Who Can Imagine Life Without Worry? THE WRAP-UP

 

anxious

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” ~Matthew 6:26-27 (NLT)

Time to put this baby to bed. As you may know I’ve been covering something that can be a deterrent to our faith and that deterrent is worry. My friend Matt Henry says, “There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of this life.” Guess that’s his way of saying we shouldn’t be so worldly-minded and so much so that Jesus came right out and addressed it during the Sermon on The Mount. Jesus wants us to understand that we have a Kingdom value to God and that we need to stop questioning our worth in this world.

A great deal of us tend to dress ourselves in material security when we only need to put on the garment of Christ and suit up in the armor of God. Guess it’s a matter of answering a simple question…Can you serve two masters? Maybe for us it’s like having two jobs at once in order to make ends meet. Eventually one is gonna dominate the other depending on what can rule your ambition better. You can call it “Doin’ what I gotta do” all you want but misplaced ambition is a joy killer and when your joy is gone worry can flow into your life to fill the void. That’s why Jesus says “Therefore I tell you do NOT be anxious about your life…”

Now what do I mean by misplaced ambition? Well what I’m not saying is that planning ahead is foolhardy. J.C. Ryle (the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool 1880-1900) once said that “Prudent provision for the future is right; wearing, corroding, self-tormenting anxiety is wrong.” If all you live for today is to make sure you have a tomorrow Jesus pretty says you’re missing the point. “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Bottom line here is that worry is incompatible with the Christian faith (Stott) so when we worry about stuff that hasn’t happened we ain’t addin’ nuttin’ to our lives (well maybe acid reflux). It doesn’t make sense to carry a fear over something that may never happen…it stunts your growth of faith in what God has already planned for you.

This may be easy to read or write than to live out but we need to develop a true Christian ambition for God. I mean everyone is ambitious to be or do something. When Jesus took to The Mount that day it was to split anxiety down the middle. We have a false ambition where all its about is building up stuff on this earth and being bogged down by worrying if we’re gonna get what we think is ours. Then we have a true ambition where the spiritual matters and we strive to build up treasures in heaven. To quote John Stott on the matter, “In the end, just as there are only two kinds of piety, the self-centred and the God-centred, so there are only two kinds of ambition: one can be ambitious either for oneself or for God. There is no third alternative.”

I started a journey into a book titled “Laugh Again…Experience Outrageous Joy” and what I gleaned outta the whole thing was I let worry over an issue dominate my whole existence. My joy in serving the Lord was crushed and I wanted out from serving God’s people. My faith got seriously rocked and I wondered why I even bothered being in His House. I dove into my job with a fury that said “All that I got going right is this job” Man was I so wrong. Truth be told brethren I straddled the fence (was doing it for months) but my God loves me too much to have allowed me to stay that way…and God’s people wouldn’t leave me alone either. So what is a boy to do from this point forward? How about a little diddy from a guy who found his joy in the Lord while in prison?

“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. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” Amen?

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 112; Proverbs 20

Daily Quote: So anybody who divides his allegiance between God and mammon has already given it to mammon, since God can be served only with an entire and exclusive devotion. This is simply because He is God; “I am the Lord, that is my name; My glory I give to no other” (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11) To try to share Him with other loyalties is to have opted for idolatry.” ~John Stott

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

How To Communicate With Millennials – Part #3

millennials

Well here is one more blog about communicating with millennials. I appreciate the guys who have shared that this discussion was helpful in understanding this generation that is so much a part of today’s world.

I want to finally answer the question: How do I communicate with millennials?

There is no magic bullet. I want to answer the question by asking YOU a question: How do YOU like to be communicated to/with?

That pretty much answers the question. With any generation the Bible lays a pretty solid foundation to help us with communicating. Proverbs is a classic book of God’s Word that addresses how much I need to think about my words and how I communicate with my words.

I don’t really think communicating with millennials is any different than communicating with the silent generation, the boomers, or busters.

