Married to Another – Forever

Wedding ringTo please God… to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness… to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son- it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is. ~C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress… Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. ~Paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Romans 7

Oh beloved, it is true. We were not only stuck in our old life. We were in the worst of marriages. We were bound to a taskmaster whose only purpose was to show us our failures. And even beyond the purpose of the taskmaster, there was this terrible “me” within the whole equation that seemed to even egg me on to my failure.

The husband was merciless.

Everything we tried to do to please this spouse was fruitless. The very things we wanted to do, we failed at miserably. And our highest aspirations fell so pitifully short as to invite the groans of an embarrassed audience in the heavenlies.

There was no way out. And things were worse than bad. We were doomed. We were at the very beck and call of the wild animal of “self” within us. We were so stuck. Oh, we tried to act like we were not entrapped. But this never worked.

Further, we sometimes even tried to find another husband. We looked at other codes and ways to pray and chant and fast and give our way to freedom. This didn’t work either. And we knew, that while the feelings we had in regard to our spouse, we knew that we knew that we knew every letter of the Law he was – was totally right and true and noble and just and pure and lovely.

Then everything changed. One day we looked at the reality of our bondage to the law and realized that both it and the Prophets spoke of something else. Actually, The Law and The Prophets spoke of someone else. They pointed to this One who would be both the very anointed of The L_RD and G_d Himself.

And we found that this Same One did die that we might live. It was a torrential death, that pulled us through it as well. We died with Him, Jesus, when He died. But it did not stop there. This same Jesus conquered death completely and did bring us through to eternal life as well!

Can we see it? Just as a dying spouse is freed from a taskmaster spouse, our life was freed from the horrible condemnation of the Holy Law of G_d in our death with Christ. We can see this perhaps, but we can also be missing the purpose of the death-to-life transition which has come through our faith in Christ.

He wants more than our freedom

He wants more than our forgiveness

He wants more than our salvation.

He wants us. Literally. And not that we might become slave again to some harsh master of rules that beats us up about our failures. No. This Suitor wants to ravish us with His Great Love. And in lavishing us with that which is Love and Life Himself, our lives too begin to actually and truly bear the fruit of heaven.

So, are you feeling beat up by your faith beloved? Perhaps it is time to see Who you are really married to now that you have trusted Christ. You are no longer married to the Law, you are the freely Loved spouse of the King of The Universe.

Tonight is your night. Time to believe in the lavish Love and freedom you have in Him. And this new Love will have no end.

Written by Makala Doulos | Makala Doulos is a child of God, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, God’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 40; Proverbs 9

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: We are the process of thickening so that we can share in the substance. Becoming heavenly fire so that we can rejoice in the heavenly fire. ~Peter Kreeft

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. ~ Hebrews 10:35 (NKJV)

You Are What You Eat

iStock_000000418419_Small“The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” ~1 Corinthians 6:20 (The Message)

I have avoided talking about this issue because it is very personal. But I am at the point on my journey that I feel it is time to at least talk about it, and hopefully create some dialog with some of you who have been where I am – and maybe you are on the other side.

I have struggled with my weight for too many years. I must confess that food has been one of the idols of my heart. I love food and to some of you, you would say, it has been obvious.

I had to get to the place like every man who struggles with addiction, where I came to the end of myself and surrendered this area of my life to God. Bottom line – gluttony, while the “acceptable” Christian sin – is just that – SIN!

All my life I was known by the label “fat boy.” One of my mentors used to refer to me as “Rotund Welte.” Labels at a young age stick, don’t they? They become your mark of identification and we tend to live out the names that have been given us.

This summer I read a book on the subject of soul care. I have read some really good books. This one was excellent. The writer whacked me on the head with a two by four with this profound truth. Many of us spend time addressing the subject of soul care from a spiritual perspective, but fail to take the time to care for the body where the soul resides!!! Talk about a cheap shot – but a necessary one!!!

There are many good programs available to help you to bring your physical body under the control of the Holy Spirit. I did extensive research to find the program that would work best for me.

