Ok, I’m not sure I’ve ever endorsed a book before, I’ve certainly recommend some. And those on the inner circle know I have a thing about not reading living authors.

But if you are a parent you need to read this book “The Vanishing American Adult” by Senator Sasse. So here is the excerpt from Amazon about the book.

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In an era of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and an unprecedented election, the country’s youth are in crisis. Senator Ben Sasse warns the nation about the existential threat to America’s future.

Raised by well-meaning but overprotective parents and coddled by well-meaning but misbegotten government programs, America’s youth are ill-equipped to survive in our highly-competitive global economy.

Many of the coming-of-age rituals that have defined the American experience since the Founding: learning the value of working with your hands, leaving home to start a family, becoming economically self-reliant―are being delayed or skipped altogether. The statistics are daunting: 30% of college students drop out after the first year, and only 4 in 10 graduate. One in three 18-to-34 year-olds live with their parents.

From these disparate phenomena: Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse who as president of a Midwestern college observed the trials of this generation up close, sees an existential threat to the American way of life.

In The Vanishing American Adult, Sasse diagnoses the causes of a generation that can’t grow up and offers a path for raising children to become active and engaged citizens. He identifies core formative experiences that all young people should pursue: hard work to appreciate the benefits of labor, travel to understand deprivation and want, the power of reading, the importance of nurturing your body―and explains how parents can encourage them.

Our democracy depends on responsible, contributing adults to function properly―without them America falls prey to populist demagogues. A call to arms, you want to know why college age kids vote Democrat, they want the government to parent them.The Vanishing American Adult will ignite a much-needed debate about the link between the way we’re raising our children and the future of our country.

So let me give you some personal examples from my own experiences and some friends. I worked for one of the largest businesses in the world and in our particular department we only hired people over 50 years of age. No one else younger would last more than a month, some quit in a one week period.

A good friend of mine recorded his Texas Big Bend spring break trip with his math high school kids. The video is hysterical because they get off the bus in Big Bend and there is no cell phone reception. The kids just stand there with their cell phones up in the air frozen because they can’t get a signal. He has to blow a whistle to get their attention and then show them how to get their luggage and how to do everything to survive their camping trip. On one trip the park rangers had to evac a girl because she couldn’t text and had a tantrum/seizure so scary they were afraid she would hurt herself. As soon as the hit a cell zone she calmed down.

We’ve tried to tell employees no cell phones while working the showroom. We tell them we have video cameras and they will lose their jobs if they are on their phone. You guessed it “fired”.

You know the best part, then the parents come in screaming and yelling because you traumatized their little snowflake.

Here’s one for you, good friend of mine has coached little league for over 30 years, not any more, when he called a kid out, the kid’s father came up from behind and hit him in the neck with a baseball bat. 50k dollars later and 10 months lost in labor. He finally won the court case and damages because the parents later changed their statement and made it a race suit. Funny thing is my pal is American Indian and was told he couldn’t bring that up in court to defend himself.

Or how about the high school kids that were supposed to change the letters on their High School sign and didn’t do it because it was to hot. You know how many kids showed up for school that didn’t have to.

Oh, wait, one more, there tore down a school, rebuilt is 4 miles away and the parents still dropped their kids off at an empty lot, drove off and left their little tykes there.

So you get my point, I’m not being negative, I’m trying to sound an alarm. We can’t let teens raise teens, peers raising peers. We can’t let kids raise kids.

So here’s step one, no kid gets a cell phone until he/she is 16 and driving and working the summers.

Hey don’t stone me, both my kids are millionaires. You know why? They were raised and birthed into adulthood.

Ok, I’ve got to quit, my blood pressure is zooming.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Candy, she is 37 and just got a promotion that means she has to move. She’s a brave woman, and she’s going to leave her home town of 37 years. But she really wants our prayers

Pray for Randall, he is having knee surgery.

Pray for the Tomasini family, their 7 year old has Leukemia, Jason is one tough, brave booger, (that’s his family pet name, long story).

Pray for Raysene, she is having back surgery on next Monday.

Housekeeping, prayers and comments, questions and such to the email address. And If I remember, Saturday will be our bible quiz and our bible give away. I’ve lost track of how many bibles we’ve given. This will be the NIV Study Bible.

 

really faith based

November 12, 2017

WHAT FAITH BASED REALLY MEANS

  Let him ask in faith and have no doubts; for he who has doubts is like the surge of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed into spray. A person of that sort must not expect to receive anything from the Lord—such a one is a man of two minds, undecided in every step he takes” (James 1:6–8).

  First, we are to rest in the fact that our Father has made full provision for all our needs; positionally, we are complete in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then it is that we can trust Him daily for His “exceeding abundantly above.” “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19)

  “It is true that all God requires of us we lack; but it is also true that all we need He supplies. The believer can give thanks that God has supplied all his need as to standing, and He engages to supply all his need as to walk. But while we see our Father’s requirement, and recognize His provision, let us not overlook our responsibility.

When we fail it is to this our failure may be traced. It is not because the provision has been insufficient, or unavailable, or afar off—but because the channel has been obstructed, the avenues of the soul have been closed, so that the need has remained unsupplied. Our responsibility lies in the exercise of faith.

I will not think of the infinities of my need, except to lead me to the divine simplicity of the infinity of His supply.

  “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us; and if we know that He hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him” (1 John 5:14, 15)

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Remember Laurie R. in prayer, 9 years old and just diagnosed with cancer

Pray for Loid L. crippling arthritis, she usually is flying all over the country, at 73, now she can barely walk.

