The Place of O.T.

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“The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.” — Genesis 12:1 (NLT)

So, I went on a Men’s Retreat with the guys from my church. I’m at a new church and I was hoping to use this event as a way to get to know the men that make up this body of Christ. To be upfront about it, I haven’t done this before, so to do this was to step out of my comfort zone and to go to a place other than America’s Keswick was also a step into a different direction. So, for the record, yes Dr. Welte, I did enjoy my time on the beach but it wasn’t the beach that was calling me. Even to be on the beach is a step out of my comfort zone, so why did I go on this retreat? Well, did you ever hear God call you to go to a different place, get there and find out that God has been waiting for you at the place you’ve been called to? Hear this out…

It’s the end of The Flood and YHVH has told the Noah’s family to, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth.” But apparently that didn’t happen. After time passed, people pretty much stayed in one place, so YHVH give them a kick in the tail and people went to different places speaking in different languages. And then one day some dude named Abram gets told, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1b). Now I’m not sure if YHVH was meeting Abram at the place he once was, but if you read Abram’s story in Genesis you’ll get a sense that YHVH indeed met with Abram on numerous occasions. Then the story takes a turn.

When we look at Genesis 22:1-19, we see that YHVH calls to the recently renamed Abraham and tells him to take his son, his only son, to the land of Moriah, to a mountain which He will tell him and offer Isaac up as a burnt offering. Now, I’m not too sure about you, but I ain’t too comfy with the idea of being Abraham in this story. Why? First off, I would want to verify if this was really YHVH telling me to do this, and if it was I don’t think I have it in me to do such a thing to my son… ya see, I only have one. But I’m also not Abraham, who out of obedience wakes up the next day and begins the three-day journey to Moriah. By the way, Scripture doesn’t let us in on whether Abraham had second thoughts along the way…he just went as he was told.

Now the thing to notice comes in Genesis 22:5, “And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you.” Now it is right here, at this moment in Scripture, we should take note that this doesn’t happen in modern day worship, we’re content to just bring the sacrifice of praise, but for this man, he is going to meet YHVH at the assigned place and he is bringing what he has been told to sacrifice. In verse nine, we see that Abraham arranges the wood (because we serve a God of order), binds up Isaac and just as the knife is ready to fall on the boy an Angel of the LORD says this, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” What an act of true obedient worship.

Worship seems to have changed over the centuries hasn’t it? As far back as Adam, worship required us to bring something to sacrifice upon the altar and then spill its blood to cover for our sin against Elohim El-Elyon, The Creator, the Most-High God. But now, it is important for us to understand that everything we do is an act of worship to the glory of God. Next time I’m with you, I’ll take a look at how the only Son brought worship to bunch of fisherman, and I’ll explain what happened while I was at Harvey Cedars, NJ. Until then, why not take a look at how you’re worshiping the God of the universe and see where your heart truly is with it and ask yourself, “Am I meeting God at this place?” If you are, great, but if you’re not why not lend an ear and hear “What thus saith the LORD!!” 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: Exodus 22-24| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshipper entertains high or low thoughts of God.” — A.W. Tozer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, Psalm 33:18

 

 

 

The Feat of Christ

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Our faith in Christ is not some great achievement on our part, but is the relenting of our own desire for autonomy, crucifying our selfish will with Christ, and humbly submitting to what was always ‘true’ and ‘good’ at the start.

Obedience to God’s Word has been ‘The Way’ we should live from the first moment of life. Disobedience to God’s Word is what has brought us pain, heartache, frustration, and despair. Obedience puts us in-line with the truth, removing resistance and freeing us to live the way we were designed to enjoy life.

Because God is Love, He gives you over to the desire of your heart to obey Him (an expression of your love for Him) or to pursue your selfish will (an expression of your self-love and a desire to be free from God). Choosing Christ and His way of Salvation frees us from the bondage of sin, enabling us to know wisdom, power, grace, and love all present in God. Disbelieving God and His Word, and rejecting the truth for a lie, enslaves us to the power of sin (corruption) and death (corruptions end result)… like what rust does to metal.

God desires you enjoy His presence for all eternity and has gone to great lengths to get you there… even “to not sparing His own Son, but delivering Him over for us all… how will He not also with Jesus freely give us all things?” (Rom 8:32-32) Choosing to disbelieve and by doing so, rejecting The Truth, puts the responsibility of all consequences of that choice squarely at your feet. Your sin, your addiction, your frustration, your despair, your eternal life in Hell is of your own doing and against God’s desire and Love.

Choosing to place your faith and trust in God’s redemptive plan, completed in Jesus His Son, is not some great feat on your part, but a relenting of your willfulness and an entering into the fantastically wonderful life that God intended for you all along.

Choose wisely….

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

(Ephesians 2:8-10)

Praying you Choose Christ

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: 2 Chronicles 33-36| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.” – C.S. Lewis

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4

 

Spring Is Here – Things God Cannot Do Part 4

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Spring is here …well almost. Here is the last part of the list of “Things God Cannot Do.” We had a great bus trip and that prompted some thoughts for the next couple of Freedom Fighters.

  1. God cannot be overthrown. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. Isaiah 9:11

  2. God cannot be matched. For who in heaven can be compared to the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord? Psalm 89:6

  3. God cannot be pleased without faith. But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to Him must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

  4. God’s righteousness cannot end. Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your law is the truth. Psalm 119:142

  5. God cannot be unfaithful. They are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:23

  6. God’s salvation cannot be earned. For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

  7. God cannot be superseded. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. Colossians 1:17

  8. God cannot be less than gracious. The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. Psalm 145:8

  9. God cannot be unholy. And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. Isaiah 6:3

  10. God cannot give imperfect gifts. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17

  11. God cannot fail. And the Lord, He it is that doth go before you. He will be with you, He will not fail you; fear not, neither be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

I trust that this list was an encouragement to you. We have a great God who can do ANYTHING and One who has 51 things He CANNOT do. Praise God.

