Overcoming Difficult Trials

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Godly Imprints

*God Gave U Fingerprint

The German composer, Felix Mendelssohn is one of the most celebrated classical music figures of the early romantic period. He wrote many compositions as a child, including 5 operas and 11 symphonies. All are beautiful, unique and special, just like us.

Fingerprints, snowflakes, cloud formations, sunsets, raindrops, and even music are remarkably individual and unrepeatable. God’s imagination is vast and limitless, so He has an endless supply of new masterpieces up His sleeve.

But why is everything in God’s creation singularly special? Each leaf, stone, starry night, animal, and child is extraordinary. Is it simply because the same sunrise and sunset would find our God bored to tears? Maybe it is because He wants to leave an imprint on everything He Creates.

A seal, in biblical times as today, is used to guarantee security or indicate ownership. The Bible says that believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. We belong to God and we have a guaranteed security that He will protect, love, and provide for our every need. What joy it is to be sealed by such a loving Creator!

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NKJV)

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV)

With our seal comes the guarantee of a heavenly inheritance, eternal life in a land where there is no more death, tears or pain. God’s imprint on our hearts is the ticket to everlasting fellowship with our beloved Savior.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:24 (NIV)

On earth, as well as in heaven, God’s imprint on us should make a difference in how we think and act.

“Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19 (NKJV)

The unique gifts and talents He has disbursed to each of us should be used as a special praise offering. Our imprint on earth ought to glorify God. The Creator of the universe has provided us with a means to thank Him. When using our special gifts to honor God, how can He not find pleasure and joy? God rejoices in His works because His works are an expression of His glory.

Whether you have lived 1 month or 90 years, you have left a footprint on the earth. Some imprints are filled with joy, compassion, thoughtfulness, generosity, and love. But then there are the imprints filled with hate, dishonesty, sin, and shame. They are hard to look at and acknowledge. But remember, with the seal of God we have been forgiven. Therefore, let conviction replace any shame that might still harass you.

Let us now take an honest look at the trail behind us. A personal relationship with God requires an upright openness. God knows about each imprint we have made. He understands failure and regret but sees our effort and praises our victories. As ambassadors of Christ Jesus, strive to leave imprints that are perfumed with the fragrance of Christ.

Are You Following God?


Impatient and not willing to wait for God’s alignment of circumstances, too many of us interfere with God’s way of doing things. We step in, and with our own might and intellect, we try to hurry things along. We push aside our Savior and find our own path, forgetting that Jesus called us to, “Follow Him.”

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV)

Jesus is the Shepherd and we are His lambs. By trusting Him with our welfare, He will certainly lead us to green pastures and protect us from unnecessary adversity. When we seek Jesus, He will ask us to follow Him; to places that will inevitably fulfill His plan and purpose for our lives. When we take the initiative and forge out our own path, we forget we are but lambs.

He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.Psalm 100:3 (NIV)

Have you ever considered how your life is of a priceless value to God’s purpose? One life touches another life, and that life touches other lives. One act of good will, one word of faith can snowball into thousands of souls being saved. We may not know the full extent of our faithful act of love, but do not underestimate the reach one act of kindness can make. If we hurry ahead of God, we could miss out on being a blessing to someone.

Thankfully, we who wander from the path of righteousness are promised forgiveness when we repent of our sin. Pride, selfishness, fear, and a lack of faith can motivate even the most mature Christian into moving ahead of God.

All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:6(NKJV)

Should a roadblock hinder your plans for the future, be sure your plans are aligned with God’s will. Maybe the hindrance was placed there to warn you, or cause you reconsider your way. It could be a message from God telling you to wait. It could also be a tool of the enemy. Satan does his best to disrupt God’s plan. Either way, pray. Pray God takes the lead and nudges you forward in His time. Pray that all strongholds of the enemy are broken and that the will of God prevails. Allow the Shepherd to lead you and trust that He will guide you to the very places He wants you to live, minister, and share His word.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

“The one striking thing about following is we must not find our own way, for when we take the initiative we cease to follow. In the natural world everything depends upon our taking the initiative, but if we are followers of God, we cannot take the initiative; we cannot choose our own work or say what we will do; we have not to find out at all, we have just to follow.” ~ Oswald Chambers

Happy New Year


Rich Mullins Sings With The Ragamuffin Band

Dear Reader,

I hope this concert blesses you!


