The Struggle

July 3, 2018

boxing

“For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14).

  Hatred for others comes easy for some; but to fully hate one’s old man comes hard for all. The Lord Jesus loves us too much to allow us to go on loving ourselves.

The Christian’s victory is not over others, but over himself. His sword is drawn, not to slay his fellowman, but to slay himself. He wins by losing. He triumphs by being defeated. He lives by dying. His crown is a crown of thorns. His throne is a Cross. His weapon is not strength but weakness.

His victory is not found in establishing his own cause but in establishing that of his fellow-men; the poor, the sick, the disinherited, the brokenhearted, the wayward, the lost. This may be foolishness to men. But we must not forget that ‘the foolishness of God is stronger than men’ (1 Cor. 1:25).

How blessed it is to know, and at the same time how solemn to realize, that the sin of the child of God is against his Father, and that it is the love of relationship that is called into exercise about it—love which acts towards us ‘for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness’“ (Heb. 12:10).

It is impossible that He should treat it lightly; and it will be impossible in the end for any one of His own to treat it lightly either. Grace abides towards us; and because grace abides, sin cannot be permitted to have sway over the objects of it.

  “Let not sin, therefore, reign. . . “ (Rom. 6:12).

God bless from scumlikeschurch@gmail.com

Remember Bonnie C in your prayers, her dad has begun the struggle with Alzheimer’s.

Pray for Ray, heart problems, going in tomorrow for more tests

Pray for Charlie C, his family is concerned about his personality change

Pray for Ray S, liver problems

 

THE BRAVE SOUL

June 28, 2018

PROMISE ME YOU’LL ALWAYS REMEMBER; YOU’RE BRAVER THAN YOU BELIEVE, AND STRONGER THAN YOU SEEM, AND SMARTER THAT YOU THINK.

I didn’t guess who said this, and I was surprised. My first guess was Anne of Green Gables, but it turns out it was Christopher Robinson encouraging his best friend Winnie the Pooh.

Courage, determination, being brave. There have been some great books on the subject of bravery. And until it’s you that are facing an enemy or great danger, you will never know, or even guess how brave you may or may not be.

You can be scared spitless, but still be brave.

Our devotional page today is for all of you that are brave, especially battling some sort of disease. We had a dear friend visit us today, she has been suffering a cruel and damaging disease that probably won’t kill her, but my god how she suffers.

But the smile, the hugs, the laughter that defines her. She is brave.

So we want to remind you that we pray, and pray mightily for those of our scum like us church family.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SUPER POWERS

June 13, 2018

Enterprise_5_hr

  “Partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world” (2 Pet. 1:4).

  We are to find out in Romans 6, through the gracious teaching of the Spirit of truth, all that happened to the Lord Jesus there on the Cross. Then we will know our own position and standing, since we were judicially in Him there.

Have you ever thought about God’s thought about you, that you are ‘to be conformed to the image of His Son’? ‘It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him’ (Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2).

This cannot fail. The Lord Jesus presses on our hearts that He brings us into association with Himself. He ‘hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Eph. 1:3). He puts us in this position answering perfectly to His nature, and with a nature to enjoy it.

  “He imparts to us of Himself in order to qualify us for Himself.”

Not only is my blessing in heaven, but I need the Lord Jesus’ power to enable me to rise above the sense of my infirmity down here; for this world, instead of contributing to me, makes me feel my weakness and need, and that I must rise out of it to find and enjoy my blessing.

The very infirmity which this evil age makes me conscious of makes me draw upon the power of Christ, as the One outside it, passing into the heavens, so that I take pleasure in the very infirmity which is exposed here, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

  “God forbid that I should glory, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Praise from Anne, 42 days sober

Pray for Rachel, severe ear infection

Pray for Jay P, having knee surgery on Thursday

Cam, pray for this young mom and her battle with cancer.

Pray for Christina and Todd, spiritually curious, pray the right people come into their lives

Press ON

June 2, 2018

thinking over feeling

Press on

  “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7).

  The difference between knowing the Lord Jesus as Savior and knowing Him as Life, is the better part of a lifetime; even for the hungriest of hearts. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).

  “In receiving the Word of God by faith, there is first, light; then exercise of conscience; third, prayer—you are cast on God; fourth, the work of the Spirit to lead you into it.

  “Not one of us is beyond the work of the Spirit in us. Many think, because they have the light of a truth that they are in the power and reality of it. No! you may have all the Bible, have much light, but there is no growth beyond the measure of the Spirit’s work in us.”

  “Conception of a truth is one thing, and execution is quite another. Grace may have been furnished you with a true conception, but you must wait on the Lord to carry it out by His Spirit. The working out of a true conception is the real discipline.”

  “Do not be discouraged because you may not carry out your purpose at once; God will carry it out, but you must keep in the place where you will be preserved, in the circle of His interests.

  “Moses had to wait forty years to carry out his purpose, which was a right one, though in the first flush the flesh sought to carry it out; but in the Lord’s time, how fully every purpose of his heart was met—all the way to the Mount of Transfiguration!”

  “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Nam, he is in trouble with HR over unprofessional behavior.

Pray for Cathy C, no mom is supposed to out live her children, but she has. More to do with genetics than anything else, but still hard to deal with

Pray for Jody P, she’s always been close to her kids, but they both got promotions that come with moving

ADULT TOPIC, CAUTION, READ ONLY IF YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH THE TOPIC.

THERE ARE NO PICTURES OR GRAPHIC DETAILS.

WARNING ADULT SUBJECT

Memorial day,

Every 98 seconds, an American is being sexually assaulted.

