WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the category “Worry and Anxiety”

God’s Unfolding Plan For Our Life

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God’s plan for our life is one that continuously unfolds. Minute-by-minute, day-by-day, and step-by-step He guides, all the while unfolding His glorious intentions. His wonderful blueprint for our lives was designed before we were even born. Every detail was considered when He assigned our mission, duty, responsibility, and occupation (s). He created and set circumstances into place that would refine our gifts and engage our specific attributes. Always, ALWAYS is our service for His glory and the blessing of His people. Moses is a wonderful example of this fact.

“Then the Lord said to Moses,  “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.  Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for Myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.” Exodus 14:1-4 (NKJV)

Pharaoh and his army pursued the Israelites, and overtook them as they camped by the sea.As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord.” Exodus 14:10 (NKJV)

The Israelites later turned on Moses and questioned why they ever followed him into the desert. They were prepared to return to Egypt and once again become slaves. Their faith in God’s power was weak and they saw no way out of their trap. The Red Sea was an apparent roadblock, but God would use that roadblock for His glory. Nothing is impossible for God! On that day the Israelites witnessed another incredible miracle of God’s provision and faithfulness as they walked on dry land, through the Red Sea, to safety.

Do you see how God’s plan unfolded? God gave Moses directions, telling him to encamp by the sea. God also told Moses that Pharaoh would pursue the Israelites. Furthermore, God revealed that He would gain glory for Himself through Pharaoh’s assault. But God did not tell Moses the Israelites would panic and turn on him. God often unfolds His plan measure-by-measure. He tells us enough to get us moving in the right direction but then, there are tests of obedience and faith that He intertwines in our journey.

Moses obediently camped by the sea and was not surprised by the appearance of the Egyptian army. Trusting God would faithfully deliver His people, Moses did not allow the Red Sea to become an obstacle. He remembered God said, “But I will gain glory for Myself through Pharaoh and all his army,” and so the parting of the Red Sea fulfilled this prophesy.

God wants us to depend on Him daily. Moses did not have directions for the next week or month. He took one day at a time. He had to train his ear to LISTEN for God’s voice.

Now consider the apostles. Their lives were a continuous unfolding. After Jesus rose from the dead, He told His friends to go back to the city and wait for the Holy Spirit.

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 (NIV)

Jesus did not tell them what the promise would look like. He gave them only the directions they needed, go back to the city and wait. Obediently, they waited in the city for the promise to be clothed with heavenly power. Once the Holy Spirit arrived, they learned to discern His leading. They healed many in the name of Jesus, spread the gospel, established churches, and wrote words of encouragement that are now known as the LIVING Word of God.

Jesus told Peter to “Feed my sheep.” He did not give Peter detailed instructions on how to accomplish this request, but He did equip him. Every apostle went out and shared the good news. Apostles were persecuted for their faith, unfolded as part of their Christian race. God taught them to be content in times of plenty and times of want. They gave Him continuous praise as they knew He was ever present and in control.

Other examples of walking with God and trusting Him to unfold His plan include Abraham: Leave you homeland

Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.  I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ ” Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV)

Joshua: March around Jericho

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Joshua 6:1-5

God has a purpose and service for each one of us. Maybe it is in the prayer closet. We might not see the fruit of our labor, but the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Prayers are ALWAYS answered in God’s time and for His glory. God unfolds how to pray and who to pray for by using the Holy Spirit to direct us while on our knees.

We are all called to share the Good News. We must look for the opportunity and trust God to give us the wisdom and knowledge to share His love. Maybe we will help a stranger and God will unfold the best way to witness. A neighbor might need of a ride somewhere and you hear God say, “Drive!” After you obey this unusual request, God might unfold His real purpose for your service. Every day unfolds new mysteries of God’s love for us.

Wait on God to fulfill His promises. Wait for the Savior to unfold His plan for your life. He is equipping you now for what lies in the future. Patiently wait and remember that God looks for willing servants who say, “Lord, send me!”

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153044654302949&fref=nf

“Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do. ”                        ~ Corrie ten Boom

“Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you who He is.”                                  ~Oswald Chambers

Peace: The Absence of Fear

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“You have to remember, fear is not real. It is a product of the thoughts you create. Don’t misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.” ~Anonymous

“The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.”   Psalm 29:11 (NKJV)

“And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”   Daniel 10:19 (NKJV)

When fear is present, peace is absent. Fear will always rob our peace of mind, weaken our resolve, disturb our rest, and cause us to question the righteous power of God. Fear is an emotion that will hinder our walk with Christ unless we learn to face our adversity with trust, trust that God is in control.

