SAVVY??

July 22, 2018

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

  Hard as it is for the believer to finally come to rest concerning his spiritual birth, it seems to be even more difficult for him to simply rest in the Lord Jesus for his life and service.

There are two stages in the Christian life. The one in which, after conversion, a believer seeks to work what God would have him do. The second, in which, after many a painful failure, he ceases from his works, and enters the rest of God, there to find the power for work in allowing the Father to work in him. (this second stage is only possible if you are not in a legalistic church, and one that grace is available but not cheap.)

It is this rest from their own work which many Christians cannot understand. They think of it as a state of passive and selfish enjoyment, of still contemplation which leads to the neglect of the duties of life, and ruins for that watchfulness and warfare to which Scripture calls. What an entire misunderstanding of God’s call to rest!

Truly to rest in God is to yield oneself up to the highest activity. We work, because He worketh in us both to will and to do (Phil. 2:13). As Paul says of himself, ‘I labor, striving according to his working who worketh in me with might’ (Col. 1:29). Entering the rest of God is the ceasing from self-effort, and the yielding of oneself in the full surrender of faith to God’s working.

Not only does the Lord Jesus live in us, but He becomes the motivating Object of our life as Christians. The law is no longer our motive or rule of life. It is entirely displaced by a Person, and that Person ‘the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ Henceforth the soul has a new center and source—it is no longer self-centered, but Christ-centered.

  “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:29

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

ONLY THE RIGHT WAY

June 24, 2018

OK, WORDPRESS IS ACTING WEIRD AND THIS MAY GET POSTED TWICE IN ONE DAY.

WARNING THIS POST CONTAINS ADULT SEXUAL LANGUAGE OF A VERY FRANK NATURE, PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED OR LEGALISTIC

THE APOSTLE PAUL SAID THERE ARE THINGS SO SHAMEFUL WE SHOULD NOT TALK ABOUT THEM. I DON’T THINK I’VE CROSSED THAT LINE BUT IT MAY BE CLOSE. I MEAN NO HARM AND DON’T WANT TO OFFEND SO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

FIRST A QUOTE FROM A MOVIE, IT’S NOT FROM THE BIBLE BUT IT WILL KICK OFF THE DISCUSSION. ‘YOU WILL NEVER KNOW THE POWER OF LOVE UNTIL YOU COMPLETELY SURRENDER TO IT.’ (I DON’T REMEMBER THE MOVIE BUT IT’S STILL A GOOD LINE)

WOMEN HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE BY GIVING BIRTH, MEN HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL WIVES WHO ARE FULFILLED AND HAPPY BY BEING MEN WHO LOVE THEIR WIVES MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE ON THIS EARTH.

SO HERE’S WHERE WE GET INTO A SENSITIVE AREA, SEX; IF YOU WANT TO BLESS YOUR WIFE PRACTICE GODLY SEX.  THAT MEANS NOT FORCING YOUR WIFE TO HAVE SEX WHILE ON HER PERIOD ( BECAUSE YOU THINK SHE HAS TO SUBMIT AND THIS PROVES SHE’S A GODLY WOMAN) REALLY, IF YOU ARE THAT KIND OF HUSBAND AND YOU WERE STANDING HERE IN FRONT OF ME I’D PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE. (GODLY COUNSELING DOESN’T SEEM TO WORK )

ONE THE BIBLE SAYS YOUR NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE SEX DURING THIS TIME. HEY HOW ABOUT THAT, GOD KNOWS WHAT SCIENCE HAS PROVED. THE UTERINE WALLS OF A WOMAN ARE WEAKER DURING THIS TIME AND IT CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS. AND REALLY YOU HAVE TO FORCE YOUR WIFE TO PROVE SHE’S SUBMISSIVE, THAT ONE IS GOING TO BACK FIRE IN YOUR FACE.

PLEASE DON’T READ ANY FARTHER IF YOU ARE REALLY SENSITIVE.

