In my search for more and more depth of understanding of the Lord and my responsibility in my walk with Him, I began to hear an answer to my question on how to please Him. As I sat once again with my agenda for Bible reading I felt the Lord’s nudge toward spending some lingering time in the Gospels. Although I do read the Gospels each year with 66 books of the Bible and a hunger to know it all, I must say I don’t spend much time lingering in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But isn’t that “running to and fro in search of knowledge” rather than making the main thing the main thing? I’m also afraid I spend a lot more time running in and out of the throne room, then sitting on Abba Father’s lap, rather than really getting in touch with my first love, Jesus, once again. So to follow God’s nudge the last few months I have spent some time seeing Jesus as a baby, a boy, and a man: God wrapped up in human flesh. How could that be? Which then brings me to the question Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15, Mark 8:29, Luke 9:20) Continue reading
As you who have been reading my newsletters know, our family has gone through some stuff the past few months. When you have had what feels like a tsunami blow over you and try to drown you and take your very breath away, it is hard to hang on to hope. But it is that very hope that anchors our soul to our God, the God over all, the God who sees this as impossible for man but possible for Him. (see Mark 10:27, Luke 1:37, John 12:46, Heb. 6:17-19 ESV)
Years ago I read a sermon titled “How Big Is Your God?” that was preached by Francis Schaeffer. Although I no longer have a copy of it I did remember the title as we struggled in what looked like overwhelming and impossible situations. It was obvious that if God didn’t intervene we could not find a way out of our crisis. At the same time our friends were going through a different crisis and even more devastating than ours. If we were to evaluate the two crises we would have to say that theirs should take precedence over us. I felt that God was saying that we had to believe that our God was big enough to handle both of these and many others at the same time. We had to stop believing the lie of the devil saying that our problem was small considering our friends’ crisis. Many of our fellow Americans at the same time had to deal with death and destruction in the wake of the many hurricanes and the deadly mass shootings, and destructive riots. What was our problem in comparison to those others? Was God too busy to even hear us and were we too selfish to bother him when others needed Him more? Continue reading
Part 3: The Resurrection Room
In 2 Kings 4:8-37 there is a story about a woman who was gifted with hospitality. She saw a holy man of God come to her village and she invited him to her home for dinner. He (Elisha) was so comfortable in her home that every time he passed through her town he’d stop, visit, and have a meal there. The woman was so blessed by his presence she asked her husband if they could build a guest room for the man of God and he agreed to build it up on the roof. She then decorated it with a bed, a chair, and a table with a lamp stand.
One day Elisha stopped by to rest in the woman’s home. As he lay down on the bed to rest in his new bedroom he called for her. As she stood outside his room he asked her what Continue reading
Part 2: When The Tsunami Comes
Recently I have gone through trouble that has had a huge affect on my family and there was nothing I could do to change its course except pray and hold on to God’s promises. It has felt like a huge tsunami has overcome us and, although the worst of the storm has passed we are left with a lot of debris to deal with. This won’t get repaired in the near future.
When the tsunami comes in your life, when you are overwhelmed by the wave of depression and despair and you are rolled under the waves and can’t tell the top from the bottom, when life feels dark, and all strength and hope is gone, that is the time that the Lord will be free to work miracles. When you are so tired, so unable, that is when the Lord can bring a change in you and your circumstances. When you acknowledge that you are at the end of yourself and your ability to affect change everything in you yells for Help. Your help comes from the Lord even when you feel nothing. This is the time to let go and let Him do what He wants to do (without your help). When you feel most vulnerable that is when He does the most work on your behalf.
There used to be a TV show called Mission Impossible and every episode would start with a problem and then the announcer would say “This is your mission if you agree to it.” Our mission for life in Christ can be likened to the Girl Scout motto, “Be Prepared.” The Bible tells us that in this world there will be trouble, but don’t be overcome by the world. How can we not be overcome? Be prepared.