Praise for Jerome, a year ago he started out in counseling, he’s now been drug free, violence free and he is off parole and tomorrow we do his wedding, or re-wedding. His wife has been in counseling also and they are going to get hitched again.

Pray for Lisa, her 5 year old marriage is in trouble and they are both spiraling out of control in their behavior. Right now we just want her self-destructive behavior you end.

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

 

suicide is special

October 22, 2017

Well today was a tough day, I had to do a funeral for a youth pastor that committed suicide. What made it tougher was his home church, the one he worked in refused to do his service as they were sure he went to hell.

After sex, the second most predominant idea in a college kid is suicide.

I’ve lost several good friends to self death, including some relatives it has been an area that I’ve struggled with for many years. To me it’s kind of like the chicken or the egg which came first, is it always depression than suicide or is it shame and them suicide. Fear than suicide.

This is the third person in ministry that I’ve done the funeral of due to suicide.

This is one topic I may change my mind on, but here’s my current thinking.

Since the early days of the church, suicide has been considered a grievous sin. Theologically, it is seen as an act of subverting God’s will.  Because we belong to our Creator and not ourselves, self-murder is on par with murdering another person.

However, all sin is a subversion of God’s will. So how and why did suicide become an “unpardonable sin”? Augustine asserted that suicide was an unrepentable sin based on the fact that “Thou shalt not kill” didn’t exclude oneself. Catholic thinker Thomas Aquinas lent his support on three points: suicide opposes love, it hurts the greater community, and it usurps God’s right to determine the length of his creation’s earthly life. In the Middle Ages, the doctrine was simply that suicide cuts short a person’s relationship with God. The view that suicide doomed one to hell continued with the Catholic church’s view that those who die with unabsolved mortal sin are bound to hell.

Protestant reformation leaders strongly condemned suicide, but generally disagreed with the Catholic church’s stance that suicide would condemn a person to hell. The reformers preached salvation through grace alone, and therefore, it is neither earned nor lost by human works–including suicide. Reformers also opposed the Catholic view as unsupported by Scripture.

Suicide is all that the church has labelled it: a tragedy, a sin, usurping God’s rights. It leaves deep scars on the family, church and community. It is a horrible and painful occurance. But, I believe that we are saved by grace alone, and Jesus’ righteousness clothes even the most wretched sinners, and that nothing can separate us from God’s love, and therefore could answer my friend confidently. There would be many days of pain and regret and healing ahead of them, but they didn’t have to add to that the thought that this Christ-follower was eternally doomed.

Trust me I’ve heard all the arguments, “oh, they weren’t really saved” or “they must have backslid.” I’ve heard pastors preach long time members of the church into hell. Some say, “we must always send them to hell to discourage others.”

What about the fat slob in your church that eat KFC three times a day and we preach him into heaven, with a knowing look of sadness but forgiveness. Death by Cop, death by donut, death by speeding. It’s all about death.

Having been in attendance on both sides of the fence for S.O.S (survivors of suicide) I will tell you the pain and loss of those let behind is a hell all of its own.

I know many folks that survived their suicide attempt and they were all screaming in their head as the bullet thundered down the barrel, “oh God let me live”.

It’s not the answer, but we have to many people living to much in themselves and not living in Christ. As a tag to yesterday’s devotion, “self interest” can lead to self death.”

If your struggling with this issue trust me I know firsthand how the impulse can be so strong, so sudden and seemingly the best answer, it’s not.

Please tell someone, several someone’s, if there is a secret in your life, trust me, tell the secret to someone, shame disappears when it’s no longer a secret.

Please reach out to us at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember I only check my email for this site at 1030 pm central time.

Call 1-800-273-8255 for the national suicide hotline 24/7

Blessings, peace and love, God bless the troubled.

WE ARE NOT TRYING TO PERSUADE YOU TO ONE FORM OF THEOLOGY OR ANOTHER, WE ARE JUST INFORMING YOU OF TWO PREDOMINATE SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT. YOU AS A CHRISTIAN MUST BE READY TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO ALL.

Part two on theology

Yesterday we talked about Reformed or Covenant Theology. So that would be some Presbyterians, and Baptist, not all but most.

Today we’ll cover Dispensationalist’s. first a cautionary note. And that’s jumping to conclusions. Not all Pentecostals are Dispensationalists. In fact a great many are Reformed in theology except for the speaking in tongues part.

Some great Dispensationalist for you are John MacArthur and The Dallas Theological Seminary. Foundation.

.Plymouth Brethren Movement -J. N.Darby, WilliamKelly . C.I.Scofield . WilliamTrotter . C.H.Mackintosh

Key Influencial Preachers .L. S. Chafer F.W.Grant

.Harry Ironside Erich Sauer .W. A. Criswell John Walvoord

Charles Ryrie

Wiliam Newell

  1. C. Gaebelein- Our Hope Magazine

Institutions

Moody Bible Institute

Dallas Theological Seminary

Grace Seminary, Indiana

Talbot Seminary, California

1930s-1940s

Harry Ironside

William Newell

  1. C. Gaebelein

  2. S. Chafer

Theodore Epp-Back to the Bible (1939)

Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry(1938)

1950s-1960s

Dallas Seminary, Charles Ryrie, John Walvoord, Dwight Pentecost

  1. E. Vine, Erich Sauer

Warren Weirsbe

Lehman Strauss

Charles Swindoll

Quite a surprising list and not to mention there are Classical Dispensationalist and Neo Classic and Modern and Ultra Modern Dispensationalists.

And the New Reformed Movement is attacking Dispensationalists like they were a cult. Which they are really attacking the Ultra Modern’s and not the classics.

So enough of that; here is some info to help you converse and understand the other side of the coin compared to the Reformed Movement.

