What is the Difference Between Being Content and Settling?

What’s the difference between being content and settling?

Arnold Palmer is one my favorite drinks, only to find later that he is a famous golfer. I heard that once he did a tour assisting a Saudi Arabian king in helping with some golfing. The king offered to send him a gift, but Arnold refused. The king insisted, and Arnold settles for a simple golf club. When he returned to the states, to his surprise, Mr. Palmer received a deed and title to one of the most beautiful Golf Clubs in Pennsylvania.

Content vs. Settling

Adam and Eve settled, over God, for knowledge in the garden. The Israelites settled for less and other idols that hindered them from an intimate relationship with the great Creator of all.

On the other hand, Paul consistently encouraged the early church to continue in the work of the Lord. He himself had learned the art of being content or in a state of peaceful happiness, in the midst of the busyness of the ministry. Nevertheless, he never settled for being a mediocre Christian.

“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we sailed too close to the shore.” Sir Francis Drake. Sir Frances Drake never settled for being an ordinary shipmate, actually, Sir Frances Drake is known for how he lived, died, and was buried at sea.

Settling, though is not always evil, is having resolve or unwillingness to be challenged to do more, to be more, to serve more, to be a part something greater than ourselves. God is the goal, and like Arnold Palmer, many times in my life, I settled for less than what my King is offering.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24)

Are you settling or being content? Chaplain Juan Mendez is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and serves full-time as at the Colony. You can write to Juan at jmendez@americaskeswick.org

Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 17-19; Mark 5:1-20 

Think About This: “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” ~Corrie Ten Boom

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:  Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight. 2 Samuel 10:12

Where is the Light?

Where is the LIGHT?

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 English Standard Version (ESV)

Let it Shine

Here is another identity blog for you.  We are still on the Sermon on the Mount, and right after Jesus tells those who are kingdom people that they are the salt of the earth, he tells them, “You are the LIGHT of the world.”  Wow!!!

Again, we must learn this truth that we do not become, or we will one day be, we are.  We are the light of the world.  We are the salt of the earth.  Look, if you are a child of God, Jesus is telling us that we are already the light of the world.  Notice that he doesn’t say we are a light in the world, no he says we are the world’s light.  I like this.

So, just as we thought about salt, we need to think about light.  Jesus is telling his listeners that since they are light, they should not go into hiding.  Look, many of us use all kinds of excuses for not living our lives out before our unbelieving friends as the light of the world.  I can remember one time early in my marriage that after we had been to a family gathering with my side of the family, my wife saying, “You sure are different when you are around your brothers.”  It was true, I would act one way with my unbelieving family and another way when I was not with them.  This statement from my wife, as painful as it was to hear, was the best thing she could have done for me that day.  I am the same now whether I am with family or not.  I am letting my life shine men.

Not only are we not to hide our light, we are not supposed to put in under a bed or bushel.  Hear the light is not hidden, it is just dimmed.  It doesn’t penetrate the darkness, it does not expose the darkness, it doesn’t overwhelm the darkness.  One of the best illustrations of light for me comes every year at Christmas time when our Christmas Eve service always ends with a candle lighting.  One light begins by getting lit, then exposing itself to another candle, then that candle reaching out and lighting the next, until each candle is lit.  A once darkened room now has the light of the candle shining all in it.  Each face in that room is known because the candle sheds light on each person’s face.  Awesome picture of what Jesus states that we are, LIGHTS OF THE WORLD.

SO, how effective is your light shining?  It is easy to tell.  Are those who you are living life around, seeing your light and glorifying your Father who is in heaven?  So, you are the Light of the world, just let your light so shine before men, stop that hiding of your light, stop that burying of your light, let it shine before ALL men (women and children too).  Doug Barger is the Director of Men’s Ministry at Bethesda Mission. You can write Doug at dbarger2030@comcast.net

Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 14-16; Mark 4:21-41 

Think About This: The fear of man strangles us, because we can never please everybody; but the fear of the Lord frees us, because it challenges us to live and serve for an audience of One. Paul Chappell

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:  Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight. 2 Samuel 10:12

Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened … Matthew 7:-8

Barbara's Place Sign

Some of you are aware that we had dedicated the home of our new residential addiction recovery program for women, Barbara’s Place, in early October – the fulfillment of a 30 year dream.

