Trust Me

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“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

One of the biggest obstacles to living a victorious life with Jesus is the aspect of trusting. I hear it all the time, “I don’t trust anyone.” Our inability to put ourselves out there and be vulnerable is detrimental to our walk. When I filter the call of God through my inability to trust, I become an ineffective part of the body of Christ. I’m not saying we should be a doormat for others to trample over, but we should not allow past disappointments to affect the way we are willing to trust others. If I build a wall towards someone based on past performances of others, I may have limited what God wants to do for someone else and myself.

When I’m wrestling with the idea of putting myself out there for possible disappointment, I must first be willing to expect the worst. The good news is if my true faith and trust is in Jesus, and when I am walking in His truths, what Paul says in Romans 8:18 applies, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Disappointment is so far down on a scale of blessings I receive from God that a withdrawal of a poor choice by someone else is easily covered.

I have been on the receiving end of that “second chance.” Someone was willing to put themselves out there for me and am grateful for the opportunity. We don’t want to extend ourselves in a foolish way by running up debt or taking out a loan that would be against God’s precepts. I’m talking more about an emotional expenditure, one that may cause heartache or grief. Maybe the offense caused to you will be used by God and His conviction on their life will cause them to repent, especially when we simply turn the “other cheek”.

But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” Luke 6:27-31.

If we find ourselves having a hard time trusting others, then maybe the real problem is we don’t trust God, maybe our issue is with the Father. If this is the case, then a real truth has been exposed and with the help of the Holy Spirit that wound could be healed. There is plenty of evidence and scripture to remind us of how much God loves us. Find someone who can work with you and uncover those trust issues, when we do we enter into ministry that will be a huge blessing to us and others, don’t miss out. Amen!

Written by Rob Russomano: Rob Russomano is married to Terri, he is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and a full time staff member. He is also available as a speaker of the grace of God with a message of Hope for church events. You can contact him at rrussomano@americaskeswick.org.

The Daily Bible Reading: Daniel 1-6| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “When a man becomes a Christian, he becomes industrious, trustworthy and prosperous. Now, if that man when he gets all he can and saves all he can does not give all he can, I have more hope for Judas Iscariot than for that man!” – John Wesley

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” – Romans 8:26

 

 

 

 

Screaming For Vengeance

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“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” – Romans 12:18 (ESV)

Secularland says “Don’t get mad, get even.”

Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

But I say, “Sometimes ya just gotta give folks a good swift kick in the pants.”

So, who is right? Well If you say I am, then thank you, but I may be a bit off the mark (maybe). If you say Secularland, please repent and join a monastery (quickly). But if you said Jesus…well let’s just see why that’s a better answer than a good swift kick, shall we?

There are some wrongs done to people that are traumatic and take time to overcome. We hear stories of emotional, physical, psychological and sexual abuse. Murders and other violent crimes are constantly on the news. Our country’s military and police force has seen their share of wrongs as they protect and serve. Betrayal committed by family and friends can leave us just as devastated as those things that I’ve listed, and yet in it all, Jesus would rather have us show His love (which should be within us) to them who have committed these wrongs than to enact vengeance on them or worse, to actually take revenge on them. It’s kinda vexing to think that somethings seem to go unpunished but, from a worldview point, it happens.

In 1 Thessalonians Paul says, “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.” Groovy, right? But what’s in it for us? Well let’s see what Peter would say to that, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9). Now these are ‘Jesus things’ to say, but what are we talking about with repaying evil for evil?

Well, John Calvin once pointed out that returning evil for evil may not be as severe as seeking revenge but it is still forbidden. Trading barbs with someone just to gain the upper hand, even done in fun, can be seen as returning evil with evil. Maybe your spouse has popped off on you and you respond by being cold and you stop speaking to them. You may not be plotting revenge, you may not be returning evil for evil, but you ain’t exactly blessing them either. So, what is it that makes these things turn around?

Check this out… “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (Romans 12:17). Hmmm?? Do what is honorable in the sight of all? This is where the worldview of honorable and the Christian view differ. Secularland would wonder why the Christian wouldn’t be screaming these verses out in vengeance, “But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” Exodus 21:23-25 (ESV). After all, isn’t that the proper thing to do if you say you believe in God? But that is where the rug lies… if we say we believe in God and yet do not do what the Son came and taught us to do, then we are playing God and that makes us worse than the one who does harm. Get it? Secularland rejects the teaching of The Son because He brought to us grace and mercy (in my view) always belonged to The Father.

