Let Your Conscience be your Guide?

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“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, That He may abide with you forever…” – John 14:16

Most of us remember the advice given from Jiminy Cricket to his buddy Pinocchio. Unfortunately, Pinocchio didn’t always take heed to the council from his little friend and he found himself in some precarious situations.

Now, I’m not sure you’ll find the verse that says “let your conscience be your guide” without first making sure your conscience is being directed by the Holy Spirit. I remember that, as a new believer in Christ, I would often misinterpret my lack of peace as peculiar and unordinary. It seemed as though it would bother me more than usual when I was not doing the right thing. I felt as though I was being haunted by my words and actions. I remember thinking to myself “that never bothered me before.” I was sharing my recent experiences with some of the guys from the church I was attending, it was like I just told them a joke. They all began to chuckle and with nodding heads they explained to me conviction. One guy jokingly said “I used to be able to go out and live like the devil, then Jesus came and ruined everything.” We laughed and that became a teachable moment that I share with others to this day.

In the two letters Paul wrote to Timothy, he referred to the conscience 5 times in the NKJV, four times about having a good or pure conscience and once about those who “having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.” I believe it’s important to be sensitive to God’s Holy Spirit in order to faithfully walk according to His will. Unfortunately, I know it’s possible to ignore to nudging that we receive when we are in the flesh. Like the ignoring of the pain that comes from using a tool with soft sensitive skin, if we continue, we develop a callous that prevents us from feeling the discomfort.

When we are prompted by the Spirit of God it can sometimes put us in an awkward position, there are times when God calls us to share His word with someone or speak out against an injustice that may cause conflict. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether we want to please man or God. I’ve heard it said “I would rather please God and have man against me then to please man and have God against me.” I’m not sure how biblical that is, but I do know that I’ve lost sleep over not doing what I believe to be what God wanted me to do or not do.

These thoughts are not exhaustive and should never take the place of a daily Bible reading. My prayer is that by writing these devotionals it will only cause you to dig deeper into God’s word. I will purposely leave out a number of referring scriptures to prompt you to pull out your Bible and connect with God through His word.

So if you have the Holy Spirit of God actively working in your life then I can say “Let your conscience be your guide”. Amen!

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.

 

 

Church? Where is Church?

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“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”  Matthew 16:18 (NKJV)

Where is the church today? Well, there seems to be about 2,000 different professing Christian “church organizations” in buildings all across America who say they are “a church” but none dare to call themselves “the church” that Jesus declared He was building some 2,000 years ago. Now that doesn’t answer the location question, but it does speak to the volume of churches we seem to have available. So, are any of them the “wrong church” to go to? Well I bet you just answered that question faster than I just typed it. I mean just turn on the idiot box (that’s TV in English) and you can see a-many of them with the press of a button. But that’s not church, now is it?

Maybe you’re sitting there saying, “They can’t all be wrong” but then by the same token they can’t all be right either. So where is the church that Jesus Christ built? Well, it is on the Earth today, but how do we find it, what do we look for, how do we identify it, and how do we know if we see it are all questions that we must ask ourselves. And if I may be so daring, I would also say that if you look to building/organization as source to locate the church, then I may have to say you’re as lost as I am with the question of where is the church today. Going to “church” has been a part of me for a long time, both Catholic and Protestant, and I am still trying to grasp the entire concept of the church that Jesus Christ, Himself, built.

For the sake of context, open your Bibles and turn to Luke 12 and read verses 22-40…got it? Good. I would like to zone in on verse 32, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” Now the challenge here is to figure out who is this “little flock.” Matthew Henry would say of the matter, “If we value the beauty of holiness, we shall not crave the luxuries of life. Let us then examine whether we belong to this little flock.” So, if we were to run ourselves through Luke 12:22-40, do we find ourselves caring too much for the stuff that has no eternal value? Then maybe we’re not in the little flock and if that is the case are we finding churches that would convict us if we do…hmm?

David C. Pack wrote this quote in his book, Where Is The True Church?, “The respected and accepted churches of this world are so because they teach the popular doctrines and traditions, familiar to the masses.” Then he does go on to say, “By no means could any of these well-known denominations of professing Christianity be considered a “little flock.”’ But I am still scratching my head because I don’t see anything wrong with a little flock here and a little flock there. Kinda like if I said I belong to the Church in Mays Landing NJ. It doesn’t give a denominational name, just the fact that I identify with a group of people who understand what Jesus said in the passage from Luke I mentioned earlier on in today’s Freedom Fighter.

