God’s Grace

grace

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. 2 Timothy 1:9

Grace. It has become one of the words we sing about. We use the phrase as a part of our “Christianese.” But has it become just a word that we casually and haphazardly use without grasping its immensity or the depths of its richness in our lives? Welcome to this new week of Freedom Fighters. I am thankful today that you are part of our family. God’s family. A family blessed by and with the grace of God.

I recently read this powerful devotional that hones in on some of the richness of this word grace:

Salvation: You are saved by grace. The forgiveness of your sins, your justification before God, your redemption from the slavery of sin, your deliverance from evil, and your future home in heaven are yours today because of grace.

Sufficiency: Grace enables you to do all God calls you to do today. Success is not based today upon what you can accomplish, but upon what He will do through you. Grace is not about your strength, but about His mighty power working in you, even in the time of your greatest weakness.

Edification: Grace builds you up, lifts you up, and keeps you standing. Grace is heard in the sound of God’s voice speaking over and over into your ear, “I am for you today. I am with you today. I am the source of everything good, everything lovely, everything holy, and everything mighty.”

Hope: Grace assures you of a glorious future and an overwhelming inheritance that is yours in Jesus Christ. Grace leads you on, cheers you on, and moves you on into all that is in God’s heart for you.

Victory: Grace brings to you all that is yours in Christ. You are victorious today because Jesus is the triumphant One. You are more than a conqueror because He has conquered all. You are above all things because all things are under His feet. You reign in life because He reigns—King of kings and Lord of lords.

Abundance: Where sin once abounded, grace abounds even more. Where darkness ruled, grace overruled. Where death held you in cruel bondage, grace brought you into a glorious new freedom. Grace is never poured out to you like raindrops, but like a cascading waterfall.

Purity: Grace is the doorway into the beauty of God’s holiness. Grace is never a license to sin, a freedom to sin, or a cloak for sin. Grace brings us into a life that is greater than what sin could ever offer us. Grace extends the hand that lifts us out of the miry clay, throws the rope that pulls us from the deepest pit, and lights the flame that brings us out of the darkest cave.

Gifting: Gifts that come to you from God are grace gifts. His grace gifts to you will be different than the grace gifts He gives to others. Grace does not play favorites. The gifts that have been given to you from God are the perfect gifts that are needed for you to fulfill His will and His calling in your life. From Today is Your Best Day – Roy Lessin

This ought to leave us speechless! It should cause your heart to soar. It should bring tears to your eyes, and maybe make you fall to your knees in praise and adoration. God’s amazing grace! I trust that this reminder encouraged you today. Don’t take for granted the amazing grace of God.

Rejoice! Pray! Give thanks!

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: Gen 24-27 | You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: God enables you to do all that God calls you to do today. – Roy Lessin

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

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

Happy New Year

 

Silhouette young man Happy for 2017 new year

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

2017 has arrived and we are excited to share our new theme for the year. HOW SHALL WE LIVE? This is a great follow-up to last year’s theme of FACING THE FUTURE WITH CONFIDENCE.

Most of us have asked the question at some point in our lives, what is God’s will for my life? Pastor Bill Raws, the grandson of our founder, always said that if you want to know God’s will for your life, start be doing with the Word of God tells you is His will.

Our theme verse for the year answers that question. If you want be doing God’s will in your life, here are three things for you to do:

1. Rejoice always. Note that it isn’t just when things are going well, but the implication is that even when things aren’t going my way, I am to rejoice. It’s not sometimes or most times. Paul leaves no wiggle room here for wondering when we are off the hook. Always is pretty clear, right?

That means on the day our new President is inaugurated, if I voted for him, I get to rejoice. If I didn’t vote for him, I still get to rejoice.

2. Pray without ceasing. That is one of my goals for this coming year. I want to be more intentional in praying about everything. We normally pray when there is something big going on around us. But I think what Paul is suggesting here is that we should be praying about anything and everything.

3. In everything give thanks. Note that the text does say that I need to give thanks FOR everything, but IN everything. I think that rejoicing, praying and giving thanks are so linked together. If I am in a terrible spot, I need to rejoice – I need to be constantly praying about that concern/situation – and I am thanking God in the midst of this circumstance because we know that He is going to use this for our God and His greater glory.

