Don’t Ruin Your Appetite

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“But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine.” – Titus 2:1

I can still hear the echoes of my Grandmother as I would come in before dinner and reach for that tempting snack to fill my hunger, “Don’t ruin your appetite.” I heard a statement the other day that got my attention, “We are so filled up on junk food that when the main course comes, we’re not hungry”.

As I look around at all the attempts to lure people into the church I can’t help but wonder, what about sound doctrine? There’s so much excitement and entertainment to attract the lost that when it comes to the main meal, it seems like we’re not hungry anymore.

It would appear that we are falling for “Hype over Hope” as many young adults are being entertained by the latest version of Game of Thrones or Call of Duty until the middle of the night on Saturday and then wonder why Church is so boring on Sunday. We seem to have watered down the adjectives “Amazing” and “Awesome.” I can remember when someone would share how excited they were, it was because they really were excited; it was not just a marketing tactic.

So, what is keeping us from getting excited about God’s word? Maybe we have let down the guards of our household. As men, we need to be wise to what is coming in through our televisions, computers, and cell phones. Just as we make sure our doors are secured to keep out strangers, which we wouldn’t allow in to harm us or our family, we need to be guarding other ways that the enemy is creeping in, filling us with unrealistic hype. These things are competing with our minds to distract us from seeing that the real need is to be in the Truth of God’s word.

The Apostle Paul pens a short letter to Titus that gives us a picture of the “How to” be wise and discerning. We need to be “Trained by Saving Grace.”

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14

I think there is too much hype, a way to create interest in, by flamboyant or dramatic methods; promote or publicize showily which is fleeting and unstable. This can keep us from seeing our need of Hope, a steadfast immovable aspect of what God provides to keep us content and allow us to focus on what’s true.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1,2 and 5

So, “Don’t ruin your Appetite”, get rid of the junk food and come to God’s word hungry to receive proper nourishment, 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: Proverbs 13| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “A man is hindered and distracted in proportion as he draws outward things to himself.” – Thomas a Kempis

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, Daniel 9:4

 

 

 

Princes of The Kingdom: Living ἐν κηρύγματι

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The deeper we grow in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the poorer we become – the more we realize that everything in life is a gift. The tenor of our lives becomes one of humble and joyful thanksgiving. Awareness of our poverty and ineptitude causes us to rejoice in the gift of being called out of darkness into wondrous light and translated into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. ~Brennan Manning

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
~ Paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Romans 14

Oh beloved, it is true.

Each of us; those adopted into His family, have truly become more that we yet know. We are the ones who will inherit and reign in the Kingdom of G_d. And this is not a small thing. Actually, any reward, in comparison to this, is small. We could become masters of this universe, and it would pale in comparison to what we are going to inherit.

This is one of the problems with our christianity. Oh, it is not that it is not true. It is not that it does not give us the answers to a great number of things in this life. All of it is true. It is just that the truth of this aspect of our faith is so small as to be infinitesimal.

When we begin to understand just who we are… Everything begins to change within us.

Our failures disgust us.
Our King enthralls us.
Our joy sustains us.
Our righteousness flows from Him.
Our happiness is ongoing.
Our Love is real.
Our Hope is blessed.
Our view becomes eternal.
And all of this is because we have come to understand who we are becoming.

The Greek in the title of this entry is: “ἐν κηρύγματι,” or “in kerygmati.” It simply means: “In preaching.”  And the idea is Scripture is that we can (and surely should) live lives that proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The kerygmata of the New Testament is not the numerous pieces of good information and wisdom that we can gain from His Word. Rather, it is the core of the message. It is the message that Christ Himself spoke of 106 times in the Gospels.

The Kingdom, and the path into it.

Can we see it?

Members of a family act differently than outsiders to a family. There is an ease and intimacy with the issues within a family. We no longer have to keep talking about what the family rules are. We no longer have to keep talking about how others are not acting like family members. We simply begin living them out.

We begin to just do the right thing (righteousness).
We begin to promote deep agreement on central truths (peace).
We begin to walk in a diamond-hard strength, born of living in His Presence (joy).
And all of this is empowered by The Spirit of our G_d, now indwelling us, and we Him.

So, are you trying to share your faith? Good. Do that. However, have you ever considered that you could also simply begin to share who you are? You are a prince (or princess) in a Kingdom which will have no end. There is no need to convince, or argue – there is only now a desire to proclaim.

Tonight is your night beloved. Time to understand that you are royalty, and your life is a message.

