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

Okay I don’t think I’ve told this story before, but after 2000 devotional posts it’s hard to keep them all straight. But since it’s a funny story I’ll risk repeating it.

So there is the typical little old lady, she has never been married, was a schoolteacher all of her life and she had never owned a pet before. So she is in her late 80s when she calls me and asks for a visit. She lives in a HUD apartment building and tells me on the phone that I need to be careful when coming in because of the shady characters.

I find her apartment and knock on the door, she opens the door and she says “well things have changed since you’ve last been here, I now have a parakeet named Elvis”.

So I walk into her apartment and sit down at a little dining table, it’s basically an efficiency apartment, and there on a TV tray is a small cage with a parakeet. Evelyn tells me that she loves this bird more than anything she’s ever loved in her whole life, and she knows that this bird loves her more than anything in its life because it is so loyal and so affectionate.

After making sure the door to the apartment is securely closed and locked, she goes over to the cage and lets Elvis out. And she is just going on and on about how much this parakeet loves her and how much she loves him and how when she sets down the bird it is going to set on her shoulder and nuzzle her ear. And instead, the bird lands on my shoulder and starts playing with my beard. To say that Evelyn is a little bit upset or jealous would be an understatement and she accuses me of robbing her of the bird’s affection.

I am trying to get Elvis to leave my shoulder and fly over to Evelyn, so very carefully I pick up the bird and set him on the table. Where he promptly flies down to the floor and starts pulling on my shoelace. Evelyn who’s really too old to look under the table is setting there in more than mild frustration going “Elvis” “Elvis where are you, Elvis?” “Where are you?” At which point Elvis has decided to go up my pant leg, which trust me is not my idea of a good time.

So now I have both my hands around my knee trying to stop Elvis from going any farther up my pant leg than anybody needs to really go. And Evelyn is standing now quite flushed and agitated that the bird is not calling out or responding by flying to her and she is in great distress. Meanwhile, I am in great distress, because I do not know how to nonchalantly get a parakeet out of my pants, I don’t want to hurt the bird nor do I want Evelyn to know that the bird has decided to become more intimate with me than with her.

Evelyn goes into the bathroom to see if the bird has maybe flown in there. Now I’d like to say that I quickly dropped my pants but that’s really not something you can do when you wear suspenders. So as quick as I can I take off my suitcoat, undo my suspenders, down goes my zipper and drop my pants to my ankles hoping I can grab the bird without breaking its tiny little neck, put it on the table and pull up my pants, zip up, put on my suspenders, put my suitcoat back on, all in the space of about two seconds before Evelyn, a woman in her late 80s who as far as I know has never seen a pair of men’s underwear, let alone my hairy legs standing half naked in her living room.

Well thank the Lord for small favors, the bird was safely deposited on the table, I am back to being fully clothed, and just in the nick of time Evelyn comes out of the bathroom and sees Elvis sitting at the table. And thank goodness the bird flew to her shoulder and began to kiss her cheek to which Evelyn was very ecstatic and forgave the bird, but I’m not sure she forgave me.

I’d like to say that was the end of the story, but she asked for us to have a little prayer because when you pray Elvis bows his head. So I say a prayer, Elvis bows his head and when I say amen the bird says amen. At which point I’ve decided it is more than time for me to exit the building.

Evelyn assures me that the bird because it loves her so much will not leave her shoulder and that I can exit the apartment with no fear of Elvis leaving her. Well you know what happens, I open the door to leave and the bird leaves with me, quickly flies down the hallway and then comes back and perches on the top of my head. There I am in the hallway and Evelyn instead of blaming the bird says that I have wronged her and have stolen the affections of Elvis.

And I’m thinking here I am in the middle of a HUD apartment in a rather unsavory neighborhood with a parakeet sitting on my head and an old lady yelling at me that I have stolen Elvis and his affection. Again a short little prayer that I can grab the bird without it flying off and two, that I don’t break its neck when I grab the bird and three that when I hand the bird back to Evelyn she doesn’t do anything rash or drastic and calms down.

Very seldom in my ministry can I say that I actually handed somebody the bird, nor is it often that I can say that I have stolen the affection of Elvis, but that is just one more event in a day of ministry.