So how am I dealing with my tsunami? Better than times before, as I have prepared for Continue reading
Part I: Receiving God’s Love
The Lord has had me on a different journey over the last year. It started with learning about some spiritual disciplines practiced by Christians in the past as well as the present. One of those was walking a labyrinth. I found a labyrinth about 30 miles from my house so I asked a friend to go with me and see if we could practice this spiritual discipline. It was a good experience, but, I have found that public worship experiences don’t always touch my introvert heart. One day in prayer I felt the Lord impress me to walk the labyrinth with Him. As I was sitting in my chair and it was raining outside and the labyrinth was 30 miles away, I started walking the labyrinth in my mind and this experience has blessed me in so many ways. One of the most important ways is that I have finally begun to learn to receive God’s love. As I was thinking about sharing this experience with you, I have struggled with how to explain how to do this in your own home. What I have learned this past year, what I am about to tell you, all Christians know in their mind, but most have not been able to receive the fullness of it in their hearts. I am still learning how to receive God’s love as I am not a good receiver from anyone. I am a great giver, but I am embarrassed to receive, as I don’t feel worthy of that much attention, and then I am always looking for a way to repay someone for their gift of kindness. Those same things make it difficult for me to receive the love of God. There are so many barriers that God has to break through for me to receive His love from Him but let me encourage you, He is able and I am becoming a better receiver of His love each day. Continue reading
As a newly graduated teacher, I moved to Detroit in the fall of 1967 to attend Wayne State University for my master’s degree. That summer a terrible race riot had occurred not far from the University and my apartment. As a country girl I was very intimidated by my new city life. Although I did have enough savings to live on, I thought it would be good to substitute teach in the schools around me. I went to the Board of Education building and filled out the forms and interviewed. I told them I was willing to sub for K-6, preferably the younger grades. They said that I was hired, and all I had to do was call a number the day before I would be available and they would send me out. I was excited but also scared since I didn’t know the city that well and they didn’t give me a school map, but I gave the number a call and told them I would be available the following day. The blessing was that every time I made myself available they gave me a job. Never mind if it was crazy trying to find where the school was located. The worst of it was that they often sent me out to do crazy things. One time they assigned me to a High School to teach health. I tried to get out of it because I only wanted elementary but they pressured me to go. I went in 3-inch heels and a suit and found out that I also was to teach volleyball! That was the topper of the assignments that were not to my liking! Every week I summoned the courage to call in, but by the next morning the courage was waning and sometimes when the phone call would come in I would just let it ring! I was available but inaccessible! (And not too reliable.) I finally gave up on this job opportunity after I was teaching in an all black school in the riot area and part way through the day the school was dismissed due to the threat of more riots after it was announced that Martin Luther King was assassinated. I got out of the area after a brick had damaged my car and I never returned to subbing in Detroit again. I chose to be no longer available or accessible.
The idea for this newsletter came to me when I was praying and I told the Lord I was available, and His reply to me was, “But are you accessible?” To my humiliation I Continue reading
Three years ago I prayed for the Lord to show my husband and me a place where we could get away from Western New York winters for a time. After a lot of prayer and searching for locations and accommodations we decided to go to central Florida and stay in an extended-stay motel. When we got there the desk clerk sent us to a room and the key didn’t work. Then, when we got the new key it opened the door to the wrong type of room which was occupied by a woman sitting on the bed reading a book. The look on the woman’s face as she sat on the bed and the look on ours should have been captured for a Facebook post! The second trip down to the embarrassed desk clerk resulted in a new key to a new room that blessed us with a sunny room filled with many days of sunrises and sunsets over our view of the lake. I knew it was the room that God had given us, a blessing over and above what we had asked for. After a few days in that blessed room we overheard another couple talking about the fact that if you stayed for a month the room charge was cut in half! They also said that you had to reserve the room you wanted a year in advance. I knew that God had given us a way to stay longer the following year, so we reserved our God-given room for the following year. Last year we had no problems with getting into our room, so we reserved the same room for this year. You guessed it! This year we hit a bump in the road.
We pulled into the motel and went to the desk and told the desk clerk, a young lady this time, that we were there for room 302. She said we couldn’t have that room as someone was in there! I said we reserved that room a year in advance, but she was uncooperative, Continue reading
Alcoholics Anonymous warns it’s participants that there are especially vulnerable times for succumbing to temptation. They use the acronym HALT to help their participants slow down and think when they feel Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired as these are the most vulnerable times to reach for old habits of comfort, in their case alcohol. I attended Overeaters Anonymous meetings for a couple of years and they used this also. I think it is a wise saying for all of us, as these are times when we too are more easily vulnerable to the devil’s wiles.
