lion lying in the cave

Throw THEM To The Lions (see if they like it)!!!

lion lying in the cave

“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-2 (NLT)

Every morning that I am allowed to arise, I realize one simple truth…I really ain’t nothing too special. Oh, I may be privileged with being one of Bill Welte’s Freedom Fighter writers but in the very basics of the day … I am nothing too special. I wake up telling myself it’s a good day to die to self, but in that I’ll have a moment of failure. I will understand that I am to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God. But then I find myself huffin’-n-puffin’ towards somebody’s Grandmother at the grocery store while she sifts through her coupons after they ring her up (don’t go to Wal-Mart with me). I’ll love the LORD my GOD with everything I got, but loving that coworker is gonna be the end of what little bit of patience I got. Who can save me from this body of death?!

Then I turn on the news…I may not be so bad after all (now don’t quote me on that).

First thing I gotta acknowledge is today’s passage of Scripture. It was written a really long time ago by a guy who once thought himself the bees-knees when it came to Kingdom principles. But one encounter on the road to Damascus with the Jesus later and his life was radically changed. His ministry focused in on how to follow what Christ taught and how to apply His principles in your everyday life. Now this warning that he wrote to a younger man had been written during a time period in history when the Roman Empire’s methods of attrition were considered worthy of a Saturday afternoon matinee, all done to entertain some poor excuse of a god/Emperor named Caesar and those who were to worship him. Now it’s a few thousand years later … and ya know what? This kinda behavior hasn’t gone away.

So, with that, I can’t say that everything’s bad out there in Hollywood, but what I can say is the theology that is coming out of there is idolatry on steroids. It truly believes that it is the compass pointer for good moral conduct and is in a tizzy over the President-elect. Now in the world of politics we’ve got “elected public servants” who have forgotten they are “elected public servants” and are right in step with that Hollywood mentality. They both argue the definition of “role model” without regard to what behavioral pattern they’re attaching to and both Hollywood and Washington D.C. are acting like the rest of us will fall apart without them. I say…THROW THEM TO THE LIONS and see if their god/gods will save them.

Alright, so maybe that won’t happen to them (still…might do them some good) but it did happen to a guy named Daniel. Daniel lived in time that can pretty much reflect our own. A law was signed that ALL praise and worship was to be given to King Darius the Mede but was really intended to remove Daniel from his position in King Darius’ government. Daniel had a moral code that was God honoring and he did whatever he could to maintain it. Of course, those of us who know the story remember that Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den. But the coolest part of this is that the GOD he gave his praise and worship to protected him and convinced King Darius that Daniel’s God was truly GOD.

And I believe this is the position we’re gonna have to take. Things are looking pretty iffy out there in Secularland. It seems that they are willing to devour their own just to have a say so but that doesn’t mean and shouldn’t mean it has to be us. If we open The Book that the citizens of Secularland wish we would keep closed, we will find this encouragement; “They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:8b-9)

Remember my brothers (and sisters) that this race isn’t meant for the swift, its meant for the strong and if your strength has its foundation built on the ROCK that is Jesus Christ you will run until it’s time to go home. 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: Joshua 16-20 | You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “Now brethren, this is one of our greatest faults in our Christians lives. We are allowing too many rivals of God. We actually have too many gods. We have too many irons in the fire. We have too much theology we don’t understand. We have too much churchly institutionalism. We have too much religion. Actually, I guess we just have too much of too much.” —A.W. Tozer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

 

the man and the element

Are You In the Midst of a Struggle

Opposition

Good morning and welcome to this new week of Freedom Fighter blogs. We are so thankful that you partner with us and trust each day you are encouraged in your walk with God.

I have talked to so many people recently who have shared that they are in the midst of some intense struggles. We are in the midst of some challenges at America’s Keswick.

This week I was reading a blog from Sermon Central and a pastor shared this powerful prayer that they have been reading together as a church. It was one of those things too good to not pass on.

So if you are finding yourself in the heat of the battle, I would encourage you to pray this prayer. It’s a little long, but I believe it is worth your time this morning.