ANAL SEX, IT’S WRONG, DON’T CARE WHAT SEX IN CITY SAYS, SEX BOOKS, PORN, ITS WRONG, IT GOES AGAINST BIOLOGY AND IT GOES AGAINST THE BIBLE; I DON’T CARE IF YOUR PARTNER EVEN LIKES IT; GOD IS STILL GOD EVEN IN THE BEDROOM. YES YOU CAN PRACTICE HOLINESS EVEN IN THE MARRIAGE BED AND THE BIBLE DOES NOT SAY THE MARRIAGE BED IS UNDEFILED AND ANYTHING GOES. IT SAYS WE ARE TO MAKE THE MARRIAGE BED UNDEFILED. GOD DOES NOT CONDONE ‘FREAKINESS’ IN THE BEDROOM OF A CHRISTIAN COUPLE.

I BRING THIS UP BECAUSE I HAVE SEEN THE DAMAGE THIS ATTITUDE AND THE DAMAGE IT CAN WREAK IN A CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE.

A WOMAN WAS BEING ABUSED BY THE ABOVE IN A CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE. THE MAN DIDN’T RESPOND TO COUNSELING. SO SHE DECIDED TO POISON HIM. NOT TO DEATH JUST ENOUGH TO MAKE HIM SICK TO HIS STOMACH AND HE WOULDN’T FEEL LIKE HAVING SEX AND SHE WOULD BE SAFE AND SOUND.

THE AMOUNT OF GUILT SHE RACKED UP WAS GIVING HER MIGRAINES, EVENTUALLY SHE INSISTED THEY GO BACK TO COUNSELING AND UNDER THE THREAT OF DIVORCE AND OTHER THINGS LIKE HER FAMILY HUNTING HIM DOWN. CONVINCED THIS MAN TO STOP ABUSING HER. AFTER SIX YEARS OF COUNSELING AND BEING SUBMISSIVE TO THE PASTOR, HE STRAIGHTENED UP.

I’M HAPPY TO SAY THEY ARE STILL MARRIED, AND HE DID STOP, BUT HOW CAN CHRISTIAN MEN BE SO WRONG, AND YET BELIEVE THEY ARE SERVING THE LORD AND DOING NO HARM. IT’S A LIE AND THUS THE DEVOTION FOR TODAY MAY BE UNPLEASANT AND EVEN MAKE SOME MEN ANGRY, YET IT IS NEEDED IN OUR VERY POLLUTED CHRISTIAN HOMES AND MARRIAGES.

REMEMBER MEN, THE APOSTLE PAUL ALSO SAID WE ARE TO SUBMIT TO OUR WIVES AS WELL; PLEASE BE GODLY MEN, EVEN IN THE BEDROOM.

GOD BLESS. From scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the tongue

June 15, 2018

full custody

The best devotion I’ve ever read on taming the tongue was in the late 70’s and it was written by Christian song writer Keith Green, if I can find that devotion I will post it for you, until then…..

Taming is a process by which a wild beast is subdued into adapting and submitting to human control. As James notes, “all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind” (Jas 3:7). But despite mankind’s success in taming the animal kingdom, there is one wild thing, James says, that we haven’t been able to subdue and adapt: “No human can tame the tongue” (v.8).

 While we might never fully tame our tongues, with God’s help we can learn to use our words in a manner that is increasingly more edifying and Christlike.

 In what way does your tongue most often get you in trouble? Look over the following list of verses that address how we are to use our words. Choose two or three verses to memorize and reflect on daily:

 Watch what you say and speak only after careful consideration.

  “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin” (Pr 13:3).

   “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity” (Pr 21:23).

  Sometimes the most becoming speech is silence.

  “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues” (Pr 17:28).

  Seek first to understand what someone is saying before attempting to respond.

  “To answer before listening—that is folly and shame” (Pr 18:13).

  Be slow to speak your mind.

  “Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them” (Pr 29:20).

  Be wary of making trivial or casual remarks that reflect ungodly attitudes.

  “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken” (Mt 12:36).

  Avoid obscenities, profanities and blasphemy; instead, speak words that build up others.

  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph 4:29).

