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Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the category “Holy Spirit”

Trusting God Will Lead And Guide

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God has a distinct plan and purpose for each one of us. He knit into every person the gifts, attributes, weaknesses, and strengths necessary to accomplish His perfect will. While He fashioned us into unique individuals, we were given much attention. He determined our sex and intentionally placed us in the nation, family, and social setting that would best serve to mold and equip us for His good purpose. Knowing this, we can confidently trust God to lead and guide us in our spiritual race.

 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

All seemingly chance or random happenings, every sudden or unexpected turn of events…. Both good and bad, were included in this plan before we were born. He places every believer in the Body of Christ that pleases Him. He has sovereignly determined our function and purpose and has given us the necessary spiritual gifts to perform our specific purpose.

“If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.” 1 Corinthians 12:17-18

But how many of us have struggled to discover the will of God for our lives. How many have endured sleepless nights of angst, fearful of missing the mark and not clearly understanding His instruction. As God knows our hearts and motives, we should find comfort in knowing God sees our intent. Even if we make a “mistake” or go down a “wrong” path, God’s plan and purpose will prevail. He will faithfully GUIDE us so that we fulfill the plan He has ordained for us.

The only reference to the disciples seeking to determine the will of God occurs in Acts 1:24-26 (NKJV)

“And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”  And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”

The Lord will always GUIDE His people! This is not to say we should set aside the act of seeking His will. We do have a responsibility to be knowledgeable in our decisions, asking God for wisdom and not doubting in His provision (James 1:5-8). However, we should trust and find comfort in knowing that He will faithfully lead and direct us throughout life. Sometimes He will send the Holy Spirit to speak to us, though a dream/vision or directly through the Word of God.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8 (NKJV)

Seeking God’s will is prudent but when we are at a crossroads, anxious about our next step or a new direction, we have the confident hope of knowing He will lead us all the way. God’s plan for us is NOT contingent upon our decisions in life. God’s plan is not and never will be contingent. His will and plan is SOVEREIGN. Therefore, it includes our wise decisions AND our foolish decisions, sinful choices, willful acts of disobedience, and silly choices. His ways to guide and direct us are infinite! However, there is always the gift of free will, which causes some to deny Him.

His guidance is almost always a step-by-step process. Your obedience to follow His lead is determined by your measure of trust and faith in His love. Your willingness to die to self is also instrumental in running the race God has ordained for you.

Remember, even if you go in the wrong direction He will guide you. God knows how to clear the way, even in a wilderness. You can always get back on track if you look for God to lead, guide, and direct.

“He does not play games with us. He does not look down from heaven at our struggles to know His will and say, ‘I hope you make the right decision.’ Rather, in His time and in His way He will lead us in His path for us.”  ~Jerry Bridges (Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts)

“For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our GUIDE even to death.” Psalm 48:14 (NKJV)

“The Lord will GUIDE you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.”  Psalm 37:23 (NKJV)

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”   Romans 8:14 (NKJV)

“If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on my own authority.” John 7:17 (NKJV)

Open The Eyes Of My Heart!

Open Eyes Of My Heart Graphic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vnqb7Vn4AEE

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people.” Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

“Many people feel so pressured by the expectations of others that it causes them to be frustrated, miserable and confused about what they should do. But there is a way to live a simple, joy-filled, peaceful life, and the key is learning how to be led by the Holy Spirit, not the traditions or expectations of man.”  ~ Joyce Meyer

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/holy_spirit.html 

The heart is an organ in our body. It pumps blood through our circulatory system, feeding our cells and organs nutrients. When the Word speaks of the heart, it is referring to the THINKING INSTRUMENT of the SOUL.

Scripture tell us that the heart is the seat of emotions. When Paul prays that the “eyes of the Christian heart” be enlightened, he is asking God to help us grasp the revelation of things revealed to the mind. He wants the revelations to move, motivate, and deepen our spiritual insight. With knowledge, we can then use wisdom to apply the understanding to our lives. 

“The eyes of your understanding”: (ophthalmos) + (kardia), “The eyes of your heart.” 

When the eyes of the heart are open and enlightened, we FEEL the power and wonder of the truths written in the Word. With emotions that are in sync with the spiritual revelations of the mind, a believer can be a highly effective and an honorable vessel or tool of God. A passionate Christian is highly motivated and ready to serve. They want to understand all things of Christ.

When you face a trial, struggle, or unfathomable circumstance, pray that God opens the eyes of your heart. The Holy Spirit revelations to your mind will then ignite emotions resting in your heart that validate the truths of the gospel. We need to feel the truth in our emotions, yes in the heart-not just in our intellect.