But let me offer some insight: 

1. This generation will not be motivated by the false guilt that worked for some generations. I shared before that they don’t want to just talk about issues – they want to do something about it. Recently I was taken to task because it appeared that America’s Keswick was not addressing the who black/white/racism issue. Quite frankly I was stunned at the comment that was posted on my Facebook wall. The reality is that America’s Keswick HAS addressed these issues. This summer we had three black preachers share God’s Word for our summer conferences. Two specifically addressed the racism issues. Over the past 20 years, our ministry has become a ministry of color and every ethnic group. 50% of our Labor Day weekend guests were comprised of ethnic groups: Hispanic, Black, Asian and Indian. It was cool. My response to my critic was that we are not talking about it – we are living it.

All that to say is that if you want to motivate this generation – tell them the issues and then give them the freedom to use their giftedness to address that issue – not just financially – but hands on.

2. I am 62 years of age and I laugh because some of my “senior” friends still speak to me as if I was still 20 years old. Robert Hayes and I often joke that we must wear signs on our foreheads that read “ Village Idiot.” Sometime we are treated like we have no clue how to run a multi-millionaire non-profit ministry. So what am I say? The millennial generation are not just “kids!” They are educated, well-read, technologically equipped and connected, and eager to learn. Don’t come on to them as “I have all the answers and you are just a kid” mindset. Open your ears. Open your heart and let them verbalize what they are thinking. Listen to how they will solve a problem, address an issue, handle a task. Want a secret? Sometimes there ideas are even better than ours and you might be able to say, “Why didn’t I think about that?”

3. Focus on what’s right with millennials, not what’s wrong with them. They are far from perfect. But guess what – neither were we. The good old days were not necessarily all the good old days. My wife had to take me to task once in how I was communicating with our son, Zach. I was focusing in one all the things he wasn’t doing the way I thought he should. She looked me in the eye and said, “He’s a good kid. Keep this up, and you are going to lose him.” That really hurt and was a HUGE wake-up call. I wish I could tell you that I get it right with Zach all the time. But I have made huge progress – we’ll maybe you need to ask Zach that question.

So there you have it. I’d love to hear your feedback. Thanks for letting me share my heart.

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 111; Proverbs 19

Daily Quote: Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. RUDYARD KIPLING

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

Who is Your King?

Golden royal crown

“Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” – 1 Samuel 8:19-20

In 1 Samuel 8, we see the people of Israel approaching Samuel to ask God for a king. This doesn’t seem like a big deal. All the other nations had kings, Israel was under constant attack, and Samuel’s sons had become corrupt judges who did not walk in the ways of the Lord. Someone looking at the situation from the outside could see how their plea for a king was warranted. The only problem was that they already had a King: God. In verse 7, the Lord says, “for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” The people failed to recognize that God was their King, that he was sufficient, that he was their security, their protection, their justice, and their peace. Israel looked to the outside world and saw that other nations gleaned their confidence and security from a king, and therefore Israel sought to become like the outside world. Despite Samuel’s warning (1 Samuel 8:10-18) of impending oppression from the very king they sought, the people still insisted.

Who is your king? Who reigns over your life? Where do you turn when you feel threatened? What do you look to when injustices seem to be happening all around you? Who or what do you put confidence in when the difficulties of life become too much? Do you look to God as your conquering King or do you look to the world around you? It’s easy to become like the Israelites. It’s easy to look at the world around us and reason that we should find our comfort and security in the same way. We look to money, possessions, relationships, education and success to provide us with the security that can only be found in the King who already reigns over us. We try to replace God as king of our lives. We even boldly ask Him, as the Israelites did, to provide us with these God-replacements. We ask God to provide us with the amount of money that would make us comfortable or with the relationship that would make us feel loved. We ask Him to put into power the political leader who makes us feel the most at ease. We ask Him for the things we think we need to provide us with the sense of security we are looking for instead of resting in the sufficiency of His grace, His love, His wisdom, His presence.