I see these same vulnerabilities in Jesus when he was in the wilderness and the devil came to tempt him to sin against God. One of the things I like to do when the Lord highlights a scripture for me is to search out the way other Bibles have translated that passage. The various ways it has been translated or paraphrased often help me see a larger picture or understanding of that passage or event. Continue reading
I heard of a well-renowned woman intercessor who had a dream that disturbed her. She dreamed that she was awakened to the knowledge that this was the day of her wedding. She looked a mess but she knew she had to hurry so she didn’t have time to worry about her hair or her makeup. She ran to get her dress but when she put it on it was dirty with spots all over it. As she tried to rub the spots out it looked worse and worse. Then she woke up. She realized that she was like the bridesmaids in Matthew 25 who were not ready for the bridegroom’s return. She also realized that the spots were those things in her life that she had not dealt with and that no matter how hard she tried to deal with them she was just making them worse. This story disturbed me as I knew that I too was dressed in a spotted and dirty dress and I too had tried and tried to rub the spots out only to make it worse.
I then began to take the impact of this story to the Lord. I confessed that I could name some things that might not exactly be sins (although I had plenty of those), but that were also causing me to be distracted from my relationship with Him. In fact, I had turned to them for comfort when what I really wanted was to be in His presence. These things had competed for my attention and sadly, as they were easy and comfortable, I had wasted Continue reading
At this time of year we Christians celebrate the baby Jesus’ coming and are called to remember that He promised that He would come back as Our King. Just as there were signs before, during, and after Jesus’ birth, there are promised signs before our King returns. In previous newsletters I have pointed out signs in the sky like a group of stars that form what has been called “The Hand of God” and another one called “The Crown of Thorns.” This year I heard of another phenomenon. There appeared a circle of clouds and the sounding of trumpets (like shofars) over the city of Jerusalem on October 1, 2016. You can see actual footage of this event on the internet if you search for “Jerusalem trumpets.” As I was checking this out I also heard of many unexplained booms heard in various countries this past year (U.S., Canada, Philippines, Germany, Russia, Australia, Hungary to name a few). The people who heard them said that they sounded like explosions, but the authorities checked it out and found that there were no explosions in the area. NASA has explanations for all of this and calls it normal. They say that the earth makes many vibration sounds, some that we cannot hear. I say that the Lord told us that “the very stones would cry out” (Luke 19:40) if the people were silent as he made his way into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday. How much more will the earth cry out in preparation for His next appearance?
It is interesting in the timing of the circular cloud and the sound of trumpets over Jerusalem on October 1st. The next day began the feast of Rosh Hashanah, which in the Jewish calendar is the Jewish New Year, but their new year’s celebration is not like our January celebration. Yes, they reflect on the last year and plan changes for the next year, but this is a holy time of reflection and repentance. The morning begins with the blowing of a ram’s horn, commonly called a shofar. It is blown to wake listeners from their slumber and to alert them to the coming judgment of the Lord. A total of 100 notes in various configurations are sounded in synagogues on each day of the 2 day feast. No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah, and most of the day is spent in the synagogue focusing on God’s sovereignty or the “coronation” of God as King of the Universe!
Once we know all of this about Rosh Hashanah it is not surprising that God would display such a sight in the sky and the sound of trumpets one day before the Rosh Hashanah trumpets. He certainly would not want to be confused with human trumpeters! Both Matthew 24 and I Thessalonians 4 say that the Lord will appear with the sound of trumpets. Do you think that this might be a dress rehearsal, a chance for us to take a moment to think over our need for repentance and our hope at seeing Jesus return to earth as the King of the Universe setting everything right once again?
As we look toward Christmas and the sights, sounds, and signs of a Savior born to a virgin so long ago may we remember:
“For unto us a child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government shall be upon His shoulder,
And His name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and of peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.” (Is. 9:6-7 NKJV)
FROM CHARLENE AND ALAN WOODLEE