Where Were You 15 Year Ago Yesterday?

New York Harbor

“God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in time of trouble.” Psalm 46:1

So for those of you who are old enough to remember the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, my guess is you can tell me exactly where you were and what you were doing.

I was working as a delivery boy for the pharmacy up the street and delivering a prescription that day and walked in to deliver a prescription and can still here the lady screaming, “The President’s been shot!”

On September 11th, I was in my office at America’s Keswick when my wife called to tell me about the first plane to hit the World Trade Center. Our staff went to the lobby to watch the horrific footage as the events of the day unfolded.

We gathered together the staff and the men of the Colony of Mercy in the Raws Dining Room and on our knees cried out to the Lord for our nation and all the families impacted by this tragedy. Several of the men cried out to the Lord at that moment, repented of their sin and were converted.

In the early afternoon we planned a time of worship and prayer for our Keswick family and on the way to conduct the service I received the news that Board member, Don Peterson and his wife, were on Flight 93 and lost their lives when that plane crashed. 9/11 became very real and personal.peterson

Months later we learned that when the rescue workers arrived at the crash site in Shanksville, the only visible things at the site were a tire and a Bible. A Bible? Could it be? No – impossible! But it was. It was Don Peterson’s Bible. And tucked inside was his list of men he was praying for – men who were residents of the Colony of Mercy.

pbible

We remember today that in the midst of horrendous moments, tragedy, unexplainable events – that God is not far off and uninvolved. Psalm 46:1 reminds us that even when the earth shakes and its foundations are crumbling, God is there. He is there to be our refuge and strength. He is an ever-present help in our time of trouble.

I don’t want to ever forget what took place on September 11, 2001. Lots of lives were taken and families destroyed for a lifetime. It’s a good reminder

of another life that 2000+ years ago that was sacrificed on a hill in Israel – He gave his very blood so that you and I could be free from the power and bondage of sin and death. Jesus Christ paid for your sin and mine. May we never forget.

There’s not too many days that go by that I don’t think and Don and Jean Peterson. The legacy of their lives continues not just at the Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania, but every time someone views the Bible picture and theirs, people remember their sacrifice. We must never forget.

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 104; Proverbs 12

Daily Quote: Our real freedom from sin and the bondage to sin is found in our enslavement, both body and soul, to Christ, the Lord of all. ~Spiros Zodhiates

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

~Romans 8:35-37

How to Communicate With Millennials – Part #2

Using smart phone
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Good morning, friends. I trust that you had a good weekend and that you are prepared for this new week.

Last week I started a dialog with you about communicating with millennials and I want to continue to share my heart with you.

Millennials are a unique generation. They are the largest demographic alive right now and have become a powerful part of today’s work force.

What I am not saying is that one generation is more important than others. What I am saying is that the millennial generation is here to stay and we can choose to either ignore them and be frustrated, our we can learn about them, embrace them and encourage them to be the men and women God desires them to be.

I personally believe that if we think it through, we have the opportunity to equip a group of people who God could use in incredible ways to reach the world for Christ.

This generation are not pew sitters. They are not interested in talking about whether or not we need Hymnals or sing off the wall. They are not concerned about carpet colors, pews or no pews, dress code, and tons of other things that have been issues with other generations.

What they are interested is in DOING SOMETHING. They are not about getting bogged down in policies and committees that are going to spin their wheels and never get anything done. If there is a house near the church that has burned down, they want to get down and dirty and provide ministry to the family – practical ministry from childcare to actually helping rebuild the house.

They will not just give money to an organization – they want to make sure that their resources are going to be used for what the organization is raising the money for.

They are interested in substance not fluff. Churches and ministries that are going to reach this age group need to learn that they have watched their grandparents and parents flounder from church to church because they are looking for the newest and best. They have watched their families dabble with “Christianity-is-for-Sunday” lifestyles, when everything else is up for grabs. They have watched their families divorce, use drugs and alcohol, and this new generation is asking how faith and life connect.

They are leaving what I call the “dog and pony show” churches to be a part of more liturgical settings where form and substance are a part of the worship experience.

They are more interested in depth to the preaching vs. shallow fluff and stuff entertainment preaching.

