Why Hiding in Christ is Not Cowardice

Why Hiding in Christ is Not Cowardice

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ Who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. ~ paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Colossians 3

Why Hiding in Christ is Not Cowardice

Oh beloved, it is true. We have been told that we should not hide things in our life. And true this is. For, for us to hide something is only to set the timer for it to emerge from us. And once it does emerge, what will erupt from us will be fetid and hot and deadly.

And hiding anything from G_d is impossible anyway. Why do we even try?

There is, however, something we do indeed want to hide. It is the most reasonable thing for us to do. For when we hide this, we will be found good as gold on That Day. What do we hide? Us. Actually, us, in Him.

And as simple as this simple act of faith seems, it is a place that’s completely different than we were used to going. In the past, our lives were all about us. And as we went about doing our thing, we were trying to pick bits of life off the deadness upon which we gorged.

We filled ourselves with things that could not fill us. But, even though we were not satisfied, our stomachs and souls were stuffed with an achy swollen mass. We were ashamed that we had consumed so much of the world, but we felt we needed to hide this from others. But even as we tried to hide, it never worked.

However, thankfully, one day Jesus came and truly killed us before the other death we were consuming could take us out in another direction. And in this moment, His death became ours – and our’s became His. But this exchange did not result in mutual destruction. Rather, it resulted in us being truly alive in Him for the first time ever, and also forever.

But this moment also exchanged something else for us. We were no longer the ones needing to hide something. We ourselves had been hidden away into the very heart and life and Love of the One who had just saved us. So, instead of us doing the impossible (hiding our failures), Christ did the impossible for us (He set us free from them entirely).

Can we see it? There is no way for us to hide our sins. The only way for us to be totally free from them is for Christ to hide us from them, within His very Self. However, once we allow this to happen, the freedom is certain. There is nothing that can get to us when we hide within the inapproachable light of His presence.

So brothers, are you trying to hide away a secret sin; or fight one off? It won’t work. Never has. Never will. Run and hide. But now, run and hide within the place you already are: In Christ. Tonight is your night beloved. Time to believe where you are in Him. – Makala Doulos is a Pastor-Teacher serving in Asia. He is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. You can email him at Makala@ps1611.org

Daily Bible Reading: 2 Kings 1-3; Matthew 12:1-23

Think About This: I sought only for the heart of God, therein to hide myself from the tempestuous storms of the devil. ~Jakob Böhme (1575-1624)

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You. Psalm 33:20-22

We Can Do/Have/BE Part 2

We Can Do/Have/Be…Wha?! PART 2

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.”  Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NLT)

We Can Be

Today’s Freedom Fighter will pick up where I left off last with the subject matter of understanding temptation and finding its antidote. I was at a spot where we needed to understand the heart of it all and today we’ll look at something we find in Ezekiel 36. We can call this something “Spiritual Surgery” and it will be The Great Physician with the scalpel. Just like with any surgery there will be a need to cleanse first because, in this sense, we need to see what the real issue is so that it can be accurately removed (the callused heart of stone) and what needs to transplanted (the new heart of flesh).

I think one of the infamous hardened hearts is Pharaoh’s in The Book of Exodus. “But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:2) This verse should resonate for those of us who came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior later on in life. Not only do I think this is one of the most disobedient statements we can find in The Bible maybe we can change a few words to make it sound like something like this…“Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice and let my sins go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let my sins go.” Now please don’t stone me for this but if you really let it soak in…you’ve said it at some time, haven’t you?

And don’t look at this in one dimension either because there are those of us who have obeyed His voice at one time and decided that our voice sounded better and, like the nation of Israel did, found ourselves lead a stray. It’s like this…we are all tempted to live independently from God and it’s been in our hearts for a real long time. Freewill got its introduction in The Garden because God desires worship of Him to be a choice and that got tainted when our adversary instilled into us that there was something that was being withheld from us. To this day we’ve all been trying, in one way or another, to get that which was withheld back and that is our intimate relationship with the One who created us.

