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Hunched over person, in the shadows.

We have the victory over discouragement and depression in Jesus!

WE HAVE THE VICTORY IN CHRIST JESUS!

Our shield of FAITH will extinguish ALL the flaming missiles of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16). Our adversary is defeated but persistent in his attacks. He cannot touch us (I John 5:18), but he does tempt us to believe lies.

Dear Friends, please remember that if God is for us, who can be against us? God empowers us to be overcomers and conquerors in this battle of life. But the key is to do it in HIS POWER and not lean on our own understanding.

Hebrews 12:3 says, “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

I find that focusing my attention on Jesus and worshipping Him revitalizes my spirit and renews my mind. It’s amazing what praising can do! I want to encourage you to worship our Lord—loudly and joyfully, as you sing of His power and His strength and His forgiveness and His grace and His mercy and His love and His purpose and His plan and His will.

Fixing our eyes and minds on Jesus is the spiritual transforming perspective that lifts us up and gives us wisdom from above to deal with life’s trials and challenges.

I pray that you are experiencing His glorious presence right now!

“In His presence is the fullness of Joy.” (Psalm 16:11)

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To be a place that inspires spiritual growth, worship and ministry to people!

Our desire is to use Sonrise in the Woods to minister to people on the mountain.

Our mountain communities need a place where children can enjoy playgrounds, youth can gather for wholesome activities, adults can fellowship in unhurried peace and the elderly are treated with the dignity and honor they deserve. That is the vision God has given Church of the Woods for the new campus.

Our San Bernardino Mountains have more than 671,686 acres of National Forest land. There is another 147,313 acres of non-USFS land within the National Forest. As we consider that the 818,999 acres will always be preserved and undeveloped, it seems like our 37-acre parcel is a great location to serve the needs of people on our mountain.

It is amazing how much false information and hysteria is being generated over a project that seeks to serve our mountain communities by providing resources that are sorely lacking. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that the two greatest commandments are: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39) That is our goal!

God’s Word declares, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) In other words, God’s greatest desire is for the eternal souls of people to be saved. That is our goal too.

It is our prayer that Church of the Woods will be a catalyst for people to come to know God personally through Jesus Christ. Our project, Sonrise in the Woods, is designed to enhance our ministry into people’s lives and provide a wholesome, beautiful environment for ALL the communities to enjoy. It will be a great place to benefit from picturesque landscaping, natural beauty and fellowship with people from all over. It will be exciting! Hope to see you there, too.

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Don't be fooled by satan's schemes

From the very beginning, Satan has deceived people into believing lies. Paul wrote:

“But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Let’s compare what God said in Genesis 2:16-17 with what is said in Genesis 3:1-7:

First, Satan twists the Word of God by planting the seed of discontent! He wants us to think that God is holding out on us. To Eve, he said, “Indeed has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1). The results were devastating!

  1. Eve diminishes the abundant provisions of God: Notice that Eve said, “From the fruit of the trees we may eat.”—whereas God said, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely.” (Genesis 2:16)
  2. Eve adds to the prohibition: Eve said, “You shall not eat from it or touch it.”—whereas God said, “From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.” (Genesis 2:17)
  3. Eve weakened the penalty of sin: Eve said, “You will die.”—whereas God said, “You will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)
  4. Eve adopts the serpent’s title for God: Elohim is less personal than Yahweh Elohim.

Second, Satan contradicts the Word of God and confuses our source of contentment! “The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4, 5)

Third, Satan creates a counterfeit gospel as he appeals to our human senses and provides a fake substitute for true joy and contentment.

The Appeal                                   The Avenue (I John 2:16)          The Attitude

Good for food” Lust of the flesh                                       Indulge

Delight to the eyes” Lust of the eyes                                       Acquire

Desirable to make one wise” Boastful pride of life Impress

From that moment on, mankind became separated from God through sin. We have become ashamed (3:7). We have been trying to hide from God (3:8). We are afraid (3:10). We have been blaming others for our sin (3:12-13).

Please don’t be ignorant of the schemes of Satan (2 Corinthians 2:11). Our salvation is only possible through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. When we receive Christ as Savior and Lord by grace through faith = we become what God truly created us to be. Don’t allow the devil to twist, contradict or counterfeit the Holy Word of God! It is the truth that sets us free!

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Read God's Word slowly, frequently and prayerfully.

God’s Word is filled with promises and hope that inspire people even during difficult times. One pastor told this true story of an attorney in his church,

“After meditating on several Scriptures, this attorney decided to cancel the past-due debts of 17 of his clients. He drafted a letter and sent it via certified mail. One by one, the letters began to return, unsigned and unopened. Sixteen of the seventeen letters came back to him because the clients refused to sign for and open the envelopes, probably fearing that this attorney was suing them for their delinquent debts. How profound! We owe a debt for our sin and God is willing to cancel it but too many people will not even open His letter that contains this great news.”

  • Let me encourage you to open your Bible! This book is God’s love letter to you.
  • It reveals the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers.
  • Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true and its decisions are immutable.
  • Read it to be wise, believe it to be saved, practice it to be holy.
  • It contains light to guide you, food to nourish you and encouragement to cheer you.
  • It is the traveler’s map, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s character.
  • Here paradise is restored, heaven is opened and the gates of hell disclosed.
  • Christ is its grand subject, our good its design and the glory of God its end.
  • It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet.
  • Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.
  • It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of pleasure.
  • Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ; yes, to glory itself, for all eternity.

“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe” ~I Thessalonians 2:13

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Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

When the rich young ruler approached Jesus with the question, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” Jesus got to the heart of the issue. He told the man to go and sell his possessions and give to the poor so he would have treasure in heaven and to follow Jesus. Is Jesus stating that the selling of his goods was merit for heaven? No! He exposed the man’s idol. The only way to heaven is through trusting Jesus. The rich young ruler trusted his riches. That is why Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.”

The man went away grieving! Did you notice that? He was grieving. He was not happy and fulfilled. He walked away from the only One who could grant him true fulfillment. It was at this point that Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24) His disciples were astonished at this and asked, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus responded, “With people this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Be encouraged, Friend! There are some things that are impossible for people—like earning salvation, but Jesus came to offer eternal salvation as a free gift. We only need to humbly trust in Him as Savior and Lord. He is the one who gives true satisfaction, genuine love and everlasting forgiveness.

No matter what circumstances you face, as you focus your attention on God, He will make a way. The key is to keep our faith fixed on God! Trust in Him. Pray to Him. Seek His face. As the old chorus states, When we turn our eyes upon Jesus, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

Have a blessed day!

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