Getting or Wanting My Way is a Curse

Self-satisfied and proud caucasian young man looks forward

I’ve had a love hate with this guy for years! He has a way of exposing stuff in my life and hitting me right between the eyeballs. I really do love him, so this week and next, I am sharing, with his permission, two of his recent blog posts:

Getting-or-wanting-my-way is a curse,

not a blessing.  WHAT?  Yup.  Pathway to miserable addiction.  Getting-my-way THWARTED by Jesus, is an enormous blessing, because it opens the door to my being retrained in a much-better way of living — disillusioned in my flesh’s confidence-it-knows-what’ll-make-me-happy.  But getting-my-way thwarted by Jesus is ONLY an enormous blessing when I’m convinced that getting-or-wanting-my-way is a curse.

I know, sounds crazy.  All my life, and all my Christian life, I’ve gotten this backwards.  I think we’ve all gotten it backwards.  I know, sounds so radical, so unAmerican, unChristian.

Think about it.  When I get-my-way, it feels good, and like any addiction, I want more of this.  And more, and more.  In time, I grow addicted to control, addicted to getting-my-way.  My independence is strengthened/encouraged, my flesh’s confidence-it-knows-best is strengthened/encouraged.  I’m wiser and wiser in my own eyes, lean even more on my own understanding.  This is the Curse of INdependence passed down to the descendants of Adam and Eve.  We INdependents are a miserable lot, and I’m convinced that most of us, Christian and nonChristian, live in denial of the extent of our misery.

And every time I want-my-way, I return to life under the Curse.  Miserable existence.  And every time I’m freshly convicted of my INdependence, and embrace Jesus’ genius plan, want HIS way, trust Him to lead the way, confess I dunno best, I’m moved out from under the Curse, momentarily.  Ahhh, relief.

Impossible to be in a hurry, unless I’m wanting-my-way.  Impossible to be frustrated unless I’m wanting-my-way. Impossible to be competitive, to wannabe superior, unless I’m wanting-my-way.  Impossible to analyze, critique, judge, unless I’m wanting-my-way, confident-I-know-what’s-best.

Getting-my-way is not a bad thing, but it’s a mini-success, and like big success, it’s not a bad thing, but verrry dangerous to the health of my soul.  Strengthens my INdependency, my addiction to my confidence-I-know-what’ll-make-me-happy.  Miserable addiction.

So helpful lately, as I go through my day reminding myself over and over, “Getting-or-wanting-my-way is a curse.”   

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness, so we Christians might have something the seculars around us want

Ouch!!! Hope you were encouraged 😊

Overflowing and abounding with hope,

Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick

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

The Daily Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 4-8| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Think About This: Prayer is the pen that writes history. Don’t worry about making headlines; focus on the footnotes. And if you focus on the footnotes, God will write the headlines. — Mark Batterson — Draw the Circle

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; Psalm 78:7

 

 

What’s so Good about Friday?

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“Good Friday” had not been a good day. Jesus had been arrested and drug out of the garden, taken from one mock trial to another, accused of blasphemy, beaten beyond what most men could endure, and then condemned to death. There on Golgotha He was spiked to a cross through His wrists and ankles and then lifted up in excruciating humiliation for the entire world to witness. Hours of agony passed as He struggled for each breath. Seven times He pushed up in anguish against the nails to say a word of forgiveness, hope, care, loneliness, thirst, completion, and love.

In these moments it was revealed what was so ‘Good’ about Friday. As Jesus hung there as the ‘Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World’, He provided the way of hope and salvation for everyone who would call on the name of the Lord; believing in the Son of God. His suffering and death took away the curse of being under the Law. As long as Adam and Eve believed God and His Word, they would have ‘life’ – an abundant life full of joy and beautiful fellowship with God. But when they listened to the word of the deceiver and trusted in their own understanding, they made themselves vulnerable to horrendous evil that required the giving of the Law. They and all mankind would now suffer under the consequences of ‘their own choices to Love someone or something more than God.’ And God pronounced a curse on this; a curse that all who would sin like them will inherit (Gen 3:17-18). Death and sin entered the human experience and with them, terrible affliction and trouble.