Simply put… “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17). If God the Father was willing to do what was necessary to have peace with His creation, who are we to usurp that? So where is the honor in evil? It’s just not there. Only those who CHOOSE to dishonor what is true, just, pure, excellent and commendable scream for vengeance and twist truth for the sake of justifying evening the score.

A very ugly event took place this past week that has brought the whole of American society on edge. It is the kind of thing that would justify all kinds of acts of vengeance and revenge. But Christian, if you go there then you have chosen unwisely and more importantly…ungodly. What needs to be done is to “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13). Because once you gained your footing where you stand then you are more useful to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15).

Brothers (and sisters), do not lose sight of your Kingdom purpose. Let us all press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Then let us hold true to what we have attained. The adversary roams around seeking whom he can destroy…let it not be ANY one person in The Most High God’s creation!! Amen?

Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.

The Daily Bible Reading: Proverbs 16| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” — Mahatma Gandhi

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” – Romans 8:26

 

 

 

Team No Sleep

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“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

If you are parent, grandparent, or deal with children often, you understand the concept of ‘no sleep.’ With a four year old and a newborn at home, sleep is a precious commodity. With that, in one of those sleepless nights trying to comfort the little one – rocking, patting the back, singing and the like… In addition to knowing and thinking about work in few hours, a gentle voice proclaimed, ‘I am your rest.’

In that very moment, I realized true rest is in the person of Christ – not in a place, nor in how much sleep I get, nor was it about me at all. Furthermore, He reminded me, not only is my rest impinged on him, that perfect peace, all my abilities, all my capabilities, my family, as a matter of fact my whole existence is in reliance on him.

“For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.” (Jeremiah 31:25)

Have you been operating by your own strength or are weary from life trails? Jesus is calling; Jesus is willing with open arms to usher you into a new rest. He is the only one that can provide this level of rest.

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 93-95| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.” – Augustine

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” – Romans 8:26

 

What would it take for you to Acknowledge God exists?

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“In the beginning God” is how the story God tells begins. It is a statement of His existence. But what do we know about it? Well, to start, we know that we are here in want is called existence; and we know other stuff exists that we are not the origin of; and we know that us and the other stuff are dependent on things like an extremely specific oxygen level and the Sun and it being at an exact distance from us. And we know that human beings have an extraordinary capacity to reason that separates us from all else that exist. So, if all that is known to exist is this complex, and the possibility of the design of the very proteins that are the building blocks for the formulation of the human genome, that make possible DNA, is 1 in 10 to the 400th power… basically saying existence itself is extraordinary and intricately designed… the question is who designed us? And it has to be a ‘who’, because ‘creating’ is a choice, and since mankind has an extraordinary capacity to reason, who created mankind and the existence he resides in, must be of greater capacities… for a lesser thing cannot produce a greater being.

At this point we have established the basis for two separate and distinctive categories… the Creator (God) and the created (what exists separate from God).

What do we know from this? From Einstein’s theory of ‘General Relativity’ we know that space, matter, and time came into existence at one singular point. Therefore what ’caused’ (Creator) the existence of space, matter, and time (created) must be ‘spaceless’ (without form or limitation), ‘matterless’ (or spirit), and ‘timeless’ (or eternal). Therefore, God exists.

Is that enough? Maybe not, but it is a powerful and irrefutable start.

Choose wisely…

“For us there is but one God, the Father, who is the source of all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things [that have been created], and we [believers exist and have life and have been redeemed] through Him…

Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they exist, and were created and brought into being.”

   (1 CORINTHIANS 8:6;  REVELATION 4:11)

Praying 4 U

Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, and grandfather with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is a member of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 93-95| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.” – Martin Luther

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” – Romans 8:26

10 Signs You’re Raising a Kid with a Bad Attitude

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The other day when I was walking by our company copier, I saw this article laying there. I picked it up and it was one of those “too good not to share” articles.