Dispensational theology is probably the most popular theological understanding in America at this time, even though it has a more recent origin than Covenant theology. The development of Dispensational theology dates back to the nineteenth century in Britain. J.N. Darby (1800-1882), an Irish lawyer, sought to explain the uniqueness of the Christians’ spiritual condition “in Christ.” To explain the radical different in Christian “benefits” from that afforded to peoples in all prior times, Mr. Darby employed the division of time into distinct “dispensations.” Harry Ironside, a later proponent of Dispensational theology, noted that “until Mr. J.N. Darby…it (the dispensational idea of a postponed kingdom) is scarcely to be found in a single book or sermon through a period of sixteen hundred years.” Darby’s novel idea of distinguishing “dispensations” of time became the basis of a new theological system known as “Dispensationalism.”

   As with Covenant theology, it is equally important to explore the socio-political climate in which Dispensational theology emerged. In nineteenth century Britain there existed an abundance of oppressive and depressing sociological conditions, out of which grew an anti-establishment movement of thought against both governmental and ecclesiastical authority. Historical analyst, George Marsden, has noted that two individuals who were contemporaries of one another both became the catalysts of popular systems of thought. J.N. Darby (1800-1882) and Karl Marx (1818-1883), both reacted to the existing conditions in nineteenth century Britain.  Whereas Darby came to the forefront in saying the church must look forward to ‘The Rapture’ as the world was to evil to successfully reform.

   J.N. Darby became an instrumental leader in the movement which became known as the “Plymouth Brethren. (not the same as the Brethren Church)” This independent religious group was outside of the mainline institutional churches of that.Other British Dispensationalists include C.H. Mackintosh, William Kelly and E.W. Bullinger. Darby made at least eight visits to America to promulgate his new interpretations, and they were espoused by such American leaders as Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) and J.H. Brookes (1830-1897). Other prominent names associated with Dispensational theology in the twentieth century include W.E. Blackstone, L.S. Chafer who founded Dallas Theological Seminary, and C.I. Scofield who popularized Dispensational theology with his explanatory notes in The Scofield Bible. Dispensational theology became entrenched in the “Fundamentalist” movement of the 1920s and 1930s. More recent Dispensational writers included John E. Walvoord, and Charles Ryrie who like Scofield has added explanatory notes in hisRyrie Study Bible.

   Dispensational theology is not as closely connected with Calvinistic theology as is Covenant theology. This explains in part why it so quickly and easily found favor across denominational and theological lines in America, for there were many American Christians who did not appreciate the rigid dogmatism of five-point Calvinism and desired more freedom for diversity, in typical American pluralistic fashion. One could wish that Dispensationalists could have maintained such tolerance for diversity without becoming so dogmatic and exclusivistic about their own theological and eschatological opinions, which led eventually to the “Evangelical” movement breaking free from the “Fundamentalist” movement in the 1940s. Dispensational distancing from strict Calvinism allows Pentecostal and Holiness theologies, which are quite Arminian, to be Dispensational in theology as well. Covenant theologians are quick to fault Dispensational theology for not adhering to pure Calvinism, but sometimes unfairly charge all Dispensationalists with being Arminian in their theology. (which the majority are not Arminian). (Arminian’s believe you can be saved and then lose your salvation).

   Some of the prominent features of Dispensational theology include (1) distinct dispensations of time, (2) the dichotomy of Israel and the Church, (3) the unconditional covenant of God with Abraham, to be fulfilled physically and literally for the Jewish people in the future Davidic/millennial kingdom. Upon these basic presuppositions the system of Dispensational theology is constructed.

the early formulators of Dispensational theology defined a “dispensation” as “a period of time with a test that ends in failure,” and began to divide all history accordingly. A more complete Dispensational definition of a “dispensation” might be “a period of time wherein (1) a distinctive idea of revelation is given by God, (2) a specific test of obedience is given based on that revelation, (3) man fails the test of obedience, (4) God judges man for his disobedience, and then establishes another dispensation.” These dispensations do not build upon one another, but are regarded as totally distinct and separate from one another.

   Dispensationalists are not agreed as to the number of dispensations of time wherein God deals with men in different ways. At least three dispensations are required for the theological system to provide the contrasts necessary; these are the dispensation of law, the dispensation of grace, and the dispensation of the millennial kingdom. The most popular calculation of dispensational time periods is seven. They are usually identified as

(1) The dispensation of innocence (Gen. 1-3), wherein the test was the eating from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” and the failure was the fall of man into sin.

(2) The dispensation of conscience (Gen. 4 8:14), wherein the test was proper sacrifice and the failure was the continual evil of men’s hearts judged by the flood.

(3) The dispensation of human government (Gen. 8:15 11), wherein the test was governance and compliance with government and the failure was evidenced at the tower of Babel.

(4) The dispensation of promise (Gen 12 Exod. 18), wherein the test came when God offered the Law to the Israelites, and the failure is alleged to be their abandonment of a prior grace/faith relationship with God by their rash and foolish acceptance of the Law.

(5) The dispensation of Law (Exod. 19 Acts 1), the test of which came when Jesus came to earth and offered the Jews the Davidic kingdom which they refused, so God postponed the fulfillment of the kingdom promise.

(6) The dispensation of grace (Acts 2 Rev. 19), wherein the test is for Christians to live obediently in grace, but the failure is predicted to be the apostasy of the institutional church.

(7) The dispensation of the kingdom (Rev. 20), a thousand year period which will end in final rebellion leading to the judgment of God upon the earth and the inauguration of a “new heaven and new earth.”

Dispensationalist’s believe in a more literal interpretation and less allegorical than the Reformed tradition.

