We are not the world

February 19, 2018

It’s always good to know who your enemies are. And, may I tell you, beyond the shadow of any doubt or peradventure, that you that you have three enemies at least, and they are three big ones: the world, the flesh, and the devil. And, no Christian can afford to be ignorant of these enemies, for, to be ignorant is to be unprepared, and to be unprepared is to fall and to go down in shame and disgrace and ignominious defeat.

Now, of these three enemies, I want to just take one, and talk to you about that one enemy—and, that one enemy is the world. And, I’ve entitled this message “Your Friendly Enemy,” because the world seems so friendly, so charming, so innocuous, sometimes beautiful, sometimes helpful, sometimes harmless. But, I want to warn you that what the Bible calls the world is an enemy and a deadly enemy.

Now, what do we mean when we say the world? We have to be very careful because we’re certainly not talking about the earth—Planet Earth. Sometimes the word cosmos, that’s translated “world,” speaks of Planet Earth. For example, it does, in Acts 17, where the Bible says the Lord made the world and everything that is in it (Acts 17:24). There’s nothing evil about the rocks and the trees, the birds, the ocean, the fields, the mountains. Thank God for these things. Jesus said, “Consider the lilies how they grow” (Luke 12:27).

There’s nothing wrong with the material physical universe, and never think that there is. And, when the Bible warns about the world, it’s not warning about Planet Earth. Do you have that?

When the Bible warns about the world, it’s not warning about the people of the world. The Bible says, in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). There, he’s talking about the people of the world. Now, if God loves those people, we ought to love them. “Red and yellow, black, and white, they are precious in His sight.” He’s not talking, therefore, about the physical universe or the physical earth, he’s not talking about the people, some 5 billion of them now that live on Planet Earth.

When the Bible uses the word world, what does the Bible mean? When the Bible says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world”—1 John 2:15? Well, it’s the word cosmos. And, what does that mean? It means a system, an order.

there is a system that the Bible calls the world, which is the world of wickedness—and we’re told, not to love it. 1 John 2:15: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love [this system], the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

What we are talking about—this ungodly system—first of all, it has a prince. The prince of the world is the devil. Now, the Bible makes that plain. For example, in John 12:31, Jesus called the devil “the prince of this world” (John 12:31). What Jesus meant by that, is that Satan rules this ungodly system. He is the prince of this world. In John 14:30, again, he says, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30). That is, Jesus had no itch the devil could scratch. But, there again, Jesus called the devil “the prince of this world.” And, in John 16:11, He spoke, “of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:11).

This world has a prince, and the prince of this world is Satan himself. That’s the reason the Apostle John said, in 1 John 5:19, “And we know that… the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). The whole world, the whole system, lies in wickedness. And, the word wickedness there may be personified. It literally means the whole world lies in “the wicked one.” And, the word lieth there actually means, “to sleep in the bosom, or the lap, of one.” That is, Satan’s got this whole world in his hand.

We sing “God’s got the whole world in His hands,” but, actually, the Bible says that Satan has this world in his hands. This whole world lieth, sleepeth, in the bosom, in the lap, of the wicked one. So the world—put it down, number one—has a prince.

There is an enticing network of ideas and values that the devil has skillfully woven together in order to attract you as a child of God. For example, 1 Corinthians 2:12, speaks of the spirit of this world (1 Corinthians 2:12). 1 Corinthians 3:19, speaks of the wisdom of this world (1 Corinthians 3:19). 1 Corinthians 7:31, speaks of the passion of this world (1 Corinthians 7:31). And, so it doesn’t matter whether it’s from the schoolhouse to the courthouse, from Madison Avenue to Wall Street, whether it’s Hollywood or your neighborhood—it makes no difference. There is a philosophy that is permeating all that we see out there, and, my dear friend, it is your enemy.

The world wears a cloak or disguise, whenever a freedom is taken away from you that means the world is winning. Think of every dictator, every socialist, that is the world, trying to control all you do. Who rules the world, the devil, who controls the tv you watch, the media you listen to and read, the devil. If you haven’t put on the filter of God’s word and spirit you are being brainwashed into believing one thing. That you need the world, the system, government to take care of you. No self-reliance, no individuality, no ability to protect yourself.