But on the Cross that gloriously dreadful day, Jesus bore the entirety of God’s perfect wrath towards all sin as it was poured from the cup of perfect Justice upon Him. He also as the One crushed under the weight of iniquity’s penalty, as well as ‘pierced for our transgressions (Is 53:5), reversed the curse and opened the way to The Father again for those who enter through His work of righteousness by faith in Him.

Yes, everything to do with sin and evil is horrible. What Jesus went through that day for you and for me is beyond our comprehension of atrocious…. Yet, what Jesus has provided us through it all is Good!  And it is to “this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:21-25) On Good Friday we recognize the Goodness of God’s gift of salvation through the ‘Completed’ work of the Son of God. Jesus now stands at the door of your heart knocking with nail scarred hands, ready… willing… and able to fill you up with life abundant from the fount of everlasting joy. Won’t you open up and gasp hold of His Hand today? This is Good!

Choose wisely…

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

(Psalms 23:6)

Praying 4 U

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Judges 16-18| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us… — 1 John 3:16

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more.
Psalm 71:14

Oh, You Wanted Instant…

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“But Naaman became angry and stalked away. ‘I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!’ he said. ‘I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the LORD his God and heal me!’” — 2 Kings 5:11 (NLT)

I am so guilty of losing my sensibility when it comes to a fast food drive through, especially when it comes to McDonalds. I love my Big Macs and as a kid growing up, two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, and pickles on a sesame seed bun was the bomb diggity!! Currently on Monday nights, I make a stop at my local McDonalds before night school for two of those bad boys. I pull up, make my order, they ask me if “That’s all?” and I pull up to the first window, where they take my money pretty darn quick. BUT THEN, every so often, I get asked to pull up to a spot where I HAVE TO WAIT!!! WHAT!? Isn’t this what McDonalds is known for? Instant Big Mac’s!?! Then I mumble to myself that they should always have these things at the ready, don’t they know I’m in a hurry, grrr. Anyway…

Sometimes we are like that when it comes to making our requests known to God, especially when we need His healing touch. The Roman centurion that we read about in Matthew 8:1-13 needed the healing power of Jesus Christ. He was a guy that gave orders to this one and that one, but when his servant became sick, that centurion was able to drop his position, approach the Savior, make his request known and he found healing for that servant. Imagine, if you will, Jesus turning to centurion and saying, “Normally I would do that for you but you’re a Roman so you’ll have to wait until Paul preaches My Gospel to the Gentiles.” What!? Doesn’t make much sense does it? But in reality, when the healing we’re praying for doesn’t happen right away, we begin to question the motives of God, don’t we? Especially when we think a bit higher of ourselves than we ought to…here’s an example.

“Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.” (2 Kings 5:1) So here’s Naaman, the “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” of his day, BUT he had leprosy. This just might as well be a death sentence for Naaman. Even if his leprosy was in its beginning stages, eventually he would succumb to it as time went along. People may have shown him respect because of his position, but even that would fade. What’s a big shot like Naaman to do? Well, follow the advice of a little Samaritan girl…

This will lead Naaman to a prophet. That prophet will tell his servant to go tell this big shot Commander in Chief to go wash in a dirty river and be healed. OUTRAGEOUS!!
But if you look at this from this view point you’ll see where I am going with this. This big shot leader wanted a big shot prophet to wave his magic wand and POOF…instant healing. But the truth of the matter is Naaman received instruction from a slave girl to go to a conquered, forsaken Israel, seek out a lowly prophet that lived in the armpit of this second rate, third world country, who gave him instructions to go the dirty, dingy Jordan River and bathe not once or twice but seven times. What was missing? Humility.

Elisha’s prescription for Naaman’s healing was truly bizarre and to not even greet him showed that Elisha could have cared less about Naaman’s position in life. Naaman was making a request of the man of God, once he did that he needed to humble himself and be obedient to what God was going to do through the dirty waters of a dingy Jordan river. Once Naaman was reminded, by his servants, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?’” (2 Kings 5:13b) that Naaman’s leprosy would leave him.

That bottom line still remains. We have to humble ourselves to lowly places and lowly people before God can lift us up. Remember, “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” (1Peter 5:5-6) Guess I just better pull up into the assigned spot and wait…Amen?

