who manages who

May 28, 2017

Firefighters know the danger of letting a fire get out of control. They are trained to respond quickly. You, too, must respond quickly to control the flames of anger before they consume your life and leave a smoldering ditch of destruction. “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins” (PROVERBS 29:22).

 WHAT ARE THE DEGREES OF ANGER? Anger is an emotional agitation that occurs when a need or expectation is not met. Like heat, anger has many degrees, ranging from mild irritations to hot explosions. Indignation—simmering anger provoked by something unjust and often perceived as justified Wrath—burning anger accompanied by a desire to avenge Fury—fiery anger so fierce that it destroys common sense Rage—blazing anger resulting in loss of self-control, often to the extreme of violence and temporary insanity

WHAT ARE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ANGER? Is it a sin for a person to be angry? No, the initial feeling of anger is a God-given emotion. The way you express this emotion determines whether your anger becomes sin. Ephesians 4:26 says, “In your anger do not sin.” How can a person keep from feeling guilty when he is angry? Your anger is a signal that something is wrong. The purpose of the red warning light on a car dashboard is to propel you into action—to cause you to stop, evaluate, and do what is needed. For example, Jesus became angry at the hypocritical religious leaders who interpreted “resting on the Sabbath” to excess: “He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand’…and his hand was completely restored” (Mark 3:5).

WHAT ARE THE FOUR SOURCES OF ANGER?

Hurt—Your heart is wounded. Everyone has a God-given inner need for unconditional love. When you experience rejection or emotional pain of any kind, anger can become a protective wall that keeps people and pain away.

 Injustice—Your right is violated. Everyone has an inner moral code that produces a sense of right and wrong, fair and unfair, just and unjust. When you perceive that an injustice has occurred against you or others (especially those whom you love), you may feel angry. If you hold on to the offense, the unresolved anger can begin to make a home in your heart.

Fear—Your future is threatened. Everyone is created with a God-given inner need for security. When you begin to worry, feel threatened, or get angry because of a change in circumstances, you may be responding to fear. A fearful heart reveals a lack of trust in God’s perfect plan for your life.

Frustration—Your effort is unsuccessful. Everyone has a God-given need for significance. When your efforts are thwarted or do not meet your own personal expectations, your sense of significance can be threatened. Frustration over unmet expectations of yourself or of others is a major source of anger.

WHAT IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF ANGER? When we feel that our real or perceived rights have been violated, we can easily respond with anger.

 Wrong Belief: “Based on what I believe is fair, I have the right to be angry about my disappointments and to stay angry for as long as I feel like it. I have the right to express my anger in whatever way is natural for me.”

Right Belief: “Because the Lord is sovereign over me and I trust Him with my life, I have yielded my rights to Him. My human disappointments are now God’s appointments to increase my faith and develop His character in me. I choose to not be controlled by anger, but to use anger to motivate me to do whatever God wants me to do” (see 1 Peter 1:6-7).

HOW CAN PAST ANGER BE RESOLVED? Unresolved anger is a bed of hidden coals burning deep wounds into your relationships with God and with others. This powerful emotion robs your heart of peace and steals contentment from your spirit. So how is this anger resolved? Realize Your Anger — Willingly admit that you have unresolved anger. — Ask God to reveal any anger buried in your heart. — Seek to determine the primary reason(s) for your past anger. — Talk out your anger with God and with a friend or counselor. (Proverbs 21:2)

We need to remember that it is not a sin to get angry, it’s what we do while we are angry that is important. Good, godly responses are what important.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember all those on our prayer lists, especially Joe and his shoulder, a great deal of pain.

And Dave as his fights his 5th battle prostate cancer. He’s a brave guy.

 

DO THE HARD PART

May 16, 2017

There are no secrets and there is no easy path.

Do the work, get the reward, that’s the only answer.

When we read or hear the words of Scripture, do we “pay the most careful attention” (Heb 2:1)? How often have you noticed that by the end of the week, you’ve forgotten the Bible reading you did only a few days earlier?

 Too often we attempt to build a framework for scriptural knowledge without first gathering the lumber and cement needed to create a solid foundation. To lay that groundwork check out this simple four-step process that could transform your life by, quite literally, changing your mind:

  1. Choose a book of the Bible.

  2. Read it in its entirety.

  3. Repeat step #2, 20 times.

  4. Repeat this process for all books of the Bible.

  The benefits of following this process will become obvious. By fully immersing yourself in the text, you’ll come to truly know the text. You’ll deepen your understanding of each book, as well as your knowledge of the Bible as a whole.