But let’s back up for a moment. I needed to be sure that I was losing weight for the RIGHT reason. At 61, I am not in it to be Joe Atlas. I am far beyond that stage in my life. Am I wanting to lose weight to make me look good? What is my motivation to lose weight?

As I prayed through my reasons here are the top four:

1. I want the Lord to be glorified. I can’t do this on my own – but with His help and strength I can do it.

2. I wanted to care for the temple that He entrusted to me, the container that houses my soul. For too many years I did not care for my body and that didn’t bring Him glory.

3. I want to maximize my days so that I can serve Him effectively. Years ago Dr. Douglas MacCorkle, then President of Philadelphia College of Bible said that too many of God’s servants die prematurely because they don’t take care of themselves physically.

4. How can I serve effectively at America’s Keswick preaching that Christ can set men free from addiction, when I am demonstrating with my own body that I am addicted to food?

So do you want to know what has worked for me? Well … I will share it with you next week!

Written by Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick. He has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 10 amazing grandkids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 39; Proverbs 8

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: I’m not losing weight. I’m getting rid of it. I have no intention of finding it again!!!

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. ~ Hebrews 10:35 (NKJV)

Stick Close!

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 1.52.12 PMBrethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. ~Galatians 6:1-3

God has known from the beginning of humanity that no single human needs to live his or her life alone, in isolation. It is unhealthy, unwise and not what God intended for us.

Too often in Christianity as we know it today, people choose to live apart from the very people they most need. When we believe we can go it alone and do not need anyone else, we have believed the devil’s lie, and we set ourselves up for failure. Motorcycle riders tell me there is a maxim among the riding fraternity: It is not a matter of if you will fall, but when. So it is with the isolationist crowd of Christians. Eventually, that isolation will do us harm.

Consider the words of Paul to the Galatian Christians. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Look at the benefits of “sticking close.” First, if you veer off course and find yourself caught in some kind of sin, you have brothers and sisters who love you and will gently draw you to restoration. They have your back!

You can look at this a different way, too. If you are “sticking close” to your brothers and sisters in Christ, you may have the opportunity to help someone who has veered off course. God may use you to help someone in desperate need. That cannot happen if you practice an isolated faith.

This “sticking close” has a beneficial mutuality to it. Paul tells us to bear one another’s burdens. By doing that, we fulfill the law of Christ. Only when you choose to live in community with other believers can you fulfill the law of Christ. Isolation prevents you from living out God’s calling upon your life.

Finally, living in community with other believers protects us from believing that which is not true about our own lives. We can think we are something really special when we live apart from those who love us. Engaging in community forces us to see clearly our struggles and the struggles of others.

All of us who follow Jesus need to stick close to our faith family. We need them, and they need us!

Written by Rev. John Strain: Rev. Strain is the Chaplain at the Pine at Whiting in Whiting, New Jersey.

Today’s devotional was taken from our Real Victory for Real Life Volume II. Real Victory offers 365 Daily Meditations for Victorious Christian Living with daily Bible readings to take you through the Bible in a year! You can purchase Real Victory for Real Life Volume II on Amazon by clicking here

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 36; Proverbs 5

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: The only known antidote to fear is faith. ~Woodrow Kroll

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith ~Philippians 1:25 (NKJV)

Biblical Restoration – A Step Beyond Our Expectations

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 1.34.44 PM“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” ~Isaiah 65:17

Recently while surfing through the channels on my TV, I came to an auction where they were selling cars. These cars were more valuable than the ones listed for sale in the want ads for various reasons. Although some were rarer than others, much of their value came from the fact that they had been “restored.” In human terms restoration means that they had been returned to their original showroom condition, the one that they were in when they came off the assembly line.

In working in an addiction recovery ministry, I often hear men say that they want to be who they were before they began their addiction. But experience has shown that God’s intention goes beyond our expectations. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Such is the way I have seen God work in my own life and in the lives of many others. The secular world will tell you that addicts and alcoholics have an incurable disease and all we can do is treat the symptoms. God says, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). But what I have learned is that when God says new He means better than the original! The Scripture above states that the former things will not even be remembered.

