Self-Sufficiently

Satisfied with work done

“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (Roman 5:12)

Paul reminds us that humanity wasn’t originally sinful, however as a result of the fall we are now born in sin. And here we are with our fleshly nature and the ripple affects from the fall. The flesh is conditioned very contrary to our new identity in Christ; it rears its roaring head around us. I see this in my 3 year old.

For instance, Olivia comes down the steps with her hands behind her back and I ask her what are you doing? With makeup smeared on her face, She responds nothing and continues walk passed me. Reminded me of Adam, in the garden, trying hide from God, as His Creator ask ‘where are you.’ Adam and and Eve both try to fix the problem on their own.

Like Olivia and Adam, we are all in some type situation and our nature tendency is manage through the circumstances with own logic and or reasoning. Instead of instantaneously going to God, we slide and hide. However, when we were dead in our addictions, problems, uncontrollable situations, in state total depravity we cried, and God saved us.

Has self-sufficiency lead your back in a corner? Have you been managing through life fixing things with your own resources?

He is the same source to all of our resources. Let’s go back to trusting in One that holds the world in place, the Savior, the Redeemer; ‘the rock that is higher than I’

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 16; Proverbs 16

Daily Quote: When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don’t, they don’t. ~William Temple

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.– Philippians 3:10-11

He Pursued Jesus With His Voice

 
Man with megaphone in hand on the white background
“When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” ~Mark 10:47-48 (NLT)
 
In Matthew’s account of this story he tells of two blind men alongside the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. They cry out “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David”, but the crowd that is hanging with Jesus tells them to be quiet. It’s a multitude of people you see and they are on a mission with Jesus so you two “undesirables” need to know your role, sit there and beg in the quiet of your misery. Yeah right, like that was gonna fly with them. So, they yell out (just a wee louder) a second time, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David”, and with that Jesus stops and asks them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
 
In Mark’s account of this story it’s focused on one of these two and when Bartimaeus cried out the second time, Jesus acknowledges him. “When Jesus heard him, He stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, He’s calling you!” (Mark 10:49) But the question doesn’t change, “What do you want Me to do for you?” In both accounts the restoration of sight is given to the blind from Jesus Christ Himself. Matthews account say’s He was moved with compassion and Marks says it was shown by faith, I believe it was both or it wouldn’t be in the Bible as such.
 
Funny how this comes right after two of Jesus’ disciples and their mother have this little discussion about who gets to sit with Jesus in the Kingdom. The NASB put it this way, “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to Him, saying to Him, “Teacher, we want you to do us whatever we ask of You.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Now notice the difference here. We don’t have these two brothers addressing Jesus with reverence, oh no, we got two brothers who might as well went up to Jesus and said, “Yo Dude hook us up” before they asked this question, “Grant that we may sit in your glory, one to right, and one to your left.”
 
Now these were two guys that Jesus picked to follow Him. They see what Jesus does as far as miracles go, they hear His teaching straight from Him, He warns them about His death and rising and yet they wanna sit with Him in glory. Bartimaeus and his buddy aren’t privileged like this. They sit on the side of a road putting their hope in the generosity of others for provision. They probably struggle to get to synagogue to hear the writings of Isaiah, “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.” (Isaiah 11:1)
All Bartimaeus wants to do is run into Jesus and when he does all he has is his voice to pursue Jesus with…and what was in his heart. Now I could easily go into a deep discussion on how the High Priests, like Annas and Caiaphas, couldn’t see Jesus as that new branch as they recited Isaiah to those in synagogue or the implications that involved John and James as they thought themselves worthy of the seats to the right and the left of The Son, but both pairs of men thought themselves above guys like Bartimaeus so why bother giving it further mention.
 