In Isaiah 26:3 we read how God keeps those whose minds are steadfastly transfixed on Him in perfect peace. When we take all our thoughts captive and trust God with our well being, fear will depart. Placing our faith in His power will remove insecurities, wobbly uncertainty, and unstable thoughts or decisions.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

Because God knit each one of us together, He understands our nature and individual weaknesses. He lovingly calls out, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV). It is His desire for us to rest in His peace. God longs to give us rest. Faith requires trust, and peace is the fruit of that trust.

In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace.” When He walked the earth as the Son of Man, He told that we would have to face tribulation. But He also told us to be of good cheer since He had conquered the grave. This fact alone should produce peace in our hearts. The battle has already been won. Eternal peace is our guarantee, but peace while we are still yet earthbound is also available. In fact, we are told to pursue it!

“Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”   Psalm 34:14 (NKJV)

How then do we pursue peace? Through Christ and Christ alone! Through supplication and humble petitions we enter the very throne room of God. While in His very presence, we interface with a mediator who intercedes on our behalf both day and night, for He never sleeps. By knocking on His door and seeking Him out, He gladly agrees to fellowship and dine with us. While in His presence, He will fill us with hope, inexpressible joy, and comforting peace. Trusting in His love for us produces peace.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”   John 14:27 (NKJV)

Psalm 23 mentions how God provides peace for those walking through “the valley of the shadow of death.” By focusing our eyes on Him, not concentrating on our difficult circumstances, He leads us through green pastures and beside still waters. Who doesn’t want to rest in such a place?

When we walk by the Spirit of God, the fruit of the Spirit shall become even more evident in our lives. Peace, not fear is a component of this fruit. We must crucify our flesh, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6 (NKJV). By doing this, God blesses His people with a quiet mind and contentment.

“God incarnate is the end of fear; and the heart that realizes that He is in the midst… will be quiet in the middle of alarm.” ~ F.B Meyer

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.”   2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NKJV)

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”   Psalm 23:1-6 (NKJ)

“A great many people are trying to make peace, but that has already been done. God has not left it for us to do; all we have to do is to enter into it.” ~D.L. Moody

 

God Prunes-And Not Just In The Spring!

*Prune

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” 15:2

I view my past illness, a brain tumor that caused nearly a decade of clinical depression and near death, as an answered prayer. In days gone by, I often petitioned God to remove me from the public school system. But my prayers were never prayers of true faith. No, they were prayers of desperation and hopelessness. I never quit my job to pursue a different career because finances were always priority. I didn’t believe God would provide for my family in the same manner I was able to provide as a teacher. Relying on myself was easier than trusting God, especially when it came down to future finances. This is where my thinking fell short. Scripture says God will provide for our NEEDS…. Not for every want and desire, comfort or luxury.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Accustomed to a certain life style, I had no desire to pursue another profession that offered less pay. After 25 years of saving, I had finally purchased my dream home. The thought of selling it in order to pursue a different career was not part of my reality. I wanted out of teaching, but only on my terms. I was not willing to make adjustments or sacrifices. Money was an idol of false security.

My wrestling match with God was long and intense. It lasted more than a night and it didn’t leave me with a dislocated hip. Instead, I end up with a non-malignant brain tumor. When I refer to this tumor as a blessing sent from God I am sincere. For you see, this illness changed my life. It became the catalyst that reignited my spiritual walk.

Thankfully, God knew the best way to answer my prayer. I believe He led me into teaching and I believe it was also God who placed a desire in my heart to leave teaching. He didn’t let my attachment to worldly possessions interfere with His plan for my life. He designed me with a purpose and there was a “next step” for me in this life. It could only happen by stepping out of the classroom.

And although sin was ruling my heart with fear and covetousness, He graciously pruned away those dead branches for they were hindering my spiritual growth. By cutting out the dead wood, I was able to recognize these sin areas that required further refinement. Every year God must prune these sin areas in my life for they are aggressive in their attempt to grow back, yet never do they bear any fruit.