Who is your king?

As we face the uncertainty of the future, let our confidence be in the one and only true King.

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 108; Proverbs 16

Daily Quote: If you’re alive, there’s a purpose for your life. Rick Warren

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

The Reckless, Raging, Impatience of G_d

Hand reaching for the cloud in the sky

First, if we continue to picture God as a small-minded bookkeeper, a niggling customs officer rifling through our moral suitcase, as a policeman with a club who is going to bat us over the head every time we stumble and fall, or as a whimsical, capricious, and cantankerous thief who delights in raining on our parade and stealing our joy, we flatly deny what John writes in his first letter (4:16)—‘God is love.’ In human beings, love is a quality, a high-prized virtue; in God, love is His identity. Secondly, if we continue to view ourselves as moral lepers and spiritual failures, if our lives are shadowed by low self-esteem, shame, remorse, unhealthy guilt, and self-hatred, we reject the teaching of Jesus and cling to our negative self-image. ~Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God

The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;

you shall never again fear evil.

“Fear not, O Zion;

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:

let not your hands grow weak.

He will rejoice over you with gladness;

The Lord your God is in your midst,

a Mighty One Who will save;

He will quiet you by His love;

so that you will no longer suffer reproach.

He will exult over you with loud singing.

I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,

Behold, at that time I will deal

and renown in all the earth.

with all your oppressors.

And I will save the lame and gather the outcast,

and I will change their shame into praise

At that time I will bring you in,

before your eyes,” says the Lord.

at the time when I gather you together;

for I will make you renowned and praised

among all the peoples of the earth,

when I restore your fortunes

before your eyes,”

says the Lord.

~ from Zephaniah 3

Oh beloved, it is true. And we cannot even begin to comprehend it. Any way we try to grab ahold of this is to fall off into some sort of downgrading of G_d, or a false uplifting of ourselves. But, for us to not begin to see it, is to miss the very heart of our King.

G_d is Reckless.

Oh, you may very well say: “How dare you! G_d is perfect. He is infinitely patient. He is utterly holy. How could you use such a messy – and fallen – word in describing the Almighty!” And… you would be right. Perhaps it is the foolishness of a writer like this one, who has come to the end of his theological rope, to say that G_d is reckless, and impatient.

Or, is it really all of us who get it wrong?

The infinitely Perfect One who has bought us with His blood, has an agenda. He is about the work of making us like Himself. And this process, in the normal human being, is terrible. It involves the actual killing of a man that he might come alive as a wholly new creation.

And then, He doesn’t even slow down. He goes about crushing down all the old defenses our flesh had against Him. He rips our lives to shreds. He disorients us as He sets us on the paths of Life in Him. And to make things even more difficult, we find that our old ways become miserable if we even think about going back to them.

He seems to be in a terrible hurry.

He is.

G_d knows the end our lives from the beginning. He fully understands that our tiny little temporal existence is but a few clicks of a clock. We really do sprout up like late spring grass, only to be burned up in the wildfires of a hot summer. And so, this One who inhabits eternity has quite a clear picture of what needs to be done before our process of sanctification is complete.

But there is more.

Can we see it? G_d is in Love with you. He is absolutely delighted at the prospect of having you Home with Him one day. He is exultant over the prospect of sharing His Life with you forever. He is – quite actually – more excited about Heaven, and you being in it, than you are. And, as True Love does, it breaks down any barriers to that Love being consummated!

So, are you looking forward to exploring His Life and Love and Heart in the Kingdom? This fool of a writer is. But, only recently have i come to realize that my desires for Him are NOTHING in comparison to the furious longing He has for each of us. Tonight is your night beloved. Time to see Him for who He is.

Makala_FF 2016Written 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: Psalm 107; Proverbs 15

Daily Quote: The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian. ~Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God

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

You Were Created for so Much More!