Because I see myself like Bartimaeus, sitting on the side of the road at one time in my life, waiting for life to throw its scraps at me so I could exist. When I came to that point where I yelled out, JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME, He was just and true and removed those spiritual scaled from my eyes. When they were opened, I could finally see the grace and mercy that is Jesus Christ. The cool part of the blind man’s story is this, “Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.” (Mark 10:52)
 
Ya know, I think Jesus was gonna be cool with healing Bartimaeus and getting on down the road to Jerusalem. But He left the blind man with a choice and what did he choose? He chose to follow Jesus. Sometimes in the complexity of reading the Gospel we miss this simple thing…when the heart desires the things of Jesus, then we are to follow Jesus. Even if it means that we are following Him on the road to The Cross. I think, maybe Bartimaeus saw that for himself. 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 15; Proverbs 15

Daily Quote: “We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts” — A.W. Tozer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. – Philippians 3:10-11

Preparing for Temptation – What is Your Battle Plan? (Part 4)

Dear Future Im Ready, message on paper

Good morning, brothers. I am thankful that you are joining us for a brand new week of Freedom Fighter blogs. I appreciate you taking time to read our blogs, and if they are a blessing to you, would you prayerfully forward them to a friend and encourage him to sign up to receive them.

Today is Part 4 in our discussion about PREPARING FOR TEMPTATION. We have talked about:

  1. Identifying your area of temptation/weakness
  2. Searching the Scriptures to see what the Bible says about your area of temptation/weakness
  3. The importance of using the weaponry that has been provided for you in Scripture

Today I want to add to our plan #4 Watch and Pray.

Prayer is one of the weapons given to us in the Ephesians 6 passage combined with using the “Sword of the Spirit.”

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints …” Ephesians 6:18

Do you remember after the Last Supper when Jesus led the Disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane and instructed them to pray with him while He went further to pray with His Father. The disciples fell asleep twice!!! Jesus admonished them with these words: “Watch (keep watching) and (keep praying) pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

One of the bloggers that I follow is Pastor Tim Challies. I don’t agree with everything he posts, but he recently posted on what it means to keep a watch on your life:

Think of someone you know who committed one of those grave sins, the kind of sin that disqualified him from ministry or wrecked her home and marriage. Think, perhaps, about the person who was caught in an illicit affair. It’s not like this person just woke up one morning and said, “I think I’ll commit adultery today.” No, that sin was the result of a long relaxing of vigilance. He first allowed his eyes to wander, then allowed lustful thoughts to linger. She began to strike up conversations she knew she shouldn’t have,

to go where she shouldn’t have gone, and to linger in the presence of someone she should have stayed away from. Over time these small actions prepared them for that big sin, primed them for that major fall. The sin was so unnecessary, so avoidable. But it became possible, it became inevitable, when they failed to keep a close watch on their behavior, on their life, on themselves.

God calls us to keep a close watch on our behavior and this requires both inner and outer vigilance, knowing ourselves and being known by others.

Inner vigilance is seeing ourselves through the lens of the Bible and believing what we see there. It is reading the Bible in such a way that the Bible reads us. The Bible exposes our hearts, lays bare our motives, calls us to believe and obey. We are to mine the darkest depths of our hearts through the brilliant light of scripture, to know our specific weaknesses and favorite temptations, and to do the difficult work of putting sin to death while coming alive to righteousness.

Outer vigilance is allowing others to see and know us. It is joining in community with others, exposing our hearts before trusted friends, allowing them to have a voice, and believing what they see and say. It is humility expressed in transparency. We keep a close watch on our lives by allowing others to keep a close watch on our lives.

A business principle that was written many years ago is true in the spiritual realm: If you fail to plan, you will plan to fail.

Part of our plan means keeping a watch on our lives and praying. How are you doing with this step? Here is the link to the full Challies article Keep a Close Watch on Yourself.

Have a great day, friend. I am praying for you to walk in victory. Trust you will do the same for me.

Written by Dr. Bill Welte, 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 14; Proverbs 14

Daily Quote: There is not an issue you’re facing that prayer cannot address because nothing is to difficult or impossible for God to handle. Living The Battle Plan

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. – Philippians 3:10-11

Blessed Poverty

little smile

If you are discouraged it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own power. Your self-sufficiency, your selfishness and your intellectual pride will inhibit His coming to live in your heart because God cannot fill what is already full. It is as simple as that. ~Mother Teresa

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also conquered and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” ~ Jesus, King of The Universe, in Revelation 3

Oh beloved, it is true. What drove most of us to the edge of destruction in our lives, was the belief that we were OK. We listened to the drumbeat of the world, that was telling us that everything we wanted was just around the next bend. All we had to do was keep going… Keep trying.