They are interested in being mentored. My generation, the infamous Baby Boomers could care less what our parents thought – we had all the answers and didn’t need advice or counsel. This generation wants to ask you questions, do the research, and then make their decisions. They may not take your counsel, but at least they have asked for it.

Because of their intuitiveness with technology, they have the unique ability to get things done with greater efficiency. They have embraced the technology with the ability to get stuff done. It’s pretty cool to watch them in action.

I am out of words. More next week. Thanks for hanging with me on this subject.

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 98; Proverbs 6

Daily Quote:  “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.~Romans 8:33-34

How to Communicate To Millennials

Group of young people sitting at a cafe, top view
“ … of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command …” 1 Chronicles 12:32

Life does begin to look different at age 62. I know I have said this before, but it really does. And I find myself thinking much more about impact and legacy the closer I get to 65.

What I am not saying is that I am throwing in the towel at age 65. Dr. Howard Hendricks used to say that more guys have cardiac blow-outs on the way to Florida when they retire. And Moses didn’t get started until age 80 🙂

What I am realizing is that one of the things that really floats my boat right now is investing in the next generation and how important that is for so many of our ministries moving forward.

So this discussion will not just be one blog entry, but most likely will be a series of disconnected connected thoughts – my meanderings through this journey.

Just about every major ministry is getting ready to go through a transition at some point in the next five to six years. Some of these ministries will be faced with challenges because their entire scope of ministry is centered around a personality.

Can I give you a few? Charles Stanley. David Jeremiah. John MacArthur. Chuck Swindoll – just to name a few. The media ministry as you and I know it is about to make a shift. Few guys have been able to pull off still having media ministry after they are in glory. The only one that has really pulled it off is Dr. J. Vernon McGee. That guy has been dead for years, but still is high up on the radio stats.

Many ministries who have gone through the “succession” process have blundered their way through the process. I have been interviewing Christian leaders who have been through it and quite sadly, about all of the godly men that I have talked with only one was able to say it really went well.

Our ministry is going to be 119 years old this September. Very few ministries get to be 119. So I am very much praying through with much concern, where do we go from here.

Let me start by making some assumptions:

  1. God has it already figured out, but He seems to invite us to be a part of the process. That’s why we are strengthening our commitment to prayer for His leading and direction.
  2. God has not promised us that we will even be in existent as a ministry 5, 10 or 15 years from now. But we want to be faithful and good stewards of what He has given us, and until He tells us it is time to close the doors, our Board and leadership team what to be faithful to the call of God on our lives.
  3. Many of our leaders and teams are aging and close to retirement age so there is a good reason to think about investing in the next generation.

When I came to America’s Keswick 20 years ago, the lion share of our our team were a few years older and a few years younger than me. The “old guard” was a small minority. If I were to retire at age 65, the new guy coming in at age 42 would be inheriting a huge “old guard” and a small team of next generation leaders.

Please hear me. WHAT I AM NOT SAYING is that if you are over 50, 60 and 70, God can’t use you. We have had tons of people serving at America’s Keswick into their 80’s over the years and they have done so with excellence and integrity.

Our world is rapidly changing and with those changes come new challenges and opportunities that are hard for us even in our 50’s and 60’s to accept and handle. Just think about technology. 20 years ago when I first came, we only had a couple of computers. My Administrative Assistant was still using an IMB Selectric Word processor. Now we can do our work right from our smart phones. And the technology is advancing more rapidly than most of us can keep up with.

Well I have used up my words for this week. Stay tuned and hang in there with me. Please? I appreciate you.

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 90; Proverbs 29

Daily Quote: “Anyone who stops learning is old … Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” ~Henry Ford

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? ~Romans 8:31-32

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Assuming His Presence

Bible with a crown of thorns on a wooden table

“…supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey…” (Luke 2: 44)

Jesus’ parents had taken Him to Jerusalem for the Passover. They travelled homeward in the company of a large crowd of pilgrims returning to Galilee. Assuming that Jesus was somewhere in the crowd, they went a day’s journey before they discovered His absence. When they failed to find Him among their relatives and friends, they returned to Jerusalem.

Several lessons and applications can be drawn from this incident.

First, there is a danger in assuming that He is walking with us in fellowship. It is true that He has promised His presence to be with us always, but the realization of His presence is conditional – if we walk in the light (1 John 1: 7).