When we look at the passage we find in Ezekiel 36:24-29 we can see the remedy in this progression. We need to recognize our hearts arbor wickedness and we need to be gathered by God to cleanse us from our idolatry so that He can provide us with new hearts, renew a right Spirit within us and grant us place to sit with Him at the table. That comes to us from something else that came from The Garden, a promise. And that promise is Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”— (John 3:16) And it will be through Him that we can see the condition of our hearts and not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform us into a new person by changing the way we think. Then we will learn to know God’s will for us, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

When we take a long view at the world around us it doesn’t take much to realize that people need a new heart for things. Some folks already know they need change but there are others whose life-dominating sin has their hearts hardened and speaking with Pharaoh’s tongue. Our job in all of this is to deal with our inward stuff, as Jesus would have us do, so that that the world can see that on our outwardly part we show that we are light on a table or a city on a hill. When that happens a dark world sees only Jesus and nothing else. The next time I am with you I will begin to dive into those three things that come from an untransformed heart until then I pray that you have allowed The Great Physician to begin His work in your heart. Amen? – Chris Hughes blogs weekly for Freedom Fighter and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. You can email him at cphughes515@verizon.net

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Kings 21-22; Matthew 11

Think About This: “Whenever God in Christ is revealed in the inner man, deception and Satan’s power are destroyed, and the man is set free. Against this in shining, Satan works by every conceivable means, ranging from open assault to destroy the messengers, to beautiful substitutes for the truth.”—T. Austin-Sparks

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You. Psalm 33:20-22

Examination Day!

Examination Day!

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. (2 Corinthians 13:5, 6)

Exams

Am I the only one who doesn’t enjoy visiting doctors or dentists to get a full examination? My theory; if I don’t know what’s going on, everything will be fine. However, virtually everyone else, but me, has proven this theory to be false. Examinations are informative, they provide options, and it gives us a chance to make the necessary adjustments. Our physical state is important, but more crucial is the examining our spiritual life.

When I first read this scripture, as a new Christian, I examined and challenged my salvation. I ask myself was I truly, saved or was this an illusion? I prayed, but my life was not matching the new life Christians boost upon. I thought intently because this is a serious matter that deserves my undivided attention. After a processing through a self-inventory and after accepting the comfort from the Holy Spirit, I got my confirmation through His Word, the Lord indeed reassured I was His.

But why would Paul challenged the Church of Corinth to examine their faith in Christ.

As scriptures began to enlighten, Paul was prompting them to examine their walk, making sure their life was proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Wow! Paul cares for their souls, moreover the furthering of the Gospel. He care that they didn’t use this newfound freedom for fleshly pursuits, but to engage in a productive live in Christ. But most of all he wanted to remind them who they were in Christ. Understanding that we are in Christ gives us power to live a life that illuminates Christ.

For Christians, we understand that we are accountable to God and His Word. The believer appreciates laying down selfish pursuits, to immolate Christ’s sacrificial heart. The Christian is guided to a course of action. There is a reason why in most action movie there is a villain and super hero, because in realty, there is good and evil amongst us. God has designed a standard in the way humanity should live so we are not walking in darkness. There is no morality if there isn’t anything to compare or no standard of living. And yes being moral is not a bad thing!

Joshua commands: “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14, 15)

At the end of the day, everyone must examine themselves, not everyone else, according to the will of God. The Lord said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (John 15:15) Chaplain Juan Mendez serves full-time at the Colony of Mercy and is a graduate of the program. You can email him at jmendez@americaskeswick.org

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Kings 19-20; Matthew 10:21-42

Think About This: “When the prodigal came trembling back from the far-off land to his father’s house, his misery ceased and his joy began so soon as his father had spoken. What bliss must have thrilled him with the word of his gracious parent’s lips! The best robe! The precious ring! The costly shoe! The fatted calf! All for me? Why, it seems too good to be true. But so it is to be; and not only in his case, but with us all. Our cup has joy’s quintessence distilled into it, and it is filled to the brim. ‘That your joy may be full’, said the Mater; and it is full, as full as God’s eternal love, as Christ’s most precious grace, and the Spirit’s wonderful communion can make it.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You. Psalm 33:20-22

Entropy

Entropy

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.” 1st Corinthians 14:33

In his couples devotional “The Song”, Pastor Kyle Idleman uses a term from physics, Entropy, which he says is a law that proves everything runs down or a state of disorder. Wiki says

“A thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work”.Entropy

The point I believe he’s trying to make that if we are not given to recharging our spiritual being or not making enough time to have our lives in order we can end up in a state of “entropy”.

