VIDEO Fury to Freedom

Jul 14, 2013

Raul as a youth, was a dangerous, violent person who was ready to explode at any moment. This video chronicles the miraculous transformation of a person who was on a road to destruction to a man of God. This is the personal testimony of Raul Ries and how God demonstrates His grace, His love and His mercy.

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Qualified to Love: I (Don’t) Love You When . . .

So [Paul] said, “Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You.” Acts 22:19

Three times in the book of Acts, Paul’s conversion is recounted in detail. The first account (Acts 9:1-19) is described by Luke. But the second (Acts 22:6-21) and third (Acts 26:12-18) are told by Paul himself. Both Luke and Paul go to great lengths to describe Paul as a persecutor of Christians. Paul traveled from one city to another to find Jewish blasphemers who were worshiping Jesus of Nazareth. It is no wonder that Paul would later describe himself as “chief” of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

It is interesting to note something about all three descriptions of Paul’s encounter with Christ. In none of the retellings did Jesus list Paul’s sins to him. Jesus never berated Paul for what he had done. He never said, “I will call you into My service when you atone for all your sins. When I am convinced you are sorry, you will receive My love.” Instead, Paul received the grace and love of God in spite of being the chief of sinners. There were no conditions on God’s love for Paul.

We may not have committed sins like Paul’s, but we have sins of our own. Thankfully, we don’t have to become sinless to receive His love.

God loves us not because of who we are, but because of who He is.  Unknown

Unshakeable Faith

Daniel 1:1-20

Daniel had unshakeable faith. His trust in the Lord sustained him when he was uprooted from his home, taken into captivity, and sent to a foreign country. It strengthened him as he served under several kings and faced many challenges.

Knowing God and trusting Him are the two key elements of deep faith. Daniel, who was part of the Israelite nobility, apparently learned about the Lord from a young age. While he was in captivity, his words and actions demonstrated that he knew the Scriptures and wanted to obey God. When offered a meal that was incompatible with the dietary laws, he took a great risk by requesting other food. In verse 9 of today’s passage, we see that God caused the official to show favor to him. Like Daniel, we are to spend our lives learning and carrying out what pleases our heavenly Father (Col. 1:10).

Not only did this young man know what the Scriptures said, but he also trusted the Lord to do as He had promised. Every time Daniel took a stand for godliness, he was demonstrating his confidence in the heavenly Father. And his friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—had unwavering faith as well. They did not know for sure that the Lord would rescue them from the fiery furnace, but they believed He could and trusted that He’d do what was right (Dan. 3:16-18).

Barriers to unshakeable faith include pride (I won’t admit I need God’s help), arrogance (I know a better way—I don’t have to ask God), and self-sufficiency (I can do it myself without His help). Which of these is keeping you from becoming a person of strong faith? Confess it and turn toward the Lord.

Him That Cometh to Me

 

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)

In this verse and the verses to follow, we find Christ using a marvelous teaching technique. Several times He makes a general, generic statement but quickly advances from the general and impersonal to the particular and personal.

Note that at the first, Christ tells of an abstract gift to Him from the Father of an entire group, (“all”) of which should come to Him for salvation. This is in itself a wonderful truth, for Christ highly values this gift from His Father: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father . . . gave them [to] me” (10:28-29). The entire group “shall come” to Him.

But Christ switches in mid-sentence from general to specific: “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” a concrete statement of the effect of this work on an individual. We are part of a group, without doubt, but also each one of us individually is His precious child.

The passage continues in the same vein. “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (6:39). Again, the impersonal passes into the personal, for “this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (v. 40).

From the mass of created mankind, many have come to Christ for salvation. But each one who has believed and been granted everlasting life has great individual worth in the eyes of the Savior. “The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. . . . I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine” (10:11, 14). JDM

Yes, God is for me

Genesis 40:1, 3-23

Genesis 40:3, 4

Thus providence regulated the royal household with an eye to Joseph, who was even in prison favoured of the Lord.

Genesis 40:5

Not only men awake but asleep also shall be made to serve Joseph’s interests.

Genesis 40:6, 7

Thus should we show kindly sympathy, and seek each other’s welfare. What was fitting in a prison is even more so in a family.

Genesis 40:8-11

Joseph bore brave witness to the living God; every believer should do so.

Genesis 40:12-15

How lovingly does Joseph hide his brethren’s fault, and speak not of his being sold but “stolen.” He was stolen, for the Ishmeelites bought what the sellers had no right to sell. Let us use the gentlest word when called to speak of the wrong doing of others.

Genesis 40:20-22

Whether for good or evil, the word of the Lord will be accomplished. Be it ours to have it in reverence.

Genesis 40:23

Sad would it have been for Joseph had he put his trust in man; but though the butler forgot him his God did not. The Lord was reserving Joseph for a more timely deliverance; he was to come out of prison to a throne, and that was best secured by his waiting a little longer. It is good for a man to hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of God.

 

Put thou thy trust in God;

In duty’s path go on;

Fix on himself thy steadfast eye,

So shall thy work be done.

 

Though years on years roll on

His mercy shall endure;

Though clouds and darkness hide his path,

His promised grace is sure.

