WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the tag “Christianity”

Pride Will Hang You Up

#2

The Bible warns us of pride. This feeling is not of God. Instead, it is from the world. Satan’s pride led to his fall from grace (Ezekiel 28). We should examine our hearts daily to see if pride has wiggled its way into our hearts.

“For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16 (NKJV)

Pride is listed as one of the six things the Lord HATES. Proverbs 6:16-19 mentions haughty eyes. Google defines haughty as, “proud, arrogant, vain, and pompous.” To be prideful is to forget that our Creator gave all we have to us. Our intelligence, talents and beauty were designed especially for us. We did not come by them on our own and have no right to arrogantly flaunt special attributes.

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him:

Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)

God gives beauty (intelligence, gifts, etc.) to individuals for a reason, His glory. They are also helpful when used for the betterment of others. Human beings are attracted to good-looking people. This attention is useful to public speakers, missionaries, and leaders intent on sharing the Good News. Sadly, special gifts and attributes have caused the downfall of many people, including numerous Bible characters.

Absalom, the third of David’s six sons is considered the most beautiful man in the Bible. All of Israel admired his good looks. Without a single blemish from head to foot, he was blessed with thick heavy hair. Sadly, this asset, which brought much pride eventually led to his demise.

“Now in all Israel, there was no one who was praised as much as Absalom for his good looks. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he cut the hair of his head—at the end of every year he cut it because it was heavy on him—when he cut it, he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels according to the king’s standard.” 2 Samuel 14:25-26 (NKJV) 

Absalom ended up hating his father, King David. He used his position, beauty, and charm to lead an uprising that became a civil war. Even though the King told his mighty fighting men to ‘deal gently’ with his rebellious son, Absalom met an early death. Pride was his downfall.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV)

David gave strict orders that Absalom was not to be killed, but while fleeing on his mule through the woods, Absalom was entrapped when his long hair became entangled in the branches of a Terebinth, and in spite of the kings instructions Joab kills Absalom.

Ironically, Absalom’s hair, one of the many things he took pride in, became entangled within the branches of the Terebinth tree. Trapped and hanging between heaven and earth, Joab and 10 young men found the traitor and killed him.

“Then Joab said, ‘I cannot linger with you.’ And he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through Absalom’s heart, while he was still alive in the midst of the terebinth tree. And ten young men who bore Joab’s armor surrounded Absalom, and struck and killed him.” 2 Samuel 18:14-15

Pride puffs up and causes one to think too highly of them self. Our reliance is to be in Christ. It is through His strength that we are enabled to accomplish the works He has prepared for us. If we rely on our own strength we will never get them done.

The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” says the Lord.Obadiah 1:3-4 (NKJV)

When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.Proverbs 11:2 (NKJV)

“The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility… According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” ~ C.S. Lewis

The Train of Life

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Dear Friends,

Last Monday I got a call that my sweet mother had a brain hemorrhage. There was no hope to heal her of this injury. All we could do was make her as comfortable as possible. I was with her the entire week and in her final moments. She ran a magnificent race and is finally home with her heavenly Father. Her funeral is this Saturday. I am staying with my dad now and will return to my home a few days after her funeral. Please pray for me as I am sick and very tired. I need strength to be a help to my dad. I have been greatly loved by wonderful parents and I will miss my mom greatly.   Cheryl

At birth, we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side.

However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.

As time goes by, other people will board the train, and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of your life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize they vacated their seats.

This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey.

Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.  ~Unknown

_**Mom & Flowers

 

Depressed? Remember God’s Faithfulness!

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“When the world says, ‘GIVE UP,’ Hope whispers, ‘TRY IT ONE MORE TIME.’” ~Unknown

Many strong and inspiring figures of the Bible suffered from depression: David, Jonah, and Job are just a few. David had Saul breathing down his back and looking for ways to kill him. (1 Sam. 19:1-2) God commanded Jonah to warn his Ninevite enemies to repent. Instead, he turned tail and ran away. God then sent a whale to swallow Jonah, but only after sailors tossed him overboard hoping to calm a raging sea. (Jonah 1:4, 11-12, 15). God tested Job’s faithfulness by permitting Satan’s request to afflict and torment him (Job 1:8-12). Each man had a strong relationship with God and a deep faith, yet they suffered from depression. Why?

