Dear Friend of Parakaleo,
Are you lonely today? Sounds like a song we all know by Elvis.
How easily people become isolated in this Age of Technology. Those of us on Facebook can count hundreds as "friends" but find that not one friend responds to a deeply meaningful post. Of course, daily time alone is beneficial for developing your friendship with God; but chronic isolation - not good at all.
Dr. Jennifer Caudle at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, New Jersey notes, "Being connected electronically isn't the same as in person. There is something about a person-to-person interaction that's generally better for our well-being. Maybe it's intangible. But I think being around other people, family or friends, and (their) reassurance, (face-to-face) communication, (even) something as small as a smile or a touch -- these are small things, but I think they're very important."
God talks about our need for each other in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up."
Next time you're feeling lonely, don't linger long there. Whomever comes to mind as an encourager, pick up the phone and call them. Just hearing their voice can boost your spirits. Get out of the house and go somewhere that you will have to interact with other folks. Ask God to send you an encourager to meet your emotional need and you'll experience his love through them.
This is my heartbeat, to walk closely with Jesus Christ so that His light radiates through me to lift up others. Let us see ourselves as His ambassadors, saying "God use me today to bring your love to someone who feels forgotten and alone."
On the Potter's Wheel,
Your friend Ouija Sink
Parakaleo is a ministry with a history of more than 15 years of helping those who struggle with sexual problems, be it same-sex attraction, pornography or other issues of sexual brokenness.
Over the years a core group (60 to 100 people) has supported the ministry in prayer; encouragement; and tax-deductible giving. There have even been a few churches that have faithfully walked alongside this ministry such as Redeemer Presbyterian, Calvary Baptist, and Crusaders for Jesus Christ Community Church. Some of you may never have heard of the last one, Crusaders.
In March 2017 Ouija was invited to speak at Crusaders for Jesus Christ Community Church located in Pfafftown, N.C. Crusaders is a small faith community of around 40 to 50 people pastored by my brother, Cal Mauk. From the beginning, one of the first ministries that this church began supporting was the Parakaleo ministry.
Ouija invited Bev and me to go with him and I was given the honor of introducing him to the congregation. The people we met on that visit were very friendly and, from the minute we walked in, we experienced a sweet spirit. The music was uplifting and everything about the service pointed people to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Most in attendance knew Oujia's story because Pastor Cal had previously shown the video, "What Some of You Were." (I Cor 1:25-27) Ouija continued that theme and reminded us that God through Jesus Christ pulls us out of whatever pit we find ourselves in and redeems us.
After the service Ouija talked with several people who had friends or family members who struggled. One lady expressed regret that her late brother had never had the chance to meet Ouija and benefit from the ministry of Parakaleo during his same sex struggle…And this is how it is in every church Ouija visits -- whether small or large, people come forward with stories of those they love fighting the battle against sexual sin. There is a great need for this timely ministry, Parakaleo.
We invite you to partner with Parakaleo through your prayers and tax-deductible financial gifts. You can do this by mailing your gifts to:
P.O. Box 186
Clemmons, NC 27012-0186
or you can give online at this link:
You have an important part in this ministry! We are so much more effective as you undergird us prayerfully and financially.
We invite you to share what God is doing through this ministry with those you think would be excited to partner with Parakaleo through their prayers and their giving. Please also share our name as a resource for anyone you think might have a personal connection with the purpose of this ministry. They can find out more at http://www.parakaleo.ws.
Thanks for your Support!
Dennis Mauk, Parakaleo Board Member
P.S. If you would like to contact Ouija directly, you may call him on his cell phone at 336-813-8084 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Friends of Parakaleo,
It is pretty amazing that we have reached the end of another year... and what a year it has been! I am sure we all have some amazing stories to share. Some with sadness and others with joy and jubilation. We have even seen this played out in the spectacle of our recent election. These stories of our lives bring us to consider those hard questions usually born out of despair. Can we really believe that God is in our world, our family, and our lives? Both the good and the bad? Can He really bring reconciliation? Are we destined to a future of division and anger?
