read my mind

October 21, 2017

If you could read my mind love

What a tale my thoughts could tell

Just like an old time movie

About a ghost from a wishing well

In a castle dark or a fortress strong

With chains upon my feet

You know that ghost is me

And I will never be set free

As long as I’m a ghost you can see

If I could read your mind love

What a tale your thoughts could tell

Just like a paperback novel

The kind the drugstore sells

Gordon Lightfoot.

first thoughts.

Number one; God can read your thoughts

Number two, the devil cannot read your thoughts.

Number three your spouse can’t read your thoughts

Number four, all tv mind readers, spirit guides, palm readers, horoscopes, mediums, they are all fake and or demonic.

Number five we are commanded to know the mind of God.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9).

We are also told to “be of the same mind toward one another” which means essentially that we must develop and maintain the mind of Christ or God’s thoughts. We are to “stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Rom. 12:16; Phil. 2:5; 1:27). But if my thoughts are contrary to God’s, then I must exchange my thinking with God’s and for that process, He has given us His inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word. So what is our need? We are to study the Scripture, but for that to be effective, we also need to develop the art of biblical meditation.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 4:4 Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.

The bible has quite a bit to say about our minds, thoughts, intents, feelings. More than we may think (pardon the pun).

Possibly the third most asked question; “how can I be a better Christian?”

Here’s the short answer;

Psalm 63:6 When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches,

Psalm 77:11 I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Thy wonders of old.

Psalm 78:42 They did not remember His power, The day when He redeemed them from the adversary,

Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Thy doings; I muse on the work of Thy hands.

Spend more time thinking about God and less about yourself.

One thing that amazes me about social media is how often people take pictures of themselves. Get over yourself.

He (God) must increase, I must decrease. Pretty simple.

Well I promised myself this would be a short devotion.

Think about God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

WE ARE NOT TRYING TO PERSUADE YOU TO ONE FORM OF THEOLOGY OR ANOTHER, WE ARE JUST INFORMING YOU OF TWO PREDOMINATE SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT. YOU AS A CHRISTIAN MUST BE READY TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO ALL.

Part two on theology

Yesterday we talked about Reformed or Covenant Theology. So that would be some Presbyterians, and Baptist, not all but most.

Today we’ll cover Dispensationalist’s. first a cautionary note. And that’s jumping to conclusions. Not all Pentecostals are Dispensationalists. In fact a great many are Reformed in theology except for the speaking in tongues part.

Some great Dispensationalist for you are John MacArthur and The Dallas Theological Seminary. Foundation.

.Plymouth Brethren Movement -J. N.Darby, WilliamKelly . C.I.Scofield . WilliamTrotter . C.H.Mackintosh

Key Influencial Preachers .L. S. Chafer F.W.Grant

.Harry Ironside Erich Sauer .W. A. Criswell John Walvoord

Charles Ryrie

Wiliam Newell

  1. C. Gaebelein- Our Hope Magazine

Institutions

Moody Bible Institute

Dallas Theological Seminary

Grace Seminary, Indiana

Talbot Seminary, California

1930s-1940s

Harry Ironside

William Newell

  1. C. Gaebelein

  2. S. Chafer

Theodore Epp-Back to the Bible (1939)

Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry(1938)

1950s-1960s

Dallas Seminary, Charles Ryrie, John Walvoord, Dwight Pentecost

  1. E. Vine, Erich Sauer

Warren Weirsbe

Lehman Strauss

Charles Swindoll

Quite a surprising list and not to mention there are Classical Dispensationalist and Neo Classic and Modern and Ultra Modern Dispensationalists.

And the New Reformed Movement is attacking Dispensationalists like they were a cult. Which they are really attacking the Ultra Modern’s and not the classics.

So enough of that; here is some info to help you converse and understand the other side of the coin compared to the Reformed Movement.

Dispensational theology is probably the most popular theological understanding in America at this time, even though it has a more recent origin than Covenant theology. The development of Dispensational theology dates back to the nineteenth century in Britain. J.N. Darby (1800-1882), an Irish lawyer, sought to explain the uniqueness of the Christians’ spiritual condition “in Christ.” To explain the radical different in Christian “benefits” from that afforded to peoples in all prior times, Mr. Darby employed the division of time into distinct “dispensations.” Harry Ironside, a later proponent of Dispensational theology, noted that “until Mr. J.N. Darby…it (the dispensational idea of a postponed kingdom) is scarcely to be found in a single book or sermon through a period of sixteen hundred years.” Darby’s novel idea of distinguishing “dispensations” of time became the basis of a new theological system known as “Dispensationalism.”