Thankfully, some of us learned that this was not true, before it killed us.

This fool of a writer came to the end of his belief that he was rich, and doing fine exactly six years ago yesterday. I was sitting in my room, in my parents’ home. They had taken me in, after my own false beliefs in my own amazingness and riches had landed me in jail for a few months, and then released into homelessness.

I looked down at my barely-used Bible on a coffee table, and said: “God, just do whatever you gotta do. Kill me if You have to. Just do it.”

He did.

However, He did not do what maybe I had expected Him to do. Though, I am not completely sure what I expected… He sent me to The Colony of Mercy. And it was there, that I started on an odyssey well beyond my imagination.

Mostly though, it seems that G_d convinced me of the fact that I was – and had always been – the weaker kind of brother. I absolutely did not have the freedom to let my eyes wander in any direction. I am the kind of guy who really can’t even watch TV or movies. I don’t get to eat junk food. I don’t have the ability to safely do just about anything people do in the world.

Said more simply: He showed me that I am nothing. I have absolutely no power to resist any of the things the world wants to offer me. And, apart from Him, I am about 5-tenths of a second away from failure. My spiritual bank account is completely empty. Without Him, I got nothing.

And it is here, in this place of abject spiritual poverty, that I have become one of the happiest and most blessed men on the planet. In the years following His showing me my poverty, He given me a family, has sent me to live in three Asian countries and to introduce over 1,000 students to the Very Good News of Jesus Christ. He has given me a writing ministry that now has gone into over 150 other countries. And, He has given me the riches of His very Presence in ways that I will not cheapen with words.

But mostly, He has taught me to keep giving what He gives me, away. He has taught me that He really likes putting greater and greater true riches into the hands of His impoverished children (of Whom, I am a favorite [and so are you, by the way]). But, He gives the most precious gifts into my hands (and yours), when they are empty.

Can we see it? The blessing of spiritual poverty is not a cut down to my humanity. No, seeing myself as nothing, apart from Him, is for me to live as truly human as possible. It is the way that Jesus lived when He lived here on earth. He lived in abject dependence on every word that came from His Father’s mouth. He did nothing but what the Father guided Him and empowered Him to do by His Spirit.

And once we live the same way as Jesus did. We begin to see that we really have more power and riches than we ever imagined possible. We become rich beyond our wildest dreams. We realize that our picture of riches were a wretched missing of what true wealth really is.

So, are you feeling pretty good about yourself lately? This is a pretty bad place to be. Could this fool preach to you for a moment? It is time to quit believing in yourself. It is time to quit believing everything is OK. You are a mess and more poor than you can begin to know right now. However, in coming to believe this reality, you will be beginning towards a life of blessing beyond your wildest dreams.

Tonight is your night, beloved. Time to believe in your poverty.

 

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 147; Proverbs 28

Daily Quote: For Ragamuffins, God’s name is Mercy. We see our darkness as a prized possession because it drives us into the heart of God. Without mercy our darkness would plunge us into despair – for some, self-destruction. Time alone with God reveals the unfathomable depths of the poverty of the spirit. We are so poor that even our poverty is not our own: It belongs to the mysterium tremendum of a loving God. ~ Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. ~Philippians 3:7

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We Are In For The Long Haul!

large corn field

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 12:11-13)

Olivia, now three, has developed very well in her thought process. While at an activity farm she decided to conquer a hay maze all by herself. I showed her where to start and also the exit; she dashed. That little girl was like a rabbit; hitting turns, lanes, roadblocks etc… However, the dead ends frustrated her and she began to climb over the hay walls avoiding blocks.

Isn’t that how we approach this journey without proper training and discipline? We get approached with trails and uncomfortable circumstances; we duck and dodge until we miss the lesson God is trying to impart.