A second prominent feature of Dispensational theology is the radical dichotomy and disjuncture of Israel and the Church. In an apparent attempt to keep law and grace distinctly separated, Dispensational theology has divided the nation of Israel from any connection with the Church of Jesus Christ, the Body of Christ. They are alleged to be so mutually exclusive as two separate peoples that “never the twain shall meet.” J.N. Darby indicated that “the Jewish nation is never to enter into the Church.”The physical race of Jewish people is regarded as God’s “earthly people” while Christians are regarded as God’s “heavenly people.” Dispensational theology indicates that separate promises are given to Jews and to Christians.

That is why a Dispensationalist has a problem with Messianic Jews. You are either a Christian or you are not. There are to the Dispensationalists Kingdom promises and then promises to the Church.

A third basic presupposition of Dispensational theology is the unconditional covenant with Abraham, to be fulfilled physically and literally for the Jewish people in the future Davidic/millennial kingdom. Beginning with the promises of God to Abraham in Genesis 12, 15 and 17, the Dispensationalist argues for a literal fulfillment of these promises for the physical race and nation of the Jews. Such fulfillment is alleged to be the epitome of God’s intent and the primary message of the Bible. Charles Ryrie states that “the goal of history is the earthly millennium…(which is) the climax of history and the great goal of God’s program for the ages. John E. Walvoord further explains that “the Abrahamic covenant furnishes the key to the entire Old Testament…(and) sets the mold for the entire body of Scripture truth. Thus, there will be after the Rapture, the time of Tribulation and Jesus returning to set up a literal kingdom on earth for a 1000 year reign.

God therefore postponed the re-implementation of the Kingdom until Jesus comes again to set up the millennial kingdom, which will be the fulfillment of the “new covenant” promised to the Jews. The period of the postponed kingdom, the “dispensation of grace,” is a parenthetical time period wherein God’s primary purpose is interrupted and held in abeyance. The Church is not to be identified with God’s kingdom and was unforeseen by all of the Old Testament prophets whose prophesies never refer to the Church age. The Church, which is primarily for Gentiles, began on Pentecost, and there are many “mysteries” concerning God’s revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ so as to “call out” a “heavenly people” whose destiny is to be seated with Christ on the throne in the New Jerusalem of heaven. Meanwhile the primary futuristic focus is on the return of Jesus Christ to re-establish the realm of the earthly Davidic Kingdom in Palestine during the 1000 year millennial period which fulfills the promised “new covenant,” the “dispensation of the kingdom.” (Some Dispensationalists will allow that the “new covenant” may have a double application: a spiritual application for the church and a physical application for Israel.) The return of Christ is “imminent,” expected at “any moment.” It will be preceded by the “rapture” in order to remove the Church and keep Israel and the Church separated. Dispensational theology is necessarily premillennial, but that does not mean that all premillennialists subscribe to Dispensational theology. There are covenant theologians who believe in a premillennial return of Christ.

There are of course many other ‘schools’ of theology, and most borrow bit and pieces from the other. There are those who say we only have ‘Biblical Theology’ of we only have a ‘Christocentric’ theology. Each borrow strongly from the other.

The more you study you will probably end up like me and say I have an Adaptive Theology. It is the sum of all the parts. There are quotes attributed to Calvin (Reformed) that he never said. As well as quotes to Darby and Dispensationalists that are pure myth. Find out the truth, for one reason, you make sense when you talk and can give a better answer than ‘because’.

Where do i fall, Reformed, Dispensationalist, semi Pentecostal, brethren, Mennonite.

That’s it, no more theology, back to rant and rave, prod and poke.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the wrong way

October 11, 2017

Ok a little something you should know about me, I love jokes, quotes and statistics, they just stick in my mind. So here is a great quote I heard today from famed evangelist (deceased) Billy Sunday; “the Rev. Sunday was in a town known for its whiskey drinking, so he preached a hellfire message against liquor, a important town person came up to him and said; ‘Dr. Sunday you are rubbing a lot of folks the wrong way’ where Billy Sunday said; ‘then turn the cat around the other way.”

Anyway

  Rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3).

  There are two ways in which God reveals to us the true condition of the natural man. The first is via the Word: “In me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). The second is via experience: years of struggle with the constant sinfulness and failure of that old nature. If we were more willing to face up to the incorrigibility of the Adamic life within, it might not take us so long to be freed from its domination.

It is quite possible for every one of us to have a perfectly good conscience. A happy state to be in! Have you a good conscience? Are you under accusation, under condemnation? Are you fretting and worrying about the badness of your own heart? That means that you have not the answer of a good conscience to God. What is the matter? You are still looking for something from nature, from the old man. You had better give it up, as that is the only way out; repudiate it.

Tell yourself and tell the accuser once for all that in you, that is, in your flesh, dwelleth no good thing, and you never expect to find anything. The enemy knows it, and yet he is trying to get you on an impossible quest for something he knows you will never find, and that is how he worries you. Years of it! Then why not come onto the Lord’s ground and out-maneuver him? Let us settle it that we can never expect to find any good in our old nature. All our good is in another, even our Lord Jesus. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:2).

  “Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5:1).

So stop rubbing the cat the wrong way!

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Be in prayer for Jennifer, she is having cataract surgery October 31, and she is scared spitless.

 

FIX IT OR LOSE IT

October 2, 2017

SORRY GIRLS THIS IS JUST FOR MEN; ALTHOUGH YOU MAY WANT TO PASS IT ON.