 

God Uses the Weak To Baffle Those Who Think They Are So High and Mighty

 

1 Corinthians 1:27

Consider for a moment just how incredible it was that God chose David to fight the giant Goliath. David was just a young boy when God called him. He was so young in age and immature in physical development that the Bible says, “And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance” (1 Samuel 17:42). Goliath took it as a joke when he saw who had been sent to fight with him. The giant laughed when he saw whom God had chosen!

First Samuel 17:43 tells us what Goliath said: “… Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.” Who would have ever dreamed that God would select a young, inexperienced boy like David to bring down this giant? It may have looked laughable in the eyes of the world, but this young boy who fearlessly faced Goliath in battle was the exact person God had chosen!

With that in mind, consider what Paul says in First Corinthians 1:27: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” The word “weak” is the Greek word asthene. It refers to something that is weak, base, feeble, puny, or powerless. This word asthene describes something that is so substandard, second-rate, low-grade and inferior that it’s almost laughable!

When Paul wrote this epistle, the Corinthian church was the laughingstock of the city. In fact, believers were viewed as the laughingstock of the entire Roman Empire. Governmental authorities considered Christians to be a weak, puny, pathetic, useless group of religious idiots. They were literally the butt of all the jokes and were viewed as societal rubbish.

Yet these same Christians turned the world upside down in their day and evangelized the Roman Empire! Through their steadfast endurance and commitment to Jesus Christ, they liberated Rome from pagan religion and paved the way for the Gospel to go into the whole world.

The unbelieving world today views the Church very much in the same way. You see, the devil fears believers because He knows the power and authority they possess. That’s why he uses the entertainment industry, educational institutions, and other human agencies to try to belittle the Church and make it look irrelevant, inconsequential, and trivial.

The enemy does everything he can to give the impression that we are minor-league players—a worthless waste of time. He knows the power God has placed at our disposal, so he attempts to discredit us in the eyes of the world. Therefore, if we perceive that the Church today is the butt of jokes and viewed in a derogatory fashion, we just need to realize that this perception is nothing new.

Paul told the Corinthians, “… God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” The word “confound” is kataishuno, which means to put to shame, to embarrass, to confuse, to frustrate, or to baffle. The word “mighty” is the word dunatoi, describing people who have political power. When you keep in mind that the political arm of the Roman Empire was trying to wipe out the Early Church, it becomes clear that this verse packs a powerful message!

 

First Corinthians 1:27 communicates this message to us:

“… God has chosen those whom the world considers to be puny and powerlesseven laughable. These are the very ones God will use to confuse, frustrate, and baffle the political powers of the world!”

It took awhile for the Church of Jesus Christ to put to shame all the evil forces that had come against it. But in the end, that’s what happened! The Church eventually emerged in power and changed the face of history. The common, regular, run-of-the-mill people whom God had chosen were so mighty and powerful in the Lord that they “conquered the world” for Christianity in their day!

So quit seeing yourself as someone who is substandard, second-rate, low-grade, or inferior. You are filled with the Spirit of God and have the call of God on your life! Who cares what the world thinks? Even if your gifts and talents seem small in comparison to what others possess, that doesn’t mean you’re eliminated from God’s list of candidates.

In fact, your feelings of weakness and inadequacy actually qualify you as a candidate in God’s service! God is looking for people just like you, because He knows He will receive the glory for what He does through you. You’re exactly the kind of person God wants to use!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, help me see myself with the full potential I have in Jesus Christ. My temptation is to see myself according to my past, but starting today I ask You to help me see myself through the promises of Your Word. I know that with Your grace and power, I can rise above any weakness or infirmity that has hindered me in the past. I turn to Your grace, and I ask You to release Your power in me so I can step into the reality of the person You have made me to be!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am NOT substandard, second-rate, low-grade, or inferior. I am filled with the Spirit of God, and I have the call of God on my life. Even if my gifts and talents seem small in comparison to others, I have all that I need in order to do what God has asked me to do. God wants to use me to baffle the “know-it-alls” and to bewilder people who are more talented than I but who do not trust in the Lord. He wants to get glory because of what He does through me!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. If nothing could hinder you from fulfilling your dreams, what dream would you most want to fulfill in your life?
  2. Do you really believe that God can help you fulfill such a mighty dream?
  3. In what ways do you need to change the way you think about yourself in order for you to become the kind of person who carries out this kind of dream?

 

Simplicity And Purity

One of the dilemmas you and I face is how to walk with God and keep the clutter and stuff around us from burying us alive. As a society, our fixation on ACQUIRING has reached psychotic levels.

John Wesley wrote, “The essence of Christian holiness is simplicity and purity… “

Soren Kierkegaard captured the spirit of Christian simplicity: “Purity of heart is to will one thing: God.”

“Simplicity is freedom, bringing joy and balance.
“Duplicity is bondage leading to anxiety and fear.”

It’s difficult to keep life simple if I have multiple passions.

Count Zinzendorf stated, “I have but one passion, it is He alone.”

The test as to whether I am seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness is the lack of anxiety. (Matthew 6:25)

Following are several of Richard Foster’s principles that may help us in evaluating whether we have captured the inner essence of simplicity:

First, buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.

Second, reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.

Third, develop a habit of giving things away.

Fourth, refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.

Fifth, learn to enjoy things without owning them.

Sixth, look with a healthy skepticism at all “buy now, pay later” schemes.

Seventh, shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God.