   As with Covenant theology, it is equally important to explore the socio-political climate in which Dispensational theology emerged. In nineteenth century Britain there existed an abundance of oppressive and depressing sociological conditions, out of which grew an anti-establishment movement of thought against both governmental and ecclesiastical authority. Historical analyst, George Marsden, has noted that two individuals who were contemporaries of one another both became the catalysts of popular systems of thought. J.N. Darby (1800-1882) and Karl Marx (1818-1883), both reacted to the existing conditions in nineteenth century Britain.  Whereas Darby came to the forefront in saying the church must look forward to ‘The Rapture’ as the world was to evil to successfully reform.

   J.N. Darby became an instrumental leader in the movement which became known as the “Plymouth Brethren. (not the same as the Brethren Church)” This independent religious group was outside of the mainline institutional churches of that.Other British Dispensationalists include C.H. Mackintosh, William Kelly and E.W. Bullinger. Darby made at least eight visits to America to promulgate his new interpretations, and they were espoused by such American leaders as Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) and J.H. Brookes (1830-1897). Other prominent names associated with Dispensational theology in the twentieth century include W.E. Blackstone, L.S. Chafer who founded Dallas Theological Seminary, and C.I. Scofield who popularized Dispensational theology with his explanatory notes in The Scofield Bible. Dispensational theology became entrenched in the “Fundamentalist” movement of the 1920s and 1930s. More recent Dispensational writers included John E. Walvoord, and Charles Ryrie who like Scofield has added explanatory notes in hisRyrie Study Bible.

   Dispensational theology is not as closely connected with Calvinistic theology as is Covenant theology. This explains in part why it so quickly and easily found favor across denominational and theological lines in America, for there were many American Christians who did not appreciate the rigid dogmatism of five-point Calvinism and desired more freedom for diversity, in typical American pluralistic fashion. One could wish that Dispensationalists could have maintained such tolerance for diversity without becoming so dogmatic and exclusivistic about their own theological and eschatological opinions, which led eventually to the “Evangelical” movement breaking free from the “Fundamentalist” movement in the 1940s. Dispensational distancing from strict Calvinism allows Pentecostal and Holiness theologies, which are quite Arminian, to be Dispensational in theology as well. Covenant theologians are quick to fault Dispensational theology for not adhering to pure Calvinism, but sometimes unfairly charge all Dispensationalists with being Arminian in their theology. (which the majority are not Arminian). (Arminian’s believe you can be saved and then lose your salvation).

   Some of the prominent features of Dispensational theology include (1) distinct dispensations of time, (2) the dichotomy of Israel and the Church, (3) the unconditional covenant of God with Abraham, to be fulfilled physically and literally for the Jewish people in the future Davidic/millennial kingdom. Upon these basic presuppositions the system of Dispensational theology is constructed.

the early formulators of Dispensational theology defined a “dispensation” as “a period of time with a test that ends in failure,” and began to divide all history accordingly. A more complete Dispensational definition of a “dispensation” might be “a period of time wherein (1) a distinctive idea of revelation is given by God, (2) a specific test of obedience is given based on that revelation, (3) man fails the test of obedience, (4) God judges man for his disobedience, and then establishes another dispensation.” These dispensations do not build upon one another, but are regarded as totally distinct and separate from one another.

   Dispensationalists are not agreed as to the number of dispensations of time wherein God deals with men in different ways. At least three dispensations are required for the theological system to provide the contrasts necessary; these are the dispensation of law, the dispensation of grace, and the dispensation of the millennial kingdom. The most popular calculation of dispensational time periods is seven. They are usually identified as

(1) The dispensation of innocence (Gen. 1-3), wherein the test was the eating from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” and the failure was the fall of man into sin.

(2) The dispensation of conscience (Gen. 4 8:14), wherein the test was proper sacrifice and the failure was the continual evil of men’s hearts judged by the flood.

(3) The dispensation of human government (Gen. 8:15 11), wherein the test was governance and compliance with government and the failure was evidenced at the tower of Babel.

(4) The dispensation of promise (Gen 12 Exod. 18), wherein the test came when God offered the Law to the Israelites, and the failure is alleged to be their abandonment of a prior grace/faith relationship with God by their rash and foolish acceptance of the Law.

(5) The dispensation of Law (Exod. 19 Acts 1), the test of which came when Jesus came to earth and offered the Jews the Davidic kingdom which they refused, so God postponed the fulfillment of the kingdom promise.

(6) The dispensation of grace (Acts 2 Rev. 19), wherein the test is for Christians to live obediently in grace, but the failure is predicted to be the apostasy of the institutional church.

(7) The dispensation of the kingdom (Rev. 20), a thousand year period which will end in final rebellion leading to the judgment of God upon the earth and the inauguration of a “new heaven and new earth.”