But we received news from one of the department’s in our county that we needed to comply with three pages of regulations/stipulations before we could open. Some of those requirements could have been very costly.

Every time we tried to get clarity on the “why’s” and what did we really have to do to move forward, we received conflicting reports.

As the end of the year was drawing near, I began to realize that this was really a spiritual issue and that the enemy was trying his darndest to block the opening of this much needed ministry for women.

We decided to call on our intercessor’s and prayer partners to join us in asking, seeking, and knocking for the next 30 days. Our prayer was that GOD would answer in such a way that it could ONLY BE TRACEABLE BACK TO HIS HAND!

The answer came and the back story is amazing. At our January Hymnsing we kicked off the ASK/SEEK/KNOCK initiative, and before the Hymnsing started I saw a friend who I didn’t ever remember seeing at our Hymnsings. He approached me to find out what was going on with Barbara’s Place.

He recommended that I reach out to someone in Ocean County that could help us. Two days prior, a pastor friend recommended that I contact this office. Long story short, this past Tuesday I received the information for this individual but before I had a chance to call him, two other emails came from different individuals all recommending that I speak with the same man. To my knowledge, the three people do not know each other.

I placed the call on Wednesday and was pleased that someone would at least listen to our story. He promised that we would hear back from them between 9:30 AM and 10:30 AM on Thursday.

I received the call at 9:45 AM. I would have been pleased if there was a compromise to move us forward. But he call came from the director of the department that was giving us the challenges.

Bottom line, they released us from all of the requirements and not only gave us the green light to move forward, but also reached out say that they would be willing to come alongside of us if there were ways that could assist the women.

I was floating! But here is the even more amazing thing. My friend who gave me the contact first had called this office on Wednesday to let them know what we were all about. He was told that the problem was resolved an hour after they received my fax on Wednesday!!!

But wait – there is more. This man was not scheduled to come to the Hymnsing. One of the couples from his church was scheduled to attend and they were sick. A call was placed to our friend to see if he and his wife would like to attend. In his words, this was a DIVINVE APPOINTMENT!

God delights when His kids take the time to talk to Him in prayer. It was a great reminder that when we pray GOD HEARS. His answers may not be on our timetable, and the answer may not appear to be the right one – but God answers prayer. Thank you to the many who joined us is ASKING/SEEKING/KNOCKING. And now we look forward to the first ladies arriving to Barbara’s Place. To God be the glory. – Dr. Bill Welte is the President/CEO of America’s Keswick

Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 11-13; Mark 4:1-20

Think About This: God never made a promise that was too good to be true. —D. L. Moody

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:  Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight. 2 Samuel 10:12

The Joy of Being an Ex-Addict

The Joy of Being an Ex-Addict

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority… And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
~ paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Colossians 2 and Ephesians 4

Oh beloved, it is true. Some of us have lived a life trying to fill an enormous hole in our souls. There was within us a perceived thirst we could not slake, and a hunger we could not satisfy. We were ravenous. We were called addicts.

And we may be among the most blessed of all the ones He has ever saved.

MakalaWe were so hungry for something. We did not know what is was. But every waking moment was a search for comfort, or an attempt to dull the pain of our emptiness. We were wounded, but much of the wounding was self-inflicted as we bounced around in the world trying to get something to both fit and fill the enormous hole inside of us.  And again, this was (in retrospect) very good news.

And what we found – if we did not die during the search – was that the hole inside of us was not enormous. It was infinite. Anything we tried to throw into the hole fell away into an abyss. And it did not matter how fast or furiously we flung – nothing worked. We tried everything. But things being finite, did not do any good. No idea or principle or program could fill the abyss. And any time we tried to put a lid over the hole, that just fell in as well.

Now, many others who seem to have their lives a bit more under control, may never have the opportunity to know (or will not take the time to know) how empty they are inside. But, an addict knows it. He is driven to see it for some reason. Perhaps it is better spiritual vision, or that we have the ears to hear.

Then He called out to us. There was this Voice. It was Jesus. And the sound of it was like many waters; more water than we could ever begin to comprehend. And the Voice instantly convinced us that He was it. He, Jesus, infinite and mighty G_d, was the only One who could fill the hole inside.

So, we asked Him to do it. And He did.