So, who can understand the mind of God? His ways are so much higher than our own ways. His thoughts are just not our thoughts! Bu sending a serious illness my way, or merely allowing the tumor to grow for ten miserable years, God answered my prayer to move past elementary teaching. It was a part of His sovereign plan for my life, before He knit me together in my mother’s womb.

God was not surprised by my illness but I surely was, for It brought about a lot of change I didn’t expect or desire. Not only did I loose my dream home, but I also left a community I felt comfortable with and never wanted to leave. God was pruning and stretching my faith throughout my journey. He provided the means for a new beginning and moved me to the place He wanted me to grow.

God’s sovereign will is always fulfilled. How He answers our prayers can truly be very surprising and unexpected. And when He decides to prune His children with challenging storms of adversity, we will do well to remember that the pruning of the Lord is an act of love. For God will instruct/discipline those He loves.

Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, a father the son he delights in.”    Proverbs 3:12 (NIV)

James 1:2-4 reminds us that we are to count trials as pure joy, not that the circumstances are the joy, but the outcome they produce is the source of our rejoicing.

God teaches us not only through His Word. He also teaches us through trials that refine us into the image of His son. These times of trouble mature the fruit of the spirit within us so that goodness, kindness, gentleness, peace, love, joy, patience, faithfulness and self-control are more evident in our life. The pruning of the Lord is painful but the fruit it bears is profitable to God, others, and us.

Suffering is a part of the process by which the children of God are made holy. They are chastened to wean them from the world, and make them partakers of God’s holiness. The Captain of their salvation was made “perfect through suffering,” and so are they (Hebrews 2:1012:10). There never was a great saint who had not experienced either great hardships, or great persecutions.

 Let us try to settle this in our hearts also. The children of God all have a cross to bear. A suffering Savior generally has suffering disciples. The Bridegroom was a man of sorrows. Therefore, the Bride must not be a woman of pleasures and unacquainted with grief. Blessed are they that mourn! Let us not murmur at the cross. This also is a sign of sonship.”    ~ J.C. Ryle

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_Dec 2014

Interview With God

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http://vimeo.com/8898059

“So you would like to interview Me?” God Asked

“If you have the time.” I said

“My time is ETERNITY. What questions do you have in mind for me?”

“What surprises you most about humankind?”

God answered, “That they get bored with childhood. They rush to grow up and then long to be children again. They lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health. That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live in neither the present nor the future. That they live as if they will never die, and die as if they had never lived.”

I asked “As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons You want Your children to learn?”

God replied with a smile….

“To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. To learn they cannot make anyone love them. What they CAN do is let themselves be loved. To learn that a RICH PERSON is NOT one who has the most, but is one who needs the least. To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and it takes many years to heal them. To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. To learn that there are persons who love them dearly but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings. To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently. To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others. But that they must forgive themselves.”

“Thank You for Your time” I said humbly. “Is there anything else You would like Your children to know?”

“TO LEARN THAT I AM HERE…. ALWAYS.”

Jesus Is The Lion Of Judah

*Lion

“If you…come to Christ, He will appear as a Lion, in His glorious power and dominion, to defend you. All those excellencies of His, in which He appears as a lion, shall be yours, and shall be employed for you in your defense, for your safety, and to promote your glory; He will be as a lion to fight against your enemies. He that touches you, or offends you, will provoke His wrath, as He that stirs up a lion. Unless your enemies can conquer this Lion, they shall not be able to destroy or hurt you. Unless they are stronger than He, they shall not be able to hinder your happiness.” ~ Jonathan Edwards

“Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?”  Genesis 49:8-9 (NKJV)

We have a mighty and powerful Savior. His name is Jesus but He is also known as, “The Lion of Judah.” This name originates back to the book of Genesis. The patriarch, Jacob (“Israel”) gave this symbol to his tribe upon blessing his son Judah in Genesis 49:9. Jesus is a descendant of King David, who was from the Tribe of Judah.

Lions are powerful animals with mighty roars, sharp claws, and terrifying teeth. Fearlessly, they chase and devour their prey. Their very presence intimidates and rouses fear. Lions have the respect of all animals.

A lion, which is mighty among beasts and does not turn away from any.” Proverbs 30:30 (NKJV)

Jesus is even more commanding for He is all-powerful. In His mighty strength, He defends and protects His own. He chases down enemies and intimidates any who dare to challenge the authority of His children. This includes Satan and all the principalities of darkness.

