Rise and Shine or Duck and Roll?

Rise and Shine or Duck and Roll?

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10

Rise and Shine

I often wonder as I read through scripture and see the times men would rise to an occasion and fight or withdraw and wait. When do we as men rise up and take a stand or sit back and wait for a more opportune time.

As I read thru the book of Hebrews the writer makes a distinction between mature and immature. He says in chapter 5 “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil”.

We as a staff at Keswick are going thru a series on hearing the “whisper” of God. I personally have never heard God speak to me audibly and find that when a situation arises and a decision has to be made it’s usually a right decision when I’m spiritually sound which is directly related to my personal devotional time with the Lord. It’s when I am digging into the scriptures and getting into the “meat of the word” that helps me hear that “whisper”.

The writer of Hebrews tells us it’s the “reason of use” that helps us with discernment, when our “senses are exercised”. So, when a situation arises and I have to decide, “should I stay or should I go” is going to be successful based on my current standing with the Lord.

The way I measure my decision is usually a question I ask myself, “if I’m confident that God is telling me to move forward, then I go, if not I stay”. Staying usually involves a retreating back to the scriptures. For me it’s the second series of the Psalms, 61 – 68.

Listen to David in Psalm 61,

“Hear my cry, O God;

​​Attend to my prayer.  ​​From the end of the earth I will cry to You,

​​When my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

 ​​For You have been a shelter for me,

​​A strong tower from the enemy. ​​I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;

​​I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.”

So, when a storm arises and you’ve been tossed and turned, like most captains of a ship, look to the Heavens when the sky clears and find your “True North”. Rob Russomano serves full-time at America’s Keswick and blogs weekly. You can email Rob at rrussomano@americaskeswick.org

Daily Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 4-6; Revelation 11

Think About This: “Either we are unfaithful in order to be popular, or we are willing to be unpopular in our determination to be faithful. I very much doubt if it is possible to be faithful and popular at the same time.” John Stott

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool. Proverbs 19:1

Ease-Dropping on Them

Ease-Dropping on Them

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”  John 17:20-21 (NASB)

EASE-DROPPING ON THEM

The coolest moments in my life right now aren’t when my son and daughter take the time out of their busy life as young adults to talk to me but to talk with me. I kinda view talking to me along the lines of asking me for the keys to my truck and gas money for it but when they talk with me I really feel like I’ve done exactly what I needed to do as a father…have an intimate relationship with them. The conversations I have with my son right now are all about things mechanical like his Royal Blue 2008 Ford Mustang (wish it was mine) and with my daughter, well let’s just say it is like having a conversation with myself from the female perspective. All in all when my kids speak with me I feel like a completed man (but that doesn’t mean I am one).

But when it comes with Jesus, The Son, and God, The Father I am quite sure the relationship is more intense. If we take a look at the 17th chapter of John’s Gospel we can see this relationship come into full view. The conversation starts off in a very unique way, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so He can give glory back to You.” I don’t expect my son, Kevin, to ever speak to me like that but in the divine order of the Trinity this position has its merit. This is kinda like walking into the “Holy of Holies” when it comes to the New Testament. I mean this is THE HIGH PRIEST making intercession as if He was in the Tabernacle itself with one exception…Jesus doesn’t need the bells on His robe or a rope around His ankle or the tent for that matter. Technically speaking we are allowed to ease drop behind the veil…so cool!!

So if we were to take a Tabernacle approach to this dialogue between Father and Son it would be customary for The High Priest to make intercession for Himself (but that was only 5 verses). Then Jesus will make intercession for the 11 that are left in the Upper Room and as this prayer continues we find “US” being prayed for. Jesus called us the “believing ones” and when He prayed for us Jesus was looking down the line of time at us in this present and those that are to come. But if I were to take a turn back and look at this as one of the eleven I would have to say that if we are called to be disciples of Jesus then we should be far beyond just believing.