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Judges 10-12| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “Be careful if you are in the pastor-only crowd or the big shot-only crowd because God might send a servant to touch you and heal you. You may miss the blessing if you are looking the wrong way. Many have received the touch of God and the healing of his power but because it was not spectacular have attributed it to coincidence or logic.” — Rick Ezell

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more.
Psalm 71:14

 

 

 

The Greatest Commandment

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I love to share the good news that Jesus saves to non-believers. The gospel message is that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ When we die, we are going to be judged, each one of us, according to the perfect moral standard of His law. Because God is just, righteous, and holy, He must punish sin, and that punishment is eternity in hell. But God the father is also a loving and merciful God in that he sent his son to earth in the birth of Jesus Christ, fully God, and fully man and without sin. He lived a perfect sinless life, and voluntarily went to the cross and died a bloody gruesome death that he did not deserve to take upon Himself the punishment which we rightfully deserve for our sin against God. Three days later, He forever defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave. He’s alive today and will return again at a time of the fathers choosing. Now what God commands from you and I and people everywhere is that we repent, that we turn from our sin and by faith alone we receive Jesus as our Lord and our savior while God has still given us time. That is the good news, gospel message, that there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

To the believers, my brothers in Christ, who have placed their trust in Christ I would like to encourage and remind what the most important thing is…

In all three of the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus verifies what the greatest commandment is. In Mark 12:29-31 we read…

Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is:  ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  This is the first commandment.  And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” — Mark 12:29-31 NKJV

When Jesus made these statements, he was referencing something we read in Deuteronomy 6 known as the Shema. This is one of the most basic fundamentals of the Christian faith. Sometimes we need a reminder to get back to the basics. This is my burden. I want to ask you a question… Do you love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Do you love your neighbor as yourself? I challenge you to take a few minutes in self-examination and look at certain areas in your life. Be honest with yourself. I know you can think of specifics.

How do you love the Lord? Do you spend time in His word? Do you love the Lord in your speech? Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. What do you spend your time talking about? That will reflect what you truly love. Tell someone about Jesus.

Do you love the Lord with your entire mind?

Paul writes in Colossians 3:2 “set your mind on things above not on things on earth.”

Now when asked the question “do you love your neighbor as yourself”, there should be evidence in your life by the way you treat other people. They should see the love you have for other people by your actions. In what ways can you love your neighbor as yourself today? Would you please bless someone today? I beg you.

I pray that this will weigh heavy on your heart, to love the Lord your God with all that is in you and your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus loves you, and so do I.

In His service,

Robert Kenney

Written by Robert Kenney: Robert Kenney is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. Robert and his wife Michelle are full time staff members at Americas Keswick in guest services. You can reach him at rkenney@americaskeswick.org

The Daily Bible Reading: Judges 1-2| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “Learning how to love your neighbor requires a willingness to draw on the strength of Jesus Christ as you die to self and live for Him. Living in this manner allows you to practice biblical love for others in spite of adverse circumstances or your feelings to the contrary.” – John C. Broger

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.
Psalm 71:5

 

Don’t Miss It

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“Because you did not know the time of your visitation.” — Luke 19:44b

I remember my house as a kid, we always had a cake in the pantry. My Mother would say, “You never know when someone might visit.” It seems today social media has put a damper on visitations and face to face conversations. Now, if someone knocks on the door it would almost seem like an inconvenience. I watched a YouTube video recently that compared a knock at the door today and another from 40 years ago. It portrayed a visit today as intrusive and annoying, kids playing video games and parents hoping the other will answer it. 40 years ago, that same knock sent the kids running to the door with the parents walking behind with a smile and a welcoming posture.

Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem casts the picture of both. Those that welcomed Him as if it was what they waited their whole life for, and others who were annoyed and found it intrusive. The later where the ones who should have known of His coming. They’re the ones who should have remembered (Psalm 118: 24-26).

This is the day the LORD has made;

​​We will rejoice and be glad in it.

​​​Save now, I pray, O LORD;

​​O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.

 ​​Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!

​​We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

I marvel at the excitement of those that responded to the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. John records that not even the disciples understood what was happening, people laying down palm branches because of the awaking of their spirit.

Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen” Luke 19:37

I find myself thinking, “What if I missed it, why did I respond to the call? I didn’t understand why I accepted Jesus, I just knew. Why me and not my two brothers? Why not the majority of my friends I grew up with?

I pray as this resurrection season comes upon us that we would have a passion for those that are missing it. That we would also not forget the great commission to go and make disciples.

I pray that we don’t miss the opportunities that God puts before us. “Don’t Miss It!”

Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

Written by Rob Russomano: Rob Russomano is married to Terri, and serves with her as full time staff members. He is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and 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: Joshua 22-24| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “Whom should we love, if not Him who loved us, and gave himself for us?” – Assorted Authors

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.
Psalm 71:5

 

What is the Value of a Good Name?

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“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” — Proverbs 22:1 ESV

I have heard many different individuals mention, from the pulpit and even smaller settings as well, “I don’t care what people think or say about me.” I understand people’s opinion shouldn’t move us or disrupt what God is accomplishing in our lives, but is that right, or is it a complete precept of the saints?

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” (Proverbs 11:3)

The quality of your character is way to be a light in a dark world, an illustration of hope in a confusing time. It’s bigger than the perceptions of others. It’s our position as believers to be different and to have integrity. The gifts, the talents, the abilities, the education, will get you into places and positions, but the quality of your character will keep you there.

A challenge:

Ask 3 people that are close to you (and that you know will be honest) to share one truth about an area of your life that reflects a strength, and – here’s the hard part – ask them to share a part your character that could be changed as well.

Written by Juan Mendez: Juan is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and full-time staff member at America’s Keswick. 

The Daily Bible Reading: Joshua 19-21| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “Strength of character may be learned at work, but beauty of character is learned at home.” – Henry Drummond

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.
Psalm 71:5

 

How Could It Get Any Worse?

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“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33 (NASB)

One of the running jokes my family has of me is that I have, at times, exhibited the characteristics of the two dads from the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” The first one would be Cousin Eddie. He pretty sums me up before I came to Christ. The second would be Clark Griswold. I can really empathize with Clark too. He puts out a lot of effort to make holidays and vacations go smoothly for the family but when things go wrong, too many times, he vents his frustration in ways that makes eyes go wide. Apparently, I also seem to have this…characteristic.

There is one scene in the movie where it couldn’t be any better portrayed than when Clark catches his in-laws, packed and ready to leave the house. He stops them and then goes into a rant about pressing on, and that’s when Clark’s wife Ellen announces that, “I think its best that everyone just goes home…before things get worse.” To which Clark replies, “Worse? How could it get any worse? Take a look around Ellen. We’re at the threshold of hell.” Now there are many other moments in this movie that are relatable to me, but there is the outstanding question, how could it get any worse? Well, to get away from the movie, we do live in a fallen world and we have been told that, even though we are in Christ, we will have tribulation.

As Jesus sat and ate with disciples, on the night He was gonna be betrayed, He gives them all one last session of lessons. From a foot washing to the breaking of bread, Jesus is equipping His disciples for the task ahead. Eventually Jesus will plainly say to them, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” It won’t be too long after this that Jesus Christ will be crucified on a Roman cross…how could it get any worse?

Well I don’t think that anything gets any worse than being crucified on a Roman cross. There isn’t even any room to put in a joke in there, but strangely enough that is what we need to remember Him by when we think of Jesus overcoming the world. Let’s face it, it appears that we’re living a ball of hate right now and it is showing no signs of letting up. When we look upon “this present evil world” the only thing to conquer it is the person of Jesus Christ. To borrow an observation from C.H. Spurgeon, “We are sojourners in an enemy country.” So, the best thing we can do is overcome. The apostle Paul says it best In the Book of Romans, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

And I really believe that the only way to truly renew your mind is found in those red letters of Jesus Christ. Simon Peter knew that as well, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life” (John 6:68). There isn’t a disappointing thing that Jesus Christ ever said, and if you were to think contrary to that you may need to check yourself against those red letters. The bottom line for all of us is to understand that the best way to overcome this present evil world is to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. All the time, every time.