So…I know that I don’t answer the question “Where is the church today” but I am going to start figuring out a few things that, over the next few Freedom Fighters, I will be sharing with you. The titles may different from time to time. but the subject of ‘the church’ will be the content. I may even take a daring dabble at those seven churches found in the Book of Revelation. There is something about them that seems to say so much and since they are being addressed by Jesus Christ Himself there is no better source to go with my question than to the Man Himself. 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 4| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “The church has lost her testimony. She has no longer anything to say to the world. Her once robust shout of assurance has faded away to an apologetic whisper. She who one time went out to declare now goes out to inquire. Her dogmatic declaration has become a respectful suggestion, a word of religious advice, given with the understanding that it is after all only an opinion and not meant to sound bigoted.” — A.W. Tozer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“Now, my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 6:40

 

 

 

Ridiculous Shame

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“The more guilt and shame that we have buried within ourselves, the more compelled we feel to seek relief through sin.” ― Brennan Manning

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
~ Isaiah, oracle of Jesus, in Isaiah 61

Oh beloved, it is true.

There is something about us that is nearly as bad as our sin. We are, each of us, once made alive in Him, terribly sensitive to our failure(s). And some of this is good. But some of this is terribly bad for us.

Shame.

Now, before any of you brothers go off and think that i am saying otherwise, read this first. Sin is a terrible idea. The very wrath of G_d is revealed against it, for those who choose to stay in it. But, even here, the truth of the problem presents itself.

However, G_d is different than us. Utterly. Completely.

His ways are so much higher than our ways as to put our ways of thinking, if you will pardon the pun, to shame. So yes, the wrath of G_d is revealed against our sin. But not because He is angry about some sort of misbehavior. No, G_d sets about destroying anything, anything at all that will keep us away from Him.

He has already destroyed death. He has already set us free. He has already brought comfort to our mourning. He has already poured the Oil of His Very Own Spirit out onto us, and worked it into our formerly dead soul. He has crowned us with the wreathes of His own victory on our behalf. He has already planted us within Himself that we might bear much fruit.

So, His wrath is something different. His wrath is, in this life, the rage a Father would rightly feel against those things that will bring hurt to His child. His wrath is that which would destroy the things that destroy us. And His wrath, on That Terrible Day, will be His righteous bewilderment at our rejection of His Great Love.

In a similar way, shame is a mindset that is nearly as bad as how short-sightedly we view G_d’s wrath. It is an approach that comes straight out of the lowlands of our flesh.  And shame over our sin (as opposed to a robust rejection of our old man, and his ways), is only bound to take us right back into more falling short of His glory.

Can we see it?

Shame is a fleshly reaction to sin. Shame is the irredeemable reaction to the failure of our irredeemable flesh. And, since it is fallen, the flesh is not going to give us a good answer about how to handle our sin. Rather, flesh will always try to add a little more effort. And, when that always fails (it will ALWAYS FAIL), will default over to self comfort…

And further, since flesh is lazy, it will often take us right back into the behavior over which we originally had the sense of shame. How crazy is this? And you, dear reader, may think this fool of a writer is missing it. But, take a moment and consider: How has shame ever truly helped you (or me) move beyond sin in our own lives?

So, yes: Sin is a terrible idea. Sin separates us from G_d. Sin eats away at our peace. Sin pulls us away from our true identity. But, the answer is not a fleshly and shameful response to our flesh and its shameful behavior.

Rather, the response must be from a much higher place – the place of The Spirit – where we are already one with Him. For, in the spirit, we have begun to know just who we are. And, in knowing that we are already planted by Him, in fields that will bear eternal fruit, we have no need for feeling far away and hiding in our shame. Nor do we have to listen to shame’s idiotic cries for us to try and bring the same destructive “comfort” to ourselves, that shamed us in the first place.

Tonight is your night, beloved. Time to face your failures the right way: the way of The Spirit.

Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 69-71| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “Shame is a soul eating emotion.” ~ Carl Gustav Jung

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“Now, my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 6:40

 

At What Cost?

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“There is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience”   ~ MLK

What will you let defeat you today? And at what cost will you be vanquished?

Standing up for what is true against any opposition takes a unique person. To stand against the flood of negativity and criticism that rolls down like a mighty current, to stand back up after a blow to the gut or a broken heart, takes a person who knows in whom and what he believes. It’s easy to live in a vacuum when there is nothing to bring you down… but what about when you must decide between your friends and your belief in the Gospel? How about when what you love the most is taken away, will you still trust our God then?