A government watchdog suggested that Congress might want to prohibit the Defense Department from spending money on Afghan military units whose members sexually abuse children or commit other human rights violations including the sexual abuse of our own American Soldiers. But the Pentagon disagreed with that idea, saying such incidents must be weighed against U.S. national security interests. (REALLY!!!) That attitude will never help soldiers come forward to tell their story because it’s at odds with ‘national interests.’

While in military service 1.5% of men reported being raped by Allied Troops while in the showers in forward operating combat zones. The figure in reality is much higher. Custom knife makers have been making neck knives to especially be worn while showering. Both to defend but also to mark the offenders so they can be challenged in a military court or more practical, shot while out on the next patrol.

The instructions are to slash the face and hands, leave a tell-tale mark. Problem is 99% of the men attacked don’t report it, especially if they were raped.

Hey, I’m a man, I’m supposed to be a lean mean green fighting machine. It’s hard for a man to admit something like that happened. Don’t let anyone tell you keep it to yourself, or, time is a great healer.

40% of women in the military report some form of sexual abuse, from groping, hazing, lewd comments, to physical assault.  Another reason not to have women in the military (in combat areas especially) (my opinion only).

13% of all men have reported the same thing.

What happened to the few, the proud, the Marines.

When I was in the military I saw 1 female in uniform, she was a major, a psychiatrist. Never saw women in the ranks. Never had one driving a truck with me or toting a gun out in the jungle. Now granted we still rode horses and shot bolt action guns (kidding) but it was a very long time.

Different jungle for me, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Banana Republics. For me we were told if you end up in prison down there kill yourself immediately. We all carried several knives, two single shot pistols as well as the usual weapons. We never all slept at the same time, two up 5 down, hypervigilance. Our biggest problem was money. Living in a place where bribes were 3 times larger than your annual salary. There was no loyalty.

So on this Memorial day, I’m encouraging soldiers to step up, speak out, sell your story (repeat until someone listens). Find someone to help you tell it all. Lay aside the self-blame. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed. You’re not less of a man for telling the truth about what happened. Women, the court experience can be worse than the event. You will be pictured as a slut, asking for it. I’m sorry, that’s all I can say, it’s not right. But hang tough. Take another beating, this time in court. But break the S.O.B. that did this to you.  As a soldier I apologize for what happened. A pastor might tell you vengeance is the Lord’s. well as a pastor, the court system is a part of God’s system. We won’t even go into the problems with the court. But it is what it is. By submitting to the law, you are submitting to God.

As our society further decays it is only going to get worse.

Changing the venue, sexual abuse here in the church, first thing, notice how high the numbers are that are being reported. It’s still to big a risk, to much shame in the military for men and woman to come forward. The stakes are higher while being in the military. You can lose your entire military career, or never be promoted, driven out silently.

In church, you just change churches. (I’m not making light of the situation) both are horrible events. But the problems are vastly different in the environment where the abuse happens. Because the systems are different, civilian world is an open system, whereas the military is a closed system.

Let’s turn to the church world

  • Evangelicals are initially more skeptical of media reports, even well-documented ones, than are members of the population at large—even when such reports come accompanied by significant evidence and documentation. It appears that we are more likely to go with the legal system’s “innocent until proven guilty” rule of thumb than the Bible’s “at the mouth of three witnesses let a thing be established” guideline. Nevertheless, when journalists continue to provide evidence, evangelicals are slowly persuaded.

  • That means often we believe the high-profile person who says “I didn’t do it” over the less powerful person saying, “You did this. And I have nothing to gain and everything to lose by bringing it up.”

  • When #MeToo initially went viral many Christians assumed the church was ahead of the culture in terms of morality. But it just took longer for the church stories to break. #ChurchToo followed with many stories about abuses of power beneath the steeple.

  • Some have suggested that a key problem with sexual harassment accusations is that the lines are gray, and people have misunderstood simple flirting—making a big deal out of nothing. But some solid Barna research contradicts such thinking. People, it turns out, are pretty clear about what constitutes crossing the line.

Hey, in my marriage it was simple, don’t look, don’t touch, don’t even think about it.

 Americans say that sexual harassment is most often about being touched or groped (women: 96%, men: 86%) or being forced to do something sexual (women: 91%, men: 83%). The list encompasses more than these extremes, however; it also includes someone touching themselves intentionally or masturbating in front of an unwilling witness (women: 89%, men: 76%); making sexual comments about someone’s looks or body (women: 86%, men: 70%); and sharing intimate photos or videos of someone without permission (women: 85%, men: 71%).

  • Christians who provide well-researched, investigated reports on allegations of sexual harassment and abuse are doing holy work, bringing darkness to light. Often public accountability is the only way to keep powerful people honest. Even church boards, seeking to reduce negative publicity, are often complicit in cover-ups.

  • There are a lot more people who get harassed and abused and finally come forward than there are who get falsely accused. So while we must take both seriously, we must also recognize our tendency to disbelieve the powerless.

  • If someone’s behavior is illegal (e.g., rape, child porn), the church has an obligation to more than deal with it internally; they must report it to the police. So those of us in leadership need to be familiar with our states’ laws. Many mental-health professionals believe that the power differential is so significant in minister with parishioner, physician with patient, and counselor with client relationships that there is no such thing as “consent.” That being the case, words such as “affair” have no room in our vocabulary for describing such situations.

  • When calling for an independent investigation, we need to look for ways that even a so-called independent investigation can leave the researcher beholden to the one(s) paying the bills. Such ties can create a conflict of interest—which can lead to accusations of cover-ups. So we must aim for fuller transparency and accountability.