Dispensationalist’s believe in a more literal interpretation and less allegorical than the Reformed tradition.

A second prominent feature of Dispensational theology is the radical dichotomy and disjuncture of Israel and the Church. In an apparent attempt to keep law and grace distinctly separated, Dispensational theology has divided the nation of Israel from any connection with the Church of Jesus Christ, the Body of Christ. They are alleged to be so mutually exclusive as two separate peoples that “never the twain shall meet.” J.N. Darby indicated that “the Jewish nation is never to enter into the Church.”The physical race of Jewish people is regarded as God’s “earthly people” while Christians are regarded as God’s “heavenly people.” Dispensational theology indicates that separate promises are given to Jews and to Christians.

That is why a Dispensationalist has a problem with Messianic Jews. You are either a Christian or you are not. There are to the Dispensationalists Kingdom promises and then promises to the Church.

A third basic presupposition of Dispensational theology is the unconditional covenant with Abraham, to be fulfilled physically and literally for the Jewish people in the future Davidic/millennial kingdom. Beginning with the promises of God to Abraham in Genesis 12, 15 and 17, the Dispensationalist argues for a literal fulfillment of these promises for the physical race and nation of the Jews. Such fulfillment is alleged to be the epitome of God’s intent and the primary message of the Bible. Charles Ryrie states that “the goal of history is the earthly millennium…(which is) the climax of history and the great goal of God’s program for the ages. John E. Walvoord further explains that “the Abrahamic covenant furnishes the key to the entire Old Testament…(and) sets the mold for the entire body of Scripture truth. Thus, there will be after the Rapture, the time of Tribulation and Jesus returning to set up a literal kingdom on earth for a 1000 year reign.

God therefore postponed the re-implementation of the Kingdom until Jesus comes again to set up the millennial kingdom, which will be the fulfillment of the “new covenant” promised to the Jews. The period of the postponed kingdom, the “dispensation of grace,” is a parenthetical time period wherein God’s primary purpose is interrupted and held in abeyance. The Church is not to be identified with God’s kingdom and was unforeseen by all of the Old Testament prophets whose prophesies never refer to the Church age. The Church, which is primarily for Gentiles, began on Pentecost, and there are many “mysteries” concerning God’s revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ so as to “call out” a “heavenly people” whose destiny is to be seated with Christ on the throne in the New Jerusalem of heaven. Meanwhile the primary futuristic focus is on the return of Jesus Christ to re-establish the realm of the earthly Davidic Kingdom in Palestine during the 1000 year millennial period which fulfills the promised “new covenant,” the “dispensation of the kingdom.” (Some Dispensationalists will allow that the “new covenant” may have a double application: a spiritual application for the church and a physical application for Israel.) The return of Christ is “imminent,” expected at “any moment.” It will be preceded by the “rapture” in order to remove the Church and keep Israel and the Church separated. Dispensational theology is necessarily premillennial, but that does not mean that all premillennialists subscribe to Dispensational theology. There are covenant theologians who believe in a premillennial return of Christ.

There are of course many other ‘schools’ of theology, and most borrow bit and pieces from the other. There are those who say we only have ‘Biblical Theology’ of we only have a ‘Christocentric’ theology. Each borrow strongly from the other.

The more you study you will probably end up like me and say I have an Adaptive Theology. It is the sum of all the parts. There are quotes attributed to Calvin (Reformed) that he never said. As well as quotes to Darby and Dispensationalists that are pure myth. Find out the truth, for one reason, you make sense when you talk and can give a better answer than ‘because’.

Where do i fall, Reformed, Dispensationalist, semi Pentecostal, brethren, Mennonite.

That’s it, no more theology, back to rant and rave, prod and poke.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

chasing our tails

October 13, 2017

Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for Thee, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?

Matthew 5: 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

John 4:13-14 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Revelation 7:16-17 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.

A word loaded with figurative meaning is the word, “thirst.” In the Bible, “thirst” is a translation of the Hebrew sama, and the Greek dipsos. We have an English word that is derived from dipsos, the word dipsomania used of extreme thirstiness, but especially of the insatiable craving for alcoholic beverages. Thirst refers to the sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat caused by the lack of fluids which results in a desire to drink. From this sensation it seems that people of almost any language use the word thirst as a synonym for a strong desire or craving for whatever the object, like a thirst for knowledge, or a thirst for wealth.

Have you ever really been truly thirsty? To some degree we all know the sensation of thirst and the longing for a drink especially when expending a lot of energy. In the heat of summer when our bodies do a lot of perspiring they cry out for more fluids. But very few of us have ever been in the desert without water to the point of serious life-threatening dehydration and known the real pain of thirst or a craving for water like Hagar and her son in the wilderness of Beersheba (Gen. 21:14).