When faced with their own death for holding on to their faith, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stated, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”” (Daniel 3:17-18)

Can you say that with them… “But even if He doesn’t?” If God doesn’t do what you expect or desire, would He still be your hope? I am not talking about giving Him platitudes… saying all the right things others expect you to say, but will your life sing out with the affirmation of our Savior, “But thy will be done”…?

What enables one to stand fast like these men and others like a Martin Luther who said, “Here I stand; I can do no other so help me God.” Or a John Bunyan, “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a mockery of my conscience.” How about Abraham Lincoln who risked everything because he believed, “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” All these men knew a God ‘who was “known.'” No platitudes, no half-hearted beliefs, and no backing down… “Even if He does not save us.” These men along with Paul, “knew in whom they believed, and were convinced that He (God) is able to guard what they had entrusted to Him (their lives) until that day of His return.” (1 Tim 1:12)  Does your life reflect that kind of fortitude and character or are you just one of the crowd who accepts the graces of God when it is easy and falters when the heat turns up?

Be what God intended you to be, relying on His grace that you will ‘know’ either in this life or the next. Be extraordinary, ‘even if…’

Choose wisely…

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.” (Psalms 37:4-6)

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 Kings 10-13| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “If we walk away from risk to keep ourselves safe, we will waste our lives.” – John Piper

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“Now, my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 6:40

I WANT TO KNOW HIM (PART 4)

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[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] … Philippians 3:10 Amplified Bible

Welcome to this new week of Freedom Fighter blogs. I am thankful for the men who faithfully join me each week in writing to encourage you in your walk with the Lord.

For the past several Mondays, we have been digging into Philippians 3:10 and conversing about wanting to KNOW HIM.

This week I want to share that KNOWING HIM IS A PAINFUL EXPERIENCE. It’s not the part that we necessarily want to sign up for, do we?  But if we are going to REALLY know Him, suffering is part of the package.

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?  Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” 1 Peter 4:12-19

Brothers, will you consider these five talking points?

  1. Suffering is the will of God.
  2. Suffering draws us closer to Christ.
  3. Suffering purifies us.
  4. Suffering is part of the conforming process that Christ uses to make is more like Him.
  5. Suffering is never in vain.
  6. Suffering is for a season.

I will take the next couple of Mondays to unpack this truth. We all have been there and if you haven’t suffered, there’s no way you are getting out of your earth suit without going through something in your life.

2 Corinthians 12:10 “Therefore I take pleasure in being without strength, being insulted, experiencing emergencies, and being chased and forced into a corner for Christ’s sake; for when I am without strength, I am DYNAMITE!”Have a blessed week.

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 10 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

The Daily Bible Reading: Leviticus 1-3| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Think About This: Don’t give in to fear today. The Lord Almighty is your Savior, and He is with you in whatever you’re facing and wherever you go. Paul David Tripp

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“Now, my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 6:40

 

Expect Illumination

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“You will show me the path of life,
In Your presence is fullness of joy’
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

-Psalm 16:11

 

The scene was a hotel late at night. After getting our room key, we took the elevator up to the floor of our room. The strange thing was when the elevator opened, the hallway was pitch black. We went back down to the desk and informed the hotel staff of the problem. He chuckled and said, “Just take a step out of the elevator, and the lights will come on”. Sure enough, as we walked to our room there were sensors that activated the lights and illuminated our path.

I was thinking about this scenario as I read the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts. It’s quoted of David by Peter when referring to the resurrection of Christ. David prophesies of the “The path of life” and trusts “You will show me.” I wonder if Jesus was thinking of this verse when questioning God and asking “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done”?

I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” When the road of faith isn’t too bright and I’m not sure where it leads, the Bible seems to teach that if we “walk as unto the Lord” we should expect illumination. Just like the hotel clerk instructed me to take that step off the elevator and lights will come on, how much more should we walk in the counsel of God and expect divine illumination? Illumination is simply god’s word revealed to us as we need it. How many times do you find yourself in a situation where the Word of God gives a clear picture and can be applied? Being mindful of scripture and always being ready to give a reason for the Hope found in you will turn on the next set of lights and provide you with a clear path.