Happy Father’s Day,God

Earthly Dad WhollyHis

To Read the entire devotion please go to  http://facingtrials.com

“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in youall.”                    Ephesians 4:6 (NKJV)

Your heavenly Father is so in love with you! Through the incredible blood sacrifice of His son Jesus, you are an adopted child of a heavenly King. Indeed, you are not just the daughter/son of a King, but a child of the one true Creator. Your heavenly Father is the all-powerful ruler of the universe and He predestined you for adoption, according to His good pleasure and will!

“Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Ephesians 1:5 (NKJV)

Through His infinite wisdom, God knew we would need an earthly role model of His love. He places us in families where an earthly father has an opportunity to demonstrate examples of God’s love. Sadly, because of the incredible gift of free will, not all men have risen to the task God has ordained for them, thus many of us have suffered because of their sins and neglect. However, it was always God’s intention and will that earthly fathers love their children as He loves us….. unconditionally.

Even though the sins of many fathers rest upon their children, God remains the Father of the fatherless. He weeps over the pain others inflict upon us, and over the abuses we must endure.  Though we may find ourselves in places of despair and misery, the Father of all never looks away and will faithfully guide us when we are helpless and lost. He faithfully provides for our needs in the midst of heartbreak and distress. We simply need to cry out for His help.

“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.”             Psalm 68:5 (NKJV)

Children are so special to God that He warns us not to harm them lest we suffer severe consequences.                                                                                               “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  Matthew 18:6 (NKJV)

A child like faith is also praised, for complete and innocent trust is of great ……..                                                                                            

Are You Relying On The Grace Of God?


“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

GRACE:  “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”                                                   

Grace is unmerited divine assistance given to the human race for the purpose of enduring the sanctification process. It is a gift that comes directly from God. Because of our Lord’s sacrifice and crucifixion, His blood has set us free from the guilt of sin. This precious offering is what enables us to carry on through even the most painful of circumstances. 

When you find yourself in the middle of a fiery trial or furnace, and dross (personal sins) is painfully rising to the surface, you may think God has forgotten your frame and misjudged your ability to persevere. The absolute truth is that He hasn’t ever stopped thinking of you! You are always in His sight and on His mind. Grace is why you are able to carry on and endure the refining process. With grace, God gives you His strength, wisdom, and courage to face your challenge. 

We are told that Paul had a “thorn” in his flesh and that he petitioned God to remove it three times. Although it was within the power of God to heal Paul, He had a better idea. God told Paul that the grace He would provide would be sufficient. He further explained that His strength is made perfect in weakness. 

Paul understood that when he was weak he would be strong.  Strong because God was the one supernaturally providing him with the power to face his personal “thorn” and live through the day. It was the power of God within Paul’s frail body that enabled him to persevere. His weakness was a living witness of God’s power and might. 

“Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NKJV)

You may be facing an incredible trial right now, but you can choose to either wallow in self-pity or find consolation in God’s words to Paul.  He will be your strength, if you ask Him. He wants to hear your cry for help. He longs for your fellowship and He wants to provide you with His abundant grace.

In this life, there are an endless number of surprising and unexpected opportunities to glorify God. One way is by responding to your circumstances in a godly manner. Will nonbelievers witness a peace and calm in your nature while you ride out moments of incredible pain and suffering? Will those around you observe a reliance on God’s strength to carry you through another day? Will your faith in God’s love, goodness, mercy, and grace strike awe in the hearts of everyone you meet? Will your trial be the reason some fall to their knees in repentance and the scales of deception drop from their eyes? 

Call upon the grace of God to carry you through your affliction and adversity. With His strength, your life will be a witness to the lost and provide God with the glory He deserves.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”   Ephesians 2:809 (NKJV)

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)

“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)

A Gentle Answer Turns Away Anger

Gentle Answer

When anger rises within you, consider the power found within a softly spoken word. An enemy who is hard of hearing and unable to hear shouts of fury will strive to hear a whisper. Although you may FEEL like yelling out your complaints, you will get more notice and consideration if you avoid harsh words and an unfriendly tone.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”                  Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” Proverbs 15:18 (NIV)

Using a gentle answer in the midst of an irritating situation, problem, or quarrel will propel you forward in your attempt to remedy a matter of contention. Angry words and a loud reply only serve to stir up conflict and cause delays to possible solutions. One who has the self-control to remain patient and calm during an argument is wise and perceptive.

“Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.”                  Proverbs 29:11 (NIV)

If emotions are on the rise and anger is in the picture, you can be sure that “FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE” is close at hand. Saying something you will regret later is very probable if you let your feelings rule a situation. It is a fool who speaks words without considering their long-term affect.

Is it easy to calm yourself and speak words of love when you are angry? No.

Is it a sign of maturity when you think before you speak? Yes.

Is maintaining inner peace while addressing conflict a sign that the fruit of the spirit is evident in your life?  Yes.

Can you take back hurtful words once they have been uttered and pitched? No.

Can forgiveness follow harshly spoken words? Yes.

Did Jesus use patience and soft answers with His disciples? Yes.

Is the saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me” true? No, Not at all!

We are called to love. We are told to witness with gentleness and respect. Speaking with unkind words or a tone of voice that sends shivers down the back is not love. Love speaks the truth but it is always patient and kind.

“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how canhe love God whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20 (NKJV)

The next time you find yourself in an argument, pretend you are looking in a mirror. Observe your face. Would your expression put someone on the defensive? Can you see love and honesty in your eyes? How would you react if you were talking to a person wearing this face?

Words can be destructive or life giving, toxic or encouraging. They have the power to bind up or set free. What will your words serve up today, misery and heartache or exultation and delight?

“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)

“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 (NKJV)

“Pearls and Diamonds”


“Deep in the center of the earth, a diamond is formed. Though many will admire its beauty and usefulness, when its formation is complete, none views the process by which it is formed. It is hidden, unseen, in the darkness.  So is the work of God in the heart of man.”  -Diane Dew

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a Merchant looking for fine pearls. When He found one of great value, He went away and sold everything He had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV)

You are a treasure belonging to God.  He took great care in your design.  Just as every snowflake, pearl, and diamond is unique, so are you!  However, it takes pressure to turn a lump of coal into a diamond or a grain of sand into a pearl. 

Intense pressure causes great suffering and turmoil. The transformation of our spirits, as we are sanctified, must endure pressures just as a grain of sand or a diamond in the rough must experience.  In the end, we will be the spiritual diamond or pearl our Lord desires.  However, before the Lord can press and transform us into the gem He has envisioned, we must lay down our wills and submit to Him.

When you are undergoing the incredible but often-painful process of transformation, you will find comfort within the pages of God’s Word. People, even with good intentions, can leave you unfulfilled and empty in their sincere attempts to encourage you.  Thankfully, the Bible is full of every encouragement and hope you will ever need.  The promises of God are many and ought to be read during times of weakness and doubt, struggle and hardship.

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”  John 17:17 (NKJV)

We are told that the Devil is a prowling lion. He watches and waits for opportunities to pounce and devour. In order to gain spiritual ground, he won’t hesitate to act in our moments of grief, confusion, or pain.  So, beware his attempts to discourage you during such trying times of pressure and stress! We do fight a spiritual battle every day and we would be foolish to think otherwise.

This hungry lion knows where to attack and so he will set out to rob us of hope. He knows the weak spots of every believer and looks for unprotected or damaged areas in our spiritual armor.  Therefore, let us keep our spiritual sword sharp, which is of course the living Word of God.  Ready yourself for battle for Satan is not compassionate and will show no mercy or grace. In order to gain spiritual ground, he won’t hesitate to attack when we are at our weakest. 

No soul, pearl, or diamond will remain in the dark ocean or the pitch-black earth forever.  Something will come along to propel it to the surface.  You will be discovered, admired, loved, and treasured by the ones who find you.  The Almighty God already knows about your beauty.  I am speaking about those around you who finally discover your value, as you live out His purpose in your life.

You are the pearl in Matthew 13:45-46.  God is the Merchant.  When finding you, He sees your value and sells everything He has in order to purchase you.  Jesus purchased you with is blood.  You are His treasure.  Think about your value and your cost to God.  With this in mind, will you now stand up and endure the sanctification process of your heavenly Father?

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV)

“Submit to God and be at peace with Him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” Job 22:21 (NIV)

Recent Book Review On Amazon: 5 Stars!

