Recovery From Spiritual Failure

Recovery From Spiritual Failure

And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; there the hearts of the people melted and became like water. Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. (Joshua 7: 5-6)

Roger

We all have had times in our lives when prayer came easier, worship was a delight and serving the Lord was a joy. We felt that we were on a spiritual mountaintop and all we could see before us was a life of victory. Then, all of a sudden, victory is gone and we find ourselves upon our faces in failure. It happens; and it happens even to the best people of God. Joshua had just experienced a supernatural victory in chapter six when he saw the walls of Jericho fall down and victory was his. He saw God give victory where it seemed there could be no victory.

Now, in chapter seven, just a few days later, he is on his face in humiliation and failure.

The cause of their failure is seen in verses three and four. Joshua and his leaders had become self-centered and self-confident. They needed God for the big battle of Jericho, but they felt they did not need Him for the smaller battle of Ai. This arrogant attitude brought about a shameful defeat.

There is never a time in our lives when we do not need God. We may acknowledge our need for Him when we face life’s bigger challenges, but we actually need Him in every aspect of life every day.

Joshua recognized his mistake and took the correct actions to recover his relationship with God. The steps he took are seen in verses 13-21. First, Joshua consecrated himself and the people to God (v. 13). He separated himself from the sin that caused the failure. Second, he complied with the Lord. In other words, he did exactly what God told him to do (v. 16) . Third, Joshua demanded that full confession was made of the sin that had caused the failure (vs. 20-21). There you have the way back: consecration, compliance and confession.

Joshua recovered from his failure and went on to be a mighty spiritual leader of the people of Israel. Do not let a spiritual failure keep you down. Confess your sin to God and accept His forgiveness. Then get up and go forward in victory… to the glory of God. Dr. Roger D. Willmore contributed to our daily devotional, Real Victory for Real Life Volumes 1 & 2 and spoke this summer at America’s Keswick.

Keswick, America’s  (2012-12-13). Real Victory for Real Life Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 8127-8152).  . Kindle Edition.

Daily Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 1-4

Think About This: Apart from God every activity is merely a passing whiff of insignificance. Alfred North Whitehead

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT

The Fruit and The Vine

The Fruit and The Vine

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

The Fruit and the Vine

Go get yourself a sheet of paper and a writing instrument. Take a look today’s verse and write down the fruits of the Spirit, individually, line by line. Got it? Now next to the three that you feel you’re good with write an OK next to it. Now next to the three that you know you struggle with strike with an “X” next to it. Got it? Good. Now ask yourself, “What of the remaining three?” When I did this little self-inspection of the fruit in my life my remaining three were love, joy and gentleness. I found out, through sound Godly consul, that these are the three where the adversary gets his foothold in me. When you kill my joy, it’s becomes hard to love and it’s difficult to be gentle. Wow…

What’s even sadder is in Christendom we have “Fruit Inspectors”. Those people who have taken it upon themselves to examine you in all nine areas and decide whether you measure up to them all. Now I don’t know how you feel about them (maybe you’re one of them) but I think they need to go get themselves a better hobby, perhaps something like cesspool digging. Ya know where critical thinking can find its place and is crucial in the operation of a shovel. (oops, did I step on your toes?) Anyway, unless you’ve chosen these folks to “inspect” you from time to time chances are the results they come up with are unkind and can prune your branches beyond what needs to be done. So beware of them!!

And now that I’ve mentioned branches it is important to note here that fruit needs branches to live on. So with this in mind it appears that that we need to tie fruit of the Spirit to the branches of Spiritual growth. The two just gotta go hand in hand. Sometimes I wonder if the body of Christ really has a concept of this as I am just putting the two together in my walk. As I have grown in my walk I have found that I had many branches going on, maybe with lots of leaves but when I did the fruit self-examination I scared myself somewhat. Ok I got three that were confirmed by another brother who came alongside me with the exam but not to be good with three of them and to not even consider the other three was enough for me to be concerned about my relationship with Jesus.

