THE RIGHT WAY

November 21, 2017

THE RIGHT WAY

Maybe one of the most misquoted verses in the bible and certainly one of the most misunderstood verses.

Matthew chapter 7:1-2; “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

And of course people don’t usually quote the next several verses.

Matthew 7:3-8 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

So let’s cover verses one and two;

7:1 This verse does not disallow the right of making moral and spiritual judgments (cf. 7:6; 1 Cor. 2:15; 5:9; 2 Cor. 11:4; Phil. 3:2; 1 John 4:1) but forbids a bitter, hostile, and unkind spirit which delights in finding fault with others. Hypocritical self-righteousness has no place in the life of a Christian. The verse is particularly applicable to the area of motives. No one of us can know the heart of another, and thus to draw conclusions as to the “why” of people’s actions, especially when those actions are indifferent or even good, is to invite God’s judgment upon one’s life.

And now verse 6; This verse does not mean that the blessings of the gospel are not to be offered to the Gentiles, but rather that spiritual mysteries should not be pressed upon those who are either unready or unwilling to accept or appreciate their value. The verse continues logically in the train of thought developed in the sayings which immediately precede it. While judging others is not the prerogative of man, there are, nonetheless, those whose uncleanness and violence prevent the sharing of the sweetest and most noble insights of the Christian faith.

So we are to judge ourselves, if we judge others we are to use the same measure applied to ourselves and finally there are people not ready to receive or perceive the Gospel message. We are not to force it on them or even share it with them as it will actually cause harm.

Therefore our witnessing has to be done in love and in God’s timing. Which if you are in harmony and sync with God (walking in the Spirit) living in the vine, you can count on being led of the Lord.

Bottom line, don’t be harsh, cruel, mocking, or a hypocrite. But be loving, kind, long suffering.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Lisa, she is getting divorced and will be a single mom with a 3 year old. She has to sell her home and is a pediatric ER nurse (stressed). Please keep her in prayer.

Pray for our nation, that revival will once again sweep our country.

 

the fortress of solitude

November 14, 2017

I was going through a stack of old bibles that I’ve collected over the years and I’m always interested in the old sermons I find in them or notes scribbled on church bulletins, sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t. The same with sermons, I’ll read an old sermon of mine and think “oh my poor congregation” they sat there so feigning interest. This time the bible is one I bought from a collection and this sermon was in it. after reading it several times I thought I would share this gem that I found today.

“Beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. Instead, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 3:17-18)

Is there a path of steady growth in the presence and power of God for the one who has placed their confidence in Jesus? Should we assume that it is God’s intention our lives would be increasingly pervaded by the action of his hand, until “all we do in word or deed” would be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”? (Col. 3:11) Is this something we can arrange for, so that the command to grow in grace makes sense?

We are told repeatedly by Paul to put off the old person and to put on the new. How does one do that?

The answer is actually rather simple. One must intend to do it, and then one must sensibly implement the means. Putting on the new person, growing in grace, is something we must do. Appropriate action is the key. True, as Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) But it is also true that if we do nothing it will be without him.

The path of spiritual growth in the riches of Christ is not a passive one. Grace is not opposed to effort. It is opposed to earning. Effort is action. Earning is attitude. You have never seen people more active than those who have been set on fire by the grace of God. Paul, who perhaps understood grace better than any other mere human being, looked back at what had happened to him and said: “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” (I Cor. 15:10)

As to “means of grace” placed in our hands, well-directed action is the key. The disciplines of the spiritual life are simply practices that prove to be effectual in enabling us to increase the grace of God in our lives.

That grace is, of course, “unmerited favor.” But the form it takes is the action of God in our lives and with our actions. If we wish to know more of this and see the deliverance it works in and around us, we must do the things that will bring it to pass. These things are spiritual disciplines or the disciplines for the spiritual life.

A discipline in any area is something in my power that I do to enable me to do what I cannot do by direct effort. This is the general nature of discipline, and there is simply no area of human attainment–from playing a musical instrument, to sports, to speaking a language or being friendly–that does not require discipline.

The need for discipline does not change when we come to all that is involved in walking in the holiness and power of Christ. Would we do the things that Jesus himself did and taught? Then there is a way. It is the way of disciplined grace: discipline under grace and grace in the midst of discipline.