But I would ask you this, what will it take for you and me to stop chasing our tails. Or in the more common vernacular ‘three steps forward, two steps back” and that’s being wildly optimistic.

Why do we keep screwing up?

Why do we have pornographic thoughts in the middle of our prayers? Or have you ever thought of all the money you’ve spent on things you don’t really need? Oh, that’s right we call it a collection.

Or how about the time the offering plate is going by and you’re going to put in a twenty and see you have a five and grab that instead. The plate goes by and there’s a twinge of guilt and you do what you always do, ‘next time’.

How many ‘next times’ will there be.

The broken promises to God.

Oh, God it was an accident I never was planning on having sex when I left the house.

The cursing you promised you’d quit and the quick not really meaning it “I won’t do it again God” prayer. And since you don’t really plan on stopping, there isn’t even an apology to God anymore.

When did God become a habit or just a religious routine?

And if you are a person without any accountability, you are actually shocked at how far you’ve drifted.

Well someday there has to be a reckoning. You can either do it now, with real intent or just let the carnal cocoon keep spinning its soft web around you, hey there’s always tomorrow.

And    BAM, YOUR DEAD, WHOOPS TO LATE.

Oh well I hope I’ve at least given you indigestion.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the true mark

September 29, 2017

The subject of positive self esteem, love yourself, self love, our self-concept or self-image creates a kind of paradox. The Bible-believing Christian knows that he is a sinner, that in himself dwells no good thing, and that in himself he has no merit with God; yet, like a paradox, at the same time, he also knows, as a creation of God, created in God’s image and redeemed by His grace, he has value and purpose in life.

So how do we hit a proper balance? How do we avoid the self-centered approach and focus of the world and at the same time have a biblical concept of self, a proper viewpoint of our own value and purpose that sets us free to serve the living God, that sets us free from those thoughts and feelings that tie us in knots and ruin our personalities, create false agendas and motives that so people are incapacitated for ministry?

That we think properly about ourselves is important and is even commanded in Scripture. In Romans 12:3, the apostle wrote, “For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith.”

The basic word for “think” in this passage is proneo, which means “think, form or hold an opinion, judge.” “Sober discernment,” is sophroneo, “be of sound mind.” It means “to be in one’s right mind, be reasonable, keep one’s head.” But first, the apostle warns us against thinking more highly of ourselves than we should.” The Greek word here is huperphroneo, “to think too highly of oneself, to be haughty.” Ironically, quite contrary to our society today, the apostle does not warn against thinking too little of ourselves. Regardless, the sound thinking Paul is calling for is grounded in biblical revelation and faith in the work of God for us in Christ. Paul is calling for thinking and personal evaluation based on the authority of God’s revelation and on the facts of God and His grace. It means we are to look at ourselves through the lenses of Scripture.

To Timothy, whom some expositors have nick named “Timid Tim” because he seems to have been having problems with his self-confidence (or confidence in God’s gifts and ministry for his life), Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a Spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (or sound-mind thinking). The Greek word for “discipline” here is related to the word used for thinking in Romans 12:3. It is sophronismos from sophron, “sensible, prudent.” It comes from sos, “safe, sound, and phren, “the heart, the mind, or the inner man.” Sophronismos refers to “control, self-discipline, prudence” that stems from right thinking. A controlled life, one that demonstrates self-discipline stems from soundness of mind, from knowing and acting on the truth of Scripture in the light of God’s grace in Christ. In both passages, Romans 12:3 and 2 Timothy 1:7, the context deals with God’s gifts to us and the bold expression of those gifts in loving ministry for the sake of the body of Christ.

Thinking properly about ourselves stems from right thinking about God, but then that extends to right thinking about others so that it results in a freedom to serve according to the grace of God.

Now, let’s ask some questions: What am I worth as a person? Do I feel good about who I am or do I wish I was someone else? Have I accepted who I am as a person, not my sin or sinful habits, but the uniqueness God has created in me as a person (Ps. 139:13-14)? How we answer these questions may play a key role in what we do with our lives, how we live our lives, in the joy we experience in life, in the way we treat others, and in how we respond to people and to God. “Research has shown that we tend to act in harmony with our mental self-portrait. If we don’t like the kind of person we are, we think no one else likes us either. And that influences our social life, our job performance, our relationships with others.”

A biblical concept of self developed out of our concept of God and His grace is important to solid spiritual maturity, to ministry, to our ability to lead others, and especially to our ability to be servants. Without a biblical concept of self, we end up playing spiritual king-of-the-mountain and engage in promoting personal agendas to build up a sagging ego. We seek from position, power, and praise what we should get from resting in God’s grace.