BELIEVER’S WARFARE PRAYER

(To be read aloud)

Heavenly Father, I bow in worship and praise before You. I cover myself with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ as my protection. I surrender myself completely and unreservedly in every area of my life to You. I take a stand against all the workings of Satan that would hinder me in my prayer life. I address myself only to the True and Living God and refuse any involvement of Satan in my prayer.

(I command Satan, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to leave my presence with all of his demons. I bring the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ between Satan and myself.)

Heavenly Father, I worship You and give You praise. I recognize that You are worthy to receive all glory and honor and praise. I renew my allegiance to You and pray that the Blessed Holy Spirit would enable me in this time of prayer. I am thankful, Heavenly Father, that You have loved me from past eternity and that You sent the Lord Jesus Christ into the world to die as my substitute. I am thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ came as my representative and that through Him You have completely forgiven me. You have adopted me into Your family; You have assumed all responsibility for me; You have given me eternal life; You have given me the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ so I am now justified. I am thankful that in Him You have made me complete, and that You have offered Yourself to me to be my daily help and strength.

Heavenly Father, open my eyes that I might see how great You are and how complete Your provision is for this day. I am thankful that the victory the Lord Jesus Christ won for me on the Cross and in His Resurrection has been given to me and that I am seated with the Lord Jesus Christ in the heavenlies. I take my place with Him in the heavenlies and recognize by faith that all wicked spirits and Satan himself are under my feet. I declare, therefore, that Satan and his wicked spirits are subject to me in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for the Armor You have provided. I put on the Girdle of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Sandals of Peace, and the Helmet of Salvation. I lift up the Shield of Faith against all the fiery darts of the enemy; and take in my hand the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. I choose to use Your Word against all the forces of evil in my life. I put on this Armor and live and pray in complete dependence upon You, Blessed Holy Spirit.

I am grateful, Heavenly Father, that the Lord Jesus Christ spoiled all principalities and powers and made a show of them openly and triumphed over them in Himself. I claim all that victory for my life today. I reject all the insinuations, and accusations, and the temptations of Satan. I affirm that the Word of God is true and I choose to live today in the light of God’s Word. I choose, Heavenly Father, to live in obedience to You and in fellowship with Yourself. Open my eyes and show me the areas of my life that do not please You. Work in me to cleanse me from all ground that would give Satan a foothold against me. I do in every way stand into all that it means to be Your adopted child and I welcome all the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

By faith and in dependence upon You I put off the old man and stand into all the victory of the Crucifixion where the Lord Jesus Christ provided cleansing from the old nature. I put on the new man and stand into all the victory of the Resurrection and the provision He has made for me to live above sin.

Therefore, today I put off the old nature with its selfishness and I put on the new nature with its love. I put off the old nature with its fear and I put on the new nature with its courage. I put off the old nature with its weakness and I put on the new nature with its strength. I put off the old nature with all its deceitful lusts and I put on the new nature with its righteousness, purity, and honesty.

In every way I stand into the victory of the ascension and glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ, whereby all the principalities and powers were made subject to Him. I claim my place in Christ as victorious with Him over all the enemies of my soul. Blessed Holy Spirit, I pray that You would fill me. Come into my life, break down every idol and cast out every foe.

I am thankful, Heavenly Father, for the expression of Your will for my daily life as You have shown me in Your Word. I therefore, claim all the will of God for today. I am thankful that You have blessed me with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I am thankful that You have begotten me unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I am thankful that You have made a provision so that today I can live filled with the Spirit of God with love and joy and peace, with longsuffering, gentleness and goodness, with meekness, faithfulness, and self-control in my life. I recognize that this is Your will for me and I therefore reject and resist all the endeavors of Satan and his wicked spirits to rob me of the will of God. I refuse in this day to believe my feelings and I hold up the shield of faith against all the accusations and distortion and insinuations that Satan would put into my mind. I claim the fullness of the will of God for my life today.

In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ I completely surrender myself to You, Heavenly Father, as a living sacrifice. I choose not to be conformed to this world. I choose to be transformed by the renewing of my mind, and I pray that You would show me Your will and enable me to walk in all the fullness of Your will today.