What are some of these disciplines? A primary one is solitude, which must go hand in hand with silence to be complete. In solitude I arrange to be alone, out of human contact, for lengthy periods of time. This allows my inner compass to stop whirling in response to the demands of others. The elasticity and wholeness of my soul is restored as I grow “still and know that God is God.” (Ps. 46:10)

Only solitude and silence, extensively practiced at wisely allotted intervals, can take the world off my back and forever release me from both hurry and loneliness. They open the door to productive engagement with other disciplines. I begin to find myself increasingly before God in such a way that he can safely fill me with himself.

Study and worship, fasting and sacrifice (of time, energy, money), journaling and prayer, confession and service are also among the disciplines. Some disciplines may be freely chosen. But often our circumstances will impose activities on us which, if taken as such, can be marvelous disciplines enabling us to receive extraordinary grace. “Tribulation works patience” is only one illustration of this principle.

But there is no such thing as a complete list of spiritual disciplines, chosen or imposed. Many different activities might be entered into with the aim of finding the manifest grace of God which enables us to do what we cannot do–and be what we cannot be–by direct effort. But the ones that emerge as most beneficial in Christian history should all be considered very seriously.

And of course “what we cannot do by direct effort” covers all that Jesus taught us. We cannot keep his teachings on our own. He never intended it. But by whole life training in the well-known disciplines of the spiritual life we can become inwardly the kinds of persons who naturally (supernaturally of course) do what he said and did. That is how the gift of a holy and powerful life comes to us.

Now disciplines are not law, they are wisdom. We have to learn how to do them, and we always fail at the outset. But to fail here is not to sin. The sin would be in not adopting and following up on a wise program of disciplines under grace. For then we are not really intending to do what Jesus said. We are planning to fail.

Also, disciplines are for disciples–apprentices–of Jesus, not for dabblers or mere consumers of religious services. They are for people who intend to learn from Jesus how to live their whole lives in the kingdom of God as he would live their lives if he were they. Such people are serious about this and will not be denied.

Thus they are prepared to experiment and learn from their failures until, under their constant teacher, they find that disciplines truly are full of grace and strength.

Fasting becomes feasting on God, meditation on scripture becomes celebration. Religion is no longer an additional burden to be carried in an already overburdened life, but is replaced by a joyous confidence that God is present and prevailing in every situation of life and death.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Jennifer she has her second eye surgery at 7am Tuesday morning.

Bond Servant

November 7, 2017

shackles

  THE BOND SERVANT

  “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:4).

  God has a unique plan concerning each one of us. The secret of realizing our personal calling is not to look at others, but simply to walk in close fellowship with the Father. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him” (Ps. 62:5).

  “No one Christian has a right to stop on his way for another; he must go forward himself in individual faithfulness. The effort to drag others along with us is in reality but a device of Satan to keep ourselves back. Note Jehovah’s word to Jeremiah, ‘Let them return unto thee; but return not thou to them’ (Jer. 15:19). Are any desirous of going forward, let them not stop to carry along with them ‘the men of Ephraim.’ Far better is it to go on with but a few to follow, than to get numbers with us who are only halfhearted.”

  “You may say, ‘Show me a pattern man.’ We all like to copy; but there is no gain in copying. You have to learn the Lord for yourself. All you learn for yourself will remain, and nothing else. Every one has his own history.”

It is plain enough that every believer is called of God to something definite. The real difficulty is to ascertain the specialty, and this I do not think can be discovered but in nearness to the Lord, and when you are interested in His interests. We first learn that He is interested in us, and then we gradually become interested in His interests. It is then you apprehend your mission in life.

  “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

BREATHE

November 2, 2017

BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE WE’VE DONE A ROCK TUNE TO START OUT A DEVOTION SO;

FREAK OUT

All that pressure got you down

Has your head spinning all around

Feel the rhythm, check the rhyme

Come on along and have a real good time

Like the days of stopping at the Savoy

Now we freak, oh what a joy

Just come on down, to fifty four

Find a spot out on the floor

PANIC ATTACKS, ANXIETY ATTACKS, JUST BREATHE.

First thing my boxing coach told me, breathe, breathe while your punching, breathe when you get hit. Just breathe. One time while rock climbing I took quite a fall, I remember the EMT saying; ‘come on guy breathe’.

