’s leaders of the world’s thinking] he hath” (Matthew 13:12).

The Lord says that the anointing by the Spirit renders us capable of

understanding, so that we do not need to have any one teach us (I John 2:27).

The existence of teachers by divine order and arrangement is like the original

institution of divorce, not because it was God’s first choice, but because of the

hardness of the hearts of men (Matthew 19:8). The responsibility for reading

and knowing the Word and will of God is upon every individual, who must

find out for himself, conclude what he believes and be ready to give an

answer for the hope that is within him, knowing that he will be answerable to

the Lord for the content of his faith, and that he will not be permitted to

present the excuse that he believed what some church or group of clergy

interpreted for him. All this to show what the passage does not teach.

Positively, what it does teach is that no passage of Scripture is to be taken by

itself, but that Scripture must be read in the light of the rest of the Bible.

The whole of the Bible to understand the Bible. That’s one reason I’m a big fan of the Thompson Chain Reference Bible. No commentary, just the Bible highlighting the Bible.

That’s not to say I’m against Commentaries, yet great care must be taken in understanding the bias of each author or editor. What is their theology? It will affect interpretation. After 40 years of Bible teaching I confess that I’ve barely scratched the surface of what can be known. Few today spend hours in prayer, hours in study, hours in waiting on God to be shown divine inspiration. And now with bible software and the internet, most sermons are borne of a few key strokes and not in anguish waiting upon God and the study of His Holy Word.

Thus, is the reason so many Christians are empty headed or easily led astray, because the pulpits are filled with pastors who are more interested in the latest books by someone who is famous. And even though there are serious theological mistakes (errors, unsound doctrine, heresy) it’s ok to buy their book and line their pockets because they are famous. (you ever hear of lemmings?)

Am I being unkind?

Most sermons are plagiarism or just bought outright. In this frenetic fast paced world, we have sold our spirituality to a stopwatch that measures our microseconds of spiritualism.

The One Minute Christian is the norm.

Am I being unfair?

Thank God there is a remnant, that there are those who are like the Marines, the few, the chosen. (Semper Fi) But even the reputation of the Marines is in shambles, as sex scandals and the number of rapes coming to light is in the dozens.

So am I in a dismal mood?

Is my lament inaccurate?

If you’ve read this far you are a minority, but a blessed one.

Many thanks to the ones that encourage and exhort, that pray and prod.

Rise up O’ Men of God, (how many husbands and fathers do daily devotions with their family or spouse?) be done with lessor things.

We will all stand in judgement, not of our salvation but of our attachments to lessor things.

Make the change, today, put off the trappings and pleasures of this world.

Here’s the challenge, only watch Tv the same amount of time you read your bible.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ROOTED

May 4, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

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

 

OH My Queen

May 3, 2018

So I’m making my rounds on the psych ward and I have a new patient. Unless I’m told their excessively violent I usually don’t read their chart and go in and get a fresh, new perspective.

First warning Is she is on the criminal (forensic) ward. Second she is in a locked padded room and slightly sedated.

I have the floor nurse unlock the door and let me in, there is only a bed and a chair bolted to the floor; seated is a young woman, age 22, about 5 foot tall and a little pudgy. (not judging just saying she’s overweight)

As I enter the room and sit in the chair she sits up and says; “you didn’t bow, you are supposed to bow in the presence of royalty.” So I apologized and said I’m new here and didn’t recognize her. So I did a little bow and she said thank you.

I asked her that since I was new to the area could she tell me about herself so I would know how to address her. Very calmly (could be the drugs) she stands and curtsies and says; “you are addresses the royal queen of Mars, you may call me your queen or your majesty.”

Wow the queen of Mars, didn’t see that one coming. ‘So your majesty how did you end up here?’ She put her hands to her head the way you do when you have a headache, she grimaced slightly and then smiled. ‘I just saved your life and all the lives of Earth, you may thank me.”

‘Thank you very much your Majesty but how did you save my life just now?’

Simple she says, I have the most powerful brain in the world and I’m stopping the invasion from Mars by my most powerful thoughts.

