From the desk of Joshua Creel
While preparing some material for a young people's class, I came across the following quote. The class was about how we can help those struggling with same-sex attraction, and the material referenced is focused on that issue. However, the quote can be and should be applied to any temptation. I offer it for your edification. “The truth about temptation is this: The lure to sin is as much an occasion for you and me to do the right thing as it is for us to do the wrong thing. God allows temptation in order to develop our spiritual life (James 1.2–3). Temptation provides the opportunity for each of us to choose between what is right and what is wrong. Every time we overcome and defeat temptation, regardless of what form it arrives in, we become more like Jesus! There are few things we will do in life to become more like Christ than to say “no” to sinful enticements. Temptation is a pivotal instant in time when the follower of Jesus will stand alone and have the alternative to do right or to do wrong based solely on their own choice. It is a key instant in time when God and his angels will stop to see whether the Christian will just 'talk' about being a follower of Jesus, or will actually 'walk' like Jesus. There will rarely be a more thrilling part in the disciple’s day than when they’re tempted and have this chance to declare to the universe to whom they will be truly devoted.” (Guy Hammond. Caring Beyond The Margins. Page 35)
Temptation is truly a struggle in the moment, but look forward to the joy that will come with overcoming! “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." (James 1.12)
From the desk of Taylor Pickup
One of the worst characteristics a Christian can have is ignorance, specifically ignorance of God's word. But even worse is when a Christian is unaware that they are ignorant. In other words, they are ignorant about how ignorant they are!
Gideon was in this situation at the beginning of his story in the book of Judges (Ch. 6). Israel had abandoned proper worship of the Lord and was practicing evil. Gideon himself lived in a town with an altar to Baal and objects for idol worship. But when an angel arrived and told Gideon that "The Lord is with you," Gideon asked why God had let the Midianites overpower Israel, and why God wasn't doing the amazing deeds that He had done years before in Egypt. What a ridiculous question. An altar to a false god was down the street from Gideon and yet he was confused as to why God wasn't giving them victory over Midian. Obviously Gideon was ignorant that God hated idols, and that His blessings required obedience to His laws. Gideon didn't realize how much he didn't know. God then patiently took the time to re-teach Gideon and Israel about Himself.
Many times Christians today unknowingly suffer from a lack of knowledge. We feel like we are knowledgeable enough, which means Bible study gets ignored. But like Gideon, we must be actively seeking to know more and more about our Lord and His word. A deeper knowledge of God is not only necessary, it is extremely rewarding. Like Gideon, when we discover more about God it gives us instruction, comfort, and endurance that we never anticipated.
Revelation Chapters 10-11
The outline for Revelation 10-11 can be downloaded here.
Revelation chapters 6-7
The handout for Revelation 6-7 can be downloaded here.