So here is what I want to encourage you to do. First of all, memorize these two verses with me this year. Let the Holy Spirit burn this truth into the hard-drive of your mind.

Secondly, I have encouraged our staff to memorize a new verse each week. That’s 52 verses. Here is the link to the verses if you would like to join us. It is an important discipline for us to hide God’s Word in our hearts.

Thirdly, share with the Freedom Fighter team what God is teaching you. We’d love to hear what you are learning.

Fourthly, get one of our new wristbands. It will be a good reminder throughout the day of doing God’s will. Email me your address and I will send one to you (bwelte@americaskeswick.org). Thanks for being a part of the Freedom Fighter blog family. We appreciate you more than you know. Have a blessed 2017.

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

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Daily Quote: “When you pray for something and ask “that the Father may be glorified in the Son”, prepare for Him to do what He knows will bring Him the most glory.” ~From Living the Battle Plan

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, “The LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16

Past Performances

Moment of rest

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. ~Psalm 23:3

Not many of us learn from our mistakes, if we’re honest the truth is we usually are creatures of habit. A habit is defined – as a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Our reputation is based on our past performance as well as how we may react or conduct ourselves given the current circumstances. What we need is our souls restored. There are times when we can surely say “my soul is satisfied”. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

The transformational healing message of the Gospel is that we no longer have to react according to our past performances. Our next move or reaction will be determined by whether we are walking in the Spirit or the flesh. I am someone who can be overwhelmed by anxieties usually brought on by fear, so when I find myself in a situation where I’m about to react, there’s an uncomfortable knot in my stomach that is ready to explode. It’s then I have a choice, a pure antidote for putting the deeds of the flesh to death is scripture. I can recite certain verses such as

“The LORD is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul”

To be able to allow God to “Restore my soul” is a sure fire way to step out of your typical “Past Performance” and walk according to the Spirit. I love when I am out of character especially when the character displayed resembles Jesus. I have often walked away from a situation thinking to myself, “that wasn’t me.” No, I would have not handled that well apart from the help from God.

I was in church recently and one of the songs during our worship time we sang “God with us, God for us, nothing can come against, no one can stand between us”. I was reminded of the passage in Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

There is a truth that we need to be reminded of and that is we belong to God. When I commit myself to God’s word it allows the Holy Spirit to restore my soul. I then respond to things according to the Spirit.

What are your anxieties today? What are you fearing? I believe God is waiting for you to come to Him so He can do what only He can do.

Our poor past performances no longer define us, we can walk in a newness of life when we commit ourselves to Jesus. Amen

Written by Rob Russomano: Rob 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 17; Proverbs 17

Daily Quote: The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer. ~F.B. Meyer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.– Philippians 3:10-11

We Are In For The Long Haul!

large corn field

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11-13)

Olivia, now three, has developed very well in her thought process. While at an activity farm she decided to conquer a hay maze all by herself. I showed her where to start and also the exit; she dashed. That little girl was like a rabbit; hitting turns, lanes, roadblocks etc… However, the dead ends frustrated her and she began to climb over the hay walls avoiding blocks.

Isn’t that how we approach this journey without proper training and discipline? We get approached with trails and uncomfortable circumstances; we duck and dodge until we miss the lesson God is trying to impart.

The writer of Hebrews was addressing weariness that happens in the journey. He compares the Christian walk to a race and an athlete that has been trained or disciplined himself to compete. Have you ever seen a professional athlete train, workout, eating habits, rigorous schedule; they are equipped.

The Christian walk is not always a dash; in fact, it sometimes is referred to as marathon. And if we are going to continue being a light in a dark world; train yourself to manage through this life with patients, endurance, zeal, boldness etc…

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV

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 146; Proverbs 27

Daily Quote: The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer. ~F.B. Meyer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. ~Philippians 3:7

CLICK HERE to sign-up to receive this devotional via email each morning!