 This method is adapted from the book How to Master the English Bible by James M. Gray, so we’ll let him explain the benefits in his own words:

  The first practical help I ever received in the mastery of the English Bible was from a layman . . . One day I ventured to ask him how he had become possessed of the experience, when he replied, “By reading the epistle to the Ephesians.” . . . He had gone into the country to spend the Sabbath with his family on one occasion, taking with him a pocket copy of Ephesians, and in the afternoon, going out into the woods and lying down under a tree, he began to read it; he read it through at a single reading, and finding his interest aroused, read it through again in the same way, and, his interest increasing, again and again. I think he added that he read it some twelve or fifteen times, “and when I arose to go into the house,” said he, “I was in possession of Ephesians, or better yet, it was in possession of me, and I had been ‘lifted up to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,’ in an experimental sense in which that had not been true in me before, and will never cease to be true in me again.”

  Here are three suggestions for putting this reading plan into practice:

  1. Choose shorter books—Because you’ll be reading an entire book of the Bible and not just a chapter or two, you’ll want to choose books you feel are manageable. You might want to start with a short book that has only a few chapters that can be read several times in one sitting. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and help develop the reading habit. For example, a short book like John or Jude can be read four or five times in one sitting, allowing you to finish the entire 20 readings in less than a week. And then you always have the option to work your way up to more extensive readings.

  2. Read at your normal pace—Treating the material reverently does not require reading at a slower than normal speed. Read for comprehension, ignoring the division of chapters and verses and considering each book as one coherent unit.

  3. Stick with the process—After the eighth or ninth reading you’ll hit a wall similar to what runners face in marathons. The text will become dry and lose its flavor. You’ll want to move on to the next book or abandon the program altogether. Stick with it. Persevere and you’ll discover the treasures that repeated readings can provide.

  Keep in mind that not every book will be equally rewarding. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you if during one of your readings you find 2 John a bit redundant or Jude just plain boring. The Bible tells us “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching” (2Ti 3:16–17). Keep reading, and you’ll fully understand the truth of those verses.

The good news, it’s get easier and more exciting and more rewarding.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

my first love

April 27, 2017

Genesis 22: why the O.T. is so great. First love

Two episodes in the life of Abraham stand out with special prominence. The first, when against all natural hopes, he “believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Rom. 4: 3). In the second he was, “justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar” (Jas. 2: 21). To this second great event we come in Genesis 22.

“After these things,” we read, God put Abraham to the test, and this is ever His way. Peter speaks of “the trial of your faith,” and declares that it is “much more, precious than of gold that perisheth” (1 Pet. 1: 7). At the outset Abraham’s faith laid hold of God as One who was able to raise the dead. Under test he was now to demonstrate that such was his faith, in a way that would be apparent to any thoughtful observer. He showed his faith by his works.

If considered typically the chapter has remarkable significance. Here we get father and son both going up together to the sacrifice. In a figure the son is sacrificed and raised from the dead. We have already seen the death of Christ typified (1) as atonement, covering the guilty sinner, in the coats of skins (Genesis 3); (2) as the basis of approach to God, in Abel’s sacrifice (Genesis 4); (3) as the ground of acceptance, in Noah’s burnt offering (Genesis 8). Now we find a fourth and fuller type in the offering up of the son, and this brings in not only death but resurrection also. Consequently we find in this story details of very striking significance.

In verse 2 Isaac is mentioned as Abraham’s “only” son, which is rendered in Hebrews as, “his only begotten son” (11: 17) . ‘This makes it abundantly clear that Isaac was a type of our Lord, and further, it sheds light on the meaning of the words “Only begotten” as applied to Him. Ishmael indeed sprang from Abraham but being after the flesh he did not count in the Divine reckoning, and Isaac was quite unique. So our Lord Jesus Christ was Son of God in a perfectly unique sense.

It was God who declared Isaac to be Abraham’s “only” son, and He also added, “whom thou lovest.” Now this is the first time that love is mentioned in the Bible, which is remarkable, seeing it prefigures the love in the Godhead of the Father for the Son. Not until we reach the New Testament and such a statement as, “Thou lovest Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17: 24), do we get that love fully revealed; but now that it is revealed, we can better understand the great statement that, “God is love.” How fitting that the first mention of love should be typical of that supreme love, which is the fountain from which flows all true love of which we have any knowledge.

The command of God was that this only son of Abraham’s love should be offered by him as a sacrifice upon a mountain, chosen of God in the land of Moriah. He was to deliver to death the son, in whom all the promises were vested. This, was indeed a tremendous test of faith, as is made so plain in Hebrews 11: 17-19. That he did not fail under it was due to the fact that he believed that God was able and prepared to raise him from the dead.