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

I’ve run this devotional before, but we have to practice what we preach, and unfortunately, I didn’t. I said something to someone close to me in what I thought was clearly a joking manner. They didn’t. I didn’t know their feelings were hurt until a little later. Because it took a week to apologize it only added fuel to the fire.

So there are no excuses for bad behavior. Ever. So the tongue will make you  fall. Keep a tight reign on it.

 

REVIRGINIZATION

June 1, 2018

WELL AFTER YESTERDAYS DEVOTION THIS MAKES PERFECT SENSE

It sounds ridiculous. Become a virgin again? Why not ask to relive last week? Yet if you’ve had sex, you may be saying, “I’ve asked for forgiveness. Now please tell me how to answer people who want to know whether or not I’m a virgin.”

Maybe the best answer to the question, “Are you a virgin?” is “None of your business.” But what do you tell yourself? If you want to start over, is it possible? Can you be a virgin again?

A man once posed a similar question to Jesus: “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” (John 3:4) Jesus answered by talking about a second, spiritual birth. “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven” (John 3:6).

You can lose your physical virginity just once. If you did it, you did it. You can’t get that first time back again. And the past carries with it physical and emotional consequences. If memories have been etched on your brain, you can’t pretend they’re gone. But spiritually, it is quite possible to start all over again.

Spiritual rebirth doesn’t destroy the past. It transforms it. A second chance, spiritually, means there are no limitations to what you can become. The God who made the universe out of nothing can take your past and make from it something beautiful.

The apostle Paul talked about this transformation when he wrote to a group of Christians in Greece. They had plenty in their past to regret. But because they trusted Jesus to redeem them, the past had been transformed:

Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshippers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers-none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

How do you begin that kind of transformation? You can’t manage it on your own. You need God’s power and forgiveness. And where do you find that? You ask for it. Spiritual transformation begins as simply and as mysteriously as that. You ask, admitting your need. And God goes to work in your life.

So when you’ve stopped having sex and asked for forgiveness, can you call yourself a virgin? Perhaps you are no longer a virgin in the physical sense. But because you have been purified by God, you are virgin in his eyes. That may not clear up your reputation or your memory. But it does clear up your future with God. You are as good as new.

Once you’ve experienced God’s forgiveness, you’ll still have to deal with the leftovers of your past, like guilt.

Feelings of guilt are your internal, emotional response. They aren’t always reliable. What we call a guilty conscience is often a mixture of feelings: regret, loss, sadness, self-reproach. These are natural feelings for someone who’s been heavily, emotionally involved in a sexual relationship.

The sense of guilt won’t instantly change. Like other natural consequences-pregnancy, disease, or painful memories-feelings don’t necessarily disappear when God transforms your life. But their sting is taken away. So, even though you may still feel guilty, it’s vital to know that, as far as God’s concerned, you’re not guilty. That’s the truth of

1 John 1:9, where God promises to forgive us and cleanse us when we confess our sins to him. And that’s the truth of Jeremiah 31:34, where God promises to forget your sins … forever.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross to take away your feelings. He died to take away your sins. Cleansed of sin, you can work on transforming your feelings into a useful tool for God’s service. They need not lead you downward. Transformed, they can give you compassion for the pain of other people. They can give you deep determination not to go wrong again.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Joey S, kidney stones

Pray for Dave I, 4 time treating prostate cancer

Samantha R, that she carries her baby to full term

 

Stick, Stuck, Stunk

May 31, 2018

THE BAND-AID THEORY

Ok it goes like this, you are a band-aid, you are in the box, in your wrapper and you are brand new.

You are a virgin, so let’s say you have your first sexual encounter, you are not in the box (protected) and you have lost your wrapper. And when you have your next sexual experience you have to peel yourself off the other band-aid; and you get stuck to the next one.

As time goes by and your sexual experiences with other people increase two things happen, less adhesiveness , and what level of sexual experience you had with the last person you will bring into the next relationship. Date a freak, have sex, become a freak, share that with someone else.

Hear the sucking sound, its your life, if you are fortunate to only have one sexual encounter with one person and it is there only encounter and you get married or are married you can see the power of the adhesiveness. But the more experiences the less ability to stick.