  • When people confide in us their stories, we must avoid victim-blaming. One way to do so: ask super open-ended questions such as “What seemed the best course of action to you and why?” rather than “Why didn’t you call the police immediately?” Our questions can inflict more pain if we aren’t careful.

  • It is not enough to call for resignation when a leader has harmed a parishioner. And a verbal apology is not enough, either. Healing involves also making reparations such as taking full responsibility via rhetoric and paying for victims’ counseling. (When Zaccheus repented of ripping people off, he did more than apologize. He paid back his victims more than they had lost through his thievery. See Luke 19.)

Paul called on the Ephesians to expose the deeds of darkness Eph. 5:11). If you know of abuse happening—whether it’s like a David with a Bathsheba or a Potiphar’s wife with a Joseph—do something. Tell someone! The church of all places should be the best place in the world for victims and victimizers alike to encounter both mercy and justice.

Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up. (Galations 6:9)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

The Worldly Kingdom

May 27, 2018

Well you get to read my Sunday Sermon.

The Kingdom of this World.

  1. The Danger of Passivity

The very first danger that I want to warn you of is the danger of passivity—the danger of passivity—that is, feeling that you don’t have to do anything—feeling secure, not really being aware of the devil, of his kingdom, and this king of terrors.

Now, you do need to be informed. You cannot afford the luxury of being passive. You need to understand that, as a Christian, you’ve been born again; you are a member of the Kingdom of Heaven; you are a citizen of another Kingdom; and, while you live and dwell here on Earth, you are dwelling in hostile territory. We are citizens of Heaven, but we live in Hell’s headquarters.

Now, let me give you a verse that points that out in the Book of the Revelation; you may just want to put this in the margin. In Revelation 2:13, Jesus was speaking to that church at Pergamos. And, this is what Jesus said to that church, to encourage them: “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat”—s-e-a-t—”is” (Revelation 2:13). That literally means, “where Satan’s throne is.” Now, Jesus said, “I know that you love me, but I also know that you dwell where Satan’s throne is.” You see, the Kingdom of God has a King, and the kingdom of evil has a king: his satanic majesty, the devil. And, Jesus very clearly called the devil, in John 14:30, “the prince of this world” (John 14:30). Jesus said that about him. He is the prince of this world. He is the dark prince.

Now, notice, in verses 11, 12: “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus” (Ezekiel 28:11-12). Now, you say, “Pastor, is this scripture directed to the king of Tyrus?” Yes and no. It was directed not only to the king of Tyrus, but it was directed through the king of Tyrus, to the power behind the throne. The king of Tyrus was a wicked, demonic, demon- infested, devil-inspired, malicious, vile, corrupt, and violent king. But now, our Lord speaks to the power behind his throne—the devil himself. It’s very obvious that, from the context, our Lord is speaking, not merely to the king of Tyrus, but to Satan, who was behind the king of Tyrus.

Now, this is not unusual. Before, in the Bible, we have seen the Lord address the devil through an individual. For example, Jesus said to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me” (Matthew 16:23). Now, Jesus was talking to Peter, but He was really talking through Peter, right on to the devil, who had motivated Peter to say what he had said. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent was used of the devil. And, the devil took an animal, a serpent, and used the serpent to defile and to deceive Adam and Eve. So, God, when He addressed the serpent, was really speaking to the power behind the serpent, to the devil himself.

Now, his reign of terror. The king of Tyrus had a reign of terror that was energized by the devil. Now, I want you to notice how he is described here, in this passage of Scripture. Notice, in verse 12: “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.” Obviously, you know that was not a human king; certainly not the king of Tyrus: “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God;”—the king of Tyrus was never in the Garden of Eden—”every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold” (Ezekiel 28:12-13). You see, here is a creature that is described as being scintillatingly brilliant, dazzling in his beauty, surpassing in beauty, and superlative in wisdom. Isaiah tells us that his name was Lucifer. Lucifer literally means, “light-bearer.”

And then, the Bible says that he had pipes in him. Notice the last part of verse 13: “The workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created” (Ezekiel 28:13). Now, Bible expositors have sometimes said, “Could it be that this man—this being, rather—was a master musician, that music resided in him, and when he spoke, when he expressed himself, it was like a great vast pipe organ speaking, that there was melody that fell from his lips?”

And, he dwelt in a jeweled city of rare mineral beauty. Does that remind you of anything? One day, the saints are going to dwell in a city just like that. The Bible says he was upon the Holy Mountain. Now, this certainly doesn’t mean the king of Tyrus; he was not like this. What does a mountain, a Holy Mountain, stand for, in Bible prophecy and typology? The Mount of God stands for the government of God; the mountain stands for the authority of God. This one had something to do with the government of God, the authority of God.

Many believe that he was the prime minister of Heaven. He is called, in this same passage, the “cherub that covereth” (Ezekiel 28:14). The word covereth means that he spreads forth his wings. That is, he was there as the prime minister of God; there, before the throne of God; there, beholding the glory of God, spreading out his wings there. He was a cherub; that is the highest class of angels.

Over in verse 18, it mentions his sanctuaries; notice, here, “Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries” (Ezekiel 28:18). This means that he evidently had a priesthood, that he received the worship of other creatures, and passed it on to the throne as an angelic priest, spreading out his wings there, to the throne. We can only begin to wonder what all of this cryptic language means. We can see glimmers and facets that here was a person highly, highly exalted.