When I first became sober and looked back at the train wreck that I had caused in my former life, all I could do was shudder. Today I don’t have to do that anymore. I am a new creation. I have a new identity. I am not who I once was before I began drinking. I am a child of the Most High God. We need to be conscious of the fact that when we become born again, old things have passed away… and all things (including us) have become new!

Lord, thank you that your idea of restoration far exceeds ours.

Written by Chaplain Jim Freed: Chaplain Freed is the Director of the Colony of Mercy, the residential addiction recovery program for men at America’s Keswick.

Today’s devotional was taken from our Real Victory for Real Life Volume II. Real Victory offers 365 Daily Meditations for Victorious Christian Living with daily Bible readings to take you through the Bible in a year! You can purchase Real Victory for Real Life Volume II on Amazon by clicking here

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 35; Proverbs 4

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: Fear is a self imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be. You must move against it with the weapons of faith and love. ~Rick Warren

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith ~Philippians 1:25 (NKJV)

 

Would You Like Some Ground Integrity With That?

integrity word in metal type

“Who may worship in Your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter Your presence on Your holy hill? “ ~Psalm 15:1 (NLT)

I recently read something that a 5 to 1 ratio of organic honey (Does this mean there is a synthetic?) to Himalayan Pink salt will replenish the body of all 84 elements it needs to live. Just take a tablespoon of this concoction before you go to sleep and when you wake the next morning you can hit the ground running. So I went out and spent 5 dollars on 5 ounces on Himalayan Pink Salt…I think we have the honey in the cupboard? (Hope it ain’t synthetic or this may not work)

The results? Well I’ve have been grinding the salt on pizza and then noticing my wife roll her eyes at me over the salt. “5 dollars for salt, why?” she has asked. To which I reply that a majority of those elements that I’m missing are making my slice of sausage, mushroom, black olive, and spinach pizza taste pretty good. Not too sure about those health benefits but…ah who am I kidding? I’ve kinda compromised the integrity of that whole Himalayan Pink Salt with organic honey recipe, haven’t I?

So the following morning I got to wondering (which is something I do after I’ve done something dumb) isn’t this something we do in our everyday Christian walk? So since I’ve been paging through Chuck Swindoll’s book “Living Beyond The Daily Grind” as of late I thought I’d look and see what Chuck had to say on what I’ve done to the Himalayan Pink Salt with organic honey recipe. What I got was Psalm 15.

Both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson give the Psalm a nod in some fashion. Franklin calls this a “Gentlemen’s Psalm” while Jefferson says the Psalm is “The portrait of a good man by the most sublime of poets, for your imitation.” In both cases these founding fathers agree that this Psalm speaks to a man’s integrity and Swindoll spoke to me through a chapter on the grind of weakened integrity. As a matter of fact Swindoll wrote that, “It should come as no surprise to no one that ours is a day of weakened integrity.”

So for today we are gonna give a kinda “background” to this phenomenon titled Psalm 15. There are Psalms that David wrote that we can nail a reason behind (Psalm 51 for example) but all we can get with Psalm 15 is that David describes what a citizen of Zion looks like. But if we run this through the Cross like Swindoll does we can see a fulfillment in our unchanged eternal position in God’s eyes (Chuck says that last

diddy). There’s a lot things that happens when we give our hearts to Jesus and here’s the short list:

1. We become a child of God (John 1:12)

2. We are adopted into His family forever (Romans 8:14-17)

3. We are sealed and secured (Ephesians 1:13)

4. We are delivered from darkness into God’s love (Colossians 1:13)

5. We become priests (1Peter 2:9)

Like I said that’s just the short list and it’s so cool to hold close to our hearts. We get to have a temporal fellowship with God AND receive the privilege of living under the power of The Holy Spirit BUT we got a flip side to this IF we decide to dabble in just a little sin…to quote Swindoll, “He may choose to sin and walk under the energy of his own flesh and thus break this temporal fellowship that is his to claim. When he does, he chooses to reject God’s power and blessing and moves immediately out of the realm of fellowship into the realm of divine discipline.”