I also really believe that in His words you will find peace. Its pretty simple stuff, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17) The question “How could it get any worse?” has a simple answer for those who know this as truth but for those who do not…yeah it could get worse. Life is filled with chaos and if you have chosen not to know Him you will not know peace.

As Resurrection Sunday approaches, let us be mindful on what was done on our behalf and rest in that blessed assurance. However, if you are not one of His people then I implore you to consider the option of a life that honors God, fills you with peace and has an understanding of a God that will neither leave you or forsake you. Once you come to know Jesus Christ, how could it get any worse? Amen?

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Joshua 16-18| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “If Christ has overcome the world at its worst, we who are in Him shall overcome the world too through the same power which dwelt in Him. He has put His life into His people, He has given His Spirit to dwell in them, and they shall be more than conquerors.” — Charles Haddon Spurgeon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.
Psalm 71:5

 

 

 

 

So What’s Your Story?

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Every one of us has one – yes, that includes you and me. Welcome to this new week of Freedom Fighters. We do not take for granted your willingness to click “open” if you are reading via email, or reading it through the web-blog.

This week we will begin to think through the greatest story ever told. It’s a story like no other. His story was quite different than yours and mine.

His birth was pretty dramatic – especially since it had been predicted decades before he was ever born. In fact, His story goes all the way back to the book of Genesis.

Despite the 400 silent years that separated the Old and New Testament, prophets were waiting for His birth.

And then it happened! His birth wasn’t in the finest hospital in the world. There were attending physicians and nurses. Not even a midwife. It was just his mother and father, and we assume because of the description of the location, He might have been surrounded by a bunch of barn animals.

For most of His life, He lived in obscurity. But for three and a half years – well let’s just say, He hit the ground running.

It started with a miracle in Canaan when His Mom told Him that they had run out of Coca-Cola at a pretty important wedding reception (It has to be Coca-Cola – I serve at America’s Keswick).

From that point on, He was pretty visible, and His life touched so many in such profound and impactful ways.

He talked with a Samaritan woman at a well – unheard of in the culture of that day. He healed sick people – lame, deaf, blind.

Although a son of a simple carpenter, once He became known – people from everywhere started following Him. When He went to the synagogues, He blew away even the Rabbis because of how at this young age, He could quote the Scripture and explain it so well.

His followers on Sunday, Palm Sunday, followed Him into the city shouting praises to His name. There was such excitement in the air.

But somehow everything turned. Life is like that sometimes. Everything was going so well – but then everything went south.

He was betrayed by one of His followers – one of the guys who had hung out with Him during the past several years. After a special dinner, He ended up getting arrested – falsely accused for crimes He never committed.

He was not just arrested – He was put on public display. People spit on Him. They pulled on His beard. They ripped his clothes off. He was beaten beyond recognition. Where was the cry about the brutality that we hear about today?

And He wasn’t just beaten with fists and hands – he was beaten with a whip that had stone and glass attached. 39 times!!! They had to stop at 39 because the 40th beating would have resulted in His death.

Finally, He was given a crown of thorns and then nailed to a wooden cross – nails in His hands and feet. A sign was placed above His head – King of the Jews.

He suffered – and oh he suffered. We sanitize the story – but truth be told, His death was horrific.

And then He died. But that was only the beginning of the story. His accusers thought it was over. His enemies thought they had silenced His voice. Everyone including the His greatest enemy thought the final chapter had been written.

But what they didn’t know was this – it’s Friday – but Sunday is coming. That’s where the story gets really exciting. And for you my friend, that Good Friday was just the beginning of YOUR story.

Overflowing and abounding with joy,

Bill Welte
President/CEO America’s Keswick

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Joshua 12-15| You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Think About This: “If you knew that only a few would care that you came, would you still come? If you knew that those you loved would laugh in your face, would you still care? If you knew that the tongues you made would mock you, the mouths you made would spit at you, the hands you made would crucify you, would you still make them? Christ did.” – Max Lucado

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.
Psalm 71:5

 

What Sin Do You Cherish? 10 Questions To Unhinder Prayer

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2018 is here. A time for self examination. 10 questions below are not self-righteous finger-pointing questions. I have written them out realizing I have more than enough Sins of commission and omission of my own, so I don’t have time to check yours. You’re on your own. If the questions help you to pray more effectively in 2018, I say God bless you because your prayers will benefit us all.