African American man reading.

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)

The book of Romans packs a plethora of wisdom and discernment that clarifies many doctrines. I realized that it’s a concise version of the Bible and it is not for the faint hearted. I studied chapter-by-chapter, verse by verse and was blessed beyond measure of the revelation that God gave me. A good book to study if you are looking for meat. Let’s look at this one verse.

And we know: A lot people like to separate and unpack the doctrines of election and free will. But and the end the day We Know. And since we know we can rest assured that rest of this verse pertains to us. Who knows? Those who put their faith in Jesus Christ know.

Who love God: Are you a Lover of God? Simple answer; “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”(Jesus) For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)

All things work together for good: Are you resting that God is working it out?

Let’s let the Bible answer this!

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. (Psalms 119:67)

“It was good for me to be afflicted, so that I might learn your decrees.” (Psalms 119:71)

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Who are called according to his purpose: Do you fully understand the Call on your life?

It is an effectual call, from self and the world to God, Christ, heaven, as our end; from sin and vanity to grace and holiness, as our way. This is the gospel; that the love of God, ruling in the hearts of those who once were enemies to him, proves that they have been called according to his purpose.

God is very clear and intentional about the call on your life. He has created you for good works and indulging in pointless sin does not help accomplish His divine will. Yes, there are liberties and yes, the grace God is flawless, but is it wise to use our God given privilege for its intended purpose? God bless you saints. You Were Created for so Much More!

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 106; Proverbs 14

Daily Quote: No one can get Joy by merely asking for it. It is one of the ripest fruits of the Christian life, and, like all fruits, must be grown. ~Henry Drummond

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

Who Can Imagine Life Without Worry? Part #2

Young man suffering depression sitting on ground street concrete stairs

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” ~Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)

When I was with you last I was going on about freedom and how important it was for us to understand that Jesus came to set us free from sin. I also said I would get to “the most universal of all addictions” which is summed up in one word…worry. Worry is a verb that, according to The American Heritage Dictionary, means to feel uneasy about some uncertain or threatening matter; be troubled. Be troubled…hmm somehow I remember a story about a king-wanna-be saying he was troubled when a bunch of dudes showed up in his throne room and told him about a King that had been born. His worry leads him to what history calls “The Massacre of the Innocents.” Anyway…

Worry is something that gets done by us all in some way, shape or form. It can happen in the smallest way just as much as it does in the biggest. 20th Century theologian, John Stott comes right out and says that “worry is waste—a waste of time, thought and nervous energy.” Worry is so engrained into the human condition that we justify its existence much like other addictions however Jesus made it a point to address this “universal addiction” when He gave His Sermon on the Mount. He begins the dialogue with this key phrase, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)

Then Jesus will tell folks not to be anxious about their lives, what they’ll eat, what they’ll drink, and what they’ll wear. Now during those Roman Empire times dem’s was some everyday “where’s it gonna come froms” and now this guy says don’t worry about it ‘cos even the birds get fed by the hand of God. ALRIGHTY THEN…but Jesus doesn’t leave them hanging on thread, AU CONTRAIRE, He gives the straight up deal right here, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33) So basically it is matter of perspective. Doom along the horizontal and hope in following the vertical.

Now don’t go sitting there thinking that I am advertising a worry-free Gospel and that I think this Christian life should be free of it, once again I say AU CONTRAIRE because there are things we can take worry or anxiousness to. We should take thought

for each other especially for those who we call brother or sister. We can be concerned for the things that are of The Church (that doesn’t include carpet color, wallpaper style or should there a chicken dinner versus a potluck dinner). We can be concerned for the eternal salvation of loved ones or the lost in an unsaved world but as with everything there are limits…” All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” (1 Cor 10:23)