Thus, in order to effectively lead or minister to others we must think biblically about who we are. This means two key things: (a) we need to know our abilities and limitations while (b) always keeping in mind a biblical view of God, His grace to us in Christ, and knowing our sufficiency is always in God regardless of our abilities or weaknesses (see 2 Cor. 2:16-3:6).

Why is thinking in these terms so important? Because without it we will vacillate between fear and pride or between insecurity and overconfidence. Without this we will become either withdrawn and introverted or we will find ourselves running around in a hubbub of activity trying to feel good about ourselves because of our achievements. Paul’s spiritual maturity and qualification as a leader is seen in his freedom to serve others because, resting in who he was in Christ as a servant called of God by grace, he was not seeking to protect a poor self-image or to impress men with his greatness (cf. 1 Cor. 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:1-6).

It’s all about balance, self identity, who am I, and why am I here. Talk about this topic with teens, young adults and college students; and not give empty rhetoric and blasé platitudes and you will pack out the house. Add to that have the meeting in a non-traditional place and wow, you will have people come that will never walk into a church. (until you show them it’s relevant.)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Roger D, and Jennifer, cataract surgery coming up soon, they’re both a little bit afraid.

Susanna B, against all advice from all her family, she went and had face surgery, (plastic) it went really wrong. The emotional damage done right now is epic.

 

SPIRITUAL STEROIDS

September 27, 2017

  If [since] ye, then, be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).

  The growth truths seem complicated and difficult to understand on first encounter. However, with progress in grace we find them to be as clear and logical as the truth of justification. For both time and eternity, all is summed up in John 17:3: “And this is life eternal. . . [to] know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ.”

  “The marvel of divine grace is that not only has everything according to the heart of God been secured for me through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, but that I, a child of Adam, should be, not only in peace with God where I was under His judgment, but that I am transferred from Adam to Christ, and I am to have Christ formed in me now.

  “I am born of God—of new and divine origin—a new creation to be here on earth now where I was a child of Adam, in the grace and beauty of Christ, led by His own power to stand for Him; daily more and more transformed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (2 Cor. 3:18).”

“I used to study this passage and that passage to obtain guidance and light. I see now that if I were really near Him beholding His glory (2 Cor. 3:18), I should be transformed, this glory should come from His throne so impressed upon myself that with Jesus living in my heart that His interests would, as it were, naturally control me, guide me and the growth process would occur naturally in the normal course of me growing more Christ like.

  “When the heart has found its rest and satisfaction in Him, it can turn to Him naturally and continually in every circumstance.”

  “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).

God bless from scumlikuschurch@gmail.com

 

THE PRODIGAL CHILD

September 26, 2017

THE PRODIGAL CHILD

Kids are born naked and no instructional manual. I’m sure as parents we’ve all made mistakes and some of the stuff we’ve done as parents is borderline crazy.

Being a preacher and having you kids labeled PK’s (preacher’s kids) I was always amazed at the stories congregations would tell us about previous pastors and the behavior of their kids.

I had two kids, or I should say my wife had two kids, one was an angel and one was a demon. I kept telling my wife it was ok if she would admit the bad kid wasn’t mine, I’d actually feel better. This kid broke our hearts, I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I would go to bed and just weep over the things our one kid did.

As she got older the behavior got worse, as a pastor and marriage and family counselor I was extremely frustrated. What advice I gave to other parents that seemed to work had no effect on her.

Finally in a fit of desperation we arranged our clothes on the floor, my wife’s in the kitchen and mine in my study as though we’ve been “raptured” up and away. And then went and walked down to some neighbors.

We saw our daughter drive home from school and watched as we saw her pull in and go into the house. We waited 20 minutes and then walked in the house.

Well, like Paul Harvey, there is a rest of the story.

We walked in and she was on the phone, we thought she might be calling church folks to see who else might have got “caught up”. Nope, not our kid, she figured the rapture did happen and was calling her friends to come over for a party.

Tough nut to crack, hard row to hoe, whatever the phrase. In long talks to our daughter as an adult I’ve told her I would not have changed one single thing we did as parents. Now that she has had 3 kids and now has grandchildren the shoe is on the other foot. Grandkids are a great payback.

Let me end with this, you can be a good parent and still have a child wander off the reservation. We will trust the Lord until the day we die that she will invite the Lord into her heart and have a good relation with him, whether that includes us or not isn’t as important as that.

I sleep fine at night knowing that God is more concerned, caring and compassionate than I can be and He can do more to influence her life than I can.