I am thankful, Heavenly Father, that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, to the casting down of imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and to bring every thought into obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, in my own life today I tear down the strongholds of Satan and smash the plans of Satan that have been formed against me. I tear down the strongholds of Satan against my mind, and I surrender my mind to You, Blessed Holy Spirit. I affirm, Heavenly Father, that You have not given me the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. I break and smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my emotions today and I give my emotions to You. I smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my will today, I give my will to You, and choose to make the right decisions of faith. I smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my body today, I give my body to You recognizing that I am Your temple. I rejoice in Your mercy and goodness.

Heavenly Father, I pray that now and through this day You would strengthen and enlighten me, show me the way Satan is hindering and tempting and lying and distorting the truth in my life. Enable me to be the kind of person that would please You. Enable me to be aggressive in prayer and faith.

Enable me to be aggressive mentally, to think about and practice Your Word, and to give You Your rightful place in my life.

Again, I cover myself with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and pray that You, Blessed Holy Spirit, would bring all the work of the Crucifixion, all the work of the Resurrection, all the work of the Glorification, and all the work of Pentecost into my life today. I surrender myself to You. I refuse to be discouraged. You are the God of all hope. You have proven Your power by resurrecting Jesus Christ from the dead, and I claim in every way this victory over all Satanic forces in my life. I pray in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ with thanksgiving. Amen.

© Victor Matthews, Emeritus Professor of Theology at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary.

I will be praying for you, too.

Written by Dr. Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick: He 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: Genesis 8-11 | You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: Do not work so hard for Christ that you have no strength to pray, for prayer requires strength. ~J. Hudson Taylor

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. Psalm 28:7

Holy Bible

It’s Not Too Late

Holy Bible

“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.”- Matthew 21:28

How do you do when the battle is raging? I mean, when we have our moments of flesh vs Spirit. I am grateful for an Advocate we have to the Father that allows the the Spirit of God to work in our lives.

One of God’s attributes is He is long suffering, patiently waiting for the process of conviction to have its way with us. Our first response to God should always be “Yes Lord,” but the truth of the matter is when there is a delay, He is willing to wait for us to turn and respond to His calling and direction.

The parable Jesus presents to the chief priests and the elders is a story of two sons, one whom his father told “son, go, work in my vineyard,” in which the first sons response was “‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went.” It goes on to say, “Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go.” This parable was told to compare the tax collectors and harlots (first son) to the chief priests and the elders (second son) and lays out preference between the two.

Which of the two did the will of his father?” If you have heard God tell you to do something and it’s eating you up inside, turn around, go back and do it. When you do you have done the will of the Father. The alternative is a state of denial which usually leads us to confusion. We can sometimes in our mind be saying “I will go” but in our hearts we never intended to show up. It’s the same old story of lip service vs actions. I believe God takes pleasure when He sees one of His children turn back and be willing to obey.

I can only imagine the mixed emotions this father had when he saw the resistant son at work and the willing son a “no show.” Sometimes it’s not the way we get there, it’s that we end up where we need to be. There is an aroma of sweetness when the outcome is in line with the will of the Father.

So, if you are still headed in the wrong direction, turn around, go back and fulfill the call of God. 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: Isaiah 12-17| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “There’s some task which the God of all the universe, the great Creator, your redeemer in Jesus Christ has for you to do, and which will remain undone and incomplete until by faith and obedience you step into the will of God.” – Alan Redpath

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, And my soul, which You have redeemed. Psalm 71:23

   

 

Heart from a book page against a beautiful sunset.

To Love At All Is To Be Vulnerable

 

Book heart

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ~ C.S. Lewis

We use the words from time to time.. ‘I love you’.. but what do we mean by them? Is it that we are happy you are there for us, that you provide stuff that takes the pressure off of us? Do we mean ‘you give and I receive and that makes everything alright’? When we say we ‘love’ someone is there any understanding of the sacrifice they made to provide for us? Do we comprehend the time they forfeited even to listen to our struggle or worries? Is there gratitude in those words… sincerity or even authenticity? It’s easy to say the words, ‘I love you’ but the authenticity of them lies not in the words themselves, but in our actions.