That about does it for me today but I am not completely done covering the universal addiction of worry. Next time I am with you I would like us to spend some time gleaning why Jesus made it a point to tell those in attendance during His Sermon on the Mount why being anxious in our everyday lives stunts our growth of faith. Until then why not take a look at Matthew Gospel 6:24-34 and see for yourself why Jesus would have use consider the issue of serving two masters. I think it is plausible to think that He knew that people had an enslavement to material security (we still do, don’t we?) and He came to give us assurances that set us free from stuff that has no eternal value. Bottom line…if it serves no purpose in eternity it is eternally useless. 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 105; Proverbs 13

Daily Quote: “God never intended His people to become prisoners to worry. Such an unbelieving, energy-draining addiction strangles our faith and makes us unable to bear fruit.” —Charles Swindoll.

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

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

Still, Like Water

Empty footbridge over the lake
It is only with total humility, and in absolute stillness of mind that we can know what indeed we are. ~Terence James Stannus Gray

be still.pngI beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. ~Paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Romans 12

Oh beloved, it is true. There is so much of us that has to go. And most of it is stuff within us that is all to precious to us. The list of things to be jettisoned is long and wide and deep:

The right to pleasant circumstances.

The right to be accepted.

The right to be successful.

The right to my possessions.

The right to be rescued from my circumstances.

The right to see results.

The right to know the specific will of God.

The right to understand my circumstances.

The right to be proven right.

The right to be loved.

The right to have a mate or children.

The right to be used by God the way I want to be.

The right to live in the place I choose.

The right to the job I want.*

Our rights in general.

And this, is the pain of death that is going on inside of us. Though we have already died with Christ, there is so much programming and tapes that need to be cut. There is so much garbage in the waste bins of our emotional makeup.

This fool of a writer is not good at this.

There are so many times, where i really feel the need for people, especially those close to me, to realize that my life is being poured out for them. I have made so many mistakes in the past; ruined so many things and people and circumstances, that i get hurt when people don’t see that i am finally getting it right after 45 years of getting it wrong.

He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John, The Prophet, in John’s Gospel 3

What to do?

Absolutely nothing.

The reality is truly that we have given our lives as a living sacrifice to our King. And if our King deems that our lives be poured out over rugged terrain and mixed with the dust of the earth. Quite simply brothers, we need to come to a place where we realize that a living sacrifice does not give orders back to the One receiving the sacrifice.

Can we see it though? There is an upside. It is here, in complete stillness and surrender that we finally begin to get some clarity on where we are supposed to be going with our lives. We finally get to the place where we can here Him speak… And when we do, we truly find another thing we have been looking for all the while: We hear Him tell us how much He Loves us. We hear Him saying how proud HE is of us. We hear Him telling us that HIS grace is sufficient, and that all is well.

So, are you going through the pains of death to your own self? This fool of a writer does. And just when he thinks the thing is dead, The Holy Spirit shows me some more things that need to go. However, what i have learned is something that may be of benefit to you. I have never – not once – regretted letting go of anything. EVERY time i have let go of some little thing, He has poured more goodness and freedom into my life than i could ever have imagined.

Tonight is your night beloved. Time to be still.

Makala_FF 2016Written 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.

*this list is from another, unknown author

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 101; Proverbs 9

Daily Quote:  What then are we afraid of? Can we have too much of God? Is it a misfortune to be freed from the heavy yoke of the world, and to bear the light burden of Jesus Christ? Do we fear to be too happy, too much deliver from ourselves, from the caprices of pride, the violence of our passions, and the tyranny of this deceitful world? ~ François Fénelon

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

Shine Jesus Shine!

Beautiful nature at morning in misty spring forest with sun

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

I still can remember the excitement on the first day of school when I was able to wear my new school clothes. We didn’t have a lot of resources and those were the few times I could have a new article of clothing to show off. I couldn’t imagine having those new garments and not displaying them on those first days. Or to have a precious piece of jewelry and keep it in a drawer.

Moreover, what a tragic to have the answer to all the world’s problems and not share it. This is how I am when I’m in mixed couple with nonbeliever and have no desire to share the gospel. I’d like to believe that I’m absent minded because the alternative is that I don’t care that much about people souls.