He says that when we lack the new energy that comes from participating and practicing in God’s word. It’s the concept of being connected to the stream of Living Water that Jesus describe to the woman at the well in John chapter 4.

Our daily devotional time can be seen as a time of nourishing our soul and spirit in order to prevent a deterioration that can lead to lives that are in disorder. It’s not just believing in Jesus, but believing in Him as the scriptures say, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” John 7:38. This verse is referring to the life of a believer that has the Holy Spirit active in his life.

I can look at all the battery operated technology for an example of what happens when although a devise has all the information in the world, unless it gets a recharge it becomes useless and profits nothing.

Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit is what makes us useful, give yourself the time to get recharged by the Word of God and receive sight that comes in supernatural ways that will guide and lead us to Victory in Jesus, Amen! – Rob Russomano is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and serves full-time at America’s Keswick. You can email him at rrussoman@americaskeswick.org

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Kings 16-18; Matthew 10:1-20

Think About This: It is not the doctrine of justification that does my heart good, it is Christ, the justifier. —C.H. Spurgeon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You. Psalm 33:20-22

Live Courageously

Our 2015 summer kicks of this weekend with our Memorial Day Weekend conference with Dr. Ron Cline. Please check out our website for details. It is going to be a great weekend. Check it out: www.americaskeswick.org

Live Courageously

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Jan_Prayer Card 2015

On one our trips to Disney World my kids wanted to ride Space Mountain. Knowing that I really don’t like roller coasters, they were surprised that I wanted to ride Space Mountain with them.

They kept telling me that I shouldn’t ride it because it was a roller coaster and I was “too old” to ride it. Even up to the last minute they begged me not to do it.

What they didn’t know was that when they were younger we actually go to see Space Mountain lit up while riding the people mover. Space Mountain was being worked on so all the lights were on. Space Mountain is just a bigger version of the ride I loved as a kid, The Wild Mouse.

In the dark, everything looks and feels worse than it really is – much like life. When we are in the midst of a crisis, a difficulty, a challenging time, if we can’t see clearly, fear and anxiety grips our hearts and we begin to lose courage.

Some once defined fear as “False Evidence Appearing Real” whereas faith is Forsaking All I Trust Him. Even in the midst of the most challenging times, we have this promise from the Lord to hold onto. It’s not a suggestion, my friend –it’s a command: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

So here’s what we want you to take away from this year’s theme – whatever you may be facing in your life – the good, the bad, the difficult – you can trust Him completely. There is no need to be afraid. There is no reason to be dismayed. You can do it with His help – LIVE COURAGEOUSLY. – Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick

Do you have a copy of our daily devotionals, Real Victory for Real Life? If not, stop by our book table or call 800-453-7942. You can read a devotional each day that will help you LIVE COURAGEOUSLY.

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Kings 14-15; Matthew 9:18-38

Think About This: Righteousness and generosity are inseparable. The person whose heart longs for God also longs to give to others. Dillion Burroughs

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You. Psalm 33:20-22

Need Directions

Need Directions?

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly… (Psalm 1: 1a)

The other day I was in the check-out line in a store and overheard an interesting conversation. Two women were making plans to do something the next day together. One of the women said, “I wish I could say ‘yes,’ but I’ll have to read my horoscope.”

Need Directions

I thought, “There is a woman who wants direction in her life.” If a newspaper column said it would be a good or a bad day, then she would give her “yes” or “no” to plan accordingly. I am amazed how people become addicted to this kind of thing, trying to find what their future holds and whether, through the “stars” in their daily newspaper or by other means, they should do this or that.

You should do what I did the other day. I took two different newspapers and looked at the horoscopes they ran. Do you know what I found? I read two completely contradictory horoscopes for the same sign. It might be wise for those who are “hooked” on reading horoscopes to do the same thing.