Here sign up for free food, free housing, free education, free health care, surely you’ve heard the saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” there is no such thing as free, all this free stuff is borne on the back of the taxpayer, the distribution of wealth, socialism.

So any political figure in any country that promises to take care of you by robbing you of God given rights and freedoms is of the world and therefore of the devil. So how comfortable do you want to be? That’s what it really comes down to.

Now there is a difference between being provided for by God and a handout.

That moron standing on the street corner with the cardboard sign reading “God bless you.” is part the world, he’s depending on your guilt that your comfortable. He’s telling you he deserves to be taken care of, by you!

Ok, my blood pressure is shooting up, stay tuned.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

school of faith part three

February 14, 2018

PART THREE WITH A RANT IN THE MIDDLE. (never be afraid to speak your mind, no one has to agree with your point of view, but we do need to express our opinions)

The School of Faith part three

God’s photograph album of all his believers has his saints with warts and all. I mean, I’m glad because really if Abram is the father of all them that believe, that can be an encouragement to me. Because when I see how God helped Abram in his faltering faith then I can learn how God can help me in faltering faith.

Genesis 12:1: “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country”—underscore that—”and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will shew thee.” Nothing could be clearer than that. Get out. Leave your kindred and go to the place that I will show thee. Did he do that? Well go down to Genesis 12:4-5: “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him.” Hey, wait a minute. Didn’t he say leave your kinfolks? Yes. Who is Lot? His nephew.

So first of all our faith falters or fails when we don’t follow the direction God gives us. Not being obedient to the Word of God. I’m always amazed at how people will say they believe the bible, literally, but refuse to follow the principles laid out in verses. For example; “not being unequally yoked” II Corinthians 6:14; that applies to marriage, business, all aspects. But it also has other applications, now these are just my personal applications from years of marriage counseling; a rich girl marries a poor guy, personally I’ve never seen it work; if they try to live in the ‘poor guys’ lifestyle, she’s unhappy. Either the daddy wants to ‘promote’ the guy or the keeps giving money to daughter, so she can be “supported in the manner she’s been accustomed to.” It never works out satisfactorily.

Or the mature Christian marries a newly saved person, oh, their marriage might make it but there is always discontent or frustration, or worse a compromise of values. Water seeks its own level(yes, there are always exceptions).

But, they didn’t go straight to Canaan and they didn’t leave everything that they had behind. Rather than going all of the way, he settled in Haran.

Now, does that remind you of anybody you know? I’d call them half way Christians. I mean, they’re saved, but they only go, it seems like they half way. Rather than forsaking this world as our Lord has taught us to do, we have those hang over sins. I mean, we bring the old things with us, just like Abram did. And, out there are the promises of God, but they’re unclaimed promises. And so, we’re sort of out of paganism, but we’re not into Canaan.

It’s kind of like the discussion of tattoo’s, mine are ok, because they’re Christian tattoos not pagan. Or they’re ok, because I’m not a pagan. Yet the bible says don’t do it. Will tattoos send you to hell, NO, will they cause confusion, probably, will they make you more spiritual, definitely not.

We do have this command in 1 Peter 3:3–4: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, 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.” Granted, this passage is directed at Christian women, but there is a principle here that may be apropos: namely, a person’s external appearance should not be the focus of our attention. Much effort goes into “elaborate hairstyles” and “fine clothes” and jewelry, but that’s not where a woman’s true beauty lies. In the same way, tattoos and body piercings are “outward adornment,” and we should be careful to give more effort to the development of the “inner self,” regardless of our gender.

In relation to tattoos and body piercings, a good test is to determine whether we can honestly, in good conscience, ask God to bless and use that particular activity for His own good purposes. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The New Testament does not specifically command against tattoos or body piercings, but it also does not give us any reason to believe God would have us get tattoos or body piercings.

