Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the tag “Death”

The Train of Life


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


Easter: Victory Over Death



Easter is a time when Christians around the world remember the incredible love sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Our Savior’s willingness to step down from His heavenly throne, take on flesh, and die in a most gruesome way, is proof of His amazing devotion and affection for us all. He looked past our sins because He desired relationship and fellowship with His creation. He bore the cost of our sins, nailing them to the cross. Thanks to HIS righteousness we too are righteous, now able to stand before God as His adopted children.

And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures”     1 Corinthians 15:4 (NKJV)

Therefore, since we are now united with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection we resist all evil. We are no longer slaves to the enticements of this world. Jesus, our eternal hope, is the doorway through which all sin is conquered. Our “old man” has been crucified with Christ and we have been reborn. With hearts laid down in humble submission, eternal life is our promised reward.

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.”   Romans 6:4-9 (NKJV)

And since we are now in Christ, we have become a new creation. Old things… such as lustful passions, deceptions, ungodly habits, and evil desires are to be put away. We are called to walk as children of light. The light of Jesus should be so bright within us that all who are lost and spiritually dead are drawn to it, and therefore to Christ Himself.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”   John 3:6 (NKJV)

Jesus came into this world to give and serve. We too should live a life of selflessness and service. Paul passionately beseeched fellow believers in Romans 12:1-2 to present their bodies as living sacrifices, “holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

When we serve others, we serve God. The body He created for you and for me is perfect, designed exactly for His sovereign will and purpose. Every talent and gift, weakness and flaw, strength and disability was given to us for a reason. It helps to remember that when we are weak His power and strength becomes evident to all. God will use what we consider personal flaws for His glory.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”   Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

We praise Jesus for His love and sacrifice. We give Him thanks for reuniting us with the Father and for perpetually interceding on our behalf. We rejoice in the promise of eternal life, recognizing Christ’s victory over sin and death. We exalt God for His mercy and grace and thank Him for the sweet fellowship He offers His adopted children.

Jesus died on the cross because He wanted to free us from sinful wandering and restore our relationship with the heavenly Father. Unity and fellowship is of great importance to our Creator. And although we are each unique in design, we are meant to be bound together as one. As a united whole we make up the entire body of Christ. Just as Jesus and the Father are one, we too are to stand unified with each other AND with God. This can only be done if we forgive trespasses and submit to God’s sovereign authority.

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”   John 17:20-23 (NKJV)

As Christ died and rose again, let us too die to sin and rise up as beacons of light.

Oh death… where is your sting? Has Christ Jesus not given us victory over you? Has He not promised all who call upon His name the gift of eternal life? Blessed be our Savior! Jesus! JESUS! Precious Jesus! There is awesome power in Your holy name!

“’Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (NIV)

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” Ephesians 2:1 (NKJV)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”          Romans 6:4 (NKJV)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)

“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” Romans 10:9 (NKJV

And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15 (NKJV)

“The only thing I can give to God is ‘My right to myself.’ If I will give God that, He will make a holy experiment out of me, and God’s experiments always succeed.”   ~ Oswald Chambers.

Do You Ever Want To Fly Away Home To Jesus?



“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 21:4 (NIV)

Jesus wept.” John 11:35

Dear One,

Tears come with sorrow and grief.  Jesus wept over Lazarus and was called a “Man of Sorrows” in Isaiah 53:3. He was acquainted with grief. Jesus understands our suffering and pain, for He lived them all while on earth as the Son of man. He is sympathetic to the ache in our hearts.  He even records our cries and keeps a record of our tears. 

Our tears mean something to Him, otherwise why would He bother with listing and recording them?  He wants us to know that He is cognizant of our sufferings and sorrows.  They do not go unnoticed.  They are never discounted, nor are they ever in vain.

In this life you will have tribulations.  They may take your breath away, but God will faithfully breathe life right back into you.  Sorrow is not meant to crush you beyond repair.  In fact, it is impossible if your eyes are focused on God.  He will lift you up and command His angels to care for you. He is close to the brokenhearted and in your times of need, He will give you His strength.