So today I have one prayer request, pray for parents that have adult children that are not living a biblical lifestyle, that God will bring people into their lives that can reach out to them and guide them and trust that the Holy Spirit is very active in their lives.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

step up your game

September 25, 2017

These are all quotes about prayer, I just finished a great book on prayer, you can find it free online, written in the late 60’s I think, by Levi Strauss, “Sense and Nonsense about prayer”, 138 pages you can read in about an hour or so, his comments and illustrations is what makes this a fun book to read and hopefully encourage you to step up your prayer life.

Also, Saturday, September 23 Ravi Zechariahs opened his part one series about prayer with the first quote here, I encourage you to listen to the broadcast.

We all are up and down and all around on prayer, we are either prayer warriors or garden gnomes and then somewhere in between. The best part of Strauss’s book it will at least keep you from praying wrong, stupidly or even just wasting your time. Besides bible reading there is nothing more important than bible reading. Bible reading comes first, you can’t pray correctly or effectively without reading your bible.

So I hope the following quotes will inspire you and Strauss’s book will guide you.

A person that reads and prays  frequently will stand out in any group by not standing out, humble, quiet, caring and thoughtful are those that have found the pathway to intimacy in God, questions, doubts and fears all disappear to the obedient of these disciplines. For no other reason than should you neglect such a blessing.

The potency of prayer hath subdued the strength of fire; it had bridled the rage of lions, hushed the anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. Prayer is an all-efficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a mine which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by clouds, a heaven unruffled by the storm. It is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings. – Chrysostom

The prayers of holy men appease God’s wrath, drive away temptations, resist and overcome the devil, procure the ministry and service of angels, rescind the decrees of God. Prayer cures sickness and obtains pardon; it arrests the sun in its course and stays the wheels of the chariot of the moon; it rules over all gods and opens and shuts the storehouses of rain, it unlocks the cabinet of the womb and quenches the violence of fire; it stops the mouths of lions and reconciles our suffering and weak faculties with the violence of torment and violence of persecution; it pleases God and supplies all our need. — Jeremy Taylor

More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of. wherefore,

let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats,

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friend? For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God. — Tennyson

Perfect prayer is only another name for love. — Fenelon

It was said of the late C. H. Spurgeon, that he glided from laughter to prayer with the naturalness of one who lived in both elements. With him the habit of prayer was free and unfettered. His life was not divided into compartments, the one shut off from the other with a rigid exclusiveness that barred all intercommunication. He lived in constant fellowship with his Father in Heaven. He was ever in touch with God, and thus it was as natural for him to pray as it was for him to breathe.

“What a fine time we have had; let us thank God for it,” he said to a friend on one occasion, when, out under the blue sky and wrapped in glorious sunshine, they had enjoyed a holiday with the unfettered enthusiasm of schoolboys. Prayer sprang as spontaneously to his lips as did ordinary speech, and never was there the slightest incongruity in his approach to the Divine throne straight from any scene in which he might be taking part.

That is the attitude with regard to prayer that ought to mark every child of God. There are, and there ought to be, stated seasons of communication with God when, everything else shut out, we come into His presence to talk to Him and to let Him speak to us; and out of such seasons springs that beautiful habit of prayer that weaves a golden bond between earth and heaven. Without such stated seasons the habit of prayer can never be formed; without them there is no nourishment for the spiritual life. By means of them the soul is lifted into a new atmosphere — the atmosphere of the heavenly city, in which it is easy to open the heart to God and to speak with Him as friend speaks with friend.

Thus, in every circumstance of life, prayer is the most natural out-pouring of the soul, the unhindered turning to God for communion and direction. Whether in sorrow or in joy, in defeat or in victory, in health or in weakness, in calamity or in success, the heart leaps to meet with God just as a child runs to his mother’s arms, ever sure that with her is the sympathy that meets every need.

Dr. Adam Clarke, in his autobiography, records that when Mr. Wesley was returning to England by ship, considerable delay was caused by contrary winds. Wesley was reading, when he became aware of some confusion on board, and asking what was the matter, he was informed that the wind was contrary. “Then,” was his reply, “let us go to prayer.”

After Dr. Clarke had prayed, Wesley broke out into fervent supplication which seemed to be more the offering of faith than of mere desire. “Almighty and everlasting God,” he prayed. “Thou hast sway everywhere, and all things serve the purpose of Thy will, Thou holdest the winds in Thy fists and sittest upon the water floods, and reignest a King for ever. Command these winds and these waves that they obey Thee, and take us speedily and safely to the haven whither we would go.”

The power of this petition was felt by all. Wesley rose from his knees, made no remark, but took up his book and continued reading. Dr. Clarke went on deck, and to his surprise found the vessel under sail, standing on her right course. Nor did she change till she was safely at anchor. On the sudden and favourable change of wind, Wesley made no remark; so fully did he expect to be heard that he took it for granted that he was heard.