With our sick level of attention to sex, where little 8 year old girls look like hookers and the rate of under 12 pregnancies increase, children raping other children we are heading ( no we are already there) living in the exact age where God annihilated nations for worshipping sex.

So to you virgins, keep the wrapper on, to those who have lost their wrapper, practice celibacy, don’t go to that last level of sex you had with your last relationship.

Act like a virgin, practice purity, abstain from lustful practices, stop watching, reading viewing anything related to sex.

From your elder brother in the Lord.

God bless

scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

pray for Vickie, as she battles breast cancer

pray for Walter, he dipped his toe in the dark side in the early days of his divorce. Now his wife wants to get back together and he’s going to have to tell her about certain things, (and no, he doesn’t have a choice).

Pray for Geraldine, she waited till she was 43 to get married, had saved her virtue, gave her heart totally to a man, dated (courted) two years. God married, had a storybook wedding. 9 years later he’s in prison, she’s lost everything and is having a spiritual breakdown.

 

Good intentions

May 19, 2018

Okay I’d like to tell you a story about how good deeds can backfire.

We were pastoring a small church and we had a lady named Gail who’s husband had run off and left her with four children, one of them and infant. And she had no marketable job skills and with the four kids and no income they were hard-pressed every month for groceries and rent, the church did everything it could to help them and she would bring her kids to church and clean and help with stuff and Gail felt like she had to do something to earn the money and help that we gave.

So one day I came to church and she was  in the sanctuary sobbing and crying and I asked her what was wrong and she said that by taking public transportation, (The bus) she had spent over six hours in the hot summer sun and she was sunburned. The kids are sunburned. The baby was sunburned. They’re all dehydrated and hungry and I had told her before we leave to go into the kitchen at the church and help themselves whenever they came here. Of course she felt bad about imposing in doing that, but I told her she needed to get fluids in everybody so they didn’t get sick.

So we decided that the church would buy her car, so we had several people in the congregation that were police officers and they  told us that a police auction was coming up soon and there would be a lot of cars to choose from.

So we went to the police auction and bought her a car large enough to haul four kids around and it was taken to a mechanic and proven to be reliable and we put new tires and belts and hoses on it just to make sure. well three days later it’s the weekend and I get a phone call from Gail and she is just about crazy with panic and fear, seems she came out of the grocery store and there the car was with all the doors open all the door panels tore out, the backseat tore out, the trunk open and all the carpeted panels tore out the trunk. the hood was up and several engine parts were laying on the ground and she just couldn’t believe what happened to the car.

So we went to get her and called the police. one of our men from the congregation who was a police officer was there and he said the car that we had bought at a police auction was probably a drug car and when the drug dealer saw the car back at the grocery store they thought maybe the drugs might still be in there and they had stripped the car looking for the drugs.

So Bill and I, we put the car all back together made sure it was running and we followed Gail back to her home.

Last Sunday when she came to church. She was a little bit beside yourself and I asked her what was wrong, and she felt that what happened to the car was a sign that she was not leading her life right or there was some unconfessed sin or some nonsense. I told her that was not the case and that it wasn’t her fault, it wasn’t bad stewardship or anything else and let’s get over it and move on, the chances of it happening again are slim.

 I remember when I retired from that church as pastor one of the hardest things was hoping and realizing that the pastor that was coming in behind me would care as much for the poor folk that we had in that church and would do all that could be done to help them like we had. So, it’s been 30 years later, all her kids are grown up and become missionaries or evangelists or pastors and she is gotten remarried and life has turned out much better for her. that car is long gone. but you have to wonder sometimes why things happen.

The good news is that God is sovereign, and we won’t ever understand why things happen they way they do. But like the old gospel song. ‘trust and obey for there is no better way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.’

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

christ on cross

  “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ” (Phil. 3:7).

  Our Father has many reasons for administering trial —all good. Trial teaches us the futility of the old life, and the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus—our new life.

  “The Christian suffers the same calamities as others, perhaps even worse; he faces difficulties and losses in the things of this life; he has to be prepared to meet death itself. In all these circumstances he is calm and trustful; he is not only sure of ultimately going to heaven, but already abides there and enjoys something of it in his own heart.

