The Confidence to Witness

Couple of young men talking on the stairs

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

There’s a deeply spiritual lady in our church called Caroline. Sadly, she has a social phobia (the exact opposite of confidence) that cripples her life. In spite of this, she has brought more people to church and to ‘Alpha’ courses than anyone I can think of. I find that inspiring. She recently told me that at a conference two years ago someone shared a word from God that ‘Two men will pull you out of this.’ She’s been waiting for these two men. I told her that she should really only be waiting for one because her husband, Steve, is the other. Steve is a convinced atheist but he’s also a wonderful guy. He teaches college math. He’s kind and funny. He loves his wife deeply and has hung in there for all this time. Then it occurred to me that as her pastor, I must be the other. So I got Steve to meet me for coffee.

I shared testimonies of God working in my life in ways that are unexplainable apart from the supernatural. I told him that there was power in togetherness and that my idea was to pray together with him for his wife. He said, “You’re asking me to pray to a brick to make my wife better and in all sincerity I can’t do that.” I asked him if he would do anything to make his wife better including praying to a brick. In the end he said, “I’ll do it for you, Chris. It’s not for Caroline and it’s not for me, but I can see that it’s important to you.” So right then and there I prayed a short prayer and squeezed out an ‘amen’ from Steve. The next day I heard from Caroline. In her e-mail she said:

“Thank you for meeting up with Steve. I’m so glad he was able to talk to you about my illness. He said he’s never had anyone to talk to and it felt good to open up. He also came away questioning himself about what makes him so sure that there is no God, and that if God was to reveal himself to Steve, then he would accept him.”

This testimony is still unfolding but I believe in Caroline’s healing. I believe in Steve’s salvation. I believe in God’s goodness and power, and I believe that if we boldly witness, then we can not only have confidence in our own futures, we can even change the future for others.

Written by Rev. Chris Thompson: Chris is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and Pastor of Enderby Mission Church in Leicester, England.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 121; Proverbs 29

Daily Quote: Fervent prayers produce phenomenal results. ~Woodrow Kroll

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. ~2 Corinthians 4:8-11

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119 Years

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And the Lord, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee; fear not, neither be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

Yesterday was a very important day in the life of the ministry of America’s Keswick. 119 years ago tomorrow William Raws, his family and a small group of staff gathered on these grounds, and after a short Bible study, pooled their resources and discovered they had $1.87 and that was the beginning of the America’s Keswick story.

119 years later, the vision of William Raws is still very much alive and well. His passion for investing in the lives of men and now women was a baton that was passed to his son, Addison, the his grandson, Pastor Bill, then to Roger Williams, John Bryant and then to me.

Last week we gathered at Shady Maple, America’s Keswick and Dock Woods Community to celebrate God’s faithfulness to this ministry.

From its very inception the plan was that God would get all the glory, the Word of God would be preached to the men (and now women) and that pray would be a driving force of all we do.

While the buildings don’t look the same as they were in 1897, the program has been through many changes, the core message has never changed. The message we share today is the same one that William Raws taught when God allowed him to see the birth of his vision.

119 years later and 20,000+ men and now women who have graduated from the program, we are even more committed to share with men and women that life-transforming truth that Jesus Christ is the ONLY answer to addiction, and that through Christ, a man, woman, teen or child can live a life of victory.

Thirteen men who have graduated from the program now serve on our full-time staff which is 20% of our staff. And who knows – somewhere down the road I can see a graduate of Barbara’s Place serving full-time on our staff.

The need for the ministry of addiction recovery is greater now than it was in 1897. Heroin is talking our country by a storm. By the end of this calendar year we may see more deaths to heroin overdoses than what we experienced during some of our wars.

Addiction is tearing apart families. Addiction seems to pass down from a parent to his kids and grandkids. Addiction is not only impacting kids in non-Christian homes – it is happening to Christian kids.

The sad thing is that the enemy is going after our kids and grandkids. The average age right now is 8 years old!!! That is frightening to a man who has grand kids are close to that age group.

With your prayers and your financial support, we will continue to do what God has called us to do. Thank you for being a part of the Freedom Fighter blog family. As God brings this ministry to your minds, please pray for us. May God bless you. Happy 119 year anniversary to America’s Keswick.