So with all that in the forefront of my thinking a man who I call “Paul” (his real name is James Getz) challenged me to do a word search on all nine fruits of the Spirit and to read this book by Bruce Wilkinson titled “Secrets of The Vine”. So I accepted this challenge and went through some great lengths to get this 4”x6” 120 page book in my hands. (Givin’ Brother John Weaver in Tennessee props for his hunt) My wife read it first and it her three days to read…it took me three weeks. The thing I’ve gotten from the book is that fruit cannot happen unless you are ABIDING. It has made me look at the 15th chapter of John’s Gospel much differently.

It’s an amazing thing to me that the Romans Road I was traveling on would lead to a vineyard. I would say this where the rubber meets the road but that really isn’t applicable for this. It’s more of a brace for impact thing because the Husbandman has a saw and pruning shears…this is gonna hurt. But this isn’t about receiving discipline for wrong doing, OH NO, it’s about cutting out those things that I never really needed anyway and am just holding on to…just because! My hope is that over the time it takes to do this word search, maybe “fruit inspection” is a better term, I can better understand the teachings of Jesus Christ and their proper application. After all, I’ve been told the process of growth doesn’t stop until you’re on the other side of glory, Amen? – Chris Hughes is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and is a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger

Daily Bible Reading: Lamentations 3:37-5:22

Think About This: “Too many Christians I’ve met are standing in the shadows of that vineyard. Like the disciples, they have discovered that following Jesus has turned out far differently than expected. They feel confused and disillusioned—maybe even betrayed by God. Do you? If so, listen carefully—I believe that a major reason for your spiritual crisis may be that you have not heard and understood Jesus’ words in the vineyard.”—Bruce Wilkinson

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT

As The Crowds Follow

As The Crowds Follow

Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. John 6:2

As we study the life of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John it is very revealing as the scriptures can cause us to see ourselves in the “plot”. As we go thru chapter 6 we see “great multitudes” following in the beginning.

As The Crowds Follow 2

As we journeyed through the chapter we sat as if we were also at the group meeting to figure out how to provide food for the multitude. I found myself seeing an impossible task. Each of us tried to relate with either Phillip or Andrew. Phillip, being practical says, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little”. Who could argue with his reasoning? Then Andrew, being impractical but optimistic offers what he sees.

Then the teaching lesson from Jesus, they quickly saw that what is recorded in the 18th chapter of Luke “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God”. Then we experience the compassion of Jesus as he provided as much as they wanted. We were challenged to see where we would have been, either as a disciple or a face in the crowd. Are we following because of what God can do for us or are we alongside him serving, being taught to fulfill the needs of others first.

So where are you today? If in the crowd how long do you stick around before something God asks of you and you begin to fall behind and eventually stop walking? Jesus, as he walks, (at one time on the water), is laying some foundational truths that will either cause you to fall back or make your way to the front and even step up and be called “disciple”.

The distinction seems to be weather you believe in the miracles and blessings or you believe in Him who the Father sends. When asked Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Later He offers the great exchange. After confronting them with the truth of “you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled”, but rather And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

So what’s it going to be, bread that lasts a day or the Bread that is everlasting?

We then come to one of the saddest scriptures in the Bible John 6:66 “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more”.  I’ll leave it at that… Rob Russomano is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and serves full-time at America’s Keswick

Daily Bible Reading: Lamentations 1-3:36

Think About This: If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust Him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God. Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT

I Didn’t Mean to Say That

I Didn’t Mean to Say That

Have you ever been at the end of the conversation when you wished you could take back what you just said? Someone told me, it’s like squeezing a tube of toothpaste, then trying to put the paste back in the tube. It’s impossible! And I’m guilty as charged. My mouth gets me in trouble often – go ask my wife. L

“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”(Proverbs 21:23)

Did I Really Say That

The book of James is clear that our tongue can either accomplish great things, or leave a trail of destruction. He compares the tongue to a fire; we all have heard some situation with fire and its destruction. Consider for a minute how fire consumes and destroys everything it encounters. For instance, when I was a child, I literally watched my cousin’s house burn down to the ground in a massive fire. It destroyed the whole property, the family was temporary separated, and it affected their lives for years. Until this day, our family remembers all the damage it has encompassed.  This is an analogy of the aftermath that occurs if you choose to use your language for unwholesome purposes – it has lasting repercussions.