The Art Of Being Out-Gunned Part #3

 

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“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives His best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.” ~Matthew 5:43-47 (The Message)

So, with all that debating nonsense finally done and over with let me ask you this question…You still gonna vote? At first I thought it would be funny and write in a President that already has been (like Theodore Roosevelt) just to show them but in reality, I am really vexed by the whole thing. I see the ads on the T.V. and wonder who they are trying to fool. I, for one, don’t think that the laws of this land are actually geared towards one special individual or another and yet because of the mindset and strayed moral compass of the masses these T.V. ads want you to think yourself more highly thought of than you actually are…now anybody can that without an impending election, so who are they fooling?

As I have been going through the Sermon on The Mount and trying to run it through this election season I am having a hard time seeing any shred of it and, to be honest, why should I? Kingdom principles and Democracy don’t mix very well. You can’t vote for a Messiah. There’s only one and His party affiliation doesn’t cater to the masses simply because it is about saving the masses for Kingdom purposes, it’s for peacemaking and not peacekeeping. So, the real question is where can we find peacemaking in this coming election? The answer is simple here too…it starts with you.

Let’s go back into the Babylonian Exile for a moment. It is popular to believe that The Exile was punishment for the nation of Israel’s disobedience to a lot of what YHVH told them they shouldn’t be doing and that is a truth here. However, if we were to take a peek into Jeremiah 29:7, “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” What I hope you see here is that the nation of Israel is given a purpose within its punishment. Now we all fall upon Jeremiah 29:11-13 for strength but we seem to leave out the condition that will bring that strength. So, what is that condition? Love your enemies…and pray for them. Easy to say, hard to do.

Here is a little something that brother Ray Pritchard noticed about Jeremiah 29:7. “Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, is used three times in this verse. Besides peace, it means blessing, wholeness, completeness, the absence of conflict, prosperity. Here is the shocking fact—at least it would have been shocking to the Jewish exiles. God ties their blessing to the blessing of the Babylonians. This seems counterintuitive since the exiles were God’s people and the Babylonians were pagans. He is really saying they were better off in Babylon, and Babylon is better off because they were there. Said another way, we can summarize this verse this way: You need Babylon! Babylon needs you!”

Today’s media would have us think that a wide road is necessary to peaceful “Co-existence” (like the bumper sticker displays), but what it leaves out can only be found in a peace that is surrender to a crucified life (easy to say, hard to do). What we do see today is a people spending too much thought on “what they’re doing” and not enough on “what I should be doing”. It brings to mind this dialog found at the end of John’s Gospel…” Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” (John 21:20-22)

There’s more to come, until then…pray for Babylon/Rome/America. 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: Psalm 144; Proverbs 25

Daily Quote: “Christian love draws no distinction between one enemy and another, except that the more bitter our enemy’s hatred, the greater his need of love. Be his enmity political or religious, he has nothing to expect from a follower of Jesus but unqualified love.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. ~Philippians 3:7

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Victory Over Temptation – Part #1

It happened again. It’s my second wake-up call in two months. Another ministry friend had to resign from his position because of poor choices. It is painful. It is heart-breaking. It could be you or me.

Yesterday I was the morning Bible teacher at the Colony of Mercy Chapel service and I was preaching as much to myself as to the men in the program as well as our guests.

Each week we do a theme for the men and ironically, and no coincidence, the theme of the week is Victory Over Temptation. It didn’t hit me until yesterday that the theme is not victory over SIN. But isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Victory over temptation is heading off sin at the pass. The implication is that you and I can take the necessary steps, plan a strategy to prevent and keep us from sin.

Charles Swindol shared these three principles that I believe we need to burn into the hard-drive of our hearts and minds:

1. Sin will ALWAYS TAKE you FURTHER than you want to GO.

2. Sin will ALWAYS COST you MORE than you are willing to PAY.

3. Sin will always KEEP you LONGER than you want to STAY.

If we are really honest, there is NO ONE who couldn’t give testimony that those three principles are not true. We are all at different places on the continuum, but if we don’t make a change or do as the Bible says, “Repent = turn and face a different direction” – we are heading for the cliff called destruction.

The Bible is filled with illustrations of men and women whose stories support the above principles. Knowing how NOT GO THERE is understanding temptation and knowing in advance HOW to overcome temptation and destroy the impact of our sin.

