Serving God in the Mundane

Serving God in the Mundane

Welcome to a new week of Freedom Fighter blogs. We love sharing with you and trust this ministry is an encouragement to you. If so, we’d love to hear from you. You can write me at bwelte@americaskeswick.org

I have been reading through the books of 1 & 2 Chronicles the past several weeks, and I must confess to you, I usually skip over the genealogies!  But for some reason, I decided to plow through them.

Serving God in the Mundane

What blew me away was how many times there were a brief description attached to a name listed. It became apparent to me that some of these men served God even in the midst of the mundane. Some were listed by name, but some – well they were listed by what they did:

“And their kinsmen were obligated to come in every seven days, and in turn, to be with these, for the four chief gatekeepers, who were Levities were entrusted to be over the chambers and the house of God. And they lodged around the house of God, for on them lay the duty of watching, and they had charge of opening it (the house of God) every morning.

Some of them had charge of the utensils of service, for they were required to count them when they were brought in and taken out.

Others of them were appointed over the furniture and over all the holy utensils, also over the fine flour, the wine, the oil, the incense, the spices.” 1 Chronicles 9:27-30

A guy named Mattithia, was entrusted to make the flat cakes 1 Chronicles 9:31

Some of them were responsible to for the showbread, “to prepare it every Sabbath.” 1 Chronicles 9:32

Then there were the singers – “they were on duty day and night.” 1 Chronicles 9:33

If you ask me, directing the choir, leading the drama team, singing in the praise team, or a whole host of jobs seem to be much more fun and fulfilling.

But God who is into minutia and goes into great detail, inspires the writer of these the Old Testament books to put the DVD on pause in a boring list of genealogies, and gives honorable mention to some men who faithfully are serving God in the midst of the mundane.

Some of you may be right there. You think no one notices the little things that need to be done but are not necessarily the things that everyone even takes notice of.

Oswald Chambers said, “Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow aspects of life are not ordained by God; they are ordained by Him equally as much as the profound.”

Eugene Peterson paraphrase my life verse this way: With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

If you are serving the Lord in the mundane be encouraged today. We all need you! And more importantly, God is honored in your service to Him. – Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick.

Daily Bible Reading: Luke 23-24

Think About This: The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. – Jimmy Johnson – American Football Coach, Player, Executive and Broadcaster

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. Psalm 37:25

 

What Does God Want from Me?

What Does God Want from Me?

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8: 9)

What Does God Want From Me

There are a few questions about tithing that seem to continually seek an answer. The most common question is: “How much does God expect me to give?” This question then branches off into several side issues: “Is ten percent a goal or a starting point?” or “Do I tithe on gross income or net income?” The New Testament never gives a direct answer to any of these questions but a careful study will open our hearts to principles that should settle these questions in our minds.

In 2 Corinthians 8: 9 Paul tells us that Jesus was rich, but for [our sake] He became poor, that through His poverty we might become rich. Not only did we become rich through Jesus, but we gained equality with Him in God’s eyes. Since Jesus was willing to give all He had for us, we need to follow His example and give all we have for Him to use as He wills. This is not limited to finances but includes our time, talents and possessions as well.

How much we give is not as important to God as the attitude with which we give. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9: 7 ESV). The churches of Macedonia were poor but they found great joy in giving. Paul says: For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints (2 Corinthians 8: 3-4 ESV).

Giving is more than meeting needs; it is an indication of where our heart is. God blesses those who give with a willing and cheerful heart. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God (2 Corinthians 9: 11-12 ESV). The joy of our salvation and the gratefulness we have toward Jesus in recognition of all He has done for us is demonstrated in the way we reach out to help others in their need. Allen E. Beltle is CFO at America’s Keswick and is a great encourager. You can write to Allen at abelte@americaskeswick.org

Keswick, America’s  (2012-12-13). Real Victory for Real Life Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 10775-10799).  . Kindle Edition.

Daily Bible Reading: Luke 17-18

Think About This: Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity. Charles Swindoll

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

Evaluating Your Spiritual Growth

Evaluating Your Spiritual Growth

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 (ESV)

Evaluation

 

The LORD has his way with us all the time and he knows exactly what we need when we need it.  This has been my experience over the past two weeks. Our pastor has been teaching us from the letter of 1 John and the series is titled, “Authentic”.  Being a real Christian.  The series has been a real blessing to me because I have been going through a number of trials lately and the Word of God just keeps reassuring me that I am right where God wants me to be.

So, the message yesterday came from the passage above and the point that hit me the most is that our spiritual growth always needs to be evaluated.  I love the fact that John had in the verses above these verses, spoken to little children, young men and fathers.  This is spiritual growth and the stages that we go through as believers.  No matter which stage we are in growth can be evaluated.  Let’s look at the things that John shows us in how to evaluate our growth.