‘So how did you end up here on earth’ I asked? She replied; “I came back to protect my family here on earth, they needed my protection.”

I would like to visit you again my queen may would tomorrow be alright?

She said that would be fine.

So I went out to read her case file. Turns out she came from a large family and was physically abused by all the family, as she was slightly retarded and the youngest of the family. There were x rays of her skull to show the damage to her skull and ct scans to show the brain trauma (tbi) she was living with.

Seems that on their last vacation the family car got a flat tire and the family insisted she change the tire as it was to hot for them to do it. When she couldn’t get the lug nuts off the wheel her father hit her in the head with the tire iron. (yes he is in prison).

Suffering physical and mental and even sexual abuse she had a psychotic break and ended up here in the mental ward because she stabbed her youngest brother when he climbed into her bed the night before.

Why the queen of Mars, we never figured out why that specific story. But we do know the why of such a story. She needed to be important and some way of finding value and humanity. She needed an explanation as to why she was being made a victim and by a family that was supposed to be loving her and protecting her.

So a queen in exile, being hunted by people masquerading as her family, because she couldn’t believe that her own family could be this cruel.

So she built this elaborate story and then moved into it. This was the only way her damaged brain and hurt psyche could cope with all the pain.

I wish the story had a happy ending, but the brain damage was to severe and the psyche to injured to undo the story, the story was all she had, in order to live at peace with herself and the world.

But there are two questions I have for you, 1. Are you safe, if something bad is happening to you, keep telling someone until you are believed. 2. Are you important, don’t let anyone destroy your self-worth, not boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, family.

Believe you are loved by God and have infinite worth and value, so much so that He sent his son to die for you.

Psalm 24:14 be of good courage and wait upon the Lord.

As he will rescue you.

And in the words of Winston Churchill, ‘never give up, fight, fight fight keep fighting. Because you do have worth and fighting for your dignity is a noble purpose.

God bless.

Reach out to us at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

We are praying for you all.

So you thought you had a bad day.

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”

Michael reply: “Each morning I wake up and say to myself: Mike, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I point out the positive side of life.”

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy.” I protested.

“Yes, it is.” Michael said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situation. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”

I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the Cell Tower industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communication tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied: “If I was any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?” I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was the well being of my soon to be born daughter” Michael replied. “Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live.

“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked. Michael continued, ” The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he is a dead man’ I knew I needed to take action”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Michael. “She asked if I was allergic to anything.”

“Yes?” I replied.

The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply.

I took a deep breath and yelled “Gravity”.

Over the laughter, I told them, “I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.

I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude IS everything.

So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SHOUT

April 13, 2018

The opening remarks by President Ronald Reagan at the Jewish Memorial day, April 11th 1983.

“In the early days of our country, our first President, George Washington, visited a Hebrew congregation in Newport, Rhode Island. In response to their address, he wrote them a now rather famous letter reflecting on the meaning of America’s newly won freedom. He wrote, “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens.”

Well, certainly our country doesn’t have a spotless record, but our fundamental beliefs, the ones that inspired Washington when he penned that letter, are sound. Our whole way of life is based on a compact between good and decent people, a voluntary agreement to live here together in freedom, respecting the rights of others and expecting that our rights in return will be respected….”

Read those paragraphs over a few times and realize that today in 2018, white, conservative, Christian, heterosexuals are being marginalized and silenced. Our universities are the capitals of inclusion and diversity. I spoke at a private college last month and was booed off the stage at a diversity commencement. They wanted me to talk about the role of immigration in America. And I did. The largest wave of immigration to America were the people of Ireland. So if you are Irish then you are part of the largest immigrant group in this country.

That isn’t what they wanted to hear. We have a congress woman from Missouri calling for the assassination of President Trump. No Secret Service agents showed up at her door.

A minority, a militant minority is spewing its doctrine of hate, and if we keep silent like the Jews did, the white conservative Christian will be silenced and chained.

Jesus called us to love one another, all people of all races, and walks of life, sexual preferences, to love and be light and preach a message of love and hope and redemption.