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 118; Proverbs 26

Daily Quote: Not only does honest confession of sin lead to fresh experience of His forgiveness, but it also helps you let go of the chains and walk in greater freedom in the future. From Living the Battle Plan

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. ~2 Corinthians 4:8-11

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A Bit Clearer

cleaning glasses “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” ~1 Corinthians 13:12

While watching my wife upgrade her prescription for her glasses I tried on her old pair of glasses. Wow! For a person that never checked his vision I was blown away at how much clearer the world appeared. The details, the rich colors, the ability to read a bit better. Then she received her new glasses, which were HD lenses, and just when I was captivated with the clarity of the sight from the first pair of glasses, these enhanced every element further. It was like transitioning from an old tube TV to LED flat screen or VCR tape to Blu-Ray disc.

This is a glimpse of how our walks unfold. By faith, We move through our Christian life growing more aware, more clearer, from the world and sin, to kingdom living and peace, from selfish ambitions to Christ centered love, from lovers of evil to loving God and His people.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

“I have found a desire within myself that no experience in this world can satisfy; the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” C. S. Lewis

I thank God that his promises are not limited to the world or elements that are seen, but our hope rest in a greater more eternal glory. We can only imagine!

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 114; Proverbs 22

Daily Quote: True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. ~C.S. Lewis

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

No More Scorekeeping

Old baseball scoreboard background

I’ve decided that if I had my life to live over again, I would not only climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets; I wouldn’t only jettison my hot water bottle, raincoat, umbrella, parachute, and raft; I would not only go barefoot earlier in the spring and stay out later in the fall; but I would devote not one more minute to monitoring my spiritual growth. No, not one. ~Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him. ~Paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Colossians 2

Oh beloved, it is true. There is an accuser of the brethren. He is a liar. And beyond his continuous attempts to pull us back into remembrance of our failures (that we might repeat them – have no doubt about this), this liar has an accomplice.

Us.

The liar will tempt us towards the things that will kill us, and so will the desires of our flesh. And have no doubt that sin is a very bad idea. We can indeed kill ourselves in our stupidity. But worse, is that the evil one – and our religiously-minded flesh – will attempt to kill us off too.

Plus, sin takes us off of our main purpose now in Life. We have the opportunity to be the friend of G_d. This now, is never in doubt. But sin is painful to our souls, it is like poking ourselves in the eye, or hitting our finger with a hammer. It is, as the author says, “Grace is no more a license to sin, than electricity is a license to electrocute ourselves.”

So, yes, it is vital to see sin for what it is: Sin is that “self-ness” within me which is paid with death. It is such an enormous deal that Jesus Himself died to pay off the payment. It was a payoff so gargantuan that none other could have ever even come close to making this payment.

But, it is here where we miss it.

Can we see it? Jesus has bought a freedom for us that is so large, that condemnation (that of the accuser, or of our own false shame) is no longer appropriate. Jesus has given His very own blood for us. Jesus has experienced the death we could not have endured – and has triumphed gloriously over it all, that we would be free.

Free from condemnation

Free from worrying about our spiritual growth

Free from wonder about our standing with G_d

Free from the lies of the Liar

Free from my own screaming voice of shame.

Now, before you readers go off at think this is some sort of “feel good” gospel, this fool of a writer is going to ask you to do a little considering of your last failure. What helped pull you back into freedom? Was it you groveling in some sort of false guilt and condemnation? If your experience is anything like most of us, that kind of approach is just a path to further sin and pain.

However, now consider the time (hopefully many times) where you have honestly agreed with G_d that you are in need of the forgiveness, mercy, and grace He has already provided. Do you remember that sense of the weight of your failure falling off your shoulders as it is swallowed up at the foot of the cross? Yes, you may remember this, because any of us who have, are experiencing The Truth.

So, are you looking at a recent failure in your life? May i suggest something. Don’t. Because He doesn’t. Do not touch the foul thing of guilt and shame. It is a trap! It will do you no good. Tonight is your night. Time to believe you are forgiven, and loved, and free.

The word of knowledge was exceptionally sure that night, and the second minister and his wife marveled at the accuracy and truth in the prophetic word. The third couple stepped forward for ministry, and again the word of knowledge was present. The prophet spoke to the husband, revealing his past, present, and insight into his future. Then the man of God turned to this third minister’s wife. As he began to speak of her past, suddenly he paused. Then he said, “There was a very serious sin in your past.” The woman, with her worst fear upon her, turned pale and closed her eyes. The congregation hushed and moved to the edge of their seats.

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 113; Proverbs 21

Daily Quote: The prophet continued, “And I asked the Lord, ‘What was this sin that she committed?’ And the Lord answered, ‘I do not remember!'” ~Francis Frangipane

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