It is ok to FEEL the truth with our emotions, but it is not ok to be led by the emotions of the heart alone. Jeremiah 17:9 warns that the heart is impossible to understand and is deceitful. No wonder the heart needs eyes to see what the mind is learning from God! 

JOY is an emotion our spirits experience when chewing on the promises and truths of God’s Word. The eyes of our heart will often rejoice with joy, as our minds comprehend the treasures found in the Bible. However, we must be careful when other feelings convince us to go or do things that would not please God. “It FEELS so good so it must be right” is not always the case. The heart and mind must find confirmation with the leading of the Holy Spirit and the truth spelling out in the Word.

Everything you do flows from the heart and therefore we are instructed to guard it well. It is the wellspring of our life. The heart guide and directs us, and every word that comes out of our mouths starts in the heart. All of our actions and decisions are driven by the desires found in our hearts. That is why it is so important to ask God to make His desires our desires.

May the wellspring of you life (found in your heart) overflow with joy, as the “eyes of your heart” see and understand how deep His love is for you. Delight yourself in the Lord, and then He will give you the desires of your heart. When your will is HIS WILL, how can He deny you? 

Above all else, guard your heart, 
for everything you do flows from it.”     Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) 

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV) 

Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

My Bible Study On The Book Of Job Will Soon Be On Amazon!

*Divine Interuptions take 2
I’ve been busy writing the discussion questions for my next book, Divine Interruptions: A Bible Study Through The Book Of Job. It will be available (Black/White image, Color Copy, and a Leader Guide) the first week of March on Amazon.

If you have been through a struggle or trial, the Book of Job has many wonderful life applications. I hope you check it out!

Here is a sample of the Bible study. Let me know what you think!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Table of Contents: 

Chapter 1 The Trial p. 7

Chapter 2 Treasures, Trust, and Tests p. 16

Chapter 3 Sister-Friends p. 25

Chapter 4 Laughter, Joy, and Praise p. 39

Chapter 5 God’s Power and Control p. 50

Chapter 6 Persecution, Prayer, and Vindication p. 62

Chapter 7 Waiting On New Wrapping Paper p. 76

Chapter 8 Don’t Look Back: Second Chances Are A Blessing P.90

Chapter 9 Who Can Understand the Mind of God? P. 103

Chapter 10 My Great Defender Who Delivers and Restores p.115

About the Author p. 123

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

THE TRIAL

Chapter One

DAY ONE

LIFE lessons are so challenging!

God never promised us an easy life, but it’s not all darkness and suffering. We have a choice to see things with a positive mind set. Recognizing the negativity in our thinking is the first step toward a perspective transformation. This is a big step in the healing process, and usually produces Christian growth and greater spiritual maturity.

I never asked for a near death experience, but God knew what it would take to get my attention. I believe He wanted to move me out of my comfortable and routine existance, since I wasn’t depending on His DAILY provisions. Spiritually stagnant believers are in danger of becoming lukewarm. Thankfully, God had more works of service for me to accomplish, so He intervened.

Death was sent to knock on my door, but God would not give it permission to turn the doorknob. The sole purpose of sending this dark shadow my way was to get my attention, and alert those around me. Through an illness, God rekindled my desire to live a life entirely sold out for Him, with no compromise.

There is much more to my story but for now check out Day Two

DAY TWO

1) Read Job Chapter One

A hurricane blew into Job’s life. Job lost wealth, children and health.

*Write down your personal experiences that might mirror Job’s losses.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2) Read Job 1:1 * List the two personality traits attributed to Job.

a)__________________________ b) ___________________________

3) What did he practice? _______________________________________ 

4) Look up “fear” in a concordance (I like Strongs). I like this online site

http://www.blueletterbible.org/study/misc/name_god.cfm

Write down Verse 1:1 and then rewrite this verse using the correct context meaning of fear.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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DAY FIVE

Abba,

I know that all I have belongs to You. Freely You give good gifts to Your children, and freely You may take. Please loosen the iron grip I hold, for ….. go to http://facingtrials.com for more of the exerpt.

 

The Bible Is Your Coconut

Reminders Of God :Encouragement

“Do not say, “I will recompense evil”; wait for the Lord, and He will save you.” Proverbs 20:22 (NKJV)

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

Imagine you are on a desert island with no way to open the coconuts that lay at your feet. Now imagine that God sends an angel with a hammer to assist you. Instead of thanking God for His provision and help, you decide it would be better to starve and die before accepting His help. Oh, how foolish and prideful we are!