John writes to the Believers – those enjoying the fruits of God’s gift of His Son who died in our place, bearing God’s wrath towards all sin, he testified, “But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.” (1 John 2:5)

Love and obedience are inseparable, intertwined in a way that you can’t have one without the other. The true measure of our love is exposed through our willingness to make ourselves vulnerable to another’s word. We do this by putting off our own desires and making a priority, those ‘words’ or ‘ideas’ of another. John explains that the evidence that we truly know or understand the gift of God, in His Son, is that we not just enjoy His benefits, but put into action His will in obedience to His Word.

Love is a choice to make yourself vulnerable to another. It’s not a reckless choice to abandon your welfare, but to be consumed by another who has proven worthy of such a response. As for God… He so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life… and He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things.” (John 3:16, Romans 8:32)

Is God worthy of your love? Does your life reflect that love?

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: Job 5-6 | You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “Power, no matter how well-intentioned, tends to cause suffering. Love, being vulnerable, absorbs it. In a point of convergence on a hill called Calvary, God renounced the one for the sake of the other.”– Philip Yancey

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, And my soul, which You have redeemed. Psalm 71:23

 

A man looks up with arms raised. See related images below:

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The Blessing of the Latter Rains

A man embracing the coming rain

We always make the fatal mistake of thinking that it is what we do that matters, when really what matters is what we let God do to us. God sent the angel to Mary, not to ask her to do something, but to let something be done. Since God is a better artisan than you, the more you abandon yourself to him, the happier he can make you.
~Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things! Fear not, you beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and vine give their full yield. “Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God, for He has given the early rain for your vindication; He has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. “The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, My great army, which I sent among you. “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. And My people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And My people shall never again be put to shame. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out My Spirit.
~ from Joel 2

Oh beloved, it is true.

The Christian Life seems to be two different things. Or, at least something like two different seasons.

The first season is better understood. This is when we come to understand that we have indeed fallen short of the glory of G_d. We are broken about this. And in coming to understand that our sins are many, and our need is great, He meets us right there. He forgives our sins, and our eternal destiny is made secure in Him. Some people stop there, and never move into this next season. This is a tragedy.

The second season is where the mystery comes in. Oh, it is real. But, it can play our very differently in different people’s lives. Theologians across various traditions have spoken to this along the lines of “being filled with the Holy Spirit,” or “a second act of grace,” or “holiness,” or “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” However, this part of the mystery of the gospel is just that: a mystery.

Still, it is possible to see what the mystery looks like. We can see it within our own lives and the lives of others.

Before we first met Him, our entire lives were an ongoing process of destruction. Our sins were taking our lives and making them into chaos. We devoured our relationships and our potential. But, in our first sincere act of repentance and belief, He rains down on us mercies that continue to be new every day.

However, G_d being G_d, He always has something more for us.

Somehow, by His grace, we come to understand that the sins we committed were indeed bad. But, we at first did not understand that those sins had a factory that was manufacturing them. We came to find that the problems was not sins, but sin. Sins (the things we have done wrong) were promoted first, by sin (that condition within myself, the “me” within myself that rebels against his creator).

It is here, where the second mystery of our salvation can be seen.

Can we see it?

The problem is not the sins we have committed. The problem is the me that is generating the sins. It is a terrible discovery. And even though we have been saved from our sins, we sense our complete helplessness. We need more. So then, herein comes the latter rains of His Spirit.

In our terrible plight; in our understanding of our need for more, we come up on another decision. But this one is harder than just realizing that we have done great wrong and need SomeOne to forgive us. No, we come to understand we need to not only be saved from our sins, we need to be saved from our very own self.

However, in coming to this understanding, we see that there really is only one decision to make. We are faced with the reality that the only way is for me to actually give up my rights to my own life and plans and existence and everything else. I am faced with the need of total and abject surrender to the One who has forgiven me.

It is here, where it gets different for everyone, but the point is still the same. For each of us, there is that one last thing that we need to put into His hands. We need to give it all away, that we might be able to receive the freedom His Spirit can bring to us.

But when we do. Oh!!! Everything is different. We now find that it is not I who am living my life, but the very Author of Life Himself, living Life in and through me. And this life brings fruit and abundance and freedom I never thought possible.