It has become increasingly difficult to operate this ministry within our current cultural and political environment. We should not be surprised as we live in a broken world. We are aliens in a foreign land. However, to briefly answer the questions above, we do believe that God still remains sovereign in all of these events... but we always need reminding. We see this truth in the verse Philippians 1:6. God has promised that He who began a good work in us will complete (accomplish/perfect) it! Now this is something to be confident in and rejoice over! Although we may be tired, God is not!
2016 has also been a difficult year for Ouija physically but there are many bright spots. We are delighted to report to you that Ouija’s eye surgery went well, and his sight has been restored to 20/20! This is pretty amazing given the condition of his eyes in the beginning! There are no guarantees that this is a permanent cure for him, but God has blessed him.
We also continue to hear from Ouija and others that there are still many people who are seeking wholeness and restoration from their addiction. So even in a place where the voices of the evil one can be quite loud, the ministry of Parakaleo remains alive and active! Men continue to receive accountability and encouragement within the community of Parakaleo.
Financially it has also been a challenging year. We remain behind in our receipts for 2016 to meet the expenses of the ministry, but we are hopeful that we will exceed expectations by the end of December.
As we reflect on this season when Light has been brought to us through Jesus, we would challenge you to consider your role in gifting to the ministry both financially and in prayer. These will help continue the vital ministry of Parakaleo.
So we leave you with a benediction... Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! (Romans 15:5-6)
Thank you for your continuing prayer and financial support of Parakaleo.
and the Parakaleo Board
Friends of Parakaleo,
As the topics of same sex attraction (SSA), homosexuality, same sex marriage, and transgender appear almost daily in our news, I am always seeking new ways to speak to these issues and care for those who are affected by them.
I recently read a book on Ouija's reading list, Is God Anti-Gay? This book is written by Sam Allberry, an associate pastor of St. Mary's Church in Maidenhead, UK. Sam experiences SSA. In 90 pages (a quick read), Sam gives a biblical and practical perspective on questions about homosexuality and SSA. I have read other good books, but I found this book concise and easy. It gave me answers to many of the practical questions we are asking. But most of all, it gave me ways to talk about SSA issues in a loving way.
The book led me to a website, www.livingout.org. Living Out is coordinated by three Christian leaders who experience same sex attraction (one is Sam Allberry). As I explored the site, I particularly liked the videos in the "Stories" section. These men share what it is like to be a Christian and experience SSA, and how they have found community in the Church. The community they have found in their churches and Christian friends warmed my heart. I want to be a part of that kind of community.
Ouija has come alongside numerous men, women, and families who are affected by SSA. For some time, the Parakaleo board has asked, "How can we at Parakaleo also come alongside churches to help them (1) have a clear voice of love to those with SSA, (2) to address the cultural issues of today, (3) to offer an alternative to the 'gay' lifestyle and (4) to help churches know how to provide community to SSA Christians?" We have prayed for resources. Living Out seems to be an answer to our prayers.
Please take some time to visit the website, www.livingout.org. I believe you will find it compelling. I believe it will also answer your prayers and your desire to speak the message of Jesus in today’s culture.
As we begin the year, it is our prayer that you will include this ministry in your charitable giving.
You can give by sending a check in the mail to PARAKALEO, P. O. Box 186, Clemmons. N.C. 27012 or go to our web site www.parakaleo.ws and look for the donate tab where you will find the online e-giving. Whatever you can do is deeply appreciated and may God bless you.
Thank you for your continued prayer and financial support of Parakaleo.
And the Parakaleo Board
Greetings to friends of Parakaleo,
As we are looking forward to spring and warm seasons, I am reminded of it being a time of new beginnings. I have the joy of working with men and being able to see real change in their lives and I love to share with you some of the blessings that come my way. Below is a letter from one who is willing to share some of his inner struggle and how he handles it. I hope it blesses your heart as it did mine!