God bless Evelyn and Elvis and to all our lonely seniors, keep them in prayer.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

The one and only

March 10, 2018

TRUST YOUR BIBLE

In 1889 a schoolteacher told a ten-year-old boy, “You will never amount to very much.” That boy was Albert Einstein. In 1954 a music manager told a young singer, “You ought to go back to driving a truck.” That singer was Elvis Presley. In 1962 a record company told a group of singers, “We don’t like your sound. Groups with guitars are definitely on their way out.” They said that to the Beatles. Man is prone to make mistakes. Those who reject the Bible should take the time to look at the evidence before they come to a verdict.

  1. It is unique in its continuity.

    If just 10 people today were picked who were from the same place, born around the same time, spoke the same language, and made about the same amount of money, and were asked to write on just one controversial subject, they would have trouble agreeing with each other. But the Bible stands alone. It was written over a period of 1,600 years by more than 40 writers from all walks of life. Some were fishermen; some were politicians. Others were generals or kings, shepherds or historians. They were from three different continents,

    and wrote in three different languages. They wrote on hundreds of controversial subjects yet they wrote with agreement and harmony. They wrote in dungeons, in temples, on beaches, and on hillsides, during peacetime and during war. Yet their words sound like they came from the same source. So even though 10 people today couldn’t write on one controversial subject and agree, God

    picked 40 different people to write the Bible—and it stands the test of time.

  2. It is unique in its circulation.

    The invention of the printing press in 1450 made it possible to print books in large quantities. The first book printed was the Bible. Since then, the Bible has been read by more people and printed more times than any other book in history. By 1930, over one billion Bibles had been distributed by Bible societies around the world. By 1977, Bible societies alone were printing over 200 million Bibles each year, and this doesn’t include the rest of the Bible publishing companies. No one who is interested in knowing the truth can ignore such an important book.

  3. It is unique in its translation.

    The Bible has been translated into over 1,400 languages. No other book even comes close.

  4. It is unique in its survival.

    In ancient times, books were copied by hand onto manuscripts which were made from parchment and would decay over time. Ancient books are available today only because someone made copies of the originals to preserve them. For example, the original writings of Julius Caesar are no longer around. We know what he wrote only by the copies we have. Only 10 copies still exist, and they were made 1,000 years after he died. Only 600 copies of Homer’s The Iliad exist, made 1,300 years after the originals were written. No other book has as many copies of the ancient manuscripts as the Bible. In fact, there are over 24,000 copies of New Testament manuscripts, some written within 35 years of the writer’s death.

  5. It is unique in withstanding attack.

    No other book has been so attacked throughout history as the Bible. In A.D. 300 the Roman emperor Diocletian ordered every Bible burned because he thought that by destroying the Scriptures he could destroy Christianity. Anyone caught with a Bible would be executed. But just 25 years later, the Roman emperor Constantine ordered that 50 perfect copies of the Bible be made at government expense. The French philosopher Voltaire, a skeptic who destroyed the faith of many people, boasted that within 100 years of his death, the Bible would disappear from the face of the earth. Voltaire died in 1728, but the Bible lives on. The irony of history is that 50 years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society moved into his former house and used his printing presses to print thousands of Bibles.

The Bible has also survived criticism. No book has been more attacked for its accuracy. And yet archeologists are proving every year that the Bible’s detailed descriptions of historic events are correct.

You can mock, you can laugh in derision, but the only people being martyred today are people who believe in the bible. It is estimated that over 150,000 people per year are killed for their faith in Jesus Christ. No other religion is being attacked like Christianity, the simple reason is it is the only true way to God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Continue to pray for Joe,

pray for Courtney and her failing health,

for Greg M. and his battle with addiction.

Melissa and sobriety and abstinence.

And for Beth Ann as she battles with an eating disorder

and for Olivia, 23 and facing the partial removal of her stomach, and her ovaries and a large part of her colon.

Thank you all for your prayer support, send your prayer requests and comments to scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com God bless.

who i am

March 9, 2018

I am accepted…

John 1:12

I am God’s child.

John 15:15

As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1

I have been justified.