  1. Control – what is controlling you?  Who is controlling you is the better question?  Another question here would be, ‘does your love and affection for the world control us?  This is when there is something or someone in the world that has our hooks in us and we put God second.
  2. Compromise – This is wanting your cake and eat it too.  Or, even better yet, this is when you have one foot in the world, and one foot in heaven.  How about asking yourself this, “what conviction do you no longer hold to that you once held to”?  We give up our convictions when we begin to compromise.
  3. Cravings – John is specifically speaking about sexual sin here, but we need to discuss any and all unchecked passions or desires that take us away from the LORD.  We usually call these things needs but they are nothing more than wants.
  4. Coveting – Wanting that which someone else has.  I have to have it, I will work for it, and I will not be satisfied until I get it.  You know what, when I get IT, it usually does not have the payoff that I thought it would.
  5. Conceit – Pride is the # 1 reason for broken relationships.  Asked yourself here, who in my life do I have a broken relationship with?  After you have defined the “who” then asked yourself, “what can or do I need to do in order to make this relationship whole.
  6. Commitment – Verse 17, John says, that TRUE LOVE = commitment.  This is where we make the commitment to inspect our love for the LORD and our faith in the Lord.

So, how about your spiritual growth, are you moving towards God or away from him?  Spiritual growth is not a easy thing.  It is hard to look at ourselves, but if we do it with the help of the LORD, he is not condemning us, no, he is looking for us to repent, confess and move closer to him.  Have a great week.  I love you and hope these thoughts have been helpful to you as they are to me.  He is still working on me, I not all that I am supposed to be, but I am grateful that I am nowhere near what I used to be. – Doug Barger is the Director of Men’s Ministry at Bethesda Mission and is a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger. You can write to Doug at dbarger2030@comcast.net

Daily Bible Reading: Luke 14-16

Think About This: Adversity is always unexpected and unwelcomed. It is an intruder and a thief, and yet in the hands of God, adversity becomes the means through which His supernatural power is demonstrated. Charles Stanley

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

The Fruit and the Vine = Shalom

The Fruit and The Vine = SHALOM

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 (NKJV)

THE FRUIT & THE VINE

This may sound a little like my fellow Freedom Fighter writer Makala Doulos but here goes… Oh Beloved how sweet the peace of Jesus!! It is not enough that His peace brings comfort into our downtrodden lives but this SHALOM is no less than the salvation of the kingdom of YHVH. (okay, back to Chris)And just so you understand this, when your life is saturated with Scripture, you will experience the peace of Christ. It is worth noting, however, that the world’s notion of “peace” seems to be an absence of war while the religious (one world religion?) notion of “peace” is blessing and unity. And as for me there was a saying back in the 80’s that went like this “Peace sells…but who’s buying?!” So whatever those notion’s be to you, Oh Beloved how sweet the peace of Jesus!! Amen?

I wonder that if before Jesus was about to leave the world He took time to prayerfully make his will. We all know that His soul he committed to his Father; maybe His body He bequeathed to Joseph; whether we like it or not His clothes fell to the Roman soldiers; His mother He left to the care of John: but what should He leave to His poor disciples that had left all for Him? We also all know that as far as silver and gold goes He had none; but He left them that which was infinitely better, His peace. “Peace I leave with you”, as a dying father leaves portions to his children; and this is a worthy portion. Not only did he give them a title to it, but put them in possession of it.

Jesus exclaims, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” In a very Deuteronomical way (31:8?) Jesus promises His disciples peace, but not just any peace. Jesus offers His very own peace. The phrase, “Do not let your heart be troubled” takes us back to John 14:1a. But Jesus now adds the phrase: “neither let it be afraid,” because He is about to depart and His disciples are becoming increasingly anxious. As a result, they desperately need the peace He offers. But they aren’t alone in this equation are they? I believe that ALL of us, who call ourselves disciples are just as much in need, aren’t we?

I am so blown away when I think about how much at peace Jesus was during so many different situations that He was in. When He turned the money changers tables over in the Temple He may have been angry but still kept the main thing the main thing. When they brought the woman caught in adultery He was so even keeled. So many times the Pharisees challenged His authority as the Master Teacher and yet never strayed away once into fits of uncertainty with what He was teaching. When I think of the SHALOM of Jesus and what it brings me in my everyday dealings with people it gives me strength. I feel as if something has been placed in my arsenal that goes along with my Godly armor.