An important scriptural principle on issues the Bible does not specifically address is if there is room for doubt whether it pleases God, then it is best not to engage in that activity. Romans 14:23 reminds us that anything that does not come from faith is sin. We need to remember that our bodies, as well as our souls, have been redeemed and belong to God. Although 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 does not directly apply to tattoos or body piercings, it does give us a principle: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” This great truth should have a real bearing on what we do and where we go with our bodies. If our bodies belong to God, we should make sure we have His clear “permission” before we “mark them up” with tattoos or body piercings.

I don’t condemn them, but I will never endorse or promote them. It’s one more sign of how much more like the world we’ve become, and I believe they are a sign that most preachers are failing to reach out and make meaningful connections and relevancy to all generations. But that’s just my opinion, and comparing them to another abuse like overeating, is a straw man, and like comparing apples to oranges.

We’re sort of separated from sin, but we’re bringing some sins with us. In other words, it’s just a time of compromise. Now, I’m speaking to many today, you’re saved, and if you died right now you’d go to Heaven, but your faith is so weak. Now, I’ll tell you one of the reasons your faith is so weak, because you’re like Abram was with worldly compromise. Now, what’s the result of worldly compromise? I’ll tell you what is, it’s weakened faith.

Not a popular message, I’m sure, but trust me my heart is in the right place.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

The School of Faith part two

February 13, 2018

God wants you to know if your faith is real or whether it is bogus. Your faith is more precious than gold, 1 Peter 1:7, and again I want to tell you that a faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted.

Now, so many times we get the idea that if we’re trusting God—that if we are obeying God, if we’re doing what God has tell us told to be—it will be all milk and honey. As a matter of fact, that it’ll be all honey and no bees. That is not necessarily so. So many times when we get saved we say, “Now, wonderful, I’ve trusted God and He’s brought me into the land of plenty.” We think it’s all milk and honey, but it’s not necessarily so.

You’re going to meet the devil, you’re going to be tested in many, many ways. And, many of us are tested in ways after we got saved in ways that we never were before we got saved. Sometimes we get married and we think, “Oh, this is the land of milk and honey.” And, God brings heartaches and tears and trials right into the land of promise. And, you know, it is so. Sometimes in our prayer life we pray—and we’ve been told prayer is the land of promise—to trust God. And, we pray and people have simplified this matter of prayer. And they say, well, you know, God always answers prayer. Sometimes He says, “Yes,” and sometimes He says, “No,” but He always answers prayer. (make sure you keep reading).

Sometimes He doesn’t say anything. Have you noticed that? I mean, sometimes you just pray and you don’t seem to get an answer. And, I mean, it just seems to be darkness out there. Famine in the land of plenty. Sometimes we go to church and we get the idea that, you know over in church everything’s going to be wonderful. Oh boy! You know, all the sinners are out there and all the saints are in here. Ain’t necessarily so folks. I think it was one great theologian who said that, “The church is kind of like Noah’s ark,” he said “We wouldn’t be able to stand the stench if it weren’t for the storm outside.”

I’m not saying that the church is a failure. I’m not saying that at all. But friend, I’m going to tell you whether it be in your prayer life, whether it be in your marriage, whether it be in your salvation, whether it be in your church life, or wherever it is God will bring you into the land of plenty, but He’s going to test you there. He’s going to test you there in ways you’ve never thought. He’s going to see what your reactions are going to be. Go and read the book of Judges, just read chapter 2, a land filled with lots of ‘ites’, Hittites, Canaanites, all these ‘ites’ with just one idea, something more appealing to your 5 senses.

When testing comes don’t try to understand it. Learn something else. As Christians we do not live by explanation. We live by promises. We do not live by explanations. God has not promised to explain it to you. As a matter of fact, he says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8).

Real faith is obeying in spite of circumstances or consequences. Did you hear it? Real faith is obeying in spite of circumstances, a famine, or consequences. If I perish, I perish. I am going to go where God sends me, and I’m going to stay where God puts me until God moves me. I’m going to live by faith.

God will test your faith to find out whether you have the real thing. Now, God knows, but he wants you to know. God’s not trying to find out something about you, He wants you to find out something about you.