So, are you one of those guys who have just been forgiven of your sins? This is a vital and wonderful start. However, many of you are sensing that there is more. There is. Oh beloved, the early rains of His mercy have washed your sins away, but the latter rains of His amazing grace are waiting to set you free from that old man who has dogged you to this moment.

Tonight is your night. Time to enter the second season of your salvation.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalms 6-8| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote:

In true worship the Father must be first, must be all. The sooner I learn to forget myself in the desire that HE may be glorified, the richer will the blessing be that prayer will bring to myself. No one ever loses by what he sacrifices for the Father.
~Andrew Murray

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, And my soul, which You have redeemed. Psalm 71:23

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A Child’s Perspective

 

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He said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”- Matthew 18:3

 

While in Orlando, I took my 3 year old on a walk to enjoy the gorgeous landscape. Unfortunately, we were in a medical district and the location was overwhelmed with medical buildings. However, she gazed at the buildings, appreciated the structure, and mentioned God made that building and Jesus made that building. She went on to declare that Jesus made the whole city. She taught me to accept Christ through the works of  man. She is right; all the great abilities and capabilities are from the God.

Children possess various degrees of humility, simplicity, and faith. Over the years, we develop unhealthy pride, skepticisms, and become blind from our first love. We become too smart for our own good. We become self-seeking and self-focused. “We must be brought to a place where, naturally gifted though we may be, we dare not speak except in conscious and continual dependence on Him.” – Watchman Nee

The term ‘born-again’ is the beginning of our new life in Christ and not the reshaping of our previous endeavor. Our new life is not the sum of our earthy knowledge, talents, or mixed with our ideology. We are babes in the Kingdom. Thank you Jesus that as we grow in understanding, that we realize that we know less than we perceive. “Like newborn infants, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation”(1 Peter 2:2)

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: Joshua 11-15| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “As well might a gnat seek to drink in the ocean, as a finite creature to comprehend the Eternal God. A God whom we could understand would be no God. If we could grasp Him, He could not be infinite. If we could understand Him, He could not be divine.” – Charles Spurgeon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, And my soul, which You have redeemed. Psalm 71:23

will

The Will of God

will

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

Over the years, I have had people ask me how to know if you are in the will of God. One of my long-time mentors was Dr. John Cawood, who was a popular conference speaker and a professor at Philadelphia College of Bible.

Doc used to say “If you want to be sure you are in the will of God, first start by doing what the Bible already says is the will of God for your life.”

Today as I was meditating on our theme verse, I had one of those ‘AHA’ moments. You probably already have figured this out. The New Testament is filled with dozens of things that are God’s will for our lives. In fact, as I read through the Bible this year, I want to be even more aware of those statements made about HOW THEN SHALL I LIVE?

Paul wrote: “And WHATEVER you do in word or deed, do ALL in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” – Colossians 3:17

Or this one: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31

“Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:9 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Before we even get to the BIG PICTURE areas of life in determining God’s will, whether it be where you work or serve or other big decisions you need to make, there is already so much about the implied will of God for daily victorious Christian living.

One aspect of how we live is how we live for, care for and serve one another. This is part of God’s will for our lives.

There are 59 “one another” passages in God’s Word that help us define HOW WE LIVE:

  • Be at peace with each other. (Mark 9:50)
  • Love one another. (John 13:34)
  • Be devoted to one another. (Romans 12:10)
  • Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
  • Live in harmony with one another. (Romans 12:16)
  • Stop passing judgment on one another. (Romans 14:13)
  • Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you. (Romans 5:7)
  • Instruct one another. (Romans 15:14)
  • Have equal concern for one another. (1 Corinthians 12:25)
  • Serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13)
  • Be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)
  • Forgiving each other. (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Admonish one other. (Colossians 3:16)
  • Make your love increase and overflow for each other.
    (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
  • Encourage each other. (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
  • Don’t grumble against each other. (James 5:9)
  • Pray for each other. (James 5:16)

That’s just a couple. Pretty direct? Very clear. A good guide to help me understand HOW WE THAN SHALL LIVE.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. Dr. Bill ….