Our Barbara’s Place Director, Dr. Lynne Jahns had printed it for a seminar she is doing this summer. It is written by speaker/author, Donna Jones, and published on Crosswalk.com. Here is the first installment.

Let’s face it: No parent wants to raise a child with a bad attitude, but somewhere between the ages of zero and 18 every child has one, which means every parent must deal with it. Ephesians 4:23 tells us “Be made new in the attitude of your mind.” Clearly, God cares about our attitudes. But does having a bad attitude constitute being a child with a bad attitude? What’s the difference? And how do I know if I’m raising a kid with attitude issues?

Not every child who has a bad attitude is a child with a bad attitude. For instance, a child having a bad day differs from a kid with a bad attitude. One is temporary, the other ongoing. One is situational: Change the circumstance and you’ll change the attitude. The other is systemic:

Change the circumstance and the attitude stays negative.

Still, having a bad attitude can result in being a person with a bad attitude, if not dealt with properly. How do you know if your child is sliding into the murky waters of major attitude issues?

Here are 10 signs you are raising a child with a bad attitude:

  1. Negativity is the norm.

All kids are negative sometimes. After all, what kid delights in cleaning his room or eating his vegetables? But if your child’s attitude is consistently negative, you must examine the root. This means asking some hard questions: Is your home filled more with criticism or with praise? How often do you complain? Can your family members move from seeing the worst in a situation to finding the best? Does your family regularly express gratitude? How often do you laugh… or even smile?

To be sure, some people’s temperaments are more prone to see the glass half-empty. Tweens can be moody. Preschoolers will pout. But attitudes are more caught than taught. It’s difficult to raise a positive kid in a negative home. Make it your goal to cultivate an environment of positivity and you’ll likely see attitudes improve.

  1. Your child complains, whines, or pouts. All. The. Time.

Like a constant “drip, drip, drip” these habits wear on our last nerve. But here’s the important part: Not only do these habits drive us crazy, they are meant to. Complaining, whining, and pouting push our buttons, often driving us to give in to our children’s wishes, wants or whims, even when we know it’s in their best interest to say “no.”  When these attitudes and behaviors show up in your child (and they will!) you must resist the temptation to cave.

When our kids hit the tween and teenage years, we could count on hearing at least one child complain over what we called “family fun days.” Years earlier, these weekend excursions were met with delight, but when time with friends trumped time with family, getting everyone in the car with a positive attitude was about as easy as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. What my husband and I planned as family fun felt more like family feud. But we didn’t cave. “Trust us. You’ll have a great day” became our go-to line. It wasn’t easy, but the dividends paid off. Our kids did have a great day (most of the time), our family bonded in ways that only happens by spending time together, and our kids learned bad attitudes don’t get positive results.

I trust this first installment was helpful. I will share the rest in the next several weeks with you. Parenting and grand-parenting is an awesome responsibility, isn’t it?

Rejoice! Pray! Give thanks!

Bill Welte, D.D.
President/CEO of America’s Keswick

Written by Dr. Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick: Bill has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 11 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

The Daily Bible Reading: Numbers 1-4| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Think About This: Of all the things in the world that stink in the nostrils of men, hypocrisy is the worst. —C.H. Spurgeon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” – Romans 8:26

 

 

All I Want is to have a Peace of Mind

 

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“That I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.”  – Romans 15:32,33

I think if you were to ask the average person what their utopia would look like, they would begin with a change in their circumstances or a place where everyone is in perfect harmony. If we are dependent on other people’s actions to determine our “peace of mind” we put ourselves in a vulnerable position.

In a way, we find peace and joy when we fulfill the role of a believer in Christ. The Apostle Paul starts off Romans 15 with a picture of the body of Christ uniting by edifying, “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.” He’s telling us the road to contentment is not looking out for our own interests, but in being others-centered, seeing someone else’s needs and building them up.

I do believe that we must first be in a place where we are able to help. It may be that you or I need to be on the receiving end of the blessing, not to serve ourselves, but to become a part of the body in an effective way. When our motives are to “be better to make better,” then we can experience that peace of mind and comfort knowing we are a part of a healthy body.

This aspect of our walk can be an important part of the welfare of our inner man. The part that experiences the peace of God and fills our heart with joy. It’s not until we are convinced that God is able to preserve us and sustain our well-being that we then in turn edify one another.