WOMEN MAY HAVE A HARD TIME UNDERSTANDING THIS BUT YOU MAY KNOW SOMEONE IN THIS SITUATION. I’M NOT MAKING EXCUSES BUT THIS IS REALLY MOSTLY A GUY THING; AND I HELP THIS HOPES SOME GUY OUT THERE.

BECAUSE I GREW UP TO BE A VERY VIOLENT PERSON I BECAME THE GUY THAT WAS ALWAYS GETTING IN FIGHTS ALWAYS STARTED THEM AND PRETTY MUCH ENDED THEM, I THOUGHT VIOLENCE WAS THE ANSWER TO PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING; I MEAN SCREW DÉTENTE.

NOW I WAS NEVER PHYSICALLY VIOLENT WITH MY FAMILY BUT I ALL TO FREQUENTLY SCARED THEM WITH MY RAGE AND VERBAL OUTBURSTS. EVEN AFTER ACCEPTING JESUS AS MY SAVIOR SOMETIMES THE ANIMAL JUST CAME OUT. I’M NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPENED BUT I DID GET A HANDLE ON IT, AND I WANT TO SHARE WITH ANY ONE THAT IS STRUGGLING WITH RAGE, ESPECIALLY IN A FAMILY SETTING TO HELP YOU GET OVER IT.

NOW DON’T DISMISS THIS AS TO SIMPLISTIC BUT IT REALLY CAN HELP. I READ THIS STORY IN READERS DIGEST ABOUT 40 YEARS AGO AND IT WAS A LIGHT BULB MOMENT.

A PLUMBER GOES TO A LADY’S HOUSE TO DO SOME WORK AND ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG DOES, BUT HE DOESN’T LOSE HIS COOL. BUT WHEN LEAVES THE HOUSE TO GO HOME HE LEAVES A WRENCH THERE. THE WOMAN OF THE HOUSE REALIZES THAT HE MIGHT NEED IT AND FOLLOWS HIM HOME TO GIVE HIM THIS WRENCH.

WHEN HE GETS TO HIS HOUSE BEFORE SHE CAN GET OUT OF THE CAR SHE SEES HIM GO UP TO A TREE IN HIS YARD AND HE STARTS PULLING INVISIBLE THINGS OUT OF HIS POCKET AND TIES THEM TO THE TREE; AND SHE’S THINKING ‘GREAT I’VE JUST HAD A PSYCHO IN MY HOUSE’.

THEN HE GOES TO HOUSE KIND OF GIVES HIMSELF A SHAKE LIKE A DOG DOES AND GOES IN THE HOUSE.

WELL SHE’S FASCINATED AND HAS TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON SO SHE GOES TO THE HOUSE WITH THE WRENCH AND RINGS THE DOORBELL. THE PLUMBER ANSWERS THE DOOR WITH A BIG SMILE AND SHE CAN HEAR CHILDREN LAUGHING AND SMELLS DINNER COOKING AND SHE HOLDS UP THE WRENCH.

(WHICH HE IMMEDIATELY TAKES AND KILLS HER DEAD; SORRY JUST KIDDING, SEE WHY YOU HAVE TO KEEP PRAYING FOR ME.)

SHE JUST HAS TO KNOW WHAT WAS THE DEAL WITH TYING INVISIBLE THINGS TO THE TREE OUTSIDE, SO SHE ASKS HIM. HE GRINS RATHER SHEEPISHLY AND STEPS OUTSIDE AND WALKS OVER TO THE TREE, AND HE SAYS; “I TIE TO THE TREE EVERYTHING THAT WENT WRONG TODAY, EVERYTHING THAT BROKE, DIDN’T GOES AS PLANNED, MY ANGER MY FRUSTRATION AND I TIE IT THERE SO I DON’T TAKE IT IN THE HOUSE WITH ME.” AND SHE ASKS “WHAT ABOUT THE SHAKE YOU DID ON THE DOORSTEP.” HE SMILES AND SAYS I’M JUST MAKING SURE NOTHING BAD IS COMING IN THE HOUSE WITH ME AND I TELL MY SELF I LOVE MY FAMILY.”

NOW IF YOU ARE SERIOUSLY SCREWED UP AND THINK THIS IS TO SIMPLISTIC SCREW YOU IT WORKS.

BUT FOR YOU DIE HARD VIOLENT PSYCHOPATHS THAT ARE DIE HARD SKEPTICS I HAVE PART TWO.

I TOLD MY WIFE THAT WHEN I GET HOME I NEEDED 20 MINUTES ALONE TIME TO READJUST TO A ROLE CHANGE. SO I WOULD STAY IN THE GARAGE AND THE KIDS WERE TOLD NOT TO COME OUT AND BOTHER ME; AND IN THAT 20 MINUTES I WOULD PRAY; “GOD DON’T LET A MONSTER WALK THROUGH THAT DOOR, THESE PEOPLE LOVE YOU AND CARE FOR YOU; YOU CAN’T BE MEAN, OR SCARY OR ROUGH OR MEAN SPIRITED BECAUSE YOU LOVE THEM. DON’T BE AN A$$HOLE, WALK IN THERE AND BE A GODLY, LOVING CARING MAN.”

AND THERE IS A PART THREE; “CUES” ONE REASON I GOT MAD WAS I HAD A SCENARIO IN MY MIND OF WHAT WOULD HAPPEN WHEN I GOT HOME, MY EXPECTATIONS; PROBLEM WAS I NEVER TOLD ANYONE WHAT THOSE EXPECTATIONS WERE. I WANTED MY WIFE TO KISS ME AND TELL ME SHE MISSED ME (I TRAVEL A LOT DOING SEMINARS) I WANTED THE KIDS TO STOP WHAT EVER THEY WERE DOING AND JUST HUG ME FOR A SECOND, THAT’S ALL, JUST THAT LITTLE BIT.