The curious thing to consider is how much waiting seems to be a part of what God asks of his children – both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Biblical waiting has to do with hope, expectation, patience, rest and deep trust and dependence on God and His sovereign path. Waiting as a paradigm is actually designed to help us and give us an alternative way to handle difficulties. Instead of all out panic, God wants us to trust Him, to rest in Him and to wait for Him. He does not disappoint.

WAIT, BREATHE

Seems like the only thing you can do, in the military they teach about breathing and shooting, martial arts, breathing. Snorkeling, breathing. About the only thing you can control. So breathe in, breathe out, don’t freak out.

Lamaze class, birthing class, I can remember to this day the breathing exercises they gave us for natural child birth. I also remember my wife screaming “what the hell were we thinking” in the middle of her delivery. Oh well to late for an epidermal.

BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT.

Calmly wait on God, the trial you’re going through, it’s about His timing not yours.

It is active, not passive and is part of the calling of a believer to wait for God’s timing and for His instructions. He asks His beloved children to trust Him enough to be willing to quietly wait. And then, for example, in the exact right time –in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4-5), God delivers what He has Promised. God became man and invaded the very creation He created.

Read in a bible commentary what that phrase means; ‘in the fulness of time’ you will be amazed.

There is a natural waiting period. You cannot rush God. This biblical metaphor of farming illustrates that waiting is necessary in God’s economy to produce what He has designed – the farmer has to be patient for the seed to germinate. Abraham and Sarah had to wait for what God promised, and when it was announced, they still had to wait nine months for the baby inside of Sarah to grow.

There is something important about “waiting on the Lord.”

    Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

    Psalm 62:1 “For God alone I patiently wait; He is the one who delivers me.”

    Psalm 62:5 “Patiently wait for God alone, my soul! For he is the one who gives me confidence.”

    Proverbs 8:34 “Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching at my doors day by day, waiting at  the posts of my doorway.”

    Lamentations 3:26 “It is good to wait patiently for deliverance to come from the Lord.”

The Holy Spirit is the breath of God, breathe in, relax, God really does have it under control. There are very few things you actually have control over. Even your thoughts, think about how erratic they are sometimes, want a good example, pray and watch all the crazy thoughts that come into your mind.

Just breathe, trust God, breathe out, it may be the only thing you’ve done today that was under control.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

real world

October 28, 2017

1 Peter 1:1-9

1 Peter 1:1-9King James Version (KJV)

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

The way to overcome the world is never to fight worldliness. If you fight worldliness, you are bound to fail. The Bible never tells us to fight worldliness. The Bible says, “This is the victory, even our faith,” not our fight, but our faith. We fight the devil, but we do not fight the world. We flee from fornication, but we cannot flee from the world. The victory that overcomes the world is our faith. Now, people have to understand what they have in the Lord Jesus Christ, and if they don’t understand what they have in the Lord Jesus Christ, they have a hunger that they will try to fill with the world.

the Bible says, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Now, it doesn’t say that he doesn’t love the Father because he loves the world, but it says if he loves the world, it is because the love of the Father is not in him. The love of the world is only the indication that you don’t know and love God; that your faith has not brought you into a vital relationship with the Lord. The victory that overcomes the world is your faith to understand what you have in the Lord Jesus

it always come down to a choice, choose at that moment of temptation, I can fulfill the lust of the flesh (sex, porn, masturbation, a larger piece of cake, looking to long at the checkout girl etc.) or exercise faith, remember your fight is in your mind, ‘capture all thoughts’ profess your death and resurrection, pray at that moment for the way of escape, like doing the laundry, rinse repeat, don’t sin.

 See the love of the Father. You have to see what you have in the Lord Jesus Christ. And, friend, when you understand what you have in the Lord Jesus Christ, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. When you’ve been feasting on Jesus, then you don’t have to hunger after the things of this world. And that’s the key, are you feasting on the things of heaven, listening to gospel music, reading wholesome books, one good thing about you tube I can watch all the old sermons of great preachers. (none were ever on Trinity Broadcasting Network). I like a real bible in my hands, but if it’s the electronic version you have and you will use it, then do so. One reason I like a real bible is that way I stay off ipads, and computers and anything else that would help me step off in the wrong direction.