That was prayer with a purpose — the definite and direct utterance of one who knew that he had the ear of God, and that God had the willingness as well as the power to grant the petition which he asked of Him.

Major D. W. Whittle, in an introduction to the wonders of prayer, says of George Muller, of Bristol: “I met Mr. Muller in the express, the morning of our sailing from Quebec to Liverpool. About half-an-hour before the tender was to take the passengers to the ship, he asked of the agent if a deck chair had arrived for him from New York. He was answered, “No,” and told that it could not possibly come in time for the steamer. I had with me a chair I had just purchased, and told Mr. Muller of the place nearby, and suggested, as but a few moments remained, that he had better buy one at once. His reply was, “No, my brother. Our Heavenly Father will send the chair from New York. It is one used by Mrs. Muller. I wrote ten days ago to a brother, who promised to see it forwarded here last week. He has not been prompt, as I would have desired, but I am sure our Heavenly Father will send the chair. Mrs. Muller is very sick on the sea, and has particularly desired to have this same chair, and not finding it here yesterday, we have made special prayer that our Heavenly Father would be pleased to provide it for us, and we will trust Him to do so.” As this dear man of God went peacefully on board, running the risk of Mrs. Muller making the trip without a chair, when, for a couple of dollars, she could have been provided for, I confess I feared Mr. Muller was carrying his faith principles too far and not acting wisely. I was kept at the express office ten minutes after Mr. Muller left. Just as I started to hurry to the wharf, a team drove up the street, and on top of a load just arrived front New York was Mr. Muller’s chair. It was sent at once to the tender and placed in my hands to take to Mr. Muller, just as the boat was leaving the dock (the Lord having a lesson for me). Mr. Muller took it with the happy, pleased expression of a child who has just received a kindness deeply appreciated, and reverently removing his hat and folding his hands over it, he thanked the Heavenly Father for sending the chair.”

One of Melancthon’s correspondents writes of Luther’s praying: “I cannot enough admire the extraordinary, cheerfulness, constancy, faith and hope of the man in these trying and vexatious times. He constantly feeds these gracious affections by a very diligent study of the Word of God. Then not a day passes in which he does not employ in prayer at least three of his very best hours. Once I happened to hear him at prayer. Gracious God! What spirit and what faith is there in his expressions! He petitions God with as much reverence as if he was in the divine presence, and yet with as firm a hope and confidence as he would address a father or a friend. “I know,” said he, “Thou art our Father and our God; and therefore I am sure Thou wilt bring to naught the persecutors of Thy children. For shouldest Thou fail to do this Thine own cause, being connected with ours, would be endangered. It is entirely thine own concern. We, by Thy providence, have been compelled to take a part. Thou therefore wilt be our defence.” Whilst I was listening to Luther praying in this manner, at a distance, my soul seemed on fire within me, to hear the man address God so like a friend, yet with so much gravity and reverence; and also to hear him, in the course of his prayer, insisting on the promises contained in the Psalms, as if he were sure his petitions would be granted.”

Of William Bramwell, a noted Methodist preacher in England, wonderful for his zeal and prayer, the following is related by a sergeant major. “In July, 1811, our regiment was ordered for Spain, then the seat of a protracted and sanguinary war. My mind was painfully exercised with the thoughts of leaving my dear wife and four helpless children in a strange country, unprotected and unprovided for. Mr. Bramwell felt a lively interest in our situation, and his sympathising spirit seemed to drink in all the agonised feelings of my tender wife. He supplicated the throne of grace day and night in our behalf. My wife and I spent the evening previous to our march at a friend’s house, in company with Mr. Bramwell, who sat in a very pensive mood, and appeared to be in a spiritual struggle all the time. After supper, he suddenly pulled his hand out of his bosom, laid it on my knee, and said: “Brother Riley, mark what I am about to say! You are not to go to Spain. Remember what I tell you, you are not; for I have been wrestling with God on your behalf, and when my Heavenly Father condescends in mercy to bless me with power to lay hold on Himself, I do not easily let Him go; no, not until I am favoured with an answer. Therefore you may depend upon it that the next time I hear from you, you will be settled in quarters.” This came to pass exactly as he said. The next day the order for going to Spain was countermanded.”

These men prayed with a purpose. To them God was not far away, in some inaccessible region, but near at hand, ever ready to listen to the call of His children. There was no barrier between. They were on terms of perfect intimacy, if one may use such a phrase in relation to man and his Maker. No cloud obscured the face of the Father from His trusting child, who could look up into the Divine countenance and pour out the longings of his heart. And that is the type of prayer which God never fails to hear. He knows that it comes from a heart at one with His own; from one who is entirely yielded to the heavenly plan, and so He bends His ear and gives to the pleading child the assurance that his petition has been heard and answered.