1 Corinthians 6:17

I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.

1 Corinthians 12:27

I am a member of Christ’s body.

Ephesians 1:3-8

I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.

Colossians 1:13-14

I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.

Colossians 2:9-10

I am complete in Christ.

Hebrews 4:14-16

I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

I am secure…

Romans 8:1-2

I am free from condemnation.

Romans 8:28

I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.

Romans 8:31-39

I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.

Colossians 3:1-4

I am hidden with Christ in God.

Philippians 1:6

I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.

Philippians 3:20

I am a citizen of heaven.

2 Timothy 1:7

I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

1 John 5:18

I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

I am significant…

John 15:5

I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.

John 15:16

I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.

1 Corinthians 3:16

I am God’s temple.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

I am a minister of reconciliation for God.

Ephesians 2:6

I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.

Ephesians 2:10

I am God’s workmanship.

Ephesians 3:12

I may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

THE ROMAN ROAD

February 27, 2018

The Roman Road

  “If God be for us, who can be against us”? (Rom. 8:31)

  Faith in the facts alone gives the rest of reliance.

Is there an accuser, a judge, or an executioner, still after us? The accuser may go away rebuked by this, that God has justified us; the judge may go away rebuked by this, that the Lord Jesus has died—has already suffered the judgment, and His work has been accepted to the full in heaven itself; the executioner may go away rebuked by this, that all the malice of earth and hell together shall never drag us away from the firm embrace of our God. And if there be now neither accuser to charge, nor judge to condemn, nor executioner to slay, the court is cleared!

It is a blessing to be shown our enemies and told with Gideon, that Jehovah has delivered them into our hands (Josh. 8:7). Our old man has been crucified (Rom. 6:6), the world ‘overcome,’ and its prince ‘judged’ (John 16:33, 11). If we are walking by faith, as risen with the Lord Jesus Christ, Satan, the world, and the flesh are under our feet.

  “Not a hair of the child of God can fall without God’s permission. Satan is but the unintentional instrument to accomplish God’s will; he can do no more than he is allowed to do. If trials come as a host against us, we know that the Almighty is between us and them. They will but work out for us His own purpose of love.”

  “What shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Rom. 8:35, 37).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

THE MAN

February 23, 2018

THE MAN

I had a business meeting downtown today and after it was over I saw a bookstore; it’s one of the oldest in town. It’s famous for being feminist, liberal, (redundant right?) New Age and never has carried a bible in the store.

But there in the most prominent spot, the Man, Billy Graham’s first book, originally published in 1953, and then again in 1984, “Peace with God.”

I was very surprised, I picked up the book and went to the counter and said, “how many Evangelicals come into your bookstore?” her answer; “only those from out of town, but he’s the Man.”

I was surprised at first but then thought she’s right, he is the Man. From dirt poor to one of the most recognized Christians in America and respected probably by all.

It has been a long time since I have read any of his books. What took me by surprise was the passion. Right from the very first sentence. His deep conviction that America has gone off the rails and is skidding into the abyss.

I waver sometimes about how bad it really is versus maybe it’s not so bad.

Truth is it’s probably worse than any other generation. Simply because we suffer from electronic brain rot. With most people, especially kids, spending a minimum of 8 hours a day on an electronic device.

But that’s not what this devotion is about. It’s about what is the legacy you have as a Christian. In your home, on your block and in your world. Where is your heart, and money and time being spent? How much money do you have saved and how much do you contribute, not just to church, but to other good works.

How about swearing? Fidelity or chastity?

Like the old Christian rock tune says, “how much evidence is there if they had to convict you of being a Christian?”

Just food for thought.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Preston Ryan, 11 years old and has brain cancer.

For Billy J, 13 years old and shot his neighbor 9 years old….on purpose.

Pray for his family, his dad is a police officer.

For Randall H, his brother 77, had a stroke today.

And so you don’t get bummed out. Jessica, a young drug user and prostitute gave her heart to the Lord today and has been taken into a Christian Home for Girls. When I laid my hand on her shoulder to pray for her she flinched, big tears welled up in her eyes and she just sobbed that someone would touch her and it would be innocent.