Now don’t get yourself too amiss this as there is a remedy to make sure your fellowship with God is not permanently broken and that is, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) When I am with you all again I will hopefully be able to cover those things that we should be doing within the framework of Psalm 15 after all if we keep letting things fade from us our integrity will and NOT if inevitably weakened and our testimony to Jesus goes with it. Many folks look for those rewards they believe they will receive when they get pull into heaven’s shore but for me it’s all about four words to hear, “Well done, Enter in”. Everything else is just stuff. Amen?

Written by Chris Hughes: Graduate of The Colony of Mercy 11-2003 and serves on the Deacon Board at Trinity Alliance Church in Cologne NJ

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 34; Proverbs 3

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: “It is the work of the Church to keep on repeating God’s message to each generation of men until it is either accepted or rejected by those who hear.” ~A.W. Tozer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith ~Philippians 1:25 (NKJV)

Saving Faith?

Abstract cross in church interior“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” ~Romans 1:17

What is the righteousness of God and how does it work in our practical life? I have to admit, from the time I was saved or regenerated in Christ, I have not always lived right or righteous, I practiced in life dominating sin, and did not bring any glory to God. I questioned, in a very depressed condition, am I believer? But God! In the midst of those dark moments, he made himself known.

The righteousness of God is not the perfect characteristics or flawless attributes that only ascribed to God’s uniqueness; but positional righteousness or right standing with our Creator. This only comes through faith in Jesus Christ, the righteousness that redeems us back to a place of perfect peace, loving harmonious relationship/fellowship with God. This is a miracle of God’s mercy displaying God’s grace towards Humanity. However, Peter says Repent and be baptized.

Repentance is an action, reaction, or response to the gospel. It is the awareness of a need to make necessary change or the turning the away from the current situations. It is the remorse or the hating of the life and sin that previously consumed our lives. It turns us away from a selfish, sinful life that has no value for kingdom business. Salvation is not fire insurance that only escapes believers from hell, but produces fruit that honors God. Is God pleased in the way we are handling His truth, His grace, His sacrificial cross experience?

I might sound a little legalistic, but faith that yields good fruit. The beautiful reality; it is the faith in God that produces that fruit. Faith and repentance work sequentially, and Jesus is not just our Savior, He is our Lord of our life.

Written by Juan Mendez:  Juan is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and full time staff member at America’s Keswick.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 33; Proverbs 2

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: God has cast our confessed sins into the depths of the sea, and He’s even put a ‘No Fishing’ sign over the spot. ~Dwight L Moody

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith ~Philippians 1:25 (NKJV)

Anti-Gossip Pact

KEEP-CALM-AND-DONT-GOSSIP_editedWebster’s definition of gossip: casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.

Welcome to this new week of Freedom Fighter blogs. The writing team is grateful for the fact that you even click open our blogs and hopefully not just read them, but forward them to a friend.
Today’s topic is a good reminder that our words really do make a difference. I am learning this truth every day.

Solomon wrote: A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence. (Proverbs 11:13). 

In 1752, a group of Methodist men, including the famous preacher, John Wesley, signed a covenant that each man agreed to hang on the wall of his study. Please note the six principles that these godly men solemnly agreed to:

  • That we will not listen or willingly inquire after ill concerning one another.
  • That, if we do hear any ill of each other, we will not be forward to believe it.
  • That as soon as possible we will communicate what we hear by speaking or writing to the person concerned.
  • That until we have done this, we will not write or speak a syllable of it to any other person.
  • That neither will be mention it, after we have done this, to any other person.
  • That we will not make any exception to any of these rules unless we think about ourselves absolutely obliged in conference.

Wow! Pretty powerful – and every man had to put his signature to this document.

A dear old Pastor friend, Newton Conant, gave four questions to ask to help us know if something was right to share:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it kind?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Does it bring glory to God?

Your words and my words either destroy or give life. The opposite of gossip is giving good reports about your brothers and sisters. Think through this week how you can give a good report about a friend, brother or family member and use your words to give. Thanks for being on this journey with me.