Jesus is the light in a very dark world. People are hurting, others are confused, while many are fighting a losing battle to satisfy an empty void with the pleasures of this world. Furthermore, there are lost soul needing regeneration. Lets shine the light of Jesus. This week challenge yourself with the question; Am I being a light? Than do something intently to reflect that light?

 

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 100; Proverbs 8

Daily Quote: “Never let the presence of a storm cause you to doubt the presence of God.” ~Craig Groeschel

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

Who Can Imagine Life Without Worry? Part #1

braveheart
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)
 
Although the movie “Braveheart” had its inaccuracies concerning the life of that infamous Scotsman, William Wallace, the one quote that stood out for me was “They may take our lives but they’ll never take our freedom!!” and then they go into battle. The word freedom has become a precious commodity to all of humankind. Many wars have been fought for this idea of freedom. Over time however, man has polluted freedom as a privilege by the decree of one constitution or another instead of treating it as it was intended to be…a gift given to us by God. Now don’t go getting’ all nutso with me by Americanizing it, freedom is a gift from God period!
 
The formula is simple, God made us with minds so we can think freely, He made us with hearts so we could love freely and He made us with wills so we could obey freely. Our God wants us to be able to choose the way we should go instead of putting a ring in your nose and dragging our fanny perpendicular’s down the road. Now nothing can please The Father better than choosing Truth, the life that is found is Jesus and to freely obey and worship Him BUT there is a downside to this gift of freedom. The freedom to reject all this and hit the dead end of freedom out of control.
 
In the 8th chapter of John’s Gospel we find Jesus trying to explain what will actually bring freedom to the Jewish nation but in their typical “that’s certainly not us” fashion they fall back on being children of Abraham and therefore absolved of any connection to evil to which Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.” (John 8:34) This is the same mindset that beleaguers Christendom today. Most pew warmers are content to say “that’s certainly not us” all based on agreeing with a Pastor’s sermon, writing a tithe check and just being in God’s House. That’s all fine and well but it ain’t enough.
 
The truth here to understand is that Jesus Christ came to set us free and we can find His job description in Isaiah 61:1-2a. But if really you wanna see freedom in action turn to Luke 4:16-21. Jesus walks into a synagogue in Nazareth, is handed a scroll, rolls it open and points right at the prophecy of the “favorable year of the Lord”, then sits down and says, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Now when I went looking for the “truth” about myself I found this web thingy called Truthfinder and when I plugged in my name in I found that I had 6 possible criminal records and if I gave them about thirty bucks I could get the complete report. I think I’m keeping my loot.
 
I’m not saying that there aren’t a possible 6 criminal records bearing my name but what I am saying is that Jesus Christ came to set me free from that payment because the bottom line is I ain’t got enough to pay for the actual sin nature of those records. If I were to use my “go to” for an answer I’d find myself in James 2:5, “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” So why bother with Truthfinder in the first place? Anyway…
 
There is a lot more to say about freedom but I’m outta time today. Bet you’re wondering why my title ain’t matching the content of this Freedom Fighter, well I’ll be getting to it, don’t you worry about that. Until then I ask you to think about something today and it is a quote that comes from an 18th century French philosopher. Jean-Jacques Rousseau said that, “Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” Sad…but true. When I am with you again we’ll cover what Charles Swindoll calls “The most universal of all addictions.” Hopefully it hasn’t got that much of a hold on you. 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 99; Proverbs 7

Daily Quote: “The Constitution may be, as Gladstone said it was, the noblest document ever struck off by the mind of man. But we must remember that there are countless thousands of Americans who use it merely as a place to hide when they are caught in some act of iniquity. Liberty as used by the founding fathers meant freedom to do good; many today conceive it to mean freedom to do evil, and they work it for all the traffic will bear.” — A.W. Tozer

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