The Accurate Power Source

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“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:33)

This week I was having some basic car troubles, and it delayed my daily schedule. The car is usually in fine shape and proved reliable on many occasions. Thus far, the car exceeded my expectations and even passed the recommended miles of the manufacture.

However, it wouldn’t start because the battery was dead. The car is valuable resource that couldn’t follow through its intended purpose because it lost its power source.

Alike, we can’t effectively carry out God’s will if we aren’t operating with right power source, the right resource, the right connection. Have you been doing ministry with your own strength, excelling in your Church because of natural ability? Has your flesh lent itself to a certain need that mimics the work of the Lord?

“Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”  — 2 Timothy 3:5

Peter was connected to the accurate power source, and people were being saved. The whole community was impacted. Let’s not only consider our holy huddles because it’s safe, but tap into the power of Christ and watch a whole community change.

Now that’s power!

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: Exodus 7-9| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “God desires to show His power through your storm, but is your lack of faith keeping Him from doing so? God brings storms into your life to show His strength and to gain glory from His providence.” – Paul Chappell

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

 

Screaming For Vengeance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

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

 

 

 

Where Is Church, Little Flock?

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“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” – Luke 12:32 (NASB)

This week in “Where is Church,” I thought I take a look at what Jesus called the “little flock.” But before I go into the subject, I would like to share a few comments that were made from last week’s Freedom Fighter. Laura Kay shared with me that it takes a lot of wisdom and discernment to write articles on the church without sounding either too inclusive or too exclusive. Glenn boiled it down to where two or three are gathered in His name, not a building or denomination. Hopefully this week I am able to wisely help us discern that church really isn’t a building/denomination and that it should include everyone who truly knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. To Him be the glory…Amen?

So, the little flock…hmm. Guess I should start those with ears to hear. Jesus would say that after He would share something that was difficult to take in. Basically, Jesus was telling those that He was speaking to that they needed to tune out the distractions of the world around them and focus in what He trying to convey to them. “For life is more than food, and the body then clothing. Consider the ravens, tor they neither sow nor reap; and they have no storeroom nor barn; and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are then the birds. And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life span?” (Luke 12:23-25)

That must have sounded as if Jesus was “Muy Loco” when it came to getting the everyday essentials that His audience worried over. Finding what to eat and getting what to wear (as well as avoiding the Romans) was something that people worried over constantly back in those very early A.D. times. How could this guy get in front of folks and say things like this?

However, Jesus told this parable about a Sower and the seed back in Mark 4. Now the parable tells of four conditions that the seed falls on and then He says, “He who has ears to hear, let them hear” (Mark 4:9b). It’s when Jesus goes on to explain the parable that we are given insight to what He means in the parable. So many people come to church for something good and they sit under the teaching of the Word but when the standard issues of this world take their toll on a person we’ll see that many will walk away from the church (John 6:66) and continue on in what they succumb to in their everyday exist. But it’s those that accept the Word, in its entirety, that truly get in and find their place in the little flock.

Jesus used the ekklesia when He spoke about building His church in Matthew 16:18. The word roughly means “out of a calling” and was used to describe a gathering or assembly. It really didn’t have a religious meaning and if you studied Greek you’ll see it is used in Acts 19:32 and 19:41 to describe the mob that rioted in Ephesus but as usual Jesus flips the script on things. So, as I wrap this up for today I wonder, what is Jesus seeing when He speaks to the little flock? Or better yet what will He find when He comes back?

Well the answer to the question just maybe a question. Is He gonna see us as that universal assembly, even if it is scattered across the world, coming together in a single ekklesia, all united in His name, to include all those who bowed the knee to the King of kings and the LORD of lords. As the writer of Hebrews put it, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:22-23)

OR is Jesus gonna find 2,000 different organizations all staying in their buildings, having a meeting to set the agenda to have a meeting about His arrival and then end up arguing over what they are serving at the picnic at the time they think Jesus is gonna visit their church? And if it isn’t the food they serve, maybe it’ll be a debate over whether we all should wear the suit and tie or the polo shirt with stone-washed jeans (personally I would vote for a clean t-shirt and comfortable shorts.) Well, I’ll tell you this…if He shows up at your church at all, you better hope He doesn’t go on to say, “But I have this against you…” It may be a better day for you to have been a bird or a lily. 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: Ezekiel 1-6| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: Christ Himself is the builder of His spiritual temple, and He has built it on the mountains of His unchangeable affection, His omnipotent grace, and His infallible truthfulness.” — Charles Haddon Spurgeon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“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

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

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“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” – Luke 2:14

One of the benefits to planning a vacation is the anticipation of the day of the trip. My wife and I usually start a countdown a month in advance. On a cold December morning when you’d rather stay in a warm bed the whisper of “25 more days” can bring a smile and an added boost to start your day. We are also all waiting for a day that was promised at the birth of our Savior, this is where my analogy falls apart, and my temporary escape to a pleasurable destination will come to an end. Then reality is back and I need to motivate myself with something else.

My anticipation for a desire would be described by “delight in any absent thing that produces longing for it”. The announcement to the shepherds from the angel was “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people”. This proclamation is with great anticipation that follows a giving of “The Gift that keeps on giving”.

When we accept Jesus as our savior there is a celebration in Heaven. Jesus tells us later on in Luke 10 “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents”. The Gift has been received and it will keep us until we get home. All this came to be and we celebrate a moment in time when God sent His son to bring “on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So, this morning if you need a reason to get up and get moving, remember a reservation has been made and we will all be together one day but until then enjoy the “Gift that keeps on giving”, enter in to the peace that surpasses all understanding, joy, unspeakable joy and walk with the knowledge of the love of God that He would visit His people and lead us home. Merry “Christ” mas, love Rob and Terri, may you have a blessed day!

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 51; Proverbs 21

Daily Quote: “Grace means undeserved kindness. It is the gift of God to man the moment he sees he is unworthy of God’s favor.” – Dwight L. Moody

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