But now, I want to tell you something, folks: In all that we said about him, I don’t want you to make a tragic mistake that some people make when they consider the devil. Have you ever played the game of antonyms? Do you know what a synonym is? A word, a different word, but it has the same meaning as the first word, right? Now, an antonym is an opposite word. All right? Let’s play the game of antonyms. I’ll mention a word; you give me the opposite word, okay?

“Up” (congregation: “down”). Good. What a smart congregation! All right. “Backward” (congregation: “forward”). “Left” (congregation: “right”). “God” (congregation: “Satan”). Satan? You were wrong. Now, that’s the mistake that many of us make. Don’t ever think of Satan as the opposite of God. You see, God has no opposites. God has no antonyms; and God has no synonyms. There is nothing like God to compare God with. And, Satan is not the opposite of God.

So many people have the idea that over here is the kingdom of Satan and over here is the Kingdom of God, and that, somehow, these are polarized opposites, equal opposites. They are not—they are not. God is God, and Satan is a created being. I want you to understand that. And, as a created being, he is subject to Almighty God. And, you need to understand this. Now, he is great; but notice, he was created: “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created” (Ezekiel 28:15). Now, all I have done is to try and show you of the greatness, something of the majesty, that was inherently his.

  1. The Danger of Pride

But, I want you to notice something else in dealing with the devil. Number one: Beware of passivity. Beware of acting as if the devil doesn’t exist, or that he is of no consequence. But no, my dear friend, he is a person of great, great, great, great, magnitude and consequence. And, he has an effect on your life, like it or not. You cannot afford to be ignorant; you cannot afford to be passive. Secondly, in dealing with the devil, I want you to also beware of pride.

Now, it was pride that made the devil the devil. Continue to read here, in verse 15: “Thou wast perfect…”—speaking to the king of Tyrus; actually, the power behind the throne, the devil himself—”Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise”—underscore that phrase, “by the multitude of thy merchandise”—”they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground” (Ezekiel 28:15-17). The Bible says, “[He that] exalteth himself shall be abased” (Luke 14:11), and, certainly, this has been fulfilled in Lucifer himself. Now, Lucifer, the son of the morning, became Satan, the father of the night. He became a fallen angel, a fallen spirit-being, through the sin of pride.

Now, we don’t have to guess about that; the Bible makes it very clear to us that it was the sin of pride. First Timothy 3:6: God gives instructions for the qualifications of a minister, and one of these is that he “not [be] a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6). It doesn’t mean that the devil will condemn him; it means that the same thing that happened to the devil will happen to him—that it was pride that made the devil the devil.

Now, what happened is this: that the devil was handling holy things, and it got to him. Merchandise is that which passes through our hands. Notice in verse 16: “By the multitude of thy merchandise” (Ezekiel 28:16). Now, here was a person who made merchandise his office. And, I want to warn every young preacher-boy who’s listening to me, every Sunday School teacher, every child of God, to beware when God blesses you—when God anoints you, when God uses you—that you don’t make merchandise of your office.

“Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6). Now, it was pride that made the devil the devil—not only because of his merchandise, but because of his inherent beauty. Notice verse 17: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Ezekiel 28:17). His brightness and his beauty brought him down. His pride brought him down.

Now, let me say this: that his beauty and his brightness are corrupted, but traces are still there. So, when you consider the devil, and think about the devil, don’t think of him primarily as some scaly monster with hooves and a horn. No, the Bible describes him, strangely enough, not as a repulsive monster—though he is one; but the Bible says he has the ability to transform himself and his ministers as angels of light. Listen to this scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15. The Apostle Paul is warning about the seductiveness of false apostles. My dear friend, let me say, that when you look for the devil, never fail to look in the pulpit.

I was preaching one time, and a little boy came up to me, after the service, and said, “Pastor, when you were up there preaching, I could see the devil, just as plain.”

But, in all seriousness, here’s what the Apostle Paul says, speaking of false apostles—and he said, in 2 Corinthians 11:14: “And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Ministers of righteousness who are truly ministers of Satan.

You see, Satan has always been able to deceive. He still has his beauty, but it is a blemished beauty. He still has his wisdom, but it is a warped wisdom. Let me tell you, let me describe the devil, if I can describe the devil, for you: He is brilliantly stupid, hideously beautiful. Have you got that? Brilliantly stupid. Now, when you think about it, the devil’s a knucklehead. I mean, he’d have to be to be the devil, wouldn’t he? I mean, to think about it, that he thinks that he can overthrow God! That is unmitigated stupidity. And yet, when the Bible describes the nefarious working of Satan, it does it in these words: “more subtil than any beast of the field” (Genesis 3:1). Angel of light, the wiles of the devil, the snares of the devil, the devices of the devil; wisdom, but wisdom corrupted.

You know that many people who have mental problems sometimes are cunningly wise, but yet so far from being at home base mentally. This is what has happened to Satan. He is brilliantly stupid, hideously beautiful; and you see, dear friend, there are signs of that beauty that remain. I am convinced that the devil works through some of the world’s best music, some of the world’s best light creations, some of the world’s best literature. Don’t just look for the devil in the bowery or in the slums. You’ll find him in the finest universities; you’ll find him in the art galleries; you will find him in the halls of learning; and you’ll find him, sometimes, in the pulpits, as he transforms his ministers as angels of light. But, what was it that brought him down? It was pride!

