Vulnerability Opens the Door for Temptation

Tags

, , , , , ,

appleAlcoholics 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

Advertisements

Uniquely Purposed

Tags

, , , , ,

brideI 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

The King is Coming!

Tags

, , ,

trumpetsAt 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)

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

FROM CHARLENE AND ALAN WOODLEE

Letting Go While Holding On

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Part 2

In Part 1 of this newsletter I discussed 4 things that we need to let go of: unneeded possessions, fear, children, and yesterday. In Part 2 I want to tackle letting go of unforgiveness and dreams.

Letting Go of Unforgiveness and Holding On To Forgiveness

One of the greatest stumbling blocks for all people is to forgive others, especially if the one who caused us the hurt doesn’t acknowledge the pain they caused us. It is easier to forgive if someone is truly sorry and asks for forgiveness, but when we have been unjustly attacked by another there is a self-righteousness and desire for justice that rises up within us. False accusations are especially hard to deal with. Continue reading

Letting Go While Holding On

Tags

, , ,

Part 1

ropeEcclesiastes 3 says there are seasons for everything. In the season I am now in God has been talking to me through simple things like my possessions. As I look at them I waver between two opinions. In the past I have let go of some things too soon and then had to buy them again. But, there are other things that I should have let go of a long time ago things that hold an emotional attachment or memory even though they have long ago lost their usefulness. I want to declutter my home but I’m not sure what I should let go of or what I should hold on to. It is that way in my emotional life, my relational life, and my spiritual life also, which leads me to the following questions:

Are there attachments I need to change or even let go of?

Are there things that are cluttering up and distracting me from the walk with God I really want?

What do I need to let go of? What do I need to hold on to?

In this newsletter I really want to focus on 5 things that I see that can distract us from focusing on our walk with the Lord. Although I know that there are many more, I feel that these 5 are struggles for all of us: fear, children, yesterday, unforgiveness, and dreams. This newsletter will come in two parts since I cannot get it all down to 6 pages. So you will receive Part 2 in November. Continue reading

Standing In The Gap

Tags

, , , ,

gapI received a new insight from the Lord as I was studying the life of Elijah. I was reminded of the passage of scripture in James 5:17-18: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [with the same physical, mental, and spiritual limitations and shortcomings], and he prayed intensely for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its crops [as usual]. (AMP) Elijah was James’ example of a “righteous man” who prayed “heartfelt and persistent prayer(s)” which “accomplish(ed) much.” James 5:16

As I was looking at the life of Elijah, I also thought that he was an example of Ezekiel 22:30, a man who stood in the gap between God, His people, Ahab, Jezebel and the prophets of Baal. It was then that the Lord began to show me that a person who stands in the gap does not just pray, but their prayer of faith also involves action, “is productive of good works.” (Matthew Henry Commentary) James 2:14-26 talks about faith without works as being dead or of no result. Continue reading

More of Jesus’ Letters To Us

Tags

, , , , ,

lettersIn the last newsletter I wrote you about the letters Jesus wrote to 3 churches in Revelation. He covered subjects like: losing your first love and passion for Jesus, spending more time working for God than spending time with God, being afraid of possible persecution, being under pressure to believe what others believe both in the secular and religious worlds, being distracted by other things and compromising the Word of God, and being tempted to worship men and the things of this world. Jesus also kept reminding them of the blessings that were available to Christians both in this world and the next. Now I want to share with you what I’ve learned about the other 4 churches Jesus wrote letters to and how they can speak to us about our lives even today.

Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29)

Thyatira was a thriving industrial city. Like most cities in the pagan world, they had Continue reading

Jesus’ Letters To Us

Tags

, , , ,

lettersAlthough I have had classes on Revelation before, I have never had an understanding like I received from a sermon series I attended recently. It so impressed me that I felt it was important for me to share what I learned with you. The Pastor was speaking on the letters that were sent to the 7 churches found in Revelation. He was asking us to look at each church with him and see what Jesus was saying to them, and then to look at our own walk with Jesus, since “we are the church,” and see if there is anything we need to do to readjust it so that we could become all that God has created us to be.

John was an old man by the time he received the revelation. All the other original disciples had been martyred and, in fact, the Romans had tried to kill John. History says that they put John in boiling oil but he would not die, so they exiled him to the Island of Patmos. This is the same John who wrote the Gospel of John, 1st, 2nd, 3rd John, and Revelation.

I want to focus on when Jesus comes to John in a vision and asks him to write what He dictates as letters to each one of seven churches. This is found in Revelation 1-3. Continue reading

2016 Challenge

Tags

, , , , ,

dinnerJanuary finds us all ready for starting over, doing life better, and, of course, losing weight. Now that we are reaching the end of January many of our plans have met the pavement of reality and most of us have begun to slack off on the plans we have made. It is easy to get disappointed with the lack of progress in the short, cold, and snowy days. The enemy of our souls would like to keep us discouraged and have us tuck our tail between our legs and say, “I’ve tried and tried, but I have never succeeded in reading the Bible in a year.” The truth is, it is harder for some of us to climb this mountain than others, but thankfully I don’t remember a Bible verse that says you have to read the Bible in a certain length of time to be a Christian. I do know of verses that tell us that the word is a lamp unto our feet, a light for our path. (Ps. 119:105) That tells me that, if we want to know where we are heading, and, if we want to be in God’s will, we will need to know what He says in His word. Perseverance is important to running the race for God. Sometimes we just want to give up as the race seems too hard. Discouragement is one of the enemy’s best weapons. That’s why I think it is important to have an accountability partner or a group of friends studying the Bible together. It helps encourage us to get through those rough times when the task seems overwhelming.

When thinking about the challenge of Bible reading and study I started thinking about Jesus and food. There are not a lot of verses in the gospels that talk about Jesus snacking. I remember once his disciples were in the grain field, and once when he went for figs and there were none on the tree, but what I do remember is that Jesus spent a lot of time eating a full meal with those he wanted to talk with. Could that be saying that if we want Continue reading

Welcome The Prince Of Peace

Tags

 

Prince of PeaceIn my church’s worship service a few Sundays ago I heard a song I had not heard before and it touched my heart in a special way. I had to search out the author and found it was an Amy Grant song called “Prince of Peace.” The words that warmed my heart were:

“So hold me, Jesus, I’m shakin’ like a leaf

You have been king of glory, won’t you be my

prince of peace?”

Isn’t that how we feel when we see so much violence, unrest, unease in our world today? But I have learned over the years that while we are waiting for the final appearance of the King of Glory to right the earth and it’s people once again, the Lord has already sent the Prince of Peace and we are celebrating His birthday soon. Jesus was born in times like these, where there was unrest all around, yet in that stable there was the gift of peace, peace with God, peace in our hearts. It was available to all who would believe so many of the promises God had for us in Isaiah.

“For to us a child is born, Continue reading