Victory Over Temptation – Part #1

It happened again. It’s my second wake-up call in two months. Another ministry friend had to resign from his position because of poor choices. It is painful. It is heart-breaking. It could be you or me.

Yesterday I was the morning Bible teacher at the Colony of Mercy Chapel service and I was preaching as much to myself as to the men in the program as well as our guests.

Each week we do a theme for the men and ironically, and no coincidence, the theme of the week is Victory Over Temptation. It didn’t hit me until yesterday that the theme is not victory over SIN. But isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Victory over temptation is heading off sin at the pass. The implication is that you and I can take the necessary steps, plan a strategy to prevent and keep us from sin.

Charles Swindol shared these three principles that I believe we need to burn into the hard-drive of our hearts and minds:

1. Sin will ALWAYS TAKE you FURTHER than you want to GO.

2. Sin will ALWAYS COST you MORE than you are willing to PAY.

3. Sin will always KEEP you LONGER than you want to STAY.

If we are really honest, there is NO ONE who couldn’t give testimony that those three principles are not true. We are all at different places on the continuum, but if we don’t make a change or do as the Bible says, “Repent = turn and face a different direction” – we are heading for the cliff called destruction.

The Bible is filled with illustrations of men and women whose stories support the above principles. Knowing how NOT GO THERE is understanding temptation and knowing in advance HOW to overcome temptation and destroy the impact of our sin.

So for the next couple of weeks, I want to share with you what I shared with the men in my message: Preparing for Temptation – What IS Your Battle Plan?

Are you ready to dive in? We’ve all been there. So let’s explore it together. I have five points but there are probably more.

1. Identify your area of weakness. I am sure you already know it. But my guess is that part of the strategy by naming it helps you to put a face to it.

Your area of weakness will fall in one of the three categories that John wrote about. Check out 1 John 2:16-17 “For all that is in the world – the LUST OF THE FLESH, the LUST OF THE EYES, and the PRIDE OF LIFE – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

This isn’t new – it’s been the enemies plan since the Garden of Eden. Satan came at Adam and Eve with these three things.

The lust of the flesh can be summed up in the three words: I WANT IT and usually in reference to our passions. The lust of the eyes is summed up in the words: I SEE IT and often refers to possessions. The pride of life: I WANT TO BE and trips up men with their need for success and status.

Reminder: Satan went after Jesus with those same three issues when Jesus face him during the temptation. So let’s not think that WE are exempt. If he went after the Son of God, he must certainly wants YOU and ME.

The good news is that Jesus got it right. Hebrews 4:15 says “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in ALL points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

What is the area where you already know you are weak? That is most likely the area where you will have the greatest level of temptation.

See you next week!

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 143; Proverbs 24

Daily Quote: Quote: Most people who fly from temptation usually leave a forwarding address.

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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Well I Got Your Attention

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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

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I Think It’s Time to Call It Quits

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But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. Jude 20-21

What I am about to share reflects the struggle that I am facing increasingly as the President of America’s Keswick. What I am about to share my shock you and I trust that you will prayerfully hear my heart.

I really am at the point where I think our Board should call it quits and get out of the addiction recovery ministry. We are fighting a losing battle.

We have a record number of men who are graduating that are overdosing on heroin. Dying after one injection. Men who have graduated from the program who are relapsing in 48 hours and many of them are calling to come back to the program.

But there is an even greater concern. We have been encouraging our grads for years to connect with Bible believing churches so that they can grow in their walk with the Lord and continue to walk in victory.

Sounds like a great plan, doesn’t it? But in many cases, I owe the men a huge apology for setting them up for failure.

I just heard a report of a Christian addiction recovery ministry that raised $100,000 to help men and women come out of addiction. The money was raised by selling alcohol which was sold by young female bartenders that were asked to volunteer their services. So apparently we need to encourage men who are alcoholics to get the victory, but apparently one of the best fundraising tactics is to get people to sell the addictive –home/life destroying product and find people who want to help see addicts free to “contribute” by buying the product.

Yesterday I read an article about a new group of churches being raised up that are setting up shop in bars. The new evangelism initiative is called “Jesus and Beer.” The plan is to invited seekers to attend a “service” in a bar, serve the best beer, and have dialog about Jesus.