I’ve said this many times, being a Christian may be the hardest thing you ever do.

Stay tuned

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Nurses, especially Surgical Nurses in general, do you know they have one of the highest divorce rates. They harden themselves to not feel all the pain going on around them and they don’t realize they are shutting out their families as well.

We’ve started a group therapy for nurses to reconnect with their feelings and families and it has been amazing. And helping them to become better time managers and not get burned out if they want to stay in their career field.

 

The School of Faith

February 12, 2018

THE SCHOOL OF FAITH (PART ONE)

Your accomplishment is measured by your faith. Matthew 9:29 says that according to your faith be it unto you. Do you want to please God? People do all kinds of thing to please God. They go on pilgrimages, they give money, they make sacrifices, and some of them dress in strange ways and do outlandish things. Do you want me to tell you how to please God? Believe Him. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith pleases God, because faith honors God. And, by the way, if you please God, it doesn’t matter whom you displease. And, if you displease God, it doesn’t matter whom you do please. And, the way to please God is to believe God.

Faith overcomes the world. Are you having troubles and struggling? Is this world oppressing you and weighting you down? The Bible says in 1 John 5:4: “And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” You say, “Pastor, I’ve got a mountain of problems.” Our Lord says in Mark 11:23: “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove.” I do not have the vocabulary, words, or emotion enough today to emphasize to you the importance of faith.

And if someone ever comes to you whether in print or radio, TV or online claiming they have found the secret, or they have the formula, or they know it all, don’t believe them. I’ve been a serious Bible student for almost 45 years. Bible college, Seminary, Doctoral degree, post-doctoral studies, pastor, professor, psychologist, street preacher. And I’ll tell you one thing I’ve learned, I’m as ignorant as a rock. The depths, and the heights of the Word of Truth, unfathomable, it’s like a diamond mind that never gives up all it’s secrets easily.

Now that’s not to be a discouraging statement, we are like builders, we have the shoulders of past giants to stand on. We have great books and sermons to guide us. But each and every great truth has to be relearned, rediscovered, reapplied. Head knowledge alone is worthless without the Holy Spirit making application, “making it real” in our lives.

Pick one bible and make all your notes in that bible, when it wears out buy the same bible and transfer all the notes over again, you’ll be surprised at the great gems you’ve discovered in your pilgrimage. And some stuff will make no sense at all, don’t erase it, there was a certain setting in time where it was important. Plus there will be stuff you wrote that now you know is just flat wrong. Don’t erase it, but mark it as incorrect and write the truth next to it and the source. Every quote you write down, write, who, when and where.

(As side note, only buy bibles in premium leather, calfskin or kangaroo, with Smyth binding. It will never wear out if cared for; as your bonded leather will give up the ghost no matter what you paid for it. Leonard’s bookbinding can resew it and put quality, premium leather on it, it will become a family heirloom. One last thing, lay your bibles on their sides, not upright like a regular book, you will ruin the ‘yap’ on the bottom).(now don’t panic, there is a church in Michigan??? That makes a premium KJV bible for under 100 dollars with large print and great paper and premium leather. just look up church bible printers(??) or email me.) if money isn’t an object than go to evangelicalbibles.com and the best hand sewn or Smyth Sewn with premium leather and the best paper and the text is lined up on each side of every page so there is no shadow or bleed through of text. Expect to pay up to $300 dollars for Schuyler Caxton Bible in any version you like and it will last a lifetime. Like a carpenter that has learned to buy the best tools for a lifetime, this is the same principle. I have my great, great grandmother’s bible, I don’t know how she could have afforded it, but it is a treasure to see her handwriting and the little notes or even a family recipe stuck in it, not to mention the genealogy written down with a few pictures as well.

Sorry got side tracked there.