Second, it is possible for Him to be obscured by the crowd. There were instances in His ministry when needy persons could not see Him for the crowd . Zacchaeus, because he was short of stature, was prevented by the crowd from seeing Jesus. He overcame the problem by climbing a tree for a better view. In a different situation, a paralytic in need of the Master Healer was prevented from getting to Jesus because of the crowd in the house. His enterprising friends solved the problem by removing roof tiles and placing the man directly before the Lord. Crowds and popular opinion can deter people from finding Jesus.

Third, Jesus was found in the place where His parents had left Him. When we have turned away from the Lord and assumed that He would follow us on a way that we have chosen, we can only be restored by returning to the place of departure. In this account, it was the place chosen by the Heavenly Father for His business to be carried on (Luke 2: 49). Instead of merely assuming that He is with us, we must learn to practice His presence. Don’t lose Him through the influence of the crowd. Before the day’s journey begins, be sure you’re in the fellowship of His presence.

Written by Rev. William A. Raws (Pastor Bill): Pastor Bill served at America’s Keswick for over 50 years. He is the grandson of our founder, William Raws.

Taken from Real Victory for Real Life Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 3130-3150). Kindle Edition. Keswick, America’s  (2012-12-13).

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 87; Proverbs 26

Daily Quote: “Poor souls are apt to think that all those whom they read or hear of to be gone to heaven, went there because they were so good and holy…Yet not one of them, not any one that is now in heaven (Jesus Christ alone excepted), did ever come there any other way but by forgiveness of sins.” ~John Owen

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. ~Romans 8:28-30

Living Beyond Fear

Superhero Kid

What would you do if you had no fear? What would your life be like if you had no fear? What would you attempt for God if you knew you couldn’t fail? What would you plan to do if you were convinced that God would resource you? What would your approach be to setbacks and challenges if you were empowered by God’s faithfulness? ~Graham Cooke

But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in My eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made.” ~from Isaiah 43

Oh beloved, it is true. There is a place for fear. But it is not in this world. We are getting it dreadfully backwards when we have no dread of the Almighty and are scared to death of the littlest things in this life.

Lest any of you brothers reading this think that i am writing from some place where i do not have an understanding of what is going on in life, may i present a few details? i have been in a near plane crash in Costa Rica, followed by some bad guys in Palestinian Territory (really), stopped and questioned by a radical Muslim on a trash mountain outside of Jakarta, and survived a knife attack in the Philippines. And each time, G_d was there with me in ways that go beyond words.

Yeah, the life of an international worker can be a little exciting.

But, beyond this, i have had truckloads of the opportunity to be afraid of the more daily things. Like…

What people think of me

Where my next paycheck or meal is going to come from

How my health is working out

Being misunderstood by my spouse

Dealing with waves of chronic pain

Loss of relationship with children

Being disliked by coworkers and students

Being misunderstood (sometimes purposely) by those who could not believe what G_d was and is doing in my life.

There’s more… Each of us could come up with a long list of thing about which we could be afraid. And nearly all of them seem reasonable. But, they are not. Can we be honest with ourselves? Fear is nothing other than a lack of faith. Fear is my damnable pride getting in the way of truth. Fear is an excuse to avoid the unavoidable truth of the Gospel.

Read the passage beloved. The cure for fear is not just believing real hard in some self-powered attempt at faith. No, the cure for fear is to rest in the one thing that draws us towards real and abiding strength. Love is the cure.

But, can we see what kind of Love this is? The Love of G_d is not some sort of warm fuzzy feeling (though this fool of a writer is sure that He has those for us too). No, the Love of G_d has traded away influence and interest in nations to get ahold of us. The Love of G_d is a lifesaving, firewalking, river-fording, and all-consuming Love! We a precious to the very One who defines value itself. We are honored by the One who is more honorable than 10,000 princes of the purest royal houses.

Oh my!

Yeah.

Can we see it? Love like this grows something powerful within us. Love like this steels the heart and calms the nerves. Love like this drives out fear. And this is exactly what the only One we should fear intends. For as we look to Him and become dreadfully aware of our fallenness in light of His dreadful perfection – we see the one thing we never thought we would see: Acceptance in His Son, and Love beyond our wildest dreams in His eyes. Forever.