 God is real to him and ever near. He knows a peace which passes all understanding, and he experiences a joy which no man can take from him. This, surely, should be our testimony in the world, but it can only be as the Lord Jesus Himself lives out this life in us.

  The world is divided into two things—pleasures and afflictions; I am more afraid of the pleasures than the afflictions. In afflictions you turn to the Lord. The danger is of being carried away by the very favors God has given to man.

  Those who suffer from chastening ought to be before the Father, owning His hand; and He who has wounded will heal. The Lord Jesus did not take the cup which He had to drink from us, from man, nor from Satan; but from His Father’s hand.

  “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord” (Phil. 3:8).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Charlie, what he calls ‘man cancer’ he always has had a wicked sense of humor.

Pray for Paul C, a lost sheep,

Put off, Put on

May 13, 2018

Putting Off the Old and Putting On the New

(Ephesians 4:22-24)

This is the end of our series on this passage in Ephesians. And this last devotional is a little long, you may want to print it out. Blessings

22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

In the first verses of Ephesians chapter 2, Paul described the unbeliever as being subject to the world, the flesh, and the devil. In most instances, the devil exercises control over lost men by means of the external pressure of the world and corresponding internal inclinations of the flesh. In Ephesians 4:17-19 Paul has instructed the Christian to turn from the corrupting influences of the world in which we live (our culture). Now, in verses 22-24, Paul turns to the subject of our flesh, urging us to put off the “old man” and to put on the new.

I understand Paul to refer to the flesh as our “old self,” or as the marginal note in the NASB indicates, our “old man.” In Romans chapter 8 this “old self” would be synonymous with the “mind set on the flesh” (Romans 8:6-7). The “new self” would be our new “inner man” (Romans 7:22; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 3:16), the “mind set on the Spirit” (Romans 8:6).

Beginning at verse 25, Paul will specifically identify those attitudes and actions which we should “put off” and those which should be “put on” in their place. But here Paul is dealing with our manner of life in principle, in general terms. Our fleshly behavior is the outgrowth, the expression, of our inner fleshly nature, just as Christian conduct is the outgrowth and expression of the inner man, created and empowered by the Holy Spirit:

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:16-24).

Paul persists in emphasizing the continuity between our conversion to Christ and our conduct in Christ, which should be evident in our manner of life.

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace (Romans 6:1-14).

6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, (Colossians 2:6).

In Christ, our old man has been crucified, put to death. In our daily conduct, we should crucify the flesh daily, and put aside the conduct which springs forth from fleshly desires. In Christ we were made alive, raised from the dead and seated with Him in the heavenlies (see Ephesians 2:5-6). We should therefore walk in newness of life, manifesting the work of the Spirit of God in and through us. It is by His power that we are both motivated and enabled to live in a way that pleases God:

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.… 10 And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you. (Romans 8:1-4, 10-11)

20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20).

This expression, “lusts of deceit” is somewhat puzzling as to its precise meaning. What we can be sure of is that there is a direct relationship between “lust” and “deceit.” I believe it is safe to say that “lust” is “deceitful,” and also to say that “deceit” is “lustful.” Lust is deceitful in that it does not produce what it seems to promise. Lust promises pleasure, but it ultimately produces death (see Romans 6:15-23, especially verse 21). Deceit is lustful in that it never seems to be satisfied, it always wants more victims (see Proverbs 1:10-19).

Jesus warned of the danger of attempting to remove evil, rather than replacing it (see Luke 11:26). Paul’s words indicate that our old nature and its deeds are not merely to be rejected, they are to be replaced. We must “put off” the old man and at the same time “put on” the new. While the old nature is continually being corrupted by the lusts of deceit, the new nature is renewing us, in accordance with the nature of God and His righteousness and truth. The old nature is being corrupted, the new is being renewed. The old is deceitful, the new deals in truth. The old is sinful, the new is righteous. The old is driven by lusts, the new by the character and purposes of God.