So for the next couple of weeks, I want to share with you what I shared with the men in my message: Preparing for Temptation – What IS Your Battle Plan?

Are you ready to dive in? We’ve all been there. So let’s explore it together. I have five points but there are probably more.

1. Identify your area of weakness. I am sure you already know it. But my guess is that part of the strategy by naming it helps you to put a face to it.

Your area of weakness will fall in one of the three categories that John wrote about. Check out 1 John 2:16-17 “For all that is in the world – the LUST OF THE FLESH, the LUST OF THE EYES, and the PRIDE OF LIFE – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

This isn’t new – it’s been the enemies plan since the Garden of Eden. Satan came at Adam and Eve with these three things.

The lust of the flesh can be summed up in the three words: I WANT IT and usually in reference to our passions. The lust of the eyes is summed up in the words: I SEE IT and often refers to possessions. The pride of life: I WANT TO BE and trips up men with their need for success and status.

Reminder: Satan went after Jesus with those same three issues when Jesus face him during the temptation. So let’s not think that WE are exempt. If he went after the Son of God, he must certainly wants YOU and ME.

The good news is that Jesus got it right. Hebrews 4:15 says “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in ALL points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

What is the area where you already know you are weak? That is most likely the area where you will have the greatest level of temptation.

See you next week!

Written by Dr. Bill Welte is 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: Psalm 143; Proverbs 24

Daily Quote: Quote: Most people who fly from temptation usually leave a forwarding address.

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. ~Philippians 3:7

CLICK HERE to sign-up to receive this devotional via email each morning!

The Source of Strength

boy showing muscular biceps

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,”(2 Timothy 2:1)

John Ortberg declares, “Habits eat willpower for breakfast,” and I can concur. There have been numerous times in my life that I been faced with adversity, and failed miserably. Epic fails; white knuckling through my addiction, failed promises, failed New Years resolutions, one week diets, lack of consistency; you name it, I did it. With enough research, I’m sure that I can discover the answer. Wrong!

Timothy had a strong and wise mentor that knew the source of strength and the channel in which it flowed. Paul was teaching him, through grace, Christ’s strength was infused in him. He was teaching him not to rely on his own wisdom, his own strength, his natural abilities, but be strengthened by grace in Christ Jesus. But Paul didn’t just read or study this type faith, this developed through his experience.

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8,9)

Even the secular world acknowledges that they need a power greater than themselves. That greater power is Jesus, the power in the name of Jesus breaks the chains of bondage plus provides strength for the daily routines of life. Ask me how I know?

“I lift up my eyes to the hills.

From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD,

who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1,2)

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: Psalm 138; Proverbs 19

Daily Quote: To have God speak to the heart is a majestic experience, an experience that people may miss if they monopolize the conversation and never pause to hear God’s responses. ~Charles Stanley

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding andeternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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The Art Of Being Out Gunned | Part Two

 Open book and american flag.
Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~Matthew 5:19-20 (NKJV)
 
I kinda think the reason “The Evangelical Right” is up in arms this particular Election season is that it has watched the slow erosion of Christian values pick up speed. I remember hearing Latin in the Catholic church but that has changed. They say there was prayer in school but by the time I get there it was long gone. The rise of “THE MEGA-CHURCH” has people screaming that ears are only being tickled and a President-Elect used another President’s Bible to be sworn into office. Did he not have his own? Did he use it as a way to bring mockery upon a nation? One can only speculate…the truth really lies in the heart of him who took the oath. Right? And that is where we get ourselves crazy with thoughts of a government that has gone Anti-Christianity for the greater good of its people. We speculate…the end is near.
 
Well if you are resting your faith in that then you, Christian, are living as if you are out-gunned!! Now hear me out on this but if you have read your Bible, at least to Genesis 3, then you have read where Adam “SURRENDERED” his weapon to our adversary back in The Garden. What weapon you ask? The weapon of “OBEDIENCE” to the will of Him who created all things. Obedience as weapon? Yeah!! How many times I have seen the following verse posted on social media, “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 will forgive their sin and heal their land”. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV) Sounds like something we should obey, doesn’t it? So what’s the problem?
 