Now listen, when you allow pride in your heart, when I allow pride in my life, I become in league with the devil, more than any other way. There is nothing that makes us more untouchable by Satan than a genuine humility—a genuine humility. Pride is the devil’s stock-in-trade. And, the Apostle Paul warned: When you have a minister, make sure that he is seasoned, that he knows God, lest being a novice, he be lifted up with pride and come under the condemnation of the devil (1 Timothy 3:6). The devil knows how powerful the tool of pride is. How did he get Eve to fall in the Garden? It wasn’t a temptation to fall down; it was a temptation to fall up—not to be ungodly, but to be godly. “Do this; you’ll be like God—only, just do it my way.” And, the temptation to her was pride. And, to every mother’s child since then, it is the temptation of pride.

III. The Danger of Presumption

Now, there’s a third thing I want you to be aware of, in dealing with the devil. Beware of passivity; beware of pride; and beware of presumption. Beware of presumption.

So many times, we have the idea, when we sing, “Oh, victory in Jesus!” and, when we hear who Jesus is, and what He’s done for us, that, evidently, the devil has been so incapacitated, so demolished, so diminished, that we just simply are going to steamroll over him. And, my friend, I want you to see something of the devilish power that still resides in him.

Again, I remind you that Jesus said, in John 14:30, that Satan is “the prince of this world” (John 14:30). And, in 2 Corinthians 4:4, the Apostle Paul called him “the god of this world”—little “g”: “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not” (2 Corinthians 4:4). The Apostle Paul, when describing the nefarious kingdom of darkness, said, in Ephesians 6:12, he spoke of “the rulers of the darkness”; he spoke of the principalities, and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). Now, the devil is commander-in-chief of vast numbers of spirit-beings called demons, who are in full sympathy with him, who rebelled with him, and do his bidding.

I’ve said that you will deal with the devil, but I said maybe not directly. As a matter of fact, the devil is not omnipresent. He can’t be everywhere at the same time, as the Holy Spirit of God. But, he has myriads—multitudes—of demons. We talk about, “We’ve been wrestling with the devil all day.” Maybe we’re bragging a little; probably, a puny demon could handle most folks. But, my dear friend, you do come in contact with him. And, he is in control of the kingdoms of this world. He offered those kingdoms to Jesus, and Jesus refused them; but Jesus did not rebut his right to offer them, for he, Satan, said, “All of them have been delivered to me” (Luke 4:6). Jesus did not challenge Satan’s charge, or Satan’s statement; but Jesus simply refused, and He won the kingdom back by His death on the cross. But, He did not deny Satan’s right to give these kingdoms.

Now, Satan is known for a multitude of iniquities. Notice, in verse 18: “Thou hast defiled thy sanctuary by the multitude of thine iniquities” (Ezekiel 28:18). Notice, in verse 16, he’s known for his violence: “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence” (Ezekiel 28:16). My dear friend, Martin Luther, who wrote that great grand hymn—one of the grandest I believe has ever been written, —”A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” said of Satan, and he would say to us, of Satan:

His craft and power are great,

And armed with cruel hate,

On earth is not his equal (Martin Luther).

I hear people today talking flippantly, casually, sarcastically, about Satan, and I think Satan is sitting over in the corner smiling, when they do that. Acts 10:38: the Bible speaks of those who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38). Luke 13:16, speaks of those: a woman, whom Satan has bound (Luke 13:16). Second Corinthians 12:7—even the Apostle Paul spoke of a “messenger of Satan to buffet me” (2 Corinthians 12:7). The King of Tyrus still has a reign of terror: subversion, perversion, diversion. He wants to divide, to depress, to destroy. Depression, oppression, possession. Satan, sin and suffering are a trinity of terrors that are inseparable: Satan, sin and suffering.

Now, I don’t want to frighten you, “because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). But, I do want to warn you not to be presumptuous. If you’re presumptuous, you’re going down. Beware of passivity; you’re going to be involved. Beware of pride; you’ll get over in the devil’s territory. Beware of presumption, as thinking that he is just simply a piece of cake, and that there is no struggle with the powers of darkness.

  1. The Danger of Pessimism

One last thing I want to say, and that is to beware of pessimism. Beware of pessimism. Don’t get the idea that, somehow, Satan may win, or that things are going to get so bad or so terrible that everything is just going to go wrong. I’ve said before, and I want to say again: There is no panic in Heaven. The Holy Trinity never meets in emergency session.

Notice what God said in Ezekiel, so long ago: “It’s going to happen.” 28:17: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness:”—now, watch this—”I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee” (Ezekiel 28:17-18). When Satan said, “I will ascend,” Jesus said, “I will descend.” And, Jesus has conquered Satan at Calvary. And, the Bible says, in Hebrews 2:14, that He destroyed “him that had the power of death” (Hebrews 2:14). And in Greek the word is katargese it is the word that is used there, and it doesn’t mean, “to obliterate”; it means, “to make of no effect.”

When Jesus Christ was on the cross, as I preached a few Sundays ago, the demons of Hell were there. They had a holiday, when Jesus was on the cross; they pointed at Him, and they said, “He’s finished.” But, they were wrong. He wasn’t finished; it was finished. The plan of salvation was finished. And, here’s what Jesus did on that cross: Colossians 2:15—the Bible says, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he”—Jesus – “made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). In what? In His death on the cross. What has happened to Satan is he has been spoiled; that means he’s been stripped. And then, he has been shamed; He made a show of them openly. And then, he has been subdued, “triumphing over them.” Every time you think of Satan, I want you to think of someone who has been stripped, shamed, and subdued.

Now, do not be presumptuous. If you get yourself out of God’s protection, the devil can harm you.

And, dear friend, as long as you abide in Christ, you don’t have to worry about Satan. “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Satan has been stripped, shamed, subdued; he has been vanquished, but he’s not vanished. He is present, but he is not prevailing. First John 4:4: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Now, Jesus, at the cross, overcame Satan.