*Divine Interuptions take 2

Be sure to check out my newest book review on Amazon. It’s for DIVINE INTERRUPTIONS: A BIBLE STUDY THROUGH THE BOOK OF JOB

“Divine Interruptions is a wonderfully crafted study through the book of Job and based on the author’s own personal life experiences. Cheryl Zelenka has done an excellent job in the writing of this book and the result is a Bible study that is both thought provoking and painfully honest as she takes us step by step through her trials, diagnosis, surgery, recovery….and rebirth! I really like the format and layout of the book which breaks the book of Job down into bite-size nuggets that makes it easy for you to read and digest. There are ten chapters with five days of studies for each one….this makes it easy to pick back up if you get “divinely interrupted” during your study. I also like the use of other scriptures throughout the book to support and enhance your understanding of the triumph you can have over trials and suffering in your own life. The study guide is a great tool and gives you ample space to answer the questions in each section as well as put down your own thoughts and feelings as you work through the book. I would highly recommend Divine Interruptions for anyone who is searching for either a personal or small group Bible study. Great job, Cheryl!!!!”


Hope Is Found In The Dark


Hope is born in the dark. Like a lighthouse calling out to a lost ship at sea, it will safely bring you through your personal storm. It will encourage and guide  you to safety. Hope is found in the arms of God. 

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24 (NKJV) 

Relentless winds of adversity can be so draining! When an unexpected storm hits it may feel as though you have been tossed into a ferocious hurricane. Despair may even come into sight and strive to rob you of perseverance. So, with one small voice you utter a simple prayer,“Abba!”

Suddenly, the mighty hand of God lifts you out of your trouble. He simply wanted to hear your petition for help. He is always more than happy to be your refuge and hiding place. In fact, the Lord takes pleasure in all who hope and trust in His mercy. However, if you want to receive His assistance, you can’t give up or surrender your hope. 

Perseverance is strengthened during the storms that test our faith. To persevere is to ascend the mountaintop of God. It is a necessary attribute, a requirement if we wish to see the face of God. No runner can finish a race without a determined persistence to complete the uphill climb or challenging terrain.

Our eternal home awaits us but we must daily persist in our journey to get there. Merely believing that there is a God is not enough to gain entrance. Even the demons believe there is a God! It is through the exercising of our faith that we find the provisions of God. When we are weak, He will be our strength. When there is no way, He will make a way. Sitting down and giving up will not get us to the finish line. Our citizenship is in heaven and our heavenly Father anxiously awaits our arrival. 

Loosing hope means that you have lost your faith in God’s ability to sustain you. Have you forgotten who created you, the universe, and all within it? Do you doubt His ability to work things out and enable you to carry on? Why? Miracles happen today. They are not seen because we don’t look for them. 

Maybe your storm has been a punch in the gut and you are out of breath. God understands that we can get winded. He knows we will stumble and fall in this life. Catch your breath, even rest, but carry on! Nothing will change for the better if you succumb to the Devil’s attempt to steal your hope. He wants you to take the advise of Job’s wife…”Curse God and die.” Do you really think by cursing God things will get any better?

God sees the good in all man and loves us even while we are sinning. Why not give God the benefit of the doubt and trust that your adversity is for good, not evil? In some way He is creating good fruit from your circumstances, though pain may be His vehicle in your situation.

“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) 

Like you, I know suffering and I know heartache. They have served me well by furthering along my transformation and refinement, always producing a greater measure of the fruit of the sprit. Goodness, kindness, gentleness, peace, love, joy, patience, faithfulness, and self-control are attributes that will define your character in this life and the next. 

Will you live as an alien in this world, as a foreigner in a land that is not your eternal home? Then accept the storm you are riding out as a gift from your Father. He sent it because He loves you and it is preparing you for the eternal life that has yet to come.

God did not spare His own Son the suffering of the cross. It was for our benefit that Jesus became man, died, and rose again. God sent Jesus to redeem us and has exalted Him in the heavens. He is our Victor and blessed Mediator. 

Take your burdens to Him and pour out your heart.  Ask Him to be your guiding light as you attempt to stand firm and move forward through your storm. Your struggle will have an end but His love for you is never-ending. Let Jesus be your lighthouse. 

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don’t give up.” ~Anne Lamotthttp://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2009/01/Hope-Quotes-from-Christian-Leaders.aspx?p=2

“But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.”   Psalm 71:14 (NKJV) 

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I do hope.”    Psalm 130:5 (NKJV) 

“Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer”  Romans 12:12 (NKJV)

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