The writer of Hebrews was addressing weariness that happens in the journey. He compares the Christian walk to a race and an athlete that has been trained or disciplined himself to compete. Have you ever seen a professional athlete train, workout, eating habits, rigorous schedule; they are equipped.

The Christian walk is not always a dash; in fact, it sometimes is referred to as marathon. And if we are going to continue being a light in a dark world; train yourself to manage through this life with patients, endurance, zeal, boldness etc…

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 146; Proverbs 27

Daily Quote: The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer. ~F.B. Meyer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. ~Philippians 3:7

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Longing for Real Home

Perfect Sunset

For the story is about hell and heaven, trauma, shame, and finding love—the real Jesus accepting a broken man; and it is about the Father, Son, and Spirit finding us in the far country of our terrible and powerless mythology—to share their life with us. For the truth behind the universe is that God is Father, Son, and Spirit; and the one unflinching purpose of the blessed Trinity is that we would come to taste and feel, to know and experience, the very trinitarian life itself. ~ C. Baxter Kruger

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. ~ Paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Romans 7 & 8

Oh beloved, it is true. We long for Home. We long for a place where we belong. And, our whole lives we have been willing to do almost anything to get the sense that we were there. The problem though, is in our thinking that home is simply a place.

Yes, it is a place. And it is more. For the place Which is Home is quite large. It is Alive and It has made eternity His own home. Home is the context of the Life of

G_d. Home is family. Home is a Father and Son, and the Spirit of unity between the Three of Them.

But… back to the thing about us being willing to do almost anything to get the sense we were there…

In our fallen understanding we miss that home is indeed a location, but that that location is larger than the intersection of four dimensions (up/down, left/right, back/forth and time). And in our flat-landed and fleshly view, we try to set down stakes and bring the pleasure of home to ourselves. But, in attempting to draw life towards ourselves, we actually just wall ourselves in.

We do worse than just walling ourselves in. We block the flow, really, of anything good in our lives. As we try to set up our own homesteads, we push life away. And the harder we try, the more we circle the wagons in defeat, the more we feel home slipping away.

Oh… this is not as mystical as it sounds. To get a sense of the comfort of “home,” addicts do it by shoving people away and shoving chemicals into their bodies. We have all been there. Some of you, beloved, are still there. But, it never works.

What to do?

Go Home. It is simpler than we make it.

How?

We are already there… Actually, He is already here.

Can we see it? Read the passage. Jesus made this possible when He condemned sin to death, by His own death. In His infinitely powerful work on the cross, He tore the veil that had confined His presence to a locality in a temple in Jerusalem – and burst out across the entire planet. This symbolic act of tearing a big curtain was made a tangible reality when His Spirit came to stay, at Pentecost, a mere 50 days later.

And, each of us never has to long for home in the way that we have done it in the past. We are Home, when we live in the infinite Spirit. There are no boundaries to His Presence. He is with us wherever we go. There is no place He is not. This is the freedom we have always been looking for before, but always found ourselves in – instead – a trap of our own making.

So, are you longing for real home? Just look away from that point inside of you. That place is just an empty spot that you are trying to make feel like home. And in turning away, realize that the full heart, the sense of wellbeing, and the deep awareness of belonging is something we are drawn into – by being drawn away from a focus on our own self – and put directly onto Him.

Tonight is your night beloved. Time to walk in The Spirit. He is the Home you have been longing for.

Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 140; Proverbs 21

Daily Quote:

Holiest Trinity, perfect in unity,

Bind in thy love every nation and race;

May we adore thee for time and eternity,

Father, Redeemer, and Spirit of grace.

~Patrick Appleford

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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Hard, but not Difficult

Construction worker

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” ~Genesis 4:7

We have a term in the construction field for labor work especially when it is drudgery, it’s called “Neck Down”. It can be a derogatory term but the meaning is this, stop thinking and work, stop using your head, just use everything from the neck down. Most labor detailed work is not difficult, but it’s hard.

The meaning of difficult I am referring to would be something that is hard to understand or figure out. I think we would all agree that although there are portions of scripture that can be difficult to understand, the basic meanings to living a sanctified life is simple but hard. I know what I should do but it’s not always easy.

