FRL NOW 12-1-17 : I didn’t like him, because I did not know him

Dulce Andrade Benitez’s first memory of her father Gilberto was when she was four—when she and her mother moved from Mexico to California to live with him. Before that, nothing. He had gone to prison when she was 10 days old.

“I didn’t like him, because I did not know him,” she says. “To me, my dad was [like] my uncle.”

Dulce was six when Gilberto went back to prison. “When the police got there to take him away, he just grabbed my hand and he said, ‘I’m going to leave for a long time and you have to take care of your mom and your sister.'”

Over the next two decades, this became the pattern with her dad: out of prison for a while, then back in again for another drug-related charge. She’s added it up. She’s only lived three of her 22 years in same house as her father.

I grew up visiting a lot of prisons. I still hold on to the big box I have at home of all the letters and holiday cards. He has missed the most important days of my life.

Important days like special Father’s Day events, or school events that involved two parents. And especially holidays.

WHAT HURT THE MOST

Confused and shocked by her father’s incarceration, a young Dulce had to mature quickly. Her mother, an immigrant, didn’t have more than a middle school education and had previously depended on her husband for financial support. They now survived on welfare and the little Dulce’s mother brought in from selling beauty care products, babysitting, and cleaning houses. The small family of three lived in a trailer park in a “really socially disorganized area” in San Diego. Dulce remembers the family had to drive far to get a visit with Dad at whatever prison he was currently in. (more…)

FRL NOW 11-17-17 : Angel Tree 2017

Angel Tree

You may be going through an awful lot right now. Maybe your company is shedding jobs and salaries, trying to keep from going under. Maybe one of the jobs they calved off was yours.

Maybe your marriage is really tanking at the moment. You can’t say you haven’t contributed to the problems, but you’re trying as hard as you can now to make this work, to make this right. Still, you’re not sure where things are headed.

Work. Family. Health. Finances. Between these major categories, life can get very complicated, both from things you’ve done as well as things that just happened. And if God feels very far away today, unconcerned and out of the picture, hear a word of encouragement from hundreds of years ago.

Throughout the Old Testament, God’s people faced one crisis after another. Sometimes it was their own dumb fault; sometimes it came by way of surprise attack. But no matter how they got into their troubles, “in all their distress, he too was distressed” (Isaiah 63:9). When they hurt, He hurt. When they suffered, He suffered.

God has not lost the directions to your house. He’s not waiting to work you in between 3:00 and 4:00 next Wednesday. God feels. He grieves. He knows what you’re going through. You’re not the only one hurting here. And His is the kind of hurt that knows how to help you. (Joe Gibbs)

Friday Night Dinner Ride 11/17/17 We will meet at Kohl’s parking lot at 6pm. At 6:30 we will ride to a great place to eat and fellowship. Don’t miss it! 

2017 Angel Tree gift delivery kickoff at South Park Baptist Church 2201-82nd Street, 10:30am. Please join us as we kick off the 2017 Angel Tree gift adoptions. Wear your biker attire.

Angel Tree Gift Sorting 12/8/17 6pm At Christian Life Assembly of God, 5917-66th.We have a new format this year that will make this a snap! We will all go out to eat after the sorting.

2017 FRL Angel Tree Christmas Delivery:

If you would like to buy a gift for an Angel Please Call Tony Phillips at 806-559-6129.

He is really alive! He is really here! He genuinely cares! Count on Him today!
Tony

FRL NOW 11-3-17 : Fear-of-God

“Fear-of-God is a school in skilled living — first you learn humility, then you experience glory” (Proverbs 15:33 The Message).

Wise people remain humble. Humility and teachability go together. Be humble or you’ll stumble.

Humility begins by simply realizing you’re not God. Whenever you get stressed, repeat this to yourself: “God is God, and I’m not. God is God, and I’m not. God is God, and I’m not.”

That’s humility. If you don’t realize that you’re not God, you’re not a humble person.

The Bible says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6b HCSB).

Do you have a goal of becoming a wiser person?

Get to know God. You’ll be wiser in building relationships, managing money, handling conflict, diffusing problems, and dealing with all kinds of other challenges in life.

The Bible tells us, “Fear-of-God is a school in skilled living — first you learn humility, then you experience glory” (Proverbs 15:33 The Message).