The spot chosen for the sacrifice was that whereon, centuries after, the temple was built, and where Jewish sacrifices were made at the altar of burnt offering. Though Abraham cannot have known it the circumstances were divinely arranged to complete the typical picture. What we do see in Abraham is the energy with which he responded, rising up early in the morning, and’ the preparation he made to act in obedience. He departed with son, servants and wood for sacrifice.

On the third day Abraham saw the chosen spot; this was significant, for in after days he would look back to it not so much as the place of sacrifice as the place where in figure he received him as from the dead — the place of resurrection, in fact. That the faith of Abraham embraced resurrection is borne witness to by the closing words of verse 5. The sacrifice of Isaac was contemplated as “worship,” and the lad as well as his father was to “come again.” Abraham’s confidence as to this coming again is the more striking as he carried both a knife and the fire, as the next verse records. The wood was laid on Isaac. We may see in this a foreshadowing of that which is recorded in John’s Gospel — “He, bearing His cross, went forth into a place called . . . Golgotha.”

The sacrifice commanded was to be a burnt offering, hence to the eyes of Isaac the fire and the wood were perfectly natural, and the only question raised in his mind was, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham’s answer, though he may not have known it, was prophetic of something far beyond his own days: “God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” No lamb that ever died on any altar, patriarchal or Jewish, was other than provisional, and in view of that which was to come. The question, “Where is THE lamb?” was unanswered until John the Baptist was able to declare, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Abraham, however, was fully persuaded that God would provide the lamb for this occasion, and in that faith both father and son went together.

Verses 9 and 10 relate how full was the measure of Abraham’s obedience. Nothing was lacking up to the point where the death stroke would have taken place. At the last possible moment the Angel of the Lord intervened. His obedience had been tested to the full and had stood the test. He had not withheld his only son. This not only proved beyond question that he believed in God as the God of resurrection, but also furnished a foreshadowing of the infinitely greater moment when God “spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.”

Though not stated in the narrative, we must not fail to notice the submission of Isaac. No word of remonstrance on his part is mentioned. He typifies the One of whom the prophet testified, “As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth” (Isa. 53: 7). His experience must have typified that which our Lord passed through, in infinitely greater measure, in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The voice from heaven arrested the death stroke that was to have fallen on Isaac, and now Abraham’s eyes were directed to God’s immediate provision; not a lamb merely but a ram. If we desired to have the strongest and most vigorous specimen from among the sheep, we should have to select a ram. This one moreover was caught in the thicket by its horns, symbolic of its strength, and it was offered as a burnt offering “in the stead of his son.” Though the actual words, substitute, or substitution, do not occur in our English Bible, here we have exactly that which the words mean. A substitute is one who stands in the stead of another.

So in this incident, which presents to us the fourth type of the death of our Saviour, we have before us salvation by a substitutionary sacrifice. And further, since the ram was detained to be the sacrifice by its horns, the strongest part of its frame, we may see how our blessed Lord was held to His sacrificial work by the strength of His love. No nail that ever was forged could have detained him on the cross. What held Him there was love to the Father, and love to us. (See John 14: 31; 13: 1).

Abraham recognized the wonderful way in which God had provided the lamb for a burnt offering, and signalized it by naming the place Jehovah-Jireh, meaning, ”The Lord will provide.” And out of that sprang a saying which was still current when some four centuries later Moses wrote these things: “In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen,” or “shall be provided.” That was the language of faith, for another four centuries, or so, after Moses, there stood on Moriah the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite, and years after that Solomon’s temple was built there, and so it became the place for Jewish sacrifices. That to which all these sacrifices pointed took place “without the gate,” for the Lord Jesus was the rejected One.

The first call out of heaven had acknowledged the completeness of Abraham’s obedience: the second call pronounced great blessing, confirmed by an oath. This is the occasion referred to in Hebrews 6 when God, “because He could swear by no greater,” “swear by Himself.” The extent of the blessing might well have staggered Abraham. His seed was to be multiplied (1) “as the stars of the heaven,” (2) “as the sand which is upon the sea shore;” it was (3) to “possess the gate of his enemies,” and in it (4) “shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” It is not surprising, therefore, that God reinforced His bare word by His oath, that there might be “two immutable things” on which to rest.