So Christ’s peace adds something to life rather than subtracts something. We are all so use to thinking of peace as the absence of conflict, or maybe the absence of stress, or even the absence of worry. However, the SHALOM of Jesus really is the absence of distress but it also includes the presence of blessing. In fact, maybe we could go so far as to say that the absence of distress is the result of God’s blessing? Hmm.  Jesus is still offering a peace that gives us a sense of well-being, security and right living in our everyday lives. What is your situation today? Whatever it is, if you have the Holy Spirit and the fruits of it’s presence you can have peace in the midst of it because He lives within you. So don’t allow any anxiety, worry, or fear to rob you of Christ’s peace. Amen? – Chris Hughes is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger

Daily Bible Reading: Luke 12-13

Think About This: “When all you desire is God’s glory and His will, you will know peace deep as an ocean. Nothing can disturb that peace except holding back a part of your heart in fear.”—Fenelon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

It Is Well With My Soul

It is Well, with my Soul

God created us with different components, as I consider the hymn writer’s statement, I realize to be well in my soul is primarily, however, are we well in all areas?

It is Well with My Soul

Physical wellness- This pertains to any activity or condition of the physical body. How good or bad the circumstances of your physical state have a direct impact in your daily functions, mentally and physically. God shows us the importance of being a good steward of our bodies in His Word, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price, so glorify God with your body?” (One Corinthians 6: 19, 20). In addition, He mentions that physical exercise has value for a person’s physical wellness (1 Timothy 4:8). So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1corithians 10:31)

Intellectual wellness- challenging your thought process with new ideas and continuing be active in learning. The Lord encourages, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8, 9) Additionally, he mentions in Romans 12, to do not conform to world, but be transformed, renewing your mind.

Occupational wellness- using your skills or gifts to complete an oriented task. Finding a job or career that is meaningful, completing responsibilities that fulfills your passions and desires. Consider Nehemiah and how the Israelites built the wall, in-spite of the burdens they faced, they worked, stayed the course, and eventually succeeded in finishing of their assignment. In addition, I am reminded about all the men and women in the Bible that sacrificially worked in God’s ministry. “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24). Paul reminds us how important the work in the ministry was to complete what the requirements the Lord has put on his heart.

Emotional wellness-is the capability to manage through the trial of life. The system handles a productive way to deal with stress. The Bible states that we should not worry about anything, instead to address everything in prayer…and God will give peace (Philippians 4:6). “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter5:7)

Social wellness- the area of our life that governs our relationships. This relates to our accountability, networking, and other arenas of fellowship we use to provide us with outlets to improve our social state. In Galatians, God encourages us to bear each other burdens; also, Jesus’s second greatest commandment was to love our neighbors. Furthermore, the scripture are full of text in how the body of Christ is to operate as one unit, assisting each other as a family.

Spiritual wellness-The inner man is searching, and longs for answers. As believer, my rest is found in the relationship I have with Christ. Jesus gave me eternal life and left me with the Holy Spirit, the comforter that counsels me through life. I also have the ability and opportunity to rest in the Word, which gives me faith, allowing me to be secure in God. In addition, my life is completed because I have a purpose, to serve God and his people, in love. There are many others ways individuals can attain Spiritual wellness, I am just sold-out in the hope I have in Christ. – Juan Mendez is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy, serves full-time at America’s Keswick, and is an on-line student at Lancaster Bible College. You can write to Juan at jmendez@americaskeswick.org

Daily Bible Reading: Luke 10-11

Think About This: All whom the Father elects, Christ redeems; all whom Christ redeems, the Father adopts. —Ian McNaughton

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

Dealing With Anger God’s Way

Dealing with Anger God’s Way

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath. Ephesians 4:26

Lately I have run into so many angry people. Anger is an emotion that is in the heart but tends to bubble up so that it is very much evident even in a person’s face. Their body language is even impacted by this emotion.

Angry Man's Face

Christian’s aren’t exempt from dealing with anger. Sometimes we try to justify our anger calling it “righteous indignation.”

God has given us a biblical way to deal with the emotion of anger. Drs. Henry and Richard Blackaby provide excellent insight into dealing with our anger:

Few things are more destructive to Christians than anger. Anger causes us to lose our self-control and to say and do things we would otherwise never consider. Anger, if allowed to remain, turns into bitterness that eats away at our hearts. Scripture consistently commands believers to put away anger and lists it as one of the sins of the flesh (Eph. 4:31).

At times, we try to defend our anger by citing Ephesians 4:26. As additional proof we argue that Jesus cleansed the temple in “righteous indignation.” Ephesians refers to anger that does not lead to sin. Jesus was capable of being angry without sinning. When Jesus cleared the temple, Scripture does not indicate that He was angry (Matt. 21:12–14; Mark 11:15–18; Luke 19:45–46).