So, today if you find yourself seeking after God but can see where your next step will take you, walk, and “expect illumination.” 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: Lamentations| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “When you live in the light of eternity, your values change.” – Rick Warren

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” – 2 Kings 6:17

 

 

 

 

Your Door Goes With You

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“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” – Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)

When looking at the opening verse for today, theologian Pastor John Gill thought that the phrase of ‘standing at the door’ may be expressive of the near approach, or sudden coming of Christ to judgement. That His knocking may signify the notice that will be given of it, in order to wake up those in a general sleepiness which has seized all professors of religion. That the hearing of His voice will be in the appearances of things and providences in the world. That opening the door shows the readiness for the coming of Christ and when He comes in He will find hearts with grace on them, His righteousness upon them, ready to be taken into the marriage chamber so that He may shut the door on the rest and leads those who were ready to the fountains of living water (or something along those lines.)

And I will not dispute this interpretation from this fine Baptist preacher, nor will I go into any deep discussion about how the church of Laodicea was the worst of the Seven Churches, neither will I even consider going into a thought process of “End Times” with today’s verse. However, I will say this…that door goes with you. And, if there was a perfect illustration of what I am talking about with that statement, it is the story of Zaccheus, “Le Gros Fromage” of tax collectors in Jericho…and all the people in the House went “HUH?”, now turn to Luke 19:1-10, read it, and let’s continue, shall we?

Jesus shows up at Jericho and, as usual, there is quite a crowd around Him, but there is this small guy named Zaccheus that wants to see what this Jesus is all about. He runs ahead of the crowd and climbs a sycamore tree to get a better look. Now the thing to note here about Zaccheus is that he is considered a traitor to his own community because he was lucky enough to collect tax revenue for the Roman Empire, so if he falls outta that tree NOBODY is gonna care…but Jesus does. “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5b). Knock, knock…if anyone hears My voice and opens the door? What do we read in verse 6? “And he hurried and came down, and received Him gladly.”

The door to Zaccheus’ heart was with him when he climbed that sycamore tree and maybe, just maybe, he had heard about Jesus before He arrived at Jericho. Zaccheus knew who he was to people of the community he lived in (I bet they vocalized it every time he went to go collect the Roman tax from them) and I would venture to say that Zaccheus hated what those people saw him as on the outside of his heart. When Jesus beckons him to come down from an unsafe place the first thing Zaccheus wants to do is repent. “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:9a) and since Jesus has become a guest of Zaccheus, there is gonna be a meal. I wonder what it was like for Zaccheus to pass bread to Jesus, then have Jesus pass it back to him? Hmm…. anyway.

Yeah, I know that may have been a stretch for some of you who think that what is read in the Book of Revelation is meant for futuristic events, but for me it was about the door. Jesus has said He is “the door of the sheep” (John10:7-9) but that is when we become His and enter into His rest. WE still have to open the doors of our hearts and let Him in so He can take us to that place of rest.

No matter where we go, the door of our hearts go with us. Once Jesus has made His place in our hearts, we need to remember that many will come knocking wondering what is about our “house” that brings us peace. Now it may take an act of courage (and for some of us an Act of Congress) to open our doors, let them in and show them to the One who brought us that peace, but none the less we shouldn’t and we can’t keep Jesus Christ locked up in our little world. Yes, Jesus made a pit stop at Jericho and found an opened door, but He had to keep going onward to Jerusalem. There was something that needed to be done. I wonder if Zaccheus tagged along? Hmmm…

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 2-3| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “The message of Christ lays hold upon a man with the intention to alter him, to mold him again after another image and make of him something altogether different from what he had been before.” — Aiden Wilson Tozer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” – 2 Kings 6:17

 

 

 

I Reckon…

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“Likewise, reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:11)

When I’m in the company of southern or country folk they tend to use terminology that specifically or exclusively tie back to their roots, and they will naturally have conversation only they can completely decipher. For instance, the phrases “fixin,” “y’all,” “over yonder”, “what in tarnation” and the like, if you are from the south you understand the meanings of these phrases and their intended purposes. ‘Reckon’ is one those words coined by south and has adopted a southern twang and usually means ‘I think’ but is that the same understanding Paul uses here in Romans?

Reckoning in this passage has more sustenance to the meaning than the typically southern undertone. Paul is encouraging the saints, after their gospel revelations, to logically consider yourselves dead to sin. This is bottom-line; you aren’t governed by the old man in addition, we are to consider ourselves new, moreover alive in Christ. This is the logical step after fully understanding God’s grace and love. Reckoning is a process, but it is also can be an event; if you believe.