Abraham was the Dean in the School of Faith, but he had to learn some lessons himself. At this time he was very young in the faith. And, God now brings him into the land of famine, as we’re going to see, for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to test him. But, he failed the test. Now, my dear friend, God’s going to test your faith. Not because He doesn’t love you, but because He does love you. If you don’t remember anything else that I’m going to tell you today, I’m going to tell you this. A faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted. How do you that you have the real thing? How can you trust what you have if it’s not been tested? Now, God will test you. Peter taught the same thing. 1 Peter 1:7: “That the trial of your faith”—that is the testing of your faith—”being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire” or through fire. Now, what Peter says is that your faith is worth more than gold. But, you test gold to make certain that it’s real gold and not fools gold.

Stay tuned for part two

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

PEACE AND LOVE BABY

February 10, 2018

I don’t know whether you know what humanism is, but humanism is the pervading philosophy of the media, Hollywood, today. Humanism is a philosophy that makes man the center of the circumference of everything. Now the humanists are an actual organization. That is, there is an American Humanist Association, and they make their goals very clear and very plain. But there are a lot of people who are not members of the Humanist Association who are humanists at heart.

Now, simply defined, humanism is man’s attempt to solve the problems of mankind independent of God. Man’s attempt to solve humanity’s problems apart from God. Now, one of the leading humanists has written this for you and for me to understand what humanism is all about, and I quote precisely: Humanism is the viewpoint that human happiness is its own justification and requires no sanction or support from supernatural sources.

Plain English, be happy and leave God out of it. Listen to it again: Humanism is the viewpoint that human happiness is its own justification and requires no sanction or support from supernatural sources.

But the most dangerous part of humanism is they don’t believe in an eternity. And without the concept of eternity there can be nothing sacred.

So we can do anything we want, with our mind, our bodies, there is no morality.

We need to confront people with eternity, with the love of God. Do you know why the “Jesus Movement” was so big in the late 60’s and 70’s? Love, baby, love. It was like the book of Acts, all over. Now granted there were a lot of cults back then and high drug use (that’s a pun), but churches were filled. The long hairs and the bald, flower power and grannies. If the church would stop all it’s in house fighting and love at least the brothers and sister in the body of Christ, we’d see church evangelism begin to flourish.

It starts at home, love and peace, peace and love baby.

Rock on.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

CREATING GOOD HABITS

February 6, 2018

Creating Good Habits

Proverbs 4 is a mini-course on how to live wisely. The main metaphor of the chapter is that life is a journey and we are to keep to the path of righteousness (see v. 18). We are to “give careful thought to the paths for [our] feet and be steadfast in all [our] ways” (v. 26). To do this we will need to adopt a number of life-changing behaviors, such as getting wisdom and understanding (see v. 5), guarding our hearts (see v. 23) and avoiding corrupt talk (see v. 25).

 Although Proverbs doesn’t use the word habit, it is implied throughout that virtuous habits are necessary to live wisely. Habits are unconscious patterns of behavior acquired through frequent repetition. We often acquire our habits unconsciously or through repetition forced on us by authority figures (think teachers and parents). But we can also directly develop habits through conscious effort.

 Once we understand the ins and outs of habits, we can harness the process to create virtuous habits like those mentioned in Proverbs 4. Virtuous habits also include behaviors such as reading Scripture and serving our neighbor, which help us to become more like Jesus.

 Want to create a new virtuous habit? Try this:

  1. Identify the habit loop—The new pattern of behavior you want to create will consist of the habit loop: a cue, a routine

    and

    a reward. Take a few minutes to think through (and if it helps, write down) the details of each part of the loop. Let’s use the habit of a daily devotional reading as an example. To set up the routine, to actually read the devotional, what do you need? Well, access to a Bible and some devotional material would be helpful. You’ll also want a time you can consistently carry out the habit loop (e.g., in the morning, before work). The more you understand the habit loop you are creating, the easier it will be to identify any problems that might prevent you from making it a regular behavior.

  1. Isolate the cue—Cues signal you to begin the routine. Research has shown that almost all habitual cues fit into one of five categories: location, time, emotional state, other people and immediately preceding action. A helpful cue will take advantage of as many of these categories as possible. For instance, your cue could be pulling into the parking lot at work (location and immediately preceding action) at 8:40 a.m. (time) when you are relieved to be out of traffic (emotional state) and no one else is around (other people).