But there is a better choice. As those who have come to know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we have God as our guide. Who needs to walk in the counsel of the ungodly?

In Psalm 32: 8, God promises, I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. In Psalm 1: 6 we are told that the Lord knows the way of the righteous.

In a real sense we sin and slap God in the face when we choose to seek the horoscope of the day. Our todays and tomorrows are in God’s hands; He knows the way.

Look to Him, believer, for His direction! Rev. John Hibbard is the morning Bible teacher at the Colony of Mercy and serves on the Board of America’s Keswick

Keswick, America’s  (2012-12-13). Real Victory for Real Life Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 5145-5165).  . Kindle Edition.

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Kings 8-9; Matthew 8:1-17

Think About This: Wishing will never be a substitute for prayer. Ed Cole

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “ … in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.” Titus 2:7-8

We Can Do/Have Be … What? Part 1

We Can Do/Have/Be…What?! PART 1

“Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.”  Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 (NLT)

We Can Be

Secularland has always promoted a “Do what thou wilt” philosophy, hasn’t it? I don’t care what century it has been or what governing body it had taken on, “Do what thou wilt” as always been the whole of its law. The funny thing about this is that it is a law that has to be broken and it is mostly broken by the ones who endorse it. Because at the heart of its matter Secularland can only endure so much chaos before someone steps up and takes command of the situation. This can come with an unfortunate truth however, and that is the one who makes the stand comes with some dangerous absolutes that are basically centered in a “Do what thou wilt” framework and a society suffers because of it.

There is no question of the suffering Jesus endured on the way to and by hanging on The Cross…but I wonder about His 40 days fasting in the wilderness. The Father announces to the world, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” after Jesus is baptized, then we turn the page to read this, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1) Not exactly what I would call “good times” but this needs to happen. The Edenic problem needs to be solved and Jesus Christ is the solution. By the time His 40 days are coming to its end the adversary shows up with the same temptations he had for Eve in The Garden. This time there will be no caving in to them but that doesn’t mean it ends there.

The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is alive, well and breathes its contemptible little self in the very hearts of our existence. If it weren’t for the fact that our God didn’t want robot’s worshipping Him I would venture to guess those three elements were to never exist at all, but they do. And for those of us who may think that when we do wrong we can fall back on the saying, “the devil made you do it” needs to rethink that. The devil only really makes suggestions based on appealing to our egos. So if one were to have a high opinion of one’s self then you are open to suggestion.  “Surely God wouldn’t want this or that to be this way or that way” or “Did God really say this or that” are popular suggestions of thought we deal with…daily!!

I’ve been reading a booklet titled “Understanding Temptation” by Mark E. Shaw and he has brought some interesting thought to this whole idea of temptation.  His one point is that Satan may be a real threat but Jesus taught the primary source of all sorts of wickedness is our own hearts. He shared a quote from a Chinese general who basically said if you know both you and your enemy you will not need to fear your battles. If you know you but not the enemy you’ll get a victory then a defeat BUT if you know neither you will succumb in every battle. And that my friends is how it rolls in Secularland as it does in Christendom.

Over the course of the next few weeks understanding temptation and getting to its antidote will be my subject matter. Yes, we now know that Jesus is the antidote but to say that early on is like saying just drop a nuke over our enemies and blast them back to Stone Age. You have the answer now but you didn’t have it then and if you don’t take the time to understand the history you’ll just take the antidote for granted. Like if we keep on sinning, God is faithful and, because of Jesus, will just keep forgiving us for our sin (by the way, that’s REAL BAD THEOLOGY). I hope that we can get to heart of the matter and realize that what we read in Romans 12 isn’t a suggestion but a doctrine to live by. Amen? – Chris Hughes is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger. You can write to Chris at cphughes515@verizon.net

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Kings 6-7; Matthew 7

Think About This: The widest thing in the universe is not space; it is the potential capacity of the human heart. Being made in the image of God, it is capable of almost unlimited extension in all directions. And one of the world’s worst tragedies is that we allow our hearts to shrink until there is room in there for little besides ourselves.”—A.W. Tozer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “ … in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.” Titus 2:7-8