Though we may find ourselves harassed by evil, we can be certain assistance is always nearby. With a single cry for help, Jesus will appear. There is power in His name and we who neglect to use it are fools. Be comforted by the promise that if we resist the devil he must flee (James 4:7).

Many scriptural references to the Lion are about His powerful voice. Could this be so that God’s children will always hear Him calling? Is it also so that His roar will instill fear in the hearts of His enemies? As it is written in Amos 3:8, “A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” Then there is also Proverbs 19:12, “The King’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, but His favor is like dew on the grass.”

The Lion of Judah does hold His own children accountable and expects them to battle sin. In 2 Kings 17:25 there is a reference to God using lions as agents of divine punishment, and in Hosea 5:14 we read how His just actions are lion-like in nature. He hands out judgment with wisdom and justice.

Finally, Jesus is also mentioned as the Lion of Judah in the fifth chapter of the book of Revelation. In this chapter He is triumphant and victorious over all evil. Upon Him we can place our trust. He is our Protector, Redeemer, and Savoir. He knows the number of hairs on each of our heads and cares about every detail of our lives.

If you are facing persecution, storms, or fearsome struggles please cry out to the Lion of Judah. He is faithful and will never allow anything beyond your ability to bear. Ask Him to protect and defend you, request shelter from your storm. When you are weak He is strong, therein He reveals His power and glory during your times of need. Praise be to Jesus Christ, the mighty and all-powerful Lion of Judah!

(Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew word for praise.)

CONSIDER THESE SCRIPTURES AND QUOTE DURING YOUR PRAYER TIME:

“For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.” Hosea 5:14 (NKJV)

“I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs; I will tear open their rib cage, and there I will devour them like a lion. The wild beast shall tear them.”  Hosea 13:8 (NKJV)

“And it was so, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they did not fear the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them.”
2 Kings 17:25 (NKJV)  

“Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Revelations 5:5 (NKJV)

“I am mended by my sickness, enriched by my poverty, and strengthened by my weakness.”
~Abraham Wright (1611-1690)

You will find this devotion in my book Facing Storms: Devotions for Thought And Meditation

http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Storms-Devotions-Thought-Meditation-ebook/dp/B00O1OJS0Y/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1422768058&sr=8-2&keywords=cheryl+zelenka&pebp=1422768061443&peasin=B00O1OJS0Y

Walk By Faith And Not By Sight

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“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)

AN ATHEIST’S VIEW ON LIFE

I will live my life according to these beliefs

God does not exist

It is foolish to think

That there is a God with a cosmic plan

That an all-powerful God brings redemption and healing to the pain and suffering in the world

It is a comforting thought, however

Is only wishful thinking

People can do as they please without eternal consequences

The idea that

I am deserving of Hell

Because of sin

Is a lie meant to make me a slave to those in power

“The more you have, the happier you will be”

Our existence has no grand meaning or purpose

In a world with no God

There is freedom to be who I want to be

But with God

Everything is fine

It is ridiculous to think

I am lost and in need of saving ~Unknown

A CHRISTIAN’S VIEW ON LIFE

Read the above poem from bottom to top!

 

As we live our lives on earth we must strive to live by faith, and not rely on eyesight in matters of the Spirit. God never judges a person by his or her appearance. Rather, He sees our internal heart and spirit. His love within our hearts is what transforms us into His very image.

It is by faith that we are saved, believing in an unseen Savior and a loving God. Through faith, we accept the truths found in the living Word. By faith, we acknowledge an invisible Creator designed our wondrous universe.

The disciple Thomas refused to believe Jesus had appeared to the other disciples after His crucifixion. In fact he said, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” His faith did not extend to the resurrection of Jesus.

“When Jesus appeared a week later to His disciples, Thomas was present. This time Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”   (John 20:25-29 NKJV)

By faith, we believe in a world not yet seen. A world we will call home for eternity. A place described in Revelations 21:4 where there shall be no more death, sorrow, pain, or crying.

Faith also helps us to comprehend and accept the supernatural world all around us. We are warned that we do not battle mere flesh and blood. Accepting as truth all talk of angels and demons, heaven and hell, the holy Trinity, and other wonders requires faith. The books of the Bible are not fairy tales. Moses, Noah, Esther, David and Goliath, and the walls of Jericho are all truth and fact.