  1. Create a reward—When creating a virtuous habit, surprisingly the reward stage can be one of the most difficult steps. Why should you be rewarded for doing something you should be doing anyway? And isn’t the habit—such as your devotional reading—a reward in itself? It’s understandable that you might feel guilty about creating a reward for a good habit. But keep in mind that you are not rewarding yourself for doing the right thing; you’re training your brain to create a neurological craving. If you “reward” yourself (by eating a small piece of candy, for example) after reading a devotional, it isn’t to actually reward you for your accomplishment. It’s merely a way to directly affect how your brain will respond to the habit loop.

  1. Plan and evaluate—Habits are difficult to consciously create because they have not yet become a habit. It’s the conscious part—making sure your brain is actively focused on the habit loop—that becomes the stumbling block.

  Making the habit loop part of your natural thought process requires effort and persistence. Ask yourself a few questions, such as,

  ➤ How will I handle obstacles?

 ➤ What if I miss my schedule and need to get back on track?

 ➤ Are my cues and rewards working like I want them to?

 ➤ Customize the idea to make it work for you.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ding. This round is over.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

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

BULLET PROOF MIND

January 27, 2018

MAKE UP YOUR MIND

  “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

  Just whose side are we on? The enemy who would occupy us with ourselves, or the Comforter who would occupy us with the risen Lord Jesus? The spirit of death, or the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus? “Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16).

If we have only learned the Lord at our own side, the tendency is to be occupied with ourselves, or to seek to be an object of consideration; whereas if we have been led by the Spirit to His side, His interests and concerns will singularly occupy us.

The natural inclination is to make oneself the center of everything passing, how it pains or cheers oneself, even musing on oneself as if one were the one solitary object for the sunshine or the cloud to rest on. If I am a hero, or a martyr to myself, I look at and regard divine things as they suit my thinking about myself, and not as answering to what He is thinking of me. I am confining the Lord to myself instead of rising up and seeing myself lost in Him, and then following Him in all the greatness and blessedness of His work and ways down here.

  “We may love as Jonathan, and follow as Ruth, but until we know that we are united to the Lord Jesus Christ in glory, we will not be free enough from our own interests, to take up His.”

  “[Who] made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:7).

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Praise from Anne, she has been sober 3 weeks, stayed on her meds, and the difference in her has been dramatic. Pray she keeps it up..

Pray for Todd, he’s been married a year and since Christmas his wife has been drunk, sleeping around and just mean tempered. He want’s to stay married, but she won’t come in for counseling or move back home.

Pray for Andrew, a very rare thyroid condition has him hospitalized and will have surgery on Monday.

Roger asks, to keep his mom (91) in prayer, she still lives at home and cooks and cleans, but he’s worried about her neighborhood really going downhill.

 

OLD ABE

January 25, 2018

OLD ABE

Stored in a safe place at the Library of Congress is a small blue box. The label reads: “Contents of the President’s pockets on the night of April 14, 1865.” As you probably know, that was the fateful night on which President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

The box contains five things: (1) A handkerchief embroidered “A. Lincoln”; (2) A country boy’s pen knife; (3) A spectacles case repaired with string; (4) A purse containing a $5 bill—in Confederate money! (5) Some old and worn newspaper clippings.

The clippings are concerned with the great deeds of Abraham Lincoln. One of them reports a speech by John Bright, a British statesman, saying that Abraham Lincoln is one of the greatest men of all time.

That is not news for us who live over a century later. We all know that Lincoln was a great man. But in 1865, the jury was still out. The nation was divided and Lincoln had fierce critics on both sides as he made decisions that he hoped would restore the Union. Remember, Lincoln hadn’t read the history books on himself!

There is something poignantly pathetic about picturing this lonely figure in the Oval Office reaching into his pocket and spreading out these newspaper clippings as he re-read the encouraging words of a man who believed that Lincoln was a great man. It gave him the courage and strength to go on. People, especially leaders, need encouragement! (From an article by Charles Swindoll in the newsletter of the First Evangelical Free Church, Fullerton.)