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”   Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)                              

One reason for their depression is they all faced very painful or challenging circumstances. When we are asked to do something incredibly DIFFICULT, or when we face persecution, injury, or loss… our faith is tested. Everyone is susceptible to depression, which springs forth from roots of hopelessness. Even the mightiest of believers can tumble into this debilitating trap. The enemy is adept at spreading lies that feed our fear, doubt, and despondency. He continually schemes up ways to infiltrate our heart, which is the seat of our emotions. He persistently harasses and taunts the children of God.

Remember, he is that “prowling lion” who always watches for opportunities to devour his prey! As his intended prey, we need to remain with the flock and not isolate. Depression often causes a believer to step out of fellowship. This is an unwise and dangerous move. The times when we least FEEL like going to church are the occasions when we most need friendly interaction and support. By choosing isolation, we give the enemy a big opportunity to drag us down into the pit of despair.

Our God is a God of HOPE. Depression contradicts the promises of God, which are intended to encourage. There is always a new beginning to look forward to, thanks to the promise of a new day. Trials might not end or improve tomorrow, but there are new blessings in every day, including the hope that the next sunrise will bring relief.

If you find yourself down and out of sorts, believing your situation is too much for you to bear, why not bend a knee? Ask God to send His ministering angels your way to lift you up. Petition God and ask that He send cheerful advocates your way. Friends who speak words of hope and encouragement are always comforting.

When emotions get the best of us, a fellow believer can offer biblical insights and shed light on difficult circumstances. If there are no answers to be found, a warm embrace and reassuring smile will help to calm our nerves and lift our spirits. Fellowship and compassion are provisions of God’s grace.

A perspective change can also be very helpful during times of adversity. I have found difficult moments bearable when I attempt to see things from God’s perspective. Through the eyes of God, love enters a scene. With love coloring the circumstances around me, trust in my Creator is once again restored. Additionally, compassion towards the one who wounded me is awakened and anxiety retreats, allowing problems to take on realistic proportions.

Philippians 4:8 is a wonderful verse to memorize for when we meditate on things that are praiseworthy, we are also reminded of God’s love and faithfulness.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”   Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

I also encourage the recitation of God’s promises. Because our heavenly Father knew we would walk through difficult times and face painful adversities, He made sure to include countless words of encouragement in His Word. We can stand on each one of His faithful promises.

May the peace of Christ lead you through this day and provide the rest and comfort you desire.

MEDITATE ON THESE SCRIPTURE VERSES AND ENCOURAGING QUOTES:

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Proverbs 12:25 (NIV)

“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”   Isaiah 43:19 (NKJV)

“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the windows which hope has opened.”          ~Charles Spurgeon

“God is the only one who can make the valley of trouble a door of hope.”   ~Catherine Marshall

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*Facing Storms Front Cover 1.1

Dear Reader,

I am giving away free eBook downloads of my book FACING STORMS: DEVOTIONS FOR THOUGHT AND MEDITATION today and Sunday. Please let your friends who have Kindles and iPads know and remember…. IT’S FREE!!

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Affliction Is A Part Of The Race

!Pain:Monkey Bar:CSLewis

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”   Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

“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.”  Romans 8:28 (NIV) 

At some point in life we all think AFFLICTION is our middle name. 

In fact, during difficult times some believers may look up to the heavens and question whether God has forgotten the frailty of mankind.  Graciously, God forgives such moments of arrogance. From the dust of the earth He created Adam and He will never forget how His hands formed each one of us. He knows exactly what His children can manage and endure. 

Although we may find ourselves afflicted on many fronts, it is not God’s intent to crush us beyond repair. He knows we have a race to run and lovingly cheers us on, eager for our homecoming. But as we make our way to the finish line, we are bound to have a few trips and stumbles. God will help us up after every fall but He does expect us to learn something from our mishaps. 

Isaiah 42:3 describes Jesus as, “a reed bruised but not broken.” However, we are not the sinless Son-of-Man, so there may be a need for some brokenness in our lives.  The necessary breaking I speak of is the self-reliance and self-will we humans stubbornly cling to, and claim as our right to practice.  

This independent attitude is not aligned with God’s desire and design for us. He wants His children to rely on Him for everything. He is the great provider, Jehovah Jireh.  He freely gives us all good things, including wisdom, strength, love, and hope. All He asks for is a prayer of faith absent of doubts, for doubting suggests an uncertainty in His power and might. 

Painful situations or circumstances may have you perplexed, but confusion is never of the Lord. Seeking God during such times will help clear out the cobwebs. Ask Him to lead and direct you, and  trust the Holy Spirit to be your counselor.  One of the many reasons the Holy Spirit has been placed within each believer is to teach discernment.  And how else would we learn to use this gift if there were not opportunities to practice it? Storms and struggles are the means to perfect this spiritual gift. 