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: Psalms 81-83| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: I am much struck with the contrast between Christ’s mode of gathering people to himself and the way practiced by Alexander the Great, by Julius Caesar, and by myself. The people have been gathered to us by fear; they were gathered to Christ by love. Alexander, Caesar, and I have been men of war, but Christ was the Prince of Peace. The people have been driven to us; they were drawn to him. In our case there has been forced conscription; in his there was free obedience.
~Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“But to You I have cried out, O Lord, And in the morning my prayer comes before You.” Psalm 88:13

 

I WANT TO KNOW CHRIST (Part 5)

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

Last week I introduced the talking point that KNOWING HIM is a painful experience as we get to know Him better in our suffering.

We were in Minnesota a couple of weeks ago to welcome our 11th grandchild. Technically, the baby’s due date was the birthday of our 2nd grandchild, Lindsay Alice Groen.

Lindsay went home to be with Jesus on May 16, 2008, after a several month journey resulting from the detection of a leaky heart valve that resulted in her first open heart surgery, a cardiac arrest, and second open heart surgery, then the gift of a new heart when God called her home.

It was during this very difficult time that we learned so many lessons during her time of suffering. She was mostly unconscious and in a sleep-induced coma during her illness, so she was not able to communicate. BUT her little life spoke volumes around the world and her story continues to touch people’s hearts as we get to share so many of the lessons we learned during her brief but unexpected illness.

I wish that I could give definitive answers as to why God allows us to suffer.
But I can tell you this: One of the ways God uses suffering in our lives is so that we can come alongside those who are suffering and share with them that God’s grace will see them THROUGH.

The Apostle Paul knew first-hand what suffering was about. He first caused suffering as he personally persecuted the church. But he himself experienced beatings, stonings, ship-wreck, being chained in prison where he penned several books of the Bible under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

He wrote: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and God of ALL comfort; who comforts us in ALL our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in ANY affliction with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

We all have our stories. And our stories would be in vain if we didn’t use them to give God glory and share with others how during the seasons of suffering in our lives, God showed up and demonstrated His power and glory.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.”

Preacher George Matheson, who knew pain and suffering, wrote: “My dear God, I have never thanked You for the my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses but not my thorns. I have always looked forward to the place where I will be rewarded for my cross, but I have never thought of my cross as a present glory itself. Teach me the value of my thorns. Show me how I have climbed to You through the path of pain. Show me it is through my tears I have seen my rainbows.”

Knowing Him is a painful experience, but it is worth it. We may not see the big picture or understand what He is doing, but we can trust His heart.

Rejoice! Pray! Give thanks!

Bill Welte, D.D.
President/CEO of America’s Keswick

Written by Dr. Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick: Bill has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 11 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

The Daily Bible Reading: Leviticus 4-6| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Think About This: If God sends us on stony paths He will provide us with strong shoes. Alexander MacLaren

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

 

 

 

 

I WANT TO KNOW HIM (PART 2)

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

I started to share some thoughts from this text two weeks ago, then the 9th annual Family Freedom Walk came and I had to share what God did. As of today, we are at $70,000 that our great God has brought in.

This powerful mission statement written from the pen of the Apostle Paul has some amazing implications. I shared with you 7 things we need to know about Christ and what He is doing now. If you missed it, go back and re-read it.

There are four things about knowing Him that I want to share with you. Here’s the first one: Knowing His is a PERSONAL experience. I love to read and one of my favorite leadership authors is Dr. John C. Maxwell. I have literally read every one of his books. I love good fiction and I have read every one of John Grisham’s novels. While I know their books, I don’t know them personally. I probably will never have the opportunity to meet them face to face.
We will get to see Jesus face-to-face someday, but He desires that we know Him now. Personally. And we do that by:
Reading His Word daily
Meditating on His Word
Memorizing His Word
Praying—our speaking with Him
Praying –our listening to Him

We fall more and more in love with Jesus by spending time with Him. And it is all because we learn to love Him and we’ve never even seen Him. Peter wrote: “and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcomes of your faith the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

It is sort like a relationship with a pen-pal. You write each other and get to know each other through words of a paper. When you finally meet that pen-pal face-to-face, you find that you already know that person so well that you just enjoy the pleasure of that fulfilled relationship that has been cultivated.

Paul’s desire to know Him came from a deep abiding relationship with Christ. He fell in love with Jesus and what an impact he had on the world.

My prayer for you today is that you will KNOW Him – really know Him by personal experience. If you have never had a personal relationship with Jesus, you can start today. For some of you, that means trusting Him as your personal Savior. Don’t know what that is all about? Well you can check out our salvation brochure.

Have a blessed week.

Rejoice! Pray! Give thanks!