YOU KNOW WHAT? IT WORKED, I WOULD WALK IN THE HOUSE SAYING MY LITTLE MANTRA; “YOU LOVE THESE PEOPLE DON’T SCARE THEM.” AND THEY WOULD TAKE THE 5 SECONDS JUST TO GIVE ME WHAT I NEEDED, CRAVED FROM THEM A MOMENT OF LOVE AND IT WOULD ALL WORK OUT.

SO IF YOU ARE A SCARY DAD, HUSBAND, FATHER, PLEASE WORK IT OUT, GIVE THIS A TRY.

DON’T BE SCARY

AND N0W THE GOOD NEWS, I’M NOT SURE HOW LONG WE HAD TO HAVE THESE LITTLE RITUALS, A FEW YEARS MAYBE, BUT IT ALL PASSED. YOU CAN BE A CHRISTIAN MAN AND STILL HAVE SOME SERIOUS ISSUES, ONE; GET COUNSELING FROM SOMEONE YOU RESPECT, TWO; BE ACCOUNTABLE, THREE; DON’T IGNORE THE WARNING SYMBOLS (YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN). AND REST ASSURED IT DOES PASS AND YOU BECOME SOMEWHAT NORMAL. (TILL DEMENTIA SETS IN AND YOU BECOME A RAVING LUNATIC AGAIN, OH, DID I TELL YOU I’M WORKING ON BEING MORE POSITIVE?)

BUT IT WON’T GET FIXED ON ITS ON, THERE IS NO CHRISTIAN MAGIC, FIX IT.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

 

step up your game

September 25, 2017

These are all quotes about prayer, I just finished a great book on prayer, you can find it free online, written in the late 60’s I think, by Levi Strauss, “Sense and Nonsense about prayer”, 138 pages you can read in about an hour or so, his comments and illustrations is what makes this a fun book to read and hopefully encourage you to step up your prayer life.

Also, Saturday, September 23 Ravi Zechariahs opened his part one series about prayer with the first quote here, I encourage you to listen to the broadcast.

We all are up and down and all around on prayer, we are either prayer warriors or garden gnomes and then somewhere in between. The best part of Strauss’s book it will at least keep you from praying wrong, stupidly or even just wasting your time. Besides bible reading there is nothing more important than bible reading. Bible reading comes first, you can’t pray correctly or effectively without reading your bible.

So I hope the following quotes will inspire you and Strauss’s book will guide you.

A person that reads and prays  frequently will stand out in any group by not standing out, humble, quiet, caring and thoughtful are those that have found the pathway to intimacy in God, questions, doubts and fears all disappear to the obedient of these disciplines. For no other reason than should you neglect such a blessing.

The potency of prayer hath subdued the strength of fire; it had bridled the rage of lions, hushed the anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. Prayer is an all-efficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a mine which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by clouds, a heaven unruffled by the storm. It is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings. – Chrysostom

The prayers of holy men appease God’s wrath, drive away temptations, resist and overcome the devil, procure the ministry and service of angels, rescind the decrees of God. Prayer cures sickness and obtains pardon; it arrests the sun in its course and stays the wheels of the chariot of the moon; it rules over all gods and opens and shuts the storehouses of rain, it unlocks the cabinet of the womb and quenches the violence of fire; it stops the mouths of lions and reconciles our suffering and weak faculties with the violence of torment and violence of persecution; it pleases God and supplies all our need. — Jeremy Taylor

More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of. wherefore,

let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats,

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friend? For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God. — Tennyson

Perfect prayer is only another name for love. — Fenelon

It was said of the late C. H. Spurgeon, that he glided from laughter to prayer with the naturalness of one who lived in both elements. With him the habit of prayer was free and unfettered. His life was not divided into compartments, the one shut off from the other with a rigid exclusiveness that barred all intercommunication. He lived in constant fellowship with his Father in Heaven. He was ever in touch with God, and thus it was as natural for him to pray as it was for him to breathe.

“What a fine time we have had; let us thank God for it,” he said to a friend on one occasion, when, out under the blue sky and wrapped in glorious sunshine, they had enjoyed a holiday with the unfettered enthusiasm of schoolboys. Prayer sprang as spontaneously to his lips as did ordinary speech, and never was there the slightest incongruity in his approach to the Divine throne straight from any scene in which he might be taking part.

That is the attitude with regard to prayer that ought to mark every child of God. There are, and there ought to be, stated seasons of communication with God when, everything else shut out, we come into His presence to talk to Him and to let Him speak to us; and out of such seasons springs that beautiful habit of prayer that weaves a golden bond between earth and heaven. Without such stated seasons the habit of prayer can never be formed; without them there is no nourishment for the spiritual life. By means of them the soul is lifted into a new atmosphere — the atmosphere of the heavenly city, in which it is easy to open the heart to God and to speak with Him as friend speaks with friend.

Thus, in every circumstance of life, prayer is the most natural out-pouring of the soul, the unhindered turning to God for communion and direction. Whether in sorrow or in joy, in defeat or in victory, in health or in weakness, in calamity or in success, the heart leaps to meet with God just as a child runs to his mother’s arms, ever sure that with her is the sympathy that meets every need.

Dr. Adam Clarke, in his autobiography, records that when Mr. Wesley was returning to England by ship, considerable delay was caused by contrary winds. Wesley was reading, when he became aware of some confusion on board, and asking what was the matter, he was informed that the wind was contrary. “Then,” was his reply, “let us go to prayer.”