I’ve never wrote a devotion of this tone or subject, but I cannot remain silent and watch our country, led by a media of hate and obsession turn us against one another. Loyalty and patriotism should still count for something, love of God and country should still be taught. Young people today are not being taught about the holocaust, only the mistakes this country has made.

Stand up, speak out, be brothers and sisters of Christ, of love and hope, but do not be silent. I’m a veteran, a Republican, a Christian, male heterosexual, bible believing, praying, miracle believing, proud of America and will not be silent.

Protest, march, pray, be loud, be proud to be a Christian. I’m not a racist or a hater, but I am Irish.

And no, I’m not running for office.

God bless America.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

DEAD MAN WALKING

April 11, 2018

  “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin” (Rom. 6:11a).

  All of the cults, from TM to ST to SDA, to Joel Osteen, to hypnosis, are simply self-improvement aberrations. The Cross alone provides death to self and life in the Lord Jesus Christ. “God forbid that I should glory, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14).

 What becomes us now is to have the Lord Jesus before us, and not the correction of the old man. The snare of trying to improve oneself is very common, and it is important to see, that however well-meaning it may be, it is really a denial that our old man has been crucified, and a revival of that which has been judged in the death of the Cross.

 It is plain that if you are clear of the domination of the old man you can have no man before you but the Lord Jesus, and the more sensible you are of how ready the flesh is to intrude.

  God never means me to be able, with the Pharisee, to thank Him for the goodness that I find in myself. If I will be at it, He leaves me to find in this irreparable flesh, which cannot be mended, what I may break my heart over, but never alter.

 It is a quicksand which spoils all my building—a morass impracticable to cultivation; and God uses this, in His sovereignty over evil, to wean me from self-confidence and self-complacency, and self-improvement and to cast me upon Himself.

  “Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be. . . alive unto God through Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Rom. 6:11b).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Lauren, so far her commitment to celibacy has been strong and much has improved in her life.

Pray for students on college campuses that are being expelled, harassed and silenced, to their commitment to Christ and a conservative agenda.

Pray for sanity for our Country, that the insanity of diversity and inclusiveness is outed for the lie it represents.

Pray for Courtney, married, 2 kids, late 30’s, she has been walking on the edge of her marriage vows, a flirt, a tease, up to now she’s never crossed the line. But last night only a chanced friend (the Lord) crossed her path and in embarrassment, she bailed on stepping out.

 

The Braying

April 10, 2018

  “The things that thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

  Truth based upon law will be presented legally—it will be legislated. Truth based upon grace will be shared graciously, in love. “Adorn the doctrine of God” by “speaking the truth in love” (Titus 2:10; Eph. 4:15).

  There are two things that have to be taken into account in communicating truth. Not merely should there be certainty that it is the truth from God, but it must also be suited to those whom you address. They might need it all, but they may not be in condition to receive it all; and the more precious the truth, the greater the injury, in a certain sense, if it is presented to those who are not in a state to profit by it.

We see a servant in Acts 8 taken away from an interesting field of service, to meet one man in the desert. “It is not a question of how we succeed; but have we the assurance that we are doing the Lord’s work? Happy is the servant of God, who is so led by Him that he always presents the right measure of truth suited to the maturity of the believer and refuses to supply the knowledge that is not fitting or proper to their spiritual condition.

If you thought preaching was easy, it’s anything but that. One of my hardest battles was realizing you can’t teach a fool, no matter how much you liked them.

  “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:13).

A right word at the right time to the right person at the right moment; only when you are led by God.

And most of the time (99%) you will never know it when you do.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the marriage list

March 24, 2018

been a long time since I’ve done a list, since I’m well known in the area for doing weddings not held in a church and have one tomorrow this is befitting.

I have two rules (besides the list) one, be sober, and two, show respect or I will either leave or jack you up. best behaved group of people I’ve ever had was a L.A. gang wedding. They flew out to the ranch so they wouldn’t have to worry about gun play.

MIXED MARRIAGES

  1. Don’t be yoked with an unbeliever.

2 Cor. 6:14-16. Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

  1. Two cannot walk together unless they are agreed.

Amos 3:3. Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?

  1. There were sad results of mixed marriages prior to the flood.

Gen. 6:1-4.