God's Greatest Gift
Recently Apple CEO, Tim Cook announced to the world that he was proud to be gay and that being gay was among God's greatest gifts to him. This announcement confused me. Here's why. If he is so proud to be gay, why take 55 years to announce it? Puzzling. He believes God made him that way. Why wait? But the other puzzling thing was announcing it as a gift from God.
First let me say that, as a man who has struggled for 40 years with same sex attraction, I think I understand what he is trying to say, albeit in the wrong way.
The gay men that I know seem to have heightened sensibilities. I call them passion and compassion. Passion for beauty and creativity. Compassion for the struggling. So what is wrong with that? On the surface, nothing. As a group, gay men seem to have compassion that far exceeds many Christians. But there is a problem with their passion. The deep longing for flesh against flesh, I believe is a misplaced passion. A selfish passion, burning for sensual experience, and good feeling, not dedicated to impacting the world.
I believe God has given me an extra measure of passion and compassion. But, as a man who has rejected the gay agenda, what does that mean for me? I think the answer is in having rightly placed passions. The adoption of a gay lifestyle to me seems an idolatrous application of Godly gifts. The same passion and longing that, unbridled, leads to lust, can be redemptive. The same root desire that, unredeemed acts out sexually, channeled rightly can bless the world.
Here are some ways I believe those passions and compassions work themselves out in my life. I love beauty. Creating it. Appreciating it. Beauty, I believe, is life giving. In a world ripped by ugliness, beauty gives pause, offers solace. I work to make my home a place where people encounter beauty and find sanctuary. In cooking a meal, I want it to be beautiful, as well as tasty. And, in table fellowship, I long for others to experience a connection and sense of belonging that would, at least for a time, banish loneliness. I long for refugees to be sheltered in homes. When I prepare flowers for my church, every time I begin I pray "Lord, create something beautiful." Why? Because I want the power of breathtaking beauty to drive worship. In the beauty of created things, is the breath of the Creator. Designed for His delight and glory.
I believe my passion has enabled me to be a good friend. For me, one antidote for lust is healthy friendships; friendships with men whom I love and who love me. My passion is poured into my friends, trying to be there for them, rejoicing with them, weeping with them, admonishing them, encouraging them. Surely I fail my friends, but, I believe it is rightly placed passion and compassion that drives me to be a loyal friend.
Finally, I believe God has given me a compassion for the world: for justice, for providing for basic human needs, for comfort and dignity for all. I understand the concept Roland and Heidi Baker have coined "stop for the one". The needs of the world are overwhelming, but the needs of one less so. And stopping to show one compassion, models Godly compassion and rightly places passion. I want to be iconoclastic. I want to bust the stereotypes. I want to burn with the beauty of Holy passion and be an agent of Godly compassion.
So Tim Cook was half right. The passion that I imagine he possesses is a great gift from God, as are creativity and compassion. But God does not give the "gift" of being gay. It is God's passion derailed and wrecked.
I've bet my life on that. For 40 years I've tried to walk in "a long obedience in the same direction", daily seeking to choose holiness because my eyes are fixed on a City. God's greatest gifts to me are the brokenness and humility that comes with struggle, the passion that comes from recognizing beauty and offering it to others for His glory, and fierce compassion that is a sharing of God's tender heart.
As you can see God is at work. I hope that you have experienced God's gift of salvation.
Would you help me to reach more who struggle? Please take a moment and give a generous gift to Parakaleo. You can go on line http://www.parakaleo.ws in the black navigation bar click on "Donate" and follow the instructions. You can mail a donation to Parakaleo, P.O. Box 186, Clemmons, North Carolina. Any gift of any size is deeply appreciated. May God richly bless you.