Rejoice! Pray! Give Thanks!

Bill Welte
President/CEO
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: Genesis 48-50 | You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: God examines with trials, the devil examines with temptations, the world examines with persecutions. —Henry Smith

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

By transgression an evil man is snared, But the righteous sings and rejoices. Proverbs 29:6

Things God Cannot Do

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Good morning my brothers. It’s a new day and spring is just around the corner and I can’t wait. I love this time of the year. While you are reading this, we are getting ready to host 61 of our Keswick friends on a four-day trip that will include a visit to the Flight 93 Memorial,  The Ark Encounter, The Creation Museum, and the National Aviary.

Here are some other things that our God cannot do:

  1. God cannot be imperfect. Be therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48

  2. God cannot be second in your life. You shall not have any other gods before me. Exodus 20:3

  3. God cannot leave you comfortless. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:18

  4. God cannot forget those who serve Him. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have showed toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Hebrews 6:10

  5. God cannot endure a proud look. …him that has a high look and a proud hear will I not suffer. Psalm 101:5

  6. God’s mercy cannot end. O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endures forever. Psalm 107:1

  7. God’s name cannot be taken in vain. You shall not take the name of the Lord Your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain. Exodus 20:7

  8. God cannot allow ANYTHING to separate you from His love. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, for things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.
    Romans 8:38-39

  9. God’s peace cannot be understood. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

  10. God’s Word cannot return to Him void, it will accomplish what He wills. So shall my word be that goes forth from out of my mouth: it will not return to me void, but it will accomplish that which I please, and it will prosper in the thing where I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

  11. God cannot change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8

  12. God cannot deal with us according to our sin. He has not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. Psalm 103:10-11

  13. God’s Word cannot be changed. Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89

  14. God’s kingdom cannot be destroyed. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations. Psalm 145:13

  15. God cannot be unforgiving to those who ask for forgiveness. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

  16. God’s plan for my life cannot be bad. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

  17. God cannot be selfish. He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:32

  18. God cannot accept sacrifices when He asks for obedience. And Samuel said, Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings, and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
    1 Samuel 15:22

  19. God cannot be the author of confusion. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
    1 Corinthians 14:33

I will share the last of the list next week. May God bless you.

Rejoice! Pray! Give thanks!

Bill Welte
President/CEO
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: Genesis 44-47 | You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: The great struggle of my life is not trying to discern God’s will; it is trying to discern and then disown my own. —Paul Miller

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory; But when the wicked arise, men hide themselves. Proverbs 28:12

Learning to Believe That You Are Enough

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Learn to walk in God’s perception of who you are, because yours is not good enough. 
~ Graham Cooke

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her Husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”… And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” … 
~ Jesus, KING of kings, and LORD of lords, in Revelation 21

Oh beloved, it is true.

We know, deep within us, that apart from G_d, we are nothing. Oh, we had the spark of the image of His Life within us, but it was only an ember, and there was nothing we could do to make the spark come alive.

Then, though, He does bring us to life. It really happens. Somehow, we turn away from the lies, and believe The Truth. And this Truth changes everything in us, as it drives the lies away. It is not a poetic phrase in the Bible. It is this place, where we become actually what we were ever Designed to be: Alive. Real. Whole. Free. Strong. Loving. Limitless. Good.

There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples
who never wear a false face and do not
pretend to be anything but who they are.
~ Brennan Manning

And this is where we really continue to fall.

We just don’t feel like we can believe a truth that is beyond our wildest dreams.

Oh we think we know that G_d Loves us. He did, after all, come and live and die for us. This is the most heroic of Loves. There really is no greater Love than this, it is ultimate, and it is sacrificial to the nth. But, there is something in this that is incomplete. There is a break in the dying. And, unless we see beyond the break, we can miss the point of His death in the first place.

Can we see it?

If you have been a parent, you will see it more easily. Still, it is built into each of us. We, each of us, find a good relationship to be the most satisfying thing that there is. Read the passage again. We are to be the very bride of The King of The Universe. We are to be sons of The Father of All.

Fathers delight in their children.

Grooms deeply desire their brides.

And… They desire this in us.

They (The Triune G_d). Want. You.

You are enough for Him.

You (and this fool of a writer) are people who make The Author of Happiness, Happy.

You are worthy of His Love. HE is Love and Has made you the object of His Great and Steadfast Affection.

So, are you struggling to believe? Maybe it is because you are trying to believe in the wrong god. He is not far away. He is right here, and He is moving towards you. There is no need to prepare yourself. You are already enough. He has invested deeply in you, and the value is yielding its return.

Tonight is your night. Time to believe you are enough, for G_d Himself.

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: Isaiah 45-50| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “God is our true Friend, who always gives us the counsel and comfort we need. Our danger lies in resisting Him; so it is essential that we acquire the habit of hearkening to His voice, or keeping silence within, and listening so as to lose nothing of what He says to us. We know well enough how to keep outward silence, and to hush our spoken words, but we know little of interior silence. It consists in hushing our idle, restless, wandering imagination, in quieting the promptings of our worldly minds, and in suppressing the crowd of unprofitable thoughts which excite and disturb the soul.” ~François Fénelon (1651-1715)

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; And when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.” – Proverbs 11:10