But, wait a minute. Is Satan going to continue his reign of terror forever? No. One of these days, the King of kings, the Lord Jesus, is going to be enthroned, and Satan is going to be cast into Hell. Look at verse 19: “All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more” (Ezekiel 28:19). That means, “Never are you going to be in power; never, anymore, are you going to have a reign of terror in the world.”

Let me show you the counterpart of that; and this is one of the greatest blessings in the Bible,—Isaiah 14—and look at verse 13. Again, Isaiah 14 deals with the demise of Satan. And, it talks about how Satan has exalted himself, and lifted himself up. But, notice what God says He is going to do to Satan: “Thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14).

And, notice what has happened to him, what God says to him, in verse 15: “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:15). My friend, Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels; and, notice verse 16: “They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee,”—that is, they are just going to squint in unbelief—”and consider thee,”—they’re going to stroke their chins—”saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?” (Isaiah 14:16- 17).

God is going to bring the end of created intelligences of the universe. And, when Jesus Christ, the King of kings, is finally enthroned and glorified, and Satan is finally put in his place in the lowest Hell, our great God is going to say, “Come over here, now, and look; look at it. You see him? Do you see him down there, ignominiously groveling? Do you see him like a worm on hot coals? Do you see this highest of a high, who’s been brought to the lowest of the low?” And, you’re going say, “You mean, that’s him? That’s the devil? That’s this mighty one? That’s the cherub? That’s the one who stretched his wings before the throne? That’s the one who was full of wisdom? That’s the one who was surpassing in glory and beauty? That was the one who handled the merchandise of Heaven? That is him? He’s the one that made the world a wilderness?”

I’ll tell you what else is going to happen: You’re going to find folks just like us—just like him, like me, like you—and, you know where we’re going to be? We’re going to be just like Jesus—just like Jesus, made like Christ. You cannot imagine the glory. Now, you get this, my dear friend, and get it big, and get it plain, and get it straight: You are going to have greater glory in Heaven than Satan had before he fell—greater glory in Heaven than Satan had before he fell—because you will be like Jesus Christ. And, there you are; there he is. Who do you want to follow? Who do you want to follow? Choose sides carefully, my dear friend; think about it. Listen—I had rather be a saved sinner than an innocent angel. We have gained more in Christ than we lost in Adam.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

just a note, questions, comments, prayer requests, etc. please send to the email address.

 

BIBLE GIVEAWAY, BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE WE GAVE AWAY A BIBLE.

 

SO A LARGE PRINT, COMPACT KJV (KING JAMES VERSION) BROWN LEATHER, RED LETTER EDITION.

SO IN THE “TAGS” THERE IS ONE PHRASE I USE THAT IS NOT BIBLICAL, NAME THE PHRASE AND EMAIL US THE ANSWER TO WIN A FREE BIBLE, NO SHIPPING COST, TOTALLY FREE.

 

The Thorn

May 24, 2018

The Suffering Saint

  “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).

  If and when the trial comes, you will find Jesus waiting there.

  “We should always be prepared for circumstances that will arise, and for blessings that are to come, without foreseeing what these circumstances and blessings will be. This preparation consists in attention to present responsibility, and acceptance of present discipline. (walking the walk)

  “If day by day we first seek divine direction, and then follow it, we shall be ready, when new circumstances arise, for the new blessings which will be offered. Today should be preparation for tomorrow. The only proof that we shall be equal to tomorrow’s test is that we are meeting today’s test believingly and courageously. The only evidence that we shall be willing for God’s will tomorrow is that we are subject to His will today.”

  “Our Lord has special reserves of grace for special needs. If ever you feel that you could not go through a certain trial, that if you had to face that, you just could not go through with it, you are taking on something that you have no right to take on.

  “If the Lord calls you to go through fire or water, He has a special reserve of grace for you in that. And that grace will be from the throne of grace. It is the throne above, mediating grace for need and suffering as it is required.”

  “Let us. . . come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Roger S, his sister passed away today, sudden death, a real shock to the family and friends.

Sally H, her husband needs prayer for grief and ptsd.

 

FREE, FREE, FREE

May 23, 2018

I’m going to share the greatest spiritual secret there is, after salvation.

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God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Jesus the only way.

 

(ok, this is really long, you might want to print it out, there’s just no way to make smaller bites, or this would turn out to be a one year study)

This issue about how can Christ be the only way to God is one of the toughest objections that will surface. It used to be the questions that concerned the issues of why do the innocent suffer. But now, I think, this question has become perhaps one of the largest obstacles. Why do you suppose that’s true? I think it’s a growth of pluralism and the issue of tolerance. We’ve discussed this in a number of cases but in our culture people have been educating us to suppose that tolerance is defined by agreeing with people or at least agreeing that their view may be just as legitimate as your view.

That is to say egalitarianism when it comes to truth has become the kind of course of the time. In other words, we are egalitarian with regard to truth. It’s interesting that we are often still elitists when it comes to people but egalitarian when it comes to truth. As I see it, it should be just the other way around. We are to be elitists when it comes to truth and egalitarian when it comes to people. That is to say, treat people in such a way that tolerance would be defined as loving and caring for the person and agreeing sometimes to disagree but in understanding that when we disagree on a truth that does not mean I’m rejecting you as a person.