  1. What Sin do I cherish?

Cherish is a good word. It means to protect or care for someone or something lovingly; to hold something dear; to keep a hope or ambition in one’s mind. We look at Cherish as good, but the Bible tells us it can be bad too. Psalm 66:18(ESV) states it this way “If I had cherished iniquity (Sin) in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” It hinders answered prayer. Psalm 141:3,4 defines iniquity for us: “Send a guard, oh Lord over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, too busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity and let me not eat of their delicacies.” In other words, to cherish iniquity means to love my sin more than I love God, to toy with known sin in my mind and doing nothing about it even acting on it. Cherishing iniquity will put me on the path of sin James 1:13-15 explains.

  1. In what areas am I disobedient?

Deuteronomy 1:45 in context v.v. 19-46 it is a sad story of the Israelites rebellion against God‘s command. “And you returned and wept before the Lord, but the Lord did not listen to your voice or give ear to you.”

  1. Am I holding on to sin?

What sin am I holding onto and doing nothing about it? Psalm 66:18, “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” cf. John 9:31

  1. Am I indifferent to God and the things of God?

Proverbs 1:22-31, v.28 “Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer, they will seek me diligently but will not find me.”

  1. Am I neglecting Mercy?

Proverbs 21:13 “Whoever closes his ear to the poor will himself call out and not be answered.” cf. Matthew 9:13; Matthew 23:23

  1. Have I stopped hearing and heeding God’s Word?

Proverbs 28:9 “If ONeil turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21

  1. Has my heart become diamond-hard in resistance to the Lord?

Zechariah 7:12,13 (v.13) “As ,I called and they would not hear, so they called, And I would not here, says the Lord of Hosts.”

  1. Is my faith wavering?

James 1:6,7 “ But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord”

  1. Am I living in Sin?

Isaiah 59:2 (Micah 3:4) “ but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.“

  1. In what way are my prayers self-indulgent?

James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your own passions.” Prayers seeking to gratify self-centered passions do not honor God or advance his purposes (1 John 5:14,15). We need to know the Scriptures well enough to pray according to God’s revealed thoughts not our own.

An Affirmation for 2018: Before I pray, I will invite the Holy Spirit to reveal my sin. I will confess my sin (name my sin) and forsake it. I will pray having received His forgiveness and a restored relationship with God. Psalm 139:23,24; 1 John 1:9,ESV “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Written by Pastor Bob Wood: Pastor Bob is a retired Pastor and a dear friend of America’s Keswick.

The Daily Bible Reading: Joshua 1-4 | You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote:  “Every kind of prayer, not intercessory prayer only, which is the highest kind of prayer, but all prayer, from the lowest kind to the highest, is impossible in a life of known and allowed sin.” – Alexander Whyte

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. Psalm 62:10

Returning to Our Old Ways?

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“And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: If only we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!’” (Numbers 20:3)

Here’s how it sounds in the New Living translation.

“and they began to speak against God and Moses. ‘Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?’ they complained. ‘There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!’” — Numbers 21:5 NLT

God had provided and delivered the children of Israel and this was their response. They were very inconsiderate to the Lord’s great work already accomplished in their lives. They complained, even to the point to desire to return to slavery. Seems illogical.

But is it?

In my little surroundings, I’m observing men consistently return to their addiction, women staying with abusive spouses, individuals doing time in prison and repeating the same patterns, pastor and leader enslaved to pornography, the list goes on…

“Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)

“Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him.” (Proverbs 27:22)

The Israelites and Moses suffered grave consequence for their harden, ungrateful hearts. Let’s not repeat the same mistakes and glorify God regardless of the situation.

Are you grumbling about God’s provision, are you looking ways to escape that are not unhealthy, are you habitually sinning?

“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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Corinthians 7:14).

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: Deuteronomy 32-34 ; Psalm 91 | You can download our 2017 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

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Daily Quote: “Temptations are like tramps. Treat them kindly, and they will return bringing others with them.”

– Dwight L. Moody

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. Psalm 62:10