The ancients knew but the stars that are visible to the naked eye. Only in our day has it been discovered that they are literally as numerous as the grains of sand on the sea shore. But we think we may see in (1) his spiritual seed, whose destiny is heaven (see, Galatians 3: 7); in (2) and (3) his earthly seed who, born again and redeemed, will enjoy millennial blessing and victory; and in (4) a prediction to be fulfilled in Christ, who is the Seed — in the singular, as Galatians 3: 16 points out — in whom all nations shall be blessed. All this blessing is guaranteed by the mighty oath of God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

head case

April 19, 2017

Image result for picture of a skull

 

 

Ephesians 6:17 The helmet God provides is salvation (Isa. 59:17). No matter how hot the battle, the Christian is not daunted, since he knows that ultimate victory is sure. Assurance of eventual deliverance preserves him from retreat or surrender. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

I am always amazed at the Holy Scripture and its application and accuracy.

Salvation is all in our head, you have to know that you are a sinner, realize that there is a real hell, acknowledge you’re helpless, admit you need God and consent to the fact you need a Savior.

No emotions are needed, in fact feelings get in the way. Just as you factually accept the truth, knowledge and truth (the reckoning) is what helps you in your walk, not how you feel.

It is so very hard to counsel someone that bases their salvation on how they feel, what a rollercoaster of experiences and always feeling the need to get ‘saved’ over and over.

It’s all in your head, just make sure you keep it there and everything will be ok.

Quinton came through his surgery  just fine and appreciates the prayers

Pray for Becky and her upcoming brain surgery next Monday

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

MERCY

March 4, 2017

  “That He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory” (Rom. 9:23).

  Mercifully, day by day, He unfolds before our startled eyes the evil depths of the self-life. It is thus we come to know Him as the “God who is rich in mercy,” and ourselves as “vessels of mercy.”

  “Today sinful men, not angels, are entrusted with the preaching of the Gospel, and before they can be used of God must first of all have plumbed the depths of their own sinfulness, and have, therefore, discovered the heights and glories of God’s longsuffering. In this way they can become a pattern of His mercy, by means of which He can demonstrate His grace to others.

The power effectively to present Christ as Lord, is by means of revelation deep within us, bringing into being an unshakable knowledge of His authority and might, and making us content to accept our weakness and nothingness in order that we may see the pleasure of the Lord prosper in His hand (Isa. 53:10).

The more useful anyone is, the more he requires to be brought to an end of himself, and to find that his all is in the Lord Jesus. We find some of His servants deeply chastened at first, in order to prepare them for a useful course; and some after a useful period are brought low and afflicted in order that they might learn how truly and fully our Father is sovereign.

  “your fruitfulness comes from me.” (Hosea 14:8 NIV)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

true dat

February 23, 2017

All of God’s acts are consistent with all of His attributes. All that God does agrees with all that God is, and being and doing are one in Him. He cannot act out of character with Himself.

I think it might be demonstrated that almost every heresy that has afflicted the church through the years has arisen from believing about God things that are not true, or from over-emphasizing certain true things so as to obscure other things equally true. To magnify any attribute to the exclusion of another is to head straight for one of the dismal swamps of theology, and yet we are all constantly tempted to do just that.

For instance, the Bible teaches that God is love; some have interpreted this in such a way as virtually to deny that He is just, which the Bible also teaches. Others press the Biblical doctrine of God’s goodness so far that it is made to contradict His holiness. Or they make His compassion cancel out His truth. Still others understand the sovereignty of God in a way that destroys or at least greatly diminishes His goodness and love.

We can hold a correct view of truth only by daring to believe everything God has said about Himself. It is a grave responsibility that a man takes upon himself when he seeks to edit out of God’s self-revelation such features as he in his ignorance deems objectionable

And yet it is happening, it’s not just unbelievers distorting God, it’s charlatans and imposters that are fleecing the flock, preaching a false gospel for their own fame, fortune and a form of self-idolization.

Some preach that God is all love and there can’t be a hell, some preach racism and hate, others are just feel good spin doctors weaving a hype that few can find in the real world. So it’s up to the those that are faithful to the Word of God to not be liars and self-promoters.