Written by Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick. He has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 10 amazing grandkids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 32; Proverbs 1

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: Gossip is like taking a feather pillow and opening it up on a tall building and emptying its contents. Once the feathers are out, it is nigh to impossible to get them all back in.

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith ~Philippians 1:25 (NKJV)

Could Go Back… But Why?

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 8.46.31 AMLook not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear and with a manly heart ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself… Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. ~Paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Philippians 3

Oh beloved, it is true. We will soon breathe the last of the air we will breathe in this body. The end of our bodies will come. Still, the problem (for the believer) is not in the dying. The question is how are we going to live now… For everything we do in this life matters forever.

We could, if we wanted, live in constant shame and regret for the enormous mass of mistake and sin and failure in our lives.

We could, if we allowed it, return to the same fetid pools of all that was wrong with our lives in the past. The temptation is real.

We could, if we really desired, reject the joy and peace and strength of the new life He has given us.

We could, if we choose to keep believing the lie, continue under the harassment of the liar. We could keep believing that we are unloved and unlovable.

We could keep believing that only way out of the pain of our lives is to try and fix it ourselves.

We could, if… and you beloved, could add in any number of other things to this list.

We could… but why?

Can we see it? The new life that Jesus has given us is not just a new way of being. Nor is it simply a new identity in Him (though it is WONDERFULLY THIS!). For beyond the change in us, we are also given a new place to live.

Heaven.

Brothers, we are citizens now of another realm. And the place towards which we are walking is not a dead end – it is the grandest of beginnings. We are now, even right now, part of a Kingdom which has no end. We are utterly free, and this freedom will only grow as we grow in holy union with Christ Jesus.

So… we could go back. I guess…

But why?

Are you hearing the voices of your past screaming right now? It happens. It happens to me a lot. However, I am learning something. All of these voices: The shame, the regret, the siren song of chemicals or lust or anything, the depression, the lies, and the self-sufficiency are no real competition in the light of His eternal, strengthening and healing Presence.

And… When I am simply willing to sit still for a few minutes and listen to Him through His Word and in prayer, I am beginning to actually taste of the Ages to come. Beloved, the taste is delicious, and there is no substitute in this world.

So again, you could stay – or even go back into the stuff that was killing you (and so could this fool of a writer). But again, why? There is an amazing

Home ahead of us. Tonight is your night. Time to know that you are a citizen of Heaven.

By the way. I sure do look forward to that first look into The Father’s House. I also look forward to seeing you there. Keep looking to Him! He will bring you Home too.

Written by Makala Doulos | Makala Doulos is a child of God, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, God’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 29Proverbs 29

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: “Religious work can be done by natural men without the gifts of the Spirit, and it can be done well and skillfully. But work designed for eternity can only be done by the eternal Spirit.” ~A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another ~Romans 15:14 (NKJV)

Faith that Produces Obedience!

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 6.30.29 PM“He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” ~Romans 2:6, 7

Obedience is so vital, Romans 2 clarifies that the Jews were practicing the very same things that they were judging the Gentiles. And God was reminding them that He was going to hold them accountable first, because they were exposed to the oracles of God. As the text develops, Paul exposes deeper truth that they were teachers of God’s ways, but they were adulterers, thieves, idol worshippers and murders. He transitions to the reality that a real Jew is not simply a follower of the law, but one who is transformed inwardly by the Spirit.

God is sovereign and a righteous Judge and He will/can hold people accountable for the things, which we have done on earth. He has entrusted the Jews with truth and set them apart to be different. However, they did what was right in their own eyes and God will deal with them accordingly. God hates sin and he deals with disobedience appropriately to the way He seems fit.

As Christian we are the possessors of truth and our lives should reflect it. We are not saved by the law or by our good works, but I lean towards faith that produces obedience. James supports Paul idea when he mentions that he will show you his faith by what his does.

When a person is exposed to truth and is regenerated by the Holy Sprit, it should produce holy living. Not perfection, but the Gospel is about the repented heart, the heart that transforms us to the image of Christ. This is not a free ride to live ungodly lives; it’s a call to God. In addition, we are known by are fruit and our faith is evident in our works. Let’s get off the grace-train express, and live meaningful lives that give glory to God.