If you have had to say good-bye to a loved one, the separation and the loneliness that follows may knock you over.  You may feel as though a part of you has disappeared.  The reality is that your loved one has not disappeared.  Rather, they have journeyed to a destination that is temporarily beyond your reach.  In God’s time, you will (Lord Willing) be with them again. 

Heaven is described in Revelation 21:4 as a place where there is no more crying or pain.  What joy there is in knowing that He will wipe away every tear from our eyes!  His grace is sent to us while we sojourner here, but in heaven our joy will be complete.  Tears will only be a distant memory. 

If you are sowing many tears as of late, be encouraged by the words of Psalm 126:5.  This verse reports that those who sow with tears will reap with shouts of joy.  Sorrow and rejoicing, tears of sadness and shouts of joy….. opposites and yet connected.  Our God is full of mysteries.

Maybe today you are heavy burdened and desperately long for your eternal home, God understands.  He tells us that we are not of this world, and that we should live as foreigners longing for our everlasting home.  We are to live our lives looking up, but moving forward. 

Grief can be a roadblock in your forward progress.  The enemy will whisper lies in your ears and attempt to make your circumstances appear hopeless.   With God there is always hope. 

There are countless sorrows in life, and many of them do not involve the death of a loved one.  There are injustices, illnesses, separations, losses, and an endless list of other tragedies.  Whatever the sorrow you are carrying today, you don’t have to carry it alone.  God wants to share your burden, so lay it down.  Let Him ease your suffering with His love and compassion. 

God understands that you may want to “fly away home” on some days.  He wants you home with Him, but only when it is your time.  He will help you to endure your sorrows of today, and tomorrow will take care of itself.

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!”         Psalm 126:5 (ESV)

Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll– are they not in Your record?”      Psalm 56:8 (NIV)

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; 
and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.”    Isaiah 53:3 (ESV)


New Again: Jesus Is Our Gift

Jesus Died 4 R Sins



History tells us that crucifixion was real.  Although Jesus was without sin, He was murdered by this very painful means of torture and called a criminal.  He faced the cross for all of us. God loves us so much that He gave us a gift named Jesus.

John 3:16 (NIV)  “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Good Friday: God’s Gift To Mankind

Good Friday on Cross

 Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)     “But He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”

John 19:28-30 (NIV)    “Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”  A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, He bowed his head and gave up His spirit.”

It would seem a paradox to call the painful death and the loss of a friend or son a “Good Day.”  But as believers, we understand it was a very GOOD Friday when Jesus died for us.  Eternal damnation and eternal life were at stake.  God gave us a gift and His name is Jesus.

God sent His only Son to earth in order to deliver humanity from sin. Every one of our sins was nailed to the cross of Jesus.  No more animal sacrifices are necessary for our forgiveness.  Jesus was the one and only sacrifice required and as He said on the cross, “It is finished.”

Sin will always separate us from having an intimate relationship with our Creator.  But with the death of Jesus, the true sacrificial lamb, we need only confess them to God and He will cast them as far as the east is from the west.  He forgets them in His willingness to forgive us. 

Jesus lived among man and was Himself, “God in flesh.”  This means that when Jesus took on flesh, he lived with certain constrictions and limitations.  He felt pain.  He did not fly around when he was tired of walking. His flesh had to go through the maturing process our flesh and emotions must go through, from infancy to manhood. 

Jesus is called, “Son of God” 46 times in scripture but He is also called the, “Son of Man” some 88 times.  Why so many times?  The reason is found in Hebrews 2:16-18. 

“For surely it is not angels He helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”  Heb. 2:16-18 (NIV)

Jesus, our High Priest, makes intercession for us day and night before the throne of God.  He is our mediator and friend.  He lived a life as man, and understands what it is to be tempted. He knew sorrow and wept over the death of a friend. What a gift it is to know that He understands us in such a personal way.

He became like us, not only to save us, but so that He could understand our challenges.  He understands the frailty of the human body.  He knows our frame and knows that it is but dust.  His compassionate heart and love for us was deepened by his shared experience of living as a Son of man.

Christmas and Easter are holidays when we celebrate the birth of Christ and His resurrection.  They are joyful days of remembrance and celebration. However, these are really only two of the three important events we should recognize and celebrate.