Conclusion

Christ did not save us in order that we may live any way that we choose. He saved us to live godly lives, and thus to live in a way that is radically different from our lifestyle as unbelievers. Our conduct, as Paul has indicated in verse 1 of chapter 4 is to conduct ourselves in a manner that is worthy of our calling in Christ.

The conduct which God requires of Christians should not come as a surprise to them after they have been saved. The gospel, as preached by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles, called men to repentance as well as to faith in Christ. Men were required to turn from their sin to Christ, and it was clear that this meant a new way of life. The “gospel” of our day is not so clearly stated. It is as though we fear that men will be receive Christ if they know what is involved. The irony is that the gospel, the true gospel, is the power of God unto salvation. The more we seek to rid the gospel of its unappealing aspects (from the unbeliever’s point of view) the more we rob it of its power. We then rely more on our cleverness and deceit than on the power of the Holy Spirit to convince and convert lost sinners. When we share our faith, let us tell it like it is.

This text, and those which follow in Ephesians, make it clear that while salvation and sanctification are the work of God, they require man’s response. God is sovereign in the salvation and spiritual growth of those whom He has chosen. He also ordained that men are to be informed of the gospel and of God’s standards of conduct, and that we are to act in obedience to His commands, not in our own strength, but in that which He supplies. Let us not leave this text with a passive view of our spiritual life. God has made every provision for our sanctification, and we are to obediently make use of them, for His glory and for our good.

It is almost impossible to overestimate the importance of the truths conveyed in the passage before us. While the verses which follow it will spell out specific conduct which befits the Christian, this text speaks of the basis for our conduct in general terms. It is our commitment to the general exhortations of this passage which will greatly affect our compliance with the commands that follow.

The Christian lifestyle will not be lived out by those with a pagan mindset. It is the Christian mindset of our text which works itself out in the conduct which befits our calling in Christ. Allow me to point out some of the inferences of Paul’s teaching in our text and its implications in our practical daily living.

Our pagan culture believes that the past is the key to the present. What we think and how we act, we are told, is the result of our past. It is only by understanding our past that we can live as we should in the present. In other words, the past controls the present.

The Bible reverses this. Paul teaches us that our thinking and conduct in the past was the outworking of our unregenerate thinking. Paul insists that we refuse to allow our past to control us in the present. Instead, Paul teaches us that what we now are, in Christ, is what should override and overrule our past thinking and behavior. What we now are in Christ should cause us to put away what we once thought and did as unbelievers. Our past should not be resurrected, analyzed and dwelled upon, it should be buried in an unmarked grave. It is not what we were that matters, but what we are. Let us ponder what we are, in Christ, and not what we were without Him.

In our culture, what you believe seems to have taken second place to how you feel. The sensitive, intelligent, and probing thing to ask these days is, “How do you feel about that?” Paul would rather have us focus on what we believe. What we feel is often a far cry from what is true, and even from what we believe. Faith, as I understand it, calls upon men to act on the truth God has revealed in His Word, not on how we feel. Abraham did not “feel” like leaving his homeland and relatives to go to an unnamed place, but he obeyed God. Neither did he feel like offering up his son, Isaac, but he was willing to obey. Our Lord did not feel like going to the cross of Calvary, but He obeyed the will of His Father. Let us act on what we know to be the truth as revealed in the Word of God, more than on how we happen to feel. As a rule, faith acts on the facts of God’s Word and disregards our feelings.

If the renewing of our minds is so vital to our Christian life, how is it done? The Bible is not a book of formulas, but I would like to focus your attention on one key element: the Word of God. When a person wants to learn a foreign language, what is the most effective way to do so? It is to enter into that culture and language and become saturated with it. This is how our children learn to talk and to think as we do. If we would desire to have our minds renewed, then we must find God’s thoughts and immerse ourselves in them. His thoughts have been incarnated in Christ, the Living Word, and recorded in the Bible, His inspired written Word.