Bill Welte, D.D.
President/CEO of America’s Keswick

Written by Dr. Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick: Bill has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 10 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

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

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Think About This: God has called us to be fishers of men, not keepers of the aquarium. Pastor Ken Carlson

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” 1 Peter 1:8

 

The Honey Ham

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“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6 (NASB)

The last time I was with you I was buzz-sawing through lineages. Maybe you thought I left out a lot of details, but to be honest with you it was about getting to a remnant and that remnant was the tribe of Judah. When we look into the Old Testament we can see that many people and tribes fall by the wayside when it came to the things of YHVH but He kept a remnant of righteousness to ensure His plan of salvation. You can find that plan worded like this… “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)

But something is gonna happen within the family of David that will clear a path to Messiah and send God’s people into exile. If you were to put the Old Testament in an order that was close to historical events, you would get this king named Zedekiah (meaning “My righteousness is Yahweh”) towards the end of David’s house rule over Israel. First thing to mention is the name change…Zedekiah was Mattanyahu at one time. It meant “gift of God” but when you do business with the king of Babylon you can get a title and a name change. Eventually YHVH would tell Zedekiah to “Remove the turban, and take off the crown; Nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted.” (Ezekiel 21:26) People are then sent to a land that is not their own and the ways of those people weren’t their ways…

…whatever was left of Israel had returned to the land that YHVH had promised their forefathers some 70 years later but the good old days were gone, forever. And then there would be a silence from YHVH of Biblical proportions, sshhhh….

Then came the iron fist of Rome and it was all about survival not revival.

And so here I am some 2,000 years later wondering how to illuminate my house for the Christmas season (think I’ll go with multi-colored strands of lights and the possibility of 28” snowflake as my centerpiece). Anytime I get into this “decorative spirit” I enter the zone of frustration because, well, it’s sure to be cold the day I decide to do this project, AND, not everything works the way I intent them to. GRRR… “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is about?” echo’s in my head. The answer is quite clear (when I am not trying to untangle the mess of lights I said I wouldn’t allow to get tangled last year when I did this, the total definition of insanity I might add). God does. We’ve just added a lot of nonsense to it.

The day itself is a festival of The Lord’s Anointed but in essence it is really a narrative of redemption that started when Adam and Eve thought it a great idea to eat some fruit because, according to the serpent, God was holding out on them. Now we adored each other with gifts on Christmas to show we aren’t holding out on others but that was never the intention. The intention is Jesus Christ and the saving grace we receive from Him so that we all can stand before a holy and righteous God without blemish because we’ve been cleansed through the redemptive blood of The Lamb. That it is important to understand lineages. So, when they get read out-loud in church this season I got a little advice for ya…deal with it.

Every so often I do get the “I ain’t putting up the lights—BAH HUMBUG ON YOUR COMMERCIALIZED CHRISTMAS!!” but I’m frightened by the notion that Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd’s character in “Christmas with the Kranks) will show up on my lawn reminding me the importance of Hemlock Street (or Route 50 in my case) winning the award for best decorations. But in actually the effort I put into putting those lights helps me mediate of the words of Jesus… “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matt 5:14-16)

The redemptive narrative doesn’t have me chasing the things of the world (like a honey ham rolling through a parking only to be crushed by a passing truck) on the contrary, it has me choosing to pursue that which calls me heavenward through Christ. That’s why the lights go up. Why do ours go up…or do they go up at all? And if they don’t, do we need to give Vic a call?

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 38; Proverbs 8

Daily Quote: “This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ.” — Frank McKibben

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

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

 

A Position of Thankfulness

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“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.” – Luke 17:15,16

In this account, Jesus uses a process to heal the 10 lepers. First, they needed to acknowledge that they needed help. Denial is a powerful enemy to our souls. To truly assess where you are, in addition asking God to vindicate you can be sobering. However, the healing is activated when there is awareness that healing is needed.

Secondly, completely believing where our help comes from. Believing is one thing, but taking the steps, in faith, provides access to the help. When I contracted Lyme Disease, I knew that the doctors, specialists, and hospital could help me but until I went to the hospital it was only a reflection. These lepers not only believe, they went (action) and asked Jesus to have mercy on them. All trusted and all were healed.

However, only one returned to praise and thank the Healer. A Position of Thankfulness! I played charades with some children and asked them act out a scenario for which they were thankful. Some mentioned their parents, others stated friends, God was declared, and then one boy took out a comb and began combing his hair. With many failed attempts to figure out the picture he was painting, he said: “I’m thankful for this comb. My dad gave me this comb and I don’t get to see him anymore.” A Position of Thankfulness

We are healed or being healed in some way or another. Do you have a spirit of thankfulness? Are you like the 9 lepers who did not appreciate the miraculous healing? Or you like the one who returned with A Position of Thankfulness?

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 31; Proverbs 1

Daily Quote: “We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” – Harry Ironside

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

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