So here’s an easy thing to do just google false preachers, or preacher’s with bad doctrine, you will be surprised who is on that list. So if you want to send a good chain letter send that list.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

oh yes you are

February 15, 2017

As a husband and wife are united through marriage and a parent and a child are united through birth. “so we are united to Christ through the Spirit’s baptism.” Union with Christ is one of the most important doctrines for sanctification (see “What Is ‘Union With Christ’?”). As Paul writes, because of this union believers have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3)

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In the first two chapters of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul outlines 20 of these blessings. Schedule a time for meditation, then choose one or more of these statements to meditate and reflect on the spiritual blessings Christ has given you

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➤ In Christ I was chosen to be holy and blameless (1:4).
➤ In Christ I was adopted as a son/daughter in God’s family (1:5).
➤ In Christ I am blessed by the glorious grace of God (1:6).
➤ In Christ I have been redeemed; my sins have been forgiven (1:7).
➤ In Christ the mystery of God’s will has been made known to me (1:9).
➤ In Christ all things will be united in the fullness of time (1:10).
➤ In Christ I have an inheritance, one that is incorruptible (1:11).
➤ In Christ I am able to worship and praise to his glory (1:12).
➤ In Christ I have been sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit (1:13).
➤ In Christ I have the immeasurable power of the greatness of God (1:19).
➤ In Christ I have been made alive, even though I was once dead in my sin (2:5).
➤ In Christ I have been put in the heavenly places with him (2:6).
➤ In Christ I will find the immeasurable riches of God’s grace and kindness (2:7).
➤ In Christ I was created for good works (2:10).
➤ In Christ I have been brought near by the blood of Jesus, though I was once far away (2:13).
➤ In Christ I find reconciliation, breaking down a wall of hostility (2:14).
➤ In Christ I have been created as a new man/woman (2:15).
➤ In Christ I have access to the Father (2:18).
➤ In Christ I grow in holiness (2:21).
➤ In Christ I am being built into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (2:22).

These are just words on a page, they are truths that need to discovered in our lives and honestly realized.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Our bible winner was Bethany J from Kansas city

“a rabbit doesn’t really carrot a lot”

Ok, this is someone that really gets my sense of humor,

 

only the lonely

February 11, 2017

Image result for roy orbison

The entrance exam to Christianity is admitting failure. You have to admit you are a sinner, going to church is about your relation to Christ, not to the pastor.

Yes there are always going to be Jimmy Baker’s, Jimmy Swaggert, Ted Haggert. Most pastors don’t get caught, and the good news is less than 1% actually get involved in sexual recreation (adultery, fornication, porn, etc.)

The pastor that falls prey to sexual sins all have one common denominator, no matter what size the church, they are lonely.

Pastoring is a huge drain on time, energy and relations.

You want to help your pastor, push through all the barriers he has erected to protect himself and be his friend. Most pastors have no real honest friends.

Pastors are actually taught by their peers to be aloof, unavailable, ‘hey, don’t be honest or share it will bite you on the @$$.’

We always talk about saving the lost, save your pastor

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com where failure is the norm.

 

suck it up buttercup

February 10, 2017

Suck it up buttercup

or

Is the devil to blame for our sin and suffering?

This is a common question and one that is often mishandled. Satan is blamed for everything evil and while there is a certain sense in which that is true, it fails to take into consideration all the other issues like our own personal responsibilities for our own actions. It’s too easy for us to blame the devil and excuse ourselves, People are inclined to blame the devil in order to remove their guilt, justify their actions, and ignore their responsibility and the things God wants to teach them through their suffering. This has been true from the very beginning as we see so clearly with Eve’s answer in blaming the serpent when faced with her sin in the garden. Adam too had his scapegoat in blaming Eve and even the Lord, i.e., “the woman made me do it, the one you gave me.” Certainly, as the deceiver and liar, Satan instigated the temptation, but Eve responded with negative volition, unbelief, and disobedience, and Adam failed to stay true to his responsibility as the leader in his family.

Today, regardless of the various external sources of temptation (Satan and the world), the final source is our own sinful nature or the lusts of self-centered desires of our own hearts (Jam. 1:14-15). In Christ, by virtue of the finished work and victory of the Savior, we are victors; He has provided everything we need to defeat sin and Satan (1 John 4:4; 5:4-5; Rev. 3:21; Rom. 6:1-14; Col. 2:6-15; 3:1f; Heb. 2:14-15; Eph. 6:10f).

However, having said all this, it is equally true that through the world system and the demonic hosts that Satan controls (John 12:31; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:12) we are constantly faced with the power and activity of Satan in more ways than we can possibly imagine. As Paul warns, our battle is not only with the flesh and blood, but with supernatural powers that are constantly in operation in the sons of disobedience and against the body of Christ (Eph. 2:1-3; 6:10-13f; 1 Pet. 5:8; Jam. 4:7).

When Satan can attack us he will and only God knows how much of what we face is the direct result of the devil’s onslaughts. At the same time, much of our suffering is the direct result of our own self-induced misery, sometimes as a product of our ignorance, or unbelief, or indifference, or a combination of all of the above. So Scripture tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from us, to put on the whole armor of God, to be controlled by means of the Spirit, to have Word-filled lives, to walk circumspectly and in wisdom, and to be on alert because of the activity of Satan who is constantly on the prowl.