So, is fear dogging you lately? Maybe you could take it from an old guy like me out in the field. Fear is a liar. It was one of the best things i ever let go of. And when it wants to poke its head up in my life, i pray for the grace to look away from the foul thing, and just look into His eyes. When i do, when i look into those eyes – the fear is gone – replaced by the strength of His Love.

Tonight is your night. Time to believe you are Loved.

Makala_FF 2016

Written by Makala Doulos: Makala  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: Psalm 86; Proverbs 25

Daily Quote: “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.” ~Karol Józef Wojtyła

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. ~Romans 8:28-30

Trauma Care

Emergency room entrance

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

After 9/11, the level of security and fear escalated in America. People understood that we weren’t exempt from the extreme evil of the World. It actually made us think a little different about our comfort zones. It affected us in various practical ways; the way we renew our license, passports, traveling, schools, etc… Americans flocked to churches, government officials, clergy, counselors, therapist, medicine, and the like…it really shook us.

That happened on a universal scale, but how about the trauma in your personal life? Most men, in my dealings, won’t admit or deal properly with the trauma in their own life, moreover stay in denial that it even existed. Wake up, stuff happens! Loss of a spouse or child, divorce, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, substance abuse, even the lack of meaningful love can be detrimental and traumatic. Whether we like or not if we don’t pay attention to these areas, they will manifest themselves in other compartments and behaviors, Ask the people closest to you? Unchecked trauma will only produce drama.

However, we can experience true freedom when we invite God to walk us through those traumatic issues. He reminded His people, in this passage and many others, that everything has purpose, even pain. Don’t waste your experiences! Life will get messy but God is faithful to see you through, and to use it for His glory and your good.

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:11)

Juan Mendez_FF 2016Written 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 85; Proverbs 24

Daily Quote: “If we have got the true love of God shed abroad in our hearts, we will show it in our lives. We will not have to go up and down the earth proclaiming it. We will show it in everything we say or do.” ~Dwight L. Moody

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. ~Romans 8:28-30

Needless Needling

Old Books Background.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.” ~Philippians 4:1 (NLT)

In Chuck Swindoll’s book, “Laugh Again”, he tells a story about some porcupines trying to sleep in the cold. They huddle together to keep warm but their quills keep poking at each other and they eventually have to separate because it just keeps getting irritating to be that close. They need each other to keep warm but they keep needling at each other…kinda like us Christian folks do to each other. Aw, it ain’t intentional, it just happens…yeah right!!

When we read Philippians 4:2 we see two names that come up, Euodia and Syntyche and they musta had a bit of a disagreement because by the middle of the 2nd verse Paul is appealing for them to live in “harmony” in the Lord. Now, even though these two women were living in a Roman colony and enjoyed a level of independence that was uncommon in the Roman Empire, it apparently gives them no excuse for creating disharmony among fellow believers in the church at Philippi. But they just kept…needling at each other. So what are you gonna do? Well you should turn to the 4th chapter of James with me and see what he says of the matter. (for the record, James is one of my go to’s even though he has a bad habit of causing me to say “OUCH”)

So let’s start with these two simple questions… “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you?” and “Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” Guess we best start with the first one. How many of you think that Christians shouldn’t disagree? If you raised your hand put it back down because you’re wrong!! Yeah you’re wrong. If there were only shiny, happy people in our Biblical past there wouldn’t be much of a Bible. I mean, how do you think doctrine gets hammered out or how iron sharpens iron, we just toss seed, add a little water and sow flowers? When you have claimed Christ as LORD and Savior it doesn’t mean that you get to be all wishy-washy about things. So what gets us needling? Let’s continue to question 2…

In the NLT the words “evil desires” is used. Other versions used the word “pleasures” but none the matter of the term it’s the intention to have desire without restraint, pleasure with no boundaries, passion to get what one wants REGARDLESS of consequences. As James so kindly puts it, “You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”

(As a sidebar here: sometimes just being offended get things going. Because offence stimulates pride and pride stimulates bad stuff like, strong-arm tactics, stubborn deafness and political maneuvering…sound familiar?)