When we are at the point where believing has become a mature spiritual perception Jesus prays this for us. First that we have security, “now protect them by the power of Your name so that they will be united just as We are.” (John 17:11b) Second Jesus prays for our deliverance, “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. (John 17:15) And lastly He prays for our sanctification, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” (John 17:17) Not only were these requests answered for the 11 but we should understand them for ourselves and for those who we sow seed into.

Before we close for today we journey back to verse 6, “I have revealed You to the ones You gave Me from this world. They were always Yours. You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.” (John 17:6) May this be said of us, that we are smart enough to recognize that Jesus is a representative of the Divine Trinity of the Godhead, that we receive the message He came to give, that we have the willingness to hear it and put it into practice and that from our faith in Him we are committed to One that sent Him. This may sound complicated so let’s say it like this, Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the One He has sent.”(John 6:29) There’s more to come from this ease-dropping opportunity but until then, do you believe in the One who sent Him? If so then lift an AMEN! – Chris Hughes is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger. You can email him at cphughes515@verizon.net

Daily Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 1-3; Revelation 10

Think About This: “Sanctification brings the soul into harmony with God and the laws of the soul’s own being. There must be peace; there can be in no other way. Sanctification brings into the spirit the abiding presence of the very God of peace Himself. True peace is then nothing less that the deep, divine tranquility of His own eternal calm.”— A.B. Simpson

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool. Proverbs 19:1

Passing the Baton

Passing the Baton!

We just experienced the great miraculous resurrection and the power of the redemptive act of cross. We were reminded of the revealed passion of Jesus’ heart toward sinners. How sweet it is to be under Christ’s administration, wrapped with bands of love. What a comfort it is to the believer that all the powers of darkness are under the control of the Lord Jesus! It is a miracle of mercy.

passing the baton

However, the cross wasn’t the end of His earthy ministry. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering, appearing to His chosen for forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. Jesus is very productive in the days between the resurrection and the ascension. One of the purpose of this return is to establish the role of the Holy Spirit. He passed the baton!

Who received the baton! He is referred to as the advocate, comforter, counselor, and the like. He is the most silent party of the Trinity, yet ever present in all the earth. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 ESV)

Energy from the Spirit flooded the atmosphere and every nation was able to be understand the truth in their native tongue. Many were saved and baptized in the name of the Lord. The disciples were called, fueled by the Holy Spirit to be the foundation of Church. He doesn’t just give them the power, He is the power!

He was their assurances, the positive declaration for their much-needed confidence. The Holy Spirit was the promise, the guaranteed for surety. “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”

It’s a wonderful story of healing and forgiveness.

We live with that same Holy Spirit in us, and He is with us. This reality should provide the power and desire to live the life that God has provided. God did not die on the cross in vain, He desires us to love and serve each with the hope of glory. We are written in the Lambs book of life, to one day be in a perfect fellowship with our God. But before we go we should continue passing the baton, of the Gospel, to the next generation of saints. Chaplain Juan Mendez serves full-time at the Colony of Mercy and is a graduate. You can write him at jmendez@americaskeswick.org

Daily Bible Reading: Daniel 11-12; Revelation 9

Think About This: “The Christian idea is this: that God is the absolute owner of all things.” – Clovis G. Chappell

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool. Proverbs 19:1

How Can I Know There is a God?

How Can I Know There Is a God?

The heavens declare the glory of God;… (Psalm 19: 1a) When I first accepted the presidency of Davis College in Binghamton, New York, I continued as the Senior Pastor of New Testament Baptist Church in South Florida. On Sunday mornings I would lead the services and then fly to the college. Usually I was placed in a first class seat because of the many frequent flier miles I accumulated.

How Can I Know

On one occasion a student from Temple University sat next to me. I love being around college students and immediately we hit it off. We began chatting and I asked him how such a young man could afford to sit in first class. He laughed and explained to me that his father had purchased the ticket. When he found out that I was a president of a Bible college he asked me a penetrating question. “How do you know there is a God?” For two hours we had a delightful conversation. I took him to Psalm 19. There are three evidences about how we can know there is a God. I shared these thoughts with my new friend.