But there are two things we should not assume:

(1) That everything evil that happens to us is the result of direct Satanic attack. Though he is indirectly involved, some of what happens is simply the result of life in a fallen world. For instance, take cancer and other degenerative diseases; probably more than anything else these are the result of Satan’s involvement through a world merchandising system that has promoted an unhealthy diet (highly-processed foods, foods that have lost much of their food value due to depleted soils, pesticides, preservatives, chemicals, high fat and sugar diets, etc.).

(2) We should not assume that all our suffering is the product of our own sin or indifference to the Lord. There are many reasons for suffering Job was a righteous man who walked with God, yet for His own purposes and for Job’s spiritual growth (all testing is ultimately designed for our growth), God allowed Satan to attack him. Paul too was a godly, spirit-filled man, yet he experience a thorn in the flesh which he defined as a messenger of Satan. It was an affliction God used as a tool in Paul’s life to teach him some important spiritual lessons (2 Cor. 12). The Lord healed all kinds of illness, but a careful study of the NT shows us that only a small portion of these illnesses were actually attributed to Satan or demonic causes. The same can be said of the writings of the Apostle Paul. He spoke of Trophimus who was sick, but he never even suggested this was the product of direct Satanic attack. Timothy may have been experiencing some kind of stomach difficulty, but Paul’s advice was simply to take a little wine for his problem. No mention of Satan or demons.

A general reading of the epistles puts the emphasis not on the demonic, but on our own responsibility to appropriate our assets in Christ. So while we need to acknowledge Satan’s constant activity, nefarious ways, and be on alert, our primary focus needs to be, not on Satan, but on the Lord and our responsibility to grow in Christ. It is often a cop out, pure and simple, for us to blame the devil when what is needed is honest to God personal examination and confession that we might be restored to fellowship, learn the spiritual lessons need, and be made like Him as a part of the process of growth and maturity in Christ. What takes more faith and character? To live through the suffering or to simply be miraculously healed without having to truly think through and trust the Savior for spiritual change?

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

THE GRAND DESIGN PART 4

January 7, 2017

There is a paradox in the creation account. While Genesis 1 teaches the equality of the sexes as God’s image-bearers and vice-rulers on the earth, Genesis 2 adds another, complex dimension to Biblical manhood and womanhood. The paradox is this: God created male and female in His image equally, but He also made the male the head and the female the helper.

 

For clarity’s sake, let me restate my definition of male headship (not male domination):

 

In the partnership of two spiritually equal human beings, man and woman, the man bears the primary responsibility to lead the partnership in a God-glorifying direction.

 

That is, God calls the man, with the counsel and help of the woman, to see that the male-female partnership serves the purposes of God, not the sinful urges of either member of the partnership.

 

What will now emerge clearly from Genesis 2 is that male-female equality does not constitute an undifferentiated sameness. Male and female are equal as God’s image-bearers. They are spiritually equal, which is quite sufficient a basis for mutual respect between the sexes. But the very fact that God created human beings in the dual modality of male and female cautions us against an unqualified equation of the two sexes. This profound and beautiful distinction, which some belittle “as a matter of mere anatomy,” is not a biological triviality or accident. It is God who wants men to be men and women to be women; and He can teach us the meaning of each, if we want to be taught. We ourselves can feel intuitively the importance of distinct sexual identity when we see, for example, a transvestite. A man trying to be a woman repulses us, and rightly so. We know that this is perverse. Sexual confusion is a significant, not a slight, personal problem, because our distinct sexual identity defines who we are and why we are here and how God calls us to serve Him.

 

God has no intention of blurring sexual distinctness in the interests of equality in an unqualified sense. In fact, there are many areas of life in which God has no intention of leveling out the distinctions between us. Consider the obvious: God does not value intellectual or aesthetic equality among people. He does not value equality in finances, talents, and opportunity. It is God who deliberately ordains inequalities in many aspects of our lives. When I came from the womb, I had only so much potential for physical, intellectual, and aesthetic development. Some are born with less than I was, others with more. Because God is ultimately the One who shapes our lives, I have to conclude that God is not interested in unlimited equality among us. And because God is also wise, I further conclude that unlimited equality must be a false ideal. But the Bible does teach the equal personhood and value and dignity of all the human race—men, women, and children—and that must be the only equality that matters to God. One measure of our wisdom as God’s image-bearers is whether we share this perspective with God. One measure of our reconciliation with God is whether His sovereign decrees draw from us a response of worship or resentment.