So I guess if we are going to be able to most effectively serve our grads in transitioning back to the “real” world, we need to educate them that it still isn’t ok for them to go to a bar and drink on their own and with their old friends. It is ok to go to the bar and drink as long as you are joining other Christians who have learned to drink responsibly and at the same time are able committed to studying the Bible and sharing Christ.

I have yet to see a post of Facebook posted by my Christian friends that shows them in the bar gathering for church or a Bible study. I have rarely been in the company of “Christian” drinkers where someone hasn’t left the party inebriated and out of control.

But even more disturbing is that the with this new norm we’ve swung the pendulum the other way in that you can’t hold a different position. It doesn’t matter if you have a history of alcohol in your background, it doesn’t matter is you choose to not drink, it doesn’t matter if you are concerned about offending a weaker brother or sister, you either join on or you are ridiculed.

I have left several functions where people have been in my face because I wouldn’t drink a beer. After all, if I am not at America’s Keswick, who is going to know? Really? So what happened to the passages in the New Testament about the weaker brother/sister or not doing something because it might hinder ones testimony? Or suppose your insistence on someone drinking leads them on a downward spiral or even worse, they do leave the party under the influence and face getting a DUI all in the name of “I’m free in Christ to do this so you need to do it too?”

This is a hot button topic and I am sure that I am going to get some humdinger responses. I welcome your comments. But I believe that we have opened the door to some pretty serious issues that are already coming back to bite us.

The same Pastors that refuse to preach both sides of this issue because they can’t nail total abstinence from the Scriptures, and I agree, are the ones that are ticked off at us when a believer in their church has lost everything because of the effects of alcohol, and “What do you mean there is waiting list?” We have a problem, guys.

I will write more about this in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, the next time I am at Applebees, I plan to take a picture of me and the guys enjoying our unsweetened iced teas and diet sodas.

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 129; Proverbs 10

Daily Quote: Liberty is turned to license by self. – Walter Chantry

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. ~2 Corinthians 4:16

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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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Addiction Recovery Is What We Do 

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The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.~ John 10:10

Last week I blogged about our 3rd Core Value which is our commitment to the ministry of addiction recovery.

This weekend we welcomed back men who graduated from the Colony of Mercy, women who have graduated from Women of Character, and our first graduates from Barbara’s Place.

It was the most incredible time of welcoming home these trophies of God’s grace. Most of the men and women who came are walking in victory. Some are struggling and reached out for help.

For those of us who serve on staff, we refer to this weekend as “pay day.” It’s the weekend that we reflect on what God has done in the lives of the men, women, teens and kids God sends our way.

Last week one of my staff emailed me this quote: “MINISTRY is not about the income. Ministry is all about the OUTCOME!” And for us on staff, this weekend was that reminder, that “AHA” moment of why we do what we do.

In addition to the Reunion Weekend we had our 2016 Family Freedom Walk. Our goal this year was $55,000. The weather forecast was ominous, but we cried out to God and guess what? At 3:10 PM the sky’s began to part and the blue sky started appearing. By 3:30 PM, the sun was out in all its glory.

We had a great turnout and the Lord wowed us once again with exceeding the goal for HIS glory — $66,646!!! This is all traceable back to HIS hand. We can’t take any credit. Did the staff work hard? Yes! Did we have people who really pounded the pavements? Yes! But we all know that it was God who provided. And I am so proud of my staff because they raised over $19,000 of the goal.

As I rubbed shoulders with the precious folks, I realized again that this ministry is all about God. It’s all about people. It’s all about you. Wait, you say. All about you?

Yes! Your prayers and financial support help us make a difference one life at a time. I met for the first time a man who graduated in 1976!!! With tears in his eyes and the biggest hug, he said, “From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!”

I hope and pray that I never lose the wonder of seeing God transform a life. We have 118 years under our belts, but who knows how many more God will give us. But until then, we will keep fighting and sharing the good news that Jesus Christ sets the captive free! Praise God, and thank 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 127; Proverbs 9

Daily Quote:  Make no mistake: to be at peace with your sin is to be at war with God. ~Kevin DeYoung

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

 ~Psalm 34:17-19

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