When I find myself having to make a choice as to how I am going to act, the battle or conflict begins. There’s the flesh that wants what it wants and it wants it now. Then there’s the Spirit that speaks truth and the conviction that comes with it and leads me towards God. It reminds me of when I was a kid, we used to trade things a lot, whether baseball or football cards, lunches and even sometimes our bikes. The issue always was “am I willing to give up something I have for something I may want”? Am I willing to trade pleasing my Father in Heaven for the fleeting pleasure or comfort of my flesh?

When it comes to our walk with Jesus, He will never give up loving us but I believe our choices can disqualify or we can forfeit the blessings and the peace and joy that comes with obedience. Am I willing to trade sin and pleasure (death) for joy and blessings (life)? For a more complete list see Deuteronomy 29 and 30.

The choice isn’t always about action but sometimes it’s what we don’t do that becomes sin. It’s not difficult to figure out how to witness to someone or resolve a conflict, but it’s hard. And who feels like calling a brother out for sinful behavior? Not me. The problem is James makes it very clear in chapter 4 verse 17 “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin”.

I have found that even though it is hard and can be very uncomfortable, when our motives are right and God’s word is honored the results are worth it.

So, yes, our walk with the Lord can be hard, but it’s not difficult. Don’t get caught up thinking about not obeying, remember “neck down”.

Written by Rob Russomano: Rob is married to Terri, he is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and a full time staff member. He is also available as a speaker of the grace of God with a message of Hope for church events.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 139; Proverbs 20

Daily Quote: Prayer is the link that connects us with God. ~A.B. Simpson

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceedingandeternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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The Source of Strength

boy showing muscular biceps

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,”(2 Timothy 2:1)

John Ortberg declares, “Habits eat willpower for breakfast,” and I can concur. There have been numerous times in my life that I been faced with adversity, and failed miserably. Epic fails; white knuckling through my addiction, failed promises, failed New Years resolutions, one week diets, lack of consistency; you name it, I did it. With enough research, I’m sure that I can discover the answer. Wrong!

Timothy had a strong and wise mentor that knew the source of strength and the channel in which it flowed. Paul was teaching him, through grace, Christ’s strength was infused in him. He was teaching him not to rely on his own wisdom, his own strength, his natural abilities, but be strengthened by grace in Christ Jesus. But Paul didn’t just read or study this type faith, this developed through his experience.

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8,9)

Even the secular world acknowledges that they need a power greater than themselves. That greater power is Jesus, the power in the name of Jesus breaks the chains of bondage plus provides strength for the daily routines of life. Ask me how I know?

“I lift up my eyes to the hills.

From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD,

who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1,2)

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

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 138; Proverbs 19

Daily Quote: To have God speak to the heart is a majestic experience, an experience that people may miss if they monopolize the conversation and never pause to hear God’s responses. ~Charles Stanley

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding andeternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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The Art Of Being Out Gunned | Part Two

 Open book and american flag.
Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~Matthew 5:19-20 (NKJV)
 
I kinda think the reason “The Evangelical Right” is up in arms this particular Election season is that it has watched the slow erosion of Christian values pick up speed. I remember hearing Latin in the Catholic church but that has changed. They say there was prayer in school but by the time I get there it was long gone. The rise of “THE MEGA-CHURCH” has people screaming that ears are only being tickled and a President-Elect used another President’s Bible to be sworn into office. Did he not have his own? Did he use it as a way to bring mockery upon a nation? One can only speculate…the truth really lies in the heart of him who took the oath. Right? And that is where we get ourselves crazy with thoughts of a government that has gone Anti-Christianity for the greater good of its people. We speculate…the end is near.
 
Well if you are resting your faith in that then you, Christian, are living as if you are out-gunned!! Now hear me out on this but if you have read your Bible, at least to Genesis 3, then you have read where Adam “SURRENDERED” his weapon to our adversary back in The Garden. What weapon you ask? The weapon of “OBEDIENCE” to the will of Him who created all things. Obedience as weapon? Yeah!! How many times I have seen the following verse posted on social media, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land”. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV) Sounds like something we should obey, doesn’t it? So what’s the problem?
 