On the Potter's Wheel
Dear faithful friends and supporters,
HAPPY NEW YEAR! We are well into the new year of 2015 and I want to share a story by one of our faithful workers who writes about a young man's struggle to walk with God. This is why we do what we do and why I invite you to participate in this ministry.
One of the coolest things about participating in the ministry of Parakaleo is the opportunity to enjoy a front row seat in God's drama unfolding in lives being changed all around me. I am going to tell you a story of one such amazing guy. For the sake of anonymity, let's call him Jason.
I met Jason in person two years ago, but was introduced to him about 18 months earlier. You see, Ouija had been corresponding with Jason by e-mail long before meeting face-to-face. Jason took precious time to write out his story, letting us get to know him in advance. I think it felt safer that way.
His apprehension and fear were understandable; he was dealing with same sex attraction issues in isolation. Jason was a recent college graduate from a Christian university and was raised by Christian parents who loved him well. Jason's desires were incongruent with his faith. He needed help and reached out to Ouija for counsel, support, and mentoring.
Our initial meetings with Jason were guarded and tense. Satan did a good job convincing him that if anyone knew the 'real Jason,' they would not love him, much less accept him and want to be his friend. Satan wrestled him into submission in isolation, leaving him paralyzed with fear and shame. Looking back, it took many weeks for the love of God (and our love and acceptance) to penetrate the layers of self-protective defense mechanisms he built to keep both people and the pain of rejection at a distance.
We did most of the talking at first, sharing our stories of brokenness, bad decisions, and consequences. We talked about our faith journey and how God changed us step, by step, by painful step. We let Jason see the power of God's transformational love, mercy, compassion, friendship and forgiveness. As the days and weeks passed he began to feel safe enough to let us see his beautiful spirit. He shared about all the normal stuff, his family, friends, career, dreams for the future. We experienced life together - with all the good and bad days that come along.
Over the next three years Jason expanded his community of authentic and transparent believers. We courageously challenged each other to rugged honesty and ruthless pursuit of truth. We allowed others to know us completely, in all our brokenness, realizing that we are all the same. The cause of our brokenness and objects of our idolatry may be different, but they are rooted in the same lies and deception.
What an incredible gift God gave me to know Jason and participate in His redemption story. I have seen the chains of bondage loosened and the effects of Satan's lies melt away. God is transforming him into a powerful and confident man, who warmly loves, easily forgives, and faithfully speaks words of affirmation and truth. He is restoring Jason to His original and intentional design, and has brought a Godly woman into his life. This is only the beginning of a beautiful story for my younger brother. There is so much more that God has planned for Jason... I can't wait!
I believe that God has so much more for all of us this New Year and I too can't wait to see what He is going to do! If we are willing servants and allow the Potter to mold us in His own ways there is no telling what He will be able to do through us.
You can participate in the Ministry of Parakaleo by giving a gift to start the year off right. Anything you can do would be deeply appreciated. You can give by sending an offering in the mail or by going on-line to our web site http://www.parakaleo.ws and click on the "DONATE" tab in the black border. Then follow the instructions to be a one-time or a regular giver to this ministry. We need your help and any size gift is helpful.
May God richly bless you as you serve Him this year!
On the Potter's wheel,
2 Corinthians 9:10-15 (LEB Version)
"Now the one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed, and will cause the harvest of your righteousness to grow, being made rich in every way for all generosity, which is producing through us thanksgiving to God, because the service of this ministry is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but also is overflowing through many expressions of thanksgiving to God. Through the proven character of this service they will glorify God because of the submission of your confession to the gospel of Christ and the generosity of your participation toward them and toward everyone, and they are longing for you in their prayers for you, because of the surpassing grace of God to you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
Because of your generosity:
Because of the ministry (Parakaleo) :
THANKS BE TO GOD FOR HIS INDESCRIBABLE GIFT!