So what’s the solution? Well ya gotta understand that disagreements are to expected and not all of them are wrong. We need to remember that disagreements can be resolved before stubbornness and selfishness set in and occupy rent-free space. And if you wind up being the one needed to assist in the reconciliation process you have a threefold objective to consider: The goal is not to discipline but to restore, you do this with grace and not force and your common ground in it is Jesus Christ, not logic, church policy, tradition or “because you say so”.

This Freedom Fighter writer has had numerous times in his life where he didn’t think of the damage he did to the testimony he received from Christ’s wondrous work in his life and solved issues with the might of his mouth…pride would get in the way of him wrapping the towel around his waist, humbly set down on one knee and consider the other person but every once in awhile, some guy named Bill W. would remind him of this simple saying….”If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18) Somebody give me an “OUCH”!!!

Today brothers (and sisters) go out and laugh again in the Victory that was won for us through the shed blood of Christ Jesus and STAND FIRM IN THE LORD!!…AMEN?!!

Chris Hughes_FF 2016Written 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 84; Proverbs 23

Daily Quote: “Self-trust is the last great obstacle to living the crucified life, which is why we mill around the deep river of God like animals around a waterhole, afraid to go in because the water may be too deep. We never quite get it.” —A.W. Tozer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. ~Romans 8:28-30

Looking Unto Jesus

Slim tourist on peak of rock in autumn empires park

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony of the truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. Hebrews 12:1-2b Amplified Bible

With all the coverage of the summer Olympics, my mind went to these familiar verses in Hebrews 12. I decided to read them from the Amplified Bible and wow – that really makes this passage come alive.

Thank you for joining me on this new week of Freedom Fighter blogs. We value your joining us each day.

I read a powerful devotional on the topic of “looking unto Jesus” from a devotional, MEET ME IN THE MEADOWS by Roy Lessin. Think about this:

The lost look to Jesus and see the loving Savior.

The wayward look to Jesus and see the only Way.

The confused look to Jesus and see the perfect Truth.

The empty look to Jesus and see the abundant Life.

The meek look to Jesus and see the suffering Servant.

The humble look to Jesus and see the risen Lord.

The blind look to Jesus and see the glorious Light.

The bound look to Jesus and see the conquering Warrior.

The oppressed look to Jesus and see the triumphant King.

The wounded look to Jesus and see the healing Physician.

The needy look to Jesus and see the caring Shepherd.

The hungry look to Jesus and see the living Bread.

The restless look to Jesus and see the Prince of Peace.

The mistreated look to Jesus and see the Righteous Judge.

The defenseless look to Jesus and see the great High Priest.

The barren look to Jesus and see the fruitful Vine.

The homeless look to Jesus and see their Dwelling Place.

The poor look to Jesus and see their Unsearchable Riches.

The lonely look to Jesus and see the ever-present Friend.

The insufficient look to Jesus and see their All in All.

My guess this morning is that you and fit in one or more of the above categories at some point during your journey. You may be in one of those places now and are looking for answers in all the wrong places.

Well my friend, today would be a good day to LOOK TO JESUS. He longs for us to do that.

Growing up there was an old hymn we sang in our church:

I’ve a message from the Lord, Hallelujah! The message unto you I’ll give; ‘Tis recorded in His word, Hallelujah! It is only that you “look and live.”

Refrain Look and live, O sinner, live, Look to Jesus now and live; ‘Tis recorded in His word, Hallelujah! It is only that you look to live!

Look to Jesus, my brothers. Look and live.

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 83; Proverbs 22

Daily Quote: “It is easy to bring a man to the river of regret, but you cannot make him drink the water of repentance.” —C.H. Spurgeon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. ~Romans 8:28-30

Righteous vs. Evil

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For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:12)

When I hear a metaphor like, ‘The eyes of the Lord’ or ‘his ears are open’ I used to wonder if God has a physical eyes, ear, or any other characteristics like humans. Moreover, because of my disobedience, I didn’t want that eye or ear to see or hear some of the things, in which I was involved. Can that eye see my heart or what I’m thinking? These are the questions I would ask myself along this bumpy journey.

But as my relationship with God develops and my understandings evolve, this metaphoric language is revealing God’s continual guardianship and care over my life. He is the protector of His children and as a concern parent he wants to be engaged with the wellbeing of His Creation. Good or Evil!