The Bible teaches that the reason that people love the world is the love of the Father is not in them. They have never found satisfaction in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Have you really had a salvation experience? Did everyone assume you are saved because you’re the pastor’s kid, or you grew up in church. Do you know really know that Jesus is your savior? Does your life say you are?

Think about which you love most.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Karen and her husband, they had a huge argument and walk into his study pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head. HE IS STILL A LIVE AND ALREADY BACK HOME.  They’re coming in for counseling. Really, you waited until this to get marriage counseling. Who knows, he said while he was in the hospital; “pastor, I’ve never given my heart to Jesus, is it to late?”

Talk about a second chance.

SHAPE UP

October 27, 2017

This is not an epistle of shame, it’s just the way things are. If we as Christians do not make personal holiness an issue, then we can kiss the America most of us grew up with goodbye.

Yes, we all make mistakes, yes we all fail, but ask any boxer that getting back up is more important than fancy footwork. Most street fighters will tell you that the guy with the most will power almost always win. But getting up, getting over it and going on is more important. And that’s what we need to do, stop looking at past failures, that internal tape that says you will never be good enough. And believe in the fact that your name is in the book of life and all your sins, past, present and future are forgiven.

And yes, pastors are now rated at the bottom of the list right after car salesmen. Thanks to scandals, stupid fake tv Christians making outrageous claims, living like sheiks and sleeping with anything that walks, we have to rebuild our names and get back up. It’s not enough that we preach forgiveness. We need to get back to preaching holiness 24/7.

A lot of churchgoing Americans. They put on a good front when they know someone is watching, but the rest of the time they let down their standards. There’s not much difference between them and those in the world, except that they go to church a little more. The divorce rate among Christians is about the same as in society at large. In fact, the third highest divorce rate occupationally, after doctors and police, goes to pastors! Christians watch the same TV shows and movies for the same number of hours weekly as everyone else. Christian youths are involved in sexual immorality to the same extent as those not naming Christ as Savior. Many Christian businessmen have a bad reputation. It would seem that our Christianity doesn’t have much effect on the way we live.

I know of no text that needs to be burned into the thinking of American Christians more than 1 Peter 1:13-16. 1:13 Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, 15but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, 16 for it is written, “You shall be holybecause I am holy.”Writing to many who had come from pagan backgrounds, living in a pagan society where there was great pressure to conform, Peter calls his readers to holiness in light of the coming of Jesus Christ and the holy character of the God who calls us to salvation. He makes three points:

When God calls us to holiness, it means that we are to be set apart from the world unto God, separate from all sin. But since sin dwells in the very core of our being as fallen creatures, how can we ever hope to be holy?

There are three senses in which we are holy (or “sanctified”) as God’s people. The moment we put our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, we are positionally sanctified or set apart unto God. Then we must be progressively sanctified by growing in holiness. This process will not be complete as long as we’re in this body, but we must actively work at it (Gal. 5:16; Rom. 8:13). When we meet the Lord we will be perfectly sanctified, made completely like Him (1 John 3:2).

Dr. Ryrie illustrates these three aspects of sanctification with a little girl with a new lollipop. She sees her friend coming and knows that she should share her lollipop, but she doesn’t want to. So she sets apart that lollipop unto herself by licking it all over. Now it’s hers. Then she starts licking it to make it progressively hers. Finally the process is over when the lollipop is completely gone. If we belong to God, He has set us apart unto Himself. He is progressively making us like Him. And someday we will be completely like Him.

Let me make it plain at the outset that you cannot get to heaven by striving to be holy. Good works cannot pay the penalty for our sins. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can satisfy the justice of God. We must put our trust in Him, not in our good works. But, if our faith in Christ to save us is genuine, it will result in a life of progressive holiness. If a person is not striving against sin and seeking to grow in holiness, it is doubtful whether his faith was saving faith. Scripture says, “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14, NIV).