His agonizing suffering and death was the prerequisite needed in order for God to resurrect Him from the grave.  Indeed, it was a GOOD Friday when Jesus chose to follow through on God’s plan.  By His obedience and willingness to die for us, we can now call ourselves adopted children and heirs to the King.

Celebrations do not always have to be with the exchange of gifts, feasts, and jubilation.  They can also be joyful days of somber remembrance.  Thankful hearts and expressions of gratitude expressed in prayer are an appropriate way to remember what our Savior accomplished for us on Good Friday.

To HIM be all the glory and honor and praise. Amen.

John 19:31-39 (NIV)   “Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.  But when they came to Jesus and found that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.

Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.

These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of His bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the One they have pierced.”

Dear One,                                                                                                                                            On Friday, I will be at church and will need time to prepare for Easter.  This post will be up for two days.  I will post my Easter article on Saturday.  It will also be up for two days.  Blessings to you!! Cheryl

Broken Seed


“Never underestimate the power of one, tiny broken seed.  Placed in the right hands, it will surely grow into an expression of His beauty for all to see.”      -Mary Southerland

John 12:24 (NIV)  “ Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

Dear Reader,

It is never fun enduring a trial or being broken.  The pain or sorrow that accompanies the struggle can be devastating and loathsome.  Depression will often try to smother  a weary soul, like a slow mist on a dark night.  

Difficult times are sent by God to teach us perseverance and trust, unless we have brought them on by our own sinful choices.  In that case, reaping the consequences of our sin can still be turned into useful lessons and wisdom.

There are hidden sins deep inside each of us, which will only rise to the surface when we are pressed and tested.  Exposed, these sins will either humble us into confessing them to God, or anger us. 

In the later case, we will attempt to burry these sins once again in the depths of our very being.  Thankfully, God loves us enough not to let them remain hidden for long.  New trials will come to bring these same sins to the surface.  Until humility finds us, and our confessions are laid at the feet of Christ, the refining process will continue and address the same issues. 

One cannot climb a mountain until specific basic skills have been mastered.  Sin after sin, spiritual lesson after lesson, we eventually recognize the wisdom of God’s love at work in our lives.  With this new maturity in Christ, we willingly allow ourselves to be broken by God’s merciful hands.

It is therefore this laying down of self-will that finally propels a believer into a place of real usefulness for the Lord.  It is in dying that we find life.  It is in serving that we obtain joy and contentment.  It is with a selfless life that we find peace and rest for our souls.

If WE are that single mustard seed of faith (or kernel of wheat), broken and lying on the ground, we have the blessed opportunity to multiply for His Kingdom’s sake.  Yes, in dying we are watered by the Hands of God and a new harvest arises out of our single act of dying to self. 

As broken seeds, sown and transformed into plants with fruit, the Master Gardener must decide which plants He should harvest and which ones should go to seed.  For you see, the plant whose fruit is harvested is enjoyed at the banquet table of God.  However, the plants permitted the honor of going to seed will become either a spice offering to God, or sown once again for an even bigger harvest the next spring.

Either way, a broken and single seed will produce much for the kingdom of God.  Your trial is an opportunity to give yourself over to God.  It is in dying that you will find eternal life, it is worth the breaking.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (NIV)    “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”

Galatians 6:9 (ESV)    “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Psalm 126:6 (ESV)   “He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”

Please Pray For Pastor Abedini


A Letter from Pastor Saeed Abedini

This is a letter from Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is in prison at one of the most brutal prisons in Iran for his Christian faith. Keep him in your prayers. The ACLJ has put his letter onto a video. 


I hope you click on the link above and listen to the 3 minute video.  There is great power in prayer.  Remember how Peter was released from prison??  There is always hope.  We want God’s will and we want Pastor Abedini to have the strength to do all that God is asking from him.  Love covers a multitude of sins so I am praying that he has the strength to endure his personal cross and the love of Christ to extend to his enemies.

Peter Freed from Prison                                       Acts 12:5-17 (NIV)

Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.  And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison.  Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.”  So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.

 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”

 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of hergladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.”

Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.  But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place.