The Bible is our instruction manual. It is full of helpful and comforting advice and tips. We are fools if we don’t learn and apply the counsel and guidance it provides. In regard to the analogy in the first paragraph, the Bible is the coconut and the Holy Spirit is the hammer that breaks through any confusion we may have over Scripture. Our understanding is what then feeds and nourishes our spirit.

Isaiah 40:31 promises that the Lord will renew our strength. We may be weary from a trial or exhausted from fighting a spiritual battle, but the promises of God are always faithful and true.

If you have suffered a wrong or injustice, it is a common response to want immediate justice, even if it means you take matters into your own hands. However, God is our appointed judge and it is never your place to usurp His authority. He is just and all knowing, loving and compassionate. His mercy and grace is given to all men, even to the sinner who wounded you.

Our feelings will often get in the way after we have been wronged, or someone we love has been pained. We loose our perspective. A judge is impartial and fair. Therefore, we must let our God settle matters of injustice. He is our help and our shield. We must wait for Him to act and work things out…. In His time.

That’s right. I said IN HIS TIME. His timing is perfect!! God may set aside the immediate justice you seek because He knows that waiting to act will bring your abuser to true repentance, thus saving another soul from eternal damnation.

It could take years of God working on his/her heart before the justice you hunger for is fulfilled. This is where the promise in Isaiah 40 will sustain you. He will renew your strength and enable you to carry on with life.

Don’t let the enemy deceive you by saying God has overlooked the injustice of your situation. Waiting on the Lord takes faith, patience and self-control. Testings develop perseverance and deepen our trust in God’s faithfulness and love us. You may not understand the delay God asks of you, but with your heart simply trust in the true character of God and remember His love for you. Never doubt that He is just and fair.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall directyour paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:20 (NKJV)

How Does Spiritual Fruit Grow?

fruit-of-the-spirit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)

“GOODNESS and KINDNESS live in the hearts of those who have suffered greatly, as the wounded tend to learn compassion through their misery.

GENTLENESS is born out of the adversity that has challenged a believer, but who has then released all hopes for vindication to the power of God.

PEACE is a fruit that grows from seeds of trust.

LOVE matures as we learn to give up pieces of ourselves for the benefit of others, knowing full well that every piece we loose is replaced by an even more wondrous portion of Christ.

JOY comes from knowing God and experiencing His strength during trials.

PATIENCE is learned through experiences of long-suffering and allows the saint to move forward on his earthy journey, while always longing for his real home in heaven.

FAITHFULNESS means commitment. It is a sold-out attitude and stance that resonates a belief in God’s unquestionable ability to do the impossible.

Finally, the believer who suffers in the name of Christ for love’s sake grows in                   SELF-CONTROL With this final fruit, the temptations of the devil lesson and loose their power. We gain strength by gaining self-control.”

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My Peace I Leave You

PEACE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmFd0MvU7zo

Perfect Peace: by Laura Story

“Peace is not the absence of affliction but the presence of God.”              Unknown

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in You.”   Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) 

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27 (NIV)

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”                         John 16:33 (NIV)

Dear One,                                                                                                                        The Word of God tells us that in this life we will have tribulations, but that we can find peace in Christ Jesus.  We should find encouragement in knowing He has overcome the world through His death and resurrection.  He offers His children peace in the midst of their trials and storms.  John 14:27 directs all believers to put aside fear and worry, and yet we continue to fall prey to fright and anxiety.  Why do we refuse, neglect, or forget the peace our God offers us so freely?

Isaiah 26:3 tells us that God will keep in perfect peace the one who has a STEADFAST MIND.  To be steadfast is to be resolute, firm, and unwavering in conviction.  This conviction and stance to rely on God lends itself to stability.  Stability and loyalty to God produces a peace that transcends all understanding.  This verse also states that the one who is steadfast TRUSTS in God.  Trust produces a steadfast spirit, which then produces a conviction of faith and reliance, which bears the fruit of peace and a sense of stability.

When we trust in God, the fruits of the Holy Spirit become more evident in our lives.  Romans 15:13 offers up a prayer asking the God of HOPE to fill those in need with joy and peace as they trust in His power.  By trusting God in all matters, He will fill us with joy, peace, and hope!  Indeed, He blesses His people with peace! (Ps. 29:11)

We find in Psalm 119:165 that those who love God’s law have great peace and that nothing can make them stumble.  With a solid knowledge of the scripture, the Holy Spirit can speak to your heart and mind, directing your steps so you don’t stumble in your spiritual walk. 

Peace is gained through a trust and faith in God.  It requires believers to consciously lay down their will and set aside their fears, casting them off with purpose.  Reading the Bible permits the Holy Spirit to direct our steps, thus reducing any anxiety pertaining to what we should do and where we should go.  Peace comes to those who trust a guide who is wise and able to do all things.