Well I think the problem is found in the consistency of our obedience or at the very least the maintenance of it.  It’s very hard to mix rigidity with flexibility and get something that can stand but Jesus did it and wants us to do likewise but we have to do this within the context of being called sojourners and are in a place that we can’t call home. So you have to pray for Babylon/Rome/America while you live in it. As a fallen people go, living within the topsy-turvy law of the land, that most folks are doing right now, things will bubble up that aren’t of God and those people will fight among themselves to bring about their own sense of righteousness. But we, as a redeemed people go, are called to a standard that says all that matters is the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
 
That means we have to stay within the obedience of what was taught to us. If we outwardly live like this then those “Thou Shall Not’s” will come out when we do what “Thou Shalt Do”. When the Disciples heard this teaching of Jesus they musta thought all those “LAWS” can fall by the wayside…they were wrong. By being in communion with Jesus (who is in perfect communion with The Father) they were upholding the law. Because they were shown γάπη (agápē) they themselves were to show it or you weren’t in communion with anything but the world around you. So I ask this question…On Election Day are you in communion with YHVH or a political party?
 
I am hoping American Christianity can see its way through this malaise that we all are living in. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” and yet it has happening in America. So you can’t fault “The Evangelical Right” (the old guard) for trying their darnedest to correct a moral compass that has gonna awry. But it’s be done with the understanding that we need to love our enemies anyway. To not do this is to not be obedient to what you’ve been called to by Christ Himself. If you need to know what making a stand looks like, then ponder on these verses from Esther…

“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

 

“And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” (Esther 4:16b)
 
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: Psalm 137; Proverbs 18

Daily Quote: You are but a poor soldier of Christ if you think you can overcome without fighting, and suppose you can have the crown without the conflict.” —John Chrysostom (Archbishop of Constantinople 397-403 A.D.)

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding andeternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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Well I Got Your Attention

Addiction and Life signs, Choice conceptual image

My Freedom Fighter blog last week resulted in getting people fired up. But that’s ok – that’s what I was hoping to do.

Thanks for joining us on this great adventure in walking in freedom and victory. We don’t take it lightly that you click on our blog posts, and I trust that we are able to offer you encouragement in your walk with the Lord.

Now let me set the record straight:

1. I am not leaving America’s Keswick unless the Board tells me it’s time for me to go. I am as committed as ever to the purpose and mission of the ministry. At our Board meeting on Friday we had a lengthy discussion at how we concerned we are with the current trends and we are taking the steps to at least look more intently at what we do and why to see how we can better serve men and women who are battling addiction.

2. We are not giving up the ministry of addiction recovery. My comments last week were intended to make a point – it is very discouraging to see the devastation all around us in dealing with addiction. But what is even more discouraging is to see how sloppy we’ve become in the church in almost encouraging people in the body of Christ to explore and engage in exercising liberty that could easily become harmful and addictive to some who is weak.

My prayer in all of this is that we can once and for all address this issue without it becoming divisive. My plea to Pastor’s and Christian leaders is to teach the whole counsel of God on this topic so that we are being careful and a good testimony to the world around us.

We as a ministry would love to have open dialog to help equip you and the church to address this issue. I would invite you to write to me or email me at bwelte@americaskeswick.org and hear your thoughts.

Admittedly we are very concern because we are facing daily the devastation of addiction on not just the individual but the family. They say that for every individual who is battling addiction, his or her addiction impacts at least 10 other people.

So hopefully together we can begin to take the steps to begin to make a lasting difference. Sometimes it means me putting aside my freedom in order to help a weaker brother or sister walk in freedom. Sometimes it means watching what I post on Facebook, knowing that what I post could be an offense or a stumbling block to someone else who is weaker in the faith.

It isn’t just all about me – my rights, my freedoms, my ability to exercise my liberty in Christ. There’s a bigger picture at stake and I believe we need to look at it and address it.

I will look forward to hearing from you. May God bless you.

Written by Dr. Bill Welte is 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: Psalm 136; Proverbs 17

Daily Quote: Quote: The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy.

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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