And those of us set free from living to fill the abyss, have come to find that the only thing that fills the hole is all of Him. So, an addict set free, might look like He is addicted to G_d – like Jesus and His Spirit and the Love of The Father are the only thing that matters any more.  It is almost like they have become even more obsessed with the freedom and love and joy and peace and abundance they now have, than the bondage they were in before.

Exactly.

And this is why an addict is the most blessed of the children of G_d. We can see the answer so much more clearly. Can you see it? The abyss in our lives is now so full that it flows outwards with rivers of living waters.

Beloved, do you understand that you too need this same infinite filling to reverse the event horizon of the abyss in your soul?  You need Jesus. And perhaps, you need Him much more than you yet know.

So, is there such a thing as too much Jesus in a person’s life? No. He is the only One who is enough. Tonight is your night beloved. Time to let Him fill the hole in your soul. Makala Doulos is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and serves in full-time ministry in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 5-6, Mark 2

Think About This: From morning to night keep Jesus in your heart, long for nothing, desire nothing, hope for nothing, but to have all that is within you changed into the spirit and temper of the Holy Jesus. ~William Law (1686-1761)

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left … Joshua 23:6

Comfortably Numb

Comfortably Numb

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Psalm 51:12

I bet this title got Chris Hugh’s attention. No Chris, this isn’t about Pink Floyd but I can’t help but draw a comparison from their song to today’s Church.

I was watching a video on leadership recently and the statement was made that a weakness in most leaders is that the longer they are in their position the more removed they are from reality. He suggested that a “numbness” takes affect and the individual loses sight of the original vision and the everyday dealing become the norm. He says it’s healthy for the leader to spend some time with a new team member and get a fresh perspective.

I think the same is true with us as believers, the longer we believe the more “comfortable numb” we can become. In Psalm 51, David is lamenting over his sinful act with Bathsheba and by the 12 verse he begs God to “restore to me the joy of my salvation”.

This occured to me when I found myself just singing in Church, it was a familiar song and my hands were in my pockets and I was doing worship. That’s what I call “Comfortably Numb”.

Comfortably Numb

When I talk to worship leaders they often tell me a struggle they have is to lead worship certain times because of the defeated look on most people’s faces. It’s as if they are in a dentist waiting room waiting to get a tooth pulled.

I suggest if you can relate to this and it makes you feel ill at the numbness you experience that there are a few things you could do. One would be to spend some time reminiscing when you first got saved, that time when you felt like a child in the arms of your heavenly Father and nothing else mattered. The other is to hang around new believers, like the man suggested a boss should do by getting a fresh perspective with a new team member, it’s good to be around the excitement of someone who has just received the Lord.

I pray that when we realize we are just “doing church” that we would become “Uncomfortably Numb”, and that the Spirit of God will awaken us to “Be the Church”. Hear the words of the Apostle Paul as he is influenced by the Holy Spirit in Romans chapter 13, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts”, Amen? – Rob Russomano is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and serves full-time at America’s Keswick. You can write Rob at rrussomano@americaskeswick.org

Daily Bible Reading: Isa. 3-4, Mark 1:23-45

Think About This: The existence of hypocrites does not prove the non-existence of true believers. —C.H. Spurgeon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left … Joshua 23:6

How Thirsty Are They?

How Thirsty Are They?

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. Matthew 5:13 English Standard Version (ESV)

My journey in the Christian life has had many joys, sorrow, hard times, easy times, good times and bad one too and the above verse was read to me just yesterday and I realized a few things that I have not realized in the past 26 years of being a believer.

Thirsty

The first thing that I want to do for us is give us the context of this passage.  This is part of the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus is the speaker.  He is telling those who are listening the ways of the kingdom and of kingdom people.  This verse in particular is really speaking about our identity as kingdom people and how who we are influences the world around us.

In my early days as a Christian, I got involved in everything that I could get involved in.  I remember one time being involved in a training at my church that had to do with evangelism.  I learned the techniques of sharing the gospel with those who did not know the gospel.  Now, if you know me at all, you know that I am not a salesman and I do not have the personality of someone who can just go up to someone and start talking to them about spiritual things.  This was even truer in my earlier days that it is now, although I still am not one who would just start a conversation with someone I do not know.