  1. God’s people are warned against mixed marriages; unbelievers will lead them to sin.

Exod. 34:16. When you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.

  1. God will reveal his anger if and when his people marry unbelievers.

Josh. 23:12-13. If you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the LORD your God has given you.

  1. In Ezra’s time many did intermarry. This led to much sin, and Ezra confessed the guilt of God’s people.

Ezra 9:1-15.

Ezra 9:2. The leaders came to me (Ezra) and said, “The people of Israel. . .have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness.”

  1. Men of Judah intermarried and were led into deep sin. God was angry with them.

Neh. 13:23-27. Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God’s name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for your sons or for yourselves. Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?”

MARRIAGE, HUSBAND/WIFE RELATIONSHIPS

  1. Marriage was instituted and designed by God.

Gen 2:18-25.

  1. At the heart of marriage is companionship and intimacy, which both husband and wife must promote.

Gen. 2:18, 24. The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”. . .For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

  1. The relationship between husband and wife is similar to that between Christ and the church. Eph. 5:23. The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

Eph. 5:31-32. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church.

  1. The husband is the head of the wife and the home.

Eph. 5:23. The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

  1. Husbands must love their wives as Christ loved the church.

Eph. 5:25. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

  1. Husbands must exercise headship in love.

Eph. 5:25-33.

Col. 3:19. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

  1. Husbands must treat their wives with the respect and as equal heirs of God’s gifts.

1 Peter 3:7. Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

  1. The husband must manage his own home well; he is the manager.

1 Tim. 3:4. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.

  1. The husband and father is primarily responsible for training the children.

Eph. 6:4. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

  1. God’s design for the wife is that of a helper suitable for man.

Gen. 2:18. The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

  1. Both husband and wife must seek to reflect the relationship between Christ and his church. Eph. 5:25, 32.

  2. A wife is to submit to her husband, as the church submit to Christ.

Eph. 5:22-24. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Col. 3:18. Wives, submit to your husbands in everything.

Col. 3:18. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

1 Peter 3:1-2. Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without talk by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

  1. A woman is not to exercise authority over a man.

1 Tim. 2:11-14. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adams was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

  1. The Bible gives a description of a wife of noble character, who uses her gifts faithfully.

Prov. 31:10-31.

Prov. 31:10-11. A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lack nothing of value.

  1. The fear of the Lord is more important than physical beauty.

Prov. 31:30. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

  • Peter 3:3-4. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

  1. Husbands and wives must not fight and destroy each other.

Gal. 5:15. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

  1. Both husband and wife must quickly pursue peace when trouble arises.

Matt. 5:23-24. If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift.

Rom. 12:18. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

  1. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Matt. 12:25. Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

  1. Keep loving those who are wayward.

  • 18:33. (David never lost his love for his son Absalom, who tried to kill him. When he learned of his death, he wept.) The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you – O Absalom, my son, my son!”

MARRIAGE

(Winning One’s Mate to Christ)

On a certain occasion, Jesus startled His disciples with a paradox. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. for I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36, NIV).

In no situation is the cost of discipleship more evident than in marriage where one partner is a Christian and the other is not. Life sometimes becomes complicated because the interests, activities, and goals are at variance. The conversion to Christ of one’s mate should receive the highest priority, but extreme caution should be exercised as to methods followed in pursuit of this goal. Many marriages end in divorce because of the insensitivity and overzealousness of the Christian partner in attempting to witness.

Counseling Strategy:

  1. Congratulate the inquirer for the concern in wanting to share the most wonderful of life’s experience with someone so dear. The caller must be aware, however, of the “sword” in the above quotation.

  2. Counsel the individual not to attempt to play God. He or she cannot force the mate to accept Christ, nor can one do it for the other. Those who attempt to take things into their own hands may be headed for disaster.

  3. Counsel him not to come on too strong but to maintain a humble attitude rather than a judgmental one. Attitude is extremely important.

  4. Counsel the Christian to devote himself or herself to personal spiritual maturity through the reading and studying of God’s Word, to learn to pray, and to practice it faithfully. Prayer is of great value. Commit the mate to the Lord and by faith claim conversion. It would be wise not even to reveal the prayer concern. Trust God. He has a wonderful way of working things out.