What more can be said to encourage you to give to this ministry that God has entrusted to us. Because of your submission to the Gospel of Christ and your faithfulness, we are able to keep this ministry going. This then generates a spirit of thanksgiving to God in you and in us. This then leads to one big grand loud chorus from all of us: THANKS BE TO GOD FOR HIS INDESCRIBLE GIFT!
ANNOUNCEING A NEW WAY TO GIVE TO PARAKALEO
We are excited to announce an easy way for you to extend your generosity to Parakaleo by using a new donate tab on the web page. If you should have some trouble using the donate tab feel free to contact Dennis Mauk at 336-414-2975 or Al Fausch at 336-714-5445.
Follow the instructions and you can set up regular giving either from a credit card or a draft from your account, whichever you prefer.
You can give a one time gift or a regular scheduled gift.
Anything that you can do is deeply appreciated and greatly needed.
Thank you for all that you are doing and may you have a Very Merry Christmas!
On the Potter's Wheel
Dear friends of Parakaleo,
God works in mysterious ways. And I love to see Him do so. It's a gift to see an unexpected answer in the midst of a hopeless situation, when there is no rational explanation for what just happened. That is why I am drawn to support Parakaleo. I get to hear how God is working through Ouija and others to transform the lives of those who are desperately dealing with sexual addiction and pornography. If God can miraculously heal them, it gives me hope that He can transform my life, too.
You see, I am a doubter, a skeptic, trying to live a life of faith and trust in God. I question God, I question the Bible, I question the inconsistencies of life, I question others, and I even question myself. That is why I relish the times when God works mysteriously- He overcomes my doubts with a message of faith and hope. And He does it in a way that defies all logic.
I was recently questioning my life, what will it be like before I die? Will I really make a difference to others in these next few years? Is it worth the risk to get out of my introverted, self-protective shell? And then I get to die—what will that be like? I sure hope what I believe is true about God and Jesus.
In the midst of this hopeless, never-ending circle of questions, God spoke to me. At least I think it was God.I woke up around 3:00 am, with words flowing around in my brain. It was bizarre, because some of the words were rhyming. I kept mulling them over (as in, not going back to sleep), so I got up and wrote them down. I feel like the words were an early morning gift to me.
"Joe, come on in.
Life's waters warm.
You'll fit in.
You may win."
I may win,
But I will never fit in.
Me and my doubt,
We'll just stay out.
Win or lose,
I still die,
A fixed good-bye.
There must be more-
Someone to adore.
Maybe someone to adore me.
Jesus, are you there?
God, do you care?
"Joe, come on in,"
Friend God softly cries.
"You too will cry,
And yes you'll die.
So did I.
You fit with me.
Come, sit with me.
Come, commit with me."
Pondering . . .
Wondering . . .
What answer I'll send?
Doubting, yet trusting
My loving Friend.
Yes, I will join in.
Thank you, God, for this specific message to me- addressing my doubts in so many ways.
Ouija asked me to share my early morning gift in this newsletter. Try re-reading it and substitute your name for "Joe." Maybe it will be a message of hope for you too. If so, the risk of sharing was worth it.
God is not just working in my life. He is mysteriously working through Parakaleo to come alongside those dealing with their addictions. And He is seeking to heal all of us. As a Board member, I want to thank you for your participation with Ouija and Parakaleo- you too are making a difference.
In His Service,
Parakaleo Board Member
Mark Brown, who is the Pastor of Redeemer Yadkinville, had an experience a month or so ago that I wanted to share with you. Mark had posted a link to the Parakaleo website on the church's Facebook page. The day after he posted, Mark received a call from a gay-rights activist group. The caller said, "People have no right to tell homosexuals that their behavior is wrong," and "he was going to shut down the ministry". Mark said, "My main point was to tell them that Jesus died for all kinds of sinners. By saying that homosexuality is a sin I was put in the category of 'gay-hater'. I hope you all know that is not true."