So, as I heard this verse read yesterday, I noticed something that I never noticed before.  It shows up in the first few words of the verse, “You are the salt of the earth”.  Notice that it does not say, you are becoming, you will be, it states, “you are…”.  This speaks of my identity as a kingdom person and as a kingdom person, I have a responsibility to act like the person I am.  If I act contrary to my identity, that is what Jesus calls hypocrisy, which he also addresses in the Sermon on the Mount.

I would like to take a minute or two more of your time to think about the benefits of salt.  Do you know any benefits?  Think about that for a minute, because it is significant that Jesus uses the word, salt for our identity.  Salt has a preservative factor in it.  Look at the verse again, You Are the Salt of the Earth.  As a kingdom person, we are to live our life in a way that preserves those around us.  How are you doing with preserving those around you?

Salt is also a flavor enhancer.  This is an interesting thought to me because I am not one who puts salt on his food but recognizes when something has been enhanced with salt.  I like unsalted peanuts, but I like even more those peanuts that have salt all over them.  I do not care for a pretzel without the salt, I think that if you are going to make a pretzel you should have salt on it.  Those are two examples of enhancement of flavor that I go with.  This is an area of my life that I need to work on because when it comes to enhancing flavor, I may have lost my saltiness.  When I write that, immediately the Holy Spirit just said to me, “what are you going to do about that?”  Repent.  Now, repentance is a whole other topic that I can not go into now, but you know where I just went there.

The last thing that I want to say about this whole idea of being salt is that salt makes one thirsty.  Let me asked you one thing those that you are living life with, are you leaving them thirsty for the things of the kingdom?  This is really the heart of what Jesus was talking about.  He says, You are the salt?  We are it…. He also says that we should be concerned about the condition of our saltiness.  If we lose our preserving, flavor enhancing, and thirst making abilities we are putting ourselves in a horrible situation.  Jesus says, we would not be any good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled upon.  Doesn’t sound real good to me.  If you have, then repent and follow Jesus.  He has already forgiving you of your sin, repent and get on with living out who you already are.  You are the salt of the earth.  Have a great week.  Doug Barger is the Director of Men’s Ministries at Bethesda Mission in Harrisburg, PA. You can write to Doug at dbarger2030@comcast.net

Daily Bible Reading: Isa. 1-2, Mark 1:1-22

Think About This: I still find my corrupt heart longing for tomorrow’s bread. I can make a good argument to the Lord about how effective I can be if He would supply me with enough advance funds. It’s a little frightening to pray for TODAY’s bread. That means I must pray again for tomorrow and believe again for tomorrow. My greedy heart is willing to be corrupted by a little bit of riches so that I see my warehouse full of loaves. I can make a good argument about how God won’t have to be bothered with me every day if He would only advance me about ten years worth of bread. Gayle D. Erwin

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left … Joshua 23:6

 

 

Where is Your Thought Process?

Where is Your Thought Process?

Joyce Myers wrote a book called “Battlefield of the Mind.” While I have not read it, the title captured my attention. It is safe to say that if any believer or person wants to be successful in his or her spiritual life, it will require a victory in the area of the thought life.

Where Is Your Thought Process

In Romans it mentions, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2) When the transition happens from being lost and in hopeless state, we bring with some unhealthy perceptions in our new life in Christ, which are skewed.

Individuals come with addictions, others with host of unanswered questions, while some just are unsettled or unhappily with circumstances of life. Thou some might have entered the kingdom with more of noble or cerebral process. Whether your life was ok or destroyed, there is still a lot of repairing from just the mindsets of our world and culture. Since these learned perceptions are instilled in our thinking, so we must retrain our minds for our life in Christ.

So For me, I try to match my thought life with scripture, as Paul writes, “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.” (Philippians 4:8) This previous list is good filter to challenge what is on one’s mind.

Some thoughts may have some level of truth, but is that thought noble? Other situations might seem admirable; however, is it praiseworthy to ponder? If anything can get through this list, it must have some eternal value. The Word continues to motivate believers to discipline our minds through lenses of Christ. Where are you in the battlefield of the mind? Chaplain Juan Mendez is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and serves full-time at America’s Keswick. You can write to him at jmendez@americaskeswick.org

Daily Bible Reading: Gen. 49-50, Rom. 16

Think About This: This is the work of the kingdom of God: people in the hands of the Redeemer, daily functioning as his tools of lasting change. Paul Tripp

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left … Joshua 23:6