We must be careful not to justify our anger with Scripture. Ephesians 4:31 commands us to put away all anger. That does not mean that we cease to have strong convictions or lose our desire for justice. It does mean we refuse to allow others’ sins to cause us to sin. Anger does not bring about God’s redemptive work; far more often it hinders what God is working to accomplish.

If you feel that you have a righteous anger because of something that has happened, see if you are holding anger in your heart without sin. Is your anger turning into bitterness? Is it causing you to speak in an unchristian manner to someone or to gossip about them? Is it causing you to make excuses for your own ungodly behavior? You must examine any anger within you and allow God to remove any sinful attitudes that your anger may have produced.

Blackaby, Richard (2006-12-01). Experiencing God Day By Day (Kindle Locations 5578-5587). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

How are you doing with your anger? Take some time today to evaluate where you are and talk to God about your anger. He’ll listen, and He will even show you from His Word how to deal with it in a biblical way. – Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick. You can write to him at bwelte@americaskeswick.org

Daily Bible Reading: Luke 8-9

Think About This: Let us humbly sit at our Lord’s feet to receive rebuke or instruction as he sees fit. —C.H. Spurgeon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:57

Vanya

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)

Vanya

Lately my lunch has consisted of a sandwich with iced tea. Of course a more fancy way of putting it would be to say that I am having the best of honey ham, smoked turkey with domestic Swiss on soft Italian bread that has Hellman’s mayo and French’s mustard for a spread. I wash it down with an Arnold Palmer iced tea and complete it with Oreo’s for dessert but at times it is really what I am reading that I wind up having for lunch. On this day it is a book titled “Live Like a Jesus Freak” and I just finished a story about a 20 yr old Russian solider named Private Ivan “Vanya” Moiseyev.

Private Moiseyev is a Christian serving in the Red Army in 1970 when he called to the Major’s office during lunchtime. The sidewalk he walks on is snow-covered, the sun is out and Ivan is singing, praising and praying to the God who has won his heart.  However Ivan knows what this is going to be about…why will he not denounce his faith and take on a godless acceptance into a communistic society. Why will he not accept being re-educated. But before he gets there he sees an angel who says to him “Ivan, go. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. “Then comes his sit down time with Major Gidenko… “Moiseyev, you don’t look like a poor pupil to. Why are you not learning the correct answers?” the Major asked.

Now there isn’t enough room in here to go through the entirety of this conversation but As the Major acknowledges that the private has been exposed to “Christian teaching” he presses him to see if he disagrees with the teaching of the glorious Red Army. To which Vanya replies, “No, sir.” Then the Major asks “But you do not accept the principles of scientific atheism upon which is based our entire Soviet state and the military power of the army?” “I cannot accept what I know to be untrue. Everything else I can gladly accept.” Answers Vanya. I love the submission to the authority placed over my new found friend, Vanya, and his willingness to stand firm on The Rock, BUT….

The punishment that Vanya will have to endure is not pretty. First this Major has Vanya stand in the cold Russian winter night for a span of 13 nights in nothing more than his summer uniform. He begs for no mercy however he doesn’t freeze (an angel has gone before him) and as he is threatened while singing praises to Jesus Christ he replied, “A lark threatened with death for singing would still continue to sing. She cannot renounce her nature. Neither can we Christians.” Soldiers were converted by him as they were impressed by his faith. BUT because the commanders couldn’t re-educated Vanya he was subjected to torture in a rubber suit pumped with air so his breathing became difficult. Eventually his body was sent to his parents in 1972 riddled with wounds that included six stab wounds around the heart. The note sent by Colonel Malsin (Vanya’s commanding officer) said, “Moiseyev died with difficulty. He fought with death, but he died as a Christian.”

I recommend that you seek this story out and read it in its entirety. As for me and my lunch it all seemed like rubbish compared to what my friend Vanya went through for his faith. This made me mad and sad all in one shot. I wanted to cry for this man I never meet but then I turned my gaze inwards and asked myself could I be this kind of Christian. Vanya’s life made my trials and alleged tribulations seem like nothing and all I do is complain about things that will serve no Kingdom purpose. Geez…what a wretched man I can become with my trivialized sense of Christianity. How about you? Can you boldly stand in the gap like Vanya and have people converted just by the example of your faith or are you, like me, at times sitting on an ash heap going, “Oh woe is me?” I pray that we all can brush off the ash and take a stand in the cold Russian winter’s night. Amen? – Chris Hughes is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and is a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger

Daily Bible Reading: Luke 2-3

Think About This: “Faith is the highest kind of reason after all, for faith goes straight into the presence of God.”—A.W. Tozer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked. 1 Chronicles 4:10