What would be the level of freedom if the believer whole-heartedly reckoned themselves dead, and allow the new person to fully emerge. Reckoning, or another way put; God’s Word as the bottom line, allows us to explore these endless possibilities of course it will take the yielding to the indwelled Holy Spirit, but it’s worth it.  “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not comparable to the coming glory to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

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 66-68| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “We must desire to be separated unto the Lord from the world and its evil system. We must reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. This is true positionally, but it can be made true in our spiritual life only as we yield to the Holy Spirit’s control.” – Theodore Epp

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” – 2 Kings 6:17

What is the Need of the Hour?

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I believe it is an army of soldiers, dedicated to Jesus Christ, who believe not only that He is God, but that He can fulfill every promise He has ever made, and that there isn’t anything too hard for Him.” ~ Dawson Trotman

Man’s problem is his desire for autonomy. We want so desperately for all of this life to be about ourselves. This desire is so great we will risk everything for autonomy, even our eternal souls. Think of the lies we believe about our origin, worth, and destiny. Consider the blind faith necessary to claim that we are all the product of unguided time and chance? No, this life is not about us, but about the One who created us and to Him belongs all the glory.

Yet, in Our God’s loving-kindness, He has created us to participate in love, as well as all the other aspects of His image and divine nature.

God has provided everything necessary for us to do this (2 Peter 1:3). But it must be done in accordance with His perfect design. This is because He is Holy. We are not messing with trivial things here and we should choose wisely how we proceed. The idea of God is Absolute Perfection… a consuming fire that burns in intense purity. It is not a question of God being right, but that He is the very definition of right, truth, justice, beauty, goodness, fortitude, faith, hope, and love.

Therefore, there is but one way into participating in His design and that is through the “Door” of Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is “The Way, The Truth, and The Life, no one comes to the Father (Absolute Perfection) but by Him” (John 14:6). This is why Jesus said, “you must pick up your cross and follow me”, And Paul amplified that by stating, “I am crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives within me, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”(Gal 2:20)

You want to meet the need of the hour? Do you wish to know ‘happiness’ as in contentment in this life? The answer is not found in the pursuit of autonomy, but through faith in Jesus Christ. Lay down your own will and pick up His, by faith, and you will be participating in Our Heavenly Father’s extraordinary love, and it will set your heart free.

Choose wisely

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

(1 John 4:9-10)

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 Kings 5-9| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “Adoration is the spontaneous yearning of the heart to worship, honor, magnify, and bless God. We ask nothing but to cherish him. We seek nothing but his exaltation. We focus on nothing but his goodness.” – Richard J. Foster

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” – 2 Kings 6:17

I WANT TO KNOW HIM (PART 3)

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 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] … Philippians 3:10 Amplified Bible

A few weeks ago was Memorial Day and I trust you took a few moments to remember the men and women who have served our country to preserve and protect our freedom – freedoms that are fragile right now, but freedom nonetheless.

Today I want to share the second major implication in KNOWING HIM. Last week we looked at knowing Him being a personal experience. Today I want to share about knowing Him being a POWERFUL experience.

Sometimes we describe an event, a message we have heard at church, or a book we have read that impacted our lives as being POWERFUL. Last Sunday our Pastor delivered a POWERFUL word from Romans 9.

I want to suggest to you as we begin this new week of Freedom Fighter blogs, that knowing Jesus is a POWERFUL experience. Paul loves this word “power” and uses if frequently in His letters. In fact he uses it 44 times.

In most cases the word “power” is the word “dunamis” which is the word we get dynamite from. It’s resurrection. It’s not our power – it is power that is His and His alone. The word is used 120 times in the New Testament:

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
First Corinthians 1:22–24: “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
Second Corinthians 4:7: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
Second Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Ephesians 3:20–21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Second Timothy 1:7: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

This is power to live the victorious Christian life through Christ.
This is power to deal with sin in our life.
This is power to combat the enemy of our souls.
This is power to share the Gospel.

Paul wants you and me to experience HIS power in a POWERFUL way. Take a moment right now and ask Him to show you HIS power this week in your life.

Have a blessed week.

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 10 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

The Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 37-40| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Think About This: “The same power that brought Christ back from the dead is operative within those who are Christ’s. The resurrection is an on-going thing.” – Leon Morris

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” – 2 Kings 6:17