  5. Example is powerful! Let the mate see Jesus in the other’s attitudes and actions.

Let love overflow. True love cannot be counterfeited. Paul says: “Love is patient, love is kind. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4,8, NIV). Make an attempt to demonstrate that “God has poured out his love into our hearts. . .” (Romans 5:5, NIV).

  1. Never try to win the day through argument or sermonizing. This will usually produce antagonism and deepen resistance. Peaceful co-existence is a method suggested by the Apostle Paul. See 1 Corinthians 7:12-15.

Billy Graham touches on this: “The Apostle Peter had something to say about this. He said: “Ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they may without the word be won by the (behavior) of the wives’ (1 Peter 3:1). This is no easy assignment, but the responsibility is upon you, not on your husband, to live a life that will challenge him to make his own decision. This cannot be done by nagging or lecturing, but by the manifestation of a spirit of meekness and submission that he had not discovered in you before. Whether it is the husband or the wife who is the Christian, as a Christian he must always accept and expect some ridicule and even mistreatment for the faith. Just bear this in mind: no one is in a better relationship to win the other to Christ than a life partner.”

  1. Do not insist that the mate attend church or special Christian services unless there seems to be a disposition to do so. An alternative to church would be introducing Christian friends into the home on social occasions. The husband or wife is bound to see the difference in their lives. The opportune moment for sharing Christ will come.

  2. Pray with the inquirer for perception, wisdom, and patience to await the right moment, putting into practice all the above as indicated.

SCRIPTURE

“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without talk by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

1 Peter 3:1-4, NIV

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

James 1:5, KJV

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”                                                                                James 3:17, KJV

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6, 7, NIV

MARITAL RELATIONS PROBLEM

The person’s marriage may be on the verge of breaking up; separation may have already occurred. In marital conflict, disagreement and mistrust are the rule rather than the exception.

BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

The scriptural ideal is that two shall become one flesh (Gen. 2:24). God intended the man and the woman to be bound together until death (Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:10, 11; Mark 10:9).

COUNSEL

Try to find the root cause of the marital conflict, i.e., inability to accept the other person as he is, unforgiveness, lack of submission to the other, etc. Intercede on behalf of the couple, praising God for what he will do. Denounce Satan (Matt. 18:18) He is a liar and a deceiver and desires to destroy marriages.

Pray for God’s grace on the persons involved (Ps. 103:8). The Lord desires to shine his face upon them and be gracious to them (Num. 6:4-6). He wants to ground them and plant their roots deep. He is keeping them according to his power working in them (Eph. 3:17-20).

Therefore, at each encouragement, praise God for restoring and blessing the marriage (Heb. 13:15).

If a person chooses to fast in behalf of the people involved, interceding in prayer and standing for the spiritually weak partners, God has promised to honor such a fast and repair the breach (Isa. 58:6-12).

Do not take sides yourself, creating a three way conflict.

Refer the person(s) to a pastor for counseling at a Christ-centered church that clearly teaches the Bible.

PRAYER

Offer thanks and praise to God for working out the rough places and giving hope and renewal.

FOLLOW-UP

Make a list of all the things for which you can honestly praise your spouse. Each day share five of these, instead of criticizing, for at least one week. Continue until your list runs out.

MARRIAGE, ANTICIPATING Background

Marriage is the most serious long-term contract a couple will make in their lifetime, but many enter into it with a lack of maturity and knowledge. The growing number of divorces shows how imperative it is that young people be adequately prepared for marriage.

Here are a few helpful marriage principles for all who anticipate repeating their wedding vows:

A good marriage is not made in heaven, but on earth. Love is a fragile commodity which needs to be cultivated and nourished constantly. Of course, those intending to marry should look to God for His guidance, but the success of their marriage will be largely dependent on the couple and their efforts in response to God’s leading.

A good marriage is not based on idealism, but on reality. The Cinderella syndrome where every girl finds a prince and “lives happily ever after” is usually a fairy tale. Far too many marry with unrealistically high expectations, and then spend years suffering and adjusting – if they stay together at all.