Humility says you can learn from anyone. You don’t know it all. No one does. That’s why we need to remain teachable, humble, lifelong learners. Rick Warren

Friday Night Dinner Ride 11-3-17 We’ll meet at Kohl’s parking lot at 6pm. At 6:30 we’ll ride to a nearby restaurant for a great time of food, fun, and fellowship! Don’t miss out!

2017 Angel Tree Christmas Delivery 12/9/17 Plan on attending this great time of Christmas hope and joy! Details TBA.

In humble service,
Tony

FRL NOW 10-27-17 : Peace

Verses telling of the peace available to us in all circumstances are some of the most encouraging and powerful truths of Scripture. God longs for us to be children marked by the peace of our Father. He longs for us to have peace in the good and bad times because he remains faithful and good, always. He longs for us to be so founded in him that this world can’t shake us.

You and I have every reason to live with the stresses and cares of the world save one: God dwells within us. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 says, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” We serve the Lord of peace. The Holy Spirit who dwells within us is wholly peaceful. And Galatians 5:22 tells us that he will bear the fruit of peace in our lives if we simply live in continual communion with him.

Circumstances begin to rob us of our peace the minute we choose to live as if God isn’t within us. Trials and tribulations will become all-consuming if we allow them to. You see, we are not to live with our physical eyes as our sole source of truth. God has granted us spiritual eyes and the ability to have faith in his faithfulness and goodness regardless of our circumstances. He’s given us the ability to choose to live with union with him as our foundation. We are not alone. We are never alone. The God who authored Scripture, knows all of eternity, raised Christ from the dead, and empowered the disciples dwells within us, always.

You will only live with peace in this life to the level that you live out of the union you have with God. In every situation, God is with you, ready and willing to lead you, empower you, sustain you, and fill you with peace in response to your trust. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Peace is our portion. And this peace is not given as the world gives, based on the fickle nature of man and the ever-changing opinion of the world. Heavenly peace finds its source solely in the unchanging nature of our good and loving heavenly Father.

You and I are commanded by Jesus, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). We must take captive our emotions and ground them in the unshakable nature of God. We must allow a direct connection from our hearts to the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, letting him speak to us, fill us, and direct our every moment.

The peace of God transcends anything we will experience on this earth. If we place our lives in the capable hands of our heavenly Father, we can trust that his perfect, pleasing plans will be done in our lives. Take time today to ground your peace in the unshakable nature of your heavenly Father. Take time to turn your eyes away from the world as your source of peace and set them instead on union with God. May the Holy Spirit reveal his nearness to you in mighty and powerful ways today as you open your heart and receive his loving presence.

Friday Night Dinner Ride 10/27/17 It looks like a cold, blustrey evening. Lets meet at Fuddruckers, 5501 Slide Road, at 6:30pm. 

2017 FRL Angel Tree Christmas Delivery 12/9/17 Watch for details!

FRL NOW 10-20-17 : Conquer Your Nemesis

Until Wednesday night, Houston Astros’ starting pitcher, Dallas Keuchel, has had his way against the New York Yankees’ batters throughout his career. His performance in the 2015 wild-card game ended their season.

Then in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series this year, he dominated again. Between those two games, he struck out 17 New York batters and allowed seven hits, two walks, and no runs in 13 innings.

But with the series tied 2-2 and with Game 5 being in New York, the Yankees finally overcame the pitcher who previously only surrendered seven earned runs in 57+ career innings against them.

This time, Keuchel gave up four runs in less than five innings and the Yankees went on to win the game 5-0.

Ian O’Connor wrote an article about the Yankees’ impressive victory titled, “Nemesis No More: Yankees Finally Conquer Dallas Keuchel.” Undoubtedly, breaking through and knocking off an opponent that has given you so much trouble in the past is very rewarding.

I am sure many of us today are up against our own “nemesis,” and desire to overcome a certain sin that continues to defeat us.

Every time we’re up to bat and face the same temptation, we strike out. Our opponent uses arrogance, anger, lust, selfishness or addiction to take us down, and we feel we’re never going to get the win.

However, we don’t have to buy that lie when we surrender to Jesus. We have hope in knowing He gives us power to conquer our biggest nemesis…and the battle doesn’t have to be fought in our own strength.

James 4:7-8 (NLT) encourages us by saying, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”

By humbly admitting our struggles and weaknesses, and seeking God’s power through prayer, He can do remarkable work in us.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) is a great verse to cling to: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

Today, let’s allow this truth to give us hope in trusting God to “conquer the nemesis” that has been defeating us for way too long. Bryce Johnson

Friday Night Dinner Ride 10/20/17 We will meet at Koh’ls at 6pm. At 6:30 we will go kickstands up for a ride, good food, and great fellowship. Don’t miss it!