Paul wraps up this powerful letter to the Romans after building a symbolic road that runs thru the issue with sin, the way to salvation, our sanctification process along with struggles, security, service and sacrifice. It’s a perfect set up to a maintenance of the church by keeping ourselves Christ-centered and others-centered in order to be salt and light to a lost world.

I believe before we can reach a world in need of such a great salvation, the church needs to do some housekeeping of its own. We are too quick to draw people into our fellowships that are not yet healthy. Maybe first get our house in order so we are well equipped to deliver a message without hypocrisy.

So, my prayer for you today is to experience that “Peace of mind” that only comes from a right relationship with Jesus. Amen!

Written by Rob Russomano: Rob Russomano is married to Terri, he is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and a full time staff member. He is also available as a speaker of the grace of God with a message of Hope for church events. You can contact him at rrussomano@americaskeswick.org.

The Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 43-48| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “A born-again person ought to possess unspeakable peace in the spirit.” – Watchman Nee

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

 

 

The Principle of 7:47? It’s Smell.

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“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown Me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”      – Luke 7:47 (NLT)

Maybe you already know the story that is found in Luke’s Gospel about the woman who was forgiven much and the Pharisee who was really awful when it came to showing Jesus any Middle Eastern hospitality. If you haven’t, then I suggest that you open the Bible, go to Luke 7:36-50, read it, and then come back to today’s Freedom Fighter. If you already have, then you can stay right where you are. With that outta the way, let’s get to the stench of hatred (bet ya didn’t see that coming.)

So, Dr. Charles Zimmerman was at Keswick recently and he gave a pretty good take on what it must have smelled like during the dinner party that was being thrown by Simon the Pharisee. The food smelled good while it was being cooked, and for all intents and purposes it had better been, because – after all – this guy is a religious leader in his community and serving anything that resembles McDonalds was just out of the question. But the one thing that was inescapable was the smell of body odor from all the people that came to this event…especially the odor of unwashed feet. You can read John 13 on the more important reason that we receive a foot washing from time to time. Anyway…

Now, the idea of this get together was to catch Jesus teaching blasphemies, and if that were to be found out, then fire-roasted food would be exchanged for some good ole fashioned sun baked rocks. But it doesn’t work out that way, does it? Au Contraire!! The smell of perfume, being poured on the feet of Jesus, from a woman who knows that everyone at that dinner party hates her, and hates her even being there among them, permeates the entire scene. Aahh…. the sweet smell of being loved and forgiven destroying the stench of hatred. Her sins—that were many—forgiven by The Savior!!

And it’s all because of The 7:47 Principle (as Max Lucado puts it.) This is “just like the jumbo jet, the 7:47 Principle has wide wings. Just like the aircraft, this truth can lift you to another level.” When you go back and reread the last part of today’s verse “But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love” could basically be said in this way, a person can’t give what they never received.

I gotta feel bad for that guy we read about in Matthew 18:23-35, simply because he didn’t feel as if he was truly forgiven of his debt. Even though he pleaded for forgiveness in the physical sense (like not being sold into slavery) his heart wasn’t right to receive it, hence we could say, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Ya see, all that guy wanted was to not be punished, and since this certain king wasn’t Jesus he couldn’t see his servant’s heart, but the woman with the perfume understood something deeper. If the Savior could see His way clear to exonerate her of her moral corruption, she could drop everything that was once hers (like that expensive bottle of perfume for example) and walk worthy as a child of The Most-High God.

Sometimes when we have wronged others, all we see is the punishment that we rightly deserve coming our way. It’s the ‘not getting it’ that vexes us and if we are unwilling to receive the forgiveness that comes from it we’ll become that wicked servant who saw himself in the man that owed a few dollars or like all those people that stunk up a dinner party thinking they were okay with God.

It’s my hope today that I smell like a forgiven person. Now, that may not always be the case. After all, I can also be “human, all too human” at times and fall short of the glory of God, but that doesn’t mean I can’t receive a foot washing. Once again, Au Contraire!! “God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:9-10). If I have any reverence for The Most-High God like I say I do, and I allow this simple truth to permeate my life, then I too may change the scent of the rooms I inhabit…and so can you. Amen?

Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.

The Daily Bible Reading: Proverbs 14-15| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “We preachers have been guilty of skipping the first step. “Love each other!” we tell our churches. “Be patient, kind, forgiving,” we urge. But instructing people to love without telling them they are loved is like telling them to write a check without our making a deposit in their accounts. No wonder so many relationships are overdrawn. Hearts have insufficient love.” — Max Lucado

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

 

 

 

 

No Words Necessary

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Prayer is the key… even if the only word we use is ‘help!’

In our daily lives, and even more so, when we are in ‘the crucible’ of pain, we are often at a loss for words that express our struggle. That’s not a problem when praying. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans that it’s not the words that matter as much as it’s the desire of our heart to strive with God that is important; and He handles the rest. Paul writes, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). Paul goes on to point out how important this is to the one whose faith is in God, because what we don’t know how to verbalize, the Spirit who ‘is harmony with God’ intercedes for us. He writes, “And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will” (8:27).

Don’t let not knowing what to say hold you back; reach for Christ’s outstretched hand and let His Spirit do the rest!

Choose wisely…

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’”

(John 16:13-15)

Praying 4 U

Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, and grandfather with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is a member of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 90-92| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “Beloved, I say, let your fears go, lest they make you fainthearted. Stop inspiring fear in those around you and now take your stand in faith. God has been good and He will continue to manifest His goodness. Let us approach these days expecting to see the goodness of the Lord manifest. Let us be strong and of good courage, for the Lord will fight for us if we stand in faith.” – Francis Frangipane

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” – James 5:16

Memorials are for Remembering

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I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes on this day. It speaks of ideas that often get lost as we individually and collectively press forward in facing challenges in life. Those ideas are discernment, perseverance, justice, and fortitude. Plato called these the ‘Cardinal Virtues’ because every other character trait hinged on these. In this day and age when we rage against things, both past and present that we don’t like, and we respond by tearing down statues and changing definitions as if this will make the struggle go away, we forget that these ‘Memorials’ are there to remind us of what we struggled against and in many cases, overcame by resorting to the cardinal virtues. Our founding fathers knew the struggle of slavery needed to be addressed when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. They also understood that they must establish the framework of foundation principles necessary to address this, and many other issues. If they failed to do so, nothing would ever change. So they declared that ‘all men were created equal’ by our Sovereign God, who established Natural Law, by which He endowed every human being with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It was on this precipice the both Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King struggled to raise this country up too… against all odds.

The ‘Memorials’ remind us of these struggles and what it took to play out the virtues of perseverance, discernment, justice, and fortitude. Tearing down statues and changing definitions that we don’t like and get in the way of our pursuit of our appetites, only diminishes what God intended us to be; and instead of rising to the heights of ‘virtue’, it causes us to wallow in the mud of self righteousness.

The ‘memorial’ of one ordinary man is brought to the forefront in this quote that reflects the inward struggle each of us deals with every day. That struggle is to do what’s right in the light of our Creator’s Law established in His design, or… to reject His perfect will and follow our own appetites. Obviously from the number of ‘Memorials’ we have and what each represents, this inward struggle is not an easy one, having caused individuals and nations to clash. But our God promises that “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chon 7:14)

Choose wisely….

“This is the first time in our history that this ceremony has been held on the West Front of the Capitol. Standing here, one faces a magnificent vista, opening up on this city’s special beauty and history. At the end of this open mall are those shrines to the giants on whose shoulders we stand. Directly in front of me, the monument to a monumental man. George Washington, father of our country. A man of humility who came to greatness reluctantly. He led America out of revolutionary victory into infant nationhood. Off to one side, the stately memorial to Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence flames with his eloquence. And then beyond the Reflecting Pool, the dignified columns of the Lincoln Memorial. Whoever would understand in his heart the meaning of America will find it in the life of Abraham Lincoln. Beyond dim monuments, monuments to heroism, is the Potomac River, and on the far shore the sloping hills of Arlington National Cemetery with its row upon row of simple white markers bearing crosses or Stars of David. They add up to only a tiny fraction of the price that has been paid for our freedom. Each one of those markers is a monument to the kind of hero I spoke of earlier. Their lives ended in places called Belleau Wood, the Argonne, Omaha Beach, Salerno and halfway around the world on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Pork Chop Hill, the Chosin Reservoir, and in a hundred rice paddies and jungles of a place called Vietnam. Under such a marker lies a young man, Martin Treptow, who left his job in a small town barber shop in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There, on the Western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire. We are told that on his body was found a diary. On the flyleaf under the heading, “My Pledge,” he had written these words: “America must win this war. Therefore I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.” The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that Martin Treptow and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together with God’s help we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans. God bless you and thank you. Thank you very much.”