This physical world entices and tempts believers to neglect the eternal. Therefore, we must carry our spiritual shield of faith everywhere we go. With this shield, we can stand up to the attacks and temptations the evil one tosses our way. David confronted the giant Goliath in faith and was given victory. We too shall find victory when we stand up against spiritual giants in our faith.

By surrendering our wills to God, we grow in our dependence upon Him. As we lean more upon Him our trust deepens. When this happens, the peace that transcends all understanding will build within us and guard our heart from all distress. A deeper faith is then established and we choose to give God all our cares, knowing His plans and purposes are never thwarted.

Finally, this trust and faith is the true secret to bearing trials with patient endurance. By believing in a heavenly home, we can fix our eyes on the eternal happiness that lies beyond the grave. We must recall how short these trials are when compared to the eternal glory that awaits us in heaven.

Faith will see us through loss, suffering, sorrow, and pain. For we have the eternal hope of an unseen kingdom, where we are the royal children of a King. It is only when we are finally home with our Father that we may use our sight. The enemy has no place in heaven. There will be no more deceptions that trick, tempt, or fool us. What we see in heaven will be glorious and wondrous, trust worthy and undeniable.

Since we won’t be sleeping in our eternal home, I have a hunch there will be endless wonders to explore. We won’t want to miss a thing! The eye candy will be amazing!

IN YOUR TIME OF REFLECTION, CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING VERSES AND QUOTE BY MATTHEW HENRY:

“And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.  And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Matthew 21:20-21 (NKJV)

“They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  Revelations 7:16-17 (NKJV)

“But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”   Mark 4:40 (NKJV)

“So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Luke 17:6 (NKJV)

“Faith is for this world, and sight is reserved for the other world: and it is our duty, and will be our interest, to walk by faith, till we come to live by sight.”
~ Matthew Henry

Go Out Into The Wilderness & Face The Dark

*7

Sometimes, if you want to see the stars in all their glory… you have to go out into the wilderness and face the dark. The stars remain during the day but we can’t see them. Only when darkness falls do we see their magnificent splendor. 

http://www.godfruits.com/8003/how-does-god-help-those-who-are-depressed-the-answer-will-may-surprise-you.php?fb_action_ids=10204549827480336&fb_action_types=og.comments

“And the Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him.” Exodus 4:27 (NKJV)

“I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.” Ezekiel 34:25-27 (NKJV)

Afflicted? Roll Over And Gaze At The Stars

*Atars

When difficult times knock you down, roll over and look up at the stars. It’s okay if you don’t have the strength to stand up right away. Facing unexpected trials can knock over even the most mature Christians. Reasons for a fall will differ from believer to believer. However, I do guarantee that Satan knows the vulnerable spots in every believer’s armor and will not hesitate to aim fiery darts in his or her direction.

“Through affliction, He teaches us precious lessons that otherwise we would never learn. By affliction, He shows us our emptiness and weakness, draws us to the throne of grace, purifies our affections, weans us from the world and makes us long for heaven.”—J.C. Ryle

Trials are a part of life, and affliction usually accompanies them. Nobody can escape this. Joy and love, sorrow and hardships—these are what face us as we journey to our forever home after we die. We should try to accept that trials are part of our journeys in life and attempt to build up our spiritual muscles. We can do this by reading the Word of God.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12 NIV)

In the first chapter of James, we are told to count trials as pure joy. How is this possible, and why is it a joyful thing to face difficulties? It is because the testing of your faith produces perseverance. When perseverance has finished its work, you will be mature in your faith, lacking nothing.

If you find yourself face down in a puddle of mud and tears, you could drown! Roll over and gaze up at the heavens. Meditate on the constellations and imagine the one who designed it all. He is powerful. Better yet, He is powerful and loving. His compassions are new every morning. Tomorrow will be a fresh start.

Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Faith requires that you accept the truth of this Scripture, even though you may not see the good in your circumstances right now. God has a plan for your life, and He has allowed or sent your difficulty for a good reason.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”2 Corrie ten Boom spent the first fifty years of her life learning lessons of love and forgiveness so that she could teach the world how to be more like Christ. God sent hardships her way and permitted trials in her life that transformed her character and refined her spirit.

Endurance and perseverance belong to the same family. They are cousins and true allies. Throughout your trial, you must hold on to the biblical fact that God will never leave or forsake you. Your desert journey, or the hurricane you are experiencing, is only for a season. You will not live a life of sorrows. Your weeping will eventually turn into dancing. A joyful song will once again rise anew from your lips.