I dare say that most Christians spend more time in front of their television sets, radios, magazines, and books than they do in their Bibles. Even many Christian stations and publications contain much that is secular thinking sprinkled with a smattering of spiritual jargon. If we would think God’s thoughts after Him, we will find them only in His Word. Let us become so saturated with His Word that we begin to reflect His ways, His values, His goals, His methods. This is the renewing of the mind which Paul calls for.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Heavenly thinking

April 27, 2018

In the past two years, as I’ve watched people I love die, I’ve thought a lot about that mysterious, distant place called heaven. Within the blessed fellowship of my spiritual community, we’ve buried parents, siblings, friends. We’ve walked through the grass of cemeteries, sat in quiet funeral rooms and breathed the scent of flowers and the smell only a funeral home can produce wafting off the wood-grained lids of coffins. We have stood tearful on this side of heaven, while those we love have stepped onto the other side into glory we can only try to imagine.

Sorrow and pain have pointed our hearts toward heaven.

For us post-modernists, it usually takes such an experience with intense sadness and death to make us think about life beyond the here and now. For most of us, only great losses turn our thoughts away from our obsession with making for ourselves a heaven here on earth; only deep piercing grief causes us to contemplate the end of our days.

It hasn’t always been so.

In early Christian thinking, meditating on the hereafter was a common practice. It was considered a valuable, worthwhile exercise to not only examine life but also to contemplate death.

Richard Foster wrote, “The notion of reflecting on our own demise is actually an ancient spiritual discipline.”

You don’t have to look very far into classic Christian writings to discover how true that is.

Blaise Pascal was a brilliant seventeenth-century mathematician. He often was ridiculed by his intellectual peers for shifting his genius from mathematics to theology and apologetics. But nothing mattered more to Pascal than pursuing God, getting to know Him, and experiencing an ever-deepening intimacy with Christ.

His life was short—he lived only thirty-eight years, but he was a man consumed with love for God. Listen in as he prays, “…Grant then that I may so anticipate my death that I may find mercy hereafter in your sight.”

Teresa of Avila lived a century before Pascal, and her writings still vibrate with her longing for heaven. “O my delight, Lord of all created things and my God! How long must I wait to see you?”

Madame Guyon, writing to a dying friend, said, “I feel my loss, but I am very happy for you. I could envy you. Death helps to draw away the veil that hides infinite wonders.”

John Donne wrote that it is our job to make a home in this world while remembering that home is not here.

This is a challenge to us modern Christians, isn’t it? We aren’t in the habit of “anticipating” our death. We believe in heaven; we just don’t give it much thought.

How much time during the day do you actually contemplate heaven, your salvation, your Lord and Savior, your walk with Christ. Unless you’re a seminary student or pastor or have learned the discipline of daily devotions; it is to long a pause in between times.

You’ve heard the quote; “18 inches between your heart and brain, the longest journey ever.”

How far is it then to heavenly thoughts?

Make the journey more often.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

battle fatigue

April 23, 2018

Our sinful hearts make us all prone to limit God by human potential. The disciples fell into this error when they were faced with the crowd of 5,000 hungry men, plus women and children. Jesus asked Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” John explains that Jesus asked this to test Philip, since He knew what He was about to do. Philip did a quick calculation and concluded, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little” (John 6:5-7). Philip may have thought that he was giving a faith-stretching answer, because the disciples clearly did not have 200 denarii to buy bread. But he was limiting God to work through normal human means. But God had a completely different solution, namely, miraculously multiplying the few loaves and fishes they had on hand.

So even if we’ve walked with God for years, when we are faced with a seemingly impossible situation, we need to look to our hearts, which are prone to limit the Almighty by human possibilities. God has given us abundant evidence in Scripture that He is the God of the impossible. Nothing is too difficult for Him. The source of our doubts is not a lack of evidence. It is rather our, sinful hearts.

That should be a sigh of relief right now. Whew, I don’t have to get more faith, I don’t have to feel a tingle or get Holy Ghost goose bumps. The object of faith is God. I only have to reckon, acknowledge, believe what I’ve already believed. Christ is my Savior, He died on the cross and so did I, I believe, position myself there. That’s all I have to do and the Holy Spirit draws me to God.

That’s why it’s so important to have a firm bible reading habit, God will pour all that you’ve read for years into you heart and remind us of whom we serve.

The battle is Lord’s.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com