A good marriage is based on respect for one’s self and for the partner.

A poor self-image, inherited from a stressful home background or immaturity, can lead to stormy seas. A solid relationship with Jesus Christ and an understanding of one’s self in the light of that relationship are very important.

A poor understanding of each other can also lead to misunderstanding and conflict. It doesn’t take too much discernment to realize that male and female are different physically, but how many anticipate that their partner-to-be is just as different emotionally and mentally? Each partner must realize this and be prepared to make the necessary allowances and adjustments. “Male and female created He them; and blessed them. . .” (Genesis 5:2, KJV).

A marriage where there are similarities in the partners has a better chance to succeed. This means:

The same religious background.

Similar cultural and social backgrounds.

Comparable economic levels.

Equal educational advantages.

A stable home situation.

Marriage was never intended to be a “reform school”! One who marries another with the hope of “correcting” problem behavior is courting a disastrous future. What could not be changed before marriage is not likely to change at all. This should be taken seriously in those instances where alcohol, drugs, or immorality are involved.

Couples who “marry in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39) have the potential for a much better relationship than those outside of Christ.

Billy Graham advises: “The home only fulfills its true purpose when it is God controlled. Leave Jesus Christ out of your home and it loses its meaning. But take Christ into your heart and the life of your family, and He will transform your home.”

Counseling Strategy

  1. Congratulate the inquirer on his or her initiative in seeking counsel about a forthcoming marriage. Share the following Scriptures:

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him: (Genesis 2:18, KJV).

“Whoso findeth a wife (husband) findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22, KJV).

  1. Advise him that in order to have God’s presence and guidance in life and marriage, he or she would do well to commit his or her heart and life to Jesus Christ. Share “Steps to Peace with God,” page 5.

  2. Counsel the inquirer to take a firm stand for Jesus Christ whether previously a Christian, or having just received Christ. He or she should also begin to read and study God’s Word, to pray about all matters, ant to become involved in a Bible-teaching church. All these things will deeply enrich life, enabling him or her to offer much more to the marriage.

  3. When the individual marries, be sure that it is “in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14, KJV).

  4. Before marriage, the inquirer should improve the chances for making it a success by:

  5. Seeking God’s blessing and control over his or her own life and that of the partner

through prayer.

  1. Assimilating all the knowledge possible about a Christ-centered home and marriage.

Search the Scriptures for passages on marriage and the home.

Read books by Christian counselors and pastors. Such materials are available at a local Christian bookstore. Many church libraries are well stocked with books on marriage and the home.

Take advantage of seminars, courses, and films prepared for this purpose.

Seek counseling from a qualified pastor, marriage counselor, or Christian psychologist. Such counseling should include a comprehensive approach to marriage, including personal, spiritual, financial and sexual mattes.

  1. After marriage, practice the following:

Become grounded in a local Bible-teaching church where the marriage will be able to flourish spiritually, and where the future family can be received and nurtured in eternal things.

Resolve to communicate freely and honestly with the partner on all levels of life: mental, emotional, and physical. Such a practice will help greatly in problem solving as issues arise in the marriage.

  1. Pray with the inquirer for God’s blessing, presence and leading in his or her life and coming marriage.

Scripture

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”                                                          Ephesians 5:21, 22, NIV

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”       1 Peter 3:7, NIV

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

Proverbs 24:3, 4, NIV

“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to so?”                                                                                                             Amos 3:3, NIV

2 Corinthians 6:14,15, NIV

MARRIAGE PROBLEMS Background

When two lives are bonded together in a long-term intimate relationship, there is bound to be an occasional problem. Many couples go into marriage with very little preparation for it. Sometimes they lack sufficient emotional maturity, stability, or flexibility – which a successful union must have.

What are the components of a good marriage?

Mutual Respect

Respect means that each accepts the partner as he or she is, not attempting to manipulate, and unselfishly nourishing the partner in such a way that he or she may become the person God intended. Respect distinguishes between the ideal and the real, and does not demand too much. “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33, NIV).

Genuine Commitment.