 

How, then, does Genesis 2 teach the paradoxical truths of male-female equality and male headship? The crucial verses are 18-25, but we should first establish the context.

 

God created the man first (2:7) and stationed him in the Garden of Eden to develop it and to guard it (2:15). God laid a dual command on the man. First, the man was commanded to partake freely and joyfully of the trees God had provided (2:16). Second, the man was commanded not to eat of one tree, lest he die (2:17). Here we see both God’s abundant generosity and man’s moral responsibility to live within the large, but not unrestricted, circle of his God-ordained existence. For the man to step outside that circle, to attempt an autonomous existence, freed from God, would be his ruin.

 

That is the scene as we come to verse 18, which hits us from the blind side:

 

The Lord God said, It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.

 

Amid all this stunning perfection in the Garden of Eden, God said, “There is something wrong here. The man ought not to be alone.” God put His finger on the one deficiency in Paradise. The man needed “a helper suitable for him.”

 

Surprisingly, however, God did not immediately create this helper. Instead, God paraded the animals before the man for him to name them (2:19-20). Why? Because the man did not yet see the problem of his aloneness. And so God translated the man’s objective aloneness into a feeling of personal loneliness by setting him to this task. In serving God, the man encountered his own need.

 

This is so, because the task of naming the animals entailed more than slapping an arbitrary label on each beast. The task required the man to consider each animal thoughtfully, so that its name was appropriate to its particular nature. Out of this exercise, it began to dawn on the man that there was no creature in the garden that shared his nature. He discovered not only his own unique superiority over the beasts, which the privilege of naming them in itself implied; he also discovered his own solitude in the world. We may surmise that an aching longing welled up within the man for the companionship of another creature on his level.

 

And so God performs the first surgical operation (2:21-22). Imagine the scene: As the last of the beasts plods off with its new name, the man turns away with a trace of perplexity and sorrow in his eyes. God says, “Son, I want you to lie down. Now close your eyes and sleep.” The man falls into a deep slumber. The Creator goes to work, opening the man’s side, removing a rib, closing the wound, and building the woman. There she stands, perfectly gorgeous and uniquely suited to the man’s need. The Lord says to her, “Daughter, I want you to go stand over there. I’ll come for you in a moment.” She obeys. Then God touches the man and says, “Wake up now, son. I have one last creature for you to name. I’d like to know what you think of this one.” And God leads Eve out to Adam, who greets her with rhapsodic relief:

 

This is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called woman,

because she was taken out of man. (2:23)

 

These are the first recorded human words, and they are poetry. What do they express? The joy of the first man in receiving the gift of the first woman: “This creature alone, Father, out of all the others—this one at last meets my need for a companion. She alone is my equal, my very flesh. I identify with her. I love her. I will call her Woman, for she came out of Man.” The man perceives the woman not as his rival but as his partner, not as a threat because of her equality with himself but as the only one capable of fulfilling his longing within.

 

This primal event explains why we see men and women pairing off today, as Moses teaches in verse 24: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” The Garden of Eden is where it all started—not in the social evolution of mankind but in the original, pre-fall creation by God. At its very heart, marriage is not a human custom, variable according to changing times; it is a divinely created institution, defined for all ages and all cultures in our shared, primeval, perfect existence.

 

And what does marriage mean? What distinguishes this particular social institution? Moses reasons that marriage is the re-union of what was originally and literally one flesh—only now in a much more satisfying form, we would all agree. This is why “He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh.” Becoming “one flesh” as husband and wife is symbolized and sealed by sexual union, it is true. But the “one flesh” relationship entails more than sex. It is the profound fusion of two lives into one, shared life together, by the mutual consent and covenant of marriage. It is the complete and permanent giving over of oneself into a new circle of shared existence with one’s partner.

 

Lastly, verse 25 seals the creation account with a reminder of the perfection in which Adam and Eve first came together: “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” They felt no shame because they had nothing to hide. They lived in perfect integrity together.

 

In the conspicuous phrase, “a helper suitable for him”(2:18, 20), we encounter the paradox of manhood and womanhood. On the one hand, the woman alone, out of all the creatures, was “suitable for him.” She alone was Adam’s equal. A man may enjoy a form of companionship with a dog, but only on the dog’s level. With a wife, a man finds companionship on his own level, for she is his equal.

 

On the other side of the paradox, the woman is the man’s helper. The man was not created to help the woman, but the reverse. Doesn’t this striking fact suggest that manhood and womanhood are distinct and non-reversible? Doesn’t this make sense if we allow that, while the man and the woman are to love each other as equals, they are not to love each other in the same way? The man is to love his wife by accepting the primary responsibility for making their partnership a platform displaying God’s glory, and the woman is to love her husband by supporting him in that godly undertaking.