“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”(Matthew 12:36-37) Our speech is accountable to God.  We are called to treat and speak to one other in accordance to His standards. As Christians, our communication should be seasoned by grace, respecting each other for this demonstrates the love of God.

In addition, I learned that the mouth isn’t the source of our problem, but rather the heart is the issue. Dr. Luke mentions, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”(Luke 6:45) Therefore, I cannot use the excuse I didn’t mean to say that. Whether I like or not, it is a heart issue. Hence, the best ways to combat the issues with the mouth is to deal with heart.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”(Proverbs 18:21) – Juan Mendez is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and serves full-time at America’s Keswick

Daily Bible Reading: Ruth 1-4

Think About This: “… the greatest test of a man’s character is his tongue.” Oswald Chambers

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT

Happy Feet

Happy Feet

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things?” Romans 10:15

One of the fun things about being a Pop-pop is getting to take your grandkids to the movies. Our kids love to go to the movies, and I think the popcorn and soda are as much of the fun as the actual movie.

Happy Feet

Two of our favorite movies were Happy Feet 1 and 2.  If you missed it, go rent it. The story is about a unique little penguin that was quite different from all the other penguins – he had the ability to dance and sing – and was just a joyful chap despite the many misfortunes and challenges in his life.

During my 18 years as President/CEO of America’s Keswick, I have been blessed to meet hundreds of men who have graduated from the Colony of Mercy, our residential addiction recovery program for men. I am privileged to see God at work in their lives and love to hear their stories.

Shortly after coming to America’s Keswick, I met James and Rochelle Getz. James came to America’s Keswick needing to find answers to his addictions and he did – the only answer – Christ living His life through James and setting him free to be the man Christ wanted him to be.

James Getz

James and Rochelle, Matt and Gina

James a gifted musician, loved to lead worship – enthusiastic worship. And he indeed was nicknamed – “Happy Feet.” It was hard for him to stand still whenever he was worshiping.

This summer James and Rochelle attend their summer week at America’s Keswick and I loved watching James worshiping his great God with hands raised in the air, and doing a little movement thing with his feet. Nothing showy or distracting – just James caught up in loving his Lord and Savior, the One who set him free.

Later on in the summer, James and Rochelle were on campus of the graduation of their grandson, Matt, from his 8 month pastoral covenant. I called James and Rochelle on the platform to stand with Matt and Gina. It was obvious that even walking was hard for James – but what a thrill to have him join his grandson, Matt – two trophies of God’s grace.

This past week Rochelle came home and found James in his favorite chair. Sometime after lunch James closed his eyes on this side of heaven and opened them in the presence of His Savior. As word reached our grads, man after man commented on the fact that old “Happy Feet” was dancing in the presence of His Savior. Quite a picture of a life transformed and one that was willing to worship His Savior with his all. Thanks, Lord, for the life and legacy of our dear friend, James Getz – AKA “Happy Feet.” – Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick

Daily Bible Reading: Song of Solomon 1-8

Think About This: There is more healing joy in five minutes of worship than there is in five nights of revelry. A .W. Tozer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT

How to Have Fellowship With God

How to Have Fellowship with God

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1: 5-7)

Fellowship With God

When we read the words of the apostle John, we read the words of a loving, caring pastor who wants his people to experience the richest, deepest relationship possible with their Savior. He writes as a shepherd directing his sheep into green pastures where the fullness of life can be experienced. He wants His people to know sweet fellowship with the Lord and with one another.

The Christian life is fellowship with God. If we want a clear and practical definition of what a Christian is, it would simply be a person who is in fellowship with God. This point is made very clear in verse three when John writes, If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. Here John is describing a contradiction in terms. One cannot walk in light and darkness at the same time. He must walk in one or the other.

Fellowship with God is not true just because we say it is true. Fellowship with God has a litmus test. If you say one thing and do another then you have failed the test.