GOOD TO BE ALIVE by Jason Gray

JAMES 4:13-14 (NIV)      Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Hold on! Is this really the life I’m living?
‘Cause I don’t feel like I deserve it.
Every day that I wake, Every breath that I take You’ve given

So right here, right now
While the sun is shining down
I wanna live like there is no tomorrow
Love like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be alive

Hold on! If the life that we’ve been given
Is made beautiful in the living
And the joy that we get brings joy to the heart
Of the Giver (GOD).

I won’t take it for granted
I won’t waste another second
All I want is to give you
A life well lived to say “Thank You.’
I want to live like there’s no tomorrow

Dear Reader,
Are you living your life with a thankful heart? Are you living each day as if it were your last, as if you were on borrowed time? It is good to be alive and we should make the most of each day God gives us.

You give joy to the One who gave you life when you make the most of you life. Live it well as a THANK YOU to your Creator.

“In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we’re pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker’s praise without anxiety.”     ~A.W. Tozer



2 TIMOTHY 4:6-8 (NIV)     For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Dear Reader,                                                                                                            How many of you can say that you are thankful for another day of life?  I have known the pain of clinical depression and have had suicidal thoughts.  I have known the guilt associated with being a Christian and feeling like I just don’t want to live any longer.  Depression is a dark pit and a hard one to escape from, but it can be done.  You do not have to live your entire life in hopelessness because with God there is always hope.

Many Christians are anxiously looking forward to the Lord’s return.  If you are experiencing a really challenging trial, you might be desperate for it.  God puts us through struggles to strengthen our faith and perseverance.  It is part of our Almighty Teacher’s lesson plan.  He has an objective and a goal. 

A teacher never has 30 students in the same place academically.  Therefore, it only makes sense that God never has students all in the same place spiritually.  Depending on our dependence on Him and the measure of our will and obedience, we move through lessons at different paces.  Some of us are remedial students.  God is patient in reteaching us His lessons over and over until we master His objective.

Then there are the driven students who want to race through His lessons with a haphazard approach.  They too will need to review lessons.  God does an awful lot of reteaching!  It is a good thing He is so patient with His children.

When I hear about people who are so depressed that they are harming themselves or considering suicide, I grieve.  It is because I have experienced their pain and can relate to their hopelessness.  As one who nearly died from a brain tumor, I really see how life is a gift.  I am thankful I have more time on earth to love my family, friends, and serve my Lord. 

When a person is so depressed that they see life as too difficult to finish, they have lost sight of the fact that things always get better.  The lessons God is throwing them are bearable, if they request His help and strength.  The trials need to be viewed as love and not punishment. 

The pain of the “here and now” can blind us to the hope God promises all of His children.  Jeremiah 29:11 promises that He has plans for our future.  These plans are not to harm us but to give us a future and a hope.  This verse has given me the strength to overcome my depression, fear, and health issues.

I do believe God is greatly saddened when He sees His children, His own workmanship, giving thought to a quick exit.  Life is a gift.  It has so many possibilities.  We need to remember that the best day of our life is still yet to be experienced. 

I wish you all the joy of waking up each new morning with the realization you have another day to make a difference for God.  Therein is where true joy lies.  Living a life FOR Christ and giving HIM joy in your willingness to serve Him as an empty cup waiting for Him to fill, is where true joy and happiness rests.

“We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, and ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others.”  Elisabeth Elliot


“I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.”     Elisabeth Elliot


For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come.

Dear Reader,
Are you a weary traveller? Has your earthly journey taken a toll on you lately? Have you been looking up to the heavens a bit more often each day? Do you pray for the Lord’s return with a passionate heart? The life God has called His children to traverse is not an easy one, but it is worth the exertion.

Our earthly wounds and trials can’t be compared to the riches that await us in heaven. We are here for but a second. Compared to eternity, our time on earth is but a twinkling of His eye… a mere blink.

We need to live as sojourners in this world. We are on a journey and the cares of the world around us must not be allowed to trap us. These cares are dangerous and deadly snares indeed.

As you walk through your trial or storm, the problems you face will serve to remind you that this world is not your forever home. You are an alien and thus should live as one.

May God comfort you with His peaceful assurance that His mansion has many, many rooms and that there is a room prepared and waiting for your arrival. All in His time, but it is waiting for you just the same.

John 14:2 NIV    My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

Post Navigation