 

So, was Eve Adam’s equal? Yes and no. She was his spiritual equal and, unlike the animals, “suitable for him.” But she was not his equal in that she was his helper. God did not create man and woman in an undifferentiated way, and their mere maleness and femaleness identify their respective roles. A man, just by virtue of his manhood, is called to lead for God. A woman, just by virtue of her womanhood, is called to help for God.

 

Must the male headship side of the paradox be construed as an insult or threat to women? Not at all, because Eve was Adam’s equal in the only sense in which equality is significant for personal worth. Woman is just as gifted as man with all the attributes requisite to attaining wisdom, righteousness and life. In a parallel sense, a church member has as much freedom and opportunity to achieve real significance as does a church elder; but the elder is to lead, and the member is to support. There is no cause for offense.

 

Why then do some godly people resist this teaching so energetically? One reason is a smothering male domination asserted in the name of male headship. When truth is abused, a rival position (in this case, feminism) that lacks logically compelling power can take on psychologically compelling power. But male domination is a personal moral failure, not a Biblical doctrine.

 

If we define ourselves out of a reaction to bad experiences, we will be forever translating our pain in the past into new pain for ourselves and others in the present. We must define ourselves not by personal injury, not by fashionable hysteria, not even by personal variation and diversity, but by the suprapersonal pattern of sexual understanding taught here in Holy Scripture.

 

The paradox of Genesis 2 is also seen in the fact that the woman was made from the man (her equality) and for the man (her inequality). God did not make Adam and Eve from the ground at the same time and for one another without distinction. Neither did God make the woman first, and then the man from the woman for the woman. He could have created them in either of these ways so easily, but He didn’t. Why? Because, presumably, that would have obscured the very nature of manhood and womanhood that He intended to make clear.

 

Another indication of the paradox is that Adam welcomes Eve as his equal (“bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”), yet he also names her (“she shall be called Woman”). God charged the man with naming the creatures and gave him the freedom to exercise his own judgment in each case. In doing so, Adam brought the earthly creation under his dominion. This royal prerogative extended to Adam’s naming of his helper. Nevertheless, the name he gives her, “Woman,” springs from his instantaneous recognition of her as the counterpart to “Man.”

 

Let us note this carefully. In designating her “Woman” the man interprets her identity in relation to himself. Out of his own intuitive comprehension of who she is, he interprets her as feminine, unlike himself, and yet as his counterpart and equal. Indeed, he sees in her his very own flesh. And he interprets the woman not only for his own understanding of her, but also for her self-understanding. God did not explain to the woman who she was in relation to the man, although He could have done so. He allowed Adam to define the woman, in keeping with Adam’s headship. Adam’s sovereign act not only arose out of his own sense of headship, it also made his headship clear to Eve. She found her own identity in relation to the man as his equal and helper by the man’s definition. Both Adam and Eve understood the paradox of their relationship from the start.

 

Still another signal of the paradox is detected in verse 24. Because the woman alone is the man’s very flesh, their re-union in marriage is a “one flesh” relationship. Adam could not have joined himself to a lesser creature without degrading himself. But it is the man who leaves his parents to found a new household with his new wife at his side. His wife does not leave her family to initiate the new household; this is the responsibility of the head.

 

Genesis 2 supplements Genesis 1 by showing that God’s commission that we “have dominion over the earth” (1:26, 28) as male and female works out practically through marriage. And in marriage the man heads the home for God and the wife helps him to fulfill the divine calling.

 

We ought to be sufficiently agile intellectually and emotionally to accept this paradoxical truth. Christians, of all people, have a reason to live with paradox. After all, God exists as one Godhead in three Persons, equal in glory but unequal in role. Within the Holy Trinity the Father leads, the Son submits to Him, and the Spirit submits to both (the Economic Trinity). But it is also true that the three Persons are fully equal in divinity, power, and glory (the Ontological Trinity). The Son submits, but not because He is God, Jr., an inferior deity. The ranking within the Godhead is a part of the sublime beauty and logic of true deity. And if our Creator exists in this manner, should we be surprised and offended if His creaturely analog on earth exists in paradoxical form?

Part of our existence is defined as submitting to God’s plan for our lives including the roles we live in life as a man and a woman and a husband and a father and a wife and a mother. Violation of the definition of a family or of our God created roles is rebellion. Regardless of what our life experience has been, the concepts of God are permanently fixed in His Cosmos.

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