After Dr. Clarke had prayed, Wesley broke out into fervent supplication which seemed to be more the offering of faith than of mere desire. “Almighty and everlasting God,” he prayed. “Thou hast sway everywhere, and all things serve the purpose of Thy will, Thou holdest the winds in Thy fists and sittest upon the water floods, and reignest a King for ever. Command these winds and these waves that they obey Thee, and take us speedily and safely to the haven whither we would go.”

The power of this petition was felt by all. Wesley rose from his knees, made no remark, but took up his book and continued reading. Dr. Clarke went on deck, and to his surprise found the vessel under sail, standing on her right course. Nor did she change till she was safely at anchor. On the sudden and favourable change of wind, Wesley made no remark; so fully did he expect to be heard that he took it for granted that he was heard.

That was prayer with a purpose — the definite and direct utterance of one who knew that he had the ear of God, and that God had the willingness as well as the power to grant the petition which he asked of Him.

Major D. W. Whittle, in an introduction to the wonders of prayer, says of George Muller, of Bristol: “I met Mr. Muller in the express, the morning of our sailing from Quebec to Liverpool. About half-an-hour before the tender was to take the passengers to the ship, he asked of the agent if a deck chair had arrived for him from New York. He was answered, “No,” and told that it could not possibly come in time for the steamer. I had with me a chair I had just purchased, and told Mr. Muller of the place nearby, and suggested, as but a few moments remained, that he had better buy one at once. His reply was, “No, my brother. Our Heavenly Father will send the chair from New York. It is one used by Mrs. Muller. I wrote ten days ago to a brother, who promised to see it forwarded here last week. He has not been prompt, as I would have desired, but I am sure our Heavenly Father will send the chair. Mrs. Muller is very sick on the sea, and has particularly desired to have this same chair, and not finding it here yesterday, we have made special prayer that our Heavenly Father would be pleased to provide it for us, and we will trust Him to do so.” As this dear man of God went peacefully on board, running the risk of Mrs. Muller making the trip without a chair, when, for a couple of dollars, she could have been provided for, I confess I feared Mr. Muller was carrying his faith principles too far and not acting wisely. I was kept at the express office ten minutes after Mr. Muller left. Just as I started to hurry to the wharf, a team drove up the street, and on top of a load just arrived front New York was Mr. Muller’s chair. It was sent at once to the tender and placed in my hands to take to Mr. Muller, just as the boat was leaving the dock (the Lord having a lesson for me). Mr. Muller took it with the happy, pleased expression of a child who has just received a kindness deeply appreciated, and reverently removing his hat and folding his hands over it, he thanked the Heavenly Father for sending the chair.”

One of Melancthon’s correspondents writes of Luther’s praying: “I cannot enough admire the extraordinary, cheerfulness, constancy, faith and hope of the man in these trying and vexatious times. He constantly feeds these gracious affections by a very diligent study of the Word of God. Then not a day passes in which he does not employ in prayer at least three of his very best hours. Once I happened to hear him at prayer. Gracious God! What spirit and what faith is there in his expressions! He petitions God with as much reverence as if he was in the divine presence, and yet with as firm a hope and confidence as he would address a father or a friend. “I know,” said he, “Thou art our Father and our God; and therefore I am sure Thou wilt bring to naught the persecutors of Thy children. For shouldest Thou fail to do this Thine own cause, being connected with ours, would be endangered. It is entirely thine own concern. We, by Thy providence, have been compelled to take a part. Thou therefore wilt be our defence.” Whilst I was listening to Luther praying in this manner, at a distance, my soul seemed on fire within me, to hear the man address God so like a friend, yet with so much gravity and reverence; and also to hear him, in the course of his prayer, insisting on the promises contained in the Psalms, as if he were sure his petitions would be granted.”

Of William Bramwell, a noted Methodist preacher in England, wonderful for his zeal and prayer, the following is related by a sergeant major. “In July, 1811, our regiment was ordered for Spain, then the seat of a protracted and sanguinary war. My mind was painfully exercised with the thoughts of leaving my dear wife and four helpless children in a strange country, unprotected and unprovided for. Mr. Bramwell felt a lively interest in our situation, and his sympathising spirit seemed to drink in all the agonised feelings of my tender wife. He supplicated the throne of grace day and night in our behalf. My wife and I spent the evening previous to our march at a friend’s house, in company with Mr. Bramwell, who sat in a very pensive mood, and appeared to be in a spiritual struggle all the time. After supper, he suddenly pulled his hand out of his bosom, laid it on my knee, and said: “Brother Riley, mark what I am about to say! You are not to go to Spain. Remember what I tell you, you are not; for I have been wrestling with God on your behalf, and when my Heavenly Father condescends in mercy to bless me with power to lay hold on Himself, I do not easily let Him go; no, not until I am favoured with an answer. Therefore you may depend upon it that the next time I hear from you, you will be settled in quarters.” This came to pass exactly as he said. The next day the order for going to Spain was countermanded.”

These men prayed with a purpose. To them God was not far away, in some inaccessible region, but near at hand, ever ready to listen to the call of His children. There was no barrier between. They were on terms of perfect intimacy, if one may use such a phrase in relation to man and his Maker. No cloud obscured the face of the Father from His trusting child, who could look up into the Divine countenance and pour out the longings of his heart. And that is the type of prayer which God never fails to hear. He knows that it comes from a heart at one with His own; from one who is entirely yielded to the heavenly plan, and so He bends His ear and gives to the pleading child the assurance that his petition has been heard and answered.