The verse juxtaposes God’s position; providing confront to one group while rejecting another, nevertheless He is still over all. The warning is strong and His wisdom is infinite, and His love endures. For the saints, be Holy as He is Holy, however we should also have a hunger for sharing Jesus, because that sets the two groups apart. Are you going to tell someone about Christ this week?

Juan Mendez_FF 2016Written 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 79; Proverbs 18

Daily Quote: “Though we cannot think alike may we not love alike?” ~John Wesley

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. ~Romans 8:18

Enemies of The Cross – PART TWO

Christian cross on a wild beach with a wonderful sunrise

“Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.” ~Philippians 3:17-19 (The Message)

I remember the night I took my son, Kevin, to his first ever Philadelphia Eagles football game. I was all revved up (even though it was pre-season) for a good game and was hoping my son would pick up on the excitement. As we were walking towards “The Linc” (Lincoln Finical Field) he noticed someone wearing a t-shirt that had some nasty saying about the Dallas Cowboys. I explained to my son the on-going rivalry that had been such since I was a kid. When we got into the stadium he again noticed that someone wearing a Cowboys jersey was receiving a lot of lip-service. He asked why are the Cowboys enemies of the Eagles…too embarrassed to say it might be because Dallas has Super Bowl victories and we don’t, my answer was kinda plain,” They just are”. He let it go after that. For the record, it was a Philadelphia vs. Carolina game.

On October 26 1884, from the pulpit of Metropolitan Tabernacle, C.H. Spurgeon asked the congregation this question, “Why are men enemies of this Cross of Christ?” His first part to the answer was this…” Frankly, I think that some do not know why they are.” But then he put it into this nutshell, “Nicodemus wisely asked, “Does our Law judge any man before it hears him?” Our lawless ones do! And there are multitudes of men who ought to think themselves as mean as dirt because they never gave Christ a hearing—yet they thrust Him from them. “Oh!” says one, “I should never go inside any of those canting Methodist places.” No, you are such a wonderful man that you think you can see through a stone wall and judge of what goes on inside—you do not need to be taught because you imagine you already know everything!” (OUCH)

Now we can look at world today and see the obvious reason why so many can be counted as enemies. So many people live on the tangible that it’s all about what can be touched, seen and owned. So many people prefer to-eat-drink-and-be-merry that it’s all about life style. But in any case, these two scenario’s offer nothing but a path that is destined for eternal hopelessness, devoid of love, joy or anything truly good. I even dare to say that we Christians have our moments when the Cross is an enemy. It’s those prideful moments where we tell ourselves that we’re good, maybe even better than those around us. After all Jesus paid it all…All to Him I owe…Sin left a crimson

stain…He washed it white as snow. We tend to forget that it was Jesus who was looking towards the Throne of Grace, looking for mercy to be bestowed only to finally yell out, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?)

The sermon Spurgeon gave that day in 1884 really sums up those who are enemies of the Cross. His hope was that The Holy Spirit used his sermon to bring people to Christ even though he knew this unfortunate truth, “But, alas, multitudes of men do not want holiness—they want their harlots, they want their wine, they want their carnivals of vice, they want their selfishness and they want everything that Christ does not give, so they cry, “Not this Man, but Barabbas,” and they make the awful choice of sin as they neglect their Lord! These are “the enemies of the Cross of Christ.”

But this shouldn’t end on a sour note. We have been given the promises of The Kingdom and the Apostle Paul wants to understand that, “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same power with which He will bring everything under His control.” (Phil 3:20-21) Brothers (and sisters) this day, walk in the victory that Christ obtained for you and share it. It ain’t yours anyway so ya might as well give some of it away. Who knows…it might win a Super Bowl or two. (yeah I’m stretching it, but I have hope)

Chris Hughes_FF 2016Written 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 77; Proverbs 16

Daily Quote: “Now the point of this analysis is not to judge or condemn the lost or to leave some kind of impression that Christians are better than non-Christians. Rather, it is to help us remember why God has placed us among them. Our mission is to reach out to them! To win them. To help them realize that there is so much more to life than they have ever known.” — Charles Swindoll

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. ~Romans 8:18