Peter shows us three ways that we can be developing a holy lifestyle as those who have trusted in Christ:

  1. To be holy people, we must be focused on Christ’s coming (1:13).

The Greek text has only two commands in 1:13-16: “Fix your hope”; and, “Be holy.” The other action words are participles which are dependent on the main verbs. Thus the sense of 1:13 is, “Girding your minds for action, keeping sober, fix your hope completely on the grace being brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Thus the command is to have a determined focus on the grace that will come to us when Christ returns. There are three aspects of this focus:

  1. HOLY LIVING IN LIGHT OF CHRIST’S COMING BEGINS IN THE MIND.

“Gird up the loins of your mind” is a figure of speech stemming from the fact that the men in that day wore long outer robes which got in the way when they needed to run, work or fight in a battle. So they would tuck their robes into a belt so that they wouldn’t be a hindrance. We might use the expression, “Roll up your sleeves.” The idea is, be mentally prepared for combat or action in the realm of holiness. One commentator puts it: “We must begin to act as those who mean business” concerning this matter of holiness (Alan Stibbs, The First Epistle General of Peter, Tyndale N.T. Commentaries [Eerdmans], p. 85).

The point is, holiness begins in your thought life. What you think determines how you live. One of the most practical things I can tell you about living the Christian life is: Deal with sin on the thought level! Judge wicked thoughts the instant you have them, confess them to God and replace them with thoughts of Him and His Word. If you are envious of someone, judge it, confess it, and ask God to replace it with His love for that person. If you are lusting after a woman (or man), deal with it instantly. Flee from it, both mentally and physically! As Paul put it, take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

It’s on the thought level that your Christianity is either real or fake. You can fool everyone else, but God knows your thoughts. If you’re faking it and not cultivating a holy thought life, sooner or later it’s going to come out in the open in some form of sin that everyone can see. There isn’t anyone who ever committed adultery who didn’t first entertain the thought in his mind.

You need to guard what enters your mind as carefully as you guard what you eat. You wouldn’t think of eating garbage from the gutter because it would make you sick. If you feed your thoughts daily on the sensual, materialistic garbage on TV and in the other media and you seldom feed on God’s Word, you will not become a holy man or woman. Peter says that we must fix our hope completely on the grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Holiness begins in our minds as we think often of our Savior and the gracious salvation we will fully experience when He returns and we are changed into His likeness!

  1. HOLY LIVING IN LIGHT OF CHRIST’S COMING REQUIRES SPIRITUAL ALERTNESS.

“Being sober” (1:13) is a favorite word for Peter (he uses it 3 of its 6 uses in the New Testament– 1:13; 4:7; 5:8). It literally means “not drunk,” but obviously has a spiritual application, meaning to be alert and self-controlled. It refers to clarity of mind and the resulting good judgment. The noun is used as a qualification of elders and women who serve as deaconesses (1 Tim. 3:2, 11, “temperate”).

Peter uses it in 5:8: “Be sober, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” If a literal lion were on the loose outside, it wouldn’t be wise to go for a stroll out there! You wouldn’t be goofing off. You’d be on the lookout for any sign of it. You’d make sure your kids were indoors. You’d warn them sternly of the dangers. You’d take every precaution so that you wouldn’t become his next meal!

The point is, we live in enemy territory. If you feed your mind on the garbage of the world and don’t feed on God’s Word, it’s like getting drunk and staggering outside when there’s a lion on the prowl. You’re dead meat! You’re not going to be a holy person. Maybe you’re thinking, “This sounds kind of legalistic!” But notice:

  1. HOLY LIVING IN LIGHT OF CHRIST’S COMING IS MOTIVATED BY GRACE.

“Fix your hope completely on the grace being brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” God’s grace is the motivation for holy living. As I mentioned last week, the word here and in 1:10 is used as a synonym for our salvation. The “therefore” in 1:13 also points us back to the great salvation Peter talks about in 1:3-12. The present participle, “being brought to you” hints at the fact that we’ve already begun to enjoy what God is going to unveil completely when Christ returns. The word “brought” “underscores the sovereign action of God in bringing grace to his people” (J. Ramsey Michaels, Word Biblical Commentary 1 Peter [Word], p. 56).

Why does Peter tell us to focus on the grace that will be brought to us when Christ returns rather than on the grace we’ve already received? I can’t be dogmatic, but I think it’s because his readers were going through intense trials. Peter is telling them, “You’ve already tasted of God’s salvation in Christ, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Just hang on through the trials and focus on the fact that God is going to bless you beyond what you can imagine, not based on what you deserve, but based on His undeserved favor!” That future grace should motivate us to live holy lives right now, no matter how much we suffer.