The Bible tells us that our life on earth is a race.  All races require effort and active participation.  In fact, our spiritual race involves an obstacle course.  We must hurdle roadblocks, landmines, and encumbrances of many kinds.  Although runners may trip and fall, they get back up in order to cross the finish line. We can’t get discouraged and throw in the towel if we want to claim the reward waiting at the finish line. This reward is eternal life with God! 

Each one of us has a unique journey to travel. We have the freedom to run our course however we choose.  Our pace, how many times we trip, and whether we stay down and let others pass us by will determine what we take into the Kingdom of God.  For with each struggle there is a lesson to learn and wisdom to gain.  If we sit and remain down after a fall, we will have fewer opportunities and less time to learn the many mysteries of God. 

MEDITATE ON THIS SCRIPTURE AND QUOTE

“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice.” Isaiah 42:3 (NIV)

“But God is the God of the waves and the billows, and they are still His when they come over us; and again and again we have proved that the overwhelming thing does not overwhelm. Once more by His interposition deliverance came. We were cast down, but not destroyed.” ~ Amy Carmichael

“One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all of your broken pieces will stick back together.”   ~Anonymous

(*I so believe that someone special is God!!)

Diamonds & Pearls

Diamond:Coal Quote

“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)

God looks down upon us and sees a mighty treasure. We are all precious jewels in His sight, for He took great care in our unique and marvelous design. And just as every snowflake, pearl, or diamond is rare and distinct, so are we! In fact, the Lord paid a great price to rescue us from a fate worse than death, and from the hand of an evil and powerful foe.

Pearls start off as grains of sand tucked inside a clam. Confined to a season of constant darkness and pressure, they eventually break free of their confines as transformed beauties. Humble and unpretentious, pearls are unique for they are the organic products of another living creature.

Diamonds are also created with pressure. However, they don’t emerge from the earth perfect and beautiful, like some natural pearls. Diamonds require additional work. Their transformation is not finished until a Master artist chips away their rough and pitted surfaces.

The skillful hand of this master craftsman is needed to finish their transformation. With careful hands He chips away unwanted surfaces from the diamond, eventually exposing the stark beauty within its specific shape and design.

Transformation requires intense pressure and this pressure involves pain.

Through the process of sanctification, we too endure extraordinary pressures. Our refinement is not an easy enterprise. Perseverance is vital while the Lord transforms us into perfect gems. A heart full of submission will spur on the refinement process. Our wills must completely surrender to the King if an honest transformation is to occur.

As you undergo this miraculous and life-long process, comfort is always near by. God provides His supernatural strength when it is most needed. He may send believers your way to share words of encouragement and hope. He will definitely speak to you in ways only you can acknowledge and recognize. There are so many encouraging promises written in the Bible and the Holy Spirit will faithfully guide you to them as well.

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

The Devil just can’t be happy when a saint receives victory over a sin during this refinement. It means that he has one less way to seduce, trap, and deceive. And since he is a prowling lion, ever hungry and forever watching for opportunities to pounce and devour, we must remain on the defensive. 

A soldier in battle never lets his guard down. He may be injured or weary from the fight, but he is always alert and awake. We too, are in battle…. Always! The principalities of darkness never forget us, so don’t think you have gone unnoticed during a season of rest and peace. These sinister principalities are always watching and know nothing of mercy.

As the rocky edges are chipped from your being, and God continues to transform you from coal to diamond, look up. Yes, the pain will end and the enemy will not have any place in your eternal home. There is hope in today and joy to be found, even in the midst of your present suffering.

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 His blood.  You are His treasure.  Think about your value and cost to God.  With this in mind, will you now submit your whole heart and ask God to have His way with you? Are you ready for the astonishing process of sanctification?

CONSIDER THESE SCRIPTURES AND QUOTE DURING YOUR QUIET TIME

“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)

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance in the rain.”  ~UNKNOWN

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)

Lord, I Need You!

AA

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

Divine Interruptions: A Bible Study Through The Book Of Job

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“Quote from my book DIVINE INTERRUPTIONS: A BIBLE STUDY THROUGH THE BOOK OF JOB. Available on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Divine-Interruptions-Bible-Study-Through/dp/1495446352/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1401988151&sr=8-2&keywords=cheryl+zelenka

“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.”

Cheryl Zelenka

Vote For Your Favorite Photograph!

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Hi Everyone,

I just entered a photo contest for fun. Colorado has amazing cloud formations so all three images have amazing clouds. Please take a minute to vote for your favorite one! Thanks!

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