The Lenhart Family

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

wilderness season = open season

One of my kids’ favorite movies is one called “Open Season”. The movie tagline is “the odds are about to get even.” The two main characters find themselves smack dab in the wilderness, just days before “open season.” So they unite with the cute lovable wilderness animals that have grown weary of always being the ones hunted. In desperation, they decide to band together on opening day of hunting season and turn the tables on their predators. There are times in life when it seems like someone has declared “open season” and we feel like walking targets at the shooting range. Well today “the odds are about to get even…”

The last several weeks have been one of the most intense times of temptation I have ever experienced. Circumstances beyond our control seem to have thrusted our family into a “wilderness” season in our life unexpectedly (from our foster daughters being unexpectedly moved out of our home to physical illness). But thankfully we have been able to find encouragement in God’s word over and over again.

Our team that is preparing to be going to Haiti in 2010 has been studying the “red letter” words of the New Testament. Through that, I have been focusing on the temptation of Jesus found in Luke 4:1-13. Our enemy is not creative in that he still uses the same tactics today when it comes to tempting God’s children. Here are some of the observations I have noticed through this study of God’s word and our present wilderness season:

Jesus was tempted immediately following his baptism and just prior to entering full time ministry/ mission work. I know for us personally it seems like we face intense periods of temptations just prior to doing something “big” for God’s kingdom. Season of intense temptation are not indicators of our spiritual well being. The closer we seem to get to being in Haiti full time, the more opposition we seem to face. Last week when we booked our airline tickets, we joked about wondering what kind of curveballs life would throw at us this time. But the more battles we face in this arena, the more confirmation we receive that we are exactly where God wants us to be.

Jesus faced temptation immediately following a 40 day fast in the desert. Satan is shrewd. He tempts us when we are alone and beyond tired, hungry, and weary. Our enemy knows our personal weaknesses and is calculated about the timing of tempting us. He knows that, just like the Israelites were, God’s children are most vulnerable during the “wilderness” seasons of life.

The passages in Luke also demonstrate our enemy’s tenacity. He doesn’t give up easily but is extremely persistent in his efforts to tempt us and get us to abandon God’s plan for our lives.

Scripture was the most powerful weapon Jesus had when he was battling temptation. I am so guilty of not knowing God’s word well enough when it comes to battling temptation. I will vaguely know the promises of God but it’s easy to forget where they are found in the midst of a battle. This present season of life has driven me to immerse myself in God’s word. I have found that scripture is the most powerful tool in our fight against temptation. Don’t fight back with your words, fight back with God’s (and turn the odds in your favor)!!

"We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--- yet without sin.... Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those being tempted." ~ Hebrews 4:14-15

My world is closing in
On the inside
But I’m not showing it
When all I am is crying out
I hold it in and fake a smile
Still I’m broken
I’m broken
Only one can understand
And only one can hold the hand
Of the broken
Of the broken

When no one else knows how I feel
Your love for me is proven real
When no one else cares where I’ve been
You run to me with outstretched hands
And You hold me in your arms

I need no explanation of why me
I just need confirmation
Only You could understand the
emptiness inside my head
I am falling
I am falling
I’m falling down upon my knees
To find the one who gives me peace
I am flying
Lord I am flying

When no one else knows how I feel
Your love for me is proven real
When no one else cares where I’ve been
You run to me with outstretched hands
And You hold me in Your arms

I have come to you in search of faith
Cause I can’t see beyond this place
Oh You are God and I am man
So I’ll leave it in Your hands

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