Thus the first aspect of developing a holy lifestyle is to focus on Christ’s coming, being alert in our thinking, motivated by God’s grace.

  1. To be holy people, we must be obedient to the Father in all of life (1:14, 15b).

There are three things involved in such obedience:

  1. WE MUST MAKE A BREAK WITH OUR PAST LIFESTYLE.

“Do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance” (1:14). The word “conformed” is used only one other time in the New Testament, by Paul in Romans 12:2: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind [there’s that concept again!] that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Phillips paraphrases it, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within …”

Our past lifestyle was marked by our efforts to fulfill selfish desires. The word “lusts” (1 Pet. 1:14) refers not only to sexual lust, but “to all kinds of self-seeking, whether directed toward wealth, power, or pleasure” It brings out the strong emotional tug of temptation and sin. These lusts have full sway in unbelievers because they are ignorant of God and His holiness and grace as revealed in His Word. But as Christians, growing in our knowledge of God, we don’t have to be controlled by selfish desires. We make a break with the self-centered living that marked us before we met Christ and now live under His lordship and for His purposes.

I think this explains much of the shallow Christianity of our day. People “invite Jesus into their heart” because they’re told that He will give them an abundant life. If they like what Jesus is doing for them, if they feel that their lives are happier now than before, they’ll let Jesus “stay in office.” But they’ve never made a break with their past life. They’ve never repented of sin or yielded to Christ as Lord. They’re still running their own lives, living for the same selfish desires they formerly lived for. The only difference is that now they’re trying to “use Jesus” to fulfill selfish desires. That’s not saving faith. Saving faith involves repentance. It makes a break with the past lifestyle and seeks to follow Jesus as Lord.

  1. WE MUST ESTABLISH A HABIT OF OBEDIENCE.

“As obedient children” (1:14) is a Hebrew expression that means “characterized by obedience,” or “habitual obedience.” The implication is that God is our Heavenly Father whom we obey. His Word tells us how He wants us to live. We ought to obey God as a conditioned response. Such obedience is not legalism, but rather should characterize those under grace. Peter quotes from the Law (Lev. 19:2) and applies it directly to his readers under grace: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” We are not under the ceremonial or civil laws of Israel. But God’s moral law stems from His holy nature and is just as applicable under grace as it was under law (see 1 Cor. 9:21). As God’s children, we need to get in the habit of asking, “What does God’s Word say?” Then we obey it.

  1. WE MUST ERASE THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN SACRED AND SECULAR.

“Be holy yourselves in all your behavior” (1:15b). The word behavior is another favorite for Peter (6 of 13 New Testament uses are in 1 Peter, with two more in 2 Peter). It refers to conduct or, what we would call “lifestyle.” That Peter here links “holiness” with “behavior” and adds the word “all” is significant because many pagan religions of that time separated “cultic holiness” from everyday life. Peter is saying that our separation unto God is to affect every area of life, both private and public. There is no such thing as secular life that is not sacred for the Christian.

  1. I. Packer, in his excellent book, A Quest for Godliness [Crossway], subtitled, “The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life,” makes the point that the Puritans did a good job of integrating their Christianity into every aspect of life, from the most intimate aspects of married life to the most public aspects of political and social life. He writes (pp. 23-24), “There was for them no disjunction between sacred and secular; all creation, so far as they were concerned, was sacred, and all activities, of whatever kind, must be sanctified, that is, done to the glory of God.”

That kind of integrated living eliminates hypocrisy. There’s nothing that turns people off more than to see someone who professes to be a Christian, but whose lifestyle denies it. Kids read it loud and clear in their parents. This doesn’t mean that you must be perfect. It means that you live with integrity, confessing sin when you blow it, making your Christianity practical in every aspect of life. We’re the only “Bible” many unbelievers will ever read. Just as we can learn quite a bit about a father by watching his children, so the world learns about our Heavenly Father by watching His children. That means that we must learn to obey our Father in all of life.

Thus, to be holy people we must be focused on Christ’s coming and obedient in all of life.