God loves to whisper words of hope and encouragement into the heart of a suffering and weary child. He walks with you through every one of your struggles.

So, while on your back, you will see the beauty of the night. Not all darkness is ugly and fearsome. Behold the lights God has provided in the darkest of times. A zillion pinpoints provide us with not only illumination, but also with the ability to navigate. It is true that in stormy weather it is harder to find your way, but storms do not last forever. If you are feeling lost, rest and wait for the weather to clear. Eventually, you will be able to navigate and continue on your journey. God will help you get back on your feet, but you have to will yourself to live and roll over.

Meditate on the three Bible verses below:

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8:3–5 NIV)

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so” (Genesis 1:14–15 NIV).

“O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these is the life of my spirit. O restore me to health and make me live” (Isaiah 38:16 ESV)

This devotion is found in my book FACING TRIALS: THOUGHTS FOR MEDITATION available on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Trials-Meditation-Cheryl-Zelenka/dp/1499504071/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1420930091&sr=8-2&keywords=cheryl+zelenka

How Is God Stretching YOU?

7) Young Woman:Cheryl

God is once again taking me out of my comfort zone! He likes to stretch (mature) His children and to be honest, I like being stretched! I don’t ever want to be stagnant and slow in my spiritual growth. I have tossed the baby bottle of milk aside because I so enjoy feasting upon the prime rib of sold spiritual foods!

I was once a public school teacher (25 years) but God called me into a new career as an author. Boy, that was a shock and a stretch! With God’s help, I wrote 3 devotionals and a Bible study. Non-fiction is now my comfort zone.

Well, now He is calling me to once again use the gifts He placed within me to teach. He has asked me to enter the world of FICTION, or Historical fiction. I am writing a children’s rhyming book inspired by the book of Esther. As of now it does not have a title. I am praying about this and I know it will come to me in God’s timing.

A wonderful illustrator (She is also an author, publisher, etc) has agreed to work with me. Her name is Cheryl Ellicott. Please keep this project in prayer. I would like to see this book in public schools, libraries, and of service to the home schooling network. There will be a curriculum sold separately for 2nd-5th graders.

We are to use the gifts GOD GAVE US for HIS glory and the edification of the Body of Christ. I challenge my readers to use their gifts!! God will see your labor of love and be pleased and glorified. Posted are samples of Cheryl Ellicott’s work. These are NOT for my book. They are posted to show her style.

How is God stretching YOU in 2015? Please share!

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” Colossians 1:9-10 (NKJV)

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” Hebrews 5:12 (NKJV)

2) Cheryl Landscape w:Woman and Child14) Sparrow:Cheryl10) Girl w:Bible Cheryl13( Corrie ten Book:Cheryl

Unbreakable!

*7

I went to see the movie UNBROKEN today. It was worth facing 18 degree weather and icy roads. It is one you should make a point to see. I will be pondering the life of Louis Zamperini for a long time.

A while back, I felt the Lord asked me “Will you die for me?” I was not real quick in my response but I said, “Yes Lord… but I am fearful.” My fear was NOT of where I would go, eternity and heaven are my blessed assurance. No, it was the fear of PAIN and that it could be a part of my journey. I survived a brain tumor, I know the physical and emotional pain that comes with a severe illness.

However, as I watched the life story of Louis Zamperini play out before me on the movie screen, I was struck by his amazing will to SURVIVE. He faced horror after horror and I kept thinking… it would be easier to give up and die. Go home to God.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And so…. now I have head another question. “Cheryl, will you LIVE for Me?” “I thought I was doing that Lord?” Living for Christ is facing the unknown…. including terrors and pain and suffering. We will not have all the answers to our “Whys” down here. But in heaven, we will understand how the suffering we endured worked for our good and the good of all mankind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     I will LIVE FOR GOD even if that means facing adversity, persecution and “little deaths” as Mr. Zamperini endured. My word for 2015 is ABIDE (Last year it was Perspective). If we ABIDE in Christ we can overcome all trials. Our victory is by the blood of the Lamb. Jesus is the victor and our strength. We live in dark times and they are only going to get darker and harder for Christians. Will you remain faithful to God… even if He requires “little deaths” with no explanation?

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