John uses the word fellowship four times in this passage. Each time he uses the word it means “to have things in common with God.” In order to have fellowship with God we must have something in common with Him.

Light speaks of the glory of God and the holiness of God. When we walk in the light, we walk in the holiness of God to the glory of God.

In some African countries a common greeting among Christians is, “Are you walking in the light, my brother? Are you walking in the light, my sister?” May I ask you, my friend, are you walking in the light? Dr. Roger D. Willmore is a dear friend of America’s Keswick and one of our popular conference speakers. Check out his messages from this summer on our website: http://www.americaskeswick.org

Keswick, America’s  (2012-12-13). Real Victory for Real Life Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 7847-7874).  . Kindle Edition.

Daily Bible Reading: Job 35-37

Think About This: Spiritual lust makes me demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Who gives the answer. Oswald Chambers

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about His promises, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9

Wanna Try the Camel Hair Approach

Wanna Try The Camel Hair Approach?

“As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight,’”                                                                                                                             Mark 1:2-3 (ESV)

I may have said this before but I don’t mind repeating this, I am not a man that enjoys wearing a suit. I don’t care that my wife says I look handsome in one, I feel like I am in bondage when I wear it, especially the tie part. To quote my friend Brain Poplawski, “it feels like a weak man trying to choke me.” But I am also quick to remember my days at The Colony of Mercy, where the suit is mandatory armor for Sunday morning Chapel service, so it is in that where I try to find a way to make the tie work. But the camel hair suit that John the Baptist wore…hmm? I wonder if it was itchy but the question for this morning is, “Could you wear John the Baptist’s suit?”

You Wanna Try Camel Hair

Yes I realize that there are those of you today who have just sat there and said, “John the Baptist’s suit? Boy, you better put on Jesus!!” And if you just said “AMEN” I’m down with that but hear this out…MEN. If you think for one moment that standing up for the Gospel means you get to wear Jesus only you may wanna think again. There are going to be those times where you have to call it like it is and when you do you’re gonna get dirty and if you ain’t getting’ dirty for the cause of the Gospel…what Gospel are you preaching? You oughta think about fittin’ yourself in a camel hair suit first because that wasn’t just a garment of covering. It represents a prototype for what the Armor of God will become after the finished work of Jesus Christ. (That’s just what I think)

There were three things that made John the Baptist stand out to me. The first is that he was bold in his purpose. He had no problem calling sin…SIN! In Mark 6:18 we read, “For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Now Herod had respect for John but when it came to God’s Law John was no respecter of any person. John had been personally with Herod, and had plainly and freely told him of his sin, and faithfully reproved him for it; alleging what he had done was contrary to the law of God, period. Herodias didn’t like it but I don’t think John cared. He called it right down the middle and Herodias had his head for it.

The second thing that stands out about John the Baptist is that he was humbled in his purpose. We read in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” We use this statement a lot when it is applied to the “die to self” or the “exchanged life” motto’s but we could also say that John’s own popularity had to start taking a back seat so that the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of world” took His rightful place among His children. This brings me to the third that stands out about John and that is his thankfulness that people were turning to his cousin for salvation. “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. (John 3:29)

I think we approach those times when we really should be calling it right down the middle and because there is a “Herodias” around we seem to balk at doing what is right and calling sin, SIN. I know I’ve been guilty of this in the past but in my present I’ve been taking off that shiny suit of armor and trying the camel hair one out. It’s not comfortable and you may only get a honey-coated locust for your troubles but in the long run the right things of God will happen (like there are really any wrong ones). It is my hope that I am not alone and that all my brothers –in-Christ will give the “Camel Hair Approach” a try. Who knows, it may be the next new trend at Men’s Warehouse. Amen? – Chris Huhges is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger

Daily Bible Reading: Job 32-34

Think About This: “It is the duty of the clergy to accommodate their discourses to the times. To preach against such sins as our prevalent and to recommend such virtues as our most wanted.”—John Adams (2nd President of The United States)

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about His promises, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9