12/9/17 2017 FRL Angel Tree Christmas Delivery. Save this date for our annual delivery of Christmas joy and hope to children of incarcerated parents and their care givers. We will have our list of children around the 1st of November. 

Give your nemesis over to God,
Tony

FRL NOW 10-6-17 : I Will Resore Health Unto Thee

For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after. Jeremiah 30:17

Jeremiah spent over 40 years proclaiming a message of doom to the stiff-necked people of Judah. The stubbornness of his people, as well as the harshness of God’s judgments, would often bring him to tears, earning him the name of the “weeping prophet”.

Jeremiah did not accept his prophetic gift as readily as Isaiah did. Jeremiah complained that he was only a child and did not know how to speak, although he came from a priestly family.  God insisted that Jeremiah go and proclaim His word.  Jeremiah obeyed.

At this point, God was fed up with Judah. He had determined the disaster that would befall them.   To make it worse, the people would not listen to Jeremiah’s words and chose to believe false prophets that proclaimed that everything would be all right.

Jeremiah chapter 30 does not paint a comforting picture for Judah. God has proclaimed that their wounds would be grievous because of the multitude of their sin.  However, He does give them a ray of hope.  It is in this ray of hope that we find our promise for today.

Although God would bring this mighty judgment on Judah, He promises to restore their health and heal their wounds. This does not just speak to individual healing but healing as a nation.  Even in God’s immense anger toward this nation, He still speaks of healing them.  This once again shows that healing is truly God’s nature and character.

If you are dealing with a physical challenge, meditate on the fact that healing is in God’s nature. He designed your body to heal itself under normal circumstances.  However, when circumstances are not normal and you find yourself not walking in divine health, you can seek God.  Healing is His nature.  He is Jehovah Rapha, the Lords that heals.  Walk in your healing today. 

Find comfort in the fact that healing is in God’s nature. You do not have to walk in sickness or disease.  You can proclaim that by the stripes of Jesus, you are already healed.  Be grateful for the promise that God will restore health to you and heal your wounds physically, mentally and spiritually.  He will! Just ask our friend Delphino. Praise be to Jehovah Rapha.

Friday Night Dinner Ride 10-6-17 Once again…. Forecasted area rains. Let’s meet at Rudy’s BBQ, 4930 South Loop 289, at 6:30pm. Come join the family!

Walk in His healing!
Tony

FRL NOW 9-8-17 : A timely message from Joe Gibbs

Even though America has come a long way in terms of race relations—far more than many other countries of the world—stereotypes do still exist. Perhaps there are some people you’d rather not have as neighbors. Certain nationalities draw your suspicions. They have customs and habits that feel—(to use a fitting word)—”foreign” to you.

But while home and family and patriotism are each good things, we must always be careful about letting natural mind-sets overrule biblical ones. Just because a bigoted attitude of yours is embraced and encouraged by your friends doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you to have. When you have an automatic, negative reflex that lights up whenever you see a person of another race or national origin, you’re assuming a superiority that isn’t really there.

And you’re forgetting that one reason why heaven is so heavenly is because it’s the biggest melting pot of all.

“After this I looked,” the apostle John said, “and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9). This preview of heaven’s population simply cannot be allowed to land on our ears and not logically affect the way we treat people whose heritage and skin color are different from ours. Jesus Christ can rule in anyone’s heart. Let’s make sure he’s ruling in ours.

Friday Night Dinner Ride 9-8-17 We will meet at Kohl’s parking lot, 98th & Indiana at 6pm. At 6:30 we’ll take a nice ride to a great little joint! Come join the fun,food, and fellowship!

You’re precious in His sight!,
Tony

FRL NOW 9-1-17 : True Prosperity

How would you like to be guaranteed true prosperity as a result of your investments? Well, that is exactly what God does for His people. To those who follow His plan for success, He guarantees ultimate prosperity.
 
God says that the person who lives according to His Word rather than according to the world’s wisdom, will be like “a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:3).
 
Now, that’s a straight forward guarantee. In all that he does, he prospers. The word prosper in the Hebrew text literally means “to push forward; to pass through; to get on.” It carries the idea of thriving and succeeding in what you do.
 