Well I think the problem is found in the consistency of our obedience or at the very least the maintenance of it.  It’s very hard to mix rigidity with flexibility and get something that can stand but Jesus did it and wants us to do likewise but we have to do this within the context of being called sojourners and are in a place that we can’t call home. So you have to pray for Babylon/Rome/America while you live in it. As a fallen people go, living within the topsy-turvy law of the land, that most folks are doing right now, things will bubble up that aren’t of God and those people will fight among themselves to bring about their own sense of righteousness. But we, as a redeemed people go, are called to a standard that says all that matters is the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
 
That means we have to stay within the obedience of what was taught to us. If we outwardly live like this then those “Thou Shall Not’s” will come out when we do what “Thou Shalt Do”. When the Disciples heard this teaching of Jesus they musta thought all those “LAWS” can fall by the wayside…they were wrong. By being in communion with Jesus (who is in perfect communion with The Father) they were upholding the law. Because they were shown γάπη (agápē) they themselves were to show it or you weren’t in communion with anything but the world around you. So I ask this question…On Election Day are you in communion with YHVH or a political party?
 
I am hoping American Christianity can see its way through this malaise that we all are living in. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” and yet it has happening in America. So you can’t fault “The Evangelical Right” (the old guard) for trying their darnedest to correct a moral compass that has gonna awry. But it’s be done with the understanding that we need to love our enemies anyway. To not do this is to not be obedient to what you’ve been called to by Christ Himself. If you need to know what making a stand looks like, then ponder on these verses from Esther…

“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

 

“And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” (Esther 4:16b)
 
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 137; Proverbs 18

Daily Quote: You are but a poor soldier of Christ if you think you can overcome without fighting, and suppose you can have the crown without the conflict.” —John Chrysostom (Archbishop of Constantinople 397-403 A.D.)

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding andeternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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Well I Got Your Attention

Addiction and Life signs, Choice conceptual image

My Freedom Fighter blog last week resulted in getting people fired up. But that’s ok – that’s what I was hoping to do.

Thanks for joining us on this great adventure in walking in freedom and victory. We don’t take it lightly that you click on our blog posts, and I trust that we are able to offer you encouragement in your walk with the Lord.

Now let me set the record straight:

1. I am not leaving America’s Keswick unless the Board tells me it’s time for me to go. I am as committed as ever to the purpose and mission of the ministry. At our Board meeting on Friday we had a lengthy discussion at how we concerned we are with the current trends and we are taking the steps to at least look more intently at what we do and why to see how we can better serve men and women who are battling addiction.

2. We are not giving up the ministry of addiction recovery. My comments last week were intended to make a point – it is very discouraging to see the devastation all around us in dealing with addiction. But what is even more discouraging is to see how sloppy we’ve become in the church in almost encouraging people in the body of Christ to explore and engage in exercising liberty that could easily become harmful and addictive to some who is weak.

My prayer in all of this is that we can once and for all address this issue without it becoming divisive. My plea to Pastor’s and Christian leaders is to teach the whole counsel of God on this topic so that we are being careful and a good testimony to the world around us.

We as a ministry would love to have open dialog to help equip you and the church to address this issue. I would invite you to write to me or email me at bwelte@americaskeswick.org and hear your thoughts.

Admittedly we are very concern because we are facing daily the devastation of addiction on not just the individual but the family. They say that for every individual who is battling addiction, his or her addiction impacts at least 10 other people.

So hopefully together we can begin to take the steps to begin to make a lasting difference. Sometimes it means me putting aside my freedom in order to help a weaker brother or sister walk in freedom. Sometimes it means watching what I post on Facebook, knowing that what I post could be an offense or a stumbling block to someone else who is weaker in the faith.

It isn’t just all about me – my rights, my freedoms, my ability to exercise my liberty in Christ. There’s a bigger picture at stake and I believe we need to look at it and address it.

I will look forward to hearing from you. May God bless 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 136; Proverbs 17

Daily Quote: Quote: The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy.

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:17-18

CLICK HERE to sign-up to receive this devotional via email each morning!