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: Genesis 8-11 | You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “Where one man reads the Bible, a hundred read you and me.” Dwight L. Moody

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, And my soul, which You have redeemed. Psalm 71:23

 

 

 

 

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You Think That’s Air You’re Breathing (Finding Your True Identity)

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In the first experience of sanctification we lose altogether the consciousness of our own identity, we are absorbed in God; but that is not the final place, it is merely the introduction to a totally new life. We lose our natural identity and consciously gain the identity that Jesus had, and it is when God begins to deal with sanctified souls on that line that darkness sometimes comes and the strange misunderstanding of God’s ways.
~Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised… From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
~ Paul, The Least of The Apostles, in 2 Corinthians 5

Oh beloved, it is true.

We have been living in a dreamworld. Everything we thought we understood, or could understand – we didn’t, and we can’t. We have been thinking we could process what we sense through the through the processes we have used before.

We can’t.  Not even close.

And it is Jesus death that shows us the path through this conundrum.

Jesus, in His life here on this earth, became 100% man. And in doing so, He gave up 0% of His Deity. While theologians have struggled with this concept for centuries, it really is not that hard to understand. G_d became what we were all Designed to be, in Jesus.

Humans were Designed to live on the very breath of The Spirit. We were never Designed to call our simple respiration of oxygen and carbon dioxide, breathing.

Humans were Designed to see with the very eyes of The Almighty. Our physical eyes are a vital item on the instrument panel of our frame, but they are just instruments.

Humans were Designed to feel with the very Sacred Heart of Jesus. Our fingertips and emotions are wonderful at helping us connect, and keeping us from dropping things. But, our senses are just senses.

Can we see it?

To be truly human is not to default back to our base and basic backup systems. No, to be truly human is to become like G_d. And Jesus Christ is the Form of this for us. It is not just what He did. It is Who Jesus was, and is, and will be.

And now, comes the most astounding part of the whole story. Jesus is still Man. He never stopped. He did not shed His skin when He went back to Heaven, and sat down at the right hand of The Father. He is already what we are becoming.

Oh, have no doubt, there is nothing we can do on our own to become this. But, Jesus is, after all – G_d. And so, His work on our behalf is a work so thorough as to make us completely, totally and utterly new. So again, we don’t even really breathe the same air that we used to.

So, are you struggling with your identity as a Christian? Perhaps it is time for you to understand just who you are. The Antiochians threw out the term as a “cutdown” for these strange believers in the King of The Universe. But, they got it exactly right. “Christian” means “little Christ.”

Tonight is your night beloved. Time to believe exactly who you are in Him. Take in the first breath of eternal Air.  And keep breathing.  Jesus has done it all. Relax. And just breathe!

The Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 7-11 | You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!” ~ The cry of The Moravian Missionaries

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. Psalm 63:7

 

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We’ve Been Given Permission

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“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” – Ephesians 1:5-6 (NASB)

For my 54th birthday, my wife decided to send me an e-devotional from the Institute of Creation Research. This “Days of Praise” e-devo was titled “The Christian Permission” and, as always, it was written by Henry M. Morris III. This independent Baptist has penned some real doozies and on this December 8th, there was no exception. So, without further ado let’s get our knives and forks out and cut into the meat of this permission.

The first slice has to begin with our opening verse from Ephesians. When we look at this passage, we could take the position that our God, through His kind intention, just gives us grace. But if you understand that it’s only through the adoption process, we get from the work done by Jesus Christ you might not understand it so cheaply. Jesus taught, healed, and then emptied Himself on The Cross so that we may come boldly, yet humbly to the Throne of Grace through His intercession. Apart from Him in all of this you can do NOTHING!!  So open your Bibles and let’s get movin’ on…

Dr. Morris begins to thread the needle with something the high priest of Israel would have to wear. “Holy to the LORD” was something “you shall” engrave in gold, fasten with blue cord, and wear it on the front of your turban like a seal. (Exodus 28:36-38) This would have made them accepted before the LORD. A high priest, returning from the Babylonian Exile dressed in filthy garments, being accused by a now rebuked Satan has those garments removed from him. This priest, whose name is Joshua (he also could be seen as a type of all believers) is admonished, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If you walk in My ways, and if you perform MY service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing.’” – Zechariah 3:7