Have we not all had some such experience when with set and undeviating purpose we have approached the face of our Father? In an agony of soul we have sought refuge from the oppression of the world in the anteroom of heaven; the waves of despair seemed to threaten destruction, and as no way of escape was visible anywhere, we fell back, like the disciples of old, upon the power of our Lord, crying to Him to save us lest we perish. And then in the twinkling of an eye, the thing was done. The billows sank into a calm; the howling wind died down at the Divine command; the agony of the soul passed into a restful peace as over the whole being there crept the consciousness of the Divine presence, bringing with it the assurance of answered prayer and sweet deliverance.

“I tell the Lord my troubles and difficulties, and wait for Him to give me the answers to them,” says one man of God. “And it is wonderful how a matter that looked very dark will in prayer become clear as crystal by the help of God’s Spirit. I think Christians fail so often to get answers to their prayers because they do not wait long enough on God. They just drop down and say a few words, and then jump up and forget it and expect God to answer them. Such praying always reminds me of the small boy ringing his neighbour’s door-bell, and then running away as fast as he can go.”

When we acquire the habit of prayer we enter into a new atmosphere. “Do you expect to go to heaven?” asked someone of a devout Scotsman. “Why, man, I live there,” was the quaint and unexpected reply. It was a pithy statement of a great truth, for all the way to heaven is heaven begun to the Christian who walks near enough to God to hear the secrets He has to impart.

This attitude is beautifully illustrated in a story of Horace Bushnell, told by Dr. Parkes Cadman. Bushnell was found to be suffering from an incurable disease. One evening the Rev. Joseph Twichell visited him, and, as they sat together under the starry sky, Bushnell said: “One of us ought to pray.” Twichell asked Bushnell to do so, and Bushnell began his prayer; burying his face in the earth, he poured out his heart until, said Twichell, in recalling the incident, “I was afraid to stretch out my hand in the darkness lest I should touch God.”

To have God thus near is to enter the holy of holies — to breathe the fragrance of the heavenly air, to walk in Eden’s delightful gardens. Nothing but prayer can bring God and man into this happy communion. That was the experience of Samuel Rutherford, just as it is the experience of every one who passes through the same gateway. When this saint of God was confined in jail at one time for conscience sake, he enjoyed in a rare degree the Divine companionship, recording in his diary that Jesus entered his cell, and that at His coming “every stone flashed like a ruby.”

Many others have borne witness to the same sweet fellowship, when prayer had become the one habit of life that meant more than anything else to them. David Livingstone lived in the realm of prayer and knew its gracious influence. It was his habit every birthday to write a prayer, and on the next to the last birthday of all, this was his prayer: “O Divine one, I have not loved Thee earnestly, deeply, sincerely enough. Grant, I pray Thee, that before this year is ended I may have finished my task.” It was just on the threshold of the year that followed that his faithful men, as they looked into the hut of Ilala, while the rain dripped from the eaves, saw their master on his knees beside his bed in an attitude of prayer. He had died on his knees in prayer.

Stonewall Jackson was a man of prayer. Said he: “I have so fixed the habit in my mind that I never raise a glass of water to my lips without asking God’s blessing, never seal a letter without putting a word of prayer under the seal, never take a letter from the post without a brief sending of my thoughts heavenward, never change my classes in the lecture-room without a — minute’s petition for the cadets who go out and for those who come in.”

James Gilmour, the pioneer missionary to Mongolia, was a man of prayer. He had a habit in his writing of never using a blotter. He made a rule when he got to the bottom of any page to wait until the ink dried and spend the time in prayer.

In this way their whole being was saturated with the Divine, and they became the reflection of the heavenly fragrance and glory. Walking with God down the avenues of prayer we acquire something of His likeness, and unconsciously we become witnesses to others of His beauty and His grace. Professor James, in his famous work, “Varieties of Religious Experience,” tells of a man of forty-nine who said: “God is more real to me than any thought or thing or person. I feel His presence positively, and the more as I live in closer harmony with His laws as written in my body and mind. I feel Him in the sunshine or rain; and all mingled with a delicious restfulness most nearly describes my feelings. I talk to Him as to a companion in prayer and praise, and our communion is delightful. He answers me again and again, often in words so clearly spoken that it seems my outer ear must have carried the tone, but generally in strong mental impressions. Usually a text of Scripture, unfolding some new view of Him and His love for me, and care for my safety … That He is mine and I am His never leaves me; it is an abiding joy. Without it life would be a blank, a desert, a shoreless, trackless waste.”

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”

 

Battle tested

September 11, 2017

FORGED IN FIRE

  “Saul armed David with his armor…. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not tested them” (1 Sam. 17:38, 39).

  Years of preparation are worth a moment of truth! Rest assured that once we are developed and trained by the Holy Spirit, the work whereunto He has called us will be ready and waiting (Acts 13:2). “Our Lord must have an instrument which He has formed in the fire and to which He has given peculiar knowledge of Himself.”

  “The greater the knowledge committed to a servant, the more necessary and important it is that he should be much alone with God about it, in order that he may realize the nature and effect of it on himself before he undertakes to make it known to others.

  “It rebukes the haste and readiness with which many now enter the ministry, attempting to impress others with a measure of the truth which they have not proved for themselves. Surely the servant should ever be able to say: ‘I believed, and therefore have I spoken’ (2 Cor. 4:13). It is better to lose time as to work in preparation for service than to lose time in repairing one’s mistakes in undertaking a work for which one is not yet qualified.”

  “A servant’s discipline must always be in advance of the service prepared for him. He cannot lead beyond the point to which he himself has been led. But when the depth and reality of the truth has been established in his own soul, he is made the channel of it.”

I have found that many a thing which I had presented in an extreme way because I was sure of it, I put forth in a simpler and a more real way when I had touched it in my own experience.

  “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you” (1 John 1:3).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com