The marriage vow says, “Forsaking all others.” The Scriptures state, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they twain shall be one flesh” (Matthew 19:5, KJV). Time and experience in marriage reveals that being “one flesh” does not mean an abdication of personality or personal rights. Rather, it is a fulfillment. Good Commitment.

In order to communicate, there must be understanding of the emotional, mental and physical differences between men and women. There must be companionship. “I’d rather be with my spouse than with anyone else.” There must be conversation, not only a discussion of differences when such arise, but a meaningful exchange on the intellectual and emotional levels.

Time and Effort

Love must be given the opportunity to mature. The climate for this is set in God’s Word. When the going gets rough, a couple just doesn’t “fall out of love”; they stay together and work things out. They do not consider themselves a martyrs of a “bad bargain,” but “heirs together of the grace of life” (Peter 3:7, KJV). “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33, NIV).

Problems and differences are resolved through forgiveness. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32, NIV).

Cliff Barrows often gives a message to Christian couples, entitled, “Ten Words that Will Safeguard a Marriage.” They are:

I was wrong.

I’m sorry.

Forgive me.

I love you.

This same formula will work to safeguard one’s spiritual life as well. Couples need to learn to clean up issues as soon as they develop and to erase the slate every day. See Ephesians 4:26.

Spiritual Unity.

Understanding the spiritual dimension in marriage has profound implications. Paul compared marriage – the union of husband and wife to the eternal relationship between Christ and the Church. (See Ephesians 5:22-33.)

Billy Graham writes: “The perfect marriage is a uniting of three persons – a man, a woman and God! That is what makes marriage holy. Faith in Christ is the most important of all principles in the building of a happy marriage and a happy home.”

Counseling Strategy

  1. Be supportive and encouraging. Listen carefully with understanding. Don’t judge. Don’t take sides. Sometimes the inquirer is at fault.

  2. Attempt to discover reasons for disagreements and problems. Ask questions, if necessary. Does the inquirer feel that he or she has any responsibility in any of the negative developments?

Ask how the inquirer would rate the marriage in the light of “What Constitutes a Good Marriage” found in the BACKGROUND. How has he or she fallen short? What might be done to improve the relationship? In humility he or she could ask forgiveness for insensitivities, hurts and offenses. It may take time, but it is worth the effort.

  1. Ask if God has ever been brought into their life and marriage. Share “Steps to Peace with God,” page 5.

  2. Where does the individual go from here? Share follow-up steps.

  3. Get into the Word of God, reading, studying and applying it to his or her life and

marriage.

  1. Learn to pray daily. Pray for each other. Pray about existing or potential problem areas.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV). Better attitudes lead to a deeper sensitivity as to the needs of one’s mate, producing better relationships. This is one of the values of Bible study and prayer: it will help us to anticipate problems as it makes us more spiritually sensitive.

  1. Become involved with spouse and family in a Bible-teaching church. Active

participation in a dynamic church can revolutionize a marriage and family. Spiritual resources and support can be found in fellowship with committed Christians and in consultation with a committed pastor.

  1. Should further counseling be needed, and it often is in troubled marriages, help could be

found through contacting a qualified pastor or a Christian psychologist or marriage counselor.

If the inquirer is a Christian, encourage him to start serious counseling with a Christian marriage service or qualified pastor. Often many concessions and adjustments have to be made on the part of each partner, requiring prolonged professional sessions. The important thing is for them to honestly and sincerely face their situation in the light of the Word of God. A good place to start might be an application of the Cliff Barrows formula from the BACKGROUND.

Scripture

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem (the) other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of the others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 2:3-5, KJV

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”                                                                  1 Corinthians 7:3,4, KJV

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”                       1 Peter 3:7, KJV

Ephesians 5:22-23

MARRIAGE

(Pressure to do Wrong in Matters of Conscience)

Background

When a person is converted to Christ, his body becomes the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19,20), and his conscience is subject to the Word and will of God.

The Christian’s conscience is cleansed from the sins and disobedience of the past in order that he may serve the living God (Hebrews 9:14).

The Christians conscience is made holy and sincere, according to the Word of God, so that he may walk with integrity in this world. “Now this is our boast: our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace” (2 Corinthians 1:12, NIV).