Have we not all had some such experience when with set and undeviating purpose we have approached the face of our Father? In an agony of soul we have sought refuge from the oppression of the world in the anteroom of heaven; the waves of despair seemed to threaten destruction, and as no way of escape was visible anywhere, we fell back, like the disciples of old, upon the power of our Lord, crying to Him to save us lest we perish. And then in the twinkling of an eye, the thing was done. The billows sank into a calm; the howling wind died down at the Divine command; the agony of the soul passed into a restful peace as over the whole being there crept the consciousness of the Divine presence, bringing with it the assurance of answered prayer and sweet deliverance.

“I tell the Lord my troubles and difficulties, and wait for Him to give me the answers to them,” says one man of God. “And it is wonderful how a matter that looked very dark will in prayer become clear as crystal by the help of God’s Spirit. I think Christians fail so often to get answers to their prayers because they do not wait long enough on God. They just drop down and say a few words, and then jump up and forget it and expect God to answer them. Such praying always reminds me of the small boy ringing his neighbour’s door-bell, and then running away as fast as he can go.”

When we acquire the habit of prayer we enter into a new atmosphere. “Do you expect to go to heaven?” asked someone of a devout Scotsman. “Why, man, I live there,” was the quaint and unexpected reply. It was a pithy statement of a great truth, for all the way to heaven is heaven begun to the Christian who walks near enough to God to hear the secrets He has to impart.

This attitude is beautifully illustrated in a story of Horace Bushnell, told by Dr. Parkes Cadman. Bushnell was found to be suffering from an incurable disease. One evening the Rev. Joseph Twichell visited him, and, as they sat together under the starry sky, Bushnell said: “One of us ought to pray.” Twichell asked Bushnell to do so, and Bushnell began his prayer; burying his face in the earth, he poured out his heart until, said Twichell, in recalling the incident, “I was afraid to stretch out my hand in the darkness lest I should touch God.”

To have God thus near is to enter the holy of holies — to breathe the fragrance of the heavenly air, to walk in Eden’s delightful gardens. Nothing but prayer can bring God and man into this happy communion. That was the experience of Samuel Rutherford, just as it is the experience of every one who passes through the same gateway. When this saint of God was confined in jail at one time for conscience sake, he enjoyed in a rare degree the Divine companionship, recording in his diary that Jesus entered his cell, and that at His coming “every stone flashed like a ruby.”

Many others have borne witness to the same sweet fellowship, when prayer had become the one habit of life that meant more than anything else to them. David Livingstone lived in the realm of prayer and knew its gracious influence. It was his habit every birthday to write a prayer, and on the next to the last birthday of all, this was his prayer: “O Divine one, I have not loved Thee earnestly, deeply, sincerely enough. Grant, I pray Thee, that before this year is ended I may have finished my task.” It was just on the threshold of the year that followed that his faithful men, as they looked into the hut of Ilala, while the rain dripped from the eaves, saw their master on his knees beside his bed in an attitude of prayer. He had died on his knees in prayer.

Stonewall Jackson was a man of prayer. Said he: “I have so fixed the habit in my mind that I never raise a glass of water to my lips without asking God’s blessing, never seal a letter without putting a word of prayer under the seal, never take a letter from the post without a brief sending of my thoughts heavenward, never change my classes in the lecture-room without a — minute’s petition for the cadets who go out and for those who come in.”

James Gilmour, the pioneer missionary to Mongolia, was a man of prayer. He had a habit in his writing of never using a blotter. He made a rule when he got to the bottom of any page to wait until the ink dried and spend the time in prayer.

In this way their whole being was saturated with the Divine, and they became the reflection of the heavenly fragrance and glory. Walking with God down the avenues of prayer we acquire something of His likeness, and unconsciously we become witnesses to others of His beauty and His grace. Professor James, in his famous work, “Varieties of Religious Experience,” tells of a man of forty-nine who said: “God is more real to me than any thought or thing or person. I feel His presence positively, and the more as I live in closer harmony with His laws as written in my body and mind. I feel Him in the sunshine or rain; and all mingled with a delicious restfulness most nearly describes my feelings. I talk to Him as to a companion in prayer and praise, and our communion is delightful. He answers me again and again, often in words so clearly spoken that it seems my outer ear must have carried the tone, but generally in strong mental impressions. Usually a text of Scripture, unfolding some new view of Him and His love for me, and care for my safety … That He is mine and I am His never leaves me; it is an abiding joy. Without it life would be a blank, a desert, a shoreless, trackless waste.”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

yankee go home

September 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give me a church full of grace any day.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

mason jars and God

September 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

RAMBLING MAN

September 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So good luck in your church hunting.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com