If you take a look at John 15:16 you’ll read where Jesus commanded His chosen and ordained disciples to “ask” the Father for “whatever” solely on the condition that theirs was to “go and bear fruit” and “that your fruit remain”. And since we are on the subject of asking, we ordinary folks have been permission by Jesus Christ Himself. “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7) Sounds very cool, doesn’t it? This means we are accepted!! Well don’t lose your place, because this is all hinged on you “abiding in” and “grafted into” But there is more…

The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:13-14 that we are “sealed in Him with the promise of the Holy Spirit, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance.” In other words, we are “established…anointed…sealed” (2 Cor 1:21-22) Our permission expands when we look at 1 Cor 1:4-8 and see we are confirmed in everything. Exodus 28:41 and 1 John 2:27 has us consecrated, sanctified to serve and a look at 2Cor 5:5 says we are given “the Spirit as a pledge” to empower our ministry.

The work of the Holy Spirit is a threefold ministry in our lives and He does this on Christ’s behalf. That by doing this work in us we can be a witness to those who aren’t part of the family yet (see John 16:7-11). We can also go to John’s Gospel to see where He will also teach us so that we are guided in all truth (John 16:13; 14:17,26; 15:26). Furthermore, the wisdom, prudence, and knowledge of God are revealed to us through His work in us (1 Cor2:9-10). Our “effectual working” has been “graced” to us (Eph 3:7) so that we can “work out [our] salvation” (Phil 2:12), “and in Him you have been made complete” (Col 2:10).

I recently got myself the iPhone 6 Plus and still haven’t used it for what it could really be used for. At times, I treat my walk with Christ the same way. With all the studying I’ve done over years, I still find myself keeping myself in this tight box of Christendom simply because I forgot that I have been given permission to be much more. I am grateful for “so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us” because they help me “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which easily entangles us” so that I “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” I hope you agree…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: Job 3-4 | You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “The actual call of Jesus and the response of single-minded obedience have irrevocable significance. By means of them Jesus calls people into an actual situation where faith is possible. For that reason, His call is an actual call and He wishes it so to be understood, because He knows that it is only through actual obedience that a man can become liberated to believe.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. Psalm 63:7

 

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A Trip Down Memory Lane

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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6

I think Philippians 4 is my go to chapter when I forget the “main thing.” It seems to me that when I become anxious and get that feeling of despair because I have allowed my mind to take me places I don’t belong, I run to this section of scripture. I have to put a “No Vacancy” sign up and remind myself there’s no room for the things that draw me away from God.

My problem is when I get to a point where things are pressing in, it’s usually because I’ve allowed myself to believe things that are not true. If you’ve ever went on the bunny trails of the mind and have gotten yourself all worked up and let your imagination run wild, it’s time for “A trip down memory lane,”or you can apply verse 8 in Philippians 4. Primarily the part that says “whatever things are true, meditate on that…”

You might be feeling a certain kind of way because of a misunderstanding or lack of communication with someone and have become consumed with an untruth that is controlling you. Stop.“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. – Philippians 4:6-7

This will give you the clarity to deal with the situation or the ability to let it go.

I can feel the passion of Paul’s heart as he once again pleads with his readers to not forget the truths of God’s word. “In everything by prayer.” What a reminder! I can draw near to God when I decide to enter into His presence in prayer. These prayers in a time of need for me to get the right frame of mind are supplications, supplying me with the comfort of the Holy Spirit to lead me to truth. This is one of God’s ways to protect us and keep us from despair. The next verse tells us “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:7. Also ,“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair – 2 Corinthians 4:8.

Psalm 63 is A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. Verses 6-7 state:“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help. Therefore, in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice”.

So if there are things pressing in on you “Take a trip down memory lane” and return back where you belong. 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: Psalm 3-5 | You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “The person who never meditates with delight on the glory of Christ in the Scriptures now will not have any real desire to see that glory in heaven. What sort of faith and love do people have who find time to think about many other things but make no time for meditating on this glorious subject?” – John Owen

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. Psalm 63:7