If a Christian has a weak conscience, he is apt to submit to evil and thereby become defiled. (See 1 Corinthians 8:7.)

Our goal as Christians should be that of the Apostle Paul: “And herein do I exercise (exert) myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16, KJV).

Many Christians have problems in the area of conscience. For example, one may be married to a nonbeliever or have become converted to Christ after marriage and find that he or she is pressured to submit or to act contrary to the Scriptures in conduct, worldly involvements and even sexual practices. This can lead to unhappy conflicts in marriage.

The Bible teaches that the role of a wife is to be submissive, but it also enjoins a husband to love his wife as his own body (see Ephesians 5:22,28). Thus, neither mate has the right to order his or her partner to do something contrary to the Scriptures that would offend conscience.

Counseling Strategy

  1. If this problem is presented, commend the inquirer for being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in his or her life, and for wanting to do right.

  2. Encourage a firm stand for Christ, in the light of Romans 12:1,2.

  3. Urge the individual to keep the lines of communication open with his or her mate in order to discuss freely and fully the problems involved and the reasons why it is not possible to agree to such requests.

Make an effort not to be critical or judgmental. “We catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” If one is not careful at this point, the point of no-return could quickly be reached, bringing conflict and hostility.

  1. Love covers a multitude of sins. Counsel the caller to love sincerely, demonstrating it through word and action. The Christian partner should express appreciation, admiration, and praise as much as possible in those areas where it is due.

  2. Encourage the inquirer to pray, first for wisdom and guidance in both the discussion and suggested action (see James 1:5), and then for the partner’s obedience to the Word of God and commitment to personal faith in Christ. Caution: One should not be too aggressive in attempting to win a husband or wife to Christ. Please see chapter on MARRIAGE (Winning One’s Mate To Christ).

  3. Pray with the inquirer in order to encourage and fortify his or her resolve.

Billy Graham comments: “Complete fulfillment in marriage can never be realized outside the life in Christ. It is written in the Scriptures that Christ came into the world to destroy the works of the devil. Christ’s power over the devil is available to the Christian, and the destroyer of the ideal home can only be routed (put to flight) through the power of Christ.”

Scripture

“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

Hebrew 9:14, NIV

“We must obey God rather than men.”                                                  Acts 5:29, NIV

“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without talk by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. . .For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. . .Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. . .

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

1 Peter 3:1,2,5,7,815,16 NIV

Got Pruned?

March 12, 2018

Got Pruned?

A great mystery surrounds the spiritual growth of the hungry-hearted believer.

The Spirit gives a foretaste of a deeper life before the believer is led into the fulness of it. Many believers mistake their foretaste for the fulness, not realizing that the Lord is just beginning to lead them

The hard-heartedness of our nature is the failure of our youth—our spiritual youth, as well as our natural youth; eagerness to run in God’s path, but not apprehending what the path is, or what it requires to walk in it. On the other hand, when the cost is counted, and our weakness known, the energy begotten of self-confidence being gone, we need a stimulating call on God’s part, to get out of the persistent occupation with our weakness now, as with our strength before.

Suffering is not meant by God to be loss and deprivation. Satan says that it is. God means suffering to result in increased spiritual capacity, which is the basis of added responsibility, trust, and fruitful sharing. The branch of the vine may bleed from the drastic pruning and feel stripped of much glory; but more and better fruit is the vinedresser’s vindication.

But we being of such stubborn nature, like the Apostle Paul, ‘kicking against the prods.” Thus, the school of the desert, the wilderness wanderings, the warring in our hearts with what we should and what we most heartily do naught. There is as much left undone in our lives as what ought to be done. Thus the reason that God is a Vinedresser and we the vineyard.

  “As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:49).

Thank God, He is patient, or we would be branches thrown in the fire.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

A special thanks to our prayer warriors, and a big shout to the encouragers. I can’t tell you how many nights I come to the keyboard and think there is no more to be poured out. And yet He gives more, all glory to God, He is worthy of all our praise. And to Ms. Kelly, yes, these are all rough drafts, “grammar be damned “ (G. K. Chesterton)