Well, we need to understand what God means by this word. You see, you have to know His way of thinking to truly comprehend His promise of prosperity. For instance, God is obviously more interested in spiritual and eternal things than He is in physical and temporal things. It’s not that He is unconcerned about our physical and financial well-being. But that’s not where the guarantee is.
 
The blessed person of Psalm 1 is assured of a much higher level of prosperity – things that money cannot buy. Just imagine having unending joy and peace in the midst of an anxious and agonizing world. Or, cast your eyes on the incredible riches of heavenly glory as Moses did when he considered the treasures of Egypt to be less than nothing (Hebrews 11:26). Having less here, and everything there, is a far better deal than everything here and less there. Now don’t get me wrong. I never said we should be poor! In fact, His plan is just the opposite!
 
Just think about it. It’s a no-brainer. In our economically declining society we have the opportunity to refocus upon genuine value as we invest in a guaranteed prosperity.
So here’s the deal. If we set our hearts on the Lord and the truthfulness of His Word instead of walking in the counsel of ungodly people and standing in the way of sinners and sitting in the seat of scornful antagonists (Psalm 1:1-2) – we will be like a healthy tree amidst an otherwise desolate forest (v. 3). And here’s the clincher: Whatever we do will prosper with ultimate value – value that will never deflate.
 
Now, that’s an investment worth making!

FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER RIDE 9/1/17 Meet at 6pm at Kohl’s, 98th & Indiana. At 6:30 Road Captain Tommy Hayes will lead us to a great restaurant. Don’t miss out! Great God, great Friends, great weather, and great ride… Who could ask for anything more?

Live long and prosper!
Tony

FRL NOW 8-25-17 : Inner Peace

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7

One of the blessings of living in daily fellowship with God is developing a settled heart. You realize your salvation is accomplished and complete. You recognize how many things are beyond your control. And you begin to understand that trusting Him is a lot more effective than fretting and losing sleep. He takes care of you either way. So why waste the nervous energy?

Inner peace is not a formula. It’s not treating God like a good-luck charm. It’s about spending time reading His Word, praying when you could be listening to sports radio, talking to Him instead of talking to yourself. It’s relationship, not ritual. Try it consistently for a month, and you’ll look back a few weeks from now amazed at the amount of perspective and security He’s given you. You’ll be more like a man who has “no fear of bad news,” whose “heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord”.

Friday Night Dinner Ride 8/25/17 Once again we are in a very unpredictable weather forecast for this evening. Let’s meet at Furr’s Family Dinning, 60th & Slide Rd. at 6:30. Hope to see you there!

Tony

FRL NOW 8-11-2017 : Scorpions!

AN AMAZING FACT:  The world hosts about 1,400 species of scorpions, with about 40 kinds occurring in the United States. Scorpions, like spiders, have eight legs and belong to the arachnid family. They feed on insects they catch with their two lobster-like claws and kill with a venomous stinger at the end of their segmented, abdominal tail. In most species, the sting is merely painful to humans and not fatal, although the sting of one species found in the states has proved fatal to young children.

But scorpions have been known to kill and devour their own species, as well as demonstrate vengeful behavior. One experimenter placed a hundred of these arachnids in a large glass vessel, and after a few days only 14 remained. The rest had been killed and eaten by the others. He then put a pregnant female in a glass vessel and observed her as she devoured her young as fast as they were born. One managed to escape, taking refuge on the mother’s back, and found revenge by killing the mother scorpion in turn. 

The scorpion’s behavior reminds us of the story of Gideon’s army surrounding the Midianites at night. God called Gideon to be a judge and leader of Israel. When gathering to attack the Midianites, the Lord told Gideon there were too many to face in combat. Eventually, Gideon ended up with only 300 men—who were not even given swords, but a trumpet and a torch! In the middle of the night they surrounded the camp, blew their trumpets, and uncovered their torches. The Bible then says, “And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled. When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the Lord set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp” (Judges 7:2122). Evidently, many Midianites died at the hands of their fellow soldiers. 

Satan and his host are enemies to God’s people. We can stand against them with the sword of the Lord (our Bibles) and know that God will protect us. Someday these enemies will turn on themselves and be destroyed forever.

FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER RIDE 8/11/2017 We will meet at the Kohl’s parking lot at 98th & Indiana Ave. at 6pm. At 6:30 Road Captain Preston Langford will lead us on a great ride for food, fun, and fellowship. Don’t miss out.

Blessings!
Tony