   ~ Ronald Reagan

 

Praying 4 U

Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, and grandfather with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is a member of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.

The Daily Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 1-4| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “God wants to see prayers that are filled with genuine praise and thanksgiving for what He has done in the past. He wants our hearts to be filled with awe and gratitude for His blessings. He wants us to set up memorials in our hearts testifying to the provisions He has given us.” – Michael Youssef

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

God-Sized Assignments

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“May the God of peace make you holy through and through. May you be kept in soul and mind and body in spotless integrity until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is utterly faithful and he will finish what he has set out to do.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

I am sure you have been there. I know I have. God loves to call us to do things that are out of our comfort zones so that we find out quickly that apart from Him, we couldn’t do the assignment.

But here’s the good news – God will never call you to do something that He will not equip you to do.

Dr. Paul David Tripp in his daily devotional, New Morning Mercies, gives us some great illustrations:

  • Noah didn’t have the power to get all those animals into that ark, but the Lord provided what was necessary for it to happen.
  • Joseph didn’t have the ability to preserve his life and put himself in a position of power in Egypt, but the Lord made it happen.
  • Moses didn’t have what it takes to free the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, but the Lord empowered him to lead them to the Promised Land.
  • The Israelites didn’t have the means to get across the Red Sea, but the Lord parted the waters for them.
  • The pilgrims in the wilderness had no means of feeding and sustaining themselves, but the Lord provided everything they needed.
  • The children of Israel had no means of defeating the walled city of Jericho, but the Lord gave them victory.
  • David had no personal power to overcome Goliath, but the Lord gave him courage and strength in the Valley of Elah.
  • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had no ability to keep themselves from burning up in that fiery furnace, but the Lord preserved their lives.
  • The disciples had no means of feeding the hungry crowd that had gathered to hear Jesus, but he fed them well from a little boy’s lunch.
  • Paul had no ability to preserve himself and those who were with him from shipwreck, but the Lord exercised his power so that none were lost.
  • The apostles had no ability to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the known world, but the Lord gifted them and provided for them so that they could do so.

And my guess is that you could think of dozen more illustrations from Scripture.

I can think of numerous times in my life, including assuming my position at America’s Keswick 20 years ago, where I laughed at myself when called upon to do something that where I knew that I would be in over my head.

When the Board interviewed me for the position, I really didn’t think I even had a chance to make in the finals – but when it happened and I realized what I had signed on for – well, I remember thinking “You’ve got to be kidding, Welte – who are you fooling – you can’t do this.”

It was at that time I read the verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 – “Faithful is He who call you, who will also do it.”

I realized that moment – I can’t, but if HE called me to this GOD-SIZED assignment, He would do it in and through me.

D.L. Moody, George Mueller, Oswald Chambers, Dr. Bob Pierce (World Vision), Billy Graham, William Raws – were all men who received God-sized assignments and learned that the God who called is the One who equipped them for the task.

Paul Tripp reminds us: “You and I have no natural abilities to rise up and do what God calls us to do, but He refuses to leave us to our own resources. He is not so unwise, unkind, or unfaithful as to ever call us to a task without enabling us to do it.”

Has He called you to do a God-sized task? Fear not, my brother – If He called you – He will also do it so that ONLY HE will get the credit for HIS glory.

Rejoice! Pray! Give thanks!

Bill Welte D.D.
President/CEO of America’s Keswick

Written by Dr. Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick: Bill has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 11 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

The Daily Bible Reading: Leviticus 25-27| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Think About This: “God will call you to do what YOU cannot do, but will provide EVERYTHING you need to do it.” — Paul David Tripp

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25