The gay-rights people then organized a vigil in downtown Yadkinville in front of the church. They made false statements such as, "young children are forced to come to these meetings" and "Parakaleo is a 'pray the gay away' type ministry". The truth is there are no minor children in Parakaleo and no one is forced to come to the meetings. They don't even meet at Redeemer Yadkinville Church. We don't advertise and recruit people into our meetings. Everyone comes of their own free-will and any new members find out about it by word-of-mouth.
The trigger to all of this was Mark's statement that we are all sinners and Christ died for all of us. The gay-rights group says that you have no right to tell homosexuals that their behavior is wrong and if you do, you are a gay-hater.
Ezekiel 3:18-19 "When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself."
Revelation 21:8 "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
These are just a few of the verses that give us God's perspective of sin. God hates sin- ALL SIN. But He loves the sinner and wants to redeem him.
Luke 7:36,47,48 "When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house... she wet his feet with her tears... Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven- for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little... Your sins are forgiven... Your faith has saved you, go in peace."
I watched a message that Franklin Graham gave to the Watchmen on the Wall 2014 convention. I was very impressed. If you are getting this newsletter by e-mail, you can just click on the link and it should take you to YouTube. If you are getting this by regular mail, go to the internet and then type the address into your computer and it will take you to the message.
After you listen to this message by Franklin Graham, I believe you will better understand what we at Parakaleo are wanting to see God do through the ministry. The thought that I came away with was this:
I love them too much not to speak out and warn them!
Will you help us speak out and warn people that there is a day when we will all stand before a Holy God- are you ready?
One way you can help is to pray. Pray that Ouija, the Board members and our supporting churches and Pastors would stand strong for truth.
Another way that you can help is to give. Please give generously and regularly. We need your support.
Thank you for what you have done and are going to do in support of Parakaleo.
From Ouija and the Parakaleo Board,
Dennis P. Mauk, Sr.
My Dear Friends,
"I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with Thanksgiving"
As we are into the holiday season may I give you belated wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving and extend a wish to each of you for a Blessed, Merry Christmas.
To all of you who joined the Parakaleo Board and me for our Celebration, for all of you who called, sent text messages, e-mails and cards, I thank you with all my heart! I thank you for your faithful support of Parakaleo that allows me the joy and honor of walking alongside people struggling with sexual brokenness and mentoring men and many of their wives.
October 13 we had a celebration of 10 years of Parakaleo ministry. I would like to share with you some of the blessings that God is doing through this ministry. We will look back at the last 10 years and then we will look ahead to the next 10 years if the Lord grants us them. I will use brief bullet points for there is much that could be said about each point. If you would like to view some pictures that were taken that day please go to my web site http://www.parakaleo.ws and click on the tab 10 Year Celebration and then click on Launch Photo Gallery. I hope you enjoy them.
OUR DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE:
The Board of Parakaleo wants this ministry to continue for many years to come and so they are giving these future dreams with the prayer that God will supply the needed funds to do these things:
To God be the Glory! Great Things He Has Done! What Great Things Does He want to do in and through us if we will let Him? If you would like to help in the efforts of this ministry by sending a gift it would be greatly appreciated. Send your tax deductible gift to:
Parakaleo, Inc. Attention Treasurer P.O. Box 186 Clemmons, NC 27012-0186
It was a great joy and honor to see and be with so many of you at the celebration.
I thank God for you. Lifting you to Jesus!
Washed and waiting for Jesus!
I love you,
ON BEING A GOOD FRIEND
Do you know that finding a good friend is very hard? You know, the kind of friend that you can pour your heart out to and know that the conversation is safe; the kind of person that you know will pray for you and not talk about you to others. The Bible speaks of such a friend in Proverbs 17:17
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
This is what I try to do through Parakaleo ministry. I try to be a good friend and speak the truth during times of adversity. It is no good if all you do is tell people what they want to hear; you have to speak the truth to them, in love. They have to be able to trust that you will always tell them the truth, as you understand it, and that you will do it in a spirit of love. This is what I strive to do each day.