Some how people have got the notion that to disagree with your thinking is to reject you as a person. I don’t know where that came from but that’s never really been the case at all. Such things would have eliminated the whole possibility of debate and dialogue in the past. Rather you have the idea that it is a good thing. Come now, let us reason together. (Isaiah 1:18) Let’s think things through and let’s have an opportunity to kind of evaluate options in the marketplace of ideas to see which ones hold and which ones do not. That is really all we are doing here.

the immediate objection surfaces that how can Christ be the only way to God is that means it’s too narrow. Some will say that since religion is all basically the same, some people feel that does it really matter which one you believe. In other words, aren’t all those religions pretty much variations on the same kinds of ideas? Isn’t it a matter of personal preference or upbringing or an estimated 75% of the world isn’t Christian, can they all be wrong? This sort of notion comes up. Jesus may be the only way for you but how does that make Him the only way for everybody?

You see, these are all really variations of the same objection. When this question surfaces then we need to consider that there are three basic options.

One could say that it’s not narrow and to revisit the whole issue and to say actually, as some have tried to do, that Christianity has been redefined in many circles as being so inclusive that it includes virtually anything. The question is whether that really is acceptable within the idea of mere Christianity or historic orthodox Christianity and whether that’s compatible or whether that’s coherent or not. The other option is if it’s narrow it must be wrong. The third option is narrowness doesn’t make it right or wrong. The question is whether it’s true or not.

When C.S. Lewis came to faith in Christ, ultimately he communicated that it was not because he wanted to believe. In fact, it was very much against his predilection. His disposition was to go against that. In fact, he said, I was a very satisfied, smug atheist. Then all these friends, these people I ran into, kept on jostling me. An atheist, he says, can never be too careful these days! You might read something, you might run into something that might be factual and so it is. It was not really something he wanted but something that kind of embraced him. It was not unlike Paul’s experience. He was really fighting against this whole thing. It was when Christ laid His hand upon him- that became a decisive experience in his life.

So Lewis came to the point where he says, you need to understand, it’s not because of any pragmatic value that Christianity may or may not have, it’s not because I feel good about it or that it is something I want to believe, I happen to be a Christian because I happen to believe it’s true. There is no other reason I believe but because I happen to think it’s true. I have been persuaded that there is a veridical case for Christianity among the worldview options. It’s such that it has the best evidential base of any of them.

Let’s take a look at the first option then that it is not narrow. My argument here is that such a view would conflict with the very exclusive claims of Christ. Now some people are clever and they try to redefine those claims or try to say that well, it looks like He said it but He really didn’t say it, the church put those words in His mouth. We’ve talked about that a little bit with this whole issue about Jesus being a myth or a legend when we talked earlier about the bible and it’s reliability. But the bottom line here is to say that there is no manuscript or historical or ancient traditions that would support such a view. In fact, it’s a view that’s rather recent that has been imposed upon the material to reconstruct or one might better say to deconstruct the text to fit modern parameters of a more pluralistic context. As we know, we live in a culture where truth is now presumably socially conditioned rather than something that’s objective. In a postmodern culture, which is actually ultra modern, basically the idea is that everything is up for grabs. What may be true for you may not be true for me. We’ll talk about that in a minute but let’s look at least at the texts themselves first of all.

Here’s what people often suppose. It might be that there is a mountain and as we go further and further up this mountain toward its pinnacle there are different ways up this mountain. Various people go up by different routes, some circuitous and others more directly but eventually they’re all going to converge at the top. The idea is that everybody at the top of the mountain will realize it was all the same quest after all. We’re all meeting at the top and whatever god, as you define who God would be, we’ll all say, oh, so all the religions really were all about the same god or about the same thing. It just looked different in our own culture. It’s often presented this way or else they use a wheel illustration. We look at this wheel and the various aspects and when we look at the hub, we see again that we’re all actually kind of heading toward the same hub, same center, whatever that might be and we may not know what it is. There are some accounts given that are of a pluralistic nature that say, nobody of course can know what kind of god this is. The very nature then of god is unknowable.

Of course that’s a content statement that everyone has to ask, how do you know that He’s unknowable? Immediately you have to realize that they are importing backhanded some particular facts and making very specific claims that the various people who made claims to know about God were completely deluded.

In other words you cannot be totally neutral on this matter. I’m suggesting here that actually that kind of view does not take seriously into account the claims and credentials of Christ. Now in John 3:18, the statement made by Christ, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Often, Jesus will speak of Himself as the Son of Man or the Son of God. He has this very strong claim that He’s making. In John 8:24 He said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Again this is a very strong claim.

Many people say, well, Jesus never really spoke much about Himself but even if He wasn’t true or even if He didn’t live or even if He wasn’t raised from the dead, His teachings would still be true. This was what Gandhi actually held as his position. He said that I admire His teachings so much that even if there never was a historical Jesus, still they would be true for me. The problem is, Jesus’ teachings are always about Himself – unabashedly, constantly referring back to Him. He doesn’t talk just about general terms but He says, unless you believe that I AM, then you will die in your sins. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

I take it as well, as I look at the various founders of world religions that there is a radical uniqueness of Christ in a number of ways in this regard. Some people promoted their teachings as the only way to God. But as I said earlier, Christ promoted Himself as that way rather than a set of teachings. Some would say that it is only through the teachings of various so-called prophets, and some said truth is spoken of in many ways but Jesus was very specific about this. He was specific not only about his exclusivity but also about His deity and His unique position. He boldly made this statement, (John 8:19b), “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” He who does not know Me does not know My Father. This is a very strong claim indeed and can be seen in another text in Matthew 11. This is just before the important text we’ve all heard, Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My Yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Jesus is inviting them not to come to hear His teachings but to come to Him and He will give you rest. Take My yoke- receive – He constantly talks about receiving Him. The verse just before this, Matthew 11:27 says, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” So you have this pretty strong kind of claim that has to at least be accounted for. In John 14:9, He said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