Written by Juan Mendez:  Juan is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and full time staff member at America’s Keswick.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 28Proverbs 28

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: “The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.” Augustine of Hippo

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another ~Romans 15:14 (NKJV)

The Strong Islander Passes The Maple Syrup!

 
Freedom Fighter Picture
“I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth. Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.” ~1 Timothy 3:14-16 (NLT)
 
As many of you in the Freedom Fighter world know I am a Facebooker. One of the cool things about it is the replies I get when I make a post BUT one of the uncool things are the replies I get when I make post. Sometimes I get myself bogged down in some theological debate and in about 95% of them we’ve agreed to disagree. But sometimes the banter is worthy to take in and appreciate. Today I would like to share what I and two other Colony brothers had to say about the aforementioned verse from 1 Timothy on an early Sunday morning…Keith and Ted, I value our fellowship!!
Chris Hughes:  Been mediating on the principles of 1 Timothy 3 and those of Galatians 5:13-26 as they pertain to covenant matters. This is one of the more serious things I’ve looked at in quite awhile and have concluded that the whole of the church should rest on these principles as well. Given this, it is not only position on a worship team or the deaconship I’ve been given but to be privileged to say “Not to me or us, LORD, but to You be the glory!!” Amen?”
 
Keith Varga:  My observation in our own church has been if we neglect the care of our own church body (people) in regards to biblical principles, then how in blue thunder will  God allow others to come in to be cared for, be saved, be fed, etc. Now, I do understand God can certainly send an individual to stir things up in a good way, of course, or stir things up in the body, but this fact remains that there are so many hurting folks that are not being ministered too. Perhaps they do not want to be bothered because of pride. Perhaps they just have accepted that their circumstances as their life. Now, you and I both know this from our past, that thought this way of life is all too real.
 
But, we also know that God is greater and can do incredible, miraculous works in people if they/we are willing. This is where the change comes in. Willing to change behavior, attitude, lifestyles, language, thoughts, whatever it takes to bring praise and glory to God. However, we/they have to bring to the light what lies in the darkness in order to start changing. And then, there’s that word repent, oh yes! Ouch! Ya know in all the years of struggling with addiction, there seems to be more punishment and condemnation than discipline with love. I think everyone should go to America’s Keswick to learn how to discipline with love but without condemnation.”
 
Ted Hallen:  Keith,  it’s been said that God can’t use a man until he has been broken. (A.W.Tozer) After experiencing the power and redemption of the Holy Spirit and the freedom therein we need to speak the truth in love continually. I find myself almost grieving for the body knowing only some of the struggles. Transparency and truth in love can really move in the spirit. Having a season of desperation and humbling as a result of addiction can be such a blessing. Yet the pride issue can be such a blocker to experiencing a greater freedom. Our church is in a big change and we so need to not be about the programs and a comfort zone; but rather to call each other out in love and repent. That isn’t often an easy task as it’s a relational investment required in disciplining with a spirit driven humility. It seems much harder to activate this as a body of Christ. Definitely need some shake-n-bake in this process on all levels. Thanks for your sharing. Definitely a soldier!”
 
I gotta admit that there are few Colony brothers I butt heads with but at least we are butting heads. Some of us get knee deep in finding His will and purpose in our lives and flee from it because it just gets hard. Guess what? It’s supposed to get hard. As Ted referred to, “Definitely a soldier” and to make this perfectly clear…members of God’s Army know no quit!! Amen?
 
Written by Chris Hughes: Graduate of The Colony of Mercy 11-2003 and serves on the Deacon Board at Trinity Alliance Church in Cologne NJ

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 27Proverbs 27

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: The man who abides with God is not there not because he shows up at church four times a week, helps out with the youth group car wash, or painted the pastor’s house. His proximity to the holy hill of God’s tabernacle is not influenced by the amount he puts in the offering, or the fact that he is the head of three different ministries within the church. Never by what he does, but always by who he is.” ~Rick Morgan

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another ~Romans 15:14 (NKJV)