Shift the scene from the Oval Office of Abraham Lincoln to a dungeon in Rome. It is dark and cold. A dim ray of light filters in through the opening at the top. Inside sits an aged, weathered little Jewish man, chained to a guard. It is Paul of Tarsus awaiting execution. Keep in mind that Paul didn’t know that his life and teachings would radically change the course of world history. All he knew was that the end was near and that many of those whom he had loved and taught were abandoning him like sailors jumping off a sinking ship.

Suddenly, there was a noise above as the guard opened the hatch to his cell. The old man squinted into the light, but couldn’t see who was climbing down the ladder to visit him. But he recognized the friendly voice, “Paul, Paul, I’ve found you at last!”

“Onesiphorus! Is that you, my good friend?” The two men embraced warmly in spite of the stench of the prisoner and his squalid cell. Then Onesiphorus, whose name means “bringing help or profit,” opened his bag and gave Paul fresh bread, fruit, cheese, and wine. He stayed a long time and he came back often, bringing good news of the progress of the gospel across the Roman Empire. Each time he came, Paul was refreshed in body and spirit.

Onesiphorus could have thought, “Paul is strong. After all, he’s the great apostle, who has suffered often. This isn’t his first time in prison. Who am I to try to minister to someone like him?”

But the reality is that everyone needs the ministry of refreshment at times. Even the Lord Jesus, in His hour of agony in Gethsemane, took His three closest disciples with Him and asked them to watch and pray with Him there. If Christ needed it and if Paul needed it, then we all need it. That means that we all need to look for those in need of refreshment and minister to them.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

I REALLY CAN CHANGE

January 16, 2018

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of spiritual growth? Some picture a solitary individual meditating or praying. While that concept accurately portrays one aspect of Christian spirituality, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

The issue of spiritual transformation is not new in the Christian faith. It has been a primary issue, though perhaps given different labels, throughout church history. From the time the Spirit of God descended upon the believers in Jerusalem, God has been transforming the souls of individual believers in the context of local Christian communities.

Preaching has never been and never will be the only element needed for the transformation of Christians into Christ’s image. Nor are small-group Bible studies, personal Bible study, Sunday school classes, or even one-on one discipleship sufficient for growing Christians when they focus solely on communicating biblical information. Transformation of the believer’s inner and outer life must take place as well transformation of the intellect.  “As a man thinketh.”

What do you think about the most each day?

That is the true measure of where you are in your Christian growth.

So think on that.

Let’s begin with some basic concepts of what brings change in our lives.

There is the fellowship model which focuses on corporate prayer for one another, growth of interpersonal intimacy, and support for each other in times of need. This approach effectively connects believers within a church body.

Spiritual disciplines include communal elements (worship, service, and fellowship). Folks need a venue of private, public and personal development.

Dealing with those internal obstacles (habitual sins, addictions, temperament issues, traumas, abuse) that prevent spiritual growth. Dealing with the issues is a key component in spiritual transformation, often done through spiritual counseling.

The fellowship model can fail to guide believers toward growth. The spiritual disciplines model can neglect to emphasize authentic and intimate Christian community, which is necessary for growth. The counseling model can fail to value the role that spiritual disciplines can have in growth. It also risks focusing on deficiencies so much that the person never benefits from the resources of God’s grace. It can focus too intently upon the person’s sin and failure and not enough on God’s enabling power toward growth in holiness.

Authentic community in which people come to trust each other. Though one-on-one relationships can be effective, we believe that multiple relationships are more effective. While one individual can spur another toward growth, that one individual has limited gifts and abilities. Also, though we value the spiritual disciplines, we see them as means toward the end of complete transformation of the believer’s inner and outer life. Disciplines aren’t ends in themselves. Finally, we think believers need to seek greater understanding of sin’s dynamic in their lives. They need to see potential blind spots or obstacles to their spiritual well-being and learn to deal with the root issues beneath their areas of struggle.

Next up; how to make real growth and changes in our lives.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com