  1. To be holy people, we must be growing in our personal knowledge of God’s holiness (1:15, 16).

“Like the Holy One who called you,” and “You shall be holy for I am holy,” imply that we know something about who this Holy God is. The Christian life is a process of growing to know God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture. This knowledge of the Holy One has a transforming effect on our lives. We can never be as holy as God is holy, since such absolute holiness belongs to God alone. But we can and must grow in personal holiness as we grow to know our Holy God.

Both Stephen Charnock, in his classic work, The Existence and Attributes of God ([Baker], 2:112) and, more recently, R. C. Sproul, in his The Holiness of God ([Tyndale], p. 40), point out that no other attribute of God is elevated to the third degree. The Bible never says of God, “Eternal, eternal, eternal,” or “Love, love, love,” or “Mercy, mercy, mercy.” But it does say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isa. 6:3).

We are a bit flippant and shallow in our knowledge of God in our day. Many Christians talk about God without any fear of the awesomeness of His absolute holiness. John MacArthur tells about a well-known charismatic pastor who told him that sometimes in the morning when he’s shaving, Jesus comes into his bathroom and puts His arm around him and they talk together. I like John’s incredulous reply: “And you keep shaving?!” Every time in the Bible someone gets a glimpse of Christ in His resurrected glory, the person falls on his face!

It was Isaiah who had that vision of God on His throne with the angels crying, “Holy, holy, holy.” As both A. W. Tozer (The Knowledge of the Holy [Harper & Row], p. 110) and Sproul (pp. 41-44) point out, it was an emotionally violent, personally disintegrating experience. Sproul writes (p. 45), “In the flash of a moment Isaiah had a new and radical understanding of sin. He saw that it was pervasive, in himself and in everyone else.” To whatever extent we gain insight on the holiness of God, we will gain equal insight on the magnitude of our sin. At the same time, we will revel in the amazing grace of God who saved us through the cross of Jesus Christ. That knowledge will make us more holy in all our behavior.

Today I’m probably speaking to some whom God is calling to repent of sin and put their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I may be speaking to others who are faking the Christian life outwardly, but inwardly, you’re not living in holiness. You’re not dealing with sin in your thought life. It’s only a matter of time until you fall outwardly. I may be speaking to yet others who have fallen outwardly. Your life is not right before God, even though you profess to know Christ as Savior.

The solution is the same for all: To turn to God from your sin and appeal to Him for a clean conscience and an obedient heart, based on the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for you. Listen to what God says in Isaiah 57:15: “For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” That’s good news! God, though He is altogether holy and exalted, condescends to dwell with those who humble themselves before Him! Like the father of the prodigal son, God joyfully welcomes all who turn back to Him!

Leonard Ravenhill has written (source unknown), “The greatest miracle that God can do today is to take an unholy man out of an unholy world, and make that man holy and put him back into that unholy world and keep him holy in it.” He does it as we focus on Christ’s coming, as we’re obedient in all of life, and as we grow in our personal knowledge of God’s holiness.

I pray you take this personally and start today, yes you will fail, yes there will be people hurt by your failing, but starting again is about you and God and not contingent on a human relationship that may have come to an end by your actions. Accept that and move on with God become a real Christian in thought and habits as well as speech and behavior all day, everyday.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SPIRITUAL STEROIDS

September 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless from scumlikuschurch@gmail.com

 

NOW

September 21, 2017

hand sign

The Bible mentions many people whose obedience to God came from their faith and love for him (see Heb 11). For example, Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice (see Ge 6:4); Abraham left Ur at God’s direction, not knowing his destination (Ge 6:8); and Moses refused the privileges of being called Pharaoh’s son, choosing rather to identify with Israel, God’s people (see Ge 6:24–25). In each case their faith motivated their action.

 One of the most astounding exemplars of faith in action was Noah. God tells Noah to build an ark and stock it with animals, and “Noah did everything just as God commanded him” (Ge 6:22). Noah provides an example not only of obedience but of immediate obedience.

 Here are five ways to begin practicing immediate obedience in your own life:

  1. Fill your heart with love for Christ—Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commands” (Jn 14:15). Our love for Christ is our motivation for obedience. Reflect on your love for Jesus to motivate you to want to undertake acts of immediate obedience.

  1. Commit to immediate obedience—Make a commitment today that you will obey God immediately in whatever he requires. Ask the Lord to give you the strength necessary to act without hesitation.