The first is found in the first six verses of Psalm 19. God is seen in the wonders above. We have in this passage the argument for God. The psalmist simply declares that “the heavens declare” God’s marvelous glory. In theology we learn that there are arguments for God. There is the cosmological argument which tells us there is a cause behind the universe. There is the teleological argument which speaks to order. The anthropological argument for God speaks to morality; mankind is different from the animal world. The ontological argument addresses there must be a perfect being Who is in charge of all things. The amazing universe proclaims that God simply is!

The second part of this psalm reminds us that God is seen in the Word. In verses 7– 11 there are six comparative statements reminding us of the way in which the Word of God develops in our lives. God’s Word is the tremendous source of the truth and it guides our steps in life.

The third part of the psalm speaks about God’s workers who are close to Him. Those who walk with God confess sin and meditate on His Word. They become the greatest examples by confirming to people that God is real!

As I shared these wonderful principles with this young man I asked him if he would like to trust Christ as his Savior. He thought a moment and then said “no.” I asked him if he understood and he assured me he did. He said that his father did not believe in God and he loved and trusted his father and would not want to disappoint him.

Every time I reflect on this brief encounter it reminds me that the greatest way people will come to know the Lord is through the life and witness of someone they trust. My encouragement to you, dear reader, is to live out your faith, and your life will be a testimony that makes it clear to others that God is real! Perhaps our lives speak louder than we realize! ~ Dr. Dino Pedrone is President of Davis College in Binghamton, NY and is a popular speaker at America’s Keswick

Keswick, America’s  (2012-12-13). Real Victory for Real Life Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 4431-4459).  . Kindle Edition.

Daily Bible Reading: Daniel 8-10; Revelation 8

Think About This: “Cherish your enemies; they may be blessings in disguise.” – Woodrow Kroll

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool. Proverbs 19:1

The Heaven Declare

The Heavens Declare

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows and proclaims His handiwork. (Psalm 19: 1 Amplified Bible)

Here’s a description of the heavens and the glory of God that should blow your mind:

The Heavens Declare

A scientist once suggested an interesting analogy. Imagine, he said, a perfectly smooth glass pavement on which the finest speck can be seen. Then shrink our sun from 865,000 miles in diameter to 2 feet, and place this gilt ball on the pavement to represent the sun.

Step off 82 paces of about 2 feet each, and to proportionately represent the first planet, Mercury, put down a mustard seed.

Take 60 steps more, each about two feet, and for Venus, put down an ordinary shot the size of a BB.

Mark 78 steps more, and for our earth, put down a pea.

Step 108 paces from there, and for Mars, put down a pinhead.

Sprinkle some fine dust for the asteroids, take 788 steps more, and for Jupiter, put down an orange.

Take 934 steps, and for Saturn, put down a golf ball.

Mark 2,086 steps more, and for Uranus, put down a marble.

Step off 2,322 steps from there, and for Neptune, but down a cherry. This will take 2 ½ miles, and we haven’t discussed Pluto. If we swing completely around, we have a smooth glass surface 5 miles in diameter representing our system, just a tiny fraction of the heavens. On this surface, 5 miles across, we have only one mustard seed, BB, pea, pinhead, dust, orange, golf ball, marble, and cherry.

And we should have to go 6,720 miles, not feet, on the same scale before we could put down another two-foot ball to represent the nearest star!!! He created all of this and holds it all together by the word of His power! And He created you and me! What an amazing God we serve. Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick

Keswick, America’s  (2012-12-13). Real Victory for Real Life Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 4215-4218).  . Kindle Edition.