This other phrase that we just alluded to, I AM, often in bold letters, is seen again and again throughout the Scriptures in the New Testament as being a claim that Jesus makes. The I AM claim that He is making is related to the claim given to Moses. The proposition was given to Moses at the burning bush and you recall when Moses said in Exodus 3, whom shall I say is sending me? Who, will I tell Pharaoh, is sending me? Who, will I tell Pharaoh, is giving me the authority for this message? What did that voice give Moses? What was that name that Moses heard? Exodus 3:14, “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.” That is the name then for the self-existent One. He exists in and of Himself. He looks to nothing else for His derivation. When Jesus said to the Jews, (John 8: 58), “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” How do you suppose they reacted to such a phrase? By the way, He didn’t say, I happen to exist or I am He, He said I AM. Else where, when they came to seek Him and there was a cohort, some 600 of them armed, and they came at night, as you recall in the Garden of Gethsemane, to take Him away, they came armed with lanterns, spears, torches and so forth. John 18: 4b, “Whom do you seek?” John 18:5a, “They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I AM.” (Note: now in your bibles it might say He in italics but this phrase was ego eime- I AM) John 18:6, “So when He said to them, “I AM He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” Something happened that was pretty powerful. In another case (John 57-59), when Jesus said, before Abraham was born, I AM, the Jews objected and said, You’re not even 50 years old and are You saying that You preceded him. They took up stones and wanted to stone Him to death for blasphemy because they understood that such a claim would be to make yourself tantamount to being God.

He supported His case for deity in a number of ways besides His numerous I AM statements. He also claimed the attributes of God. For example, the attribute of eternality is something that He claimed in John 17:5, “ Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” He claims as well the attribute of omnipresence. You see this illustrated in several passages for example when Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Now you can see where there are lots of times when more than 2 or 3 groups of people as well will gather together and it would imply a clear statement of omnipresence. “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b) I am with you. I’m constantly present with you. I would also say another claim, His sinlessness, is also a divine attribute. He would say, which of you convicts Me, charges Me with any sin. That’s a pretty strong statement. Now I have run into one or two people, maybe two people, who claimed to be sinless. They’re pretty rare but every so often I’ll run into someone who claims to be absolutely perfect. It’s an astounding claim but it requires no self-consciousness whatsoever or the perfection of those 3 defense mechanisms of denial, rationalization and projection. The only way I can account for a person who thinks himself or herself sinless is of course to see what friends and perhaps a spouse would reply to that statement about them! This particular person had to hold that view because he held a particular theology where by if he sinned at all, he would lose his salvation. What I did was I pressed him a little bit with that particular theology and said, well, what kind of sin are we talking about? Is it something pretty big or something more modest because the question is, where is your cutoff? I pressed him with that. He hadn’t murdered anyone. Then the problem would be, what if you hate somebody in your heart? Do you recall when Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount said if you hate your brother you’ve committed murder in your heart? Then I pressed it farther and I got it down to where if he exceeded the speed limit, unbeknownst to him, by ½ mph, he would lose his salvation. Now at that point, frankly, he had committed the sin of pride in order to hold to such a stubborn position because he refused to acknowledge the incoherence of his position. The point is, if that’s your view then any sin will do it- thought, word or deed and it can be sins of omission as well. The sins of omission cut both ways as well. There are a lot of things I have done wrong by simply not doing them. Remember that idea- if you have a liturgical background part of the confession is that we have sinned in thought, word and deed, by what we have done and in what we have failed to do. That will nail you because there are all kinds of things that we should’ve done. We look back and say, I should’ve said a word of kindness to that person or I should’ve- you see where I’m going with that? Thought, word and deed will get you too. It’s not just your deeds but your thoughts and your words count too! We have a dilemma that we have to address. Scripture hits us front on with that.

There are a number of indirect claims that Jesus makes concerning His deity. There are a number of these but one of these is His ability to forgive sin. That is a pretty strong claim in Mark 2:5-11 and Luke 7:48-50 when Jesus says, I forgive them, and particularly when it was not a sin committed against Him. Try this at home- somebody complains to you about another person who had said something mean to your friend and your friend told you about this and whatever they did you say, that’s okay, I forgive them. Do you see the absurdity there? Wait a minute, what do you have to do with this, you weren’t involved? To make such a claim is to make the supposition that all sins are committed ultimately against Him. This would mean, of course, that He claimed to be God. In fact the Pharisees rightly said, who but God could forgive sins? They were right and again- they wanted to stone Him for these kinds of claims and these so-called blasphemies because they were right- if He wasn’t God these were indeed blasphemies.

Jesus’ acceptance of worship was pretty strong. Remember when, for example, Thomas sees Him and he says, my Lord and my God. (John 20:28) Peter worships Him in the boat and when Jesus says, all must honor the Son even as they have honored the Father. (John 5:23) The word that is used is the word for worship. These are very strong claims. That all people would face Him in judgment is not a modest claim either in John 5. Imagine me coming to say to you that by the way, when you die it’s going to be me that you give an account to- not anyone else- me. These are pretty strong claims if you would analyze the implications of that. Also, that judgment will be based upon what you did about Me is again, a very strong claim.

Stay tuned

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for James, he and his son have drifted apart.

Pray for Fritz, always been in church, never accepted the Lord because of “hypocrites.”

Pray for Robin M. a burned out child of the 70’s, never grew up.

 

Good intentions

May 19, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com