  1. Look for commands to obey—During your daily Bible reading, make a list of the commands applicable to all believers. Not sure which commands are meant for you? Start with the most obvious, such as the command of Jesus to forgive others (see Mt 6:14–15).

  1. Look for ways to obey—After identifying a command, think of ways you can apply it within the next 24 hours. If a command seems difficult to implement, consider whether you are facing a genuine obstacle to timely obedience (e.g., you won’t be able to help a widow or orphan today) or are merely looking for an excuse to disobey.

  1. Look for unique opportunities—If in your daily Scripture reading you come across a specific command, be watchful for unique circumstances God might provide for you to obey. Have a plan for obedience, but be open, ready and willing to obey in whatever ways God provides.

Praise report, Calvin is doing great, his eye has been saved, the tear duct repaired and he says thanks.

Pray for Gavin, he hasn’t been feeling well and things are strapped financially and his wife said; “surprise I’m pregnant.” His response wasn’t ecstatic enough and then the fight started. Plenty there to pray for.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

standing tall on our knees

September 18, 2017

STANDING TALL ON OUR KNEES

  “And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23)

  True spiritual experience will result from our standing immovable in our position “in Christ.” All too often believers allow certain “experiences” to move them from the faith-ground of their objective position, and they are soon adrift on the sea of subjective feelings and unscriptural influences. Which is why so many false teacher are able to manipulate and extort so many church people.

  “The Christian life is essentially a continuous dying, and a continuous living. Of course, there may come a particular crisis in experience where the Spirit of God brings the soul face to face with a definite issue as to a willingness for the Cross, and a yielding of the life to God. Yes, the first revelation of the secret of victory also may constitute a real crisis in the life of the believer, but that crisis or experience can never, in itself, avail for the future.

There is a subtle danger in relying upon some isolated experience of ‘sanctification,’ so-called. The victorious Christian life is a Person, not an experience. Following the crisis, whatever phase or landmark in the life that may represent, there must be the daily reckoning, the moment-by-moment abiding and the control of the Holy Spirit.

Whatever may have been our experience of holiness, and the measure of spiritual attainment in the past, or the teaching of a ‘second’ blessing; we can never get beyond the need of abiding in Christ and the continuous reckoning of faith.

  “For we, alive though we are, are continually surrendering ourselves to death for the sake of Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:11, Wey.).

Don’t let someone tell you that you are only ‘half’ blessed or you haven’t had the full gospel experience. The operative word being experience. We are followers of Christ and devoted to the Word of God guiding us in all things, not just spiritual realms. I’m always amazed at Christians who think the bible isn’t relative to every aspect of their life and only take God out of the box on Sundays.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Walter,, he is developing dementia and is becoming violent. Pray his kids step up their game in taking care of him.

Pray for Prura, a new Christian in S. America, she gave her life to the Lord today and as to face a family that is traditional and not supportive. Her parents have given her an ultimatum about getting her life “back to normal”

 

MUCH, MUCH, MORE

September 14, 2017

MUCH, MUCH, MORE

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

Our Father subjected our old nature to the Cross and its resultant death. Experientially, He applies the work of the Cross to our old life, thereby progressively holding it in the grip of that death. He is “unforming” the old nature in death, and conforming the new nature in life.

Living a life more abundant requires that what He did for us shall be made good in us. In the Cross He dealt with our sins, and He also dealt with ourselves; but that is something which has to be made good progressively. It is as we ourselves are dealt with in the power of the Cross that the way is made for His life to express itself in ever deepening fulness.

The fact is that it is the old life which is in the way of the new life and its full expression. It is the natural life which obstructs the course of the divine life. Thus what has been done for us has to be done in us, and as it is done in us that life becomes more than a deposit, more than a simple, though glorious possession; it becomes a deepening, growing power, a fulness of expression.

  “You may have been in the fires and have been having a pretty hard and painful time in your spiritual life, but that only means that God has been preparing you for something more. No, God is not a God who believes in bringing everything to an end. He is always after something more. And if He has to clear the way for something more by devastating methods (Cross), well, that is all right, for it is something more that He is after. There is so much more, far, far transcending all our asking or thinking.”

  “I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Tim A. in prayers, a person new to the faith and is dealing with the “old” crowd that don’t believe he’s changed.

Elena I. had gastric bypass surgery and is having some severe problems.