Daily Bible Reading: Daniel 5-7; Revelation 7

Think About This: “When I accept Christ as Saviour, I pass from death to life, and therefore, before that time I am clearly dead. Therefore, when modern man feels dead, he is experiencing what the Word of God tells him he is. In himself he will not be able to define his deadness for he does not know what his deadness is, and even less does he know the solution to it, but he is aware of one thing and that is he is dead…We must never forget that the first part of the Gospel is not ‘Accept Christ as Saviour’, but ‘God is there’. Only then are we ready to hear God’s solution for man’s moral dilemma in the substitutionary work of Christ in history.” Francis Shaeffer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool. Proverbs 19:1

God’s Solution for a Longing Heart

God’s Solution for a Longing Heart

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2: 9)

Many people admit they have not experienced what they thought they would when they first became a Christian. The cry of their heart seems to be, “I must know something I don’t know.” Well, has the kingdom of God been over-advertised or is it only that it has been under-believed? Has the Lord Jesus Christ been over-estimated or has He only been under-trusted? I firmly believe that the kingdom of God could not possibly be over-advertised nor the Lord Jesus Christ over-estimated.

Longing Heart

My friend, all the difficulty and the doubt of what God has told us in His Word arises from the fact that we have under-believed and under-trusted. This causes that spiritual and emotional distance we can feel deep down inside of us. The Holy Spirit uses this to set us searching God’s Word to find the solution for a longing heart.

You see, in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a deep and lasting peace and comfort of soul which nothing earthly can disturb. It belongs to those who by faith embrace what has already been provided for them in Christ. Let me ask you this question: are you this day truly resting in Him Who is your all-in-all? Take a moment to reflect on this statement, “You are in Christ and Christ is in you.” The Bible says this is true of a born-again child of God. If this is true, you have need of nothing. All of your needs have been met in Him.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ… (Ephesians 1: 3).

The key to this is appropriation. You must exercise child-like faith in what God has already provided for you in Christ Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus, my friend, not on the things of the earth. Remember, when Jesus died for you He also died with you. This means at the cross you were immersed or baptized into Christ. If you are in Christ and He is everything, what do you really need? Christ and Christ alone is all that you need. Rev. Chris S. Hodges is the President of Abiding in Christ Ministries and has been a speaker at America’s Keswick

Keswick, America’s  (2012-12-13). Real Victory for Real Life Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 4403-4427).  . Kindle Edition.

Daily Bible Reading: Leviticus 26-27; Revelation 4

Think About This: There are two freedoms – the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought. Charles Kingsley

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. Proverbs 11:3

Tempted By The Ultimate

Tempted by the Ultimate

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)

Many people think of Christianity as a restrictive worldview. After all, we have the ten commandments and hundreds of other Old Testament commands, not to mention many commands that came from the mouth of Jesus and his apostles. Our individualistic culture is dominated by the idea that one needs to do whatever is in one’s heart. “Be true to oneself” is the defining mantra. So, let’s grant that it is restrictive but ask what’s so bad about being restrictive? I suppose the thought is that if we strive to live by the prescriptions of Christianity, then our lives will be rigid and constrained. We would lose our freedom to live the way we want to live and nothing is worth the loss of freedom.

John 10 10

However, Jesus said that He came to give us life to the full, life more abundant. How could restriction ever lead to abundance? To see this, let’s think about the decision that faces every professional athlete at some point in his career. There is no doubt that for an athlete to be successful there has to be enormous sacrifice. The athlete must restrict his or her life from the normal activity of others to practice his or her athletic craft. But my guess is the athlete does not think that his or her life is rigid and constrained when he or she achieves success in his or her respective sport. In fact, the athlete has gotten to do things that only a few others get to do. There is a sense in which the restricted life has produced a greater freedom and along with this freedom comes greater pleasure.

C.S. Lewis once said: “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (The Weight of Glory)

All would agree that living an upright life is difficult and it is filled with temptations. Today, be tempted by the Ultimate. Don’t settle for the mud pies. Dr. Travis Dickinson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Christian Apologetics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is the grandson of the late Pastor Bill Raws.

Keswick, America’s  (2012-12-13). Real Victory for Real Life Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 4170-4189).  . Kindle Edition.

Daily Bible Reading: Leviticus 25; Revelation 3

Think About This: Remember: you are not fighting for victory, but from victory, for Jesus Christ has already defeated Satan! —Warren Wiersbe

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: The integrity of the upright guides them,  but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. Proverbs 11:3