Finally, Philippians 4:6-7 describes a peace that transcends or surpasses all understanding.  In order to attain this peace, we must petition God with our requests and do so with a thankful heart.  The thanks comes in knowing that He hears and answers all of our prayers with His infinite wisdom and grace.  May the peace of our God be with you today, dear one.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”                                      Romans 15:13 (NIV)

“Great peace have those who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.”   Psalm 119:165 (NIV)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”          Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Affliction And Pain Is A Part Of The Race

runners

Hello Dear One,

Please go to http://facingtrials.com/ to read my newest article.

Blessings!!  Cheryl

The Eyes Of Your Heart

 1430_1430_5

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people,”  Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

“The eyes of your understanding”: (ophthalmos) + (kardia), “The eyes of your heart.”

Dear One,

It is well understood that the heart is an organ in our body.  It pumps blood through our circulatory system, feeding our cells and organs nutrients. When the Word speaks of the heart, it is referring to the THINKING INSTRUMENT of the SOUL.

Scripture tell us that the heart is the seat of emotions.  When Paul prays that the “eyes of the Christian heart” be enlightened, he is asking God to help us grasp the revelation of things revealed to the mind. He wants the revelations to move, motivate, and deepen our spiritual insight.  With knowledge, we can then use wisdom to apply the understanding to our lives. 

When the eyes of the heart are open and enlightened, we FEEL the power and wonder of the truths written in the Word.  With emotions that are in sync with the spiritual revelations of the mind, a believer can be a highly effective and an honorable vessel or tool of God.  A passionate Christian is highly motivated and ready to serve. They want to understand all things of Christ. 

When you face a trial, struggle, or unfathomable circumstance, pray that God opens the eyes of your heart.  The Holy Spirit revelations to your mind will then ignite emotions resting in your heart that validate the truths of the gospel.  We need to feel the truth in our emotions, yes in the heart-not just in our intellect.

It is ok to FEEL the truth with our emotions, but it is not ok to be led by the emotions of the heart alone.  Jeremiah 17:9 warns that the heart is impossible to understand and is deceitful.  No wonder the heart needs eyes to see what the mind is learning from God! 

JOY is an emotion our spirits experience when chewing on the promises and truths of God’s Word.  The eyes of our heart will often rejoice with joy, as our minds comprehend the treasures found in the Bible.  However, we must be careful when other feelings convince us to go or do things that would not please God.  “It FEELS so good so it must be right” is not always the case.  The heart and mind must find confirmation with the leading of the Holy Spirit and the truth spelling out in the Word.

Everything you do flows from the heart and therefore we are instructed to guard it well.  It is the wellspring of our life.  The heart guide and directs us, and every word that comes out of our mouths starts in the heart.  All of our actions and decisions are driven by the desires found in our hearts.  That is why it is so important to ask God to make His desires our desires.

May the wellspring of your life (found in your heart) overflow with joy, as the “eyes of your heart” see and understand how deep His love is for you.  Delight yourself in the Lord, and then He will give you the desires of your heart.  When your will is HIS WILL, how can He deny your request? 

Above all else, guard your heart, 
for everything you do flows from it.”                 Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) 

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”  Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)

Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.”                 Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

Fall Upon His Grace

Friend-Sings-Song-of-My-

And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”   1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

 “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”  -Author Unknown

Dear One,

This weekend, I will be singing the “songs of my mother’s heart” to her.  My parents are coming to my house to celebrate my son’s 21st birthday.  Unfortunately, my mom’s memory is slipping away and her health is leaving her frail and distressed.  I want to hold every moment with her close to my heart, as I know such times are a precious gift.  God may give me many more years with her…. But I doubt it greatly.  Good-byes are hard, especially if the body remains but the memories of intimate moments are forgotten.  Grace will be in great demand this weekend!

Grace is unmerited divine assistance given to the human race for the purpose of sanctification.  It is a virtue that comes from God.  It is given to us in order to glorify Him by how we respond to our circumstances. Difficult times will bring out the best and worst in each individual.  Hopefully, as I age and grow in my maturity with Christ, I will accept His grace and apply it in a way that is honoring to Him. 

I do hope that God provides YOU with His divine assistance, thus enabling you to journey through your own personal struggle. I trust that His heavenly grace will comfort your heart, as I am sure this same grace will comfort mine.  God told Paul that His grace is sufficient, so upon this truthful promise I will cling. 

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.                                                 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

“God’s grace is not given to make us feel better, but to glorify Him… Good feelings may come, or they may not, but that is not the issue.  The issue is whether or not we honor God by the way we respond to our circumstances.”  

Jerry Bridges

Transforming Grace

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