I would like to share a poem that I received from one of my friends who struggles:
"A Dedication To My Friend"
To have a friend you must be one,
And a friend loves at all times,
Whether good times or bad,
Happy or sad,
You're a great friend, and oh so much fun!
Through these recent years you've stuck by me,
With letters or cards or calls,
Visits or prayers,
Let me know that you care,
And you've done it all so willingly.
You'll never know how you carry me,
And just what a difference you make,
When encouragement's nigh,
It lifts spirits up high,
So loneliness just has to flee.
Yes, the Father continues to use you,
To shed grace on a soul like mine,
May He bless you today,
Shine His face on your way,
I pray showers of love surround you.
Thank you, and I love you, my friend!
Perhaps you could be a friend to someone who struggles and make a difference in their life. If you would like to give a love gift to this ministry to help us continue this work, please send your gift to the address below.
Be sure to visit our web site at http://www.parakaleo.ws and visit the links to resources.
Thank you for your prayers and gifts and most of all for your friendship!
On the Potter's Wheel,
I hope you are well, and I know that many of you have been battling colds, viruses and Winter bugs. It has been a hard Winter for many and I know we are all looking forward to Spring days. I am aware that some have been hospitalized and even had surgery. Thank you for sharing with me, keeping me informed and allowing me the privilege of praying for you. I join you in praising God for His faithfulness!
In the last several months I have been very aware of the power of temptation all around me. Have you ever wondered why the forbidden fruit was in themiddle of the garden where Adam and Eve could be tempted? It's an interesting question and it's more than just a point of theological debate. A friend of mine has said that all of us have something within our reach that looks good but IS or should be OFF limits. Let's not blame God when we are tempted!
Whatever it is in your life, you may be tempted to believe that the reasonit looks good, or feels so right, or has been there so long, or doesn't't go away, is because God wants you to have it. Some churches are even saying this regarding sexual expression outside marriage, divorce and remarriage, or homosexual relationships, to name a few. I think there are other reasons God allows temptation, reasons that are ultimately much more powerful than "He must want this for me."
My friend gives two insights that I would like to share with you to ponderand process.
1. God wants you to know you can say "no" to temptation. Obeying every impulse is not freedom; freedom is being able to say "no" to our impulses.
I Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (KJV)
2. God has given you HIMSELF, and power through the Holy Spirit that dwells in you! God is not indifferent or afar off. He is near and has promised never to leave us or forsake us.
I John 4:4 "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (KJV)
Luke 22:31, 32 "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: BUT I HAVE PRAYED FOR THEE, THAT THY FAITH FAIL NOT: AND WHEN THOU ART CONVERTED, STRENGTHEN THY BRETHREN." (KJV)
Many of us have friends and people in our lives to help us if we will be honest and reach out to them for help. This can also be a problem and/or a drawback: Too often our tendency is to run to "others first" rather than to GOD!
The process of how we all sin is outlined in James 1:13-17 and is worth reading.
James 1:13-17 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but everyman is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (KJV)
I know that I need people in my life to challenge me and speak the truth to me every day. I need to be in worship, in church hearing the Gospel! We who belong to Him are created to praise Him and worship Him in all His beauty and glory!
So the next time temptation comes your way maybe you will remember some ofthe things in this newsletter and be able to put them into practice.
JAMES 4:7 "SUBMIT YOURSELVES THEREFORE TO GOD. RESIST THE DEVIL, AND HEWILL FLEE FROM YOU." (KJV)
If while you are submitting to God, He should lead you to give a gift to this ministry, we will be happy to enter into your worship and rejoice with you. Your regular, generous gifts make it possible for me to help those who are facing overwhelming temptation in many areas of their lives. Thank you so much for your love and faithfulness in praying and giving to the workof Parakaleo!
On the Potter's wheel,
P.O. Box 186
Clemmons, NC 27012-0186